Sunday, March 2, 2014

Black Magic Chocolate Chip Cupcakes - poof, they're gone!


Okay, y'all.

I talk about a lot of things on this blog.

A lot about adoption.  A lot about Jesus.  A lot about being a Mommy.  A lot about parties.

But let's get serious.

Let's talk cupcakes!

And icing.

Because, well,{blush} the only reason I eat cupcakes is for the icing.


Is icing a love language?  Somebody call Gary Chapman & tell him to add that to his list.

This icing is the best I've had in a loooooong time.  It forms a bit of a sugary outside layer & is all smooth, creamy, delectable on the inside.



This made-from-scratch treat is indeed magical.

It will be gone *POOF* before you know it.

Make it. Love it. Share it.



RECIPE:

Cupcake Ingredients -
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups granulated sugar
3/4 cup cocoa powder
2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
2 eggs
1 cup strong coffee (cooled)
1 cup buttermilk or unsweetened kefir
1/2 cup coconut oil
1 tsp. vanilla extract

Frosting Ingredients -
1 stick butter
4 Tbsp. cocoa powder
6 Tbsp. whole milk
1 tsp. vanilla
6 cups powdered sugar
1/2+ cup mini chocolate chips

Instructions -
Preheat oven to 350.  Line cupcake tray with cupcake liners.

In the bowl of your electric mixer combine all ingredients.  Use whisk attachment and beat on low until all is incorporated well (about 2-3 minutes.)  Batter will be very thin.  Scoop into prepared pan.  Bake at 350 for 18-20 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.  Remove to wire rack for cooling.

For the frosting, combine butter, cocoa powder, and whole milk together in a small saucepan.  Bring to a low boil.  Use wire whisk to make sure mixture is fully incorporated.  Pour into the bowl of your electric mixture and add the powdered sugar 2 cups at a time.  Mix well.  When frosting is the desired consistency, add chocolate chips & give it one more good mix.  Scoop out a large dollop of icing on each cupcake.  If desired, finish off with a few more mini chocolate chips on top.  Enjoy!
*recipe adapted from Black Magic Cake, an old family recipe

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Support the Proudfoots! Adoption Fundraiser from Sweet Georgia Sweet.


Meet the Proudfoot Family!  Tiana & Michael are adopting a special needs little boy from China, and it is my pleasure to help support them in their efforts to bring home this sweet little one.  From now until next Monday, 25% of all proceeds from the SGS Etsy shop will be donated to the Proudfoot Family adoption.

Proudfoot Family Bio -  

Michael and Tiana knew before they were even married that they wanted to grow their family through adoption. After falling in love with Africa through a few trips to Tanzania, they began their first adoption process. Nadia, now four, joined their family from Uganda in 2012. She is so excited to be a big sister now as the family begins their next adoption journey - this time from China. They have been matched with a three year old boy with spina bifida.

The Proudfoots live in Virginia where Michael is full-time youth pastor. They are excited (and a little terrified) to take on this new adventure, and are so grateful for the support of their family and friends.

Order something for yourself or a friend & know that you are helping a child have a chance at life, love, and family!  ♥  Thank you for helping!


Sunday, February 16, 2014

Why She Matters....... heart-wrenching honesty about my son's birth mother.


Maybe it's because we just celebrated the wild child's birthday.

Maybe it's because we have been a family for nearly 2 years.

Maybe it's because I "feel" like a Mommy.

Maybe it's because my heart is healing.

Maybe it's because God is relentlessly loving.

Maybe it's none of those things.

Maybe it's all of them.

Whatever it is, I have started thinking freely & openly about Walker's birth mother.

For a long time, I refused to think about her.  I didn't know her.  Walker didn't know her. 

No pictures, no memories, no stories, no connection. 

For the longest time, Walker wanted nothing but me.  He didn't want to talk about Uganda. He didn't like any foods from Uganda. He claimed not to remember his orphanage friends.  And he certainly didn't ever want to return for a visit.

So, did it really matter if we ever talked about her?  Couldn't we just ignore her?  I wanted to be a Mommy SO badly.  Walker wanted a Mommy & a Daddy SO badly.  Couldn't we just put all of that behind us?  Couldn't we just move forward?  Couldn't we just be happy?

Our journeys to each other were looooong.  His to me was 4+ years.  Mine to him, 2+ years.  That's a long time for mommies & babies to be waiting for each other.

But whether I like it or not, my son had a history before me.

Whether he remembers it or not, he had a mommy before me.

She labored to give him life.  She was there when his tiny lungs drew in their first breath.  She heard as his first cries pierced the air.  She held him close & filled his hungry belly.  She comforted him, loved him, treasured him..................

And then she didn't.  She couldn't.

Death visited unwelcomed.

The joy snatched from her, stolen from her, robbed from her........... was given to me.

Her baby boy was given to me.

Me, a woman crushed by the weight of what could not be. Me, a woman half a world away. Me, a stranger.

The solemnity of that, staggering. The honor of that, unspeakable.  

But God in His great love, kind intention, and infinite wisdom created beauty from pain.  Breathed life into the lifeless.  Brought hope to the hopeless.  Spoke joy to the joyless.

In a real, poignant way her death brought life to me, hope to me, joy to me.

In an unexplainable way, her death pointed me to Jesus.  In fact, her death still does.

Beatrice - you are not forgotten.  Your life was not in vain.  And neither was your death.  Your life is worthy of noting, of celebrating, of remembering. 

I will raise, love, nurture, and adore the child you labored into the world.  We will choose to talk about you.  We will speak your name. We will believe the best about you, yet without making you a saint.  We will purpose to honor you, respect you, love you.  We will tell the tale to our son of how your life & death gloriously revealed to us how intimate, kind, and near God is to the broken-hearted.  And although we will fail miserably at times, we will grope through this journey, pointing him to Jesus.

We will tell him that he is yours, he is ours, and we are His!


Monday, February 10, 2014

Walker's 7th Birthday - Police Officer Party

Walker's Police Party Details - When Walker decided that he wanted a Police Birthday Party, I jumped right on that!  The police theme is not one that I see often, so I was super excited to take his idea & run with it.  Our party color scheme was black, yellow, and grey.  It all turned out super cute, and my little officer had a grand time!

Dessert Table - Desserts are the name of the game for birthday celebrations, right?  We love sugar, and this dessert table did not disappoint. The cake's city skyline was the perfect backdrop for the vintage fondant car topper from Edible Details. Brittany also made 3D fondant cupcake toppers for Walker - police badges and police hats.  Amazing & delicious!!!!  Fondant Oreos from Maria of Love & Sugar Kisses also graced the dessert table.  Maria is amazing!  I am never disappointed.  My favorite Oreo?  The ones with the little donuts.  Aren't they precious?  Cake pops from Roni at Roni's Sugar Creations were shaped into police uniforms, & were so moist and delicious that I was so sad to see them get eaten.  I am already scheming up an excuse to order some more cake pops.  We also were a little cliche and served donuts at our Police Party.  They were a big hit with the kiddos!
























Drink Station - I used the drink station as a place to offer a little something for the parents.  A Hot Chocolate Bar!  I decorated the cups to match the police party theme, and offered marshmallows and chocolate chips to accompany the hot chocolate.  We also served lemonade and bottled water.  The bottled water was party ready with personalized labels from Jaimee at Bushel and Peck Paper.











Party Printables - Gretchen of Three Little Monkeys Studio designed Walker's Retro Police party printable collection.  From the invitation to the 'Walker is 7' banner, I was in love.  Gretchen is a dream to work with, and she caught my vision and truly took it to the next level.  Her vintage, retro style pulled everything together beautifully!  View the Retro Police Party collection HERE.








Party Decorations - Of all the decorations, my favorite is the Custom Party Wreath from my shop, Sweet Georgia Sweet.  This is a brand, new shop addition, and will be fully customizable for differing party themes.  The handcuffs, police hat, and the sparkly number 7 set off the wreath beautifully.  I loved the way it all turned out, & Walker was one happy little officer!  The Large Black Monogrammed Burlap Topiaries and the Ribbon Garland on the dessert table, as well as the Large Monogrammed Ribbon Topiary at the Drink Station are also brand new additions to the shop.  They were a lot of fun to create, & created such a WOW factor!!!!  The Drink Station also featured a custom tassel garland from Tara of One Stylish Party.  It was just the right finishing touch for the decorations.















Party Shirt - Walker had a custom birthday shirt made especially for him by Michele of Sweet Threads Clothing Co.  The custom design was perfect, and Walker & I both loved this shirt!


Party Games - As if the party wasn't enough fun, I threw in some fun party games to take the sugared-up kiddos over the edge.  It was a blast!  By far, the favorite game was the Donut Game.  Their little hands were handcuffed behind their backs, & they had to take a bite out of a moving donut.  It was hilarious!!!!




Walker's Party Credits:
Party Printables:  Three Little Monkeys Studio
Fondant Cake & Cupcake Toppers - Edible Details
Fondant Ores - Love & Sugar Kisses
Cake Pops - Roni's Sugar Creations
Cake - Bliss
Water Bottle Labels - Bushel & Peck Paper
Coffee Cups - Garnish
Birthday Shirt - Sweet Threads Clothing Co.
Topiaries, Garland, & Party Wreath - Sweet Georgia Sweet
Tissue Garland - One Stylish Party
Cupcake wrappers, gumballs, favor tubes - The TomKat Studio