Saturday, December 27, 2008

Lovely Christmas!

What a lovely Christmas we had! My parents-in-law and brother-in-law were here from Dec. 23 until this morning. We had a wonderful time with them!

I must talk about my stocking swap! Tara at The Well-Rounded Woman hosted this really fun swap where you prepare a stocking for a person only known online and another different person prepares one for you.

Unknown to me Becky at Scripture Mom was my secret Santa. She sent me such wonderful gifts! Which my husband kindly loaded in my stocking.... My two favorites are the butterfly bookplates and the magnetic measuring spoons- although I ate that whole Toblerone bar on Christmas day. The gifts also included an Eiffel tower key chain, spatula, lovely soap, candy cane, and bath beads!!! What fun! Thank you SO much Becky!

Soon I will post again with more Christmas details!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Mint Chocolate Chip Cookies

IV's favorite Christmas cookie (I think) is pictured to the left. Fortunately, it's also an easy cookie to make- just like chocolate chip cookies with cocoa in the batter and chocolate mint chips.


Mint Chocolate Chip Cookies
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup cocoa
1 teaspoon baking soda
10 oz bag of chocolate mint chips (Andes Crème de Menthe)

1. Heat oven to 375°F.
2. Beat butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar, vanilla and salt in large bowl until creamy. Add eggs; beat well.
3. Stir together flour, cocoa and baking soda; gradually add to butter mixture, beating until well blended. Stir in 10 oz bag of mint chips. Drop by rounded half-teaspoons onto cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.
4. Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until set. Cool slightly; remove from cookie sheet to wire rack. Cool completely. Makes about 7 dozen cookies.
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Check out Our Creative Life for more cookies in the cookie exchange!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Mary, Did You Know?

"Mary, Did You Know?" is one of my all-time favorite Christmas songs. I love the version recorded by Kenny Rogers and Wynonna Judd. You can hear it here.

In this advent season I can't help but think about what Mary must have been going through during her pregnancy, when she was waiting for the birth of Jesus.

Thank you Mary- for being open to the will of God in a way few of us are.

I pray that I can follow Mary's example.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

DV's new apron

DV has a new apron! I got it last week at World Market when I was shopping for stocking stuffers.

But, I couldn't wait until Christmas to give it to him! He needs it for all the baking we are doing!

The apron is actually made for doing arts and crafts and it is a really small size (the other kids aprons I have seen are really too long for DV.)

It is perfect, DV wears it every time we are going to cook or bake anything, just like his mommy.

Children's aprons work for me! Check out the other great tips on Shannon's site!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Gingerbread House

Today DV and I decorated our Christmas gingerbread house. I got the house as a kit from Sams club. Then I assembled the house and let it dry while DV was napping.

After DV woke up (and after IV got home from work) we decided to decorate the house. You can see we really worked as a team- I used the icing and DV controlled the candy.

I think we really got great results this year- and DV's hand eye coordination has improved so much from last Christmas when we also did this! He was able to place the candies exactly where he wanted them on the lines of icing I piped.

This activity is SO much fun and I would recommend it for anyone, especially the kit we got this year which had pre-mixed icing (although if I had made it I think we could have used a little more.)

This is my Works for me Wednesday post, although I am too late to make it on Shannon's list you can check out more great ideas at Rocks in my Dryer.
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Monday, December 8, 2008

DV and trains

DV has a thing about trains. Remember how a train table is his only request for Santa? It's not too surprising considering the fact that he LOVES trains.

Here you can see him with two trains- his wooden train on the right and the new Christmas train on the left. The Christmas train was supposed to go in the Christmas tree- but after about 20 minutes of trying IV and I decided not in our tree...

So instead of our lovely tree skirt we now have a train. I already miss the tree skirt- it has a nativity on it and I LOVE nativities (now I only have 7 out decorating!)

Thank you Pop-pop for the Christmas train! It makes some great noises that DV loves too.
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Sunday, December 7, 2008

DV and Santa 2

IV and I had been talking about taking DV to the mall to ride the carousel and see Santa. We just didn't know how well he was listening!

When DV woke up from his nap he decided he "needed" to get to the mall to see Santa and to ride the really cool carousel we have (I am a sucker for carousels!)

Since I was feeling spontaneous and IV was not, I decided to take DV to the mall- even though it is Sunday and everything should have been very crowded. We lucked out! There were only 4 people ahead of us in line to see Santa.

We parked, saw Santa, rode the carousel and got home in 45 minutes. That was a perfect mall trip!

It would have been even better if I could have gotten in some shopping.... but I have given up doing that kind of thing with DV.
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Saturday, December 6, 2008

DV and Santa!

Today we went to a fort near our home where they were having a Christmas celebration. Lots of people in period costume- doing traditional things like blacksmithing and weaving and showing off their skills on a bugle. DV, IV and I really enjoyed touring the fort- it was the first time we paid admission to get in, we have only admired the outside previously.

DV had refused to get his picture taken with Santa since he was a baby- but amazingly he decided that the colonial Santa was cool! In fact, the Santa was so cool he got down on the ground to get his picture taken with DV and it didn't cost us a thing. DV says he wants to invite Santa to our house.

We have told him Santa is coming- and DV says the only thing he wants is a train table!
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Thursday, December 4, 2008

DV is growing up!

DV is growing up! I know, they all do that- but sometimes it is really hard for me to be losing my "baby" and gaining a preschooler.
Yesterday we went to an open house at the school where DV will attend pre-K 4 next year. I can't believe it!
I am really quite sad about this, I love staying at home with DV and I don't think I'm quite ready for him to be a big independent boy.
He already is an independent boy. Just look at him hanging that ornament all on his own. He is potty trained, mostly dresses himself, and is working on his pre-reading skills. At least he still lets me carry him around, sometimes. I'm not giving that up until he says so.
Anyone have tips? How do you get over your babies growing up? What am I going to do next year when he's in school half the day? (Of course I'll still be working part time so I won't be bored, just sad.)

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Easy Cinnamon Ornaments WFMW

I have always wanted to make homemade ornaments with DV. You know, the kind that look like cookies but bugs, dogs, and kids don't like so they can actually hang on the tree for a season.
This year we did it! DV's magazine "Your Big Backyard" came with a recipe for Cinnamon ornaments. I figured that cinnamon would not be too attractive for eating and would be great for smelling so we gave it a try. I have only modified it slightly.
The only ingredients you need are cinnamon and applesauce. I recommend using inexpensive cinnamon (we get ours from Sam's). You will need about 4 oz of applesauce and 2 oz plus of ground cinnamon.
1. Mix the cinnamon and applesauce together in a small bowl. I used one of the snack size applesauce containers (4 oz) and then filled it half full with cinnamon for measurement. My applesauce was pretty wet so I ended up having to add quite a bit more cinnamon to get the right consistency dough. The dough should be like a sugar cookie dough.
2. Roll out the dough until it is 1/4" thick and cut shapes out using cookie cutters (We used the small 1" Christmas cutters that Wilton makes.) Place the cut shapes on a cookie sheet. Next time we do this I will use parchment paper on the cookie sheet. When you re-roll the dough you may have to add more cinnamon to keep the consistency.
3. Use a toothpick to make a hole in the top of each shape.
4. Bake at 200 degrees F for 20 minutes.
5. After the shapes cool thread an ornament through the hole and hang them wherever you need a cinnamon scent. It is great in combination with our fresh tree smell!
This recipe makes 30 1" ornaments.
Cinnamon ornaments work for me! For more great ideas visit Shannon's Rocks In My Dryer for her Works for Me Wednesday.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Best $170 we ever spent

In an earlier post I said we were going to be installing our new dishwasher... without professional help. It didn't happen. Today we hired a plumber to come in and fix our broken hot water pipe and install the dishwasher. The best $170 we ever spent!

Our problems actually occurred when removing the old- as IV was pulling it out the hot water pipe (which was installed incorrectly using duct tape) the copper pipe snapped. That picture over there shows all that was left of the hot water pipe after it broke.
Of course, the hot water wasn't turned off because it came straight from the floor- not under the sink as we had thought (that valve is for the ice maker.)

So, we had a flood. Today we are washing every single towel in the house. And, we were forced to turn off the hot water. No shower last night and I had to go to work today with dirty hair. Ugh! It's been too cold for a cold shower.
And there was one other scary problem- we had turned off the breaker to the dishwasher, but what we didn't realize was that the previous owners had left live wires not on that circuit under the dishwasher. So when we were dealing with the flood there were also live wires hanging around.
I am just so glad IV and I didn't get electrocuted!!
Next time we mess with an appliance? We are going to hire a professional. And the new dishwasher? It's a thing of beauty!!!!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Flickr Mosaic (100th post!)

1. Granma Jennie's Favorites, 2. (0395) Giza Plateau Egypt, 3. grimsby docks at night, 4. Pretty Monarch Butterfly 003, 5. brosnan, 6. You travel far to discover home., 7. Another another Rome..., 8. eye candy!, 9. Tender Love and Care, 10. It's breathtaking!, 11. Amazing Thailand, 12. Jen's Cheesecake

The idea for this fun post (my 100th!) came from Tara at The Well-Rounded Woman. It's a fun quiz that you use to create a mosaic that represents you.

First, answer these twelve questions:
1. What is your first name? (Jennie)
2. What is your favorite food? (Pizza)
3. What high school did you attend? (Satellite High School)
4. What is your favorite color? (Purple)
5. Who is your celebrity crush? (Pierce Brosnan)
6. Favorite drink? (Water)
7. Dream vacation? (Rome)
8. Favorite dessert? (Chocolate)
9. What do you want to be when you grow up? (Mom)
10. What do you love most in life? (Family)
11. One word to describe you (Happy)
12. Your Flickr name (Jen8rc)

Then build a mosaic! You use the mosaic maker at Big Huge Labs and get the photos by searching for your answers in flickr and selecting a photo for each question from the first page of hits.

Fun! Fun! And, something silly for my 100th post. Maybe I'll be serious on 101.

Thanks Tara for the instructions and you and I match on some of our answers!

Holiday Hints

Jo-Lynne from Musings of a Housewife has just posted a GREAT holiday gift guide!

You can find the guide here or you can just click on that nifty button on my right sidebar. That's right, over there. ->

I have almost finished all my Christmas shopping- actually I just have to finish a project for my mom's gift and buy another small gift for IV. But, I know someone out there could use hints for what to buy me (that's right, IV I'm talking to you.)

Here's a start to your Christmas shopping and the great advantage is not having to leave the house! Your gifts will come to you!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Bye, bye dishwasher!

Our dishwasher died on Thursday. I mean it just refused to function- we think the water pump broke (since no water was going in when it was supposed to be washing!) And it is quite rusty so we think it's old (it came with the house.)

So in addition to hand washing dishes (really it's not that bad for a family of three, except when we decide to make something elaborate like oysters) we have been shopping.

I want a GOOD dishwasher. The one we had (sadly passed away) was so great about getting the dishes clean. I read some online articles and decided the most important components for me are a food grinder, automatic water temperature control, and adjustable tines on the bottom. Not to mention, the more spray heads the better!

So we went shopping at three stores- Sears, Lowes, and Home Depot. I found a few dishwashers which were almost perfect at Lowes and Sears but we found our new dishwasher at Home Depot.

Home Depot has 10% off Maytag appliances right now, which is one of the reasons we selected a Maytag. But the main reason is it met all the requirements- and has three spray heads! It's also $100 less than its Sears competitor and seems more reliable from its reviews. If you're curious it's the Maytag Model MDBH955AWW.

Now we just have to be patient and wait for delivery. It will arrive on Wednesday- and we are planning to install it ourselves. (I'll let you know how that goes.)

I can't wait for my new dishwasher!!!!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

A boy's dollhouse- WFMW

DV has been very interested in imaginative play for at least a year (since he was 2) games where he plays with figures and imagines what they are doing. So I decided he needed a house for his people, and went looking for a "boy" type house since he doesn't have any sisters to share with.
We found one! Playmobil makes a great set which would be appropriate for any child (although it seems to be discontinued now) which includes a house and animal playmates plus veterinary equipment.
Playmobil actually has lots and lot of great playsets which would be appropriate for boys or girls and DV plays with his set every day and also uses toy which belong to other sets (little people, match box cars, etc.).
For other great toy ideas see Rocks in My Dryer, Shannon's Works for me Wednesday this week is toy recommendations.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Pumpkins and Seeds

Yesterday evening we decided it was the perfect time to work on our pumpkins. Two days before Halloween- they won't have time to rot before the trick-or-treaters come.

DV was a great help getting the strings and seeds out of the pumpkin and I decided that with two pumpkins worth of seeds I should try something I hadn't done in years. Cook the seeds!

I must say, previously I haven't had much success with making edible pumpkin seeds, so I decided to go with a recipe that was definitely different. You boil the seeds first. It worked! The seeds are crunchy and delicious!!!

Here's the recipe:
First boil the pumpkin seeds- for every half cup of seeds add 2 cups of cold water. Add 1 tablespoon of salt for every cup of water (I used a little less than this.) Bring the water to a boil and simmer for 10 minutes.

Prepare your baking pan. Coat the bottom of the pan with 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Drain the seeds and place them in one layer in the pan (I had to use 2 pans). Bake the seeds for 20 minutes or until the seeds are browned to your liking. I stirred the seeds half way through. Let the seeds cool completely in the pans before enjoying!!!!

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Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Low sugar cookies- WFMW

I am not very trusting of sugar substitutes- being a chemist I know what they are and I know what they're not (natural.) So I want to serve low sugar treats for DV as much as the next mom, but I don't want to use Splenda or other artificial sweeteners.

So I have been searching for a good recipe for cookies which just uses only a little sugar. I have found it in "Italian Frosted Cookies" (you have to leave the frosting off for the low sugar effect.) The recipe comes from DV's Kindermusic book with a few modifications:

Italian Frosted Cookies
¾ cup butter
1/3 cup sugar
3 eggs
2 tbsp. orange juice (or apple juice)
3 cups flour
1 tbsp.
baking powder

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. (325 convection)
Cream the butter and sugar; add eggs, vanilla, and juice. Combine flour and
baking powder in separate bowl and gradually add to creamed mixture. Knead
dough for about 5 minutes. Use tablespoons of dough, roll into lengths
and then
press ends together to form small rings. Let stand on ungreased
cookie sheet for
15 minutes at room temperature. Bake for 15 minutes or
until lightly golden.
Makes 4 dozen.

Note: The original recipe
called for a confectioner’s sugar and water glaze which the hot cookies would be
dipped in and then sprinkles added but these cookies are good plain.

This recipe works for me! The cookies taste a little like sweet croissants. Enjoy! For other Works for Me Wednesday ideas check out Rocks in My Dryer.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Christmas Shopping

We like to start our Christmas shopping early around here- in fact we started very early!

I bought one of DV's gifts last spring- it's a really cute kid's cookbook but he wasn't ready for it yet. Now he cooks with me all the time. See the photo over there of us making chocolate cutout cookies last Saturday. You can see we were wearing our Texas orange- go Texas- #1!!
Anyway, back to Christmas shopping- I have been watching out for sales and there have been some pretty good ones. Lenox has a great clearance section online where I have bought teacher gifts already and also gifts for my mother-in-law and mom.
One of DV's large gifts was bought at a consignment sale- a used train table! I can't wait until my parents are here for Thanksgiving- that will be SO much fun- plus they are going to help me refinish it. So it will be perfect for DV!
I love Christmas shopping! I have so much fun buying gifts for my family and friends. It is one of my favorite things about this lovely season.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Easy Shortbread

I haven't had as much time as usual for baking for IV and DV so I have been searching for quick, scratch recipes. This recipe is great because you can do everything in the food processor and the ingredients are ones I always have around. I found it in my local paper and modified slightly:

Brown Sugar Shortbread

1 cup butter, softened
1 cup brown sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
2 cups flour
1/4 tsp. salt
1 tbsp. sugar
pinch ground cinnamon

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Lightly butter a 9" springform pan. In the food processor (or mixer) process the butter until soft. Add brown sugar and vanilla, process. Add the flour and salt; do not over mix. The dough should look a bit crumbly (see photo.) Press into pan using fingers. Combine 1 tbsp sugar with cinnamon and sprinkle over top. Cut into wedges and pierce each several times with a fork. Bake until golden brown and firm at edges while still soft in center. 40-45 minutes. Cool in pan and recut wedges. Store in an airtight container.
This is my entry in the works for me Wednesday kitchen organization edition! It works for me!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Board Games for a 3-year old!

We have been working lately to reduce our TV consumption. So I discovered the wonderful world of preschool board games! They don't require reading.
We started out with Hi Ho Cherry-O which is a great counting game that DV got as a gift. He loves it SO much we can play multiple times a day. The main point of the game is to spin and get all of your cherries from the tree into the basket- and it requires counting up to 4. Perfect!
Since we were so successful with one game I decided to branch out and we added Candy Land to our selection of board games. This game is a color matching game with some counting to 2- and DV loves it even more than Hi Ho Cherry-O I think because of all the candy!
Another great thing about these games is they are inexpensive (in fact Toys R Us is having a sale this week and they are only $5 a piece) so they are great for any occasion!
Board games work for me! If you need other tips please visit Works-for-me Wednesday at Rocks in My Dryer.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Chemistry and Monty Python

I had to share this really funny video- it's advertising a new separation system- using thin layer chromatography- but the video is really great. And you can see how chemistry can be funny!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Saving Basil: Works for Me

We have been growing basil this summer- but the season for good growing conditions has finally ended.

We needed to pull up the basil plant- about 3'x3'- to prepare our garden for fall planting.

I needed to save all that basil! So what to do? Pick all the leaves off the plant and wash them. I then put them out to dry overnight on my cooling racks on top of paper towels (see photo.)

The next morning the leaves were dry and I measured one cup of basil and placed it into a quart size labeled freezer bag (see photo), so that the leaves are laying flat. Then the bags go into the freezer and when we need the taste of fresh basil we can just pull some out! Frozen basil works perfectly in any cooked recipe.

It works for me. To see more works for me Wednesday posts go to Rocks In My Dryer.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Easy chocolate cake

This recipe is actually called "Six-Minute" chocolate cake in the Moosewood cookbook. I have modified it a little (I think it works better) but it now takes closer to 10 minutes to get it into the oven. This is the chocolate cake I ALWAYS make now. It makes one thick 9" cake layer or 12 cupcakes, but the recipe can be doubled.
  • 1.5 cups flour
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup cold water or brewed coffee
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 2 tablespoons vinegar

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Grease and flour a 9" cake pan or line a cupcake pan with 12 papers.

In a bowl whisk together the flour, cocoa, baking soda, salt and sugar. Add the vegetable oil, water (or coffee), and vanilla and mix until smooth. Add the vinegar to the batter and stir until just mixed (you will see pale streaks in the batter where the vinegar and baking soda are reacting.) Bake for 25 to 30 minutes.

There is also a delicious and easy glaze that goes with the cake.

  • 8 oz bittersweet chocolate
  • 3/4 cup hot water, milk or half-and-half
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla

I make the glaze in the microwave, so first I heat the milk (or water or half-and half) for about 1.5 minutes until it's almost boiling. Then I melt the chocolate in the microwave (it takes about 1.5 minutes.) Then whisk the chocolate and milk together and add vanilla. Pour the glaze over the cake and refrigerate!!!

I make the cake a lot for DV and IV to enjoy and use buttercream icing, but if I am going to bring something to a group of women this cake with the glaze is perfect. Total chocolate heaven!!!

PS- This cake is also a pretty cool example of a common acid and base reaction (the vinegar and baking soda) that is used to leaven the cake. So I also like it as a chemist!

Monday, September 1, 2008


We live on the Gulf coast- so we are feeling the effects of hurricane Gustav.

Luckily, we didn't have to evacuate because we are on the edge of the storm bands- only feeling the tropical storm force winds and rain.

Obviously, we haven't lost power yet!

The main difficulty had been entertaining DV during the rain and wind- he has been acting like a hurricane in the living room. There are toys where I never thought toys could be.

Today I just feel thankful. Thank God the storm spared us and we are praying for those it didn't.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

IV's favorite cookies!

Today I made these cookies for IV and DV and they love them. They are very easy to make. It takes me about 1.5 hours including clean-up time.

Soft and Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies

  • 2 1/4 cup flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 cup salted butter
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Whisk together flour and baking soda. Put butter and sugars in the mixer and mix on medium speed until pale and fluffy. Reduce mixer speed to low. Add vanilla and eggs, mix. Mix in flour mixture, and then stir in chocolate chips by hand.

Drop teaspoons of dough onto baking sheets line with parchment. Bake cookies for 8 minutes, or until edges are golden and centers are soft. Cool cookies on wire racks. Store cookies in airtight container between layers of parchment.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Back-to-school haiku

Shannon at Rocks in My Dryer is having a contest today for a back-to-school haiku. I decided to enter:

Now that books are BACK,
No more free summer time TO
Play, instead busy SCHOOL.


Thursday, August 21, 2008

Where does the three-year-old sleep?

When we moved DV from the crib to a bed we decided to splurge and buy him an expensive bed. Lucky kid!

Here's a picture of him enjoying it, even before I added the race car decals. He started out sleeping in it with his crib mattress and when we decided he had gotten too tall for the crib mattress we switched to a twin.

But where does he sleep now? He takes his blanket and bear and sleeps on the floor- right by the door. Every night.

So the cute, "kids dream," bed is empty and we can't even move him into it after he's asleep- because opening the door wakes him up!

I hope he'll go back to sleeping in the bed someday- the hardwood can't be that comfortable!

Friday, August 15, 2008


I have been taking off from my part-time job this summer. I have been really enjoying my free time with DV and little, visiting family vacations.

But ARGHHHHH! On August 19 I will be back to the grind- teaching Chemistry I labs. I adjunct part-time and stay home with DV the rest of the time.

I'm just not sure I'm ready to go back. I want more time off!

Truthfully? I am a little nervous. I always get this way before I start a new activity. Even one I have done before....

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Bad Marshmallows!

Jen at Absolutely Bananas gave us this nifty writing prompt- write about a cooking catastrophe!

I am here to tell you marshmallows cannot be added to just any recipe.

I had some marshmallows. I had some brownie mix. And, I needed a dish to take to my potluck.

Can you see where this is headed? I decided I couldn't just make the mix brownies- I had to try for something exciting. So I added a bag of mini marshmallows to the mix before baking it.

I should have figured there is a reason marshmallows are never added to something before baking.

Here is what happened: browned and caramelized marshmallows on top of undercooked brownies. Totally inedible! I had to buy something for the potluck.

Here's my recommendation- DO NOT BAKE MARSHMALLOWS!!!!!

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

What I have learned from my son

What have I learned from DV? This is a really great question- as he has been around for just over 3 years now and I have learned A LOT.
1. Patience
2. Unconditional love
3. Enjoy the moment
4. Read, read, read
5. Always smell the flowers
6. Run don't walk
7. Chocolate is the perfect food
8. Prunes are the other perfect food
9. Daddy is a hero
10. Watch the garbage trucks (and other gross things)

Every day DV teaches me something absolutely vital. I don't know who I would be without him in my life. Thanks DV!

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Family Portraits

Every summer we get family portraits taken. This summer is no exception- we went to Portrait Innovations and had these great shots taken!

Don't you just love the one of DV leaning back in the chair? Well, I love them all!

And, we even got a pretty good deal on a ton of pictures- and if we could have limited ourselves to one pose we could have spent only $9.95.

They even include a free CD so you can e-mail your pictures, get reprints, and post them on your blog.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Easy Lasagna

We are having guests for dinner tonight- they are our new neighbors and they have 2 children right about DV's age. I am SO excited!

I decided to trot out my recipe for easy lasagna. I think it is much better than the frozen kind you can buy- and for the 3 of us it actually makes 3 meals. (It makes 12 adult size servings and IV likes to eat 2!) The extra meals freeze and re-heat in the microwave really well so this is a real time saver- plus it's not much more work than spaghetti
  • 16-20 oz ground turkey
  • 1 large jar pasta sauce
  • 15 oz ricotta cheese
  • 2 cups mozzarella cheese
  • 9 lasagna noodles
  • parmesan cheese for sprinkling

Cook the lasagna noodles as the package directs. While they are cooking cook the ground turkey and drain the fat. Then add enough pasta sauce to make a slightly soupy mixture and simmer while the noodles are cooking.

When the noodles are done cooking drain them and run cold water over them. Pour some pasta sauce (without meat) on the bottom of your lasagna pan. Place 3 noodles over sauce. Add half the meat sauce and spread. Then spread half of the ricotta cheese over the meat and sprinkle on half the mozzarella. Add 3 more lasagna noodles and make the second layer of meat and cheese as the first. Cover with 3 more lasagna noodles. Pour more pasta sauce (without meat) over the top and sprinkle with parmesan cheese.

At this point cover the lasagna with aluminum foil and you can refrigerate it to bake later or bake it now! Bake for 30 minutes at 350 degrees F.


Monday, July 28, 2008

Simple Fudge Search

I am on the hunt for a simple (read as no candy thermometer) recipe for fudge. I am working on my project now so that by Christmas time I will be ready! Homemade fudge for DV's teachers with the lovely Christmas ornaments I ordered on discount from Lenox.

The first recipe I tried is called "Simple Chocolate Fudge" and I read it in Everyday Food. Of course I modified it a little bit..
  • 4 tbs. butter
  • 3 cups mini marshmallows
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup evaporated milk
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla
  • 2 cups chocolate chips

The original recipe (and thus the photo) also includes 1 cup walnuts, and calls for heavy cream instead of evaporated milk.

The fudge tastes lovely but did not set-up as well as I would have liked. I had to put it in the freezer to get it to set- and then when moved to the refrigerator the fudge is a little soft. Probably too soft for gift giving but fine for eating. So I am still on the quest.

If anyone has a suggestion please share!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

This is the kind of friend I want to be.

I received this through my e-mail today.

"If one day you feel like crying...
Call me.
I don't promise you that...
I will make you laugh
But I can cry with you.

If one day you want to run away-
Don't be afraid to call me.
I don't promise to ask you to stop,
But I can run with you.

If one day you don't want to listen to
Call me and...
I promise to be very quiet.

If one day you call and there is no answer...
Come fast to see me...
Perhaps I need you..."

I want to be the kind of friend who is always there. I am blessed to have several friends who are always available for me. Thank God for friends!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Potty training

DV and I have been working on the infamous potty training. He has been doing very well with pee- and staying dry- but we were getting nowhere fast on poop.

So, I tried an experiment- 3 prunes!- and now we have him doing his business quite regularly every evening when given the "prunies" in the morning. This definitely works for me.

For more works-for-me Wednesday links check out Shannon at Rocks in My Dryer.

Monday, July 21, 2008

3 Minute Retreat

Finding God 3 Minute Retreat
I was wandering around the blogosphere today and I found this wonderful 3 minute retreat. It is a daily, scripture guided, computer retreat- and it's just what I've been looking for to supplement my prayer life. I already have a daily reflection I read with scripture and prayer but I've been searching for something to add.

Today's scripture was from 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 "Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God, and that you are not you own? For you have been purchased at a price. Therefore, glorify God in your body."

I really needed to be reminded today that the spirit and body are united. Our moral choices need to be reflected in the actions of our bodies and the desires of our spirits. Our bodies are not ours- they belong to God. We must live in a way that reflects the dignity of our bodies and our souls. The last question today's retreat asks is, "How can I help others to see themselves in God's eyes?"

Sometimes I forget to see other people with God's eyes- see what is good about them. I don't know why but I really feel like this retreat was speaking to me. I am going to work on seeing the good in other people as Jesus does.

So, I actually came away with 2 resolutions from this one 3 minute reflection. 1) Remember that my body and all bodies belong to God and take care of them in an appropriate way 2) Remember that Jesus saw good where others did not and be like Him.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Reading Level

blog readability test

I found this readability test online- and I thought it was pretty funny. I mean, who knows what it uses to gauge the reading level- sentence length, word length, etc....? But, I am gratified to know I can write at the high school level even though I have most conversations with my three-year-old.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Easy out cake layers

Today I am posting a "works-for-me wednesday" idea of my own.

One of the problems frequently encountered by me while baking was a cake layer torn in half- because it stuck to the pan!

Now, it's a real pain to have to re-make a cake and hope that it doesn't happen for a second time.

My solution is waxed paper. And, this works every time!!!

1. Trace the bottom of your cake pan(s) on waxed paper
2. Cut out the pattern
3. Grease the pan
4. Place the waxed paper in the bottom over the grease
5. Grease the waxed paper
6. Sprinkle the whole inside of the pan with flour (which sticks to the grease)

Now, add your cake batter and bake as normal. When you remove your cake from the pan it won't stick- only the waxed paper will. Pull off the waxed paper and then lay it back on top until the cake cools (this keeps the layer from drying out too much.) I've never had a cake split since adopting this trick.

Works for me Wednesday is hosted by Shannon at Rocks in My Dryer .

Monday, July 14, 2008

My Miracle Baby

Beth at "A Mom's Life" has inspired me to post about my big miracle.

I thank God every day for the presence of our son DV in our lives. He was born when I was only 27 weeks pregnant. I developed HELLP syndrome and ended up in the hospital. Eventually, they needed to perform an emergency C-section which had perfect timing because a placental abruption was also discovered.


DV was 2 lbs 4.5 oz when he was born and stayed in the NICU for 9 weeks. Today even the doctors say you can't tell he was a premature baby. We had so many people and prayer chains praying for us both before and after his birth- he is a miracle baby.

I thank God every day for the miracles in my life, the small everyday ones, and especially my miracle baby!

Look at him now!

Saturday, July 12, 2008

DV's birthday!!!

Today is DV's birthday 3rd birthday and we have had a wonderful day, although very busy!

For breakfast we enjoyed fresh Belgian waffles (made on our new waffle iron, which was an anniversary gift to ourselves.)

We drove to the Naval Air Station to visit the National Museum of Naval Aviation and then had lunch at a local restaurant which features a sand play area!

When we returned home DV opened his gifts- he really loves the play cabin and the new red wagon.

Finally, we had dinner and DV actually blew out the candle on the chocolate cupcake with red icing!
What a day!!

Oh, and to top it all off, we had a storm after dinner and lost power for 3 hours- the only bad part of a wonderful day!

Happy birthday DV!