Valentine DIY

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I co-teach the kindergarten Sunday School class with my boyfriend, Tim.  We usually have a plethora of personalities to keep us busy, but this week a lot of people were sick.   We only had one little girl named Amelia.  She’s as sweet as can be and usually really shy. However, this week we got her to open up more because she was the only one.  Since Valentine’s Day is coming up, we decided to ask her if she liked any boys at school.  After much prying, we discovered the name of her crush.  I’m not allowed to tell you who it is because it’s top secret.  We had fun teasing her about it though.  She always insisted that “He’s not my boyfriend!”  But he totally was.

After that lively discussion, we taught her the parable of the pearl of great price.  Since we had some time left (and only one kid in class), I decided we could make some Valentine cards.  She decided to give it to her brother. Oh well…

I found this idea on Etsy and thought it was the cutest thing ever.  It looked simple enough to make, so I thought I’d give it a try!  If you are making this with older kids, they could probably do fine cutting everything out themselves, but you can make it easier by pre-cutting the pieces.

Here’s what you’ll need.

  • Scissors
  • Glue stick
  • Colored construction paper
  • Pen
  • Small ribbon

First, cut out all the pieces.  For each card you will need:

  • 6 small hearts (use the first one as a template to cut the others so they’re all the same size)
  • 3-8 clouds
  • 2 baskets

Use the blue construction paper for the card so it looks like the hot air balloons are in the sky.  To make the balloons, put glue on half of two hearts. I didn’t have a glue stick when I was taking these pictures so I used tape.  But the ones we made in class with the glue stick were a lot easier.

Then attach another heart to each of the glued halves.

now you can put glue on the back and stick it to the card.  Do the same thing for the other balloon.

Now you’re ready to glue on the baskets below the hearts and draw the strings! Then sprinkle the clouds around.

Making the little bows was kind of tedious, but it’s too cute to leave out.

Now for the most important part… Open it up, and add your special message!

I really had fun making these.  After we helped our little student with hers, Tim and I both made one.  Then, our friend, Mary came in and made one!  I don’t always take the time to make handmade things, but doing crafts is a great way to bond with people.  Plus, who doesn’t love getting a handmade card?  I give this one 5 stars because it would be a great thing to do with kids of all ages, and it always turns out looking great!

I made them with the two-year-olds I babysit. They were so proud of their cards!

On a side note, I finally got to try out my candy molds!  Back when I posted about my dark chocolate recipe, I mentioned that I didn’t have any good molds, so my sweet Aunt Denise mailed me some! Thank you, Aunt Denise!!!

Here’s how they turned out! I tried some new flavors — some good — some not so good… but they looked amazing! I’m definitely going to make them again!

The peanut butter cups were everybody’s favorite.

I hope you all have a Happy Valentine’s Day!

Sending love,  Abby

Hummingbird Cake for Alice’s 87th Birthday

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Today is my Sous-chef Dish-washing mom’s 87th birthday! I am thrilled  to dedicate this blog post to her. She was born in 1931 during the Great Depression and her mother and father lived in Omaha, Nebraska. Her father died when she was young and she and her sister, Mary, were taken to an orphanage shortly afterwards. She spent many years in the Nebraska Children’s Home orphanage being adopted when she was 9. Even though her 87 years have dealt her many ups and downs you would never know it by her daily attitude of smiles, love, and gratitude.

She raised three sons and one wonderful daughter! (Hey, I am writing this so it is my perspective!😜 ) However, there are many, many others who call her “mom.” It doesn’t matter where we go she becomes the resident mom! All of my friends know her name is Alice but everyone chooses mom.  The name fits perfectly and looks awesome on her!

Even though she has been a Christian throughout her life, in 2011 she began studying the Bible in-depth through Community Bible Study.   At 80-years-old she let the Word of God totally transform her.  In 2014 she was diagnosed with breast cancer and she persevered through 2 surgeries and radiation treatment with a strength and attitude that she credits coming from her faith in God.  Not once did she question her situation with a “why me?”  As a matter of fact, she was usually comforting and giving encouragement to others going through the same thing.

My brother Michael and his wife Kay drove from Lee’s Summit Missouri on Sunday to surprise her.   We had made an elaborate plan that included taking her to Pigeon Forge, Tennessee for her birthday week.  You know what they say about the best-laid plans of mice and men!  Last week an almost 87-year-old tooth abscessed and the process of getting that fixed has derailed travel this week.

But that didn’t stop us from celebrating her birthday Sunday evening before Michael and Kay left for East Tennessee without us!  My brother John and his wife Jeanne participated from afar as we gifted mom with some green stuff to go shopping!  It looks like Michael got the giggles watching mom blow out the candles!

As I am writing this blog post she received this lovely floral arrangement from dear friends, Catherine and Russ.  I couldn’t resist a quick photo!

Now … on to the cake! When the latest Southern Living magazine arrived I immediately knew I wanted a Hummingbird Cake for mom’s birthday.

First of all, she is enthralled with hummingbirds and much of our spring is spent waiting for them to arrive.  In the summer we watch them daily and in the fall we sadly say goodbye.

Mom has even had her great-grandkids on hummingbird watch!  All winter my hummingbird-watching mom wonders if they will be back in the spring!

Last fall my Chief Dessert Tester and I decided to cut out most sugar in our diets by cutting out desserts.  (I know!  Me? No sugar?)  So, I knew if I started baking a cake she would know something was up.  That is when I asked my neighbor and blogging partner, Abby Hughes to make the Southern Living Hummingbird Cake.  Abby is an accomplished chef, baker, and extremely good friend.  Quickly she said “sure!”

Abby made the cake and secretly brought it over the night before Michael and Kay arrived.  Whew!  Mom didn’t suspect a thing!

Since the Hummingbird Cake recipe originally ran in 1978, it has become the most requested recipe in Southern Living history.  Besides the usual suspects of flour, sugar, and eggs, this cake includes oil instead of butter, giving it an almost quick-bread like texture.  Undrained, crushed pineapple adds flavor and keeps the batter moist.  Chopped bananas are a surprise ingredient.  But the real southern flavor comes from the toasted, chopped pecans! Yum!  A cream cheese frosting is the perfect covering.  Abby added her own flair with edible glitter!  Beautiful and tasty!

The updated recipe is found here and includes a quick video that shows how easy it is to make this from-scratch cake!

1976 Paulsen Family Photo! Left to Right, Steve, Cathy, Dale, Mike, Alice, and John

With each passing year, we thank God for the life of our mother and father.  This year is no different when we remember our father and our brother Steve who have gone to Heaven before us.

This was our 2014 family reunion photo from Fort Robinson Nebraska.  We look forward to another reunion this summer.  We love you, mom!

Happy Birthday mom and many more!

Love and blessings,


2018 Farm Dinners!

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When I posted about the Edible Nashville Farm Dinner, several of you were asking about how to get tickets for the next one.  They have just released the dates for the 2018 Farm Dinners and you’re invited!  I hope you can attend one of these fabulous feasts hosted by Edible Nashville.  But hurry! Tickets go fast!

Here are the links to purchase tickets:

April 21, 2018

July 21, 2018

Oct. 27, 2018

Two Easy Grilling Recipes For Beginners

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Today we are happy to have Monica Henin from Addonkitchen as our guest blogger.
Thank you, Monica!

Having an in-house grill is always great because it allows a person to cook scrumptious food at will. Moreover, grilling is fun, especially for those who have an immense love for cooking. Placing a juicy piece of meat on the grill and brushing some oil all over the meat gives the feeling that something nice is going to get ready in a few minutes. But, grilling is not that easy, so one shouldn’t just start grilling game meats because a small mistake made while cooking the food can ruin it all. A person who is just making his/her way into the world of grilling should begin with chicken or shrimps, as these are easy to grill and will help build the confidence for the future.

Today we will be discussing two grilling recipes, which are quite easy to prepare and doesn’t take much time as well. Let us start with the first one.

The first recipe that I’ve selected is ‘Honey Mustard Grilled Chicken’. If you love the taste of mustard, then this recipe will definitely make your mouth filled with water.


  1.   4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
  2.   1 tsp steak sauce
  3.   1/4 cup honey
  4.   1/3 cup Dijon mustard
  5.   2 Tbsp mayonnaise

Total Cooking Time: 35 minutes

Servings: 4

Two Glazed Chicken Quarter On The Hot BBQ Charcoal Flaming Grill Close-up.


  1. Preheat the grill on medium heat. I hope you have bought a branded grill such as Traeger Renegade, as it ensures uniform and safe cooking. You can check more about this brand by going through Traeger Renegade Elite reviews.
  2. Take a large bowl now and add mayonnaise, honey, steak sauce and mustard. Mix all the ingredients well, and you will get the honey mustard sauce. Save some sauce for basting and use the remaining for marinating the chicken.
  3. Dip chicken pieces into the honey mustard sauce. Make sure that each and every corner of the chicken is coated in the sauce.
  4. Brush some oil on the grill grate followed by placing the chicken pieces on the grill, but make sure that no direct heat is given to the chicken. Cook the chicken in the indirect heat for 18-20 minutes and keep flipping the sides occasionally. Use the reserved sauce to baste the chicken in the last 10 minutes of cooking.
  5. Keep a close eye on the grill because you don’t want chicken getting burnt.

That was all about ‘Honey Mustard Grilled Chicken’, so let’s discuss the second recipe, which involves shrimp!

The name of the recipe is ‘Grilled Shrimp Scampi’ and it is great for those who love the flavors of garlic, lemon, and parsley. You can use this dish as an appetizer or main dish. This dish is light on the stomach, but will definitely excite your taste buds. You can replace shrimps with scallops if you want, but let’s just discuss the one with shrimps.


  1.   1 ½ lbs. medium shrimp, deveined and peeled
  2.   1 tbsp. minced garlic
  3.   ¼ cup lemon juice
  4.   3 tbsps. parsley, chopped
  5.   ¼ cup olive oil
  6.   Red pepper flakes
  7.   Ground black pepper

Total Cooking Time: 36 minutes

Servings: 6


  1. Take a large bowl and add garlic, lemon juice, black pepper, lemon juice and parsley. Mix all the ingredients well and then, add crushed red pepper on top of the mix.
  2. Add shrimps to the mixture and make sure that the shrimps are properly immersed in the mixture. Marinate the mixture in the refrigerator for half an hour.
  3. Now, it’s time to preheat grill on high heat. Take skewers and thread shrimp onto those. You will have to pierce each shrimp once near the head and once near the tail.
  4. Brush the grill grate with some oil and place the skewers on the grill. Grill each side for 2-3 minutes and then, flip the side over. The shrimp will become opaque when fully cooked.

You can now enjoy grilled shrimp with mayonnaise. The taste will be simply amazing, plus it is not bad for your health, so you don’t have to restrain yourself from eating this super-delicious dish.

Happy Grilling!

Author Bio: Monica Henin is the author of this blog post. She is an expert in the field of cooking, especially when it comes to providing cooking tips. She also writes on healthy recipes because she wants her readers not to eat just delicious food, but healthy food as well.

Find more about her work on

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