Friday, September 23, 2011


Dirty, smelly, rude noises.
Hitting, fighting, shooting.
Running, jumping, climbing.
Grunts, one word answers, mumbles, pointing.
No aim, need I say more.
Feet stomping, eye rolling, mouth spitting.
No, I won't do it, I don't want to, I can't.
I can do it, can I help, look at me mommy.
Big bear hugs, messy kisses, snuggles.
Smiles, giggles, belly laughs.
Kind, compassionate, helpful.
Mommy I love you more than two outer spaces!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Baking With Jeffrey

Earlier this week Jeffrey and I did some baking.  We made a loaf of regular old bread and a loaf of Cinnamon raisin bread. 

Dough recipe
1 1/2 cup warm water
1 pkg. yeast or 2 tsp. from a jar
1 tsp salt
1/4 cup sugar
5 T oil
~5 cups of flour (white, wheat or both)
1 egg
Let yeast set in warm water for about 5 minutes.  Add everything else and mix well.  Use the dough hook on you mixer.  Knead dough on a flour surface.  Place back in bowl, cover and let rise until it doubles in size.  Once the dough as risen return to the floured surface and knead once again. Split into two. Place one in a greased loaf pan, cover with a dish towel and let rise again. Take the other half and round out flat.  Sprinkle cinnamon over dough, add rasins, honey and butter.  I don't measure anything just put some on.  Roll up and place in a loaf pan and let rise.  Bake in a 350 degree oven for about 1 hour.  See photos below for examples of kneading and rolling. 

Isn't he a cutie?  I have also replaced the rasins with pecans--now that is good!

Birthday Dinner

Here are the recipes promised from my birthday dinner last week.

Artichoke Tossed Salad
I omitted the celery (it is a texture thing) and used more artichokes because they are o so yummy.  All I had was Dijon mustard and that worked fine in place of the brown spicy mustard.  Josh loved this salad because it had bacon!

Chicken, mozzarella and basil panini (Parent Magazine March 2011)

4 ciabatta rolls or 8 slices of other good quality rustic bread ( I bought what was on sale at HEB)
1 cup shredded cooked chicken (I totally ignored the environment and bought pre-cooked and packaged sliced chicken I found with the lunch meats--it was good)
4 oz. thinly sliced fresh mozzarella
1 tomato, sliced ( I like Roma tomatoes)
8 to 12 fresh basil leaves (I used dried bottled basil)
Kosher salt ( I forgot the salt)
2 T. olive oil

1. Slice the rolls in half.  On the bottom half of each, layer 1/4 of the chicken, a slice or two of the cheese, a slice of tomato, and 2 to 3 basil leaves; sprinkle with salt.  Put the top of the roll on the sandwich and press down gently. 
2. Put the olive oil in a skillet large enough to hold all four sandwiches, turn the heat to medium.  When the oil is hot and shimmers, put the sandwiches in the pan, put another pan or large heat-proof plate on top of the sandwiches, and press down (you can also use an electric sandwich press or waffle iron for this step if you like).  When the cheese has melted and the bread begins to crisp on the bottom, 3 to 4 minutes, remove the top pan or plate, flip the sandwiches, press down again, and cook for another 2 or 3 minutes. 

I totally skipped step number two and just put the sandwiches on a cookie sheet in the broiler oven. 

Mint Chocolate Chip ice cream cake is what I made for dessert.  It was heavenly!  I don't have the recipe at this time.  I got it from Southern Living and loaned it to a friend, but I can tell you the basics.

Bake a devil's food chocolate cake in to two round pans.  Purchase some mint chocolate chip ice cream, whipped cream and chocolate wafer cookies.  I actually made my own whip cream using heavy cream and sugar.  I also made my own wafer cookies, because HEB doesn't carry them and I wasn't going to drive all over town looking for chocolate wafers. 

Chocolate Wafers
1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cocoa ( I use dark chocolate)
1 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1 to 1 1/2 cups sugar (I use 1cup)
1/2 cup plus 2 T room temperature, unsalted butter
1 large egg

1. Set two racks in the middle of the oven, Preheat to 375
2. In a food processor, or bowl of an eclectic mixer, thoroughly mix the flour, cocoa, baking soda and powder, salt, and sugar.  While pulsing, or on low speed, add the butter, and then the egg.  Continue processing or mixing until dough comes together in a mass.
3. Take rounded teaspoons of batter and place on a parchment paper lined baking sheet approximately two inches apart.  With moistened hands, slightly flatten the dough.  Bake for 9 minutes, rotating once for even baking.  Set baking sheets on a rack to cool.

Now this makes more than you need for the cake.  So you will have to make some filling and then you have homemade oreos.

1/4 cup room-temperature, unsalted butter
1/4 cup vegetable shortening
2 cups confectioners' sugar
2 tsp. vanilla extract
Optional-gel dye

Back to method
4. To make the cream, place the butter and shortening in a mixing bowl, and at low speed, gradually beat in the sugar and vanilla.  Turn the mixer on high and beat for 2 to 3 minutes until filling is light and fluffy.  (Optional: Blend in a ting bit of gel dye until you reach the the desired color).
6. To assemble the cookies, in a pastry bag with a 1/2 inch, round tip pipe teaspoon-size blobs of cream into the center of one cookie.  Place another cookie, equal in size to the first, on top of the cream. Lightly press to work the filling evenly to the outsides of the cookie.  Continue this process until all the cookies have been sandwiched with cream ( I don't use a pastry bag.  A spoon works fine.).  The Oreo recipe came from

OK, back to my birthday cake. 

Once the cakes have cooled place one layer in a spring form pan (cheesecake pan) layer ice cream, wafer cookies.  Then another cake layer and more ice cream.  Place in freezer fro 10 to 12 hours.  About 1/2 hour before serving take out of freezer it will be easier to cut if it thaws some.  Top with a mixture of semi-sweet chocolate baking squares melted in the microwave and whip cream (this has a name, but I can't remember it).  The recipe said to use immediately so I did and well when hot meets cold you get a mess.

Not exactly like the picture in Southern Living, but very YUMMY!!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

My Birthday, Sept. 13

The morning began late.  My alarm didn't go off!  But I didn't let that get me down 15 minutes. late is not bad and I needed the sleep.  As I am dressing I can hear Jackson and Josh looking for something through out the house.  I think, "they are trying to find the bday sign and they can't remember where it is and they have been told."  In a few minutes Jackson comes and  ask where is the sign?  They get it hang, Jeffrey wakes up and Josh is off to work. The boys and I begin our morning routine.  As I am trying to get a load of laundry going Jackson has a huge fit about something small.  The situation escalates and Jackson gets two stickers taken away, which is a big deal for Jackson.  The morning is a little crazy, but my mother in law calls to say happy bday and tells me a story about uncle John going to school in PJ's after a slow morning.  I laugh and remember to enjoy the time I have with the boys.  Once Jackson is on the bus Jeffrey and I decide to walk to a neighborhood park--a little exercise for me and some outdoor playtime for Jeffrey before it reaches 100 degrees.  Not such a fun outing when yellow jacks have built a nest on the playground equipment.  We head back home.  As we are walking home I decide I have time to do a workout video when we get home.  Didn't happen.  Jeffrey and I are stopped by a neighbor and we talk for about 30mins.  Now, I love interruption of my day that allow me to catch up with a friend or neighbor.  Because isn't that what life is about --relationships?  Quick shower, change out the laundry and head to HEB.  Jeffrey has fun driving the car shopping cart and I find everything on my list--successful trip. Head back home to unload the groceries.  Shortly after Grammie arrives to take us out for a bday lunch.  We enjoy a nice lunch at Alica's--yummy!  Back at the house I quickly finish up the laundry as Josh showers and changes.  Josh and I are going to a memorial service.  Not exactly what one plans to do on their bday.  But it was such a moving and well done service honoring a wonderful lady that I am glad we went.  At the service a past coworker of Lin's said, "Lin always shared stories of her family so that other would know that life isn't perfect, but family loves and forgives one another.  And I guess that is one reason I share.  My bday was just an ordinary day of grocery shopping, laundry, kids, etc nothing super special yet it was perfect for me and maybe it can show someone that joy doesn't come in perfect days, but from our Lord Jesus Christ. 

In our family the bday girl or boy gets to pick a restaurant for dinner.  Josh and Jackson on their last bdays choose Spring Creek BBQ and Jeffrey choose CiCi's pizza.  I choose to stay home and make my own dinner.  I will share the recipes at a later time. 

Monday, September 5, 2011

God's Perfect Plan

Once upon a time I fell in love with a boy, Josh, and he loved me back.  We dated and finished school.  We made plans and were married on July 12, 2003.  We worked hard and planned to start a family.  We bought a house, got a dog, paid off all our debt and had our first baby boy, Jackson on September 1, 2005.  Our plans were right on track.  Then God began to change our plans.  When Jackson was just 7 weeks old we moved from Dallas to Houston.  This move was not in our plans.  It was a hard move, but turned out to be wonderful.  I got pregnant with number two, but miscarried days after finding out we were expecting.  Once again I was telling God this wasn’t the plan.  At the same time I had the miscarriage we were also building our house an hour away.  I would once again be leaving friends one short year later.  This move turned out to be the perfect thing for our family.  I was starting to see that God knew what He was doing ever if I did not like it.  With help from our loving extended family we move to Cypress.  And about a month later we were pregnant with number three.  Jeffrey was born on August 22, 2007 health and strong weighing in at 9 lbs. 12 oz just like his big brother Jackson.  Life could not be better: close to extended family, great neighbors and friends, great church, two sweet little boys, nice house, two cars, a dog, nice job for Josh and staying at home with the boys for me.  What else could we ask for?  Another baby!  Josh wasn’t fully on board about having another baby.  So I tried to wait patiently for Josh to be ready.  Finally after what seemed like forever Josh was ready to starting trying.  I got pregnant with number four in the winter of 2009.  It was such an exciting time.  The boys wore big brother shirts on Christmas Eve to announce to our family a baby was on the way.  Everything was going well until March 2010 when we found out that baby number four had turner’s, hydrops and was a girl.  We named our sweet, sick little girl Jamie Elizabeth.  She lived within me for 24 weeks and 1 one day and then Jesus choose to take her home.  Once again this was not in our plans.  I was not ready to give this gift that God had blessed us with back.  How do you tell your four and two year old boys that they will not get to hold their baby sister?  About a year and a half later I finally came to the point that I could say to God, “Whatever You want I am ok with.  If we get pregnant I will rejoice, if we are to adopt open all the right doors and if our family is done I will be content.”  Several months later I miscarried baby number five.  What is the deal God?  How can so much pain be part of Your plan?  Back when Josh and I were going through premarital counseling in 2003 we talked a lot about what we each saw in our future.  One of those topics was children.  Josh said he wanted to have two or three kids and I wanted three or four by the time I was thirty.  And you know what God gave me what I asked for.  I will be thirty-one in a week and have five children.  Even though I will not get to know three of my children until I reach heaven I have received five blessings of life from God.  Isn’t that what it is all about?  Being a willing vessel for God to use for His glory.  In all the joy and pain, laughter and tears God gets the glory.  

August Heat!

We have had record heat for the whole summer practically.  But the heat I have been feeling is different.  In the book of Daniel Shad’rach, Me’shack, and Abed-Nego refuse to worship the false god made of gold.  These men are taken to King Nebuchadnezzar because the decree says that anyone that does not bow down will be immediately thrown into a fiery furnace.  The King likes these men so gives them one last chance to worship the god made of gold.  The men replied to the king, “our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and He will deliver us from your hand, O king.  But if not, let it be known to you, O king, that we do not serve your gods, nor will we worship the gold image which you have set up.” (Daniel 3:17-18)  At this the king became furious and had the furnace heated up seven times.  I feel like I am in a furnace that had been heated up.  August 2011 has been difficult.  Within about a three week period I had a miscarriage, our house was strike by lighting, someone close to my heart is having relationship troubles, I got a virus that caused an itchy rash, Jeffrey turned four and Jackson started kindergarten.  Now I know birthdays and school are happy occasions, but my boys are growing up and I just want them to stay cuddly and little.  Have you ever experienced a lighting strike?  It is scary!  When our house was strike it was loud and we smelled burning.  After Josh ran around the house to make sure it wasn’t on fire we began to take a look at what was damaged.  We had no phone, internet or TV service for some time and still are having problems with the phone.  The garage door opener did not work (it has been fixed now).  Our central vacuum turned on and would not turn off so we just had to unplug it in the garage (I never really like the central vacuum anyway, but I don’t have another vacuum.  And a clean carpet is a happy carpet as Josh would say).  The alarm system is messed up.  A week later Josh discover the sprinkler system was not working not good in the heat it too has been fixed.  Our one TV now only has one working speaker, but that’s ok we just turned up the volume.  My sewing machine will not turn off so it is just sitting unplug and I had a creative moment the other day and could not do any sewingL.  Josh has been told that we will continue to find more and more things that the lighting strike affects.  We must be thankful though that our house did not burn down, that our new washer is fine and that our deep freeze, which is now full with a steer, is working.  Earlier this summer I told God, “it is all up to You, whatever You want for our family is ok with me.  I give You complete control of my life.”  Now this has been a daily pray, because well I like to be in control.  Once I came to that point is when everything heated up.  Just like Shad’rack, Me’shack and Abed-Nego said they would follow God no matter if it meant death and thinks heated up for them.  It feel like once I gave control over to God Satan said let’s see about that.  Shad’rack, Me’shack and Abed-Nego made it through the fire.  They came out alive without any burns.  They didn’t even smell like smoke.  I know God is with us through this fire and we bring is out as well.