Pinterest Love: Father's Day

Father's Day is right around the corner, so I thought I would share some of my favorite Father's Day gift ideas from Pinterest.  Father's Day gets a little overlooked sometimes, but these ideas make it easy to make the Dad in your life feel pretty special.

click here to pin...love this card for a dad who is a star war's fan

click here to pin...love this shirt for new dads

click here to pin...tons of cute ideas for the father in your life

click here to pin...tip junkie gives lots of ideas of what to make for dad

click here to pin...FREE printables for the Dad in your life


Rhubarb Crisp

In college I worked part time at Perkins Restaurant anytime I didn't have a basketball game, practice, or class.  I loved working there, mostly because I worked with some amazing people and had great customers, but also because I love Perkins food!  Many times I would open Sunday mornings around 5:00 a.m. and had many regulars that I loved chatting with on those mornings.  One of the regulars would bring in rhubarb and I would make rhubarb jam with it.  Gosh, I miss those early mornings at Perkins singing in the back after gobbling up hash browns and eggs.

I love rhubarb jam and probably need to make some of it this year, but this recipe is all about the crisp.  I opted to bring a dessert to the Memorial Day celebration and since there are two LARGE rhubarb plants in our backyard, I decided it had to be a rhubarb recipe!  I tried one rhubarb crisp recipe and it turned out tasty, but looked pretty pathetic.  My second try from shugary sweets turned out delicious and pretty.  Grab some rhubarb at the farmer's market and get busy because this recipe is gooooood!

Rhubarb Crisp

2 cups brown sugar
2 cups flour
1 cup butter, cubed
2 cups oats (recipe from shugary sweets called for quick oats, but I used old fashioned oats)
3 cups rhubarb, sliced
1 cup sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 cup water
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 package strawberry jell-o

1.  Mix flour, brown sugar, and butter.  Add in oats.  Grease pan.  Press half of mixture into bottom of 9x13 pan.
2.  In a saucepan stir sugar, rhubarb, cornstarch, water, and vanilla.  Bring to a boil and let boil for 2-3 minutes.  Remove from heat and add jell-o.
3.  Pour on crust and top with remaining crust mixture.
4.  Bake at 350 for 40 minutes.


Vanilla and Peanut Butter Chip Cookies

It's Wednesday already?  Gosh, it snuck up on me!  

These cookies are from averie cooks and are nice and puffy.  They're pretty simple, but they don't make too many cookies.  You can be like me and make them kind of mini so they last longer.

These cookies have a cinnamon bite with a little bit of peanut butter flavor.  They are quite different from other cookies I've made before.

Anyway, let me know if you try and how they turn out!

Puffy Vanilla and Peanut Butter Chip Cookies

1/2 cup butter flavored shortening
1/2 cup white sugar
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 egg
1 tablespoon water
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
pinch of salt
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 cup peanut butter chips

1.  Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Spray cookie sheets or lay with parchment paper.
2.  Mix shortening, sugars, egg, water, and vanilla until creamy.
3.  Add in dry ingredients.  Mix in chips.
4.  Refrigerate for 15-30 minutes.
5.  Scoop and roll balls of cookie dough and place on cookie sheets.  Bake for 8-10 minutes. (Makes 3 dozen mini cookies)
6.  Let cookies cool on sheet for 5 minutes and then remove.  


Memorial Day Weekend

I can't believe the weekend is over already.  Whew.  I think we jammed every ounce of fun, food, and family time we possibly could in the past three days.

My mom arrived Friday evening for the weekend.  We made steaks and corn after she squeezed, kissed, and played with Luke.  Saturday my mom and I went to the city to spoil ourselves a bit with a mani-pedi treatment along with lunch and a little shopping.  Kevin needed to study for his upcoming BIG test, so it was the perfect opportunity for us to get away for a bit.  

Saturday evening we headed to a gender reveal party for our friends Kyle and Alisha, but, unfortunately, were not able to stay for the reveal part.  Bummer.  More to come on that later.  Then, we were off to celebrate our 6th anniversary.  We have been married 6 years, which just doesn't seem possible to me.  Forgive the corniness, but I love Kevin so much.  He is my best friend and very own Prince Charming.  It's amazing how I love him more and more each year.  (Okay, the corniness is over.)  We headed off to Boiler Room for a celebratory drink and we received a text from Kyle announcing they were having a boy!  We are so SO excited for them and thrilled that Luke will have a little buddy to play with this fall.  After savoring our drinks, we walked up to V. Mertz.  We ordered the tasting menu, which consisted of five yummy courses along with wine pairings.  This was such a fun experience and we learned so much from the sommelier and the chef!  I didn't know if I would appreciate the food as much as Kevin, but I did.  They even had a pre-dessert course consisting of a dark chocolate homemade candy bar.  How could I not like it?  We crashed around 11, after staying up way past our bedtime.

Kevin's sister, Hillary, was in town to see a friend, so we popped on up the hill (to Kevin's parent's house) to see her and have breakfast on Sunday morning.  My mom and I then took off to pick up some groceries and wander around the farmer's market.  We decided on some yummy, HUGE pastries for a snack and ohmygosh they were good.  It was my snack for the next two days.  We spent the afternoon around the farm and then Kevin and I headed into town for a short little date since my mom was still here.  

Wasn't it great waking up on Monday and thinking it was Sunday?!  It was a pretty rainy morning, so Kevin went to the cemetery with his parents while Luke and I stayed home.  We had a cook out up at Kevin's parent's house for lunch and spent the afternoon planting tomatoes and peppers.  Our weekend ended up at Gary and Diane's for Tuscan bean soup and pictures of their Italy trip they took a few months ago.  I can't believe it took us that long to get up there and see them!  

It was a great, fantastic, long, rainy, yummy weekend.  I think Luke and I will stay home today and 'recover'.  Hope you all had a wonderful weekend!

my mom and luke
drinks at boiler room
kevin's mom, diane, and luke
luke and the pretty poppies!


Pinterest Love: Favorite Blogs

Today instead of posting about my favorite pins of the week, I am going to do some pins from my very, very favorite blogs.  I love these blogs and follow them daily and you should, too!  Hope you find something you like!

This blog has so many creative ideas for kids.

This blog has tons of awesome recipes that I make quite frequently.

This blog is amazing.  This Christian mom blogs about homeschooling her kids and shares lots of resources.

My friend Annie creates resources for kindergarten teachers.  This blog has tons of resources for both teachers and parents.


Peanut Butter Cookies

Four ingredients.  That's it.  These classic peanut butter cookies (fork marks included) pack loads of peanut butter flavor with just four ingredients you probably have on hand right now.  I found these over at pbs kids and a fun little fact...they're gluten-free!  For those of you that don't know what gluten is...it's a protein found in wheat, barley, rye, and triticale.  Didn't know that?  Me either.  

I actually made these last night because my good friend, Kara, and her daughter, Amelia, came over for pizza.  I've mentioned before that we don't have pizza delivery out here on the Trail, so it was not delivery, it was DiGiorno.  I felt terrible because I promised a cheese stuffed DiGiorno pizza (have you ever had them??? you need to!) and it actually wasn't.  Fail.  

But, the cookies turned out yummy, even though I thought they might have been a tad bit too peanut buttery.  I didn't think I would ever say that, but I said it.  Adding some chocolate would have made them perfect.  Let me know if you try and what you think!

Peanut Butter Cookies

1 cup sugar
1 cup peanut butter
1 egg beaten
1 tsp. vanilla

1.  Preheat oven to 350 and line large cookie sheet with parchment paper.  
2.  Beat all ingredients together.
3.  Drop dough on parchment paper and mark with forks (makes 12-15 cookies).
4.  Bake for 10-12 minutes.  Let cool on pan and enjoy!


Tactile Boards

We received a big box of beef the other day and after emptying it in the freezer I had a big, perfect, useful brown cardboard box.  I decided to make some tactile boards for Luke with some things I had on hand.  Tactile boards are used for sensory development; they are perfect for little hands to explore different textures.  

I grabbed some straws, bows, tissue paper, and hot glue and got busy.  I cut out some rectangles and then glued the different items on the boards. 

Luke seemed interested in them and played with them for a bit, but, honestly, he liked a rectangle of cardboard with nothing on it quite a bit more.  Go figure.  That's okay, I'm sure he will like the other boards one of these days.

that grin cracks me up and softens my heart
love those little toes


Wedding Season is here!

With summertime comes wedding season and Kevin and I started off this season with my little brother's wedding a few weeks ago.  I haven't posted any pictures, yet, because, well, I didn't take any at the wedding.  Kevin and I were both in the wedding and I didn't break out my camera at all.  I'm definitely sad, but the photographer caught a lot of great moments, so I'm excited to get some of those pictures.  The pictures I am posting today are ones that the photographer posted on Facebook and a few before and after the wedding.  Congratulations to my only baby brother and his wife!  I love you both!

my brother and luke at the rehearsal
the newlyweds
this is my favorite picture...this is right after shamica got down the aisle, i love the way my brother is looking at his soon to be wife
my parents and luke at the gift opening


Pinterest Love: Summer DIY ideas

A little trivia for you:

Question: In what state can it both snow and be 100 degrees in the same month?

Answer: Iowa (and pretty much any other midwest state)

May has been crazy weather wise and (thank goodness) we are finally basking in some warmer temperatures.  I stay pretty busy on the Trail in the summertime with garden work and keeping the yards looking presentable, but I do want to tackle some DIY projects over the next few months.

I thought if I posted them on my blog, it might give me some extra motivation.  Here are some of the DIY projects I want to and hope to try this summer:

click here to pin...these pots are so cute and fun!

click here to pin...this is on the top of my to-do list this summer

click here to pin...these vases are beautiful

click here to pin...these would be perfect for my patio table this summer!


School Lunch Peanut Butter Bars

Unfortunately, I don't think my grade school was awesome enough to make these peanut butter bars when I was growing up. 

I. missed. out.  

I do, however, remember chocolate cake and pizza with ranch days...those were the best.  But, that's another post for another day.  

I found these bars at Tried and Tried Again and they are delicious.  I like how they're so thin, a big contrast to the thick bars I made last week.  In my opinion, they are more of a cookie than a bar, but does it really matter?  Kevin approved them, so they're off to Bible Study tonight.  I hope you try, let me know what you think!

School Lunch Peanut Butter Bars


3/4 cup butter
3/4 cup white sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup peanut butter
2 eggs
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
1 1/2 cup flour
1 1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 1/2 cup quick oats

3/4 cup peanut butter
1 stick of butter 
3 1/2 cups powdered sugar
2 T. cocoa
1/4 cup milk
1 tsp. vanilla

1.  Preheat oven to 350.
2.  Cream together butter and sugars.  Add 3/4 cup peanut butter, vanilla, and eggs until light and fluffy.
3.  Mix together dry ingredients and gradually add to wet mixture until just incorporated.
4.  Finally, stir in the oats.
5.  Spread onto a greased large cookie sheet (11x15 jelly roll pan) and bake fro 12-15 minutes.  Cool for 10 minutes.
6.  Whip the peanut butter until light and fluffy.  Spread on bars.
7.  Melt butter in medium saucepan.  Add milk and cocoa.  Heat on medium, stirring constantly, until almost boiling.
8.  Remove from heat and add vanilla.  Gradually add powdered sugar until thick.
9.  Spread over bars.  Cool completely before slicing.


DIY Chalkboard Pot

We have a chalkboard wall in our living room space and we have used it for many important and not so important events in our life here on the Trail.  

We used it to announce to our parents that we were expecting.

We used it at our gender reveal party so guests could cast their vote for boy or girl.

We used it for the kids to draw on when they came to visit last summer.

We used it to welcome guests.

We used it to put up Bible scripture for a specific occasion or just as a loving reminder of all God has promised us.  

Needless to say, I love our chalkboard wall.  We have quite a bit of leftover chalkboard paint, so I thought I would get busy using it up.  Diane had some small pots she wasn't using, so I decided to give them a makeover.  It was a slow project, but an easy one.  The reason it was so slow was because I had to wait for the coats of primer and paint to dry.  Other than it being slow, I had fun with this simple project.  I am always searching for something I can paint with that beloved chalkboard paint!  Let me know if you have any ideas!

Chalkboard paint
Potting soil

This was the original pot.

I sprayed it with primer and let it dry.

I painted two coats of chalkboard paint on the pot.  After it was dry I 'primed' the paint by rubbing a good layer of chalk on it and then wiped it off.  I planted a basil plant in the pot.  If I were going to do it again, I would first 'prime' the paint with the chalk, then pot the plant.

Now, it's ready to write on...tadaa!

These would be a great Mother's Day gift or Teacher Appreciation gift.  Too bad those holidays were all last week; maybe I'll have some ready for next year. 


Photos of the Day: My 1st Mother's Day

Whew!  I am cuddled on the couch under a blanket, windows open, feet up, and ready to lounge the night away.  

I. am. so. blessed.

Today was one of those days you want to last forever.  Kevin made my first Mother's Day one that I will never forget.  He didn't take me to lunch or buy me a really expensive gift or get me a big bouquet of flowers, but he did make me feel like one special Mommy.

The day started with a special cup of coffee and biscotti in my brand new coffee mug from Shutterfly.  It was loaded with pictures of Luke's 6 month photo shoot, which I love.  We headed to church and got a family picture taken by a professional photographer the church hired for the day.  Sooo nice.  After we got home, Kevin had lunch prepared for his Mom, Dad, and I.  He whipped up a salmon quiche along with a platter full of meats and cheeses, and of course, yummy champagne.  It was warm enough to sit outside and we sat on the patio in our backyard for hours.  We chatted and chatted away and enjoyed the sunshiny afternoon.  Like I said, I didn't want it to end.  As Luke's bedtime approached, we sat on the carpet with him as he jabbered away and I thought...wow, how did I get here?  How did I get to marry the man of my dreams?  How did Kevin and I get this happy little baby?  How do I deserve this?  

I guess I shouldn't question the man upstairs if life is going this good...

God has given me this amazing life and I am so grateful for today and everyday He gives me with this family of mine.  

God is so good.

happy mother's day, diane!

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