Birthday 2011

Yesterday was my 23rd birthday. Deric and I had more going this weekend than we have in the last three months combined (only a slight exaggeration). Here's the play-by-play:

1. Saturday morning. Started off the day right with more cinnamon rolls than I care to remember. Decided not to go with original plan of Climb Time Indy due to distance/gas prices and rental fees. Looked at hotel rates in downtown Indianapolis instead. Got bummed out because hotels are way more expensive than I realized. Deric had the genius idea to try "name your price" on priceline.com. Put in a bid for $50 on a luxury room anywhere downtown. Expected to have our bid denied, but surprise! Jumped up and down with excitement, then started packing.

2. Checked in at the hotel. Wandered around the adjoining convention center and ended up at the Home & Garden Show. Not real exciting, so we wandered around the hotel, checked out the pool, and decided to go swimming later. Started calling restaurants for reservations, but everything was booked until at least 8:00 (3 hours later). Decided to wing it and try for seat-yourself tables.

3. Walked down to PF Changs, which was a madhouse. Saw a Phoenix Suns player. Went around the corner to Bella Vita and luckily got a table immediately. Ate my weight in breadsticks and Coke. Too full to eat my entree, so I tried my best but boxed most of it. Window-shopped in the mall to walk off the carbs.

4. Made our own photo booth to document the night. Checked on the pool periodically and waited for all the tiny kids to go to bed. Froze our you-know-whats off in the pool, even though it was inside. Headed for the hot tub to thaw out.

5. Sunday morning, woke up to Deric's personalized rendition of Happy Birthday (which, for the record, is nothing like the actual song). Got Starbucks from the hotel lobby and ate it along with muffins from home. Showered and packed up; got ready for the Pacers game at noon.

6. Met up with Deric's parents and aunts and uncles. Climbed literally a million stairs to our seats in the stadium. Pretended to care about the game, but watched the mascots most of the time instead. Used binoculars to people-watch. Thoroughly enjoyed myself :)
Look close and you'll see the Chicago Bulls mascot dancing behind one of the event staff.
 He wouldn't leave the poor guy alone and had the whole stadium dying of laughter.

Inflatable mascots. Wish I had a video of them dancing the Evolution of Dance. 
Kept falling over just like people in those inflatable sumo suits.

7. Lunch at The Old Spaghetti Factory. Again, filled myself up on bread and Coke.

8. Went to Dave Barnes in concert. Enjoyed his comedy in between songs more than the actual songs (although they're great, too). Met up with Laura, one of my best friends from high school.

9. Came home and about passed out on the couch. Realized I'm too old to be doing so much in one weekend;)


Blueberry Yogurt Muffins

A few weeks ago, I volunteered to make muffins for an event at church. Having never made muffins before, I did a trial run earlier this week and I'm glad I did. I made mixed berry muffins and they turned out fine, but they were a little blah. The dough/bread/whatever part didn't have a lot of flavor to it and I thought they needed to be sweeter.

Last night, I was browsing for better muffin recipes and came across For the Love of Cooking's recipe for Blueberry Yogurt Muffins. I convinced Deric to go to the grocery store with me for more eggs and flour and then got busy making the muffins. They turned out to be so good. Much more flavorful and the yogurt makes them really soft (and a lot less crumbly, which means I can eat them in the living room without worrying). I like them so much that I'm gonna write out the recipe here for your future use (and mine). I'll definitely be making these muffins for church.

Blueberry Yogurt Muffins

2c flour
1/3c sugar
1tsp baking powder
1tsp baking soda
1/4tsp salt
1/4c orange juice
2tbsp vegetable oil
1tsp vanilla extract
1c vanilla low-fat yogurt (or regular, no difference except the calories)
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 1/2c fresh or frozen blueberries, divided
1tbsp sugar

Preheat the oven to 400. Combine flour, 1/3c sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl. Make a well in the center of the mixture. In a separate bowl, combine orange juice, oil, vanilla, yogurt, and egg. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients, stirring until just moist. Gently fold in 1 cup of blueberries.
Coat muffin tray with non-stick cooking spray. Spoon batter into muffin tray. Divide the remaining 1/2c of blueberries between the muffins. Sprinkle 1tbs sugar evenly over the muffins.
Bake for 17-19 minutes or until tester inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove muffins from the pan immediately and place on a wire rack to cool. Enjoy!



Most of our friends and family know that Deric and I have been looking for jobs since we got married last June. We've both got jobs that get us by for now, but we're looking for jobs that:
1) have something to do with our majors (imagine that!)
2) are opportunities for ministry
3) can pay our bills, with a little left over to save
4) ideally, include benefits

Yesterday morning, Deric's dad called to tell Deric that he has the strongest feeling that if Deric and I compile a list of all the churches we've applied to and pray over it, God will give us some direction, such as a specific church to follow up with. Neither Deric nor I have had someone tell us something like this, but we're willing to trust Deric's dad and God that with enough prayer, we may finally get some direction in this entirely-too-long job search. Last night, we prayed together and separately for an hour. Deric later said that a specific church came to mind while he was praying, but I didn't have anything in mind. Then all day today, I couldn't get Thailand out of my head. (Deric did an internship there for six months last year & they later offered him a youth ministry job, but we turned it down initially.) When I told Deric, he was surprised because he hadn't thought about it much.

Our game plan is to continue praying over the list for the remainder of the week and we hope that by the end of the week, we'll both have a specific church in mind...and we hope that God speaks to both of us, separately. I'd really appreciate prayers from all of you for discernment for us during this week (and always). We know God has something in mind for us and that it will work out at some point. We just hope its sooner rather than later :)


Makin' Some Progress

Our spare bedroom is still full of our odds & ends...on the bed, the desk, the floor, shoved in the closet. I get overwhelmed every time I walk in the room because I just don't know what to do with all of it. Its not stuff we can get rid off, but it just doesn't really have a place anywhere else in the house. Ideally, I'd buy those cute organizing boxes that I'm seeing everywhere, but not when they're $7 each and I need a million.

So until I can find some sort of decent storage for everything, I'm at least trying to condense everything into a few big boxes so its not quite so scattered. I did make some progress in the room, though. I recovered a bulletin board I had in my room growing up. At least now all my pages torn from Real Simple have a place to hang where I can see them.

Covering and hanging this board barely makes a dent in organizing the spare room, but if nothing else, it makes me feel like I've been productive. I'd say that's something :) 


I Baked Bread!

Ya'll, I am proud of myself. I seriously doubted my ability to bake anything, much less bread. Baking bread always seemed like something only lifelong-bakers or pioneer women could do. But I did it, and I am definitely not a baker or a pioneer woman.

I used the recipe for sourdough starter + bread from the Better Homes & Gardens cookbook (btw, a big thanks to whoever got that for me for the wedding! Can't remember anymore.) Last week I made the starter, which wasn't too complicated & was kind of fun, watching it froth & bubble for a few days. It also made the house smell sooo good.

After anxiously waiting a week for the starter to develop, I could finally bake some bread! I was nervous about it but once I started the recipe, I realized that a lot of it is just waiting for the dough to rise. I think there was three different times I had to let the dough rise, for a total rising time of about two hours. Glad I had the whole afternoon...

Kneading the dough was fun-- it felt like playdough. I think if I bake enough bread, I'll eventually get some nice arm muscles. :) Then into the oven it went while I hoped and prayed it would turn out well. I hate wasting food on bad recipes (or my mistakes), plus I just really wanted to be successful at this. And I was!

It is delicious. Deric and I gave it all of five minutes to cool before we ate it with butter & honey. Still warm & so, so good. I said on Facebook last night that I may never buy bread again, & I really may not. There's something satisfying about being able to bake your own bread. I felt more self-sufficient somehow... maybe because bread's a staple that not too many people make anymore? I don't know what it is, but I'm proud of myself. Deric was pretty happy too-- now his sandwiches for work are on homemade bread!

So, be encouraged. If I can do it, you can do it! Its definitely worth the effort (& time).


Happy (incredibly belated) Birthday, Foo!

January 21st was my younger sister Sarah's birthday. For her gift, I thought I'd paint her favorite Scripture on canvas. I came up with the idea about two weeks before her birthday...and didn't actually finish the gift and mail it until last Wednesday, February 2nd. Just a tad bit late.

Ah well, its the thought that matters, right? :) Now that she's finally got it, I can post the picture to show everyone the four of you who read my blog!

This verse seems to fit Sarah. She's matured so much in her personality, education and especially in her faith, and I think its because she's learning how to make God her strength and portion. Every time I talk to her and the few times a year I see her, I'm so impressed by her. Its always a good mix of amazement at how grown up she is, admiration of her growing faith, and a sense of relief that she always be my best friend, Foo, who talks in a lisp with me :)

Montebello 2008

Happy birthday, Foo! I love you!


I Sewpose

Good news! I Sewpose is now up & running! You should meander on over & look at all the cute embroideries Christal has up. My new favorite is "The Girls"....and the "Blue Elephant"...and, well, all of them :)



That's all the French I know. Its also the only way I could think to introduce these incredible photographs from little brown pen. I found LBP while browsing aimlessly through blogs this afternoon, and I love these photographs! Its such a simple idea to do a series featuring one specific color & it looks so great!

Their story: the couple from LBP lived in Paris briefly, now lives in New Jersey but commutes frequently between New York City and Paris. Their website, blog and etsy are all inspired by Paris...hence the photographs. 

Their etsy shop features collections of photographs in a variety of colors, & every single collection is amazing. It makes me want to whip out my camera & try a collection of a specific color. But then I remember I live in Indiana and its February....so the only color I could do is white:) White ground, white trees, white sky...

There could be potential for some sweet pictures of all the white...if I could brave the cold long enough to take the pictures :) 


Lucky Me

A few weeks ago,  my friend Paige received a personalized stitching (is that what they're called?) from her friend Christal and put a picture of it on facebook. I commented on her picture and said that I loved the stitching-- its really creative. Turns out that Christal is starting an etsy to sell her stitchings and offered to make me one as a trial & for some publicity. Score! I got mine ours, really, yesterday. Take a look:

Isn't it cute? I love it! I especially like how she made the buttons pop over the frame.

Christal's etsy isn't up and running quite yet, but be on the lookout for 'I Sewpose' by Christal Huth. (Love the name!) I'll post the link when she gets it started. In the meantime, I should probably figure out the correct name for the "stitchings"...