Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Baking Extravaganza!

Warning!!! Major baking and recipes ahead. This post is not for those who are weak at heart when it comes to the kitchen. Proceed with caution. I even brought my Kitchen Aid mixer with me, so you know this is serious business.

I would like to introduce you to my lovely assistant, otherwise known as Mom. Okay, so she taught my all I know. It was so much fun to spend this time with her.

Recipe #1 - Berry Shortbread Dreams (and they are a dream)

(This picture is before they were glazed.)

1 cup butter softened (no substitutes)
2/3 cup sugar
1/2 tsp almond extract
2 cups flour
1/3 to 1/2 cup seedless raspberry jam (or whatever flavor you choose...we used peach as well)

1 cup powdered sugar
2-3 tbsp. water
1/2 ts. almond extract

In a mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar. Beat in extract; gradually add flour until dough forms a ball. If not easy to handle, cover and refrigerate for a short time. Roll into 1 inch balls. Place 1 inch apart on ungreased baking sheets. Make an indention in the center. Fill with jam. Bake at 350 for 14-18 minutes or until edges are lightly browned. Remove from baking sheet to cool. Spoon additional jam into cookies if desired. Combine glaze ingredients; drizzle over cookies. Allow glaze to harden some before stacking cookies.

This recipe is compliments of my friend, Judy Callaway. She is an amazing baker!!!!

Recipe #2 - Ginger Sugar Cookies (my favorite)

1 cup sugar
3/4 cup shortening
1/4 cup molasses
1 egg
2 cups flour
2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. cloves
1/2 tsp. ginger
1/4 tsp. salt

Cream sugar and shortening. Mix in egg and molasses well. Blend in flour mixture till dough is completely moist. Shape into 1 1/2 inch balls. Roll in sugar. Bake at 350 only 10 minutes. Cool before removing.

This recipe is from Great Grandma Wirth. I never met her, but her recipes are fantastic.

Recipe #3 - Monster Cookies (just because they sounded yummy)

3 eggs
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
3/4 tsp. vanilla
3/4 tsp. corn syrup
2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 cup melted butter
1 1/4 cup peanut butter
4 1/2 cups oatmeal
2/3 cup chocolate chips
3/4 cup M & M's

Mix all ingredients. Drop by ice cream scoop and flatten. They don't spread very much. Bake at 350 12 minutes.

Recipe #4 - Chocolate Shadows

There is no picture because I haven't made them yet. This is the next cookie on my agenda.

1/2 cup chocolate chips
1 1/4 cups flour
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
3/4 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 cup shortening
1/2 cup peanut butter
1 egg

Melt chocolate chips and keep separate. Mix all other ingredients. Marble the melted chips through the batter, do not mix in. Form into 1 inch balls. Flatten with glass dipped in sugar. Bake at 375 for 8-11 minutes until golden brown. Cool before removing from baking sheet.

This was Grandma Wirth's recipe.

Project #5 - Birthday Cake for Jesus

I have the cake and frosting made and I'm going to decorate it tomorrow. I'll make sure to take some pictures and post them.

I hope you enjoyed my little baking extravaganza! I'm having a great time on vacation. I have so enjoyed having a relaxed schedule. It's nice to get up, exercise, get ready, do my devos and then bake till my heart is content. We've been making my dad watch those sappy Hallmark movies with us at night. Poor Dad, but he loves us.

I hope you are all enjoying the Christmas Season. God is so good!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Not Much Time Left

Well, there is only a little more than a week left of 2008. I committed to reading through the Bible in a year and thought I should give you a little update. I'm done with the Old Testament, which was my big concern. I still have about half of the New Testament to go and then I'm done. Do you think I can make it? I'm on vacation this week at my parents' so I'm hoping to get some extra reading in.

I have to say that I have really enjoyed it. But I am looking forward to reading at a slower pace once again. I find that when I take my time, I'm able to retain more and find more application.

So how have you done? Many of you said that you were also going to try to read through the Bible in a year. Have you met your goal or are you a little behind like I am? But more importantly, is God's Word impacting your life?

Friday, December 19, 2008

Thank you, Ma'am

So I hate to admit that I'm old enough to be called, Ma'am. I go to the store and all the people working say, "Thank you, Ma'am." Wow! Who ever thought that one word would just take away your youth.

As most of you know, there is another Aaron that works in the office. It can at times be confusing when someone asks to speak with Erin/Aaron. I often have people ask me about games in the summer because they were told to ask Aaron, but they thought of me. The kids around here have it down. They refer to me as the girl Erin and him as the boy Aaron. Well, I guess there is a new way to keep us straight. Yesterday, someone called and asked to speak to the young Aaron. I should have hung up! Yes, he is younger than me, but come on!! Am I not still young? Especially compared to the caller!

Okay, I guess I'm over it. I am 32 after all and need to start thinking and acting my age. I remember when my parents were this age and I thought they were soooo old. (Side Note: I'm sorry Mom and Dad. You still aren't old. I have a little more perspective now.)

I'm heading to my parents' tomorrow for an entire week! I can't wait! We are going to bake lots of cookies, watch lots of movies, and laugh lots and lots. I hope you all have a blessed Christmas just in case I don't post again before then.

This old maid is signing off.

Another Side Note: This post is meant in the spirit of humor/sarcasm. I know that I'm cool and hip and fun. I know that I am not an old maid or spinster. Just want to clarify this so I don't get a bunch of angry comments from old maids and spinsters saying how much they understand my plight in life. And please no comments from old maids or spinsters that are upset that I'm not upset with my lot in life. So now I have to apologize for using the words plight and lot in regard to my life. Those words do not fit. Amen - I'm done now.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Pandora Radio

Check out this neat music site. Type in the name of an artist you like and it will play that artist and others like him/her. If you don't like a particular song, just hit the thumbs down sign by the song and it will never play that song again. You do have to register for it, but it's free. It will save all the artists you type in and you can even mix them up a bit.

I've been using it at work for a few weeks now and love it. Right now I'm listening to Nat King Cole (holiday). I'm getting all the good ole boys (Bing, Dean, Frank, Johnny, etc.) singing Christmas songs.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Chair Project

I bought new fabric/foam for my dining room chairs several months ago. Anna helped me pick it out and said she would help me learn how to do it. Well, we haven't found the time to do it since then. But last night was the night! I had Aaron, Anna, Shane and Lynnae over for supper and then we worked on the chairs. The boys watched a John Wayne movie while we measured, cut and and got stared.
Lynnae was our chief measurer (I'm not sure that's a word).

This is the only picture of me and you can tell I'm excited. It was the end of the night, what can I say?

After the movie the guys even pitched in to take apart the remaining chairs and Shane even helped staple. He was pretty much ready to go home and he thought he could staple better than Anna.

We have four chair completed and only six more to go. I think they look great! All the fabric for the other six is already cut and the chairs are already apart and ready to be stapled. I couldn't have done it with their help. Thank you!!!!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

I'm Thankful

I know that Thanksgiving is over, but I just want to say that I'm thankful. I'm so thankful for wonderful family and friends. I find that I am truly blessed.

I spent Thanksgiving at my aunt and uncle's house in northern IL. My parents made the drive up as well and we had a wonderful time. We saw my brother and his family on Friday and exchanged Christmas gifts with them. I can't believe how much my niece and nephew are growing. It won't be long and they will be towering over me...okay, maybe that's a few years away.

I made it home by Saturday so I could be in my church on Sunday. Due to a conference, vacation and illness it seems like I haven't been there in a very long time. That is another thing for which I'm thankful. I love my pastor, church family and Jr. Girls' Class. I don't know where I would be without them.

So that's my quick update. Hope you all had a fabulous Thanksgiving! Enjoy the pictures!

They said they didn't listen to their tummies and had to stretch out because they ate too much.
We stopped in to see my grandpa before he headed to Texas for the winter.

My adorable niece and nephew. They are growing up so fast!

Last but not least....isn't my mom gorgeous. I hope I look like her when I'm ___. (I'm sure she'll apprecaite that I didn't fill in the blank.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Much Anticipated

I'm sure you have all been sitting on pins and needles waiting for an update. Okay, so really there are only five of you that actually read my blog and I'm sure this information will not be new to you. Here it goes anyway.

The camp staff attended our annual camp conference in Ohio. This year the conference was at Scioto Hills Christian Camp in southern Ohio. It was quite a drive out there, but since we each have different plan before or after the conference, we pretty much never car pool. I stopped at my parents' on the way out to break up the trip and spend extra time with them. I'm not going to bore you with the details of my drive to the camp, but I'll sum it up by saying after trying those directions, I bought myself a GPS for Christmas. I was ready to pull over, cry, sleep the night in my Jeep and try again in the morning even though I was only about 10 miles from the camp. Southern Ohio road in the back woods at 10:00 at night are not fun.

The conference was great! It is basically our chance to go to camp. The highlight was Monday, when we all went to the Creation Museum. It was amazing and I would recommend it to everyone! The second highlight was actually the office round table discussion. It was scheduled to last an hour, but since there were so many with questions, we stayed for almost three hours. It is neat to be one of the ones with more experience that can offer help and advice to the new ones.

After the conference, I headed to Terre Haute, Indiana to spend the weekend with friends from college. As always, our time is spent catching up and making new memories. I am thankful for friends that even though we live far away and see each other about once a year, we can pick up right where we left off. Of course, the laughter was great! We had some good news among our group...Mary Ann is engaged! Congrats Mary Ann!

Next, I headed to my parents' house for a week of much needed vacation/rest. Bekah met me there on Monday and it was great to spend some time with her as well. I got to cook most of the week. I love to cook, but don't take the time to do it for myself much...besides, my mom cleans up after me when I cook at her house.

There is a Japanese foreign exchange student at the Christian school at my parents' church, so they arranged for her to come for dinner one night. Bekah made a traditional Japanese meal and had a chance to get to know Miho. Since she is here to learn our culture, she was not allowed to converse with Bekah in Japanese, but Bekah could. She loved hearing Bekah speak and she loved the meal. I have never seen anyone so tiny eat so much! She does not understand Christianity, but I think it helped to have Bekah explain a few things in her own language. Pray for Miho's salvation.

Well, that's it. Hope you enjoyed the update. I'm not feeling well, so I'm headed to bed, but since I promised the update, I thought I should do it first. I hope to write something before Thanksgiving, but if I don't get to it, I wish you all a wonderful Thanksgiving. May we remember to give God the glory for all He has done for us.

The museum has a neat petting zoo. This is Grover.

James seemed to look so much like the monkey that I just had to get a picture.

Dan the rodeo man.

Becky, Mary Ann and Roxi - I bet they are glad I didn't put some of the other pictures on. :)

Paige met us for lunch near an outlet mall. It was good to see her too.

The stove and oven stopped working just before dinner was done. Praise the Lord, the microwave finished it off just in time.

This is how the Japanese say, "Cheese!"

I don't know how to spell it's name, but this was very good and I'm usually a cautious eater.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Coming soon to a blog near you...

I promise to post an update some time this weekend. Since I have last posed, I have gone to the camp conference in OH, had a weekend with college friends, spent a week of vacation at my parents', and been back to work for a week. I'll have to fill you in on all the fun.

By the way, the Betz family has decided to keep Stella. They are calling her Lucy and she is fitting in nicely with their family (minus one chewed up helicopter and some undergarments).

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

I Won!!!

So I previously told you to check out this site. Well, I won something!!! It's such a thrilling feeling to win something. It makes you feel special even though it is totally random. So I will be the proud owner of a Pledge Duster. My mom will laugh because she knows how much I have always hated dusting.

Sunday, October 26, 2008


Well, I had to say a very difficult goodbye. After having Stella for a week, it was evident that I was not going to be able to juggle the ministry at camp and the responsibility of having a dog. She was a great dog and I loved my time with her, but I didn't want to have a divided heart. I'm very sad, but relieved at the same time.

The Betz family is trying her out this weekend to see if she would be a good fit for them. Pray for them as they make a decision.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Senior Pictures

I was sorting through some stuff and found some of my senior pictures. I thought I should share them with you. Remember that I was homeschooled, so they aren't the typical pictures.

Friday, October 17, 2008

She's Home!

Well, she's home and we're having a great time. She cried and barked the entire way home in the Jeep, but it was because she was so scared. We are going to work on the ride thing before we go to my parents' the first week of November since it's an eight hour drive. We are doing great and enjoying getting to know each other.

I think I wore her out. She was falling asleep standing up.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Funny Jr. Girls Story

We have a set of twins that attend our class, Danielle and Deidre. They are absolutely identical, so we have a hard time telling them apart. Stacey and I got together and prayed for our girls this last weekend. When I prayed, I asked that the Lord would help me tell the girls apart. I don't want to see them as "the twins," but as individuals with individual needs. They came in late on Wednesday and lo and behold, they had glasses! And the glasses were different!

I told the class that we pray for each girl and what I had specifically prayed about the twins. I was excited that God had answered my prayer. Well, Deidre raised her hand and said, "So basically you blinded us." We all laughed so hard!!! We have so much fun in our class!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Check out this site...


Why do I do this?

Yesterday, I had a moment of panic. Am I ready for a dog? Do I really want the responsibility? What if she barks too much and I have to get rid of her? What if my allergies freak out and I have to get rid of her? What if I can't train her? What if, what if, what if? I think you get my point.

I called Stacey, Bekah and my parents. They all really helped in calming me down, but here is my point. (Okay, this isn't my point here, but why call them instead of praying first...I did pray too, but not first...okay, now on to my real point.) Why do I freak out when I get an answer to prayer? I have wanted a dog for a long time. I get tired of going home to an empty house. I have always loved it when we had dogs growing up. I knew that with my housing/work situation it just wasn't possible. But I kept praying about it.

Well, lo and behold...God answered yes and very unexpectedly too. I went through this when I was offered the job here too. I was excited and really wanted it and prayed that Pastor Phil would call. Then the call came and it really freaked me out! Once again...all the "what if's."

Bottom line, it's worry and it's sin. God doesn't answer prayers and then leave us hanging. Stacey gave the application after our lesson last Wednesday night. She gave everyone a piece of paper and they had to find verses to battle against a particular temptation. Well, for my devos this morning, I did the assignment and had to write down worry as my temptation. I have never thought of myself as a person that struggled with this, but if I'm honest with myself I really do.

I'm thankful for God's Word. Not only does it help expose areas of our lives, but it also gives solutions. So maybe you need to take the challenge. What temptation are you battling? Write it down and find some scripture to help.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Not Very Nice...But Very Nice

(Don't worry...I'm not only going to post about my dog now.) So I was driving home from a fantastic weekend with Stacey and the kids a couple weeks ago, when I heard a loud CRACK! Yep, someone hit me...or so I thought. They also ran the red light at which I was sitting. Of course, my mind was running a bit behind and I didn't get the license plate or the make/model of the car.

I pulled over and called the police to get a report. I'm glad all they did was break my tail light. The police officer said that he thinks they threw a bottle at me. There were shards of glass above my wheel well and some liquid there too.

Well wonderful Shane Callison, who works at the camp, replaced it for me. I'm so glad I only had to buy the part and not pay for labor as well. Thanks, Shane! (He would never be caught dead reading my blog though, so it's a good thing that I told him thank you.)

Ready and Waiting

Well, tonight I went shopping. No, I didn't buy a new sweater or a great pair of shoes. That would have been nice though. I spent over $150 getting ready for Stella to come home. I'm sorry, to those that didn't like the name. I can't help it...it's stuck with me. I realize that most of you liked Zoe, but the more people that liked it, the more I didn't like it. Just ask my mom, I'm stubborn.

So here I wait until Friday to pick her up, but I'm ready! Don't worry, she won't come close to filling this crate. I just want to have a little room for her to stretch. I also got a pink collar and leash and a few toys as well. I have to thank Stacey and my dad for being on call while I went shopping. They answered lots and lots of questions for me.

I really wanted the pink food dish that said "Diva" on it, but I think I had spent enough money already.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Big News

Big confession here...I'm a dog person. I love dogs. But I'm also kind of specific about the kinds of dogs I love. I'm not feeling the love for those little chihuahuas. I'm also not one to like those little yippers, nippers or the ones the jump in the air and twirl in circles. I like big lazy dogs. And energetic hunting dogs. Dogs that are all about you. Otherwise, you might as well have a cat. (Sorry to all of you cat lovers out there.)

Anyway, about my news. I have been wanting a dog for quite awhile now and didn't think it was possible because of my housing/work situation. Well, I have learned not to limit God...even in things such as dogs. He knows our hearts and even cares about whether we want a dog. So guess, what??? Yep, you guessed it...I'm getting a dog.

My friends, the Ryals, went with me to the pound today and I totally fell in love. Let me introduce you.

So this may not be her best side...

This is getting a little better...

Ah, that beautiful face...

"Oooo! I think I may have made a friend from Russia!"

Aren't I adorable?

Look at this face...doesn't she look like a Troik. Yep, that is the name they have given her at the pound. I can't believe they would look at that face and name her Troik!!! Either they have no creativity or too much...I can't decide.

So I want you to help me decide on a new name for Troik (ugh...I can't stand to think that she is there being called by that name). I have a few suggestions, but I would love to hear your suggestions too. So even if you are stopping by my blog by chance and have never been here before, I want to hear from you. If you have known me from birth, I especially want to hear from you. If you claim to be my friend, I better hear from you! Okay, so here is my list:


I'm really leaning toward, Stella. Maybe you need to know a little bit about her. She is a seven month old Beagle/Terrier mix. She was found as a stray and brought to the pound. The pound does euthanize dogs, so I'm really glad that I found her. She has lots of energy, but was very eager to please. I'll have a lot of training work on my hands (potty, obedience), but she seems very submissive and smart. If I get approved as her new home, they will spay her, vaccinate her and give her an overall check up. Then I can bring her home most likely on Friday.

I'll be looking forward to hearing your ideas.


This is a video of Tyler Betz, the director's son. You have to look close, but he leap frogs over a guy!

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Great Weekend!

I spent Saturday afternoon with my friend, Stacey, and her two great kids. They found out I didn't really know about all the fun stuff to do in Mason City, so they created a really fun day for me. We started the afternoon at the nature center and hiking at Lime Creek. It was a little longer than the kids liked, but they made it and had great attitudes.

We then stopped at the Police Station to say hi to Stacey's husband Jeremy. Don't worry, he wasn't in trouble...he's one of Mason City's finest. Thanks for tour, Jeremy. By the way, it doesn't look at all like what they show on TV and movies.

We then stopped in at the art museum. A wedding was going to be held there, so we had to make that quick too. It was really neat though. The guy that made the puppets on The Sound of Music was from Mason City and he donated a lot of the puppets to the museum. The puppets from the movie were there! It was really neat to see them.

We then went to their house for dinner. The ribs were super yummy! Thanks for a great day, Stacey. It was wonderful!

We were making "beaver teeth" for the camera.

On our hike.

Tabitha took some great pictures on our hike. I love fall.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Jr. Girls Class

I have no pictures to show you since I never remember to take my camera with me. Last night, we had a fabulous class time. The size of our class doubled in one night. Please pray that the girls that visited will continue to attend.

Our theme this year is Jr. Girls Boot Camp. We have pink camouflage behind the verses for the semester all over the room! We divided the girls into teams this year with some fun incentives. Last night we let them pick their team name and they designed flags. We have the Pink Bombs and the Blue Tankers. I'll try to get pictures to post soon!

Several of our girls from last year have not returned. We have called and sent letters, so please pray that they are able to come back. We want God to continue to have an impact on their lives. I do realize that God can do that without us, but we truly love them and want to see them back.

Home Sweet Home

Yes, my computer has come home from the hospital. I guess it had a nasty virus, but it's feeling much better now. What turned into a 24-48 hour stay was extended to a week!!! Communication was not the forte of the computer guy. Well, it's anxious to get back into blogging, so you'll be seeing some posts very soon.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Sorry for the absence...

My laptop is currently at the computer doctor, so I haven't been able to keep up on blogging. I hope to have it back early next week. So, you will all have to wait with bated breath as to what my next post will be. I know what you are thinking..."Does she have some exciting news? Maybe a new recipe will appear. Or perhaps she is just stringing us along." It's pretty much the latter. Who has time to sit and think up posts?

Farewell till next week when I get my laptop back from the doctor with a big bill. Too bad there isn't computer health insurance.

Friday, September 19, 2008

We Believe

We Believe
Words and music by Nathan DiGesare and Dan Scott

We believe in the Father, who created all that is
And we believe the universe and all therein is His
As a loving heavenly Father, He yearned to save us all
To lift us from the fall . . . We believe

We believe in Jesus the Father's only Son
Existing uncreated before time had begun
A sacrifice for sin, He died then rose again
To ransom sinful men, We believe

We believe in the Spirit who makes believers one
Our hearts are filled with His presence
The Comforter has come
The kingdom unfolds in His plan
Unhindered by quarrels of man
His church upheld by His hand . . . We believe

Though the earth be removed
And time be no more
These truths are secure
God's word shall endure
Whatever may change, these things are sure . . . We believe

So if the mountains are cast down into the plains
When kingdoms all crumble, this one remains
Our faith is not subject to seasons of man
With our fathers we proclaim
We believe our Lord will come as He said
The land and the sea will give up their dead
His children will reign with Him as their head

We believe
We believe

Saturday, September 13, 2008


I had a great blessing delivered today. Pastor Phil's dad does a marvelous job of refinishing furniture. They have collected many pieces over the years and they shared one with me today. They gave me this beautiful dining room table and chairs. It is absolutely beautiful! Thank you so much Mr. and Mrs. Betz.

I'm going to learn how to recover the chairs. I was thinking of doing the chairs in different colors. What do you guys think? There are ten chairs! I will put some of them in storage since there isn't room for them all in my apartment.

Monday, September 8, 2008

The Rest of the Tour

The kitchen is the next room on the tour. I love how open my apartment is. I have great cupboard space and the color is called "Orange Essence."

I have laundry in the doors to the left. The second door on the right is my spare bedroom. I'm not going to show you that room. It isn't decorated very nicely and that's where all my clutter is at the moment. It is also home to my piano.

And since I finally made my bed, I thought you would like to see my bedroom next.

And now my bathroom. I just love the decorations in this room! I love the decorations in all the rooms, but I get more comments about my bathroom than any other room.

Well, thanks for stopping by. Next time come in for a cup of tea and some cookies or something.