Wednesday, February 20, 2013

She's a keeper!

Monday, February 18, 2013

Derek's Date

What?!?! You thought it was with a girl? Nope. That won't be for a looong time. He went with Chris and I instead to Kids LegoFest or Duplofest as Derek called it. Derek got his first set of duplo's for Christmas and he has been obsessed with them ever since. He loves to build various creations and he is so proud of each of them.
When we found out LegoFest was coming to Richmond and knew Derek would love it. The closer it got, the more we found out what we going to be there and how excited Derek really was. It was well worth the ticket price but Derek won't appreciate it fully for a few more years. We left Brooke with Mimi because we were concerned she would get bored or frustrated because she couldn't fully participate in the various booths.

In the "Construction Zone" kids could build all kinds of things and put them in the display cabinets when they were done.
Derek's creation.
Putting it in the display cabinet for everyone to look at.
Playing with the mini cars in the Lego Town.
Derek and Daddy's race cars. Derek's beat Chris' every single time. It was a very fast race car!

This was only the duplo dump. The lego dump was HUGE!

In the middle of the convention center they had a map of the US and you could build a piece to go on the map.
Derek's "house"
Waiting to have it put on the map. He chose New Hampshire since Virginia was full.
And then there were the statues. These were truly awesome! There were more statues than what we took pictures of but the level of detail and scale was amazing to see.

It was a fun night out and we would definitely go again!

Friday, February 15, 2013

Valentine's Holder

Our family loves going on the first Saturday of the month to Home Depot for their kids class. Its always a fun time to hammer and paint. February's project was a Valentine's Card Holder. Once the project was dry, I used a silver sharpie to add their names (as if we couldn't tell them apart) and added some cute ribbon on the back of their chairs in the playroom to secure the Valentine's Card Holder to the chair. The kids like to put "mail" in them pull it out to "read it".

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Valentine's Day Crinkles

4 eggs
1 3/4 cups granulated sugar
4 ounces unsweetened chocolate, melted and cooled
1/2 cooking oil
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons red velvet cake flavor
2 cups all purpose flour

In a large mixing bowl beat eggs, granulated sugar, chocolate, oil, baking powder and red velvet cake flavor with a mixer until combined. Gradually beat in as much of the flour as you can with the mixer. Stir in any remaining flour. Cover and chill dough 2 hours or overnight or until dough is easy to handle. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Lightly greases a cookie sheet. Shape dough into 1-inch balls. Rolls balls into powdered sugar to coat generously. Place balls 1 inch apart on prepared cookie sheet. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes or until edges are set and tops are dry (do not overbake). Transfer to a wire rack and let cook. Cookies will deflate slightly upon cooking.

*Adapted from Better Homes and Garden's New Cookbook

Happy Valentine's Day!

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Command Center

One of the projects that has been in the works for a while is our Laundry Room. I think the fact that we have been working on this since November has been driving me crazy. Its a small room and in addition to doing laundry in there it also serves triple duty with the pantry and pass through to the garage. To say that I go in there several times a day is an understatement.

Here is a project recap to bring you up to speed.

  • Painted the walls, ceiling, and all the doors
  • Stacked the dryer on top of the washer
  • Moved the 220V outlet to accomodate the dryer on top
  • Changed the light fixture to add more light in the room
  • Set up the card table for temporary storage
So this past weekend we...
  • Created a cover for the electrical panel (and create more wall space!)
  • Created a command center with paper storage and our family calendar
  • Upgraded the rug
This was quite the project. Chris built a frame for the electrical panel and then attached a board to the front to create a door (and more wall space!). He also added hinges and magnetic strips to keep it closed and a handle for access when it needs to be opened. He also primed and painted it the same color that is on the walls to help it blend in better.
I found the organizer at HomeGoods and knew it would be perfect for the laundry room. The boxes help with paper storage like church papers, keys, schedules, etc. I am reclaiming my counters! It is off center so that eventually we could be holder for pencils or add hooks for keys but I want to use it for a while before I completely decide where I want things (and give us a chance to recover).
Here is a better shot of just my command center. 
Rugs in my laundry room are a necessity (think cold floor) but since this room gets so much foot traffic they have to be able to stand up to the challenge. This will be the 3rd rug in 5 years! The last rug was even an indoor/outdoor rug! We have looked at so many rugs but when we were browsing HomeGoods this weekend (man, I sound like a HomeGoods ad!) we found this beauty!
 We still have cabinets, counters, and an IKEA trip in our future to finish this room but its coming along!

Monday, February 11, 2013


Its about time for more comical things Derek says

Megan: Derek, are you digging for gold?
Derek: No. I just getting the little pieces and big pieces out. No gold.


Megan: We are going to Old Navy to return your jeans, Derek.
Derek: Can't we do drive thru?


Mimi: Derek, close your eyes so we can pray.
Derek: I can't. They are stuck open.


Context: Just leaving the drive thru with dinner
Derek: (whiny voice) I want my drink!
Megan: I can't get your drink right now.
Derek: Why not?
Megan: Because God didn't make me able to drive the van at night and get you your drink.
Derek: Why?
Megan: I don't know. Why don't you ask God.
Derek: (screaming) God, why did you make mommy this way?
Derek: Mommy, I can't hear God. He too quiet.
(The conversation then goes on for 10 minutes about heaven)
Derek: Its ok God made you this way. I still love you.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Chicken Rotel

One of our favorite meals is Chicken Rotel or Chicken and 'Matos (according to Derek). Its something we eat frequently and its my go-to meal for bringing to friends. I love that I can make it ahead and freeze it or double it and make one for a friend and one for us.

Chicken Rotel

2 can Cream of Chicken Soup
1 can Rotel
2 1/2 cups of Shredded Chicken
Shredded Cheddar Cheese

Mix together chicken soup, rotel, and chicken together. Add a handful of cheese to the mixture. :)
 Pour into baking dish.
Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Top with cheddar cheese. Bake additional 10 minutes or until cheese is melted and sides are bubbly. Serve over rice or tortilla chips.

Brooke had to get in on the fun so she helped me make corn muffins.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013


While I was running last week this song came on, I am sure that I have heard it before I just never paid close attention to the words like I did during that run. Here are the words and a link to the song.


Oh, can you hear, hear mercy sing
She cries to bitter hearts, end your suffering
Oh, please let go, give up your fight
Holding back your love, it never made things right
It’s gonna be ok, ok tonight, yeah

Grace, only grace
Can roll your dead heart’s stone away
Grace, only grace
Can move us to a rhythm that will change our ways

Oh, listen to love and let pride hit the ground
If joy is the armor, it can’t be broken down
But if hate is the fuel, no one will win
But when we love ‘til we’re empty
That’s when life begins

Grace, only grace
Can roll your dead heart’s stone away
Grace, only grace
Can move us to a rhythm that will change our ways

Grace, grace, come and move me
Oh, come and move me now
Grace, grace, only you can
Lift up what holds me down, yeah

Grace, only grace
Can roll your dead heart’s stone away
Grace, only grace
Can move us to a rhythm that will change our ways
Can move me to the rhythm that could change my name


Monday, February 4, 2013

How to reuse a candle container

Chris was given this candle as a Christmas gift a few years ago. I loved the cinnamon smell when it burned, and I loved the container.
Once the candle had finished burning, I let it cool. Then, I put it in the freezer for a few hours. This allowed the remaining wax to separate from the glass and thus make it easier to clean. After it came out of the freezer, I used a knife to pop the wax out of the container and then let the container come to room temperature. Then I filled it with hot water and let it soak for a few minutes. This allowed any remaining wax to melt off the bottom and sides. Then I dumped the water and wiped it clean with a paper towel. Voila!
A clean container that I can enjoy with a tea light in it.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Snow Cream

With all the snow we have had lately, we try to enjoy as much of it as possible. One thing we decided to try was Snow Cream. We have heard a lot of people rave about it so we decided to try it with our most recent snow fall.

My little helper putting in all the snow.
And the wanting a sample. 
But he is just a snow purist at heart. Only the white fluffy stuff for him.

Snow Cream Recipe

Adapted from here

1 cup milk
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
6+ cups of clean snow

Combine milk, vanilla, and sugar. Stir until sugar is dissolved. Stir in snow, one cup at a time until snow cream forms. Freeze for several minutes before serving.