Monday, October 26, 2009

Cooking and Baking

I don't know if it's the weather, my cinnamon scented room spray, or some other unseen forces, but something recently sparked a cooking/baking frenzy here at our house. And it's not just me. My husband, Jim, has had the itching to be in the kitchen as well.

In the last 10 days we've made 2 pans of apple crumble, 4 pans of cinnamon buns, and chicken noodle soup all from scratch. It all started 2 weekends ago when Jim wanted us to put to good use the box of apples Kyra had picked on a recent trip to Linvilla Orchards. I too had been thinking of ways to deliciously utilize our overflow of apples and had found a recipe for apple crumble. I just so happened to have all the ingredients on hand, so Jim and I went to work peeling, coring, and slicing apples. The crumble turned out so delicious that we decided to make another one immediately after polishing off the first one.
No sooner had I made the 2nd apple crumble when I had a conversation with my close friend, Emily, about some cinnamon rolls she had just made. She said she had eaten 5 in a 3 hour period, which said a LOT about how scrumptious the rolls must have been because Em is a Dietician by profession. As soon as we hung up the phone I found myself on the computer downloading the recipe for the cinnamon rolls from Jim was equally excited about making the rolls and even did all the grocery shopping to get everything we needed. So Saturday night we went to work making the dough. It turned out to be hardly any work at all though. Sunday morning I rolled out the dough, added all the sugary, buttery, cinnamon-y filling, and baked them up. We halved the recipe and still ended up with 4 pans of 8 cinnamon rolls! I found a recipe on another website for cream cheese icing and made sure to lay it on thick when the warm rolls came out of the oven.
Somewhere in the midst of all the baking I became inspired to make chicken noodle soup. I'd never made it myself before, but Tyler Florence's recipe on just seemed so simple and flavorful, so I took it on. The aromas that filled my kitchen while it simmered were amazing. And then as we were eating it Jim declared it was probably my best homemade soup ever. (I've made other various potato soups, etc.) And it was even better the next day reheated since the flavors had more time to meld together as it sat in the fridge overnight.
Kyra's first soup!

I wish you all could have been here to taste everything, but hopefully the pictures will entice you enough to make the recipes yourself!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Christmas Card Photo Shoot

Yesterday, we had an abnormally warm day here in Southeastern PA so I decided it might be my one and only chance to get pictures of the girls outdoors sans heavy winter coats for our Christmas cards. I called up my gal pal, Angie, and got her, her boys, and her SUPER NICE Nikon camera to join us at Springton Manor Farm.

It couldn't have been a more perfect fall setting. The trees and grass were adorned with all kinds of multi-colored leaves and I knew I had a good chance of getting THE perfect picture/s. Ang turned over her camera to me and gave me a few quick pointers and then it was time to start shooting. I've always enjoyed taking pictures, but the moment I looked through the viewfinder on her camera, I was in love! That camera was designed to make you want to take pictures. It was super addicting and I now have the itch to get a really nice camera just like it.

I did bust out my little handheld Canon Elph a few times while Ang was shooting, and unfortunately for you, those are the pictures I'm putting in this post. I'm keeping the good pictures hidden for now, but here are several pictures that didn't make the cut for the Christmas card this year. Also, the dresses the girls are wearing were handmade in Africa and brought back by Aunt Susie on her trip earlier this year.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Driving Me Crazy

I've never thought of myself as a "bad" driver. I've never been pulled over for speeding nor have I ever been in an accident with another driver. However, I can't say that my driving record is perfect either.

For example, last night I hit my husband's (company owned) truck. Yep. I was pulling into our driveway and didn't gage my turn correctly and all of a sudden.... "What in the world was that crazy noise?! No! Did I really just...? How could I have...? Oh crap. I did." I snagged the back left corner of his truck and pretty much scraped up the entire right side of my *new* van. And that folks is what you call an "Epic Fail".

After mourning the injury inflicted on my beautiful van and a fatherly lecture from my husband about "driving being such a huge responsibility" and how "I shouldn't take it for granted", I began to reflect on my driving history. And thats when it occurred to me that with the exception of one major run in with a curb in a strip mall, all my accidents have been in my own driveway.

Accident numero uno was when I was still learning how to drive. I was 15 or 16 and driving a bunch of my sister's friends to our house from school with my mom in the front passenger seat. I eased our minivan into the driveway and to a stop behind my dad's work van at which point I should've put it in park. Instead, I took my foot off the brake BEFORE putting the van in P and we rammed the back of my dad's van nice and hard. (But hey, I was still a rookie driver, so its excusable, right?)

Accident number two was also with my dad's work vehicle (though not the same one as before). This time I was 21ish and living with my parents to save money for my wedding. It was around dinner time and I was in a hurry to meet some friends. I jumped in the car, threw it into reverse and floored it backwards, right into the side of my dad's van. I didn't even stop. I was too embarrassed because I knew my entire family had witnessed what had happened from their seats around the dining room table. Instead I called them on the phone and asked about the damage to dad's van. His van was basically fine. My little Toyota Tercel however, wore a dent on the right of it's trunk until the day I sold it.

And I already told you about accident number three from last night. Hopefully that will be my LAST accident now that my driveway accident trifecta is complete.

People joke about watching out for crazy female drivers on the road, but in my case the roads are perfectly safe. Just don't park in my driveway.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Laps for Little Ones

"Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven." Matthew 5:16

There is a place in Tulsa, Oklahoma where lights shine bright, good works are a way of business, and God is glorified every day. That place is The Little Light House, a Christian Developmental Center that has been providing highly specialized educational and therapeutic services to children with special needs since 1972.

For those of you who know my family, you are aware of how much The Little Light House has always been a part of our lives. My mom began working there as the grants and fundraising coordinator before I was born. In fact, that is where she met my dad while he was doing some carpentry work on the building. A few years later, my parents were introduced to a little boy named Daniel, a student at The Little Light House, who became my brother when my parents took a step of faith and adopted him. As kids, we spent a lot of summers hanging out at The Little Light House and when I was old enough, I even got the chance to volunteer in the various special needs classes. While in college, I worked in the administrative offices and even got engaged during the time I worked there.

I have so many wonderful memories from The Little Light House that span over the course of my entire life. Some of the best memories though are from an annual fundraising event called Laps for Little Ones. It is basically a one hour jog-a-thon where runners raise support for The Little Light House. I have run around that track probably a couple hundred times over the years and spent countless hours cheering other runners on from the sidelines during the years I didn't run. I have vivid memories of jogging around the track as the hour came to an end and thinking "I just can't go any further". But then I'd go around the turn where many of the Light House students would be cheering on the runners from their wheelchairs or from behind a walker and would get an extra burst of energy to get in that one last lap to earn every last dollar I could for those kids.

Since I moved to Pennsylvania 6 years ago, I haven't been able to participate as a runner or cheerleader at this amazing event. For me, it is like missing a family holiday like Thanksgiving or Easter. But though I can't be there in person, I am still able to take part in Laps by sponsoring one of my siblings as they run in the event. On October 24, 2009 my brother, Ethan, my sister Krystal and her husband, Sean, and my sister Lindsay will all be participating as runners. Lindsay, who is now on staff as a classroom associate, is running for one of her students, Josiah.

This year, The Little Light House has made a leap into the 21st century and set up websites to help each runner to raise their support. Below are links to each of my sibling's support pages. I would greatly appreciate it if you would take the time to check out The Little Light House website and if you are touched at all by their ministry, please consider supporting my family as they support the wonderful kids of The Little Light House.

For more information on The Little Light House click here.

The O'Nan Family support page (Sean & Krystal)

Ethan's support page

Lindsay's support page

Me with Co-founder Marcia Mitchell. I think I was a Freshman in high school here.
My mom and I. Here I was a sophomore at ORU.