Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Summer blog

to update many on our summer adventures we hope to be able to post to

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Special Days

Happy Anniversary - hubby and I have been married 13 yrs! Wow...that sounds like a very long time, does that mean we're old?

I am blessed to have awesome "Dads" in my life! Thanks to all 3 of you for all you do for me and our kids!! We are blessed to have you!!Doesn't Papa Gene look cool on this roaster bike he got 'for John Mark' ha ha!! He's a super Grandfather!!
Daddy in Honduras with Eric, the boy they sponsor. It's neat to share our passion for Honduras with my Daddy. Many family dinner conversations center around Honduras.

my hubby has been a father to not only our two 'birth' children, but other children along the adventure of foster parenting. He is wonderful to every single little one placed in his makes me love him even more. I am so blessed to be able to call him my husband!!

Friday, June 13, 2008

"It's a beautiful day in the neighborhood"

So remember the other day I was bragging on my neighbors? I'm telling you, I can't tell you how blessed we are, and as proof that I'm not just saying that.... Today MaryKyle will be playing at one neighbors while John Mark is playing at another's so hubby and I can get some stuff done and so they get to go to the pool and have some fun without begging and such while hubby and I are busy with preparations. Another neighbor shows up this morning with this wonderful basket for the kids (and us!)

It's loaded with the perfect airplane things and other things needed for the trip - it's really great. And while here they asked if they needed to mow or anything else while we were gone. Oh yeah and last night another neighbor entirely offered to do whatever and is willing to just stop by and visit our Sydney on the days no one is staying here so she doesn't get too lonely. And other neighbors will be coming and feeding her and in charge of her regular care, etc too. Each and every instance is a completely different neighbor. I can't tell you how many times I've been told "just let us know, we'll do whatever we can" It's just wonderful! I strongly advise if you don't know your neighbors, bake some brownies (or cupcakes!!) and walk over and introduce yourself. It's great to know you have people around you that you can call on when you need them!

This is our Sydney, our oldest baby...yes, she's a proper lady with good manners and always crosses her legs when she sits! We will miss her while we are gone.

Also, my father in law sent us this really cool coffee/tea set! The kids especially like to have tea parties (the passion started by hubby's Mom who let them as toddlers use a 'real' tea set). They already have an awesome set that my mother in law bought in China, plus one she got for MK to paint herself. Gene found this somewhere and thought of us. There is a little plate to match each color cup. Too cute!! The cups are larger than a 'tea set' cup, and will even hold Mommy and Daddy's coffee!! Yipppee!! I enjoy a cup of hot tea for sure, but coffee I'm all about these days!!

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Smelly Poodle Girl!!

That's my new name in our house...yep I went against all fashion and current trends and GOT A PERM!! When you are going to spend 5 weeks in a country that regularly turns off electricity and water and you have half curly half straight hair (my sister was blessed to get a head full of gorgeous natural curls) that must be blown dry - a back up plan is a must!
Allison (my stylist and friend) and I laughed the entire time. She had to go actually purchase a perm for me as she doesn't even keep them on hand at the salon...ouch!! I have to say, the smell took me back to my middle school years. Anyone remember the spiral perms?? Come on admit it, you know if you're in your 30's you so had one or wanted one!! Fortunately I'm pretty adventurous with my hair. I'm not a crier. I like to try new colors and styles and if it doesn't work out my theory is it will always grow out (my hair grows super fast). The two things I stay away from are bangs and perms...ha ha ha!! when I called Allison to tell what I was thinking about she reminded me perms take much longer to grow out than a style I don't care for or an odd color....good thing hubby actually likes it. And yes, he'd SO tell me the truth and knew this was a purely functional decision so he was safe to give his fully honest opinion...although my hubby would anyway, and that's fine with me.
MaryKyle took the pictures...even though you can get it wet, you can't put conditioner on it and it needs some, so tomorrow with conditioner it will look less frizzy looking. We didn't do a 'tight' perm by the way. More 'body wave' so I can scrunch and go. And where there were highlights it didn't take as well, but she told me that would happen.

Feel free to laugh if you see me, I'm getting some good chuckles about this memory lane adventure myself!!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Honduras on my mind

...well changes in plans are a way of life on trips to Honduras. This trip will be no different. When we decided to go the buddy pass route we had a couple people check the flight and the history of it to ensure that they thought we could get on the flight easily to San Pedro Sula. We moved our trip up a few days so that we could fly in the middle of the week as those flights in over six months had not filled. But then the plane crash in Teguc. occurred. Now that airport has been closed to international flights and all of those passengers that would have flown into Teguc are now flying into San Pedro Sula and all the flights are not only booked but largely overbooked! So....we're having to tweak our plans a bit. Although it seems we will end up on the winning deal of that. We will instead fly onto the island of Roatan. If we get on the flight we want, then we will make it early enough to take the afternoon ferry to La Ceiba where a friend will pick us up and we will make it to Trujillo by nightfall. That would be the ideal situation. We've also been told of a 3 bdrom house we can rent for a very reasonable price while we are there. We got that call today. So now we must pray that it's reasonably clean, as it's in the most ideal location for our work in Trujillo for sure!! So we need some prayers that we have no problem getting on the flight to Roatan and that this townhouse works out for us to stay in for the month +.

Monday, June 9, 2008


UPDATE 7/22/2010 Did a more recent post about this recipe HERE 

MaryKyle asked for blueberry muffins this morning. I found some recipes and used them to come up with my own. MaryKyle and I LOVE the results Yummy!!!
So here is the recipe we came up with...Keep in mind it's totally flexible...more sugar, less sugar, turbinado or granulated, lemon extract or not, all whole wheat, all AP flour, just whatever!

Blueberry Streusel Muffins

1 cup milk
1/4 cup cup canola oil
1 tsp vanilla
1 egg
1 cup all purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
2/3 cup turbinado sugar
1/4 tsp lemon extract
1 Tbsp Honey
3 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup fresh blueberries

1/4 cup all purpose flour
2 Tbsp packed brown sugar
2 Tbsp butter

1. Heat oven to 400 degrees
2 grease bottoms only of 12 cup muffin tin
3. Beat the milk, oil, vanilla and eggs appx 2 min
4. Stir in flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, lemon extract and honey (will be lumpy). Stir in blueberries.
5. divide batter among muffin cups.
6. Cut butter into flour and brown sugar with pastry blender for topping
7. sprinkle each muffin with appx 2 tsp topping
8. Bake 20-25 min or until golden brown.

Shower/neighborhood fun!!

our guest of honorOkay in her defense, she was opening presents when desserts came. We ordered something different so we could sample them all. So no she didn't really polish them all off by herself, we all had fork fulls and we all agreed the pink lemonade cake was best!!

Another dessert - dark chocolate tea cup!Heidi got cut off in this pic (Sorry girl) Joy, Rachel Mc and Paula (Kelly's Nanny)
Holly and Diane
Lexie and Zoie got to hang with the big girls all day. they are such sweet girls!

I have the best neighbors. None of us just 'love' our houses, but we dread the day any one of us plans to move. We are so very blessed to be surrounded by these wonderful people and all of our kids know and love each other...even those with grandkids, we get to be around them here sometimes reminds me of growing up on an Army base and having the support system around you. Saturday we 'Chamberlyn Lane' girls headed to tea cup cottage to celebrate Kelly and Rob's soon to be newest addition - Chloe...finally a girl!! Hooray!! Kelly has Brock who is John Mark's buddy and Noah who is 10 months old and Chloe will be here any day just about!! We are all so excited to meet her and so happy for them....although in all honestly Kelly you know none of us envy you much having kids that close together...ha ha!! But you will have plenty of Mommies around to help out and hold and snuggle those little ones!!

as good a shot as I got of the whole table. Somehow I missed out on an entire section of people - sorry guys!!

Saturday, June 7, 2008

tonight's 'baking'

just finished the 'baking' for tonight....a diaper cake for a neighbor who we are taking to Tea Cup Cottage tomorrow for a baby shower tea. Not particularly pleased with it, but at this point I must go with it - don't you hate when that happens? But I couldn't find what I wanted for the top, or the color and type flowers I wanted...oh well, not too much I can do about it now, but I will tweak it a bit in the morning when I've gotten my coffee in me!

FYI we did have biscuits (amongst other b'fast foods) for dinner to try out the jam. It's sweet, but good. Even the kids liked it! The second batch of 7 jars is prettier than the first, I tweaked it a bit the 2nd go round. Glad I did. Now if I can just remember next year when strawberries come in what I did!

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Why's it called Canning and not Jarring?

Well today was a day largely spent in the kitchen. If I hadn't had to sweep, mop, scrub bathrooms, and do a bit of laundry, I might have called it the perfect day. it was great though! While the kids and Daddy spent their time swimming I got quiet, uninterrupted kitchen of my favorite things!!! This morning when my friend from high school, Ryan, called he asked what we were up to today & I was just starting my venture. He laughed that I was getting brave and awfully domestic or something like that...ha ha!! So true. But for some reason, I have always wanted to try canning. My parents and grandparents used to do it, so why not, right?!
Yesterday we ran to the farm for milk and eggs. When we dropped them by the house before running some more errands, the kids ate a popsicle & I picked up the laptop. I happened to just quickly check the strawberry farms website. Mostly to see if he had listed what veggies he would have at the Marietta Square's farmers market this weekend. Only to see that the s'berry season was coming to an end. So on a whim the kids and I headed out in the heat to pick some more berries with the goal of making some strawberry jam. Thanks to my parents locating and lending me their old canner, I now have 14 jars of strawberry jam sealed and resting. The kids have decided tomorrow night for dinner we will have "Aunt Sally's buttermilk biscuits" (Sally Ray from biscuit social days for those of you Arlington Alum) for dinner and try out the new jam. JohnMark has already made me promise to try it first...he's a bit unsure of this whole thing.

Fresh from the farm berries don't last long AT ALL (many had spoiled overnight) I dipped a few in dark chocolate for an after dinner snack tonight, and sliced the few that were left and put them in the freezer to have on hand for smoothies.
I have to admit there is something about canning that makes me feel empowered. How silly is that? It makes me feel like a "real cook" like my grandmother who was an amazing cook. Like I should be living on the farm or something...ha ha! When hubby and and the kids got home from the pool he started flipping through the old Ball canning book I had borrowed from my Mom and he's now intrigued and amazed at what all you could put in a jar for a quick meal...with no preservatives ..... When did we get away from that and move toward chef boyardee and Campbell's?boiling with the sugar -SEVEN CUPS to be exact...this is not light jam!

a peek while they first begin their water bathStill boiling hot, but cooling - it has to rest undisturbed for 12-24 hours - I'm just hoping it actually firms up and sets

I know real fancy serving tray huh? I had slid them in the fridge on the cookie sheet and everyone was so ready for them I just set it on the table instead of dirtying another dish. I know some are tiny...those are Mommy's...since I'm not really supposed to eat hardly any fresh fruit I dipped some tiny ones for a special treat for me! YUMMY! I don't eat but a very few (like 6-7) fresh strawberries a year so it was a real treat!

the kids are enjoying our neighborhood pool this summer! We try to go just about every day. John Mark learned today how to run and flip into the pool...I can't believe he tried it, but his competitive spirit got him. Our neighbor's son could do it and John Mark was determined.

Cousins and cupcakes

The kids had a wonderful time playing with their cousin Holland this past weekend while she was here. They spent a few hours at GrandMama and Papa's house playing with her one afternoon while Mommy and Daddy ran errands.

Last but not least, the latest cupcakes...well not really, I made these Saturday night for a baby shower Sunday, but when they all got gobbled up before John Mark, I or any of the hubby's got one I concocted a chocolate almond cupcake with dark chocolate ganache filling and Vanilla bean cream cheese frosting Sunday night after worship - but I was too ready to eat one to take a picture then took the leftovers to neighbors so I wouldn't eat any more. These for the shower were Magnolia Bakeries vanilla cupcake filled with lemon curd and topped with a vanilla cream cheese frosting and a sugared lemon rind curl. They were a hit...hope they were as good as everyone thought as I never got to try one. I also did some of the vanilla cupcakes with no filling and with a vanilla bean cream cheese frosting. They are the ones with the fondant additions.
This weekend I will be helping my neighbor make these lemon ones and the chocolate ganache ones for her daughter's baptism party they are having. They have been some of my faithful 'testers' and her hubby really liked the chocolate ganache ones, and she really liked the's hoping I can recreate the chocolate ones as I didn't write down anything since I was in a hurry...just concocted. Hubby always picks on me for doing that!
Next on the list is a S'more cupcake. MaryKyle asked me as we bought ingredients yesterday "what are you making them for Mommy?" I explained that I was just buying the ingredients so I was ready when an occasion came up. so we need to find a reason! got any ideas?!
Told you I was cupcake crazy!!

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Special gift of love and memories

As I said in a previous post, my sister and her husband came to town on Wed. But we hadn't seen them until yesterday (Sat.). They dropped Holland off with my parents and stayed downtown. When Hubby called Brian and Daddy this morning to see if they wanted to do something, brian said he was finishing up John Mark's b'day gift. Last month, on John Mark's b'day he got a b'day card from them that said Uncle Brian was making his present and would get it to him when he finished it. Hubby nor I had any idea what it was but when we knew Brian was making it we couldn't wait to see what he might create. He is a talented artist, but does woodworking and well...anything he puts his mind we had no idea what to expect. John Mark (and his Daddy and Mommy) is so amazed at this special gift. We just love it and can't wait to get it put up in his bedroom.

It's a painting. all done with the spatula thing (my words are leaving my head) so it's got lots of texture and is very impressionist like I'd guess you'd call it (yep, although I love art I'm not an expert..sorry). This is a recreation of a picture of John Mark at his first Alabama football game when he was 3. He, hubby, Uncle Brian, and Elijah (Uncle Brian's 'Little Brother' through Big Brothers/Big sisters) went to the Music City Bowl in N'ville. John Mark is holding the binoculars in the picture. He LOVED that game and still talks about it and he knew JUST what the painting was of. He said when he got up this morning "that painting is so cool, Uncle Brian is just a really good artist isn't he Mommy?" YES he is and we will all treasure this special gift for sure!! THANKS Uncle Brian!!