Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas!


Thank you to all of you who touched our lives this Christmas. It was wonderful spending time with all the ones we love!

(Keep posted for some fun holidays pictures- I have a ton!)

Friday, December 19, 2008

Christmas Letter 2008

So instead of writing a letter on paper this year, I opted to do it via the internet (gotta love technology!). A lot has happened in our family this year, so for all of you new to our blog-site, welcome!
Our year started off with a very big event- on January 7 little Blake Matthew was born! He has not stopped blessing our family since. He is the happiest little boy and has brought us nothing but joy! His brother and sister love him to death (sometimes a little too much). We are both
amazed at how much we have gotten to enjoy him! We chalk it up to the 3rd kid syndrome. We'll see if it rubs off on us for a #4...
In April, Matt got a promotion at work. He is now an engineer with the LAFD at station 57. He still remains stationed in South LA (by choice) and enjoys his new crew. They are younger guys than his old station, which was a nice change compared to his 'old guys' at 14's. He loves his job- lots of numbers, math, etc. It's right up his alley.
Camryn turned 6 and started kindergarten this fall and absolutely loves it! She is such a social butterfly. We have had some "issues" already with her 'strong-willed' personality, but we just keep reminding ourselves that her will will carry her a long way some day! She is a good girl, and enjoyed playing soccer for her 2nd year. She is looking forward to starting dance again next year.
Tyler is 4 1/2 now and is as active as ever! He is in pre-school 3 days a week, karate once a week and likes to "play" with his little brother. He just recently discovered Star Wars and was instantly hooked! Just today he was quoting Yoda, "Hard to see, the dark side is" (with the voice and all). He definitely keeps humor alive in our family. We are starting to see a little more shyness in him lately, but it doesn't take much to get him talking!
I'm still working in L&D at Whittier Presbyterian, just one day a week. It's the best job ever! I get to stay home with my kids for the most part, use my brain a little, and even make some extra money! It has definitely been a blessing for us. I have also taken up cake decorating recently. It's fun and lets me use a little creativity. The smell of buttercream icing has been getting to me a little lately though. :) I love being a mom and have enjoyed doing all the fun stuff with the kids.
That's just our lives in a nutshell, for now. Please keep checking back on our blogsite, I try to keep it as updated as possible. And don't forget to leave your comments!! May you all have a blessed Christmas and healthy New Year!!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Code Yellow

One of my biggest fears actually happened today, and while I had always dreaded this moment, I knew it would happen someday. We were in Target (Tyler, Blake and myself) doing some Christmas shopping, and I had already caught Tyler wandering off twice. I was browsing in the book/DVD section when I turned around and, once again, Tyler was gone. SOOO frustrating!!!! I looked the next aisle over, then the next, and the next, and the next.... no Tyler! There were tons of people there too, which made it even worse! Then I quickly sped up my pace as I ran over to the toy (Star Wars) area, and again, no Tyler. As I'm yelling his name at this point, I start panicking, thinking the worst. Then I thought, "Oh my God, what if he walked outside?!?" I ran over to the customer service area (since they were sans security guard at that moment) and told them my son was missing. The girl quickly piped up on the walkie-talkie and announced, "Code yellow, code yellow!" Oh my gosh, how embarrassing. She asked me what he was wearing, which she, again, announced over the walkie-talkie and I swear about 10 seconds later, she said they found him. And where was he you ask? "Ma'am, he's in the very back, in the Star Wars toy section." Of course he is. And not just the toy section- the LAST aisle of toys section! I proceed to run to the back with a bunch of merchandise on my stroller, only to find about 10 Target employees surrounding Tyler. As my eyes start to well up, I can't decide if I want to hug him or kill him. And of course all the workers were like, "He is SO cute!" Yah, a cute 'wander-off-to-the-Star-Wars-section-by-himself' kid!! I was mortified, embarrassed, relieved and raging mad all at the same time. But, I have to say, I was very impressed with the swiftness of all the Target employees. I wonder if they've done that before?? Just another reason to say Target is still my favorite store! Another day in the life of a busy mom...

Christmas Cheer

I finally got all of the finishing touches done on our Christmas decor, thanks in part to 1) my MOPS party, and 2) a great 60% off sale at Michael's. I am not the traditional 'holly-wreath-and-pine-cone' type of girl, so of course I had to put a small twist on things. I had borrowed Gena's table linens from her bridesmaid's dinner for MOPS (picture soon to come), so I asked if I could use them just a bit longer. I took this idea from the current wedding fad to do a Christmas-themed 'Candy Bar'. It's all the rage at weddings these days to do glass containers filled with candies in the wedding colors so I thought, how cute would it be for Christmas? I got all the glass containers I could find and filled them with red and silver ornaments, candies, and candles. It came out pretty cute, I think, and it's a great treat for guests when they come over!

The Christmas 'Candy Bar'

I decided against getting the whole city out this year so here's just a few neighbors. Of course my favs, the firehouse, chapel and country cottage. Very woodsy feel... add a fire and it's just faaabulous!! Got to love this time of year...

Fondant Fun

Ok, so I couldn't wait! I just happened to be at Michael's today and had two 40% off coupons that were going to expire, sooooo, I thought I would stock up on cake decorating paraphernalia. And, of course, I couldn't just stare at it on my countertop! I ripped those babies open and got to work!! I just happened to have an extra little cake from my red velvets, so I iced her up and started to play! I had so much fun!!!!!!! I seriously cannot wait to start doing this more! I already have three cakes lined up for January- my friend Riva's little girl Lynnea's 1st birthday cake, then Blakey's, then Brooklynn's. Yay, I'm so excited....

P.S.- Turns out You Tube has 'how-to' videos on fondant... I'm in love!

Red Velvet-y Goodness

I made my first batch of homemade, from scratch cupcakes the other day and were they GOOD! They were for my MOPS Leadership Christmas party that I hosted on Friday night at our house. I have been wanting to try red velvet cake, so I decided it would be cute and festive for Christmas. After using up one whole bottle of red food coloring and being VERY careful with where I got the batter (stains everything!), here's what I got:

They turned out really cute and tasted so yummy with my cream cheese frosting! For future reference, cupcakes are so much easier than a cake... but I still love them anyway!

Casa de Gingerbread

So after Tyler BEGGED me to buy this gingerbread house kit ($7.99 at Micheal's, btw) he didn't even want to help. I pulled it out while I was getting ready for my MOPS leadership Christmas party the other day, as a 'quick', kill time activity. Shoulda known... Never ask an anal-retentive man to put together a structure, I mean cookie house. Only Matt would make this into a full-fledged architectural project! So after he was done constructing (30 minutes later) we gathered up the interest of the kids again to decorate. With much crumbling frosting, sticky gumdrops, and 500 (seemed like) spilled ball candies later, we had our "Gingerbread House". Here's to another one of my "quick projects"!!

The finished product!
(Yes, I helped a little :)

Basket Weaving 101

So here's my last cake for my Intermediate Cake Decorating class. A traditional basket weave, with royal icing flowers. I think there was enough icing on this think to kill someone!! It was for my Grandma's birthday, and she liked it- that's all that matters... Thank God, I'm now moving on to the fun stuff- FONDANT!! I can't wait!! Keep posted for some fun cakes...

Cookie Crazy

Last weekend we had our annual "Cookie Decorating Day" at the Bonafedes. We've been doing it for the past three years or so, and the kids love it! Linda has it all set up with the cookie dough, frosting, sprinkles- you name it! It's funny to see them get a little better every year.

Cami, Ty & B cutting out cookies.

Tyler- I don't know what he liked more, decorating or just eating the dough!

The finished product! They were sure yummy...
Thanks Linda for all your patience and hard work!!

Friday, December 5, 2008


We had a wonderful Thanksgiving this year. On the day of we went to Matt's parents' house to celebrate, which we've discovered more recently to be more comedy than anything. It is so fun getting those brothers together! They feed off each other and before you know it, you have a full-fledged comedy show. It's hilarious and each time I find myself laughing so hard I'm sore. I'm sure in the years to come we will cherish those memories of laughter together. I know I will!
Then, on the Saturday after we had my family over to our house for another wonderful dinner! I SO enjoyed having everyone (except the Bucklins :( together this year. Family together is always good. Which brings me to my next thought: What am I thankful for? Super easy question for me...

* My wonderful husband- I could not ask for anything more! Even though he has his quirks (who doesn't) he is the first best thing in my life. I will never doubt his commitment to me, and he's such a great daddy. He gets better and better every day at everything he does.

* My three healthy, active and sweet children- The second (third, fourth) best things that have ever happened to me. Who would have known I would have such beautiful kids? They are every bit as special to me and I thank God for each one of them.

* My family- Especially with 3 little ones, I couldn't imagine doing it alone! Our families have been our "village" and I value every person who has effected how we've grown as people, parents, friends, etc. It is because of all of you! Thanks to moms, dads, grandmas, sisters & brothers (in-law, too), cousins, aunties, & uncles.

* My friends- I have never been more thankful in my life for the people who've we've chosen as our friends. You all have such a special place in my heart, and in our lives. You are the ones I go to for advice, to talk your ear off, or just bug... So thanks for letting me!

* Our health- So easy to be overlooked, I am SO thankful that we are healthy and happy! Each day goes by I am more and more grateful to God that he has kept us healthy. There are so many sick kids out there, it seems like you hear one sad story after another. I am thankful for TODAY.

We feel so blessed in this day and age to have all that we do, and I don't mean monetarily. After seeing people losing their homes in this recession and the recent fires, all that matters is the people who surround us. I pray that all of you are happy, we love you all!!!

My Thanksgiving table

Place cards
(Aren't they so cute!?!)

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Fancy Schmancy

So this cake really the showed the severity of my perfectionism when it comes to making cakes. This is called a "chocolate-wrapped cake", as I was told by my teacher. Whu??? My thoughts exactly! I had never heard of it before either, which was partially the reason for my assuming that it would be like any other cake I have attempted. WRONG! This was the hardest thing I have ever done! Almost close enough to make me quit this new realm of cake decorating altogether! "Why?" you say? Let me just take you step by step...

1. Melt two different colors of chocolate in separate frosting bags.
2. After you have cut out an exact, measured template of freezer paper (yes, there's such a thing) to fit around your cake, use a stencil of your choice and spread on the first chocolate color. (That would be orange in my case, although it looks more cream) BTW, this step-not so easy...
3. Let it dry for a tad, then spread on the other color chocolate (brown) over the top, making sure not to smear the orange layer underneath.
4. Wrap the chocolate laden paper around the cake and place in the freezer for 15 minutes.
5. Take the cake out and CAREFULLY peel the paper away and, voila! There you have it... a tried and true "chocolate-wrapped" cake! (Do you feel my enthusiasm?)

All in all, easier said than done. I really was astonished to see that even with a few smudges (much to my dismay) the cake turned out really well. I added some choco leaves and a dot border to finish it off. The Bonafede fam were great sports in trying my cake on Thanksgiving. Thanks for the thumbs up guys!! I think in the future I'll leave this one to the fancy pastry chefs...