Tag Archives: Family

Chocolate, Peanut Butter, & Caramel

Happy Tuesday everyone,

I hope that everyone had a great weekend and President’s Day.  Last Friday was Stan’s birthday and my babydoll decided that she didn’t want to have barbecue (Stan had told us all week that was his planned meal for the big day) so she called a cousin to get out of the meal and didn’t return until late yesterday evening as much as we tried to persuade her to come home.  What do you do when you have a three-day weekend with no crumb snatchers underfoot?  You catch every movie that has a high kill count you want to and hang out with that loved one like you did before you began to procreate.  🙂 Mind you we still had Sasha-bear, but my pup is starting to lose some of her rambunctiousness (or maybe it was because babydoll was gone) so she was pretty chill too.

I think I’ve mentioned several times that I love to bake and I’m pretty darn good at it, so you can imagine the total and utter confusion I feel that my husband purchases himself a birthday cake from a bakery or grocery store every year. 

I mean if I wasn’t made of sterner stuff I would be totally offended, but I just go with the flow of it.  Regardless of his purchase on Friday, I had already come up with a plan for dessert this week…and it involved, you guessed it…chocolate, peanut butter, and caramel.

I knew I was going to make a chocolate cake and I wanted to make something different with it, so I thought why not peanut butter.  Everyone loves Reese’s Cups right?  I was discussing my great idea with my mother (I always bounce ideas off of her) and she started telling me about a peanut butter-caramel cake that she and my babydoll had seen Giada make a few days previously.  I asked her if it was a chocolate cake and she said no.  She said it was a vanilla cake and she that she had used caramel that she melted.  I said I would make a homemade caramel sauce and that it would be even greater with a chocolate cake…I mean chocolate and caramel go well together and chocolate and peanut butter go well together, so let’s do a trio.

I made my caramel sauce


and basic chocolate cake with the addition of about 1/2 cup of peanut butter to the batter. I tasted the batter and found that it didn’t have enough peanut butter taste, so I decided to mix some peanut butter with the caramel sauce.  This I swirled into the cake batter before baking (I felt this would help the caramel sauce from sinking to the bottom of the cake during baking).

Once the cake had come out of the oven and began cooling, I took some more of the caramel sauce and put it all over the top of the cake layers after I had poked holes in the layers (I do this with my caramel cakes to help infuse the cake with the caramel flavor).

To make this cake extra luscious I thought what icing would push it over the edge?  Mocha Chocolate Buttercream Icing of course.  I don’t like coffee, can’t stand the smell or taste of it actually.  But you add coffee to chocolate and something magical happens. 

 The chocolate becomes more chocolate if you can imagine or believe it.  As you can see from the beater that I stood in the  middle of my kitchen and licked clean, it was a dessert all on its own.

The final product was soooooo good.  The plate is not really neat after I finished, but doesn’t it look delicious?

My favorite dessert is ice cream and cake.  Of all the delicious things that I make, there is nothing that gives me more joy than having a slice of birthday cake and ice cream.  And you must have an equal amount of both with every bite….no bite of cake without ice cream on the spoon at the same time.  You HAVE to have the complete package.

What about you…how did you enjoy your weekend?  Did you have to work on President’s Day?

Caramel Sauce

1 cup light brown sugar

1 stick of butter

1/4 cup evaporated milk

1 tsp of vanilla

pinch of salt

Combine all ingredients in small saucepan over medium heat and bring to a boil.  Continue to cook until desired thickness is achieved.  This stuff is good, you can pour it over ice cream also and swoon. 🙂

Mocha Chocolate Buttercream Icing

1 stick of butter softening

2 tsp instant coffee

2 tbsp boiling water

4 oz unsweetened chocolate, melted

2 cups powder sugar (confectioner’s for you sticklers)

1/2 cup milk

2 tsp vanilla

Combine coffee and water until dissolved.  Add melted chocolate and set aside.  Beat butter until light and smooth.  Gradually add powdered sugar, milk and vanilla.  Add coffee/chocolate mixture and beat until smooth.  Lick the beater clean( :)) and frost you cake accordingly.

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We finally did it

Happy New Year!!

The last time I wrote to everyone, I was discussing the “curses” “joys” of housetraining puppies and the relapses associated with them.  Well…I’m happy to announce that we are no longer having relapses.  In fact the puppy has learned to ring the bell (large jingle bells that we purchased from Garden Ridge a few months ago) when she needs to go out.  We did have a couple of accidents this past weekend, but that will be explained a little later.

I have some very exciting news to share…After almost a year of searching and disappointments and ‘I think we found it’ and ‘we’re going to build’ and ‘we’re in a bidding war’….we found and bought AND moved into a new home.  YEAH!!!! 🙂

OMG!!!  This has been the rollercoast ride of our lifes.  We had thought we had found “our” house a couple of times.  The first time, after we had looked at the house for over two hours only to find out of that an offer had been excepted on it the day before (our realtor was so not happy about that).  Our “second” house was lost after being in a bidding war for a week.  This one was perfect or so we thought…right around the corner from Kristian’s school, it had the rooms that we needed and it was move in ready with the need for a few minor repairs.  A month later we were still looking at houses and getting more depressed by what was out there.

One Saturday after we had looked at one two many houses (even going to look at a house that we had previously rejected) when my husband suggested we look  at a builder.  I had just told our realtor that I wanted to be in a new home by the end of the year.  I knew going to a builder would have us moved in after the new year, but my other options weren’t looking too good.  We checked out the builders and were ready to make a go of it.  We called our realtor to share the good news and she said and I quote, “don’t build there….I can find you a house in that same community for less than what you will pay for new construction and you can be in before the end of the year.”   Did I tell you that I LOVE MY REALTOR?  Within 2 hours she had emailed us listings for around five properties.  One rang a bell for my husband…DING! DING! DING! DING!  We arranged to go see it the next day.  I was so done from all of the previous looks, that I was in a ‘I don’t care’ phase.  When we went to look at the house, I didn’t even worry about how I looked.  I went in thinking I was going to hate it.  I LOVED IT!  It had the basement space for my husbands media room, his office space, a formal dining room, my office/craft room, a guest room…it was great!  My realtor checked to insure that there were no offers (didn’t want that to happen again) while we were looking.  It was all good.  We were like let’s get on it before someone else does.  Needless to say we had to get rid of the mortgage broker we were working with and we put in an offer by Wednesday and got our reply back (counter) by Saturday.

I would love to tell you that the whole process went by so fast that I can’t remember, but it didn’t happen that way.  It seemed to drag on forever.  Even with packing over 15 years of stuff it still seemed to drag on for ever.  Oh yeah and to add stuff onto my stress, I said we were going to host Christmas Eve dinner with our family.  That was two weeks after our move-in date.  YIKES!!  We moved in on the 10th of December and yes I did host Christmas Eve dinner.  It was great, and there was more than enough food.  Sasha seemed to be overwhelmed by all of the people in the house because she ended up having two accidents – one when she was trying to get to the door and someone was blocking it and the other time was discovered after she had hid under the table for the evening.  Yes…the little terror, my Sasha-bear, became overwhelmed and hid under the dining room table.

I have to say that I really am happy with my new home.  The kitchen is butt ugly, but I knew that going in.  It is a very nice size and I will get tons of joy decorating.  I will try my best to post as many pictures as possible.

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Puppy relapse

The house training process for our puppy, Sasha Fierce, has been going really good until recently.  Sasha is a Standard Schnauzer and therefore when groomed most hair is cut off with the exception of the  hair on her legs and her “beard”.  When we picked up Sasha, the breeder recommended that we not get her groomed until we have her completely house trained.  We thought we had gotten to a great point with Sasha.  I announced to the family if she could go for two weeks without an accident, we were going to make the appointment.  She had her Bortadella vaccine so she could go to a groomer setting.  Week one was amazing!  We had learned Sasha’s “outside” ques (she does not go to the door, she nips) and we were on it.  Week two started off amazing as well and then ONE day before the end of what would have been two weeks….she starts having accidents.  I mean having ACCIDENTS.  We would take her out and then ten minutes later she we would find a puddle.  You clean it up and take her out and 20  minutes later there was another puddle.  What the what? 😦

So what did we do?  We had to regroup and re-evaluate our strategy.  What were we missing as far as ques go?  Were we not understanding when she was telling us she needs to go out?  We concurred that it wasn’t us…it was Sasha.  She is being stubborn folks.  For instance…this morning I had taken her out and we are doing our usual in the kitchen in the morning.  I’m making lunches and breakfast and straightening up my kitchen (I hate to come home to a dirty kitchen, I can’t cook, I can’t think; it’s awful) and Sasha is sitting on my feet or laying by the cabinets – occassionally she would walk over to her food/water and take a nibble.  At one point I turn around to go to another countertop and I sortof slip…I look down and guess what?  There is a puddle.  No nip, no bark, nothing.  What the what?  It’s not me, I didn’t miss a que; it’s my stubborn puppy!  She’s sooooo adorable, I mean this face is adorable who can stay angry at that face – but Stan announced to me that if we don’t have her house trained by the time we move in to the new house she can’t come.  (Oh yeah…we finally found the house and have an excepted offer.  The details will come later.)  I have a month (actually I have a week before I go insane) to get this taken care of. 

Oh My God (and I really need his help on this one folks, I’m not being over dramatic.) what am I going to do? I need some help here folks.  If you have ANY advice concerning the fastest way to house train pass it on.

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House Hunting…Horrors

I was just lamenting with a coworker today about how busy our lives have been.  He just moved into his new place yesterday and I asked why he decided to move during the middle of the week.  His response was that his weekends have been so busy that it was only feasible to move during the week. I told him the same could be said for our family the entire month of September.  October… has been a lot less travelly.  (Is that a word? :))

Because of this we have actually had time to do some house hunting.  We have looked at houses for about 6 months.  We even considered custom building just because we were finding it difficult to find the house that we wanted at our price point without needing to make adjustments/upgrades later.  You see, we’ve made some upgrades to our home (hardwood floors throughout, new stairs and railings, upgraded moldings, upgraded bathrooms, and new kitchen floors and back splash) and when we started looking at homes in the location we want to live in, in our price point (which isn’t a small price point) we were finding that we would need to come into the house and spend more money to make at least the same upgrades to the home that we have in our home.

So we finally decided to change our price point so that if we need to do upgrades (which we most likely will do) we can do them and not be stressed about finances.   After making that decision, we hit the house hunting road running and have seen some really nice homes.  We’ve also seen some homes that have left us depressed (if you want to sell a house people it should really be cleaned up.), and we’ve seen some homes that have scared us.  Through it all there have been a couple of houses that we’ve actually liked enough to consider and we’ve considered them.  The problem is that we are currently living in a buyers market and there are people OUT here buying.  They are looking at the same houses that we are looking at and unfortunately they can see a diamond in the rough just like we can.  We have been bidded out of one possibility.  We waited five days to hear that we had lost out on the deal.  I tell you folks when you really find something that you want, it can be rough playing the waiting game.  There are new possibilities that we are looking into that hopefully pan out.  I will keep everyone posted.  My hope is that we will be in a new home before the end of the year.

In the meantime, I would love to hear that I’m not the only one that has lived through house hunting horrors.  Tell me your stories…it may keep my mind off the waiting.

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Cork Vacation 2011 – Day 1

As promised, I’m going to share with everyone some photos from our family vacation.  I know our vacation was months ago, but I’ve been busy.  See the previous post. 🙂

This year we decided to travel to Fort Lauderdale, FL for a week and then to Chicago, IL for another 4 days.  We left on Saturday morning very early (I mean REALLY EARLY), but we were able to arrive in the beautiful city before noon.  We had searched high and low on the internet for a hotel that would allow us to have a kitchen and living room.  If we were going to be staying in a room for a week, it was really important to us not to be in a room with just beds and a bathroom.  So…after much searching we found a hotel that was designed like a mini apartment that was also on the beach.  The Lago Mar.

After we got off the plane and got our rental car, we decided to head to the store to pick up a few things for snacks and a few groceries before checking into the hotel (plus it passed the time we needed for check in).  The lobby of our hotel had some really beautiful tiled murals.

My baby doll was on cloud nine at the pool and insisted that we spend a lot of time there.  The hotel had its own private beach as well as a putt putt coarse, large chess board (like the one in the Harry Potter movie), volleyball court, and awesome pool.

Stan and I did not sleep the night before (because we had to get up so early) so we were beat.  We slept on the plane, on the pool chairs by the pool, on the sofa in the living room; if we seat still too long – we would doze off.   We finally called it quits early, which allowed me to be able to wake up early and take a couple of photos as the sun was coming up .  Remember, I had all of my new photography tips to implement and ended up taking alot of shots of the same thing.  But I think I got some pretty good shots of from our balcony.

I woke up at 6am to get these last two shots.

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We’ve been so busy…

I haven’t had time to post anything in a couple of months…2 to be exact.  We’ve been so busy that I haven’t had the time to actually sit down to type my thoughts and include the photos that should accompany it.  I’ve been taking photos with the intention of posting about everything but life has gotten in the way.

So I’m apologizing for staying away so long.

I do have a new addition to our household to share with you.  A few months back I posted about our families search for the perfect puppy… well we’ve found it and it’s in the form of a Standard Schnauzer whom we have decided to call Sasha Fierce.

We are absolutely thrilled with our new addition.  Sasha is probably one of the best, if not the best, puppies that I’ve had.  We picked her up on Saturday morning and it has been so very easy to train this dog.  I’m actually waiting for the other shoe to drop… I mean it can’t be this easy right.  She has had two accidents in the house, which were totally our fault; she cried one night and that stopped as soon as we moved her crate upstairs with the rest of the family.

For the longest I wanted a Newfoundland but my husband said there was no way that he could live with a dog that big, so I gave up and loved them from afar.  Sunday I was kissing and hugging on Ms. Sasha and I just happened to look at her and think she looks a lot like a Newfoundland.  What do you think?

I didn’t get my Newfie, but my Sasha-bear without her cropped ears and all that black hair, she’s the cutest.

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Marital Roles

Every year our church has a theme that we focus on.  This theme is something that our pastor prays about and waits on an answer from God before it is chosen.  This years theme deals with relationships: our relationship with God, our children, our spouse, our family members, with friends, with coworkers, I think he has hit them all and it’s only been half a year.  I have to say that I’m really feeling it.

I recently celebrated 13 years of marriage.  It hasn’t always been roses and rainbows (that’s pretty obvious, we separated for a year), but we have committed to making our union work.  Lately, I’ve wanted to do a study (bible study) on the roles and relationship of man and woman as it pertains to marriage.  I actually shared a really good online article about the role of mothers, but I wanted to see what I could find that more specifically addressed husband and wife roles.  My search yielded some very insightful information. 

One of the reasons why I wanted to do this bible study was because I wanted to make sure that I was living according to Gods word as a wife and I also wanted to make sure that I wasn’t expecting something outside of Gods will for my marriage.  You see, I strive to be an exceptional wife and mother.  I know that I may make mistakes, but if I have the right intention and motivation, than I’m doing my best.  So here is what I found.

It seems that biblically speaking the roles of husband and wife come from eight key scriptures (I’m sure there are many more, but these seven really spoke to me), the first of which is Ephesians 5:23-32.  This passage of scripture gives detailed roles of the husband and wives.  I’ll paraphrase it: husbands are to be the head of the household and wives are to submit to their husbands.  If you go by this paraphrase, it doesn’t sound too good.  Another scripture, 1 Corinthians 11:3 tells the same thing.  Reading that husbands are the head and wives are to submit – this would give many the impression that men rule and women have no say.  This is not what that means and boy am I glad to know this.  These passage of scriptures does not give a husband the right to say that “I’m the head and what I say goes”, nor does it wives need to be doormats to their husbands and become his servants.  One of the articles I read on the roles broke down this passage very nicely.  It said,

1. God has given the husband the leadership role for the good of his wife, not as an excuse for him to be proud or selfish, and not as an excuse to treat her as a servant.

Some husbands do not seem to understand that yelling for food or beverage service while they are watching a sports event on TV and while their wives are scrubbing the kitchen floors on their hands and knees does not reflect biblical truth in balance.

2. God has not said the husband must, or should, make all decisions in his family. If a husband wants to please God, and if he loves his wife with agape love, he will delegate some decision-making to her–she has brains too.

3. God has not said that the husband must make decisions without obtaining input from his wife–she has brains, too.

4. God has not said that the husband must make decisions according to his wishes, nor even according to his wisdom. Instead he must make decisions that are best for his wife.

If the husband is not proud, he will not think that he is always right–his wife has brains, too. If the husband is not proud, he will seek her input before making decisions– she has brains, too.

If the husband is not selfish, he will not want his way, but instead will desire to please his wife.

God has not made him the leader in the family to feed his ego, or to satisfy his selfishness, but for her good.

5. If husband and wife disagree, if he is not proud, and if he is not selfish, he will be willing to go along with her ideas and her desires–unless it would hurt her or someone else spiritually, emotionally, or physically, or unless what she wants is prohibitively expensive.

6. However, again keeping biblical truth in balance, if she is not proud, and if she is not selfish, she will not think that she is always right, and she will not want her way.

7. If the wife considers the leadership role that God has given her husband, she will recognize that God wants to give her husband the insight and wisdom that he needs to lead the family–she will look to her husband for leadership.

8. Obeying God and loving his wife with agape love includes the husband assuming his God-given responsibilities and shielding his wife from emotional and physical loads that are too heavy for her.

9. If a husband understands God’s Word in biblical balance, if he loves God, and if he loves his wife with agape love, he will not abdicate his God-given responsibilities to his wife, nor for rearing their children.

Oh man does that put a new and exciting perspective on our roles. 🙂 When I looked at it this way, I learned that by my husband loving me as Christ loved the church, that my submission doesn’t put me in a role of weakness, but one that is respected and cherished.  My thoughts and ideas don’t come second, but should be foremost in my husbands mind.  This made me a little lot happy. 🙂  I’m not giving up anything by submitting. 

Now while my husband is loving me in all ways he is supposed to be what else am I to do besides submit to him?  Ephesians 5:33 tells me that I’m also to honor or respect my husband.  I wanted to know what that meant and found that this was more of  respecting that as “my head”, my husbands decisions for our family are based upon what he feels is good for us.  They are not something that is for his good alone, but for the good of ALL of us.  If he does what he is supposed to be, there should not be any need for me to oppose his decision.  The bible states that a child should “honor their parents”, we take that to be that they need to respect us and understand that the decisions we make regarding their lives to be for the best of them.  We should show this same honor and respect to our husbands.  On the same token, 1 Peter 3:7 tells the husband to respect their wives and treat her as his equal (Galatians 3:28).  My pastor is always saying that you should “honor your spouse”.  He says that by being considerate of his/her needs, their feelings, their opinions and their likes/dislikes you honor them.  If you do those things and put their needs above your own, you will not be in a tug-o-war in your relationship because if we have each others best interest at heart things will go smoothly. 

As a couple, we are to love each other according to 1 Corinthians 13.  And finally a woman should strive to be a virtuous woman (Proverbs 31), doing things that will take care of her husband and family.  Making a good home for her family, looking out for their best interest, taking care of herself so that she can be pleasing to her husband and herself.  A man is to provide for his family not just financially according to 1 Timothy 5:8, but emotionally and spiritually.

I didn’t write this to preach a sermon, I’m not a preacher by any means.  I had questions, I did some research and I got answers.  I felt they were something that I should pass along.  It’s no different from me giving you a great recipe for a cake, or sharing with you pictures of a cabinet that I’ve refinished.  I forwarned you that I would sometimes get a little deep. 

I would love to know your thoughts on what I’ve shared, though; so drop a comment or two.  If you have more knowledge that you would like to share, I would greatly appreciate it as well, as I said I’m studying this and I could always use more research material.

I liked to acknowledge MARRIAGE ROLES IN BIBLICAL BALANCE by Wendell E. Miller as a source for the nine points contained in this post.

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