Tuesday, May 25, 2010

SLCC Monster Cookies

This recipe is from the Swan Lake Christian Camp Cookbook. When I worked there as assistant cook we made these cookies A LOT. We rarely had any leftover!

Start with:
2 cups brown sugar
2 cups sugar

1 cup butter, softened (or melted)
Cream butter and sugars.

Blend in:
6 medium eggs
3 cups peanut butter
1 tsp salt
4 tsp baking soda
1 cup flour
1 1/2 tsp vanilla

At this point I realized this recipe would NOT fit in my Kitchen Aid, so I transferred the dough to a big bowl.

Stir in:
7 1/2 cups oatmeal (that's right, 7 1/2 cups!)

1 1/2 cups chocolate chips (I used dark chocolate chips)
1 cup M&Ms (I didn't have any on hand so I added another cup of chocolate chips)

Drop by tablespoon full onto cookie sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 8-10 minutes.
It takes awhile to get them all baked, but the recipe makes 72 large cookies! I usually freeze half of them for later, or you can freeze all of them and eat them frozen because they're delicious that way too.

So good.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

2010 Movie List

So, no one probably cares, but here's what I want to see this year:

Twilight: Eclipse June 30, 2010

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (part one) November 19, 2010

Chronicles of Narnia: Voyage of the Dawn Treader December 10, 2010

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (part two) July 15, 2011
(no movie poster yet!)

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Write your own list...

I wanted to share a personal story with you. In the years I was in college, I was a very confused, idealistic young man. I speak in the past tense but know full well, I am still weary of the ideals I pursue, and if anything, I try to be more discerning.... I digress--during college, a lot happened and it changed me inexorably into the person I am today. One of the things that happened was that some good people taught me the importance of goal making in life. Back in my first senior year (before I left for a time) I was given a great challenge: Write at least 100 lifetime goals and assign dates to the most important ones. Gretchen and I did this together, and it helped us focus some of our worries and thoughts at the time. Looking at the goals I wrote about 4 years ago, many of them were not at all real to me, and I have felt responsible to myself to revise them for some time. Tonight, I finally did so, and though the list isn't at all complete it's a start. I write this all to provide a hopeful, worthwhile challenge to you: Write your own list of goals. Even if they are small, big, and yes unrealistic--they will be there so that you can see them. For those of you reading this, I hope you do so and wish you the best in realizing what is most important to you. Thanks for letting me be vulnerable with you.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Bloom Where You're Planted

We've moved every year since we've been married (and in and out of college dorms before that). With each move we do our best to create our own little "home". Since we are not settled in careers we have not settled on buying a home, thus making it more important to learn how to make the best out of whatever house (and neighborhood) we end up in. We have also had to make the best out of the jobs we have. This is not easy and has been a CONSTANT growing experience for both of us.

I have found this particularly difficult as my jobs since college have not been related to my degree and have been fairly disappointing in the wage department. Granted, I could probably find a higher paying job but I'm fairly picky about needing a creative work atmosphere.

We just found out last Friday that DJ will be hired on again next year with the educational coop. This is a huge blessing and answer to prayer as many teachers we know have been laid off. However, we do not know if the coop will move him to another school or if he will be able to stay at his current location. This could be stressful thinking about moving again but I tell myself that the important thing is he has a job and on top of that great co-workers/administrators through the coop.

My job has had it's share of frustrations too. If there's one thing I've learned at the florist it's how many negative people there are in Topeka. I've had customers yell at me, cuss at me, say inappropriate things to me, and probably worst of all talk DOWN to me. It is not an exaggeration to say that about 75-80% of the people I deal with on the phone or in person are negative. I told DJ the other day that I missed living in a small town because people are so much nicer! Lucky for him he works in a small town high school.

You might be thinking, "How could people possibly be so negative about flowers?". Well:
"This is the UGLIEST arrangement I've ever seen" - How can flowers be ugly?
"It looks like a 10 year old made this" - Would you like to try? It's harder than you think!
"How old are these flowers anyways?" - We don't put out dead flowers.
"It sounds like you don't really care about what I want" - Seriously? I've been helping you for 30 minutes, what more do you want from me???
"Why can't you charge my order to an account? I'll pay for it later." - Yeah right you will.
"You sure need a freaking lot of information from me to get this delivered, this is ridiculous, you're taking forever" - Dude, you just wasted 10 minutes complaining about how long the process of ordering flowers takes.
"My arrangement doesn't look like the picture on your website" - Does a Big Mac you get at McDonalds look like it does in the commercials?

That's just a taste.
Despite the negativity and uncertainty we've had to deal with, we're both doing our best to bloom where we're planted. I just have to remind myself of all the ways we are blessed: food, shelter, the fur-babies, the fact the we have jobs in this roller-coaster economy, and of course each other :).

Also thankful for my camera...
and bunny shaped clouds...

and honeysuckle that makes the air smell like spring :).

*more pictures coming soon...

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Gretchen Bookout Photography *Shawnee Lake

We took a trip to Shawnee Lake a couple weeks ago for some afternoon fishing and photo taking. The lake was having a "Festival of Tulips", perfect for experimenting with the new camera.

(That's DJ on the left)

Kudos to Shawnee Lake for their beautifully maintained lawns, gardens, and fountains. I'll definitely be returning to take more pictures as the seasons change.
p.s. I'm LOVING my new camera! :D
p.s.s. More pictures to come...