Something So Big

Friday, April 29, 2011

Lemon Tarts for Easter

Since I was supposed to bring a dessert to the family Easter gathering, I had a lot of fun dreaming of what to cook up! (Anticipation started building a few weeks into my dessert-free Lent.)  I kept thinking, "We need something light, lemony, and fruity."  So lemon fruit tarts were born!
I kept the cupcake trays from the twins' birthday party, knowing that I would find a purpose for them some day.  That day came last weekend when I put these little beauties together:
The fruit was all on sale at Aldi and the Pig.  I was thinking of kiwi, but it wasn't on sale so it didn't make the cut.  I was really happy with the way the tart shells turned out.  All I did was buy pre-made pie crusts and cut a large circle for each cupcake tin hole with the larger edge of my funnel.  They baked up so cute and flaky!  (For future reference, 3 boxes of pie shells = approx. 46 tarts; 2 boxes = 30 tarts.  I used 3 boxes because we have a big big family :)

I debated quite a while on what to use for the lemon filling.  I finally settled on a lemon curd for most of the tarts, and vanilla pudding for picky people.  The lemon curd came out quite sour but good, and I will definitely be making it again.  Here was the recipe I stole somewhere from cyberspace:
(I tripled this and had plenty left over)
1/2 c. sugar
4 tsp. cornstarch
1 tsp. finely shredded lemon peel
3/4 c. water
2 beaten egg yolks
1/4 c. lemon juice  (squeezed from 2 lemons)
2 Tablespoons margarine or butter
Combine sugar, cornstarch and lemon peel in a small saucepan.  Strin in water; cook and stir till thickened and bubbly.  Gradually stir about 1/2 cup of the hot mixture into egg yolks; return all to saucepan.  Cook and stir over medium heat till mixture boils.  Cook and stir 2 minutes more.  Remove from heat.  Stir in lemon juice and margarine or butter, stirring till margarine/butter melts.  Cool and spoon into pastry shells. 

Apparently my relatives were thinking along the same lines as me, as my sister-in-law and nephew's wife made fruit ka-bobs, and my sister brought a lemon meringue pie!  So we had lots of fruit and lemon desserts, but that was a very good thing.  (You can never have too much fruit, right?)  It made such a pretty table!

In the background, you can see my purple tray with chocolate bon-bons.  Just in case the tarts weren't sweet enough for everybody, I also made "Safe to Eat Raw Cookie Dough Balls" (dipped in chocolate) from My Computer is My Canvas.  They are sinfully good.  Most of my kids actually prefer them "bald" (not dipped in chocolate), but oh my friend, I strongly suggest you go whole-hog (and become a whole hog in the process).  Dip them in chocolate and don't look back!!  Oh. so. good. 

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Thankful Thursday

I'm thankful for...
colorful Easter girls!
Kierta, Shae, Brooke, Mady, Wynne, Paige, & Ally
 busy Easter boys!...

Tage & Cy

table games with cousins...
 and sunshine to play in the park with cousins!
 I'm thankful that we get to celebrate holidays with family...
 ...and for a great-grandmother who bakes the best pies in the whole wide world (right at a child's reach)!
 I'm thankful for daughters who are growing up just enough to help their little cousins...
...yet are still little enough to want to PLAY :)
 I'm thankful that it stopped raining long enough to enjoy a beautiful Easter day!
O Lord, our Lord, how majestic is Your name in all the earth!  --Psalm 8:1

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

The God of Second Chances

Happy 30th Birthday, Dad!
Yesterday was my dad's sobriety birthday.  He took his last drink on April 26, 1981.  When I telephoned to congratulate him, he said (like he always does), "That's a lot of 24 hours."  I know it's a pretty personal thing for him and our family, but it is also something to be celebrated.  So I'm writing about it.  I want our kids to know what sacrifices were made, what life choices were made.  I'm so proud of my Dad for reaching this milestone, and I am thankful to him and Mom for their lessons in gratitude and perseverance!

Dad with 2 of his 19 granddaughters Dani (napping) and Lacey!
This past weekend was full of family and faith.  It was the perfect time to celebrate the New Life of spring and the  New Life we all have in our Savior Jesus' death and resurrection!  The last book I read (which ranks right up there as one of my favorites), Cast of Characters by Max Lucado, ended with a chapter on the resurrection and how it profoundly impacted the disciple Peter.  Peter, as you may recall, screwed up big-time when he denied knowing Jesus three times during the trial and crucifixion.  In the gospel written by Mark, the angel who tells Mary Magdalene of Christ's resurrection makes a point of mentioning Peter BY NAME as one who needs to know this Good News:  

“Don’t be alarmed,” he said. “You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified. He has risen! He is not here. See the place where they laid him. But go, tell his disciples and Peter, ‘He is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him, just as he told you.’”  (Mark 16: 6-7, my emphasis added)

Be sure to tell Peter.  Even though Peter gave up on Jesus, Jesus NEVER gave up on Peter.  And He never gives up on US, either.  So keep on looking for Him!
The annual cousins egg hunt - Payton, Wynne, & Cy
God is a God of Second Chances.  I've heard many godly people say that, including Max Lucado.  I look at my brother and his daughter and think of the second chances that were given in their situation.  Five years ago, if you would have told me that this guy would be married with children--I can assure you that NOBODY in my family would have believed you!  And my brother's wife would most likely testify to God's second chances, as well!
Tim & Elsie
When we look inward, we tend to spin our wheels.  We try to control everything.  We screw up and feel guilty.  We try HARDER to be in control.  It's not until we look UP and fix our eyes on Him that our lives get back on track.

Claire on the hunt

God is a God of Second Chances.  He doesn't want us to be miserable.  He rejoices when we return to Him, always welcoming us back with open arms. 
getting a special treat from Grandma

God wants us to get back in the game.  We're all here for a reason, and His grace was not wasted on any of us (1 Corinthians 15:10).
Ally, Payton, Cy, and Shae playing softball
Another member of our family is struggling right now, in the grips of addiction and mental illness.  We all need to "step up" for her in prayer and support.  God calls us to be His eyes, ears, hands and heart.
Wynne & Gabe
Not one of us is perfect.  Not one of us deserves the second chance.  But God gives it to us anyway.
Euchre ... or is it cribbage? Paul & Dan
For that reason alone, how can we not be thankful and rejoice?
Glory be to the God of Second Chances!!

But because God was so gracious, so very generous, here I am. And I'm not about to let his grace go to waste.--1 Corinthians 15:10  The Message

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Get Your Game Face On

I should have a caption contest for these two!  
All this decorating has worked me into a cold sweat!
Relax, Charlie.  When they said "dying the eggs", that doesn't mean we're going to die!!

Coloring the eggs is serious business at our house. 

As soon as Mark broke out the Sharpies, a whole new level of creativity was reached.  Cy insisted on keeping this dog white!
Shae's a girl after my own heart. :)

Monday, April 25, 2011

The Birthday That Keeps On Going

As you know, Wynne had her friends over for a birthday party last weekend, then she celebrated at home on her real birthday of April 20.  But seeing my family on Saturday and Mark's side on Sunday for Easter, Wynne's birthday just seems to keep going and going and going...
Aunt Marla & family gave her a neat book, gift card, and sand candle from their trip to Mexico!
Then Uncle Tim & Aunt Maryellen had a nice card and some dollars.  Dollars are fun!
Then Great Grandma Joan gave her a purple shorts outfit and this fabulous pink purse.
A girl can never have too many purses!
Uncle Doug & Aunt Paula gave her these adorable pink cowgirl boots!!  She has been wanting pink cowgirl boots since before Christmas.  Guess what she wore to school today?
Aunt Linda & Uncle Joe gave her a diary (in which she has already penned some secret items of utter importance) and this nifty fish-for-gems game.  Cousin Nicole always makes things fun, too!
Mark said that these birthdays are getting a little out of hand.  Ya think??

Hippety, Hoppety, Happy Easter Day!

Darn kids...gettin up so darn early!!

Just a minute - let me get the camera focused, for pete's sake.
Wow, that's a pretty good haul, Wynnie!
Yeah, that's how I feel too Ally.  This would be a lot more fun after another hour of sleep.
But the early bird gets the worm, right Paige?  (Or in this case, the candy.)
What's that I see?  Did the Easter Bunny leave a little extra something for you kids??

He's a dwarf Dutch cross or something.  All I know was that he is part of the rodent family and I am not taking care of him.  But he IS kinda cute.  For some reason, his name is Bill!
Excited kids getting sugared up on their Easter basket treats--their own boxes of cereal!! (and canisters of chips;)
Oh yeah...Easter is still about Jesus and church, right kids?  And don't forget who's the primary member of the family (right Mick)!!
 HAPPY EASTER from our family to yours!!

Why do you look for the living among the dead?  He is not here; he has risen!--Luke 24: 5,6

Friday, April 22, 2011

When You Turn Five

You start out the day with a visit to the library for story time...and if you're really lucky, you get to plant a seed!

Then you get to go on a road trip to pick up new baby chickens!!!
The family welcomes 7 Red Stars (and Mom thinks 1 Auracana) to the farm.  Hi girrrrrrls!!
On the way home from chickin-pickin, if you're really REALLY lucky....your folks let you stop at Leapin Lizards and pick out your own birthday present!  A nifty firefly flashlight & snap-on puppy!!  (not pictured)
When you turn five, you're still in preschool so you wait anxiously for the big kids to come home from school.  They are just as excited as you are to meet the new girrrls.

Then you get to wrap up the day with birthday cake, ice cream, and presents picked out or made especially for you by you family members. What could be better?

May the Lord make your love increase and overflow for each other and for everyone else, just as ours does for you.--1 Thessalonians 3:12

Labels: ,

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

The Last Time

It's time for the annual licking-the-beater shot!  Nothing intentional, just that our Little Bear has always hopped up on the counter to "help" whenever she hears the mixer running.  This is at age 4...
...and here she is at age (gulp!) FIVE!
If I had pictures from 2007, 08, and 09 on my computer, I could easily post "beater shots" here.  But for now, you'll just have to take my word for it.  My baby is (gulp!) FIVE.

Last year's Short Legs
have gotten longer.
The toddler bike
is now a big girl bike.
The doodles and dabbles
have taken on a new order!

The little risk-taker,
Mickey's tail-shaker,
future heart-breaker is now (gulp!) FIVE.
When did this little girl start getting so big?  When did she get to be such a good helper around the house and yard, and a great conversationalist?
Mark and I keep talking about the lasts.  The last time you'll send a kid off on their first field trip. 
The last time you have a kid in a car seat. 
The last time you help someone with their homework.
The last time someone asks you to play catch with them.
The last time you get to tuck them in and lead them in bedtime prayers.
The last time you go to their concert...or play...or ballgame.
The last time someone hops up on the counter to help.
The last time you use a high chair.
The last time you fix their bike.
The last time she can fit in your lap.
You don't even realize that most of them are the last times....until they are long gone.
We want to stretch out every single last time.

Happy Birthday, Wynnie.  You'll always be our baby!

 This is the day which the Lord hath made. We will rejoice and be glad in it.--Psalm 118:24