Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Sugar Cream Pie!

Updated with Photo...

This is my absolute FAVORITE pie. I believe it is native to Indiana. There is a bakery in my hometown that makes a scrumptious version. I found this particular version in my home church's cookbook and it comes really close to the bakery version. I have been trying to perfect it over the last few years and have made some small mistakes in the process...so pay attention to the little notes I've added to the recipe if you decide to try it. It is actually really easy to make, the most difficult part is remaining patient while it comes to a boil over low heat.

Without further ado...

Sugar Cream Pie

½ Stick butter
1 cup half and half
1 ½ cups milk
¾ cups of sugar
¼ cup +1 Tbs. of cornstarch
1 Tsp. of vanilla
I pie crust

Bake and cool one pie crust. Stir butter, half & half, and milk over low heat (I set mine at about 3.5) until butter is melted. Stir together the sugar and cornstarch; immediately add to milk mixture. Cook, stirring until mixture begins to thicken, and boils (this takes awhile, don’t turn the heat up...it will eventually boil). Continue stirring for 1 minute. Remove from heat and add 1 teaspoon of vanilla. Pour into pie crust. Sprinkle with nutmeg and cinnamon. Bake at 350 degrees for 5 minutes.


Monday, December 22, 2008

Meet Spot

Well, it was inevitable. I knew at some point in my married life that I would end up succumbing to my husband's love of dogs. I just didn't know he would use our sons so deftly in his ploy to accrue one. Let me set the stage for you...

Saturday morning + Petco + One particularly cute dog from a shelter + "Puppy Dog" eyes from all of my boys...especially the BIG one + Mommy looking like a deer caught in headlights = Flawless execution of Petco's brilliant (gotta hand it to them) marketing ploy (CHA CHING) and a new family dog!

I must admit I've spent the last few days in somewhat of a stunned silence at my current reality. I'm still not sure exactly how I got here. I've never been a dog lover. Please don't judge. I had a bad experience as a young child when I was ATTACKED (okay, maybe it wasn't an attack, but it seemed like it to me at the time) by a Doberman Pinscher. And let's just say, the experience did not exactly create in me a sense of ease in regard to the species we call canine.

But I digress. What was the original point of this post? Oh yeah, to introduce you to the dog.

Meet Spot. He's a JackRat (Jack Russell/Rat Terrier mix). He is five months old. So far he has a very calm and sweet disposition. The only real issue so far is with house training, but he's learning. And thankfully, the guy that had the biggest puppy dog eyes is working on that while he is on break from being all "professorial".

Almost everyone in the family is completely smitten. And honestly, if he could stop emitting bodily secretions on my carpet for awhile, I might consider coming around. That is, AFTER I call the carpet cleaner. Time will surely tell.

Oh wait...what's that? You want to see some pictures? Alright, alright already...here's Spot in his OFFICIAL BLOGGING DEBUT. Drum roll, please....

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

You Are A Friend of Mine

I really hate the term, but per a fellow blog reader's request I finally put the "follower" widget in my sidebar. I decided to title it "friends" instead, though, because that is a much more accurate description. If you would like to be a "friend", just look over to the left hand side of the blog (directly below my favorite verse) and click "follow this blog". I would be honored! Also, if you have one of these widgets on your blog and I have yet to click on it, please let me know...I would love to do that!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Easy Peasy Pizza Dip and More

I just came up with that name, but the recipe does not originate from me. I got it from Shelley, but I know she got it from someone else...I'm not sure who it comes from originally...Sonja? Heidi? Dawn? Carissa? I want to give credit where credit is due! This recipe is easy and fast, but not exactly cheap, and definitely IN NO WAY Big D friendly, which is why I am enjoying a bit right now as I type this (leftover) because that is one of the advantages of being on The Big M for the time being. And because I'm WEAK. But I did run today, soooo hopefully it will all balance out. At least that is what I'm telling myself!

Moving on...

Easy Peasy Pizza Dip

8 oz sour cream
8oz cream cheese
1/2 cup pizza sauce
pepperoni (optional...I did not add it)
2 cups mozzarella cheese

Mix sour cream and cream cheese, put in pie plate, then add pizza sauce (I used a little more than 1/2 cup), and pepperoni. Bake in oven at 350 for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes add mozzarella and bake for an additional 5 minutes until melted. Serve with crackers (I like wheat thins), chunks of bread, etc.

And while I am at it, I might as well share a couple of other easy recipes that I use during the holiday season for "dish to share" parties. None of these originated from me, so let that be known.

Cranberry Meatballs
(Easy, but not incredibly fast or cheap)

Meatballs (frozen if you want this to be easy!)
1 can jellied cranberry sauce
1 cup ketchup
2 Tbsp. of brown sugar
1 Tbsp. of Lemon Juice

Combine all ingredients in saucepan (I use the crockpot), add meatballs, and heat thoroughly.

Easy Fantasy Fudge (from my friend Sarah)
(Easy, Fastish, and fairly cheap)

3/4 cups of butter
3 cups of sugar
2/3 cup evaporated milk (5 oz)
1 pkg (12 oz) semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 jar marshmallow creme (7 oz)
1 cup chopped nuts (optional)
1 tsp vanilla

Lightly grease 13x9 pan. Mix butter, sugar, and milk in heavy 2 1/2-3 qt sauce pan. Bring to a full rolling boil on medium heat, stirring constantly. Continue boiling 5 minutes on medium heat, stirring constantly to prevent scorching. Remove from heat. Gradually stir in chips until melted. Add remaining ingredients mixing well. Pour into prepared pan. Cool at room temperature and cut into squares. Yield 3 lbs.

Pretzel Treats
(Easy, fast, and cheapish)

Square or twist pretzels
One bag of Rolo's

Preheat oven to 250°. Lay out pretzels on baking sheet. Top each with a piece of candy. Bake for 4 minutes. Remove from oven and top with one M&M (push it down a bit). Let cool.

Enjoy! So, now it is your turn...anyone??

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Hey There, Hi There, Ho There...

So. My blogging has been a bit sporadic lately. It's just that composing updates on Facebook seems to fit a little better into my busy lifestyle these days. I'm sure many of you can relate. It's like I've lost the will to write in paragraphs or something. Troubling, I know.

A lot has been going on lately. I started a new part time job with Big Brothers Big Sisters. A few of you were wanting to know more about the job, so I thought I'd fill you in a little bit. My official title is Case Manager. My duties will be varied, but my main role will be processing applications for "bigs" and "littles", interviewing them, and matching them up. How fun is that? Also, I will be supervising the current matches and staying in contact with them. I really love that it is purposeful work. Also, the hours are very flexible and I can take Will to work with me as well!

Last week was rough. Richie was REALLY sick. The doctor was thinking at one point that it was Mono, but apparently it was just a Mono type virus. He is doing much better this week, though, and went back to school yesterday. I knew he was going to be fine when I saw him skipping to the car at pick-up yesterday. Richie is not Richie unless he is skipping or running to his destination ;-)

The Big D. Actually, it is more like, the Big M, right now. M standing for maintain. Because let's face it, trying to diet in December is like trying to run uphill 7000 miles in a blinding snowstorm. Or something like that. I will be happy if I make it through the holiday season without gaining and if I lose a couple of pounds in the process, that will be a nice bonus. So, I haven't updated you all in awhile on my progress. I'm still plugging away at it. Seriously, I am probably the world's slowest weight loser, but I persevere, nonetheless. I am about half way to my "ideal" goal. And not far from my "I could be happy here" goal. When I get to the "I could be happy here" goal, I will decide whether or not to persevere to the "ideal" goal. I'm trying to decide if the "ideal" goal is realistic for this 33 year old Mommy body and/or worth the sacrifice to get there. ¿Comprende?

Speaking of December, you know it is in full swing when there isn't a day that goes by that doesn't involve preparing a "dish to share" for various Christmas parties and get togethers. I thought it would be fun to ask for some of your favorite "dish to share" recipes. Let's talk categories like easy, fast, or cheap. Or better yet, easy, fast, AND cheap! Last night, my friend Shelley saved the day by giving me a recipe that literally took 15 minutes...which was good because I only had about ZERO minutes to prepare it. I'm sure this is or has been done somewhere else in the blogosphere recently, but not with this particular mix of people, right?

Love to you all, it's been fun catching up!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

My Thankful List

Just like last year, I compiled a list of things I'm thankful for all throughout November (one for each day of the month). And just like last year, I loved it! It was all a part of Leah's Give Thanks challenge. I wanted to post the list here for posterity. Enjoy! I hope your Thanksgiving was a blessed and grateful one!

I'm Thankful for...

  • A relaxing afternoon with friends
  • My freedom through Christ
  • My freedom to VOTE!!
  • A sweet comment from my husband
  • Road trip with a friend!
  • Seeing my sister on her birthday!
  • Crunchy leaves
  • Roasted marshmallows on an flat top stove
  • A warm and cozy home
  • An enthusiastic welcome home from my boys
  • Great friends
  • Free babysitting
  • Amazing Love, How Can it Be?
  • A new job!
  • A clean house (for now)
  • God's provision
  • Chocolate
  • A quiet moment
  • Kids' rooms purged!
  • Christmas Decorations up!
  • Impromptu date night with Rich!
  • The opportunity to spend Thanksgiving with my family!
  • That my vomiting child is old enough to make it to the toilet....best I can do today.
  • My blankie
  • A wonderful Thanksgiving with family
  • Noble Romans...YUM!
  • Nertz!
  • Girl's Day out with shopping and lunch!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

On A Positive Note

Today Richie had his very first piano recital! I have to say, I was a bit nervous for him. Those of you who know me well are aware that I had a few issues with stage fright in college (I was a music major). Those of you who know me really well or perhaps went to college with me, know that the term "a few issues" is probably an understatement.

You see, I had a very poor experience performing in a recital as a child. It may have scarred me a bit. As did the fourth grade spelling bee. But I digress. Now, I'm no psychologist, but I'm pretty sure that my poor recital experience was the root of the stage fright I experienced in college. And naturally, as my life came full circle today I found myself hoping and praying that Richie's first recital experience would be a POSITIVE one. I'm so happy and thankful to report that it turned out to be exactly that! In celebration, I have posted some pictures and a video of his performance here for your viewing pleasure!

Here's Richie chatting with his teacher Dr. H (we love him!) before the performance.

Here is a sweet picture of Richie with his friend Molly as they wait to perform!

At the piano with Dr. H...they played a duet.

Concentrating hard...

And now for the bow...how cute is that?

Finally, here is a video of the performance...it's only 41 seconds long so you may as well indulge me ;-)

Fantastic job, Richie! Mommy and Daddy are so proud of you!

Friday, November 21, 2008

A Recommendation

I encourage you guys to read this devotion by Mary Beth Whalen over at Proverbs 31 Ministries. It really struck a chord with me today and is so full of truth. Also, if you'd like to receive their daily devotions via email (which I highly recommend), you can do that here.


Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Boo! Halloween 2008

We are very fortunate to have a very close knit group of friends that we meet with once a month for "supper club". This is the 3rd year in a row that everyone has met at our house for Trick or Treating. It's a wonderful night of fun and fellowship. Check out this years pics! If you look closely you might see some familiar faces!

Click to play Halloween 2008
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Hello Again, Hello...

...Just blogged to say hello. Name that tune. Well, actually I just did, how about name that artist?

It's me. I'm still here. I'm alive. I'm not sure what my deal is lately. Sometimes when I don't blog for awhile and several bloggable moments happen in a row, I get overwhelmed and become unable to process any of it. For instance, it is now the middle of November and I have yet to post or even download our Halloween pictures. So when I start to think about blogging I get slightly panicked about how far behind I am and I decide to do nothing instead. Great way to operate, huh?

SO. A lot has happened since I last talked with you all, including but certainly not limited to a road trip, a new niece, and a new job! Aackk!!!

That last one is bound to cause at least of a few of you to double take and say, "huh?". But first things first. I'd love for you to meet our new niece (on Rich's side), her name is Kelly Joy...

Isn't she sweet? I can't wait to get my hands on her and buy her lots of PINK! We are very excited for Rich's brother and sister in law as they enter this new and wonderful stage of life! Congratulations Mark and Angela!

And now to address the most recent, surprising, and interesting development in our lives. I have a new job! This opportunity sort of fell in my lap recently. In retrospect, I think I knew from the beginning that it was a God thing, but I feel even more sure of that now. Honestly, it took some soul searching and lots of prayer (especially in regards to the timing), but I am now confident that this is an opportunity that God has most definitely placed in my life. I'm not sure exactly what He has in store, but I am grateful to be along for the ride. He has been quite gracious in working out the details. The hours are extremely flexible and I will even be able to bring Will with me to work when he is not in preschool. So, what will I be doing, you ask? My official title is part-time "case manager" for the organization Big Brothers Big Sisters. One of my main responsibilities will be to match up kids (little brothers and sisters) with their adult volunteers (big brothers and sisters). How cool is that? Very! Stay tuned as I am sure you will be hearing more from me on this subject in the coming weeks and months.

Phew. I think that is about all I can process for now, but I will hopefully be back soon with some Halloween pictures. Better late than never, right?

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Giving Thanks

Last year I composed a special list for this...


This simple activity really blessed me and I thoroughly enjoyed it. So many times I feel like we gloss over Thanksgiving in our holiday celebrations so I really loved composing a list last year of the things I was thankful for. You'll find this year's list in the sidebar of my blog. I will do my best to update it daily. Sound interesting? Head on over to Leah's blog and check it out!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Pumpkin Patch 2008

Mommy's sweet boys...
Mommy and Richie
Mommy and Will
Paintin' Pumpkins
Buddies...Loulabelle and Will
Buddies...Baron, Z-man, and Richie
A Piggy Back for AustinAll in all a wonderful day!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Save the Brownies!

Run FAR, FAR, AWAY from anyone who suggests adding a can of diet cola to your brownie mix. Because guess what? Brownies made with diet cola? Taste indeed like BROWNIES MADE WITH DIET COLA! I know. Go figure. Such a suggestion is sick and wrong and a waste of a perfectly good brownie mix. Seriously, if you want to save the calories, eat the brownie mix DRY! It will be the same amount of calories, taste much better, and be considerably less traumatic.

Trust me on this, my friends. I know of what I speak.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Home Sweet Home

What you didn't know I was gone? It was a quick trip! We just arrived home from a college in Tennessee where Rich was exhibiting some of his artwork. He gave a lecture and there was a reception in his honor...very fun and exciting. I love to hear him lecture...I call it his "professorial mode". It is always a little strange because there is a part of me that still thinks of him as the sweet young college boy with whom I fell in love and I sometimes have trouble wrapping my brain around the fact that he's the professor now!

We had been considering taking the whole family on this little trip, but a recent turn of events sealed the deal. It's a tad difficult to drive a 7 hour trip without the use of one arm. Speaking of Rich's arm, it is doing much better. The doctor ended up not casting it...but he (Rich, not the doctor ;-) will be in a sling for 3-4 weeks until it is able to heal. Also, he's not allowed to drive, which will make things a bit more logistically challenging around here, but we are thankful he was not hurt worse!

One other exciting thing happened while I was gone that I must tell you about! I was able to meet a SWEET blog friend while I was in Tennessee! You must head over to read her post about our visit. She has all the pictures and they are quite entertaining. I would love to say we had a nice quiet lunch that was all about us connecting and getting to know each other better, but I'm afraid the pictures tell otherwise. Fran, it was a pleasure....thanks so much for meeting me! It felt just like catching up with an old friend! You are just as real, sweet, fun, and beautiful as I imagined you would be!

Monday, October 20, 2008

In My Husband's Words

I was planning to write my own post on this subject, but my husband already wrote the story in his own words here. Needless to say, we're in for an interesting 6-8 weeks. More to come...

Saturday, October 18, 2008

According to Will

Did you know these...

...are actually called Tic-Tac-Toe's?

First Sun Bees and and now Tic Tac Toes. We're well on our way to creating our very own language.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Alana Is...

Alana is thinking in Facebook update form a little too much these days.

is sad that William no longer seems to need his blankie.

Alana would REALLY like to eat some baked goods. Any old baked good would do.

Alana kind of rushed through bedtime because she had the idea for this post.

Alana thinks someday she will really regret rushing through bedtime.

Alana wishes she was as fun and crafty as Tara and Sarah.

Alana 's kids probably wish that, too.

Alana is chuckling because Tara and Sarah rhyme.

Alana is excited to go to the Pumpkin Patch tomorrow!

Alana thinks this book is by far the best and most helpful book on marriage that she has ever had the privilege of reading.

Alana is thinking about attempting to run a 5K sometime in the near future.

Alana's version of running is more like a jog.

Alana can't believe she is using the words running and Alana in the same sentence. Or jogging as the case may be.

Alana remembered she could play the piano today.

Alana 's version of "playing the piano" is similar to her version of "running".

Alana wishes she could have just printed that STINKING coupon today, but things like that are never so simple.

Alana thinks she could go on like this for quite some time, but she doesn't want to bore you anymore than she already has!

Alana is over and out.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Out of Body

Do you ever feel as if you are living your life out of body? There are times when I'm living life and I think, how did I get here exactly? How did I get to be the Mom who is driving carpool with 5 kids in the back? Or the Mom helping her 1st grader with homework? Or the one supervising piano practice? Or the one washing soccer uniforms?

What in the world?

It's as if I can see myself doing it, but it doesn't exactly feel like it is me. There are some days I really wonder how I got here. It's as if I've been driving the car of life and I don't really remember the route I took, I just know that I'm here. And it's baffling. And strange. And somewhat surreal.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Complete and Utter Randomness

Well, I'm caught up on all of your blogs, so I now feel free to attend to my own blog. I have this weird thing about writing on my own blog when I'm behind on blog reading? Anyone else? No? I didn't think so. I clearly have issues.

This post is going to be complete and utter randomness, are you guys okay with that? See? I'm asking permission to be random on my OWN blog. Issues, I tell you.

And now I am trying to decide if I will just continue with random paragraphs or if I should create a bullet list or maybe a numbered list? I also have some issues with decision making.

Ack. I'm driving myself crazy.

Well, first of all I should say thanks to all of you who commented on my video post. You guys really know how to make a girl feel good. Seriously. All those encouraging comments even when you couldn't hear a word I was saying. That is true friendship right there!

So. I have a bit of a confession to make. I have a new...okay addiction is probably too strong of a word...let's call it a habit. My new habit includes what I now call "The 21st century mirror". It all started when my niece was here with her pet bee and she showed me the joys of "self portraiting" with the camera phone. Now, I know it sounds vain, but before you judge, you might want to try it. Because a picture speaks a thousand words and if you're really wondering how you look on any given morning, a little "self portraiting" with the camera phone can go a long way toward giving an honest answer. So, I say, "Down with mirrors!"

And now that you have lost at least a little respect for me, I might as well add a little more fuel to the fire. How about another confession? I think I might need a household care intervention. I'm not sure what has happened to me as of late, but some days it seems as if I have all but given up on maintaining any sort of order in our home. Okay, I guess in some small (or maybe big) way, I have given up. I mean, seriously, it is just going to look like an EXPLOSION just happened AGAIN tomorrow, so what is the point?

The Big D. You knew it would come up at some point, right? I'm still in it, people....4 months and counting! I'm still making progress, but it has been painfully slow. HOWEVER, I am finally starting to notice a difference and am fitting into some more palatable clothing sizes and that is very exciting and motivating! One of the things I'm most excited about is my progress with the running. I am up to 7 minutes running at a time with 3 minute breaks in between. That is with only running 2 (sometimes 3) times a week so I'm building up the time very gradually. On the other days I work out at Curves. It always surprises me when I realize that I am ready to kick it up a notch with the number of minutes running. I'll be thinking one day that I won't be ready to bump up the time for awhile and then the next morning I wake up and feel like I can do it. Kind of weird, but cool.

One last confession. I love carbs. I do. I always will. Kate, tell your daughter she's not the only one!

And lastly, I hope you are all out there crunching lots of leaves right now because this is prime leaf crunching season! As much as I would like to, I can't crunch them all myself. You must do your part. Go forth and crunch!

Thursday, October 9, 2008

A Little Bloggy Survey...

I have recently agreed to take on a more prominent role in the planning and execution of our church blog. We currently have one, but are wanting to spruce it up a bit and take a different direction with it than was originally planned. So, as we are in the planning stages, I thought I would come to you guys for some thoughts and ideas. Could you take a minute and answer one or more of the questions below in the comments section and help a girl out?

1) Does your church have a blog? If so, do you read it?
2) Do you feel that your church's blog is effective?
3) If you feel that your church's blog is ineffective, what would you like to see done differently?
4) If your church were planning to create a blog, what kind of content would you want to see included?
5) If your church created a blog, would you read it? What kind of content would keep you coming back for more?

Please don't limit yourself to these questions if you have more thoughts on this subject. I'd love to hear all of your input!

Thank so much!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Drumroll, Please...

And the winner is...

Linda at Growin' With It! Congratulations, Linda! Email me your address and we'll get this show on the road!

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

"Um" IS A Word...

...that's my story and I'm stickin' to it! Seriously, not sure I could have used this word more if I tried. I'm thinking we should just make it an official word. Would that be so bad? We'd all be happier with the idea of public speaking if we could just use that dern word. Amen?

SO. I have decided to participate in...

This is a blog carnival at 2nd Cup of Coffee where all sorts of bloggers are doing a video recording of themselves for all of blog world to see. I told Linda I would think seriously about doing this. And I did. And then I thought VERY seriously about NOT doing this, especially after I made several feeble attempts at recording a video. Ultimately, I decided to just go ahead and show you the video I made (warts and all). Aside from the "um"s, I'm also completely inaudible at times...so much so that I considered offering a transcript so you could actually know what I'm saying. Feel free to ask if there are any parts you just can't figure out. I could probably add in several more disclaimers, but this is turning into a long post and I haven't even gotten to the video part yet. So without further ado...

Align Center

Monday, September 29, 2008

How Would You Like Some New Tunes?

I have a copy of this great new CD by Ayiesha Woods to give away!! She is a Grammy nominated artist and I think you'll really enjoy her music. Take a minute to check out the widget above to read more about her and listen to some of her music! How cool is that? Wish I had my own widget. Anywho, all you have to do is leave a comment if you'd like a chance to win! All entries must be in by midnight (central time) on Wednesday, October 1st!

Saturday, September 27, 2008


Product Search on ebay: 2 minutes

Larry Boy Plush Toy: $4.00

Shipping and Handling: $3.50

Illuminated 4 year old face: Priceless