Saturday, January 4, 2014

Welcome 2014

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

I see upon a very very short review of this blog that I managed all of one post in 2013. Alas, I had hoped for better. But, like everything optional, just didn't find the time.

2013 was, what I consider, an extremely busy year. The Professor and I both did lots of traveling, I coordinated a week-long family reunion attended by appx 25 people (not as complicated as a wedding, but no small task), the Professor completed 5 or 6 classes and progressed significantly on his dissertation work, I changed jobs in the fall, our church responsibilities increased, I became part of a state focused political club and coordinated some projects for them, we continued our small group Bible study, we worked our way through much of the Dave Ramsey Financial Peace University Course (we highly recommend it!) and the list probably could continue on quite a bit.

I did discover another good and easy baking recipe, but I won't share it today because we are all still recovering from the Christmas festivities and need no inspirations for baking more sweets! Perhaps I will put it up later this year, assuming that this will not be my only post in 2014. :)

The year, while full of blessings, was not without its losses as we said goodbye to some dear people who completed their journey to heaven, both family members and long time family friends. While such times are difficult, we are thankful for the legacies they left behind of love and service to their Lord, their family, and their friends. On a MUCH lighter note, we also said goodbye to my first car as we downsized to a one-car family. It was a reluctant parting, but I sold it once to the Professor, before we were engaged, so I really couldn't complain. I'd already received several bonus years of ownership, and getting to sell the same car twice is no small trick! :)

The short summary of it all? God is good and faithful, as He has always been, and we thank Him for His abundant provision, protection, and blessings in the past year. We continue to look to Him for provision and guidance in the year ahead, and we pray that all who read this will do the same.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

On the Wisdom of Today's World

Psalm 14:1a - The fool hath said in his heart, there is no God.

That one sentence is an entire blog post in itself. Living life without God is foolish and vain.

  • Ignoring His designing hand in all of creation every day is foolish.
  • Trying to love your spouse unconditionally and sacrificially without God is foolish. Trying to build a marriage on any lesser love than the love that God commands is also foolish.
  • Trying to raise children without acknowledging the foolishness of their hearts, the sinful bent of their natures, and the need for them to submit to their Creator and His ordained authorities in their lives is foolish.
  • Trying to overcome anxiety and live joyfully and hopefully in a world filled with bad things is impossible without God. Yet so many people try... and it is foolish.
Jesus said in Matthew 11:28-29
Come unto me all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.

No one exists on this earth who was not at one time a foolish sinner. We all start that way. A Christian is a fool who simply acknowledged his sinful state to God, and accepted Christ's invitation for rest. Repent of your sin and leave the path of foolishness. Accept Christ's payment for your sin and choose the path of life and wisdom. A life that embraces the truth of the God of the Bible is a life that has meaning and joy-- a life worth living for all of eternity.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Best Discovery Ever - Easy Bread

Through the recommendation of a Facebook friend, I recently stumbled across this book:

Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day
After reading through the intro chapter and watching the demo video on, I was able to try out the master recipe and I was hooked. My next step was to pick up the full book at the library. I will likely buy it eventually.
This book is amazing! You need a bread machine no longer. The recipe takes some time to work through the first 1 or 2 times, but after you figure it out, it's a breeze, and the bread REALLY is a fast make. No long, drawn out yeast bread procedures.
 Basically the concept is that you mix up a large batch of dough that is good for up to 2 weeks. Then when you want bread, you pull off a hunk of dough, let it rise for 20 minutes, pop it in the oven, and poof! You have fresh, homemade bread that tastes great!
The first time I made it I modified alot. I used table salt instead of Kosher salt (but adjusted for the difference in volume that comes from using fine salt vs. coarse), I also used a round metal pizza pan instead of a stone, and I used normal, bleached, all-purpose flour. It still turned out fabulous!
The book includes recipies for all kinds of variations to a standard loaf, some with extra herbs and flavors, some different styles of loafs, as well as info on how to partially bake and freeze loaves so that they are ready to bake for dinner when you want them.
As you can see from the authors' website, there are a variety of resources and helps if you want to really get elaborate in your bread making.  So... check it out! You can find alot on line as far as the basic instructions, but go ahead and get the full book from your library. If you renew it once or twice you'll have plenty of time to try out a few things to see if it's something you want to stick with. Then, if you find you like it.... great item for the Christmas list this year. :)

Monday, October 8, 2012

Fall Treat

On my to do list this fall....

Crock Pot Applesauce! As explained here:

Simple and supposed to be yummy! One thing the post doesn't really bring out, that I read a few other places, is that it is best to mix the kinds of apples that you use in each batch.

I'll try to let you know how it turns out, but it has solid reviews so far! :)

In other news:
Professor NO has found a more professor-like job! Hooray! :)


I tried the recipe and it worked great. It seems pretty foolproof.

I actually left it in more like 5 hours, but that might've been necessary because of my compulsion to take the lid off and stir throughout the 4 hour cook time. I used 5 Red Delicious, 3 Gala, and 3 MacIntosh. Don't know if the variety made a difference or not, but I like the result!

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Summer Recipe - Pudding pie

Ok, in the summertime, I get a craving for cool desserts, but I've never been a big ice cream addict. Don't get me wrong, take me to Cold Stone Creamery (a place with good ice cream and lots of yummy add-ins) and I will have no shortage of tempting orders to decide between. But when I think dessert, I've always been more of the cookie/brownie type. However, the warm days of summer make cool desserts a little more tempting, and I've discovered the fabulous land of pudding pie. I love it for all of the following reasons:

1.) Cheap
2.) Quick
3.) Delicious
4.) Easy to make interesting, with minimal work. (See point#2)

Now you could follow the directions on a box of instant pudding and make a pie. Or you could add just a tiny spark of creativity, and make a layered dessert! My favorite method is explained below.

Use an Oreo Pie Crust two boxes of pudding (one Cream Cheese or vanilla and one Chocolate), one container of cool whip, and milk.

Step One - Mix the cream cheese pudding first. (Simple: add required milk to mix according to box instructions, beat, then pour into crust). Add it into the pie crust, but hold out maybe half a cup of pudding. Otherwise you'll fill up the crust before you get to all of your layers! Pop unfinished pie into fridge to set a little while working on your second step.

Step Two - Repeat step one, but with the chocolate pudding. Pour it gently on top of the cream cheese pudding, holding out a portion. (if you allow the pudding to pour too forcefully, you will pour a "hole" into the previous pudding layer and lose the smooth evenness of your bottom layer.) Layering in this order allows you to use the same bowl b/c having traces of the vanilla pudding mixed into the choc won't change anything. If you do it in reverse, however, the traces of chocolate will discolor the lighter pudding, even though it will taste the same. :)

Step Three - Dollop softened cool whip onto the top of the chocolate pudding and spread evenly to cover pie. You should use around half of a tub of cool whip.

Step Four - use pudding that has been held out to make one or two individual little pudding dishes. Layer them to mimic the pie, or keep the flavors separate! I usually prefer to repeat the steps of the pie.

Step Five - (may be best to withhold this step until right before serving pie) Drizzle chocolate or caramel ice cream topping across top of pie. Or decorate with sprinkles, crumbled cookies... be creative!

When you finish, you have a pie that has pretty layers alternating dark and light from crust to topping. Whole making/combining process takes maybe 15 minutes and you're done! Total price, maybe $5. If you shop coupons and sales - much cheaper!

Variation: A vanilla cookie crust also works nice. You lose some of your layered contrast, but the taste is still yummy! I do prefer either cookie crust over a graham cracker crust for this particular dessert.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Stretching and Changing

I haven't written in awhile, it's plain to see. It isn't that I haven't wanted to. I've thought about it quite a bit. But never long enough to compose a post in my mind that is worth putting up. I even started this draft a month ago. Why so busy?? Well.... (drumroll...) I have ventured out of my safe haven home and into part-time work. I'll back up and explain briefly.

After taking several months to get settled in to a routine with married life, and to try to work out the major kinks in getting adjusted to living with another person, we decided it would be wise for me to find some part-time work. After spending some time searching, I found a perfect fit with a job nannying for a little girl. I started in February just before her first birthday.

I only go in a few days a week, and my hours aren't very long and the job pays a good wage. She's a sweet girl and just getting to know all of the world and learning so many new skills and slowly learning words as well. She can almost say my name now, and this week she said "Drink please" all together, without prompting, for the first time! It was a great day. :) We have a good time together, but she still naps so I get a break or two most days. The job works great because it doesn't drain me as much as my previous jobs have, which means I still have some energy left to give when I get back home. It also leaves me with enough days, most of the time, to take care of all the household responsibilities and occasionally volunteer for other things. My employers are also flexible and often able to adjust my days  if I request it.

While the decreased time at home has been challenging, it has also been good at forcing me to learn to take my settled routines and now make them more efficient. I'm learning how to plan ahead better, amongst other things. I also try to cook 3 days in a row when I'm at home, and usually those leftovers carry us through the other days of the week, so that simplifies the kitchen routine quite a bit by reducing the prep work AND by reducing the guesswork -as I can spend alot of indecisive time figuring out a meal every night. :-P After working out that routine, our habits were upset again when the Professor's job transferred him to a different location that is open longer hours, including nights and weekends. His schedule now varies every week, sometimes opening at 5 am, sometimes closing at midnight, and most weeks the schedule is not steady. Meaning he will do both of these schedules within th same week.Trying to figure out how to adapt to THIS routine has been more challenging and is still one I'm working on. But it's stretching me, and that's always a good thing, right?

Overall, the job has been a blessing as we have been using it primarily to build up our savings, and secondarily to add a little extra "fun money" into our budget (once we offset the expenses in gas and occasionally some 'convenience expenses' that have been added by taking on a job). I still feel like my house is always undone and needing more attention than I can give it, but part of that will be a neverending battle as long as we live here because we don't have enough room to store stuff properly. I just try to remind myself that I'm practicing for the day when I have my own children filling much of my days and I won't have the opportunity to spend my "full time" on maintaining my household. :) 

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Building a Marriage

I recently finished reading a book on marriage that I recieved... um... a little over a year ago. Don't judge me! It was a busy year involving things like wedding planning. Granted, you could consider a marriage book PART of wedding planning, but I read some other ones that I recieved first.

Anyway, I finally got to this one and thoroughly enjoyed it. Part of being a housewife includes building the relationships within the home, including the one with my spouse. This book was a great tool in that regard. It was thought provoking and very helpful. In fact, it's been the best marriage book I've read so far. I highly recommend it to anyone. Sooo... the link is included below. Check the book out for yourself!

What Did You Expect?