Thursday, December 31, 2009

End of Year Book List

This is not a real post...just a little something for my own personal record. It's all the books I've read this year. I thought about posting my list last year, but didn't, then I regretted not doing it. So, from here on out, I will close the year with my book list.

Books I completed in 2009:
  • Every Young Woman's Battle - Shannon Ethridge
  • A Portrait of a Lady - Henry James
  • O Pioneer! - Willa Cather
  • The Adventures of Tom Sawyer - Mark Twain
  • Persuasion - Jane Austen
  • My Antonia - Willa Cather
  • Alice's Adventure in Wonderland & Through the Looking Glass - Lewis Carroll
  • Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone - J. K. Rowling
  • Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets - J. K. Rowling
  • Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban - J. K. Rowling
  • Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire - J. K. Rowling
  • Harry Potter and the Order of the Pheonix - J. K. Rowling
  • Standing on the Promises - Doug Wilson
I did read some other Christian literature, but didn't complete those books. Nasty habit. Something I wish to adjust in the coming year. And just for the record, I adored every one of these books, except maybe the first 2. They were good...just not AMAZING like the others. Alright, for real...no more posts for 2009. (I keep saying that, don't I?)

Adios 2009!

Lavender Pillows & Blueberry Heaven

Okay...so I'm gonna sneak in one more post before 2010.

My homemade Christmas gifts. This is what I have been working all year long....

Embroidered Lavender Pillows


It was a delight working on this project. I loved it cause they were personal, but not too difficult or complicated. And I always had the beautiful smell of lavender in the house. I made 14 of then in all...some of which have not been delivered to their recipients yet...sorry to ruin the surprise! Anyways...just thought I'd share. This Christmas was SO pleasant and stress-free...working on gifts year-round was the best thing I've ever done! So...I am anxious to get my creative juices flowing and get working on Christmas 2010!

While I'm here, I also thought I'd post a recipe for THE MOST DELICIOUS BLUEBERRY MUFFINS EVER! I am not kidding. FABULOUS! I am confident that I will be gaining a couple pounds over the next few days because of the remaining 10 muffins that are in my kitchen. I made them for Braelyn and me, but she decided she didn't like the warm, fresh blueberries that were oozing with flavor and deliciousness, and I'm not sure I am willing to share with anybody else...so I will be FORCED to eat the rest by myself. I feel convicted that these muffins cannot go to waste and are worth the extra pounds. Anyways, my dear friend, and former apartment tenant, Erica, gave me this cookbook, Cooking with Marie. Marie is the genius that put this blueberry muffin recipe in her cookbook. Enough gabbing...let's get to it:

2 cups flour (I used half white half wheat)
1 T baking powder
1/2 t salt
1 1/2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries
1 large egg
1 cup sugar
4 T unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 cup sour cream (I think this is where the magic is)
2 T fat-free milk (cause we're watchin' our calories ;)

Preheat oven to 350. Grease 12-cup muffin pan with butter or cooking spary.

In a large bowl combine flour, baking powder, salt. Add blueberries and toss until coated.

In a separate bowl, whisk the egg. Add sugar, butter, sour cream and milk. Whisk until combined. Fold into dry ingredients. until just combined. Do not over mix.

Spoon into muffin cups. I filled mine pretty much to the top. Bake for 25-30 mins. Let cool for a second and then dive into blueberry heaven! Enjoy!
Happy New Year!

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Cease News...Facts Only

For what will most likely be my last post of the year, I thought I'd fill you in on what's been transpiring here in the Cease household over the last few weeks.

We'll start with baby talk.
Um...well, no baby yet. I met with my fertility doc several weeks ago and she suspected that I had a mild case of PCOS (polycystic ovary syndrome) so I am on a medication to help with that. However, she also concluded that I am not ovulating, or if I am, it's very irregular and my body will need more help to do so. This being the case, she wrote me a script for Clomid. I am a little conflicted on this issue and don't necessarily want to get into all that in this post, but needless to say, we are praying...fervently...that God would bless us with a little one before I am scheduled to start that whole process! This has been a hard and emotional season, and I have much to say about it...but for tonight...facts only. :)

In other...more eventful news...
Over the last couple of months, Casey has felt more and more led to plant a church. And so...with the blessing of Christ Church, and others, we are...planting a church! Crazy, huh? In the coming weeks we will put our house on the market and prepare to move our family to the Magnolia/Woodlands area. I am excited. I am excited for Casey, as I know that he has been called to this and God has been faithfully preparing him for this next step in his ministry. Of course, I am a little nervous. I am heartbroken to move away from friends who have become like family. I am overwhelmed at the task ahead of us. Oh...but I am straying from facts into feelings, aren't I? Well, I will undoubtedly have more feelings and facts to share in the coming weeks. But Casey and I are anxious to get our news out there and humbly ask that you, our friends and family, would join us in prayer.

And, my little brother got ENGAGED! For a little Jett (my maiden name) trivia...both me and my brother married/will marry our high school sweetheart! What can I say? We were very wise 15 year olds. :)

So that's our news and such. Hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas. I would have slipped in a Christmas picture post, but I failed to take a single picture through the entire course of our holiday festivities. And I call myself a blogger!

Blessings my Friends!

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas!!!

Hope everyone is having a fabulous Christmas day!

Don't have many videos of my sweet girl...thought I'd post this one...for memory's sake. ;)

video


And that's what it all about!
Merry Christmas!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

What's Up, Doc?

I'll tell ya what's up...

Check out this carrot we done grow right in our own back yard!

That is one handsome carrot.

We also have some delicious cilantro growing out there, but everything else is pretty much dead. Good thing this isn't what we live off of. We'd have three carrots and some cilantro to make it though the winter!

On a completely unrelated topic...I finished my homemade Christmas gifts this afternoon. No all-nighters for me this year! I am so happy! It only took me 12 months to get it done. :/
The only problem now is...I really need to start thinking about what to do for next Christmas! Ugh! I haven't a clue!...Maybe I'll give myself till the 26th to think about that. :)

Well, hope you are having a merry and bright holiday season!
And that's all folks!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Texans Game Pics

Here we are at the Texans game. It was so interesting to see it live. On TV, everything seems much more intense and important and magical. In real life, it's much slower. The stops for commercials are really funny. They literally just stand there on the field chattin' it up with their teammates, and then all of a sudden they get in position, run a play, and then chat it up again. The water guys kept coming out, and I kept wondering why...they don't do anything for more than 10 seconds at a time. No matter...I had a blast! What a great Christmas gift!!!

Tyler (the cutest brother ever) and Kelley (future sis-in-law and gift-giver extraordinaire :)

Me and the hubs.
Thank goodness the Texans stomped the Seahawks 34-7. I had such a good time and I love that I got to go with Casey and Tyler and Kelley. Thanks SO MUCH Kelley for the tickets! Hope that's the first of many games together!

Friday, December 11, 2009

A Winter Essential

This cold weather is brutal on my hands. They are so dry and chapped. Sometimes, my little knuckles just start bleeding.

Recently, I discovered this fabulous product at one of our downtown boutiques.I LOVE THIS LOTION!

I don't have a "Favorite Things" list, but if I did, this little bottle of hand happiness would be on it! It's a bit pricey, but in this cold weather I think I'd pay anything. I absolutely cannot think rationally about anything when it's cold. The other day I ran inside Wal-mart and bought 4 pairs of socks to wear with shoes that should not be worn with socks. I can't imagine if I lived somewhere that was actually COLD! I'd be a prime candidate for What-Not-To-Wear!

Anyways, back to the point. This lotion is awesome. Just thought I'd let you know.

The 3rd Sunday of Advent...on Friday

This Sunday, thanks to my brother and future sister-in-law, Casey and I are going to our very first Texans game!!!! WooHoo!!!!

So...in order to give our Advent celebrations their due time and attention, we decided to do our 3rd Sunday activities tonight. It was another lovely evening.

Braelyn and I spent most of the afternoon making sugar cookies, playing with the leftover dough and doing dishes...so many dishes!!!!
Braelyn licking the paddle. Don't worry...we're keeping this little batch to ourselves. ;)


After dinner, it was time to light our candles, read our Advent Scriptures and pray.
(On a side note...last week I originally lit the candles during dinner so that we could enjoy the candlelight a bit longer, but the candles are SUPER scented and they were messing with the flavors of my food. So now, we light them after dinner.)

The 3rd candle...
One of our Scriptures:
The LORD your God is in your midst,
a mighty one who will save;
He will rejoice over you with gladness;
He will exult over you loud singing.
Zephaniah 3:17


Time to decorate our cookies!
Just good ol' fashion Christmas sugar cookies...thanks to JoyofBaking.com.

Can you find the Braelyn cookies?

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Ragamuffin Christmas

Hello friends. It has been a while, hasn't it? My apologies. We have been running in and out of town since Thanksgiving. Just lots of important things came up all in a row. But...Saturday, Dec. 5th we arrived back at home, and happy to be there, as there is no place like it. Anyways, my ruby red slippers soon lost their sparkle as I realized that the Christmas season did not bother to wait for me to get home and situated. "IT CAME! IT CAME JUST THE SAME!"

Months and months ago I started thinking about how I wanted our family to celebrate Advent and new traditions I wanted to put into practice this year. Well, week 1 came and went while we were out of town, but, by the skin of my teeth, I pulled it together enough to get things going for that second Sunday of Advent. We just combined week 1 and 2.

Our Advent Non-Wreath:

Yes, traditionally the candles should be in a wreath, but, since I did not have one, nor did I want to purchase one, we have an Advent Row O' Candles. Where would a mother be without mason jars? Really!? Anyways, we labeled the candles and put the appropriate colored candle in each jar.

The Prophecy candle or the Candle of Hope: Purple
The Bethlehem candle or the Candle of Preparation: Purple
The Shepherd's candle or the Candle of Joy: Rose
The Angel candle or the Candle of Love: Purple
and...in the center...
The Christ Candle: White

All the different websites I checked to make sure I was doing this right, each said a little something different. I just did what made sense to me. (How post-modern of me.)

On Sunday, after dinner, we lit the Hope and Preparation candles and read Scripture that is assigned to those weeks. Then, we wrote down an attribute of Jesus (well, actually 6 because we were a few days behind) and hung it our "Christ tree."

Looks amazingly like out Thanksgiving tree, doesn't it? Weird!

We then spent the rest of our evening getting out our Christmas things and decorating our tree. It was a precious, beautiful evening.

I just love those saggy britches!







My favorite ragamuffin on the planet!

Thank you for indulging me in a little Christmas happiness. I'm certain there will be more priceless moments to come. (Plus, guys...I really just have to post all this stuff so I can remember what to do next year. Who can keep track? The blog is super helpful for that! :)

Talk to ya soon.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Texans Banned From Memo Board!

Last night, we had a few friends over to watch the Texans play the Titans. Before the game, our good pal Dave came over to help with a little project....one that would help get a little team spirit going on around here!TOO BAD THE TEXANS HAD TO GO AND TRAMPLE MY HEART!
YOU HURT ME BAD THIS TIME BOYS! YOU HURT ME BAD.
KRIS BROWN...I DON'T THINK I CAN SPEAK TO YOU RIGHT NOW.

(If only I could send him a howler via owl! ;) Just started book 4 by the way!)

Anyways...I'm glad to have my memo board up. Thanks Dave! We will stick to holiday greetings and Bible verses from now on. (Grrrrrr....Texans!)

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Wedding Weekend

This was the weekend we had 2 weddings. Casey preached at the first wedding here in Brenham, and then we packed our stuff and headed to Galveston for the second.
Some pics:

The fam...at wedding #2 at The Hotel Galvez.

Dancin' with daddy

Look at those beautiful gals! My mom and B.

Me and the hubs. I heart him.

My sweet B

So here's the dress...modeled with pigeon-toes and all. (Learned that from a Mrs. Heidi Klum.) You can go here to see what it's supposed to look like. I left my crazy legs at home along with my cashmere beret. CanNOT forget those next time!

A close up of the big ruffle collar...it's kinda hard to see in this picture.

The shoes...modeled by Braelyn
It was a super fun day. Braelyn has decided that she LOVES weddings. Dressing up, dancing, cake...what could be better than that?!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Traditions

After reading this book, I have really tried to change the way I think about the holidays. For the past year or so, I have tried to create traditions that do nothing but honor Jesus and give my family time to talk about Him, acknowledge Him and praise Him together. You can read my big post on this issue here.

Anyways, for Thanksgiving, I like to spend the each day of November telling God what we are thankful for. Last year we did this. This year, I'm a few days late, BUT...we pulled it together this afternoon and made a Thanksgiving Tree.
The best part of this project was that it didn't cost me a dime!
My supplies:
- a vase
- dried beans
- sticks and small branches from outside
- decorative paper (I had a pad of card stock cards with coordinating patterns, thankfully in fall colors)
- raffia

I just arranged the sticks in the vase, and filled it with beans to keep them in place. Then cut out leaf shapes out of the card stock and hung them on the branches with the raffia. Each day, (we did several today because we're so far behind) we will write something we are thankful for on a leaf. Also, on the front of our vase, I tied on our memory verse for the month. 1 Chronicles 16:34 "Oh give thanks to the LORD, for He is good; His steadfast love endures forever!"

I am really happy with the result. I think I will even adapt the idea for Christmas. I was thinking of hanging paper stars or Christmas ball shapes and writing the Advent Scriptures on them or perhaps writing some of the attributes of Jesus on them. Don't know yet. Still thinking. I'm working on some other Advent ideas and will post those as soon as I'm done. Hopefully, before it's actually here! ;)

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

I Have Issues

I mentioned in a previous post that I had a couple of weddings coming up and instead of going out and buying a new dress, I was going to alter one that I already had. Well...I did that and my frugality DID NOT pay off. When I got my dress back from my tailor in Sugar Land (Yes, I went to SUGAR LAND because I didn't trust anyone in Brenham to do it!) I was not happy with the result at all. I needed it taken in in the chest area, and to do that they took it up in the shoulders, but now the little cap sleeves look ridiculous! I was FURIOUS, cause I paid pretty good money for alterations that will now need to be altered.

So, last weekend, Casey and I took a little shopping date to get a dress for the weddings this weekend. I will not bore you with details, but, let me tell you something I'm sure most of you already know...I HAVE ISSUES!

Some women, go in, buy a dress, pick out their accessories. Done. Not me. I have a disorder. An ensemble completion disorder.

After:
3 Outings
2 dresses
3 pairs of shoes
2 visits to Charming Charlie
3 returned items and one still to go

After all that, I have managed to put together an outfit.

:::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::SIGH:::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::

I now have and am sticking with:
One dress from Banana Republic.
One pair of shoes from Dillards (thanks to a little love from mom and dad ;)
Jewelry and Bag from home.

Wars have been won,
People have become doctors,
NASA has launched rockets,
Congress will pass a health care reform bill with less effort than it takes me to put together an outfit.

What is wrong with me, women?! What is wrong with me?!

I have decided that the next time I have to put an outfit together, I am taking someone with me...someone with a great, DECISIVE sense of style. Someone who will tell me try this on and put this with it. Someone who will shove me in the checkout line despite my ridiculous questions and hesitations. Someone who will not put up with my nonsense. Be firm. Tell me to get dressed and shut up.

Any volunteers? Anyone? Please?
Really, I am not kidding...who will go with me?!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Homemade Bread and the Bread of Life

Thursday mornings, while Braelyn is at school, I clean. Sometimes, I listen to a John Piper sermon while I clean. That's what I did this morning. I listened to his sermon from this past Sunday. He spoke about Jesus feeding the 5,000, and how Jesus is the Bread of Life, and how Jesus alone SATISFIES. He also addressed the fact that rather than believing in Jesus and loving Jesus, we believe in what Jesus can give us and we love Him because He is "useful."

Man. He was preaching my face off. Literally. I was cleaning with a normal face on. And then, by the middle of the sermon, I'm not cleaning at all and my face was all distorted and scowlish...just cause I am thinking so hard. There were tears at one point. Sigh... It's like he takes your heart and shakes it real hard...but in a good way.

A couple quotes:
"Jesus didn't come to serve your unregenerate appetites. He came to give you new appetites."
"Jesus came into the world not to GIVE bread, but to BE bread."

All this to say...I've had much to think about. Pray about. I enjoy cleaning with Dr. Piper. You should try it.

Coincidentally, today I had my first go at baking homemade bread. I've been thinking about it for a long time now. Been putting it off. But this week beef stew was on the menu (also a first for me) and I thought, what goes better with beef stew than fresh homemade bread? Nothin'.

I got the recipe from a very experienced bread-making friend, Amy, who used to live here in Brenham. This gal makes the most delicious bread ever and it looks so beautiful. Perhaps there are simpler, more beginner-appropriate recipes that I could have chosen, but my heart was set on Amy's. So that's what I did.

Let me say...now...my bread wasn't Amy bread or anything'...but...it wasn't half bad, my friends. It was NOT HALF BAD! The texture was just about right...could have used maybe one more minute in the oven, and it needed a little salt, but other than that, I was very pleased with my first attempt at bread-making. :)

Before the oven.
I think traditionally, you are supposed to do a 6-strand braid, but I thought I'd better not get crazy. So just 3 strands for me.


The first loaf. LOOK! It looks like bread! Who woulda thought?The second loaf. It looks like a mummy. But tastes like bread. :)

Amy...thanks so much for this recipe and for the inspiration! We miss you!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Halloween 2009: The Little Mermaid

Braelyn's favorite part of this costume..."the sparkly bra." Awesome. Notice the tank top underneath!

With Mama. And yes...I put a little make-up on her. Just for fun.

With Daddy at the Brenham Fall Festival. No Halloween celebrating here! We celebrate fall...in costume...pay no attention to the Boo candy bag. ;)

With Punkin Pie Crayon J.

And sweet Lady Bug Betty.

Very fun. Although, I have one regret. We did not carve a pumpkin this year. Sad. What kind of a mother am I?! Oh well...next year. Moving on to the next holiday.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

What Makes My Heart Happy?

Lite Bright...makes my heart happy.

The fact that things are actually growing in my garden...makes my heart happy.
A rouge brussels sprout. This is not where I actually planted brussels sprouts, and yet, here one is. The ones that I intentionally planted are dead.

Cilantro

A Marigold

Carrots

Sewing with my daughter...makes my heart happy.
Braelyn's first project...a pillow.