Blueberry Scones

To finish up the blueberries I picked at the farm, I decided to try making scones for the first time. They weren't hard to make, but the consistency of mine didn't turn out quite right. They were crumbly and fell apart easily so I know they weren't as dense as they needed to be. But they tasted good and that's really what matters.

Hands down, the best scones I've ever had were from a tiny tea room in this charming town near Worcester, England. Scones, clotted cream, and tea on a blustery November day was perfect. And perfectly fitting to my stereotype of England. 


Berry Cobbler

This recipe has to be the absolute easiest cobbler to make. I used the blackberries I picked at the farm in this cobbler and threw it together for the guests we had last weekend. Cobbler + speed Scrabble = great evening (although you can't do both at the same time, unfortunately).

Easy Berry Cobbler

1/2 cup butter
1 cup flour
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
3/4 cup milk
2 cup berries (any kind)
1/2 cup sugar

Melt butter and pour into a 7x11 pan. Mix the flour, sugar, baking powder, and milk together. Pour over the melted butter; do not stir into the butter. Gently drop berries into the batter. Sprinkle 1/2 cup sugar over the top. Do not stir. Bake at 350 for 30-45 minutes. Serve with vanilla ice cream.

See? So easy. And obviously so good for you. ;)

Side note: I don't remember where I found this recipe, so I can't give credit. But just know it wasn't my recipe originally!


Berry Picking

I've never been berry picking before, but last week I tagged along with a sweet mom & her kids from our church. Since she's got two kids (and I obviously have none), I came along as the photographer so she can enjoy the day and actually be in some of the pictures. In return, I got to practice photography on some adorable subjects. Wish I could show you the two cuties, but seeing as I'm not their mom, I won't post their faces on the blog.

Here are some shots from the day; actually, they're the only pictures of about thirty that don't include the kids. It was blazing hot outside that morning, but thankfully the berries provided some shade.

I came home with 1 1/4 lb. blueberries, 1 1/4 lb. blackberries, and 4 peaches. All for under $6! And they were the best, sweetest berries and peaches I've ever had. Time to go get more.



 Yesterday, Deric had his first sponsors' meeting for the youth group to discuss a whole slew of topics: events for fall/winter, small groups, guidelines, direction for the youth group, etc. The meeting went well and a lot of various opinions were provided, leaving Deric with plenty to think about. One of the most important things we covered was the goals for the youth group. Where do we want them spiritually by the end of middle school? End of high school? What topics do we need to cover in middle school/ high school? And even more importantly, how do we lead these kids to a deeper relationship with Jesus that overflows into every aspect of their life? 

For that last question, the only answer we came up with was to lead by example. If we want the kids praying constantly and praying big, reading their Bible and learning more about Jesus, and serving others in the church and community, then we need to do all of those things as well. They can't go deep if we can't go deep. When I left the meeting, I had a renewed conviction to strengthen my faith so that I can be an effective leader.

Backtrack a day or two. One of Deric's friends from college was at Johnson for an event. He and two of his sponsers are going to another event this week, and they needed a place to stay for the weekend. Deric invites them to the house for the weekend, and it was a totally unexpected blessing for us. While we were at church, our guests mowed our lawn (which is huge), washed all of the dishes we'd used (praise the Lord! I hate not having a dishwasher), and fed us more fruit snacks and peanut M&Ms than we'll ever need. In the meantime, they talked constantly about Biblical stories, faith, and how Jesus is working in their lives. They spent most of Sunday afternoon with their Bibles open, contemplating the meaning of what they were reading. 

Stay with me as I try to show you how these two happenings are connected. At the same time that the sponsors' meeting reminds us of the necessity to lead by example and renews our conviction to spend more time with God, He sends us three people who ignite our passion because of their passion. Lesson learned; lesson experienced. God's timing is just so good.

To remember this lesson, I printed off a quick reminder to put in Deric's office. I'm planning to put a similar reminder somewhere in our house. 


The End of An Era

(Katrina, you better get that Friends reference...)

Midnight on Thursday found Deric and me in a theater full of crazed Harry Potter fans (including the kids from our youth group, who made tee shirts) anxiously counting down the seconds until the last Harry Potter movie began. Deric and I didn't dress up, but we were still really excited. I've been reading the books since I was maybe 11, so I feel like I have a legitimate reason to be slightly sad that the movies are over. Granted, I didn't cry through the entire movie like the 30 year old lady who sat next to Deric...

The books are always, always better than the movie. I tell that to everyone whose seen the movies but hasn't read the books. But this last movie was by far my favorite. They changed a decent amount from the book, but I'm okay with it. I think I was literally on the edge of my seat for at least two hours, cheering and clapping along with the rest of the theater. The movie producers were smart to include a lot of witty one-liners to break up the instense 2 1/2 hour fight between good and evil.

And now, its over. No more books, no more movies. Its sad because there's nothing to look forward to, but I can always reread the books. And I already am, just to make sure I don't get too depressed. :)


Wedding Season

Deric and I have driven to Indiana twice in the past three weeks to attend weddings. Wedding numero uno, Deric was part of the bridal party for his good friend (who, as I write, is driving to their new home in New Mexico that we passed on our trip to Arizona).

Wedding numero dos, Deric officiated the ceremony. It was the first time he'd performed a wedding, and he did such a great job. It was sweet, sentimental, funny, solemn, and (in my opinion) perfectly fitting for  the couple.

They were married in her dad's brand new barn. It looked so cool-- the plank walls, the natural backdrop, and the bride hung Mason jars with candles from the ceiling and placed them along the aisle. (Unfortunately, you can't really see the jars in the above picture, but you can see the planks.)

We had a wonderful time at both weddings, catching up with Deric's friends from his two years at camp and from college. We reminisced about our wedding, reliving the day and mentioning moments we'd almost forgotten, how we felt throughout the day, which parts we loved and which parts we could have done without (such as the 104 temp), and how crazy it is that a year has already passed.


Roadtrip to Arizona

We went on a mission trip to Arizona with the youth group a few weeks back. Ten days, 52 hours roundtrip (50 hours of which were probably on I-40), highs in the 90s-100s, and a lot of bonding time. At first, I was dreading the 50 hours of travel because I hate being in the car, but the hours actually passed fairly quickly thanks to games, books, and hilarious kids. The trip was perfectly timed-- about a month after we moved here-- because it allowed us to get to know the kids much more quickly. Think the jumping-right-in approach versus slowly-freezing-as-you-walk-into-the-pool.

On the way into Arizona, we stopped at the Grand Canyon. Mind-blowing.

After sight-seeing, we headed a few hours south (I think) into Arizona to an Apache reservation. We spent the week clearing out the yard of a woman in the church. It was full of dead grass, a mountain of trash (literally) and was not at all child-proof for her three kids. 

(This is the after. Picture 3ft. high grass and a mountain of trash, and that's your before.)

 We also helped with a bus ministry that traveled through various neighborhoods, picked up kids and took them to a playground for a quick lesson, snacks, games and toys.

The snack of choosing: Kool-Aid mix and pickles. By far the most sour, bitter, makes-me-wanna-throw-up snack I've ever tasted. And the local kids ate it like it was no big deal. I'll never understand.

It was a great ten days. Deric and I were both thankful to have an opportunity to get to know most of the high schoolers pretty quickly and see them out of their comfort zone and working hard to share Christ. The trip, like most mission trips, renewed my thankfulness for the life I have and reminded me to reach out to others in any way I can.


Summer Reading

My favorite pasttime in the summer is reading, with the exception of required reading in high school and college. As much as I love reading, I always hated the books we had to read in high school. Les Miserables was probably the worst, taking over two weeks for me to struggle through. The only required reading I enjoyed was Jurassic Park, required by my favorite teacher for AP Biology.

Anyways, I obviously don't have required reading this summer (and never will again, hallelujah!). These are a few of the books I want to get through before the summer's over. In past summers, I always read either next to the pool in Mom and Dad's backyard or at the beach in the Outer Banks. Sadly, I won't be going to the beach this summer and we don't have a pool nearby, but I'll survive. Hopefully. :)

I remember reading Mr. Popper's Penguins as a kid and I loved the idea of making your basement into a penguin habitat. I've heard the movie isn't much like the book, but I want to reread the book soon and then see the movie. 

 Everything by Lynn Austin is great, but I love her series The Chronicles of the King. Its a fictional account of King Hezekiah and his sons, and it really makes the Biblical account more real for me.

I've heard The Help is fantastic, plus they're making a movie of it that comes out in August. I've got this on audio book since I originally planned to listen to it on our 52-hour roundtrip to Arizona with the youth group a few weeks back. I didn't listen to it on that trip, surprisingly, but will get around to it soon.

I had no idea this book was even out until today, but I'm excited to read it! I loved The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants series in high school. Apparently this book follows the girls in their upper 20s, so it'll be interesting to see what's changed since the high school books.

Do you ever wish you could read a book for the first time again? I wish I could reread all of the Harry Potter books and The Hunger Games trilogy. If you haven't read The Hunger Games, go get it! Its fantastic. Any suggestions for other great reads, feel free to pass them along!