housewifery

dinner

After 4 days of married life, I’ve already had a few interesting cooking experiences. It’s completely different when you’re cooking for someone else’s tastebuds! Jon has been fabulous and has [so far] volunteered his dishwashing skills in exchange for a wonderful meal. :)

We are honeymooning in a wonderful area of Virginia, with a cabin all our own – complete with a kitchen and cabinets stocked with cooking utensils and containers. I was really excited to hear that was one of the requirements for Jon because he knows I LOVE to cook. Most of my experience has been in baking, but I love adventure. :)

I’ve been collecting recipes for the past few weeks, and yesterday we compiled a list of meals and a shopping list based off of that list. We shopped at Walmart and Kroger until we crossed everything off our list.

All of those past few paragraphs to give you a quite delicious recipe! I came across it on a website that gives a good listing of different toppings to put on boneless, skinless chicken. This one wasn’t disappointing! Delicious and VERY easy to fix.

All you need is the following:

  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts [we only used 2]
  • 1 package (.4 oz) of buttermilk ranch dressing mix
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 2/3 cup purchased dried bread crumbs
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper

Combine the pepper, bread crumbs and ranch dressing mix into one bowl. Put the sour cream in another bowl. Dip each chicken breast in the sour cream to coat both sides well. Then coat both sides in the bread crumb mixture. Put the chicken breasts on a cookie sheet and cook at 400 degrees for 18—24 minutes. Yum!! Combine it with some diced red potatoes and seasoned steamed broccoli and you’ve got yourself a wonderful dinner!

Jon just finished dinner tonight – spaghetti with garlic texas toast and corn. Can’t wait!

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micro brownies

This dessert is fabulous! I’ve been holding this recipe in the back of my mind for at least 3 months, if not 6, just waiting for the perfect time to try it. Well, last night, I had a craving for chocolate, all the ingredients were nearby in my parents’ cupboards, and the microwave looked like it needed a little company.

I should probably warn you, once you find out how easy it is to have a brownie dessert, you might be tempted to make this more often than you should. The brownie also turns out to be quite large in my opinion. Probably enough to serve 2 people, so make sure you have a friend or roommate nearby who wouldn’t mind helping you finish! :)

Ingredients
3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa
2-3 tablespoons sugar (depending on your sweet tooth)
1 tablespoon flour
3 tablespoons milk
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
3 tablespoons egg white or egg white from the carton (this ended up being the whites from 2 eggs when I made it)
1/4 teaspoon vanilla*
1 teaspoon chocolate chips

*you can also substitute almond extract for the vanilla [gross]

Directions
In a 1 – 1.5 cup microwave-safe mug, combine all the dry ingredients (except the chocolate chips). Mix well. Next, add all the wet ingredients and stir for 2 minutes (6 times through Happy Birthday or Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star).

Sprinkle the chocolate chips in (if desired) and microwave for 2 minutes. After 2 minutes, use a spoon to pull the brownie away from the mug and see if the bottom is completely cooked. If not, microwave in 10 second spurts until it’s done. If you microwave in longer spurts, you may overcook the brownie and it will become rubbery. [Gross . . . nobody enjoys a chocolate tire.]

If your mug is a little smaller, it will overflow, so make sure to put a plate or something under it, especially if you still live with your parents. :) You’ll also want to let it cool for a few minutes because it will be HOT. I added some ice cream to mine, but I know whip cream would be yummy, too.

Enjoy!

.:: the engagement story ::.

couple

First of all, let me say I have the most amazing fiance in the world.

[Now for the story.]

I knew Jon started shopping for rings around February. We went to get my finger sized, and he wasn’t really trying to hide it from me. We looked at diamonds a couple times, and he shopped online, asking me about certain bands that he found. Once it started getting “for-real,” I happily let him do his thing. Not that I wasn’t curious, and not that I didn’t try to drive him crazy being nosey, but I did want to be surprised, and I knew he wanted to surprise me. So I let it sit.

I’ll be honest, it seemed like ages passed. I didn’t know if he had the ring yet, but I kept thinking he probably did. It was like everytime we went out, just the two of us, I got my hopes up. Especially within the past two months. But it never happened. I started telling myself I couldn’t do that anymore. I was always disappointed at the end of a date, and it wasn’t right to him for me to do that. I just needed to wait patiently. [And that is a hard thing to do!] So, I determined to not think about it, stop setting myself up for being grumpy, and just enjoy Jon and the fun we could have spending time together.

We had a few conversations about wedding planning and the timing. We want to get married in the fall, but Jon kept saying he couldn’t have a ring til mid-summer, which would leave me very little time to plan a wedding. [I’m a big advocate of waiting til you have a ring to start actually pulling things together, such as a church, bridesmaids, etc.] I was present when he told him parents over the phone that he was trying to be “as honest with Audrey about a ring as I can. We just need to be realistic.” So, that solidified in my mind that it would be July before we could get engaged.

We’ve been planning our trip over break for a couple months now, and it turned out that we got to come to Marina, CA to visit a friend for a little over a week. I pretty much ruled out the thought that it would happen anytime during that trip since he probably thought I would be expecting it. [He really wanted to surprise me.]

He asked me to bring along my dress that I bought last year but haven’t been able to wear yet. [The $10 Dress.] It’s dressy—black satin with ivory polka-dots. I don’t get to dress up often, so I was really excited about that! He told me we were going to have one night that was a “just-us” night. He said he had made sure it was ok with Geneva for us to go on a date, and he wanted to get all dressed up.

The plan was to go to San Francisco on Monday and have our date-night on Tuesday. Sunday, we realized that wouldn’t work very well. Traffic would be awful Monday since it was Memorial Day. So, we switched days and decided to go out on Monday night.

We got all dressed up—I curled my hair, which takes a ridiculously long time to do. We left around 5:30 and headed to Monterrey Bay for dinner. We had a little trouble finding the restaurant, but found it within a few minutes, and ordered quickly. Our food came out in no time. We were so surprised. This was supposed to be a long, enjoyable evening together, but we got done at the restaurant within 30 minutes. Wow! It was freezing outside (to me)—54 degrees and cloudy! Jon wanted to walk around downtown for a little bit, but we decided to forget that idea since it was so cold. We decided [spontaneously, I thought] to head over to the beach and walk around for a little bit down there, taking pictures, etc. I love the beach, so we agreed. [I don’t really enjoy swimming in the ocean, but I love beachiness.]

When we got out of the car at the beach, Jon picked up a wooden box wrapped in blue ribbon from under his seat. I was with him when he bought the box, and he had bought chocolates “secretly” at a store a couple days before. [In all honesty, I had seen him buy the chocolates.] I assumed that was what was in the box, and he was trying to be thoughtful and give me a yummy present. He kept saying something about the weather at least wouldn’t melt the gift. Yeah, chocolates, for sure. He told me the box was for me, but I couldn’t open it yet. I had to wait until we had walked a little bit. We walked around, taking pictures here and there. At one point, we thought we were being followed by Mr. Creepy [it was still light out, Mom]. We just stopped and waited for him to go away, and he did. We turned around and walked back down the beach, toward a tree that looked really cool. Jon said I could open the box.

box
He did a good job. The box was beautiful, and he had tied a light blue ribbon around it. He mumbled something about lots of tape and how hard it is to tie ribbon that way. I untied it, and opened the box.

Inside, a ring stared at me. I think I laughed, and then I noticed the card—”Miss Audrey, Will You Marry Me? Mr. JOn.” Wow! Where did he go? I turned around slightly, and noticed he was down on one knee. He asked me again, “Will you marry me?” this time verbally. I kept laughing, but said, “YES!” We took a few pictures of the box and then he put the ring on my finger.
mewithring

:)

On our way back to the car, he gave me the speech he had prepared to say to me. “It was too cold to remember.” It was really cold.

He did an amazing job. He chose one of my favorite places, and we had one of my favorite skies to take pictures with [the cloudy, gray kind]. He surprised me, which is how I’ve always hoped it would be. And I got the man of my dreams.

Perfect.

sideview
The ring is gorgeous. It has a Celtic love knot surrounding the diamond. The band has four small diamonds on either side. I hoped for this band. [He showed it to me once upon a time, and I fell in love with it.]

in need of a stimulus package

A Biblical Stimulus Package for Believers

Economic uncertainty is a great opportunity . . .

  1. To stop trusting in the dollar and start trusting in God.
  2. To put God first.
  3. To keep giving to God.
    1 Corinthians 16:2 — Upon the first day of the week let every one of you lay by him in store, as God hath prospered him, that there be no gatherings when I come.
  4. To invest in a guaranteed return.
    Proverbs 19:17 — He that hath pity upon the poor lendeth unto the LORD; and that which he hath given will he pay him again.
    Proverbs 11:24 — There is that scattereth, and yet increaseth; and there is that withholdeth more than is meet, but it tendeth to poverty.
    2 Corinthians 9:6 — But this I say, He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully.
  5. To grow in the word of God.
    Psalm 119:71—72 — It is good for me that I have been afflicted; that I might learn thy statutes. The law of thy mouth is better unto me than thousands of gold and silver.
  6. To get your priorities straight.
    Matthew 6:19—21 — Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal:But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.
  7. To share the gospel.
    Luke 18:24 — And when Jesus saw that he was very sorrowful, he said, How hardly shall they that have riches enter into the kingdom of God!
    Matthew 13:22 — He also that received seed among the thorns is he that heareth the word; and the care of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, choke the word, and he becometh unfruitful.
  8. To learn the wise use of money and possessions.
    Proverbs 21:20 — There is treasure to be desired and oil in the dwelling of the wise; but a foolish man spendeth it up.
  9. To know the power of Christ in your life.
    2 Corinthians 12:9—10 — And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.
  10. To gain a godly perspective about life.
    James 4:13—15 — Go to now, ye that say, To day or to morrow we will go into such a city, and continue there a year, and buy and sell, and get gain: Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away. For that ye ought to say, If the Lord will, we shall live, and do this, or that.
    Luke 12:15 — And he said unto them, Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man’s life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth.

To hear more from my Pastor who is both practical and biblical, check out our church’s website. All the sermons are listed online (this one hasn’t been put up quite yet).

Go ahead. Check out the site.
Life Point Baptist Church

the wish list

we look good

In accordance with tradition (I must admit I’m using the term “tradition” lightly . . . seeing as it’s only been two years), I’ve decided to post my wish list for all to see. This is in case Santa has given up his own tradition of reading through written letters, etc. (It’s also in case anyone interested in buying me a present is having a hard time coming up with ideas.) For the third year in a row . . . The List.

  • 2(+) GB jump drive
  • Computer case that is beefy enough to house not only my MacBook Pro (and associated cords), but also the new tablet my (amazing) boyfriend got me.
  • Ridiculously artistic earrings
  • Shocks for my car (I put this in my Christmas list because I hate to ask for them any other way)
  • Some new piano books, preferably by Gina Sprunger or Dan Forrest
  • Calligraphy stuff (pens, paints, inks, paper—no books, though)
  • A boyfriend

I’m sure you probably didn’t even notice, but yes, that last item is marked out.

[Ok.
Stop gasping right now.
The rest of the world needs oxygen, too.]

I will refrain from posting the entire story on my blog or facebook for that matter. If you’re interested in more details, oh well. ;) His name is Jon, and he’s a year older than me. We’ve been best friends for about 10 months or so. His future plans involve camp work and our abilities complement each other. We have a thing for Burger King. We’ll be spending part of Christmas break together, but we’ve already met each others’ parents (at the end of the summer) so there isn’t as much stress thinking about that. :) My parents are in love with him—ok, my mom really likes him and Dad thinks he’s a good guy, too.

I’m planning on posting some semblance of an update soon.

Until then, enjoy the Christmas season!

summer.

I have just lived through the most intense summer of my life. I thoroughly enjoyed the experience, but there were definitely a few learning times. Let’s see if I can quickly recap the past few months of my life.

May 26—29: During my break before summer, I was able to help a friend move to Marina, CA and spent several days touring that area. We ventured to Monterey Bay and San Luis Obispo [sp?]. We went to visit the Winchester Mystery House. We had lots of laughs and enjoyed our extra travel buddy, C. Jack. We took lots of photos with him, as you’ll notice. On the way back to Ironwood, JOn and I were able to stop in Bakersfield and visit Laurie Barnes, one of our favorite horsemanship campers.

May 30—31: I volunteered to help Sam Brock and JOn build a lean-to garage type building. It was a good way to earn a little extra money, and I’m always eager to build things. [No, really. I actually considered carpentry as a major.] We [they found easy things for me to do] built it all from the ground up. I even got to help put on the roof. Nothing like hot desert sun pounding down heat on you and the metal roof you’re attaching. I started the summer already a little sun-kissed. :) Day two we only had to paint and clean up. I really enjoyed the work.

June 2—14 [Staff Training]: For a counselor, this means Stem Winding at 7:00, breakfast at 8:00, other meetings until around 10:00 and then—LIFEGUARD TRAINING [at least during week one]! This was my fourth summer at Ironwood and my third summer counseling. Lifeguard certification lasts for three years, and so my time to re-certify was here. The water was cold, as always, but the weather was awful. We had a ridiculous sand storm the day that the girls had to be in the lake. Fun. Heh. But we made it through, and I’m good for another three years now.

Week two was able to hit hard. Mr. Sam spoke on acknowledging God, from Proverbs 3:5—6. Talk about getting a rebuke. I had just spent a week in lifeguard training, passed relatively easily, and had yet to acknowledge God for any of it. And I’m counseling. HELLO!?! So that was an awesome thing to focus on for the summer—in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.

June 16—July 5 [Horsemanship 1—3]: These weeks are all kinda muddled in my mind. I had a few of the same campers for all three weeks, which is probably why it gets confusing. These weeks came at me fast, and I don’t think I was as prepared for them as I should’ve been. The first week of camp kinda surprised me [which it shouldn’t have]. I had lots of fun, but I don’t feel like I necessarily counseled well. I enjoyed my girls and laughed tons. God worked in my heart big time during weeks two and three. I had to get to the point where I was willing to give up anything for God—realizing that if I wasn’t willing, it had become an idol. There were a few hard times during those weeks, but I really enjoyed having a lot of the same girls. I had the privilege of counseling the four graduating girls—Laurie, Abecca, April, and Olivia—for those weeks as well as Becca and Jessica. I love counseling . . . probably because I love building those relationships. I feel like I left those weeks, not just with campers, but friends.

July 7—12 [Junior High 1]: I don’t think I’ve ever had a cabin entirely full of 12 and 13 year-old girls before. If I have, I didn’t learn a whole lot from the experience. I was able to lead one of my campers to the Lord on the first day of camp. It was pretty cool, actually. We were walking back from taking the swim test, and I asked her about her salvation and she said she was a little confused because she’d heard lots of different things about salvation. I walked her down the Romans Road and explained God’s free gift to her. She said she wanted to accept it, and when we got back to the cabin, I grabbed my Bible and showed her the verses I had mentioned and she asked God to save her. It’s always fun to me to hear the girls that say “I don’t know how to pray” talk to God. Sometimes it’s uncomfortable for them, but their prayers are beautiful and simple.

July 14—19 [Junior High 2]: I was a little more prepared mentally for this week than the last. It was another full cabin, and a completely different dynamic than week one of junior high. I had a great time and most of the girls made some great decisions. We enjoyed our overnight campout without any bees. [The first week of junior high, we battled literally hundreds of bees trying to overtake our water coolers. I courageously carried them to safety with the bees still all over them. Yes, I know. I’m brave.] One of my campers also got a delightful [ha!] song about a moose stuck in my head. It’s very catchy. I’d love to teach you sometime. This cabin was full of fun and crazy girls. Good times.

I believe the weekend after this camp was my breaking point. I had lots of stuff going on personally, and I was at the end of myself. [I found out that’s where God uses you.] I poured myself out to God and decided to trust Him with everything I couldn’t control. We sang a song this summer in Ike’s Roost called Broken and Spilled Out. I think all of the counselors in Ike’s could say we were broken and spilled out before God at some point this summer. Every day for the rest of the summer, I was able to wake up and ask God for help very specifically that day. I believe the summer ended well because of that.

July 21—26 [Horsemanship 4]: I think this was my first small cabin of the summer. You’ll notice there are only five campers here. We had a blast this week. It was the week of TMI [things no one ever needs to be informed of were often announced to the rest of the camp]. My cabin enjoyed the luxury of being small and really got to know each other. The girls camped out on the floor one night and just seemed to get along pretty well. A baby lizard was lost in our cabin . . . she climbed out of her cup. I never did find her, but I didn’t see her again, so maybe she got out somehow. There was only one upper level for week four, and she was my camper. She had plenty of one-on-one time with Stephanie and Ben and was able to pass both 4.1 and 4.2 in one week. This was our smallest week of the summer with only 3 cabins at 5 campers each—under twenty people for our entire camp, including counselors. I fell in love with small camps that week.

July 28—August 2 [Junior High 3]: Switching schedules back to junior high can throw you for a loop. But it was actually lots of fun. Another smaller week of camp made me very excited. Monday, one of my first campers to show up obviously did not want to be at camp. She came with a scowl on her face and got onto the wagon without a smile. I sat down beside her and just tried to strike up a little conversation. She answered my questions with civility, and I found out she’d never been to camp before, although she had camped out in her backyard. We dropped her stuff in the cabin and started walking back up the hill when another camper ran up and put her arm around Katlyn and basically just welcomed her to camp and told her she was gonna have fun. My little camper, Nina showed up shortly after that, and she hit it off with Katlyn. At the end of the first night, Katlyn and Nina both said, “Miss Audrey, this has been the best day of my life.” My girls made great decisions about consistent devotions and controlling their tongues that week. That was the week I started doing bedtime stories. I found a book at a yard sale or something called The Rumplestiltskin Problem. It’s hilarious. Basically, the lady who wrote it said the story of Rumplestiltskin doesn’t make sense [and it doesn’t!]. There are huge questions left unanswered. So she wrote six alternate stories to try to answer those questions. The girls loved it, and we were in bed early every night. It worked like a charm.

August 4—9 [Horsemanship 5]: At this point in the summer, you’re beginning to smell home. I love horsemanship camp, though, and the atmosphere of it. This week was proof that God’s timing is amazing. On Monday we had a ridiculous storm come straight down the middle of camp. We got an inch-and-a-half of rain in 30 minutes. The wind was the worst I’ve ever seen it. It knocked down part of a tree which took down the power line for all of Broken I and Ike’s Roost camps. For the first time ever, we ate dinner on the Grande Veranda of the Homestead. God’s timing played out because Rivertown didn’t have any campers that week until Thursday, so their cabins were open. Broken I also had a very small camp with only 3 cabins of campers. This meant all those extra counselors not being used were put on crews for the week. They were able to step in and help with clean-up. Those of us counseling ended up moving cabins for the night because we didn’t have power in ours. That was an adventure in itself. But things were completely back to normal [whatever that is] by Tuesday morning. I dealt with several of the girls on assurance of salvation during the week. Other decisions made that week had to do with anger and really living out the Christian life—making God part of every aspect.

August 11—16 [Horsemanship 6]: The last week of summer camp for 2008. What a great week. I apologize for not having a cabin photo to display. It will get put up in time, but my photo CD for that week got misplaced in the venture home somehow. I had five campers during my last week of camp and four of them had been previous campers from the summer. I love how that works. It makes things easier because you already have that relationship with them. You know where they are and you have a general idea of where to point them. The one girl I didn’t know came out on Thursday night to deal with assurance of salvation. We walked our way through the plan of salvation, and she explained it to me. I told her it’s not a set of words you say that saves you—it’s believing and confessing. It was like a huge light bulb flicked on in her mind. Then we went to 2 Peter 1:5—10 which is [in my opinion] one of the best passages to go to for assurance of salvation. We discussed where she wasn’t living as a Christian and came up with a great plan to stick with for devotions. I’m really excited to see where God takes her.

That was my summer as concisely as I could put it. There’s much more I could talk about, but that will have to wait for future posts. God has been good to me this summer. And thankfully, I can say it’s all of Him, through Him, and to Him.

tense confabulations

Really.

Earlier today I got myself into a conversation I wanted to have. But not really. It’s one of those conversations that you say, “If they bring it up, ok, we’ll talk about it. If not, it’ll keep.” [Well, maybe you wouldn’t say that. I probably wouldn’t say those exact words either. But I’m tired right now.]

Generally, those conversations never go well for me. I end up losing a friend or want to go into my room and not come out for a very long time. But this time, I kept my friends. Believe it or not, after the conversation, things seemed less complicated.

It’s funny what a little honesty will do for you.