July 30, 2013

Autumn came in my mailbox today

We haven't live in New Jersey since 1997, but a bit of NJ autumn arrived in our mailbox today!

Ivins' Spiced Wafers...... I wrote a whole post about these little cookies once ( and here
and here). The recipe there is a good ginger snap recipe, but it's really nothing like Ivins'.

I have talked about them so much since moving away from New Jersey that my friend Sue thinks of me every time she sees them in the store.....which is only during the fall! They only make them for fall. The rest of the year you must have to anticipate (or stockpile them in your freezer).

Well this year, when Sue saw them in the store, she not only thought of me, but she bought me some and mailed them all the way to New Mexico. (the postage cost more than the cookies) She is that kind of wonderful. And it made my day! Sue, you are a really cool friend and I thank you, thank you, thank you!

Oh and the reason I don't have a picture of the actual cookie is because I must wait to eat them until I have a tall glass of ice cold apple cider to accompany them.

July 17, 2013

Oatmeal Marmalade Cookies

Tomorrow Maggie is coming home! She's been gone for 33 days now. Mission trip and then visiting in Phoenix. My sister is driving her home tomorrow and will be here to visit for a few days.

I got some baking mojo last night, so that I'd have some treats for company,  and baked a new kind of cookie, so I thought I would share the recipe (because I am that nice). :)

 When we moved into this rental house, our landlord baked us cookies as a housewarming gift. (there were even homemade dog biscuits that were pumpkin flavor) She labeled each kind and one was Oatmeal Marmalade Cookies....chewy oatmeal cookies with a slight orange flavor. I've made 2 recipes and this is the one that turned out the best.

Oatmeal Marmalade Cookies
IMPORTANT: Do not mix the marmalade in with the wet ingredients. Follow the instructions and stir it in last, with the raisins, after everything is mixed. They will not turn out right if you mix it in. (been there, done that)

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 1/4 cups old fashioned oats
1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp ginger

1/4 tsp nutmeg

1/3 cup softened butter

1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar

1  egg

1 tsp. vanilla

1 cup golden raisins

1/3 cup orange marmalade

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Combine flour, oats, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg and set aside.

Beat together the butter, sugar and brown sugar. Beat in the egg and vanilla.

Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture and stir by hand until almost combined. Add the raisins and marmalade, and stir until just blended.

Drop rounded teaspoonfuls of dough 2” apart on a cookie sheet. Parchment paper really helps them not to stick to the pan! Bake for 15–20 minutes, until deep golden all over, but not brown (see photo). Cool for a few minutes on the cookie sheet, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Makes 2-3 dozen cookies.

The Mountain

The mountain opened up again yesterday after being closed because of fire danger, so we took a walk.

We're so thankful for the rains recently!

July 13, 2013

Things I haven't blogged about lately...

This is my catch up list! (with very fancy bullet points)

- I sent Maggie off on a mission trip. Our youth group went to Oakland/San Francisco, California to help clean up a neighborhood and be Light to the people there. They have some wonderful stories too!
- Sent Charles off to Phoenix (you are seeing a trend here I assume) to perform a wedding and to pack up our outdoor furniture, grill, chiminea, lawn mower, weed whacker, and assorted other outdoorish things. We didn't have room in our original moving truck for these things and have been begging and borrowing lawn mowers and eating only indoor cooked foods since we moved here so...YAY! We've also broken every folding camping chair we had except one because we sit on our deck so much. Love having our furniture set again. Love having a mowed lawn and grilling food outside.
- I flew to Phoenix 2 days after Charles to attend Hannah's wedding shower at her sister-in-law-to-be's house. Then we went whirlwind shopping to try to find a bridesmaid dress for Emma which was unsuccessful but fun. Then I met Charles at the church, where the wedding he reception he was involved with was wrapping up, hopped into the small moving truck drove with him back to Albuquerque (from which I flew away early that same morning). We arrived somewhere around 3:30am, bleary eyed and almost in an altered state! ;)
- Youth mission team arrived back on Monday night but without Maggie. Her sisters picked her up as they drove through Flagstaff and she has been in Phoenix visiting ever since. She helped with our former church's Vacation Bible School this past week and left yesterday to go to youth camp with her old youth group until Tuesday. She will be home Thursday, when my sister will drive up to visit for a few days.
- I have found that life around here is either full steam, barreling ahead or it's completely quiet and peaceful until your ears are ringing. Maggie described it that it's like being dropped in honey....every. thing. slowwwwwws. doooooown. Meditate on this for a while. It's taken a while to get used to but we are enjoying it now. I think it's healthy and was needed. And now imagine floating in honey without a Maggie in the house. You've gone from honey to molasses in January. I am cracking up because that is exactly what it was like for a week or so. .....and then the barreling starts.
- In one long weekend we volunteered at a field day for the community center's children's summer recreation program. I manned the dart game.....with real darts with one inch stickers on the ends. (Yes, that was as intimidating and stressful as it sounds when you are assisting keyed up K-6th graders with dangerous weapons) Sunburn number one happened.
- The very next day, our church put on a block party. Our church does a block party every summer as a way to get to know the community better. But this year we also did it as a fund raiser for a neighbor of ours named Steve. On Memorial Day weekend, our neighbor 7 houses down the road lost his house in a fire. Sometimes it takes something tragic to bring people together and we have seen how God's used this tragedy to bring our neighborhood closer. No one was hurt in the fire, but he lost everything. As a single dad, he's been blown away by the community's concern and help for him. We had tons of help at the block party, but with prep, set up, greeting and visiting with dozens of new people, helping an out of town youth group get set up and know what to do, and standing for 7 hours, hooo, baby, I was wiped out. We didn't feel it until we hit our front door. It was a great day, full of energy and neighbors becoming friends, and people pouring out money and concern for Steve.
- Had the out of town youth group over for the afternoon after the block party while they did their debriefing and finished their blog and photo booth projects. Fed them tacos. (Thankfully they cleaned up my kitchen afterwards! Very cool.) Then they left for the next leg of their mission trip and we basically collapsed into a heap. :)
- Sunday was youth led worship and service. They all gave testimonies about their mission trip and what God did in their own lives. Leadership team meeting after church until almost 6pm. I did not contribute much, just kind of sat there and tried to stay focused and take notes for the newsletter.
- This week, I demanded Charles actually take a day off. He was very willing after that busy weekend. So we decided to tour northern New Mexico. We drove up to Taos, visited a place he wants to take our young adult group for a retreat in a month and drove home that evening. It was beautiful weather and scenery. This is a spectacular place with a lot of unspoiled wilderness and natural beauty. There is not even a big highway that goes up there, you have to take little state highways and figure out your route carefully to get where you want to go.
- The forest fires here are mostly out now and the rain has finally been falling....almost daily! It's like everything in our yard has come back to life and the trees of our field are clapping their hands in delight of moisture and blessing. It's refreshing to the human soul as well.
- I've been getting curriculum and classes lined up for Maggie because we are going back to homeschooling this year! She is done with dramatic drama in schools and is ready to focus on school and enrichment studies without the anxiety. She auditioned for a concert choir in a homeschool enrichment studies program and made it in. And in a week she will begin driver's education class at a school in Albuquerque. Our last girl to start driving. I find it is one of the most stressful times in my life, when my kids start driving. But God uses it to grow my faith and trust in Him every time! I will have to write on that in another post.

God is good. He is giving us vision and showing us where to join in with Him in this community....where our church fits in and how we can be effective here to show His love and be His Light. 

- ETA: The men's breakfast was held in my house this morning, giving me time to hide out in my room and write this post. Last night I told someone I wasn't going to come out of my room until the kitchen was clean. And it was! Thank you to the guys! My husband made bisquits & sausage gravy, scrambled eggs and orange juice ...another man brought bacon. And now my kitchen is all clean and Charles is out mowing the lawn while I was adding some Miracle Grow to my gardens. Everything is growing great now that the air has a little moisture in it and it's been raining each day. I will try to post a picture soon. 

July 1, 2013

Snakes in the laundry room

This happened today....

Our landlord took our back door off to get a new one the correct size. In the meantime someone (named George) took full advantage of the situation.

Even though he looks dangerous, he is only a bull snake and harmless, unless you are a songbird or mouse. They also chase away dangerous snakes from your yard, so we'll keep him. Charles wrangled him out the door and we covered it up and chased him into the part of the yard where there are gopher holes. ;) 

Go George go!