Goodbye Summer…Hello Fall!

I had a feeling it would happen, but I think the optimist in me made me hopeful that time would slow down.  Hopeful that the summer wouldn’t fly by faster than any other summer I’ve encountered yet.

But alas, it did.

This summer was a mixed bag.  Like I mentioned in a previous post, I struggled all summer long with health issues that I had a very difficult time getting a handle on.  I’m pretty sure it’s a big reason summer seemed to fly by.  We had good intentions of doing lots of summery things, but being as sick as I was for such a prolonged amount of time put a huge damper on the season.  So frustrating.  So lame.

But in amongst all of that frustrating sickness we had some of the sweetest moments, that I am forever grateful for.

We had our first movie night with Ivy.

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She stayed up late and ate copious amounts of buttered popcorn!  She was in heaven!

We took a long road trip to Montana to see all of my family, including my sweet grandma!  It was a ton of work with a two year old and a five month old, but totally worth it!  I met my newest nephew, Tait, for the first time, all of the cousins spent tons of time playing together, I saw my grandma for the first time in way too many years, and I got to see all the rest of my family too!

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Sweet time with sweet family!

This precious little girl was dedicated to Jesus!

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We introduced Ivy to the Portland Zoo where this Lorikeet landed on her head.

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Ivy mastered the big potty…finally!

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And we ended the summer with one very quick trip to the lake with our besties!  Good food, great conversation, and relaxing nights by the fire was the perfect ending to another summer.

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That’s just so very much to pack into one post.  But it makes me happy to know that we made so many memories even when life felt a little out of control.  Isn’t that just so how Jesus works sometimes?

That when life spins, Jesus remains.

Thankful for the seasons and ready to embrace Fall!  Are you with me friends?

 

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Churro Cupcakes

Although this post is a little late, it’s still very worth perusing just in case you get the hankering for the most delicious cupcake you will ever eat in your life.  Please read on…

Sometimes when it’s the 5th of May, you have to celebrate by making and eating Churro Cupcakes!  I’ve heard that Mexico doesn’t even really celebrate Cinco de Mayo like we do here in America.  Which is pretty funny.  But whatever.  As if anyone needs an excuse or a holiday to eat a cupcake that is impersonating as a churro.

Cinco de Mayo fell on a Monday this year, which just so happens to be our Family Dinner night, so I was able to make these delicious cupcakes for people that I love!  While there are a lot of steps in the recipe, they are all super easy so I wouldn’t hesitate to make these again!

Churro Cupcakes

Sugar, butter, caramel, cream cheese…you really can’t go wrong!  So stop whatever you’re doing and bake these NOW!  You won’t regret it!

Churro Cupcakes (recipe courtesy of Food Network)

Yields: 28 cupcakes

Ingredients – Cake Batter:

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups cake flour (not self rising)
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 tablespoon cinnamon, plus more for dusting
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 3/4 cup sugar, plus more for dusting
1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for brushing
4 large eggs, room temperature
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 1/4 cup whole milk

Ingredients – Filling:

2 cups sugar
12 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup heavy cream, room temperature

Ingredients – Frosting:

1/2 cup unsalted butter
8 ounces cream cheese
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
4 to 4 1/2 cups powdered sugar
Milk
4 tablespoons unsalted butter

Directions:

  • For the cake batter: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line two 12-cup muffin pans with cupcake liners.
  • In a medium bowl, sift together the flours, baking powder, cinnamon and salt. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the sugar and butter on medium-high speed until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating until just incorporated. Beat in the vanilla. Reduce the mixing speed to low. Add the flour mixture in three batches, alternating with the milk. Beat until combined.
  • Divide the batter evenly among the lined cups, filling each three-quarters full. Bake until a toothpick comes out clean, 18 to 20 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and cool completely.
  • For the filling: Combine the sugar and 1 tablespoon water into a medium bowl over medium-high heat. Constantly stir until the sugar dissolves into a liquid form. The sugar will dissolve and start to turn brown. Once the sugar and water have completely dissolved, add in the butter and vanilla. Slowly whisk in the heavy cream. Let cool for 10 minutes. Refrigerate for 1 hour to let the caramel thicken before using.
  • For the frosting: Beat the butter and cream cheese until light and creamy. Add in the vanilla. Add in the powder sugar, 1 cup at a time, incorporating fully before next addition. Add milk as needed if the frosting is too thick. Place the frosting into a piping bag fitted with a large star tip.
  • Once the cupcakes have cooled, pull out the centers with a cupcake corer. Melt down the butter. Mix together some cinnamon and sugar in a small bowl. Using a rubber brush, brush the melted butter onto the cupcakes, then roll the tops of the cupcakes into the cinnamon-sugar mixture. Fill the cupcakes with the caramel sauce. Frost cupcakes with cream cheese frosting, dust with more cinnamon and sugar. If you choose, drizzle the cupcakes with leftover caramel sauce.

 

Time for Something New!

Guys.

It’s been awhile.

I’ve been anxious to get back into writing here, but life has kept me BUSY!  I took a hiatus while I entrenched myself in being a mama to our 2 year old, and while barreling through my second pregnancy.  Now that I can move around without waddling everywhere I go, I decided this refuge I call my blog needs a little rebranding.  While I still so enjoy baking and trying new recipes as often as possible, my life right now doesn’t seem to be lending itself to experimental baking as well as documenting it all of the time.  Since I last shared anything here we added this sweet pea to our family.

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Miss Hattie Mae is now three months old and brings so much joy to our lives.  There are times I am so tired from nighttime feedings, toddler tantrums, reading kid books, making lunches, changing diapers, and making trips to the potty, but as soon as I look into this sweet little face, it all disappears and I couldn’t be any happier.  She is an absolute joy!

All that to say, this little space needs a new focus.  My plan is to brand this more as a lifestyle blog.  Sometimes that will look like party planning, sometimes it will be reviewing a product, sometimes it will be about parenting or marriage, and every once in awhile I’ll still post recipes of the newest treat I’ve attempted to make.  If that still sounds interesting to you, I would be overjoyed to have you follow along!

Ivy Turns 1!

Life moves incredibly fast.  And when you measure time in months, it seems to fly by before you have the chance to think twice.  A year ago this sweet little gem entered our world.

IMG_0651Life has been sweeter, more lovely, filled with much more laughter, and better than we could have ever imagined.  She’s fiesty, observant, and seriously on the move!  Try to stop her and you’ll be greeted with leg kicking and squeals, both of which we are working hard at getting a handle on. 😉

There are so many things we don’t know about her yet, and we are so excited to find out who she will be!  Here are the things we do know about her.

  • She loves her stuffed zebra, swinging, bath time, her dog, and any music she can dance to.
  • She loves olives, eggs, and eats cheese by the massive handfuls.
  • She has so many fun, colorful, noise-making toys, but still chooses the stairs, DVD shelf, and tupperware drawer every time.
  • She shrieks in excitement every time her daddy comes home from work.

This past weekend we celebrated her first birthday with those she loves most!

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It was perfect.  It was full of middle of May sunshine, bubbles, balloons, peaches, cake smashed between fingers, and loads of gifts.  Love this little girl and all she has brought into our lives!

*All photo credit goes to my amazing dad who shot pictures endlessly, capturing this day and her excitement beautifully.

Adoption Auction!

You guys!

Some things are worth sharing with everyone you know, and this just happens to be one of them.  Our dear friends, Cody & Kristen adopted a beautiful little girl, Mae, from China a couple of years ago, and now they are getting ready to bring home two more precious ones!  You can read about their story here!

As you can imagine, the expense is great and they have been coming up with some very creative ways to fundraise!  Check out their auction that they have going on!

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They have some super cute items up for auction that you DO NOT want to miss out on!  Take a stroll on over to their site and place a bid for a cute gift and a good cause!

Happy Friday!

Bread & Wine Book Review

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“It’s about what happens when we come together, slow down, open our homes, look into one another’s faces, listen to one another’s faces, listen to one another’s stories.  It happens when we leave the office and get a sitter and skip our workouts every so often to celebrate a birthday or an accomplishment or a wedding or a birth, when we break out of the normal clockwork of daily life and pop the champagne on a cold, gray Wednesday for no other reason than the fact that the faces we love are gathered around our table.  It happens when we enter the joy and the sorrow of the people we love, and we join together at the table to feed one another and be fed, and while it’s not strictly about food, it doesn’t happen without it.  Food is the starting point, the common ground, the thing to hold and handle, the currency we offer to one another.” ~ Bread & Wine, by Shauna Niequist

Aaron and I love having people in our home.  We love lots of laughter, loud voices, and numerous stories being told at once.  We have a small home with rarely enough room to entertain our many times large groups of people, and yet we do it anyway.  We gather together to laugh, celebrate, pass time, reminisce, make new memories, sometimes cry, and always eat.  Sometimes it’s dinner, and sometimes it’s dessert.  Sometimes it’s hot coffee with slightly sweet, freshly whipped cream.  Sometimes it’s right out of the oven chocolate chip cookies.  During Christmas it’s plain sugar cookies that everyone decorates themselves.  In the summer it’s a tropical mixed drink and Mekenzie’s delicious guacamole with Juanita’s tortilla chips.  No matter the time of year, or time of day, we love to open our home to those we love!

I have been a huge fan of Shauna Niequist for the past couple of years, and her newest book, Bread & Wine, does not disappoint.  It is exactly what the title states: “a love letter to life around the table.”  It brings simplicity to an act that has become obsolete in our society today.  Inviting people into our homes carries with it a vulnerability that can be difficult to overcome.  Fear of what others may think of our messy home, or our lack of skill in the kitchen keeps us from experiencing deep relationship with one another.  The kind that happens when we pause for the day, look at each other around the table, share about the good and the bad, and nourish ourselves with food.

Throughout this gem of a book Shauna shares her own experiences, giving us hope to share life with others around our own tables.  Her stories touch the heart and have you feeling like you are sitting across from her dipping a crusty piece of bread in oil and vinegar, while sipping on a glass of red wine.  It’s delightful, full of soul, and filled with recipes that will make your mouth water!

For my very own “Bread & Wine” experiment I invited our dear friends Corey & Whitney and their sweet as pie little boy, Greyson, to be our guinea pigs for a full meal of new recipes from the book.  We dined on a pan of Annette’s Enchiladas, Esquites, black beans warmed with a couple of tablespoons of barbecue sauce and finished the evening with Dark Chocolate Sea Salted Toffee with vanilla ice cream.  And as we dined we shared about our day, smiled over our sweet little ones as they munched on crackers together, and laughed our way through stories told.  The food was easy to make and delicious!

This book is worth purchasing and reading cover to cover as soon as you can get your hands on it. 🙂  Curl up with it, get lost in the stories, and then invite those that you love to sit around your own table and share life.  You won’t regret it!

Lately…

Hello friends!

Things around the Schrader home always get busy after Christmas.  Basketball season hits full swing and we are out the door two nights a week for practice and two nights a week for games.  Add those up and we are at the school more than we are at home!  Things don’t slow down until after the first couple of weeks in March, and boy am I ready for it!

I saw this on one of my favorite blogs, and thought I would follow suit on my own…just so you know I’m still here.  Here’s what I’ve been up to lately.

loving:  The Mindy Project.  Seriously, this is the best show on tv right now.  If you haven’t jumped on this train yet, take a big leap for Pete’s sake!  You’re missing out!

reading: “A Year of Biblical Womanhood” by Rachel Held Evans.

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I can’t say it’s revolutionizing the way I think about the subject, but it is mildly entertaining to read about someone who is very independent and quite liberal muddling their way through it.

waiting to: be placed with my first client with eaHELP!  I just got hired with this company last week and am waiting to get my first client.  So exciting!

excited for: my advanced copy of Shauna Niequist’s new book “Bread & Wine: A Love Letter to Life Around the Table” to come in the mail.  She is one of my favorite writers and I am so excited to read her latest and write about it here!

trying to: barrel through these last few weeks of coaching cheer.  It’s been a long, difficult season, and I’m ready to see the end.  I’m pretty certain that my girls are ready too.  I’m learning that some years, no matter how hard you try, it just doesn’t click.  And that’s okay.

working on: some handmade projects for this cause!  Our dear friends are planning their second adoption from China and we could not be happier for them.  They are wonderful parents to their first little girl Mae, and they are so excited to bring their little boy Ian home soon!  If you feel so inclined, visit Kristen & Cody’s Goodsie Store and pick up a t-shirt or something cute from the handmade section to support them!

watching: Hatfields & McCoys.  My goodness this is such a good mini-series.  It is one of the most fascinating and intriguing stories of family feud, and Aaron and I are hooked!

planning: The Well Conference here in Bend, Oregon with some of the most talented, creative, and amazing people I know!  This year features Bo Stern, Elliot, and Phil Wickham!  You won’t want to miss it!

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singing: JT’s latest, Suit & Tie.  It’s my jam.

needing: a new mattress.  Desperately.  Does someone want to explain to me why in the world these things are so ridiculously expensive? Geez.

learning: how to sew.  I’m teaching myself, which is monumentally harder than having someone show me how, but I’m getting there.  I have some very cute things I want to try, including some fun summer dresses for Ivy!

listening to: Ivy learning how to exert her will these days.  We are entering a new season and she’s letting me know what makes her unhappy every chance she gets.  Good thing she’s so darn cute!

wishing: for a vacation.  Like a real, kick-back, give-me-a-massage, bring-me-a-drink, soak up the sun vacation.  It’s not going to happen, but a girl can wish.

doing: a lot of party planning!  With Aaron’s birthday coming up in a couple of months and Ivy’s first birthday shortly after that, I’ve been spending WAY too much time on Pinterest!  But who am I kidding…I love it!

dreaming of: summer.  I love every season, but this summer Ivy will be toddling around and enjoying the outdoors, and that is so much to look forward to!

I Choose Gratitude

Sometimes being thankful requires a conscious effort for me.  And I really loathe that part of myself.

On the other hand, it takes no effort whatsoever to go through my morning, day, week, month or year without as much as a fleeting thought in regards to the things I am blessed with.

Instead I spend my mornings paying bills and choose to be frustrated that they have once again monopolized our monthly income and left little to none to do any of the things we used to do when I was working.

Instead I spend the afternoon choosing to feel sorry for myself as I walk through Costco getting the groceries that I need, but not the extras that I want, because it’s just not in the budget.

I spend the evening with an edge of irritability instead of embracing the many blessings Jesus has so graciously given me.

I find myself embarrassed at the reality of my thoughts and am ever so thankful that November is here, as it reminds me of how much I truly have to be thankful for.

So today I am beyond thankful for my precious little polk-a-dot daughter. ♥  And I am thankful that I get to stay home and care for her and not miss a single precious moment as she learns and discovers new things each day.  And I am thankful that even though staying home with her means our income has decreased and life has inevitably changed, we are still able to pay our bills, enjoy dinner together every night, and live in a home that we love.  God is extravagantly good, even when I am not.

Pumpkin Gooey Butter Cakes (Welcome Fall!)

I signed up for Pinterest nearly a year ago, but it’s just been since having Ivy that I’ve found myself sucked into its bottomless abyss.  It’s just so darn addicting!

I feel good about my addiction though.  No, really.  I feel really great about my time spent in front of the computer because I’ve really immersed myself in trying the recipes and do-it-yourself projects that I find so worthy of pinning.  Currently I find myself pinning all sorts of Fall recipes, Fall decorating ideas, and Christmas gift ideas!

So last week when I ran across this ridiculously delicious sounding recipe for Pumpkin Gooey Butter Cakes, I first wiped the drool off my chin, and then quickly gathered the ingredients to bake this dessert with the word butter in the title.  YUM!

Paula Deen knows how it’s done.  She just does.  It was every bit as scrumptious as it sounds, and it also makes your house smell like Fall walked into your home, left its sweet scent, and continued on its way.

This is my favorite time of year.  Welcome Fall. ♥

I Sort of Like This Guy

Time moves fast.

With days that are broken up into three hour baby feeding increments, the days seem to disappear with a simple blink.  Some days I literally feel like I see Ivy grow right before my eyes.

Aaron has had the whole summer off from teaching, so I’m absolutely the most spoiled new mother out there.  We have become accustomed to long mornings sipping coffee on the back deck, and lots of “what do you want to do today?”  Sweet little Ivy has been such a good baby, and such a joy to be around.  So while all of the parenting books tell us how tired and exhausted and irritable we should be as we adjust to being new parents, we have found ourselves happy, thankful, content, and blessed. ♥

I know that there will be an end to summer.  And I know that Aaron will have to head back to work and once again be consumed with a very busy schedule.  But some days it hits me harder than others.  And I realize that I’m no longer the only girl that’s going to miss this guy.