Friday, February 24, 2017

Summer tempts in Winter!!!

This weeks tempts have us thinking Summer is here.  It is sure one for the book of records!!!  It's still February but our temperatures this week have been "unseasonably warm"!!!

Austin is having a blast going outside!!!  He absolutely loves it outside, always has.  And with the weather being so nice, he got his fill the past few days!!!  Ashlyn and Austin spent a lot of time on the trampoline.  They giggled and laughed as they jumped!






Spending time on the back porch was great this week too!!!  The riding toys and bikes were out and played on.  We really have Spring fever now and hope that Winter is over and Spring is here!!!



Mike and Sam did a photo shot on Monday at our house for their garden beds!  These beds are made out of cedar wood and come in a kit form.  You can buy these at Costco.com or on Yardcraft.com.  They needed some photos for Costco, so they set up the beds on my front porch and front flower bed.  They filled it with dirt and fresh flowers, herbs and grasses.  It looks so pretty and I've gone outside every day this week to smell those lovely herbs.  Sage, oregano, lemon thyme and rosemary.  I'm pleased to know that these are all for me to keep now.  And with the weather being so nice, they stayed outside all week.  I'm afraid I'll have to bring them inside over the weekend but they will look great on my kitchen table until I can really plant them outside to stay and grow!!!


On Tuesday night, we went out to eat with these dear friends once again.  We really missed JR and Linda!  Cork and Cap has been the go to restaurant now for three years.  We get a room all to ourselves and eat wonderful foods and have the best time ever!!!  These friends go back years now.  We used to all go to the same church.  We've had dozens and dozens of church issues and discussions already with this group and now God has us spread out all over Lancaster County!  We thrive were we are but that made us all go in different paths for Sunday morning worship.  I miss not being with these people more but the moments we do plan nights out together, are highly our priority!!!  We are super excited to have a weekend planned for the cabin with this crew in May!!!

A quick over view of our friends here.  JR & Ruthie - they are busy at market running a restaurant and a furniture store in German town, MD.  Ruthie's parents are in Mexico with Mike's parents right now.  They have been such a huge blessing already going through this cancer journey with Dad Lapps.  John & Martha Rose - They were last to arrive tonight because John closed a real estate.  Baby Zion got to come along because she loves her momma the best.  :))  Matt & Marlene - They kept Austin for us while we were on our Belize trip.  They have been wonderful friends and we have yet to play some Settlers with them this winter.  They are super excited to adopt a baby girl in April!  They are amazing parents and this little baby will have a lovely family to live and share life with!!!  Then it's us.  Mike made the reservations for this fun night and we love nights out together!  Dave & Suz - They just got back from living in Belize for three weeks.  They are heavily involved in an investment down there where they are building Mahogany Village!  It's so beautiful and we got to tour the whole project while we were in Belize a few weeks ago!!! 


Yesterday afternoon, Ashlyn and I trimmed the roses out back.  In our shorts and short sleeves shirts!!! 

Today Austin had a routine doctor appointment.  He is now 19 months and such a blast!  He was on cloudy nine today at the doctors until he got pricked.  It was only a few tears and he was good to go again.  I love his stage right now and he is talking more and more!  He weighs 21 pounds.  Tall and lean.  We are so blessed to have healthy kids!!!



When I got back from the doctors, I got a call from school saying that Ashlyn wasn't feeling well.  So, I went to pick her up.  She slept all afternoon but is feeling better tonight!  Headache.  I hope that's all is!  I had sore throat yesterday and I just thought maybe it was from being barefoot in and out so much.  There are still bugs and viruses going on this winter.  We hope to be all in better health from here on out!!!

While Ashlyn and Austin slept, Hadassah and I enjoyed the sun together!!!  It felt so good!!!

 
Tonight, Tony's kids are here.  The girls have been playing none stop.  The boys are making this whole ramp thing for Matthew's finger skateboards.  It's been their entertainment for a long time now!!!  I love when they get creative!!!
 
 
We will enjoy the warmer tempts tomorrow yet and then it's to get a bit colder again.  We love weekends!!!  Cheer's to another fun weekend ahead!
 
PS.  Here's a little update on Dad Lapp.  Things are just going slow but good in Mexico for Dad.  They still have him on IV treatments and we were told that sometime over the weekend, Dad will have surgery to take out the mass of cancer in his pancreas.  Please pray that the cancer is contained only in the pancreas and not spreading!!!  The doctors gave a hopeful report for Dad.  We are grateful for that!!!  We know that God is in control and we are praying for complete healing.
 

Monday, February 20, 2017

More sweet memories!

This is still February but it's feeling more like the end of March outside!!!  We are really enjoying the warmer tempts and more time outside.  On Saturday I rake and hoed through the raised garden beds and we are now ready for some seeds!  We have also noticed the sun sets a bit later and rises just a little sooner.  The extra day light is telling me that Spring is on it's way!!!  I didn't believe the ground hog that seen his shadow anyway!  Who says we will have six more weeks of winter anyway???  I'll take the sunshine and warmer tempts any day over cold, bitter winter!!!
 
I love spending time in my kitchen and when I made these blueberry muffins for a tea gathering at Mom Lapps the other week, it was a winner recipe!  I love cookbooks but right now if I need a new recipe or when I feel like trying something new, I search Pinterest.  These muffins are moist and yummy!!!  We have another batch on the counter to enjoy!!!
 
THE BEST BLUEBERRY MUFFINS EVER:
2/3 cup white sugar
1 egg
1/2 cup oil
1/3 cup milk
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup sour cream
1 cup blueberries
About 1 Tb white sugar for the top
 
Instructions:  Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Place muffin liners in pan.  Combine the sugar, egg, oil, milk, and vanilla in a bowl and stir until well combined.  Add flour, baking powder and salt.  Don't over mix.  Stir in sour cream.  Fold in blueberries.  Fill 12 cupcake liners with the mixture and sprinkle with a little white sugar.  Bake the muffins for 25 minutes. 
 
 
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Mike and I attended the youth group Valentine Dinner last night!  It was a fun night and some very good reminders about marriage were given.  But before I get into the details of marriage, I'll start with these pretty raspberry cups.  All the youth girls were asked to bring some dessert for the dinner.  I took on the fun task (for Hadassah) and again I searched Pinterest for a fun recipe.  When I saw these chocolate, adorable desserts, I went for this recipe!  I made a remark to Hadassah that if ever I would take culinary school, I would love to specialize in individual desserts.  These were fun to make.  They made for a pretty display and they tasted great!!!

Here's how I made them.  I started by melting dark chocolate and brushing the chocolate into foil lined cupcake papers.  Do this a few times and let it harden.  Then peel away the foil liners and you have yourself a cute little chocolate cup!!!

Prepare the raspberry puree:  Put 2 cups of fresh raspberries and 1/2 cup sugar in a pan and boil for 5 minutes.  Sieve to remove the seeds. 

Prepare the chocolate raspberry filling: Then I melted 2 cups of milk chocolate wafers (you could also use dark chocolate).  Add the raspberry puree.  Whip 2 1/2 cups heavy cream until stiff peaks form.  Fold a third of the cream into the chocolate mixture.  Then add the rest of the remaining cream!

Assemble the cups: Fill the chocolate cups with the raspberry chocolate filling.  Refrigerate for at least 2 hours or until set.  Before serving, top each cup with fresh raspberries and sprinkle with powered sugar!  Yield: 24 cups



The desserts were gone in no time at the Valentine Dinner.  We did chuckle a bit when people were trying to peel away the cupcake liner!  Because there was no liner!  You eat the entire dessert! 


Mike and I love nights out together!!!  Thanks to Mom and Dad for coming to the house and staying with the little kids so we can go!
 

About the marriage advice.  When we arrived, the youth had each couple jot down some kind of marriage tip.  The winner was "Be a servant."  That really does sum up the ups and downs in marriage.  If we serve one another in love, your marriage will be so much better!!!  Another advice was given by Jim and Rosetta!  "Forgive the weaknesses.  Fall in love with the strengths of your spouse!!!"  Wow!  You could probably make a whole marriage retreat out of those words!!!  They had us look into our spouses eyes and tell them that we forgive a weakness and purpose to fall in love with a strength of our spouse!!!  I'm taking this as a challenge and to fall in love with the strengths of my spouse has got to bring great marriage benefits!!!  Thanks Jim and Rosetta!

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Here's a small update on Dad Lapp.  Mom and Dad arrived safely in Mexico yesterday.  Dad will start this week with treatments to fight his cancer.  More tests will be done and so prayers for Mom and Dad would be greatly appreciated!!!  This is not an easy journey and especially with them being so far away for treatment, but we trust God is leading the doctors and will bring complete health back to Dad!!! 

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And because the weather has been in the 60's, we got treats at Lapp Valley when we went for milk!!!  Austin just matured into another level of toddlerhood.  He talks a lot more.  He communicates in his own little cute way!  We know most times what he wants.  He doesn't have a bottle anymore.  This is making him eat more foods now and he keeps trying new flavors and variety's of food!  He immatates everything.  It's so important for the older kids to be good examples and to be extra kind!!!  Church is still a huge struggle for this little man though!  He just doesn't hold still for very long and it had me so stressed out on Sunday.  Between him and Ashlyn, I was about to scream with frustration.  It's such a bad parenting problem.  I know it starts with me. 
 

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 Yes, I did go the greenhouse for my first visit already.  I just couldn't help it on Saturday.  It was so nice outside and I was looking to buy some succulants.  I actually ended up just looking around and breathing deep breathes and taking in the growth and beauty that is blooming for Spring sales!!!


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Yesterday, was another Spring like day!  Ashlyn was all into being outside.  She insisted on putting on sunblock.  I watched her ride her bike with a tank top on!  It really did feel good outside!  She asked me, "Mom, is Nickle Mines open today?"  No.  Oh, she was wishing to go swimming.  We did go for a short bike ride and played on the swings while Mike was enjoying his much longer bike ride!!!  Again, this weather is so fantastic!!!



 I'm off to enjoy this sunshiney day!!!


Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Sweet.

Valentine's Day is such a sweet celebration!!!  I love that there is a day on our national calendar declaring "love"!!!  We need so much of it in our fallen world!  We need love to stand strong in our homes!  So many families are falling apart and husbands and wives don't love each other any more.  Why???  What Mike and I have found to be very important in our marriage is to pray together!  Communicate about everything!  Yes, everything!!!  Talk about the pet peeves and work on making them better or even go away!  Be on the same page with parenting!  Take time for each other!  Romance.  Never stop dating!  Respect each other by talking nice and asking politely.  Make it very clear to the children that Mom and Dad are madly in love and will be for as long as we live!!!
 
Even with us just being in Belize, we still took time again for just Mike and I!  I cooked supper for us here at home and it was fun to make heart shaped foods and special add ons to the dinner table!!!  I'm a theme person so I could just go and go with things to add and create!  All things hearts for Valentines!!!  The kids noticed the special treats and extras and it was fun serving my family with love!
 
After dinner, Mike and I went in to town for lattes and sip on it together.  We didn't even talk a whole lot.  He ordered his mocha latte with only one shot of syrup and I went for the special ~ chocolate covered strawberry latte!  We got them poured into real mugs and sipped on them while listening to live guitar music in the back ground.  We didn't talk a whole lot but rather just enjoyed being together on Valentine's Day!!!  It was food for the soul!!!  Thanks Babe!!!
 
 

 Hadassah dipped the strawberries for dessert.

Ashlyn wanted to bake a cake the other night and so we did it together.  That made for an easy dessert option for my Valentine's meal!  I cut cake in heart shapes and dusted them with 10X sugar.  I also grabbed some fresh raspberries and stuck a chocolate chip in each one.  These are super easy to do and yummy to eat!


Everyone got a jello on their plate!  With real whipped heavy cream!!!

Our supper table right now is so bazaar!!!  Austin has the hardest time holding still and since he hates his high chair and screams every time I attempt to put him in it, we have converted to having him sit on the bench beside Ashlyn.  There is plenty of room but now we have to keep him on his butt!  The other kids all take turns talking about their school day and most times supper ends up with Mike and Hadassah talking the most.  I'm just trying to keep Austin for getting off his seat!  I really should be the one sitting right next to him because in between all the other conversations I keep bellowing out, "Hun, help him!  Oh, no, it just fell on the floor.  Wipe his mouth.  Don't let him get off the bench!  ETC, ETC.!!!!"  Well, eating our Valentines food was no different.  Austin made a mess out of the jello.  He did eat ham!  Then he wanted cake.  Another mess.  We said "no more".  But it was so cute because he would point to one heart shaped cake and say "more?"  No.  Then he would touch the next piece.  "More?"  No.  He asked for each piece.  We all chuckled!  :)))





He's getting so big.

Mike walked through the door yesterday with this big bear in his arms.  He said it was for me.  For Valentines.  OK ..........

I tried to smile and say thank you.  But inside I thought "why is he giving me this big bear???"  Chocolate or flowers would be much better?  Right?  Anyway, after he gave it to me, we were off to an employee wedding.  When we got home, Mike asked me, "So, do you like the bear?  Be honest."  He had me.  I was trying to quick think of a nice way to say this.  Ummm.  "The bear is cute but why are you giving me a bear?  I don't like stuffed animals."  He said to be honest.  So I was.  I really don't do stuffed animals.  The kids have had their "Build a Bear" days and that's all fine and cute but I hate seeing them at garage sales or if the kids ask for them in stores, most times the answer is no.  They probably hold so many flees and germs.  Yuck.  But honestly the biggest thing was it's cute for today but then what do I do with it tomorrow?  And the next day?  And the next?  Where do I store this big thing?  I mean it is big!!!  Mike and I laughed.  I even asked him if he really did pay $40 for the bear because that's what the price tag said on it!!!!  And, yes he did!!!  He was somewhere that morning where a guy he knows buys stuffed teddy bears for his wife and daughter every Valentine's.  They have a collection.  He thought maybe he could do this too.  Just once.  Maybe I would like it???  We came to a conclusion that he could return the bear tonight yet because it might be 1/2 price tomorrow.  :)))

With all that said, I did know that Ashlyn would be head over heels with this bear when she sees it!!!  And sure enough, she was!!!  Actually, Ashlyn and Hadassah love the bear!  The kids played with this big bear most of the evening!  They giggled and laughed!  So, the bear is staying here to live with us.  For now.   




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We went for hair cuts this week!!!  We have such drama every morning when we comb Ashlyn's hair and I was just tired of it!  Ashley cut off three inches.  Austin looks so cute with a new hair cut too!!!

We stopped for some chocolates on the way home!

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Basketball season is officially over now!  The season and games were fun but busy!!!  Good job Hadassah and Matthew!!!



 I bought a juicer!!!  I've wanted one for a long time and finally invested in this one.  Personally, I love juice drinks.  Every time I am somewhere where they serve fresh juices, I get one.  But I wasn't sure I really wanted to spend the money for a good one and then not use it much.  I borrowed Lena's for a few weeks and really liked it.  I gave the kids juice to try and Austin really loved it!!!  He still doesn't eat a whole lot and loves hot dogs, so to get great nutrition into him is a plus!!!

I stocked up on organic fruits and vegetables and now we are enjoying fantastic juices!!!


This girls favorite food has got to be watermelon!!!  I grabbed a small watermelon at the grocery store because Mike loves watermelon juice!  And Ashlyn loves watermelon.  Win. Win.



The week of extra love is great!!!  I love all the hearts at home and in the stores!!!

Spread the love! 

"Love ...
is patient, is kind.  Does not envy, does not boast.  It is not proud.  It does not dishonor others.  Is not self-seeking.  Is not easily angered.  It keeps no record of wrongs.  Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.  It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.  Love never fails."
1 Corinthians 13:4-8