Wednesday, March 4, 2015

One Word Wednesday


Joining the wise Billie Jo and cheating following her example today while trying to hop back on this blogging train.


 
Snow
 
finally.
 



 

 
 


 
 
 
We're comin' for ya, Spring!
 




Monday, February 23, 2015

February Wrap Up

Sometimes things happen and days turn into weeks around here. Have you noticed?

While I had the best of intentions to post birthday and Valentine's photos last week, a bad tummy bug hit a couple of us here. It's odd for me to get sick and then even though I was technically 'down' and had so much time on my hands, I still wasn't feeling well enough to even pick up a book to read.
So there goes any productivity, even on the sickbed. Sad and unfortunate.

Finally bouncing back and praying to the good Lord that the last three remain unscathed, I'll quickly try to attempt a wrap up via photos and we'll call February finished even if the calendar says it's not quite.


Two days of fun began with our homeschool group's annual sledding Valentine's party.

The big kids each made Valentines boxes for the exchange with the other kids. Each of them created their own themed box and used their unique creativity (and the help of Pinterest).



Lily went with the Frozen theme and did Elsa's castle in box form. Surprisingly, no other kids went with Frozen so hers was unique. 




Jonah is my super-creative, sometimes over the top, but has trouble putting his B-I-G ideas into action, child. He wanted to go with the Lego movie theme and created the Double Decker Valentines box. (click the photo to see the speech bubbles)

Another project knocked out of the park and completed on time. 
Again, another unique box among the others. 





The following day was Valentine's Day and our parish's annual Winter Carnival, an all afternoon and evening affair. The worst part was that the temperature was frigid cold and the actual lack of snow put a damper on some of the outdoor activities. 

There were indoor and outdoor games for the kids along with horse drawn wagon rides through town as well. The little kids especially enjoy the indoor games with prizes and the creation station activities. 


The kids warmed up by the bonfire outside during the scavenger hunt Reed put together. 




In the evening, our Bishop joined us for Mass and chili supper. A tradition our priest, Fr. M started last year was an evening movie with the kids. This year it was Big Hero 6. The kids think it's a pretty big deal to watch the movie with the priest and at church. 




Before Mass, we've also started the tradition of doing a pinata. 
You may remember Olaf from last year when we watched the Frozen movie?

This year one of the moms who helps plan the event made the cat from Big Hero 6, Mochi. It was pretty awesome and must have taken a lot of time. 

As with last year. another huge hit and another successful winter carnival.




The following two days were when Margaret got sick and I followed. Feeling like we'd both bounced back, Tuesday was Gianna's 4th birthday. No birthday post for my sweet girl because I hadn't had time to prepare it, but we did a little bit of celebrating. Since we'd already celebrated the two girls together, her birthday was simplified and my parents spent the day with us. 





I was still on the mend and hadn't any idea the next couple days that followed I'd relapse with the ickies. Please pardon the less than stellar family photo, but I guess they can't all be perfect. 

Now you know how we roll around here. 




With that, we survived the next few days and I had one more down for Thursday. 


How's your Lent going so far? Let's just say mine has started off with knocking me down and running me through the wringer. I joked with someone when I said I thought Ash Wednesday was perhaps my last. That evening I was pretty sure that the next 39 days of Lent were gonna be smooth after that ride. 


We had one or two days with temps in upper teens and then the cold blast is going to be here again. 
I guess we're getting the cold January weather in February instead. Crazy winter!

We took advantage of the sunshine and bundled up to at least get some fresh air. 
After last week being cooped up, I needed it.


The girls didn't want to come inside and instead looked at me through the door as I warmed up indoors. 






Poor girls, they just want to be outdoors running around like hooligans and riding trikes and bikes again. 




Heck, I do too. 

Here's to March around the corner and warmer days at my window. 




Monday, February 9, 2015

February Fun


It's that time of year again when we are just about ready to scream, put up the white surrender flag and give in to the winter blahs. The calendar tells us it's February and if you're a homeschool mom you know exactly how many days of school are left (ahem, that would be 74 for us).



Thankfully, this winter has been bearable. Besides that, God knew what He was doing when he blessed and surprised us with two sweethearts born this month. Just the idea of having two birthdays to celebrate, however low key and simplified we do them, they are still celebrations to look forward to. They are two very wonderful reasons to get my act together, stay on task with birthday planning/gift buying, and the days swirl by at rapid speed.


Last week we celebrated birthday #1 and enjoyed pink velvet cupcakes with buttercream frosting, decorated with candy Olafs and snowflakes (thank you, clearance aisle). They were a hit!





So were her dress up clothes she received as a birthday gift from us. It seemed odd that she was even more excited over the Firefighter dress up clothes than the Elsa dress. 





She was one happy three year old, content with yummy cupcakes and gifts on her birthday day. 





This past weekend fell smack dab between the girls' birthdays and we celebrated their birthdays with a few family members. 


You better bet there was a Frozen cake!

I went with store bought and had them keep it decorated minimally with just snowflakes/sprinkles. I had found a set of Frozen character toys online that I thought would serve well as cake toppers and toys afterward.  Always thinking I am. 

They worked and the girls were happy to find out that they could play with them later. 



Don't even ask why they are on the counter posing with the cake. They insisted on it. 
Odd angle much?

These crazy girls, my Irish twins. They certainly are hard to capture lately with smiles and looking at mom with the camera. 

Silly Sisterly Love.



You know us, we'll celebrate at least one more time next week on Gianna's birthday day too. 
It falls on Mardi Gras this year, so there's sure to be more cupcakes and other treats to consume before Ash Wednesday.



In the meantime, this week is all about planning for Friday and Saturday.  Besides setting up/decorating and some cooking for our parish Winter Carnival, we're heading to our homeschool group Valentine's Day sledding party get together on Friday. 


Speaking of, are you looking for printable Frozen Valentines?


FREE Printable Disney Frozen Valentine’s Day Cards


There are cute FREE ones over here.


How about Minecraft Valentines?




Scroll down to find them over here.


Saturday you'll find us at our church stirring the chili, snacking on munchies, playing games, hitting the pinata, having Mass with the Bishop, consuming the chili and watching Big Hero 6. 


We're celebrating Big before Lent hits next week.



What are your plans this week? Are you preparing for Lent? 

Let me know since I'm going to need a little help getting around to all that preparing. 







Monday, February 2, 2015

This Girl: She's Three Today

 This Girl. She's my Groundhog Day or my Feast of the Presentation baby.

Whichever I call her, she's one of my most favorite surprises

And she knows it.





This Girl. Is one of the sweetest, most hilarious little girls. 

Except when she isn't. And she gets a little grumpy.




This Girl. Will melt your heart with that girly voice, those eyelashes and her big hugs.

Except when she shrieks at the top of her lungs, makes your heart jump out of your chest and scares you half to death. Every day.




This Girl. She's crazy and silly, but can she can also be sensitive. 

She likes to tag along with her siblings, tries to be included in most everything we're doing and doesn't like to be left out. 





This Girl. Loves Olaf and in a way her sweetness and fun nature kind of make her our own little Olaf.

And so she'll get cupcakes with Olaf on them today to celebrate. 




This Girl. Had me at Hello, just like all the others.

Three years in and she certainly remains my gem. 




Happy Birthday to my Margaret Anne!


For two weeks I'll be the mom of "twins" once again with two three year olds in my household. 
It's kind of fun to say that each year. It makes me chuckle at what mighty plans God has that He delivers in the form of a baby, even when you least expect them. 



Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Winter Remedy Wednesday: Lips


It's winter here in Minnesota which brings a drier environment both indoors and out.

I have found myself the last several winters with extremely dry lips. I think my lips have always been dry, but somehow as I age (or become more maternal and hormones or something changes) they keep getting worse. I'm not talking just dry, chapped lips. They are extremely dry layers of skin that peel off no matter how well I lube them up.

I've done sugar scrubs and other exfoliating lip products to peel that dryness off and it always works. The bad part though is that the dry flakiness always returns no matter how much I slather on moisturizers and balms. 


Would you like to know what sort of things I've tried? Inquiring minds wanna know, right? 


These are some of the latest over the past two winters:


 
     
           


None of them worked. In fact, some of them even dried my lips more and unless I constantly slathered that stuff on, my lips were horrible. C'mon, I've got more important things to do than apply lip therapy all day long. 


Recently I went on a quest to research the dickens out of this lip care topic. I spent more time searching Pinterest, online boards and forums, product reviews and the like than I did when buying our last vehicle. 


Somewhere in the midst of all that data I found many suggestions 
to try this:




I hit up Target last week and dug deep to spend the $3+ for this tube.

But you know what? I'm so glad I did!

Within a day the results were in and my lips were smooth again. They have now stayed that way for over a week and that's only with applying the Aquaphor a couple times a day. 


That makes this Minnesota gal happy and ready to embrace the rest of winter. 

I'll be purchasing another tube (or several) to keep handy around home and in my purse. You know how it is, when you find a good thing, stick with it. 

Until the company inevitable discontinues the product without so much as asking you. 




*This is a simple product suggestion to my dear readers. I have not been compensated to review or promote this product. I just really like it.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Around Home {January Daybook}

Outside My Window... many mornings begin like this with morning's start subdued. Some warmer temperatures have allowed for more time outdoors, but not much snow left for the kids to play in.




Thinking About... how the sunshine will feel in the spring and how beautiful the flowers around my yard are going to be come summer. While it hasn't been too awful of a winter, I'm longing for the beauty and color. The change of season will also bring even more growth and new season for my kids too. Please Lord, let a certain someone be potty trained by then.


I Am Hearing... the sounds of Curious George fading behind the scenes of my Elsa and Anna dress up girls. Like all.day.long.every.day.


Praying For... a special intention; a couple moms I know who have recently lost babies through miscarriage; those who mourn; Paul's family and friendsSally's continued recovery.


What I'm Reading... I finished up two books I received for Christmas gifts from my favorite author, Richard Paul Evans, in the last two weeks. As always, he did not disappoint. Love his writing!

                               


Now I'm hopping back in with the Howard sisters at Grace Chapel Inn. My, how I'm enjoying these reads as well. They are a great way to relax while putting my feet up every.single.day.



From The Kitchen... I'm back to meal planning for a couple weeks at a time now that the irregular holiday meals are over. This week we have on the menu Crockpot Cheesy Harvest Potato Chowder, Beef with Cornbread Blanket and Creamy Spaghetti Casserole (minus scallions).

Last week I made Apple Fritter Bread which was a nice breakfast treat, but not quite like actual apple fritters.




Around The House... the Christmas decor is down and we're back in ordinary time. Just in time when I pulled down the beautiful Christmas cards, I found a great project via Instagram. I made a prayer book out of them so we can remember those special people in our lives during the year.



I have found that printables for my kitchen windowsill are my new favorite thing. They are cheery, cute, inexpensive, and easy. They make me feel creative, even if I am just printing someone else's wonderful creations. I pinned a bunch via Pinterest for the coming months, but the January one I printed I guess I didn't pin. Wouldn't you know it, now I can't find it to give you the link.




Coming Up... lots of planning in the works. February will be busy with Margaret and Gianna's birthdays, a Valentine's Day sledding party with the homeschool group and our parish's annual Winter Carnival.


Photo To Share... January days inside allow for more messy creative play days. Last week silence in the living room revealed these three huddled together in a chair/blanket fort watching cartoons. Priceless.








Monday, January 19, 2015

Moist Chocolate Bundt Cake


Now that we've put the holidays behind us and the cookies are nearly gone from the freezer, I was ready to bake again. 

A quick look on the almighty recipe box, Pinterest, had me drooling over a chocolate bundt cake.

When one also has chickens that have begun to actually LAY EGGS, a celebratory cake is in order!



With simple ingredients and just enough time, I whipped this cake up with the help of a couple sets of little hands. 

The vote was unanimous that this was one of heck of a delicious chocolate cake. 



Chocolate Sour Cream Bundt Cake

Cake:

1 cup unsalted Butter (I used 1/2 cup salted butter & 1/2 cup Crisco)
1/3 cup Cocoa Powder
1 teaspoon Salt
1 cup Water
2 cups Flour
1 3/4 cups Sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons Baking Soda
2 Eggs
1/2 cup Sour Cream (or Greek yogurt)
1 teaspoon Vanilla


Glaze:

4 oz. bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped (I used chocolate chips)
1 1/2 Tablespoons Corn Syrup
1/2 cup Heavy Cream
1 1/2 Tablespoons Sugar



Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Generously grease and flour bundt pan.

In a microwave safe bowl, combine butter, cocoa powder, salt, and water. Place in the microwave and cook just until melted and combined. Remove from microwave and set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, and baking soda. Add half of the melted butter mixture and whisk until blended. Add the remaining butter mixture and whisk together. Mixture will be thick. Add the eggs and whisk until combined. Mix in the sour cream and vanilla until smooth.

Scrape the batter into the prepared pan. Bake until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 40-45 minutes. Let cake cool in pan for 15 minutes before inverting on to rack. Allow to completely cool before glazing.

Put the chocolate and corn syrup for glaze in a bowl and set aside. In microwave safe bowl, combine heavy cream and sugar. Heat in microwave just until cream is hot and sugar is dissolved. Pour the hot cream into the chocolate and whisk until smooth.

Drizzle the glaze over the cooled cake letting it drip down the sides. This makes a generous amount of glaze that contributes to the super yumminess of the chocolate cake.




Never did a cake taste so good as when our hard work was hidden inside. 



*Note: If you aren't a microwave user and prefer directions involving the stove, check out the original recipe over here

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