Wednesday, October 31, 2012

It is finished!

I have been waiting to write this post for ages.... knowing the day was bound to come, but feeling like it never would.

Zach's worship album is finished.... finally!!!!!! Praise God!

After months and months of intense effort and about a year of writing, the album is finally finished and off to duplication. I can't wait to hold a finished copy in my hand and relish in all that has gone into it and dream about what is to come.

The song "Greater Than All" was released yesterday as a single. If you haven't already, download it and tell your friends!
Due to Sandy, production of Zach's full album, titled "One," has hit a little bit of a snag. As soon as we know for sure when they will be completed, we can share the release date and cd release show schedule.

To family and friends, thank you all for you love and support during this laborious process and for believing in Zach. I am so moved by what God is choosing to do through my husband and honored to be along for the ride.

Please please please tell everyone you know to buy this album! I know I am biased, but I promise that it will be worth the investment! The songs are truly inspired and worshipful.

(To my Z, I am so beyond proud of you and your commitment to this project and making it something truly special and Jesus-focused. I know God has great things in store for you, which is crazy since he's already blessed us so much. This is just the beginning, my love! The Lord will be magnified through you and your music as you surrender it all to him. John 3:30)

Stay tuned for more on Zach's music in the coming days and weeks!

Monday, October 29, 2012

Moose

So a few weeks ago, our friends Justin and Jenny got a new, black lab named Moose. He's a seriously adorable pup and Allie seriously loves him. Ha! Since Zach is highly allergic to dogs, our future as pet owners is quite grim. I am glad our friends have pets though that our girl can enjoy when she is here.

We like to hold Moose like a baby. :)


 Funny face


 Jumpin' to Allie
Hahaha


Playmates




Moose is growing so fast. Every time we see him he looks like a different dog. Ha! I can't wait to take more pics of Al with him when she's here for Thanksgiving to chart his (and her) growth!

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Jam Up

A few years back my Aunt Susan gave me this cookie cookbook.
In it I found one of our favorite cookies of all time that my family consistently requests during the holidays-

Jam Up Oatmeal Cookies.
It's not a holiday cookie per-say, but it's just a special cookie that we want at special occasions. Like Allie's fall party for instance. This cookie is #3 on Allie's favorite desserts list so I definitely wanted to include it in her fall party. It's no surprise that it was loved by the other girls too. Zach loves these cookies as well and calls them "fancy pop tarts" because of the fruit filling. Ha!

Due to the multi-step assembly process of the cookie it's a bit of work, but totally worth it. I recommend making the dough and rolling it out a few hours ahead of when you need to actually cut and bake the cookies.

Jam Up Cookies

Ingredients:
- 1 butter flavor Crisco stick
- 1 1/2 cups firmly packed brown sugar
- 2 eggs
- 2 tsp almond extract
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 2 1/2 cups quick oats (not instant or old fashioned)
- 1 cup finely chopped pecans
- 1 jar of jam (we love apple or strawberry)
- sugar for sprinkling

Directions:
1. Combine Crisco and brown sugar in a large bowl. Beat at medium speed with an electric mixer until well blended. Beat in eggs and almond extract.

2. Combine flour, baking powder, salt, and baking soda. Mix into Crisco mixture at low speed until just blended. Stir in oats and chopped nuts. Cover and refrigerate at least one hour. (This is where I roll out the dough in-between wax paper sheets and refrigerate.)

3. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease baking sheets (or use parchment paper).

4. Roll out dough (if you haven't already, half at a time, to about 1/4 inch thickness on floured surface. Cut out with 2 to 2 1/2 inch round cookie cutter. Place 1 tsp of jam in center of half the rounds. Top with remaining rounds. Press edges to seal. Prick centers, sprinkle sugar. Place 1 inch apart on baking sheet.

5. Bake one baking sheet at a time at 350 degrees for 12 - 15 minutes or until lightly browned. Do not overbake. Cool 2 minutes on baking sheets. Remove cookies to foil or cooling racks to cool completely. Makes 2 dozen cookies.

Enjoy! I am sure you will love them! And send me a photo if you make them!

Friday, October 19, 2012

Fall party for Four

Last weekend I hosted a fall costume party for Allie and three of her friends. Allie loves Halloween, but I am not really a Halloween supporter. I just have never gotten into it. As a kid, my family only went trick-or-treating maybe twice and most of my memories are of going to fall festivals at my church and playing silly games like bobbing for apples and eating donuts hanging from the ceiling.

I know a lot of people get into it, but to me... it just feels like Satan's holiday or something. Ha! Even though we don't do Halloween really, I still wanted Allie to have a Halloween-like costume party without all the cob-webby, spidery, scary-witch-over-a-cauldron Halloween stuff.

So we decorated the dining room with crepe paper, pumpkins, and candles.

And had some party snacks ready to eat when Al's friends arrived.
Jam Up cookies, one of Allie's favorite desserts and what Zach calls "fancy pop tarts."(recipe coming soon!)
Apple cider donuts
Little smokies (every party needs little smokies).
Allie made place cards and attached them to each person's pumpkin.

Take home goodie bags!

Allie dressed as a gypsy for the party and here she is enjoying the snacks.
We also painted and decorated pumpkins. This is such an easy and fun fall activity.




I was amazed with how each girl had a totally unique and original idea for their pumpkin and they all turned out great!
We also wrote and decorated letters to kids who live at Challenge Farm in Kenya. Challenge Farm is a home and school to roughly 130 children in Kitale, Kenya. These kids have been taken from hopeless lives- searching for food, fighting for survival, running from police, and doing whatever it required to deal with the emotional pain and wounds from this life. At Challenge Farm, these kids get 24/7 care and most importantly, love, something most of them have barely experienced prior to coming to CF. My friend Ashley's family is really involved with CF and I jumped at the chance to involve Allie and her friends. I want them all to know they can make a difference in people's lives TODAY, even in small ways like sending letters. It means so much to these kids!

Each of the girls picked out a different Kenyan girl to write to. Zach and I wrote to the boys. :)









 Ready to mail!

They loved doing this and are hoping to get letters back from their new friends in Kenya. :)
The girls also went trick-or-treating door to door at our house.

I wanted them to have the chance to do this even though they couldn't go through the neighborhood. Since we have 4 exit doors around our house, the girls just walked from each one with their candy bags. They knocked, and I surprised them by dressing in a different costume at each door and pretending to be a different character that they had never met before. (Just trying to recreate real trick-or-treating as much as I could. :)) It turned out to be super fun and the girls had a total blast.

Here they are making silly faces at their last stop!

It was hilarious for me though as I only had a few seconds to throw costumes on and off as they moved around the outside of the house. Ha! When it was all said and done and I finished handing out candy, there were costume pieces everywhere from where I had thrown them off.

Cute Payton, the hocus-pocus witch

Cute Emma, the pirate
 Cute Annie, the nature princess
 Cute Allie, the gypsy

Fun with friends!

 These girls love to be silly and make funny faces. I love them!


The girls had a blast and I was so happy to hear how much they enjoyed the party. It's so important to us that Allie gets quality time with friends and peers her own age when she is here. It's no secret that our family has been so blessed by the community of dear people at Forest Hill Church who love our girl and pour into her life. Praise God for the blessing of friendship!