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Thursday, December 20, 2012

Fear

Well, I've been trying to write this post for over a week and it keeps evolving in my head into this big massive thing that I just don't even want to write. But in case it helps in some way, or even at the least because I need to get it out, here we go.

I heard a statistic recently that the number one issue women deal with is fear. All other issues can usually be tied back to the fear of something. I can one hundred percent relate to this. I am constantly at war with myself to not be afraid. I feel awful admitting that- we'll call it confession time, I guess. Even knowing the Lord is for me, not against me, I don't need to be afraid, etcetera etcetera etcetera... I'm constantly trying not to be afraid. Afraid of a bad day, afraid of losing CC somehow, afraid of getting sick, afraid of poverty once again, afraid of ________ (fill in the blank with practically anything).

Do you feel that way? If you're honest? Maybe you're not ready to be that honest out loud- I get it. No judgment here, that's for sure. But for me, the past two weeks seem to be leading to the fact that God is the God who loves ME. Knowing how scared I am all the time. Knowing that He can help me if I'll just finally let go. Sigh. Knowing that, I still struggle.

As you know if you read my last post,  Alisa went through the ringer two weeks ago. Alisa, a friend I grew up with, who got the happy news that she was unexpectedly expecting, only to discover her firstborn son was going to be born with a very fatal rare birth defect. While she was under general anesthesia. Her prayer was that she'd get to see him alive, even if just for a moment. It was a heavy weekend. Praise the Lord she got to see him, and have 61 minutes with her precious, completely loved and adored, little boy. God is faithful and He is good. But it was a gut-wrenching weekend.

What if in the future, God calls us to walk through a similar situation? I'm not sure I'm strong enough for such a test. At the same time, I was sick and laid low anyway, so it was a pretty dark weekend.

We were all starting to come out of the sad fog over that news when last Tuesday night I received the awful news that one of our ministry team members died unexpectedly. He's been here at the church with his family forever, and now he's left behind his wife and teenage daughter. This literally rocked the church, and especially our ministry last week. It was a lovely service and his family's doing pretty well considering, but what a lousy couple of weeks it's been (not to mention the heartbreaking situation in Connecticut last Friday).

Are we prepared if one of us were to suddenly go? What will I do if I ever had that happen to me? To him? We've been together longer than we've been apart. We grew up together, he's my best friend, the love of my life. I cannot at all imagine not being with my husband. He's my world.

And at the same time, I know Jesus is my world. He's the Center of it all, as the song says. So I keep praying. For help to not be so anxious. To not be afraid. To let go.

It helps that it's Christmas, celebrating the entire Reason to let go. Because He loves us just that much. I can't imagine the fear Jesus had to fight against, knowing all along the very reason He'd come was to die. I don't even have words for that, you know? I just can't imagine it. But the love that He has for you, for me, how amazing!

And I'm grateful.

Thursday, December 06, 2012

Oh You Know... Random Musings

The Blogger app on my phone is still not working, which means I still don't easily have a way to share photos with you. Boo.

Also, due to it being the Christmas season, life is, as usual, busy. But I miss you. I really do.

So, I thought I'd give you some random thoughts that have been trucking through my brain of late.

*If you're looking for a great Advent devotion, this is the one we've been reading and we are loving it! It's fantastic!

*Hubby and I are going strong with myfitnesspal.com and together have lost just about 70 pounds. Last weekend we cleaned out our closet and got rid of SIX garbage bags of clothes. Then to not be nekkid at church the next day, we went shopping. We're smart like that. And, to summarize that day, I am perfectly content living in sweatshirts and jeans. In other related news, my hubby is HAWTT. (He always has been, but he's smaller HAWTT.)

*This situation has been heavy on my heart lately, especially this week. In case you don't have facebook or just want the gist, this is a friend from back in the day. Alisa is a gorgeous singer/songwriter who's had her music featured on TV shows like 'So You Think You Can Dance,' etc. She's amazing. She has Lyme disease and has struggled with that for years. Her late father was once our worship pastor and so well-loved that folks still miss him and talk about him.

Alisa unexpectedly got pregnant and her firstborn son was diagnosed with Anencephaly. Anencephaly is an extremely fatal condition, which to sum up, means her baby will be born and then most likely pass away within moments of his birth. Because of Alisa's health issues, she will be put under general anesthesia to have her son. Which means she probably won't get to even meet him while he's alive. This is heartbreaking to me and with her surgery/his birth happening tomorrow morning, it is extremely heavy on my heart and mind to be praying for Alisa, her husband Jaime, and their son, London. Please join me in prayer, won't you?

*Another situation is happening locally that's now gone viral. A local mother has lost a custody battle to keep her son, who is scheduled to move out-of-state at the end of the month to live with his father. My very dear friends know her and are helping her appeal, and I trust their judgment. However, custody battles are VERY tricky, and I do not know this woman or her son. Since I don't want to 'take a side,' I've been praying for God's best will to be done in the lives of this family.

*It's the Christmas season! I love it all. The only bummer is trying to be healthy while indulging the need to bake. And bake lots. And not skimp on the good stuff, like pecans and chocolate. And not to eat the entire box of Candy Cane Joe-Joes all at once. Or the box of chocolate-covered cherries all at once. Or to just have an entire pecan pie for dinner. You know, first world problems. Just sayin'.

*My husband spoils me rotten. For real. I am not exaggerating. As you may or may not know, we've been struggling with the decision of what to replace our Tassimo with, now that Tassimo has decided to be dumb and get rid of the latte creamer, which is the only thing worth having. The other night he found a great coupon to Williams-Sonoma and bought us the new Starbucks Verismo machine. I can't wait for it to arrive and get that puppy crankin'! See, spoiled!

*I love Jesus. I love Christmas. I love my life. I am so incredibly blessed.

And those are my musings for today. Happy weekend to you!


Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Frustration

I'm a bit frustrated with Bloggie recently. I keep trying to post about everything that's been happening, especially a recap of the Color Run and our Thanksgiving holiday. I've not been able to get photos to upload, or the Blogger app on my phone to work, which is causing massive delays to posting.

However, we are still alive and doing well. The decorations are up, we have the BEST Christmas tree possibly we've ever had (I know! Don't you want to see a photo?! Sorry...), and everything is ready for Christmas! Yay! (Well, except I don't know what to do about decorating our front door. We're currently wreath-less and it's driving me CRAZY.)

Hopefully soon photos will work and I can get caught up. What're you up to this week?

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving!

I try to be grateful year-round, but today is just about my favorite day of the year! EVERYONE is thinking of their blessings and most people are with those they love, eating yummy food. No presents to think about, no shopping to think of (I'm talking about for the actual holiday, not the after). It's the most wonderful time of the year!
Today I am thankful as always for my family. My friends. Friends who are family. Jesus, of course. And pecan pie. Because who isn't thankful for pecan pie?!?

What are you thankful for today?

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Bucket List

I've been hoping to come up with some sort of bucket list for a while now. Maybe not stuff I want to accomplish before I die necessarily, but some sort of written-down list of goals to make them more concrete. Concrete so they seem real. So they might happen.

I'm still debating what I want to put on this list, but once I figure it out I know I want to share it with you.

Do you have a list like this? If so, what kind of things are on your list?

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Let's Be Friends, For Reals!

Today I've been cleaning out my inbox and responding to way past due comments on ye ole' bloggie. Just a reminder for those of you this applies to- if you can please change the settings to reflect your actual email address when commenting (not noreply@blogger blah blah blah), that is extremely helpful!

If you comment, I would like to respond. From there we can become besties even if you live far far away from me. I like making friends in person and through the virtual world, so let's get that comment thing changed, please!

Also, if I can't respond to you, I think you might think I'm being super rude and mean. And I'm not. At least I try not to be.

If you need a refresher on how to do this, click here. And muchas gracias for taking the time to make the change!

In other news, this weekend is the Color Run! Woohoo! I can't wait to report back on how it goes! Stay tuned...

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Final Recap: Happy Day Project!

Well, I'm terribly late in updating you on how the rest of the Happy Day project went. I know you've been wondering and I hate to say it, but life got busy and I didn't keep up. I always feel awful when that happens, but I try not to guilt myself too much. After all, life happens to us all- I can't be the only one who started and then didn't finish.

Day 3: Treat someone.

Day 4: Blessings Bags

Day 5: Appreciate those in service.

Intentionally. I didn't consciously, intentionally finish.

Because not to toot my own horn, but because Jesus lives in me, He found opportunities for me to still participate, even while I wasn't realizing it. How amazing is that?!

Day 3:

The task was to treat someone. Be a blessing to another person. That was Wednesday and I had a coffee breakfast date with my friend, Blake. I hate saying this because it feels like I'm trying to puff myself up, and I'm not. I did buy her coffee. But to be honest, the church bought us both coffee. Which was a treat for us both. In fact, subtract out the coffee and it was still a treat because we spent a fun 45 minutes together! Which obviously made the rest of my Wednesday that much of a happy day. Always a good thing (Wednesdays tend to be rough because it's at least a twelve-hour day.).

Day 4:

Today was to give a blessing bag to someone in need. I've never officially made or given a blessing bag- a collection of everyday needed items (examples would include a toothbrush and toothpaste, socks, stuff like that) and a couple of fun things like chocolate. I've participated with Operation Christmas Child before and that's fun, but again, life got busy and there just wasn't time to get it done before the deadline came and went. So, to sum up, I didn't do this one.

What I will say about it though is that earlier last week we donated to the Raleigh Rescue Mission, remember? The rescue mission doesn't just feed our local homeless folks, they also give them shelter, clothes, 'blessing bags' in their own way, and help them on the road to finding jobs and homes. So I'm going to count that one twice. For now. Because I am still on the look-out for ways to help others.

Day 5:

Friday's project was to appreciate those in service.

Thankful for our super kind and helpful police force!


Obviously this was targeted to our military since Veterans' Day was this past Sunday/Monday. The reality is that though he's not the only military dude I know, my favorite military dude is my hard-core Marine commanding brother. Who is TERRIBLE at communication, which makes it ultra difficult to appreciate him from three hours away. So I didn't do this one.

Unless... Friday I made Ginger Sugar Cookies. Hannah made me do it. 

Sadly, I do not own this super cute bowl. It's a total fake. Which not everyone apparently knew.


I DO own super cute mason jars. A LOT of them. They are currently empty and cookie-less. I am sad.

And by MADE me do it, I mean that when I asked for the recipe along with her other ten trillion friends, she put it on her blog. Which, really, Hannah? That's just rude. Then I have to make them. And report them to MFP. All eight of them. EIGHT. I don't even like ginger. Well, I stand corrected- I like ginger in COOKIES. I ate eight cookies just on Friday. So obviously they had to go. (In my defense, I made them itty bitty like Hannah said to. Obey her- she knows what she's talking about.)

Couldn't ship these bad boys off to work- I was off for two days. Couldn't send them to work with Hubby- I made them while he was at work. CC came up with the genius idea to share them with the apartment office staff. So I took the Ginger Sugar Cookies to Ginger. For reals. We like to be literal. (Our apartment manager is Ginger, in case you're confused. She's super nice and does not smell like ginger, which I appreciate.)

Then we had more left. Yep, it made 51 cookies from one batch. We took the rest to church on Sunday and made them eat them shared them with the worship and tech teams. Not even crumbs were left, so I guess we ended up blessing others after all!

So there you go with the Happy Day recap. I hope to do better next year, but I figure if we're all focusing on others year-round instead of on ourselves, every day can be a happy day.

Linking up with Jeanett!

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Day 2 Happy Day Project Recap: Feed The Homeless

As you know, I'm participating with the Happy Day Project this week! It's a wonderful opportunity to share Jesus and bless others before the craziness of the shopping Christmas season takes over any remaining sanity we may have. You can visit Jeanett's blog for the details.

Yesterday's task was to feed the homeless. It doesn't matter how, as long as you're SEEING them and blessing them in some way. Ideally one might go get a gift card and give it personally to someone on a street corner. Smile and show them that God's not given up on them. If you can't do that, donate to a worthy cause or organization that helps the homeless. Jeanett's idea was to gift someone around the world through Compassion's Christmas Catalog.

I love this idea, but you see, my soft-hearted hubby wanted to participate too. His brilliant thought was to give to somewhere local, that really impacts the homeless right here in our community. We immediately thought of our local rescue mission.

The statistics are staggering

I grew up going there often. We were never technically homeless that I know of, but we often ate there, volunteered there, received help there, and loved on people there. What better place to think of than somewhere local that has directly impacted my life for the better?

They're currently hosting a campaign to help folks especially during this upcoming holiday season. For $2.80 you can feed someone a Thanksgiving meal. That's less than a coffee at Starbucks. That's less than a meal at Wendy's. How can you help these people see Jesus? Feel loved and cared for? Get a new start? The true stories are touching, of course, but I'm thrilled to see this particular man on the road to his dream job. How wonderful for him that this place exists! How wonderful for me that they were there for me!

If you're interested in helping or learning more, visit the website and donate here.

Tuesday, November 06, 2012

Election Day!

Today is election day and I don't care who you're voting for as long as you GO VOTE!


I went early last Friday and waited for 45 minutes to do my duty. Hubby went on his way home from work that same day and had to wait in the cold for an hour. And you know what? I was happy to wait.

Typically, there's better voter turnout for presidential elections than other smaller elections. However, everything I'm hearing and seeing indicates that voter turnout might be even more than anticipated, which would make me personally very happy. It's like 'they' always say, "If you don't vote, you don't have the right to complain." I kinda think there's a nugget of truth to that.

I saw this quote on Instagram this morning, and I loved it so much I'm stealing it to put on here:

"My first allegiance is not to a flag, a country, or a man. My first allegiance is not to democracy or blood. It's to a King and a Kingdom." ~ Derek Webb

One reminder I think that's gotten lost in all the negativity and nastiness is that there are strong, Bible-believing, Jesus-following Christians on BOTH sides. I think people tend to forget that. I think if we keep loving everyone as Jesus tells us to, then we can't go wrong.

So to that end, I say I'll love you no matter who you vote for. But go vote!

Monday, November 05, 2012

The Happy Day Project Is Back!

 
Do you remember the Happy Day Project from last year? A full week of happy to bless others before the craziness of the Christmas season and all that that entails is upon us.

life rearranged

Well it's back! This week only (or whenever you want to bless someone else) we'll be blessing others either through an act of thought or service, or through giving to a related organization. Each day has something easy to do to participate AND you get a free printable every day! Super fun!

Here's a link to the deets. I'm going to participate and I sure hope you do too! If you're wondering if you even have the time, I'll let you know it's easier this year than last- five days' worth of happy instead of seven. Do one day or do all five. Extend it to ten if you're feeling extra happy.

Last year we shared sugary yummyness and water bottles on a hot day with our maintenance guys and office staff at the neighborhood. They loved it and talked about it for weeks! We helped a family raise money for medical expenses, shared our gratefulness with the military, and spread lots of happiness across the country. I can't wait to get started!

The happy details!

To that end, today is handwritten note day. Today I wrote a note to a person who's left our media team here at church. She's amazing, really good at it, and has such a huge heart to serve. She's taking some time off and I for one am feeling bittersweet about it. Of course we all need time off every now and then, so I'm glad she felt she could ask for it, but at the same time it means I won't see her as much as I am used to. She'll soon receive a happy note in the mail to let her know how loved and appreciated she is.

Write a note. Easy peasy. Linking up here!

Sunday, November 04, 2012

Dave's Got Nothing On Us

About a month ago, my dear sweet hubby found a copy of Dave Ramsey's Total Money Makeover book on our bookshelf. I'd bought it on sale a while ago and wanted to read it. Of course, we're on baby step whatever-it-is where you have debt to pay off first. Because of that, I gave up on reading the whole book and never got through it. Nothing against Davey-boy but when debt's all you see, it's pretty much all you can think about, am I right?

Well CC thought he'd read the book and now both of us are on board and
kicking booty and taking names making some changes. The thing now versus back then when I bought the dang book is that we are CLOSE to being done with all our debt. By all our debt, I mean all that's left is less than a year on our student loans. We're trying really hard to be debt-free by our anniversary at the end of May. I think we're going to make it!

We've been making tweaks to deductions and tax stuff and boring words relating to our paychecks in order to see bigger money in the short-term, near future to help us reach our goal of May. We've also been coming up with other nutso ideas to bring in more money.

One idea I came up with is relating to Christmas. This is an especially big deal because we are both BIG gift-givers. It's our love language. We like to get gifts and we love to give them even more. Because of this, Christmas has always
bitten us in the tushie been an issue.

A teapot with a tea cozy. How ridiculously adorable is that?!
Back to our idea! This year, we've pared down our list of folks we give gifts to (I know, this was sad. Super sad. As in, you ain't gettin' anything. In case you were curious. Even though I found the PERFECT thing for a certain cuppa-lovin' friend o' mine. Just sayin'.).

After we pared down our peeps, we lowered almost all of our 'budgets' for said peeps. Now usually we set a budget, and then aim-ish for it. Sometimes we hit it, but the reality is that if I find a perfect gift for someone, I'm pretty much guaranteed to go for it, sometimes regardless of the price. It gets me in trouble a lot sometimes occasionally. This year, stick to the budget became the motto.

And finally, the real kicker of the idea for Christmas was this: Get all the shopping done and out of the way BEFORE the Christmas shopping season kicks into high gear and we get sucked in to the emotion of it all. Brilliant, right?! Right. Well fortunately for us, we both got paid last week, I had a couple
hooky days off work, and lots of impromptu time on my hands!

So the results are this... we're done!


Do you see the headless dog too?
We had a couple small gifts already purchased from earlier in the year, and I found four gifts on Thursday alone, but we hit the stores hard-core Saturday and Sunday and we're done! (Technically we still have each other to shop for, but even that should get done this week.) I'm going to say it one more time... because I need to. Our Christmas shopping for 2012 is D.O.N.E. Done!

I know, we're THOSE people this year. Which feels odd, but we're pretty strange anyway, so I'm going with it. This brilliant idea will probably end up saving us hundreds of dollars. I'm not exaggerating (that I know of). Every gift is still purchased with lots of thought, care, and love for the recipient. But on a less expensive, less sucked-into-the-emotion-that-goes-with-Christmas-shopping scale. Pretty cool in my book.

Saturday, November 03, 2012

More PinterTesting!

This past month as you know, I've been testing LOTS of recipes from my board on Pinterest, especially of the apple variety. We STILL have a fridge full of apples so I'm sure more recipes will be forthcoming.

Actual recipe found here
I made Pumpkin Oatmeal Muffin Tops, which I thought were good but needed pecans and to be less calories. Or at least have more protein and fiber, considering how many calories they pack. Basically, I was hoping to have yummy, Autumn-flavored, cheap VitaTops. This was not that recipe. I should've thrown the pecans in and made real muffins and just called it a day. Live and learn!

 Check out my past blog posts for all the appley goodness from the past month! In the meantime, linking up with the November PinterTest Kitchen over at Jessica's! Test something you've pinned on Pinterest, and come join us!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Oh Sandy...

So the 'Superstorm Sandy' has been tearing up the East coast this week. Our state is pretty okay, except for the beaches getting ravaged, which we're used to around here. Hurricanes don't actually phase us that much, as long as you aren't stupid about it.

A lot of our friends who've moved here from the West coast hate the hurricanes and freak out about them, I guess since they aren't used to them. Hurricanes and tornadoes are pretty common on our side of the country.

Because of the storm though, we've had a LOT of wind, some rain and we hit winter quickly! Skipped right on past Autumn and into winter-coat-wearing-season! I think Fall's making a comeback starting tomorrow, but because it's been so dreary and cold, we've been hibernating a little bit this week.

Friday I had no plans (shocking, I know) and the day off, so I was able to actually be home and I spring cleaned the entire apartment. It was glorious- that one brief moment when everything is clean and shiny! We spent the weekend enjoying that moment, making Mexican Chicken Soup, which is my most favorite soup on the planet.

SO good!


I did find out the hard way I can no longer touch raw jalapenos, which in and of itself made me want to cry. But I got through it and the yumminess was totally worth the short-term pain (fire in my eye pain).

We spent lots of the weekend celebrating our friend Larry's birthday. That was a bunch of fun and craziness!

This week, we have candy to buy, more apples to use up (yes, they're still taking over the fridge), and exercising to do to make up for those first two. In upcoming fun news though, our Color Run 5k is coming up and we're getting excited (nervous-throw-up-kind-of-excited, but excited none the less)!

What's your week like?

Thursday, October 25, 2012

State Fair Recap!

The State Fair here is big. I mean, really big. Which is a freak-out opportunity if you don't like big crowds, crazy parking, or eating fried foods while you smell livestock and all that that entails (no pun intended, but awesome!).

We finally figured out how to make it work for us-- we take a day off work every year and head out there on the Monday of the fair! Easy parking, no crowds, the livestock are all bathed and clean for the upcoming shows, and the fried carts aren't completely disgusting at that point.

We're fortunate enough that CC's job gives us four free tickets each year, so we usually get to take two extra folks along. Going with other people is always a fun time!

Norah was not amused by the paparazzi


This year, our friend Melissa made a return appearance (she came last year) and our friend Krista and her new baby Norah came with us too! Having baby Norah along was a different experience (navigating the stroller and learning there's a diaper-changing trailer was pretty interesting), but she is so easy and fun and cute, that we enjoyed having her. She only cried as we were leaving because it was pouring rain. Krista is from Montana and had never been to our fair so it was fun to see the fair through new eyes!

The cutest little girl!


We had SO much fun! So much that I actually sort of wanted to go back later (we didn't because Hubby knew I'd lost my mind.)!

Of course we ate lots of good food... grilled corn, pig butt on a stick...

I'm glad I knew pig butt is actually pork shoulder!


...deep-fried cinnamon rolls with bacon...

Fried mini cinnamon rolls with icing and bacon
...tempura zucchini and pickles, corn dogs...

So GOOD!
...and on and on and on. The only thing I didn't eat that I typically do was a caramel apple (I made those at home later that night.).

We tried to look at the livestock, but all we saw were giant pretty cows freshly scrubbed for their show the next day. We looked at the quilts and the cakes and I tried to get my free annual peanut, but the peanut man wasn't there (so sad). We checked out all the booths and kiosks-- my very favorite new thing at the fair this year were the hand-washing stations! They were so cool; it felt like you were washing your hands in a giant bubble!

This OCD-lovin' girl was digging this!
Germ City was pretty rad too! (They put a lotion on your hands and pass you under black light to see all the 'germs' then have you wash your hands. You pass through black light again to see how well you wash-- I'm pretty OCD about handwashing, so I got an A+ of course!)

We had so much fun I am already looking forward to next year's fair! I leave you with another picture of our favorite cutie pie...

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Appley Goodness (& Resulting Weight Gain)


I promised more appley-ness and here it is, though I'm sorry to say it's been so long in between posts. I hope you weren't waiting with baited breath or anything. :-)

I've tried several recipes and have been in a hard-core PinterTesting mood the last couple of weeks. I won't say we're sick of apples, but I will say that I gained a little poundage between all the baking I did (The State Fair *may* have played into that also.). The great news is that I have been working my butt off (even literally!) and am now under what I was before all this baking hit!

Here we go!

First I made Ina's famous applesauce, which I swear is amazing! I prefer it warm, surprisingly, but it's great cold too. I already told you about this one though. Pretty sure I'll be making another batch to freeze soon.

Then I made this Oat Apple Crisp, PinterTested for my no-blog friend, Jamie.

Oat Apple Crisp

Here's the link to the actual recipe if you prefer. I loved this a lot, but was disappointed how runny the 'goo' was- Hubby thought it was because I used 'light' butter. Could be, I don't know for sure, but it sounded right.

Meredith told me to make this (actual recipe here) immediately so I of course did. (She has great taste and style, so if she tells you to do something immediately, obey!)

Caramel Apple Bread

I liked it, but I think I overbaked it somewhat because I felt like the apples were overdone (ie-mushy) and the bread was dry. The caramel streusel topping I LOVED though- should've definitely added more caramel sauce to the layers! I didn't because I was using homemade caramel sauce (from making this recipe) which I wasn't particularly crazy about.

Caramel Apple Slices
 However, I didn't account for the sauce getting more caramelly in the oven-- sooooo yummy!

The last thing I've made so far has been my favorite by a long shot. Easy Apple Coffee Cake (recipe here) and boy it really was so easy! The hardest part for me personally was hunting all throughout my kitchen (and storage) trying to locate my bundt pan. Fortunately, I found it mixed in with the vases. (Not where you keep yours? Your kitchen must be much bigger than mine! ;-D )

My favorite by far- the Coffee Cake (upside down before the flip)


The apple coffee cake was so incredibly good that we each had one piece and then forced ourselves to take it to the worship and tech teams Sunday at church. I told everyone I could to eat it because it was NOT allowed to come home! Fortunately, folks ate it and liked it. One person I know ate four pieces! I REALLY want to make it again, but CC might not like that too much if we're *forced* to eat it again. What do you think, honey?

As you now know, we brought home A LOT of apples. Our fridge is still busting with the apples we have left, so I'm hoping to bake some more this weekend, but we'll see. Since I'm finally back on track weight-wise, I hate to bake again, but as a self-proclaimed baker, I think I kind of don't have a choice.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Apples To Apples To More Apples!

This past Saturday, Hubby and I drove to VA and went apple-picking! I had grand delusions of picking an entire trunk full, and then some. Poor CC had to keep busting my bubble throughout the day, but thank goodness he did, or we'd have run out of room!

The mountain view from our parking spot


We had a wonderful time but were slightly disappointed this go-round. Because Fall came early, then left as Summer returned, and now Fall's here again, something happened with the trees this year. Last year, we went pretty much the same time as this year but this time around on our drive there and back, everything looked dry and crunchy and dead, not pretty Fall-dead, but gross-muted-colors-dead. Sad. I think in a couple more weeks the trees will be beautiful. Oh well!

My bestie and me


Another slight disappointment was that last year we went during our vacation, on a weekday. That was quite wise of us as this time we obviously went on a weekend day and it was INSANE. It took us half an hour to get up the mountain to the parking spot, another half hour to wait in line to buy lunch, and then we had to walk to practically the other side of the mountain just to find apples that hadn't been picked yet!

Heading further up the mountain for the actual picking!

Sky Party on the drive home


In the end though, it was still a beautiful day with chilly Fall weather, Hubby and I were together without interruptions the entire day (which in and of itself was pretty amazing!), and we brought home lots of appley goodness! We brought home apple cider, apple butter, and 30 POUNDS of fujis and granny smiths! It was kind of nuts to carry 30 pounds of apples, knowing that's the exact amount of weight CC's lost (yay, CC!).

I know he loves me because he humors my need for apples!


Once we got home I made Ina's applesauce which is super delicious! I made it last year and wished for a second batch!

You mean you DON'T dry your apples in the dish drainer?!

I only made the one batch so far this year, but I'm fully prepared and expecting to make more, it's that good!


Sooooo good!

More appley goodness to come, I promise! I still have to fill you in on the fair and all the baking I'm doing- yay for Fall!


Thursday, October 11, 2012

My First Ten On Ten!

Every month bloggie friends post ten pictures on the tenth day of the month. I LOVE seeing this snapshot of a typical day, and I always want to do it but I never remember on the actual tenth of the month. Well lucky for you, I finally remembered yesterday! Yay! Unfortunately for you, the tenth of October fell on a Wednesday, which is my longest, most stressful day of the workweek. Regardless, here we go...

Linking up for my first Ten on Ten here!


10am: Prepping to record sermons for the other campus (our multisite location)



11am: Sermon Recording #2- Andy's up!
1pm: Lunch with the boys after recording

2pm: Burning sermon DVDs as back-ups in case the digital sermons fail
3pm: Taking a walky break in the gorgeous Fall weather!
4pm: Getting in some wisdom
6pm: Prepping for Wednesday Night Life
7pm: Third sermon of the day!
8pm: Rehearsals for Sunday services
9-11pm: Rehearsal for the Night Of Prayer & Worship

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Fall Fun!

What a time of fun and busyness it's been!

Last week was the PinterTest Kitchen, where I got the brilliant idea to try Pumpkin Brownies with Pumpkin Pie Frosting. Yep, that's what I decided to make for Friday night when we had friends over. I of course had to pre-test them out to be sure nobody would die upon eating one. They were amazing and the frosting was eatable all by its lonesome.

Yes I licked that spoon... several times over


Which turned out to be a good thing because since I packed the brownies away before they were completely cool, they became a gelatinous mess of a situation. They still tasted good but the texture was described as "Jello like" and "meatloaf like" thereby producing the new term of "Jelloaf." Yep, good times. Fortunately for us all, the icing was still amazing so we just started eating that with whatever else we had around.

We PinterTested this pin, which was a bust because apparently Superman doesn't like tunes, so he makes them inaudible. Or we just needed a different glass, but who on Earth has glasses other than superheroes?!

Well that didn't work

Friday night we were introduced to the joy that is the face bomb iPhone app. A great looking bunch of people, for sure!

Um. Yeah.
 
This weekend is going to be AWESOME. Hubby and I are road-tripping it up to VA for apple-pickin' and I'm super stoked. It was amazing last year and I can't believe we get to do it again. Pure Fall magic with the windy, leaf-strewn back roads, the mountains, the orchard ON TOP of the gigantor mountain where you can see for miles around... happy sigh!

Monday we are taking the day off to go to the state fair! We hate the crowds and the craziness, but we have it down to a SCIENCE now and that includes going on a regular workday. I can't wait for caramel apples, the cake exhibit, pickles as big as my head, and fried milky ways! I'm especially looking forward to trying the fried cinnamon rolls with bacon and I think we might try to catch the pig races this time. I DID mention this is the South, right?

Fun times! Best season of the year EVER!

Thursday, October 04, 2012

PinterTesting...

I haven't linked up with Jessica's PinterTest Kitchen in a little while, which personally makes me sad. I thought I'd finally remedy that today, and what better timing too, because it's the first birthday for the PinterTest Kitchen! Congrats, Jessica, on this super fun, get-to-know-other-blog-world-friends, opportunity!

For anyone who's been around me recently (like in the last few years), I've discovered that my taste buds have adapted to the awesomeness that is spicy food. The hotter the better, usually. I've discovered siracha, hot sauce, wing sauce, you name it. My favorite by far is anything covered and flavored with buffalo sauce. I could eat buffalo chicken all the time. When not eating Mexican food or coffee. Yes, because those are both my primary food groups. And chocolate, but I digress.

So I found this yummy looking pin for low-cal crockpot recipes and thought we could try that since they're MFP-friendly recipes. (Here's the link to the actual recipe since you have to dig for it a little bit.)

Doesn't this look sooo delicious?



Yeah, we thought so too, so we made them. To be honest, Hubby made them. I've told you before that CC is the cook in our home, which I am eternally grateful for. Although I can use a crockpot, it's nice when he does all the prep work and all I have to do is eat it!

I was especially grateful we tried this recipe AFTER having jerk tilapia the night before (now that was yummy! Pineapple-mango salsa from Whole Foods... yum...). It was good but stunk up the whole house like fish. Gross. So to come home to the house smelling not like gross fish, but like buffalo chicken goodness? Oh yes, I was stoked!

Wellllll.... the house kinda smelled good when I got home from work. It kind of looked good when I opened it up and peeked inside. It tasted okay but felt like it was missing something. I figured CC would need to 'doctor' it up a bit and add some more sauce to it when he got home. So I very (im)patiently waited. I was hungry after all.

He got home, doctored up the sauce, stuck it on the amazing Martin's potato rolls that should make ANYthing taste better, added lots more hot sauce, made some veggies to go with, totally decimated my clean kitchen to prepare this lovely meal, we got all settled at the coffee dining table and we each took our first bite.

And attempted to swallow... terrible! Hubby thought it had the taste and texture of canned tuna. I thought it was flavorless with the texture of smushy canned chicken. Poor CC proceeded to eat his anyway because he was having a blood sugar issue and had to eat. I (im)patiently waited for him to finish, whereupon he immediately grabbed the car keys and hit up Bojangle's to bring home dinner. (Bojangle's, by the way, was AMAZING!)

At least by the time he got back home, I'd been able to get the kitchen restored to its previously clean state, but what a sad turn of events. I call this a complete. Pinterest. failure.

Ah well, what're you gonna do? (besides obvs praising the Lord for fast food two seconds from your apartment)

Anyway, we're having people over tomorrow night for cards and dinner, so maybe I can pull together a Pinterest success to put this out of my head! A Fall/pumpkiny dessert seems pretty appropriate, I'm thinking... especially with apple picking and the state fair coming up in a couple weeks!

Linking up for the goodness that is the PinterTest Kitchen! Join us, won't you? This month you can win (or try to win, because it's totally gonna be me!) some fun goodies just for linking up!

Friday, September 28, 2012

InstaFriday!

Life's been busy as usual, but here's a sneaky peek into what's been going on around here!

Staff Retreat @ the Lake last week!
This...
...Is being undone at the moment and will be sent off to someone who can do it better!
Happy mail from a sweet friend!
Peppers have to be carefully transported in our house so Hubby doesn't burn his eyeballs...
Christmas planning in the works!
Thrift store treasures for a buck apiece! You better get there quick or someone else will snatch up a mustard-colored plaid blazer!
This is how I let CC know I'm totally gonna kick his little heinie working out tonight. #beastmode