Archive | June, 2012

Bluebs

29 Jun

I hope you weren’t planning on trying to be skinny this blueberry season, cause now that I’ve discovered this muffin-top-alicious recipe, y’all are gonna want to compare love handles at the beach instead of 6-packs.  Or maybe you won’t WANT to compare love handles, but if you try this recipe, it will be your only choice. Muffins show no mercy on the midsection.

So after making a mess of my kitchen and feeling all Susie Homemaker for a while, I figured I would get all sharey on you and post this recipe that I found when I googled “Best Blueberry Muffins” about 15 minutes ago. Based solely on tasting a bit of the uncooked batter (not enough to get salmonella, just enough to stick my hands in the batter 100 times and raise a few Health Department eyebrows), the amount of sugar that goes onto just the TOPPING, and the fact that these are estimated to be enormous, I’m gonna consider them winners.  And I’m also going to consider myself healthy for eating them despite everything that last sentence stands for. Because I consider blueberry muffins as nutrient rich and healthful as raw fruit, and lets be real, the muffin is the mode of transportation for the fruit, and if it gets fruit into my body, then I’m practically like, healthy-ful-and-whatnot, right? Oh, and to my friends the health people… don’t worry. I’m kidding, you guys, that’s totally not the only way I consume fruit. I also eat apple pie in the fall.

So without further ado:

Bitchin’ Bluebs

Ingredients:

1.5 Cups all-purpose flour

3/4 cup white sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/3 cup vegetable oil

1 egg

1/3 cup milk

1 cup fresh blueberries*

1/2 cup white sugar

1/3 cup all-purpose flour

1/4 cup butter, cubed (psst. I melted mine and it was fine)

1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Grease muffin cups.

2. Combine 1 1/2 cups flour, 3/4 cup sugar, salt and baking powder. Place vegetable oil into a 1 cup measuring cup; add the egg and enough milk to fill the cup. Mix this with the flour mixture. Fold in blueberries. Fill muffin cups right to the top, and sprinkle with crumb mixture.

3. Crumb Mixture: Mix together 1/2 cup sugar, 1/3 cup flour, 1/4 cup butter and 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon. Mix with a fork, and sprinkle over muffins before baking.

4. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes** in the preheated oven, or until done.

5. Eat and get way way fat right before the 4th of July.

*I doubled the amount of blueberries because I’m healthy like that (remember) and also because I have 5 pounds of blueberries in my fridge begging to be transformed into calorie-laden fatbombs and the more the merrier.

**I love when a recipe says between __ and __ minutes. In this case, I’m all, OK 22 minutes it is! And voila, they are perfect.

***One would assume this recipe would yield at least a dozen muffins, but I loaded the muffin cups all the way to the top so that it would get that big, fat, incredible calorie bubble on top. Since I loaded up the cups, I only got 10 muffins out of this recipe AND that was with 2x the berries. Just keep in mind you may need to double or triple the recipe AND add more berries if your goal is lots of muffins.

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Easily amused (and I do mean me, not them)

28 Jun

The end of an era

27 Jun

“The Orange Tree is symbolic of generosity for it’s far reaching branches and plentiful fruit.”

 

How many times in the last 4 years did I say that exact quote, which I learned from you? Mom, you have adopted, embodied and fulfilled the purpose of the Orange Tree better than any ACTUAL orange tree I’ve ever seen.

You have adopted a spirit of generosity that has always been a spiritual gift of yours, emphasized even more through your pursuit of creating a warm and inviting place for people to reach within themselves to discover their own generosity.

You embodied what it means to be generous time and time again as you constantly sought to take the high road and show others love, patience, and Christ-like forgiveness (even when there may have been an easier alternative). You were generous by not only sharing your talents with our entire community, but you were generous with your employees, many of whom have been permanently shaped by your love and leadership.  There are a lucky few who can say they have had the privilege of working with and for the amazing artist, leader, and friend that you allowed yourself to be, and as one of them, I can confidently say that I am forever shaped by your influence as my boss (forget the fact I’m lucky enough to also have you as my MOM!).

You fulfilled your mission at Orange Tree, and successfully accomplished a lifelong dream.  What began over 30 years ago in “My Favorite Things”, just a small seed of ambition to someday open and own your own gift gallery, has become a building block of our community. You shared your mission and your passion for local commerce and helped ignite a fire in the lives of thousands (THOUSANDS, Mom!) of people to support their local economy and support the handmade artisan community around the country. You know that awesome feeling you get every time someone places a wholesale order from you? That feeling that you are growing as an artist and you are leaving your mark on another store, another store owner, and hundreds of consumers around the country? Through your dedication as a buyer to purchase handmade items from American artisans, you allowed countless other artists to feel that very same electrifying thrill of sharing their craft with others. You helped countless artists support their families. You gave countless artists the chance to make a career out of their dreams, just as you had made a career out of yours (and continue to grow that career through your own wholesale business).

I feel so privileged to have been your employee, your apprentice, and at times, your partner in business.  You know that if it weren’t for you, I wouldn’t be doing anything near what I’m doing today. And whether my little venture in my basement ever becomes anything remains to be seen, but the important fact is that you sparked in me a passion to create beautiful things because I always saw my mom creating beautiful things. I believe with everything in me that God has given each of us a special gift, and it has been my ambition over the last 4 (or 24) years to follow your lead, and cut a path in a wilderness where there is much resistance, but where the path is adorned with beauty not seen on the path of least resistance.

I can’t thank you enough for all of the things you’ve done for me, and for all the ways you’ve shined your light in my life, and in the lives of so, so many. You are a revolutionary woman, a woman with passion, ambition, dedication and a dream that cannot be contained by any framework other than your own. And so, as this chapter closes, I want to congratulate you and wish you the best of luck and all the success in the world as you embark 100% on your next venture. You’re my #1 role model, and I hope that someday my kids look up to my just half as much as I look up to you. I’ll follow your example and do my best to make that happen.

I love you, OrangeMama. Onto the next chapter. Thanks for keeping me along for the ride. Xoxoxo.

Only the good…

18 Jun

My heart is so heavy tonight.  I don’t even have the words to express the sadness that I feel.  Just as surely as we are all born, we all will die, but that doesn’t make dealing with death any easier, does it?  Does it get easier, this dealing with death thing?  Do we just get accustomed to it after enough tragedies?  I looked through my high school scrapbooks this evening to remember a friend whose life was too quickly taken from him last night, and was able to count more people than I wish were true who have already left this world. I’m 24. Some of them never saw their 20’s.

And so tonight, I weep and I mourn the loss of a good guy. A really sweet, genuine, good to the core friend who despite his perfection of the tough-guy/blue steel gaze (which he apparently wore in every single picture taken of him), was just a loving teddy bear.  I had lost touch with Evan as our lives went in different directions during and after college, but I still have that punched-in-the-gut feeling that you get when you hear such horrific news as this. I remember one night in college (Freshman year), Evan called me from his car. He was on his way to South Bend from Wabash where he was playing football, and he just wanted to come visit me. And so he came, and we sat in the lobby of my dorm, and we talked for most of the night. When we had talked about everything under the sun, and when that very sun began to peek through the morning haze that had settled over campus during the night, Evan hugged me goodbye and headed back to Wabash. He was my friend. And I really really liked him.

But the thing that is breaking my heart tonight, is knowing that he was someone’s son. Someone’s brother. Someone’s boyfriend. And all of those people really really loved him. For he was so deeply involved in their lives that he was woven into the fibers of their character, their personalities, their hearts. They were who they were partially because of the impact and the role he played in their lives.  And while I put my baby to bed tonight, I held him and just thought about Evan’s mom. She cradled him as a baby, and even though 24 year old Evan probably didn’t make a habit of being held by his mother too frequently, he was still her baby. Her youngest of 3 boys. The last son she cradled. And I wonder when the last time was that she got to rock her baby to sleep all those years ago. Was it because he had a nightmare and she needed to comfort him? When did he outgrow his mother’s lap? And now, all these years later, and her baby is gone from this physical world, and she will never be able to hold her son again. And my heart can’t take it.

We live on a temporary line, dotted with events; there is a beginning and an end, and somewhere in between there are bits and pieces that comprise life. I know that Evan lived a very dotted life in his short time here on Earth. He lived with passion. He worked hard. He stayed out of trouble. He loved. He was loved. And his time came, and just like a rug being ripped out from under you unexpectedly, he was taken from this world. Unexpectedly.

Evan – Thanks for being such a kind hearted, sweet, gentle person. I could open up to you and talk to you about anything when we were just a couple of kids in high school and college. You were such a reliable friend. I respected and admired you. I loved being in your presence, and I know I’m not the only one that feels that way. I pray that your arrival to Heaven was filled with splendor, and I lift up praise to Jesus that you have a new body, one that is unscathed and unbroken, and. And.  And I never thought I’d be sitting here on June 17, 2012 just 6 years after high school graduation, writing you a letter from Granger, to Heaven. So forgive me that my words are inadequate and my keyboard is damp with tears. I just want you to know (and I wish I’d told you more often when I had the chance) that you’re someone I will always remember with joy and gladness, and whose absence from this Earth will definitely be felt. Thank you for being my friend. I’m glad I knew you and that you added dots to my line. May angels guide you in.

Always your friend, Court

Since it’s mid-June I guess I’ll post about May

15 Jun

My timing is (per usual) completely off, but May was a hugenormous month at our house, so here’s the light-on-words/heavy-on-photos wrap up of last month:

-Indianapolis Mini Marathon:

I ran my second half marathon on May 5 in Indianapolis with my little sister. It was a beautiful day (albeit hot) and I am slightly proud that I ran 13.1 miles almost 5 months to the day after delivering little Navy boy. I wanted to die at mile 12 where our family was waiting to see us right before the finish and Stockton, thinking it would be a super cool effect to video record me on his new slow motion video app (I almost said video tape, but doesn’t that refer to a device that indeed contains a tape roll, thus ruling out the iPhone as a taping device? I’m over thinking this SNAFU.). He, however, failed to think about the timing of my morning and that it had been about 3 hours since I had woken up our BREASTFED baby and fed him his last meal before my run, thus THE HUGE BOOBS WERE HUGE and my TWO sports bras weren’t enough to contain the intense amount of boob bouncing that was going on IN SLOW MOTION HOW HOT OMG. Except it wasn’t hot. It was really really scary. Those things could poke an eye out.

Here’s Maddie and I (arms up in the middle of the photo, I’m in black, she’s in purple) actin’ a fool on the Indianapolis Speedway, cuz we iz speedy.

Besties.

Me finishing (bottom left). And my actual time was NOT 2:33:33 thankyouverymuch. It was 2:18 (which wasn’t great I REALIZE, but still better than 2:33).

Check out that face. SHOOOOO!!!!! Get me OUT of here.

-My first mother’s day ❤

Stockton (and Navy) got me a beautiful necklace with my boy’s name on it and it is officially a part of my daily uniform.

– {Family birthdays / Friend Baby Showers / Friend Weddings }

– Camp Mamiepapawana 2012 aka Summercamp!!

Last year my parents began an annual summer tradition of wrangling the entire ever-growing gang (we had two new members this year between Harper and Navy) and heading to their condo in Ft. Myers Beach, Florida for a week of fun, sun, and buckets of crazy drink concoctions. It’s nothing short of awesome and obnoxious. We even wear matching shirts like big touristy losers. And you know what? I don’t remember hearing anyone in the group complain because WEIRD GOES WITH WEIRD and we fit that bill.

Good big sissy feeding lil peanut

Shreeeeeemp

Mamie/Camp Director in her natural habitat

My little deck hand

Teaching Avalon how to be a shark. duh.

Beachin it with the babes

Camp directors / total cuties

We maaaaay or may not have taught Avalon the phrase “Get on my level” whilst enjoying 2 for 1 happy hour at the tiki hut…. I won’t comment any further on it.

First ice cream NOM!

Sand eater.

Happy mates.

Navy takes the helm – he’s obviously a natural

Besties.

Harper’s all “Don’t cry Baby Naby. Eat da sand. Ees GOOD!!!”

Navy’s favorite activity of the week was surfing.

Carlos (c/o The Hangover)

The Crew. In all of our matchy weirdness.

So there you have it. That post wasn’t even that interesting but I’m exhausted. I don’t know how real bloggers do this on a daily basis.