Sunday, October 26, 2008

Carmel Popcorn

Here's a great recipe for Carmel popcorn that you can eat while snuggled on the couch with your sweetie on a cold night. After a couple of times it gets easier to master--i promise.

I made only 4.5 quarts of popcorn so we would have more carmel the second time.
Much better!

Also, you can sprinkle chocolate chips on the popcorn after it's done and resting on your wax paper on the counter. Yum!

Do not try to make this with microwave popcorn as it is too delicate to handle the carmel.

  • Simply pop about 1.5 cups of white popcorn in a big cooking pot over your stove.

  • Just add veggie oil and the popcorn and shake the pot (with a lid) around until the kernels pop. Watch the popcorn so it doesn't burn! It's a bummer to wash off.

This recipe was from But it's a pretty common recipe for carmel corn found in most cookbooks. The Joy of Cooking's recipe does not add baking soda, but I personally like the way it makes the carmel a little frothy.

Carmel Popcorn
serves 20
1 cup butter
2 cups brown sugar
1/2 cup corn syrup
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
5 quarts popped popcorn (or 4.5 quarts for more popcorn with more carmel coating)

Preheat oven to 250 degrees F (95 degrees C).

Place popcorn in a very large bowl.
In a medium saucepan over medium heat, melt butter.
Stir in brown sugar, corn syrup and salt. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Boil without stirring 4 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in soda and vanilla. Pour in a thin stream over popcorn, stirring to coat.
Place in two large shallow baking dishes and bake in preheated oven, stirring every 15 minutes, for 1 hour. Remove from oven and let cool completely on wax paper on counter before breaking into pieces.

the great pumpkin debacle

Note to self:
Next year, don't wait until the last weekend before halloween before getting your "punkins" (as ava calls them). We went today and found...ZERO at the pumpkin patch. I mean really, when are all of these people getting there pumpkins, September? Good thing we didn't have kids who were older and knew!

Even the tractor went past us and didn't pick up us or anyone else in the patch. Ouch. We did get to buy one pumpkin, the only decent-looking pumpkin in the store. I told Brandon that movies really don't make it up when you wait until the last weekend to buy something like trees or pumpkins. This was our charlie brown pumpkin!

On the bright side I had left my memory card at home so we didn't have a camera to take pictures of the pumpkin debacle. We did get a dozen amazing pumpkin and apple donuts though!

ava in her escalade

Friday, October 24, 2008

Video from our beach vacation

6.5 more weeks and counting

I totally cannot believe we are getting close to having baby sophia here! Tonight after dinner, I had to put my shirt over my belly because it sophia was squirming so much and Ava said, "Baby!" Then, she tried to lift her shirt up as well!

Sophia has been extremely active. She really gets the party started around 10 pm and doesn't stop until 1 a.m. or so. Needless to say, I am a little worried about sleep during the first month or so.

I really don't know why, but it still doesn't seem real that we are going to have two kids in December.

To get ready, I have been making double portions of our meals so that we will not have to cook so much when we are sleep deprived. Today I made baked manicotti and stuffed shells and froze two of them. I also put stickers on top so Brandon can pop it in without asking me what temperature they have to go in.

I also starting washing Ava's little newborn onesies and sleepers. Can I just say i about freaked out when I saw those little onesies? It made it all so real! gulp.

I went through three big tubs of clothes that Ava used to wear. She had so many clothes and now it seems we can't keep up with her! She is already growing out of her 18 month clothes (she's 21 months).

Anyways, please pray for us (well, me that I don't go into hyper nesting mode). Also, if you have time you can pray for us that:
  • Ava starts sleeping better at night and has less nightmares (pretty common for her age since she is developing so fast)
  • My shortness of breath and nausea are easier to handle
  • Brandon's harvest bash room at Vineyard turns out great and that tons of kids from the community accept Jesus and want to come back!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Saving money 2

Brandon and I were reviewing our monthly overhead since Sophia is coming, which means looking at all of our bills and seeing if they meet our current lifestyle. I love doing this and love trying to get good deals. It's kind've like a game for us.

This weekend we saved more than $100 per month just by giving all of our utility providers a call and tweaking our plans. We called Verizon and added on text messaging since we didn't have it, asked three companies for special offers. Since we have been customers for more than three years with all of these companies...they said yes. Overall, we will save $1,200 in the upcoming year.

We also got HBO free for three months with our satellite, XM free for 3 months, and credits on two of our bills from last month. Additionally, we lowered the interest rate on our only credit card to a crazy low rate.

It kind've felt like Christmas!

I totally encourage you to call your providers and ask for any special offers. Especially in this economy it's great to save money just by a phone call.

love it

  • Cold October mornings
  • how cute ava is when she is sleeping
  • sipping a really hot peppermint mocha (occasionally)
  • leaves before they turn brown and fall
  • the smell of crunchy leaves on the ground
  • chocolate, any kind
  • freshly ironed shirt or dry cleaned shirt because I usually don't have time to do it
  • seeing Ava smiling or having fun
  • teaching brandon not to talk while I am on the phone (sitting on him 32 weeks prego) ha
  • banana bread right out of the oven

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Heather Hamm's wedding

Erin Ruef and Becca were in the wedding. Don't they look so pretty!
Heather and Randy cut the cake after their ceremony in the lobby of Radiant Life.
Brandon, Ava and I after the ceremony. Only 7 more weeks to baby!
Ava loves all of her aunts! She would rather go home with Becca than us!
Ava, Poppa and Momma Kuhns after the wedding. So pretty, er handsome too!
Congrats Heather!

outside fun

Ava loves to swing on swings this way since she saw some of the boys in our playgroup doing it. She is getting so big! She is now 2o months.
Ava swinging at Coffman Park.
If you have a little toddler, you will understand how much they LOVE to go outside. Ava will literally throw a fit when she sees all of the neighbor kids outside because she wants to join in the fun. We took this picture of her by the pumpkins this weekend (oct. 18).
And these are some of the pumpkins that I used to make pumpkin puree. It was pretty easy since I followed a recipe for it from Martha Stewart. It just took about an hour to steam the pumpkins. The puree is a beautiful yellow that doesn't look like canned pumpkin at all! So yum. Alas, my attempts at pumpkin ravioli failed, miserably. It was a McDonalds night. he. he.

honeycrisp apples rock

I heard legends from my friend, Shannen, about how good honeycrisp apples were, but didn't know if it was true. Well, it is. Those little nuggets of juiciness are absolutely the best thing ever! Love it!

32 weeks and loving it

I know I sound like a typical whiney prego when I say this, but man, "My belly hurts!" Sophia must not have "dropped" yet because I am still having trouble breathing and my stomach hurts after eating meals. Brandon and Ava laugh at me because my belly is always sticking out.

I really don't think this pregnancy has been as hard as the last time, mainly because I am not working in an office environment where I have to sit for long periods of time. Plus, I am able to be active with Ava, which is really nice. I think it's one of the reasons why I haven't gained as much weight this time. Also, if my hands start to swell I just go for a walk. Walking helps improve circulation and makes it easier for your body to drain out all of the extra fluids you have. Experts say pregnant women have 40 percent more blood. eww!

Anyways, we are just about ready for little Sophia. We took Ava looking for a big girl mattress today. She loved getting to jump on the mattresses. Sophia is going to sleep with us in our room for some time after the birth so we aren't in a big hurry to get things done.

But, I def. know I am nesting right now. I can hardly sleep thinking about all of the things that we still need to do!

Lots of prayers for us if you think about it.

Also, i love the verse below. It's so comforting to know when we are weak or tired, He is strong.

(Isaiah 40:28-31 NKJV)
Have you not known? Have you not heard? The everlasting God, the LORD, The Creator of the ends of the earth, Neither faints nor is weary. His understanding is unsearchable. {29} He gives power to the weak, And to those who have no might He increases strength.

{30} Even the youths shall faint and be weary, And the young men shall utterly fall, {31} But those who wait on the LORD Shall renew their strength; They shall mount up with wings like eagles, They shall run and not be weary, They shall walk and not faint.


Colin, 4, got this superman outfit from Aunt Becca for his birthday. He is so cute! And ornery...
Both Adam and Cadence, 1, are snug as a bug in their car seats. Rachel was visiting Jessie in Colorado for a week. We missed seeing baby adam, but with Sophia, we aren't really traveling right now!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

so long summer!

During this summer, we did so much! I can't really understand how i had so much energy. But, i thought it would be cute to see some of the stuff we did like canning tomatos with Grandma Yoder, visiting baby Charlotte in the hospital, attending the Shekinah festival and going to the zoo!

Ava was trying to give the kitty some love, but I don't think the kitty was feeling it! It was a rainy, muddy day at the festival where I used to go to school. We stayed for about an hour and had a pancake breakfast.

Mom, Ethan and Ava loved holding the kitties and other pets at the Shekinah Festival.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

24 is back!

Jack Baurer is back! So excited to hear about the Nov. 23 two-hour special on Fox tv. The special looks amazing.

I can't wait to get back to the series! Below is a snippet of what it's about from

Filmed on location in Cape Town, South Africa, and Los Angeles, 24: REDEMPTION stars Emmy Award winner Kiefer Sutherland along with new cast members Cherry Jones, Robert Carlyle, Gil Bellows and Academy Award winner Jon Voight.

After sacrificing everything for his country, Jack Bauer (Sutherland) is wanted by the U.S. government and now stands to lose the only thing he has left: his freedom. Working as a missionary in Africa, Bauer is called upon to stop a ruthless warlord from drafting innocent children into his murderous militia. First, Bauer must confront his own torturous past and face an impossible decision that will change his life forever. A decision that will set the stage and raise the stakes for Season Seven, which debuts in January 2009.