Monday, January 24, 2011

June through December 2010

Hello to anybody out there who's still following me after half a year of no posts.
I didn't mean to stop blogging completely, it just happened. To be quite honest, when I opened up blogger just now, I had kinda forgotten how to use it.
So I guess I'll catch you up on what's been going on in my life for the past six months or so, just the highlights :-) or at least the things I have pictures of anyway.

June 2010
My last post was in June to show off the purses my sweet hubby gave me for my birthday.
Earlier in June, my cousin Calondra got married. Cali is one of my favorite people in the whole world and I am so happy for her and Robert, they are so sweet together.

The wedding was at a lovely old farmhouse in Virginia.

I had the pleasure of making their wedding cake. The cake was chocolate and lemon poppy seed with buttercream frosting and decorated with gumpaste hydrangea petals and a big bow.

July 2010
I'm trying to remember if anything interesting happened during July.
We went to a fun 4th of July party at a friends house, and I made these chocolate covered pretzels.They were a big hit and I've made them a couple of times since then with other seasonally appropriate sprinkles.
July was really freakin' hot, so I'm sure I mostly just stayed at home in the air conditioning for most of the month. Oh, I did think of something else! I met with a lady who needed wedding and groom's cakes in August (I'll get into that in a minute). She wanted some of the groom's cakes to be red velvet, so I made three sample cakes for her. One was a scratch recipe from Paula Deen that used oil, one was from the Food Network that used butter, and the other was a Duncan Hines mix. Personally, I like the butter one best, and my hubby liked the oil one best, but the lady and her family? They liked the mix best. Yeah I know! I couldn't believe it either. But that was okay with me, it made my job of baking cakes a lot easier. The last few weeks of the month were spent preparing for this big wedding event.

August 2010
So, back to the wedding cakes. The friend of a friend was getting married and wanted me to do her cakes. The situation was that it was a second marriage for her and the groom and she wanted to have a private wedding at her house. There were a lot of people she didn't want to come to the wedding, but didn't want to hurt anyone's feelings, so she had a reception at church a week before the private wedding at her house, and she wanted the exact same wedding cake for both events. So I made the exact same cake two weekends in a row. Y'all, these cakes were huge. The bottom tier was 16", the middle was 12", and the top was 8". The flowers are real orchids (thankfully I didn't have to make 30 orchids for each cake!).
In addition to the wedding cake, I also made three 10" red velvet cakes with cream cheese frosting and pecans, two 10" chocolate cakes with chocolate buttercream and ganache, and a 14" chocolate groom's cake decorated to be a dartboard. I made the dartboard ahead of time, but when I went to transfer it to the cake, I broke part of it and had to COMPLETELY REDO THE ENTIRE THING the morning of the wedding! Talk about stressful! The first time it took about 5 hours, the second time it only took about half as long. The dartboard is made of individually cut pieces of fondant pieced together and the "metal" parts are royal icing painted with Pearl Dust and clear vanilla extract mixture.
I also made a birthday cake for my friend Courtney.
The rest of August was spent recovering from all of the cake making LOL! Not really, I'm just kidding. The rest of August was spent planning my itinerary for our upcoming trip to LAS VEGAS!

September 2010
I made a 40th birthday cake for my good friend's husband who is a big MSU fan. It was a 2 layer half sheet with Bully on it. He loved it :-)

On September 11th, Wesley and I went to a really fun go kart race in Columbus at Propst Park. I think I'm lucky we don't have a place to store a go kart, because I think he wants to buy one! Anyway, here are a few pictures from the race.

Then we went to Las Vegas from the 19th-26th. Mr. McHacker had a conference/training to go to and since he had already been to Las Vegas without me (twice) there was no way I was going to let him go without me again. Thanks to the wedding cakes from August, I had some spending money to have fun with. Wesley really enjoyed his training and stuff and I really enjoyed sleeping late every day and shopping. Heavenly. I have about eleventy bajillion pictures, and I should probably do a separate post with just Vegas pictures. But don't hold your breath. Y'all know how I am about blogging! So here are a few in case I don't get around to that post LOL.

We stayed at Caesar's Palace.
Replica of the David statue in Caesar's.
Fountain in front of the Forum Shops.
Waiting for a fountain show to start at the Bellagio.
The glass flowers hanging from the ceiling at the Bellagio.
A greenhouse in the Conservatory/ Botanical Gardens in the Bellagio.
The Paris Hotel and Casino at night.
Mr. McHacker and me with Yellow in front of M&Ms World.
Lots of stuff I wanted to buy in the Coca-Cola store.
Some shots of the Sirens of TI show.
Flamingos in the bird habitat at the Flamingo Hotel and Casino.
The MGM Grand lion.

October 2010
Mr. McHacker's coworker had a small costume party the weekend before Halloween which worked out really well for me since I had a cake to make and deliver the Friday before Halloween. I wanted to make an awesome vintage dress for my 50's housewife costume, but I came down with food poisoning the week that I was sewing it and didn't get it finished. So I improvised with a dress that I already had and it worked out okay. Forgive the iPhone picture quality and the fact that these were taken after the party, so my face is all shiny.

Carrie, a good friend from college, got married a couple of years ago, but at the time wasn't able to have a church wedding. So on their anniversary this year, they had a vow renewal ceremony. Her colors were teal and purple and this is the cake she wanted for the reception.
She loved it, it was exactly what she wanted. Well, she actually wanted buttercream icing, but that just wasn't doable since I had to drive it 5 hours from Starkville, MS to North Little Rock, AR. So it was iced with buttercream and then covered with fondant. I transported the tiers and assembled it when I got there. There was also a groom's cake, but I can't find the picture of it.

November 2010
I sewed a lot in November, mostly aprons. I took pictures of them with my phone, but when we updated the phone a couple of weeks ago, I lost them, along with all of the other pictures I had taken in November and December :-(
Also, we had Thanksgiving here at our apartment this year. It was really great. My middle sister and her husband and kids came, as well as my mama and my oldest nephew's girlfriend. We fried a turkey and I made all kinds of stuff to go with it and we had a good time. I wish my youngest sister and her kids could have been here too, but it was okay since we did get to see them at Christmas. After we buy a house and have more room, I would love to host Thanksgiving every year!

December 2010
I volunteered for a teacher friend who is the librarian at the school where I used to work. I made gingerbread men and took the stuff for the kids to decorate them, much like I did a couple of years ago. The school now consists of 3rd through 5th grade, so I already know most of the kids pretty well either from having taught them or through volunteering the past two years. I was able to decorate cookies with each class and it was a lot of fun for the most part. I also baked and decorated several dozen Christmas cookies for different folks and made a couple of cute birthday cakes for some little girls. Lost all of those pictures too. I also made my friend a new gingerbread train, since the last one I made her was broken with all of the moving around that happened this summer.
December was full of getting ready for Christmas. I bought more gifts than I made this year, but that's okay, because some years are just like that. Along with their gifts, I made gift baskets for everyone in my family using stuff from my stockpile. They all seem to like it and I think everyone genuinely looks forward to getting their basket full of stuff each Christmas. All of the gifts I received were thoughtful and very much appreciated.
2010 was a really good year for me. Life is good and I know that I am truly blessed. I hope 2011 will be just as good, and so far, it's off to a pretty good start.

So that brings us up to this month and now maybe I can get back to posting regularly again. Because honestly, I miss it.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

New Purses!

My sweet hubby took me out to lunch for my birthday today, then we went to Reed's, a local shop here in Starkville because he wanted to buy me a new purse for my birthday. Well, they had retired patterns on sale for 50% off. So I ended up getting one bag in a retired pattern (Java Blue), and one not retired pattern (Purple Punch).

I absolutely LOVE both of them!

Monday, June 21, 2010

Menu Plan Monday June 21-27

It's been a busy month at the McHacker house! I have a couple of things I want to write about, but just haven't had (taken) the time to do so, but I will get to them. Since it's Monday, I figured I would post a Menu Plan. I haven't really been sticking to a plan lately since I was out of town for a week and Mr. McHacker was out of town more than half of this month so far. But it looks like things are getting back to normal now, so it's time to get back to a plan.

Monday 6/21
Lunch - Salad
Supper - Beef pot roast with potatoes and carrots

Tuesday 6/22
Lunch - Guacamole and chips, leftovers
Supper - Barbecue sandwiches, fried squash

Wednesday 6/23
Lunch - Leftovers or salad
Supper - Chicken quesadillas

Thursday 6/24
Lunch - Salad
Supper - Pepperoni and salami calzones

Friday 6/25
Lunch - Grilled cheese sandwiches and tomato soup
Supper - Red beans and rice with sausage and cornbread

Saturday 6/26
Lunch - Leftovers
Supper - Eat out

Sunday 6/27
Lunch - Sloppy Joes
Supper - Chicken Fettuccine Alfredo

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Rouge Magazine

I love checking my mail and finding freebies and coupons. Today, I got a beauty magazine from Proctor and Gamble, called Rouge. It's sent out once per quarter, and has beauty tips that promote their products, which is okay. The best thing about it though, is that there are several coupons in it.
Since P&G products go on sale fairly often, you can save some money with these coupons. This time it contained:
$1 off Olay body wash or lotion
$1 off 1 Crest toothpaste, rinse or Oral-B toothbrush
$1 off Zest, Ivory, or Safeguard bars
$1 off Natural Instincts hair color
$1 off Secret Soothing Effects
$1 off Olay facial moisturizer
$1 off Perfect 10, Root Touch -up, or Nice 'n Easy
$2 off Venus Embrace or Breeze razor or cartridges, or Venus bikini kit
$2 off any CoverGirl Simply Ageless product
$10 off Crest 3D Whitestrips Professional Effects with Advanced Seal

Go sign up here to start getting Rouge.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

This week's CVS deals

There are lots of ladies who blog about CVS deals, and do a much better job of it than I do. Money Saving Mom is one of the best of them. But I'm going to share the deals I'm taking advantage of this week. Some things I bought yesterday, the others I will pick up today or later in the week. I break up the transactions to roll the Extra Care Bucks, but also to scan my Green Bag tag more often. It can only be scanned once per day, and after 4 scans, you get a $1 ECB.

Transaction 1:
Crest Pro-Health toothpaste $3.50 + .25 tax = $3.75
(There is a .75 coupon out there, I had used mine already.)
2 Right Guard deodorants $2.99 each + .42 tax = $6.40 - $3 off 2 coupon = $3.40
(You can get the coupon HERE. Last I looked, it was on the last page.)
Total = $7.15
Get back $7.50 in Extra Bucks

Transaction 2:
Schick Hydro razor $8.99 + .63 tax = $9.62 -$5.00 coupon (from last Sunday's paper) = $4.62
U by Kotex $4.99 + .35 tax = $5.43 - $1.00 coupon = $4.34
Total = $8.96 - $7.50 ECBs from 1st transaction = $1.46
Get back $8.99 ECBs

These I will do today or later in the week:

Transaction 3:
Clear Care contact lens solution $14.99 + $1.05 tax =$16.04 - $3 coupon (from last Sunday's paper) = $13.04
2 Pantene products 2/$6.97 + .49 tax = $7.46 - $2 coupon (from free sample) = $5.46
(There's also a $1 off 2 coupon from the 5-2 paper)
Total = 18.50 - $8.99 ECBs from last transaction = $9.51
Get back $6.00 ECBs

Transaction 4:
(All of these coupons came from inserts in the Sunday papers.)
4 Mentos gum @ .99 each + .28 tax = $4.24 - 4 $0.55 coupons = $2.04
1 Carefree liners $1.00 + .07 tax = $1.07 - $1.00 coupon = $0.07
1 Always $1.00 + .07 tax = $1.07 - $1.00 coupon = $0.07
1 Taster's Choice instant packets $1.00 + .07 tax = $1.07 - $0.50 coupon = .57
2 Cover Girl lip products $4.99 (Buy one, get one free) + .70 tax = $5.69 - $2.50 off 2 coupon = $3.19
Total = $5.94
This is where I can choose to give them the $6.00 ECBs, and lose 6 cents, or find a really cheap "filler" and pay a few cents after using the ECBs. I'll probably grab a candy bar or something .50 or less.

Total for the week, about $18.62 for about $64.00 worth of stuff, about a 71% savings.