30 September 2012

Grace gets baptized!

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We started the morning with Resurrection Rolls!

 

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As requested by our little Princess.

 

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Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.” ~Mark 10:14

 

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Uncle Val, Grandpa, and Grandma came to celebrate with us!

 

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As well as Hapajee, Halmoni, and Ms. Marsha.

 

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Her friends also came to support her and cheer her on!

 

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Their friend, Natalie got baptized today, too!

 

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here she goes…

 

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Move over, Pastor Rick… my daddy is going to baptize me. :)

 

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Overjoyed!!!

 

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Natalie & Gracie, sweet friends.

About two weeks ago, our Pastor at church said, “If anyone wants to get baptized, you will have an opportunity to do so at the end of the month.  Please check this box (on a card) to let us know.” 

Grace asked for a pen. 

Then she checked that box.

I mentioned it to Morgan at the end of the service and he said, “Let’s talk about it first.”  A couple of days went by and she mentioned it AGAIN.  When I asked her why she wanted to get baptized she told me two reasons:

1.  “Because the Lord is calling me to.”

2.  “Because I want to follow Him for the rest of my life.”

Me:  Hmmm, those are pretty darn good reasons.  (In fact, they’re the best reasons of all!) 

Me:  Ok, I’ll talk it over with dad.   

Another couple of days went by and she went to CBS.  There, she told her teacher and her classmates that she was going to get baptized!

Me:  OK, Lord. I got it.  I’m calling the church today. :) 

The entire two weeks that led up to today, she never wavered in her decision.  In fact, she got more and more excited as the day approached.  If you knew our Gracie you might also understand that this is a bit out of character for her.  She can be a little wishy-washy at times.  However, she has the most innocent spirit!  Her gift is one of follower so she happily follows her sister around and actually enjoys it.  It never bothered her that Faith wasn’t ready to get baptized.  Grace was merely obeying what the Lord had called her to do. 

Thus far, in her short life, she has witnessed many baptisms. However, she had never witnessed a child getting baptized.

None of that mattered. She was on a mission… toward her next step of faith.

To say that I was proud of my little girl would be… mere words.  The feeling I had inside my heart was too much to contain.  It all came swelling over… in tears… happy, humble tears….

Lord, You are so faithful and good to us!  Thank You for the honor of witnessing something so beautiful and so pure.

And to have Morgan be able to baptize his little girl was so incredibly special! 

Lord, we are confident You will complete the work You have begun in all of us!  Like sweet Gracie, may we be obedient to Your call!

After church, we celebrated with a yummy brunch back at the house.

Such a special and joyfilled day that I will never forget!

“Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.” –Mark 10:15

28 September 2012

Early Morning Peanut Butter Banana Oatmeal

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We love oatmeal around here.  So when I found a new way to jazz it up, I was all over it. 
Caramelized bananas, cinnamon, and peanut butter??  YES, please!!
Did I mention my new favorite food blog, Oh She Glows? 
Tasty, vegan recipes, with delicious looking pictures. 
Come on, she can even make oatmeal look appetizing!
If it’s anything close to fall-like weather where you live (or, if you’re just looking for a new variation on oatmeal) give this hearty bowl of gooey goodness a try.  It hits the spot in the morning!  Even when it’s still a million degrees outside! 
Serving:  Yields 1 
Ingredients:
  • 1 large very ripe banana, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 1 tsp non-dairy butter or coconut oil
  • 1/2 tbsp natural peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • 1/2-1 tsp chia seed (or ground flax)
  • 1 cup almond milk
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/8-1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • toppings: heaping 1/2 tbsp peanut butter, nuts, cinnamon, pure maple syrup
1. In a medium-sized pot over medium heat, cook the banana and non-dairy butter or oil for about 5 minutes, stirring frequently.
2. Stir in 1/2 tbsp peanut butter, and add the oats, chia, milk, spices, and a pinch of salt. Whisk well until combined.
3. Bring to a low boil and then reduce heat to a simmer, stirring often for 8-10 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla.
4. Scoop into a bowl and top with peanut butter, nuts, cinnamon, and maple syrup.










26 September 2012

Missy’s Marinated Tomatoes

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What to do with these gorgeous tomatoes?

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(via the Pioneer Woman)
I made these marinated tomatoes to take to a dinner party the other night.

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(via the Pioneer Woman)
They doubled as an appetizer and a side salad.
So, who’s Missy?
Missy is the Pioneer Woman's sister-in-law. Apparently, she brings these tomatoes over every Fourth of July party. Now I know why!

I don't know any Missy's. Well, I take that back. I did growing up. She was pretty, popular, skinny, and insecure (weren't we all? i mean the insecure part). We were friends.

I have a couple of sweet girlfriend's named Melissa but they are definitely not Missy's. At least not to me anyway. It's a bit like calling me Cathy. Um, no thanks. Cat, Catherine, maybe even Cate.
But Cathy? Suddenly, I'm 5 again. And I may not answer you.
Anyhow, where was I?

These marinated little jewels are truly scrumptious and they only get better with time. I'm so glad I saved some of the marinade (makes a ton) because the next day, I craved them again. I sliced up the leftover tomatoes I had in the morning and by lunch time, I was re-living the cool, fresh, flavor- packed morsels of summer!

I wish I had made these at the beginning of summer instead of at the end. Oh well.
Hey, we only have two seasons here in the desert anyway. :) 

Ingredients
  • 1 cup Canola Oil(I used half EVOO)
  • 1/4 cup Balsamic Vinegar
  • 4 Tablespoons Sugar (or Agave for sweetener) 
  • 1 teaspoon Salt
  • Freshly Ground Black Pepper
  • 3 whole Green Onions, Sliced
  • 1/4 cup Chopped Parsley
  • 18 whole Basil Leaves (chiffonade)
  • 1/4 teaspoon Thyme
  • 2 cloves Garlic, Minced Finely
  • 2 pounds Tomatoes, Cut Into Quarters, if big or Halves, if small.
Preparation Instructions
Combine all ingredients except tomatoes in a large glass bowl. Whisk to combine, then add tomatoes. (You can up the quantity of tomatoes if need be.) Use regular red tomatoes, or a mixture of red, yellow, heirloom, etc. Use different sizes of tomatoes, too. Very pretty!

Allow to marinate for at least 3 to 4 hours, several hours if possible. Tomatoes will give off liquid as they marinate.

Use leftover tomatoes to make bruschetta or top on hot pasta. Enjoy!

24 September 2012

With love, from Big Bear

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Our sweet friends, Ben & Karen celebrated their 10th Wedding Anniversary by renewing their vows in Big Bear.

 

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They eloped 10 years ago so this was the first time they got to share their hand-written vows to one another in front of family and friends.

 

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The Blodgett Family.

 

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The ceremony took place at a beautiful cabin called the Big Bear Castle.

 

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The Girls.

 

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The Guys.

 

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My funny husband!

 

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The party consisted of a bounce house and popcorn machine for the kids! 

 

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Exploring the lake in the evening.

 

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We stayed at these charming little lakefront cottages near the Village.

 

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A brisk 10 minute walk into town for dinner.

 

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The girls liked the wood burning fireplace in our room.

 

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A morning stroll through the village.

 

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Jacob and the girls out on the lake.

 

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Morgan and Ben.

 

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A little fishing.

 

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No bites yet.

 

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Buddies, Faith & Jake.

 

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All fun and games.

 

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What a fantastic weekend to get away to the mountains, hang out with friends, and celebrate LOVE!

The party was a special gathering of family and friends.  The details were sweet and simple (just like Karen wanted them to be).  The kids had a blast and the weather couldn’t have been better!

Such a great weekend!!

20 September 2012

Can you feel it in the air?

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It’s the glorious reprieve of cooler mornings!

 

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I’m talking about mornings where it’s not over 80 degrees at 7AM.

 

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The girls were able to ride their scooters this weekend for the first time in months.

 

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Well, it looks as though we’ve made it through another desert summer.  I have to admit, summers here without a pool are rough.  I’m not complaining.  It’s just a fact. 

I still love summers but to say that we’re looking forward to some cooler weather would be an understatement! 

Although we’re still in the 100’s during the day, we can slowly feel a difference in the mornings (as well as the evenings). 

Next week, it’s supposed to be in the high 90’s all week!  Oh, the JOY!!

Time to break out the sweaters! :)  

17 September 2012

Zucchini Raisin Walnut Bread {Oil-free & Vegan}


























 The cinnamon streusel topping...




Dense and moist, with just enough sweetness and crunch from the raisins and walnuts.

The girls wanted me to make zucchini bread with the giant zuk we received from my girlfriend, Melissa.

Have I mentioned that baking is not really my thing?

However, I was determined to try.

I've been loving this new vegan blog called Oh She Glows.  Every recipe I've made from it so far has been delicious.  Plus, I love being inspired by her beautiful pictures!

I'm learning a lot about healthy and natural substitutes.  For example, this was the first time I used spelt flour and it was yummy.

The girls and I really enjoyed this satisfying loaf, slathered with a little Earth Balance, of course. :)

With the nutmeg and cinnamon, it even smelled a little like fall in my house this weekend!

(I tweaked the recipe by adding agave instead of organic cane sugar.  I think that's why mine came out a little more moist.  I also baked mine for about an hour at 375, instead of 400).

Enjoy!

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