Dear Blog Readers...

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Im sorry. I stink. I have not updated in forever! And to be honest I probably wont again until we get home :)

But we made it safe to Washington! It was a long flight and I caught a nasty cold from the plane ride so we have not done much of anything while we have been here. Mostly I have sat on the couch with a blanket and tissues and watched Brian play Wii.... Fun I know!

Hopefully my cold will go away soon though so we can see all of our friends! (I dont want to pass this cold on.. its not fun at all!)

The snow is gorgeous. There is tons of it! I will post tons of pictures when we get home!

I hope everyone has a very Merry Christmas!

Ornament Exchange!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Here is the ornament I painted for the ornament exchange I was in! I received a really cute red felt cardinal ornament and a recaimed metal cross. I like them both very much. The cross is hanging from my hanging plant and the cardinal is hanging in the window over my sink since we aren't doing a tree at our house this year :( We decided not to since we are leaving so early in the month for Washington!

Its hard to take pictures of round objects!!

Look what we got for free today...

A trampoline!!! Here is Brian demonstrating it!

Pictures from our Christmas Cantata

Here are some pictures from the Cantata last night! Tonight is the last night!

It has been a really draining past week. Everyday but Tuesday, I went to work in the morning and then got off of work and then went straight to church for either practice or awana and didnt get home until late. And even Tuesday on my day off I went to church that night for the Christmas party. So yeah I am drained! I am so ready for our trip to Washington next week! It will be a very much needed break!

Well today is going to be my lazy day!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

I had a really bad headache last night so I decided that today would be my lazy day where I could just rest and hang around the house.

Later I am going to go to our ladies Christmas party! That will be fun!

I got my secret sister these earrings from Kara Annis Jewelry. She makes some really gorgeous stuff! Go check out her website its:

And while you are surfing the web you should go check out my brother-in-law John's new website for his new company! His website is
I realize most people reading my blog may not be all about jeeps but I just wanted to mention it anyway!

I tried making covered matchboxes like Kim had done on her blog but I think hers turned out better. I only made one because I think I need to get my paper cutter out to make them better but here it is..

So I didnt make yogurt.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Because the recipe says not to use ultra-pasteurized milk and I accidentally bought that. I don't know how it would effect the recipe, but with all the stomach bugs going around here I certainly do not want to give myself food poisoning.

So instead I tried to make Frito candy. That recipe also came from I didn't really follow her recipe exactly and I probably should have mine turned out bad. It was really greasy and never came together so it was a total flop. I may try again following her recipe exactly though.

I did make some blackberry jam today though! I had to buy plain yogurt to have as my starter to make yogurt and so in an effort not to waste it I thought I would make something to mix into it so that it is good! All I did was take a washed 4 oz pkg of blackberries and 2 tbsp. of sugar in a sauce pan and brought that to a boil. Then I poured it into a glass container with a lid and put it in the refrigerator. I probably could have made a big batch and canned it but blackberries aren't in season so that would be expensive! I also bought some blueberries to make some blueberry jam and I will probably do that tomorrow.

If you are looking for a great dinner idea that is really awesome and not that hard to make head on over to and try her lasagna. Brian seriously loves it. This one is definitely a man pleaser!! It goes great with the bread sticks recipe I posted a little while ago!! See now you have one less meal to plan!!

Here's a link to the recipe:

And I actually think that the meat mixture makes enough for two lasagnas so I made two and froze one. Just double everything except for the meat sauce mixture.

Final word on MECEP

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Well we found out today that Brian did not get MECEP. We are a little bummed that we wont get to move back to Washington but we have total peace about it. We know that everything is in God's perfect time and this just means that He has something bigger and better for our lives. I think our parents are probably more bummed about this than we are, I have learned not to really trust what the Marine Corps says, so I really didn't have my hopes up to begin with. Which is good. Brian is at peace with it too and does plan to try for it again next year. So thats the word we will be staying in NC for a little while longer. Which is nice too because we wont have to worry about selling our house in this "recession" and we can do some more work on it so that when it is time to sell it will be the best house in our neighborhood. So all in all God is good, His ways are good, and He deserves our praise through every event that takes place in our lives!

Guess what I am making Friday...

Monday, December 1, 2008



I read about it on this blog:

Yes, I am really excited

Yes, It will be organic

Yes, I will post the results!!

Today was...

Sunday, November 30, 2008

a great day!

The Redbox

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Have you seen these things inside of your grocery store? They are awesome! Basically it is a vending machine for DVD's and it is only $1 per night! Which is cool because you usually watch the movie the same night that you rent it, and they have new releases! I think its great and even better if you go to and enter in your email address you will get a code for a free rental! Enjoy your free movie!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

We had a great Thanksgiving dinner with Bill and Sandy. The food was great but the company was better! We are working on their pinochle! They will be really good at it soon! I did burn my wrist pretty bad on a pan though but other than that the meal went great. The sweet potato recipe was amazing and so was the "mystery rolls" though I think next year I will go with regular rolls, regular rolls are better at sopping up the green bean casserole :) (My fav. part of the meal!)

We have SO much to be thankful for this year.

First of all we are thankful to our LORD for sending His only Son to die on the cross so that we might be saved. We dont deserve to be saved and we are so thankful that we are.

We are also so thankful for the friends that God has blessed us with here. We have some amazing friends and I wouldn't trade them for anything! God has really blessed us with a great church and an amazing church family.

I am also very thankful for my little sister Kimberly, I have seen so much spiritual growth in her this year and I am so proud of her.

I am also of course so thankful for my amazing husband. He is such a blessing to me and I am so thankful that God has blessed me with such a great man to call my husband.

Really when we think about what we are thankful for there isn't really anything that we have not to be thankful for. God has blessed us so much this year and throughout our marriage and we are so thankful to Him.

Happy Thanksgiving! I love you all! And I am Thankful for all of you!

Thanksgiving Prep

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Thankfully I have had the day off today so I have been able to get all of my Thanksgiving prep work done. We are having the Klingenstein's over for Thanksgiving and thankfully Sandy offered to make the turkey, stuffing, and gravy! I really lucked out because I get to make all of the yummy sides!

Mashed Potatoes.... Check

Green Bean Casserole..... Check

Sweet Potatoes..... Check

All I have left to do on Thanksgiving is to make the rolls and bake everything!

I still cant figure out how to put clickable links on here but here are the links to the food that I am making.

Green Bean Casserole:

Mashed Potatoes:

Sweet Potatoes:

Mystery Rolls:

You will probably notice by going to those sites that I am in love with ThePioneerWoman. Its true. I go to her site several times a day. I even had a dream that I met her the other night. seriously. I have random dreams. I was holding out for her to post a pumpkin pie recipe but she hasn't yet so I caved and bought a frozen pie :). Maybe next year I will make a real one. I also got a Cinnabon Apple Pie because I like pie. :)

I really wanted to make the baked artichoke recipe from the November Martha Stewart Living but I couldn't ever find the frozen artichoke hearts. I went to 4 grocery stores. So if you know where to find frozen artichokes please fill me in!

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!

Cheesy Breadsticks

Monday, November 24, 2008

Here is Brian modeling these awesome breadsticks that he was enjoying.

The other day while watching Robin Miller on The Food Network she made these amazing breaksticks. Basically all that you need is refridgerated breadstick dough and flavored spreadable cheese. I couldn't find the cheese that she used on the show so I used Philadelphia Cracker Spreads Parmesan with Garlic and Herbs, sometime I would love to try it with some herbed goat cheese. You just unroll the breadsticks and dip your finger in a little bit of water and make a little tunnel right down the center then fill the tunnel with a little bit of the cheese. Then twist as you normally would. Bake @ 350 degrees for about 10-12 minutes. These are really good! Brian would probably eat all of them if I didn't fight him for my share :)

The breadstick on the far right is what they should look like right before you twist them.

Ball photos are online!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

The pictures of us at the Marine Corps Ball are online now! go to this website:
My favorite is of us kissing :)

Roof Update

We had a roofer come out today. Basically he said that when the previous owners removed the fireplace they must have never fully or properly sealed the chimney vent. He said he doesn't do ceilings or attics so we are going to try to get a general contracter to come out and look at fixing the ceiling. He also told us that we really need a new roof. yikes. But thankfully the price that he quoted us is less than we thought it would be and once we do that it will really help our resale value. So its not all bad. Gos is still good and He has blessed us so much more than we deserve.

It snowed today!!!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

It was totally unexpected! I was at the church with Ms. Billie (she is going to start discipling me) and when we went into one of the classrooms we looked outside and saw it snowing! It was so exciting! I didnt expect to see snow here! It snowed off and on throughout the day but none of it stuck. :( It was such a nice surprise to have today!

Ladies Retreat

Monday, November 17, 2008

This past weekend I went to The East Coast Ladies Retreat. It was so much fun! It was held in Goldsboro which is about an hour away. The speakers were Ginger Baines and John and Donna Bishop.

Ginger was great she was such a fireball. Her messages were full of energy and what she spoke on really hit home. I loved that her messages were so full of scripture references.

John and Donna Bishop were amazing and inspirational. 13 years ago John got meningitis and had complications that lead to him completly losing his memory. Im talking his entire memory he practically became a new baby. Donna had to teach him EVERYTHING, how to walk, how to talk, how to eat (she had to start him out on baby food), potty training, everything that mothers have to teach their children. To this day he still remembers nothing past 13 years ago. They joked at the conference that he was becoming a teenager now and was going to rebel soon. :) He didnt know who she was or what marriage even meant. Her devotion to him is so inspiring. I cant imagine how hard that must have been for her to have her husband, the man who provided her support, stability, and strength to not really be there for her anymore. Their story is amazing before the meningitis he was a pastor and he was able to become a pastor again and now his ministry is to help people who are hurting and encourage them. God was so evident in their lives. He became blind last year and that really helped his speech to become so much better.

The theme for the retreat was "Joy for the Journey". It was a great retreat and I am so glad that I went. I had so much fun getting to know some of the women in our church that I was not yet that close with and of course being roomies with Jenny and Melissa. I love them!

Our House....

Friday, November 14, 2008

I'm beginning think that our house doesn't like me and that it only puts up with me when Brian is here. I think this because Brian has been doing Sgt's course for three weeks each week something weird has happened that I dont really know how to fix or what to do about it.

In the first week we had problems with our plumbing. I didn't blog about it at first because it was gross, no water would drain from our house so when we would do a load of laundry all of the showers and toilets would fill up with water. Gross.

Week Two was the leaky roof that lead to water damage in our ceiling. The pictures are a few posts below if you missed them. There is no news about this yet but we do have a roofer coming out next week.

Well now its week three, I was sitting watching tv on wednesday night and all of a sudden half of the lights in our house were flickering and I could hear sparking coming from our electrical panel. After a little while of that I think it blew something because now those lights dont work at all. So we have no light in any of the bathrooms or the hallway or outside or at the light right when you come into our house.

I feel so bad when I have to tell Brian all of these things because he wants to come home and fix them. I want him to be able to focus on Marine Corps stuff rather than if his wife has power or a hole in the ceiling or running water. haha :)

Its actually becoming quite commical all of the stuff that we have broken or has happened to us this year. The list is long and includes 2 vacuums, the lawn mower, the A/C in our car (in August of course... We did get that fixed), my shower head (twice.. It was an infomercial purchase), and our glass stovetop.... The list actually goes on but I will spare you.

Have you ever wondered how to break your glass stovetop? Well let me teach you! :)
Brian and I were making dinner and we were steaming some carrots. Well we turned those on and then we both went off to doing our own seperate things totally not thinking about the carrots. When I finished folding the laundry I went over the stove to check on them and I noticed silver bubbles next to the pot. I thought that was weird. Luckily I didnt touch it. Then Brian and I figured out that we had melted our pot. We werent really sure what to do with the melted metal, Brian uses these things at work called "pig mats" they are supposed to absorb like anything so after Brian took the pot outside and set it on the concrete we tried soaking it up with the pig mat. It just ate the pig mat. So we turned off the stove and just let it cool so it could harden. While it was hardening we hear these little pops and realize that the metal is melting the glass on our stove top and cracking it as well. So yeah we are dumb, its funny to me now though. Here are some pictures of that wonderful night! :)

I am a sucker for infomercials!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

We just got a tv again after not having one since June. When Brian hooked it up we found out that we get free cable! I guess that the cable company never disconnected the previous owners cable.

So I have so far seen two informercials that I think are super cool!

One is called Peticure its is a nail clipping thing for pets. The other is called Mighty Mend and the guy in the commercial was Billy Mays the oxyclean guy, he could sell anyone anything!

Good thing we do Financial Peace and only pay cash! So no infomercial purchases for me!

I'm Famous!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Kinda... Well actually not really at all...

But this is still really cool!

So as most people reading this know I work at a paint-your-own-pottery shop! Its really fun and sometimes during slow day I get to paint samples....

Well one day back in October when we were supposed to have that hurricane it was super slow. So I painted a sample of one of these ghost house cookie/candy jars. It took me a really long time to paint because I was super detailed and painted in shading and all that. It turned out really good! I actually loved it and Im not even really a halloween person!

Andyways the exciting/famous part is that Nicholas Sparks' wife bought the piece I painted!!!! So my artwork is now in the Sparks home!! How cool is that!

If you dont know who Nicholas Sparks is he is the author of many books based in North Carolina. He lives in the same city I work in. Three of his books have been turned into movies: A Walk to Remember, The Notebook, and Nights in Rodanthe

Pretty cool, huh?

Marine Corps Ball 2008

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Last night was the Marine Corps Ball and despite being in the Marine Dome (aka the Gym on Cherry Point) it actually turned out pretty nice! We really had a great time, I love seeing Brian in his dress blues and getting all dressed up is always fun! I didn't really get any good pictures so I am hoping that the professional ones turned out well! The Commandant's video birthday message was very motivating both for Marines and spouses, and I personally think that everyone should see it! So please watch this video below.

Flax Seed Crackers Recipe

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Sorry about the Halloween napkin, I totally meant to post this a while ago :)

I found a recipe for homemade Wheat Thins and I decided to modify it to make Flax Seed Crackers! They are really good, I prefer to roll them out super thin but you can roll them out to whatever thickness you prefer!

Flax Seed Crackers

1 3/4 cup Whole wheat flour
1 1/2 cup White flour
1/3 cup Oil
3/4 teas. Sea Salt
1 cup Water
1/3-1/2 cups ground Flax Seed

1. In large mixing bowl, combine the flours and flax seed and thoroughly mix.
2. In separate bowl blend the oil, salt, and water.
3. Add liquid mixture to dry, mixing well but as little as possible.
4. Roll as thin as possible on unoiled cookie sheet − not more than 1/8" thick. Mark with knife for size crackers desired, but do not cut through. Prick each cracker a few times with fork. Sprinkle lightly with sea salt.
5. Bake at 350F until crisp and light brown, about 30 minutes.
6. When cool, separate into individual crackers.

Update on the ceiling

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

The ceiling did not come crashing down last night which is a good thing! There is more water damage though. I called our homeowners insurance today and they basically just said to take lots of pictures and do whatever I need to do to ensure that no further damage is done. That is a really confusing statement because I am not sure if for insurance purposes I should leave it how it is so that they can see it when the claims adjuster comes out next week or if we should put a tarp on our roof so no rain can come in or if we should have roofers come out and fix this. Especially since we are expecting another big storm on Friday. This is a very frustrating whole process especially since Brian is away at Sgt's course and sick so he cant really do anything to help me with this whole mess.

Waiting for the ceiling to fall

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Seriously :( This is what my ceiling looked like when I got home.

We have been having really hard rain yesterday and today. When I woke up this morning I noticed a water spot above our couch where there used to be a fireplace (the previous owners removed it). I didnt really think too much of it other than I took a picture to show Brian so that he could do something about it this weekend when he gets home.

When I got home from seeing Brian and having dinner with Kyle and Joy the water damage had greatly increased. The big spot it very wet and is dripping a very little bit. The rain is still pouring hard and I am really thinking that in the middle of the night I am going to hear a great big crash and have a very large hole in my ceiling. I moved all of the furniture and put a tarp down. Hopefully that will contain it if it does fall. Im praying that this rain will stop coming.

If the ceiling does fall that could equal very bad things like we would probably have to replace our roof and our flooring and have our ceiling completely redone. Hopefully our homeowners insurance will cover this.

Oh and I have had to deal with 5 roaches in the past two days... Before Brian went to Sgt's course I had maybe seen 1 every month or so. Im not having a very good night.

Thankful for Cherry Point!

Today I am posting from MCAS New River in Jacksonville, NC! MCAS = Marine Corps Air Station :) Anyways Brian is still @ Sgt's Course and needed my car for a vehicle inspection and then when that is over we are going to Kyle and Joy's to do Financial Peace and dinner. So I am here at the Station Library trying to kill some time. Being here really makes me thankful that we are stationed @ Cherry Point. Right outside of the main gate of New River there are honestly about ten "gentlemen's clubs" It makes me sick to my stomach that people go to these things, I mean I realize that Marines have the reputation for being kinda skeezy but still I hope in my mind that they have morals. Marine Corps bases have off-limits lists, the one for Cherry Point has like 2 places that Marines cannot go to but the one for here in Jacksonville has like 25 if not more. Its sad.

Im working on my top 5 favorite things about NC it will be posted as soon as I take pictures of all of my favorite things! That means Baker's Square here I come!!! That place could really have a whole post dedicated to it alone I love it so much!

I Voted... Sort of

Monday, November 3, 2008

I voted for president for the first time! Well kind of... Washington has an all absentee ballot system and all ballots have to be sent in by the 4th. I sent mine in today but I dont really see how it can be counted in time to actually affect who gets choosen for President. Tomorrow is Election Day. My vote went to John McCain. I honestly feel that the military will be better off in his hands. I was kind of stressing out about this election earlier today and then as I was doing some blog reading I came across a John Piper video on Girltalk. This one is the extended version of the video they posted. It definitly puts things in perspective and is a must see! The thing that stuck out what when he said he was praying for Obama to change his mind about abortion. That hit me so hard. Why have I not been praying for him? I need to be praying for him as well as John McCain and our other political leaders. So I encourage you to watch this video and then pray for both Presidential Candidates.


Thursday, October 30, 2008

When Brian is not here I get much less sleep.

One reason being that he has to go to work early in the mornings when he is here so he needs to go to sleep earlier and I go to bed with him. So when he isnt here I can stay up on the computer and there is no one to make me go to bed... This is a bad thing....

Then on nights like tonight when I force myself to bed, I still cant even fall asleep.... My mind will not shut off! Way to much is going on tomorrow, like work when I have to dress up. Which I haven't even gotten a costume pulled together yet. Right after work is Hallelujah night at Church. Than Brian is coming home for the weekend so I want to get the house all sparkly for when he gets home so he doesn't think I have been a bum while he was gone.

So now I have scrubbed the kitchen, worked on our budget, and folded laundry..... I still am wide awake but am going to try to go to sleep again.... I would go pull a costume together right now but I dont really want to go in the garage to look for clothes, its cold and there are probably bugs in there. I think I am going to go with cowgirl though..... But we will see!

Wish me fall asleep luck!

Homemade Applesauce

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

This turned out to be really good! I was a little nervous while making it 1. because I had never made it before 2. because all of the recipes I looked up online said to use more than one kind of apple and I only had some red delicious apples. It turned out really great though! This was so simple and easy to make!

Homemade Applesauce:

I pretty much eyeballed everything but this is my method.

5 Apples
Lemon Juice

Peel, core and cut apples into uniform cubes. Squirt some lemon juice on the apples to keep them from browning. Place about 1 inch of water in a large pot. Add apples to pot and put over high heat. Once water starts to boil turn heat down to medium. Cook until apples are tender. Remove apples from pot and mash with a potato masher or food processor. I just mashed with my potato masher it left the apple sauce a little chunky which I like. Then I added a dash of vanilla and a dash of cinnamon to taste.

And now I am eating the applesauce warm! Mmmmmmmmmmmm!

You must try these!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

It has been chilly here in NC recently, while I was at the store I saw the holiday teas and thought that that might be what I need to warm me up. I had to try the candy cane! Im so glad that I did! It is really good, I think that I am going to have to start off my mornings with this from now on!

My other love that you have to try is dried pineapple! This brand is Mariani, I was really excited to eat it and I ripped into it before I took the picture. This stuff is so good. One day I am going to pull my dehydrator down from the attic and make my own so that I can control the sugar levels... but for now this hits the spot!

Kale Chips

Well today is Brians first full day of Sgt.'s Course. So that means I am flying solo for the rest of the week and all of the weekdays until December (He gets to come home for the weekends).

That means I get to be creative with what I eat. I am trying to aim for eating really healthy while he is gone. I have found two new favorite blogs one is she has some really great recipes on her site. The other is her site is all about healthy food. She makes these things called Kale Chips. I am not much of a leafy greens person. I really prefer the lettuce that is almost white/clear and has basically no nutritional value. In fact when we order salads at restaurants I have been known to pick out all of the "green" lettuce and put it on Brians plate and take all of his "white" lettuce. So why did Kale chips catch my fancy? I have no idea. But they were only .79 cents for a bunch at the store so I figured that I could try them and not be out that much money if I didn't like them. So here is the method for making the Kale Chips:

Preheat oven to about 375*
Use one big bunch of Kale.
Trim off stems and cut into bite size pieces.
Spread out on cookie sheets.
Drizzle with about 2 tsp of olive oil
Sprinkle with seasonings of choice. ( I chose Parmesan, Salt, Pepper, Lawry's Seasoning Salt, and my Roasted Garlic Salt Grinder.)
Bake for about 15 minutes, until edges are brown and kale is crispy when moved in pan.

Kale Before:

Kale After: My after picture in the pan turned out ugly so I put it in a bowl. :)

Oh my goodness these are actually really good. They do taste kinda potato chips. I will definitly be making these again! Next time I will do a little less salt though. What a fun way to get in those greens!

Mac and Cheese

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Tonight for dinner I made Macaroni and Cheese 1 from the Deceptively Delicious Cookbook. Can you tell that I love that cookbook? I made some alterations to the original recipe to suit our tastes. It came out really good and I love that there is a hidden veggie in it!

Here is my altered version of the recipe:
Macaroni and Cheese

I Box Elbow Macaroni
2 T Olive Oil
2 T AP Flour
2 Cups Skim Milk
1 Cup Butternut Squash Puree (Or you can use Cauliflower)
3 Cups + 1/2 Cup Shredded Cheddar Cheese
1 block of Cream Cheese (8 oz)
Garlic Salt
1/2 Cup Homemade Croutons (See recipe a few posts below)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, add the pasta and cook until al dente. Drain in a colander.

2. While pasta is cooking place a large sauce pan over medium heat. When heated add oil and flour, cook stirring constantly until the mixture resembles a thick paste but is not browned.

3. Add the milk and cook stirring occasionally until mixture begins to thicken. Add the puree, 3 cups cheddar, and cream cheese and stir until cheese is melted and sauce is smooth. Season to taste. Stir Pasta into sauce and pour into a 9x13 in baking dish sprayed with cooking spray.

4. In a ziplock bag crush 1/2 cup homemade croutons. Mix leftover cheese with the croutons and sprinkle over the top of the pasta. Bake for 20-30 minutes depending on how brown you like the top.

Enjoy! Another way to make Mac and Cheese a little healthier is to add in some cooked broccoli to the Mac and Cheese. Or if you are going to be baking it you can put sliced tomatoes on the top and then bake it. That is super good but Brian doesnt like tomatoes.... I am working on him though :)

Chocolate Chip Banana Bread

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

I love Banana Bread! And this recipe is my favorite for the Chocolate Chip variety! This recipe comes from her blog is really great for finding recipes and they are always super easy to follow with lots of pictures!

Chocolate Chip Banana Bread

1 3/4 c. plus 2 Tbsp all purpose flour
1 1/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 package instant vanilla pudding mix
1 heaping c. chocolate chips
2/3 c. granulated sugar
1/2 c. shortening
2 eggs
2 Tbsp milk
1 Tbsp vanilla extract
3 large extra ripe bananas, mashed

-Preheat oven to 350 degrees and prepare loaf pan.
-In medium bowl, combine all flour but 2 Tbsp, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and pudding mix.
-Whisk to combine and set aside.
-In small bowl, combine remaining flour and chocolate chips, tossing well to combine and set aside.
-In bowl of stand mixer, combine shortening and sugar.
-Beat on high until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.
-Add eggs, one at a time until thoroughly combined.
-Add milk and vanilla, then banana to mixture and combine well.
-With mixer on low, add flour mixture until just combined then fold in chocolate chips.
-Spread into loaf pan, tap to remove air pockets, and place in oven to bake.
-Bake loaf in oven for 1hr or until toothpick inserted into center comes out clean.
-Let loaf cool in pan for 5 minutes, then turn out onto wire rack to cool completely (or serve warm! Yum!)

Update on MECEP Board and other random info

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

We found out this past week that the board that is going to decide who gets to do the MECEP Program has been pushed back again this time it is supposed to meet November 10th. First it was supposed to meet in August, then October and now November and with that date being the Marine Corps Birthday which is a busy time in the Marine Corps I honestly am guessing that we will find out in January.

In other news it is chilly here now! I actually got to wear a sweater on Sunday and our A/C will most likely be off until the spring now!

We had gotten a really low electric bill this past month and we didnt really know why. Well this morning a man from the electric company came out to do the regular check of the meter and he told me that it was old and had stopped working. I asked if that was bad for us and he told me that it was good for us bad for the power company. So we may not have an electric bill this month! :)

Dinner Time

Brian loves Asian food... Me... Not so much. Its not really that I dont like the taste but more that I dont like the cleanliness of most Chinese restaurants. Well that and the whole mystery meat thing... I know that they call it chicken but I dont always believe that. I mean I really do like P.F. Changs (their Lettuce Wraps are amazing!) and I like that place down in Seattle that we go to with Grandpa B. I think its called Louie's but I could be wrong.

So last night in an effort to please my hubbys stomach I tried this Wanchai Ferry Sweet and Sour Chicken Meal Kit.

It turned out really good! I was really simple to make too! You just have to boil the rice and cook the chicken and then mix everything together. It came together pretty quick too! I should have taken a picture of what it looked like on our plates because it looked so good but we gobbled it up right away! I give this meal an A+ and I suggest that you try it out for yourself! I especially like that you can know exactly what part of the chicken is in your meal! It also says that you can make it with shrimp instead that would probably be really good too!

A gift from Simba

Last night Simba's parents stopped by to drop off this gift basket for me that they made to say thank you for finding their dog. Inside the gift basket was a treat container with lots of doggie treats, some balls for the doggies, some stuffed toys (that Sadie has already managed to tear the stuffing out of :) ... shes a crazy dog) and a sweet card. The card was so cute and was written by the dog heres what is said:

I was cold, wet and frightened but you rescued me- Thanks! Then you found my Daddy and Mommy because they were lost. Without your help they would have been lost forever- Thanks! Again, Thank you for taking me into your warm home and caring for me until my parents could be located. Simba

Dealing with conflict God's Way

Sunday, October 19, 2008

This picture of Sadie from last summer is so darn cute! It has nothing to do with this post other than that I like posts with pictures! :)

:::Warning! Long post following!! :):::

Tonight, at church of all places, I experienced a conflict with a member of our church. This was not a little conflict. This person verbally attacked me and slandered my charcter. This was something that I would never have expected from a saved person. Actualy I would not even expect to be treated this way by an unsaved person either, it was that harsh. All that was said about me was said with no merit at all and was completely false. After our first little instance where she belittled me I was calm and walked away and then cried in the parking lot. I got in the car and talked to Brian about it and we decided that we needed to go back into the church and talk to her and her husband immediately so that the situation did not escalate and so that there would not be any dissention within the body (i.e. the church). We tried to just speak with them one on one but when that was not working we asked our Preacher for help with this matter. (Now let me tell you... We have a great Preacher, he is genuine, caring, and a great friend. I have no doubt that if any part of this would have been on me, he would have called me out and made me completely aware of my sin.) After a little more trying to reason, we had said our peace so we left and the Preacher stayed back with them and talked the issue out. Needless to say about 1/2 hour after we had left the church we got a call from the preacher telling us what he discussed with the other couple and that the other couple would be calling us in a little while. About 15 minutes later we got the call. She apologized to me and to Brian. I am glad that we now have resolved this issue. I am also glad that God is testing me. I know this sounds a bit odd but if He is testing me that means He is working on me. And if He is working on me that is a good thing because He is using things to strengthen my faith!

I told you all of this to tell you this.... When conflicts come into your life, deal with them God's way. I truly feel that we dealt with this in exactly the manner that God expects from us. Had I just stayed in the car and cried and then gone home, nothing would have been resolved, church fellowship would be awkward, I'm sure gossip would have run rampant, and the devil would have been given way to many prime opportunities to cause us and those around us in our congregation to sin. This is just another example of that God's will and way will always be better than our way or our will. God designed a way for us as Christians to deal with conflicts is is found in Matthew 18:15-17.

15"If your brother sins, go and show him his fault in private; if he listens to you, you have won your brother.

16"But if he does not listen to you, take one or two more with you, so that BY THE MOUTH OF TWO OR THREE WITNESSES EVERY FACT MAY BE CONFIRMED.

17"If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector.

But then there is the part about the forgiveness after the issue has been resolved. I will be honest right now I am still a little shaken and hurt about the things that were said to me. I forgive her for saying them but it is hard not to associate my hurt feelings with her. I am praying that God will help me to completely forgive her and move on from all of these emotions and I am also praying for her. Just a few verses down in the chapter we learn about forgiveness. Matthew 16: 21-35

21Then Peter came and said to Him, "Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me and I forgive him? Up to seven times?"

22Jesus said to him, "I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven.

23"For this reason the kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who wished to settle accounts with his slaves.

24"When he had begun to settle them, one who owed him ten thousand talents was brought to him.

25"But since he did not have the means to repay, his lord commanded him to be sold, along with his wife and children and all that he had, and repayment to be made.

26"So the slave fell to the ground and prostrated himself before him, saying, 'Have patience with me and I will repay you everything.'

27"And the lord of that slave felt compassion and released him and forgave him the debt.

28"But that slave went out and found one of his fellow slaves who owed him a hundred denarii; and he seized him and began to choke him, saying, 'Pay back what you owe.'

29"So his fellow slave fell to the ground and began to plead with him, saying, 'Have patience with me and I will repay you.'

30"But he was unwilling and went and threw him in prison until he should pay back what was owed.

31"So when his fellow slaves saw what had happened, they were deeply grieved and came and reported to their lord all that had happened.

32"Then summoning him, his lord said to him, 'You wicked slave, I forgave you all that debt because you pleaded with me.

33'Should you not also have had mercy on your fellow slave, in the same way that I had mercy on you?'

34"And his lord, moved with anger, handed him over to the torturers until he should repay all that was owed him.

35"My heavenly Father will also do the same to you, if each of you does not forgive his brother from your heart."

Tonight as I was doing my devotions I was in Proverbs 17-20. Let me tell you, right when I opened up to this passage and started reading I was instantly awestuck with how God works every detail of our lives out. There could not have been a better passage to read after all of the events tonight. There was encouragement in that I was doing what was acceptable to God and following what He directs and calls me to do. There was also conviction and challenge in that I need to not be haughty about this issue, I need to be humble and I need to be quick to forgive. I would post the whole passage but it is pretty lengthy so I urge you to go "dive" into it on your own this week!

The verse that stuck out to me the most and is going to be on my mind this week is Proverbs 19:11

11 A man's discretion makes him slow to anger,
And it is his glory to overlook a transgression.

That is the NASB verson as are the other passages but I especially like the way that it is worded in the NLT:

11 Sensible people control their temper;
they earn respect by overlooking wrongs.

I feel that I accomplished the first part of this verse tonight but now I am really working on accomplishing the second half of the verse! Your prayers are always appreciated!

I got to be a hero today :)

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Today I found a this little dog named Simba wandering outside of our house. I went outside to see if he had tags and would come to me. He was little and scared so I picked him up and then went inside to call his owners. I didnt get an answer at any of the numbers. Their voicemail said that they were pastors for a church down the road so when Brian got home I had him run over to the church to see if anyone was there. There wasnt. I was getting a little worried that they wouldn't call back because it had been almost two hours since I had first called them. But I just got a ring on my doorbell and it was them coming to get their baby! They had been out looking for him that is why they missed my calls the first time. They were so glad that I had found him and called them especially since it has been raining here all day long. They were so grateful and said that I was their hero :) I just hope that if one of our doggies gets out one day that some other dog lover will find them and give me a call!

Two Healthy Tips

Inspired by Jessica Seinfeld's book Deceptively Delicious!

The first I found out while making her recipe for Aloha Chicken. Brian loves this stuff. Anyways the tip is everytime that you are "breading" anything whether it be chicken, cheese, or otherwise throw in some Flax Seed Meal. Flaxseed Meal is super good for you because it contains Omega-3 Fatty Acids which have been shown to inhibit tumor growth and prevent prostate cancer. The main source that humans get Omega-3's from is fish so if you are not a seafood person I strongly suggest you get some flaxseed meal!

The second I tried just the other day. In her book she has a recipe for Mashed Potatos where you mix in Cauliflower. I didn't use her recipe in this one but instead I added 1/2 cup of pureed cauliflower to my regular recipe for potatos. Brian will not eat cauliflower if I just make it so I have to sneak it in. I didnt even tell him there was cauliflower in it until after he had eated quite a bit and said that they were good :) Cauliflower boosts the nutritional value of the potatos and is almost undetectable. Cauiliflower is good for you because it is part of the Cruciferous family of vegetables that are known to contain many cancer preventing phytochemicals as well as reduce the carcinogen activation in the liver and other cells.

I hope you try both of these ideas! They are simple and great for your health!

If you haven't yet...

Friday, October 17, 2008

Go check out Voddie's blog. On the side bar under My Blog List click on Voddie Baucham. All of it is good stuff but his post entitled "Getting what we deserve" has a clip about this election that is really funny and heartbreaking at same time!


Wednesday, October 15, 2008

I have been a terrible composter lately. Most of the time I have just been throwing our food scraps right on top of our compost pile without turning it or adding more dry material. This is not what should be done and this has caused my compost to be overrun with flies. So I decided to add more "brown" material today in the form of leaves. We have tons of leaves in our yard and its about time I put them in the compost. Hopefully this will put a stop to my fly problem!

Right now my compost bin consists of an old trash can that I drilled tons of holes into. It works nicely but one day I would love to own one of these:

This is the Tumbleweed Compost Tumbler, I have been drooling over this for quite a while now. All you need to do is put your scraps in and then flip it, that tumbles the compost helping it to decompose faster.

Or this Naturemill Automatic Composter would be nice and convenient since it would be housed in the kitchen.

Just in case you are wondering how to compost the general rule of thumb is that you want to keep the consistency of your compost to 1 part green matter to 2 parts brown matter. If you keep your compost at that ratio you should have no problems with smell or insects. has some great videos for how to make a compost pile as well as what is classified as brown and what is classified as green.

Here is a long list of things that can be composted.
Paper Napkins
Freezer Burned Veggies
Pet Hair
Post-it Notes
Pine Needles
Seaweed and Kelp
Old Herbs
Birdcage Cleanings
Paper Towels
Grass Clippings
Potato Peelings
Unpaid Bills (if you are putting this in your compost please run to :)
Hair from the drain
Stale Bread
Coffee Grounds
Wood Ashes
Tea Bags
Shredded Newspaper
Egg Shells (These compost better if crushed)
ATM recipts
Houseplant Trimmings
Old Pasta
Garden Soil
Aquarium Plants
Sunday Funnies
Soy Milk
Tree Bark
Pumpkin Seeds (Better yet roast them with some seasoning salt and enjoy them as a healthy snack, they are yummy!)
White Glue
Citrus Waste
Stale Potato Chips
Old Leather Gardening Gloves
Wheat Bran
Nut Shells
Hampster Cage Cleanings
Moldy Cheese
Shredded Cardboard
Apple Cores
Expired Yogurt
Toenail Clippings
Pie Crust
Leather Wallets
Onion Skins
Watermelon Rinds
Date Pits
Olive Pits
Burned Toast, Oatmeal, etc.
Cooked Rice
Banana Peels
Wool Socks
Soggy Cereal
Theater Tickets
Stale Cookies
Vacuum Cleaner Bag Contents
Grocery Receipts

Uwharrie Camping Trip 2008

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

This past weekend we went on a wheeling/camping trip to Uwharrie National Forest with our friends Kyle and Joy. On the way there Brian was so excited for this trip that he described himself as "giddy" :) Uwharrie is about 4 hours away so on our first day we didnt arrive there until it was starting to get dark. The second day we woke up and went out on the trails. I was a little nervous about this trip because I thought that I didnt like wheeling, well it turns out that I do! Brian made the trip and the trails really fun, some of the fun was more nervous laughter because I thought we were going to roll the jeep but fun none the less :) Brian even let me drive! I had a lot of fun doing that and I actually made it over a few obstacles. Brian said he had fun navigating me along the trail! Kyle let Joy drive for a little while also. After a few hours of wheeling we decided to go back to the camp for some dinner, after dinner we headed back out on the trail for some night wheeling. That was fun also because at night it almost feels like you are on the indiana jones ride at disneyland :). Kyles Jeep got a little bit beat up that day/night and now has some battle wounds. The next morning we all woke up later than we had expected so we got a late start. We went on a trail that we had not done yet and it was my favorite! The weather was so beautiful and warm and some of the trees were starting to turn to fall colors it was gorgeous! After that trail we went back to the "difficult" trail. Not to far up that Kyle bent his tie rod to a 90 degree angle, while the boys were trying to pound that back into shape, 4 people on ATVs came to come down that slope we were on (which was at a pretty big angle and had lots of loose rock) the first 2 ATVs pass us and make it fine, the third person flipped his ATV but was able to jump off in time and not get hurt. I think that the fourth person saw the other guy fall and got distracted a bit because we took the slope at a bad angle and rolled his ATV also. It was so scary Joy and I were sitting down and we see him try to jump off and the ATV start to go down the slope and by the time we get up to see what had happened the ATV was on top of him and he was face down. It was the scariest feeling wondering if he was okay. Brian and Kyle ran down there to help them get the ATV off of him. He was banged up quite a bit but he is alive and that is what is important!!! After that we just went back to camp so that Brian and Kyle could try to fix Kyles Jeep some more. It didnt really get fixed. It really was a great trip though and I wish that they weren't moving to Japan so that we could make this an annual trip! Here are some pictures! Group picture to be posted soon its on Kyle and Joys camera!

Somehow we became the Bonk's

Here is me driving! If you notice in the picture above this one Brian is biting his lip and in this picture I am biting my lip. i think I learned that from watching him drive! I didn't notice that till I was looking at the pictures when we got home :)

Homemade Cleaners and Veggie Wash Recipe

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

I have switched from using conventional cleaners to using homemade cleaners. Homemade cleaners cost far less than their conventional counterparts, they are also much healthier to have in your home because they are non-toxic. No more toxic chemicals for me! Both the tea tree oil and the grapefruit seed extract are anti bacterial. The grapefruit seed extract will actually kill salmonela. So just because you are switching to homemade will not mean that you arent killing germs!
The Dr. Bronners Soap, Essential Oils, and Grapefruit seed extract can be found at any health food store. They can also be found on this is a great website to find these items because they are much cheaper on the website and the shipping is not very much!

All-Purpose Cleaner
White Vinegar
Dr. Bronners Liquid Castile Soap (any scent)
Tea Tree Essential Oil
Another Essentail Oil (your favorite scent)

Fill a spray bottle with equal amounts of water and vinegar. Then add a few squirts of the Dr. Bronners Soap. Then add 15-20 drops of the tea tree essential oil. Finally add 10-15 drops of whatever additional essential oil that you would like to use. Shake to combine.

I use this spray for everything! This spray is not safe for granite countertops because of the vinegar. If you have granite countertops you can substitute denatured alchohol for the vinegar.

Soft Scrub
Baking Soda
Dr. Bronners Liquid Castile Soap

Combine baking soda and soap to form a frosting like consistency. Use as you would any other scrub cleaners. This scrub works great on tubs, toilets, and sinks! Throw in a few drops of tea tree oil if your shower or tub has gotten mildew.

Fruit and Veggie Wash Spray
Baking Soda
Grapefruit Seed Extract

In a large mixing bowl combine 1 cup vinegar, 1 cup water, and 1 tablespoon baking soda. Add 10-15 drops grapefruit seed extract. Pour mixture into a spray bottle. Spray mixture on to fruit. Let sit 5-10 minutes then rinse with water.