Archive for the ‘Candice’ Category

Motherhood & Hospitality

Wednesday, July 13th, 2016

HTP_8817For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me. Matthew 25:35

I am the mother of two little boys (Jude 6 years and Bear 8 months old) and so far, they are ALL BOY. Raising boys, I worry how my love for hospitality will influence their hearts. I spend hours in the kitchen preparing beautiful dishes of food, piled high to feed my friends and family. I love lighting candles, setting out cloth napkins and drinking from fancy, vintage glasses. To me, decorations and dessert are a necessity when entertaining guests. What guest doesn’t just love a good chocolate cake covered in sprinkles?  I worry how this desire in me to be the perfect host will translate in a home full of growing boys. Of course, I have come to the realization that my dream of playing tea probably won’t happen in my house unless light sabers or dirt pies are involved.

At the heart of hospitality is love, and the love of serving others is something that I can share with my boys. I can teach them to offer biblical hospitality through grace and courtesy, as we open our home and in the way we serve people.

A few weeks ago I had the privilege of writing an article on what motherhood means to me. I would love for you to visit Life of a Minister Mom to read the rest of this article as well as to download a free Hospitality at Home Chart to use in your home.

Happy Father’s Day & Meatloaf

Sunday, June 19th, 2016

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I know you would probably argue, but I happen to have the most wonderful grandfather in the world, my Gramp. I have never met anyone as self sacrificing, loving and hilarious as him. He was  and always be the greatest father in my life. He helped to raise me and to show me what it means to take care of family, to work hard and to love, love, love.  Every time I come home to Colorado for a visit, I know there will be an entire box of my favorite pink cherry chip cookies waiting for me on the counter and a pound of ground beef waiting in the refrigerator. Ground beef? Yes, the man loves a good meatloaf. I would love to one day cook him a very fancy meal; chicken marsala or maybe braised chicken in a white wine sauce… But no, just simple, classic meat loaf it is for him! And do not let me even try to add anything “fancy,” my gramp will catch it in a minute.

If I were home this Father’s Day this would be his treat. I nice hot slice of meatloaf and maybe a peach cobbler for dessert.

Happy Father’s Day to all my favorite fathers out there!

Classic Meatloaf

1 lb. ground chuck

1 small onion, chopped

1 green pepper

5-6 saltine crackers

2 eggs

1 clove of garlic

Salt and pepper

1 cup ketchup

1/2 cup brown sugar

Tabasco sauce

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Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Dice onion and bell pepper. In a large mixing bowl, combine onion, peppers, eggs, crumbled saltines, garlic and spices. There is no better way to combine a meatloaf (or meatballs) than through squishy finger but a rubber spatula will do as well. Do not overwork the mixture or your meat will become dense. Form raw meat into a loaf on sheet pan.

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Mix together ketchup and brown sugar. This is our family secret… this sauce is the bees knees and so simple. Spread half the sweet sauce on top of the loaf, reserving the rest to apply mid way through the baking.

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Surround vegetables around the edge of the pan for roasting. I enjoy potatoes, carrots, big chunks of onions or broccoli with my meatloaf. When roasting broccoli, I add them during the last 20 minutes of cooking. Bake for 60 minute or until meat temperature reads 155 degrees.

That’s it. Simple, classic meatloaf.

Enjoy!

On the Road: Panama City Beach, FL

Monday, June 13th, 2016

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I just wanted to share a few photos from our family vacation to Panama City Beach, Fl. Growing up in the mountains, I am still rather ackward jumping into flip flops and lounging by the ocean. The sand, the salt water, the JELLY FISH (eeek), I am still a little uncomfortable. I will admit few things beat lounging in the sun with a good book. I brought with me Brooklyn by  Colm Toibin and read it cover to cover. I rarely actually get into the ocean because I am a bit afraid of all the sea creatures, ha! When I finally braved the ocean waters with my little Jude man, a crab grabbed onto my pinkie toe and wouldn’t let go. I don’t think I have ever seen Jude laugh so hard. I am sure he will never stop telling that story… definitely worth the pinch.

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IMG_1678This was Bear’s first beach trip. He seemed to enjoy squishing the warm white sand in between his little toes. Sand was everywhere! I am thankful for a friend who shared with me the secret of using baby powder to help clean sand off of little faces and hands.

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My husband took our big buddy jet skiing. I was tickled because Jude continues to tell my how much fun he had with dad “ski diving.” The boys raced their jet ski out into the ocean and were able to find a whole school of dolphins playing around. Next, they stopped off at Shell Island to snorkel discovering tons of sea urchins, shells and lots of pretty coral. We used our new Ollo Clip macro lens to capture all the intricate patterns of our finds (sea urchin, hermit crab, sand dollar, coral).

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IMG_1547One afternoon we drove down to the little walking town of Seaside, FL. In Seaside we visited cute little boutique shops and ate lunch at a food truck strip. We couldn’t pass up trying a few toasty grilled cheese sandwiches from The Meltdown on 30A. We ordered sandwiches for the three of us; bacon, Brie on cranberry but bread for me, meatloaf for Jude and Spicy Turkey for Michael. The meatloaf sandwich was hands down our family favorite, melty mozarella, meatloaf, a thins slice of ham and marinara. We ended our lazy, strolling afternoon in Seaside with fresh juice from Raw and Juicy.

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We celebrated National Donut Day at the famous Thomas Donut and Snack Shack in Laguna Beach. We tried a dozen of their fun assorted flavors, the maple bacon was a hit but my favorite was the deliciously moist blueberry cake doughnut! We had a visitor for the weekend portion of our trip, our best buddy Amanda. Amanda is our nanny and Jude’s best friend in the whole wide world. She loved her swirly, extra cinnamon sugared treat.

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I am told it is a sin to visit PCB without trying out Pineapple Willy’s, there I ordered a giant icy cold virgin Pina Colada, perfect on a hot summer day.

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Each time we have made a trip to PCB my son leaves talking about “the upside down house,” Wonder Works Museum. As we drive along his face is usually squished against the window, screaming in excitement when he sees the building which looks as if it were lifted up into outer space and dropped (kerplunk) completely flipped upside down. Our last day in the city was overcast and rainy SO, Jude’s wish came true. Wonder Works is any kid’s dream; a tunnel that lets you feel 75 mile an hour winds, laying on a bed of nails, roller coaster simulators and more science labs than I could have imagined. Jude even got to step into an astronauts suit for a quick picture on the moon. Best buds and science… it doesn’t get any better.

Have you been to Panama City Beach? If so, what are your favorite places?

 

Wild Explorers Club

Sunday, May 15th, 2016

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Oh summertime, how I love spending time outdoors (yes, even in the heat) exploring nature and soaking in the sun. I recently discovered the Wild Explorers Club and I couldn’t be more excited about the program. Wild Explorers Club is a monthly membership designed to ignite a heart for exploration and wonder in our kids.  The club includes weekly adventure assignments, monthly print magazine mailed to our home and lovely badges which are earned upon completion of each animal level. Each animal level is thoughtful planned out and so far include activities that our whole family can enjoy.

Wolf- embrace the life of an explorer

Bobcat- be relentlessly curious

Bear- learn new things

Elk- care for others

Fox- know how things work

Bison- read great books

Beaver- see adventure in everything

Owl- discover your passion

Hawk- make awesome things

Eagle- travel to new places

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Jude has earned his wolf badge. As we embrace the life of an explorer, we are learning to make the most of little adventures, open our eyes and see things we would normally pass by and we are learning to become even more brave.

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With our adventure pack on our back and hiking stick in hand, we are ready to take on our Bobcat challenges. We will be sure to let you know how it goes!

Queso Fundido

Thursday, May 5th, 2016

Queso Fundido or “Molten Cheese”… ooey gooey delicious. This dip is a cheese lovers dream, sort of a Mexican fondue. I love the contrast of the smooth, gooey cheese with the spicy (slightly greasy) chorizo. Every time I pull a dish of Queso Fundido out of the oven, friends and family gather around. Its fun! To eat, dip in crunchy tortilla chips or pile the cheese high on a tortilla, roll up and enjoy.

Queso Fundido

6 oz. of ground chorizo

2 cups of Mexican melting or quesadilla cheese (mozzarella is also a great substitute)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Brown chorizo in a skillet until cooked through. Drain off excess fat from chorizo. Load a well greased baking dish with grated cheese and sprinkle over the cooked chorizo. Bake for 15 minutes until bubbly and slightly browned. Simply delicioso!

Get creative with your Fundido toppings, try; ground beef, avocados, fresh pico de gallo, the sky’s the limit!

May The Fourth Be With You

Wednesday, May 4th, 2016

From my house full of crazy Star Wars loving boys, we want to wish you a very Happy Star wars Day!IMG_1022

Bacon, Jalapeno and Gorgonzola Scones

Friday, December 4th, 2015

imageI love brunch.

Waffles.

Pancakes.

Muffins.

Scones… sweet, sweet, sweet!

Sometimes its nice to have something different, something savory. These bacon, jalapeño and gorgonzola scones were perfect for my husband, who isn’t to big on sweets. Paired with two eggs (sunny side up) and a cup of hot coffee, we made the best of a lazy Saturday morning.

Bacon, Jalapeno and Gorgonzola Scones

2 cups flour

1 tbs. baking powder

4 tbs. cold butter

1 cup cold heavy cream

1 egg, slightly beaten

4 oz. gorgonzola

2 fresh jalapeños, diced

1 tsp chili powder

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Combine flour, baking and chili powders. Blend in cold butter until mixture resembles course meal. This can be done by pulsating ingredients in a food processor, simply using a pastry blender or even worked together with your fingers.

Next, gently stir in the cream and eggs until a soft dough forms.

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Using your hands or a rubber spatula fold in the bacon, cheese and jalapeños. (Note: if you are sensitive to the heat, wear rubber gloves when handling jalapeños)

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Sprinkle a bit of flour onto your counter or cutting board. Form dough into a round, flat disc and slice into 8 “pizza slices.”

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Bake for 15 minutes, on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper (I used a silpat), until slightly golden brown.

These scones are best when served warm out of the oven.

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Two eggs over easy and I am one happy girl!

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Enjoy!

What I’m loving…

Wednesday, December 2nd, 2015

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Simply Tuesday: 

A book by Emily Freeman

Simply Tuesday Introduction from Emily P Freeman on Vimeo.

The world around us values those who hustle and produce. I am wired this way. Often I feel insignificant, less valuable, when I am not producing BIG things. Striving to be the best mother and wife, running a profitable business, achieving goals, even maintaining a clean, tidy home in the mist of chaos. This are the things that give me a sense of worth.

Can we embrace our smallness? Yes. It is time to embrace our small-living moments. Emily challenges readers to embrace Tuesdays, our most normal day. Tuesdays remind us who we are, that we are human.

“Small is an invitation to participate in something greater than ourselves.” (pg. 29) 

When we are made small, God is made bigger. Simply stopping to sit on a bench for a sweet chat with your neighbor or taking time in those little moments of wonder you see in your child’s eyes… It is in these small moments that we must live.

Grab a copy of Simply Tuesday and take enjoy a few small moments of your own.

Also, subscribe to Emily Freeman’s blog and start creating a space for YOUR soul to breathe.


Belong Magazine

A magazine for bloggers

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“Belong Magazine is designed to celebrate the art and community of blogging. In all that we do, our mission is to inspire women to use their passions for a purpose in crafting and sharing honest words, images and ideas virtually to be life-giving and encourage others. It is our desire for women to know that they are enough, their voice matters, and that they have a place. They belong.”

I received a free copy of Belong Magazine at this year’s Allume conference. First of all, I was excited to dig into the pilot issue because it was beautifully printed. Clean, crisp with vivid green succulents on the cover. Opening any magazine I immediately begin scanning for recipes, though I knew this was a magazine for bloggers, I did just this. Ahhh… Yes! The pilot issue includes a recipe for Caramel Apple French Toast Casserole and a Strawberry Marshmallow Dip! I also enjoyed Styled Sophistication, an article on blog styling as well as What is Blogging, which focuses defining what blogging really is.

I am looking forward to purchasing my copy of  Belong Magazine, Issue #1, which began shipping this week! This magazine is also available for digital download.


Who We Might Become

A worship album by my friend Kirby Kaple

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We moved to Georgia in 2008 and quickly became friends with the lovely, talented Kirby Kaple. She and her husband Rob showed us Southern hospitality at its finest. I had never heard a Southern drawl until I met this sweet girl!

Kirby led worship at our church while I was pregnant with our son Jude. Our life was filled with her beautiful voice as we worshipped. As soon as our son began to talk, I could see his heart for Jesus and his special love for our friend Kirby. Somehow I know that he could hear her voice from inside me singing, “He loves us..”

Our friends have since moved. Kirby is working with House Fires a worship collective out of Atlanta, Georgia AND she has been working passionately to write and produce her very own album, Who We Might Become. Her words are heart felt, as her music so genuinely draws me closer to the King.

Go preorder your copy of Who We Might Become today on iTunes and receive 3 songs upon purchase!

3 Tips for a Perfectly Roasted Turkey

Thursday, November 26th, 2015

I remember waking up Thanksgiving morning at the crack of dawn to help my grandmother prepare to roast our holiday turkey. It was imperative that the turkey make its way into the oven before the sun came up. Why? I am not quite sure considering it only takes about 4 hours to cook a 20 lb. turkey…

Every year I helped Gram cook our thanksgiving feast and every year I cut my knuckle open on the potato peeler. Here are a few tips learned over the years for making the best ever turkey for your family:

#1. The key to a juicy turkey is a compound butter

Soften a stick of unsalted butter and mix in your favorite herbs. For turkey, I use sage, rosemary, thyme and orange zest. Gently pull back the skin, away from the meat, and spread  1/2 of the butter underneath.  The butter will slowly baste the turkey as it cooks. The flavors of the herbs infuse the meat. Massage the remaining butter onto the outside of the turkey  to get that crispy crunchy skin that family and friends fight over.

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#2. Using a roasting bag = lots of gravy

My grandmother always, always used a roasting bag to prepare our Thanksgiving turkey. Roasting bags trap moisture inside resulting in a super juicy and flavorful bird! Using an oven bag shortens cooking time. No more waking up at 4am to get the turkey started, 3-4 hours for a perfectly cooked turkey and the skin, so crispy and golden brown. When the roasting is complete you will be left with several cups of rich tasty drippings, perfect for gravy. The best part… no scrubbing a roasting pan.

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#3. Use a meat thermometer to avoid an over-cooked turkey

It cannot be a guessing game, it is so important to ensure your turkey is completely cooked but never dry. The proper temperature for a fully cooked turkey is 165 degrees. Insert an instant read thermometer into the thigh of the turkey until the temperature reaches 165 degrees. Once removed from the oven, tent the turkey in foil and allow it to rest for at least 30 minutes before carving.

So many of my friends are terrified of preparing the star of their family meal. There is nothing to be afraid of… IT IS ONLY A BIRD! You can do it.

Happy Thanksgiving Friends

Tips For Hosting Your Holiday Dinner Party

Tuesday, November 24th, 2015

Make a dinner menu and stick to it!

Write out a grocery list. Yes, with pen and paper. I like to plan my menu several days, even up to 2 weeks, in advance so that I am sure to remember all the little things I may need. When planning your dinner menu, consider any dietary restrictions your guests may have. Read your recipes prior to shopping to ensure you have everything you need to make each dish on your menu. Make a list, check it twice.

Get a head start

Don’t wait until of the day of your gathering to clean the house, prep the dinner and decorate. I always pre-chop all my vegetables, prepare my compound butter and set the dinner table at least a day in advance. I even set out serving platters, ready to be filled with warm comforting Thanksgiving dishes. Some things even taste better when prepared early, like my cranberry-orange relish. Mason jars or ziplock bags are great for storing pre-chopped ingredients. Dinner is so much easier to prepare when all your ingredients are recipe ready. These steps also helps to cut down on dinner day dirty dishes. Start your dinner party with an empty dishwasher.

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Create an inviting atmosphere

Make your guests feel comfortable. Great music and candles are musts! I usually put together a festive playlist using Spotify or Pandora. Keep in mind your guest preferences… It’s ok to ask them beforehand what kind of music they like. When choosing candles, pick a subtle (in season) aroma. I like pumpkin, apple or cinnamon in the fall. Often times I will add a few coffee beans to a 25 cent vanilla votive. It is nice to have a few comfy pillows or throw blankets folded and setup in the living room.

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Choose a theme

Even just a few small decorations can make any meal extra special; a vase of flowers, colorful leaves picked by your little ones or go BIG with a full out theme. Pull out real plates, not the paper throw away kind. What good is owning that fancy China if it lives only to collect dust? I am planning to decorate with gold accents for my Thanksgiving meal.

Seating

Avoid the awkward dance of musical chairs around the dinner table. Prepare a well thought out seating chart, one where everyone can be included in the meal conversations and make place (name) cards for each guest. My dining room table is too small for a large group. Michael and I drag our kitchen table into the dining to create a space where all our friends can sit and eat together. Get creative with your place tags, maybe a little welcome note, funny pictures or a take home favor. I love decorating kids tables! Set a special place for the kiddos and they will be happy and feel oh so grown up.

Simple appetizers

Prepare a light and simple appetizer; an elegant cheese board, fresh vegetable tray or a warm dip. On holidays, so much time is spent preparing the main course and very involved side dishes. Setting out a simple appetizer spread will allow the host to put those finishing touches on the meal while guest nibble and chat. This year, I plan on setting out homemade cheese straws,  slices of prosciutto, pear wedges and a few pieces of really good cheese.

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Make yourself at home
I want my guest to feel right at home. I usually provide guests with a tour of my home; where to put their coats and purses, the location of our guest restroom and where to relax comfortably during pre and post dinner entertainment. If I am busy cooking, I ask a friend who is familiar with my home to greet guests. Providing these details puts a person as ease. I always setup a self serve coffee and tea bar, directing guests to make themselves at home. Ensure each guest is greeted and introduced to one another for a warm start to your gathering.

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Guest Book

Our friend Margaret keeps a guest book for her home. All of her guests sign in and leave a note during their visits… what a great way to record memories, remember dates and special events that have taken place in your lovely home. Simply ask your guests to sign in when they arrive to your home. Our son Jude loves signing Mrs. Margarets book and flip the pages backwards to find his signatures from past visits. Wouldn’t it also be fun to snap a picture of your party guests to tape in your guest book?

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Party favor or gift

We want others to leave our homes feeling better about themselves, not better about US! I love preparing a small gift for my guest, a token of appreciation for being such wonderful guests; a thank you note, a small bag of good chocolates, or a jar of homemade jam. Let’s face it we are not the only ones who like to entertain but our friends choose our home to gather… Let them know how much you love them. This Thanksgiving each of my guest will be taking home a jar of homemade Bourbon Pecans.

Take help

I am often torn as to whether it is acceptable to take help from dinner guests. When a host stops entertaining to tend to dishes and/or cleaning, this signals guests that the party is over. However, during holiday gatherings I feel that it is perfectly acceptable to take help from close friend or family. Make it fun! Turn the music up, dance in the kitchen while you scrub those dishes and clear the dinner table. But ALWAYS REMEMBER… quality time with guests comes before the mess.

What are some of your best dinner party tips?

Practice Hospitality

Romans Twelve Thirteen

Flying Paper Airplanes