We hope y'all had a wonderful, relaxing Thanksgiving weekend with your loved ones. We had a nice weekend full of wonderful times to be thankful for. The day before Thanksgiving I decided to use my coworkers as guinea pigs to try my first attempt at making Cake Balls. Mickie Spence shared the recipe with me, they sounded and looked so yummy I had to try and make them. They were fun to make. Here's what I did:
1 box of cake mix
1/2 container of prepared cake frosting
1 package of chocolate bark
Bake cake as directed on box. Let it cool. Crumble cake into a large bowl. Mix 1/2 container of frosting with crumbled cake. Now roll the cake into small balls and place on a cookie sheet lined with wax paper. One box makes approx. 40 balls. Freeze cake balls for 1 hour at least. Melt 3-6 cubes of chocolate bark as directed on the package. Using a toothpick, poke frozen cake ball and dip into melted chocolate bark, place back on wax paper. Use a 2nd toothpick to help get the 1st toothpick out of the ball. Touch up the small toothpick hole using a spoon with the chocolate bark. After you are done place the cake balls in the refrigerator to harden and cool.
The combos I made were banana cake mixed with cream cheese frosting, coated with chocolate bark (tasted like a frozen chocolate covered banana!). And red velvet cake mixed with cream cheese frosting, coated with white chocolate bark. They turned out super yummy. I brought 50 of them to work and place them in one of our break rooms (photo above) - all but 2 were eaten. I received so many compliments and thanks you's with a some asking for the recipe. I will definitely be making more in the upcoming weeks! Thanks Mickie for sharing this idea and recipe with me!
I forgot to take pictures Thanksgiving day. Stephen worked from 9-6pm. When he got home we had our friends the Wright family over for a turkey dinner. Everything tasted so good, and it was great company! Early Black Friday morning Stephen stood outside of Target from 2-4am hoping to buy one of their 40" HDTVs for $298. Unfortunately the 20 or so customers in line in front of him snatched them all up. When he finally got back home I headed out around 6:30am to pick up a few toys, clothes and pajamas for the kids. It wasn't too crazy and at least I was able to get those good deals. Later Friday afternoon I watched our neighbors boys for a few hours while they went to a car dealership. I've babysat Eric and Grant once before. Now that they are 10 months and mobile, it was great to have Madeline as my little helper. James and the twins older bro Aaron just jumped on the trampoline for a few hours while us girls watched the twins.
They drooled and chewed on the toys we gave them to play with, but my pantry door stopper was the biggest hit with them!
Babysitter in training. She did great with Grant!
The babies already know how to hold their bottles but Madeline still wanted to "help" feed them. They were such good babies. They only got a little fussy the last 20 minutes but it was getting close to their bedtime. It's fun having little ones in the house again. Friday evening we just relaxed and ate...leftovers.
Saturday morning the kids and I headed to downtown Austin with Aaron and his mommy Kate to the Chuy's Children Giving to Children Christmas Parade. We brought an unwrapped toy to donate to the Operation Blue Santa which helps 3,500 families. During the parade, all the children were asked to come out on the street and hand the toys to the volunteers on the Toy Trucks. I think it's such a great idea. And the kids liked knowing our toy would be going to a child less fortunate than us.
The kids enjoyed all the giant balloons. It was like a miniature Macy's day parade.
Hula Hut is a favorite restaurant of ours here in Austin. This float stopped in front of us and did a few hula dances!
The whole Star Wars crew was there. Chewbacca came right up to us and Madeline insisted on taking a picture with him. We told James and Aaron to go stand by him for the picture but they were both too scared! It was funny!
The King himself was there.
And of course Santa Claus!
I took the kids to McDonald's this weekend to get a Happy Meal. I hadn't realized before but inside each Happy Meal are these codes for the kids to go online and use on McWorld. They have all these really neat games and interactive stuff on there - Madeline and James loved it! Now they keep asking, "Mommy can I go online!?"
Today we set up our Christmas tree while watching the Viking game (they won, ya hoo!). I love seeing the excitement in the kid's eyes. They are really at an age now where they enjoy the wonder of this Advent time. James even started singing a made up song about our tree while I was putting it up, it was so adorable. They did a pretty good job at hanging the ornaments.
Of course we also set up our Nativity scene like we always do. The kids enjoyed this too. We talked about each figure in the scene. And Penny Lane was right there all the time, so I caught this cute pic of her sitting by the tree and manger after we were all finished.
I still have to set up all my other decor, snow globes and Nutcracker guys. But James unpacked a few. He loved playing with them and making them "talk".
So here it is! I love our artificial tree (we bought it last year at an after Christmas sale). It was super easy to put up. I love that I don't need to strand the lights because they are already on the branches. And it's sturdy, easy for the kids to hang the ornaments. Other major plus' no needles to pick up, no watering and it will always stay green! We started hanging lights outside on our home but we're not quite finished yet. Will share those picture on another blog post!