Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Wifey Wednesday: To Purge or Not to Purge?

No, not purging of food (though I've got to get rid of the junk in this house!!)...over on To Love Honor & Vacuum (an awesome blog!) Sheila has asked:

So here's our question of the day: what do you do with a packrat husband? Has anyone dealt with this before? Or what do you do if he's way messier than you are? How do you find a compromise?

I don't usually link on the Wifey Wednesday posts, but since I was already planning a post in this area, I thought it would be quite fitting!

I may have mentioned this before, but I am a bit of a packrat and not the tidiest person in the world. We didn't have much money when I was little, though we never went without, but my dad definitely had the mindset of never wasting anything b/c his family really struggled financially He has been known to dumpster dive...more than a few of our childhood toys were picked up off the side of the road...and when I was in college he was like a kid on Christmas when everyone was moving out and they had the huge dumpsters behind the dorms!! and really, people threw away good stuff b/c they didn't want to take it home... So I have been raised to really put a value on obtaining stuff for little or no money, and also not to waste!
The same types of attitudes seem to be in hubs' family. When his grandmother passed away and we helped to clean her house we found SO much stuff and she clearly held onto anything that she felt had value or usefulness.

I am definitely thankful that we are at least similar in our backgrounds so that we aren't always fighting and driving each other crazy with our opposing habits, but we do not motivate one another to get things done...that is for sure.

I find that I am more motivated to get rid of excess stuff...especially now that there are so many options for recycling & selling things on consignment, but hubs doesn't like to let things go. I often watch shows like Hoarders and Clean House to motivate myself to accomplish some organiation...but this week I saw that those same things would not motivate hubs. I was watching an episode of Hoarders which depicted a man who had amassed an out-of-control collection of beer cans, and was facing bankruptcy due to his compuslion to keep collecting. Hubs walked through the room and saw a clip of the show and said "Oh no! Why are they making him get rid of his collection?!?" At that moment I just laughed and thought...I wonder why my house looks the way it does? Not that I'm blaming him totally....I definitely have my share in the mess. It's just funny.

Well, this is what I am facing right now. Needless to say, I am quite overwhelmed:

the view from the doorway


and from the corner...
AHHH!!! RUN AWAY! RUN AWAY!!

This is my "craft room"/guest room/hubs extra computers. Eventually this room is meant to be a child's room, but I don't know how we would ever fit one in here without squishing them! We have filled our house--we have too much stuff. Two people should not require over 1400 square feet just for stuff! This room is the catch-all room, when I am cleaning for people to come over, I tend to focus on the common areas and since we do not use this room regularly, everything just gets thrown in there. Right now, I have to get the room in order b/c I have some friends visiting next weekend and at least one will be spending the night so they need a place to sleep.

So, in answer to Sheila's questions, hubs and I are pretty much on the same messy page in all of this. I still have about 98% of the housekeeping duties and focus on keeping our "common areas" neat; but he has the freedom to keep his office however he wants. I maintain most of the other areas, he puts his dishes in the sink and recycles his cans and bottles and takes out the trash and part of the recycling (we have MUCH more recycling than trash, something that I am very proud of :) ). If there is something that is just taking up space and not of any value to us we discuss it and take it to consignment or throw it away if it's okay with him. If not, I usually just put it in "his room" and try to forget about it. Things will have to change somewhat for us to have room for kids (!) but we're working on it.

I really want to get rid of a lot this year, and I am not waiting until the new year to start cleaning! The room looks a little better, but I have a lot do, and am feeling motivated. I just want to keep it going this time.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Merry Christmas! (one day late)

I will probably not be posting much until January, but will give a recap of all my baking and holidays then.

Hope it's joyful for all of you!

Friday, December 18, 2009

so once again, i have been neglecting the blog-so sorry! life has been absolutely crazy...
i was gonna upload some pictures of the craziness, but the stupid computer is tired.

suffice it to say, i baked myself silly for the office christmas party last week--36 loaves of bread and thousands of cookies...i stayed up till 3 am last friday night and was so tired and discouraged because i just was NOT managing my time well. I had to go to walmart at midnight for something...i don't remember what now...maybe eggs??--oh wait, it was treat bags for the cookies!! i was so tired and hurting that i was literally holding back tears! then i came home and was getting frustrated so i started throwing bits of cookie dough on the ground. It was so nasty that I JUST cleaned it tonight b/c it was so intimidating. I did not get all the cookies done in time for the party, but I took the rest back to the office and everyone loved them. The party also went really well, and I collapsed that night and stayed in bed for the rest of the weekend and unfortunately on Monday as well b/c my stupid sinus infection got worse and the CFS, fibro, and plantar fasciitis were just wearing me out!

Hubs has been super busy the past few weeks as well and it's been hard--we've had very little time together and i miss him :( We got a bit of a date night on Tuesday evening and went to get new phones! yippee! My poor little razor got too tired just like me. The screen started displaying upside down or then not at all some of the buttons stopped working. I was planning to get one of the .99 or $10 phones with renewing my contract, but they had a buy one get one free deal on the LG Spyder so hubs and I both got them--I feel so fancy! and now I have a texting plan too!!

I have been very busy w/dessert orders as well as my scentsy business so that is also super exciting! I feel very blessed to have something on the side that can bring a little extra money for us.

Finally--and I can't go into details yet--I need to ask for your prayers. We have some major changes and decisions ahead that were not expected. I will be posting about it fairly soon I think, but just please pray for us! If you really want to know the details feel free to FB message or email me, it's just not something that I can put out publicly yet. (and no, it doesn't involve babies)

Well, hopefully I will be more consistent, and I hope you are all having a great Christmas season!

Friday, December 11, 2009

Real Simple winner!

I'm taking a break in my marathon of Christmas party baking to pick the winner for my real simple giveaway!

And the winnder according to the Random.org is post number 4!! which is my very dear friend Jordan!! Congratulations!! I will get the order put in for your free subscription!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

TWD: sables

or is it WWD this week? these are amazingly delicious. I'm exhausted so won't write much more, but thanks for the pick Barbara! check out her blog or buy the book for this awesome cookie recipe!



also tonight, I did this cake for a baby shower--strawberry cake w/vanilla buttercream.



And i have starter going for 36 loaves of sourdough which i will mix tomorrow and bake friday...along w/a gazillion cookies--pray for my little feet!!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

TWD...tomorrow

I've got the dough making but since it needs to refrigerate, i will post tomorrow. I will post though!

Monday, December 7, 2009

amazing giveaway!!

no, not another from me...this one is super better than anything I could do, but Susan over on She's Becoming Doughmesstic is giving away the new 90th anniversary Kitchen Aid Stand mixer!! my mom and I were drooling over this at the kitchen store the other day--I espeically love the glass bowl...and the fact that it's red :)



What are you waiting for? Go enter now!!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

a confession

Can I tell you an embarrassing secret??
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No...it's not that I have been slacking on my baking groups the past two months (though I do feel bad about that...
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Nope...not the fact that I keep buying things for myself and have yet to complete any "Christmas shopping", though that's pretty bad too....
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This embarrassing confession is that, until last week, I had never successfully made brownies from scratch. :( That's right...all the crazy things I have tried, and I've never done a basic brownie!! I have(on multiple occasions) created delicious brownies from a box mix and the secret Weakley family magic addition of chocolate syrup to the mix, but that is it. Hubs always gives me grief about this b/c he ADORES eating brownie mix raw (yes, I know it's not safe, but sometimes I'm just so glad that he's eating something that I don't care!!) and he doesn't want me to do them by scratch--he just wants the basic boxed brownie mix that he loves. And I have been afraid to even try it b/c it sucks to compare yourself to a boxed mix and lose!!!

Well, when one of my co-workers requested brownies for her birthday treat, I decided that it was finally time for me to tackle my fear. I had heard a few things about Southern Living's "So Good Brownies" from the August 2009 issue, so I decided that this would be the treat to try. I read a review of the recipe on Jenny Bakes where she said that the brownies were almost grainy with sugar...but to crazy me, that actually sounds good--kinda like raw cookie dough...yum :)

I thought these were pretty simple to put together and set them to bake for the minimum time of 40 minutes, at which time I decided that they needed to stay in for about 5 more minutes. Well, if you read my recent post about losing my baking"mojo" you may see the disaster coming...I forgot to set the timer, and also forgot all about the brownies!! About 20 minutes later a very naughty word escaped my lips as I ran to the oven to see what horrible shape my first attempt at real brownies would be in.

Miraculously, they were fine!! Maybe a little hard around the edge pieces, but the center was still surprisingly chewy and they did not taste overdone! So I am renaming these the "miraculous cannot be overbaked brownies."

How did they go over at work you ask?? I took this platter:



piled high with brownies and some cheesecake that was leftover from thanksgiving...and by the time the day was over the platter was completely empty! (and this was on our office's slowest day too!) And people came back for seconds and thirds so I felt pretty good about it all.

And now, without further ado, the recipe for Southern Living's
"Miraculous cannot be overbaked brownies" aka "So good Brownies"
**I would not necessarily try to overbake them...i may have just had a special guardian angel in my oven that day**

4 (1-oz) unsweetened chocolate baking squares
3/4 cup butter
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
3 large eggs
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/8 tsp. salt

1. Preheat oven to 350. Line bottom and sides of an 8 in. pan w/aluminum foil, allowing 2 to 3 inches to extende over sides. lightly grease foil.
2. Microwave chocolate squares and butter in a large microwave safe bowl at HIGH 1 1/2 to 2 minutes or until melted and smooth, stirring at 3o second intervals. Whisk in granulated and brown sugars. Add eggs, 1 at a time, whisking just until blended after each addition. Whisk in flour, vanilla and salt.
3. Pour mixture into prepared pan.
4. Bake at 350 for 40 to 44 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out with a few moist crumbs. Cool completely on wire rack (about 1 hour). Lift brownies from pan using foil sides as handles. Gently remove foil and cut into 16 squares.

**the magazine & website give several ideas for mix-ins and variations on the recipe that sound amazing!!**

btw...Butch has been very pouty the past couple weeks due to her parents' busyness.


Magazine winner and Real Simple giveaway!!

Remember this giveaway that I have procrastinated in finishing?? Well, today I picked it and the random winner is the 3rd post by lakegirl! Congratulations!! Send your mailing address to me at sarahw5484@gmail.com and I will send it out right away!


Now for another even better giveaway--I was already planning to get someone a gift subscription to Real Simple, which is one of my very favorite magazines ever. Well, they are currently offering a two for the price of one deal on gift subscriptions, and I couldn't decide who to send the extra magazine to, so I figured that I would send it to one of my lovely readers!! All you have to do is post a comment here and let me know what your favorite magazine is. (if you are reading this under my facebook notes, be sure to enter on the actual blog) The contest will be closed on Thursday, December 10, so hurry up and order for your chance at a FREE ONE YEAR subscription to Real Simple magazine!!

**entries limited to US residents only...sorry!**

Friday, December 4, 2009

lost my "mojo'

do you ever have a day when things are just off?? I have had that week--especially when it comes to the baking!

The week started with working from 8 am to 12 in the morning because I had to do our month-end close down at work. normally, this is a fairly painless process, just taking about 2 extra hours. Well, this time there was a perfect storm of crazy factors intent on making it ridiculous. The two preceding weeks had been shortened work weeks for me--one due to that miserably nasty stomach virus that kept me in bed, and the next being Thanksgiving....so when I realized that Monday would be the last day of the month I had an idea that it would not be good. I was several days behind in posting payments, but to do month end you have to do have all payments posted, all statements and insurance claims billed, and all charges posted and journals closed. By the normal "end" of the day I still had about $13,000 worth of payments to post, as well as sending statements and claims. Then the "late night" receptionist came to me b/c she was missing some encounter forms which she needs in order to post the final charges. After finding all but one I told her ot go home and I would either leave the encounter open till the next day or find it. Well, I couldn't get it out of my head until I had checked every possible location in the office, so I wasted quite a bit of time that I should have spent posting my payments b/c it turned out that the patient had been admitted to the hospital. Well, by the time I finished my "work" and was ready to run the final reports, the system back up was already running, and therefore made the reports and statements take about twice as long as normal. I got a lot of other things done in that time, but it was driving me crazy!! Once 11:30 hit I told myself that I would finish sending out the mail I had printed, and if it wasn't done by then I would just clock out and let the report finish running over night--right when i was about to stuff my last envelope the report popped up on my screen!! I almost seriously cried with joy! By that time I was so tired that after I shut everything down I carried the mail out to my car!! Also, the one night that I was out late, we had our first really hard frost, and my car was completely iced over! I couldn't find my scraper, so I turned the car on w/the defroster & heat on high and slowly inched it blindly towards the building and then ran inside to put the mail back. I came back and found a scraper on the floor and drove home to pass out.

The next day everything was just off with the office and staff and I came in an hour late due to working super late the night before. I got a few baked goods orders to make when I got home and got everything done. I've tried to get some Christmas shopping in but am seriously striking out every time! I have managed to get a few small things for hubs and a gift for my massage therapist...but that is it! I need to get on the ball here! One of my coworkers requested brownies for her birthday... I will post about those later but that's when my baking started messing up a bit...I baked them the recommended time but decided they needed an additional five minutes which I set on the timer and then got enveloped in something else...who knows what. Well, apparently I did not turn the timer on. Normally I can really smell when things are about ready but maybe all the Christmas candles threw my smeller off. I didn't remember the brownies until at least 20 more minutes had passed!!! miraculously, they were okay, but I was a bit frustrated.

In addition to the work craziness, I am having another Open House this weekend for Scentsy, Creative Memories, and my baked goods. Well, my house was still in shambles from last week;s Thanksgiving orders and baking, and after this crazy work week nothing else had been done. I started planning my treats to make on Wednesday night and began separating the dry ingredients...well, even though I read and re-read my ingredient list I measured baking powder into my molasses spice cookies instead of baking soda. I did some furious research online and something said that you could double the amount of baking powder to replace baking soda and, though they may taste a little different, they should still work. The next day when I was doing all the baking, I doubled the milk called for in the icing of my iced peanut butter cookies...then when I made my fudge pie there was a weird goopy looking crater in the center. Once again, I forgot to set the timer on my snickerdoodles so they baked for a lot longer than normal... I spent way too much time on things I could practially do in my sleep at this point. I don't know...I'm just feeling "off" Everything ended up tasting fine though the textures of things are not the same as normal, but whatever, it's still free food for people to eat!

I think I'm just worn out after this week. I've spent over two hours tonight catching up on all the blogs I subscribe to but haven't been able to read this week...I think I just need to go to bed and hopefully it will be better in the morning!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

100 posts!

For my 100th post I decided to do 50 random things about me...so enjoy! (planned to do 100...but I was having a hard time coming up w/things and didn't want to keep postponing other blog topics)

1. I was born in Johnson City, Tennessee, but I have lived in Bowling Green, Kentucky since I was about 2 years old.

2. I was born with a perforated intestine and had to have multiple surgeries during the first few weeks and months of my life. I became septic and almost died. Even though I had all the surgeries, the doctors were not able to locate the perforation, but it miraculously healed itself! The doctor said it was a "medical miracle"

3. I still have a huge scar across my stomach from the surgeries. It creates an indentation in the middle of my stomach...and in the center of it you can still see the needle holes from where I was stitched up. When I was younger I used to stick earrings through the holes to freak my friends out.

4. I ADORE Christmas :) I am so happy and filled with Christmas spirit this year that I almost cry with joy when I hear the Christmas songs in stores :)

5. When I was little I was VERY bad at naming our pets...I had cats named Blackey, Whitey, and Pretty. original right?

6. I have always wanted to be a mom, but now that I'm in a place where it is a possibility, the thought of having children scares me to death!

7. I have compulsive tendencies which manifest mostly when it comes to shopping...I buy things in multiples when I get interested in them and therefore have stuffed my house to the brim!

8. I love children's books. my favorite authors are Rosemary Wells, and (of course) Beatrix Potter (i recently got all the peter rabbit series for 1.99 per book!)

9. I grew up shopping only at consignment shops and discount stores like TJ Maxx so I don't really know how to shop at retail stores where everything is organized and displayed nicely--it doesn't seem as fun unless I have to dig!

10. Shopping in these types of stores is bad for me b/c since the inventory is always changing, I feel like I have to buy it right then or I might lose it! so I often buy things I don't really need or have use for...

11. I love using my hands and being crafty...I knit, sew, scrapbook, make clay ornaments, and of course, bake. I love trying new hobbies and dabbling in a bit of everything.

12. I adore reading and buying books. I have at least 6 bookshelves in my house with everything from religious studies and philosophy books to cookbooks, craft books and chick lit--not to mention the magazines!

13. I have crazy wild dreams and nightmares. Most of them are located at my childhood home, a big hotel (where we used to go for campus crusade winter conferences), daytona beach, or my church. I regularly have dreams about being chased and running through stairwells and also trying to fly.

14. My husband refuses to listen to my dream stories anymore. He thinks I'm crazy.

15. I love old movies (especially musicals). When I was little we would check them out from the library. One time I cried because we had to give the Ten Commandments (Charlton Heston version of course) back and the librarian extended our check out time.

16. I don't really like current movies, and I pretty much refuse to watch dramas or anything that will stress me out or make me cry.

17. I have very eclectic taste in music, but lately have been gravitating towards more indie bands. In general, I like music that has a sleepy dream-like quality.

18. I still have almost all my childhood toys--I wanted to keep every one for my future children to play with. They are all still in my parent's attic.

19. The only toy I ever got rid of was my "brightly" doll--I little pink bean-shaped plastic thing that would glow when you squeezed it. I gave it away at a children's toy drive, and I wished I had it back for years and years. **i just tried googling it and apparently it was one of the "snugglebums" dolls**

20. My favorite food as a child was my granny's biscuits and gravy and she would make them for me any time we would visit. I liked them so much that my dad called me "biscuit"

21. I went to a very strict Fundamentalist Baptist school called Anchored Christian School. There were only 2 other girls in my class, and I had the same teacher for 1st, & 4th-7th grade.

22. I have worked at my office for 9 years--it is the same pediatric office that I went to as a child (and was still officially a patient until 3 years ago when they made me get a "grown-up" doctor for my chronic health issues). I got my job there b/c I was in the office 2x a week for allergy shots, so I figured it would be a good after school job! I asked if they hired people under 18...persevered through years of filing and copying after school...and now I'm the Office Manager!

23. I started dating my hubs during our senior year of high school. We stayed together all through college and have been happily married for 3 years!

24. The house that hubs and I bought was the home of my childhood pastor and I used to come here and play with his daughter when I was little. We bought the house from a family who was also in ministry and one of my former Bible study girls had her first kiss here when the old owners lived here! lots of fun history...

25. I have never purchased a new car--I bought "my" car from my parents when hubs and I got married for a few hundred dollars...it is a 1989 camry, almost as old as I am! We've tossed around the idea of getting a "new" car (aka...something made in the past decade) but I just can't justify it when all I do is drive to and from work!

26. I never have enough clean spatulas, whisks, or mixing bowls.

27. I am a pack rat, as is my husband. Our little house is full to bursting already!

28. I am obsessive about recycling. I keep a box under my desk at work to recycle junk mail, boxes, and cans and bottles and then take it home to recycle. It literally hurts me to throw things away that could be reused! I HATE WASTE!!!

29. I compost food scraps even though I don't garden...(see #28)

30. I like to dress my pets in clothes. I did this when I was a kid too, but thankfully Butch is okay with it. Kitty...not so much.

31. I have too many magazines to read.

32. I love TV on DVD and will watch an entire series over a weekend or two (and will watch them over and over)

33. I hate hand-washing dishes.

34. The sweetest present that hubs ever gave me was 3 months into our relationship, he bought me a new copy of my favorite childhood book "Why Do You Love Me" about a little bear cub and it's momma. In one part of the book the bear sees other naughty bear cubs who have run away from their mothers b/c they didn't want to have the burrs combed out of their fur. One night when I was little I ran away from my mom after bathtime saying "I don't want you to comb the burrs out of my furs!!"

35. I was a Religious Studies major in college, and needed to choose a minor in order to have enough credits to graduate. I was really interested in psycholgy, but my campus was located on a huge hill. The Religious Studies building was at the very top of the hill, and the psychology building was at the very bottom...so I chose philosophy because it was on the same floor of the same building as Religious studies. No other reason. And I HATED philosophy by the end!

36. I got an "A" in my college Metaphysics and Epistemology class (required for the Philosophy degree)...but I never actually learned what either of those terms mean, and still could not define them for you!

37. I cry when I watch the Little Mermaid when she says bye to her daddy in the end.

38. My dad performed hubs' and my wedding ceremony, and we got married on my parent's front porch. It was lovely and so so sweet. (they have an old plantation-type house built in 1848)

39. We went on our honeymoon to Bar Harbor, Maine, and it was perfect!!

40. I became a Christian at a very young age and was baptized by my daddy. I remember that I wore my new sparkly bathing suit under the baptism robes and I thought that there would be sparkles in the water because of it.

41. I cannot sleep without hearing the sound of a fan. Hubs is the same, and one of the first conversations that we ever had was in English class our senior year--the power had gone off in the middle of the night and our fans had gone off so we both woke up so we were both really tired.

42. Before we started dating we had gone on a trip to Texas for a robot competition for our physics class. During the trip we played a game called "murder in the dark" and we were "secret partners" and anytime that I was supposed to be the "killer" I would squeeze his hand and he would do it instead. We both liked different people during the trip, but it was the start of our friendship.

43. After my sophomore year of college I went on a 6 week mission trip to Russia. We traveled all over and went to Perm, Ekaterinburg, Moscow, and some other city that I can't remember the name of...It was absolutely amazing though. I'm so thankful to have had that experience.

44. My parents are ministers with Campus Crusade for Christ--a college based ministry. Because of this I have been able to travel all over the country, spend summers in the mountains and on the beach, and meet some amazing people, all while learning more about God!

45. I discovered blogging last year through some Bible study girls and have quickly gotten hooked! I love having an outlet for my thoughts, a place to share my baking adventures and general experiences, and connecting and reconnecting with amazing people!

46. When I was little my mom always encouraged us to get in the kitchen. We had mini baking pans and she would let us experiment with recipes. The worst I think was the "coke cake". I know that some really good cake recipes include cola, but we did not do it right!!

47. I used to love getting my mom's kitchen utensils out and playing with the pots & pans and colanders and whisks...One time I was banging on the pots and she came in to tell me to stop b/c she had a headache. I replied with "But I'm making a joyful noise unto the Lord!!"(psalm 100:1) Now how could a mother say no to that??

48. I am extremely close to both my parents. Of course, I went through the rockey phases of adolescence (compounded by bad boyfriends) but now we have wonderful relationships. My dad and I have a special bond and get very emotional about one another (this can lead to lots of crying). My mom and I are less emotional but are wonderful friends. We are so similar--if you go to both of our houses you will see a lot of the same dishes and furniture, our walls are the same colors...it's really funny! I think I'm a good mix of both of them.

49. A few years ago I caught mono and then developed Chronic Fatigue Syndrome & Fibromyalgia. It caused me to change a lot of my habits and has definitely been hard, but I have learned the joy of resting!!

50. The most important thing to me is glorifying God through my relationships with other people. Whether that means being a good wife and (eventually) mother, a friend to listen and encourage, a leader, or a follower, I strive for that above all.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Thursday Thankfuls

Instead of "Friday Favorites" this week I'm going to do "Thursday Thankfuls" in honor of the often-ignored holiday of Thanksgiving. As much as I ADORE and look forward to Christmas, in my family it was always a rule that we would not skip over Thanksgiving by decorating early or listening to Christmas music or any of that. Hubs still holds me to that even though being a grown up makes me want to rebel and have Christmas all the time! ;)

One of our family traditions is to do a "Thankful Tree" each year. At each place setting my parents put a paper leaf (in autumn colors of red, yellow, orange, or brown of course) and a pen, and each person writes down things that they are thankful for (some times we get more than one leaf, some times we cram it all on one). We go around the table and everyone reads what they have written on the leaf, then we tape the leaves onto a tree branch which is displayed in a flower pot by the table. It's easy to give the "Sunday School" answers in that setting ("i'm thankful for God, my family, and my friends") and so often we still just go through the habit of saying things, but it is so important to really give thanks for all the blessings in our lives.

So here is my digital "thankful tree" for this year:

-My faith in Christ. This has been a hard year for so many people. Personally, I've lost my grandmother, had some difficult times at work, struggled continually with my health and weight, and gone through some hard transitions emotionally; but through it all I still have hope and peace in Christ. I've also moved from my former way of looking at my faith as something to just be studied, and am learning more how to live and apply it.

-Hubs. Honestly, I've been really cranky w/him today (and vice versa) but I am blessed to have him. I have seen some real scum-bags hurt people I love this year, but no matter what we he and I go through, I am able to trust him and know that my trust will not be broken. He is a wonderful man who works incessantly to provide for me, he always trys to make me laugh, and he encourages me through everything.

-My family. It was a very trying year for our family. The sickness and passing of my dad's mom was emotionally draining. I am so grateful that she stayed with them during her sickness b/c I was able to see her much more than I would have if she had still been in Owensboro. I think it also brought out a lot more honesty in my family about how we are all doing. We were able to lean on each other more than we normally do: to reveal our weaknesses and ask for help when we needed it. I also spent more time with my sister and connected with her more than I have since we were really little kids.

-My job. Just having a secure job in this economy is something to be thankful for, but I am especially thankful for the great relationships that I have there. I can honestly say that I love and care for all my coworkers. We have all been through some crazy times this year (personally, and as an office) but I think we've handled it well.

-Butch. :) My little bulldog is nothing but love! I know that no matter what happens one day, when I come home she will be wiggling with joy as soon as she sees me! I spoil her rotten, but she spoils me right back!

-Freedom to pursue my passions. This year I have really appreciated the flexibility of my schedule to allow me to do things like bake and blog and even to start selling some baked goods. We're still in a decent place financially that has allowed me to do this as well.

-Re-kindled friendships. I have struggled some with so many of my friends and former Bible study girls having moved, but have reconnected with some friends that I wasn't as close to previously. Some relationships have been re-formed through the blog world and transitioned into "real life" and I have learned how to pursue some of my long-distance friendships better. I guess in this stage of life I am figuring out how to go from being a "leader" in bible study-type settings as the primary purpose of my relationships, to just having peer relationships. I like it. It's very freeing.

-My home. I just love it. Yes, it is cluttered and mostly messy, and somehow hubs and I have managed to fill it all the way already, but it is a nice comfy little home where people feel welcome.


Well, there are lots more things that I could write, but I need to go make some muffins. :) (i'm also thankful for baked goods) What are you most thankful for this year?

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

TWD: Sugar Topped Molasses Spice Cookies

Yay!!! I finally made one of November's recipes!!!!!! I have been super lazy this month when it comes to the baking challenges, but not to the other baking, but it just makes me so happy to be able to try new recipes. I love the favorites that everyone requests, but I like to try new things.


If you've been following any other TWD bakers (sadly not me) you know that we have been given the freedom to bake out of order this month. Apparently I need stricter guidelines b/c if I have too much flexibility, I just don't do it!



Well, I'm so happy that I took the time to make these cookies b/c they are AMAZING! I have been wanting a good ginger cookie recipe and these are so wonderful. I baked them for 12 minutes and they came out wonderfully crisp and chewy. The pepper is a great touch as well.


Mine didn't get the crinkly tops that I saw in so many other blogs and the pictures, but they are yum yum yum so I don't even care! I rolled some in regular sugar, and some in raw sugar for a little extra crunch. If you want the recipe for these (and you know you do!) head over this post by Pamela from Cookies with Boys or go BUY THE BOOK!! you won't regret it!

I really wanted to make some of the other recipes for this month, but just don't know if I'll be able to. Head over to the TWD website to see the other assignments and recipes.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

the fat shelf

a peak into my fridge...yes, that is an entire shelf devoted to cream cheese and butter




also...here's a cake order i did last week




Saturday, November 21, 2009

my new favorite song

One Day Like This by Elbow

Here's a link f/m Youtube...








I'm a sucker for strings!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Friday Favorites, and where I"ve been

Sorry I have been MIA for the last week or so! I have been SICK. And not my normal CFS/Fibro stuff...and nasty horrible miserable stomach virus that made me want to DIE!!! okay....maybe i'm being a little melodramatic...but it was bad. So bad that I didn't even blog!! And it lasted for four days...I'm still not totally better...I have a little pain, but I am mostly better. Needless to say, I have not been baking much. I sadly had to cancel two orders for earlier this week, but was able to catch up with two more last night, and another pumpkin roll today.

Last weekend (before I got sick) I went to Louisville and had a WONDERFUL time with some old friends--I stayed with a group of former Bible study girls, went to the baby shower of my former Bible study leader, and saw tons of people that I love and miss. It was weird b/c almost wherever we went, I saw people that I had known from college in the town where I live, but now they've all moved to another town. funny. Tonight I'm headed to Nashvilled to spend the weekend with my best friend and I am so excited!!!

In other health news, I saw my doctor about my foot pain and he says it is plantar fasciitis and put me on some more anti-inflammatories and gave me some stretches to do. He said special orthodics probably won't help me b/c I actually have good foot shape, but to keep wearing tennis shoes and all that other fun stuff. We also talked about my vitamin D levels which the doctor in Franklin had tested, and he said my levels were some of the lowest he'd ever seen so he put me on 50,000 (!) milligrams of vitamin D once a week and I'm actually going to try this for a while and not get a new hormone implant quite yet to see if this helps at all. Money's tight and that will save $500 and then I'll see if I still stay feeling a little better or if I think the hormone stuff is necessary...

And now, for my favorite of this week (which is kinda ironic considering the bad state of my stomach)...Mexican food!!!! YUM!!! I never ever don't want it. Taco Bell is my favorite fast food. Every time I go to a real mexican restuarant I LOVE chimichangas...and you all know my love of "Mexican mush" Even when I was horribly sick, I just wanted to get better so I could eat Mexican food, and I ate it a little too soon...but it was worth it. Do you have a favorite type of food?

Well, that's my update for now--I plan to be more active in the following weeks!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

freudian slip??

so i was just posting a comment on the blog of my online friend and weight-loss inspiration, Erin...she was asking how people planned to beat the holiday weight gain and this is what i typed:

"i desperately want to do butter"

i meant to say "better" and of course i edited it before submitting my post (though i did let her know about my little slip) but i honestly made myself laugh out loud. maybe this is how i really feel deep down...i don't want to be healthy...i want butter!!! hahaha


just had to share

twd-less

if you haven't noticed...i am not up to par w/the Dorie baking over the past few weeks. between my awful foot pain and the large amount of baked goods that are still sitting on my counter, i'm just going to have to take a little break. hopefully i will be back up and running with it all soon!

ps--i have a doctor appt. on friday morning about my feet--so pray that it will go well!

Monday, November 9, 2009

breaking news...i just found out that my former pastor (who also used to live in the house that hubs and i bought) was the officiating pastor at khloe kardasian's wedding on E!--weird...

pain

I am feeling very discouraged tonight. for the past few weeks I have been having very severe foot pain. My massage therapist had suggested that I may have plantar fasciitis last year, and I have always assumed that that is what it is b/c my mom has been diagnosed with it. Tonight I was trying to get in some cardio b/c I really want to lose weight and get in shape, and by the end of ten minutes I was in so much pain that I had to stop--I was almost in tears! I got on the internet to see if there is anything to do to help it, and in the side bar I saw something that said "fibromyalgia foot pain." It made my heart sink. I know about all the tender points and all that fun stuff, but I didn't realize that this could be a symptom of my fibro. It just made me feel hopeless. I looked at some FM websites and they all described exactly how I feel--severe shooting pain over the entire bottom of the foot, it hurts in the morning, and it is bad even if you haven't been on your feet much, but being on your feet is excruciating. bah. I am still going to make an appt. w/my PCP to talk about getting a referral to a podiatrist--maybe there are at least some "special shoes" or inserts or SOMETHING that will help the pain a little. I already wear tennis shoes most days and have 3 sets of inserts in them! But the reality is that if it's my fibro, there isn't much to do about it.

I guess I had gotten kinda cocky. I have definitely had a decrease in my symptoms and pain levels since starting the hormone replacement therapy, and I just thought this was something unrelated. I thought that I may have some type of flare-up with my symptoms after such a busy weekend, but I didn't expect this. And I am super discouraged about this kind of pain b/c I had just started really getting into exercising again, but how the crap am I supposed to do cardio if it kills me to be on my feet? ARGHHH!!!

Well, sorry for such a bummer post, but I just needed to share. Pray for me as I deal with yet another symptom. It makes me discouraged about the future and worried that I am taking on too much.

I am in bed super early once again and have taken some extra meds, but I just want to feel better!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

some days i accomplish nothing--and today was one of those days. i have been totally exhausted after my (very successful) open house, and slept late and then spent the day doing...i really don't know what...but i ate too many cookies. that is for sure. i have been cuddling w/butchy, i did manage to do two loads of laundry so i guess that's something, but otherwise i'm just feeling outlandishly lazy. i'm actually contemplating getting in bed....hmm...it's just 8:30 and i took a nap f/m 3:30-5....but it sounds lovely. okay. it is decided. i'm getting in bed!! yay!


**i'm realizing this post is completely pointless, but sometimes it's nice to throw your pointlessness out for the world to see, right?

Friday, November 6, 2009

Last night (after baking and cleaning from 9 am to 1:30 am for my Open House) I had a dream that we were in possession of a bag of evil/cursed Cheddar Sun Chips. There was some type of disclaimer on the back of the bag about not trusting any strange impulses you may have while the chips were in your house, and somehow, the chips managed to turn on any lights that I turned off. We ate them and the curse went away...

I think I'm going crazy!

Friday Favorites and a Giveaway!

If you've been following my blog for a while you know that I have a problem with buying things in multiples, especially magazines...

The magazines have been accumulating over the past year since my subscription mania event, though I am starting to let many of my subscriptions lapse, but I absolutely ADORE the special Holiday baking editions. And by adore, I mean, well...


I have purchased 18 this holiday season...(that's just Christmas themed, there are also fall & halloween issues that I did not count)
**i'm whispering this so that hopefully hubs won't read it...shhh--don't tell on me!**

Well, as I have unfortunately not kept up with the reading of the magazines as I come in, to my shock and horror I saw that I had purchased two copies of the same issue!! boo!


Better Homes & Gardens Ultimate Cookies edition
**I think I was confused by the fact that the title to one is in shiny letters and the other isn't**

So I figured that I would use my confusion to benefit someone else, so I'm doing my first giveaway!!

If you want to be entered to win a free copy of this, just leave a comment and let me know if you have any favorite Christmas cookies to bake or eat! (if you are reading this on facebook but want to be entered into the drawing, head over to my actual blog and enter a comment here)

Sorry that I haven't been very active lately--I missed TWD this week, but I have been doing a ton of baking and work for my Open House this weekend so I am beat! Hopefully I will be able to catch up on everything soon!


Saturday, October 31, 2009

Happy Halloween!


From my little pumpkin to yours!

Friday, October 30, 2009

Friday Favorites

So, here is the thing that I love so much that I started this weekly series, b/c I felt too silly to write a post devoted to it otherwise!!




My Keychain!!!

Okay, I realize that it is not necessarily "normal" for a person to have what can only be labeled as true love for something as silly as a keychain, but I really do love it.

To help shed some light on why I like it so much, here is a contrast:


My Purse

I have what you might call "boy Scout syndrome" being that I feel the need to be prepared for everything. That is why I have my huge "mom purse" --it really does have anything I could possibly need: medicine, wipes, q-tips and band aids, a bit of makeup, coupon & receipt organizers, a mini lysol spray bottle, day planner, and who knows what else!

My keychain, on the other hand, has everything that I actually need: chapstick, a fingernail clipper, a mini bottle of hand sanitizer, mini cards for store memberships, and a card holder for my driver's liscense, credit cards, & insurance cards--oh, and keys ;) (the only thing that could make it better is to have a way to attach my cell phone!)

When I want to run somewhere without lugging my huge heavy purse, I can just leave it in the car and know that I have everything I need! And I know that I'm never going to get caught driving without my liscense, proof of insurance, or money to get gas b/c it's attached to my car keys!

What about you? Do you have any tools that you depend on?

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Oh NO!!

So I totally forgot to do the Daring Bakers assignment!! Or, more accurately, I forgot that today was the due date. I was planning to do them this weekend. boo. I still want to try my hand at french macaroons, but don't know when I'll make it happen. They are just so lovely...

If you are interested in how they are made be sure to check out the challenge hostess (Ami)'s site and Helen of Tartlette seems to be the unanimous blog queen when it comes to the art of macaroon making.

TWD: Cherry fudge brownie torte

This week's TWD assignment was chosen by April of Short + Rose





I was really excited about this one, #1 because I have not had luck making brownies from scratch, and even though these are not normal brownies, I found a great new recipe; and #2 I LOVE the brownie/cherry combo!


I halved the recipe b/c I knew that this is one that hubs wouldn't be into. I thought it came out very delicious, and the mousse on top had a white-chocolate flavor to me, even though the main ingredients were marscapone, cream cheese, & cream. I didn't have any kirsch, so I used some rum that I had on hand from making tiramisu previously, and I was not able to flambe the rum-soaked cherries--most of the alcohol had evaporated before I was able to make it over w/my skewer and get it lit!



I forgot to take it to work today, but I'm gonna take the rest to the office tomorrow so that I don't have this decadent torte sitting in the fridge calling my name! (I did exercise today though! yay me!)

And b/c I can't resist, here is a very sad bulldog b/c her parents had to go back to work after a super fun weekend



she kinda melts into the couch

Thanks for the pick April, and if anyone wants the recipe, be sure to check out her blog or buy Dorie's book (b/c it's super fabulous)

Sunday, October 25, 2009

spiders

I have had lots of dreams about spiders lately (and by lately, I mean since I got sick in 2007, but increasingly more frequent).

Now I'm not scared of spiders in real life at all. I am the "bug killer" in my house--while hubs runs shrieking from them (truly not much of an exaggeration at all) I calmly grab something with which to smush them and calm my husband. I even picked up a black widow earlier this year (not really on purpose though...)

But I'm very confused about the spiders in my dreams. They have been a source of sleep walking and sleep talking apparently. The first incident that I've ever had when I've gotten out of bed in my sleep was very shortly after I got epstein barr in '07. I woke up and I was standing on my tip-toes in the corner of my bedroom whimpering about the spiders. weird. Then later that year I had another dream where I was trying to step over spiders, and ended up stepping (or falling) right into a pile of junk including a mirror and hubs' fan, and then crawling back into bed before completely waking up and realizing that I was in pain!! More recently I have crawled across the floor and woken up by the loveseat in our bedroom trying to kill spiders on the floor, and one time I jumped out of bed and fell back into my nightstand...

Come to think of it...I'm not the only one affected by this--hubs had a sleep-crouching incident where I woke up to him crouching on the floor in front of the bathroom muttering about spiders...

And then there was last night...I didn't get out of bed this time, but I sat straight up--I remember the dream well...I was lying in my bed and all these spiders started streaming from the corner of the room and then I realized that there were brown recluse spiders in the bed, so I felt that I needed to get up and wake up my husband and kill the spiders. Apparently I screamed out loud and woke hubs up and I was beginning to come out of my sleeping stupor and was trying to explain to him what I was doing (trying to kill the spiders of course!). Well, I must not have been coherent b/c he yelled "SARAH" very loudly which made me want to cry. He said he was just trying to wake me up b/c I was trembling and mumbling incoherently. weird. And as far as I can recollect, I have not taken my sleeping meds on any of the nights that these incidents have happened, so it shouldn't be a side effect.

I wonder why this is becomming a recurring thing in my dreams? And they always seem to be coming out of the corner on my side of the bed...

Know what made me remember this and prompted me to write this post? This super cute themed post from Bakerella! lol. (those are definitely not the spiders in my dreams btw...or I would eat them up!)

Hopefully there will be no spiders in my dreams tonight...

Friday, October 23, 2009

Friday Favorites!

I've decided to start a new series every Friday where I will post about one of my favorite things!

So this post is going to be about....Fridays!!!

Friday is a favorite for most people, being the end of the average working week, but it is especially wonderful for me.

When I got sick w/CFS & fibromyalgia in 2007 I was allowed to drop my work schedule to 4 days a week (which is the same schedule that everyone else in my office already had) and have Fridays off for rest. The schedule really helped me to be able to make it through a normal week without having my symptoms flare up too much, even though I normally start feeling sick by Thursday afternoon. I still get sick during the week sometimes--especially considering how many germs I am constantly exposed to working ina Pediatric doctor's office...but the three day weekend really allows me to recouperate and not be so drained that I can't do anything else during the weekends (like clean!).

I generally spend a good amount of Friday sleeping to be honest. My body is really tired and achy after a crazy work week, and then after that I tend to schedule doctor appointments and occasionally get to spend some time with friends b/c hubs is always filming games on Friday nights.

I am so thankful to have a job that allows flexibility with my schedule and I truly appreciate my favorite day of the week!

What is your favorite day?

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

the day I should have stayed in bed, or how God can change your perspective

No TWD this week, though Erin's pick of the Sweet potato biscuits looked quite yummy--I even bought an extra sweet potato this week, but oh well...it was not in the cards for me...

Do you ever have one of those days when, from the second you hit the alarm clock, you know that it is not going to be a good day? Well, that is definitely the way that today started off! First off, I'm sick. Apparently trying to push through my yuck-ness and clean on Sunday was a bad choice, and it left me in bed on Monday. I woke up this morning in pain, but didn't want to let work keep piling up so I dragged myself groggily into the shower. After slogging through my morning routine (and taking a quick break to snuggle Butch), I got into the car to finally head to work. As I was backing out of the garage and driveway I heard a huge crash and my car jolted to a stop: I had run into the cement barrier that allows the drainage pipe to run under the driveway.

And then my car was tilted.

I got out to see that I had completely blown my back passenger-side tire. I called the office, debating over coming in late or just calling in altogether, and was told by one of our receptionists that two of the other front staff had already called in that day.

I went in the house, told hubs what happened, and sat on the bed and cried while he went out to look at the car and call my dad for help (my dad is definitely a mister-fix-it; hubs, not so much, but they trade handyman services for computer help). Well, dad is in North Carolina at a conference, so we left the poor little car in the driveway and hubs drove me to work.

I struggle w/depression, and this has definitely been one of those times (I got into a funk a few days ago, but of course this morning brought everything to a head). I have been feeling all "woe is me" lately...sad b/c of the lack of time that hubs and I have been able to spend together due to his work schedule, tired of feeling sick, frustrated about re-gaining some weight I had lost, and just all around mopey. Then I've been having nightmares about all the crazyness that has been happening at the office where I work. I have been grumpy w/hubs when we are together--you know those times when you are just determined to be miserable, even if nothing is really wrong? It's been one of those times.

So hubs was driving me to work, and instead of being thankful for the extra time that we had together, I was just sitting there pouting like Eeyore w/a grey cloud hanging over my head (even when he made a joke that Butch had purposefully pushed my car into the concrete w/her magical bulldog mind powers b/c she wanted me to stay home to cuddle). I got to the office, and though everything went smoothly for being short staffed, I was cranky. When hubs said that he didn't think he could bring me lunch b/c he had to go out of town to a client, I was crabby while I ate the leftover sandwich in the work refridgerator. When my throat started hurting more and the sinus pressure got bad, I just fussed about how I would rather be in bed. I even mentally prepared to write this post and show pictures of how I had hurt my poor little car and how my day was so awful.
.
.
.
.
And then, when it was finally 5:00 and time to go, hubs called and told me that he was here so I went out the door....and there was my car!! He had taken time out of his day to go buy a tire iron & jack, he had replaced my tire, driven it (still low on air) to Walmart to get it aired up and fixed (they couldn't really fix it b/c apparently I "broke the wheel," not bent the hubcap), and even walked to the mall so he could have something to eat and take care of my car at the same time--and then got a ride from his mom so that he could drop my car at work and then go back home so he could surprise me!

And just like that, my attitude changed. I realized that while I had been moping and complaining and feeling like my husband doesn't love me, I was just completely self-centered. When I grumbled about the sandwich I had for lunch, I should have been thankful that there was still something left over from the catered lunch the day before so that I could have something (free!) to eat! When I was upset about this bad luck w/my car, I should have been grateful that in nearly 10 years of driving that car (which is a 1989!!) this is the most damage that I have ever done to it, and it was all done in the safety of my own driveway! I should be grateful that we even have stable jobs, and that hubs' freelance business is also going so well, and thankful for the free time I have to do things like blog and bake for no reason except that I love doing it.

Now, I'm not trying to be all jolly-Pollyanna--I always want to be real and honest and sometimes life isn't happy, but I just feel grateful. God has blessed us in so many ways that I take forgranted.

My car is still not totally fixed. Hubs still loves sports more than I would like. My job is still crazy. I am still "pleasantly plump"-er than I would like. And my throat still hurts like crap, but perspective can change a lot!

funny story--so apparently when hubs asked them to fix the hubcap which was actually the wheel (which Walmart does not carry replacements for, by the way) they told him to go to a junkyard to try to find one. Hubs called his dad for advice, and his dad apparently had the same thing happent to him once. So....what did he do??? When asked what he did to replace the broken wheel, my father-in-law replied "I got a new car."

Sunday, October 18, 2009

finally accomplished something!

For the past several weeks (okay, really just always) I have been super lazy on the weekends. I always go into it w/great intentions and goals, and then I waste my time away looking at blogs or reading magazines, or just cuddling in my chair w/ butchy! The few times that I actually accomplish things, I usually don't start until 9:00 on Sunday night so I don't have time to do much of anything (as in this post when I only got the front seat of the car cleaned). Well, even though I started this morning feeling pretty miserable (for some reason, now that hubs' allergies have cleared up, mine have hit me in full force) I dedicated myself to finally accomplishing some things! I have been putting off emptying and disinfecting the cat litter box for too long, so that was one of my first tasks, followed by lining the box w/some sifting liners to make that job easier in the future! I also re-organized the laundry room and got together a box of stuff to take to my favorite consignment shop. I really cleaned the kitchen well and washed all the slipcovers and linens, and I watched two movies that were my favorites as a child: Thumbelina & Alice in Wonderland! I also made a dent in my magazine pile and got a lot of recipes logged. I am feeling pretty good about it!

But I still have a TON of things that need to be done. I'm going to post them here in the hope that it will help keep me accountable:

- I need to deep-clean our master bathroom which I am always lazy about b/c no one goes in there but us.
-The spare room has gotten out of control again, so I really have to get to work in there
-The formal living room floor needs a deep cleaning. I have been working on it bit by bit, but it just takes a lot out of me!!
-At some point (who knows when) I need to go through my magazines that I have been keeping forever, and clip out the articles I want and get rid of the rest. I'm thinking I'll get some new thick binders w/sheet protectors to make it easier
-Um, the master bedroom is also a wreck, and I need to go through the clothes that we have kept forever.
-I have a dresser in the garage that desperately needs to be painted when we have the warm front come in next week! Otherwise it will hang out in the garage until spring!

Okay...those are the pressing things that must get done...oh, and sometime I need to clean out the back of my car too!

Now does anyone have some tips on keeping things neat after they are cleaned?

Saturday, October 17, 2009

ps...

hubs has returned to our bed!!!

but apparently he came in at 2:30 and I was already asleep...

TWD remixed: Allspice Crumb muffin pudding

After a week in which I baked full recipes of both the TWD allspice muffins & the MSC pumpkin patch cupcakes, I was up to my ears is spiced goodies! This is not a good thing for a lady who is trying to make better choices with my eating habits. I gave away a LOT of the cupcakes, but there were still 4 lonely allspice muffins that had gone kinda stale.


As I have mentioned before, I HATE waste, so just tossing the muffins in the trash was not an option for me. I was lying in bed this morning at the very early time of 8:30 (for me, on a saturday morning, that is VERY early) pondering the muffins. And then it hit me--use them in a bread pudding!!

I adore bread puddings and have a go-to holiday recipe for eggnog bread pudding that I created using my homemade sourdough bread (I will share that later this season). It is oh-so-yummy, and I remembered what a wonderful breakfast it makes on cold mornings! Well, it's 40 degrees outside, and 60 in my house b/c we have not turned on the heat, so I popped out of bed to make a muffin pudding!





a steaming bowl of comfort pudding :)

It came out of the oven warm and bubbly and crisp on top and I must admit that I had seconds!

And here is the (kinda) recipe, I kinda just threw it together, so I'm approximating:

4 muffins (a few days old) from Dorie's Allspice Crumb Muffin recipe (found here) cut into cubes
(I realize that this is not a real "ingredient" for people to have on hand so you could really substitute any kind of stale cinnamon swirl bread, brioche, whatever. Just add some allspice to get the full effect)
approx. 1/2 cup walnuts
1 cup milk
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 egg
2 egg yolks
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice.


Butter a 1 quart baking dish and fill with muffin cubes and walnuts.

Whisk together remaining ingredients and pour over the bread/nut mixture. Lightly press down the bread cubes with the back of a spoon to make sure that all the bread is covered with the liquid mixture. Leave on the counter for 30 minutes to allow bread to soak up liquid.

Preheat oven to 350', then bake the pudding for 1 hour.

I think it's yummiest right out of the oven!



And for your viewing enjoyment, here is a cold weather bulldog:


sporting the colors of her favorite team: UK

Thursday, October 15, 2009

MSC: Pumpkin Patch Cupcakes

For this month's Martha Stewart's Cupcakes Club, Kim from What the Whisk chose the Pumpkin Patch Cupcakes from page 236 of Martha's Cupcakes book.

I made the full recipe even though I probably should have cut it in half considering that I still had some muffins left over f/m the TWD post this week.


I honestly had planned to make the marzipan pumpkins that are displayed in the book, but I wasn't able to make it to the Hobby Lobby in time for it (and even if I had, I definitely wouldn't have made them for every single cupcake! I settled for some cute little pumpkin Wilton cupcake wrappers that I already had on hand.



I thought these were really good...but maybe a tad dry. I used 1 cup of fresh pumpkin that I had recently put up and about 1/2 cup of canned. I also forgot to rotate the pans half way through...For some reason, the cupcakes that were on the top rack had crinkly tops, while the bottom ones were nicely rounded.

left= top rack, right=bottom

I took 2 dozen to work and came home empty-handed, so I think they were a hit!

Funny story: My co-worker Crystal doesn't like cream cheese icing (or anything w/cream cheese really...I know, she's crazy!) so I frosted 3 of them with some homemade buttercream that I had on hand from hubs' birthday. I sprinkled a little dash of pumpkin pie spice on the top of those to distinguish them as "Crystal's" cupcakes. Well one of our new (and very sweet) nurses went in to get a cupcake while I wasn't in my office to let her know that they were "special." Crystal found out about it and spent the rest of the day introducing the nurse to people as the "cupcake thief."

Another interesting thing...Butchy LOVES pumpkin. Everytime that I cook and puree one she can't wait to lick the bowl and utensils (but really...she's like that about most everything...). I ate one after dinner tonight and she kept sniffing the wrapper and trying to get to them on the cake plate. Well, of course I had to capture her cute longing




don't worry...she got close but didn't get any.

Thanks for a great pick Kim!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

TWD: Allspice Crumb Muffins

These muffins were super easy and yummy yummy yummy!! A perfect treat for these days that are finally feeling like fall :)

I had honestly not really given these much of a thought. After another CRAZY day at the office I was debating on what to do with my evening, especially since hubs would be gone once again filming a game (and for those of you who may be wondering...we have not had our first frost yet, so he's still sleeping in the other room. boo on him).

These past few months of baking (and eating) have done bad things to my waistline, so once again I am actually making a concentrated effort to eat better and get some exercise in. So I came home from work and immediately took Butch outside for a walk. We stopped to chat w/our neighbor across the street (yes...Butchy talks too) and while we were talking she (Butch, not the neighbor who is a man) squatted and pooped right in his yard!!!! I was so embarrassed. He said it was no big deal and not to bother picking it up, but when our conversation later turned to food I decided that these muffins would make a nice "I'm sorry that my bulldog pooped in your yard" gift. (Also, he said that I look like I've lost weight..and considering that I've gained 5 pounds, that definitely deserves a thank you!--plus it gets some muffins out of my house)


right before going into the oven

The muffins were super quick and easy to throw together. You basically have 3 steps: make the crumb topping, mix the dry ingredients, and mix the wet ingredients (okay...maybe a few more steps: you have to mix the dry and wet ingredients together, fill the muffin cups and top them w/the crumb topping). I didn't have whole milk on hand, so I mixed equal parts heavy cream and non-fat milk together...not sure if it really works right, but they came out fine! I might have over mixed the batter a little bit b/c I kept finding huge bits of dry ingredients that needed to be incorporated, but again, it did not seem to cause any problems.


right out of the oven

Much thanks to Kayte for choosing this perfect fall recipe! Be sure to head over to her blog: Grandma's Kitchen Table for the recipe, and, as always, check out the TWD blogroll to see how everyone else did!

mmm....yummy!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

let's clear something up.

for my 75th(!!) blog post, I would like to clear a little something up. I have been told by many people that I seem older than I am, and that's just fine with me...I have always felt much older than I am and my poor broken body definitely pushes me more in that direction...but I am 25 people!! And look what I got in the mail yesterday:



let's zoom in a bit to be sure you get the target audience of this magazine:


and the rear view:



oh wait...we have age ranges here too...maybe at least thirties would be included?


nope.

I guess it's better than last year when I got that advertisement for "final expense life insurance" (you know...to cover your funeral expenses and such) but still... does subscribing to southern living and cooking magazines and collecting dishes officially make me over 40? boo. I haven't even gotten to try to have kids yet!

In happier news, it is officially fall (I know that it really was a few weeks ago, but it's feeling like it now!) and I have baked and pureed my first batch of pumpkin for the year! yay!



Well, I had planned a longer and more fun post for this weekend, but I have too much cleaning to do so we'll have to try again later. Have a great week...and don't forget to act your age!! ;)

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

TWD...or not

Fun fact about Sarah: I HATE pudding. I know, I know, I said I'm not picky--and I'm really not-- but something about pudding's texture grosses me out. I am the same way about yogurt. They literally make me gag. Something about the thick globbiness of it. blech. I like bread pudding...I think I just need to be able to kinda chew it...

So when I saw that the TWD assignment for this week was a homemade split-level pudding, I said "no thank you!" From what I've read from others, the pudding is great (if you like pudding) but I was not going to spend time and ingredients on something that I didn't plan to eat--especially when I have cake and brownies left over from hubs' birthday this week! I had planned to try out my idea for re-thinking the cottage cheese pufflets dough f/m a few weeks ago into mini tart shells, but I was just plain tired! Thanks anyway to Garrett of The Flavor of Vanilla--and visit his blog if you're interested in getting the recipe. Also be sure to check the Tuesdays with Dorie blog roll to see how everyone else did.

Now I'm going to be lazy. goodnight!

Saturday, October 3, 2009

"Nice girls don't let men kiss them until after they're engaged--they don't want the bloom rubbed off"

"Personally, I think I have too much bloom...maybe that's my problem"

-Esther (Judy Garland) & Rose Smith from Meet Me in St. Louis

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

thoughts from this week

1. Mexican mush: my new favorite comfort food creation! After being on quite a Mexican kick over the past few weeks (I ate at Peppers for lunch and dinner of the same day--and got the chimichange both times!) I wanted to "re-create" one of my favorite parts of the meal. After eating my chimichanga (YUM) I love to mix together the beans, rice, and leftover condiments (guacamole, salsa, sour cream, & queso) and then scoop it up with chips. So I went to the store and bought mexican rice and refried beans and salsa & guacamole & queso and chips and it is so freakin yummy! (Note: this is also a good meal for clearing up your sinuses) Yes, it is lazy and unhealthy, but oh so delicious when one is feeling sick.


2. My pets are lazy


This is pretty much all they do.

3. Apparently I am not giving them enough water.

Butch has taken to drinking out of the rain bucket, and sometimes jumps into the bathtub to lick water out of the drain. yuck. (but look at that big fat belly hanging down! heehee!)

4. I think I need a new washer & dryer...for some reason my clothes are all shrinking!

Wait, what??? Are you suggesting that maybe it is from all the baking and mexican mush???? hmm....

strawberries & cream puff pastry tart

5. I got a very special compliment on my baking this week--I had thrown together a slightly modified version of this pumpkin roll recipe from Two Peas and Their Pod for one of hubs' friends and the guy's mother in law ate some and said I must have some Mennonite in me in order to bake so well! She ordered one for Thanksgiving, and said it is the best pumpkin roll she ever had! (sadly, I was in such a hurry that I didn't get a picture before he took it over to them)

6. I found this:

at TJ Maxx today and just know that it was designed just for me--I mean, a cupcake TEAPOT!?!? amazing! It is now sitting on my shelf at work to make me happy when I see it.

7. It is officially fall!!!! The weather is getting nippy, I am loving the spicy smells and pumpkins all over, some of the leaves are already changing, and tomorrow it will be October! Now if only the "first frost" would hurry up and get here so hubs will move back into our bedroom again! (he sleeps better in the other room due to his allergies)

8. For some reason, tonight I really feel aware that I am a grown up now. Not sure why. Just interesting.

9. I have signed up to become a Scentsy consultant. It's like candles, but without the flame or burning hot wax, and you can pick out super cute warmers and easily change out the scent bars. My mother-in-law bought me one of the warmers & scent bricks for my birthday, and everyone who walks into my office talks about how great it smells and asked where they could get them. The start up fee and order requirements are low, so I figured it would be a fun thing to do while I'm on my hiatus from Creative Memories--and there are no other consultants in this area! I don't have my personal site up yet, but let me know if you're interested b/c it's a really great product!

10. I thought that I was going crazy, b/c every night before bed I would set the alarm on my ipod dock, and then every morning the ipod power symbol was on and the alarm symbol was off, and of course I wasn't waking up on time. (thankfully, the pets seem to have built-in alarms to get up at 6:45 so I have only been a little late getting ready). I told hubs about it b/c this morning I actually saw that the alarm symbol was on at 6:25, yet it still did not go off. He looked at it, and I had somehow changed the settings! So instead of the alarm beeping, it was set to start playing music on the ipod, but since I keep forgetting the ipod at work there is nothing to play! oh me oh my. Sad that I couldn't figure this out myself!

11. Hubs will be 26 this week! I have to plan some treats for him--he's tired of all the fancy-schmancy stuff and just wants plain white cake w/white icing, and brownie batter from a mix. Silly boy.

12. Butch snores very loudly.

13. I have injured my wrist from lifting my new favorite water bottle!



It holds 64 oz. of water which almost gets me through the day, but it gets really really heavy!
(on a side note for this...be sure to look at your water bottle's washing instructions before sticking them in the dishwasher! I had a pink version of this bottle that I stuck in the dishwasher, and the heat completely warped to top so I couldn't use it at all! Thankfully, I saw on Erin's blog that they had them at Kohl's (we bought the same bottles within the same week!--just at different places) and I rushed there and bought the last one that they had. If there had been more, I totally would have bought all that they had b/c it's so freaking awesome!

14. I've realized that my tastes are changing. I had some cheap milk chocolate at work today and for the first time was really put off by the sugaryness of it. Then I got some tater tots w/my lunch today, and the grease from the frying made me feel really weird. I used to LOVE fried things from Sonic, but I guess not anymore! (and that is definitely a good thing)

btw...


I threw my Sonic bag from lunch in the trash--not the floorboard ;)