Thursday, May 31, 2012

Tasty Thursday: Muffin Love

{Rhubarb Lemon Muffins | Taste of Home}

I love rhubarb. And I love muffins. My girlfriends still giggle over the Great Muffin Hunt of 2006. Ever since seeing this recipe posted online, I've been patiently waiting to try it. As today was a grocery shopping day, I picked up the last few items I needed and after supper got to work. (Supper, by the way, was chicken stir fry with this sweet and sour sauce, which was more sweet than sour, but satisfying nonetheless.) This time, I actually followed the recipe. I didn't substitute, I didn't cut corners. And they look and smell delicious. :D I'm still waiting on them to cool enough from the oven to actually eat one without endangering my mouth.

Behold: The Muffin.

(Disclaimer: The recipe said it would make 12 muffins. I got 18 out of the batch.) This recipe was easy to follow, and I'm looking forward to breakfast time the next few days! I anticipate they'll disappear in the next few days, and I'm oh, so ok with that.

Here's the recipe if you fancy making a batch of your own: Rhubarb Lemon Muffins

What are your go-to summer baked goods? Do you make use of local foods in your cooking?

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Pentecost, Confirmation, and Memorial Day, Oh My!

This weekend has been incredibly busy and thoroughly rewarding! Looking forward to relaxing tomorrow before getting back into the swing of things for the "normal" week... whatever normal means anymore. :)

As today is a major Church festival (Pentecost), things were naturally busier and a "big deal" at church today. Although I missed singing with choir for today (ours ended a few weeks ago... at my home congregation, we would usually formally sing through Trinity Sunday [which we'll celebrate next week]), the music was particularly fitting. One of the hardest things I've had to adjust to since moving here and joining a new congregation is adjusting to the different musical styles and preferences. (Mostly, not singing all my favorite hymns anymore.) At my home congregation, we would always sing certain hymns for each major feast and festival, and it's strange to not sing those anymore, since I so strongly associate those days with certain hymns. However, I'm also enjoying the opportunity to sing some other hymns from our hymnal that I haven't sung often before. Music, specifically the liturgy and hymns, has always been a great comfort and joy to me, and I often find the hymns from the previous Sunday running through my head in any given week. There's something so reassuring about singing the same words that people sang hundreds of years ago, and knowing I'm joining in a common confession with believers throughout the centuries.

Today we also celebrated with the four young men and women of our congregation who were confirmed today! What a wonderful day to celebrate the confession of baptismal faith as we all join together for worship and the Lord's Supper. One of the members of my home congregation worked with the confirmands every year to help design and create banners for the students' confirmations, as a memento of the day and a reminder of the promises they made to God and their congregation. This year, at our new congregation, I offered to help organize and orchestrate the banner making. A dear friend of mine helped me with the tedious task of cutting out all the letters and designs. The kids all selected their confirmation verses, the design that went along with the text, and glued their banners together. I think they turned out wonderfully and hope our confirmands love them as much as I do.

As I mentioned in a previous post, my in-laws are also visiting for the weekend. We've been so excited to have them here and spend some quality time with them, even though we've been unusually busy with church events. For part of their visit, I cooked supper on Saturday evening. {Well, D grilled everything. I planned the menu and put together the non-cooked stuff.} Everything was so tasty, and I was particularly pleased with my table setting. Simple, festive, and cute, I think it really added a nice touch to our meal. The menu included grilled brats and corn on the cob, plus a mixed greens salad with cranberries, nuts, and homemade vinaigrette dressing. For dessert, we had angel food cake with fruit salad and whipped cream on top. Summery, refreshing, and delicious!

Hope everyone has a safe and enjoyable remainder of the weekend!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Busy, busy day!

Today has been ridiculously busy. Normally I don't feel like I've accomplished enough in a day, even if I really have. Today, I'm definitely feeling accomplished, even though I know I still have chores on my to-do list to prepare for this weekend. My in-laws are coming to visit for the weekend, and I've been busy getting the apartment cleaned and in company shape. Of course, D thinks I'm overdoing it... I just say he doesn't really understand what goes through women's minds when we're expecting company. Thankfully, there's only a few things left on the list for tomorrow! :)

Today, I got my hair cut (and spent a lovely time with my friend and stylist), baked two batches of cookies, did four loads of laundry, grocery shopped, donated some food to the area food pantry, put up some Memorial Day decorations, and wrapped a few presents for this weekend. Did I mention I also had car trouble today? Looks like it might need to spend a few days in the hospital. :/

Tonight's agenda? Finish cutting out and preparing the banners that our confirmands will put together on Saturday in preparation for their Confirmation on Sunday. (Which is also Pentecost! Hello busy weekend!)

I'm also enjoying a lovely Schlafly Porter, compliments of my dad and brother-the-younger.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Finished Object: Chopper Mittens

Brother-the-younger requested some chopper mitten liners quite a while back. He made the outer parts himself... I never realized how resourceful our family can be. After almost two months on the needles, I'm finally finished with them. Ends woven in and everything! (Weaving in ends? Yeah... definitely my least favorite part.)

Yay!! Mittens finished with plenty of time to spare.
This was my first attempt at knitting mittens, and I'd say it was pretty successful. The pattern made sense, although following the layout was confusing at times. Glad to have finished these... there's so much more summer knitting that's just waiting in the queue!

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Hard work pays off

The grades for this past semester have slowly been trickling in. Just got word today that I earned an A in Cataloging and Classification!! I'm super excited about this -- it's one of the classes I was looking forward to taking most in the program, and one I definitely had to work at to keep up and with it. But so worth it in the end!!!

Now I'm just waiting on one more grade for the semester, and I'll be set for my next (and final!) semester.

In the mean time, I've been enjoying some luxurious reading time. What with a recurring bout of tendonitis while writing final papers and plans and portfolios, I decided to take a painful week off of knitting and most things that strain my wrist. Hopefully I can get back to some knitting soon, but in the mean time, I've been thoroughly enjoying reading for fun and not because it's required for class.

I'm currently working my way through Distant Dreams [Ribbons of Steel, no. 1], and it's quite enjoyable. I've always preferred reading historical fiction, and Judith Pella and Tracie Peterson's first novel in their Ribbons of Steel series has not disappointed. I get ridiculously excited about the railroad (locomotives, as they call them in the novel), making me feel a bit like Sheldon and his love for trains. And I've also rediscovered why I have a love-hate relationship with reading... ironic for a librarian, right? I love exploring different times, cultures, and situations through reading, but hate that I get so caught up in the story. It means I want to stay up to finish the book (even if it's 2 am), I can't think of much else but the book when not reading, and often have dreams that reflect what's going on in the plot.... but all these minor annoyances aside, I'm glad to have a chance to get back into reading -- not for class, but for myself.

What have you been reading lately? I'd love to hear your book suggestions!

Friday, May 11, 2012

Ravelympics 2012!!

I am officially part of a team for Ravelympics 2012! Super excited, as this is also the first year I'm participating. Now to pick an event, pattern, and yarn and start planning!

I'm planning on challenging myself... but not quite sure how yet. Looking forward to the challenge regardless. Stay tuned for more details, and I'll definitely be doing some updates during the Olympics/Ravelympics later this summer.

For now, I continue dashing to the finish line for the semester. By Sunday night, all projects will be completed and submitted... and summer break will officially begin!

Note: Since this post has been published, Ravelympics has been re-named to Ravellenic Games 2012. Despite the controversy, I'm still excited to participate and hoping it will be a challenging and rewarding time!

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Perfect... just as we are

Perfect. I've always struggled with the concept of perfect. And let me tell you, it's exhausting, trying to be perfect. The perfect wife. Daughter. Student. Employee. Friend. Pastor's wife. You name it. It's exhausting, and no matter how hard I try, I always fall short.

Whether it's assignments that are flawed, falling behind on coursework because I've got so much on my plate, a burnt dinner, not making time to be with those I love and cherish, or balancing the public and private life that comes with a husband involved in the ministry, life isn't perfect -- in fact, it can be downright messy. There are days when I feel like everything's falling in place, and days where I struggle and feel at the end of my rope. And many, many days in between.

Thankfully, it's not up to me to be perfect, because perfection has already been attained through the life and death of Jesus. And as a baptized Child of God, I have been clothed with Christ's righteousness.

God already sees me as perfect through Jesus.

What a blessing that even on days when I fall short, Christ makes me perfect. And one day I will be completely perfect, in both body and soul, joining with all the Church Triumphant in praise to the One who makes us so.

But when Christ had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God, waiting form that time until his enemies should be made a footstool for his feet. For by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified.
-- Hebrews 10:12-14