Friday Faves :: let’s talk dessert

Friday Faves

I’ve been away at camp this week with my family, teens and junior campers. Consequently, that means I’m away from my chocolate stash. And away from my kitchen, within which I create all manner of delicious morsels full of caloric content. So, because it’s Friday…because I head back to my kitchen soon…Let’s talk about dessert, mkay? Good plan indeed.

Here are 5 desserts that have caught my eye recently:

Not only do these Strawberry Brownie Skewers look incredibly easy to make,  but they’re lovely and fun too!


You had me at pound cake. Add the words buttermilk + coconut? YUM. I am going to have to try this Coconut Buttermilk Pound Cake soon. Maybe I should run several miles first.


The taste of snickerdoodles takes me back to my childhood. These snickerdoodle bars look super soft and chewy!

Snickerdoodle 7

Oh Lauren, you kill me. How fun would a S’mores Bar be?!?!? Really fun. Both for a party & the waistlines afterwards. But seriously…I love me some s’mores and these different combos – especially the ones that involve pretzels? Well, I think a s’mores bar would be an excellent substitute for dinner one evening.


Along the same line…have you ever tried grilled bananas? This recipe calls for crushed cinnamon toast crunch. That flavor combo sounds super yummy, doesn’t it?


And while we’re on the subject of marshmallows…if you’ve never tried s’mores in a pan, you are totally missing out.

smores in a pan

Last week we had friends over for dinner and I realized I hadn’t planned anything for dessert. That’s when I remembered this easy recipe. The kids helped me dump chocolate chips and marshmallows in a skillet and we served it up all toasty, melty, and delicious. There was a spoonful left over that I popped into a plastic container. And of course the next morning as I was working in the kitchen, I spotted the plastic treasure chest full of chocolatey goodness and proceeded to sneak some bites. Anna Grace chose that moment to ask me a question & caught on to the fact that I was hiding something.

“Mommy…are you eating something?”
“Um. maaaaybe.”
“Mommy! You cannot be sneaky!”

{sigh} foiled again. I tell ya, if you need a good diet accountability partner, just ask a 5 year old. Not that I’m on a diet. As evidenced by this post full of sugary goodness. No way, Jose. In fact, I have great plans to make use of my kitchen to bake up some sugary deliciousness this weekend. You?
Have a {sweet} weekend!

If you’re a blogger, link up a post of your favorite things from this week with me and Susanna!
We’d love to have YOU – yes, you! – join the party! Please just link back and you’re golden!

the evolution of freezer cooking with 3 preschoolers

Ah, the lovely idea of a freezer full of delicious meals. Yet the struggle of actually preparing those meals with a 1, 3 and 5 year old in tow is…well, daunting…to say the least.

I embarked on a bit of freezer cooking recently. I shared this pic on facebook if you missed it.
And because I found it humorous, here’s a recap of my day – in grainy phone pictures, no less.

Goal: make about 50 breakfast burritos & bean burritos. Or however far my burrito filling stretches.

Exhibit A: lots of chopping. I ended up using 4 green peppers & 4 onions.
Exhibit B: I got out the duplo blocks to keep my boys occupied. Anna Grace was in her room listening to a CD. I can’t believe I just wrote that…she sounds like a teenager. I think she was listening to the complete volume of Curious George at the moment.

fcI may have gotten 1/2 a green pepper chopped at this moment.

Exhibit A: Miles needed some redirection, so he picked out a book and sat at the kitchen table to read. That lasted about 1.7 minutes.
Exhibit B: There was a bit of quiet while I finished chopping ~2 peppers and then there was a loud kafuffle from the kids’ room. Miles had climbed onto the car and was messing with Anna Grace’s CD player. The nerve!
Exhibit C: I went back to my chopping while Miles played in the kids’ room. Upon several minutes of quiet, I discovered he was ripping all the disposable diapers out of our bin. Redirection #24057205345.fc2

Exhibit A: After putting the diapers away, I went back to my cooking. By this time, I had chopped all the vegetables, so I started sauteing them while cooking the sausage & hamburger for the burrito filling. All was quiet for several minutes.
Too long.
I was about to go check on Miles when he came walking out to me with some blue markings on his mouth. Whaaa? Markers?
Exhibit B: I opened his hand to reveal a fistful of m&m’s. I followed a little trail back to my bedroom to see that Miles had discovered Daddy’s secret stash of dark chocolate m&m’s. Foiled.
Exhibit C: Who knows how many he had eaten before waltzing out to me with his find, but I let him sit in his highchair to eat the contents of his fist.

For the majority of this cooking + redirection time, Nate entertained himself with the blocks and Anna Grace either listened to Curious George or sat up at the counter with me, eating green peppers and talking while I cooked.fc3.5

Exhibit A: After Miles finished his chocolate stash, I pulled out some animal magnets in another attempt at redirection. This lasted 4.37 minutes.
Exhibit B: He was getting to be a fussy boy, so I let him sit up next to me while I worked. 2.7 minutes.
Exhibit C: Poor wittle guy just wanted Mama to hold him, so I obliged. The poochy lip on my face is not because I was holding him, but because he was being clingy & I wondered if he might be catching a cold or something.fc4

Between the last poochy lip picture and these next 3 pics, Miles actually took a short nap…probably 30 minutes. So I powerhoused through egg scrambling and combined all the ingredients for my breakfast burrito filling.

Exhibit A: I decided to let the kids watch a movie they had picked from the library. That, my friends, was a very good decision. During that movie, I filled and wrapped ALL the burritos. (exhibits B, C, & D)
The kitchen was a ginormous mess. Ginormous may be an understatement.


BUT. After a full period of work? My freezer is full of lovely burritos. Jonathan asked me why I made so many. I told him it was so that I could have nights off of cooking. So whether I want to use my extra time to play with my kids, write, or eat nutella? Dinner’s still covered. He was pleased with this answer.

If you attempt a day like this, here is my advice:

  • make sure you have everything you need before beginning. not just ingredients either. foil. I ran out of foil and had to jet out to Walmart in the middle of my burrito wrapping. #notcool
  • don’t wait as long as I did to break into the movie stash. try something educational if you want. but running back and forth between the kitchen and diaper/m&m cleanup is pretty tough.
  • make sure you have something easy to eat for lunch/dinner the day of freezer cooking. or eat what you just made! because you don’t want to make all this & then make something else.
  • if you’re doing this with kiddos, remember that it’s tough for them to have Mommy working like a maniac. plan some time {whether on that day or a different day} to play/read with them and just be Mommy instead of maniac-mommy.
  • plan a nap into your day once the cooking has been completed. Or chocolate. Preferably, plan a nap and chocolate into your day.

And that, my friends, is the evolution of freezer cooking with 3 preschoolers. Fun. Exhausting. Profitable.
Have you ever attempted freezer cooking? Any advice? Recipes I should try? Share, share, share if you have any!

Friday Faves

Friday Faves

Well, hey! Here are 5 lovely links for you to peruse this weekend…

What Everybody Ought to Know about Vacation

“The gifts are waiting quiet in small places. Pause to see them. Pick them up and turn them over. Discover the beauty of slow right where you are.
Because if you can’t settle in to your real life, you won’t be able to settle in on vacation.”

“Low on expectations, high on love.”


I thought this was a super fun post to read/look through, although Emily KILLS ME wearing jeans, pants, and long sleeved shirts in the summer. As a North Carolina girl, I rarely wear jeans in summer or else I melt. What am I talking about? I feel like I’m melting no matter what I’m wearing. 100 degrees is H.O.T.


Shutterfly is offering a free 8×8, 20 page book to all customers, not just new ones! Make your book & enter code: SUNNYBOOK at checkout. I’ve been on the lookout for one of these deals to come up again. Last time they offered it, I made our family yearbook from 2012. Ahem. Just a little behind. I’m hoping to be able to knock out 2013 with this deal.


I’ve been keeping my eye out for beautiful pottery lately and this mug fits the bill. Love the shape + colors.


And finally, Abbie always has practical advice for the mamas. This one’s all about her best tips for running errands with the kiddos. I added my big fat favorite tip in the comments.


Hope you all have a rad weekend! Soak up some sun – or join me in the A/C. We’re all winners around here.

And if you’re a blogger, link up a post of your favorite things from this week with me and Susanna!
We’d love to have YOU – yes, you! – join the party! Please just link back and you’re golden!

your greatest support system

I intended to begin my study of 1st, 2nd, and 3rd John last week. But I got a little sidetracked when I got to this verse, so I had to take a detour from the study guide and park here for a little bit.

My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin.
But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.
1 john 2:1

What does “advocate” mean?

  • one that pleads the cause of another
  • one that defends or maintains a cause or proposal

I always find it helpful to look at the synonyms & antonyms of a word. Check these out:

advocateAs a believer in Christ, did you know that you have an advocate? a champion?
Did you know that Jesus is your friend? Your supporter?

John starts out saying “listen. the point of this letter is to help you stop sinning. BUT. in case you do end up sinning {which you will, because 1 john 1:8}, there’s someone supporting you before God. and it’s not just anyone. it’s God’s perfect, righteous, sinless Son: Jesus Christ.”

Hey. Did you know that you have a support system lined up for when you sin today? It’s not an encouraging friend, inspiring book, or your small group. It’s God’s Son, Jesus Christ. He is your Champion – advocating for you before the very throne of God.

So today –
when you get angry at your kids and irritated with your husband,
when you start worrying about tomorrow and are impatient with that stranger –
confess it to the Father.
And find your greatest support system in His Son.

your greatest support system

p.s. if you’re looking for a great Bible study, consider joining me in this 123 John study. it’s free + excellent. I’m on week 2, so it’s almost like we’d be doing it at the same time. #twinning

Friday Faves :: fave drink, read, listen, etc.

Friday FavesHey there & happy Friday to you!

Recently, I’ve come upon some great things that I had to share with you, so I thought I’d compile them into a recent fave sorta deal:

1. This book. I’m loving it. I shared a favorite quote here, along with a picture of my baked feta. I’ve been underlining a lot of this book and reading out portions to Jonathan. Those 2 things are the sign of a good book in my household.

the PW

2. This table from Lowe’s. I’m not going to give it a 10/10, because it seems slightly flimsy. Maybe a 7.4/10. Nothing like honesty, right? But I’m including it in here because I just got it for my front porch {which I showed in this Curb Appeal series}, and it’s going to be incredibly convenient to have a place to put my citronella candle, drink, and book. So. It made it in Friday Faves.


3. This drink. I found mine in a 6-pack at Trader Joe’s and thought they would be a fun treat for date nights. They are. For date nights and other times. We like it over crushed ice. You’re welcome.


4. Loving this podcast lately. I pick and choose the episodes based on whether I know the person. Especially loved this one with Gracelaced.


5. I made this wreath yesterday and I love it. It took me so crazy long to make a burlap wreath because … I just didn’t do it. But I’m not going to focus on that. Because I made it and it’s lovely. I used this tutorial and it was so quick! I actually made it while listening to the podcast I just mentioned. So less than 30 minutes. Boom.

So. Not to be awkward or anything, but today is my day of birth. So, ya know, wish me some calorie free cake or something, will ya? Have a lovely weekend and think of me when you eat ice cream. Because you can bet I’ll be eating some right along with ya!

And if you’re a blogger, link up a post of your favorite things from this week with me and Susanna! We’d love to have YOU – yes, you! – join the party! Just link back and you’re golden!