*Last Day of School Tradition*


Summer vacation is here!

Yesterday we ended the school year with what has become a bit of a tradition for us:

Apple Cider Doughnuts

Baked Apple Cider Doughnuts

Well, the tradition is the homemade doughnuts, although the kind has varied every year.  I bake the doughnuts and use the excuse that they are healthier (the truth is that frying things in a couple inches of hot oil scares me).  🙂

This year’s recipe I think was the best – they were light and fluffy with good flavor.  Even though it seems like the wrong time of year to have apple cider doughnuts, YES, you can still buy cider in June!!  The recipe came from Family Circle March 2012 issue (link here).  I did make a couple of changes – used light brown sugar instead of dark brown, and used 1/3 T ground ginger instead of fresh.  They turned out just fine.

In case you’re interested in the other recipes we’ve tried:  Funfetti and Baked Chocolate Peanut Butter Donuts with Vanilla Peanut Butter Glaze.


I am thrilled that the school year is over.  I love the break from what should be an olympic event called “getting your kids to school on time”.  

Last night was the last award ceremony of the year… and I’ve got to tell you I’m so proud of my kiddos.  They enjoy school, they work hard, and their teachers have a lot of great things to say about their little characters.  They are all smart cookies – my oldest had the highest GPA in the whole 6th grade!  My son got awards for spelling and bible study!  And my little one got an award for best overall achievement in all the subjects!  I love them all to pieces and am excited to see God’s plans for them emerge as they get older.

How are YOU doing?  Has summer vacation started for your family yet?


Layered Ice Cream Cake – A Birthday Tradition

This cake has become our family “biRthDaY” tradition.

I love this cake because it’s easy, it’s yummy, it looks fancy, and it’s customizable to the birthday kid because you can pick whatever their favorite ice cream flavors are!

Here’s the recipe:

Layered Ice Cream Cake

18 oreos

1 -2 T milk

9 ice cream sandwiches

3 pints ice cream (whatever flavors you want and would taste good together!)

8 – 12 oz. whipped topping, thawed

Coat bottom and sides of a 9″ round springform pan with non-stick cooking spray.  Line the sides with waxed paper, using spray to help adhere it to pan.  Finely crush 15 oreos, add milk, and mix until mixture just sticks together;  set aside.  Working quickly, unwrap and cut ice cream sandwiches into quarters.  Stack strips of sandwiches on end, side by side, snugly around the pan.  Spoon cookie crumbs into center of pan and press firmly.  Freeze for one hour.  Remove all three flavors of ice cream from freezer and allow to soften for 15 minutes.  Scoop the first flavor into a bowl, stir until spreadable, and spread into pan.  Repeat with other flavors.  Top with whipped topping.  Crush remaining oreos and sprinkle over cake.  Freeze overnight.

Here’s a couple more pics (sorry for the quality – I’m better a better chef than a photographer!)

Do you have a family birthday cake tradition??

A New Tradition Can Start Anytime…

My brother-in-law began a new Christmas tradition for our family this year.

And it’s turning out to be a lot of fun.

He is running a “25 Days of Christmas Trivia Game”.

Every day he sends out a new trivia question via text on our cell phones. 

Check out the current scores that are updated daily on our “secret” FB page (along with a bit of trash-talking):

Can you tell he is enjoying this?  And that he is an engineer? (and believe me, I say that in love because I have an engineer’s brain, too!)

Sorry I had to block out names, but I’ll give you a hint on which column is mine – I only had one wrong answer so far.  (The ones I didn’t respond to were because I didn’t have my cell phone with me!)  The question I got wrong was, “How many pieces did the grinch cut off the branch he used for Max’s antlers?”  I answered 3, but the correct answer is 4.  Just in case you need to know!

So, a couple of things I’m learning from this:

  1. My old verizon LG phone just doesn’t cut it for this type of thing!
  2. My texting skills are, let’s face it, not so good.  But I did learn how to use T9!  Yay me!
  3. My family is much more competitive than I thought.
  4. I can’t feel my phone vibrate or ring when I’m in a store shopping/walking.  That’s a problem.
  5. I’ve actually gotten to the point where I’m remembering to recharge my phone overnight, turn it on in the morning, AND carry it with me!  This is real progress, people!
  6. Starting some new traditions can be lots of fun!

Do you have any new traditions you’re starting this year?

Strawberry Goodness

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White chocolate-covered strawberries, how I heart you!

(and dated kitchen counters, how I don’t heart you!)

Chocolate-covered strawberries are so easy, I really don’t know why we don’t make them more often!  It was a fun activity to do with the kiddos whilst it was snowing hugely gigantic snowflakes outside on Sunday evening. 

In mid-April.  Yes.  Moving on…

And do you like our “You Are Special” plate?

We use it (that is, we try to remember to use it! ) on special occasions – like birthdays, good grades on tests, achieving a goal, etc.  The kids really seem to enjoy it and look forward to when they can use it.  They each helped to design and color it.

If you’d like to make one of your own, you can buy a kit pretty inexpensively at any craft store.  (hint, hint, locally Michael’s has them on sale this week!)

Have a blessed day, friends!