Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Countdown.

So sorry faithful blog readers - I know you understand how crazy my life is right now.

On August 11th, Dan moved into our first home.

It's a surreal experience sitting at what I call "the apartment" - I'm warming up to calling it "home".

Everything is new and exciting, it kinda feels like being at a new job and Christmas at the same time - exciting, challenging, eye-opening and amazing.

In the time since Dan has moved in, we have become a stronger team, paying even more bills together (whoopie??), going grocery shopping together and doing laundry together. We have also moved and unpacked many boxes together.

All of these new things have stretched our relationship to a new level and we are thriving.

Since Dan has been here, I have spent a lot of time here as well. I have lived in the same house for my whole life and so I don't get culture shock the first week we are married, I'm here quite a bit. Adjusting in some ways.

Most mornings I come to the apartment and just sit and pray. All of the things that we are gearing up for  next month are becoming so real now. It's amazing to think that in 32 days, we will be married.

Holy cow.

We started this countdown on July 24th of 2007.

Yep, over 5 years ago. When we reach our wedding date we will have counted down 1894 days since we got engaged. That's quite a bit of time, and during the countdown we have had some really really tough times. It has been hard to stay positive. It has been hard to move forward. It has been hard to look to the Lord for the next step.

In the past 5 years we have reflected on this verse,

Ecclesiastes 3:1 "There is an appointed time for everything. And there is a time for every event under heaven."

Thank you Lord, for making this our appointed time. You knew when we would be ready. Continue to prepare our hearts as we head into this new adventure. Give us kind words, open arms and grateful hearts. Keep us close to you Lord, it's there that we will always find rest.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

It's a Good August Muffin!

Hi faithful followers!!

Ok I know this isn't that salmon recipe that I promised - but don't worry you will love these.


I can't believe that I posted only a couple of times in July - I can't and I can.

As I explained in the last blog things are really starting to heat up - and as we are now in August things are going full speed ahead.

Between our two full time jobs, Dan and I have been busy juggling wedding planning (which I think we can both say we are DONE with), moving, packing, selling, attending weddings, planning parties and still spending time with those we love, we are busy.

One of our beautiful engagement pictures from our photographer, Phillip - we love cooking together

As this weekend approaches Dan and I are both anxious for our moving sale that we are holding at his house. Since our apartment is a quaint 620 square feet, a lot of the furniture that we have been saving up for years, just isn't going to make the cut. We could have a lot of the furniture - but we would also lose a lot of our mobility and comfort. So the furniture gets to find a new home at the moving sale. If you want to come out and support us - let me know and I will give you all the details!

One of Rebecca and Phillip's engagement pictures that I took - glad photography runs in our family

After the moving sale the following week has my cousin Rebecca's wedding (YAY!!)! Dan and I are so excited for Rebecca and Phillip to tie the knot - we have had a lot of fun hanging out with them and the cool part is - I will be photographing their nuptials!


The day after their big day comes the big move for Dan! I can't believe it is already here - and as nervous and apprehensive as we both are - we are feeling super blessed!

A couple weeks later comes my second bridal shower and our countdown to only one month prior to the big day! Everything literally is right around the corner.


My biggest stress relievers in all these crazy times are:
Prayer - it's awesome to see God's fingertips along our pathways
Baking - baking therapy is as good as retail therapy in my book
Reading - I love the little book club that Dan and I are a part of - the newest book "Odd Thomas"!
Coffee - My morning cup of joe is fundamental to my peace filled morning

Today and Yesterday I indulged in all four of these things.

I made these muffins yesterday and enjoyed them yesterday and today.

The taste is that of carrot cake, can you think of anything better than something that tastes like cake for breakfast?? I can't.

The real name of these muffins is It's a Good Morning Muffin - but since I am nervous about how August is going to shape up, I renamed them optimistically to It's a Good AUGUST Muffin.

So here's a muffin to a good great exceptional August!


It's a Good August Muffin
Adapted from Emeril Lagasse's recipe
Serves 12

Ingredients
2 cups white whole wheat flour
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup Splenda
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups finely grated carrot
1/4 cup golden raisins
1/4 cup dark raisins
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1/2 cup shredded sweetened coconut
1 medium Granny Smith apple, peeled, cored and chopped
2 large eggs
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Directions
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and spray 12 muffin cups with non-stick cooking spray, set aside. In a large bowl sift together flour, sugar, Splenda, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. Stir in the carrot, raisins, pecans, coconut and Granny Smith apple to the dry ingredients. In a small bowl whisk together eggs, oil, applesauce and vanilla extract until smooth. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir until batter is just blended. Spoon equal amounts of batter into wells. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until muffins are golden brown and spring back when they are touched. Allow the muffins to cool in the pan for 5 minutes before transferring them to a cooling rack. Enjoy, and relax this month is going to be alright!


P.S. Each of these little carrot cake delights comes in at: 263 calories, 14.7 grams of fat and 4.2 grams of fiber! Happy August!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

I can't believe it has been two weeks!

I'm so sorry loyal followers! You have no idea how busy these last two weeks have been!

I'll give you a quick update so you know I haven't forgotten about you - I'm hoping to post a delish baked Salmon recipe that I did later this week!

My last two weeks have been full of:

Dan and I at my cousin, Sarah's wedding!


Getting an apartment secured for Dan and I!

This is a huge accomplishment for us - one of the things that held us back from getting married for so long was not being able to afford some place to live - well now we have a place and we are moving forward!

Starting on my wedding dress!

If you don't know already - my talented aunt is actually making my wedding dress! We got started on it this last week - and I don't of course have pictures to share - but it is going to be gorgeous!

Printing out wedding invitations!

With the wedding just over 2 months away it was time to start on the printing of all the invites - I decided to save money this way instead of ordering them online. My Grammie, Dan and I finished printing them last week - this week invitation assembly!

 My cousin Rebecca and her soon-to-be hubby, Phillip

Attending my cousins bridal shower!

As you know one of my cousins, Sarah got married in June - one of my other cousins Rebecca is getting married in August, and her bridal shower was this month! It was so much fun to celebrate with Rebecca, I even got to make Nutella cookies - which went over quite well!

My sister, Amanda, and her soon-to-be hubby, John!

Planning Amanda's bridal shower!

My beautiful sister Amanda is getting married 5 weeks after me, and I have started planning her garden themed bridal shower - I'm so excited about being able to throw this party for her!

My custom thank you cards - thanks Jackie!


Writing "Thank You" letters!

My awesome friend Jackie from My Paper Moose made me the cutest custom thank you notes for my bridal shower! Jackie and I have been friends since high school. A couple years back she married her sweetheart and I got to help her out by photographing - now she is helping me out by making me some beautiful cards! I was so in love with the cards - I almost didn't want to send them out - but I got them all done and they are on their way! A big thanks to Jackie for all the time and effort she put in to making these cards really special!


Finishing the book, "The Giver"

Our newest book club book was "The Giver" I remember reading this book in elementary school - but I didn't remember anything about it. I just finished it up this week and I enjoyed it - although it's quite sad, it really is worth reading. Check it out!

Anyways - I'm not trying to make excuses but I haven't forgotten about you - I've just been working on keeping my head above water these past couple of weeks! Keep an eye out for that Salmon recipe - you will love it!

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Happy 4th of July + Patriotic Rice Krispies Treats!


Happy 4th of July everyone!

I'm so blessed to call America my home. It is amazing to me that God has blessed us with such a beautiful and powerful nation, and every year we are fortunate enough to celebrate.

In Southern California it can often be challenging to find a local city that allows for fireworks - and even if you find one, unless you live there it's a no-go. Ontario (where I live), is not a city that allows fireworks but luckily our friend's Rod and Ami who live in Fontana are able to shoot them off.

For the last couple of years we have enjoyed spending 4th of July with Rod, Ami and their two boys, Tyler and Kyle. We arrive late in the afternoon, eat snacks and dinner and afterwards all the ladies watch as the men continually try to impress us with their firework skills.


So far we have had no fires that we haven't been able to manage and no burns. (Knock on wood)

During the firework presentation, Ami, Amanda and I sing about a thousand variations of every patriotic song we can manage. We also light sparklers and allow the flame to dance all over the night sky creating streams of colorful smoke as the fire begins to fade. It's a fun day filled with friends and tasty food.

This year is no exception. We are going over to Rod and Ami's this afternoon and I wanted to bring the perfect 4th of July dessert. I saw this recipe on pinterest and knew that it would be perfect. I mean who doesn't love Rice Krispies Treats??? And who can resist them with these pretty little stripes??


The best part about these little treats is that the don't heat up the house (made in the microwave) and they take less than 20 minutes to throw together. Enjoy these tasty and colorful treats!

Happy 4th and God bless America!


Patriotic Rice Krispies Treats
Serves 20
Adapted from Lil' Luna

Ingredients
9 cups marshmallows
3 tablespoons light butter
Red and Blue food coloring
6 cups Rice Krispies cereal

Directions
Line a 9x13 pan with foil and spray with non-stick cooking spray, set aside. In a medium microwave safe bowl combine the 3 cups of marshmallows and 1 tablespoon of light butter. Place the bowl in the microwave, and cook for 30 seconds, stir with a wooden spoon that has been sprayed with non-stick cooking spray. Place the bowl back in the microwave and cook again for 30 seconds or until the marshmallow mixture is very smooth. Once the marshmallow mixture is smooth stir in 30 drops of blue food coloring, you may add more if you prefer it to be darker. Add 2 cups of Rice Krispies cereal and stir until the cereal is coated with the blue marshmallow mixture. Spread the blue cereal layer into the bottom of the 9x13 pan. Repeat the same process with no food coloring for the white layer and press right on top of the blue layer. Lastly repeat the process again, but use red food coloring, add 40 drops or more if you like it dark. Press the red cereal mixture on top of the white. Allow the bars to cool before cutting them into squares. Enjoy!


P.S. These Americana treats come to 110 calories, 0.7 grams of fat and 0 grams of fiber - not too bad for a little treat!

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