life of faith

taking baby steps & leaps & everything in between


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Apples, Friends, Crafts, Kittens, and Tissues

This past week was kind of flipped upside-down for us, as the big window installation Dayne and I were planning for (and moved all of our furniture for) didn’t happen, and the coughing-sneezing-runny nose-irritable-tired cold we weren’t planning for did happen. Typically I do my reading and blogging in the stillness of the morning, but Dayne is very different in that he doesn’t feed off of peaceful quiet, but instead he thrives on the 12-hour-a-day hum of the television. Ahhh, marriage. 🙂

Sooo here is my post that has been about five days coming!

I’ve been making LOTS of apple stuff with our 18 lbs of apples from the orchard. In the past couple of weeks, I have made:

1) apple cinnamon muffins – from a recipe on the back of a whole wheat pancake box as shown in this blog post. They didn’t turn out so great since I didn’t have brown sugar and I tried to mix granulated sugar and molasses on my own with a spoon. Spoiler alert: it didn’t work. Verdict: Dayne liked them, and they were edible… Storage: countertop for a day or two and then fridge. They were all eaten within a few days since the recipe only yields a dozen. Plus I dropped one on the floor.

2) slow-cooker applesauce using this recipe. Verdict: delicious. Storage: half eaten, half went in the freezer. Perfect.

After making that (and cutting my finger, which bled for 3 days), my mom bought me these fantastic apple accessories from the QVC store:

peeler – so quick & easy!

corer/ejector and corer/slicer – these have saved my precious fingers from future careless slices!

3) toasted oat & apple crumble from my EatingWell on a Budget cookbook. Verdict: yummy, but different (not very sweet, although the oat mixture on top was sweeter and more filling). Storage: fridge for a few days, almost completely eaten by Dayne, me, and my dad. The oats directly on top of the apples get kind of soggy the longer they’re stored.

4) chicken sauteéd with apples from a Real Simple recipe. I’ve made this before, but haven’t made it regularly since. Verdict: Even better than the last time! SCRUMPTIOUS. Storage: Uhhh, what storage? We polished off the whole pan in one sitting.

Worth it.

5) apple cake from my trusty Betty Crocker cookbook. I can’t find a link for my specific edition of the cookbook. Anyways, it’s really a carrot cake recipe adapted for apples, and I didn’t use nuts. It turned out pretty yummy! Plus, my ever-so-generous mom gave me her stand mixer, and I got to use it for this recipe! I’m loving it! Verdict: delicious, but rich (the cream cheese icing is super sweet/heavy). Storage: mostly in the fridge – I’ve also shared with my dad. And four pieces went into the freezer. We still have quite a bit to eat…

Making a mess mixing the icing.

Apple cake fresh out of the oven.

We still have 13 apples left in our fridge… Maybe I can manage another toasted oat & apple crumble or more applesauce, since they both use large quantities of apples.

Anyways, last weekend, while we were still healthy, Dayne and I went on a little last-minute getaway!

Saturday night, we visited Sonja & David & Ingrid in Wilmington for dinner. Sonja’s technically my great-aunt from my great-grandfather’s 3rd marriage… my family tree is a little complicated.

Most of my family from our wedding – Sonja and Ingrid are in the front in the blue dresses; David is in between them 🙂 (Photo credit to Morby Photography)

It was really fun to hang out with them since we don’t normally see each other very often! We had a great time and ended up staying for almost five hours before we drove down to Dover to the Residence Inn. I have been a Marriott rewards member for years, and I finally was able to use my points for a free stay! It was deliciously luxurious and quiet. Here are photos of our suite:

Full kitchen!

Living room.

Bedroom. The bed was so big & comfy!

Dayne being silly. I loved the sink area outside the bathroom!

We wished we could have stayed there longer, but we were kind of in & out quickly because we wanted to make it to Burt & Katie’s church (Solid Ground Community Church) Sunday morning! Even though Sunday morning was a rough morning for me not feeling well, I was determined to visit for the service, and we did. Burt gave a great sermon on the topic of fear, and afterwards we went out with them and their adorable 1-year-old son, Ben, and more of Burt’s family to Panera for lunch. Then we got to hang with Burt & Katie & Ben for the rest of the day, which was wonderful. They are such special people to Dayne and me.

Here’s Burt officiating our wedding. (Photo credit to Morby Photography)

And as for the rest of our week, I’ve been crafting:

in the process of making a wreath for over our fireplace…

Made a sign for our powder room to match the lavender accents already in there.

Finished product – held it up with Command strips.

The kitties have been hunting stink bugs:

And snuggling in a tray, making it a makeshift bed:

And this last picture with a kitty pretty much sums up our week:

Hoping next week will be a healthier, busier, warmer one with NEW windows!

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Apple Picking with the Landises

This past weekend, Dayne and I continued our fall tradition of apple picking for the 3rd year in a row (all the autumns we’ve been together). Every. single. year. we still think it is a good idea, and every single year we end up totally apple-d out. But at least we have fun going to the orchards and picking!

Our first time going out to the orchard together in Fall 2010.

“Apple picking” Fall 2011. (click picture for blog post about this experience)

We had a little extra incentive to go this time because it was for a double-date with our friends Dustin & Janelle. We went to Cherry Hill Orchards out in Lancaster for the first time. (Normally we go to Highland Orchards, but that is irrelevant for the sake of this post.)

Dustin & Janelle brought a bin:

Dayne & myself used a supplied box that a kind, older gentleman employee put in our car:

Said employee man also mentioned that this box could hold up to 40 pounds of apples. I think apples were supposed to be around $1 per 3/4 of a pound from what I gleaned from the confusing sign at the entrance which also said each car would be charged a minimum of $10 upon exiting. I then made it my mission to get exactly $10 worth of apples into that box, but from the combination of my limited knowledge of their price configuration, Dayne’s nonchalant attitude, and my extremely limited math skills, we ended up leaving with a total of 18 pounds (somewhere around $22) of useless fruit.

Have I mentioned I don’t really like apples?

No worries, though, because – like I said – we had a good time! Here are some photo memories of our afternoon apple picking with the Landises:

At times, Dayne will eat anything. Other times, he refuses sweet potatoes or mayonnaise.

…And still other times, he eats mystery orange berry-fruit that I have already told him absolutely not to eat. (What are these things?)

The girls.

The guys.

Hanging out, having fun 🙂 (photo courtesy of Janelle)

The orchard – a mix of clouds & sun. (photo courtesy of Janelle)

Us with our apples. (photo courtesy of Janelle)

The Kilheffers & the Landises – mission accomplished. (photo courtesy of Janelle)

We so love getting to spend time with Dustin & Janelle, and after we finished apple picking we went back to their house for games, dinner, and a fire on the patio. It’s always nice to talk about real life stuff with them; from Day 1 of our relationship I felt like we could really relate with them, and now we have lots of fun discussing the ins & outs of marriage.

Today I have a TON of apples in my fridge (not literally) that I need to make use of. I’ve already thought of applesauce (and freezing some of it), apple crisp, apple pie, apple crumble, sauteéd chicken & apples, apple chips, apple squares, and apple muffins. Then I thought maybe I’d have an apple PARTY to have people over to eat all the apple stuff. First I’ll have to peel and core and cut all of them, though… which I haven’t seemed to be able to start yet…

Click here for my post on what I did with last year’s apples.


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New Beginnings at Unexpected Times

I woke up today feeling like I had a fresh start. Admittedly, there are a few things that are “fresh” today, but I can’t figure out why I felt that way the very instant I woke up. It was definitely appreciated, though, as I cried 2x yesterday and life’s been feeling kinda stuffy to me lately.

Obviously, today is October 1st, and it finally feels like fall. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve come to love the autumn season more and more, especially as it leads up to Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas — all times of fun & celebration. I’ve decided to host Christmas dinner for my family & Dayne’s immediate family this year, and I am beyond excited about that. I love party planning!

Remember this look from my great-aunt Louise’s surprise 90th birthday party? Acting like kids & having fun! We had goody bags and crazy straws in the retirement community.

Take a look back at last year’s post about Christmas decorating and Aunt Louise’s party here.

Beyond my excitement for Christmas, I’m starting the New Testament today in my Daily Walk Bible (see my guest post from yesterday about finishing the Old Testament). There’s something really fresh about that — after 400 years of silence in Israel, God breaks His silence by sending John the Baptist followed by His Son. It’s a big frigging deal.

I’m also finally starting my anti-anxiety medication today, after months of putting it off (you can read about my struggles with anxiety & depression throughout my blog, but more specifically here, here, and here). I’m scared (as usual), but if it helps, it will be a great thing.

Dayne and I decided to switch out our summer quilt for our down comforter last night, and it is soooooo cozy.

I chose not to make the bed or de-wrinkle the comforter AND to leave that “PCOS for Dummies” book out so that you can see that we are human, too.

And lastly, I decided to intentionally embrace my writing and make it a part of my routine, and I have defied the kittens & their chewing issues so I could get my desk space back:

That’s Theodore. He’s the main culprit.

My fresh & improved writing space.

So – on this October 1st – what is fresh in your life?