Archive for the ‘ Seasons ’ Category

I can’t believe it, but I’m done with school!!

First off: WOOOOO!!!! This finals week was rough with a final last night at 7pm a 10 page paper due this morning and another paper due later today. BUT, it is all done and turned in! It still hasn’t sunk in that I am done with my undergrad and I’m not sure if it will until next fall when everyone else starts back with school and I will just keep working.

I have started packing up some of my stuff and in these next few days I am packing up most of my other stuff over the next few days. Gavin flies in Saturday and will help me move out the big furniture. Sunday then we are going to see Cirque Du Soleil! I am so excited because I have never seen anything like Cirque Du Soleil before!! Then Monday I GRADUATE!!! Gavin flies back south Tuesday and after that I have to be out of my apartment by midnight on Wednesday! It is going to be a crazy whirlwind of a week, but it should be a really great one!

On the job front I got hired with a catering company for working on the weekends, and actually worked 8 hours over Memorial Day Weekend! So I can start working weekends catering once I move down in July! Also there are quite job openings, such an answer to prayers! PTL!! I have applied for a posting from Cuesta that had 2 positions open at half and three-quarters time at the North County campus in student services. If I get an interview I will hear from them in the next week. There are also 3 other positions that are either part time or full time and Cuesta that I *think* I am qualified for. Also there is a part time receptionist position open at Costal Christian Elementary School. Now I just need to fill out and submit applications for all of the positions! I am really hoping that one of these positions ends up working out!! I would appreciate any prayers for wisdom and discernment regarding God’s plan for me and where He would have me 🙂

Also I wanted to share a site with you all that has become a slight obsession of mine: food gawker It is basically a site that composes a bunch of different peoples blog posts about food and there are new ones posted throughout the day most days of the week! It is always so fun to go on and see what other people have made. I hardly ever have time to make them right away, but I have a fantastic bookmark folder of recipes that I can’t wait to try later!!

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Popping in to say Hello!

I have been super busy with school and visiting home this quarter! It is week 6 now and I am getting really excited about the thought of the quarter being over and then GRADUATION! Wooooo!! The weekend of graduation a Cirque Du Soleil is going to be in Eugene and we are going! I am pretty darn excited about it! This is the promo for the one that we are going to see and I can’t wait!

Also I rented the movie Country Strong a few weeks ago and I loooooooved it! I thought the music was so great and was surprised by how well the actors sang. This is one of my favorite songs from the move, his voice is so deep and fits country music so well.

Another one of my favorite songs is Give Into Me along with many of the other songs off the soundtracks.

Lastly, there is a job that opened up on campus at Cal Poly and I am applying for it! I am really excited about it and hoping to get an interview. I would really appreciate any prayers and good thoughts concerning that  🙂

Thats all for now! I’m hoping to be able to write more this quarter, but it doesn’t seem like school will be slowing down anytime soon. Also I am really excited to be heading down to San Luis Obispo for Memorial Day Weekend! 24 days!!

Invisible Children: 25

The first time I learned about Invisible Children was in high school when a club I was involved in talked about participating in the Schools for Schools program. We ended up deciding to fundraise for Nothing But Nets and having an awareness night about Darfur. But I was exposed to Invisible Children and all that they were doing. Also, I had some friends that were passionate and involved in events Invisible Children put on. In college Gavin and I participated in The Rescue. As a result of The Rescue and rallies in Washington a bill was passed to apprehend Joseph Kony. Now Invisible Children is putting on their next event The 25 Campaign.

History of Invisible Children and The War

The story of Invisible Children is pretty inspiring. In 2003  three young guys from Southern California went to Africa in search of a story to tell through a film. What they found was the story of the tragedy in northern Uganda of night commuters and child soldiers. They created the documentary “Invisible Children: Rough Cut” which has now been seen by millions of people. Since then they have held the Global Night Commute, Displace Me, The Rescue and started The Legacy Scholarship Program, Schools for Schools, The Bracelet Campaign and Mend among other programs.

The war in Uganda has been going on long before Invisible Children was founded. Joseph Kony took over a rebel army that was started by Alice Lakwena in the 1980s. Since then Kony has resorted to abducting children to be indoctrinated into the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA). It is estimated that 90% of the LRA is made up of abducted children. Millions of people have been displaced because of the LRA. There have been multiple sessions of peace talks, but Joseph Kony has failed to sign peace agreements on multiple occasions. Currently the International Criminal Court (ICC) has issued warrants for Kony and four other LRA leaders. The war has been going on for 25 years now in Uganda. If I had been born in northern Uganda I would know nothing but war. I can not even comprehend what that would be like. You can read more about the history of the war on the Invisible Children website.

The 25 Campaign

When I watch videos about what is going on over in the Congo and other affected areas sometimes I feel helpless and like there is nothing I can do to change what is happening. But, there is something I can do: participate in The 25 Campaign that Invisible Children is putting on. For 25 hours, from April 24th at 7pm until April 25th at 8pm I will be going silent and standing in solidarity with thousands of people around the world for the children that have been silenced by the LRA. As a part of The 25 Campaign each participant is asked to raise at least $25. One dollar for every hour of going silent and for every year of the war. The $25 goes to fund The Protection Plan, which will provide services to LRA affected areas. Direct outcomes of The Protection Plan include:

  • Building a communication network and facilitating a 24-hour early warning network.
  • Providing humanitarians with up-to-date information to better deploy services.
  • Guaranteeing no massacre goes unseen.
  • Encouraging the continued defection of LRA rank and file combatants.
  • Providing every child rescued from the LRA access to rehabilitation.
  • Making total rehabilitation feasible upon the dismantling of LRA leadership.

So by now you may be asking yourself “What can I do?” For starters if what you have read and watched has inspired you, touched your heart, or motivated you to act I would encourage you to sign up for The 25 Campaign yourself, start your own fundraising page, and stay silent April 25th for the children who have been silenced by the LRA. If you can’t do that (which is perfectly ok) you can support me by donating to my fundraising page. If every person who reads this donated $1 then I would reach my goal of raising $25 (or at least a lot closer). In the grand scheme of things $1 is not that much money: less than a cup of coffee, a soda, a candy bar, bag of chips, and a bunch of other things. If you decide to donate to my fundraising page you can either give me your donation the next time you see me before April 24th or you can go to my fundraising page to donate.

Thank you in advance for your support and donations. Feel free to call or email me if you would like to talk more about 25 or Invisible Children and what they are doing, I would love to talk with you about it. I truly appreciate all of your support!

p.s. I’m kicking in the first $5 because I truly believe in what Invisible Children are doing! So now only 20 people would need to donate $1 for me to reach my goal! Thanks again for your support!

Happy (late) Valentine’s Day! Part 2

Now that I wrote about Gavin’s and my cute duck cupcakes I can move onto what I actually made for Valentine’s Day!

CAKE POPS!! Yummmm

I came across the cake pop idea somewhere while strolling through the blog world. I finally found Bakerella’s blog. Let me tell you – she is amazing and one of the most creative bakers ever! Don’t believe me? Go take a look at her blog and look at all the different cute designs of cake pops that she has made. Too lazy to go over and look through her blog? I will just give you a little taste of what she has made.

So cute right? She posted these yesterday

a-dor-able

I can’t even handle the cuteness!!

Amazing right?! She has published a book that you can get from Amazon and I’m sure other bookstores too. I don’t have it, but you best believe I have my eye on it!

So onto the Valentine’s Day cake balls! I decided I wanted to make heart shaped cake balls. Here is the original cake ball recipe on Bakerella. The basic idea is bake a cake, crumble it, mix a can of frosting in, form them into balls (or another shape), chill, put them on a stick and then dip them in chocolate or candy melts.

Well, that turned out to be a little more challenging then I first thought they would be. (Sound familiar?) In the end they turned out ok, but I think I was a little ambitious. First, I was making two batches of cake. Now this might not seem ambitious, but each batch of cake makes 45-55 cake balls. So that would be 90-110 cake balls to make when I hadn’t even made 1 before. I decided I am going to give you some tips so you can learn from my mistakes 🙂

  1. Make sure you completely cool the cake. I mean totally cooled. Yes this does take time, but it is necessary. If the cake isn’t completely cooled then the cake balls will turn out more gooey rather than cakey.
  2. Completely chill the cakes after you roll them into balls or shape them. This will help the cake stay together when you dip it. Also I found it easier to shape the cake into balls and then hearts if the cake mixture had chilled in the fridge for a little as well.
  3. Make sure the cake balls aren’t too big otherwise the will be too heavy and fall off the stick when you try to dip the cake pops.
  4. At least for me melting the chocolate in the double boiler was way easier and worked much better than use the microwave to melt it. Part of the microwave failure was probably that I was using a bowl that is not recommended for microwave use. So the microwave would probably work when you have a bowl that is made for use in the microwave (go figure, right?).  So the bowl got really hot, but the chocolate didn’t melt all the way.  Sidenote: Even if you don’t have a double boiler per se you can have a makeshift one with nesting pots like I did.
  5. Don’t overheat the chocolate or candy melts, especially the candy melts. On the package it does say you can add some kind of shortening to get the candy melts back to the original consistency. I didn’t have that and I didn’t feel like going to the store.
  6. Bakerella on her site stands up the cake pops to harden and when I tried that my cake pops kind of fell over and got droopy. Sad droopy cake pop:
    So I put wax paper down and just let them harden on that and I think they turned out fine.
  7. If you run out of chocolate or candy melts (which I did) don’t try and dip them in frosting (like for the duck cupcakes). It was a total FAILURE!
  8. Make sure the chocolate is completely melted before you try to dip them. If the chocolate is still thick it will make the cake even heavier and make the cake pops fall apart. This combined with #3 and #4 leads to this: f-a-i-lI never was able to get the chocolate as runny as I would have liked (maybe what I was aiming for isn’t possible), but the chocolate was melted enough to (somewhat) successfully dip the cake pops.
  9. Make them with a friend! Things like this are way more fun to do with a friend. Plus it makes it easier to laugh at yourself when you totally mess up (because you probably will) when you are doing it with a friend. Also I think it would help to have another set of hands!
  10. Have fun and be creative! (ok really I just wanted to have a #10 because 10 is a nicer number than 9)

I used sugar pearls from Wilton (I got them at Michael’s) in white and pink to decorate the hearts before the coating was hardened. So now my Valentine’s Day cake pops:

I really liked the tags and it was what made the cake pops especially cute (at least in my opinion). While I was at Michael’s they had tag punches like this one half off. That made it way easier rather than trying to cut all of those out. Then I stamped “Happy Valentine’s Day” on one side. I wanted to put a verse on the other side because truly God is the greatest love any of us will ever know. I decided to put Psalm 63:3 on the back, which says:

Because your love is better than life, my lips will glorify you.

I feel like this verse succinctly sums up God’s love and our responsive love back towards Him. My hope is that it was an encouragement and reminder about God’s love for every person who got one (and I hope the verse is an encouragement for anyone reading this 🙂 ).

Overall I was happy how they turned out and would definitely be willing to make them again, especially knowing what I do now. You know what they say: practice makes perfect!

Happy (late) Valentine’s Day!!

This post is a baking heavy post, but I think you all will enjoy it and hopefully be inspired to go bake something and use your creativity!

First off is the ducks that Gavin and I made while he was up here before the BCS game.

We didn’t come up with this clever design on our own, but got the instructions from the book What’s New Cupcake? Gavin (and my mom) got me this book for Christmas and my mom also got me the book that the authors wrote first Hello Cupcake. (Great minds think alike with the Christmas presents huh?)

The first book Hello Cupcake

Their second book What’s New, Cupcake?

So as you can see from the cover the ducks were from What’s New, Cupcake? First off let me say that the pictures in the book are made by professionals who probably make quite a few to get just some that are photo worthy. So, if yours don’t turn out as perfect or beautiful as the picture it is OK. Once I realized this it was a lot more fun to make them.  Although it didn’t take long to realize that Gavin’s and mine were not going to look quite as nice as the ones in the book! The instructions make it seem so easy: bake cupcakes, attach donut hole and marshmallow with frosting, chill, dip in melted frosting, add eyes and bill and voila! Well it was way more difficult then I was imagining, but what made it such a fun experience was doing it with Gavin and having fun together!

The authors use candy and other things like donut holes, marshmallows, graham crackers, different cookies and other sweets.  I figured I would give you guys a little diagram of the make up of the cute little ducks!

So overall they were somewhat hard to make, but so worth it! All of the cupcakes in the books are SO CUTE! I can’t wait to find reasons or holidays to make more of them! They are so cute I figured I would share some of the other super adorable cupcake designs from the books.

This one would have been so cute to make for a superbowl party! There is always next year though!

How perfect for Christmas time?!

They have quite a few food look-a-like cupcake designs that would be perfect for april fools!

You could make a pretty bouquet of spring flowers for Easter! These are actually fairly simple marshmallows cut in half on the diagonal then the sticky side dipped in colored sugar and then mini m&m’s, chocolate chips or other candies as the middle!

All of the images are from their blog Hello, Cupcake! The Cupcaker’s Place To Blog

 

I originally planed to write about the cake pops I made for Valentine’s Day as well in this post, but it got a little long so I will split it up and write about the cake pops in my next post! (I promise it won’t take me almost a month to put it up, like this one did!!)

You’ve Been Remade

I was driving back to Eugene from Salem a few weeks ago and this song came on the radio. I was so moved by the lyrics and truth in the song. Sometimes I believe lies about my sin (past sin especially) that I am no longer good or worthy in God’s eyes or I just get really down on myself about things that have happened in the past. This song is such a great reminder about how it is not about what I do good or bad, but it is about what Jesus did for me on the cross and how I live my life differently because of that. I have been remade and am constantly being remade and refined by God into the person He wants me to be. Realizing this and truly believing that I am not the person I once was and that God has made me into a new person can make all the difference in how I live and how I see and treat other people. It is always so amazing to me that God loves me so much that He would show such grace to me and bring me into the most loving and personal relationship with Him. Even more amazing is that He longs for a personal relationship with every single person, He is there with open arms waiting for each of us to come running to Him. I am so thankful for His love and this song as a reminder of what Jesus did for me on the cross.

Crafts Crafts Crafts

This post is going to be like three mini posts of crafts that I have done in the past month or so all wrapped up into one post. So get comfortable because it is gonna be a long one!

Christmas Cards

I wrote about making Christmas cards a few times earlier. Making Christmas cards was a great study break and a fun way to unwind. I realize that for some people that might not be true, but there were a few things that made it not stressful or burdening. First I had a general idea of people I wanted to send cards to, but I didn’t set a number of cards that I had to make. Actually I had planned to make cards for friends not in SLO and even more friends in SLO, but dead week and finals week got super busy and after that I didn’t have to drive to make more cards. So I didn’t force it. If I would have it would have become a chore and that doesn’t make for fun crafting! Also sorry to friends I didn’t send cards to, I wanted to but I couldn’t send them to everyone because of time. Know that I would if I could! Well I said I did a few things to make sure making cards wasn’t a chore, but now that I think it was really just notforcing myself to make a certain amount. Anyway, I didn’t post this picture before because I didn’t want people to possibly see the card they were getting. But I thought it would be fun to show you all the different cards. I tried to make the cards unique from one another. I will admit that I had some duplicates, but I think that was ok. I truly loved making these cards and I have loved hearing that people enjoyed getting them! Overall, it was fun to make them and really put me in the Christmas mood!!

Fabric Wreaths

I had seen one wreath on one of the blogs I read and then searched around and found a few other blogs. I ended up choosing between two different wreaths to make. (you can click on the names to see the tutorials for each wreath 🙂 )

Ruffly Felt Wreath

vs.

Ribbon Wreath

If you recall from a few posts earlier I posted a picture of the wreath I made for Gavin’s parents and it was a version of wreath #1 the ruffly felt wreath. The basic steps for making the wreath are cut out a TON of circles from felt. Then take a circle fold in half twice and pin onto the wreath. Repeat many times!  If you don’t recall the picture here is one to refresh your memory.

I ended up making the circles for this one a little bigger than the tutorial said to so it ended up more full, but I like how it tuned out. Also I used a 14″ wreath form rather than 12″ so I used more circles. I used approximately 440 felt circles on this wreath!! Also my circles were on the wreath more densely now that I compare the two pictures. Part of this is because I was using colored felt and if you didn’t put them close enough together you could see the white styrofoam form between the circles. I like how it turned out, but I also like in the original one how you can see more of the ruffles. But it could also be the lighting. Anyway, I actually made two of these. I know slightly crazy, but I am so happy with how they both turned out! This next one was for one of my best friends since elementary school. She is getting married this summer and is super crafty. So I wanted to make her something that would be handmade, incorporate her wedding colors and could possibly be used at the wedding if she wanted, but could be used in their home after they get married.

Once they get married her (and his) last name will start with H so I thought it would be nice to have a monogram in the middle of the wreath. For this one I did 3″ circles like the tutorial said to do. At the top where the letter hangs from I made the circles progressively smaller so the letter would  hang better, but I don’t think you can even notice it. (Ash had you noticed that before reading this?) Anyway I painted the letter in one of her wedding colors and got ribbon in her two other colors. I just glued the ribbon onto the back of the H with a glue gun and then wrapped it around the wreath for more stability and pinned it and then covered up the ribbon with felt circles.

The one tool that I got that made this project 100x easier and faster was this wonderful little invention:

The rotary circle cutter from OLFA! I got it on sale from Jo-Ann Fabrics, but had to order it online because not one of the 5 stores I went to or called carried it in the store. I have no clue why they don’t because it is an amazing little tool. I could cut about 80 circles in 20 minutes because you can cut two layers (when the blade is sharp), so really it was only 40 cuts but you end up with 80 circles! When you are talking about cutting 900+ circles not having to cut them by hand and being able to cut lots of circles in a short amount of time makes a HUGE difference. If you are thinking about making one wreath it might be worth the investment (I got it for $15 + shipping), but if you are wanting to make more then one it is definitely worth the investment! I will mention that the blade is dull now, but after cutting that many circles out of felt I can’t say I am disappointed or dissatisfied with the circle cutter. It just needs a new blade and it will be good as new!

I am glad that I ended up doing the felt wreath, but might find another occasion to do the ribbon one. That one is fairly simple where you just tie knots around a wreath form. I actually found a picture of one that someone made for Christmas and thought it turned out pretty too. (Flickr won’t let me put it in here, but you can go to the link) I think this would be much less time consuming and less work than the felt wreath.

 

Bookmarks

As part of my Christmas present Gavin got me the study bible that was on my Christmas list. Side note: my roommate has this bible and I used it for a few days when mine was at home and I really liked it. It has thought provoking questions for every section of scripture in the bible and then also specific studies for different groups of people (men, women, single, married, ect.). You can take a look at the bible at Amazon.

Anyway, I wanted a bookmark for my new bible and was bored earlier this week so I decided to make one! First pick a verse you like, or really any other saying. I picked Ephesians 3:17-19 that reads:

And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.

Then I picked a font that looked like handwriting, but you could choose any font you like. Printed it out on card stock. The first one I did was the purple one and it was kind of hard to read because the paper was so dark. I also tried to print in white or a very light gray, but that totally failed. So for my second try I printed in a larger font, in bold and on lighter paper.

I think all of these helped with visibility and ease of reading. Then I just glue more layers of paper together to make a firmer bookmark. Before gluing the last layer on the back I sandwiched ribbon between the two pieces of paper to make a little top to the bookmarks. I like how the pink one turned out more, but don’t crafts usually turn out better the second time once you get a feel for how things work? Anyway it was super easy and functional! Plus you can customize it to any color(s) and any verse. I think I am going to try to memorize this verse and then once I memorize it I will make myself a new bookmark with a new verse to memorize! The picture above is of my new bookmark in action!

 

Also I made Gavin a scrapbook of our relationship for part of his Christmas present. I don’t have any pictures of it, but if you live in SLO and really want to see it and are at the Phillips house you can bug him to see it 🙂

 

Well, as promised that was a long one! Congrats if you are still reading!! Did you attempt and DIY projects for Christmas? Are there any DIY projects you are thinking about trying?

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