MARK X, I am Iron Man!

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My oldest son turned 10 on #cincodemayo! My BABY that made me the mother I am, who taught me what a mother should be and made my heart grow SOOO big the moment I first felt him kick. He has taught me so much in 10 short years! I owe him the best life I can give him.

Aiden had a great time with his friends and family! This was a great year, he was very thoughtful and sweet after opening each gift! We had ZERO melt downs and I was one proud momma! Aiden has been completely OBSESSED with Iron Man and Lego Iron Man since before Christmas, so it only made sense we throw him an AWESOME Iron Man party!

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We had the party at a local Bricks & Minifigs, which made life so much easier! They did a mini build with the kids, had video games to play, lego race cars, and every lego you can think of to touch and play with! The kids loved it!

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The bottom tier had a LIGHT UP arc reactor (thanks to my handy husband for that)! I painted Iron Man’s mask on the top tier using Poppy Paint and my favorite gold luster dust. I absolutely LOVEEEDDD this cake once I was done! I usually don’t ever say that about boy cakes. Sugar cookies were not my typical work, but Aiden was happy so thats all that counts right?! Chocolate chip cookies were from Costco, Everett and my sister in law LOVED them!

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Photography by: Alyssa Marie Photography 

Shirt by: Le Bebe Boutique

Cake & Sugar cookies by: Frosted Confetti

 

 

 

 

 

Visual Charts & Rewards

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ADOLESCENCE is rough!

I decided to try and make a change in the way we parent and reward Aiden. If you know me you will know I will do anything I can to see my child succeed in life. We started this Autism journey many moons ago (2010) and everyday is a learning process! Our visual chart is basically a Token Board. “Token Boards and Reinforcers are a key element in any intervention program as they lay a foundation for motivating children to learn and acquire new skills and language. Token Boards help students understand how to wait for a reward for work well done.”

A little background to our life NOW…… Aiden is 9 1/2 and is into age appropriate interests (thank goodness). He LOVES Star Wars, Super Hero’s (DC Comics and Marvel) and Legos! We got him a PlayStation last Christmas (2015) and since then I have completely dreaded the damn thing! Children in general love electronics, but children on the Spectrum seem addicted and obsessed. These are my exact feelings.. I have had enough, so I am hoping to turn it back into something that can help him. I want him to think about his own behavior ALL THE TIME. We were at a point where he would only be sweet, loving, kind, well mannered and well behaved if he knew it was to “EARN” PlayStation time. Once he either got off, it taken away or had nothing to work for his behavior was bad. He will hit his brother, talk back, slam doors and cry……. cry a lot.

I spoke with a good friend as well as a past teacher of Aiden’s to help me come up with this chart.Screen Shot 2016-10-25 at 8.15.01 PM.png

This chart has helped a lot as it does remind him that he should always be kind and to complain less. The hardest part is keeping up with the physical tickets. So we have gotten away from those and they are more pretend tickets that we keep track of. The holidays have been rough so we also have a chore chart he can check off at home.

If you have any thoughts or suggestions, feel free to pass them my way! Needs to be backed by some real knowledge, please. I don’t want to hear, “kids will be kids” I get enough of that in my life already from people. 

Feel free to edit use this chart!

Happy Holidays!

 

 

 

 

Cookie Decorating! 

I took an awesome cookie class last weekend!! I have admired this ladies  work for some time now, so it was very awesome meeting her and seeing that her personality matches her cookies! 

Check out her amazing work!

I was super shocked that so many people taking her class were hobby bakers! This was my very first class I’ve ever taken in person. I was really happy with everything I learned and it was comforting knowing that there was a lot I already knew! 

My favorite part was learning techniques to make my life easier! Another perk was being able to work with new and different products. I loved being able to ask questions. There is just something about going to a class in person! I loved meeting other cookiers and hearing about what they use and where they were from! I wanted to make sure to ask the question everyone wants to know!! “How much do you charge for your cookies?” She is based out of Miami, Florida so keep that in mind! She told us she charges between $5-$15 PER COOKIE for her average cookies. She also makes these AMAZING character cookies that are hand painted and she charges between $20-$30 per cookie for those! Yes those prices are crazy when you think it is just a cookie, but if you should think of it as art! I am constantly blown away by this woman amazing skill!!

Another interesting fact about Sandie is that she began cookie decorating ONLY 4 years ago! She knew nothing and just decide to dive right in! She is SO inspiring to cookie decorators! 

My final product! 😍


I love they way these turned out! I taste tested them the next day! The dough is tasty but I will say I love my recipe much more! Maybe one day I will be as amazing as her and be able to go on tour and give out my recipe! Until then you can always order them from me! 😜

10 year reunion!

How on earth has it already been 10 years since I graduated high school? Crazy how fast time goes… I would of never thought I would even want to attend my 10 year reunion when I was graduating at 17. I keep thinking about how I really didn’t care about my school or my grades and I only went because I HAD to! I wasn’t the most popular, most liked or most athletic. I never won an award for anything or was even noticed for something special. I basically skipped any class I could and graduated with the BARE MINIMUM. I would of never thought I would actually have my own business decorating cakes! When I look back at all the jobs I ever had I think about how I was always on time and THAT is shocking. I wasn’t THAT student, but I am THAT adult! We are so much more than we were!

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I am actually really excited to go to my reunion! I don’t even remember more than a handful of students, but I think just going and reminiscing about our high school days will be a lot of fun! I mean we are all old enough to look back and laugh about so much. The teachers, the clothing styles and the music we were SO into! It’s funny (sometimes sad) to think what you wanted to be and what you actually became. At 17 and 18 we were so young, but we thought we knew it all! I look at kids that age now like they are 12… I think OMG they are too young to be driving!

We are ALL adults now! Some went to college and some didn’t! We have cars, houses, jobs, children, bills, debt…lots of debt. We can relate now more than ever. We are totally different people now. I remember being rude, not always intentionally, but I know I was. 10 years later there is so much that I hold close to my heart, so much I have gone though. I am more kind and loving than I ever thought I could be. Things I never thought I would care about, mean so much to me. We all pretty much know WHO we are now!

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Life is something that should be shared! I hope my graduating class of 2006 feels the same. I hope they decide to take one night off from working or parenting or just the day to day life to come celebrate who we have all become! Life is full of lessons and I hope to learn something new from someone new!

Whoop Whoop JUDSON Rockets!!

We have created a website for all our reunion info! Feel free to donate, buy an ad or share the website!          Class of 2006 

Autism Awareness Month

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April is Autism Awareness Month, unlike some other disabilities or disorders Autism has no medical detection or cure. Autism now affects 1 in 68 children and 1 in 42 boys. My beautiful ALMOST 9 year old son is Autistic. He lights up my life and has made my heart not only bigger but more caring and understanding then I ever thought was possible. All Autistic children are different, some are very severe and some, like Aiden are high functioning.

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My son started showing signs around 18 months and at that point we just thought he had a speech delay. He was completely OBSESSED with Thomas the Train and I really thought it was because the cartoon was maybe brainwashing him or something. We started taking him to doctor after doctor to see if they had any answers. We went to a Neurologist, ENT  and a Speech Pathologist and didn’t get many answers. Around 3 he was finally enrolled into a school program for Early Intervention called Preschool Programs for Children with Disabilities. We owe SO much to the school system we are in. Aiden came home everyday with new words, songs and social skills. Since about 1st grade he stays in his regular classroom FULL TIME! He manages to stick to the schedule daily with only minimal outbursts. Like all children he has good and bad days. One of the biggest things I have noticed in the last year is that he has gotten SO mush better with eye contact and initiating conversations with me. He will notice familiar people when we are out running errands and 50% of the time will remember their names. 🙂 Aiden will eat almost any kind of grilled chicken I make, but still struggles with eating “normal” foods like cereal with milk in it. It’s hard being a parent and its even harder being a parent of a child with Autism. Not only do we have to hear criticism from family, friends and strangers about why we “LET” him behave and eat how he wants. We also have to deal with him finding the tiniest green speck in his food and then refuses to eat. He is getting older now and asks me if he can start the car and when can he start driving. We just got him diagnosed by a Phycologist (previously has just been though the school district) so we will be able to get him more help. I try to get as much help for him as I can, there are so many things I do not know or understand how to teach him. Aiden does a thing called echolalia (replicated utterances that are produced or echoed immediately or almost immediately after they are heard). It is the hardest thing to get him to stop doing. I typically let him do it 2-3 times then I tell him “ok we just heard that, lets move on”. He is so smart, loving and kind. It amazes me how he can direct me to get somewhere he has only been to one time. He says he has a map in his head. His social skills are still rough around the edges but he’s only 9 (in 9 days!!) . We have very high hopes for Aiden. We believe he will live a normal life one day.

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I encourage anyone to get help for their children if they have any reason to believe it could be Autism. The earlier they start getting help the better the outcome will be!! Don’t be in denial that there is something “wrong” with your child. If you need help finding resources let me know I’d be happy to help! As hard as it can be to accept that your child is different just know that they need you to help them, teach them and most importantly ALWAYS love them.

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In the last year or so we signed up for a study called ‘Tooth Fairy’. They test his baby teeth along with other children who have and don’t have Autism. They are looking for information about environmental exposures both before and right after birth. I am still waiting to hear the results. Last week we sign up for another study that is called ‘Spark’ and it will test my, my husband and both sons DNA. I am not sure what it will or will not tell us, but I am open to helping get more answers for the Autism community. We have also signed Aiden up for ABA ( applied behavior analysis) therapy through Butterfly Effects. The therapy should start in late May we are very hopeful to see even more improvement! I have heard amazing things about them. Be sure to check out AutismSpeaks.org for more info and resources.

Autism_awareness

 

1st photo cred: http://countrygracephotography.com 

 

Do you LOVE Kendra Scott?!!

I was more than EXCITED when I was asked to make some sugar cookies for the new Spring 2016 Collection at Kendra Scott!! I mean duh… her jewelry is GORGEOUS!! I am friend with the manager at our Quarry location and she sent me pictures of the inspiration and we chatted about what was important to capture. It was totally nerve racking! The line is “designed to inspire creativity” and I was asked to let the inspiration show through to the cookies! I think I did just that! I felt like a true artist and kept thinking to myself “let it be free.” I hope y’all love them as much as I do! ❤

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This new line is absolutely stunning! Make sure to stop by the Quarry location or the LaCantera location today! 

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You can also shop the new collection from the comfort of your home! KendraScott.com 

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I am going to be saving up for the CHARLOTTE NECKLACE IN SUSPENDED IVORY PEARL and the TANNER GOLD STUD EARRING SET IN AQUA KYOCERA OPAL. Check them out!!!

 

Jalapeno Chicken Salad

I LOVE spicy!!! Like seriously my whole life I have loved spicy food!! My brother and I used to actually have a contest of how many jalapeños we can eat on one nacho. If I see anything jalapeño flavored I typically buy it! I came across this Jalapeño Salt seasoning at HEB the other day and I have no idea how I lived without it before.

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My husband and I (really just me) are really trying to eat better this year! After I had our second child I have had a harder time losing the baby weight and he’s 18 months now. I have been making a lot of salads this past week and honestly I don’t know why I rarely did before since they are super easy!! Tonight, I figured I’d take some pictures and share because we both LOVE this dish! I am sure it’s not SUPER healthy, but I do know it’s WAY more healthy than what I typically make, so in our eyes its a “WIN-WIN”. I totally improvise when I cook, so feel free to add or remove things to fit into you and your family taste preference!!

What you need for the Salad-

  • Bag of your favorite salad
  • Chicken tenders
  • Tomatoes (if you please)
  • Cilantro
  • 1 fresh ear of corn
  • Jalapeno Salt
  • Pam
  • Crumbled Goat cheese (I KNOW this is NOT low in fat)
  • Avocado (I forgot to pick this up, but I thing it’s a must!)

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Directions

  1. Heat skillet to medium temp. and spray Cast Iron skillet.
  2. Sprinkle chicken with Jalapeño salt, and then grill your chicken for about 10-15mins depending on thickness.
  3. While chicken is cooking, chop cilantro, cut corn off the cob, and chop the tomatoes.
  4. Once chicken is full cooked, let rest.
  5. Reduce heat to a low-medium temp and spray pan again. Add corn to skillet and cook till lightly charred. YUMMY!!!
  6. Cut chicken into bite size pieces.

Toss all ingredients!

Spicy Ranch dressing (a healthy version)

  • 1/2 cup fat free plain greek yogurt
  • 1/4 cup low fat milk
  • garlic powder to taste
  • cracked black pepper to taste
  • salt to taste
  • Jalapeno salt to taste

Whisk all together! Drizzle on top of salad and ENJOY!!

Let me know what you think!! If there should be better instructions or more pictures, I would love some feed back if you tried this at home. 🙂

Have a blessed week!

 

A whole new take on DIY today!!

Ok, so I’ve been kinda obsessing over Jessica James Decker lately…. I came across this video of her putting lightener “balayage” in her own hair. I was completely  fascinated and really wanted to try to do it myself. HERE is her link! Watch the video for sure to help you see how to do it! If you are too scared and NEED a professional I have two really good friends who are AMAZING!!! Let me know!! 

I recently had my hair colored and I wanted to go darker for Fall as I usually do. Well after she dyed it I think I had different feelings and kinda wanted it lighter again. I knew my husband would kill me since I paid all that money to get it dark and I was just going to change it AGAIN. I figured this was my perfect chance to try it myself!!! EEEKKKKK

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Today I did it!! I love it and I think I am now ADDICTED!! This is the before picture… I took it with natural lighting and the 2nd was taken at night so the coloring looks a tad different. Try to just notice the ends and how much more bright they are.IMG_3350 (2).jpg

Have I inspired you to try and do it yourself?? This is what I used! I didn’t use a box color like Jessica James Decker because I have had bad luck with that before. I also recommend talking to a professional or doing some research before you start. I only spent about $18!!

  • L’OREAL quick blue powder bleach
  • Salon Care Cream Developer 30 Volume
  • Gloves
  • Mixing Bowl and Brush

GOOD LUCK!!!

❤ Jessica

UPDATE!!

A few tips! 1. Make sure to have enough time. 2. Invest in some really good hair care products to keep your hair feeling healthy. I use Wella shampoo and a Wella treatment conditioner. I also only wash my hair about once or twice a week. 3. Saturation is KEY, unless you are wanting cheetah spots, make sure to have enough dye or bleach on the strand or roots. 4. Keep and eye on the blonde while bleaching. If you see it getting lighter than desired you can stop the process by getting it wet. 5. Know it might not be what you are expecting and go see a professional if you screw it up!! My friends Dana and Shaina really are amazing, so if you are not brave JUST go see them! Since this post I have gained a new sense of braveness! I have now added more blonde about 5 times and I even dyed my own roots 2 times!! Here is a recent picture! 😛IMG_4031.JPG

 

Are you ready for old Saint Nick?

I am super excited for Christmas, but so NOT ready!!

I conquered Black Friday on Thursday night at Target and that was very anti-climatic. There were a lot of people, but no craziness thank God! I didn’t have to wait in line or anything! I love buying Christmas PJ’s to give on Christmas Eve, so I made sure to get some while they were 40% off! I also got some toys for my nieces and my boys.

Our boys are 7 years apart which makes it pretty interesting during this holiday season. Our oldest is still very much into all of it and our youngest is just now starting to figure things out. I bought the cutest book yesterday for the boys called “How to Catch Santa”. It was on sale at Barnes & Noble for $7.99….totallly worth it!! I love love love hearing my oldest read to the baby! ❤

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Today we wrote our letters to Santa! I found a super cute printable online Here! She also has a ton of cute ideas on getting a letter back from Santa too!! I might just have to do that! I know my oldest will really think it’s awesome and maybe it will keep him in line a little more too!  I should do it every month during the year! 

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A few months ago I found this North Pole mail box at Home Goods that I could NOT resist buying. I think it adds a little more holiday cheer to the whole process. =) I hope my boys at least had fun and will remember these moments one day!!

I would ❤ to hear about your Christmas traditions! COMMENT BELOW!

let’s talk about cheese baabbyy

Need an EASY last minute food idea?

Do you love cheese?! In my mind everything is better if you add cheese. I love serving cheese at all my gatherings. I also like to bring cheese plates/cheese balls for most house parties I go to. What is your favorite go to cheese?

Have you heard of Boursin? I love love love it so much! It is already flavored with “garlic & fine herbs” so you don’t have to do much to make it amazing! I have added SO many different types of ingredients that I am convinced you cannot go wrong.

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Today, I had my side of the family come over for a Thanksgiving BBQ. I knew everything wouldn’t be ready once they arrived, so I put out a cheese ball. We LOVE bacon, I mean who doesn’t right? Well I have been obsessing over this jalapeño bacon I bought recently so I made about 5-6 strips in the microwave and then chopped it into small pieces. I pulled out 1 package of Boursin unwrapped and placed in a pretty white bowl. Then, I sprinkled the bacon on top and around the sides. Can you tell they loved it?!!

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Other Options I have tried (chopped and mixed in then I shape into a ball) I use 1 package for about 10 people so just double it for larger groups. I use mini crackers to help cut down on double dipping. 

  • chopped dried cranberries, then you can roll in chopped pecans.
  • chopped pecans, then pour honey on top
  • bacon mixed in or just all around
  • almonds

Let me know what you make!! HAPPY THANKSGIVING!

<3- Jessica