New Etsy Shop

Friday, May 27, 2011

I've decided to convert my Etsy shop to something a little more useful. Come visit my new shop - Busy Hands Crochet!

Bride & Groom Monkeys Project

A monkey-obsessed church friend is getting married next month and I knew exactly what I was going to make for her shower. Only Anna would appreciate such a gift - and I honestly think she did. There's talks of these guys somehow finding a way on top of the wedding cake, now.

I totally felt like my grandmother while doing this project. Taking something simple and going to the farthest extent with it, personalizing every detail until it was just right, and giggling the whole time - which I did. Aren't you proud of me, Grams?

Fun With Totes Storyboard

Apple Braid Recipe

Monday, May 23, 2011

Stop drooling all over your keyboard...

Better not click on the picture to make it larger. It only makes it worse.

Not only is it beautiful, but it is out-of-this-world delicious! Don't let this braid fool you; it looks much harder than it really is. And the taste is completely unique. The site I found the recipe on likened it to somewhere between a doughnut and apple pie. Personally, I think it's a lot like a bready apple fritter. Slice it warm and put a dollop of vanilla ice cream on top and you'll be in heaven!

One suggestion - when it says to use an electric mixer, please use a dough hook or paddle. Otherwise your dough will climb up your mixer like some sort of frantic animal up a tree. FYI: I don't own a dough hook OR a paddle. *forced grin*

For the Apple Filling

3 medium-size Granny Smith apples
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
2 teaspoons lemon juice

For the Bread

2 1/2 cups bread flour
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon instant yeast (I prefer SAF Instant Yeast)
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup warm water
2 1/4 teaspoons vegetable oil

For the Glaze

1/3 cup confectioner’s sugar, sifted
5 teaspoons whipping cream
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Pinch of kosher salt
Pinch of nutmeg

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

2. Make the Apple Filling: Peel, core, and slice the apples into thin slices, then cut the slices in half. Toss the apple pieces with the sugar, cinnamon, and lemon juice. Bake the apple filling in an 8-inch square baking pan (or 9-inch pie tin) for 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside. (Note: Do not turn the oven off at this point. You will be using it to bake the finished braid.)

3. Make the Bread: While the apple filling is baking, begin preparing the bread dough. Mix the dry ingredients together in a large mixing bowl. Add the water and oil and mix the dough for 6 minutes using an electric mixer on medium-high speed.

4. Spray a smooth clean surface with cooking spray and turn the dough out onto the surface. Knead the dough briefly to give it a smooth surface (this will only take several turns of the dough to accomplish). Spray a rolling pin with cooking spray and roll the dough out into a large rectangle, about 12-inches by 16-inches in size. Lift onto a greased baking sheet.

5. Using a pizza cutter or sharp knife, cut each side into strips about 1-inch wide down each side, leaving the center third of the dough uncut. Spread the apple filling down the middle third of the dough. Fold strips of dough into the center, crisscrossing the filling by alternating strips from each side. Lightly press ends to seal, and straighten out the braid with your hands, if necessary, to straighten.

6. Bake the braid in the oven for 25 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove from the oven and let the braid cool for several minutes.

Make the Glaze

1. Whisk together the glaze ingredients in a small bowl until blended and smooth.

2. Brush the glaze in a thick coat over the entire surface of the apple braid while it is still cooling. Carefully transfer the braid to a cooling rack set on a baking sheet (to catch drips) to finish cooling and prevent the bottom of the braid from becoming soggy from sitting in any pooling glaze. Slice and serve.

Post-Rapture Billboard

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Swing and a miss. Come soon, Lord Jesus!

Sunny Days

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Since we were ultimately not raptured today (bummer), we decided to cut our losses and go to the park instead. 

 Daddy and Drew's favorite game - spin the baby till he pukes.

Just hangin'. 

Atleast Daddy was having fun... 

God has blessed me with some beautiful babies. =) 

The mythical Monkey Boy. 

Boys and dirt - they just go together.

After, we went to Eagles Downtown and enjoyed a fantastic lunch. It was, over all, a perfect day. I'm kind of glad we didn't get raptured.

FYI: I don't believe in fools who try and predict end times. God would not give such men the satisfaction. I look forward to the day the Lord calls me Home, but for now, I will live my life to the glory of Him who saved me.
"But concerning that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father only." - Matthew 24:36

Worry When it's Quiet...

Friday, May 20, 2011

It was quiet. Too quiet. I went to investigate and found Drew on Rob's bed, looking at a book. I was expecting FAR worse!

The State of Your Heart is the State of Your Home

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

“It is no abstract thing – the state of your heart is the state of your home. You cannot harbor resentment secretly toward your children and expect their hearts to be submissive and tender.  You cannot be greedy with your time and expect them to share their toys.  And perhaps most importantly, you cannot resist your opportunities to be corrected by God and expect them to receive correction from you.”
-Rachel Jankovic, Loving the Little Years
Ouch. That one stung a bit. If this is true, my home is hurtin' right now.

If you need me, I'll be in the corner. Yikes.

Painting Storyboard

Click to enlarge.

The boys (i.e. Matt and Rob) decided to do a fun little painting project. They painted two rocks and a  "R". Rob was ecstatic to be doing something fun with Daddy and is very proud of his work.

FYI: Evidently these aren't considered "collages" anymore. They are called "storyboards" in the photography world, because they do exactly what the name implies - tell a story. Love it!

Graduation Bear Project

Sunday, May 15, 2011

I made this adorable Graduation Bear for my brother-in-law, who graduates from high school in a couple weeks. I wish we could be there to see him graduate like we were planning, but Matt was unable to get the time off. This little guy will have to stand in our stead, I guess.

I also wish I would have found this pattern sooner for when Emily graduated. I'm not picking favorites - I promise!

Pattern: Lion Brand Website (free membership required)

One Cool Dude

An Answer to Prayer

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Just saw this post from our pastor on Facebook. I think my comment accurately conveys my thoughts on the matter:

The Women Who Shaped Me

Saturday, May 7, 2011

I've been showcasing the women who have played the role of "mother" to me in my life on Facebook. I wanted to share those on here as well. Whether I feel warm fuzzies over the fact that God thought I required more than one mom to raise me is questionable, but each and every one of these ladies have influenced me and shaped me into the mom I am today and I am blessed to have each and every one of them.
This is my birth mom. For selfish reasons, she left me with my grandparents at the age of three. She popped in and out my life until I was fifteen and I haven't seen her since. I don't know where she is or if she's even alive, but I forgive her and thank her. Unknowingly, she gave me a better life and put me on the path to where I am, and who I am, today. So, in a way, abandoning me was the best thing she ever did for me.

I pray and think of her daily, hoping that her eyes will be open to Truth and that she someday finds peace, since her life has been anything but peaceful.

 This is my grandmother, who sacrificed her empty nest for one more. Grandparents shouldn't have to raise their grandchildren, but I'm grateful that she willing and able to for my sake. She was such a fun grandma and I have many fond memories of sitting with her at her piano as she played and building a house out of lawn mower boxes in the store.

 This is my aunt, who helped raise me. When I was 15, I moved to Everett, WA with her, where our relationship really started to bloom. It was a matter of survival for us over there, so we had to stick together, but we also had a lot of fun together as our bond grew. I'm proud to consider her my Mama, when she didn't have to be.

And yes - I was a filthy child. If you're a farm kid, you understand.

 This is my step-mom. Despite the sensitive situation of me meeting my dad, she accepted me with open arms from day one. I took her for granted for many years, but in my adult life, when no one else seemed to care, she was there for me. It was then I started to see her as much more than just my dad's wife. She is so much more than my step-mom. She's my mom, my sister, and my best friend. She has been there for me more times than I can count and she's gone above and beyond her title. She's an immense blessing in our lives. 

Motherhood is not for the faint of heart - whether you come by it naturally or by extraordinary circumstances. It will hurt you, drain you, break you, stretch you, and overall change you for the rest of your life. But scars do heal and people grow, and what you end up with is this incredible God-given chance of a lifetime; a chance to carry, deliver, love, and bond with these simple creations that were made just for you by God's own hand. They demand everything from you - your heart, your mind, your soul, but the reward is great; unconditional love from a child, who's whole tiny world revolves around you.

After the diapers have been changed, the messes cleaned up, and the balls of energy are finally asleep, the once-forgotten joys of the day shine through despite the stresses and tears. Sloppy kisses, pure giggles, and untainted affection from our children is what we thrive on. It's what makes our jobs worth it at the end of the day.

Thank you to those women who were willing to sacrifice part of themselves for me.

The Gospel in Four Minutes

Friday, May 6, 2011

"...'The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.'" - Mark 1:15

Robby Quotes

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

If you've never been around him for more than five minutes, I'll just tell you - Rob can be a crack up without even trying. I guess most parents would say that about their kids, but I feel my oldest son is especially comical.

I set out to sift through my past Facebook statuses (I love to share the hilarity) to find all the funny/cute things Rob has said since he started talking (obviously) to today. Here's a list of my favorites so far:


Matt just told Robby, "Tomorrow, maybe we'll go to the Cat dealership and look at dumptrucks." Without skipping a beat, Robby replies, "MEOW!!" 1/22/10

I think Robby and I had our first actual conversation. It went like this - Rob: "Hey Mama!" Me: "What?" Rob: "Hi!" 1/27/10

Me: "Robby, say 'grandpa'." Robby: "Mama." Me: "No, 'grand-pa'." Robby: "Ma-ma." Me: "Gr-and-pa." Robby: *in patronizingly-slow tone* "Maa-maa." 2/3/10

Matt: "Hey Rob! What does Mama say?" Rob: "Ooh-ooh-ee! Moo!" 6/16/10

Matt just broke out the squirt gun for Rob to play with outside. Matt asked him, "Do you want to squirt Daddy?" Rob replies, "Squirt Mama!" 6/27/10

Rob: "Oh, Mama! That train!" Me: "Yeah, it is a train. Good job." Rob: "Hoo hoo (train noise)." 7/2/10

Matt: "We have to get ready, go bye-byes, and do stuff." Rob: "Uh-huh. Bye-bye and stuff." 7/3/10

Backstory: Our lawns are mowed on Tuesdays. Me: "Is there a guy out there weed-whacking?" Rob: "Guy out there whackin'!" 7/13/10

While talking to the toaster, prompted by me, in the cutest voice imaginable. Rob: "Come out, waffles. I want to eat you!" 7/14/10

I've been trying to emphasize different sounds so Rob can learn how to say certain words correctly. He's all of a sudden a literalist because he just came up to me asking for "fffffffff-ruit 'nacks" (fruit snacks). 8/4/10

Robby all of a sudden just yelled, "I'M SPECIAL!!" - should I worry? I mean, after I stop laughing? 8/4/10

Robby just informed us that he's "tired of Drew" and wanted him to go "night-nights". 8/15/10

Matt: "Don't say "pretty" unless you're talking about Mama. She's pretty. Do you think Mama's pretty?" Rob: "No. *giggle*" From the mouths of babes! 8/16/10

Rob tries so hard to be big. While changing his diaper, I told him, "Now, don't cry. You're a big boy." He had a bit of a rash, so he told me, "Hurt bad. Gonna cry, Mama." It broke my heart. You could tell he was trying so hard to hold back the tears, but just couldn't contain himself anymore. Poor kid. 8/23/10

I guess it's just a cute Robby day. While trying to "decide" what to "write" with his crayons, he put the crayon to his mouth, said, "Hmm...hmm...", pointed one little index finger into the air as if an thought had come to him, and continued "writing". I about died laughing - I do that while I'm writing lists! 8/23/10

Robby is taking care of me for a change. I'm laying on the couch and he came over to me, rubbed my hair, kissed my cheek, and then said, "Feel better." What a sweetie. 10/11/10

Rob: "It's a mouse!" Me: "Actually, it's supposed to be a butterfly." Rob: "Butterfly? Are you kidding?!" 10/16/10

What have I created? Rob was given an old, broken camera this weekend and now he's following me around saying, "Smile! Cheese! Mama, smile! Cheese! Mama!" If there was such a thing as karma... 10/25/10

Rob referred to pooping on the potty as "making brown" today. I about died. Excuse the bathroom humor, but too funny not to share. 10/26/10

Rob, evidently, is a literalist. He's holding the phone book to his ear and saying, "Hello? Anyone there? Hello?" 11/5/10

I survived my first Thanksgiving dinner. The only thing on the menu that didn't turn out was the Egg Nog Cream Pie. (It made for dang good pudding, though.) Favorite line today: In the middle of dinner, Robby all of sudden exclaims, "Oh! I farted!" Yeah...great memories were made. :) 11/25/10

Favorite line from the dinner table: When seeing chicken strips on his plate, Robby exclaimed, "Oh, chickens!" 11/28/10

As I'm stirring my coffee this morning, Rob comes up to me and says, "Clean Mama...very messy," and starts scrubbing away at my pant leg with a diaper wipe. Hmm. 12/16/10

I gave Rob a potato chip and he tells me, "Hershey wants one too, Mama." I'm thinking, "This kid's a con artist, now," but then he tells me, after pretending to feed the chip to his teddy bear, "Here you go, Mama. You can have it. Hershey's done." 12/21/10

Matt just told Rob that if he (Rob) made me mad, I would eat him. Rob then came over to me, got right up in my face, and said, "Don't eat me, Mama!" 12/28/10

Listening to Rob talk about his toys "freaking out". Example: "Oh no! Giraffe is freakin' out! Now dinosaur is freakin' out!" 1/6/11

Random Robby Thought: "God made lots of giraffes and Jesus loves lions." 2/3/11

Rob made up his own song: "I'm so haaapppyyy, I'm so spppeeeccciiiaaalll, I'm so haaapppyyy, I'm so spppeeeccciiiaaalll..." 3/3/11

I repeated a made-up word Rob came up with. He shook his little head and said, "You don't know what you're talking about, Mama." 3/10/11

One of the episodes of Blue's Clues, Season 4 on Netflix was dubbed over in Spanish for some reason. All the rest of them are in English. Rob keeps cracking up, saying that Joe is "talking crazy". 3/25/11

We're watching the new Alice In Wonderland and when the Red Queen came up, Rob's all, "Oh, McDonald's!" (Ronald McDonald) 3/30/11

After setting Rob's breakfast in front of him this morning, I said, "Now, eat, drink, and be merry!" He looks at me and says, "I'm not Mary! I'm Robby!" Literalist. 4/12/11

According to Rob, Old McDonald had a zebra. Who knew? 4/12/11

Rob, while standing on a pillow, tells me, "Look! I'm big now! Can I have a bicycle for my birthday, now?" 4/18/11

Rob requested eggs, a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, cereal, milk with chlorophyll, and a pickle for breakfast. 4/20/11

Me: "Let me go in the kitchen to see if I can scare up some food for breakfast." Rob (running after me): "I wanna scare the food, too!" 4/26/11

Rob's watching Hansel and Gretel on Super Why. When the witch slammed the door, Rob said, "She needs to shut it quietly so she doesn't wake her witch brother!" 5/3/11

It's quite humbling to have a little voice asking you at key moments, "Hey, Mama? You remember the cross?" 5/3/11

Rob: "Hear the ocean, Mama?" Me: "No, that's the dishwasher." Rob: "Oh." 5/4/11


Rob - Twin Falls, Idaho - 2011

He thinks it's cool to wear glasses, since both Matt and myself (obviously) wear them. We'll see how long that lasts, right? We took an old pair of mine, took out the lenses, and now he has his very own pair of glasses. He claims he can "see better", now.

Springtime Stroll

Monday, May 2, 2011

Click to enlarge.

Yes. Another collage. I love 'em. They help tell a story. So yeah.

Lots of pictures of that red-hatted kid. You'd think I was playing favorites or something. *shrugs*

We decided to soak in the beautiful weather (while it lasts!) by taking a stroll through the College of Southern Idaho's campus this evening. It's so lovely there in the spring and the warm air was inviting - since we've been begging for it all winter! C'mon! It's May already! Can we PLEASE have some sunny (without wind) days?! Is that so much to ask?

My ABSOLUTE favorite:
I'm one blessed woman. :)

Here's some other shots I took. I just can't help myself when it comes to flowers. And surprise, surprise - it's in collage form.

You can see them individually by visiting my photostream.
Click to enlarge.

Sidewalk Chalk

Click to enlarge.

Outside with chalk. These were taken awhile ago. I forgot about them, of course.
FYI: Rob's super secret superhero name is Robby Guy. Don't tell anyone. :)

The BEST Chocolate Cake & Frosting I've Ever Had

Sunday, May 1, 2011

I keep forgetting to post this. Please forgive my brain-deadness.

I came across this recipe awhile ago, but didn't want the fuss of cutting out the cakes and whatnot. So, I decided just to make a 9x13 sheet cake and frost it (just like all my childhood birthday cakes were - I didn't know round, multi-layered cakes existed). Oh. My. Word. Seriously - this will be the absolute BEST cake and frosting you'll ever have. End of story. There. I said it. So stop asking. And yes - this whole cake has four sticks of butter in it. Shut up, eat it, and smile because it's so dang good. Your grandma would have.

This recipe comes from The Pioneer Woman. Some of her comments the whipping of the frosting process amused me greatly.

The Best Chocolate Sheet Cake. Ever.

2 cups Flour
2 cups Sugar
¼ teaspoons Salt
4 Tablespoons (heaping) Cocoa
2 sticks Butter
1 cup Boiling Water
½ cups Buttermilk
2 whole Beaten Eggs
1 teaspoon Baking Soda
1 teaspoon Vanilla

In a mixing bowl, combine flour, sugar, and salt.

In a saucepan, melt butter. Add cocoa. Stir together.
Add boiling water, allow mixture to boil for 30 seconds, then turn off heat. Pour over flour mixture, and stir lightly to cool.

In a measuring cup, pour the buttermilk and add beaten eggs, baking soda, and vanilla. Stir buttermilk mixture into butter/chocolate mixture. Pour into sheet cake pan and bake at 350-degrees for 20 minutes.

That’s the Best Frosting I’ve Ever Had

5 Tablespoons Flour
1 cup Milk
1 teaspoon Vanilla
1 cup Butter
1 cup Granulated Sugar (not Powdered Sugar!)

In a small saucepan, whisk flour into milk and heat, stirring constantly, until it thickens. You want it to be very thick, thicker than cake mix, more like a brownie mix is. Remove from heat and let it cool to room temperature. (If I’m in a hurry, I place the saucepan over ice in the sink for about 10 minutes or so until the mixture cools.) It must be completely cool before you use it in the next step. Stir in vanilla.

While the mixture is cooling, cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. You don’t want any sugar graininess left. Then add the completely cooled milk/flour/vanilla mixture and beat the living daylights out of it. If it looks separated, you haven’t beaten it enough! Beat it until it all combines and resembles whipped cream.

Grab a spoon and taste this wonderful goodness. If there is any left after your taste test, spread it on a cooled chocolate cake.

Melt in Your Mouth Lemon Bars Recipe

I stumbled across these on Just A Pinch (darn you Facebook ads!). Driven by my sweet tooth and love for citrusy-things, I just had to make these. By chance, I was given some lemons from a family-owned tree from San Diego. Oh, happy occurrence. :)

First off - YUM. Second, although they are seriously delicious, they do require some fine-tuning, I think. While making the frosting, I substituted one of the tablespoons of cold water for lemon juice. While it helped, these bars still lacked that tangy bite I had my mouth very ready for. I saw a comment below the recipe suggesting some lemon zest, so I may try that next time. I might cut out the water in the frosting all together and just use lemon juice, too. They just need to be more...lemony. Also, I'd like to go on the record - my oven is retarded. Despite cooking for the correct time at the correct temperature, it caramelized the edges. Not a huge deal, as these bars still live up to their "melt-in-your-mouth" status, but still a shame.

Melt in Your Mouth Lemon Bars

2 c flour
1 c butter softened (no substituting)
1/2 c powdered sugar

4 eggs (slightly beaten)
2 c sugar
4 Tbsp flour
6 Tbsp lemon juice

1/2 c butter (softened)
1 c powdered sugar
1 tsp milk


And Again...

An editorial this time. Atleast they were nice. Ish.
I love how they called him "reverend". He's so not a reverend. He's a pastor. There is a difference.