Wednesday, September 30, 2009

our last day at FBC Hamilton

**I wrote this back on August 5th but I have been waiting for pictures from this day. **

Our last days in Waco/Hamilton were all very emotional for me. And with all these "last" posts I am remembering our times with sweet friends and I am so thankful that God put these people in our lives and I will always cherish our times with them.

I am a weird emotional person. I cry a lot. Yet, there are times where you would think an emotional person would cry and I do not. Like our wedding day. I did not shed a single tear. Not one. I have cried at every other wedding I have ever attended, even the ones where I didn't know the bride or groom very well. I was so happy, too happy to cry even though I am known to cry when I am happy. I mentioned to John before our last Sunday in Hamilton, "what if I don't cry." I was a little worried, with my history of not crying when I should, that I might not cry on our last Sunday. I realize now it is a VERY silly thing to think about, let alone worry about, but I did.

Ha! Did I cry? You bet I did!!!

My crying started early in the day. I was sitting in a pew during worship rehearsal and my eyes welled up with tears. So I left the sanctuary. I wasn't ready to cry yet. And one by one as I started to see the faces of the people we have been doing ministry with the tears were coming!

I'm not really sure how to describe our last day other than it was really difficult. It was difficult to speak about what they meant to us, difficult to hug those we love, difficult to say goodbye.

last sunday
Just us after the service.

last sunday
John saying a few words.

last sunday
Me trying to say a few words.

last sunday
Lots of new things to hang on our walls.

last sunday
Here is John's "Tom Cruise" face.

last sunday
Gorgeous crystal bowl. Thanks choir! :)

last sunday
John getting hugs from the precious kids.

last sunday
Us with Grant

last sunday
Us with Pat

last sunday
All the staff and wives.

last sunday
John and the accompanists.

Thank you to sweet Saundra for taking pictures of this day. We felt so loved and it was so difficult to say goodbye.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

"Lady's" Weekend!

Lady (a.k.a. my mom) came to visit us this weekend. It was a perfect weekend and just what I needed.

We ate at yummy restaurants, we shopped in fabulous boutiques, we laughed, we talked nonstop, we bought shoes, jewelry and clothes, we toured our town, we drove through a cemetery, we looked through magazines, we went to church, we watched The Office, and we had the best time.

Like I said, it was such a fun weekend. And once again, I forgot to take any pictures. There was just too much fun going on.

I love you Mom! Thank you for such a great weekend!!

Chicken Enchilada Dip

Chicken Enchilada Dip
Lady has been making this dip for years and it is a family favorite. It is so easy and so delicious. We have always served it cold or at room temperature, but John loves it hot also. Either way, it is fantastic and you will love it. Serve this at your next party and everyone will love it!

Chicken Enchilada Dip

Chicken Enchilada Dip
Lady's Recipe

2 cups cooked chicken, shredded
2 (8 ounce) packages light cream cheese, softened
4 green onions, chopped
1 (10 ounce) can diced tomatoes with green chiles
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon chopped cilantro
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon paprika

Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl, and chill for at least 2 hours before serving. Serve with tortilla chips.

Friday, September 25, 2009

our newest purchase...

We bought a beach house!!!


okay, not really.

and I know it it's a dumb joke, but I just had to post a picture of this beautiful beach house we saw when Whitney and Jonathan were in town. It's in Rockport and I'm in love with it.

yes, we stopped the car and I got out with my camera and took a picture of this house.

I am not ashamed.

Fettuccini Bolognese


This was a warm, hearty and comforting pasta dish that is still light and healthy. You can add to or take away what you like or don't like. John actually said that he would have liked more carrots of all things! It was great served immediately, but it was even better the next day. If you are able to, try making this the day before you plan on serving it. Or just know that the leftovers will be even better!


Fettuccini Bolognese
adapted from Ellie Krieger

1 pound fettuccini
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 onion, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
8 ounces mushrooms, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 pound lean ground beef
2 teaspoons dried thyme leaves
2 (14 1/2-ounce) diced tomatoes, undrained
1/4 cup fat-free evaporated milk
Salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup grated Parmesan

Cook the fettuccini according to the directions on the box.

In the meantime, heat the oil in a large skillet over a medium-high heat. Add the onion, carrots, and celery and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the mushrooms and cook for 5 minutes more, stirring occasionally. Add the garlic, ground beef, and thyme and cook until the meat is browned, breaking it up into small pieces as it cooks, about 5 minutes.

Stir in the tomatoes and cook for 5 minutes, or until sauce is thickened. Stir in the milk and cook for 1 minute more. Season with salt and pepper.

When the pasta is done, drain it, put it back in the pasta pot, add the sauce and stir the sauce and pasta together. Put into serving bowls and top with Parmesan cheese.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

We live in Super Mario Land...

We've got a mushroom problem. They are everywhere and grow faster than weeds.

Note: the picture above was taken one night around 8:00 pm, and the picture below was taken the next morning at 8:00 am.
Sometimes when we leave in the morning the grass is clear and when we come home in the evening and the mushrooms have taken over again.

Yes, it's like we live in Super Mario Land.

It was funny at first, now we just want to figure out how to get rid of them! It's not like I can chop them up and saute them with some garlic, thyme and marsala and put them over steak. Nope, that would be bad. Very bad.

Queso, Baby!

STOP! Put down the Velveeta!!!

This is not your normal Velveeta and Rotel dip.


Lady (my mom), sister and I all started with the same recipe of this queso and we each have adapted it to our own liking. You may do the same, but I'm giving you my version to start with. It is fabulous and I know you will like it. It is a little more time consuming that the normal Velveeta and Rotel, but it is so worth it. Try it please.



1 pound breakfast pork sausage
2 tablespoons butter
1 medium sweet onion, chopped
2 cans Rotel (1 hot, 1 original) Do Not Drain
32 ounces American cheese (it is in a blue box near the Velveeta), cut into cubes
1 or 2 cans evaporated milk (I always start with 1 and a half then add more if it needs it)

Brown sausage in a large skillet over medium high heat. Remove from pan and remove drippings. Add butter to skillet and saute onions until tender. Add 2 cans Rotel, cheese and 1 1/2 cans of milk. Turn heat to medium low and stir occasionally until cheese melts. Add more milk if needed.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

a 3D weekend!

I realized about half way through the weekend that I was a bad photographer and did not document anything we had done. And by half way through the weekend I mean at dinner Saturday night. Opps.

Anyway, Susan and Sara (John's mom and sister) came for a visit this weekend and we had a great time catching up with them and and having some good quality time.

We started the weekend with dinner at a hibachi restaurant. Hibachi dinners are always quite the show and event. It is so much fun to see the chef prepare your meal in front of you/entertain you with the same tricks that all hibachi chefs do no matter what city/state you are in.

After dinner we went back to our house for some games (a little Buzz Word and Apples to Apples). We had so much fun and after a very close game - John was winning most of the game - Sara won by one card. Not gonna lie, I was rooting for her, not my husband. Bad wife?

Saturday was full of breakfast at home (apple cinnamon waffles to be exact) a tour of our town, BBQ at a great place downtown, back home to bake coconut cupcakes and rest, a concert in the park downtown and dinner at a great Mexican restaurant.

After dinner we went to see Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs in 3D. It was so good! The book was one of John's favorite books as a kid. And the 3D glasses don't hurt. These pictures were taken with my iPhone once I realized I had not captured the weekend properly.

So thanks Susan and Sara! We had so much fun.

PS: not really sure what John is doing in all these pictures...he's so crazy. That's why I love him.

Monday, September 21, 2009

an amazon surprise

My day last week {see previous post} ended much better than it started. My venti nonfat no whip pumpkin spice latte kicked in around 1:00 (a little late, I know) and my headache was gone.

It was a very busy but good day. We had a luncheon to recruit mentors for the schools and that went very well. It is so fun being a part of an organization that works so hard for students. I love it.

I got home from work completely exhausted though. I had every intention in the world to go to Zumba that night. But when I got in my car after work all I could think about was going home and cooking. The thought of being in my kitchen creating a meal sounded absolutely wonderful and last night would be my only night at home this week.

Rewind, last Sunday I received an email notifying me that my order had been shipped. What order? For the life of me I could not think of anything I had ordered recently. So I logged in to view my orders and there were no recent orders. Weird, so I looked at my orders in the last 6 months and sure enough there it was. On April 19, 2009 I had ordered Dan Brown's new book, The Lost Symbol for John. When I heard about this book coming out I knew he would love it. We listened to The DaVinci Code and Angels and Demons on our way to Santa Fe and Aspen in the summer of 2006. It is definitely John's kind of book. I ordered it because for the first time in about 8 years he could actually do some leisurely reading.

Amazon Surprise
But I totally forgot that I had ordered it! So last Tuesday Mr. UPS man knocks on my door and I was so excited to get my Amazon Surprise wrapped for my man.

John got home and we were having one of his favorite meals (meatloaf and mashed potatoes) and I gave him his present to open.

Amazon Surprise
I'm not going to lie. I never randomly wrap presents for my husband. I don't know if that makes me a bad wife but I'm just keeping it real. So needless to say, I think he was sort of freaked out by my gesture.

I shouldn't say "I think he was sort of freaked out" because he flat out told me, "I'm kind of freaking out."

I don't think presents should do that to people. To his defense, I did tell him the weekend before that when I do get pregnant I am going to tell him in a fun and creative way.

I wonder if deep down he thought I was pregnant?

Texas Sheet Cake

Texas Sheet Cake

Chocolate, pure chocolate. Delicious chocolate. Shameless chocolate. Some people call this "Chocolate Sheet Cake" but here in the great state of Texas it's "Texas Sheet Cake," Baby!

This is Lady's recipe. PS: If you are new to my blog, Lady is my beautiful mom. She has made this fabulous cake for years and it is one of my favorite chocolate cakes ever.

And guess what, it's easy! It doesn't require layers and off-set spatulas and room temperature butter and alternating flour and milk. It's easy, I promise! Oh, and you don't have to wait on anything to cool. Yeah, it's the best.

Make this cake, it is the right thing to do.

Texas Sheet Cake

Lady's Texas Sheet Cake
Lady, my beautiful mom

2 cups sugar
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
8 ounces sour cream
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup butter
1 cup water
1/4 cup cocoa
1 teaspoon vanilla

1/2 cup butter
1/3 cup whole milk
1/4 cup cocoa
1 pound (one box) powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla

For the cake: Preheat the oven to 325. Combine first 4 ingredients in a large bowl; stir in sour cream and eggs.

Melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in 1 cup water and cocoa. Bring to a boil, whisking constantly. Remove from heat. Stir cocoa mixture into the flour mixture and add vanilla. Pour into a greased 15x10 inch jelly roll pan.

Bake at 325 for 20-25 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in the center comes out clean.

For the frosting: Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in milk and cocoa; bring mixture to a boil. Remove from heat. Gradually add powdered sugar, stirring until smooth. Stir in vanilla.

Spread frosting over warm cake and try to resist eating the whole thing.

Enjoy! :)

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

John's Favorite Baked Beans

I'm not sure if calling is recipe "baked beans" is the right thing to do. Really, they are 3 different kinds of beans with lots of bacon (which John has started calling "meat candy") and ground beef.

Baked Beans
Yeah, not so much the normal baked beans recipe! But let me tell you, they are hands down deliciousness. I mean, so good. And here is a little secret, John likes baked beans but he has never loved them. But he loves this recipe so that should tell you something.

Baked Beans
Like I said, they are loaded with bacon, I use thick cut pepper bacon, ground beef (which you can leave out) and 3 different types of beans (you could use just pork and beans and still have great baked beans). But the first time you make these, make them loaded!!

Baked Beans

John's Favorite Baked Beans

1 medium onion, chopped
1 pound ground beef (optional)
15 bacon slices, cooked and crumbled (I use thick cut pepper bacon)
1 1/3 cups firmly packed brown sugar
1 1/2 cups barbecue sauce
2 (15 ounce) can kidney beans, rinsed and drained
2 (15 ounce) can butter beans, rinsed and drained
2 (15 ounce) can pork and beans, undrained
4 tablespoons molasses
4 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon chili powder

Cook onion and, if you want, ground beef in a very large skillet, stirring until meat crumbles and is no longer pink; drain. Stir in bacon and remaining ingredients, and spoon into a lightly greased 13x9 baking dish. I usually make this the night before and chill it at this point.

Bake bean mixture at 350° for 1 hour, stirring once.

nobody puts baby in a corner

Yesteday was a very long day.

It is the kind of day that keeps going and going and going. Sort of like that energizer bunny you want to smash with a hammer.

My goal when I went to bed last night was to fall asleep right away. But that never happens. Especially when you want to fall asleep quickly it seems like your brain cannot shut off.

I wanted to go to bed early so I could get up early and leave the house by 7:00 this morning so I could go to Starbucks and spend some time there before work.

Didn't happen. I still made it to Starbucks but it was about 5 minutes before I had to be at work and I only visited the barista in the drive-thru.

I ordered my usual for this time of year (grande nonfat, no whip pumpkin spice latte) but once I told the drive-thru barista my order I quickly said, "can you make that a venti with an extra shot of espresso?"

Yes, it was that kind of morning. And today is going to be a long day. And I woke up with a headache.

Side note: If the Pumpkin Spice Latte is so popular why on earth do they not make a sugar-free syrup. I hate that I cannot order a Skinny PSL!!!!!

It's going to be a long day, but I am going to make it a good one because nobody puts baby in a corner.

I feel like it's only right to pay tribute to Patrick Swayze.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

"I really wanna play but Tim has cholera!"

You will understand the title of this post in a little bit but it was perhaps the funniest thing I heard this weekend. This weekend was SO.MUCH.FUN! My sister, Whitney, and her husband, Jonathan came in town and we had a blast! (Yes, I married a John, my sister married a Jonathan!)

Whitney and Jonathan live up in the DFW area so by the time they got off work, made their way through the insane-glad-I-don't-live-there-anymore traffic, down I-35, through some small towns, over the river and through the woods to grandmo...sorry I got distracted! They ended up getting to our south Texas town around midnight Friday night. We of course had to chat and catch up so we didn't make it to bed until close to 2:00 am. But no worries, our weekend was completely unstructured so sleeping in on Saturday was a no brainer.

We woke up on Saturday around 10:00 and Whitney and I made a fabulous breakfast of homemade waffles and brown sugar bacon! It was so healthy. We all showered, got ready and headed out the door and down the highway towards the coast.

We arrived in Rockport around 2:30 and went straight for The Boiling Pot. Y'all, seriously. It was an event! And it was one of the best meals we have ever had. We all very much enjoyed ourselves while we feasted on shrimp, crawfish, Blue Crab and King Crab legs, new potatoes, corn on the cob and cajun sausage. Yes, it was heavenly and messy and spicy and SO GOOD!

The Boiling Pot
The Boiling Pot
The best part were the bibs. And because it was such a fancy place they even put the bibs on for us.
The Boiling Pot
The Boiling Pot
The Boiling Pot

We sat outside on the patio and the weather was perfect. There was a very high chance of rain but it held off and couldn't have been better.
The Boiling Pot
The Boiling Pot

The Boiling Pot
The Boiling Pot
The Boiling Pot

Here, a tour of the food if you will. They literally dump a pot of food in front of you and then you just dive in. The bread and butter before our meal was the most civilized part of the meal.
The Boiling Pot
The Boiling Pot
The Boiling Pot
The Boiling Pot
The Boiling Pot

We came, we ate, we conquered.
The Boiling Pot
The Boiling Pot
The Boiling Pot

Oh yeah, before the meal John had to leave our mark.
The Boiling Pot
The Boiling Pot
The Boiling Pot

After our amazing meal we headed to a few very cute boutiques and the guys were champs as they walked with us through the shops. John was the only one who scored anything...he got 2 Tommy Bahama shirts for 75% off...YES!

Around 5:30 the town started shutting down, literally, we wanted to go to a coffee shop but they were closed. So we headed back home.

After we got home the boys watched the USC vs. Ohio State game and Whitney and I went to Wal-Mart to get some butter and a new game. (The butter was to make some oh so tasty Mexican Brownies. Click on over to see the recipe!)

That night we ordered fajitas from our favorite Mexican restaurant here, watched the game and played Buzz Word.

During the game (here is where the title of the post comes in) Whitney started playing Oregon Trail on her Blackberry. It was fine at first because she was able to multi-task but as the trail started getting a little more rocky and people's health was failing she became distracted from the game we were all trying to play. Whitney quickly exclaims, "I really want to play but Tim has cholera!!!" We were rolling because she was so serious! ha!

This morning Whitney and Jonathan came with us to Sunday School and church and then we got a quick lunch afterwards so they could get on the road for their long trip home. It was such a fun weekend and we can't wait for them to visit again soon!

Love you Whit and Jonathan!!!
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