Wednesday, November 28, 2012

The Schwartz's vs Sweet Moments

Photobucket
(Sorry for the borrowed picture, sneaks just went up today and this set melts my heart.)

Sarah and Cody are growing more fond of each other.  Well, I guess they've always liked each other but they are better about expressing it now.  When it's time for bed or naps, I'll tell them to give each other a hug and kiss and Cody will walk towards Sarah and she'll wrap her arms around him and squeeze him and kiss him.  He always smiles real big, until he gets annoyed then he tries to push her off.  Sarah will tell me things like, "That's my baby Cody.  He's a handsome man.  He's my best friend."  Which always makes me smile for a couple reasons, one because she's just repeating everything I tell her, and two because I hope that she actually means it.

Yesterday both of the kids woke up grumpy from their naps.  Cody's usually grumpy when he gets up from his nap so that's nothing new.  But Sarah was being especially whiney.  After about 5 minutes Cody was over it and happily walking around the house and playing with things but Sarah was still going strong on her tantrum.  10 minutes passed, Sarah is still whining and crying and having a fit.  Another few minutes passed and Cody looked at her and then went into her room.  He came out with her Roar.   Sometimes he goes and gets her Roar just to torment her.  He clearly does it to make her mad because he has a huge smile on his face and he hugs it close to him and won't let go.  And it sets her off every time.  So when I saw him come out with it this time I thought, "Oh come on!  Please don't torment your sister right now.  She's in a funky mood as it is!"  But then he pushed her a little to get her attention and held Roar out for her.  He went and got her Roar because she was crying!  

I gave him the biggest hug and kiss and told him he was the sweetest boy ever.  Sarah immediately stopped crying and after some prompting she told Cody thank you and that he was a sweet boy.  

I know that we'll have plenty of fights over toys and many times where I'll hear stupid things like, "he's looking at me" or "she's touching me".  But sweet moments like the one today give me hope that they will often show each other that they truly love and care for one another.  I'm so in love with both of them.  And I'm so glad they both love each other as well.  After all, they are best friends.

Monday, November 26, 2012

The Schwartz's vs Cody's 14 Months Old

Cody you are 14 months old now and here's what you're up to:

* You wear 12 month clothes, size 4 shoes, and a size 3 diaper.
* You are a great walker now and I rarely see you resort to crawling.
* You are still a climber and I have caught you on top of Sarah's stool many many times.
* You are a snacker.  You love to snack on cheerios, animal crackers, gummies, and freeze dried fruit.  You demand a snack as soon as I come in the nursery at the gym and the minute you wake up from your nap.
* Your appetite comes and goes from day to day and meal to meal.  Breakfast is usually your most consistent meal.  You love waffles with strawberry jam or yogurt on top or a packet of oatmeal.  Lunch is usually deli meat and carrots (still can't get you to really eat any other vegetables) or a sandwich.  And dinner is whatever we're having.  In fact if we cut up your food too much and it doesn't look like what we're having you get angry and think we've done the ol' bait and switch on you.
* You love mashed potatoes and sweet potatoes.  You will shove those in by the hand full and get them everywhere in the process but you don't mind.
* You enjoy bath time more now then you have in the past.  You like to play with the toys and splash the water everywhere.
* You're doing a better job taking naps.  You go down around 1 and usually sleep till about 3:30.
* You are a bed time rock star!  You don't fuss at all when we lay you down in your crib.  You like the 2 paci system.  I put one in your mouth and you like to hold on to another one, not sure why, maybe as an emergency back up system.  We cover you with a blanket and then turn on Scout and we don't hear a peep out of you until the morning.  You go to bed at 7 pm and sleep until 7 am.
* You only have 3 words you can say, momma, daddy, and yummy-yum (food).
* You have an extensive comprehensive vocabulary.  Daddy and I have been really impressed with some of the things you've understood that we've said to you.
     --For example, I've asked you to go throw something away and you walked to the trash can in the pantry.  You put it in, but then you pulled it back out because you weren't done playing with it.
     --Daddy asked you to throw something away when you were in Sarah's room and you tried to put it into the Diaper Genie.  When that didn't work he told you to go throw it in the trash can in the bathroom so you went to the bathroom and tried to put it in the trash can in there.
     --You understand the word shower and get upset when I tell you I'm going to take one.
     --You understand when I say, "Get in your chair" and you walk over to your high chair and start trying to climb in.
     --You know who Sarah is and will look for her when we ask you either where Sarah or "Sissy" is.
     --You know the names of various toys and will retrieve them when asked to do so.
* You blow kisses and make the noise with your mouth and everything.  It's adorable.
* You communicate mostly through grunting, pointing, and reaching.  We are trying very hard to reinforce words by telling you what it is when we hand you want you were grunting/reaching for.
* You know who Darth Vadar is.  It's pretty awesome!  If I sing the Imperial Death March to you you'll go look for your Darth Vadar toy and bring him to me.
* You love to brush your teeth.
* You know where you belly is and will play the belly bongos.
* One day you were "roar"ing when you were playing with dinosaurs.  I'm going to count that as your first animal sound.
* You are a determined little problem solver.  You've already figured out that the door handles will let you in and out of rooms but you can't quite reach them yet.  When Sarah was still napping last week you wanted into her room.  When the door handle failed you, you went and got my rolling desk chair and attempted to use it as a battering ram to get into her room.
* You are opinionated and bossy.  Yesterday you had an argument with Sarah in the kitchen over your snacks.  You got cheerios and she got a pack of gummies.  You were all in her face yelling gibberish at her and motioning to her gummies.  I think we all pretty much understood that you were telling her that she needed to give you her gummies.
* You like to push people.  You think it's funny.  I accidently facilitated that by laughing and playing along when you would push me.  I'm now trying to undo that.  Sorry.
* You have the most serious face a majority of the time but the biggest and brightest smile when something amuses you.

You are my handsome little man, daddy's little shadow, Sarah's best friend, and an important piece of our family puzzle.  We love you!

The Schwartz's vs Gobble Gobble!

I think I may actually like Thanksgiving more than Christmas, especially when Ma' Schwartz is on a culinary kick decides she wants to do all the cooking herself.  

Since I didn't have to cook anything in the morning I decided to head over with the kids and let them cheer for Chris in the annual Elders Quorum Turkey Bowl.  
 Chris is the one in green.
 Sarah loved cheering for Daddy!  She would yell "Go daddy go!" and then, "Cheer! Cheer! Cheer!"  After Chris missed a passed I told her to yell, "That's ok daddy!  You're old."  I'm such a supportive wife.

 Awesome action shoot, but I need a better zoom lens.  Sorry.

After the kids got a little tired of me telling them they couldn't go on the field they found other ways to keep themselves entertained.  Sarah started collecting acorns.  She was very excited about how many there were all over the ground.  Some she pocketed, others she gave to me and Cody to put "in the hole".

 See the hole in the yard marker.  Yeah, that's where they were depositing the ones that Sarah didn't put in her pocket and Cody didn't put in his mouth.  The weather was nice so it was great to be able to let the kids play outside and cheer for Daddy.

After the Turkey Bowl it was time to shower and get dressed and ready to head to Ma and Pa Schwartz's for our Thanksgiving feast.  Sarah was very excited about her new turkey shirt and even let me give her "princess hair" with her turkey bow pinned in.  And she tried as hard as she could to cooperate for pictures.  So the not really looking at the camera and cheesy pain smile is about as good as it gets.

 Sweet Sarah
 Silly Cody
 Two of the things I am most thankful for in my life.

After some pictures and a little bit of play time lunch was ready.  And I must say it was the best fried turkey I have ever had.  I had to really contain myself from not going back and picking and munching on the skins.  They were so crispy and yummy.  The turkey was very flavorful and wasn't dry at all.  It was delicious!  We even bummed some leftovers because it was so good!  Sarah was still on her anti-potato kick so she mostly ate bread and turkey.  But Cody was loving all forms of potatoes.  He was going to town on the sweet potatoes by the double fist full.  I really wanted to get up for seconds of just about everything but I'm a little crazy and never want to seem like I'm eating as much as Chris or more than others and since everyone wasn't diving head first into second plate fulls I resisted the temptation.  (Then begged for leftovers so I could shame eat a ton at home without anyone knowing/judging.)  But I'm sure it's a good thing I restrained myself since I'm in the home stretch of training for my first Half Marathon.

Then it was back outside to enjoy the shockingly warm weather.  Grandpa Schwartz raked up a big pile of leaves for the kids to play in.  It was pretty awesome.  As Chris and I drove home we discussed how glad we were that Sarah and Cody got to do that because neither of us could recall doing it as a kid.  There weren't that many trees or that kind of tree at my parents house growing up and Chris's family didn't move to that house until high school for him, well past the age when you want to jump in leaf piles.  So seeing Sarah and Cody enjoy that was wonderful.     


 Run!
Jump!  (You can barely see the top of her head there.)

Thanksgiving was a wonderful day that we got to spend together as family.  While I wish that my family still lived in town on a day to day basis I actually like that we don't have to split homes and run to different places on holidays.  We get to just relax and enjoy all our time with the family that we're with.

I love that we get to kick off the holiday season with a day to remember all the things we are grateful for before we start lusting after new things.  The older I get the shorter my Christmas list becomes because  I realize I really already have everything I could ever want.  And I'm most thankful for that.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

The Schwartz's vs Schwartzareia

One of our pinterest meals last week was Buffalo Chicken Garbage Bread. (It was pretty good.)  Sarah helped me make it and had a great time!  Did you know that "garbage bread" is really just a calzone?  Me neither.  So whoops, I also planned Schwartzareia that week too.  But you know, it worked out because I think Chris was a little jealous when I told him how much fun Sarah and I had making the garbage bread.  So we waited until daddy got home to make the pizzas.






It was a little messy but absolutely worth it!  Of course now Sarah thinks we're having pizza every night since she got it twice last week.  Oh well.  =)

Thursday, November 15, 2012

The Schwartz's vs Pinned it, Made it: Two Timing Pasta Bake

Not the best lighting in my house to really get a picture of how delicious this looked and tasted.

I'm a little late getting this one up because we actually made it last Sunday.  Don't know why I'm just now blogging about it because I swear I've told everyone I've seen this week about this dish and how awesome it is!  I might have even told a complete stranger...I'm just saying, this thing is G-O-O-D!

This is another one from the awesome blog: Pearls, Handcuffs, and Happy Hour.  It went around pinterest a while ago and pretty much blew up in my feed.  I think every single person that I follow repinned it at one point.  (Do you guys feel like your pinterest feed is sometimes inbred?  You know you follow the same people who follow the same people so when one person pins something everyone repins it and suddenly you're seeing the same thing pinned in your feed about 50 times...no?  Just me?  Oh well.)  This recipe actually skipped the "foods to try board" and went straight onto the "Favorite Recipes" from the description alone and it was absolutely the right decision.  This was a HIT!  Sarah, who is a little finicky sometimes, asked for seconds...both days!  My husband, who thinks it a crime to have a meal without meat, told me multiple times both days that he really really liked this dish.  (Even just now when he saw what I was blogging about he said, "That was really good stuff!")

So here's the run down.  Of course you can follow the link to the real source: Two Timin' Pasta Bake or I'll just give you the 411 since it's so easy I've already memorized this bad boy.

* Boil one box of penne pasta while you preheat your oven to 350.
* In a bowl mix together (1) jar of marinara sauce and (1) jar of Alfredo sauce.
* Add to the sauce mixture 2 cups of Mozzarella cheese and mix together.
* After penne is done, drain it and toss it into the sauce mix, stir together and get it all nice and coated.  * Dump into a 9x13 pan, pop in oven for 20 minutes, pull out sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and put back in for 5 minutes.
* Devour!

I'm telling you it was that easy and to die for.  So quick, so simple.  Totally fits my 5 ingredient, 30 minute rule.

So the official score card:

The Pros:
* Quick, easy, cheap!
* See above.
* Very filling, makes a ton, left overs abounding in our house.  (I really think this made about 8 adult servings.)
* Great flavor!
* Would make a excellent freezer meal.  So if it's just 2 of you, bake half, dump the other half in a zip lock bag and freeze.
* EVERYONE in the family liked it!

The Cons:
None, seriously, I can't tell you one thing that was wrong with it.  Chris didn't even say he wished it had meat.

The Changes I Did Make/Would Make:
None, this thing is the picture of culinary perfection in my home.

Would I Make it Again:
Yes!  Yes!  Yes!  I'm already planning on taking it to the carbo-load party our running group is having before my first Half Marathon in a couple of weeks and so help me the next time we feed the missionaries or a meal calendar comes around at church this is what I am making/bringing.  I don't see anyone NOT liking this meal.  It's awesome!  Serve with some salad and garlic toast and it's better than going out to an Italian restaurant.

So far I would have to say, this is a definite keeper.  It's going on a note card and being added to the meal rotation.  I also think it's going to be a perfect week day meal cause I can prep it during nap time and then just pop it into the oven 30 minutes before daddy gets home and look like a domestic goddess.

Monday, November 12, 2012

The Schwartz's vs Cody's a Walker

I'm a couple weeks late in posting this.  Cody is officially a walker now!  He walks more than he crawls and he is loving life.  He spends most of his mornings just walking around the house because he can.  He'll stop from time to time and clap for himself or giggle because he's so excited he's doing it.  I find different things in different rooms now because he likes to carry stuff when he walks, then when he gets to a new room he finds something different to pick up and carry.

I love the walker stage.  I love watching him toddle around.  I think it's adorable when he changes directions on accident and then just goes with it pretending he meant to do that.  I love hearing his squeals of delight as he walks himself from one room to the next.

Anyway, check out our little walker below:

Monday, November 5, 2012

The Schwartz's vs Pinned it, Made it: Cheesy Chicken Casserole


Cheesy Chicken Casserole
I pinned this a while ago just in case a miracle happened and my husband decided he didn't hate broccoli anymore.  I never thought I would get to make this.  He HATES broccoli.  But he wasn't home when I was making the meal calendar and so I put it on there hoping if I didn't mention the special ingredient that he wouldn't complain.  

I found this recipe on Pearls, Handcuffs, and Happy Hour.  I love that blog!  You should check it out.  She's got lots of yummy, yummy recipes and everything I've made from it has turned out just like the picture.  

Now, let's all understand that I'm aware that this is probably not healthy.  I would love to say that I'm a great healthy cooker and everything I make is good and good for you.  But really, when I pick something I look for 3 things, easy, 30 minutes or less, and left overs.  (Remember, we like to make left overs so Chris can have a hot meal on nights when he works late.)  And casseroles generally fit the bill.  

Alright, I encourage you to go look at Pearls, Handcuffs, and Happy Hour but just in case you don't want to follow the link I'm going to copy and paste the recipe here.

3 chicken breasts, cooked & shredded
2 cans of cream of chicken soup
1 cup of mayo
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 cup colby & monterrey jack cheese
1 bag frozen broccoli,thawed and chopped
salt & pepper to taste

Mix all the ingredients together, transfer into lightly greased 2 qt casserole dish, bake at 375 for 30 minutes and serve over rice.

So let's discuss. This was AWESOME!!!!! We loved it!  Chris even said, "this is REALLY good!".  Cody was shoving it into his mouth by the hand full.  And Sarah picked at it, but eventually let me help fork some into her mouth.  And well, it had chicken, cheese, and broccoli so I love it.

The Pros:
* Easy ingredients that I usually have on hand at home.
* Quick to throw together and only bakes for 30 minutes.
* Easy week day meal PLUS could totally be put into a ziplock bag to freeze and then bake later.
* Assemble during nap time makes dinner even easier.
* Broccoli is in there and the 3 broccoli haters in my house still liked it.
* Very filling!  I should have cut my portion in half but it was so yummy that I ate it all anyway.

The Cons:
* Sarah ate it but she wasn't thrilled about it.  I'm worried that day 2 she might not eat it at all.

The Changes I made/would make:
* She used frozen broccoli and chopped it herself.  I used a brick of chopped frozen broccoli.  Much easier.  She mentions doing it that way as well.  
* I did use the 2 different kinds of cheese this time, but only because I had them.  Next time I'll just dump a 2 cup bag of "casserole" cheese blend in.  
* Chris thinks it needs one more chicken breast.  But I think he always thinks everything needs more meat added.

So Would I Make It Again:
Yes!  Yes!  Yes!  I plan on putting this one on an index card and working it into the rotation.  

Sunday, November 4, 2012

The Schwartz's vs Chris is 35!

Happy Birthday Daddy!

Tuesday was Chris's 35th birthday.  I use to go all out for Chris's birthday's.  For his 30th I threw him a HUGE 80s themed murder mystery party.  It was pretty awesome and therefore I deemed it good enough for at least 5 years.  Well, it's been 5 years so I figured I better finally do something for him again.  Now that I'm a stay at homer, I've got to get creative about gifts for Chris.  I generally have 2 options, 1) something cheap that I hope he thinks is cute/sweet/an appropriate gift for the occasion, OR 2) ask him what he wants and can I have the money to go buy it for him.  This has probably been the hardest adjustment to not having my own income.  His first birthday as a stay at home mom, I seriously just listed 33 reasons why I loved him on a piece of scrapbook paper and called it good.  Last year I went with the "please name me 3 things you'd like and give me enough money to cover the most expensive one and I'll pick from your list and 'surprise' you since you won't know which one you're getting".  I got him a watch.  It's pretty awesome and actually way better than the one he picked since they didn't have it.  

So for this year I wanted to involve the kids and do something creative and fun.  I came up with an awesome idea and then was actually able to keep it a secret from him.  I stink at keeping secrets, as soon as I know what I want to get for him or do for him I pretty much can't help but blab because I get so excited.  So keeping something a secret was a big deal for me!

We joined daddy at work for lunch.  We made him pumpkin spice Star Wars cupcakes.

Sarah's been pretty excited about daddy's birthday too.  We have 3 family birthdays in September, Cody, Grandma Schwartz, and Grandpa Smith, and since we celebrated all of them back to back to back Sarah's been talking about birthdays a lot.  So for about 2 weeks she's been telling me Daddy's birthday is next and when I asked her what she wanted to get him, she'd tell me, "A pink cake.  Daddy wants a pink cake."  Thankfully when we went to the store the day before his birthday didn't have any pink cakes.  (When we went grocery shopping a few days prior they actually had some pink breast cancer awareness cakes and I was a little worried for Chris and thought he'd be getting one of those.)  She took some time picking out a cake for Chris.  She eyeballed a Spongebob one for a bit "because it's funny.  It's a funny cake mom."  And she definitely almost picked the Spiderman ring topped cupcakes.  Then the bakery lady at Wallyworld suggested a cookie cake.  Sarah was sold!  It was already blue, so Sarah said, "Well, how about some sparkles on it."  And the lady was nice enough to oblige and put a few pink, purple, and green sprinkles on some of the cake as well as write "Happy Birthday Daddy".  She even gave Sarah an Aurora ring that would have topped a cupcake.  

Then we went to peruse the toy aisle for some gifts for Chris.  Sarah confidently exclaimed, "Daddy wants a new princess" as we walked past the pink aisle.  So we talked about things she and daddy like to do together.  After some thought she said, "he likes to play blocks with me."  So we headed over to the lego aisle for her to pick out a gift.  I tried to push her to the smaller creator car series that he normally gets in his stocking but she saw the new Marvel series and could not be swayed.  Cody was upset that Sarah got to pick something and sounded his "that's not fair" alarm until I handed him a box too.

After nap time on Chris's birthday we rushed back to the store to buy some balloons.  Again, Sarah almost picked out one of the pink breast cancer awareness balloons before surprisingly choosing a ballon that actually said Happy Birthday.  Chris seemed a little confused by the Scooby Doo pick and when we asked her why she chose that one she simply said, "because it's daddy's favorite."

Sarah helped Chris open presents. 

Yea!  New legos.  Unfortunately Iron Man has already lost his head.  I'm pretty sure Cody threw it in the potty and Sarah flushed it down the next time she used it.  

Then Friday we had Chris's "party" or the big surprise I had planned for him.  Chris loves to camp.  At some point while we were dating I did what most girls do and lied to the man I wanted to marry.  "Sure I love camping" I said.  Lies!  All lies!  I think we've been 2 or 3 times since we've been married.  Chris has gone with his guy friends a few other times.  But knowing that he loves camping I decided to surprise him and have a camp in.  So Thursday while he was at work late I strung Christmas lights across the living room ceiling to be the "stars" and Friday while the kids were napping and Chris was at work I, ALL BY MYSELF, pitched our tent in the living room.  It was really difficult!  I couldn't figure it out and at one point had to phone a friend who said, "Shove the poles in the tabs."  When I couldn't find them she said, "Oh my gosh Natalie do I have to come over and pitch your tent for you."  I really wanted to say, "yes please" but toughed it out and upon further examination still couldn't find tabs but shoved the poles into some small corners and hoped for the best.  I had to stand on a kitchen chair as I tried to get the poles into the top thing and was terrified that one of them was going to snap up and stab itself through the tv.  "Surprise Chris, we're getting a new TV" was not part of the plan.  But it all worked out.

Showing the kids post naps.

Cody was a little confused by the tent but Sarah was really excited.  I was pretty excited too.  I was so giddy I almost wanted to go real camping.  Almost.  

To continue with our camping theme I set up the fire pit for roasting hot dogs for dinner and making smores later.  Of course, this was another thing that Chris always does not me so I was nervous about how to get it started and how long it would take me so I had Chris call me before he left work, a 30 minute commute home.  It took me all of 5 minutes to get the fire going.  I used a cheater log.  It shot up a HUGE flame so I was afraid to leave it unattended to go in the house so I let the kids play in the sandbox while we waited for Chris to finally get home.  

Thankfully since I started the fire so early it had almost died out by the time Chris got there so I felt ok leaving it so I could show him what I had put together for him.  I told Sarah not tell Daddy anything about the fire or tent.  I sent her around to the front of the house while I opened the garage and the first thing she said was, "Daddy! Look fire!"  Thankfully that seemed so not correct that Chris thought she had told him to "follow".  So we had daddy close his eyes and I bumped him into many things as I walked him into the living room.



He was very surprised and said many times, "This is so awesome."  I'm glad he liked it.  And so did the kids.  It was a great family activity.
 Roasting hot dogs for dinner.

After dinner the kids got baths while I cleaned up.  Then it was time for our fun family activity, watching Chris's favorite Disney movie The Lion King.  We all snuggled in the tent and watched it through the "window".  Sarah loved it.  Cody bailed around 7.  He was getting grumpy from being so tired but Sarah lasted the whole movie and got to have Smores afterwards.


Making Smores

After Smores we read Sarah her bedtime story in the tent and then declared lights out and unplugged the stars.  It was 2 hours past Sarah's bedtime so I was surprised she didn't immediately ask to go to her bed.  But she laid there for long enough that I was ready to go to bed so I asked her if she wanted to go lay in her bed.  She obliged so that I could bail too.  What?  I have a bed, I'm not sleeping on my floor.  =)

All in all it was a great birthday week and Chris has declared this the best birthday yet.  

Friday, November 2, 2012

The Schwartz's vs Cake Balls

I've said a few times that I was going to do a post about how to make cake balls because I've had some friends and family members ask me how to do it.  But I've never gotten around to it.  However, today over at Kelly's Korner she's linking up favorite dessert recipes so I thought, what the heck might as well!

Cake balls are my favorite thing to make and take to places.  They are crazy easy, and impress a whole bunch of people.  And since I stink at trying to level a cake, or frosting cupcakes these are a better alternative for me.  I do my cake balls by hand the good ol' Bakerella way.  It takes me about 3 days but that's only because of time limits and kids running around.  Not because I'm slaving over them for 3 days.  Simple sprinkles  for the decorations are easiest but I have done some harder and more creative things.

To make cake balls you'll need:
Box of cake mix and stuff to make the cake with
Coordinating flavor of icing
1 pkg of Almond Bark or 2 bags of Wilton Candy Melts
A little Crisco (optional)
Sprinkles
A helper when it's time to decorate

I taught my parents how to make cake balls so I'm using them as my cake ball making models.

Step 1: Bake the Cake per directions on the box.  Any flavor will do.
This is Carrot Cake, my dad's favorite but also a great choice around Easter. We're using Cream Cheese frosting because that's what you'd put on a carrot cake, but white frosting or vanilla frosting would also be good.

Step 2: Let the cake cool completely.  I usually bake the cake before I go to bed and then leave it out to cool over night.  

Step 3: Cut the cake up into chunks and put it into a mixing bowl.  Now it's time to get dirty.  Crumble the cake completely with your hands.  Make sure you break up any large pieces of cake, especially the edges from the pan.
Crumbling the Cake

Step 4: Take the tub of coordinating icing (use what you'd use on the cake) shove your hand about 1/2 way to 3/4 of the way down and scoop it out.  Plop the frosting into the cake and begin mixing and kneading with your hand.
 Scoop about 1/2 to 3/4 of the tub of icing out.
 Plop it into the bowl.
Knead and mix throughly with your hand.

When you are done mixing the frosting in you should have one giant cake ball.  Or one big doughy ball.
 Giant Cake Ball, ready to scoop and roll.

Step 5: Using a cookie scoop, scoop out some of the cake ball mix and form into balls with your hands.
 Filling the scoop to flat and not mounding over will get you about 36-38 cake balls per cake.

Step 6: Cover and place your tray of cake balls in the freezer for about 20-30 minutes or in the fridge for at least 2 hours.  I normally roll the cake balls during nap time and put them in the fridge either to dip after they go to bed, or the next day which ever works better.

Step 7:  Prep the candy coating by following direction on the package and melting according to directions given on package.  Some people use mini crock pots, I don't have one so we chop up the almond bark and melt it in the microwave.
As you melt the almond bark it may be a little thick.  To thin it out and make it more runny so you can get a more even coat melt some Crisco in a separate bowl and mix it in till you get a nice, smooth, runny consistency.  Also, I've learned name brand almond bark is smoother than Kroger brand, and chocolate almond bark is better than white.  If you want colors you have to use candy coating chips (like Wilton) because you CANNOT add food coloring to almond bark.  It will seize up!

Step 8: Time to dip and decorate. This is where having a partner comes in handy if you are using sprinkles because the candy coating sets up quickly.  Taking a few cake balls out of the fridge or freezer drop one cake ball into the candy coating and use a fork to completely cover it in the coating.  Tap excess off the cake ball by gently tapping the fork against your finger or side of the bowl.  You want to get as much excess off as possible to avoid waste, clumpy covering, and a big "foot" that the ball will sit on.
It takes a while to get the hang of it so the first time you make cake balls, they might be a little clumpy and ugly.  That's ok.  They are still yummy and with practice you get better.  This was my dad's first time.
Make sure you laid out some wax paper to set the balls on while they harden.  

If you are decorating with sprinkles as soon as the dipper puts the ball on the wax paper you need to sprinkle your decorations on.  The candy coating sets up very quickly!  Sprinkles are wonderful and cover up flaws in the candy coating if it's not perfectly smooth. 
My first cake balls, see you can't even tell the coating may not be as smooth as it should be.  Sprinkles my friend!  Use them liberally. 

Step 9: If you are piping decorations on, let the cake balls completely harden.  Again, if I have time, I put them back in the fridge and pipe on the finishing touches the next day.  But you don't have to.  By the time your are done dipping all the cake balls, the first ones will probably be ready to pipe on to.
 Mom piping after the candy coating has completely hardened.
Carrots, get it...because it's carrot cake.  =)

And you're done!  Take them to your next party and impress a whole bunch of people!  Like I said, they are easy, just a little time consuming and that might just be because I only work on them while my two little ones are napping.  After you get the hang of it though you can do tons of cute and creative things.  Just check out pinterest or Bakerella for fun ideas.  Generally, like I said, sprinkles are my go to decorating tool but here are some others that I made that I'm really proud of:
 Use Wilton Candies to dip them one color and then a fork to drizzle another color over them.  This was my dessert plate for a 4th of July party.  The cake balls were red velvet.  Yum!
Footballs, make them just like regular cake balls but form them with pointy ends instead of being completely round.  Pipe on laces and stripes.  Put in bon bon cups after everything is completely dry.
 Mr. Potato Head Cake Pops for a nephew's birthday party.
 Andes Mint hat, Jumbo Confetti Sprinkle ears, Food Coloring pen eyebrows, Eye Candy eyes, Butterscotch Morsel nose, Licorice end mustache, Jimmie Sprinkle mouth, Lollypop Stick arms, Peanut M&M shoes.
Blue birds on a Haystack Candy nest for SIL's party.
Fondant wings, candy corn nose, food coloring pen eyes, and then make the nests following your standard haystack candy recipe.

Happy Baking and let me know if you have any other good ideas for decorating cake balls or pops.  =)