March 30, 2012

Pumpkin Bread - The Cancer Fighting Superhero!

Did you know that Pumpkin is supposedly a cancer fighting agent? According to it is one of the top cancer fighting foods. So, if I happen to hand out something made with pumpkin (or a bag of frozen pumpkin), know that it is because I care about you and definitely not because I have 12 bags of cooked pumpkin in my freezer and one can eat only so much pumpkin!

 Pumpkin Bread with Streusel Topping.
Streusel Topping Ingredients
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup flour
1 tablespoon water
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/4 cup butter , softened 
Mix all ingredients until crumbly. Set aside.

Bread Ingredients
1 cup pumpkin puree
4 eggs
1 cup vegetable oil
2/3 cup water
3 cups white sugar
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour two loaf pans.
  2. In a large bowl, mix together pumpkin puree, eggs, oil, water and sugar until well blended. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and ginger. Stir the dry ingredients into the pumpkin mixture until just blended. Pour into the prepared pans.
  3. Top with Streusel Topping 
  4.  Bake for about 50 - 60 minutes in the preheated oven. Loaves are done when toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

March 29, 2012

Photographer in the Making

For the past couple of days, I have been playing around with my new camera (much to the annoyance of my picture hating husband). Beniah has been wanting in on the action, so he has been grabbing his pretend camera and having us pose for him. Tim loves this game so much!

March 27, 2012

Say Cheese!

A couple of days ago, the kind UPS driver dropped off a package for me. In it was a beautiful new digital SLR camera. I was so excited about it that I halfway ignored my kids (notice the pajama clad Beniah? Yeah, it was 1 pm.) and I prepped my camera for use. Beniah wanted a camera like mine, so I whipped up one made out of bubble wrap, masking tape, packing peanuts, and cheesecloth.

The pictures are so clear!

The shutter is so fast!

I have a new love!

March 16, 2012

Et Tu, Brute?

“Beware the ides of March.”  - William Shakespeare, Julius Caesar (Act 1 Scene 2)

I should have taken heed. Yesterday, I was greeted with this in the mail.

I have to admit that I am a little excited about my first jury summons. If selected, I will have to drive north and get a hotel room and have at least one night of uninterrupted sleep! I might even be able to catch up on some picture editing and ordering since there won't be any little voices saying, "Mama, Elijah is touching me!"  But then again, I won't be able to get goodnight hugs and kisses from my boys and hear Beniah say, "I love you, Mama!"

O! that a man might know
The end of this day's business, ere it come;
But it sufficeth that the day will end,
And then the end is known. 
- William Shakespeare, Julius Caesar (Act 5 Scene 1) 

March 15, 2012

The Ol' Bag Lady

This past month, my sewing machine has been putting on a lot of So far, my favorite has been all for me! I found a messenger bag pattern online at ocd: obsessive craft disorder and decided to put my fears behind me and sew myself a new, durable, large purse. Why do I kid myself? It's just going to end up being a toy carrier. However, it will be a cute toy carrier! A word to the wise. If you have children under the age of 5 this project will take FOREVER! It took me four days of naps and evenings to cut, pin, sew, by sewing notions, take back too small sewing notion, and buy the correct sized sewing notion.  I am now done and very happy with the results.

Now that I am out of my crafting trance, I see a kitchen and a bathroom that is pleading for a good scrub down.

March 14, 2012

Pi Day!

   Happy Pi Day! This is the day that math nerds unite and celebrate the irrational number, pi. 


To commemorate this special day, I usually bake a pie. After much debate, I decided that not only will I celebrate the number pi, I will also give a shameless plug to my Aunt Nancy's book, More Than The Meal.  
  (Being sold for only $10. Please make your checks or money orders to Nancy Luse.)

Here is a pie recipe directly from my aunt's amazing book.

Lori's Peanut butter Pie

1 baked 9" Pie Shell
1/2 cup plus 2 Tablespoons Peanut butter
3/4 cup sifted confectionery sugar

Blend sugar and peanut butter until mealy. Sprinkle in shell.


1/3 cup flour
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 tsp salt
2 cups scalded milk
3 slightly beaten egg yolks
2 Tbsp butter
1 tsp vanilla

Combine flour, sugar, and salt in a double boiler or heavy saucepan. Stir in milk and cook, stirring until thick. Pour some of the mixture into the yolks to temper them so they don't turn to scrambled eggs. Pour into the rest of the mixture in the pan, cooking for several minutes. Add butter and vanilla. Pour into shell. Chill. 

Whipped Topping:
1/2 pint Heavy whipping cream

Whip heavy whipping cream until stiff peaks form.  Mound over the top of the pie. Sprinkle with 1/4 cup peanuts and drizzle chocolate sauce to your liking.

Since my mother in law and I are both Chocolate Peanut butter addicts fans, I raided her cupboards and pulled out her chocolate chips and mixed them with the peanut butter on the bottom of the pie shell. I also warmed up some peanut butter to drizzle over the whipped topping and then sprinkled mini chocolate chips on the top.

Have a wonderful Pi day! May all your math equations be answered quickly and correctly (and my aunt's book sales soar)!

March 9, 2012

The Flight of the Whittakers Part 3

On Sunday morning, we decided to visit Sovereign Grace Orange County, which is another church in our denomination. Tim and I were humored when they announced that there was going to be a picnic at a local park. They also mentioned that they usually take a break in December and January because of rain.  We later found out that rain to Southern Californians meant drizzle. Us, Pacific Northwesters, just smiled at their description of rain.

The church parking lot had 2 small palm trees that were the perfect Beniah and Elijah size.

After naptime, we went over to my Grandparents place and visited for awhile.

My Grandpa prayed a blessing over Elijah.

Beniah enjoyed looking at Great Grandma's cockatiel.

Then it was time to say goodbye.

The next morning, we got into our rental car for the last time and drove to the airport.

We were running a bit late, but that ended up being a good thing. The only three seats that were next to each other were in row three. We were able to be in the "first class" row without paying extra for it! We also didn't have to wait very long before we boarded the plane. I have to admit that I was stressing out a bit, but it worked out wonderfully.

Elijah flirted with the row behind us. It seemed to make them more sympathetic when he burst into hysterical tears part way through the flight.

I am so glad that we were able to fly down and see my grandparents. It was definitely a memorable trip that I will always cherish.

March 8, 2012

The Flight of the Whittakers Part 2

  One of the best smells to me is the smell of Folgers coffee. I won't let a drop of the sub-par liquid pass my lips, but I love the smell of it being brewed. The reason for this stems from my childhood visits to my Grandparents house. My grandparents used to live in a cute cabin that was apart of a Christian conference center. My Grandma was the bookkeeper and my Grandpa did maintenance. My family would visit at least once a summer and would stay in a neighboring cabin. Every morning, my sister and I would get up and race to Grandpa and Grandma's house so that we could climb in bed and snuggle with them. No matter how early we got up, my grandparents would have already brewed a pot of Folgers and were enjoying a cup of coffee in their bed. I loved the feel of their satiny pajamas and smell their cups of coffee and we talked about the important things in life like our dog, Cocoa, and what my hamster, Cinnamon, was doing while we were away.
  Fast forward 20 years, I am once again visiting my grandparents. This time, I am with my husband and two boys. My grandpa turned 90 years old and we were so excited to attend his birthday party. I was excited to see my grandparents once again. Beniah was excited because he thought that it was going to be an angry bird party. His cousin, Jeshu had an angry bird party so why wouldn't everybody else have one? 

Once the cake was brought out, Beniah was content with the boring party where everyone just talked.

The nice thing about grandma feeding her grandson ice cream....

 ...was the sugar crash that followed.

All of my aunts and uncles were able to make it.

And six of the sixteen Grandchildren and five of the twenty six Great Grandchildren were able to make the trip.

I also got my coveted four generations photo (which was taken three seconds before the meltdowns happened).

We had a fun time sharing memories of growing up with Grandpa. I loved hearing how my Grandpa came alongside others and encouraged them in the Lord. I loved hearing how my aunt put my Grandpa's hair in pin curls while he was asleep and then (when a deacon from the church he was pastoring came for a visit) woke my grandpa up to answer the door. I loved hearing how my
Grandparents have been married for almost 70 years and still see them show love to each other in small ways.
One of the highlights for me was hearing my almost blind grandpa yell out, “Identify yourself!” whenever some one entered the room or started talking. It made for some humorous split second moments of awkwardness.

March 7, 2012

The Flight of the Whittakers Part 1

 A few weeks ago, Tim and I decided to use some of our tax return to fly down to Southern California to celebrate my grandpa's 90th birthday.  This was Tim, Beniah, and Elijah's first airplane flights. Beniah has talked about wanting to fly on an airplane for approximately six months. So, Tim and I decided to wait to tell Beniah about the trip until the Sunday before we left.

Beniah's reaction was pure joy and excitement.

 Elijah was happy just to eat his muffin.

After a week of prepping and looking at the calendar, Friday the fly day finally arrived.

We got to the airport and went through security.

As we walked to our gate, Beniah found a fun new toy - the moving sidewalk!

 Our airplane was late, so the boys were able to watch it land and get prepped for flight. Patience is such a hard trait to develop when you are three and your dreams of flying are so close to coming true!

Once on the plane, Beniah was so excited when he realized that he could  switch channels on his and Mama's tv's that he only noticed that we were taking off because we told him about it. Beniah and Elijah did pretty good on the flight considering that this was their first experience with it. There were tears and fighting off sleep, but it was a fun trip.

 Once we landed, we picked up our rental car, drove to the motel, ate dinner, and crashed!

March 6, 2012

Angry Bird Attacks Writer's Block

I hate to admit it. I have terrible writers block! I heard somewhere (maybe in my own mind) that to get rid of it, just start writing.  I have been crafting a lot lately, so maybe that is where my creative juices are flowing.  My earliest February creation was the Yellow and Black Angry birds. My nephew, Jeshu, turned 4 at the beginning of the month and had a very cute Angry Bird themed party. So, I found a pattern at Obsessively Stitching and whipped up one Black Bomber bird and two Yellow birds (Beniah had to have one).

Beniah has been asking for more Angry birds and the piggies, until I told him, "Not right now! Please stop asking for them!"  To which he replied, "Mama, I have three Angry Birds. Elijah doesn't have any. Will you make Elijah an Angry Bird. He wants an orange one with blue on it."

My little manipulator!

I am planning on making some more for the boys Easter baskets. Hopefully, I won't put it off like I did our Christmas cards (which are on our dresser). Hmm... Easter cards anyone?