Friday, February 27, 2009

Time for a Date night

After our third child was born our date nights were rare and my husband had this great idea that we should do date night every week but alternate weeks between us. When its his week he is in charge of taking me out of the house and planning a babysitter. On my nights we put the kids to bed early and I plan something at the house. This way we save money and both of us are excited about dating again!

Here is a Date Idea for all you ladies.....

Scrabble in the bed

Playing Scrabble takes a while so get your favorite beverages and small snacks set up in a private but comfortable area in your home. Put on something really nice just for him and tell him that this game is to be played using words to describe sex.

Rule #1: Need to agree on spelling and the words that are put down on the board.
Rule #2: Tell him in advance that this is a competition to pleasure (they love that)
Rule #3: In the end the board determines the "Prize" and the winner gets it.
Rule #4: Have fun, keep in mind that this is a date so no bad attitudes.

Sorry no pictures this time and I couldn't post our "Prize" but if it helps I did win by one point!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Reason to Relax

Pottery Barn puts it best. "My dream home includes places for pure relaxation. I want every space to offer reasons to stop and linger, to make relaxing irresistible."

In our modern era Living rooms have been abandoned, Dining rooms have been replaced and instead "open floor plans" are desired. Kitchens have nooks with eat-in bars that overlook family rooms which almost always center around a television screen. I can admit that this is ideal for our fast-paced always multi-tasking lives. But where do we go to simply relax. To read a book, drink hot tea, and actually enjoy the spring rainfall. For me its the living room, it has an untouched charm to it that invites me to sit and linger for a while. Its a place where everything is clean, everyone is fed and the to-do list is all checked off. There is nothing in the way then to just BE, because in the middle of the day that is where you will always find me.

I encourage you to pick a time in your day to just relax.
Make a space truly yours; as colorful, floral and shiny as your little heart will let you.

Happy Hope.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Something sweet to start your week!

Raspberry Mousse Cake

I absolutely love dessert! The problem is that to get what I want, I usually need to make it. And who better to share dessert with than my girlfriends! Naturally, I get on the phone and invite all the people I know to come and share the love of calorie intake with me. Now I know when you read this it will seem complicated but its has much room for error and even when some steps didn't turn out later when I combined them together it still turned out really yummy, so yummy in fact I had to make it a second time this week...give it a chance!

You will need:
3/4 cup all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup shredded coconut
4 lg eggs
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract

Raspberry mousse
2 tbsp water + 3tbsp water
1 tbsp unflavoured gelatin
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1 pound fresh/frozen raspberries
1 cup granulated sugar
1 1/3 cups heavy cream
2 lg eggs, separated
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 tsp vanilla
pinch of salt
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup raspberry jelly
8 oz lady fingers
1 1/2 cups raspberries, to decorate
1 2 ft. Ribbon, just for fun!

What to do:
1. Preheat the oven to 350 F. Butter an 8-inch springform pan. Line with waxed paper. Butter the paper. Sift flour, baking powder, and salt into a medium bowl. Stir in the coconut.

2. Beat the egg whites in a medium bowl with an electric mixer at medium speed until frothy. With the mixer at high speed, gradually beat in the sugar, beating until stiff, glossy peaks form. Beat the yolks in a medium bowl. With the mixer at low speed add the yolks to the beaten egg whites. Use a large spatula to fold in the dry ingredients and vanilla.

3. Spoon the batter into the prepared pan. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool the cake in the pan for 10 minutes. Loosen and remove the pan sides. Invert onto a rack. Loosen and remov the pan bottom. Carefully remove the paper and let cool completely. Reline the sides of pan with waxed paper and and return cake to pan.

Raspberry Mousse

(Make your own double boiler with a sauce pan and a small amount of simmering water under a medal bowl)

1. Sprinkle the gelatin over 2 tablespoons lemon juice and 2 tbsp water in a small bowl and stir until completely dissolved. Beat the egg yolks and remaining lemon juice in a double boiler until well blended. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, the the mixture lightly coats a metal spoon. (If you overcook it, don't stress out it goes into the processor later)

2. Immediately plunge the pan into a bowl of ice water and stir until the egg mixture has cooled. Place the gelatin mixture, 1 pound of raspberries, 1/4 cup sugar, and egg yolk mixture in a food processor and process until smooth. Beat the cream in a large bowl with an electric mixer at high speed until stiff.

3. Combine 3/4 cup sugar and 3 tbsp water in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, swirling pan occasionally to wash down sides of pan. Boil for about 7 minutes or until you can make a drop of the syrup into a soft, gummy ball when dropped into a small bowl of cold water. Remove from heat and cool for 5 minutes. While it cools beat the egg whites in a medium bowl with an electric mixer for 45 seconds. Add the vanilla, cream of tartar, and salt. Increase speed to high and beat until stiff but still glossy. Whites should still be moist, not dry and cottony. With the mixer on medium high, add the sugar syrup to the egg whites in a thin, steady stream. Continue beating until the frosting can hold a 2-inch peak and is very shiny. Cool to room temperature.

4. Fold the beaten egg whites into the cream and then add the raspberry mixture until well blended. Put the mousse into your prepared spring form pan and refrigerate for 4 hours or until set. Mix the lemon juice and jelly to stick the lady fingers on, decorate your cake to you desire !

Source for recipe: Reader's Digest
Made by Hope

Thursday, February 12, 2009

For the love of clothes

" In the beginning" is the perfect introduction for the book of Genesis because it was the beginning of so many things. The beginning of man and women, of their sin, of murder, of complete destruction to a city and then of the entire planet. The part that really stood out to me as I started to read the bible was the scripture where "God made them garments of skin for Adam and his Wife and clothed them." And there it was the beginning of clothing. God himself make them the finest attire despite his disappointment that they disobeyed him. He loved them so much that when he banished them from the garden he let them into the real world with clothing that he designed, leathers that to this day hold a value and are considered luxuries . This was the only possession that they had and as people of sin the importance of owning things began, the search of having more than we already have had started to rise.

From this point on we can admit that we are women who are fascinated with clothing, it is a part of who we are and the lives we lead. We tell each other that "you look nice, is it something new you got, how much and where?" We have conversations about bargains, parties with matching decor and spend countless hours at cosmetic appointments. Everywhere we go there are magazines proclaiming the new must-haves of the season. There are designer names, brand names and knockoffs that are all devoted in advertising their products for us to buy! Without knowing we are lured into the web of fashion and misconception, weather its an overpriced label or a Walmart deal the constant search of things is always there because its always around us to push us into buying. We do have some control on weather to buy quality or quantity which depends on our lifestyles and the way we use our clothes but regardless we are taught the importance of it. We know that first impressions determine our character and our intelligence based on what we look like on a certain day. The way we present ourselves to the world determines how put together we are with the lives that we lead and we know that everything is inspected with even the most casual encounters.

If we look at the story of Eve it reads that " Eve saw that the fruit was good for food and it was pleasing to the eye and also desirable for gaining wisdom so she took some and ate it." As women we can understand this because every decision we make reflects EVE. We rationalize our thoughts with visual, emotional and beneficial reasons. Eve saw(visual) that the fruit was good, it was pleasing(emotional) to the eye and lastly she was interested in gaining wisdom(beneficial). Knowing this we can see how she rationalized her thoughts and based her decision on them even though she know that she was not to " even look at them or she would die." Its interesting to me that as soon as she questioned what she already knew how fast that took her away from making the right decision.

Girls, all I want to say is to be aware of the things around you. Choices make up your everyday life and everyday you are required to wear them so stop your impulse shopping and start asking yourself if the things you are buying are the things that you need. Try to remember that each item you buy should be an addition to what you already own.