Monday, February 28, 2011

Love Journal

This has become my new favorite gift to give.
I found these cute inexpensive journals at Target and printed off this cute poem where I got the idea (Creative stirrings).
I gave these to the girls at book club.  I thought it would be something fun for them and their hubby's.  I also have given this as a wedding gift, but I used a red "leather" journal.  I have another wedding that we are going to soon and will be giving the newlyweds a love journal.
If you're looking for a cute idea for a shower or wedding or just because, you might want to whip one of these up.


Greek Yogurt Parfait

Good Morning Friends.  I hope you all had a wonderful weekend.
I'm not sure about all of you, but I find it hard to have breakfast during the week.  I mean getting myself and my two children out the door takes some effort.  So I came up with this yogurt parfait.  If you haven't tried Greek yogurt, please do.  It is quite different from regular yogurts.  The consistency is quite firm and the flavor is not as tangy as regular yogurt.  It reminds me a bit of sour cream.
If you don't have time to layer it in a pretty glass.  Throw everything in a bowl and mix it well.  It will taste just as good, and saves time.

Greek Yogurt Parfait

Greek Yogurt (I use FAGE 0%)
Milled Flax seed
Dried Cranberries
Chopped Walnuts

Layer all the ingredients in a tall glass or place in a bowl and stir.  Enjoy.

I'm wishing you all a great week!


Friday, February 25, 2011

Overwhelmed and Underqualified

Lately I have been feeling like a terrible Mother.  I just can't seem to get it right with the children.  I can't make them smile, laugh, or be happy for that matter.  In fact I only can seem to make them upset, which in turn makes me upset.
Gosh darn it, parenting is hard!!
Yesterday morning was terrible, and I mean terrible!! If it was not one thing it was another. The stinky, wet socks crusted with crackers that I found at the bottom of someones backpack was the last straw and almost put me over the edge!  I ended throwing them out because they smelled like vomit and I almost did...vomit that is.  GROSS!!!!

The Lord is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and rich in love. Psalm 145:8

I long to love my children like our God loves.

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Philippians 4:13

The afternoon and evening went much better.  I talked with each child individually there was some anger and tears, but that it is o.k.  I encouraged the one child to be open and honest with me about how they were feeling.  They felt betrayed.  I explained that I am ALWAYS on your team and I will ALWAYS go to bat for you and I ALWAYS, ALWAYS have your back.  I gave specific examples of this and explained that the decisions that I make as a parent for them is always in their best interest.  This seemed to help.  I gave them some space. 
We went and got pizza for dinner, there was lots of laughing and talk of our day at school and work.
I edited a paper, helped with math homework, and someone read a book about Smokey the Bear to me.
Showers, prayers, and kisses.

Parenting brings something new everyday. There are really bad days and really good days. I love these two so much and I am so thankful for them.  I'm sure some day I will long to have them here with me.  So for right now, I'm going to hold on tight and enjoy the ride!

Have a wonderful weekend!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Hot Fudge Pudding Cake

First off I wanted to say THANK YOU, THANK YOU so much for your kind and encouraging comments.  It has been a very long and cold winter here and your words have really warmed my heart and brought a smile to my face and my family's.  You guys are the best!!

Second of all please, please make this cake.  Some of you may have some Bisquick left over from the Banana Bread Pie or maybe you keep it handy in your pantry.  Well, you are gonna wanna pull it out!
I was flipping through that same "church cookbook" and came upon this really yummy cake recipe.  I have seen other recipes very similar to this in the past, and I believe these type of cakes were very popular during the depression because the recipes do not require eggs, butter, or milk.  Items that were hard to come by during those days.  Obviously, they probably used flour and not Bisquick mix, but you get the idea.  I was a little skeptical and didn't know what to expect, but WOWZA!
This cake is pretty amazing the top bakes up like a pretty typical cake but the bottom is like fudge pudding...yummy.  So if you want to whip up a quick and easy cake for either your family or friends, try this!  I served it with whipped cream, but vanilla ice cream would be really delicious.


Hot Fudge Pudding Cake

1 1/2 cup of Bisquick ( I used light)
1/2 cup Sugar
2 Tablespoons Dutch-process cocoa
1/2 cup Skim Milk
1 Teaspoon Vanilla
3/4 cup Brown Sugar
1/4 cup Cocoa
1 1/2 cup boiling water

Pre-heat oven to 350.  Combine all of the ingredients through the vanilla, blend well and pour into a 8- or 9-inch pan.  Combine brown sugar and cocoa and sprinkle over the top of the cake mixture.  Gently pour boiling water over the top, do not stir it.  Bake for 35-40 minutes.
I used a dark pan and I think I could have taken mine out a couple of minutes earlier.  Enjoy!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Oatmeal Pancakes

I was flipping through one of my church like cookbooks the other day and came upon a oatmeal pancake  recipe that I thought was intriguing.  I changed it up a bit and came up with my own version.  Katie was at a service project that morning.  Honestly, I don't know if she would like them.  She is not a fan of whole grains.  Ian on the other hand had six, and said they weren't his favorite, but he liked them.  Brian thought they were good as well.  I thought they were pretty good too.  The flavor reminded me of a bran muffin, maybe it was the molasses in them?  I also think if your family likes dried fruit raisins or blueberries would be really good here.  I'm really glad that I gave this pancake recipe a go, it's nice to mix up our Saturday morning brunch recipes.  I always feel good about serving my family healthy food.  Give this recipe a try, your family just might like them.

Oatmeal Pancakes

1 cup Old-Fashioned Oatmeal (processed in the food processor)
1/2 cup Old-Fashioned Oatmeal
1/2 cup Whole-Wheat Pastry Flour
1 Tablespoon Canola Oil
1 Tablespoon Molasses
1 Teaspoon Kosher Salt
1 1/2 cup Skim Milk
1/2 cup luke warm water
1 Egg
1 Tablespoon Honey
2 Tablespoons Ground Flax Seed

Mix all the ingredients together and let sit for about 10 minutes.  Heat a cast-iron skillet and add a bit of butter.  Ladle on skillet and cook until golden brown.  Serve with pure maple syrup.  I got 13 medium size pancakes out of this batter. Enjoy!


Friday, February 18, 2011

Love Story

I saw my beautiful wife on my first day at college in the dining center waiting to find out what job I would have for the year.   She was working on refilling milk.    It was love at first sight.

I actually met her for the first time a day or two later in one of the many lines that incoming freshmen have to stand in to get at the start of college.   We were in the same line.   She was a "V" and I was a "Y".

From then on I went out of my way to be around her, to run into her in the hall, to sit next to her in class.   I soon discovered that she lived on the same floor as a friend of mine from high school, just a couple doors down in fact and outside her window was the sand volleyball court.    I played more volleyball that fall than I ever have in my life.

After many "chance" meetings, I asked her out on a date.  A movie and dessert.   I am not sure where I came up with the money for this date but it had to happen.   We saw 'Batman' and had dessert at Baker's Square.  The irony was that I had dessert and she had a Coke.   I don't care for dessert and she doesn't drink pop.

There were many late nights on the bridge counting paddidles (and me hoping to collect).   There were many tense moments when we thought maybe our love had failed.  There were many tears and mascara stained pillowcases.

There were also many joys and memories that made our love impossible to abandon.   Love notes in each others PO's.   Deep conversations in the Prayer Chapel.    Romantic moments (and broken glasses) in the Biofeedback room.   It wasn't just love at first site.   It was love.

Three years later, I asked her to marry me (after asking for permission and thinking I gave myself an ulcer in the process.   But I digress...).    A year later we were married on the nicest day of the rainiest summer ever.  The sky's were bright and blue.   Her dress was beautiful.   We couldn't wait to start the rest of our lives together.   We were in love.

We are in love, forever and always, till death do us part (for a little while:).

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Red Velvet Cake with Velvet Frosting

Thanks so much for all of your great ideas for our new little table!  We're going to clean it up and sand down the top and go from there.  I'll keep you posted.

When I was a little girl I remember my Mom making the most delicious red velvet cake.  It's the one I measure all red velvet's against, and they all seem to fall short to hers.  I have never made a red velvet cake before, and thought it would be fun for the fam on Valentine's.  So, I asked my Mom for her recipe, and I was a bit surprised. 
First of all there is some chemistry going on in this cake.  Apparently when some of the acidic ingredients mix with the cocoa powder it is supposed to bring out the red in it.  This is before the days of dutch process cocoa. 
Second of all, there was not cream cheese frosting but this velvet frosting.  Which was seriously awesome!  It has a "velvet " like texture and is very smooth and creamy with a hint of vanilla.  Perfect to go with this cake.
Third I like my red velvet cake to have a definite chocolate flavor.  Many recipes have small amounts of cocoa, but his one has 1/4 cup which I think is perfect.
My Mom hasn't made this cake in years, but I hope to carry on the tradition.
I hope you enjoy it!

Red Velvet Cake
When you are baking make sure to have your butter and eggs at room temperature.

1/2 cup Butter
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 Tsp. Vanilla
2 Eggs
1 Tbs. Red food coloring (I used gel paste)
1/4 cup Dutch-process cocoa
2 cups Unbleached-all purpose flour
1 Tsp. Kosher salt
1 1/2 tsp Baking soda
1 Tbs. White vinegar
1 cup Buttermilk or 1 Tbs. white vinegar combined with 1 cup milk)

Cream butter, sugar, and vanilla until light and fluffy.  Add the eggs and food coloring, blend well.  Sift together the flour, cocoa and salt.  Add alternately with buttermilk to the creamed mixture.  Put the baking soda and vinegar in a glass and stir, fold this into the batter.  *Carefully pour into two greased and floured 9-inch pans.  Bake about 15-20 minutes.  Cool 10 minutes and remove from pans.  Cool completely before frosting.

Velvet Frosting

1 Cup Milk
5 Tbs. Flour
1 Cup Butter
1 Cup Sugar
1 Tsp. Vanilla

Cook milk and flour  over medium to low heat stirring constantly until very thick.  Cool completely.  Cream the butter, sugar, and vanilla.  Add cooled flour mixture 1 Tbs at a time beating after each addition.  Then beat the entire mixture after all flour mixture has been added for about two minutes or until it looks like whipped cream.

*If you want to make the cake heart shaped bake in one 9-inch square pan and one 9-inch round pan.  Take them out of the pans after they have cooled for 10 minutes and cool completely on a wire rack.  Once the cakes have cooled completely place the square cake on a large platter or board so the corners are vertical (so it looks like a diamond shape).  Then cut the round cake in half and place on the top sides of the square.  Frost.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Beautiful, old table

On my way to pick Ian up from school yesterday.  I found this old girl on the side of the road.  Isn't she gorgeous!!  I just love all of the detail.  Brian is sometimes skeptical of the "junk" that I bring home, but even he had to admit that this table was special.
So here is my question to all of you.  What do I do with it??  It needs a good cleaning and the top needs to be sanded.  Should I paint it, or stain it?  Where do I put it and I what should I use it for?  It is tall, so you couldn't use it for an end table.  It really seems more like a decorative piece.  I would love to hear your ideas and suggestions!  Thanks so much for your help!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy Valentine's Day

Friday, February 11, 2011

They say they come in three's...

Bad things that is.  Well, I think we are done now, because Mr. Dyson is not working properly.  Oh well...sigh.
It's Friday and I am ready for the weekend! 
The kids and I are going to make gingerbread cutouts this weekend and work on their Valentine's for school.
Mr. Young and I are going on a romantic date to our favorite restaurant.
We're going to make a delicious Valentine's dinner for the children.  Beef tenderloin and red velvet cake are on the menu
Next week is a new week.
Have you noticed the days are getting longer...yippee!!
It's going to be!!
Have a great weekend!
Hugs and Kisses~

Wednesday, February 9, 2011


Sunday it was the ceiling.
Today it was a flat tire.
I'm home.
I made a poster.
The little things make me happy.

Monday, February 7, 2011

My Ceiling on the Floor

This is what we woke up to Sunday morning.  It looks kind of like a heart doesn't it?
Have a great week and stay warm.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Spinach salad, weekend plans, and a song

I love a good spinach salad.  It's an easy side dish to throw together with whatever additions you have on hand.  I vary the nuts, fruit, and cheese, but those elements are always included.  When I make a salad, I don't use exact measurements.  I just keep adding ingredients and tasting until I think it is right.

Spinach Salad

1 orange supremed (here is a tutorial)
Juice squeezed from the membrane of the fruit
Extra virgin olive oil
Fresh Baby spinach (washed and dried)
1 Small Shallot
1 small cucumber sliced
Dried Cranberries
Toasted Walnuts
Feta cheese

Place the orange juice in a large bowl, slowly add the olive oil and whisk until it is the consistency that you like.  Add salt and pepper. 
Add the spinach.  I like about 4-5 handfuls for this amount of dressing, if it is a large orange that is.
Add the remaining ingredients, toss and serve.
Salad tip:  If we are having friends over and I want to make a salad ahead of time.  I place the dressing in the bottom of large bowl and add all of the salad ingredients.  DO NOT TOSS.  Cover, place in the fridge.  Right before I serve the salad I toss it.  No last minute prep. Thanks to the Barefoot Contessa for the tip. 

Weekend plans:
Katie's gone for the weekend (youth group event)
Date night tonight. Brian's making a new recipe...woo hoo!
Saturday clean and hang out with Ian.
Sunday, Brunch with my Mom and sisters (Meritage)
The game and good food...Go Steelers!!!

Yesterday Brian and I shut off our computers until the kiddos went to bed. It was so nice, we need to do that more often.  I was also thinking about soaking up all these special memories that we are making with our children.  Weather they are 2 or 22.  I am going to embrace all those moments.  The texts, talking in the car, sharing our day.  All those little things I take for granted.  Here is a pretty song, sung by an angel.
Mindy Gledhill ~ Hourglass

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, February 3, 2011


Time, it slips away.  It's sneaky like that.
Many of my friends have been posting adorable photos of their darling daughters in their tutu's and playing with their American girl dolls.  I was there once at that time and place.  The recitals and the trip to Chicago to pick up that first doll.  I treasure those memories.  I say to my dear friends savor every little moment.  Don't worry about the future, but enjoy the present with her.
Now it's about texting and fashion.  Brian and I have been thinking about high schools.  Katie is thinking about driving.
Ian is going to be nine this summer...NINE!  Third grade seemed so much more "grown up" with Katie.  More work, more independence.  The way his mind works, never ceases to amaze me.  He asked me what cholesterol was the other day.  He wants to walk home by himself, stay home by himself, and make toast by himself.
I need to hug these two more often.
Live in the moment and SAVOR it.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Pretty girl

I've always been a firm believer in true beauty coming from the inside.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Valentine's Day Cards

Katie and I fell in love with these

I'm not sure if you're like me, but I sure get tired of the same boring Valentines' Day cards at my local drug store.  This year the children and I searched online and found some super cute ones!  Living Locurto has links to over 40 free printables.  Check the site out, you might find something you really like.  Plus they are FREE
Happy February!
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