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Monday, June 27, 2011

Places to Play in PA: The Works

This past weekend our little guy spent his first overnighter at the grandparents and so we took our "big" kids over to The Works in Wyomissing.

It was so much FUN! Really, all 4 of us had a blast.

It is the one place where parents actually fit in the tubes and are encouraged to play alongside their kids-- win, win! I actually would safely say there is a chance my husnabd had more fun then the rest of us ;)

The theme of the play area is ballocity and there are all these little balls that you have to carry up to the guns and then you shoot them at people. They're foam and dont hurt longer then a second. There is also a little toddler area removed from the big kids where they can play safely and have fun too. Within the area there is a parent's lounge with tv's displaying whats going on in Ballocity so you can "watch" your kids from afar.

Then, when you're all done or before hand, there is an arcade downstairs. The one thing I will say about their arcade versus Chuck E Cheese, is that people actually win a lot of tickets... I mean hundreds of tickets... crazy! But, it was a lot of fun and it makes a nice trip for a rainy, hot, or cold day. There is a resturaunt there too which we didn't go to, but have heard it's okay--- so happy playing friends!


Tuesday, June 21, 2011

This and that and the best fruit dip EVER!!

Hi friends, about once or twice a week these beautiful hot air balloons pass right over our house. They used to float to the south of us, but I guess the air current has changed and now they sail right over our backyard much to the kid's delight when we are out back playing before bed time. It's so fun to try and shout "hello" to these air born giants--especially for my youngest-- "allo" and then he waves his chubby little arm till it's gone from view. So precious.

This past weekend I made the food for a friend's daughters graduation from college and happily, no one died from food poisioning and seemed to enjoy themselves-- phew! It was a fun opportunity, but it can be a lot of work.

And now for my mom's fruit dip recipe. I first had this when I was a little girl at a party and then my mom never made it again until my first son tunred one. And since then, I have only made it twice which is so sad as it is so gosh darn good-- heavenly good really.

1 pound jar of fluff
2 8oz cream cheeses softened at room temp.

Beat two together until they are nice and creamy. Taste with finger. Then, dip desired fruit in. Repeat as often as you'd like-- Happy Summer!

Friday, June 17, 2011

{Eggplant Parmigan Lasagna}

Eggplant can be a very yummy vegetable if properly prepared and picked.

So, let's assume you chose a good one and the key to serving? Slice it thin! The thinner the cuts, the better and easier it is to eat-- especially for kids.

So, to bread your eggplant it is very simple and since you're cutting it thin, you'll have enough for two meals-- some for normal eggplant parm or for a sandwhich-- it's up to you. The rest, can be used here. So, to bread your eggplant, slice it thin.
Then dip it in a beaten egg mivture and then itallian style breadcumbs and then bake them at 350 degrees to the desired crispness. I like mine almost chip like.

For your lasagna, you will need
1 box lasagna noodles
1 big tub of ricotta cheese
2 large eggs
1/4 cup of parmesan cheese
1/2 cup of frozen spinach
1/2 cup grated carrots (or you could zest them)
some dried or fresh basil

Mix all together-- start with eggs first and once the yolk has been broke, stir in the rest. Begin to assemble lasgna. Sauce, noodles (you can use oven ready, but I like the original best as the former always stays a little crispy for me), cheese, noodles, sauce and *breaded eggplant*, noodles, cheese, noodles, sauce and then sprinkle mozzerella cheese all over and some more basil. Bake at 350-400 degrees for approx. 25-30 minutes.

Then, let it rest. Give it 10-15 minutes to just sit and settle. You do it for meat, but lasagna needs it to-- trust me!

Now, enjoy and have fun sneaking in all the yummy vegetables :)

A Busy week, Graduation Party, and Adorable Chubby Legs!

Phew... it has been a crazy busy week! Not a roller coaster ride-- just an exciting all over the place train ride busy-- if that makes sense. Very excited that our church's Circle of Moms group had our first park and play date and it went really well-- a lot of moms came out and I am just so excite for September when we begin our meetings! God's hand has been guiding us right along and it has been a very pleasant experience!

On wednesday, we went with Aunt Joy to Oregon Dairy Farm Days and I will post pics later-- but it was a lot of fun! Plus, when we came home, I had my welcome letter to begin selling 31 and I will post more on that later too when I get everything figured out with the website ;)

And, I was asked to cater a graduation party for a family at our church. This is so humbling since if you have ever seen my kitchen it is beyond teensy tiny-- I don't know if you notice, but a lot of food pics are taken either on my oven or at our dining room table since those are my two "prep" surfaces. But, I love that when I commited it to the Lord, He has done some big things and taken me "big" places. Anyway, it is such an honor as I have no formal food training or credentials-- so a big leap of faith on the part of this family, but it has been really fun getting to know them all better. I am very excited because they asked me to do a candy buffet-- so here are some of the candy jars I made with the college logo (they'll be filled with red and white candies):

Now, onto my favorite little pair of chubby legs (imagine my silly grin right here). I love this little boy and his perfectly shaped little thighs. Isn't he so funny still wearing his shoes?! he cracks me up-- he tried to keep them on tonight for his bath too, but I have to draw the line someplace ;) Just an fyi-- he was on his way upstairs to get a new outfit after trashing his other one at lunch. We try not to make it a practice to let him run around half naked as the poor kid is approaching two... sigh... but, back to those chunky monkey legs-- aren't they dreamy...

Monday, June 13, 2011

Places to Play in PA: Oregon Pike Dairy

I have been meaning to tell y'all about this fabulously simple place to go and have lots of fun. It is right off route 222 on the Oregon Pike exit and minutes from Hands on House and maybe 20 minutes from Dutch Wonderland. It also holds a special place in my heart as I am a deep lover of all things milk. I Love milk like crazy!

We love stopping here before or after Hands-on-House as it serves the best ice cream with an amzing outdoor deck where you can enjoy all their flower pots and the beautiful country air. Then, when your all done, you walk along this ramp and slide down a huge slide to their little play ground. Now, their playground is not huge, but it does have a little maze that goes UNDER the deck where you just ate and the kids love it.

Plus, there are some really cute goats and deer to look at. It's just plain fun!

Also, this week, they are having Family Farm Days for extra fun (and I heard a rumor free ice cream and-- free milk--yum!). I did have some limited picture taking opportunity due to the fact that several Amish were there also enjoying the sweets scene, but hope you get the idea that this is a nice spot to stop at if you're in the Lancaster area.

Want more Places to Play in PA-- just search this blog by typing in that phrase to the search at the top right of the blog :) Happy Exploring!

Saturday, June 11, 2011


Smoothie recipes are a dime a dozen and so easy to make, but here is our family's personal favorite and super easy smoothie recipe.

1 bag of frozen mixed berries (about 2-3 cups)
1-2 cups of ice (it depends on how big your ice cubes are-- ours are small)
1 cup of orange juice
1/4 cup of sugar
1 blueberry yogurt

Add ice and fruit first (it helps to have slightly defrosted fruit-- it just goes faster). Then add about half of orange juice and yogurt and sugar. Blend on smoothie function-- or chop or liquify-- but smoothie function is best :) Blend for about 20 secs and stir around and add rest of juice. Blend more to desired consistency (you may want more oj and thats fine). Serve immediatley as it can get seperated a bit.

Now, last night I made a choc- strawberry one and it was really, really good. I used choc. yogurt and frozen straberries and water in place of the oj and in hindsight, wish I had added some choc. shavings or syrup-- but do you see, smoothies are so easy to make and change! I'd love for you to share your favorite with our family :)

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Strawberry Picking and Hot Milk Sponge Cake

I love strawberries so berry, berry mush (sorry, couldn't resist being a little silly). Every spring we go down to NJ and descend upon Rowands and pick to our hearts delight.

Well, thats a half truth, because we also eat almost as much as we pick-- almost.

The older kids did really well picking this year and other then having a fair amount of pink berries, we did pretty well. My sister, Auntie Joy-Joy, went with us and so that is why I am actually in a shot ;) Having family along makes this even more special to do!

Now, if you're going to go to all that trouble picking them, the best way to eat them is fresh. It just seems a little sad not to enjoy them as they are-- raw and yummy! I know there are canners out there, but I just can't do it-- I like them fresh or frozen... and then freshened up a bit :) Also, we consume them way too quickly for there to ever be any left for anything but immediate eating.

Here is a perfect cake recipe past downed to me from the old Itallian channels at the church I grew up in... Hot Milk Sponge Cake

2 cup sugar
4 eggs
2 and a half tsp. baking powder
2 tsp. vanilla
2 cup flour
1 stick of butter
1 cup of milk

1. Melt butter with milk (either in microwave or on the stove) and stir together.
2. Beat sugar and eggs.
3. Blend in Baking Powder, vanilla, and flour
4. Add milk and butter
5. Pour into greased and floured pans (good for bundt cake)
6. Bake 350 degrees for 45 minutes.

So simple. So good-- I love that it's quick, easy, and homemade yuminess to go with al those perfect little berries God made for us to enjoy!

And, I will leave you of these beautiful pictures of our little berry eater-- priceless fun!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

{Guest Blogger-- Kristin}

Many years ago at a small little college in PA, my husband was very good friends with a handsome guy named Sean and his lovely wife, Kristin. I came onto the scene after Sean and Kristin had married, but through facebook have come to admire and enjoy Kristin immensely. I am so thrilled that such a noble and God-fearing women took the time to share some lovely and challenging thoughts! So, read pour yourself some lemonade on ice and read on....

I am so honored that Becky has asked me to guest blog here! Let me introduce myself.. I am 29 years old, married to a pastor and a stay at home mom to three beautiful daughters ages 7, 5 and 18 months. My days are mostly spent cleaning up dirty faces, finger painting and laundry, however, one of the biggest passions I have is praying for my children. When Becky asked me to share on motherhood, I could not pass up the opportunity to encourage you moms out there to pray for your little ones.
Read these verses from 2 Kings 20:1-6. In those days Hezekiah became ill and was at the point of death. The prophet Isaiah son of Amoz went to him and said, "This is what the LORD says: Put your house in order, because you are going to die; you will not recover." Hezekiah turned his face to the wall and prayed to the LORD, "Remember, O LORD, how I have walked before you faithfully and with wholehearted devotion and have done what is good in your eyes." And Hezekiah wept bitterly. Before Isaiah had left the middle court, the word of the LORD came to him: "Go back and tell Hezekiah, the leader of my people, `This is what the LORD, the God of your father David, says: I have heard your prayer and seen your tears; I will heal you. On the third day from now you will go up to the temple of the LORD. I will add fifteen years to your life. And I will deliver you and this city from the hand of the king of Assyria. I will defend this city for my sake and for the sake of my servant David.'"

As a Christian, I have a very high view of God's power and providential will. I firmly believe that my crucified, risen, and ascended Lord Jesus Christ reigns, that nothing happens apart from His permission, that everything happens according to His will. Unfortunately my firm belief in this truth has often proven a hindrance to my prayer life. How so? It works this way: Because I believe that everything happens according to God's good and wise will, I have often failed to pray as I should or to pray at all. In my warped way, I have often excused myself from prayer because, I tell myself, God's will happens without my prayers anyway.

But this is a tragic mistake and a gross misunderstanding of the function of prayer. According to Scripture, prayer changes things, at times even God's will! I was deeply impressed by this truth in my devotion recently, as I was reading 2 Kings 20 (quoted above). There is no getting around the reality that God had decided that it was time for Hezekiah to die, that Hezekiah prayed and wept, and that God then changed His mind because of that prayer. Hezekiah's prayer averted his death, healed his sickness, and added 15 years to his life. Prayer did this.

This totally hit me and I felt such a renewed urgency to pray for my children. For their salvation, their future spouses, their safety among many other things. I found several amazing websites with wonderful prayer focuses each day and I have been using them to be sure I am daily covering my girls in prayer over every possible need and situation both in the present and for their futures. I would love to share with you a few websites to help you as you pray for your children and I encourage you to make the time and set prayer as a priority. I have also set up a facebook page where I post encouragement for moms and prayer focus ideas. It is called Parenting Intentionally with Purpose, Love, Direction and Grace. Look me up and join! Who knows what your prayers might change!

Monday, June 6, 2011

{High School Reunion}

My ten year high school reunion is this summer and I am excited to see all the people whom I have gotton to know better after HS through facebook and the mutual bonding of parenthood.

I don't feel negative or overly positive towards my high school years, just neutral-- maybe a littl more towards the positive side. I think thats because college was 1000 times better and somehow eevn onthe night of graduation I knew it would be. Thats not to say I had a horrible high school experience, but I just always knew I was passing through... doing my time... etc. I did make some really good friends there and had a fabulous math teacher who will always hold a special place in my heart-- I've even considered naming my sons after him :)

Good or bad, whats the one thing you took away or remember the most from high school-- if it's totally Debbie Downer, then please, keep it to yourself-- or if you need to rant and rave or feel so above it, again, please refrain :) But, seriously, what did you take away from those precious awkward formulative years?

Saturday, June 4, 2011

my baby got buzzzzzed!!

Okay, other moms out there, indulge me as I have my weepy mom moment here.

I buzzed my baby's hair off this week. I didn't want to do it-- I literally had to do it. It was the most compassionate thing to do given the heat plus his extremely hot little head. The whole time I cut it he kept lookingup at me with his big blue eyes as if to say, "why mommy? Why are you making me look like naked mole rat?"

And, confession, thats what we called him for the first few days, "Oh, our poor little naked mole rat-- you're so bald!" I'm sure it did nothing for his baby ego, but this morning at the park he totally hit it off with a little girl 4 days younger then him, so I think all has been forgiven and morale is back up ;)

I couldn't resist sharing this adorable pictures of him sleeping on the floor early one morning as I vacummed out the couch. He just stacked all the pillows up (he has really been protesting the fact that he doesn't have a pillow in his crib) and fell asleep to the hum of the vacum. So sweet. I love him so much and I think this buzz cut was neccessary just so I could see better that he is growing up-- he'll be two soon-- not a baby. Sniff, sniff.

Must go and spy onhim sleeping in his crib before those days are gone too...

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Shanny’s Applelish Spicy BBQ Sauce

Yay!!! So excited to have my first guest on the blog, my freind and awesome cook, Shannon!! Very excited to try out this sauce asap and am so happy to be able to share this with you all!!

This is good on chicken, pork, and even thin steaks. I have even added this sauce on my black bean burgers and a friend has tried it on tofu and said it was really good that way too. You don't have to use any extra salt becuse of the sauces already have salt in them. All of these items can be found at Giant, Redners, and Wegmans.

Shanny’s Applelish Spicy BBQ Sauce
1 tbsp hot pepper sauce
2 tbsp of Worcestershire sauce
1 tbsp of soy sauce
3 tbsp of apple cider vinegar
2 tbsp of A1 steak sauce (of HP steak sauce)
2 tbsp of olive oil
1 tsp of chili powder
½ tsp of black pepper
2 tsp of liquid smoke
1 shallot diced fine
3 tbsp of garlic diced fine
2 tbsp of brown sugar- or honey
2/3 cup of apple sauce- no sugar added

Combine everything in the blender until smooth.

Use as a marinade sauce or place in a sauce pan to reduce for 30 mins to use as a BBQ sauce.

If you want to add a tropical flair to this add ¼ cup of dice pineapple and ¼ of its juice and then reduce for 45 mins.

"Oh my man I love him so...

... He'll never know
All my life is just despair
But I don't care
When he takes me in his arms
The world is bright all right
What's the difference if I say
I'll go away
When I know I'll come back on my knees someday
For whatever my man is
I am his
forever more
Oh my man I love him so
He'll never know
All my life is just despair
But I don't care
When he takes me in his arms
The world is bright all right
What's the difference if I say
I'll go away
When I know I'll come back on my knees someday
For whatever my man is
I am his forever more

LOVE, LOVE this song from Funny Girl one of my all time favorite movies. Love the song. Love my husband.

He is my biggest fan and support system, and I hope I am his because I think he rocks. He does-- love this picture of him playing guitar for our son with the light hitting them both-- perfect.

Now, i don't want you to thinkn our marriage is perfect-- it's not. Quirky would be the more appropriate word. He does this thing where he insists on leaving his socks on at night and then he kicks them off and leaves them under the covers-- deep, deep down at the bottom.

And when I change the sheets, I find what I affectionately like to call a little bunny family all nestled together made up of stinky socks (okay, they don't really stink, but they are still socks).

But, quirks and all I love him and he loves me forever. And, he is a great father to my kids :) So, go give your man a hug and coax him into watching Funny Girl. You'll love it, and if not, at least you got some snuggle time in ;)

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Caught Being Good Charts

Hey all!!

Well, I got a little frustrated today with the whole "if you do that, you loose this" routine. Yes, it worked and got them motivated, but I felt like it was discouraging more then anything.

So, I decided to make some caught being good tickets and the deal is when they are caught being good (like doing something first time they are asked, go out of their way to help someone, listen the first time) they get a little ticket. The ticket goes into a little baggy with their name on it and they start saving them.

In our house tv/movie time is a big deal, so for 5 tickets they get 30 minutes of tv, for 10 tickets they get a movie and a snack, and for 15 they can go to the store and pick out a new book. We made the book worth more as books are of greater worth and the only option that holds any type of financial tie. Now, for your children they may be motivated for art time, computer games, outside play, etc... whatever works and is a "special" treat :)

So, here are the tickets I made:

And here is our little fridge reminder: