Life was Just Happening, Part 1

Hello!

In my last post, I mentioned that I’m behind on posting blog-able events.  Here is an attempt at catching up – at least a bit!

A couple of weeks ago, my roomies and I woke up early (well, for a Saturday, at least), packed up a cooler full of lunch, jackets, bocci ball, and a frisbee and hit the road.  Destination: Fort Casey.  One roomie had never been there, and the other hadn’t been in years, so we decided that for and end-of-the-year celebration/quality time session, we just had to go!  And of course, copious amounts of photos were taken.

As soon as we were ready, we hopped in my car and thus begins our epic adventure.

We were seriously excited.  Obviously.

Our first stop?  The ferry.

Again, there was some serious excitement amongst the ranks!

And before we knew it…we had arrived at the highly anticipated destination: Fort Casey!  Our first item of business?  Explore the bunkers and guns.

For the record, you’re never too old to play in the bunkers.  Basically, it’s a playground for adults big kids. Point proven #1.

Point proven #2!

After exploring for a bit, we went to a particular part of the bunker that has AMAZING acoustics.  It makes even the smallest voice sound big – so imagine four voices…in harmony!  We sang as many songs as we could remember — and even had a passerby add his bass voice to our rendition of Amazing Grace.  Proof that you don’t always have to be in a church service to worship God!

But all that singing sure did make us hungry…

So we set up our picnic.  And got comfy 🙂

But Marisa and I had a surprise.  We decided that our roomies are SO great that they needed some awards.  So we put our heads together and invented some pretty snazzy certificates.

Yes, that does say “Brown Trout Wrangler Award”.  And yes, that’s a plunger.

Here is one of several awarded to Nikki.  Others included “Late Night Champ”, “Spunktastic Quirkny”, and “Best Listener”.

And here is what happens when you’re laughing hysterically and a sudden gust of wind comes up…and you’re STILL laughing hysterically as you dive for the awards shouting, “SAVE THE CERTIFICATES!!!!!!!”  I love these girls.

After lunch, comical games of frisbee, and many many rounds of bocci, we decided to take a walk to explore another set of bunkers.

We saw this little feller along the way.

And then we arrived at our destination.  But now the question was…how do we get down there?  The answer?

Uh…very carefully?

You got this, Nikki!

Like a champ!

We came upon these stairs with an open door.  Where would they go?  Into the depths of the hill?  Would it be creepy?  Would it be an adventure?

Who knew it would just be an old bathroom.  Ha!

After thoroughly creeping ourselves out/getting adrenaline rushes in the depths of the bunkers, we decided to mosey on back to the main part of the fort for more singing and some beach time.

Are they just the greatest??

Marisa tried waving at the ferry.  Who knows if they actually saw us though…

Marisa also snapped this prime shot.  I seriously giggle every, and I mean EVERY time I see it!

In case you ever wondered…yep, this is how cool my roomies are.

No explanation needed.

Photo credit: Elizabeth.  Caption Credit: Nikki.  So much love/loveliness.

Here is proof that even big kids get tired after playing all day!

But what an excellent day it was.  I can think of few things better than spending the day with wonderful, Godly women, exploring, adventuring, sharing a meal, and rejoicing in the God-painted beauty of the creation and people around us.

As captioned by Elizabeth, and quoted from Switchfoot:

Part 2 is coming your way soon – until then, “may the peace of the Lord be with you.”

Blessings,

Beth

 

 

A Saturday Tea

I just love this time of year – the sun shows its face a bit more often, and we pull out our spring clothes – lighter and brighter colors, flowy fabrics, and short sleeves.  It just makes anything you do that much more enjoyable!  Even cleaning becomes fun! 😉

Last weekend, I had the pleasure of going out in the sun and wearing some bright-colored, spring clothes to have tea and lunch with a few dear ladies – Marisa, Jocelyn (Marisa’s mom) and Sherry, three of the sweetest ladies you’ll ever meet.

We convened at Three Cups of Tea, a cute little tea shop in Bothell.  It’s such a sweet little place – lots of bright colors, flowers everywhere, and perfectly portioned light entrées.  It really is the perfect place for such a lunch time meeting as this.

Each tea-drinker receives a unique and lovely teacup and a personal tea pot.  I loved the delicate flowers and gold edging on my cup!  If only I could take it home… 😉

Before we knew it, lunch arrived.  I chose a half turkey-cranberry sandwich with a side salad.  This sandwich was a perfect choice!  It had a nice, light amount of turkey, which contrasted nicely with the cranberry-cream cheese spread.  The lettuce provided a nice crunch against the soft, pillowy croissant style bread.  Yum!

Marisa and Jocelyn both decided on the individual-sized quiche.  It looked pretty tasty to me, and both ladies quite enjoyed their choice!

Sherry opted for the curried chicken sandwich with chicken noodle soup.  Despite my lack of curry-love, this sandwich looked pretty tasty.

Look at this adorable heart-shaped scone!  So precious – especially when it’s served with jam, lemon curd and clotted cream in a heart-shaped dish!

The obligatory photo of me eating…did I mention that sandwich was tasty!?  I think my favorite part of this photo, however, is the elderly fellow in the background.  He looks like he’s thinking “Oooooh, is that my lunch coming?”  Love it.

Here’s evidence of Marisa getting a bit silly with the camera.  Because I obviously wasn’t being silly at all!

Now, aside from being insanely cute and having delicious food, Three Cups of Tea has a special spot in our hearts.  Two years ago, the four of us ladies came here for a little brunch get-together.  At the end of that meal, we took photos of each other from across the table.

Here is Sherry and Jocelyn then:

And here they are now:

As lovely as ever!

And now for the children then…

And here we are now:

How time flies!  We almost look like grownups!  But not quite.

I just love spending time with these ladies.  They are undoubtedly my Seattle family!  And with graduation quickly approaching – Marisa’s next weekend and mine in a few months – lunch dates like this become even sweeter and more precious than before.

What joy!

This Saturday (as in yesterday) my roomies and I spent the day adventuring together on Whidbey – I promise, there shall be a full recap!  Once I get my photos organized… 😉

Take care!

Blessings

Beth

Evening – the Event, Not the Time of Day

Hello friends!  Goodness, time flies when you’re a busy college kid.

I don’t know about you, but I had a jam-packed and FUN weekend!  I almost feel like I need a weekend from my weekend, but that’s beside the point.  There is WAY too much to put into one blog post, though, so I’ll start with Friday night.

Every spring, here at Northwest, we have an event called “Evening”.  Basically, think “prom-minus-the-dancing”.  We all dress up, go out to dinner, then meet at a fancy venue where our student committee provides dessert and coffee etc, along with some entertainment.  This year, we heard an improv group…they were alright.  But the real fun of Evening is getting all fancied up and seeing your school friends outside of school.  Are you ready for some pics?  Aaaaaaaand go!

We often go in groups to Evening rather than with one “date”.  My group consisted of (from L to R) Melissa, Marisa and Elizabeth, and….

…Ron, our fearless driver…and my date!

The weather could not have been more perfect!

Ivar’s on the Seattle waterfront was our dinner choice – and a tasty choice it turned out to be!

Oh, and by the way...ED wasn’t invited.  No sir.

Here is my dinner: I started off with a sourdough roll – soft, warm, and basically dinner roll perfection.  And they even gave us SOFT butter!  Next, Ron and I split an appetizer of crab cakes.  They were served with a tangy tomato relish (maybe with balsamic?) and a spicy aioli.  For my entree, I had grilled lingcod with  fresh asparagus and VERY garlicky yukon gold potatoes.  My tummy was full, but it all tasted super good!

 

A sunset of dreams.

And lovely, squinty eyes. 🙂  We were probably laughing.

Evening took place at the Experience Music Project (EMP) at the Seattle Center.  And I can’t go to the Seattle Center without snapping a shot of our dear Space Needle!

The EMP is an interactive museum, mostly of the history of Rock n’ Roll.  This tower-like structure of guitars is one of the most popular highlights.

Here is the “interactive” part of the EMP at its finest!  There are several rooms in which to “jam”…they have some combo of drums, guitar, bass and keyboard.  We like to pretend we’re rock stars, obviously!

As this year’s Yearbook Editor, Marisa had to give a short speech – an introduction to the yearbook, basically.  She rocked it!

Melissa threw caution to the wind and volunteered to be part of the improv show – she succeeded in entertaining us!

Here’s me with the date!

And just in case you ever wondered, me and Beyonce (also known as Michelle) frequently sit together in chapel and make music jokes.  Uh-huh!  And she’s pretty stinkin’ awesome!

All of the roomies – together in our finery!  I simply adore each of these girls.  They are all beautiful (beautiful) gifts from God, willing to help me as they can on my journey, because they love.  Ohhhh I love these girls!

Stay tuned for the rest of my weekend!  It was jam-packed, let me tell ya!

Blessings,

Beth

Tastes Like Home

You know how there’s some recipes that no matter how many times you make them, they NEVER taste as good as the first person who made it for you?  This is why I don’t try to make my mom’s chicken stew or meatloaf.  This is why I’ve never even tried to make roasted red potatoes like my Aunt Chelle.  And even though I’ve tried to make pasta salad like my Aunt Alice, it just never tastes as good.

Well, friends this recipe I’m about to share isn’t quite like mom would make, but it reminded me a lot of mom’s scalloped potatoes!

Except it was a breakfast casserole.  But just go with it, m’kay?

This casserole, which came together in a snap was not only easy, but filling, satisfying and quite inexpensive to make.  It served as a teamwork dinner, and provided leftovers for one night for both Elizabeth and I, as well as dinner for me tonight.  Hooray for leftovers! 🙂

So why did this remind me of mom’s scalloped potatoes and ham?  I think it must have been the combo of ham and onions, whose smell wafted from the oven, torturing us until the blessed timer went off signaling time to dish up!  But I literally opened the oven and was taken back to Christmas break when mom and I made those deeeeelightful scalloped ‘taters!  Sigggghhhh……..anyways…

 

Farmer’s Casserole

Adapted from “The New Better Homes and Garden’s Cook Book”

 

The Goods

Nonstick cooking spray

Frozen roasted baby red potatoes, or other frozen potato (enough to cover the bottom of the pan)

A couple handfuls of shredded (cheddar) cheese

1 small package of Canadian bacon, diced

1/2 small onion, chopped

4 eggs

1 1/2 cups milk

salt and pepper to taste

 

The Method

 

 

 

1. Lightly coat pan with non stick spray; pour in enough potatoes to cover the bottom of the pan

2. Layer Canadian bacon and onions and one handful of cheese on top of potatoes

3. Beat eggs with milk, salt and pepper, then pour over potatoes

4. Bake, uncovered at 350* for 40-45 minutes or until a knife inserted near the center comes out clean.

5. Let stand 5 tortuous minutes before serving

 

And voila!  A tasty, inexpensive, healthy CUSTOMIZABLE dinner!  Use whatever kind of potatoes you like.  Use whatever kind of cheese you like!  Don’t like Canadian bacon?  Use ham or regular bacon.  Or skip the meat and add veggies.  It’s a blank canvas 🙂

A lovely dinner, especially when accompanied by toast and broccoli (and the obligatory squirt of ketchup).  This would obviously be excellent for a breakfast/brunch also.  Or lunch.  So basically, you can eat it any time of the day 🙂

Well, this weekend went by in a hurry!  From Elizabeth’s senior recital, to shoe shopping to homework, it’s been full.  But I’m looking forward to my mom’s visit tomorrow!  It’s going to be short and sweet, but I’ll take it!  I wish my dad could come too, but it’s only a few more weeks until summer break.

I’m sure I’ll properly document my mom’s visit, which will include an inexpensive dinner and ice cream.  Perhaps some more cookies and cream?  And guess what?  ED isn’t invited.

Blessings!

Beth

 

The Joy of Spring Break

No joke, Spring Break is one of the fastest weeks of your life.  It felt like it was time to pack up and get back on that airplane just after I landed!  But there’s no sense in fussing over the speed at which break flew – that certainly won’t bring it back!  Instead, I’ll remember how much fun I had and remind myself that there are less than 8 weeks left in the semester…thank the Lord.

Break was filled with family time, cooking, bowling, double dates, church, nice meals out, scenic drives, shopping, a lovely lunch date, homework and…*drum-roll*…relaxing.  It’s been awhile since I’ve gone so days without a tummy ache!  I think that’s a sign of chillaxin’ 🙂  Also found in my break were excellent conversations – all uplifting, but some very challenging.  More on those in another post…I’ve written several serious posts lately, so it’s time for something more lighthearted! 🙂

I didn’t take pictures of everything, but I did capture a few moments!  First up, the scenic drive.  Flathead Lake is gorgeous, no matter the season or the weather.  Sunny?  The water is blue and clean, framed by snowy mountains and outlined in pine trees and rocky beaches.  Stormy?  The water’s white-capped fury is breathtaking yet frightening, the gray clouds reflected in the dark water.  We got a mixture – sunny but windy.  Have a look!

Here’s the cloudy look, minus the whitecaps.  But would you look at those mountains?!

And true to Montana weather, the sun came out a few moments later.  It amazes me that looking a different direction will provide an entirely different looking mountain range.  And people say there is no God?  Crazy.

And then there was cooking.  Hooray!

First, I made some biscuits.  They’re just a simple buttermilk biscuit, using this recipe.  The only change I made was that I used all purpose flour rather than white whole-wheat.

Super easy recipe – mix dry ingredients, cut in butter, add buttermilk, knead, then roll out and cut!

I baked just a few of them, then froze the rest in a ready-to-bake form.  Easy peasy!

One evening, I went over to my bestie’s house to make some festive shamrock cookies.  And chat, but that’s a given.

Chelsey had everything out and ready to go when I got there.

After mixing up a quick dough and letting it chill for a bit, we got to cuttin’ cookies.  We had two different shamrock styles and…an elephant.  I found the elephant in mom’s bag o’ cookie cutters at home and thought “eh, what the heck!?”  And Chelsey said “bring it!”  So we made shamrock cookies AND elephant cookies.  Then, with the leftover dough, we made little twisted circles.  After baking them, it was decided that they looked like poo…so it must have been from the elephants!  I swear, we ARE adults…

These chocolate mint cookies, finished with a chocolate coating, were tasty!  You can find the recipe here at the Taste of Home website…although it looks like you have to be a member of their website to see the recipe.  Or you could pick up the February/March copy of the magazine 🙂

Who likes brownies?  How about if I add peanut butter?  Yeah?  I thought so 🙂

Basically, I took those ingredients….

…and turned them into this!  I followed this recipe, except instead of using the frosting in the recipe, I just made a simple “drizzle” with powdered sugar, peanut butter and margarine.  SO tasty!!

I kept myself busy in the kitchen.  After these brownies, I made some Irish Soda bread.  It came out a little tough, but I may or may not have used a little too much buttermilk….oh well…live and learn, right?

Instead of making one big loaf, I made two little ones.  Ain’t they cute?!

They sure did come out nice and golden!  I followed this recipe, except I omitted the raisins, and cut the baking time to 30 minutes.

Sadly, I failed to take pictures of my final kitchen project.  Blame it on fatigue and hurry…both are accurate!  Good thing Dana over at My Little Celebration (where I found this recipe) takes LOVELY photos!

These Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins were divine!  Moist, dense, sweet (but not too sweet)…so tasty.  I want to make them again.  Right now.

Well, this pretty much covers the things I photographed over break.  Coming to you soon shall be a simple pizza recipe and reflections on some of the conversations that took place over break.  Such good conversations.

Take care, friends!

Blessings,

Beth

 

A Weekend Adventure

Well hello!  I can’t believe how long it’s been since my last post!  Let me tell ya, I was up to HERE in homework.  So much reading.  SOOOO much reading!  But the good news is, I survived, got it all done, and had a good weekend to boot!  But this post isn’t about this last weekend…it’s about the weekend before.  Tricky, I know.

Part of the birthday gift for my roomie was a “surprise adventure trip” and we chose last weekend to adventure.  Marisa had no clue where we were going…only that she should wear layers and good shoes, and that we needed to leave at about 10:15 am.  Yay surprises!!!!!

So after getting some cash and some gas, we were off to our first stop: the ferry.

And now we know that our general destination is Whidbey Island.  Hooray!

Notice the sky: it’s blue.  Not gray, blue.  And there are no clouds.  And if we looked the other way, we’d see the sun.  Basically, God blessed us immensely with BEAUTIFUL weather!

The weather…I just can’t get over it!  We could have stood for hours just looking at the beauty and soaking up those rays! 🙂

After disembarking the ferry, our next stop was in Langley – a lovely little cafe called The Braeburn

This place…ADORABLE!  Delicate plates line the walls, and local artists’ prints (and originals?) are featured and for sale.  There’s an apple theme (refer to the name…) and every table has a little tub of apple butter.  SUCH a lovely place!  I would highly recommend it.

The spring-like weather must have affected my tastes, ’cause I craved fresh and light food.  Soft mozzarella, juicy tomato and fresh basil were accented by a balsamic mayo, all held together by a (locally made) light white bread.  The salad was pretty basic, but it completed the meal perfectly…so tasty!

Marisa felt a breakfast vibe, and went for the eggs benedict, which came with rosemary potatoes.  If you’re looking for a meal to stick to your ribs, this would do the trick!  I was fortunate enough to sample some of the potatoes, and man.  Let me tell ya…AH-mazing!  Salty, buttery, and perfectly seasoned.

After our delightful lunch, we were reading to head to our intended destination: Fort Casey!  Fort Casey features Admiralty Head Lighthouse, as well as trails, breathtaking views, rocky beaches, and, everyone’s favorite, WWII bunkers!

Take a look in Marisa’s sunglasses….totally accidental, but no complaints here!!

The bunkers are legit.  They didn’t see any battle, of course, but they’re well equipped, and perfect for fun!  Although I’ll admit…the darkness from the solid cement and no windows does get SUPER a mite creepy.  But we found a room with perfect acoustics, and sang eerie, pentatonic-scale songs, and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves.  It was like being a kid again!

We wandered down to the beach and just sat on a log for a moment, enjoying the view.

And I couldn’t go all the way to Fort Casey without snapping a shot of my favorite lighthouse!

Even though this was the end of our Whidbey-exploring, the fun wasn’t over yet…we did still have another ferry ride, and plans for ice cream…

I saw this van behind us…and laughed for a long time!  They look all ready to head out……glad I’m in front of them 😉

One cool thing about being an adult?  I can eat ice cream at dinner time if I want to!

And so we did.

Two things:

#1. Ivar’s soft serve…SO good!  It’s thicker and creamier than Dairy Queen’s, and oh-so nummy.  But a word of caution…what I have there is the “child’s size”.  So order carefully!

#2. I realized a while ago that I don’t have any pictures of me eating.  Pictures of food?  Yes.  Pictures with food?  Yep!  Pictures eating food?  Nope.  So we were intentional to take pictures of me actually consuming food.  I think ice cream is a good first shot, yes?

That pretty much sums up the day!  A relaxing day spent with a lovely friend, enjoying God’s beautiful creation?  Blessings.

Take care, friends!

Beth

P.S. If you haven’t like Make Food Not [Body] War on Facebook yet, just click here

It’s like Gladiators…But on Ice

No, but seriously!  Hockey IS like Gladiators on Ice!  Now that you’re thoroughly confused, let me explain:

In my last post, I mentioned that my dear roommate, Marisa, would be taking me on a surprise adventure the next day.  My surprise adventure?  A trip to my very first ever HOCKEY GAME!!  It’s like soccer on steroids…but seriously!  It’s faster, more intense, and waaaaay more violent!  …I digress.  Would you like to hear the story?  Okay. I knew it! 🙂

We had the day off from school yesterday, so the day basically became a blank canvas with which to create something delightful…and relaxing!  It seriously felt like Saturday, which makes yesterday (TRUE Saturday) totally seem like a bonus.  Marisa and I were invited to a friend’s home for lunch, then we came home to do homework watch Psych and get ready for the evening’s mysterious events.  At 4:52 sharp, after much running back and forth to grab this and that (totally all me) we were out the door!  After a quick stop at the gas station, Marisa was left to stall for time…we were early!  The horror!…so we took the long way around to…Eastside Foursquare church?  Yeah.  I was confused.  Dark completely enshrouded the parking lot, and I was convinced Marisa would soon be selling me for drugs.  I mean, she did promise an adventure, right? 😉  But thankfully, such an adventure would not be had, although a mysterious car pulled up next to us….

….and out came Josh, our small group leader!  Moments later, another car pulled up…it was Tim, the 4th member of our 4-person small group.  Both gents hopped in the car, and we were off!  I was slightly surprised by the identity our adventure compadres, but hey…Marisa had it all planned out!  Jokes were made about our destination as we made our way North, going from I405 to I5.  And I was still clueless as to what the heck we would be doing.

Soon, we were exiting I5 into Everett…so maybe we were going to an Aquasox game?  But the stadium looked pretty empty, so maaaaybe not.  We continued into the Everett City Center, deciding that dinner would be in order before the revealing of the night’s activities, and seeing as Josh couldn’t stop talking about burritos, I decided on his recommendation, Gorditos!  Large amounts of Mexican food were consumed!

Josh and Tim decided to split the “Baby Burrito”, named for it’s baby-like size.  Bursting with rice, beans, chicken, lettuce, tomato, beans and beans, then drenched in sauce and cheese, this meal is NOT for the faint of heart…or the small of stomach!

Before…

…and after.

Good thing they split it!

Marisa and I were slightly more conservative in our choices, Marisa opting for a breakfast burrito filled with egg, chorizo and tomato, and I for a taco salad, piled high with lettuce, tomato, rice, beans, guacamole and sour cream.

For the record, Marisa, I like your guac better! 🙂

During dinner, Marisa decided to tell me where we were going.  She said “Beth, remember that church we passed back there?  Well, we’re going to a concert there!  A Gregorian chant concert!”  I responded with excitement, but somehow, I just didn’t think we were really going to a concert.  I mean, Marisa insisted I dress warmly, and this church didn’t look like it would be cold.  But what did I know?  However, using my best tact, I didn’t outwardly show my doubt…what if we really WERE going to a Gregorian chant concert?!?

After devouring a baby, erm, dinner, we headed out to the concert.  But we stopped in front of a big building, with lots of people wearing “Silver Tips” jerseys.  And Marisa said “Beth, I have a confession.  We’re not really going to a chant concert…WE’RE GOING TO A HOCKEY GAME!!”  And the poor girl…she was afraid I’d be unhappy with the hockey game after the excitement I showed over the concert!  But she wouldn’t have to worry…I was stoked!

We grabbed our tickets from will-call and headed in!

Josh picked up some pucks for me to throw during a fan game…with which I didn’t find much success.

Hey, they’re really hard to throw!

Well….???

Hockey is an exciting game!  The players throw and smoosh each other up against the wall for no apparent reason.  Oooooh and we saw a legit fight!  As in, a LOT of players ripped their gloves off and threw them on the ice in anticipation of an all-out war!  Only four dudes ended up actually fighting, but that was enough for us to say “we saw a legit hockey fight!”

At times, I began to wonder if the game isn’t more about the fans than the actual game.  They had a kiss cam (awkward camera-person focuses on an assumed couple and they’re supposed to smooch) and a dance cam (less awkward camera person focuses on people who are gettin’ their groove on).  Entertaining…yet slightly uncomfortable….

But we had fun anyways!  Marisa wasn’t really that scared…except for when we almost got beaned by a hockey puck!!!!!!!

Josh had become convinced that because there wasn’t a net in front of us, we were doomed to get hit by a puck.  “Yeah right!” we naysayers uh…nayed?  At any rate, we highly doubted we’d get hit…until a player hit the puck, and it went high…and right towards us!  It caught a lot of air which slowed it down, but that doesn’t change the fact that it was coming right for us!  But Tim saved the night and caught it.  No harm 🙂

The Silvertips lost soundly, but we all had a fun night anyways.  We didn’t even let the crazy-apocalyptic hail dampen our spirits (ah-ha-ha)!

But seriously….this was intense hail!

Marisa planned an excellent night!  The surprise stayed a surprise until the very end, and I very much enjoyed the free time with friends.  Thank you, Marisa!  😀

Check back soon for a recap of my lovely birthday dinner (last night) with Marisa’s family!!

Beth