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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My Favorite Places in the World.

I’m getting the travel itch again.  So I thought I’d take it out on this blog instead of making a grossly irresponsible (at the moment) travel reservation.  Getting the full-fledged travel bug is probably in the works, but in the meantime (as I only have the itch), I have just started daydreaming about vacations of old.

So now, I present to you, my favorite places I’ve visited! (Where I tend to go again, and again, and…)

  • Rome, Italy
    I looooooove Rome.  I want to write a book about Rome, gift-wrap it, and give it to Rome as an engagement gift.  I think it is one of the most interesting places on the face of the earth.  I first visited in May of 2004 for a summer session abroad, and couldn’t let go.  I went back in 2006, and again in 2008.  I’ve visited other cities in Italy, but none of them fascinate me as much as the Eternal City.  It’s beautiful, it’s historically jaw-dropping, the culture is endlessly intriguing, and the food is -wow-.  I also feel quite at home in la bella cittá and know how to get around pretty much by heart.  I want to drag everyone there.  And learn fluent Italian, but that’s another blog entry.
  • Boston, Massachusetts
    I’ve shipped up to Boston more than a handful of times over the past several years.  I’ve had friends living in this city consistently, so it’s been convenient.  I like Boston for a couple of the same reasons I like Rome – it’s a manageable walking city, it’s beautiful (hello, Commons and Public Gardens), and its well-preserved history permeates the center.  I’m kind of a history nerd.  Not that I know a ton of history trivia, but I love standing in old places or buildings and imagining what life and people must have been like.  I particularly like old stairs (don’t know why) and houses.  I also like Boston because it’s on the water; there are plenty of places to go, feel the salty breeze cross your face, and watch sailboats drift by.  Near the water, Boston has a GREAT Little Italy with my favorite pastry shop – Mike’s Pastry (if I were you, I’d get the macaroons w/ the cherries in the middle).
  • Miami Beach, Florida
    I’ve been to Miami just twice, but I will say this: when I go to Miami, I like to just plant.  I don’t go to Miami to party, or to get dressed up, or to even drink all that much… in fact, I’m going to sound like a lame-o, but I like to go to the Courtyard Miami Beach Oceanfront, get a room with a balcony facing the ocean, and go lay on the beach (and occasionally drift through the waves… I also don’t work out in Miami).  And then I ABSOLUTELY like to go to Happy Hour at the Tiki Bar (which is in the picture below amidst the palm trees if you squint… basically between the pool and the beach!).  They usually have 2-for-1 drink specials (which includes white wine, my favorite) and appetizer specials.  AND they tend to have live music (last year, it was a guy from Jamaica playing reggae – I loved it).  And get this – the Tiki Bar is served through Carrabba’s, one of my favorite Italian restaurants.  Ding ding ding!  We have a happy camper!  Miami Beach is just gorgeous, and the Courtyard is really an exceptional hotel.  They have friendly staff, and they also have a great buffet breakfast (where you can choose to sit inside or al fresco), so in case you were worried about losing weight during your vacation, problem solved! 😛