Winston Churchill

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Our Anniversary

The year we were married, spring came early and the trees and flowers were all in bloom.  I remember the wisteria bush at my parents house was full of vibrant blossoms and looked like a purple waterfall on the side of their house.  I can't remember it ever blooming like that before and I know it hasn't since.  It was spectacular.  Of course we took full advantage of it and used it as a back drop for several wedding photos.  It was a beautiful representation of our wedding day. 

Time has flown by - faster each year.  This year spring is slow to come.  The early flowers are out but the trees and bushes have yet to bloom.  It was sunny today but the temperatures were only in the 50s with a strong, cold wind blowing from the North.  This year, there's no correlation between the weather and our marriage.  My life with Brad is wonderful - fulfilling.  He surprised me with a beautiful jade necklace to represent our 26 years or marriage.  I love my life and I love my boys and as cliched as it sounds, they really are the light of my life.  It gets better every year.  Happy Anniversary to me - to us!

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Gooey Caramel Cake

Here's another Pinterest post that stopped me in my tracks.  The thought of a Gooey Caramel Cake sounds divine! Probably especially so since I've been dieting for the last month and am missing goodies like this big time right now. 

Anyway, I had to take a minute to add this one to my list of recipes to try.  Doesn't it just make your mouth water thinking about it?  :)

Found Here
Gooey Caramel Cake


For the cake:
1 cup butter, room temperature
2 cups sugar
4 eggs
3 cups sifted self-rising flour
1-cup milk
1-teaspoon vanilla extract
For the filling:
1 cup butter
2 cups packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
For the frosting:
1/2 cup butter
1 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/3 cup heavy cream
16 oz confectioners’ sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract


For the cake:  Preheat oven to 350. Grease and flour 3 (9-inch) cake pans. Cream butter and sugar about 10 minutes until fluffy.  Add eggs 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Add vanilla and beat until mixed.  Add flour and milk alternately to creamed mixture, beginning and ending with flour.  Divide batter equally among prepared pans.  Bake for 25 minutes or until golden brown.
For the filling:In a saucepan, combine butter, brown sugar, and milk. Cook and stir over medium heat for 3 to 5 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in   vanilla.
Remove cake layers from oven and invert one of the cakes onto plate. Pierce cake layer with a fork over entire surface. Spread 1/3 of filling on cake layer. Repeat the process with the second and third layer.  
For the frosting:  Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat and stir in brown sugar and cream. Bring to a boil, and transfer to a mixing bowl. Add confectioners’ sugar and vanilla. Beat with a hand-held electric mixer until it reaches a spreading consistency.
Recipe from: sugarbananas

Friday, March 1, 2013

Six-Pack March

Here's an abdominal challenge for anyone who's trying to get in shape.  I'm doing this calendar and hope I can at least firm up my soft and jiggly baby tummy by the end of the month.  Come on and give it a try with me!  :)

Friday, February 22, 2013

Spotlight Week!

( Sorry it's another sideways picture!  I need to figure out how to rotate them - it shows upright on my computer but pulls up sideways on the blog.) 

It was Winston's spotlight week and as part of it, we made a poster for him to take to school showing his family, friends and things he likes.  He went through our photos and picked out these pictures to make his poster.  I helped him tape them on and added the words.  I think it turned out great (although I am just a little bit prejudice)!   :)

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Chocolate Almond Pretzel Toffee

I love a good peanut brittle and when I saw this recipe on Pinterest I couldn't help but stop and say, "Oh my!"  This looks divine and I can't wait to give it a try.  Easter is coming up next month so this one is going on my list to make.  :)
Found here. 

Chocolate Almond Pretzel Toffee
From the kitchen of SteakNPotatoesKindaGurl
  • 1 and 1/2 sticks unsalted butter
  • 3 tbsp water
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 35 mini pretzels
  • 2/3 cup milk chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup roasted almonds, chopped
  • a pinch or two of sea salt, for topping
Place butter, water, sugar, and salt in a saucepan and heat on medium-high heat until melted. Bring to a boil and let cook until mixture reaches a soft crack stage (approximately 285 degrees), when it reaches a light caramel color. Remove toffee from heat and stir in vanilla extract.

Line pretzels close together in a single layer on top of a parchment-lined baking sheet. Pour the toffee over the pretzels and spread evenly. Let the toffee sit for at least 20 minutes or until hardened.

In a small microwaveable bowl, heat the chocolate chips in the microwave for a minute, stirring occasionally. Spread onto the hardened toffee. Top with chopped almonds and sprinkle with sea salt. Leave at room temp or refrigerate until chocolate has set. Break into pieces and store in an air-tight container at room temp.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Valentine Flowers

Sorry, this is sideways - I couldn't figure out how to rotate it so it would post upright.  Brad had the most gorgeous Orchids sent to me at work for Valentines Day this year.  I had to post a pic - just ignore all the files on my desk and focus on the lovely flowers.  Aren't they spectacular?

Friday, February 8, 2013

Fairy Tale Friday

Winston's kindergarten teacher has been doing an activity each week on Friday called Fairy Tale Friday.  She had us parents each sign up for a few time slots and then gave us a fairy tale to present to the class.  We have 30 minutes to read the fairy tale and do an activity of our choosing.  I signed up for three of them. 

The first one I was given was The Three Billy Goats Gruff; second was The Gingerbread Man; and the last one - that I did today - was Henny Penny.  It's been fun to spend time in his class and get to know the kids a little better. 

My favorite one was The Gingerbread Man which we did right before Christmas so it was fun for the kids to talk about making cookies.  I had them make a gingerbread boy ornament with cardstock paper and stickers - they turned out so cute!
This is a picture of our Henny Penny activity - we made chickens with a small paper plate with foam rubber beaks and legs, googley eyes and feathers that they glued on.  My sample is on the right and Winston's chicken is on the left.  I'm kind of sad that it's my last one and wish I had signed up for one more. 

Monday, January 28, 2013

Beautiful Song

This is something worth checking out.  Here's a link to Carrie Underwood singing How Great Thou Art and it's a truly touching and inspiring performance.  She sings it so beautifully!  I can't help but be touched by it.  She really puts her whole heart into singing this song.  Just watching and listening to her warms my heart and soul and brings tears to my eyes. I'm so grateful for a loving and forgiving Savior and hearing this song reminds me how blessed I am. 

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Slow Cooker Lasagna

It's been so cold here this winter.  It's the coldest weather we've had in over 20 years in fact and this past Thursday we had a freezing rain storm come through and we almost never get freezing rain. 

Brad had been in Wyoming for work and the freezing rain caused the airport to close for several hours.  Because of the closure, Brad's flight was cancelled and he was stuck in Denver for an extra day and a half and then had to take a flight that flew him half way across the country before it brought him home. 

When it's cold like this, all I want to do is stay inside and curl up with a good book and warm blanket while something good is cooking.  One of my favorite recipes to throw together in a slow cooker is Lasagna.  I've modified a recipe I found online and it's become a family favorite.  This Garlic Bread goes great with it too.  Mmmm!  I love warm and delicious food on a cold winter day.


1 pound Italian sausage
1/2 cup onion, chopped
1/4 cup olive oil
4 teaspoons minced garlic
1 29oz can crushed tomatoes
1 16oz can tomato sauce
1 6oz can tomato paste
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 1/2 cups water
2 Tbl spoons dried oregano
2 Tbl spoons dried basil
1 12oz pkg lasagna noodles
24 ounces cottage cheese
1 egg lightly beaten
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
16oz grated mozzarella cheese

1. In a large skillet over medium heat cook the onion in 1/4 cup olive oil until soft, add sausage and garlic and cook until browned. Add the crushed tomatoes, tomato sauce, tomato paste, salt, pepper, water, oregano, basil and stir until well incorporated. Simmer until heated through.
2. In a large bowl mix together the cottage cheese, egg, grated Parmesan cheese, and shredded mozzarella cheese.
3. Spoon a layer of the meat mixture onto the bottom of the slow cooker. Add a double layer of the uncooked lasagna noodles. Break to fit noodles into slow cooker. Top noodles with a portion of the cheese mixture. Repeat the layering of sauce, noodles, and cheese until all the ingredients are used.  I like to top with additional Parmesan and Mozzarella cheese.
4. Cover, and cook on LOW setting for 4 to 6 hours.

Monday, January 7, 2013


Winston and I had a fun time tonight cutting out some snowflakes. He was feeling a little down because his older brothers didn't want to play with him, so to cheer him up I suggested we open the art kit that Santa had brought him for Christmas.  He started out drawing a picture of our house and then a picture of a snowflake.

Looking at his snowflake picture, we decided to cut out a few of our own to hang in his room.  I haven't cut out snowflakes for years and it took me a few tries to remember how to fold and cut to get a decent looking one but we kept trying.  We hung up our best ones on his bedroom wall.

Snowflakes are such a fun project. The possibilities are endless and they're perfect for January - especially this year.  It's been the coldest January we've had since Winston was born.  I'm actually hoping it will snow some more soon to bring the temperatures up out of the single digits.  Brrrr! 

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

A Recipe to try - Salted Caramel Apple Pie

While I was looking online for some recipes to try for Thanksgiving, I came across this one.  I printed it out planning to try it for Thanksgiving dinner but ran out of time - happens to me all the time.  I always think I'll have more time to bake than I do - when it comes to baking I can be completely unrealistic. 

I still plan on trying this but it'll have to wait for now so I thought I'd post it here.  Unfortunately, the printout didn't list the website I found it from so I can't give credit to the creator of such a fabulous idea -a caramel apple pie!  I'm thinking I'll have to make this pie in the next few weeks - a mid January treat to brighten these long cold winter days. 
Picture found here.

Salted Caramel Apple Pie
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
1 cup (2 sticks) chilled unsalted butter, cut in pieces
1/4 to 1/2 cup ice water


6 -7 cups tart apples, peeled and sliced (Jonathan or Granny Smith)
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar

1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon vanilla
4 tablespoons heavy cream

4 tablespoons butter


For the crust: Place the flour, salt, and sugar in the bowl of a food processor, and process for a few seconds to combine. Add the butter, and process until the mixture resembles coarse meal, about 10 seconds. With the machine running, add the ice water in a slow, steady stream, through the feed tube, just until the dough holds together. Do not process for more than 30 seconds. (You can also do this by hand or with a pastry cutter!)

Turn the dough out onto a work surface. Divide in two. Place each half on a sheet of plastic wrap. Flatten, and form two discs. Wrap, and refrigerate at least 1 hour before using.

When chilled- roll out one disc and place inside a pie dish with a small over-hang around the edges. Let chill in fridge until filling is ready.

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.

For filling: Sprinkle apples with lemon juice. Combine dry ingredients in large bowl and add apples. Toss to mix. Add vanilla and cream. Melt butter in heavy skillet. Add apple mixture and cook approximately 8-10 minutes, until apples are soft and the liquid has turned golden. Turn into pie shell.

Cover with a lattice top or just drape the whole second crust over the filling and crimp the edges. If you don't have enough over-hang to turn it over to seal the pie, use my trick: roll out a thin 1/2 inch wide strip of extra dough and place it around the edge. Use a fork or your finger to decorate the edge.
Brush the top of the crust with heavy cream and bake for 15 minutes. Then reduce the heat to 350 and bake for another 45 minutes, or until the crust is golden and the filling is bubbly.