Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Recipe for: homemade croutons

This is a very yummy recipe that I found in a book...and I don't know why it took me so long to try it!  It is crazy easy to do, and the result is a flavorful, crunchy batch of croutons that are just as good to snack on as they are in a salad.  The original recipe calls for roughly 4 slices of bread, but I found that only 2 bagels does the job perfectly.  I would leave them to go just a bit stale before preparing, so that they aren't as moist. 


two bagels (white and wheat work nicely for this)
2 1/2 T. butter
2 T. olive oil
1/2 t. dried basil
1/2 t. dried oregano
1/2 t. garlic powder

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  Cut bread into small cubes, leaving crusts on.  Melt butter and oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat.  Add bread cubes and toss with all seasonings until evenly coated.  Scrape the mixture onto a baking sheet and bake until evenly golden brown and crunchy...10-15 minutes.  Remove from pan right away and store in an airtight container for up to a month.  

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Thanksgiving weekend in pictures

This has been a wonderful Thanksgiving...the first time the whole family's been together for it in years.  I took many, many pictures and made a web album of only 111 pictures, which was quite condensed.  But it's a peak into our fun holiday, and I believe it's been the best Thanksgiving yet.

Click here to view our Thanksgiving in pictures.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Thanksgiving blessings

I’m sitting at the dinner table (not eating dinner), writing this out before all the family arrives and I become immersed in picture taking and bread baking…But now for my (condensed) list of blessings…

  1. God, my heavenly Father and supreme comforter
  2. My amazing family and their love and support
  3. Getting to spend Thanksgiving with all my relatives
  4. Baking bread again
  5. Spending time with my cousins, grandparents and other family members
  6. The fun sounds all around the house—people talking and laughing, dishes clanking, the TV playing the football game, music from the piano…etc
  7. Learning patience and perseverance
  8. Taking tons of pictures with my camera, plus some funny ones with the iPad
  9. Smelling good food
  10. Love
  11. Smiles
  12. The blessing of spending another holiday with my Papa Vince and Grandma Millie
  13. Festive decorations
  14. Little Libbey antics
  15. Seeing my kid cousin as he grows up (and almost as tall as me!)
  16. Nice coastal weather
  17. Memories from our fabulous trip around the country
  18. God’s provision and protection
  19. Life
  20. Little everyday miracles…that really aren’t little at all
  21. Like-minded friends that comfort me, friends with differences that cause me to grow
  22. Spending time with my beautiful, and equally awesome cousin
  23. Dressing up
  24. Breathing in another breathe given by God
  25. Sweet fellowship

Thursday, November 17, 2011

My first recipe post: Chipotle BBQ Chicken

This is a recipe that Mom found in a food magazine.  When asked to try it out, I quickly found out that I had to chop and measure all the ingredients beforehand, as I am a very slow chopper (and very precise) and once the cooking process is begun it goes very quickly.  So, if you are very slow and precise like me, you might want to pre-chop and pre-measure as I did. 

This is a very flavorful dish, the chipotle chilis doing most of the work.  If you like it spicy, put in the 1/4 cup called for.  If you want it really spicy, feel free to add more.  But if you are like me and can't even swallow Tabasco, add a little less than 1/4 cup and you will get a very flavorful, but not spicy dish.  This chicken is wonderful served with mashed potatoes or potato salad, preferably something with dairy in it. 

Our whole family loves this chicken, and it has been Libbey's requested birthday dinner!  She has already requested it for her 7th birthday as well.  She likes it good and spicy... ;)

Chipotle BBQ Chicken

3 T. butter
6 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 large yellow onion, chopped
1/4 cup (more or less) chipotle chilis in adobo sauce, chopped
3/4 cup ketchup
3 T. cider vinegar
2 T. brown sugar
1 T. worestershire sauce
5 chicken thighs

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.  Line a rimmed baking pan with foil.  In a deep skillet, heat butter over medium heat.  Add the garlic and cook, stirring frequently, until golden, about 3 minutes.  Using a slotted spoon, put the garlic to a small bowl.  Add the onion to the skillet and cook until golden, stirring occasionally, about 8 minutes.  Add the chipotle chilis in adobo sauce to skillet.  Add the rest of the ingredients and cook, stirring occasionally, until thickened, about 5 minutes.  Using tongs, coat the chicken in the sauce and place in prepared baking dish.  Pour extra sauce over the chicksn and bake about 30 minutes, or until cooked through.  This recipe is easily doubled or tripled.


Sunday, November 13, 2011

Going back to yesterday (our final day of travel)

Yesterday was a very odd, wonderful day.  I don’t think any of us will ever forget it.  It all started when we woke up leisurely in the Orange Grove RV Park in Bakersfield

After we all got up and took showers, it only took a little time to button up the rig and get on the road.  Our plan was to eat breakfast at a diner that the locals raved about.  But when we got there, we found that the hole-in-the-wall place was tiny and packed tight.  We left, because we didn’t have the patience to wait 30 minutes to be seated (at least).  Our new plan was to get back on the highway and stop at the next IHOP or Jack-In-the-Box for a bite. 

As we merged onto the on-ramp to Hwy 99, I looked out my window (I sit on the driver’s side) to see a white sedan merge.  It was a weird couple of seconds, because I knew we were going to get hit, yet I didn’t react because it wouldn’t help anything.  I saw the sedan hit the trailer as Dad honked and tried to speed up.  The vehicle rocked and swerved as we quickly pulled over.  Dad and Mom got out right away and we girls stayed put.  I saw that the front left corner of the rig was damaged, and Dad knew right away that it would be an expensive repair.  The white BMW took the brunt of the impact though: the whole right front corner, mirror and door were damaged.  My first thought was, “God, please let the people in that car be okay!” 

The driver was a young lady of 19, and she even had a child she was babysitting in the backseat.  Praise the Lord, no one was even scratched.  The police arrived quickly and the girl’s parents came also, and for the next hour, insurance issues were worked out and options were discussed.  The girl was found at fault for not yielding and not paying attention, but Dad and Mom gave the girl a hug and forgave her.  Lord willing, the repairs on the rig won’t cost us a dime, but it will take a pretty penny out of the lady’s insurance. 

It was about an hour before we got back on the road again.  Thank God we could still drive home!  None of us were really anxious for a sit-down breakfast anymore, so while Dad got gas we girls bought a quick breakfast which we ate in the truck while driving down the road.

For the next hour, my over-active imagination replayed the accident in my head.  What else could have happened?  Well, if Dad had not sped up as he did, we truck and sedan would have collided and Dad and I could have taken the brunt.  We could have disconnected from the trailer.  We could have spent at least another night in Bakersfield.  So many things were running through my mind, and I had to stop and just thank the Lord for the protection He gave us.  There were angels guarding us, for sure.  We were all counting our blessings as we drove towards home.

It was around 12:00 when we reached the Fresno city limits.  Oh, a cheer went up at the familiar sights we beheld!  Sure, it’s not a beautiful city, but it was a well-traveled path.  Libbey cheered, then said, “Tell me when we get to California!!”  We all laughed, and there is definitely a geography lesson for her in the future…

Dad returned a call from Mr. Becker on the road.  While talking, Mr. Becker told Dad to “watch for communications on Avenue 12”.  We were all very curious to see what kind of communications they had planned!!  When we reached the old well-known intersection of Avenue 12, we saw a yellow sign on the shoulder, with balloons hanging from it, reading, BEYERS.  I took a picture of it.  Still more curious, we had a feeling that there were going to be signs planted all the way up Hwy 41, stringing together a message.  How fun this would be, and something to do as the miles seemed to get longer as we got still closer! 

Every few miles, there would be another yellow sign with balloons, each sign with a different word on it.  Finally, we completed the message, stringing the words together to form the sentence, “BEYERS REJOICE YOU ARE ALMOST HOME”!  We were getting more excited by the minute!!

After the words ended, every mile there was a yellow sign with a number, starting five miles away.  We counted each mile with the signs, 5, 4, 3, 2, and 1…mile away!!!!!  We drove down our street, and soon our house was in sight.  There was a big sign in the front yard saying, “Welcome home Beyers!” with notes from the Beckers all over it!  I just sat there and grinned, and all the other girls screamed their heads off while Dad just laughed.  Dad parked in the driveway and we all jumped out of our seats like rockets.  Delaney and Libbey ran up the back stairs and Mom and I jumped up and down and hugged.  Then we both jumped into Dad’s arms.  We ran up the front walk and hesitated at the door while Dad fumbled for his keys. 

Jesse Telian (Dad’s employee and caretaker, also a close friend) greeted us at the door; he had been waiting for us!  We came inside and found food in the freezer and fridge from the Beckers and the Telians, goodies and cards on the island, the lights were on and the heater had already warmed the house.  I was so happy to be home, I almost didn’t know what to do!  I walked all over the house, and just beamed the whole time.  Oh, to be home again!

Jesse stayed for the rest of the afternoon, and we all talked over pizza and pictures.  After he left, I went through the mail (boatloads of it!), unpacked and put away about half of my stuff (which was a lot of fun for me) and just took in the idea of actually being home.  I also did a cartwheel on the lawn, just because.  Such a great feeling…

It was a great, great, great day.  The trip was just as great, but there’s no place like home.

“Home is where there’s one to love…home is where there’s one to love us.”
~Author unknown

Saturday, November 12, 2011

An end and a beginning

This has been rather bittersweet...tomorrow is the very last day of our trip.  It has gone by quickly, yet the minutes never seemed to go by too fast.  I'm not done blogging, but this has been a season of writing that I'm very glad to have recorded.  My hope is that you all have felt as if you've gone on the journey with us, and got a good picture of what we have done.  This is the end of this journey, but just the beginning of plans for the next adventure!

Back to yesterday...when we were at the Gindorf's.  On Wednesday night, after coming back from the Bible study, we girls slept in the house.  We were dispersed between the Gindorf girls and it was one great sleepover!  Maddie and I stayed up talking for the longest time, considering that when you live 630 miles apart you have a lot to catch up on.  But we got a solid 5 hours of sleep...Anyway, Thursday morning was great too.  Mrs. Gindorf cooked a wonderful breakfast of biscuits and gravy, and Maddie and I took another walk to Vons (the reason being no good reason).  Delaney did some babysitting with Sophia, and Libbey painted and had a tea party with Amelia. 

Unfortunately, we had to get on the road.  So after a great lunch and final conversation, we buttoned up the rig and said goodbye.  We drove 3 1/2 hours down the road to Henderson, Nevada--220 miles.  On the way, we went to Hoover Dam and walked on the new bridge that they built across the gorge (The Hoover Dam Bypass Bridge).  That was a fun and interesting stop, and I got some photos of the Dam that could have only been taken from a helo at one time!  It was in Henderson that we spent our last night in a Wal-Mart and went on our last ice-cream hunt.  Bittersweet.  And yeah, I admit that I actually like Wal-Mart!  I mean, Fresno Wal-Marts aren't so hot, but every other one has been great (plus they're the supercenters).  So, we all had a peaceful night there and set out early-ish this morning. 

Today was a five-hour drive, not counting stops for gas and for lunch.  We crossed into California at around 11:45, which produced quite a commotion for a minute.  We called a few friends and Dad also did some work on the road.  Today was his very last work day on our trip, and he really felt like he made an accomplishment.

By the time we were going through Tehachapi, things were looking more familiar to me.  That was a cool feeling, actually being in a place that I recognized after being in the unfamiliar for three months!  We arrived in Orange Grove RV park at 4:30, in Bakersfield.  It has been drizzling, but pleasantly not that cold.  The RV park is spotless, and Delaney has awarded them the "cleanest bathhouse" award.  There are four pints of Ben and Jerry's in the freezer, and we had some devotions and enjoyed a nice evening together.  A very nice way to spend the last night on the road!

Tomorrow, we hope to leave here early and get home between 1 and 2:00 in the afternoon.  The weather forcast looks sunny, which is a blessing!  I can't believe how fast these 10,000-some miles have gone by, and now we are only 158 miles from home!  Here is the last web album I've made of the trip, and when I get home I will be working on three photo books of our journey.  That will be a fun project, and when they're finished they'll be on our coffee table for all to see!  So come on over!

I hope we can see y'all soon, in person.  I can't wait to spend more sweet fellowship with you and go back to normal living.  God bless.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Flagstaff, good friends and fun fellowship

After spending a couple days in the *gorgeous*, *enchanting* town o Gallup...we left this morning for Flagstaff, AZ.  It was freezing!!!!  We had a very efficiant 3-hour drive and got to Flagstaff at about 1:00.  We are spending tonight with the Gindorf family, who moved from Oakhurst a year ago.  I am good friends and correspond with their daughters. 

This afternoon was so much fun...plenty of girly stuff and Starbucks, walks in the snow and listening to music.  I really enjoyed catching up with Maddie and Emma, and having girly-friend time was something I had sorely missed since Susanna Telian left about a month ago. 

After a delicous comfort-food dinner, we went to the Gindorf's weekly Bible study.  It was a rich time of teaching and learning, searching Scriptures and discussing.  I was in mild discomfort from the indoor cats they kept, but we all enjoyed it very much. 

After Bible study was a lively game of basketball, I played with a bunch of the youth in the group.  It had been a long time since I played, but it brought back fun memories of playing basketball with the kids in fellowship a couple years ago.  I did make a basket, and I'm glad I haven't completely lost the touch... ;)

Well, I must go and enjoy what is left of the evening now.  I'll post more tomorrow, with pix hopefully!! 

Sunday, November 6, 2011

What have we been up to????

Well, my dear readers, again I am slacking off on blogging.  Bad me.  Unfortunately, what I am about to write about might be boring and dull, but it is what we've been up to.  So I should be the bored one!  (Also, I am in a strange writing mood today, which means I will probably be typing whatever I'm thinking.)  Here goes...

Hm…(where were we when I last wrote anyway?!) oh yes.  Little Rock, Arkansas was where we were staying.  Well, I can't say that it was that incredible, although it was a clean, safe-feeling city.  We drove into it last Thursday, and it was very cold and windy.  At 10:00 a.m. we visited the famous Peabody Hotel, and watched 'the duck show'.  You ask, what is the duck show?!  I will tell is a hotel (duh) and has a nice indoor fountain with several mallards swimming around in it (live ones).  They have been swimming in the fountain for decades (generations of them, of course), after a couple of drunken duck hunters let some live decoy ducks loose in the pond.  The owner of the hotel loved it, and asked if they could be trained.  So, every day since then, a small flock of ducks has been escorted down the glass elevator, down a red carpet, up the red carpet stairs and into the fountain.  They swim around all day until 5:00 p.m., when they are escorted back down, back up the elevator and into their private apartment.  It really is quite cute; I got a lot of pictures. :) 

SO...after we did that, we visited both the old and the new state capitol buildings.  I liked the new one better, but it was too cold and marble-y and echo-y for my taste.  They did have an interesting record of pictures going all the way back several decades, of the House and Senate members.  For instance, all the members of the House of Reps. who served for each term had their pictures in a large frame.  Every four years, a new huge frame is added.  We even found Jib Bob Duggar's picture in the 1999-2002 frame!  We almost went up to visit the Duggar’s, but the timing was just not good this time, and we couldn’t have given them enough notice if we came by. 

Well, that was Thursday.  On Friday, we left the campground in Little Rock at noon and drove about 5 hours to Oklahoma City.  We stayed in a Wal-Mart parking lot (and did a lot of Wal-Mart shopping for giggles) and even used our generator so we could use the heater.  The next day, we had breakfast at the Waffle House (they have yummy breakfast wraps), did a little more shopping at Wal-Mart and then drove several more hours to Amarillo, Texas (and don't you start singing that song, Dad has been singing it all the time!).  We finally found the last item on our scavenger hunt list (a hitchhiker, can you believe it?!).  So we FINALLY got to open the prize!!!  Much to our delight, it was a Lamplighter audio book, "The Boy of Mount Rhigi".  We listened to it right away, and we loved it!!  I would like to buy the book now, and I highly recommend the audio!  Thank you so much Becker family! 

Amarillo gave us another Wal-Mart to stay at.  It was very, very, very windy though, and ccoolldd...but we used the generator again and we were comfortable.  We all woke up early (for us, anyway), since daylight saving's time ended.  That was good though, because we gained a whole hour of traveling time.  We began driving at 9:00, and when we got into New Mexico, we entered Mountain Time!  So we gained another hour!!!  I felt so efficient, even though I wasn't driving...I felt like an efficient passenger.  We drove a little over 7 hours to Gallup, New Mexico, which is 23 miles from the border to Arizona.  Dad figured out that we are only a 12 hour drive from home!!!!!!  But, I've had enough driving for now, and I certainly don't feel like going another 12 hours. 

You might want to know how we pass the time in the car?  Oh, you don't?  Well, I will tell you anyway, to amuse myself.  Well, we listened to a Voddie Baucham sermon as a family (which took over an hour), Mom slept when she wasn't driving (or she looked like it), Dad drove or worked, and the girls did all sorts of stuff (like coloring, listening to Jonathan Park, making messes, bickering, laughing, playing Tetris, etc.).  As for me, I have ear buds in my ears about 99% of the time.  Either I was listening to "The Boy of Mount Rhigi", playing music on my iPod or something like that.  Then I might play Tetris on the ancient (but still working) Game Boy.  For those who don't know what Tetris is (probably those of my generation), it is hard to explain so please look it up on Google or something.  But it is really fun, so if you ever want to play, please speak with me.  Anyway, I also look out the window, talk with my sisters (and occasionally bicker), do sign language and daydream excessively.  But I get very bored.  Thank goodness this driving season won't last forever...

Well, I hope y'all kept up with me and put up with my 'chatter'.  I just have those days...:)  Hopefully I'll post again before we get home, with some final thoughts and such...

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

A random peek into life in a trailer

School days

The office

Yes, this is how our room usually looks

Don't look behind the curtain!!!!

Kitchen chaos

Bringing my readers up-to-date (at last!)

Well, here we are, on the final leg of our trip, and I am slacking off on blogging.  My apologies, everyone!  I will begin with writing about last weekend, and end with…today.  So, before you all get annoyed with me…
On Friday, October 28th, we drove from Joe Wheeler to Huntsville, about an hour east.  There we stayed the weekend at Stephen Hall’s parent’s home.  Stephen and Tricia Hall were also visiting, and we also got to know Stephen’s brother and sister-in-law and the neighbor family!

It was a weekend of great conversation, wonderful food, lovely music, making friends and roasting wienies and s’mores.  We also took Saturday to go to the U.S. Air and Space Center in Huntsville, along with Stephen and Tricia Hall.  That was a very fun-filled day, beginning with a museum about Wernher von Braun, the pioneer of the missile and rocket.  After that, we watched a cool film about the Hubble Telescope in the IMAX Theater.  Following the theater, we all tried our hand at rock climbing, which was supposed to simulate climbing up the (supposed) tallest volcano in space that was on Mars.  We all had great fun with that, and even Libbey shimmied almost all the way up on the easy end!  Stephen did the very hardest and declared it “nearly impossible”, but of course he did it!

By that time, we had worked up an appetite.  We all headed back out to the truck and had a picnic-tailgate lunch in the parking lot, which was very yummy and it was a beautiful day to eat outside.  (To make things even better, the Hall’s brought cookies and Reese’s Cups—yum!). 

 Once we had satisfied our hunger, we enjoyed the rest of the afternoon touring more museum, walking around looking at space shuttles and rockets and missiles and riding a couple rides.  The Hall’s and Delaney even went on a ride called G-Force—it made you feel 4 times your weight!  Plus, it also spun you around really, really fast and my stomach got queasy just looking at it.  As Dad remarked when he saw it going, “I can’t believe I put my daughter in that tin can!”  But they had a blast, so that’s good! 

On the way out later that day, Stephen spotted Herman Cain’s campaign bus parked outside a Marriot hotel right next to the Air and Space Center.  We stopped, of course, and joined the throng of people anxious to catch a glimpse of him.  We did, and we got pictures, so if he’s ever president, than me and my sisters can say that we saw a president in person (I think that Dad and Mom and the Hall’s have seen presidents in person before)!  That was pretty cool.

So…in a nutshell, that was last weekend.  On Sunday we drove from Huntsville to Memphis, Tennessee.  We stayed three nights there, but after seeing the city we decided that it was not something to brag about (unless you’re another Elvis worshipper) and pulled out today (two days early).  We are now in Little Rock, Arkansas.  It’s a much nicer city and a much nicer campground (save the horrible showers).  We will probably tour around Little Rock in the next couple days and then pull out on Friday and head to Oklahoma City.  I will write more later, when I have something interesting to write about!  Have a great night y’all!!