Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas from our family to yours!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Crazy!

It's only Tuesday, and it feels like it's been a crazy week already!
Here are some highlights and funny moments:
*Yesterday our little friend Haddie had the cutest Fancy Christmas Tea Party for all the little girls from church. Cloe LOVED it and had a wonderful time enjoying strawberry tea, Christmas cookies, and the cutest little snowman craft. Hopefully I'll get some pictures from Amy...it was too cute!
*On the way home, we noticed a familiar car stalled on the side of the Interstate so we whipped around and found our friend Julie. She hopped in and we ran to get some gas...silly vehicles. We were really struggling with the gas can, so we asked this guy to help us get it open. He said he had to grab some gloves first. As he was opening the can for us, he asked what we were planning on doing with the gas. Uh, filling up her car?!? He kind of looked relieved and said, "Good, I was hoping you weren't going to burn anything down and my finger prints would be on the can." Seriously, did we look like desperate, exhausted moms with no prayer to a sane life, so we'll just go ahead and torch the place...it was a good laugh!
*Today, I was on the phone on hold from 9:08 to 11:07...seriously, I thought I was going to crazy! I made the kids breakfast, bathed and dressed them, did a load of laundry, picked up toys...all with my phone wedged between my ear and my shoulder. When I got off the phone, I seriously thought I was going to cry from all the desperate thoughts that go through your mind while waiting for the silly customer service person to PICK UP! It turned out that I was instructed to drive to an office in downtown Des Moines and wait another hour for a silly piece of paper work...long story...I KNOW I have at least 100 more gray hairs and a much deeper wrinkle furrowed between my brows!
*Now, to the fun! I had to run several errands at the mall, so we started out with a ride on the Valley West Mall Christmas Express! For only $1, your child can experience 3 minutes of pure exhilarating joy on a little train ride. I LOVED their smiles and giggles...totally worth it!
*Kudos to my little eagle eye, McClain. He spotted a crumpled up dollar bill on the floor in GAP Kids! Since the store was pretty deserted, we got to keep the whole dollar bill! The dollar bill then told McClain it was waiting to pay for some ice cream. Of course, I obliged and we all enjoyed sharing a caramel sundae! (Yes, it was a little more than a dollar, but totally worth it!) I also got Cloe 5 shirts and a pair of velvet black pants for $20! Great sales!
*The kids did awesome as we jetted in and out of four more stores completely returns and last minute purchases!
*Then I called my mom and found out my dad had a rough day. He was outside snow blowing their driveway. He suddenly walked in the house, sat down and passed out. My mom tried to call 911, but their phone lines were down due to a blown transformer. Their cell phone wouldn't connect her either. So she just sat by my dad and beat on him (her words!). He came to and passed out...she finally got him in the car and took him to the hospital. They think his blood pressure went really low and had some trouble. Anyway, he's fine how. My mom said she now knows she won't do well in crisis situations!
Now for the future plans:
*Tonight, we get to enjoy a trip through Jolly Holiday Lights!
*Tomorrow, we are having our own little family Christmas in the morning! We're going out for breakfast at Gateway Market! (Buy 1, get one free! Isn't that awesome!) I love that place! Then we'll open gifts and head to Creston to be with Cody's family.
Sorry that the recipes have been lacking lately or have just been one's full of sugar! As soon as the new year's resolutions start in I'm sure I'll be full of sneaky, healthy recipes that you'll all just jump for as you steam and puree all your colored vegetables! Right?
Merry Christmas! I'm excited to hear about all of the wonderful celebrations that you enjoy as we praise God for His Gift of Jesus Christ, our Savior and remedy for sin!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Sunday Seven...Christmas Style

Every week I share seven things I'm thankful for on Sunday, but this week, I thought I'd shake it up a bit and share my seven top Christmas memories. Remember, I didn't say favorite memories...just the top seven. Here they are!
#1. When I was five years old, I woke up Christmas morning with chicken pox. Of course, my older brother and sister (but mostly brother) told me Santa had only brought me chicken pox for Christmas. That was pretty much the end of me liking the white bearded man. It was one itchy Christmas!
#2. The next year, we were celebrating Christmas Eve at our home with my grandparents. We had just finished unwrapping all of our gifts (yes, we always did all the gifts on Christmas Eve--lucky me!), when my dad looked out our front window and saw something funny glowing off the huge snow drifts. It was our chimney...on fire! Everyone got pretty animated as orders started flying out: Dad, "I'm going to the roof to throw snow on the fire." My Mom: "Mark, grab your new Bible! Grab your new Bible! Girls, grab your favorite gift, get your coats on and go outside NOW!" Later on, we laughed that my mom and yelled for my brother to grab his Bible, but never mind the envelope filled with cash from his employer next to it... In the midst of this, someone managed to call the fire department and they told us that they would not be able to make it out to our house because the roads were snowed shut, sorry. Nice, I know. I can't remember the specifics now, but somehow my dad did manage to "fight the fire" and it eventually burned itself out without spreading to the roof or anywhere in our house. We went back in our slightly smokey home. The next morning we when looked out the window, all of the snow surrounding our house was completely black. That was some exciting Christmas Eve!
#3. A few years later, I was practicing for the Christmas program that the tiny Christian school I attended was putting on. (By tiny, I mean less than 25 students, K-8. I was the only one in my grade.) Some moms were "building" the set with large pieces of cardboard and staple guns while we practiced the drama part. Suddenly, I felt a horrible piercing on my head near one of my temples. I immediately grabbed my face and said "OUCH!" Now this part gets quirky. The teacher told me to stop playing around and say my line. I was not a joker back then...pretty timid actually. I told her I had been hit by something sharp. She didn't really believe me until my friend told her I had two really red, swollen bumps. Sure enough, the mom stapling the cardboard together and fired a little hard and the staple flew through the cardboard right into my head. Nice memory, huh!
#4. I was in fourth grade when Cabbage Patch Kids came out. I wanted one soooooooo badly, but there was no way my parents were going to be able to buy me one. I opened my presents to find that my mom had worked diligently to sew me my very own Cabbage Patch Kid. Do you remember those? No offense mom, but those homemade dolls had to be the most ugly dolls ever created. I was crushed. Then I opened my presents from my brother and my sister--they were both college students at the time. TWO REAL CABBAGE PATCH KIDS!!!!! They had each saved their money and gone out to get me a REAL Cabbage Patch Kid. I had a boy and a girl! I knew right then I had the best siblings anyone could ever ask for! To add to the excitement, my other grandparents gave me exactly the right amount of money to purchase ANOTHER Cabbage Patch Kid. So, yes, I ended up with THREE REAL ONES! Can you tell, this still really excites me!
#5. This is a memory that happened virtually every year. Our little Baptist church in Estherville was very old and had a terrible problem with bats during the winter. It was very common to have a bat come swooping out on any given Sunday--especially during the singing. Of course, during the Christmas program, the bats really liked to put on a show. The classic set up was to have all of the small children (2 to 5 years old) all lined up in the front singing their little songs away when about 4 to 6 bats would just start swooping like crazy. The kids would try to keep singing...just a lot of crazy ducking whenever a bat would swoop close. Then a few dads would come tromping down the isle with tennis rackets and a couple fishing nets. They would whack the bats and then scoop them into the nets. The program would always go on. I know this sounds crazy, but it is completely true! Bats still creep me out!
#6. When I was a freshman at Faith, the chorale stood in an enormous star to sing our Christmas Concert. It was called the "Singing Star." Yes, it was pretty corny, but people came from all over to see this phenomenal Singing Star. Of course, our blue polyester dresses with pinned on lace colars just made it gorgeous. One of my friends had to take off her shoes while we were singing because they pinched her toes. The girl behind her started feeling pretty woozy, so she sat down...then had to lean forward to throw up...right in my friend's shoes. My friend was mortified but didn't think she should walk off the stage without shoes on, so she put the shoes back on her feet and sloshed on out of there. Isn't that completely gross?!?
#7. Fast-forwarding several years ahead...my favorite Christmas memory is one that is being made. Our children have just embraced the songs, the festivities, the lights, the cookies, and most importantly, the true meaning of Christmas. I love hearing Cloe ask Santa if he will celebrate Jesus' birthday. I love seeing them ask to buy presents for friends and family that they just adore. I love hearing them sing of Jesus who came to earth as a baby, the lowliest of human form. He came to be our remedy. He came to be our Savior. He took the penalty of all sins that we might have a way to be made righteous in His Father's sight. My favorite memory is one that is to come...celebrating Jesus' birth with Jesus. Won't that be awesome?
Merry Christmas Everyone!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

My NEW Favorite Christmas Cookie!

Last night we had a Christmas party for our new ABF at church. Included in the evening was a cookie exchange! I think exchanges like these are very exciting...trying an assortment of cookies, not too many, not too few...just the right amount to let everyone have a taste!
These cookies were made by our very prestigious new pastor's wife; she's quite the little tool in the kitchen! I love these cookies because they are like exactly like Thin Mint Girl Scout Cookies, only on steroids! BIG mint cookies with an extra thick chocolaty layer: PERFECT! I think the only thing that would make them even better would be a nice hot latte...
I'm stealing Martha's picture from her website, but, trust me, Liz's were prettier! She just hit a home run with these!


Chocolate-Mint Wafers

1 cup

all-purpose flour

½ cup

unsweetened cocoa powder

¼ tsp

baking powder

¼ tsp

salt

6 Tbs

(¾ stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature

½ cup

granulated sugar

1 large

egg

½ tsp

pure vanilla extract

12 ounces

bittersweet chocolate, chopped

¼ tsp

pure peppermint extract (not spearmint!)

1/8 tsp

salt



sprinkles or nonpareils, for decorating (optional)


1
Preheat oven to 350°F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper.
2
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
3
Using an electric mixer, beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in egg and vanilla. Gradually mix in flour mixture and mix just until combined.
4
Scoop out dough by the teaspoon and form balls; place on prepared baking sheets about 2 inches apart (they won't spread much). Dip the bottom of a glass in water, and flatten balls into 1½-inch rounds (about ¼-inch thick). Bake until slightly firm to the touch, 8 to 10 minutes, rotating sheets halfway through. Immediately transfer cookies to a wire rack to cool completely. Keep parchment on baking sheets.
5
Make chocolate coating: Place chocolate, peppermint extract and salt in a glass microwave-proof pyrex bowl or measuring cup. Heat in microwave in 30 second intervals, stirring every 30 seconds, until chocolate is smooth and hot. Remove from microwave and set next to parchment lined baking sheets.
6
Dipping cookies: Set each cookie across the tines of a fork, dunk in chocolate. Tap the underside of the fork on the side of the bowl to allow excess chocolate to drip off and create a smooth top. Gently place cookies on baking sheet, and decorate with sprinkles (if desired).
7
Refrigerate until chocolate has hardened, about 30 minutes, and keep chilled until ready to serve.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Today my Facebook status could be many things:
Londa is still in her pajamas.
Londa was so giddy that is was a snow day, she couldn't go back to sleep.
Londa has a huge batch of cut-out cookies to bake and frost.
Londa loves her children...even when they use their sleeve as a kleenex...gag!
Londa watched the Charlie Brown Christmas Special at least 20 times...good grief!
Londa wonders what the deal of the day will be at GAP today.
Londa is thankful for a free pass coming to Jolly Holiday Lights! (Thanks, Joy!)
Londa will not have two year olds in twelve days...weep, weep.
Londa thinks the new babies at church are pretty much the most adorable babies around!
Londa doesn't think you should read into this and think she's getting baby fever...
Londa has a secret Christmas present for Cody!
Londa happily enjoys date pinwheel cookies...even though no one else seems to like them at all...
Londa hopes she can figure out how to make a John Deere Tractor birthday cake!
Londa thinks snow is pretty...as long as she's on the inside of somewhere really warm!
Londa must stop wasting time blogging and get to work!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

More Cookies!

A couple of my favorite recipes:

White Velvet Cutouts

2 c. butter, softened
1 package (8 oz) cream cheese, softened
2 c. sugar
2 egg yolks
1 tsp. vanilla
4 1/2 c. flour

Butter Cream Frosting
3 1/2 c. powdered sugar, divided
3 T. butter, softened
1 T. shortening
1/2 tsp.vanilla
3 to 4 T milk, divided
Red and green food coloring

In a mixing bowl, cream butter and cream cheese until light and fluffy. Add sugar, egg yolks and vanilla; mix well. Gradually add flour. Cover and chill 2 hours or until firm. Roll out on floured surface to 1/4 in. thickness. Cut into 3 inch shapes; place 1 inch apart on greased baking sheets. Bake at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes or until set (not browned). Cool 5 minutes, remove to wire racks to cool.
For frosting, combing 1 1/2 c. sugar, butter, shortening, vanilla and 3 T. milk in a mixing bowl; beat until smooth. Gradually add remaining sugar; beat until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add enough remaining milk and food coloring until frosting reaches desired consistency. Frost cookies.

Date Pinwheels

1 c. margarine
1 c. brown sugar
1 c. white sugar
3 eggs, beaten
1 tsp. vanilla
4 c. flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt

Cream margarine and sugars. Add eggs and vanilla. Sift flour, soda and salt together and add to first mixture. Chill while preparing filling.

Date filling:
1 pound chopped dates
1/2 c. sugar
1/2 c. water

Combine and cook until thick, about 10 minutes. Stir often. Cool.

Roll out dough 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick between waxed paper. Remove top paper. Spread with date filling and roll up. Chill overnight or freeze for later use.
Cut about 1/4 to 1/2 inch slices and place on cookie sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 12-15 minutes. These will burn easily.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

One Super Busy Day!

Tuesday was one super busy day! By 9 o'clock in the morning, the boys and I had made two huge batches of this beautiful treat for our Drake Bible Study students:

Fancy Christmas Corn
3 quarts (or 12 cups) of popped popcorn
1 C sugar
1/2 C butter (one stick)
1/4 light corn syrup
1/4 t baking soda
1/2 t vanilla
food coloring optional
Combine sugar, butter, and corn syrup. Bring to a boil, let it boil for 2 minutes until golden in color. Stir in baking soda and vanilla (and food coloring if desired). Pour over popcorn and mix. Lay out on a baking sheet to let cool. (If you use margarine instead of butter, you will need to bake this at 170 degrees for one hour...so use real butter!)
Break apart into pieces and enjoy.


After that, we made a big batch of these:

Snow Capped Ginger Snaps
1 c. shortening
1 1/2 c. sugar
2 eggs
4 c. flour
1 tsp. ginger
2 tsp. soda
2 tsp. cinnamon
1 c. molasses

Mix in order listed. Make balls of dough the size of walnuts. Roll balls in granulated sugar. Place on ungreased cookie sheets. Bake at 325 degrees until lightly browned and tops are cracked. Makes a lot. (I love the easy, straight forward instructions. This recipe is from "Pauline" in the 1980's edition of the Estherville United Methodist Church cookbook--lovingly known as the "green cookbook" in the Nelsen family.)

We finished off our morning with a very special cake for our new friend, Chelsea. She is Caitlin's sister. These poor girls do not have a mom involved in their lives, so I love to take every opportunity I can to love on them!

Raspberry Cream Cake

Isn't she cute? Chelsea was so sweet about the whole birthday cake. She even said it was the best birthday cake she had ever had in her entire life. Kind of makes you want to buy her the world! (We actually had this cake on Wednesday...her real birthday. I love how God works things out like that...throw in a little snow, a canceled Bible Study, a rescheduled Bible Study, invite everyone over for supper and a have birthday party!)

Raspberry Cream Cake
1 box vanilla cake mix (I know, I just blew my secret!)
1 c. whole milk
4 eggs
1/3 c. butter (softened)
Mix ingredients well. Pour into 2 well-greased cake pans. Bake according to directions on the box. Cool.

For filling: Mix 1/3 c. raspberry preserves with 1 1/2 c. whipped topping.

Frosting: One can of Betty Crocker Whipped Cream Frosting (shhh...that's my other secret!)

Crumb topping: 1/4 c. cold butter, 1 c. powdered sugar, 2 T. flour, 1 tsp. vanilla. Cut together with pastry blender and sprinkle all over top of cake.

That was my Tuesday...rush, rush, rush! Only to have everything canceled due to the snow! Oh well! We enjoyed a nice fire in the fireplace and a peaceful evening at home! Plus, Wednesday turned out pretty well too!

Monday, December 15, 2008

RASPBERRY ALMOND SHORTBREAD THUMBPRINTS

Butter! Growing up, anytime I would say something tasted delicious, my mom would reply, "Must have butter in it!" My Grandma Nelsen was infamous for always using real butter in all of her cookies. They were soooo good! She's been in heaven now for nine years, but every Christmas I find myself really missing her and her endless supply of amazing cookies! I know if she were here, taking these cookies to her would be like presenting her with a cookie that would be up to her delicious standards! I don't know if that makes sense, but I've always loved her so much that I hope I can emmulate her baking skills someday and have everyone "feel my love" just from one bite of a real butter cookie!
These little gems are currently the favorite of everyone in our house...and everyone who happens to be around when a pan comes out of the oven. The last batch only lasted a few hours! Come on over...it'll give me an excuse to make them again!

Raspberry Almond Shortbread Thumbprints (long enough name?)

Cookie Ingredients:

1
cup butter, softened
2/3
cup sugar
1/2
teaspoon almond extract
2
cups all-purpose flour
1/2
cup raspberry jam

Glaze Ingredients:

1
cup powdered sugar
2 to 3
teaspoons water
1 1/2
teaspoons almond extract


Combine butter, sugar and 1/2 teaspoon almond extract in large bowl. Beat at medium speed, scraping bowl often, until creamy. Reduce speed to low; add flour. Beat, scraping bowl often, until well mixed. Cover; refrigerate at least 1 hour.

Heat oven to 350°F. Shape dough into 1-inch balls. Place 2 inches apart onto ungreased cookie sheets. Make indentation in center of each cookie with thumb (edges may crack slightly). Fill each indentation with about 1/4 teaspoon jam. (I use the squeeze bottle of raspberry jam and just fill up the thumbprint. Less messy method!)

Bake for 14 to 18 minutes or until edges are lightly browned. Let stand 1 minute; remove from cookie sheets. Cool completely.

Combine all glaze ingredients in small bowl with wire whisk until smooth. Drizzle over cookies.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Sunday Seven

It seems like December is just flying by too quickly! Our days and weeks seemed to be packed with fun activities, traditions, and endless shopping excursions...the one's with the list of hard to find items! We've enjoyed many opportunities, amidst the chaos, to share the true meaning of Christmas with our children and others that we've been around. That true meaning, the birth of our Savior, is what calms the chaos and joyfully puts the whole season in perspective!
1. I'm thankful that Cloe is so bold to share the meaning of Christmas with her friends at school. She shares Christ so uninhibited. I'm praying she will never lose that desire to share Jesus with her friends!
2. I'm really thankful for my parent's willingness to come for yet another weekend of Christmas fun! This time, Cody and I got to sneak out for a quick date!
3. So, on this date, I realized I'm thankful that I'm married to quite the germ.o.phobe. As Cody came back from the restroom, he was discretely pointing at the guy in front of him like "look at this guy!!!!" What, what?!? Yeah, he didn't wash his hands in the restroom...we watched as he went back to a beautiful girlfriend, held her hand, rubbed her shoulder, and kissed her...nice. We had quite the laugh as we played out who should take the hand santizer over to the guy... That's the type of fun you have after ten years of marriage!
4. I'm thankful that all the kids did a great job in the Christmas program! It's a little nerve wracking wondering if any of them will run off crying, do something inappropriate, or forget their line. Cloe especially did a great job with her little speaking part! She loved all the festivity of the night!
5. Who isn't thankful for the annual red apple and salted nut roll handed out after the Christmas program?!? Gotta love being a Baptist!
6. I'm really thankful for the time we've been able to spend with Caitlin lately. She is such a sweet girl! We're looking forward to celebrating her sister Chelsea's birthday tomorrow!
7. Lastly, I was really excited that I was going to be able to post that I was thankful Carson's asthma had not flaired up with this most recent weather change...but alas, the boy is wheezing again! I'm still thankful for the strides we had made, and we continue to pray that God will take away this asthma!
Have a great week! Enjoy all the Christmas celebrations that could only take place because of our Savior humbling Himself to be born as a baby! Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 12, 2008

A Freaky Friday!

Today will have to go down in the books as one of those days with continuous "mommy heart attacks" happening all day loooooong!
It all started at 10:00 am with a call from the school nurse, "Mrs. Crigger, we have Cloe here in the nurse's office. I don't want to alarm you, but she fell down on the hill and slid on her face..." Poor Cloe and those stinkin' monstrous boots she has to wear to every recess, they tripped her up and she tumbled down the hill--right on the left side of her face. She got to talk to me and told me she would be okay to stay at school for the rest of the day...heart attack #1: not too bad.
At 4:00, my mom and I were racing home from running an erand when my dad called and said, "Londa, the bus just stopped at the corner, but Cloe didn't get off." I was just around the corner, so I watched as the bus went by, and sure enough, no Cloe still on the bus either. I started trying to call the school office; no answer. My dad said he would wait in the driveway and my mom and I raced off to the school. I ran in the building and the office was all locked up, her teacher was gone and there was no Cloe. I ran in the classroom next door where a teacher was still working and burst into tears as I told her my kindergartner had not gotten off the bus, and we didn't know where she was. She hopped on the phone to Cloe's teacher to make sure she had gotten on the bus. Yes, she had. Then she started to call the bus driver when my dad called me and said Cloe had just appeared out of no where on the side walk at the end of the street. I raced home, still feeling like I could lose my lunch at any moment! I ran in the house and asked Cloe what had happened. Here it is in her words, "My friend, Mali, told me we were supposed to have a playdate today and she made me get off the bus at her stop. She said I had to. When we got to her house, her mom said they had a Christmas party and I couldn't stay. She said to walk home." So, my poor little girl got duped by a not-so-nice little neighbor girl and then had to walk home quite a ways all by herself...still in those crazy monstrous boots. The worst part is that the bus driver (the "no-English" guy) let Cloe off the bus at a different stop without any parental permission...I feel a note to the principal coming on...
That alone would have been enough for my heart for at least a month, but then tonight Cloe was playing with a little friend in her room and had a mishap. She fell off her bed and pretty much landed her side square on her doll crib and konked her shin on her bed. I'm a little concerned about a fractured rib or shin...it's also skinned up pretty badly. The paint on the crib is ingrained into her sweater and there's red sweater fuzz stuck to the crib! She was pretty much frozen to the couch after that.
Needless to say, Cloe went to bed in quite a bit of pain! It was hard to put her to bed. I just wanted to hold her, squeeze her, and love on her!
Thankfully, God was protecting Cloe today in all of those instances! Each one of them could have ended much worse! Now for the damage to my heart...

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Kringla

Yesterday I stirred up a batch of one my very favorite Christmas cookies: Kringla! This Norwegian treat is a little tricky to make, so made the dough and stuck in the freezer. Hopefully, that will make it easier to roll the dough into little pretzel shapes.
I'm using a recipe from an old lady that is from the church where I grew up. She gave it to me in 1993 and I stuck in it a handwritten cookbook that I was making as a 4-H project. (I'm sure you would enjoy seeing my very bubbly writing with big dots on all the"i" letters!) At the time, I thought the cookbook was a little bit of a ridiculous project, but obviously my mother really did know best as I am now enjoying pulling out some good (and not so good!) old recipes!

Kringla

1/3 c. butter
1 c. sugar
1 egg
1 c. sour cream
1 tsp. vanilla
1/4 tsp. salt
1 scant tsp. soda
2 1/2 c. flour

Cream butter and sugar together. Add egg and beat until fluffy. Mix in sour cream and vanilla. Add dry ingredients and mix well. Freeze dough overnight.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Take out 1/4 of the dough. Roll about a tablespoon of dough into a pencil thin rope. Shape into a pretzel on an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake for 8-10 minutes. The edges will be barely golden colored.
Store in a air-tight container.
(I'll post a picture of my kringla as soon as I bake a batch today!)

Monday, December 8, 2008

It's time for...


Christmas Cookies!
Do you have any favorites I should try this year?
Leave a comment and let me know!

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Sunday Seven

Did you hear? Snow is coming! There's a slight possibility of a snow day!?! I'm praying hard. We LOVE snow days! PJ's, oatmeal, hot cocoa, lots of storytime, movies, popcorn...the whole is great! Maybe that will get to be on my Sunday Seven next week!
Here's a few things I'm thankful for this week:
1. I am SO thankful for our amazing MOPS Steering Team made up of totally terrific moms! We had a great time on Friday...I completed TWO crafts that I *love* and can't wait to make again! Thanks Abby and Amy! You girls are the best!
2. Chelsea continues to come to Bible Study, ask questions, and learn a lot! I'm so thankful that the Holy Spirit is continuing to draw her closer to salvation! This week she said, "So, the Bible is really like our handbook for life." He, he, he: YES! Some of the phrases she uses are ones that little 'ole grandmas taught me in Sunday School...yes, I sort of mocked them in my head...and now Chelsea is just coming up with them all on her own! I have a whole new appreciation for those phrases she's coming up with through studying God's Word!
3. This is quite silly, but I am SO thankful for computers! Please don't ever ask me to give even a slightly educated guess on how computers work: no idea here! But I love them, find them super helpful, and don't know what we'd do without one!
4. I am really thankful for my parents being able to come down for a long weekend with us. They love to help us out when we have activities at church...hopefully we'll be able to catch a date night next time!
5. I am thankful for a great chiropractor who has almost completely "fixed" the weird hand...arm...shoulder...carpal tunnel pain that was about to make me go looney! I'm thankful that God is opening doors for us to invite him to church. Please pray that he'll come to Willow Creek and most importantly that he'll come back to God (long story...but I think that's where he's at...). If you need a chiro, call me for the info. The only requirement is that you share Christ with him and invite him to church too!
6. You know how when something breaks, you realize how much you loved it and how thankful you were for it...well, that "thing" would be my wedding ring. Augh! When I got home from MOPS on Friday, I noticed that a diamond had fallen out. It was a weird day for me anyway on Friday...it felt like I was fightly tears all day...happy tears, overwhelmed tears, grateful tears, tired tears, my grandpa died and won't be around at Christmas tears (Cecelia?) and then "lost diamond...no money to fix it" tears. Cody did a great job picking out my ring twelve years ago; I still love it! It'll be watching me from the dresser now for awhile. Know any good ways to earn extra money?
7. Lastly, I'm thankful for this little guy...who's not so little anymore! We celebrated my nephew's "Gottcha Day" today! Nine years ago on Tuesday, my sister and brother-in-law finalized the adoption of Nathan. He is such a sweet boy and I can't imagine not having him in our family! I'm so glad we gottcha, Nathan!

Friday, December 5, 2008

Quote of the Day...

Today Carson was sitting on my dad's lap. He loves his grandpa so much! Carson looked up and said, "When I grow up, Grandpa, I want to have hair in my nose * just * like * you * !"

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

I finally made 'em!

Tortillas! We go through tortillas at our house so quickly! I almost never have any on hand when I really need them for a meal. It's been in the back of my mind for a long time that I could learn how to make them. So, today I set out, just me and google, to find the best recipe. I have no idea if this is actually the best since it's the only one I've tried, but these were amazing! (I made the whole-wheat version.) I don't think I'll even try other recipes...I'm stickin' with this one!
I found it on a blog of a homesick Texan...that's a good sign, I'm sure! Here's the recipe! Hope you enjoy!

Texas Flour Tortillas
Ingredients:
Two cups of all-purpose flour (I made them whole wheat by substituting one cup of whole-wheat flour for white flour)
1 1/2 teaspoons of baking powder
1 teaspoon of salt
2 teaspoons of vegetable oil
3/4 cups of warm milk

Method:
Mix together the flour, baking powder, salt and oil.
Slowly add the warm milk.
Stir until a loose, sticky ball is formed.
Knead for two minutes on a floured surface. Dough should be firm and soft.
Place dough in a bowl and cover with a damp cloth or plastic wrap for 20 minutes.
After the dough has rested, break off eight sections, roll them into balls in your hands, place on a plate (make sure they aren’t touching) and then cover balls with damp cloth or plastic wrap for 10 minutes. (It’s very important to let the dough rest, otherwise it will be like elastic and won’t roll out to a proper thickness and shape.)
After dough has rested, one at a time place a dough ball on a floured surface, pat it out into a four-inch circle, and then roll with a rolling pin from the center until it’s thin and about eight inches in diameter. (If you roll out pie crusts you’ll have no problem with this.) Don’t over work the dough, or it’ll be stiff. Keep rolled-out tortillas covered until ready to cook.
In a dry iron skillet or comal heated on high, cook the tortilla about thirty seconds on each side. It should start to puff a bit when it’s done.
Keep cooked tortillas covered wrapped in a napkin until ready to eat.
Can be reheated in a dry iron skillet, over your gas-burner flame or in the oven wrapped in foil.
While you probably won’t have any leftovers, you can store in the fridge tightly wrapped in foil or plastic for a day or so.
Makes eight tortillas.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Triple Chocolate Bliss Cake

Tonight we had some friends over for desert. I love making desert for people who make you feel like you're some super woman baking queen...these people do that! I'm posting this recipe embarrased at how easy it actually is, yet it will make you look like a queen too (if you want to be a queen!).

Triple Chocolate Bliss Cake

1 pkg. (2-layer size) chocolate cake mix
1 cup sour cream
1 pkg. (4-serving size) chocolate instant pudding
4 eggs
1/2 cup oil
1/2 cup water
3 cups thawed whipped topping, divided
1 pkg. (8 squares) semi-sweet chocolate chips
1-1/2 cups raspberries (optional)
PREHEAT oven to 350°F. Lightly grease a bundt pan. Beat all ingredients except whipped topping, chocolate and raspberries in large bowl with electric mixer on low speed just until moistened. Beat on medium speed 2 min. scraping bowl occasionally. Pour into prepared pan.
BAKE 50 min. to 1 hour or until wooden toothpick inserted near center comes out clean. Cool in pan 10 min. Loosen cake from side of pan with knife or metal spatula and gently remove cake. Cool cake completely on wire rack. Place on serving plate.
RESERVE 2 Tbsp. of the whipped topping. Microwave remaining whipped topping and chocolate in microwaveable bowl on HIGH 1-1/2 to 2 min. or until chocolate is completely melted and mixture is well blended, stirring after each min. Drizzle over cake. Immediately drop reserved whipped topping, by scant teaspoonfuls, around top of cake; create star shape by drawing wooden toothpick through middle several times. Spoon raspberries into center of cake. Store leftover cake in refrigerator.