28 June 2010

Spring Break : 4 Months Later

Hey, remember that trip Husby and I took to Wisconsin and Chicago in March?

You don't?

Well, haven't you seen pictures?

Really, you haven't? Huh.

Oh, that's right I never posted them! 

What kind of a lazy, slacker blogger doesn't post pictures for four months? The kind that also forgets the battery charger in a hotel room in March. And then hesitates to buy a replacement for $50 since the camera isn't worth much more.

Once bought, but before opened, I decided to see what my friend, Amazon.com, had to offer. Like the good friend Amazon.com is, I found a replacement for $20. Once it came in, I charged that battery, and turned on the camera to download the pictures, only to discover that my memory card corrupted. What in the world?! I was saved by a local camera place who warned me that I should format the memory card at least once a month. Well, I still don't know how to do that, even though I was told it's simple. And I'm somewhat savvy with technology.

Back to the trip. I convinced Husby to take off work the same week as my spring break. We decided to road trip it to Lake Geneva, Wisconsin. My BFF of the Midwest lives in the LG, and it's one of my favorite places to visit. I just love it, even if it is -6 degrees (or 11 degrees, whatever). Since it's a little over an hour from Chicago, we were excited to spend a little time in the city.

On our way, we drove through Missouri. We didn't realize we'd be so close to St. Louis, and decided that we just had to stop. I [sort of] wanted to see the Arch. What we saw was not what I expected! That thing is massive. I promise that helicopters could fly through it and have plenty of clearance! Unfortunately, the tours to the top were sold out for the day, so we had to take in the view from the ground. Just a few hours in St. Louis made us want to return for an extended stay. Oh, and we had grand plans of stopping at the state line each time we passed through a new state. That didn't work out so well since it was either dark or super foggy for the other states.

We finally reached Lake Geneva. It only took about 17 hours. Although it's a long trip, you Texan's know that it takes longer than that to reach any ski resort in Colorado. And how many times have we done that?

I was so excited that the lake was completely frozen! I'd never walked out onto a frozen lake, and let me tell you, we walked to the middle of that lake. Marieke's nine-year-old had to hold my hand and kept asking if I was scared. As if the grandpa shuffle didn't make it obvious! Once the adults explained that the ice is at least 12 inches thick, I was okay. And there were cars driving on it, so I suppose that I wasn't going to be the ice breaker!

We came upon a group of ice fisher's. It was so cool! They really make a hole in the ice. Either they were at the end of their day or a group of people asking questions convinced them to leave, but the holes in the ice were still there! I convinced Husby to stick his hand in it to see just how cold it was. Evidently, cold enough that he didn't want two pictures taken. Ha!

These pictures were taken while standing in the middle of the lake. Holy moly!

Our Chicago adventure was so much fun. It was a tad bit warmer in Chicago, and since we fast-walked everywhere, we didn't get very cold. Husby and I had both visited Chicago, but not together. We quickly walked from our hotel to Millennium Park when we arrived. After taking pictures of The Bean at every angle, we decided to ice skate.

I haven't ice skated since I was in sixth grade. It was a work out! I wasn't very good a turning. Or starting. Or skating. I'd skate around the smallish rink a couple of times, and then take a break. Then I'd meet Husby back on the ice for him to give me a pull so that I didn't just stand on the ice. Once it was time for the ice to be resurfacing, we made our way to the Art Institute. It was just as good the second time.

That night, we dined at Rick Bayless' Frontera Grill. Of the three finalists on last years Top Chef Masters, we've eaten at each of their restaurants: Bottega in Napa Valley, Fleur de Lys in San Francisco, and Frontera Grill in Chicago. (We're quite proud of that.)

Because I was super-excited to visit the Field Museum, and could have run through it until I reached this exhibit, I feel that she should get her own picture. Remember hearing about Lyuba, an extremely well-preserved baby mammoth found in Russia? Well, she was just a cute as I'd hoped.


After spending time in Sonoma Valley and San Francisco for our honeymoon (which you can read about here and here and here), and then a trip to Lake Geneva and Chicago, we've decided we're city vacation people. You know, rather than beach or mountain vacations (although we LOVE to ski)? Husby and I are super excited that our vacay this summer will include three big cities: Budapest, Vienna and Prague. This weekend, we purchased a Rick Steves travel guide to begin planning our time in these cities.

Are you a beach or city or mountain vacay person? Do you like the busyness of a city? (Which are your favorite cities?) Can you handle the sand on the beach? Or do you prefer some other getaway?

27 June 2010

(Unsolicited) Spin Pin Review

When I saw the commercial for Spin Pins, I was so intrigued. They take the place of TWENTY bobby pins. Always a sucker for good marketing, I thought I might like to try them, but doubted their ability to hold my hair in place. I have very fine, thick hair that's cut into a gillion layers. (Otherwise, it's so weighted down on top and so frizzy at the bottom, that I look like my hairstyle is a triangle. Nice, huh?) And most often, during the summer, I wear it curly. I didn't think it'd work on curly hair.

Soon after my inclination to try them, one of my BFF's shared her wonderment of the Spin Pin on facebook. After a reply from me about the curly hair issue, we received assurance from a friend of hers that they DO work on curly hair. I was sold. But the next time I was in Target, the were sold out.

Today, Husby and I made a quick trip to Target after lunch. Though they weren't originally on the list, they made their way into my stack of things to buy. As soon as we got home, I decided to give them a try. I was amazed at HOW WELL THEY WORK! Look at the results:

I'm so excited to have these. They make a messy-cute bun. I think they'll be a great option to the classic ponytail-on-a-bad-hair-day. They are so simple. It just a ponytail, twisted around into a bun with a spin pin in the top and bottom. Just "screw" them into the hair. Goody (the maker of Spin Pin), has the how-to's on their site. Along with other products that I just might have to try!

Even Husby liked the look. He said it's cute. Which means I'll wear my hair like this until he mentions that he loves my hair curly and half-up. Then I'll pull up the Goody website and do the half-up 'do with the Spin Pin.

I plan on wearing curly hair tomorrow, just to see if they really will work. I'll keep you posted.

P.S. I did try using the Spin Pin with a bun on the side of my head, but the layers in my hair are too short to sweep all the way to the opposite side of my head. I'll have to let them grow out just a bit and try it again.

25 June 2010

Friday Faves

Okay, if I link up with other blogs, it has to be because I really want to write about the topic given. It's a way to have a topic without having to accidentally call adult hot lines for a story. (I promise it really was an accident that just turned into a great story!)

So, I found this blog at some point this week. (We'll talk about my addiction to blog jumping a little later.) It spoke to me because the blog design is red and turquoise, which happens to be one of my love languages. If you can believe it--I barely can--one of my BFF's once told me that red and turquoise "don't go together." What?! I had to pray through that friendship, and once she confessed to me that they do actually compliment each other, the friendship was saved.

The topic is a just a series of five questions created by Beth at Just Me and My Life. And I can answer some questions! Let's get started...

1. If given a chance to skip work for a day, how would you spend the entire day?
Actually, our school is closed next week, so I'm forced to stay home the entire week. Since it's approximately the temperature of the sun with the humidity of the entire ocean, it'll be tough to convince myself to leave the air conditioning. Although on the docket: blueberry picking, fig picking, tending to our little garden, possibly making a headboard, finish watching season 2 of Gilmore Girls, borrowing a friend's Dyson vacuum cleaner to give our house a go-over, and spray-painting something.

2. If you could start fresh, what profession would you choose?
I do love my current profession as a college advisor, and I never could have dreamed of being a college advisor. But I think I would love to do something artsy. Likely graphic design.

3. What is your favorite candy or candy bar?

4. Have you ever ordered anything from an infomercial or bought an "As Seen on TV" item?
Target has a special "As Seen on TV" section. Although I haven't ever bought anything off of an infomercial, I did purchase the Ped Egg at Target. And I still love it today as much as I did back then.

5. What's the movie you ALWAYS cry at?

Okay, I have to finish getting ready for work. I hope you all have a fabulous weekend! Husby announced before he left for work that he doesn't want to do anything this weekend. That sounds like a plan!

24 June 2010

Umm...I Have the Wrong Number

**Updated to change the format of the phone number listed in this post. Evidently, smart phones will honor the telephone link. It need not be honored. :)

Have you ever had a phone call misdirected? You know, you call a number, but someone totally different answers? Well, it happens a couple of times a month in our office. Usually, it's not a big deal. It's often another parent who kindly laughs and thinks I (or my boss) have dialed the wrong number. But the thing is--it's most often the correct number.

I know this because when it happens, I give a laugh to the person on the other end of the line and apologize for the inconvenience. Then I hang up and press redial to see the number on the display; I disconnect before the call can go out (we have a delay on outgoing calls). The findings are conclusive, and I announce to my boss that I, in fact, had dialed the correct number. The second time it's dialed, it's directed to the intended recipient.

One time, my boss called a local restaurant for dinner reservations. Since it was the middle of the afternoon--and non-restaurant hours--she didn't think anything about it when the person who answered simply said, "Hello?" She proceeded to make the reservation, but was cut short when a parent of an alumni recognized her voice. They had a good chuckle. When she ended the call, she insisted that she had not dialed that number. She hadn't spoken with the parent on the phone since their child graduated.

I've never mentioned it to anyone else on campus. Until today. It turns out it's common to most lines on campus.

Which makes me feel a little better. Here goes...

As a college advisor, I'm the testing coordinator for our school, as well as the coordinator for students with disabilities. There are certain forms that should be completed each year for students to be eligible to have accommodations, like extended time on a test for a reading disability. I hadn't received the form at the usual time, so I decided to call the SAT hot line for counselors.

I quickly referred to the number on my desk. It was an easy number. Their customer service reps are always super-helpful and each call is answered by an automated message. Normally, I hear something like, "Hello, welcome to the SAT line for counselors. For testing info, press one." (You get the idea.)

Well, I dialed the number and an automated message started.

"Hello, you've reached 1888FREESEX."

Are you kidding me?! I (inadvertently) called a sex hot line AT WORK. And I work at a private, Christian school.

I quickly hung up and screamed at the same time. My co-worker wondered what on earth had happened. Of course, she had a good laugh at my expense. I have to agree that it WAS humorous.

I looked at the number I tried to call. I spelled out 1888FREESEX on the keypad. The two numbers are NOWHERE NEAR THE SAME. I pressed redial. Sure enough, I dialed the correct number. My call was just misdirected.

I knew that before I left for the day, I had to confess my phone call to others. I'd already played the scenario through my head where the business office receives the list of phone calls made that month. Although none others would be spelled out, I just knew that 1888FREESEX would be listed on calls made from my line.

Luckily, everyone had a good laugh. Including me.

22 June 2010

It's Just So Hot

Holy moly. I have no idea why I ever complain about the [relatively] chilly temperatures in the winter, and then promise that I'll never complain about summer if the WINTER WOULD JUST END. I guess I just get tired of wearing a coat. Because in Texas, I wear a coat from my car into the office, and then back to my car. Any errands run between buildings of our open campus are done with speed and a scarf. A trip to the grocery store is done very much the same way. It's just such a hassle.

But this heat! This heat is zapping the strength out of me. I feel that if the temperature and heat index will ever fall below 162, I'll be better. Yesterday, I convinced myself that it was too hot to work out INSIDE THE GYM. Seriously? And today, I skipped most of my make-up routine (which isn't very lengthy, as is) and only put on a little bronzer, shimmery eye shadow and mascara because I knew that it would melt off of me. By the time I reached my building--after finding a tree to shade my car for the day--the sweat appeared and the make-up began making its exit.

Have I mentioned that I sweat like a 600 pound man? Oh, and did I mention that we went to a family wedding this weekend? In Austin? Outside? At six o'clock?

I decided that I'd debut the floppy red hat that Husby gave me for my birthday. It did its job in keeping the sun out of my eyes, but it made my head so sweaty. Since I'd worn my hair curly, I thought I might be able to take off the hat. (Sometimes when I wear it curly, it doesn't look like a matted mess, even when sweaty.) I lifted the hat and turned to Husby to see if he thought I'd be able to pull off the slightly-sweaty-curly-hair look. He quickly offered that I wouldn't approve of the way my hair looks. And if he knows we're at that point, it's bad.

Today's heat index of 109 will surely make me unable to cook anything for dinner. I mean, who wants to turn on the stove? It just makes the house hotter. I'm sure it has nothing to do with my food funk. Well, maybe. But I am thinking about cooking more often. That's so much better than where I've been the past couple of weeks.

I promise: if this heat will end, I will not complain about winter. Or at least our two weeks of fall.

18 June 2010

When I Said Yes

Over at Kelly's Korner, girls are sharing stories of their engagement. I decided to play along because I love our story.

I mentioned here that one of my favorite things is playing games. I grew up loving Monopoly (though I've never played with the houses/hotels), LIFE, Mall Madness (it came with the credit card you could swipe--I really enjoyed that part way too much), Clue Jr. and pretty much any other game I could get someone to play with me. Of all the games, LIFE remained at the top of the list. It's fun and easy, and it just doesn't matter how well you play, you may or may not win. And I could usually rope someone into playing it.

Fast forward 20 years. (Yikes, that makes me sound a little old!)

Husby is still the BF. We'd talked about getting married and bought a book with questions to ask your potential mate. We started strong and excited about really getting to know each other through these 101 questions; then answered about six of them. (And never finished the book since we decided we had actually talked about so many things already.) Then, I went to JUST LOOK at rings and FELL IN LOVE with MY RING. I called to see if I should go ahead and purchase it. For some reason, he wanted to be there when he bought an engagement ring for his future wife. And I just couldn't convince him otherwise.

A week later, he was in the big city to look at said ring. I left all of my information with the jeweler, but they lost my ring size. So he had to call to ask my ring size. And then I knew he was BUYING ME AN ENGAGEMENT RING. Of course, I figured I'd get it within a reasonable amount of time. I mean, which guy wants to hold onto a ring for that long? I can tell you. My future husband. He waited almost two months.

He wanted our engagement to be perfect and memorable. I just wanted to know I was going to get to marry him. (And I wanted to wear my ring desperately.) His plan was to propose on a hot air balloon ride. How romantic! (The ride was actually my birthday present from the year before, but had been postponed multiple times because of weather.) It was scheduled twice for the ring-giving, including on my birthday, but it didn't happen because wind conditions weren't perfect. Since my birthday plans were cancelled, I had to choose something else. We met a group of friends to meet at a local restaurant for dinner. Afterwards, I wanted to play a game with just the two of us: LIFE. That was the plan. Since dinner ran late, though, we didn't play the game. Two days later, he mentioned that he still owed me a game of LIFE. I was more than happy to play.

We set up the game board and started to play: spinning the wheel, buying auto insurance, graduating from college. And then I got married first. I made some comment about wondering who I would marry. Ha! Then he arrived at the STOP: GET MARRIED spot. I turned to the box top to grab him a little pink peg of a woman and asked, "Do you want a wife?" When I turned back around, he was on one knee with the ring box out. EEEEK! I was totally getting a proposal for marriage. Of course, I said yes after he did the asking. And then we stopped playing the game so that we could call and text the 3204817234 people that I'd promised to tell immediately.

It WAS the perfect and memorable proposal he wanted. And the proposal I discovered that I was so happy to wait for. He was so creative. I appreciate that so much!

Here are a couple of pics of our night:

And we finally got that balloon ride a couple of weeks later. I happen to think my ring looks absolutely amazing with a view of the city in the background.

Six months later, Husby and I were married. This week we celebrated our eight monthiversary. And a wonderful eight months it's been with him as my husband.

16 June 2010

The Hills are Alive

Tonight, as Husby works to finish a project for work, I have control of the television. And I'm watching...

I've seen it no less than 16 times. I remember watching it at a very young age and proclaiming that I would be a nun. Because all good baptist girls go to the convent.

And because of my L.O.V.E. for musicals and soundtracks, I've listened to the soundtrack at least 34 times in the past ten years. Which makes me sad that my average is only 3.4 times per year. I've set a new goal for myself to listen to it at least 5 times per year. It's all about setting goals.

Before you continue reading, YOU HAVE TO WATCH THIS VIDEO:

Wasn't that FANTASTIC?! It makes me smile. Do you know HOW HAPPY I WOULD BE if I were part of that flash mob? I wonder if I can will it to happen to me.

Allow me to offer a few observations from my current viewing material. I'm sure that you'll enjoy reading along. It'll be like you're here, watching it with me as I comment on everything I love.

1. Remember the curtains in Maria's bedroom? The curtains she used to make the childrens' play clothes? It's in the scene with "A Few of My Favorite Things," and I would totally like to have those as curtains. I really wonder if damask was a fashion in the late 1930's that's made a roaring comeback. Who in their right mind would want to replace curtains like those?! Evidently, Captain Von Trapp didn't see them for the fashion trend they were. I'm really glad Maria saw that they could be used for good, cute outfits. As a refresher for you, the curtains were very similar to this damask:

2. I love it when Captain Von Trapp begins singing while the children perform "The Hills are Alive." My hear just melts. That AND when he sings "Edelweiss." 

3. I need to work on my yodeling so that I can sing along with the marionette show.

4. When Captain holds the party for the Baroness and goes to dance with Maria on the patio, he's wearing white gloves with his tux. He looks so handsome! I'm 94.3% sure that I'm finding something to attend where I can dress Husby in a tux with white gloves. I think he'll look even more dreamy than the Captain. I'm also sure he won't agree to my outfit of choice.

5. It's REALLY HARD for me not to sing all of the songs as they're playing on the movie. Except for "Climb Every Mountain." I fast-forward.

6. I really don't like the Baroness. I'm glad they didn't end up together.

7. I think my mom resembles Julie Andrews. Which is a good thing.


9. I'm also going to find a function to attend where Husby will wear a 1930's naval officer uniform. I'll also need the uniform with the gold things on the shoulders. Why didn't I watch this before our wedding? Husby totally could have looked like Captain Von Trapp.

10. It makes me so happy that the children have a new mother that they love.

11. I just realized how late it is. You know that MawMaw has to be in bed by 10:30, and I'm already five minutes past my bedtime.

12. On a good note, I finally learned how to embed video's into my blog.

13. Good night.

14. P.S. When the Von Trapp's fled to the States from Austria, my great uncle and aunt knew them. Cool, huh?

15. I've attempted to fix my original bullet points SIX TIMES. Now, I have a numbered list. MawMaw just doesn't do well with technology (or much else) after 10:30.

16. Good night, again.

15 June 2010

A Very Random List

1. My friend in real life who just happens to blog (as opposed to a blog friend who is someone you "know" through the blogvine), Christine, commented on my last post and pointed out that I cook with a lot of recipes. As soon as I read her observation, I realized that I DO COOK with LOTS OF RECIPES. Sure, I have a few things that I've cooked enough times not to need a recipe (tortilla soup, chicken and dumplings). And, yes, I pride myself on not needing a recipe to create something--if I taste something I like, then I try to recreate it at home, and I'm often successful. But when it comes to meal-PLANNING, I rely on recipes. Even Husby has commented on my recipe-reliance. It just makes it easier to make sure we have everything needed to make meals during the week. Since I only grocery shop once a week (because I cannot handle anymore time in the store), I feel like I have to plan. But maybe I just need to change my method. Wow. I just bored myself. Moving along...

2. Men's dress shoes often require shoelaces--the round, waxy laces. If they break, these laces are pretty much non-existent. I had to visit three stores today to find a pair of brown shoe laces. Come on, people! If you have a men's shoe department or are a men's clothing store, please have these things available. If they're not available, then I have to wander through countless other stores at the mall, trying things on and buying things that may or may not be needed. And then Husby will wonder why I spent $72 on laces. Especially since the price tag on the back reads $3. Hopefully he won't notice that each little package of laces came in large shopping bags.

3. In the search for laces, I did have a glorious moment. The sales lady in Dillard's with the spiral perm pulled half-up with a banana clip, in her attempt to help me find the laces, suggested WalMart (which made me want to cry--I just can't handle it more than twice a year) or a drugstore. I thanked her, and then she explained that a drugstore might have them because they carry "old school" things. Excuse me? I grinned. While I might equate old school to "back in the day" or maybe something retro, she did not. Thinking I might not understand, she explained that a drugstore might have them because they carry old school things like shoe laces and canes and pill boxes. I replied, "OH, things that older people might need." Her response? "No, old school things." I smiled, thanked her again and walked away. Evidently, I need to brush up on my slang.

4. I have wonderful friends (which I've known) who actually read my blog (which I never assume). One, in particular, knows about my food funk, and extended an invitation for Husby and I to meet she and her hubby for dinner. And they brought their super cute baby who laughed and laughed, with an open mouth, showing her two bottom teeth.

5. Baby laughs are the cutest, sweetest laughs in the world. Just thinking about it makes me smile.

14 June 2010

The Funk

About two times a year, I get in a food funk. I don't want to cook. I don't want to decide what to eat. Nothing sounds appetizing. And I don't like eating out. I keep stand-bys on hand so that I can grab something for a meal: cereal, frozen dinners, meal replacements. Healthy, I know. I wish I could say that during said food funks, I was able to drop a couple of sizes, but I somehow manage to squeeze in my normal amount of calories. It's a gift, really.

And, yes, I did pull off a dinner for Husby's half-birthday celebration, but you wouldn't believe the struggle I had trying to come up with something to throw together. I mean, I sat in the grocery store parking lot for half an hour looking at recipes on my iPhone. Let me remind you that the only cooking involved was baking a Blackberry Buckle that required one bowl and a casserole dish. Everything else was prep only. And I was so grateful!

These seasons of food funkiness last a couple of weeks. Previously, I could make it on the foods scrounged up around the house or impulsively thrown into the buggy at the grocery store, but now I have a boy's nutrition to worry about. He still enjoys eating when I don't. Although he's assured me that eating lighter for a couple of weeks will not be detrimental, but I sure hope I don't starve him!

Yesterday, I tried so hard to get motivated while making our meal plan for the next couple of weeks. But I just couldn't. Any recipe that required meat or turning on the oven was pretty much out. (Oh yeah, I'm a really picky meat eater now.) So, our meal plan for the next couple of weeks includes a few fruit-cheese-wine-and-bread nights, bruschetta, bagels with cream cheese and smoked salmon, and salads.

I certainly hope the funk passes quickly. And I really hope that Husby doesn't starve before it passes! So does he. :)

Does anyone else struggle with a food funk? What are your favorite go-to food items? Easy meals? Salad ideas? Favorite frozen dinners? (Mine are Lean Cuisine Pepperoni Pizza and Lean Cuisine Sesame Chicken.)

Really, I'll take anything.

12 June 2010

A 1/2 Birthday & 3 Recipes

Yesterday was Husby's half-birthday. For the past couple of years, I've made it a point to celebrate this day for him. Since he has a birthday so close to Christmas, the celebration can get lost in the mix. (Although, I try really, really hard to make that day special, as well.) I totally would have taken pictures of our celebration if our air conditioner hadn't been out; my sweaty hair and face with melted-off make-up just doesn't have a place on the internet.

After the week we've had, I just couldn't gather the energy to come up with any meal ideas. Not to mention that our typical Friday night meals are a little easier (read: no cooking involved). Friday nights are a time for us to unwind and debrief about the week, so we hesitate eating out. (Can you say "introverts needing to recharge"?) So, we eat a little more "European"--which I love--with fruits and cheeses and wine and bread as our meal. But I wanted to make it special, so I found a couple of recipes on my Epicurious iPhone app. I had to change one of the recipes up just a bit because Serrano ham isn't available in a city of 100,000. Both recipes called for herbs that we have in our garden, so that saved a little cash. Nice! Both were so, so yummy. On our platter of goods, I also had some dates and farmer's market tomatoes, sliced and topped with big grains of salt and cracked pepper.

Peaches with Prosciutto and Basil
Adapted from Gourmet, April 2007

2 peaches, each cut into 4 wedges
1/4 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon Sherry vinegar
1/8 teaspoon ground cumin
8 slices thinly sliced prosciutto
8 small basil leaves

Toss together peaches, sugar, vinegar, and cumin and let stand 10 minutes. Cut prosciutto slices in half lengthwise, then fold them into quarters and place on top of peaches. Top each with a basil leaf and secure with a wooden or metal pick.

Goat Cheese with Thyme, Peppercorns and Lemon Oil
From Bon Appétit, July 2007
Pink peppercorns and peppercorn mélange (a mixture of black, pink, green, and white peppercorns) are available at many supermarkets. They have a milder flavor than black peppercorns, which could be used in a much smaller amount.

1 (5.5-ounce) log soft mild goat cheese
1 teaspoon pink peppercorns or peppercorn mélange, cracked
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon grated lemon peel
1/2 small garlic clove, pressed (optional)
Sliced baguette (toasted, if desired)

Place cheese on plate; using plastic wrap as aid, shape into 5-inch round. Sprinkle with salt, peppercorns, and thyme, and press into cheese. Mix olive oil, lemon peel, and garlic, if desired, in small bowl. Pour over cheese. Serve with baguette.

In celebration of his half-birthday, I typically make and ice (frost, for those not from Texas) a half of a birthday cake. But he requested something with the blackberries bought at the farmer's market. Although we were air conditioner-less, I turned the oven to 350 for my sweet husband to make a Blackberry Cobbler by The Pioneer Woman. It was SO GOOD, but it isn't what I consider a cobbler: lots of juice that's been cooked down with sugar and fruit, layered with pie crust. I think this was more of a Blackberry Buckle, since it was more cakey. I still highly recommend making it.

Blackberry Buckle (Cobbler, whatever you want to call it)
From Tasty Kitchen, The Pioneer Woman

1 stick Butter
1-¼ cup Sugar
1 cup Self-Rising Flour
1 cup Milk
2 cups Blackberries (frozen or fresh)

Melt butter in a microwavable dish. Pour 1 cup of sugar and flour into a mixing bowl, whisking in milk. Mix well. Then, pour in melted butter and whisk it all well together. Butter a baking dish.

Now rinse and pat dry the blackberries. Pour the batter into the buttered baking dish. Sprinkle blackberries over the top of the batter; distributing evenly. Sprinkle ¼ cup sugar over the top.

Bake in the oven at 350 degrees for 1 hour, or until golden and bubbly. If you desire, sprinkle an additional teaspoon of sugar over the cobbler 10 minutes before it’s done.

Husby just came downstairs with his drill, ready to do some maintenance to our planters that were flooded and don't have proper drainage. I'm off to help or watch.

Have a fabulous weekend!

09 June 2010

With Hope

Since my last entry, life has changed. It's been a whirlwind. On Saturday night, our first nephew was born into the arms of Jesus. It's been a tough five days. Today, we said goodbye to Marcos Ian. As the service ended, we stood around the tiny grave and rain--that we haven't seen in a month--poured and poured. As though heaven was crying with us. At the same time, it seemed so refreshing. It seemed like some of the sorrow we've felt was washed away. 

We know that our God is a God of plans. Though we don't fully know the purpose of Marcos' short life on earth, we know that it was purposeful. Our God is a purposeful creator of life. Although we're grieving his loss, we have hope that we'll see him again. We know that God is loving and merciful. We know that in Matthew, he called children to him. Children are special to our Savior.

As we continue to grieve and begin to heal, I have a feeling that this song will be quite fitting.

With Hope 
Lyrics by Steven Curtis Chapman

This is not at all how
We thought it was supposed to be
We had so many plans for you
We had so many dreams
And now you've gone away
And left us with the memories of your smile
And nothing we can say
And nothing we can do
Can take away the pain
The pain of losing you, but ...

We can cry with hope
We can say goodbye with hope
'Cause we know our goodbye is not the end, oh no
And we can grieve with hope
'Cause we believe with hope
There's a place where we'll see your face again
We'll see your face again

And never have I known
Anything so hard to understand
And never have I questioned more
The wisdom of God's plan
But through the cloud of tears
I see the Father's smile and say well done
And I imagine you
Where you wanted most to be
Seeing all your dreams come true
'Cause now you're home
And now you're free, and ...

We have this hope as an anchor
'Cause we believe that everything
God promised us is true, so ...

So we can cry with hope
And say goodbye with hope

We wait with hope
And we ache with hope
We hold on with hope
We let go with hope

02 June 2010

My Heart is Smiling

My college roommate and wonderful friend is currently in Africa. Her parents are missionaries in Malawi; she's visiting them for the summer AND working on her master's in ethnomusicology.

(In case you're wondering, the first step in applying for this degree plan is spelling your intended degree. It weeds a lot of people out on the first day.)

(Just kidding. But it'd be a good idea.)

Adriane and I have travelled together, and she knows the type of picture I like. Typically, I love a building or window or door. The more run down, the more character, the better. So you can imagine my delight when I was tagged in a photo on facebook. Normally, I wonder who's taken and posted a picture of me from a bad angle. But not this time. I found this picture, and it made my heart smile. And put in a request for more pictures burned to a CD and given to me for my half-birthday. Totally serious about that.


01 June 2010

I Can Never Buy These Again...

These are like crack to me. I thought they'd be great to take for our picnic at Caddo Lake since the bag is resealable. Unfortunately, I didn't realize how much I'd like them. I do enjoy Oreo's, but my favorite part is the actual cookie--not the icing. I know that I'm in the 0.05% minority of people who like the cookie and not the icing. And these things have a larger cookie to icing ratio than regular Oreo's. (Oh, don't get me started on my method for scraping the icing from double-stuffed Oreo's!)

So, until I develop some sort of willpower, they will remain on the list of things-I-won't-buy-except-for-road trips-and-picnics, along with:

Road trip or picnic, anyone? :)