Sunday, February 26, 2012

Cinnamon Roll winners!

Annnnnnnd using my scientific method of having each of my boys pick a number out of a hat, the winners are........................

Diana and Becky :)

Diana your cinnamon rolls will be delivered to their special house ;) Love that idea by the way! And Becky yours will be coming also!

Thanks for entering, I loved hearing about each of your weekends!

Fab Favs....and a *small* giveaway

It's Sunday. A day to rest :) We have had a great weekend. Yesterday, thanks to some wonderful people who watched the boys for us, the Hubbs and I were able to go on an all day date. It was much needed and much appreciated.

One of the highlights occurred after our normal radio stations were out of range and I happened across a radio station that was playing all my favorite boy band hits from back in the day. Unfortunately for the hubbs this meant that he was serenaded the rest of the trip with the love struck tunes. I on the other hand had a great time :)

Some more favs from this weekend...

-My oldest saying that I was "his favorite girl"

-Grocery shopping *by myself* (it's the small things) early Saturday morning

-An awesome workout that consisted of running, abs class, and Zumba on Friday afternoon...SO much fun!

-And now getting to make a big batch of cinnamon rolls to take tonight to small group. We love making these and we LOVE sharing them. Sooooooooo since our recipe makes a lot we have decided to share some with you!

I am going to give away 2 pans to some "locals" here in town (sorry out of towners, BUT if you would still like to participate I can bring you a fresh pan the next time I am able to see you!).

All I want you to do is comment on this post and tell me what your favorite part of this weekend was.

That's it. I will randomly pick two comments and those two people will get a pan delivered tonight after our small group. That means you have until 7:00pm to comment.

My hope is that, even if you didn't have a "great" weekend, that you will still be able to find something positive that happened in your life over the last few days...

Friday, February 24, 2012

Fab Food Friday...Honey Garlic Pork

Happy Friday! I hope everyone had a good week and an even better weekend! Today I have a few things...I just got done making some more Flourless Banana muffins again(I seriously can't get enough) but had to tweak it because I am in serious need of a grocery trip and am out of a few things. Changes I made...

1) I am out of vanilla so I had to use 2 tsp of almond extract instead of part vanilla, part almond....verdict? I loved this change! It made the batter smell better :) and it gave a great taste to the baked product.

2) I chose to only do 3 TB of PB, less than the 1/2 cup of dark chocolate chips and add about 2 TB of peanut butter chips....verdict? Yummy :) I loved the bits of PB chips in them!

Next, I want to share a recipe that we made last night. I found the recipe on Pinterest of course and in an effort to add more Pork Tenderloin into our meals I had to try it.

The recipe is Honey Garlic Pork and can be found here.

Changes I made......

1) The recipe calls for Pork chops, instead I used 1 1/2 pounds worth of Pork Tenderloin sliced

2) It says to grill, but I put the marinade and porkchops into a casserole dish and baked at 375 for 30 minutes, flipping meat half-way through.

Verdict? The most amazing pork tenderloin I have made in a while. It has an Asian flare due to the soy sauce so you could easily pair it with rice and use the extra sauce to drizzle over it. We served it with baked sweet potatoes, carrots, and green beans and threw in oranges slices for some vitamin c :)

We loved this recipe.....okay, I say "we" as in my husband and I. The 3 year old enjoyed them after being forced to eat(the norm these days) and our youngest threw everything on the floor(even though sweet potatoes are his fav), which has been his norm for most foods ever since he began solid foods.....but then, here's the kicker, chose to eat dog food afterwards. Seriously? Dog food instead of an amazingly tasty dinner? This youngest makes me wonder sometimes......

Happy Cooking!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Today is the day! is the day I have had a love/hate relationship with a while now.....

The day I start running again. Boo, hiss, woo-hoo! I love being able to run...period, no matter the distance. I also love finishing they are not an actually "race" to me, because honestly I feel like a winner by just finishing! I didn't grow up running, and it is REALLY hard to me, so that is a big deal.

I am putting my gym membership on hold until it gets crazy hot in the summer because it is getting so nice outside. I'd rather be outside with my family than in a stuffy, I'm starting the Couch to 5k program. I've used it before after I lost all my "baby weight" with my first because I didn't want to chance gaining it back. And now it's that time again with the 2nd.

I love the program and the feeling I get while doing's just getting started that is hard. SO, since it is so nice today I am taking my boys and our jogging stroller out to complete day 1! Wish me luck!

Goofing around with my crazy friend :) before the relay-marathon 2 years ago

With the most amazing coach/running partner ever before a 5k here in town

'One'derful day...

Well, our second born's 1st birthday was about 2 1/2 weeks ago and people have been asking to see pictures of the special day. Since I was sick right after that and have been playing catch up on everything that was forgotten about while I was down I have not posted anything yet. So for those who care....

On someone's birthday in our house we try to sing "Happy Birthday" and have a candle at just about every meal. This is breakfast.....
Very excitedly signing "more" over and over because he wants his pancake stack and bananas...

And apparently I was taking too long to sing Happy Birthday....
Lessons learned from birthday breakfast for child number 2....
1) Don't put a candle in warm pancakes....the pancakes will melt the candle and the pancakes will get wax all over them....needless to say I gave him other pancakes to eat :)
2) Sing Happy Birthday incredibly fast

Later in the day my wonderful hubbs took half of the day off work and met us for lunch at Chick-Fil-A (LOVE this place because it is incredibly kid friendly). The boys had a great time!

After the boys naps we let Pryce open his presents from us....

The bow was instant entertainment
getting the hang of unwrapping
Big brother couldn't stand not "helping" unwrap...

All Pryce wanted to do was climb on the box :)

Filling up the silo with all the animals

Later on in the evening we had a small party for Pryce. Since we've already done the big 1st  B-day before, I was kinda over it :) but still wanted to make his day special. We decided to make it a birthday/game night with friends. We did a Winter 'One'derland theme since he was born in a big snowstorm last year.

Having a snack before the party and loving his balloons

One of a kind just like a snowflake :) Amazing shirt made my talented friend Carrie of Cuckoo Caboodle

I used a crinkled paper bag for the back triangle

We did "sweets and treats"...oreo balls and white donut holes (snowballs), white cheese ball and crackers, cupcakes, and blue, white and brown candy
Epsom salt, burlap ribbon, jute twine, rusted metal snowflake

We served white grape shower punch and did a hot cocoa bar for drinks

felt snowman to play with

An army of penguins to greet our guests(and take home with them) cute!

Trying out the goods

chocolate beard :)

Happy after his cupcake and crackers!
loving the attention from everyone :)

playing with balloons the next morning :)

And there ya have it. We had a 'ONE'derful time celebrating and fellowshipping with great friends! Still can't believe he is already one. I am soaking up rocking him and getting baby kisses while I can, because I know it just keeps going faster and faster.....

Monday, February 20, 2012

"Some" in moderation

Do you ever just want to pick up and take your children to a place where you can shield them from all of life's influences?! Sometimes this seems like the only option if we want them raised the way that we feel is best. Even the "good" things in life can become bad if done in excess...

Too much TV
Too much food (not that I don't want to feed my children all they want, but sometimes just having what we "need" needs to be enough)
Too much stimulation from toys, video games, technology...

We don't want them to be raised by getting everything they want, we believe this sets them up for failure and over indulgence later on in life.

We have come to the conclusion that, of course, we can't and shouldn't go move into the middle of no-where just to help give our children what we believe is a good foundation for life.

Something my dad has said often, "everything in moderation" has stuck with me and has become what we are trying to keep as a rule in our household.

Yes, I like chocolate chip cookies, but no I don't need 10 of them and neither do our kids.

Yes, I like movies, but no I don't need to watch them all day, and neither do our kids...not to mention most movies today aren't wholesome, let alone "clean."

Yes, I like(okay, love) computers, but no I don't need to be on them all day long, and neither do our kids.

If I  struggle with these things, I know my kids will and have already seen how much of an addictive personality my oldest has.

..."everything in moderation"...But ya know what? We don't really need "everything". Sometimes it just needs to be "some" of "everything" in this life because even moderate amounts of some things can be destructive.

I hate having to say "no" to things or people for that matter when it comes to my children, but I am finding myself having to do that more and more. How do you explain to people that when you say "no" it isn't personal, or when you chose one thing over what is considered the "norm" in society, that it is just the best decision for our family. Okay, well maybe I said it right there, "it is just the best decision for our family"...but that is still hard to say without hurting feelings.

But the truth of the matter is, My husband and I, and only us, are responsible for how we raise our children. In the end WE are responsible to our children and to our Lord.

If addicted to anything, we want our children to be addicted to God and serving His Kingdom. Something I believe each of us crave(God) without realizing it, but fill it with all of life's "stuff" (I do this all the time). But let's face it, it's hard to push out all the's something we struggle with each day. But we keep pressing on and keep trying to live a "some in moderation" type of life style.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Love is in the air.....

On most holidays, even the small ones like "Thank a Mailman Day", I tend to not just acknowledge the holiday, but I like to CELEBRATE all day long.

I Love Valentine's Day. This is the day I am ALLOWED to make everything heart shaped...morning pancakes, sandwiches, cookies, etc...I fit as many as I can into the day. One of my favorite parts is watching all the men in the candy aisle of the store trying to decide what to get their Valentine. So thoughtful, and yet slightly confused....My favorite "Valentine Spotting" this year was a big burly country guy in a big truck, look over at me as I'm about to turn onto the street and give the biggest "Yeah, I did good" grin as he's holding a big vase of pink roses in his lap. I love it. I love a day that is set aside to show someone how much you care, whether friendship or romantic.

I'm pretty sure this was the best Valentine's Day I have ever had....

My oldest had fun coming up with his Valentine's for his friends at Pre-school. I gave him about 4 or 5 different ideas for Valentine's and he chose oranges...and was very specific about what he wanted them to look like and had fun making them....

He wanted orange writing, not the red like I had originally :)

He also wanted orange paint for the hearts, not red like I tried again
He said they were "so cute" and was really excited to give them to his friends. **Love**

In the morning before my oldest went to Pre-school he went and dug out the V-day gift him and his dad hid for him to give me...He was SO proud to give it to heart melted...

This year my husband and I decided to make each others V-day gift...we both ended up cheating though and bought something to go with our handmade gifts :) But, they say that the way to a man's heart is through his stomach, so part of my handmade gift was food :)

I found this recipe on Pinterest and since the Hubbs loves Red Velvet, I decided to make Red Velvet Crinkle cookies to sneak into his lunch for work the next day...

Reaction??? These were AMAZING! Oh my these will be made again :)

I also made these bad boys for our "movie in" last night after the boys went to bed....
Mini Pretzels with a dark chocolate *kiss* on top...Bake @200 degrees for 3-4 minutes. Remove from oven and press M & M's on top....Salty and sweet...yuuuum!
Once the hubbs was home from work we gave the boys their Valentine's...

Car cards, "Cars 2" and "Cars" playing cards

...and BALLOONS!
The boys made their dad a handprint craft and got him some shoes so they can be "just like dad"
I have a slight obsession with Converse shoes :)
For dinner we had homemade lasagna, the hubbs fav green beans, salad, and french bread. YUM!

We put the boys to bed early and watched "Money Ball"(GREAT movie!)......okay and the hubbs let me watch the new episode of 19 Kids and Counting (SO nice of him)!

We ended up having such a great day...I think the best part was the amount of thought that we put into the day for each other and our boys. We loved making our gifts for each other (Yeah, I didn't mention them, but they were SO thoughtful, and will be kept between the hubbs and I...)...and I think it's a tradition we want to continue.

I think even if you don't have a "special" someone, you are still able to make someone else's day's all in how you look at the day.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

**Special Date**

Today was a special day, for a few reasons...

1) I FINALLY felt well! For the first time in a week. Hallelujah!

2) I got to go on a "Momma~Caden Date" with our oldest. We were supposed to go a week ago, but I wasn't feeling well so we had to post-pone...

About a week and a half ago I was having a really hard time getting our oldest to go to Pre-school. This is VERY unlike him. He is normally excited to go to school to see his friends and teachers, but this morning I was only getting big tantrums. After calming him down and talking to him I was able to get him to school but as soon as I was about to leave he started bawling. His teachers were shocked because they had never seen him do this. I left our youngest with his sweet teachers to play while I went to talk to Caden alone. He didn't want to come home with me, but he didn't want to stay at school. Instead I loved on him and calmed him down and then left him--crying again--with his teachers(broke my heart). I told them to call me if he didn't stop, and secretly I wanted them too, but of course he stopped and ended up having a great day.

When I picked him up one of his teachers, the one who calmed him down, told me what Caden ended up saying to her. He told her, "I don't want to share my toys with Pryce, I don't want to play with Pryce, I don't want to see Pryce, I want to see my Momma, I just want to see my Momma."

Broke my heart again....he needed to spend one-on-one time with me, and only me. And ya know, I've always known this needed to happen, and kinda thought it did since our youngest takes a nap in the morning, but he needed me to set special time aside just for him.

I decided he and I would go on a date and he told me he wanted to go get ice cream. Then, to make it even cuter, he said to his dad, "Daddy I need some money so I can take Momma on a date." Love :)

He has been looking forward to this for over a week now and got the cutest smile on his face when I told him we were going to be able to go today. "Momma, I'm going to take you on a date today, but you're going to drive, and I'm going to sit in my car seat." His daddy is taking full advantage of this situation to also teach him about how to treat girls. "You always pay for tell them how pretty they look...remember to ask her what she would like before you get your own..." It was really sweet overhearing their conversation. Here I was wanting to make him feel special and I was the one feeling special in return.

Some pics of our fun...He let me have a mini photo shoot before we left....

sweet laughs

Gotta love being tickled :)

Loving his ice cream with his "bears and M & M's" on top

I just like this
The yummy mess in a HUGE bowl

He wanted to drink his "juice"
 Caden picked out our table, right by the window, and pointed to a store he wanted to go to after we finished our ice cream. It was one of those $1 jewelry stores, and I had never been in it before so I was all for that one! He giggled as he tried on bracelets and gave me "pretty, shiny" ones to try on. Sweet boy...I tucked away the thought to break this to his dad gently :) After that he wanted to go to the pet store. We saw dogs, cats and fish. He was happy and he even got to pick out a toy and a couple dog treats for our pup and a friend's dog. After picking out Valentine's for his friends and picking up a *special* Valentine for momma (Just happened to be the day Breaking Dawn came out...) we headed home.

He was the most polite, thoughtful, and cute little boy I have ever seen and brought smiles to people around us and to myself. We didn't do anything big or over the top, we just spent time together that was out of the norm. Days like this are needed, for all of us. Today has helped me "see" my oldest again, for what he is, a sweet little boy, and it has hopefully helped him feel how important and special he is.

He even was excited to get home and see his little brother AND share his toys with him :)

Friday, February 10, 2012

Fab Food Friday: A la Hubbs

I love my husbands willingness to try just about anything. When we got married I told him he was going to learn to cook, because I didn't want our future children to starve if they were ever left alone with him for a time. So, he did, and he became pretty good at it. My dad always said that if you can follow a recipe, you can cook...sounds pretty easy doesn't it? Well, sometimes we've found that recipes aren't always right....

Take this picture for instance:

Only 1/2 an inch thick :)
That is a picture of brownies that my sweet husband made one Sunday afternoon :)  That afternoon was going to be a busy one for me because I had two showers to go to and we had a church fellowship to bring food to later on that evening. Usually I make brownies from scratch, but I knew I wouldn't have time to make those plus another dish I was going to make, so I just bought a box mix for the hubbs to make. Get this, he did follow the directions, but for some reason the box said to cook them 30 minutes...who has EVER cooked brownies for 30 minutes?? Needless to say we didn't take them, they were hard as a rock...but the hubbs did learn that sometimes you should trust your gut instead of the directions.   

Next is an actual recipe. One day my husband decided we needed a date night in. He arranged to have a friend watch the boys and he decided to cook for me. The day before he saw someone cooking an apple dessert on TV and decided he was going to make it. This is the recipe for:

Classic Apple Tarte Tatin 

Ingredients for apple filling:
8-10 gala or pink lady apples, peeled, cored, and halved
1/2 cup butter
1/2 sugar

Ingredients for Pie Crust:
1 1/4 cups flour
4 oz. butter(1 stick)
1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/2 Tbs sugar
1/4 cup ice water

**You will bake this in a 10 inch iron skillet**

--For the crust, in a food processor or with fingers, combine flour, sugar, salt and butter until the chunks of butter are broken down to the size of peas and the flour feels like sand. Add half of the water and mix until dough comes together easily. If it is too dry add a tablespoon of water at a time until the dough forms. Form into a ball and place between two sheets of plastic wrap. Press down until a disk forms that is 1/2" thick. Put in the fridge while you prepare the apples.

--Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

--Stir together sugar and vanilla. Spread butter on the bottom of the pan and sprinkle the vanilla sugar on top. Place apple pieces vertically in the pan, snaking in a circle along the edge. Keep repeating until the whole pan is full. Over a medium flame, place the pan for 20-25 minutes until the butter, sugar, and apples have created a golden brown caramel. Let cool for a few minutes and then roll the chilled pie crust onto the dish and spread to the edge of the pan.

--Put in the oven and bake for about 20 minutes, or until the apples are bubbling and the crust is golden brown.

This smelled so good when I came home!

--Bring to room temp and flip onto a serving dish. Serve with homemade whipped cream!

**We loved this dessert, but would change a few things to the recipe. 1) we would only use 1/2 the butter that goes in the pan. 2) we would add brown sugar and cinnamon to the top of the apples before you put the crust lacked the sweetness we were looking for, but was still incredibly good!

The hubbs is good and, let's just say it, spoils me just a little....
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