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Showing posts from August, 2011

Pumpkin Spice Chocolate Chip Bundt Cake

Can you feel Fall catching up to summer?   It's in the slant of the sun in the golden afternoon, the slight coolness to the evening breeze, the first leaves turning every so lightly yellow around the edges.  It is the beginning of the cozy season and every September I get antsy for it to arrive a little sooner. One of the ways I attempt to lure Autumn to my door is by baking something cinnamony and comforting.  This pumpkin treat looks like October, tastes like November and makes the perfect September after-school snack. Deep, dark chocolate chips snuggle into their moist blanket of pumpkin and spice. Try it with milk or strong black coffee.  It will not disappoint! Pumpkin Spice Chocolate Chip Bundt Cake INGREDIENTS 1 2/3 c. flour 1 c. sugar 1 heaping Tbsp. pumpkin pie spice 1 tsp. baking soda 1/4 tsp. baking powder 1/4 tsp. salt 2 eggs 1 15 oz. can pumpkin puree 1 stick unsalted butter, melted 1 c. dark chocolate chips

Patron Saint of Hurricanes; Pray For Us

At this moment there is a storm raging outside our home.  We still have power but the kitchen table is loaded with candles, lighters, flashlights, batteries and battery powered electronics.  They are signs of what is almost guaranteed to come, days without power.   Irene is not even directly over us yet but she has certainly sent the rains and winds to clean a path ahead of her. I managed to make two "hurricane pies" ( apple pies requested by RW) but had to turn the ovens back on four times as power flickered out.  They are out of the oven and the scent of cinnamon and coziness is filling the house alongside the blaring weather channel updates.  A good balance I think. Like the  tropical storm,  fear is swirling all around us .  For three days - since the earthquake  - we have been preparing our home to withstand the possibility of a category 2  hurricane.  School was cancelled to allow families to stay together and get themselves ready.  Everyone in Target and Walmart w

Pretty, Happy, Funny, Real {the sky is falling}

~ PRETTY ~ This lovely rose in my front yard was glistening in the sunrise after a brief shower from the sprinklers.  This verse filled my heart and soul out of nowhere: My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord; my spirit rejoices in God my savior. Luke 1:46-47 (NAB) Isn't the beauty of God's creation simply stunning at times? ~ HAPPY ~ New scooters bring about the biggest smiles these days as little KC is able to keep up with his big brothers. ~ FUNNY ~ Have you seen these adorable pencils at Office Max?  I decided mom needed a few back to school supplies too! ~ REAL ~ A sign of things to come and I can't wait! P.S.  Please pray for us and (all along the East Coast) as we prepare for Hurricane Irene. The earth shook us up the other day and rattled our nerves. Now the impending storm has us literally battening down the hatches so blogging will be on the back burner for a while. My kids are frightened for our home. Pleas

Back To School Soup {Sunday Soup Night}

My boys go back to school tomorrow.  The backpacks are loaded, the supplies have already been dropped off at meet the teacher night.  They know where their desks are, who is in their class, what their new teacher looks like.  Uniforms are pressed.  Shiny new black shoes are laid out by the back door.  Lunchboxes stand at the ready for the early morning fill up.   There will most certainly be a love note from mom tucked behind the sandwich.   I love you.  Enjoy your first day.  Can't wait to hear all about it tonight.  Yesterday I opened the pantry door and the first thing my gaze fell upon was a small bag of alphabet letter pasta.  That's it!  Back to school soup.  Here's how I made it. BACK TO SCHOOL SOUP INGREDIENTS 2 carrots, peeled and chopped 3 stalks of celery, chopped 1/2 onion, chopped 1 sprig fresh thyme or 1/2 tsp. dried  2 Tbsp. olive oil 49 oz. can of chicken broth water 2 Tbsp. chicken bouillon paste 1 12 0z. package alphabet pasta Leftover

Last Days Of Summer {saying no}

This is it.  The last day of summer vacation.  I felt it so strongly on Monday that I chose a moment from each day that represented "the end" to me in some way.  Not that I am sad, really.  I feel ready for this transition.  As a teacher I used to feel August pressing down on me  as soon as the last firework exploded on the 4th of July.  Not this year.   This summer has been magical.  Slow.  Supple.  Sweet.  Simple.  (and Sweaty of course).  But even the blasted humidity has felt more like a purification this year.   Last fall our family had a bit of a stressed-out-breakdown .  By this time in August of last year, my boys had been selling Cub Scout popcorn for two weeks  - well on their way to top rankings in their troop.  Soccer practice had also begun in addition to weekly Scout meetings.  I (foolishly) had accepted an invitation to be the PR rep for Scouts and my husband was. never. home.  Then basketball started.  Three practices a week.  While they were bo

Pretty, Happy, Funny, Real {odds and ends}

~PRETTY ~ Our Crape Myrtle trees bloomed beautifully this year after a summer of dormancy last year.  When you get really close up they are amazingly detailed flowers. ~HAPPY~  The weather suddenly shifted this week and the breeze feels - dare I say it? - cooler.   Therefore, I have spent many happy moments in the morning and evening sitting on the deck, soaking in the last of our carefree days.  Yet another reason for my recent blogging block . ~FUNNY~ As I wandered through the yard taking random photos I stooped low to see this friendly little Gnome who has been dutifully keeping watch under the maple tree for two years now.  The boys each picked one from the dollar spot at Target back then, each a little different, and literally staked their claim to their own maple tree.  Someday this little guy will be shaded by the thickening branches overhead and my boys will be just as tall and strong.  (sniff sniff) ~REAL~  What?  Don't you have a bas

Un-Forgiving Myself

Years ago, when I was home alone all day with two little boys and desperate for adult interaction, I attended a Beth Moore Bible study course on The Fruit of the Spirit .  A pastor's wife led the group of fifteen women, weekly gathered round our Bibles and the edges of the square conference table.   I was the only Catholic in the room and a brand new one at that.  Luckily, that was of no consequence, as we shared our personal struggles freely and supported one another in our efforts to more fully understand Galatians 5:22-23(NLT). But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives:  L ove , Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness, and Self-control .           There is no law against these! I learned so much during those discussions but one statement the leader made has never left me.   One particular mom was tearfully sharing how much she regretted some of her mistakes as a parent.  Yelling at her children, being

Loaded Baked Potato Dinner

Did I mention Pinterest yesterday in my post about Blogger's Block? (ahem)  Well, I want to prove that all time spent on Pinterest is not wasted .  I found this recipe (under the food category) and made it for Sunday dinner. Before Mass I washed, dried, pierced and wrapped several Russet potatoes in foil and placed them in a slow-cooker set to Low. A mere six hours later they were tender and steamy.  I placed the wrapped potatoes in a bread basket right on the table. In the last thirty minute before the potatoes were done I fried up a pound of bacon and crumbled it.   Along with the bacon bits we had grated cheese, butter, sour cream, chives and freshly ground pepper on the toppings tray . (To make this even easier on a busy night, make the bacon in advance and store in fridge.)  Next time I plan to add steamed broccoli and scallions to the tray. We all loved this easy, DIY meal and plan to make it a regular in our "rotation". Sharing here: Naptime Creat

Reflections by Chad Lawson

My current favorite song with a beautiful video to match.  I just had to share! Enjoy your three minutes of peace and beauty.

Five Reasons for Bloggers Block

Once August hit, my bloggy brain seemed to go on an extended vacation of its own.  As I was doing dishes last night, began to see there were a few major reasons.  Since I still don't have anything profound to blog about, I decided to post the five main reasons for my recent bout of  blogger's block. 1.   Pinterest.   There.  I've admitted it.  It washed over Blogland like a wave this summer and I resisted it for quite a while.  Then, I joined.  And.  I.   loved .   it.  I tried to make my friends and family join, too, so I wouldn't feel so bad about my new pastime (thanks for joining sis!).   Unfortunately, when sitting before a blank computer screen with no major ideas about which to write, thinking "I'll just pop over to Pinterest to get a bit of inspiration"  leads to a chunk of time gone and no new ideas for writing.   "Well, I guess I'll just post tomorrow " is just when the whole scene repeats itself.  Still, not giving up Pinteres

Pretty, Happy, Funny, Real {Amish Country Version}

*PRETTY*   During our July vacation to Philadelphia we took a day trip to Strasburg, PA, only about an hour out of the city, to immerse ourselves in Amish country.   In keeping with the Simplicity Parenting philosophy that for every day of hectic activity try to provide a day of rest the next day, we followed our busy day downtown Philly with a quiet, peaceful day in the lovely countryside of Pennsylvania.  One of our stops was at The Amish Village .  I highly recommend it as a tourist destination.  They provide tours and have actual Amish people on staff to help explain the austere lifestyle they have chosen. *NOT PRETTY BUT HAPPY*     Part of the tour was through a stable area where the kids could see and pet farm animals. *FUNNY*     Above, KC pretends to be a teacher in a one-room schoolhouse.  According to our tour guide, formal education ends after 8th grade among the Amish.  This carriage is an example of the horse drawn buggies they use in lieu of automobile