Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Random Post Tuesday...

Chai Tea Cupcake Recipe!

Ok, since so many of you have emailed me asking for this recipe, I have decided to post it on my blog for you all to have, bake and enjoy... if you are so inclined. :)
Just a warning... these are labor intensive. They aren't your boxed cake recipe... these are COMPLETELY from scratch! Don't say I didn't warn you... ha ha.

Chai Spice Mix

2 teaspoons fennel, whole
2 teaspoons cloves, whole
1 tablespoon cardamom, ground
2 teaspoons cinnamon, ground
2 teaspoons ginger, ground

1. With a small food processor, grind up the whole fennel and cloves.
2. Transfer to a small bowl and add remaining spices. Mix to combine.

Chocolate Chai Spice Cupcakes
24 regular cupcakes / 350 degree oven

200 gram bar of Valrhona 61% cacao
3 sticks butter
2-1/4 cups sugar
8 eggs
1-1/4 cup flour
1/4 cup cocoa powder, unsweetened
1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
3 teaspoons chai spice mix
pinch of salt

1. Chop chocolate and transfer into the bowl of a standing mixer.
2. Add butter to the chocolate and place the bowl over a pan of simmering water. Stir until chocolate melts and butter is combined.
3. Remove from heat and stir in sugar. Let mixture cool for 10 minutes.
4. Beat in an electric mixer for 3 minutes.
5. Add one egg at a time, mixing for 30 seconds between each
6. Sift the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, chai spice mix, and a pinch of salt into the mixture and mix until blended.
7. Scoop into cupcake cups and bake at 350 F for 25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Chai Spice Buttercream Frosting

1 cup (2 sticks) butter
4-5 cups powdered sugar, sifted
1/4 cup milk
2 teaspoons chai spice mix
2 teaspoons minced fresh ginger

1. Beat butter until creamy, scrape bowl.
2. Add 4 cups of sifted powdered sugar, milk, spice mix, and ginger. Beat until combined.
3. Add more powdered sugar as needed to get piping consistency.

Note: Everyone’s personal preferences differ. With frosting, the flavor is up to you. If you are unsure of how much of a chai flavor you want, start light on the spices and add a teaspoon at a time until you get to a flavor you like. Same goes for the sugar. It’s a matter of taste and what consistency you want to work with. Experiment until you get at what works for you.

1. Frost the cooled cupcakes.


Now, I want comments! Bake them, taste them, and comment me! That is your duty. ha ha!

WalkAmerica 2007 There's Got to Be a Way

Just wanted to share this video! It's pretty powerful and is a tear jerker!

Go Team Miracle Babies!!!

Monday, February 26, 2007


Hey everyone! Me and a bunch of people are going to walk in the Walk America walk for Premature babies. March of Dimes is putting it on! I am so excited! I am so passionate about this, and love to be involved in such a worthy cause! Our team is trying to raise money to donate to March of Dimes! Please read on...

Every year, half a million babies in the U.S. are born prematurely. Premature birth is the leading cause of newborn death and many life long disabilities. The funds we raise in WalkAmerica support research that saves babies' lives just like Zoe's.
Our mission is to improve the health of babies by preventing birth defects, premature birth, and
infant mortality.

Please help us by donating for Zoe! Cut and Paste the link below! Thank you for the consideration, and please know that there is NO pressure.


Thank you!

Shealynn, Michael, Angelina and most of all, ZOE!

Miracle Monday!

Skydiving miracle: Man falls two miles

I read about this story, and was amazed that this guy survived!! Check out his story! It's pretty incredible. Some of you may have heard about this already, but I thought it deserved a spot on my blog for Miracle Monday.


Sunday, February 25, 2007

Our OBX Beach Trip Sept. 06

Mike walking along the beach

Angelina at the top of one of lighthouses

Angelina and Papa sitting on the deck of
the beach house.

My dad and Mike at the top of a lighthouse

The view from our beach house!!

Standing on the deck photographing
Mike and Angelina making a Sandcastle.

This is just a little bit of what our beach house
looked like.

Papa and Angelina's propped up feet


Mike taking a break from Sandcastle

Angelina and my mom at Dirty Dicks
Crab House. (YUM!!)

Another view from our beach house.

Fun at Outer Banks!!

I haven't written much about what exciting things we did before little miss Zoe was born, so I thought that I would periodically post some pictures of trips and other things we have done, etc.

Last September we (me, Mike, and my parents) rented a beach house... RIGHT ON THE BEACH! It was incredible! Going to sleep and waking up every morning to the sound of waves crashing on the sound. It was AWESOME! While I wouldn't necessarily want to live on the beach, I loved visiting, and we decided that we would likely do it once a year, but at different beaches. Our beach house was at the Outer Banks (OBX) in North Carolina, which is about 4 hours from Raleigh. Not something I am used to, since we used to live in Southern California only about 30 or so minutes from the beach. But, now it's a treat to go.

We had a lot of fun trekking around seeing all the sights, which included seeing 4 beautiful lighthouses!! (there are only 3 posted) I love photographing lighthouses, but I just posted a couple of the pictures that I actually took.

Since North Carolina is "First in Flight", we went to the wright brother's museum, which was OK, except I was pregnant, and my ankles were the size of tree trunks! ha ha! We also went geocaching, walked on the beach, collect a massive amount of shells, relaxed, read books, visited Ocracoke Island, saw the most amazing sandbar that went miles into the ocean (There were several cars parked on it because apparently it was a great fishing spot), my mom and I had some mother daughter time as well, which was nice. All in all, we had a very memorable, and fantastic experience!

I'm telling you, if you don't visit North Carolina, you're missing out! But, you have to be willing to get out and see the sights! Want to visit? Come on!! :)

Friday, February 23, 2007

Zoe is getting so big!

So, I took Zoe to the doctor today to get her Synagis (RSV) shot... only one more to go after this one! YAY! Zoe now weighs in at 10 pounds 8 ounces!! She is proving to be a healthy and happy baby! And she is growing like a weed. Her mommy, daddy and big sister are very happy!!

Thursday, February 22, 2007

What a change!!

So, here is another good look at how much Zoe has grown! Can you believe it??
Zoe is going to the doctor tomorrow (Friday) for her 4 month check up already! I will post her weight and other information tomorrow afterwards!
Also, some of you don't know that you can leave me messages... they are called comments on here... I love comments!! :) Hint hint hint. Just look for "comments" below every post. Click on it, and presto! I would love to hear from all of you! :)

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Random Post Tuesday!

Okay, so I have this not so secret obsession with Diet Pepsi! I LOVE the stuff! I am constantly teased about how much I drink... let's just say, it isn't rare for me to drink 10-12 cans of DP a day!! Addicted? hmmmm. I quit drinking it during my pregnancy, but once Zoe was born, and the nurses gave me the OK to drink diet soda... man I was back on that "DP Horse" again! ha ha! Just sharing a random comment, and my only vice. :)

Miracle Mondays!

Ok, I have decided that from now on, Mondays I will post a story about a miracle or something amazing that has happened. It will be titled... "Miracle Monday".
This post is near and dear to my heart because all of you know that Zoe was born 10 weeks premature. My mom sent me this story about a woman who gave birth to a baby when she was only 21 weeks pregnant, and the baby SURVIVED and is going home in a couple of days!!! How amazing! See picture below, and click on the title of this blog to read the story! It's simply amazing. God had/has his hands on this little one! She weighed in at a little bit less than 10 OUNCES!!! Check it out!

Papa and his Grand-Girls!

Goofin around!
Zoe is "telling" (Cooing) Papa a story, and he is encouraging her... notice his "kissy" lips. :)

Seeing these pictures reminds me of how much my dad loves my girls! You can practically see the hearts floating out of his eyes!! :)

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Alone on the Weekend...

Zoe says hello! :)
Zoe has the good life in the King Size bed. ha ha!
Oh! My life is so rough!

My husband had to go to California on an emergency business trip. He left yesterday and won't be back until Tuesday morning!! That is if all goes well... Ugh!

So, here I am alone with the kiddies on the weekend... so far we have proven to be pretty lazy. I plan on heading out to Target in a little while to get a couple of things. Just being alone on the weekend without my hubby is such a bummer!! But, he'll be back in a couple of days. My mom lets me borrow her dog to keep us company while Mike is gone. I like having a dog in the house again... even if it is only while Mike is gone. :)

So, I did take some pictures of my girls a few minutes ago... Zoe in mommy and daddy's big 'ole bed. And Zoe and Angelina hanging out together. I took your idea to write my husband a message and email it to him, Suzanne. Cute idea! :)

More Later.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Random Post Tuesday.... but on Thursday.

Ooops! I just realized that I didn't post anything on Tuesday! So, this week, Thursday is random day!

Check out this instant Chai Tea Recipe!! It is awesome!! My friend made it for me, and I am hooked! Tell me what you think in the comments section... also, let me know if you think there is something that needs to be added!

  • 1 cup nonfat dry milk powder
  • 1 cup powdered non-dairy creamer
  • 1 cup French vanilla flavored powdered non-dairy creamer
  • 2 1/2 cups white sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups unsweetened instant tea
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 teaspoon ground cardamom


In a large bowl, combine milk powder, non-dairy creamer, vanilla flavored creamer, sugar and instant tea. Stir in ginger, cinnamon, cloves and cardamom. In a blender or food processor, blend 1 cup at a time, until mixture is the consistency of fine powder.

To serve: Stir 2 heaping tablespoons Chai tea mixture into a mug of hot water or milk.


Monday, February 12, 2007

Loving Papa...

Reflecting back, I remember making "that call". You know that call to tell your dad you're pregnant! This was the first "that call" I had to make. That all too familiar, "I'm too young to be a grandpa!" Well, that was one of his responses. In fact, now that I think about it, I don't think he had too terribly much to say. He was unsure to say the least. He could have been thinking about my age... I was 20 when I got pregnant with Angelina.
Let's fast forward to the day that Angelina was born... hmmm. I think those fleeting thoughts of being too young to be a grandpa were gone. In fact, I know they were! Seeing my dad holding Angelina when she was a mere 5 minutes old was one of the most incredible things I have ever seen! All my dad's fear and anxiety melted away at the very moment he locked eyes with Angelina Skye Benner. My dad did not need anymore reassurances, he was officially a grandpa, and LOVING it! To say that my dad loves being a "papa" would be right on! I think he loves it more than even I will ever know!
Mike and I weren't planning on having anymore children. Just Angelina. Imagine our surprise in April 2006 when I found out I was pregnant again! :) How exciting!
This was my dad's chance! He was going to be a Papa again! How thrilling! Yet another baby to leave a footprint on his heart. My dad wasn't as scared this time. He was excited, and secretly hoped he would get another granddaughter. When my dad is really happy about something he gets this smile on his face that won't go away. I have really only seen it a few times, and most of them with my children. He had that smile when we found out we were having another girl! Another girl to wrap papa around her finger.
My dad was pretty involved this time around. Basically, he wasn't terrified, and didn't need time to adjust to the news. :) I think one of the funniest times in my pregnancy was when Mike and I were trying to decide what to name our baby girl. Mike wanted to name her Josephine. ha ha! If only I had a tape recorder of my dad's reaction to that name! Poor Mike! He got ragged for weeks. Not only by my dad, but everyone else too! Needless to say, we decided on Zoe, and my dad was MORE than fine with that. Her middle name was the easy part.... Rae after Mike's grandmother's middle name. In picking Zoe's name, we didn't realize how perfect her name would actually be! Zoe is Greek, and the meaning of Zoe is "LIFE"!
When my dad's birthday came around... 10/16/06, Zoe decided she wanted to come out and see him... even though she wasn't supposed to be here for 10 more weeks! My dad was very concerned, but assured me on the phone everything was going to be OK.
Now, let me tell you... seeing my dad hold Zoe for the first time was yet another amazing moment in my life. My dad is very tender hearted, and I remember seeing the concern in his eyes as he held his 3 pound granddaughter. When he first went into the Intensive Care Nursery, I wasn't prepared for his reaction. He smiled at me, then at Zoe, and tears began rolling down his face. I could hardly hold my composure!
To this day, there are times that I watch my dad with my girls, and I get teary eyed, or if I think about that day in the Intensive Care Nursery and when Angelina was born. I have to fight back those tears. It's hard to put into words how amazing my dad is. I love him very much!
To say I have the most amazing dad would be true, but to say that I have the best most incredible amazing dad is even better. My kids are so lucky! I am so lucky! I never dreamed I would see the amount of love my dad has for those 2 girls! He is so taken with Angelina, as well as Zoe. I just know that he is excitedly waiting for the day Zoe and Angelina both yell, "PAPA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!" and run to tackle him and hug his neck! I know they will do this. I know this because he is a Loving Papa.

For the Love of Grandma!

Grandma and her Grand Girls! :)

It is hard to describe in words, but to see my mom with my children is the most wonderful thing I witness on a regular basis. I have never seen a woman so content than to have screaming kids crawling all over her! My mom is so wonderful!! To say that she is the most wonderful grandma would definitely be the biggest understatement! My daughter, Angelina becomes so excited when she finds out she is going to see grandma. If I tell her in the morning, she is asking me if grandma is here yet every 10 minutes! ha ha! The fact that Angelina is so close with my mom is wonderful! They have quite the amazing relationship, and I am so glad they do!! I know that soon enough Zoe will be just as enamored with my mom as Angelina is. I can't wait, and I know that my mom can't either. Seeing both my girls jumping all over my mom is going to be a wonderful sight!

Friday, February 9, 2007

I love my Family!!

I just thought that I would share some pictures that I took today. I love every one of these!! I happened to capture some great moments of my family.

Must be a good dream!

Big Smile with a small giggle!!!