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Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Giving Thanks

Here in the States, we celebrated Thanksgiving last Thursday.  While it's not really a huge turkey-dinner kind of celebration at our house, I have always cherished the notion that everyone in our country stops for a whole day to give thanks for all the blessings in our lives.  What a cool day for celebration!

Kat and I have so much to celebrate this year: Ricky came home for several months, Kat got a couple of new doctors and we found an online community of support for her IH, I have a steady job with flexible hours to accommodate Kat's medical needs, we have started this new cake pop business that is growing and providing a much-needed additional income, Chrisi's baby (due in mid-December) is healthy and on time so far, Selina is safely Stateside and out of harm's way rather than being deployed again, and..... well.... SO MANY more things!

I got to thinking about where we've been and where we're headed.  A friend of mine commented that we have moved just about every year (and maybe more) since she's known us, and she's known us for about eight years.  Wow, has it really been that many times?  Oh, as far as BIG moves we've only made one -- from Northern California to Southern California.  But if you're talking about changing residences, then yeah we've moved a lot.

Christmas 1998, in our 4-bedroom house
(a lifetime ago!)

Makes me think about what I consider "home" to be.  Is it the house where we live?  Nah.  We used to have the traditional 4-bedroom house with a yard.  Lived there for about six years.  That's probably the longest we've lived anywhere, I guess.  Over the last decade, we've lived in a room in someone else's house (Selina, Chrisi, Ricky, Kat, and me), a three bedroom house (Chrisi, Ricky, Kat, and me), a one bedroom house (Ricky, Kat, and me), a two bedroom apartment, a three bedroom apartment, a two bedroom house, a two bedroom apartment, a three bedroom house, a two bedroom apartment, and now Kat and I are in a room in someone else's house.  Ha ha, almost full circle now that I think about it.  Kinda crazy, huh?  But we're okay with where we are for now.  We know that this living situation is only temporary, and we look forward to the day when we can afford our own place again.  With Kat's medical bills, that might be a while.  But the day will come.

December 2005
The last time all five of us were together, I think

I've found that as long as I have contact with all of my kids, I'm at peace and that's where "home" is for me.  No matter where we live at the moment, if I'm in touch with the most important people in my life -- my children -- then I'm home.  And I'm happy.  So this year, the thing I'm most thankful for is home; the home that's in my heart.  The home where my God speaks to me and brings me peace.  The home where I can love my children no matter how far away they are and know that somehow that love touches them.

What are you most thankful for this year?

~ Pia

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Winner Wonderland Giveaway Event

Welcome to the Winner Wonderland Giveaway Event. This event is hosted by Put A Little Umbrella In Your Drink, Seeds of Life, And The Little Ones Too and Taking Time For Mommy. This event features giveaways with a value of $25 or more at each of the participating blogs! Check out all of the great Winner Wonderland Sponsors being featured in this event! Be sure to visit each blog from the linky below and enter for your chance to win! This event will close on December 4th at 11:59 pm EST.

Lovable Labels has generously supplied us with a pack of "Holly Jolly Gift Pack" labels for one lucky winner!  Thanks, Lovable Labels!  This is a super cool PERSONALIZED label pack filled with all sorts of awesomeness -- clothing dots, shoe labels, slimline stickers, standard stickers, and even metal dog tags!

When my kids were younger, I put their names in everything they owned.  How else could I guarantee that their belongings would find their way back to them at the end of a school day or an overnight?  Man, I would've loved to have had these Lovable Labels back then!  No more masking tape, no more permanent marker!  You can choose from 45 different images to add to your labels, AND the name is personalized!!  I don't know about you, but finding anything with my children's names on it is almost impossible.  Try to get something ready-made with "Selina", "Chrisi", or "Kathi" on it...  even "Ricky" is hard to find.  But Lovable Labels has come to the rescue!  I got a set with the name of a little boy we adopted for Christmas.  his name is Kayden.  He's going to love his labels, I know it!

These labels are also waterproof and sweat proof.  Perfect for pretty much any use you can think of!  Get a set for new parents, to label their baby's belongings when going to Grandma's house or to the park or to daycare.  How about labeling your child's sports equipment and uniforms/costumes?  We are a baton, bowling, gymnastics, and volleyball family.  Everything we brought with us to tournaments had to be labeled or we might not see them again -- equipment bags, uniforms. shoes, jackets, water bottles... you name it, it had a label!

These awesome wristbands are essential for holding emergency contact information or medical details.  Know that your child has the info needed to contact you in an emergency.  Since he wears it on his wrist, emergency personnel can easily locate it.  And it's stylish, so he'll actually want to wear it!

Let Lovable Labels help you get organized for the holidays and beyond with their household labels!  They carry labels for your home office, pantry, kitchen, even your outdoor bins.

And Lovable labels doesn't only sell labels, either.  They make personalized books, notes, and stationery, too!  Growing up, one of my prized possessions was a set of stationery that had my name printed on it.  With a name like "Pia", you can imagine how hard it was to get anything printed with my name.  So I treasured this stationery -- only the most special people and occasions called for its use!  Now your child can have his or her own personalized stationery, too!  This is great for thank you notes after birthdays and Christmas, or writing a special letter to grandparents.

Check out the Lovable Labels website today, and then come back to sign up to win your own Holly Jolly Gift Pack of personalized labels.  Good luck!

~ Pia

To enter the giveaway, just follow the instructions on the Rafflecopter form below.  Easy peasy!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Thanksgiving Weekend Special!

Everyone loves Black Friday -- aka the official start of holiday shopping season!  The best deals can be found that day IF you're willing to get up before the break of day to line up for hours until the stores open.  And then of course, you have to jostle past the MEGA crowds of people to get to what you want before anyone else!  In some ways, it's an adventure.  But I would rather sleep, ha ha.

We know that there are lots of you who would love to take advantage of some fantastic deals this weekend without having to drive all over town and wait in line and lose precious sleep, just like us!  So for you, we present our Thanksgiving Weekend Special: 15% OFF your entire order!  Scroll to the end of this post for the details!

 Looking for stocking stuffers?  Teacher gifts?

Host/hostess presents for the parties you attend?  How about cake pops for your own holiday tables or goody exchanges?  We've got you covered!

Corporate gift baskets and employee gifts, Christmas presents for your boss, treats for your child's classroom..... we've got it all!

All of our cake pops are made to order, so that means your pops will be fresh and delicious and delivered right on time for your celebrations and gift-giving.  We ship all over the USA, so you don't even have to drive to the store!

Want to place a CUSTOM ORDER?  No problem!  Click the link in the left side bar of our Etsy shop and tell us what you'd like!

Looking for gifts that are not cake pops?  We've got those, too -- how about festively wrapped Ghirardelli Chocolates?

 Or invigorating sugar scrubs to pamper your feet?

Enter the coupon code GOBBLEGOBBLE when you check out of our Etsy shop and you'll get 15% OFF YOUR ENTIRE ORDER!  This special is only good Friday, November 25th through Sunday, November 27th so hurry!

~ Pia

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Christmas Cash Giveaway!

You know, no matter how carefully I budget and try to spread out my gift shopping throughout the year there is always that additional something-something that I just have to get for someone on my list come December.  Never fails!  And it's never just ONE someone, either.  No, I find all kinds of cool stuff for LOTS of people in December!  So I am always in need of some last minute holiday cash. 

Are you anything like me?  If you are, then this giveaway is for you!  Imagine an extra $200 in your pocket next  week!  How many cool gifts will that buy, I wonder??  Sooooo many!  Even the $25 2nd Prize will give you gas money to go to your holiday parties, right?  Right!  

Maybe you want to have this cash to donate to charity, or to buy a Christmas dinner and some gifts for a needy family!

Let's face it, how ever we decide to celebrate, we all need more money during the holidays.  Hosted by Mommy's Moments, this is a cool chance to get a little cushion of the green stuff just in time for your holiday shopping!  1st Prize is $200 Paypal cash, and 2nd Prize is $25 Paypal cash!

So hop on over to the participating blogs and pages, make some new cyberspace friends, and grab a chance at winning this awesome prize!

Entry is easy.  Just follow the instructions on the Rafflecopter form below (it's the same on all the participating blogs) and you're in!  Be sure to do it before December 2nd 'cause that's when the Giveaway ends!

Have fun, and good luck!

~ Pia

Monday, November 21, 2011

A Bonafide Cake Pop Celebrity!

Bakerella's pops that started it all.  Who would've thought???  She rocks!!

There are some people in your life who you never expect to meet.... people who inspire you, whom you would like to emulate, whose very image conjures up all kinds of warm fuzzies in your heart.  In our case, one such person is Bakerella -- the Cake Pop Queen!  She singlehandedly started the cake pop revolution  in which we all now live, and I for one believe the world is better for it.  :)

If it weren't for Bakerella, Kathleen and I would not be here cake popping to our hearts' content.  If not for Bakerella, we wouldn't have made so many amazing new friends in the cake pop world and beyond.  Without Bakerella, we would have had to look for another way to make a little extra money and help out the Intracranial Hypertension Research Foundation.  We owe Bakerella so much!

So imagine our delight when we found out Bakerella herself was coming to San Diego!  Oh my goodness, what????  And we were actually available to go meet her!!  Holy smokes!!  Bakerella cake pop book in hand, we hightailed it down to the Barnes & Noble where she would be doing a little talk and signing books.  Kat and I got there 90 minutes early.  Yes, I'm crazy that way, ha ha!  As soon as we arrived, the first thing I did was beg Kat to take my photo by the sign.  She didn't want hers taken there, so this one was all me!   Thanks, Kat!

We bought a new Bakerella Cake Pop Kit as a birthday gift for my Goddaughter (shhhhh..... don't tell her!) to get signed, too.  And then I asked a nice lady in the front row to take my photo by the table display.  Man, my belly is huge... I need to stop "taste-testing" our cake pops!  Anyway, we were meeting our friend Pam from Cake Ball Love (she's the one who gave us the heads up that Bakerella was coming to town!  Yay, Pam!), Alejandra from The Marshmallow Studio, and Kris from KCreative Cake Pops.  It was sure to be a fantastic afternoon!  

When Pam, Kris, and Alejandra arrived, we totally sounded like the fan club that we are, squealing and giggling and sharing the excitement of the day.  Kat took her service dog outside for this part, ha ha.  Smart girl!  Here we are posing for the "fan club" photo.  As you can see, I buttoned up my shirt for the sake of the public.  I also did not get the memo that we were all supposed to wear classic, dark colors.  Oh, me!  Alejandra and Kris brought awesome goodies for Bakerella -- marshmallow pops decorated to look like her, and Snickerdoodle cake pops shaped like hot air balloons (Kris' signature pop!) in the Bakerella pinks.  Pam and I brought books we were getting signed.  :)

Our friend -- and wonderful bookkeeper -- stopped by, too!  I didn't get a photo with Megan because she was busy with her young children.  But she was there!

We got pretty good seats since we were there so early.  It was standing room only, I tell ya!  By the time Bakerella started speaking, the crowd was way back toward the front door.  Well, you can't see that in these pics, but trust me -- it was huge.  Anyway, as you can see we are only 4-5 rows back!  Woohoo!!  Bakerella had so many good tips for cake popping.  I felt like I should've been recording her talk but alas, I hadn't thought that far ahead.  

Our friend Myra from church came to see Bakerella, too!  She has her own very cool artisan bakery and was coming to have her sign a couple of books.  This photo was taken when we were standing in line to meet Bakerella.  We were so excited!

Finally, it was our turn to sit at the table and thank Bakerella for her inspiration.  We got to talking and found out that she and Kat have something in common!  But I can't say what it is.  That'll be Kat's treasure to keep!  Bakerella was so gracious and kind.  Talking with her was like talking with an old friend.  It was great!  

We gave her one of our exclusive "I heart CAKE POPS" buttons.  Just a little something to remember us by.  Do you want a button?  Drop us a line!  We've got 10 to give away -- then you can say you have the same button that Bakerella has!  

We asked her for a separate photo with Kat and Ignatius, and she totally agreed.  See?  Told you she was very kind!  Kat was tickled!  Ignatius had no clue what was going on, but he liked the attention.

We even ran into our Facebook friend from Sweets Amore!  She's putting together a project to get cake pops in the hands of people in countries that have never heard of them.  What a great idea!  I told her we'd love to participate somehow, so I hope she keeps us in the loop.  

So that was our happy, happy afternoon.  What a great time!  This event was not only a chance to meet Bakerella (who is AWESOME!!)  but it was also a cool networking session and a great chance to meet in person all the fantastic women with whom we've been chatting via Facebook for so long!  

~ Pia

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Getting Ready

We are participating in our very first Christmas Boutique this weekend!  Sooooo exciting!  We're figuring out what kinds of pops to have, what our booth should look like, and what other fun stuff we can sell.  Oh my gosh, so much is running through my head!

Our big popping day is tomorrow, since we want them to be nice and fresh for the boutique.  So today, I am doing all the tags and signage, the order forms for custom orders (which is the staple of our business so far), and everything else that doesn't involve actual cake-popping.

My youth group will also have a sale table at this boutique, so I'm doing double duty on all the prep stuff.  When we're selling this weekend, Kat will handle the Cake Pop Fusion table and I will handle the youth ministry table.  She's quite the entrepeneur, this daughter of mine!

We'll put up photos here when we get a chance next week, and let you know how the boutique goes for us.

Don't forget to enter the TWO Giveaways we're running right now..... the 50 Free Holiday Cards from Tiny Print and the Social Picnic (which has a grand prize worth $920, including $500 Paypal cash!).

~ Pia

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

FREE Card to Your Child from Santa, and Enter to Win 50 FREE Christmas/Holiday Cards for You!

What??  A card from Santa?  AWESOME!!   When my kids were little, Santa left little notes for them with their Christmas presents.  Here's a chance for your child to actually get a CARD from the Man in Red himself IN THE MAIL!  How cool is that?  This offer is only good TODAY, so hurry over to the Tiny Prints Facebook page.  Wish this was available when my kids were younger!

On that note, it's time to start my Christmas cards so I can have them ready to mail the day after Thanksgiving.  Who's with me?  I am all about photo Christmas cards.  I love receiving them and I love giving them.  They hang on my wall and my fridge during the holidays, and then they go into my scrapbook after the Christmas season is over.  I love looking at them from year to year, seeing how people have changed and how children have grown into beautiful young adults.

I usually put the photos together myself and print them at home, then add them to a card stock base and send them off.  That's a lot of work, and the photos aren't always archive-ready (they fade after a while, which is annoying!).

This year, we were introduced to Tiny Prints.  On this fabulous website, you get to choose your design and then drop in a photo (or two or three).  That's it!  They do all the work, so your photo card will last many years to be enjoyed and cherished by your family and friends!

Our friends at Tiny Prints are giving you a chance to win 50 FREE holiday cards to get you started!  
Check out their page HERE, then follow the instructions in the Rafflecopter form at the end of this post.  Can't wait to see what design you would pick!  That "Merrily Woven" is definitely calling to me....

Ready to enter?  Click Read More after my sign-off below!

~ Pia

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

The Social Picnic!

The Social Picnic 3rd Edition Giveaway
The 3rd edition of the Social Picnic event is finally here, hosted by This Lil Piglet and Family Approve. To enter the giveaway, the Rafflecopter giveaway form will be located on participating blogs November 8 - 12:01 AM EST - 16th 12:01 AM EST. All entries in the form below support all the participating blogs, please bookmark this giveaway page, write down where you ended off your entries to make it easier to enter all ways possible over the next 7 days, plenty of time to get ALL entries. We have limited the number of links/entries for each participating blog to make it easier on everyone however we suggest keeping track to make sure you don't repeat entries. Duplicates are always deleted prior to selecting the winning entry. Please read all Rules, Regulations and Tips below before asking questions.
Giveaway Total Prize Pack Value $920

Monday, November 7, 2011

Model Status

Ruffle Scarf - hand knit, hand dyed, premium Merino wool

"Model status"..... that's a favorite phrase around our house.  I'm not exactly sure where or when it started, but it's been around a long while!  When someone is looking pretty darn dapper or a photo of someone turns out over-the-top nice, we dub them (or it) "model status".   So I find it amusing and delightful that Kat has been blessed with the chance to model for our friend, Sandie over at Knitzy Blonde.  Click on the photos in this post to go to her Etsy shop!

Lacy fashion scarf - Cranberry red, premium Merino wool

When Kat was little (six years old, to be exact), she and her older sister, Chrisi got to model for Storybook Heirlooms -- a children's clothing catalog company in northern California.  Chrisi was a fit model, and Kat was a catalog model.  It was a fun day, and an eye-opening experience for all of us!

Fingerless gloves and matching flower headband ear warmer - Merino wool

Kat learned a bit about hair (she had to sleep with her long, straight hair in curlers the night before) and makeup (yes, even on a 6-year-old), and about how to change clothes quickly for the next shot.  I learned how competitive the world of modeling can be, and how secretive -- of course, no one could talk about the outfits our daughters were modeling until after the catalog was released.  So it was kind of fun, like James Bond style, ha ha!

Lacy Hat - Hand dyed cashmere Merino wool; Hunter green & Dusty blue

Kat and Chrisi were paid in Storybook Heirloom vouchers for their work, which they both thought was pretty fantastic!  They got to shop with their vouchers in a model-only shop, so that was pretty cool, too.  :)  They ended up with some very pretty outfits to wear for Christmas that year!

Fingerless gloves, soft Merino wool

And now here we are, 13 years later.  Kat has been invited to model for Sandie and she's having a blast!  If you had asked either of us if she would ever get to model again, we would've said probably not.  We just don't travel in the circles that would be likely to expose her to the opportunity.  But check it out -- never say never!

Lacy fashion scarf - premium hand dyed cashmere Merino wool, Dusty rose, Lavender mauve

Big thanks to Sandie for reopening this world of experience to Kat.  She really is having a fantastic time!

Lacy hat - Merino wool cashmere

Go take a tour of Sandie's Etsy shop.  She's got some beautiful knits for all the people on your list -- babies, men, women -- there's something there for everyone!

Slouch Hat - Hand dyed cashmere Merino wool

And when you stop by, please let Sandie know that Pia and Kat sent you.  Just our little way of saying Thank You to her for this awesome opportunity.

~ Pia

Friday, November 4, 2011

We Have a Winner!

CONGRATULATIONS to Stephie, who had entry #40 in our Trick or Treat Blog Hop!  You'll be getting an email from Glass Dharma with instructions on how to claim your $25 gift certificate.  Enjoy your awesome glass drinking straws!

THANK YOU to everyone for participating!  Hope you had a blast hopping from blog home to blog home, and that you got some nice goodies and made some new bloggy friends!

~ Pia