Thursday, April 22, 2010

More Baby Shower Fun: The Food

As promised earlier this week, here is the menu and recipes from the shower.  Samantha and I got together on Friday and spent the day baking and preparing our refreshments.  That was almost as much fun as the actual shower!  All of the food was very very good, and we received lots of compliments and requests for recipes.  I think a good recipe deserves to be enjoyed, not hidden away in my recipe box, so I'm happy to share them!

The Menu:
 Breakfast pizza (the shower was at 11 a.m.) purchased from a local pizzeria and cut into triangles to dress it up a bit.

Fresh fruit: grapes, strawberries, and apple slices.

Veggies, apple slices, and Peanut Butter Yogurt Dip.  This peanut butter dip is amazing, and healthier than most dips.  It is great with so many different things.  Pretzels, mini rice cakes, apples, bananas, veggies... I'm sure there is more that would taste good with it that I haven't thought of yet.

Peanut Butter Yogurt Dip
1 cup Vanilla flavored yogurt
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
1 tsp vanilla

Mix all ingredients together until smooth and serve with your favorite fruits and veggies.

These sticky buns are AMAZING!  I mean, the best I have ever had by far.  Mmm.... I'm getting a craving for them right now just thinking about how good they are.

Easy Sticky Buns
16 frozen  bread dough dinner rolls
1 lg pkg (or 2 small) cook & serve vanilla pudding (NOT instant)
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup margarine

The night before place frozen roll dough in greased pan.  Mix pudding, brown sugar, and melted margarine together and spread over top of frozen dough.  Let rise overnight.  Bake in the morning at 350 for 20-30 minutes.  Turn sticky buns out of pan upside down while still hot or they will stick in the pan.  These are just as good cooled as they are warm.

These frozen fruit cups were a great cool refreshing treat.  These would be great to make and keep in the freezer for the summer as a healthier alternative to popsicles.

Frozen Fruit Cups
6 ounces frozen orange juice concentrate, thawed slightly
6 ounces frozen lemonade concentrate, thawed slightly
11 ounces can mandarin oranges, drained
20 ounces can crushed pineapple, drained
20 ounces frozen strawberries (2 pkgs), thawed slightly
10 ounces frozen raspberries, thawed slightly
3 to 4 bananas (more if desired), diced
4 cups ginger ale (more if desired)

In a very large bowl, mix all ingredients together. With a measuring cup, fill individual plastic cups with mixture. Place cups on a flat surface such as a baking sheet. Cover loosely with wax paper and freeze. Thaw at least 30 minutes before eating. (note: if you don't thaw them a little they will be hard as a rock and very difficult to eat)

Instead of doing a typical shower cake, we decided to make cupcakes.  We made a batch of Pillsbury Funfetti cupcakes, and used store bought icing tinted blue with chocolate sprinkles on top.  We also made a batch of Rich Chocolate cupcakes with store bought chocolate icing and little white sprinkles on top.  I don't care for chocolate cake mixes so I found this recipe.  I thought it turned out very good, although I think I overcooked them slightly.  I have a much harder time telling when chocolate things are done since I can't easily tell by the color.

Rich Chocolate Cupcakes
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
2/3 cup baking cocoa
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup butter or margarine
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup milk

Mix dry ingredients, add wet ingredients one at a time.  Mix well.  Pour 1/4 cup batter into muffin cups.  Bake @ 350 for 18-20 minutes.

And to add the finishing touch to our table, Aunt Laurel made these cute little molded candies. I'm not sure you can tell by the pictures, but they are in the shape of booties and pacifiers.  They looked absolutely perfect and were the extra little bit of teal that our food table needed.  I don't have the recipe for these, although I believe she just used the little melting wafers that can be found at most craft stores.  Aunt Laurel also made the cutest little feet cookies to give out as the favors.  Unfortunately, I don't have the recipe for those either, but I may have to ask her for it because they really were very good!

So there you have it, our party menu.  We had 32 people at the shower, and we had more than enough food. However, I did have a mini panic attack  the morning of the shower and sent my husband to the store to get more, but I  shouldn't have worried, we had plenty with lots left over.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Baby Shower Fun

Over the last several months I had the privilege of planning a baby shower for my sister-in-law, Holly, with Sam, our other sister-in-law, and Anna, a friend of the mom-to-be.  I think I have found my second calling in life: to be a party planner!  I thoroughly enjoyed choosing a color scheme, making invitations, planning the refreshments, surfing the net to find fun shower activities, and shopping for festive party supplies.  I also got the chance to get to know my sister-in-law, Sam, a little better and discovered that we see eye to eye in many things and get along really well!
 Pictured: me [in the black], Anna, Holly, & Sam

Here is the mom to be, Holly.  She's about as cute as any pregnant mommy gets!  Holly's expected due date is about 4 weeks away.  I can't wait to meet little Luke!   I just love the anticipation that comes along with pregnancy, don't you?!

We chose teal and brown for our color scheme. Although we really didn't do much decorating aside from the food table.   (Menu and recipes to come later this week.)

The centerpiece of the shower was my special project and my pride and joy: the diaper cake! {grin}

I dislike it when children are excluded from family activities such as showers and weddings.  They are as much a part of the family as anyone else.  They  want to, and deserve to be a part of these special occasions.   So of course Megan came along.  She was very good, and she enjoyed herself so much.  Not to mention, she won the how big is the mom-to-be's belly shower game!  We had just over 30 people there, and the 5 year old was the winner!  She was so excited to win the little prize, which was a March of Dimes bracelet purchased for a $1 at Motherhood Maternity.

Megan helped clean up the wrapping paper and tissue paper from all the packages Holly opened.  I thought she was putting it into a large garbage bag, but apparently she decided to dump the garbage bag out in Holly's bedroom and just keep adding the papers to the pile. 

The shower went off without a hitch and was a definite success.  Holly's little baby will be well clothed and bathed, and he will ride in a stylish travel system (stroller & car-seat), and sway in an adorable plush swing.  Not only was she well-supplied, but she also felt well-loved, which is exactly what we wanted!

Monday, April 12, 2010

Girl After My Own Heart

This is what I found wadded up in Megan's pocket:  

Weeds Flowers & Chocolate!  

She's a girl after my own heart! {grin}

Thursday, April 8, 2010

It's Party Time!

Ultimate Blog Party 2010

A good party has to have good music!  This may not be your typical party music, but I sure do love this song!

Here are a few of my favorite things! 

I love flowers and gardening. I have a very friendly black an white kitty named Dexter. I love to hear my 3 children play the kitchen pots and pans in their homemade kitchen band.  I am so glad that my Mother-in-law taught me to knit nice soft hats and mittens to keep their precious little fingers and ears warm! And I will admit that I enjoy opening a present once in a while as well!  Who doesn't?! :)  These are a few of MY favorite things!

I have fond memories of warm summer days horseback riding with my sister for hours when we were girls.  I find it so satisfying to bake sweet treats for my family.  The doorbell on my house is probably the loudest doorbell known to mankind and scares the bejeebers out of me whenever anyone rings it.  I love to take my kids sledding on cold snowy days. I try my hardest to cook homemade healthy meals for my family.  I have a wonderful husband who hunts geese, and many other types of wild game.   These are a few of MY favorite things!

I love the pretty little white flower girl dress with a blue sash hanging in my closet which my daughter wore in her Uncle Drew's wedding.  I always get excited for the first snowfall of winter, and even more so now that I have my precious children to share the moment!  I enjoy big snowstorms, but I am always so ready for the first warm days of spring, and the first few little flowers coloring the dreary landscape.  These are a few of MY favorite things!

I have experienced my share of "dog bites and bee stings" in life, and sometimes I can become discouraged or afraid, but then I remember the blessings that God has graciously given me, and then I don't feel so bad!

I'm so glad you joined my party, and I hope to see  you again soon!

Friday, April 2, 2010

Our Easter Party & Egg Hunt

Today was the big day!  The day of our Easter party and egg hunt with my friend and her 5 children.  My kids were so excited!  I told them that the party was at 1 o'clock. Then explained that 1 o'clock is after lunchtime. So, of course all morning they asked if they could have lunch so their friends could come over and we could have our party.    Afterall, they had seen me preparing since Wednesday when I filled the eggs, and then licked their lips as they watched me make bird nest cupcakes on Thursday.  They could hardly stand the waiting!

Didn't these cupcakes turn out so cute?!  They were very easy to make.  I just used a regular cake mix and store bought icing.  Then  icing was tinted a very light pastel green.  I sprinkled on the chocolate sprinkles, and put three peanut butter m&m's in the center and voila,  little bird nest cupcakes!

Caleb enjoyed collecting the eggs with the help of various aunts, grandma, daddy, or whichever other adult or big kid was willing to help. His favorite part was eating the cupcake. We even had a 'special' cupcake reserved just for him... because he'd already claimed his by licking half of the icing off one this morning!

Mmm! Chocolate and boogers...what a combination! {grin}

Megan could not stop looking in her bag at all the eggs she found.  She is so very enthusiastic when it comes to fun activities like this.  I just love to hear her squeals!  It is such a blessing to have a little girl who is so happy and loves life! 

Kyle was the typical competitive boy.  He ran around like a man on a mission.  By the time we had found all the eggs he was red faced, hot, and sweaty; and ready to rest for a bit and enjoy his cupcake and water.

After the egg hunt we all sat down and I went through the story of Jesus' death and resurrection using the resurrection eggs object lesson idea that I found here.   Egg hunts are fun, but I don't want the kids to forget the reason we celebrate Easter in the first place!  I took a ton of pictures, some of which I'll share another day, and some I won't be sharing in order to respect the privacy of my friend and her children.  I had so much fun planning our little party!  And I am thrilled that it was a huge success all around.  I've decided this will be our new family tradition!  I can't wait to do it again next year, and I'm even more excited because we'll have a new little nephew to join our little egg hunters!!!

Happy egg hunting to all!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Kicking Off Spring Break With Pumpkin Waffles

Today is the first day of Spring Break!  I am looking forward to some extra time with my kiddos.  I have all kinds of fun plans, including an Easter egg hunt with the neighbors, baking activities, trips to the park, and spending few days at my parents house with my family.

Today we slept in until 8 o'clock.  Well, the kids did while I soaked up the extra hour of quiet.  When they awoke I tried my hand on a new breakfast recipe to kick-off their little vacation.  I found a recipe for pumpkin waffles on my favorite internet recipe site,  I made a few changes to it because I didn't want the spices to be overpowering, and it was a HUGE success!  Absolutely Delicious.  I'm still licking my lips from it!  Mmmm!

I did decide, however,  that I need a new waffle iron... Either that or I am going to have to make the batter into pancakes instead because my waffle iron is losing its nonstick quality.  Getting the waffles out of the iron was quite a pain in the butt!

I was a little worried about how the kids would like them because they can be very picky when it comes to waffles and pancakes... For example, neither Megan or Kyle will eat them if they have blueberries or chocolate chips in them.  {they're crazy}  However, these were a big hit for everyone.

Pumpkin Waffles


1 1/2 cups all purpose flour (I used half white, and half whole wheat
3 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1 pinch salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 eggs
1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 cup canned pumpkin puree
1 2/3 cups milk
4 tablespoons butter, melted and cooled

  1. Mix together flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and salt in large bowl.
  2. In a second bowl, add vanilla, eggs, sugar, pumpkin, milk, and butter; beat well.
  3. Gently fold in the flour mixture.
  4. Cook according to your waffle iron directions.
  5. They come out a deep golden brown.

Now that we are finished with our sticky breakfast bliss--->on to bath time!

Linked to:

Good, True & Beautiful

Love & Respect: Chapters 5-7

In these next three chapters Eggerichs attacks the fears that men and women have which keep them from attempting the Love & Respect solution.  I am going to cover all 3 chapters in this post.  I am going to concentrate on the reasons the wife withholds her respect, since I am a wife and that is what applies to me.

Chapter 5: She Fears Being a Doormat; He's Tired of "Just Not Getting it"

Who should make the first move? . . .You can't wait for your spouse to go first, even though it is preferable. All of us want our spouse to be the first to start doing the respecting or the loving.  But can you afford to wait passively for this to happen, like some kind of neutral bystander?  Can a husband wait for his wife to respect him before he becomes more loving?  Can a wife wait for a husband to really love her so she will then show him respect? 
The fear, of course, is that you will show love or respect to your spouse, as the case may be, and get a bad response.  So you tend to pull back, waiting for the other person to move first.  But what are your options?  Holding back your love or respect will just keep the Crazy Cycle spinning away, but being mature and making the first move could slow it down. (p. 74-75)

  Making the first move is so hard!  SO HARD!  My pride level has to be taken down a notch, and this isn't an easy thing.  If I make the first move because I think "I'm so mature" and the better person, my husband will see right through my hypocrisy and it gets us no where.

Some wives fear that taking a respectful attitude during a conflict with their husbands will render them powerless.  These women do not believe a husband will change into a loving man unless he is awakened to his flaws.  And the only way he will awaken to his inadequacies and faults is to hear his wife's grumblings, corrections, and contempt... The typical wife knows instinctively that correcting and mothering her husband are not good ways to approach him, but what else can she do?  If she keeps winning battles this way, it could help her win the war of changing him into the kind of man she feels he ought to be.  She keeps on using negativity because she feels empowered by it.  She thinks it gets through to him.  She knows being nice doesn't get through to him because he just seems to ignore that. . . But over the course of the marriage, something slowly dies between them.  She wins the battles, but deep down she knows she is losing the war. (p.76-77)

  I can never change my husband.  The only true change comes from the heart, and the only one with heart-changing kind of power is God.  I need to stop trying to change my husband with my nagging, and criticism, and start being a wife of prayer.  I need to give my control (which I've never really had, but sure have tried) over to God, and let him make my husband into the man HE wants him to be...something which I could never do.  My job is to respect him as he is right now, with all his faults, and submit to him as my husband.  Easy? No.  Rewarding?  Yes, I believe so according to what the Bible says in 1 Peter 3:1-6.

Chapter 6: She Worries about Being a Hypocrite; He Complains, "I Get No Respect!"

Obeying God's Word does not make a wife a powerless hypocrite.  Actually, it makes her a woman who loves and reverences God. . . We are not called to change everything or everyone.  We are only called to be obedient, and God will handle it from there.(p. 89-90)

Trusting and obeying God's Word because we love and reverence God never, ever makes us a hypocrite!  When the alarm goes off in the morning, we get up, even when we don't feel like getting up. Because we do what we don't feel like doing, does that make us hypocrites?  No, it is a sign we are responsible people.  Showing respectful behavior when we don't feel respectful is evidence of maturity, not hypocrisy. (p. 91)

  Those statements were the only thing that really stood out to me in this section.  This is not an area I struggle with  mainly because my husband is definitely a man worthy of respect....

Chapter 7: She Thinks She Can't Forgive Him; He Says, "Nobody Can Love That Woman!"

When you forgive him for being unloving, you give up your right to hold a grudge or be disrespectful in return. By forgiving you gain strength and freedom, and amazingly, in many instances you halt the crazy cycle. (p.103)

Jesus said, "He who is without sin among you, let him be the first to throw a stone at her" (John 8:7).  Do you know why Sarah can readily forgive me for being unloving?  My mature wife has accepted by faith that, in the eyes of god, her disrespect is equal to my lack of love. . .Forgiveness comes when we see our own unrighteousness.  How can we refuse to forgive an offense when we, too, have offended? (p. 103)

  PRIDE...keeps me from seeing my sin, and makes me unforgiving to the sin of others, HUMILITY... opens my eyes to my true sinful self and lets me forgive the sin of others. Oh yes, I struggle with this.  In fact I struggle with this so much that I have  chosen to skip the next 7 chapters of the book.  Why?  Because they are purposely directed at husbands, and how they can show their wives love.  I know how easy it is for me to read something like that and see every little thing that my husband isn't doing, and become frustrated and discouraged because he's not  the perfect husband.   Then nag and push him to be exactly like Eggerich's says he needs to be in the book and make us both miserable.

How do I know this so well?  In the past I have been a reader of Christian romance novels.  Although I knew the characters in the novels were fictional, and in most cases unrealistic, it planted the seed of expectation in my heart.  I began to expect my husband to act like these dashing fictional characters who swept their wives off their feet, and never did a thing wrong.  After reading those books I always felt a little disappointment and dissatisfaction in my marriage.  It took me a while, but once I began to realize how the books were affecting me, I stopped reading them.  I still enjoy reading fiction and don't mind a little romance mixed in with the story, but I try to be much more discerning in the things I do choose to read. 

So, with all that said, I'm skipping over those chapters and moving on to Chapter 15.  Starting in Chapter 15 Eggerichs writes about the energizing cycle and what the wife can do to keep it spinning by respecting her husband in specific ways.

Ah, but that is another post for another day... Right now it is time for me to get off the computer and get going for the day.  Today is the beginning of Spring Break and I've got lots of fun activities planned for the next week and a half to keep us busy and keep them from getting bored and getting into trouble.  I'm thanking God for the beautiful weather we are expected to have!  I couldn't have timed this heat wave more perfectly!