Saturday, June 30, 2018

American Flag Cookie

I made this giant sugar cookie last year for the Fourth of July, and I knew I had to bring it back again this year! It's not too difficult, it makes a beautiful patriotic statement, and the cream cheese frosting puts it over the top! You. Will. Love. It.

2 sticks + 1 stick butter, softened
1/3 cup sugar
1 cup + 3 cups powdered sugar
1 egg
1/2 tsp vanilla extract + 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp almond extract
2  1/2 cups flour
2  1/2 tsp baking soda
2  1/2 tsp cream of tartar
8 ounce package cream cheese

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.

Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.

Cream two sticks of butter with 1/3 cup sugar until fluffy. Then add 1 cup of powdered sugar.

Mix in the egg, 1/2 tsp vanilla, and 1/4 tsp almond extract. Beat well.

In a separate bowl, mix flour, baking soda, and cream of tartar, and then add it to your wet ingredients.  Pat the dough into the cookie sheet, leaving 1/2 inch margins.

Bake for 12-15 minutes, and let it cool.

For the frosting, beat cream cheese, 1 stick of butter, 3 cups powdered sugar, and 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla. Spread over the cookie.

Add blueberries and strawberries in the flag pattern, as shown! (I bought 2 pounds of strawberries and 2 small containers of blueberries and had plenty to make the flag.)

Chill in the refrigerator.

Friday, June 22, 2018

Strawberry fields forever

This has been quite the month so far! This was actually supposed to be the non-busy part of the month, but our lives have been very full the past few weeks. I think this is one of those times where God is really at work, guiding us and directing our decisions, and we will look back and just say, "Wow." We feel really blessed.

 One of my favorite things to do in the summer is pick berries. We found a really nice U-Pick strawberry patch, and we had a great time! We came home with nine pounds of strawberries, and we very much enjoyed eating them.

One son couldn't get over how hot it was, one son picked berries with gusto, and one son picked leaves from his stroller :)

Our haul.

Home Depot had another kids' workshop, and Nolan and Ephraim built little classic cars.

A friend gave me a recipe for chocolate bars using only three ingredients: coconut oil, cocoa, and real maple syrup. I'm addicted now!

That's a new way to find Waldo.


I gave Ephraim a haircut, and all of a sudden, he was blonde again! ;)

I didn't get any pictures of them at VBS, but they had a really great week at an outdoor VBS with their cousins.

 August found a little spot for himself on the back patio. :)

Two weeks ago, we drove out to Pennsylvania to spend the weekend with our parents and friends.

While at my mom's house, I found this note for me on the mirror.

Inside, Nolan had taped a Dove candy! And then he promptly asked if I wanted to share it with him ;)

I was glad to be with my mom on the 40th anniversary of my mom and dad's wedding. We miss that big guy!

We got to spend some time with our Ivy girl! She just had her 9th birthday, and she seems to be doing really well with Steve's parents. We miss her very much, but still know that it was best for her to stay home in PA.

We bought our favorite donuts to take with us on our road trip back to Indiana. To my PA friends: I had never tried the powdered-sugar-chocolate-filled one before, and it was extremely delicious!

Happy to be back home (and bathed) after a day in the car.

The cutest little Aldi shopper!

"Wait up, guys!"

 On the 13th, Steve and I celebrated our ninth anniversary!

Our sister-in-law Dana watched the boys for a couple of hours so we could go out to dinner. It had been since our 7th anniversary that we have been alone at a restaurant! Dinner was so nice and peaceful. Our burgers were amazing, and those fries were something to write home about!

Nine of the best years!!

I figured out that we get Cubs baseball on WGN, so we have been enjoying some games!

Last Friday, Steve and I closed on our new house. We are first-time homeowners! 

We met the lady who sold us the house, and she is 90-ish-years-old. She can remember watching the house being built in 1953, and she lived there for 64 years. She and her late husband raised five babies in the house. Now, she's moved to a retirement home just across the street, so I hope to get to know her better.

Friday night, we invited our family over to come see it, and we shared a pizza as our first meal in the house :)  We're not planning on moving in until August, so we've got some time to put paint and sand and make it our own.


Saturday, we started taking down wallpaper! The walls are plywood underneath, and that wallpaper has been there a long, long time.

August wants to do everything big brothers do. I was just taking a photo of Ephraim, but A plopped himself down right next to him. :)

We've been laying off the white flour and white sugar, so I made these blueberry muffins with spelt flour, and they were sweetened with honey and maple syrup. They were so good!

Ice cream snack on a hot, hot day.

We celebrated Father's Day on Sunday, but what Daddy really wanted to do was:

See Incredibles 2! We took the boys on Tuesday, and it was definitely the highlight of the summer for them. They have been talking about the movie and saving their money for weeks and weeks.

And the movie was really good! It's PG, so it's a little unnecessarily scary at times, but the animation and the storyline are very good, and that Jack-Jack is funny!

We brought August around naptime, and I was hoping he'd sleep. He did pretty well, but was a little squirmy. And then when the credits rolled around. . . 

. . . he was out like a light.

When we go to Trader Joe's on Sundays, Nolan always asks if we can buy sunflowers. This week we did, and we've been enjoying their beauty all week.

Hope you have a great weekend!


Friday, June 1, 2018

Hello June

Hello June! It's my favorite month, and I could not be happier! I will say though, May really brought its A-game this year here in Indiana. The warm weather, the colorful trees, the amazing flowers. . . May was wonderful. I've got two important weeks to recap. Here goes!

 It was an exciting night when Nolan lost his first tooth!

See that cute gap?!! The new tooth had already poked through behind it, so it won't be a gap for long.

The baby robins were born, and I fell in love!

 This is August's favorite spot to eat, right in the center of the couch.

We went to the zoo the other day right before closing time, and it was really nice and not crowded!

We loved the penguins, flamingos, macaws, monkeys, and bears!

Our church has a playground, so we hung out here while Steve had music practice.

All smiles for everyone!

These were the baby robins when they were about three days old, with eyes still closed.

I made a very summery key lime pie to bring to dinner with friends. The recipe is here.


 Nolan and his cousin K had their last soccer game. We'll miss having games every Saturday, but hopefully we'll still get cousin time on the weekends!

Later that day, K was teaching Nolan how to slow dance! I got a video of it. . . it was SO cute. . . she was having him twirl her and everything!

The girls are so sweet to August!

Auggie had a low grade fever for about 24 hours, and it was either teething or the MMR shot from the week before, but I appreciated the extra cuddles.

When they dress themselves. . . always ties. And shin guards. :)

My little world, going for a walk.

So the biggest thing to happen to us in the past two weeks is that we found a house!!

This was the 10th out of 11 houses that we walked through, not counting the dozens of houses we looked at online. It was the first that we felt fairly certain we wanted to put an offer on. It is a cute and clean 1950's ranch that the previous owner had taken very good care of. Our realtor told us several times that with this crazy market, we might expect to put a few offers on houses that aren't accepted. He told us not to hold too tightly to any house that we liked.

 While we walked through this house, we knew that it already had two offers on it. In fact, someone else even walked in on our tour to start going over everything with a fine-toothed comb! In my head. it was already spoken for. But we put a good offer on it, and that night, we found out it was ours! 

Yesterday was the inspection, and things looked pretty good. I'll share more later, I'm sure!

We have peony bushes in our backyard of the rental house, and the peonies have been stunning!

They are already about done blooming; their season goes by so quickly!

If you look really closely, right in the center of the photo, there is a mama duck with her babies. They were adorable!

So good for the soul to walk through some woods!

I mean, why not??

We did a study of BUGS. The "Big Book of Bugs" and "Bug Detective" are awesome, informative books!

These papers show how Nolan's handwriting has developed this year. Isn't it cool?? We must have done something right in our homeschool kindergarten. Also, I love this verse! :)

 Reading books and eating graham crackers. . . two of this boy's favorite things!

Mormor and Papa Don got the boys some cute summer shoes. We love our TOMS! Ephraim's even glow in the dark. :)

And these are the nine-day-old robins, so fluffy and feathery. And though I thought only two of the eggs had hatched, I was so happy to find a third baby in there! Nature is so cool. God is so good.



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