Tuesday, September 30, 2014

S'more Pudding Cookies

Last week I was on Pinterest, (what a shock) looking through my boards. Every once in a while I'll do this to see if there is anything I want to make, whether it be baking, cooking or crafting. I was particularly in the mood to bake something. So I was on my S'mores board, and I came across these cookies.
They looked too good to pass up. This was Friday, but then I found out we were going to be having company over on Saturday so I decided to wait and make them for Saturday.
These cookies have vanilla pudding in them, which is where part of the name comes from. And it isn't just the marshmallows and chocolate that make it s'mores; there is graham crackers in the mix. Oh so good!
 The recipe calls for mini marshmallows but I didn't have any, so I improvised and used the large marshmallows just cut into mini size. =)
The cookie is supposed to be undercooked for extra softness. *yummy*
This recipe comes from the 'Chef in Training' blog. Enjoy!

S'mores Pudding Cookies
3/4 cup butter softened
1/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 (3.4 oz) box instant vanilla pudding dry
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
3 sheets graham crackers finely crushed
1 tsp. baking soda
2 cups flour (may need to add up to an additional 1/4)
1/2-2/3 cup mini marshmallows
1. Cream butter and sugars together. Add in pudding mix and beat until well incorporated.
2. Beat in eggs and vanilla until well blended.
3. In a small bowl, stir graham cracker crumbs, baking soda and flour until evenly mixed.
4. Add the dry ingredient mixture to the wet ingredients and beat until well incorporated.
5. Stir in chocolate chips and mini marshmallows until evenly mixed in. Add more if desired.
6. Bake at 350 degrees F for 8-10 minutes. You want these cookies to be slightly undercooked. It helps make them extra soft :)

Have a blessed day.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

National Missionaries

(My Pastor is the tall guy in the middle)
This past week my church had our yearly missions conference. There were 8 national missionaries on Wednesday night. If you love missionaries, then you'd really love the nationals. Most of this group it was their first time being to the states. Bro. Noel and Bro. Rengifo had never spoken one word of English and in a months time, they were having general conversations with us. You really have to pay attention to what they are saying because the way they say their words are different. Their accents add to the confusion some time. *smile*
(Bro Walter, Amy, Jen, Me, Bro Andrew, Bro Lalvan, Jesse)
We started off the week with 2 missionaries: Bro. Walter, from Kenya, and Bro. Noel from the Philippines.
Sunday, Jennifer and I did an offertory with the piano and fiddle, I didn't think anything of it, but the missionaries did. Neither of them had ever heard a fiddle before. Bro Walter said that they have an instrument like it, but it has one string, and they play it at their side, not on their shoulder. Bro. Walter asked me if I was going to play it again. He didn't know what to call it, and couldn't remember what I said it was so he would just do the motion of me playing. So I promised I would play it again the next night.
(Bro. Noel, Me, Amy, Jennifer)
Monday night a couple more missionaries came in and the first thing they say to me is, 'your the one that plays the...' and they do the fiddle motion. My sister and I laughed because they all wanted to take a picture with the "fiddle and the sisters". So we had pictures of them holding the fiddle, trying to play it, me playing it and each of them laughing at the other. They were very sweet. Everyone standing at the back of the church were laughing at them because they all were wanting to hold it and act like they were playing it. You would have thought that we were some celebrities with all the pictures that were being taken. Then they were about to leave and they seen our Mom, one said, "There's the Mama" and they all had to go get pictures with her too.
Tuesday was the only night all the missionaries would be together at our church so I got a video of them all singing in their dialect. Sorry for the shaky video, I was sitting on the second row trying to record without a tripod.
In the video from left to right:
 Gula - Burma
Lalvan Tling Bawm - Bangladesh
Walter Andere - Kenya
Andrew Martey - Nigeria
Rengifo Ramos - Peru
Mhan Ramos - Philippines
Noel Letana - Philippines
Mickel Borigas - Philippines
Wednesday we only had 3 of the nationals in church. Bro. Rengifo from Peru can't speak much English so he told about his ministry and sang. Here is another video of just him singing.
Have a blessed day.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

A New Pie

Every month each of us picks a whole new meal to try; the meat, the veggie, the starch, maybe a bread, and a desert. This last month Mama told us that we couldn't use Pinterest to get our recipes, (like we usually do), that we had to get them out of the many cookbooks we have. I just organized our bookshelves so I know just how many we have; and that's a whole shelf full. =)
I was looking for my new desert when I came across this Butterscotch Pretzel Pie out of Paula Deen's cookbook. Oh my goodness! It sounded so amazing just reading the ingredients. "This is the perfect pie for those times you don't know if you want salty or sweet", according to Paula Deen.
So yesterday I made it, even though I am not cooking my meal for a few days. The crust had to bake for 8 minutes before you make the filling and when I pulled it out of the oven the sweet/salty scent just took over the kitchen. Jennifer walked through and said something smelled good, and all it was was the crust. This is just the beginning!
The filling was super easy to make. Just mixing, boiling, mixing and boiling. Then pour it in the crust and refrigerate for at least 2 hours. When your ready to eat it, whip up the topping which is homemade whipped topping, top the pie and serve it.
We have never tried a butterscotch pie and Mama was kind of leery of it. This pie is really light and creamy. The filling is like a pudding, which made Amy not like it, but the textures, and the flavors blend so well. It really is the perfect desert if you don't know if you want salty or sweet. In the end I think we agree its a keeper.
(This pie was hard to shoot because of the closeness in the colors.)

This recipe is from Paula Deen's Southern Cooking Bible

Butterscotch Pretzel Pie

3/4 cup pretzel crumbs
3/4 cup graham cracker crumbs
2 TBS sugar
6 TBS butter, melted

3/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
Pinch of salt
3 large egg yolks
2 cups whole milk
2 TBS cold butter, cut into small bits
2 tsp. vanilla extract

1 cup cold heavy cream
3 TBS sugar

1. Preheat the oven to 350ºF.
2. To make the crust: In a medium bowl, combine the pretzel crumbs, graham cracker crumbs, sugar, and melted butter until they form an evenly moist, crumbly mixture. Press evenly onto the bottom and up the side of a 9-inch pie plate. Bake until the crust is fragrant and firm, 8-10 minutes. Set aside to cool.
3. To make the filling: In a medium bowl, whisk together the brown sugar, cornstarch, and salt. Add the egg yolks and 1/2 cup of milk and whisk thoroughly to combine.
4. In a large saucepan, bring the remaining 1 1/2 cups milk to a boil over medium-high heat. Remove from the heat. Whisking constantly, very slowly pour the hot milk into the egg mixture. Keep whisking so that you don't scramble those eggs. Return the entire mixture to the pan. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture comes to a boil and thickens, 3-5 minutes. Remove from the heat and whisk in the butter and vanilla until smooth.
5. Pour the filling into the cooled piecrust and smoothe the surface with a small spatula. Cover the surface entirely with plastic wrap to prevent a skin from forming. Make sure the plastic wrap is right up against the filling.
6. Place the pie in the fridge until thoroughly cooled and set, at least 2 hours.
7. just before serving, make the topping: In the bowl use an electric mixer, whip the cream and sugar at medium-high speed to form soft peaks. Spread the whipped cream over the pie and serve.

Have a blessed day.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Painting Projects

Recently I bought a shelf to organize my long necklaces. You've seen them on Pinterest and I really thought it was a cool idea. So we went out 'junkin', to all the thrift stores and I found a really cute shelf that would look perfect.
When I got home I realized that the color was not going to work. I love lime green but with my bedroom walls, it was not going to work.
So, it was my goal yesterday to paint it. It had the distressed look when I bought it so I was trying to keep it that way, but here's how it turned out.
Isn't my owl cute?!
Its not really distressed, it just kind of shadow painted. I like the way it turned out though.
Since I was in the painting mood and I had everything out, I also painted the letters on our door.
Amy and I have had these letters for a long time and I had painted them before. Amy's was pink and purple, with stars and hearts. Not Amy at all! Mine was solid lime green. I had done hers and got tires so I never finished mine. Today was different though, I was going to do both and make them look nice. 
Amy is not this prissy little girl that likes pink anymore. She doesn't mind it but its not her color; and neither is purple. She is very patriotic. Red, White and Blue are her colors. Her birthday this year is going to be 4th of July themed; in December. She has a flag on the wall over her bed, a flag pot on her desk, and multiple pairs of patriotic earrings.
So it was not hard trying to figure out what colors I was to do on her letter. Here's how it turned out.
 I, on the other hand, love purple. Lime green has kind of taken the back seat for now. I didn't know what I was going to do on my letter. I love decorating letters, doing letter art and doodling on paper. So put the doodling on letters, this was going to be fun. I just kind of started, thought about it, and tried it. I know what looks good on boarders because I decorate my envelopes all the time. So I started with polk-a-dots around the edges. My creativeness kicked in and ideas started coming. Then I decided it needed something on the long side; the yellow wasn't bright enough so I added the white; the corners needed something different; in-between the hoops needed to brighten up. And TADA!!!
 I love the new color on the door. It looks really nice and more like the girls who take residence in that room. =)
Have a blessed day.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Making a Difference

Have you ever thought that what you do is meaningless? You walk through life doing the normal thing; working, spending time with family and friends, eating, sleeping, family vacation once or twice a year, for some people going to church is a common thing, ect.
But is what you do meaningful? Do you take pride in your position? Do you love your life? Do you love what you do? Or do you do it because you have to? Do you do it out if habit?
Many times when I look at what I do, and then see what others are doing, I get discouraged. I'll look at what I do like this: I do a few chores around the house, I play the piano occasionally, I help in church some. When really, I do a lot. But I see other people doing bigger, better things and it makes my accomplishments look small.
For example:
Katie Davis was 18 years old when she went to Africa the first time. She adopted kids, gave them help, food, clothes, medicine, and opened Amazima sponsorship program; she did something big. 
Nathan and Lawson Bates went to the Philippines last year after the disaster. They gave the people medicine, food, supplies, and some laughter and friendship. They did something big. 

When I look at these great accomplishments, yeah, what I do looks small. But God has placed me here for a reason. If he wanted me in Africa he'd make a way. If he wanted me to help our after some natural disaster, he'd make a way. If God wants me to do something or go somewhere he will provide. 
But he already has me where he wants me, right here at home. I'm doing what I'm called to do, I'm learning: 
-how to keep house, music, cope with siblings, learn character qualities I don't have and definately need, to be an example to those around me.
I am in my training ground under the people God has put in my life. But I'm also in a battle. I am learning to fight against my flesh while it's "easy", because as soon as I'm on my own, it's going to be so much harder. I have to learn to fight my flesh of being lazy and not diligent, even at home. 
So when I look at people like Katie, Lawson and Nathan, I see that God has blessed them to go to another place to help. He knew they had something that another people needed, something I might not have had. But I will listen for Him, and if he has something even bigger for me, I'm going to be ready and willing. For now I'll be content with the small things in my life.
But you know something else? To some people my tasks, or duties, are simply that, tasks and duties. Things that I have to do because someone told me to do them. Things that don't mean anything to them. But if you look at the tasks that you are put to, the duties that are yours, like they are your special assignment, you'll find more joy and contentment to do them. And if you still don't like to do it, or still don't take joy in serving, ask God to give you a servants heart to want to be the person you are meant to be. He will help you; I guarantee it. :) 
Have a blessed day. 

Monday, September 8, 2014

My Life Revolves Around . . .

Music is a big part of my life. Actually, music is a big part of life. When you go in the grocery store, the Mall, restaurants, they all have music playing. Even when your in the car, you play the radio, or a cd. We are surrounded by music.
For me and my family, we love music. Here is a post about the music in our life. Hope you enjoy.
My older sister, Jennifer, does an amazing job playing the piano. She is the piano player at our church, she plays for the congregational, but she also plays by ear. We use her talent so much. We all sing together in church, and most of the time we don't have sheet music. Our book is full of just word sheets and note written all over it. Jen does a really great job.
My younger brother, Phillip, plays the guitar. Since he's been working (at a ministry) in Chicago, he's been getting tips from the other guys that play guitar. So he's been getting really good. When he's home we like to break out the instruments and play together. We've done offertories together and really enjoy ourselves.
My younger sister Amy doesn't play anything currently. She can play a little on the piano and a little mandolin (as you see here). She hasn't really taken to any instrument. She does sing with us, and in the many choirs that are at our church though.
I play the piano and fiddle. I'm better at the piano than the fiddle because I've been playing it longer. Its easier to just sit down and play the piano than having to get out the fiddle and get everything ready to practice. Anyways, I do love playing the fiddle. Jen and I have done a couple of offertories with just the fiddle and piano and they are absolutely beautiful.
If your wondering, we play gospel, bluegrass gospel, and hymns. We don't do country. We love the country instruments but we don't play any country. This particular picture we were going to be playing offertory that morning in church with our bass guitar player, and a banjo player. We like to match color when we play. =)
Have a blessed day.

Friday, September 5, 2014

My Photo Project

I am finally done with my Photography school! I'm super excited. I sent in my last photo project and yesterday I got the critique back. It was a good critique and I am satisfied with it. But I am officially done with my schooling.
For my last unit, one of the pictures I had to take was a still life portrait. It had to be a collage of items, all pertaining to one another. It didn't need to be too crowded, everything needed to have a reason for being in the photo and it had to look good. So I decided to do my fiddle. I didn't realize how hard of a project that was going to be. With this picture everything had to be positioned to bring the subject attention. All the paraphernalia was just to add to the subject, the fiddle. I took about 20 pictures and none of them are the same. Either the lighting wasn't right, or I had to reposition the paper, the metronome, the Rosen; every picture was different.
But I finally got the winning photo. I got the critique from my instructor yesterday and he didn't say anything bad about my picture. I was super excited about that. There normally isn't a picture that they can't find one thing that could have been done differently, or that was wrong. So I was really happy with this picture.
Have a blessed day.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Nail Polish Organizer

Since I've been getting into doing nails, I've been buying nail polish almost ever time I go into the store. So I have quite a collection of nail polish now. But with doing nails comes more than just nail polish. If you like to do designs you'll have the little tools, brushes, gem placers, files, buffers, shiners, maybe some nail stickers, glitter. You also have the nail polish remover, cotton balls and/or q-tips. That's a lot of supplies for doing nails.
So I set out to organize my stuff. I love to organize. I used to tear my room apart and organize everything. I'd do my siblings rooms as well. =)
I looked on Pinterest, Google and didn't find anything. When I was at JoAnn's Mama found this.
It isn't a nail polish organizer.
It's really for your craft supplies, but the inside worked really well for my nail supplies.
The tray on top has 3 main sections. But it comes with dividers for the 2 skinny sections to the back.
I put in 2 dividers to make smaller sections for my buffer/shiner/smoother blocks, and the 2 long sections for my files, and buffer/shiner/smoother sticks.
 In the bottom, there are 2 big sections.
One side for all the polish (as you see) and the other side for the polish remover, cotton balls and my nail mat, (paper towel).
The top tray sits perfectly in the lid when you want all your supplies at hand.
It does have a handle on the side but I don't use it. If I did all the supplies would shift to the back and ruin my perfect set-up. So I just pick it up by the sides.
I love its easy access. I used to have all my stuff places everywhere. Now its in one place and I know exactly where it is. Now when I want to do nails I only need my organizer, because it has everything, I don't have to go to 3 different rooms and a million different places to get all my stuff. It makes life a little less stressful.  
Have a blessed day.

Monday, September 1, 2014

A Hero

Define the word . . .
 1. a man of distinguished courage or ability, admired for his brave deeds and noble qualities.

The other day, Mama sent me a quote, or definition, that I really liked. I really look up to soldiers and respect what they do for us. They go off to war to protect our freedom to do anything we want. To worship, to speak out, to live. They sacrifice their lives for us.
But back to the subject; what is your definition of a hero? Is it Superman? the Avengers? Captain America?
Or are you more on the realistic side? My Dad? my brother? My teacher? Someone you actually know.

Here is the definition that was sent to me:
A hero is not someone with supernatural powers. A hero is an ordinary person, like you and me. A hero is someone who has the courage to stand against opposition, the honor to respect his/her position and not abuse it, and the will to sacrifice his/herself for the cause.
In today's time we have many HERO's that have fallen in battle. Many people have these soldiers as their family members and friends. I've got 1 friend in the army, I don't know what he faces. I don't know what he goes through. But I know one thing, there is a God in Heaven that is watching over him, and the least I can do, is pray.
So today, remember the fallen hero's, and pray for God's hand of protection over our soldiers.
I like the way Lawson Bates puts it, "Freedom Sure Ain't Free". Freedom comes with a price and very few pay it. Remember that you have the freedom because someone died for you, in your stead.
Have a blessed day.