Sunday, October 31, 2010

Quilt Raffle

Queen Size Quilt Raffle

All Proceeds go toward Emma's Adoption.

*Drawing to be held December 19, 2010*

Tickets: $5.00 each

If you would like a chance to win this Beautiful Quilt, then send me an email at and I can mail you the tickets. The quilt can be shipped anywhere if you win. Thank you so very much for helping us bring our Russian Princess Home! You can follow our Adoption Story at:
and you can find other ways to support the adoption at:
God Bless each of You!!!!!
"I will not leave you as orphans; I am coming to you."
John 14:18

Praying her home,
Darin, Christina and Jaythan

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Happy Heaven Day Savannah Grace!!!

"The Lord's loved ones are precious to him; it grieves him when they die." Psalm 116:15
Two years ago today, our sweet baby girl began dancing with Jesus in heaven. I cannot believe that two years have passed since I held her in my arms. Maybe that is because I carry her in my heart every second of every day. People often told me after she died that the pain would go away. I disagree. The ache is still there and I don't think it will ever be absent from my heart. The pain may express itself in less evident ways on certain days than others, but the pain is still there. I loved my daughter deeply and I always will. I love the idea that grief is an expression of love. You wouldn't grieve if you didn't love.

Today, my mind is filled with so much Gratitude.
Gratitude that God chose me to be Savannah's Mom.
Gratitude that Savannah's life revealed His Glory and Majesty.

Psalm 111: 3-4
"Everything he does reveals his glory and majesty, His righteousness never fails. Who can forget the wonders he performs? How gracious and merciful is our Lord!"

During my pregnancy, many people told me that Savannah taught them so much about complete faith, surrendering to God, praying without ceasing, and loving more fully. I, myself, never fully grasped the depths of God's love for me until He used Savannah's life and my deep love for her to show me how He loves me on an even deeper level and with a passionate father/daughter agape!

I am currently doing a Women's Bible Study at my church on Revelation by Beth Moore. I am amazed at how God is using the book of Revelation (which I was always afraid to read because it seemed to hard to understand) to speak to my heart two years after Savannah's death and continue the healing process in my spirit. Just yesterday in class, Beth spoke on Revelation 11 regarding the two witnesses who would come to testify about Christ in the end times. She dwelt on verse 7 which says, "When they complete their testimony...the beast will conquer them and kill them." She stressed that no one, no child of God, will be taken from this earth a moment before they have served their purpose, completed their work, finished their race in this world. Each of us has a specific God-Given Purpose. This revelation touched my heart because it made me realize that Savannah served her purpose. She made the heart of God so very happy. She finished her race, she fought her fight. She taught so many people how to love deeper. She taught me how to trust God more completely. She taught me that God will never leave me or forsake me even when my world is falling apart, when my daughter is sick and dies, when my heart aches so much it feels like it will break. She taught me that God never left my side, dancing over me in love, even when I could not utter a prayer for a month after she died. My beautiful daughter, Savannah, served her purpose by drawing me into a deeper, richer, relationship with God, a relationship where I have learned to surrender all.

Earlier this October, I had days where I would find myself crying for no apparent reason. It was almost as if my heart was crying out for my baby girl without my even thinking about it. The tears would just pour down my face. It was during this time, that Beth Moore was covering Revelation 7, and she reiterated that our grief and tears and sufferings are only temporary. Revelation 7:17 says, "For the Lamb who stands in front of the throne will be their Shepherd. He will lead them to the springs of life-giving water. And God will wipe away all their tears." ALL.THEIR.TEARS!!!! My longing for Heaven continues to grow as I study God's word regarding our eternal worshipping and "being" with Jesus. I will have no reason to grieve. Savannah now has no reason to grieve. She has no pain. She has no abnormality. She is whole. Beautiful. Rejoicing. Laughing. Playing. Loving. Now, that is what brings me peace today in the midst of my sorrow that I do not have a two year old brown-haired, blue-eyed girl running around chasing her big brother. Rather, she gets to run around Heaven, chasing Jesus, singing Praises, laughing as Butterflies tickle her nose. Heaven is a very real place, my dear friends. God longs for you to spend eternity with Him! If you haven't made the choice to accept Him into your heart, to receive His vast love for you, then please consider it now. He longs to be in a relationship with you. He adores you. As high as the heavens are from the earth, so great is His love for you! If you have any questions about His Amazing Love, then email me. I would love to share with you about the God who truly does make something Beautiful out of our pain and sorrow. My prayer for you is that:
Ephesians 3:14-19
"For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom his whole family in heaven and on earth derives its name. I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God."
On her birthday today, I wanted to share with you all Savannah's Celebration Service Video:

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Cookies & Cream Cupcakes

This week I had a special order for Cookies and Cream Cupcakes. After researching and experimenting, this is what I came up with. I used my favorite frosting recipe-Wilton's basic white, and topped the cupcakes with cookies and cream sprinkles and mini oreos. This recipe was a huge success. It was declared DELISH by my taste-tasters (both old and young). ENJOY!!
You are Prayed for and Loved Dearly by your Heavenly Father!

Cookies and Cream Cupcakes
(Adapted from Paula Deen Best Dessert Special Collector’s Issue)

1 1/2 cups butter, softened
1 1/2 cups sugar
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 Tbs baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups whole milk
12-16 coarsely crushed cream-filled chocolate wafer cookies (Oreos)
White Frosting (see below)
Garnish: mini oreos and cookies and cream sprinkles(I buy the Wilton brand cookies and cream sprinkles but you could also use finely crushed oreos)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 24 muffin cups with cupcake liners.
In a large bowl, beat butter and sugar at medium speed with a mixer until creamy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in vanilla.
In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking powder, and salt. Gradually add to butter mixture, alternately with milk, beginning and ending with flour mixture, beating just until combined after each addition. Stir in crushed cookies. Spoon batter into prepared muffin cups. Bake for 16 to 20 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Let cool in pans for 10 minutes. Remove from pans, and cool completely on wire racks. Pipe or decorate with white frosting. Garnish with mini oreos and cookies & cream sprinkles (or crushed oreos).
(Yield: 3 cups-enough to frost 24 cupcakes)
1/2 teaspoon Clear Vanilla Extract
1/2 teaspoon Almond Extract
4 tablespoons water
1 cup solid vegetable shortening (Crisco)-
I use the Crisco Sticks (1 stick per recipe)
1 lb. sifted confectioners' sugar (approximately 4 cups)
Sift confectioners' sugar in a large mixing bowl. Set aside. Cream shortening, flavorings, and water. Gradually add sifted dry ingredients and mix on medium speed with your mixer until all ingredients have been thoroughly mixed together Blend an additional minute or so, until creamy. Fill a Decorators Bag with the icing and fit with whatever tip you like to decorate. Pipe Frosting onto tops of cupcakes in pretty patterns or designs.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Banana Bread

My Banana Bread is probably one of my most requested recipes. I love making it because it is such an easy recipe that turns out fabulous. Today, I got extra creative with my recipe and the result was a bread that taste like a combination of a Reeses Peanut Butter Cup and Banana Bread. Sounds Fabulous, Right??? You will not be disappointed. Your kiddos will love it. Slather some peanut butter on top and you have a great protein-packed breakfast or after-school snack. Big Kiddos will love it too :)! Enjoy!

You are Prayed for and Loved!

Psalm 84:5-7

"What joy for those whose strength comes from the Lord, who have set their minds on a pilgrimage to Jerusalem. When they walk through the Valley of Weeping, it will become a place of refreshing springs. The autumn rains will clothe it with blessings. They will continue to grow stronger, and each of them will appear before God."

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Banana Bread


3 tablespoons butter, melted

1/3 cup peanut butter

2/3 cup granulated sugar

2 large eggs

1 cup (2 medium) mashed ripe bananas

3 tablespoons milk

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 cup chocolate chips

1/2 cup chopped roasted peanuts, chopped (optional)


Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9x5 inch loaf pan. Stir together the melted butter, peanut butter, sugar, and eggs. Blend in the bananas and milk. Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add to the banana mixture; stir just until the dry ingredients are moistened. Fold in the chocolate chips and chopped nuts. Spoon the batter into the pan. Bake for 50-60 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Remove from the pan and cool on a wire rack. This bread tastes delicious served warm slathered with peanut butter, but it also tastes great cooled.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Adoption Fundraisers

We are super excited and super blessed to have Elizabeth Englehardt helping us raise money for our adoption costs.

Elizabeth has become a dear friend of our over the past two years. We were first put in contact with her when we were pregnant with Savannah and she made Savannah's birth announcements. You can see just how beautiful and special they were by clicking here:

Elizabeth has so kindly offered to give all proceeds of orders that you place directly to us for our adoption. She does amazing work-thank you cards, baby books, birthday invitations, baby announcements, scrapbook pages, bookmarks, postcards, etc... Every order is custom made and she will make them exactly the way you would like them. So, hop over to her website and take a look. If you decide to place an order then please put "Emma Burrell" in your order notes. And, while you are there, take a moment to pray for her sweet family that God's love will be poured out in abundance on them as they seek to serve and help others.

Elizabeth's button is on the corner of this just click it and you will be taken directly to her website. If you have any questions then just email me at .
If you would like to keep updated with our Adoption Journey, then add Emma's Blog to your favorites:
You can help support our adoption costs by purchasing coffee at
I don't think I could fully express how deeply I love this little girl whom I have never met. God has written His love in my heart for her already. How I long for the day when I can hold Emma in my arms, watch my hubby dance with our daughter, and laugh together as Jaythan plays with her.
Much Love and Blessings!

Praying her home, Darin, Christina and Jaythan

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Whole Wheat Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Waffles

I love all things Pumpkin, especially in the Fall. So, the other night I made some super healthy whole wheat pumpkin waffles, and I decided to throw in a few mini chocolate chips. The result was delicious and hearty! I was hesitant to serve them to our three year old, but he loved them, much to my surprise and pleasure. We eat breakfast for dinner a lot so feel free to serve these whenever you like. You could even make a huge batch and freeze them in individual ziploc bags to eat for breakfast throughout the week. Just take them out of the freezer in the morning, put them on a plate and microwave them for 30 seconds. ENJOY!

Take some time this Autumn to thank God for the Fall Leaves, the Crisp Air, His Provision, and the continual Blessing of His Presence and His Great Love for you.

Slow down and really "TASTE AND SEE THAT THE LORD IS GOOD!" Psalm 34:8

Whole Wheat Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Waffles

1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
1 pinch salt
2 eggs or 1/2 cup egg substitute
1/4 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
1 cup canned pure pumpkin (not pumpkin pie mix)
1 2/3 cups milk
1/4-1/2 cup mini chocolate chips

Mix all ingredients to make the waffle batter. Generously spray all sides of your waffle iron. Pour the batter on the greased waffle iron. Cook until steam stops escaping from the waffle iron. Serve warm with maple syrup.