Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Icing and cake and yummy stuff....

Do you know about this wonderful product called Vanilla Bettercreme? It's pourable icing and you just whip it 3-5 minutes and it's the most luscious tasty light airy fluffy yummy icing you ever had! Have you ever gone to a wedding and the wedding cake is either that icky gritty greasy icing or that light fluffy whipped icing....Well....this is it! It actually gets stiff and you can pipe and decorate with it as well! It ranges in price of $4-$4.50 per container. It's a bit more costly at the cake supply stores or I buy it at our local bulk store GFS (Gorton Foods). It colors easily as well and you could use it for cream fillings in lots of things! chocolate is my personal favorite! We just had Grace's Birthday not long ago and used it.....it is similar to Chocolate MOUSSE!! yum Have you ever been to a fancy shin dig and they had little chocolate cups with Chocolate Mousse? yep that's what this tastes like.......You could use about half a container to frost a 9 x 13 cake and maybe 3/4 to do a layer cake so it's nice and thick! So.......if you haven't tried it give it a shot! it's tastyyyyyy!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Simple things......

We love the simple things don't we.......That's why we love these old shows! We watch the Waltons EVERY night during the school week! We all love that show (well I can't tell you Jordan loves it as much as we do! ha but I do see him drawn in sometimes!) ha For the last three days Hallmark movie channel has featured the Sarah Plain and Tall movies! I LOVE those........I think we like the "family" feel it gives us.......We can count on Mama's and Daddies that have good morals and take their little ducklings to church services on "Sundie!" We love it when siblings call each other honey like John boy calls his baby sister Elizabeth and we'd like to think that could happen at our house too! ha

We love Ma rolling out some dough to make fresh baked bread or cutting biscuits....We love her feisty ways and how she sweetly apologizes to "Pa" for talking to him gruffly earlier in the day! Or the feeling it would be to let your children run and play all through town without worrying about their safety........We love General stores and all the smiles cracking open a bottle of soda brings and what a special treat penny candy was! No show made a Peppermint stick sound as scrumptious as Mr. Olsen's store did on Little House on the Prairie! Or when the Ingles girls find a homemade sugar cookie in their Christmas stocking on Christmas morning because sugar was such a special treat (not to mention their OWN tin cups!)

I'm so glad we own almost all seasons of Road to Avonlea and we love to see what mischief Felix King is going to get into or Felicity fussing about Spring cleaning with her mother! Every Christmas we buy another season and I can't tell you how many times we've watched them and wanted to slip into long white ruffled nighties and make popcorn over a roaring fire.......To find an orange a delectable treat or buy a pair of little white gloves for 5o cents in the General store!

I love to hear the laughter from my girls as they watch Lucy and Ethel try to stuff chocolate bon bons in their mouth or churn their own butter! Ricky telling Lucy she's got some "splainin to do!" and precious little Ricky playing his drums while Fred and Ethel tease about Ethel's healthy appetite although Fred isn't any skinny stick himself!
There's no swearing, there's no nasty commercials, no sass that isn't dealt with, no harsh words or mom's and dad's yelling over dirty laundry on their bedroom floors.......Tough times that make us feel blessed today that we have all we need........The simple life, a great place to escape, teaching great morals to our kids without even speaking, cozy as a family in front of a fire, or tucked into the covers on Mike and my bed with just a candle lit and the light of the tv. screen.....how we crave these little escapes......how we wish tv. was like this today.......but we enjoy the time together, the popcorn the laughter the bonding!! Ahh the Simple Life!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Sweet faith....

This was from an email that someone forwarded to my dad and I thought it was so touching and so true.......

Don't start reading this one until you've got more than a minute to just 'scan' over it. It deserves some time for reflection.
I envy Kevin. My brother, Kevin, thinks God lives under his bed. At least that's what I heard him say one night.
He was praying out loud in his dark bedroom, and I stopped to listen, 'Are you there, God?' he said. 'Where are you? Oh, I see. Under the bed...'
I giggled softly and tiptoed off to my own room. Kevin's unique perspectives are often a source of amusement. But that night something else lingered long after the humor. I realized for the first time the very different world Kevin lives in.
He was born 30 years ago, mentally disabled as a result of difficulties during labor. Apart from his size (he's 6-foot-2), there are few ways in which he is an adult.
He reasons and communicates with the capabilities of a 7-year-old, and he always will. He will probably always believe that God lives under his bed, that Santa Claus is the one who fills the space under our tree every Christmas and that airplanes stay up in the sky because angels carry them.
I remember wondering if Kevin realizes he is different. Is he ever dissatisfied with his monotonous life?
Up before dawn each day, off to work at a workshop for the disabled, home to walk our cocker spaniel, return to eat his favorite macaroni-and-cheese for dinner, and later to bed.
The only variation in the entire scheme is laundry, when he hovers excitedly over the washing machine like a mother with her newborn child.
He does not seem dissatisfied.
He lopes out to the bus every morning at 7:05, eager for a day of simple work.
He wrings his hands excitedly while the water boils on the stove before dinner, and he stays up late twice a week to gather our dirty laundry for his next day's laundry chores.
And Saturdays - oh, the bliss of Saturdays! That's the day my Dad takes Kevin to the airport to have a soft drink, watch the planes land, and speculate loudly on the destination of each passenger inside 'That one's goin' to Chi-car-go! ' Kevin shouts as he claps his hands.
His anticipation is so great he can hardly sleep on Friday nights.
And so goes his world of daily rituals and weekend field trips. He doesn't know what it means to be discontent.
His life is simple.
He will never know the entanglements of wealth of power, and he does not care what brand of clothing he wears or what kind of food he eats. His needs have always been met, and he never worries that one day they may not be.
His hands are diligent. Kevin is never so happy as when he is working. When he unloads the dishwasher or vacuums the carpet, his heart is completely in it.
He does not shrink from a job when it is begun, and he does not leave a job until it is finished. But when his tasks are done, Kevin knows how to relax.
He is not obsessed with his work or the work of others. His heart is pure.
He still believes everyone tells the truth, promises must be kept, and when you are wrong, you apologize instead of argue.
Free from pride and unconcerned with appearances, Kevin is not afraid to cry when he is hurt, angry or sorry. He is always transparent, always sincere. And he trusts God.
Not confined by intellectual reasoning, when he comes to Christ, he comes as a child. Kevin seems to know God - to really be friends with Him in a way that is difficult for an 'educated' person to grasp. God seems like his closest companion.
In my moments of doubt and frustrations with my Christianity, I envy the security Kevin has in his simple faith.
It is then that I am most willing to admit that he has some divine knowledge that rises above my mortal questions.
It is then I realize that perhaps he is not the one with the handicap. I am. My obligations, my fear, my pride, my circumstances - they all become disabilities when I do not trust them to God's care.
Who knows if Kevin comprehends things I can never learn? After all, he has spent his whole life in that kind of innocence, praying after dark and soaking up the goodness and love of God.
And one day, when the mysteries of heaven are opened, and we are all amazed at how close God really is to our hearts, I'll realize that God heard the simple prayers of a boy who believed that God lived under his bed.
Kevin won't be surprised at all!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Chicken Florentine...

2 -10oz pkgs. frozen spinach, thawed and drained
6 chicken breast halves or bone in (about 4 lbs. roasted)
2 -10 3/4oz cans cream soup (low fat/sodium)
1/2 C. Mayo
1 C. Reduced Fat Sour Cream
1 C. Sharp Cheddar cheese
2 Tb. lemon Juice
1 ts. Curry powder(I substitute 1/2 ts. Chili powder)
Salt and pepper to taste
1/2 C. Chicken bouillon/broth (or milk)
1/2 C. Parmesan cheese
1/2 C. bread crumbs
2 Tb. butter
Roast your chicken on a cookie sheet with Salt and Pepper for 1 hr. at 350*. I use bone in chicken breasts with the skin on and they are so juicy, let sit for 20 mins. to cool and then shred into a big bowl, and you can put it in the fridge the day before all shredded and ready. (You could boil your chicken breasts on low for an hr. if you wanted to or use a pre-cooked chicken). Add in soup, mayo, sour cream, broth or milk, salt and pepper, lemon juice, Curry powder and stir with chicken. Add cheese and then spinach. Pour into 9 x 13 baking dish that you've sprayed. Mix bread crumbs and Parm. cheese and sprinkle over the top...dot with butter and bake at 350* for 30 mins. until bubbly!
This was a Paula Dean recipe that I tweaked to be healthier, but if you want the full fat stuff go for it...and I halved the Cheddar cheese(if you use Sharp Cheddar it adds the flavor in without double cheese) and Mayo as well! It was DELICIOUS....I served it over mashed Yukon Gold potatoes and all 5 of us loved it....Grace does NOT like spinach but she ate it surprisingly...I did notice she pulled some of the spinach to the side but kept saying "I love this gravy!" haha It would be fabulous on noodles or rice too! You could certainly substitute brocolli for the spinach! that would be yummy too!

Monday, March 7, 2011

My Day....

Outside my window...beautiful gorgeous sunshine and blue skies!! I pulled every blind wide opened to let in the sunshine! When I sit at the computer the sun beats through the window and feels so nice on my face!
I am thinking...about the movie Mike and I watched over the weekend. One Night With the King, the story of Esther from the bible. I was so struck with how brave she was to face a King and plead for her people's lives because she was obedient to God! There's a great line in the movie where she says basically it's because she has a strong faith in God that she is able to do something so difficult! I don't think I'll ever be in a place where I might lose my life by obeying God but it inspired me to know "for such a time as this I was placed in the life I'm in!"
I am thankful for...spring that is soon coming...I'm ready! I am loving the sunshine lately and it's been lighter in the morning and evenings!
From the learning rooms...Lots of piano practice, this is the time of year the kids pick their piano recital song and I"m so glad to say I LIKE ALL 3 SONGS they've chosen...which is good since I have to listen to them for the next 3 months!
From the kitchen...over the weekend homemade bread and Cinnamon rolls! yum
I am wearing...Black track pants, gray striped turtleneck and a white fleece sweatshirt!
I am creating...some organizing in the junk drawers, Tupperware cabinets, spice cupboards and STILL putting away holiday stuff! ha
I am going...to take Grace to the Orthodontist, then pick up Macy, then pick up Grace from chess club then Jordan from track practice THEN we're going out to McDonald's with Mike's Grandpa for supper...so no cooking yay!
I am reading...hmm forgot the title, ha A Cedar Cove series and Visionary Marriage by Rob Reinow
I am hoping...to go and lay down for a small snippet of a nap today!
I am hearing...the dog chasing after a stuffed piggy dog toy! and .....THE DRYER!
Around the house...cleaning up, always on Mondays especially...laundry piles up over the weekend, the fridge needs cleaned out and always clutter laying around!
One of my favorite things...Sunshine streaming through the window to brighten the day!!
A few plans for the rest of the week: Bible Study, prayer group, cleaning out Grace's closet, church and hopefully a DATE night out on the weekend! I have a Barnes and Noble gift card I would really like to use!
Here is picture for thought I am sharing...Soon we'll be looking up into trees full of leaves, hearing kids swimming in the pool, lawns being mowed, and feeling that sunshine on our faces OUTSIDE! go here to work out your own daybook!!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Cinnamon rolls...

Cinnamon rolls:

1 recipe for Whole wheat bread dough (or 1 frozen whole wheat loaf)
1 stick of butter, softened
3/4 C. Brown sugar
2. ts. Cinnamon
1 C. chopped Walnuts (or Pecans)
3/4 C. Raisins
Roll dough into a rectangle and spread entire rectangle with softened butter, leaving 1/2 inch along one long edge. Sprinkle with brown sugar, Cinnamon, Nuts and Raisins. Roll long end into a jelly roll. Measure rolled up dough into 24" and cut into 12- 2 inch rolls. Place into 9 x 13 baking dish and let raise until double.
Bake at 400* for 15-17 mins. (Cover lightly with foil)
1 Stick butter softened
1 8 oz. bar cream cheese
1 C. Powdered sugar
1 ts. Vanilla
Beat butter and cream together until creamy, add sugar and beat well and add vanilla. Spread over warm rolls and serve!
This is a copycat recipe from Cinnabun, minus the Whole Wheat dough! ENJOY! (At Christmas I often use Pecans and dried Cherries and sprinkle the top of icing with chopped Pecans too!)

Friday, March 4, 2011


A few weekends ago we had a parenting seminar at our church called Visionary Parenting check it out if you have time! they have great marriage and family stuff on their sight as well! I was asked to do the decorating and snack time so it was alot of fun to prep and do the decorating!

I tried to think like a parent, leaving their kids with sitters or grandparents and heading out alone...that can be very exciting especially for parents of young kids who don't get to do that very often! So I thought, parents thinking about their kids....CANDY! I've seen alot of candy "bars" lately at weddings and such and there's a gal named Amy Atlas that does FANTASTIC candy bars for the stars, check out her site for fun!!

I found these darling candy dot strips that are giant dots...at Cracker Barrel of course! Cracker Barrel has THEEE best selection of old fashioned candies and unique candies. I also did little twig trees on each table with black and white cut out photos of......KIDS! it was fun.....I found little glass beads that look like candy to sprinkle on the tables. We can't burn candles at our church so I found little tealites that are battery operated. They were cute for evening! I found an aray of cute stuff at Hobby Lobby...I love Hobby Lobby! I got all the jars and labels and little doo dads there!!
Licorice whips just tasted better out of a gorgeous glass jar! haha and I loaded a big trifle bowl with triple coated malted milk balls, Good and Plenties are in the cute little colorful Chinese take out containers...gumdrops with old fashioned twist lollypops on them.....flavored candy sticks were fun too......At the last session of the seminar for that last snack time we put out little white mini lunch bags for parents to make goodie bags with all the leftover candy to take home as a favor treat for their kiddos! They had fun doing that!! I had fun with the whole thing, it was a great day and a fun time!

This is because Mike made me model so it wasn't just "table" in the photo he said! ha it was fun....the decorations were colorful and bright and fun!! I hope parents checked into their inner child that day!!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Chicken Stir fry, healthy and fast and yummy! a 5 out of 5 at our house!!

2 Tb. Olive Oil
4-5 carrots peeled, and sliced thin
1 head Broc. cut into florets (or Cauliflower)
1 Red pepper, cleaned and sliced in strips
1 Orange pepper, cleaned and sliced into strips
1 ts. Garlic minced
1 onion, cut down the center and then into long strips
1 8 oz. container of sliced baby Portabella mushrooms
1 lb. Chicken tenders (or breasts) cut into large chunks
1 ts. salt
pepper to taste
1/4 ts. Chinese 5 spice (in the Oriental aisle at the grocery store)
2 Tb. Soy sauce
1/2 ts. dry ginger
1 can Pineapple tidbits with juice
1 Tb. cornstarch
1/4 C. duck sauce (we buy ours at our local Chinese restaurant, it's worth it or you can buy it in the stir or make your own)
1 Can sliced water chestnuts.

4-6 servings brown rice

Put rice on to cook. Heat Olive oil in skillet hot and add chicken. Turn chicken after browned on one side. Add garlic and onion and saute until slightly soft, add carrots, broc, and peppers and soy sauce. Saute 3-4 mins. until Broc. is soft, add mushrooms and water chestnuts, salt and all spices. Stir for 2-3 mins. Drain juice from Pineapple into measuring cup and add Corn Starch and stir until smooth. Reduce heat on stir fry and add Pineapple sauce, stir and turn off heat and pour 1/4 Cup duck sauce over and stir and stir in the Pineapple.
Service over rice with sliced green onions and honey roasted peanuts sprinkled on top!