The Concert

On Saturday I went to my first concert.

IT. WAS. AMAZING.

I am still in the happy-from-music stage.

The Script, American Authors, and OneRepublic.

I heard about this concert last Friday (just over a week before the concert), and at that point I knew only about 3 OneRepublic songs, only 1 American Authors song, and I had never heard of The Script.

But I have been wanting to go to a concert, and I thought OneRepublic would be fun to see. I looked up the concert that day, and saw there were still tickets available. So I talked to Dad, and we decided to listen to more of OneRepublic’s music, to see if we liked it enough to go.  We didn’t get around to listening to it until Tuesday.

On Monday night I made a semi-final decision not to go, and I texted my friend (who was talking about coming with us) and told her we weren’t going to go.

And that’s when I heard Counting Stars playing from my dad’s office.

I went downstairs to tell him I had changed my mind, but when I went down there, my mind was swayed.  After listening to more OneRepublic (and liking most of their songs), I changed my mind.  Dad came up later that day and said, “Hey, these guys are cool, I think we should go see them.”

So I texted my friend, and told her we were going.  We were able to get tickets that night.

And I could hardly wait.

Bethany and I had way too much fun together – we danced for a good part of the concert.  I was so very thankful to have someone to dance with!

I am not sure what else to write – it is hard to describe.  The skill the musicians have is amazing – I was so glad that they used a real piano.  Also, the guitarist played a mad guitar solo before Counting Stars.  SO.  AMAZING.

At one point, the microphone that OneRepublic’s main singer was using stopped working.  He played the intro to a song (a beautiful piano piece) and then when the song got to the place where it should start, he kept messing with his microphone. After a few moments, he starts singing, “My microphone wasn’t working, but now it does.”

There were several unusual instruments used – dobro, viola, cello, and banjo.  It just adds a neat edge. And for the last song, OneRepublic had 4 or 5 drums lined up across the front of the stage, and during instrumental portions of the song, they would play them. I am so not good at articulating this – it was great.

Well, I think I’ll quite trying now.

Except for one final thing:

IT WAS SO MUCH FUN AND AMAZING AND JUST…GAAAAAH.

I don’t feel like this post does my mood justice. But I am not that great with words.  Oh well.

Here are some photos.

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Bethany and I – American Authors playing in the background

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The Script

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Us and The Script. =)

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The Script had asked everyone to take out their cellphones, and it looked so cool.

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OneRepublic playing Secrets

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(Same as above)

Note: As with all things, if you are under your parent’s authority, don’t just take my word for it, make sure they are O.K. with it!  I do not necessarily endorse everything that these artists have done or put out.  Use discretion.

My First Wedding!

Well, hi there, everybody!

(Or at least to the two people that still check this blog. :))

If you haven’t noticed (cough cough) there has been a dearth of posts lately.

So I am going to try to remedy that.

Are you ready?

Good.  Glad you’re on board with me.

All two of you.

So then.

A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of second shooting my first wedding.  It was my cousin’s wedding, and it was AWESOME!  Most of the time I focused on getting candid shots, not any of the formal shots, since the other photographer was getting them.  So that means that there are not that many “formal” shots to share with you all.  But I hope you enjoy the ones I do have!

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We helped with reception hall set-up before the ceremony

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They used these cool/weird water ball thingies.  They were great to photograph!

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Hello there!  Just affirming that I am here, cause you won’t see me a whole lot.  🙂

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My cousin and my grandparents

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Mother of the groom

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My aunt (mother of the bride) and two of my many awesome cousins!

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Junior bridesmaid (and another of my awesome cousins) Hannah

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Waiting

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Exchange of vows

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I LOVE her face!  Isn’t she so sweet?!!

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Hannah and Meiling

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Between photos

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Bouquet

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The flower girls – they were so cute!  You’ll be seeing more of them.

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My cousin Mark.  We had this thing going all day, where I was getting goofy photos of him.  I still need to finish the slideshow of funny photos.  It’s almost done!

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Bride, mother, and sister

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See? What did I tell you?  Cute or WHAT?!?

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The main photographer was having them make happy/fun faces.  As you can see, Hannah took to jumping up and down.

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They left the church amid bubbles

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*Happiness*

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Can you *tell* they’re sisters?

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My aunt (not the mother of the bride) makes a piñata for just about every family occasion.  The wedding was no exception!

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She even made a fancy bat.

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Scott egging on the crowd

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And that’s the end of that.

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Another tradition: the wearing of the piñata

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Fixing hair

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Almost everyone who had been there for the piñata (family and bridal party) had glow sticks.

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Mom, Grandma Jeane, and my aunt (the one that made the piñata)

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Centerpiece

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Greeting at the door

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These two were so cute.  They started dancing, then were break dancing, and now are slow dancing.

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Cutting of the cake (see the glow stick bracelet?)

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Head table (minus the bride and groom – hey, where did they go?)

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First dance

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At the end of the first slow song, the music changed, and the bride and groom did a choreographed dance to several songs.  They danced for almost 10 minutes!  It was a total BLAST to watch!

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They ended with a slow song

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Groom and mother

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Watching

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Bride and father

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Next they had all the couples come to the dance floor and dance.  The DJ then had couples leave the dance floor, by saying “Anyone married less than  ___ has to leave the dance floor.”  It was pretty awesome, because my grandparents were the last ones there.  All because of them.  🙂

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My parents

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When my grandparents were the only ones dancing, a bunch of us made a circle around them

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And then the dancing started

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Cousins

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Bridesmaids

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Scott and Sarah

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Us  🙂  (Thanks to my dad for grabbing this shot)

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The dollar dance – my dad and Sarah

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Noah and Sarah

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Drake and Sarah have always been special friends, since they share a birthday.  Drake used to hang out with her when he was little.

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And you want to see one of the goofy pictures?

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Too.  Much.  Wedding.

Blueberry Summer

We went up north to Lost Branch Blueberry Farm to (you guessed it) pick blueberries a few weeks ago.  They have delicious berries, and we really enjoy going.  We were able to go once a few years ago, and I just recently finished the berries we had frozen from that trip.  I was really glad that we were able to pick more!

We have great timing – we went up on what was predicted to be the hottest day of the year yet.  And it was pretty hot.  I picked until 6:30/7-ish, but most of our group had already stopped by that point.  I ended up burning BOTH my arms and my neck (so I was a regular redneck, ha ha).

The heat really wasn’t all that bad.  Once you had gone out there and gotten used to it, the heat didn’t bother you.  Or at least, it didn’t bother me.

We drove up with some friends of ours, and picked that afternoon/evening (I can’t remember a date – although it was a Tuesday).  That evening we had dinner with the P. family (sweet friends of ours), and then headed back to the lodge to turn in stay up way-too-late talking.  But it was fun.

The next morning, Meiling, Mom, and I went to pick some more while Noah and the friends we drove up with went swimming in the pond.  It was a very nice pond, I would have gone swimming in it, too, except for two things:

1.  I hadn’t brought a swimsuit, and I had no spare clothes to get dirty.

2.  I was there to pick.

We left Wednesday afternoon, having picked 41 pounds of berries.

When we got back that evening, the grand processing took place.  We started washing and freezing the berries, and deciding how many we were going to leave out for other purposes.  We froze all but two colanders-full, which would be used for some canning (blueberry syrup) and a pie.

That night Mom wanted me to use up some apricots that I had been planning to use in a crisp, but were aging on the counter instead.  I pulled up a recipe, and cut up the apricots, but I didn’t have enough for a whole batch.  Mom added a few tired peaches, but we still didn’t have enough.  I threw in a handful of blueberries and a few pitted cherries.  Mom tried some that night and said it was really good.  I can’t comment, because I made it gluten and grain-ful and didn’t eat any, but Noah liked it too, and I believe Drake did.

On this past Wednesday I canned four jars of what was supposed to be blueberry syrup, but I think it is really jam.  I made a pie the same day, which used up one colander of berries.  I am hoping to can some syrup that remains syrup with the remaining colander full.

 

Thanks for having us, Lost Branch Blueberry Farm!  It was a blast!

 

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The blues

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Pom juice on manager’s special at Kroger – got to love it!

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My berry bucket

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Wednesday morning – in the blueberry patch

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Walking back to the lodge – A harvested wheat feild

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The fruit mixture of my crisp

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Lots o’ berries

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The crisp topping

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Mom had gotten several pineapples on sale at the grocery store…

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…so we dehydrated several

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A blueberry rolled under the oven, and Lucy was trying to get at it.  Poor Lucy.

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Apricot-Peach-Blueberry-Cherry Crisp

A Puppy, the Fourth of July, and Visiting

My camera has been woefully neglected.  It has been sitting behind my chair in my room, somewhat out of sight and mind.  I do think about it, but feel uninspired. 

Goal: take out my camera and leave it somewhere so that I can post more.

 

Last week Tuesday we picked up an ADORABLE little puppy for my cousins.  They named him Bosco.  He is a chocolate cockapoo.  We were taking him up north for them, and OF COURSE we had to get him a bit early.  Don’t you think so, too?

I had so much fun with a little bundle of nigh-boundless energy padding/pattering around behind me, attacking my feet and skirt hem.  I loved having a little warm puppy ball that would suddenly decided he was tired and fall asleep right next to me.  He had this adorable way of curling up on your feet to snuggle and sleep.

But Lucy didn’t like him.  At all.

And honestly, I can’t quite blame her.  He stole her girl, her crate, her water bowl, her room, her spots to lay, and her snuggle time.

If Lucy had hands, she probably would have rung his neck.

Every time I talked to him, every time he was following me or I was taking him out, Lucy was watching from a distance.

And then she started giving me the cold shoulder.  When I would talk to her, she wouldn’t look at me.  And if I tried to hug her or pick her up, she would pull away.

Needless to say, she is happy that he is gone.

 

For the Fourth of July, we had some dear friends over.  We have spent probably the majority of the major holidays with this family for the past 5+ years.  So we continued the tradition.  There was food, bubbles, squirt gun fights, paddle boat rides, and pond-swimming.  Bonfires, badminton, puppy snuggling, and kitty snuggling.  And plenty of talking.

It was wonderful.

I hope your Fourth was as lovely as ours.

 

Friday afternoon we headed up north to deliver a puppy and visit.  It was so great to see family, but too short as always.  I got in several games of Rummikub with Grandma, and Pop joined us for a few, also.  I really love that game.

 

And I hauled my camera all the way up there, and, woefully, it stayed in the bag most of the time.

So I only have one photo of Bosco to share.  And a not-to-great one at that.

 

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Hoping to take more pictures soon!

Love,
Allison

Lately

I haven’t posted a good post lately.  I really feel like it’s been very “touch and go.”  No real substance.  Just a quick write-up with no real feeling, and then photos or a recipe.

So.  What have I been up to?

School.

Cooking.

Reading.

Placing our first Azure Standard order.

Using lots of coconut milk.

Eating chocolate.

Having fun with friends.

Ironing.

Poor little Lucy puppy has been scratching like crazy, poor thing.  And I had just given her flea medicine!  So we took her to the vet yesterday, and he put her on some medicine.  She seems to not be as itchy as she was, which makes me SO happy.  I really don’t like it when she doesn’t feel good.  My little puppy love.

The black flies/gnats have been bothering the chickens.  They buzz all around the chickens, and especially bother their faces, making it hard for the chickens to breathe.  If they get too bad, they can kill the chickens (we lost one a few years ago to them).

But there is an easy repellant: vanilla.  So today I mixed up some vanilla and water in a spray bottle and went out to spray the chickens. (Sometimes I think it’s like putting perfume on the chickens.  It is nice to have sweet-smelling chickens, though, so I try to dismiss that thought.  :))

At first I had the spray bottle on mist, but once the chickens found out what I was doing and decided that they didn’t like it, and then they started running.  So the mist no longer really worked.  Then I had a great idea:

Use stream.

This almost immediately made it more fun – it could be related to a first-person shooter game, but better, because it’s real.  It could be compared to a squirt gun fight – but better, because NO ONE SHOOTS BACK.  So I didn’t get wet.  And I wasn’t running that quickly (more fast-walking) behind that chickens to get close enough to squirt them.  It turns out that if you pursue the chickens for long enough, they just run into the coop.

Bonus round!

Now I have a whole bunch of chickens in a tight space to spray.  Talk about efficient!

School has been going really well.  I am loving it!  I thought that learning some of the more technical stuff (like anatomy and physiology) was going to be difficult, but I am not finding it that difficult at all.  The midwifery module that I am working on now is on caesarean sections and prevention. 

I just finished reading Joel Salatin’sFolks, This Ain’t Normal.”  I liked it.  It discussed how our culture, compared to history, really isn’t normal, from the food we eat to how we get entertainment.

I started working on the reading program from the library.  It’s been going pretty quickly, since I do so much reading, especially for school.  I am almost halfway done.

And I think that’s about it.

So what have you been doing?

Senior Portraits

Last week my dear friend an awesome photographer came over and took my senior photos.  We had a blast, and I was thrilled with how they turned out.  I hope you enjoy!

All photos Sarah Serven Photography.

WARNING:  Lots of photos!

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Lucy came out with us for a little while

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Sarah brought a fun vintage camera to play with

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My neighbor had a fun vintage bike (see a theme here?)

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You’ve got to love barns

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Down in the hay barn

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We stumbled across this old-ish truck, which I was SO excited about

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I’m Still Alive and a Fish Recipe

Yes.  I’m still here.

Sorry for the long(ish) absence.  Life has been really crazy over here.  (Actually, I should be cleaning my room right now.  But, hey.)

On Tuesday two good friends and I put together a fancy dinner for the leadership couples in our church.  It was a BLAST – but still a lot of work, and very exhausting.  We decorated our basement, and set up a table with white tablecloths down there.  The night of, all of us – my friends and their brothers and I and my siblings – dressed up fancy and served/waited on the parents.

Anyways, lots of fun, but it took up Monday (cooking and prepping) and Tuesday (more cooking, prepping, and then serving).  Wednesday was takedown and we had company, Thursday Mom and I had to run an errand, and on Friday I spent the day at a friend’s home making Milky Way Bars (which was a blast).  And today Mom and I went shopping again.

So, basically, I’ve been busy.

Now, a (hopefully) brief story – I have some large-ish hoop earrings that I wear quite a bit.  Well, on Monday I went to put them on, and one broke.  I was pretty bummed!  I wear those a lot!  Thankfully, Mom had just received a coupon in the mail for Kohl’s (where I got my first pair) and I was hopeful that I could find another pair.

Today Mom and I went to Kohl’s, and they didn’t have any.  I was not too thrilled to say the least.  So on the way home we stopped at a different Kohl’s, and they had a pair of the hoops!  Not only that, but they were on sale, along with a bunch of other earrings, so I got several pairs.  And that makes me really happy. 🙂

Also, I got some pairs that *actually* have color on them, which makes me happy that I am branching out (most of my earrings are silver).

Moving on now.

I made this really tasty fish for dinner.  It turned out so well that I want to post it here, mostly so that I can make it again (I am bound to forget).

So, without further ado (or earrings), here it is.

Fish in Sauce (I am really creative with names, am I not?)

10 fillets of fish (mine was either catfish or tilapia, I didn’t look)
Salt and Lemony-Dill Seasoning (or dill)
Butter (and lots of it!)
1 onion, minced
2 c. Chicken broth
1/2 c. Water
3 Lemons, juiced
Dill and lemony-dill seasoning
Minced green onions

1.  Melt the butter over medium heat.  Fry the fish over medium heat on both sides until cooked through, being careful not to overcook.  Sprinkle the fish with salt and lemony-dill seasoning while it’s frying.  Add butter as necessary to keep it from sticking.  When cooked, transfer to a 9×13” pan.

2. Scrape out any burned bits from the pan and pour out any burned butter.  Add a pat of butter and the onion, and sauté until softened.

3.  Add the broth, water, and lemon juice.  Bring to a simmer, and simmer for 8-10 minutes.  Add four tablespoons of cold butter one tablespoon at a time, whisking after each addition until the piece of butter is gone.  Sprinkle the dill and lemony dill seasoning into the sauce.

4.  Sprinkle some green onions over the fish in the pan, pour the sauce on it, then sprinkle some more green onions on top.

Enjoy!

If you try this, please let me know if you like it!

Love,
Allison

I’m Still Alive

Yes, I am.  Although I am tempted to say just barely.  🙂

This weekend was our annual Men’s Advance.  And it went really well (at least from my view of things it did).  I helped it the kitchen, which was great, as usual.  But it is all very, very exhausting.

Very exhausting.

And on top of that, a cold is going around our church, and I could tell last week that, although I wasn’t sick yet, I was going to be soon.  So I did what I could to ward off that cold, but I had it on Monday.

It is appearing to be a real mean one.  As in it isn’t going to let off easy.

*Sigh*

Well, I had several wonderful grain free things over this weekend, and now I have been wanting to make them, as well as several other things that I have been wanting to make, but just haven’t gotten around to.  So, instead of making a mental list (which I am probably going to forget anyway, since my brain is out of it), I am going to make a list here.

(I know.  Another food list.  But bear with me.  It is hard not to be able to make any of these things, due to no energy, and the fact that I don’t want sugar while I am sick.  So hopefully this will help me let off some steam.)

1. Quiche or egg casserole.  Probably quiche, since it has crust.  I want crust.

2. Grain-free scones.  A dear friend of mine had these at their home when we were there for brunch, and THEY WERE AMAZING.  And I put butter on mine.  ‘Nuf said.

3.  Grain-free chocolate chip biscotti.  Again, another dear friend of mine made these, and I had them while at there home for brunch.  AND THEY WERE REALLY AMAZING.  And I need some again.  I think they had walnuts and raisins in them too.

4.  Grain-free biscuits.  I got a new recipe from a friend, and it is even better that the recipe I had tried.  I need something to slather some butter on.

5.  I need to make an apple crumble.  I tried to make walnut flour, but due to unforeseen circumstances, my walnuts never made flour.  Just a moist crumble-y thing that reminded me of a crumble. 

 

So that’s that.

What are you making/craving/hoping to make soon?

Do you have a cold?

‘Tis the Night Before Christmas

MERRY CHRISTMAS!

I hope you all had just as lovely of a Christmas Eve as we did.  We continued our tradition of having the W.’s over.  We had an awesome time! We talked, played a game, and stuffed ourselves with ate our traditional prime rib dinner.

I love our Christmas Eve tradition.  It is so fun, so laid back, that there is very little stress involved.  It makes for a great time.

Melissa and I decorated the table, which we did last year.  This year Mom had purchased a new candle centerpiece.  (I’m not sure where I was going with that.  But we’ll just leave it there anyway.)

Before the W.’s got here, I pulled the gingerbread cookies out and frosted them.  I must confess that I *sigh* ate a few.  *Sob*  I will try better next time. 

Voice #2:  BUT IT IS CHRISTMAS, right?  Do I get ANY cheating around Christmas?

Voice #1:  If you hadn’t been cheating as often, yes.

Voice #2: BUT…

Voice #1:  Oh, don’t even go there.

Voice #2:  Just…whatever.

 

Never mind. Sometimes these things just happen.

As I was saying, *cough* I decorated the cookies today.  I was trying to be artsy and creative (which, although I can be the latter, I am NOT the former by any vast stretch of the imagination).  I tried several different things (swirlies was my best), but then I got stuck on words.  Words are so fun.

I kept trying to write “twinkle” on a small star-shaped cookie, but all that would fit was “twink.”  I tried to get it to fit twice, but only ended up with “twink” both times.  Later, as I was looking at them, I realized that I had gotten confused as to where the “i” was, and had dotted the first stroke of the “w” both times.  So I ended up with “tiwnk,” or probably more like *tries to find letters that look like what she wrote* nope.  They don’t have the letters I was using on the keyboard.  How did that happen?

 

Wow.  Maybe I should write my posts this late at night all the time.  It might make things a bit more interesting.

And who knows what I will come up with?

Maybe it is better that I don’t.

 

So I had lots of fun with words.  You’ll see in the pictures.

 

Do you see how long (and how many interruptions – FROM MY OWN BRAIN) it took for me to say that?

 

Anyway, now for the pictures.

 

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Like you really have to write this on a cookie.

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This too

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Again, this was pretty obvious

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It turns out, “yum” is really fun to write in cursive in frosting.

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I started thinking about Christmas carols, and thought about “I’m Dreaming of a White Christmas.”  Well, when there is white, it is often on a tree, right?  So I put white on a tree.

Sometimes I’m not sure that I make a whole lot of sense.  Or that if I do, it is a rather silly sense that I make.

Whatever that means. 

(I really should write my posts this late at night!  I’m much more fun!)

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When I showed this to Melissa, she said that I should have written “wish”  on it (when you wish upon a star).  I completely agree.  I will have to do that next time.

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Again, another very obvious one.  But I think this one is quite cute.

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An M&M!  Love those things.  Have you seen the Chocolate Mint ones?  Anyone tried them?  I haven’t, but they sure sound good!

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This next set of cookies was inspired by my sister’s piano theory book.

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They often have things to decorate with notes, rests, and such, and they tell you which thing gets which symbol with numbers.

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Kind of a “decorate-with-music-symbols-by-number” thing.

(I am sure they have a more official name, but, as has been previously stated, it is late.)

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So I decided to try decorating cookies with musical symbols.  I should have tried to do the bass clef over again.

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But treble clefs are just so much more fun to do.

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They fit really well on the tree cookies.

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I then started writing the titles of Christmas carols out on cookies.

(Ding Dong Merrily on High – I am going to put what each one is, since they are all not super easy to read.)

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One of my favorite Christmas songs (When Love Came Down)

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Christmas doesn’t fit on one cookie, or at least I didn’t think it would.  I didn’t try.  I might have ended up with something similar to “twink.”

(Sing We Now of Christmas)

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I love doing exclamation points!

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(Joy to the World – with an exclamation point!)

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(We Wish You a Merry Christmas)

 

And my grand masterpiece…

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This was SO FUN!

Thank you for putting up with all the cookie pictures.

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Our Christmas Eve table

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The centerpiece

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Reflection

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Beauty on a plate (what else can I say?)

 

Oh, and one more thing…

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Merry Christmas!  May you all have a lovely, lovely Christmas!

 

Much love to you all,
Allison

Thanksgiving

I hope you had a lovely Thanksgiving!  I certainly did!  We spent the day at our friends’ home, with another family from church and a few other people. 

It was a lovely day – nice and warm, so we were able to be outside.  Our friends had set up an obstacle course outside, and we enjoyed running it, seeing who could get the best time.  I ran it with my little friend.  🙂

We had an early dinner, followed with a time of Thanksgiving and singing.  After that we had pie and visited.  The evening was wrapped up with a game of Scattergories (I LOVE that game!).

On a food note, the day before I made a grain-free apple pie for our celebration.  I was worried that it wouldn’t turn out, but I was quite happy with the outcome.  I based it on my regular apple pie and pie crust recipes.

And now, for the photos.  🙂

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The night before – making the grain-free apple pie

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The grain-free apple pie – when I was taking this picture I was thinking, “Let’s hope this works!”

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A little hot cocoa made with coconut milk, served in a pretty cup with a pretty spoon.  Ahhh….

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On Thanksgiving – my photographer friend 🙂

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*Smile*

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Mom running the obstacle course with Meimei

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The LOVELY table – Sarah, you did and AWESOME job!

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View from above

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With the candles lit and the cups filled

Confession:  Usually when I am at some sort of get-together, I take a bunch of photos at the beginning, then don’t take many more after that.  So, at this point in the evening, I put my camera down, and didn’t take any more photos until dessert.

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Pie time!

 

What did you do for Thanksgiving?