Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Recipe: Peppermint Meringues

I LOVE these meringues. Reeve made these for Thanksgiving and they were so amazing. They are so tasty and make an excellent treat for far fewer calories than other holiday cookies.  Each one only has 9 calories! That's it! A PERFECT trick for the sweet tooth. This recipe is direct from Bon Appetit magazine.

Peppermint Meringues

Makes about 60
December 2011
Peppermint Meringues


  • 3 large egg whites, room temperature
  • 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon peppermint extract
  • 12 drops red food coloring


  • Preheat overn to 200°. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Using an electric mixer, beat egg whites and salt on medium-high speed until white and foamy, about 1 minute. With mixer running, gradually add suger in 3 additions beating for 2 minutes between each addition. Beat until firm peaks form, about 2 minutes longer. Add powdered sugar and peppermint extract; beat to blend, about 1 minute.
  • Dot coloring over surface of meringue; do not stir (the coloring will form swirls when piped). Spoon meringue into a pastry bag fitted with a 1/2" tip. (See Prep School; alternatively, spoon into a plastic freezer bag, then cut 1/2" off 1 corner.) Twist top; pipe 1" rounds onto prepared sheet, spacing 1" apart.
  • Bake meringues until dry, about 2 1/2 hours. Let cool completely, about 1 hour (meringues will crisp as they cool).
 DO AHEAD: Can be made 2 days ahead. Store airtight at room temperature between sheets of parchment or waxed paper.

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Monday, December 05, 2011

He's Here!

Judah's finally here! He's perfect! So soft and sweet and good natured. We're so thrilled and can't wait to get him trained. He's going to be our walking/jogging buddy and we hope to get him into a doggy 5k next year.

Friday, December 02, 2011

Craft: Unstuffed Dog Toy

You don't need a fancy unstuffed dog toy to make your dog happy while keeping your house and your dog's g.i. tract clean of cotton batting. I made one today and it only cost me fifty cents. Purchase your stuffed animal at Goodwill, Dollar Tree, or a similar discount store.

Unstuffed dog toy

You will need:
1 Stuffed Animal
A Needle
Thread to match


First remove all small item from the animal such as bows, t-shirts or hats. Carefully remove a seam from your stuffed animal. I took the back out of mine. Remove all the stuffing you can reach.

Then turn the animal inside out and carefully remove all the stuffing (and silica if present) from the head, arms and legs.

Once the stuffing has been removed turn the animal right side out and gently hand-wash the animal. I wouldn't use anything stronger than dish detergent. Rinse thoroughly and lay flat to dry. 

Carefully sew the seam back together and give it to your buddy. Enjoy hours of throwing the animal across the room and letting your pal bring it back.

(Doesn't look too pleased to be unstuffed! But he's still super cute!)

Only 1 more day till Judah comes...

Thursday, December 01, 2011

Judah Shopping and Homemade Dog Biscuits

We went shopping this week for Judah necessities. We got him a collar with a tag, a leash, a Kong ball, a "Crazy Critter" and a tennis ball.

I keep holding the little collar (UK blue of course) and staring at that little tag with his name and our phone number engraved on it. I like the little jingle sound it makes. I keep imagining his little head poking through  that collar and the little tag jingling while he walks. I am so exited about this puppy.

We've also been shopping for dog treats and found that we can make them for much less than we can buy them for at the pet store. I'm also fond of the idea of knowing what he's eating. (I always talk about being an organic mom someday and making my baby's food myself.) They can be made any size and shape so they can be made to fit into the Kong ball we got him. Here's a recipe that Reeve found online that we will probably end up using to make Christmas treats for all the dogs we know.

Homemade Dog Biscuits

1/2 C Peanut Butter
1/4 C Honey
1 T Virgin Coconut Oil or Olive Oil
1 C Chicken Broth
1 C Rolled Oats
1 C Whole Wheat Flour
1 C All-Purpose Flour

Preheat oven to 350. In a large bowl, whisk together peanut butter, honey, oil and chicken broth. In a separate bowl combine flours and oatmeal. Mix dry ingredients into wet ingredients. Place dough on floured surface. Roll and press dough to about 1/4 inch thick. Use a bone-shaped cookie cutter (or cookie cutter of your choice) to cut into shapes.  Bake on parchment paper for 14-16 minutes. Place on wire rack to cool.
(Taken from:

I'm going to keep looking for more recipes for dog treats. Perhaps I'll try these out on Matilda first to see if they are good. I'll post more recipes as I find them.

Only 2 more days till Judah comes...

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Recipe: Not-So-Amish Friendship Bread

Who says you need the Amish to make friendship bread? Not me! This bread is easy, fail-proof and will go so fast it'll make your head spin! This bread makes an excellent gift so get started now for Christmas.

Friendship bread is a ten-day process so make sure you allot yourself enough time if you're planning on taking it somewhere. It will also result in three starters to give away (if you decide to keep one) so make sure you have friends who want their own starters. Each starter recipe makes two loaves. You can either bake them both at the same time or freeze one once you add all the ingredients. I like to bake one for myself and give the other away.

Not-So-Amish Friendship Bread Starter

1 pkg Active Dry Yeast
1/4 C Warm Water
1 Cup Sugar (white or brown)
1 Cup Milk
1 Cup Flour

In a small, non-metal bowl mix water and yeast until dissolved. In a separate bowl stir together flour and sugar. Slowly stir in milk and yeast mixture. Pour into a plastic bag.This is day one.  Follow these instructions:

Day 1: Mash the Bag
Day 2: Mash the Bag
Day 3: Mash the Bag 
Day 4: Mash the Bag
Day 5: Mash the Bag
Day 6: Add  1 C Sugar, 1 C Milk, 1 C Flour. Mash the bag
Day 7: Mash the Bag
Day 8: Mash the Bag 
Day 9: Mash the Bag
Day 10: Follow directions below

Pour contents into a non-metal bowl. Add 1 1/2 C Flour, 1 1/2 C Milk, 1 1/2 C Sugar. Label 4 bags with "Friendship Bread" and the date.  Measure out 1 cup of starter into each bag. Give away 3 bags and keep 1 for yourself. With the remaining starter in the bowl you will make the bread.

Cinnamon Friendship Bread

Preheat oven to 325 Fahrenheit.
To the starter add:

3 eggs
1 C oil
1/2 C milk
1 C sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla
2 tsp cinnamon
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
2 C flour
1-2 boxes instant pudding (vanilla)
1 C nuts and 1 C raisins (optional)

Grease 2 large loaf pans.
In a separate bowl mix together 1/2 C sugar and 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon. Dust the greased pans with half the cinnamon sugar.
Pour batter evenly into the pans and sprinkle with remaining cinnamon sugar. Bake for one hour or until the bread loosens from the sides of the pan and a tooth pick inserted in the center comes out clean.

This bread is a big hit at my house and I'll definitely be making it to give away for Christmas gifts. You can also freeze the batter once you've added the additional ingredients and use it later. Good luck and have fun!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Recipe: Broccoli Casserole

I love broccoli casserole and this is the best broccoli casserole I've ever had. I tried this recipe for Thanksgiving and it was simply amazing. I think the eggs really made it better. They made it stick together without making it too dry or too runny. If you like broccoli casserole you MUST try this recipe:

Broccoli Casserole

2 Bags Frozen Broccoli
1 Small onion, diced
3/4 Stick butter
1/2 C Water
1 16 oz Jar Cheese Whiz
3 eggs, beaten
Ritz Crackers, crushed
Salt and Pepper to taste

Cook Broccoli, drain and set aside. Preheat oven to 425. Melt 1/2 stick of butter and saute onion. Add flour and water, stir. Reduce heat to low, add Cheese Whiz and broccoli, stir until well blended. Add salt and pepper to taste. Remove from heat, stir in eggs. Pour into 8x8 or 9x9 pan. Sprinkle cracker crumbs on top and dot with remaining butter. Bake for 45 minutes until hot and bubbly and crackers are browned.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Sleeping Under the Christmas Tree

This year we bought our Christmas tree from one of the local high school baseball teams.  We paid $25 less than we paid last year, got a bigger tree than we did last year, and they even delivered it to our front porch! So we got a bigger, better tree for less money and the money went to a good cause. Too say the least, I'm extremely pleased with our decision. The tree is currently standing bare in our living room and we are waiting for it to stretch out all it's arms and fall open before we cover it with lights and ornaments. It's absolutely HUGE. It's far taller and fuller than I expected it to be and it smells heavenly.

Last night as we were setting it up and listening to Christmas music and drinking eggnog I was reminded of a tradition from my childhood. 

We never had a regular spot for the tree. It was placed in a different spot almost every year. I remember it in the front of the living room in front of the big double window. I remember it being in the back of the room, right by the door leading to the backyard. I remember picking out the branches by color (I don't ever remember having a real tree) and running them across the room so my dad could put them in the stand. I remember waiting patiently impatiently as my dad strung on the lights and always begging to help (it's probably better that I wasn't allowed...) I remember the lights that blinked along to the Christmas tunes that came out of the little box at the bottom of the tree. Eventually those lights broke and we had to settle for regular lights - but my dad did get the box working so we could still hear the music.  I remember hanging hundreds of ornaments. There were ornaments that my grandfather bought us with our names on them and ornaments my dad made in grade school that hung at the very top of the tree.

And every year, when the tree was finally decked out in enough ornaments to weigh down an elephant it was time for my favorite tradition. Every year we would beg and plead with our parents to let us sleep on the floor under the tree. My father always said no, sure that at some point in the night we would roll over and pull the tree down on us, killing us all. (We never did.) And every year my mother would convince him to let us sleep on the floor. So we all dragged our sleeping bags, pillows and stuffed animals down the stairs and picked out our spot on the floor. We would put our heads under the tree and turn on the box and listen to pingy Christmas tunes until we fell asleep. And one of my parents (probably my father) would come down after we were all asleep and turn off the lights and the music. I think of all our Christmas traditions, that was my favorite. There's something so peaceful about the soft glow of a Christmas tree.

 I don't work tomorrow so I might stay up late and enjoy the Christmas tree - but I think I'll probably sleep in my bed - I'm a little too old to be sleeping on a hardwood floor.  But perhaps when I have children I'll let them sleep under the tree and maybe they will love it as much as I did.
For now I just have to keep two kitties and a puppy away from the shiny ornaments... Only five more days until Judah gets here....

What are your Christmas traditions?

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Terrific Tuesday: Piccadilly Heart

In my living are two bookshelves that sit on either side of my television. During Halloween season I hung a large decoration of suspended wooden letters that spelled "BOO." I absolutely adored it.

I'm getting tired of seeing my fall decorations because I've officially been bitten by the holiday bug and my Christmas decorations are going up the Saturday after Thanksgiving. (Which, by the way, is my favorite holiday.)  I thought for Christmas I could get a one that said something festive like "Fa La La" or "Merry Christmas."

So today's Terrific Tuesday features an artist who has as much holiday cheer as I do. PiccadillyHeart's etsy shop is chock full of cute holiday banners and place cards and ornaments.

Piccadilly Heart is new to Etsy, having just joined in September of this year. I just happened to stumble upon this shop looking for holiday decorations.

Let's check out some of Piccadilly Heart's creations, shall we?

We will start with Thanksgiving, since it is November and it's the turkey's month. Here's a set of Pilgrim Hat Place Cards that I thought were super precious.

Each one is made out of cardstock and you can even have the names written on before they are mailed. Too Adorable. Gotta love these. They come in a set of five and can be made to order and they sell for $4. Very nicely priced if you ask me!

Next we have the Let is Snow Banner. It's made of blue and white snowflake paper and strung from a silver ribbon.

It's my favorite banner in the shop and though it's a little long for my living room, I think I could probably make or order one that was shorter or just said "Snow." I think this is super charming and very well made. It costs $10, which is about what you'd pay for something of the same quality at Hobby Lobby or Michaels.

Check out these Santa Cupcake Wrappers. They are made of red cardstock with a black belt and a yellow buckle. They are super adorable and my mother in law would flip over these! I may get a set before Christmas to bring over for Christmas Eve. At $5 for a set of 12, I can definitely afford them!

If you're on a tight budget like me and have some crafting skills and a cricut machine bring it out and try your hand at making some of these. Or if you're not good with crafts just hop on over to Piccadilly Heart's etsy page and order something!

Thanks for reading! Have a good one!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Meet Judah!

Meet Judah everyone!

Judah is a Canaan Dog. His breed is native to Israel and the Negev Desert.  He will be joining our family next month, just before Christmas.

A little about Canaan Dogs:
Canaan dogs have been around for centuries. The ancient Israelites used these dogs for herding livestock. Paintings of dogs believed to be Canaan Dogs have been found that date back as far as 400 BC.
Scientists began domesticating Canaan Dogs in the 1930's. They captured the wild dogs and found them to be easily trainable and highly adaptable. They were used in WWII to detect land mines and proved more effective than mechanical devices.

Canaan Dogs were introduced in the United States in the 1960's and accepted into the AKC in the herding group in 1997.

Why a Canaan dog?
When we started thinking about getting a dog we started taking tests online to see which breed was best for us. We both kept having the Canaan dog show up in our top three. We had never heard of the Canaan before so we started looking into the breed. Upon studying this unique dog we decided a Canaan was the perfect breed for us. Canaans are exceedingly intelligent and can learn up to 200 individual commands. They make excellent family dogs and are very protective of their family.

Why Judah?
A strong Israeli dog needs a strong Israeli name. Judah is one of the twelve tribes of Israel as described in Genesis. He was the fourth son of Jacob and Leah and his name meant “Praise.” King David was decended from Judah and so was Jesus. We threw around about 100 names and researched the peoples of the Negev and finally we settled on Judah.  

About our Judah:
Judah is three months old a weighs 15 pounds. Full grown he will stand about 24 inches at the shoulder and weigh 50 pounds (Almost as large as, and similar in appearance to a white German shepherd.) We are expecting him to arrive about a week before Christmas and we can’t wait!

Can’t wait for you to meet our Judah!

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Don the Turkey Head

This is my friend, Don, with a turkey hat on his head singing about Thanksgiving. Do me a favor and watch his video. I'm sure he'll be tickled.

Saturday, November 05, 2011

Money money money!

A few days ago I was in Walmart and handed the cashier a gold dollar. She looked at it for a second and asked "Maybe this is a dumb question, but what is this?" If I were not an honest person I would have answered "A five dollar coin" just to see what she would have said. I guess since I work in a bank and see strange money every day I forget that most people don't. I decided to write a blog post about coins, so the first thing I did was research each coin and I actually learned quite a bit. So if you're like me and you like coins, this blog post is for you.

(Disclaimer: Please know these are not the only coins ever minted in these denominations. I'm not going very far back, only to about the beginning of the last century. So if you are still curious after you read this post, do a little research on your own. Some of the old coins are beautiful.)

First, a little vocabulary: "Obverse" is the term used to refer to the front or "head" of the coin. "Reverse" is the term used for the "tail." Alright! On to the skinny on U.S. coin money (with photos of course!)

Here we have the penny - the least of all American coins - only worth one cent. The obverse shows Abraham Lincoln. You can find them with various reverses: the Lincoln memorial, a shield, wheat stalks or pictures of Abraham Lincoln.

Here is a Nickel - worth five cents. The current US nickel sports Thomas Jefferson's face in three poses.  Here you can see the nickels obverses:

The reverse of the nickel sports several designs including Jefferson's home of Monticello, a buffalo, a sail boat signifying Lewis and Clark's travels, two hands joined to signify the Louisiana purchase, and a view of the Pacific ocean with the words "Ocean in view! Oh the Joy!" Here's a photo of the all of the nickel reverses: (can't tell you how long it took the find all these!)

If you are lucky you may find one with an Indian head on the obverse and buffalo on the reverse like this one:

Next we have the dime - worth ten cents. The face on the dime is that of Franklin D. Roosevelt. On the reverse are a torch, an olive branch and an oak branch with the words "E Pluribus Unum" (Latin for "out of many, one") The torch represents liberty. The oak branch stands for victory. The olive branch stands for peace. The dime as we know it was released at the end of WWII. Before that time you would have seen Liberty on the front of the dime and, on the reverse, a fasces (a bundle of sticks with an axe blade) juxtaposed with an olive branch to symbolize our readiness for war but our desire for peace. This is the  most current dime:

The Quarter is worth twenty-five cents. On it's obverse is the bust of George Washington. On it's reverse may be one of many images. You may find an eagle, a minute-man soldier (signifying our bicentennial anniversary), an image representing one of the fifty states, or an image representing a national park. Here are three quarters: (L to R: state quarter reverse, George Washington obverse, Eagle reverse.)

Next we have the half dollar. It worth, well, half a dollar. The half is a pretty rare coin, we don't see them at the bank often and when we have one it's usually snatched up pretty quickly. On the obverse is John F. Kennedy. On the reverse is either an image of Independence Hall or the presidential seal - an eagle holding a shield, an olive branch, and thirteen arrows and surrounded by fifty stars. Previously they have sported Benjamin Franklin with the Liberty Bell on reverse and "Walking Liberty" with an eagle on the reverse. I have a Walking Liberty in my personal collection, but I've only seen one in my lifetime. Here are photos of the "Kennedy half"

Next we have the dollar coin (silver.) On the obverse you may see the face Dwight D. Eisenhower or of Susan B. Anthony (woman's suffrage activist) or (if you find a really old one) the face of Liberty wearing a crown. Eisenhower dollars are fairly rare, and I gave my only one away recently to a friend who is a Marine for a tradition they have in the Marine Corps regarding silver dollars. (Ask a marine about it!)
Here we have a photo of the Susan B. Anthony dollar, the most common silver dollar:

There is another variety of dollar coins and these are the gold. On the obverse you will see the face of a U.S. president with the Statue of Liberty on the reverse, or of Sacajawea (a Native American woman who led Lewis and Clark through the Louisiana Purchase with a baby on her back) with one of several images on the reverse including an eagle, a native American woman gathering corn, or the Hiawatha belt surrounding five arrows. Here is an image of the Sacajawea dollar coin with the eagle reverse:

And several U.S. President gold dollars with the Liberty reverse shown at the bottom:

And there's your lesson for the day. Hope you learned something that you didn't already know about U.S. coins. Have an awesome day!

Friday, November 04, 2011

Mighty Mouse Mechanic

I have, on occasion, been referred to as "Mighty Mouse." This week my mighty mouse skills got put to the test.

My car has been shuddering and dying at stoplights. Not exactly safe, mind you - especially when it breaks down in a busy intersection in Lexington. So on my day off I headed to an auto parts store we'll just call "Patricks."

Now, my husband loves "Patricks", but it's really not my cup of tea. I normally try not to speak ill of any business, but I've never had good service from the guys there. I don't know why, but they are always rude to me. Tuesday was no exception. I won't go into the details but let's just say the fellow behind the counter wasn't very helpful and as soon as he gave me the replacement hose I was on my own. (Of course, whenever I go in there with my husband they always offer to help him.)

So I stood bent over my car engine for twenty minutes trying to detach the old hose and patch job my husband and brother in law put on a few months ago. And despite the cold snap we've been suffering, standing in the sun over that hot car engine, it might as well have been July.

And to top it off, I was working with a Swiss army knife - you know, the tiny pocket size ones - as the only other tool in my car was a hammer.

After about 20 minutes of tugging and pulling and fighting with the old hose, a fellow came outside and informed me they had tools I could borrow. Gosh! You couldn't have mentioned that earlier? By that time I was practically done! So he unclasped the hose clamp for me and replaced it after I fitted the hose.

I have to admit I'm frustrated with the customer service at "Patricks." I've been in there enough times to see how they treat other customers but I've never been on the receiving end of that friendliness and customer service. I think I'll switch my loyalty over to another auto parts store where I've had better customer service.

I'm proud that I was able to repair my car on my own. It's definitely a first for me. I'm also thankful for a husband who's taught me so much about cars. If not for him I never would have made it home on Tuesday.

You learn something new every day.

Here's a photo of the product my hard work:

(Not bad, right?)

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Recipe: Farrotto

My adventure in cooking continues with the ancient-grain-recipe. Farro is an ancient grain that recently came into the food world spotlight. It's a whole grain that's nutty, sweet and healthy. My husband's aunt served it to us at her house a few weeks ago and I fell in love with it. She found it at Good Foods Co-Op in Lexington, but you can probably find it at the local Italian grocery or organic market.

This recipe is made just like Risotto, but with Farro instead. It takes about 45 minutes to make and serves 4. It makes an great comfort food and can be eaten cold or warm.


1 1/2 C Uncooked Farro
1 Medium Onion, diced
5 Portabella Mushrooms, sliced
5 C Chicken Broth
3 T Olive Oil
1/4 Parmesan cheese
Garlic Powder to taste
Salt and Pepper to taste


In a large skillet, saute onions and mushroom in 2 tablespoons of olive oil on medium high until soft. Meanwhile, heat broth in a sauce pan.
Add farro to skillet. Stir a few times more to coat with oil. Reduce heat to Medium low.
Add one large ladel of hot broth. Stir until almost dry and repeat.
When farro is soft enough to eat but still al dente ("firm to the bite") add parmesan cheese and remaining olive oil, stir.
Let simmer 10 minutes until flavors meld. Serve hot with bread.

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Terrific Tuesday: Whee

I have official found a website I love. It's called Whee and they print images on t-shirts, bags, phone cases, baby onesies and just about anything else you can think of. I was searching for Romanian flag images and instantly fell in love with their apparel. I'll show you a few things I'm totally crazy about.

Romanian Flag Circle Charm:
I seriously love this necklace. I would probably wear it constantly for a month, regardless if it matched or not. I'm totally in love with this necklace. It's the perfect reminder of the place my heart longs to be.

Romania Greeting Cards:

I completely intend to buy several (read 100) packs of these before we head off to Romania. They make the perfect correspondence and thank you cards for our time in Romania. I'm in love.

Romania Journal

I intend to journal every day regularly while in Romania and this will let me know which journals I used during our time in Romania. No more digging through sixty journals to figure out which time period matches up to which event.

Romania Women's Performance Jacket

I love jackets like this. I love the positioning of the flag and the quality of the patch. I'd much rather have that on my jacket than a brand name. It's also a great conversation starter.

Romania Women's Fitted T-shirt

Love this t-shirt. It comes in five colors and I'm especially fond of the black and the orange. This would be a great Christmas present (hint hint) from anyone who loves me and wants to buy me something that I would really really love. 

In case you can't tell, I'm really in love with Romania and so very ready to hear God say "Go." Until then I'll keep thinking about and praying about Romania.  Check out this page to see more of Whee's cool Romanian flag merchandise. 

Monday, October 31, 2011


"[Worship] is best defined as a reaction. The resulting behavior and response a person engages in naturally when experiencing that which can be only described as God." ~

Every Sunday I play piano at CenterPointe. Recently I had a week off and I was glad because I thought I would have a chance to "really worship." But as I stood in church singing along with the band I found myself thinking of the words Stephanie McDowell said to my husband about me, "I can really hear her worshipping God through the piano." I felt awkward and almost out of place, I even found myself wishing I was back on the keys.

And as I've pondered this idea of worship I've discovered something. It hit me one day while playing the intro to a song that Ashley was singing a few weeks ago. Worship is giving to God what he gave you to begin with. Using my talent of playing piano for His church is worship. Tithing is worship. Greeting visitors is worship. Organizing games for the youth group is worship. Even cleaning up after them is worship. Worship is doing anything that God gave me the ability to do for the benefit of His kingdom.

I love to bring people to a place of worship. I love to hear CenterPointe sing His praise and lift His name. I love playing piano and hearing everyone sing. I'm so grateful for a God that wants our worship.

If you have seen me play but we haven't met I'd ask that you take the time to shake my hand some Sunday. I'll be so glad to meet another brother or sister in the faith.

Thank you for giving me the opportunity to lead you into his throne room. I'm so humbled.

Read these quotes on worship:

A man can no more diminish God's glory by refusing to worship Him than a lunatic can put out the sun by scribbling the word, 'darkness' on the walls of his cell.
C. S. Lewis

A service of worship is primarily a service to God. When we realize this and act upon it, we make it a service to men.
Ralph W. Sockman

It is only when men begin to worship that they begin to grow.
Calvin Coolidge

Friday, October 28, 2011


We have been searching for a puppy for quite some time now. We knew we wanted a Canaan dog, an ancient Israeli herder. We wanted a male, and a solid white or white and fawn one (without any black on him.) We knew we wanted a big hearty dog - not some spindly little thing. And we had a price limit - under $500. This is asking a lot, since most Canaans are black and white and sell for about $1500.

I was praying feverishly for God to send us the perfect pup and then, yesterday, I got the email. A woman in Illinois has a three month old, solid white male that needs a home. He can't be sold at full price because his tail has an extra kink in it and doesn't curl up like it should. He weighs 15 pounds (at only 3 months!) and will probably top out around 50 pounds (about 3/4 the size of a full-grown male german shepherd.) And the best part is that he is well under our price limit!

And this woman has bred 76 litters of Canaans already! In fact, she is the one who sold JFK Jr.'s dog, Friday, to him.
I got to talk to her on the phone yesterday and I think we are all thrilled that this baby is coming home with us! We can't wait to go get him!
We haven't been able to think of a name for this sweet little boy, but I'm sure one will come in time. (Leave your suggestions in the comments below!)
I'll post more as I know more. Looking forward to meeting him.

Thursday, October 27, 2011


Lately I've been contemplating the meaning of peace. As I read about friends expecting a new baby and friends who are waiting to adopt and friends struggling with an autistic child, I'm blown away by how simple my life has become. My bills are being paid; I'm living in a wonderful house on four acres; I'm enjoying my job and my co-workers. I have the opportunity and joy of playing piano at CenterPointe and leading the youth there with two other amazing couples. I'm even perfectly okay with not being in Romania right now knowing that the Lord has things for me to do here and now. The most complicated things I'm dealing with right now are student loan debt and deciding whether or not we will get a dog.

I guessed I've lived in so much turmoil I'm really amazed when I look at my life and see simplicity. I've always understood the "peace that passes understanding" in the hard times, but now that my life is so simple I wonder if what I'm feeling is really peace. After all, what is courage without something to overcome? And what is compassion without suffering? Can true inner peace exist without turmoil?

I thank God over and over for giving me such still waters for a time, but I can't help but wonder why. I've never known such stillness and it's almost unnerving. I feel like Esther when she first came into the palace of the king and was taken as his wife. Everything is different. I am taken care of, my bills are paid. And yet I know the words of Esther 4:14 are so true in my life still, "For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father’s family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?”; I know the Lord has given me this verse for this season in my life, though I admit I'm not entirely sure why. Surely this peace is part of His plan and will be used to further His will in our lives. I want to remember to be thankful for this peace and to praise God in every season.

Thank you Lord for still waters and let remember to be thankful in all things.

"All of my life, in every season, you are still God; I have a reason to sing. I have a reason to worship."

Recipe: Butternut Squash Bisque

Reeve made this tasty bisque last night. We really enjoyed it, but we added a little too much cayenne.

Butternut Bisque

  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, sliced
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper plus more for garnish (optional)
  • Coarse salt
  • 1 large butternut squash (about 4 pounds), peeled, seeded, and cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1 can (14 1/2 ounces) reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 cup half-and-half
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • Sour cream, for serving

In a large saucepan, heat butter over medium. Add onion, garlic, thyme, cinnamon, and cayenne. Season with salt, and cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is softened, 5 to 7 minutes.

Add squash, broth, half-and-half, and 3 cups water. Bring to a boil; reduce to a simmer, and cook until squash is tender, about 20 minutes.
Working in batches, puree in a blender until smooth or blend with a stick blender. (If you use a stick blender be sure to keep it submerged or you will end up with bisque all over your kitchen.) Stir in lemon juice; season with salt. Serve bisque with sour cream, garnished with cayenne, if desired

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Recipe: "More or Less" Peanut Butter Cookies (Gluten Free)

I've been making these peanut butter cookies since I was a teen. I don't know where I got the recipe, but I've always made them this way. They are a big hit at parties or just when we crave something sweet in the evening. They can be made in twenty minutes from ingredients we always have in our house. I used this recipe to snag my husband and it was practically in our wedding vows that we must keep the ingredients for these cookies handy so I can make them when we have surprise company.

These cookies are gluten free and dairy free (as long as you don't add chocolate chips.) I shared this recipe with a co-worker who couldn't eat gluten and she was a big fan - she made them more often than I did! The recipe is simple, one cup sugar, on cup peanut butter, and one egg. The reason they are called "More or Less" Peanut Butter Cookies is because they often require more or less of ingredients and more or less cooking time. Generally the recipe needs more sugar, but it isn't always a measurable amount and differs each time. Without furthur ado:

"More or Less" Peanut Butter Cookies

1 egg
1 C Peanut Butter
1 C Sugar
1/2 C Milk Chocolate Chips (optional)


Mix together egg and sugar. Add peanut butter, stir until well blended. Add sugar by the tablespoon until dough can be rolled into balls in your palm without leaving your hands sticky. (Leaving your hands slightly oily is okay - sticky is not.) (Optional: add chocolate chips)

(Dough with my Aldi peanut butter and chocolate chips - I love Aldi)

Roll dough into 1.5-inch diameter balls and place on an ungreased cookie sheet.

Press with a fork.

Bake approximately 12 minutes at 350 F, turning the pan around after six.
Bake until the tops of the cookies are no longer shiny.

Remove from the pan IMMEDIATELY and place on a flat plate in a single layer.
This is VERY important.
Don't leave them on that pan unless you want them to stick to it.

Top with Hershey Kisses if you'd like and allow them to cool for
five minutes before serving. Tell everyone how hard
it was to make them and that it was your
great-great-great grandmother's recipe. Enjoy!

Monday, October 24, 2011


Anyone who suffers from migraines know how awful they are.

I've been suffering low-grade migraines for about two weeks now. I've never had them before now, so the sudden onset is a cause for slight concern. (The only times I've ever had headaches like these are when I had meningitis 12 years ago and when I had the flu in February.) They have been so bad I've left company in the living room and gone to lie down. I have to get out of all light and sounds and usually I fall asleep and wake up with what feels like a hangover.They usually hit at night but I can't take excedrin at night or else it keeps me up all night.

 Driving at night triggers a migraine and so does reading and blogging, so my blogging this month has been pretty sparce. I'm currently nauseous and running a slight fever so I'm leaving work early. I don't think it's flu since I'm not weak and I don't have body aches. I'm almost completely convinced it's my vision so I'm heading to the optomitrist today. I'm hoping it's just because of my vision and not anything more serious. We will look into a few other things, but I'm pretty sure it's just from my bad vision.

Please pray that we discover the cause of these headaches. I can't live like this anymore.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Coupon Clippin'

Lately I've been trying to be more cost-conscious. I want to be aware of what we are spending and how we can cut back. This means venturing into the scary world of couponing. So now I'm a new clipping, snipping, web-searching fiend. I'm searching the web for deals, I'm shopping at Aldi, I'm planning my meals ahead of time, I'm downloading apps on my phone to get free appetizers at the Chinese food place tonight when we go out with friends. I still haven't quite got the hang of this coupon thing, but I think I'm getting there. I'll be chronicling my coupon clipping growth and teaching you my favorite tips as I learn more.

I thought I'd share a few of my favorite gold mines with you, oh faithful blog readers and cost-conscious citizens, that don't require scouring the paper.

20 Free Prints from CVS"Like" CVS on Facebook this week and earn 20 free prints. Just click on the special offers tab on the left hand side and sign up. Your coupon will be emailed to you. Click here to open their facebook page in a new window.

BOGO free movie ticket at Amstar
Bluegrass coupons is advertising a buy one get one free ticket at Amstar in Nicholasville as well as a free popcorn. This coupon expires November 30th so use it soon. Click here to get these coupons.

Free Sandwich at Zaxby's
Bluegrass coupons is giving away free nibbler sandwich coupons for Zaxby's. Click here to get this coupon.

If you've never used Groupon you are missing out. Every day Groupon offers a deal to get you food, services or entertainment for half the cost. We bought two tickets to see Harry Potter this summer for a grand total of $8 on Groupon and recently we got $20 worth of food at our favorite Chinese place for $10. Go to or download the mobile app on your phone.

Living Social
If you haven't discovered Living Social it's not too late. Living social works like Groupon. We just bought $60 worth of glasses from Coastal Contacts for $9. Can't beat a deal like that! Go to or download their mobile app. lets you buy gift cards for local restaurants for less than their face value. For example, you may get a $25 gift card for Many times there is a minimum purchase amount at the restaurant so read the terms before you purchase the card.

My coworker introduced me to Mobideals. It's a mobile app that helps you save. It's like a combination of Groupon and Download the app, sign in with your phone number and start searching. You can search using a city, zip code or just places nearby. You'll find deals for eating out, entertainment, retail stores and more. We plan on using it tonight when we go out to eat with friends.

There are some ways to keep doing the things you love and save at the same time. Hope you find something you like!