Monday, August 31, 2015

Praying For Families & Preparing For Pope Francis

You know that the World Meeting of Families and Pope Francis' visit to Philadelphia is just a few weeks away, right? After reading the latest Catholic Digest, I checked out their website full of information and prayers. Check it out out for yourself over here.

I've printed off the Prayer for Families leading up to the big events later next month. Join our family and print your own prayer to perhaps pray at mealtime with your loved ones gathered at the table.

This is the official Holy Family photo for the World Meeting. Isn't it lovely? That's St. Joachim and St. Anne in the background.

In the meantime while we are on baby watch for the next week and a half, I'm all like

And trying to come up with something super cool for us to do here during his visit. Maybe we can make it really memorable and have baby's baptism happen that weekend?

My parents found these Fans of Francis that we'll be waving as we watch as much of his visit as possible.

But I will admit that the little resident #1 Papa Francis fans may need one of these from Amazon before then as well:

Sure, God's wonderful plan for a family addition the same month the Pope visits the U.S. kind of thwarted any dreamy plans we had for possibly seeing him in person, but we'll be watching and for once all be in the same country with him. 

How exciting is that?

How about you? Are you getting ready for any Pope gazing or Pope watching plans?

Let's all be a part of the Pope-arazzi this month as we wait and also come together in prayer. 

Monday, August 24, 2015

Blue Ribbon Recipe Winners

We'll also call these chocolate lovers delights because that's what both recipes really are. Delicious!

Lily and Jonah perused Pinterest quite a while back when deciding on their county fair baking projects. We found recipes that suited their ages and abilities and got to work in the test kitchen.

Both kids did amazingly well and were able to replicate perfection when it came time to present their desserts at the county fair. Thankfully, the rest of us were the happy recipients of the yumminess and the kids earned Blue Ribbons for both entries. Lily's was deemed State Fair worthy, but unfortunately she was the third alternate in the category and didn't get the State Fair trip. (Some of us may still be a wee bit bitter about that, but there's always next year!)

Lily's   Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Brownie Bites:


3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks)  butter
1 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
1 cup granulated white sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
4 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup flour

3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) butter, room temperature or almost melted
3/4 cup granulated white sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons milk
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup flour
1 cup miniature chocolate chips
additional miniature chocolate chips, if desired (to garnish the top)


Prepare the brownie layer- 

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 9x9-inch pan with nonstick spray, then line with a strip of parchment or wax paper so that it covers the bottom and comes up two sides of the pan. Spray the parchment with nonstick spray too.

In a microwave safe bowl (or in the top of a double boiler or pan set on top of a pan of simmering water), microwave in 30 second bursts to melt butter and chocolate chips together until all is melted and smooth. Whisk in the sugars, then whisk in the eggs, vanilla and salt. Sift flour into the bowl and stir that in too. Scrape the brownie batter into the prepared pan. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until the brownie layer is cooked through (toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean). Place the pan of brownies in the refrigerator to speed up the cooling process (or cool at room temperature and add the cookie dough layer later).

Prepare the cookie dough layer:

In a large bowl, use an electric mixer to combine the butter, sugars and salt until soft and creamy (1 to 2 minutes). Mix in the milk and vanilla. Sprinkle in the flour and mix in until combined. Stir in the 1 cup of chocolate chips. Scoop the cookie dough onto the top of the brownies and spread onto the brownie layer. I find that it's easiest to do this if the brownie layer is chilled and firm. Wet your hands or spray them with nonstick spray and pat the cookie dough on top in a even layer. Sprinkle additional chocolate chips on top to create a nicer, visual appearance. For easy, clean cutting, chill the brownies (wrap the brownies with plastic wrap and chill until firm- 1 to 2 hours or up to 2 days).

Cut the brownies: Run a knife along the sides of the brownie pan and then use the parchment paper to lift the brownies from the pan and onto a cutting board. Slice the brownies with a sharp knife, wiping the knife with a paper towel between cuts. If you'd like all of your slices of brownies to look clean-cut without edges, use the knife to cut the sides of the brownies off before cutting pieces. Keep brownies slices covered and chilled until ready to serve.

We found these to be pretty rich, so we cut them in smaller squares and labeled them as "bites".

--(Original recipe found here)


Jonah's  S'mores Poke Cake: 

  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 tub (12 oz.) COOL WHIP Whipped Topping, thawed
  • 1 cup milk chocolate chips


  • Grease a 9 x 13 pan. Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Using an electric mixer, mix cake mix, eggs, water (amount indicated on box) and oil on medium speed for 2 minutes. Pour cake batter into pan and bake for 30-35 minutes. Cool for 15 minutes. 

          Using the handle of a cooking utensil or wooden spoon, poke random holes in the cake. In a                 microwave safe bowl, melt the marshmallow creme for 30-45 seconds and stir. Spread the                   creme over the cake, making sure to fill the holes. It does begin to harden after only a short                 time, so work quickly. 

          Spread the Cool Whip in an even layer over the cake and top with crushed graham crackers,                 marshmallows and chocolate chips. Refrigerate until ready to serve. 

The kids also entered a few other categories including performing arts, digital photography, fine arts and presentation. They received all blue ribbons for each of their entries and worked hard to make their projects a success. 

Until next year, we are all ready to put aside the 4H projects and jumping right back into schoolwork.

These days sure fly on by!

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Recipe: Strawberry Rhubarb Slush

If you have rhubarb in abundance like we do in our garden, you'll find this at least uses some of it. I recently posted a photo on Instagram of my evening treat and thought I'd share the recipe here. It's my go-to recipe to help cool off in the summertime that I've been making for a number of years now.

We generally fill our glasses to 2/3 full and then top it off with one of the beverages of choice: 

-Sierra Mist, 
-7 Up, 
-sparkling flavored water 
- club soda

If you're feeling really adventurous and want a little more kick, a little shot of Vodka or Gin can be added as well. 

6 cups (I even use 7 or 8 cups) chopped fresh or frozen Rhubarb, thawed

2 cups Strawberries (I used fresh this year)

7 cups Water, divided

2 cups Sugar

3/4 cup Orange Juice concentrate

3/4 cup Lemonade concentrate

*Note: I double the recipe to fit in a regular size ice cream bucket.

In a large saucepan, bring rhubarb, strawberries and 4 cups water (8 cups if doubling) to a boil. 

Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, for 5-8 minutes or until rhubarb is tender.

Mash rhubarb; strain.

Reserve juice and discard pulp.

Add sugar, concentrates and remaining water to rhubarb juice. 

Transfer to a freezer container and freeze.

Remove from the freezer 30-45 minutes before serving, scraping the surface as it thaws. 
Fill your glasses and top with your favorite fizzy beverage of choice.

Serve and ENJOY during this official last month of summer!

Sunday, August 2, 2015

When God Shows Up To Fill Our Cup

Summer and life are busy, crazy things. Summer life and pregnancy are just I don't know what. They're something. 

I've had this post roaming in my head for over a week and yet no perfect or flowery words can even skim the surface. It's like God is about some greater business and good deep within, but my humanness fails to fully put my finger on it. I partially blame hormones. There feels like there's been a lot of ups and downs, unrest and settled, calm and storms, but they are life. They are the life of a woman striving for God, fulfilling the duties of heart, home and family. 

This isn't a new role, but it feels like a different one. These changing seasons, whirling emotions.

Then there are radiant moments when God shows up in the form of other human beings. He shows me the loveliness that surrounds me and a village that fills the voids.

That village has longtime family and friends, those who are near and those who are far, some that have gone unmet and others that I've finally met. Throughout many summer days He blesses me with those relationships that sustain me and then there are the planned meetings that He sprinkles in just when the heart yearns the most. He knows what He's doing. 

He gently nudges and plans fall into place. 

He fills into hours so much joy, laughter, smiles, heart to heart chats, and listening ears, that could hardly be measured...

except in an immeasurably overflowing filled heart.

I'm not made to be alone. I'm not made to live only with my household family. He made me for the bigger picture, the one that He sees the completed end. I'm so glad He does.

So great is His love for me that He filled my village with grace filled, faithful, real people who support and encourage me along life's paths. 

Sometimes it takes great emptying of myself to see just exactly how wonderfully 
He will fill me back up again.

Read more about those smiles and blessings in the photos up above over at Jamie's where she talks about friendship and where Christine talks about the fun in getting together

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...