Monster Birthday Cake

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Matt's "Monster Birthday Cake". Chocolate fudge cake with cherry-flavored frosting and dairy-free to boot. It was meant to look like a green monster with blue warts. Rob chose the theme and the colors for Daddy's cake. (Disclaimer: Cake decorator, I am not.)

Here's the recipe for the fantastic dairy-free frosting:

Authentic No Refrigeration Bakery Frosting/Icing

2 cups shortening
1/2 cup non-dairy powdered coffee creamer ( such as Coffee Mate)
1/2 teaspoon almond extract ( can use more to taste)
1/4-1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 (32 ounce) packages confectioners' sugar, sifted
1/2-3/4 cup water
food coloring, use color of choice

1. In a large mixing bowl beat the shortening creamer and extracts.
2. Gradually beat in the confectioners sugar.
3. Add in enough water (starting with almost 1/2 cup) until frosting reaches desired consistency.
4. Add in food coloring until the desired shade is achieved.

[Edit] Further "research" has shown that this frosting is incredibly sugary. Okay, let's be honest. Sickeningly sugary. I have another prospect in the works. I will let you know how that goes.

Answer to Prayer & Update

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Photowalk - Twin Falls, Idaho - 2010I want to testify to God's amazing answer to prayer.

Remember how in my last post I had said that I was concerned about making rent next month? I took my hard-learned lessons from late and applied some serious prayer, completely handing it over to the Lord. Next thing I know, my father-in-law contacts us and said they were ready to order prints from Nate's senior shoot. Then, my aunt decided to sell our dead Taurus at her place and found a buyer within the day. Between the two, we now have an extra $300+ to aid Matt's anticipated paycheck. That only could have been God because both were quite unexpected and unprompted! How cool is that? At this point, I want to add my disclaimer. I do not condone or believe in Prosperity Theology. God is not an ATM. I am merely testifying to God's answer to prayer in my life and how He continues to provide for this little family without fail. Without Him, we would have sunk many times over by now, and not just monetarily!

I also wanted to update on Rob's dairy-freeness. After a couple weeks of no dairy, it still remained hit and miss with his stomach issues. Just the other night, as we were all sitting at the dinner table, Matt and I had a "duh" moment. Rob's been eating a lot of sandwiches lately (we're still trying to figure this alternative menu), but we never once explored the possibility that bread, of all things, had dairy in it! Ugh! Dummies! So, Matt went to the store last night and started scouring labels. He found some local bread that *seemed* dairy-free, so we're praying for the best.

On top of everything else, we're fighting the creepin' crud right now. Rob has it the worst. Poor guy has croup, I think, and has had to spend the last couple of nights out on the couch with the humidifier so he won't wake his brother. The rest of us just kind of feel underline cruddy and Matt and I are loading up on vitamins. We're hoping everyone feels a little better so we can celebrate Matt's birthday tomorrow. Blah.

Other than that, things are still stressful and tough, but we're learning to solely rely on God. It's an incredibly hard lesson to learn! Darn you, pride!

Now, I'll leave you with an awesome quote a friend from Facebook posted today:

‎"If you're experiencing a trial right now, recognize its ultimate outcome: a deeper dependence upon God and gratefulness for your victory in Christ. There can be no victory where there is no combat." -Richard Sibbes

Weathering the Storm

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

As I said in my New Year's post, things haven't been the easiest for us during the past year. 2011, so far, hasn't been much different. In a way, things have gotten worse.

The boys are growing and presenting new sides of their personalities that has really stretched Matt and I as parents lately. Rob has become increasingly more defiant in a lot of areas. He's becoming his own little person and he wants to do things *his* way. This usually conflicts with what the rest of us would like, of course. We have also seen his snotty, nasty side rear it's ugly head quite frequently. We are determined to remain consistent with discipline, guidance, and love, but it gets wearing sometimes. Drew is still moody and is constantly into everything, which makes doing anything other than watching him 24/7 incredibly difficult. I'd contain him in his crib or playpen, but he'd scream bloody murder. So, I get up to chase him a bajillon times while the dishes sit for another day. Frustrating. Rob and Drew very much have a love/hate relationship. They either are playing and laughing with one another or they're screaming at each other. Typical, I suppose, but still hard to get used to.

For the past two or three paychecks, we've been pretty tight because of all the holidays (i.e. Christmas, New Year's, and Martin Luther King Day) Matt has had off. His holidays are paid, but he loses his overtime to make up for the difference, cutting his checks very short. We were barely scraping by before, but now we're hurting. Between short checks and many out-of-the-ordinary expenses, I'm praying for a miracle that we can somehow pay our rent next month, let alone cover all our bills. Also, we've noticed our food bill growing with our boys (and the price increase of food in general). Mixed with Rob's new special dairy-free diet and having to buy extra formula for Drew, we have been spending more on groceries than our budget allows, making things even tighter. Food stamps might be in our near future. My pride hates that idea and hates to admit it.

My depression continues. I find it difficult to get out of bed and face my day sometimes and I've stopped wanting to go to church. I don't want people to see me like this and ask questions. It's embarrassing. More pride. I kept it hidden as best I could for a long time, but now I've been forced to seek help, if only just to be able to function on a day-to-day basis. God has sent me some spectacular people (two in particular - my husband being one of them) to help me get on my feet again. It's been incredibly hard to subdue my pride (there's that pride again!) in order to accept help and let people in to my "crazy bubble". Trust is not one of my strong points. But through this, I'm seeing my marriage become stronger and the potential for a close friendship to form. It's still scary to walk through unfamiliar and uncomfortable terrain.

We will conquer this storm, but only through Christ, who has redeemed us. Only God has the strength to endure these hardships. We are only weak vessels that will break on our own. May God grant us the faith to make it through to see the other side of these trials. All for our good and His glory. Prayers appreciated.


Why are hooded towels so stinkin' cute?

Christmas Recipes

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

As promised, here are the recipes for the goodies I made for Christmas. I'm just going to cheat and post the links to the recipes...because I'm lazy. Enjoy!

Candy Cane Kiss Cookies
We had to use Mint Truffle Kisses because we couldn't find the Candy Cane ones, but they were still awesome!

Apple Cider Caramels
Do not fear candy! If I can make these, anyone can!

Oreo Cookie Balls
CAUTION: These little things are insanely addictive! We used Milk Chocolate Almond Bark instead of White Chocolate. Still A-W-E-S-O-M-E!

Oatmeal Raisin Cookies
An old favorite in our household growing up.

Root Beer Float Cookies
I never got around to making these, but they sound really good.

Drew at Nine Months

I'm just going to stop apologizing for stuff being late. Seriously. Just expect it.

Nine months? Really? Given, it's been a really tough nine months, but the worst seems to be behind us, thankfully.

This little boy is a terror. Adorable, but a terror. We've compared him to a plague of locusts on more than one occasion, in that he'll move from item to item in a room, terrorize/chew/drool/yell at it, and then move on to the next item. It's pretty much his favorite thing to do besides eating, which he does just as obnoxiously sometimes. He's getting increasingly more nimble with his crawling and pulling up, so he's into everything, high and low. Not walking yet, but definitely getting brave with his cruising and standing. He also likes to bite toes when the victim isn't paying attention (speaking from first-hand experience). At his last doctor's appointment, he tipped the scales at 21 lbs. and measured 28 in. tall. Still a big boy!

We ask for prayers for us as parents and for our boys. We have had some new curve balls thrown our way as of late. We're still battling Rob's tummy issues and have taken him completely off dairy, thinking that he might be lactose intolerant. We've gone for almost two weeks now with little change, so we're asking for prayer for guidance and discernment on the next step, which probably will be cutting out wheat. We're dreading this. As for Drew, we're still battling his clogged tear duct. His worthless pediatrician prescribed him ridiculously-expensive (and ridiculously-tiny amount) of eye drops and referred us to an ophthalmologist, which isn't covered very well by our insurance. We were forced to forgo the drops (because it was either the drops or diapers) and we're still mulling over the specialist (he wanted to send us to one in Boise - I laughed and told him to find one in Twin). I think I would like to have a second opinion on the matter because I really don't care for this pediatrician. Let's just say he's one of those that almost always pushes some sort of prescription when we're in there for Well Baby Checkups - no matter what. And it isn't reassuring when you ask the doctor if the prescription is expensive, he laughs and says, "We have a coupon!" He just doesn't get it. We. Have. No. Money. Irritating. Please pray for Drew and for us as we try to figure out what's best to do for him.

*sighs* 2011 has GOT to be better than 2010...right?