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Summer Vacation

We are back and we survived our summer vacation. The highlights? There were a lot of them! Spending time with my brother and his family in Illinois was a ton of fun. My sister-in-law runs a very nice at home daycare, and so the kids were in heaven with all the toys and things to do. While we were there we went to the Friendship Festival parade and carnival, which was really a lot of fun. After a few days with my brother and his family, we went on into Chicago and spent some time with my good friend Melissa and her family. It was so nice to catch up and for the kids to get the chance to play together. We had a lovely visit. After Chicago we drove to Pittsburgh, PA...home of Nick's sister. I really like Pittsburgh a lot. I love the downtown area with all the bridges and old architecture. While we were there we ate at some great places and did some fun activities. We went to the Pittsburgh, PA Children's museum one day and the zoo the next. I also got my hair completely chopped off. It has taken some getting used to, but I really like it. It is shorter than I have ever had it as an adult. (You can see a photo of the new me in the slide show). The last leg of our trip was spent in Iowa at my in-laws farm. We had a lot of fun with family, celebrating birthday's, camping out, playing on the farm equipment, swimming, etc. The kids were great in the car, especially considering that our total travel time was around 40 hours, with one very long 14 hour leg. We are glad to be home … [Continue reading]

Raspberry Cheesecake Shakes

Written for Paper Palate on the Well Fed NetworkWhen looking at cooking magazines that only come out quarterly, I expect to be able to immediately tell what season we are in by looking at the cover of the magazine. For summer, I want bright photographs full of fresh ingredients, cool treats and quick dinner ideas. Summertime is for playing... the last thing I want to do is spend the entire evening in the kitchen slaving over a hot stove. We just returned from our family vacation (which I will write about soon...still recovering from the car ride!), and since we were stuck in the car for 40 hours total, I got tempted more than once at our stops by magazines being sold. One magazine that I have noticed before but never picked up is a special interest publication of Better Homes and Gardens. The magazine is simply titled Eat with a tag line of easy family food. The summer 2007 edition promised recipes for "good food fast" and the tempting photograph of the fruit waffle bowl on the front cover is what sealed the deal. I bought the magazine for $4.99 and set out to see what Eat magazine was all about.The first thing I noticed about Eat magazine is that the featured cooks in the magazine are very much like me. Busy moms trying to put good food on the table every night for our family, without spending a lot of time doing it. The recipes were very straightforward...Eat magazine is not for the gourmet cook but is for the person who wants simple and delicious solutions at … [Continue reading]

I Would Call It a Vacation, But…

 I would call what we are getting ready to go on a vacation, but I don't think I can. To me a vacation involves a lounge chair, an umbrella drink, the sand in my toes and the sound of the ocean waves in my ear. In my mind, the word vacation is not equivalent to riding 40 hours in the car with three children 5 and under. I am sure when we return, you are going to see a long run of posts about adult beverages as I am sure after that kind of trip, cocktails are deserved and in order.I am really excited to see my brother and his family. His wife, Ginger, makes the most incredible tasting enchiladas. We will get to spend some time with my good friend Melissa and her family, which we haven't done in at least 4 years. We will finally get to visit my sister-in-laws house in Pittsburg, PA too and we'll get to see the rest of the in-laws at the end of our vacation for summer birthday parties.  Yes, long hours on the road are ahead of us, but the destinations will be worth it.I thought I'd share with you the links to some of my favorite strawberry recipes. These are links to recipes I have not posted yet, but that I love very much! In the meantime, if you are looking for a yummy and patriotic treat for your kids, make sure to check out my Kid's Cuisine post from today. You can find it here.Now, on to the recipes:This is my all time favorite milk shake recipe - Sonic Strawberry Cheesecake ShakeThis is my favorite way to have a simple strawberry treat - Maple Sauce for … [Continue reading]

A Cover to Covet

Written for Just Baking on the Well Fed NetworkI know you all have been there. You are standing in the checkout lane of a grocery store and a magazine photo catches your eye. Maybe it is one with the current celebrity gossip. Maybe you are more of the House and Garden type and spot a cover with a gorgeous room makeover. If you are like me, it is the food magazines that are the most tempting. I will see a cover photo of something delectable and fight with myself not to pick up the magazine to purchase it. A few weeks ago my friend Kathy called with a request. She had purchased a copy of Family Circle magazine while she was at the grocery store simply because on the front cover was a photo of a cake that was entirely to tempting to go without. Her request, since she claims to not be a baker, was for me to make this dessert. Several days later she stopped by with the recipe including the photo and I could tell right away why her taste buds were interested in having a bite of this treat. Before me was a four layer white cake stacked with cream and strawberries in the middle. Since I love strawberries in almost any form, I told her I was up to the task. This cake makes a beautiful presentation. The layer after layer of summer goodness is just too good to pass up. I was surprised at how mild the flavor was though. I am a sweet and sugary sweets girl, and this cake was not nearly as sweet as I would have liked. Kathy, my family and some other neighbors loved the cake, so I would … [Continue reading]

Splish Splash

I have faint memories of living in our house on 30th drive and playing in the street after a big rain or after the fire trucks unlocked the hydrants. I remember all the little kids on the block splashing in the water in the gutters and us pretending like the street was a pool. These memories are so faint that I wonder if they are real.While Ella took her morning nap, Jacob, Kelly and I went outside. The kids were in their swimsuits and I turned on our sprinkler system. What a blast they had running through the water, jumping over the jets and splashing in the puddles that pooled on the sidewalk. I had my IPod docked and playing my favorite 80's tunes and I enjoyed the sunshine while soaking up the memories and reading Real Simple magazine. This is exactly what summer means to me!  … [Continue reading]