He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.

Monday, January 31, 2011

Something I MUST share

It's been awhile since I've posted, I know, and I'm sorry.
I'm still in a "funk". Last week my poor husband had to deal with my moody attitude. Luckily he sticks around, leaves me alone when all I do is grunt and complain, and then snuggles me when I am sad.
Quite frankly, he's the best. And every night I lay in bed thanking my Father for him.

Alright, so now that that's outta the way, I simply must share something I discovered today.
It started out a normal morning. Only, this particular morning I woke up very happy. (not something I do very often :)
3 reasons: It's 8 o'clock, which means, I'm not working! Yaaaaaay!!!  It's snowing!! As of now, I'd say we have about 3 inches and growing.  It's a baking cookies kinda day.......That's 3 things, right?
I promised my love I would bake cookies yesterday. And then I blamed him for keeping me on the couch all afternoon and nothing getting baked, hahaha. Today he is working, and I'm off. Which to me, means a productive day. I get nothing done when Scott is home, hence no cookies yesterday.
Baking cookies is productive, but it's fun too. So to even things out, I through in laundry to the "to do" list as well. Laundry's done, and the 4th dozen of cookies is in the oven.
Here's where it's time to pay close attention. On Saturday I picked up white chocolate chips and crumbled chocolate toffee bits for my cookies. I promised my neice Abbi I would make her twix bar cookies for successfully memorizing her propositions. WAY TO GO Abbi!!!!!!! Stewartville's only grocery store, Fairway, didn't have Twix. So I opted for Heath Bar instead.
I got as far as beating the butter and sugars together. Time to add the eggs.....only one problem, I hard boiled all the eggs over the weekend!! I paused, staring into the fridge, wondering what the heck I was going to do. And then it dawned on me. I remembered hearing that certain ingredients when baking, could be substituted with something else in your kitchen.
I ran to the computer, and googled egg substitute......over a hundred websites popped up right away. Thank God! I was hoping for something besides applesauce as a substitute, since I knew I didn't have it. Guess what I found for a not so obvious substitute, but a delicious one at that. Bananas. Now that I have!!!
Who would have thought that a small ripe banana, mashed up to a creamy consistency could act as the "glue", the same way eggs do.
Now, I know the taste between the two ingredients are obviously VERY different. Some may worry. But I absolutely LOVE bananas, ESPECIALLY in baked items. Before deciding on the banana as a substitute, I read on about other possible substitutes, in case there was something better and not as far from eggs as bananas. I found a couple tablespoons of soy milk could also stand in for eggs. Perfect!! I always have soy milk.....oh wait scratch that. I've recently converted to almond milk......could it work just the same??
I'm feeling inventive today:) So I gave it a try.
1 banana, plus 2 tablespoons of vanilla flavored almond milk.
Twenty minutes later....12 minutes of baking time.....8 minutes of cooling time.....I can't wait to taste them!
Words cannot describe the incredible taste of these crispy on the outside and perfectly soft on the inside white chocolate chip banana cookies. You get a slight hint of the banana flavor, not missing the "egg flavor"  (??) at all. What a great way to eliminate the extra cholesterol if you need to. Not that I DO, but I love the moistness the bananas give to the cookies.

Well, another successful batch of baked goodies for my hubby to enjoy. Your welcome Babe. It's all for Love.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Crafts and Projects Galore!!

Living in a home versus an apartment is a dream! I know we're still paying rent, but Mary has made every point to make us feel like this is OUR home, not just a rental.
I'm in heaven decorating, remodeling, organizing, cleaning, picking up Scott's clothes all over the house....Okay maybe I'm not ecstatic about the last too. But atleast it means we're living in a house that we care enough about to keep it looking nice, right!!
One of my favorite networks on TV is HGTV. I started off a fan of all the home makeover shows. Design on a Dime, Bang for your buck, Dear Genevieve, and one of my favs Deserving Design. It was a far off dream when I imagined being able to do all my favorite DIY projects in my OWN home.
Now it's reality! I live in this awesome 50's era charming little country house with A LOT of room for improvement. We've started on the cheap and easy fixes by painting and decorating. A light shade of green, a collage of pictures on the wall, and strategically placed knick knacks have really helped define our cozy little cottage.
One of my favorite things are two very special framed silhouettes of Scott and I. Made especially for us by my best friend, Jill. Framed in 2 black, 8x10, distressed, antique"y" looking frames and hanging perfectly on either side of our living room window. Sooooo cute!
I ABSOLUTELY LOVE anything and everything vintage! Aside from the inspirational DIY shows for antiquing and distressing your furniture, one of my other fav shows on HGTV is Property Virgins or My First Place. I love the couples, who are newly married, excited about their new life, proud to buy their first home together,and looking for a smaller scale, cottage-style, fixer-upper with huge potential.  I'm living in one of those homes now!! Our home is a true "antique". Built in the 50's, it still has the original wood flooring (covered up with carpet of course, a future DIY project), a blue bathtub and matching toilet, a cedar closet for winter cloaks, and beautiful glittered popcorn ceiling in every room! (j/k about the "beautiful" part). I like to refer to all these unique findings as "charm". Yes, I've nominated my lovely husband to ceiling scraping and I've mentioned to Mary how great the floors would look without carpet, but it's still character.
Mary is very open to hearing our ideas on home improvements. Sometimes, she even offers to front the bill for our improvements. Scott has yet to experience his first DIY kitchen remodel :) Resurfacing our countertops with new laminate. Good Luck Babe!! (if you've done this facelift before, a little feedback would be appreciated). I've given myself the job of sanding and painting the kitchen cupboards...to be continue'd.
Remember the matching blue tub and toilet I mentioned earlier? I'd like to replace that tub with an antique white procelain tub with the "claw feet" and matching white toilet.
I can dream can't I?
Just getting you ready for some before and after pics to come :)

What's worse?

I asked some Minnesota natives the other day, "what's worse, cold weather or bugs?".
Considering, those are probably the two most talked about complaints over living in Minnesota.
Patty says bugs. Dave says cold weather. Two very legitimate answers.
Let's break this down further:
On one hand, you've got bugs. They are annoying in so many ways. They buzz around, sometimes near your face which is very annoying. They get into places where they are not wanted, like the kitchen, or the bedroom. They are capable of poisoning your food. They are very ugly. When they die in your house, you have to clean up their upsidedown corpses. Overall, (in my opinion) they are just gross.
On the other hand, I cannot recall any time that someone has ever told me they "like" cold weather.
They can tolerate it. But........... you can also tolerate bugs...atleast in the midwest you can. It's not like there are deadly bugs flying around stinging and killing people in Minnesota. Therefore, they are tolerable.
Alright, so what are some negatives about cold weather.....
It doesn't feel good. It's uncomfortable being cold. But if your prepared for it, it's not that bad.
It's costly. If it's cold enough, you're gonna be using a heater or some extra clothing to warm up, no question about that. Cold weather can lead to bad weather conditions, dangerous driving conditions, therefore, a negative quality.
So all in all, two very comparable things to dislike.
In my case, I deal with both. At the same time.
Scott and I are definitely getting a big slice of reality on the prarie homefront. Complete with excessive snow fall for December, temperatures in the negatives, and bugs coming out of the woodworks.
This is no old wives tale. We've learned from Mary that one or two empty food jars placed conveniently near a couple windows can become quite useful.
When a bug is trapped inside for days without food, it becomes weary and confused. Flying desperately into the window to try and escape death. Unfortunately for the bug, we keep our windows closed tightly in the winter to keep the warm air in and the cold air out. So no escaping until Spring. So their fate becomes death, belly up on our window sills and floors. It's really gross. Flies and (ladybug look-alike) asiatic beetles by the hundreds all over our house! I vacuumed up about 40 this morning. And guess what...it's 10 hours later, and I could probably pick up another 30 or so.
A true farm house, right?! Come springtime, I guess I'll find out for myself what's worse, dead bugs all over your house, or live bugs flyin' around your house?
Personally, I think dead bugs are worse than cold weather.
It's much more beautiful outside than it is cold!
Too beautiful to complain.
Plus....crisp, clean, cold air feels great! It makes me feel alive! It definitely wakes me up in the morning....with a little help from coffee of course.
All in all, I want the bugs gone!!! Don't you think a little deadly bug spray around the house would do the trick??? I thought I hinted at it to Mary, she didn't pick it up. She seems surprisingly content with the jar method.

Cold weather? or...


Friday, January 7, 2011

Our Plan

Question #1: Does God have a plan for everyone's lives?
Question #2: Why would He have a plan?
Question #3: How do we really know if he has a plan, and does it really matter either way?

I have answers to all 3! Here's my immediate answer, without giving much thought at all, just a simple response to what I think.
Answer #1: Of course He does!!!
Answer #2: Because He loves us, He created us, and because we are a reflection of Him.
Answer #3: Yeah, it matters!! It matters to me atleast. And it matters to God.

Okay, so obviously I have more to say than just a few words, since I am writing about it on my blog. Plus, I love a good God talk :)
I am a believer. By that I mean, I believe in the Bible, that it is all true. I also have a personal relationship with God. By that I mean, I love Jesus. I talk to him like he is sitting next to me and I always trust that he is watching over me. I have spent my whole life believing this, 29 years! That's a long time to believe in something. 29 years of listening, learning, reading, questioning, and admittedly, ignoring sometimes. So my answer to these questions is fairly simple, obvious, and very believable. However, not everyone agrees with me. And that is the troublesome part. I want to defend my answers, say it with an exclamation point! And convince everyone that I am right. But, I can't. What I can do, is read my Bible and get a little inspired rather than get defensive.
There is a reason why I began by saying I am a believer. The reason being is because being a believer has given me a very personal, a very emotional connection to God, my creator. I am reminded every day that God is love. More importantly, that He loves me. I believe he cares greatly for me. I know He wants me to do good and to treat others with kindness. And when I do, I think he is happy and proud. He is my father from above and all I want to do is to make Him proud of me. Just as I want my earthly father to do. I know my dad cares a great deal about me and wants the best for me. But I believe my heavenly father wants more than just the best for me. He wants me to trust in Him. To trust means to know that He is in control. Ultimately, I have choices to make. Sometimes I make choices before I trust, or before asking for guidance. Thankfully, God is forgiving and willing to lead me back in the right direction.
So this relationship with God has lead me to believe that He has a plan for my life. I think about my plan a lot actually. When I say "my plan", that's what I mean, literally. I have no idea what God's plan is for me, except the very vague version of doing good, showing kindness, and being thankful. My plan has so far, come true...I'm married to a wonderful man! A man who was created by God, who God loves dearly, and who loves me completely! If that wasn't God's plan, then I must be completely ignorant. I almost settled for a man that was definitely not God's choice for me. Instead, God brought Scott into my life to show me true love. His plan was for me to make some mistakes, come to terms with my mistakes(repent), and then reward me with love. The rest of "my plan" is something along the lines of having healthy children, having a successful and fulfilling marriage, and living long enough to have grandchildren to play with. At this point, I couldn't ask for much more. But these are things that I want. They may or may not size up to what God has in store for me. Ultimately, I have decisions to make along the course of my life that will determine the outcome. But that is God's plan. He's given me the Bible for guidance and to help me make the right choices.

Everyone has purpose, I know most believe this. Well, God gave us purpose! When He created life, He gave it purpose. Human beings are a pretty unique and complex work of art. Why would God not have a plan for such a special and one of a kind specimen. Especially one that He loves so dearly. In the Bible it says man was created in His image. Perfection. God's intention for man was to be fruitful and to increase in number and to rule over all that was created on earth. This was His plan for mankind. Over time, man has made choices, and God's plan has been overlooked.
To have faith is a pretty powerful frame of mind. It guides people through their decision making. Whether it's faith in themselves, faith in religion, in fate or in destiny, faith in mother nature, faith in Jesus.....etc. My faith is in God. And let me tell you, it's pretty comforting. Think of how much you love your family. I can think of how much I love my husband.....and it's a lot! I know that God loves me a 1,000 times as much as I am capable of loving Scott. I think because I know God's love, I know what it means to trust in Him, and because I trust in Him, I can unrelentingly surrender myself (my plan) to Him.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Appreciating Snowflakes

A New Year's Resolution......hmmmm. Did you make one? What is it? Against making one? Not me. I vow to make goals this year. My goal is to make goals. I have SO many things I want to do, to accomplish, to see, to own, to write, to create, to love. Things that have been on the list in my mind for a few years now...heck, maybe longer. So, you see, there must be a reason for these things not to be scratched off my list already?!
I have been spending a lot of time recently, in the past few days, maybe longer, in craft stores. Picking up different things I need for my current project. However, most every time I go to Michael's or (my new favorite find...)HobbyLobby, I forget something I need because I'm too busy day dreaming and wandering around aimlessly. Today, in Michael's, I was day dreaming about my list. Wondering to myself why these things have remained on my list for so long.
And then.....it occured to me. I was watching Julie/Julia last night for the second time. The first time I saw it, it inspired me. Julie realized she needed to set a deadline for herself if she was going start a new blog about cooking. She never accomplished anything she wanted to do because she would give up, or lose interest, or it would interfere with other things in her life. Basically, the deadline was a rule. It was part of the deal. If she wants to do this one thing, she's got to stick to the rules. "I have to accomplish it by: (said date)".
It inspired me because, I love to cook, I love to write, I love Blogs!! (Hahaha) I want to be a great cook someday. I love cooking, and baking. I do both a lot, but not as much as I should if want to be great at it.
You get the idea. Anyways, I'm setting goals for the things on my list. One at a time that is. Alright, here's my first goal: I am required to write atleast one new post on my blog by next Wednesday. Due date is next Wednesday. Then on Wednesday, I will set another goal.
There....it's officially in writing.
I also thought a great new year's resolution for anybody was....... appreciating snowflakes. A lot of people in Minnesota complain about the snow. Probably because they are tired of having to deal with the extra chores that come up whenever it snows. I can understand that. But the actual complaining I disagree with. It started snowing today while I was working. I casually looked out the window and saw big chunks of snow falling gracefully to the ground. It was beautiful. Smiling, I turned and said "It's snowing!" to my coworker. He frowned, and said "I know". How can you complain about something so beautiful? I asked. A snowflake is a perfect delicately carved out piece of ice, different from any other snowflake. Close up, it's pretty amazing to look at. And just seeing millions of them falling from the sky is just as amazing! Later, he told me I convinced him to appreciate snowflakes more often. I agreed it was a perfect new year's resolution. Every time you appreciate a snowflake, you'll have accomplished that goal, ready to make a new one. YES!