Libby is 4!

Her birthday lunch drink.. compliments of one dear big brother.
Daddy delivers.. no pun intended.
She blew and blew and blew...
Delighted with her Chocolate Raspberry Cake.
Even Salty got into it. Scary little bunny!

Shhh! Last night we celebrated Libby's 4th Birthday. Sure it was a day early, but she doesn't know that.. Jake has a class tonight and it wouldn't be fittin' to rush a Reynolds' party along. We had gifts, cake, singing, and prayers of blessing and admonition over her life. It was so fun. She is such a gem to us, one of our favorite earthly treasures.
When we delivered her cake it took about 20 blows to extinguish the candles and they weren't trick candles either. She was aiming about 2 inches above the flame with her little breath. Once she had success, we erupted with cheers!
She is now the owner of a pink scooter and helmet to match.


Doe a Deer a Female Deer

Unfortunately the Doe's photos are of her running away. Here's the Buck she showed up with. I'm surprised they came back this morning as last night Jake was taking aim with the boys Nerf guns.. This is just behind our backyard fence.


My Brother and His Beautiful Wife

So, Jake and I and the kids have hoped for years for one: a sister.. Thank you Clint as we love her even though we rarely see her and for two: a cousin for the kids. If you notice in the picture we are going to be an Aunt and Uncle in less than a couple of months. We are so excited. Clint and Claire live in Mexico but were just home to Wisconsin to take care of family business and had this picture taken. I love it and thought I would share it with all of you.
Photo taken by someone other than me... not sure who.


Parmesan Chicken

This one's from the Barefoot Contessa. Ina really puts out some excellent recipes. This one has become a family favorite.

Parmesan Chicken (Serves 6):
6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 cup flour
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
2 lrg eggs
1 1/4 cups seasoned bread crumbs
1/2 cup grated Parmesan
unsalted butter
olive oil
salad greens for 6
lemon vinaigrette

Pound the chicken until 1/4 inch thick.
Combine the flour, salt, and pepper on a plate. On a 2nd plate beat eggs with 1 tbsp. water. On a 3rd plate, combine bread crumbs and cheese. Coat the chicken breasts on both sides with flour mix, then dip both sides into the egg mix and dredge both sides in the bread crumb mix

Heat 1 tbsp of butter and 1 tbsp of oil in a large saute' pan and cook on medium low heat until cooked through add more butter and oil and cook remaining chicken.

Lemon Vinaigrette:
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper
Whisk it, set aside until ready to serve.

Toss the salad greens with lemon vinaigrette. Place mound of salad on each chicken breast.
Then eat it. Yummy!

I always prepare more chicken than this and subsequently need more bread crumbs, egg mix, etc.

Oh Yes!

These tasted as excellent as they look! I took this recipe from the Smitten Kitchen website. Try them, please! Another yummy treat you won't regret eating, in fact you'll be thanking me you did.. just kidding. Though you may thank the gal who published it over at Smitten Kitchen! This recipe easily doubles.

Cheesecake-Swirled Brownies
Adapted from Gourmet, June 2007

It’s true, I have made these before. Well, not these, a different recipe and they’re good, great even, but I’ve always wanted to fix it up a little. That brownie recipe is wonderful, but not simplified enough for a two-step process and there was never enough cheesecakiness (oh yes, it is a word) to balance it. Also, my mother has always made hers with chocolate chips swirled into the cream cheese and although I feel that a good brownie should not need extra chocolate in the form of frosting or chips to make it work, it sure cuts fantastically through the cream cheese swirl. Thus, three changes and a new recipe was warranted. Make these instead.

I added the aforementioned chocolate chips and more unsweetened chocolate to the brownie recipe, as commenters seemed to feel it was not chocolaty enough. I don’t think anyone could make the same argument about these.

Makes 16 2-inch square, thick brownies

Brownie batter
1 stick (1/2 cup or 4 ounces) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
3 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2/3 cup all-purpose flour

Cheesecake batter
8 ounces cream cheese, well softened
1/3 cup sugar
1 large egg yolk
1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Make brownie batter: Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 350°F. Butter an 8-inch square baking pan. Heat butter and chocolate in a 3-quart heavy saucepan — though I did mine double-boiler style, placing the mixing bowl I was using over simmering water, thereby creating one less dirty dish and melting the chocolate more gently — over moderately low heat, whisking occasionally, just until melted. Remove from heat and whisk in sugar, eggs, vanilla, and a pinch of salt until well combined. Whisk in flour until just combined and spread in baking pan.

Make cheesecake batter: Whisk together cheesecake batter ingredients in a small bowl until smooth. Dollop over brownie batter, then swirl in with a knife or spatula.

[I actually like using a butter knife because the tip of it is round enough that you can use it to fold bits of the brownie batter over the cheesecake batter for a more visibly marbled effect. Try it!]

Sprinkle chocolate chips over cheesecake/brownie batter swirl. Although it might be more logical to just mix them into the cheesecake batter (and feel free to do this, it will have no ill-effect) I thought it might interrupt the swirl-ability of it.

Bake brownies: Bake until edges are slightly puffed and center is just set, about 35 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Slicing tip: I like to chill my brownies until they’re almost frozen before cutting them. It makes it much easier to get a clean slice. I also like to eat my brownies super-cold, but that’s just personal taste.

Samuel Keeps on Growin'

Not only is he the sweetest baby, he's also the cutest.. to me anyway. Samuel is not sleeping through the night yet. We put him to bed between 7:00-7:30, depending on when I finish eating dinner and when I am able to stop playing with him.. he's all smiles these days and it's hard to break free from enjoying the lad for the sake of bed time. He is sleeping in his room now. "His room" is actually he and Silas' room. I am keeping him in his moses basket and transporting that into his crib at night. When he wakes up for the first feeding which is about 2ish am, I pop a squat on Silas' bed and nurse him there. It's so cozy in their room that I drift off sometimes.. After that he sleeps until around 5 at which point I bring him back into our room.

Samuel is also starting to laugh at this point. It's so sweet. I remember thinking that it was the best thing with each of the kids. Somehow, through God's kindness really, we are able to delight even more in Samuel's laughter. Something about parenting a new born changes with each child.. we are able to enjoy it more and more. It's just so awesome. We are so thankful God's kindness to us. Truly we know we are undeserving, yet the Lord remains kind. What a sweet privilege.


Sweet Kids

The littles lined up for a picture today. Samuel was there first and Silas laid beside him in on one side, followed by Libby on the other. So much for tummy-time.


La Mesa Mud Run

Living on a military installation gives excuse to all kinds of wacky behavior.

Clearly, the men who live here have seen far too many books lately and not enough of their familiar combat zones. So, to bring excitement back into their lives, they organized a "mud run" for the 30 some odd kids who live nearby. Deep down I think they wanted to compete... The course was complete with running, 3 mud pits, swinging from a rope over a slippery hill, the low crawl, being sprayed in the face with a water hose and a slip and slide... this event was no joke. Our kids, the big four, spent the majority of the week excited for it. Though, truth be told, Jackie spent more time deciding what should be worn to compete in such an adventure.

Colby finished in 2nd place, Jackie in 6th place. They each had so much fun. Jake and I enjoyed watching them and captured some sweet photos to keep our memories afloat!