Thursday, March 14, 2013

If At First You Don't Succeed

Last weekend I had a great idea! With mid-terms and crazyness approaching, I decided to pre-make all of my meals and snacks for the week to ensure that I had enough energy to keep me going through exams, and that what I was eating was good for my body too.

I started by trying a recipe I found online for homemade banana chips:
1.Slice bananas into chip sized pieces
                                               2. Coat them in lemon juice (to prevent browning)
                                               3. Bake at 200 degrees for 4 hours, flipping chips over after 2 hours
My mom has the coolest kitchen tools. I made the banana chips while visiting her last weekend, and she pulled out this cool little slicer. I cut the banana short enough to fit inside the plastic box and pulled the lever down for perfect sized chips in seconds!

The smells coming from the oven were incredible. It was really hard to be patient for 4 hours as they baked!
I did all of the baking in the evening. After they came out of the oven, the chips were still chewy in the middle. They were pretty brown so I didn't want to bake them any longer. Instead I left them out over night hoping they would dry out a little more.
Unfortunately...they never did. And the flavor from the lemon juice made them a little too tangy. SO I would determine this a failed recipe. However, I'm determined to try again and get perfect, crispy, sweet tasting banana chips!
But in the meantime...

 Let me know if any of you have tried this recipe or a similar one before and knows a trick to make them crispy!

I hope you are all having a blessed and sweet week. :)


Friday, March 08, 2013

Snow days

I love snow days! Especially as a kid, I rememeber being so excited to spend a weekday at home playing in the fresh powder! My sister and I would watch a few cartoons (or Boy Meets World) while sipping hot cocoa, and then we would leave for the day, scouring the neighborhood for all of our friends to join us in our explorations. Funny how much more fun those days were compared to spending a Saturday at home doing the same thing. There is just something about unexpected fun that makes it a little sweeter.
The beginnings :)

 A few nights ago we got 4-6inches of snow, which is a lot for us this winter. It was beautiful to watch as the flakes fell down in the glow of the street lights. When I woke up the next morning, I was pleasantly surprised to find my car covered in snow, and stuck where I had parked it in the little alleyway behind our house. Needless to say, I spent my day 'snowed in' watching movies, sewing a quilt project I've been working on, and even ordered in a pizza! Oh the wonder of staying cozy inside while the world outside my window creates a cold, but beautiful display.

What is your favorite thing to do on a snowday?

Monday, February 25, 2013

Cozy Winter Weekend

I kind of want to go back and replay it all over again :) This weekend was relaxing, slow, and re-energizing.

It began Friday night spending some much needed time with my roommate. I don't think we've sat down together to talk or watch a movie with with one another since before Christmas! After staying up entirely too late, I consequently spent all day Saturday in my pajamas. :) But don't worry...I was still productive!


I've been working on my first ever quilt! I may have gone a little overboard with the floral prints, but they were all just so pretty it was hard to only choose a few. And now I have plans for ten more quilts...if only there were time!
Sunday consisted of lunch at a nearby bakery where I bought my favorite tea cookies to compare with a recipe I found online (recipe to come!). I accomplished a significant amount of schoolwork and still had time to spend a few hours visiting good friends, baking up some delicious banana muffins to eat while we chatted, and got started on a thick, cream-colored scarf.

I'm feeling well rested and ready to attack whatever may come this week...which just happens to be a few mid-terms!

Friday, February 22, 2013

Happy Friday!

Whew! This has been one crazy week (aren't they all though?). On Wednesday morning I was reading through my desk devotional that talked about finding a continuous peace.

"You will not find lasting peace in the world around you, in circumstances, or in human relationships. The human world is always in flux-under the curse of death and decay. But there is a gold mine of Peace deep within you, waiting to be tapped."
Wednesday morning was a good day...I was coming off a night of spending time with friends, was all caught up on school work, and planning to spend just a few hours in the office replying to emails before reading a bit before my afternoon classes. Oh and the sun was shining! That really makes all the difference, don't you think?
Basically, I was feeling peaceful. It was easy for me in that moment to read the words above and say to myself, 'You know, I should always feel this peace, this unrushed contentment for each moment in life.' So, I began to pray. I knew that life would turn in just a few days to 'How am I going to do this for two more years?' craziness as midterms and projects approached. But at that moment, I for some reason felt like I could manage those days, no problem. So I asked the Lord to help me search for and trust in His peace even in those moments of uncalm.
Lucky for me, He gave me the opportunity just a few hours later. Thanks God!
Really was such a good chance to practice trusting the Lord and I am so thankful for all that transpired in the day following:
Basically, I was working on a few presentations for my school counseling class late Wednesday night when I came across an e-mail from my professor...she was looking forward to hearing from each of my classmates the next day about our classroom guidance plans and would also be posting the midterm for us to take at the end of class.

Midterm? Guidance Plan? Crap!
As I considered what her e-mail meant....I would be making two presentations, creating and turning in a guidance plan, and studying for/taking a mid-term, I realized that there was just not enough time to finish it all.
I wish I could tell you that I did not freak out that night. But after accidently falling asleep around 3AM and not waking up until 7AM, I realized that I could only do so much in the little time that was left. As I got ready for work that morning I made a tentative plan in my mind of how I could arrange my day to get as much as possible done, but really just gave it all to the Lord. What was going to happen was going to happen, and I didn't want to spend my day at work snapping at people because I was stressed out with my own circumstances! Was I still concerned about class that night? Yes. But I went through my work day doing what I needed to do and was able to actually enjoy the parts of studying that I did get in.
So class came...and not only did my presentations go smoothly, but we were dismissed an hour early and given a week to finish the mid-term...using any text or notes that we needed! I let out a few Hallelujah's and Amen's that night, and was sooo relieved that I wouldn't be taking my mid-term blindly!
So did I learn a lesson from all this? I don't know if that's what I would call it. Really, it was just so sweet depending on the Lord when I was stressed and knowing that no matter how my exam or presentations went, that did not change who God was or how He saw me. This was a temporary flux in life and God was constant. The completed assignments and week to finish the exam were just icing on the cake. :)
Happy weekend everyone! After coming down from that slight anxiety attack I'm ready to relax this weekend, pouring over textbooks and sipping on warm tea trying to stay afloat admist a busy semester while still finding ultimate peace in my Maker.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Weekend Getaway

Andrea Bocelli. While I was waiting on friends at Starbucks last night, one of his albums was playing through-out the store. It made my day to hear him unexpectedly in public. Oh the little things!

The sound is a little shaky, but I think it portrays just a little
of how truly talented this man is!
Last summer, when I was still living in Alaska, I came home to visit my family for a week and passed a billboard with Andrea's face on it, announcing that he would be performing in Chicago the following Winter! At that point, I was still waiting to hear back from the graduate school I had applied to on my acceptance status, but decided that if I was accepted into the program that Fall I would reward myself with tickets to see Andrea Bocelli around finals time.

Lucky for me, it all worked out! One of my very closest friends ventured with me to Chicago for a girls weekend, where we enjoyed the unseasonly warm weather wandering down the Magnificant Mile, ejoying the free light show at Lincoln Park Zoo, and staying in this cute little hostel!

It was the perfect weekend of catching up with my dear friend (who is getting married in just 3 months!! So exciting!), spending a little time away from books while enjoying the city, and ending the weekend listening and witnessing the voice of an angel!
The man sitting next to us shouted over and over at the end of the show 'Bravo, Bravo.' My thoughts exactly!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Coffee Night

I love Tuesdays! It's my one night of the week when I am done with work and class by 5 and can get caught up on homework, eat a real dinner, and even catch up on some Downton Abbey (okay...I spend a lot of days catching up on Downton, but it's just so good I can't seem to shut it off!). Tuesday really has become my peace amongst a rather chaotic remainder of the week.

I met up with a few friends at Starbucks last night after class but wanted to finish a project I been cooking up beforehand.

 I found this adorable little fox stamp on etsy, and wanted to use it in a gift for my friend Katherine, who loves foxes. After searching the web for a little inspiration, I decided a sweet little stationary pack would make the perfect homemade gift with my new stamp.

I used three different colors of ink and stamped four cards in each color, tying them together with a dainty ribbon to finish. This project only took about 10 minutes, including writing a little personal note to attach to the stack. It was simple, but a personalized and unique little gift.
Visiting with Katherine and Josh was a great way to spend the relaxed evening. We did a lot of laughing and story telling, leaving me excited and anticipating doing it all over again soon!

I may not have accomplished all the things on my to do list last night (such as reading for this afternoon's class) but as Scarlett O'hara says, 'I'll think about it tomorrow.' Which I today. :)

Friday, January 25, 2013

Sweet Creations

My first week of Christmas break this December consisted of eating, watching netflix, and making Christmas presents. I had been looking forward to Christmas break so much, mostly because I was going to be able to bake, sew, and crochet all of the things I been adding to my list of things to do for the previous 4 months. I was so excited!


Unfortunately, I developed a serious sickness after my first week off. I became sick at the thought of crafting.

 I spent so many hours (only sleeping a few each night) working on my first few Christmas presents of the season that I literally became nauseous at even the thought of making or baking anything. My stomach churned when I opened a gift from my parents on Christmas morning....a package full of yarn and fabric scissors and everything lovely....that is, lovely before the craft sickness attacked!
I was afraid to admit that I might have lost a passion for something I dearly enjoyed doing all because I had over-indulged in a short amount of time. Luckily, after a few weeks off I am fully recovered. And even though I suffered for a little while afterward, the results of those few days work makes me very happy. :)
* Also, I bought a book to make the gift tags at The Unorganized Bookstore down the street. The owner told me if I took a photo of the tags to hang up in the store, he would give me a free book the next time I came in! What a blessing!!! :)