Saturday, March 31, 2012


I decided to clean out my camera memory card and here are my little guys just being them!

Weston loves watching people working in the yard...this day he was learning how to use the (bubble)mower

This guy always eats and loves to eat!

They both love to sit on the couch and drink their beverage of choice...they are like camels all day constantly drinking and thirsty! Love them!

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Getting Ready for Easter...

We have had fun around here preparing for Easter and welcoming spring! I made and froze these yummy pink coconut cookies for our Easter celebration...they are rich and delicate at the same time with a melt in your mouth yumminess and the perfect balance between sweet and salty!
Here's the recipe:

Coconut Easter Cookies

2 sticks butter room temperature
1/2 cup powdered sugar, plus more for coating the cookies once baked
1 tsp coconut extract
1/4 tsp salt
1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
1 cup ground sweetened coconut flakes ( I used a food processor to do this)
2 drops red food coloring

Preheat oven to 350 F

Beat butter on high until fluffy. Add the powdered sugar and beat until combined. Reduce speed to low and beat in the coconut extract, ground coconut, food coloring and salt. Stir in the flour by hand just until blended.
Cover and refrigerate for 15 min.

Shape dough into 1 inch balls or egg shapes and bake 10-12 minutes or until cookies are pale golden on the bottom. Remove cookies to a cooling rack for 5 minutes and then roll in the powdered sugar. Let cookies cool completely on wire racks before storing. You can dust cookies again with powdered sugar before serving if desired.

Then I found a fun project in my Martha Stewart Living magazine to make coffee filter flowers to decorate for spring! They are easy and were free for me since I had a ton of filters and food coloring on hand.

Mix a few batches of colors in water in pie plates or shallow dishes.
Place a stack of filters in each color and allow them to absorb as much as you want. I used white and brown filters and mixed a few colors for some of them.
Keep the filters together as they dry on a rack. It took almost a full day for them to dry completely.
Once they are dry, trim the filters to make different kinds of flowers then using a glue gun to secure the layers.
Here are the finished flowers:

We have also had fun teaching Weston about Easter and the gospel, and I found this fun craft in Noel Piper's book " Treasuring God in our Traditions" to make an "Easter mountain".
Basically you make a big batch of play dough, paint and bake it in the oven to harden it. We made a cross from sticks in the backyard and the back of the mountain has a tomb with a stone to roll away :) He LOVED helping make this!
Most days he plays with the cross like an airplane, but he is beginning to understand!

Friday, March 23, 2012

Almost 5 years!

In a couple of weeks we will be celebrating our 5th anniversary! I am already starting to get sentimental about it! This is a big year for us...5 years of marriage, 5 years of seminary finished in May and I turn 30 :) I had fun looking through some old pics tonight and these are from one of our engagement shoots. It's so fun to look back and see all that the Lord has done! Be prepared for more sentimental posts :)

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Warm weather

Enjoyed playing in the sprinklers this evening with the boys...getting excited for summer!

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Old Fashioned Caramel Cake

This cake is incredible! Sweet/Salty caramel and super moist cake topped with pecans...nothing finer! Goes great with a strong cup of your favorite coffee. I pre-sliced the cake and just drizzled the frosting over to make serving easier at our friends house. Also made transporting easier without worrying that a perfectly assembled cake would fall apart in the car :)

Old Fashioned Caramel Cake

1 1/2 cups granulated sugar

1/2 cup butter softened

3 large eggs

2 1/4 cups flour

2 1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

1 1/4 cups milk

2 tsp vanilla extract

To prepare cake, coat 2 round cake pans with cooking spray and line with wax paper and coat again with cooking spray.

Beat sugar and butter until well blended. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each. In a separate bowl combine flour, baking powder and salt stirring well with a whisk. Add flour mixture to butter mixture alternately with the milk, beginning and ending with the flour mixture. Stir in vanilla.

Pour batter into prepared pans and sharply tap once on counter to remove air bubbles. Bake at 350 F for 30 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in middle comes out clean.


1 cup packed brown sugar

1/2 cup evaporated milk

2 1/2 T butter

2 tsp corn syrup

dash of salt

2 cups powdered sugar

2 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Combine brown sugar through salt in a saucepan and bring to boil over medium/high heat, stirring constantly. Reduce heat and simmer until thick, about 5 minutes. Stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and add powdered sugar and vanilla. Beat until smooth. Frosting thickens as it cools.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Our Manteca week in Instagram style

This trip I was too lazy to get out the real camera, so I had fun using my phone and instagram. The quality isn't great, but you can see all the fun we had! Thanks to all the family for the wonderful time together!

A little DDR?

Pretty Princess Ava

Joy is just getting too big!

We were able to listen to Andrew's seminar session via livestream!

Fishing with uncle!

Bye Nanni!!

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Missing Daddy & Loving Manteca

I'm laying awake trying to be tired :) knowing that tomorrow is coming fast. But am thinking of so many awesome things that have filled this great week.
It was shepherds conference so the boys and I headed north while the men enjoyed the conference & guy time together. My little guys have bounced between laughing & tantrums, boo boos, ball games, croup & cousins this week while I have enjoyed the rich blessing of this family I married into- wow these people are simply amazing! We all
Miss daddy mucho but will be sad to leave Monday. It's funny how life's best moments are always paired with dark times too...never like the movies we love to watch. But I'm grateful for good & the bad all mixed together because it makes the good that much better.
Life will be perfect one day in eternity but until then I am enjoying learning to be joyful and content in the imperfections!

Monday, March 5, 2012

Roasted Sweet Peppers: 2 ways

I picked up a bag of the tricolor baby sweet peppers from Costco thinking my boys would love these little gems straight from the bag like me...but alas, raw peppers seem to be only something I enjoy! So I had to think of something to do with all the peppers in my fridge.
Oven roasted peppers are just divine and can be used so many ways so I gave it a shot. When roasted they become soft and even sweeter and the house smells amazing.

To roast peppers, simply remove the stem and cut out the seeds before or after roasting, your call. I cut the peppers in half and removed the seeds to save time later. Place your peppers in a rimmed baking sheet and slather with olive oil. Roast at 400 F for about 30 minutes or until very tender, stirring every 10 min to prevent from burning. A little blackening is ok and adds yummy smokiness!
Now for the not fun part- removing the skins, but you can omit this step if you want. It is totally a preference thing and NOT necessary for the following recipes.
To remove the skins wait till the peppers cool completely. The skins will look loose. Peel with your fingers under running water if desired. Sometimes the skins can be tough, but I found the mini pepper skins to be pretty tender still.

Now you have a pile of yummy roasted peppers to add to a bunch of things! Sandwiches, salads, burgers, add to homemade hummus... I made a pasta and a soup. Here are the recipes

Roasted Pepper Pasta Salad with Parmesan, Pine nuts and Tomatoes

Cook up some of your favorite pasta, drain and toss in olive oil in a large bowl. Add some chopped roasted peppers, a couple diced fresh tomatoes, 1/4 cup toasted pine nuts, 1/4 cup fresh shaved parmesan, 1 clove minced garlic and salt and pepper to taste.
I used an herbed olive oil in this and it added so much flavor.

The next recipe was a hit with the boys! Yay!

Sweet Pepper and Chickpea Soup with Parmesan Croutons

2 cups roasted sweet peppers pureed

2 cups chickpeas pureed

2 cloves garlic minced

Chicken stock

salt and pepper to taste

Combine Pureed peppers and beans in a soup pot. Add as much chicken stock as you like for desired consistency. Add minced garlic and bring to a boil, reduce heat to simmer. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Parmesan Croutons

roughly chop 4 slices dried out sourdough bread and place in a rimmed baking pan. Drizzle olive oil all over and a good handful of parmesan cheese. mix together with hands to make sure the bread is evenly coated. Bake at 350 F for 5-8 minutes, stir and bake 5 minutes more or until bread is toasted.

Saturday, March 3, 2012


I never imagined my life with little boys in it, but I am so glad that my days are filled with wiping dirty faces and playing airplanes!
I grew up with one sister and we were pretty girlie. I danced and my sister rode horses English style. We played barbies, princesses and doll houses till the sun went down. We did LOVE to play with our boy cousins when the occasion arose, but our house was a very girl house all our lives.
Nevertheless I have LOVED learning to play with little boys and my days are full of funny and action packed moments.
The other day I was putting on my make-up while pretending to die by sword attack! I play catch while folding laundry and read stories about robots, cars and dinosaurs. Hockey games take over the front yard, baseball in the back and sometimes little people are shooting baskets in the living room after dinner:)
My boys bounce off the walls from morning till night and Weston could be heard screaming from the back yard while running in circles " This is soooo awesome!"

I am so happy to have my little boys and am trying to enjoy all their bouncy energy as much as possible. I have never been more tired, but I have never been more happy! Children truly are a gift from the Lord!

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Date Basket: Date #1- Olive and Thyme

For Christmas the high school staff gave us an amazing gift- a "Date Basket" full of gift cards to local restaurants for Andrew and I to enjoy together! I thought I would share our adventures as we go on them. We are so excited to have so many dates planned and taken care of for us so that we can just go and relax and enjoy an evening together. What a blessing!

The first place we went to was Olive and Thyme- a darling little place with a casual atmosphere and a fun marketplace as well. We both ordered soups to start and then I ordered the Cobb salad and Andrew the short rib sandwich- yum! We had decaf coffee and a huge slice of fluffy coconut cake for dessert. It was a gorgeous night and the kiddos had fun with our friends the Drumms. We can't wait to go on our next adventure!