Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Cinnamon Fudge

I’ve found so many great ideas and recipes by browsing Pinterest, including several fudge recipes I’ve wanted to try. I like the idea of having something like fudge around the house because I can get a bite of something sweet and be satisfied without going overboard (it is too sweet for me to eat more than a bite or two). I finally gathered all the ingredients I needed to make this red velvet fudge. And, it was a disaster. Twice. I think part of the problem is that making traditional fudge requires a lot of attention, and well, sometimes, especially if my kids are around, that kind of attention to detail is lacking. So, I decided I’d give up on the red velvet fudge for now, and go back to a version of cappuccino fudge I made over the holidays last year (my husband and I modified the recipe from Annie’s Eats a bit). However, I don’t like coffee, so I left the coffee powder out, and was left with a yummy cinnamon fudge.


Cinnamon Fudge

  • 1 jar of marshmallow cream (7 oz.)
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 3/4 heavy whipping cream
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 package of white chocolate chips
  • 1/2 package of milk chocolate chips

Heat marshmallow cream, sugar, whipping cream, butter, vanilla, cinnamon, and salt over medium heat, stirring constantly. Bring the mixture to a boil, and boil for five minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and the white chocolate chips and milk chocolate chips into the mixture, and stir until smooth. Pour the mixture into a lined pan (with wax paper or foil), and place in the refrigerator for several hours. Once the fudge has set, cut into squares.

To make the cappuccino version of the fudge, reduce the amount of cinnamon to 1/4 teaspoon, and add 1 tablespoon of instant coffee powder.

Happy 11 Months Troy!

Happy 11 Months Troy!

I think I’m still in denial that you’ll be a year old in less than a month (only about 3 weeks – I’m late writing this post!).


You continue to give us a “cheesy” grin when you are excited or happy about something. I finally caught it on camera. It cracks me up . . . I don’t know where you learned to make that funny smile!


You learned to pull yourself up in your crib this month, and at times, it has been quite the distraction to you going to sleep (especially if Ella is in the room). If we put you and Ella down at the same time for a nap, you pull yourself up, and start “yelling” at Ella to get her attention across the room. She can’t resist talking to back to you, and I think y’all both love talking to each other. I love that y’all like to interact, I just wish y’all would sleep sometimes!


You went to your first baseball game this month. You did pretty well even though the game was late and it was VERY hot outside. You love being outside even though it has been extremely hot.


I always say that Ella was an expressive child, and she is, but she is very expressive with her face. You, on the other hand, are very expressive vocally. If you don’t like something, you’ll let us know with your fussing, and if you like something, you’ll be very vocal about that as well. Speaking of vocal, you finally said “mama” this month! A very sweet word to my ears!



You get into everything these days, including your diapers. You love exploring, and you love to go after the things we’ve told you not to touch, including the dog water bowl! You are pretty funny, because many times now you’ll look back at us and raise your hand up before you touch something you know you aren’t supposed to touch as if you are asking permission to touch it. You still bellyflop/inchworm everywhere. You also sometimes get up like you are going to bear crawl, but you haven’t mastered that yet.


You have become really good at eating finger foods this month, and you like most things we’ve given you. You aren’t a big fan of eggs, but you finally ate them the third time we gave them to you. We’ve cautiously been giving you are few things that have milk in them (since Ella is allergic to milk), and so far you seem to be doing OK with the milk products.


Troy @ 10 Months

Monday, August 29, 2011

Menu Planning Monday

Last week we ended up having a lot of leftovers, so I didn’t get around to making a few of the meals I planned, so they are on the menu again this week.


Thursday, August 25, 2011

Renewed and Challenged

Last week my husband and I were blessed with the opportunity to attend a spiritual workshop called Polishing the Pulpit. There were over 2000 in attendance throughout the week, and it was a blessing to be surrounded by such a large group of Christians with a unified goal in this life: get to heaven and take as many people with you as possible.


Throughout the week I was able to hear wonderful lessons from God’s Word ranging from modesty to disciplining children to how to dig deep in the Word to how to mark your Bible to why true science is a Christian’s friend to what it means to love God with all your heart, soul, strength, and mind. I was blessed to worship with over 1200 Christians Sunday morning, and to feel a glimpse of what heaven must be like when we sang together. We were able to fellowship with wonderful Christian families, and I am so thankful for their friendships.

The week greatly challenged me, and I’m thankful for the challenge. I need to be a better student of God’s Word; I need to be a better influence to those around me; I need to be a better spouse; I need to be a stronger parent; and I could go on.

(Ladies’ Session)



During our time there we were able to do a little bit of sightseeing in the Smoky Mountains. It was a beautiful location, and the weather was a wonderful reprieve from the 100 degree temperatures we’ve been having in Texas. I rented a lens for our vacation – the Tokina 11-16mm f/2.8 lens – and I really enjoyed it. I didn’t want to send it back in! However, I’ve decided that I do not have an eye for landscape photography, and I need to do a lot more practicing. I feel like it should be so easy to take a photo of something that isn’t running away from me (like my toddler), but it is definitely a skill I don’t possess!


(Cades Cove)


(Cades Cove)


(Clingman’s Dome  - the highest point in the Great Smoky Mountain National Park)





Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Menu Planning Monday (er Tuesday)

I’m a little slow getting going this week (it is always hard to get back in the swing of things after vacation!), but I’ve finally got my menu planned. Several of these recipes are new to me this week, but I can’t wait to try them!

Have you tried any new recipes lately? Any great slow cooker meals? It has been so hot, I’m always looking for a new slow cooker meal because it doesn’t heat up the house as much.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Photo Challenges

Whatever @ The Paper Mama:


 The Paper Mama 

Sweet Shot Tuesday @ My 3 Boybarians:


Sweet Shot Day

52 Weeks of Happiness @ Leigh vs. Laundry:


Monday, August 8, 2011

The Night Sky

Recently I read about taking photos called star trails that map the stars movement across the sky. My first opportunity outside the city, I had to try to take a star trails photo (not that it couldn’t be done in the city depending on where you are, but you can see so many more stars outside the city).


(f/3.5, ISO 640, 30 second exposure, 28mm, focus at infinity)

I took the above shot by combing 32 consecutive 30-second exposure shots. You’ll notice that my star trails aren’t completely smooth. The “shakiness” is a product of the fact that I don’t have a remote shutter release for my camera, so I have to manually press the shutter every 30 seconds. For one, I’m shaky, plus I’m taking my hands on and off the camera during a longer exposure. Secondly, I didn’t always hit the shutter as quickly as I needed to hit it, so there may have be a brief “gap” in the trail. I cannot wait to take a more star trails photos once I have a remote! Oh, and the random streak across the sky is a plane.

There are a couple of common methods you can use to take a star trails photo. You can take a single long exposure shot (say 20 or 30 minutes or even longer) using the “bulb” setting on your camera or you can take many shorter exposure shots (only 30 seconds  - shorter compared to a 30 minutes exposure at least!), and make a composite image. This article and this article explain it in more detail. The second article includes a program that automatically makes a composite image for you – it is awesome! I used it to make my image.

Here are a few other photos I took last night. Do you recognize a famous constellation in the first one?




Isn’t God’s creation so beautiful and amazing? My photos don’t do it justice!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Photo Challenges

Yellow @ The Paper Mama:

This is an older photo, but it is one of my favorites of Ella. : )


The Paper Mama

Sweet Shot Tuesday @ My 3 Boybarians:

110730IMG_7664-3.jpg Sweet Shot Day

Still Life Standout @ The Mommy Matters, My Reflection of Something, and Perfect Imperfections:


Still Life Standouts

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Held Accountable

When we moved into our home, we did a ton of work in the house. I think we did at least some sort of work in every room of the house, with the exception of our bathroom. Some days I’m thankful that we haven’t gotten around to remodeling our bathroom yet.  Last Thursday was one of those days.

We were sitting in our living room when Ella came back from going to the bathroom (she’s pretty sufficient to use the bathroom by herself now – it is wonderful!). When she came into the room, she was hiding her hands behind her back. She came in quietly and went behind the couch, keeping her hands behind her back the entire time. We figured she’d taken something out of the bathroom she wasn’t supposed to bring into the living room, but it was worse than that. When my husband finally got her to open her hands up, her hands revealed that she’d been playing with my fingernail polish in the bathroom.  Somehow she only managed to get a couple drops on her dress and a few spots on her hands. There were, however, several large dark pink spots on the bathroom floor. This is why I’m thankful we haven’t gotten around to fixing up our bathroom yet.

As we went through the process of disciplining her for her actions (this is the second time she’s gotten into my fingernail polish) I was thinking about what someone from the outside might say about the whole situation. Such things like, “Why was the fingernail polish in her reach?” or “Why was she allowed to go to the restroom by herself?” It made me think about how those type of questions put guilt off of Ella. Now, please don’t misunderstand me. I do not advocate sending children into dangerous situations or even trying to “tempt” them. My fingernail polish was not easily accessible by Ella (she really had to try to get it), and she knew that she was not supposed to get into it in the first place. I realize that she is only 2 1/2 but there are definitely things she knows to do or not to do. The fact that she walked into the living room hiding her hands testifies to the fact that she knew she had done something she wasn’t supposed to do.

I think it is important to hold children accountable for the their actions. I don’t enjoy seeing Ella doing things that she shouldn’t do, but I think I would only make the situation worse for her (and us) in the long run if I made excuses for her and did not hold her accountable for what she has done.  I know that I have a great responsibility in showing Ella what is right and what is wrong, and part of that responsibility includes making sure she knows there are consequences for her actions. Ultimately, as she grows up she needs to realize that God will hold her accountable (just like we all need to realize) for the things that she does. Consider 2 Corinthians 5:10: “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.” I do not say this meaning that we must work our way into heaven (or earn our way into heaven), but rather that we will be judged by whether or not we are living a faithful life in accordance with God’s Word. I know that one way I can help teach Ella about faithful living is to hold her accountable for the things that she does.


Monday, August 1, 2011

Menu Planning Monday

It is going to be a crazy week, so only three meals this week.