Sunday, January 30, 2011

Cupcake Boss

When it was snowing and cold and we had a little vacation time,  we watched the first two seasons of Cake Boss.

Cake Boss Cake.  Amazing!

 I was fascinated with the art,  the creativity,  the fun,  the whole bakery thing.  I love bakeries and think where I live to be remiss in not having one in every little town.  Anyway,  after watching two seasons I really wanted....CAKE.   Good cake,  moist with great icing that wasn't too buttery,  or too criscoey, or too fluffy.  

So I asked my husband to pick up some cupcakes at the local grocery store to try to satisfy this intense craving.  I should have know that is not where you go to get GREAT CAKE.   Then I went to the library and picked up a few cook books on cakes and cupcakes.  WOW!!  I could really get into this. 

Here is what my eldest made the other day.  They are all gone and we ended up not getting to ice them cause we didn't have the right ingredients.  And after eating the cupcakes,  I am convinced you need the RIGHT ingredients. 

This is the book we used.  I am not a HUGE Martha Stewart fan.  I can't get into the empire thing,  with servants and gardeners and maids.  I mean,  I could enjoy them,  but I feel  a little guilty sometimes not being so crafty and homey like MS and then I have to remember the empire.  Maybe you should forget you just read this.  It sound strange even to my ears. 

                      These are the cupcakes we made.  Oh,  Boy.   They were so good, and pretty easy also. 

Here is what they looked like in the book.   See why we wanted to make these?  YUMM!!

Here is how ours turned out.  We overfilled them a little.  Next time we will follow directions exactly.

Here is a close up of the little darlings. 

                        Here is what they looked like 3 minutes out of the oven.  Oh,  these were good. 

                 Here are some we want to make for Valentines Day.  Don't you wish you lived near us!

         Don't these look fabulous?  I may make these for someones birthday.  I wonder whose is coming up? 

I hope I have you all drooling and running to the nearest bakery for a cupcake.  I think I will go now and make the next cupcakes in the book...carrot cake cupcakes. 

thanks for reading,


More Redecorating

You can't imagine the insecurity, the palpitations, the sweat, the grimaces that accompany these words....redecorating.  But living in a world of designers makes me look around at my surroundings and think how I can make my home the HAVEN I desire.  But I really would rather have a magic lamp with a jeanie in it.  I wish...and there it is. all began with a leak from the ice maker that turned into a soaked carpet that had to be pulled up which meant moving everything out of the room for the carpet man to retack the carpet which meant looking at walls that had been painted 8 yrs ago and thinking,  " wouldn't take that much to repaint this room.  and the trim.   and possibly the bookshelves.  and scrape the popcorn ceiling. and change out the fan....I could go on.

My sweet husband cut in and I painted.  Now,  that sounds so simple,  like when the Bible states that David fought the Philistines and won.  You KNOW a lot more went into the fight than those words.  I spent a week looking at two paint samples painted on my wall...loved the color....maybe the name more...Down Comforter.   Anyway,  we painted.  And it is really more like....buttery yellow.  Now,  I like butter and I like yellow flowers...but I have NEVER like yellow in my house.  Not that it's not a great color,  just not ME.  But I am going to live with it.  And then I hate that with it...cause that means it's not what I wanted,  I am sure I will want to paint over it next year,  I feel petty being so caught up in a PAINT COLOR,  when really there are more important things to think about in life.    Here are some pictures.   I will post again when we put the room together. 

I dont' think you can really tell from these.  Or maybe I am vision impaired and it is not as yellow as I think.  Anyway,  please ignore the chaos.  My mom is coming over to help me put the room together. 

thanks for reading,


Saturday, January 29, 2011

Remember your pits and sale!!

My good friend, Kelly, at Creative Chickadee,  had my children and me over to make pitzelles.   I had heard my sister and Kelly talking about how good they are and how much fun they have making them,  and I felt a little left out.  So this sweet adopted sister had us over to learn how to make them. 

If you have never had them or don't know what they are,   I can only tell you they are Italian and  DELICIOUS.   I will show you pictures first,  because if I tell you the ingredients you might not even finish the post,  they are a little...different. 

This is the machine you use to mold the batter.

Here is the batter ready to be squashed by the big bad pistelle maker.

Here is the dough after being squashed.  The goal is to make a perfectly centered cookie. 

See how lovely the designs are?  I think Kelly may have gotten it pretty close to perfect.

YUM!!!  This is smeared with the filling just before it's gobbled up...

Here is the recipe from Allrecipe. I haven't used it, but it is a good starting point.


3 eggs

3/4 cup white sugar

1/2 cup butter, melted

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking powder


1.In a large bowl, beat eggs and sugar until thick. Stir in the melted butter and vanilla. Sift together the flour and baking powder, and blend into the batter until smooth.

2.Heat the pizzelle iron, and brush with oil. Drop about one tablespoon of batter onto each circle on the iron. You may need to experiment with the amount of batter and baking time depending on the iron. Bake for 20 to 45 seconds, or until steam is no longer coming out of the iron. Carefully remove cookies from the iron. Cool completely before storing in an airtight container.

3.For chocolate pizzelles, add 1/4 cup cocoa sifted together with flour and baking powder, 1/4 cup more sugar and 1/4 teaspoon more baking powder. I find that for the chocolate mixture, the iron must be well oiled to start and then brush on more as needed.

The spread for the center of the cookie is made with....1 jar of grape jelly and chocolate cake,  a day old.  Mix together in a sauce pan on low until fully mixed.  Sounds strange,  tastes  GREAT!!

And as to why the title of the post?  I had such a difficult time trying to figure out how to say the name of this cookie,  so Kelly said,  "Just remember your pits and sale.  You'll get!!  I have ever since.  We had such a great time laughing and eating and talking. The Lord is good to give me wonderful friends. Love you,  Kelly!!!

thanks for reading,


Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Change...I think

January is typically a panicky month for me.  I know it begins a new year,  we make new resolutions,  we clean up our homes,  and we try to do better things.....whatever those things may be.  In a homeschooling home January is typically a time for mom's to look at what has or has not been accomplished and begin to panic.  We look at the books we have been using and wonder what made us think this would be good for our families,  we look at our schedules and pull our hair out remaking them, sure that this NEW one is the key to success,  we get up earlier or later depending on our past habit,  we really are a mess.

I have not really panicked this year, being as this the year for  letting go of things that don't matter and leading a more joyful life.   I am looking at our schedule and wondering if I really like putting all the kids together for school or not.  That sounds strange,  of course we all do school together in our house, but for most of our homeschooling I have used and my kids  study different histories, science, literature, etc.  Last year I decided to combine them in history and science and geography,  well, the youngest three.  It has been ok,  but they really are on such different levels, and I can see they are missing out on some things.   My son loves to read alone and absorb the information,  and there are books we had to skip that I just loved because of moving them all to one time frame in history. My youngest is missing out on some great stories because she is listening in on our other books.  My middle girl is also missing out.    So....I am tweaking our schedule just  a little, not much, and I feel much more comfortable  I am going back to Ambleside's suggestions and working towards beginning next year with them all in the  correct years.  I am excited about what they will discover in the pages of these books, the discussions we can have, and the relations they will make with other ideas from other sources.  For most of you this makes no sense and that's ok.  I just needed to share it with someone.  Anyone,  my mom, sister...I think that's all who read this anyway.   And that's ok too.

And I just realized this post is really about I, I, I......very selfish of me when I think this homeschooling thing is really about THEM...isn't it?

thanks for reading,


Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Charlotte Mason and Caffeine induced hysteria

The fourth Monday of every month finds me scurrying around the house around 5:00 pm.  I am looking for books, paper, pen, keys,  a little money, and anyone old enough to watch younger children for a few minutes.   I then head over to Books a Million, walk through the glass doors, and my smile is bigger, my shoulders a little straighter,  my walk a little springier (is that a word?  If not,  it is now!)  I am here for my Charlotte Mason Study Group.  This group has met for over 14 yrs.  Many of the faces have changed from the beginning,  I came in the middle,  but the concepts discussed, the struggles shared, the joys rejoiced over,  they never change.  We read through the CM Homeschooling Series books, and discuss what we find and how it relates to today.   Charlotte was an amazing woman for her time.  Well read,  understanding scientific findings in light of scripture and human nature.  If you have ever been curious about her here are a couple of web sites.

This is a link to her book series.

And here area few resources I use to plan our curriculum each year.

You would think after 8 yrs of joyously attending this meeting I would have ONE picture.  No,  not ONE.  Last night I took a camera to take a few and there was no memory card.  Figures.  I hope to get one next week, or year, or maybe never.  We'll see. 

I want to thank all the ladies last night who listened to my caffeine induced rambling, and my takeover of the meeting.  You are patient and kind and comforting and encouraging and funny.  And I needed the laughter.  And the other stuff. 

About the caffeine.   I spent 5 minutes telling the woman over the counter how I wanted coffee that I really didn't want cause I wanted decaff tea they didn't have  CAUSE  when I drink caffeine at night I get a little crazy and can't sleep.  So after drinking this LARGE cup,  I began to suspect it was not decaffeinated and I think the others around me began to suspect that too.  And then I think my husband wondered all during the night.   And this morning as I feel very tired and a little kranky,  I SUSPECT  it was not decaffeinated. 

I will bring my own next time.

thanks for reading,  


Monday, January 24, 2011

Happy Anniversary Dear!!

Today I will have been married to the same man for 18 year.  So much drama,  a few kids,  a few states,  a few houses,  a couple of jobs,  a couple of churches,  a few pets,  a few dishes.   So many changes and yet the same man.   He's a keeper.  Steady provider,  supportive of my crazy ideas like homeschooling and staying home with the chillin's.  Faithful to church,  and can help me out of any computer problem I have..which are many depending on the day.   In this day and age of easy marriages and easier divorces,  I am so thankful we made (and are keeping by the grace of God)  our promise "til death do us part".   It's not easy, but we are determined with the help of God Almighty to be a testimony and leave a legacy for our kids of Christ's faithfulness in all things. 

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Another Sweet Child

I have 8 nieces and 2 nephews. Yes, we LOVE kids around here. Wish we had more but .... One of my sweet nieces, a 4 yrold blondie with bright blue eyes and legs as long as a giraffe, called me one day. I wasn't home so she talked to her eldest daughter and told her about stockings, and snowmen, and napkins, and stars, and blue shiny stuff, and some other things my daughter was unable to decifer. She told me about it, and that it was all for me.

A few days later I got my gift. This girl knows her aunt Bekah. I am amazed at her powers of observation. I am not sure I would know what SHE liked if I went into a store. Terrble I know. Here is a pic of my sweet gift.

That bowl has come in very handy,  and brings a smile when I see it.  Thanks KK,

thanks for reading,


Friday, January 21, 2011


I grew up with little or no tv but even I remember this  commercial.  The mother cooking, the doorbell ringing, the children crying, something breaking, the phone rings.   I am there and I feel her pain. 

It seems God brings things about in connecting events.  In my case I think it may be because with just one or two events, I could easily say, "OH,  I can handle that.  No problem."  He brings a couple more.  "OH,  well,  this is tough, but I think I can deal with it."  Then comes 4,5,6  and WHAM!!  right in the kisser.  Then I say,  "OHHHH,  Lord,  you want me to ask you for help.  And remember that I really couldn't deal with the first issue on my own strength."   I thought I had actually learned this and didn't THINK  I was relying on myself.  But maybe I was.  Anyway,  I have no control, no strength,  no plan,  just one or two heart desires.  One, that all these event will lead all involved, including myself,  to an abiding relationship with Christ.
 "I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing."   Oh,  how I need to learn that abiding part.  and remember fruit,  which, on a side note,  I had always liked apples and grapes.  But now I think the whole fruit family is absolutely a gift from God.

Two,  I pray God is glorified through all this.  I actually am not sure how in many cases,  but I know that is the chief aim of man is to to glorify God and praise Him forever,  and I at least want to aim for the aim. 

Lastly,  and this is mostly unrelated,    I think Magic Kingdom is one of the most magical places,  next to a gorgeous walk through a fall colored woods.  Maybe I still just have a little kid left in me,  but I loved it.  Oh, and the kids have fun too.  Will post pictures and comments later.  We had a blast and would love to go again, maybe with grandkids.  Noooo,  I just like to think ahead,  WAYYYYY ahead.  My mom keeps telling me they are fun, wonderful, and worth waiting for.   So  I wait patiently!!!

thanks for reading,


Monday, January 10, 2011


Here in Arkansas, as my mom said on her blog,  Under Her Wings,  if there is even a prediction of snow,  the "school" kids get a snow day.  We homeschoolers take a teacher work day,  and if you think I am making this up for the gov't institutions,  you haven't seen the  hot cocoa mugs lined up on the counter,

 my laundry basket filled with ONLY snow day clothes,

  and the blankets and games spread out.

 It is WORK around here.  ANNNNNDDD,  since I am the teacher.....

This is the first snow day of there year,  and the first snow my CHICKENS have ever seen.

 I wasn't sure what they were going to do.  I have read different things.  But I have some "plucky"  chickens.  I think the cold gets to their feet and I do have one that has stayed in the coop all day.   But I am really proud of them.  Now to see if they layed any eggs.  Just sent my youngest back out to check. 

My kids had a blast in the snow.  We had a friend over who "said" he hadn't been sledding in a few years.  I don't get we dressed him up in my husbands clothes

and sent him out.  I think he had a blast.  But he won't really say anything except,  "It's alright."  I am begging for a little enthusiasm here. 

If you didn't have snow today, or won't ever, or have it and are sick of it,  I pray your day is wonderful still!!  Ours sure was.

Tomorrow we are off to Florida.  It should be...interesting.  Anyone else married to someone who does "vacations"  differently?  I'll let you know how it goes.

thanks for reading, 


ps.  Aren't these cardinals brilliant? 

pss.  We are going to St. Augstine one day.  Anyone have strong opinions on what to see and what not to see?  Let me know soon.  As in by tomorrow morning. 

psss.  Is there even such a thing as psss?  What comes after that?  

Friday, January 7, 2011

Bumps on the Road

Yesterday, I took a friend and my daughter to take the test to get their learners permit. I read the rules, wrote everything down, went to find the birth certificate.....and couldn't find it. I. LOOKED. EVERYWHERE! I finally found her SS card and a hand written card from the hospital where she was born. We took that up and the officer behind the desk smiled, and said, " That's not going to work." WHAT? Doesn't having a SS card mean she is alive? Doesn't the little hand written note saying she weighed 8'9" mean she was clearly born? Dont' we look alike?

Needless to say we left without a permit. We promptly went to Chic Fil A to suck down consoling milkshakes, and a congrat one for the friend who was responsible enough to know where his birth certificate was. Organized freak!

On the way home, we wondered if my daughter was a projection of our imagination...and what crimes she could commit seeing as she didn't really exist.

After dragging ourselves in to the house, my husband comes out of the room with a document...SHE REALLY EXISTS..AND WE HAVE PROOF.....her birth certificate. We were groaning, laughing, screaming, and planning. For we were going today to get that darn permit.

The ending is that she passed with flying colors, got her paper and we are off.

The moral is, PUT THOSE DOCUMENTS IN A SAFE, EASY TO FIND PLACE.. and eating a large Chic Fil A milkshake WILL make your stomach hurt for hours.

Look out people, here she comes.

thanks for reading,


Tuesday, January 4, 2011


Those words really didn't come off my fingers, did they?  ME,  the book reader,  book collector, love experiences but not processes girl,   please don't make me look at fabric,  room design,  or talk matching, arranging girl?  Oh,  but they did.  And I am SOOOOOO excited!!!!   Here is the first of the "new"  me.  I have a brown living room.  I mean,  EVERYTHING is brown.  Couch,  chair,  walls,  cabinet,  fireplace,  mantle.  lamps.  I told yah,  and I like brown as an accent,  NOT as the main only color.  So,  my decorator sister who closed her blog and should reopen it,  sent me fabric swatches to choose from for new pillows on my couch.  She said it would help.  I believed her,  like she believes me when I tell her to read a certain book.  We trust each other like that.  I chose this fabric.  

And my mom, who has a wonderful blog,  Under Her Wings,  made these for me for my birthday. 

Look at the detail she put into the edging and the little knot. Amazing!

See Very Brown Couch,  Great for concealing stains,  but a little drab.

 Let me tell you,  I have it made.  
Next up,  was a very red and dingy entrance wall.  Not what everyone should see when they first walk in my house.  I had red in my old house in LA,  but it had windows literally encircling it.  So red was good.  Here,  not so many windows.  Since this is the year to  find myself update,  I thought how difficult could it be to paint a wall.  And it wasn't.  Especially when I used this as my inspiration picture. 

Pottery Barn
Can you tell what color makes me happy?  Not the black,  although it is pretty in this pic.  So,  I went on down to Ben Moore and picked me up a quart.   My wall used to look like this.

Not my wall, but the same color.  I am still getting used to taking pics of before and after.  Heck,  taking pics at all is still enlightening. 

My good friend, who is also an interior designer, is coming over soon  and helping me arrange the pictures.  I know,  I would be lost in books and brown furniture if it weren't for wonderful lovely people who love color and know how to use it. 

I think I will be looking at Pottery Barn more often.  As soon as it is finished,  I will show you.  But don't hold your breath.  No projects are finished quickly around here.   

thanks for reading,


UPDATE:  I mentioned to my sister that my friend who is also her friend who is also an interior designer was helping me with my wall, and you would have thought I said she was FAT.  I think we argued for 15 min.  I have since asked her forgiveness and for her help in three rooms of my house now,  and she might forgive me.  Just a warning,  designers are VERY SENSITIVE!!  BEWARE!!

How to get Chickens to Lay Eggs

A couple of days ago the two youngest children who love and take of the chickens went to search for eggs.   They found...ONE...  I own NINE chickens and we could only get ONE egg?   I was a little miffed.  We pamper  take great care of these chickens,  feed them well, never forget water,  the kids pet them and play with them,  they get almost daily leftovers from the kitchen that many people would eat.  So what was up with the ONE out of NINE eggs? 

I decided to go have a chat with the feather balls.  First we discussed their cushy lifestyle and how I brought them into the world,  I could take them out.  Well,  I brought them home anyway.  Then we discussed rationing and penning.  They free roam our yard as long as we are home,  which as homeschoolers is daily!! 

Then I thought maybe I hadn't sung to them in awhile. We have a song.  or two. The first one is very sweet and goes like this.  

                                  Chick, Chick, Chick, Chick, Chicken,  Lay a little egg for me.
                                  Chick, Chick, Chick, Chick, Chicken,  I want one for my tea.
                                  I haven't had an egg since Easter, and now it's half past three, sooo
                                  Chick, Chick, Chick, Chick, Chicken,  Lay a little egg for me. 

A very cheery tune,  I think my grandmother taught me.  To be safe and so the chicks knew I was SERIOUS  I sang THE OTHER SONG.  It goes like this.

                                  Oh,  I had a little chicken and it wouldn't lay and egg,
                                  So I poured boiling water up and down it's leg,
                                  Oh,  the little chicken cried and the little chicken begged,
                                  And the little chicken laid me a hard boiled egg. 

And that did the trick.  The next day,  we got 6 eggs from that group.  I still would like to know who's not doing her duty.  I may have to take them out one by one and have personal chats.  In a group setting you never know who is not listening. 

thanks for reading,


Precious oldest Children

Just had to share this quick note.  We fill stockings around here.  We have done various traditions with them such as opening one gift every day the week before Christmas (my mom did this with us  until I had kids...hmmm...I think I was a little spoiled!!),  opening the stocking gifts Christmas Eve,  letting the kids open them before D and I got up.   Most years I don't fill the adults stockings, they are just for looks.  One year my mom and sister and I  exchanged stockings and filled them.  That was fun.  This year they hung lean and low on the mantle. 

When the kids began opening their stockings on Christmas morn,  my eldest said,  "Mom,  Dad,  you have things in your stockings too.  Open them."   Low and behold there was stuff in there.  My eldest had bought her aging parents little gifts, knowing what we liked,  so our stockings wouldn't be so sad.  She is a gem.  And no,  you can't have her.  I worked hard to get her where she is today!!  Here is a pic of my favorite stuffer.  

We constantly encourage the kids to fight over us when we are old and feeble.  My oldest usually says she'll find the best nursing care she can.  But this Christmas I see hope...maybe she'll even visit us with stockings at Christmas. 

thanks for reading, 


Monday, January 3, 2011

New Day

Today is a new day.  I have a couple of children that need to hear that frequently.  Heck,  I NEED to hear that every morning.  Today in my Bible reading,  I thought how God made a new day for us after the flood.  What was that day like?  No other people,  things greening up like spring,  chaotic weather patterns I am sure.  I wonder if it was very quiet.  I wonder if Noah thought about doing things different and intentional parenting and grandparenting, and being a good husband and staying closer to the Lord than before.  A new day,  a new year, a new beginning. 

I pray that for all who feel last year wasn't their year.  God is gracious and kind and generous and forgiving  and earnest and righteous and worthy to be feared.  He is AMAZING.   Here is an old video that I love.  I want to shout AMEN after listening.  I think I will. 

And just to add a little more UMPH!


thanks for reading,


Sunday, January 2, 2011

Reading through the Bible

I would say in one year,  but I resolved not to put too much pressure on myself and make myself feel like a failure this year.  So  I am going to try to read the Bible in one year, but if it takes a little longer,  I am pressing on.  Found a couple of great websites to help me along this path.  The first one is  .  I like this one because it has artwork to accompany the passages,   and it has a worship song to listen to at the end.  I like pictures and songs.   It taps in to the emotional side of me which needs help,  desperately. 

The second site is  .  This guy reads to Bible online with soft music playing and has some comment.  Sometimes I turn this on when I need to work in the kitchen and the only thing free is my ears.  The kids enjoy listening to this also.  I love it when we are all listening to God's word at the same time.  It brings about great discussion about DEEP things. 

Our New Year's Eve and day were great.  I will post later about NYE.  It is a story in and of itself.  Plus,  I have a couple of posts I have written,  but I am determined to get these pics off a phone/camera  ALL MY BYSELF.    It may take a day or two,  but I have determination. 

thanks for reading,