we’re those people.

Not everyone is meant to have a “goals board” staring them smack in the face everyday. But, we have one.

This year, instead of writing a list of goals on a sheet of paper, we decided to put it on one of our walls in the office. Yep! This way, there’s no reason why we shouldn’t remember. I’m not saying that this will make us perfect. No, not at all. But, this will certainly help eliminate most excuses. Last year was pretty amazing and we can’t take any credit; God showed off big time. Our life is blessed beyond measure and that is all thanks to God’s provision of love, care, health and provision of finances.

I love it when I can find something I’d love to have from my Pinterest DIY board, and then convince my husband that we need it. Well, this was one of those exceptions. Ha. So, thanks to Shanty-2-Chic for this awesome DIY step by step guide! I think they made this into a family picture board, but I just totally knew it was exactly what we needed for our goals when I saw it. Our wall in the office had the space & my man has the talent! Tony tweaked some of the measurements and used a stain we preferred (aged wood), then, voila! Look at this thing. It’s just beautiful to look at it in the office and remember what it is we’re shooting for this year, in a nicely framed board.

Processed with VSCOcam with m4 preset

I used twine to hang our goals on small note cards. The “Family Goals” letters I had in my craft closet from a previous trip to Target’s dollar section (don’t you love that little corner?) and finally put them to good use! The little clothes-pinned cards were made my me – I just had Tony and I write them down first and then I shortened the goals to give them catchy names or quick drawings, for a spiffier look. On the backside of the cards we’re keeping notes & progress. I must say, it’s been working out great and we’re still in March!

For now, I’ll just leave you with this to soak in. Family goals don’t have to be scary and hazardous. I’ve heard many pros and cons. For us, it’s always been so much fun! Reaching goals is like a game; you want to achieve all of your goals but you know there is always a chance that it will not happen & you’ve just got to be okay with that. The point is that you tried!

With Joy,

V Signature

No. 2 — Chocolate Fudge Cake

So, I’m a little late in posting this second recipe from my Frame By Frame Baking book Tony gifted me for Valentine’s Day. I’ve got to admit, I’m on my 5th recipe this week and the cakes have not failed to amaze me! The book and frame by frame instructions make it fail-proof, not to mention how delicious and different each cake is.

I made this Chocolate Fudge Cake a few weeks back on one of our Sabbath days and it totally knocked our socks off! The chocolate icing was perfect, not too sweet and not too thick. I could’ve done with a little less time for the cake in the oven, but I’ll perfect that later. Here’s a look at my frame by frame:

No 2 - Chocolate Fudge Cake

This cake was delicious, very chocolaty, and hearty. I served mine with some cool whip to mix up the flavor – my husband completely avoided his, he’s totally a chocolate lover. Ha.

I think this is another winner! Will be keeping this for a future dessert, for sure.

CHOCOLATE FUDGE CAKE

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup softened unsalted butter
  • 3/4 cup superfine sugar
  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • 3 tbsp dark corn syrup
  • 1/2 cup ground almonds
  • 1 1/4 cup self rising flour
  • pinch of salt
  • 6 tbsp cocoa powder

Frosting:

  • 8oz. semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1/4 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, diced
  • 5 tbsp evaporated milk
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees & grease your pan (I used 1 8″ and sliced the cake in half to fill with chocolate)
  2. Place all frosting ingredients in a deep pot & stir, with heat on MED/LOW, until it’s completely melted
  3. Pour out into a bowl & chill in fridge while you prep the cake
  4. Now, mix your butter and sugar in a gown & beat until light and fluffy. Slowly adding in eggs. Then, stir in the corn syrup and almonds.
  5. Sift flour, salt & cocoa powder into a bowl, then fold into the mixture. (at this point, add water so it can become less thick)
  6. Pour mix into your cake pan & bake for 30-35 minutes, depending on your oven
  7. Let your cake cool.
  8. Cover with frosting. (Cut cake horizontally if you’d like to get “two cakes” and fill the mid section with frosting, then stack the top cake again & cover with frosting)

Finally, just cut into slices, serve, and enjoy!

V Signature

No. 1: Classic Cherry Cake

Valentine’s isn’t usually a big “gift” holiday in our home. We’re usually good with a dinner and a movie date; we keep it simple.

This year, after some (a lot) of hints being given (since my birthday in November), my husband surprised me with a new KitchenAid Stand Mixer! Yes, after registering a few times to try to win one through various blogs and contests, and never winning, I think that that alone made him cave. He had me fooled that this probably wasn’t going to happen for a while since we’ve been kicking debt in the butt and saving up for a few things. Long story short, he got me and he got me good.

Along with the stand mixer, he gifted me a baking book, “Frame By Frame Baking“. It’s just about the best designed baking book I’ve ever seen. The photographs are pretty amazing and the steps are fairly clear and easy to follow. The only way I could think of going through this book is by taking it one recipe at a time during our sabbath, our days to rest, Fridays. I’m excited to taste new flavors, try (buy) new kitchen utensils, and slow life down a bit to bake something delicious that fills our home with that sweet homemade smell we love so much.

So, here we go. This is my first recipe from the Frame By Frame Baking: Classic Cherry Cake. It took me a bit longer than expected to make the cake since I had to homemake the candied cherries the recipe called for. Otherwise, I really enjoyed the process every bit of the way. Here’s my frame by frame:

Classic Cherry Cake

I got the how-to recipe on candied cherries from Shauna Sever’s blog, Piece of Cake. Super simple, inexpensive and the cherries came out perfect for the cake! The other ingredients were usuals for cake baking, with the addition of sugar cubes for the topping. I cannot tell you how delicious this cake tastes, the adding lemon rind and juice was definitely a nice touch with the cherries.

Overall, I absolutely enjoyed this Classic Cherry Cake recipe, even though I’m not big on cherries. It was such a good balance between the ground almonds and sweet cherries, and lemon juice, that just balanced it all out so well. The cake is soft, sweet, and tastes delicious served warm or at room temperature.

CLASSIC CHERRY CAKE

by Frame By Frame Baking

Ingredients:
3/4 cup unsalted butter, plus extra for greasing
1 1/4 cups candied cherries, quartered (I left these as is)
1 cup ground almonds
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 cup superfine sugar
3 large eggs
1 finely grated lemon rind and juice
6 sugar cubes, crushed

Instructions:

  1. PREHEAT oven to 350 degrees & grease your pan (I used a 6.5″ round pan)
  2. STIR cherries, almonds, and 1 tbsp of the flour
    SIFT leftover flour & baking powder separately
  3. CREAM butter & sugar until it fluffs up, while adding eggs
    BEAT until well blended
  4. ADD flour mix, fold lightly and evenly into the creamed mixture with a metal spoon.
    ADD the cherry mixture, fold in evenly, then fold in the lemon rind & juice.
  5. SPOON the mixt into your pan & sprinkle with the crushed sugar cubes.
    BAKE for 1 – 1 1/4 hours, or until risen & golden brown.
  6. COOL in pan for 15 minutes, then transfer to wire rack to cool completely.

Finally, cut into slices and serve and enjoy the delicious cake you baked!

Signature

the world’s worst bloggers.

It is quite apparent that Tony and I are officially terrible bloggers. I can hardly believe we are 8 months into the year and have not made a single post about all the goodness that has happened.

© TheVillatoros.com Baby NiecesTo give you a quick wrap-up, we’ve moved to a slightly bigger apartment – with a second bathroom (thank you, Jesus!) and some more dining/living room space for our home gatherings which is working out so well! Our Grace Group is growing and living on mission. So thankful we got to attend two conferences as well, ACTS29 and SEND. We got to learn more and received much needed encouragement. We now have a total of three nieces! 🙂 Two baby nieces were born in April, Galia and Ilena (check out their photo, done by me 🙂 I’m a proud “Tia”). Yes, they are twins and they are the epitome of JOY along with our first niece, Ellie, who is growing and incredibly smart!

© TheVillatoros.com on VacationAs for Tony and I, we’ve had big highs and some lows but through them both God’s grace has been so near. His undeserved love and provision has been constant, always, and for that I am grateful. Tony has grown so much as my husband, my leader, my teacher, my pastor. God has also been working in me, in my heart, to get through many fears and insecurities that I alone put up myself. I must say, I feel like I have also grown a lot. I am not perfect, far from it, but I can look back and see where and how God has changed my heart. He has reminded me that I am not to live to satisfy myself but to serve others, most of all, my husband. Recently, we got to take an awesome cruise vacation and time off from everything. Our time together and the plentiful rest we received was amazing!

For now, I’ll keep this update short. 🙂 I’ll have a post coming up this week for our current Labor Day DIY home project. Hint Hint – it has to do with our home office! Yipee!

With Joy & By His Grace,
Ruthie V.

Our Family’s First Advent

The Villatoros Christmas 2012

Believe it or not, Tony and I have never celebrated Advent. Yes, our background has a lot to do with that. Ha. Last year, I guess the newlywed status got the best of us and we didn’t plan it. This year, Desiring God is helping us out…

“Advent is an annual season of patient waiting, hopeful expectation, soul-searching, and calendar-watching marked by many churches, Christian families, and individual followers of Jesus. There’s no biblical mandate to observe Advent. It’s an optional thing—a tradition that developed over the course of the church’s history as a time of preparation for Christmas Day. Many of us find observing Advent to be personally enjoyable and spiritually profitable.”
Good News of Great Joy, Preface

I can’t imagine a better way to spend time together as a family by seeking Jesus this Christmas with these daily devotionals. Tony and I are so excited for this and wanted to share it with you all so you can consider celebrating Advent with us! Download the eBook for the Good News of Great Joy devotionals here.

Ladies, think of a fun way to set this up around the house! Pinterest has very cute ideas on how to make your own calendars and how to include the kiddos. Gentlemen, lead your family this season by making time to read these devotionals together daily.

With Joy,
Ruthie

RECIPE: Summer Fresh Salad

Today’s post won’t hardly be about us, but I’ll just let you know – we’re doing great! God is good, all the time, and we are thankful for what he’s doing, all the time.

I’m not sure where you live but we live in Texas and let’s just say it is already TOO hot outside. One of our favorite salads to make when it’s “TOO” hot out is a salad I learned from my Mother, which has no name but you can’t even name it – it’s just that good.

I hope you try and make it and enjoy it!

Recipe - Broccoli Salad

Ingredients:
2 broccoli bunches
1/2 cup sunflower seeds-salted (no-shell)
1 lb grapes
1 cup Helman’s mayonnaise
1 tsp. Splenda

Preparation:
Cut broccoli in small pieces (thumb-size is perfect!)
Cut grapes at least in half
Mix broccoli, grapes, sunflower seeds
Add mayonnaise
Mix well with Splenda
Put it in the fridge for 1/2 hour to chill

Now, serve and enjoy! Happy first week of Summer. 🙂

With Joy,
Ruthie

We “turn” 6 months old!

Today, Ruthie and I “turn” 6 months old of married life. What bliss. What joy. What peace.

Over a spaghetti dinner that she cooked, I commented that these last 6 months have been simply amazing. Then, we thought, what about those moments that we have had frustration or small misunderstandings? Yes, what about those times that we woke up in not such a great mood? These questions made us reflect a bit and then had us conclude that this marriage thing, this relationship of husband and wife, this union of man and wife, is the way we see sweeter joy, awesome wonder, and makes for more hilarity when we triumph over these trivial things.

The joy is much sweeter when we overcome challenges, bad moods, and the occasional burnt sausages for breakfast. The wonder becomes more awesome when we both can smile and see God work through difficult times of lack. The amusement is more hilarious when we can laugh out loud at each other when we do something silly that was not meant to be seen by the other person. A face, a dance step, the nonstop use (and abuse) of the washing machine because I like to wash clothes excessively. Yes, hilarity at its best!

The small difficulties of our young marriage has made us appreciate the “peace after the storm.”

In memory of our 6 month old married life, I leave you with our wedding video. I just watched it with my bride and it reminded us of vows, family, friends, unity… and delicious food!

-Mr. Villatoro