Monday, November 29, 2010

Baby, It's Cold Outside!

The cold is here to stay!

It never got over 60* today (yes, that IS a big deal when it's November and you live in Southern California!  Three weeks ago, it was in the 90s) .  The wind is cold, the air is cold, even the sun is cold.  I love it.

But I'll love it a lot more when my new winter coat arrives in the mail!  I'm so excited.  I've never owned one.  Living a mile from the beach, I never needed one!  But these inland winters kick butt.  I'm cold all the time.

Our poor little house is an ice box.  It has central heat, but it seems to heat up all the rooms we don't use before the ones that we do use.  Kinda pointless. Last night, Jesse and I huddled under piles of blankets in the den while watching a movie,  our little space heater going full blast.  It does a great job!

And this morning, I had to jump back out of my car and scrape ice off the windshield when I realized why I couldn't see through the windows. 


Kate is coming over tonight.  I love my crazy sister.  She's working on her Senior Sem thesis, and needs a quiet place for the evening.  It'll be fun to have her back.  She lived with us during the summer, and we've missed her!  What I had planned for dinner isn't enough to feed three, though, so I've got to hop into the kitchen and get creative.

Hope you're enjoying a wonderfully winterish week!


Saturday, November 27, 2010

Where Did Autumn Go?

Remember how excited I was about the First day of Autumn?

How is it over already?

I know, I know, Winter doesn't really begin until late December, but still...

People have hung their lights, Christmas trees are glittering through windows, "White Christmas" and "Sleighbells" are ringing through the air.  Autumn is forgotten, and Christmas is on its way.

I'm only half sad.  Autumn is my favorite season, but Christmas is my favorite holiday.  I love everything about it.  It just feels sad that we only experienced a few days of cool, crisp, Autumn weather.  Too much of Fall was hot and summery.  Now we're on to rain, snow, frost, the works!

What am I excited about as far as Christmas?  I'm looking foward to setting up our tree.  I'm looking forward to more time spent with family.  I'm looking forward to making  gifts for loved ones.  I'm looking forward to bringing Jesus' love to countless lonely hearts.  I'm looking forward to sharing my 3rd Christmas with my handsome husband. 

 I'm also looking forward to sharing my favorite Christmas recipes with you, and possibly even having a Christmas fashion week!  (interested? let me know!)

We'll see.  For now, I'm going to go cuddle with my handsome man and drift off to sleep while listening to Bing Crosby...

"May your days be merry and bright!"


p.s. if you don't find me at home, I may have moved into this house ;-)

So Incredibly Thankful for Family

I failed.  I didn't take a single picture of Thanksgiving this year.  But that doesn't mean it wasn't a wonderfully blessed time.

(on a side note, pictures will be a lot more frequent as soon as Jesse's and my Black Friday Nikon D3000 arrives!  So, so, sooo excited!)

I drove up after work to my parents' house on Wednesday to see Laura's mime group perform.  Jesse had youth group and a Thanksgiving Eve service at church, so he came up with Momma B on Thursday. 

When I got there, my brother Jon and my sister Kate were in the living room with Mom and Dad, and we all visited and enjoyed being together again, waiting for Laura to come home from school.  When we heard her car drive up, we all ran to the door and greeted her with hugs.  Poor thing, being the youngest of  a big family leaves her coming home to an empty house frequently.  She was so happy to be surrounded by all of us!

After all four of us siblings had hung out for about an hour, I went with Mom over to Ami 's (my dad's mom) house.  Last Thanksgiving was a difficult one since we spent most of it at the hospital with Papa Chuck.  When Ami announced that she wanted to host Thanksgiving at her house this year (our first one without Papa), we were all surprised, but thankful that she was willing to go on.

Mom and I visited with Ami, and then went into her kitchen to work on the potatoes and yams for the next day.  What a feast!

When we got back home, Kate had made a batch of salsa for our taco dinner.  As all of us girls worked in the kitchen making dinner, we pretty much demolished the chips and salsa!  It was fun to be back in that kitchen with my mom and sisters.  Not really like old times, since none of us liked to cook back then, but wonderful just the same :-)

The mime presentation by Agape Mime Troupe at church that night was wonderful.  We had all seen presentations by them before, but this was the first one any of us had seen since Laura joined.  So exciting!  She did a wonderful job, and we're all very happy that she gets to be involved with such a wonderful group of Christ-centered young people.

The next morning was a flurry of people waiting their turn to use the shower, preparing things for dinner, and getting ready for the Thanksgiving church service.  It was such a blessing to be back with the church family at Covenant of Grace.  I grew up in that church and was there for 16 years hearing my dad preach every Sunday.  I miss that church family, and I'm thankful that they still count me as family, too!

My poor handsome man is super sick this week (feeling much better now, thank goodness!) so it was good that he could stay home on Wednesday and come up with his mom on Thursday.  I missed him terribly, but I'm glad that he got that extra rest!

Jesse and Momma B got to Ami's house right before we did.  It was so good to be all together again!

We had a wonderful meal together, and enjoyed every minute of it.  We laughed and talked as a family, sharing tidbits of news and talking about school (Jon and Kate are both graduating from college in the spring, and Laura is graduating from high school.  They're all crazy busy with school these days!). 

After dinner, we sat around Ami's living room.  Jon went and picked up his lovely Megan and came back in time for pie.  Pies were my job this year.  I'll share recipes soon!

It was such a wonderful time with family.  I'm so thankful for every one of them! 

I realized on Thursday that it was the 4th Thanksgiving Day I've celebrated with Jesse, but the 3rd one that I've celebrated as his wife.  I'm amazed and thankful and really, just blown away with how quickly God brought Jesse into my life (quickly? knew him for a year before you guys ever thought about dating!  Yes, I said quickly.)  He timed everything perfectly for us.  The transfer student harpist in 2005 never would have imagined she'd be celebrating her third Thanksgiving with her husband in 2010.  God's providence is amazing!  I'm so thankful for the incredible, loving, strong, beloved man God paired me with in my handsome Jesse.

I'm also so thankful for the rest of my family.  My dad and mom who raised me in the way I should go, my siblings who made my childhood bright, grandparents who have been there to share in every special event in my life, a wonderful mother-in-love who delights in having a daughter, and enough aunts, uncles, and cousins to overflow my gramma's house at Christmastime.

This week has reminded me what a blessing it is to have such a wonderful family.  We don't see each other every week, but when we are all together, it's a celebration. 

Thank You, God, for the family I grew up in, the family I married into, and the family I have yet to meet!


Thanksgiving 2008--Jesse and I hosted our first Thanksgiving at our house.  Going around the table beginning at the bottom left, Kate, Mom, Papa Don, Gramma, Momma B, Jesse, me, Ami, Papa Chuck, Laura, Jon, (and Dad took the picture)

Enjoy the rest of your wonderful Thanksgiving Week!


Monday, November 22, 2010

Site Stat Smile

Looking for my giveaway?  Please check it out!  I'm dying to share some goodies with you!  Click  ♥HERE

Since this website is taking its baby steps, there haven't been many searches that Google has sent my way.  I enjoy looking at the site stats, though, and seeing how many people have read something on my site today, how many people liked this post, what people are looking around for.  It makes me happy to know that others are here!

I had to laugh, though, while looking at the site searches, when I found that the most recent google search that had been sent my way was a search for "persuasive letter to santa."

I was puzzled at first, but then it started coming back to me.  Two years ago.  A sweet little third grader named Braelynn.   My assignment to write a persuasive letter to Santa Claus.  The letter that made me smile for days:
Dear Santa,

I have been a good girl. So I would like this very special Christmas present from you and your elves. I would like a lot of things from you, but I would mostly like you to work your magic and please get me two front teeth.
If I don’t have two front teeth, no one will stop laughing at me. I won’t have my teeth for a long time, and nobody is nice to me about my two front teeth. My gums look too funny to not laugh at. I can’t chew fast, so I am always last at the table.
Santa Claus, if you don’t give me two front teeth, I can’t have healthy teeth because when I brush my teeth, it hurts my sensitive gums. People laugh at me when they see toothpaste stuck on my gums. I cut myself when I eat with a pointy fork.
Santa Claus, if you just won’t give me the present, I will hear people keep saying it’s not the style. When I’m wearing blue clothes, my red gums don’t match. My gums aren’t cool.
Santa Claus, is all your reindeer excited about Christmas? Does your reindeer have no front teeth? Can the reindeer chew well without teeth?
Sincerely, Braelynn





How adorable is she?!?

p.s. I'm sooo excited for Christmas!

Friday, November 19, 2010

November Collection on Etsy

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Here is a preview of what is in my Etsy shop this month!

So many exciting things!  And many, many thanks to my beautiful friends Jenny, Mary, and Candace!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

First Etsy Sale!

I woke up to the most wonderful surprise this morning! I was so excited to finally have my etsy up, and I couldn't wait to look at it again first thing this morning.
Well, guess what?
I had my very first sale!

Thanks to my new friend Kelly, I was able to package up my very first order and send it off to South Carolina. I'm so excited for her to receive it!

So, so happy :-)

Don't miss out on the giveaway! Check out below. I want to hand out my pretty Christmas scarves!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

My Very First Giveaway

I'm super, ridiculously excited...

to have my very first giveaway!

I have beautiful, sparkly, festive Christmas Flower Scarves who need new homes this season.

You get to choose which colors you like: the traditional, classic tricolor scarf, or the festive and funky bright red and green.

Any it's so easy to win one! 

No random number-generated selected winner,

No standing on your head and singing silly lyrics 3 times fast.


1. Give a shout out to your friends and let them know about my new site,

2. Get five friends to join my site (through Google Friend Connect)


3. Email me at and tell me the names of 5 your friends who signed up, send me your mailing address, and let me know which scarf I can send to you.


Pretty easy, isn't it?

I'm so thankful for all of you, and this is the easiest (and most fun) way I can think of to thank you personally for following me and helping me get my business up and running!

Like one of my other scarves on Etsy better?  I'm happy to send you one of those!  Just let me know :-)

This giveaway will close on Tuesday, November 30th at 11:59pm.

My First Craft Boutique

Momma B (my Mother-in-Love) and I teamed up for an arts and crafts boutique last weekend, and we had a blast!

I had no idea what to expect, but I was excited all the same.  It was a great opportunity to learn tricks of the trade (such as always bring tape!) and be better prepared for next time. 

It was fun to see the fruits of our labor out on a table ready to be purchased--so exciting!


Crocheted lovelies...lots of scarves, but some cute hats and little baby sweaters, too.

Lots of flower headbands, clips, and pins.  Nearly all of them sold!

Pretty little glass bead jewelry sets

My handmade soaps

Momma B had her beautiful quilts for sale.  All hand quilted.  Just beautiful.

Look at the beautiful detail she adds in her quilting!  I need to spend more time under her tutelage :-)

My handsome man was so wonderful.  He helped with the sales, greeted people as they walked by, and took care of us throughout the day.  What a blessing it was to marry a guy who was already "trained" by another crafter!  He is such a wonderful sport.  ♥

Jesse's godparents, Jan and Robert, came to the sale to support us.  It was so much fun to see them there, and to have them involved in what we were doing!  They brought us lunch and we all had a wonderful time.


It was such a good day!  It was a lot of fun to be able to share my work with others, and to get to walk around and see things that other people had made.  But mostly, it was a wonderful day to share a love for crafting with Momma B, and begin something that I hope will become a wonderful family tradition.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Smile for the Day

Can I special request this guy to be on my next flight?!?!


So cool :-)

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Beautiful Enough to See It

My Mother-in-Love, Momma B, sent this story to me in an email, and it touched my heart today.  Working with children with special needs for the past couple months has opened my eyes to a beauty that so many people miss out on.  When I see others down on the floor, going over and over a simple process to help make a child more independant, I can't help but smile and praise Jesus for giving that person grace, patience, and an eye for the beauty within.

The following story made me think of what caregivers, Special Education teachers, Instructional Aides, Occupational Therapists, Speech Therapists, Adaptive PE coaches, Physical Therapists, and Resource Specialists do for the children in their care.  I see it daily.
A blind boy sat on the steps of a building with a hat by his feet. He held up a sign which said: "I am blind, please help." There were only a few coins in the hat.
A man walked by. He took a few coins from his pocket and dropped them into the hat. He then took the sign, turned it around, and wrote some words on the back. He put the sign back so that everyone who walked by would see the new words.

Soon, the hat began to fill up. Many more people were giving money to the blind boy.
That afternoon, the man who had changed the sign came to see how the boy was doing. The boy recognized his footsteps and asked, "Were you the one who changed my sign this morning? What did you write?"
The man said, "I only wrote the truth. I said what you said but in a different way." "I wrote: "Today is a beautiful day, but I cannot see it."
Both signs told people that the boy was blind, but the first sign simply said the boy was blind. The second sign reminded people how blessed they were that they were not blind.
Should we be surprised that the second sign was more effective?
There is no beauty in shunning others for their differences.  True beauty comes in Christ-like love, where one person sees another's weaknesses and loves them all the more. 

There are hard days in the special ed classroom I'm working in right now.  Days where we feel we've made no progress--as if we're just banging our head against the wall in vain.  But there are days like yesterday, when a teacher--who had come in last week saying that she felt like giving up on one of her students--came in beaming with pride over the wonderful speech presentation her student had given that day.  That little guy and I worked so hard on that speech.  We had to practice the words he would be saying, we had to practice making eye contact, using a nice loud voice, and standing straight and tall (that cute little guy is a wiggle worm!)  Yesterday was our little victory.  I'm so proud of him for doing so well!

My friend Emily in San Diego called me this afternoon with a, "Well, I was sitting here quilting, and I missed my crafting buddy!  How are you doing?"  We talked for a wonderfully long time, and I caught her up to date on life and work lately.  There was a smile in her voice as she asked questions about the little ones I work with daily, and she told me about Sara's newest victory with the little boy (with Down Syndrome) that she works with as a caregiver.  Apparently, David is a whiz at computers, but has never learned to tie his shoes.  Check out this link to see how Sara worked around that!

Doesn't her love and care for his wellbeing make you smile?!?

 Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” (Matthew 19:14)  He did not show discernment between those little children who could run freely up to Him, and those needed assistance.  He did not show preference between the little children who could sing His praises and repeat His words and the little ones who simply clung to His hand. 

I love that we have a Savior who reminds us to seek for the beauty in all.  The joy of digging deep enough, seeing little eyes light up for the first time, is a joy worth holding on to. 

Monday, November 8, 2010

Citrus Basil Chicken

This is probably more of a summer dish than a cold, autumn evening dinner, but I had a random selection of food before grocery day, and decided to find a way to use them up!

It's a very simple dish, and the whole time we were eating it, Jesse kept remarking on how "confusingly delicious" it was.  I guess I can take that as a compliment!

(We were too hungry to take pictures...sorry!)

I think it took about 20 minutes from start to finish.  Serves 2.

All you need:

♥ vegetable oil

♥2 skinless, boneless chicken breasts OR 4 skinless, boneless chicken thighs

♥1/2 small red onion

♥1/2 cup orange or mango juice

♥1 tsp each dried basil leaves and ground cumin

♥1/2 tsp salt

♥1/2 lime 

♥1/4 cup coarsely chopped fresh basil

Lightly oil a large frying pan and set over medium heat.

When hot, add chicken and cook until lightly golden, 3 to 4 minutes per side.

Meanwhile, thinly slice red onion.

When chicken is golden, scatter onion around chicken.

Pour in orange juice.

Sprinkle with dried basil, cumin and salt.

Using a wooden spoon, scrape up and stir in any brown bits from pan bottom.

Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low.

Cover and simmer, turning chicken halfway through, until chicken is springy when pressed, 6 to 8 minutes.

Squeeze juice from lime overtop.

Remove chicken and place on dinner plates.

Increase heat to high.

Boil pan juices, stirring often, until slightly thickened, about 2 minutes.

Stir in fresh basil.

Drizzle over chicken.

Serve on top of jasmine rice, and enjoy!

Bringing Back an Old Favorite~Double Thick Potato Cheese Soup

It's the perfect day for Double Thick Potato Cheese soup, and I love it so much!
I thought I'd repost the recipe for those of you who didn't know me last year.   Yum, yum!

♥ Crockpot Recipe ♥

2 pounds of baking potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2 in. cubes

2 cans of condensed cream of mushroom soup

1 1/2 cups finely chopped green onions

1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

1/8 teaspoon ground red pepper

1 1/2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese

1 cup sour cream

1 cup milk

black pepper to taste

All you have to do is combine the potatoes, soup, 1 cup green onions, garlic powder, and red pepper into the slow cooker. Cover, and cook on low for 8 hours (or on high for 4)

Add cheese, sour cream, and milk; stir until cheese has completely melted. Cover, and cook on high for 10 minutes. Season to taste with black pepper. Garnish with remaining green onions. Makes 7 servings.

Jesse and I love putting this in sourdough bread bowls. The bread just makes it even homier. It's such a yummy, chilly evening treat!

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Calling All Camera Pros!

I'm so excited.  Jesse and I have been saving up for months and months to get a new camera.  The one we have right now is from my sophomore year of high school, and it's a dinosaur of digital point-and-shoots!

Our family has been giving us money on our birthdays to go toward a new camera, and we're finally there!  We're planning on saving even more by waiting until Black Friday.

Buuuuuuuuuut...we need recommendations.  We really want a Digital SLR, but we have no experience with them and don't really know what to look for.

That's where you come in.  So many of you, my sweet blogger friends, take beautiful pictures that make me gasp, sigh, name it, I've done it :-)

I've heard from many people that the Nikon D60 is the one to go for, but other people say the Canon Rebel is just as good (and much cheaper!)  Does it all really just come down to the lens you use?

What do you have?
What would you recommend we look for specs-wise when choosing a camera?
Anything you did that you would do differently if you had the opportunity?

Jesse and I are planning to enroll in a digital photography class in the Spring.  Talk about Date Night!  ;-)
We can't wait for a new camera and all of the new opportunities it will bring!

Send me your wisdom!

Friday, November 5, 2010

You Know You've Been Crocheting Too Much Lately When...

Oh my.  I think I need to put my hooks and skeins down.  It's getting to my brain!

I just picked up an apple, peeled the little sticker off of it, and thought, "Wow, it has its dye lot on it!"

Lol...I might be a little more sane after the craft fair next Saturday.  One week!
If you're in the area, swing on by!

I Really Should Just Open a Bakery...

Today, as I was walking a group of third graders back to their class after practicing their speech with me, one of the little boys came up alongside me.
"Mrs. Brubaker?  I have a question," He said, pushing his glasses up on his nose, "Do you like to bake?"
"Yes, I do,"  I smiled at him. 

It was sort of a random question, but being 2.5 years into this marriage, I had an inkling where his train of thought was going.

"I thought so," He said proudly, as if he had cracked a major mystery, "That's why your name is Mrs. Brubaker!"

Oh, yes...I am Mrs. Baker, Mrs. Bagel, Mrs. Bakery, Mrs. Blueberry, Mrs. Blue Bagel, Mrs. Rude Baker, Mrs. Blue Baker, and Mrs. Cake Baker.  I feel like I must have heard them all by now.  But each one still makes me laugh, and I know that with childrens' creativity, they're just going to keep coming!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

A Funny Memory

One of my favorite blogs to read is Amanda Maguire's Married to a Youth Pastor.
She's down to earth.  She gets it.  She knows that being married to a youth pastor isn't all rainbows and daisies.  I go to her site when I need a laugh, and she  always reminds me that I'm not the only one!

This week, Amanda asked her readers to post the time we've had the most inappropriate giggles.  I remembered the first time that Jon came to church with us, and it made me laugh.  I thought I'd share that laugh with you :-)

I grew up in a small reformed church, but when I went to college and married a handsome Lutheran, I became a Lutheran. The first time that my brother came to visit me and come to church with us, it was a communion Sunday. At our church growing up, the elders passed plates of bread and wine across the pews and each communicant member took one. At the church where my husband is the youth pastor, elders usher members up to the altar to receive from the pastor. Since I’m not big about having anyone put food in my mouth, I put my hands out in front of me so that our pastor will put the wafer in my palm instead.

When we walked up and knelt at the altar that day, I motioned to my brother (who had never experienced communion this way) to put his hands out like I was. When the pastor came by with the bread and saw Jon’s outstretched hands, he went to put the bread in his hands. I’m not sure what Jon thought his hands were supposed to do, because he opened his mouth and followed Pastor’s hand trying to eat the bread all the way down to his outstretched palms.  He looked so ridiculous trying to eat out of Pastor’s hand that I went into full, body-shaking laughter.

Up at the altar.

In front of 300 people.

I couldn’t compose myself and had to walk back to our pew still gasping for air.

Siiiiighh….what a great first impression of the new Youth Pastor’s wife!!!!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Election Day

This is a conversation I heard at school today that made me laugh:

Teacher: Alright, class, time to go to lunch!  Please get your things quickly; I need to run out during lunch and vote.
Second Grader: Are you going to vote for yourself?
Teacher: No!  I'm going to vote for the candidates.
Second Grader: Oh.  My daddy nominated himself for governor!

Monday, November 1, 2010

Happy November!

It's November already!

Now, how did that happen?!?

Can't believe how quickly October flew...but, ohmygoodness, so many exciting things are coming up!

First of all, I've been doing the happy dance for the last couple of weeks because I have plans.

Big plans.

Plans that include a website of my own and an etsy shop.  I can't wait to get them up and show you!

For now, though, want a sneak peak at a few of my newest creations?  (and some of my wonderful friends!)
Pictures compliments of my amazing sister, Kate.

Stay tuned!