Thursday, April 30, 2009

Will she walk by her birthday?

My family is here and we had a full day with them. Kate even walked a little for them.

She is so close to walking. Here is a little video of her taking a few steps. She did great until the face plant into my shin. (click anywhere on the video to play)

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Will you pray for Silas?

Friends of ours have a precious little boy, Silas, who went in for another surgery today. His father posted a wonder post at Baptist 21. Click here to read article and please keep Scott, Megan and Silas in your prayers.

Need Another "Gourmet" Recipe? (if so don't read) - Chicken Parmesan w/ Tomato Cream Sauce -Recipe Wednesday

I completely impressed my husband Monday night with my cooking abilities. It was about 4:00 and I knew Justin would be home soon. I set out some chicken tenders to cook, but I had no idea how I was going to cook them. I decided to look in the pantry to see what I had. I noticed a box of "Shake and Bake". {I grew up with a single dad and this was a staple in our house, as it should be in every house. Shake the chicken in the bag, place in oven and cook for 20 min... it is brilliant.}

I was reading the box and it gave a Chicken Parmesan recipe. I thought... I could make that. I thought I had all the ingredients, but I realized that I didn't have have any canned spaghetti sauce. My husband loves sauce, so Chicken Parmesan wouldn't be well received with no sauce.

What did I do? I did what I always do.. I went to All Recipes. I am addicted to that site! I was going to search for a spaghetti sauce recipe, but then I realized... I don't really like spaghetti sauce. I thought.. Why don't I look for a tomato-cream sauce. I like tomato-cream sauce and I think Justin would also...
The results.. a dinner Justin deemed.. one of my BEST DINNERS EVER.

Sorry for this long story, but this is how this random, easy, NON-GOURMET but incredibly delicious recipe came about.
Lea would not be impressed especially after the dinner she cooked Meghan (the menu was something like chicken with tropical salsa, tropical salad with pineapple vinaigrette and pots de creme.. seriously Martha, oh sorry, I mean Lea).
Trust me though, this fast, easy and somewhat ghetto recipe is delicious! It will take you less than 30 minutes to make and would be great for entertaining!
"Shake and Bake" Chicken Parmesan with Tomato Cream Sauce

Ingredients:

1 Bag Shake and Bake with Seasoning
8 Boneless/Skinless Chicken Breasts or 12 Boneless/Skinless Chicken Tenders
1 Cup Grated Parmesan Cheese
1 Cup Shredded Mozzarella Cheese

______

Ingredients for Tomato Cream Sauce (**Note if you like a lot of sauce, double recipe, this is a thick sauce and will not leave any reserve. I linked to the original recipe. The one below is with my changes.)

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 (14.5 ounce) can Fire Roasted diced tomatoes, undrained
1 tablespoon Italian Seasoning
3/4 teaspoon white sugar
1/4 teaspoon Red Pepper Flakes (leave out if you don't like spicy food)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons butter

DIRECTIONS:

-Prepare Chicken according to Shake and Bake Directions, adding 1/2 cup of Parmesan Cheese to Seasoning.

- Bake Chicken according to Shake and Bake Directions

-Prepare Tomato Cream Sauce...

-In a saucepan, saute onion and garlic in olive oil over medium heat. Make sure it doesn't burn. Add tomatoes, Italian seasoning, sugar, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper. Bring to boil and continue to boil 5 minutes or until most of the liquid evaporates. Remove from heat; stir in whipping cream and butter. Reduce heat and simmer 5 more minutes.

- When chicken is finished baking, remove from oven. Pour a tablespoon of Tomato Cream Sauce over each piece of chicken. Top each piece of chicken with grated Parmesan cheese and shredded mozzarella. Bake another 5-10 minutes until cheese is melted. Serve over pasta.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Are you feeling crafty?

I have this secret desire to be crafty. I have friends who can do amazing "crafts". They are so creative and come up with the cutest things. Since I am getting ready for Kate's Party this weekend, my aunt Colleen sent me this cute article from Better Homes and Gardens. I am going to attempt to make these for Kate's party.

I think they will be easy enough for me to handle. I have posted the picture here and the directions below.



Directions:

Drape 8 foot lengths of crepe paper over the inner ring of an 8 inch diameter embroidery hoop.

Fit outer ring around the inner one and tighten.

Hang with fishing line.

_________________________________

ps.. I only made it 25 days straight posting blogs, I forgot to pre-post this weekend (which is what I usually do.) My sweet husband is giving me a little grace since it was the weekend. Hopefully I'll get my blog makeover next week!

Monday, April 27, 2009

Has the Party Planning Begun?

Oh, yes.. the Party Planning has begun and is in full force this week. As inspired by Lea, I even added a count down clock to PARTY TIME. I love planning parties and planning Kate's First Birthday Party has been so much fun. I have received so much great advice from all my friends.. TO KEEP IT SIMPLE!! Ok, well I am going to keep the food simple and order the majority of it. Justin and I do really want to enjoy the day.

Tomorrow, I am going to post the cutest "craft" my aunt sent me. I have added it to my to-do list this week. You will want to tune in tomorrow... it will be a "must-do" for every party you have.
To update you on what we have been working on, here are a few pics...
The Princess party supplies are here and ready to go!

The Pinata is half full.. I didn't realize how much it take to fill this thing! ps.. I know she is only one, so don't worry, it is a pull pinata (to make it easy on the kids). I didn't even know they existed before planning this party.

Kate is practicing wearing her party hat... Doesn't it look like she loves it?

Who won the Yurman-Inspired Bracelet?

Congratulations! Skoots1Mom! I will e-mail you or post on your blog!

Results from Random.org

Here is your random number:

37

Timestamp: 2009-04-27 16:02:34 UTC

Friday, April 24, 2009

Do You Love the Style of David Yurman Jewelry? - Freebie Friday

I am so excited about today's giveaway! I was first introduced to David Yurman jewelry when I was in college. My roommate, Arianne, loved his jewelry. I love today's giveaway.. a bracelet inspired by David Yurman's designs.


Today's giveaway is a beautiful, Yurman-inspired cable bracelet courtesy of Finders Keepers Jewelry. Finders Keepers is an amazing website with high quality, affordable and beautiful jewelry.

To make things even better, they are giving my readers 10% off your entire order. {Enter coupon code DESIGNER at checkout and hit recalculate.} Mother's Day is coming up and jewelry is the perfect gift.

To Enter: Visit Finders Keepers Jewelry . {www.FindersKeepersJewelry.net}

Leave a comment including your favorite piece of Finders Keepers jewelry.

This giveaway will be open to enter until Monday, April 27th at 10am.

The winner will be announced /posted on Monday. Only one entry per person, but feel free to share with your friends... I will give you an extra entry for each place you post this giveaway.. e-mail, facebook, blog, etc. Just let me know where you post it.

PS.. I added some new features to my blog.. If you have a blogger account, you can "Follow" my blog. You can also sign up to receive an e-mail of my posts.

Good Luck and Have a Great Weekend!!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Am I Overcompensating?

I was playing around yesterday and I put this HUGE flower headband on Kate. Every time I put in on her she would just keep smiling.. so of course, I had to take a picture. I am about to say a kind of "mean" thing since I am her mother, but Kate has the biggest head. I mean HUGE! You have no idea how many outfits I've had to retire because her head won't fit. Her head looks so small with this flower on... maybe I should just keep these on her head all the time?

I used my IPhone to take this picture and did the color thing with an ap... IPhones are awesome!


Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Do you want a BIG FAT GREEK Recipe? Recipe Wednesday

There are tons of recipes I want to post. I was sitting here with Justin asking him what recipes I should post for today.. and he suggested one of his favorites.. Greek Salad. I also have an EASY Salmon recipe that uses Greek seasoning, so I decided to make this a Greek Themed Recipe Wednesday. They are so easy, I think you could have both recipes done and on the table in 15 minutes.

Here are the Recipes...

Broiled Salmon

(You can adjust this recipe to how many people you will be serving).

Ingredients:
Salmon (4 oz servings)
Lemon Juice (1 Tablespoon per 4 oz Salmon Serving)
Spray Butter (I Can't Believe its Not Butter)
Cavender's All Purpose Greek Seasoning

Directions:
-Turn Broiler on.
-Cut Salmon into 4 oz servings.
-Place Salmon on foil covered baking sheet.
-Pour 1 Tablespoon Lemon Juice over each serving of Salmon.
-Spray Butter over each serving of Salmon to coat.
-Sprinkle 1-2 Tablespoon of Greek Seasoning on each serving of Salmon.
-Broil Salmon uncovered for 8-10 min.

__________________

Greek Salad

Ingredients:
1 Bag of Shredded Lettuce
1 Onion (chopped)
Olives (chopped)
1 Cucumber (chopped)
1 Tomatoes (chopped)
(any other veggies you like.. chopped up)
Feta Cheese

Directions:
-Toss all ingredients and coat with dressing.

Greek Salad Dressing (for two.. adjust for full salad)

1/4 cup Olive Oil (Extra Light)
2 Tablespoons Red Wine Vinegar
1 Lemon - juiced
2 cloves Garlic - smashed
1 Teaspoon Dried Italian Seasoning
3 pinches salt
10-15 Grinds Black Pepper

Directions:
- Wisk ingredients together and pour over salad

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

How did it go with your in-laws?

I have heard this question about a hundred times since my in-laws left yesterday. We had a great time and all eight of us managed to live in our little house for a few days. We did so much in a few days, but here is a little top ten from their trip.. and of course some pictures. Our house is so quiet and sad.. we miss them!

Top 10 things seen, done or heard while Justin's family was here:

10. Kate reaching for her aunt Beth. (She would not go to anyone but Beth.. not even me or Justin.) I can already see the future.. Kate is going to call her aunt Beth and ask Beth to save her from her mom and dad... and to take her shopping.

9. Watching Kate eat her first cupcake... she really enjoyed it.

8. Frankie's.. the coolest arcade/fun center for kids. We (meaning Beth and Brandon) dropped some serious $$$$, but the kids loved it!

7. Shopping.. Beth and Brandon are some fun people to shop with!

6. Eating at Maggiano's.. this is my favorite restaurant, so of course it had to make the top 10. (PS.. we mainly played, ate and shopped while they were here.)

5. Watching Kate and Sara Beth play together. Kate loves her cousin Sara Beth so much. She was so entertained by her. (Sara Beth loves Kates toys.. probably because they used to be hers.)

4. When Luke said that his favorite part of the trip was when him and his dad went on their hike. (This goes to prove that out of all the neat and exciting things you take your kids to do.. all they really want.. is to spend time with you.).. or he was just kissing up to his dad.. who knows.

3. When Sara Beth told me... "Cole, You are a Lovely Cooker." (I wish you could her it in her cute little voice.. she said this to me right after I made some white chocolate and cinnamon popcorn.)

2. In honor of John (Kate's Paw-Paw (grandpa)).. they kept asking us if Kate had "Wet Britches". (this is something that he would ask very often if he was here with us. (Kate missed seeing her Paw-Paw, but is excited about seeing him this summer.)

1. Seeing Kate ride in the little car her Aunt Beth got her. I have a picture posted below. She absolutely loves it.

There are a million other things I could write about, but I wanted to keep it short and sweet.

Here are some pictures from their trip:

Kate with her aunt Beth.

Kate and Sara Beth in their matching outfits.

Kate's first little Birthday party.
Kate in her little car.
Kate eating her cupcake.
Kate with Sara Beth and Luke.



Kate's Maw-Maw reading a book to her and Sara Beth.


The whole crew (minus me - I was taking the picture).

Monday, April 20, 2009

Who Won the Waxing Poetic Charm?

Sorry for the delay in the post.. we just dropped my in-laws off at the airport.. it is so sad and our house is so quite. Kate is going to be bored out of her mind when she wakes up and I am the only one to play with her. She is going to have withdrawls from her Aunt Beth.

I am off to clean.. since today is my cleaning day. Tomorrow I'll post pictures and a Top Ten from their trip.

Here are the results:

Congratulations Amanda {Life's Continual Project}! You won our Freebie Friday Waxing Poetic Charm. "A". Visit us Friday for another great giveaway!!

Random Integer Generator
Here are your random numbers:
4
Timestamp: 2009-04-20 15:10:20 UTC

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Why Did She Leave us so Early?

Today marks the one year anniversary of my grandmother's death.

To give you a short history of my life, my parents divorced when I was five (I think) and I was raised by my dad with a HUGE help from my Grandma Eileen and Pap-Pap (my dad's parents).

My grandma was someone I seriously didn't think I could ever live without. I used to pray when I was younger that I would die before her.. because I seriously didn't think I could a live a day or moment without her.

To make things harder, she passed away about two weeks before my daughter was born. Words can not express how much I wanted her to meet and know Kate. As I sit here in tears, thinking of her... I really can't say anything more other than I MISS HER SO MUCH!!

There is a Mariah Carey song that came out last year (right around my grandma's passing) and I cry every time I hear it. I have posted the words and video below. The words seem like they were written for my grandma.

Grandma Eileen - I miss you so much. I will teach Kate everything you have taught me. I promise that even though you are gone.. you will never be forgotten... we will never say bye bye.
Bye Bye (Mariah Carey)

This is for my peoples who just lost somebody
Your best friend, your baby, your man, or your lady
Put your hand way up high
We will never say bye
Mamas, daddies, sisters, brothers, friends and cousins
This is for my peoples who lost their grandmothers
Lift your head to the sky 'cause we will never say bye

As a child there were them times
I didn't get it but you kept me in line
I didn't know why I didn't show up sometimes
On Sunday mornings, and I missed you
But I'm glad we talked through
All them grown folk things
Separation brings
You never let me know it
You never let it show because
You loved me and obviously

There's so much more left to say
If you were with me today face to face

I never knew I could hurt like this
And everyday life goes on like
"I wish I could talk to you for awhile"
Miss you but I try not to cry
As time goes by

And it's true that you've reached a better place
Still I'd give the world to see your face
And I'm right here next to you
But it's like you're gone too soon

Now the hardest thing to do is say bye bye

And you never got the chance to see how good I've done
And you never got to see me back at number one
I wish that you were here to celebrate together
I wish that we could spend the holidays together

I remember when you used to tuck me in at night
With the Teddy Bear you gave to me that I held so tight
I thought you were so strong
You'd make it through whatever
It's so hard to accept the fact you're gone forever

I never knew I could hurt like this
And everyday life goes on like
"I wish I could talk to you for awhile"
Miss you but I try not to cry
As time goes by

And it's true that you've reached a better place
Still I'd give the world to see your face
And I'm right here next to you
But it's like you're gone too soon
Now the hardest thing to do is say bye bye


Saturday, April 18, 2009

Looking for the Perfect Cheer?

Happy Saturday! When you are reading this.. (after 9am).. I am hopefully shopping with my Sister-in-law. Oh, I know you are jealous...

To make you smile.. I have posted one of my favorite Saturday Night Live skits... "The Perfect Cheer".

Enjoy! P.S. - You can still enter Freebie Friday until Monday.. scroll down to enter.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Freebie Friday - Don't you love old things with a Modern Twist?

I love old things with a new twist. Today we will be doing a giveaway for a Waxing Poetic Charm with the initial of your choice. They are made to look like old wax stamps. The charm will give away is their round insignia in Sterling Silver with a retail value of $38.00. This will be a beautiful addition to your chain.

These charms have been featured in various magazines. Here Misha Barton wearing a charm on the cover of Giant Magazine.


They also make wonderful mother's day gifts.


To Enter: Just post a comment including the initial you want and be sure to include your e-mail address if you don't have a blogger account, so I can get a hold of you.

This giveaway will be open to enter until Monday at 10am. The winner will be announced /posted on Monday. Only one entry per person, but feel free to share... if you share on twitter, Facebook, e-mail, etc.. please tell me and I'll give you another entry for each place you post it.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Got In-laws?

Today is an exciting day in our home.. Justin family is coming. I see my family about every other month, but we only see Justin's family a few times each year. After talking to my friends, I realize that I have a special situation.. I actually love my In-laws.. and look forward to them coming (except for the stress I put on myself to get my house ready).

All that said... I only have seven hours left to get this house in somewhat perfect shape.

So Hi Ho, Hi Ho.. it is off to work I go.

Tomorrow come back for Freebie Friday.. we are giving away a Waxing Poetic Charm with your initial. The charms are Sterling Silver and made to look like an old wax stamp.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Do you fight for your right to PARTY? - Party Food - Recipe Wednesday

Today is Recipe Wednesday, and the title is a throw back to one of my FAVORITE CDs of all time..Beastie Boys - Licensed to Ill (Fight For Your Right to Party is on that CD).. It is old.. a favorite from high school (and very secular). I thought about posting links to my favorite songs from that CD, but when I think about the lyrics...I am kind of embarrassed that this is one of my favorite CDs.
They called Justin's friend from college "Mike D" (his name is Mike) and Justin didn't know why they called him that until he starting dating me (because Mike D is one of the Beastie Boys). He didn't even know who the Beastie Boys were... so sad. He wasn't into 90's rap.. he was more into Christian music like Larnell Harris... yes, that how he rolls...
Anyway, I help lead a drama group for our youth group at church and I even managed to fit the Beastie Boys' song "Girls" into a skit... oh yes I did.
If you don't know who they are.. and you are lost.. I am sorry for the rant...

Here is the recipe. We have some High Schoolers come over every Tuesday to watch American Idol and I made these last week. Justin said they were the best he ever had.. and I had to agree.

Who doesn't love potatoes, cheese, sour cream chives and bacon?

Baked Potato Skins (from allrecipes.com - with some changes by me)

INGREDIENTS
4 large baking potatoes, baked
3 tablespoons vegetable oil (I used olive oil)
1 tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon paprika (we didn't have this so I left it out)
1/8 teaspoon pepper
8 bacon strips, cooked and crumbled
1 1/2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese
1/2 cup sour cream
4 green onions, sliced


DIRECTIONS

Bake potatoes for about an hour in the oven at 350 degrees.

Cut potatoes in half lengthwise; scoop out pulp, leaving a 1/4-in. shell (save pulp for another use - like mashed potatoes).

Place potatoes skins on a greased baking sheet. Combine oil, Parmesan cheese, salt, garlic powder, paprika and pepper; brush over both sides of skins.

Bake at 475 degrees F for 7 minutes; turn. Bake until crisp, about 7 minutes more.

I started baking them with skin sides up (for 10 minutes) and then turned them over and backed them for another 15 - 20 minutes. We like them crispy and the oil mixture made them oily.. we baked them longer than the recipe suggested and they were so crispy and amazingly delicious.

Sprinkle bacon and cheddar cheese inside skins. Bake 2 minutes longer or until the cheese is melted. Top with sour cream and onions. Serve immediately.

This is perfect party food.. from things we keep in our pantry.

BTW (short for By the Way)... I am officially half way through the challenge from my husband. I can't wait to get my blog makeover!! Only 15 days to go!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Do you hate those moms who are obsessed with their kids?

I have become one of those moms I never thought I would be.. I drive a minivan and I am totally obsessed with my daughter... I think she is hilarious... so cute, etc. She is getting to such a fun age.. I just can't help it.

Here are a couple videos of her on Easter.. she talks (jibber-jabbers) so much and is so close to walking. She takes a couple steps each day (well, she takes two steps, then falls to her knees and crawls). I do think she is really close to walking.. maybe by her first birthday (which is about three weeks away.. crazy). {come back tomorrow.. I am posting this awesome "party food" recipe}

Kate going through her Easter basket.

video

Kate outside after the Easter Egg hunt.. she didn't want to pick up any eggs during the hunt, but she loved stealing her friends eggs..

video

BTW... I can't believed I used "jibber-jabbers" in this blog.. I am truly sorry .

Monday, April 13, 2009

What's with the Easter Bunny?

I am exhausted writing this right now and I was trying to come up with a clever question to title this post (since the title of my blog is "Questions from a Wife and Mother", I always post a question in the title). Why didn't I title my blog something easy.. like the Justin & Nicole's Family blog.. I don't know. Anyway, I googled question and Easter.. to see if I could find a clever title and I found this. I wanted to share, because I didn't know how the Easter bunny was attached to Easter (the day Jesus rose from the grave). I thought you might like to know.. Also pictures from our Easter Party and Easter Egg Hunt are attached below along with the results from Freebie Friday.

Easter celebrates the resurrection of Christ, but it's not just a religious holiday. Many children probably look forward to a visit from a certain Peter Cottontail.

So what's the story behind the Easter Bunny?

It's part of a pagan tradition that started in Germany as part of a spring celebration. It honored Eastre, the Anglo-Saxon goddess of dawn and spring; a fertility goddess who brought the end of winter. One version of the bunny legend comes when she comes late one spring and finds a bird with wings frozen to the ground. She turns it into a snow hare with the ability to lay eggs in rainbow colors one day a year.

Eggs have always symbolized life and regeneration.

Scholars say one reason the resurrection of Christ is tied to the pagan calendar and spring festivals is it symbolizes new life and new awareness.

I thought that was interesting, but now back to our Easter.. Here is a short synopsis: Kate went through her first Easter basket (my mom got the basket for her from Potterybarn {thank you mom!}.. I love it and look forward to using it every Easter). She wore her adorable Easter dress to church; we went to church (the service was amazing); had some of our friends and their families over for lunch and an Easter Egg Hunt.
Here are some pictures..
Kate's Easter Basket... honestly, we just got her a couple little things from the dollar store and put in stuffed animals she already had... yes we are cheap... the stuffed animals we put in there we didn't even buy.. they were gifts she got when was born... but she didn't notice and loved getting those things again.
Kate in her first Easter dress.. she is holding a Disney princess she found in her basket (yes, that was new from the Dollar Store.. and yes, they sell Disney stuff at the Dollar Store.. who knew?..
We caught her stealing another little girl's eggs... see the guilty look on her face...

The "mom's" of all the families that came over... (with us and all their kids we had about 20 people).. I am so glad the weather was perfect and we were able to enjoy being outside.

Our Family.. Easter 2009

Justin and I always miss our families so much at Easter (and all holidays we can't be with them... and every day in between), but we did have a wonderful day with amazing friends! I hope you had a great Easter also!

--------------------------------

Freebie Friday Results... follow our blog and come back next week for a Waxing Poetic jewelry giveaway.

Here is the winner using random.org.. random number generator:

Congratulations Meghan!! I will e-mail you.

Random Number Generator
Here is your Number:

2

Timestamp: 2009-04-13 14:17:30 UTC

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Is He alive? YES!!

I hope you have a wonderful Easter!

Don't forget to enter the Freebie Friday giveaway. You have until Monday at 10am.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Need a creative way to tell the Easter story? Resurrection Cookies

One of our most important priorities as parents is teaching our children about Jesus and the Scriptures (Bible). A friend of mine told me about these cookies you can make to teach your children the Easter story... and Bible verses to go along. Kate is to young this year, but I am definitely going to make a tradition of doing this when she gets older. I googled it and I have posted the recipe here: This will be so fun to make tonight with your kids! {also, don't forget to enter the Freebie Friday giveaway.. you have until Monday}
"Resurrection Cookies"
Also known as the Easter Story Cookies

This is a great recipe to teach your Children the REAL story of Easter. That the Lord Jesus Christ our Savior is not dead but has Risen. We serve a Risen Savior......This activity can be done as a "family" or for Sunday School. Of course the Sunday School option might be to hand it out to the class with a note to the parents. Grandparents might considering doing this with their grandchildren this year too!!!So Grab your Apron and Let's Get Started!!!!!!!
You will need:
1 cup whole pecans
1 teaspoon vinegar
3 egg whites
a pinch salt
1 cup sugar
a zipper baggy
1 wooden spoon
scotch tape
Bible
Instructions:These are to be made the evening before Easter.Preheat oven to 300F.*** (this is very important --- don't wait until you are half done with the recipe).
Place pecans in zipper baggy and let children beat them with the wooden spoon to break into small pieces. Explain that after Jesus was arrested. He was beaten by the Roman soldiers. Read: John 19:1-3
Let each child smell the vinegar. Put 1 teaspoon vinegar into mixing bowl. Explain that when Jesus was thirsty on the cross He was given vinegar to drink. Read: John 19:28-30
Add egg whites to vinegar. Eggs represent life. Explain that Jesus gave His life to give us life. Read: John 10:10&11
Sprinkle a little salt into each child's hand. Let them taste it and brush the rest into the bowl. Explain that this represents the salty tears shed by Jesus' followers,and the bitterness of our own sin. Read: Luke 23:27
So far the ingredients are not very appetizing. Add 1 cup sugar. Explain that the sweetest part of the story is that Jesus died because He loves us. He wants us to know and belong to Him. Read: Psalm 34:8 and John 3:16
Beat with a mixer on high speed for 12 to 15 minutes until stiff peaks are formed. Explain that the color white represents the purity in God's eyes of those whose sins have been cleansed by Jesus. Read: Isaiah 1:18 and John 3:1-3
Fold in broken nuts. Drop by teaspoon onto waxed paper covered cookie sheet.Explain that each mound represents the rocky tomb where Jesus' body was laid.Read: Matthew 27:57-60
Put the cookie sheet in the oven, close the door and turn the oven OFF.Give each child a piece of tape and seal the oven door.Explain that Jesus' tomb was sealed. Read: Matthew 27:65-66
GO TO BED!
Explain that they may feel sad to leave the cookies in the oven overnight. Jesus' followers were in despair when the tomb was sealed. Read: John 16:20&22
On Resurrection Sunday (Easter) morning, open the oven and give everyone a cookie. Notice the cracked surface and take a bite. The cookies are hollow! On the first Easter Jesus' followers were amazed to find the tomb open and empty. Read: Matthew 28:1-9
Isn't that a great way to tell the story? I hope you enjoy! Have a wonderful Easter!

Friday, April 10, 2009

Don't you love free stuff? - Freebie Friday..

I promise, I will get to today's giveaway at the end.. but when I was writing the title to this post, I got kind of sad. We get so excited about the possibility of getting something free and I get so excited about giving something free.... but how excited do we get about the only perfect FREE GIFT.. SALVATION through Jesus Christ?

Easter is quickly approaching, and I have been stressed out about getting our house ready for our 20 guests, the menu, the Easter Egg hunt, Kate's first Easter, etc. I should be so excited to celebrate the most exciting day on the Christian calendar... the day that JESUS rose. I get sad, because I think that those of us who have grown up in church (ME) can sometimes get desensitized to the amazing Gospel and all that Christ did to save us. Want a challenge, encouragement or excitement for Easter?... read: I Cor. 15.

Want to see Kate's Easter dress? Here are a couple Easter photos of Kate in her dress...


Kate is getting so big! She even took a couple of steps this week (which totally blows my mind!) One thing I so look forward to as she is getting bigger... is starting traditions. I don't really think my parents did too many traditions growing up (that I can remember), but I want to do things every year with Kate. I am going to post a recipe tomorrow that will definitely be a tradition we will do with her. I also found this fun activity to do with your kids on the Desiring God website. I thought you might enjoy.. Don't Worry...The giveaway is posted at the end.

Tell the Easter Story with a Playdough Mountain

Here's a messy way to draw your youngsters into the meaning of this coming weekend. Make a mountain out of playdough to tell the story of Jesus' death and then turn it around and you have the tomb he arises from.
This idea can be found in Noel Piper's book, Treasuring God in Our Traditions. (I am going to order this)
Ingredients for playdough:
4 c. of flour
1.5 c. salt
1.5 c. water
1 Tbs. oil
(Increase or decrease depending on how big you want your mountain to be.)
Other items you'll need:
several pipe cleaners
2 twigs
1 small aluminum can
Making the Pieces
Bind two twigs together with a piece of pipe cleaner to make a cross about five or six inches tall.
Make some stick figures out of pipe cleaners that will represent Jesus and a "crowd." (You get to decide how many you need for your kids to be convinced it's a crowd.)


Making the Mountain
Mix playdough ingredients and knead. Add small amounts of water as needed until the texture is right.
Separate a small lump of dough and form a disc-shaped "stone" to cover the entry to the "tomb." (The can will be the tomb, so the stone needs to be a little bigger around than the can.)
Shape the rest of the dough into a mound. Embed the can into one side, open side out, to create a cave.
Press the cross into the top of the mountain to form a hole deep enough to stand the cross in. Make the hole a bit larger than the stick because the hole will get smaller when the mountain bakes.
Press a fork randomly around into the hill to make "footholds" for the stick people.
Bake the "mountain" and the "stone" 4-5 hours at 250 degrees.
When cooled, color with paint or markers.
Using Your Playdough Mountain
With your kids on Friday, you can reenact the story of Jesus' death—putting him on the cross, burying him in the cave, and rolling the stone in front of it.
On Easter, before your little ones are awake, take him out of the tomb and put him somewhere for them to find. First they'll notice the tomb is empty; then they'll see that he's alive and all the other pipe-cleaner people are jumping for joy.
Their excitement at seeing an aluminum can without a stick figure in it is a good reminder how much more excited we should be about the real thing.

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FREEBIE FRIDAY GIVEAWAY #2
Finally... Since I have a new minivan (yes, I am going to let it go.. and move on) and I am going to order these for the minivan... I thought it would be fun to do a giveaway of them.
Here is the giveaway... from Chic Giving... a set of Monogrammed Car Mats (2 front, 2 rear) valued at $75. You have a choice of four color mats (black, light grey, dark grey tan) and two fonts (Fancy and Curlz). Click Here to see the choices. These make wonderful Mother's Day, Birthday and Graduation gifts.

To Enter: Just post a comment of your favorite family tradition below (if you have one, if not.. it is fine to still enter) and be sure to include your e-mail address if you don't have a blogger account, so I can get a hold of you. This giveaway will be open to enter until Monday at 10am. The winner will be announced /posted on Monday. Only one entry per person, but feel free to share... if you share on twitter, Facebook, e-mail, etc.. please tell me and I'll give you another entry for each place you post it.

I hope you all have a wonderful EASTER!! Come back tomorrow for a great Easter recipe to do tomorrow night with your kids. The recipe will be posted first thing Saturday morning.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

"Minivan Moms" Do You Need a Pep Talk? American Idol Fans- Do you need a Good Laugh?

As if me, getting a minivan wasn't punishment enough, my friends are calling me (in shock), e-mailing me, texting me, posting messages on Facebook etc. Our "coolness" factor with the kids in Justin's youth group.. has dropped drastically (and I am talking as if we even had a "cool" factor with them... who knows.) They have not stopped making fun of us. We picked two of them up for church last night in our new minivan and one of them said that he was glad the windows were tinted, so no one could see him... I was like grrrrrreat. I hope he wasn't too traumatized. After all this... I seriously need a pep-talk.

My friend Meghan sent me this video when she found out I got a minivan... A very much needed "Pep Talk" ... it seriously made me smile.
{Don't forget to come back tomorrow for Freebie Friday... giveaway of a monogrammed car mat set valued at $75.} (Also, if you are an American Idol fan, you have to scroll down to the end of this post and read the Facebook postings that people left in response to my friend's comment... it is not at all politically correct, but very funny).



My friend Jamey is such a nice guy, great personality, cute and has one arm. He is so funny!
He posted this status update on Facebook Tuesday night after American Idol. My husband and I were laughing out loud when we read them. I guess he is happy about the outcome. Here is his comment and some of the funniest responses:

Jamey: I'm gonna go ahead and be the one to say that Scott has to go, he is only there because he is blind, sorry but I am allowed to say that because I have 1 arm, so it's OK. BUT HE HAS TO GO!!!

Carly: Jamey, I miss you and your one arm humor!!!!

Liliana: LOL...omg, u r so messed up...but so right...i've been saying that from the beginning...he really needs to go...he's a nice guy, but he's definitely not idol-material! lol...still laughing...haha

Nicole: I totally agree!!

Kristin: Me and both of my arms totally agree!!

Mike (who is paralyzed): um hm. gimp humor. oops, did i say gimp?

Amanda: Yeah he won't even see it coming...woops. too far? I can say that b/c I have Scoliosis.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Recipe Wednesday: Do you want some meat with your loaf?

I am not a big meatloaf fan, (the whole name and bread shaped meat thing) but my husband is. Here is a great recipe that we both love. I made it last week.. with a few changes... and it was delicious. Sorry, no photo this week, I didn't want to post a picture of something that looks like dog food on a plate.... but it is really good... even from a non-meatloaf lover.

Nicole's Version of Rempel Family Meatloaf (originally from AllRecipes.com)

INGREDIENTS

1 1/2 pounds lean ground beef (or ground turkey)
1/2 cup crushed buttery round crackers
3/4 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
1 (1 ounce) package dry onion soup mix
2 eggs, beaten
1/4 cup ketchup
2 tablespoons steak sauce

Sauce Topping: (if you don't like alot of sauce, you can scale this down)
1 cup ketchup
1 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon yellow mustard

DIRECTIONS
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
Stir the ground beef, crushed crackers, Cheddar cheese, and onion soup mix in a large bowl until well combined. Whisk the eggs, ketchup, and steak sauce in a separate bowl until smooth. Mix the eggs into the meat until evenly combined, if the mixture seems too dry, add a little water. Press into a 9x5 inch loaf pan.
To make sauce... Mix ketchup, brown sugar and mustard. Pour sauce on top of meatloaf.
Cover with Foil, Bake in preheated oven until the meatloaf reaches 160 degrees F (71 degrees C) and is no longer pink in the center, 45 to 60 minutes. (Uncover for the last 10-15 min.)

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

How long are you going to stretch this out? Finishing up our Florida trip.

Ok, so I know that all two of you who read my blog are thinking... how long is she going to stretch out post about her Florida trip? Well, I assure you this will be last post about our Florida trip... but remember.. my husband told me that if I blog everyday for a month.. he will let me hire someone to give my blog a makeover.... so I needed to stretch it out as long as possible.

Two reasons why I convinced Justin to let me stay in Florida for over three weeks (two and a half weeks without him).. was for two big events... my cousin's 30th birthday and my friend Jessica's wedding. We had such a great time! The weather was perfect. I took Kate to the beach I grew up on and to the park we always went to when I was little. She loved them both. We stayed with my Pap-Pap (grandpa) and aunt... and loved every second of being with them.

Kate smiled every time she saw Pap-Pap and she loved to play with him. My aunt spoiled her greatly. My dad and I took Kate to get her ears pierced. I hung out with my friends from High School and all my family {both of whom I miss so much}.
To the make trip even better, I was able to see my friends from college. I got to meet Ashley's new baby and Laine's husband. It was the best trip home that I have ever had. I stayed so long... my family threw us a going away party. Here are some pictures from our trip.

Brad (my cousin) and his wife Stacy
Kate, my aunt Sharon, Brad's friend & family in the background
Kate at the beach.


Jackson and Jessica


Laine, Meghan, Jessica, Nicole (me) and Ashley (friends from college - Florida State)

Me and Kate one of our last nights in Florida, we went to dinner with my family... a place on the beach where we watched the sun set. The sunset is in the background, but it didn't come out in this picture.
I am already planning my next trip home... hopefully in June or July.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Does everything in life come in Threes? The Good, Sad and Funny.

Have you heard in life... everything comes in threes? Well, this weekend I experienced that. Here is the breakdown of the Good, Sad and Funny. {and the winner of our first giveaway is posted at the end}.

The Good:
I got Kate's First birthday invitations in the mail. They are SO CUTE!! I ordered them from PaperStyle. (You can find tons of coupon codes on google for this sight).We are having a princess theme, so these invitations fit perfectly. I am so excited to send them out! Here is the proof of one I ordered (I cropped out our address, because I am a little paranoid about putting all our info on here). Click Here to see the entire invitation sample.

The Sad:

In one short note... my husband traded in our Lincoln Aviator for a Toyota Sienna minivan... yes, sad (I cried), but true. I am officially a minivan mom. A friend sent me a hilarious video it is called "Mom My Ride". So Funny!! Here it is:



The Funny:

My husband is a youth pastor at a church in NC and the music pastor asked him to play Pilate in the Easter musical.. and of course, Justin is so nice and can't say no. So he came home the other night in this outfit... it is funny and a little sexy.. well, no.. just funny!
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Freebie Friday update:

Come back this Friday... we will be giving away a set of monogrammed car mats valued at $75.
Here is the winner of our first Freebie Friday... we had 20 entries... here are the results:

Congratulations... Keitha!! I will contact you to arrange delivery of your stamp gift certificate.

Random Sequence Generator
Here is your sequence:
7

Timestamp: 2009-04-06 14:19:09 UTC

Sunday, April 5, 2009

What is your favorite Hymn?

First of all.. you have one more day to enter my first giveaway... click here to enter

My favorite Hymn is "Come thou Fount". I love David Crowder Band's remake of it. Here is the story behind the hymn and David Crowder's video below (sorry the sound quality is not great). What is your favorite hymn?

Hymn Story:
Robert Robinson, following the tradition of ministers of the time, wrote "Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing" as a hymn-poem for the conclusion of his sermon for Whitsunday, 1758. He was 23 years old at the time. It was published the following year in A Collection of Hymns used by the Church of Christ in Angel Alley, Bishopsgate (1759). There has been some speculation that it was written by the Countess of Huntingdon, but it is generally agreed to be the work of Robinson.
Originally "Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing" had four stanzas. The fourth stanza was omitted by Martin Madan in Psalms and Hymns, 1860 and has not been used since.
The statement in stanza two, "Here I raise my Ebenezer" refers to I Samuel 7:12, "Then Samuel took a stone and set it up between Mizpah and Shen, and called its name Ebenezer, saying, "Thus far the LORD has helped us." Ebenezer is the Hebrew for "Stone of Help." Israel had suffered defeat because of its sin. But the people had repented of their sin, God had helped them and they were victorious. Samuel placed the stone to remind Israel that God had them, their victory was because of Him.
In stanza three, Robinson speaks of being "prone to wonder, prone to leave the God I love". This seems to be a forecast of his later life, when he lapsed into sin, unstableness and involvement with Unitarianism. There is a well-known story of Robinson, riding a stagecoach with a lady who was deeply engrossed in a hymnbook. Seeking to encourage him, she asked him what he thought of the hymn she was humming. Robinson burst into tears and said, "Madam, I am the poor unhappy man who wrote that hymn many years ago, and I would give a thousand worlds, if I had them, to enjoy the feelings I had then."

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Are you a day dreamer?

First things first... if you dream about winning stuff.. go to yesterday's post and enter to win my first giveaway {click here for the post}. You and your friends have until Monday morning to enter.

I day dream all the time. I dream of how I want my family to be when they are grown, the wife and mother I want to become (because it is a huge process for me.. and I have ways to go), places I want to go, things I want to do, business I can start, things I can invent...
YES, my husband frequently looks at me like I am CRAZY when I share some of my ideas with him. He always responds lovingly and tells me to go for it!! Some are crazy and would never happen, but we do dream together of the places we want to visit. There are so many on my list, but one place is the Atlantis in the Bahamas. My aunt, uncle and cousins are going.. and said that we should come too. We can't afford it right now... even if we crash in their room.. which would be way too full! We do hope to go there one day. Here are some pictures... it is beautiful!

Where do you dream of going?







Friday, April 3, 2009

Is it Freebie Friday? YES!! ... Giveaway #1

Welcome to Freebie Friday! Today I will be doing my first giveaway! Due to a challenge from my husband, I will be blogging every day for a month straight. This month we will be doing a giveaway each Friday. So check back daily or at least weekly.

Drum Roll Please..... today we will giving away a gift certificate for a Three Designing Women Custom Stamp. It is valued at $48. Courtesy of Chic Giving. You can go to the Chic Giving site for a preview of some of the stamps. You will choose the style and personalize it with your information. Make it for yourself or give it as a gift. These make wonderful Birthday and Mother's Day gifts.
Here are the rules:

Leave a comment (only one entry per person). Please tell me about your favorite gift. (One that you have received...) Please include your e-mail address if you are not a blogger member.. so I have a way of contacting you. Please send this to your friends, post this on your blog, Facebook or Twitter. Please let me know (in your comment) if you post it on another site and I will give you another entry for each place you post it.

This giveaway will be open until Monday morning (April 6th) @ 10am. The winner will be selected using a random number generator and will be announced on Monday.
Good Luck!
P.S... my baby girl is 11 months old today... countdown to age "one" and the big party has begun. Wow, these past 11 months have flown by!

I hope you have a wonderful day!

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Do you accept this challenge?... and Orlando part 2

My blog is in desperate need of a makeover (aesthetically). I know that you don't really care, but I waste so much time when I upload pictures - trying to get them formatted correctly within in the post. It is so frustrating. I have been looking and I found a web designer I love and I asked Justin if I could get her to redesign my blog. It is not very expensive like $30-$50 and they are so cute! Of course, in Justin's normal fashion, he asked how many people read my blog. I went right to my google analytics account and told him that I have 48 unique readers. He laughed... I don't know if he laughed at the fact that people read my blog or that I have google track that information. Anyway, he told me that if I blog everyday for a month I can hire her to redesign my blog. So yes, Justin... I accept your challenge.

I want to apologize to my readers in advance.. some days may be a struggle to find something to write, but to help with that... I am going to to do two features each week - Recipe Wednesday and Freebie Friday. I will post a new recipe each Wednesday.. and I will be doing a giveaway each Friday. So at least you can have something to look forward to... in addition to my very exciting life as a wife and mother. (Of course I am just kidding about that exciting life thing).

Orlando, part 2:

Yes, I am still a month behind on updating you about life with our baby girl.. so I am going to finish up our Orlando trip now.

My aunt gave us tickets to an Orlando Magic game. We had a lot of fun! Justin had never been to a professional game before so that was a great treat for him and a fun date night. (THANK YOU DEB!)

I met some of my best friends from High School for lunch with their kids. (It still blows my mind that we all have kids!) Kate loved meeting Jack and Miley. Here are some pictures of them.


Kate, Miley, Jack



My aunt, uncle and cousins came over to stay Saturday night with us. My aunt Deb loves Disney so much and I think she is the one who got our family to go so much when we were growing up. Here she is with Kate and the Mickey and Minnie stuffed animals my dad got Kate for her first Disney trip.


Kate seriously loves the little Mickey her daddy bought her. She grabs it, hugs it and grunts... ugh. It is so cute. We tried to get a little video of it when we were in Orlando.. it made us laugh... Here it is:


video