Monthly Archives: September 2013

The Cure for Anxiety

“Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?…Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.” Matthew 6: 25-26, 34

The daily devotional book I use referenced this Bible passage today. Interestingly enough, the title for the section is “The Cure for Anxiety.” There is a lot of anxiety going around in my community today. Our representatives in Washington D.C. have little more than 14 hours to reach a budget agreement before the government will be shut down, and Senators aren’t even showing up until 2:00pm. People will be out of work and the pay that they depend on. There’s a bill in the works that helps those of us that rely on an active duty service member’s pay to support our family, but should it be rejected, military will report to work without pay until a budget is agreed upon. People are freaking out. Freaking. Out.

Rightly so. We are losing faith in our representatives. Their pay isn’t affected by a shut down. They have no real incentive to come to an agreement, it seems. They want to point fingers and pass blame. What will a government shut down prove? It’s not making me side with anyone, not even the people I voted for. I’m incredibly disappointed in general. They’re trying to make a point at the expense of a whole lot of hardworking Americans. I’d like to see what would happen if someone played chicken with their paychecks.

Regardless of what happens, I needed to read that passage in Matthew today. This particular situation is completely out of my hands. We have just received our end of month paycheck, and it could be the last for a little while. Do not worry. God will provide. If it becomes necessary, let’s band together and help our neighbors and friends, and remember that we are all in this mess called life together.

Tagged ,

School Pictures

Today is picture day at school for Aidan. While the other moms were talking about what their kids would wear or how they would be fixing their (girls’) hair, I must confess that I am really not holding my breath for a good picture. Why? Because the older he gets, the less cooperative my boy is on picture day.

I didn’t buy him anything shiny and new to wear today. I just chose a polo shirt from the summer that is still in decent shape and a nice-ish pair of shorts. Even so, he had to layer a shirt of his choosing underneath the polo. I assume he intends to discard my choice of shirt after the photo is taken. He wasn’t incredibly happy that I made him wear real sandals and carry his sneakers for gym in his backpack, but he did it. He may have changed his shoes the instant he got to school, though. I have no idea.

Maybe my most favorite part is that you have to spend money and order a package of photos sight unseen. Do you want to see how his pictures turned out last spring? I know you do. These are almost good enough for Awkward Family Photos.

Scan 132670001-2Have you ever seen someone happier to be sitting by the lake?

Scan 132670001-3Or in the forest?

Scan 132670001Or by the sea?

Scan 132670001-4I don’t even know what to call this last one. Sketchy cabin? Maybe the wary, miserable look is warranted here. Who knows what’s going on in there!

Who decided these weird backgrounds were a good idea? Get my kid to smile, and I really don’t mind if he’s only sitting in front of a boring blue background. I promise.

You’re lucky I am not in possession of some of my own strange 1980’s school photos. I’m sure they are a sight to behold.

Tagged , , ,

Lalaloopsy Birthday Cake

This has been the year of the birthday cake for me. In the past, I have always served cupcakes for my kids’ birthdays. Seriously, always. Want to see?

HK Cupcakes

Hello Kitty Cupcakes

Hero Cupcakes

Superhero Cupcakes

MM Cupcakes

Minnie Mouse Cupcakes

Ice Cream

Oh, wait! There was that one time I served ice cream. See, I branched out. Once.

This year for Aidan’s birthday, I attempted my first birthday cake. The sprinkle cake. It was super cute, but holy bouncing sprinkles, Batman! I found those all over the kitchen for MONTHS. When it’s time to replace the stove in this house, they’ll probably find the rest.

Sprinkle Cake

Sprinkle Cake

We didn’t throw a big birthday party for either child this year, so I figured I could expend a little extra energy on their birthday cakes. Neely would have had a Lalaloopsy birthday party if we’d had one, so I made her a Lalaloopsy cake.

DSC_0119

Lalaloopsy Cake

Pretty cute, right? It was a little bit time consuming, but not ridiculously hard. That’s two boxes of cake mix, baked into four layers. I used strawberry and white cake, alternating them to make pretty pink and white stripes on the inside. You could use, like, whatever. 😉

I use this marshmallow frosting recipe for EVERYTHING. It’s on all those cupcakes in the pictures. I actually didn’t use it on the sprinkle cake, but I wish I had. I went with buttercream for that one, and it’s too rich and heavy for my taste. Again, though, use whatever is your favorite.

The buttons are made from marshmallow fondant. Here is a recipe, and this is a tutorial for how to cut out the button shapes. I made a bunch of them last week, so they were ready to place on the cake on the actual birthday.

The pink sparkly #5 candle came from the party section at Target. The mini Lalaloopsy dolls also came from Target. The wooden thread spools came from the crafts section at Hobby Lobby. I used double-sided tape to hold brightly colored embroidery floss onto them.

I was happy with the finished cake. Neely was very excited about it, and that was the most important thing. I can’t swear that I won’t serve up another platter of cupcakes in the future, but I’m glad I’ve moved beyond my cake making fear.

Tagged , , , ,

The Girl Turns Five

DSC_0042

Five years ago, this little firecracker entered our lives. She was the tiniest baby I’d ever held. In the above photo, she is actually one month old. She had already gained three pounds by then, and she was still smaller than both of my nephews were when they were born!

DSC_0089

Last week, she started her final year of preschool. She chose the bow and sunglasses for her first day of school picture. My girl has a mind – and a style – all her own. Although it can be frustrating at times, I hope she never changes.

DSC_0101

She got a tiara in the mail from her Granny and Papa. Her reaction was priceless. Hank likes to help open presents, in case you were wondering.

DSC_0103

I think it suits her. 🙂

DSC_0113

The big “You’re five!” gift around here is a bike. Aidan got one for his fifth birthday, and it worked out the Neely was starting to want her own just in time for her fifth birthday. It was waiting in the garage for her when she got home from school today.

Between the balloons, the special birthday pancakes (with sprinkles), the cupcake party at school, all the phone calls and messages, and the gifts, I hope this little girl knows how much she is loved and how happy we are to have had her in our lives these last five years.

Maybe tomorrow, I’ll show you her birthday cake. 🙂

Happier than a camel on Wednesday…

In honor of the fact that it is Wednesday, my favorite commercial.

Please don’t think that I am forgetting or ignoring the gravity of what happened on this day in America 12 years ago, I just can’t imagine that any of you really cares where I was or how many hours I spent in front of the television in the days that followed. I have already read so many “where I was” status updates this morning that my eyes are starting to cross. So by all means, remember…then laugh a little, because it’s hump day! And the camels are happy.

Tagged ,

Introducing…your new Disney Vacation Planner!

You all know how much I love Disney, right? I mean, it’s not like I’ve been keeping it a secret. If I was trying to, I wasn’t doing a very good job…

DSC_0240

If we’re Facebook friends, you already know the fun news I’m about to share. I have decided to channel my obsession love in a way that will benefit both me and, hopefully, some of you. I am now an authorized Disney travel agent! You call me, we can talk about one of my favorite things/places ever, I work out all the details free of charge, and you get to take your family on a magical vacation!

A lot of people have asked me – why use a Disney travel agent? What’s in it for me? For starters, my service is free. You get an extra pair of eyes making sure all the details of your trip are covered, with absolutely nothing to lose. I book your resort, buy tickets, make dining reservations, provide you with crowd charts and touring plans, and I can help you navigate Disney’s new My Magic+. So really, the big question I have is – why NOT use a Disney travel agent?

I know what discounts are available and how to help you find them. If a better deal becomes available after you have booked your trip, I apply it for you. It is my job to be sure you are getting the most magic for your money.

What do I personally know about Disney? I traveled to Walt Disney World several times as a child, and as an adult, I have been three times – as a large group, with our family of four, and on an adults-only girls’ weekend. I have participated in a runDisney event and can help you navigate the ins and outs of the most magical races on earth. I recently scouted out Aulani, Disney’s resort on Oahu. It is crazy beautiful. I went to Disneyland for a day as a teenager, and it is on the short list of places I’d like to return to for our next family vacation. Cars Land? Indiana Jones? World of Color? Yes, please.

Needless to say, I am able to navigate every nuance of your vacation, and I will use my knowledge to help your family make the most of your time at Disney.

As of mid-August, I am also a Disney College of Knowledge Graduate! That means I have participated in Disney’s exclusive online training in order to learn as many details as possible about Disney vacations. I am knowledgable about Walt Disney World in Florida, Disneyland in California, Disney Cruise Lines, Disney’s Aulani Resort on Oahu, and Adventures by Disney.

Let me help plan your family’s next magical vacation! My e-mail is audra@atimetotreasuretravel.com.

IF you happened to forget to get in touch with me BEFORE booking with Disney (or had no idea how awesome it is to have your very own Disney travel agent), your reservation can be transferred to me within 30 days. I will happily take over and help you continue planning your trip.

If you want to keep up with my updates via Facebook, please find me as Audra Disney-Travel Planner Owens. I’d love to be friends.

EM_LogoNoTag4C

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , ,