Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Busy bee.

After work, Eugene was gone coaching a baseball game {they run-ruled the other team! I think everyone was a bit surprised!}, I was a busy bee. I took the pup out to play a bit in the sunshine. And it didn’t take him very long to find the {only} puddle filled with messy, ooey mud. Of course, a dog’s idea of heaven. So before I could stop him {mind you, I didn’t want to sacrifice my cleanliness to drag him out of the mud}, he was nose-deep in the brown wet dirt. With a mouthful of soggy grass, he’d shake his head playfully devious. He then proceeded to chew on the wet sod. Lovely.


I took him inside, toweled him off as best as possible, then decided to go run first, before I gave him the necessary bath. I ran for 25 minutes {I’m so stinkin out of shape}, and then marched the pup upstairs to the tub. And this is what remained after the shampooing:


Sick. Add to the to-do list…clean the bathroom.

Cleaned the tub. Cleaned myself {at this point I was just about as dirty as the muddy pup!} And started dinner.

My grandma Stalls called me the other week and explained a recipe she served for guests that day: Porcupine Meatballs. Interesting enough to try. I used ground turkey, but it would work with ground beef. And, I needed to use an egg, but since Eugene had the last egg for dinner the night before, I improvised with a splash of vegetable oil. Grandma used canned tomato soup as the sauce, but I tried it with cream of mushroom instead. Either would be good.

Porcupine Meatballs

1 lb. ground turkey {or beef}
1/2 c. oatmeal
1/3 c. white rice {I didn’t measure…just throw it in}
1 egg
ground black pepper
onion powder {generous amount}
garlic powder
1/2 c. beef broth
1 can of cream of mushroom soup

Mix meat, oatmeal, rice, egg, and seasonings with your hands in a large bowl.


Roll into small balls and place in hot skillet.


Brown meatballs on all sides {I left the lid on}, carefully turning as they cook.


Once the meat’s browned and fully cooked, add broth and soup. Carefully stir and simmer until all is warm. Serve with mashed potatoes, noodles, or some other starch.


Dog worn out. Jane exercised. Dog washed. Bathroom washed. Dinner made. Husband happy. LOST watched. Tuesday’s checklist complete. Like I said, I was a busy bee. :)


Tuesday, March 30, 2010

The best icing ever.

My Aunt Sue is a really special person. I can’t begin to explain how much I admire her. She’s probably the most resilient, giving, tough, witty, no-nonsense, believing, selfless person I’ve had the privilege to be around. And she’s my mom’s best friend - another reason I’m thankful for her! She was kind enough to pass my grandma’s recipe on to me {I’ve never met my grandma because she passed away when my dad was only six.}

Being Easter time, I think it’s appropriate to share this amazing recipe. It makes me feel…I don’t know, touched?…when I make this – it’s a feeling like I’m connected to my grandma, even though we never met, and I really don’t know hardly anything about her. But making her recipe, I feel proud to be an Augustus and, well, connected. Hard to explain without sounding weird or cliché, but it is what it is. ;)

I’ve made this recipe for a pumpkin spice bundt cake at Thanksgiving, and the butter pecan cake, but it’s great on anything. {Who am I kidding, I eat it by the spoonful by itself!}


Grandma Helen Grace Augustus’ Penuche Frosting

½ c. butter (1 stick must be butter)
1 c. brown sugar packed
¼ c. milk
2 c. confectioner’s sugar
Hot water (optional)

In a sauce pan, melt butter. Add brown sugar. Bring to a boil and lower heat to med. low and continue to boil stirring constantly. Remove from heat and add milk, and bring to boil again, stirring constantly. Cool to lukewarm. Gradually add confectionary sugar and beat until thick enough to spread (use whisk). If it’s too thick, add a little hot water.


Amazing gooey, sugary, taste of heaven!

The pumpkin spice cake recipe I used at Thanksgiving is:

Pumpkin Spice Cake Recipe (tasteofhome)

16-20 Servings
16-21 Prep: 15 min. Bake: 45 min. + cooling

• 1 package (18-1/4 ounces) spice cake mix
• 3 eggs
• 1 cup canned pumpkin
• 1/2 cup water
• 1/2 cup canola oil
• 1 package (3.4 ounces) instant vanilla pudding mix
• 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
• 1/2 cup chopped pecans
• Cream cheese frosting or whipped cream

• In a large bowl, combine the dry cake mix, eggs, pumpkin, water, oil, pudding mix and cinnamon. Beat at medium speed for 5 minutes. Stir in pecans.
• Pour into a greased and floured 10-in. fluted tube pan. Bake at 350° for 45-55 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pan to a wire rack to cool completely. Frost cake or serve with whipped cream. Store in refrigerator. Yield: 16-20 servings.

It got lots of compliments from the Shumaker/Wade family. :)


Monday, March 29, 2010

The weekend off.

Well, it was different to not have to go into work on Saturday...I actually woke up on Sunday ready to head into work, thinking it was Monday. We took it easy this weekend, spending Friday night at our apartment. Saturday, I toured Home Depot, shopped around Target and Hobby Lobby. {I think I'm a bit obsessed with HGTV stuff.} Then in the evening, we {get ready to be surprised} went out to eat - and without a gift card! So out of character for me! We ate the 2 for $20 deal at Applebee's, and it was really nice to be on a date again. :)

We went to the Shumaker's afterwards to pick up our bikes. Oh how nice it is to see my blue beauty again - now we just need some pretty weather so I can take her for a ride! Sunday was packed with teaching Sunday School, visiting open houses {I definitely loved one of them!}, and then I went to my college coach's house for dinner with a couple of my teammates.

Good weekend.

I'm going to try to spend this week reflecting on the most wondrous thing of all - Easter. He is risen! This song was offered in worship this Sunday, and it's one of my favorites. I feel the passion and emotions well up every time.

There is Love

That came for us
Humbled to a sinners cross
You broke my shame and sinfulness
You rose again victorious

Faithfulness none can deny
Through the storm
And through the fire
There is truth that sets me free
Jesus Christ who lives in me

You are stronger
You are stronger
Sin is broken
You have saved me
It is written
Christ is risen
Jesus You are Lord of all

No beginning and no end
You're my hope and my defense
You came to seek and save the lost
You paid it all upon the cross

So let Your Name be lifted higher
Be lifted higher
Be lifted higher

I'm so humbled by His strength!

Friday, March 26, 2010

It's a big day for the poor pup.

Last night's volleyball session went well - lots of work on hitting, approach, and wrist snap. Fun stuff! :) I love seeing improvement just in a couple hours of time. I made some friendship bread since I received a "starter" for it last week from Eugene's aunt Keri {her picture is here.} Guess it turned out pretty well because I heard lots of Mmm's from Eugene and our usual Thursday guests TJ, Lacy, and Colby. I think next time I'll try applesauce or yogurt instead of the oil because it was a bit greasy for my stomach.

Today is a big day for Espn. Poor thing loses his manhood this morning. I faced the terrible road conditions to get him to the vet. And, as I was driving, I saw two accidents and then on my way back I came to a traffic light. I slowed down because it started to go yellow, and no such luck. I slid through the light with my e-break clenched, until I stopped in the middle of the intersection....just long enough for the red-light ticket camera to flash. Great - now I'm going to get a ticket for not stopping when I honestly couldn't stop because of the ice. Oh well, hopefully they'll figure that out when the pictures shows my Element stopped diagonally in the intersection. Oh, and I realized that I'm going to have a hard time with motherhood because I seriously could have cried if I let myself as I left my puppy on that metal table. Terribly pitiful, I know!

If he only knew where he was headed this morning!

In case you're interested in the bread, here's the recipe.

Cinnamon Friendship Bread

Important tips: do not refrigerate. If air gets in the bag, let it out. It’s normal for the batter to thicken, bubble and ferment.

If you’re making this without a starter, combine 1 cup milk, 1 cup sugar, and 1 cup flour in a large zip lock bag and mush to mix ingredients.

Day 1 You receive fermented batter in a one gallon zip lock bag. Do nothing.
Day 2 Squeeze the bag several times and let out the air.
Day 3 Squeeze the bag several times and let out the air.
Day 4 Squeeze the bag several times and let out the air.
Day 5 Squeeze the bag several times and let out the air.
Day 6 Add 1 cup of flour, 1 cup of sugar, 1 cup of milk, and squeeze bag several times to let out the air.
Day 7 Squeeze the bag several times and let out the air.
Day 8 Squeeze the bag several times and let out the air.
Day 9 Squeeze the bag several times and let out the air.
Day 10 In a large non-metal bowl, combine the batter with 1 cup of flour, 1 cup of sugar, and 1 cup of milk.
Mix with a wooden or plastic spoon.

Remove four ½ cup scoops and put them into four separate 1 gallon zip lock bags. Give the four starter bags away with these instructions to friends and family. :)

Add to the remaining batter in the bowl:
¾ cup of canola oil (or ½ cup butter)
1 cup of sugar
1 teaspoon of vanilla
3 large eggs
1 ½ teaspoon of baking powder
½ teaspoon of salt
2 cups of flour
½ cup of milk
½ teaspoon of baking soda
2 small boxes of vanilla flavored instant pudding
2 teaspoons of cinnamon
Add raisins, nuts, or chocolate chips if desired.

In a separate bowl mix:
1 teaspoon of cinnamon
3 tablespoons of sugar
Sprinkle into 2 well greased loaf pans before pouring in the batter.

Bake at 325 degrees for one hour, or until done.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Fleece baby blanket how-to.

Last night wasn't too exciting, just a haircut and great Godly discussion with my wise friend {and hair stylist} Julie, taco's for dinner {Eugene's fav.}, and Modern Family {I love laughing at that show!} 

Today's just a how-to for one of the gifts Eugene and I gave to my sister's baby. So, it's not my most creative idea {since Casey got 4 others}, but I decided to sew the baby a quilt/blanket. I went to JoAnn's for the fabric and fleece was 40% decision there! So I picked up 2 yards of a white fleece that was patterned with pink, yellow and green ducks, turtles, and frogs. I also bought 2 yards of solid pink fleece that matched. I decided that I wanted the blanket to be larger than the usual baby blanket, so I made it 40" x 56", around the size of a crib mattress. I wanted each block to be 8" x 8", and I figured I'd use 1/2" seam, so I cut a template out of cardboard that was 9" x 9". I used a washable Crayola marker to trace the squares on my fabric...and I tried to make sure my patterned animals were centered on plenty of squares.

Once I had a stack of my squares {40 of each fabric}, I then placed them in the order I desired on the floor and pinned each one to the other. {I picked an every-other pattern.} I then began to sew the inside seams for the blocks. I used a straight stitch on my machine and had a 1/2 inch seam throughout. I sewed one side of the blanket first {40 blocks together in a 5 square by 7 square order.} I sewed the first row of 5 together, then sewed the second row of 5 blocks, then joined the two together with the same 1/2 inch seam.

Once I had both sides of the blanket completed {unattached to each other}, I turned them seam-sides out, and began to sew 1/2 inch seams around the edges basically to create a pillow case, but be sure to leave about 8 inches open so that you can flip your blanket right side out.

Before I flipped the "pillow case" so that seams were inside, I trimmed all the excess fabric from the seams {to about 1/4"} just to make the blanket feel less bulky at the corners. Not gonna lie here - this took a long time! But, it really made a difference in the feel of the blanket, and in the ease of sewing my ziz-zag diagonals.

Once I trimmed each and every seam, I finally could flip the "pillowcase" so that the seams were on the inside. I then carefully sewed up the opening of the pocket. {You can do this by hand, or machine, depending on how much you care about the seam showing.}

At this point, I began my ziz-zag stitches through the pink blocks. This definitely didn't turn out perfectly - some of my stitches were closer than others, but oh well! I pinned the top of the blanket and the bottom layer of the blanket to each other where te corners of each block meets to be sure that my diagonals would match up through the pink blocks. I then carefully sewed a diagonal zig-zag though the pink blocks to secure both sides of the blanket. I created an "X" pattern through each pink block to add a little design to the blanket. {The first picture below shows this step halfway done.}

Finally finished it! Definitely homemade, but I'm pretty happy with how it turned out. Eugene described it as being a great blanket to lay on the floor for baby niece to on. :) Can't wait to see her beautiful self all wrapped up in the pink fleece! {sorry the pictures are so bad...I would love to get a "real" camera, but, well, they're upwards $500 - um, not gonna happen!}

It makes me smile to think that my baby girl niece will be wrapped up in something I've put love in...even while I'm in Ohio and she's in Oklahoma. I'll pretend it's my way of hugging the sweet thing. :)

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Casey's view of the shower & Crispy Oven Chicken

Last night I tried a new recipe, and believe it or not, I actually followed the recipe! Eugene liked it, and said he hopes we have it again. We enjoyed "Crispy Oven Chicken" with canned garden green beans {thanks, Mom & Dad}, and baked sea salt potatoes {rub olive oil and sea salt on the potato before baking...simple enough, but it tastes like Red Lobster's potatoes.} Yum. Nothing crazy-extravagant by any means, but it was easy, tasty, and filling...and not too terribly unhealthy.

Crispy Oven Chicken

3 chicken breasts
1/4 c. milk {recipe called for whole milk, but I used 2%}
1/2 c. flour
black pepper
1 tsp. paprika
a few shakes of Webber's BBQ seasoning spice {my only addition to the recipe}1 c. crushed cornflake cereal
vegetable oil

First I dipped the chicken into the milk, using a fork to flip it to get both sides covered with milk. The next step was mix the flour, pepper, paprika, and BBQ seasoning on a plate. I then took the chicken from the milk and placed it on my flour plate - flipping to cover both sides.

Then the chicken goes back into the milk, and then into the crushed cereal. The final step is to drizzle vegetable oil on the breasts and bake {I used my pizza stone} at 375 degrees for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, flip the chicken and bake for another 30 minutes.

I baked my potatoes on the pizza stone too, and they were done perfectly in the hour of baking. Finished product:

Eugene was busy grading until 11 last night, so besides bumping shoulders while watching LOST {which was a crazy episode, btw!}, we didn't get much QT, but I was happy to serve a good meal since he was starving once he got home at 7:30 from his scrimmage.

OH!, and I thought it'd be good to share some pictures from Casey's vantage point of the shower {thanks, Nichole for taking the pictures in Tulsa! How pretty is my sista...she's gonna be one hot momma!

Soon enough I'll be there to hold the baby girl, hug my sister, and see her and Dale bloom in their new roles as mommy and daddy!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Learning the same lesson.

So, I feel like God keeps challenging me to learn the same lesson over and over again. Sad, isn't it, when it takes months {or years} to learn from an experience. Well, God keeps working on my life, reminding me literally daily that His plan for my life is ultimate and perfect - yet His ways are not like mine. He is in control, and His timing is perfect. I've heard him prodding me continually to trust in Him, give Him the control of my paths, and to fight the fear of the unknown steps, future and plan for my life. Why am I such a slow learner?!

Last night's small group discussion was on the chapter "Singleness" in the book This Momentary Marriage. We talked about how God has promised great blessings for those who are chosen to remain single, but we also talked about the fact that marriage shouldn't be {and isn't} the ultimate relationship. We should be more concerned about how we relate to the lost and to our siblings in Christ - the relationships that last eternally - rather than our marriage, which is only momentary. The chapter prompts a question, how are you caring for and growing your children for Christ. I'm not sure how many, or if any, "children" I've raised for Christ,  but I hope there's a few! Definitely made me remind myself to be purposeful with my relating to people and to not view my marriage as the one-and-only-top-thing. Being realistic about marriage this way, also strengthens marriage by setting realistic expectations for the spouse.

Sorry, got a little off topic there, but the point was that after last night's discussion, Libby and I chatted with each other about how God's plan for us is so much bigger than us and our plan. He's got it all under control, and yet we both tend to question and even doubt whether we're taking the "right" steps for our lives. Trust that His purpose for your life - whether single or married - is perfect, good, and just. To doubt Him or to question where we are in our lives right now is just insane...yet, I've been challenged with countless situations this year to drive this home and test my trust. It becomes a daily reaffirmation that I must clearly state: I will trust Your plan for my life, Lord. I know You will provide, just as you promised. Your will, not mine, is the way I want. Drive me along Your plan, Father, and I will hold tightly to Your hand and enjoy {not stress over} each blessing of a day you give me!

So in action that means, stop calculating "hypothetically" where Eugene and I will be in 6 months, 1 year, 2 years. Stop questioning whether I'm working the job God wants me to be working. Stop worrying about when we're going to pay off our college loans. Stop wondering when/if we will ever buy a house. Um, easier said than done! See why I need many many months to actually learn it!

Keep prodding me, God; I clearly need it!

Monday, March 22, 2010

First day of Spring...Casey's Baby Shower!

Pretty eventful weekend. Friday, Eugene and I went to my parents so Mom and I could work of finishing up details for Casey's baby shower on Saturday. I baked my butter pecan cake with penuche icing, we iced raspberry bars, made the garland and favor bags. We had grilled chicken and Eugene and Dad had spiy brats. Espn had fun {as always} running on their property, but he did have a little run-in with Mom's cat. The dern thing scratched my poor puppy's eye! He's a trooper and didn't even really notice his eyelid was bleeding! {His eye's looking much better now.} We played fetch with a wiffle ball, and he eventually gave up out of fatigue! No more retrieving, that's for sure {picture below}!

Saturday, Eugene went to coach a baseball scrimmage for the high school where he is a long-term sub. Meanwhile, I went on a run outside in the pretty weather with the pup. Around noon I headed to First Christian Church to set up for the shower. We went with a yellow chick/ducky theme, and I think it turned out pretty cute!


Centerpieces were fresh flowers, jelly beans with a ducky garland, or little plastic ducks {from the game Lucky Ducks} with the garland.

Our favors were chick bags filled with Avon bubble bath or body wash {thinking of bubbles and rubber ducky bath time}, jelly beans, and Dove chocolates. We also gave away fun polka-dot shower caps too! I bought a kit at JoAnne's to make the foam little chick with the feathers.

The plates and cups matched the invitation paper - which I also used as directions to the room {since the church halls can get a bit confusing!} Dad bought cute balloons to place outside and I made a garland {just letters printed on paper, cut into triangles, and strung with yarn}.

We had a great spread of treats to go-to punch, apples and caramel dip, the cake I mentioned earlier {recipes below}, granola bread made by my Mom, her famous rasberry bars, peanut butter cookes, and banana cookies {garnished with peeps!}.

Party Punch Recipe {so so easy!}: combine equal parts white grape juice with ginger ale. I like to freeze some of the punch in a bundt pan with purple grapes to use as my ice.

We had a wonderful group of ladies show up to encourage Casey and spread the love. And most were really amazed by the technology used to chat with Casey and see her open her gifts in Tulsa via  Skype.

The momma-to-be on Skype!

For the activity, instead of a game, we had each person write a birthday card to the baby for each year, up to 18 years old. So baby girl will get a card on her birthday for the next 18 years from ladies who came to her shower. :) They also included a tip for Casey for each year too.  Oh, and the surprise project I was working on was a fleece baby blanket to match the shower's theme. Details on the project soon to come.

I hope Casey felt the love and encouragement. We all miss her and we're all praying for her and we also know she's going to be an amazing mom!

Saturday night I worked 2 hours then watched the Hurt Locker. {It was just ok...definitely made me realize that I need to pray for our troops more.} Sunday, Eugene and I went to church for a really spot-on sermon about being a control freak. Basically, I realized that I'm getting bitter about the fact that God's in control {not me} and instead, I should be thankful and joyful for his grace in planning my life! Can we say, convicted? Yes! After church we went house shopping again just for fun. I really enjoy looking at the different layouts and dreaming up walls to teardown and shelves to move. :)

Alright, more recipes and how-to's to come, but this post is already overwhelmingly long! So, bye for now.

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