Amy Scott's Thoughts

Sharing the thoughts that bounce around in my brain!

Home Sweet Home October 28, 2011

Filed under: Simply Me — Amy Scott @ 8:33 pm

Something has changed over the last few years. I used to hate being home for a whole day. I had to go and do something. I have no idea if it was because I was young and restless or because of the small apartment I used to live in. Ever since my husband and I purchased our home a few years ago, I have discovered that I love days where I get to stay home ALL day.

Today was one of those days were I got the joy being home for the entire day. It’s been a busy week with prepping for one of our major annual events, Fall Fest. I knew that the rest of my month would be busy and full (the few days that are left of October). Today was that one day where I could stay in my comfy clothes all day and not worry about going out. It was truly a perfect day.

I started the day by sleeping in – a Friday morning favorite of mine. After I got up, I tidied up the house as my hubby started a fire in our wood stove. Once the fire was made, Jeremy took off to go fishing. This allowed me a few hours of quiet to read and spend time with Jesus. My home becomes a sanctuary when I enter into my daily reading of the Bible. I’m swept away for a few hours into someone else’s shoes when I read a good book. It’s even more sweet when my Toby dog curls up on my lap and snuggles in.

When Jeremy got home, he created an amazing acorn squash soup for dinner and I made homemade bread. My sister inspired me yesterday by sending me a picture of loaves she created and I knew I wanted to try the same thing. She emailed me the recipe and I made bread for the first time. There was something so homey about being inside while it rained outside. The house smelled of soup and bread. Both seemed very fitting on this wet and dark fall day.

Days like this are few and far between, but when they appear I love to savor them for all they are worth. A good book, a fun baking project, a warm fire… just a few of my favorite things!

 

Class Snack October 27, 2011

Filed under: Cooking Experiments — Amy Scott @ 8:00 am

I guess that you’ve probably caught on to the fact that I like to bake. When I have the time, I’m choosing to bake instead of buy things. I’ve been making more goodies for gatherings. One such opportunity happens every week on Wednesday nights. I love making a treat for my class of 5th/6th girls. I’ve been trying to make more things for scratch. I’m also trying to do very seasonal baking. 

This week I decided to make brownies… from a mix… but I couldn’t just leave it the way it was! I decided to put a twist on this brownie mix that I make quite often. I’ve never made peanut-butter brownies, so I thought this would be a great time to try to add another layer to something I’m very familiar with. I hopped online and consulted good ol’ Betty to help me with peanut-butter element.  To jazz things up and give the brownies some fall color, I added Mini Reeces Pieces to the mix and sprinkled them on top. The colors are just right to make it feel like an autumn goody.

These brownies turned out fun and festive! Not too mention tasty! It was very rewarding to add another element to a classic! I’m learning that baking is a way I can bless others and share something that brings me joy. I didn’t intend for this blog to become a location for me to showcase food, but I’m finding it brings me great happiness and I’m enjoying the challenge of trying new things.

 

When You’re Looking October 26, 2011

Filed under: One Thousand Gifts Challenge — Amy Scott @ 2:49 pm

It seems to me that I have enjoyed the autumn colors a lot more this year. I normally love this season and look forward to it every year. However, this year seems more intense to me. Maybe it’s because I’m being more intentional. I’m looking around me more. I’m keeping my eyes open. Everyday I’m looking for new gifts. I’m constantly scanning the horizon and keeping myself alert to God’s blessings. With this kind of mindset, every time I hop in the car, I’m looking at the autumn colors and thanking God for His beautiful creation. Because I’m looking more, I’m seeing more. It makes sense, doesn’t it? It seems so simple. I started to ponder why this autumn meant so much to me. I’m pretty sure the trees aren’t the most beautiful they have ever been… I’m pretty sure the weather hasn’t been the most stellar it’s ever been. It’s all in the outlook. Things I would look at once and think “nice” are now something that I admire everyday. Each drive through dancing leaves or each tree is a blessing to me. My eyes are open to all the beauty around me and I’m not taking it for granted or tuning it out. Normally by October I’m already itching to listen to Christmas music and I get excited to see Christmas popping up in the stores. This year, I have been so content with fall that I have not yet moved on to craving winter and Christmas. Being content where I am has led me to not “needing” the next thing. I know I’ll be ready to move on to the next season and the joys that come with it soon, but for now I’m just looking around and finding the daily blessings in all I’m seeing. No need to pine for tomorrow – today is full!

 

Saturdays October 23, 2011

Filed under: Cooking Experiments — Amy Scott @ 8:00 am

I’ve found the last couple of Saturdays have held similar activities – cleaning the house and baking a special treat! The weekends have been filled with gatherings of friends and family. Thus, I’ve needed to have the house tidy and something to offer my guests. For life group two week ago, I made the applesauce spice cake. I’ve already posted how yummy that turned out! I’m already planning on making that again – this time for my Wednesday night class.   

Last Saturday was my first venture at pie making on my own. I’ve watched Jeremy make a pie and I’ve made a pie with Jeremy, but until last week I had never done it by myself. It was a bit of a personal challenge to show myself that I can do it. Apple pie was decided on because it was to be shared with family for my father-in-law’s birthday. He is big fan of apple pie, so it seemed that would be the best option. Since it was my first time, I did learn that I need to add more apples next time. I used an extra apple in the recipe, but I should have used another. I know that for next time. I also used a mix for the crust again. Now that I am out of the mix, I plan of making my own crust next time. Baby steps!

Today is a life group Sunday, so yesterday I decided to bake banana bread to take to the group. It might sound odd, but I’ve learned that bananas freeze well and they can then be saved until you plan on making some bread. It’s a chilly to prepare them, however, they taste great! I used the recipe from my Shueyville cookbook and it’s a classic! I shared the recipe in a previous blog if you are curious. The great thing about this recipe is it needs to be split into two loaves. We will take one loaf to life group and the other loaf will be munched on by Jeremy and I. It’s perfect for sharing!

 

An Autumn Tradition October 22, 2011

Filed under: Simply Me — Amy Scott @ 2:34 pm

Visiting in 2005

Jeremy and I spent most of our dating and engagement period of time in the Portland, OR area. I was going to school there and Jeremy would drive down one day a week and we would spend it together. One of our favorite places to go was the Columbia Gorge and the Scenic Waterfall Highway. It’s especially pretty there during the autumns months as the trees in the area are changing into bright colors of red, gold and orange.

Autumn is both Jeremy and I’s favorite season and this scenic drive offers many awesome fall views. Every year we make a traditional trip to the waterfalls to take in the beauty of Columbia Gorge. Yesterday was the day we had saved for our annual pilgrimage. Each year the weather is different and that means the trees are not always the same. We’ve gone early in October and things have just begun to change. We’ve gone toward the end of October and it’s vibrant with color. Yesterday was in the middle. Things are in the process of changing, but you tell the greater colors are still to come.

I love having traditions. It’s so sentimental to have something we do every year. I look forward to it immensely! Yesterday was no exception. I got this date on the calendar early and protected it. I’ve learned that somethings in life need to planned in advance and then kept from being over-crowed by life. This trip was one of them!

Visiting in 2011

Jeremy and I had an amazing time just being together and spending the morning looking at such beauty. It’s just right outside of the city, but you feel like you are in the country. Days like this are treasured and cherished. They are not to be rushed through. However, we did keep a bit of a pace because we were trying to stay in front of the rain that was coming. The weather held long enough for us to make all our planned stops and to get some great pictures!

There is no replacement for this trip and I was so blessed to spend the day with my hubby! It is fun to visit places that mean a lot to us and we return to often! On a side note, another great time of the year to visit the waterfalls is when there was been freezing weather. They look so awesome when they are partially frozen! The drive can be a bit tricky, but it is worth the wonderful, wintery sight! The Columbia Gorge is beautiful year around and a visit is always special!

 

Marshmallow Overload October 19, 2011

Filed under: Cooking Experiments — Amy Scott @ 3:14 pm

You’d be amazed by the amount of marshmallows that I have in my home. Jeremy and I have a fire pit in our backyard and every year we like to try fun, new marshmallow flavors for our S’mores. We have developed a bit of a collection because when we see a new flavor we haven’t tried, we buy it.  We had a bunch of half open bags leftover from this summer. I recently decided to “thin the herd” and get rid of some of the older marshmallows. I’m not sure why it is this way, but you get rid of something, before you know it the item has multiplied again.

One of our life group members brought three bags of marshmallows to share with the group. Two of the flavors I had seen before. The one I hadn’t seen before was pumpkin spice marshmallows. We opened the bag so we could sample them and they were very tasty. Just a week after we received the 3 new bags, we were given 6 boxes of gourmet marshmallows as a gift for Pastor Appreciation Month. We have not yet tried them, but they look very good. I think we might have to wait for a reason to share them so we don’t over do it! I like marshmallows… I’m not saying anything against the marshmallows that have been given to us. I am just surprised that I tried to take the collection down to a reasonable size and it more than doubled!

I started to think about what I could do with all these marshmallows. The bag of pumpkin spice ones had been opened, but the majority of it was left uneaten. I let my mind wander and I came up with the idea of using the pumpkin spice marshmallows to make some kind of marshmallow treat. Now the classic is Rice Krispy Treats, but I wanted to stay with the fall theme. After exploring the cereal aisle yesterday, I landed on Cinnamon Burst Cheerios. I figured the cinnamon and pumpkin combination would make for a yummy autumn treat.

This afternoon I assembled what I am calling Pumpkin Spice Cereal Treats. Using the basic Rice Krispy Treat recipe, I mixed my fall inspired ingredients together to create a yummy marshmallow treat. The recipe on the back of the bag said you could decorate using candy corn or another fall candy. I didn’t think the flavors would mix well, so I used Wilton’s Colorful Leaves Sprinkle Mix. I thought they would add to the fall theme without adding another flavor layer.

The recipe on the back of the bag also suggested using a pumpkin shaped cookie cutter to make the treats into a pumpkin. I have a large pumpkin shaped cookie cutter and I knew that if I used it I wouldn’t get enough servings out of the recipe to share with my class of girls tonight. I decided to keep it all in the 13×9 pan instead.

All I can tell you right now is that they smell amazing and look good. I don’t like to present goodies that have already been partial eaten so I must wait until tonight when I share them with my class of 5th/6th girls to sample them. Here’s hoping they are a yummy snack for my girls and for myself!

 

Life After 1000 October 17, 2011

Filed under: One Thousand Gifts Challenge — Amy Scott @ 1:31 pm

I haven’t lived 1000 years, but I have experienced 1000 gifts. I started this gift counting challenge on August 21st and completed it on October 10th. 50 days of intentional looking, of writing notes, of blessings. Only 50 days… it went by quickly. 1000 gifts seems like a lot, like it would take forever. I’m learning that with eyes-wide open I would probably see 1000 gifts in one day. But I’m not there. I still struggle with seeing the good in bad. I still like it when things go my way. I have a harder time counting gifts when I am out of control. However, I have learned that my desire for control is what kills the joy in the day to day moments. To experience joy is to let go and let God do His thing. I feel like I’ve learned so much in a short period of time, but I always feel like I have barely scratched the surface of what there is to learn in gift counting.

I’m still counting. I’m at 1091 as I type this blog. I have made a few changes to my gift list challenge. While counting 1000 gifts, I didn’t allow myself to use the same gift twice. I really wanted to find 1000 distinct gifts.  It was hard to do this because so many things bless me continually… like soda or Scentsy or sunshine. Now that I have reached 1000, I have decided that I will allow duplicates in my gift list. If the sunshine really moves me today, I will write it down. If they sunshine next Thursday really moves me, I will write it down. Each day the simple blessings of life are before me. Do I see them? Am I taking note? Am I grateful for my toothbrush or modern appliances? Did I notice that smile? Did that friendly word really sink in? Like I said, if my eyes were really open I would see 1000 gifts in a day, but I know that I am not that aware. I strive to be. I know that  by living my life through the lens of finding blessings, I will see them more and more. It’s a muscle that grows with discipline.

I still tend to look to the negative. This process hasn’t broken my pessimistic outlook. I wish it would. I desperately seek to see more good than bad. My only hope is that I can see all the good and remember that there is good even in bad. This last week, I’ve had some very stressful situations playing over and over in my mind. Every time I would start to worry about a person or the outcome of a situation, I would just go to prayer and bless. Instead of worry, I chose to bless. Instead of fear, I chose to bless. I’m still learning to make this a habit. It amazed me how much peace it brought me. Look for the blessings, look for opportunities to bless. This is my new outlook, this is my hope!