Sunday, May 29, 2011

Happy Kids!

Here are a few short videos of the kids... Hope they put a smile on your face. 

Levi turned 2 months old this week- hard to believe! He's a great baby- sleeps well, eats great, and smiles all the time. I am so in love with him- this is evident in my "baby voice." My whole tone of voice changes when I talk to Levi, which I didn't even realize until I heard myself on video. :)

Every evening when Luke is on his way home from work, he calls me when he is a few minutes away from home. I let the kids know that daddy is almost home. They throw on their shoes and run to wait on the front porch. Once his car starts to pull in, they jump and squeal. I always say they are a great welcoming committee. I tried to catch a little of the anticipation and excitement on video. I love the joy that Silas and Eliana have each day when Luke comes home. I am so thankful that Silas, Eliana, and Levi have such an amazing daddy!

Saturday, May 28, 2011


I started reading Karen Kingsbury's books a few years ago. She is fabulous author; if you haven't read any of her books, you should. (WARNING: You may neglect all other responsibilities while reading her books. They are that good. And you should probably read with a box of Kleenex nearby.)  Anyways, I won a contest on Facebook and was selected to be a part of team of readers who received and reviewed an advanced copy of her new book, "Learning," which will be released on June 21, 2011. Well the book arrived in the mail today. I can't wait to read it- and apparently I'm not the only one! :)

Eliana... a future Karen Kingsbury reader and fan...

Saturday, May 21, 2011


Can you tell this boy loves being a big brother? And he is an AMAZING big brother at that!

Friday, May 20, 2011

My love language: food

Growing up, a big aspect of our family was food. My mom is a fabulous cook- think along the lines of Martha Stewart. She made us breakfast every morning before school, packed us lunches, and we had dinner as a family every night. And on Sunday after church we had a feast- Sunday dinner. As a child, this was definitely not something I appreciated; it was just normal for our family. I remember my younger brother complaining about having to come home and eat Sunday dinner (which was probably something along the lines of roast beef, mashed potatoes and gravy, vegetables, salad, homemade rolls, and dessert- so nothing shabby!). He wanted to know why we couldn't be like other families and just go to Taco Bell after church. Ha! We laugh about it now because we all love my mom's cooking and realize that we were lucky to have a mom that loved to cook- because we all love to eat! We are what you might call "a food based family." When we plan a trip somewhere, the first thing we start planning is which restaurants we want to eat at and when that will happen... For instance, if we go back to back to Minnesota we have to eat at Cafe Latte, Byerly's, Leeann Chin, Old Chicago, Betty's Pies ... You get the idea. It's essential that we visit all of our favorite restaurants- some of them multiple times. And we often take pictures of our food and send it to members of our family who aren't there just to rub it in! Sick, I know. And you will be happy to know that I have corrupted Luke- and he now this way too.

So knowing that I come from a family where food is very important, it is probably no huge surprise that one of my love languages is food. Specifically, bread and pastries.  (And I am fully aware that "Food" is not an actual love language according to Gary Chapman. But it is to me!) This week was our last MOPS meeting for the year and I signed up to bring pastries. It seems like every MOPS meeting the pastries are lacking (in my opinion). In all fairness I will say that if I showed up on time to MOPS, maybe the selection would be better. So yesterday morning, I was determined to be on time and bring some sort of yummy breakfast pastries. I decided to try some new recipes- a new monkey bread recipe and cinnamon scones (the recipe is supposedly Starbuck's recipe). To me, pastries are best when they are fresh and warm. This meant that I would need to get up early. I set my alarm for 6:45AM, which in my world is still the middle of the night. I was so worried that I was going to oversleep that I woke up multiple times in a panic thinking that I had overslept. Well I got up on time and the baking began. Both recipes turned out great- they're keepers! There are a million recipes for monkey bread out there. I was looking for one that didn't use pudding, because I didn't have any on hand and didn't want to go to the store the night before to buy it. The scone recipe was pretty easy and super good. Here are the recipes- enjoy!

Monkey Bread
2 loaves frozen bread dough, thawed
1 cup sugar
2 tsp. cinnamon
1 cup brown sugar
1 stick melted butter

~Tear bread dough into quarter size pieces and roll into balls. Shake in bag with cinnamon and sugar mixture. Arrange in ungreased bundt pan or angel food pan. Melt butter in saucepan with brown sugar. Mix well and pour over dough. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 to 35 minutes. Turn over onto plate immediately after baking.

My notes: I checked out the Rhodes Bread website to see how long the bread took to thaw. According to their website it took 2-3 hours to thaw. I allowed it to thaw for 3 hours (meaning I woke up at 4AM to take it out of the freezer)- and it was still partially frozen at 7AM. So I would allow 4 hours for it to thaw in the future. Traditionally monkey bread is baked in a bundt pan and I don't have one. I used a 9 by 13 glass dish and it worked great. I am guessing that you could cut this recipe in half and use an 8 by 8 pan for a smaller batch.

Monkey bread- minus a few pieces... :)

Cinnamon Scones
I found this recipe here.
2 cups flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 cup butter
1 egg, separated
3 T. honey
1/3 cup buttermilk
1 tsp. sugar
1/4 tsp. cinnamon

~Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Mix the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together. Cut in the butter and mix until crumbly. In another bowl, mix the egg yolk (save the white for later) with honey and buttermilk until blended. Then, add to the dry mixture. Stir until just combined. Form the dough into a ball on a floured surface. Roll or pat it out until it’s roughly a half an inch thick and 8 inches in diameter. Cut pizza style into 8-12 equally sized pieces. Put onto a greased baking sheet. Wisk the egg white until frothy and coat the tops of the scones. Mix the sugar and cinnamon together and sprinkle on top. Bake for about 10-12 minutes.

My notes: I kind of skimmed the directions for this recipe and as a result, did a few things differently. For instance, the sugar and cinnamon listed at the end of the recipe was supposed to be sprinkled on top. I mixed it in with the dry ingredients, but still sprinkled more cinnamon and sugar on top. I also did not wisk the egg white. I found that the dough was a little too dry and added a little more buttermilk- maybe 2 T. more then what the recipe called for. Because I was taking these to MOPS, I cut the dough into 8 pieces and then cut each of those pieces into 3 more pieces- ending up with a total of 24 small scones. (Sort of like the petite scones that Starbuck's sells). I cooked them about 9-10 minutes. I also made a simple glaze to drizzle over the top of the scones. My glaze consisted of powdered sugar, a little vanilla, and enough warm water to get the thickness of glaze that I wanted. Honestly, these scones were simple to make and so delicious. I will definitely be making these again.

Ready to go in the oven...

Finished product- YUM !

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Delicious and easy dinner idea

So tonight we had my mom over for dinner, which means I actually needed to make dinner and give it some thought! :) I had a recipe that I cut out of "Taste of Home" months ago, but had yet to try. Tonight was the opportunity. I needed to make something not too complicated or time consuming because I was dragging today. Too many nights of staying up too late- and then a sweet 8 week old who wakes me up at night to be fed on top of that.

So I decided on a Dijon Crusted Chicken Breasts, rice, brussel sprouts (I know lots of you are probably thinking- YUCK! But honestly? I love them!), and hot fruit.

I wish I had thought about this ahead of time and taken some pictures of the finished product since pictures speak volumes, but I didn't. Here is the recipe though:

Dijon Crusted Chicken Breasts  Click here for a picture
1/3 cup dry bread crumbs
1 tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
4 boneless skinless chicken breast halves
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 teaspoon reduced-fat margarine

~Place the first six ingredients in a shallow bowl. Brush chicken with mustard; roll in crumb mixture.
In a large nonstick skillet, cook chicken in oil and margarine over medium heat for 5-6 minutes on each side or until a meat thermometer reads 170°. Makes 4 servings.

So I substituted butter for the margarine, and I cooked the chicken longer then the recipe said. (I am paranoid about getting salmonella!).

As I mentioned above, I served it with rice, brussel sprouts, and hot fruit. Hot fruit is something that my mom makes and I LOVE IT! It's simple, quick, and sort of like dessert. I used one can of peach halves and one can of pear halves. I drained the liquid, put all of the fruit in a 8 by 8 cooking dish. I sprinkled the fruit with brown sugar and cinnamon- and bake it for about 20 minutes at 350 degrees.

So that was dinner at our house tonight! We probably sat down to eat 40 minutes after I started making dinner (the rice was what took the longest). If you give this recipe a try, let me know what you think!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

A do-over...

Do you ever go through hard times or a trial- and you look back at how you dealt with it and just know you failed? Like you could have taken that hard time or trial to grow- and you just didn't? Well if you haven't guessed it already, I have. I look back at some things we have dealt with in the past few years and think, man I wish that I had trusted God through that! I mean, honestly?!? I know God isn't going to fail me. I knew that the hard things we were experiencing were going to eventually work out. But instead of taking the opportunity to trust and grow my faith, I just didn't. I may have let God have that problem (so to speak), but then when things didn't work out the way I thought they were going to or the way I wanted them to, I let God  know that I would take that problem back and deal with it myself. Because clearly I could figure it out on my own... As you can guess, that didn't work out so well for me.

The funny thing is that some of you have heard me speak, over the last year especially, that I trust God. And really, I do. But it's so much easier to say those words then actually live it out. I still try to do things on my own, and that just drives me crazy. I know that God is at work- even when I can't see it or understand it. I need to remember that He is for me. That God wants the best for me- and His best for me may be completely different then what I think is the best for me.

Our last year in California was hard. I was not in a good place emotionally or spiritually. I was in the desert. (And that is another post entirely!) When we moved to Colorado, I looked back and thought, "Man, I totally blew it with how I responded to that situation. What did I miss out on because of how I responded? I wish I could have a do-over and do things differently- and just TRUST GOD!" And guess what? That next time came within just a few months; I had a chance for a do-over! And you know what? I blew it AGAIN! Talk about short term memory.

So fast forward to today. Again I find myself in a season where I need to have faith, pull up my boot straps and TRUST. And again, I find myself floundering. I ping pong between trust and doubt. Knowing that we will get through this and wanting to throw up my hands and give up. And this time I so badly want to get it. I want to learn everything I can from this season in our lives. I don't want to doubt. I don't want to take it back from God and try to do it on my own. I don't want to fail. I want to learn everything I can and everything that God wants to teach me right now. I want to grow. But man, it can be hard! This song needs to be on repeat in my house right now- I love the truth that is speaks.

Will you pray for me? Pray that God would clearly show Himself to me. That I would seek Him and His will out like never before. That I would learn to just trust Him and rest in Him. That I would give my problems to Him and leave them there- and not try to snatch them back. And that I would remember that even when things don't make sense that He is for me.