Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Date Night:

Last night we went on a good ol' fashioned double date. We met up with some of our dearest friends, Jon and Emily. We went to dinner and a movie together. I realized about half-way through our evening that I felt like my parents. For some reason, I felt very adult going to dinner and a movie with another couple. We laughed about how little we do that. Our evenings together are usually in one of our living rooms, drinking coffee, and eating homemade treats. It was quite a change for us to go out together.

We enjoyed really yummy food and True Grit. We treasure our friendship with Jon and Emily. We were engaged a day apart. We were married only one month before they got married. We both moved away for a year and then found ourselves back in Tulsa, living with our parents. And now we maintain our long distance friendship with frequent trips to Tulsa and phone conversations. We are so blessed by them, and I am so glad that we can go on adult dates with them!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Sister Jeanette:


We have known each other since I was 14. She worked with my older sister Bethany at camp together. They wanted me and Doug to meet and get married and yadda yadda yadda. So Doug and I met and they thought that it was just a funny idea for us to become friends. Well, we really did become friends. And immediately after meeting Doug and I walked off and spend hours together without Bethany or Jeannette. She made me laugh really hard talking about that first meeting between Doug and I.

I spent the night in her tiny studio apartment when I visited Doug when we were dating. I slept on the floor on a futon mattress.

We also shared a room at her grandparents house, and on several occasions we thought that we heard something moving in the wall. We were both thoroughly creeped out.

She took a job that moved her across the country for a while. I was still in college, and we thought it would be a good idea to pick a show to watch together in our separate homes, but be on the phone with each other. For whatever reason, we chose Kid Nation. Remember that show? It was terrible. Watching/Talking with Jeanette made it very memorable.

I remember her calling to tell me about her now-husband, Brad. I was at Sonic and I was very very excited to hear that she had found herself a husband.

She loves me by letting me hug her and letting me cuddle close to her. Even though she does not like it, she lets me because she knows how much I like it.

New Years Eve 2001, I found myself riding around in Jeanette's car with Jeanette, Doug, and Bethany. We opened up a bottle of sparkling grape juice and passed it around the car. We felt really rebellious. It was during that same trip that we got a flat tire and ended up in a church parking lot waiting to be rescued.

Spending a week with her has been one of the highlights of my year. I love my sister Jeanette.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Castle Christmas:

                                  

Some of these things might not make sense to all of you. But they are things that I want to always remember from Castle Christmas 2010. And this is a great place to write down things that I do not want to forget them. I hope you don't mind. 

- Spending time with the siblings and mom at our home. We ate pizza downtown, reunited with some friends, played games, sat by the fire, shared our home and lives with them.

- Came back to Tulsa to find a beautifully decorated home, lots of food to be eaten, and classic Christmas movies to watch. 

- "Oatmeal"  "Oatmeal, you too" 

- " And sometimes Y"

- We drove to OKC to spend a day with dad and Julie. Our time consisted of eating lunch at McNellies, trying three different kinds of chili for dinner, playing Fact or Crap, Beth getting mad at Fact or Crap, petting a bunch of dogs, memorable family pictures, and a really fun car ride home. 

- We had good conversations about family, changes, children, marriage, and more.

- About 567 pots of coffee were consumed over this holiday.

- We had multiple family get-togethers. Let's count them: Dad & Julie, Mom, Breakfast with Grandparents from Dallas, Ladies dinner, Grandparents from Skiatook, Lunch with Gommie and Kenny, Christmas with the Clarks, and Aunt Camille's House. Whew. So many wonderful people at so many get togethers.

- Shoe shopping and antique store browsing.

- Christmas morning turnovers and pigs-in-a-blanket and ham and potatoes for lunch. 

- Spending all of Christmas days in our jammies. And the girls matching socks with capri jammie pants. 

- Cuddling under the super shock-y blanket with Jeanette and looking through cookbooks. 

- Laughing. laughing some more. and laughing until our sides hurt. 


Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Christmas Party:

Last night, Doug hosted his first Christmas Party. We had door prizes, Christmas Trivia, candy cane decorated tables, and a fun evening together. We see the kitchen employees often, but we do not get to see their children and their spouses. So we had lots of fun getting to meet some adorable little boys and talk with the spouses. It was a good time of having fun together and celebrating Christmas. Doug did a really really wonderful job of getting everything together and I think everyone had a great time.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Lately:


- We have family coming this weekend. We could not be more excited.

- I had a rotten, terrible, horrible morning the other day. I came home and sat on the couch. Doug turned on a Monk episode, I made a frozen pizza, and he might have let me crawl onto his lap. It made my afternoon so much better.

- We went Christmas shopping last night. We talked about church, ate at Taco Bueno, had Starbucks, and bought some fun little things. We had to run in and out of places because it was freezing cold. I lost Doug at one point when we were in Borders. I hate that feeling more than anything. I found him by his cute hat that he wears in the winter time.

- Thank you, Lord Jesus, for our wood stove.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

First Turkey:


I made my first Turkey this Thanksgiving. It turned out wonderfully. Here is what I did:
  1. Cut up carrots, onions, and celery and placed them in the bottom of the roasting pan. Cover the bottom of the pan with chicken broth. 
  2. Remove the gross bag of you know what from the turkey. Throw all away except the neck. Have your really brave and wonderful father touch the raw neck and place it in bottom of the roasting pan as well.
  3. Stuff Turkey with onion halves and garlic
  4. Rub turkey skin with butter
  5. Salt and pepper skin
  6. Bake and Baste. Bake and Baste. Bake and Baste. Until turkey is finished.
  7. Try to carve the Turkey without getting family members fingers that are crowded around and picking the incredibly juicy meat. 

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

My Mom is Cuter than Your Mom:


My parents have lived Missouri, Arizona, Arkansas, Illinois, and now Montana. Dad posted this picture the other day on his Facebook. It is my mom with their Christmas gift to each other, a snow blower. I asked her if she ever imagined buying a snow blower in her lifetime and she said no. [p.s. she is so cute] They are wonderful examples of following after their dreams and following the Lord's lead in their life. And currently, they are busy snow blowing, hiking, fishing, and hunting in beautiful Montana.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Taco Bowls and Football Champions:

The other night we had taco bowls/nachos for dinner. It was the type of meal that I could eat everyday and never get tired of it. In my bowl I had beans, corn, taco meat, shredded lettuce, olives, salsa, all topped with the classic queso party dip and crunched up tortilla chips. Doug went the nacho route and layered all the above ingredients (except the olives) and put it in the oven to toast. So comforting and so good.

Then we watched the last Big 12 Championship game with a full living room. We only had one Nebraska fan and lots of dessert options. We were so happy to see our OU Sooners win another Championship. [Doug was especially happy].

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Maxwell Watching TV:


The other night Doug and I were watching a nature documentary on Yellowstone. My parents live close to Yellowstone, so it is fun to learn about the area that they live near. At one point, there were some wolves chasing an elk. Doug and I were obviously intrigued, and then we looked down and saw that Maxwell was also captivated by what was going on the screen. He really wanted to run free like those wolves. He wanted to feel the cold air in his lungs. He wanted to hunt for his own dinner.

But then he remembered that he would not be able to lay in front of our wood stove, he would not have food given to him in a bowl each day, and he would have to exert energy. So...he decided to stay in our cozy home instead of running in the wild.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

No Shave November:

Doug did not shave for the entire month of November. And when he did shave he decided to shave this little beauty. All Doug wants for Christmas is to be able to grow real {sorry sweetheart} facial hair. Any tips?

Friday, December 3, 2010

Couple Picture:


I love him so so so very much.

p.s. Thanks Justin for the new picture.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

10 Things to do in 2010:




2.  Host a dress up dinner party.

We turned our Thanksgiving dinner into a dress up affair. We had fancy rings, hair pieces, hats, ties, coats, and adorable children in cute outfits. We had candles and sparkling apple cider. A toast, a beautiful prayer, a platter of Turkey. I am so glad we got to accomplish this task with my family. They are such good sports to play along with our ideas sometimes.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Thanksgiving In Review:



- We officially had the most people in our small home for the longest amount of time. Every member of the family stubbed their toes on a chair or table at some point in the weekend, except Bethany. It was perfect though, except for the stubbed toes.

- I made and craved my first turkey. I cannot take all the credit however, because my hero dad took the stuff out and touched the neck and rinsed the raw turkey. And mom helped me butter the skin. Everyone loved it, including Maxwell.

- Some of my favorite moments were shared over coffee around the big table. We talked, played games, scratched backs, played with children, and enjoyed being together.

- We all really really really missed Andrew.

- I love playing sports with my family. We had our annual football game and then on Monday we had sports day. We played Gottcha, Volleyball, and Kickball.

- We sat around fires and roasted marshmallows, rode on the hay bus through the woods, petted horses, and enjoyed being at camp with our family.

- We also made trips into town for cheap Mexican food, more eggs and milk, and to go to church on Sunday.

- We decorated our Christmas tree with the help of wonderful niece and nephew Clark, built fires in our wood stove, drank cups of hot chocolate with peppermint sticks, and watched Elf together.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Thanksgiving Thoughts:


- Doug remembered our date to watch the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade together. He walked out of the bedroom right as they were cutting the ribbon.

- I woke up early because I was too excited to sleep. My family is almost here!

- We have so much to be thankful for: our faith and salvation, our love for each other and the blessing of marriage, a home we love, jobs that are fulfilling, support from friends and family, being able to live with some of our best friends, health and happiness, coffee and pie, a car that gets us where we need to go, technology that helps us keep in touch with long distance family members, our wood stove, our floppy eared family member, and the ministry that the we are so blessed to be a part of.

- Yesterday was sunny, in the 70's and stormy. A cold front moved through so now we have cold rain falling outside. I am so glad it is cold and rainy today. Much more thanksgiving-y. And we can have a fire.

- How do you make a cherry pie with cans of pie filling? Like do I just dump it in, or do I need to add anything? I'll ask my mom when she gets here.

- Have a very very happy and blessed Thanksgiving. We are thankful for YOU!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Long Distance Family:



We have brothers and sisters in California, Virginia, Illinois, Germany, Montana & Oklahoma.
We have parents in Montana and kinda close Oklahoma and farther away Oklahoma.

Tomorrow we will have most {we miss you Andrew!} of my family here for the Thanksgiving holiday. We could not be more excited. We have not seen my mom and younger sisters since last Christmas. Like almost a year ago. And we have not seen Dad or the younger brother since May. We are excited and ready to have 12 people in our cozy [another word for small] home.

Then we only have to wait a few more weeks until we get to have Doug's mother, brother and wife, and sister and husband here.

Long distance family can be so hard and many days where we just.miss.them.so.so.so.much. But it makes those times that we are together so sweet. Hurry up family, get here and travel safe!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Party with Work Friends:

On Saturday night we attended a party with friends that Doug worked with at DHS. We had no idea what to expect, but knew that we needed to go because they made sure to plan the party at a time that we could come. I do not always do so well in social settings that are uncomfortable or unfamiliar. [The older I get the more I am convinced I am an introvert in these settings]. Which, is the total opposite reaction for Doug. He gets excited. Energized. "What, I get to meet new people tonight? Yes!" Thrilled.

We got to the house and there were lots of cars parked outside. I sat in the car, breathed in and breathed out and Doug patted my leg and asked if I was ready to go in. I was. We walked in and there were about twelve people. I knew three. Including Doug. We got our food and drinks and found a seat. The room was crowded, so Doug and I shared a big, comfy chair. We sat around and talked with each other and the new friends for several hours. We ate lots of really really good food and had lots of fun.

On the car ride home we talked about the evening. Talked about how much fun we both had. I thanked Doug for sitting right by me the entire night. He carried on conversation, kissed me on the head at one point, and refilled our food plate. I felt comfortable, and was able to really enjoy my time and be pushed. But pushed in a good way.

I thanked Doug for looking out for me and being by me. He thanked me for going with him. We are so blessed to have all kinds of friends and connections. We love knowing people and knowing them well. And we are so thankful for the variety of people that we know.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Lunch with Heather:


I worked at a church for 14 months when we lived in Tulsa. It was one of those things in life that was incredibly tiring and hard but oh so fun and fulfilling. Heather started working there after I had been there for about three months. We shared an office together and when she started working there I did not know what I was in for.

We became very good friends, very fast. We were a team. People would ask who was in charge of a certain event or project and the answer was almost always, Danae and Heather. We spent many hours together in that little office. We laughed a lot. Like where people would come by and check to make sure we were okay. We cried to each other. When we were so tired that we could not even feel our legs move or when we were so frustrated we would close our door and cry to each other.

And we talked. We talked about everything. Seriously everything. I cannot think of a topic that would be awkward or weird to talk to Heather about. She would listen and encourage, and I would try to do the same for her. She is full of wisdom, funny stories, quirky habits, and lots and lots of joy.

In thinking about my time at TCABC, I cannot help but think that the Lord specifically placed Heather right there next to my desk to encourage and bless my life in tremendous ways.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Bedroom:

We have now had four different bedrooms since we got married. Our first bedroom our walls were white cinder blocks with huge windows and very ugly, but huge wall closets. It was in our tiny apartment at Seminary so our bedroom served as our office, bedroom, and storage area.

Then we moved in with Doug's mom and we had none of our own furniture and it was a [wonderful!] temporary living situation.

After that we moved to our duplex. It was two story and we had the largest bedroom of the four. The closet was tiny and we had officially the strangest waist high, deep, closet thing I have ever seen. We had the big window again and lots and lots of standard beige walls.

I have loved every home that we have lived in because we made them our home. The problem is I have never loved our bedroom. It has always been the forgotten or catch all room. When we moved into our current home, I made it my goal to make our bedroom a place that I would love as much as I love our living room/kitchen/guest room.

I am proud to say after some new paint on our walls, a few lamps, and a decorative pillow; we love our bedroom.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Danae Rocks

I have spent the last hour and a half trying to write a concise/compelling blog entry that essentially said:

"I know I joke about not wanting kids, but I am super excited about it. And NO WE ARE NOT EXPECTING, but our conversations have been so exciting lately as we talk about how we can be better people and how we want to be the best people we can be even for our future-tiny-infants-that-have-no-capacity-to-gauge-our-goodness. Also we are incredibly blessed to be in this time enjoying our young marriage and learning from the many wonderful influences in our lives."

BUT I failed to make it concise or compelling, so I deleted a lot of words that most people would have likely found boring or oddly preachy.

The experience tonight reminded me of a couple of absolute truths:
1. Danae is better at blogging than me.
2. I am not good at being concise.

Danae will be back soon with some really great (and super-cute) blog posts.

-Doug

Recent Favorites:

- Hot chocolate with peppermint sticks
- Our wood stove
- Our newly painted home
- Lunch Breaks
- The Maple tree down in camp
- Simon and Garfunkel Pandora Station
- Big Lots

Monday, November 15, 2010

Granny's Treasures Part II:

I told you earlier that I made a trip to Indiana to help my grandparents pack. In that process we were blessed with lots of fun family treasures. I was talking to Granny the other day and told her I would post a picture of how we have put her treasures to good use in our home. Here is my favorite treasure:

Silhouettes of my mom and uncle hanging in our guest room. Thanks Granny and Grandpa!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Pumpkin Bars:


I was in a terrible mood the other night. One of those where I don't know exactly what made me so sour, but something did. So, I went to the kitchen and made these pumpkin bars at 9:00 pm at night, without asking Doug if he would even like some pumpkin bars. I just wanted to make something and I wanted to use up our eggs before they went bad.

I made them and then waited for them to cool. I did not even put the icing on until at 10:00 pm. So when I asked Doug if he wanted some he was not hungry for them and frankly neither was I. I cut a small piece and we split it just because it didn't feel right to not even try them and then covered the rest and put them away for the night.

It is a good recipe, I enjoyed them a lot the next day and my mood was much better after a goods night sleep.[The icing might be my favorite part]

Friday, November 12, 2010

For Ashley:


Here is the wreath that I made.

Wedding Memory:

We are redoing our master bedroom and I was looking through our wedding pictures to find some pictures to frame. I came across this picture and I don't ever remember looking at it before. Probably because we have 896 million wedding pictures I think some get lost in my mind. I immediately got emotional looking at this picture. Remembering our wedding day and remembering this special moment. It was my favorite moment of the whole day. The ceremony had just ended. We had just walked out and we embraced and I broke down into tears. It was the first time I had really cried all day. I think it was from holding in the tears while in front of so many people. The utter joy and happiness in this moment will never be forgotten. We were finally married. After so many long months of dating [long distance at that] and so many months of being engaged. Finally man and wife.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Things that Have Made me Smile Today:

- Waking up early enough to have coffee and breakfast at home before going to work
- Cranberry Oatmeal
- My new $1.00 shirt from WalMart
- Walking into the dining hall and finding Doug on his Ripstik (a cooler version of a skateboard) sweeping the floor
- Lovely friend, Teresa, coming to the office and talking with me for a while
- The Weepies and Coldplay

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Last Night:

Dinner: Grilled Chicken, Roasted Asparagus, and Risotto
Conversation: Deep and very personal. Talking about how to become better people. How to bring more honor and glory to Christ and talking about changes we need to make in our life to accomplish this.
Activity: Finished painting our living/dining/kitchen room. Then proceeded to put all things back into the right place.
Favorite moment: Cuddling into bed. [It is always our favorite]

Monday, November 8, 2010

Paint Day:

Today we painted our living/kitchen room and our bedroom. As I was painting the bedroom I noticed Doug was looking at me. I asked him what he was doing and he said, "I like watching you do things". It made me laugh and put butterflies in my stomach.

He also did this exact same thing the other night when I was starting a fire in our wood stove.

He can make the most simple and mundane things meaningful and romantic.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

This Past Week We:

1. Babysat some little boys. Doug played ti-tac-toe and I watched Sesame Street with the littlest one.
2. Had two separate girls outings. One into town for pizza with Teresa, Sarah, and the kiddos. And the other to Rogers for lunch, Target, and Borders.
3. Built fires each night.
4. Bought new flannel sheets. I think they might have changed the way we sleep at night this time of year.
5. Baked a batch of Pumpkin Spice Muffins.
6. Made a new wreath for our door.
7. Doug had a strategic planning retreat for work. He ate lots of food, watched Braveheart, and talked and discussed all things Guest Services.
8. Moved a sleeper couch into Doug's office. He now wants to have a sleepover in his office.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

To Do List:

" Oh no...you are listing things again"

Douglas Castle [11/02/10. 2:35pm]

Oldyweds:

My parents, 30  years ago.
 "Newlyweds become oldyweds, and oldyweds are the reasons that families work." -- Author Unknown

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Halloween:

I have never liked Halloween. Not totally sure why, but I think one of the main reasons is because when I was in kindergarten a kid in my class told me that Halloween was Satan's birthday. It never sat well with me, even if it is not true. I also don't like dressing up much and we don't have any cute kids to dress up yet. Maybe I will like Halloween better once we have some little ones to dress up in adorable costumes.

This year for Halloween we had a neighborhood party. We ate homemade pizza,  handed out some candy to a few of the adorable children that live here at camp, and played rummy. Doug also learned a beautiful Halloween song and played it for us on the piano. We ate our weight in Sweetarts skulls and bones candy and laughed a lot.  

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Sick Month:

At the beginning of October little nephew decided to pass a nasty stomach bug on to me. One where I threw up all of my insides through the entire night. And I was away from home. And I was very miserable. Thankfully I had a Granny, Grandpa, and some sisters to help take care of me.

And now at the end of October the good ol' Strep virus decided to attack my entire body. Thanks to a great doctor and a awesome husband I am on the mend. Doug has made me soup [and he even ate the chicken out of it for me, because I don't like canned chicken], filled my water glass, drove me to the doctor, fetched me popsicles, and brought me to-go dinners from the dining hall.

I have seen way to many episodes of Monk, finished all the word searches in Doug's Mind Benders Books, and filled our vaporizer over and over and over again.

I hope November is not as sickly.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Our Monday:


Doug worked in the yard [again] most of the day on Sunday so that we could go to Tulsa yesterday. [For the record, I love Tulsa, Oklahoma]. We slept in and then made the drive over. We stopped by the old workplace and got to see so many wonderful people. I miss that place. We ate lunch at Queenies [I had bacon and asparagus grilled cheese and Doug had the Tex-Mex Burger]. Shopped a little and then we headed to the niece and nephew's mini birthday get-together. We enjoyed dinner and birthdays and a little girl and boys giggles and screams. Being an Aunt/Uncle is awesome.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

State Fair:



The other night we went on a date to the State Fair. It was full of lights, people, smells, and sounds. We enjoyed the acrobat show, our strawberry newberg dessert, laughing at all the different kinds of vendors, and we might have paid two dollars to see a half woman half snake. Let's just say she was a total disappointment and whoever is running that booth is making a lot of money for nothing. We were going to ride the Ferris wheel because it really is one of my dreams to ride one with Doug, but frankly it looked lame and the line was way too long.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Yard Work:


Is it beautiful where you live? It has been so beautiful here the past few weeks. Fall is hands down one of our favorites. I hope you are enjoying some of the beauty wherever you are.

Yesterday we worked outside most of the day. It was one of those super fulfilling and tiring days. I worked in back of the house to try to make a back yard for ourselves and Doug worked in the front yard to create a fire pit and a clearing for burning brush and for roasting marshmallows. I had big plans for making dinner last night but halfway into my afternoon I realized I was going to be way to tired to stand in the kitchen and make dinner. So we showered off layers of dirt and ate frozen pizza on a front porch. Our evening ended with a big fire and comfy chairs.

And do you know what we are doing tomorrow? More of what we did yesterday.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Maxwell:

- loves chewing on bottle caps
- is a picky eater
- enjoys hikes/walks
- likes to find large objects to carry in his mouth on said hikes/walks
- snuggles on the couch
- puts his face on our faces
- loves family hugs
- sometimes smells bad
- stretches a lot and stretches really far

Friday, October 15, 2010

Date Night:

Last night we went on a date. We both showered and wore sweaters. Made ourselves smell nice and no ponytails were in sight. We drove to the big city and ate at The Greenhouse Grille.We ordered crab cakes and burgers. [He had a Buffalo Burger, I had the Spicy Black Bean Burger] We had a nice waitress who Doug made laugh. He even makes strangers laugh.

Our main topic of conversation was babies and parenting and families. Some of the main points:
1. I will want to give my babies a bath every night. I know I won't. But I will want to. The smell. The cuddles. The cozy pajamas.
2. Loving babies is not a good reason to keep having babies. After all babies are not babies forever.
3. We know a lot of really wonderful parents [and we know some not so wonderful parents]. And we are loving this stage of life where we get to sit and observe the good parents and the not-so-good ones.
4. Thankful for the time that we are married without children. But also excited for when we are married with children.

It was a perfect date night! 

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Treasures at Granny's:



I took a special trip this past weekend to visit my grandparents in Indiana (Hi Granny and Grandpa!). They are preparing to move to Ohio soon and Sister Christa and Sister Bethany and I all made the trip to help them organize and pack and take some of their family treasures off of their hands.

We had such a wonderful time listening to old stories and trying to figure out if things belonged to our great great grandma or our great great great grandma. We also ate wonderful food, played Sequence, and watched old family videos.

We all got some really wonderful treasures. Granny was worried about the weight of the car and I think Christa and I were just worried that all of our treasures would not fit. But, thanks to Christa's awesome packing skills we all made it home with a stuffed to the brim trunk.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Whole Wheat Apple Muffins:

I made dinner the other night and I put it in my mouth and could barely get it down. Doug ate his, but I just could not do it. So, I decided to make muffins. I made these and then I ate four of them. After all they were my dinner and they were somewhat healthy. Right?


 Whole Wheat Apple Muffins
Adapted from King Arthur Flour
These dark, crazy moist muffins will keep well for several days, and the brown sugar on top, should you not skimp on it like I did, adds a crunchy touch, perfect for those of you who know that the lid is the best part.
Yield: They said 12, I got 18
1 cup (4 ounces) whole wheat flour
1 cup (4 1/4 ounces) all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1/2 cup (1 stick, 4 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup (3 1/2 ounces) granulated sugar
1/2 cup dark brown sugar, packed
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 cup (8 ounces) buttermilk or yogurt
2 large apples, peeled, cored, and coarsely chopped

Preheat the oven to 450°F. Grease and flour 18 muffin cups and set aside.
Mix together the flours, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon, and set aside. In a separate bowl, cream the butter and add the granulated sugar and 1/4 cup of the brown sugar. Beat until fluffy. Add the egg and mix well; stop once to scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl.Mix in the buttermilk gently. (If you over-mix, the buttermilk will cause the mixture to curdle.) Stir in the dry ingredients and fold in the apple chunks.

Divide the batter evenly among the prepared muffin cups, sprinkling the remaining 1/4 cup brown sugar on top. Bake for 10 minutes, turn the heat down to 400°F, and bake for an additional 5 to 10 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean. Cool the muffins for 5 minutes in the tin, then turn them out onto a wire rack to cool completely.

Thanks Smitten Kitchen for another awesome recipe. 

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Goldfish Pond:


Goldfish Pond
 I have been coming here since I was a young child. I worked on staff for four summers. We got married here. I know this place very well. And it has always felt like a second home. But for some reason I had never been to the Goldfish Pond until Saturday. We went on a family hike and we walked back to our house on this trail. This is literally in our backyard.  And it also might just be my new favorite trail here.

Reason #1,262 why it is awesome living in the woods.

Monday, October 4, 2010

A Day Together:

We got to spend the day together today. Like the whole day. Just the two of us.
It has been many many many many days since we have had a whole day together.
We slept in.
We had coffee and oatmeal for breakfast.
We watched two episodes of Pushing Daises.
We decided to go into town, but then remembered our tags were expired and needed to be renewed.
We then drove to small town tag agency.
Paid a lot of money for mistakes we did not even know we had made.
Got back in the car and decided to let the large amount of money we spent just roll of our shoulders.
And then we decided to eat a lot of pizza for dinner in town.
Stopped by the store for dog bones and milk.
And finished our day with more time alone on the couch.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Front...:

Porch

Door

Yard.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

I Love Thrift Stores:

When we lived in Tulsa, I had two favorite thrift stores. I would go to at least one of them once a week.  It is fun finding little things every once in a while that I love, but I love those moments where I find the perfect thing for very cheap [in this category would be our orange lamp, old fan, library card catalog files, and matching green chairs]. I walked up to the Salvation Army today and saw a rack outside with a 1/2 sign. Then I saw this quilt and I quickly grabbed it and felt so wonderful inside.  It was another perfect find...I paid $4.00.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Caramel Apple Cupcakes and Football:

The other night we got off work a little earlier than usual. We invited a few friends over to watch football and I made Carmel Apple Cupcakes from the new Rachel Ray magazine.  I think my favorite part of the cupcake was icing them with melted caramel and cream. They looked so shiny and different. 

And then we had a funny conversation about potential names for a muffin shop.   Rhett's suggestion was "Thanks for Muffin".

I still have four cupcakes at home. Ready to be reheated and eaten tonight.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

$1,000

Sometimes Doug and I like to play this game where to each ask each other what we do if we had $1,000 to spend right away. And we had to spend it on what we would want.

Doug's list hardly ever changes. There is always a dirt bike on the list. Fishing stuff. Sound equipment. Old trucks. etc.

My list always changes (and is always longer than Doug's) . But here is my list for today: 
Autumn Candle. Bath and Body Works. $19.50
Victory Pendant Lamp. CB2. $149.00

Alpine Tour Moccasins. Anthroplogie. $138.00

Draper Stripe Ash Duvet Set. Dwell Studio. $280.00
Wusthof Classic 2-Piece Hollow-Ground Chef's Knife Set. Williams-Sonoma. $139.95

Mid-Century Rocker Chair. Urban Outfitters. $288.00
Isn't it fun to dream? What would you buy if you had $1,000.00?

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

September:

I have listened to September by Earth, Wind, Fire every day this month. I think Doug and Justin have as well. Something about the horns and the singing and the happy tune that just makes every day a little bit brighter. And we do dance to it...in September..in the office.

And, speaking of September. I am ready for fall to be here. Like really here. Not just the cool mornings and cool evenings. I am going to need some cool days in my life pretty soon or else I might start going a little crazy. I need some cozy in my life and reasons to drink more hot drinks and wear my jeans and sweaters every day. [Rather than shorts and tank tops].

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Teachers:

Doug rockin' Elementary School
Doug's third grade teacher is here this week at camp. She came up to meet me and she told me that Doug was the kindest, most tender hearted student she has ever had. She gushed on and on about how wonderful he was. We were laying in bed last night talking about our elementary school days and reliving those fun moments. Talking about how wonderful his teachers were.

 Then, this morning I walked into the office and one of my 5th grade teachers was here. The one that made it rain in our classroom one day and the one that still wears his hair in a small tight ponytail. He is also the one that referred to me as a sponge one time when I was in his class, and I still remember it to this day. It inspired me.

Oh, elementary school. You were so awesome.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Tired:

Doug [and every other member on staff] has been working a lot lately. We have 350 children and adults here doing Outdoor Education stuff.  We had a group of 300 and a group of 325 last week. And we served each and every meal this weekend.

Doug told me tonight he was not feeling well. I diagnosed him with exhaustion and dehydration. So the cure for that is a cup of herbal tea, a old Gene Wilder movie, and an early bed time. I hope that he feels better in the morning.

{On a side note, Doug made homemade frosting today and an egg wash. He is becoming a food service master.}

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Visit:

Karen came over to visit us yesterday.  We had such a great time having her here. We ate lunch in the dining hall, walked around camp and looked at the new buildings, watched the OU football game, and went out to dinner.

We tried the new restaurant in town. The food was wonderful, good atmosphere, but very interesting service.  After dinner we walked around downtown for a bit and then we headed home.  We love talking and being with her. She is so thoughtful and even brought us not one, but two pounds of coffee from our favorite coffee shop. 

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Busy Week:

Things have been super busy around here this past week.  So busy that I think Doug and I have started about 12 conversations that have been interrupted by someone. And then he or I go and do what needs to be done and then we eventually finish telling the story to each other 3 hours later. 

We have been working lots of hours in the kitchen and office and spending very little time at home (or with Maxwell. If someone wants to come play with him, you are more than welcome).

Doug hurt his back last night and we got home much later than we wanted. So we went straight to bed and as we were cuddling in for the night Doug said, "Goodnight Texas toast". And we laughed and I am so thankful for such a funny and awesome person that I get to be so busy with here.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Change:

I have never been great at change.  I can remember being so sad in high school when we moved houses and my sister graduated high school and she was moving out of the house. It really bothered me and I had to adjust to life in a new house without my biggest sister and it was hard.

Since we have been married we have found ourselves changing a lot. First seminary in Illinois, then super busy [stressful] jobs in Tulsa, and now Camp Life. And we have only been married for two and a half years.  It has been quite an adventure, and I have loved to see the Lord writing our story and orchestrating our journey. 

It is through these times of change that we are stretched and we grow and we mature and we are shaped into the people that we were created to be.  It is a hard thing, but it is a good thing. It is also in these times we have some of our worst moments with each other and on the other hand some of the best cuddles and tender moments of tear wiping and encouragement. Such a hard but wonderful stage of life.

We are so blessed to be where we are, we are blessed to be serving a God that loves and cares for us more than we will ever know, and we are blessed to have each other in all of these changes. 

Monday, September 6, 2010

Labor Day 2010:

I am finding a pattern with labor day in our little family...we like being at home. Lots of people travel to lakes and picnics and parties.  We just like to stay in our comfies all day and watch movies, eat food, and be together inside.

This morning I woke up way to late, but I was greeted with a hug from the husband and a fresh americano.  We watched Where the Red Fern Grows and laughed at Maxwell as he laid around very lazily on his new pillow.

I also made salsa and a pasta salad and I worked on some curtains. Now we are watching tennis and getting ready for dinner. We are going to grill some hamburgers for dinner, that is a labor day type of thing to do...right?

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Recent Favorites:

- Captain Crunch Berries
- Sleeping with the windows open at night
- My sewing machine
- Netflix Instant Watch
- Organic milk [it really does taste so much better]

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Home:

We are working on our new home.  Trying to make it a place that we are proud of and love. We have an interesting (but wonderful) living situation, where we do not own our home, so we have to get projects approved.  I am doubtful that we will get all the things approved that we would want to do, and I know for sure that we do not have enough money to fund the wish list, but it sure is fun to think about.

We would:
- paint cabinets
- install butcher block counter tops
- paint entire house
- install hardwood floors in our living area
- expand yard and put in a real fence. one with a gate.
- install new light fixtures (everywhere, the ones we have now are outdated)

Doug and I love our home and we love dreaming and thinking of fun projects.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

This Past Week We:

1. Had our first city league volleyball game.  We won one and lost one.  Doug is really good at volleyball.
2. Watched Maxwell throw up twice and then poop in the house.  He made me so very mad. Good preparation for a child I suppose.
3. Got to have a lot of quality time with Erin, Ashley, Esther, and Teresa. Spent hours talking and eating and being together.  It was really really wonderful.
4. Took an evening walk/hike with the dog. 
5. Worked in the office.
6. Cooked breakfast, lunch, and dinner
7. Babysat 5 children for an evening
8.Watched some Wallace and Grommit.
9. Hung pictures on the walls of our home. It is really starting to feel more and more like home.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Man on Wire:


 "If you haven't already...watch "Man on Wire." Be careful though, it is likely to make you think you could do anything."

- Doug Castle


 

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Cupcakes:



The other day I made breakfast, lunch, and dinner. And then I decided to make cupcakes that night.  I can not remember the last time I spent that many hours in the kitchen throughout a day.  The cupcakes were really really yummy and we had our friends over to eat some and we watched some of the Miss.Universe Pageant.  It was pretty ridiculous, but we sure did laugh a lot.  [I wanted Australia to win, I thought she was adorable].

Chocolate Cupcakes:
[thanks Martha Stewart]
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
3/4 cup warm water
3/4 cup buttermilk
3 tablespoons vegetable oil, such as safflower
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract

1.Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 standard muffin tins with paper liners. Whisk together flour, cocoa powder, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl.


2.Mix in eggs, water, buttermilk, oil, and vanilla until smooth, about 3 minutes. Divide batter evenly among prepared muffin tins. Bake, rotating tins halfway through, until tops spring back when lightly touched, about 20 minutes. Let cool in tins on wire racks.

Friday, August 27, 2010

My Birthday:



I got to spend my entire birthday alone with my favorite person. We walked around Utica Square, shopped at Whole Foods, looked for shoes, and ate wonderful food.



A veggie burger and fresh pasta salad for lunch from the Blue Moon Cafe.
Fish Tacos from Los Cabos for dinner.

And adorable cake from the bakery.

It was a perfectly relaxing and enjoyable day. Doug always treats me so well.