September 22, 2013

Happy Apple Day!

When we moved into our current house a few years ago, we discovered that the man who built the house had planted all sorts of fruit trees.  We have two pear trees, two grape vines, we had a peach tree until someone ran into it with the lawnmower, two tart cherry trees and six apple trees.

This my friends, is a fancy composite image of our six apple trees.  Except it seems I missed the apple tree in the first one and took a picture of the grape vine instead.
Admittedly, we've never done much with them.  The poor dears have been left to grow as if in the wild with no pruning or anything to discourage bugs.  Last year with the drought we didn't get much fruit, but this year we have an overload!  You wouldn't know to look at them that we've had several different families out to pick apples.  One tree is literally falling apart.

That whole big branch on the side there just broke off!
My father decided that we couldn't have people come and pick all the apples and not do anything with them ourselves, so yesterday he went out and picked somewhere along the lines of 50 pounds of apples and today we turned 21 pounds of them into applesauce.

Hurray for apple-peeler-corer-slicers!

We ended up with four jars of regular applesauce and 5 jars of cinnamon - all in all it took us about 3 1/2-4 hours which isn't bad.  

In addition to the applesauce, we made up some chunky cinnamon apple 'stuff', for lack of a better term, to have with our oatmeal tomorrow morning.

Then, because it is after all the first day of autumn as well as the birthday of Bilbo and Frodo, I made a cake.

An apple pie cake, to be exact.   It's a new recipe, but it seems like it'll be delicious!

In the midst of all our productivity, my mom managed to get a burn on her arm from boiling applesauce, my sister accidentally knocked the blender off the counter and broke it (after we were all done, thankfully!) and I knocked over the sugar container and got about three cups of it all over the floor.  But hey, everyone was in a good mood for the whole afternoon so I consider it to be a successful day.

I think the only fitting way to finish up Apple Day is to have a bottle of Red's Apple Ale with... whatever dinner is.  (The meat was bad, so as of right now we don't have dinner.  We'll figure something out.)

Anyone care to join me?

September 20, 2013

Seven Very Quick Takes


These are going to be super quick quick takes as I'm blogging on my lunch break right now.  I'm even going so far as to cheat and make my intro into today's blog post one of the quick takes. I'm resourceful/sneaky like that.


While it may not feel like it outside (it got to NINETY degrees yesterday!!! 90 degress!!!! Thank heavens it was a one day deal and is now 76) I am so excited that pumpkin season has returned!  I'm planning on stocking up on several cans of pumpkin to have on hand for smoothies and baked good and maybe a homemade pumpkin latte or two.


Apparently there are marketing companies out there who like to change their name and sometimes location every year and hire bodies to do their marketing and sales and drive all over creation.  Found that out first hand this week.  Ah well, at least I accidentally applied to the same job twice and after ending up with two identical interviews being scheduled, decided to look into this a little further.


WHY HAVE I NEVER LISTENED TO MICHAEL BUBLE BEFORE???  I grabbed his latest CD on a whim while I was at the library yesterday and AHHH.  Tell me, oh listeners of this fantastic singer, are all of his albums as swing and big band and awesome as this one is?


Have a laugh ^_^  I did!


I had the opportunity to go hear Jason Evert speak the other night.  WOW, what an amazing talk.  He is a very funny, very real and very relateble speaker and I was going to take notes but I couldn't because I was too busy listening.  Most awesome part of the evening?  He had a table of books and CD's and everything was FREE.  It was great.  I quickly grabbed 4 copies of How to Find Your Soulmate without Losing your Soul to give to friends, two copies of If You Really Loved Me, 3 copies of Authentic Manhood and a copy of three different talks.  Hurray for free stuff!


Spell check is always telling me that I'm spelling "hurray" wrong, and that it should in fact be spelled "hurrah".  I disagree.  "Hurrah" is an entirely different sound than "hurray" and now that I'm analyzing them neither one looks even remotely like a word so whatever. I'm going to spell hurray however I want.

September 18, 2013

Twitterature - September 2013

Hurray!  It is that time of the month again.  I missed out on August, but I have a few good titles to share with y'all for September.  For any readers who are new to the wonderfulness that is Twitterature, the tweet length version is: short, casual reviews of the books you've been reading.  Hashtags are welcome.

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

In a small southern town, a man's wife goes missing and his world dissolves into chaos.  This is a dark, mature read but absolutely fascinating and has a pretty epic plot twist half way through. #psychologicalthriller #whateveryoudodon'treadahead!

P.S. I Love You by Cecilia Ahern

Sweet and romantic novel about a young widow coming to terms with her husband's death.  It made me cry.   I have cried while reading maybe one or two other books. #nowIwanttoseethemovie #butI'mafraiditwon'tbeasgood

Rapunzel Let Down by Regina Doman

If you loved the other books in the Fairy Tale Novel series, you will love this one.  However, be prepared for a much more adult tale, following the real story of Rapunzel, not the Disney-fied version.  #beautifulstory #whathappenswhenprincecharmingfalls? #canIbragthatmymomtookthatcoverphoto?

There's No Place Like Here by Cecilia Ahern

Sandy Shortt is neither sandy haired nor short, and she runs a missing persons agency.  That is, until she ends up going missing herself.  A little slow, but a touching story #giveitashot 

Looking for some more book suggestions or want to link up?  Head on over to visit a Modern Mrs. Darcy!

September 17, 2013

Dear Introverts: Please Stop

Let me start off by saying that I myself an am introvert.  Thanks to the internet, I kind of wish I wasn't anymore, but I'm an Introvert and I consider myself fully qualified to vent about this.

Prior to about, oh I want to say six months to a year ago, the words "introvert" and "extrovert" were words that you used occasionally and heard every once in a while but no one particularly cared about.  I remember coming across an article about 10 Myths about Introverts, or something like that, and gleefully reading it to my extroverted mother and sister who often teased me about my "anti-socialness".  It became a family joke that I was going to go "sit in my closet" on a day when I needed to be alone and didn't want to go around people (read - most of the time).

The article stated that introverts make up a small percentage of the world's population, and I enjoyed being a part of a 'different' group.  As much as I like to keep things smooth and peaceful due to my phlegmatic temperament, I'd rather have my own rebellious little quirks rather than do something that everyone else is doing.

Well not any more.  I'm disowning all other introverts and turning in my personality card.

You wouldn't think that introverts are a smaller percentage of the world based on a google search of artitcles by and about introverts.  Or maybe, all the extroverts have lives which leaves the introverts at home to post all over the internet about how great they are and how misunderstood they are and WE ARE AWESOME BECAUSE WE ARE DIFFERENT SO RESPECT THAT when I don't think too many people were disrespectful of the fact in the first place.

Seriously guys, stop.  You are making us look bad.

If the only knowledge I had of introverts was based on the titles and tone of the millions of articles about them all over the web I would draw the following conclusions.  One - they are incredibly self centered.  50 reasons why  introverts are awesome, really?  Two - they are quiet and timid in person but loud and won't shut up once they get behind a keyboard.  Three - they really, really hate extroverts.  Four - extroverts are evil and shallow and introverts are going to be our salvation!

So dear introverts, please stop.  Honestly, I think we are all tired about the endless song of praises that's been streaming for far too long.  No one cares.  Go back to being just another part of society.  Yes, we're different than extroverts but that's okay.  Guess what!  Extroverts are different than us.  We're different, not greater or better.  The world needs both.

September 13, 2013

MM/FF/7QT - A Mash Up of Link Ups

Because I didn't get around to doing these all individually, today I give you:



So first things first.

~ 1 ~
Modest Monday/Quick Take

Yes!  After a week of 90 degrees, today is a glorious 65 and finally feels like fall!

This calls for bright yellows and oranges and greens and pinks and all the colors of the fall tress that haven't arrived yet.  And also taking pictures by the corn.

Jeans - thrifted
Shoes - Payless
Poncho - I've had forever and honestly can't remember
Tank Top - Wal-Mart
Necklace - somewhere in Arizona
Earrings - somewhere in Florida

~ 2 ~
Five Favorites/Quick Take

No, no - I deny it!  I am not a Harry Potter fan, and therefore I am not excited about the fact that J.K. Rowling is going to be writing a film series as a spin off.  No, you do not see me grinning excitedly.  Or inwardly cheering.  Nope. None of those things at all. *wink wink*

~ 3 ~
Five Favorites/Quick Take

Elfspotting.  Yep. That's a thing.  At least it is now that I've come across this comic by the Peckish Owl.  Once you've read that, and come to realize the awesomeness of Elfspotting, go to the first episode of Oakentoons and read through them all. I can promise you, you will regret it if you don't!

~ 4 ~
Five Favorites/Quick Take

What is this gloriousness?  Pumpkin Spice Lattes? At McDonalds? Can I even begin to describe my excitement at this fantastic news?  Or share how much I love pumpkin spice anything and how when it's cheap it's even better?  McDonalds here I come!

~5 ~
Five Favorites/Quick Take

This right here.

Five Favorites/Quick Take

I absolutely love learning about temperaments and personality types.  I think I've read the book The Temperament God Gave You at least three times all the way through, and in pieces more times then that.  I've got the ins and outs of cholerics, melancholics, sanguines and phlegmatic down pretty good.  I'd seen stuff about the Myers-Briggs personalities around for a while but I could never make heads or tails of it.  Then guess what I spent the whole class learning about in Organizational Behavior!  I discovered that I am an ISFJ, and those letters all make so much more sense now.  I might have to do a post about what all the letters mean and such, just because it's so fascinating.  Want to take the test yourself?  Here ya go! 

Quick Take

When I started writing this post, I had a quick take all thought up, but of course I don't remember what it is now!  Hmmm... so... this weather huh?  I don't know what it's been like in the rest of the country, but here in the Land of the Stinking Onions we were in the upper 90s on Tuesday and it's 65 today.  Ugh.  I've had a headache since Monday and felt sickish earlier today, which I did look up and could be weather related - apparently weather fronts coming through can make you feel sick!  Did not know that.  Regardless, the colder weather is here now so I'm hoping that's the end of the headaches.

Want more Quick Takes?  Go visit Jen from Conversion Diary!  Need a few more Five Favorites?  Visit with Hallie at Moxie Wife! Have an awesome modest outfit that you are dying to share? Link up with Grace at My Spare Oom!

September 12, 2013

Follow the Yellow Brick Road

I recently watched The Wonderful Wizard of Ha's (Veggie Tales) for the first time, which is where I think this whole analogy first came from.  Life and the struggles that can suddenly come flying our way has been on my mind lately, and the more I thought about it, the more the Wizard of Oz was a good parallel.

You see, we often set out on a grand adventure, following the yellow brick road and trusting that it will lead us to our dreams.  We really don't know where the road is going, and we have no idea what types of terrain it will go over or areas it will pass through.  We simply know that it's somehow going to lead us to where we want to go.

The road stretches out before us, and for a while the journey seems to be going just great.  We think we've got it all figured out and fulfilling our plans. And then this happens.

Out of nowhere we're grabbed trees that start throwing apples at us.  A green, evil witch shows up and tries to kill us.  We get lost in a field of poppies and almost die.  Life throws us a curve ball that we weren't expecting and we are left trying to figure out how to deal with it.  Sometimes, we make it past the bump in the road and find our way to the Emerald City.  When we get there, it may be that it was all we dreamed of.  At other times, we finally arrive only to discover that what we thought was a great plan is really a humbug hiding behind a curtain. 

The hardest part is that we thought we knew for sure where that yellow brick road was leading.  We asked and we listened and we were confident that that was the direction we were supposed to go.  Then it turns out we were headed the wrong way.  And sometimes, God lets us go the wrong way.  We were confident that we were going where God wanted us to go, because He did want us to go there.  It's just that at the end of the road lies something much different from what we were expecting.

Then comes the painful process of figuring out what we are supposed to do next.  Quite often, it involves going into a dark forest full of flying monkeys and encountering a wicked witch or two that needs to be overcome.  It's hard, and it's lonely, and it's dark.  It's easy to get frustrated and become tempted to give up.

When that happens though, we need to remember that it's always darkest before the dawn.  We might have to melt a witch before we can get back to Kansas.  The point is though, that at some point we will get home.  We'll figure out where it is we're supposed to be and then we can click our heels until we get there.  

We can't know where exactly the yellow brick road is going before we get there, yet once we're there, we'll realize that it's exactly where we need to be.  We may not understand why we had to go down the wrong road or go through the things we went through, but it will become clear that God was leading us all along.

September 6, 2013

Seven Quick Takes - It's been a LONG time! OR Things I LOVE

It has been a very long time since I linked up with Jen over at Conversion Diary for a 7QT, so here it goes!

Can you believe that summer is already coming to an end?  I don't know about the rest of the country, but here in Illinois it never really got that hot - other than about two weeks - so it just didn't feel like summer for most of the time.  Kind of like a prolonged warm weather period that didn't really feel like any season.  I do love, love, love fall however, and I'm so excited that it's just around the corner!  I'm ready for scarves and sweaters and hot tea.  If I could find a place where it was fall at least 90/80% of the year with a bit of spring/summer and winter to change things up a little, I would move there in a heartbeat.

Four words.  Free. month. trial. Netflix.  Ah!  I'm loving it.  The videos load so fast and it doesn't have a huge negative impact on our internet.  I wish I had more than one card, because then that way I could do another month free trial and I'm currently to cheap to actually sign up.  Le sigh.  I shall enjoy it while it lasts, with the hope of signing up for an account somewhere down the road.

Most common question of the moment: How are your classes going?  Answer: Great!  I have two classes that meet only once a week on Tuesdays, and so far that's working very well with my work and life schedule.  I'm taking Sales and Convention Management (pretty interesting) and Organizational Behavior which I LOVE.  (I should call this the 7QT of things I love).  It's so fascinating and fun, and the class dynamic is GREAT.  10 of us, and we're all girls.  It's pretty awesome.


My good friends (Who are - surprise! - twins. Bet you never saw that coming), just recently published an e-book full of recipes for baking - GLUTEN FREE.  Not only that, but they tell you HOW TO MAKE YOUR OWN FLOUR.  I haven't made any of the recipes yet myself, but I've gotten to taste some of the test runs and you wouldn't even know it was gluten free.  Very awesome, and currently it is FREE on Amazon!  Today is day 3 of the five day giveaway, so hurry on over there and download it for your Kindle/Nook/tablet/Kindle reader app on your computer.

And now I don't know what else to QT about, so I'll go finish my episode of Psych on Netflix while I think. Which apparently I had only just started.  That's right, that was the other one that I was half way through that I finished the other day.  Psych is awesome.  I have a personal theory that in another life, Shawn was Sherlock Holmes (psychic detective = consulting detective/high functioning sociopath), Gus was Doctor Watson (pharmacist = doctor), Lassie was Lestrade (head detective = head detective), Henry was Mycroft (dad, taught Shawn all he knows = older brother, just as brilliant) and I'm not quite sure where Jules fits in.

As a new twenty-one year old, I am slowly increasing my knowledge of alcoholic beverages.   (One of the things on my to-do list is get a bartenders licence just because and with no real intention to ever use it.)  I've decided that I am a definite margarita fan, beer floats are awesome (think root beer floats without the root), and these are just plain amazing. (Shall I say - I love these!)

I tried one for the first time at a friend's house the other weekend, and became an instant fan.  Also, try it as a float.  It's like apple pie that you can drink!

Keeping with that train of thought, a conversation with my sisters this morning went from popular names, to what I'll name my kids, to weird things I'd name my kids to having a pack of Huskies named Miller, Sangria, Jack Daniels, Captain Morgan, Heineken, Leinenkugel, Mike and a Pomeranian Husky  named Bud Lite.  I LOVE this idea!

And that's all for today kids!  If you can't get enough of awesome Quick Takes, head on over to Conversion Diary!  

September 5, 2013

Modest Monday: Colorful and Casual

Joining in on the Modest Monday party?  Link up with Grace at My Spare Oom!


Today I wanted something comfortable, something I wouldn't mind wearing as I worked my receptionist job and for hanging around the house once I got home.  So I picked my go-to comfy and fun maxi-dress.

Dress: Wal-Mart
Sweater: Khols
Earrings: Charming Charlie
Necklace and Watch: Gifts
Shoes: Payless Shoe Source

I usually end up wearing a brown sweater over this dress to make it office appropriate, but today I was looking for something a little more colorful and borrowed my sisters magenta sweater.  I threw on a pair of shiny gold hoops and pendant to complete the look.

When I'm in the office, closed toe shoes are the policy (sigh... I love wearing sandals in the summer), but tonight I'm heading out to a Young Adult group.  Goodbye closed shoes and hello jeweled sandals!

September 4, 2013

Five Favorites - Country Music edition

I'm clicking through my recent country favorites on YouTube, so I thought - why not do a Five Favorite Country Songs?

Night Train by Jason Aldean.  I was actually thinking of Runnin' Out of Moonlight by Randy Houser when I looked this one up (the lyrics of the latter are something like "let's go on a night ride"), which worked out because then I remembered that I like this song too!  Gotta love Jason's voice, and actually now that he mentions it... watching and listening to the trains at night does sound kinda fun and romantic in an offbeat kind of way.  

Mine Would Be You by Blake Shelton.  It's Blake Shelton.  Need I say anymore?  Also, such a sweet song.  Until the end... when it's kinda sad and bittersweet.  But still, great song.

I'm not quite sure what it is about Redneck Crazy by Tyler Farr that I connect with so much, but I do.  I love how well he expresses the pain and emotion and frustration of the lyrics through his voice, and I can't help but turn the volume up when this one comes on the radio and sing along.

Hey Girl  by - no, not by Ryan Gosling - Billy Currington.  So fun and flirty and just - ah!  Love his voice.  Which I say about pretty much all male country singers, but really, I do love Currington's voice.  The opportunity has not yet arisen, but I feel like this would be a great song to dance to.

Crash My Party by Luke Bryan.  Now really girls, who out there doesn't dream of having a guy who lets you know that he's going to be there for you, no matter what.  Doesn't matter where he is or what he's doing, if you need him he'll come running.  My romantic side loves this song and gets a huge smile when it comes on.

So that's that! For more awesome Five Favorite link ups, head on over to Moxie Wife!