Tuesday, November 22, 2011


Thank you Google for letting me borrow this image!
Who doesn't love this time of year? I mean really, with so many different gatherings and yummy foods or treats to eat, what's not to love?

I am also thrilled beyond belief that I will be spending my first Thanksgiving in EIGHT YEARS with my extended family in Wichita. Can. NOT. Wait!

In honor of this big occasion, I decided to spend a little time making a couple treats to share with everyone while we're there. You know, to prove my "adulthood." ...or something like that.

So I decided to make some candied almonds and candied pecans. The almond recipe came from a friend and co-worker of mine in NC. Let me tell you, they are delicious! The pecan recipe came from....what else? Pinterest of course!

Because I lack the ability to do just one thing at a time, I decided that I could successfully cook both recipes simultaneously. You know, throw the almonds into the oven to begin roasting while I start putting pecan ingredients in my crock pot, then work my way back and forth until both recipes are completed.

I've always been amazed at my mother's ability to cook twelve billion things for a meal at the same time, and have everything done at exactly the right time and cooked to perfection. Sometimes I like to pretend I am as awesome as she is.

***Side note: I took photos all throughout this process to make sure everything was documented. However, when I downloaded them onto my computer, this is what they look like:

SIGH. Technology is NOT my friend lately! ***

Anyway, the almonds went into a cold oven (set on 350 for 12-15 ish minutes)

I had turned my crock pot on high about 15 minutes early so it was already hot, then put in an entire stick of butter and mixed it with 1 lb halved pecans.

Back to the oven.....which was smoking! Matt started running around our tiny apartment opening windows and fanning the smoke detector. Then I remembered accidentally dripping grease in the bottom of the oven a few nights back, and suggest that he just disconnects the smoke detector so the grease can just burn off. My plan has changed and I'm now cooking "smokey candied almonds" Fabulous.

Back to the crock pot to stir in 1/2 Cup of powdered sugar.

Back to the oven to stir the smokey almonds.

Crock pot.


You get the idea.

Surprisingly in the end, both recipes turned out great!

Anyway, Happy Thanksgiving everyone! I sincerely hope you can all enjoy each moment you spend with friends and family over the next few days. What are you thankful for this year?


Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Thoughts from a heap

I think we have finally been in our new apartment long enough that we’re ready to start dealing with all the junk. You know, the “crap heap” as we so affectionately call it. Let me give you some advice: If you ever move cross-country, sell everything before you leave. EVERYTHING. You can buy new clothes when you get to where you’re going, I promise. We were advised to sell some things before we left but just couldn’t let go of all the things we most certainly would “need.” So instead, we paid to get it all here then….well….we sold it. Two love seats, one sofa, a very large desk, a table saw, lawn mower, two end tables and one coffee table. You know, small stuff that was cheap and easy to get here (insert sarcastic font).

Once we cleared out all the extra furniture, I found box after box full of “keepsakes.” I am extremely sentimental, and have a tendency to hang onto everything that reminds me of someone or something special.

When I was a kid, my mom used to occasionally lock herself in my room with a box and clean everything out. I’ve never had the ability to determine what is truly a keepsake and what is not. I would be so sad because she threw out my “treasures” when really she was doing me a favor.

I digress…

I spent a few evenings and went through each and every note and card that I’ve kept for all these years. And as I read the notes, I felt so many different emotions.

I laughed at the gossipy notes and cards from highschool…the ones filled with weekend plans, silly chatter and the occasional “so-and-so totally has a crush on you!”

All the birthday cards, graduation cards, and “just because” cards made me feel warm and fuzzy because I have been so blessed in life with family and life-long friends who love me and have always wanted the best for me.

But then I cried. A lot.

I cried because of friendships which have grown apart over time. Because of friendships which weren’t allowed to even grow to a real depth, because life just kind of got in the way. I stopped and thought about it for a while and it kind of makes sense. I left Kansas after highschool, spent the better part of four years in Florida with friends from all over the country. Then moved to North Carolina for three years and was just settling into some really good friendships when we found out we were moving to Texas. I cried because we haven’t found our Texas friends yet, and I had to be completely honest with myself.….I’m kind of lonely.  

But you know, we never really appreciate the sun until we’ve had a few cloudy days, right? I guess sometimes it takes being uncomfortable to regroup and focus on what really matters.

This whole year has been the most stretching and growing time I’ve ever experienced. Parts of it have been total mountain top experiences, and parts of it have been scary and lonely. It’s a process. I’m at a point of looking back and reflecting, but I’m ready to start looking forward and anticipating what is to come. I’m discovering who I really am; as a woman, as a wife, and most importantly as a child of God.

I’ll be just fine.

Can you believe I got all that from a crap heap? ; )