Monday, March 30, 2015

Chocolate Covered Marshmallows - Easy Birthday Treats

This is the second year now that we've made these chocolate covered marshmallows as classroom birthday treats and they are a hit! Cory's teacher even asked how I made them and just emailed me to say she did them with her kids this weekend.  So I'm sharing my "recipe" with all of you!

It's quick and easy and your kids can help too!  Plus, it doesn't require anything more than a napkin when sharing with a classroom full of students.

What you'll need:

Lollipop sticks (Wilton)
One bag of marshmallows ~ 40 regular size
2 bags of milk chocolate chips, we prefer Ghirardelli's
At least one large bottle of sugar sprinkles
Wax paper or freezer paper
Cookie sheet
Double boiler or aluminum pot


Melt your chocolate over low heat until smooth (medium heat if using a double boiler), stirring every 30 seconds or so.  You will end up with some leftover melted chocolate as it's hard to dip when you have just bits left in the pan.

Dump all the marshmallows out into a bowl and put a stick in the center of each, pushing all the way until you can feel the stick.

Pour your sprinkles into a small bowl, I like my little Pyrex dishes, and have a dinner plate ready to catch the extra.  Larger shaped sprinkles will work too, but you will go through them much faster so you'll need a couple of bottles if you choose to use those. 

Line your cookie sheet with wax/freezer paper and have ready.

Dip your marshmallows in the melted chocolate and dab excess off the bottom onto your spatula or you may not have enough for the whole batch.  Continue stirring your chocolate after every couple of dips.

Hold your marshmallows sideways over the plate and gently shake your sprinkles over while turning.  If you hold the marshmallow straight down it will fall off the stick!

After every couple of marshmallows funnel your sprinkles off the plate and back into your bowl to reuse.

Place marshmallows on the paper in rows!  Don't try to move them for at least an hour as they will fall off the stick or you will lose a lot of chocolate.

For faster cooling put the pan in the fridge or freezer!  We think these are especially tasty when cold, but frozen they can be harder to eat, especially for small children.


Makes 40 and takes about an hour.

Sunday, March 29, 2015


My oldest. Some days you seem so much older than eight and other days I can't believe you're this old already! Where does the time go? (oh yeah, to your little sisters!) You're so great with them!  Now you just have to learn to tell them apart!

This year hasn't worked out for me to be in his classroom nearly as much as I'd hoped.  And maybe he's getting too old for that, or his teacher is, he was ALWAYS happy to see me!

When I showed up with the birthday treats they were playing with things that spin.  Quite fun!

A little birthday song from the class complete with "cha cha cha's".  Cory has been doing well in school, as long as he's not being social with his neighbors!  This one likes to talk, a lot!  I'm thinking he got that gene from his daddy.

I'm glad he's super curious about the world though.  One of his favorite radio shows is Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me on NPR.  And if he's in the car I have to turn off the fade so he can hear it in the back.  We talk about the things that we hear on the news and I'm glad that he wants to understand.

I think we have the makings of a tradition.  Chocolate covered marshmallow treats for birthdays!  Super easy to make, unique, and a hit with the class!  This year I took pictures so I'll put up a little tutorial for you on Monday.

There was no skiing with Nana to be had this year since our snow was awful.  But he's gone mini-golfing this weekend and had a special day with Nana and Papa.

Last week Noah requested salad for his birthday dinner and when I described chef's salad he didn't want that, but Cory decided he did.  So chef's salad for dinner last night.  I have two boys under 10 and they both requested salad for their birthday dinner...!

Last time we measured he was 4'7", up to my shoulder, and his feet are already bigger than Nana's!

This boy is unique in his own way and I love him for it!  Happy Birthday Cory!

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Wordless Wednesday: Biker Crew

The neighbor Mark encouraging the kids to ride...

Cory got a flat tire and Hope was very interested in helping fix it!


Now we know what tires look like on the inside!

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Book: The Tomb

In this captivating retelling of a classic biblical story, Jesus shocks the town of Bethany with Lazarus’s resurrection from the dead, leading Martha—a seemingly perfect woman trapped by the secrets of her past—to hope and a new life.

Everyone in Bethany admires Martha—the perfect Jewish woman. She feeds and clothes her loved ones, looks after the family farm, and meticulously follows every precept of the Pharisees’ strict laws. But Martha is hiding a secret. At her sister’s marriage feast, she gave her heart and her innocence to a young musician who promised to return and marry her, but instead betrayed her love and abandoned her.

Seven years later, only two people in Bethany know of Martha’s secret sin: her brother, Lazarus, and Simon, the righteous Pharisee to whom Martha is betrothed. When Lazarus falls ill, Martha is faced with a choice: send for Jesus to save her dying brother—risking the wrath of Simon who threatens to betray her—or deny Jesus’ healing power and remain trapped in her tomb of secrecy and lies.

Meanwhile, on the shores of Galilee, Isa roams the wilderness, tortured by demons and knowing only that someone is waiting for him. When he is healed by Jesus, he finds that seven years have passed since his descent into madness. Isa journeys home to Bethany only to find he is too late to win back Martha’s love.

When Martha risks all to heal Lazarus, will Jesus arrive in time, or will he—like Isa—come too late?


As it's getting close to Easter this book would be a fitting read, a different tomb, but still a story about Jesus and resurrection.  Unfortunately mine apparently got lost in the mail so I don't even have one yet.  I'm super bummed because this type of Biblical historical fiction has really become one of my favorite genres.  I hope it comes soon!


If you would like to read the first chapter of The Tomb, go HERE.

A word from the Stephanie Landsem:
I write historical fiction because I love adventure in far-off times and places. I’ve traveled since I was a teenager—backpacking through Germany and Eastern Europe, studying German in Salzburg, eating gelato in Italy, and riding camels in Morocco were some of the highlights. Travel kindles my imagination, fuels my love of history, and introduces me to one-of-a-kind characters. It’s the best kind of research.

When I can’t travel, I read. I love fiction, of course, but I’m often found behind a stack of history books or searching the web for historical tidbits. How people lived together, worked, and what they ate (I love food!) is usually what catches my imagination. No matter where or when we live, people are more alike than they are different. I love to find the similarities between our lives and those of the men and women of the ancient world.

I make my home in Minnesota with my husband of 22 years, four children, three fat cats, and a tortoise named Moe. When I’m not writing Biblical fiction, I’m feeding the ravenous horde of kids and their friends, volunteering at church and school, battling dandelions, and dreaming about my next adventure – whether it be in person or on the page.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Five on St. Patrick's Day!

It's kind of hard for me to believe you're "only" five, my Noah boy. You take after your big brother so much and do most of the things that he does it seems you should be so much older.  In some ways I guess that probably makes you pretty mature for your age.

You are such a great big brother to your little sisters too.  You've spent so much time with them, you know their ins and outs just as well as I do.  Fortunately or unfortunately you have become my middle child.  I hope it serves you well in life. 

You really are still my happy go lucky little guy.  Not much gets you down unless it's someone being unkind.  You're sensitive to the people around you and I really appreciate that.  You want to be friends and friendly with everyone.  That skill will take you far in life!

And I really shouldn't say little.  You might break that 4' barrier this summer to go on the big water slides all by yourself.  And I'm certain you will if allowed!  It's a bit hard to snuggle you ON my lap anymore at 50+ pounds!

I suppose it's highly appropriate that you are my only blondie, being born on St. Patrick's Day.  You even had red hair when you were born although it turned blond within the year.

You are my ninja warrior and so creative.  You wanted me to take this picture of your sword in the dark and it turned out awesome!

Happy Birthday little man, I hope you know that even if you're sometimes stuck in the middle I love you just as much!

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Book: Dauntless


Where Legend and History Collide,
One Young Woman Will Fight for the Innocent

Born a baron's daughter, Lady Merry Ellison is now an enemy of the throne after her father's failed assassination attempt upon the king. Bold and uniquely skilled, she is willing to go to any lengths to protect the orphaned children of her former village--a group that becomes known as "The Ghosts of Farthingale Forest." Merry finds her charge more difficult as their growing notoriety brings increasing trouble their way.

Timothy Grey, ninth child of the Baron of Greyham, longs to perform some feat so legendary that he will rise from obscurity and earn a title of his own. When the Ghosts of Farthingale Forest are spotted in Wyndeshire, where he serves as assistant to the local earl, he might have found his chance. But when he comes face-to-face with the leader of the thieves, he's forced to reexamine everything he's known.


I've had this one for a couple weeks and read the first couple chapters and then birthday month caught up with me.  I like the premise and I'm hoping to have time to finish it in the next week!
No big introductions, the story jumps right in from the first page and you get background information through the main characters remembering "how things were" before.


If you would like to read the first chapter of Dauntless, go HERE.

A word from Dina L. Sleiman:

Since selling my first book, I have also become an acquisitions editor for the company. I am a member of the Inkwell Inspirations blog, HEWN Marketing, ACFW, and a contributor to Christian Review of Books. I hold publishing credits in poetry and songwriting, and I was the writer and featured teacher in a nationally distributed instructional dance video for children. I have written several songs about the plight of the Islamic people, which have been produced in association with the Christian Broadcast Network. In addition, I have taught college and high school classes in writing and literature, as well as homeschool classes in the fine arts, and now enjoy teaching at writers conferences throughout the nation.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Flee! Or in adult speak: Three!

These girls (not babies), are crazy, wild, and amazing. Today they are three.  In some ways it's been such a loooong three years and in other ways I think, oh, I just did that last year, but no, it was actually 4 years ago.  I'm just now coming out of my time warp!

Three is an amazing emerging vocabulary.  A definite idea about how things run, in life, and in our home.  A love for siblings and a pretty good sense of humor. (they get that from their dad)

Three is fake cheesy smiles for the camera and asking for chocolate after Mama is the paparazzi.  It's knowing that today is your birthday and being so excited about that before there is even cake or presents or balloons or Nana and Papa and Auntie Annika for dinner too.

Three is learning to listen and obey and remembering things like not running in the parking lot, finally.  Three has logic and can be reasoned with, and is very good at pointing out how things should go.

Three is 37 1/8 (Hope) and 37 1/4 (Joy) inches tall and 32 3/4 pounds each in size 8 1/2 or 9 shoes.  Still as close as always!

These girls have a pretty amazing twin bond, always wanting to know where the other one is and never too far apart.  They do have quite different personalities in some ways though.  Hope is more verbal, friendly to strangers, and loves to sing!  Joy is a little quieter, but more active, and loves to dance!  Watch out world, they will make an amazing combo!

Monday, March 09, 2015

Bittersweet Birthday

Yesterday was my Mama's birthday! 

We spent the day up there in the amazing sunshine, playing outside and with the dogs.

Then we had cake, way too late, the whole Daylight Saving Time throwing us all off.

Big brother blew out all the candles before anyone else had a chance so they had to be relit to give others an opportunity.

Somehow Noah managed to be late to the party both times, but he'll get his chance next week.


Unfortunately we were all a little sad because my great aunt Patsy passed away the day before.  She had a stroke about a month ago and never recovered.  This was our last family reunion that we got to attend with them in the summer of 2013, she's right in the middle.

She was the relative living closest to us until I was about 10 so she was kind of a second grandma to me and my brother.  One of my favorite memories is how she would give us a new Christmas ornament each year.  I love the tradition so much I'm getting them for my kids.  I should think about doing that for my niece and nephew too, or something.  Anyway, I'm sure it will help me at Christmas time to remember her even more now.

I've been doing a LOT of photo editing lately of old photos, both 10 years old for me, and cleaning up many tens of years old scanned photos.  It's hard to see the changes in people you love, and knowing that some of them are now gone.

Not exactly the happiest of birthdays, but still time to celebrate being with family.