Friday, March 29, 2013


Today I took the children for a little Spring Photo Shoot.




We leave tomorrow morning for an Easter celebration with our family and a little Spring break vacation.
All day my mind has been racing with all that this day and this weekend means for one
who has entrusted their life to Jesus Christ.
There really aren't words.
I'm overwhelmed.
I'm grateful.
I'm humbled.
My whole entire life in hinged on this point in history.
I hope you have a wonderful Easter celebrating our Risen Savior!

Monday, March 25, 2013

Wonder Twin Power

About 7 1/2 years ago my husband and I were up in the mountains, speaking at a college retreat.  I was about 3 months pregnant with the twins and we had not yet told anyone.
I was also very sick!
One night we were asked to help serve communion to the students and I'll never forget 2 very special ladies that came up to us.  They were beautiful, sweet and identical twins!
I got very emotional, knowing that 2 tiny babies were growing inside of me at that very moment!
The next day I found them at meal time and asked they a lot of questions about being twins!  I was thrilled that I might have 2 little girls just as lovely as them one day!
About 3 years later we were at The Getty in Los Angeles for a family concert on the lawn.  It was a fun time with families, enjoying kiddo music!  As we left the museum after the concert, a family walking out in front of us kept turning around to look at us.  I didn't think much of it - by this time I was used to people looks at us with the twins.
Then one girl said, "Did you speak at the Big Bear Retreat a few years ago?"
It was those twin girls and their family!  I was so excited to introduce them to our twins and let them in on the secret I kept at that retreat!
What are the odds?
Two years later... guess who was my son's Sunday school teachers?  Those amazing twin girls!!
I just knew they were meant to be in our lives as God had crossed our paths time and again!
These young women are magical!  No seriously - they are!
They not only look like Disney princesses, but they actually worked as characters at The Magic Kingdom and even lived on Mickey's Cruise Ship for a season!
They are teachers.
They love children.
And best of all, they love Jesus!
Now we have the joy of running into them almost every Sunday and I often jokingly ask them to give my girls "twin lessons."  I want so badly for my girls to be as close as they are!  They laugh at me!
We talk about Downton Abbey, children and all things Disney.
I was stunned to find out that Miss Beth had seen the newest Tinker Bell movie - Secret of the Wings, but Miss Kate had not!  A girlie movie date was in order!
Oh, did you know that in that movie Tinker Bell finds out she has a twin sister?
Yep, it's true!
So it was all arranged and all the twins had a lovely matinee, enjoying popcorn, ice cream sundaes and Tinker Bell!
Of course Miss Kate and Miss Beth came in their fairy wings! 
One green like Tinker Bell and one in blue like Periwinkle!  Aren't they just they best?
 Oh!  And our time ended by the girls giving Disney princess pose lessons! 
Ahhhh, it was like a dream afternoon for me!
I just adore these young women and am grateful that God bought them into our lives many years ago!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Run Away

Yesterday my son ran his first Jog-a-Thon.

Have you had moments as a mom when a lump in your throat has appeared at the most unlikely time? Emotion takes over and you can barely hold it together before a slight snort creeps out in your effort to fight the tears?
That was me yesterday at the Jog-a-Thon!
What the heck?
I could understand almost crying if it were me who had to run!
But my little man was so excited to run and had been talking about it for days!

Look at that form!!! He was a machine and ran about 13 laps! And when it was over, he asked, "can I run again?" and then he proceeded to run a few laps with the next class!

This little kid brings so much joy to my life.
No wonder I always feel like I'm going to cry!
Happy Wednesday!!!

Monday, March 18, 2013

David and the Sour Cream Blueberry Coffee Cake

Each Thursday morning, after dropping the children off at school, I go to Bible study.
I went to this Bible study for the first time 5 years ago when my girls were 2.  I didn't have the best experience, but the childrens' ministry was amazing and I couldn't believe how much scripture my girls memorized in that year - at 2 years old!  It was awesome, so I continued to go for them.
I took a few years off after that and when my son turned 2 I decided to join again so that he could go through the program.  I had pretty low expectations for my experience, but I wanted the little dude to get the same teaching his sisters got.
I was blown away at how different my experience was.
Every week a verse was shared, a work spoken or a passage studied where I was touched and felt confirmed, "this is exactly where I'm supposed to be."
My small group leader was a gift from God and the women in my group were amazing. We laughed so hard together and cried too as we shared in studying God's word and shared our lives.
I was hesitant to join again this year.  I didn't have any children to put in the program as my excuse and I didn't think any leader could top last year!
But I did and have been blessed each week again.
This year we're studying 1 Samuel and it has been great.  We've entered into the chapters about David, who is not yet king, and his character is blowing me away. His relationship with Jonathan is exactly what friendship should be and honestly, I'm a little envious!  I want a friend like Jonathan!
I don't really know why friendships with women can be difficult, but I do know that friendships between men can be even harder, for different reasons!
To read about David and Jonathan, how they had each other's back, their selfless care for one another, and their sacrificial love for each other has prompted me to pray for that kind of friendship for my husband.
If you are married, I challenge you to pray for your husband and pray specifically that God would place friendships in his life that are more than hanging out every now and again.  But deep, Christ centered friendships where your husband is taken care of, challenged, and loved on.
Also in this Bible study, we have brunch together every few months and last week I tried this Sour Cream Blueberry Coffee Cake that was to die for!
I had to flip it out of the pan right after pulling it out of the oven, so it fell apart a little!  I recommend letting it cool a bit before turning it out if you have the time!
But trust me, the broken apart cake didn't deter anyone from having seconds!!
Sour Cream Blueberry Coffee Cake
1 c. butter, softened
1 1/2 c. sugar
2 eggs
1 c. sour cream
1 tsp. vanilla
2 c. flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda

1 1/2 c. frozen blueberries
1/4 c. sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 c. walnuts, chopped
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease a bundt pan.
In a mixing bowl, beat together butter, sugar, eggs, sour cream and vanilla.
In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking powder and baking soda.  Add dry mixture to wet.  Fold in the blueberries.
Pour 3/4 of the batter into the pan.  In a small bowl prepare topping: mix sugar, cinnamon and walnuts.  Pour 3/4 of topping on batter in the pan.
Top with remaining batter and topping.  Bake 45 minutes or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.
** I recommend letting it cool a bit before turning it out onto a platter!
All recipes are posted here, on What's For Dinner.  Check it out!

Friday, March 15, 2013

Playing Hooky

Did you every play hooky in school?
I didn't.
As a child I was pretty loyal to rules!  (some of you aren't surprised by this!)
We woke up Sunday morning an hour "late" thanks to the time change and instead of going to the second service of church, we decided to play hooky and go on an adventure.
It wasn't my idea.
And I wasn't totally in at first.
We also meet with our small group on Sunday afternoons, and an adventure would mean we'd skip that too.
My moral and loyal compass said don't do it.
But one thing I've been trying to focus on is "family first" and when my husband said,
 "I feel like we need this day as a family," I was in.
So we loaded up and drove up to Solvang which is a random Scandinavian town north of Santa Barbara.  Everything is so green right now - it's like we're in Ireland!
It's filled with restaurants and loads of souvenir shops and lots of bakeries!
We told the children we were going on a culinary tour of Solvang!
Our culinary delights included:
German Soft Pretzel
Sausages, Sour Kraut, Potato Pancakes & Swedish Meatballs
Swedish Butter Cookies
Then we walked around the mission and took a few photos.
I'm in love with this pretty girl's fangs!
And who thinks she's a super model?
Little dude had to be bribed with a jelly bean to smile for me!
We enjoyed running through the fields of green!
And then headed back home.
It was a glorious day!
And my husband was right, we really needed that day as a family playing hooky from our usual Sunday routine.
Have a great weekend and don't be afraid to play hooky every now and then!

Monday, March 11, 2013

It Had To Be Done

I stood in the backyard at 8am on Friday wincing at the loud roar of the chainsaws.
We talked about this for months and both decided that it had to be done, but I wasn't really ready to watch our trees come down.
I wanted to run and get my camera to have one last shot of our yard with the trees, but it was happening so fast, I didn't want to miss it.
I ran in and got it.
I barely made it.
It was over so fast and I couldn't hold back my emotions.
I really wasn't expecting to get emotional over these trees that were a bad decision from the start.  These huge trees that are so beautiful in the Spring, rain down blossoms and bees all Summer long into the pool, making our swim adventures a bit too adventurous as we dodge bees!  And all the mess in the pool makes the waters less than inviting on a hot day.
Yes, the decision to plant these types of trees, along with the quantity of trees planted in this small backyard about 40 years ago was not really a wise one.
Now we were making the bold move to take them down and start new.
As I walked into the house fighting my tears, I kept saying, "It had to be done.  It was a bad decision from the start and it had to be done."
The old had to go so that the new could come.
Only a few days earlier I ran into a friend whose husband left her 5 months ago.  She had the divorce papers ready to go, but just struggled with taking the last step of filing them.
I encouraged her saying that this had to be done so that new life could begin.  It was sad, but that unhealthy marriage had to end. 
It was like Jesus on the cross.  He knew his whole life what he had to do, but as it got closer, it got harder.  Even days before, Jesus asked if there was another way to save the world beside crucifixion.  But he had to die so that new life could begin.
It had to be done.
Often times we know in our heart what is right and what must be done, but taking the final step, pulling the trigger, making that difficult phone call, confronting a friend, filing the papers or cutting down all the trees is extremely difficult.
I looked at the supervisor and asked, "What if we've changed our mind?"
"What?" he said with a panic.
"What if we've changed our mind and don't want to do this?"
Of course I was kidding because you cannot put back the trees! But in that moment, if it were possible, I just might have asked them to put them back!
I think in those in between moments of knowing what must be done and actually doing it, the enemy feeds our fears and emotions because he wants to keep us stuck in old ways that are unhealthy.  He knows that new life can only come when the old is gone and he is threatened by newness.  He wants us stuck with unhealthy trees that cause problems and frustrated us year after year.  He wants to keep us too weak to make the bold decision to cut down the trees.
My husband came home from taking the children to school to see the empty backyard.
"What have we done?" he said.  With his mouth open wide and eyes even wider I told him that I cried.
"It had to be done.  This is going to be good.  We're going to make this backyard amazing."
"Yea.  You're right.  It had to be done," I agreed.
Do you need to make a bold decision today to cut down some unhealthy trees in your life so that newness can begin?

Monday, March 4, 2013

Chocolate Cake

For a few years now I've been trying to make cakes from scratch instead of using the box mixes.  I often have these little baking fantasies of wearing some cute apron over my Lucile Ball type dress and heels, baking away like June Cleaver, turning out delicious cakes and delights!
Most who know me well, know that I cannot live without my aprons!  They are comfort to me like a bathrobe and security like girdle!  When my apron is on, I feel all held together and somewhat empowered to take on any task in the kitchen - it's like my superhero cape!
Anyway, back to cakes.
As I've tried to make homemade cakes, I've turned out some pretty dry, bland and hard cakes!  It's been a bit of a rough road.  At moments I just want to crawl back to the box mix and play it safe!  But I've pressed on in my stubbornness and I've come up with some winners!
Father's Day last year I made this chocolate cake and it was divine.
I just made it for my son's birthday and whereas I think I could have baked it a few minutes less, it was a delicious cake.
And the frosting... it's like marshmallows!  What could be better?
Once again, the recipe is from my favorite Every Day Food magazine which they have discontinued!  When I got the notice I felt sick to my stomach.  How can I live without my favorite magazine and recipe book?  I immediately grabbed my apron and curled up in the fetal position for an hour and felt better!!!


  • 3 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for pans
  • 1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, plus more for pans
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled)
  • 3/4 teaspoon fine salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3 3/4 cups sugar, divided
  • 4 large eggs, plus 5 large egg whites, room temperature, divided
  • 5 teaspoons pure vanilla extract, divided
  • 1 tablespoon corn syrup


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter two 8-inch round cake pans and line with parchment; butter parchment and dust pans with cocoa.
  2. Whisk boiling water into cocoa until smooth; whisk in sour cream. Whisk together flour, salt, baking powder, and baking soda.
  3. In a large bowl, using a mixer, beat butter and 2 1/4 cups sugar on medium-high until fluffy and pale yellow. Beat in whole eggs, one at a time, until incorporated. With mixer on low, add flour mixture in 3 additions, alternating with 2 additions cocoa mixture, and beat until combined. Fold in 4 teaspoons vanilla.
  4. Divide batter among pans. Bake until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, 45 to 50 minutes, rotating pans halfway through. Transfer pans to wire racks and let cool completely. Remove cakes from pans and discard parchment. Trim cakes if desired.
  5. In a heatproof bowl set over (not in) a pan of simmering water, whisk together remaining 1 1/2 cups sugar, egg whites, and corn syrup until sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat; using mixer, beat on high until stiff, fluffy peaks form, about 5 minutes. Fold in remaining 1 teaspoon vanilla.
  6. Transfer a cake layer to a serving plate and top with 1 cup frosting. Stack second cake on top and cover top and sides with remaining frosting.
*What I've learned from baking homemade cakes is that it is important to FOLLOW THE DIRECTIONS EXACTLY!  Spoon and level the flour, get stuff to room temperature... don't think that it doesn't matter, because I've found that it does!  And, for me, the #1 way to ruin a homemade cake is to over bake it.  This cake says to bake for 45-50 minutes and I baked my 2 rounds for 35 minutes!  Every oven is different, so always set the timer for less time and keep checking your cakes.  It's trial and error with the timing, but it makes the world of difference from a moist delicious cake to a dry one!
Happy Baking!


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...