Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Chick-Fil-A, Pumpkin and Snow

Hello Friends! Long time no update.... I know! How can a person who just moved to a new city and started a new job be so busy? Below are some random updates on our crazy life.

Chick-Fil-A gave away FREE breakfast a few weeks ago... just plain old free breakfast whatever you wanted off the breakfast menu. Being that we LOVE chick-fil-a we were sold on the idea. I have to say, it was the best fast food breakfast I've ever had. A girl in our new community group is the marketing manager at the store right by our house, so we see her often see her when we go. Come visit us in Denver and we'll all go to Chick-Fil-A together!

Also, in case you haven't heard, it's pumpkin spice time! I know, I know, it's already October 16 so pumpkin stuff is everywhere by now but I took a picture of my first pumpkin drink of the season. It's a pumpkin spice americano misto. Have you ever heard of that? I hadn't, but I told the barista I was deciding between an americano and latte and she suggested this. It's an americano but half water and half milk. It was good, try it.

Finally, it SNOWED! Are you kidding me? One day it's 80 degrees and I'm sitting outside reading a book, soaking up the sun. Two days later it was 30 degrees and we woke up to snow! The weather here is crazy because as I write this, it is currently sunny and 73 degrees. For everyone wondering if the sun pretty much shines everyday here: IT DOES! Come join us!

More updates to come including (I know I promised this last time) pictures of my cube, it's just not decorated yet! Also, more to come on PUMPKIN SEASON!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

We Are Official Colorado People

So much has happened since my last post! First, and most important we have a home! Many of you know that we were staying with Caleb's cousins when we first arrived which was lovely and a major blessing. After putting some serious miles on our car looking for a place that we could afford and that wasn't sketchy (that can be tough criteria!!) we found a place and moved in. If you look at a map of Denver divided by neighborhood we live in Lowry Field. It kind of reminds me of Green Lake without the lake...

I'll tell you, moving without friends is super lame. Good thing we sold most of our stuff before we moved out here because I almost died carrying our mattress up the stairs to our place. (We are on the second floor and it was about 90 something degrees out!) We got unpacked and organized pretty quickly. This is what our place looked like after all the boxes were unpacked!

Our next order of business was to become legit Colorado people by getting all the official stuff changed over. We got new drivers licenses and Colorado plates!  

At this point we have an apartment, local drivers licenses, CO plates and we know where the nearest Target is. I also made sure my magazines were forwarded! What else do you need?  

Oh yeah, A JOB! I got that too! I got a job at Colorado Christian University as a financial aid counselor. Jesus graciously provided a job that is very enjoyable and much less stress then the bank. The only bad thing about the job is everyday I'm reminded of how many student loans we have!!!! (oh well.) Pictures to come of my cube! 

I think that's about it for now. We just finished furnishing our apartment so once we've got all the art hung up on the walls I'll post some pictures. If you want our new address, send me an email! Thank you again for your continued prayers, texts, emails and calls. 

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Red Rocks

Ever since we drove into town (we are staying with Caleb's cousin who lives about 20 minutes outside Denver) we have wanted to drive up and visit Red Rocks amphitheater which is about 10 minutes from Stephanie and Doug's place (those are the cousins) Each time we attempted to drive up and look around the road was closed, we kept thinking that it was closed for some reason. Upon further research we discovered that we had been going the wrong way (Hey, we are new to town) once we got some instructions from Doug, we headed out this morning after breakfast.
 This is the view of the amphitheater from the very top. There were a bunch of people working out, running up the stairs, doing push ups etc. I don't think we'll be up for the kind of work out anytime soon!
Red Rocks is AMAZING! We climbed up very high (it's about 90 degrees mind you) to the amphitheater and the visitor center. The higher we got the harder it was to breathe and the steep steps were a bit of a challenge. The visitor center was basically a museum that traced through the history of the area and all of the different musicians who have performed there. This is a giant rock that is right next to the seating and concession area at the top of the theater.
Here we are on the way back down to the car. You can see for miles and in the distance you can see the city of Denver sitting right in the middle of all the mountains. At this point the heat and the altitude were getting to us a bit so we headed back home.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Seattle to Denver

WE ARE HERE! We made it to Denver safe and sound! I captured a couple of our trip highlights below.
 Here is Caleb on the day we bought our trailer. We sold everything that wouldn't fit before we left.
 Quick pit stop for some roadside cherries. Somewhere between Pasco and Spokane. 
 YIKES! The Loadrunner murderer a mass amount of bugs - this was only halfway through the trip!
 Oh, the gas mileage, not so good...I thought this was the worst it was going to get but I was wrong.
This was somewhere in Montana I think. There was a massive amount of trees that grew up out of the water. The whole lake was filled with them.
 No trip through the beautiful state of Wyoming is complete without a trip to Yellowstone. It was amazingly beautiful and there was no shortage of wildlife to see.
 Wyoming has got to be the most interesting place I've ever been. Not only were we highly entertained with the drive up liquor store, the Outlaw Bar we ate dinner at was exactly what I had pictured Wyoming would be like.
 This was the cheapest place we got gas during the whole trip! (Where else but Wyoming...)
 We are almost there!
 On the way into the city we were greeted by black storm clouds. Within minutes the rain was POURING down with thunder and lighting every few seconds. I was concerned - what about my 330 days of sunshine? (The rain was short lived and the sun is shining again!)
Once we arrived safe and sound we were hard at work looking for an apartment! 

Thank you for all of your prayers! I will continue to keep you all updated. 

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Dark Chocolate M&M's: Yes.

Have you tried these? I love them! I just made an afternoon cup of french press coffee (someone left a bag of whole bean Starbucks Tribute blend on Caleb's desk a couple weeks ago and whoever you are mystery coffee angel, thank you!) and am sitting down to work on a presentation I'll be doing at my church women's group and needed a little something to nibble... that was sweet, but not too sweet. I needed something perfect. I'm now enjoying a little handful of these as I sip my coffee and it is the perfect match. Oh yes. Just thought I'd drop a little note and let you that you should test these out sometime. 
Add them to your grocery list! 

Monday, April 16, 2012

Part 1: How To Make A Weekly Meal Plan

The most important step in being more organized, relaxed and joyful at meal times is having a plan. If making a weekly meal plan seems overwhelming to you, don't fear! I've done my best to break it down into a few easy to follow steps to help get you started. Just like any other skill, the more you do it, the easier it will become! Let's get started!

1. Look at the Calendar: This is where you must begin, especially if you have a nutso schedule. Map out the days you'll eat dinner at home and the days you'll eat dinner elsewhere. On the nights that you will eat dinner elsewhere (community  group, dinner with friends, date night etc.) determine if you will contribute something to the meal and if so write that in. Also note the days where you will be pressed for time, this will help you know what type of meal to choose for that specific day. If you know in advance that you'll only have 45 minutes for dinner, you can plan to make a quick meal that evening or plan to throw something in the crock pot that morning.

2. Pick the Meals: Now that you know which days you need to plan for, pick your meals! This is actually planning out what you will have for dinner. It's important to be detailed as doing so will help you create your grocery list and not forget anything! There are a number of things to keep in mind when you are choosing your meals:
a. How long does this meal take to prepare? (don't forget prep time ie: chopping, marinating etc.)
b. Who am I making this meal for (husband & kids, kids-only, dinner guests etc.)  and what allergies or preferences do they have?
c. What is my budget? This is very important. To be a wise steward of your resources it is important to know your budget and plan meals that fit into it. 
d. What is in season and on sale? Most grocery stores have their weekly ads online. Before I make my meal plan I go online to see what's on sale and include those items in my meals. (ie: if whole chickens are on sale for .77/lb then we'll probably be having a lot of chicken!)
e. Does this meal produce leftovers? This is a good question to keep in mind as you pick your meals. If you pack lunch for yourself and/or your husband then leftovers are a major bonus because they make "what to bring for lunch" a no-brainer!

3. Don't Forget Lunch: I don't know why but for the longest time I never planned anything for lunch. If there were leftovers, great but if not - panic! I have found that lunch must not be overlooked. If you eat at home for dinner and your dinners produce leftovers then you're pretty much set. If leftovers are not a favorite in your home or you won't have any leftovers to take for yourself/send with your husband then you need to plan something else. Two suggestions:
a. Make a "school-boy" lunch: buy sandwich fixings, apples, pretzels, carrot sticks and other lunch items.
b. Make a meal at the start of the week and eat it all week long for lunch. If you or the lunch-eaters you are packing for are not big sandwich fans, consider making a big batch of chili or enchiladas at the start of the week. Package up your meal into tupperwares and you've got something to grab everyday.

4. Plan Breakfast and Snacks: When you are making a meal plan, it's important not to leave any meals out! Breakfast at my house can be "fend for yourself" but in order for my family to fend for themselves, they need options! Either plan a few options for your family (cereal & milk, yogurt, bagels & cream cheese etc.) or make a daily breakfast schedule (similar to dinner.) If you plan to make a big breakfast on the weekends, make sure to notate that on your menu planner. Finally we arrive at snacks. It's safe to assume that our husbands and children will often come home from work or school and want a snack. Plan out a couple snacks you will have on hand to give them (granola bars, crackers, string cheese, carrots & hummus, nuts etc.)

5. Relax and Have Fun: No need to let all this meal planning stress you out! Remember you are doing this to make your life easier! It may be a little slow to start. You will most likely fail a few times. You might forget something at the store. You may realize you forgot your wallet once you've got everything in your cart. It's okay. Your identity cannot be found in being an excellent wife/mother/household manager but only in being a daughter of the King! 

Get started making your meal plan! I'll be back soon for part 2: Making a Grocery List and Sticking to it! 

brown butter and hazelnut asparagus! add it to your meal plan!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Meal Planning: My First Series!

Friends, the time has come for me to do my first series! Doesn't that sound like fun? To me, it does. Something I have worked very hard to create for my home and family is consistent meals. I know, it sounds simple - but it's not always as easy as it sounds! 
Doesn't it sound nice to always have something to make for dinner? What about having something to make for lunch too? In this three part series I will cover the important steps involved in planning and executing meal time including:
1. How to make a weekly meal plan
2. Grocery shopping for success
3. Being flexible and other tips

Hope you'll join me in planning to make your meal times more organized and enjoyable!

Thursday, March 29, 2012

God Saves


I have just finished listening to this sermon preached by Pastor Matt Chandler and I found it to be very touching. I wanted to share it with you so that your joy could be increased as you see God as the one who saves us.

Some of what Jesus taught me are as follows:

1. The more awesome I think I am and that God "partners" with me in my awesomeness, the more frustrated I will be.

2. God doesn't force people to love him, he reveals himself to them and they do.

3. We will always be battling sin and the flesh. God will always be chiseling away the parts of us that are not of him and replacing it with what is.

4. There is often times JOY in the battle against sin and every time I repent I can experience the forgiveness of God more deeply, my lament over sin quickly turns into rejoicing that God loved me and IS conforming me to the image of his son.

5. God saves. We do not.

Please listen to it - while your making dinner or driving to work. I just listened to it while I made a cheesecake.

God Saves    (October 2011)

Let me know what you think.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Mom's Monster Cookies

Monster cookies, or whatever you want to call them are my new favorite thing. Why? I love them because they've got it all chewy oatmeal, peanut butter and of course, chocolate! Another stunningly amazing thing about them is that they are GLUTEN FREE! Which means I can make a cookie that I adore, at the same time I am making something that Caleb can have. It's a win-win in my book. I love them so very much that I try not to make them all at one time, if I do, my self control goes out the window and all the calories I had previously burned on the elliptical are obsolete. To combat that and help myself out, I cook up a dozen or so of these little beauties for the week (or as long as they last)....

Then, I roll them rest of them up into balls and put them in a tupperware that goes into the freezer...
With a little note on the top reminding me what they are (as if I'd forget!) and the baking instructions.
That way if I'm dying for a little sweet with my coffee or want to put a treat in Caleb's lunch or we happen to have an impromptu counseling session - I've got a quick and no mess solution! I hope you enjoy these guys as much as I do.

Mom's Monster Cookies:
From Mom

1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened
1 cup brown sugar
1 1/2 cups peanut butter, smooth or crunchy
3 eggs
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon vanilla
4 1/2 cups oats, make sure they are gluten free if you are sensitive to gluten!
2 cups chocolate chips or m&m's (or one cup of each)

Cream together the first three ingredients and add in eggs, beating well to combine. stir in the soda, vanilla, oats and chips until combined. Bake on a greased cookie sheet (or use a silpat like me) at 350 degrees for 10-15 minutes. Enjoy!

**This cookie recipe is wonderfully forgiving and as long as you stick to the basic idea you can add in whatever you want. Mom recommends nuts, raisins (I don't like raisins so I would never do that, but some people do like them) peanut butter chips, white chocolate chips or other candies like reeses pieces. Sky's the limit! I think next time I make them I will try to incorporate caramel! Let me know what you add into yours!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Breakfast is served!

I love breakfast! Now that I am not working I am able to make hot breakfast much more then I used to. This is a major bonus for me because I love, love, love eggs. I like them scrambled, fried, hard boiled but my most favorite way to eat them is in breakfast casserole type things. Last week I made these little beauties for breakfast and they were wonderful! I could eat breakfast for dinner at least once per week although Caleb is not so into it....!

Bacon and Asparagus Cups
4-6 strips bacon, diced
half an onion, diced
8-10 asparagus spears, cut into 1in pieces
8 eggs
1/4c milk or half n half
1/2c (or more) cheese, any variety I like cheddar or swiss, grated

1. cook bacon and onion together in frying pan until bacon is cooked to desired crispiness and onion is soft and golden. Add in asparagus pieces and cook one minute more. Pour mixture into a GREASED pie pan (or individual ramikens if you have them)
2. In a bowl whisk together 8 eggs with milk or half n half and season with salt and pepper. Pour eggs over the bacon mixture in the pie pan. Top with shredded cheese.
3. bake in a 375 degree oven for 20-30 minutes until the eggs are set and the top is browned.

If mornings are rushed for you, make this the night before and microwave a piece in the morning - it tastes great and you can eat it just as fast as a bowl of cereal!

Enjoy! This little dish is very versatile, change the ingredients to fit your family's tastes or what you have in the fridge. Would be delicious with mushrooms, sausage, ham, spinach, kale etc!

Happy Breakfast! Remember - it's the most important meal of the day!

Friday, January 27, 2012

Can I have a piece of your Sourdough Starter?

Calling all Seattle area friends! This week I would like to make sourdough pizza. I have been doing a lot of research about making my own starter but I am weary.... I know it's best if it's been going for a while and I won't have too much time to feed it before I want to make the pizza. Does anyone already have one going that I could have a piece of? If so, I'd be very grateful!
I may also check to see if I can buy one from Macrina or QFC but I figured I'd ask my friends first!
Thank you! <3 Sara

Sunday, January 22, 2012

One of those days....

Today is seriously one of those days. Nothing crazy is happening, I'm not sick, I'm not even really that tired. I'm just being lazy. There are literally three or four things on my list to do this afternoon and I've done just about everything but those things.
I know that in my sin, I desire comfort. I desire to sit in my bed with my laptop, look at Pinterest and blogs and recipes and do literally nothing. That needs to end. It is 4:25pm right now and it's time to repent.
There is so much sweet joy in repentance. I can, in this moment confess to Jesus my sin of laziness and comfort that stems from a worship of myself and ask for His forgiveness. I can rejoice knowing that He is gracious to me, that He paid the price for my every sin on the cross.
1 John 1:9 says, "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." Let me encourage you to go to Jesus with your sin. Your "big" sin, your "little" sin the sin that you try and downplay and ignore, the sins that are so big that you can't ignore. Go to Jesus. He is a loving and gracious Father. He loves you. He wants you to come to Him.
I am going to spend time with my Savior right now, and I would ask you to consider what you may need to go to him in prayer about right now as well.

Bye-Bye for now.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Chores = Games!

When was the last time you unloaded the dishwasher with pure joy? If you're like me then you love a clean kitchen - no dishes in the sink, no grime on the counter tops - just beautiful, lovely, pristine kitchen. For anyone who has lived on their own for even 1 hour knows that it is impossible to have a clean kitchen all the time unless you never use it. If you read this blog, then you know I use my kitchen!

Ok, about making chores a game: this morning I wanted to eat some oatmeal because I've already had 2 cups of coffee and no food which is not a very good combination. Also, it's snowing and it just feels like oatmeal is fun to have when the weather is cold. The oatmeal I make takes 5-7 mins to cook and I ran my dishwasher last night before bed. You do the math: full dishwasher of clean dishes and sink filled with dirty dishes, ready to go into the dish washer. Ah! That is my least favorite situation! So, while the oatmeal was cooking, I thought I'd make a game out of. I will race myself at unloading the dishwasher! I got this idea from Brittany Cooley who is my dearest friend. She did this with her laundry folding - brilliant!

This was my starting point: a dishwasher stuffed with clean, sparkling dishes, ready to be put in their respective homes.

This was my ending point: an attractive dishwasher, ready to wash the vessels from today's breakfast, lunch and dinner.

My time? I know you're dying to know. 4 minutes and 31 seconds. All the while stirring my oatmeal and putting away my dishes in a meticulous fashion (as I have been known to do...)

Now you try! I'm sure that you either have a full dishwasher right now or will have one in the next 24 hours. Once you do it for the first time, you'll want to beat your time so you'll do it over and over. Let me know your score! One more household chore made fun!

Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ.
Colossians 3:23-24

Monday, January 16, 2012

One Regular Day...

One day not too long ago it was pouring down rain. My dear friend Trina was leaving for a trip and she needed me to swing by and pick up the keys to her house. I was at the doctor so I couldn't come over right away but I stopped by on my way home. When I got there our friend Lauren was there with one of her cutie pie sons Simon. Trina and Lauren were running around the house packing up clothes and ice chests for Trina's trip. I had just had a lot of blood drawn so I wasn't feeling like helping much (mean, I know!) so I plopped myself down on the floor to play with the babies. Lillian is getting SO big and she is so fun to play with. Simon was playing a fun game on the iphone and he came over to show it to me. While all this fun was going on Trina snapped a picture of me sitting on the floor playing with the kids. Just thought I'd share a random snapshot of a regular morning for me.

Cute Wine Bottle

For Christmas my little sister wrapped up a bottle of wine for me called Middle Sister. The label was so cute. The girl in the middle (that's supposed to be me) kinda looks like me and the little sister has curly hair, which Ally does and the older sister is a blonde and my older sister Erin is! (Well, she usually is a blonde but every once it a while she isn't... it depends.) Anyway - just thought it was kind of cool.

This is what we actually look like! But my sister isn't blonde in this one...

Friday, January 13, 2012

Real Marriage

Are you married? Do you want to be married? Have you gotten much biblical teaching on marriage? Sadly, our culture has some warped views on marriage, men, women and children and what the purpose of marriage is. Thankfully the bible speaks to all of these topics! Starting this Sunday, January 15 Mars Hill Church is launching the Real Marriage sermon series, an eleven week series on what Jesus has to say, through the bible, about marriage.
This sermon series follows the book Real Marriage written by Pastor Mark Driscoll and his wife Grace who have been together upwards of twenty years and have five kids!
This is something that you won't want to miss! Come and see who Jesus is and how He wants to transform your marriage for His glory.

I attend Mars Hill Church Downtown Seattle which is in Belltown and we have FIVE service times on TWO different days! Just come and see what you think.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

5 Questions for 2012

Happy New Year! I know, I'm 8 days late with this post, but better late then never! This year, during the week between Christmas and New Year's Caleb and I got away to a little Bed and Breakfast in Mt. Hood to do some relaxing, reading and PLANNING!
As you know, I am a full-time household manager these days and so for me, there was a lot of planning and goal making that needed to take place in order to have a successful year. I wanted to share the top 5 questions* that we ask ourselves for you to reflect upon for yourself.
I hope you can take some time to answer these questions and that you will be inspired to live a fruitful life for Jesus glory in 2012.

1. What area of your life most needs simplifying, and what's one way you could
simplify in that area?

2. What is the single biggest time-waster in your life, and what will you do about it this

3. In what area of your life do you most need change, and what will you do about it this

4. For whose salvation will you pray most fervently this year?

5. In which spiritual discipline do you most want to make progress this year, and what
will you do about it?

*The entire list of questions is much larger and if you'd like to see the full version I am more than happy to send it to you, we didn't make these questions up - they are from Donald Whitney!