Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Blog Photos

I love putting pictures on my blog. I truly do. It really inspires me to blog and reminds me what I have to blog about (like Andrew's Fajitas that I have had pictures of for a month) but I find blogger very difficult to load pictures onto.

Anyone have any suggestions? It takes forever and you can only load one at a time. Perhaps there is a better way and I don't know about it.

Any comments would be appreciated!

For now you'll just have this post while I work on loading the tons of pictures I took Andrew was making the recipe.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Abigail's first professional haircut!

I had to add "professional" in there because I have cut her hair many times! I decided that it was uneven enough at this point to justify spending the money on a haircut. I'll probably still trim it from time to time.

Such a big girl!

She just sat there . . . quiet as a mouse!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

You Must Watch This!

If you don't do anything else of importance today, you must watch this:

Clayton's Story

And if you are touched by it . . .

pass it on!

Friday, June 25, 2010

My Sister

My Sister
(pictures taken by Abigail (well . . . except the last one))
My sister holds me tight.
My sister kisses me goodnight.
My sister is so smart.
My sister has my heart.
My sister plays with me.
My sister will never flee.

My sister loves me lots.
My sister helps me tie knots.

My sister knows when I am mad.

My sister helps me when I'm sad.

Abigail and Elsie - Sisters
They don't yet know how fortunate they are to have each other! Or . . . perhaps they do!

I'm so thankful I don't have the ingredients!

While reading through my many cooking and recipe blogs just now. I came across a recipe for this:

Nutella Caramel Hazelnut Brownies!!!!!!!!!

My heart started to race and I panicked! My eyes scanned through the list of ingredients and began to beat faster!

"I think I have ALL those ingredients."

In which case, I would just have to go satisfy my current nutella obsession and whip these up (yikes!).

I read a bit further and breathed a sigh of relief when I noted that I do not have caramel sauce or hazelnuts in the house (I think).

Crisis avoided. I will not make these (today that is) because I am missing two ingredients!

(Recipe and acknowledgements follow). I cannot guarantee these are good because as of today at 1:30 pm (eastern time) I have not baked these!

Nutella Caramel Hazelnut Brownies
Added by bell'alimento on March 15, 2010 in Brownies and Bars, Desserts
5.00 Mitt(s) 2 Rating(s)
Nutella caramel hazelnut oooey gooey brownies.

Related Blog Post
Print Recipe

Prep Time 10 Minutes
Cook Time 30 Minutes
Difficulty Easy
System US MetricUpdate
½ cups All-purpose Flour
⅓ cups Cocoa Powder
¼ teaspoons Baking Powder
1 pinch Salt
1 cup Sugar
½ sticks Unsalted Butter
2 whole Eggs
1 teaspoon Pure Vanilla Extract
¼ cups Nutella - Melted (more If Desired)
¼ cups Caramel Sauce - Melted
1 bag (8 Oz.) Small Bag Of Hazelnuts, Or More If Desired

Preparation Instructions
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Into a mixing bowl, add your flour, baking powder, salt and cocoa powder. Using a whisk, mix together and set aside. Into your stand mixer, add the sugar and butter; cream together. Add in eggs one at a time and mix well. Add in your vanilla. GRADUALLY add in your flour mixture until it’s well combined. Batter should be thick and sticky.

Spray an ovenproof dish with cooking spray. Place a piece of parchment paper (slightly larger than your dish to allow for handles) inside. It will adhere to the bottom of the dish. Take HALF of your brownie batter and smooth it on top of the parchment paper. Take your caramel sauce and spoon it on top of the brownie mixture covering the entire layer of brownie. Place the remaining brownie batter on top, smoothing it out. Place in the oven and bake for 30-40 minutes until sides are firm and center is no longer giggly.

Allow brownies to cool completely before removing. Cut your brownies to your desired size using a serrated knife. Make a small indentation with your finger into each brownie. Take your melted Nutella and drizzle over the tops of the brownies. Garnish with the hazelnuts.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Just what I was thinking . . .

Sometimes I will have a blog post rattling around in my brain for days. You bloggers know what I mean, I think. I have had something on my mind, something to express, but couldn't really put it into words - or at least I couldn't write about it in once nice, clean, neat post.

Then . . . someone goes ahead and does it for me.

There is more to my thoughts than just this post but this has really been in the forefront of my mind lately.

Please take the time to read this today:

- Are we always looking for something new, exciting, challenging to fill up our time? Those things aren't necessarily wrong. But while my children are young (and when they get older too, I suppose), I am trying to be content, quiet, and intentional in the way I spend time with them - not always shuttling them off to one activity or another just to fill time - but to really get to know them on a deep level.

I have simply been thinking lately that "busyness" is not always a state that I want myself or my children to be in (that is contrary to culture - you're not cool if you're not busy) and that is okay!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010


Elsie is finally getting her first tooth (or teeth actually). Abigail got hers a week before her six month birthday and Elsie's are coming in two weeks before her 8 month birthday.

Poor girl is miserable. She's been sleeping through the night consistently for a few weeks now but was up some last night. She is also just extra fussy. I don't blame her! :(

Monday, June 21, 2010

Not Apologizing

Abigail being pushed in her car by Daddy.

I feel like apologizing for not posting - or not being interesting - or something.

But in all honesty . . . the reason for that is because I'm spending my time

- Reading to my children.

- Cleaning my house (I got ALL the laundry done by the time Andrew got home today - wooo!).

- Gardening.

- Cooking.

- Working.

All things that I am hoping are a blessing to my family.
We had a good, yet interesting, weekend.
Here is a very brief synopsis of the interesting part:
On our way home from a lovely dinner out with Andrew's parents, we came across what looked like a car accident. We found out later that it was actually a guy who had been standing by his broken down vehicle and was hit by a drunk driver. Anyway, we were essentially the first people to happen upon the scene so Andrew stopped and tried to help the guy who had been hit (and the guy who hit him was also there). To make a long story a bit shorter, the man ended up dying at the hospital. Such a sad thing. I was proud of my husband for helping, even though there was nothing that could be done.
Father's Day was good and uneventful. I made breakfast. . . we went to church . . . we had lunch with family. . . we came home for naptime . . . we went swimming . . . the end.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Already Friday

How can it already be Friday and I haven't posted yet?! Crazy! This whole work and try to do everything else thing is really taking away from my internet time! ha! That's okay though.

My kids are staying up later these days so that cuts into things too but you know what . . . I'd rather spend time with them!

Abigail has been very "2" this week. "Shepherding" (a.k.a. parenting) has been the name of the game for me. Thankfully she responds very well to time-outs. Tonight she was cranky at Nana's house and she even said "I sit by self" meaning she needed to go sit on the naughty step for a while. She went and two minutes later I went to talk to her and she was in a much better mood. Amazing!

I have been doing the usual the rest of the time. My time is spent in this order (usually):

Parenting - spending time with family
Cleaning dishes
and finally . . . cleaning.

Oops! I hear a teary girl coming my way so I'd best go.

Hopefully some exciting pictures and video coming soon!

Monday, June 14, 2010

I exercise!

Abigail has been obsessed with exercising lately. No, seriously! I mean obsessed. She asks to do it multiple times a day and will usually last through most of the video. It has been motivating me to do it more too! We are currently using Jillian Michael's 30-day shred. Great DVD if you're looking for something like that.

Here is a video of Abigail exercising.

(She even got in trouble today because she went downstairs and turned on the TV to exercise when I told her it was nap time.)

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Abigail Ice Skates

Abigail has a book over at her Nana and Papa's house by that title (Abigail Ice Skates) and it is so true these days!

The child is obessed with ice skating. She loves to do it. She loves to talk about it. She loves to watch videos of it (especially the one where her Aunt Jennie's skirt falls off - not sure what the says about Abigail).

Anyway, we've been ice skating twice in the last two weeks. That's pretty good for a 2-year-old.

We're so fortunate that Abigail has an aunt who is an ice skating instructor because I certainly do not have the skills to take a wobbly 2-year-old out on the ice.

Here is a video (or two - we'll see what I can get loaded) for you viewing pleasure).

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

7 months

I don't mean to be taking blogging breaks! I recently took a mostly work-from-home part-time job and it seems that instead of blogging during nap time, I am working! It's good. I am so thankful for the opportunty to do this job. Every time that I am doing some work and then can just get up and go take care of my kids, I feel so thankful!

Anyway, my sweet darling, Elsie, is 7 months old today.

Just because she's 2nd born doesn't mean that her mommy doesn't celebrate the milestones!

This may come out wrong but I think all of you moms will know what I mean.

I'm having such a love-affair with this child. It's not that she's never a challenge or that I didn't/don't love my 1st born the same.

But . . . I'm just so much more relaxed with #2 and I identify with her (being a middle child myself) so I feel like we're sticking together!

I love it when she just can't quite fall asleep and I go into her room and rock her a little bit. The overwhelming feeling of sweet love when I'm snuggling with her cannot be beat! I would have never done this with Abigail - for fear of spoiling her sleeping - but with Elsie, I just don't care! :)

It's true what they say about love multiplying (not dividing) when you have more than one child.

Happy 7-month birthday to my sweet girl.

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Sloppy Lentils

I can't believe it has taken me so long to post this fabulous recipe. Anyway, I loved loved loved this! Of course, I'm a huge fan of the good old sloppy joe. It's one of my favorite "easy" meals so it's no wonder that I loved this healthier version of Sloppy Joes.

Here we go!

First I combined the following ingredients in my crock pot.

2 cups water (the original recipe uses 3 cups, so notice the change for crock pot preparation!)
1 cup lentils, rinsed (red or brown lentils are preferred)
salt to taste (optional)
1 cup chopped onion
28 oz can diced tomatoes or tomato sauce
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup ketchup
1 teaspoon mustard powder
1 tablespoon chili powder
3 tablespoons rapadura, molasses, or honey
1 Tbsp white vinegar

(Please note that you need to read the labels on your ketchup. Most "regular" store brands will have HFCS in them. Avoid. Avoid. Avoid!)

Added the lentils!

I also made my own hamburger buns from scratch (the ones from the store - a regular store (not whole foods or trader joes) have nasty chemicals in them) from my mom's recipe. They were a little flat - so more like thin buns but I think I forgot the last rising time and I rolled them a little thin. They will be better next time.

Here is a picture of the buns!

The sloppy lentils in the crock pot.

The sloppy lentils (and peas) right before I gobbled them up.

My notes: At the end of the day (right before dinner), I checked the crock pot and noticed that it was still pretty sloppy. So I went ahead and cooked another 1/2 cup of lentils on the stove top (only takes about 30 minutes) and added it to the crock pot. I suppose you could fix this by adding even less water or tomato sauce initially (or adding more lentils when you first start). I need to tweak this a little to figure out the exact right ratio.

Sloppy Lentils Crock pot

2 cups water (the original recipe uses 3 cups, so notice the change for crock pot preparation!)
1 cup lentils, rinsed (red or brown lentils are preferred)
salt to taste (optional)
1 cup chopped onion
28 oz can diced tomatoes or tomato sauce
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup ketchup
1 teaspoon mustard powder
1 tablespoon chili powder
3 tablespoons rapadura, molasses, or honey
1 Tbsp white vinegar
salt and ground black pepper to taste
4 hamburger buns, split
cheddar cheese, grated (to top your lentils when serving)

Combine all your ingredients in the crock pot (besides the buns and cheese!). Turn on low and cook for approximately 5 hours, until lentils are tender and the mixture has thickened and absorbed most of the liquids. Serve on open faced hamburger buns and top with melted cheese, as desired.

My notes: Andrew ate his closed and we just used sliced cheese, not melted, on the sandwiches. Also, the recipe makes A LOT! Thankfully I loved this so much that I was happy to eat the leftovers for about 4 or 5 days after the initial dinner. Next time I might cut it in half and see what happens.
I hope you like this as much as I did. It is not gourmet but it makes me hungry just thinking about it.
If you're doing weight watchers, the sloppy lentils filling (minus the cheese and bun) is only 2.5 points. I originally calculated 3 points for the filling but there were more servings than my initial calculations told me, so I think the points were lower after all.
Let me know if you fix this and what you think!
Mmmmmm! So easy and so yummy!