Happy, Happy 37th Birthday Matt Dear!


Matt’s 37th birthday was on a Friday which is almost always the ultimate day for celebrating! This day though, we celebrated right after Matt got home from work because Dylan and Jackson were going to see the “Ugly Duckling” play with Grandma and Grandpa Lund, and both Cayden and Ashlyn had plans with friends that were in town.


We drew clues and hid presents…


Although there were a few items like clothes, the rest were trailer supplies!


Dylan and Jack jumped….


… while Matt tested out his presents!


(And Megan tested out the bubble wrap.)


I can tell the boys are in gymnastics! They’re always working on hand stands and somersaults.  And then…. everyone was off!

Matt said to hold off on the cake/ice cream until Sunday, but after getting the girls to bed I made my new FAVORITE cake recipe! Chocolate cake is usually just chocolate cake to me, but my visiting teacher brought me over a little cake in January- just in a small little foil pan- and gave me this recipe! It was the most amazing cake I’ve ever had! No frosting- just a sugary little crust on top.  I love it!!! (This recipe is half the size of a normal cake recipe, which I think is perfect…. but if you need a full-sized cake you’ll have to double it.)

Chocolate Snack Cake


1 1/2 cups flour

1 cup sugar

1/4 cup cocoa

1 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

1/3 cup vegetable oil

1 tsp white or cider vinegar

1/2 tsp vanilla


1. Heat oven to 350°. Grease bottom and side of 9-inch round pan or 8-inch square pan.

2. In medium bowl, mix flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda and salt. In small bowl sir oil, vinegar and vanilla until well mixed. Vigorously stir oil mixture and water into flour mixture about 1 minute or until well blended. Immediately pour into pan.

3. Bake 30-35 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes our clean. Cool 15 minutes.

Optional way to prepare (Our favorite): Just before putting into oven to bake, sprinkle chocolate chips and sugar over top of cake batter.  It forms a sweet crust over the cake while baking! When I do this, I never frost the cake because it is so yummy plain!


Sunday rolled around and I made Matt’s official requested dessert – Brownie Pie. I made this last Thanksgiving for the pie party at Maria’s house and it is so good that we’ve made it a few times since! For the youth pie parties and the chili cook-off. It always turns out great and for Matt to request this instead of banana cream pie says a lot! (It’s really called a Chocolate Chess Oreo Pie but title is too long!)


We love Matt! I’m so glad we ended up in the same English class in 10th grade! I’m glad Matt is such a hard worker, a crazy clown, an innovator and efficiency expert, and most especially a great husband and dad!

Chocolate Chess Oreo Pie


  • 24 Oreos, crumbled (doesn’t have to be really fine)

  • 1 unbaked pie crust

  • 1 stick unsalted butter, melted

  • 3 Tbs cocoa

  • 1 cup sugar

  • 2 eggs

  • 1 1/2 tbs apple cider vinegar

  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

  • 1/4 tsp salt

  • 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips


Preheat oven to 350º. Press the pie crust into the pan.  Fill the pie crust with the crumbled Oreos. Set aside. Whisk together the melted butter, cocoa, sugar, eggs, vinegar, vanilla and salt. Pour the filling over the Oreo crumbles.  Use a spatula to spread the filling evenly over the Oreos, and then to gently mix so that the filling is mixed in with the cookie pieces.  Sprinkle chocolate chips over the top.  Let bake for 35-45 minutes (it’s usually closer to 45 for us), until the pie appears set in the middle.  Let cool for at least 20 minutes before cutting and serving.


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