Summer Reading

As I have probably mentioned before, Super A loves to read. This summer we have taken advantage of the library and I have been really pleased with their selection especially the local branch near my parents’ house. I have found quite a few unique books that might be missed by just going to the bookstore. Plus it has given our little cupcake a great opportunity to not only read different books from his home selection, but begin to understand the benefits of the library.

I wanted to share some of the books we found! I checked and I believe all of these are still in publication, or at least can be found on amazon if you want to buy…or at the library when we return them!

Two eggs is a great book that teaches that things can be different and the same. It has great illustrations from Betsy Lewin (I love her Click Clack illustrations).

This one I liked because it not only has a whole spectrum of colors discussed they are placed with different elements in a cultural setting, so it teaches elements of a different culture while showing you the colors.

This one teaches numbers, and the benefits of helping. Plus it has cooking and a birthday surprise at the end which our little cupcake loved. He is REALLY into birthdays and parties right now…(He also loves If You Give a Pig a Party)

This (in my opinion and to my knowledge) is probably a lesser known Eric Carle book. However, Super A LOVES it…we have already renewed it once. It has great cloud shape pictures that are easy to point out and it has an airplane and a bunny which are two favorites in our household.

This book was actually a gift from Granna and Papa, but if you love the illustrations from Two Eggs, this is the same illustrator. It is also a great book for learning counting.

And this was a recent gift for Super A from Grandpa and Nana. I had completely forgotten about this book even though there are copies at all the grandparents’ houses. It’s a great catch all for word association with pictures!

There is actually a copy of Sheep in a Jeep at my parents’ house, but we don’t have a copy so we checked it out from the library. Super A finds this book hilarious for some reason, he giggles through a good part of it!

Happy Summer Reading!

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And now for some complete randomness…

I was SERIOUSLY excited when I saw the following soda in the check-out line at Target…

When did they decide to bring back Squirt? I wonder if those Koala sodas I used to drink in Texas will surface next….

Lately Super A has been really busy working on his computer…

Hard at work updating his blog.

How do you spell tomato? Oh that’s right…”pah-toe-toe”

“Yeah! Someone left a comment on my post!”

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Mama with a Camera

I was excited when Erin Cobb continued her photography lesson posts last Tuesday, however, it has taken me almost a full week to complete the assignment! I read (and re-read) the post and began trying to capture the light in my pictures on Wednesday when Grandpa and Nana arrived for a visit. It was quite difficult and I found myself unsatisfied with most of the pictures (probably close to 200 by Sunday!) light quality. My biggest hurdle was turning off the flash and trying to use the outside light. I took at different times of day, in different areas, but still couldn’t find that “aha” moment I had been looking for. Finally I think this evening I captured the one I had been trying to get, but I am still working towards a better picture. Here is my progression:

I think the light needed to be behind me more…and this was pretty close to noon which Erin said was not a good idea. I did love the look on Super A’s face though!

This one was around 3 p.m. near our front window that gets quite a bit of light. There still seemed to be some shadows, I don’t think I was getting enough light from above.

My aha moment…I asked him to look up at me, this was late, late afternoon and I could finally start to see the light capturing correctly.

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Mother’s Day

I had a wonderful Mother’s Day and I am giving myself a present (and you!) by not doing too much blog writing right now because I am too distracted to think of a wittier post to write. So I’ll just share pictures from our day!

Three out of four people looking at the camera is what we call “the best picture ever!”

Opening Presents

Running off to do his nails

Taking the card

A little late afternoon reading

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Mama with a Camera

I was super excited to read the next post from Erin Cobb’s blog series that I have been following. This series was entitled “Be Different” and was all about focusing on the different moments than the standard shots that you get at birthdays, holidays, etc.

When I was thinking about the “different” shots I first tried different angles of our little cupcake.

My result was a little bit too much of a fishbowl effect…and not really different than other pictures I had taken before.

Later as I was getting ready for work, and our little cupcake was sitting on the counter helping me get ready, I realized I hadn’t taken a picture of him sitting on the counter helping me get ready before.

We have a routine where I do my hair while he sorts through all of my make-up brushes. I set him down on the floor and then we went to grab my camera. I placed him back up on the counter and got ready to take his picture, but then I realized what would be really different is a picture that actually has me in it. One of the things about having a first born is you try to capture everything they do and I don’t want him to look back at all of his pictures and it looks like he lived alone!

I placed him back down on the floor and then tried to figure out where I could safely put the camera to take a timer picture. The linen closet seemed to be the best spot. I placed it, turned the timer on, and quickly placed my little helper back on the counter right before it took the shot. I know that my best pictures happen serendipitously because this is what I found when I had time to check the pictures later…

(Yes I did remember to take the camera out of the linen closet.)

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A sprinkle of this…A sprinkle of that…

During Mother’s Day last year our sweet baby boy was dedicated at our church. He slept through the whole thing, but it was a moment that we will never forget. It’s amazing to me that in about a year our baby boy has gone from this…

To this…

As I was doing my daily blog catch-up after I finished lesson plans (haha), I was excited to see that Natalie from Natalie’s Sentiments is doing her Mother’s Day giveaway. And it includes a giveaway from the cupcake tree, a shop on Etsy. You really can’t get away from cupcakes can you? Or maybe just I can’t!

In addition to all of the other products Natalie is giving away copies of Rebecca Wells’ new book. Rebecca Wells wrote Little Altars Everywhere and The Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood. I happen to have some insider knowledge (wink, wink ๐Ÿ™‚ ) on the family that Wells bases her books upon, so I always find them interesting reads.ย  Go check out Natalie’s blog to see all the other products!

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Liberty of London

I have literally been waiting months for the new collection that Target has brought to its stores. It is called Liberty of London and obviously it is from London. It’s a complete collection from clothes to home decor…what I love about it is that they specialize in actually making textiles (not just creating collections, but also designing fabrics). Much of their products look similar to items that you find at Anthropologie, etc., but at a much more reasonable price! Almost all of their home decor has already sold out on-line, but I’m sure you can still find some things at your local Target. They are supposed to be continuing to get more things in stock coming soon. I am hoping that it is popular enough that they will decide to carry the brand longer than their usual month or so. Here are some of my favorites of their products!

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Cupcake Updates

A new background…in my favorite color pink! I have also updated some of my blog and website links. I do not have as much time as I would like to cook these days, and many of the recipes I make I am still testing out and do not want to post until I have tested them several times…so expect more updates of recipes this summer! However, if you are still hungry (of course you are!) I want to pass along my knowledge of great blogs and websites that I have found and get many of my dinner recipes from.

In addition if you may have noticed I do not post many baking recipes, I mainly post about my baking mishaps (HA!). However, I named my site not because of my love of baking. I named my site because of my love of cupcakes and my quest to always find the most delicious cupcake out there. Some of my favorite places to find cupcakes are now included on my sidebar (and many of them deliver, even across the country!). I also want to include some of the cupcakes and dessert recipes that I have made successfully.

So on the note of success, I tested out Ina Garten’s Chocolate Ganache Cupcake recipe last weekend. I loved them for two reasons. First, they are delicious, lingering between a cupcake and a brownie, with a topping that is reminiscent of eating chocolate fondue that has just slightly hardened. Second, they are truly simple and only include a few ingredients. And look at the picture of them! Yum!

Chocolate Ganache Cupcakes

*Oh and on a last note of the chocolate ganache cupcakes…if you see the episode about them on food network, Ina makes them with and without the coffee (and you can also use ground espresso, as stated in the episode). Which means that if you do not want to add the coffee you do not have to. The coffee is added as a factor to heighten the taste of the chocolate.

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Yellow and Gray

Over on Natalie’s Sentiments she is having a week of yellow and gray, and lots of fun giveaways. I don’t usually blog about other blogs, but I made an exception with this one because while I was looking at all the gray I realized how much I love gray and have incorporated it into our house. It started with a few Ansel Adams prints that I got when I was in college and has turned into our entire bedroom. While our house is definitely still a work in progress, the one thing that ties our bedroom together is the Ansel Adams prints with the gray in our bedroom.

See these few prints…

Became the reason that I got these blinds…

And this bedspread…

(I could have taken a picture of our bed, but it is unmade because my mini cupcake was using the sheets as a fort earlier)

I still haven’t picked a wall color…but now I’m thinking yellow would be a nice complement ๐Ÿ™‚

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