Friday, May 20, 2016

Christmas 2015

Can we say that I am SO far behind?!  It is so hard to find time to write when working full time, taking care of two kids, church, family, etc.  Usually, my free time is spent not free or napping.  Ha!  Anyway, this year my family came into town the weekend before Christmas and we celebrated with them at that time.
We did brunch again and then opened presents.

 Caleb was a little more interested but still preferred to just play.
Christmas Eve, Kate made cookies for Santa,
put out Reindeer food,
 and opened Christmas PJ's with Caleb.
  Earlier that night we went to Christmas Eve service at church.  It was interesting to say the least.  There was no church nursery, so we had to take Caleb to the service.  He did well for about 3 songs and then wanted to walk around.  I took him out to the foyer for a while, then went back in for the last two songs.  He thrilled everyone by yelling "YAY!" and clapping after each song was over.  Ha! 
Then it was time to go to sleep so Santa could come - which, of course, he did!

Christmas morning, we opened presents from Santa.  Caleb acted like he liked his bear, who is now his FAVORITE, but he was really most interested in his banana cookies!  I think he ate four!  
Kate was pretty much excited about every gift Santa brought her (except for the math workbooks...which she had specifically asked for!  Go figure!)
Santa even surprised me with an ornament that has my favorite Bible verse, Ephesians 2:10, on it!
After opening presents from Santa, we had breakfast. I made eggs, gluten free blueberry biscuits, and fruit.  Everyone enjoyed it.  After we ate, we opened family presents. 
David got some surprises including Jurassic Park and a smoker!  Kate and Caleb just had lots of fun opening presents.
 After we finished presents, we packed up and went to Decatur to see David's family.  I am so thankful for the time we had with them.  There were LOTS of presents!  Granddaddy got a putting green, which I'm SURE he has used millions of times. 
Caleb enjoyed playing with the wrapping paper and Kate was super excited about her new shoes (which are anything but new looking now!).  
Caleb also had fun with the Snoopy Christmas piano toy.  
Then they both got some good snuggles with GG and GP.  
And of COURSE, there was Mickey Mouse watching with granddaddy! 
 The next day there were more presents and we found that we have an up and coming cheerleader on our hands! 
 We had a great Christmas!  I just hope that Caleb likes Santa more next year - though this picture cannot be denied as classic! :-)
 

Friday, November 27, 2015

Cheesecake Crumble Pie

I have been highly absent from Daring Baker challenges due to work, baby, and difficulty converting to gluten free.  However, this month I thought looked like fun and would be a good conversion.  For the month of November Krista & Nicole of “Two Cups of Sugar.” challenged us to make our own version of cheesecake crumble pie.  Too late in the month, I realized that there was a savory option, which I think my family would REALLY enjoy.  But, I decided to make this for my contribution for THanksgiving dessert.  David wanted strawberry version.  I used a gluten free pie crust mix that I had purchased on clearance.  Then to convert the crumble, I just used gluten free flour instead of regular flour.  It turned out really good.  The biggest issue I had was that by the time the first 15 minutes were gone, the top had crusted over and there wasn't anywhere for the crumble to stick; so, I had to break the top of the cheesecake.  The flavor was great and David really liked it.  My favorite part was the crumble.  Of course, I've always had a weakness for crumble! :-)

Cheesecake Crumble Pie
Pie crust:
Preheat oven to 425°F.  Prepare desired pie crust recipe.  Refrigerate for 30 minutes.  Lightly flour working area and roll out dough to fit 1 - 2” / 2.5 - 5cm larger than the pie pan. Gently place in pie pan and fold under excess dough. Prick the dough several times with a small knife or fork and fill with beans, baking weights or an 8” / 20cm cake pan to help keep shape during baking. Bake for 9 minutes.

CheeseCake:
Ingredients
16 oz / 450g cream cheese
¾ cup / 150g white sugar
½ tsp grated lemon zest
¼ tsp vanilla
2 large eggs
1 large egg yolk
¼ cup / 60ml heavy cream
Directions:
Have all the ingredients at room temperature. Preheat oven to 500°F / 260°C / Gas Mark 10.
Beat cream cheese in a large bowl until smooth and creamy. Scrape down the sides and add sugar gradually while beating until smooth (about 1 - 2 minutes).  Beat in vanilla, scraping down the sides of the bowl after each addition.  Beat in eggs on at a time until incorporated.  On low speed, beat in heavy cream. Pour half of the filling into prepared crust then top with desired fruit, chocolate, etc.

Put the remaining cheesecake batter on top, then place into oven.  Bake for 15 minutes at 500°F.  Meanwhile, make crumble.

Ingredients
1 cup scooped and levelled / 140g all-purpose (plain) flour
½ cup / 75g rolled oats
1 cup / 200g white sugar (if you don’t want this to be overly sweet you can cut the white sugar in half)
⅔ cup / 135g brown sugar
½ tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp salt
½ cup / 1 stick / 113g cold unsalted butter
Directions:
Mix all dry ingredients together in small mixing bowl. Add butter and crumble together until it resembles a coarse meal (pea-sized).

Top cheesecake with crumble after the initial 15 minutes and return to oven at reduced temperature of 200°F / 95°C / Gas Mark lower than 1/2 and bake for 1 hour more. Turn the oven off, prop the door ajar with the handle of a wooden spoon, and let the cake cool in the oven for 30 minutes.  Then cover and refrigerate for at least 6 hours before serving. Enjoy!

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving to you all!  I pray that you are able to spend the day with family, whether a large group or just a few. 

Today, we give thanks for a happy, healthy family.  I'm thankful for a daughter filled with so much joy that she makes everyone around her smile.  I pray that turns into a joy so unquenchable from God that He uses for His glory! 

I'm thankful for a son who loves to explore and share love.  I pray this turns into an adventurous spirit and desire to give God's love!

I'm thankful for a husband who is generous with His time, abilities, and resources. A husband who seeks to lead in God's will and looks for ways to serve Him and grow in Him.  I pray that He continues to grow in His love for God and desire to serve Him.

I'm thankful for my God who loved me before I knew Him.  Who continues to pursue me when I don't pursue Him.  Who loves me even when I fail Him.  Thankful that He sent His Son, Jesus, to be the all sufficient sacrifice for my sins, to redeem me to Himself.  To be the Great High Priest who is familiar with all my needs and temptations and who died (but now lives) to now set me free!  I'm thankful for His great provisions in my life.  I pray that He grants me humility to seek Him and depend fully on Him; that I would be alert to His Spirit and follow Him daily.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Kate's 6th Birthday

Kate turned 6 this year.  I can't believe how grown she is getting.  Comparing pictures from last year to this year is just crazy - she looked like such a baby just a year ago.
 She has grown over three inches and her feet had a HUGE growth spurt, almost skipping an entire size.  She is doing great in first grade and has a new love for writing and reading.  She still loves to cook and loves playing outside.  She hasn't really latched onto any certain extracurricular activity - which is fine but a little too "jumpy" for me.  Ha!  She is also very compassionate and wants to help other people.  She loves to laugh and smile and sing.  She loves her brother so much and is the sweetest sister to him.  We are so thankful for her tender and gentle and giving heart.

 She decided that she wanted a Jasmine party this year.
 Again - why does my family pick themes that has no/limited ideas for food and decor out there?!  Hat for Caleb and Jasmine for Kate.  Alas!  We had her party at the same place as last year and the kids just played and played.
 Kate spent the week prior to her birthday in AL, and Kate-O brought her back and stayed for the party.
It was so much fun!  Kate got lots of fun gifts but one super cute thing was this card Luke made for her.  So sweet are those long-time friends!
For snacks, I made magic carpet sandwich rolls (which ended up being a hit!).  It was just soft sandwich flatbread spread with cream cheese and with carrots out the end.
We also had cheese, hummus and carrots, and grapes.  Kate wanted marble cake.  So, I decided that was appropriate due to Jasmine's tiger Raja.
 I decorated it as the Genie.  Not exactly how I wanted it to look but not too shabby.
Such fun to celebrate birthdays with friends and family.  Happy birthday ( a little late) sweet Kate!

Friday, November 06, 2015

Hats Off to Caleb - The Party

Y'all, I just have absolutely no time to post these days!  By the time my day stops, I'm so tired and only have about an hour until bed time.  Anyway, we decided to have a hat theme for Caleb's party.  We have thought about dinosaurs or trains but since we think he looks really cute in a hat, we settled on hats. 
Oh my!  There is NOTHING hat themed out there.  I found some examples of hat cakes (which I used) but no themed snacks or anything.  Oh well!  We had the party the weekend of his birthday; I was on service at the hospital, so had to work. 
But it ended up being fine.  We just had family, some close family friends, and one of Caleb's school/church friends over.  It was simple and fun!  I did a little decorating with chalk banners. 
The one for the door said "Caleb is one."  Then I put a picture for each month on the other one and hung it over the fire place (it's still there! HA!).

 I thought it turned out cute.  For the snack table, we just put several of Caleb's little stuffed animal friends around wearing hats. 
Everyone snacked and then we pulled out the cake.  The big cake was a two layer cake that I carved into the shape of a hat and decorated with fondant (this is actually a pretty tasty buttercream fondant). 
I thought it turned out really cute!  His smash cake was a "party hat" that I baked in sno cone cups.
  First we sang to him (and he tried to grab THIS cake). 
Then, when I gave him his smash cake, we had to put the first bite of cake in his mouth but after that he was a fan...and at the WHOLE thing!!!
He just kept going and couldn't even stop to take a picture with Doc and Allie!
 :-) 

Can you tell he wanted more?

We opened presents after that.  Caleb did a pretty good job but had a short attention span...and ended up doing this:
  He liked the hammer toy the best but has since branched out to some of the other toys as well.
 We had such a fun afternoon and are so thankful for all of our friends helping us celebrate. 
I can't WAIT to watch these two grow up together.  :-)