Jul 28, 2012

Hoppity Hooray!

I have been waiting for my sewing fatigue to fade so I could make this sweet softie bunny from Sew4Home, so I finally bought the chenille dot that I didn't have.  That was all the inspiration I needed!  By the way, Chenille Magic has the best clearance section, AND they let your order just a quarter yard.  That is nearly impossible to find!  I got the cotton yellow dot to go with the Amy Butler leftovers from Selah's quilt and a mint dot on clearance to go with my baby bedding for my future children (that's another story).

This was a perfect Saturday morning project because I could catch up on all the Olympics news and cut the pattern pieces.  It took me about 3 hours--4 if you consider the fact that I am terrible at slip stitching and had to watch like 15 YouTube videos and start over twice before kind of figuring it out.  This is a wonderful, simple pattern that is perfect for gifting.  It's just too cute!

Jul 26, 2012

Who I Am Now and Then

I skipped out on the afternoon workshop (it's still summer!) and popped in a CD from my freshman year of college.  I was instantly transported back to my coming of age.  Every song flooded my mind with memories  and reminded me of so many of the feelings I had back then.  I was a year younger than my classmates, but I really did want to be "cool enough" to be liked and accepted.  It was a time where I wasn't really sure who I was or who I wanted to be.  I was certainly caught in the middle of growing up and shaping my character.  The excitement of new people and new experiences made me want to keep up with my friends.  As I found myself in the midst of difficult choices, I clearly remember asking myself, "Is this who I want to be?"  Most of the time my answer was no, so I would follow along with the crowd but not participate.  The other group of girls around me were quickly labeled the goody-two-shoes because they refused to even go to parties or do anything fun (insert sarcasm).  I knew I didn't want to be a part of that group, but I was quickly finding that I didn't really fit into any of my friend groups.  I could blend in with either group, but there were no other Johnnas.

My friend and I were just discussing this exact phenomenon last week... why is it that we suddenly change who we are based on who we are around?  Some days I feel like a chameleon because I am so easily able to befriend and emulate different types of people.  I can comfortably relate and carry on with co-workers who are the same age as my parents.  Just as easily, I can resort back to the same sweet little high school girl that is not at all that sweet as soon as I am around high school friends.  When I think back to recently spending time with high school friends, I can't believe I behaved like that!  Who am I?  Why do I digress back to a high schooler when I am so much more knowledgeable, spiritual, and grown up?  Am I really?

Nine years after that freshman year, I guess I am still trying to figure out who I am. I am a relatively happy and confident person.  That hasn't changed since I can remember.  The people and places have changed, but not how I feel when compared to the others around me.  Although I am surrounded by some truly wonderful and admirable people, I still look to others for their affirmations of my looks and my actions. 

My friend Ashley at Sipsey Valley said it best as she described how the Bible gives us instructions on guarding our hearts and minds from this battle.  Her post is filled with verses that address character and self-worth, but two of my favorite verses are

Finally brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable--if anything is excellent or praiseworthy--think about such things (Philippians 4:8 NIV). 

Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes. Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God's sight. (1 Peter 3:3-4)  

The second the CD switched to Martina McBride's I Have Been Blessed, I started crying because I am still working on being more than grateful--being content.  I am quick to forget that I am here with those who love me, among many other blessings.  I am so blessed with much more than I deserve, and I know I want to be a woman with the unfading beauty of a gentle and quite spirit.  I want to build a strong character that doesn't conform to fit those around me.  I realize that who I am now is still changing, and I am glad that I am not a finished work. 

Jul 22, 2012

The Very Best Cookies Anywhere [and dough]

Yes, especially the cookie dough.  I never make a full batch just because I know I'll keep eating the dough straight out of the Glad Ware.  I can't remember exactly when I first had these, except that my sister made them and they were like heaven.  Here is her recipe, including all of her quippy remarks that clearly indicate her doubts about my baking ability.  Which is, in my opinion, much better than my other abilities in the kitchen (other than spraying my sink clean!).

The Best Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Nut Cookies
1 c, butter (I use real butter, not margarine)
1 c. sugar
1 c. brown sugar
2 eggs
1 t. vanilla
2 c. flour
2.5 c. oatmeal (instant or regular)
1 t. baking soda
1 t. baking powder (yes, you need both)
2 c. chocolate chips (add white too if you want!)
1/2 t. salt
1.5 c. nuts (I use walnuts or pecans)
Cream butter & both sugars.  Add eggs & vanilla. Mix flour, oatmeal, baking soda, baking powder, chocolate chips, salt, and nuts.  Add liquid mixture & combine thoroughly.  Roll into large balls and drop onto baking sheet.  Bake 375F for 10-12min.
I never have mixed everything separately, I just throw it all in the mixer.  It works just fine for me.  A spoonful of dough is BY FAR the best treat ever!

Jul 21, 2012

Almond Flour Blueberry Goodness

Mmmm, blueberry muffins.  Just one is surprisingly filling, so I am thinking it's the almond flour.  A while back, I tried almond and yogurt waffles with honey orange syrup, and I have kept the flour in my freezer.  At $9 for four cups, there isn't a lot of bang for your buck.  I am not really a gluten-free person, but I thought there may be a recipe already out there for almond flour muffins.  Of course, there are like 275,000 results on google.  I picked the first one that popped up:  The Best Almond Flour Blueberry Muffins.  The chopped pecans made it even better!  Maybe reduce the coconut oil to 1 tablespoon since it leaked beneath the cupcake liners.  On a side not, I'm trying the Google+ instant upload for these iPhone pics of my baking day.  Really easy!

Jul 15, 2012

Italia 2012

We took a two week holiday to Rome, Florence, and Venice and got back in town just in time for our three year anniversary.  We celebrated with both our parents, while reliving only the most adventurous stories from our trip.  Here are the highlights.  I am pleased to say we have multiples of us actually in the photo!

On a side note, Photo Snack is ridiculously easy to use, edit, add music, etc. And they link to facebook, twitter, and google so sign up is a breeze.  Once I narrowed it down to 100 photos, I think it took me about 6 minutes to finish.

Jul 14, 2012

Lilly Capris to Shorts Makeover

All of my dated, flare leg Lilly capri pants were heading to the local consignment shop, until I saw bright, printed shorts in all my summer magazines.  Sadly, I could not master the blind hem, but they really are darling!

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