Monday, August 08, 2011

Fun at the Fair!


This year the kids and I decided to enter a few baked goods into the fair to see how the whole process worked. We didn't really have the opportunity to do any baking until the morning that the fair entries were due so we only got to do a couple of things between the three of us.

We did pretty well though, and I think with a little more advanced planning (which isn't easy for me... truth be told) I think we'll definitely amp up our fair entries next year.

After all it was fun, educational and it even made each of us a little bit of cash!

Leeann made a white chocolate pop corn snack mix. She was able to do this one entirely on her own. It won a blue ribbon (1st place) in the adult division. Granted, it was the only one in the adult division, but still it won a blue ribbon (and $3) none-the-less!

Titus earned $1 and a black ribbon (3rd place) for his Crispy Caramel Marshmallows. He was able to do these all by himself too, though doing it by themselves is not a requirement in the children's division which is reserved for kids 8 and younger. Leeann will still qualify for the children's division next year, with only a couple of days to spare!

These are made by sticking a toothpick in a marshmallow, rolling it in caramel ice cream topping then rolling it in Rice Krispies and setting it on wax paper to dry.

Titus proudly displaying his creation!

Leeann and I both won 1st place blue ribbons and Reserved Grand Champions for the creations pictured here. Ribbons are given out for 1st-4th place in each in each lot. Grand Champion and Reserved Champion are given to the overall winners and runners up in each class (which is the best of all of the lot winners in each particular class... see below if you're confused).
My scones were in Class 2, lot 9. I got a blue ribbon for lot 9 and Reserved Champion for Class 2. 

Leeann's toffee was lot 12 in class 9. Titus's marshmallows were in the same class, so we didn't plan that very well. Whoops! I'll plan better next year!

The sales from the fair cookbook get dispersed out to the Grand Champion and Reserved Champion winners so in total our family earned $16 at this year's fair. We certainly didn't do it for the money, but I'll admit, it was a nice bonus!

Here are the recipes:

Almond Chocolate Toffee Crunchies Recipe


1 sleeve of saltine crackers
1 cup butter
1 cup packed brown sugar
2 cups chocolate chips
1 cup chopped almonds, toasted


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Spray cookie sheet with non-stick spray.  Line crackers on cookie sheet close together.  Melt butter and brown sugar in a medium pan on medium-high heat.   Stirring often, heat the mixture for about 3-5 minutes until it turns into a nice caramel looking sauce. Pour the sauce over the crackers until they are completely covered.  Bake for 15 minutes.  Remove from oven and immediately sprinkle chocolate chips over the cookie sheet.  The chocolate should start to melt.  Spread chocolate over the toffee mixture and top with nuts.  Allow to completely cool before breaking toffee up in pieces.  Enjoy!
Sweet and Salty Pop Corn


8 Cups Popped Popcorn
1 Bag of White Chocolate Chips
4 Cups Fritos
4 Cups Corn Pops


Pop 8 cups of popcorn on the stove or in the microwave according to package directions. Remove unpopped kernels from the popcorn. Add the Fritos and Corn Pops to the popped popcorn. Melt white chocolate chips in the microwave 30 seconds at a time, stirring between each cooking segment so you don’t burn the chocolate chips. Repeat until the chips are all of the way melted.

Pour the white chocolate chips over the popcorn mixture and let harden. Store in an airtight container.

Petite Maple Pecan Scones


3 cups all-purpose flour
2/3 cups sugar
5 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon Salt
2 sticks (1/2 Pound) unsalted butter, chilled
1 whole large egg
3/4 cups heavy cream (more if needed)
½ cup chopped pecans, divided


1 lb powdered sugar
2 tsp maple flavoring
½ cup whole milk
¼ cup melted butter
¼ cup cold brewed coffee
1/8 tsp. salt


Combine dry ingredients in a large bowl. Cut butter into pieces, then cut it into the flour mixture. Mix in pecans. In separate bowl combine heavy cream and eggs. Add egg mixture to flour mixture and mix until just combined.

Roll dough out onto floured cutting board until it’s about a half-inch thick square. Cut into small triangles and place ½ inch apart on a greased baking sheet.

Bake at 350 degrees for 18 minutes. Remove to a cooling rack.   

For the frosting: Mix together all ingredients listed and stir together until smooth. It should be thick but pourable. Taste and adjust as needed.

Put the icing in a plastic Ziploc bag and cut off a small piece of the corner, using the plastic baggie as a piping bag. Pipe icing onto cold scones and sprinkle additional chopped pecans on top if desired. 

Saturday, August 06, 2011

First Grade

Leeann's first grade year has come and gone. Soon she'll enter second grade, then I'll blink and be sending her off to college... I'm sure of it. Before it's too far gone I want to make sure and document a small snippet of her fantastic year. 

Titus and Leeann posing in between her two classrooms on the first day of the first grade. 

 This is a picture of her Spanish classroom. She's in a Dual Immersion Program so she spends one day learning entirely in Spanish and the next day entirely in English. 

I took pictures of all of the first graders one day for a project they were doing. Here's Leeann's picture. 

 This is Leeann and some of her classmates preforming during Dia De Los Ninos. 

She was especially excited to preform the Macarena! She took this performance very seriously! 

This was her hair for crazy hair day. I think she has every last hair pretty we own in her hair. We called it The Volcano!

This is Leeann with her teachers Mrs. F and Mrs. C. Having not one, but two great teachers is one of the coolest parts about the Dual Immersion Program. 

Toward the end of the year I got to go on a field trip with Leeann to a set of science exhibits at OSU. She had a lot of fun. 

In all she had a really good year. She grew leaps and bounds in her ability to read and showed great confidence in math. Her Spanish teacher spoke well of her eagerness to learn a new language despite the fact that she was starting in the program a year later than most of the kids. 

She seemed to have liked all of her classmates, but has yet to emerge with a "best friend". She liked to spend her recesses swinging and jump roping and really liked doing performances at school functions. 

I look forward to seeing her grow even more in her maturity, her intelligence, her social interaction and her language acquisition in the year to come. Second grade--ready or not, here she comes!

Thursday, August 04, 2011

Picture Perfect Wedding

Despite the fact that I've been coordinating weddings for years, and Rob's been preforming them for years as well, we had never done one together until a few weeks ago. 

I'm not sure I've ever been to a more picturesque wedding. It was very small and quaint at an old country church way out past West Salem, which happens to be very near where Rob and I lived when we first got married. Maybe that's why I thought it was so beautiful?

The bride and groom really wanted our kids to be there, and despite the fact that Rob and I were both busy working at different points in time the kids behaved really well. I am pleased with how grown up they're able to be when necessary... for the most part anyway!

The Bride and Groom provided a nice catered picnic lunch on blankets in the grass (there were some tables set up, but we enjoyed our food on a blanket) where Titus enjoyed using his butter knife to cut up play with ants. 

 Then we enjoyed some cupcakes and root beer floats (complete with old fashioned paper straws, Cold Stone ice cream and fresh brewed root beer served in the most adorable mason jars).

After lunch they pulled out some Nerf guns for the kids to play with. There are few ways to get to my son's heart faster!

Leeann joined in the fun too. 

And my other child couldn't resist either!

All in all, it was a beautiful day that made for some really fun family memories! And it's always fun to see such giddy newlyweds. It reminds me of the joy of marriage. I can't believe it's already been almost 10 years since Rob and I said "I do".  

Wednesday, August 03, 2011


Back in February a couple of the cousins stayed the night at our house and we got up in the morning and headed over to Cork's Donuts for a special treat.

While the breakfast itself was memorable enough, the most memorable part came after the donuts. We stopped in the Starbucks parking lot so Rob could get a drink. The kids and I decided to rock out to some Hannah Montana while we waited.

While each of these kids are super funny on their own, and even more funny while they're rocking out, you'll find an especially funny part if you pay attention to the boys in the back about half way through.

The End of an Era

My bulletin board.

My kids' bulletin boards. This is where all of their beautiful artwork went!
This was part of my office. It was huge, but there were a lot of kids and volunteers making use of this space on a regular basis.
Another view, showcasing the kids' toys and play area.
I had to do my best to keep it clean since there was a giant window looking into the office from the lobby. The window served as our Children's Ministry Help Desk where kids could register and parents could get information.
The best view in my office on that particular day. I loved being able to take my kids to work with me when needed. Of course anytime they were with me it took 1 hour to do what I could do without them there in 15 minutes!
This artwork wasn't mine, though it was left on the wall for my enjoyment. How can you not smile when you see this beautiful piece of art painted by Brenna?

I'm making an attempt to get caught up on this blog, which chronicles our family's adventures. I've been horrible about keeping up on our public family journal because I've been so caught up in my writing my love story over on my own personal blog, Real Life Pastor's Wife.

But this week I have some extra time on my hands, so I decided to go through my photos and blog about some of our family's long forgotten adventures.

These pictures are pictures of my office, just before I packed up my personal belongings and said good-bye to one of the many hats I'd been wearing over the last several years.

I began juggling a part-time job as the Children's Ministry Director at our church since Titus was about six-months old.

At the time taking on that job was a good fit for our family. Rob was just transitioning from his position at the church as a Youth Pastor to his new role as an Associate Pastor, and despite the fact that it was a good job, it didn't quite pay enough to support the needs of our family at the time.

With a new baby and a toddler joining our family in just over a year we had made the decision for me to go back to work for two reasons. First, and most obvious, we suddenly had two more mouths to feed.

Second, I looked forward to putting my degree to use (especially with plenty of student loans yet to pay off along with the new mouths to feed) in a ministry that I was passionate about. After all how many jobs could I get with a Bachelor's of Science in Interdisciplinary Studies with an emphasis in Bible and Education with a minor in Theology that would be relevant to my degree? The answer? Two. I could teach Bible at a Christian school or be a Children's Ministry Director. Or a Pastor's Wife... but that's not a job that pays real money... just lots of treasures in heaven!

Third, I desired to have the ability to do something meaningful beyond wiping snotty noses and picking Cheerios up off of the floor. Not that those things don't have very important meaning, but at the time I honestly felt like I needed some time to just be 'me' and if I was going to be spending time away from my kids and/or taking them to work with me, why not do something I loved and help pay the bills at the same time?

When I first started working at the church I was gung-ho and passionate about all of the possibilities for reaching kids for Christ through the ministry of the church. I spent tons of time reading, keeping up with the latest tips and trends affecting kids, and gaining insight into how to best lead volunteers in a Children's Ministry setting.

I wish I could say I kept that passion up throughout my time as the Children's Ministry Director, but there came a point in time where it began to be more and more difficult to juggle the demands of being mom to a toddler and a preschooler, the wife of a Pastor, and an employee of the church all at the same time.

I felt like I was always dropping the ball somewhere. This became especially evident when we became foster parents to my two half siblings, giving us essentially two sets of twins over night. Logan is three weeks younger than Leeann and Hope is 9 months older than Titus. When they came to live with us we had a 3 year old, a 4 year old and two 5 year olds. I was overwhelmed. During those six months the only thing I was able to do as a wife, a mom, a foster mom/sister, and an employee was simply to hold it together.

In January of 2009 Rob was beginning to transition into the role of Lead Pastor at our church. In February Rob's mom passed away. In March Hope and Logan moved in. They left that September and Rob was officially offered the role of Lead Pastor in December, assuming his new role at the beginning of 2010.

2009 was more or less a blur for me.

After Hope and Logan left it took a while to regain a sense of balance and normalcy in our home. And in that time an amazing thing began to happen. God starting turning my heart toward home.

I recognized that Rob was going to need my support more and more as he delved into his new role and I saw how quickly my children were growing up. As much as I'd been trying to fight through the constant neediness of my children when they were young, I suddenly found myself wanting to hang onto as many of these precious moments as I could--since it was becoming obvious to me that those days of being constantly needed were fading fast.

All of that, coupled with the fact that we had recently paid off all of our debts (most notably those pesky student loans which took half of my income each month to pay off) and we were hoping to add a baby to our family (which obviously hasn't come to fruition) made me quitting my job make sense for our family.

And so I did... when the time was right for the church as well. A good friend and ministry partner, Melissa, stepped into part of my role while Pastor Joel stepped into another part of it, which I think is a better fit for the overall ministry.

It's been a little bit strange, but really nice to watch the ministry go on so well in my absense. I now have a bit more time on my hands, though I am nannying one day a week, doing some ocassional wedding coordinating and being a foster parent (which can be like a full-time job depending on the child) from time to time.

It's really nice to finally have the freedom to "stay home" with my kids. It's also a bit ironic that they'll both be off to school in just over a month. I have a sneaky suspicion that Rob's going to assume that'll mean I have more time for housework.

I also have a sneaky suspicion that he's going to be very disappointed when he realizes that our less than perfect house is more about lack of motivation and desire than it is lack of time. Sorry, Rob!