Friday, December 16, 2011

Cake Pops

This is my second attempt at cake pops.  The first attempt was not what I would call successful except for the fact that I learned alot.  These are Christmas cake pops.  Some are white, some are green, some have sprinkles, some have sugar.  They are the classic Christmas cake velvet. 

Arial view

Drying in the styrofoam

The red velvet inside....a funny story with I pulled the cake out of the oven, Leah said, "Oh, no!  Look what happened."  I asked what and she said, "Look, it turned red...oh, no."  I guess she is so used to vanilla and chocolate cakes that she thought something had gone wrong with this one being red :)

All individually wrapped.  It's amazing that one cake mix makes soooo many pops!

Gift packaged for Ella and Leah's dance teachers

Another arial view of the finished product
These things taste great and are fun to eat.  They are also super easy to make but INCREDIBLY time consuming.  Definitely a labor of love.  And these are the most basic ones.  I cannot imagine making the fancy ones like Bakerella.  Have you seen those?  Check out  She's way too talented for me.  Charles said he hopes I never make them again.  It's too!  He did ask why I was putting myself through this again and I had to admit it was because I refused to be beat by cake!  The last ones didn't turn out well, so I HAD to get it right!  Personality flaw???  Anyway, hope the recipients enjoy!  And I think I'll stick to regular ole cakes...except for wanting to try those Christmas cookies on the Bakerella website....but they are probably crazy time consuming too.  Oh well....speaking of time...I have two little girls who need mine :)

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Dancing at the Nursing Home

Today Leah's 4 year old class from dance went to the nursing home to perform. They were so cute. There was so many kids that they had to be divided into two groups. Leah was quite nervous on the way...repeatedly asking if she was going to be able to see me, if all her friends were going to be there and dancing with her, if Miss Hannah (her teacher) was going to be there, etc...

Waiting to begin

Group photo...Leah hidden in back on left

Part of the ballet number

Still doing ballet

Waiting to begin the tap number

Tapping away
Oh, this cute pumpkin :)  I had a moment of breaking down and crying though.  I was sitting next to one of the residents who kept saying "Oh, they are so precious...Look at them, they are so sweet...Oh, how darling"  and just listening to her comments reminded me of what my Nanny and Mamaw always used to say about my girls.  It made me miss them so much.  I know they would have enjoyed this performance!

An Experiment

Charles has been wanting me to branch out with the peanut butter fudge for the last two years, but I just haven't been able to find time.  I still haven't "found" any time, but I just did it anyway.  First, I made peanut butter fudge using crunchy peanut butter.  Charles as well as mine friend Shelia said this is now their favorite. 

The second experiment was using a type of peanut butter that was also mixed with dark chocolate.  It turned out good too, except there was still a predominately peanut butter taste.  Charles said he tasted a hint of chocolate right at the end of each bite, but it was still mostly peanut butter.  At least I tried....

Saturday, December 10, 2011

The Joy of Neighborhood

We woke up to quite a surprise this morning.  When we opened the front door, there was a sign taped to it that stated we had been elfed!  There was also a plate of goodies on our doorstep....ring pops, chocolate mint patties, homemade cookies, and a Christmas candle.  Thankfully, too, there was a letter of explanation.  Someone had gifted us with these Christmas goodies and now we have two days to do the same to two other neighbors.  You leave the sign on your front door until Christmas Eve so that you don't get elfed twice.  What a cute idea!  Charles and I loved it! 

I will admit that Charles and I had our reservations about living in a neighborhood.  We were worried about having neighbors but God has certainly blessed us with good ones and we are so thankful!

So, today I prepared our elf packages.  They contain homemade peanut butter fudge, candy cane Hershey kisses with a Legend of the Candy Cane tract, and an ornament.  I can't wait....a fun excuse to get to ring a doorbell and run :)

Christmas Parade

Here are a few pictures of the Prattville Christmas Parade.  The girls were on the Mann Dance float.  I had to ride too since Leah is so small.  They were so excited, but that quickly faded as the sun set and it got cold.  We were all in our thermal underwear, but it was still cold :)  Also, they ended up being disappointed by not being able to see the rest of the parade.  They agreed that next year they just want to be spectators rather than participants.  Overall, it was fun and  new experience.  Their favorite part was throwing candy to the people from the side of road.  This Thursday, Leah gets to dance for the folks at the nursing home...can't wait to share pix from that...I think it will be so precious!!

Waiting to get started

Me and my girls

The girls on the float

Aren't they so cute?

Dark and cold...but hanging in there!

Friday, December 9, 2011

First Fudge of the Season

Here is a quick snapshot of the first fudge of this years Christmas season!  My Mamaw would have already made 20 of these pans by now, but I am not the fudge maker she was.  I will say that I was a bit nervous about this batch because it is the first batch I've ever made on an electric stove.  I have always made it on my gas stove at the other house so I was not so sure about getting the right heat on this new electric one.  But, thankfully, it turned out perfect!  It tastes just like Mamaw's.  I have several other batches to go, and a few new things to try.  I am going to try one batch using crunchy peanut butter and another batch trying chocolate peanut butter.  We will see how they turn out!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Nanny's Dressing

Nanny was famous for her chicken and dressing.  I am so thankful that she taught me how to make it.  In the past, however, I have always made it without the chicken...just the dressing.  But this year, in memory of her, I did it her way.  I boiled the whole chicken, picked it apart, and put it in the dressing.  I must say, it was sooo good.  I have her dish that she used to make it in and so this was the first time I ever REALLY did it just like her.  At first, everyone thought, "wow...think you made enough dressing?"  But, every bite was eaten :)  I am so happy to have this passed down from her.  I think she would've been proud.

Pupmkin Roll

This is my first attempt at a pumpkin roll.  My old boss used to make the most delicious pumpkin rolls and luckily she agreed to share her recipe with me (5 years ago)!  Well, I finally got around to trying it.  I guess I've always avoided it because I thought it was hard, but it wasn' was so easy!!  And the best part is it tasted good too :)  I did forget to put in the pecans, but it was yummy still.  These are the first few pix so you can't really see the swirl too good, but as we got more into it, it had a pretty white swirl in the center.  Mmmmm....perfect for the holidays!

Monday, November 7, 2011


My Nanny was one of my best friends.  I can't believe it has been nine days since she went to live with the Lord.  I wish I could state all of the reasons I loved her, but that would just be impossible.  Right now my heart is heavy because I am so used to callling her every day and I miss sharing those conversations with her.  She has always been a constant for me.  Life has been full of change but she has been the one thing (rather, one of the few things) that never changed.  I would make a point to visit her every 3-4 months and I could always look forward to cheese gravy and biscuits for breakfast and her famous chicken and dressing for dinner.  The pastor mentioned at her funeral that she was just such a humble person.  What a true statement.  "Going home" always grounded me.  It is so easy to get caught up in the rat race of life here, but there I was reminded of what is really important.  She endured what I pray I will never have to with the death of two of her three children and her spouse.  I can only imagine what a reunion that was!  But, the rest of us are left to miss her terribly.  Even my sweet Leah has woken up a couple of times crying for her.  Talk about breaking your heart!  I wish I had a better picture to share, but she despised getting her picture taken and so this will have to do.  It was taken in September at our last visit.  Ella said with a laugh that Nanny whispered in her ear, "I hate getting my picture made." 

Well, no more pictures Nanny.  Just the sweet memories that are forever in our hearts.  You are loved more that you know and are missed more that words can say.  

Monday, October 24, 2011

Auburn Cake

Here is a picture of a 16th Birthday Auburn Cake I did recently.  The cake is chocolate with white buttercream icing.  I made fondant tiger paw prints around the sides with a fondant orange and blue 16 in the center.  I did a navy scribble design on the top and did an alternating orange and blue piping around the border.

A New Home

Here is a picture of our new home.  We are so enjoying it!!  I never thought I would be able to downsize by 800 square feet, but it really has been a great blessing.  Even though we lost square footage, the space we do have is so much more functional and better utilized.  I did have to get rid of alot of stuff, but I'm not a pack-rat and so I loved the excuse to throw some stuff away.  I feel much better organized and not ruled by cleaning an over-sized house.  We love visitors, so we hope to see you soon :)

Disney Cruise

We recently took a Disney Cruise to the Bahamas and Disney's private island, Castaway Cay. All I can say is it was worth every penny. Let's just say before we left, Leah cried that she didn't want to get on that big boat; the morning we had to get off, she cried that she didn't want to get off the boat. I'm gonna share a few pix, but they are just a few. The kids' favorite part was the princesses and of course, Charles and I loved the relaxation of it all (and the food). I also loved the fact that someone else cooked our meals, cleaned the dishes, and picked up our room :) If you can, I encourage you to take one!

The Disney Dream

Castaway Cay -- looks like a postcard doesn't it?

Kids playing in the ocean

I've always liked Goofy!

I think the kids had their pix with Snow White at least 3 times

Leah's favorite -- Ariel

Another Leah favorite -- Tinkerbell

Leah's favorite place -- the Mickey pool

Ella's favorite -- the water slide ride

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Stones of Remembrance

We wanted some new family portraits made and I had always wanted some made on location at our house.  Well, since we were leaving I thought that would be the perfect thing to do.  For one, I've always wanted to and two, it would make the perfect stone of remembrance to put above our fireplace in our new home.  Our river house is so special to us as it was the first house Charles and I bought after being married and it is where we brought our children home to.  I really thought it would be where our children would grow up and we would grow old.  God had other plans and that's just fine but this house will always hold a special place in our hearts.  Jerusha DuPre came and did our pictures and she did a phenomenal job!  She gave us 460 pictures to choose from.  Can you say IMPOSSIBLE?  I want sooo many and need to get some printed and distributed but I guess that will come in time!

Our old house
Our new family pix above our fireplace

So glad my girls love each other so much!


My beautiful Ella, age 6

My beautiful Leah, age 4

My honey and me

The best gifts I have ever received!

Lessons Learned

Thankfully, it has been quite a while since this moving ordeal and I must say, I think we are finally settled.  Whew!
As I read over my last post, I was still ashamed.  I hate that I doubted God.  I feel like a worm.  But, I have asked for forgiveness and now I must move forward.  So much has happened in our lives over the last month and a half, it really is hard to go back and try to capture all of it, but I will point out my biggest lessons learned.

1) God is in control.  He always has been and He always will be.  Praise the Lord!!  I am so glad I am not in control of has been proven over and over that if I were, I would surely make a mess of things.  I am so grateful that He carries me.
2) When we sit in worry and doubt, we miss the big picture.  Even this morning I was reminded of Exodus 4 when God told Moses to go back to Egypt and all of the men who wanted to kill him were now dead.  Moses feared things that he didn't even need to fear...God had already worked it out.  Just like in my case, I worried and doubted and was so negative about how things would turn out, but even in the midst of all my worry, God had already worked it out.  Thankfully, He is a God of details and He sees all that we cannot.  Again, I am thankful He is in control.
3) God loves me (all of us) so very much.  Sometimes I forget that He is not only God, but my Father.  His word says that we who are sinful give good gifts to our children so how much more would He give to His children.  He wants to bless me, why do I so doubt that He will?

All I can do now is rest in Him, be ever so grateful for His blessings, and pray that I do not doubt Him so the next time. 
Now, I will try to catch up the rest of my blog...Disney Cruise, new house, Auburn Cake.....

Friday, September 9, 2011


I am quite excited, yet completely overwhelmed.  I got the call today that we will do a double closing on our house(s) on Tuesday.  But more than anything right now, I am ashamed.  I was so discouraged because we are coming upon the expiration of our contract within days and it just didn't seem like things were going to go through.  I was so discouraged because I just could not reconcile what I was so certain that I had heard from the Lord.  I was angry with alot of people for what I felt was a lack of diligence but I was also angry with God.  Why was He not listening to my prayers?  Why would He let us come this far and waste two months of our lives and several hundred dollars just to have it all fall apart?  This entire process has been so prayerful...why had He brought us this far just to watch us fall?  We are leaving for a Disney Cruise on Wednesday and I've just prayed that all would be settled before we left (the contract would expire while we were gone).  But, for that to happen, we HAD to have word today.  The mortgage lender for the man buying our house has been awful so I had no doubt that she would allow today to pass without sending us word.  Finally, at 3:00pm we got the go ahead.  The first thing I did was cry.  I committed the same sin as Eve....the first sin that entered the world...I doubted God.  Just like she doubted God's goodness to her, I doubted His goodness to me.  Talk about ashamed.  Oh..."ye of little faith."  So many lessons learned.  Quite a growth experience in this valley.  I have alot of praying to do...alot of forgiveness to ask for...alot of praise to send up.  Once I have a chance...and who knows when that will be, I will have to have an entry about lessons learned.  But, I have openly expressed my discouragement and now I must confess my sin.  Yet again, my God has been so very good and so very faithful to me...even though I am not.  I am so thankful for His lovingkindness...His forgiveness....His faithfulness...His love.....His mercy.....His grace.  It is so undeserved.  Thank you, Father!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

So Discouraged...

Isn't is crazy that you can go from posting about answered prayers to being so discouraged in such a short amount of time?  My last post updated about how God was answering our prayers so specifically and now I am asking myself if I really ever even heard from Him.  They say when it rains, it pours...let me explain...

First of all, our buyers were in such a great rush to get closed on our house...gotta hurry and get this done.  Then we noticed a slowing down of the process.  We finally discovered it was on his lending agents end with a failure to order the appraisal in a timely fashion, etc, so finally it gets done.  Well, guess what...the appraisal was not completely kosher for several reasons, and did not appraise for our asking price.  Well, the buyer had offered to pay closing costs and had bundled that into the amount he was going to mortgage.  When this happened, he said he could only do what the house appraised for.  So, Charles decided that it was really okay because there are some things that need to be done to the house and overall we would be saving so much by moving (gas cost, hazard insurance on the house, etc) that it was ok.  Let's move forward.  Well, I felt like I had been punched in the gut with the amount of a loss we were taking, but ok, whatever, let's move forward.

Next, we were told it was only a matter of days once the appraisal was received that all should be wrapped up and we could close.  Apparently not.  It is as if all progress has come to a complete halt.  Why?  I don't know.  We tried to contact the lender and she had a cow, so our buyer insisted we only contact him for questions.  Well, guess what.  Now he won't return our phone calls.  Guess what else.  Our contract on the house in Prattville runs out in two days and the listing agent does not want to give us an extension.  Why?  She does not believe in for sale by owner transactions saying they almost never make it to the closing table and she has a point to prove.  Can you feel my stress?

Allow me to continue.  My van is in the shop.  Gonna cost over $500 to fix.  Our upstairs air conditioner broke.  Thankfully, that was only $150 but the culprit was a spider.  Yes, a spider.  I have never seen a spider worth $150.  And the one thing that really matters is that my Nanny (my Dad's mom....who I am very close with) is not doing very well health wise.  The doctor told my uncle today that they need to find someone to stay with her 24/7. 

Big sigh.

I want to wallow and whine (which I know that sounds like what I have been doing) but then I am reminded that this is not a storm.  A storm would be your child having cancer or your husband being in a car wreck and becoming paralyzed.  This is just a trial.  It is all about perspective.  Things could be worse.  Some of my most precious friends and family have reminded me to "Count it all joy when we face trials of many kinds" and that this is what life on earth consists of is hardships and that is one reason we can look forward to Heaven.  And even though Charles is just as stressed as I am, he even said this morning that Ella and Leah never wonder if we are going to provide them their next meal or will keep a roof over their heads, they just trust us to.  And didn't God say that with us being humans and we give good gifts to our children how much more will He give to us...yet we worry.  There is a southern gospel song that says "my God's been in time, on time, every time for me."  I try to keep singing that to myself.  Also that He can move mountains.

I guess the scariest thing for me right now is that I am questioning whether I missed Him.  This has all been covered in much prayer and now it seems to be falling apart.  I just can't seem to understand and I feel so discouraged.  Things were moving along so rapidly at first, half of my house is packed in boxes.  How sad to have to unpack them.  I really thought this was part of the way that God was going to use to bring me home and now I question whether I have misunderstood Him on that point as well.

All of this sob story to say, please keep us in your prayers.  Please pray that we will not lose heart and that we will just trust in whatever it is that God is doing in our lives.  Pray that we will grow in our faith and trust in Him and that we will endure all the while giving Him glory.  I am reminded of the movie Facing the Giants when he said "we are gonna praise Him when we win, and we will praise Him when we lose."  I know that I exist to bring honor and glory to the Father.  It is my response in this trial that will matter.  He does not exist for me, I exist for Him.  I just want to understand.  Or at least to have a sense of peace and not anxiety.  Again, we covet your prayers.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Answered Prayers

My God is sooo good!!!  He is so active in our lives and it is so humbling to think He really cares about all of the details about little ole' me.  I feel like I have so much to say, I hope that I can get it all said without seeming like I am having flight of ideas :)

Back at the end of February we placed our house on the market.  Not sure if this is exactly what we should do or not....seemed as if there were just as many reasons to stay as there was to go.  To stay:  this is our dream home, the river is our front yard, it is like being on permanent vacation, my parents are right next door, I grew up next to my grandparents and I want my kids to grow up next to theirs, the country feels safe, and did I mention it is beautiful here?  To go:  gas is crazy expensive and it seems like I often live on the road, play dates are rare for my kiddos as everyone thinks we live on the other side of the earth, we need to be closer to activites since we are going to be homeschooling, Charles wants a home he can easily maintain (this one is so high off the ground), and most importantly, we would like to take our equity and downsize in order to bring me home.  So we decided to do for sale by owner...that way if God wanted us to sell, He would send a buyer.  I prayed so specifically.  We live next to my mom and so I knew that whoever would come to live here needed to be great.  I prayed that they would be Christians...not just "good people," but Christians.  I also prayed that they would be close to my parents' age so that they could establish a friendship with them.

Well, God came through as always.  The family that is buying our house are Christians.  And, I envision them being great friends with my parents.  They have an 18 month old granddaughter so they have that in common, but they are also just so down to earth.  Charles and I have said that we could not have hand picked anyone we would rather be here.

So, where do we go?  There are a couple of lessons here.  First of all, Charles and I thought we would probably have to buy an older home that would probably need some work in order to stay in the price range that we set for ourselves.  Nope, God brought Ephesians 3:20 to life for us.  We never imagined that we would be able to buy a brand new home, but we are!  Also, it happens to be in a neighborhood that Charles has had his eye on for a couple of years now while it was being developed.  I was always so opposed, but did go and look and loved it....a little lesson in submission and allowing my husband to lead.  In addition, I was nervous about downsizing so drastically (800+ square feet), but I told God I would be willing to do whatever it takes in order to come home and I will.  My grandparents raised families larger than ours in houses much smaller than the one we will be buying, and everyone turned out just fine.  I believe it is yet another of the current cultures lies that the bigger the better and the more we have the happier we will be.  Serving God and my family is what is going to bring me happiness...not the size of my house. 

Now, we wait.  We are waiting on the appraisal and from the powers that be in this situation, and we are told that everything should be closed by the end of the month.  The girls are excited but are we all.  Excited to do something new but sad to leave this house and MawMaw and Papa.  We are only going 35 minutes away, and our home is where our family is...not the structure itself.  I am just not a fan of change in my personal life.  I like to be settled.  I like routine.  So my feathers are a bit ruffled but I just continue to pray that God would help me to "be anxious for nothing" and guard my heart and mind with His peace.

So, please continue to keep our family in your prayers as we go through this transition.  I just thank God for His provision and His faithfulness.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Happy Birthday, Leah!

These are a few pictures of Leah's 4th birthday. We had it at Pump It Up and used a hello kitty theme. All of the kids had a blast. There were so many pictures it was hard to choose just a few. It is so hard to believe my baby girl is 4!!! Sure wish someone could figure out how to freeze them :)