Sunday, May 15, 2011

Summer Devotional

Summer's on Its Way
by Barbara Rainey

One hand full of rest is better than two fists full of labor and striving after wind.
Ecclesiastes 4:6

Before summer started, Dennis used to say to me, "Sweetheart, what do you want us to accomplish by the time we finish August and move into the school year?" He knew I was the one who had my finger closest to the pulse of our family's needs and schedules and would probably have the biggest hand in implementing the answer to his question.

Truly, the pressure to create the right kind of summertime environment in your home falls largely on Mom. Summer should be a time of rest, but it's also up to us to keep things moving in a way that integrates rest with a measure of purpose.

For me, it meant letting our kids have lots of time to play--building forts in the yard (or in the living room if it was raining), going on hikes, going swimming--anything that didn't involve wasting a perfectly good day in front of the television. It also meant having some enforced quiet time, when I would read to them or send them to their rooms to spend time alone. I wanted to discipline their hearts to enjoy solitude and to help truly recharge after the fast pace of the school year.

If you're a mom who puts a lot of emphasis on structure, I'd encourage you to tone your plans back about 50 percent as summer approaches. Take the time to let some air blow into your schedule, and resist the urge to be constantly checking your list for accomplishment.

If you're more of a free spirit who basically lets both hands off the reins, try to put a little thought into summer on the front end. Set a few goals for the type of activities you'd like to pursue, the relationships you'd like to deepen, the trips you'd like to take.

Make this a summer you'll never forget.

Talk about and decide what you want to accomplish by the end of August.

Ask the Lord to establish your plans and help you see them through . . . with lots of fun to spare.

What do I want to accomplish this summer? I don't know...thinking and praying about it this week! What about you?!

Monday, May 9, 2011

13 days and counting

Ahhh, only 2 more Mondays left of the school year! Yippee!! I am so ready for are my kids! Yesterday was Mother's Day and I had such a good day! I am blessed beyond measure to be called Mom by my four amazing kids!! :-)

Stephanie got on Shutterfly and made me an AWESOME photo book. She scanned in old pictures and everything. I so wish I could share it with everyone I know because I like it that much. I have looked through it at least 6 times already and talking about it makes me want to go look at it again! Just know, if you come visit me, you have to look at "the book"!

Jason took the kids and bought me a panini press! I have wanted one for so long and am so excited to have one! Now I have to plan something for dinner this week and start stocking up on panini recipes! Can't wait to start cooking with this new tool!

We went to church Saturday night which made Sunday so relaxing! I got to sleep in and then the kids made me breakfast in bed with Eggs Benedict! I LOVE that tradition, it is soooo yummy! Then J and I ran to get some propane, I got a shower, helped Stephie make my cupcakes and just relaxed! As an afternoon appetizer we had some bruschetta, which I LOVE! Then Jason made some teriyaki steaks on the grill and some potatoes along with some cucumber salad. It was all SO PERFECT!! And my cupcakes were SUPER YUMMY!! Definitely need to print the recipe and get it into my recipe book!

I just loved my day, loved spending time with family and loved being able to relax! Now it is Monday, I have to go grocery shopping and plan for the next week! I think next year my gift needs to be a day where someone else does the grocery shopping! Ugh! I hate grocery shopping each week, but it is a necessary evil!

Hope you all had a GREAT Mother's Day too!

Here is my Bellini Cupcake Recipe

Cake Ingredients:

3 large egg whites, room temperature
1 cup champagne
1 ½ cups cake flour
¾ cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
½ cup unsalted butter, room temperature

Cake Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 F.
In small bowl, mix egg whites and champagne. Set aside.
In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together cake flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt.
Mix butter into dry ingredients until it resembles moist crumbs.
Mix wet ingredients into dry ingredients until fully combined.
Divide evenly between twelve cupcake liners. Bake for 20 minutes or until cupcakes bounce back when lightly touched.

Filling and Frosting Ingredients:
15 oz can sliced peaches
½ cup + 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
3 cups powdered sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
¼ teaspoon salt
White sanding sugar for topping

Filling and Frosting Directions:
Melt two tablespoons of butter in a medium-sized skillet on medium heat.
Drain and discard liquid from peach can.
Use a towel to pat dry the peach slices, removing excess moisture.
Place the peaches in a single layer in the hot skillet. Cook for about three minutes or until the bottom side is browned. Then flip.

Repeat until all sides of the peaches are browned.
Remove peaches from skillet and cool.
Use a food processor or immersion blender to puree the peaches.
Use a small paring knife or cupcake corer to remove a piece of cake from the center of each cooled cupcake. (You will not need the pieces that you remove, so feel free to eat them!) Fill each hole with peach puree. (setting aside 1/4cup of puree for frosting)

In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat butter on high speed for five minutes.
Slowly mix in the powdered sugar and beat for another five minutes.
Mix in vanilla extract, salt, and ¼ cup of peach puree and beat for two minutes.
Pipe frosting into cupcakes and sprinkle with sanding sugar

Monday, May 2, 2011

18 school days until summer....

We are just coming off of Spring Break here and boy was it a good one! Jason took a week off of work and we just spent time being together.

Monday we went Bowling

Tuesday we had a pool day at home

Wednesday we spent in Savannah going to the mall, waiting to get an alignment which never happened and going out for lunch at the mall food court! Yummm Ethan had a friend spend the night so it was just a good relaxing day. One quick picture while waiting and reading at Barnes and Noble! :-)

Thursday...I can't remember what we did on Thursday. Hmmmm...I must work on my memory as I get older!! I think we had more friends over, more time in the pool and...oh yeah. J taught Ethan how to rotate tires and do an oil change. I love this about my hubby, taking the time to teach our son how to do these things. I could never teach him how to change the oil or rotate tires!! I love watching my E become a man and learn how to take care of things!! So, even though this wasn't an eventful day, it was some great time spent together as a family!!

Friday we went to the beach and ate lunch at CheeBurger, Cheeburger. Ethan ate a whole 1/2lb burger for time he wants to try and eat a full 1lb burger and get his picture put up on their wall!

Saturday we cleaned up the house, made pancakes for breakfast, and went to church. Then after church we went back up to Hilton Head and spent the night at a friends condo!!

Sunday we spent at the beach again and at the condo pool! Jason had to head back to work and the kids and I finished off the evening at Wild Wing and then home to unpack, do laundry, and get cleaned up and ready for the school week!!

What a perfect week! It was SO NICE! J and I even got out for a date one night, just the two of us. I always get so much peace when him and I go out, it feeds my soul! I love that he knows this and always makes time for me so we can do stuff like that!!

But now it is Monday, the 6am alarm came all too early and no one wanted to get moving!! Ugh! Alas, all the kids are at school and I must resume my roll as Mom and go grocery shopping, clean the house, chauffeur kids, and this afternoon do homework, make dinner, and get kids in bed!

BUT, summertime is only 18 short school days away. I think we can make it!! Spring break was our intro into all things summer! The beach, the bowling, the sun, the pool, grilling all our dinner food, family time together!! I LOVE IT ALL!!

So, I the Mom, am on the countdown. I can't wait for school to be out and summer to be here!! I love spending time with my family, I love the warmth outside and the sun on my body!! This is the stuff that feeds my soul!! I am so blessed!!