Friday, September 30, 2011


Maybe you've heard of Pinterest. If so, you know how wonderfully distracting it can be. You can completely ignore the piles of laundry, the unwrapped birthday gift, the lurking mealtime and daydream about all the wonderfully cute and beautiful ways to organize your laundry room, make that gift unique and one-of-a-kind and find food inspiration from all realms of cuisine.

While I "pin" to several different boards, the only ones I seem to actually get around to re-visiting and actually trying are the recipes. These tasty Buffalo Chicken Rolls looked so good and seemed pretty do-able. So, I jumped in head first.

If I can do it, you can do it! I pretty much love all things buffalo, and these rolls are no exception. So, next time you want a tasty treat, make these. They are fun and not too difficult.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

The Bigger the Better

So, I mentioned in a previous post that I was planning to try out my new giant cupcake baking pan, and I'd share the results if it wasn't disastrous. Thankfully for everyone (but especially the birthday girl that received the giant cupcake) it turned out great. My sister-in-law gave me the cool cupcake pan for my birthday last month. Technically it was a gift from my brother and sister-in-law, but I know how these things work and she totally picked this out.

After reading the instructions, I went to work using one of my new favorite recipes, Reese's Chocolate Peanut Butter Cup Cake. Here's how it all started:

Here's the bottom and top, all sprayed up and ready for cake batter!

I split the batter pretty evenly, although I'm thinking I could've used a little more in the top. The instructions say to make the biggest cupcake you'll want to use two boxes of cake or two recipes. I only did one, so my cupcake wasn't quite as tall. The piece you see on the far right is for use when you want to add a filling between your top and bottom cupcake layers. You spray the inside and place it over the bottom pan.

This is how the bottom piece turned out. You see it's not quite to the top, but there is a nice indention for that yummy peanut butter filling to rest in. I forgot to get a picture of the top, but it had a big peak in it like a normal cake or cupcake would, so I had to cut off that to even the surface for optimal placement of the two pieces together. But, the extra cake I lopped off was perfect for crumbling right into the bowl of leftover frosting. Just one of the perks of being the baker!

So, here's what the cupcake looked like after I evened the top piece, filled the indentation with frosting and topped the rest of the bottom edge with frosting. Next came the full frosting.

It already looks good enough to eat, but don't stop there! It's time to embellish...

Happy Birthday, Kim! Due to a feverish little one, I didn't get to cut into this yummy confection with you and the gals. Hope it was a sweet as you!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Lovely Weather

So, what have you been doing with this lovely fall weather? We've been enjoying extra time on the swings, slides, dinners on the deck and pulling on sweaters in the mornings.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Hip, hip, hurra!

That's German for hip, hip, hooray! I'm super stoaked because my sweet, dear sister got a job offer at the elementary school on base where she and her hubby are stationed in Germany. They've been there just over a year, and she worked previously with youth until she had to come back to the U.S. suddenly last spring because of an illness. She's all better now and has been hoping to get back into the classroom where she feels at home! While she won't have her own classroom, she'll be working as a teacher's assistant in a Kindergarten class. She taught Kindergarten for two years here before moving to Germany. I think being back in her comfort zone, working with kids will go a long way to making Germany feel a lot less far away from home.

While I'm on the subject of my sister, she's recently embraced her inner-craftiness. I introduced her to Pinterest. And, while I'm one of those who lurks and constantly pins, she actually tries the stuff she finds. She recently gave her dining room wall a makeover. If you want to see, take a look. Since I have preschoolers that consume most of my patience, I won't be attempting a project like this anytime soon. I am, however, trying out my big cupcake pan for the first time. So, if it's not a complete disaster, maybe I'll let you know how it goes!

Happy Bday, dear old Dad

Saturday was my dad's birthday, and I missed a chance to say happy birthday in the blogosphere. So, I'll do so now! I love you, dad! Looking forward to celebrating with most of the family this weekend!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Play time

Our dear sweet friends the Hills have moved back to the shore for a while. So, we were thrilled that they could make some room for play time at the park on the trip home to Georgia this week. The weather has turned instantly to fall it seems this week, so it was a brisk picnic at the park, but the kiddos didn't seem to notice.

Don't you just love Caroline's face in this one? If you listen closely, you can hear that great deep belly laughter!

Sam was in usual form...marching to and fro as if he was as big as everyone else!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Game Day

On Saturdays in the fall we make the trek down to Athens to watch the Bulldogs play. Cheering for our alma mater is something Josh & I have always enjoyed doing together. Thankfully, my mom usually watches the boys for us. Last Saturday we had a couple of extra tickets and both the weather forecast and opponent looked favorable for an easy, I talked Josh into taking Jack with us to the game. I think he had fun, but I also think he was pretty bored about 65 percent of the time. All in all, I'm glad we took him. It will probably be a while before he goes back, and I'm not sure he'll really be asking to go back anytime soon. He asked if we could go home after the first quarter. The sun was pretty bright, and he was a little farther from the action than at the Raider games on Friday nights.

First things first, we had to get rid of Pop's extra tickets. Here Uncle John is teaching Jack the fine art of scalping tickets.

All ready for kickoff!

I guess when the dawgs score 59 points in the first 3 quarters, you shouldn't expect too much more action in the 4th quarter. But that doesn't stop a true fan from claiming the 4th for his team!

Saturday, September 17, 2011

All's Fair

Last Tuesday we took our annual pilgrimage to the county fair. Jack had a lot of fun last year, but this year seemed like even more joyful. Sam also got to get in on the fun! Even though it is definitely for the kids, Josh & I love the fair just as much. Mostly for the caramel apple was a messy delight!

Vroom, vroom!

Ready to see the top of the world from the ferris wheel


Josh swears Jack was enjoying this ride...I'm not so sure.

This smile might be deceiving. I'm getting old, people. I almost lost my lunch!

The carousel was a little more my speed. Not to mention Sam's favorite!

Sharing a sweet treat

The boys back on the carousel.

Told you it was Sam's favorite!

Finished with another trip round the speedway.

Until next year...

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Big Apple Scrapbook

I shared some reflections about 9/11 this weekend and posted a small snippet of a scrapbook I put together following mine and Josh's trip to New York that July of 2001. Here are a few more pages from the specific day we visited WTC. Ignore the attention to detail, stickers, etc. Obviously this was before I had kids.

Scrapbook cover sketch pays tribute to a NYC skyline that once was

How can you not?

From atop the pedestal at the Statue of Liberty. Who knew that skyline would change so dramatically in 2 short months?

We waited for about 45 minutes to ride to the "Top of the World." Well worth it.

And what else would two sweethearts do while touring lower Manhattan? Pose with the Heisman...obviously!

And, of course, finish the day at the Empire State Building and get engaged...ho hum!
 Basically, just an average summer Sunday touring New York City...nothing to see here, folks.

Sunday, September 11, 2011


This weekend, specifically Sunday, has been all about remembering and honoring. It has been impossible not to think back to what I was doing ten years ago on that fateful Tuesday, September 11, 2001.

Word of those horrible attacks on American soil first reached me while I was at work.

I was in my (second) senior year at UGA, preparing to graduate at the end of the semester. I was newly engaged to my sweetheart of three years. That Tuesday morning I was in between teaching classes at the gymnastics facility where I worked part-time. Morning classes were my favorite because it brought in the mommies and preschoolers. The director called me up after my first class to tell me what was going on. My first thought was disbelief. I shudder to think about it now, but I recall I may have even chuckled at how unbelievable it all seemed.

You see I had been standing atop one of those towers a mere two months earlier. Sunday, July 15, 2001 to be exact. A day that up until then had been remarkable for its ending atop the Empire State Building where I said yes to a boy down on one knee. But two months later, all I could think about was how that same day had started in lower Manhattan with a trip to see Lady Liberty and Top of the World, the observation deck atop the South tower.

I can still remember talking with the few moms that did show up for the next class. One who had been watching when the second plane hit. I recall her saying she went numb and became glued to the unbelieveable scene unfolding in front of her. She said she didn't want to move, but realized it wasn't good for her 3 year-old to sit and watch her that way, so she had decided to come to class.

My afternoon classes at UGA were cancelled as were so many other things that day and the rest of the week. We went from shock and disbelief to a nation in mourning. Eventually we rallied...united with hope. Not a second went by that we weren't hearing about another account of a last-minute voice mail or an account of a first-responder who dashed into the flames. Not a day went by that we weren't flooded with the thoughts of the thousands of spouses, children, parents and loved ones who had lost their beloved husbands, wives, fathers, mothers, sons, daughters...

I can't pinpoint when it happened, but at some point a day arrived when I didn't think about it. You can decide if that's good or bad. Sure it was time to heal, but for those families that lost loved ones that day of healing may have come too soon.

About four or five years later, I returned to the city that never sleeps. It was a sombering experience to walk around what was now called Ground Zero. What was once a bustling home to economy was now a big hole full of dirt, concrete and construction equipment.

At some point, I'm sure I'll have to explain what happened that day ten years ago to a pair of curious boys. It will be impossible not to recall where I was, what I was doing and what I first thought of as I struggle to give meaning to a senseless act of evil. But, thankfully, I don't have to have all the answers.

God’s voice thunders in marvelous ways; he does great things beyond our understanding. Job 37:5

Monday, September 5, 2011

perfect labor day

What a way to celebrate Labor Day! We knew rain was in the forecast for us today, and they weren't kidding. It has only let up a couple of times today. After a late night Saturday, it was nice to have a day to sort of catch up on rest and get some things done. But, other than some minor projects around the house, we enjoyed a pretty labor-free day. The boys did great for being cooped fact they never got out of their pajamas! Getting ready for bed tonight we already had PJs crossed off our list. Here's a few recent funnies:

Jack is playing with a toy telephone. He covers the receiver and whispers to me, "It's your parents." This alone was pretty funny, but I decided to quiz him a bit and asked him if he knew my parents' names. He said, "John & Lisa." (By the way, that is my brother & sister-in-law.) I corrected him: "Mema & Pop are my parents." To which he said, "Oh, yeah. They are your mom & dad."

While playing with his matchbox cars and lining them up along the bottom of a shelf, Jack explained to me that his cars were having a tea party. I said, "a tea party?" He said, "Yes, but it's a blue tea party. Pink tea parties are for girls."

Jack also recently informed me that he likes monsters, but girls don't. I said, "oh, yeah." He replied very matter of factly, "yes, girls like kitty kats."

Yesterday at church our children's minister passed along this scene. While she was sharing a story about Mary & Martha, she explained that they were sisters. Jack piped up and said, "I have a sister named Sam!"