Wednesday, January 21, 2009

I still love pumpkins in January--

--not on my porch but in my food, of course!

Just a quick post to share a really yummy recipe. I mean so yummy that you'll be sad when they're gone.

A friend gave a plate of these scones to us on Christmas Eve...and I am so glad that she did. You see, my friend Shawna is always talking on her blog about these pumpkin scones she gets at a favorite place in New York...and every time I read about them, I want to fly to visit her just to taste these scones that MUST be absolutely fantastic. (Well, that and to get to visit with one of my dearest friends!)

So my friend Kim made these for us and I think they're delicious and I can't wait for Shawna to try them and tell me if they're as good (or better!) as the ones in New York! They have just the slightest hint of pumpkin--so it's not overpowering or out-of-season--just really, really good! And the cranberry butter is just yummy...a perfect complement!

Pumpkin Scones with Berry Butter

2 1/4 cup flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/2 cup chilled butter, cut in small pieces
1 egg, beaten
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 1/2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 cup pumpkin puree
1/3 cup milk

1. Combine dry ingredients. Cut in butter with pastry blender until mix resembles coarse crumbs. Make a well in the center of the dry mix and set aside.

2. Combine egg, pumpkin puree, and milk in another bowl. Add to the dry mixture all at once. Stir with a fork until moistened.

3. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead 10-12 times until nearly smooth, adding more flour if necessary. Pat into an 8-inch circle. Cut into 12 wedges. Place on an ungreased baking sheet and bake at 400 degrees for 12-15 minutes or until golden brown. Remove the scones and cool on wire rack for 5 minutes. Serve warm with berry butter.

Berry Butter

2 Tbsp. dried cranberries or blueberries
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup boiling water
3 Tbsp. powdered sugar

1. Combine berries and water in a small bowl. Let stand for 10 minutes. Drain well and finely chop.

2. Stir together butter, powdered sugar, and berries. Cover and chill at least one hour before serving.

Monday, January 19, 2009


Remember my list of 29 things I wanted to do during my 29th year of life?

Well, number 26 on my list said that I wanted to learn more about photography...and as of today, I'm on my way to that end!

I was able to sign up for Karen Russell's online workshop "Snapshots of a Good Life" "early but late" Christmas gift! (Early because we registered way back in October or November...late because it starts today!) I was thrilled to be able to register because it sold out in less than 4 minutes!

I am really excited...hopefully I'll have some great pictures to share here as I learn more and more about actually using all the features of our camera and not just shooting in automatic mode!

Hope everyone's having a great MLK Day and Monday...Brent's got the day off, so we are having a GREAT day!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Have you heard?

Just last week, I got a notice from my favorite magazine, Cottage Living. As of the Nov/Dec 2008, the magazine will no longer be published. I am so sad. I have subscribed from the very first issue (still my favorite issue ever), and I will miss finding this magazine in my mailbox. I love the decorating ideas...the "Cottage Industry" article...the recipes (of course!)...and finding out about neat places to visit in different cities.

The good news is that because I got a great renewal offer about a year or so ago, I still had 18 months of my subscription now I need to figure out whether to transfer that to my Southern Living account (which is about to end)...or try out Cooking Light again. Or maybe Coastal Living? Hmmm.

I did notice that the editor of Cottage Living moved to be the editor of Southern Living. But no formal word about why the magazine was coming to an end. Some of my high school friends have worked for the magazine in the past few maybe we can get some "inside info"! (pssst...hey Loren, Emily...any details???)

Thursday, January 08, 2009


A year ago today...I had been a resident of Oklahoma for one week. Today, one year and one week.

A year ago today...I knew Brent, my children, and one or two names of people that I knew of...but didn't really know. Today, I am blessed with many amazing friends, a Bible study, a church, neighbors...and still, my precious family.

A year ago today...we were living in the temporary lodging facility on base which was very small for a family of five...but we learned that we don't need much! Today, we are more than blessed to be living in the house that we dreamed of and spent so much time and effort planning.

A year ago today...I wasn't sure that I would ever like living in a small town. Today, even thought it's not perfect, I know that I will be sad to leave this place and that I will miss least, parts of it.

A year ago today...I was looking forward to travelling to Asheville to see my family and get out of OK! Today, I'm looking forward to my Mom visiting here in a few weeks!

A year precious baby was not quite three months old. Sweet as can be. Super sleeper. Wonderfully chubby. So very easygoing. A true delight.

Today...Madeleine is almost 15 months. She is a beginning to walk more and more. She likes to wake up with the sun like her big sister. She is happy as long as she is doing something "big". (No board books for her...she knows they're for babies!) She delights in being with her older siblings. She tries to repeat everything we say. She loves to eat fruit...but is probably our pickiest eater for this age. She is wonderfully snuggly and kissable. The way she says Ma-mee and Da-dee melts my heart. She loves to blow kisses.

A year little boy was just a little over two. He could talk up a storm. He began to love Thomas the Tank Engine. Every time he heard an airplane, he'd say, "Is that Daddy?" He held tightly to my hand anywhere we went.

Today...Nathanael has been three for almost three months. He is potty-trained--hurray! He STILL loves Thomas the Tank Engine. He is a natural story-teller. He loves Chitty Chitty Bang Bang! He loves to sing. (We walked through Williams-Sonoma last week--all the while he sang "Zuckermans Famous Pig" from Charlottes Web.) He likes golfing with his Daddy. He likes to ask us a long list of "Do you like...?" His favorite color is blue. He still loves to hold my hand when we go somewhere. He struggles with his self-control, but he's trying to work on it. He likes to give me a big hug and a big kiss and then a little hug and a little kiss when I tuck him in bed at night. He says Hadleigh is his best friend.

A year firstborn was four. She was beginning to love dressing up. She loved to kiss Madeleine in her cradle. She adored playing on the playground. She looked forward to going to Bible study. She liked watching Little Einsteins. Her favorite book was If You Give A Mouse A Cookie.

Today...Hadleigh is five. She loves pretending to be a princess. She enjoys playing with jewelry and paper dolls. She wants to be able to carry Madeleine around. (Madeleine's not quite a fan of that, though.) She loves "doing homeschool". She brings Madeleine her blanket whenever she cries. She still loves to be outside. She always wants to help me in the kitchen. She loves tea parties. Her favorite books are about princesses: right now, Cinderella and Snow White. She loves to golf with her Daddy. She is learning more and more about having a soft and submissive heart. She loves riding her bike. She helps me set the table. She loves watching Mary Poppins and Cinderella. She is a wonderfully mommy to her baby dolls. Her favorite color is still pink. She has become a pickier eater in the last year...but definitely has a genetic sweet tooth! She is still a bit shy in a new situation. She says Nathanael is her best friend.

I'm thankful to be able to look back...reflect...and learn.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

My weakness.

When it comes to cooking, my weakness is baking. I know this comes to no surprise to many of you...but...

In the past few weeks, Brent has really started to be more disciplined about eating. He has also been exercising consistently for several months now, doing the Crossfit program...both very good things that I'm proud of him for. So, he's also been much more disciplined about encouraging my baking habits. Or, more accurately I suppose, not encouraging my baking habits. Which is also good. But it makes me want to bake all the more, you know?

There is a recipe in the new Southern Living magazine for a chocolate fudge cake that I've been dying to try for the last five days (since I read about it). I think we'll enjoy a little bit of it this weekend...but I really want to make it NOW!

So instead of baking right now, I'll share this really really really yummy brownie recipe that a good friend gave me. Brent LOVES it. It's wonderful on its own, warmed a bit...but it is super delicious if you serve it with coffee ice cream and just a tiny splash of Irish Cream or Kahlua.

Ultimate Brownies
2 cups flour
2 cups sugar
1/4 (heaping) cup unsweetened cocoa (Dark cocoa if possible)
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
4 eggs
1 cup oil
2 tsp. vanilla
2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips and/or chunks
1 cup walnuts, optional

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix liquid ingredients in a large bowl. Add flour, sugar, cocoa, powder, and salt to liquid ingredients and mix well.

2. Add chocolate and nuts, if desired, and stir in. Pour batter into a greased 13x9 inch pan and bake for 30 minutes. Allow to cool slightly. Serve warm.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

She's walking!

It's official! This little girl is now walking! Her furthest trip so far is about 7-8 steps!

She's still not quite sure that it's her best method of transportation yet...she prefers to crawl or cup her hands up towards me and say "um" (which means "Up please!") But it's a start!

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Welcome 2009!

I must say that I'm excited about the year that is ahead...

A year ago today, we moved to Oklahoma...I feel like it always takes about a year to feel settled and planted in a new I'm excited about this next year of feeling like this is where we belong! Enjoying another year of beautiful seasons...spending more time with the friends we've made...getting more involved with our church...continuing our homeschool adventure! Lots of fun things to look forward to my annual college roommate reunion...more ladies night out with my new friends here...and I'm really looking forward to my sister's wedding this summer!

We've done some "spring cleaning" yesterday and today, and I must say that it feels good to begin the year feeling a bit more organized and clean! We still have some things to hang up and work on later today, but walking in the living room and kitchen feels like a breath of fresh air. I miss the coziness and warmth of our Christmas decor, but I must say that I'm enjoying the clear spaces today!

Since I was lazy about sharing Christmas pictures last month, here's a few photos that I love from December!
Brent's parents gave each of the kiddos a "gingerbread village house"...they love to see the little lights inside. The village fits perfectly on our desk in the kitchen. (Hadleigh and Nathanael each made the "Adore Him" banner at Chapel School! So cute!)
I have been waiting and looking for several years for "family stockings". I wanted matching ones, which meant I wanted to wait until we know our family was "complete". I found these at Pottery Barn and have promised Brent that I won't change my mind about liking them when next year's stockings arrive in stores!!! (Does he know me well or what?)
The wreath that Mom and Dad always send us looks so beautiful on our door this year! (especially without having a storm door to squash it flat!) It is such a special tradition and gift...a little bit of our Blue Ridge Mountains out here in Oklahoma!

The tree on Christmas Eve. There is something I love about seeing it all lit up without any other lights on right before I go to sleep on Christmas Eve. Still a little bit of childhood magic :)

My three little reindeer and their jingle bells! Both sets of grandparents sent several activities for us as a was so very special for the children to do different activities that their grandparents would have shared with them had we been in Asheville.

And last, my ceramic Nativity finally made it's Christmas debut. There's a funny story behind this! When we lived in Wichita Falls, there was a great little paint-your-own-pottery place that my friend Jamie and I liked to go to. This was my second (and final) project I made there. I began it in the early fall of 2006 (before Nathanael's first birthday), hoping to have it done for Christmas. It was a very intricate project with 15 pieces...I planned out all the colors first, and then slowly began painting. It probably took 5 or 6 or 7 visits to complete. At the beginning of December 07 (during one of Madeleine's naps) I finally finished but because of the glazing and firing process, I didn't get it until after Christmas. Needless to say, I was very excited to set it up this year. I put it in the window behind the kitchen sink...I loved seeing it throughout the day there...but I'm going to try to find a more "fitting" place for it next year!
Maybe soon I'll have some organized house pictures to share!

Hope you have a very happy New Year!

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