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Monday, October 31, 2011

Living Large.... and Small

Holy smokes, last week was a crazy week!  My son moved back up north and Kat & I moved into a room in someone's house.  Oh, and we did some cake popping and ran a church carnival, too.  Oh, yes, and there was an ER trip in there as well.  Did I say it was a crazy week?  Yep!  Ha ha.

Ricky's move up north was an adventure.  His friend flew down to accompany him on the long drive, but when he arrived, there was a glitch with the rental procedure and we were unable to get a car for them.  So after several hours of trying to figure things out, the guys decided to just leave some of Ricky's things with us and fly up the next day instead.

That night, I stayed up all night to finish a large cake pop order that absolutely had to go in the mail the next morning or risk missing our client's celebration.  All the running around with the rental car stuff sort of threw a wrench in my cake popping plans, but I got it done!  Yay!

The next day, I drove Ricky and his friend to the airport, then dropped his stuff off at the storage unit, got Kat to her class, and then went to work.  That night, I took Kat to the ER for a much-needed spinal tap because her head pain was just way too much for her to handle any longer.  Really, she should've gone in two nights earlier.  But she wanted to tough it out the first night and then I couldn't take her the second night, and she didn't want to miss any school during the day.  So we finally got there, got her tap done (by an inexperienced resident, unfortunately), and went home.  She had school and I had work that afternoon, and boy were we exhausted!

For the past few days, Kat's back has been killing her.  She's had trouble walking 'cause it hurts so much.  But her head feels a little better.  Oy.  One pain traded for another?  She's been helping me pack up the apartment and move things to storage despite her back and head pain.  She's a trooper, I tell ya.  Man, one day we will beat this IH and she won't have to deal with head pain or spinal taps or any of the other stuff that goes with it an more.  One day!

We had our church carnival on Sunday, which made for a long and tiring -- though FUN -- day.  Kat was able to sit for the most part at least, so that was good.  By the time the carnival was done, I was aching all over and ready for bed!  But we had a move to finish.  So we grabbed a quick supper and packed like crazy.  Thanks to some wonderful friends, we got another two carloads to storage and moved our bare essentials to our new place.  Boy, did our beds feel good last night!

This morning, I made another run to storage while Kat went to school.  Tonight, we'll do the final bit and be done.  It'll be a late night again, but at least we'll be finished at last.

I had a bit of a panic attack this morning, wondering if I had made the right choice to move to such a small place.  I will have to seriously pare down our belongings, because there's not a whole lot of space there.  But Kat has assured me from the get-go that it's the right thing to do and we have no other choice, really. I still had that nagging feeling (okay, more like borderline depression) this morning, so I chatted with Ricky and called my mom, and then I went online to learn what other people have done with their small living situations.  Tonight, I feel much better about the whole thing.  Yes, it will feel strange living in someone else's house.  Yes, it's a very small space compared to our apartment.  Yes, it will take lots of getting used to.  But I think Kat, Ricky, and my mom are right -- this will work out.

So off we go on our next grand adventure.  And you know what?  I think I just might be looking forward to spending the upcoming holidays with a family who does the get-togethers and homey stuff that I haven't been very good at.  Kat will get to have a real, honest-to-goodness Thanksgiving meal celebration for a change.  That alone seems like something to be thankful for this year.  I wish Ricky could be here to share it with us. But he tells me that he is much happier up north, so I am thankful that he is blessed with a solid community of friends there who love him like family.

Before I go, here's a video I found online.  Jay Shafer, owner of Tumbleweed Houses has lived in small (and I really mean SMALL) spaces for over a decade.  He makes it look like fun, and his home has everything a person needs!  Enjoy his tour of his little abode.  I know I did, and it's largely because of him that I feel like this is doable for us.

~ Pia

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Trick or Treat Blog Hop!

Trick-or-Treat Hop

It's almost Halloween!  You know what that means..... time for the kids to go Trick or Treating!  And this year, we adults get to jump in on the fun, too!  Join us in a virtual Trick or Treat fest from October 28th through November 2nd.  We've got a whole neighborhood of blog homes for you to stop by, and each is giving away all kinds of fun stuff!

Our giveaway is a $25 gift certificate for awesome glass straws and accessories from Glass Dharma!  Elegant enough for dinner parties, sturdy enough for children to use them.  Dishwasher safe, convenient, portable, and they come with a lifetime guarantee!  Here's the post I wrote about these fantastic eco-friendly, beautiful straws last month:  Incredible Glass Drinking Straws by Glass Dharma.  Check it out!  And then scroll down this post to enter to win some cool glass drinking straws for yourself!

This awesome Trick-or-Treat event is hosted by Tales from the Nursery, Formula Mom, and Mama on a Green Mission.  To join the fun, just click on the blog links after our entry form and follow the instructions on each blog to enter their giveaways.  Easy peasy!  And the best part?  Costumes are optional!  :)

~ Pia

Monday, October 24, 2011

Halloween Scream $100 Giveaway! (Sticky post -- scroll down for newer posts)

Welcome to our spooky Halloween Scream Giveaway hosted by Generations of Savings and Beauty Brite

A fabulous group of blogs have teamed up to offer our readers an amazing 'Treat' for Halloween! Reader Prize: $100 Paypal Cash!!!

We are also offering a Blogger prize of $20 to participating blogs which will be chosen by Rafflecopter.

Please enter on the form below. Comments will not count as entries and can be used for questions only. You only need to enter once on any of the participating sites. The form is the same on all of the blogs. This giveaway is open WW (payment in US Dollar) and will start Wednesday, 10/12 at 12:01 am and end on Sunday, 10/30 at 12:01 am. 

Have fun!

~ Pia

My Little Has Brother Turned 43 -- Is That Even Allowed??

Okay, when  is it appropriate to acknowledge that your little brother is no longer "little"...(and, by association, that you are now "old"...)?  I guess when he turns 43 sounds about right!  Ricky, Kat, and I spent Saturday with Rob and his girlfriend, Christine to celebrate Rob's 43rd birthday.  It was a great day!
Still a kid at heart  ;)
Like his t-shirt?  Christine had it made for him.  It's one of his go-to expressions.  I love it!

Here's one of their jack o'lanterns.  He got a little messed up, but I think it adds to his creepiness, don't you?  Ewwwww......

I didn't bring Kat's good camera; took all photos with my phone.  I'm sort of technologically challenged, though, so the pics don't always come out right!  Take this one, for instance.  Blurry and the shutter didn't click when I pushed the button -- there was a strange delay before it clicked.  And this was my second try.  Which is why the guys look like they're telling me something -- like how to take a picture, ha ha!

We walked the neighborhood and then went to The Stand for lunch (ultra-delicious sweet potato fries and draft root beer there!).  And then we walked back.  Rob likes to walk.  :)

Then we went to the Griffith Park Observatory.  Very cool place.  You can even look at the sun without going blind.  By doing so via this display.  That is totally a live feed of the sun!  Awesome!

Here are more photos from the Observatory:

The requisite stand-by-the-Hollywood-sign pic

A view of the "floating" building tops

Ummmm.... Ricky, your hands are glowing

How cool is Kat's face?

Random shadow people

Just had to take this shot.
No, she's not really looking through the telescope.
But it still looks pretty awesome!

After the Observatory, we went to a little Cuban restaurant for some garlic chicken and pork yumminess.  And then we called it a night.

Here's an interesting sign that was posted at the gas station where we stopped on the way home.  Ha ha!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, ROB!  Thanks for letting us spend the day with you!

~ Pia

Friday, October 21, 2011

Feature Friday -- Catcophony

Welcome to Feature Friday!  Each week we will feature a fellow artist, blogger, shop, or product that catches our fancy.  First on the list is our good friend and fellow Dreamer into Doer, Diane Perry of Catcophony.  Diane makes beautiful, limited edition jewelry!

How did you first get interested in jewelry crafting? A few years ago I decided to try to make the kind of earrings I wanted to wear but couldn’t find. So many pieces were ‘been there, worn that.’ I like simple lines and dramatic statements.

When did you know you wanted to start selling? A friend encouraged me to go with her and share her booth at a local craft show. It went rather well and we did a few more. The following year another friend wanted to join me in doing some larger shows. Since then I have found the venues most likely to attract those interested in artisan jewelry—wearable art.

Where do you get your inspiration for each piece? I keep an ‘idea book’ that I sketch my ideas in—sometimes nature inspires, sometimes it’s another piece of jewelry that I see and want to reinterpret, and sometimes I just sit down and poke around my beads, wire, and gemstones or just start pounding on some metal…I like to work in all sorts of mediums from metal clay to polymer clay, from wire work to ceramic pendants. A little hyper! But I have always been a crafter and willing to take on just about any craft save scrapbooking….

Where do you hope to take your shop from here? I’d like to see it grow and evolve into a successful enterprise. I love working on custom pieces, so I’d love to do more of that.

Which piece is your favorite? It’s hard to pick a favorite, but I would say that currently I love working with copper or brass to create a sort of ‘watercolor’ look for earrings. Until I am at the last stages and putting on the sealer, I don’t know exactly how it will turn out—but it always has the look of an impressionist painting.

What are your hobbies outside of jewelry crafting? I love to garden. I live on 5 acres so we have many areas to putter. I play golf, crochet, do basket weaving, and love puzzles

Movie—any Harry Potter, sci fi, or Mel Brooks comedies
TV Show-Psych
Music-here I am pretty eclectic— anything but rap and hip hop—I am currently listening to il Divo, Nathan Pacheceo, Yanni, but also enjoy Classical music, jazz, Sinatra, heavy metal 
Book- a good mystery from Sherlock Holmes to “The Cat Who….” series
Food-I am very ecumenical—I love most food

Is there any item or shop section that you'd like to highlight? My dragonfly rings have been a particular hit at the shows I have done. I make them with turquoise, malachite, and other semi-precious stones. Each one is ‘one of a kind’

What are you offering your clients this holiday season? Right now I am working on some ceramic and silver pendants that I hope to have ready for holiday shows and for my online store. Any specials or new items coming up just for the holidays?

What is your favorite style to create? Anything simple preferably with silver or copper.

Brag a bit about yourself and your business! I will be participating with The Artisan Group in the GBK Productions Oscars gift lounge for the celebrities and press. I have designed special ‘watercolor’ earrings on copper that turned out better than I could have hoped for. I will also be participating in the gift lounge for the Golden Globe awards.

So that's our friend, Diane!  Isn't her jewelry stunning?  If you'd like to order any of the pieces you see here, just click on the photo and you'll go to her Artfire shop.  You can also visit her Etsy shop, Like her on Facebook, and follow her on Twitter!  

Well, I'm off for the weekend.  Ricky, Kat, and I are spending tomorrow in Santa Monica with my brother to celebrate his birthday!  Have a great weekend, and we'll see you Monday!

~ Pia

Thursday, October 20, 2011

This World Thursday -- Meds and Food for Kids

I came across this video and its accompanying news story today.  I was drawn in by the plight of the malnourished children of Haiti and interested in this "Peanut Butter Medicine" that the story was describing.  This medicine in a green pouch really does look like peanut butter!  And guess why..... because its main ingredient is peanut!  It's a peanut butter that is packed with nutrients that these malnourished children need.  

Seems these children can't eat regular food because their little bodies are so food-deprived that they just can't handle it.  So American-based nonprofit company, Meds & Food for Kids stepped in and created this awesome product.  And not only that, they found a way to manufacture the Peanut Butter Medicine in Haiti -- employing local peanut farmers to provide the main ingredient!  In doing this, they are not only feeding the country's most needy members they are also teaching the local farmers how to make improvements in their farming techniques and how to manage big production.  They're contributing to the economy of this struggling nation while giving the children a fighting chance at survival.  Wow.  How ultimately cool!

This was a refreshing, uplifting, encouraging news story amid all of the violence, discontent, and overall craziness of this week.  I encourage you to click on the link and read the story in its entirety.  To think that one little company in one nation can help the youngest of the young in another nation and that these two countries are now working together in harmony to help these children not only survive but thrive is an awesome thing.  We need more of this.  We need more working together and caring for one another.  We need more love like this in our world.  

~ Pia

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

What's New Wednesday -- Hey, Those Aren't Cake Pops!

So, my borderline ADD crafting brain has catapulted me off in another fun direction and I've been having a great time making bottle cap keychains!  These little goodies are perfect for sending out to my family and friends as Thinking of You gifts, attaching as tags onto gift packaging, and more!

This one is on my keys and serves as a great little advertisement for our cake pop shop.  :)  I'm going to make a batch so that I can include one in each shipment of cake pops as a little Thank You for Your Order gift to my clients.

This one is my soon-to-be-born grandson's very first photo!  My second eldest daughter, Chrisi, is due in December.  I'm sending her one of these for her baby shower.  Shhhhh.... don't tell her!  It's a surprise.  :)

Here's the back of Chrisi's keychain.  Didn't they pick a cool name for the little guy?  Those are his first and middle names.  Love them!

This one is to raise awareness for Intracranial Hypertension, which is what my Kat has.  

Pretty versatile, huh?  Oh, the possibilities!!  Announce your baby's birth with a photo on the front and the details on the back!  Support your favorite sports team!  Show your school spirit!  Announce your engagement or say thank you to your wedding party!  How about a key ring with a charm showing each child or grandchild?

Want to order a custom bottle cap keychain?  Visit our Etsy shop and let us know by using the "Contact" link in the shop's left margin.  They're only $5.50 each plus shipping (and they're pretty light, so shipping isn't extravagant).  

Have a great Wednesday!  

~ Pia

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Tutorial Tuesday -- Peanut Pop

When thinking about what to share in our very first, official Tutorial Tuesday post, it occurred to me that this is Carnival season.  So many Oktoberfests, church carnivals, and Halloween festivals are in full swing right now!  So it makes sense that we do something carnival/circus themed.  Since we already shared our Clown pop tutorial, I opted for this fun Peanut instead.  Peanuts are at carnivals, right?  Sure!  Bags & bags of them, right next to the popcorn booth!  Ooh, maybe we'll do popcorn next week!  Maybe....

Anyway, here's how you make this fun Peanut pop.  Peanut butter cake is optional, by the way.  We prefer Chocolate Peanut Butter Brownie, but you can use any cake or brownie batter you desire.  NOTE: If you use brownie instead of cake, just moosh up the brownie in step 1 and skip to step 4; do not add any frosting (you don't need it).

You will need:
9"x13" cake -- baked and cooled
Frosting to complement your cake flavor
8-inch lollipop sticks
Peanut Butter candy melts -- we used Wilton
Chocolate candy melts -- again, we used Wilton
1/4" wide ribbon in two complementary colors
Unused paintbrush
Food prep gloves -- unless you're just making these for family and then never mind
Microwaveable bowl or soup mug -- at least 5 inches deep
Mini glue dots -- available in the scrapbooking section of your local craft store
Styrofoam block
Flat plate or mini muffin pan
Large mixing bowl
Large dinner fork or pastry blender
Teaspoon -- the kind you use at the dinner table, not the measuring kind

What you do:
1)  Place the cooled cake into the large mixing bowl -- edges and all!  Don't waste any of that yumminess!

2) Using your large dinner fork or pastry blender, crumble the cake in the bowl by sticking your utensil in there and pulling the cake apart little by little.

3) Add about 3 forkfuls of frosting to the crumbled cake and mix well with your fork.  Add more frosting, little by little -- only if necessary! -- until the consistency becomes like brand new Play-doh.

4) Scoop out a heaping teaspoon of the cake/frosting mixture and roll it in your hands until it's a nice, round ball.  Put it on the plate or in one well of the mini muffin tin.

5) Repeat step 4 until your large mixing bowl is empty.  You should have about a dozen balls rolled.

6) Put the plate/muffin tin in the fridge for a few hours (or in the freezer for 15-20 minutes if you're in a hurry) so the cake balls will firm up.

7) Fill the microwaveable bowl with Peanut Butter candy melts.  You can use any light brown candy melts, but we liked having the peanut taste like peanuts.  :)

8) Melt the melts in your microwave at 40-50% power, stirring at 30-second intervals until the melts are nice and smooth.

9) Dip the tip of each lollipop stick into the melted candy, slide two cake balls onto each stick -- the first ball should go all the way on, leaving an additional 1/2" for the second ball.  The second ball should then be slid on so that the stick goes halfway through it.  Both balls should be nestled against each other (see photo of finished pop).

10) Using your fingers (fully gloved, of course!), gently smooth the two cake balls together where they meet.

11) Put them back in the fridge for a few minutes.

12) Leaving the other pops in the fridge, take out one pop.

13) Dip the pop into the melted candy (re-melt the candy as in step 8 if you need to), covering both cake balls and about 1/8" of the stick beyond.

14) Lift the pop straight up, out of the candy and let the excess candy drip back into the bowl, twirling the pop gently to keep an even coverage.

15) When the candy stops dripping, set the pop upright in your styrofoam block.

16) Repeat steps 12-15 until all the pops are dipped.

17) In a small microwave safe bowl melt about 10-12 of the chocolate candy melts using the same technique you did in step 8.

18) With your unused paint brush, paint on the little "indentations" on each peanut.  Set each pop back in the styrofoam block to dry.

19) Stick a glue dot on the stick of one pop, as close to the peanut as you can get it.  Stick the end of your primary ribbon onto the glue dot, wrap the ribbon around the pop, and stick it at the end with a second glue dot.  Cut off the excess ribbon.

20) Repeat step 19 for each pop.

21) Cut equal lengths of the two ribbon colors (about 8 inches), put them together, and tie a bow around the stick of each peanut pop.  See the photo of the finished pop above.

22) Serve the Peanut pops to your family and friends!

Have fun with your pop-making!  If you have any photos to share of your finished pops, we'd sure love to see them!

~ Pia

Monday, October 17, 2011

Kitchen Sink Monday

Welcome to Kitchen Sink Monday, the day when we get to chat about everything we did on the weekend, the books we like to read, what's going on in our little world, and pretty much whatever strikes our fancy!

I was thinking last Friday that I want to step up the blog.  I need motivation to write every day, and by motivation I usually mean narrowing it down to a single topic.  My problem is, I have so many things I want to say that I get stuck not knowing where to start or what to focus on.  I'm a creature of habit, so keeping a schedule works well for me.  In that vein, I've come up with a weekly blog pattern!

Here it is:
MONDAY -- Kitchen Sink Monday (see the first line of this post for the description)
TUESDAY -- Tutorial Tuesday
WEDNESDAY -- What's New Wednesday (new pop designs, flavors, Etsy shop items, etc)
THURSDAY -- This World Thursday (our take on what's going in the world)
FRIDAY -- Feature Friday (features of other artists, bloggers, products, etc.)
SATURDAY and SUNDAY -- no blogging (these are family days)

So to begin this new adventure in blogging, I give you the very first post in Kitchen Sink Monday!

I'm a youth minister when I'm not cake popping, and Saturday I took a small group of my high school teens to a youth conference.  It was awesome as always!  We were treated to music by a new musician and worship leader, Pasquale Talarico, and by seasoned veteran, Tim Foley of the Celtic music group Skelpin.  Mark Hart (aka The Bible Geek) spoke to us of the importance of reading and loving Scripture in our relationship with Jesus Christ.  We learned from Holly Carney about the necessity of seeking a good and holy community.  We learned from illusionist Danny Ray about the impact our choices have on not only our own lives but those around us (we were also WOWED by his illusions!).  We celebrated Mass and received Jesus in the Eucharist.  The whole event was hosted by Pat Villa, youth minister and co-host of ACTS Teen Catholic Radio in San Diego, and presented by the awesome people at All for God Ministries.  It was a fabulous day!

On Sunday, Kat and I signed the contract for our storage unit.  Now we get to start moving our stuff little by little -- ideally sorting it as we go -- over the next couple of weeks.  We will be fully moved by Halloween.

After the storage place, we stopped by the Street Fair and got new hats!  They're sun hats, very necessary in sunny SoCal, and they were only $10 each -- a bargain!  We also got to sit in on a set by our favorite Celtic duo, The Clachan Boys while munching on Irish Nachos and Loaded Baked Potato Soup at R O'Sullivan's pub & steakhouse.

Lastly, we headed off to work Sunday to host Father Donald Calloway, MIC as he shared with our parish his amazing conversion story.  He went from being almost the farthest away from God that you could possibly get (oh, boy, we're not kidding, either!) to becoming a holy Catholic priest.  Wow.  Amazing, I tell you!

So that's our weekend.  It was a busy one, but we found time to spend together just having fun.  It was a very good weekend, indeed!

~ Pia

Friday, October 14, 2011

Embarrassed My Kids.... Again! Ha!

HomeTown Buffet, San Marcos, CA

Yesterday, I took Kat to a new neurologist.  Her previous neuro had moved to Hawaii without telling us, but that's another story.  Wait, no it's not.  He moved to Hawaii.  He didn't notify many of his patients, including us.  We found out when Kat called his office to make an appointment one day.  The end.  Ha ha, not really much of a story there after all, eh?  Anyway, her Primary Care Physician -- or PCP -- worked hard to get us a referral to a new one asap and we got to meet said new one yesterday.

We really like this new doctor so far!  For starters, he believed Kat when she told him about her symptoms.  That is HUGE.  He treated her like a person and not some paycheck.  That is huge, too!  After doing his tests and asking his questions, he determined that she should earnestly consider shunt surgery because he is concerned about her eyesight loss and stubbornly elevated head pain despite her current meds.  Now, it's not that she would have to go under the knife immediately, but "the talk should begin now" as he put it.  So he put in a referral to a neurosurgeon and told us to let him know what the ophthalmologist says after Kat sees him as well.

Kat and I agree that this visit was a successful one indeed.  We got a plan of action, and that's what we had hoped for.  Yay!

So to celebrate the successful visit, and because I was absolutely famished, I decided to take Kat and her brother to lunch.  We used to go to HomeTown Buffet a lot when they were little, so I guess that's why I gravitated there this time.  We hadn't been there in years -- at least two or three.  I figured it would be nice to go again.

Oh my goodness, when we walked in the restaurant I was floored!  Gone was the institutional, cafeteria-style decor/ambience!  In its place was a market-style display that looked so fresh and colorful!  I couldn't help myself.  I started gushing and ooh-ing and aah-ing all over the place.  And we were just standing at the register, ha ha!  The manager and the cashier were staring awkwardly at me, Ricky and Kat were shifting uncomfortably as they backed as far away from me as they could, and I just kept going about how cool the decor was.  Oh, me!

I finally noticed everyone's reactions (as oblivious as I am most of the time), so I told the kids they could go sit down while I paid for lunch.  They practically ran across the restaurant to get away.  Of course, as I looked for the booth they had chosen, I looked around some more.  Fresh fruits, Farmer's Market signage, separate "shop fronts" for Asian food and Italian food and American food, and an Icee bar!  When I went to fill my plate, I marveled even more (and loudly) at all of the awesomeness that was before me.  My poor kids!

I'm told that I wear my heart on my sleeve.  I guess it's true.  But really, who can blame me?  I mean, even their plates were fun, different colors!  As a firm believer that a meal is more enjoyable when eaten in a welcoming atmosphere, I give the new HomeTown Buffet a double thumbs up.  And maybe the next time we go, I will no longer be so effusive and my kids will not have to deny any knowledge of me.  But I make no promises.  ;)

~ Pia

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Beginning to Hit Home

We are really moving at the end of the month.  Kat and I, as I mentioned in a previous post, will take up residency in a room at a friend's house and Ricky will move in with his friends up north.    We've put down our deposit and given notice to our current landlord.  We called about a small storage unit today -- we don't have much to store, so it will not break the bank.  We're gathering boxes and making plans.  It's all been sort of surreal until tonight.

Tonight, Ricky came to me and said he's driving up north and bringing all of his stuff with him.  The original plan was for us to keep a lot of his things with us because he was going to fly up.  It's funny, when we started to talk about what he was bringing and how he was getting up there I suddenly wanted to beg him to stay.  Corny, huh?  Somebody tell me I need to let him go.  He's 22.  He needs to be on his own.  But I can't help but want him to stay down here and continue to live with us.

Practically speaking, there are no jobs down here for him and most of his friends are in northern California.  Selfishly speaking, his mom and his youngest sister are down here..... enough said.  Ha!

As for our own move, Kat and I are working to figure out what to bring and what to store.  Our friend tells us there are two closets in our room, the room has wood flooring and its own bathroom, and there's a separate entrance from the outside of the house.  Sweet!  We'll bring Kat's bed and my air mattress, of course, but what else?  All of our cake pop stuff, books and DVDs and music CDs, our TV and the DVD player, definitely our bookcases and photos.  Religious statues are on the list (our friend says there's even a niche for those), as are our musical instruments and laptops and the printer.  How about my rubber stamps & supplies?  My scrapbooking stuff?  My rosary making materials and assorted crafting essentials?  Surely I can keep all of those in my closet -- I can't possibly be expected to put them in storage, can I?

Oh, boy, this may be harder than I thought.  Wish us luck and say a prayer, please.  Moving from a 3-bedroom house to a 2-bedroom apartment to a single room in someone else's home is not easy..... not in a physical sense and definitely not in an emotional sense, either.  Sigh......

~ Pia

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Please Vote for Our Pop!

Our good friend, Kim of KC Bakes makes awesome cake pop stands with her dad.  We have one of her first models, the 30-pop stand.  It's absolutely indispensable!  We use it for decorating our pops AND for displaying them at bake sales and boutiques.  That handy dandy piece of quality equipment gets used every day!

Kim's business has grown a lot since we first purchased our stand.  She now offers different sizes and even different styles -- including a stand that has a chalkboard surface so you can list the pops that you're displaying.  Genius!

Right now, Kim is hosting a Halloween Cake Pop Contest on her Facebook page.  And our Spooky Eyeball pop is entered!  So cool!  The prize is a Custom Halloween Cake Pop Stand that Kim will design with the winner!  There are over two dozen fantastic cake pops in the contest, each made by a different talented baker. We would absolutely love it it you could head over to Kim's page and vote for our Spooky Eyeball cake pop!  It's not the fanciest pop in the bunch, but it's definitely unique!

Click this photo to get to our voting page, then click "Like"

Not only could we sure use an ultra cool custom cake pop stand, we could also really use the props if we win the contest.  What an honor it would be to have our humble design selected as the winner among so many wonderful creations!  It would be a great boost to our little business and a fantastic lift to our spirits.

So please, if you wouldn't mind, hop over to KC Bakes Halloween Cake Pop Contest and vote for our Spooky Eyeball Pop by clicking the "Like" button.  Leave a comment, too, if you want.  :)

Thanks so much!  Every vote counts, and we totally appreciate your kindness!

Have a great Thursday,

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Good News and Challenging News

We found out today from our friend (aka future landlord) that the room we'll be renting is 15'x25'.  That's pretty big, right?  I have no sense of dimensional space, ha ha.  Sounds pretty spacious to me, though.  Time to get out the measuring tape and figuring out what will fit and what won't.  This is kind of exciting!

We also learned that our current landlord requires $1225 from us in order to take advantage of the early termination clause in our rental agreement.  How many cake pops do we need to sell between now and October 30th to make that much?  I think we've got some marathon cake popping to do!

~ Pia

Monday, October 3, 2011

One Step at a Time

Ever feel like this guy?  I think we've all been where he is.... perched precariously on the thinnest of wires high above the ground, every step heavy with potential doom..... tempted to stay put, afraid to take the next step.  And what if the wind whips up?  Even the slightest breeze at this height feels like it will sweep us away.

I feel like we've been on this tightrope for the last decade, my two youngest kids and me -- ten years of moving, of being unable to make ends meet, of longing to have some stability and never quite being able to grasp it.  You would think, over the course of a decade, that I could somehow have gotten us settled and planted new roots.  Hasn't happened yet.  In fact, we're moving again.

Yep.  One more time.  I think this makes number 10 or 11.  Maybe more?  Anyway, this time, we're splitting up again.  My son, who came back to live with us a while after he was injured in the Marine Corps, is moving in with friends up north at the end of the month until he's ready to reenlist (they separated him until he heals).  This is a good move for him, though Kat and I will miss him dearly.  We've sort of grown accustomed to having him around again, and I'm not all together sure I want to let him go so soon.  I like seeing his face and hearing his voice, and having him show me YouTube videos and talk with me about the latest techy innovation.  I like knowing that I can give him a hug any time I want.  I like sharing everyday life with him.  It's hard to know that he's moving so far away.

As for Kat and me, we've been blessed with the offer to rent a room in a friend's house beginning November 1st.  It's a big room with its own bathroom and outside entrance.  While it'll be odd at first, not having our own place, this move will allow us to pay our bills without being so stressed every month and the friends from whom we'll be renting are pretty awesome people.  We'll even get to start making payments on Kat's rising medical bills so that if she ever does need to go into the ER or the hospital again we won't have to question just how "bad" her condition is and whether it really is ER worthy, wasting precious time and risking her well-being just because we might not be able to pay the bill.  So this will be a good move for us, too.

We're praying that one day we'll be able to afford our own apartment again.  For now, this room is the best option.  But we're hopeful!  Every cake pop sale brings us closer to financial stability and independence.  So we're working hard on our shop.  If you know anyone who's having a celebration or wants to give a Thank You gift or just likes cake, please send them our way.  We ship all over the USA!  To place an order, check out our Menu tab in the left sidebar of this blog.  Then either email us at CakePopFusion@gmail.com or visit our Etsy Shop & click the Request Custom Item link under "Shop Info" to the left of our product list.  We'll get your listing set up lickety split!

So that's the latest.  Big changes, all for the better.  We'll just keep walking that tightrope, one step at a time, 'til we get to the solid footing that's waiting for us on the other side.

Thanks for your awesomeness!

~ Pia