Sunday, February 26, 2012

It Is What It Is

I'm not sure when it happened but somewhere along the way I picked up the phrase, "It is what it is." I must say this several times a day....especially when I'm having a bit of a hard day.

I was thinking about this the other day and wondering why I say it so much. And I realized, that for me, this has become and instant reality check. It is what it is...means, these are the circumstances no matter how you got here. So, what are you going to do? It forces me to not feel sorry for myself or get stuck and deal with the situation at hand.

I was tested in this this past week...twice through both of my sons.

As most of you know, my oldest son, Joshua, went on a trip to Los Angels, CA and Denver, CO to perform live auditions for two universities for graduate school. His trip to LA was unique in that he traveled alone and was reliant on public transportation the entire 3 days he was there. Josh never expected to hear from this school. It was a long-shot that he just threw in the mix to say he applied there. To have the opportunity to audition before their music faculty was an incredible opportunity and he felt it went well. He left LA Sunday evening and flew to Denver with the audition scheduled for Monday afternoon. He woke up Monday morning with a stomach flu. He couldn't reschedule. I told him it was out of his hands. He went anyway and 45 minutes before his audition he was laying on a bathroom floor! Somehow he pulled it out of himself. When I talked to him later he said, it wasn't the audition he had planned. I said, "It is what it is, Josh and it will be what it will be." The control of the audition was totally removed from him.

The same day, I got a call around 7:30 PM. My youngest son was 30 minutes away and had an accident in my car totaling it. I knew he was so upset and didn't need me to heap more on him. I once again told myself and him, "It is what it is." Meaning, this is the situation and we will deal with whatever happens with a car and the insurance.

It is what it is. Reality check. Don't feel sorry for yourself. Look at the situation, deal with it and move on!!

Friday, February 24, 2012

Emily Lives Here

As I was straightening up around my house the other day, I kept coming across things that said, "Emily lives here." I decided to grab my camera and photograph this slice of Emily's life. I see a great scrapbook layout here.

A funny combination of boots and flip-flops!

Paint samples for a soon-to-be painted bedroom

Art Project


Piano Lesson Books

A scrapbook layout in progress using one of my favorite pictures of Emily.

Another art project....Pinterest inspired.

An ever-present supply of brushes above my kitchen sink on the windowsill.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Emily wanted to do something special for some of the older people in our church. She found a picture of an owl valentine on Pinterest. She took it way further and hand-punched and inked all these circles to give the owls dimension. They each had a Valentine pencil as a perch and a tag that said, "I'll Owlways Be Your Friend." We attached these owls (15 of them) to cellophane bags of heart-shaped sugar cookies.

I also made some treats for the team of people I have the pleasure of working with each and every Sunday morning. One of them was this popcorn mix called, "Monster Munch." I turned it into a Valentines theme by using pink candy corn and M&M's. You also stir in peanuts, popcorn, and coat it all with white chocolate. YUM!!!!!

This was a treat for my husband. His favorite peanut butter cookies dipped in leftover chocolate.

Tried and True sugar cookies for Emily's Valentines. NOT a Pinterest recipe but one we have made for years. I can't even begin to think how many thousands of these cookies I have made & frosted. I did discover a new baking tip quite by accident. For the absolutely best baked goods, open up a new can of baking powder. Makes the cookies light and fresh and melt in your mouth!!

I packaged these with the popcorn for my team. Another tried and true recipe. Peanut Butter Balls (Valentine Edition). These are just simply the best PB Balls EVER!!

This year I tried to "spread the love" (that sounds funny!!) I gave a package of cookies to our host at dinner on Sunday as well as our waitress. And today gave a package of PB Balls to the gentleman who owns one of our local restaurants. These little bits of kindness really do make people happy and its such a small thing to do. Emily loves to do this and I'm supporting her endeavors 150%. Thinking of others. What a way to live your life and what an incredible habit to develop and learn while you're still young!!!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Birthday Treats (of Fun in the Kitchen - part 1)

Emily and I has a friend who celebrated her 14th birthday a couple weeks ago. This friend also loves owls. Emily found a picture on pinterest for these cupcakes and of course we had to make them for her. Plain yellow cake cupcakes with chocolate frosting....Oreo cookies for the eyes (and as much as I wanted to get two eyes from each Oreo, it was Oreo yielded only one eye) and M&M pupils and beak. They came out so cute!!!

Since I have been in a baking kind of a mood, I saw these little goodies on Pinterest also and decided to make them up for the adults in the Bible class on Wednesday nights. They are delicious little bites of chocolate pretzel. Cover a Snyder's pretzel snap with a Hershey Hug. Put in the oven @ 275 for 2-3 minutes and top with an M&M. Addictive little bites of deliciousness!!

Friday, February 3, 2012

Two Succesful Pinterest Recipes

A couple weeks ago I threw a birthday party for Cliff's 50th birthday. His favorite dessert of all time is German Chocolate Cake.

Now I have made him German Chocolate cake before via Betty Crocker or Duncan Hines. But when the love of your life turns 50, I felt only a cake made from scratch would do.

The cake itself is a bit semi-homemade in the fact that you do start with a boxed cake mix but add in wonderful things like buttermilk and sour cream that made for one of the lightest chocolate cakes I've ever tasted. I chose to do mini-cupcakes for portion control (which kind of backfired because mini-cupcakes usually turn out to be little one-bite wonders!)

Anyways, I wasn't too worried about the cake or the chocolate buttercream icing. The coconut-pecan icing had me a bit concerned and when I made it, I allowed myself time to go by a can of it in case mine failed. It did not and it did not dissapoint. They were DELICIOUS!!!! To make them look festive and pretty, Emily hand-crafted all the little "50" picks. She cut the "50" using my mini diecutter and embossed every one. She did an excellent job on them. The birthday boy was very, very happy!! You can find the recipe here.

Since I was in a baking mood, I decided to try another recipe I had downloaded quite a while ago. It's called Peanut Butter Chocolate Bars.

These were insane!! Once again, the recipe starts with a boxed cake mix. The chocolate layer is Eagle Brand & semi-sweet chocolate chips. I really thought these would be extremely sweet. They were very decadent but not overly sweet. I'm guessing using semi-sweet chocolate chips cuts the sweetness a bit. They were absolutely divine!! And the recipe is here.