Monday, December 23, 2013

Where The Heart Is

I used to take that phrase for granted.

But now, I know what it truly means.

This Thanksgiving, we enjoyed a wonderful day and meal with my brother and his family, and my parents.

Gram made the girls tutus and bows for the occasion. The kids had a blast playing in the giant black "tube." We had a great time.

Andrea's veggie turkey.

Our tablescape. We enjoyed an awesome meal consisting of Nick's smoked turkey. We ate on my mom's Harvest and Orchard china.

We enjoyed our Thanksgiving.

Friday after, November 29, we went to visit some family for the evening.

When we arrived home, our house had burned down.

That house, the one you saw just a few clicks earlier, is now reduced to this.

What used to be my kitchen.

We thank God that we were all unharmed in this ordeal. Our children are safe, we are all healthy and able to move on. It is sad; something we will mourn probably the rest of our lives. So many memories were made here, including the birth of our two children. However, it is not a tragedy. We are okay, we will rebuild. We will always miss this first home. The one Nick and I were married into. The one we thought we would live in the rest of our lives.

Right now, we are living in my husband's parents' home. They are temporary living in Hawaii, so the house is available for us to live in until we can rebuild our house. Plans are already in motion for this next chapter of our lives.

However, in order for us to move on, we have to provide inventory lists for the insurance company. This is difficult on many levels. One being it's hard to remember everything you owned and the cost to replace it; another is that you're having to remember all that has been lost. We're just wanting to move on, but we're not ready yet. We'll get there eventually, then we can move forward.

We have enjoyed some close family times in the recent weeks.

Sabrina is growing so fast, I hope I can keep up with all her special moments in the new baby books. The kids now bathe together, and honestly it's probably the best family moment of every day.

You can see the family resemblance. They both have that "Flynn" scowl.

We have been imeasurably blessed during this potentially difficult time. I will be honest and say that we have suffered little; our immmediate and many long term needs have been met. Family, friends, the community, churches and complete strangers have cared for us more than we can comprehend. It is easy to be overcome with emotion when you think of how many people have given to us, possibly beyond their own ability. Right now we are well clothed, well sheltered, well  fed, and well loved.

Through all this, I have learned that "home" means more than I ever thought it did. Home is not a physical place. It is not where you hang your hat, where you make your meals, where you sleep at night, where you raise your kids. Home is people. Loved ones. Family. Friends. Home is my children, my husband. Every time they look at me I see the spark of life that you CANNOT see anywhere else. They are my heart.

And that my friends, is where the heart is.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Pumpkin Cake Roll

Wow it's Thanksgiving already...

Here's a family favorite recipe that's been made every Thanksgiving since I can remember - possibly since I was born. My mom found the recipe in a  magazine, and now you can find it in many places, but it is relatively simple and always delicious!

Pumpkin Cake Roll


Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease a jellyroll pan; line with wax paper. Grease the wax paper.

Beat 3 eggs for 5 minutes on medium high speed.

Gradually add 1 c. granulated sugar. Stir in 2/3c. pumpkin and 1 tsp lemon juice.

In a small bowl, stir together 3/4 c. flour, 2 tsp cinnamon, 1 tsp baking powder, 1 tsp ginger, 1/2 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp nutmeg.

Fold into pumpkin mix.

Spread batter into prepared pan. Bake for 15 minutes.

While the cake is baking, spread out a clean dish towel and coat with powdered sugar.

Isn't it pretty?

When cake comes out, immediately invert onto the prepared towel.

Carefully peel the wax paper off.

Roll cake, along with towel, into a nice snug roll.

 Cool cake completely.

Beat 1 c. powdered sugar, 1 (8oz) pkg cream cheese, 1/4 c. butter and 1/2 tsp vanilla until smooth.

Unroll cake. Spread cream cheese filling evenly.

Roll the cake up again. Chill for about 1 hour.

Slice into even slices.


Thanksgiving heaven.


Pumpkin Cake Roll

3 eggs
1 c. granulated sugar
2/3 c. canned pureed pumpkin (or 1/3 of a can)
1 tsp lemon juice
3/4 c. flour
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp ginger
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1 c. powdered sugar
1 (8oz) pkg cream cheese, softened
1/4 c. butter, softened
1/2 tsp vanilla

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease a jellyroll pan; line with wax paper. Grease the wax paper. Set aside.

Beat eggs for 5 minutes. Gradually add sugar. Stir in pumpkin and lemon juice. In a small bowl, mix together flour, cinnamon, baking powder, ginger, salt and nutmeg. Fold into the pumpkin mix. Spread in prepared pan. Bake 15 minutes.

While cake is baking, spread out clean dish towel. Coat with powdered sugar. When cake comes out, immediately invert onto towel. Carefully remove wax paper. Roll cake, along with towel, into snug roll. COOL COMPLETELY.

Beat powdered sugar, cream cheese, butter and vanilla until smooth. Unroll cake. Spread cream cheese filling evenly. Roll cake up. Chill 1 hour. Slice cake into even slices.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Pickling Peppers and Other Stuff In Life...

Well I'm finally posting again. Sort of. Haven't had much to post honestly, life has been so busy that I haven't had time to create anything new.

I mean I just created a person (with some help of course). What more can I be expected to do for a while?

There are a few projects that I'm finally thinking I can tackle now that I'm not pregnant and Sabrina's falling into a slightly predictable sleeping pattern. We're hosting Thanksgiving at our place this year so I think Nick and I will be excited to fix our house up a little before that holiday arrives.

Our garden has been completely ignored in recent months, which is kind of sad because of how warm it's been this fall. We could have had a whole second wave of some things if we had been cultivating it. The one thing that's still doing well despite our absence is peppers. Jalapeno, bell and banana are all still producing. A week or so ago, I got a bead in my bonnet to go pick all the jalapenoes that were ripe. Then I invited my mother-in-law over to watch Ryder and I pickled peppers! I got 6 pints out of one crop.

I knew these peppers weren't hot because Ryder played with them outside for an hour and never acted like his hands got hot. But hey, they'll still have flavor. He was my pepper helper. Even now he'll still ask to "play with the peppers." The things kids find entertaining can be a head scratcher. It felt good to do something, to make use of some of our garden yield. The next thing I need to do is can some cranberry sauce, so I might have to call on a grandmother again!

This is what happens when you play with peppers for an hour - you fall asleep eating lunch!

Ryder and Sabrina have been bonding so much already. I can't imagine how happy Ryder will be when she's old enough for him to drag around everywhere.

They already look like they're up to something!

Just had to post a couple of photos of how cute Ryder looked one week for church. (Okay he's always cute but look at the boots!)

I have to admit, it's fun to dress up my little doll. She's so cooperative too! (For now, I guess.)

She's got such an infectious smile! It's so wonderful how kids don't know how to hold back on emotions such as these.

Hopefully I'll be returning here and there with something in the following weeks. I've got a few furniture pieces I want to work on and some sewing projects. One at a time, the kids are the most important (and fun) priorities in our life.

Dr. Seuss Baby Shower

Last weekend my mom led the way in throwing an amazing Dr. Seuss baby shower for our dear friend.

This was probably our favorite tablescape yet and the menu was excellent.


Dr. Seuss cupcakes.

Lorax mustaches.

Yertle's Turtles and Fish marshmallows.

Grin-Itch Spinach dip.

Hop on Pop-corn.

Three Cheese Trees.

Green Eggs.
(oreos and white candy melts.)

Cat in the Hat hats.
(mozzarella and tomatoes.)

Poodle Noodles.

Truffula fruit bouquet.

Greeting Table.

Sign in book.
Everyone signed a message in the book - really cool idea!

Drink table.

Walking in.

We all had a great time at the shower and the decorations definitely set the tone. Mom put a ton of work into it as well as our friend who hosted the event. So cool!

I really appreciate our friend's photographer friend taking some pictures of me and my girl.

So precious! Does it not just make you bust out a smile back?