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Friday, February 24, 2012

I love you, San Antonio

We just returned from a fabulous, albeit short, visit to San Antonio. Hubs is from SA and pretty much his entire family lives there. I cannot even describe how happy this makes me! I LOVE Texas! Growing up, did you ever wish or pretend that you were from somewhere that you weren't? A different time, a princess, etc? I did. I always thought I should be southern. I wished I had the accent, I loved country music, cowboys and boots. I wished I rode a horse. My childhood pastor and his wife were from TX and I just loved Miss Marcy so much, I wanted to be just like her. Well, fast forward 20 plus years and God has blessed me unbelievably with my very own cowboy. WOO HOO!! A born and bred Texan with a heart the size of...well, Texas! side note: my mom relentlessly teases hubs about AK being bigger than TX :) Charlie loves to say, that he is American by birth and Texan by the grace of God. On Charlie's side of the family, out of all of us "kids" and spouses (10 of us total) I am the only "yankee." LOL! I have amazing in-laws and the best brothers and sisters in-law that have all graciously "adopted" me. I may not have been born in Texas, but I got there as soon as I could, right? :)
So, all of that back story, to say this. My FIL (Charlie's step-dad) Steve, is the Chairman of the Board of the San Antonio Stock Show and Rodeo and this past weekend we had the opportunity to fly to SA for the long weekend and the rodeo! Honestly people, if you have never attended a rodeo, you are seriously missing out! Here are a few pics from our trips. Sadly, somehow I managed to not snap a single pic of the actual rodeo events itself! If you've ever been, I'm sure you can understand- it's just so exciting!

 Oh. My. Word. Is she beautiful or what?!
 I'm not sure what she was hoping to find in the well, but this just makes me laugh. Notice the new boots! She's is VERY proud of them! This is her second pair. :)
 Three generations of Taylor men. Charlie's dad Robert, Charlie and Tristan.
We spent a great afternoon having lunch with Grampa Taylor and Uncle Jake.

We love you Texas family and we cannot wait until our next visit!!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Cheater Cinnamon rolls

You know, Pinterest is a wonderful resourse for so many things creative. There is so much inspiration to find there. (What? Not on Pinterest? Jump on the wagon, here.) I love finding recipes there that I don't know that I would have otherwise. I have definitely had some Pinterest recipe fails (Hello, black bean brownies!) but this was an epic win! So without further ado,

Cinnamon Roll Muffins:

1 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 egg
3 to 3 1/2 cups flour

5 tbsp butter, softened
1 cup brown sugar
1 1/4 tsp cinnamon

1 cup powdered sugar
2-3 tbsp milk
1/4 tsp vanilla

In a medium bowl, mix together the brown sugar, baking soda, salt, vanilla and egg. Add the buttermilk, then the flour. Stir until thoroughly combined. Note: the recipe calls for 3 to 3.5 cups of flour, I needed to use all 3.5 cups.)
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for a minute or two. Roll the dough into a 12-inch by 24-inch rectangle. Spread with butter, then sprinkle with the cinnamon sugar mixture.
Roll the dough into a log beginning with the wide side. Stretch the log slightly as you roll to keep a tight seam. Cut the log in half, then each half in half again. Cut each quarter into three equal pieces until you have 12 total rolls. Place them in a greased muffin pan spiral side up.
Bake at 375 F for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown. Allow the muffins to cool for about 5 minutes, then remove them from pans to a cooling rack.  Combine ingredients for glaze and drizzle over the top.

Homemade cinnamon rolls take quite a bit of time, worth it, albeit, but still, time that many of us don't have. This recipe is so completely easy. It goes together in no time flat so this weekend there will be no excuse for Pillsbury!
Oh, and in case you're wondering, I found this recipe by Ruby Glen via Sprinkled with Flour. Definitely check out Sprinkled with Flour. Amber has an amazing blog and her post on this recipe is beautiful with step by steps pics.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

The Ultimate Valentine

Valentine's Day was yesterday and I hope y'all felt loved! I know I did! My dear husband is sooo good to me! About a year ago, I posted a little "Courtney's Wishlist" on the fridge thinking that I would help hubs out in the gift department. He never had to wonder what to get me, there was always a few ideas posted right there on the fridge! Well, if I'm honest I made the list more for my own memory (it's terrible!) than for his assistance. And you know what? In a whole year of holidays, he has given me something on my wishlist just once. I am married to the most creatively thoughtful man on the planet. This year he gave me cooking classes at a local cooking school! Oh, I'm so excited!! As absolutely amazing as my husband is, there is another that loves me (and you!) more than anyone else ever will!

For God So LOVED the world that He gave His one and only son that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16

I'm doing a Bible Study right now called Beloved Disciple: The Life and Ministry of John by Beth Moore. It is a wonderful study and I highly recommend it. This weeks study was so perfect and so fitting for Valentine's week that I couldn't not share it with you. Beth says it perfectly like this:

"Scripture doesn't tell us He loved the sun, and it is the most impressive amond visible elements. Nor are we told He loved the stars, even though He knows each by name. (Psalm 147:4) John went out of his way, however, to to tell us not just that God loved the world but that He so loved the world. In a universe so vast, so incomprehensible, why does God single out one little planet to so love? Beloved, absorb this into the marrow: because we are on it. As despicable as humanity can be, God loves us. Inconceivably, we are His treasures. His prized creation. He just loves us. So much, in fact, that He did something I with my comparatively pitiful love for my children would not do for anyone. (Nor I!) We are so small. Yet the vastness of His love-so high, so wide, so deep, so long-envelops us as the endless universe envelops a crude little planet God called Earth."

Now, that my friend, is love! I will take a love like that any day! He is the lover of our souls and we need never fear a broken heart, His word says, "He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds." Psalm 147:3 The absolute beauty of it is this: it doesn't cost a thing and it is free to anyone!! If you want to experience the love of your life, please let me introduce you to my Ultimate Valentine!


Friday, February 10, 2012

Valentine Inspirations

Happy Friday y'all! Are you looking forward to the weekend as much as I am? It's been a long week for me so I'm looking forward to a couple of days fun. Every other Saturday we take Trinity to the Build and Grow clinic that Lowe's puts on and tomorrow she'll be building a Valentine Card Creater. In addition to that, she's also been invited to a b-day party at the park tomorrow afternoon. I have plans to head to Long Beach with my friend to pick up some Annie Sloan chalk paint. We went garage sale-ing last weekend and Leigh Anne found an amazing antique table that she plans to breath new life into and use as a sewing table. It's going to be so beautiful when she's done! In between all of that and a few other things, we are going to be making some valentines. I originally planned this post to be a collections of ideas and inspirations that I've seen floating around the web and blog land over the past month. However, several blog that I follow have all been posting the same thing the past several days. Why re-invent the wheel I say, so since they already did all the hard work of compiling them for me, I'll just link you over to their amazing blogs to check 'em out. Hang out for awhile when you're there-you are certainly sure to find something to inspire you by these AMAZING women.

First up, Amy at Positively Splendid shared 12 Unique Valentine's you can make.  And, a few days ago Jen over at Tater Tots and jellow shared both 20 DIY Valentine Gifts to Make! and 21 Valentine's Day Printables. As for us, we made these quick and easy Valentine rice crispy treats for Trinity's Awana Club at church on Wed night. Let me just say, if you want to be your child's hero- make these! What's easier than rice crispy treats? Some how cutting them with a heart-shaped cookie cutter and drizzling melted chocolate on them made me Super Mom. I'll take it!

Last night I printed out these adorable iPhone Valentine's. We'll be working on these this weekend. If you're family and reading this, please act surprised! Trinity is pretty excited about them.

You can find this awesome and FREE printable here. She even has an iPad valentine. So cute!

What are your weekend plans?
Are you making your Valentine's this year?

Have a blessed weekend!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

A Valentine Wreath

 I've never been one to decorate for the seasons or for each holiday, except of course for Christmas. Then it's game on. Each fall, I put out a few decorations and scatter some pumpkins or gourds around, but other than that my house is generally the same year round. Over the past year I've really wanted to change that and now that we are in a house that we expect to be in for four years, I feel like I can stretch my creative muscles a little more easily. With that said and because Valentine's Day is in one week and love is in the air, I thought I'd share my brand new Valentine's Day wreath with you.

The inspiration for this wreath came from many places. I originally saw this gorgeous wreath and immediately set out to Joann's in search of some floral stems and grapevine to make my own. Not finding what I had in my vision I began perusing the store aisle by aisle until I came upon paper mache letters. I scooped up a 12 inch letter of each and then began brainstorming how I could transform them. Now, let me just clarify from the beginning here, I am NOT inherently creative. I am left-handed and supposedly lefties are more "artsy" but somehow that gene passed me up all together. I am, however an excellent copier. :)
I remembered seeing a ruffled heart wreath on Pinterest that was created using fabric. As soon as I thought fabric, I thought of my sweet and insanely talented friend Jeannie and a wreath she made last summer with upcycled t-shirts from goodwill. Naturally, you can guess where my next stop was. To goodwill I went and came out with an x-large women's pink t-shirt and a large men's red t-shirt.
Over the next two nights after the kids were in bed, I got to work doing this...

and this...

Now, here is where I should show you a pic of how I painted my letters before going to work creating my ruffles. But, I grossly miscalculated (read: didn't calculate at all) how many circles of fabric I'd need and therefore didn't paint the sides of my letters until after the fabric was on. Don't be like me.
Back to the ruffles. Here is how you make them. Take your circle of fabric and fold it in half creating a semi circle.

Next, fold your semi-circle in half again to create a quarter. In some tutorials I read, it was recommended to put a dot of hot glue at the bottom middle of the semi-circle before quartering it. I did this the first few times, but soon discovered a more lazy efficient method and just skipped the dot of glue entirely. I don't think it made a difference in my finished product, but to each their own.  

Then just drop a dot of hot glue on your letter and smash your quartered circle, point side down, into the glue like so.

After repeating the above steps lots and lots and lots of times you'll end up with something like this

Repeat all of that lots and lots and lots more times, glue a ribbon to the back to hang it from and you've got this! A beautiful and festive new addition to your previously unadorned and boring from door. That is if your front door is anything like mine was.

Oops! I failed to mention that to attach the letters to one another, I poked a hole through each letter in approximately the same spot. I just eye-balled it. I used a pointy screw-driver looking thing from Hubs' toolbox, then threaded with ribbon and tied it in the back. Easy peasy. :)

Monday, February 6, 2012

Come on over!

Here it is, my very first post on my very first blog! Yay! The creation of this blog has been a labor of love over the past couple of weeks after the kiddos are in bed and I'm so proud of it! I'm super excited to share our lives with you through recipes, crafts, pictures and stories.
Wanna join the fun? If so, can you please do me a favor and click on the follow button over there on the right, or follow by email. It'd be almost like you're coming over to my home for a visit. If I could I'd give you a glass of tea and sit down with you for a chat. Which would inevitably be interrupted by a 5 yr old that wants to give you a full home tour and a 13 mo old that wants the ice from your tea glass and has probably already thrown your shoes in the recycle bin. Spare your shoes (and me the task of picking up my side of the bed) and follow along here!