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I can hardly believe that four years ago my oldest son made me a Mommy. I feel so blessed to have him in my life and it’s amazing just the depths of love that I have for him. He’s been here just four short years, but it seems like I’ve known him my entire life. He makes me want to be a better person, one that is deserving of such a sweet little boy. On this his fourth birthday, we celebrated.

Can you guess where we went?

Bowling!

Anxiously watching the ball go down the lane (be it ever so slowly).

I’m so disappointed I wasn’t on him for this shot. Still really cute of the moment when he knocked all the pins down.

Link’s turn!

Eagerly awating the results.

Woohoo! I hit them!

Way too cute. Love this expression on his face after he knocked the pins down.

Today, Drake is FOUR!

Mommy helps Link and Drake bowl.

Cupcakes!

Blow out the candles… Relight the candles, and this time sing Happy Birthday, and THEN blow out the candles. 

Every present was, “WOW!”

From his Uncle back stateside. He loves building.

Link doing what he loves: shovelling food into his cute face. We had a wonderful day and I’m so thankful that I got to spend it with my two boys and my sweet husband. Happy birthday, sweet baby Drake!

So I found this recipe online, yes at Pinterest again (it’s not like I’m addicted or anything…). You can find the original recipe and post here at Handle the Heat. Their photo of the cupcakes looks so much better than mine as well. Here’s their photo:

Here’s mine: Okay, so mine isn’t nearly as pretty, but trust me, they were tasty. I took some in to my coworkers and I was told that they were pretty bad@$$. And they’re incredibly easy to make, the only hard part is that you have to refrigerate them for awhile. What You’ll Need: 42 cream-filled sandwich cookies (read: Oreos), 30 left whole and 12 coarsely chopped 2 pounds cream cheese, softened 1 cup sugar 1 tsp vanilla extract 4 large eggs, room temperature and slightly beaten 1 cup sour cream Pinch of salt What You’ll Do: 1. Preheat the oven to 275 degrees. Line your muffin tin with regular paper liners (the foil doesn’t peel as easily away, learned this one the hard way). Place one whole Oreo cookie in the bottom of each lined cup. 2. Beat cream cheese until it’s smooth with an electric mixer. Slowly add sugar and beat until combined. Add in vanilla and beat again. 3. Add eggs one at a time, mixing thoroughly. Beat in sour cream and salt. Then add the chopped cookies in and stir by hand. 4. Divide batter evenly amongst your lined cups, filling almost to the top. Bake, rotating the pan halfway through the cooking time, until the filling is set (about 22 minutes). Transfer to wire racks to cool and refrigerate atleast 4 hours (up to overnight). Remove them from the tins just before serving so they hold their shapes. Voila. Easy peasy and very delicious! 

Inspired by yet another pin on Pinterest, I’ve created a free printable. This time it’s a Santa Beard Advent Countdown. It prints on two sheets of paper (make sure you set your printer to borderless printing) and I recommend printing on heavy cardstock or heavy resume paper (it’ll hold up better than your regular printer paper). Link to free download below.

The poem explains it all: “Santa’s beard is very bare. On his chin there is no hair. So each day add one puff so white, and when they’re all on, He’ll come that night!”

Every day during the month of December, have your little helper glue with tacky glue (or you can use scotch tape balled over) a cotton puff onto the beard area. Once you get to 25 Santa will be on his way! I’m keeping mine on my fridge this year where my little guy can reach it. I’m going to store the cotton balls in a ziplock baggie next to the fridge as well so he knows how far he has to go until Christmas.

Due to convenience’s sake, I’ve created the printable to print on two standard sheets of US paper (8.5 x 11) since I know most people don’t have 8.5×22 paper sitting around. You can turn the sheets over and attach them together with a simple band of clear scotch tape along the seam. The file saves as a pdf file, and you can download adobe reader for free from http://www.adobe.com/.

DOWNLOAD SANTA’S BEARD COUNTDOWN HERE

You can see my original inspiration HERE at Oopsey Daisy..

Linking up at: Tatertots and Jello, One Artsy Mama

This week’s You Capture over at I Should Be Folding Laundry is fall. Fall is my absolutely favorite time of the year. Fall to me means the smell of wood burning, beautiful fall foliage, hot cocoa and warm snuggles. I love fall. Here’s some of my favorite fall shots from this past week. The fall here in Germany was absolutely stunning and it was such a joy capturing it. Hope you enjoy it too!

Recently, okay maybe not recently, a dear friend of mine sent me a care package in the mail. It was absolutely wonderful and thoughtful and amazing. It absolutely made my day week. I wanted to reciprocate the favor, but while I’m crafty at times, I know she has me beat in that department. I wanted to do something I knew she didn’t already have or didn’t have the time for. So I created some silhouettes of her children for her. These make lovely gifts. Here’s how I did it.

Step 1: Find a photo of each subject, preferable a side view or profile view of that person. Enlarge that photo file to fit the size of your template (I’m going to frame mine in 5×7 frames so I wanted to make sure they fit and filled the 5×7 frame). You can size them in anything from photoshop (expensive program) to free programs like picasa, picnik, or GIMP.

Step 2: Once you have each subject scaled to the size you need it, you can go ahead and either remove the background to make it easier on your printer ink or leave it as-is (definitely the easier option). Print each photo on regular printer paper (you want it to be thin and easy to cut through).

Step 3: Find a bit of black poster paper or cardstock and place it underneath your photograph(s). Using a sharp knife, like an exacto blade, slowly and carefully cut through both your photo and the black paper beneath it. Voila!

Step 4: For an added personalized touch, create a 5×7 print with the child’s or person’s name in a fancy script along the bottom of the print. Adhere the silhouette to the 5×7 print. I used scrapbook squares to attach mine and they worked really well, plus they’re acid free. Frame and you have a great and personal gift that any mother would love.

This week’s You Capture challenge is Halloween. I only took about two hundred photos on the day we went trick or treating so this was an easy challenge for me. Here are a few of my favorites:

Linking up to You Capture at I Should be Folding Laundry