Sweet Moments

Due to my past of being a teacher,  I am a big advocate of ” teachable moments.”  I believe, and know from experience, that these pop up all day long.  It is up to us parents to jump all over them and help our little sponges soak up all the information they can!

A precious teachable moment snuck up on me a few weeks ago.  All the decorations were up and Liesel became enamored by our nativity set.  She wanted so badly to play with it.  So after much explaining about how delicate our set was, Liesel was able to have her time with it ( supervised ).  She played ever so carefully .

I took the opportunity to tell Liesel the story of our Savior’s birth.  She listened to every word I spoke; watching me move each precious piece.  It has now become part of our morning routine.  I take the nativity down and Liesel plays with it.  Reciting her own rendition of the story. She gets a lot of the facts correct, she can tell you about Mary and Joseph and their journey to Bethlehem.  She can tell you about baby Jesus in the manger and the shepards and angels.  She can tell you about the gifts the wisemen bring, her favorite being frankincense.  But most importantly, she can tell you that Jesus was born on Christmas day and he is our King!!

I love being a mom for so many reasons.  But it is moments like these,  when you begin to share the message of our Lord Jesus Christ, that I know God told us to be fruitful and multiply for a reason!  This is what being a parent is all about;  teaching and guiding our children to become believers in Christ our Lord!

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What have I started?!

So, when Eric and I first got married we took a day trip to Bronners Christmas store in Frankenmuth, MI.  If you haven’t been there and you love Christmas, go! Its a great experience! Anyway,  we went there in search of all our Christmas decorations; from nativity sets to ornaments and everything in between.

Top on our list of things to get were, stockings.  Now to most people this would seem like a farely easy task, right?? Well, not to us.  I remember thinking, what are we going to do for our future children’s stockings?  Whatever we get will have to be able to match our kids!!  We looked and looked.  And finally decided on some.  We decided that our stockings do not have to perfectly match our childrens, they just need to “go” together:) 

Well the stocking debate did not end in 2007.  It was revisited in 2010 when Liesel was 6months old.  Frantically I asked Eric what we were going to do for Liesels stocking this year?!  I really wanted to make one but had absolutely no idea what that meant… I remember Eric telling me to knit her one. Ha, I wish!! Only problem was the whole knitting thing.  Well Christmas came and went that year, and poor Miss Liesel had no stocking to be stuffed:(  I like to think our kisses and hugs made up for her lack in gifts that first year!

In 2011 again, the stocking dilemma had not been solved.  The whole idea was stressing me out ( I know big momma problems…)! But I just knew whatever we decided to do for Liesel would set the tone for our future kids ( all half a dozen of them:)) and it seemed like such a big decision!

Then, thanks to our cousin Kristen, our problem was solved!! Early in 2011 at a family gathering I noticed Kristen working on a stocking for her daughter, Morgan. It was so cute! Made of felt with sequins and different color fabric; it was just what I was thinking!! I got all the info from Kristen and set out to find one for Liesel girl. After researching online I found one I really liked. The brand is Bucilla and the stocking was titled Cupcake Angel seemed absolutely perfect for our little cupcake. In early October we set out to Hobby Lobby in search of the stocking. We luckily found it on sale for $14.99 and happily bought it. That first night I was giddy with excitement to start my little project. However, things changed when I opened the package!! I found 6pages of directions! Tons and tons of fabric, beads, string, and sequins. Eric and I both looked at eachother thinking the same thing, would this ever get finished?? I’m happy to say, I did finish it. It took me two months of diligently working on it each evening. Here is Liesels stocking:
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I really do love crafts. This one just took tons of time!!! But it was worth it. It is something Liesel will have forever.

The one aspect of the Bucilla felt stockings I did not think through was the fact that I would need to make more of them eventually for our future children. One of which was already on the way! What had I gotten myself into??!!

So this year I started the whole process again for Moira. We found the stocking that seemed perfect for our MJ online titled Sugar Plum Fairy. I was anxious to get started on it. Here is a picture of what is inside your kit:
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As you can see, again, I had my work cut out for me!! I am happy to report that I finished the stocking in record time, just 4 weeks. And here is the finished project: Moira’s stocking!
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Although tedious at times, it is an enjoyable project. I actually am looking forward to ( God willing) making a few more down the road;)
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Oh Christmas Tree

When it comes to Christmas we, Statlers, don’t mess around!  There is no celebrating or indulging in anything Christmas before Thanksgiving.  This includes peppermint mochas (probably the hardest for me), Christmas music, and of course decorating of any kind.  But once Thanksgiving is over we kick the Christmas cheer up to high gear!!

One of our families favorite Christmas traditions is getting our tree.  We usually try to accomplish this extremely important task the Sunday after Thanksgiving.  Thus giving us maximum tree viewing, smelling and everything wonderful a real tree has to offer:)  I don’t think we lived in Indiana for more than a week before Eric had a spreadsheet of all the different tree farms in the area.   He was determined we find the best farm to do business with, I should mention that we moved to Indiana in the middle of JUNE!! As I said, Christmas is serious business in our home:)

This year was no different.  We could not wait to go and get our tree!  Getting home after midnight on Saturday night from a 6 1/2 drive did not slow us down.  We were out the door by 9am with peppermint mochas in hand and Eric’s original three disc Quintessential Christmas cds in tow.  For the past three years we have gotten our trees from Stoneycreek Farms( the same place where we got our pumpkins).  It is a great farm! And although it is definitely more expensive than getting a pre-cut tree from Lowes, it is worth it! The setting is beautiful, everyone is extremely helpful, and it feels good knowing we are supporting our local farmers. 

This year Eric and I had been even more excited, than in years past, to begin celebrating ( hard to believe I know). But Liesel was finally going to be at an age where she could start understanding and enjoying all the Christmas fun! If Halloween was any indication on how wonderful Christmas would be with Liesel, we knew it would be nothing short of amazing!! And amazing it has been. Liesel had the time of her life picking out the Christmas Tree. She marched around the trees pointing to each one and saying ” This is it! This is the one!”:) SAMSUNG
She could not get over just how many trees there were at the farm. After looking and looking we finally found our tree. Bigger than in years past; a 7 foot tree! SAMSUNG
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That afternoon was spent decorating our beautiful tree. Liesel and Moira were a great help;) Actually, Liesel really did a great job. And I am happy to report that zero ornaments were broken!!
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Here is to a wonderful Christmas season!

Moira’s Birth

I cannot believe my little baby turned 10 months on Saturday! Where has the time gone?! I decided I needed to put all my birth notes together and, finally, write her birth story before she turns 5!  Liesel’s will be uploaded soon. I wrote hers just days after she was born! Funny how things start to slip once you have more children…

My pregnancy with Moira had been very easy. Honestly, I love being pregnant! Both my girls have spoiled me.  However, once February rolled around I was ready to be done and finally meet my little one.  And as you can see there was barely any more room at the inn!37 weeks 003

The week leading up to MJ’s birth was busy! Liesel had come down with a fever and I prayed we would all be sickfree before our baby made her entrance. Thankfully our prayers were answered and Moira waited until her big sister was feeling 100%!

To say I was nervous about having to go through labor again would be a HUGE understatement! From the moment I saw two lines on the pregnancy stick I began worrying about my labor and delivery. I tried to convince myself that this L&D could not possibly be worse than my 28 hour one with Liesel! Everyone I talked with seemed to say that labors were always shorter with number two and I prayed it would be true for me. Thinking maybe this labor would be only 15 hours or so. I tried not to dwell on it and with chasing after a very busy 18 month old, it was very easy to do!

The Monday before I went into labor I could tell things were beginning to happen. The nightly stomach cramping was more frequent and my brax and hicks were more consistent. I tried not to get my hopes up remembering back to my pregnancy with Liesel and the seemingly unending waiting game. Tuesday was a wonderful day. Liesel was finally back to her old self and Eric had a slower day at work, so we were able to spend the afternoon together for what would be our last time as a family of three! That evening I put Liesel to bed as normal and had a nice quiet evening with Eric. No real baby signs besides the cramping.

At 4am I woke up to some strong, yet inconsistent, contractions. I went to the bathroom and when I came back to bed Eric joked, “Are you in labor?” To which I just laughed off, remembering having these exact kind of contractions days before Liesel made her entrance. For the next hour I was in and out of sleep until finally at 5am I decided to get into the tub to relax. Still thinking this may not be the real thing, and even if it was, we were still probably hours away from leaving for the hospital.

While in the tub the contractions started to become more and more regular. And man did they hurt (funny how you forget the pain, yet remember it in the moment instantly)! I had my phone with me so I decided to start timing. Every 5 minutes I would have a strong contraction with a small, and what I thought to be, unrecordable contraction every 2 1/2 minutes. Around 6am I decided it was time to get out of the tub and begin packing for the hospital. Side note. After our extremely long labor with Liesel I remembered a friend saying a way they stalled going to the hospital was by packing once labor began. This idea seemed perfect for us! So weeks before our due date I made a detailed list of what we would need to bring and hung it on the refrigerator. The moment I stepped foot out of the tub my contraction hit me like a ton of bricks and I instantly fell to my knees. I decided now would probably be a good time to wake Eric.

I told him things were progressing and he should call his mom to come over for Liesel. “Tell her not to rush, but maybe come over by 7 or so, when Liesel would usually be waking up.” We are forever grateful that Teri went against our better judgement and came over as quickly as possible!

I started for the door to gather my list when I had to stop again for a ridiculously strong contraction requiring concentration and breathing. Eric was up trying to gather phone numbers for his members whom he had appointments with for the day. Of course labor would be on a day Eric had 4 appointments set! It seemed as though the moment I would be back up on my feet another one would hit keeping me from being able to complete any task. Why did I think it was a good idea to wait to pack our bags again?? I finally called for Eric demanding he pack the hospital bag. Both of us were unsure as to what was going on. Eric not understanding that the contractions were as hard as they were. And me believing this was still early labor and I had somehow become extremely weak since my labor with Liesel.

Teri arrived by 6:30, while Eric was scurrying around trying to locate all of our belongings and I was on the floor barely moving. Finally we were ready and, just as Liesel was starting to wake up, we hurried out the door so she wouldn’t see us. At 7am we were on the road heading for the hospital. My contractions seemed to be one after another. Neither of us were timing them. Partly because we were rushing and partly because we both still believed we couldn’t be that far along already! Once on I-69 I got into a zone. Everything was blocked out, I could focus on breathing and remain in control. Until Eric slammed on the brakes. 7am rush hour. I gasped! Focus broken. I remember thinking if I get to the hospital and I am only 5cm, I am getting an epidural. End. Of. Story.

We pulled into the hospital around 7:30 and Eric pulled into the parking garage. This is what we had done with Liesel and we both thought I would be able to walk to the elevators. Wrong. It took me forever to even get out of the car. Once out of the car I took about 3 steps and fell to my knees again. I could not believe I was so weak. My water was not even broken yet. Why can’t I do this? A man passing by asked Eric if everything was ok, to which Eric automatically replied ” oh yes, we are fine.” HA! Again neither of us believed we could be far along, its only been 3 hours since my contractions began!

Luckily there was a wheel chair for me when we entered the hospital and I was able to get into a semi- zone as we headed to the L&D floor. I began dry heaving and losing my concentration as I was wheeled into triage. And, for some reason Eric was needed to fill out paperwork even-though we had preregistered!!

The staff in triage immediately looked at me and said “page her doctor quick. She may deliver in here.” I remember thinking they have no idea what they are talking about!! My water hasn’t broken and they haven’t even checked me! Once they do they’ll see. I’m sure I’m only 5-6cm at best. However, it turns out they did know! thank God. The moment I sat on the bed my water broke. At that same moment Eric walked in. A few moments later Dr. Bemenderfer stepped in. Wow was I glad to see her! I absolutely adore our obgyn! She has such a loving, motherly calmness to her. Once she checked me she looked at me, smiled, and said “you’re almost there, Tricia. 9.5cm. All I need is one more contraction and it’s time to push!” Some of the most amazing words I could ever hear. I could have cried, come to think of it I did! One strong contraction came and went. I quickly flipped into pushing position. Eric held my hand helping me breathe with every push. Three pushes later and out came another absolutely beautiful, amazingly perfect baby at 8:03am. “It’s a girl!” Dr. Bemenderfer exclaimed, “Liesel has a little sister!” Praise God from whom all Blessings flow! Moira Jane was instantly put on my bare chest and every loving and wonderful emotion came rushing through. It is true what they say, love multiplies! I loved this little girl completely and entirely from the moment I felt her on my chest. She immediately latched on and nursed the entire time they wheeled me down the hall to our room.
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Once in our room. [Our extremely large Natural Birthing Suite. Big enough to fit our birthing tub:) Better to be over-prepared than under;)] Eric and I held eachother with our little girl, and exhaled. We both had adrenaline kicking in high gear from all the excitement! And we both could not believe it was only 8:30am and we were already holding, kissing and loving our sweet Moira Jane! God is good! SAMSUNG
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Thanksgiving in Missouri

Ahh Thanksgiving! Isn’t it quite possibly the best holiday? From the amazing food, to the people, to the lying around and reminiscing about the past year, I just love it! Since 2006 I have been spending Thanksgiving with Eric’s Dad’s family in Jackson, Missouri. I remember as a kid asking my mom how she could stand to be away from her family on holidays? The thought of it made me sad and I vowed I never would (being age 7). And she responded “Your Dad’s family IS my family.” As a kid I really didn’t believe her, but I now completely understand! Spending Thanksgiving at Grandma’s in Missouri is a tradition that I have come to look forward to and love so very much!

This year we decided to drive to Missouri with Eric’s sister, Karen, her husband, Joe, and their 4 month old daughter, Eden. That is right. Four adults, three little girls ( under the age of 2) in one Suburban! Were we crazy? We would soon find out:) It’s funny the four of us decided to drive together on a whim and loved the idea instantly. But then I think as we were drawing close to the road trip both families, separately, started becoming extremely hesitant and second guessing our decision. Was this really the best idea? Ha, it would be an adventure. And that it was. A surprisingly calm, pleasant and wonderful adventure. All the kids were amazing! Joe was a great chauffeur:) And against all odds we made it to Grandma’s in 6.5 hours with only two stops. Wahoo!

Here is Moira and Eden playing peacefully on the way out! And one of Liesel being a goof:)SAMSUNGSAMSUNG

Our time in Jackson was extremely special and we all had wonderful time! Eric’s cousin Chris and his wife Kristen have a little girl, Morgan, who is only one week older than Liesel. Here is a picture from the epic Thanksgiving where we both told, and found out each other were pregnant to the family.appointments 004It has been so much fun watching Liesel and Morgan grow up together! This Thanksgiving was a blast! The girls were so cute playing, running around and talking together. It is so special to see the bond they have formed. Liesel continued to talk about Morgan well into the next week!

Here are some pictures from our time in Jackson.
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With Great-Grandma, who turned 90 in April, and looks amazing! She cooked our Thanksgiving meal and still maintains a house that is big enough for all 12 of us to stay in for the weekend!SAMSUNG
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The girls having fun in the leaves!SAMSUNG
Grandpa reading “The Pancake That Ran Away”, a childhood favorite for Eric, Karen and Chris:)SAMSUNG
Chris and Eric working on K’nex. Somehow I believe this may have been a common scene 15 years ago:)SAMSUNG
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This is what happens when we spend the UofM vs OSU game in a house full of Buckeyes! Ugh! But she is pretty cute despite the unfortunate outfit;)SAMSUNG
Starting to say our goodbyes.SAMSUNG
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We are already counting down the days until next Thanksgiving when there will be four little girls racing around the house!! I hope the Statler family is ready:)

The Best. Cake. Ever.

Every year for Eric’s birthday I have tried to make him a special dessert.  One I know he would love and one I had never attempted before!  Some of my past creations were Divine Chocolate Cake from Cooks Country, Chocolate Pie by Emeril, and Eric’s Grandma’s Pecan Pie.  This year I set a new bar for myself! I had found a recipe, via Pinterest from the website http://megseverydayindulgence.wordpress.com, for a Chocolate Cake with Mint Chocolate Chip Frosting.  The picture looked amazing and knowing that one of Eric’s absolute favorite desserts is a mint chocolate chip ice cream cake, I had to try it.  Here is the recipe.  You are going to want to bookmark this page; it was so good!

Ingredients:

For the Cake:

  • 1/2c Butter, softened
  • 1.5c Sugar
  • 2 Eggs
  • 1.5c Flour
  • 9Tbsp Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
  • 1/2tsp Salt
  • 1tsp Baking Soda
  • 1/2tsp Baking Powder
  • 1/2c Brewed Coffee, cooled
  • 1/2c Milk

For the Frosting:

  • 1c Butter, softened
  • 8c Powdered Sugar
  • 1/2tsp Peppermint Extract
  • 1/2c Milk plus 2Tbsp
  • 11oz Dark Chocolate Chunks (62% Cacao)
  • 1/8tsp Green Food Coloring

For Ganache:

  • 3/4c Heavy Cream
  • 1.5c Semisweet Chocolate Chips
  • 1/4tsp Peppermint Extract

1. In a medium bowl mix cocoa with flour, salt, baking soda and powder. In a measuring cup mix coffee and milk together and set aside.

2. Mix butter and sugar in a mixer for 5 minutes or until smooth.  Then beat in eggs one at a time.  Slowly add in dry ingredients alternating with the coffee mixture until all is added.

3. Pour batter into two cake pans lined with parchment paper, greased and floured. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 25-30 minutes.  Remove and allow to cool completely before frosting.

4. For the frosting. Chop dark chocolate in a food processor until they become little bits ( not powder!).  Then in a mixer, beat the butter, powdered sugar and milk for 3-5 minutes, until smooth and creamy.

5. Next add food coloring and extract, by hand-mixing it, into the batter. You may need to add additional milk.  Once consistency is correct, fold in the dark chocolate bits. Now you are ready to frost:)
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Here is a picture of the frosted cake.
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Once your cake is frosted it is now time for the ganache.

6. Heat heavy cream in a saucepan just until boiling. Remove immediately from heat and set aside. In a small bowl pour chocolate chips in the bottom and slowly add heavy cream and peppermint extract. Stir until smooth. Allow ganache to completely cool, then pour over your frosted cake.

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Now it is time to put on the candles and sing ” Happy Birthday!”
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I wish I could describe in words just how amazing the cake tasted. However, I don’t think it would do the cake justice! I guess you are going to have to make it and try it yourself:) Enjoy!