Sunday, March 20, 2011

Grasshopper Fudge Cake

You can't celebrate St. Patrick's Day without something green. For us, we had a green dessert. I found the recipe for Grasshopper Fudge Cake on I loved the way it looked, so I decided to make it. Yes, it tastes as good as it looks.

First, you make a white cake batter according to the box directions (yes, I used boxed cake mix and not embarassed about) and add some mint extract. Reserve 1 cup of the batter and mix in drops of green food coloring.

Then, you drop spoonfuls of the green batter on top of the regular batter that has already been poured into the cake pan.


After it bakes, allow the cake to cool. Then, spread a jar of hot fudge topping all over the cake. The recipe calls for 2 jars of topping, but 1 jar was plenty. It depends on how much you want the fudge taste.

Next, you spread the whipped topping over the cake. The whipped topping is mixed with mint extract and green and yellow food coloring.

For the final touch, break up pieces of Andes mint candies (which always reminds me of Olive Garden) and garnish the top of cake.

That's it. It looks like it would be difficult to make, but it's actually very easy. It has a strong minty taste, but it's really good. Remember, to keep the cake refrigerated due to the whipped topping. Enjoy!

Friday, March 11, 2011

Rodeo Day and Open House

It was Rodeo Day at school. So we got dressed in our cowboy/cowgirl garb and got ready for a fun day.

Preston is on his way to play some country games.

Preston was riding his stick horse around the barrels.

He's patiently waiting for a pony ride.

Yee Haw!

Meanwhile, I led the kids in special country music at our Campfire Sing-Along. We sang "She'll Be Coming Around the Mountain", "Skip To My Lou", "Old McDonald", "Shoo Fly, Don't Bother Me", etc. It was fun and the kids enjoyed having music outside. However, I danced in boots and my feet were hurting by the end of the day.

But, we still had a special night ahead with Kaitlyn. It was time for her 1st grade Open House. She had this letter waiting for us on her desk. It says:
Dear mom and dad,
Thank you for coming to Open House tonight. I am going
to be good tonight. We love you very much.
Love, Kaitlyn
We had to send a long sleeved shirt to school. The kids drew a picture of their face and traced their hands. Then they stuck the head and hands in the shirt so it looked like they were sitting at the desk.

Kaitlyn had all these different projects on her desk for us to look at. She is such a great student and does awesome schoolwork.

Hanging outside the classroom were silhouettes of each child. Another parent and I traced the children's silhouettes last week and someone else cut them out. They turned out great!

It was a very fun, but tiring day. Craig and I were in bed by 10:30 pm which is unusual for us. Thank goodness we are now on Spring Break!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

If You Make The Time...

I had recently posted this picture in a previous post. To be recognized for hard work and dedication is always nice and uplifting. But making the time for such things isn't always easy.

Craig and I always say "People will make time for what they want to make time for." Because of our hectic schedules, we're always looking at our priorities and seeing what can be squeezed into each day.

Of course our #1 priority is God. We make sure we are at church on Wednesday nights and Sunday morning. We have such a close relationship with God and rely only on Him. Our faith continues to grow through the years and God has never let us down.

Our #2 priority is family. We are raising our kids to know and live for God. They know the importance of church and why we go. We also make sure the family comes first in any of our planning.

Our #3 priority is work. We make our work schedules around our family schedule, not the other way around. Craig and I talk every week about what's on the schedule for the next week. He tries to work around that. If we can't do everything, we start crossing off the less important things. For example, this week we had to choose between Craig being available for Kaitlyn's Open House at school or me going to a social function with friends. Obviously, we chose the first option and I'm absolutely okay with that. By choosing family first, we are creating memories for our kids that they will always know their parents were there for them. Hopefully, they'll carry on these important values to their kids and so forth.

Craig works 50+ hour work weeks since he is in retail management. He is a salary worker and does not get overtime pay ever. But he is very commited and loyal to his company and does what needs to get done. However, he also knows when our family schedule calls for his involvement and he makes sure he is there for us. When Craig comes home from work or has a day off, the first thing he thinks about is our family. He wouldn't want to be anywhere else.

I'm fortunate to only have to work part-time at our church. Tuesday and Thursday I teach music for the Mother's Day Out program. Preston is one of my students. Sunday mornings I am the preschool Sunday School Coordinator. My kids are in their Sunday School classes during that time so I'm not taking any time away from them.

I do a lot of volunteer work. A LOT. I don't do any of it just to be recognized or to fish for compliments or to be on a power trip. I do it because I enjoy giving the time I have to help others. I volunteer at our church, Kaitlyn's school, and at times, various places in the metroplex. I keep a very tight schedule of what happens where and when. However, I always keep in mind what my priorities are.

If I'm asked to take on anything new at church I always pray about it first. Is this really from God or is this something somebody else doesn't want to do themselves? How will this affect my family? Can my family be involved with me? If there are any negative answers to those questions, I say no. I'm not afraid to say no and I've done it before and will do it again. There have been social functions at church that we have not gone to because we simply don't want to give up our family time for it. There have been social functions that I've been invited to that I'll pass on because I'm going to make time for my family first. We'll still have social outings from time to time but it's not at the top our priority list.

This year will be my 4th year as the VBS Coordinator for our church. Because it takes so much time to plan and organize (March-July), I don't volunteer for the Fall Festival or the Easter Eggstravaganza. I need to make sure I spend time with just my kids during these special events. By my kids seeing all the time I give to volunteer, they are also learning the importance of helping others.

With all that being said, we still get a lot of things done. Our schedules are always jam packed with things we want to make time for. This week alone we have something going on every single night but it all involves family. Preston and Kaitlyn are happiest when the four of us are together, even if it's just playing Candyland together. Preston made up the word "huggle". That's when the four of us hug and snuggle together. I love those moments. We also eat one meal a day together. Doesn't matter which meal, but at some point during the day, we're all sitting at the table dining together.

We may not have the fanciest house, drive the fanciest cars, have the name brand clothes (which honestly, why buy $60 name brand jeans that has the same quality and look as $15 jeans?), but we have each other as we trust in God to guide our family. We know what we need to make time for.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

You're A Good Man, Charlie Brown

Today was Book Character Day at school. I simply recycled Preston's costume from last year's Book Character Day and he still looked just as cute. Plus, it fit!

Preston dressed up as Charlie Brown. I made the black zig zag out of felt and glued it on (I don't sew) a yellow shirt I got from Michael's. I paired it with black shorts and brown shoes just like Charlie Brown. At school, each class had a costume parade and they were judged. Preston won a certificate for Most Accurate Costume! Yay! (I think he won that last year too)

I did some more recycling with my outfit. Last year, I dressed as Ramona Quimby. This year I dressed up as Fern from Charlotte's Web. It was pretty much the same outfit except my hair was in clips last year and pulled back this year. I went to a consignment store yesterday looking for a stuffed pig to be my Wilbur. I found one at the first store that I went to. As I got ready to pay ($1), a gentleman in front of me saw Preston holding the pig and bought it for us. Thank you stranger! I got Kaitlyn's copy of the book and carried it and the pig around with me at school. I know I didn't put much effort into it, but that's okay. I was comfortable at least.

As an added treat, I saw this on the marquis outside my daughter's school!