Tuesday, November 19, 2013

In-Between

That's where I am...the In-Between. In-Between computers and trying to get pictures situated so I can actually blog. In-Between moving and not moving and to pack or not to pack. In-Between a tired stupor and actually having the energy to exercise. In-Between being so overwhelmed with Christmas/Thanksgiving and all the things that need to be done for life that I actually just don't do anything at all and instead watch Scandal reruns on Netflix to put off everything else. Please tell me I am not the only one.

[a musketeer]

Lots has been going on in the Bennett house over the past couple of months and I really want to blog about it all soon.

[pirate princesses]

The Bennetts have had ---
-Lots of dress-up (obviously)
-A precious little girl turn 4 and a fun party to go along with her special day
-Trips to the Pumpkin Patch
-Halloween
-A cute 21 month old who now knows how to count to 10, sing her ABC's (and many more songs) and who is getting in 2 more teeth as we speak!
-Tailgating in Auburn
-Keeping busy with trips to the grandparents' house/beach/a handful of weddings
-A surgery and some yucky stiches


This season is a busy one. Full of things to do, places to go, people to see and decisions to be made. Luckily, God has been growing us and guiding us all the while. Since this post is lacking in pictures, I'll leave you with some encouragement that I received this morning from my Jesus Calling devotional. I had to laugh when it talked about climbing up a cliff, because I literally have had the image of God leading our family to a cliff lately. The only difference is that it's us jumping off it (trust me - I mean the cliff jumping in the most non-morbid way possible) instead of climbing up it!! Which, of course, is why we put it all in His hands...it's why we wait on the Lord and trust in His plan!
 
From Jesus Calling, November 19:
Leave outcome to Me. Follow Me wherever I lead, without worrying about how it will all turn out.
Think of your life as an adventure, with Me as your guide and companion. Live in the now, concentrating on staying with Me.
 
When our path leads to a cliff, be willing to climb it with My help. When we come to a resting place, take time to be refreshed in My presence.
 
Enjoy the rhythm of the life close to Me.   You already know the ultimate destination of your journey: your entrance into heaven. So keep your focus on the path just before you, Leaving outcomes up to Me.
Psalm 27:13-14; Exodus 15

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Pumpkin Bread

Fall is right on the verge of being here full force and I am so glad. I love when the seasons change - you get a fresh perspective on things and can just feel things 'shifting'. The summer to fall transformation always amazes me -- even around here when it's still warm (if not hot) the trees still know when to start changing colors. I'm telling you - God thought every detail through when He created this beautiful earth we live on.
 
We've been busy - school, work, church, parties, football - on the road some and at home some too. No update on the house selling...we've had a few things going on that have left us frustrated but we know God's timing is always perfect. He's also revealed some things to us recently that we are praying about and we are doing our best every day to walk by faith and not by sight!

 
Now let's talk about what you really came to this blog for...a recipe. Over the years I've figured out a killer good pumpkin bread recipe. It's eat-an-entire-loaf-in-one-sitting-and-almost-not-feel-guilty-about-it good. Pair it with a hot cup of coffee and it's pure bliss.
 
The first loaf of the season...for it I used the Botanical Pumpkin Loaf pan from William-Sonoma that my sweet aunt gave us last year. You can find it here.
 
I honestly think that pumpkin bread is Chad's favorite thing that I make. I've had a lot of requests to share the recipe, so here it is! This recipe makes A LOT of pumpkin bread....2 large loaves (plus some) or combinations of 1 big loaf, 24 mini-muffins and a couple of small loaves. So bake, enjoy and share! 


Pumpkin Bread (adapted from allrecipes.com)
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour*
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 teaspoons cinnamon (really, I just eyeball this, so you may need a little more or less)
1 1/2 Tablespoon pumpkin pie spices** (yet again, I just throw this in without measuring -- use your best judgment, but if in doubt, add a little more :) )
Ground nutmeg based on your taste preference
1 1/2 cups white sugar***
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
1 cup canola oil
4 eggs, beaten
2 cups solid pack pumpkin puree
2/3 cup water
3/4 bag of butterscotch chips

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease pans.
2. In a medium mixing bowl, combine flour, baking soda, salt, baking powder, spices
3. In a large bowl with an electric mixer (or using a stand up mixer) blend sugars, oil and eggs. Stir in pureed pumpkin. Slowly blend the flour mixture in with the pumpkin mixture, alternating it with water. Fold in butterscotch chips. Pour the batter into prepared pans (a mini ice cream scoop is the perfect size for filling mini-muffin tins if you are using those).
4. Bake -
Loaf pans take 70 minutes
Mini-Loaf pans take 46 minutes
Muffins and Mini-Muffins take 21 minutes

*I've substituted 1/3 to 1/2 of the all-purpose flour with whole wheat flour before and it worked well
**If you don't have pumpkin pie spices, you can substitute in 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg,1 teaspoon ground allspice, 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
***I've also played around with the sugar amount and only 1 cup of white sugar still allows for muffins that are plenty sweet if you are watching sugar intake!

Now getting busy baking!

Friday, August 23, 2013

Sleepover!

I don't know about any of your kids but LG asks almost every night if I can stay in her room and sleep with her. The answer is always no and most every night we have to discuss the same reasons over and over why I can't stay. Finally one night with a stroke of genius I came up with a great answer to curb her request [insert pat on back] "I WILL sleep in your room one night - we'll do a sleepover and I'll sleep in the other bed" (two twin beds in her room). LG agreed and all was well. Until the next night. Anyone want to guess what happened? "When is the sleepover? Is it tonight? Is it tomorrow night?" Oh. We need a verbal commitment now. Okay. So we sealed the deal. We wrote it on the family calendar in the kitchen and made plans.

Friday night! Paint Finger nails! Watch Brave! Eat Pizza and Brownies! Mommy sleep in LG's room! All agreed upon and actually I was excited - a special night for me and LG is just what we needed. The day of she was so cute - she woke up and asked if that night was sleepover night and when I said yes she grinned from ear to ear. As she left for school that day she turned around and told me [using her hands for emphasis as she's prone to do these days] "Mommy I am so excited about tonight". Melt me  - totally worth it!



At LG's request we got in our pj's early. I popped some "Crazy Brownies" as we called them into the oven [these are NOT in fact called "Crazy" Brownies. The recipe can be found here. The brownies are terrible delicious but you'll understand why I had to tell my 3 year old that they were "Crazy" which could be fitting substitution anyway].

LG painted my fingernails and I painted hers, we watched all of Brave (which I had never seen but thought was great) and we got in bed around 9:30, just in time for little princess to start bouncing off the walls because she was "SO EXCITED" as she yelled said. This mommy was worn out and was quickly drifting off to sleep while LG talked at me to me for another 20 minutes. Finally we went to sleep. I think all was well until around 8 (sweet hubby let me just sleep a little since we had gotten up at 5 with a sick M) when LG peeked in her bedroom and told Chad "She's still in there." Oops. Don't want to overstay my welcome.

Fun night, we'll do it again soon - I promise LG!

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Beach 2013 - Trip 2

In my previous post I mentioned the rainy afternoons because when it started raining in Destin (the end of June) it never really stopped. By the mid-week when we were heading down to Orange Beach to stay with Chad's family things weren't looking so hot. We played on the beach and in the pool the first day we were there and then we were confined to the lovely walls of a 3 bedroom/2 bath condo the remainder of the trip. This is tough living with a 3 year old and a 1 year old, but I will say the girls did pretty good in spite of being told no less than 15 times a day that "No, we can't go to the pool. It's lightening out". The rest of the trip had me so traumatized I think it's why I haven't been motivated to blog about the trip - I'm still trying to get over it.



M and Aunt Lollie
 
 


Ready for the 4th of July and fireworks!

Have y'all ever done the Pirates and Princess breakfast at The Hangout? We definitely recommend it. LG and M both loved it...yummy breakfast food and a treasure hunt...can't beat that! Apparently the treasure hunt is usually on the beach and they do this whole bubbles/suds thing but it was raining the morning we went so we got to participate in the abbreviated version indoors!

 


Part of our lovely trip this year that I would like to forget is the 3 1/2 hour drive to the outlet mall. If you are calculating, I could have driven back to Montgomery in that time....and then some...*sigh*. And before you ask, no we could not turn around. By the time we got to the worst of it and realized we were in trouble we were to the point of no turn offs. it.was.BAD. Luckily my MIL and SIL and I like each other and so we weren't at each other's throats. I have never been so thankful that I left my water bottle at home because y'all, me and my small bladder would have been up a creek. We had exactly one hour to shop when we got there and the trip back took 1 1/2 hours. Pretty good, all things considered, but bad since the men and babies were waiting on us to go out to eat. We ended up with take out instead. Not ideal, but since I DREAD taking my kids to restaurants, it worked.

 
The ride home. Oh let's talk about the ride home! Approximately 5 minutes into our rainy trip leaving the beach, the hubs decided he couldn't take the traffic and we were going a different way (praise the Lord he wasn't in the car during the outlet-mall-fiasco...he wouldn't have made it). So we re-route, get settled in and the girls look something like this...

 
They slept a while, but inevitable woke up and weren't happy riding. Cue the Cinderella DVD. Then cue the stand-still traffic just past the Greenville exit. AGAIN! No turning back! No Exits until Montgomery! Why does this keep happening to me! We were stuck. It was starting to drizzle. Maggie throws up. Chad figures out a way to get to the shoulder of the interstate. I get out in the rain. I might have yell at the man staring at me with his window rolled down in the car next to ours "MY BABY THREW UP." Mommy's a little stressed. We clean up the car seat, the baby, re-dress, and LG of course then has to go to the bathroom. So hanging off the running board of the car, in the rain, on the side of the interstate, she does just that. As I feel tee-tee splattering on my sandals I find the humor in all of this and tell LG let's document this afternoon. And what does she do? Strikes a pose (see below). Typical, but she got it honest. 

 
I get back in the car, the mice in Cinderella resume singing "a dream is a wish your heart makes" and I resist the urge to throw the DVD player out the window. I also try to remember if I wiped the tee-tee splatter off my sandals. LG keeps stating the obvious telling us M stinks and smells like throw up. We spend another hour and a half in the car. We get home and I vow no more trips with children for a while.
 
 
Happy Fourth of July!

Beach 2013 - Trip 1

The way things worked out this year we had my family's beach trip (just immediate family - the BIG family beach trip was moved from May this year to Thanksgiving and I can't wait!) and then it was followed up the next weekend by our annual beach trip with Chad's family. It was kind of hectic going from one place to the other, since we came home in between, but honestly I didn't totally unpack after the first trip so getting ready for the second was a breeze!

 
Uncle Bo rode with us to and from the beach. I wish he could always go with us. It was awesome having a regulator/DVD controller/person-with-really-long-arms-to-pick-up-fallen-toys in the back with the girls. Plus, LG and M adore him which doesn't hurt. With my family we were in Destin at Baytown. I am just now realizing that we didn't get a picture of the girls in the giant rocking chair as all tourist to the area are required to do [yet another fail...but we'll survive].
 
We were in Destin specifically for the Alabama Veterinary Medical Association's annual meeting which my family has attended since the beginning of time it feels like. This year was special because dad was installed at the association's new president! Yay Dad! We were all there to support him and are so proud of what he's accomplished.


It rained on and off while we were there - mainly in the afternoons which was fine b/c we'd get out in the morning, swim, come back to the condo, eat, nap and then get up and play and eat. It's a good routine. The pool was so close that we never stepped foot on the beach!!





 





Can you tell we were bored inside once the rain kicked in?
 
 
We had a great time - it's always so nice to be away from work, away from trying to keep the house cleaned up, and just being able to get beautiful views like this and be reminded how big and awesome our God is and how small we are. I need that!

 
We stayed entertained on the way home [thank you Dollar Tree] and the trip was pretty uneventful. I guess I should have seen that as a sign. Part 2 on the way :)
 
 

Monday, August 5, 2013

Under the Gun

I made a half-hearted effort to get a post up before the month of July ended, but we all know how that worked out. In my defense, we've been BUSY!  We took two family beach trips at the end of June/beginning of July, attended a couple of birthday parties, Chad went to Austin, TX, I went to New Orleans, we had a sleepover, a couple dance parties, a new cousin born and a new realtor scoped out for the house.

Alpha Gam reunion in NOLA! We had 6 of 11 there...pretty good considering all the babies and schedules in the mix
 
Whew. It just makes me tired to read that, not to mention the other things we had going on last month that are exceedingly boring and I don't feel the need to share. Is it any wonder I am a ball of crazy right now? LG actually had to ask me why I was crying at the plant last week. It was a peace lily...long story...I'm crazy I tell ya!

New PRECIOUS baby cousin...Emmerson Jean Plaster
 
LG and M are enjoying the summer. We've had crazy amounts of rain in July so we have had to stay inside a lot. LG is honing her painting skills and M can whip up one mean batch of pretend tea in the play kitchen.

Modeling our pretty dresses

LG is enjoying dressing up just as much as ever and most days will run in from school, strip completely down and change into a princess dress, a sequined skirt or some other dress up gear, although one night last week after about 30 minutes I did have to ask why she was still running around sans clothes, only in Minnie Mouse panties and princess shoes. She gets distracted.

 
She's move on from Barbie hair to her own and it's no surprise that sometimes she ends up with two braids down the sides of her face and multiple bows and clips in random spots on her head. As long as she doesn't want to go out in public with her creations, I am good with her practicing her hair skills. She told us the other day that "maybe I would want to be a person that fixed hair one day but I am going to be a nurse." The world is your oyster sweet girl!


M is getting more and more verbal and she'll occasionally try to string together phrases. She is funny, loves to giggle and is a dancing fool. She LOVES Barbies and Baby Dolls and will break out the crocodile tears if she can't play with one or the other. 
 

 For the life of me though I can't figure out why Miss Tiny-Hiney won't get bigger. She is the smallest thing!! I put her on the scale a couple nights ago and she was a whopping 21 lbs. She's almost 18 months old and 12 month clothes hang on her!! I guess I need to just realize she'll be petite (something I know nothing about) and as long as she's healthy I shouldn't be concerned.

 
And so I leave you with this...a picture of what I see 24/7....my sweet baby wanting to be picked up...and the promise of more posts to follow!

Thursday, June 27, 2013

My Basil Runneth Over

My basil plant runneth over, which means my cup does too. After having a Basil Gin Smash while in Charleston a few years back, I became mildly obsessed with them. Unfortuantely, my basil plants haven't been able to really keep up with the demand and so I haven't really tried them out for a while. Until now! My basil is thriving this year and so for Mad Men finale on Sunday night (tears! We are so sad the season is over) I tried my hand at the drink again. Still needs some tweaking, but we're on the right path...


Last week I had my 30th birthday. A little daunting, but really I am excited about my 30's. From everyone I have talked to, your 30's are awesome. I have high hopes. And yes, Chad got me the glasses I wanted. And then he spoiled me more by getting me these beautiful pictures I have been wanting from College City Drugs in Marion, AL.

 
We finished out the birthday celebrations with dinner, compliments of my sweet aunt and uncle at Central in Montogmery. I left there fat and happy.



In other news, Maggie is getting fast. Like really quick. Trying to climb on everything, including chairs and she's has now learned to scale her sister's spindle bed and thinks it's hilarious. We have moved from a highchair to a booster seat at the table for supper and she seems to like the independence.


She is [trying to] talk up a storm and it's funny when we actually understand what she says . Favorite phrases are "Hey sis" and "Hey Daddy", Baubie (Barbie) and Soo (Shoe). These days M also likes to tell everyone to "M'on" (Come on) and waves her had for emphasis. We think she's broke 20 bls, but she is still the lightest little thing. Probably due in part to her not eating meat. She refuses unless it's in spaghetti, sandwich meat or chicken salad. She is turning into a picky eater, though she can eat a TON.


And now for stories that could only happen to the Bennetts..

I've metioned before, LG and her Papa's cows. LG could watch them for hours...she's fasinated with them. Elsie is her favorite and we have a picture of Elsie on her bulletin board, we pray for Elsie at night, we talk about Elsie's babies. Y'all - Elsie got struck by lightening. It was not something you recover from. So...Papa [he was dreading it like you can't believe] had to break the news to LG. She handled it pretty well, considering "But she was my favorite"... We just have to laugh, you know at the absurdity of it all!

R.I.P. Elsie

Yesterday I went in to the dentist to get a cavity filled. Cue the "small pinch" and needle/numbing agent to the left side of my mouth. It was about 3 seconds after the small pinch that I thought, "I don't think this is right...". Out comes the needle, I look at my dentist and say "Isn't my cavity is on the RIGHT side?" His reply - "Yep, I realized that about half way through that I was on the wrong side. Let's numb the other one. SO SORRY". UGH - luckily I can laugh off just about anything - but it took a full 5 and a half hours to regain feeling in the lower half of my face and to stop avoiding people at work because I literally couldn't talk. Isn't that the worse feeling?!?!

Now, we're off to the beach for fun, sun and lots of good times with family!!