Sunday, March 28, 2010

Spring Break!

We are on spring break this week!  The weather has finally cooperated, and we are in the 70's and 80's, so hopefully we will be spending alot of time outside.  Have a great week!

Friday, March 26, 2010

Cake Balls

I have been in a dessert baking mode lately.  I like trying out new ideas and new recipes.  Hence, the Cake Balls!  Funny name, don't you think?  You can also put these on sticks and call them Cake Pops.  I haven't tried those yet.  In reading the recipe, they seem pretty easy and straight forward to make, but with all recipes, once you start getting into them, there seems to be a bit of a learning curve to them!  This is what happened with these.  I'm sure I can perfect these if I keep making them, but for my first try, I think they turned out pretty well!
A simple idea -- why didn't I think of this before??  You take a baked cake from any cake mix, crumble it in a bowl once it is cooled, add a 16 oz. container of any flavored frosting to the crumbs, and mix.  Roll the mixture into balls and refrigerate a few hours until firm.

 Next, melt your candy coating (wafers, bark, melts...) in a narrow, deep bowl.  Dip the chilled cake balls into the melted coating and place on a sheet of waxed paper. 

Decorate immediately with sprinkles.

Some tips I learned along the way...  

1.  Do not use the whole can of frosting.  Use about 3/4s of the can and mix to see if the cake mixture is moist enough to form into balls.  Nothing worse than gooey cake balls!

2.  Use a cupcake or cookie scoop to form uniform balls.

3.  Make sure the balls are REALLY chilled before dipping into the candy coating.  Either refrigerate for a few hours or place in the freezer for only 15-20 minutes if you are impatient.  ha!

4.  Use a small spoon to dip the cake balls.  Drop and spoon the coating OVER the balls.  Try not to get cookie crumbs in the candy mixture!  Which leads to #5....

5.  Sprinkles cover a multitude of sins!  haha  I have found it is better if you use a light colored cake mix with light colored coating, and a dark cake mix with dark colored coating.  That way you won't see the little cake crumbs that somehow magically appeared into your coating mixture. 

6.  Tap your spoon on the side of the bowl to remove excess coating from the balls so you don't have a puddle once you drop them onto the waxed paper.

That is about it!  It took a few tries to get these babies right, but I'm pretty happy with the results.  To see PROFESSIONAL looking cake balls, visit Bakerella's website!  Lots of cute ideas!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Artful Thursday - Resurrection Eggs

The craft I am going to share today is how to make Resurrection Eggs.  It is a wonderful way to teach others about the TRUE meaning of Easter in a Christian sense.  You can read the scriptures and what it represents in one sitting, or do as I will do it, one day at a time, like an Advent Calendar if you will, leading up to Easter Day!

What you will need is an empty egg carton, 12 empty plastic eggs, misc. items to fill the eggs, a sharpie to write the numbers on the eggs, and the printed verses which you will see below.
Looking around the house, I seemed to find everything that I needed to fill the eggs.  Even a palm branch which I later found in my drawer of cake decorations!
I cut out the scriptures, folded them up, and placed each item from the corresponding day in the numbered egg.  The last day there is nothing in the egg because the tomb was empty!  I placed the scripture of that one underneath the egg in the carton.  Just print out this list below and cut out.  Easy!

Egg Number 1

Message: Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a donkey. The people waved palm branches.
Passage: Matthew 21:1-11.

Item: A small plastic leaf or a piece of a palm branch.

Egg Number 2

Message: Mary poured expensive perfume on Jesus' feet.
Passage: John 12:2-8.

Item: Small perfume sample, a piece of cloth or a piece of cotton with perfume on it.

Egg Number 3

Message: Jesus ate the Last Supper with His disciples.
Passage: Matthew 26:17-19.

Item: A small piece of cracker to represent the passover bread.

Egg Number 4

Message: Judas betrayed Jesus for 30 pieces of silver.
Passage: Matthew 27:3.

Item: A dime or plastic “silver” money.

Egg Number 5

Message: Jesus carried His cross.
Passage: John 19:17.

Item: A Popsicle stick that is cut and glued in the form of a cross or a small plastic cross from a necklace.

Egg Number 6

Message: Soldiers placed a crown of thorns on Jesus' head.
Passage: John 19:2.

Item: A small thorny branch or a single large thorn.

Egg Number 7

Message: Soldiers parted Jesus' garments and cast lots for His coat.
Passage: John 19:23.

Item: Miniature dice.

Egg Number 8

Message: Jesus was nailed to a cross and pierced in His side.
Passage: John 19:18,37 and John 20:25-29.

Item: A nail.

Egg Number 9

Message: They gave Jesus vinegar mixed with gall on a sponge to drink.
Passage: Matthew 27:34.

Item: A small piece of sponge.

Egg Number 10

Message: Spices to prepare Jesus for burial.
Passage: John 19:40.

Item: a few whole cloves or other whole spices.

Egg Number 11
Message: The stone covering Jesus' tomb was rolled away.
Passage: John 20:1.

Item: A small rock.

Egg Number 12

Message: The tomb is empty. He has risen!
Passage: Luke 24:6.

Item: None.
That is it!  Thanks to Sarah from Create Studio for posting these instructions on her blog last year.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Fed Up with School Lunch

Yesterday on my AOL news, they featured a story about a teacher that decided to eat the school lunch everyday for a year.  The above picture is an example of what she gets from the cafeteria where she works.  She is young and healthy, and has a husband and a young child to care for.  All she wants to do is bring AWARENESS to what the kids are eating.  She is blogging about her experience, and you can follow along here: Fed Up With School Lunch

 In lower income areas, the school lunch is the only meal these kids get all day.  What you see will shock you, and what the kids actually have time to eat and what they throw away is astounding.  I must say, our meals at my daughter's school does not look like this, but who is to say it is not going in that direction?  I know Jamie Oliver has brought awareness to the UK, and has a program starting here in the states soon, so let's hope the meals will change for these kids - that they won't be loaded up with HIGH FRUCTOSE CORN SYRUP and get diabetes by the time they are young adults!  Absurd!  Below is "Mrs. Q's" school lunch wish list, which I agree with!

School Lunch Wish List -- a list from Mrs. Q

I've been doing a lot of thinking about what changes would make school lunch better for students. Here's what I've got so far (I might be shooting for the moon here):

1) Commit to offering pizza only once per month and removing hot dogs from the menu.

2) Offer a piece of fruit at every meal in place of a fruit cup, fruit juice or icee. The fruit part of the meal should be actual fruit and it should be sliced so that kids can grab it and eat it.

3) Allow parents, educators, and students access to nutritional information for each meal. It can be online.

4) Offer greens (spinach, salad, etc) in a salad bar to students every day and educate them on how to make a salad.

5) Remove pre-packaged items (bagel dogs, peanut butter sandwiches, cheese sandwiches, etc) from the menu and replace with casseroles, soups, wraps, or fresh-made PB&Js (all of which are cost-efficient and can be made in very large batches).

6) Commit to a 50% to 75% reduction of plastic/paper containers and remove all styrofoam from the cafeteria. Install dishwashers in all schools (like it used to be).

7) Offer more options geared towards students with allergies and intolerances (lactose, wheat, nut, etc). Might as well educate students on what "lactose intolerant" means and what "allergy" means so they can be on the look-out.

8) Every school has a fully operational kitchen with dishwasher and cooking staff. If it means hiring more workers, let's think of it as a "stimulus plan." It's worth it not to truck in all of this stuff.

9) Every school incorporates new nutrition-based cooking curriculum to students of all ages and requires the students to enter the kitchen and learn basic snack and meal prep. Even pre-schoolers can spread peanut butter or soy-nut butter on celery and put little raisins on top.

10) Teach students where their food comes from by taking a trip to a farm or planting a school garden so that they can be invested in food and have an experience in DIRT! "Dirty" is not a bad word.

11) Actively incorporate recycling into the school program and instruct students on how to recycle and what can be recycled and why it's important.

I will continue to follow along her journey, and hopefully make a difference somehow in ways this can change.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Weekend Recap - Shopping and Baseball

College Boy was here for a week, and on Friday it was time for him to leave to go back to school.  On Saturday morning, I made banana oat muffins for breakfast.  Little Man was suppose to have a t-ball game on Saturday, but because of the MONSOON that was stationary over Brevard County, the games were cancelled.  So what do you do?  Go shopping with Sweet Girl of course!  We went out to find shoes, which she found

but also had to have two new pairs of shorts, a new shirt, and something else she so desparately needed
a new swimsuit for her swim practices that she has twice a week.  Later that night we went to church at our main campus to see Potter's Field Ministry do their performance.  They present the gospel while Mike makes something on the potter's wheel and his wife Pam sings. 
It really does speak to your heart.  We have seen them before, but it is always a treat to see them again and again.  The next day we went to a spring training game, Nationals vs. Cardinals.  It showcased the little league teams in our area, and Little Man got to go in on the field with other teams in a parade

It was a beautiful day out.  Of course I forgot to put sunscreen on my chest and neck, and I got burnt to a crisp and a little on my arms.  We ate lunch in the stadium, stayed 8 innings and left.  A very fun and full weekend!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Never Quit!

This was a little blurb I got on my facebook page from Charisma magazine:
The only way to lose is to quit. The temptation to quit, to turn in a different direction or to give up is always present. Learning how to resist that temptation is a major factor in winning.

Legendary Alabama football coach Bear Bryant identified players who were winners in his sport. Coach Bryant was a strict disciplinarian and the model for integrity and fairness. He once described the three types of individuals who play the game:

"First, there are those who are winners and know they are winners. Then there are the losers who know they are losers. Then there are those who are not winners but don't know it. They're the ones for me. They never quit trying. They're the soul of our game."

Be the individual who never quits trying. Never stop. You are now destined as a winner in the game of life!

This is a reminder to me as well as an encouragement to others.  As a mom, a wife, a friend, a sister...whatever we are as women, don't quit and don't give up!  I believe we see who we really are in our struggles in life.  If we quit, we fail.  What good comes in that?  When you persevere, I believe God can teach us GREAT and MIGHTY things along the way.  Revelations in our own souls.  Change that we see from the depths of our being.  Press on, sisters!  Press on and rely on God to help you along the way!

Monday, March 8, 2010

Oscar Night

It was Oscars night, and what do we all look for first?  WHAT ARE THEY WEARING!!  There was alot of gold, alot of pale skin and alot of pale colors!  Here are my hits for the night:

Cameron Diaz.  My NUMBER ONE pick for the night!  You looked STUNNING my dear! 

Kate Winslet.  This looked a little matronly on you, but I liked the color and the fit, the nice hair, the subtle accessories, and the pale skin. 

Sandra Bullock.  I loved it, even though it did look a bit like an ice skating outfit.  But the Olympics are over, so you can wear whatever you like, because you are a winner!  The lipstick was a little too dark, but you looked great and it was YOUR night!  Congratulations!

Amanda Seyfried.  Hit    Jennifer Lopez.  Miss
Too much bustle going on there!

Now for the misses:

Charlize Theron.  You know you are a beauty.  You don't need to bring attention to the tatas here!  Even if it did flow down to the train, this just did not work.

Miley Cyrus.  Not enough cleavage to pull off this number.  Too tight and too low in the bust!

Zoe Saldana.  Did you not get the memo that PALE was in??  It looks great on the top, but WHAT in the world is happening down below!?!!!  ugh!

And now, what was up with the HAIR last night???  Here are the total HAIR misses!

Anna Kendrick.  You are young!  Look it!

Sarah Jessica Parker.  They sell White Rain hair spray at the dollar store!

Kristen Stewart.  SMILE!!  This frown does NOTHING for you!!  And neither does the hair.

George Clooney.   My main love...   The long DO has GOT to go!

Zac Ephron.  Oh, are a young cute boy, but THIS is the Oscars!!  COMB YOUR HAIR!!

A few misses of another sort, are Farrah Fawcet, missed from the memorial lineup, and Scarlett Johansson was missed on the arm of her man Ryan Reynolds.  I also think they missed with the Best Picture win.  Never heard of The Hurt Locker!   All in all, most outfits and hairstyles were hits.  I LOVE the Oscars!!  You all do not disappoint!

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Little Man's first T-Ball Game

The Space Coast Credit Union Rays

It was Little Man's opening day for his T-Ball game yesterday. His Gramps was here to witness the event and his big brother! So great to have the whole family together, even if it is for a short time.  They bat through the roster twice, no outs and no runs are counted.  Just pure hit and run fun!

Ryan was at right field, and played his position well, although he somehow managed to cross the field and tackle the pitcher for the ball during the first inning.  Here he is creeping up into the infield from his position.
At his first at-bat, he started running towards third, but luckily realized he was wrong about half way there.

Whew, that's better!!!

During his second time at-bat, he grounded to third well, and made it to first, but two batters later, while rounding second, HE was the one to scoop up the ball and toss it to first!  LOL!  Here you can see the ball in mid air!
College Boy and Gramps
Sweet Girl and the Rocket Scientist.  Trying to warm up in the COLD! 

The wind blew right at us during the whole game.  This is FLORIDA IN MARCH!  It is suppose to be 70 degrees out, not 40!  All in all, it was a fun time.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Artful Thursday

Let's see...since we have my Father-in-law staying with us this week from out of town and College Boy is staying here for a week, we have a little bit of a lack of sleeping space around here now so I decided to go with a "sleep" theme today.

I found a cute little image from my stash of vintage patterns, and placed it on a cute background and punched it out.  I got out some of my tulle and chamomile flowers, made a simple sachet, tied it with ribbon, added on the Tim Holtz addage label and made a cute sachet to place on a pillow, bed or tray. 

Here it is on my little tray in the bathroom with other perfume bottles I have.

The two little kids remind me of myself and the Rocket Scientist. I think I'm telling him to "shhhhh!!!"
Sweet Dreams!!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

"I can't believe crazy eyes won"

That is a tweet from Jake Owens last night, and I couldn't agree more!  I'm all for voting for the local girl, but really.  REALLY.  REALLY!!!!  Vienna???  If he was looking for someone adventurous, young and naive, then I think he found what he was looking for.  Then we find out that the "staged" departed Ali is going to be the next Bachelorette.  Will she lose her job over being there for so long?  REALLY!! 
And what is this about JAKE going to be a contestant on Dancing With the Stars??  I didn't see that coming.  So I guess that means we have to see more of "crazy eyes" in the audience, cheering on her man!  And other contestants -- Buzz Aldrin?  Pamela Anderson?  KATE GOSSELIN????  Oh, Lord have mercy... REALLY?????