Friday, February 19, 2010

Among the Thirsty

This song is my absolute favorite song right now. It is such an awesome, awesome worship song. It's a great reminder that no matter what we are going through, good days and not so good days, we need our Savior. And He is right here with us, caring about everything that we are going through or experiencing. He loves us and we can consider Him our Friend.

My favorite line in the song:

"What would I say, if You brought down the rain, and everyday, I walk through the pain, my heart will still say, Your name is Jesus..."

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Treats, Treats, and More Treats

You know, when you have four kids and they all have Valentine's parties, and they all want to bring treats for their friends, that's ALOT of treats. Here are the Petit Fours and Sugar Cookies I sent for their Valentine's parties at school (well, Ava's went to Mrs. Shannon's).

I've been frequenting I Am Baker. She is so wonderfully talented. I found the tutorial for the Petit Fours and the sugar cookie recipe on her site. I have tried for years to make sugar cookies but the dough was always too soft and mushy to roll out and cut into shapes. My husband never really even liked sugar cookies. BUT, I found her recipe and it is wonderful! My husband even said, "Now that is one good sugar cookie, keep that recipe." Go check her out and say hi, I bet you'll be inspired to make something yummy.

Here is her Sugar Cookie Recipe

1-½ cup Butter (I Use Unsalted)
2 cups Sugar
2 whole Eggs
2 whole Eggs Yolks
4 teaspoons Vanilla Extract
2 teaspoons Almond Extract
4 cups All-purpose Flour
1 teaspoon Salt
1 teaspoon Baking PowderPreparation

In a mixer, beat butter and sugar until well combined, about 2 minutes. Add in 2 eggs and 2 egg yolks and mix until combined. Add in vanilla and almond extract; mix until combined.
In a separate bowl, sift together flour, salt, and baking powder.
Slowly (about a cup at a time) add flour to butter mixture and combine. You can use a mixer or not, just depends on how strong you are.
I usually just mix ingredients until they are combined, as I have heard that if you over-mix this dough it will get tough.
Put dough on some Saran wrap and refrigerate for at least one hour.
When you are ready to bake, heat oven to 350 degrees. Roll dough out, cut out cookies, and bake for 6-8 minutes.

I keep the dough in the fridge and break off chunks to roll out, since I only bake about 6-8 at a time and I don't want the dough to get warm.


Wednesday, February 17, 2010

If Mama ain't happy......

I used to loathe the saying, "If Mama ain't happy, ain't nobody happy". To me, it reeked of selfishness and spoke to the notion that everyone in the house needs to tiptoe around Mama so as not to make her unhappy. Because once Mama was unhappy, she would unleash her wrath upon the household. That just didn't portray the image of the Christian wife and mother that I thought we should strive to be.

But recently, I started looking at this old adage in different terms. Author, Donna Otto, says that we, as wives and mothers, are "thermostats" for our homes. And similar to the thermostats that control the temperature in our homes, we also control the climate in our homes. With a click of the thermostat, the climate can change from calm, peaceful, and comfortable to stressful, chaotic, and rushed. I notice that in times when I am stressed or worried about something, or when I am just in a bad mood, the mood of the entire house changes. And my family, literally feels like they have to walk on eggshells around me. I hate that it is that way. Cecil has called it to my attention several times. And each time, I can do nothing but agree with him and apologize.
I love the book Finding Your Purpose as a Mom. I have read it several times and it has really helped me through some difficult seasons. Donna Otto says:

"If you sing while you wash dishes or mope when you don't get your way, those actions will influence the atmosphere. If you are distant and depressed, the household will feel tense and cold. If you are warm and exhuberant, your household will respond accordingly."

"It starts with welcoming God's peace into your own heart and letting that peace touch every aspect of you daily life."

I am reading her book yet again, so expect some Otto wisdom from time to time.

ETA:After I posted this I happened to see that a blogger friend is giving away this book, along with one of Donna Otto's other great books. Stop by and say hello to Jen at Simple Pleasures for your chance to win.

Homemade Gifts

Before Christmas, I posted that I was working on homemade gifts for my family. Here, finally, are some of the things I made for them. Please pardon the terrible pictures!

I made two brown ones for Lydia and Sarah. And Allie got the other color. Had a little trouble with the zipper, but I hopped in my car and drove to my mom's and she helped me out.

Superhero capes for the boys with their initials on the back. Awesome tutorial here. I didn't make mine exactly like hers but I did use her measurements. These turned out really, really cute and were a hit.

I love these color rolls. They were so easy and inexpensive to put together. I got this tutorial here.

My neice Lydia loves hairbows, so I decided to make her and her sister, Sarah, several bows and a bow holder. The bow holder was super easy to make out of thick chipboard letters for $1.69 from Hobby Lobby, some scrapbooking paper from my stash, ribbon, and Mod Podge. I got the idea here.

I'm back!

Okay, so I haven't been blogging much in the past three weeks. I don't really have any good excuse except that I just really haven't taken the time to sit down a write anything. But I'm back now!
Let me just go ahead and get this out of the way. I'm a big fat quitter. Well, I'm not really all that fat, but I am a quitter. After all that hard work and those great results with Jillian, I quit. Again, no good excuse. Except that I got tired, the house got messy, and I hurt my back. I really, really hate admitting that I did not finish the 30 days, but I have decided not to beat myself up about it. I'm moving on. I will start doing the Shred again, but I probably won't stick to it for 30 days and I probably won't do it consistently every day. There you see low won't be let down if your expectations are low.

I will be posting more soon...So come back and visit me.