Monday, October 31, 2011

Pumpkin Cream Trifle


Fall is the perfect excuse to use pumpkin in as many ways as possible. Cupcakes, layered cakes, and lots more.

This past weekend I wanted to put good use to my fun new trifle bowl and came across this recipe.

My husband loves pumpkin and has since made me promise to make this again for Thanksgiving.

It is super simple and super good.


 Pumpkin Cream Trifle via  (with my slight moderation)


  • 1 (18.25 ounce) package spice cake mix
  • 1 (3.4 ounce) package instant vanilla pudding
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
  • 2 cups cold milk
  • 2 (3.4 ounce) packages cheesecake flavor instant pudding and pie filling
  • 2 cups whipped topping
  • 1 cup chopped toasted pecans
  • 1 cup English toffee bits
  • * I added another 1-2 cups of plain whipped topping on the top


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Lightly grease a 9x13 baking dish.
  2. Combine the cake mix, vanilla pudding mix, pumpkin, water, oil, eggs, and pie spice in a large mixing bowl; pour into the prepared dish.
  3. Bake in the preheated oven for 45 to 50 minutes. Allow to cool to room temperature on a wire rack. Cut the cake into 1-inch cubes.
  4. Whisk together the milk and cheesecake pudding mix. Allow to set, about 2 minutes. Fold the whipped topping into the pudding mixture.
  5. Layer 1/3 of the cake cubes into the bottom of a large bowl; top with 1/3 of the cream mixture and sprinkle with 1/3 of the pecans and toffee bit. Repeat layering until all ingredients are uses. Refrigerate 1 hour before serving. 
  6. * I found that the cream was enough for two layers, not three. There was enough cake for 3 layers, so I just used plain whipped topping for the top layer and than could finish out the trifle dish. A good homemade whipped topping recipe is here.

Super simple. So good. Go make it. Your hubby/family/friends will love you!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

A and A

It is Thursday. That means it is time for some awkward and awesome moments. We are still trying to recover and get back into the grove of things after taking a mini-vacation and having family in town. Why does vacation always need a vacation after it is over?

~Finding random items that Colin placed in the drawers. One shoe, cups, empty dt.coke cans that he stole from the recycling container, my pepper mill...

~ Wearing a light silk skirt on a windy day.

~ Watching 6 adults jam themselves onto my couch and love seat to watch the world series.

~ Jack's bedtime routine. It last FOREVER. He thinks up a million excuses. Drives me nuts.

~ Giant golden crowned flying fox bats. Google it.

~ Getting asked multiple times if I was a student for the student discount at multiple stores. Nope, I have been out of college for 6 years. Yes, I still look like an undergrad. Yes, I am 30 now. No, I am not kidding. Who would lie about turning 30?! ( fyi: Madewell and J.Crew give nice student discounts, if you are an actual student!)

~ Having Jack's closet door ripped down during Life Groups. 3 weeks into hosting and we already have some damage...

~ Colin busting it out to kid's praise gospel. That boy has some serious rhythm.

~ Having a Georgetown Cupcake. I didn't know that frosting could melt in your mouth like that till I had one of theirs.

~ Popbacks.

~"Mom, can we talk about crocodiles?" Or giraffes, or elephants, or trucks or dolphins or crickets. Jack always wants to talk about things, mostly animals and engines. I am better at the animals than the engines...

~ KitchenAid stand mixer.

~ Being able to have my mom, dad, grandma, grandpa, brother and sister all in town for a week. We were able to house them all, and it was full and fun!

~ Going the entire week of vacation and not counting a single Weight Watcher point. (However, it is not so awesome the next week to step on the scale.)

~ Most Awful, Scary Moment
~ Ryan  having to do the heimlich on Colin at Chipolte. Colin had stuff too many chips and rice into his mouth and was choking and turning purple. Scariest moment of my parental life. We got it out and he is o.k. Thank the Lord.

And because I am still recovering from the whole helpmybabyisturningpurple heart attack, I am going to leave you with one of my favorite pictures of Jack. It is both awkward AND awesome.

We told him he could do 3 silly faces for our family pictures. This was one of them. It reminds me so much of his late great-grandpa Jack.

Have a great week with more awesome than awkward and no awful moment!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Back to Reality

I was on vacation all last week.

Took a trip to Georgetown/Washington D.C with just my husband and came back to a week full of activities.

 Thai food. Heaven.

My mom, dad, grandma, grandpa, sister and brother were all in town. And they all stayed with us.

So that is an extra 6 adult bodies in my house. It was full, but it was good.

 I have very few pictures to document this week, as my camera phone decided to delete all my Georgetown photos and my camera battery died in the middle of the Jamestown. Believe me that it was a good week.

 Grandma with the boys in Jamestown

But now it is over. And it is Monday. And Husband is at work.

The cake has all been eaten and the only adult left to change diapers is me.

Colin broke my favorite coffee mug and my work Mac computer screen just died.

It sure was nice to get a break.

But for now, it is back to reality.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

30 Things

I turn 30 today. I have so many things to be thankful for. More than can be named. So here are just 30 things that I am thankful for on this birthday.

1. Ryan. My love, my best friend, my life.

2. Jack. My sweet little negotiator,who is quick with a kiss and smart as a whip.

3. Colin. My vivacious little bundle of energy, who keeps me laughing and moving all day long.

4. My house. To be in our own home that we own and be more than comfortable is a huge blessing.

5. Our cars. They are payed off and ours and I am so thankful for that.

6. Our church. I grow to love it more each week and am so thankful to be apart of New Life Providence at Deep Creek. It is our home away from home.

7. Our friends here in Virginia. We love you and our growing and deepening relationships.

8. Our friends afar. We love you and miss your friendship, but are thankful that we can maintain it at such distances.

9. CBN. For the ability to work in my field, doing work that I love and making an impact all over the world.

10. Coffee. My one cup a day has grown to two.

11. Cupcakes. Semi-portioned sized pieces of cake and frosting. Love.

12. Thai food. If only I could eat Thai multiple times a week. If only...

13. Anthropologie. For giving me a dose of whimsy and femininity in my world filled with testosterone...and usually at killer sale prices.

14. Online bloggie friends. Who knew you could find and befriend people though the interwebs? It makes sitting at home alone with the boys not so lonely.

15. Pei Wei. Please come to Hampton Roads and bring your delicious Dan Dan with you.

16. Minneapolis. I love that city and wish I could visit it more often.

17. Nashville. Always will have a special place in my heart. Trying to sneak a work trip back...

18. The Muskegon River. It wraps around many of the houses that I love and invites beautiful scenery field trips.

19. Family. If only the distance was not so great. The older I get, the closer I want to be near my family.

20. My In-Laws. Cause they gave me my amazing husband.

21. Stretch Marks. While I do not love you, I have grown to accept you...since you symbolize my beautiful boys.

22. Travel. The never ending wanderlust. Oh the places I will go...

23. Uganda, Africa. For stealing a piece of my heart and never giving it back.

24. Natural Childbirth Classes. I came to understand my body and the way it was created to form and protect the miracle of life. And it gave me a greater appreciation for the medical advances that we have now.

25. Online shopping. Two small boys = less shopping time. Thanks to ebates, shopping codes and the like, I usually do better online. Plus, what is better than getting a package in the mail?

26. Airports. Terminals filled with locations that are accessible by merely stepping off of it's causeway. Fascinating and exciting.

27. Magazines. For filling my fashion lusting and giving me quick escapes in a few simple page turns.

28. Smart Phones. For now I can work, email and read Pride and Prejudice all on my phone. Very smart indeed.

29. My camera. For allowing me to capture little images of time and hold it captive.

30. My Jesus. For making my life worth living, giving it meaning and a purpose. And for loving me, even though I never, ever will deserve it.

I am blessed beyond measure. Here is to another 30 magnificent, magical years!

Friday, October 14, 2011

~Our Story~

Today is my 5 year anniversary. I went through most of my old blog post and I don't think I have ever shared the whole story of how I met and married my husband. I was going to write it all out, but than I remembered. Ryan already did. He wrote it out and we printed it on the back of our  wedding programs. So here it is. Our story, written by Ryan, a few days before our wedding.

 (left: Jack Sturtevant center: Ryan right: Joe Maile)

The story of Ryan and Alicia begins long before their engagement, their first kiss, or the first time they met. Their story start with their grandparents.

Jack and Bonnie Sturtevant (Ryan's grandparents) and Joe and Barb Maile (Alicia's grandparents) were friends in high school. They went to the same hangouts and even worked the same jobs. They remained friends through  marriage and after having children. Their kids also became friends and went to school together. The families were so close that Ryan's mom even babysat for Alicia's aunt and mother.
In 1972 Jack and Bonnie went to a little tent meeting where they met their Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. It was a decision that changed their lives, and would soon change the lives of many others forever.

Jack and Bonnie brought Alicia's mom, Laura with them to a tent meeting one night. Laura became a believer and thus redirected the course of her life. Slowly Alicia's entire immediate family came to know the Lord.

 After high school Ryan's mother and Alicia's mother both went their separate ways, heading West. Eventually Sue & Ed moved back to Michigan from California and Dave & Laura moved back from Utah.

Ryan remembers when they first met. He was seven and Alicia was nine. He was just a little shorter than her shoulder. Ryan liked Alicia right away, but he know that he was too young to have a girlfriend. When he was 9 years old and in the third grade he prayed for an entire year that they could have a "relationship." One year later he confided in his brother Joel that when he was 14 and Alicia was 16, he would ask her to be his girlfriend. He figured that the gap between 10 and 12 just sounded too weird but 14 and 16 was better. Ryan's hopes continued until he was 16 years old.

It was about that time that Alicia really began to notice Ryan. He had just committed his life to the Lord and was a different person. Alicia recalls one evening at church while she was just sitting there, watching people around her. She noticed Ryan, off to side by himself. He was praying with sincerity than most were. She uttered a prayer to God that He would give her a man like Ryan Fedell. Ryan prayed for Alicia when he was in elementary school. Alicia prayed for Ryan when she was in high school.

They came together as friends first, than as more. Alicia went away six hundred miles to college and Ryan finished high school. They came together and they parted for a time. While the status of their relationship changed, their friendship never did.

 April 8, 2006 exactly six years from their first kiss, Ryan asked Alicia to be his love for life. Obviously, she said yes, or you would not be here today, reading this story.

Some people call it luck, some call it love, and some people believe that it is fate that brings them together. Ryan and Alicia believe that they were divinely appointed to live their lives together. They believe that God planned their marriage and their lives together, even while their grandparents were still in high school. God designed them for each other.

Alicia and Ryan want their lives to show the amazing grace of Jesus and the power of prayer. Thank you for coming and joining with them as they make their covenant before God.

 And that, is our story. Five years later, it still rings true, every word. We have changed as people and as a couple. We have become parents. We have lost loved ones while new ones joined the family. We have changed and moved and adapted as life continues it's path.

I am so happy that God chose Ryan for me. He is the perfect partner through life. I greatly look forward to the next 5, 10 and 50 years before us.

If there is one thing that I do know, it is that this life we lead will be a great adventure!

Ryan Fedell, I love you dearly.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Banana Madness


This is madness.
Did you know that you can create a smooth, creamy ice cream type dessert with just a plain single banana?

You can.

It is madness, I tell you.
I first heard of this idea on pinterest (the most awesome, time stealing website ever). I was skeptical, but intrigued. Than I was given confirmation by a facebook friend. I was sold. I had some just past ripe bananas. 

It seemed too good to be true. An ice cream dessert but only the calories of a banana?

So, I gave it a whirl.

You need just past ripe bananas. So brown spots but not black. You want it to be a little over ripe, as they are sweeter that way.

Slice the bananas up and than pop them into the freezer for an hour or so. You want them to be frozen through. Make sure to slice them first, because it will be much harder to blend a whole banana.

It is recommended to use a food processor, but since I only have a blender, I did smaller batches of bananas.

Dump those frozen banana slices in your blend and blend. It will look grainy at first, and you may need to stop and stir it a few times, but keep blending.

Once your bananas have the consistency of soft serve ice cream, you are done!

That is it! No sugar, no cream, nothing.

It is creamy and smooth and sweet.

You can either eat it right away for a soft serve texture or put it back in the freezer and than scoop it like a hard ice cream. I stored mine in little single serving containers.

You can add cocoa power and some peanut butter and have a chocolate peanut butter ice cream. I did both, but prefer the plain banana.
Jack loved it.

Colin is hypersensitive to diary, so no real ice cream for him. He loved the whipped bananas!

Ryan was super skeptical. He only likes bananas if they are just past green. One brown dot and he won't eat them.
He loved the pseudo- ice cream. It does not have a strong banana flavor.

So, go! Freeze your over ripe bananas. Blend those suckers up. Eat some guilt free ice cream.

It is banana madness.

Friday, October 7, 2011

30 Day Photo Challenge ~ Day 26-30

Hooray! We are at the end of the 30 (or 60, in my case) Photo Challenge! I have had half of these photos shot for over a week and just kept forgetting to get an outdoor shot. I hope you enjoyed these and decided to take a few more photos yourself.

Day 26~ Something Old

This Happy Apple baby toy is almost 30 years old! It was my toy when I was a baby and my mom kept it and gave it to me when I had Jack. Both my boys loved to play with this apple, especially during tummy time.

Day 27~ After Dark

Day 28~ Daily Routine
Every morning I get up with one of the boys, get them situated and I make a pot of coffee. 98% of that time, I am holding Colin on one hip while I make it. He likes to help. My husband is a coffee snob and we only have whole beans at our house. So, freshly ground coffee every morning it is. Now, I am a coffee snob. Thanks, hun.

(Can we all take a moment of silence here about the loss of Peyton Manning and the Colts? I feel like I am watching the Lions again...the old Lions that is.)

Day 29~  Purchased

This is one of my favorite purchases in a long time. It is a floaty, pleated maxi dress from Forever 21. The color is the perfect blush shade with tan undertones and it does not wash me out. I love it so.
( It is no longer available online, but you can see it on Lisa here.)

Day 30~ In Motion

*disclaimer~ no children were injured in the taking of this photo!

Is there anything more fun than being 3 years old and being flung high into the air by your daddy?
Jack doesn't think so.

And that is the conclusion of the 30 Day Photo Challenge.

We are at the cusp of pretty much non-stop daily activities, guests and celebrations. Today is the only day not filled to the brim and we are going to try to paint our master bathroom. Wish us luck!

Hope you has a great relaxing weekend!