Monday, February 28, 2011


Today, I would like to dedicate this post to creation. I'm thanking God on this day of my birth for not only creating me, but creating all the people in my life. I am thankful that each person has been put in my life at different times but precise times. I had a fabulous day beginning a new chapter in my life with new people. I started my job as the Family Nutrition Program Assistant. I think it will be a fabulous opportunity to bless other people's lives with my passion for nutrition and healthy eating habits. 

To start the new job off right I wanted to bring treats for my birthday. Last night my mother and I decided to make carrot cake cupcakes and because I like to pretend they are healthy we went with the whole wheat carrot cake formula with nuts and raisins. Let's just say that with two cooks in the kitchen and a slightly unfamiliar formula we had an epic baking disaster. Carrot cake is not an easy or short production so I was not about to waste our effort. 
That caving in part is not supposed to happen :(
What does this baker do when faced with a dilemma? Improvise and move on! I will say that the crusty edges on these cupcakes tasted really good. Actually the entire thing tasted great! I present baking disaster improv:
Double decker carrot cake individuals! Cream cheese frosting solves most!
Cake pops are the next greatest thing also! 

Sunshine in the morning!

It is already a great day!

Sunday, February 27, 2011


Saturday was definitely a lazy solo day. Truthfully, I never got out of my pajamas. I had zero motivation to do productive things so in order to not feel like a complete lazy fool I forced myself to go into the kitchen and bake something. I decided that since I'm celebrating my birthday all weekend, including Friday through Monday, I had better make some treats for church. Approximately seven dozen muffins later my kitchen time was complete. We have a nice assortment of everything random: pumpkin raisin date nut, applesauce bran, and rhubarb peach.

Ruth A. Keller, my great-grandmother's cake pan

Ready to go!

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Birthday Cake

This year I had the honor of celebrating my birthday with a childhood birthday buddy. I used to celebrate with two of my classmates as our birthday's are two days apart and this year I happened to be in the same area as one of these old friends. I love a good reason to celebrate and eat cake, so we did! I'm not sure who was more excited about the party, my friend Dane that I forced into celebrating with me, or myself? Actually, who am I kidding, it was definitely me. I let Dane pick between chocolate and carrot. We had chocolate cake.

I start my new job on Monday. My future co-workers told me that I didn't have to start on my birthday, but I'm going to anyway. What else would I do on Monday? Might as well go to work and take treats for my birthday! I think I'm going to make carrot cake; it's my favorite. Once again, any reason to bake and eat with friends, I'm there!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Kids Zone

On Wednesday evenings I have the amazing opportunity to spend time with young impressionable minds at church. Specifically, I am assigned to a small group of kindergarten girls for approximately 1.5 hours at Kids Zone. I don't feel especially gifted working with the wee ones and sometimes I feel like they comprehend nothing. Some weeks I have none present and get to hang out with other groups, some nights I have a few but get little conversation out of them, and then some nights are like tonight. Tonight my heart breaks for these kids. 

Here's my take away from the evening: Divorce is a giant selfish act of parents.

I know that I do not know all the details, but tonight I had two young girls tell me through their sad face that they missed their dad. When I asked for prayer requests one wanted to pray for their dad that was away and the other wanted to pray for her mom and dad to get back together. 

I feel so blessed to have been raised in a two parent family. When I think about these situations and the millions exactly like them across our world, I see the results of divorce. Children that grow up in split homes are deeply affected by it. Praise God that we have a loving God that encompasses all. Praise God that he never leaves us. Praise God that these girls come to Kids Zone for a short while once a week so we can love on them with the love of Jesus. I pray that I have enough love to give.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011


Today I spent the majority of my time planting and transplanting. I have highs hopes and expectations for the life that is growing and the life to come. Today as I placed the tiny seeds into the soil, watered the soil, and turned on the light I had many thoughts. How amazing is the fact that I place a seed the size of a pin-head into quality soil and it has the potential to produce a large plant and multiple fruit? It simply blows my mind to think how carefully that detail was planned. It was planned by a powerful God thinking about us. We are so blessed.

I transplanted my cabbage plants into these fabulous homemade newspaper pots. They took a little bit of time to create but seriously genius. Newspaper = free. I was inspired by the fabulous Jessica Shoffner and viewed some how-to videos online. Once again, genius.

I may be equally excited about the Cowpots that I'm using. I also may have officially run out of space under my grow lights and I have two more varieties of tomatoes to get started. Guess we'll have to do some rearranging. 
Coming soon: eggplant, paprika peppers, quran red peppers, german pink tomatoes

Saturday, February 19, 2011


Tonight I read a chapter out of a book my parents have been reading in their Sunday School class. Our two books have been remarkably similar at many times. This week would be one of the very similar topics. This book is called, "Everybody's Normal Till You Get to Know Them." The chapter is on gratitude and after my mother finished reading it with tears in her eyes she told me to read it. I've read the book before but this chapter was definitely an appropriate read for me today. Appropriate for my current quest in life: to live in intentional community with the radical love of Jesus.

John Ortberg says, "The ability to assign value is one of the rarest and most precious gifts in the world. People who live deeply in community learn to discern and express the value of other human beings. They are masters of expressing love in word and gesture. They assign high worth, value, and importance to others by viewing them as priceless gifts. They see that in addition to the "as-is" tag, every human being carries another sticker from God: 'Made in my image. Worth the life of my Son. My prized possession whose value is beyond calculation.'"

Early in my faith journey when I became a new creation in Christ I remember realizing a simple thing. It's not about me; but my purpose is to glorify God. Today, I feel like this picture of glorifying God has a new detail. I see much truth in this statement Ortberg makes, "We complicate our faith and lives in many ways, but at the core, our purpose is simple: We are called to love."

Thursday, February 17, 2011


I am eagerly anticipating Spring. As excited as I am for the earth to turn green around here I still feel like I have much to do before then. I have a list sitting on my desk that is a Winter To-Do List. It's contents include:

  • Paint my room - Not even close to starting. I have paint, that's all.
  • Sew t-shirt quilt- Progress has been made on this project that I started two years ago.
  • Make brochure for my freelance baking business- I decided against really publicizing my freelance baking business because quite honestly I'm not sure I really want to and the work that goes into specific orders is not worth the return.  
  • Pack & move out- I will say that today I actually looked at a house in Abilene. I am a little bit torn with this decision because I know that I do not want to live alone and I haven't really found anybody ready to start an intentional community. Yet, I'm also pondering offering a spare bedroom for homeless. Baby steps, I got a job, now I can move onto housing.  
  • Plan garden- I have purchased all my seeds for my garden and have started some, but as far as planning the layout, not so much. 
  • Contact community garden people- This I have finished! Progress is definitely happening on the first ever Abilene Community Garden space. We have met as a group and have made definite steps toward seeing a real garden space. Very exciting action. Now we just need some land.
Because this week has been so unseasonably warm (70!) I have been able to enjoy time outside. I've pruned all our fruit trees and taken several trips down the lane for some fabulous outdoor February exercise. Yesterday I enjoyed lunchtime in the sunshine. Before long I'll be able to enjoy fresh local salad. Can't wait!
Lunchtime delight: spinach, beets, chickpeas, pickled squash, shredded carrots, sheep feta cheese, sunflower seeds.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011


I really can't believe that I have not heard this term before. Today, while reading our Mother Earth News magazine, I came across a discussion on flex cooking. According to the article, "Flexitarian" is a new term that refers to people who enjoy a predominantly vegetarian diet, eating much less meat than typical omnivores. When they do eat meat, they usually opt for healthy, humanely raised selections, and may make exceptions for special occasions or when dining as someone's guest. Flexitarians are creative in finding ways to use less meat in normally meat-centric dishes. 

That's me! I would prefer to eat a vegetarian diet, however, when in situations where this is not possible I will eat meat.  This term has apparently been around for a little while because an article I found online from Newsweek was written in 2008. They also describe flexitarians as part-time vegetarians. Where have I been? Too busy eating to think about what to call my diet.

Sunday, February 13, 2011


"All the believers were together and had everything in common. Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved." Acts 2:44-47

Recently, I have been blown away by this picture of the early church. In our study of Crazy Love, today we looked at this passage and how it relates to the fellowship of the early believers. The question we must ask is, Why can't this be a description of us today? What does it look like to live in community, sharing possessions and giving to the poor as needed? 

"All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of his possessions was his own, but they shared everything they had." Acts 4:32 

Do we believe that our possessions are not our own but only gifts from God? How do we grasp that truth so that it actually changes the way we look at the stuff we purchase with our own money? Being that I don't have very many possessions right now I think it would be easy to share them. But nobody is asking. It takes such a great level of trust to enter into relationship with people and genuinely live in common. It's unfortunate that this picture of the early church, if seen today in our society, would probably be described as a cult. But I don't believe it's only for cult members. It may look really weird in contrast to our consumerist, possessive society, but that's what Jesus calls us to. He calls us to a radical way of life characterized by a deep dependence on Him and each other. 

I'm ready for such a challenge. Who's with me?

Friday, February 11, 2011

Fresh Start

I was very excited last week when my grow lights finally arrived in the mail. They were delayed due to extreme weather conditions or a natural disaster. (That's what my confirmation email said!) This week has been crazy so it wasn't until this morning that I finally got one of the two light systems put together and some seeds started. 
Notice the adjustable height on the light fixture

Lettuce and Cabbage
 I have a random array of seeds. I ordered my new seeds this year from Seed Savers. They are a fabulous organization out of Iowa. I also have some leftover seeds from my last year's supply. Then we also have some  freebie seeds Dad and I got at a conference earlier this fall. 

Grow little seeds, grow!

On another note we have an official meeting scheduled for people interested in starting a community garden in Abilene! I have been attempting to make contacts with people for quite some and see what the possibilities may be. Thanks to some help from the local extension office we have a meeting scheduled for next week.  I'm also going to meet with a local board this next week to see if they might have some land to use. This is very exciting to see come together!

Monday, February 7, 2011

50 pound cake

I had a special request in my baking world. This is exciting as I would love to get more special baking and/or cooking requests to support my freelance lifestyle. I will say this was a new experiment for me and honestly, I wasn't a big fan of the layered chocolate sponge cake. I used a recipe online that is supposed to be recreation of a Chocolate Lasagna formerly created by Olive Garden. I'm a little leery of online recipes simply because anybody can post things online. I did make it and will say that it made entirely way too much cake. I ended up using about 2/3 of the entire cake in the final product and have a bunch in the freezer for who knows what later. It might not have weighed 50 pounds but it was definitely a heavy one. 

Thursday, February 3, 2011


Today I took part in a simply fabulous exchange of services. My lovely friend, Jamie, came to visit and we spent some quality time together. Sadly, I did not capture that day in photo form, but you can certainly capture our productivity by taking a look at my fabulous new blog header! She also created a banner for my Etsy shop. I'm so thankful for her experience and knowledge to create such a thing and I was happy to help her out with some sewing projects. We recreated a pair of shorts into a skirt to go with her suit. We also made a maternity looking shirt not so maternity looking. Oh and we made some fabulous soup for this cold day!

Bartering, Exchanging, Trading: All fabulous forms of doing business! 

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Dinner is served.

Tofu with bok choy, shitake mushrooms, water chestnuts, green onion.
My parents weren't diggin it so much but they ate it.