Friday, April 29, 2011

Pineapple Upside-Down Coffee Cake

Hi all! Here's something I want to share with you... I made this yesterday and I believe it is better than the pineapple upside-down cake that I'm used to. I do love the butter cake recipe I have but this recipe has more depth to it than I expected. Flavors are more pronounced too. :) I took a big bite of it yesterday and I was pretty impressed. 

Pineapple Upside-Down Coffee Cake
Adapted from BHG Magazine

Prep: 25 minutes
Bake: 35 minutes
Oven: 350 degrees

Cake Topping:

½ cup (1 stick) butter
1 cup packed brown sugar
12 canned pineapple rings in juice, reserve ½ cup of juice 


2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
½ tsp ground nutmeg
½ cup (1 stick) butter, softened
½ cup granulated sugar
½ cup packed brown sugar
2 eggs
½ cup milk
1 tsp vanilla
Maraschino cherries
  1. Preheat oven to 350. Butter or spray the bottom and sides of a 13x9x2-inch baking pan. Set aside. For pineapple topping, melt ½ cup butter in a medium sauce pan over low heat. Stir in 1 cup brown sugar. Bring to boiling over medium heat, stirring frequently. Pour into prepared pan. Drain pineapple rings, reserving ½ cup juice. Fit 12 rings into bottom off pan.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together, flour, baking powder, salt and nutmeg. In a large mixing bowl beat softened butter, granulated sugar and ½ cup brown sugar with electric mixer on medium speed for 2 minutes, scraping sides of bowl occasionally. Add eggs; beat until combined. On low speed, beat in half of flour mixture. Pour in reserved ½ cup pineapple juice and the milk; beat until combined. Beat in remaining flour mixture and vanilla.
  3. Spread butter evenly and carefully over pineapple slices in pan. Bake 35-40 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pan or wire rack 10 minutes . Place a serving tray or baking sheet over cake; carefully invert. If any pineapple sticks to the pan, gently replace on cake top.

Printer-friendly version of the recipe here.

A few notes to my friends who are just now starting to bake:
  • Preheating your oven to the required temperature is a very crucial part in the baking process. If you want your baked goods to turn out like how you see them in the recipe photos, preheat your oven. Better yet, get an oven thermometer. There are all kind available out there. Residential stoves are generally not accurate compared to commercial ones. So having an oven thermometer will put you on the safe side.
  • When a recipe asks for packed brown sugar, don't press the sugar down onto the measuring cup so hard, it won't come out when you dump it into the batter. I remember doing this when I was learning how to bake. But of course, I was 10 years old. I packed all that brown sugar in the measuring cup like I was making sand castles! lol
  • Stirring frequently and stirring vigorously are two totally different things. This is really important especially when you are making a syrup or melting sugar. When a recipe asks for you to stir frequently, it means to stir making sure that there are no sugar stuck to the sides of the pan ensuring that all the sugar is melting evenly and there is not a crust of unmelted sugar left on your pan when you're done. Also, stirring prevents the sugar from burning. When you stir sugar vigorously over heat, you are going to get crystalized sugar instead of the required melted sugar. ; ) So be gentle. 

Happy baking!!! :)

Thursday, April 28, 2011

...and Moving On!

Hi all! Well, I finally got some much needed sleep. It took me a while but at around 2 AM, I had to just tell myself to let it all go and go to sleep, which I believe worked because that was the last thought I remembered thinking about when I woke up at nine this  morning. It will take me a while to get back to the normal way of life [which doesn't include getting up 45 times in the night to check on my basement or get on my computer to check the weather in the middle of the night]. Getting some sleep last night was a great first step. : )

After all that's happened, my husband John and I have decided a few things:
  1. We are definitely going to finish updating this house to sell in a year or two. And move on to a newer home, in a newer neighborhood... We both believe we have earned our stripes fixing up old homes. 
  2. NO MORE BUNGALOWS. We hope! We love the character of old homes, but they are a lot of work and a pain on the rear especially the ones that have not been updated in two decades, just like the one we live in now. But I guess, not everyone is like us. We love to take care of our home, we make it pretty and instead of sucking the life out of it, we bring new life to it by updating it and making sure that all its guts are in tip-top shape.
  3. If job situations do not get better in a year or two, the next house we are buying will be... well, let me put it this way, NOT HERE. 
  4. Come hell or high water, I am going to get certified and will get back into teaching. : ) See the smiley face? I believe being a housewife is awesome... No clocking in and out, No boss, and I work when I want to. I have embraced it and I totally love it, but I think it is time to move on now and play awesome English teacher again. It is time to get back into those high heels and nerdy leather totes. [Yes, I taught in high heels. It was hard to think straight without them.] 
  5. Definitely going where the Husband is happy career-wise.  He is great at what he does. And I have seen him work very hard for 6 or 7 years on the program he's been on. Him and I have decided, get the program that suits him... by hook or by crook. :) His specialty and his prowess is rare nowadays, I think he deserves to be in a place that respects the skills and the talent and the ear of people like him.
  6. Maybe a baby? I don't know. That part is still a little gray [to me] as of this writing. I still cannot see why I  should or have to.  People always say, "you are not getting any younger." And I just laugh, I am really liking not having to lug a stroller and a child around when I want to go places. I am also liking that no third person is dictating where and when I CAN or CAN'T go. I will adopt when I am too old to have children and I start wanting one... there's only a million of them all over the world waiting for people like me to decide. :)
  7. God is Listening. We know He has been and He always is and will be. There's been many, many times since John and I got married that we would go through rough times... but NEVER and I say NEVER have things NOT WORKED OUT at the end of the day. And even at times when we forget to pray and acknowledge Him, He Listens and answers our thoughts. So one thing I have learned, never tell God what to do. He knows his way around the ropes. And where he guides, He will most definitely provide. Worrying solves nothing and changes nothing. 
  8. WE ARE GOING TO GET PAST ALL THESE. Yes we will. This is not our first rodeo and will most agreeably not be the last. : ) We are pretty resilient people and we are very very strong together... Not perfect, but we know that most of the time, when things get bad, we just need to stop and talk... and sometimes agree to disagree.   
Today I am just grateful for my husband. He is by no means perfect, but he is my perfect match. We aggravate each other sometimes, but we get over it... then we laugh about it later. Sometimes, you just gotta allow yourself to get mad and get upset when bad things happen [especially the ones that no one has any control of]... It will all be okay. Trust me, it will be. : )

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Easter 2011

Easter this year was a little bit off because of the preceding event that week. The tornado hit, everyone lost power, it was hard for some of the family to think about partying and getting together. This is also the first Easter Brandi isn't with us. For John and I, that was hard all the more for Pat and Charlie [Brandi's parents] who went ahead and did not show up for Easter dinner which was held at Grandma and Grandpa R's because Mom and Dad didn't get their power back until the night before Easter Sunday. We traditionally have it at my in-laws but this year we had to change locations.

It is a given, pretty much every time there is a family gathering, I get to make dessert or I don't bring anything at all. lol That's just how we roll! This year, for Easter, I decided to make a happy cake. I got the idea from I saw a photo of rainbow jello and tons more of rainbow everything including ROYGBIV stuff. So I made this:

The idea of the roses also came from a photo o I saw on pinterest. Apparently I didn't pin it because I couldn't find it anywhere in my boards. Sad. But I will keep looking and I will give credit where credit is due when I find the person responsible for this prettiness! 

As if the roses weren't happy enough, I made the inside ROYGBIV. Check it out!!!

Any crazy or non-crazy person alike can make this cake given you have a little bit of a crazy imagination. The cake took quite a few hours to make [from mixing, baking and cooling]. Do not ever frost your cakes when you are not sure that they are COMPLETELY cool. I've made that mistake before and I am never doing it again. In fact, now, I go to the extent of freezing my cakes before I do anything to them. I let them sit in the freezer for an hour before I start going nuts with the frosting.  

Anyway, Easter dinner went as planned and the food was awesome like it always is. And the cake, Yes! The cake did like it was supposed to... IT MADE EVERYONE SMILE! : ) This was my intention. Not just my family here but the whole town and a couple neighboring ones suffered the wrath of Mother Nature that week and had to deal with the loss of power... I thought I could make a bit of a difference at least in my family's disposition when they see this cake. And it did its job and even more!!!

I just used my favorite white cake recipe. I made 2 batches but I only used 1 1/2. Divided the batter equally among 6 bowls and colored them with the colors of the rainbow. I have six 9 inch round cake pans so it wasn't any trouble for me. Not every normal has the stuff I have so yeah, take your time and bake the cakes one at a time if you only have one 9-inch round pan. It is worth it, trust me!

This whole thing was made from scratch but if you choose to use box cakes, go ahead... It doesn't make you less of a person to do that!!! I am all for quick and easy. Except that that day, I had nothing but time to kill so I did it. :) Had I been in a hurry, Betty Crocker would've been my best friend. 

Here's something I thought about while I was making this cake: What if I flavored every layer like their color? You know, RED could be CHERRY... YELLOW could be LEMON... so on and so forth. Hmmmm... 

Now, go make something!!! :)

Of Tornadoes, Storms, Flash Floods, Etc

Hi all!!! :) Five days ago, I said "this has been the craziest week!" Gosh did I not know the next couple of days was going to rock our world [in a bad way]. And indeed, it is true what people say, WHEN IT RAINS, IT POURS because boy, did it pour and flood our basement too! I am not going to show you all photos because it is rather disgusting and heartbreaking. We had about four inches of water in the deepest part [where the sump pump is] in our basement and two inches everywhere else.

If we don't have some of the most expensive living essentials down in our basement, I wouldn't have been so shaken up. But we do. Like every basement, we have our heating system [that we just spent a lot of money on for maintenance] is down there, our hot water tank that just got put in a few years ago by the people who used to live here, our new washer and dryer and our little bitty fridge that stores our drinks and other random things. However, I believe that GOD listened to my ailing heart that night because the water quit going up at about 1/4 inch away from hot water tank and my washer and dryer platform! And it stayed that way all night. The sump pump, although completely submerged and probably worn out, never quit pumping that water out of the flooded basement from Monday 12 midnight through Tuesday 3 PM [until every drop of water in the basement and under the sinkhole was gone]. 

I don't believe I have ever been so scared of rain until now. But of course, the ground is so saturated from last week's storms that even a bit of rain could start a flood. 

I didn't go to bed until 4 AM this morning because I kept getting up and checking the basement because it has been drizzling all night. I don't believe I will ever sleep again until I know it is not going to rain anymore. It is raining on and off still all day and it is going to do this all week from what I hear. 

Hope it goes away soon. But here's a happy thought:

Last week, on Tuesday, my husband and I out of boredom decided to drive to St Louis to wander around. It was a beautiful day [or at least, it started that way]. We went and ate at TGI Friday's and just kind of allowed ourselves to get lost. During that "getting lost" part he dropped me off at a Michael's store as he headed to a Gamestop and World Market four doors away. I bought this stamp set from TPC Studio and it kind of foreshadowed what was getting ready to happen.

One of the stamps in the set says, "God promises a safe landing, not a calm passage" and another one says "The task ahead of us is never as great as the power behind us." I got teary when I looked at the stamp the day after the tornado hit. When I picked up the stamp at the store, I had no idea I was going to need these words of wisdom the next morning when all I saw was destruction and devastation all around me and all I could see that that tornado did to my house is NOTHING compared to what other people had to deal with that day. And then again, a couple nights ago when my basement flooded. While ours had 4 inches of water in it, my neighbor two doors down from us had 18 inches. One of the people that my dad-in-law knows from a few blocks away from us had 5 feet of water in his basement. So I believe even if my heart was breaking as I watched my basement fill up with water, I believe in my heart that SOMEONE was listening to my silent prayer as I was picking stuff up from the basement floor that the flood could potentially destroy. 

Till next time!!!

Friday, April 22, 2011

What's Up?

Hi all! It has been three days since the storm hit on Tuesday night and there is still a good chunk of households here that don't have power including John's parents. Their power lines have been hit worst compared to the ones close to downtown. The power company has just today started working on their side of town. Last we heard, they were gonna have to start all over as if there was no power lines there... It is that bad. I have collected photos from our neighborhood and neighboring streets, I have taken them the day after the storm hit. 

(My husband just came to correct me, it wasn't a storm, it was a tornado.) :)

Anyway here are some photos to show you the damage. 

this is our only tree damage

this is my neighbor's tree from across the street

The only good thing that this storm/tornado has brought is that it brought our neighborhood together. While there was no power, we got to know our neighbors better and we all got to help each other process through what the storm has left us. And it is not a good sight. 

This is my in-laws' concrete fence and wrought iron gate. Weird thing is, my Dad-in-Law's Dodge truck
was sitting in front of this fence, but was UNTOUCHED! 

This is my Mom-In-Law and her dog, Asta this morning. She was watching the tree people clear some spots for the Ameren people. I took this and the photo below with my cellphone. This photo cracks me up!

This is a house just down the road from my friend Sara's house. We kept checking on their house
since Wednesday because they have been on vacation in Florida the past week.

We got our power back yesterday at around 11 AM. Sara's neighborhood just got their power turned on today. And my in-laws still don't have power and it is not looking promising for them tonight either. I will be praying for them until their power comes back on.

I hope everyone stays safe. :) 

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Hi all! This has been quite an interesting 24 hours. First, my Hubby and I had to cancel our springbreak trip because gas prices are to the roof. Second, last night while we were at the grocery store on the west side of town, what seemed like a giant natural wrecking ball hit this very small town and uprooted trees destroying homes (which didn't include ours, Thank God!) blocking streets and ruining power lines, which leads to the third one. Yes, you guessed it, WE LOST POWER. And since then, 5 million Ameren trucks have driven by back and forth up and down our street... And 25 hours have passed, 80% of the town got their power back except for this small strip of homes (including ours). And the frustrating part is, nobody gets on the phone to tell you what the heck is going on. If only they would say something people won't get so irate. This is the secon im hi happened this year and as much as they charge customers, they better show up and deliver in times such as this.

If you are reading this, I apologize. I just want to scream silently... So let me! Just let me! You don't want to mess with this www-deprived girl. :)

Sunday, April 17, 2011

This Week

Hello All! :) This week has been great. I cooked a lot, worked in the craft room some, took tons of pictures, took photography lessons, experimented on a ton of actions and worked in the yard. :) So this week, I got a mini-cheesecake pan. My awesome friend, Sara got it for me. Everything "mini" makes me happy, I easily get enamored by their cuteness! You have to understand, this is the first time, so these things aren't supposed to look close to pretty because I was too excited I pried them all out of the pan. LOL Next time I make them, they should look pretty and I will share the recipe... I promise.

The pan has little bitty removable bottoms. And it makes 12 cute mini cheesecakes. And, here's the end result! :)

John and I also made rainbow cupcakes this week with raspberry swiss meringue buttercream. :)

And then, Mr. Peapers came to wake me up one morning this week to play with my feet.

my sweet Mr. Peapers! :)

And this was how my craft desk looked before the week was over:

This desk doesn't stay clear of clutter very long. 

Hope everyone had a great, colorful week too! :) 

I love my Copic Markers. They are on the high side for price because they are
professional markers. This one in the pic is the very first set I bought,
then all the rest of the 100+ shades and colors I have I had to purchase in 10's.
Blick Arts run a sale on them every so often. 

Friday, April 15, 2011

Chicken and Vegetable Stir-Fry

Hi all! :) Other than my very strong craving for yummy Asian recipes, I have also been wanting to somehow incorporate in-season or readily available vegetables in our meals lately. John and I have taken a liking to our local meat guy and have been eating lots of steaks and grilled burgers. I confess, I could live on porter house steaks alone. The steaks that we buy are so big, I usually forget about the veggie sides!!! So this week, I have been cutting down on the meat and focusing on the vegetables. The Asian cooking that I know involves a lot of it. Growing up, there was not a meal or a snack that didn't involve veggies. My Mom grew a vegetable garden, and we rarely had processed food in our pantry. Back then, I used to get so jealous every time I'd see my friends eat processed meat, or junk food for lunch while I ate stir-fried shrimp with rice or I'd come home to a vegetable and lentil soup for lunch. It used to infuriate me as a kid. lol My aunts, who, then took care of us while both our parents were at work had to literally force food down our throats. Boy, all three of us kids gave them a hard time.

Now that I am grown up, I am so thankful that my parents and everyone else that was involved in my childhood years for forcing us kids to eat vegetables... because we came to like them 10 or 12 years during the process and we realized that eating street food isn't really that cool after one of the kids we knew caught a bad case of the Hepatitis. Since then, we all decided to block all desire for street food or anything that is not made in our home.

I have nothing about Asian buffets because I love them all. It's cheap and the food is filling. And it is a quick way to give me my fix for fried and steamed rice when I need it fast. The only down side is, even the "stir-fried" stuff isn't really stir fried. Most, if not every single dish in the buffet is DEEP FRIED and has been dredged in flour, which doesn't make me happy at all. I am not a big fan of battered anything except if it's fried chicken. :)

So here's something really stir-fried. It's easy too. So if you're looking for something Asian, something quick, and something tasty, this is the recipe for you. :)

Chicken and Vegetable Stir-Fry
Serves 4

1 cup uncooked regular long grain white rice (I used Jasmine Rice, love the flavor and the sweet smell)
1 1/2 cups water
2 Tbsp olive oil or vegetable oil (I used extra virgin olive oil because I had it in hand)
1 lb boneless skinless chicken breast, cut into 1 inch pieces
1 large onion, chopped
2 medium yellow summer squash cut in half lengthwise, then cut crosswise 1/2 inch pieces
1 cup fresh snap peas
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 red bell pepper
a handful of bean sprouts
1/2 cup stir-fry sauce
toasted sesame seeds

1. Cook rice in water.

2. Meanwhile, in a wok, heat 1 Tbsp olive oil over medium high heat. Cook chicken in oil 6-8 minutes, stirring occasionally, until no longer pink in the center. Remove chicken from wok. Cover to keep warm.

I have an electric wok, so that's what I used. I like because i can set it at a certain temperature
and it goes up to desired temps when I start adding stuff into the pan.

3. In the same wok, heat remaining olive oil. Cook onion, squash, peas, bean sprouts, red bell pepper 5 minutes. Stirring occasionally.  Add garlic; cook 1 minute.  Throw in chicken and stir-fry sauce. Cook 2-3 minutes longer or until thoroughly heated.

4. Remove from heat. Serve on top of rice or lo mein noodles. Or serve as is. Check out the photo below. :)

Happy Cooking!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Thankful Thought No. 002

A mother is the truest friend we have, when trials heavy and sudden, fall upon us; 
when adversity takes the place of prosperity; when friends who rejoice with us in our sunshine desert us; 
when trouble thickens around us, still will she cling to us, and endeavor by her kind precepts and counsels to dissipate the clouds of darkness, and cause peace to return to our hearts.  

-Washington Irving

There is no woman on earth I admire more than I do my Mom. :) I guess us kids are biased that way towards our Mothers. They are like real-life guardian angels, who force themselves to learn how to work technology just to get to us and will quit  their jobs to help us take care of our kids... [i am talking about my hypothetical kids right now. lol] and who will give up being in the comfort of her own home just to be close by.  That is my MOM. She is all that and tons more. 

Sometimes, I don't think I say "thank you" enough to her. She always says her children are a God-send. But really, it is the other way around. I don't know what would've become of me and the rest of my brood had we been given another mother... If I didn't have a Mom who fought with me when we went clothes shopping, or boyfriend picking, God only knows where I'd be right now. Yes, my Mom got involved in EVERY SINGLE THING in our lives, especially mine. She was nosy, bossy, sometimes played villain and prayed every day that the boy I like so much would disappear from the face of the earth.  Thank Heavens she did!!!

Even if we fought almost every day while I was growing up, she never stopped loving me. Worse, she loved me even more that she went to the extent of going through my stuff-- i.e. my journal, my books, everything. But still I am glad she did. I used to hate her for doing that but had she not, I don't know if I would be alive right now to write about how evil my Mother used to be. She addressed the problems right as they came and you know what, every issue was resolved before bad things happened. And here I am a testimony of my Mom's resilience and wisdom and successful nosy-ness. She fought through all my evil teenage, growing up years and never did give up for one minute. I brought the woman to tears a million and one times and I have never been so regretful of anything than making my Mom cry because I was young and stupid. 

I am pretty sure she was so relieved to see us all march out of high school and even more when we marched out of college... and when we all started marching out of her house too. LOL 

It was a struggle convincing her that I will be okay when I left home to fly across a giant ocean to be on the other side of the world to be with John. She was funny at the civil registrar's office when we were getting marriage permits, etc. She kept saying to me, "this is no joke... You better know what you are doing is un-breakable and unchangeable, when you do this, it is over." She was more of a nervous wreck than I was. She never felt "okay" about things until five years later. She's still a nervous wreck now, but this time, she has David [my sister's hubby] and John in her mind too and the rest of the fam back home.

the sugar lump riding the kitchenaid like a horse is my nephew Xavier.
My mom is playing granny and Xavier's personal chef at their home in Texas. 

There's one thing I will tell you, everything that this woman touches turns into tasty baked goods! You can trust me on this, I grew up watching her do this trick!!! :) 

Thank you for everything Mom. :) I love you!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Asian Beef Noodle Bowls

Hi all! :) This post is special. I am currently working on my food blog so I am going to be sharing this recipe here. 

Today, I had a really bad craving for anything Asian. What caused it, you ask? Well, a) I AM ASIAN, and I'm partial, I love the Asian Cuisine b) I saw an unopened bag of sesame seeds in the fridge this morning as I was fishing for stuff to make for brunch, the thought of toasted sesame seed made the craving even more torturous  c) I looked through my books to see if there is anything in there that has to do with toasted sesame seeds and found a very simple almost nothing but 5-ingredient recipe from Betty Crocker.

I hope you enjoy it as much as I did! :)

Adapted from Betty Crocker

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Start to finish : 20 minutes
Servings: 4

4 oz uncooked thin spaghetti
8 oz fresh gourmet snap peas or sugar snap peas
5 Tbsp vegetable oil
1 lb boneless beef sirloin steak, cut into 1/4 inch strips
1 medium carrot, thinly cut on a bias (about 1/2 cup)
1 red bell pepper 
3 cloves of garlic, chopped 
2 cups napa cabbage/bok choy cut in a bias fairly thin
1/2 cup teriyaki baste and glaze (from 12-oz bottle)
a splash of soy sauce
a splash of oyster sauce
freshly cracked black pepper
4 medium green onions with tops

1. Cook pasta as directed on package. Meanwhile, snip stem ends of snap peas and remove strings, if desired. Drain pasta; Cover to keep warm.

2. In 12-inch nonstick wok or skillet, heat 3 teaspoons of the oil over medium-high heat. Stir-fry beef in  oil 2-3 minutes or until no longer pink. Remove from wok; keep warm.

3. In same wok/skillet, heat remaining 2 teaspoons oil over medium-high heat. Stir-fry peas, carrot, bell  pepper, garlic, napa cabbage in oil for 3-4 minutes

4. Stir in cooked pasta, beef and teriyaki glaze, soy sauce, oyster sauce and black pepper; toss until well  blended.

5. Serve in bowls; sprinkle with green onions and toasted sesame seeds. :)

Happy cooking!

Notes: the sauce for the stir-fry only asked for the teriyaki baste and glaze but since I wanted to make it more complicated and more Asian, I added a splash of everything that spelled Asian that was present in my fridge. I even added a couple splashes of Maggi Savor Classic. This is optional, and didn't include it in the recipe because this ingredient isn't available at the regular grocery store. I have mine shipped to me from San Francisco, California. My Aunt sends them to me in huge amounts. However, if you have an Oriental Market close by, go and check it out and look for Maggi Savor. You can use it on anything. My husband loves it on his steamed or fried rice. He adds it on anything.

Thankful Thoughts

For each new morning with its light,

For rest and shelter of the night,
For health and food, for love and friends,
For everything Thy goodness sends.
~Ralph Waldo Emerson

I have this poem in one of my older scrapbook pages, I came across it the other day as I was re-organizing my books. It warmed my heart. The page didn't look very nice [because it's one of those pages that makes you ask yourself, "what the heck was I thinking?"] but the poem caught my eye... almost made me teary. The page had pictures of John and I when I first moved  here and I was having a hard time adjusting and was just really homesick. John looked tired in the picture, probably from lack of sleep thinking of ways how to make me feel good about being here... and at the same time figuring out how he could make himself feel good about seeing me suffer. I wish I had the heart to take a pic of that atrocious page... Maybe one day I will. LOL

Anyway, as I was looking at the page, I remembered I am also following Ali Edwards' Thankful Thoughts. It always amazes me how some people's thankfulness is sooo contagious. I don't know Ali personally, but from reading her posts, you can feel that even if she's going through so much, the message in her posts radiates with such gratefulness, it makes you think of the million different things you have that you need to be thankful for. Ali also has free Thankful thoughts photo overlays and a photo mask with her posts so if you like digital stuff like I do, head on over to her site.  

The last five years has been a steep climb. Well mostly for me. I went from a fab language arts teacher to housewife; city girl in high heels and open toe shoes to small town girl and tennis shoes and sneakers; from flip flops to snow boots and thick coats half of the year; from the islands and sunsets at the beach to well, ALL LAND; and from the East to the West side of the world. Yes, I moved across the world to be with my Thankful Thought No. 001!

Now, I look back and I laugh. :) I am still homesick but I manage to stay composed. No more "I want to go home!" fits. I am still a housewife, although maybe not for long because I am currently working on getting certified to teach again, but I am enjoying every second of it especially being here when John gets home from work. The city girl in me is still trapped... but when time allows it, John and I would run off, book a hotel at the Sheraton or the Millenium Hotel in St Louis to set our city people spirits free. He isn't much of a city boy as I am a city girl but we have a great time. I think he enjoys the hotel more than he does the city, to be honest. Don't get me wrong, I have come to love the small town, very laid back life but being that I was born in the chaos, the traffic, the fast-paced city life, I can't help but miss jaywalking (lol), the 24-hour sit down restaurants, being able to walk to places, cab rides, the bakeries that open at the crack of dawn, and outdoor cafes that are open all day and all night no matter what day of the week it is... rain or shine.

John is my thankful thought no. 001 and now, you know why. He is a gift from heaven. He has made a lot of impossible things, tangible. He brings the city to me when the small town becomes *yawn* ho-hum. I love him dearly for being all these things and more. I feel very very blessed every time I wake up in the morning and realize that I have a husband who tolerates all my silly tantrums, who makes me do whatever I want, whenever I want [within reason of course], and someone who thinks I look so cute when I am furious. You have got to love the husband who giggles while you are throwing a fit because he thinks you look so cute. He always says, "how could something so tiny and pretty be so hateful and mean?" and he gives me a kiss and a hug. 

Monday, April 11, 2011

I am Back!

I don't know when my last post was but I have been MIA because I have been sick with this bad cold made even worse by pollen allergies. But I am here, feeling better and ready to craft, bake and blog about the stuff that comes out of my craft room and my kitchen. :) Got lots planned, and you will see them all here and A Spoonful of Happy. :)

A photo of me and my cat Voodoo in my craft room while I was trying
real hard to do something to divert my attention from my aching head and stuffy nose.
As if he knew I was not feeling too good, he jumps on my lap and sits there purring and keeps me company.
It relaxed me. And I started feeling better after that.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

I Should be Doing Something Else... But I am writing this Instead

I have two blog posts in the drafts folder waiting to be finished and published... but here I am writing about something totally different. It has been a beautiful day, and I have been so distracted by how pretty it's been and the overflow of food around here.

Today has been awesome, it actually felt like spring! I was able to open my windows, the hubs grilled, and it was just fun being able to drive with the windows down and the sun roof up... even Iddy [my dog] got to ride with me to the grocery store and it was great to be able to hang out outside with flip flops on.

This is a photo of a magnolia bush/tree in my backyard. Love how the blooms have come
up after the big snow the past weekend and very low temperatures all week.

my clematis has sprouted 
The Hubs
Grilling Burgers

Hope everyone has a wonderful rest of the weekend!

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