Saturday, June 19, 2010

Happy, Happy Day to Dad!

It's a day where we celebrate you being the BEST.
You're AMAZING, SUPERB, Heads & Tails above the REST!

From reading us stories to tucking us in,
You, sweet dad...are a MAN among MEN.

You've taught us about sports, Dr. Pepper and riding our bikes.
We've looked up to you so much, since we were itty bitty tikes.

We love to watch you do all the cool things that you do.
From principalling to basketball and loving mommy, too.

Most of all, dear daddy, the best thing you've given...
Is your love for Jesus and the Christian life you are livin'.

So, happy Dad's day to the best DADDY ever,
You're forever our favorite and it's you we do treasure!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Home Again, Home Again, Jiggity Jig

We're baaack. We spent Monday through Friday hanging out in Austin while David was at a conference. It was one day too long for four people in a hotel room. A little too much togetherness.

But we did have some fun. We swam. It rained. We swam some more. It rained even more. We swam in the rain and found it to be not so bad...especially in a heated pool. We hung out at Chuck E. Cheese, Zilker Park and Pease Park. Just a nice week with not much planned. I only pulled out the camera one afternoon at the pool when David was able to join us after his conference.

Just a good, fun week.

Saturday night we were able to bid the Marks family farewell. The Marks were LifeGroup leaders with us when Life Groups started at BCOC about two and a half years ago. They live right around the corner from us and we are just going to miss them so very much. They aren't headed too far, though...San Antonio is certainly a place we like to visit!
Good bye, sweet friends. You were one of the first families we met at BCoC and how blessed we were to live so near to you! You have such wonderful servant hearts and are the true definition of amazing Christians. Love you all!

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Bravery Kicked In

He finally took the....

big plunge and...

took off his old, reliable....


Monday, June 07, 2010

Week 2: Kids' Summer Bible Lesson & Lemon Ricotta Muffins (SO GOOD!)

It's been a fast and furious day....we baked, we Bible studied, Daddy worked, we packed, we drove and now we're all tucked into our little hotel room in Austin and unwinding.
Since I have some time, I thought I would post our Bible lesson highlights along with our absolute favorite new muffin recipe....the Lemon Ricotta Muffins that I mentioned last week. I just love them....and I am not even all that into lemon!
I actually borrowed this recipe from Tommie (the originator of Muffin Mondays), who borrowed it from Giada De you know it's a good one. Seriously, how does Giada stay so thin with all of the amazing food she creates?

Lemon Ricotta Muffins
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup plus 1 teaspoon sugar or more as needed for sprinkling
(I actually used the decorative sugar sprinkles to add a little texture to mine...loved that!)
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 tablespoon finely grated lemon zest (from 2 lemons)
1 cup whole-milk ricotta cheese
1 large egg
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1/3 cup thinly sliced almonds
We doubled the recipe....hence the sheer magnitude of lemons you see here in our ingredient line-up. And doubling made even more than I dreamed. I thought we would come out with two dozen, instead I had 2 1/2 dozen plus 2 dozen mini muffins. We had muffins coming out of our ears today!
This child has eaten (not just tasted or chewed on but actually eaten) lemons since he was a wee little tike. It's bizarre. We realize how bizarre it is when we go out to eat with people and he's bartering for lemons from our water to eat them (rind and all)....and our friends' look of shock is pretty apparent. I always figure there's a whole lot worse he could be eating. It is fruit.

Back to the recipe...
Line 12 muffin cups with paper liners (again this made way more than what it was supposed to for me). Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl to blend. Using an electric mixer, beat 1 cup sugar, butter, and lemon zest in a large bowl until light and fluffy. Beat in the ricotta. Beat in the egg, lemon juice, and almond extract. Add the dry ingredients and stir just until blended (the batter will be thick and fluffy-- see photo below).
Divide the batter among the prepared muffin cups. Sprinkle the almonds and then the remaining 1 teaspoon of sugar over the muffins. Bake until the muffins just become pale golden on top, about 20 minutes. Cool slightly. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Yes, the batter was thick alright. More like cookie dough. In fact, this is my cookie dough scooper I had to use to "pour" the batter in to the muffin cups.

They looked so stiff to me in the cups....but I figured they'd sort themselves out in the oven. And they did.

So yummy. With all that butter, they'd have to be, right?

We packed them up....this week we stepped up our presentation a bit. Sorry, Duggans, I know the cardboard Clementine box with Press-n-seal wrap didn't exactly scream Martha Stewart last week. I found some cute little baskets at DollarTree for, you know, a dollar.

Our recipients this week were a lady down the street who we still haven't met but we left them *safely* (or so we hope) with a teenage grandson at her home. He promised they'd make it on to her...uneaten. ; ) We've been wanting to meet this lady for sometime since she has a connection with David's parents' church out in Pecos. Still hoping to meet her one day.
Our other basket went to my brother who lives here in Austin. We left them on his doorstep and played ding-dong-ditch 'em. Nah....we called ahead and told them they'd be left there while he was out! ; )

And on to the Bible lesson for today...continuing the theme of Showing the Love of Christ to Others, we talked about how He loved us first....
our memory verse (which he learned lickety-split...may have to start lengthening these!):
Jonathan knows all about the love of Christ!

Our craft today was sun-catchers that had different words about God's love on them.
These were a bit of a mess....hoping they dry by the time we get home Friday! ; )

The boys really loved them though. I was just a bit nervous because of how much the directions stressed how "STAINFUL" the paint was. Rethinking trying the rest with the kindergarten Bible class next week.

That's all I've got for now! Hoping to have a little R&R this week and just spend some quality time together and with some good friends as well.
Side note: Julie asked for the Zucchini Bread sandwich recipe last week. Although I don't have Hickory Street Cafe's recipe....I think you could make it with mine from last week and use two loaf pans and increase your time in the oven. Then slice into bread pieces. Take two pieces and spread with the whipped cream cheese (they always used the Philly brand at HSC). Stick them together and voila! Sounds pretty rich? It WAS!!! ; )

Friday, June 04, 2010

Week 1: Kids' Summer Bible Lesson & Zucchini Macadamia Muffins

Thought I would try to chronicle our way through our learning adventure this summer. As I mentioned in the previous post, we are working this summer to show the love of Christ to others. We have several ways we are planning to do this....two are featured here. The photos were taken over a couple of days during this first week of summer break (although daddy is still hard at work with high school students still in school).

Our muffin this week is the Zucchini Macadamia Muffin. Just Benjamin helped with it this week....while JonJon snoozed away. Our goal is to bake muffins every Monday and share a batch with friends and another with someone we don't know very well (maybe a new neighbor or whatever). 

Master egg-cracker....look at the intensity in the expression!

Grating Zucchini....I fell in love with zucchini bread when I was in college and went to Hickory Street Cafe way too much with all of my friends. We all just got the Zucchini Bread sandwich...two pieces of the bread encasing a whole lot of cream cheese. Um, wow.

These muffins turned out pretty yummy!

Zucchini Macadamia Muffins

2 cups grated zucchini (about 2 zucchini)
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
3 large eggs
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 (heaping) tablespoon cinnamon
1 cup chopped macadamia nuts
1/2 teaspoon almond extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 3 dozen muffin (spots?) in tins with paper liners.
Combine zucchini, sugars, oil, and eggs in a large bowl and mix until combined. Add dry ingredients and mix well. Fold in nuts and extract. Divide batter between muffin (spots?). Bake until a tester inserted in the middle of each loaf comes out clean, about 20 minutes. Cool 10 minutes on wire rack. Remove from tins to storage...or to tummy. Makes 3 dozen.

We surprised some sweet friends with a batch....the boys thought this was great! They are already discussing who next week's recipients will be. We ended up ruining the last batch by refrigerating the batter in between we just had the one batch to share (and since Daddy was home on Monday, one batch mysteriously disappeared). Next week, we are planning on doing a Lemon Ricotta muffin and already bought the makings for three batches....just in case.

We also did our first Bible lesson this week. Since we are Showing the Love of Christ, I chose a Servant Heart lesson that I found here. This site was chock-full of great resources and lesson plans that I am hoping to make a dent in this summer with the boys. 

We covered the basics (I tried to keep it simple) and the boys really loved it.
We had our memory verse (pictured above). The boys would earn a quarter when they memorized (I use that term loosely with the three-year-old) or could recite the verse back to me. I know it sounds odd to "pay" kids to memorize scripture, but when a certain red-headed friend told me her parents did this when she was growing up, I was sold! (And if you know who her parents are, you know why I was sold!)
The money is actually going into little buckets I made for each of the the end of the summer it will be donated to....well, somewhere. (Still working on some details and thinking of things as I go).

We had a small (and I mean small) craft. Just pulled out some paper and put something frills on this one since I still need to make a HobLob run to get a few more supplies.

But they really enjoyed the craft. We also read (from one of their children's bibles) the story of the good samaritan. I was hoping to try to do another lesson this week, but time has gotten away from me so it may be one lesson per week from here on out.
I emailed out my lesson plan to a couple of friends this Monday, if you're interested in the lessons, I'll be happy to include you on the email list, just let me know!

I posted photos on Facebook from our visit with David's parents over Memorial Day weekend. Since we just used phone photos, I am now having a hard time getting them from FB to here. But, a fun time was had by all! From picnicking to playing, the boys really enjoyed hanging out with Grandma and Grandpa Pecos.