Monday, July 21, 2008

Two new favorites

These delectable dulces are Chewy Cocoa Cookies. I found this recipe in my recipe box recently and they are amazing. Debbie, it says this recipe is from you, but I can't remember having them before. They are terrific though, a new favorite for sure, and I will be making them often!

Here is the recipe:
1 c. unbleached all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/8 tsp. salt
4 tbsp. unsalted butter
2/3 c. sugar
1/3 c. light brown sugar
7 tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder
1/3 c. plain yogurt (whole milk)
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 c. chocolate chips

Heat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Combine flour, soda, and salt. In separate bowl, add sugars and sift in cocoa. Add slightly melted butter. Blend. Add yogurt and vanilla. Mix thorougly. Add the dry flour mixture and stir. Add chocolate chips and stir. Bake 9-11 minutes, cool on pan, then on rack.

My second new favorite item is this tea. I am finally over being sick. Four weeks ago I started another round of allergy-related congestion, runny nose, coughing, and sinus pressure. This has only ever happened to me here, and whenever it starts I end up with a sinus infection. This time I was determined not to go to the doc and get antibiotics. I don't like taking them and I figure if I do take them, I will only be less able to fight this off myself next time. So, two weeks ago I put myself on a strict regimen of all things high in vitamin C and echinacea tea. I was drinking three cups of tea daily, per the recommendation on the box, and experienced tremendous effects in one week. I never really knew if tea could fight illness, but it can and I am so grateful! I did take some other medicines for symptom control (mainly loratadine and ibuprofen), but I will definitely be looking for natural remedies like this more often now.

P.S. We leave for Colorado tomorrow and we are sooooo excited!! We plan to leave tomorrow evening and get there midday Wednesday. Beth and John's wedding is Saturday. Sunday we will head to Estes Park for a few days of backpacking.

Thursday, July 17, 2008


I have had a hard week at work and was growing increasingly frustrated today. It seemed like everything was going wrong, you know what I mean. It has also been on my head though that lately I am looking in all the wrong places to be satisfied, even though I know God is the only one who can fill me up. So I prayed for Jesus to come into my heart and fill that space once again. Immediately this verse popped into my head.

"Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart." Psalm 37:4

Emily Hunter, if you're out there in blog-land somewhere, it is because of you that I first really discovered this verse. You wrote it on a piece of scrap paper for me back in my freshman year of college when you were my RA. I came home today and pulled that piece of paper out from the pocket of a notebook where I keep it to remind me as needed. Thank you!

So I was driving home from the gym thinking to myself (a.k.a. praying), "I know the desires of my heart," and I was describing them, "but how do I delight myself in the Lord? What does that really look like?" The thought process had kind of fizzled out by the time I got home, but I was still stuck with a feeling of needing to be rejuvenated.

Then the raindrops started dripping slowly on my car windshield. As I arrived home and started to walk to our building, it escalated to a gentle but steady rainfall. I understood that God intended me to sit, grocery bags and all, and enjoy the rain. So I sat on the step and let the rain soak through my gym clothes. Clarity slowly made its way into my mind and peace to my body. This was delight in the Lord. And the desire of my heart that he gave me? Also, delight.
(Just FYI, I don't take credit for the picture of the raindrops. I found it on Yahoo images. I just can't stand not to include a picture with a post.)

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Our place

I realized many of you have not seen our apartment, and may be interested in a sort of virtual tour of where we live. This first picture is the front of our building. There are a few storefronts on the first level. We are on the second floor. To the right of the truck (not ours) is the gate to our parking area. There is also an outdoor patio with gas grills and tables.

This is the back of the building. We just really like this vintage Coca-Cola advertisement. The three small windows farthest to the right are ours.

Our building was originally a hotel. This area of town seems to have been a bustling place to be in the 20s! There are a number of interesting historical buildings.

This is our lobby. Along the walls are many pictures of the old hotel, taken in that era. The black gate leads to the elevator and stairwell.

This caged elevator was installed in the 40s. It still works great (unless there is a big storm coming through). It is a fun attraction for visitors, but we usually take the stairs.

Here we are, number 205.

As you come in there is a bench to take off your shoes and place to hang your coat (you won't need it here) on the left.

We begin in the dining area, which proceeds into the living room as one great room.

Our galley kitchen is small, but just right for two.

This view looks back at the dining area. There is also a half bath and pantry closet near the entrance.

This is our living room. We have five large windows along the wall to the left. All the natural light makes it feel so big in the living room. The couch on the left is a pull-out bed for guests. We painted the living room this winter. The color (vintage gray) really warms it up in there.

And here is the chair where Matt sits to read and write. Why is it men always end up reserving their own chair? ;)

One of our favorite things is this wall of favorite pictures. There are pictures of Michigan, Colorado, Hawaii, Bermuda, even one of Texas.

This door leads to the bedroom.

Those three little windows turn out to be just right in a bedroom. The door in the back is our closet. We painted this room last winter, too. The color is called bamboo.

The bed part of the bedroom. Marcy's painting is perfect here.

This is the other side of the bedroom and the door to the bathroom.

This is the full bath, with the shower on the left behind the door.

Honestly, this picture just shows the way to the laundry room, which is through the white door.

I love that we can do laundry right here and don't have to drive to the laundromat every time we spill something on our favorite jeans or something.

We use this part of the bedroom as our office area.

Originally, when we learned we'd be living here for another three years, we thought we would buy or rent a house instead of our apartment. In the end, however, we decided to stay here and we're both glad for that. This place has just enough space for us, saves us money, and actually saves us time, too because we don't have to do home and yard maintenance. We added some personal touches like paint on the walls, some reorganizing, and new furniture like the sofa bed. Now it is just right.

Monday, July 07, 2008

Water skiing wonderful

We have been going to the lake every weekend this summer, sometimes even multiple times per weekend. It is wonderful to spend a day relaxing on the boat with the sunshine, water and good friends. We don't get much outdoor time living downtown. We don't have a lawn or patio...just the weekend respite of the lake. This picture is Matt skiing and doing his "rooster tails". I think I have grown accustomed to seeing Matt zoom back and forth behind the boat while he's skiing. Our friends, however, are usually impressed. :) He is really good! Matt just got a vintage wooden ski, which may just encourage him to learn a few new tricks!

And this is me skiing, not quite as gracefully, but enjoying myself nonetheless. :)

This is our friend James on the tube. At this time, we were at a small, secluded part of the lake because it was the only place calm enough to tube. Usually, you want rougher water for tubing, but the waves on the main part of the lake were way too high for our tiny boat.

And this is Courtney, James' wife, just before she flew out to the side and was flung from the tube.

And here I am holding on for dear life. Don't I look like Lisa here? Go figure.

Every weekend when we go to the lake, Matt is hoping and praying for calm, glassy waters. Once in a while we find an area for pure water skiing perfection. Most of the time, however, the lake surface is at least moderately rough because it is almost always windy here. This amount of wind wouldn't normally be problematic, but we finally realized we are used to lakes that actually have trees surrounding them. You may notice in some of the pictures, the "trees" around this lake are more like tall bushes, and don't offer much protection from the wind. The solution? We're thinking maybe one day we'll buy a small home on a Michigan lake and open a marina/restaurant. Matt could spend his days repairing boats. I could sell delicious organic dishes. Sounds like a good plan to me.

Oh, one more thing. The Fourth of July was a beautiful one here. There aren't any restrictions on fireworks around here so everyone has the big beautiful kind that go way up in the air (you know, the ones that are completely illegal in MI). We pulled the boat out of the lake around 8:30 on Friday, parked near the boat launch, and watched for a couple hours as regular Joes fired beautiful colors into the air all around us and over the moonlit water. It was gorgeous!! This is certainly one thing Texas does right.
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