Monday, August 31, 2009

A Trip to the Zoo

Susie, Liza, and I decided to take the kiddos to the zoo last week. It was a beautiful day, and we had lots of fun making good summer memories!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Shabby Chic

I took this quiz on my interior decorating style the other day with the result being Classic and traditional.
Your colors of choice are warm. You like timeless furniture pieces that never go out of style. Your materials of choice are marble, ...wood floors with area rugs, and lots of architectural details like crown molding. Placement of design is very symmetrical. I read this to Brian and he gave a little chuckle and said "exactly." Which it is true, this is the way our home is decorated. I want our home to be warm and inviting. A place that people can get comfortable and relax. I have to admit though... I love Shabby Chic! I love the florals and all the painted, distressed furniture. It so feminine and pretty. Which is exactly why our home is not decorated this way. I just can't seem to see Brian being comfortable in all that girlishness... maybe I should ask? I just asked, he said "No I would die, instantly." There's my answer. He did like it though when I got a little creative the other day. We rearranged our guest room, and brought a desk down that Brian's Aunt Kathy had given us. We have a set of 4 chairs that my Dad gave us from an estate sale. I placed one of the chairs with the desk, but I didn't like it. I could see the chair from our living room, and it was really bothering me. I decided to do something about it. I had some leftover paint from Ian's room called "eminence" and leftover fabric from a curtain that covers his closet and this is what I came up with.

What do you think? I'm happy now that I don't have to look at an ugly chair with green pleather. In fact, I think it is kind of pretty now.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Bits of Encouragement

"What actually took place is this: I tried keeping rules and working my head off to please God, and it didn't work. So I quit being a "law man" so that I could be God's man. Christ's life showed me how, and enabled me to do it. I identified myself completely with him. Indeed, I have been crucified with Christ. My ego is no longer central. It is no longer important that I appear righteous before you or have your good opinion, and I am no longer driven to impress God. Christ lives in me. The life you see me living is not "mine," but it is lived by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. I am not going back on that." Galatians 2: 18-20 The Message


Tuesday, August 25, 2009


Today is my Dad's 71st birthday. I can hardly believe it! We all got together on Sunday to celebrate. My mom made a delicious all "American" meal of hamburgers and potatoe salad. We had fresh tomatoes from our garden, veggies and dip, and fruit. I brought a Dad loves cheesecake.

Happy Birthday Dad!! We love you!!!


Friday, August 21, 2009

Ice Cream

I don't remember when my love affair with ice cream started, but I do remember the first time I was tempted by it's deliciousness.

I was 5 years old and playing in the front yard with Susie (who was 4 at the time) on the quiet street of my parent's first home. We were playing quietly, when some neighbor girls across the street asked us to come over and play. My parents had told Susie and I repeatedly not to cross the street alone. I being the big sister told them we could not play, because we could not cross the street. They kept begging us to come over like children do, "please, please with a cherry on top" and I kept saying no. Then they finally made an offer that I couldn't refuse. In her best, sweet voice one of the little girls said "Don't you want chocolate ice cream?" Well of course I wanted ice cream and most certainly I wanted chocolate (my parents only stocked vanilla). So without thinking, I promptly dragged Susie across the street and proceeded to almost get us killed. The street we lived on was very quiet. Our home was the only one on the block and we were surrounded by apartment buildings, whose entrances did not face our street. Hardly any cars drove on the street. I wasn't thinking about looking both ways... I was thinking about the delicious chocolate ice cream I was going to consume. As I took Susie's hand in mine and took a few steps into the street, a car slammed on it's breaks. I was scared out of my mind! The gentleman that was driving the car was not too happy. I remember him telling us that us girls needed to be careful. I don't really remember what happened next. We didn't make it across the street, and we didn't tell my parents, but some how they found out. I think the gentleman actually came back and told my parents. We were punished that evening, and needless to say I didn't get my chocolate ice cream.
A few years after we got married Brian bought me an ice cream maker. It churns out the most creamy, smooth, and seductive concoctions. Homemade ice cream is the best. It's real. It doesn't have artificial flavors or stabilizers. The best chocolate, home grown mint, fresh fruit... mmmm.
I'm not beneath a McDonald's mc flurry (peanut butter cup, please), but there is nothing like stepping into a homemade ice cream shop. It is usually unbearably hot outside, so there is a line a mile long. Once you step in the cold air hits your face and the scent of waffle cones lingers in the air. Then it's decision time, coffee break, banana chocolate malt, blueberry cheesecake... and the list goes on. Then you take your first lick and it is pure bliss.
My little ice cream maker has been churning out delicious quarts these days. Ian requested chocolate. So, I turned to my favorite ice cream recipe book Perfect Scoop, David Lebovitz. I'm not sure how many flavors David came up with for his book, but there are a lot of recipes. I found milk chocolate and was intrigued. I combined a few of his recipes and came up with this. I used the Lindt extra creamy milk chocolate, which is the chocolate that I use for my truffles. Not to be boastful, but oh my goodness this is just, I'm not sure what to say but YUM! If you like milk chocolate and ice cream, then please try this, you'll thank me.

Milk Chocolate Ice cream (adapted from David Lebovitz)

7.5 ounces milk chocolate, finely chopped ( I like Lindt)
*2 1/4 cups heavy cream
1 cup skim milk
3/4 cup sugar
pinch of salt
1 tsp. vanilla extract

In a saucepan, mix together the cream, sugar, and salt. Heat the mixture slowly until the sugar is dissolved and the cream is very warm. Remove from the heat and add the milk chocolate. Let it sit for a minute and then whisk until the chocolate is melted. Then stir in the milk and vanilla. Pour into a bowl and refrigerate until the mixture is thorougly chilled. Then freeze it in your ice cream maker.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Bits of Encouragement

I dropped Katie off at her first youth group outing today. Where, oh where does the time go? This is a whole new chapter in our lives. I'm excited to see what God has in store for our sweet lady!
"Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it."
Proverbs 22:6

Our Son

He makes our hearts sing.


You can get him to do pretty much anything if you offer him a treat.



Sunday, August 16, 2009

Book club

I try to live my life with no regrets. That is not to say that I don't have any, but I really try to think through my decisions before I make them. This doesn't always work, but sometimes it does. The decision to start up our book club was one of those great decisions... one that I will never regret.

I just love this group of ladies! I love how we have bonded over books. I love that old relationships are more firmly rooted, and new ones are blossoming. I love how we laugh! The whole time is filled with laughter...such good medicine for my soul.

Susie hosted this summer season. She decided on a "southern style" menu.

Taffy's cheese ball with crackers

Pulled pork sandwiches

Sweet and Spicy coleslaw

Caprese salad


Chocolate cupcakes with peanut butter icing

The food was delicious as always!

We wanted to read something a little more lighthearted. Taffy choose this seasons book Bright Lights, Big Bum (o.k. so it's really not bum, but you get the idea) by Jen Lancaster. This book was most certainly light hearted and it had a lot of funny parts. No one was crazy about the book though. The author has footnotes on the majority of pages and it gets really old to have to keep going down the page and then up the page. This is also a memoir. We found the author to be self- absorbed, whiny, and really just kind of mean. Not to be too harsh or anything. Jen Lancaster has authored other books, maybe they are better. This was a light and easy read. I brought it along and read it on the beach in Florida. It would fall into the summer reading category. It does have that going for it. The next book up is the Shack. Talk about a 360! I actually have read it already, but wanted to read it again. I think we will have some very interesting discussion.

Now about the cupcakes. Susie asked me to bring dessert. At first I was thinking a raspberry trifle with orange pound cake, then I thought coconut cupcakes with cream cheese frosting, but then I remembered a recipe I saw for chocolate cupcakes with peanut butter icing. That's it I thought. I ran it by Jen, and her response was "Who doesn't like chocolate and peanut butter?" As I was looking at the reviews online, I noticed that the icing was getting rave reviews, but the cupcakes were not. I thought to myself that is fine, I will just use the recipe I saw in Molly Wizenberg's book for chocolate cupcakes. Well the cupcakes and the frosting were both great, but not together. The flavor combination was not the problem. The cupcakes were very good and had a wonderful chocolate flavor. The problem was they were very moist and had a very tender crumb. You may wonder what's the problem with that. Nothing , really it's just that the icing is very thick and heavy. It was to much for this delicate cake. Molly has a ganache recipe and I think that would be great or a chocolate glaze which she suggests in her book. As far as the icing goes I would suggest them on a more dense cake, or maybe even a brownie. If you would like the recipes please click on the links below.



Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Bits of encouragement

Katie has been at camp since Sunday. They are learning about the book of James, so I thought I would share something from James that caught my eye.

"But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. Peacemakers who sow in peace raise a harvest of righteousness." James 3:17-18

Monday, August 10, 2009

Our vegetarian adventure

I believe it was in January that I thought it might be "fun" to eat vegetarian for one month in 2009. I discussed this with Brian aka "the carnivore." He actually agreed, and thought it would be a good idea. We decided that August would be the month, due to all the great veggies that are available to us, from the farmer's market and our small garden.

We decided we wouldn't be strict about our adventure if we are in someone else's home or at an event. For example, Brian had his class reunion a week ago and we had hot dogs and hamburgers. We had dinner with some friends at their home and had chicken. If this was a lifestyle change it would be different, but since it is just for this month we don't want to inconvenience our friends and family.

I don't feel like it has been a huge change for us. We eat meatless at least half of the week anyway. For one particular member of our family it has been a little bit more of a challenge. I think that person has "I want what I can't have syndrome."

What I have loved about this adventure thus far is how it has challenged me in the kitchen. It has been fun packing vegetarian lunches for the kids. Katie's lunch looked something like this: Pita bread, hummus, avocado slices, fresh mozzarella string cheese, cucumber slices, blueberries, and a brownie. By the way she loved her lunch! Thinking up vegetarian meals for the whole week has also been fun too. I have been checking out a whole slew of vegetarian cookbooks at the library, and have found some that I really like. For dinner tonight we had scrambled eggs, Mexican black bean salad, cantaloupe, and tortillas. Ian being the "breakfast king" and all I knew he would like eggs for dinner, but I was pleasantly surprised when he told me he loved the black beans.

If you are interested in what we are eating for the week, take a look at our menu over at the left.

Here are some of my favorite "vegetarian" cookbooks.

Vegetable Harvest, Patricia Wells
A Year in a Vegetarian Kitchen, Jack Bishop
The Flexitarian Table, Peter Berley

If you have any vegetarian recipes you would like to share, please do! Have a great week!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Downtown St. Augustine

Sorry I haven't posted sooner! It has been a busy week! The kids have been at day camp. I went back to the office to get a jump start on a few projects. Sleep overs, dinner with friends, etc... Here our some more photos of our vacation.

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