Monday, October 17, 2011

pumpkin spice cake

This time of year, when the leaves are falling from the trees, and the house is warm with the fireplace on, there is something about the weather which makes me crave pumpkin. Pumpkin spice lattes, pumpkin bars, pumpkin chocolate chip cookies--and especially pumpkin pie. I appeased a bit of my craving the other day by making a pumpkin cake.

It was a breezy afternoon and the noon sunlight was pouring in through the windows as I pulled out the recipe and began to gather the ingredients. Mixing things together, pouring this and that into the mixing bowl, cracking egg after egg and chopping the nuts one by one, the cake began to form.

Once it was put into the oven, I sat and waited rather impatiently for it to bake. The minutes ticked by slowly, but as they did, the air was filled with the sweet aroma of autumn. Softly, music played on the radio, and I sat with a book in hand waiting for the beep of the oven when it was done.

While it was certainly not the most beautiful cake I've ever seen, it was delicious. My mother got the recipe from a friend at church last year, and ever since, it's been a favorite at our house. The nuttiness of the walnuts mixed with the creaminess of the pumpkin was sensational. The taste of cinnamon and the hint of ginger collided together to create the most extraordinary burst of spices. It definitely satisfied my longing for pumpkin, until of course, I find another magnificent pumpkin recipe that I can't pass up.


1 29 oz. can of pumpkin
4 eggs, beaten
1 12 oz. can of evaporated milk
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 teas. ginger
1 teas. cinnamon
1 box yellow cake mix
1 cup of chopped pecans {i used walnuts instead}
1 cup melted butter.

Mix pumpkin, eggs, milk, sugar, ginger, and cinnamon and beat well. Pour mixture into a glass 13"x9" pan. Sprinkle dry cake mix evenly over pumpkin mixture. Sprinkle nuts on top; drizzle melted button evenly over all. Bake at 350 degrees for 75 minutes. Serve with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream {my personal favorite}. Allow to bake during your meal--it smells wonderful! 


Saturday, October 15, 2011

just lovely things and thoughts

This past week has been all kinds of wonderful. A break from school and perfect weather. I'm absolutely in love with autumn--the changing leaves, the cooler weather, the sweaters and boots, the hot drinks. Every bit of it is positively enchanting. The air is crisp and fresh while inside our fireplace is roaring and we sit in the evenings to enjoy cups full of hot cocoa.

This morning, it is cloudy but as I sit here at my desk sipping "sleepy time tea," my favorite. When ever I drink this tea, it brings me back to the times where I used to sit with my grandma on her porch and drink this same tea. She'd let me have as many sugar cubes as I wanted to, and I'd put in so many ice cubes that by the time my tea was finally gone, it was ice cold and the bottom of the cup was filled with sugar. Those days where my grandma did that with me were always my favorite.  She has a collection of little spoons that she reserved especially for those "tea party" days. I'd always get to pick which tea cup I wanted to use and which spoon I thought was the prettiest. How I loved those days!


Yesterday we went on a hunt for a few vintage things at a thrift store. I have to admit that digging through people's used items isn't exactly my favorite thing to do, but I love it when you find some things that you've been looking for. Lately, I've been looking for a few vintage things to put in my room here and there. I was absolutely delighted to find some old records and a 1967 Webster's Illustrated Dictionary. I've decided that even though thrifting isn't my favorite thing to do, the results are worth it. Finding these treasures made my day quite lovely.

Earlier in the week my family went to a small farm nestled outside of a forest on the plains of Colorado. Animals were everywhere, a pumpkin patch was home to all sizes of orange pumpkins, and though the air smelled worse then anything I've ever smelled before, the scenery was beautiful. 


On Monday, I'm back to everyday life again. Fall break is over. I don't feel ready to go back to school again. This school year has been much more stressful then I was anticipating. The work load I have seems to take over my life and I feel as though my life has been overrun with school work. It's a hard balance--spending enough time on my school work, yet still having time to do other things and not obsessing over my studies. However, I am finding that when I do have time off of school, I enjoy it so much more. These times of being able to spend time with friends and family, taking day trips here and there, are so relaxing and such a welcome relief from the day to day grind of school work. I am so thankful for the Lord's grace and patience with me--it is only in Him I am able to keep going. I am so blessed.


Is that not the cutest smile you have ever seen? 

Several of you have asked how our adoption is going. We sent in our paperwork to China a few weeks ago, and very quickly after that, they sent us our log in date. Now, we wait. We are hoping that my parents will be able to travel sometime in February. There's not a day that goes by that I don't think and wonder about these boys. There is so much "unknown" right now. I find myself day dreaming about what they'll be like day after day. There is so much still to do before we bring them home! But, we are resting in the fact that God knows the exact day and hour that we will have these boys in our arms. Though that day seems so far off right now, we know that God's timing is perfect and every step of this adoption journey is planned out by the author and creator of our lives. 


This week was hot chocolate, day dreaming, shopping, sitting down with a good book. This week was smiles and laughter. Here's to next week, being even better!

Happy Saturday, friends! 

Friday, October 14, 2011

blonde hair and blue eyes

This last week, two of my closest friends and I ventured around their neighborhood in hopes of getting a few good pictures. We causally strolled around, stopping at a playground for a few minutes, stopping under a grove of trees, laughing and talking the whole time.

These two sisters have to be two of the most beautiful people I know. They both have long golden hair that blew so softly in the wind, and they share the same bright blue eyes.

The best part about these two is that they're beautiful on the inside too. They're so sweet, so kind and they have such beautiful hearts for the Lord. 

We're rather crazy when we three get together, but I must say that every moment I spend with these girls is absolutely lovely--whether we're talking about things seriously, laughing until we cry, or walking around taking pictures.

They're beautiful, and so, so special. I love them. Very much. 

Monday, October 10, 2011

fall has arrived and i'm quite happy

This last weekend, my cousin invited me to go with her family for her birthday to the mountains. As we drove up the winding roads, and as we got higher and higher up into the sky, the weather became much cooler. We buried ourselves in blankets for the two hour car ride, and entertained ourselves with our cameras and snacks as we watched the world go by from the windows of the car.

We checked into the lodge we were staying in, and then went a bit farther up into the mountains to a quaint little town for lunch. We devoured our lunches, herb bread, and iced tea and then ventured to little shops stopping to window shop here and there.

We spent the afternoon in our lodge, watching tv, talking, and sipping Starbucks as the weather outside grew even more winter-like.

The next morning, the world outside had been covered in a white fluffy snow. The first of the season! It was beautiful and so, so, cold.

We donned boots and sweaters and took a walk outside in the early morning. 

The best part of the weekend was going to town and shopping while it was pouring snow. It was absolutely freezing, and we practically ran to each shop, but it was so worth it.

There were several people who looked at us as if we were crazy to actually be stopping in that kind of weather only to take pictures. But I absolutely love how they turned out, and I know I'm going to treasure the memories from this weekend forever.