Happy 2nd Birthday, Smalls!

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Today is my Smalls’ 2nd birthday. He has brought me so much joy in his little life. I am crazy about him. This kid has spunk. He’s fearless about so many things, and I secretly love that about him. Even though it can be scary, as a parent, for my child to go into things without thinking, it’s neat to see the joy that fearlessness brings him. On the flip-side, he’s very complex – he gets overwhelmed very easily in certain situations. He gets upset at things that are too sensory-oriented (he’s got some proprioceptive things going on). But…I LOVE that we have this understanding, me and him. I know when he’s got his issues, and he comes to me to make them go away. He trusts my hugs to make him feel better. I love his silly, fun-loving sense of humor, the way he loves to make people laugh, but also gets shy when directly addressed by others. I love his wild antics, his mischievous smile, the naughty twinkle in his eye, partially hidden by his dark, long lashes. I love his teeny, little button nose. I love his lanky, long, skinny stick legs that envelope me in a hug, like a little koala bear. I love his hands, they are still like little baby hands. I love his bouncy, golden curls that frame his face, and flounce all over the place, especially because he’s almost always running and jumping, everywhere he goes. He’s simply the best. And I’m so blessed and eternally grateful to be his Mommy. What a gift from God.

We had a little party for him over the weekend with both sets of his Grandparents. I went with a beachy, tropical theme. It was a little tacky. I love tacky. And it was kind of a nod to his first birthday party, last year, where I did an under-the-sea theme.

I cooked and baked allllll day.

I made a Pineapple Cilantro Pulled Pork in the crock pot. It was an easy(ish) recipe because the crock pot did most of the work. I simply seasoned the pork butt and made a BBQ sauce.

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It was delicious and FULL of flavor.

http://www.fivehearthome.com/2014/07/14/slow-cooker-pineapple-pulled-pork-with-pineapple-barbecue-sauce/

I also made a Porky Pineapple Fried Rice.

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It was also very good.

http://damndelicious.net/2014/06/25/pineapple-fried-rice/

I made green beans, too! I boiled fresh green beans, put them in an ice bath, and then sauteed them with a little bit of olive oil and garlic. Delicious.

I also made crescent roll octopi. They more came out like jellyfish. I don’t know how on earth I was supposed to get EIGHT legs out of them. But they came out so cute. The boys kept asking for “legs”.

It wasn’t weird at all.

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They were a hit. Just cut 7 (or however many you can, then call them “jellyfish”) strips on the short side of the crescent and then roll the top down to form the head. Use (or not) black olives for the eyeballs.

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Dinner was delicious.

But dessert…oh boy, dessert was where it was at.

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I have to say, and not to pat myself on the back, but it was my best ever work. It was DIVINE.

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I used my favorite chocolate cake recipe, but I used Hershey’s dark cocoa in place of the regular cocoa (both turn out delicious). Because of that change, this cake was black and fudgey with a deep, complex cocoa flavor. It was insanely good.

https://www.hersheys.com/recipes/recipe-details.aspx?id=184&name=HERSHEY%27S-PERFECTLY-CHOCOLATE-Chocolate-Cake

I paired it with a white buttercream.

The buttercream was silky smooth. I just added blue coloring (Americolor Sky Blue). I used my offset spatula to make waves with the blue frosting.

http://www.confessionsofacookbookqueen.com/2013/06/double-chocolate-cupcakes-and-crispy-magic-frosting/

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I left some of the buttercream white and used that as the shore, and added graham cracker crumbs for sand.

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I decorated it with palm trees and a surfboard (all from Smalls’ first ever birthday cake last year), flamingos, fish and dolphin sprinkles, and gummy turtles (Smalls loves turtles).

It was so, so, so good.

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The combination was heavenly. And not because of what I did, but because of the recipes. So good. I can’t even stop thinking or talking about it. My mouth is watering for it now.

It was a great celebration. And today is family day – we will be showering Smalls with lots of love, fun times, and good food.

Happiest Birthday, my sweet, spicy nugget. May you always feel as loved as you are. ❤

Blessings to you all,

Kristin

Be Still…

It’s been a fun weekend! On Saturday, it was a Community Garage Sale day! Those are always fun. We didn’t have a garage sale this year, but we plan on saving up some junk to sell for next year. It’s amazing what people will buy. And ridiculous. And I’m not exempt from this group of people. But the only things we bought this time were children’s books. We found some Berenstain Bears and Little Critters, both of which were two of my favorite series growing up. When we got home, I threw together some ingredients for crockpot red beans! We had a dinner party to go to that night and it was a taco theme! I love a theme! The beans were easy – dry kidney beans, veggies, seasoning, water. I meannnn, I love a recipe that can come together with SO little effort on my part.

http://www.tablespoon.com/recipes/slow-cooker-red-beans-and-rice/10972c0d-2186-4067-9dc2-5e812472cf8a

I also put together a Sopapilla Cheesecake! It’s also been called a Churro Cheesecake. I’ll eat it whatever it is called! I had tried before and found the recipe on Pinterest. It was also a cinch to put together.

Sopapilla Cheesecake

It was simply crescent rolls on the bottom, a jazzed up cream cheese filling, another layer of crescent rolls, melted butter, and a layer of cinnamon sugar.

http://bestrecipesite.net/sopaipilla-cheesecake/

PS – my friend over at Willow Bird Baking does a PUMPKIN version of this! I will so be trying this when Fall comes back around!

http://willowbirdbaking.com/2011/10/02/easy-sopapilla-pumpkin-cheesecake-bars/

Get in mah belly.

Before naps, the boys played outside. My little guy was picking up little things that he found on our driveway (nuts, bolts, whatever else you find on driveways) and I thought he was going to put one of them in his mouth (as per the usual) and I went to say something to him (along the lines of “Smalls! No, no! Don’t put that in your mouth!), but something told me to stop. I simply watched him. Instead of putting that bolt (or whatever) in his mouth, he walked to the back of his trike, lifted the lid to the little trunk and placed it in there, ever so gently. I watched him for a few minutes more and saw that he was placing lots of little things in there – sticks, dirt clods, more bolts. To him, they were little treasures that he wanted to save. It was a small moment, but a moment that was a reinforcing one to me, and reminded me of one of my favorite Bible verses – “Be still, and know that I am God…” – Psalms 46:10. We needn’t worry, we simply need to sit back, be still, and know that God has all sorts of His own treasures for us. It was a poignant reminder to me of God’s simple way of taking care of us.

I asked Smalls to show me what was in his treasure box:

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He was so proud to open the little lid.

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And I was so grateful that he was so eager to show his important things to me and Bigs.

I love reminders straight from God and love being reminded of God’s love through my sons.

We had such a fun time at our friends’ house that night! My friend is a fellow blogger and her and her husband have two boys similar in age to our boys. They were very gracious hosts and we can’t wait to do it again.

And the food was great! You can’t go wrong with tacos!

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The beans came out pretty good, too.

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I had also made basmati rice to go with them.

And dessert:

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My mouth is watering just writing this post!

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That cream cheese layer was so good. The only change I made to the recipe was that I added about a tablespoon of pure vanilla bean paste in addition to the vanilla extract. I like seeing the vanilla beans in my desserts.

Today, after church, we had a park get-together with some of Bigs’ Sunday School class. All were invited! Our friends (who have a little one Bigs’ age and they go to church and school together) made the suggestion to get together, so we could get to know each other. And what a wonderful time we had! It was nice to share in fellowship and to get to know the kids and the parents of the kids who join our sons in worship each Sunday. I hope to do it again. The kids had so much fun on the park – running, jumping, swinging, wishing on dandelions. Simple, honest, fun.

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I got in on the dandelion action.

I love building community, especially within our large church. What a blessing!

After naptime today, my husband grilled out…

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…while my sweet, wonderful sons played together.

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Bigs likes to “let” Smalls into his “clubhouse”.

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They could go up those stairs and down that slide over and over again.

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What a great end to a lovely Sabbath.

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Even my persnickety pup was relaxed.

I hope you had a blessed weekend, God Bless! ❤

Kristin