Saturday, February 23, 2013

Grateful

My little girl just turned 3 months old! Crazy! Hard to believe she will be walking before I know it! Josh and I are on our way back from Milwaukee for a dear friend's wedding, Ella's first, and although this mini vaca was very different, it was wonderful if a whole new way!

We still found a few tourist things we could do with her and just enjoyed being a family of 3!

Here are a few of my favorite pictures from the trip. On the left, she is modeling her cheesehead, a big hit with the locals. On the top right she is enjoying a cheese and beer tasting at the Wisconsin Cheese Mart, and on the bottom right she is dressed for the wedding. Ella actually wore what was my first Christmas dress to the wedding, I'm do thankful that my mom kept my dresses all these years!

Oh No!

I'm convinced my child thinks her name is "pretty." No matter her mood, you can get her from tears to smiles with a few "Who's a pretty girl?" We could be in for some trouble.....

video

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Twice Dipped Butterscotch Sugar Cookies

I made these cookies for the Super Bowl - they were my favorite of my new recipes - I highly recommend them!

Ingredients:

    Sugar Cookie dough–for faster cookies use a pre-made store bought.
    1 bag butterscotch chips (for 22 cookies, I used about 1/2 of the bag)
    1 bag milk chocolate chips (for 22 cookies, I used about 1/2 of the bag)
    1 bag Heath bar bits (or a crushed Heath bar) (i used about 1/4 of the bag)


Instructions:

1. Make your sugar cookies. I used the store-bought Sugar Cookies and baked per the instructions. Let them cool completely.
2. Once they are ready, melt your chocolate chips. I melt them in a bowl in boiling water on the stove. 
3. Take one cookie and dip one side of it. You will dip about 2/5ths of the cookie.
4. Place all the dipped cookies on a tray lined with wax paper or parchment paper and then place in the fridge for about 30 minutes.
5. Get your butterscotch ready for dipping the same way you did the chocolate chips. (Butterscotch takes a little more coaxing).
6. Dip the other section of the cookie in the butterscotch so that the chocolate and the butterscotch overlap to create a "v". Immediately after, sprinkle the heath bar on top. Refrigerate for another 30 minutes before eating.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Ella found a Fella

Being pregnant obviously brought me my sweet Ella, but it also brought me a sweet friendship with Janice. Being pregnant together was fun, but raising our kiddos together is going to be better.

I got to meet her sweet (tiny) guy tonight - he was smaller than Ella ever was. I forgot just how precious it is to hold a newborn. Ella was on her best behavior meeting her handsome beau for the first time.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Pulled BBQ Chicken Crescents

My friend Barbara Anne introduced me a new blog where I found this recipe the other day. This is the first thing I've tried from their site. I recommend doubling the recipe - Josh and I each ate 4 of these easily.

INGREDIENTS:
  • 2 cups shredded chicken 
  • 1/2 cup barbecue sauce
  • 1/2 cup cheese
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 container (8 count) refrigerated crescent dinner rolls
  • BBQ flavored spices (optional)
DIRECTIONS:
  1. Preheat oven to 375
  2. Mix barbecue sauce and shredded chicken. (I recommend doing this the day before and letting it marinade).
  3. Holding the crescent triangle in your palm, with the two closer points on either side of your wrist, and the other point by your middle finger. 
  4. Spoon in about 2 tablespoons of the chicken mixture into the center of the triangle. Sprinkle lightly with cheese.
  5. Fold up the two points by your wrist over the chicken and then roll up towards to the top point.
  6. Brush with egg.  Sprinkle the top lightly with cheese and a BBQ seasoning you have on hand.
  7. Bake for 12-15 minutes.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

11 gifts in 11 weeks

It is hard to believe my life was so radically changed 11 weeks ago. On one hand, it feels like 11 months ago I was in the hospital holding my sweet baby girl for the first time and then on the other, 11 short days. I can't believe how quickly she is growing, and I know this roller coaster of life is just going to continue speeding along for the next 18 years! 

My sweet Ella has given me 11 wonderful gifts since her arrival, and I can't wait for the joy and blessing she is going to bring with her life.

1. I've learned to appreciate my parents and the many sacrifices they made for me growing up.
2. I have the gift of finally understanding how much my parents love me and will always be proud of me.
3. I've determined to develop a true friendship with my mother over the coming years.
4. I now have the glimpse of my Heavenly Father's deep love for me. Why do I neglect Him so frequently?
5. I have a whole new love for my wonderful husband after seeing him love our daughter.
6. I have more joy than I ever thought imaginable. It is simply magical how much joy Ella's little smiles bring to our home.
7. I definitely have the gift of growing patience as I rock my baby to sleep at 2am.
8. I appreciate the value of time more and strive to use to more effectively. I definitely waste less time on social media since my darling's arrival.
9. I've received the gift of a softened heart and increased sentimentality. Since Ella's arrival, I find myself treasuring traditions and sweet memories of our family more than ever before.
10. The gift of a deeper reliance on God, as I entrust Ella's heart to Him and His plan for her life. I definitely have always struggled with trust, and this adorable bundle is the most challenging thing to hand over to the King.
11. The gift of watching my sweet daughter grow in the woman the Lord created her to be.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

1/2 Birthdays

Today is my half birthday - I know - that sentence sounds ridiculous coming from a 26.5 year old.

1/2 birthdays don't matter, but to me, they do. Growing up, my mother made a big deal out of my 1/2 birthday. Since my birthday is in August - I never got to have my classmates over to the house for a party, as we were all on vacation. So, my mother being the creative lady she is, decided I should celebrate my 1/2 birthday so that I could have a school party.

One thing that Josh and I have talked about various times throughout our relationship is the book  "The Five Love Languages", practically required reading at Grove City! 'Gifts' is a love language that doesn't really resonate with Josh, but it does with me. My mom is definitely a gift giver. Almost very time she comes to visit, the whole backseat of her car is filled with things she has been collecting for me, little things that made her think of me, or bargains she found. This is how I was shown love, and therefore dramtically shaped how I feel loved.

My wonderful husband, although he doesn't relate to this gift, has worked hard to incorporate it into our lives and demonstrate his love for me in this way. Today, he called from work to wish me a half birthday. I totally didn't even realize it was my half birthday - way to go Josh!

To celebrate, he is bringing home dinner. (And he even called early enough in the day so I wouldn't spend Ella's nap times preparing dinner - what a wonderful man I'm blessed with).

What is your love language? What have you done to learn your spouses language?

Monday, February 4, 2013

Orange Chicken Stir Fry

One of my new year resolutions was to try a new recipe each month. I actually found this recipe early in January, but I've been holding onto it so it would count as my February recipe! I played with the recipe a little bit - it was fun to (in my opinion) improve upon a new recipe.

Ingredients:
3/4 cup orange juice
1/4 cup water
1 tablespoon grated orange zest
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 teaspoon salt
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 tablespoon brown sugar
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves - cut into slivers
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup snap peas, cut in half width-wise
rice
1 (6 ounce) package crispy chow mein noodles

Directions:
- In a small bowl combine the orange juice, water, orange zest, soy sauce, salt, garlic and brown sugar. Mix well.
- Heat oil in a large skillet or wok over medium high heat. When oil begins to bubble, add chicken. Saute until cooked through (no longer pink inside), about 7 to 10 minutes.
- Add orange sauce mixture to chicken and cook until sauce begins to bubble. Add flour, a little bit at a time, until sauce has thickened to your liking.  Add snap peas; cook for 1 minute. Serve hot over rice; sprinkle with chow mein noodles.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Blueberry Cheesecake Cookies


I got a little too excited about bringing dessert to our Super Bowl party. I started looking through my dessert board on Pinterest, and somehow, I was making 3 different types of dessert!


These Blueberry Cheesecake Cookies were the most experimental, but well worth the try! They taste like a fabulous blueberry pancake.

In the original recipe, they said that they had receive comments that people had a hard time replicating the recipe, so I'd follow the directions exactly, and don't make any substitutions or changes to the ingredients.

Ingredients: 
1 stick “I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter”
4 oz. cream cheese
½ C. light brown sugar, firmly packed
2 eggs
2 boxes Jiffy Blueberry Muffin mix
1 ½ C. white chocolate chips

Directions:
Cream together butter, cream cheese, and brown sugar. Add eggs one at a time until blended. Combine muffin mix with the butter mixture and mix well. Fold in white chocolate chips. Chill for at least one hour.

Heat oven to 325 degrees.

Drop by tablespoonfuls onto greased cookie sheet, 2 inches apart. Bake for 14-15 minutes or until just turning brown around the edges. Cool on cookie sheet for 1-2 minutes. Transfer to wire rack until completely cooled.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Much is Required

To whom much is given, much is required

This verse has taken on a new meaning to me since having Ella.

Previously, I had interpreted the verse to be referring to talents only. To those given many talents, much was required of their use of those gifts.

Since receiving the most precious gift in the world, this verse is filled with new daunting standards of raising Ella to love the Lord. I know that being a parent is going to be the most wonderful and challenging job I'll ever have, and I'm looking forward to every day. But I also stand in awe of our precious Lord's grace, which I need daily.

What parenting books do you recommend to raise Godly children?

Friday, February 1, 2013

Peanut Butter Chocolate Bars

I love all things peanut butter, add in a little chocolate, and I'm in heaven...but what woman isn't? I made this recipe yesterday for our small group snack.  

Peanut Butter Chocolate Bars

1 (18.25) package plain yellow cake mix
1/2 cup butter, melted
1 cup creamy peanut butter
2 eggs
1 (12 oz) package semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
2 Tablespoons butter (I recommend melting this prior to adding it to the mix)
2 teaspoons vanilla

Directions:
1) Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
2) Combine cake mix, melted 1/2 cup of butter, peanut butter, and eggs in a large bowl using a mixer or spoon. Press this into a 9X13 pan reserving 1 1/2 cup of the mixture to crumble on top.
3) In a small pot, melt chocolate chips, sweetened condensed milk, and butter. Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla.
4) Spread chocolate mixture over the mixture pressed in the pan and then crumble the 1 1/2 cups of reserved cake mixture on top evenly. (The original recipe tells you to "crumble" - my mix was too dense there really was no "crumbling" possible, so I just placed small circles of the batter.)
5) Bake for 20-25 minutes. Cool completely before cutting into bars. (I cooked mine for the 20 minutes, my toothpick came out clean, but when I cut it later, I thought it was too "brownie-like" so I baked it for another 10 minutes.