Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Trip to Morrilton

Monday morning we left Tulsa around 7 and drove to Morrilton, AR. It turned out to be a little less than 4 hours on a beautiful stretch of I-40.

Jason's great-aunt, Athlene passed away in her sleep on Friday, September 26th at age 94. I met Athlene three times in the four years I've known Jason- she came to our wedding two years ago, and then three months later for my in-laws 25th anniversary celebration and again in 2007 for Bob, my father-in-law's 50th birthday party. I did not really realize this until the service on Monday that Bob was her closest surviving relative. She never had any children with her husband, and her sister (Jason's grandma) only had one child, Bob. It was probably the most light hearted and uplifting funeral I've ever been to, rightly so, she lived a long full Christian life! The pastor went on and on about what a dedicated Christian lady she was! He said, "This is not one of those funerals where I have never met the deceased, or barely knew them. I have known Athelene for many, many years and could not be happier to rejoice knowing full heartedly that she is with our Savior Christ in Heaven!"

She was listed in the program as having been a "beauty operator." I had never heard that term before, the pastor used "hairdresser" instead.
She certainly was a young beauty!!


Bob & Aunt Athlene, Septemeber 2007
All the people at her church and other friends kept calling Bob, "Bobby." I had not ever once heard my father-in-law call that!!



Afterward we took the opportunity while we were all dressed-up to take some family photos in her backyard.
Bob, Kevin, Diane, Jason, me, & Michelle

Jason & I
(I'm standing on a bucket...)


Bob & Diane

Jason, me, Michelle & Kevin

Me with my sister-in-law, Michelle


I got the binding hand sewn down on two Royal Family Kids Camp Quilts- one on the way there and one on the way home! Yay! I was glad about that accomplishment!


We came home with a gorgeous fall mum!
In the afternoon Bob and several other relatives went through all her drawers of old family photos and divided them up. I asked about cookbooks and was told to take whatever I found- I count myself very fortunate to have received her recipe boxes and many hand written recipes! I am told she was a great cook!

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Ending the Weekend with a Bang!

If you haven't figured out yet that I LOVE to cook...
They are almost all organic..those Hershey's Kisses sure aren't though! They are whole wheat too! (note: don't try to make them with store bought whole wheat flour, my cousin did that and she said they were awful! oops! Fresh ground wheat flour is way different than the stuff you buy in a 5 lb. bag!)

We have to drive four hours tomorrow to Morrilton, AR (and back) for Jason's great-aunt Athlene's funeral so I figured we needed something to take along.

Peanut Butter Hershey's Kiss Cookies
1 C. Butter (2 Sticks)
2 Eggs

4 Tbsp. Milk

2 tsp. Vanilla

2 tsp. Soda

1 tsp. Salt

1 C. Sugar

1 C. Brown Sugar

1 C. Peanut Butter

3 1/2 C. Flour

1 Small Bag of Hershey’s Kisses

Melt butter in microwave until very soft, not melted. (Or place in mixing bowl for about 40 minutes until room temperature.) Mix in all other ingredients except flour and kisses. Once mixed, mix in one cup of flour at a time (it will begin to get really thick!). Chill dough for 30 minutes - or longer. Place 1” balls on an un-greased cookie sheet and bake at 375 F for 9-11 minutes. Remove from oven and immediately press a Hershey’s kiss into the center of each cookie. Slighly under bake to keep them chewy (9 mins). They will be crunchy if you cook them the full time (11-12 mins)

A Bridal Shower and Pizza Dinner

Me, Erin, Vanessa & Hannah- local bridesmaids :)

Yesterday was Vanessa's first bridal shower at our church! Our parent's home fellowship hosted it- oh it was beautiful! They commissioned another lady in our church who makes cakes to make 60 cupcakes, they were so cute! They were all different combinations of blue and cream, she did a fabulous job! Vanessa and Collin left the event very blessed, now having a start towards furnishing their first apartment

Vanessa, Mom, Grandma, and me

Mom's college friend, Cindy and her daughter Cheyenne, came from Kansas City

Vanessa with all the hostesses

Vanessa & I with long time friends- Audra and Erin

Then last night... a week and a half after the fact... we had a family celebration for my birthday! I made pizza dough and we all made personal sized pizza's at my parents house!
Jason and Collin made deep-dish pizza in my little mini-baker.

Jason

Nessa & me

Dad making some goofy face...his pizza didn't turn out, he put WAY to much stuff on it!

Me and Mom

Grandma & Grandpa

Hanging out with Dad

Friday, September 26, 2008

Waffles for Dinner


After a long and tiring day of work we had waffles for dinner. We'd gotten Nessa & Collin a waffle iron for their birthdays in June, so we borrowed theirs tonight. I have one of those George Foreman 5-in-1 grills that does waffles, but I've never been pleased with the results. (no go on waffles, but it's an awesome grill!!) I saw a "Villaware" waffle maker at Tuesday Morning last week, I might go get it with some of my birthday money. My tortilla press is a Villaware and I've been very happy with it!


One Happy Husband who must've eaten 7 waffles! (seriously)

And yes, they are fresh ground whole wheat made from scratch!! I'll have to remember to post about my wheat grinder some other time!

Whole Wheat Waffles
1 3/4 C. fresh ground flour
1 Tbsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt

2 egg yolks, beaten
1 3/4 C. milk
1/2 Tbsp. oil (optional)
2 tsp. vanilla

2 egg whites stiffly beaten

Sift together dry ingredients. Combine yolks, milk, oil & vanilla, stir into dry ingredients. Fold in whites, leaving a few fluffy.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Time for Celebration!

Check out Michelle's HUGE NEWS!!! Praise God!!! Yay!!
Michelle and her mom, Brenda, at the Steak and Cake

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Busy Bees

I'll start off with photos from last Thursday, September 18th, at our church's fall ladies get together- "Steak and Cake." The pastor and church board cook the steak and serve it to all of ladies, very nice! After dinner we take a little time to hear the testimony of 3 women in our congregation. My mom spoke this year, and in my humble opinion...she was awesome!!
Three generations of my family- Mom, me & Grandma


Tapestry (women's ministry board)


We made it a "Pink and Black Affair" The tables were sooooo pretty!!!

Then Friday I made it through that huge list except getting a pan of enchiladas in the freezer for us- I didn't have enough corn tortillas. Plus I need to learn how to make corn tortillas...after all I have a tortilla press! I've gotten really good at whole wheat ones, I guess it's time to branch out! Elise then took me out to dinner for my birthday, we ate sushi! I hadn't seen her in too long, so it was great to catch up and see her new "Psalm 131" tattoo! (note: I personally don't do tattoos) It was cool, I am doing the Beth Moore Bible study on the Psalms of Ascent, and 131 is one of those, can't wait to get to it now!

Saturday I got up way early for a Saturday- 5:45- and got all ready to drive an hour out to my in-laws and then back. I picked up Jason's brother, Kevin (13), and he worked for me for the day. We spent the whole morning cleaning up and organizing Jason's workshop! It was a mess and that was the only free time I was going to have to help get it done for the next few Saturdays...so my spoiled husband came home to a clean shop after his camping trip!

Saturday evening I picked up our friend's foster baby and watched him for the whole night. That gave them a night out/off and a good night's sleep! Actually I was VERY fortunate. The baby slept from 8:30pm-7:30am. He didn't even wake up when I fed him every three hours through the night!! Then the little guy went to church with me Sunday morning. I got lots of "Did I miss you being pregnant??"...you should've seen my daddy holding that baby in church, he's anxious for grand-babies!

Sunday afternoon involved cake and ice cream at Jason's Grandma's for the Sept/Oct family b-days. Very yummy!! I am very excited to spend the Pampered Chef gift card from Jason's parents- I'm still trying to decide what piece of stoneware I want!

Then I drove over to Becca's house to make bierocks...a new learning experience for me!! Very yummy! She has been reading my blog and knows that I really like to cook from it, so she thought I would enjoy cooking with her! How thoughtful!

So....now you know why I haven't blogged for a few days!!

Friday, September 19, 2008

To Do List

Jason is off camping for the weekend...I have a lot to do around here!

  • Unload dishwasher
  • Prepare 2-3 pans of enchiladas. 1-2 for freezing, another to a church family with a new baby.
  • Take enchiladas to family with baby
  • Pay bills
  • Call 10 thousand magazines Jason got in the mail yesterday...change mailing address. (ok so there are 11 of them- he subscribes to EVERY free magazine in the housing/electrical/remodeling/tile/vending field!...maybe I won't change the address on all of them....)
  • Get several different forms filled out and in the mail
  • Wash sheets
  • Vacuum
  • Dust
  • Load car with stuff going to the shop for organization day there tomorrow
  • Clean sewing and craft stuff off the kitchen table
  • Vanessa's shower gifts wrapped
  • Have it all done by 5pm so I can get ready for dinner with Elise tonight!
That's all I can think of for now!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Etsy.com

I did it! I finally started an etsy store:


I'm sure I'll be adding more items in the future! I'm always crafting something! ;)

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Twenty-Four

  • It is one of my favorite songs by Switchfoot, "Twenty-Four"
  • I like the show 24 too!
  • I even counted 24 light bulbs in our apartment last night!
  • The age of my daddy when I was born
  • The number of hours in a day
  • The day of the month Jason was born on in December
  • How many 1/2 gallon mason jars I recently bought
  • $24 just happen to be in my pocket right at this moment
  • 24 candles on my birthday cake today!
Check out this sweet, sweet post by my friend, Laurie!!

Monday, September 15, 2008

My 10 Better Bags

I usually grocery shop at Whole Foods and they have the best reusable bags out of everyone who is selling them now! I LOVE mine and use them ALL the time. I started a list last week and somehow stopped at 24...so in preview of tomorrow:

24 uses for a Better Bag:
1. Groceries (obviously!)
2. Organize all the chips in my trunk when I service our snack machines
3. Take dinner to a friend's house- done this 4 x!
4. Carry extra goodies to Kids Camp- plus they fold up into hardly anything to bring them home
5. Carry quilts/sewing box to quilting group
6. Travel bag
7. Overnight bag to the lake house
8. Carry all that "stuff" I have to take to a friend's house for an afternoon
9. Going swimming, carry beach towels, etc
10. Transporting all the apple juice to the freezer at the shop
11. Picking apples!
12. Taking stuffed animals into a place to service one of our stuffed animal cranes
13. Hold toy capsules to service a vending machine
14. Holds wheat that we stopped to pick on the side of the road in Texas
15. Take a picnic dinner to eat by the side of Lake Skiatook
16. Carry our recyclables to the recycling depot
17. Carry DVD's & games to the lake house for a weekend
18. Carry bulk candy when putting out a new candy vending machine
19. Carried home my dinners from a Homemade Gourmet party
20. Keep the mail together in my car when I pick it up from our mail box
21. Bring all my belongings up to our apartment from the car
22. Carry watermelon up from the car
23.Take gifts & party stuff when hosting a shower
24. Encourage others to use them!

Saturday, September 13, 2008

I Have Been Blessed

I have been blessed with many wonderful friends...I want to highlight just the ones I've been in contact with this week alone. Yesterday I was thinking about the time I've gotten to spend with each of them and got to thinking how many in one week it was! I have been blessed!

I was looking on the internet for a cool "friend" quote to put in this post, but didn't really find one I wanted to use. I got out this cool little book I have, " Promises from God for Today." I got it last fall at Mardel's for all of $2 I think- awesome book to have on hand! It just has a list of topics in the front in alphabetical order. Once you go to the topic in the book it has a list of scriptures pertaining to that subject. A great little book when you are trying to think of or look for a verse about anything. So here I am looking up "friendship" and I noticed that "forgiveness" is the topic right before it. How fitting. Forgiveness and friendship sure have to go hand in hand for things to work!


Ah, I like this one the best. It has a really personal meaning to me. :)

"And the scripture was fulfilled that says 'Abraham believed God and it was credited to him as righteousness,' and he was called God's friend." James 2:23

I will leave this friend anonymous, for this to remain special to me. Several years back I was spending time with a gal getting to know her better and I remember another one of her friends coming over to her house and she introduced me, "So and so, this is my friend, Andrea." That struck me as the first time she had called me her friend. The following week I was at a church function and we were singing that well known song that goes, "I am a friend of God, He calls me friend" and it struck me again. He calls me friend! I knew how special it was the first time that gal had called me friend, and now my God, my Savior...He calls me friend! WOW! It was definitely one of those "ah ha" moments, and I still marvel every time I sing that song. He calls me friend!

Ok, back to my post about my many blessings! These are roughly in order that I have seen them this week. It really just blows me away that I have so many people in my life I call my friend, and of all generations!!

Tanya- She and I met almost four years ago when Jason went door to door looking for remodeling work. She and her husband have become wonderful friends of ours! We enjoy a dinner at home with them and then going to a ball game or an outdoors event of sorts. If we lived closer together we would most certainly be work-out buddies!

Danielle- I met her 5 years ago this fall. Her family goes to church with us and someone recommended me as a babysitter to her my freshman year of college. Somewhere in there we went from me just babysitting to really good friends! I would always be at their house at least an hour after they came home from a date, just talking! I love her decorating style, it's probably where I get a lot of my inspiration! Her husband is a home builder so he and Jason get along very well too!

Marilyn- I took my sewing machine over to her house on Tuesday afternoon. It was acting up and I'm pretty new at this sewing stuff. She fixed the problem in less than 5 minutes! We sat and had coffee and biscotti just chatting for a while. It was her birthday on Tuesday too! I can remember that, one week before mine! She is in my Bible study at church, the leader of our quilting group and VERY domestic! Great cook!

Jessica- We met four summers ago working at Kanakuk Kamps in Branson, MO. Hit it off, very much alike in personality and interests! Her husband, Matthew, and Jason play racquetball every Tuesday night, so we try to get together about every other Tuesday during that same time and do stuff. This week we walked on Riverside. I have been known to convince her to help me with massive pancake making /freezing efforts! ( last time we made 128 pancakes in one evening!)

Donna- She is my pastor's wife- very domestic as well! I would consider her a mentor in my life for sure! She is the one who let me borrow her old sewing machine to use. We serve on the women's board at church and participate in Bible study and quilting together too! Jason really likes spending time with her husband, Greg too- talking engineering, Christianity, biking, etc. We had dinner at their house last night for home fellowship.

My Mom- :) I got to spend this rainy Saturday running errands and hanging out at their house! She listens well to all I have to say, and if I ever have a question or doubt, "Have you prayed about it?" She always brings me back to where I should be! "Don't over look the most obvious step!"

My Sister, Vanessa- We made cheesecake together this morning! I have only one sibling and I love her dearly! We've spent a lot of time this summer planning she and Collin's wedding. I am so excited for her to join the married club soon!

Laurie- haven't exactly seen her this week, but she sure is a major encourager of my blog! So I have to return the favor! She just joined the married club this spring and I'm enjoying hearing about her "undomestic-ness" ;) She's fooling herself- she is plenty domestic and really learning to love cooking!

Last but not least- my best friend ever- Jason! I love you, Sweetheart! I am so happy to be spending life with him!



If I missed anyone this week, I'm sure I'll do this again soon! I was just in awe at the number of friends I got to spend time with this week and had to blog about! ;)

Friday, September 12, 2008

Apples Part II: Juicing

After picking all those apples we had to do something with them!! We borrowed Jason's mom's juicer for a day and got to work! We decided ahead of time we wanted to freeze our juice in 1/2 gallon mason jars- to avoid storing it in plastic. That proved to be a little challenging. I looked everywhere, or so it seemed like it, for 1/2 gallon mason jars! Walmart, Westlake ACE Hardware, and Atwoods were all places I tried. The one day I thought, well lets try Reasor's grocery store. Sure enough they had them! I bought all four boxes they had- giving us a grand total of 24 jars. I had no idea how many we would need, so I figured I should get as many as I could. Good thing! We ended up with 21 half gallons of apple juice!
...then we needed a freezer...we'd been keeping an eye on craigslist.com for one that would be a good size for our juice and getting a side of beef later this fall. We found one, a little smaller than we had hoped for, but it will do for now. Fridgidaire, chest style, 2 years old, $150. Pretty good deal we thought. We'll have to get a bigger one once we buy land and have a garden, but this one will do for now.

Jason had to go help our friends set up for church that Saturday morning, so Vanessa came over and helped me get started with all the apples. And yes, we did all of this in my tiny little apartment kitchen!

All ready to go before Vanessa came over!

Juicing can be very messy, we put down old towels all over the kitchen!

Vanessa & me working away! (and yes, I'm standing on a stool. I'm not any taller than Nessa!) I was washing and juicing. Vanessa was straining the juice through a sieve and then cheesecloth.

Here are the first 5 jars- 21 total! They completely filled the bottom shelf of my fridge till we got the freezer. Also, you can see there is still some "pulp" that makes it through being strained twice. Jason likes the pulp, so he shakes up the jars. I don't so I just pour the juice off the top.

Jason came home a little later and got right in there !

We sorted the apples by size. The ones that fit down the juicer's chute went down. The larger ones we set aside for applesuace and pies!


Thursday, September 11, 2008

Baby's Day Out

Does anybody else remember watching that movie as a kid?
I think Vanessa and I must've watched it a hundred times!

I watched a friend's foster baby today from 1-7pm.
Every two hour feedings came much faster than I thought they should!

20 minutes to drink a bottle
10 minutes awake
40 minutes getting him to sleep- he's not a great sleeper yet
She says it's a preemie thing
40 minutes asleep
10 minutes to play
About time to start over again

He's a cutie though!!

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

For Vanessa: Prayer

I stopped by my parents house yesterday to drop something off for Grandma. Vanessa was out in the garage, aka "wedding central" working on her registry list.(For those of you who don't know, my mom really likes to decorate- she painted chalkboard paint on the wall to make lists, put rugs over the tile and cute little tables all over to collect coming gifts!) So I hung out with Vanessa for a little while. We talked about all sorts of stuff- credit reports, her new internship, relationships, etc. She told me she had been praying for some like-minded couple friends for she and Collin. I understand where she is at, we were there not too many years ago- you feel like no one else is in your same place in life. God is faithful to answer our prayers!

So last night I was reading the "Relationships" chapter of Power of a Praying Wife by Stormie Omartian. (I would highly recommend every wife constantly read it!) It was talking about the same things Vanessa and I were discussing! Don't you just love when God speaks to you through repetition!

"Every married couple should have at least two strong believing couples with whom they can they can share encouragement, strength and the richness of their lives. Being around such people is edifying, enriching, balancing, and fulfilling, and it helps us keep our perspective when things seem to grow out of proportion."

"Being good friends with godly people who love the Lord doesn't just happen by chance. We must pray that such people come into our lives. And then when we find them, we should continue to cover the relationships in prayer."

Go Vanessa! You are on the right track, I am so proud of you sis!

Also on the subject of prayer- Please be in prayer for Michelle from our church. She is fighting hard against breast cancer but has been very fatigued by these last few treatments- unable to care for her small children and home. We are looking forward to celebrating her healing! Only one more chemo treatment left!

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Joe, Cindy, Katie, Lillian, & Celia

I won first place in the 2005 Tulsa People Magazine photography contest in the people category with this photo of Celia. "Melting Curiosity"


Joe, Cindy, Katie, Lillian & Celia. I met them oh ten or so years ago, well not Celia just yet! They came to a missions fundraiser auction at my church as guest of their neighbors. I was in the 8th grade, 14 or so, and we were all encouraged to donate something we could "do" to the auction. So I donated 3 hours of babysitting. Several weeks later I got a call from Cindy telling me they had bought my babysitting and they would love to meet me. I remember she came and picked me up in her red Honda Odyssey, it was the really old style one. (She's had 3 red Odyssey's and 1 blue one now in these 10 years! Her husband Joe says they know him by first name at the Honda dealership!) Anyways her girls were 3 (Lili) and 8 (Katie) at the time. That first night I taught the girls how to make boxes by folding paper a certain way. They have never forgotten that, just last week Lillian asked me if I could show her again how to make one!

Ten years have gone by since I first started babysitting for them. I don't know how many hours I've spent with their girls- but I bet thousands. A few years after meeting them Cindy called me up on a Saturday morning. I was 16 and driving by then.
"Hi Miss Andrea! (she has always called me that!) We have some family in town, the gals want to go garage sale-ing and the guys are going golfing, can you watch the kids today? It's Katie, Lili, two cousins and by the way we've adopted another baby girl, she is about a month old! Have you ever watched a baby before?" "No" "Ok, we'll show you how once you get here"

I have never forgotten that- I was so young and they had so much trust in me! I usually watched the girls 2 days a week during the summers to give Cindy an errand day. That summer I took the girls everywhere- swim lessons, the movies, out to eat- all while Celia was 4-6 months old! I have come to love their girls like they were my little sisters! Katie was even a bridesmaid in our wedding!

As the girls got older, Joe and Cindy started calling me to watch them when they would go out of town. First three day weekends, then 8-10 day trips. Managing a household is a lot of work especially while in college! We've even done that once with Jason since we got married. It's been a year or two since I've watched them for pay, but I still find myself over at their house every now and then just to spend time with them! Katie is 18, Lili is 13 and Celia is 7. It was a little weird to me when Katie came to pick me up and drive me to go see the local production of High School Musical this spring. Lili keeps asking when I'll babysit them again, maybe after Katie goes to college next year and before she can drive.
Lillian, me, Celia & Katie- Spring 2008

All that to say, Cindy, emailed me this week to see if I wanted their living room chair. She told me last winter they were thinking about getting new living room furniture, so I promptly told her to call me before she got rid of anything- it is only 5 years old! And today was the day, she practically gave it all to me! Some will go to help start my sister's apartment once she and Collin are married in November- I didn't have room for it all! And she only offered me the chair in the email!

We've had a brown couch that Jason had given away twice already. I've never cared for it, but it made its way back to him when we got married. So it went back to his sister again today!


Check out my "new" furniture that actually matches my decor!!!

I've been saving this corner of our bedroom for a reading chair! (See, it's my "Andrea" corner!)

*Big Thanks to Collin who helped Jason get it all upstairs and thru the apartment door!*