And then I blinked…

Wasn’t it just yesterday,
daddy and I were anxiously waiting for you to make your debut? Praying for our new little one, wondering who you would be?

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Wasn’t it just yesterday,
daddy and I were welcoming you into the world? Holding you, kissing you and loving you for the first time?

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Wasn’t it just yesterday,
you were learning to sit, crawl and walk?

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Wasn’t it just yesterday,
that you turned 1?

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Wasn’t it just yesterday,
that you turned 2?

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And then I blinked,
and you turned into a kid!! Scarcely any baby-ness to be found.

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Liesel Cosette, what a year this has been! Your daddy and I have loved watching you grow and learn and become your own person. You have a love for life that is contagious to everyone around you. Your sense of humor has us laughing for days, truly truly laughing!! Your hunger for knowledge is astounding. People often call the twos, the terrible twos. I disagree! Trying?…Yes! Challenging?… Yes! Rewarding?… Absolutely! You have a strong will and determination that I know will serve you well! You will be a force to be reckoned with, a force for Christ to be reckoned with! We cannot wait to see what this next year will bring, we know it will be an awesome adventure. Liesel, we love you and love the person that you are becoming. God has amazing plans for you!! .

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Freezer Jam

Like I mentioned in my last post we had ALOT of strawberries from our morning last week at Spencer’s Farm. Here are all 8 pounds.

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With so many strawberries in our fridge I had to think of a few things to do with them. We do love our fruit around here, but there was just no way we could eat through them before they went bad! I froze some in freezer bags to use in our smoothies, I also made strawberry shortcake ( well angel food cake) for dessert and I washed a bunch to have on hand for snacks. But there were still a ton left! I decided jam was a must do. It was something I had never tried to make before and always wanted to do! Rarely do we keep jam in the house so I knew it would be a special treat for our girls on toast and in our yogurt. Regular jam seemed quite daunting especially having never done it before. I had heard numerous success stories with freezer jam, so I decided to give it a whirl. Here is how I did it.

Ingredients

4 pounds of fresh strawberries
1 packet of pectin (found in baking isle)
1 cup of sugar ( I ended up only using 1/2c)

Make sure your strawberries are washed and de-stemmed.

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Using food processor or blender mash strawberries until the are uniform in consistency.

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Once all 4 pounds are mashed, pour into large bowl. Add pectin and sugar and mix until completely incorporated. I did not want to use a lot of sugar so I added only a tablespoon at a time until it was to my satisfaction. I believe it ended up being a little shy of 1/2 c. The berries were so wonderfully sweet on their own.

20130614-140344.jpg Liesel was a great helper, and taster đŸ˜‰

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Once all the berries were mixed I poured the into 4 ounce mason jars. This way I could keep some for us, and give away a few as well. Let the jam sit in the jars for 30 minutes at room temperature before putting into freezer.

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After the jars have sat out transfer to freezer. I also put one in the fridge to use right away. The jam in the fridge will be ready to use in 1 hour. And there you have it, homemade freezer jam. Simple as can be. Here are a few takes on the jam:

the jam is delicious but tastes more like a strawberry daiquiri to me. I am thinking this is do to not boiling the berries the way you would in regular jam recipes. I believe that step intensifies the flavor. The jam tastes amazing in Greek yogurt. Also makes for delicious toast and pb&js. I think in the future I will try the original recipes just to compare. I definitely recommend freezer jam, it is efficient, easy, and ever so tasty!

Here are the girls enjoying some yummy jam on toast!

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Family Day of Fun

This past Friday we were lucky to spend together! Eric had the day off so we had decided to make this a special day for the girls. Kind of a kickoff to summer! First on tap was visiting our local strawberry farm.

Spencer Farms is an awesome place to visit. It is not a large farm so it is easy to take young children. The people who work there could not be any nicer and in their store they sell hand dipped Bluebell ice cream what more could you want?! The girls loved picking strawberries. Liesel and I have been talking a lot about gardens in liesel school so the fact that we actually got to pick our own strawberries was right up her alley! The weather was absolutely perfect and we ended up picking almost 8lbs ( plus or minus a few that somehow ended up in the mouths of two happy customers;)) Here are a few pictures of our strawberry morning fun!

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Liesel was a great picker. What a difference a year makes! She would yell ” it’s big and red, look look” almost every time she picked one.

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Moira decided she was the official taster and boy did she nail the job!

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Liesel had her fair share too;)

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Our finished product!

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They have not gone to waste blog posts to come on our homemade jam and strawberry angel food cake! Mmm mmm mmm!

Our day of fun did not end at the farm. After naps we were heading the the Indians game! Our minor league baseball team here in Indy.

Thanks to Mimi and Papa being out of town we were able to use their season tickets for Friday nights game! Eric and I were really not sure what to expect taking an almost 3 year old and a 16 mth old to a baseball game that starts at their bedtime. We figured worst case scenario we stay for a few innings, eat a hotdog and call it a night. Wow, were we surprised at just how big of a hit the event would be! The girls could not have had more fun or been more pleasant! We ended up leaving just before the start of the 9th and only because we wanted to grab an ice cream cone to share on the way out and since the Indians were down by 4, we figured we could beat the crowds. The girls would have stayed for the entire game, no problem!

The constant cheering and music made for two very happy girls! Liesel was yelling ” go Indians” at the top of her lungs throughout the game and desperately trying for a free T-shirt to be thrown her way. She also did not understand why she could not go out on the field with all those guys. Moira enjoyed waving and smiling at all the people sitting near us and she even scored some free popcorn and stickers from some fellow fans ( pays to be cute). We will definitely be going to future games, what a fantastic way to spend a night!

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Let the cheering begin!

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Enjoying some ball park food.

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Liesel gives it a big thumbs up!

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Thanks again Mimi and Papa! Our family day of fun was one to remember, can’t wait to do it again!!

Music Lessons with Daddy

If there is one thing you can count on hearing at the Statler household, it is an abundance of music. Whether we are listening and dancing to the Beetles or singing show tunes in the bathroom, our girls are growing up knowing all kinds of music! With parents like Eric and I how could they not?! Who knows maybe one day we really will have our own Von Trapp Family Singers;). We can only hope!

While I tend to take the reigns on learning songs to sing, Eric is our music instructor. I think Liesel was less than a week old before daddy had her tapping the keys.

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Both girls adore when Eric comes home and plays their favorite songs on the piano! He composed a song for each girl after they were born, and these songs are sung often around here. They also beg for Maple Leaf Rag, Love Me Do and a plethora of Wiggles Songs. While daddy plays the girls dance all around ( great way to exert their high energy, especially in the winter months).

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Aside from our nightly piano lessons

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As our girls get older it is exciting to think about what their desires and passions will be. I am certain that in some way music will be high on the list!

Donuts from Scratch

There are many things Eric and I miss from our small town of Dexter, where we both grew up. Perhaps top of the list ( if not the top) is the Dexter Bakery!!! We have searched high and low around Indy and NOWHERE compares… And don’t get us started on the Dexter Cider Mill donuts because for some bizarre reason no cider mills around here even sell donuts, gasp, I know crazy right?! So, due to this donut shortage we have not been able to eat our yearly donut quota. Last year on Pinterest I came across a recipe for DIY donuts using biscuits from a can. They were yummy, and we did eat every last one, but we were not fully satisfied. So we kept on going, donut-less, but constantly on the search for a recipe to try.

A few weeks ago Eric came across a recipe from Paula Deen. Rarely being dissatisfied from anything she makes, I decided this was one to save and try at a later date. So without further ado, here is another adventure of ours in donut making.

ingredients
3/4 c warmed milk
1 packet active dry yeast
1/4 c granulated sugar
2 1/2 c all purpose flour ( plus some for cutting board)
1/4 tsp kosher salt
2 TB unsalted butter, room temp
2 egg yolks
Vegetable/ peanut oil for frying

glaze ingredients
1 stick butter, softened
2 1/2 c confectioners sugar
2 tsp vanilla
4 TB hot water

In a stand mixer mix warmed milk, yeast and sugar. Let stand for 10 minutes or until yeast begins to bubble. In a medium bowl mix together flour and salt. Add flour mixture, butter and egg yolks to yeast and knead using dough hook.

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Knead on medium speed until dough forms a ball. Cover, and let stand for an hour. Transfer dough onto a floured surface and roll until about 1/2″ thick.

Using a biscuit cutter cut out your donuts. No biscuit cutter? No fear. We used the tops of our glasses:)

20130602-225738.jpg. Next cut out the centers of your donuts. No cutter for that? We used the top to a bottle. Worked perfectly!

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After all your donuts are cut to perfection, cover them and let rise for an additional 30 minutes.

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In a medium saucepan heat oil to 350 degrees. Then carefully place donuts ( about 3 at a time) and donut holes in pan. Allow to cook 1-2 minutes per side.

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Now it is time to get your glaze together. This batch we glazed all our donuts. Next time we may roll some in sugar to give a variety. In a mixing bowl combine butter, sugar and vanilla. Mix on medium speed. Add one TB of hot water at a time. You really want the glaze to be quite thin. Once glaze is finished, dip donuts in. We only dipped in the top half as to hopefully make the consumption less messy.

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Then, tada, you have some yummy donuts from scratch! Crisp on the edges, smooth and fluffy inside! No Dexter Bakery, we have still not mastered your donut, but these were worth every delicious calorie. And we will be making you again! Our search for new recipes, however, is far from over!!!

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