Friday, March 25, 2011

A Few New Layouts

Since last month's blog hop at Let's Scrap, I have been a little burned out on scrapping (who would have ever thought that was possible!). I have made a few layouts though, and I thought I would share them today.
The first layout uses pictures from two Christmases ago. Santa and Mrs. Claus (friends from church) came to see Drew at our house. He wasn't quite sure about them, but he warmed up to them after some bribery, tickling, and finally, when Santa let Drew play with his key chain.
This layout is done with this week's sketch from Let's Scrap. I used these pictures of Drew's new room and bed to make this layout. The big Thomas is from one of Drew's birthday cards.
This is a layout about the cousins on my dad's side of the family. I used some older photos from childhood.
This last page was done for a challenge a few weeks ago that required us to use paint chips. I thought it would be perfect to do a page about coloring! Drew loves to color, and he and Jim color almost every evening.
I hope you all have a great weekend!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

St. Patrick's Day

We had some fun last week for St. Patrick's Day. Drew and I made our traditional cupcakes. They are my favorite! We also stopped in to see Jim at work. They opened last week. Drew had fun wearing Jim's bank pouch on his head.
Our house is so small, and whenever Drew goes to a place that has room to run, he takes full advantage of it!
Jim was very busy that day - everyone has waited all winter to play, and they were calling and coming in pretty much non-stop the whole time we were there.
We met the Scallys at McDonald's for lunch. The boys always have fun there together!
They all ate their lunches,
at least somewhat,
and then they had cupcakes!

Maybe it comes from being an elementary school teacher in the past, but I love trying to do a little something to make each holiday a bit special!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Chocolate Midnight Cake

Last week, I promised to share the recipe for Drew's birthday cake, and then I never got back to blogging and didn't share it! However, I didn't forget, and here is the recipe! This is our family's favorite chocolate cake, and the recipe comes from the Chocolate Cake Mix Doctor cookbook. It has a secret ingredient (mayonnaise) that some people might not find very appetizing in a cake, but it really makes a difference in the moisture of the cake, I think.

Chocolate Midnight Cake
1 package plain dark chocolate fudge cake mix
1 cup water
1 cup mayonnaise
3 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour (I used the baking Pam spray this time, and it worked really well.) two 9-inch round cake pans.
Place cake mix, water, mayonnaise, eggs, and vanilla in a large mixing bowl. Blend with an electric mixer on low speed for 1 minute. Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Increase the mixer speed to medium and beat 2 minutes more, scraping down the sides again if needed. The batter should look well combined.
Divide the batter evenly between the prepared pans, smoothing it out with a rubber spatula. Place the pans in the oven side by side. Bake the cakes until they spring back when lightly pressed with your finger, 28 to 32 minutes. Remove the pans from the oven and place them on wire racks to cool for 10 minutes. Run a dinner knife around the edge of each layer and invert onto rack, then invert onto another rack so that the cakes are right side up. Allow to cool completely, 30 minutes.

Vanilla Buttercream Frosting
8 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
4 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted
3 to 4 tablespoons milk
Place the butter, vanilla, and 1 cup of confectioner's sugar in a large mixing bowl. Blend with an electric mixer on low speed to incorporate, 30 seconds. Add the remaining confectioners' sugar alternately with 3 tablespoons milk, 1 tablespoon at a time, blending with the mixer on low speed. Add another 1 tablespoon milk if the frosting seems too stiff. Increase the mixer speed to medium and beat until light and fluffy, 1 minute more. Use to fill and frost the top and sides of your cake.
This is a picture of the cake I made for Drew's party. It was for three different people, so I tried to get little decorations that reflected each of their interests! I made two recipes of this cake and baked each one in a 9 by 13-inch cake pan. I frosted the top of one cake with vanilla buttercream and then stacked the other layer on top of it and frosted the top and sides with the vanilla buttercream. I was a little lazy and did the decorative frosting around the edges with chocolate frosting from a can.
Next time you need a chocolate cake, I would encourage you to try this recipe! It is delicious!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Drew's Thomas Bed

Jim's sister and brother-in-law, Sharon and Larry, gave Drew a Thomas the Train bed for his birthday! Just the other day, Drew told me that he wanted a Thomas bed. It was so random that he brought this up, because Jim and I already knew that he was getting one for his birthday. Drew was very excited when Sharon dropped it off at our house on Saturday morning. Up until this point, Drew had still been sleeping in his crib. He never tried to climb out of it (he is afraid of falling), and he still fit in it nicely. We had been planning to move him up to a twin bed, but when Sharon offered to buy him a Thomas toddler bed, we agreed because we knew he would love it. Jim put the Thomas bed together Saturday night after the birthday party, and we moved the crib out and the bed in on Sunday. Drew loves his new bed! He slept in it for the first time on Sunday afternoon. I usually read him a story before his naps and at bedtime, but he's been wanting to skip the stories and get right into his Thomas bed!
We rearranged the furniture in Drew's room a little bit. We moved the changing table out and brought in a bookcase, and we moved our reading chair out of the corner and farther down the wall. The reading chair is a hand-me-down from my parents. I had it in my classroom for 7 years, and I sat in it and read to my first graders every day after recess. When Drew was born, I brought it home and put it in his room. I've loved using it to nurse him, rock him, and read to him these past 4 years, and I'm glad that there is still room for it in his room - if he ever lets me start reading to him again!
His dresser is on the opposite wall.
I snuck in and took a picture of Drew napping in his bed on Sunday afternoon. He always sleeps with his 2 Curious Georges. He is doing a great job of staying in his bed and is transitioning well.
Drew is enjoying his new big boy bed and room, and we are excited for this new stage of his life.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Drew's Family Birthday Party

We celebrated Drew's birthday a few days early on Saturday with Jim's side of the family at Jim's niece, Lisa's house. It was a combined birthday party for our nephew, Brandon, Drew, and Sherry, a family friend. Drew was so excited about the party all day, and he couldn't wait to get there.
He received many nice gifts - some Thomas trains and movies, a bubble gun, some coloring supplies, a lap desk, a Thomas flashlight, and a Target gift card. Drew was quite serious as he opened his presents.
One of Drew's favorite gifts was from Jim's mom.
She got him a Woody doll! He has been wanting one for a while, and he loves it! He even got down on the floor at his party and showed Woody to the dog!
We had pizza and salad and lots of good appetizers, and then we had cake and ice cream. I made the cake, and I will share the recipe later this week.
Drew didn't want any cake. He wanted Oreo truffles that Jim's niece Jennifer made.
It was a very nice little party. Drew had fun playing with the cousins, and he is enjoying playing with all his presents this week! I will have another post tomorrow about the present Jim's sister and brother-in-law gave Drew!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Soccer Mom

We are so excited to be mini van owners! We have been wanting a mini van and have been talking and praying about buying one for a while. This past week we started looking, and we found one in beautiful condition, with very low miles and a price we felt comfortable paying. We test-drove it Saturday, and brought it home yesterday. We are very thankful that God has provided this van for our family!
Here is Drew in his seat in the van. It is a Chrysler Town and Country Touring.
I am loving the power sliding doors and back hatch!

We love our new van and are looking forward to many trips in it in the years to come!