Thursday, December 31, 2009

Christmas Pastime

Over the last month I temporarily switched my love for cupcakes to a love for something else: sugar cookies! I think I've probably baked about 15 batches over the last 4 weeks... no lie. I had been looking for the perfect sugar cookie recipe and I finally found it! It's delicious and easy and it makes soft sugar cookies so I'm happy.

I think the thing that made me keep going is that I baked these cookies with my friends. I baked some with Valeria and Jonathan, Colleen, Jessie and the boys, Corrie, Mary... It's been so fun to bake with people! I wish I could start some sort of ministry where I just bake with people, taking the time to have quality conversations and bake delicious things.

Anyway, I love this recipe. I love baking. And I especially love baking with friends. (If you're in need of a quality sugar cookie recipe... mine, or the one I found, is below. I've made it so much that I now know it by heart.)
Sugar Cookies
2 sticks room temperature butter
1 1/2 cups sugar
3 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla extract
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsps. cream of tartar
1 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt

Set the oven for 375 degrees. Cream the butter and gradually add in the sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time. Stir in vanilla. Mix in flour, cream of tartar, baking soda, and salt. Let the dough chill overnight (about 4 hours is suffice). Roll dough out about 1/4 inch thick and cut cookies. Bake at 375 for 6-8 minutes.

Vanilla Frosting
3 sticks room temperature butter
4 cups powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract

Cream butter. Gradually add powdered sugar until smooth. Add vanilla (make sure to do this last to avoid clumps.)

Friday, December 25, 2009

White Christmas!

Gary Lezak ("famous" Kansas City meteorologist) reported earlier this week that we haven't had more than an inch of snow on Christmas Day since 1962. This year is our year! We got a beautiful white Christmas (about 8 inches of snow!) It's kind of a fun feeling knowing that it is Christmas day and that we are completely snowed in.

I love it. I love the snow. I love Christmas. It's been a great day!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

College Grad.

Things have been crazy since I left for Columbia last Thursday for graduation until today. I haven't taken a time to slow down and soak in everything. Here I am now. I am a college graduate from the University of Missouri. Craziness.

College was an incredible experience. I am thankful for so many things that shaped me and made college amazing. What I am most thankful for:

-My friends. Especially those who I met my freshman year and I'm still close with today. My family came into town for my party and then graduation and they all kept talking about how nice my friends were. It's true.... I have the coolest friends in the world.
-My Bible study. This contains many of the people mentioned above but man am I thankful for my Bible study. A lot of the girls have been around since freshman year and know my junk better than most. I've had two of the coolest leaders ever: Colleen and Sara. They are incredible women.
-Veritas. Veritas kind of became my identity at college. I gradually got more and more involved until it was all I was doing: and I'm happy with that. It shaped me and grew me and gave me a place to belong.
-Kaldi's. You wouldn't think working at a coffee shop would be that great of an experience, but it was for me. I love the people I worked with, I love what I was doing, I love just Kaldi's and its atmosphere in general. And I never knew how much I loved to bake until I started working there. My friend Emily said, "Working at Kaldi's kind of changed your life, didn't it?" She's right.
-The Haslags. My last semester I had the privilege of living with Sara and Joe Haslag. They opened their house to me for free and gave me a home and it was an amazing semester. Sara's love and generosity and Joe's bad jokes but genuine care poured over me constantly. God gave them a vision to love on college students and I feel like I was the lucky one who got to receive a lot of it.

I'm going to miss Columbia. My friends, my Bible study, Veritas, Kaldi's, the Haslags... and more. What great memories though... Now onto Kansas City. :)

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

My Graduation Present

For graduation, my parents gave me a Canon Digital Rebel XSI and I love it! I have SO much to learn but I'm enjoying it tremendously already. Luckily I got it around the holidays so that people don't get annoyed that I'm taking so many pictures...

Like I said, I still have so much to learn but here are some of my favorite pictures that I've taken after having it for a few days.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Holy cow.

Tonight was an experience I'll never forget. I went out to dinner with my old roommates/best friends from college: Valeria, Megan, and Sarah. It was a great dinner... I couldn't have thought of a better way to spend one of my last nights in Columbia. Meg had to leave to babysit so Sarah, Valeria, and I headed back to my place (the Haslag house) to have a chill evening watching Julie and Julia.

We walked in the door to a dark house... I headed toward the living room where I turned the corner and was surprised by 20 or 30 of my favorite people in Columbia... my parents even came! The funny thing is that I had been helping Sara decorate and bake over the past few days for what I thought was an open house that she was having tomorrow... Turns out the party I was helping prepare for was my own!

I have never been so surprised in my life. My instant reaction was tears. (To be honest, I'm crying right now as I'm writhing this...) I have never been so overwhelmed with love and thoughtfulness in my life. Normally I love being the center of attention but having all those people there just for ME just blew me away. I don't deserve a celebration so special... but I am so humbly thankful.

Thanks to Valeria who I'm told was the mastermind of the whole thing. I don't deserve a friend as great as you, V. Thanks to Joe and Sara who worked so hard decorating, cleaning, baking, and hosting. Thanks to everyone else for coming and celebrating... I couldn't have asked for better friends...
(My Bible study... I LOVE these girls.)
(My parents made the drive... so special!)

Friday, December 11, 2009

To Do When You Graduate

I just returned home from taking my last college final. I'm finished with college! I know... I could go back and get my masters or maybe I'll even go to culinary school, so I may not actually be done with school... but as for now... I'm done!

Over the last few months I've been been formulating a list of things that I want to do after I graduate. There's been this sticky in the upper left hand corner of my screen entitled "To Do When You Graduate" that I add to every time I want to do something but don't have the time due to school. It's not a very impressive list... actually a lot of the things are kind of silly and frivolous. But I'm pretty excited to get working on it. Here it is:

To Do When You Graduate:
-Read the Harry Potter series
-Watch some Wes Anderson films
-Read the Chronicles of Narnia series
-Learn how to play the guitar
-Visit my cousins Marc and Dana in Sublette, KS
-Visit my cousin Brad at K-State
-Watch some classics like Gone with the Wind (I also want to read Gone with the Wind)
-Starting watching some TV shows that everyone seems to like: Glee, Modern Family, maybe even The West Wing
-Oh yeah, and... Get a job

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Animated Movies.

I love the good ol' Disney animated movies. I'm not talking Toy Story, Finding Nemo animated... I'm talking people had to draw out every single frame animated. My favorites are The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin... I grew up on those classics. I love the characters. I love the singing. I love the princesses. I love the morals. I love it all...

Needless to say, I'm pretty excited for the upcoming movie The Princess and the Frog. It's going to be great! Yes... I'm 22 years old and almost a college graduate, but you better believe I'm going to go see that movie.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Colm Mac Con Iomaire

As I mentioned a few days ago, I went to see The Swell Season in concert. Glen Hansard, the lead singer and guitarist for that band, used to be in a band called The Frames. But The Frames also now make up the majority of The Swell Season. A guy named Colm Mac Con Iomaire (quite the name, eh? He's irish...) who was in The Frames and plays violin for The Swell Season also is doing his own, solo thing and makes some quality, quality music. He played a piece at the concert on Monday and it was incredible. There is a video below, and it's from the actual concert that I was at which is pretty awesome.

It doesn't really matter what band, name, or whatever this guy is... Overall his music inspires me to change the world. I don't know how... There aren't even lyrics to his music. It just makes me feel like I can do anything. I hope it has the same impact on you.

Again, his name is Colm Mac Con Iomaire. Check him out.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

A little bit of Christmas!

As many of you know, there are many wonderful things about living with the Haslags... They have loved on me so incredibly much this semester... more than I could ever deserve. I've learned so much from their generosity, hospitality, and kindness...

Yesterday Sara loved on me yet again with a fun surprise... She bought be a cute little Christmas tree! It's so fun! I love it... I was saying yesterday that it never really feels like Christmas until you are officially home for Christmas break... but having this tree in my room has put me in the Christmas spirit a little earlier this year.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009


Tonight at Veritas Ryan gave a talk about how thankfulness shouldn't just take place on Thanksgiving day. We are created to worship and be grateful for everything God's given us. That's what we will be doing in heaven and that's what we should be doing here on Earth. It was a good reminder of how I don't deserve anything... and when I get that in my head, I will be so much more grateful for what He's given me. Anyway...

He showed us this clip of a comedian on Conan O'Brien who was talking about how ungrateful we are these days. It's pretty funny... and so true. Enjoy!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

The Swell Season

Tonight I went to a concert of the band The Swell Season. I've always enjoyed The Swell Season but if someone were to ask me my favorite bands or what kind of music I listen to, honestly, I don't think The Swell Season would even come to mind. But not anymore... After tonight's concert, they have moved WAY up on my list of favorites. It was one of the most powerful concerts I've ever been to.

I think the reason why this concert was soon good was because if I were to ever be in a band, I would want to sing music really similar to theirs: male and female lead with lots of amazing, intense harmony, driving acoustic guitar (but still some quality electric), some strings, a variety of fast and slow. It's exactly the kind of music that I would want to create.

There were many things about tonight's concert that I enjoyed and would want to incorporate into a concert of my own someday. A lot of them are random, but I kept a list in my head so I thought I'd go ahead and write it down:
1. They sang a song sitting on the ground. I don't know why... but that was fun to me.
2. The lead guy played a some completely unplugged: no mics, no amp, nothing. Just singing passionately at the top of his lungs.
3. They encouraged the crowd to sing along... in harmony.
4. They were more genuinely thankful for their fans than any band I've ever experienced. They came across as so sincere and humble.

Anyway... it was a great concert. It definitely inspired me musically. Below is a video of probably my favorite concert of the concert "High Horses." The end gets a little intense but I think it's pretty stinking amazing!