Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Buckeye Cake

Dear Chocolate Buckeye Cake,
Aka My Nemisis,

I would great appreciate it if you would stop haunting my home.  I've worked very hard to make this a healthy, wholesome enviroment where my kids can find nutritious snacks ready to go.  Our meals are well balanced, our snacking is light, and our desserts are minimal.

Your appearance in our home has caused quite an uproar.

My husband is begging for your return.  My children are asking for your reappearance as well.  And those five pounds of chocolate, sugar, and peanut butter that you left behind have found their way to my hips and stomach.

Although we all love you dearly, I hate to say that it will be a VERY long time before we can host you in our home again.  As you know, I have that "last 10 pounds" to loose, and I just can't do so with you in our home.  You are a bad influence on my eating habits and even invited along your friends,
those Cravings for Other Sweets.

I do hope you understand.

We shall keep your address bookmarked, but please don't call us.

We'll call you!

The Creative2xmom Family

If you dare look for this monster of a treat, be prepared.  He can do a lot of destruction in a short amount of time.

*Linked to these Parties.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

52 First Dates: Week Three

I scream... you scream...

Wait a minute!

Did you scream for ice cream???

We did... We have a great little place in town called U-Top-It.  It's a yogurt shop where you fill your own bowl, add your own toppings, and then they weigh it at the end to see what you owe.  My husband and I learned early on that you can get yourself in a lot of trouble if you're not careful.  There are so many toppings and so much good looking stuff... hhhmmm... I think I'm gaining weight just thinking about it.

Anyways... while the kids were gone for a few days last week, we had our date night at U-Top-It.  I ended up with a Pink Lemonade Sorbet while my husband cheated and fell back on Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough (what a creature of habit!).  It was fun though.  Simply the challenge of picking out something new and being adventurous broke up the usual conversation and just gave the date a fun feeling.  We laughed more than usual and just had a good time.  It was fun to just let go and have a good time.

I think it's important sometimes to have those fun moments.  They tend you get you through the more serious questions, the deep intimacy conversations, and the bigger issues that often need to be worked out.  Just my two cents worth.

So for this week, why not be a tourist in your own town?  Is there somewhere in town that you've always wanted to visit?  A spot that you've heard about but haven't visited?  Maybe it's a museum, an art gallery, a bookstore, a boutique, a sporting event?  A restaurant that's peaked your interest?  Is there an outdoor location that you've been interested in visiting?  Perhaps pack a picnic lunch or snack to take with you.  Pack all those little extras that you don't usually spend the money on and take on the adventure of the day.

Come join us on the Facebook event page and let us know how it went.  What did you discover?  What did you discover about each other?  What kind of new places did you visit?  Share a comment.

*Linked to Works for Me Wednesday

Guest Posting Today

I'm guest posting over at Seven Clown Circus today.  I'm so excited that she's invited me and wanted to invite all of you along for the adventure as well.  Come join me?

What's a SAHM without the Mom?

Monday, June 28, 2010

Menu Monday 6/28-7/4

Yogurt and fruit
Eggs and toast

Peanut Butter and Jelly sandwiches
Tuna sandwiches
Green salad with salmon
Fruit, string cheese, crackers
Carrots or celery and dip

Monday: Tomato Basil Chicken Salad, green salad
Tuesday: Taco Salad
Wednesday: Stuffed Green Pepper, pea salad
Thursday: Enchiladas in the crockpot, green salad
Friday: Veggie Pizza, fruit salad
Saturday: Spinach Calazone,
Sunday: Out of town

Black bean hummus
Orange Smoothies

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Lee's To Do List

Anyone else love the tartness of Key Lime Pie (@ Southern Grace Gourmet)?  I'm dying to try this one.

These Simple Napkin Rings (@ Ordinary Miracles of Life) are so easy and look like something straight out of World Market or Pottery Barn.

These Rhubarb Ginger Peach Muffins (@ Tasty Kitchen) were easily adapted to rhubarb strawberry in my kitchen.  Great for freezing and absolutely yummy.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Share Your Summer Photos: Week Two

How is the picture taking going?  I'm finding that these are things that I don't typically photograph, but it's fun to be reminded.  This is part of our life too.  Some of those little moments that we forget to remember and reflect on... that's life!

So we're in week two of our 10 Weeks of Summer Photos and this weeks' assignment was Show Us Your Garden.

Here's mine:

Sorry I thought I took more photos than this, but I guess I didn't.  The roses are doing well now that we've gotten rid of the black spot.  My pepper plants are very happy, as well as the cherry tomato plant.  And obviously the strawberry patch is producing at least a little fruit.  That's the kids favorite part of the backyard.

OOPS!  Here's those pictures I was looking for:

Let's start sharing.  How's you're garden looking this year?  Flowers or veggies, landscape projects, those pretty flower cookies?  Journal or don't journal, but share with what's going on in your neck of the woods.  And don't forget to invite others to share in on the party!

Oh, and next week's assignment: What's In Your Fruit Basket?

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Yes, your children will eat fish.. and so will you! Part Six

In continuing in our quest to include more fish in our diet, I'm constantly looking for new and wonderful ways to serve fish to my kids.  The following dish is becoming a quick family favorite.  We've served it up a few times, each with it's own variation on what we have in the house.

Orzo and Shrimp
4 c. chicken broth
2 c. orzo
4 cloves garlic
Frozen cooked shrimp
Olive Oil
Lemon Juice
Salt and Pepper
Tomatoes, Kalamata Olives, Green Onion, Artichokes, Feta

Heat broth to boiling and add orzo.  Turn head to med and allow orzo to cook through.  In the meantime, saute garlic and shrimp on low until heated and cooked through.  Toss shrimp, garlic, olive oil, lemon juice, parsley, salt, and pepper into the orzo.  Chop and add in any of the extras you desire.  We love tomatoes, artichokes, and basil feta cheese in ours.

I just make sure the shrimp is chopped fine and my kids love it.  My husband loves it too.  One night we were out of shrimp and even made it vegetarian with a green salad.    I was afraid he'd miss the shrimp, but even then, he loved it.  It's been a huge hit around here.

For more fish recipes, check out Shrimp Stirfry, Shrimp Quesadillas, Fish Tacos with Lemon Butter Sauce, Parmesean Encrusted Tilapia, and Blackened Fish.

*Linked to these Parties.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

52 First Dates: Week Two

Hey gang,
Are you ready to give your marriage a kick in the butt?  How did couch time go last week?

Can I be honest?  I didn't do so hot.  Well, I guess we did ok.  We sat down Friday, Monday, and Tuesday evenings.  So 3/5 isn't too bad, huh?  I just have to keep reminding myself that something like this is a process.  It's a goal.  It isn't going to happen overnight and it certainly isn't going to happen without some effort.  We'll keep plugging away at this couch thing and making it a habit.

How did you do?  Did it work for you?  Was it hard to find things to talk about?

Let's try and make this one a little bit easier on us.  It's almost the end of June already.  And while the hot, hot temperatures have been holding off, we've had a couple of 90 degree days.  (Crazy, but it still feels too cold for the pool)  How about a summer treat?

I've been tossing around the idea of doing this lately and I think it's time for an ice cream taste off.  This should be easily adaptable to any budget or time constraint.  Either hit your local Baskin Robbins or grocery store.  Each of you should pick out a flavor that you haven't tried before, but have always been curious about.  Share with each other and come up with a favorite.

If you're doing this at home, wait till the kids go to bed.  This is time for just you and your hubby/spouse/ significant other.  There will plenty of leftovers to share tomorrow.  And if not, the empty cartons can be snuck out to the trash when you're done.

Sure, it's silly, it's goofy, but that's the point.  Be lighthearted with each other for a change.  Have fun with it.  Talk about how you used to long for ice cream as a kid.  Did you have an ice cream man on your street?  Or did you go down to the local Frosty with your grandparents once a week?  What did you order then?  Bubble gum?  (that was one of my favorites).

Come join us on the Facebook event page and let us know how you're doing.  Anything surprising come up in conversation?  What are you learning about your spouse?  Share a comment.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Summer To-Do List 2010

Do you have a Summer To-Do List?  These little lists have served me well over the past summer (summer '08), fall, and spring.  Some of the stuff has been summed up in our Summer Sanity Saver List.  Some of it is not.  So why not many another To-Do List.  After all I am the Queen of To-Do Lists.

This is just some of the things we're looking forward to over the coming months:

Go to a baseball game
Kids to Nana and Papa's for a few days
Kids to Grandma's for a few days
4th of July
Beach Trip
Staff Retreat
Anniversary Trip
Go to the Fair
Summer $ Movies
Pick, can and freeze blackberries
Pick, can and freeze apples
Make homemade Ice Cream
Swimming, swimming, swimming

There's so much else we're looking forward to doing.  Sprinklers, swimming, reading lessons.  I love the summer, but I'm exhausted already.

Anyone else?

Monday, June 21, 2010

Made by Me Monday

Yeah.  It's Monday again.  How are you all doing?  Did you have a good weekend?  I don't know where our weekend went.  I feel like it just flew by.  Seems like that's the trend lately and seems to be getting worse.

I went for a run on Saturday.  Yeah.  I've been doing a running/walking program the past couple of weeks to work up to a run and I'm loving it.  I've never been a runner and I'm so excited to see it becoming a reality.  I'll share it with you soon as things progress.

We did some cleaning out of the garage.  We still had stuff to clean out from our bathroom remodel.  It was driving me crazy and we finally got it cleared out of the garage.  And finally picked out a paint color.  So Saturday was spent scrapping door frames and hanging out at the house.  All the normal life stuff.

Sunday was busy.  Church in the morning, Dave had a meeting afterwards, kids and I hit the grocery store for some last minute things.  Father's Day dinner was yummy!  Burgers, pea salad, sweet potato fries, and a yummy chocolate peanut butter cake.  Dave and I sat on the patio and laughed as the kids played in the backyard sprinklers.  We're seeing how much they love imitating each other and being crazy together.  Even little Lydia is getting a chance to take the lead every once in awhile.

I've got some fun stuff coming up this week, but what about you?  What have you been up to this week?    Something to share with us?  A recipe, project or creative tip?

Let's start sharing.  Write a blog post highlighting your project with a link back to this post so that others can join in on the fun.  Then link up below to the individual blog post itself; not the blog as a whole.  You can post more than one project, just add more than one link.  And don't forget to invite your readers to join in as well!

Oh, don't forget to check this one out from last week

*Linked to these Parties.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Menu Monday 6/21-6/27

Oatmeal and bananas
Yogurt and granola
Strawberry Rhubarb Muffins
Cinnamon Rolls???

Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwiches
Chicken Salad sandwiches
Fresh Fruit
String cheese
Carrots and dip

Monday: Grilled Veggie Sandwiches
Tuesday: Tomato Basil Pizza
Wednesday: Taco Salad
Thursday: Enchiladas in the crockpot
Friday: Parmesan Tilapia
Saturday-Sunday: out of town/ taking:
Cinnamon Rolls, Yogurt, Cupcakes, Olive Cheese Bread???

Pink Lemonade Cupcakes
Hummus and crackers
Sugar and spice twists

Lee's To Do List

This bandana dress is going to be one of my project when I go to my mom's this summer. Wouldn't Lydia look great in this?

Aren't these Grosgrain Belts so cute? And how easy is that?

Sick of my rhubarb obsession yet? Here's another: Rhubarb Cream Delight Desert.

Looking for more Summer Boredom Busters? Check out this one: Mom, I'm Bored.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Share Your Summer Photos: Week One

Well, like I said, sorry about the late notice this week.  I'll be posting a photo assignment for the next 10 week's to help us document some of the lesser known parts of our summer break.  And to remind us to take pictures other than swim lessons (I've been at the pool the last two weeks).

This week's assignment was to photograph your favorite summer accessory.  I cheated and did two.

Flip-flops are standard attire around here, even when it's not summer.  I've had these for over 4 years and they've found new life in my wardrobe.  I pulled them out not too long ago and thought, "huh... those might actually give me a little style while I'm lugging around all this pool gear."  So they've been on my feet ever since.

The sunglasses were bought at Mervyn's when it went out of business a few years ago.  I've never really gotten into the habit of wearing sunglasses as often as I should, but like I said, I've just spent the last two weeks at the pool.  My eyes are already thanking me for the days I remember.  And cursing me for the days I forget.  

So what about you?  What's your favorite summer accessory?  Journal or don't journal, but do share what you're wearing these days.  And don't forget to invite others in to join the party.

Next week's assignment: Show us your Garden!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Summer Blocks

These cute little summer blocks are so simple.  They just take a little time and you have a wonderful, reusable decor piece year after year.  I found that spring, winter, and summer all have six letters in them. Plus autumn does as well.  I had planned on using the word fall instead, but now that I've found a six letter word I'm tempted to change my planning.  But I'm getting ahead of myself.

First you have to decide what size block you want.  When I first cut these, 2 inches seemed so big.  I couldn't imagine having an entire foot of blocks on my entertainment center.  So I cut mine about 1.5 inches.  Honestly two would have been just fine.  I like mine, but they are a bit small.  

Then I started thinking about what word I wanted to put on them.  As I said, all the seasons can be summed up in six letters.  So I'm planning to put all the words on these blocks, just different sides.  And if you want to get really creative, you have both ends as well, giving you the possibility of six words.

For summer, I wanted some rich color so I went with the green paint.  Not sure why since it's so hot here that my lawn turns brown.  Anyways... I started by lightly sanding the surface, paying close attention to the edges.  Then I went through and painted each of my blocks, giving them two thoroughly dried coats, painting with the grain.

Then using my Cricut (or any stencil you'd like), I cut out the letters for my word.  I wasn't sure about the color, but I like the way the white stands out on the green.  I simply used Mod Podge to adhere the letters and embellishments.  Then after that dries, I added another layer of Mod Podge to seal them.

I think they look pretty cute hanging out by pictures of my babies.  (No that wasn't intentional, but they sure look cute in the background, huh?)

Let me leave you with a final word of warning.  If you do plan on flipping them and changing the sides, don't do what I did.  I added tiny seashells as embellishments on Summer.  They look so cute and I really do love them.  But when I flip the blocks to another side, they don't sit level.  Although it's not much of a different, it is a slight one and it might just drive me crazy.  So keep your embellishments flat.

And there you have it... super easy, super cute, and super affordable.  The wood was leftover at my mom's, and the Mod Podge, paint, and embellishments were all stuff I had on hand.

Hope you like them!

*Linked to Frugal Friday

52 First Dates: Week One

So are you ready?  I'm really excited and truth by told, my husband is too.  I was telling him about this idea and I could see the wheels turning in his head already.

This week's challenge is going to sound easy, but it's really not.  So hear me out.  Your challenge this week is to create couch time every evening (or at least Mon-Friday).  Couch time is time for you and your husband to sit down every evening and just have a few minutes to talk over your day and encourage one another.  Ideally this would be something you would do as soon as your spouse comes home from work, but... ok, I understand that's the craziest time of the day.  Kids are starving and want Daddy's attention, dinner's on the stove, and the dog is running through the house with a tutu on his head.

Or something like that.

(Perhaps you could start 5 minutes after your spouse gets home so that dinner could be simmering, the kids could have a quick hug and fido has been released from dress-up time)

I would suggest that you sit the kids down that first night and explain to them that they are loved.  Mommy and Daddy are excited to spend time with them.  But... Mommy and Daddy are each other's first priority and as such, they need a few minutes together.

Now that you've laid the ground work, spend a few minutes together just talking.  You can start with 5 minutes or 10 minutes.  It doesn't have to be a huge time commitment as long as you are communicating to each other that you are making time for each other.

Try to relax.  Find a comfortable spot in the house: the couch, your room, the back patio.  Take a few minutes to breathe and just listen to one another.

Try to be as positive as possible.  Believe me, I know how hard that is when there's little ones involved and you're teaching manners, and potty training, and you just want a few minutes to vent.  But even in your time together, try to be constructive, positive, and encouraging.

Finally have one long smooch and a slap on the butt and back to reality (ok, maybe's that's not part of the assignment, but I figure my husband will like that part).

This may sound easy, but be forewarned.  My husband and I have been trying to make this a part of our routine for a week and we've only succeeded twice.  It takes lots of discipline, even on our part, and we want to spend time together.

I'll upload the Facebook event page today and link it here.  Let us know how you're doing and any creative ideas you've found for making this work and sticking with it.

*Linked to Works for Me Wednesday

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

"Healthified" Pumpkin Bread

Oh, things are hectic around here this summer.  (I know. I know.  I only have two kids, but still...)  We've been flying around from swim lessons to the pool to starting a new home group.  And I'm feeling like I'm getting into a groove, but still... it's taking some time.

So I'm taking a little time this afternoon and relaxing with the kids a little.  Trying to turn off my brain from the 100 mph it seems like it's been going lately.

A few days ago, I opened a can of pumpkin to make my favorite treat: A Pumpkin Spice Latte (oh, I love 'em).  But since I've all but given up coffee, it's just been sitting in the refrigerator.  I'm afraid it will go bad if I don't do something with it soon.

So I'm making some "Healthified" Pumpkin Bread this afternoon.  Not quite the right season, but yummy anyways.  Relaxing, playing in the water, and baking... just what the doctor ordered?

What do you do to relax?

Monday, June 14, 2010

Made by Me Monday... and a little bloggy business

How was everyone's weekend?  Did the summer sun finally find your area?  Or did you suffer though some heat?

Our weekend started out crazy with Dave and I coming down with the flu on Friday.  Needless to say, the kids took it for all it was worth and there was no end to the movies and popsicles in my house that day.  Luckily we were both feeling much better come Saturday and got a few small projects done.  We replaced a few valves on the sprinkler system, transplanted a hydrangea that wasn't doing well, and finally picked out paint for the bathroom (I'm so ready to have that project done).  I was even able to get some scrapbooking done Saturday night after the kids went to bed.

All in all, we didn't get as much done as I'd hoped, but considering we had the flu, I was afraid the rest of the weekend was going to be a wash.  Which reminds me, how do you handle having little kids when you're both sick?  I need some advice.  Do you just chalk it up as life and let things slide?  Or do you have a back-up plan?  What do you think?

For a little bloggy business, I'm starting a new link party on Fridays that will run for the next ten weeks.  I've signed up for a free class through Big Picture Scrapbooking.  This one is called 10 Summer Photos to Take Right NOW.  Well, I always do better if I have some accountability so I thought it might be fun if we did it together.  There's 10 photos so I'm going to make it 10 weeks, one photo a week.  We'll take our photos and then highlight them in a post.  You can add some journaling if you'd like, or not.  Completely up to you.  I'll have the link up for the first one starting this Friday.  You can sign up for the class through Big Picture Scrapbooking (for more details) or if not, the first assignment is to: Photograph your favorite summer accessory.  My mind's been churning over what I want to photograph and I'm hoping you'll join me as well.

So finally on to Made by Me Monday.  This is what I've been working on lately.  It's a set that will use all six sides, but for now I'll just show you the one I've completed.

Like I said, this is just the beginning of the project and I'll end up using every surface.  So come back on Thursday and I'll talk you through how to get started.

So now it's your turn.  What have you been up to this week?  Some yummy recipe to share with us?  A new project you've been working on?  A great creative tip?

Let's start sharing.  Write a blog post highlighting your project with a link back to this post so that others can join in on the fun.  Then link up below to the individual blog post itself, not your blog as a whole.  You can post more than one project; just add more than one link.  And don't forget to invite your readers to join in as well!

* Linked to these Parties.

Menu Monday 6/14-6/20

Yogurt and fruit
Oatmeal and bananas
Rhubarb strawberry muffins
Gingerbread waffles

Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwiches
Fancy Salads
String Cheese
Carrots and dip
Fresh fruit
Oatmeal Cranberry Bars

Monday: Orzo with Shrimp and veggies, salad

Tuesday: Taco Salad (potluck)

Wednesday:  Tomato Basil chicken salad, broccoli salad

Thursday: Pasta and Meatballs, green salad

Friday: Veggie Wraps with Creamy Cilantro Dressing

Saturday: Veggie Pizza,


Snacks and Extras:
Blackberries and Yogurt
Orange Smoothies
Roasted beans
Chocolate Peanut butter cake

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Lee's To Do List

I'm switching up the "Resources I'm Currently Lovin'" tabs on the Home Page, but thought I'd link them up here in case you're still interested.  Happy Browsing!

Homemade Plum Sauce and It's Many Uses

How To Plant a Vegetable Garden

Nutella Gelato

Seed Starters the Easy Way

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Family Friday/ All About Life

Have you check out

So much fun.

Amy's hosting a
Family Friday Link Party
today and you're al invited to join in.

This is the Crazy Family Fun
we've been up to lately.

Don't Forget to Link Up
and check out everyone's 
Funny Families!

Little Girl Headbands

Did you ever shell out the money for one of those super cute, super expensive headbands for your little girl? I was never very girlie so I didn't, but now with a 2 1/2 year old, I'm thinking,"We need some girlie-ness in this house."  And since she's got the wildest hair on the planet, I definitely needed some help.  So this is what I came up with.

Materials and Tools:
Hot Glue gun
Misc ribbon and beads
Floral flower (can find at the $ store)
Pre-made headband (another $ store find, 2 per pack)
Misc embellishments

Sadly I'm not much of a sewer so I opted to go with the hot glue.  I cut a long length of both wide ribbon and bead (approx 2 ft) and started by gluing the end to the headband.  I wanted mine off to the side so plan accordingly.

Continue by looping your ribbon and beads, adding glue each time you meet at the center.  Don't glue your fingers; it hurts.

For this particular band, I just did a "spray" of ribbon on the top of the flower so I only made 4-5 loops.

Finally I added my flower that I found in the $ spot at Michaels.  (I also did a pink one where I took apart two $ store blossoms and stacked them to make a fuller flower.  There were still 3-4 blossoms on the stem as well.)  Then I gently pulled the beading to over lap between the petals, giving it some demention.  I added a small dot of glue where needed to keep the beads were I wanted.

This is one of the $ store flowers.  It just has ribbon behind it with circled beads in the center.  I also added a little glitter to the flower.  It would be even prettier with some more bling.

And Baby Girl wearing the last one.  I just love them. With a couple of pig tails, they've been wonderful for keeping her hair out of her face.  And she loves how pretty they are.  All in all, by shopping around and using what I have, they cost me about $1.50 a piece.  Much better than $10 and up.  

Have you made any fun little girl accessories lately?  What do you do with your children's hair?

*Linked to these Parties.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

52 First Dates.. Are you up for the Challenge?

Have you ever had those moments where you're sitting on the couch and you look over and think, "Who in the world is sitting next to me and why doesn't he change those stinky socks?"  He looks vaguely familiar.  He seems quite comfortable in your house.  In fact, he even offered to help put the kids to bed tonight.  They seem very comfortable with him, he knows where you hid the good chocolate (at least he thinks he does),  and he was even bold enough to answer your home phone.  But who is he?

Then it hits you.  You know that ring on your left hand?  Oh, yeah, he put it there!  That man, that one on the end of the couch, the one with the stinky socks... he's your husband.

Wow!  When did that happen?  There's some vague recollections of good memories today... the wedding, the births of your children, perhaps he made you dinner this past Mother's Day... but really?  WHO IS HE?

The truth is I have those days.  Those days where I wonder where in the world we've gone.  And how in the world we keep this marriage on the right track.

So I was thinking lately how fun would it be to embark on a challenge of 52 First Dates.  You know, kind of like the Adam Sandler movie, but where you actually remember what a great time you had.  Fifty-two little things you can do to improve your marriage this year.  And what a great thing it would be to finish off the year and realize that your marriage has actually improved rather than just survived?

And even better what if I could take you on this journey with me?  Well, you can (as if you had a choice).  Starting next Wednesday we're going to embark on a journey of improving our marriages, one step at a time.  Each Wednesday, I'm going to post an idea that I'm thinking about: something small, something big, something to talk about with your spouse, a special date idea... whatever.  And I'm going to challenge you to find a way to spend that time with your spouse.  Take some time and invest in your marriage.

There will also be a special Facebook page set up where we can meet together and encourage each other.  It will be a place where we can positively exchange the triumphs and the challenges of these 52 First Dates.  One year of steadily working on our marriages.  So will you take the challenge?

Monday, June 7, 2010

Crockpot Chocolate Cake

Summer's here and I'm always on the look out for quick, easy ways to put dinner together without turning the stove on.  It just gets too hot.  But what about dessert?

Well, for Mother's day, we had both my mom and grandma in town as well as my in-laws.  It was a full house, but the kids loved it.  For dinner that Saturday, we had a full on BBQ with all the fixin's, including this dessert.  Unfortunately, I only took one picture which turned out horrible, but we all raved about this cake.  It's super moist and very chocolatey.  And a great way to end our meal without heating up the house.


1 Package Chocolate Cake mix
1 Package instant chocolate pudding mix
1 Cup chocolate morsels (semisweet)
1 8 ounce container of sour cream
3/4 Cup vegetable oil (I used Canola)
1 cup water
4 eggs


Spray crock pot with nonstick cooking spray (I used Canola Oil spray).
Mix cake mix, sour cream, chocolate morsels, water, egss, oil
and pudding mix in a bowl by hand. 
Be sure to mix well, but no need to use electric beater.
Pour into Crock Pot.
Cover and cook on low 6-8 hours or high 3-4 hours. I recommend cooking on the low setting if time permits. 
Scoop it out of the pot then top with ice cream or whipped topping (we used whipped topping then added a couple of drops of red food coloring to make Pink whipped topping!)

What are some of your favorite warm weather recipes?

*Linked to these Parties.

Made by Me Monday

How's everyone doing?  Did you have a good weekend?  We did.  Seemed to pass all too quickly.  I know I'm getting old when I start saying things like that.  "Where do the days go?...  The days pass so quickly... I remember you when you were just 'this' big."  

Noah's only in preschool, but still the thought of summer break is there for me.  So we stayed at small group extra late on Thursday.  The kids slept in on Friday and Saturday and even took extra good naps on Friday.  That was an extra blessing for me and a wonderful way to start out the summer.  Friday was a fun willed day of swimming in the indoor pool and playing board games after dinner.  

Saturday was fun.  Hubby needed a few hours to work on some church admin so I took the kids and wen to the YMCA for a good run.  I'm loving this running program I'm on though Prevention magazine. However it does require a run on Saturdays.  After that we came home and bummed around the house.  I got the chance to go to a beautiful baby shower for a wonderful college roommate.  My sweet college roommate is welcoming her second child this morning.  I really enjoyed having a few hours away to laugh with the girls and enjoy some delicious food... sitting down.

Sunday was uneventful.  Church, lunch, and staff meeting... Probably why the day went to quickly, since I wasn't very productive.

I did do a little organizing this weekend and wanted to show you what we call "Pool Central."  When we moved into this house, we found this wire shelf mounted in the garage near the washing machine.   What to do?  What to do?  Today it holds all of our swimming and pool supplies.  The towels are rolled and stacked on top while the kids' life jackets and our pool bag hangs off the side.  In the bag we have our suits, extra shampoo and conditioner, sunscreen, extra diaper and swim diaper, extra wipes, leave in conditioner and hair ties, and anything else I can think to throw in.   When we get home form the pool, I hang the suits and towels up to dry, but they always go back to this shelf by night fall.  As the kids are getting bigger, I'm needing to add an extra bag, but there's hooks on the other end as well.  This definitely makes getting out of the house so much easier.

So now it's your turn.  What have you been up to this week?  Some yummy recipe to share with us?  A new project you've been working on?  A great creative tip?  

Let's start sharing!  Write a blog post highlighting your project with a link back to this post so that others can join in on the fun.  Then link up below to the individual blog post itself, not your blog as a whole.  You can post more than one project; just add more than one link.  And don't forget to invite your readers to join in as well!

Oh, and don't forget to check it out... I may be Searching for You.
*Linked to these parties

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Menu Monday 6/7-6/13

Oatmeal and bananas
Yogurt and fruit
Scrambled eggs and toast
Buttermilk biscuits (Saturday)

Peanut Butter and Jelly sandwiches
Carrots and dip
Cheese and crackers

Monday: Vegetable Noodle Salad
Tuesday: Beans and Cornbread
Wednesday: ????
Thursday: Pasta with Vegetables
Friday: Spinach Calazone, green salad
Saturday: MM Sandwiches, Roasted Corn Salad,
Sunday: Spicy Pulled Pork, Olive Cheese Bread

Extras and snacks:
Pumpkin bread
Upside down pineapple cake
Stovetop popcorn
Fruit skewers and dip
Bagel butterflies
Fruit and cheese
Oatmeal bars

Lee's To Do List

First Sunday of the Month: It's Party Time!

I think these Incredibles are so cool.  And doesn't this party at Creative Party Place look like so much fun?  I could go crazy with this theme.

This Woodland Party (@ Make It Do) is full of so many original ideas.  My favorite is the simple and creative goody bags.

For older girls, this American Girl Pioneer Party (@ One Charming Party) is so creative.  There's also some great ideas here for a theme/unit coinciding with reading Little House on the Prairie.

And for the fashion bug in your family, check out this Bumblebee Birthday Party (@ Kara's Party Ideas).  I love the yellow/black combo.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

A Challenge, a Search, and ... Misc. Musings from Creative2xmom

I've been thinking a lot lately about how to make this blog a place where we can all come to gather creative ideas, encouragement, insight, and a challenge.  A place were we can be stretched to grow creatively, a place where mom's can gather some helpful tips, and a place where we can all be encouraged in the day to day. 

As the blog continues to grow, all these areas become a challenge for me.  I want to continue to bring my readers new and helpful information, new and insightful writers,  new and fun experiences.  There's so much that I want to express to all of you, so many areas I'm interested in, and so few areas in which I know very much.  Or have to the time to explore.

Therefore, I'm putting out a call for contributing writers once again.  I had some wonderful ladies help me out during the time that my husband was in China and I've love to have more guest writers join us.  This can be as simple as a one time post or as complicated as a once a month post.  I'm excited to open up Creative2xmom as I believe we have experiences to share with each other.  

Topics Creative2xmom touches on:
Real/Traditional/Nourishing foods (nutrition topics, as well as recipes)
Kitchen tips and techniques
Gardening and raising your own food
Infant, child care, and parenting (from a Christian perspective)
Homemaking and home management
Good stewardship/Natural living from a Christian perspective
Food preserving (canning, dehydrating, root cellars)
Homeschooling (particularly in young children)
Crafts and home decor
Strengthening your marriage
Party planning

If you are interested in guest blogging, contact me via the above tabs.  I'll also be connecting with a few ladies who have expressed interest in the past and reaching out to other bloggers as well.  I'm excited about the opportunities to network with many of you.

Additionally if you're interested in hosting a giveaway at Creative2xmom, contact me as well.  I'd love to hear from you and work out some details that would mutually beneficial for both of us.

I'm so excited for all the growth that has happened in the past several months.  It is truly inspiring for me to see this site grow and know that it is reaching many of you.  I am blessed.  Thank you all so much for following along in this journey of "Life."

If you haven't had a chance yet to check out our Facebook Page, don't forget to pop over there.  I posted a new recipe swap for the month and love hearing all of your creative ideas.

Can't wait to see what the next step in this journey brings!  


Thursday, June 3, 2010

June's Cheapest Fruits and Vegetables

Did you try any new recipes in May's Cheapest Fruits and Vegetables?  As you all know, I cooked a ton with rhubarb: cobbler, compote, and a muffin recipe that I'll have to share with you sometime soon as well.  We also enjoyed the zucchini patties and zucchini on our pizza.

June's Cheapest Fruits and Vegetables include:

I'm looking at this month's list and already thinking about all the wonderful salads I can be making.  We had taco salad a couple of nights ago and it was fantastic.  So cool and refreshing in the summer.

Also has anyone tried roasting corn?  Wouldn't that make a scrumptious summer salad: some roasted corn, beans, tomatoes, green onion, balsamic vinegar, etc?

We have a tradition of making fruit slushies with blended fruit and honey frozen in the freezer, and then "shaved" off into a bowl.  We've tried watermelon and peaches in the past, but doesn't cantaloupe sound good as well.

I know pineapple was last month, but I'm looking for a good pineapple upside down cake recipe.  A new twist on the old classic.  Anyone have any ideas?

For past months and recipes see:
May's Cheapest Fruits and Vegetables
April's Cheapest Fruits and Vegetables
March's Cheapest Fruits and Vegetables
February's Cheapest Fruits and Vegetables
January's Cheapest Fruits and Vegetables

*Linked to these Parties.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Random Acts of Kindness

As I was planning my Summer Sanity Saver List, I was really excited about all the ideas I was coming up.  Things to do with the kids, projects to make, places to see...  It wasn't until Kelly posted her Random Acts of Kindness assignment that I realized.  Summer would be a great time to practice thinking of others as well.

With a 2 year old and a 4 year old, it's not always easy to come up with service ideas.  They're too young to be involved in so many things.  And yet old enough to definitely understand the idea of "mine."  So I started brainstorming some small activities that preschoolers could do to be of service to others.  Some of them require help from an adult, but all are worthy causes.

*baking cookies for an elderly neighbor
*baking cookies for the college students next door
*having neighbors for dinner; kids can help serve
*raking/small yard projects for neighbors
*creating art work for elderly neighbor
*visit elderly homes
*do odd jobs for supporting missionaries/ orphans
*picking up litter in the neighborhood
*collecting books for the pediatric ward
*collecting blankets for newborns
*become a pen pal
*allow them to help with a meal for another family
*participate in coat or food drives
*pray for others
*send packages/letters to servicemen, missionaries, grandparents, victims of natural disasters

How are you/ your children practicing Random Acts of Kindness?

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

One Little Decision...

A few days ago,  I was wandering through Target.  Lydia and I had popped in to pick up a few things and wound up in the book section.  Just browsing and I noticed a few books I've been meaning to read.  (Life gets crazy and sometimes I forget what I wanted to read)  So I jotted down a few titles and when I got home, I looked them up on the library website.  Have I mentioned how much I love my library?

One of the books available was My Sister's Keeper by Jodi Piccoult.  This is a book that came out a few years ago and became hugely popular after it was made into a movie.  I remember wanting to read it when it came out so I was really excited to pick this one up.  After I started reading, I could barely put it down.  Finally around midnight Monday night, I finished.  It was one of those books that you just can't stop reading.

Without giving too much away, the story follows a 13 year old girl who is seeking medical emancipation from her parents.  As it turns out, she was conceived after her older sister was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer.  Her parents sought out a genetic counselor in an attempt to conceive a child who could hopefully help them save their other daughter.

As I'm reading this book, it's hard not to put myself in the story.  The family starts out very similar to mine, two kids, a boy and a girl, both the same ages as Noah and Lydia.  And yet at the opening of the book, I'm confronted with a family that's on the verge of self-destruction.  I can't possibly understand how they got to this point and I immediately think, "What were they thinking?"  I feel like I've got the who story figured out before it even begins.

But as I book progresses, as much as I disagree with the parents, I begin to see how they got to this point.  It wasn't one of those huge monumental decisions that changed their lives.  Rather it was a series of small choices, balancing the pro and cons to make the best decision, a slippery slope that leads them down the path where they find themselves.  And it's at this point that the book really starts to get to me.

How many of these little decisions do I make every day?  I know what kind of mom I want to be, what kind of people I hope to raise, how I envision my children pursuing God and living as a family.  And each day I make little decisions that will shape them, little decisions that, although important, don't all seem monumental in the moment.  But still each little decision leads to another, leads to another, leads to another.

Only a day into this book, I was a wreck. Coming on the heels of all this community talk, this story really hit a nerve.  I found myself overwhelmed by what this family was going through, how it could be our family.  How I could easily by THAT mom loosing her kids without even realizing it.  I found myself closing the book at midnight and nearly sobbing as I cried out to God: "Don't ever left me loose my kids in my nearsightedness." And there in the dark and the silence, came the reassurance I'd been seeking.

You see as hard as I try to raise my kids correctly, as much as I desire the best for them, there comes a point where I reach the end of myself.  I'm selfish, I'm nearsighted, I'm tired, I'm pulled in a thousand directions and on it goes.  One little decision reaches another, and another, and another.  All I can do is make sure I'm on my knees and leave the rest to God.

That's it?  That's the answer?  Basically...

There's only so much I can do in my humanity.  Pray to God for wisdom and then be willing to let my kids go.  Not as easy as it sounds huh?  Sometimes asking for wisdom requires obedience.  Sometimes letting your kids go requires trust.  Sometimes your kids still don't choose for themselves what you would have chosen for them.  But I can be sure that if I've done this, I've done all that I can.

I don't have it all figured out.  In fact, I'm not even sure I've been very clear in what I'm trying to convey.  I guess it boils to being fearful enough to not take my eyes off God and yet being brave enough to release my children to Him.

Do you ever have those moments when you come to the end of yourself and find God?  Share with us!

Strawberry Rhubarb Compote

Have I mentioned before that I love Strawberry Rhubarb things?  All things Strawberry Rhubarb are a favorite of mine.  I remember a few years after Dave and I were married, we went to the coast around my birthday.  Sweet man that he is, he asked what kind of cake I wanted.  I surprised him by saying I'd really much rather have a Strawberry Rhubarb pie. 

Lately, I've been experimenting with all thing rhubarb.... yummy!  Last week's Strawberry Rhubarb Cobbler was such a hit, I had to keep trying new recipes.  This compote came out heavenly.  It was sweet and tart at the same time and irresistible on vanilla ice cream.

Strawberry Rhubarb Compote


  • 1 pound rhubarb (between 4 and 6 stalks)
  • 1 pint strawberries
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup orange juice


Cut rhubarb into half-inch slices. Hull and halve strawberries, or cut into quarters, depending on size.
Place cut rhubarb in a large saucepan. Add sugar and orange juice. Heat on medium heat. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer. Add strawberries and cook fruit mixture for 10-12 minutes until softened.
Makes 4 cups.
* Recipe from Low Fat

Well, as good as it was on ice cream, it was even better on pancakes.  I couldn't believe how good this was.  Incredible!

Have you had your dose of Strawberry Rhubarb today?

*Linked to these Parties.
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