Sunday, February 28, 2010

So what are you jonesing for?

what are you jonesing for?

I celebrated my 21st birthday again. My sister offered to stay with the boys while my husband and I went out on the town. (Which at my age, means we went out to eat somewhere other than our town.) In my search for new and interesting places, I came across Burger Jones and was immediately hooked. Despite the drive. Despite the smattering of poor reviews concerning long waits and price complaints. Despite my devotion to The Blue Door Pub.

I just KNEW in my heart of hearts, I would love this place. And love this place I did! The Tri-Fry Tasting Tower helped, as did the dipping sauces, and hard shakes (a.k.a. alcohol-infused medleys). Want to see more? You can check out the full menu by clicking HERE.

Spent today with the family at the Minnesota State Capitol, participating in an art treasures scavenger hunt. It was great because while the boys were busy looking for treasure, my husband and I went hog wild with our cameras.


MN State Capital

where are you

sky light

tunnel vision

a mural

my partner in crime

Needless to say, we had a lot of fun :)

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Friday, February 26, 2010

what I did today yesterday...

the flyer

1. Ordered a couple batches of flyers (which happen to be much easier to view on black); my husband and I were up late working on all sorts of funky tag lines to be printed on the back side of each image. Can't wait to see what they look like in person!

2. Got caught up on almost all of my paperwork.

3. Finished up some edits.

4. Deleted my way through 100+ emails.

5. Paid bills.

6. Added the new lens to my insurance policy.

7. Attempted to snap a few shots (with said lens) of a reluctant 12 year old:


a hole????!!!

Oh my, you all know how I feel about holes (if not, click HERE and scroll down to item #22).

8. Responded to several WAAAAAAAY overdue emails.

9. Played "Say, Say Oh Playmate" with a reluctant 9 year old. (I even changed the words to make it more appealing: "And bring your StarWarsToys three...")

10. Polished off a bag of Hershey Eggs.

I was on-call as well but thankfully my services were not needed. Thanks again to those of you who were praying. And lastly, a few more shots with the new lens:

wide-angle heaven

the table


Can't wait to play some more... especially, with willing models!

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Tuesday, February 23, 2010

The denial of sin is not grace: it is a lie.

feelin' blue

I came across a beautiful commentary on obedience the other morning and just wanted to share. Click HERE to check it out for yourself.

Understandably you might be thinking, "Obedience? Blech." Trust me... I'VE BEEN THERE. In fact, lived there most of my life. What mattered most to me was being in control. Doing what I wanted with MY LIFE; I didn't want anyone telling me what to do or how to do it. Rules? Merely "guidelines" for those who wanted them. As far as I was concerned, rules were clearly meant to be manipulated - bent just enough to get your way without getting you into trouble. (I spoke a little of this before; click HERE to view the post.)

That meant a lot of dodging and weaving. When I did get into trouble, I downplayed it. Rationalized. Blamed. Denied. Anything and everything but own up to it. My life was a mess.

It took YEARS for me to finally understand that without rules, life held nothing but chaos and confusion. Picture a bunch of kids trying to play a game of hockey without one rule... how long do you think it would take before someone was hurt? Now picture the frustration and disorder - sounds like fun, doesn't it?


Needless to say, I changed. Or rather, God changed me. In surrendering, I now recognize my tendency to veer into the ditch (i.e. sin). Instead of making excuses, I seek to own it. Take responsibility for my part. Lay it before God. Ask for forgiveness. Get back on track.

And life in this place? SO MUCH MORE FUN!

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Monday, February 22, 2010

meant to get a post up today

my man

It didn't happen. My husband has some time off from work this week and we've been playin'. Perhaps tomorrow...

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Friday, February 19, 2010

a few things to share...

kids + snow = awesome pics

Love, love, love THIS PIC.

THIS beautiful blog speaks to my heart in the most profound way.

I love THESE sweet dolls.

So happy to have found THIS LENS at a steal.

THIS t-shirt makes me smile :)

THESE coasters remind me of a set I received from my grandma. Sadly, I'm down to two. (They seem to disappear faster than my spoons!)

My new favorite iPhone app is THIS ONE. The download is free!

Love THIS educational game from Compassion.

Free birthday treats! To get your own, click HERE to find a list of fun offers.

How about you? What have you been inspired by lately?

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Thursday, February 18, 2010

just a regular day

just a regular day

Dreaming of summer - flea markets, lazy days, and sunshine.

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Wednesday, February 17, 2010

because I'm sad like that...

In case you hadn't noticed, it's winter. And I've been seriously lacking cooperative photography subjects. So I've resorted to food.

And I really need to get a life. Because yesterday, I decided to make dinner at 3:30 in the afternoon so I could take pictures using natural light. My family ended up with "leftovers" because I couldn't bring myself to actually serving dinner that early... it was reheated it in the microwave a little later.

Sad, I tell you.

the veggies

As for the recipe, it was really good and a snap to make. Just chop up one small onion and one half a red bell pepper. Then take a 16 oz. package of Italian sausage links and heat them in a covered pan with about 1/4 cup of water. (I had a picture of this but it was very gross so you'll need to use your imagination for this part.) Once the water evaporates, cut the sausage links into pieces. Stir in the onion and red bell pepper; cook until sausage is no longer pink.

kinda raw

Stir in 2 tablespoons of flour, 1/2 teaspoon of crushed fennel seed, and 1/2 teaspoon of dried basil. Pour a 15 oz. can of tomato sauce over everything and bring to a boil. Cook for 2 minutes. Pour the mixture into an ungreased 8-1/2x11 pan.

closer sauce

See how cleverly the tomato sauce camouflages the vegetables? That's my kinda dish. Now cover with 2 cups of shredded mozzarella cheese.

the cheese

And let it sit while you whip together the following in a bowl: 1 cup of flour, 2 eggs, 1 cup of milk, 1 tablespoon Canola oil, 1/2 teaspoon of salt, and 2 tablespoons grated parmesan. Just stir until lumps are gone and pour over your pan of ingredients. This will be the crust for your UPSIDE-DOWN PIZZA (which is what we are making here). Bake uncovered at 425 degrees for approximately 25-30 minutes, or until browned like this:


The recipe made eight generous UPSIDE-DOWN PIZZA slices and was a hit with the grown-ups and kids alike. The original recipe is HERE (I tweaked it a teeny bit). Enjoy!

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Tuesday, February 16, 2010

inspiration in the form of an upside down baby

It might have been Tuesday for you but it was most definitely a Monday in my book. Off kilter. Bumpy. Upside down.

Sounds like my freshly rotated mattress.

Spent most of the morning finishing up edits and had to smile when I came across this one:

upside down baby

It seemed symbolic of my day and interestingly enough was the inspiration for dinner. (Recipe and pics to be posted tomorrow!)

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Sunday, February 14, 2010

crazy little thing called love

my cuppa milk

With it being Valentine's Day and all, I thought it the perfect excuse for sharing yesterday's faithbooking lesson in a timely fashion. The lesson itself was based on THIS RECENT POST... the idea being, love requires more than just words - we are called to act.
Little children let us not love [merely] in theory or in speech but in deed and in truth (in practice and in sincerity). 1 John 3:18
With that in mind, what are some examples of love in action? Here are a few ideas I stumbled upon:

1. Send a note of encouragement.
2. Smile at a stranger.
3. Generously tip your waiter or waitress.
4. Be a courteous driver.
5. Leave a gift for your mailman.
6. Open a door for someone.
7. Return your grocery cart.
8. Send “Happy Valentine’s Day” gifts to the single women in your life.
9. Let someone go ahead of you in line.
10. Pay for someone else’s meal in a restaurant or drive-thru.
11. Pick up trash you didn’t drop.
12. Give up your parking spot.
13. Give up your seat.
14. Keep items in your car to give away to those in need.
15. Refold or rehang clothes in a store.
16. Get to know a neighbor.
17. Be nice to a telemarketer.
18. Donate books to your local library.
19. Listen to someone who needs to talk.
20. Share your umbrella.
21. Leave an inspirational book at a coffeehouse.
22. Babysit for free.
23. Pay for someone’s groceries at the market.
24. Leave treats on your coworkers’ desks.
25. Give city workers a bottle of water.
26. Give someone a gift you know they’ve wanted for a while.
27. Invite someone out for coffee.
28. Invite people over for dinner.
29. Get to know the cashier at a grocery store.
30. Leave cookies/coffee/tea with someone along with the note: You deserve a break!

Looking for more? Be sure to check out THIS WEBSITE and THIS BOOK. Our February faithbooking lesson is below:

Just click on the image to enlarge. (Or maybe not... I'm still trying to get it to work!)

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Friday, February 12, 2010

get your craft cookie on

little blessings

If you've been following my blog for any length of time, you'll know that I don't really like to cook (or bake, for that matter). Don't get me wrong, I love food... especially good food, but I'd rather eat it than make/bake for myself.

But every once in a while I get an urge to make/bake for others. It's always fun receiving little treats (I have a sister who blesses me ALL OF THE TIME with her goodies) and there's nothing like a sweet surprise to break up the day. Except that, if you plan to attend tomorrow's Faithbooking Crop I'm pretty much blowing your surprise... so:


One of these little bags will go to you as part of tomorrow's lesson. For those of you reading who would like to try your hand at shortbread/sugar cookie cutouts and flooding... read on.

I worked with two types of dough - one a shortbread and the other a sugar cookie recipe ideal for cutouts (I was using notched cutters for some of the cookies and did not want the dough to spread).

As for the icing, I used Royal Icing which dries to a nice hard finish. I used a thicker icing and a #3 icing tip to pipe an outline on each cookie, returning later with a thinned out icing and #4 tip to "flood" the cookie. (Tip: When coloring Royal Icing, you want to be sure to use gel paste NOT standard food coloring.) After everything was dry, I added additional lines/hearts using #2 and #3 icing tips. If you've never worked with royal icing before, though time-consuming is a cinch to use. Just keep your bowl covered with a damp towel to prevent it from drying out. You'll find some great tips HERE and HERE.

Now, for the recipes:

The Sugar Cookie
2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. salt
12 Tbsp. (1-1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1-1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract

Over a small bowl, sift together the flour and salt. Set aside.

Using an electric mixer with the flat beater, beat the butter on high for 2 minutes. Reduce the speed to medium, slowly adding the sugar. Beat for 2 minutes. Add the egg and vanilla, beating for 1 minute. Stop the mixer once to scrape down sides of the bowl.

Stop the mixer and add half the flour mixture. Beat on low until most of the flour has been absorbed. Add the remaining flour and continue beating until all of the flour has been absorbed and the dough starts to pull away from the sides of the bowl, 2-3 minutes.

Turn the dough out onto a work surface and divide into 2 equal balls. Shape each into a disk and wrap securely in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours or up to 2 days.

Remove the dough from the refrigerator and let stand for 5 minutes. On lightly floured surface, roll out the dough to 1/8-inch thickness.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line baking sheets with parchment paper.

Using cookie cutters, cut desired shapes. Transfer the cookies to the prepared baking sheets, spacing them approximately 1-inch apart. Bake until golden brown around the edges, 10-12 minutes. Transfer cookies to wire racks and let cool completely. Store in airtight container at room temperature.

The shortbread cookie recipe is HERE.

The Royal Icing
1 pound powdered sugar
5 Tablespoons meringue powder
approx. 1/2 cup water

Mix the powdered sugar and meringue powder in a large bowl. Slowly add water, beating with the flat paddle on your mixer - approximately 2 minutes. To thin small amounts of icing for flooding, just add water. (It's easier to thin than it is to thicken with powdered sugar so use water sparingly!)


Decorate and enjoy!

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Thursday, February 11, 2010

talk about getting absorbed in a task

cookie island


Three batches of icing later and they're still not done! I hope to share the final product and recipes with you tomorrow - a sneak peek as to what the scrapbooking ladies will be receiving at the crop on Saturday.

keepin' it real

After I clean up my mess.

The kids were off from school and spent the day dressing up their snow fort. My son asked me to step away from the cookies to snap a few pictures of his latest find:

ice sculpture?

An ice sculpture. I can't wait to see what else they come up with over the course of the next several school-free days.

no school!

What can I say, it's like Spring Break around here. Only without the beach.

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Monday, February 8, 2010

i've been a busy baker


Working on some special treats for the ladies attending the February Faithbooking Crop on Saturday. As I mentioned in my last post, I've had cookies on the brain.


They might not look like much right now...


But I have grand plans for these little buggers.

cooling rack

Months ago I was inspired by THESE delightful treats. (I will be attempting my own next Christmas.) Not only have I had cookies on the brain, I've had mug-toting cookies on the brain. I'm not one for baking (let alone creating notched cookie templates) so imagine my delight in finding these sweet ready-to-go cutters:

bday gift

My early birthday present :) I'll be spending the next couple of days dressing them up a bit. And then I'll be back to share all of the colorful details with you!

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