Tuesday, December 11, 2012

A quick hello and MyMemories Giveaway!

Hi friends! I hope y'all are doing great! I've missed "seeing" y'all around blogland lately. I have a lot to fill you in on and posts to share that I've had drafted for months, and months, but haven't published yet.

But I wanted to pop in to say hi! And I wanted to let you know that there is still time to enter my MyMemories Giveaway! Please?! ;) It's easy to enter and you can do so much with the software!

Thanks friends! I really hope you're doing wonderfully!

In the past week for us: We've had a trip to the ER (for Littlest), a double ear infection (for Littlest), threw 2 parties this past weekend, got our adoption update, had some/several stressful situations, but we are great, have our trust in Him and that is a wonderful thing! And I could not be more thankful to be spending precious time with all of my people.

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{Our sweet Littlest was not feelin' this shot that day ;)}

Is there anything big OR little going on with you that I've missed??

Xoxox

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

A few things! (Including the GIVEAWAY winner & fam photo sneak peek)

1. Partay!
A sweet friend of ours is having a Tastefully Simple Party as a fundraiser for our adoption! If you'd like to purchase anything, there is still time to get gifts or yummy things for yourselves before the holidays AND support our family!

You can go to her Tastefully Simple Site and enter NCF Adoption as the host! Let me know if you have any questions!

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Thank you so much for your love and support!! (fam photos sneak peak)

2. Update!
We are hoping to get our next adoption wait list update email this week! We're praying (if it's His will ;)) that we have moved up the list!! We welcome and appreciate your prayers SO much!!! Have I mentioned how much we appreciate your love and support?? ;) I can't help it because it helps me/us so so much. We can't wait to have our newest little home with us and in pictures and being silly with her goofball siblings! ;-)

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3. Cookies!
Last week we made and delivered some sugar cookies to some friends (hopefully we can make it to more next time!). :) It was NOT my best decorating work but it was fun and we love teaching the babies that giving is a wonderful thing! And we loved delivering all of the cookies with them!

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4. Winner! And ANOTHER giveaway!
The winner of the $50 Shutterfly Giveaway is...
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Congratulations Katie!!! Please email me: naturallycaffeinatedfamily at gmail dot com and you'll get to enjoy your $50 to Shutterfly!!

And don't forget to enter the MyMemories V4 giveaway! You can make SO many different things with this software! And you could win it for free (there's a discount code and free $10 to their store too!)!

Monday, December 3, 2012

Create your own printables and more! Aaand a Giveaway!!

I was excited when I was contacted by MyMemories to do a review and giveaway! You know my craziness with making things to decorate for the littles' birthdays and other fun occasions!

I wasn't quite sure what to expect at first but once I got going, I wanted to keep creating! You can make digital scrapbooks, printables, banners, calendars, all kinds of fun things! It really is more than just digital scrapbooking software! They have free add ons and pages and they have so many you can purchase too.

Here are a few things that I made for our Christmas Party this weekend using My Memories Suite!

Here are some Food Label Place Cards and some Cupcake or Decoration toppers :)

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{The lighting is not great, but you get the idea :) PS The Merry Punch is non-alcoholic haha it's just happy ;) }

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And here is a printable that I made that really encompasses things we want to be doing all year long!

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The newest version 4.0 is out and that is what the generous people at MyMemories are offering to one of my readers! I already have so many ideas of things I am going to make for Littlest's birthday (coming up so soon!)!

And you can save $10 off AND receive a $10 credit!!!

ANY READER can use this code STMMMS42521 to receive $10 off of your MyMemories order AND a $10 credit to the MyMemories shop (a $20 value)!! 


 

 Just use code STMMMS42521 at checkout!

Now it's your turn to win!!! 

How to Enter:
1. Just leave a comment! What would you love to make with the MyMemories software!

Receive Extra Entries: (Leave separate comments for each completed)
1. TWO extra entries: Be a Naturally Caffeinated Family blog follower! Or let me know that you already follow :)
2. ONE extra entry: Tweet:
"Win a MyMemories Version 4 Giveaway with @_NCF_ at www.naturallycaffeinatedfamily.blogspot.com!" and leave the link to your tweet in your comment!
3. ONE extra entry: Follow MyMemories Blog. Leave name under which you follow.
4. ONE extra entry: Like MyMemories on Facebook. Leave your Facebook name in your comment.
5. ONE extra entry: Follow MyMemories on Twitter. Leave your twitter handle in your comment.

This giveaway ends on Thursday December 13, 2012 at 11:59 EST. Winner to be chosen by random.org. Good luck!!!

And don't forget to enter my $50 Shutterfly Giveaway!! It ends Monday!!

*I received a copy of MyMemories software but every opinion is my own.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving 2012!

Happy Thanksgiving from the NCF!!

We had a wonderful day with family. Hubby's Thanksgiving was forever changed by FRIED TURKEY. He is telling everyone about it. Hehe. It was so so yummy! He usually eats all of the sides and things with just a little turkey as an afterthought. Sorry turkey. But everything has changed with the fried turkey. Moist, beautifully flavored, crispy skin. Mmm! ;)

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{Thanksgiving 2012}

Oh my goodness look at all of those faces! Miracles. Silly, happy, sweet, miracles (Hubby included!). And now I must stop because I am tearing up looking at this pic. ;)

We all have struggles, difficult circumstances, tough situations, big and little worries we attempt to give fully to God, and just some tough days. But instead of complaining, I want to be thankful. Every day. Not just one day a year. This is why I tryyy not to complain a lot and especially on social media. Being real and talking about specific circumstances is one thing but not complaining about everything, all the time. We say a lot in our house, "Instead of complaining right now, what can you be thankful for?" It is a great reminder for us adults too! God has been working on us a lot over the past few years with having an eternal perspective and I think this really helps with thankfulness as well. There is so much that just doesn't matter here on earth. Where is our focus? We have a lot to work on, but we have too much to be thankful for to complain.

Have you had... experienced... fried turkey?? :)


1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. 

Psalm 34:1 I will praise the Lord at all times, His praise will always be on my lips.

PS Don't forget to enter my $50 Shutterfly Giveaway!!!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

It's Holiday Card Time and a SHUTTERFLY GIVEAWAY!!!

Can you tell I am excited?!

Every year when fall hits, I get so excited about the idea of getting a fun family picture and picking out Holiday Cards to send out to our family and friends!

And then I get a little stressed about getting this good family picture. And then I say a tiny little prayer that we get a good family picture. And then I realize it is always up in the air with many littles and if we can't get everyone smiling at the same time for the full family picture, there's always room to put individual smiles (my tip to not getting toooo stressed about family pictures)! And then I get excited again about designing a card and having that memory for our family and friends and I LOVE getting our fam' and friends' cards in the mail as well!

We have been using Shutterfly for years and have been so impressed with their quality, quick turn-around time, and great deals and special offers! You know I love good deals! :) And I have to tell you I have had *the best* experience with their customer service since we started using them years ago. They are always SO helpful and nice!

Here was our card from last year :)

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And just a few favorites for this year :)

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Now here is your chance to win!!! I am so excited to partner with Shutterfly to give away a $50 Shutterfly credit to one lucky reader!

How to Enter:
1. Leave a comment! Have you taken your family pics or chosen which cards you'd love to send out this year?

Extra Entries:
1. For TWO extra entries: Follow Naturally Caffeinated Family blog. Just leave a comment saying you're a follower and you'll get two extra entries!
2. For ONE extra entry: Tweet:
"Win a $50 Shutterfly Giveaway with @_NCF_ at www.naturallycaffeinatedfamily.blogspot.com!" And leave the link to your tweet as a comment.

Giveaway ends Monday December 3, 2012 at 11:59pm EST. Winner to be chosen by random.org. Good luck!!!


Also, check out Shutterfly's Black Friday and Cyber Monday Deals! 

Black Friday code: BLACKFRIDAY - 10 FREE cards* Visit http://www.facebook.com/shutterfly to claim the offer!
*Offer valid for one-time redemption per billing address and valid for 10 free 5x7 flat stationery cards OR 10 free 5x7 folded greeting cards only. Customers must choose only one of the two offers. Taxes, shipping and handling will apply. Offer ends November 25, 2012 (11:59 P.M. PST).

Cyber Monday: Visit http://www.facebook.com/shutterfly to get the 25% off unique code (valid on top of already discounted site wide - up to 50% off)
*Offer ends November 26, 2012 (11:59 P.M. PST).

*Disclaimer: I was given credit to Shutterfly in exchange for this post but all opinions are completely my own and I really do love Shutterfly and have had the best experiences with them!  $50 off order of $50 or more (excluding tax and shipping and cannot be combined with any other promos, expire 12/14/2012)

Monday, November 19, 2012

self-timer pic semi-fail ;)

You know we love to try for self-timer pics and some of our BEST pics were done with the self-timer!

This one was ALMOST a great one! Everybody is smiling, we're being our goofy selves, and boom, poor Hubby's and my head was cut off and HM's eyes were closed.

You win some, you really laugh at some. ;) 

Oh boy, I love my people - whether you can see their whole head or have their eyes open or not. ;)

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Wednesday, November 14, 2012

this little guy turned 3!!

Oh my goodness, where do we start? Little is our second born and is just an amazing little boy (I wanted to say baby boy, but I resisted! ;) You'll always be our baby, sweet lovebug!)!

He is still our little caretaker. He has such a sweet heart. He can still pick on his big bro and lil' sis at times and has a mighty lil' will (which we love, it's a great trait!) but oh my goodness he is so sweet & has such a big heart.

He always wants to make sure that everybody has what they need, that everybody has one of whatever is being passed out or found, asks to help with the dishes or other tasks, and loves to help others. Here he is checking on his lil' sister at a wedding! Oh, the sweetness!

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He is so thoughtful. Case and point. Just he and I were out to run some errands together (that usually never happens and I just loved it, he is so much fun) and I decided to just leave my purse in the car for one store. I got him from his carseat and as we started walking toward the store he said, "Mommy do you have your purse??" He was barely 3 years old!! That's our little thoughtful guy.

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{Goofy pic of me but he is so cute and oh, I love his happy lil' face :)}

He loves to play outside, sports, music, cars/trucks, trains, ride bikes, pretend games that he and BabyBoy make up together, helping HM with a puzzle. He loves to laugh, be tickled, and just plain have fun. He loves to be silly and make jokes. We have the most wonderful reading/cuddling/singing sessions before nightnight. He has the best little conversations. He loves to play swords and fight off the bad guys. His sound effects are awesome. And adorable. He is getting more and more comfortable striking up conversations with anybody. He is always up for anything!

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Oh, we could not love our sweet "Boba" any more! Happy 3rd birthday, sweet love!!

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Monday, November 12, 2012

I cannot help it!

The matching. I can't help the matching! I've been asked and people always comment that the boys are pretty much always matching and coordinated with HM. :) I can't help it!

I figure, I have to do it while they're young. They're just so cute (I realize I am biased, I can't help that either).

And maaaaany times, we're all coordinated. ;)

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{Navy and green ;) Fun!}

And Hubby will coordinate himself without me saying a thing. And I think that is so sweet and cute.

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{This is the random self-timer pic we snapped before heading out for an event :)}

I know a lot of people think it's dorky or dare I say, uncool, to dress matchy matchy, but I've never been one for following clothing rules. ;) And we admit that we're dorks. We accept it. And we're proud of it. ;)

Annnd, may I point out, that it is easy to dress them, because we can just grab the same/similar thing for both of them, annnd it's easy to spot them when we're out! Not that we let them get far away, BUT, if we're playing somewhere and someone is asking about them or if I need to tell someone something, I can say, that one and the other one dressed like that. ;-) See, a win win. Cute and efficient!

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{Coordinated turquoise/white. Love.}

I actually mean to coordinate them more but it's so much easier to just match ;) Though I think they're be a lot more coordinating in the future because BabyBoy has now grown out of toddler sizes!!! Our baby! And I can't wait to coordinate HM with her new lil' sister!

P to the S - We get all of their clothes on sale/clearance plus coupons or at consignment shops, and we don't buy a lot each year and just layer everything differently to create different outfits. Listen to me, I sound like I know something about fashion! Ha! I don't but I attempt to look cute, on a major budget. I need help (I do not feel cute very often)! But that is another post for another day and there are other things that are way more important, which is why I haven't posted about it. :)

Friday, November 9, 2012

Our number on the wait list - Adoption Update

We had been, as unanxiously as possible (see Philippians 4:6), waiting for our latest adoption update to see our new number on the wait list. Also see photo I posted earlier this week. See? Such patience.

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And we waited and waited and waited. Can you feel the patience and non-anxiousness? Just curiosity, people.

We just got our monthly update about an hour ago and our number remains #22.

No movement. No referrals last month. Still delays and now lengthened in country time.

We are grateful and happy to hear that Uganda, the US, and our agency are trying to make sure that these little ones are truly orphans and (unfortunately) have no other opportunity to be with other family members in Uganda, or adopted by other families in Uganda, before becoming referral ready.

Our flesh is sad and just a bit wondering why. Why if there are so many little ones, so many... millions - over 2.5 million - who need a forever family, they still sit in an orphanage, an institution. And we can't wait to expand our family. Then I wonder, are we doing something wrong? Am I not praying enough? I know I am not reading His word enough.

We fully believe everything is in His perfect timing. Our prayers always begin with, "Thank you," and are followed by, "If it's in your will..." It is without a doubt comforting to know the Creator of everything has us in his hands. We know everything happens for a reason, He could be protecting us from something by having us wait right now, maybe the process could speed up in the months to come, waiting to line us up with the precious little one who He will place in our family. Forever.

But right now, our flesh is a little sad.

Prayers welcome. Thanks fam and friends.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Adoption and Matching Grant Update!

We were so hoping to be posting an update on where we are on the waitlist and if we have moved up the list but we haven't received our monthly update yet! We're being patient, we're being patient! ;)

We also wanted to say thank you so much again to anyone who has donated towards our Matching Grant and signed up for our Prayer Calendar! We cannot begin to tell you what a blessing you have been! Our latest report last week says you have donated $2600!

We can't tell you what your emails and prayers and encouragement has meant to us! We have less than 2 weeks to raise the full $4000 for our Matching Grant through Lifesong for Orphans! Our deadline is November 19, 2012! All of the money raised goes through Lifesong and directly toward our adoption costs! And if you have donated and would like to be added to the Prayer Calendar and haven't already, let us know! We would be blessed to have you on there!

Our words cannot express our thanks and appreciation for each of you and your support and friendship. This journey is a bumpy one and your support and encouragement mean the world to us. We are blessed to have you walking alongside our family!

Many many blessings! And lots of love and hugs!
Hubby, NCF Mama, BabyBoy, Little, and Littlest

For those who have asked! Here is the link for the Lifesong Paypal for our adoption

And the address and info for mailing a check :)
Lifesong for Orphans
Attn: Naturally Caffeinated Family #3082 adoption (also write in the memo on your check)
PO Box 40 Gridley, IL 61744

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{We were so blessed to be one of over a dozen families holding "our sign" :) during a beautiful Orphan Sunday service!}

Monday, November 5, 2012

our sugar cookies with a purpose! newest cookie creation!

We had a big weekend! It was our first year being directly involved with Orphan Sunday at our church. I can never keep dry eyes during Orphan Sunday, those precious precious little ones (and I mean every age). They are all His. And in need of our help.

We love how big our church supports; widows, orphans, those in need. It is a huge piece of pretty simple puzzle. The service was set up with interviews, videos, and at the end all of those who have adopted or are in the process, walked on stage, to the song The Same Love, and stood together, carrying a sign with their country, foster care, or if in the process now, "Expecting from..."

We were so blessed to carry our sign, "Expecting from... Uganda," and I know I teared up right when I saw it. I can't help it! And it was so beautiful seeing each family walk across the stage with their signs and their sweet families. Beautiful.

The other neat thing was the families who are in the process of adopting had tables that people could stop by after the services, to tell about their process and sell items to raise money for their adoptions.

On Wednesday, I saw this cookie cutter online...

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And told Hubby, wouldn't it be awesome to make Africa Shaped Sugar Cookies to sell as a fundraiser, along with our Prayer Calendar! Though he calls me, Lucy, with my crazy ideas, he is always supportive, and he thought it was a great idea! :)

So I ordered it, it was delivered on Friday, and we made all the cookies on Saturday! Woowee!! ;) I was nervous because this is the second time I've made and decorated sugar cookies like this!

Here they are! Africa Shaped Sugar Cookies with a heart over Uganda :)

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{This was only some of them!}

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All the color combos and individually wrapped :)

I thought I got more pics so you could see all the color combos even better but I didn't! It was 1:30 am (2:30 but the clocks JUST changed back!) when we finished so I was definitely not thinking clearly ;). And I know I could have done a better job but we were working so fast because it was SO late! I was going to try some different designs but there just wasn't enough time!

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{The color of the heart is the color of the border :)}

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Thank you to my friend Jenny for saving me with sending the recipes you use because I couldn't find the ones I had used the first time I made sugar cookies last year! Thank you, Hubby and Mom, for all of your incredible help!

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Because sometimes you just need...

... A spontaneous special breakfast at Cracker Barrel. :)

And this weekend was one of those times!

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Do not laugh at how terrible my hair looks, ok you can ;), I was not expecting to take pics and then a sweet passerby offered to take one of all of us as she saw me taking one of Hubby and the babies, and this is what we got! :) Also noted, I have pretty much no makeup on ;).

I love that HM is smiling straight at the camera in this one but we caught BabyBoy and Little at the beginning of a smile :)

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We normally don't get pancakes but BabyBoy was so excited and wanted to order them, and all by himself, so we let him. Special breakfasts call for special measures. Yep, and I teared up watching BabyBoy cut his pancakes all by himself. ;) And watching our little family, and all of them eat and eat... and eat ;), and all by themselves. Sounds silly, but we try to enjoy the moments as much as possible. They are getting so big, so fast.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Today is a special day!

Today is my amazing Hubby's birthday. B-t-dubs, I don't use adjectives like amazing, incredible, or unbelievable lightly.

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He is the most incredible Hubby and the most unbelievable Daddy to our littles.

He is the most selfless person I know. I mean that too.

He always thinks of others first, how can we serve them, how can we help, how are they feeling. He cares.

He works so hard for our family. And for anybody he is serving.

He studies God's word and teaches it to our littles (and me :)) with zeal.

His priorities are so straight, it still amazes me. He always puts family above work. He does such great work for his job, works hard, and is so good. But if the family needs something, he's there. He comes to doctor appointments and never missed even one when I was pregnant, all four times. Not one.

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{We made this for him for Father's Day this year and framed these pics :)}

He is sweet, sensitive, hilarious, silly, fun-loving, and so thoughtful. He (pretty much ;)) always has the exact right thing to say to me to help me through any situation. He is so encouraging.

He is handsome, cute, and hot. That's just a plus. ;) Refer to above pic for proof. ;)

He has taught himself how to be handy. And has saved us so much money, fixing pretty much everything himself. Electrical, plumbing, and all the odds and ends in between.

He makes me laugh to tears. And I tear up watching him with our little ones. He brings me a lot of tears. Haha, in a good way! :)

He supports me and backs me up in anything I want to do. Even in the crazy, silly, Lucy-like schemes I try to accomplish. ;)

I could not respect him more.

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{Fall 2011}

I am blessed because of him. Beyond blessed. And I don't say that lightly either.

I love you so much, "B"!!! Happy happy birthday from all of us!!

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Sunday, October 28, 2012

Scones!

Scones and coffee equal a beautiful combo for some mornings. :) And tasty too! ;)

We are breakfast eaters! I love making huge breakfasts with pancakes (or waffles or french toast), eggs (made to order!), turkey bacon, diced potatoes (or hash browns), and fruit. Mmm!

But mornings that I don't have time to make a big one, I can whip up these scones pretty quickly. I love warm breakfasts, especially if we don't have any yummy cereal. :)

The recipe that I have been using for years is out of Betty Crocker's Cookbook Bridal Edition, given to us as a wedding gift from some dear friends. :) Thank you, again, Rachel! :)

For all those who have asked, I'm sorry it's taken me so long to get the recipe up! Without further ado, here it is!

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{I used orange crystalized sugar to top this one :) Partly because it was one of the colors I have and it's fun for fall. :)}

Betty Crocker's Scones! :)

Prep: 15 min. Bake: 16 min. Makes: 8 scones

1 3/4 cups all purpose flour {I split it 1 cup whole wheat/3/4 cup white, still great texture & nice taste too :)}
3 tablespoons sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup firm butter or stick margarine {I always use butter & leave it in the fridge until ready for the butter step}
1 large egg, beaten
1/2 cup currants or raisins {I use craisins}
4 to 6 tablespoons half and half {I use milk bc it's usually all we have}
Additional half and half {I use milk here too :)}
White coarse sugar crystals (decorating sugar) or granulated sugar {you can use different colors for fun too :)}

1. Heat oven to 400*
2. Mix flour, 3 tablespoons sugar, baking powder, and salt in large bowl. Cut in butter, using pastry blender or crisscrossing 2 knives, until mixture looks like fine crumbs. Stir in egg, currants and just enough of the 4 to 6 tablespoons half-and-half so dough leaves side of bowl.
3. Place dough on lightly floured surface {I use white, since I used more wheat earlier}, gently roll in flour to coat. Knead lightly 10 times. Roll or pat into {I always just pat w/ a little flour on my hands} 8-inch cirle on an ungreased cookie sheet. Cut into 8 wedges with a sharp knife that has been dipped in flour, but do not separate wedges. Brush with additional half-and-half; sprinkle with sugar crystals.
4. Bake 14-16 minutes or until golden. Immediately remove from cookie sheet; carefully separate wedges. Serve warm. {Still super yummy even cold the next morning, with coffee :)}

1 Scone: Calories 250 (Calories from fat 90); Fat 10g (Saturated 6g); Cholesterol 50mg; Sodium 360mg; Carbohydrate 37g (Dietary fiber 1g); Protein 4g Daily Value: Vitamin A 8%; Calcium 10%; Iron 10%

Lemon-Poppy Seed Scones: Omit currants. Sitr in 1 tablespoon grated lemon peel {I end up just using lemon juice :)} and 1 tablespoon poppy seed with the egg.

Enjoy!! :)

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Do you have any scone recipes that you love??

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