What I'm Into: October 2014

Friday, October 31, 2014

This is one of my favorite posts over at Anne's blog. I decided to start doing it over here and it turns out it's also a link up over at Leigh's blog. So...What I'm Into part one is here! 

October 23, 2014

Aside from a few lonely Sundays, October did not disappoint me at all. I've been taking a poetry class through Coursera, I accidentally blogged every single weekday this month, and we've had lots and lots of rain. We've got a routine going. We're home most nights for dinner. I've stayed on top of the laundry.

It's fall and we're doing just fine!

What I'm Watching

This month I've been into Once Upon a Time. Season 1 got me hooked. Season 2 almost made me quit until about half way through it. And Season 3 has been my favorite. I've been watching the current season with my brother and sister.

I've also been cheating and watching Downton Abbey with everyone in the UK. I'm not going to offer any spoilers...but I'm really looking forward to rewatching it with all of you so that we can talk about it come January!

The other night we watched Invictus. I love historical, sports related films. And Morgan Freeman. It was pretty good over all.

September 17, 2014

In the Kitchen

Fall is by far my favorite time for cooking. A few weeks ago I had a bunch of recipes in my head, so I jotted them down. It turned into a meal planning session that resulted in two weeks worth of meals planned all at once. It's been wonderful!

I tried these three recipes: New England Bar Pizza, Beef Stew, and Butterscotch Blondies.

My thoughts on these new recipes:  I've made the pizza twice now and the Beef Stew will be a staple as long as the weather is cold. I've always wanted to like Blondies, but I just don't.

Other favorites were Cinnamon Raisin Bread and Brownies (straight from a box).

October 26, 2014

 What I'm Reading

I picked up my first Shauna Niequist book. I wasn't disappointed!

I finally read "By Searching" by Isobel Kuhn after hearing about it from Darlene for years. It's going on my FAVORITES list.

And I also read Agatha Christie's Autobiography which paired well with Kuhn's book and the general mood of my Fall Reading List. It's another 5 star book for sure!

October 25, 2014

On the Blog

You become what you behold. 

Contemplating Heaven: When You Don't, What It Is, Why We Must, and How To Keep Setting Your Hope In God.

My sister got a post all to herself!

Food Should Taste Good: Savory OR Sweet 

Thoughts On an Ordinary Tuesday. 

Fall Fun at the Corn Maze

I Found a Poem I Love and several of you were surprised to find that you loved it too! 


The Sea of Waiting (where Victoria finally talks about singleness)

Thursday, October 30, 2014

There has been a lot of talk about singleness in the blog world lately. Singleness is a label that will be applied to everyone at some time during their life.

The Church tells us it’s a blessing, something we shouldn’t rush through.

The rest of the world tells us to live it up and do our own thing as long as it makes us happy.

All along the way though, there is an assumption that most likely, at some point, we’ll all grow up and settle down. The general consensus is that singleness is a “season” and one that will eventually come to an end.

I have a lot of girl friends who are single despite a serious desire to have a great guy in their life. These are wonderful, beautiful women that would make great wives and mothers. For whatever reason, they are scattered around the world single as single can be. And they’re doing their best to remain “content”, but it’s HARD.

If you’re reading this, you’re probably fighting that fight today. And if that’s not true of you, you’ve experienced the endless sea of waiting before. I want you to know that I always read your posts, I hear your heart aching for the things that God designed you to do and to be as woman, and I hurt for you.

I have my own words for you today…Words that I hope will shape your prayers and maybe even change the way you wait.

First of all, this might shock you, but I don’t really share your longing. That’s why I usually just listen when you talk. Would I love to be a wife to a godly man and a mother to countless kids? Absolutely! However, as I look out over the sea that is my life, I’m not looking for land or another ship, I’m simply trusting the wind in my sails.

I spent the latter half of my teen years studying Biblical womanhood and family life. I grew very excited about God’s special plans for men and women and families. It’s so beautiful! You know this. That’s why you want to be married. That’s why you want a good guy. That’s why you haven’t “settled”.

Before we go on, I want you to know that this is not another post about contenment.

I’m writing today to remind you that God is faithful and sufficient. I’m writing to remind you that marriage isn’t just marriage. I’m writing to remind you that there’s a lot to learn from this sea of waiting.

During my own time of singleness, I’ve come face to face with the brokeness of this world. At times, I’ve allowed it to overwhelm me into places of depression, fear, and serious anxiety. When the fog of my own finiteness clears, I begin to see the hand of God and the foolishness of human hearts.

I'll say it again. I don't share your longing for marriage.

It’s not that I’m fiercely independent. Or that I hate men. Or that I have career goals. Or that I love being single. Or that I can’t stand children.

It’s not that I’ve mastered the art of contentment or that I think singleness is better than marriage.

It IS that I love God so deeply and that I long for my life to be spent in service to Him . It’s that I want to have a home that serves as a place of redemption and healing in the neighborhood that surrounds it. It’s that I want everything in my life to be in submission to God. It’s that I want to raise children who have parents who are so commited to God and to each other that faith becomes real, because it is real.

It’s that I’ve read the Scriptures and I know that marriage makes me responsible to submit to the man I marry and to raise children in the fear and admonition of the Lord.

Being in a marriage with a man that doesn’t completely share this dedication would be deveastating. Raising children with such a man would send me into such a deep pit that it makes my heart ache just thinking about it.

Have you ever looked up submit in the dictionary? It is definied this way: “to commit to the discretion or decision of another.”

I’m not longing for marriage because I don’t take submission lightly.  If I marry a man, I will submit to him. I don’t want to put myself in a situation where submission is any harder than it has to be. I don’t want to put my children in a position where their father and our home are things they want to escape.

I’m not longing for marriage because my naivety wore off long ago. I realize that by getting married I’m subjecting myself and my children to the discretion and decision of antoher.

I’m going to be bold and say that I need a man who takes submission seriously. I’ll know that he does because he will be a man that has first submitted himself to the discretion and decision of God.

That’s the kind of man that would make me long for marriage...Until then, my empty ring finger is a constant source of great joy. (Just ask my Mom.) 

I'm not longing for marriage because such men are hard to come by. Remaining unmarried is far better than finding myself married to a man that is not all of these things.  

That said, I’ve learned a lot from the sea of waiting, namely, that it really isn’t so bad after all.

I believe that singleness ins’t mainly about contentment, but rather, wisdom. Wisdom tells us to set our hope in God and to share that hope with everyone around us.

Someday you may find yourself married to a godly man. You may find yourself with a house full of children. I'll thank God with you when that day comes!

 Earlier I said that this wasn’t a post about contentment. Now, I’ll say that it IS a post about warning.

Don’t waste the sea of waiting.

Do set your hope in God and seek His wisdom.

Don’t long so hard for companionship that you make foolish decisions and spend the rest of your life paying for them. You won’t pay for them alone.

Let your longing for companionship take you to the One who is your most faithful Companion for all of eternity.

Lastly, if a godly man pursues you, join him in making God famous.  But first, make sure he’s actually walking with God. Your children will thank you.

Let’s be women who fear the Lord and live like it, whatever station we find ourselves in! 

I’d love to chat with you, 
especially on the days when 
the struggle is at its worst,
 so e-mail me anytime! 

ps - Please know that I am not saying that you are wrong to long for marriage. I am not inferring that you are not longing for marriage to the type of man that I have described. I'm just telling you what singleness and the wrecked marriages around me have taught me! :) 

Let's Bake: Cinnamon Raisin Quick Bread

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Last winter, I made it my goal to try out recipes using things that I always have on hand. There were coffee cakes, cinnamon rolls, quick breads, muffins, and even a few "fancy" cakes. It turns out, these are great recipes for last minute potluck preparations.  

One of my favorite recipes that I discovered last winter came from the Taste of Home website. Cinnamon Raisin Quick Bread has been very popular at my house this fall. I make it one loaf at a time. 

Let's get to it!

Gather our ingredients...It's the usual cast of characters! Measure out the dry ingredients and get some cheaters' buttermilk going. Just in case you're not familiar with cheaters' buttermilk, let me explain. You take regular milk and lemon juice and let it sit and you've got something that acts exactly like buttermilk in baking.

The exact trick when you need 1 cup of buttermilk is to put 1 Tablespoon of lemon juice into a measuring cup and then add enough regular milk to make it to the 1 cup mark.

This picture is totally unnecessary, but it's so pretty, I couldn't leave it out.

Now that our "buttermilk" has had some time to get it together, let's add the egg, oil, and vanilla. Give it a good stir.

Combine the wet with the dry.

Stir just until moistened. I added a splash more milk because my batter looked a bit too dry.

Sprinkle with raisins and fold them in very gently. Since we're telling secrets...I don't really like raisins or nuts in my baked goods. This bread is the exception. Add the raisins. 

Let the batter rest while we mix the cinnamon and sugar in a separate bowl.

Transfer half of the batter into a greased loaf pan. Sprinkle with half of the cinnamon and sugar mixture. Add the rest of the batter. Sprinkle with the remaining cinnamon sugar.

It's almost time to pop it into the oven. But first, we take a butter knife and drag it through the batter to create pretty swirls of cinnamon sugar. Make sure you go all the way to the bottom of the batter!

It's ready for the oven!!!

I like to listen to audiobooks, podcasts, and sermons while I cook. Today called for a little audiobook time. Do you have a favorite audiobook?

The bread will rest for 10 minutes on a cooling rack and THEN we remove it from the pan.

I dig into it right away and then wrap the rest in cling wrap. I store it in the bread drawer.

This bread makes perfect toast. Add a little butter and you're all set! You should also know that after a week or so (if you have any left by then), it makes my favorite ever french toast.

Cinnamon Raisin Quick Bread 
slightly adapted from Taste of Home

2 c flour
3/4 c sugar
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt

1 c buttermilk
1 egg
1/4 c vegetable oil
3/4 tsp vanilla

1/4 c raisins

1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 c sugar


Combine flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl.

Whisk together buttermilk, egg, vegetable oil, and vanilla in a separate bowl. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients, mixing just until moistened. If batter looks too dry, add a little more milk.

Fold raisins into batter. In a separate bowl, combine cinnamon and sugar.

Spoon half of batter into loaf pan, sprinkle with half of the cinnamon and sugar mixture. Add rest of batter, top with rest of cinnamon sugar. Cut through batter with a butter knife to create a swirl.

Bake at 350 for 55 - 60 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean and bread is nice and brown.

Let cool on a cooling rack for 10 minutes. Remove bread from pan and allow to continue cooling.  Once cool, wrap in cling wrap and store at room temperature.

Makes 1 Loaf

The Brain Within Its Groove

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

October 27, 2014

The Brain, within its Groove
Runs evenly --and true--
But let a Splinter swerve--
'Twere easier for You--

To put a Current back--
When Floods have slit the Hills--
And scooped a Turnpike for
And trodden out the Mills--

Emily Dickinson

A mind IS powerful. If it gets away from you, it is an ugly beast. Unstoppable almost.

Dickinson is content to leave it at that, but her words caused me to continue. The problem of the wicked mind running away and dragging us with it is the real problem behind so much of our anxiety and fear and anger.

 Reading about Zelda Fitzgerald and Isobel Kuhn and even Agatha Christie has let me in on a little secret - I'm not alone in the games my mind plays on me.

I'm not the only one who finds myself very discouraged. I'm not the only one who has times when it seems that the darkness is so overwhelming, there is no way around it. I'm not the only one who looks out at this life and realizes that for all the good, there is a lot of BAD.

I know the power of my mind when it escapes from its groove. I also know the agony that follows.

The best course of action is to not let our minds get away. We must do all that we can to keep them in their groove. Even a fleeting thought, a splinter, and you could be in for yet another "ride". 

What our mind needs is the Word of God working in us by the grace of God and the power of the Holy Spirit. Only this Word can remind us of the truth and direct our minds to stay on course. 

Are you into poetry? What's your favorite poem?

Do the words of this poem ring true for you? 

Do you battle fear and anxiety? 

I might be back next Tuesday 
with a few more thoughts on this.
In the meantime, let's chat! 

The Scenic Route: We Made It

Monday, October 27, 2014

Over the weekend, we finally made it to the pumpkin patch! It was a perfect fall day with a a mix of rain and sunshine. We worked our way through the corn maze, my brother and sister used the apple sling shots, we meandered through the orchard, drank hot apple cider, and ate a few pumpkin donuts (which my sister won by shooting an apple through the middle of a donut shaped target)!

The corn maze is by far my favorite. I love trying to find your way around, ending up right back where you started, and running into people that have gotten themselves in the same mess you're in. There's just something about vacationers that turn an ordinary place into somewhere special...That same magic happens in a corn patch full of people all bundled up and ready for a little bit of fun.

The day ended with the sighting of a rainbow. As we were looking at it we realized that we could see the whole thing and then that there were two. As people were rushing to get into their cars because of the rain, I walked until I could get both ends into a picture with my camera. A lady walked up behind me with a camera of her own and said, "I love it when it's like this!"

Me too, lady! Me too.

 I love days spent with my family. I love corn mazes and cider and donuts and contests and rainbows. These are some of the good gifts that God gives us. Let's thank Him!

How was your weekend?

Did you make it to a pumpkin patch this October?

A Cookbook From Our Favorite Baker

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Surely you've all heard of Joy the Baker by now! It's no secret that I love Joy. I have been reading her blog for the longest time and I talk about her as if she lives next door. Let's be honest, I definitely wish that she did.

When Joy's latest cookbook, "Homemade Decadence", came in the mail, I was excited to have it in my hands, but even more excited that it's a sign that Joy gets to keep doing what she loves. I'm so glad that she gets to do all of this baking for a living and that she chooses to blog her way through it.

This cookbook has some of the best pictures. I may be biased, but I really do love it! I was planning to sit down and mark down the recipes that I want to try out....but then I realized that I'd rather just grab this book on days when I feel like baking and whip something up because it looks good in that moment.

I think you'll find yourself wanting to do the very same thing!

This last Wednesday was one of those days. It was rainy and cold and dinner was in the crock pot. I had remembered seeing a recipe for Chai Tea Lattes in the book, so I pulled it out and got started.

My sister (who recently got into chai tea) came back from her piano lesson just as I was putting the milk on...She thought I saw her coming and decided to make her a drink. I WISH that's what I was doing, but it wasn't.

Needless to say, I added more milk! My sister had hers straight, without any coffee added. I had mine with the coffee, exactly as Joy suggested.

I used to work at a coffee shop where they had chai to rave about. Joy's chai is even better than that! It's strong and smooth and exactly what you want. I never thought to make chai this way, but I'm never going back. The trick is going to be NOT making it every single day.

My sister and I sat in the living room doing our own things while sipping on what is most definitely our new favorite drink...The rain kept coming and dinner kept cooking. I've e-mailed  Joy to ask her about sharing the recipe, so I'll share it as soon as I get the okay!

In the meantime, get your copy of Homemade Decadence HERE.

* I was provided with a review copy of this book by Blogging for Books. All thoughts are my own honest opinion.

Dessert Made Simple

Friday, October 24, 2014

As you all know, I love baking sweet treats for anyone who will eat them! However, sometimes unexpected occasions pop up. A friend drops by for coffee or maybe it's 7pm and you're in the mood for a little sweet snacking while you watch the latest episode of your favorite show.

My point is, sometimes, you need a sweet treat and you need it fast.

Food Should Taste Good comes to the rescue with these Kettle Corn tortilla chips. I know what you're thinking, but let me tell you, these chips are perfect. They are for those of us who love a mix of sweet and salty.

Pair them with a little homemade chocolate glaze and they are fancy enough to serve to guests. If you're looking for my recipe for this glaze, I'll share another secret, it's actually the glaze that goes on THIS cake.

It's getting colder and the days are growing shorter. I'm ready for movie nights in and games on Sunday afternoons. Winter living calls for plenty of snacking.

Whether you're looking for sweet or savory, Food Should Taste Good has a product line with all kinds of varieties. They have you covered!

Be sure to subscribe to their newsletter for the latest in recipes, deals, and fun. You can also find them on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and Twitter.

*This post was sponsored by Food Should Taste Good. All thoughts are my own honest opinion.

The Circle: October

Thursday, October 23, 2014

When Kiki announced that this month's theme for The Circle would be BOOK related, I knew it was going to be a lot of fun! I've read a lot of great books this year and I'm excited to find out what all of you have been reading as well!

I don't expect you to read every word of this post. I decided to provide some short reviews so that you could know more about any book that caught your eye!

-Book of The Year-


Women of the Word by Jen Wilkin // It's no secret...I loved this book! If you're looking for a step-by-step guide as to HOW TO study the Bible, this is your ticket. I want everyone that I know to read it. This is by far the most helpful book that I have ever read on Bible study and it has changed my entire approach to my daily time in God's Word.

-Just Finished-

via / via

Call Me Zelda by Erika Robuck // Robuck is famous for her fictional biographies. As far as I can tell, she does her homework very well and tries hard to tie in as many pieces of reality as are available. I picked up this book because it seemed perfect for fall and I've really wanted to know more about the Fitzgeralds and specifically, Zelda. This book was moving and eye opening. Tragedy and suffering can accomplish so much and for this couple, the accomplishment came out in words.

By Searching by Isobel Kuhn // This is Isobel's autobiography and it covers her life through her late teens and into her 20's. Raised Christian, she spent much of this time trying to determine whether or not she was going to live by faith. I love hearing about people's journeys, especially after they've come out on the other side of the tough stuff. She turned 20 in 1921. I kept having to remind myself that this woman was facing the world when she did. Paired with the other books I've been reading, this book has opened my eyes to the way things were for "everyday" people back then.


via / via

An Autobiography by Agatha Christie // Christie was born in 1890. For all you Downton fans, that puts her right around the age of Lady Mary! This book has been fantastic. It reads like an eyewitness account of life in the early 1900's. It's less about Agatha and more about everything that was going on around her. Writers will love it because she talks a lot about her influences as a writer.

Save Me the Waltz by Zelda Fitzgerald // I am a huge F. Scott Fitzgerald fan. After reading Robuck's book I knew I had to read Zelda's novel too. I didn't plan to spend my fall reading about women of the early 1900's, but that's the way it worked out and I'm intrigued. I have been taking my time with Zelda's work mainly because I don't want it to end. 

 -Up Next-

Something from THIS list.

-Childhood Favorites-

  via / via / via

Good Morning, Muffin Mouse by Lawrence Di Fiori // If I remember the story correctly, my Mom saw to it that we had several copies of this book. We read it everyday and sometimes several times a day. I'm sure she'll comment with some of the lines...I remember enjoying it because things were orderly and predictable and sure. As it happens, mornings are pretty much my favorite. 

Charlotte's Web by E.B. White // This is the very first chapter book that I ever read. I was in 2nd grade and filled with excitement as I set out to read a book that so many had read before me. I related to Fern and have always looked back on this book and her story with fondness. 

The Face on the Milk Carton by Carolyn B. Cooney // This is the very first series that I got HOOKED on. I was in 5th grade when I found this book in the library and realized that Cooney had a whole shelf of books to work my way through. Shortly after that, it showed up on TV. I got my friends into the series and then my Mom and years later she even bought a copy of the last installment of the series when it was realized. I've tried to read that last book several times, but I never actually have because I don't want the series to be "over"! 

-Deserted Island-

The Reformation Study Bible // This is my closest companion and I couldn't imagine being on a deserted island without it! I'd probably spend a lot of time in the Psalms and Ruth and Isaiah and Ephesians. Deserted island or not, somethings don't really change. 

-Favorite Author-

One last author that deserves attention is Mary Higgins Clark. She is by far my favorite author. She is famous for writing mysteries that are intriguing, challenging, and clean. My favorites are "Remember Me", "A Mount Vernon Love Story" and "Kitchen Privileges: A Memoir". Honestly, any of her books are enjoyable! 

I'd love to hear about your favorite books and authors!

Be sure to link up with Kiki and her co-host Anne for this month's edition of The Circle.

Fall Etsy Swap Reveal

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Last fall AMY and MEGAN hosted their first ever Etsy Swap. I absolutely love taking part in blogger swaps, but since I had just done the mug swap, I had to wait. Then, they announced that they would be doing another one in the spring and I made sure to sign up (you can read about that HERE). They're at it again!

* * * * *

On September 22, I found out that Brittney over at The Yellow Umbrella was my partner.  I looked through pretty much every post on her blog (admitting that is definitely weird), clicked around on her pinterest, and studied her shop

Whenever I've taken part in blogger swaps, my partner always ends up reminding me of someone I know. Shopping for Brittney was pretty much just like shopping for my sister. In other words, it was super fun!

Here's what I sent: 

* Yellow pencil pouch from Jane Hayden Designs - Brittney LOVES yellow and this is really cute and practical.

* Owl notepad from boygirlparty - Brittney mentioned that she liked owls and that her style was bright and modern.  I love notepads but almost never buy them for myself, so I thought this might be fun.

Note card set from wit & whistle - I thought that these fit Brittney's "eclectic" side and would be perfect for any occasion. 

* French Roast and Blueberry Cobbler Coffee from New England Coffee - My Mom suggested adding some coffee to Brittney's package. The French Roast was in honor of her love of Paris and the Blueberry Cobbler was because the people who introduced me to New England Coffee claim that as their favorite special blend.

Brittney, I hope you enjoy your goodies as much as I enjoyed shopping for them! I'll admit, I went through a bit of frustration hunting for the last few items to (the cards and owl notepad were the last to be ordered), but once the package came together I decided that it was PERFECT.

* * * * * 

On October 8th, I received my package and found out that it was Krista (be sure to check out Krista's shop HERE) who had been "stalking" me! She included a really sweet note with all of the goodies and did an EXCELLENT job on her mission to find things that I would love. 

It just so happens that the mail that day was EXTRA awesome, because I also got a letter from my Post to Post pen pal, Amy

In the note that she sent along, Krista explained that she noticed how much I love books and reading so she decided to do a book theme. She did a great job at her homework!

Look at all the purple, and the pens and pencils, and the paper, and that pencil pouch! Everything right down to that little pumpkin pin brought a smile to my face!

How about some close ups?

The shops featured in my package were: Silke Jacobs and Meow Kapow. I don't know where the Fortune Fish came from, but my Mom knew exactly what to do with it. We had laughs with it right away and Krista even admitted to playing with it before she sent it my way!

Krista, thanks again for putting together a package full of things that I would love! I hope you had as much fun with the Etsy Swap as I did. :)

Amy and Megan, you're both awesome for putting this swap together and answering our questions along the way! Thank you hardly seems like enough for all the the time and work that goes into hosting a swap. :)

* * * * *

And since you're all here, I wanted to highlight one more shop before you go! My friend Monica from Prince Snow Farm recently threw a giveaway featuring items from her Etsy shop and I WON! 

 If you are looking for QUALITY cards that come with the cutest packaging and beautiful images on the front, you'll want to get them from Monica!

Thank you, Monica! They're gorgeous. :)