Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Baking Day!

Today is baking day! I got the idea from Rachel Watters and a blog post she made a week or so ago. I have been experimenting on and off with making my own bread, tortillas, etc... and usually make some kind of cookies for our boys at youth on Wednesday nights, and after reading Rachel's blog I decided the best way to get it all done would be in one swoop.

Hence, baking day. I usually have a hard time getting baking like this done because you have to take such a huge chunk of your day out to mix the dough, let it rise, punch it down, let it rise again & then bake it. That can easily take 3 hrs if not more!

So I have been planning all week to stay home most of the day today to bake & study Microbiology. A good combination, I think. Who knows, maybe my chapters will cover how yeast makes bread rise!

So whats on the menu, you ask?

Bagels...I am excited to try this out!

French Bread...more bruschetta on the way!

Flour Tortillas...a lot easier/faster than you'd rising here!

Cookies or Brownies...TBA

I'll let you know how it turns out...especially the bagels! I am kind of intimidated by them!

Friday, September 25, 2009

Friday Date Night

Ben & I started a new "tradition" in our little family, and declared Friday to be date night. We realized that with him being so busy all week, he needs at least one night of the weekend to be spend w/ just me. Although we are together all week long at different times during the day, we are usually not able to really "be together" as he is studying, I am working on youth material, or cooking, etc...

He also thought it would be a good idea to have Friday date nights, so that he can decompress from the week and officially turn his work mode switch off for a period of time.

So there you have it, the conception of Date Night. Last Friday we had a really fun date night and went to a restaurant in town called Madison's. The food was yummy & the decor of the restaurant was even yummier. And if you know me, you know that if a place is aesthetically pleasing, I am all the more likely to enjoy it--even if the food is just "Ok."

The best part of our night was that we had a $25 gift card to Madison's that I won through Swagbucks.

I traded in my Swagbucks points, that I earned through simply using their search engine, for a gift card! Even if you don't use Swagbucks, offers deals on certain restaurants in your area. You can buy a $25 gift card to a restaurant for just $10, saving you at least $15! not bad, eh? The only catch is that you can only use one gift card at a time, so if you are interested, don't go out and buy 4 $25 gift cards and think that you are going to get a $100 meal for free...not gonna happen.

But anyway, check it out...we really enjoyed our dinner at Madison's and it made Date Night a lot more affordable :)

Monday, September 21, 2009

Post it Notes (or a summary of the week)

The pace has really kicked up a notch this past week in the Carter household. Ben started intermediate training, which I mentioned in a previous post, and has been doing charts, studying & flying almost non-stop.

I started Microbiology, and to my great misfortune, am having to take it on Saturdays. Its interesting for sure, and something I have had experience in before, but 7 hrs in one day of any subject is a lot to handle. That and that its on a Saturday. At least it only lasts a few months.

We also started teaching the youth group at our church. I guess you could call us the youth leaders, but there are only about 6 kids to keep up with so its more of a small group setting than what some may think of as a youth group. And so far all the kids are boys, ranging from 7th to 12th grade. Thats a lot of testosterone. For our kick off week, I acted as "team mom" and brought some yummy cookies for the guys and we played Headbands, in memory of my Hawktree days in college. :)

The guys loved it, even though they had to wear my girly headbands...muahhaha.

We ended the study night talking about the Gospel, and will expand some more on it this week.
I will leave you guys with a quote from R.C. Sproul on what the Gospel really is. I really enjoyed his perspective, especially in the day we live in where the Gospel is often so skewed, even in "christian" churches. We are going to discuss it w/ the guys this week.

"There is no greater message to be heard than that which we call the Gospel. But as important as that is, it is often given to massive distortions or over simplifications. People think they’re preaching the Gospel to you when they tell you, 'you can have a purpose to your life', or that 'you can have meaning to your life', or that 'you can have a personal relationship with Jesus.' All of those things are true, and they’re all important, but they don’t get to the heart of the Gospel.

The Gospel is called the 'good news' because it addresses the most serious problem that you and I have as human beings, and that problem is simply this: God is holy and He is just, and I’m not. And at the end of my life, I’m going to stand before a just and holy God, and I’ll be judged. And I’ll be judged either on the basis of my own righteousness – or lack of it – or the righteousness of another. The good news of the Gospel is that Jesus lived a life of perfect righteousness, of perfect obedience to God, not for His own well being but for His people. He has done for me what I couldn’t possibly do for myself. But not only has He lived that life of perfect obedience, He offered Himself as a perfect sacrifice to satisfy the justice and the righteousness of God.

The great misconception in our day is this: that God isn’t concerned to protect His own integrity. He’s a kind of wishy-washy deity, who just waves a wand of forgiveness over everybody. No. For God to forgive you is a very costly matter. It cost the sacrifice of His own Son. So valuable was that sacrifice that God pronounced it valuable by raising Him from the dead – so that Christ died for us, He was raised for our justification. So the Gospel is something objective. It is the message of who Jesus is and what He did. And it also has a subjective dimension. How are the benefits of Jesus subjectively appropriated to us? How do I get it? The Bible makes it clear that we are justified not by our works, not by our efforts, not by our deeds, but by faith – and by faith alone. The only way you can receive the benefit of Christ’s life and death is by putting your trust in Him – and in Him alone. You do that, you’re declared just by God, you’re adopted into His family, you’re forgiven of all of your sins, and you have begun your pilgrimage for eternity."

Friday, September 18, 2009

Bon Appetit!

After seeing Julie and Julia it totally made me want plead with the Air Force to send us to France so I could go to French Cooking School. Or at least, quit everything else I am doing and plug through a famous cookbook for a year the way that Julie did. I love cooking and I love it even more when I learn new things about cooking and preparing food.

One of the things we saw prepared in the movie was bruschetta. Ben had never heard of it before and now insists on calling it Ambrosia for some reason; probably because he couldn't remember the word bruschetta-- but he commented during the movie that he would love for me to make that sometime.

It was a passing comment, but he usually doesn't make requests unless it has to do with the words "What" and "a burger". So I decided to grab me some french baguettes on my shopping trip this week and try my hand at it.

I kind of did my own spin on Bruschetta, but Ben and I both loved it! So here I am to share this goodness with you. Although it would be hard to make a meal out of this all by itself, we served it with a simple pasta dish with lemon & asparagus in it and our tummy's were both very happy afterward.

Ok so here's the recipe:


1 loaf of french bread, sliced into 1/2" pieces
3 ripe tomatoes, seeded and diced finely
1 bunch of spinach or arugula, chopped finely
2 cloves garlic, cut in half
1/4 cup olive oil (more if necessary)
1/2 cup mozzarella cheese*

preheat oven to 450* F.

While oven is preheating, combine tomato, spinach and mozzarella in a bowl, along with equal amounts of salt and pepper to taste.

Once oven is preheated, place sliced bread on a broiler pan or cookie sheet and put in oven for about 2 minutes on each side, or until golden brown on top. Do not let the bread burn.

Once you have removed the bread from the oven, turn the oven down to 200*F.

After removing bread from oven (while still hot), take the halved garlic cloves and rub them across the top side of each bread slice. Amazingly, the aroma & flavor of the garlic will saturate into the bread just by rubbing it across each bread slice. Throw the cloves away when done. Brush half of olive oil over the top side of the bread slices. Add the tomato/spinach mixture and finally, drizzle remaining olive oil over each top.

Stick the bruschetta in the oven for a minute or two to melt the cheese. serve & enjoy!

* note: you can use smoked mozzarella or cubed mozzarella in this recipe as well. I just use the shredded kind because its cheaper & I usually have it on hand- it still tastes just as yummy!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

oh how i love thee

Oh my goodness, I can't believe it is already the middle of September AND that my favorite apples in the whole wide world are back in stores!!

I was casually browsing the apples while grocery shopping today, thinking "blaaahhh, i can't believe i am getting granny smith again." Don't get me wrong, I love my granny smith, but I have a limit, and that limit was passed in like January. But then I saw them. HoneyCrisp Apples. A little piece of Heaven on earth.

These are the most delicious apples I have ever tasted. Perfectly juicy, and just sweet enough. Never mealy, or too sour, they are as close to perfect as an apple can be.

So if you have never had a HoneyCrisp Apple, splurge a little, and grab some on your next shopping trip. They are definitely more expensive than your run of the mill apple, but soooo worth it! And they are seriously only around for about 2 months....we are talking the priceless jewel of apples, you will be sooo happy when you've tried one.

Another reason I love honeycrisps so much is because I would bring them to the library when Ben and I were getting to know each other before our courtship. You know, during those "random" meetings in the library. I would eat my honeycrisp and we would gaze into each others eyes Oh so longingly. Yes I know I am being sappy, but its true...we talked absolutely nothing and yet it was ok. In my eyes, he could say nothing wrong or stupid or inconsequential. He was pure genius in my eyes, the man of men (of course, not much has changed there). And listening to him talk about who knows what, while eating my honeycrisp---oh it was pure bliss.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

here's what ben is up to

As promised, here is an update on Ben.

Ben finished primary, the first "stage" of his flight training at the beginning of September. He flew a final "check" ride to determine whether he had passed primary or not, and the instructor said he did really well and passed him, completing this first stage. Wooohoooo!

Its really exciting to have one phase down, but at the same time, it doesn't mean its over. Next is intermediate. We were really thankful for the way his finishing primary fell in the calendar, because he finished right before labor day weekend and got to enjoy having Friday, Sat, Sun and Monday off from flying or studying!

We basically did next to nothing all weekend and LOVED it! It was a great treat for him especially, having worked so hard and so consistently for the past four months. These poor guys and girls hardly get any down time once they start training--its like drinking from a fire hose almost 24/7!

After Labor Day, it was back to reality, and back to work for Ben. He started intermediate, the second stage of training on Tuesday and is already in over his head w/ work! I know they give them this much on purpose, but let me tell you-- I am glad I get to witness all he does because I don't think I would fully appreciate it otherwise--its a lot. Imagine having finals week over and over and over again. Thats how he feels most of the time. So I am not trying to toot his horn, although I really do think he does a great job at handling it all. I am just trying to paint a picture for you guys. And both Ben and I recognize that God's hand is constantly over him, giving him the power to accomplish all that he is accomplishing, and we also recognize that there are a lot of people out there praying for him and his success and favor w/ both God & men.

Thank you for your prayers & support, it means so much to us & we can really see God working so keep it up! your prayers are effective, and most desired!

Specifically, Ben has lots of studying and chart making to do this week, and has his first intermediate simulator tomorrow. He will have a few more simulators next week and then if all goes well, he will be up in the air again sometime in the coming week. Thats my crazy plane loving man!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

back to school. back to cool.

love that slogan.

I wish this was me on my first day of school, with my matching pink lunchbox and back pack- this girl's not messing around. Unfortunately, I didn't have any pictures of me as a kindergartener handy, so I just swiped this one.

And regretfully, Ben didn't take a picture of me heading out for my first day back to school post bachelor's, so sorry for the lack of a good visual, but use your imagination.

So, yes, I have started back to school..I am in my third week of classes. Sociology & Human Growth & Development on Tuesdays and Thursdays. And to say the least, its been.....interesting.

We spent the whole first week in both of my classes getting acquainted w/ each other. Literally going around the room to every single person & getting at least half of their life story. That was weird, not that I didn't enjoy it, but I could remember maybe once or twice at A&M that that happened and I am pretty sure that all we really said in our "introduction" was our name and what our major was, oh yea and that we were in the fighting class of....AAA!! hullabaloo.

My two classes are relatively small though, so I guess that affords us the option to even do introductions at all. Its also interesting because 18 year olds are actually the minority in my classes...there are probably more 30 and 40 year olds than anything else and I think 27 is the average age at the college. So, kinda cool as well.

My classes also tend to debate a lot, which isn't necessarily my favorite aspect of it, but in these subjects you can't really get around it I guess...everyone has their opinion and wants to make sure they voice it. The only classes I really ever did that in at A&M were spanish classes, but for all of us whities, you can't really get too far in a debate in spanish, or too heated- people just get confused too quickly and say "si". And in my nutrition classes, most of us were on the same page. So thats interesting...I think the Lord is wanting to teach me patience w/ all the outspoken people that seem to be concentrated in my classes & to see them thru His eyes and not my foggy, critical ones. I also need to discern when to speak up and when not to...not that its easy to get a word in edge wise, but there are times when I should probably at least try.

Needless to say, I am definitely learning more than just sociology and human development thru being back in school. I am glad it is where the Lord has me for the time being.

next post I will give a little hub update on ben's schooling and such!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

record breaking

Pensacola has surprisingly brought a lot of really fun people our way over the past year. We have been shocked at how many visitors we have had here and have also had some surprise encounters w/ people from college that we didn't even know lived here!

I don't know if its the beach that brings them all in, or our cute faces. Surely its not for all the metropolitan attractions because lets just face it, P'cola is not so metro. I think its probably for the beaches, especially for those visiting from Texas and have never experienced white sands, crystal blue water or seaweed free swimming.

So August actually marks the first month in about 7 months that we haven't had visitors! Crazy, I know! and you'd think that we'd be ready for the break, but actually Ben was telling me the other day that he wanted someone to come visit us, and I had to agree--we kind of liked the once a month visitor set up :)

But I do get to have somewhat of a visitor "fix" today because one of my SA friends, Becca Smith, now lives in Mobile, Al, just 40 minutes up the road and we are going to meet up for lunch! Its so fun when God transplants you nearby to a friend you'd never have imagined you'd see outside of TX!

That happened to me a lot in Colorado Springs too, when I was bored out of my mind during the week, not knowing what to do all by my lonesome in this strange new place while Ben was spending the weeks 45 min away learning to fly planes. I ended up reuniting w/ a friend from A&M who had just moved up there, met a long lost twice or thrice removed cousin and her husband, and was connected w/ at least one other friend of a friend--God always provides! He did that for me in a circumstance where it really wasn't necessary, but He knew my heart and knew how lonely I was and blessed me beyond belief with those little happenings. Nothing is too small or inconsequential for Him!

Anyway, just wanted to share what was on my mind this morning! and for all you reading this, know that there is always an open invitation for you at our house!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

disney world!

magic kindgom

fabulous 3D glasses

pirates of the carribean

space mountain--it was closed, but we took a pic anyway!

a very impressive legos store

needless to say, ben was elated

fancy car at the test track

the epcot ball!