Thursday, December 6, 2012

Thursday Randoms

Well, I have obviously been doing a terrible job on the blog lately. My best excuse is that I have been on the brink of death for about two months straight. Some people might call that an exaggeration, but I had a cold that turned into a sinus infection- that stuff lasted about five-six weeks, and then I had a break from being sick for about a week and a half and I got another terrible awful cold for a week, and I am just now better. So I've been sleeping a lot, doing a lot of neti-potting, consuming a ridiculous amount of vitamins, and being miserable. But good news! I am better, and I now have a new lease on life. I'm also hoping to get a new immune system.

So.... here are my updates.

1. You probably wondered about the pumpkin carving competition. The one in which I am somehow ALWAYS robbed of first prize every year? Well, this was the year, folks. I won. Check out my awesome pumpkin:

Yes, that is Linus and Lucy and The Great Pumpkin. Since me winning this competition was basically my goal in life, our reaction was a little over the top:

And here's our prize: (Well, the cute guy I've had for a while, but the triple crock pot is the prize. (-: )

2. On Halloween, Mark and I dressed up and went to Chipotle for $2 Booritos.

3. In November, I celebrated my FIVE YEAR college homecoming. My roomie and I and our hubs loaded up and headed south. We reminisced, spent money in the bookstore, and had a grand old time. Here we are at our freshman dorm room:

And here we are with our mascot. No big deal.

4. Also in November, some of our best friends had TWINS! Their names are Julia and Caroline and they are precious. Completely and purely precious.

5. Over Thanksgiving weekend Karlie worked her magic with the cousins. We have dubbed her the child whisperer. No one cares about me or Mark anymore, it's all about Karlie. "Is Karlie going to be there?" "Can we go to Karlie's house?" I am officially chopped liver. (-:

We had family raking day and I snuck a picture. It's amazing how much faster leaves get raked with three people. (-:

6. Our Thanksgiving Tradition is getting our tree from the tree farm! Yay! We got the most beautiful tree in the farm, like always. 

Self explanatory. (-:

After decorating, Mark and Karlie chatted by the fire while I laid on the couch secretly taking more pictures. (-:

7. We cheered for OSU.

8. I got my hair cut. (-:

9. I got my drivers license renewed. (-:

10. Boo also got a haircut. And a new Christmas bow.

11. After getting groomed, Boo relaxed by laying on the couch and staring at the Christmas tree. 

12. And last, but not least, we ordered our Christmas cards. (-:


Monday, October 22, 2012

A Day with the Sister

My sister, Bekah, is four years younger than me. She and I look somewhat alike - at least people say we do - but we also have pretty different personalities, so it's always lots of fun when we hang out together. There is never a dull moment and we usually learn about various things from each other. She keeps me up on cool music, (this weekend, after showing me a few songs, she asked, "Do you EVER listen to the radio?!" to which I responded, "Well, I listen to the Christian station and NPR and sometimes sports radio...") and she keeps me up on the latest fashions and make-up. Well, at least she tries. I'm kind of a lost cause. (-:

She and her new hubby live about an hour and a half from us, so we don't get to see them too terribly often. We have to plan for it. So, I planned a day to go down and hang with her! I got to tour the new dental office where she works, and then we just had a day of fun.

We checked out a few local shops, and went to her favorite consignment/antique furniture and knick knack store. I understand why she loves it, and if I had any money to spend, I would go broke in that place very quickly. Before we set out on our shopping spree, she shared some of her coolness with me:

We stopped at a coffee shop that some girls I went to college started, and we got some yummy cupcakes and warm drinks. Bekah learned quickly that a latte is not the same as a chai latte. That was an unfortunate error. But we loved our cupcakes!

I got a soy chai, which was pretty darn good itself, and a red velvet cupcake. nom nom nom.

I've had a bit of a cold lately, so my throat has been pretty painful. I'm really hoping to kick this thing soon. It kind of put a damper on our day of hanging out, but by dinnertime, my headache was gone, so I was able to enjoy that more. And, we met up with our boys, and my brother and his awesome wife!

After that we had to head back home. It was a quick trip, but lots of fun. I am definitely looking forward to us all living closer again one day. 

Happy Monday everyone! (-:


Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Old Faithful

After working as an underwriter in the insurance field for about nine months, I made my first big grown-up decision. I saved and scraped, and was ready to buy a new-to-me, but used, car. Once I had my money saved, I spent hours on multiple car websites scouring the web daily for a few weeks.

And then I found a beaut, just outside of Chicago, Illinois, in the little suburb of Naperville. The year was 2008, and I had found a 1998 Honda Accord with 117,000 miles on it, being sold by its original owner. The color was raisin pearl, and it melted my heart. After talking with the owner and realizing this was indeed a really great vehicle, we were able to snag that thing for $4200. So, we spontaneously loaded up in the car with a couple of friends the next morning and road tripped to Naperville. After getting the keys and signing the papers, we moonlighted at a Chicago pizzeria, got some sleep, and woke up early the next morning to head back to T-Town. I put my OBU sticker on it, and I took the car to my Honda specialist mechanic, who confirmed that I did, indeed, "steal" the car. It was such a great car and such a great price. I was able to buy it right after it was listed and beat out the 15+ people that the seller said had called him between the time of me agreeing to buy it and making it to Illinois to pick it up.

That car has been a champion. I have had hardly any issues with it, and it was the first really nice vehicle that I have owned, and one that I felt like wouldn't break down on me. I felt great pride in knowing that I had paid cash for a really nice vehicle. That car drove me to and from my first job, drove us to our first house. It's the car we drove to take Karlie to OBU. It was also the vehicle we took to get our puppy, Boo. It's the car that we drove away from our wedding in. It is also the car we road tripped to Virginia in! That car has seen a lot of milestones in the life of our little family.

It recently hit another milestone:

Yes. That is 200,000 miles. And you know what? She still runs like a champ. I am so proud of my little car for making it this long, and especially thankful that it appears to have a lot of life left in it (knock on wood!). 

She looks a little rough, and the AC and heater both have their own "personalities." It could definitely use some paint. But, I am not really concerned with looks, because I love my car and it is dependable.
I'm hoping my little Accord has a lot of life left in her, because we have many more milestones to come.  I think it will be really hard for me to let go of my car when the time comes. I might even cry. (-:

Do you have a car you have loved like this?


Saturday, October 13, 2012

Fall Break

I am having my own instituted Fall Break. It's not an actual "Fall Break", but I finished up my finals in my classes on Wednesday, and my next class doesn't start until Monday. I should be doing my reading for my new class. But, instead, I'm enjoying a break, since technically my new class hasn't started yet.

So, I am living. it. up. To the extreme. Times a million.

After work on Thursday I went to this awesome craft night that the women's ministry at my church hosted, and this is what I made:

I also got to talk to the most awesome small group leader at our church while we worked on our crafts:

Isn't that so fun? I added the little "J", and I must say that I'm not at all disappointed that the color is OSU orange. (-:

After craft night, Mark and I rushed off to see part of the Tulsa Opera's dress rehearsal of "Daughter of the Regiment." It was AWESOME.

Then Mark and I came home and we watched the documentary, "Forks Over Knives."

You can get it on Amazon, and you should definitely watch it. This is one of those things I have always known that I would like, since I loved "Food, Inc." but hadn't seen yet. Mark has been flirting with the idea of eating more vegan since reading Scott Jurek's book, "Eat and Run". I knew this documentary would be something we would like, and potentially dietary habit changing, so we watched it. It shows the benefits of eating a whole foods plant based diet, and it's pretty remarkable. We are going to try to eat more vegan more often. (-:

Today I woke up and worked out at my usual body pump class at my gym, and then I came home and therapeutically cleaned my room. There's something about not being able to clean that really makes you want to do it. Homework is generally my priority when I'm home from work during the semester, so since I'm on this self instituted Fall Break, I let myself clean my room and listened to some "She and Him".  It was pretty great. I even had some quality time with the pups:

After that, Mark and I loaded up to do some fun shopping at one of my favorite places, Whole Foods, and I had this yummy veggie sushi roll for lunch (working on our new vegan menu):

That was lots of fun, and we got lots of fun new things to try, including hummus mix, which they had in the bulk section. And we love us some hummus.

After our leisurely trip to WF, it was time for some fall fun with our friends Alex and Aaron! Alex and I have become friends through the women's mentoring ministry. She and I are kindred spirits, and we have quickly formed a close friendship that I treasure very deeply. And her husband isn't that bad, either. (-:

We loaded up and heading our to our local pumpkin patch, because nothing says fall more than a pumpkin patch. There is a particular little gem of a pumpkin patch south of Tulsa that includes millions of different types of pumpkins and gourds, local fudge and jam, a freakishly dark corn maze, and a petting zoo that included everything from camels to turtles. The Great Pumpkin, eat your heart out. 

Isn't that little piglet adorbs?! They were so precious. You might think the fun ended at the pumpkin patch. You would be wrong. We had an awesome dinner at Chipotle, and then went home to make caramel apples!

And the thing is, Saturday hasn't even happened yet! We're still awake, watching Hulu, and imagining how awesome it will be to sleep in tomorrow. And then, college football Saturday. All day. And some vegan chili we are making tomorrow. This could possibly be the best weekend I've had. Ever. (-;

I hope you are giving yourself a Fall Break as well. What's your favorite thing about Fall? (-:


Wednesday, October 3, 2012

The White Ribbon

After being cooped up in a minivan with my brother, sister, and parents for two hours, we had finally arrived at the middle of nowhere, but the center of everything we knew, in the little town of Gowen, Oklahoma. We stepped out of the van to the familiar sights of trees and the little pond, and the sounds of the chickens as they fought for whatever scraps they could find. We were attacked by Sarah, the sweet sheltie whose tail never stopped wagging. I leapt out of the van and ran toward the house as quickly as my little legs would take me, hugged the necessary family members, and my ten year old self made a bee-line for the refrigerator. I had to be the first one to open that door - I was on a mission.

I knew that my Nana had made pies for us because she knew we were coming. My eyes scanned the counters, confirming there were indeed pies, but I continued on to the fridge, with the hope that she had remembered me in her baking. I flung open the door and starting rummaging, moving around the unmarked yogurt tubs that she stored everything in, until my eyes settled on my pot of gold. There, formed into a white ball, wrapped in plastic wrap, was my prize: uncooked pie dough. My Nana saved her leftovers for me after she finished her crusts. That ball of flour, salt, crisco, and water was like manna to my young heart, and I victoriously grabbed that dough out of the fridge and immediately began devouring it. My Nana shook her head, not understanding what I found remotely appetizing about uncooked pie crust dough.

That scene played itself out countless times in my childhood and as I became a young adult. My love for pie crust dough never ceased, and my Nana continued to keep the scraps for me, as a token of her love for me and her expectancy of our visits.

As I grew up, I began learning how to make my own pies and my own pie crusts. My mom taught me, as I'm sure my Nana taught her. When I was in college, Nana died suddenly. After she passed away, I remember receiving back some of the gifts and crafts I had made her that she had always proudly displayed at her house. My mom asked me what things of Nana's I might want, and I had a few simple requests. When I received my items I got exactly what meant the most to me: a pie plate, a flour sifter, and a pie dough separator.

This year I entered the Tulsa State Fair with an apple pie, and I won a white ribbon for third place. Of course I used my Nana's dough separator, and I was proud that I was able to win a prize. I know she would have been thrilled. This week I made another pie and there I stood in my kitchen, looking at my pie utensils, and I was transported in time for a moment, envisioning my Nana making pie after pie with those same tools. I doubt that I will ever make as many pies as she did, and I know they won't ever taste as good, but I felt that for a moment, our hearts connected, and knew that while she is no longer with me, her legacy will be forever.

When I make pie now, Karlie comes into the kitchen, asking for scraps of pie crust dough. She hovers around the pie and as pieces fall off onto the counter she scoops them up and dips them into the apple and cinnamon sugar mixture and eats it. And I can't help but think about how many generations will continue to make those pies and eat that dough in remembrance of those that have gone before us.

And so, I am very proud of my white third place ribbon from the fair, but I am most proud of the skill my Nana passed down in our family and how she used her baking as yet another way to share her unconditional love to her family. I hope that one day I have a granddaughter and that she will know, as I knew, that she is always remembered and always loved, even in the little things, like pie dough.


Monday, August 13, 2012

For the Love of Sourdough

I love me some sourdough bread. Really, I love basically any bread. Okay, yes, I just love food in general. But more specifically, I really love me some sourdough. We keep it in our fridge pretty much at all times. There is a local bakery that makes wonderful artisan breads and we generally get their bread because it's so good.

My Nana used to make bread every week for her church. It was soft, sweet, yummy loaf that all the new church visitors got to take home with them after Sunday church. My nana had a knack for bread making and baking in general. Apparently my great granddad was pretty famous for his sourdough bread as well. 

Thus far in my life I have pretty much sucked big time at making bread. A pumpkin loaf? Sure - but that doesn't count because it doesn't involve yeast. The only bread that I have really done well with is bagels. Which isn't exactly bread, but it does involve yeast so I will count it. Oh, and Pioneer Woman's pizza crust. But again, we're talking bagels and pizza crusts here, people. I have yet to be able to deliver on straight up bread. I can't make a sandwich with pizza crust. I want something I can slather some jelly on, some butter, or make a meal out of. Sourdough bread.

I admit that in the past, I probably should have used an actual cooking thermometer when trying to determine the temperature of the water before I put the yeast in it for making various breads. I mean, I'm giving myself too much credit when I feel it with my hand and think, "yeah, that's about 100 degrees." As if.

Anywho, I'm turning over a new leaf. I am determined. I am going to succeed at making bread. Not just any bread - sourdough bread. Yeah, sure, I know, it probably would be smart to start with something easier. But no, I decided, what the heck? Go big or go home. I'm going to make my own sourdough. And make my own sourdough starter. Like the real deal. Grow my own little yeast guys.

So I got all excited about this venture about ten days ago, got the ingredients, read the instructions, and decided I was all ready to go. I have a friend who is my sourdough mentor. He's the real deal. In case you aren't aware of what you have to do with a sourdough starter, let me liken it to something you might remember from your childhood. Tamagotchi, anyone? 

Yep. A virtual pet. I had one. And mine lived a very long life. Now, with a sourdough starter, you have the same basic concepts. A "pet" of sorts that you have to feed and take care of. Every day - at least until it grows, if you will, and then you only feed it once a week.

So, back to ten days ago. I got all my stuff together and began my starter. And it did great. I was following the instructions so carefully, making sure no one threw it out, and I was so proud. I showed everyone that came over. I could almost taste the delicious bread. Until. Day 7. Catastrophe struck and there was MOLD inside my starter. Black, fuzzy, disgusting mold. I was crushed. In the words of Anne Shirley, I was in the depths of despair. I wanted a sourdough loaf by Christmastime and lamesauce mold better not be what keeps me from it.

I didn't really have much of an option, since the jar was pretty covered in the fungus. I had to throw it out. That's seven days of a sourdough starter that I will never get back. But I'm here to claim that I am back on that horse.

I re-started my starter this weekend, and today is day four. So far, no mold, but I'm tempering my excitement this time. I don't know that I could take another crushing blow to my ego starter.

So that's where we are. Fingers crossed, mouth watering, and nervously trying to follow every instruction to a T. Sourdough by Christmas is my mantra. It will happen. I will succeed. And there will be pictures.

Wish me luck.


Thursday, July 26, 2012

You'll Always Be My Best Friend

Mark and I have been married for three years!!! Crazy, eh? I must say that honestly, marriage is super stinkin' fantastically awesome. It gets better all the time. I am so thankful Mark was patient and waited for me to come around and say yes! (-: I can't imagine my life any differently.

Here's to always being best friends.


Sunday, July 22, 2012

A Restful Sunday

As you are probably aware, based on my lack of posts, and my plethora of pictures, we've been busy lately. Way busier than I like, and way busier than is good for us. They have all been really good things, but man, can't a girl just get a day to relax? To get back in the swing of things, I'm writing a random mc-random blog post, so buckle up.

Well, today is my day. Of course, after I worked five hours. (-: Mark and Karlie have been floating a local river with the church college group, so after church, I had lunch with friends, and came home and planted my rear end on the couch. I have been reading and sleeping, and now I'm blogging. And I'm wearing sweats. That's my kind of Sunday. Although, I did get up for a few minutes to get in my car and drive a half mile to Braum's and get a Coke freeze. What can I say?

Near the end of my spring semester, I made a list of things I would like to accomplish this summer. I have about a month left of my summer break, and that list is really needing some work. I am proud to announce that I have cleaned out the garage (WOO!), planned and hosted several showers, I cleaned out the cabinets above the washer/dryer (which were completely out of control), I have done yard word (as if I could ever finish that task), bought and killed some new plants (I'm skilled), and I have made progress in two of the four books I had written to read. (I have also started reading two books that weren't on my life. Curious? Well, on my life is "Surprised by Hope" by N.T. Wright, "Discovering Biblical Equality" ed. by Gordon Fee, and "Meaning of Marriage by Tim Keller. Not on my list but reading anyway are both "One Fine Potion: The Literary Magic of Harry Potter", and "Sacred Marriage" by Gary Thomas.  Glad you asked?

In my time away from school, I have found myself also feeling very unproductive. Going from every second of a day full of either school or homework, to having a half day with *nothing* (yeah, yeah) to do has really made me miss school and realize that I need to be more intentional with my time. I've also been looking into other graduate programs once I complete mine. We'll see where that leads. (-:

A couple friends of mine are 19-ish weeks pregnant with twin girls. They underwent fertility treatments and it took them several years to conceive. I have never prayed so much for people that I haven't yet met. I an overwhelmed when I think about it - how loved they already are, how they are little miracles, and how blessed I am to get to watch. My mom and I are throwing a shower for the two little girls, and I am so excited to be a part of their lives.

I guess thats all I have for today. Hopefully I will get back in the swing of blogging now. (-:


Thursday, July 12, 2012

Extreme Summer of Weddings 2K12

Well, folks, it's over.

I survived. Of course, I got sick two days after it was all complete, but I'm coming out on the other side and I'm still alive.

In the last eight weekends, I participated in three weddings and hosted 3.5 showers. This is one tired (and broke) girl.

Every wedding was different, fun, and unique and its own way. The first wedding was a fun outdoor wedding for my college roommate in her parents' backyard:

My other college roommate got married at the beautiful Dallas Baptist University, and we had such a fun weekend. Two of my roommates got tattoos. I was paying for mine when I realized my wallet was missing and I didn't have my id. The one time in my life I do something crazy and I didn't have my wallet! No tattoo for me. )-:

And finally, my sister got married!!!!! She got married at the Marland Mansion in Ponca City. It was outside and beautiful. We don't have many pictures yet, but here's a sneak peek!

And this is me, after it's all over:

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