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Monday, August 8, 2011

Here it Comes... Ready or Not!

Today started teacher inservice for us. I must say, I don't feel ready for this year to start. The summer just goes too quickly. We have a lot on our plates this year. We will both be coaching volleyball this fall. Nathan will be coaching JV and I will be coaching varsity. It is such a blessing to be able to coach together. I can't imagine how little I would see him otherwise. We also will be the sponsors for this years junior class. We are excited to be able to help these kids raise money for their senior trip and also to develop better relationships with each of them. They really are a great class.

While I know the year is going to busy, I was thinking today about how I need to put 100% into this school year. We have an awesome opportunity at Westwood to impact our students lives. There are more children in our school who come from broken homes than I honestly think I have known in my entire life. Each year I have the opportunity to teach a Family Life class to the senior girls. Every time I teach the class I am faced with the fact that I can't even begin to understand many of their home situations. I have been privileged to grow up in a family that gave me all of the stability I could ever need. The most stable (earthly) relationship I have ever known has been my parents relationship with each other. I honestly believe that it would be less difficult for me if I lost a parent than if I saw my parents marriage fall apart. The 2 of them just "go" together. While I may not be able to relate to every students situation, I get the opportunity to teach them that "disfunctional" families are not the "norm" nor are they the way God wants our families to work. That is sort of an overwhelming task/opportunity. This year I have decided to make this class my most important class. I know that I need to make sure that I am an example to them with my own marriage but also I need to make sure that I put in adequate time in prayer for each girl. This year there are a few girls who will challenge principles that are being taught to them. I would ask that you pray specifically for this class and that I would have wisdom to teach the appropriate material and choose guest speakers who will challenge and encourage them.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Vacation

Here are a few pictures from our vacation to Michigan. The time always seems to go too fast and I decide I would like it if I never had to return to work.


Family Canoe Trip. Great trip, Great food, volleyball... so fun to spend time all together.


Our first time to Michigan Adventure. It is such a fun relaxed park.




Grand Haven is a beautiful city. We spent one night here and I found my future mansion on the beach :)

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Bargains

Nathan and I made a trip to the Bed Bath and Beyond "as is" clearance shelf today. This shelf is a collection of items that have either been damaged or are missing parts. It does not always guarantee a bargain because about 50% of the time it is full of things like broken dishes, as seen on TV items, and mismatched ugly sheets. However, today I feel like we hit the jackpot. Not only did they have good items, but the only problems with the items were the packages. I was tempted to buy a set of glasses for $2.98 but I resisted the temptation. We ended up buying 4 great items.

OXO Good Grips 12" tongs with nylon heads: Originally $12.99 We payed $2.98
OXO Good Grips water bottle: Originally $14.99 We payed $2.98
OXO Good Grips mandolin slicer: Originally $14.99 We payed $2.98
Brita Filters- 4 pk: Originally $23.99 We payed $6.98

The total bill was $17.04
Original Total was $71.64
We Saved a total of $54.60




What a bargain, especially considering that the only difference between the products we bought and the full price products in the store was the damaged packaging!

Next time you are in Bed, Bath, and Beyond make sure you stop by the "as is" shelf. You may only find a pile of ugly sheets but you never know when there will be a good deal.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

The Keys

This past weekend we celebrated 1 year of marriage. One of our students' families came to us this spring and told us that they have a place in Key Largo and they would love for us to use it for a week. We decided to take them up on their offer and go for our anniversary weekend. We are so thankful for then generosity to us. The place was great! It was a 3 bedroom, 2 1/2 bath condo (obviously way more space than we needed).

We love the Keys! Here's why:

1. They are close. (only takes 45 minutes to get there)
2. When we are there, we feel like we are so far away.
3. They aren't a tourist trap. Just a calm, relaxing atmosphere where time doesn't seem to matter.
4. They remind me of my family. (Especially my dad because of the fishing galore)
5. There is no end to the fresh delicious food.
6. Mr. C's ice cream is there. 2 stores!!! That's reason in itself to visit.
7. It doesn't matter if you wear a nice dress or a swim suit, no one cares.
8. It's very difficult to get lost. Only 1 main road!
9. There is always a breeze.
10. The sunsets can't be beat!

We had a great time. You should go.

Here are a few pictures from our trip.




Monday, July 11, 2011

Kiwi Lime Cupcakes

I was in the mood to bake tonight. I have a ton of kiwi so I went on a search for something kiwi to bake. This can be a challenge because kiwi is not a fruit that is typically used to bake. I ended up choosing a kiwi cupcake and adapted a recipe that I found on a food blog. The cake batter is a vanilla base with kiwi puree in it. I had to thicken the kiwi so that it would be noticeable in the batter. I had extra puree so I decided to make a kiwi compote with a little sugar and cornstarch. Once the cupcakes cooled I filled them with puree and then topped it with a lime cream cheese frosting. YUM! Here's the recipe.


Ingredients:

Cupcakes:
3 kiwis pureed
3/4 c. flour
1/2 t. baking powder
1/4 t. baking soda
pinch salt
4 T. butter, room temp.
1/2 c. sugar
1 egg
1/4 t. vanilla
2 T. milk

Filling:
1 kiwi pureed
1 T. sugar
1/2 t. cornstarch

Frosting:
3 oz. cream cheese, cold
4 T. butter, softened
3/4 c. powdered sugar
1/2 t. lime zest
juice from 1/2 lime

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line cupcake pan with paper liners.

Peel and chop 4 kiwis. puree. In a small saucepan, heat puree over medium low heat until it thickens to about 1/2 c. The color will darken.

In a small bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

Cream the butter until pale and fluffy. Add sugar and mix until smooth (1-2 min). Add egg and vanilla and mix until smooth. Add milk and 1/4 c. of thickened puree until just combined. (if the puree is still hot make sure you add gradually and mix quickly so that the egg doesn't cook.)

Spoon into cupcake pan and bake: 8-10 min. for mini cupcakes or 20-22 min. for regular size.

Thicken the remaining puree so that it can be used for filling. Place the saucepan over medium heat and add sugar and cornstarch. Stir constantly until the puree thickens to a compote texture.

Once cupcakes are baked transfer them to a cooling rack to be filled. I used a squirt bottle and plunge it into the cupcake and squeeze pulling up. You can also use a pastry bag or cut a cone shaped hole and fill the cupcake.

Frosting:

Beat cream cheese and butter together until smooth. Add powdered sugar 1/4 c. at a time, scraping bowl sides each time. Add lime juice and zest and beat until smooth and combined. Frost cupcakes once they have cooled.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Year One!

Tomorrow we leave for a weekend in the Keys to celebrate 1 year of marriage! I can't believe that we will be married for a year on Saturday. It feels like just the other day we were planning the wedding and waiting anxiously for the day to come. I can honestly say that this year has been awesome! Our schedule has be crazy at times, but at the end of everyday it has been a relief to just be at home with my best friend. I am so thankful for Nathan. He is a wonderful, loving husband and consistently puts my needs and desires above his own. I can't go without saying that we are extremely grateful for our parents and grandparents who have given us great examples of commitment to each other and to God. We feel that those examples have greatly helped our adjustment to married life during this first year. We can't wait to see what the next year will hold for us!

Stay tuned for some pics from our trip to the Keys this weekend. We are excited to get away. Hopefully this rainy Florida weather will go away! For now here is a picture from our wedding day and one of the roses that Nathan had delivered to me today! Did I already say he is a great husband?


Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Starting off

Well... Here it goes.  I'm not trying to be some famous blogger, don't worry.  I don't have the time or the photo taking ability.  I just decided to make a blog so I can post random stuff for family and close friends to see.  It's an attempt to keep you updated more than a Facebook page and phone call can do.  Posts will consist of pictures of places we go, fun things we do, recipes I try, changes we make to the apartment, you get the idea.  I hope you enjoy reading!