Saturday, April 30, 2011

Cake post!

I know, I'm slacking again. I've just been so tired lately. *sigh*

April's cake was something a little different. I've been doing chocolate cakes (and a red velvet) til now, which believe me, is fantastic since I love chocolate. But I wanted to branch out a little bit. So this month I picked something a little....springier.

And...voila! Key lime cake.

So, as you can see, I made a three-layer cake. For a first attempt, it turned out well although I wasn't completely satisfied with it. I couldn't find key limes anywhere, so I bought key lime juice, which worked fine. But I didn't have any zest, so the cake wasn't as lime-y as I would've liked. Either the cake needed to be more lime-y or the cream cheese frosting needed to be lighter. Or maybe a little of both.

Don't get me wrong, it was a good cake! But I would definitely tweak it if I made it again.

Not sure yet what May's cake will be. Probably a practice Norwegian princess cake so I can make one properly before Kyra's birthday in June. (Kyra being a friend from church desperately in search of a Norwegian princess cake for her birthday...literally for years, and unable to find anyone who can make one.)

Don't know what a Norwegian princess cake is? Neither did I. But it looks tasty. Here's the recipe I plan on using:

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Meeting NieNie!

For those of you who don't already know who Stephanie Clark Nielson is, you are just plain missing out.

She and her husband were in a plane crash in 2008. Both she and her husband were burned, Stephanie's injuries covering over 80% of her body. Despite her injuries, she has pushed through and is not only recovering, but maintains a positive attitude and rejoices in the life she has.

What an amazing woman and mother!

I've been reading her blog for a while, and as a burn survivor myself, she just amazes me. I know how difficult it is to be a burn survivor. How well I know! How well I remember the stares, the whispered (or not) comments, the pointing, the teasing and taunting.

At any rate, Stephanie came to St. Louis this weekend! She spoke at our Women's Conference about her accident, her recovery, and how her faith helped her through it. It was, quite honestly, one of the most touching and beautiful things I have ever listened to. Stephanie is so full of life and hope!

After the conference, my mom, my sister Heather, and I got to meet Stephanie in person. We had a good time talking and laughing together. She truly is a beautiful person, inside and out. I was so glad I got to give her a big hug before I left! I just couldn't say enough wonderful things about her. Really.

Heather with Stephanie:

Amy, Stephanie, and me:

For anyone who's interested, here's a link to her blog. I highly recommend it!


Something that was said at the Women's Conference today made me so happy. Well, a lot of things did, but more about that in another post.

I was fortunate enough to be the first to stand up when Stephanie opened a Q&A after speaking. That alone made me happy, because I had really wanted to be first. I didn't have a question, but I wanted to tell her how proud I was of her! She is such an amazing person. Again, more about that in another post.

I introduced myself by name, and said "I am also a burn survivor," and went on from there. After I made my comment, Stephanie responded and made me laugh. And then she pointed out that we ARE survivors, not victims.

I was so glad she said that! It's a distinction I ALWAYS make when I'm talking with someone about my injuries. I am absolutely not a victim. From my point of view, victims are either A) people who die, or B) people who CHOOSE to have that mentality. It doesn't matter what your injury is, or what you endured.

I refuse to be a victim. I never have been. Not only am I a survivor, but I have thrived! My life isn't perfect, but it is fully of joy and love and laughter, because I CHOOSE to be a survivor.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

I'm so crafty!

Okay, well, maybe not SO crafty. Just a smidge crafty.

Friday evening there is a baby shower for a girl in my ward (congregation) at church. She registered for a Moby wrap among other things:

Those who know me know that I love to babywear. It's easy and convenient, keeping Amy snuggled close to me (or now, up on my back where she can see everything) while keeping my hands free. The wrap in this picture I made myself. It's stretchy, like a Moby.

Now, the problem with a Moby brand wrap is that it's thicker fabric, and it tends to sag. It just doesn't have as much support as, say, a DIY stretchy. Also, it is WAY cheaper to do it yourself. I got the fabric for my stretchy for around $25 and split it into 2 wraps, which made it around $12-13 per wrap. As opposed to an actual Moby, which is usually around $40.

Since I saw that this girl had registered for a Moby, I thought to myself 1) I don't want to spend $40 on a gift. Sorry, but I just don't have the money for that. 2) I don't even like the Moby brand. 3) I can do better.

So, I got some black jersey knit fabric from a friend for cheap and spent less than $3 on 2 ft. of pretty cotton fabric:

I was surprised at how easy it was, actually. I think it turned out really well. I did have a minor freak out when I finished, because when it's just folded, the panel on the front looks loose and doesn't match up exactly to the stretchy fabric. But then I remembered, well, duh--because when I actually put it on, the stretchy fabric stretches (obviously) and pulls the cotton flat. If it were flat when at rest, then the wrap wouldn't stretch very well. Crisis averted.

The finished product:

Granted, it looks a bit funny because there is not a baby in there! I'll take a picture with Amy in it when she's awake and happy. But it turned out well, and I'm excited to give it to her! I keep checking her registry to make sure no one has bought the Moby for her. So far, so good!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011


I've been a little lax again with my posting. There's been so much going on lately with me, in real life and on the internet, that it's been incredibly overwhelming. And when I get overwhelmed, I just...quit doing stuff. It's something that I'm working on, but I have a really hard time with it.

On one of the blogs I follow, a soon-to-be second time mama mentioned a dream she'd had about the little girl they're expecting. It made me smile, and I commented, and then thought, what the heck, I know she reads my blog so I may as well post the whole thing rather than just an abbreviated comment.

I think I've mentioned before that Brett and I were trying to conceive for over 2 years before we finally got pregnant. (Well, I was trying, since as Brett likes to point out, he wasn't doing anything differently.) I know there are many women who struggle for far longer than I did. But those 2 years were agonizing. The longer it took the more difficult it was for me, certainly emotionally. As a young married woman in the LDS church, it feels like you're expected to start popping out babies pretty much as soon as you get married. There were so many insensitive comments. The Mothers' Day before we conceived, it was difficult enough for me that we left church early.

I remember feeling SO frustrated. We really felt that God wanted us to start a family, but it just wasn't happening! We were doing everything we were supposed to. At that time, I was meeting my mom at the temple usually every week, and I remember sitting there, just begging God to let it happen, and trying (in vain) to reconcile myself to whatever He might have in mind rather than trying (again, in vain) to "make" Him do what I wanted. I readily admit that I've never been good at the whole "Thy will be done" thing. I want what I want, and I want it when I want it.

So those times in the temple were bittersweet for me, because I would be so frustrated, and while there I would feel so comforted. But as soon as I left, those negative feelings would just creep back in.

About a month or so before we actually got pregnant, I had an incredibly vivid dream. I don't remember my dreams very often, but this one was so detailed and vivid that it just stuck with me. I had a dream about a little baby girl. I could see all of her features, but I especially remember the big, blue eyes and the head of dark hair. I remember the way she felt in my arms. It was the sweetest dream I've ever had, and I woke up crying.

A couple of months later, Brett and I were in the temple together, and I was praying again. All I could think was that I knew it was supposed to happen, and could He maybe just clue me in as to when? Would it be soon, or did I need to be more patient? It was the only time I can remember an answer coming to me as an actual voice. "Soon." I was happy, and I told Brett. We discovered I was pregnant shortly thereafter, and still get a chuckle out of the fact that while I was praying that last time in the temple, I had actually already conceived.

When Amy was born and they gave her to me, I remember looking down at her and thinking, "This is her. I saw her. And she's exactly the way I remember her." I was so happy, I was crying. (And I'm crying now, but that's just what I do, I guess.) It was such a sweet moment, and I'm so grateful that my Heavenly Father knew what a comfort that dream would be to me.