Guild Wars Cake

My Father-in-law loves Guild Wars 2. He passed this love down to both of his boys. We had a surprise party for his 60th birthday and thought there is no better birthday cake for a Guild Wars enthusiast than a Guild Wars cake.

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My brother-in-law had the Guild Wars statue (I believe that is a Rytlock…have to act like I know a little about the game to impress my husband) so all I had to do was build the cake “scenery”

I started by stacking my cakes. I had grand ideas of covering the cake with marshmallow fondant, but it turned out really hard and I couldn’t mix the color in completely. It ended up being a happy mistake because as I was dirty icing the cake I realized that the icing looked quite realistic by just raking a fork through it. I thought it looked like canyon walls. (Because of the canyon look, I think this cake would be great for a cars birthday party, minus the Rytlock of course.) My sister-in-law made trees using sugar cones frosted with green icing and then coated with green tinted coconut. I made boulders out of cake balls and the marshmallow fondant. The dirt was made with graham crackers and oreos, crushed up. I originally was going to make a waterfall, but my husband and brother-in-law said Rytlock is found more in fiery areas so we changed it up and made a lava flow.

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Let The Flavors Marry

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I have always enjoyed cooking and never found a recipe that I was not willing to at least try once. From the simple to the complex, I have tried all types. That does not mean I have not had my fair share of disasters in the kitchen. Just ask my husband about the time I tried to make Chili Rellenos from scratch on a Sunday afternoon in between services. I think we ended up eating PB&J.

Of all the cooking terms out there, one that has always stuck out to me is “Let the flavors marry.” It sticks out because even though we are talking about recipes and food, we could take the fundamentals of this cooking technique and apply it to our marriages as husbands and wives.

Allowing the flavors to marry in cooking is when you mix two things together. Let us look at three basic things that happen when we do this. The flavors become forever linked together, the flavors become stronger and the flavors become developed. These same basic principles apply to our lives as husbands and wives.

When we join together as husband and wife in marriage, we become forever linked. We see the Bible teaches, “For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’; so then they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate” (Mark 10:7-9). God joins us together when we are married and that is a bond that man cannot separate.

By being linked together with our spouse we become stronger like the flavors in a recipe. Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 is talking about friendship but it applies to marriage. “Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their labor. For if they fall, one will lift up his companion. But woe to him who is alone when he falls, for he has no one to help him up.  Again, if two lie down together, they will keep warm; but how can one be warm alone? Though one may be overpowered by another, two can withstand him. And a threefold cord is not quickly broken.”

My eleventh wedding anniversary is next month, so I speak from experience when I say marriage isn’t always easy. Being married allows us to grow and develop in our Christian walk together. Together is an important word. It means we can be accountable to each other and help when we see that our partner is struggling. It means we can go to our spouse when we are having a hard time. It means we always have someone there to share in our joys or in our sorrows, and someone who knows our deepest secrets.

As we go through our daily lives let us remember this little phrase “Let the flavors marry.” It will then bring to our remembrance three things. As husbands and wives we are forever linked by God. We become stronger because God has joined us together, and we develop and grow together in marriage.

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How To Keep Your Mesh Strainer Clean

I saw a post on Facebook yesterday about uses for coffee filters. As I was reading through them one tip caught my eye. It said to use a coffee filter inside your mesh strainer, when straining things like broth, to make it easier to clean afterward. GENIUS!

All you need is a mesh strainer, a coffee filter and something that needs straining.

I cooked some chicken today to put in the freezer. After it was done cooking I was left with some yummy looking chicken broth that I didn’t want to waste. When chicken cooks it leaves a not so lovely looking fatty substance in the broth. Using the coffee filter inside the mesh strainer keeps all those nasty little bits out of your broth and keeps them from clogging up your strainer.

Here is my not so lovely looking broth before I strained it.

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I poured the broth into the strainer that was lined with the coffee filter.

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I let it set for a minute or two so all the broth would strain through. Look at what I was left with, YUK!

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Gather up the edges of the coffee filter and throw it away.

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Look at how clean the strainer is.

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Now the broth looks yummy and ready to freeze or use.

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Camo Glam Flip Flop Makeover

My son and daughter each received a pair of these camo flip flops for Christmas. I thought it would be fun to dress my daughter’s pair up with a little bit of sparkle. I had some decorative sequin trim that I had bought in a remnant bag and I decided this would be a great way to use it.

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I began by hot gluing the trim down the middle of the straps. I decided the sequins weren’t enough, so I added the bow on the front. In the end I had a much more girliefied version of the original flip flop. My daughter loves them and can’t wait to wear them!

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Not Your Mama’s Ramen – Lemon Pepper Noodles

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Sometimes you need a meal idea and you need one quickly! This is my version of Ramen noodles only tastier and quicker.

Here is what you will need:

4 C. Leftover Noodles (I used spaghetti)

2 TBSP. Butter

1 TBSP. Lemon Pepper

1 tsp. Minced Garlic

Melt the butter in a skillet on medium high heat. Add the seasonings and stir together until the butter is melted. Add the cold spaghetti to the skillet and stir until the noodles are heated through and coated in the lemon butter.

This recipe is kid approved!

How To Organize Ties

My husband is a preacher. He owns A. Lot. Of. Ties! He loves to wear crazy ties as I call them. He has a Mr. Potato Head tie, a whole collection of Mickey Mouse ties, a tie with money printed all over it, and several that my dad has brought him back from other countries. These are just to name a few. We have always shared a closet and those ties seemed to take up a lot of space. I tried to organize them by hanging them over a hanger. I had several hangers filled with ties and all the ties would eventually shift to one end of the hanger and then the hanger would hang wonky in the closet. (Wonky is a very technical term, you know.) One Christmas I found a motorized tie organizer which actually held all of his ties. I think the ties must have been too heavy for the motor though, because after about a month it stopped working. I now organize his ties using towel rods. I found the idea in a book titled Sunset Ideas for Storage: Cabinets, Closets, Bookshelves.

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I bought four towel bars on clearance at Target and got to work putting them up. I hung the towel bars so that when I hung a tie over the top towel bar the bottom of the tie could be tucked behind the towel bar below it and so on and so forth. Since I had four towel bars, I had three bars to hang ties on and the lowest one to tuck the ties behind.

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We live in a parsonage and while we have amazing living spaces, we have teeny tiny bedrooms with itty bitty closets. I love how this project saves valuable space in our closet. With it behind our bedroom door, it is a space saver that can be hidden from view, which is another plus!

What Did You Make Wednesday? Summer Passport to Fun

Today is the first day of spring! I am excited that the temperatures are starting to warm up and the flowers are blooming.

Look at my daffodils!

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I think this one might be a crocus.

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Even our peanut plant is ready to be transplanted. Look at the before and after! The first photo was taken 2 weeks before the second one.

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The kids have been playing outside more because the weather has been so nice. With that and it staying light outside longer, I have started dreaming of all the fun things we can do this summer. It never hurts to plan ahead! So I wanted to share with you our Summer Passport to Fun. I let the kids pick out activities they want to do and places they want to eat. I also added a few myself that I think they will enjoy. Then I scoured the internet for some cute clip art and made our booklet in Microsoft Word.

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Somehow ice cream ended up in the book twice, but I don’t think anyone will mind!

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Here’s to having tons of family fun this spring and summer!

Fast Food Fixes: Cheeseburgers

We live in a small town. When I say small I mean small. The population is less than 600. The only restaurants we have in our little town are a pizza buffet and if you count the grocery/convenience store then we have a sandwich shop. Sometimes we want more than just pizza or a sandwich, but the closest town with any more options is 18 miles away. I have decided it is quicker and usually tastes better to just fix our favorite “fast foods” at home. Here is my version of a simple cheeseburger.

What you will need:

  • 1 pound of 80/20 ground beef (I find this ratio makes the burgers juicier)
  • Dried Minced Onion
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Garlic Powder
  • Worcestershire Sauce
  • 4 Hamburger Buns
  • American Cheese
  • Burger Toppings – Mayonnaise, Mustard, Ketchup, Lettuce, Tomato, Pickles, Onion (Whatever your heart/stomach desires)

Start by dividing your meat into 4 equal portions. I divided mine into 3 equal portions and then divided one of the portions into 2 smaller portions. This way my husband and I would have a larger burger and the twins would have smaller slider size burgers. Just do whatever works for your family. Form the meat into patties and season both sides with the onion, garlic, salt, pepper and worcestershire. Turn the heat on medium high and let the burgers cook about 5-6 minutes on each side.

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Try not to flip them excessively or squash them with the spatula because this will make them less juicy.

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Add the cheese to the top of the burgers and let it melt completely.

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Nothing quite like the sight of a cheeseburger with all that melty cheese.

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Drain the patties on a paper towel while you toast your buns.

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Lay your buns out on a cookie sheet and toast under the broiler until they are golden brown.

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Fix your burger up with lots of yummy condiments and serve it up with tater tots and a pickle. Don’t forget the pickle.

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I think I could have this meal cooked, eaten and the dishes washed in the time it would take my husband to drive to town and get us a burger in the drive through.

What Did You Make Wednesday? The Party Dress

I have been in an organizing mood lately. I was joking with my friend today that since I spent the last 15 weeks of my pregnancy on bed rest maybe I am going through the nesting phase now (my twins are 5 years old). I really just think it is due to my OCD. I have been organizing everything…closets, the homeschool room, and Monday I decided to go through my fabric stash. I hadn’t gone through it in a while and it is kind of like looking at old photographs. I started reminiscing in a way about the fabric that I hadn’t seen in a while. Well before I knew it I had started on a project and the organizing got pushed to the side. This quote is quite appropriate for that day.

craftsnark advice if you marry a creative person

Quote found here.

I made my daughter a dress using this piece of fabric I found in my stash. It had a big hole in the middle.

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I used The Party Dress tutorial from u create. Here is how it turned out.

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This is the first garment I have sewn from a pattern since my sophomore year in high school. My sash turned out narrower than the one in the tutorial but I think it works. I love the fabric covered buttons, they are so cute and were so easy to make. I had never made any before. I will use this tutorial again. It was easy to use for a novice like myself. However I do need to sharpen my skills at attaching a gathered skirt to a bodice.