Friday, November 28, 2008

i love him

Baby Smillie Update

pre-birth portrait, Nov. 7

This morning John and I went to visit the midwife again, this time to get my blood tested for GD. If all goes well, I won't get a call on Monday - if they call back, I get to go again and sit in the office for four hours while they take blood samples to re-test.

The midwife said that Baby is currently breach with the head on my right (which explains why I have been feeling the strongest of the movements on my left side), and that the little one is growing rapidly. Everything still seems normal, and we are both healthy. John is doing quite well, too, in case you are wondering.

The only other news is that we are now on the two-week appointment schedule - I have an appointment every two weeks so that the ladies at the office can keep and eye on me (us). Baby will be here soon!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

giving thanks

this year we have much to be grateful for, because as the psalmist said,
"...the LORD has dealt bountifully with you."
-psalm 116:7

Saturday, November 22, 2008

at Dad and Mom's ...

- more to follow -

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

BEST cinnamon roll recipe

Really. I have never tasted a cinnamon roll recipe like this. And I have made quite a few different recipes, too! The rolls are huge - one is plenty adequate - and super moist. The centers, according to John, are still the best part: all gooey and dripping with filling. Before this recipe I had never used cream cheese in my glaze. I don't think I will ever make roll glaze without cream cheese again. It is SOOOO good!

Ultimate Cinnamon Buns
from Cook's Country - Dec./Jan. 2009

3/4 cup milk, heated to 110*
2 heaping tsp yeast
3 eggs, room temp.
4 1/4 cups flour
1/2 cup cornstarch
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 tsp salt
12 Tbsp (3/4 cup) butter, cut into chunks and softened

1 1/2 cups packed light brown sugar
1 1/2 Tbsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
4 Tbsp butter, softened

4 oz cream cheese, softened
1 Tbsp milk
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar

1. for the dough: adjust oven rack to middle position and heat to 200*. When oven reaches 200*, shut off. Line a 9"x13" pan with foil, allowing excess to hang over pan edges. Grease foil and a medium bowl.

2. whisk milk and yeast in liquid measuring cup until yeast dissolves, then whisk in eggs. In bowl of stand mixer fitted with dough hook [or by hand], mix flour, cornstarch, sugar, and salt until combined. With mixer on low, add warm milk mixture in steady stream and mix until dough comes together, about 1 minute. Increase speed to medium and add butter, one piece at a time, until incorporated. Continue to mix [or knead by hand] until dough is smooth and comes away from sides of bowl, about 10 minutes. Turn dough out onto smooth surface and knead to form a smooth, round ball. Transfer dough to prepared bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and place in warm oven. Let rise until double in size, about 2 hours.

3. for the filling: Combine brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt in a small bowl. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Roll the dough into a 18" square, spread with butter and sprinkle evenly with filling. Starting with the edge nearest you, roll the dough into tight cylinder, pinch lightly to seal seam, and cut into 8 pieces. Transfer pieces, cut side up, to prepared pan. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in warm spot until doubled in size, about 1 hour.
4. for the glaze and to bake: Heat oven to 350*. Whisk cream cheese, milk, vanilla and powdered sugar in a medium bowl until smooth. Discard plastic wrap and bake buns until deep golden brown and filling melted, 35 to 40 minutes. Transfer to wire rack and top buns with 1/2 cup glaze; cool 30 minutes. Using foil overhang, lift buns from pan and top with remaining glaze. Serve.

baby shoes

dahlia infant shoes

"To wear dreams on one's feet is to begin to give reality to one's dreams."
Roger-Henri Vivier
photo courtesy of smallbeans

Saturday, November 08, 2008


Last Sunday our pastor preached from Philippians 4:10-13, emphasizing the encouragement and care that the Philippian church showed to Paul, as well as Paul's contentment.

I have been mulling the passage over all week.

The pastor didn't specifically challenge us to be more encouraging to each other, but my mind went there on its own.
I remembered Barnabas, who was called Joseph but renamed because he was so encouraging. He seems to have done it all in the background, as he is mentioned only a few times. In each instance he is helping others, encouraging them, spurring them to growth and maturity.
We, as the curch, are supposed to come along side each other; to exhort, yes, but also encourage. Each and every one of us are living in this fallen world, the one where the Prince of Darkness reigns (for now) and tries to steal our Joy. Not only are we as the Body called to spur each other on to "love and good works", but also to glory in Christ and our salvation, to bring glory to him, to worship in our ordinary moments, and to Joy.
There is a family in this church whose little girl went to Heaven a few weeks ago due to a medical emergency related to her cerebral palsy. How can we -I - come alongside them with encouragement?

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

we did ...

you can too.

Please do. Starbucks will even thank you with a free cup of coffee.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Maple Leaf Cookies

Maple Leaf Cookies from Martha Stewart Living, Nov. '08
makes about 8 dozen

3 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
8 ounces butter
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup light-brown sugar
1 egg yolk
3/4 cup maple syrup (not imitation)
1/3 cup sanding sugar

Sift flour and salt into a medium bowl. Beat butter and sugars until pale and creamy, about 3 minutes. Reduce speed and add egg yolk, then 1/2 cup maple syrup, beating well after each addition. Add flour mixture, and beat until just incorporated. Shape into 2 disks, wrap each in plastic, and refrigerate for at least 2 hours (or up to 2 days).

Roll out 1 disk of dough to 1/4-inch thickness on a sheet of lightly floured parchment. Place parchment with dough on baking sheet. Freeze until firm, about 15 minutes.

Coat baking sheets with cooking spray, line with parchment, and coat parchment. Cut out cookies from frozen dough using a 3 1/2-inch maple-leaf-shaped cutter and space 1 inch apart on sheets. Roll and cut scraps. Freeze cookies until firm, about 15 minutes.

Bake cookies in a pre-heated 325* oven until edges begin to turn golden, about 14 to 16 minutes. Transfer parchment with cookies to wire racks, and let cool for 5 minutes. Brush cookies with 2 tablespoons maple syrup, and sprinkle with 1/2 of the sanding sugar. Let cool. Repeat with remaining dough, syrup and sugar. (Cookies will keep for up to 2 days)

These are very delicious, and taste somewhere in between sugar cookies and maple sugar candy. And they smell incredibly good, too!It makes me wish that I could add a smell feature to the blog .... Perfect with a morning cup of coffee, or an afternoon cup of tea.

pictures from an october walk

:: a little "friend" we found ::

I love fall. I love it almost as much as I love spring.

I love the intensity of color, how inviting it is to take an evening walk, the sound of the leaves as they crunch underfoot. I love the cooler weather, the crispness. I love how the grey days make me want to bake and clean. Or snuggle up with a blanket and a book.

I love fall.

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