Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Take Me Out to the Ball Game

This Friday's Friday Facts and Photos post will have all the details, but I couldn't wait any longer to post some of the pics from the baseball game we attended last Friday night with Jason's family. 

Love this face!  :)

Connor's first ever merry-go-round ride!

all tuckered out
Thanks for the tickets and such a fun night, Randy and Veronica!  :)

Monday, August 29, 2011

Carrot Cake

My husband is a pretty picky eater.  In fact, until he was 19 he thought corndogs actually had corn in them, and he had never eaten a strawberry until our second date.  He is, however, slowly beginning to try foods he would never have even considered before, and just a few weeks ago discovered that he loves carrot cake. 

As soon as I heard this, it was my mission to find a great carrot cake recipe to make for him (which we both ended up sharing with our colleagues at school as well), so I went straight to the source, Gina, the person whose carrot cake he loved so much. 

She shared with me that this recipe originally came from a Southern Living cookbook, but also let me know that if she had to do it over again, she would modify a couple of things.  Therefore, I am only posting below the recipe I ended up using, which, thankfully, Jason loved.  The cake turned out to be moist and not too dense (but still substantial) and the frosting was just the perfect consistency and flavor to balance out the sweetness of the carrot and the perfect bite of flavor from the cinnamon.

Carrot Cake

2 cups shredded carrots
2 cups self-rising flour (The orignial recipe called for all-purpose, baking powder, baking soda, & salt, but I improvised and it was just fine.)
2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
3 small jars baby food carrots
4 eggs, well beaten
1 1/4 cups vegetable or canola oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1) Combine shredded carrots, flour, sugar, and cinnamon in a large bowl.
2) Stir in the baby food, eggs, oil, and vanilla, mixing well.
3) Pour batter into 3 greased 9-inch cake pans, or one 9x13-inch baking pan (I actually only had two large round pans that were the same size, so I used them, and it worked perfectly.).
4) Bake at 350 for 30 minutes, or until a wooden pick inserted in the center comes out clean. (I actually ended up leaving the cake on the bottom rack in for about 35 min.  It wasn't solidified enough after only 30 min.)
5) Cool on a rack.  If removing cake from the pans, allow them to cool for 10 min., then remove to a cooling rack.

Cream Cheese Frosting

1 (8 ounce) package of cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
1 (16 ounce) package OR 2 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1) With an electric mixer, combine cream cheese and butter until smooth.
2) Add powdered sugar and vanilla; beat until light and fluffy.

Frost cake and enjoy!

finished product

I am linking up this post with Recipe Sharing Monday at Jam Hands.  There are some fantastic-looking recipes I can't wait to try on her blog!

Jam Hands

Sunday, August 28, 2011

23 Months

September 28, 2009

Today my "baby" is 23 months old.

He has gone from this:

to this:

and I have no idea where the time has gone.  How my little Bug has gone from tiny to a little man is hard to believe.  This journey of motherhood has been the most rewarding and challenging one of my life, and I am so thankful God entrusted this precious soul in our lives.  With his vivid personality, spunk, and affectionate spirit, I cannot wait to see what God has in store for him.

Happy 23 months, Connor!

Friday, August 26, 2011

Friday Facts and Photos

Highlights of the week:

- Saturday was Lindsay G.'s (my sis Linds' best friend) baby shower, and the afternoon was filled with great food (especially the cake), lots of gifts, and balloons (which inspired the photos I posted here).

Connor decided to entertain the crowd.

He was bored with the gifts so he read a book.

Connor and Mimi

- Sunday was wonderful.  The message by our pastor was inspiring, focused on the idea of "swimming" in God's purpose/spirit, not just walking in ankle or knee deep.  Too often I find myself in that ankle deep position, thinking I have just enough, when God wants me to let go and let Him show me how much more is out there.

- Sunday afternoon was planned to be a normal, play-filled afternoon with Connor, but I got a call from Aunt MB asking if we wanted to go out on the lake with them.  Jason passed (He had a sermon to get ready for that night.) but Connor and I were more than ready.  I, of course, loved every single second with my hair in the wind, my feet in the water, and soaking up the sun (with lots of sunscreen on).  I wasn't sure how Connor would react, seeing as how he had never been on a small boat before, but he was in awe.  He loved it just as much as I did.  Let's hope Aunt MB and Uncie invite us again (hint, hint).    :)

Lake Cumberland on a gorgeous Sunday afternoon.

Aunt MB, Ally, and Connor

loving it

Uncie driving the boat.

- Sunday evening Jason brought a fantastic message in Marrowbone.  We enjoyed fantastic music by Steadfast, and we had lots of good conversation on the way home.

-  Monday afternoon my dear friend Candice so kindly took Connor's 2 year photos, which I posted here.  I LOVE them, and I am so thankful for her talent and most importantly her place in my life.

- The remainder of the week has been typical for us.  School each day, workout with Linds on Tuesday evening, and a fun girls' night dinner with Linds W. (different than the other two Lindsay's), Gavin, and Connor at our favorite Mexican spot on Wed. (I meant to take pictures, but forgot.  Boo.)

- School has been FANTASTIC.  We are in our second full week, and with the exception of a few minor (very minor) issues, each day has been better than the last.  I love my job, and I love the short stories we are studying right now.  I love weeks like these where I am reminded why I do what I do.

Random facts from the week:

- Connor has been SUCH a good boy this week.  He has been listening and obeying so much better (and more quickly), and he has just been, in general, a very happy boy this week, which makes me happy.

- He (Connor) has, however, started calling my husband "Jason" instead of Daddy, which Connor thinks is hilarious.  He chuckles to himself every time he does it.  When Jason is in the basement working out he will yell down the steps (through the gate), "Jason!  Jason!  I want Jason!"  It is awfully cute, but I don't want him calling me "Laura" any time soon.  :)
- I just started reading The Help (Thanks, Andrea, for letting me borrow it!) and I love it so far.  Granted, I am only 20 pages in, but it has hooked me from the start.  I hope to have some time to read and really get into it this weekend.

- Connor has actually started eating meat lately.  For months he has spit out every kind of meat I try to give him, with the exception of chicken nuggets and some types of fish (He loves salmon.).  However, in the last couple of weeks, he has started loving ham, steak, chicken (not in nugget form), and pork chops.  He has always been a relatively good eater except for meat, but maybe we have turned a corner.  Just wait, now that I've typed it, he'll start spitting it out again.

Random photos from the week:
Connor wanted to dress up this this giraffe costume.

Connor had been dying to "let go" of a balloon ever since last Saturday, so on Wed., so let him take one out in the yard and watch it fly away.

watching his balloon fly away

watching his balloon then get stuck in a tree in the back yard

Hope you all have a blessed weekend!  We are headed to visit with family in Louisville.  Excited for a weekend filled with a baseball game, state fair, yummy treats, church, and play time with Connor in the Davidson back yard.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Top 2 Tuesday

Today's Top 2 Tuesday link-up with Melanie from Sarcasm and Curls is all about my top 2 visited websites (besides Blogger).

#2: Facebook

I love to check Facebook when I get home to see the "news" of the day when it comes to my friends and family, and I especially love it for the photographs.  I love keeping in touch with people from across the country whom I would otherwise never hear from.  I am certain it is also a time-waster, but I enjoy it.

#1:  Infinite Campus

This is nothing exciting, but Infinite Campus is the online program we use at school to record grades, take attendance, etc.., so it truly is the website I am certain logs the most hours in my life.  This program is frustrating and not user-friendly most of the time, but is a necessary evil in my life.  If you are not a teacher and do not have to deal with this website, be glad.  :)

Have a great Tuesday!

2 Year Photos by Candice Robertson

I had a very hard time typing the above title.  In just over a month, our "baby" will be two years old.  This, while a fact, is nearly incomprehensible.  I have no idea how two years of this little boy's life have flown by so quickly. 

Yesterday afternoon, our favorite photographer, Candice Robertson, met with us in a field with a big, yellow barn, and took some of the most precious pictures of Connor.  He was a little leery of the camera at first, but he soon warmed up to it and especially to Candice.  It was such a fun afternoon, and while I can't believe it, she handed me a cd full of photos to take home this afternoon, less than 24 hours after the photo shoot.

Candice is simply one of the most talented and creative women (along with her fellow photographer and our friend, Davene, who has also taken some fabulous photos of our family) on the planet.  She has taken photos of Connor for every major milestone in his life, from newborn photos until now.  I am eternally grateful for her ability to capture the spirit of my boy in a photograph.  I know that even when he is grown I will have the memories of these photos to carry with me.  Candice is not only extremely talented at photography, but she is also one of the kindest people I've encountered, and I am blessed to call her one of my dear friends.  She is as beautiful on the inside as she is on the outside, and I can never thank her enough for capturing these moments for us. 

No photoshoot, however, would be complete without at least one outtake.  My husband, while very handsome, is not always the most photogenic.  See below for one of the priceless moments she caught on camera.

Thank you, Candice, for a fun afternoon and some amazing photos!