Monday, November 28, 2011

For These And More I Give Thanks

The kids are in bed, we have said our goodbyes to visiting family members, and I have found a quiet moment to sit down to write a post of Thanksgiving, something I have been pondering all month.  In the quietness of the night before Thanksgiving and early that morning, I made a Thankfulness Tree.  As I used alphabet stamps to record what my heart is particularly thankful for this year, I prayed and thanked God for each specific thing.  I realized that this quiet time of crafting was actually a personal time of worship.  It was a sweet time.

I thought I would take the time to list the words and phrases that came to my heart this season as reasons to give thanks.  This is not an exhaustive list, and I realized as I stamped that I could go on and on and on....but these give a window into my soul and why I stand in such gratitude for my God and Savior for all He has done.

My Salvation - It is the greatest gift of all.  The sacrifice of the cross, the payment for my sins, my redemption.  Thanks you Jesus.

Marriage - What a gift to share life with someone.  What a way to learn and grow and get over yourself and figure out how to sacrifice and accommodate.  What opportunities and discoveries and memories.  What a journey.

Music - It has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember.  With music I enjoy, I teach, I share, I listen, I worship.  It is a language all of its own, one I am thankful I know.

Open Windows - It is during Fall and Winter here in Florida that we get to enjoy these the most.  I am energized and revitalized when the house is filled with fresh air.

Mornings - The older I get, the more I appreciate each new dawn.

Grace - I think most of us shudder to think where we would be were it not for grace.  The undeserved, unearned favor of God.  I have experienced grace upon grace.  Thanks be to God.

Breezes - As they rush through the orange groves as I walk through my neighborhood or through my windows as I care for my family and home, I can't help but praise!

Daily Bread - I am learning to pray for it.  To trust God for it, in all areas.  Some days are more challenging than others, but I am learning to rely on God to sustain me in every way for every day.  Give us this day our daily bread.

Forgiveness - I am grateful for both forgiveness received and forgiveness given.  I have been forgiven much.  I am humbled as I reflect on that.  And as God has gently walked me through the process of forgiving others who have caused my heart and my family pain, I realize how much freedom is found in letting go.   Forgives us our debt as we forgive our debtors.

The Beach - My favorite place to visit.  I love the colors, the sights, the sounds, the salty smell of the air. The peace I feel when I'm there.

New Mercies - They truly are new every morning.  Great is Thy faithfulness.

Family - The constants in our lives.  Our safe place to land.  Home.

A Few Good Friends - They know who they are.  I used to think I had dozens of friends.  Now I realize I am blessed to know a lot of wonderful people and have many fabulous acquaintances, but as for true friends I can trust with my heart, I only have a few.  And I love them dearly and thank God for each one of them.

Our Youth Group Students - I learn from them as they learn from me.  They keep me laughing.  They keep me praying fervently for the next generation.  They keep me passionate. They keep me on my toes.  They keep me young.

Trev's Smile - I've seen it light up a room, the wrinkled face of an elderly friend, the eyes of a lonely stranger.  It lights my heart daily.

Madi's Dimple - It was one of the first things we all noticed about her when she entered the world.  It is deep, and so is she.  She is a thinker and a feeler, but I love when she has the time of her life and that dimple shows up.

Trials - It has taken me some growth to be able to thank God for these.  And growth is a sometimes painful process.  In the midst of a lot of beauty, I have to say honestly that the past several years have been some of the toughest of my life.  I cannot always share my struggles openly because as a pastor's wife, some things must be kept private in order not to dishonor others.  Those of us in ministry must sometimes bear a lot of burdens for others and try to carry ours very quietly, which can be excruciatingly difficult.  But I will say that some of the struggles of the past few years have brought me closer to my Savior than I ever dreamed possible.  While there are still unanswered questions and loose ends in my heart, I can say without reservation that my heart is fixed on God.  My heart is fixed.  He is my rock,  and I love Him so.  I have found that trials do indeed bring us closer to His heart.

Breath and Life - Every day, every moment is a gift from God!  I realize that more and more.  This is the day the Lord has made, I will rejoice and be glad in it!  I am more motivated than ever to live with intention.  To be present.  To be purposeful and positive.  To acknowledge each day as a gift from God and live it for Him.  Thank you God for this day.

Belly Laughs - Whether I am hearing them or experiencing them, these have to be some of the greatest joys of life!  To laugh so hard it hurts is a gift.

TGIF - God used these girls to help heal my heart.  We are joined together in Him, and uphold each other in laughter and love, in confidence and in prayer.  These women are my friends.  They are my True Girlfriends In Faith.  And I love them.

Simplicity - The more I find joy and treasure in simplicity and simple things, the greater freedom I experience.  Simplicity is like a breath of fresh air.

Jimmy - I share life with an honorable, godly man. We enjoy life together.  We are tightly knit.  I am a blessed girl.

Dessert - Desserts are happy endings!  And I like happy endings!

Comfy Bed - I am all too aware that many do not sleep in such comfort and provision as I do.  Thank you God for the place I lay my head.  I do not take this for granted.

Brokenness - The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and rescues the crushed in spirit.  My heart has been broken and my spirit has been crushed a few times in recent years, but the Lord has been ever close.  He is near and dear to me.

Disney - What a blessing and retreat for our family!  We have made magical memories together in a place designed for safe and wholesome family fun.  Every time we go I have to pinch myself to believe we are there.

My Parents - They have done so much for us.  They give their time and help and availability in a way that shows me Jesus.  They bless our lives daily, and are tremendous examples for us to follow.

Healing - In many ways, but specifically in my shoulder.  Two years ago on Thanksgiving I was in tremendous shoulder pain and had no idea why.  The pain was exhausting and excruciating and would go on for some time.  It would cause nerve damage and muscle loss.  It would be life changing for a season.  But God has brought so much healing to my shoulder and I praise and thank Him for it!  He is the Great Physician.

Coffee, Chaos, Contentment - I enjoy my morning coffee so much I sometimes think about it the night before.  Life's chaos keeps us real.  And contentment is where I want my heart to rest for all of my days.  As for this blog, it has been a dear and fun companion, a necessary outlet, a journal of life.  It has meant more to me than I would have known when my mom encouraged me to start it.  Thank you for those who read for taking the time to be a part of small and simple life.  You help motivate me.

The Word - Never have I been in God's Word for personal study like I have been the past few years!  I have realized its sustaining power.  In a crazy, broken world I want to set my heart on Truth.  I find it nearly every morning in my green chair.  I love God's Word more passionately than ever.

Creativity - Such an outlet for expression!  A good distraction, a welcome relief, a positive energy.  Creativity makes me smile.  It makes others smile.

Food - I have never had to go without sustenance and provision.  I get excited about tastes and flavors. Thank you God for this gift.  Thank you for each meal.

Good Books - I have read thousands through the years.  And one day I hope to write one.

My Two Little Loves - Madi and Trevor have changed my life for the better.  I love them with everything in me.  They help me understand God and His love more.  They make me laugh daily.  They reveal the best but also the worst in me.  I am still learning.  I am growing as they grow.  I am loving each day with them.  I don't even have the words for the gratitude I feel to God for my children.

Heaven - It is this hope that sustains me as I travel through this broken world.  God is preparing a place for believers, a place for me.  In that place there won't be pain or tears.  There will be magnificent light because of God's glory.  There will be perfect peace and beauty.  One day we will be in His presence.  It will be worth it all when we see Jesus! I long to be in His presence, but that is also what motivates me to share His love here on earth with as many people as I can.  I want everyone to know His love and spend eternity with Him.  I am thankful that as believers in Christ we can hold onto and share Heaven's hope.  Thanks be to God who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ!

For these and more, I give thanks.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Thanksgiving Eve

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving.

I sit here at my table with cookies cooling on the stove and a cake in the oven, clothes in the dryer, a project at hand and a completed project in the living room.  What I really want to do is go to sleep after a long but fun-filled day with our nephew and family, but I need to hold on at least a little longer.  So I just turned on some Christmas music and will work just a bit more until my cake is done and my sleepy eyes can't stay open a minute more.  I am bound to be up and at 'em bright and early tomorrow morning, so I will let what is undone rest while I do.   I have no expectations of perfection for this Thanksgiving.  I am working low key and last minute as this has been an extremely full month and we are trying to take advantage of time with our out of town family here.  I know that we will gather and give thanks and eat and enjoy.  If there is dust in my corners no one will notice.  I am truly just looking forward to time together with those I love.

As I finish what needs to be done I continue to reflect on the stirrings of my thankful heart.  Someday soon there will be time to pour those thoughts and feelings onto the pages of this blog.  For now, it is enough to say I am exceedingly grateful to the God of All for His abundant, rich blessings.  Exceedingly grateful.  

I hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving Day tomorrow. I will send you to dreamland with a saying my dad referenced in his message Sunday morning.

A grateful heart is thankful twice - when a blessing is received, and when it is remembered.

Take time to remember.  And Happy Thanksgiving, one and all!  

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Hi There, Remember Me?

Well, I'm pretty sure some of you didn't even notice I was gone...because you, like me, have probably busy scurrying around in the November hustle and bustle!  But for those of you who may have noticed it has been two weeks since I stopped by, let me just say it is not because I didn't want to sit down in my green chair and write.  No, it's just that like for many of you wives and moms out there, this time of year is FULL and basically non-stop.  That being said, I am so grateful that this week is Thanksgiving break.  What a welcome blessing this week off of school and regularly scheduled routines is during this season!  I know we all need it!

I thought I'd share a little bit of what has been going on the past couple weeks, so I will remember life as it was this November.  Here are some snapshots of moments in the life of an absentee blogger.  Hopefully I won't bore you to tears. You may want to grab a Christmas decorating magazine, just in case...  :)

Let's see.  The past couple of weeks I....

*have been craving raw vegetables.  With dip of course.  Broccoli, cucumbers, carrots.   I have especially been craving tomatoes, and have eaten so many that I think I have a deficiency of some sort.  Lycopene maybe?  At any rate, I have definitely been getting my five a day!  And my share of light sour cream and ranch seasoning, ahem.

*discovered that half a bag of steam-in-the-bag broccoli mixed with a can of Campbell's cream of potato soup (prepared as directed with milk and sprinkled with sea salt) makes a nice, big, warm bowl of goodness for lunch.

*have been opening my windows much of the time.  For the most part, it has been breezy and beautiful here!  A few days have gotten a little too warm, but we've mainly had a lot of high 60's and low 70's with strong breezes that rush through my windows and make me happy.

*got to share lunch with our friend Debbie, who is a walking miracle.  Miss Debbie was Trevor's Sunday School teacher when she suffered a massive heart attack during which she was without a pulse for several minutes.  They shocked her multiple times to revive her and did a cooling process on her body to try to help prevent total brain damage.  During her coma and long stay in the hospital, Trev and Madi prayed their little hearts out for this dear lady, and spent many visits in the waiting room of the hospital with Miss Debbie's husband and family.  By the grace of God, Miss Debbie defied the odds and the doctors' predictions, woke up, and has made unbelievable strides in recovery.  She has her struggles...but the doctors' literally refer to her as a miracle.  Trev joined us at a very charming tea room to celebrate Miss Debbie's birthday for a special lunch, and he was in rare form.  We laughed so much and the restaurant staff was ready to take him home!  Debbie had the grandest time, and it was an afternoon well spent.

*got to share in Trevor's Harvest Gathering at school.  What a treat for our family!!  He has two fabulous teachers who made this a fun, memorable time.  He was proud as punch when we came into his classroom, and was especially proud of this centerpiece at our table.
We had a Thanksgiving style meal served in the cafeteria and upon seeing that 5 adults ate for $13.75, my dad said we should eat there more often!  I must admit, their stuffing - not bad!  God bless those cafeteria workers.  They have quite a job, and do it well.

*got to help out in Madi's classroom - her teacher was gone and asked me to help the substitute make turkeys out of Oreos and other sugary goodies!  Madi was all smiles when I came into her classroom, and I think that's a really neat thing about this age.  They are gaining more independence, but they really love when Mommy can be around because Mommy (for the most part) still rocks.  And that is fun.

*had a googly eye crisis.  (I know, hang on to your seats for this one, it's gripping.)  I have basically converted our guest room into Santa's Workshop where I (the busy elf) am making a lot of homemade gifts for Christmas.  For one of my projects I needed googly eyes.  I happened upon some at Target and when I got home, I took them out of the bag and put them on one of my end tables in the living room.  I know for a fact I saw them there.  Then they disappeared off the face of the earth.  And I looked and looked, and drove myself crazy searching for this $2 pack of googly eyes (which sounds ridiculous, but I don't have a store with googly eyes right around the corner and didn't want to make another trip).  I never found them, so on my next Target run I picked up another pack of googly eyes.  I got home, unloaded my bags, took the trash out, got to work and realized - you guessed it -  I couldn't find my googly eyes!  I checked every bag, and even started digging through the trash that I had already taken to the bin (this was getting serious, y'all) thinking I had lost my mind. All of a sudden mid-trash-digging, I realized I had stuck one Target bag in my guest room a.k.a Santa's Workshop and that perhaps they might be in there.  They were, which was much to my relief because girls, I was seriously on the verge of checking myself into a mental institution!  Whew.

*packaged our Operation Christmas Child boxes and dropped them off for delivery.  I look forward to doing this every year!  The kids enjoy it too, and this year were so into it that instead of doing one boy box and one girl box as planned, we ended up having enough presents and supplies to pack two boy and two girl boxes which made my heart happy!  I am always convicted by this project, and it such a wonderful, easy way to allow your little ones to give to others.  I pray the children who receive those boxes will know how much God loves them.  If you don't know what Operation Christmas Child is, google it and you'll find out about an amazing ministry.  (I said google not googly, don't worry, you can relax now, everything's just okay.  :)

*spoke at a ladies ministry event we had called "Don't Get Your Tinsel In A Tangle" (more on that fun evening to come!).  It was an event with inspirational ideas to help in our planning for Christmas.  I taught a workshop called "A Homemade Holiday" and helped with some music, but was blessed by the entire evening, especially the devotional which a dear woman named Susan shared with us.  Her words were thoughtful and filled with wisdom, and I so enjoyed what she had to say on the topic of "Can Martha Have A Mary Christmas?"

*had the privilege to work alongside my family, another family, several youth group students, and many others I did not know but was able to serve with at a mission type ministry packaging boxes of food that will be distributed to families in need.  With an army of workers pitching in, we were able to make assembly lines to accomplish a large amount of work in a condensed amount of time.  It's always neat to see that happen!  What would take a few people weeks can take a group of people hours or days.  I was especially blessed to see my 6 year old daughter and her 7 year old BFF working side by side so enthusiastically and eagerly.  I pray their hearts will always be tender to the needs of others and that taking time to serve will be a priority in their lives.

*made a Thankfulness dinner for our family, including my parents and grandma.  It was food and conversation and thankful hearts around the table, and lots of laughter as the kids got everyone dancing along with the Wii afterwards.  Laughter is good medicine!  I enjoyed that evening at home together as a family.

*celebrated a friend's 40th birthday at a nice restaurant and laughed so hard with friends that my jaw hurt.  Again, how cathartic is laughter?!  We even laughed our way through a nearly 40 minute traffic jam in a parking garage (I'm not kidding), something that normally would have caused my rather claustrophobic self to stress out!!  It's amazing how friends can make anything fun.

*got to experience two magical Disney days.  The first was with my husband on a date day (magic, I tell you) where we got to eat our way through Epcot, trying little bits of food from different countries. This was a dream come true for a foodie like me!!  We had cheese and chutney in Ireland, ravioli in Italy (my husband's favorite), creme brulee in France, a shrimp taco in Mexico (my favorite!!).  It was a lovely day outside and we took our time, eating, talking, enjoying the day and each other.  Then we went to Hollywood Studios to ride the rides we can't normally go on when we have the kids with us - we love us some RockNRoller Coaster and Tower of Terror!!  It was fun!  I am thankful for days like that.

The second day was yesterday when we officially kicked off Thanksgiving break with a family day at Disney.  The weather was great (minus a quick afternoon shower), the kids were so well behaved, and we went from morning until night making magical memories together.  It is a blast seeing them enjoy themselves so much!!  From our pleasant surprise to see a huge gingerbread house at one of Disney's hotels, to our first ride on Soaring at Epcot, to our last ride on Star Tours at Hollywood Studios and all the music, shows, and fun in between, it was a wonderful day well spent as a family.  Definitely worth the 12 hours of stroller pushing and lunch and dinner packed at home and toted around, without a doubt!  One of my favorite parts was leisurely enjoying the 5 million (unbelievable) Christmas lights on the Streets of America with my little family, and dancing on the illuminated streets singing along to Christmas favorites with Madi while snow, even thought it wasn't real, fell from the sky.  That was a special moment in my life!  These are moments we will remember.

So those are some bits and pieces of my life the past few weeks in a nutshell!  We have a funeral to help with today and family coming in this evening, then we will be in Thanksgiving mode, so I don't know how much I will be able to post the next few days.  I do hope to stop in to share my reflections of Thanksgiving which have been at the forefront of my heart during all the fullness of November.  God is so gracious and good, and I am ever grateful.  I am thankful to serve Him, grateful to live this sometimes hectic but definitely wonderful life for His glory.  I hope in the midst of your chaos your heart is content.  I pray this day finds your soul settled no matter how busy the calendar is!  Happy Thanksgiving week dear friends and readers!  Enjoy this day!



Tuesday, November 8, 2011

November Inspiration

This time of year is so full, and has me busy with lots of projects.  We've been blessed to have some wonderful weather since October 1st with many cool days and chilly nights, giving us a good sense of fall here in the Sunshine State.  As the wind whips through the orange groves and through my open windows, the sounds of autumn invigorate and inspire me to create more.  As I've mentioned, this time of year makes me want to incorporate natural products into my decorating, and I put together a centerpiece using cranberries, sticks, and baby's breath.

I moved my acorns to the centerpiece to add warmth and more reminders of nature.

The sticks actually came from one of those cinnamon brooms that you can pick up at the produce section of the grocery store, and give off the spicy scents of autumn.

I added a few cranberries to the bottom of two half-pint canning jars, and set 50 cent votive holders on top for a unique votive display.

The candlelit sights of autumn bring me pause.

Remember the plate I told you I was thrilled and surprised to discover at Walmart?  The matching tray was such a bargain I went ahead and purchased it, and used it as the base of this centerpiece.

A few days ago I used this delicious recipe to make homemade Apple Butter Bread for my family.  It made a huge loaf, and the kids gobbled it up!  Savoring and enjoying the tastes of autumn.

I added some leftover faux pumpkins and gourds as well some pincecones to an old wire egg basket to give a touch of harvest to the ledge in my entryway.

I find so much beauty in simplicity.

Today I had the opportunity to teach a class on making Whoopie Pies to a group of seniors at a retirement center.  It was my first time teaching a baking class and it was so fun!  I showed them how to make a traditional Chocolate Whoopie Pie with White Frosting, then demonstrated how to make this Pumpkin Whoopie Pie with Cream Cheese Frosting rolled in autumn leave sprinkles for a seasonal treat.  The ladies enjoyed the class, and definitely enjoyed the goodies!

I found this recipe in a Whoopie Pie cookbook from Crate and Barrel, and it was fabulous!  This would be a fun treat to serve or send home with guests at your Thanksgiving celebrations.

Pumpkin Whoopie Pies

Beat 1 cup brown sugar and 1 stick of softened butter.  Add 1 1/2 cups pumpkin and 1 egg, beating well.  Mix 1 tsp vanilla until combined.

Sift together 2 1/4 flour, 1 tsp baking powder, 1/2 tsp baking soda, 1 TBSP cinnamon, 1 1/2 tsp ginger, 1 tsp allspice, 1 tsp nutmeg, and 1/2 tsp salt.

Add flour mixture to pumpkin mixture and beat on low until incorporated (batter will be thick).  Using 2 TBSP scoop, drop batter onto baking sheets lined with parchment paper and bake for 15 minutes at 350.  Let cakes cool on pan for 5 minutes then cool on rack.

Classic Cream Cheese Frosting

Mix 4 oz cream cheese, 4 TBSP softened butter, 3 1/2 cups confectioner's sugar (I reduce this to a little under 3) and 1 tsp vanilla.  Beat until creamy and smooth, about 4 minutes.

Fill pies with frosting, then roll in sprinkles if desired.

The projects will continue during this harvest month as we give thanks and prepare for Christmas.  My scents will continue to be satisfied by the blessings of my favorite season, a season that is always filled with such inspiration.  What's inspiring you this November?!


Joining the inspiration here again!  Always such fun!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Little Turkeys

There are signs of life all around our home and I love it, despite the clutter it sometimes causes!  I especially enjoy seeing the kids' artwork and crafts on display, adding personality to our home.  It's fun to incorporate their projects into my seasonal decorating.  A couple years ago the kids made little turkeys out of pine cones in the church nursery...and November is the perfect time to bring them out to roost!

I gathered several items I had around the house - a French wire basket, a cloth napkin, two tiny burlap pillows - to give one of them a nest.

Homemade by little hands and oh-so-cozy!  I truly enjoy celebrating this time of year with my sweet little turkeys!  :)

Joining Marty and her friends at A Stroll Through Life

Sunday Letters (Written Monday Morning)

Dear Madi,

For some reason, you were on my heart and in my prayers extra last night and this morning.  I was thinking of how very much I love you, and how proud I am of you.  I was thinking about your kindness and gentleness toward others; your explosive laughter and giggles at home where you are comfortable but the shy, quiet side I sometimes see when you are out and about.  How hard you work and how smart you are.  What a lovely little lady I am blessed to share life with.

I have been giving you piano lessons the past several weeks at your request.  I wasn't sure how this was going to work, just because of the mother/daughter dynamic.  However you are doing so well, and love to play the piano!  We are going at our own little pace, having a lesson when we have time, and you are often found in the music room, practicing the little songs you have learned.  You are learning how to read on the staff and are grasping it quite well; and you have an excellent sense of rhythm, though I often think of how many lessons you sat through when you were inside of me, and how many times I patted the beat for my students on my growing belly.  I guess it makes sense that you and your brother seem to have a natural sense of rhythm and was a part of your life from the very beginning!

You continue to do so well in school, both academically and behaviorally.  Your teacher gives me wonderful reports, and I cannot tell you how thankful I am and how proud that makes me of you.  I hope you will always work hard and choose obedience and kindness.  You continue to be drawn to the creative things in life.  You are starting to become increasingly interested in style, and what you wear is more important than it was before.  You, like me, are already getting excited for Christmas.  You told me  yesterday that you can't wait for the house to smell good and the music to be playing and the hot cocoa and all the other festive things we do to celebrate this time of year.  You specifically told me you want to make a birthday cake for Jesus again, so I will make sure that is a part of our celebration.  I absolutely love making holiday memories with you!  We appreciate many of the same things.

Madi, I just want you to know in an extra special way that I love you so, so much.  You are growing right before my eyes.  I sometimes cringe at the harsher, negative sides of the world you will soon discover as you continue to grow.  But I pray that you always find the beauty, and that your heart will ever lead you to Jesus and home.



Dear Trev,

Friday when Daddy dropped you off at Pre-K he happened to be there when a special announcement was made over the intercom at school.  Turns out you were Student of the Month!  When I went to pick you up that morning, I asked if you had any special news.  A look of excitement came over your face, you looked back and forth quickly to your teacher and me a few times, then exclaimed, "I was the Month of the Year!!!!!"

Your teacher and I cracked up!  Well, it is true that you sing about the months of the year in Pre-K, but we clarified that you were actually Student of the Month, and that we were proud of you!  Your certificate said you were awarded for exemplary behavior.  Good job, Trev!!  My heart is so happy for the choices you are making and how you are growing!  God is gracious.  We celebrated with a lunch at our favorite little lunch stand, and sat outside eating together in the November breezes.  In that moment you seemed like this beautiful mix of a maturing little boy and my snuggly little son, and I wanted to freeze time.  The thing is, I can't.  So I just have to enjoy each day, and enjoy the smallness while it lasts.

Taking It All In,


Dear Jimmy,

It has been a crazy couple of weeks - or should I say months!  This time of year is always full, and I am grateful we handle it all as a team.  The past week was particularly busy with details and behind the scenes help and ministry, and I am so thankful that today we have designated time to spend together, just the two of us!  We will soon be off for a date day.  That is just too fabulous for words!

I Love You,


Psalm 29:2 
Give unto the Lord the glory due to His name;
Worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Simple Homemade Bread and Soup Lunch

I eat lunch at home most days, and often keep it fairly simple - a sandwich, fruit, nuts, yogurt, trail mix, something I baked, or even the occasional candy bar when I'm busy.  :)

But yesterday I was having a craving for pumpkin soup, something I've only eaten when I've been out at restaurants.  I decided to make some for the first time, but got to work baking some bread first.

I made an extremely simple bread that is a culmination of a few recipes I've used through the years. I could call it Sweet and Crunchy Bread because the dough is sweet but the top gets nice and crunchy thanks to those sticks of magic we call butter.  A little boy in a Star Wars apron helped me, so I know you can do this!  All you have to do is...
Heat oven to 375.

Mix 3 cups flour, 3 TBSP sugar, 1 TBSP baking powder, and 1 tsp salt.

Pour in 12 ounces of Sprite and stir with wooden spoon.

At this point your mixture will be very sticky, or as my cute helper said, "It's all gooed up."

Don't worry.  It's supposed to be gooed up!

Take that sticky mixture and put it into a prepared loaf pan. 

Melt 3/4 stick of butter in the microwave and pour it on top.  

It will now look this...

Bake for 35 to 45 minutes (slightly less if your oven is hot, just keep your eye on it).  

Cool on rack then enjoy but is addicting!

While my bread was baking, I used this recipe that I found thanks to a trusty google search to make some Pumpkin Curry Soup.  The recipe was super simple.  When I got to the evaporated milk I realized the cans in my pantry were expired so I once again hit up google, this time for an evaporated milk substitution.  I found out you can use powdered milk (which I happened to have on hand from some homemade cocoa gifts I had made) and it worked!  After my soup had simmered for a bit, I put it in the blender and thought, here goes nothing!

But it blended nicely and the soup was warm, mild, and yummy - perfect with the crunchy bread!  The only thing I would say about this soup recipe is this: be ready to add salt.  You are probably going to need it.

With some instrumental music playing on my Pandora and my hot soup and freshly baked bread, I felt like I was out to lunch!  Definitely a treat!  I had extra so I packaged some up to give to my parents.  

Sometimes you just need a good, homemade lunch!

Be inspired with me at  2805's Potpourri Party !
Join the fun!