Saturday, November 29, 2008

Happy Daring Bakers Day!!

I've once again joined up for the monthly challenge of Daring Bakers! This time we were asked to take on Shuna Fish Lydon's Caramel Cake. I LOVE me some caramel, so this recipe had my attention!

The hosts of this month challenge were Dolores of Chronicles in Culinary Curiosity, Alex of Blondie and Brownie and Jenny of Foray Into Food.

I have to admit the challenge itself was a bit frustrating to me. I didn't feel the recipe was completely clear on the details and therefore struggled my way through some of the steps. For example, right off the bat I burned the caramel! Yuk! So then I tried round two on the caramel and it came out delicious, but only because I didn't cook it as dark as the instructions said. Then I got confused on a couple other things, but that may have been more a user(baker) error - uh, me. Anyway, I'm not all that pleased with the results though Jason claims they're delicious. The caramel browned butter frosting was just too sweet for me and I like more of a light buttercream. And I felt the cake was a bit too dry as well. Just way too much work for this cake.

But alas, the challenge is complete and they turned out looking pretty cute! :-)
Looking forward to next month's challenge!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

The Holidays Are Among Us!

I can't believe how fast the days are flying by! Thanksgiving is exactly two weeks away and Christmas is only 6 weeks away. Thankfully half of my Christmas shopping is done and I have a pretty good idea what I have left to buy. The closer it gets to Christmas the more I typically stress out about shopping, so this has been great getting it done way early. OH and did I mention that I keep a list going for Christmas gifts ALL YEAR LONG. Yea, I know pathetic.

Anyway, my list making is in full swing with having to plan for the upcoming Thanksgiving Small Group Dinner we're hosting at our house for 14 PEOPLE next Tuesday!! I have no idea how this is going to work, but somehow we'll make everyone fit. We're going all out with turkey, stuffing, green bean casserole - once our friend Chad offered to make the turkey everyone else was yelling out their favorite holiday dishes to bring. And of course I'm making our molasses cookies with pumpkin fluff - yummy!! Then we're going to close the evening taking communion together, it's going to be awesome. But there's just so much to do!!!

- Clean the house!
- Buy nice decorative fall paper plates & napkins!
- Get the decorations down from the attic & decorate the house!
- Baking!
- Figure out how to magically lengthen the dining room table for 14 people!
... I'm sure I'll think of more.

I love entertaining, its so much fun and I'm going to do my best to keep the camera out and within reach.

Then the actual day of Thanksgiving our friends Matt & Amy have invited us to join their family for the day. I'm excited and relieved to not have to do the whole Thanksgiving meal again, its just too much work for 2 people anyway.

The Saturday after Thanksgiving Jason and I will be heading up to Smyrna to pick out our Noble Fir Christmas tree, which I'm super excited about. We keep trying to get our friends to join us and buy a real tree, but out here everyone usually does FAKE trees!!! WHY!!??? Seriously, you might be cleaning up pine needles for the rest of the year, but smelling Christmas Tree in your home is so worth it and the best thing ever!

Let the list making commence!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

"Playing For Change"

My boss Larry Stewart sent me the link to this video and we both sat in his office and watched it together in amazement. Mark Johnson is the filmmaker who put this video together over a 10 year period, using only street musicians performing the song, "Stand By Me".

It's pretty incredible, you should check it out.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Quick Trip to the ER

Jason's been working really hard on putting up our backyard fence. The gate is finished and now he's making his way down the side of the yard.

But last Thursday Jason had himself a little accident. As he was taking down one of the boards, the other end of the board snapped off and the screw made its way along Jason's leg. He called me on his way to the ER, telling me not to worry or panic, that he was fine and there wasn't too much blood. Good Lord, who doesn't worry when they hear the word, "ER"? I was at the office working at the time and asked him to please keep giving me updates on how he was doing so I knew if I should meet him at the hospital or not. But in the end, it really was a quick visit, cause he had to get to work within just a couple hours, so they stapled him up and sent him on his way! What a man. And in Jason's own words, "Chicks dig it".

If you're a chick, you tell me, do you dig this? And if you can't tell, there would be 6 staples there total. They should've done more actually for as deep and long as the cut is.
Yeah that's what I thought.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Up Close and Personal

Forgive me folks, but I need to get some thoughts out of my head. A couple Sundays ago our pastor Bobby spoke on Forgiveness as part of his series on the 12 Steps to Recovery. It was a difficult message for me to absorb. As soon as I hear the word forgiveness, I feel myself tense up and mentally cross my arms in front of me as some sort of self-preservation. We're all familiar with the terms "Forgive and Forget" and at times this can be quite easy to do over misunderstandings or petty circumstances. But what do you do when you're faced with those circumstances that have way crossed-over the line? You know the ones I'm talking about? The ones that destroy your trust in others, break your heart, disrupt your dreams and leave a pit in your stomach? We can't run from them and as much as we would like, our subconscious won't ever let it go.

We sat and listened to this women in our congregation share about how she made a list of all the people she knew she had hurt and went to them individually or wrote letters depending on how God led her at the time and asked for forgiveness. And let me tell you, this woman has been through A LOT. There wasn't a dry eye in the room when listening to her story. And far as forgiving others, she had this little box, her "God Box" and she would write down the things that she needed to forgive and put it in this box, sometimes more than once. This brought her healing and joy that she hadn't experienced in years. She encouraged us all to make a list, write out the ones we've hurt or have been hurt by and ask God how to approach it. The list alone scares me, for some reason I think that I'll be reopening wounds that I've long since tried to bury. But I need even these things and these people to stop lingering in the corners of my mind and haunting my dreams at night.

So I'm going to start my own "God Box" and as things come up that I know are holding me back or rotting away in my gut, I'm going to write them out and give them to him, no matter how many times I have to do it. I might have to get a big box :-)

I need to truly forgive, and I'm not even sure where to start. Its really not as easy as it sounds when the wounds can run so deep.