Saturday, May 26, 2012

Beginning of summer break!

The last day of school was this past week. 
it was bittersweet-I was glad to see summer break...but, I was really pretty sad to let go of the 4th graders in our school, because now they're leaving our school and heading to the middle school.

[this pic is only 2/3 of the kids in K-4 grade...for a small town, we have a HUGE elementary school].

in celebration of it all, we've been cleaning, packing, doing laundry, and preparing for the weeks ahead.
I had a HUGE need for a fruit pizza, but all the recipes I could find were all made pretty high in calories.
So, I cut back a few notches of ingredients and found a way to make a pretty low cal fruit pizza, with all the great flavors! 
I made it last night and had intended to save it til the next evening for dessert, but my hubby and i decided to "check how it tasted" late last night.
Needless to say, we both LOVED it and are excited to serve it after LUNCH today;) (and maybe a slice of it for breakfast too?;))

Mangoes, strawberries, grapes, and kiwi, oh my!

Today will involve a lot of the same stuff I'd already mentioned, but today, we're going to try and hit the water park to open up the summer season with the little guy! Can't wait!

Happy happy summer everyone!

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Sweets and things

My recent obsession of healthier eating has developed a sweet tooth in me. 
It's kinda disturbing how my entire life I've not ever cared for sweets.
And here I am at 24 years old, living a healthier lifestyle, and my tastebuds call out for sweets everyday.
I've made it a mission to find healthy ways to make desserts, cookies, and pies. (I still really don't care for cake. Not appealing to me...yet.)

My husband and 9 year old devoured a strawberry cheesecake a couple weeks ago. Each slice being 300 calories per slice...1/9 of the cheesecake (how to easily slice a round cheesecake into NINE pieces is beyond me...which makes those slices tiny slivers barely enough to taste.) 
Which meant they each had about 600 calories from the serving they got.
So I found a low calorie, low sugar, bake from scratch way to make cheesecake. 
And at 138 calories a slice, it was a guiltless pleasure for myself and the guys to eat. 
It was fun to make;)

Now, these cookies are NOT healthier versions of cookies.
They are each 170 calories PER cookie. (yikes!)
I made these back around Christmas last year and the little guy fell in love with them.
He asked me to make them again, so I did.
I shared them with some of my students and guests, but most of them went into the little guy's stomach.
Red Velvet White Chocolate chip cookies are fun to make, and kinda cool to look at.

Summer vacation is almost here! 
I can almost smell it-you'd better believe that a lot of my days this summer will be filled with cooking and baking:)

Monday, May 14, 2012

She taught me everything

It's hit me more than ever.
Mother's Day was an eye opener for me.

You see...I'm a foster parent.
Which means, in my personal case presently, I do the work of being a mom.
however, I don't get the benefits or joys that a mother does. 
And looking at my mom and at such a great mom at that, there's so much more I could have done to show her how much I appreciate her.

I think about all the times that she was up late cooking, cleaning, or taking care of our home.
The times that we would sit back and just think, "Oh, that just what mom does."
The times that we would all be gathered in the living room after dinner and into the evening....but mom was still busy cleaning up and making sure the kitchen was clean before the night retired.

I think about the times that mom would be up late ironing clothes for my dad and us. 
And the times that everyone else had settled down for the evening, but mom was still moving around from here to there, taking care of our home.

And I think about all the times that I could have shown her my appreciation and thankfulness...but being a child in that house, I was so comfortable, secure, and loved, that as a child, I guess it didn't cross my mind that often that mom did all these things because she LOVED us.

She loves us.
That's why my life was comfortable.
She loves us.
That's why I grew up with a close knit family, because she took the time to prepare big dinners each night so we could have family time at the table every single night...and we didn't eat dinner, until all of us got home.
She loves my daddy.
That's why my sisters and I always felt so secure.
She loves us girls. 
That's why we grew up in a stable consistent environment, even with being in a military home where we would move every 3 years.
She loves me.
and That's why somehow over the past 24 years of my life, I somehow absorbed what it means to be a wife and a mom. I know my role. I know my desires as a wife and what I want to be to my husband. I know my role as a caregiver and what I want kids in my home to feel like. I know how to take care of my home, keep it clean, tend to my husband's needs...but only because I watched my mom do it my entire life....

Why it hasn't hit me this hard before, I don't know.
I guess it took a Mother's Day of actually being a "mom" to get the full picture. 

Mom, you knew how to love us, 
how to teach us,
how to be the woman in our life.
I can't express my desire to want to be just like you in how you treat and love your family.
You worked so hard to take care of our home.
You did everything in the world for daddy and for us.
Thank you for loving us.
Thank you for loving daddy.
Thank you for teaching me everything I know. 

Thank you from the bottom of my heart for being my mom.
You're amazing.
The best mom in the world.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

I like to lick the batter

One of my favorite parts of baking is when the bowls are empty and all that's left are the creamy streaks of batter that wasn't including in the baking pan. 
I can't help it, I lick the spoon. or whisk. 
The past couple evenings have been so much fun experimenting with two new recipes. 
Blueberry oatmeal muffins and strawberry oatmeal white chocolate chip cookies....

Oh, baby. 
They're fabulous.

I've never had a strawberry cookie before...strawberry and white chocolate cookies taste just like a dessert.
a lower calorie dessert.
with oatmeal and chewy goodness.
These are to die for.

I'm a happy woman in my kitchen cooking or baking. 
the after hours of the day, when things are quiet, lil boy is in bed, and there are no other sounds except for Biggest Loser (yeah, yeah, it's been my motivation) and the spoon hitting the bowl mixing up a new has been so relaxing to me.
and when my husband comes wandering in to see what I'm baking and to try one of the baked goodies, the ultimate taste test for me happens. I watch his face and see if a big grin comes out of him. 
It's like a dance party in my heart when I see him loving what i make:)

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

strawberry milk, banana bread, and brownies.

I spent an afternoon with this lovely young lady.
We had a sweet treat afternoon...drinking Strawberry milk, eating banana bread, trying new cookies, and baking brownies and talking about life in Christ, school, and summer.

Oh, it was such fun.
Sometimes it just does the soul good to bake with someone else.
She was a delight to to spend a Monday afternoon with!