Tuesday, December 30, 2008

2008 in Review

So I've never done this before, and ideally this should have gone out with the Christmas cards, but the year wasn't over in November when I sent out the cards. Anyway, I thought this might be fun.

So at the beginning of last January we were arriving home from a wonderful Christmas in Park City Utah with the Lloyds. It really was so much fun. We hope to meet them in another place for a future Christmas. In January we also began to make small upgrades to our home.

February brought Dabney's 4th Birthday. She's such a big girl and a great help to her Mama. Joshua began to crawl.

In March, our congregation voted and elected Tim as a deacon. He takes his role very seriously and he does a great job.

Tim and I celebrated 5 years of marriage in April. It's hard to believe it's been 5 years since our wedding, but then I look around at the kids and think, "Hmm. Where did all these little hooligans come from? Only 5 years? Are we counting right?"

May was sort of slow, but isn't that nice once in a while? One highlight of the month was that we had 2 large families over (at the same time) for a picnic at our house. It was by far our largest hospitality gathering of the year. Dabney and I also had a special Mama/daughter date night at the movies.

In June, Tim and I were volunteers for Christian Home Educators of Colorado for their annual family conference. We learned so much and hope to attend (as attendees) next year. We also visited for a long weekend with Tim's parents and 2 of his brothers and their families.

My parents, brother and sister came to visit us in July and we also celebrated Joshua's first birthday.

One of the highlights of the year came in August, when the 5 of us flew to visit my grandparents and aunts and uncles and cousins in North Carolina. So much had happened since I had visited last and I even had some children to introduce to my relatives. I learned so much about my family's history. I took over 600 pictures (!) although I haven't printed all of them out yet... Also, Joshua became very accomplished at running, not walking.

In September I joined Facebook, and I know it sounds corny, but I ve had such a great time connecting with so many people~ many of whom I thought I would never see or hear from again. There are so many people that God had used in my life to mold and shape me.

October held more weddings in our church and Caitlin came out to visit again, but mainly to attend the weddings. While she was here, we discovered a wonderful surprise~ we're pregnant with baby #4 who has a July due date!

We celebrated Thanksgiving in November with Tim's family in Bismarck and had a great time.

Which brings us to our current month of December. Dabney had her ears pierced during one of the Christmas shopping trips, David turned 3 on Christmas Eve and Josh had a blast eating all the stocking candy on Christmas morning.

Happy New Year everyone! I hope the Lord will bless you richly in 2009!

Monday, December 29, 2008

Christmas Highlights

We had a wonderful quiet Christmas at home~ we hope you did too! Here are a few highlights~ after a while, my camera couldn't keep up with all the presents!

David's Birthday

The very smart people at the alley gave us the party lanes~ with the two kids bowling by themselves, our games took a while.

Dabney did really well.

"Next time, big boy..."

David did a great job, all by himself.

Look at Dabney's face!

David was most excited for his family to sing Happy Birthday to him. He asked all day, "Will you sing to me?" beginning before Tim went to work that morning. And we sang everytime he asked.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Happy 3rd Birthday David!

My Precious David,

I can't believe you turn 3 years old today. It seems like not that long ago when I woke up at 3am with labor pains, thinking "I can't have a baby today~ it's Christmas Eve!" Nevertheless, our first son emerged into this world as always, full of surprises. Although it was my most traumatic labor to date, you, my sweet little man at 7 lbs, 13oz, were healthy and happy.

You've grown so much in such a short time~ always trying to be more and more a grown up, helping me with the laundry, loving to cook, washing the car and mowing the lawn with Daddy. We were stunned last December just before you turned 2 when you told us you wanted to go potty, and now here you are fully potty trained, even sleeping in your underwear! But, that's just like you. You set your mind on what you want to do and eventually you do it. Like when you purposed to find a way out of your crib. Or that nightmarish phase when you were trying to sneak out of the house when no one was looking~ I still today praise God you are safe.

God has done so many wonderful things in your life and in your heart, Son. He has given you a brother and sister who love you very, very much and I know you love them too~ they are your best friends and your constant companions. Daddy and I are blessed also, we are thrilled (and challenged) when we call you our son. You are such a happy child, even after receiving much necessary discipline. You always smile and you sing from your heart continually. Never stop singing to the Lord, David! And you make us laugh every single day. We are so excited to watch you grow through your 3rd year and can't wait to see what a dynamic young man our Lord is molding you to be. Our prayer for you in this next year is that you would increase in wisdom, and that you would grow more tenderhearted, and, as always, that you would walk closer to our Lord everyday.

Happy Birthday, Son. We cannot express to you the love that we have for you in our hearts!

Mommy and Daddy

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Notice Anything?

She said it didn't hurt at all. The clincher was when she said, "Mama! I can wear earrings just like you now!" She's growing up so fast.

A Few Last Minute Ideas

I have an uncle that has everything. Seriously everything. And because he is on my Christmas list, it puts me in a very difficult predicament. But the upside of this is that I get to pick out something really fun and out of the ordinary. It also allows me to widen the gift horizon.

This year I hopped over to etsy.com and found a lady in CA that makes these wonderful stamps and I knew I had a winner this Christmas. She did a bang-up job on my uncle's stamp (she emails you a proof of the stamp for your approval before she makes it) and then she gave me a great deal on a second stamp so I ordered one for our family, too. Obviously, I love it so much I'm blogging about it.

One last idea for you is something we do perennially. The two of us have our favorite Christian ministries that we listen to on the radio and that are dear to our hearts. And like all ministries, they really appreciate donations. I wish we could afford to give them large checks every year, but with a single income and a growing family, there are no large checks to be given. But we do like to remember the ministries that truly have ministered to our souls by putting in a Christmas order. That way, we're using our budgeted money for excellent resources and hopefully furthering the kingdom via the chosen ministries. And ok, I would be remiss if I did not recommend one or two to you all. For the past few years, I've loved putting orders in with
Ligonier Ministries~Tim and I are huge fans of R.C. Sproul~ and the resources we receive are absolutely top-notch and definitely gift worthy. In fact, most years I try to hide the Ligonier box because Tim is just too curious. Other recommendations off the top of my head would be Coral Ridge Ministries and Canon Press. Canon Press has some of the best books on the family that you will find anywhere. Really.

So there you have it. Now I really must get wrapping.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Christmas Project Reveal

So a long time ago I mentioned that was making some presents this year for some little girls in our life for Christmas and I never told you what the project was. See, a few days after I began the project, we discovered the existence of baby #4 and since then I've been slammed to the couch with exhaustion. There goes the project. Until yesterday. I had been psyching myself up for about a week for the hauling out of the sewing machine and all the other accouterments and yesterday I did it and I hope that I truly am back in the swing of things. (And Cait, it reminded me of Penelope.)

This cape (above) is for a friend's daughter (you guessed it, Rebecca, hope it will suit Corynn!) and the cape in progress (below) is for Dabney. I have a fabulous silver metallic for the collar and it will be lined in grey. These capes are way fast to make and very satisfying, I must say. Perfect for the little drama queen in your life. Oh, and Rebecca, all I have to do is add a frog closure and your Christmas package should be in the mail very soon!

Monday, December 08, 2008

The Baby Boom

Exciting things are happening in our church these days, but the most exciting to me is the recent baby boom. Three months ago, there was only 1 pregnant lady in our church, and as the weeks went on, out came the announcements. In fact, the week we announced, we heard that there were two other blessings to our congregation on the way, too! And, I am due in the same week of 2 other ladies in church! I think that is so interesting, because God made these 3 babies within the same week and we moms didn't even know! So, now I am in a line of 5 expectant Reformation ladies, so if you would, pray for us and our unborn little ones if you think of us. I can't wait to see our little sweetie and all of his/her buddies! Did I also mention that this makes for fabulous company in the nursing room?

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving, Belated

So much over the long weekend! We spent Thanksgiving thursday with Tim's folks and the kids had great fun sleeping in the basement (above) and ...

watching cartoons with Grandpa...

making blagenda with Grandma...

celebrating David's birthday early

and opening a few Christmas presents early. We also had a great time with our friends the Upgrens and their beautiful family.

Also, my best friend in the world (not related to me) Rebecca, had her baby! We've spent months and months waiting to hear what little "Bunkin" is and now we know! She is a sweet 8 lb 14 oz bundle of sweetness. Her name is Adele Genevieve and I feel like she's my new neice. Go "visit" her if you get the chance.

Joshie Got a Haircut

I think he's still just as cute as before I buzzed him...

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Daring Bakers Challenge #11

Caramel Cake with Caramelized Butter Frosting


2 cups sugar
1/2 cup water
1 cup water (for "stopping" the caramelization process)
In a small stainless steel saucepan, with tall sides, mix water and sugar until mixture feels like wet sand. Brush down any stray sugar crystals with wet pastry brush. Turn on heat to highest flame. Cook until smoking slightly: dark amber.
When color is achieved, very carefully pour in one cup of water. Caramel will jump and sputter about! It is very dangerous, so have long sleeves on and be prepared to step back.

Whisk over medium heat until it has reduced slightly and feels sticky between two fingers. {Obviously wait for it to cool on a spoon before touching it.}

Note: For safety reasons, have ready a bowl of ice water to plunge your hands into if any caramel should land on your skin.

You cook the syrup...

and cook the syrup...
and you cook the syrup...
and you cook the syrup until it's dark amber.


10 Tablespoons unsalted butter at room temperature
1 1/4 Cups granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/3 Cup Caramel Syrup (see recipe below)
2 each eggs, at room temperature
splash vanilla extract
2 Cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup milk, at room temperature

Preheat oven to 350F

Butter one tall (2 – 2.5 inch deep) 9-inch cake pan.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream butter until smooth. Add sugar and salt & cream until light and fluffy.

Slowly pour room temperature caramel syrup into bowl. Scrape down bowl and increase speed. Add eggs/vanilla extract a little at a time, mixing well after each addition. Scrape down bowl again, beat mixture until light and uniform.

Sift flour and baking powder.

Turn mixer to lowest speed, and add one third of the dry ingredients. When incorporated, add half of the milk, a little at a time. Add another third of the dry ingredients, then the other half of the milk and finish with the dry ingredients. {This is called the dry, wet, dry, wet, dry method in cake making. It is often employed when there is a high proportion of liquid in the batter.}

Take off mixer and by hand, use a spatula to do a few last folds, making sure batter is uniform. Turn batter into prepared cake pan.

Place cake pan on cookie sheet or 1/2 sheet pan. Set first timer for 30 minutes, rotate pan and set timer for another 15-20 minutes. Your own oven will set the pace. Bake until sides pull away from the pan and skewer inserted in middle comes out clean. Cool cake completely before icing it.

Cake will keep for three days outside of the refrigerator.


12 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 pound confectioner’s sugar, sifted
4-6 tablespoons heavy cream
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2-4 tablespoons caramel syrup
Kosher or sea salt to taste

Cook butter until brown. Pour through a fine meshed sieve into a heatproof bowl, set aside to cool.

Pour cooled brown butter into mixer bowl.

In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle or whisk attachment, add confectioner's sugar a little at a time. When mixture looks too chunky to take any more, add a bit of cream and or caramel syrup. Repeat until mixture looks smooth and all confectioner's sugar has been incorporated. Add salt to taste.

Note: Caramelized butter frosting will keep in fridge for up to a month.
To smooth out from cold, microwave a bit, then mix with paddle attachment until smooth and light

Friday, November 28, 2008

Christmas Tree '08

Welcome to the Christmas season!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

We Needed Another Garland

Ok, please keep in mind as you read this, the pictures of our garland don't do it justice at all. After I read Nester's post on garlands, I knew I could do better than the plain pine and twinkle lights I have entwined on our staircase. We took a trip to Hobby Lobby in order to find some Christmas cheer for the living room. As you might have noticed, I don't have a mantle, but I'm trying not to dwell on that. So we draped the garland on the armoire and I think it adds a lot to the room. All the trimming for wreaths and garlands were half off at Hobby Lobby last week, so we were able to make this for quite cheap. And Tim thinks it looks great.

I used a 9 ft plain pine garland (because I knew I had a million lights at home) and pine and pinecone picks and small frosted berry picks too. Red berries are my very favorite, but the possibilities are endless.

It's funny~ I must mention the reindeer. This reindeer began in a nice store with an expensive price tag. Too rich for my blood, even if he is nice and big and stately and expensive looking. Somewhere along the way, someone in the store accidentally broke off a small piece of one antler and ~wham~ 75% off. And I had a coupon. Believe it or not I had plans to gift this reindeer, but one of my small people knocked over our festive friend in our basement, and the entire rack of the reindeer broke. In comes the superglue and he looks as great as when I bought him. But now I can't with good conscience give him away when he's been so badly treated. We're making it up to him by letting him stay and look regal on our armiore.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Our Upstairs Tree

Meet our new tree. We got him last year when we traveled to Park City for Christmas so we could have something under which to put our presents. He was very inexpensive (and I used a coupon~ love that) and he served his purpose very well. After we returned from snowy Utah, we stashed him in the crawlspace and totally forgot that he existed. That is, until last week when Dabney suggested we bring him out of hibernation from the depths of the basement. We unpacked him from his box and set him up in the upstairs hallway with the smallish tree skirt I made for our first married Christmas when I was trying to save money so faithfully. The only problem now, was that we have a zero dollar budget with which to decorate our little fiber-optic fella.

As we all know, necessity is the mother of invention so we decided to brainstorm. We decided that we bake things pretty well around here so we resolved to bake our Christmas ornaments for our luxurious second Christmas tree. (I've always admired those huge houses on palatial estates with enormous themed Christmas trees in every room. Think the Biltmore or Winterthur.)

Let me apologize for the pictures- either I used the flash and you couldn't see the lights or I didn't use the flash and it was too dark to see the cookies.

Anyway, the kids had a blast cutting and baking the cookieboys, gingergirls and the cookie children and adorning our new upstairs tree with the fruit of their labors. Our ornaments are edible and they smell delightful, and if temptation overcomes one of the kids, namely child #3, its not the end of the world. The kids have felt so important knowing that they made the decorations and created their own tree. They love it dearly, always making sure that the switch is on and it's glowing warmly with it's colorful lights.

P.S. Because I know you're asking, Mom, Josh is not in the pictures because we were trying not to lead the little guy into temptation. He just can't resist grabbing handfuls of cookies and then running away as fast as he can.
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