great grub 6

I am pleased to announce that this recipe is all mine. I just made it up as I went along. We had small group last night and the Owen's house and they ordered pizza. We offered to bring the dessert. Normally I make something chocolate, but I had a feeling Ms. Iona would bring her infamous congo bars (and she did!). I decided on a fruit dessert, and that is where this came in:

Strawberry Shortcake Trifle

- 1 vanilla pound cake (store bought or homemade)
- 1 pint heavy whipping cream
- 4 Tbsp confectioners sugar
- 1 bag frozen strawberries, thawed
- 1 cup sugar
- 1/2 tsp cream of tartar
- 1/2 cup crushed graham crackers

Cube pound cake into 1 inch cubes. Beat cream and confectioners sugar together on low until it forms stiff peaks (don't over mix or it becomes butter!) Store in refrigerator. Combine strawberries and sugar in large pot over medium heat. Use a potato masher to gently crush strawberries and release their juices. Add the cream of tartar and continue to stir, about 3-4 minutes. Take strawberries off the heat and let cool. When cool enough, store in refrigerator for 30 minutes to chill. Assembly: Layer half the pound cake in the bottom of the trifle bowl. Spoon half the strawberry mixture over the top evenly. Then layer half of the whipped cream. Repeat the process with the remaining ingredients. Top with graham crackers and serve!!!

Disclaimer: no, this isn't my actual picture, I forgot to take one!

great grub 5

Yes, Kimberly, I am stealing this from you. What are you gonna do about it?

So I have made this recipe a few times now since discovering it on one of my good friend Kimberly's blog. I straight up stole it, and I don't feel bad because it is AWESOME! It is the perfect balance of healthy/cheating on diet. Here you go!

Butternut Squash Risotto

- 7 cups chicken broth (2 boxes)
- 3 Tbsp butter
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 1 butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch cubes
- 2 tsp chopped fresh rosemary
- 2 cups basmati rice
- 1/2 cup white wine
- 4 cups spinach (1 bag)
- 1/2 cup grated parmesean
- 1/2 cup blue cheese crumbles


Bring 7 cups broth to boil in large saucepan. Cover and reduce heat to low.

Melt butter in heavy large pot over medium heat. Add onion and sauté until tender, about 5 minutes. Add squash and rosemary; sauté 4 minutes to coat with butter. Add rice and stir 2 minutes. Add wine and simmer until evaporated, about 1 minute. Add 7 cups hot broth; bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer uncovered until rice is just tender and risotto is creamy and slightly soupy, adding more broth by 1/4 cupfuls as needed to maintain consistency and stirring occasionally, about 18 minutes. Stir in spinach, cream, and parmesean cheese. Season to taste with salt and pepper.


inexpensive etsy 4

Eric and I don't have any kids yet, that is, we don't have any 2-legged ones. We most definitely have a 4-legged one. Her name is Maggie (short for Magdalene, which she gets called frequently) and she is a 10 lb. mini dachshund with more personality in one claw than any other dog I have met has in their entire body. She is sweet, spoiled rotten, headstrong, stubborn, loving, and playful. As badly as I may talk about her, she is one of the things in life I love the most.

The dachshund breed in general is pretty special. They are some of the most loyal dogs on earth, but also have a reputation for being incredibly independent and stubborn. Best of all, their shape makes for some really fun home decor on Etsy! Here is my Etsy ode to the Dachshund:

This flying dachshund t-shirt from MisNopalesArt is absolutely hilarious. I need one!

Even better is dachshund yard art from metalcrafts, who doesn't need this in the back yard?

When we have children, they are totally going to sport this dachshund onsie from BellaBludesigns because it is cute AND funny!

And my favorite, the dachshund pillow from nakeddecor. Too flippin cute!


the big news

Ok, a while ago I promised big news. This won't be new to some of you, but to others it may be a shock.

I quit my job.

Let's backtrack, shall we? I graduated December o8 with my bachelors in mathematics and a job teaching at Emerald High School. I was stoked! This meant 2 incomes for our family! What would we do with all that money?

My first semester teaching was rough, to say the least. My kids were considered "bottom of the barrel" by most in the school. It wasn't like the classes I took when I went to Emerald. I knew I would have to do some major adjusting, but I still loved the idea of having a ministry in public school. We live in the bible belt, so people talk about Jesus all day, but how many public school kids experience Jesus?

By the way, the extra money was awesome! No we didn't go crazy with it, in fact we decided to still live like we were on one income and put most of the rest towards loans and savings. But it was nice to go out to dinner every once in a while and not feel guilty.

Fast forward 1 year.

December 09 rolls around and all of a sudden I hear God tapping on my shoulder. I don't listen, so he knocks harder. God told me to slow down. God told me to be a better wife for my husband. God told me I would need to be a great mom one day. God told me to quit my job. I still didn't listen, nor did I discuss any of it with Eric. Every day God spoke to me in little ways that I chose to ignore. Finally I broke down and told Eric about what God had spoken into my life. He took it way better than I expected. This is one way I knew that he must have been hearing from God too. So we prayed. And prayed. And then when we were tired of talking and praying, we prayed again. We made the decision together that I would not sign my contract. I was still uneasy. God knew that.

So I went on the women's retreat to Bonclarken. Of course all I could think about was my newly made decision and all that it entailed: "what will people think? where will we get the money to pay off our loans? Erics parents are going to freak..." Then God knocked me over the head with a spiritual 2x4. While on the women's retreat I was offered not one, but 2 jobs with ladies at my church. Tutoring oat All Things Bright and Beautiful, a christian-based tutoring business and teaching one of my favorite girls in youth, who is homeschooled, Algebra next year. How much more do I need from God? When are the signs enough?

After that weekend I went home without any anxiety whatsoever about the decision to quit public school. God gave me a peace that surpasses all understanding. It really does! I gave my resignation the day before spring break and I felt absolutely amazing.

Three days later Park Seed (my husband's place of work) announced that they would no longer be working Fridays, starting after Mothers day. They would also be taking 2 weeks of furlough. This would cut 32 hours a month from our monthly income. No small hit, to be sure. However, one of the furlough weeks falls when we go to Costa Rica, which is a blessing. Eric won't have to take vacation those days.

I took this as another message from God: "Do you trust me? Do you really trust me?" is what He was asking us. The answer:

A whole-hearted, 100%, abso-tutin-lutely YES. The peace God gave me never left. It was there, and it is still there and I am crying as I write this because my God is incredible. He will never give me more than I can handle, and when He does it is because He is going to carry me through it. I love Him.

One of the harder things we had to do was tell our families. My mom took it well, I knew she would. She loves the Lord. It is a lot easier for a Christ follower to comprehend. Eric's parents held their tongues. I know they don't really get it, but I have faith they will one day.

We had a discussion in small group last Monday that was so honest. God asks you to do things that nonbelievers, believers, and even you yourself do not understand and most of the time can not even explain. The difference between you and the others is that YOU have the peace, they do not. What seems crazy to them makes perfect sense to you because God spoke to you, not them.

"But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. Peacemakers who sow in peace raise a harvest of righteousness." James 3:17-18.

I love my God and I am secure in Him. That is all that matters to me. I look forward to what this new adventure will bring us. I am so excited to be a better wife for Eric. I am so excited to one day be a great mom. Most of all, I am excited to be in God's will.

cell phone + milk = bad idea

So Sunday was my birthday. I also had nursery duty at church that morning. I got up, took a shower, did my quiet time, and headed off to church on time. I arrived at church and was greeted by a slew of happy birthdays (thank you facebook). I made my way into the nursery to wait on my little bundles of joy to arrive. I put my pocket book away as I normally do, but then remembered that family would probably try to call to give me my birthday wishes as well. So I got my phone out of the bag and put it directly into my back pocket.

Time elapsed, kids came in, kids wanted to be fed. In the process of feeding my beautiful friend Rachel's almost 1 year old, Benjamin, another child (who will remain nameless to protect the innocent) put his bottle down on the chair where I was sitting. Unfortunately, aforementioned pocket squeezed out my phone and spit it onto the chair...right next to the bottle...the bottle that LEAKED.

Once discovered, panic ensued. Now I am not one of those "can't live without my cell phone" people. In fact I relish the days that I forget it at home and no one can call. I raced to the bathroom, took the phone apart into as many pieces as I could and cleaned it out. Pressed the power button and...nothing. Dead. Gone. The End. The reasons I was upset are as follows: 1. it was my birthday and people will want to get in touch with me and 2. we are not up for a new phone nor do we have the money to pay for one right now.

So Eric and I left church and grabbed a bite to eat, then headed to AT&T to find out what could be done. After being greeted like we were celebrities (try being the first customers of the day, you will find out what I mean) the man promptly assured us of what we already knew. Yes it was dead, no store credit, cheapest phone $300. NO THANKS! He then gave us two options. Numero uno, go to Wal-Mart and purchase the $20 trac phone and replace the SIM card with my own. Or numero dos, take my existing milk-logged phone apart as much as possible, clean all parts with alcohol and try again the next day.

We opted for both. A phone to tide me over until we figured out our next best move. My husband, being the ingenius one that he is, suggested we try out a myth we heard recently. Put my soggy phone into a bag of rice over night. Apparently the rice will suck all the moisture out. I thought, it can't make it worse! So I stuck my Razor into a bag of basmati and didn't look back. The next day I got home from school, took out my phone, replaced the SIM card and hit the power button and guess what?


How amazing is that? Now I won't be returning said trac phone for fear that one day this phone really will die and I will need a temporary replacement. However, I really think Jesus healed my phone because He knew we couldn't afford another one.

So in conclusion I leave you with a system of equations:
cell phone + milk = bad idea
soggy phone + rice = phone that works
phone that works iff jesus healed it

The End.

great grub 4

All right people get ready for some good eatin. I have mentioned this recipe before when I blogged about Wednesday night girl's night dinners. Pizza is one of America's favorite foods. I love America and I love food, but I also love arabic cuisine. So when my friend Kimberly came up with the idea of hummus pizza I jumped at the chance to try it!

Instead of your regular marinara sauce - based pizza, this one is hummus based! It also incorporates a variety of arabic/greek flavorings. Feel free to play around with this recipe and add your own favorites to it.

Here you go!

Hummus Pizza

- store bought whole wheat pizza crust (12")
- homemade hummus (see previous great grub)
or store bought works just fine
- 1 package feta cheese crumbles
- 20 to 30 calamata olives
- 2 tomatoes, diced
- 1 onion, caramelized
- 1 can marinated artichokes
- olive oil, salt, pepper

Preheat oven to 400.
Chop onion however you like it and put into a saute pan over medium heat coated with olive oil. Saute onions until tender and brown. Chop artichoke into bite sized pieces. Pit and chop calamata olives. Spread hummus over pizza crust. Top with olives, diced tomatoes, onion, and artichokes. Spread the feta cheese over the pizza. Salt and pepper to taste. Drizzle olive over the entire pizza lightly. Bake for 15 minutes, or until crust is golden brown and cheese is melty.