Shayne’s Project 365

Blessed To Be A Blessing
January 26, 2010, 9:39 pm
Filed under: Food, Kids | Tags:

This year, I decided to participate in the KSBJ Giving Tree for the first time.  The radio station’s listeners could nominate folks they knew who had a need at Christmas.  The needs were posted on the website and others in the community could volunteer to meet those needs.

2009 was a hard year for many people.  We continued to be blessed with good health, good jobs and a steady financial situation.  Every year at Christmas, I hear about the Giving Tree on the radio, but I never felt called to participate until this year.  I looked at the needs, which were many, and narrowed them down to 2 or 3 in our area that captured my heart.  I presented these to Hubby for his consideration, and we ultimately chose a man and his teenage son.  The wife/mother had died several years ago, and the father got laid off this year.  He had recently found a job that paid less than his old job and required a long daily commute, but at least it provided some income.  They had been selling their furniture at garage sales just to put food on the table.  Their needs were basic — clothing and food.

When I contacted Eden, the sweet young woman who nominated the family, she told me that others had stepped up to provide clothing, but that there was still a need for food and basic cleaning supplies.  I agreed that we could provide that.  One big shopping trip to H-E-B later, the back of our SUV was filled with non-perishable food items, cleaning supplies, a grocery gift card, and even a couple of Best Buy gift cards as a little something extra. 

Later that day, I drove the items to Eden’s house to drop them off.  I made a point to tell the boys that the house where we were going was only 10 minutes away and very near where I grew up.  I wanted them to understand that people in need are all around us — even close by. 

Eden delivered all the gifts to the family the next day.  She said that in all the years she had known him, she had never seen the dad get emotional, but he was almost in tears over the gifts they had received.  He told her that they had not been able to purchase groceries in several weeks.  Our family has been blessed many times over, and I’m thrilled we were able to share that with one of our neighbors in need this Christmas!


January 26, 2010, 9:22 pm
Filed under: Food | Tags:

We have found that making our own pizza at home is more economical, more healthy and at least as tasty, if not more so, than ordering out.  The boys are die-hard cheese pizza eaters, but have recently started to flirt with adventure by eating pepperoni on their pizza.

Chocolate Mint Marvels
January 26, 2010, 9:15 pm
Filed under: Food | Tags:

For Christmas, I baked up some holiday treats for friends.  Here are some Chocolate Mint Marvels from the cookbook, Treasures from the Bend, Rich in History and Flavor.  These are so easy and yummy.  The cookies are made of butter, brown sugar and chocolate chips all melted together to form a gooey, scrumptious mess and bound together with some flour and other dry ingredients.  When the cookies come out of the oven, you stick an Andes mint on top and, when it melts, spread it around with a knife and let it cool.  Delish!

Happy Birthday Cameron!
December 26, 2009, 12:54 pm
Filed under: Food, Friends | Tags: ,

On Saturday, December 5th, we celebrated our friend Cameron’s 9th birthday with a swim party.  The party had a Pokemon theme and this awesome cake to go along with it.  The cake was made by my new favorite baker, Sugar Sweet Cakes.  Yum.

Wolverine Party
November 18, 2009, 9:11 pm
Filed under: Food, Kids | Tags: , ,

Jacob celebrated his 6th birthday at Houston Swim Club with friends and classmates.  The theme of his party was Wolverine.  I chose this photo as my photo of the day because of the drama surrounding the cake. 

Normally, I order our cakes from a local bakery that makes unbelievably amazing cakes and charges unbelievably amazing high prices to match.* 

The bakery normally needs at least 1 week notice to create a custom cake.  When we ordered Jacob’s birthday invitations, he and I discussed what kind of cake he wanted.  The invitations had this image on them.  We agreed that it would be cool to have a cake that matched the invitation and looked like Wolverine had clawed through the cake.

Well, our schedule got crazy busy and the Sunday night before the party, I realized I had not ordered the cake.  BIG OOPS!  Then I realized that my usual bakery was not open on Monday.  I did not think I could wait until Tuesday to order the cake, so I started digging around on the Internet for a local bakery that could do a custom cake. 

T0 my delight, I found Kaci at Sugar Sweet Cakes, who quoted me a reasonable price on the cake and said it was no problem to do it by the following Saturday.  She was wonderful to work with, making sure she and I had the same vision for the cake.  It came out looking awesome.  Even more importantly, it tasted incredibly delicious!  It was a chocolate double-layer cake with strawberry filling.  Wolverine’s claws have clawed through the “Happy Birthday Jacob” message (per our request).  These claws look menacing, but are actually made of sugar! 

Because I forgot to take a photo on Friday the 13th (there’s a real lost opportunity!), I’ve included a second photo of Jacob in the pool at his party.

Hey Jacob, who's turning 6?

*As a side note, I know a lot of people think this is ridiculous and prefer to make their own cakes.  When Peter’s 1st birthday rolled around, however, I realized that I would be doing well just to plan and execute a party and did not want to stress out over the cake.  I am not much of a baker, and we are blessed enough to be able to afford to outsource the birthday cake baking to an expert and pay accordingly.  I realize fully that the cake is probably more important to me than it is to the kids.  I’m ok with that.

Party Ready
November 16, 2009, 10:00 pm
Filed under: Food, Indoors | Tags: ,

Jacob’s birthday party was on November 14th, but I did all the grocery shopping ahead of time.  Do you think we have enough to drink?

November 16, 2009, 9:53 pm
Filed under: Food, Kids | Tags: ,

Ever since he learned about gourds at school, Peter has been wanting to cook one.  I came across a butternut squash recipe and figured that was good enough.  It was my first time to cook butternut squash.  Here is Peter taking in the wonder of the whole squash.  I thought the recipe turned out delicious, but the kids didn’t care for it.  It did kind of have the texture of baby food, and I was sorry I hadn’t had this recipe when they were infants!