Tuesday, May 20, 2014

countdown to summer

Memorial Day marks the real beginning of summer for us. We always spend the weekend at my mom's  and have lots of family over on Saturday and Sunday. It's always a fun time filled with family, food, fun and lots of laughter. 

If you're like me, you'll spend a lot of time this week getting ready for the fun ahead. If you're planning on having hotdogs on the grill (and who isn't?), here's the perfect chili recipe for you. 
Happy summer! Tomorrow I'll be sharing a few festive ideas for the table. 
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Friday, May 9, 2014

happy mother's day

Happy Mother's Day! I hope you all have a wonderful weekend celebrating with your families. I am looking forward to spending some time with my mom. How cute is she in this picture?! I love her so much; she's the most amazing woman I know. Her strength, grace and love for our family is amazing.

Here's a few thoughts that were on my mind last year for my All About Moms week. 

Have a great weekend! 
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Thursday, May 8, 2014

thoughts on mother's day

I've been thinking all week about what Mother's Day means to me. I know it's a day to celebrate moms, but I'd rather celebrate the most perfect little boy who finally made me a mom.  I waited so long to celebrate this day and to finally hear those sweet, sweet words said to me..."Happy Mother's Day momma!". 

Every day I thank God  for making me this boy's momma. He makes me realize what love and life are all about. 

Mommy loves you so much Landon!

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You can read our story here.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

caramel potatoes

We got back from the beach late Saturday evening. What a fabulous week it was. I'll be sharing some pics from our trip later this week or you can follow me on Instagram to see them now.

It's hard coming back home to an empty refrigerator and pantry when you're really too tired to shop. Mike went out Sunday morning and got a few necessities like coffee creamer. Ha! For dinner I kept it simple and we had barbecued chicken, broccoli and a new favorite, caramel potatoes.  You must try these - they are so good. Butter, red onion, brown sugar, red potatoes and thyme... You can find the recipe here.

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Wednesday, April 23, 2014

this and that

It's been a busy week as we are getting ready to go on vacation soon. That makes it the perfect day to just share a bit of this and that. So grab a cup of coffee and catch up with me...

:: Today is my birthday. As always, I'm giving thanks to God for blessing me with another year on this earth. I've never been one to shy away from age or birthdays - I'm always just happy to be alive and embrace every single day.  We'll celebrate with family later this week, but tonight we're keeping it low key - cheese pizza (Landon's favorite) and cupcakes. He's looking forward to blowing out some candles. 

:: How cute is this precious face I woke up to this morning? He's ready for summer with his brand new haircut and ready to hit the beach.  He's also a little scared. He's going through a phase where he's scared of just about everything. A few evenings ago, he said this...  "I'm scared of spiders, bats, monsters, aliens, sharks and that it. You think of anything else scary for me?"  He's so funny! 

:: Speaking of vacation and the beach... Last year I took a journal along and wrote a letter to Landon every evening, talking about what we did that day. I got the book out yesterday to pack for our upcoming trip and it was so much fun to read about what we did last year.  These letters will be a great keepsake for him one day. 

:: Now that Easter is over, I'm working on putting out some summer decor. I love that touches of red, white and blue can be displayed all summer long. I'm working on a great canvas project that I can't wait to share. I'll have a tutorial up by May 11th, giving you plenty of time to create your own. 

:: I have a new addiction: Untold Stories of the ER on Discovery Health.  It is so good. You can't help but wonder how some of these people end up in the situations they are in.  

:: Have you tried the white chocolate M&Ms? They are a Target exclusive for spring. I might be hoarding four bags right now. They are that good! Go get some now!

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Friday, April 18, 2014

Cranberry Orange Pistacho Shortbread

I've shared this recipe before, but I thought it would be good to share again today. It's my mom's absolute favorite cookie so I make it for Christmas, Easter and anytime we're going on vacation. It's perfect for your Easter brunch table or just because. Be sure to put a few back for yourself - they don't last long!  I usually make two batches so I can have two rolls in  the freezer at any time. 

Cranberry-Orange Pistachio Shortbread
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
3/4 cup sifted confectioners' sugar
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 tablespoon orange zest
1 tablespoon orange juice
1/2 cup finely chopped dried cranberries
1/4 cup finely chopped pistachios
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt

Beat butter with an electric mixer at medium speed until creamy. Gradually add confectioners' sugar, beating until smooth. Stir in vanilla, orange zest and orange juice. Add cranberries and pistachios, stir just until blended.  

In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour and salt.

Gradually add flour mixture to butter mixture, beating at low speed until blended.

Shape shortbread mixture into 2 logs. Wrap in wax paper & aluminum foil. Refrigerate overnight or up to 3 days. Remove from refrigerator 10 minutes prior to using (while oven preheats).

Pre-heat oven to 350F. Cut each log into  1/4” thick slices.  Place on parchment paper-lined cookie sheet. Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until edges of cookies are slightly golden (mine take 10 minutes).  

You can store these in an airtight container but mine never last that long.  

***It's important to let your cookie dough rest before slicing to bake. Otherwise the logs are hard to cut and the slices crumble easily.***

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Amish Custard

This year I'm making two dishes for our Easter dinner. For dessert I'm making a treat called Amish Custard (see yesterday's post for Loraine's Macaroni Salad). It's not really a custard, so I'm not sure how it got its name.  I love all things Amish, so it's no surprise that I adore this dessert. It's a delicious blend of sweetened cream cheese & chocolate on a flaky pecan crust. There's never any left over, so sometimes I make two to be sure we have some to eat at home. I hope this dish makes it on your Easter menu.

We usually go to Amish Country in Ohio twice a year  - June and October.  It's a nice, relaxing two days filled with food, shopping and a buggy and train ride for Landon.  Once we're back home, I try to live the simple life, much to Mike's amusement (that man really loves me, you guys!). It usually doesn't last long, but it does always cause me to take time to reflect on how simple life could be without the daily distractions we allow - but that's another post.

Happy Easter! Jesus lives & because He was victorious over sin & death, we too can be.

Amish Custard
1 c. flour
1 stick butter
1 c. chopped pecans
8 oz. cream cheese
1 c. powdered sugar
1 c. Cool Whip
Instant chocolate pudding

Melt butter, add flour and pecans. Spread mixture in bottom of 9x13 pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes or until golden. Let cool. Make pudding according to directions on box. Mix cream cheese & powdered sugar, add Cool Whip & stir until blended well. Spread cream cheese mixture onto cooled crust, followed by chocolate pudding. Top with remaining Cool Whip and sprinkle with chopped pecans.

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