Amy Scott's Thoughts

Sharing the thoughts that bounce around in my brain!

Joining MOPS, Fall Baking & Maternity Leave September 17, 2013

Fall Baking

Fall Baking

I’m a big fan of pre-baby maternity leave! Originally, my logic was that I wanted to tie up all my loose ends at work. I didn’t want to be in the office one day and out the next having a baby. I knew I would be less stressed if I took care off the details in advance. It certainly made for a busy summer at work because I took care of the fall season at the same time. I feel good about how I left things in the office.  The plan seemed to work. However, I started to think about how I would fill my time once I was maternity leave. If you’ve been following my blog for any length time, you know that I don’t sit around watching TV and eating bonbons.  As I mentioned in a previous post, I’m using this free time to connect with a lot of people before the baby comes. I’m having my “Social September” and I’m enjoying time with loved ones.

It’s only been two days of “leave” and I’ve managed to do a lot around the house. I have done three major baking projects. The first was a favorite for Jeremy called Hello Dollies. He loves these and I always make them in the fall – usually around the holidays. I wasn’t sure what my holiday season would look like with a new little one, so I made these goodies in advance. He is enjoying some now, but we froze most of them so he can pull them out at will over the next few months. The second project was out of this month’s Food Network Magazine. I had the ingredients for Butterscotch Pecan Blondies and I needed to bring a snack for MOPS this morning. It seemed like a good opportunity to try a new recipe. They were a hit! I think they are slightly addicting so I’m glad I could share them with the MOPS moms and our staff at work. The final project was for my Wednesday night class tomorrow night.  I have fall cookie cutters that I try to use once a season and this was the time. I spent my afternoon making cookies, frosting them and covering them with autumn colored sugar crystals.

Snuggling with the puppy and a good book!

Snuggling with the puppy and a good book!

Other highlights apart from baking, I’ve had plenty of time to clean and tidy my house. My regular cleaning day for the longest time was Wednesday, but the last few weeks it’s been Mondays. I’ve also had time to read and relax with my puppy. I think that Toby is enjoying my new schedule since he gets to be out of the crate more. Yesterday I took an afternoon nap! I try to get those in as often as I can since sleeping at night has become harder.

Today was my first MOPS meeting. I’ve never been involved with MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) because I’ve never been one. I still don’t really feel like I’m a part of the club. Maybe because my baby has yet to be born so the motherhood phase really hasn’t started. MOPS has always been a bit scary for me in the past. Moms intimated me. I’ve been told “Oh, just you wait…” so many times that I feel like they don’t validate my experience working with children. Anyway, this is a new opportunity for me and one that I’m hoping to grow from. Today was a good start, but I’m still unsure how the year will look. I felt like a kid on the first day of school. I really hope the other kids like me… We even had to take pictures for the directory so it felt a lot like back to school. I’m praying this new season of life will open up ministry doors that have been previously closed to me. By actually being a mom in the near future, I pray that I’ll be able connect and relate to this group of women in a new way.

In a lot of ways this season is about slowing down and just enjoying each day as it comes. I know that things will be different once the baby arrives, but for right now I’m just making the most of this pre-baby time. Doing things like baking and having quiet moments around the house really fill me up and give me what I need. In turn, I’m able to be social and add commitments to my calendar that I wouldn’t normally.  Even though I’m “out of the office”, I’m still serving at Bethel and it feels good to keep investing in relationships as we begin a new school year. Things are good. I’m enjoying this time.

 

Crustless Pumpkin Pie August 30, 2013

Filed under: Cooking Experiments — Amy Scott @ 5:42 pm

The Whole PieI’ve been itching to do some baking and with the fall quickly approaching, I had pumpkin on the brain. Okay, I always love pumpkin, no matter what the season. I try to hold my desire to bake with pumpkin off until at least September, but this year I slipped up. It’s like listening to Christmas music in July. Somethings just can’t be helped.

I had purchased all I need to make a classic pumpkin pie, but once I got into the kitchen I decided I wanted to do something different. I went through some recipes and compared them to the supplies I had ready and on hand. In the end, I decided on a crustless pumpkin pie. A lot of factors went into this decision. The main reason would be laziness. I didn’t want to make a crust, bake it and then add the filling. The next reason was the crustless pie recipe I chose had a brown sugar-oatmeal crumble on top and that sounded good.

Just a sliceThe results where quite tasty and it was a surprisingly healthy recipe. Who knew subtracting the crust also subtracted calories? Go figure! The pie comes out a bit more custard like than the average pumpkin pie, but that is okay because my husband was trying to talk me into making a custard pie earlier today. I think I do miss the element of a crust and I probably won’t do crustless again. However, for a first time experiment, I’m glad I branched out and tried something new.

Because my pumpkin stash happens to be the big cans from Costco that make two pies, there is a good chance that there will be another pumpkin something produced from my kitchen in the future. I only used half of the can of pumpkin, so there is another half a can just waiting to be turned into pumpkin goodness. I’m thinking either muffins or bars! I’ll keep you posted!

 

 

Things We Do For Love July 17, 2013

Filed under: Children's Ministry,Cooking Experiments — Amy Scott @ 11:05 am

This Sunday kicked off the beginning of our Family VBA at Bethel Church. We’ve intentionally moved our VBA (Vacation Bible Adventure) to the evening so that parents can attend with their kids. Instead of our station leaders doing everything, they simply introduce the lesson and activities and then turn things over to the parents. We provide all the materials for parents to lead their children in fun activities and spiritual discussions. Our hope is that they would see how powerful this family time is and incorporate it into their daily lives at home. We are trying to create a shift that says parents are the spiritual leaders of their families and that church isn’t the only place your children can receive spiritual growth. I’ll go into a lot of more details about how our week of Family VBA went, but this post is a little bit of bragging and a little bit of whining from me!

When we were looking over the curriculum for our last night, there a special snack called “Bright Bites”. They are pretty much ice cream cone cupcakes with yellow topping to look like flashlights. The theme of the last day is how God’s word helps us stand strong and the Bible verse talks about how God’s word is a light to our path. Thus the flashlight themed snack. Since our last day of VBA has a different flow, we usually dismiss the families and offer them to stay for ice cream bars. Ice cream bars are simple and easy and have no assembly required. However, my hubby really liked taking the theme a step farther with the snack, so I found myself volunteering to make these ice cream cone cupcakes.

What a task! It took me over 7 hours to complete the process and it was a lot of work! I learned the hard way not to overfill the cones. The first batch was riddled with mishaps. But I learned from my mistakes and the rest of the baking was pretty successful. We used yellow cake and lemon frosting. To finish off the look, I sprinkled yellow sugar crystals on top. In the end, I had 192 Bright Bites ready for families tonight. I’ll be honest and say that it took a lot of effort. I kept thinking about ice cream bars and how simple they would have been… But, I love my hubby and he really wanted this element for our grand finale. I now know that I will probably never agree to do that again, but we do a lot of crazy things for those we love! Me included!

The Failures!

The Failures!

Waiting to be frosted!

Waiting to be frosted!

Bright Bites up close!

Bright Bites up close!

All done!

All done!

 

Jam Making 101 July 14, 2013

Filed under: Cooking Experiments — Amy Scott @ 7:30 am

I <3 Raspberries

Summer is such a diverse time for me – especially this summer! It seems like I keep hopping from one thing to the next. It’s contained a lot of celebrating – the 4th of July, my Dad’s birthday, Jeremy & I’s wedding anniversary. Then I’m in full on VBA (Vacation Bible Adventure) prep mode and my head is totally at work. We have furniture for the baby’s room stocking up and Jeremy bought paint for the nursery. One evening we headed over to his parent’s house to help them pick berries and I’m learned how to make jam for the first time.  The next day I’m visiting a friend up north to have lunch and the day after that I’m in a 6-hour childbirth class… Work, family, friends, cooking, baby… Hop, hop, hop!

While I have many topics to write about in the near future (baby updates, VBA updates, my 400th blog post!), today is going to briefly highlight making jam for the first time! Jeremy’s parents have been visiting family and asked us to pick some of their raspberries while they were gone. They had a ton of berries so they told us to take a few for ourselves as well. I was amazed at how many berries they had and even after picking a generous amount for them, we were able to have enough to make some jam for ourselves. Picking the berries reminded me of my own childhood. My neighbor had a bunch of raspberry bushes that us kids would attack every summer. So good! I love picking them right off the bush and popping them into my mouth!

My hubby is so much more domestic than me! Really, he is a whiz in the kitchen. He’s been making jam and salsa the last couple of years and I just let that be his “thing”. I never really dropped in or offered to help. This year he let me be a part of the whole process! When we got home, I cleaned the raspberries and mashed them up! I added the lemon juice and the pectin and the sugar. I watched things boil and even got a chance to pour the jam into the jars! Jeremy helped me by sterilizing the jars and helping me move the funnel from jar to jar. He also lowered the full jars into the boiling water so they can could set or whatever the official canning term is! I don’t really know!

It was a lot of fun working alongside my hubby and he was very patient with me as I asked questions. I view jam making as so 1950’s even though a lot of people do it today. It love the feeling that I’m doing something that people have done for a long time. It’s like passing on a legacy or something. It just feels special. It was also fun to see the whole process from berry picking to the jar! There is something satisfying about knowing we made this jam! It might seem silly, but it was a highlight of my week!

I used to view jam making as something complicated and kind of a scary, but I’m here to encourage you to try it! It’s not as hard as it seems and I’m glad I learned! Thanks, Jeremy! You’re a good teacher!

 

Christmas in July July 11, 2013

Filed under: Children's Ministry,Cooking Experiments — Amy Scott @ 5:20 pm
Homemade Gingerbread Cake

Homemade Gingerbread Cake

Last night, I did something different with my Wednesday night class of girls. I decided it would be fun to do Christmas in July. Growing up, my mom would pull out the Christmas dishes in the month of July so we could get some extra mileage out of them. It was always a lot of fun and kind of a silly. My class really loved the idea of bringing Christmas to July and so I set off to plan a Christmasy evening.

The night started off with Christmas Games. We did a Christmas Word Search, A Guess that Carol Game, Christmas Carol Word Scramble and Fill in the 12 Days of Christmas. I gave out prizes as the night went on for whoever got the most answers correctly. We finished the Christmas games with the Left/Right Game. I handed out the last of the prizes and as I read a story, the girls had to pass the presents to the left or the right when they heard the words left or right. It was a lot of fun and in the end everyone walked away with a prize, so it was like Christmas!

As much as I wanted to do a Christmas lesson, I had to continue on with our current unit so I didn’t get behind. There are only so many Wednesday nights left with my class and each lesson is carefully planned so we end our unit in time for the school year and the class transition. So, from Christmas, we popped over to our Self-Esteem lesson.

After the lesson time, we did a Christmas craft which involved decorating a Christmas ornament while listening to Christmas music. I made gingerbread cake for snack from scratch. This was my first time not using the packaged mix and it turned out surprisingly good! I’m never sure when it comes to making cake from scratch if the texture will be just right or the flavoring! I jazzed up the cake by adding whipped cream on top. For a touch of holiday color, I used green and red crystals.

The night was a big hit and the girls told me it really felt like Christmas. One girl mentioned that she was going to ask her parent’s for a present since it seemed so real. I’m not sure how well that was received, but I have to agree, I felt in the holiday spirit. The games and the flavors of the holidays made me wish that it was really right around the corner. I’ll just have to patiently wait now until the real holiday! It was fun to get a jump start on celebrating!

 

Life After Hawaii July 2, 2013

Filed under: Children's Ministry,Cooking Experiments,Family Time — Amy Scott @ 7:16 am
Strawberry season is here!

Strawberry season is here!

Well, all good things come to an end and this will be the first blog after all the Hawaiian updates and stories. I hope you all enjoyed your sneak peek into our vacation. There was just too much good share in one, singular blog. Thanks for following the Maui highlights day by day. I honestly thought the daily posts might annoy you all, but I had some good readership numbers and I heard from many friends and family members about how much loved the stories and wanted to hear more. It always makes my heart happy to know that people are enjoying what they read here. Maybe I should start traveling for a living and writing about my adventures? If only!

Now it’s back to the real world. Seems like Jeremy and I landed in Washington and hit the ground running. The first full day home, Jeremy was back to church and I was at a dance recital for a wonderful student that I mentor. We’ve had our first big strawberry harvest come through and we’re up to our ears in strawberries! I made strawberry shortcake to celebrate and it was delicious! My first night back at my Wednesday night class, I made strawberry ice cream sandwiches from a recipe I saw in Food Network Magazine. You take sugar cookies and put strawberry jam on them and then put a scoop of strawberry ice cream in the middle! Yum! I’ve also used the strawberries to make a smoothie. I think my hubby will soon be canning and making strawberry jam! Good times!

Belle - A very ugly plant that bloomed into a beautiful flower this weekend!

Belle – A very ugly plant that bloomed into a beautiful flower this weekend!

Last week, we had our annual trip the Oregon Zoo with the kiddos at Bethel. It was a fun day, but very warm! It seems that we brought the hot and humid weather back with us from Hawaii. I got a little sunburned, but it was really great to be out and about. I was concerned about walking all over the zoo with being pregnant, but it didn’t bother me at all. I was super tired that night, but for the day, I was able to keep up with the kids and I was happy for that.

Friday night, we had family over for dinner and had a good time with them. Jeremy barbequed up some yummy ribs and we had grilled corn and baked beans. We played a couple of games and ended the night with s’mores by the fire. It was the perfect summer day! I’m loving the summer time food and being able to share it with family.

Saturday, we headed up to Mt. Rainier National Park for my grandma’s 80th birthday party! It was great to head up to the mountain because it was the perfect temperature up there. We’ve been in a heat wave, so it was nice to sit in the shade and enjoy the mountain air! It was great to see family members who I hadn’t seen in many months. The hot topic right now are the babies since both my cousin and I are expecting. We’re due about three weeks apart so it was fun to talk with her about where they are at. The found out while we were in Hawaii that they are having a boy and it seems they don’t have any names either. I can relate to that!

Sunday, we started to decorate for VBA (Vacation Bible Adventure) after church! It’s hard to believe that in just a few weeks our Family VBA will here! I spent the morning making many photocopies in preparation for the big week! The deadline to register is coming up on July 10th and our deadline to register for Kid’s Camp is coming up this weekend. Now that we’re into July it seems like the summer is just flying by! So much good stuff still ahead. I can’t wait to share it with you!

After Hawaii Collage

 

Sugar Rush May 15, 2013

Filed under: Cooking Experiments — Amy Scott @ 1:16 pm

It’s been quite the Wednesday so far! I flew through my productive morning. I love these days because it’s just me, Jesus and the dog hanging out and spending time together. Yesterday my hubby came down with a very unknown allergic reaction. The poor guy had a rough day. I got up this morning and started to deep clean the house and do all the household laundry. We have no clue what caused this reaction, but I figured cleaning never hurt.  Once the house was in good shape, I moved on to my next project – baking my class snack! I decided on cupcakes and went to work. After the cupcakes were in the oven, I decided to make my hubby a special treat since it’s been such a weird week for him. Usually he gets the leftovers from my class snack, but he doesn’t often get goodies that I make just for him. He had mentioned wanting Rice Krispie treats last week and I had picked up marshmallows for them yesterday. While my cupcakes baked, I made my hubby a batch of Rice Krispie treats that he doesn’t have to share! I sent him a text with a picture of the pan and I got a very excited response back! In fact, the treats are already missing a chunk out of the pan since he came home for lunch today.  Once the Rice Krispie treats were in the fridge, I focused on frosting the cupcakes. These cupcakes are nothing special – just chocolate with vanilla frosting. I added some sprinkles for a little extra pizzazz. It’s no one’s birthday tonight, but cupcakes are a good snack for any reason in my book – just because! With all this sugar around the house, I’ll have to make sure I share the cupcakes at church. No need to bring home extras when I have goodies in my fridge too! What a sugar rush!

This week's sweet treat!

This week’s sweet treat!