Tuesday, December 28, 2010

From a Southern mouth

"Ya'all can go Honkey Tonkin later on the strip if you want to."

"Uh, what is Honkey Tonkin?"

"You know, to the bars and stuff."

Only in the South.

Monday, December 20, 2010

As Alabama would say....

I'm going to have my first Tender Tennessee Christmas...

Starting, tomorrow!

Merry Christmas everyone!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

No kid hungry

I recently came across an E mail (not sent on purpose, and forwarded by someone that I don't even know) that started with the question, "Can someone please tell me what the hell is wrong with the people who run our country???" Now I know this question is probably meant for those who are in the government and political system of America, but, even those people are part of our population who have the opportunity to give and donate and assist those who are in more need than those of us who have more to give.

It proceeded to rant about the fact that America gives millions and millions of dollars to other countries in need, and yet whoever originally started this "chain" e mail obviously felt like people in America aren't doing enough to help their own, and we need to stop giving to other countries and help "US" first......

I felt a couple of things after reading this E mail. Mostly a bit of disgust, ok actually a lot, that this was even started in the first place. America has an overwhelming abundance of "stuff", and ecomically speaking, we are more wealthy than any of the struggling countries who have been hit by natural disaster this last year. We are a county that at least HAS the ability to set up a system that allows disabled elderly, veterans, and others who are unable to work an ongoing income to be able to live off of for the rest of their lives. So, so SO many other countries don't even have that option. They have dirt, living in a "tent house" made with a rope and a piece of bedding.

And, I also don't believe it's ok to stop giving to a country just because they happen to have one of the worst terrorists alive living there. Should the rest of the country be punished for that? I would say no. For what we do to the least of us, we have also done unto Jesus. We ought to be giving, because we have way more to give to others than a lot of other countries have even for themselves.

But, I do not skip that fact that even in America, we have poor, starving and struggling people, children, elderly, veterans, etc., who go without food and often shelter, though there may be available resources to help them. I have pondered why, in all the abundance, people don't have food to eat, a place to live, water to drink. Is it lack of knowledge of where to find these resources? Do they feel humiliated at the thought of walking into the Salvation Army and receiving something they themselves have not worked for to earn? Is their pride getting in the way?
We all make choices, but whether or not it is our place to judge those who are in need and why they have gotten to the place where they are needy, I believe is not our place to go. God just calls us to give and have compassion, and those who live out the consequences for the choices they have made to get them to where they are in life, well, that is between them and God, if they so choose to believe in Him.

I write this to say, as a response to whoever decided to write that not-so-nice E mail about America needing to help their own more, that if you were to just merely google the words "giving in America", you will find multiple ways we as Americans find ways to give to those in our country who are in need.

Luckily, I didn't even have to do that. While looking at the most recent post from my trusted Gluten Free blogger Shauna Ahern from http://www.glutenfreegirl.blogspot.com/ , she posted about this

To know that 1 in 4 children go to bed hungry in America is astonishing. Why? Because I truthfully feel that living in America, we have way more resources financially to prevent this from happening, or at least lessen the burden.
But, to know that something like this exsists, for me, is a punch in the face to whoever started that silly little E mail, and I say to you, " Nothing is wrong with us, sir/ma'am, how are you finding a way to give to those in need in your own country, instead of merely complaining about it in an E mail with no action?"

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Spice up your life

Last night, I made my 3rd and final new gluten free recipe for December! I knew that since I was not going to be baking much after this week, I had to get them in before the weekend. I will probably do some cooking while visiting with Chas' parents for the holidays, but, probably nothing super hard and most likely nothing new.

The Jerk Chicken was tasty! Even though I wasn't feeling super great last night (hoping I am not coming down with something), it still had a nice spice flavor complimented with the brown sugar and the mango/black bean salad. You can check out the recipe on the food blog that I contribute to http://recipeco-op.blogspot.com/

But, I also wanted to try something else that I had not yet made since going gluten free. Actually, I don't think I have EVER made my own snicker doodles before. So, I guess this is a first in many ways!

Anyway, I stumbled across a tasty looking snicker doodle recipe on the GF blog I follow the most, www.glutenfreegirl.blogspot.com, and she had posted two ways to make the cookies. I ended up trying both, because I was curious as to the difference between using a pre-mixed all purpose GF flour and mixing the individual flour ingredients yourself. Truth be told, the cookies that were made with the individual flours turned out waaaaaay better. More fluffy, not hard, but just crispy enough on the edges to want to eat 3, or 4. Or 6. I made the second batch for the Washington Heights pot luck that Chas and I went to on Sunday, and I am sure no one even knew that they were gluten free, since by the time we got through the line to the dessert table, they were all gone.

I am just glad to know that I have one more victory to add to my list of tasty gluten free receipes.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

In the world, not of it

Sometimes, the heart of human fate creates a debacle....

What is a debacle, you might ask?

A sudden downfall, or disasterous fallout.

That's what sin is, a debacle. Otherwise known as a ludicrous failure.

Sin is a part of who we are, but not what defines us. I believe.

I know my heart, and what is in it. But, more importantly, God knows all the depths of my heart, and why I do the things I do. And sometimes, why I don't.

Why I have an internal and deep down desire for positive reinforcement, to be noticed, to be liked.
Why when I don't get that reinforcement I tend to start blaming others that they aren't doing enough, instead of looking at myself thinking, do more for them, dummy.

There are simple things in life that make me happy. Sharing my thoughts and goals and things I want to be held accountable for and having people actually acknowldge that I am opening up myself enough to even share those things in the first place, makes me happy.
The why behind that, though, is a very complicated and deep rooted issue from the way that I was raised.

I place no blame on those who simply take a gander at my readings, and then continue to pass on by.

But, just for the sake of my sanity, if you do desire to keep on reading the knowings of what is going on in this petty little tiny seed of life that I tend to live in every day, please, just make a comment.

Thank you from the bottom of this sinful debacled heart.

Monday, December 6, 2010

The things you miss

When you miss oatmeal, you are thankful for companies like Bob's Red Mill for Certified Gluten Free Oats.

When you miss pancakes, you are thankful for people like Shauna Ahern who learn how to make things like oatmeal pancakes that are so delicious, even someone who doesn't have to eat gluten free like them. More like, love them.

These pancakes will definitely become a staple in our home for weekends to come. That blueberry compote, soooo good with this little tasty morning breakfast treat.

Find the recipe here if you are interested in trying it.

(Side note: I have yet to buy actual oat flour. I have just been using my handy little food processor to make the oats into oat flour...it really works well)

Two recipes down, one more for December to go. Next up, Jamaican Jerk Chicken.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

A staple for Thanksgiving

This Thanksgiving, Chas and I did a few things that were pretty traditional, and we also did something not so traditional.
I don't know many people who make home made sushi for Thanksgiving, but that's what we decided to do.
It's all about being different for him. Plus, I really like sushi, a lot.
Of course, I had to try out my pumpkin pie recipe as part of the three gluten free recipes that I will be making in the next month. This crust was a little different than one that I tried a couple of years ago, mostly and only because it contains a couple other flours that I hadn't used before. Lucky for me I had just enough almond flour left, and Good Earth thankfully carries Teff flour. Notice all those flours I started with on the counter.....
And then, on to mixing the sandy dough....I learned a neat trick for adding in the butter to the flours too, thanks to www.glutenfreegirl.blogspot.com . She recommended that the butter be frozen and grated into the dough. I tried it and it worked really well.

The ball of dough ready to be rolled out and of course the most tasteful part of the pie, the filling.....Thanks to the side of a Libby's pure pumpkin can.
And, the finished product! It turned out really good, for my taste. Chas liked it too, so I would say overall it was a success.
Thanksgiving would not be complete for me without deviled eggs. I will tell you a family secret, in case you ever decide to try it, or maybe have already. I think deviled eggs taste the best with dill pickle juice added to the mix. Just sayin.
And now, onto the sushi rolls. We didn't want to get too crazy, so we decided to go with a salmon roll with cream cheese and cucumber in the middle and a little bit of spicy mayo on top. Check them out, I think they turned out pretty darn good.
Chas cutting up his outside salmon roll. I decided to roll mine on the inside with a few very small slivers of lemon in them.
And here's all three of our sushi rolls. We made a spicy california too with crab meat and some mayo and Sriracha mixed together, one of Chas' personal favorites, besides the wasabi.
And here is our table for two Thanksgiving spread. We ate every last piece of the sushi, didn't get sick, had room for pie, and ended the night with the latest Harry Potter movie with a good friend and her family. Even though our meal wasn't super traditional, we made it our own for our first Thanksgiving and enjoyed making dinner together.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

What I am thankful for

Even though there are moments where I curse under my breath (or cry to my husband in the middle of the night when we have our "pillow talks") that I am a celiac, I do know deep down that it is a blessing.

Had I not been diagnosed a celiac, I would probably be eating horribly like I was in the months before I first found out I had the now more growing disease.
Had I not cut gluten, including all wheat, white, barley, rye and some oat flours out of my diet, I would probably be well over the 200 pounds that I was closely reaching back then and on my way to a self-inflicted early death.

But I did find out, and it changed my life. After watching someone die of colon cancer, you bet it changed my life.
I think about food a lot differently now than I did before.
I am thankful for healthy foods.
I am also thankful for sweets that are gluten free. Yes I still eat them, but no, no nearly as much as I used to.

I am thankful for the people who found out they had the disease before I did and were smart enough to figure out how to make gluten free foods that taste good.
I am thankful for the iternet and blogs full of recipes that I can steal, bake, and taste in the comfort of my own kitchen.

I am thankful for a husband who is willing to go gluten free with me, even though I know he doesn't have to.
I am thankful for people who love me enough to go out of their way to accomodate me with gluten free goodness when I come around for meals. I know first hand how difficult it can be to know HOW to make a gluten free meal. There are lots of meals out there that don't, and never have contained, gluten. But, it's just taking the time to figure out WHAT gluten is, that's the challenge sometimes.

Sure, there are times where I gauck at a hambuger and drool, thinking how good it would taste to bite into a real, bunned buger. But then, I also take a step back and realize how much I am saving myself by no longer eating those types of things. Do I still eat fat? Yes. Do I still eat sugar? Yes. But, do I make a more conscious effort to eat better, including using gluten free flours because they are not as processed and are better for your body? Yes. Definitely yes. And sometimes, it's not just beacause I have to. It's because I want to. I want to eat healthy. I want to take care of the body that God has so graciously given me, because in reality it's not entirely mine anyway, it's just on loan. For now.

So, Happy Thanksgiving to you, and you, and you.

This next month, I will be making a couple of things, including these tasty recipes:
http://glutenfreegirl.blogspot.com/2009/11/gluten-free-pie.html (this will be used to make a pumpkin pie for Thanksgiving)


and this http://glutenfreegirl.blogspot.com/2005/08/loving-kitchen.html (this will be my attempt to make something that Chas and I had in Jamaica on our honeymoon)

Sunday, November 21, 2010

From that, to this

You just never know what kind of fall you are going to have in Utah.
It can go from that....

To this, in a day.

Friday, November 19, 2010

The second time around

There are not very many things in my life right now that I would say I find difficult.
Confrontation is difficult.
Running more than 3 miles when I only want to run 2, is difficult.
Making gluten free cinnamon rolls.....beats all the current difficulties in my life.
If complaining that it is hard to make gluten free cinnamon rolls is the worst thing I could say about my life right now, I consider myself to be very blessed. I have been through much worse than wanting to cry over cinnamon roll dough that is so sticky that I can't touch it with my hands or place it on anything because it will stick to it like glue, so I would say I am far from complaining. More like merely stating a fact.

Ok, to the details of this baby that I tackled last weekend.
The cinnamon rolls were the third attempt at my commitment to make at least 3 made-for-gluten-free recipes. I saved the best, and the most difficult, for last.

First, you have to combine about 5 different gluten free flours/starches, including corn flour (which was for some reason hard to find) and almond flour (which is expensive).

While doing that, you should be letting the luke warm water and yeast puff up, like so...

Then you mix all the ingredients together, with eggs, milk powder, etc. And then you let it rise for an hour. Insert painting our room from dark green to grey for the weekend.

Just before getting ready to attempt to create these ooey gooey goodness of a cinnamon roll, you make the filling. Mine, for some reason, decided to stick together, making it very hard to spread the filling more than about an inch in the middle of the dough once I got it rolled out.

Which leads me to my next disappointment (but hey, I still made them and they got eaten, I am just saying....) I didn't have parchment paper. So, I tried wax paper. NOT the same. The dough seemed as though it was rolling fine through the saran wrap and the wax paper. Until I tried to roll it off the wax paper. Insert 4 letter swear word here (under my breath because Chas had a 12 year old in the basement doing a guitar lesson)
So, I put it back in the bowl, and I run to the store. Bought a roll of parchment paper, $3.49.
Brought it home, rolled it out on the counter, proceeded to try again with the rolling of the dough between parchment paper and saran wrap.
SAME DAMN THING HAPPENS. The first batch of cinnamon rolls end up looking like this....

I stand for a minute with my eyes crossed, trying not to seethe through my teeth. I think for one second. The only thing that the dough seems to NOT be sticking to is the saran wrap. So, I take a piece of saran wrap, put the dough on it, take another piece of saran wrap, put it over the dough, and roll out. Success.
I take a piece of dental floss, yes, you read that right. I cut the rolls into pieces and put them in the pie pan. These ones look much better, right?

To be honest, by the time I got done rolling the dough out and putting the rolls into the plate, I was so hungry, could not stand to wait another hour to let the dough rise again. I put them in the oven and baked both batches for 30 minutes until the filling was bubbling.
Add creamy, sugary cream cheese frosting. Take a break from painting, bite into gluten free cinnamon roll heaven.

This recipe is one of those projects that I would think about tackling maaaaybe one, or twice if Chas is lucky, a year. But, if you are wanting to try GF, or you are GF and are up for a challenge, you can find the recipe for these bad boys at www.glutenfreegirl.blogspot.com

Monday, November 15, 2010

On deck

Soon to come......

A new space and a three hour cooking project.

I am sooooo glad I got a four day weekend.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Under the knife

Some of you have met my mom. Some of you have not.
Even if you have not, it would be super greatly appreciated if you could say a little prayer for her today.

My mom has had bad knees for a long time, even to the point where I remember her falling once in a parking lot in wedges, for no apparent reason other than her knee went out and buckled underneath her.

She will be having surgery to repair one of her knees today. If things go well with the surgery, they will soon repair the other knee as well. I guess one at a time is better, though I have heard getting both knocked out at the same time is nice, but then you have to be in a wheelchair, and that's a boo.
Since I know my mom, I know that she has a hard time and does not do well with surgery. She takes a while to come out of being put under, so I am just praying that 1.The repair surgery is a success, and 2.that she does not have complications from being put under.

That's all for now, thanks for those of you who pray for her!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Two down and fall is here

Sometimes, when it starts to get cold, I crave chocolate. Warm chocolate.
That's why I am glad I chose to make the flourless chocolate torte second in my attempt to make at least three gluten free recipes each month. (And let's be honest, the cinnamon rolls are going to be harrrrrrrd. Harder than the first two recipes).

This is actually a simple recipe to put together, but the cooking of the three ingredients used is somewhat tricky.

Here's a little preview of how it's made:

First step, melt 2 sticks of butter and a pound of chocolate (I used dark) together. Lucky for me I got a double broiler as a wedding gift, they are amazing. Christmas is going to rock your socks off.

Whip together 8 eggs, which took me about ten minutes with a hand mixer to get to the consistency I wanted. Having a Kitchenaid stand up mixer would have been so much easier.

After the butter and chocolate is melted, stir these three ingredients together, like so.

This is where things get a little weird. First, you have to make sure you have a springform pan, like the kind you use to make cheesecake. Place parchment paper in the bottom of the pan. I didn't have any, but I had wax paper which worked just fine. I cut a piece big enough to where I could close the springform pan around it and then ripped off the edges that were sticking out on the outside of the pan. Next, you have to grease the sides of the pan considerably. This baby will stick like glue if you don't. Then, you take foil and wrap it around the edges of the pan. Lastly, you put boiling water in a baking pan and fill it up until the water reaches about half way to the springform pan. Then you bake for about 25 minutes. You are supposed to let this baby sit overnight in the fridge and get nice and thick, but really, when you smell that chocolate baking you can't even help but want to shove it in your mouth with a big glass of milk. Instead of milk though......

We ate it with ice cream instead. Very tasty. In fact, so far I think it is Chas' favorite gluten free baking item I have made. He does have a weak spot for chocolate though, so that could be a small bias.

I may attempt at trying the cinnamon rolls this weekend, though I know that it is going to take a trip to the grocery store to make sure I have everything I need, along with some patience. These babies have like a three step process starting with making the dough and letting it sit for an hour. It's a good thing I don't mind waking up a little early on Saturdays. Especially if it means home made goodness in my mouth.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

One down, two to go

You didn't take me seriously, did you?

Totally just kidding, but really, I actually surprised myself yesterday at the thought that I would tackle my first gluten free recipe with dinner last night.

But I had a total craving for cornbread. And chili. It was just the right temperature for chili, and with the leaves turning color here I couldn't help but want a tasty fall meal. So, I made chili. And you have to have cornbread with chili.
I actually think I may have tried GF cornbread before, but it was long enough ago that it's a flighting thought in my head. Last night's attempt came out pretty good, though I will say if I decide to ever make it again I will probably try to find a more finer ground cornmeal. The one I used was good, but just a little bit too gritty for my taste, and teeth.

The consistency was really good though, the flavor was very comparible to non GF cornbread, and maybe even a little better because I decided to use vanilla yogurt in the mix instead of plain. I told you I have a sweet tooth.

Anyway, just so you believe me, here is a picture of the fruits of my labor (this recipe was very easy compared to some I have tried)

If you are a celiac, or, if you just want to try this recipe out because you are curious as to the difference between GF and non GF and believe with the rest of us that GF REALLY is more healthy for you, you can get the recipe here

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Making goals, as a married woman

Some events in life just happen on their own.
Some things need a little push from you to make them happen.

Goals are one of those things that don't just happen, you have to create them, you have to shape them, and in the end it feels really good when you meet and finish them.

Chas and I have been married for a whopping 18 days, which means that realistically we haven't had a lot of time yet to set up goals for "us" as a married couple, for setting up our home, for making sure we include Christ in our daily lives, every day. But, we have gotten a few things accomplished, which feels really good. Like setting up the living room, putting furniture together, making sure the fridge is stocked with the must have essentials for the both of us, not just one.

I decided that as a wife, and someone who loves to be in the kitchen and cook, I wanted to have a few goals of my own, just for me. Goals I know both of us will appreciate though because, well, they involve food. And when food is made good, everyone is happy.

I have realized that as someone who loves to cook, cooking takes time, and planning. You can SOMETIMES just pull something together out of nowhere with the ingredients you just happen to have in your kitchen and it will come out tasking somewhat like a recipe that you intended to make.

But for all the other times, cooking requires that you go to the grocery store, purchase what you need, prepare those items, take the meat out of the freezer in enough time to let it thaw, cut, dice, and slice, and then make a meal the way it is intended to be made.

Truth be told, I have never been that great at following directions. Some of you may gasp at that, others may know that is the bold truth about me and you still love me for it anyway. I just have always liked finding my own unique way of doing things, figuring certain things out.
But as I have come to try making gluten free foods, and some of them coming out very badly, I have realized that it is so much more important to prepare and create a gluten free recipe the way it was instructed to be made. Sometimes, as much as I want to, I can't just add a little of this and a little of that. A little of that just might ruin what you were intending to make.

So, with all of that, here is my first goal as a married woman, the start of what will hopefully be a better way for me to express what I am aiming for, have some sort of accountability, and make my husband a happy man :0)

I have really been thinking about making more gluten free recipes. Like recipes that were created with the celiac in mind, prepared with gluten free ingredients (not a regular recipe that I try to substitute GF flours into and come out feeling disappointed), and are meant to be enjoyed and indulged in whole stomach-ly.
I want to try at least 3 gluten free recipes a month.
These can be anything, a salad, a treat, a main meal.
But at this point, the three I am starting with are more treats than meals, blame that one on my sweet tooth. Ha.

So, I will be starting with these three, thanks to Shauna, the creater of the blog Gluten Free Girl. I had gotten away from reading her posts for a while, but I am so glad that I went back. She really has some amazingly tasty recipes on there.

Gluten Free Cinnamon Rolls
Gluten Free Cornbread
Gluten Free Flourless Chocolate Cake

If you are at all intrigued as to what gluten free is all about or how to make these recipes yourself, you can check out her place here

Here's to a great start of a gluten free marriage.

Monday, October 18, 2010

In case you didn't know

Some of you know, some of you don't. Probably because I had to keep things somewhat on the down low because it was a suprise for Chas.
Back in August, the 12th to be exact, I had bridals done. This was a surprise because I ended up using some of the pictures for a gift to Chas the day of our wedding. I originally wasn't going to do them because my favorite photographer (that being Melissa Oholendt) was not going to be able to do them for me. After talking to Mel and giving it more thought over the summer, I decided that I really did want to bridals, and I am so glad that I did. And that I asked Jacque to do them for me.

Jacque Lynn did a great job, and she has commented to me on how much she loved doing the session at the mansion next to the church where Chas and I got married.

She posted a TON of pictures in her password protected site for me to be able to order and view. She also recently posted a blog of some of her favorites from the shoot.
So, instead of asking everyone who hasn't had a chance to see the bridals (which I really, really loved) to log on and trudge through the 177 pictures that she uploaded, if you feel inclined and decide you want to check a few of them out, you can do so by going here instead.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Back on land

We are back! And I am a Burks! Well, not officially, but probably by tomorrow I will be :)

After a couple of days of horrible vertigo, I finally feel like myself again. We had a wonderful time on our honeymoon, we were gifted a Celebrity cruise that sailed through the East Caribbean, making stops at Puerto Rico, St. Thomas and Jamaica. It was an amazing time and we are so blessed to have such great family.

We don't have a ton of pictures from the wedding yet, but here are just a few to start with. My step-brother Michael is working his way into the photography business, and got a couple of great shots post wedding. Great job Michael!

Taken by Michael with our handsome ring bearer, Caleb Allen, Chas' nephew
Great picture of Amy and me, my awesome Matron of Honor, again taken by Michael

A little surprise I put together for Chas at our wedding reception. I sang "Some kind of wonderful" to him just as dinner was finishing up. He was totally suprised, in a very good way :)
And a picture of us finishing up our last meal on the cruise at one of the specialty restaurants. I posted more on Facebook so if you want to check those out, you can get more details of the entire trip.

It is great to be back and we are now in the process of getting OUR house set up and gifts put away. If I haven't said it enough, it feels great to be a Burks.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Ten days

A lot can happen in ten days.
And for many people, ten days can seem like a long time.
But, when you have waited over 450 days for one special day to come, ten days doesn't seem so long at all.

All the little details are coming together, and even things I didn't expect to come together somehow made their little debut and turned out quite perfect. Perfect for us.

God has blessed us in so many ways, ways that we don't even deserve because of our human filthiness. But He shows us grace and love, all of us, because He wants us to know how much we mean to Him.

I know that I am loved, and I know that I love. And in ten days, that love will become one with another.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

A little of this, a little of that

There are those few moments in life.
Where you just know, everything is right and good and as it should be. At least in your world. Maybe not all over the world, but in your teeny little heart filled with emmense amounts of joy.

In 17 days, I will no longer be single.
I will no longer be Kimber Peart.
I will no longer have to wish that special someone could crawl into bed with me after a long day's work instead of falling asleep alone.
In 17 days, I will be a wife. A wife.
What exactly does that mean? Well, for me, it means a lot of things.
But mostly, it means that God had prepared me to be in the place in my life where I will be a companion and a helper for the rest of my life, while still serving Him with my heart and in return will be able to fully give myself to another.
I find no greater joy in my life at this point than knowing that. That I will be what God has so beautifully created me to be, in Him, and for Him.
And that my husband will be the same.

I will give you just one sneek peek of what's to come. In 17 days, many of you will see this in person.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

The countdown

It seems like I have so much to post about since the last time I was on here. Too bad that I am still trying to get caught up on getting the house arranged and in order before people start coming into town for the big day. That's right! Chas and I found a cute little house to rent, and it's just what we were hoping for. I am getting moved in, while still working on wedding projects and starting to meet with everyone for finalizing things for the week before and the day of the wedding. Lots of exciting things going on, it definitely does not feel like after waiting for over 15 months that it is just 25 days away. So crazy. But also so cool.

I don't have any decent pictures of the inside of the house, since I am not quite finished putting everything together and we are most likely getting some upgrades in the kitchen and bedroom soon, but as soon as things are all set, you can see! Here is just one of the outside for now.
That's the front view, we also have a nice back yard and even a shed with an overhang and a swing (not that we have had time to use it yet, but maybe we can get one sitting in before the summer ends)

The weekends are pretty packed right now. Just lots of running around getting things to finish up final projects for the wedding, and Chas and his band have a couple shows this month to keep him busy too.
In fact, they just had a show out at Antelope Island last night. It was a great turn out and even though the performers were running late it totally worked out in their favor because it ended up being the best time to catch everyone there before dark and the balloon glow/fireworks. I had a great time, and didn't even get bit by one bug. That's a record for me.
Hopefully I can post a couple more times before the wedding, but I also know things are going to get pretty crazy the last couple of weeks before, so maybe it will end up being honeymoon pictures that you get to see next time I am on here.

Here's to soon being Mrs. Burks.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

New beginnings

These last couple of weekends have been so busy that it has been hard to keep up with the posting, especially when you are having so much fun being busy. Ok, maybe searching and searching for a house was not exactly fun, but, we DID end up finding a place, TODAY, and so it has been fun seeing how many places we did have to look at before finding "the one".

I don't have tons of pictures to post, mainly because I wasn't the one taking most of the pictures, so I don't have many of them yet. But, I did steal this one of me and princess Madison while Amy and John were here visiting last week. She is such a doll, and she hardly ever cried when I held her. It's nice to know that babies like sleeping when I hold them :)

This is at my shower that Amy threw for me (my matron of honor). She, John, and baby Madison traveled in a car from Washington for 15 hours (yes, with a baby, she did awesome!) to hang out for a couple of days and for Amy to be able to have a shower for me before the wedding. She is the bestest friend a lady could ever ask for, and Brittainy was also so welcoming by opening up her house to have it at. It turned out so, so great and everyone seemed to have a good time.

So most of you know Chas and I have spent the entire month of August looking for a place to live. I was beginning to get very, very disheartened last night when we looked at a house and it was less than anything that we would want to live in. It's one of those things that sounds nice on paper, but when you see it you just know that it isn't for you.

So we were feeling a little defeated.We had prayed the night before together that God would lead us to the place the He knew would be just right for us. After the disappointment of the house last night, we prayed again at dinner very boldly that God would provide us with a place to live, a place that would meet all our needs, wants, and desires. We decided to take one more stroll on KSL and just see if there was anything else that might catch our eye. Chas called on one house and didn't get an answer, so he left a message and we looked some more. It was getting late but we saw one more that was a potential, but we decided to leave it until the morning to call on. We got up this morning and I took him to a condo that I had looked at earlier in the week, that was new and fairly nice, but just in a weird location. We called on the house we had seen on KSL the night before and left a message. We went to the gym, and I couldn't help but think and pray the whole time that the lady would call us back. The first thing I did when we got out to the car was ask Chas if he had any missed calls from the lady, the lady with this quaint little white house in South Ogden.

He did! He called her back, set up a time to go see the house, and about an hour later we made a deposit on it! As soon as we walked in the door I just knew it was the right one for us. Simple yet decorative, lots of storage space, and a basement. All that we knew we wanted, and needed, to start our life together as a married couple in just 5 weeks. We immediately starting texting our family members to let them know that the search was over, and we were so elated to be done searching. I don't have a lot of good pictures of the inside of the house since I took them with my phone, but here is one of the front of the house, pretty cute if you ask me.

So we are just about ready for this little adventure that is about to begin for us as a married couple. We are pretty much in the final countdown stage, and are in anticipation every day that gets closer to our lives going from a me, to a we, and us, and all the many enjoyable things to come that go along with be a Mr. and Mrs. And, of course we could not begin this journey without a good dance lesson or two, so just in case you were wondering what kind of moves I have to offer on the dance floor, I will leave you with one example of my grand movements on that 20x20 piece of wood flooring that we can't wait to get down with everyone on at our own wedding. Hopefully you all know that I am totally joking.

Friday, August 13, 2010

When you're smiling.....

you know that you have a lot to be thankful for in your life. Not that everything in your life is going absolutely perfect, but that you can take a minute to look around at the things you have done, are doing, and are about to do, and just be thankful for the fact that God has blessed your life in so many ways.

After Monday and Tuesday of last week, I came home from Logan in somewhat of a stupor for the fact that the work and time I had put into the last two years had come to and end. I am happy that I decided three years ago that I would continue on in school and get a masters, even though I knew it was going to be hard, hard work, and even though after my first semester I didn't know if I was going to make it through the entire program. But, I stuck it out, and in the end I have realized how blessed I am that God has given me the ability to have the brain I have, to learn at an extended level past a high school education, and that He also gave me a great job to help me pay for school, great friends and family who supported me through the tough times, and a fiance' who has been nothing less than patient with me through the most grueling of assignments. And he even paid attention when I rambled on about class topics that were obviously of no interest to him, but he lent an ear anyway.

So now I am homework and paper free, and it could not have come at a better time. It has been in the works that my best friend, her husband, and their now three week old baby would be making a trip from Washington down here to Utah this weekend for a bridal shower. My mom is also here, and my dad and his wife Karen even decided to come out this weekend to spend some time with family and for Karen to come to the shower.
I cannot imagine what my life would be like without these wonderful, supportive and caring family members in my life, and feel so blessed that God has placed me in the family that I have and given me the friends I know and love so much.

Meeting Madison for the first time was nothing short of wonderful, she is a delicate, sweet, calm and enjoyable baby to be around. Yes she fusses a little, but only if she wants to be fed or maybe needs that stinky diaper changed. She spent all day with us (me, my mom, and Amy) yesterday and most of the time you would never know that there was a little baby in that car seat, and yet when you look into those eyes you know that there is a beautiful person in there waiting to be held and loved on, like we all so willingly love to do.

We spent yesterday enjoying each other's company, running errands, planning surprises, and getting trial runs done of the wedding hair, make-up, flowers, the works. It was so much fun. Sometimes, you just need to be a girl and it really helps you to feel pretty. That you really are the beauty of God's creation and that you are wonderfully made in His image and are nothing short of His best.

This weekend I will most likely be spoiled beyond imagine with a shower that Amy has planned and put together from over 800 miles away. I am so thankful that I have a friend like her that is gracious and willing to do these kinds of things for her friends, she truly is amazing. I am also so blessed that my mom gets to be there despite her own personal struggles and situations in life right now. She is an amazing mom and I know that God has blessed me with her greatly. I am also so glad that my dad and his wife made it out and will be able to share some time with us over the weekend as well, getting know Chas a little bit more, and hopefully just enjoying some good food and beverage together and relaxing.

One thing that I have been thinking about since Amy and John have been here for the last day and a half is that little baby of theirs. Though I have not spent much time with Madison since she has arrived, just spending the little time that I have with here these past couple days has really made me think about a lot of things. Most people know that I am a pretty content and happy person, and I know that God plans things for a reason at the seasons in our lives when he knows we are ready. And I know that should Chas and I never end up having children of our own that it would not mean because we weren't good enough to be parents, or that because we don't have children that we are whole people. But I do know that being around a baby just makes you think. You think about all the work that goes into that little person, and how dependent they are on your for every single need. And, I think that in my perspective of God and his relationship with us, that we should strive to understand just how dependent we SHOULD be on Him, for most things in our live. Babies are beautiful and wonderful, and as I spend time with this little sweet pea I can't help but think how incredible it would be, some day, when we are "ready", to have one of our own. Some day. Read it people, not in the next year, or even two or three years. God gives us so many blessings in our lives, that I can't help but just stop and thank Him for all that he has given, and possibly will give me, in my years of life to come.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Recipe Blog

It's been a while since I posted any recipes on the recipe blog. But, since a few of you asked, I posted the recipe for the cupcake bites today. Read, make, and enjoy!

Friday, July 16, 2010

Why I love Utah

Views like this

With my favorite person

And enjoying the sun.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Tasty treats I like to eat

I have a lot of good friends, I have to say. I also have friends who are especially good at cooking and baking.
Thanks to Yvonne for teaching me how to make these. They are soooo delicious.

Monday, June 21, 2010

A sneak peek

A great big thanks to this wonderful lady for taking some of the most amazing pictures I have seen in my life!

These are just a few of our favorites.

And of course, you always have to have a little fun with each other.

103 days to go.....Mrs. Burks to-be.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Weekends are my favorite

There are those times in life where you can pinpoint the exact things that bring you happiness. The reason for that is because there are a lot of things that make you happy in the midst of the things that bug the crap out of you.

Weekends make me happy. Why? Because weekends are the time when I get to spend more than a hour hanging out with my hubby to-be and not already getting ready for bed by the time he gets off work. We started a ritual, probably last year sometime, where we don't see each other Mondays and Tuesdays, so having the weekends to be able to actually hang out and do FUN stuff together is so nice. And, I find pleasure in being able to get the things done on the weekends that I normally don't have time to do on the weekdays.

Things like wedding planning.
Things like being able to run a marathon.
Things like attending a graduation ceremony and getting engagements pictures done by one of my most talented and kind friends that I am so blessed to have in my life.
Grocery shopping.
Getting our favorite gluten-free cupcakes at Sweet Cake bakery in Kaysville.
Those are just a few of my favorite things.

And because I know that blogs are better with pictures, here are just a few to re-cap some of the past couple of weekends that have been so, so great.

Because I am done with attending classes, I got to walk for the Graduate Ceremony at Utah State. I have a project to finish up over the summer, but my goal is to be completely done with this by July.

After graduation we met up with some pretty awesome people and had a great dinner at Rooster's. You can obviously tell by Kaytee's face that the food is good.


A big huge shout out to Melissa for coming from MN and shooting our engagement session. These pictures give me a glimpse of what we have to look forward to on our wedding day, and I cannot wait for that.

I love you Mel, and I just had to post this picture.

I think this picture was taken somewhere around mile 3, which is why I am still looking pretty happy that I am running at this point. A picture at mile 12 would have probably shown a little different face. But, I am still so glad that I was able to run, run the whole race, and overall be in good health to be able to make goals like running a 1/2 marathon and be able to conquer them.

And last but not least, a tempting photo of one of my personal favorites from the bakery, the vanilla coconut gluten-free cupcake. Yum. YUUUUM.