Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Chocolate Cake in Heaven?

I am pretty sure that if they have chocolate cake in heaven, my sweet daddy, who would be 62 today, is eating a huge piece with Jesus. I miss him, but I am so thankful for all the birthdays where I was the one who was blessed to be eating lots and lots of chocolate with my Daddy.

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Thursday, December 2, 2010

Psalm 100

Is it really the 2nd day of December? Where did Fall go? I am so excited for the Christmas season. I am loving turning on our gas logs every night, and enjoying drinking apple cider, and am thrilled to pull out the holiday decorations! I will have to post a few Christmas decoration photos soon, but first I need to share the last of my Fall pictures. Jay and I got to spend a little time exploring our new home, and let me tell you there were some beautiful Fall colors here in waynesboro!
"Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth worship the Lord with gladness; come before Him with Joyful songs."
"Know that the Lord is God. It is He who mad us, and we are His; we are His people, the sheep of His pasture."
"Enter His gates with Thanksgiving and His courts with praise; give thanks to Him and praise His name."
"For the Lord is good and His love endures forever; His Faithfulness continues through all generations." -psalm 100

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Monday, November 22, 2010

a really yummy fresh apple cake & easy homemade icing

I'm still on an apple kick. They're just so stinkin delicious :)

I found this recipe in Southern Living and loved the way it turned out! Super easy as well...

Fresh Apple Cake
2 Cups Chopped Pecans
1/2 Cup Butter, Melted
2 Cups Sugar
2 Large Eggs
1 tsp Vanilla
2 cups all-purpose Flour
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp Salt
1 tsp Baking Soda
4 Large Granny Smith Apples

Preheat oven to 350 and bake Pecans in a single layer for 5 - 7 min or until lightly toasted & fragrant. Stir together butter, sugar, eggs, & vanilla until blended. Combine flour, cinnamon, soda, & salt. Add to butter mixture, stirring until blended. Peel & chop apples into1/4 inch-thick wedges. Stir in apples & 1 1/4 cup pecans. Batter will be very thick. Spread into a greased 13 x 9 inch pan, and bake @ 350 for 45 min. Cool completely before covering w/ Browned-Butter Frosting & remaining pecans.
I got a little excited about icing the cake and thought midway through i might should show you what the cake looked like plain, because it would be a wonderful without the icing as well!

Browned Butter Frosting
1 cup Butter
1 16oz package powdered sugar
1/4 Cup Milk
1 tsp Vanilla

Cook Butter in a small saucepan over medium heat, stirring constantly for 6 - 8 minutes, or until butter begins to turn golden brown. Remove pan from heat & pour butter into a small bowl. Cover & chill 1 hour,or until butter begins to solidify. Beat Butter at medium speed until fluffy. Gradually add powdered sugar, alternating w/ milk (Beginning & ending with sugar. Beat Mixture at low speed until well blended after each addition. Stir in Vanilla.
The Final product!

Enjoy this beautiful Fall Monday.

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Wednesday, November 17, 2010

A girls weekend in Boston with Mama!

Mom and I had a really fun girls weekend in Boston a few weeks ago. We made the trek north for Ben's game when Clemson played Boston College. Football has been the best excuse for traveling to lots of fun places over the past few years. I can't believe its all about to come to a close (only 2 more games for Benny!) Here are a few of the snapshots of our trip.....
We had BEAUTIFUL fall weather our first afternoon in Boston. Mom and I stayed in Cambridge and decided to walk along the Charles River to Harvard. There were rowers everywhere.... and I though of you Miss Sovik :)
Isn't my mama pretty? I think so!
One of the entrances into Harvard's campus. It was a gorgeous campus!
Sunset over the river... and a little experimenting with the lighting on my camera...
After our first afternoon the weather turned much, much more chilly, and we were thankful we had spent the warm afternoon outside
The Boston Skyline
Revolutionary War Ship: The USS Constitution, aka "Old Ironsides"
Paul Revere House.... they had 16 kiddos in there!?!!
Faneuil Hall
The Old State House, where the Declaration of Independence was read for the first time
Home of The Boston Red Sox!
We ate Lunch at Cheers, where everyone knows your name
My sweet friend Courtney! Her brother plays for clemson too, and she and her family have been such an encouragement to mom and me over the past 2 football seasons.
Love that #78 ... offensive line praying together before the game
Mama and Benny and Me! I'm a lucky girl to have these two :)

off to winston salem this weekend for the 2nd to last Clemson Game for my #78!

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Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Shutterfly Christmas Cards

Jay and I have sent out Christmas cards and a Christmas update letter both of our married years together, and I definitely plan to do it again this year. I love to receive holiday cards with photos and letters from our friends and family, and it is such a great way to keep in touch with people that you don't get to see very often. Plus, its always fun to get regular old snail mail :)

I saw on my sweet, and very talented friend Lisa's Blog that Shutterfly has their own Holiday Cards. They are so cute, and very convenient to simply design at home and order from your computer. I am a big fan of the flat photo cards found here:http://www.shutterfly.com/cards-stationery/flat-photo-cards .

Shutterfly also has great New years cards which is a unique and fun alternative to the original red and green Christmas card. They are found here:http://www.shutterfly.com/cards-stationery/new-years-cards/new-years-cards .

Another tradition I have started with my dear mama is giving her a calendar for Christmas each year full of photos of the past year. (I also always sneak a few in from way back in the day.) It is a great holiday gift that you can enjoy all year long. I really like Shutterfly's designs for their calendars found here:http://www.shutterfly.com/calendars/wall-calendars .

I can't believe the holidays are right around the corner! If you are a blogger find out how you can get free holiday cards to show off your family :)

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Saturday, November 6, 2010

My Love for Apple Pie

I LOVE apple pie. I love all sweets, but hot, fresh, homemade apple pie is definitely one of my favorite things. Ever.

Its been a couple weeks now, but Jay and I spent a beautiful Sunday afternoon picking apples up at Carter Mountain Orchard near Charlottesville, VA. We had a much better, much safer experience compared to last year when mom & I were attacked by 20 some enraged hornets. That was a very painful, very swollen apple picking experience that involved me running through the orchard in my bra to escape the nasty swarm of apple tree loving hornets. Luckily for my arms' sake Jay and I simply enjoyed picking apples and eating apple cider doughnuts. My Apple Pie Recipe is super simple, very basic, and from my dear friend and college roommate nicole. I think the first time I made it was with her for one of our college Thanksgiving feasts. I was lucky enough to make it with my sweet friend Haley (who also shares a passion for cooking apples pies with me!) during our clemson friends lake weekend.
Nicole's Apple Pie:
2 Homemade pie crusts (or use the Pillsbury roll out crusts... they are very yummy, and save quite a bit of time.)
6 Apples (I use whatever apples I have on hand)
3/4 Cup of Sugar
Lots of Cinnamon to taste
5 - 7 tablespoons of Butter
Roll out Pie crust onto a greased round pie dish. Place peeled and sliced into wedges onto crust. Pour sugar over apples. Sprinkle a very liberal amount of cinnamon on top. Place squares of butter, spaced evenly, over apples and sugar. Cover with another pie crust. Sprinkle top with cinnamon & sugar mix. Bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes, and then turn down to 350 degrees and cook an additional 45 minutes. Enjoy it by itself, or with vanilla ice cream, or heck, even for breakfast :)

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Monday, November 1, 2010

Pumpkin Painting on the Patio at Chick-fil-A!

We had a really fun, super cute, and very successful event at Chick-fil-A of Waynesboro last monday. We had originally planned on carving pumpkins on our patio. Bethany and I (neither one of us having children) were really excited about fall and being outside and just thought it was simply the best idea, until I told my very wise mother of our plans. Mama Ram said "Don't you think pumpkin painting would be much better ... and safer?"

Looking back on the event now I can't even imagine giving all 150 kids who came knives to carve pumpkins. And I feel pretty confident we would still have a patio covered in pumpkin guts and seeds. Believe it or not the paint stayed on our table cloths and in the plastic containers we provided. Moral of the story... paint your pumpkins! Kids were able to paint the pumpkins all by themselves, and they were adorable in their Halloween costumes! Our Cow even made an appearance in her princess costume.

It really was a great family night. Jay and I are loving seeing the community enjoy several of the events Bethany and I have planned. Jay and I have a huge heart for people and for families (not really so much for chicken actually...). Our continual prayer is for our little Chick-fil-A of Waynesboro to be a place where people can come for family time or fellowship or just encouragement. We want to love our people so they have a desire to love our customers and our community.

I took lots and lots of pictures, but here are a few of my favorites:

Hope everyone had a Happy Halloween :)

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Wednesday, October 27, 2010

New Best Friends.

When we rented a lake house in Clemson with our college friends we brought Bella along too. She got to spend the weekend with Leigha & John's dog Tobey. I had been asking Bella for weeks if she was excited to meet Tobey (and yes, I talk to my dog... and yes, I realize that is a little crazy.) Of course Miss B didn't answer me, but when she did actually meet Tobey, they were instant best friends.
All pictures courtesy of Niemann photography :)
Bella once again decided the lake is the best place in the whole entire world, and she still doesn't understand why we don't live there.
Bella girl and Tobey ran, and swam, and chased each other so much that Bella slept through the entire ride home. It was either that or she was in deep depression over leaving Tobey....
And if you were concerned about how they would remain best friends from states apart, don' worry because we already have 2 more play dates scheduled for the coming months.

Off to Boston for a girls weekend with mom & to watch the Tigers play. Happy weekend, sweet friends!

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Saturday, October 23, 2010

Our Clemson Crew

I know say it all the time, but we are blessed. Blessed with some of the best friends in the entire world. Seriously. So many good memories. We made more of these memories last weekend at our Clemson Crew Lake Hartwell Fall Reunion Weekend!

Several of the Cast of Characters:
Katie & Aaron, The Soon-To-Be Shoultz
Me & Jay, The Hawkins :)
Brandon, Jarrod Carr, Adam May, and Will Anderson {being classic will}

Katie & her precious daughter Kamdyn Kelly
Nicole & Cody, the newlywed Simoneaux's
Brandon & Haley, The Blakes
Steve & Jaclyn, The Spanglers
John & Leigha, The Niemann's {and Tobey!}

What We Do:
We watch the boys [and Lauren} play with fire.
It always happens. The most mature, and responsible of men get together and find a way to involve throwing flaming tennis balls or jumping over fire pits or throwing vases... the list really could go on forever...
We take lots of pictures.
.... and make the guys takes lots of pictures of us :) {we have tailgaiting photos / this same photo every year since freshman year}
We enjoy being outside and being together {and missing our good ole' college days}
And we eat lots, and lots, and lots of yummy food.

This is Our Clemson Crew and we're blessed to have such sweet, God ordained friendships.

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