Family Alive

Brian, Kristine, Analise, and Josiah Toone

Archive for February, 2009

On my wish list…

27th February 2009

Ok, humor me as I share one more giveaway with y’all!  This one is for a beautiful necklace from one of my very favorite Etsy shops, The Vintage Pearl.  I have had a necklace from her shop on my “wish list” for a long time, and I’ve got my fingers crossed for my upcoming birthday (hint, hint, honey!).  It sure would be fun to win one, though!  The one I’d love is actually not available right now, but you can see it on the right sidebar of her shop, the diamond shape with names on it and a pearl in the middle.  But these dainty hearts with initials would be nice, too…  I could make a long list!  (Oh and honey… the names I’d like on it are “Analise” and “Josiah”, hehe:) )

dainty hearts on a chain from The Vintage Pearl

dainty hearts on a chain from The Vintage Pearl

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Random pictures from life

26th February 2009

Here are some random pictures from life around the Toone house the past week or so!

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Kiddo moments

25th February 2009

Just some cute remembrances of my sweeties.

Josiah says “Hop-copter” for helicopter… “Hawold the hop-copter” is Thomas’ friend, Harold the Helicopter.

He likes to say, “I want somethin’ hungry,” at which time he’ll make his way to the fridge, open it and browse, saying, “Hmm…”

Yesterday I was resting my head on the couch with a headache, and he said, “I wanna come snuggle wif you.”  He crawled up on the couch, clambored over me, and sprawled himself on me, with his head on my chest.  I reminded him how he liked to do this when he was little and how much I enjoyed it, he said, “This makes me so-o-o happy.”  Ahh… me too, sweet boy.  Me too.

As he was riding his car down the hall way, he stopped suddenly and said, “There’s a princess in my way!”

And a big milestone… today he pooped on the potty!  Woohoo!  This is so exciting to me because it’s the first step to no more diapers in this house!  (2-25-09, 2 years, 7 1/2 months old)

And after Analise asked if she could have a piece of her Valentine’s chocolate after naptime and I said yes…”Mommy, you’re the best.”  Aw.  I was happy to hear that, and sure that it didn’t have anything to do with the chocolate.  She went on…”And Daddy’s our hero.”  Aw, so very sweet!  I love that she sees him that way!  She went on…”Because he kills bugs.”  I’m still laughing.  He is indeed our hero, and not just for the good bug-killing 🙂

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This would be a dream skirt for Analise…

24th February 2009

Wow… if I was crafty and really knew how to work my sewing machine, I’d make one of these awesome fluffy skirts for Analise.  Better yet, maybe my mom would 🙂  Even better… maybe I could win it, since she’s giving one away.  (Mom: I’ll let you know if I don’t win it so you can start working on it for the upcoming June birthday…)

blushing buttercream petticoat skirt

blushing buttercream petticoat skirt

Oo, and this little coat would look nice on me, wouldn’t it?  *sigh*  My fingers are crossed!

conservatory coat from Grosgrain
conservatory coat from Grosgrain

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What’s Cookin’ – Food in Review!

21st February 2009

A couple weeks ago, I shared my cooking plans.  I wanted to come back and let you know how it all turned out…

  • Asian Peanut Butter Pork – I was pleasantly surprised with how much I enjoyed this!  The onions (which I don’t normally like) were very milk, the peanut butter flavor wasn’t overwhelming, and the lime took the edge off the sweetness. The meat was falling apart when we were ready to eat, and I just shredded it.  Brian didn’t even recognize it was pork tenderloin! I served it with rice noodles, and it was a HUGE hit with Brian.
  • Pork Fried Rice Chinese Style – This was ok.  It came together quickly, and I liked it.  But Brian would have prefered another night of the Peanut Butter Pork.
  • Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Muffins – These were tasty.  VERY dense.  It felt like I was eating an oatmeal chocolate chip cookie for breakfast… without the guilt 🙂
  • Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins – These were ok for me, great for Brian.  Too much banana for my liking, but he loved them.
  • Some form of cupcakes, with some special Valentine’s decorating help from Analise for Life Group on Wednesday.
  • Spicy Sour Cream Chicken – Probably unnecessary to even rate this, but it was a big hit.  Two bags of chicken tenderloins (doubling the recipe), black beans, and taco toppings was plenty for a dinner of 10.
  • Banano con Leche – Everyone loved them, and Brian is now asking me to make them.
  • Carmelized Onion and Cheese Quiche – I just finally made this last night.  Wow.  This is a melt-in-your-mouth quiche.  Seriously, seriously good.
  • Deep Dish Pizza Crust – I’ve made this twice since I originally posted… once as pizza crust, and tonight as breadsticks to go with spaghetti.  They are a homeade version of the Olive Garden.  Yum.

Happy eating!  Feel free to come back here and post your comments if you try anything!

Posted in What's Cookin' | 2 Comments »

What’s Cookin’ – Pumpkin Bars

17th February 2009

These have become one of my two signature desserts.  They are amazing. I keep a can of pumpkin and a block of cream cheese on hand at all times, so they can be whipped up when needed.  And they can be lightened up with no compromise to taste!

Pumpkin Bars (courtesy of

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

  • 4 eggs
  • 1 2/3 cups white sugar
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 (15 ounce) can pumpkin puree

Mix together and until light and fluffy. Combine the following ingredients:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Add to pumpkin mixture.  Pour into ungreased 10×13″ jelly roll pan.  Bake 25-30 minutes.  Cool before frosting.

Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 1 (3 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar

Cream together the cream cheese and butter. Stir in vanilla. Add confectioners’ sugar a little at a time, beating until mixture is smooth. Spread evenly on top of the cooled bars. Cut into squares.

**Notes: I have used Egg Beaters, applesauce for the oil, and half white whole wheat flour, as well as lowfat cream cheese.  No one knows the difference!  These will never fail to be a hit!

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Our Lovely Valentine’s Day

14th February 2009

It’s been a sweet day in our house today.  Lots more loving-one-another, and that just warmed this mama’s heart.  We had lots of fun little treats and fun times together.  Let me give you some glimpses of our Valentine’s celebrating…

My sweet Valentine dressed for school

My sweet Valentine dressed for school

The pink-and-sprinkle-dipped marshmallow lollipops Analise and I made for her class.

The pink-and-sprinkle-dipped marshmallow lollipops Analise and I made for her class.

Pink-tinted buttermilk chocolate-chip pancakes for breakfast this morning.  I had strawberries and whipped cream on mine :)

Pink-tinted buttermilk chocolate-chip pancakes for breakfast this morning. I had strawberries and whipped cream on mine 🙂

Twirly cookies in the making

Twirly cookies in the making

Our cookies turned out great!

Our cookies turned out great!

Don't waste good chocolate on a 2 year old boy, even if is only $1 and has a racecar on it.

Don't waste good chocolate on a 2 year old boy, even if is only $1 and has a racecar on it.

Dinner this evening

Dinner this evening

My favorite part of each day... snuggling and books before bed.

My favorite part of each day... snuggling and books before bed.

Brian was off on a race ride this morning, so the kiddos and I played, watched a movie, got Happy Meals for lunch (because nothing says ‘Happy Valentine’s Day, Mom!’ like not having to cook 🙂 ), made the pretty little playdough cookies, and had a super-short naptime.   Brian came home with the exciting news that he’d won the 3-month winter race-ride series, including a nice jacket, backpack, $50 Tria Market card and $20 Starbucks card.  Sweet!  And then he surprised me by shaving his rough overgrown beard back to a short clean-cut goatee.  He looks so young and handsome!

We watched the Tour of California kick off in Sacramento online this afternoon, had our heart-shaped pizza dinner, and then capped off the relaxing family day with a trip to the ice cream shop.  YUM!  Analise was excited – and tired – for bedtime, because I’d given her a new satiny nightgown and fuzzy warm bathrobe.  I should have gotten a picture of her all decked out for bed tonight!  Oh well… I’m sure she’ll wear them both again tomorrow 🙂

Happy Valentine’s Day!  Hope your day was filled with love from your sweethearts and a sense of the Greatest Love of All.

This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.  Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.  No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.  –1 John 4:9-12

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Thinking about love…

13th February 2009

Of course we’ve been talking about love this week.  Analise has been practicing her bible verse, “We should love one another” in one breath, while snapping at her brother in the next.  Makes me wonder how deep my teaching is going.

But this awesome post reminds me that my siblings are not out of the ordinary.  Other families struggle to love one another.  And the deeper message speaks to my heart… that love doesn’t come naturally to us.  It requires dying to self, and that is a painful business that I wreste with day by day, even moment by moment.    So I’ll keep struggling for myself, hoping that in the death of myself, my children will see and learn of the greatest Love… and hopefully, eventully, graciously, maybe we’ll see more moments of loving each other than loving themselves.  Some day…

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On the menu for this week…

8th February 2009

Just thought I’d pop in and share what’s going to be cookin’ this week…

  • Asian Peanut Butter Pork – from one of my very favorite websites, A Year of Crockpotting.  Brian’s going to LOVE this, as anything Asian with peanuts is his favorite.
  • Hopefully, I’ll have leftover pork for Pork Fried Rice Chinese Style (apologies to dear friend, Corrie, who makes lovely fried rice, and I’m sure this isn’t very authentic, but it looks easy!!)
  • Some yummy Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Muffins, possibly the Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins that I didn’t get to make last week, as I’ve got a pile of bananas browning on my counter.  (I’d prefer the oatmeal, but should probably make the banana.  Last week, I really WANTED the banana chocolate chip, but went with the healthier blueberry banana muffins.  Of course, I’ll probably go with what I *should* make… )
  • Some form of cupcakes, with some special Valentine’s decorating help from Analise for Life Group on Wednesday.
  • Our friends, the Kawells, are coming for dinner on Thursday… all 8 of them!  We’re celebrating our Nicaragua trip and Abigail’s 17th birthday.  I’m making Spicy Sour Cream Chicken in the crockpot, and we’re having Banano con Leche (banana milk) for dessert.  This dreamy drink, served over ice, is served at a restaurant in Leon, and Abigail and I enjoyed it together on our last day there.
  • I’ll possibly make this savory Carmelized Onion and Cheese Quiche for the weekend.  Maybe even 2… one to freeze 🙂
  • Lastly, I’m putting homemade pizza on the menu about once every 2 weeks.  I intended to rotate through various crust recipes, but we have settled happily into this delicious Deep Dish Pizza Crust recipe.  I haven’t pinned down my exact sauce recipe, as I toss it together on the stovetop by taste.  But we sure enjoy our homemade pizza, and I enjoy knowing it’s a night I don’t have to think about what to make!

Posted in Links, What's Cookin' | 5 Comments »

What’s Cookin’… Key Lime Pie

4th February 2009

This couldn’t be easier, and this is an amazing tasting pie.  I’ve made it several times, and it’s never failed me!

Nellie & Joe’s Key Lime Pie (from Nellie & Joe’s website)

  • 9″ graham cracker pie crust
  • 14 oz. can of sweetened condensed milk
  • 3 egg yolks (whites not used)
  • ½ cup Nellie & Joe’s Key West Lime Juice (the only one I’ve used, and from reviews I’ve read, plain lime juice just will not work)

Combine milk, egg yolks and lime juice. Blend until smooth. Pour filling into pie crust and bake at 350º for 15 minutes. Allow to stand 10 minutes before refrigerating. Just before serving, top with freshly whipped cream, or meringue, and garnish with lime slices.

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