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?

Two Cookies and Two Chilies (and a Kitchen Chore)

Today Drake and I ran several errands together.  We had quite a bit of fun, even though the errands weren’t all that exciting.  Drake’s a lot of fun. 🙂

A few days ago Meiling and I had some kitchen time together.  Mom had purchased 2 bricks of cheese, not realizing that we already had 2 at home.  Meiling and I started our time together with shredding the cheese.  We used the food processor, which, when you shred cheese in it, makes these tasty little cheese balls, which we eat with great satisfaction.  Mmmm…  We don’t usually use the food processor for cheese, since it can be a bit of a pain to clean, but this was a great excuse to pull it out.

We also worked on spaghetti, which was our dinner.  (No photos, so I won’t elaborate.)

Last on our list was to bake cookies.  We made chocolate chip cookies and flourless chocolate fudge cookies.  The chocolate chip cookies I made using our family favorite recipe, altering it to be grain-free and made with coconut sugar.  The flourless chocolate fudge cookies were a recipe was one I found online.  Right after I made it, I didn’t like them, and neither did Drake.  (Noah liked them, though.)  I tried them today, and they were much better.  It’s surprising how much difference a few days can make.

Today I made two chilies – our regular chili recipe, a slow-cooker recipe from ATK’s family cookbook, and a buffalo chicken chili I found on the internet.  It’s in celebration of my dad coming home – he has been out of town.  They (the chilies) are both really, really good.  The buffalo chicken chili is spicy, although that is a bit of a given, isn’t it?

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Bricks of cheese

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Shredded cheese

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Sisters ❤

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Chocolate Chippers

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And the other kind with a really long name

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Today – buffalo chicken chili…

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and our regular chili (BAD picture – but I didn’t feel like trying again)

What I Want to Eat When it’s February (and More!)

Hi!

It’s me, Allison!

(It feels like so long since I have been on here that feel like I need to reintroduce myself.)

I’m still here.

Really.

What’s up?

Not a whole lot exciting or new here.  Just school.  And my midwifery course.  It has been so wonderful!  I love it.  I am wrapping up (or should be – but I am blogging :)) the first nutrition module, and enjoying it heartily.  It’s been great.

A few days ago I came down with a little bit of a cold (this is starting to sound like the story of my life, isn’t it?  It really isn’t, though).  I have a little sore throat and a little congestion, and a LOT of tired.  So this afternoon I ended up taking a nap.  Hopefully it will help me feel better faster.

When I woke up, I glanced at the clock, and it was time to start dinner!  Still rather groggy, I got up to head to the kitchen.

Then Mom came in.  And she basically said, “We have all these leftovers.  I would be so much happier (and I think it would be better) if you didn’t make dinner and we just ate those.”

So I am not making dinner.  Which makes me really happy, since I am still a little groggy.

So I thought I would post.

 

I have been thinking.  (Again, I try to do this once in a while.)  About what I want to eat when I am back to eating “normal-ish” things.  After I introduce the things I haven’t been eating slowly.  And these are some of the things I have been craving/wanting/thinking about.

1.  Brownies.  A whole pan (NOT!).  There is an AWESOME looking recipe in Practical Paleo.  I really want to try it (both making and eating!)

2. Baconaise.  Again, another recipe that is in Practical Paleo.  We went to a friend’s home, and they made an AWESOME broccoli salad with it.  And I want it again.  And it might be fun to try some other things with baconaise. (Tuna salad?  Egg salad? Any suggestions?  It has to be grain-free.)

3.  Egg casserole.  And quiche.  Something different for breakfast.  I’m getting a little tired of leftover meat.

4. Cheese.  Cheese sticks.  I miss it.

5.  Sun-dried tomatoes.  I have a jar in the fridge, and I think they would be good on a salad.

6.  A faux-Chipotle meal.  Keep thinking about it.  And I really want to try to imitate their steak.  I will say it again:  I LOVE CHIPOTLE!  Especially the cheese.  Don’t ask.

7.  Zucchini linguine noodles with tomato sauce.  And cheese!

8.  Cake.  Not sure where this craving is coming from, because I usually am not that big on cake.  Maybe because I want a baked good?

9.  Paleo French toast, like I made 2 days before I started this.  It was good.

10.  Chocolate chip cookies.  Need I say more?

11.  Peanut butter cookies.  Maybe with chocolate chips added in.

12.  A peanut butter spoon.

13.  A large peanut butter spoon with chocolate chips.

14.  Quinoa.  I want it again.  This has been even longer – several months since I had it last.

15.  Cookies, in general.  I haven’t made that many grain-free cookies.  And I need some.  (Yes, I do know the difference between “want” and “need.”  This IS a need.)

16.  Some sort of really good bar thing with a bunch of ooey-gooey toppings.  With caramel.

Well, that is it for right now.

If you have ANY suggestions of things that I should make (and eat!) when I get off this diet, I would LOVE to hear!

Well, off to work on that nutrition module.

Love,

Allison

‘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

Last-Minute Munchies, Milky Way Bars, and Ramblings

I had a bad case of last-minute munchies this evening (actually, I am still dealing with that, since my satisfaction is still in the oven).  I had made some grain-filled chocolate cookies the other day for a party we were going to, and we came home with quite a few left over.  The rest of my family have been eating them, and I wanted a cookie, but didn’t want to subject myself (or my family) to me, post-grain consumption.  It’s not pretty.

(I have been cheating a bit lately, having grain here, sugar there.  This is probably the reason for the bad cravings I have been dealing with.  I need to be better and stick with my grain-free and low-sugar stuff.)

So I wanted a cookie.  An easy cookie, that I could throw together in a few minutes and eat a few minutes later.  I pulled up this recipe that I had seen a few days ago, and decided to give it a spin.  I used butter instead of macadamia nut oil, and honey.  We’ll see how they turn out.  They have been baking for at least 10 minutes (quite a bit longer than the recipe directs).

I know I said I would post about the Milky Way Bars, but due to some unforeseen circumstances, I was unable to start the bars until almost dinner time on Thursday, so I didn’t post, since they were only 2/3rds of the way done.

Here’s the run down of what I did:

I found this recipe for “Silky Way Bars,” just a homemade version of Milky Ways.  I used it as my basis for creating the bars.  I then found this recipe for marshmallows and marshmallow cream.  I made it according to the directions, except that I used coconut sugar instead of stevia, and I didn’t use marshmallow flavoring oil. (I also forgot to add the vanilla, but I would definitely add that next time.  This is a common occurrence with me.)  Once it was whipped, I added the 12 oz. of melted chocolate chips.  I then poured this mixture into a well-greased 8×8 pan (next time I will just line the pan with parchment paper – this will make the removal of the bars just that much easier).  Then I put it into the fridge until it was solid.

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All hardened, and ready for the next layer

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They are quite firm, and very fun to poke

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It seemed to pull away from the sides quite easily

Meanwhile, I whipped up a half-batch of the same caramel that I used for the Twix bars (leave a comment if you need the recipe).  Actually, I whipped up two half-batches because I burned the first batch.  I only cooked it until it registered 238*F, instead of 248*F, because it heat up too fast after that.  This resulted in runnier caramel, but not that bad.  Again, add this to your pan of marshmallow/chocolate mixture, and put back into the fridge until hardened (for me, this was overnight). 

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With the hardened caramel

The next day I sliced the bars, then stuck them back into the fridge to harden for awhile. 

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All sliced

Later in the day, I melted and tempered some chocolate. (Tempering is awesome, as it makes the finished product not as prone to melt.  Usually home-dipped chocolate things melt as soon as you touch them.  If you temper the chocolate, they don’t melt as easily.  It isn’t that difficult to do, but does require patience and a good food thermometer.)  The next step was eating all the melted chocolate with a spoon dipping the bars and sticking them in the freezer to cool.  Ta da!

(Again, I didn’t take a picture of the finished product.  They looked basically the same as the Twix bars, and you can see a picture of them here.)

My review:  I thought they were pretty good, but the marshmallow part was way too rubbery for my taste.  If I make them again, I will only use 2 packages of plain gelatin in the marshmallow cream instead of 3.  I took them to church, and a whole bunch of people tried them, and they all liked them.  So whatever you want – just the way they are, they are about the consistency of a regular marshmallow, maybe a bit firmer.  If you want them a bit softer, try only 2 packages of gelatin – and let me know how it turns out!

 

As for the chocolate chip cookies that I just made – I am not impressed.  I baked them for about 13 minutes or so, but they were still raw in the center.  They have an almond-flour flavor, which may not bother everyone, but it does bother me.  I’ll have to figure out a good chocolate chip cookie recipe.  (We have an AMAZING regular chocolate chip cookie recipe, if I do say so myself, which we got from ATK, which I should be able to make to being grain-free.)

 

I need to take a break from making desserts – I have been getting a bit crazy with them lately.  I am going to try to make more savory dishes (basically, anything that isn’t dessert).  Mom picked up a few paleo cookbooks for me at the library, and I am looking forward to trying some of the recipes.  Wow, some of the recipes are SO creative! 

 

On a completely different note: I am so happy – our Cowgirl Dirt order came today (well, most of it did – one thing was backordered).  I chose a few new eye shadow samples, and I am enjoying one right now, and looking forward to the others.  I also just tried their mascara, and I LOVE IT.

Have a lovely evening!

~Allison

Oh My–This is SO GOOD (and fun!)

I made these AMAZING little things today.  They were wonderful.  Amazing. (Although I already said that.)  And I had a BLAST making them.  The caramel was my favorite part to make (especially since it was mostly dairy free – it just had butter, which could have been changed).  Dipping in chocolate is always fun.  But I have done that before.

Now that I have raved on and on, I am sure you are wondering what I made.

You’re not?

Oh.

Well.

I’ll just tell you anyways.

How’s that?

And you’ll pretend that you are excited?

Thanks.

I made Paleo/Primal Twisk bars!

Oops.  Did it again.  I mean Twix bars.

Isn’t it easy to say it the other way?  I also have an extended family member who used to say it that way (quite a while ago).  I was thinking of you today while I was making these. 🙂

I was so excited to try them once they were done.  And I wasn’t let down.  They were SO SO VERY GOOD.  I stood there on the rug in the kitchen and ate one.

While eating it, the chocolate melted and oozed all over my hands and my (already chocolate smeared – this always happens when I deal with melted chocolate) face.  I am somewhat tired, so I kind of zoned out.

Dad said I looked funny.

I think I did too.

O.K.  And now the pictures.

(Don’t drool.  Or at least try not to.)

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The unbaked cookie layer

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“I am ready to be baked!”

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Baked, and cooling

 

*WE INTERRUPT FOR A BREAKING NEWS ALERT*

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Mom bought the first bit of egg nog today.  Drake and I love egg nog, and we drink it together in the winter.  Sometimes while we are making dinner.  *Sigh*  I am SO looking forward to winter.  And I am enjoying the first tastes that are already here.

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I so need to make a paleo version of this.  This stuff is wonderful.  Even if it isn’t chocolate.

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Cheers!

 

*WE NOW RETURN TO OUR STORY*

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The caramel ingredients in the pan

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Lucy being her usual cute self.  She *actually* looked at me when I took her picture.  She usually won’t.

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Isn’t she JUST SO CUTE!!!!!  (My family hears this probably about 25 times a day.  Lucy hears it probably ten times that.)

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The caramel, now melted

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Swirlies!

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While waiting for the caramel to come to the proper temperature, I discovered that caramel drips are fun to photograph!

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*Drip*

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*Drip* *Sizzle* (As I am not paying attention and holding my whisk over the hot stove, the caramel drips are burning, instead of returning to the pan.  This has a most unique scent.)

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Now we are getting close

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Stir!  Don’t stop!

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Cooling in the pan

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After several hours in the fridge – cutting them up (actually not that difficult)

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Melting the chocolate

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Cooled, right out of the freezer

 

Are you ready for this?  You think so?  O.K.  Here it is:

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Yum.

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That’s all that I can say.

If you want the recipe, please leave me a comment below, and I will email it to you.

 

Now I am off to go clean the last residue of chocolate from the bridge of my nose.

 

~Allison

Kitchen Herbs

This past Saturday we went to a very cute farm-themed baby shower.  For favors and place cards they used little flower pots and buckets filled with goodies.  Now that I had a flower pot, I needed to plant something in it.

So I started thinking.  A flower would be nice, but you can’t eat it.  The flower’s purpose would be just to look pretty.  Not that there is anything bad about that.  I just usually like to plant plants that produce something that we use.

When we were starting seeds for our garden, I decided that I would try to grow some cilantro and parsley, since we use those herbs often and a whole bunch from the store can be too much.  It would be so nice to have some cilantro here in the kitchen, since that doesn’t do all too well out in the heat.  I started some thyme seeds in a bag a few weeks ago and the little plantlets needed to be planted.  I decided to plant cilantro in two of the pots and thyme in the third.

I really wanted to get them planted today, but it was already getting late.  While I was making cookies, I decided it was the perfect time to plant.  The recipe has you mix the butter, eggs, and sugar together for 30 seconds, then let the mixture sit for 3 minutes, and you have to repeat this process for a total of 3 times (this makes for a most delicious dough).  During those three minutes, I would hurry outside to work on my plants.  I had to work on them some more after the cookies were done, but it didn’t take all that long and I was very satisfied with the result.

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My inspiration

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Filled with dirt

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My cute watering can – it was found in a thrift store

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All planted, except the top one – I still need to put a cilantro seed in it

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Extra thyme plantlets that I need to do something with.  I’m not sure what that something is.

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A gooey chocolate chip cookie (yes, that is chocolate smeared on the counter, and no, I didn’t lick it off)

17

Yesterday I turned seventeen.  It’s rather hard to believe that I am seventeen.  I don’t feel quite as grown-up as I used to think I would when I was seventeen (or when I was sixteen, for that matter).  I remember wanting to be “grown-up.”  Now that I am seventeen, I’m realizing that it really isn’t all that grown-up.  Growing up has impressed me with a feeling, though, of everything not being the same way forever.  I am beginning to realize that the time I have here in my father’s house is probably limited, and even if it isn’t, I won’t have this time to speak into my siblings’ lives the way I do now.  We will always be friends, but someday I may be living in a home of my own or they will be living in a home of their own, and it won’t always be like it is today.  So to all you younger ladies out there who just can’t wait to grow up:  don’t try to push growing up.  I know this is hard, because there are times that I can’t wait to be more grown-up.  But remember – what you have today won’t be the same tomorrow.  Your little siblings grow up and things change.  Use the time and opportunities that He has given you today wisely, and don’t yearn after tomorrow – don’t worry, it will come.

So yesterday was my birthday.  Daddy was planning on taking the day off, but he was having a problem at work, and we were not sure whether he would be able to take the day off.  Thankfully he only had to work until ten or so, and was able to have the rest of the day off.  After lunch and opening gifts, we went to downtown St. Charles to walk around and go to antique stores.  It was fun, even though we didn’t find anything.  St. Charles has many cute little stores, and it is fun to go down there and look around.  After that, we stopped and got some cookies at Grandma’s Cookies (a cute little bakery on Main Street) and got some drinks at Starbucks (you know it – MOCHA!).  Mom made me chicken and potato bake for dinner – delicious and pretty simple.  After dinner we watched a few episodes of Cake Boss, which is a show about an Italian family-owned bakery in New Jersey.  It was a wonderful day!

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In the window of an antique shop – old meets new

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I like the railroad track.  Unfortunately, that dumpster was in the way.  It was a little big for me to move, so I had to have it in the picture. 🙂

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In an antique store

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A pretty quilt

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See anything that doesn’t quite belong?  Tell me!

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Mocha!

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This little mouse was sitting outside of Starbucks.  Dad gave him a little piece of his cookie.  We tried to warn them – if you give a mouse a cookie…

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What was left of the cookies

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Mmmm…

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Lens cap

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On the way home