Betty Crocker Wannabe has MOVED! I am now blogging solely at A Simply Klassic Home. I am still sharing printables, party ideas, and other inspiration. It's much more streamlined and clean. I hope you will stop by and say follow along there! I have lots of ideas for new printables coming this holiday season!!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Words That Matter

I've been finding a lot of meaningful quotes lately, that I would love to put up all around my house, as small reminders of what's most important in my life. My son, my family, my faith. Since I really don't have the wall space to keep adding framed words, I thought I would begin sharing them here.

Im thinking that each week, I will share a new quote and why it's meaningful to me. I would love to hear how it touches you as well.

I saw this quote on the adoption blog Grown in My Heart the other day...

Christopher Robin looked long and hard at Pooh's face.

"Are you learning me by heart?" asked Pooh.

"No," he answered, "I know you by heart. You are inside my heart."

-A.A. Milne

Oh yeah, this one got me. Actually, a lot of A.A. Milne's words get to me, but this one more than others.

"I know you by heart. You are inside my heart."

That pretty much sums up what adoption means to me. My son is a part of me, and I him. We are not connected by biology, but by our hearts. And there is no stronger bond than the bond of love.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Immortalized on Page 211

That's what Rick said when he finished reading my adoption story in the recently published book "From the Heart: Stories From the Front Lines of Parenting."

I was so thrilled and honored to be a part of this amazing compilation of unique stories, written by real parents. I was not only able to share my own, very real, story, but also the difficult and rewarding journey of adoption.

For more information, or to purchase the book, click here. All proceeds benefit children's charities.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Microwave Banana Bread

I know that some of you cringed when reading that title. So did I, at the thought of it. But it's hot today. Like, really hot. Too hot for the oven. And even if it wasn't too hot for the oven, my oven is broken.

So what do you do when you have brown bananas and no oven? You make microwave banana bread!

I have had my Tupperware Oval Microcooker for nearly 10 years, and I love it!

I don't use it nearly as often as I should, but there's really a lot you can do with it. I have made chicken enchiladas, rotiserrie chicken, and a German Chocolate Cake that frosts itself. I steam vegetables and cook ground beef/turkey in it as well. So, I figured I could make a banana bread in it too!


1 1/2.c flour
3/4 c. sugar
1/2 c. plus 2 tbsp. soft butter
1/3 c. milk
2 eggs
2 med. bananas, sliced or mashed
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. pumkin pie spice
1/2 tsp. salt

Combine ingredients in order given. Mix well. Lightly butter a microwave pan. Sprinkle with remaining nuts. Pour in batter. Cook for 7 to 9 minutes on full power or until done. Let stand 5 minutes before turning out of pan.

You could of course us any microwavable pan. I'm actually thinking of using coffee mugs next time and making muffins!

Saturday, September 25, 2010

My Potluck Go-To Pasta Salad

A friend gave me this recipe years ago, and it has been my go-to for potlucks ever since. It's super easy, and can be thrown together in practically the amount of time it takes to boil a pound of pasta.

Killer Pasta Salad
1 lb of your favorite pasta (I use Tri-Color Rotini)
Italian Dressing (about 2/3 of the bottle to your taste)
2 Tbls of McCormick Suddenly Salad Seasoning
1 English Cucumber
1 pack Grape Tomatoes
1 can Black Olives
Grated Parmesan Cheese (the fresh works best)

Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain into a colander and rinse under cold water. Pour pasta into a bowl. Pour Italian Dressing over the top and add the seasoning, diced veggies, and some of the cheese. Refrigerate overnight if possible (it helps the pasta to absorb the flavor and make it even more KILLER). Before serving, add more dressing if needed, and sprinkle cheese on top.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Birthday Parties at Goofy's Kitchen

One of the greatest things about Disneyland is getting to meet the characters, and the best way to do this, is through a Character Dining Experience. Within the Disneyland Resort, there are multiple opportunities, both in the parks and at each of the hotels:

Disney's California Adventure: Ariel's Grotto
Disneyland: Plaza Inn
Disneyland Hotel: Goofy's Kitchen
Paradise Pier Hotel: PCH Grill
Grand Californian Hotel: Storyteller's Cafe

My mother started a tradition with Cooper's first birthday to take him to Goofy's Kitchen, a Character dining Experience at the Disneyland Hotel, where you join Chef Goofy, and a whole cast of other characters (this changes daily). This was our third year visiting, and we all had a fabulous time.

As you enter the restaurant, you're greeted by Pluto and have a chance for a few photos with your whole party (make sure to have them take photos with your camera, as well as theirs). Later, during your meal, get your cameras ready as you are visited by several different characters, including Chef Goofy!

The great thing about character dining experiences is that each of the characters (there are usually five) comes to your table and interacts with children and adults alike, signing autograph books, and posing for pictures. We had a few that spent quite a lot of time with us.

The buffet style food was A-MA-ZING! From prime rib, to Pork Loin, to Leg of Lamb, Rock Shrimp Pasta, Pot Stickers, a fabulous salad bar and amazing desserts, the food certainly did not disappoint. The kids food buffet consisted of Peanut Butter Pizza, Macaroni & Cheese Pizza, as well as other traditional pizza flavors, Hot Dogs, Macaroni and Cheese, Popcorn Shrimp, and Spaghetti & Meatballs. They were busy so I didn't get any photos of the food.

Birthdays are celebrated almost every ten minutes it seems, as this is the perfect place for a celebration! Adults and children alike all were sporting "Happy Birthday" buttons.

Free of charge, the birthday boy or girl receives a birthday button, a card signed by many of their favorite characters, and a cupcake. Some of the wait staff and one or two characters will also join your table to sing happy birthday.

Each of the characters in the restaurant that night came around and spent several minutes with us, playing with the kids and posing for photo ops. We met Chef Goofy, Minnie, Snow White, Jasmine and Chip!

At $31.99 for adults and $13.99 for children, it's a little pricey, but you're getting great food and a truly unique dining experience. I just love this tradition, it gives Cooper a chance to celebrate his birthday with the people he loves the most, and a chance for a more intimate party before the big blow-out (read all about his carnival birthday party here). Life should be celebrated, and when this family celebrates, we go all out!

Goofy's Kitchen is the only one of the five character dining experiences that offers lunch and dinner. the other restaurants offer a Brunch and prices are roughly $24-$25 per person, and $12-$13 for children. Children under three years are free.

When planning your visit to the Disneyland Resort, remember to make Priority Seating requests by calling Disney Dining (714-781-DINE). You can call up to 60+ days in advance.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Defining Friendship

I've been thinking a lot about friendship lately, and what it means to be a friend.

Your friend is your needs answered.
He is your field which you sow with love and reap with thanksgiving.
And he is your board and your fireside.
For you come to him with your hunger, and you seek him for peace.
-Kahlil Gibran

I am what you could call selectively social. That is, in my private life, I have a few, intense, long-time friends rather than a vast collection of "networks." Some formative experiences caused me to be rather slow to trust and so, even people who consider me their friend often don't know a good part of who I am for a very long time, if ever.

I have been fortunate enough to collect friends over the years. I have a dear friend from Jr. High, a few from my high school and college years, my church friends and colleagues, my adoptive moms group, and a few friends I have met under random circumstances. These are friendships of all different levels. Only one of these friends knows the deepest levels of me. With her I can share anything and everything, the good, the bad, the ugly and the truly insane. The others know only the parts of me that I choose to share. Does that make them any less of a friend? Of course not, they just haven't uncovered all of the levels.

So what makes a true friend?

A true friend loves at all times, despite my faults. She listens and cares for me always, and hurts when I hurt.  She is there for me when I need her, when at all possible. A true friend lets you be yourself and accepts you for who you are. A true friend works to learn who the real you is.

True friendship is being able to confide in a friend, trust them with your secrets, trust that they have your best interests at heart. True friendship is being able to tell a friend when they've hurt you. True friendship is knowing when to say "I'm sorry."

I recently confided in a friend that she had hurt me. She, in turn, was hurt by what I said. In both cases, it was the presentations and deliveries that were the most detrimental, not the intentions behind them. What does this say about our friendship? Does it mean that we were truly never friends? On the contrary, there would be no hurt if there wasn't a deep friendship. Can this friendship be mended? I hope so, but time will tell.

I hope that I am the kind of friend that I want to have, and who is all of these things. I know that sometimes I fail. Miserably.

I am a friend who will do anything, go anywhere. When a friend is hurting, I hurt. I keep confidences. And when I let you in to my heart, you are there for good.

What is your definition of friendship?

Monday, September 20, 2010

Cooper's Carnival Birthday Party!!

The weekend of Cooper's birthday passed as quickly as it came.

For his actual birthday, we celebrated with dinner at Goofy's Kitchen at the Disneyland Hotel. If you haven't been to a Character Dining Experience at either Disney Resort, you should! It's amazing, the kids thoroughly enjoyed themselves, and, while a little on the expensive side, it's well worth it. More of our family party in my next post.

Today is all about the big CARNIVAL PARTY!

Using inspiration from Adriana at and baby makes three as my jumping point, I planned and prepared for nearly four months, and I'm happy to say that the party went off without a hitch!!

I'm extra grateful to have some wonderful photographers on hand, Rick and his son Chris, who shot all of these wonderful photos. They are amazing, and Chris definitely shares his dad's talent for photography. Enjoy the pictures! (I will include a list of resources at the end).


The tables were covered with yellow tablecloths and topped with white butcher paper. Centerpieces were just some simple greens in a vase tied with balloons. I set out crayons for a little creative expression.

Even the grown-ups enjoyed the coloring.



I placed some bright blue pails around the treat table, filled with candy. (the tags on the lollipops say "Thank you for coming. Hope you had a sweet time!").

The Menu:

The food was a hit! We cooked the hot dogs beforehand and wrapped them in foil to keep them warm. I also made a pasta salad for the adults (I'll be sharing that recipe soon - it's my favorite go-to for potlucks). Caramel apples were sliced apples with caramel dip.

Of course no carnival is complete without fresh popped popcorn! We filled retro popcorn bags with microwaved popcorn for our guests to munch on.

I found these red cups at Target, that came with lids and straws (not the ones pictured). $2.99 for 15! They were perfect for the cute clown straws I had purchased.

For the cupcakes I borrowed this three tiered stand from a friend, who found it at a local flea market.

It was perfect for displaying Mama's Homemade Cupcakes.

I made the cupcake toppers in Publisher. I printed them on cardstock, cut the two inch squares and attached them to coffee stir sticks with double sided tape.

I still wanted Cooper to have his own special cake, so I purchased a giant, plain cupcake at my local grocery store and iced it like a cake.

 Cooper thought it was pretty cool.

My friend Vanessa is multi-talented. Not only is she an amazing teacher and awesome Polynesian dancer, but she does some pretty fantastic face painting as well. Since she loves my Cooper too, she offered to provide face painting for his birthday party. She did an amazing job and we were so grateful!

 Cooper's Snake.

We also had a jumper to help balance out some of the quieter activities!


Even some of the mommies got in on the dresses no less!


Yes, that's me, getting knocked down by a seven year with way better balance!

Now, for my favorite part of the party, we also had a Photo Booth! I saw a few of these around blogland and thought, "I can do this!" But, I didn't want to spend the money for fabric for the background that I would probably never use again. Then I remembered that Grandma has a cute polka dot blanket, and voila! Instant background! 

Everyone really enjoyed the photo booth, but I'll let the pictures speak for themselves!



I even kept Cooper's big birthday present to the "Carnival" theme:


Seriously, this Roller Coaster by Step2 is one of the coolest toys ever! The kids all had a great time taking turns on it.

To end the day, everyone got a party favor bag filled with carnival prizes to take home.

Cute Rice Krispie Treats courtesy of Grandma.

This party was probably the most detailed I've ever put on, and everyone had a great time! Cooper especially enjoyed himself - I don't think the smile left his face all day. I hope you enjoyed the pictures!!

Endless thank yous to Rick, my hunky partner in crime, who put up with three months of party planning and decor everywhere, my never-ending outbursts of "look how cute this!!" and who helped with everything from pick-up to set-up to clean-up. Thank you from the bottom of my heart to Chris for the amazing photography and willingness to take on any job that was needed of him (from bagging popcorn to decorating cupcakes), to Vanessa and Jennifer for their ideas and for being my cheerleaders, Kathryn for loaning us the cupcake stand, and Grandma for all of her help in making sure this party went off without hitch.


Digital Party Pack (used for the party favor tags and Happy Birthday signs): Typewink on Etsy
Cooper's Birthday Shirt: Made Cute Just 4 U on Etsy
Framed Signs: Made in Publisher by me, using backgrounds from the digital party pack
Blue Buckets: Target (dollar aisle)
Roller Coaster: Amazon
Clown Noses: Small Toys

Party Favors/Prizes:
Clown Straws, Bird Whistles, Retro Popcorn Bags: Hey Yo Yo on Etsy
Ice Cream Shooters, Super Balls, Lollipops, Sticky Hands, Mini Pinwheels: SmallToys


Linking to: