Baptism Day!

Miles was baptized on June 2nd in front of family and friends! My parents, brother and future sister-in-law were able to come downstate for the baptism. In our church it is common practice for family and friends to come up and support us as Miles was baptized. We loved being surrounded by so much love!

Miles did a great job. He was sleeping but woke up just in time to be baptized before he went back to sleep. Miles didn’t cry or fuss as the water touched his head, heart and feet.
_MG_9917_MG_9926Someone from our church makes these banners for everyone that is baptized. It now hangs in Miles’ room.
DSCF7000We invited our family and friends to join us in the Ministry House next door for some hors d’oeuvres and fellowship. We did some light decorating but I didn’t want to spend too much. I bought a few tablecloths, some chocolate for the table and the plates, napkins, etc. I choose the colors off of the baptism plates I bought and the colors ended up being close to the colors we had at our wedding.

IMG_4763 I made the cupcakes but they were frosted by Miles’ Auntie Tia. I added Miles’ name and put the cupcakes into a cross and called it done!
IMG_4769 IMG_4782 All the delicious food; Zapp Jello, Salad, chips, fruit, fruit pizza, veggies, BBQ meatballs and turkey roll ups.
IMG_4783I believe Miles’ Auntie Raena grabbed my camera and took a few pictures and then I snapped a few of our friends and family spending time with Miles and one another.
IMG_4784 IMG_4789 IMG_4790 IMG_4791 IMG_4795 IMG_4796 We also tried to get pictures with Miles and his family and friends! I realized a few weeks after his baptism that we never got one with just our little family.. oh well. Live and learn.

Miles and the DeRuischer family.
IMG_4798 IMG_4800 Eric had met Miles a few times but it was always right after work so he wasn’t comfortable holding him. He was nice and clean so he finally got a chance to hold Miles!
IMG_4801 Miles tried on Uncle Justin’s tie. He looked so handsome!
IMG_4802 Miles and his Great-Grandma.
IMG_4803To be continued!!!

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Pinterest Challenge

It’s that time of year again! Time for another Pinterest Challenge hosted by Young House Love, Bower Power and friends. This challenge is a way to “stop-pinning-and-start-doing.”  I had big plans to work on a Christmas project or a Baby project but the weekend didn’t go as expected and then it was Monday night…  time to hit my recipe page on Pinterest.

After taking inventory of our cooking supplies I decided on this recent pin that intrigued not only myself but my hubby!

My original pin is here but when you click on the picture it doesn’t take you to a recipe. Under the picture was the recipe so I went to my trusty Google and searched for the original recipe. There were a few recipes there but I copied one and will post from that specific recipe.

My Kitchen Escapades called this recipe Parmesan Chicken Bake and you can find her recipe here.

Parmesan Chicken Bake
(adapted from Food.com)
6 chicken breasts
1 C light mayonnaise or greek yogurt (I have done 1/2 of each as well)
1/2 c fresh parmesan cheese, plus more for the top
1 1/2 tsp seasoning salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1 tsp garlic powder

1.  Preheat oven to 375 degrees and spray the inside of a 9×13 glass pan.  Lay the chicken inside the pan.
2.  Mix together the remaining ingredients and spread evenly over each piece of chicken, being sure to cover all the exposed raw meat (so it doesn’t dry out.)  Sprinkle on a bit more fresh parmesan over all the chicken.
3.  Bake uncovered for 45 minutes.  This dish is even better the next day, so just reheat in the microwave!

Here is how I did it!
Combine 1/2c.freshly shredded parmesan cheese (not pictured), 1 c. Greek yogurt, 1 tsp. garlic powder, 1 1/2 tsp. seasoning salt, and 1/2 tsp. pepper.

Your mixture should look like this!
Using a spatula I covered the chicken completely (bottom, top and sides). I cut two chicken breasts in half for a fast cooking time.

I baked the chicken at 375 for around 20/25 minutes until the chicken spread was browning.

The pan was MESSY! Thankfully Ben anticipated this and put down parchment paper before I put the chicken down. After lifting up the parchment paper, the pan was clean!

Our thoughts:

We usually split a chicken breast to reduce our meat intake. Needless to say… there are no leftovers. The combination of ingredients was unique for us and we enjoyed the flavor. The recipe I pinned on Pinterest said “Melt In Your Mouth Chicken.” We didn’t agree with that statement and the yogurt didn’t prevent the chicken from drying out but we did love the unique flavor. We usually have these ingredients on hand so it was a fun way to integrate yogurt into dinner. We will be doing this one again!

Date Night

I don’t cook. I mean I do… just not often. I don’t get home until 6:00pm most nights and Ben gets home a few hours earlier. For this reason Ben has taken on the role of family cook! Ben is a great cook! He can look at what is in the kitchen and make some random meal without referring to a recipe. Every time he whips up something it. is. delicious. I on the other hand am not as adventurous. I stick to the same recipes/meals so it really is ideal that Ben cooks. Occasionally Ben gets into a project so I make dinner instead of tearing him away from the project. 

Ben started cooking one night (about a month ago) but got distracted with cleaning his car. I took over and finished the meal and had everything laid out for him. He was surprised to see I took over and was even more surprised when he saw I grabbed a few beers out of the fridge. 

On the menu:
Lake Superior White Fish with Lemon Pepper Seasoning
Red Skinned Potatoes drizzled in EVOO and random spices (pepper, garlic, cumin, etc.)
Beans from our 2011 garden. 
Berry Weiss Beer


I can’t forget to mention the beautiful flower we picked up at the Farmer’s Market. 
After dinner we got back to our crazy lives but it was nice to just sit and relax for 20 minutes. We’ve been so busy that if we do get to eat a meal together it is usually a super fast one. 

Making: Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Brownies

Every three weeks Ben and I attend a bible study with a couple people from our church. At every gathering someone makes a dessert. I love this tradition. I get something super tasty every few weeks and I occasionally get to try a new recipe! 


In May I made Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Brownies. They were very sweet (even for my sweet tooth) so I’m not sure how often I will be making them but I was happy to at least try the recipe!


I got the recipe from Recipe Girl here



Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Brownies

COOKIE DOUGH (EGG FREE!):
3/4 cup salted butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
3/4 cup granulated white sugar
3 Tablespoons milk
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups mini chocolate chips
1/2 cup semisweet chips (for topping)

Directions:

1. Prepare the brownies: I just used a box of brownies but Recipe Girl makes her own. 
2. Prepare the cookie dough: In a medium bowl, use an electric mixer to combine butter, brown sugar and white sugar. Mix in milk and vanilla. Mix in flour just until combined. Stir in chocolate chips.
3. Spread cookie dough over the cooled brownies. Refrigerate until the dough is quite firm. It’s okay to speed up the process and place it in the freezer too. The firmer the dough, the easier it will be to cut into neat squares. Use a sharp knife to cut the brownies. You may need to wipe the knife off with a paper towel in between cuts since the fudgy brownies and cookie dough will tend to stick to the knife a bit. These brownies are best to serve placed inside cupcake papers and served with a fork.
4. If you’d like to add chocolate drizzle on top, melt 1/2 cup chocolate chips; stir until smooth. Scoop the melted chocolate into a zip baggie and snip off the corner. Squeeze the bag to drizzle the chocolate on top of each brownie. 
Enjoy!

Making: Camo Cupcakes

I wanted to make something fun for my brother’s birthday. What says Justin more than CAMO CUPCAKES!! I got the idea from here on Pinterest. 


They were super easy to make and I foresee myself going through the same process in the future with fun color combinations! (Please forgive me for the bad photos towards the end, my brother came early and I was RUSHING to get the cupcakes baked and put away before he noticed!)

Make the cupcake batter and divide it into thirds.
(Note: I only used half of the cake batter, the other half was used to make a separate cake)


Make three camo colors; I made dark green, bright green and brown. 
Add blue and yellow to make green. I added extra green dye to one cup to make a vibrant green. For the brown I mixed a ton of food colorings together. 

Starting with one color add in about a tablespoon into the cupcake liner. Then add the second color. Then the third. The batter separates as you add each color leaving the cupcakes looking like this. 

 Then take a butter knife and swirl around the colors. 

Done! 

I wanted the guests to see the camo so I didn’t frost the cupcakes. I dyed vanilla frosting bright green and let the guest frost their own. 

3 Birthdays, 3 Days, 1 Party

My family and Tia’s (my brother’s fiancee) family came to visit for Easter. While both families were together I thought it would be fun to celebrate my brother’s birthday. After talking to my mom about this plan she suggested we also celebrated my dad’s birthday (two days after my brother’s). When talking to Tia about this she mentioned her dad, Ricky, has a birthday in between my dad and my brother. 

Justin: April 14
Ricky: April 15
Randy: April 16


I wanted to celebrate all three birthdays with one party! I used a primary color scheme and added a personalized cake for each person. I made the decorations, cake, etc. in the 24 hours leading up to the party and for most of if both my dad and brother were around. I had to be super sneaky (and it helped the boys spent hours outside). 

Entering into the dining room. 

Happy Birthday Banner

Balloon Garland and Pinwheels

Our dining room was transformed quickly before the party began.
My mom and I had just over an hour to decorate, frost the cakes, etc.

Gift/Drink/Treat Table

A closer look.

I made this sign and hung it on the wall next to the gift table. 

I saw a similar idea online and came up with the Rocks one on my own. 

This was the cake table (I forgot to take a picture of the cakes!)
Over each cake was a sign for each birthday boy. On the sign was fun facts about the year they were born.

Here is Justin’s.

We all ran inside except for the birthday boys who sat outside talking about Justin’s new truck. When they came up we all sang to them but I think it took them each some time before they realized the party was for them. 

Ricky checking out his facts and “cake.” 

The boys blowing out their candles. 
Justin had camo cupcakes (tutorial to come) and guests frosted their own cupcakes.
My dad, Randy, had a gravestone cake (he turned 50).
Tia’s dad, Ricky, had a piece of Mackinac Fudge. 

The boys opening their gifts!

Ricky, Randy, Kelly (my mom), Tim (Tia’s brother, Tyler’s friend”

Tyler (Tia’s brother), Maria (Tia’s mom) and Tia

Pinterest Challenge: Winter Edition


My favorite blog, Young House Love, and few of their friends came up with a Pinterest Challenge. The goal is to stop pining and start doing! Check out their blog to see what Sherry and John came up with. 

Life is busy so I didn’t have a ton of time to do a big project like I would have wanted but I did come up with one little project and made one of the recipes I have pinned. Today I will share the recipe and tomorrow the project I made. 

So here goes!
A few weeks back I pinned this Crockpot Chicken Taco Recipe from Chocolate Therapy. 
I also pinned the Best Taco Seasoning Recipe Ever from What’s That Smell.

The recipe calls for Taco Seasonings so I mixed that up first. 
1 tablespoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes 
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon black pepper

2 tbsp of taco seasoning for 1lb of meat
(double or triple the recipe so you have it the next time you need it!)
Done!! It is delicious with a bit of a kick to it!

Now unto making the Crockpot Chicken Tacos Over Rice
(for the original recipe click the link at the top of the post)
Three Chicken Breasts

Put enough salsa to cover the chicken then a little extra on top. On this container I used 2/3 of the salsa. I then put on about 2 tablespoons of taco seasoning. 

Should look like this, then let sit on low 6-8 hours or high 3-5 hours.

Should look like this when you are done. Then shred the chicken using two forks. If the chicken is done the chicken will fall apart. 

The first meal we made rice and put the chicken over rice! YUM! So flavorful!

Now what to do with the leftovers? 
We loved the meal so much that we wanted it again for dinner the next night. By lunchtime we were craving the chicken again so I made quesadillas. I used white cheddar cheese, mild cheddar cheese, the chicken leftovers, tortilla shells and some fresh salsa. 

The quesadillas were just as much of a hit as the chicken was over rice! 

We highly recommend this meal!!