Friday, June 30, 2017

Adele & Simon in America

This sweet book just arrived in time for the Fourth of July!  It'll make a nice addition to our summer books.

Happy reading!


Tuesday, June 27, 2017

St. Junipero Serra

I found this old book last spring on Amazon through a third party.  St Junipero Serra has been canonized less then 2 years!  His feast day is coming up, July 1.

This godly man did SO much for the poor Indians in California, fighting for them so that they'd have a decent standard of living.  He wrote the first "Bill of Rights" for the Indians.  He is also, "in a large part, responsible for the foundation and spread of the Church on the west coast."

You can read (or listen to) his story here and here.

St. Junipero Serra, pray for us!

~  Patty ~

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Easy Lemon Raspberry Truffles

Miss Mabel's Summer Baking Bucket List is tasting SO good!!  She got together with her friend, and the two of them made these delicious, Easy Lemon Raspberry Truffles.


1 (15.25 oz) package Lemon Oreo cookies

8 oz cream cheese, softened to room temperature

1 lb vanilla almond bark

1 tsp lemon extract

30-35 raspberries


1.  Grind the Lemon Oreos to make a fine powder.  (You can use a food processor.). Mix the Oreo crumbs with the cream cheese, stir until well-combined.

2. Scoop out a tbsp of the mixture and wrap around a raspberry, shaping into a ball to completely surround the raspberry in the center.

3.  Once all the balls are ready, place them in the freezer for about 20-30 minutes.  This will make them easier to dip.

4.  When ready to dip, melt the almond bark in a glass bowl in the microwave in 45 second intervals, stirring in between each interval until smooth and fully melted.  Mix in the lemon extract.

5.  Dip each ball into the melted almond bark and then place on wax paper to set.  If desired, sprinkle some decorative sprinkles on top while the almond bark is still wet.

6.  Store in the refrigerator until ready to serve.  Enjoy!

~  Patty  ~

Fudgy, Homemade Brownies from Scratch

My dear Miss Mabel continues to bake and cook up a storm in the kitchen this summer.  Recently, she made this delicious recipe of fudgy, homemade brownies after her daddy requested some homemade, chocolatey goodness ;)


3/4 cup dutch-processed cocoa powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
2/3 cup butter, melted & divided (1/3 cup + 1/3 cup)
1/2 cup boxing water
2 cups sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/3 cup flour
2 cups chocolate chips


1.  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Grease a 9 x 13" baking dish and set aside.

2.  In a large mixing bowl, stir together the cocoa and baking soda.  Stir in 1/3 cup of the melted butter until smooth.  Stir in the boiling water until the mixture is smoothened thick.

3.  Stir in the sugar and eggs with the remaining 1/3 cup melted butter.  Stir in the vanilla and salt until just smooth.

4.  Dump in the flour and chocolate chips at the same time and stir until just combined.

5.  Spread the batter into your prepared baking dish and bake for 35-40 minutes, or until the edges start to pull away from the pan.  (Always better to under-bake than to over-bake brownies!)

6.  Cool completely in the pan.  (Brownies freeze great for later if there are leftovers!)

We never have leftover brownies in our house!  ha ha!


~ Patty ~

Take Me Back in Time This Summer (Week 3)

I cannot tell you how incredibly liberating and healthy it has been to keep our month of June free and clear!  We have continued to just be and leave room for good, old-fashioned spontaneity to seep in each day.

This past week we have filled our summer spontaneity bucket with ::

* Miss Mabel having fun in the kitchen

* evening swims

* visiting an old park that is one of our city's gems just to splash in the water

* ice skating

* Dairy Queen blizzards

* Sonic Happy Hour (Slushies)

* retail therapy (Tuesday Morning finds consisted of a new baking pan, bar of soap, and candle)

* more baking

* walks

* bike repair

* ice cream at the pool

* and ice cream (sonic half price shakes) after the pool when David and Stan the man were gone

* Dads Night Out

****David and his good buddy host a dads night twice a year.  The prepared and served brisket and surf n' turf last night.  All the dads, their Catholic faith as the common thread, really enjoy the gatherings.  David said, "There was only 16 who gathered this time."  Umm...I think 16 grown men is a BIG number to cook and prepare food for.****

Spontaneous Summer Bucket (Week 1)
Spontaneous Summer Bucket (Week 2)

~ Patty  ~

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Take Me Back in Time This Summer (Week 2)

This past week we filled our Spontaneity Bucket with ~

* new pajama shopping for myself.  (What a treat!)

* someone got her ears double pierced.  (Sarah's bucket list)

* spending time with another teen daughter on her lunch break

* woke up one morning and said, "Let's go to the lake for a couple of hours."

* enjoying these from our garden

* entertained by Miss Mabel as she created her Queen of Hearts costume for a mystery dinner party

* special snacks (created by Ester for co-workers)

* pie and ice cream for dinner  (What time is it??  It's summertime!)

* Swimming.  Lots and lots of swimming.

* naps after swimming

* staying up late watching movies

* early morning walks

* praying the Rosary on those morning walks

We are really enjoying filling up of summer bucket.  Beside the pool party, we have embraced the down time and spontaneity.  Looking forward to seeing what week #3 has in store for us!

Spontaneous Summer Bucket List - Week 1

Spontaneous Summer Bucket List - Week 3
~  Patty  ~

His Baptism Birthday

With all the craziness going on, Stan's Baptism birthday came and went without much fanfare.  It was actually the same day as Miss Mabel's Confirmation.  We did look at photos of his Baptism day (he was SUCH a cute baby), but I had forgotten to pick up a small, faith-based gift to give to him.  I told him I'd do that at another time.

So the other day...

It's a true story, a narrative, based on the Acts of the Apostles (written for children).

These small, faith-based gifts add up quickly over the years, arming the kids with tools to continue growing in their faith and knowing how to defend their Catholic faith.

It's is a rare occasion that we purchase a faith-based gift that is not Catholic.  So every Bible (did you know that Protestants have a different Bible?), prayer card, and almost every book we gift them with is Catholic.  Our thoughts on this are simple: why try to teach them  their Catholic faith from a resource that is not Catholic?

He really likes this book!  I plan to read it when he's finished.  (You are never to old to learn something new!)

~ Patty  ~

Friday, June 16, 2017

A Pool Party Fit for a Lifeguard!

Last Sunday, Miss Ester  celebrated her Sweet 16th with a fun pool party!   (She turned Sweet 16 last March.). We had this party planned for some time and it wrapped up our insanely busy spring.

She did not want to exclude anyone, so she waited until summertime when we could rent a city pool, the perfect spot for a bunch of teenagers to have fun and stay cool at the same time!

And since Miss Ester is a lifeguard...

We had a lifeguard-themed pool party!

It was so much fun!

* Waves of Blue cupcake wrappers found on Etsy,  here.

* Lifeguard (fondant) cupcake toppers found on Etsy, here.

* Shark fins - Oreo cookies cut with a serrated knife ;)

* Neon cupcake wrappers found on Etsy, here.

* Neon cupcake toppers found on Etsy, here.

* Pool Party water bottle labels found on Etsy, here.

~ Patty ~

New Summer Book Additions

Last summer I created this summer book list.

For the past few weeks, we've been adding to that list with these.

I love books!

~ Patty ~

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Easy Crumble Cherry Pie

My girl Mabel checked this off of her Summer Baking Bucket List.

This scrumptious recipe was a perfect beginner pie for someone just starting out.


Crust -
1 frozen 9" deep pie crust (take out when preheating the oven)

Topping -
2/3 cup flour
1 tsp almond flavoring
1/2 cup butter (cold, cut into chunks)
2/3 cup of sugar

Filling -
1 (21 ox) can of cherry pie filling


1.  Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees F.  Stab the bottom of your pie crust with a fork about 5 random spots.  After the frozen pie crust has sat out about 15 minutes, dump the pie filling into the crust.

2.  Put crumb topping ingredients in a bowl and use a pastry blender or fork until the butter is crumbled and everything is mixed.  Sprinkle the crumb topping over the top of the cherry filling.

3.  Bake 35 to 40 minutes or until topping is golden brown and filling is bubbly around edges.  If you want you can cover the edge of the crust with strips of foil to prevent excessive browning for the first 15 minutes of baking.  You're looking for a golden brown crumble topping.

4.  Let cool 30 minutes and enjoy!

~  Patty  ~

Chicken Enchiladas with Sour Cream Sauce

Another amazing recipe Miss Mabel recently made for dinner.  This Chicken Enchiladas recipe is a welcome addition to our Mexican food round up!

When there are no left overs, you know it is a success ;)


10 small, soft, flour tortillas
3 tbsp flour
2 cups chicken broth
1 cup sour cream
2 1/2 cups cooked and shredded chicken (use a rotisserie chicken)
3 cups Monterey Jack cheese - shredded
3 tbsp butter
4oz can diced, green chillies


1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

2.  Combine shredded chicken and 1 cup of cheese.

3.  Fill tortillas with the mixture above and roll each one, then place them in a greased 9" x13" baking dish.

4.  Melt butter in a pan over medium heat.

5.  Stir flour into butter and whisk for 1 minute over heat.

6.  Add broth and whisk together.  Cook over heat until it's thick and bubbles up.

7.  Take off heat and add in sour cream and chilies.  (Be careful it's not too hot or the sour cream will curdle.)

8.  Pour mixture over enchiladas and add remaining cheese to top.

9.  Bake in oven for 20-23 minutes, then you will want to broil on high for 3 minutes to brown the cheese.


~  Patty  ~

Mexican Beef & Rice Casserole

I asked Miss Mabel if she wanted to look for and try any new and delicious-looking Mexican recipes.  She came up with success.

This casserole?  There was nothing left.  And you have to love when a recipe is easy to prepare as well!


1 lb ground beef
1 1/2 cups Mexican Style Shredded Four Cheese, divided
1 pkg. (1oz) taco seasoning mix
1 cup long-grain white rice, uncooked
1 cup frozen mixed vegetables (carrots, corn, peas)
1 can (14.5 oz) diced tomatoes, undrained
1 cup medium salsa
1 cup chicken broth


1.  Heat oven to 375 degrees F.

2.  Brown meat in a large nonstick skillet; drain.  Return meat to skillet.

3.  Reserve 1 cup cheese for later use.  Add remaining cheese and all remaining ingredients to meat; mix well.

4.  Spoon into 13" x 9" baking dish sprayed with cooking spray; cover.

5.  Bake 40 to 50 min. or until rice is tender.  Top with reserved cheese; bake uncovered for 5 minutes or until melted.


~  Patty  ~

German Chocolate Pecan Bars

Miss Mabel's Summer Baking Bucket List continues.

Unfortunately, this was the only photo I took of these decadent bars.

She made these with her cousin who was visiting from Michigan.  There was so much activity going on in the house between graduation and Confirmation that I completely forgot to snap a close up.  They rapidly disappeared, they were so good!


1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup cocoa powder
3/4 cup powdered sugar
1 cup cold butter, cubed
12 ounces dark chocolate chips
3 eggs
3/4 cup light corn syrup
3/4 firmly packed brown sugar
1/4 cup butter, melted
1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
3 cups pecan halves, toasted


1.  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Line a 9" x 13" baking dish with parchment paper, allowing an overhang on the two ends.  Set aside.

2.  In a large bowl, combine the flour, cocoa powder, and powdered sugar.

3.  Add the cubed cold butter and blend with a pastry blender until the mixture resembles small peas. It will be dry but it will come together when baked.

4.  Press the flour mixture into the prepared baking dish.

5.  Bake for 15 minutes.

6.  Remove the baked chocolate crust from the oven and place the pan on a wire rack.  Sprinkle the dark chocolate chips evenly across the crust.  Allow to cool for 30 minutes.

7.  In a large bowl, gently whisk the eggs.  Add the brown sugar, corn syrup and melted butter, and whisk until smooth.

8.  Mix in the unsweetened shredded coconut and pecans.

9.  Pour the pecan mixture on top of the melted chocolate chips and spread evenly.

10.  Bake for 30 to 34 minutes, or until the bars are golden brown and the filling has set.

11.  Allow to cool completely, then refrigerate for 1 hour before cutting into squares.


~ Patty ~

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Mint Chocolate Chip Cupcakes

Miss Mabel created a Summer Baking Bucket List and has been checking off delicious recipes one at a time. A few weeks ago, she had her friend over and the two of them baked these Mint Chocolate Chip Cupcakes.

They were so YUMMY!


1/2 cup cocoa powder
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 large eggs, room temperature
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup warm water
2 tbsp vegetable oil
1 tsp vanilla

Ingredients for butter cream:

1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
4 cups icing sugar
2-3 tbsp cream or milk
1-2 tsp mint extract
6 oz of mini chocolate chips plus extra to sprinkle
green food coloring (optional)


1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and line 2 muffin pans with 15 cupcakes liners.

2. I a large bowl, whisk all the dry ingredients together until evenly mixed.

3.  Add in all wet ingredients and whisk together.  Then using a rubber spatula, scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl to make sure no dry flour remains and whisk again, vigorously for another minute or two until smooth.

4.  Fill each liner 2/3's full and bake for about 15-18 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

To make the butter cream:

1.  Using the handheld mixer or stand attachment, beat butter until light and fluffy.

2.  Add 2 tbsp of cream, extract, and 1 cup of icing sugar.  Beat well and add remaining cups of icing sugar, one at a time.  Beat well after each addition.  Add another tbsp of cream if needed to get desired consistency.

3.  Add the green food coloring, a few drops at a time until you get your desired color (I used 10 drops).

4.  Stir in chocolate chips, frost on top of completely cooled cupcakes.

If you want to pipe your frosting, make sure you use a large enough tip like a Wilton 8B or 1A.


~ Patty ~

Monday, June 12, 2017

Take Me Back in Time This Summer (Week 1)

Spontaneity.  This is my summer bucket list.  And whatever happens to fall within it will be a pleasant surprise :)

I want an empty June.  As much as possible.  No camps.  No lessons (for any sport).  "Maybe's" only when it comes to accepting invitations to do something or go somewhere.  Relaxing and living and doing things together as a family. Spontaneously.

So far we filled the bucket with::

Sleeping in until whenever.

Watching movies in pj's.  Until whenever.

A little one building forts and sleeping in them.  Two nights in a row!

Meeting a little friend at the pool after making a quick phone call.

Taking lunch to big sister at work who happens to be there for 12 hours.

Going for a swim in the city pool.


(I actually had to trim back the tomato plants - there's only three there - because they are growing like they are on steroids!)

Visiting Bahama Buck's for the first time.  (World's BEST shaved ice!)

Taking my ladies to Emporium Pies in the middle of the afternoon.  Just because.

The oldest three and I catching Wonder Woman.  (It! Was! Awesome!)

I'm not sure what will happen in the next week since I have no intention of filling it up.

This is an interesting article that popped up in a friend's feed recently, (kind of mirroring my thoughts).  I Want a 1980's Summer For My Kids.

Our Spontaneous Summer Bucket List Week 2 

Spontaneous Summer Bucket List (Week 3)

Until whenever ~



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