Thursday, December 1, 2011

1000 Gifts...can I have the book, please?

So after my finding this blog and doing some reading on her blog, I discovered her book 1000 Gifts.

Yeah, I'm a sap. I cried after reading the Letter from Ann about the book. So, could someone out there please buy me the book? I'm saving up for the book.

I struggle with keeping up with life sometimes. People have a misconception about me, that I'm "always on Facebook" or "always on my phone". But that's not true. I may pop online for 2 minutes to post something cute about the kids or a question or a picture. But no. My online time is limited. If I blog, it's at night after kids are in bed while 'M' watches a gun show or showers.

But I digress.

The point is, I have a hard time finding the little blessings everyday like a lot of busy moms do.

So, I downloaded the #1000gifts app on my iPhone and will try and be more intentional in my gratitude.

I'll occasionally post one of my gifts on the blog. Otherwise you can find it on Twitter (message me on how to follow me) or on Facebook.

Here's a snapshot (again, with the iPhone as all of the #1000gifts pics will be):

A little kitchen helper. A4 is always underfoot when I'm cooking. It touches my heart!...shared via the #1000gifts

Advent - Our Jesse Tree

DISCLAIMER: Yes, I'm a photographer, no I don't always have my pro, or even P&S camera out. All of these images are iPhone images. Sorry. ;)

After so many years of being sick and tired of "commercialized" Christmas and after feeling helplessly handicap with a lack of conceptual creative juices, I think we have finally found our way of proactively keeping Jesus in Christmas.

Sure, I love the season and the decor in the stores...the music...the Santas everywhere...

I love the Mistletoe Market in our town every year. It gets me in the mood right before Thanksgiving...

I love decorating our home...the smells of the season, etc...

However, I feel like Christ just gets lost in the hustle and bustle of this season that flies by WAY too fast these days.

So, this year, we are being intentional in our CHRISTmas season.

On November 30th, we started working on our Jesse Tree and did day 1. I was very nervous as I wasn't sure if the younger kids would "get" it. A2 got it and A3 liked the ornament! :) A4 just chewed on stuff. But I think just starting the tradition, and continuing it year after year, will help our family keep Christ in the season.

So, my friend Sara sent me to If you subscribe to her blog, you can get her free Jesse Tree book and templates. For me this worked the best for now. I'd love to make some felt or homemade ornaments in years to come. But for ease this Christmas and wanting to get started ASAP, print and laminate worked great. I did write the date of the month it was to be used, the scripture and what day of the Jesse Tree it is on the back. Then we punched some holes and ran some raffia and tah-DAH! We have ornaments.

We are using the Thankful Tree we made in November and are just turning it into our Jesse Tree. It's in our entryway and (if I can find it) our Manger Scene will be put up underneath it.

I'll later blog about the other Advent stuff we are doing including "Truth in the Tinsel", an ebook I purchased (thanks for the info Christi!). My plan is to do "Truth in the Tinsel" during our school day and in the mornings and doing our Jesse Tree in the evening as a family.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Taste-tastic Tuesdays! Pecan Pie-Grandma's Recipe!

I am from the south...where we have comfort food. And one of my favorite holiday comfort foods in my childhood memory is my Grandma Griffin's Pecan Pie. The age old question does one say Pecan? Since Pecan Pie is a southern food, we get dibs on pronunciation! No, it's not peh-cahn. It's PEE-CAN. Get it right people!

I posted on Facebook that I was going to make some for our family's Thanksgiving celebrations, but instead, I let A1 do it! He's been cooking some here and there and is a huge help in the kitchen. The week before he had stayed with my mom and baked poor man's blueberry pie all on his own. SO I set him to work!

(Pecans were picked up out of our yard by Matt's papa, A2 and A1!)

Here is the recipe for ONE pie:

3 eggs
1/2 stick melted butter
1/2 cup Karo syrup
1 cup sugar
1 cup chopped pecans
pie crust (we use the Pillsbury roll out kind)
Preheat your oven to 350º

FIRST: Beat your eggs well.

Melt Yo' Budda, er Butter...and beat it into your eggs.

Add your Karo Syrup and sugar...mix well.

Chop your PEEcans (mom did this and we chop them fine since the picky one, daddy, doesn't like the texture of nuts)
And mix them well, but not before sampling them, of course!

Roll your pie crusts out into your pie plates!

Spoon in your sweet smelling concoction! (almost done!)

Bake for 40-45 minutes at 350º until when you shake them they barely jiggle in the middle. (yes, that is a proper culinary term....) If your crust starts browning too quickly, place some tinfoil strips around the edges to cover the crust only.

Wait'll they cool completely before you slice or it'll be runny!


Sunday, June 19, 2011

The 'ALMOST' cake pop disaster. A.K.A The blockhead cake pops!

My parents always told me I could do anything I put my mind to. Well, they never told me about cake pops.

DISCLAIMER: All pics were made with the iPhone.

After stewing over what to give my husband (he is, after all, the most thoughful gift giver I have ever met), I decided that the normal father's day gifts would not do. He didn't need another tie, or a coffee mug (he loathes coffee), or custom labeled beer, or an engraved plaque or something. So I started thinking about what he loves. Mysteriously, BOTH pairs of his good leather sandals have disappeared since we we gave him a nice pair of leather slide on sandals. He Loves them. (Thank God)

He also loves red velvet cake.

Now, understand, this man HATES chocolate cake. I mean HATES it. But red velvet cake IS chocolate cake. But dyed red. Yes. This is true. I didn't know this til I was an adult about 18. (eh, ok...I was about 32). I KNOW it has to be the chocolate mixed with cream cheese icing. I mean, who doesn't like cream cheese icing. It's amazing. Yum.

But I digress.

Since we are doing bootcamp, I decided having an entire red velvet cake around this house would NOT be a good thing for our diets/workouts. So. I got ambitious. I decided to make...du-da-du....CAKE POPS!

Yeah...cake pops. One, MAYBE two bites of yummy goodness. AND I could take some to his dad and my dad and his papa. Yeah, CAKE pops.

So I did like any other do-it-herself crafter extraordinaire and went to Bakerella's website. She is, after all, THE expert on the subject. I found these UBER cute Superman Cake Pops! They look easy enough, RIGHT???

Well, let me just tell you. I almost lost my religion making these suckers. I'm pretty crafty AND I am a good cook. But I STINK at making these. Start to finish it took about 8 hours and 3 days to make these. He better appreciate them! (I'll report back later on my findings!)

I was going to make a homemade red velvet, but after reading her blog decided that it was too moist. (I wanted the blue velvet cake instead of red.) I decided I'd rather have cake that stays on the stick and not just pretty cake.

So I baked a boxed red velvet cake, and made homemade cream cheese icing ::swoon::

I crumbled the cake into a fine mess...then added enough icing to make balls.

I then rolled them and placed them on a tin-foiled cookie sheet and placed them in the freezer to harden a bit, and let a handsome young man devour lick the bowl.

Meanwhile, my friend Gina (aka a baking diva) came over to help me make marshmallow fondant (or Fawn-dahnt as the Cake Boss calls it.) Boy that stuff is an icky-sticky-ooey-gooey mess. But it tastes SO. MUCH. BETTER. than traditional fondant. (I hear Buddy saying it in his Hoboken, NJ accent every time I type that word.)

I made the mistake (well, multiple ones, really...but I digress...again...) of having her help me make it two days before I needed it, which made it REALLY hard to roll out later. She was gracious enough to come back over yesterday to help me roll them out and after HER day at bootcamp, her arms were like jelly and rolling them out simply exhausted her. So, when if I ever do these again, I'll make the fondant the day OF the ball assembly. We stored it in an airtight container:

So here's where things get stupid complicated. Yesterday (remember, Father's Day is the next day) Gina and I got to work...she rolled out the fondant and after realizing I had NOTHING to cut cute little shield shaped pieces, we decided on rectangles:

And while she did that I got to work on melting Almond Bark (since I couldn't get candy melts in the city of Perry and running to Warner Robins with four children for only candy melts was NOT an option.) My theory was I'd melt the bark then add the gel blue food coloring (since following instructions is NOT my strong point). Well. Let me tell you. THAT doesn't work. It turns into a globby mess because it cools the bark too quickly. So failure theory number two was to melt the bark WITH the food coloring IN it. It LOOKED like it was going to work. For about 2 seconds:

Then it globbed up again in a nasty mess. I called Lacy, our ever available sitter extraordinaire, and she ran over while I ran to Wal-Mart for MORE Almond Bark. After discussing the bark plight with Gina, we decided since we couldn't have lovely blue candy melts...I'd just do Almond Bark (which is white) and blue sugar crystals (can you say diabetic COMA????).

Off to Wal-Mart I go...and in my ADD stupor (which happens daily) I get everything BUT almond bark including rotisserie chicken and broccoli and cheese and croissants for a lovely chicken wreath for dinner. I got home with no almond bark so my cake pop assembly comes to a screeching halt the day BEFORE father's day. ::sigh::

I was broken-hearted. Publix (2 miles away) doesn't carry it except during the holidays (jerks) and I was not about to run back to WM since we had to leave for bootcamp in less than an hour...SO I decided to stop BACK at WM on Sunday after I drop Matt to work AFTER church. Sheesh. DRAMA DRAMA DRAMA....I have to do EVERYTHING the hard way, it seems!

SO. I get something different called candy something or another right next to the Almond Bark thinking that the candy melt gods would smile better upon me with that and Alex and I start assembling.

I must say that when I pulled the balls out of the freezer, they had flat tops. SO...I just went with it. It was stressful enough trying to finish these things, so I wasn't ABOUT to add an extra step.

Pure and simple, they are an ugly mess. I used a red food coloring marker to write dad on the FAWN daunt.....and, in all their blockhead glory, stayed on the stick like good little cake pops should.

I never said I focus on perfection in baking...but I am SUCH a perfectionist in my other crafts. Go figure:

They took forever and I MAY try them again but with real candy melts and a not so moist cake. We'll see. But ugly or not, they were made with a lot of love. I hope they taste good...

Happy Father's Day!!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Oh my stars....HE IS FOUR!!!! And he's MINE!!!

Where does time go? I am so far behind blogging that it isn't funny. Add to it that I was in the hospital on A2's birthday and that I have yet to do his 4 year portraits and I feel like a total loser of a mom! But I have to remind myself that my days are full of loving on these babies and extra stuff isn't always top on the list.


My sweet boy, we fondly call A2 on chore charts, etc; turned 4 on March 2! WHEN did he change from this:

to this:

and from this:

to this last year:

to these recent snapshots:


My sweet boy is into everything. We are learning Bible verses in our morning homeschool quiet time. He is really good with "Love is Patient and Love is kind" 1 Corinfians tirteen four (spelled like he says it). He is learning his letters and numbers and talks up a blue streak around here. He is a loud little booger...after I asked the ENT today about his hearing, he said "it's's just the Y chromosome talking!" to which I had to laugh. He is all boy and is rough and tumble. Except with his sisters. He turns into pure mush and just wants to love on, kiss on, and protect his girls, as he calls them.

A2 has an amazing ability to retain lyrics to songs. He can hear a song once or twice and can sing it back to you. My favorite one was when I caught him singing "Our God is greater, Our God is stronger, God you are higher than any other. Our God is healer, awesome in power....our God....Our God..." Yes. Word. FOR. WORD. I am amazed. I can't wait to get my piano up here and start him playing. He has skills.

Talking about skills, the boy can flip. Like, literally. My dad gave the boys a trampoline for Christmas and when I first put him on it, he freaked OUT because he couldn't get his legs under him. We made him work through his fear, now it's his favorite place to be in the yard. The boy can do handless cartwheels and flips where he ALMOST lands on his feet again. Dude blows me away. It's so cute that Alex (A4) teaches him all the moves and Aslan gives credit to A4 saying "mom, Alex taught me how to flip!! I CAN DO IT!!!".

A2 is turning into a little man around the house as well. He does his chores MOSTLY without complaint and with a good attitude. He helps keep his room clean, moves the laundry from the dryer to my bed, keeps the living room picked up and collects the small trash bags throughout the house. All of this he does daily. I love how diligent he is becoming with his work.

He LOVES Garfield the cat, much to the joy of Aunt Gay (Matt's aunt). She works for Garfield the Cat's creator in marketing and always has goodies for the boys. He gets his words crossed up when talking about Garfield's movie "Pet Force". He crosses the sounds in "Fun Fest" (another Garfield movie) and so when he asks to watch "Pet Force" it comes out "Fart Force". He doesn't realize what he is saying and it is so funny (considering fart isn't a word we allow them to use in conversations).

He also loves his extended family. He ADORES going to DH's grandparents to visit and spend the night and LOVES when he sees Grandma W. He adores my parents (nana and papa) and DH's parents (DD and JJ) and he talks about Memaw (J's mom) all the time! He loves for his dad to visit and always looks forward to time with family.

A2 is never short on hugs and kisses for mom and LOVES to get in the floor to play with daddy. He is all about doing what A1 does and loves to teach A3 how to play pretend in her kitchen. Every single morning when I get A3 up, A2 runs to her and wants to cover her in kisses. It's a must.

With his favorite kiddos in the world:

He is a child of much compassion and a love for worshipping Jesus. He LOVES going to Waumba Land at church and counts the days until Sunday rolls around again. I love his teachable spirit and every day I get to spend as his mom!

Oh big boy, you make my heart do cartwheels, I love watching you grow and learn and love. You are my favorite 4 year old and I am so blessed to call you mine!!