Holy Good Cupcakes, Batman!!

Brian is a cupcake guy. I’m a cookie girl. But now I’m thinking that may have just been cause I had never tried these cupcakes.

Got the recipe at Love From the Oven. I like anything that starts with a box and Duponts it. These were the best cupcakes I’ve ever eaten. Ever.

I made the filling the day before and stuck then in the freezer overnight. Mine made 29, which was perfect for the amount of cupcake batter. Made the cupcakes from Devil’s Food cake box mix.

Assemble:

Bake, frost and done!

Here are the recipes I used.

For the Filling: 

  • 1 – 1 1/4 c powdered sugar
  • 3/4 c creamy peanut butter
  • 4 Tbsp unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • For filling: combine powdered sugar, peanut butter, butter and vanilla in bowl. Beat on medium speed until well combined and mixtue is dry yet holds together. Roll into 1-inch balls, place baking sheet and chill in freezer while you make batter (10 minutes).

Peanut Butter Buttercream Frosting

  • 3/4 butter at room temp
  • 1/4 cup shortening (Crisco) (or for people like my friend Risa who hate shortening, just add more butter!)
  • 1/2 cup smooth peanut butter
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/4 – 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 4 – 5 cups powdered sugar

In a mixing bowl combine your butter, shortening, peanut butter and vanilla until smooth.   Add in your powdered sugar, starting with four cups.   Add about 1/4 cup of your whipping cream, combine well with mixer and switch to a high speed to beat until fluffy.   You can play with the amounts of powdered sugar and whipping cream to get the exact texture and consistency that you want.

Bicycles built for five…

We like to bike. But we like to stop to take pics too!

We found a wheat field and pretended that we are farmers. We like that game.

Wheat! I'm making bread!

The kids picked a few strands (is that the right term?) and asked if I could make them bread out of it. I’m flattered that they think so highly of my baking skills

If you scream in a wheat field, does anyone tell you to stop screaming??

My creeping through the wheat shot

And we stopped to farm again, on our tractor this time.

Found a tractor on ride to church tonight

Are there safety instructions we should read for this thing? We prefer to wing it when it comes to heavy machinery.

Then we rode up the hill I hate on Antioch. Sadie Piper and Berkley can tell when I’m struggling (probably because we slow to a crawl) and the sweet girls tell me, “You can do it Mom, keep going!”


So… I Went To Guatemala

This post is sporadic and does not begin to document the trip properly, it doesn’t include the great times of worship through music on a moving bus or the prayers of students who long to serve in a foreign land. It doesn’t go into the needs of the people who express the change brought about by the Gospel in their lives, but it doesn’t give a quick and simple glimpse into what was an amazing trip I will forever be grateful to have been apart of.

The school Redeemer oversees and that I get teach Doctrine at each year takes a senior mission trip each Spring. Some of these students I had taught for five straight years (7th -11th grade) and have grown very close to. Others I’ve only known a couple of years, but have quickly grown to care dearly for.

So this year they took their trip to Guatemala and it was an absolutely fantastic adventure. I pulled out a few photos, but if you wish to see them all you can see them here.

We were mostly ministering to a Christian School that was founded and funded by Colonial Presbyterian Church many years ago. However, we stayed the nights on the campus of a Seminary/Missionary Retreat place. We had a guard with a giant gun protecting us during the night.

One of the great things about teenagers is it is easy to wake up before them. So I was able to  sit outside with a volcano in the distance as I would read the Bible each morning. I haven’t been able to replicate this in Kansas as well since Sadie Piper wakes up at the crack of dawn and the volcanos here are a bit further in the distance.

Guatemala 2012

The country side was amazing, we drove around in a school bus that was no longer safe enough to carry American school kids, but plenty good to go up and down Guatemalan mountains. Unfortunately my camera didn’t capture things buzzing by very well, but the whole thing felt like a living photograph from one of those travel magazines.

Guatemala 2012

After our first day I did feel a little too safe, too clean, too protected and asked to go outside the walls to see what the village was like. The first time we took a local student with us and he told us about the place. It was amazing just meeting people and seeing how they live.

There is an open air community wash place which only women were allowed to go up to. They would wash their clothes and then lay them on grass to dry. One girl was even washing her hair. Guatemala 2012

During the week I sent photos to Rudy’s mom of him in seemingly dangerous postions. I’m not sure the locals understood this American tradition based on his reaction in the background.

Guatemala 2012

Another one.

Most of the buses were painted in really bright themes, Wish we did the same thing. Guatemala 2012

Everything has prison fencing around it, even the place that sells prison fencing. Guatemala 2012Guatemala 2012

Guatemala 2012

They are not very good at distinguishing the difference between Mario and Luigi.

Guatemala 2012Guatemala 2012Guatemala 2012

The day we arrived at the school all the morning students were in the street waiting to meet us. It was great to see our students greet them and get down on their level with them.

Guatemala 2012Guatemala 2012Guatemala 2012

I did become addicted to Crush while their, but disappointedly found it doesn’t taste as good in the states. Guatemala 2012

We spent one morning sanding and staining their desk and benches. Guatemala 2012

We visited the home of one family to see their wood burning stove. It was outside on the porch and the floor was mud and multiple generations lived in the same house. It was really simple and they were very hospitable.

On Sunday we visited some independent missionaries. I was disappointed to learn didn’t go to church anywhere, but I was grateful for their opening their home up to us for lunch and rest. Below Rudy documented me picking some weird fruit that tasted like a lemon, but was like four times as big. I shall call it…you guessed it…A Texas Lemon.

Guatemala 2012Guatemala 2012Guatemala 2012

After lunch we visited the Mayan ruins. Here I look like the biggest tourist ever. Above me is our seniors concurring some temple like thing.  Guatemala 2012

This is the missionary couple who welcomed us to their home. Guatemala 2012

HCA Senior Class plus me and Mrs Frazier and minus Hannah. Guatemala 2012

Andria climbed on top of one of the ruins while we turned what surely was an elaborate Mayan public restroom into a “king of the mountain” like game. I bet the Mayans didn’t predict this. Anyway Andria looked to be soaking up life in the ruins of civilization that no longer existed. Makes you think. Guatemala 2012

This is some trick photography or this is Rudy with magic jumping powers. Guatemala 2012

This is the volcano I looked at each morning as I read Scripture and wrote in my journal. Guatemala 2012

On Monday Josh and I ventured into the village and met a drunk guy named Diego who wanted dinero for Cerveza. We didn’t have dinero, but it was a great adventure.

So the next day I took Jeremy (who is good withe the Spanish) and Andria (who was good with the Spanish until her head fried) into the village. We met a few people and got a sense for what life in Guatemala is like. Guatemala 2012

The last day we went to Guatemala City and learned about 12,000 people who live by digging through the city dump. It was terrible to see, but I was encouraged by a ministry called The Potter’s House that is very gospel centric ministering to the people their. Yes hygiene, yes education, yes temporal needs, but formost The Gospel. Guatemala 2012

To see the dump we talked through an above ground cemetery, a sort of city of the dead. Some graves were busted open and yet it was clear that a great deal of money was spent on these graves. It was an odd feeling standing in a wealthy ancient cemetery while looking down on people struggling for survival in the dump.

Afterwards we went shopping, which was hard to do, just felt wrong, but we were reminded that these vendors needed this money and that we were a help to them. I didn’t have the heart to win at bartering after that, I did buy a hammock though. Plus I had some great conversation over Guatemalan coffee while waiting for others to finish their shopping so I was glad for the experience. Guatemala 2012

I only put a few pictures up here, but there are some great photos in the flickr set. Guatemala is a great country, I miss it already. This Senior class is a great class and I miss them already too.

The Saturday after we got back we watched these students graduate. I didn’t expect it, but from the moment the first student was profiled in a montage like video some liquid started coming out of my eyes. It was weird, I wasn’t sure what to make of it. I googled it later to learn it was called crying and most likely someone was cutting onions nearby.

Really though, we love the students God has called us to minister to at Redeemer and HCA, we grow close them and it is incredibly wonderful and terribly sad to see them grow up and move on in life.

Highlight of my week!!

Every parent pictures their daughter as the princess in the fairy tale, right?

Sades brings this Cinderella shoe and the lotion to me and asks me, “Will you put some lotion in this shoe so I can get my foot into it  cause I can’t cause it’s too tight.”

Ouch.

Berkley Boo

Since the other two got this documented, I had to include the Little One’s first dentist visit too!

“I drank my yogurt, Dad”

I drinker it, right dad?

This is how she ate her Sunday dinner Fruit Loops. Every last one she took out of the bowl (in color order, all the yellows one at a time. all the greens one at a time, etc…) put it on the table and then ate it like a dog.

Then when we were loading up to leave for church she runs out and tells me, “The dog is coming!!”

Got a Lite Brite at a garage sale for $1! Girls have gotten way more than $1 worth of entertainment out of it, I love it when that happens!!!

Two things about this make me laugh: Berkley’s eyes…and her blanket. She’s a little obsessive some days about wearing a blanket. This chip clip works great, she stores it on her book shelf and will bring me her clip and blanket. Then when it’s nap time she takes it off and puts the clip back so she’s ready for when she wakes up!

Case in point: more blanket-wearing…

Getting some Hat lovin’! Welcome home Hat!! We miss you!

Found a Hat

Riding on the mulch!

Underestimated the amount of mulch we needed the first time...but not gonna let that happen this time!!

Funny Book

Berkley’s face is classic! She told me “God is a boy because he wears underwear. He does not poop in his pants.” Ok then.

SP: Colin can count past 5, he can count a lot of numbers. {pause to think} Maybe all of them.

SP: Is this the nail they put in Jesus? (it’s a railroad nail)

"Dad is this the nail the put in Jesus?"

A railroad nail acquired this day:

Ahh, The Country

Brian: What do you think of our grill?
SP: We need to buy a new one. This one is on fire!
SP asked when she was going to die. Brian told her only God knows and asked if she was worried about dying. She said no because she wants to see Ompah. She asked if he had stuff, Brian told her he wasn’t sure. She said she thinks he has wine, but not milk, because there are no cows in heaven.
Then after a minute she adds, “Well, that’s an interesting question.” (referring to her own question if Ompah has stuff in heaven)
#kansascity
The girls and I were at HCA’s upper campus one day and went to the girls’ bathroom. There was a girl in there crying. Berkley was very concerned about her and asked me, “Where is her mommy?”
Laura: Dad is funny
SP: Yeah cause he toots
Sadie Piper first ride
Out of the blue one day Sadie Piper tells me, “Dad’s gonna find me a nice boy to marry.”
I asked her about this boy. Here is what he looks like:
– “he takes out the trash
– he will be a good, fast bicycler
– he will love a girl. Like me.
– be a loving daddy. And a nice one.
– love Jesus
– kill bugs”
I’d say that pretty much makes him a catch!
I think we know who the rule-breaker parent is cause only one of us is safely on the cement…

You say Goodbye, I say Hello…

I think that’s a Beatles song. Or is it Beetles?

Brian’s plane left at 5 am on Thursday for the Sr HCA mission trip to Guatemala. My mom’s plane got to KC at 10 am the same morning!

First stop (before even going home) was the Johnson County Children’s Museum. It’s been on my “to go to” list for a while, mainly because it’s free!

The fish were biting this morning.

But then the dolls got sick. Thankfully we ran into two doctors.

I wasn’t so sure about trusting this Dr. She has crazy eyes…

We saw a great two man show! One danced, the other played the xylophone! 

Did a little harvesting. It wasn’t as hard as they always say…

But we did work up an appetite and headed to Fritz’s. Brian and Beckham have been before, but it was another first for us! A really fun restaurant where a train delivers your food!

The sun was obviously blinding!

Day two: the zoo!

Berkley was fascinated by the monkeys

Sadie Piper’s favorite animal: the flamingo!!

Everyone up on one leg!!

Got some Mimi cuddles! AND A REAL SMILE!!

“Now be the watcher meerkat”

(Note to self, assign someone else to Berkley’s shift or else we are all goners when the lions eat us)

This is my favorite picture of the week. Berkley went and found that spot all by her self AND SMILED AGAIN!

No worries, she’s still got this smile too!

My mom left Saturday, so we used the weekend to celebrate early. The kids made these for grandmas for Mother’s Day, it was really a fun project!!

And I discovered that our good outlet mall (Legends) is practically on the way to the airport!!

And then I forked over the $11 for these. How cute is she with that pose??

After this pose, I forked over the $11 and took those sunglasses home with us!

A great book cause I can stand to learn a thing or two about being a godly girl…

Here’s how I found this book. I saw this picture:

Melissa is a high school and college friend whom I wish we lived closer to. I think we would be great girl friends and fun couple friends with her and her husband, Beau. They have amazing hearts for Christ and His kingdom and a great Christian worldview in all of their lives. Alas, we do not live close. So we stalk keep up with her and her family via their blog. (This is actually her flying to Hawaii to live there for 6 months!)

Back to my point. The book, Feminine Appeal: Seven Virtues of a Godly Wife and Mother (by Carolyn Mahaney), was not mentioned in her post, but since I respect her love and walk with Christ, I noticed her book. Now that I think about it, this story does make us sound kind of stalker-ish.

This book changed the way I see my role as a wife and mom. It was convicting and challenging and edifying. It’s not a self-help book, but a very biblical and practical expounding upon Titus 2:3-5

 Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good, and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled,pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled.

Carolyn Mahaney (CJ Mahaney’s wife) breaks down these verses into 7 chapters as she works her way though this passage. Here are the chapters and a few (of the oh so many) things that I loved in each one.

1. The Delight of Loving My Husband

“Scripture’s mandate to love our husbands involves far more than merely doing household chores. We are required to love them with nothing less than a passionate, tender, affectionate kind of love.”

She also reminds us that woman was “created to be our husband’s helper (Genesis 2:18: Then the LORD God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.), not our children’s mother. Certainly we are to love, care for and nurture our children, but this love is to flow out of a lifestyle that is first and foremost committed to helping our husbands. Our husbands should always remain first in our hearts and in our care.”

2. The Blessings of Loving My Children

“JC Ryle offered the following admonition, ‘This is the thought that should be uppermost on your mind in all you do for your children. In every step you take about them, in every plan, and scheme, and arragement that concerns them, do not leave out that mighty question, “How will this affect their souls?”‘”

3. The Safety of Self-Control

“It is erroneous to think that if our behavior is exemplary, then it doesn’t matter how we think and feel. What we allow to govern our feelings and occupy our thoughts will sooner or later determine our behavior. Sinful thoughts and sinful feelings lead to sinful behavior.”

“We are tempted to think we don’t have time to meet with God…Meeting with God each day is a way of acknowledging that we are totally dependent  upon His grace…When we meet with God, we can find peace  in the midst of trying circumstances, an eternal perspective where we have lost sight of the truth, and power to fight our battle against sin.

4. The Pleasure of Purity        

“In Romans 13:14 we read: ‘Put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires.’ In response to this verse, each of us needs to ask: When, where and with whom are we most tempted to accommodate our flesh and gratify its desires?”

She also gives and expounds on “Three Principles for ‘Grade A’ Passion”: Be Attractive, Be Available and Be Anticipatory.

5.  The Honor of Working at Home

“Whenever we contemplate opportunities outside of the home, we must first consider what consequences they might have on our families…We can easily determine what we should do and how we should do it by asking ourselves: ‘What will most help my husband?'”

“‘Working at home’ means we are to function as the home manager- taking full ownership for all the domestic duties of the household.” I love this example she gives: “Imitating this woman’s model (Proverbs 31), Sarah Edwards, the wife of the eighteenth-century preacher Jonathan Edwards, managed her household with careful and thorough diligence. One day Dr. Edwards emerged from this studies and asked his wife: ‘Isn’t it about time for the hay to be cut?’ To which Sarah was able to respond, ‘It’s been in the barn for two weeks.’ Sarah created a world here her husband could fulfill his God-given duties without being concerned for the domestic tasks of the home. We should aspire to do likewise.”

6. The Rewards of Kindness

Carolyn discusses both hinderances to kindness (anger, bitterness and judging) and scripture’s solutions for them and also encourages us to be women (and gives practical ways to become) renown for praying, greeting, listening, encouraging and planning.

7. The Beauty of Submission

“In every New Testament passage that addresses the role of the wife to the husband, we find this edict to submit (Eph 5:22-24; Col 3:18; Titus 2:5; 1 Peter 3:1-5)”

“Submission was not our husband’s idea, and neither are they responsible to enforce it.”

Submission involves respect also (1 Peter 3:6). “The definition of the Greek word for ‘respect’ means to be in awe of, to revere, or to treat as someone special.’ Is that how we act towards our husbands? Do we respect them with our words, tone of voice, countenance and body language?”

 

This book taught me that at the heart of my role as a wife and mother is the gospel. Do all these things so “that the word of God may not be reviled.” (Titus 2:5)

I can’t encourage you more to read this book. She expounds so thoroughly and biblically on this text. Also, a side note: If or when you have daughters, read it with them. Teach them now what it looks like to be a godly woman. This not only prepares them for marriage, it helps prepare them in that life-changing decision of whom to marry.