Friday, March 30, 2012

Chai Tea

I have been on a chai tea kick lately. I make my own and it is very good, and very easy : ) The key ingredient in chai is cardamom pods, which can be a little hard to find. Other than that, the rest of the ingredients are ones that almost everyone probably has in their pantry. Here is how I make chai.

Simmer for 10-15 minutes:
4-6 cardamom pods, split open, pods and seeds
1 cinnamon stick, broken into small pieces
8-10 cloves
1/4 cup brown sugar
4 cups water

After the spice mixture is done simmering, turn off the heat and add 4 black tea bags. Let steep for 5 minutes. Strain out tea bags and spices, and add milk or half and half (my preference) to the tea. This recipe makes about 3 cups of tea, so I usually refrigerate the leftover tea (without milk) and warm it up the next morning.

This post is linked to: The Grocery Cart Challenge Recipe Swap

Thursday, March 29, 2012

"Cute as a Button" baby shower

In February I hosted a baby shower for my friend Adriane, and her sweet baby Hunter. I chose the theme "Cute as a Button" because I could use up some of my millions of buttons (found for me by my mom at garage sales - thanks so much mom!) and also because Hunter is truly adorable ; ) My friends Jessie, Jasmine, and Jean helped with the planning and decorations, and it was a great collaboration!

I had a lot of fun putting the decorations for this party together, and I am posting pictures in the hopes that they will be helpful/inspirational to other people who are planning button themed parties : )

I glued buttons to card stock to make name cards for the food

I decorated jars with burlap, ribbon, and buttons to hold the utensils and sharpies for labeling drinks

I used strips of burlap, buttons, and pieces of twine to make simple napkin rings. The twine was threaded through the button holes and tied in a knot to hold it in place.

Jessie made an adorable garland using strips of fabric, which she used to decorate the window and fireplace

She also made this "Cute as a Button" garland. It was so simple, and yet so perfect. She decorated a frame with buttons, and put in baby pictures of Adriane, Hunter, and Mike (Adriane's husband) so people could see who Hunter looked more like : )


Jasmine counted all the buttons in this jar to make a guessing game for the shower guests

I glued large buttons to magnets, to make button magnets as favors for the guests to take home. 

I made shortbread buttons using this recipe. I cut out the buttons with a shot glass, used a slightly smaller glass to form a rim, and punched out 2 holes with a straw.
Finally, I made carrot cake cupcakes with cream cheese frosting and made chocolate buttons to decorate them. I melted red candy melts, and poured the melted chocolate into a button-shaped candy mold to form the buttons.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Breakfast picnic

Last week the weather in Pennsylvania was absolutely beautiful! We had several days of 70 degree weather, which is usually unheard of in March : ) Titus and I definitely took advantage of the gorgeous weather and went for walks, played in the park, and ate lunch outside. One morning, it was especially nice, so I decided to have a little breakfast picnic! I got muffins from a local muffin shop, made hot chocolate (from a mix), and sliced up some strawberries for a fun little outing right in our own backyard ; ) Here are some pictures of the event:

 Strawberries and hot chocolate

 I got a raspberry cheesecake muffin - it was so good! I couldn't even finish the whole
 thing because it was so rich : )

 Titus surveying the breakfast spread

 Titus was SUPER excited about the strawberries.

After the strawberries were gone, Titus decided he wasn't interested in eating anything else, and that he just wanted to explore the yard. That was okay, picnics are for playing too : ) Hopefully next time we have a breakfast picnic, Daddy can come too!

Monday, March 26, 2012

Menu Plan Monday - March 26

Here is my menu plan for this week:

Monday - Baked salmon, broccoli, and veggie chips

Tuesday - Tomato basil pasta

Wednesday - Cajun chicken strips, baked sweet potatoes, and corn

Thursday - Birthday dinner with Grace and Poppy : )

Friday -  BBQ meatballs, cream scalloped potatoes, and peas

Monday, March 12, 2012

Menu Plan Monday - March 12

The weather is supposed to be beautiful this week, and tonight I am taking advantage of that by grilling! (Actually, George will be grilling). I am excited for sunshine and warm temperatures!

Monday - Steak and veggie kabobs

Tuesday - Pierogies and green beans

Wednesday - Leftover steak and fried potatoes, salad

Thursday - Tuna noodle casserole

Friday - Bourbon chicken, brown rice, and broccoli stir-fry

Monday, March 5, 2012

Menu Plan monday - March 5

Here is what we are eating this week:

Monday - Nachos and corn

Tuesday - BBQ chicken sandwiches, potato chips, and salad

Wednesday - Flounder, brown rice, and green beans

Thursday - Pizza and salad

Friday - Retreat - on your own for dinner ; )

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Titus - 19 months

Titus is officially a toddler now, although he seems so much older to me. I continue to be amazed at what he is learning, and all the new skills he is acquiring. Titus loves being read to, and he is now at an age where he can sit still and focus for short story books. Some of his favorites are: Goodnight Moon, Russell the Sheep, Sometimes I Pretend, Corduroy, The Snowy Day, and his many puppy books : ) He is learning the names of animals and the sounds they make. Titus is fascinated by all animals, but puppies have a special place in his heart.

 At this point, it seems like Titus wants to eat all the time! People are amazed by how much food he can stuff into his tiny little body ; ) I am very blessed that Titus loves all foods. He is not picky in the least : ) Fruit is his favorite snack. He enjoys apples, oranges, bananas, grapes, peaches, watermelon, strawberries, and blueberries. In the picture below, Titus is demonstrating one of his new skills: peeling a clementine!

 Titus can be super goofy, and the things he does are hilarious, not only to himself, but to George and I as well. He knows when people think he is funny, and does silly things to get a reaction. And his smiles and giggles are so infectious that everyone around him starts smiling and laughing too : )

Titus is very curious. Sometimes he will just watch kids playing, instead of joining in right away.  He watches George and I very carefully, then imitates the things he sees us doing.

Titus still has a lot of fun in his play kitchen. He makes "tea" and "soup" for us, and tries to flip plastic hamburgers in his little frying pan. Sometimes he helps me make real food, but he usually just makes a big mess, so that doesn't happen too often : / I'm excited for the days when we can really cook together in the kitchen!

One of the most exciting parts of Titus getting older, is his improved ability to communicate.  Titus can say most words when prompted and has several he uses on a regular basis, including: please, thank you, yes, no, mommy, daddy, more, eat, water. Of course, they are all his own adorable versions of the words. On the whole, he is pretty easy to understand, and I love that he can communicate effectively!

Titus, you are so much fun and such a blessing to our family! Daddy and I thank God every day that He gave you to us. I am praying that you grow up to love God and follow Him with ALL your heart!

Quillow (quilt that folds into a pillow) made by Aunt Sarah as a Christmas present for Titus : )