Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Take me out to the ballfield!!

We just finished Day #2 of baseball camp, and I don't think I can remember all the things that have happened! God is working in great ways here...
The first three days that we were here it was rainy and cold and I wasn't really looking forward to the chilly weather (especially since I only had shorts). But the clouds opened and the sun came out the first day of camp.
All 11 of our kids showed up, and I really DO enjoy every single one of them. They are improving tremendously every day. The one funny story that I'll share:
The way we are playing is a coach pitches during the games, but doesn't play so you still need a kid at the pitcher position. And since this was a learning experience, they also have to run to homeplate to tag any runners coming in. To get back to the story....a runner was hauling it to home plate and our kid (who was playing pitcher) kept yelling really loudly in German, "throw it home!! Throw it home!!" Well, they threw it home, but he was still standing on the pitcher's mound when he should have been on homeplate, so the ball just sailed in to the next field, I almost died laughing.
And Greg would be embarrassed for telling you this, but I've never heard him sing so much in his life. He MAYBE sings one song in a month at church, but every song here he is belting them out during service. LOVE IT. PS...a lot of their praise and worship songs are in English, yay for us!
The language barrier is a little tough, but we have a wonderful translator named Corrina, whom I adore.
Ok, I think that's it for right now. I still miss the kids terribly, but they are having so much fun they will probably never want to come home :)

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

The Big Cookie Project: Week 14

I thought I'd squeeze in one more cookie before we left. The only problem being that I had limited ingredients in my house and wasn't going to go buy a lot of stuff right before we leave. I was out of the two most important ingredients to baking: sugar and flour, but we made it through! These cookies don't actually contain any sugar, but they did require flour. I didn't have enough, but after digging through the pantry I found cake flour! I used the cake flour in place of regular flour and they turned out great! These cookies are by far the prettiest to look at and the most petite. I could imagine making these for a fancy party (if I ever went to fancy parties).

1 cup (2 sticks) plus 6 tablespoons butter

1 cup confectioners' sugar

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

2 1/2 cups all purpose flour

6 ounces semisweet chocolate (I used chocolate chips)

2 teaspoons corn syrup


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees

2. Mix butter, confectioner's sugar, salt and vanilla for two minutes. Beat in flour

3. Form balls using 2 teaspoons of dough for each. Place balls 1 inch apart. Bake for 10 minutes, remove from oven, and press thumb into cookie to make deep, wide indentations. Rotate pan, and return to oven; bake until light brown on the edges, 7 to 9 minutes more.

4. Combine chocolate and the remaining 6 tablespoons of butter, and the 2 teaspoons corn syrup. Heat in microwave-safe bowl for 40 seconds, mix. Let thicken a little bit and then fill the indentions with the chocolate. The chocolate will firm up overnight in the cookie

**The directions tell you to keep a bowl of ice handy for step #3, since you are using your thumb to make indentions in hot cookies. This didn't sound safe to me (and I don't want to use my thumb in hot dough) so I used a melon-baller to make the indentions. It worked great!

**The original recipe also tells you to use a double-boiler to melt the chocolate, but the microwave method worked just fine, was less messy, and was a lot shorter in time.

They are pretty yummy too! See you in two weeks!!

Monday, July 18, 2011

I Don't Do "Sick"

Mallory started getting a fever on Friday and I took her to the Weekend Clinic on Saturday. She has double ear infection and a red throat and got put on antibiotics. I CAN do this kind of sick. I can be sympathetic and cuddle with them, give them as much juice and gatorade they want and let them watch cartoons to their heart's desire.

But then things changed when she gagged on a chip at lunch and she did the worst kind of sick in my book...throw up. EEWWW! Just typing it makes me feel ill. I CAN'T do this kind of sick. The smell and the look just stays with me. I washed everything, bleached everything, and still can't get that lingering smell out of my nose.

Then, Nolan started in! For some background info: he does not have a fever, does not feel ill, but does have pretty bad allergies with a bad cough. He coughs so hard he sometimes gags which makes him throw up as well. But this has never happened before!

I have counted myself as one of the lucky ones, when other people talk about their kids being sick everywhere, I couldn't share any stories. I have gotten 4 glorious years of no throwing-up child. Then he decides to do it 3 days before we leave for Germany.

The guilt is building!

Then, like on cue, my allergies start to kick in. My nose is stuffy and my throat is starting to swell up. But I should count myself as lucky.

I should stop my whining and count my blessings:

1. My kids are troopers and haven't complained at all from being sick

2. I have a few days to feel better or get worse and go to a dr. here before we get on the plane

3. This has spurred me to clean the house, so now it's clean for when we leave and get back

4. They will be in good hands while we are gone (2 Nurses for grandparents)

I'll just send the kids a memo the next time we are getting ready to go out of town...no getting sick!

Friday, July 15, 2011

The Big Cookie Project: Week 13

Snickerdoodle...don't you love how that sounds? I love that you can call someone a "snickerdoodle". Personally, I'm not a fan of that specific nickname for myself, but I have definitely called Nolan a snickerdoodle. Why snickerdoodle? Because they are sweet, have a kick of cinammon and I LOVE them! I couldn't imagine calling Nolan any other kind of cookie either. "Hey chocolate chip cookie!" or "Hey oatmeal raisin!" really doesn't roll off my tongue. Even though these cookies are scrumptious as well they just don't fit the definition of Nolan like "snickerdoodle" does.

Here's the recipe:


1 cup shortening
1 1/2 cups sugar

2 eggs

2 3/4 cups flour

2 tsp. cream of tartar

1 tsp. baking soda

1/4 tsp. salt

2 Tbsp. sugar

2 tsp. cinnamon


1. Combine first three ingredients

2. In separate bowl, mix next four ingredients. Add dry ingredients to shortening mixture

3. Make in to small balls and roll in cinnamon/sugar mixture

4. Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes

I made them last night for the midnight showing of Harry Potter #7 Part 2 and they were the perfect 2 A.M. snack for me, I probably had way too many for that early in the morning.

(By the way, Harry Potter was fantastic. Really enjoyed the last movie, sort of sad it is all over)

I can't believe 13 weeks has passed and I haven't fixed these cookies yet. These are one of Greg's favorites, and I always forget how much I enjoy them until I fix them and then inevitably eat them all. Enjoy!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Germany, Here We Come!

The big day is only a week away now. I don't know if these last 7 days will go lightning fast, or slow as molasses. We will be gone for two weeks and my lists have piled up. I did have a mental list going, but then couldn't sleep because it was just floating around in my head. I wrote it all down, and it is too numerous to count. I have a list for the kids, for their "Box of Fun", for Greg and I, a list of things to do around the house, etc. I was almost tempted to make a list of all my lists just to keep them all straight. Greg said this is my OCD side coming out. I say it is just "being thorough".

I have itemized everything and typed them up and will organize everything a few days before we leave. Since the time we will be gone from our house is so lengthy, I seem to want to pack everything in sight. I asked Greg if I should put my blowdryer and straightener on the list and his response was, "You don't think they have blowdryers in Germany?" Well...just trying to be prepared. I keep on trying to pack two-weeks worth of clothes for all of us, but continue to remind myself that there are washer and dryers in existence outside of our house. I've got it wittled down to a weeks worth now.

Now to the fun stuff...

We will be landing in Germany on July 22nd and will be spending the week teaching baseball to youth and sharing the word of Christ. Greg and I will be staying in a host home for the whole time, except for maybe a few days while sight-seeing. We get to teach them "Texas" things like the two-step or the yells from Texas A&M. We even get to play a German Intermural Baseball team (which I am super nervous about). Here's a little list of what I want to do while there:

1. Learn some German!

2. Try Spatzel, schnitzel, and saurkraut (spellings may not be perfect)

3. Drive or ride on the Autobahn

4. Survive my first international flight

I bet that list will grow as a get closer to leaving. The only thing that I don't want to happen is get hit by a ball or bat. I know it sounds silly, but there are going to be a lot of people there who will be swinging bats and throwing balls. With my luck, I'll probably take a ball to the eye and have a beautiful shiner as my memento.

The thing I will miss most while being away are the kids (of course). It will probably go by so fast for them and they will have so much fun, they will probably never want to leave Greg's parents house. As long as they still recognize me when I get back, I won't mind :)

To wrap this up, I'd like to give you some links of the church we will be working with, as well as the Baseball Camp we will be teaching. Check it out! It's all in German, but you can easily translate it to English:

Saturday, July 9, 2011

The Big Cookie Project: Week 12

Happy National Sugar Cookie Day!!

And what kind of cookie do you think I made this week? Pretty obvious, right? I needed to make sugar cookies for a baby shower this week and wanted to decorate them very prettily. The recipe below is a HUGE batch of cookies. I divided the recipe up in to two batches and used one for the cookies, and will freeze the other half for a later time. The half that I used made over 50 sugar cookie cut-outs which were fairly thick. Here you go:


3 cups sugar

4 sticks of butter
4 eggs

1 tsp. salt

1 tsp. vanilla

6 cups flour

2 tsp. baking powder

Directions: Cream sugar and butter. Add egg and vanilla. Then, add salt, flour and baking powder. Form two large balls and refrigerate overnight. Roll out and cut in to shapes. Bake at 350 degrees until done (around 12 minutes).

The shape that I used was a rocking horse. The good thing about this dough is that it doesn't puff up too much when you bake it, so it holds the shape well. The cookies came out of the oven still looking like rocking horses, I was very excited. Then, I decided to put a glaze on them. I made the glaze out of powdered sugar, milk and extract. This glaze gets pretty hard and looks good on cookies. After I slathered it on to all the cookies, you couldn't tell they were rocking horses any more. So, I used some buttercream frosting to try and make it look like a rocking horse again.

Sadly, they looked weird to me. They either looked like a cow or a mis-shapen hat (held upside down). I was hoping no one else would notice at the baby shower. When I brought them in the girls said they looked really cute, then the dad-to-be walked in and said,"Are those supposed to be sheep?" So, instead of them looking like cows to me, they look like sheep to him. It didn't hurt my feelings, I knew they could have looked better (and will next time with my extra dough in the freezer).

Embrace National Sugar Cookie Day and make them soon!!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

What's In a Name?

Forgive me for this tangent of a blog, but names have been on my mind lately. Have you ever thought you would be the same person if your name was different, or does your name pre-determine what you will be like? Sound crazy? Well, here's an example:

As most of you know I have a twin sister named Carrie. Carrie and I had the great (or odd, however you think it) experience of being born on the front porch behind some beautiful bushes while my mom was waiting on an ambulance. Never thinking twice of this experience, my brother-in-law Tony pointed out one time that I might not be Patsy "the first born", and Carrie might not be Carrie "the second born". He made evident that it would probably be very easy to switch the firstborn and secondborn babies up quite a few times on the way from the porch to the ambulance and then from the ambulance to the hospital. Confused yet? So, what if I wasn't the firstborn to be named Patsy? What if I was the secondborn, and we just got switched? Would I have turned out differently with a different name?

For those of you who are skeptical about a name defining a person, just think about all the time and effort you put in to naming your children or pets. You want to name them something that will fit their personality even though you have never met this person. If you named your child "Butch" or "Bubba" I would imagine that you were hoping for some beefy enormous son that played linebacker and was 7 feet tall. Or if you named your daughter "Sunshine" or "Rainbow" (a little hippy, I know) you were hoping for a loving, gentle, docile daughter. I know these examples seem a little extreme, but you get my point.

The media is all about the correct names to produce a specific image. Madonna changed her name, I bet Cher used to have a last name and so on and so on. They even do this in fairytales. When you think of Snow White, you think of her skin so white; when the name Cinderella is said you think of a girl covered in ashes; Sleeping Beauty apparently likes to catch some zzzz's and look good while doing it. It wouldn't be the same if Cinderella's name were Candace or Betsy, or Sleeping Beauty was called Missy. Would these fairytales be so magical if the name didn't fit with the traits and personality of the person or character?

We spent a long time trying to decide on Mallory's name and then when I came across it in the "Baby Name" book I just fell in love with it. I liked how it sounded in my mind, how it rolled off my tongue, even how it looked on paper. It seemed feminine enough, but not too girly. Then, I saw the root of the word "Mallory" and it means "thorny". Was I setting myself up for a thorny girl? Sometimes she does act a little prickly. Maybe I should have named her something that meant "peaceful", but she might not have turned out like that either.

If you don't think names are important, just look on your bookshelf, I know I have atleast 3 baby name books that people have given me. If you type in baby names in to a search engine, there are a ton of websites that will give you ideas of appropriate names for children.

I think you're getting my point. So, back to the original question: Would I be different if I had my twin sister's name? I honestly don't know, I'm ME now; but it is a pretty interesting conversation piece :)

Saturday, July 2, 2011

The Big Cookie Project: Week 11

This cookie is a favorite of mine. I didn't have a specific recipe and got lucky that the first one that I tried tasted just like I remembered it.
1 3/4 cups flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup shortening
1/2 cup peanut butter
1 egg
2 tbsp. milk
1 tsp. vanilla
48 kisses (9 oz. bag)

Combine all ingredients except for kisses. Form dough in to 1 inch balls and roll in sugar to coat. Bake on ungreased cookie sheet at 375 degrees for 10-12 minutes. Take out and immediately put on Hershey kiss.

These cookies were especially dangerous to make. Every other hershey kiss that I unwrapped ended up in my mouth...I don't know how it happened, I think chocolate just gravitates towards my mouth naturally. So, I ended up giving the job to Nolan thinking he would have more will-power than me, but I was wrong. Every other hershey kiss he unwrapped, I would hear,"Mom can I eat this one?" I would say yes and it would disappear in 3 seconds. Mallory even joined in on the fun of how many hershey kisses we could eat before we even used them in the cookies.

They finally got put on to the cookies, and they are so small and cute it seems like one would vanish from the tupperware everytime I entered the kitchen. Greg has had this problem too. A very delicious problem to have, but still a problem.
For some reason I always thought of this cookie as a Christmas holiday cookie, but now I've broken the pattern and have made them in the middle of summer.
Enjoy the cookies, because I know I am!

PS. It asks for 48 Hershey kisses, but probably only made 36, so it's okay if you eat a few while unwrapping them.

PPS. I don't know what happened to the blue underlined text, tried to fix it but with no success.