Wednesday, December 21, 2011

The Story of the Growing Family

Once upon a time, there was a girl who loved Jesus very much, but decided that she would formulate her own plan for her life.

She would go to college find a hunky husband and marry him after a few years of blissful dating.

Then, after she had pursued the American Dream, accepting accolades from graduate school and excelling in a fast-paced work environment for just long enough to make a comfortable living, this girl would decide that it was time to have some children.

Pregnancy would be delightful, and before she knew it she and her husband would have three or four children!

Life would be perfect.

That's not exactly how it went for this chickadee.

I am guessing that you know that this girl is me, and that I have been humbled.

Here's the real master plan, the one that I could have never foreseen:

Once upon a time, there was a girl who loved Jesus very much. Even though she had lofty plans for her own life, she knew she needed to surrender to Jesus and let him control her circumstances.

Soon after she had rededicated her life to Christ, she was introduced to her future husband. After discovering how truly wonderful it is to be following God's plan, they decided to wed on June 12, 2011.

But God decided to test their faithfulness. Had this girl truly surrendered control of her circumstances?

On July 1, 2011, they boarded a plane headed for Costa Rica. Despite many fun adventures with her family, something nagged at the newlyweds for the entire vacation, and upon their return to the United States on July 9, 2011, their suspicions were confirmed- she was expecting a baby!

At only 21 years old and having been married slightly under a month, she was terrified. Slowly but surely, God molded to heart into a condition of humility and acceptance.

Now we're due in 11 short weeks, and we couldn't be more thrilled. Not only did God show me that he had ultimate control, that he was the ultimate playmaker, that he knew exactly what he was doing, he also showed me how incredible it is to surrender life to his plan and stop formulating my own worry-stricken path.

Life is not perfect. It's messy and hard at times-- but we can all rest assured that He is in control.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Officially no Longer a Student!

It feels good to be free of my endless piles of books! It feels great to no longer be striving for accolades! There, I said it out loud. Unfortunately, I have not acquired more free time with my Dec. 2 graduation because I've been blessed with a long-term sub job! Wish me luck as I approach my first real career endeavor!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Brave Soul

This guy is really puttin' himself out there! I love it and I find him hilarious! Check out this video!

Tooooooooo funny :)

Friday, December 16, 2011

Pineapple Upside-down Pancakes

Do pancakes sound delicious? Try these!!!

After breakfast at Snooze, a Colorado-based breakfast restaurant (whose dishes are TO DIE FOR!) I just had to mimic the pineapple upside-down pancakes that we tried there. Nick LOVES pineapple so this is a special "I love you, dear" treat. Unfortunately, I can't take credit for this recipe, as I've scoured the internet and combined multiple recipes to come up with the (hopefully) perfect Pineapple Upside-down Pancake recipe!

Here is the result:


Pancake Batter: I (admittedly) did not make from scratch, but instead used Krusteaz from Sam's Club! I love buying in bulk :) To the batter I added a tsp. of nutmeg and tbsp. of cinnamon sugar per 6-7 pancakes, just for extra kicks :)


Cinnamon Butter (to the right): You'll need to mix 5 tbsp softened (not melted!!!) butter, 2 tbsp sugar, 2 tsp cinnamon. I found that doing this with a knife and repeatedly folding the mixture was the best method. Refrigerate to harden.
Vanilla Cream: Combine 1 cup heavy whipping cream, 2 tablespoons granulated sugar, and 1 teaspoon vanilla extract in a small saucepan over med heat. Simmer for 5-10 minutes until sugar is completely dissolved and cream thickens slightly.

Caramelized Pineapple (below): Melt 4 tbsp. butter over med-high heat.  Add 1/2 cup (packed tightly) brown sugar and 2 tsp. cinnamon, stirring until mixture bubbles.  Add one large can crushed or diced (I prefer crushed, but if you like it chunkier, be my guest!!!) pineapple and cook additional 3-5 minutes or until mixture thickens slightly.

Now it's time to combine all these tasty ingredients together!

Scoop (I used a measuring cup) your pancake batter onto a mediumly-heated skillet. Then scoop your caramelized pineapple mixture on top of the pancake batter that's already on the skillet, and, when the pancakes begin to bubble, flip 'em! Cook until they are done, and if you are making many, then keep them in a warm oven while you finish.

Our Saturday morning breakfast table :)

Serve with the cinnamon butter and vanilla cream. Enjoy!

I can't take credit for this beautiful photo-- See for my inspiration!
 Thanks for checking it out!
P.S.-- I got a cute signature :)

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Happy Birthday to Me!

Ignore my messy bed in the background!
Let's just start by saying this: birthdays on a budget are never fun. But somehow my dear husband managed to get me a very thoughtful gift ( jewelry tree that I LOVE!!) and he even took me to dinner at Martinelli's in Salina (my favorite)! I am so so thankful for the time I got to spend with him. Dates are awesome!

Friday, December 9, 2011

Spicing up my Kitchen!

Just a preface: clutter really bothers me. So on pinterest I saw this pin of using a cake stand to hold all sink supplies (sponges, soap, scrubbers, etc.) I didn't have one, especially one that matches my kitchen, so I created one using a single plate and thick candle stand, and plenty of hot glue! The result:

 decluttering through decour!


Now even dishes can be glamorous! haha

Super Simple Cheesecake Brownies

These cheesecake brownies are simply to-die-for and so so easy!

1. Using a package of powdered brownie mix, prepare according to package directions. I used Duncan Hines, but anything goes! I also added chocolate chips! Pour the brownie batter into a 9x13 pan.

2. In the same mixing bowl you used for the brownie batter, mix 4 oz. of softened (not melted) cream cheese (1/2 the regular package), 1/4 cup sugar, an egg and 1/4 tsp. vanilla. Then spread this mixture over the top of the brownie batter, using a knife to "marble," or spread the white batter around in a swirly pattern.

3. Bake according to package directions and ENJOY!

Drizzle with hot fudge or chocolate syrup to get this look!

DIY Winter Wreath

The finished product!
Admittedly, I stole this idea from a great pin on Pinterest, where all good ideas begin!

To make the holiday wreath, simply wrap a styrofoam wreath in yarn color of your choice. Glue the back periodically to make sure it stays well.

Then wrap several stryofoam balls (you know, the kind we all used for the solar system experiments when we were in grade school) of various sizes in a variety of colors of yarn. I used neutral colors because I have big plan for a very colorful spring wreath, coming soon! But you could use a variety of purples, read, navy blues, ooooh the possibilities!

Use hot glue to attach the balls to the wreath. You can place them all around the wreath, or bundle them in one corner like I did.

I then added embellishments, like the acorns I found in my yard and the shiny snowflake ornament-- it was irresistible to ad some bling! To hang I simply used a ribbon and hot glue.


Friday, December 2, 2011

French Bread Pizza!

On today's menu-- French bread pizza! Admittedly, the easiest recipe that I'll ever present you with. But it's also quality and cheap!

What you'll need:
1 (+) loaf of fresh French bread
1 jar pasta sauce (I use Ragu roasted garlic)
2 cups mozzarella cheese

Personalize with:
Sausage or beef
Bacon or ham
Other cheeses (cream cheese! Colby jack! Cheddar! mmmmm....)
Spices (crushed red pepper! basil!

You know the pizza drill:
1. Cut French bread in half and place both halves, inside up, on a greased cookie sheet (or better yet, tin foil for easy cleanup!)
2. Spread the sauce (I've found that using a spoon is easiest) on each half. I am usually pretty generous but still end up using only half the jar.

3. Top with your cheeses and toppings-- the fun stuff!
4. Bake at 350 for 15-20 minutes or until cheese is golden delicious!
5. Allow to cool before eating-- it can be disastrous and painful as we found out!

Enjoy :)

A Newbie Blogger

I have decided to join the bandwagon-- I am now one of millions of women who express their creativity (or wanna-be in my case),  culinary talent, whims and thoughts, religious preferences, and love for their families via the blog world. For months I have enjoyed viewing others' creative blogs and now it's my turn! I'm very new at this but I'm open to learning-- if anyone has suggestions or ideas feel free to let me know!

Now for the good stuff... What should my first real post be about?