Amy Scott's Thoughts

Sharing the thoughts that bounce around in my brain!

Office Holiday Cheer November 29, 2011

Filed under: Simply Me — Amy Scott @ 4:58 pm

It’s hard to keep the Christmas decorations limited to the home. Jeremy and I spend a lot of time our office and it’s always fun to make our work environment festive. We don’t have a ton of space to decorate, but here are some things that we like to do around the holiday season.

As I mentioned in a previous blog, Jeremy has a VeggieTales nativity set that sings. It got pulled out of its box home today and was set on our end table. Jeremy had to push the angel as we were leaving work just to make sure that it still would sing it’s little heart out. Yep, it worked! The little cracked voice of Jr. Asparagus singing “O Little Town of Bethlehem” filled the office. 

Now our office doesn’t have a window view, but it does a window. A small window… that looks out on the hallway. This little window allows Jeremy and I a lot fun. Over the years we have collected a variety of gel clings to brighten up our window and add personality to our office. Today I took the owls “whooou”  have been sticking to our window since September down. I put up some reindeer, holly, snowflakes and a penguin. I went a little crazy… But I think it’s fun! Gel clings are a simple way we add Christmas feeling to our office before we even open the door!

It’s fun to make the season merry and bright – where ever you spend your time! Festive touches make the Christmas season come to life and spread cheer. There are many creative places to decorate for the holidays. Don’t limit yourself to just home!

 

Good Bye Pumpkins, Hello Christmas! November 25, 2011

Filed under: Simply Me — Amy Scott @ 2:21 pm

Yesterday was a great day!  Jeremy and I are blessed to have both our families living near by. This means that we get not one but two Thanksgivings meals! What a treat!  The day was spent with family and eating good food. A wonderful way to spend a day in my book. However, once I got home from all the festivities, I had my hubby pull out of Christmas boxes so I could dive into them first thing this morning. Jeremy is an archer, so Thanksgiving weekend to him means wondering through the woods trying to kill an elk or a deer. He left early this morning and left me to decorate the house.

It’s always sad to see my mini-pumpkins get thrown away and all the things with leaves on them get tucked back into boxes for another year. Autumn is my favorite season so it’s always bittersweet when I pack up all things orange and yellow. I truly love Christmas so it’s always exciting to pull out the Christmas items. Like I said, bittersweet. Today I got up earlier than usual for a sleep in day (mostly because my dog wouldn’t let me sleep). I turned on the Christmas music station on my television and started opening boxes.

I don’t know if it’s the same for you, but opening those boxes is like reconnecting with old friends and memories. I’m amazed that I forget so much of what is stored in those crates and when I open them it’s like a surprise. Every item has either been given to us by loved ones or purchased by Jeremy and I for our Christmas collection. It’s a sweet time. It would be better if my hunter could have joined me, but then I would have been waiting for a while… I’m too impatient!

The centerpiece of our home during the holidays is our Christmas tree which we have yet to purchase. Every year, we get a “real” tree. I’m not a fan of the plastic ones that don’t smell like pine. I will take the pine needles all over my floor as a trade off for the wonderful look and smell of a real tree. We’ll get ours in a about a week or so. Picking the tree and decorating the tree is something we do together and it’s the highlight of our Christmas decorating! I can remember when Jeremy and I lived in our tiny apartment where we could only have a tree that was 5 feet or under! Now that we have a home with a vaulted ceiling, I love buying a big, tall tree! It’s a blessing to me since I know what it’s like not to be able to have one.

I’m not sure if you’re the type of person that had their house decorated for Christmas two weeks ago, if you decorate after Thanksgiving like me, or if you wait until December 1st or December 21st… I hope that you had a marvelous Thanksgiving and a Merry Christmas!

 

 

Thanksgiving Baking Projects! November 23, 2011

Filed under: Cooking Experiments — Amy Scott @ 5:04 pm

It’s a been a drippy couple of days here in western Washington. Days like these are perfect for baking projects and with Thanksgiving coming up, I figured I would start some new baking adventures. I attend an annual event called Taste of the Holidays at my church. It’s a fun tasting of holiday goodies. They send me home with the recipes every year and I’ve never made a single thing out of the books. After this year’s TOTH, I decided I was finally going to make something out from these recipe books that I’ve stored for so long.

Of course, this is me, so I had to pick desserts! That is my favorite part of any meal! I went back through the books and picked three recipes that I remember liking a lot. I set to baking yesterday when I got home from work and finished up this afternoon. My first project was called Hello Dollies. They have graham cracker crust with chocolate (I used both milk chocolate and white chocolate), coconut, condensed milk and pecans. The second project I started was pumpkin bars with cream cheese frosting. I will admit that I just used store bought frosting. I figured with all the baking I had planned, it would be nice to have one step completed for me. The third project was raspberry ribbons. I think these were the hardest of all. It’s a cookie was raspberry jam down the middle and a glaze drizzled on top. There were more steps to this recipe and I don’t think I got the exact balance of jam to cookie down.

Because I plan I sharing these goodies with family tomorrow I couldn’t dig right in and chow down. However, I’ve never made these recipes before so I did do a little taste testing… I needed to know what I was serving! Overall,  I think these treats were tasty and I look forward to sharing them with others. Every year when I attend TOTH, I get a little overwhelmed by how awesome all the food is. I guess I always figured that I would never be able to do as good as a job as the chefs so why try… I’ve decided that is a dumb attitude to have! So what if I’m not the best – these turned out great and I am very happy with them! That is all that matters! It’s not a contest!

 

Holiday Traditions – Old and New! November 22, 2011

Filed under: Simply Me — Amy Scott @ 9:54 pm

Every November, Jeremy and I make a trek down to Portland to start our Christmas shopping. We love the stores and the no sales tax really stretches our dollar. This year we braved the first snow of the year. We look forward to this trip every year. Even though it was hard to leave the beauty of our winter wonderland, we set out on our mission. Each year I go into our shopping day super focused. It’s not about me… it’s about getting gifts for others. I truly enjoy shopping for others and love gift giving. So for me I go into the day with a singular focus.

Jeremy on the other hand… He is not able to compartmentalize. Our first stop was at Target where we pretty much got everything for ourselves. Jeremy picked up the makings of green bean casserole because he realized he was a little short on his stash and he promised to bring that for Thanksgiving. We got gift wrap and bows. I bought some candy cane kisses for my advent calendar. While we were in the toy section, I was busy comparing prices and getting ideas for my nephew’s gift when I noticed something tucked on the bottom shelf of the cart. The joy I experience when I saw this item was pretty intense! It was a Fisher-Price Little People Nativity Set.

Let me explain why this is so important. Every since Jeremy and I got married, I’ve been looking for the perfect nativity set for our Christmas collection. Everything seemed too ornate. I’m not really a frilly person, so I knew that whatever I settle on would be simple. A year ago I discovered that there was a Little People Nativity Set. I instantly wanted it. I loved Little People as a kid and once they changed them to make them chubbier (aka less easy to choke on), I think they got cuter. Jeremy thought I was kidding and shot me down when I said I wanted it. At this point, I would like to say this is the man who has a Veggie Tales Nativity Set in his office every year that sings… so yeah, not too different from my Little People set. After a year of talking about it, I told him this year when we saw it we would buy it. Jeremy found it first in the store and slipped it into the cart to surprise me.

When I got home I couldn’t keep it in the box, so I set up the nativity set on the tray we purchased for it. Once it was set up, I tucked safely away in my Christmas closet and it’s waiting until after Thanksgiving to come out. I’m so happy to finally have a nativity set in our home. I think it’s an important feature of Christmas decorating. It’s not all about Christmas Trees and stockings. The true purpose is to celebrate the life that came to earth to live and die for my sins. Death couldn’t hold him down! My Jesus is alive! Amen! Okay, preacher moment! I know that this depiction of the nativity isn’t accurate. These chubby little white children probably don’t resemble that night much at all. I get that. However, it’s a visual reminder of what we celebrate and I am happy camper to have my own nativity set. It’s unique and a little odd, just like me! I like that!

Side note: We did actually get to our purpose and tackled most of our Christmas list. Like I said, this trip was not about us. It just had some nice bonus items that came home with us.

 

It’s here! November 21, 2011

Filed under: One Thousand Gifts Challenge — Amy Scott @ 3:16 pm

I can’t believe it’s the week of Thanksgiving! I feel a bit like a school kid – really excited for a break and lots of good food! It’s hard to not be jazzed about a little less work and more time with family and friends. My week is full of fun baking, meals with some awesome students, family time and then the highlight of the after thanksgiving season – decorating the house for Christmas. I’ve done a good job of keeping Christmas tucked away in my back closet, but come Friday, it will be pulled out and on display! My Christmas shopping is 85% done and my Christmas cards are 100% done and waiting to mailed in December! I am ready for this week and I’m ready for the Christmas season.

As we come up on Thanksgiving, my mind keeps contemplating what I am thankful are. I am so blessed and when I really think about it, I’m overwhelmed by the Lord’s goodness in my life.  I am thankful for my husband and our marriage. I am thankful for our home and the sanctuary it is to me. I am thankful for my family who I am blessed be friends with and enjoy their company. I am thankful for the ministry I’m a part of at Bethel Church – for each child and family I get to interact with. I’m blessed by the students who have grown up out of my classes, but are still a part of my life. I am thankful for so many things… these are just a few that resonate with me today.

I’m still keeping my 1000 gifts journal. I’m over halfway there to my second 1000. It’s been important for me to stop each day and write down the blessings and gifts I see in my life. Even in the small things God is there and very active. I can see it as I go throughout my everyday, ordinary life. The to-do lists might pile up, my phone might be ringing off the hook, I might have too much on my plate, but throughout the craziness I can see ways that the Lord is speaking to me through His gifts. Life doesn’t get easier when you’re searching for gifts, but it does get richer. I am thankful and that is really all I can say!

 

Pre-Thanksgiving Dinner! November 19, 2011

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

I feel like I cheated a bit. On Thursday night my husband and I made a small feast and it was very much like that of Thanksgiving. Now it didn’t have all the trimmings, but it had all my favorites! Jeremy grew a ton of potatoes this summer in his garden. I asked him if he wanted to make anything in particular on Thursday night since we would both be home and he said something with potatoes. From there the inspiration of our meal unfolded. We could do mashed potatoes… we have a frozen turkey breast in the freezer… I could attempt to make dinner rolls for the first time… Jeremy would stop by the store and get cranberry jelly. There you have it – my Thanksgiving staples – turkey, mashed potatoes, dinner rolls and cranberry jelly. Yum!!! In the original plan, Jeremy was going to make stuffing, but he was too hungry when he came home so the stuffing went by the wayside so we could eat faster. Sad for him, not so much for me. I’m not sure why, but I’ve never been a big fan of stuffing.

I was really nervous about making dinner rolls. I guess I’ve heard one too many stories about how someone’s rolls didn’t rise enough or the rolls turned into hard lumps or they were undercooked and doughy. In my mind, rolls have always been something that could go wrong in a number of ways. Normally I stick to buying already baked rolls or the frozen kind. However, in my quest for culinary greatness, I decided to try my hand at making dinner rolls. I found that I like making rolls more than I like making bread. The recipe I used was easier to work with and the flavor was better in my opinion. The only thing I struggled with is getting my dough to rise because my house tends to be on the colder side. However, it was worth the patience and the rolls were fabulous!

We enjoyed our meal a lot! A pre-taste of what is come in less than a week! It’s so hard to wait until Thanksgiving when there are so many good foods in the stores and commercials on television keep showing holiday meals. It was impossible to pass up the opportunity! After dinner, Jeremy talked me into playing Wii Party with him. He has been trying to get me to play for a while, so I caved. It was fun. I won one game and he won the other. Snowflakes fell for a bit so we sat with the curtains open so we could see them falling. After Wii Party, I made an apple crisp to end our feasting evening! I know we’ll have lots of pumpkin treats next week and I still had apples to use, so it seemed that apple was a better direction to go! Overall it was a very tasty and fun evening. It truly feels like the holiday season is here and I am loving it!

 

Treasured Possessions November 18, 2011

Filed under: Amy's Bookshelf — Amy Scott @ 1:06 pm

Okay, I know the Bible says not to store up treasures here on earth… I totally get that… but being  human and all, I have some treasures and they live in my guest room on a bookshelf. I love my books! In fact, I dream of of having a wall of shelves completely filled with books. My next dream would be to have a library room with all the walls completely covered in books. Ah, dreams! Books have always been a big part of my life. In elementary school, I was addicted to reading the Sweet Valley Twins. In middle school and high school, I read everything by Robin Jones Gunn I could get may hands on. My favorite book series still to this day would be The Christy Miller Series and all the books about Christy’s friends.

I think the reason I like books so much is they become like friends to me. Many people have rolled their eyes when I’ve said that, but it’s true. I get attached to the characters and I love to revisit them. Now not all of my books are fiction. I have a great deal of books on leadership, spiritual growth, and Bible study. These are also very important to me because they have played a big part in shaping who I am today. All of my books have had influence in my life and I am grateful for the voices of others who have inspired me and challenged me.

Recently I have gone through what I call a “fluffy” reading phase. Fluffy is my term for fiction. It’s just for fun. I love the stories, I revisit the characters, but it’s not super deep stuff… During my fluffy phase, I have reread the Love Comes Softly series and the Glenbrooke Series. Both are two of my favorite series that I discovered as an adult. I started to read the Love Comes Softly books originally after watching the Hallmark movies. I am amazed how different they are and I find that I like the plot of the books a lot more. Both are good though, just extremely different. The Glenbrooke Series takes place in a fictional small town out of Portland, OR. This series is written by my favorite author, Robin Jones Gunn.  I like these books because they are written for a twenty-somethings audience with old, familiar characters weaved into the plot from her books about Christy. It’s like catching a glimpse of old friends!

The last book I finished was Rooms by James L. Rubart. I would say the style is supernatural suspense. I can’t remember the last time I read a novel written by a man. There were times when I literally laughed out loud because of the difference in writing styles. It’s not the usual romantic tales I’m used to, even though the book does have a love story. It’s an intriguing book about a man who inherits a house in Cannon Beach, OR and the house has many rooms that appear and are a reflection of his heart and his life. It was fun to read something out of my normal style. I also love the fact that it takes place in a local setting. I enjoy recognizing the landmarks in the book.

I’m now in the process of deciding what to read next. I’m out of “new” books, so I’m back to rereading from my own collection. I really don’t mind that because like I said they are my friends and enjoy revisiting them. I’m always keeping my eyes out for another good read! I love going back to my bookshelf and putting away my last book and grabbing another. In fact, I think I’ll take a walk down there right now!