Monday, December 17, 2012

Get it out.

A very honest and vulnerable statement from me. 

My friends, so many of us are hurting because of Friday's insanity, for one of many reasons.  We have little ones that were hard to let go of this morning.  We are teachers and had to face today with less than a sense of safety in our classrooms.  We are moms and dads who can't imagine the pain those parents are feeling.  And many, many other reasons.

Most importantly I'll gently ask you to pray. Even if it's been a while.  Or a really, really long while.  Or you never have before.  Or you're not sure any"one" is there.  Tell God that you are angry and sad and don't understand. God wants us to bring it all to God. Get it out. Do not keep this hurt inside.  I can tell you from personal experience, God is the only way I have gotten over some very difficult things in my life.  I tried to handle it myself.  It didn't go well (at all) till I realized I had no other choice but to ask for God's help.  And the help came.  And I got (am getting) over it.  Pray.  God's there.

Also, we are meant to live in community.  Talk frankly with at least one person about your hurt,  Do not let it ruminate inside.  I am generally not one to lay it all out on the table.  It quite frankly scares me to be so vulnerable.  But I had a good "chat" (yes, texting counts) with a friend and I really do feel better.  Be vulnerable with at least one person that you trust.

And it's ok to cry.

Hugs and love,
Mama J

Monday, July 9, 2012

Back at it...

....I have less than 2 weeks till I say "I do" or I will, or whatever it is that I wrote into my vows ;).  And Thank the Good Lord! that it's not more.  I'm so sick of wedding stuff, and all the stress it entails, I could yak.  The next time DD and I get married, we're eloping.  JK. 

So after a less than relaxing trip up North for a "vacation" (that's a whole other post), I'm back at finishing up the last details.  And I keep going back in my head to a little funny DD said the other day.  It involved me and a squirt gun.  We had been on my neighbors porch the other night and DD and I had just missed a very spirited discussion about politics between two of our neighbors.  I told them I was going to get one of the kids squirt guns out if they kept it up.  Somehow it morphed (via DD) into me having a squirt gun at the wedding if people got out of line. 

So now in my head, when I need a little chuckle, I picture me, in my wedding dress, all gussied up, with the biggest super soaker made, strapped to my back.  Anyone gets lippy, or starts complaining about something, all I have to do is reach over my shoulder, grab my water gun and BAM! they get a good squirt of water.  (Think Princess Vespa in Spaceballs, in her wedding dress, gun in hand, after she blows the smoke out of her (yes I know) real gun after she blows down a bunch of clones - I promise I would only use a water gun ;) )

This makes me chuckle.  It possibly might keep me sane in the next two weeks. 

Good day all.  I'm going to call my seamstress and see if my dress is done.  I wonder if it's too late to sew in a holster???

Thanks Natalie for the pic!

Sunday, July 8, 2012

20 Things a mother should tell her son

OK, so just for the record, I didn't write a single word of the following "20 Things", but it was so well written, I HAD to repost it!. Great job Wedyab!

1. You will set the tone for the sexual relationship, so don't take something away from her that you can't give back.

2. Play a sport. It will teach you how to win honorably, lose gracefully, respect authority, work with others, manage your time and stay out of trouble. And maybe even throw or catch.

3. Use careful aim when you pee. Somebody's got to clean that up, you know.

4. Save money when you're young because you're going to need it some day.

5. Allow me to introduce you to the dishwasher, oven, washing machine, iron, vacuum, mop and broom. Now please go use them.

6. Pray and be a spiritual leader.

7. Don't ever be a bully and don't ever start a fight, but if some idiot clocks you, please defend yourself.

8. Your knowledge and education is something that nobody can take away from you.

9. Treat women kindly. Forever is a long time to live alone and it's even longer to live with somebody who hates your guts.

10. Take pride in your appearance.

11. Be strong and tender at the same time.

12. A woman can do everything that you can do. This includes her having a successful career and you changing diapers at 3 A.M. Mutual respect is the key to a good relationship.

13. "Yes ma'am" and "yes sir" still go a long way.

14. The reason that they're called "private parts" is because they're "private". Please do not scratch them in public.

15. Peer pressure is a scary thing. Be a good leader and others will follow.

16. Bringing her flowers for no reason is always a good idea.

17. Be patriotic.

18. Potty humor isn't the only thing that's humorous.

19. Please choose your spouse wisely. My daughter-in-law will be the gatekeeper for me spending time with you and my grandchildren.

20. Remember to call your mother because I might be missing you.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Short and sweet...

...Cause I should be making signs for the wedding right now... and a bunch of other crap, er I mean stuff.

I'm wondering if I get my picture taken for my new license?  I'm down with that.  My current picture is of me with more, not less, of me to love as I currently am...  Yes that sounds vain I know.  And I don't really get carded much these days anyway, mostly becuase I don't go out that much A.C. as B.C. (before children you know).  Anywho, I'm hoping I do.  New name, new pic?

Also, a friend shared this with me, and it's so damn funny I HAD to share it with all 10's of you that will read this.

Read here, and prepary to laugh.  Even if you're not knee dip in wedding stuff, you'll find this funny!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Chocolate Covered Balls...

...are hard on your waistline - BUT oh so good. (Sorry for the blatant use of a shock factor ;)

So for Father's day I made a cheesecake then fired up the double boiler and made cheese cake balls out of them.  OH MY YUMMNESS.

If covering everything in chocolate wasn't so deadly for the waste line, I think I'd just keep a bowl of chocolate at the ready to dip stuff in.

And I'm convinced that Cake balls were conceived by some very thrifty person who had left over cake, left over frosting and happen to had some chocolate to melt. 

After I made the cheesecake balls, I made cake balls out the left over chocolate cake scraps and chocolate frosting I had from the kids party.  YUM.  Did I mention they had left over crushed Oreo in them?

Lemony Cheesecake Bars compliments of Betty Hartman at Grace Lutheran Church

*1.5 cups graham crackers
*1/3 cup sugar
*1/3 cup finely chopped pecans
*1/3 cup melted butter
*2 (8 oz) cream cheese softened
*1 (14 oz) can Sweetened Condensed Milk
*2 Eggs
1/2 cup lemon juice

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  In bowl, combine crumbs, sugar, pecans, and melted butter.  Reserve 1/3 cup crumb mixture.  Press remaining mixture into a 9x13 pan.  Bake 5 mins.  Cool.
2.  In bowl, beat cream cheese until fluffy.  Gradually beat in Sweetened Condensed Milk.  Add eggs, beat till combined.  Add lemon juice, stir till combined.  Carefully spoon mixture into crust in pan.  Spoon reserved crumb mixture to cover.
3.  Bake about 30 mins or until knife comes out clean.
Store in the Refrigerator.

For my cheesecake balls, I pulsed the graham crackers and pecans only and set aside.  I made the cheesecake filling as is (making sure to put it in a glass pan so I didn't scratch the bottom when I was scooping).  I used a melon baller to scoop out a ball, then dropped it in the crumbs, using a spoon to cover and compress the cheesecake (I did mine when it was still a bit warm - I think it would have been easier to make the balls if it had been cool).  I put the balls in the freezer for 10 mins (mine were still warm remember?) then dipped half of them in chocolate, covering some of them in more crumbs.  Some I put pop sticks in before I put them in the freezer (dipped in chocolate the pushed in the ball)



This is what is left of the chocolate covered cheesecake balls.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Hot Dog! (Photo heavy post)

As requested

Mickey Mouse Clubhouse Cake
This cake took half as long to make as the Mickey Mouse Heads, but I'm way happier with it.
This idea came from the Disney website.  I made a chocolate cake and a white cake in 9x13's and torted them both.  In all three layers I put a layer of 7 minute frosting and crushed oreos (recipe to follow).  Then I covered it in a no-fail butter cream recipe.  The Disney site has a template to print and lay on the cake so you just "color in the lines".  It was actually pretty easy.  The filling was really good!  I'll do this again.

GG's 7 Minute Frosting (Marshmallow type frosting)
2 eggs
3/4 C Sugar
1/4 tsp Salt
1/4 tsp Cream of Tartar
2 tsp Water
1/3 Cup Karo Syrup
1 tsp vanilla

Combine and beat with a mixer over a double broiler for 7 minutes.  Remove from heat and use Immediately. Enough frosting to cover one bake.  Very good with chocolate cake!

Mickey Mouse "Smash Cake"

Mickey Mouse Smash Cake, #2

The Mickey Mouse head cakes were one recipe of chocolate cake mix baked in 1 nine inch round and 2 six inch round cake pans.  The six inch pans were the heads and I cut 4 circles (I used a sippy cup top for a pattern) with a crescent type shape cut out of each circle for the ears.  I drew a face on a piece of paper, layed this over the crumb coated cake and traced the face on, then frosted.

Mickey Mouse Cookie Pops
These were fun and easy to make!
These were simple.  Use Oreos, mini Oreos and sticks.  Take the covers off both the big and little oreos, using knife to scrape if necessary all the center of the Oreo onto one side.  Melt chocolate (I used chocolate Almond Bark) over a double broiler over low heat (you don't want to lose the temper of the chocolate).  Dip the sticks in the chocolate, push into the cream center of the oreo.  Dip a corner of two mini oreos and place on big Oreo for ears.  Place a dab of chocolate on the cream center for "glue" and put the cover back on.  Place in fridge (after you have a batch done) for five minutes then cover the whole thing chocolate.  Simple and really good!

There are a lot of great tips I've found from Wilton.

Monday, June 11, 2012

I survived :)

Oy, I made it.

The last week was busy, stressful, hot, full of family, music, palm trees and cakes.

I finished (almost) the set for our VBS that started today.  Myself and a friend (along with another made flowers) made a bunch of palm trees (think 2-12' palm trees), a fiery furnace (think Rack, Shack and Benny), a jail, a tomb, and a house (fridge and lawnmower box).  Oh yeah and a waterfall.  Done.  Washed my hands of that (basically) last Thursday after a stressful day of almost finishing up.  I still need to make the inside more jail like.  But that's Thursday after VBS is done that day.

I'm going to brag on myself a little bit.  I'm pretty proud of what we accomplished.

Today, and the rest of this week, I'm "security".  I have the best job this year.  It's so cake.  I need a cake job during VBS this year.  'Cause mama's tired.

Friday, I made three cakes, two Mickey Mouse heads - one each for Thing 1&2, and I made the Clubhouse (it had marshmellow frosting and crushed oreo between the tiers-yum!).  Oh and these really cute and yummy Mickey Mouse cookie pops out of oreos (double and mini's - mine were plain, dipped completely)  Idea from pinterest of course!

Saturday, I took the kiddos to a family music festival that happens to be a few miles away from us called "Joyful Noise."  It was hot and humid, but I think at least Thing 1 had fun.  It had like 10 bouncy things, a few rides and live music (Christian bands) all day.  I'm really glad I didn't have to pay for Thing 2 - she was only interested in the train and sand tables (funny how we have those things at home, NOT the bouncies that we don't have)  Oh well.  Thing one had fun at his first concert.  We stayed for 7 hours (DD came and got Thing 2 for a nap at 1:00 and brought us lunch).  We saw 2 of the three acts I had wanted to see (We saw Jason Gray and Go Fish, missed Matt Maher :( )Thing 1 got tired of sitting, and wanted another train ride).  We had cotton candy.  It was fun.  Really hot, but fun.  Did I mention the high was 92? 

After Thing 1 and I got home, I was so hot, and tired, and tired of people I swore I wasn't going back to see the last act like I had planned (wrist band - you could re-enter).  I rinsed off and made a cocktail. It was great to sit, and be cool in my house.  I really didn't think I was going back.  Then we put the kids to bed, and I kept thinking about how much I wanted to go back.  So I did.  And I'm so glad I did.

I got there to see part of the second to last act, Peter Furler.  He was awesome.  I wish I had seen the whole thing.  (I looked for a good youtube video of him - none of them come close to how "awesomer" he is in concert.  He cranks it to 11, let me just say)  I first found a seat further back in the stands.  It had a semi obstructed view and decided, you know what?  I thought, I have no kids.  I don't even have my purse (shoved the bare essentials in my pockets).  I'm going up front to the pit.  So I did.  It was loud and crowded and awesome.  I helped throw a beach ball around.  And the sunset was beautiful.

I was on the left side of the "pit".  Do you see my pink shirt (JK - I can't see me either - but I'm there!)

After Peter Furler, a few people left and I got a middle spot for Toby Mac.  And oh my, what a great show.  Here is one of the many songs I love of his.  I can't begin to describe how much fun it was.  And, more importantly, how absolutely I felt God's love pouring down on me that night.  My Father loved on me totally and completely that night.  It was an amazing night.

It took me an hour to get home.  Did I mention I live three miles away?  Yeah, the Blaine Sports Center is not prepared for mass exodus.  I'll plan better next time. 

I didn't get anything done for the party that day.  Oh well.  I'd rather make memories than a clean house 8)

Late night, early morning getting ready for the kiddos birthday party.  My sisters came early to help.  We were actually kind of on time, even a little early by the time the guests arrived.  The new recipes tried were good, the kids had fun, I had a good time with friends and family, it didn't RAIN or STORM.  It was a great day.

We got the kids to bed early (Thing 2 fell asleep in about 2 seconds).  I went and poured a glass of wine and sat down and fell asleep on the couch 30 mins later.  I was one tired mama. 

But it was all worth it.

Monday, June 4, 2012

I should be folding laundry

Literally.  And I have about 8 thousand things I should/could be doing.  And here I sit, on the couch, laptop on top of my lap, glass of wine at my side and bag of chips and top the tator who I showed who's boss.'s one of the those nights.  I'm tired, itchy (took a Claritan, not helping so far), and a bit pms-y (yep sorry any guys who happen to reading and hence the chips and dip), and I have a blister on my thumb which is really annoying me.

I have SO much on my plate, I'm feeling a bit like crawling into the fetal position at the moment (could I still drink my wine???).  I've got the kids birthday party on Sunday and I've done bub kiss for that besides the planning of the food/cakes etc.  I got "promoted" from worker bee of decorations for VBS to in charge of VBS decorations.  And the blister is from cutting palm leaves, of which I still have about 3/4 to cut still.  Did I mention VBS starts the day after my kids party?  And set up is the day of the party? (Good thing, a VERY competent person is taking charge that day or my OCD, Type A self would be having the shakes even more).  Oh yeah, and I'm getting married in 6 weeks.


And my house, well, parts of it are basically clean, some rooms, one of which I have to clean and ORGANIZE before Sunday looks like an F5 went through it.


And here I sit. 

On the plus side, going back to some of last posts, the gym thing is going well.  The other day I noticed my chin has more of  clef in it than before.  Yes, I've actually lost fat in my chin.  And I have to say, I really like how strong I feel.  I feel it incidentally throughout the day.  I'm pretty strong and I like it.  I like that I can binge a bit and my extra muscles can compensate.  (Mind you, this doesn't help in the weight loss, but at least it's not a weight gain).  I like that I've actually have weights on my bar when I bench.  It makes me feel slightly less like a girl when I'm doing it.  And my cardio side is definitely improving as well.  I kicked some serious but on both ends this morning at the gym.

Anyway, I should finish this glass and go to bed so I can get up and run off some of these potato chips and dip in the morning.  Oh and bake a couple cakes, fold a few dozen baskets of laundry and attempt to tackle the scary room.

Sigh.  Thanks for listening 10's of people who might read this.

Monday, May 14, 2012

5 Week Challenge, Week 2 Time Management

Yikes, time management.  That phrase seems oxy moronic to me.  My usual life seems more like, trying to check whatever things on my list are screaming at the front, while trying to raise two kids, clean house, grow my relationship with God (Yikes, why is that so far down on my list?) take care of myself with exercise, etc, etc, etc.  I feel like even when I attempt to "manage my time well", I'm never very good at it.  There are so many things I should/could be doing with my time.  Exercise, time with God/bible study, cleaning, quality time with the kids and DD fall on that list.  And yes, frankly, there are days I could be way better using my time.  As a wise friend said, "Every person is allotted exactly the same number of hours in every week.  How we use those hours is a matter of priorities and a conscious act of the will." 

I guess it's a good thing that Week 2's challenge of the the 5 Week Challenge at Women Living Well is time management.  I could use some.  Courtney talks about how we miss the gifts of life, from God, when we are running around like chickens with our heads cut off.  And I have to agree with her. Perhaps my problem, is my list of priorities.  Elizabeth Elliot writes in her book Discipline-The Glad Surrender:Time management, a highly developed science today, begins for the Christian with time set aside for God. Other things cannot fall into a peaceful order if this is omitted.”

As Courtney states, maybe we are putting too much on our plates, more than God would put himself.  Mmmmm.  I just listened to her video on the new series on Proverbs 31 she is starting today (and yes I want to start this one too) that even this noble woman did not do everything in one day.  So again, I need to prioritize, and realize Rome wasn't built in a day.   I really do love schedules, so I need to make a doable schedule and commit to sticking to it.

 If you aim at nothing, you will hit it every time. ~ Zig Ziglar

A wise man. 

So here's the weeks challenge. (From Courtney's blog)

Week 2 – Challenge:
1. Sit down and look at your calendar. Think about your priorities.
2. Pray and ask God to give you wisdom as to what you should be doing with your time.
3. Write out a list of what you need to get done this week – don’t forget to write in time with God! (you can use the free printable as a guide :) !)
4. Every morning this week, look over your to-do list. Pray and ask God for wisdom. Add, take away or move things on your list accordingly.
5. Continue this discipline next week and the week after. Soon you will find order and rhythm to your days and weeks.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

5 Week Challenge, and some other stuff

So after some busy days (and waking up on my own a little early today), let's talk about "The body", sunshine, gardening and other stuff. 

Today is technically day 7 of the first week of the 5 Week Challenge I have embarked on.  And technically speaking, I'm taking the day off - at least off of a super hard physical work out.  I'm pooped quite frankly.  Here's my week in recap.

Day 1 - strong start - good work out then weeding my garden all day.  I found a nest of baby chickadees in the pole of our satellite dish.  They're kind of cute to listen to when mama comes around with worms.
Day 2 - made myself go after said strong start and felt good I did
Day 3 - DD left early for work (no gym for me) and I tried to get some time in on the old Nordic Track we have.  Didn't go well for many reasons (mostly kid related), ended up doing yoga instead (not quite so strenuous, but at least I did something).
Day 4 - I slept through my alarm.  I really need to put my phone (alarm) away where my arm can't just shut it off on auto pilot.  Sorry, DD, you might have to learn to sleep through it, like I've learned to sleep through yours.  I finished weeding the garden.  Yeah, there were that many weeds
Day 5 - DD left early again for work, so again no gym for me.  Didn't even do yoga this time.  Thing 2 woke up early, and cuddle time on the couch got the best of me.  I did do some random work outside so I at least got some movement in.
Day 6 - Laid sod, was ATTACKED by my allergies (think spigot opening) reworked the mounds in my garden, and planted the garden.  Took shower and was comatose the rest of evening - THANK YOU DD for taking over kid responsibilities - I was done last night!
Day 7 - today, I'm a little sore from yesterday, and it's Mother's Day, and mmmm, if I think a little longer I'm sure I could find another reason not to go to the gym.  Are they even open on such a solemn holiday as this??? ;)  I will probably take the kids for a walk (or maybe I'll take a quite one myself)  Today is going to be another amazing weather day - I will not miss it.

So, in recap: 
*For the challenge, I did O.K.  could have been better.  Could have done worse.
*I need to move my phone away from my immediate arm range (this shouldn't be too hard - I have T-rex arms)
*I hope the baby birds survive the curiosity of my children and the heat.
*Allergies suck (this was a monster attack I think brought on by the sod laying?
*Apart from the allergy attack, I'm so thankful, it is not my every day job to lay sod - Holy Guacamole would I be in great shape if it was!
* I'm happy the garden is in (short of one pack of seeds and a few more pepper plants).
*Today is MOTHER'S DAY!!!  It is one of my two self declared P.T.O. days.  Today I shall neither "cook nor change diapers" :)

Happy Mother's Day everyone!  Enjoy your kids, the day, the sun, and everything else the good Lord has blessed you with :)

A view of the garden, and the satelite pole, a.k.a home to our new bird friends.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

5 Week Challange: Week 1, Day 2

As I posted a few days ago, I've decided to start a 5 Week Challenge.  The 5 areas of Discipline are: Body, Mind, Spirit, Time and Work.  The first week is Body, 'cause my body's improving but we're still trying to go from "Old and Busted to New Hotness"

It's been a good two days of my 5 week challenge.  Yes, it's only been two days, BUT, I've had a small change in mind set after only these two days because of something I read on Women Living Well

Elizabeth Elliot wrote: “Discipline, for a Christian, begins with the body. We have only one. It is this body that is the primary material given to us for sacrifice. If we didn’t have this, we wouldn’t have anything. We are meant to present it, offer it up, give it unconditionally to God for His purposes. This we are told is a “spiritual act of worship.” (Romans 12:1)

Yesterday I had a good work out in the morning - I lifted (whole body) and did 20 minutes of cardio after.  Then I spent about 6 hours weeding my garden.  Weeding is not the most strenuous thing I realize, but after lifting my muscles definitely felt the extra challenge I gave them yesterday.  I was T-I-R-E-D when I finally called it quits yesterday to come in and shower and feed the fam.  When I went to bed last night, I briefly contemplated skipping my work out this morning since I had done so much yesterday.  But the thought that my body is a gift from God spoke to me.  So I got up and did my thing this morning.  And I'm glad I did.  Especially since I won't make it to the gym tomorrow and possible Thursday (DD is out of town working).

Today will be an easier day for me.  It's going to rain off and on today so I've pretty much written off going outside to weed or otherwise (sorry kids).  I've got laundry to fold that will get done today, and some reading I have to do for my women's bible study tomorrow morning.  Maybe I'll even vacuum and clean the bathrooms since I'll be busy tomorrow morning and then it's going to be nice tomorrow and Thursday (I don't stay in and clean when it's gorgeous outside - that's just crazy talk). 

So with that in mind, I better answer some emails and get off my computer :) 

Have a great day everyone!


Sunday, May 6, 2012

Back on Track

So I've been a bit...preoccupied with my upcoming nuptials.  My advice, don't try to plan even a small-ish wedding in 3.5 months (especially with the first few weeks I was abstaining from drinking - yeah, I said that)... Aye

So with most of the big stuff checked off my list, I need to get back on track with the rest of my life.  One of the blogs I follow, Women Living Well, posted this challenge "5 Weeks, 5 Disciplines, 5 Challenges"

They are actually on week 5... It seemed like a good idea at the time, but yeah, that didn't happen.  I saw she posted the week 5 challenge, and I grabbed it and read it.  I'm doing it. 

Thursday, April 19, 2012

I Heart the Interweb...

So DD and I have decided to get married this summer (I’m assuming there are some of you whose jaw just dropped, for various reasons).  A small, simple, tasteful occasion is what I’m trying to plan. (Though the small part keeps growing, and does it count for tasteful that I’m making a “washroom” around and covering the port a potty with a tent?)  I’ve got most of the important stuff done, and now I’m trying to get more of the fun stuff done (decorations, food, etc.)  Seriously, how did people do anything before the interweb (as my favorite T.V. doc would say)?

                Where’s the best price for flowers?  What exactly can I all get at Costco?  Where can I get white lunch bags?  Ask the internet.  I’ve pre-shopped my dress, my bridesmaid’s dresses, and shoes.    And don’t forget Pinterest with its plethora of ideas on everything!   I’ve learned it won’t be a good idea to have a unity candle because what if it’s windy? (It’s an outdoor ceremony).  As the article said “Awwwwkard if it blows out!” 

                And I’m praying it won’t rain that day….I wonder if I can Google a way to figure out that???? ;)

Tuesday, March 27, 2012


DD and I par took (sp?) in our local DQ's "Customer Appreciation Day."  Yep, I better get up early, early and hit the gym before he leaves early for out of town.

Double Fudge Cookie Dough Blizzard and Raspberry Truffle Blizzard taste very good when shared together.  Though we couldn't get Thing 1&2 to try it that way.  Next time, we will get a Raspberry Double Fudge Cookie Dough Blizzard and call it a day.  Splitting one between four isn't bad right?

Friday, March 16, 2012

Map project

Here is a map project I'm doing with Thing one for our map unit.  I've added this to learning his address in the information part of the amazing preschool curriculum I'm following.

I'm using the following to try to explain maps. (that's an abstract thought for a young one)

And I got the following map project from my sister.  My niece made something similar in preschool This is not the finished project.  I'll have to update when this is done.

You draw out outlines of the continents, and with a safety pin, punch out the continents.  This will be a long going project I know.  After they are all punched out, I'll have Thing 1 paint a large piece of paper blue, and we'll attach the continents with rubber cement.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

"More like falling in love"

"God is Agape. We love because He first loved us. When you fall in love with someone, you can't control it. You start talking and acting different, and that's how it is when you get filled with the Holy Spirit" ~ Anonymous response on YouTube

It feels so wonderful to be loved so completely, so unconditionally.  If I, as a completely messed up human, can love my kids as much as I do, imagine how wonderfuly God can love me. :)  It just makes me feel warm inside.  Kind of like falling in love :)  I am totally, head over heels, "swept off my feet" in love... and it's amazing.

"More like falling in love" Jason Gray  (I'm pretty sure he wrote this song about me ;)

Give me rules
I will break them
Give me lines
I will cross them
I need more than a truth to believe
I need a truth that lives, moves, and breathes
To sweep me off my feet
It ought to be

More like falling in love
Than something to believe in
More like losing my heart
Than giving my allegiance
Caught up, called out
Come take a look at me now
It's like I'm falling, oh
It's like I'm falling in love

Give me words
I'll misuse them
I'll misplace them
'Cause all religion ever made of me
Was just a sinner with a stone tied to my feet
It never set me free
It's gotta be


...It's like I'm falling in love, love, love
Deeper and deeper
It was love that made
Me a believer
In more than a name, a faith, a creed
Falling in love with Jesus brought the change in me

written by: INGRAM, JASON / GRAY, JASON;

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Summer Bucket List

     So I was inspired by another blogger's awesome idea of making a Summer Bucket List for the kids.

     Today's springy weather got me talking about my Bucket List with my next door neighbor, great friend, "aunt" who often helps wrangle my children so we can go out on adventures.  I will take, want, need all the help I can get.  She's awesome.
     Here's my Short List...  This will hopefully grow as I find things to do.  (Still trying to picture how I will make this a fun visual thing for the kids.)
  • Sculpture Park
  • Walk to local Ice Cream store for cones
  • Decorate Bikes/Trikes
  • Picnic at the Park
  • Living Room Sleepover
  • Baseball game?
  • Sno cones
  • Water balloon fight
  • Children's Museum
  • Water park
  • Como
  • Treat Tuesday
  • Craft Thursday
  • Catch fireflies
  • Bonfires (hopefully lots, at least with Thing 1)
  • Write letters
  • Make forts
  • Sonic happy hour
  • Lake Harriet walk around with ice cream after
  • Local city swimming area
Have any other ideas???

Monday, March 12, 2012

Lucy or Martha?

    Today, Thing 1 came to me and said he wanted to make a carrot cake.  After deciding it would be a nice way to warm up the house (it just seemed cold on this drab, rainy day) I said yes.  I informed DD via text.  He gave me the dancing for joy emoticon.  (Carrot cake is his favorite cake.  One of the only cakes he likes actually).    I was going to tort it.  With cream cheese frosting.  I briefly contemplated making orange and green frosting and making little carrots on it (don't worry that wasn't going to happen!).  This was going to be a grand cake indeed.
    So I found a 5 star rated recipe.   I had even found a recipe modification that made the original a little more "healthy."  I grated carrots.  I assembled my "mis en place" of ingredients.  I preheated the oven with my baking stone (because baking geniuses know baking stones are good for even heat when baking.) and prepped the pans.  I got my mixer mixing.  The batter looked beautiful and smelled great.  I poured it in the pans and put it in my well heated oven (double checking my oven thermometer to make sure the temp was correct - as a baking genius would do of course). 

     The timer rang and I grabbed a toothpick to check the doneness.  Tooth pick came out clean so I put them on a cooling rack and set the timer for 10 minutes to flip them out the pans to cool.

     This is where the baking choir starts to sound a bit off key.

     I  expected the cakes to flip out no problem (since I am a baking genius - they should have popped right out, right?).  Yeah, they didn't. 

     I used a plastic knife to go around the edges (even though they looked like they had pulled away).  They didn't come out.  I did a toothpick check again.  Not done.  (The baking genius must have tooth picked the outside of the cake, where it was done - doh!)

     I decided to put the cakes back into the oven (thank goodness the baking genius had a still hot baking stone in it right?).  I pulled them out five minutes later.  I did this several times before I realized the baking genius had forgot to turn the oven back on.

     The baking choir is sounding pretty terrible at this point.  At this point, this is feeling more like an episode of  "I love Lucy" than "Martha Stewart Living."

     I turn the oven back on and put the cakes back in.  After 10 minutes, I pull them out and let them cool.  At this point I'm worried I'm just drying the outside out and possibly burning the bottom.  I put them outside to quick cool.  After flipping them out, part of the bottom ripped off.  They for sure still weren't done inside.
     You might be saying, "Give Up".   Bake a new one. To this I say "Never"!  I am too stubborn.  I don't like to be defeated.  I hate wasting food.  I already had the cream cheese frosting made.  DD was expecting carrot cake.  He even made the "dancing for joy" emoticon.  He doesn't get worked up over much.

     At this point I turn to Google.  Here's when I tried to microwave one of them.  Shockingly that didn't work either.

     While I was nuking it one last time, I found a "fix" for cake mistakes.  Turn heavy, underdone cakes into pudding.  I am starting to feel like more of a genius again.  Well at least I'm happy this cake hasn't totally gotten the best of me. 

     I whipped some eggs, milk, and brown sugar (I was out of vanilla at this point), cut the cakes into cubes, threw it all into a greased 9x13, and put it back into my still hot oven for 45 mins at 350 degrees. (thank you baking stone).  And, yes I did turn the oven back on this time.

    I let it cool and frosted it. 

    It's actually pretty good.  (Maybe it's the cream cheese frosting?)

    Moral of the story, if life gives you underdone, dried out carrot cake, make pudding instead!

Nuf said :)
I will try a new cake tomorrow.  Or Wednesday when DD comes back home from working. DD brought more vanilla home.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Whines and Thankfulness

     Today's post is brought to you by the letter C for "cold", as in the cold my lovelies have given me.  I have been battling this cold since Saturday-ish, and thought I was on the uptick till I woke up this morning.  I had even set my alarm to get up and go to the gym this morning. 

     Yeah, that didn't happen.  I woke up feeling like a truck hit me.  Shut off my alarm and went back to sleep (thankfully).  Woke back up an hour later with the kids, made DD his breakfast sandwich, poured some Honey Nut Cheerios for the rest of us, then plopped down on the couch.  (I set up my little nest before I plopped).

     So here's my whine.  I am SO TIRED OF GETTING SICK FROM MY KIDS.  I feel like I have been sick more than I have been healthy this winter.  I thought my secret weapon of drinking Emergen-C every day would help me fend off the germies like it seemed to last year.  Yeah, either it was a happy stroke of luck and coincidence, or they're making it different this year.  Is it possible that I seems to have these lovely colds longer than my children do???  I swear it feels like I do.  Every cold I get seems to sign a long term lease with my sinuses.  I feel better than I did earlier this morning, but if I move around too much, I get that overwhelming I feel like yuck feeling.

    I was supposed to get the house clean today.   I had talked about lunch with a friend.  This cold did not get my memo apparently.

     OK, now my list of Thankfulness.  
  • I am thankful my job allows me to still be in my jammies.
  • I am thankful no one in this house cares they are still in their jammies.
  • I am thankful I save back toys after each Christmas and bdays to pull out on days like today (thanks sis - the block/crayons are a big hit with both of them!).
  • I am thankful my kids play together so well.
  • I am thankful for my humidifier and liquid Vicks (generic of course)
  • I am thankful I have leftovers both for lunch and for dinner tonight.
  • I am thankful it will be nap time soon enough.
  • I am thankful for PBS and Disney Jr.
  • I am thankful for the time to (hopefully) work on my Sunday Evenings at Grace stuff and/or read some.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Cheeseburger Pizza, Not quite there...

     So tonight, Dear Dad (DD) is working late, and I was scrambling my brain as to what to make Thing 1&2 and myself for dinner.  (For those of you Stay At Home Parents I know I am not alone when I say dinner morphs when DD isn't present. It usually goes towards the breakfast for supper or "brupper" as I call it (even though I call it dinner usually), or something really easy, or something that I'm not sure DD will eat).  Tonight, there would be no brupper, as I'm out of eggs (not in the mood to drag two kids to the store), and then I thought of picking up a $5.00 pizza (they have a drive though, and they're not half bad for $5.00), then I thought, "hey, why don't we make a pizza".  Of course Thing 1 wanted pepperoni, and something in me said "cheeseburger pizza." 

    So I threw all the good stuff in my mixer, made some dough, and proceeded to make the pizzas - kiddos first of course.  The pepperoni pizza was pretty straight forward, with the exception that Thing 1 insisted that it be in the shape of a triangle.  For Easter.  (He decided this should be the recognized shape of Easter - triangle Easter chocolates coming your way soon ;).  So a triangle pizza we made.

    While that one was cooking I made up mine.  I had memories of Godfather's Cheeseburger Pizza floating through my head the whole time.  Unfortunately, it didn't quite turn out how my memory expected it to be :(  It was, OK, but not great.  The crust was good and crunchy, and the flavor was OK, but only so.  I was going for mouthwatering, I want to eat the whole thing, great.

Here's what I did:
  • Dough (I added garlic and onion powder to it)
  • Sauce (equal parts Miracle Whip and Ketchup with a good squirt of mustard)
  • Browned Beef/Turkey mix seasoned
  • Mix of Cheddar and Mozzarella cheese
  • Dill Pickle coins
     I made it on parchment paper, on top of my Epicurean  (got it for 40% off at my fave Knife sharpening place) cutting board, for ease of transfer.  (I'm in love with this cutting board - it's heat resistant for one thing - but that's another post).  Baked it on the parchment for 10 minutes on my pizza stone at 400 degrees, then slid the paper out, so the crust could crisp up, and cooked for another 10 minutes.

Here's what I think I'll do next time
  • Pizza Sauce this time? Or leave out one of the three condiment/sauces
  • Either use relish in the condiment sauce so there is more pickly-ness to it, or at least at pickle juice to sauce.  Or add pickles after it's cooked
  • Add sauteed onions to toppings (I was too lazy to unthaw mine from the freezer)
  • Add Crumbled Bacon
  • Plan ahead and have lettuce and tomato to shred to top after it's cooked
     So I'm wondering if anyone has made lately a cheeseburger pizza they really loved?  Or have you dined at Godfather's and had their deliciousness lately (I'm really curious if they use a red sauce or a condiment sauce)?  Any pointers?  Any thoughts on what I could do for next time?

     Maybe I'll try recreating a BLT pizza next time.  Jet's Pizza makes a mean BLT hand tossed....yum...good thing I made the gym this morning ;)

***Editor's Note: I'm feeling better about my creation - DD just got home and had some - he said it was "yummy."  I'm also feeling good about myself that I was able to save $$ by making this at home.  I was looking through today's mail and noticed a Papa Murphy's ad for a Cheeseburger Pizza for $10 - $12 for the family size.  ***

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Being Real 2/26

    So I just read an interesting article that spoke to me in a way I was surprised at. I must admit "What I Learned from my 46 day beer fast" sounds more like a college frat movie than an introspection on seeking help from God, but it was.  And it made me think on my own journey.  I have two goals/fasts this Lenten Journey: no alcohol and a daily devotion.  So far I'm batting .500.

    The first day (Ash Wednesday) was no problem, even when Andy opened a bottle of wine with dinner.  It smelled good.  It would have tasted good with the meal, but I had no problem declining, or having it on the table in front of me.  (Hopefully this should help ease the minds of those concerned that I might need to find a local A.A.)   But I have to say, every day since then I have wanted something.  Anything.  Now I swear this isn't a disease talking, I'm certain this is human nature (the devil maybe?) talking.  I was told (by myself) that I couldn't have something, and now I want it.  The habits I see in my kids, and their cousins/friends/other little kids continues on into adulthood.  You told me I can't have it.  And even though I didn't want it before, now I do.  Just because.

     But the cool thing that I've discovered (again) is that a quick little prayer helps.  Almost immediately, amazingly enough.  And as I read the article, I see a little more clearly why my fast is good for my relationship with God.   "In order to refocus on God, [monks] engaged this annual practice not only to endure sacrifice, but to stress and rediscover their own shortcomings in an effort to continually refine themselves." 

     (Here's my light bulb for today).  I am weak without God.  But with Him, all things are possible.  This fast is not meant to deprive myself, but to remind me how much easier things are with Him.  This excites me.  It comforts me.  My Father is there to help me and take care of me.  He loves me and only wants the best for me, just as I only want the best for my children (this is very relatable to me).  He wants me to ask for help.  He wants me to come to Him with everything.

    Now I see I need to ask His help in my daily devotion.  I managed to get last Wednesday in, but haven't been back since.  I could give you a list of reasons why, some more valid than others, but mostly I will say, quite frankly, I am weak.  I need His help.  I see even more clearly now.

Dear God, HELP, love me.

I will leave you with this song Prince of Darkness by the popped into my head when I was writing this.  I love it, and it seems VERY appropriate at the moment.  (The video's not great - here are the lyrics jic)

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Meat Loaf Recipe (compliments of MIL)

Yeah, I'm sure everyone has their own recipe, but this one deserves a try - it's so tasty!  I got it from my MIL - it is my go to recipe for meatloaf!

1  Egg

1 tsp.  Poultry Seasoning (*this is what MAKES the recipe)

1/4 Cup  Minced Onion

2-3 Lbs  Hamburger

1 Cup  Milk

dash  Pepper

4 Cups  Rice Krispies - Crushed

1 - 8 oz  Mozzarella Cheese Shredded and/or Mozzarella sticks ripped into half put down the center in middle of meat)


(*Original recipe called for 2 tsp. Salt - I omit - I feel the Poultry Seasoning and cheese have plenty of salt)

Mix together except for cereal and cheese

Add cereal and cheese - mix by hand.  If you are just using the mozzarella sticks - put half (or a quarter if you're doing two loaves) mix in the pan, put the mozz sticks in, then cover with the rest of the mix.  Another cool idea, put in muffin tin pans.  Then you have individual servings that can be frozen and reheated as necessary.

Bake 350 degrees.  One big loaf for 1-1/2 to 2 hours Uncovered, or split into two loaves for 1 hour each (I freeze the second one usually - or cook both both this way if I'm pressed for time which is almost always...)  If you are using muffin tins, bake for about 45 mins.  All meat should be cooked to appropriate temps - remember carry over times (but that's another page;))
Baste ketchup on top after baked, and broil till it just starts to brown.
Not my own pic (coming the next time I make one I'll switch it) - thx Food is a Blessing!

Homecooked meals when I don't feel like cooking.

This is what you make for dinner when you really don't feel like cooking (or have the time, anything planned, whatever) - build an arsenol of food in your freezer  (without a lot of extra work).

To easily build a freezer full of meals with minimal extra work, follow this easy simply tip I read in a blog somewhere.  
Couldn't get the picture to turn :(
  1. When you make a recipe that goes in a pan to double it (or triple). 
  2. In your extra pan(s) put a layer of tinfoil down first (with extra to wrap over top).  Construct the dish as normal (with out fresh veggies/crunchies etc.). 
  3. Wrap extra tinfoil over the top.  Freeze till solid in the baking dish. 
  4. Take out of dish, put in ziptop bag (using a straw to suck out extra air).  LABEL the dish with date and what it is and put back in freezer. 
  5. When you're ready to make it, put the casserole back in the original dish, rip off the extra tinfoil (but save in case you need to cover to stop browning) and cook for 1.5 the normal time it would take unfrozen (if it normally takes 1 hour, cook for 1.5 hours).  I do keep an eye on it so it doesn't get too brown on top.
  6. Add any fresh veggies/crunchies you would normally add. 
  7. The best part - if you're careful with the tinfoil when you dish up, no/little cleaning! :D
If I'm doing this with meatloaf, I let it sit on the counter for maybe 10 minutes so I can peel it out of the tinfoil and still use my meatloaf pan.  This method allows you to have bunch of home cooked meals in your freezer that don't take up much space.  You get your dishes back same day (really within a few hours).

Yeah, this one either :(

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Not designed by a parent

Today as Thing 1&2 and I were leaving our MOPS (Mother's Of Preschoolers) group, we had a bit more excitement than normal.  As usual it's always a tad of a struggle keeping Thing 1 with me as he wants to stay and play (and run around crazy) with his friends, while holding Thing 2 because, though she can walk, it's much faster if I carry her.  I kept the train going by telling Thing 1 he could push the elevator buttons if he got there before I did (he loves pushing buttons including mine :o as most boys his age do).  The three of us made it inside the elevator and I set Thing 2 down as it was starting to feel like I was carrying, well a 25 pound squirming child.  Thing 1 pushes the buttons like he should and of course Thing 2 wants to "help" too.  And what button does she push?  The button that was the most accessible to her small little hand.  The button that was in bright YELLOW.  The "Call for Help" button. (Did I mention the RED "Alarm" button was right above it?) 

Why, would the designer of this panel of buttons decide to put the most fun buttons which a child would be drawn to push where they are most accessible?

It's not like I didn't try to stop her.  But realistically, she was closer the buttons, and when a small child wants something, it is amazing how fast they can move. 

Now nothing bad happened.  I went to the office and told them what had happened so they could call the alarm company.  Not a huge deal.  I was told by another parent who I was regaling the story to, that it happens nearly every time we meet.

Clearly this panel was NOT designed by a parent!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Study on

Our church is focusing on the Habit of Study of God's Word. Starting tomorrow, there will be a few bible verses each day to read, then think on and journal on. If you are/were like me, when I started going back to church and wanted to get a Bible (other than the gold one I got when I was in parochial school - which would totally work, btw) I did go buy one, but now I use one on my phone.  On YouVersion you download an app to your phone (and/or follow it online) and get like almost every version of the bible out there (New King James, The Message Contemporary Living Version, etc). I like being able to easily flip between different version when a verse has me stumped. You can download reading plans (there are other Lent plans on You Version as well), you can listen to it on your phone (which I love for the gym). It's awesome.
Anyway, here's the reading plan for Lent from my church.  Study on :)

Here are perhaps three things you could journal when you read the verses: My observations, My response, and My questions.
Ash Wednesday (with downloadable journal pages)
Feb 22 Joel 2:1-2, 12-17
Feb 23 Psalm 51
Feb 24 2nd Corinthians 5:20 - 6:10
Feb 25 Matthew 6: 1-6, 16-21

First Week of Lent (with downloadable pages)
Feb 26 Genesis 9:8-17
Feb 27 Genesis 5:28-6:18
Feb 28 Genesis 6:11-22
Feb 29 Genesis 7: 1-24
March 1 Genesis 8: 1-12
March 2 Genesis 9:1-7
March 3 1 Peter 3:13-22

Second Week of Lent
March 4 Genesis 17: 1-7, 15
March 5 Genesis 12: 1-9
March 6 Genesis 13: 2-18
March 7 Genesis 15: 1-21
March 8 Genesis 16: 1-16
March 9 Genesis 18: 1 -15
March 10 Genesis 21: 1-7, 22: 1-19

Third Week of Lent
March 11 Exodus 20: 1-17
March 12 Exodus 2: 1-24
March 13 Exodus 6: 1-9
March 14 Exodus 16: 1-35
March 15 Exodus 19: 1-5
March 16 Exodus 23: 20 -33
March 17 Exodus 24: 1- 18

Fourth Week of Lent
March 18 Numbers 21: 4-9
March 19 Numbers 20: 1-13
March 20 Exodus 32: 1-34
March 21 Exodus 34: 1-10
March 22 Numbers 13: 1-3, 17- 32, 14: 1-12, 19-24
March 23 Deuteronomy 4: 5-20
March 24 Deuteronomy 4: 32-40

Fifth Week of Lent
March 25 Jeremiah 31: 31 -34
March 26 Ezekiel 36: 22-32
March 27 Ezekiel 37: 1-14
March 28 Luke 22: 14 - 23
March 29 Romans 2: 1-16
March 30 Hebrews 8 1-13
March 31 Hebrews 10: 11-25

Holy Week/Palm Sunday
April 1 Mark 11: 1-11
April 2 Mark 11: 12 -19
April 3 Mark 11: 20-12:27
April 4 Mark 12: 28 - 44

Maundy Thursday
April 5 Mark 14: 12-42

Good Friday
April 6 Mark 14: 43 - 15: 39
April 7 Mark 14: 42 - 47

April 8 Mark 16: 1 - 20