Thursday, May 31, 2012

Bringing Good to your family {p31, week 3}

She brings him good, not harm,
    all the days of her life.
She finds wool and flaxand busily spins it.
She is like a merchant’s ship,
bringing her food from afar.

Proverbs 31:12-14

Ahh, more Proverbs 31.  Are you sick of hearing me talk about her yet? I hope not.  I don't know if she was a real person or not (the Bible doesn't say), but hope she was because I would love to thank her for being an amazing example of godly woman-hood.  Seriously.  

This week, we have been talking about how a wife brings good to her husband.  Good. A wife that honors and respects her husband.  A wife that goes out of her way to show love via his love language to her.  A wife that doesn't withhold anything (even though there is nothing left to give). Sometimes I fall short in this area.  I have a selfish tendency (don't we all?).  As a mom of two toddlers, I confess that I am unintentionally short with my poor husband.  I don't intend to be, but exhaustion from dealing with the craziness of toddler-hood to running a household and a ministry (MOPS) can be very tiring.  I am constantly looking for ways to bring good to my husband. . . he so deserves it!  Whether it is sending him off to play golf or making a zillion (obvious exaggeration) PBJ's for his weekly lunches or looking at his needs, his love languages, and finding a way to bless him daily.  

How do you show your husband good?

The next part of that passage is . . . well. . . a fun one.  I know that it is talking about busily working with her hands. . . as in she's not idle and lazy.  She works hard so her family will be warm.  But, the translation that really . . . well, just makes me smile is the message.  It says, "She shops around for the best yarns and cottons, and enjoys knitting and sewing."  Now, I know that we are all created with different passions and likes and dislikes.  But this just screams crafty.  I will confess. . . I don't knit. . . I don't combine yarn with needles. . . I am just not that coordinated.  But, I do love fabric. . . a lot.  My sewing and craftiness has saved  us a lot of gift buying. . . so in that, I think I have brought good to my family. . . I can only hope. . . I like fabric. . . it's my guilty pleasure.  

I will say that as much as I love being crafty and busy with my hands, I will say it is not my biggest priority.  If it starts coming between my time with God, then I need to tone it down.  God gave me this desire to do things. . . to create things. . . and if I put that ahead of my time with Him then, I am making fabric, or paper, or {fill in the blank} a god.  That is not what the Proverbs 31 woman does.  She stays busy in order to bring her family good.  She makes things that will keep them warm during the cold, winter months; she  bakes the food to eat (although she was a queen. . . so probably had someone do this. . . but she did plan the meals); she finds the best materials to make sure they last.  Her focus is on Christ and by honoring Him, she honors her family. 

How do you stay busy?

  I am sure that every woman wants to be called a merchant's ship right? Uhh. . . probably not on the list of my top compliments.  In fact, if someone told me I was a ship, I would run to the mirror and then go completely carb free (if you know me. . . that's hard to do. . . read my blog. . . carbs everywhere!).  Good thing, that's not what it means.  I know I am relieved.  I've read that this woman probably got up and met the ships early in the morning to get the best and food and deals for her family.  I know I've mentioned it before, but the food budget is my biggest struggle.  I snip coupons that I would likely use, however, I just don't find couponing all that healthy.  Really.  From my observations, most coupons are for highly processed foods and are rarely for fresh fruits and veggies. . . which are primarily on my grocery list each week.  I do however, go shopping at several stores to save money. In fact, today I dragged my kids to Food Max, Trader Joes, Target, Buy Buy Baby, and Costco.  Add in my Farmer's Market purchases and we are set. . . for a few weeks at least.  In fact, my best deal today was at Target. . a 4 pack of Chicken breasts with a 3 dollar off coupon making each package about 3 bucks!  Yep. . . I live for those moments!  So for me, honoring my family like the Proverbs 31 woman means buying products that are healthier and making a lot of things from scratch to illiminate the preservatives.  I want my family to live long and healthy lives so that they can grow up and honor Christ in whatever way God has planned for them to do.  

So, those are my thoughts and reflections for this week. . .  I am going to go and sew now.  My son wants some "pull-ups" for his sock monkey.  Yep. . .  you heard that right.  

by the way, have any of you read this book?  Any thoughts?

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

a bit of deliciousness

Happy Wednesday everyone!
I am currently camped outside the bedroom hoping my one year old falls back to sleep.  The three year old fell asleep less than an hour ago and their is still at least an hour of naptime left.  ACK!  Do you relish your naptime like I do?  Anyways, It's about time I posted this delicious cake.   
This was Jon's birthday cake. . . a special request. . . long gone.  But, it's about time I shared.  I know you were all curious sitting on pins and needles wondering how his cake turned out. . . as you well should be.  Well, don't despair. . . it's here. . . a special Memorial Day cake for you (it's not too late to start baking, you know!).

You see, I love my husband to death.  He's a great guy.  Usually he asks for white cake, white frosting. . . all prepackaged and full of yummy chemicals, I am sure.  But this year was different.  My husband found Cake Boss, compliments of our membership to Netflix.  He decided he wanted something fancy.  He wanted a white cake (of course!) with vanilla bean frosting filled with luscious, fresh strawberries.  I was so excited that I could't wait to start planning this beautiful cake.  

Doesn't it just look lovely?  

He's really not 7 years old. . . but we didn't have enough candles to fill up the cake.  Blowing out candles is a must for our family. . . if Ethan had it his way, we would have birthday cake and candle blowing every night!  Seriously!  

So, here's the recipes I used to get this fabulous cake!

You can find the fabulous frosting recipe here
and the white cake. . . I honestly can't remember what recipe and i guess i forgot to pin it. . . major fail . . it was a good cake!

Strawberries: I sliced a bunch of yummy berries and spooned a few tablespoons of sugar over them, gave them a whirl with a spoon and let them sit for a few minutes while a nice syrup formed.  Then I spooned them over the middle layer of frosting and left some for the top.  


Friday, May 25, 2012

A quick thank you gift with a yummy recipe

Today I cleaned like a mad woman and still didn't get everything done.  I did, however, get to keep ALL the windows open all day long and even got to wear a sweatshirt.  I will let you in on a little secret. . . shhh. . . don't tell anybody. . . I pretended I was at the beach.  It even rained a little bit this afternoon.  Ethan even tried catching some.   Today, was the first day all week that we were home.  I didn't leave the house once. . . I'm kind of a homebody like that.  It was great!  

So. . . I've had these muffins here ready to post since about March.  Sorry for the delay. . . I kind of slacked off for awhile.  These muffins were special (and really delicious!).  I made them for my best friend.  You know the friend that goes above and beyond the call of duty and is there for you no matter what.  Back in March, she went to a Pampered Chef Party that I was the consultant at (she's kind of related to the host).  Usually at the end of a party, I just throw all my dirty dishes in plastic Target bags and hit the road, but on this particular night, while I was taking orders, she was busy washing dishes.  My dishes.  I didn't have to spend my afternoon the next day washing dishes.  So I made more dishes by making these:
 I made them in my mini muffin pan and tucked a bunch securely into an empty egg carton. . . don't they look great! and then decorated it with some fun scrapbook paper and wrapped it with bakers twine.  The cool thing is she wasn't home and so we just left them on her door step. . . I am hoping it was a nice surprise when she got there.  I sent the rest to work with my husband. . . mini muffins are the best and they are just so easy!
Do you have a best friend that needs a batch of these whipped up and dropped on her door step?  I hope so.  I am so thankful for my best friend and all that she does! 

Lemon Poppyseed Muffins with a Lemon Glaze
adapted from here via Pinterest

2/3 cup sugar
Lemon zest from 2 lemons
juice of 1 lemon
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup sour cream
2 lg. eggs
1 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 stick unsalted butter, melted and cooled
2 tbs poppy seeds

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and line your mini muffin pan with liners.  In a large bowl, rub the sugar and lemon zest together with your fingertips until the sugar is moist and the fragrance of lemon is strong.  Whisk in flour, baking powder, soda, and salt.
In a smaller bowl, whisk the sour cream, eggs, vanilla, lemon juice, and melted butter together until well blended.  Pour over dry ingredients and gently stir to blend.  Stir in poppy seeds. Divide the batter evenly among muffin cups.  Bake for 10 to 15 minutes until tops are golden.  Cool 5 minutes before removing muffins from pan.

1 cup powdered sugar, 2-3 tbs fresh lemon juice
Combine and drizzle over muffin tops.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Summer Bucket List 2012

So, my family has joined the Happy Family Movement and made a bucket list of summer activities.  Some are free activities, some are expensive.  We may not get to do them all, but we will sure try.  In fact, some may happen more than once.

I think it's good to get our list on paper.  Or else, we are just going to talk about what we want to do and never do anything. . . and that wouldn't be fun would it?  Another reason it is good to put them down on paper is to be able to budget the things we want to do and to make sure we have some free/almost free things as our summer plans.

So here goes our list. . . .

1.  Gilroy Gardens
2.  Monterey Children's Museum
3.  Beach
4.  Grant's Grove - I think Ethan would get a kick out of walking through trees!
5.  Baseball game
6.  zoo trips
7.  miniature golfing
8.  backyard camping
9.  S'more nights
10.  Movie mornings at Riverpark
11.  Splash Park
12.  Water play (LOTS of it!)
13.  Water Balloons
14.  hide a geocache
15. swimming
16.  fossil museum
17. bike rides
18.  Ice cream in a bag
19.  The Griffith Observatory
20.  Disneyland (MOST likely not gonna happen)

21.  Find a fun way to display this in our house.  Guess, I am gonna spend some time on Pinterest.  Got any ideas to share?  Did I forget anything? What's on your bucket list? Comments welcome!

A wife that is trusted {p31, week2}

 A good woman is hard to find, 
   and worth far more than diamonds.
Her husband trusts her without reserve, 
   and never has reason to regret it.
Proverbs 31:10-11, msg

Proverbs 31 is amazingly challenging.  It hits to the core of a woman's being.  It touches all that is sacred and important to her.  Her family.  Her home.  Her husband.  Her.  Some days I wonder, am I really up for the challenge?  

This week in the Good Morning Girls Bible Study, we have been digging deep into what it means to be a wife.  Not just a good wife, but a wife that is HARD to find.   I thought a lot about this verse this week. . . it broke my heart.  I thought hard about the state of marriage in today's society. . . it is broken.  Is a good woman really that hard to find?  Oh, I hope my sons find good women to be their wives. I pray for that.  May they be so blessed to have a marriage like I have with by husband, for that is rare.  

But seriously.  Divorce.  It's rampant in today's society.  People get married to have a fancy Pinterest party and forget what really matters. . . the relationship.  What makes a woman not be trusted?  Is it the words she speaks?  Is it how she handles the finances?  Is it how she spends her spare time?  Is it how she treats her husband (both verbally and non verbally).  Trust.  Isn't it needed in a relationship?  I can't imagine it not being there.  

I will confess there are times that I second guess my husband's trust in me.  We live on a tight budget. . . it's a small price to pay for me to stay at home with the kids.  I know that he cringes when I go shopping for groceries or when the kids need clothes.  I know he trusts my judgement and for that, I find peace.  I want my husband to trust me without reserve. . . as in no hesitation. I don't want him to regret anything about our relationship.  I want to be seen as a diamond (or a ruby). . . basically a beautiful, rare and priceless jewel.  

If I keep going, it just might be ramblings.  I hope that by the end of this study you will have fallen in love with the P31 woman. . . and Christ (single or married!). If you are interested in this study . . . it's just so simple and is quite the opposite of overwhelming. . . I highly recommend it!  Go here to get started. . . do it now. . . I dare you!  I PROMISE you won't regret it!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

a new favorite

I've acquired a couple of new kitchen tools lately (it's kind of a fetish of mine) and so here is the first of a couple of posts that introduce them to you.  

I'll start with the first one. . . of course, it's Pampered Chef (not that I'm biased or anything . . . ha ha!).  The spring catalog debuted this amazing brownie pan and I knew instantly that I needed it.  Yes, I NEEDED it.  I think I convinced my husband that I would use it regularly. . . and I have. . . a lot.  
I know I have mentioned that I bake cookies every week for lunches and treats, and I thought that this pan would work out great for making brownies for lunches. . . and portion control, maybe? I have used it way more than for lunches, though.  It's now my go-to dessert pan when I need to make a quick dessert on the go.  I whip up these yummy blondies and put them on a pretty plate. . . add some ice cream and sundae toppings and wha-la. . . dessert!  
I'm not complaining. . . I don't think my friends are either. . . in fact, I made these for Mother's Day (I wasn't allowed to do something super amazing. . . after all, It was my day, too . . . so thanks, Honey. . . it was nice to take a break from baking!) and I'm pretty sure people enjoyed them. 

 So, the recipe can be found here.  It's my go-to recipe. I've made it a lot lately and I've even messed up on them and nobody noticed (that's how great they are!). I really like making blondies, because as much as I love my Kitchen Aid mixer, I sometimes just want to use a big scraper and a big bowl (it seems like less work . . . I'm weird like that).  Plus, since it's a blondie, you just make the base and add whatever (I mean WHATEVER) you have a hankering for that day.  I literally just reach into my baking basket and see what kind of chips are hanging out. . . sometimes I switch it up and add a combo of different kids of chips.  Whatever your hankering is . . . enjoy!

But. . . wait. . . there's more. . . I want to know what your favorite thing(s) to put inside a batch of blondies is/are?  Please post a comment. . . I want to hear from you. 

Friday, May 18, 2012

Cecilia's Baptism Card

It's Friday.  We made it through the week.  This morning I spent some time running errands with my friends me, myself, and I.  I did talk on the phone with a good friend (you know who you are) for a bit, but for the most part it was just me enjoying my morning returning a shirt and getting stuff for my next sewing project (tonight!).  I think it should only take a night and I am so excited to accomplish something. . . plus I need to make a birthday card.  Bring it on, creativity. . . I am ready!

I made this card for little Miss Cecilia's baptism last week.  I will confess that when it comes to baptisms and baby dedications, I am not so creative.  I don't have stamps that really fit that need. . . but I did have Pinterest and my Cricut. . . and ta-da!~~~

The card is made of a bunch of white hearts I had my cricut cut out at the lowest setting (1 inch) and then I just started taping them down and forming a cross.  In the middle, I attatched 2 buttons threaded with some brown hemp thread and then used the small wonder stamp by Stampin' Up to finish the card.  It was really easy, and I am quite pleased with.  Too bad the picture didn't come out as well as I had hoped. . . I was in a hurry.  T-ball + baptism = really busy, but fun day!  

Thursday, May 17, 2012

one of those afternoons. . .

It's 3:00.  My kids have been "down" for a nap for over 2 hours.  One just fell asleep and one is still trying his hardest to break every rule in the house. . . even broke the crib.  Yeah. . . It's just one of those afternoons when it is just tough being a mom.  

I saw this quote on Pinterest during the 3 year old's many attempts to NOT take a nap.  It made me smile.  Maybe tonight, I will run away.  Or maybe my wonderful sweet husband will take a walk so I can have a moment of time to just have some quiet.  

I also saw this on Pinterest, So. . . I think I am going to go live this out this afternoon and enjoy the storm.  Hopefully it's a short one, but I am going to find the good in it. . . and maybe dance.  
I hope you are having a great day!  

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Intentional Mothering. . .

I have previously made mention that I have a love affair with the Proverbs 31 woman.  I don't find her intimidating or overwhelming, but an amazing woman of God that I desire to model my life after.  I really got to dig into her life during my Tuesday morning Bible Study at church (we went through the study, A Woman after God's Own Heart, by Elizabeth George).  This week, I started a unique online study on the Proverbs 31 woman and I am so excited!  (If you are interested, you can find details, here . . . I highly recommend it!).

This week, we have been studying the intro over the book and it's an area, I must confess I tend to skip over in my rush to learn about her. But, this week, I have followed directions and sat and studied the mother of King Lemuel.  She was a wise woman.  She took time for her son to give him sound advice on not only a future wife, but also on how to be a good king.  She was intentional with her son.  She didn't consider Lemuel to be a nuisance, or a hindrance to her life.  She didn't tell him she'd get back to him after she finished cleaning house or making dinner, or even sewing a new dress.  She took the time for him then and there.

As a mother of two very active boys (3 and 1), I am challenged to find the intentional moment in almost all situations.  I love that my oldest is a cuddler.  He could just sit in my lap and cuddle while watching Curious George re-runs.  His love languages are touch and time . . . And sometimes, I confess that when things get really busy it is hard to be intentional about this.  However, he has this amazing desire to want to learn (I think he gets it from his dad), but I have taken it and turned it in to something that he looks forward to every single day.  For the past year we have spent a week, sometimes two, on each letter of the alphabet, doing crafts and various other activities that he would do in preschool.  It started out as a bi weekly thing, but has turned into a daily adventure.  I love it, because I get to use my teacher skills and he loves just spending time with me.  This really helped when Weston was smaller because It was intentional just him and I time.

For my youngest, being intentional is hanging out and letting him crawl all over me. . . we are just at that stage.  Sometimes, it is giving up my evening plans to just hold him and let him cry himself to sleep in my arms.  Other times, it is just sitting with him and being goofy.

There are some days, where cleaning just doesn't happen.  But hanging out with these two does, and at the end of the day, I would say that my job was done well.  I love this sign:

I really want my boys to look back at the childhood and remember that their mom took the time to play with them and teach them about life.  I want them to think that I gave wise, sound advice.  I want them to strive to be better and not do what everyone else is doing.  
I look forward to my boys growing up (not so soon, I hope) and watching how their needs and wants will change as the grow and mature into Godly men.  I pray that God would use me daily in their lives.

I'm linking up here this summer. . . check it out!


Believe it or not . . . this post has just been sitting here waiting for me to finish for about 2 weeks now. Yikes!  Things have been THAT busy around here for me  and believe me when  I say, I am ready for a break from busy-ness. 

So, here it goes. . . . Tirimusu. . . . Finally!  This was our Easter dessert this year, because I was asked to make a dessert and it has sounded so good for so long. . . I have really, REALLY, been wanting to get my hands on some yummy Tirimisu.  
Pinterest once again lead me to an amazingly delicious recipe and this particular one did NOT fail.  It was scrumptious! I had hopes on buying some lady finger cookies, but apparently they all went hiding when I was looking for them, so I ended up making them from scratch. . . can I say. . . EASY!!!!  They were so easy and so delicious, I will probably never, ever buy them!  I used this recipe.
Doesn't that look amazing?  It makes me want to make some more. . . right now. But that would probably not be the best choice. . . better go find me some snap peas. . . . hope that works. 

lightly adapted from here

6 egg yolks
1 cup sugar
1 1/4 cup mascarpone cheese
1 3/4 cup heavy whipping cream
Homemade Lady fingers from recipe linked above (so easy, you will thank me later!)
1/2 a cup cold espresso
1 tbsp cocoa for dusting

1.  Combine yolks and sugar in the top of a double broiler, over boiling water.  Reduce heat to a low, and cook for about 10 minutes, stirring constantly.  This is your sabayon (doesn't that make you sound like you are doing something super gourmet??). Remove it from the heat and whip the yolks until think and lemon colored. 

2.  Add the marscapone to the whipped yolks and beat until combined.  In a separate bowl, whipped cream to stiff peaks.  Gently fold th whipped cream into the sabayon mixture and set aside.  

3.  Dip the lady fingers into the mixture the espresso. . . very quickly. . . you don't want them to get too soggy.  Arrange them on the bottom of a 8 inch square baking pan.  Spoon half the mascarpone cream filling over the lady fingers.  Repeat process. Refrigerate at least 4 hours.  Dust with cocoa before serving.  

:: I made some small batches for my husband that didn't have espresso soaked lady fingers in it.  He LOVED it!  (He hates, coffee, but loves the filling!).  So this was a great fix!  I want to make this again, but skip the espresso and add some raspberries. . . doesn't that sound heavenly? 


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