Thursday, March 11, 2010

That's Us!

I love that my husband is a graphic artist/web designer! He does amazing work, but I especially love it when he puts his skills to work for our family pictures. This picture collage was created for my grandparents in Seattle to get a glimpse of our family with updated pictures. And, if you've looked at my blog lately, then you'll recognize most of these picture. Oops. :)

Sunday, March 7, 2010

She's 3 Now!

Sorry for the lame title, but I had to be consistent. Equal-opportunity parent and all. :)

Our little girl is three now! And, she's already talking about being 4~LOL! Something about having an older brother makes you want to be older, I suppose. However, she does NOT want to turn 5 because then her brother will be 8 and he believes he will be getting a dog when he turns 8. It's apparently something that my husband told our son when he was 4 and he has NEVER forgotten it. Bear, on the otherhand, does not like dogs, so she has informed me over and over that she will not be turning 5. It's so funny how little ones' minds work, isn't it? (And, how brothers inform their sisters how old everyone will be when certain things will happen--just a disclaimer in case you thought you'd start bombarding me with how to teach a newbie 3 year old how to do math on her own!)

Our little girl is a lot like her mama as my parents keep reminding me. I chose to take that as a compliment as I'm sure they intend it! ;) She's definitely strong willed yet is working on being compliant even when she doesn't want to. She loves to laugh and have fun and tell silly stories. She isn't super into dressing up with pretend clothes, but when she does she either wants to be a princess or a warrior. She likes to pretend to be a baby gorilla or a frog. (Don't ask me why because I don't know.) Dora is a favorite show along with Diego and Veggie Tales. She's learning how to build and use her "magination." She likes the Wii but REALLY likes to design her Mii character which she calls her "customer." She's a busy bee and loves going up and down the stairs at her grandparent's house. If I'm on the phone, then she always wants to say hi to whomever I am talking to, but that's the extent she normally wants to talk. If she gets a snack from the pantry (with permission, of course!), then she always gets one for her brother as well and says, "Which one do you want? They are both the same." Apparently, something she hears a lot. She's black and white--either she likes something or she does NOT. Prayerfully that will serve her well in the future as she stays the course and isn't persuaded by the world's standards. (Romans 12:2) Thank You, Lord, for the precious gift of our baby girl.

"The LORD bless you
and keep you;

the LORD make his face shine upon you
and be gracious to you;

the LORD turn his face toward you
and give you peace."

~Numbers 6:24-26

That's what I get for "making" her smile at me when she was looking at her present!

Now, she's ready for posing!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

He's 6 Now!

My son is 6 years old now. In some ways it seems like a lifetime ago that he was born and in some ways it seems like yesterday. I'm sure most people feel that way about their kiddos. He's an amazing kid with great energy and high spirits. He's sensitive to hurting people. He loves to read and do math and learn and do school with me--hallelujah! It's important to him to be obedient and he struggles with failure. He adores his little sister and loves the role of "big brother". If football is on TV, then he's sitting there with us watching it and yelling at the players. Soccer is his national past time--our little Pele Jr. His baby teeth are coming out faster than the new ones are growing, so he has a slight lisp now. He is very gifted at memorization and that has helped him memorize more Bible scripture than I ever knew at his age. He loves hugs and cuddling and tickle wars. Pancakes are his favorite food in the whole world. And, donuts from his grandpa. He shares his sugar free gum with me and often gives sister the biggest piece of their shared treat. He's an amazing child of God and a future warrior for His Kingdom. Thank you, Lord, for the gift of our son!

This was him telling us all the things he could buy with the $6 he got from his grandparents! So animated!

Our soccer star! Go Colts!

Daddy and son

Friday, February 26, 2010

Rainy Day Activities

My kids were quiet. Too quiet. Many of you know that feeling, I'm sure. So, I went to investigate. Here's what I found:

I'm not sure if it's an invasion or an exodus.

But, I am loving the angels fighting alongside the turtles.

And, the trio airplane with the transformer one.

Don't forget the army men...even the one sleeping. (Although, when I asked Josiah about the one laying down, he said that "he's not sleeping. I knocked him over on accident, but he wouldn't stay up, so I just left him.")

There are cannons...

And carts with wheels...

And torches for nighttime attacks.

I think he has us covered. I'm so glad for preparedness. And rainy days!


Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Catching up

It's been awhile since I posted last. No apologies. No excuses. But, so that you can forgive me, here's a photo montage of our last few weeks. We've been very busy...

Practicing how to blow up balloons

Showing off mad monkey skills

Creating Castles

Losing teeth left and right

Finding new ways to nap

Turning 6 years old

Turning 33 years old

Making lots of playdoh food

Soccer Awards

Tickle wars

Building a plethora of Trio sets

And, most of all...just being cute!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Cake Balls

I am so excited to try this recipe for Cake Balls from an article in the Dallas Morning Newspaper that my mom sent me last year. I'm thinking these are going to make awesome Christmas presents this year. The article can still be found online HERE.

Cake Balls

1 box of cake mix
Ingredients needed on cake mix: water, eggs, oil
1 can of prepared frosting
Almond Bark

Optional Items:
lollipop sticks
oil based candy dye
Decorative items like: chopped nuts, sprinkles, etc

First, make and bake the cake as directed on the box.

Once baked, I removed it from the pan immediately to start cooling. [Side note: And, wouldn't you know that the cake came out perfect, but if I had really needed the cake to come out perfectly for some time when I wasn't going to mutilate it, then you know it wouldn't have! okay, I'm done...back to cake balls...]

While the cake is still warm, crumble it up into a large bowl. You can use your fingers or an electric hand mixer. (The hand mixer is easier because you want the cake to be a fine texture, but be forewarned that the cake tends to jump out of the bowl!)

Then add 3/4 to 1 full can of frosting apparently depending on taste. What?! According to taste?! Just do the whole can and be done with it. Stirring well until thoroughly combined. Chill the mixture for a couple of hours or speed up this process by placing it in the freezer.

Using your hands or a small cookie scoop (think melon baller size), roll the mixture into balls and place them on a baking sheet covered with wax paper. Recommended ball size is 1 1/2 inches--smaller balls rather than large ones are easier to eat later. This makes about 30-35 cake balls.

Gotta get your kiddos into it!

Finished rolling...whew!

Side note: I had to rearrange all the cake balls into straighter lines BEFORE I could take a picture. LOL!

My Personal Notes about Rolling the Balls:
Use a cookie scoop. Mash it in there. Peel off the excess around the edges. Release the cake ball from the scoop into your hand. Admire the almost perfectly round cake ball. Place it on wax paper and be done.

Optional Step for Cake Pops:
After rolling all the balls, insert sticks into each ball. Then, resume with the following directions.

Back to Everyone:
Chill for several hours in the fridge. Or if you are in a hurry, then place in the freezer. I do not have room in my freezer AT ALL, so I used the fridge. *Note: I had them in the fridge for 6 hours before I felt like they were firm enough!

About 15 minutes before the balls are ready, melt almond bark in a container that is tall and narrow. I don't really have a container like that so I used a measuring cup.

When the almond bark is ready you can stir in 1 tablespoon of shortening until melted. The shortening makes the almond bark more smooth and easier to dip. If you used the freezer, then make sure the cake balls aren't frozen solid when you begin working with them.

Working in small batches, remove some cake balls from the fridge/freezer and dip in the melted almond bark. Use tongs, forks, toothpicks or candy forks to manage the balls and get them completely covered. Place each ball on waxed paper to harden. I had to twist, twirl, tap and beg them to get the excess chocolate off and make them *somewhat* smooth. I don't know how professionals do it, but I'd love to sneak in and watch them!

And, now you are finished! can decorate the outside of the cake balls with almond bark that has been dyed with oil based candy dye or roll the cake balls (before hardening) in coconut, chopped nuts, sprinkles, chopped candy bars etc. The ideas are endless...

Most recipes and blogs say to keep them at room temperature once completed and I tried that. But, I'm telling you, they are WAY better cold. (I think the concern is that the chocolate coating will crack in the fridge but mine didn't.) Plus, they really don't last that long...truly!

I did attempt to dye the white almond bark to see if that would cover up my chocolate cake better. So, I used red paste dye stuff:

But, I think I need to thin it out more because it was way more gloppy. See?

I also put a couple on some sticks I had and it was actually much easier to smooth the chocolate on the cake balls when they were on the stick. I guess because I didn't have to touch them at all with anything...just twirled and tapped. When I do these again at Christmas, I'll definitely be using the sticks.

And, here's my silly attempt at "decorating" them with sprinkles. LOL. You can laugh...I did. And, that's why there's only ONE of these. :)

Finished plate of them for my little family. They are SO good! My meat-eating husband couldn't stop praising them, but it was slightly hard to understand him with his mouth so full. However, I did hear him say that they are his new favorite dessert and maybe even better than steak. Nah, that can't be right, but he did LOVE them.

There's a fabulous website called with MANY ideas for these cake balls including making them into cake pops HERE. They also have wonderful pictures of holiday themed cake balls that are so beyond my abilities right now, but I can still drool over them! One of my favorites is this Christmas themed reindeer cake pop HERE. I am just in awe of hers!