Friday, October 29, 2010

pumpking baking

i really enjoy when i have the chance to bake,
especially when the weather starts to cool off.
which it has the last couple of weeks.

fall is definitely in full swing.
which means it is the perfect time to try some new pumpkin recipes!

First, I made Pumpkin Bars
4 eggs
1 C vegetable oil
16 oz can of pumpkin
(I use the 29 oz can to make them super moist)
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 2/3 Cup Sugar
2 Cups Flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt

1.In mixing bowl, beat eggs, sugar, oil & pumpkin.
2.Combine flour, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
3. Gradually add flour mixture to pumpkin mix.
4. Pour into un-greased 15x10x1 inch pan
5. Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes.

while it is baking, whip up a batch of this Cream Cheese Frosting to top it off:
8 oz cream cheese
6 Tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 Tablespoon milk
2 Cups Powdered Sugar
(no one said it was healthy)

Then Rob started asking for a Pumpkin Pie.
So I made him a deal:
He got the crust from the grocery store: Thanks, Marie Calendar!
and I made the pie filling and whipped cream.
easy compromise.
I have a great pie crust recipe (Grand Champion at the County Fair, baby!)
but I think that I still need to get it from mom.
For now, Marie did just fine :)

And on Sunday morning, we decided we just hadn't had enough pumpkin in one weekend...
we L.O.V.E breakfast around here.
we make breakfast (bacon, eggs, pancakes, waffles, french toast) at least twice each weekend.
Rob does the bacon and eggs.
I'm in charge of the carbs. :)
so I set out to make Pumpkin Pancakes from scratch.

2 Cups Flour
3 Tablespoons brown sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground allspice
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 Cup milk
1 egg
1 Cup pumpkin puree
2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
2 Tablespoons vinegar

1. Combine milk, pumpkin, egg, oil & vinegar in bowl.
2. In other bowl, combine the rest.
3. Slowly add flour mixture to pumpkin mixture, mixing well.
4. Heat griddle to medium/high and make some cakes!

This recipe is now at the top of our "favorite list."
with a little powdered sugar and syrup, it was delicious..mmmmm.
and I'm sure it will be any time of the year.

so while the pumpkin filling is well-stocked on the store shelves,
go get some.
and try one (or all!) of these recipes.
it's totally worth it.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010


We have great friends.
Really, really great friends.
It's is honestly one of the things I love most about our life here in Denver.

Starting life as husband and wife can be difficult,
and Rob and I took on this challenge while settling into a new city.
These people invited us to join their small group within the first few weeks of us attending Trailhead.

and they became more than just people we go (went) to church with.
they have become our family away from family.
and being with them feels a bit like "going home."
i've been missing them. a lot.
and this weekend we got a chance to reconnect and celebrate Fall.

we put them up to this. and they were good sports :)
every "family" picture involves coordinated outfits and poses on the staircase, right?

i really love these ladies. they're great in so many ways.
and the children!
in their outfits.
aren't they adorable?

on top of getting to connect with friends,
which I really, really needed,
we spent time enjoying a fall tradition...
pumpkin carving!!

it was Rob's very first time.

look at the concentration
and excitement...

even though the Cats lost earlier in the day to Baylor,
we were still representing!
(and maybe taunting Beave and Ali,
whose loyalties are to the other Kansas team)

Happy Fall, y'all!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

GAP jeans

head over here to enter a chance to win $100 to Gap.
love that store. a lot.
i really hope i win :)

Monday, October 25, 2010


today marks 80 years of life for one incredible, strong, beautiful woman:
my grandmother.

Things I admire about Grandma Marge:
she tells it like it is.
she has opinions and isn't afraid to share them.
she carries herself with so much grace.
she is an amazing cook.
she makes the best eggs in the world.
she raised six children and supported her husband even through difficult times.
she still works out. every day.
she has endured heartache and loss with incredible grace and humility.
she still loves to learn new things and travels often.
she is committed to God and her family.
she gives great hugs.
she is beyond generous.
she loves well.
she has great taste in clothes, jewelry and decor.

i feel like I could go on and on about Grandma Marge.
I just love her. :)

the truth is, I am blessed to have TWO grandmothers that I really admire.
beyond that, I have two grandmothers that I really KNOW.
who have been invested in my life over the years.
who get to know me and let me know them.
i come from really strong, beautiful women.
so watch out. :)

Because there are so many of us in the family,
and we are spread out all over,
we celebrated Grandma's birthday in July.
here are some of my favorite pictures from that event.

it was a really great time. I hadn't seen some of my cousins in a loooong time.
Grandma, you have created such an incredible legacy over the past eight decades.

I love you.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

the hunt

we hit the trail again this morning,
looking for our own little place to call home.
I watched a couple episodes of Property Virgins and House Hunters last night,
getting myself psyched up, learning the lingo
"Duplex Down", "Conventional vs FHA", "Seller Assist"....

HGTV makes house hunting look so glamorous.
no one ever gags because of a rancid smoke smell.
nor do they use their sleeves to avoid touching door knobs and light switches.
this morning I did both.
needless to say, that property didn't make the final cut.

but the good news is we did find a property that we put an offer in on.
so now the waiting begins. again.

my mom joked this morning that this was a great way for God to teach me patience.
it's true. i'm practicing waiting.
and sometimes it feels like it is killing me (slight over exaggeration)

waiting is something that gets easier with practice.
and having two offers fall through gives me perspective.
I want to be wise about these decisions. prayerful. patient.
not impatient or impulsive.

I don't want it to lead to this:

The line where Tom Hanks says, "It'll be fun to fix is up together..."
That is soooooo Rob.
He is my Mr. Blue Skies.
Just like his daddy.
And I love that he is so optimistic. Honestly, I do.
But is scares the begeezus out of me when it comes to our first house.

I also don't want to fall into the "American Dream"trap that says you have to own.
We don't have to, nor do we really need to...
but I will praise God and be very thankful if He allows us to become homeowners. :)
and I'll be super-excited if that home comes with a garage and a yard :) :)

we'll keep you posted!

Friday, October 22, 2010

the ranch

my sweet friend, kristen, had a birthday a few weeks back
and she invited some of her dear friends
(I feel so blessed to be included in that category)
to go to her parents' ranch to celebrate.

Kep and I met at Orientation for Seminary.
In many ways, it was divine intervention that we sat at the same table.
and I can honestly say that my life was SO much better for having her friendship over the past three (almost) years.

we are different in many ways and yet at the core,
we are very, very similar.
Kristen is a constant. I am always amazed at how she maintains so many friendships with so many people. And they are genuine, deep, meaningful friendships.
She makes people feel loved and appreciated.
She cares deeply for others, listens intently, prays fervently.
I admire her in many ways and am thankful that I get to call her friend
and sister in Christ.

not to mention, she took me to her parents' ranch.
which was like something out of my dreams.
i dream about this:

and this:

with horses in that barn, galloping in those corrals.
(i'm not making this up, people. I really do dream of that)

I mean, who wouldn't dream of this:

a sunset over the mountains. now that is just good for the soul.

they even had cows. very pregnant cows.

I may not dream of THAT so much,
but they do take me back to my childhood,
which I love. and miss sometimes.
Dad bringing new born calves in from the snowstorm to keep them from freezing to death.
Sage and I rubbing them with towels to warm them up.
oh, the memories.

i loved my weekend with Kristen and friends at the ranch.
beautiful views. beautiful women. cozy fire. great food.
and lots of laughter and sharing.


sorry this is a little belated, but I want you to know
how incredibly grateful I am for your friendship,
for who you are, and all that you bring to my life.
and for taking me to your parents' ranch :)
you rock.

love you, girl.

Monday, October 18, 2010

change is a good thing

be patient with me.
i got the urge to simplify my blog.

i've got the itch for change.
i'm seriously longing for space in my life.

the 1 bedroom apartment we are living in right now is such a huge blessing. it's cheap. comfortable. convenient.
but it's just that--a 1 bedroom apartment.
AND this is the longest I have lived anywhere since I first moved away from home and went to college.

check it out:

August '02....left WaKeeeny for Hillsboro, KS and 4 incredible years at Tabor College.
May '03...packed up my dorm room in Regier Hall and went to Lampe, Missouri for a summer at Kanakuk Kamp
August '03...back to Tabor, this time living in East Hall.
May '04...back to Lampe, Missouri
August '04...back to the 'Boro. This time I thought I would try living out a Cedar Hall where I had my own room.
May '05...moved to Wichita for the summer.
August ' last time I moved back to Tabor. This time I moved into the only female dorm that I had yet to live in...Ediger Hall.
May '06...moved out of Tabor one last time. whew.
May '06-December '06 .....Wichita, KS.
January '07-February '07....Abbottsford, British Columbia, Canada
March '07-June '07....Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico
July '07-January '08...back to Wakeeney, Kansas.
January '08...Denver, lived with the Nikkel family
May '08..married my best friend and moved into 3400 S Lowell Ct, Denver CO...our first home
May '09...moved with my best friend to Bailey, Colorado...our second home
August '09...moved BACK down to the city, to this one bedroom apartment...our third home.

and that brings us to the present day. October '10.
14 months since my last move.

i'm tired just typing that all.

but i've become accustomed to change.
settling and re-settling.

and i find myself wanting that again. now.
mostly because I long for more space.
and a little bit of stability.
i'm ready for what's next.

or atleast I think I am.

but I'm still trying to hold it all loosely, as they say.
and pray.
instead of grasping and grabbing.
which is honestly what i am good at....i'm a bit of a go-getter.
not the best at the "be-still and wait" part.

back to the point of this post.....

so, I guess all of that to say...I'm taking all my urges out on my blog.
I thought maybe it would help. a little bit of change. some simplicity. declutter.

instead, i've now spent (**wasted**) over an hour messing with it.
different designs. layouts. colors. titles. blah. blah. BLAH.
and i'm tired. and a little irritated.
so i'm walking away and crawling in bed.

i'll try again tomorrow. maybe.

g'night, ya'll.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

mama visit

my mom was here this weekend.
we shopped (my sweet, generous dad sent money for us to spend! aren't I a blessed girl?!?)
we visited over coffee.
we took a drive in the mountains.
we ate out. several times.
we watched Secretariat (I cried through the whole thing...but that is an entirely different story).

and just enjoyed being together.

there is something very refreshing for me about being with family.
even though I am REALLY behind on laundry. our apartment is a disaster. and we now officially have NO fresh produce in the fridge. sigh.

i have a crazy busy week ahead of me at work.
on top of the growing list of things I need to do at home.

and yet, after this weekend, i still feel grateful. rested. and very, very loved.
so, it's all gonna be just fine.

I still have some pictures I want to post from the past few weeks.
and hopefully tomorrow I will have some exciting news to post (no, I'm not pregnant).

but for now, I'm going to cuddle with my hubby on the couch and enjoy the last hour of my weekend before it is back. to. work.

I'm praying that God helps me remain in this grateful, content, happy place throughout the week. Maybe if I post this and then keep reading it over and over, it will help. maybe.

i can hope, right? :)

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

i heart fall

Lloyd: So, where you headed?
Mary: Aspen.
Lloyd: Mmm, California... beautiful.

Lloyd: I'll tell ya where we'll go. Some place warm, a place where the beer flows like wine, where beautiful women instinctively flock like the salmon of Capistrano. I'm talking about a little place called Assssspen.

Harry: I can't feel my fi-fingers anymore, Lloyd. T-th-they're numb!
Lloyd: Ooh. Maybe you should wear these extra gloves... my hands are starting to get sweaty.
Harry: Extra gloves? You've had...this pair...of extra gloves...this whole time??
Lloyd: Yeah! We're in the Rockies.

we weren't in Aspen.
but we were definitely in the Rockies.

and it was B-E-A-U-TIFUL.
I love the Fall.
I even love that I had to come back inside this morning to get a jacket.

100 points for you if you knew all these quotes already :)

Saturday, October 2, 2010

take me out to the ballgame

"take me out with the crowd!
buy me some peanuts and crackerjacks!
I don't care if I never get back..."

one of our favorite thing about living in Denver is getting to attend sporting events.
Rob really likes baseball.
I like attending baseball games.
notice the difference :)
but, hey! it's a happy marriage.

a couple weeks ago we jumped on the Light Rail and headed downtown for a couple games.

Game 1: Arizona Diamondbacks.

We decided to make it a full-on date night and ate at Wynkoop Brewery before the game.

isn't he cute?

having a little fun at the bar.

and then it was off to Coors Field where we met up with Justin and Sara.
Justin and I grew up together. Some of my earliest memories involve Justin, his four brothers, and his wonderful parents.
Halloween 1990 (ish) I was Snow White.
The boys were my dwarfs. :)
At times, there are definitely benefits to being the only girl.

it was so great to see Justin and his sweet wife Sara.
I really hope that we can do it more often.
Thanks for the invite, guys!

Game #2: San Diego Padres

Rob tried to get me to wear Padres gear with him.
But....I just couldn't do it.
I think that I am officially becoming a Rockies fan.
I have avoided having "favorite" teams my entire life.
there is just so much commitment involved...
you are locked in.
you have to cheer for them and against rivals.
it is so much easier to be "undecided."

but Denver is where Rob and I have started life together.
Even if we don't stay here forever, there will always be something special about this place.
I think I will always have a fondness for this city.
So, I just might commit to being a Denver Sports Fan.
We are already hard core Broncos fans.
Rob was raised a Broncos fan and it was an easy choice for me.
but Nuggets and Rockies are still up in the air.
(Don't worry, Kansas State still has my heart in College Sports!)

Rob is not on board with this.
California still has his heart. I get it. That's fine.

I'm getting nervous even as I type this.
you think I'm kidding. but I'm not.
Seriously!?!? do I have commitment issues?
What if I decide I don't want to be a Rockies fan in a few years?
So much easier to just stay neutral....eeek!

Okay, moving on....

Back to Game #2

we met up with Dan and Ryan Kester--2nd and 3rd cousins of mine.
We love hanging out with Dan.
even though he's old (wink, wink), he is a lot of fun.
and I hadn't seen Ryan in over 15 years!
When we were going through the line for dinner, I thought he wasn't old enough to drink. ha!
he has graduated from college already.
Sorry, Ryan!

we sat in the outfield on a beautiful fall evening.
it was SUCH a great time.
Padres ended up winning by one run.
it was a great game. lots of energy. lots of fun.
just a bummer for us Rockies fans :)

another reason I think I could like the Rockies....Purple.
I'm totally down with Purple.

"Let me root, root, root for the home team,
if they don't win it's a shame.
For it's one, two, three strikes you're out
at the old ball game!"