Sunday, February 21, 2010
Here is the LEGO cake I made for my son's 5th birthday party. I used a yellow cake recipe (not the box) and made a buttercream frosting from the recipe on the Domino powdered sugar box. Instead of the usual food coloring, I used concentrated food coloring paste. It worked well. For the pegs on top of the cake, I cut large marshmellows in half and then put it on a fork to frost.
I tried to come up with some theme related games for the children. I found lots of ideas on the internet. We had one game where there were two teams. Each child had one minute to put as many LEGOS as they could into a big can using tongs. They had to lean over the back of a chair while kneeling. Another game was a ring toss game. We had a tower made out of Mega Blocks and each child had a turn to throw a ring over it. The kids all enjoyed a game of Hot Potato. I enjoyed this version, because I didn't have to keep turning the music off and on. They used a potato looking plush toy that played music when it was squeezed and then randomly shut off. Each child who was "out" chose a piece of candy as they sat out of the circle. I found a plastic ball in the pinata section at the party store which I filled with candy. We also used this ball to go bowling. We set up some cardboard blocks and the children took turns knocking them over with the ball. The boys sat at the kitchen table and played with LEGOS, while the girls were playing with a bunch of different things. We had pizza for lunch and chips, M & M's and Junior Mints for snacks. My son handed out Star Wars Goody Bags to all of his friends. They had a couple of Star Wars toys, fruit snacks and some candy in them.
We had a family party afterwards. We ate homemade Stromboli, taco dip, peanut franks from Karl Ehmer, and Birds' Nests (shredded potatoes with veggies shaped like a nest) from Trader Joes. After we gave our stomachs time to rest, it was time for dessert- more cake, ice cream, coffee and tea. We ordered a cake from our local bakery (their cakes are so delicious!). It was a vanilla cake filled with vanilla pudding on one side and custard with fresh strawberries on the other side with whipped cream topping. Everyone looks forward to the cake. Did I mention our local bakery makes the best cakes? So fresh and delicious, you can't have just one piece. Speaking of that, I think there is a piece leftover in the fridge. Unless of course my husband got to it late last night. Nah, he was probably too tired after 8 hours of birthday parties. Good thing for me.
Sunday, February 14, 2010
Well today is Valentine's Day. Like every other holiday in our culture, another opportunity for companies to make money. It is fun to buy chocolate hearts, exchange valentines and join in the festivities. It is also a great time to tell those who are special to us how much we love and appreciate them. It is even a better time to think of the awesome love which God showed to us in while we were still sinners, Christ died for us (Romans 5:8).
At church today our pastor preached from Romans 12:1-3 and reminded us of what biblical love is. It is a commitment, not an emotion. It means saying "I will do what is right regardless of how I feel". Is this what we see in the world around us? How often do we see people saying "I am not happy anymore" or "I don't love him or her anymore". Well last time I checked the wedding vows, I don't remember it saying anything about I will love you as long as I am happy or I will be your husband or wife as long as I love you. In Christian marriage we do vow to love one another as long as we both shall live. I am not here to debate reasons for divorce, just to encourage us to all love, the biblical way. So what do you do when you don't feel like loving? You do it anyway. You look for ways to show love through your actions. Whether it means everyday things like cooking dinner, or doing the laundry,or something that takes a bit more thought like taking the kids out so your husband can get a nap or writing a note and leaving it somewhere unexpected, just do it. If you have children, while you are doing these things in your everyday life, you are showing your children what to look for in a future husband and wife. Will they look for someone who makes them feel good and makes them happy? Great, but what will happen when those feelings fade? But... what if they look for someone who they can help to be the person God made them to be? Someone who is committed to live together as a testimony of God's great love? Someone who will work on building a strong marriage and a strong family for God's kingdom? Well, they will have a solid foundation for those times when they don't feel like loving, when they feel unhappy. Let's face it...our feelings can change like the wind (especially for us women), but God's Word stands forever. It is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow. So which are you standing on?
I know I wrote mostly about marital love, but biblical love is not just for us married folks. You can still do what is right and love and serve God and others being single. What a great opportunity to do so! May we remember to love God first, others second and ourselves last.
Happy Valentine's Day to Tom, my husband, who shows me everyday what it means to love.
Saturday, February 6, 2010
Oops! Well it was a full pie. I forgot to take a picture before giving my kids a sample. They could hardly wait. Thanks to my husband for rolling the dough out for me. The engineer in him makes the perfect circle. I have made pizza before but only with dough that I bought at the store or bakery. I came across a recipe and just like the bread, it didn't sound difficult at all. So I decided to try to make my own and see how it goes. Would it be worth it? Afterall we do have the best pizza in NY. (Sorry you Chicago fans!) I think a pie goes for about $13 now, and I can't even figure out how much this one costs. My best estimate would be $5. It really doesn't matter if I am saving the money if it doesn't taste good though. I read excellent reviews of this recipe, but wondered if the reviewers had actually tasted real pizza, you know NY pizza. Well I have to admit... I agree with their rave reviews. I adapted the recipe by using some whole wheat flour in place of all white flour and didn't use cornmeal on the crust. It is delicious. The kids loved it and said "Mommy, your pizza is the best!". What more could a Mom want to hear. It is music to my ears. And the best part... I know exactly what ingredients were used to make it. You can find the recipe here
We just topped the crust with sauce and cheese since that is how the kids like it best. Thanks Tammy for another great recipe. I give it a 10 as well. And that's coming from a NY pizza lover. I think it even looks like a NY pizza pie from the pizza place. If I put it into a cardboard box I bet you couldn't tell the difference. What do you think?