Thursday, December 27, 2012

Christmas Letter 2012

“And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
Phillipians 4:7

 2012 has been a full year for the Wright’s as we grew from a family of three to four and a half!  Howard Brett “HB” Wright was born on Sunday, April 22 at a healthy 8 pounds 14 ounces and 21 inches long.  The nurses and doctors at Banner Estrella in Goodyear were such kind hearted people that our experience was truly a blessing.  We are now expecting baby #2 on May 24, 2013 – so far this pregnancy has been much easier for Katy and she has actually said she is enjoying this pregnancy!

 August brought the start of Brandy’s first year of high school at Buckeye Union where she has just blossomed.  Her four teachers this semester have contributed to a challenging and enjoyable first semester.  She has especially enjoyed being an FFA member and competed in the Creed Speaking contest earlier this fall where she won the local contest and then competed at district.  She is already looking for future speech contests to compete in!  She will be showing a whether lamb at the AZ National Livestock Show this December and has two more market lambs that she is working with for County Fair in April.  She is definitely her father’s daughter - she is a fierce competitor in the show ring and loves to work with her lambs.

 We sold 35 lambs at our sale in late-August where we had a huge turnout which was a pleasant surprise.  This was the second year that we offered the top five lambs from our spring lamb crop in the top rack which we call our “Breeder’s Choice.”  Our 2011 lamb crop performed well this past year with the La Paz County Fair Grand Champion, Coconino County Reserve Champion and several breed reserve champions at Maricopa County Fair.  We had a great opportunity to breed 10 of our best ewes in Texas again this year so we are excited to see what 2013 will hold for Wright Club Lambs.

 After 16 years as a firefighter at Chandler’s Station 3, Kelly moved to Station 9 in September where he has a new captain and company.  Companies at station 9 are still Technical Rescue Teams (TRT) so Kelly stays busy with various trainings when they aren't out on calls.  Kelly was also asked to serve as a trainer/evaluator for other Technical Rescue Teams from other cities and has kept busy with these additional training days in November and December.  This year also brought career changes for Katy; after teaching high school agriculture for five years she is now staying home with HB full time.  Staying at home has its own set of challenges for a wife and mom, but Katy is learning much about patience, grace and having a servant’s heart.  She has also enjoyed the chance to participate in several Beth Moore bible studies this past year.

 We pray that 2012 was full of blessings for your family as it was for ours.  We are thankful for all that 2012 has brought to us and all that we have learned as God revealed His mighty plan for our family this past year.  And we are looking forward to Baby #2’s arrival in May and all that 2013 will bring.


Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Kelly, Katy, Brandy and HB Wright

Monday, December 3, 2012

December festivities!

Our good friends, the Copeland's, met us in Cottonwood this past weekend to welcome December with some great family friendly winter activities.  We started the day by watching the Cottonwood Christmas Parade in my mom's "secret" spot which truly was an awesome location.  We parked about five minutes from the very start of the parade and got to sit in the shade and had the view all to ourselves - no one was even blocking us!  Although HB was sleep deprived after missing his morning nap and fell asleep in my lap, Jeremy and Rebekah's daughters loved the parade.  Enjoy the few pictures I remembered to take this weekend.

Rebekah, Miss S and Brandy

Jeremy and Miss E

Hubby, HB and I
My sweet mom watched the two babies while the adults and two older girls went on the Cottonwood Chocolate Walk.  What's not to love about an event where you get to sample 40 different pieces of chocolate in a charming, restored Old Town area?  We all enjoyed the chocolate but I think we were all especially ready for the hamburgers, chili and grilled cheeses we enjoyed afterwards!

Kelly and I are both so grateful to have great friends like the Copeland's and only wish they lived closer.  God has been so kind and generous in blessing us with fellowship like this - we are especially grateful for friends at this time of year.  Happy December to all of you!

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Turkey Day 2012 recap - in pictures

My brother and his lovely bride hosted Thanksgiving dinner this year - we traveled to my hometown on Thanksgiving Day after Kelly got off shift that morning.  Gretchen always sets a beautiful table and provides delicious food after spending hours in the kitchen.  {I'm sad to say I didn't get a picture of the lovely host and hostess.}  Let me recap our family favorites:

Me: mashed potatoes (I don't think I've ever eaten such creamy, light mashed spuds)
Kelly: stuffing
Brandy: green bean casserole

I was touched by what everyone shared they were thankful for especially with the sincerity that the children shared.  I was probably the most moved by what my step daughter shared - she said she was most thankful for a loving, supportive family and for parents who push her because "it's totally worth it."  That statement really blessed my heart.  Parenting is not easy but step-parenting has its own unique set of challenges, especially when this insta-parent-child relationship is formed.  Please don't read between the lines and think Brandy is a terrible step daughter, because she is actually very, very, very easy to parent.  But there is a learning curve to teaching and admonishing children, especially teenagers.  I have been blessed this November as we have remembered God's goodness in our lives.  I pray we continue our purposeful giving of thanks even as we move on to the next holiday celebration.

HB turned 7 months on Thanksgiving Day - please notice the Turkey on his shirt.  I love it!

Kelly enjoying the beautiful weather with HB up in Cottonwood as well as some calm cows and calves that were close enough for HB to enjoy!

My parents holding two of their grandsons.  I truly think my parents had my siblings and I so we could make them grandparents.

Brandy (in the middle) with her cousins.

Brandy, Kelly, me and HB - we enjoyed spending the day with family!

Grandpa enjoying some play time with HB the morning after Turkey Day - HB can't get enough of cowboy hats and ball caps!

My sister spent Thanksgiving with her inlaws so we met for lunch on Saturday.  I love this photo - her son is tapping HB on the head with his little tupperware of Puffs.  They love each other:)  We ate at America's Taco Shop (read my sister's review of it here)and it was amazing!!  I'm already trying to figure out the next time I will be close enough to eat lunch there:)

I pray your Thanksgiving was restful and full of rejoicing for the many wonderful blessings in your life.  Enjoy the remainder of your holiday weekend whether you are burning off some extra calories, watching football or getting out your Christmas decorations!

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Some Thanksgiving Day humor and gratitude

November is almost past and I have yet to blog.  I keep saying to Kelly that I can hardly believe Thanksgiving is almost here...oh wait, it is here.  Happy Thanksgiving!!  I hope today is spent resting, relaxing and rejoicing.  Yes, rejoicing.  We have so much to be thankful for so I pray that giving thanks and sharing gratitude permeates your day.

We started a new family tradition this year for the month of November.  Each time we have a family dinner we have been recording what we are thankful for on scraps of paper and placing them in a mason jar on our table.  We will read them as a family at the end of the month and then keep them in our family scrapbook as a reminder of God's goodness this year.  We include our meal guests in our tradition so we can also remember that we have many friends to be thankful for too.  Here are a few of the things that I am thankful for this year:

  • I am thankful for my salvation and the relationship I have with Christ.  I am so undeserving but that is why God's grace is so beautiful.  I have learned much this year in my two bible studies on the book of James and Revelation.  Praise God for his "BIGness" and his perfectly timed teaching in my life.
  • I am thankful to be a wife and mom.  My life has changed dramatically from where it was at two years ago but I wouldn't change a thing.  God is refining me through both being a wife and a mother and I am especially grateful that He cares enough to make me better and not leave me where I am at.
  • I am thankful for the life of my grandmother, Myra Joan Meyers.  She passed away a week and a half ago and I can't help but think of all the fun memories I have with her.  She was so full of life, even at 89.  She had a contagious, beautiful laugh that I hope I never forget the sound of.
  • I am thankful for American farmers and ranchers who produce safe, abundant and affordable food for people worldwide.  Enjoy your favorite holiday dishes today and don't forget to lift a prayer of thanksgiving for the hardworking men and women who work day in and day out to bring this yummy food to your table!
And today I leave you with a bit of Thanksgiving humor in this poem:

May your stuffing be tasty,
May your turkey be plump,
May your potatoes and gravy
Have nary a lump.
May your yams be delicious
May your pies take the prize,
May your Thanksgiving dinner
Stay off your thighs!

~Owen K. Lorion

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

HB at 6 months

I can't believe six months have already gone by - it seems just like it was last month that we were loading up to head home from the hospital with our first born.  I am so grateful for the opportunity to be a full time stay at home wife and mom now; this new season of my life has been rewarding and I am so so glad to be able to witness the rapid changes in my son's growth and development.  I want to savor the sweet things he is doing and each milestone that we reach.  I record as many details as I can in his baby calendar but here are a few of my favorite memories so far as well as a few favorite pictures from the past month or so.

HB -
  • You abhor baby food.  I think I try to hard to push this new stage on you but I'm sure we'll eventually make it through.  Until then, here's to many messy bibs, clothes and high chair trays.
  • You are sitting up so well now.  I absolutely delight in this.  You look so big and independent as you sit on your blanket in the living room and reach for toys.  You also have started sitting up in the tub and we have to be extra careful to keep you from baby swan diving into the water as you lunge for your floating rubber ducky.
  • You love going outside and looking at all the livestock.  You especially love Johnnie Reb (momma's Queensland Heeler).  You laugh when she retrieves the ball or frisbee and comes back.  You think she is doing it especially for you.  She has figured out how to throw her ball or frisbee into the foot compartment of the stroller.
  • Momma is obsessed with your feet.  They are so cute!  She always calls them "stinky feet" and then kisses them.  You laugh every time. 
  • You now have your two bottom center teeth and look absolutely adorable.  Momma and Daddy could do without the accompanying crankiness, but again, this too shall pass.  With teething we have come to learn you pretty much hate anything going in your mouth and this includes Tylenol, teething tablets and Orajel.  Momma feels like she is wrestling an alligator as she tries to give you something to relieve the pain.
  • We started going to story time at the library once a week and you love this!  You grunt and giggle the entire time and your little arms are swinging around like a windmill as you watch and listen.  {Thanks Emily for inviting us!}
  • You are starting to show more and more of your likes and dislikes for certain things - you enjoy the swing but hate being buckled in.  You also don't mind sitting in your carseat but hate the actual strapping in part.  You grab the five point harness and start biting it and grunting/growling.  It's quite humorous and a bit challenging now to get you strapped in.
  • Your smile is contagious and so is your laugh.  You bring light and laughter to our home and family.  Thank you for being the joy that you already are and will continue to be.  We love you baby boy.

Having lunch with Grandpa G and cousin Bassie.

Learning to sit in the high chair.  Dinner time is much more fun having a "seat" at the table!

Helping momma with laundry.

Attempting to eat sweet potatoes.  I think more ended up on your bib.

The official 6-month photo.  Happy fall!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Creed Speaking Champ

Brandy competed in the Buckeye FFA Creed Speaking contest last night...and came out victorious!  She won first place and earned one of two spots for her chapter at the district contest in November.  We are so proud of her!!  At the beginning of the school year we told her she needed to compete in one speaking contest this year because we thought the experience would be valuable in helping her better her speaking skills and develop confidence in front of crowds.  She has totally embraced speaking in front of others and is eagerly looking for other speaking contests to compete in.

Kelly was on shift so he wasn't able to be there in person but he is still just as proud.  HB did pretty well considering the event lasted almost an hour and a half past his bedtime.  The "late night" combined with lots of clapping brought tears to his eyes, and they weren't happy tears either folks.  He totally wanted to tear into Brandy's certificate so I had to hold his little arms down in the picture.

I made salted caramel brownie deliciousness for the dessert reception following the presentation.  They were easy to make and tasted pretty good!  Enjoy the recipe posted below, complements of Cooking Light.

Salted Caramel Brownies

3/4 cup flour
1 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
6 tablespoons butter, melted
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla

Caramel topping:
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
3 1/2 tablespoons evaporated fat-free milk, divided
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 ounce bittersweet chocolate (I used bittersweet chips)
1/8 teaspoon coarse sea salt

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. Combine flour and next four ingredients (through baking powder) in a large bowl.  Combine 6 tablespoons butter, eggs and 1 teaspoon vanilla.  Add butter mixture to flour mixture, stir to combine.  Scrape batter into 9-inch square pan (I used parchment paper so I could lift brownies out of the pan easier).  Bake for 19 minutes.

3.  To prepare topping: melt 1/4 cup butter in saucepan over medium heat.  Add 1/4 cup brown sugar and 1 1/2 tablespoons milk; cook 2 minutes.  Remove from heat and add vanilla and powdered sugar.  Stir with whisk until smooth.  Spread mixture over cooled brownies; let stand 20 minutes or until set.

4.  Combine 2 tablespoons milk and chocolate in a bowl; microwave on high for 45 seconds or until melted, stirring after 20 seconds.  Stir just until smooth; drizzle over caramel topping.  Sprinkle with sea salt; let stand until set.  Cut into squares.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Dental woes

For those who live close enough to listen to me complain about my sorry teeth, I apologize for even bringing this up.  However, I like to keep the few friends I have in blogging world updated too.  HB's pregnancy was riddled with every type of discomfort that you can imagine - I won't list them but for those of you who have been pregnant you understand and can fathom what I am talking about.  After delivering my son this past April I was really looking forwad to some reprieve from said discomforts.  However, almost six months later I am still working through some issues.

I didn't know this before I was pregnant but I definitely know this now - pregnancy can absolutely ruin your pearly whites.  It did mine.  I started my pregnancy with zero cavities; I ended my pregnancy with 10 cavities.  TEN.  I had seven of them filled at one time, that was my first mistake.  It took way too long to complete all seven.  24 hours after I had sat in the examination room, I had one filling fall out while flossing.  Just up and fall out.  After having that filling repaired I proceeded to have 12+ weeks of extreme sensitivity and headaches.  It was great.  I ended up seeing an endodontist (a root canal specialist) where he informed me that it can take as long as 12 weeks for a filling to heal.  I had no idea.  Go figure.

Just recently I was starting to feel better and started resuming my normal consumption patterns - crunchy foods, chips, more meat (it was hard to tear when my teeth were killing me).  However I must have gotten too bold because I had a second filling fall out on a flight to Sacramento with my sister.  I was floored.  I've never actually known anyone to just lose a filling and here I lost two in about 12 weeks.  Surprisingly I had little to no pain after this second filling fell out.  I think my teeth roots are getting stronger. 

At this point I still have three cavities remaining and waiting to be filled.  I am considering a new dentist.  And praying my next pregnancy is easier on my teeth!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Flowers for Momma

The first time Kelly brought me flowers was on the Friday before my fall break as a teacher in October 2010.  I had actually taken a student to an FFA event so I was gone for the afternoon but when I returned to my classroom I found a beautiful, hand picked bouquet of Black Eyed Susans.  They were wild and pretty and I was absolutely delighted to find them sitting on my desk!  Now two years, to the day, later my husband helped my handsome 5-month old son pick his first bouquet for me!  Again, I was delighted to see my baby and my hubby walk in the door with a small bunch of yellow and pink lantana.  I proudly displayed them on my kitchen windowsill in a mason jar the entire week!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

September in Pictures

I had lots of ideas for blogging through the end of September but somehow ran out of time.  I thought I'd do a "month in review" through pictures though so I can fill in some of the gaps that I didn't blog about. 

Kelly and HB enjoying the little ditch that runs through my parent's property.  We made a quick trip to Cottonwood to look at the property we have in escrow.
Brandy got asked to the BUHS Homecoming dance by a young man.  Here's how our conversation went:

Dad and Mom: How do you know this young man?
Brandy: Oh, well, we eat lunch with the same group of friends.
Mom: What's his last name?
Brandy: I don't know.

Kelly and I laughed - oh how the definition of "knowing" someone has changed.
HB "playing" with his cousin Bassie (he is three months older than HB) when my sister had us over for dinner.  They remind me of dinosaurs as they slowly reach out to each other.  Once HB can crawl, their playtime will be more real.

Amanda, one of my best friends from college, got to meet HB for the first time!  We live in her hometown so thankfully we can sneak in visits when she comes home to visit family.  It was SO good to see her.  It was also really special to share my son with her.
After 16 years at the City of Chandler's Fire Station 3, Kelly bid his company goodbye and started a new chapter at Station 9.  Thus far the change has brought (slightly) slower shifts and fewer trainings because he is now only on a TRT (technical rescue team) where he used to be both on a TRT and HAZMAT team at Station 3.  Pictured above is his former company on their last day at Station 3 with their multiple rigs: (L-R) Mario Maldonado, Kelly, Bryan Warne and Britt Burns.
HB loves bathtime!  His hair was so long that I loved shaping it.  The "cupie doll" look is one of my favorites.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

First FFA meeting

Brandy attended her first FFA meeting on Monday night - she was so excited!  She was so fun to watch after she got dressed and walked around the house in her panty hose clad feet.  She hadn't ever worn panty hose before and she loved how they felt; I was cracking up as she was describing how they made her legs feel.  You can see in the picture how grown up she looks.  I may not have raised Brandy since she was a baby but it is still incredibly fun to celebrate these milestones with her as enjoys being a young adult. 

HB was excited for Brandy's first FFA meeting too - I love his super cheesy smile!  I think Brandy was most excited to wear Kelly's FFA jacket from his high school years.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Fall is in the air...kind of

Nightime lows in Buckeye have been in the 70's folks and there's only one thing that can mean.  Fall is definitely in the air!  I say that with a smile on my face because I know that is far from true Fall weather but for those of us living in the Phoenix metro area nightime lows less than 85 degrees are a blessing.  I am eager to pull out my pumpkins, scarecrows and candy corn to begin decorating but am trying to hold off until October.  Oh wait, did I say candy corn?  I meant to say I can't wait to begin snacking on that.

In an effort to keep family and friends updated as well as utilize my blog as a sort of "family history" over time, I will be trying to post Wright Family Updates once in awhile. I hope you enjoy the pictures included with this edition. I started placing a blanket by our sliding glass door and placing HB on it as I worked on my laptop once in awhile. He absolutely loves looking outside especially when a member of our animal menagerie saunters by. I know the quality of this picture isn't that great but I love that you can see the outline of my sweet son's body and one of our roosters outside. Brandy is also becoming better and better at helping with HB especially when dinner time rolls around and he just wants to be held but momma's hands are full. In the second picture, Brandy was "studying" her flashcards for an English quiz although I'm not sure how effective her studying was while she held that smiling little boy.

Brandy is still really enjoying high school which is nice because the novelty of this new season of her life has not worn off. She has good teachers but really enjoys her Ag class and her English teacher. For those of you with an FFA background you'll appreciate this next update - she has been furiously studying the FFA creed so she can recite it from memory. In her class competition last week she was one of two to earn a spot at the chapter wide contest in October. It is fun to watch her get involved since both Kelly and I were FFA members in high school. The high school's homecoming is two weeks away - apparently there is a young man that wants to ask her but she has told us she would rather "just go with her girlfriends." Cute:)

HB is now four and a half months and still growing like a weed. He goes down for naps with minimal fussing and now I am working on scheduling naptimes so I can have a bit more consistency to my day. We are still working on introducing baby food although we are sticking to rice cereal until he learns to swallow better. He had some quality time with Aunt Anna yesterday so I could get a pedicure before having lunch with her. They must have had a great time because he took an extra long nap this morning!

Kelly and I have recovered from our lamb sale last month and are working on selling our final lambs through private treaty sales. Kelly is still busy as ever picking up loads of spent grain on his four days off from three different breweries in the Valley; the six heifers we have in Buckeye LOVE this and so do our sheep. We are sub-30 days and counting for the close of our escrow period for the property we made an offer on in Cottonwood. We are hopeful it will close and are looking forward to getting the permit process going so we can beging building a house. We have been working with a general contractor in Buckeye (I taught three of his children in the Ag program) to finalize our floor plan. For any of you cooks and food-lovers out there, feel free to leave my some ideas for your dream kitchen as a comment on this post. I am trying to compile all ideas and utilize the space in our floor plan for my dream kitchen - so fun!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Lemon Buttermilk Sheetcake

The lemon concentrate I froze from last year has been long gone since July, but I am eagerly awaiting this year's lemon crop in our front yard.  In anticipation of all things lemon, enjoy this recipe for Lemon Buttermilk Sheetcake.  I have made this cake several times - it's a nice balance between tart and sweet.

Taken from the Cook’s Country Cookbook

Cake Ingredients
2.5 cups cake flour (if you don’t have cake flour, see note below)
1 t baking powder
½ t baking soda
½ t salt
¾ c buttermilk, room temp
¼ c fresh lemon juice and 3 T grated fresh lemon zest (~ 3 lemons)
1 t vanilla
1 ¾ c sugar
12 T butter, softened
3 large eggs, plus 1 large egg yolk, room temp

3 c confectioner’s sugar
3 T fresh lemon juice
2 T buttermilk

Cake flour substitute
For every cup of cake flour needed, substitute 7/8 c all purpose flour and 2 T of corn starch. For this recipe use 2 cups plus 3 T of all purpose flour and 5 T of corn starch.

• Preheat oven to 325. Grease a 9x13 pan. Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt in one bowl. Combine the buttermilk, lemon juice and vanilla in another bowl or measuring cup.

• In a large bowl, beat the sugar and lemon zest on medium speed about 1 minute. Transfer ¼ cup of sugar mixture to a small bowl and reserve for later. Add the butter to the remaining sugar mixture and beat until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Beat in the eggs, one at atime, and the yolk until combined. Reduce the mixer speed to low. Mix in 1/3 of flour mixture followed by ½ of the buttermilk mixture. Repeat with half of the remaining flour mixture and the remaining buttermilk mixture. Add the remaining flour mixture and mix until smooth, about 30 seconds.

• Scrape batter into prepared pan and smooth top. Bake until the cake is a golden brown, about 28-34 minutes. Cool for 10 minutes.

• For the glaze – meanwhile, whisk the glaze ingredients together until smooth. Spread over warm cake and sprinkle with reserved sugar mixture. Cool completely and serve!

Sunday, September 9, 2012

HB 2 - Momma 0

Introducing baby food to HB has been interesting.  We've included small amounts of rice cereal in his formula since he was about three months old but it wasn't until recently that we've actually tried feeding him anything with a spoon.  I started last week by [trying] to feed him pears.  He seemed to spit everything back out with most of it ending up on his bib.  Two days later I attempted to feed him peas with the same results.  After having most of the baby food I tried to feed HB end up on his bib I decided that maybe he wasn't quite ready for this new chapter so I took a break.  For a week. Starting yesterday I started feeding him rice cereal with some formula mixed in - he liked it!  [I shouldn't be surprised since he has been drinking this same concoction for about a month now.]  I was so proud of our Lil Man that I attempted peas for the second time tonight; that's where HB scored his first point of the evening.  After getting one spoonful past his sweet little lips he lowered his head, shuddered and spit the peas out.  I tried giving him the rice cereal concoction but he just wouldn't have it after I played that little trick with the peas.  Following "dinner" I changed Lil Man's diaper; this is where HB scored his second point.  He peed on me before I could get a dry diaper in place.  [I've gotten really good at quick diaper changes but he was a quick lil guy this evening!] 

Lil Man hates peas but loves OU!
[Momma disclaimer: we don't really keep score around here.  But night's like tonight crack me up.]

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Peach Praline Pie

Each fall a friend of mine takes orders to bring back boxes of peaches from Utah.  These peaches are the plumpest, juiciest and sweetest peaches that I have ever eaten.  In anticipation of ordering a box this year, I am posting a delightful variation for peach pie.  My mom served this at lunch last week while we were passing through town before Labor Day.

Peach Praline Pie
Taste of Home cookbook, Elizabeth Hunter

4 cups sliced, peeled, ripe peaches (about 3 pounds)
½ cup sugar
2 T quick-cooking tapioca
1 t lemon juice
½ cup all purpose flour
¼ cup packed brown sugar
½ cup chopped pecans
¼ cup butter
1 unbaked, deep dish pie shell (9 inches)

In a large bowl combine peaches, sugar, tapioca, and lemon juice; let stand 15 minutes. Meanwhile, combine flour, brown sugar and pecans in a small bowl; cut in butter until crumbly. Place pie shell in pie pan and cover with peach mixture. Sprinkle praline crumble mixture over the top, allowing peaches to show if desired. Bake at 450 degrees for 10 minutes. Reduce heat to 350 degrees and bake 20 minutes longer or until peaches are tender and topping is golden brown.

[The original recipe asked you to place a portion of the praline mixture directly on top of the pie crust, below the beautiful peaches.  We found this a sad waste of the praline because it became soggy.  Per my mom's recommendation I posted the recipe placing all praline on top!]

Monday, September 3, 2012

HB - the past four months

I don't want to take my blog count over the top or anything, but geez, I've only posted once in 2012.  That's definitely not hard to top!  I've been telling myself that I blogged four months ago but I guess I am mixing that date up with the birth date of my child.  It's hard to decide where to begin after an almost eight month hiatus from my blog but I thought I would begin with the bright spot of my year - my firstborn child, HB.  I want to keep it short and sweet tonight but I promise to connect the dots of the past eight months later. 

No matter how much friends and family share about having children I have learned that nothing can fully prepare you for how truly wonderful and delightful motherhood is.  Or how challenging some of its early moments can also be.  Becoming a mom has simply been more - more thrilling, more joyful, more fun, more blessed than I could have ever imagined.  It's hard to think my life before this point - my son has brought so much joy and wonder to my life and I am so grateful for the reminder that he is of God's awesome creating hand in our lives.  I am reminded of God's great power and intricate creativity on a daily basis as I observe my son developing and growing.

With all that said, enjoy the amateur cell phone pictures of the month-by-month growth of my sweet son.  (I am working on the whole "taking pictures from consistent distances and angles.")  Clockwise, from top left, one month, two months, three months and four months.  He has gone from posing as a sack of potatoes at  one month to actually sitting up pretty well on his own at four.  Hubby is the "spotter" ready at a moment's notice to reach out with cat-like reflexes and prevent Lil Man from face planting it into the arm rest of his great-great-great grandfather's rocking chair.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Scrapbooking Christmas Cards

Happy New Year!

I hope you had a wonderful Christmas with your family; hubby and I enjoyed our first Christmas as a married couple. We even have decorations packed away at this point:) I enjoyed my time off from school as a teacher and was able to relax and take care of some projects that I hadn't had time for during the first semester. I wanted to share the outcome of one of those projects below - after looking for a creative way to preserve the Christmas cards and pictures sent by friends and family I decided to scrapbook them.

After gathering all pictures that you want to include, crop pictures down to an appropriate size. I left some pictures bigger than others until I had a chance to work on the layout. If needed you can always go back and crop more off.

Finally, decide how you want to arrange pictures on the scrapbook paper of your choice. The layout below was for a few cards I had saved from 2006. You can mount pictures on other paper before gluing them down so they have a border, or you can glue them straight away to the background paper. Make sure to include the year - I also like to include some Christmas appropriate scripture.

If you have another crafty idea for preserving Christmas cards I would love to hear about it - please leave a comment! Also, I hope you enjoy seeing the familiar faces of mutual friends - so fun!

I pray 2012 got off to a peaceful start!