Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Prepare for happiness

Today is a good day.  GREAT DAY.  First off, my group got 25/25 on our Kinesiology presentation.  Sweet!  Then, because Bekka and I got out of our classes early we got to come home to eat lunch.  Man, I cannot tell you how delish food tastes when it has been prepared just minutes before you eat instead of the night before.  Not to mention it is so much nicer to eat in my own home instead of the smelly cafeteria. Oh yeah, and we didn't have to wait 30 minutes to use the microwave! 

Next-- found out that my class tomorrow is canceled.  This is pure music to my ears.  Anyway, I think I am on a spring high.  The weather is so gorgeous and I am obsessed with the flower trees that are blooming right now.  Not to brag or anything, but I wore shorts today. Makes me in such a good mood.  

Now I'm off to go hug a tree or something.  

Monday, February 25, 2013

Chocolate Chip Scones

Want an easy, no-fail recipe? This one never fails to impress.  Ever since I got this recipe from my good friend, Katie, I have taken them to tons of school events.  I also make them for Bekka and Joy every year for their birthdays.  Yum, yum!

2 cup flour
1 TBSP baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup sugar
1 cup chocolate chips
10 oz whipping cream (sometimes 12-14 oz needed)

Preheat oven to 425; place 2-3 tablespoons butter in dish and melt.
Combine dry ingredients, stir in cream, knead dough. Do not overmix. Drop onto pan and shape into scones. Place on parchment lined baking sheet or sprayed sheet. Brush with butter and sprinkle with sugar. Bake 12 min at 425.


Friday, February 22, 2013

Easy Tips for Falling Asleep

We all love our sleep.  But sometimes, it is really hard to fall asleep.  I have compiled a list of my favorite tips for falling asleep.  Some of them I'm sure you've heard before, but hopefully you can learn something new. And I'd always love to hear your ideas, so please share!

  • Make sure your skin and lips are moisturized... it may sound crazy but I've read that little discomforts like this can lead to a more fitful sleep

  • Use your bedroom just for sleep! Don't do work on your bed or lie in your bed to watch TV.  Also, don't clutter your room with distracting pictures, even if they are of family members.  (Now, I'll be honest... I don't follow this rule!)

  • Don't eat or exercise within a couple hours of bedtime

  • Keep a regular schedule AKA go to bed and wake up at approximately the same every day

  • Make sure your room is a comfortable temperature.  Personally, I can't stand a hot room when I'm sleeping.  Even in the winter, I keep a fan going full blast.  To me, a warm room keeps me awake and makes my sleep fitful.

  • One of the things that keeps me up the most is noise.  I like the white noise of a fan, but I also use ear plugs, which I fully believe are the best invention ever.

  • DON'T LOOK AT THE CLOCK, whatever you do! And don't lie in bed for hours stressing about falling asleep.  If I can't fall asleep, I usually get up and walk around for a few minutes.  If this doesn't help, I will read for a bit.  Almost always does the trick.

  • Try stretching before bed.  It not only relaxes your body, but it can also relax your mind.  For tips on my favorite way of streching, read this post about foam rollers.

  • Write things down before you go to bed.  If you have a to-do list floating around in your head, it creates stress and keeps you from falling asleep.  If you write it down, you can be assured you will remember the next day.

Thursday, February 21, 2013



This weekend, I had the opportunity to be part of a youth retreat at my church.  I heard some wonderful classes and would like to share with you some thoughts from one I thought particularly applicable in the life of the modern day disciple. 

This lesson was on fruitfulness-- AKA becoming the kind of person who is known by the fruit they bear.  As you may know, the characteristics that God wants us to develop are referred to as the fruits of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control.  Bearing characteristics of a disciple is often compared to bearing fruit.  Jesus says to his disciples in John 15:16, "You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit-- fruit that will last-- and so that whatever you as in my name the Father will give you."  In another place, Jesus curses a fig tree that did not produce fruit, symbolizing the spiritual death of those who do not bear fruit in this life.  

Getting back to the lesson, what does it mean to bear fruit?  As this teacher pointed out, we can't do anything to make God's Kingdom happen faster.  What we CAN do is watch, be ready for the return of Christ, and bear fruit.  Here are some often overlooked passages that I think are quite applicable to our lives.
  • 2 Chronicles 14:2-- King Asa did what was good and right in the eyes of God.  How was he rewarded?  He fights a battle with 580,000 men against the Cushites who had an army of "thousands upon thousands."  Who wins? You guessed it.... Asa, who asked God for deliverance.  So be prepared to be outnumbered, because it is NOTHING for the Lord to deliver us. 
  • Joshua 4-- Joshua has 600,000 fighting men, but how many does he send out into war? Merely 40,000.  That is only FIVE PERCENT of his army.  Why? Because God delivers through weakness.  He doesn't need mighty armies, He needs faith.
  • Joshua 23:10-11 reads, "One of you routs a thousand, because the Lord your God fights for you, just as He has promised.  So be very careful to love the Lord your God." What a promise!  But don't forget that this promise is conditional upon our love of the Lord.  Put Him first and all else will fall by the wayside.
  • Judges 4-- Deborah and Barak take only ten percent of their army into battle.  They trust that God is on their side (and they win).
  • Judges 7-- God tells Gideon to narrow down in army until he only has 300 men, ONE percent of his original army.  Taking only 300 men into battle against leaves no room for a lack of faith.
  • God promises to the Israelites (if they are obedient) in Leviticus 26:8, "Five of you will chase a hundred, a hundred of you will chase ten thousand, and your enemies will fall by the sword before you."  Notice that that is only one percent. 
So what is the message?  Be fruitful. Look at how God takes care of his children. Our speaker gave us this "equation":
1% of your best + 100% faith + 100% obedience= God delivers us despite our weaknesses
You might think that this is the stuff of fairy tales.  Maybe God did seemingly impossible deeds back then, but you don't see it in your life today.  However, I one-hundred percent believe that God still moves mountains in our lives.  Bear fruit, because Jesus says when we do, we will be given what we ask.  

These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world. - John 16:33

Friday, February 15, 2013

Feeling Inadequate.

Hey y'all! Hope you had a fantastic Valentine's Day.  It's a day of love, pink and  hearts, so I don't know how you couldn't :) 

Today, I want to talk about something completely unrelated to Valentine's Day though.  Although, it may be more related than we realize.  Feeling inadequate.  Let me begin with a little scenario:

Last week in class, we were asked to post pictures of ourselves on our class website so that the professor could learn our names by looking at our pictures.  As I uploaded my picture, a guy in my class was looking over my shoulder.

"That's you?" He asked.  Why, yes, I am actually putting up a picture of myself, not someone else.  

"Your hair looks so much longer there.  And fuller."

In my mind, that means: Your hair looks terrible.  

I can't believe he would say that to me! He thinks I am ugly.

Sound familiar? I would guess that it does to many of you.  We so often take careless comments that others make and immediately tell ourselves that that person doesn't like us.  We are ugly, stupid, boring, (insert correct adjective here).  Most likely, however, this is NOT what the person intended.  Usually they just mean what they say.  Ben didn't mean that I was ugly, he just meant my hair looked different in the picture.

Once I have removed myself from the situation, I am usually able to calm down and realize that whatever comment someone made was not intended to be hateful.  What do you do when you find yourself in this self-derogatory state of mind?

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Gettin' Crafty

Hey all! I don't know about you but I love me some Pinterest.  If you don't follow me on Pinterest, please come and do so!  

Anyway, several weeks ago I discovered this awesome picture holder.  My 4 siblings and I are the only grandchildren for both my sets of grandparents.  They live in Virginia and New Mexico, so we don't get to see them too often.  Sooo, I made this picture holders based (rather loosely ;) off this post here. I took this project and changed it up to better suit what I could find, but I still think it turned out great!
Close up-- use clothespins for the pictures.  I decorated them with sparkly buttons!

If you are looking for a unique and personal gift to give your parents or grandparents, this is the way to go! 

Monday, February 11, 2013


A couple weeks ago, a couple friends and I started training for a half-marathon.  This is a MAJOR undertaking for us.  I have been running for several years now, but I only have done distances up to 6 miles.  For those of you who don't know, a half marathon is 13.1 miles.  Now that might be easy for some people, but for me that is a stinkin' long way to run!!  

So far, the runs have been less 4 miles so it's been easy, but soon we will be getting up there.  We are using Hal Higdon's training plan but moving around some of the days.  Anyway, I thought I'd introduce you to our team.  We call ourselves Dying to Run (DTR), cause you know we just are... NOT!

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Valentine's Day giveaway!!

We are giving away a $90 Target Giftcard to one lucky person in honor of such a special day.  Enter to win! Winners will be verified so make sure you are doing what you say you are. :)

Good luck!

Friday, February 8, 2013


The other day I was picking up Ava (one of the girls I nanny) from school.  I often wait for her by the front of the school, and there is an older man who often talks to me while I wait.  He has always been friendly and inquires about my day and my life.  When he approached me on this particular day, he asked me if I had watched the Superbowl and I told him that while I don’t care for football, I did love basketball.

He then told me that he couldn’t stand basketball and he only liked football a little.  Then he leaned close to me and whispered, “Too many blacks.  I can’t stand the way blacks act.”

WHAT?! I have never, ever heard someone say such a racist, disgusting thing in my life.  I honestly did not even comprehend what he was saying because I was so startled.  At that moment, his little granddaughter ran up to him and he picked her up in a big hug.  He called her a princess and asked her about her day.  He held her hand in his and took her backpack, walking to the car.

I stood there in absolute shock.  So many thoughts were racing through my head.  Just that day I had written a post about words and the power they have.  To my shame, I did not say anything powerful back to that man.  I still can’t figure out what I should have said in the face of such pure racism.  How do you respond in such a way as to make a difference without just using hate words back?


They have such power.  Power to build up, power to destroy.  The saying sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me is not true at all.  Words hurt.  Because words reflect attitudes.  People will fill the boxes we make for them.  Whether our expectations bring them up or drag them down, others often fulfill the stereotypes we set for them.  That’s what is so wrong with our culture.  How will we ever break the hate cycle if we keep using hate words?  That man will pass on his attitudes to his granddaughter, who will pass it on to her friends, who will continue to pass it on.

I can’t wrap my head around the fact that a man who could be so sweet and caring to his little granddaughter could be so hateful toward an entire race.  I guess the point is that it isn’t just members of the Ku Klux Klan that hold these attitudes; it is people we know and see every day.  It isn’t because those people so evil and stupid that they believe a stereotype that simply isn’t true, it is because of the insidious way that those stereotypes are passed along.   Which is why it is so dangerous to us—stereotypes can become ingrained in us without us even realizing it.  If we look at a black person and believe that they will have “bad behavior” or a blonde girl and expect her to be dumb, that is what we will see.   We pass that on.  The hate continues. 

Think of how many times we have done the same, judging others before we know them.  Assuming things about them just because of who they are or what they look like.  We can’t change the world.  I don’t have the answers on how to stop the hate cycle.  But at least we can stop it in ourselves.



Thursday, February 7, 2013

Valentine's Gift Guide

Today I am linking up for a Valentine's Day Linkup... as part of it I exchanged packages with the lovely Lauren from Musings of a Flower Child.  I was so excited to receive a box full of goodies that I promptly devoured my record for Hershey's Kisses.  If you like things like this, maybe you should go check her out!!   
So, Valentine’s Day… you either love it or hate it! I am in the LOVE IT boat because Valentine’s Day is all about pink and hearts, which I am also all about.  Here are my Valentine’s Day crushes… what are yours?
Valentine's Day Gift Guide

1. Initial necklace
2. Audrey Assad CD
3. Envelope valentine
4. Initial mug
5. Heart mittens
6. Heart dress

Monday, February 4, 2013

The biggest shame of all


It makes me sad how true this quote is.  We have each been given such a finite amount of time in this life.  As cliché as it sounds, it is so important to really live.  In the scheme of things, think of how few words you will actually speak.  Think of how few your years will be.  What are you doing with those precious commodities?  Are you using them for careless things?  Or are you using them to build others up and make a difference? 

As a student, I see a lot of people who wish away their lives.  They can’t wait to finish school.  It’s like they are waiting to be a real person until after they are finished with school and started in their career.   But why wait?  If you do, you are simply wasting wonderful moments that you could be having.   Many times I have been in the same boat of wanting to be done with school.  But rushing through life means that you are giving up a part of life.  Maybe we should just learn to be content-- here, now, in the moment, wherever you are and whatever you are doing.

I think it is the same with words too.  I think of all the words I have spoken in my whole life.  Some of them have been to make a difference.  But many have been hurtful and destructive.  Even more of them have been selfish and petty.

I don’t want these things to be true.  I don’t want to spend time and words that can’t be taken back.  I want the time I spend and the words I speak to be meaningful.  When I look back at my life, I don’t want to think, Oh, what a shame that my life has not accomplished anything.  Because that would be the biggest shame of all. 

Friday, February 1, 2013

Something that is Wonderful.

Yes, that is food.  Cause I think food is wonderful.  I tried this out the other night on my family and my friend, Joy, and they seemed to like it.  I certainly did.  It is definitely a bit time consuming but I broke the process up into steps.  The night before I roasted the squash and made the filling, I made the pasta in the afternoon the day of, and I added the sauce that night.  But however you do it, I think it’s worth it cause it is gooooood. 

Butternut Squash Ravioli
1 butternut squash (about 1 ½ pounds)
Cooking  spray
1 TBSP chopped fresh oregano
2 TBSP unsalted butter, melted
2.5 ounces Parmesan cheese, grated
3/8 tsp salt
½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
36 wonton wrappers  (you can find these around the tofu)
1 large egg, lightly beaten
2 garlic cloves
1 ½ cups fresh baby spinach
½ cup fresh basil
¼ cup walnuts, toasted and chopped
2 TBSP extra virgin olive oil
2 TBSP vegetable broth
1 tsp lemon juice

Bake squash at 4000 (you should definitely put it on a baking pan) for about 30 minutes or until soft enough to cut.  Remove seeds and scrape out pulp into bowl.  Mash.  Combine oregano, squash, and butter in a large bowl.  Stir in 2 ounces (1/2 cup) cheese, ¼ tsp salt, and ¼ tsp pepper.  Spoon about 1 ½ tsp of squash mix into wonton center (keep other wonton wrappers under paper towels until using). Moisten edges of wonton with beaten egg and pinch edges to seal in a triangle.  Repeat.


Place garlic in food processor and pulse.  Add remaining ½ ounce (2 TBSP) cheese, 1/8 tsp salt, ¼ tsp pepper, spinach, basil, and 2 TBSP walnuts.  With processor on, slowly pour oil, broth and juice through chute.  Process until well blended.

Bring 6 quarts of water to boil.  Add half ravioli and cook 3 minutes; remove with slotted spoon.  Repeat.  Add to pesto and toss.   
WARNING: I mistakenly made the ravioli and stuck it in the fridge all afternoon without the sauce.  This made one giant blob of ravioli that could not be pulled apart and had to be cut. It was still delicious!  Enjoy!