June 28, 2011

Memorial Day

Yes, it was a month ago.
I'm so behind, so now I'm sharing pictures from Memorial Day. Thanks for not thinking I'm weird.
You know what is weird?

Looking at your grandparents...
...then looking at your grandparents headstone.
This is the cemetery by the church my grandpa Jim grew up in. It's one of those calm, serene places in the middle of farm country in northern Indiana. I don't know if I want to be buried there, but I would be amongst many of my maternal family members.
My great-grandparents were good people. Salt of the earth. I always think about how my great grandpa would give us his special hug including a zerbert. [zurbert? You know that thing where you kind of blow on a child's neck and it tickles them? Am I clearly communicating here?] My great grandma would always say, "Oh, bless your heart." Always.
Good people. 

Is this irony?

June 26, 2011


We all know about my Parker & Otis obsession. I love them. I miss them.

Their scones were to die for...they do a drop scone with fresh fruit and nuts and chocolates in all kinds of combinations.

Death may be a little extreme, since I no longer live within my half-mile walk, so I am now on a quest to re-create the P&O scone. Attempt numero uno was quite successful if you ask me.
Strawberrry-Almond-Chocolate Chip Scones

First up dry ingredients and butter.
I grate my butter because I don't own a pastry cutter. Is that what it's called? You know, one of those things where it has all the little slicers that you chop the butter up into the flour with for a lovely flaky pastry. Grating works for me.

Next the wet stuff separately.
It's all about the cream. Milk is for pansies.
Wah-nilla, I love you.
Wet and dry need to join forces in a gentle way. If you think it's too dry, add more cream. I increased by about 1/4 cup for this batch.
Take a moment to think about how beautiful strawberries are.
I chose strawberries, almonds and chocolate chips because I had them. I think peaches and pecans would be yummy. Or blueberries. Or chai and pecans. Or rhubarb. Or apples, cinnamon and pecans. [I really like pecans.] Or citrus zest and a citrus glaze.
Possibilities...I'll try them out, don't worry.

Plop those babies on your parchment lined cookie sheets. You'll definitely want some sort of non-stick surface since the strawberries will release some sticky juice as they bake. I sprinkled some sugar on top so I could get a good crunchy surface. These things are important.
Take a picture of your dirty dishes. It's easier than actually washing them.
Take pictures of your roommate's congratulations-on-your-engagement tulips. Congrats MG and Cam, in a little less than a year your big day will arrive!
Eat. Share. Enjoy.

Strawberry-Almond-Chocolate Chip Scones
Adapted from Food.com
-2 cups Flour
-1/3 cup Sugar
-2 tsp Baking Powder
-1/4 tsp Salt
-6 Tbsp Butter, very cold
Combine the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Grate the butter into the bowl and combine with a fork until the mixture is crumbly.

-1/3 cup chopped Strawberries
-1/3 cup sliced Almonds
-1/3 cup Mini-Chocolate Chips
Then add the remaining strawberries, almonds and chocolate chips. I'm not going to lie, this part was difficult. The strawberries didn't want to be friends with any of the other ingredients and I was afraid to mix them too aggressively. I ended up kind of placing them where I wanted to put them on top of the scones. **UPDATE: If you mix your fruit/nuts/chips into the dry ingredients then add the wet ingredients [you can still adjust the amount of cream if it's too dry] it all comes together much easier!**

-1/2-3/4 cup Cream
-1 large Egg
-1 tsp Vanilla
Beat eggs, cream and vanilla together and add to the dry ingredients by gently folding until all the flour is just moistened.

Drop by large tablespoons onto your parchment-lined cookie sheets. Sprinkle lightly with sugar and bake at 425 for 15-20 minutes.

June 25, 2011


The other update is still accurate, but I'm adding to the story.

I'm in Tennessee.
Havin' an adventure.
Rockin' my socks off.
I haven't been in Tennessee since I was in McPherson Arts Council Children's choir back in 6th grade. That was about...16 years ago. I barely remember it. Tennessee reminds me a lot of North Carolina. I will even confess to saying "y'all" once or twice. I don't know what's gotten into me either. 

I'm here through Brethren Disaster Ministries. Ashland City is just outside of Nashville and if you heard about the flooding in May 2010, you probably didn't hear about the significant flooding from the Cumberland River downstream from Nashville. 
[I'm going to recommend mute if you feel the same way I do about Nickelback.]

Thus far, I am the painting queen. You can sing that to the tune of "Dancing Queen" if you'd like. I did. We're rebuilding two homes from the ground up. And the "up" is literal, one is twelve feet off the ground [here are some photos of that from facebook] and the other is six. I've spent most of my time at the H-House [as opposed to the F-House] and have been able to meet and spend some time with the homeowners which really makes the experience much more authentic and meaningful. 

Both houses are at about the same point in construction. Walls are getting painted, floors are about ready to be installed then kitchens and all the details to make a house a home. I'm excited to be around long enough to [hopefully] get to see some completion. 

Each week we have a different group come in. Week one was a crew from Southern Ohio, next week is youth and more groups are coming after that. As you may know, I'm a bit of an introvert and ever-so-slightly socially awkward, so new people each week both delights and terrifies me. You never know what kind of hooligans totally awesome people are going to volunteer for disaster recovery. (-:

It is absolutely clear that God has called you to a free life. Just make sure that you don't use this freedom as an excuse to do whatever you want to do and destroy your freedom. Rather, use your freedom to serve one another in love; that's how freedom grows.For everything we know about God's Word is summed up in a single sentence: Love others as you love yourself. That's an act of true freedom.
-Galatians 5:13-14,The Message

June 7, 2011

One of my many quirks

I started drinking coffee in the Fall of 2006. Megan made me do it.

Our favorite place to meet was The Hearth Room in McPherson. The Hearth Room was a small coffee shop in the midst of The Button Hole (a quilting shop) and the Christian bookstore (which probably had a name, but I don't remember it). None of those places exist anymore.

The Button Hole closed, the Christian bookstore and The Hearth Room joined up and became: The Well.

The Well is great.
The Well is quiet.
The Well has lots of areas for conversations.
The Well doesn't care that I sit around for hours using their internet.
The Well is the place where I run into the most people from my past.
The Well hosts fun events. I've heard. I haven't been.

All of those reasons mean that I like The Well. Except, I have too many good memories from The Hearth Room. I liked that it was tiny. I miss the intimacy of The Hearth Room. I also miss gatherings with Megan, Emily and Beth.

Therefore, I don't want to sit anywhere in The Well except where The Hearth Room used to be which coincidentally also is where the furniture from The Hearth Room is located.
It's a sign.

It's also a [possibly charming?] quirk.

June 6, 2011


I'm in Kansas.
Wheat is beautiful. It's not quite time for harvest, see that green? That's the only reason I know it's not quite time, other than that, I have no clue. We didn't grow wheat when I was a child, we grew alfalfa. Do you say "alf-alf-uh" or "al-FAL-fuh"? I say the former, but my FFA roomie from college (who grew up in downtown Indianapolis) told me it was the latter. I maintain my right-ness.
I love this dog. If I could convince her to ride in a car for 15 hours AND to live in a house she would be mine. Of course, she prefers the freedom (and rabbit chasing) on the farm.
Today I went into a local coffee shop and ordered an "iced coffee." Now, when I order iced coffee generally the barista turns around pulls a pitcher out of a fridge and pours me some coffee (usually just a strong-double strength-brew that's cold) but today the barista looked confused.
"So, do you want an iced latte or brewed iced coffee?"
"Brewed iced coffee."
He pulled out a cup, filled it with ice and handed it to me so I could put the hot coffee over the ice. It was weird. It was also cheap so I tried it out. Not the best, local coffee place, not the best. I'll go with the iced latte next time.

Oh yeah, why am I in Kansas? Well, my friend Becky was driving home from Michigan--yay for finishing her master's program!--and I was in Indiana and she couldn't find anyone to drive back with her. So I did.
photo (1)*
Then she hit a deer. Literally, we were less than 8 miles on the road.
Then a hot state patrol officer came. I have a thing for bald men, I can't help it. I also have a thing for legs. And butts. And smiles. And laughter. And crinkly eyes. And dark eyelashes. And gingers. And gentleness. And kindness. And confidence. And curly hair. And musical talent (minus tenors). And interesting stories. And athleticism. And love of babies.
It doesn't take much.
FYI: That's a lie. 

Back to the story: basically we sat in her car for 3 1/2 hours between waiting for the state patrolman and the tow-truck (I may or may not have used the non-existent bathroom facilities in the ditch) and then we stayed overnight at some incredibly generous friend's home THEN we drove an hour east to pick up a new truck THEN we moved all the stuff to the new truck with the help of some incredibly kind men from the rental place THEN we hit the road.
photo (4)*
And 29 hours later--we stayed overnight in Illinois--we arrived in McPherson. Whew!!

Then I was home for about 18 hours and we hopped in the car and drove 3 hours to see my brother, sister-in-law, and their baby bump (aka my future nephew). Then we drove back to Mac.
photo (3)*
Next up? Back to Indiana on Friday!
photo (2)*

Wow, I sure love driving places.**

*Bee-Tee-Dubs, we NEVER drive through Chicago. We go down to Indianapolis on I-69 and then take I-70. Chicago is the devil when it comes to driving. I just don't know how to adjust the maps on my iPhone. I have the route from Indiana to Kansas memorized. Mostly because I've seen it since my birth and then drove it many, many, many times since becoming a legal driver.

**Please note that this sentence is sarcastic.