Friday Five

Instead of doing my week in review, I’m going to try to pick 5 things from the week to highlight. Maybe it will make posting easier for me. (Fingers crossed.)

#1 – We started back to school this week, but it was a short one due to the holiday. We took advantage of having Jerm here for several extra days and went to one of the local aquariums. We were disappointed that the octopus was asleep, but enjoyed the rays, sharks, and jellyfish. (Excuse the extremely poor picture quality. I think I was the only one in the entire place who obeyed the no flash signs posted everywhere. Although I doubt flash would have made them better.)

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#2 – Susannah’s been very much enjoying getting gifts and cards in the mail this week. She thinks birthdays are awesome. (I hope to post about her party soon!)

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#3 – The girls have already completed enough summer reading to earn a free book from Barnes & Noble, so we took them to pick out their prize yesterday. Susannah also had a giftcard from grammie and poppy and she wants me to inform everyone that she picked out:
a) a princess sticker book where she can create royal outfits (this is what was on her list to find)
b) a joke book (crucial to 8 year olds everwhere)
c) The Little Princess (my suggestion)

Bookstores are a dangerous place for me; I always find myself scribbling notes and taking photos and in general, coveting. Because even though I already own a copy of Little Women, that cover.

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#4 – Jerm’s dad (aka Papa Bear) is doing so much better. It’s a for real, honest-to-goodness miracle. They moved him to a rehab place this week and he’s working on building some strength back up, but it’s just amazing that he’s himself, you know? No photos, because I’m fairly certain that he doesn’t want pictures floating around of him in a hospital gown, but the difference is remarkable.

#5 – Susannah came up with this little melody on her own. Now if only I could get her to practice what she’s supposed to be learning…

 

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May/June Goals Update

Wow, peoples, it’s July. May and June were all kinds of weird and crazy, with huge chunks of time spent at the hospital. (We’ve learned that hospital waiting rooms are a strange time warp where you can lose hours and days at a time without even realizing it.) Luckily, I had scheduled June off from school already, so I had a little bit more time to catch up on all the stuff I was behind on.

I’m doing well on my reading goals, am a little ahead even. I’m one book behind with the girls read-alouds, but I think we’ll catch up pretty quickly. We just started Daddy Long Legs, one of my old favorites. Susannah’s been reading everything she can get her hands on lately (remind you of anyone, mom?) and she’s already blazed through several of the books I had picked out to read together so I’m looking for suggestions for good read-alouds. (Not Beverly Cleary, though. I’m not a fan.) Here’s the stack I’m currently working on/about to start.

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I’m a little behind on my Documented Faith journal, but not by much, and I’m working to catch up on it. I started using my Documented Life journal again, but without the weekly prompts. Instead I’m using it however I want for personal pages. I only sewed a couple of banners for a friend in May, but I’m still counting it since I did use the machine. And June’s project was mermaid tales for the girls at Susannahs party.

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My biggest accomplishment was finallllly getting the bathroom walls and cabinets repainted, which has been on my to-do list for several years now. Actually, other than a little work left on the trim, our floors are finally finished and we are so happy to be done. Now we can start looking for another house and start all over again. :)

Although I haven’t kept up with all of the goals I set for myself, I’m pretty okay with the progress I’ve made the first half of the year. I’ll try to update every few months to keep myself accountable.

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Chocolate, Strawberry, and Nutella Cake

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You guys, it has been forever since I’ve posted a recipe on here, but this one is worth passing along to you. I found it on the Pioneer Woman’s website, though, so OF COURSE it’s amazing. I don’t think she’s capable of making anything that’s not totally drool-worthy.

And this cake definitely falls into that category.

Chocolate Strawberry Nutella Cake

CAKE:

  • 2 sticks Butter
  • 4 Tablespoons (heaping) Cocoa Powder
  • 1 cup Boiling Water
  • 2 cups Flour
  • 2 cups Sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon Salt
  • 1/2 cup Buttermilk
  • 2 whole Eggs
  • 1 teaspoon Baking Soda
  • 1 teaspoon Vanilla
  • 1-1/2 cup Nutella

STRAWBERRIES:

  • 2 pints Strawberries, Hulled And Sliced
  • 1/4 cup Sugar
  • 1 teaspoon Vanilla

WHIPPED CREAM:

  • 2 cups Heavy Cream
  • 1/2 cup Powdered Sugar

Line two 9″ round pans with parchment paper, then coat with non-stick spray.
Melt the butter in a medium saucepan, then stir in the cocoa until smooth.
Add the boiling water, let bubble for 20 seconds, then remove from heat.
In a separate bowl, mix together buttermilk, baking soda, eggs, and vanilla. Set aside.
Mix together sugar, flour, and salt, then add in the chocolate mixture.
Pour in buttermilk mixture and stir until combined.
Pour into pans and bake at 350 for 17-20 minutes.
Remove from pans and let cool completely.

While they’re cooling, add the sugar and vanilla to the strawberries, and let them set for 15 minutes, then drain the excess juice.
Meanwhile, whip the powdered sugar with the heavy cream.

To assemble, turn one cake upside down on platter, spread half of the Nutella on it, then add half of the whipping cream, followed by half of the strawberries. Repeat for the second layer and keep chilled until ready to serve.

Yall. This cake is so good. The cake is dense, almost like a brownie, and the strawberries and cream make it a perfect summertime dessert. And helloooooo, Nutella.

Make yourself one, and do it soon. You’re welcome.

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On dads

I’ve had dad’s on the mind lately and since Father’s Day is tomorrow I thought I’d write about my two for a little bit.

My dad is pretty awesome.
Growing up, I didn’t always respect him the way I should have.
I rarely understood his point of view.
I was a jerk to him on more than one occasion.
I wish I could take all of that back, but I can’t, and in a weird sort of way, I’m glad.
All of my stupidity in my growing-up years taught me to appreciate his wisdom and instruction.
He’s not a phone guy so I rarely get to talk to him (let’s be real, I’m not much of a phone girl myself), but I love seeing him when I get the chance.
I enjoy sitting and talking to him and am always amazed by how much he knows about the Bible.
He’s one of my heroes and I love him.
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My other dad I gained through marriage.
He’s awesome, too, and I get how lucky I am to have two great dads in my life.
Having my father-in-law close by made moving away from my family a little easier.
He’s a great listener and he also gives excellent advice.
I love his stories and our Saturday night BBQ’s.
He’s been in the ICU for exactly five weeks now and it’s been really hard coming so close to losing him.
His absence has left a huge hole in our family and we’re all so thankful for his (excruciatingly slow) recovery.
We have hope that he’ll be released to a rehab facility in the next week and back home again soon.
I love him; he’s the best father-in-law/second dad I could ever ask for.
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Happy Fathers Day, dads!

Week in Review: May 31-June 6

So I’ll start with the happiest news first: my father-in-law, although still in the ICU, is doing much, much better than he was a week ago. We’re all so happy to see him waking up a little and responding to familiar faces and are anxious to see further improvement this coming week.

Next happy news: it FINALLY stopped raining so the flooding and ridiculous record-setting seems to be behind us. I was able to mow a few days ago since Lake Lewis had finally disappeared from our backyard.  It was a little boggy still and I saw at least 6 frogs, 1 snake, and countless spiders running from the mower.  It was a little traumatic for me, especially the spiders, but now we actually have a yard again. So that’s nice.

We enjoyed the first week of our mini-break immensely, spending a lot of time outside (it’s already really hot, but we can’t resist the sunshine after all the storms lately) taking walks, going to the park, etc.  We baked monster cookies, worked on art journals, played all kinds of games, made up plays, and enjoyed each others company.

I’ve been without a vehicle so we’ve had to walk or bike everywhere we want to go, which has actually been kind of nice. Forces us to get out and exercise every day whether we feel like it or not. The girls had earned some chore money so we walked down to Dollar Tree (their fave store) and Susannah decided on the way there that she needed some shades. She found the perfect pair…check her coolness out.

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Oh, and Mad bought party streamers. Don’t ask, cause I don’t know. Kids buy weird stuff. I have a sneaking suspicion that it has something to do with her determination to throw the cat a birthday party…

We had fun at our homeschool group’s field day on Friday. It was scorching hot but the girls played all the games, made friends, and loved their goody bags. I wish I was more like Madeline. She just plops herself down in the middle of a group and starts talking. Friendliest kid ever. Susannah is a little more shy, but she always ends up with at least one or two kids she hangs out with.

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Not a whole lot else has been going on. A lot of our spare time has been spent at the hospital and we’re trying to finish our last bathroom remodel.  Jerm just has a tiny bit left on the floor and I need to finish painting, but that should happen this week sometime.  We’re going to be so happy to have everything finally done.

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May in Review

Guys, I don’t even know where this month has gone. Every week I have plans for posting more frequently on here and then the week actually happens and I find myself failing miserably, most of the time without blogging at all.

We’ve stayed busy with school, pushing pretty hard to make it to a good stopping point before taking June off. Because of that, we’ve forgone most of the projects and extra activities that we were doing at the first of the year. Hopefully we’ll get to start all that back up in August when we start the new school year, cause the girls miss them a lot. I’m pretty much just tired and ready for a break at this point, so June will be glorious.

The girls and I had a date and saw Cinderella. We raaaarely go to the theater (this was only their second time) so it was a treat for all of us.  They especially enjoyed the Frozen short at the beginning…like every other little girl in America, I’m sure. I just endured that part (insert eye roll here).

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Nice glowy eyes, right?

I looked out the window one day and had to snap a photo of Susannah reading a story to Madeline. They stayed like this for at least an hour and it made me so stinkin happy.

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Susannah started talking about swap meets all of a sudden and was super obsessed with them, so we had our very own with handmade items. It was a blast and in typical Susannah-overachiever fashion, she made about a zillion more than everybody else. She’s such a creative little soul. And in typical Madline fashion, she lost all of hers and had to scrounge something together at the last minute.  She kills me.

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The past week has been spent almost entirely at the hospital, since my dad-in-law is in the ICU. He’s still not recovered, but is a more stable than he was, which we’re very thankful for.  It was a very long, scary week for the family, and we’re all glad it’s behind us and things are looking more hopeful now. Heather came up for a few days to watch the girls for me and was a huge help to us.

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I’ve got more to share, and a few books to review and fun mail stuff and even a few projects, so hopefully I can get my act together a little better and it won’t be a month before I get on here again.

Thanks for all the prayers and thoughts many of you have sent our way this past week, it means so much to the whole fam.

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March/April Goals Update

I realized now that we’re a third of the way through the year I should re-evaluate my goals and see what I need to work on. So here goes.

I’m mostly on track with my reading goals. My goal is 4-5 books per month, including one from my to-read shelf and one e-book, and so far I’m only about a book behind. The girls and I are still reading a monthly book together, which is all I can manage in addition to all the reading we do in school. I finally started going through my craft books and picked one to work on for the month, but since it’s the first one of the year this goal is pretty much a fail so far.

I didn’t end up sewing anything in March, but did make Susannah a little dress in April.  Easter Dresses

I haven’t touched my Project Life album all year, although I still have hopes of getting around to doing it eventually. I’ve got to find a system that works for me, because I haven’t organized my photos since I got married almost 10 years ago. I don’t know why, exactly, because I used to love making albums.
The girls and I have been working on art projects off an on, but not as regularly as I want, so I need to make that more of a priority. Piano lessons are going a little better and I’m (mostly) remembering to have the girls practice.
I’ve kept up with my Documented Faith art journal, but completely gave up the Documented Life journal. It was too hard to keep up with both of them every week and I wasn’t interested in the prompts.

Our 5K was rescheduled for October and I haven’t started any yoga yet (much to Susannah’s chagrin), but hope to this week. Jerm is working on the last bathroom floor and I’ll be re-painting before we put everything back in, which means I’ll be totally done with all the re-painting. At least until we get the house ready to rent and I have to convert everything back to white.  We’re going to be so happy to have all the floor stuff done for good.

I think that pretty much covers it. How are your yearly goals coming along? Are there any that you’ve given up? Which ones are you enjoying?