Flying Geese Watching Over Me

The last two months have been something of a whirlwind for my family. To call things bittersweet would be an understatement. August 14, 2014 will forever be a day remembered as being bittersweet. On that warm Thursday morning, I was preparing for my final interview and getting ready to sign my first teaching contract; excitement was running through my blood. However, when I was sitting in the conference room during my interview, I felt an overwhelming sense of unease. Little did I know that outside the walls of the room I was in, my world and my entire family’s world would change forever. On August 14, 2014, I lost my brother-in-law in a tragic traffic accident. Life as we knew it was suddenly different. I had to find out the news from my best friend’s father. But, worst than that, my sister had to put the pieces together while she was at work at the hospital. Our lives were different. In the blink of an eye, everything had changed. However, this isn’t a post about sadness or telling a tear jerking story. This is a post about hope and knowing that God is watching over every single one of us.

To tell this story, I need to backtrack many years. Growing up, my grandfather was an avid hunter. When he passed away, my whole soon began to feel a connection with the geese that took up home at the local ponding basins. It all began at his funeral when a flock flew directly over us. From then on, everywhere we looked, everywhere we went, there were a flock of geese flying over.

When my sister, Megan, and my brother-in-law, Matthew, got married, there was a flock of geese that flew over the venue as soon as the groomsmen made their entrance. And, to top things off, there was one fat goose that was trailing behind. We all joked this was my Papa attending the wedding and letting us all know he was there.

Fast forward to August 15, 2014. I had to get out of the house and go for a run the day after the accident. I felt like I could go forever that day. But, after about 6 miles I just froze where I was alongside the road, dropped to the ground, and started balling my eyes out. I couldn’t help but think that life wasn’t fair. I felt like I couldn’t go on, then, over the loud sound of my iPod, I heard them. I heard the geese. I looked up to the sky and there was a small flock going right above me. That is when I knew I wasn’t alone and I would never be alone.

At the candlelight vigil held in his honor, a flock of geese flew directly over home plate and then circled around the field. Matthew was with us that night. When we had the graveside funeral, again, a flock of geese flew directly over the burial site. Matthew was with us that day too.

Everyday on my drive to work, there is a flock of geese that guides my path, and I know that I am safe. I am safe because I have two special guardian angels up in heaven and I have a God whose love is beyond compare. Isaiah 46:4 states, ” I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you.” We are truly blessed to have a God that loves us so much that he carries us all, through every tragedy and every triumph, we are on his shoulders. He is there to keep us afloat and save us when we are falling. When life is going well, we often forget to thank him. But when hard times hit, thats often when we instantly go to blame God. So I urge you, to seek Him even on the days when you don’t feel you need His strength because the truth is, you need Him more than you may realize.

And so, I will always be thankful for the flying geese watching over me.

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Coffee Cake

There is nothing I love more than cinnamon sugar. I crave snickerdoodles, snickerdoodle bread, cinnamon sugar toast, and when I am feeling fancy – coffee cake. Despite what you might think (based on my love of sweets) I generally try to eat healthy. So naturally adding greek yogurt to this gives it protein and makes it a healthy meal right? But really, the greek yogurt replaces sour cream and works to keep the coffee cake moist. If you don’t have greek yogurt or want to use sour cream instead, go right ahead. I hope you enjoy this recipe and that it becomes a staple in your brunch menu!

Ingredients:

Batter
1/2 cups butter, softened
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 cup (8oz) plain greek yogurt
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt

Topping
1/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 cup chopped pecans (optional)

Preheat the oven to 325˙.

In a small bowl, mix together the ingredients for the topping. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, combine the dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt). Set aside.

In a mixer, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Then, beat in the eggs, yogurt, and vanilla. Slowly add the dry ingredients and beat until just combined. 

Pour half the batter into a greased 13×9 baking pan. Sprinkle half of the topping mixture over the batter. Add the remaining batter, then top with the remaining topping.

Bake at 325 for 40-45minutes until a toothpick comes out clean.

ENJOY!!

Get Real

As you may know by now, I love mascara. My mom says my eyelashes are so long and thick that I don’t need to use mascara, but I truly think it takes the lashes to the next level. In my make up drawer I always have at least 4 full sized tubes – because they obviously each serve their own purpose and have something unique about them. There are a few that are my absolute faves for special occasions and my one go to for daily use.

So lets start with my go to special occasion mascara….

Too Faced – Better Than Sex

I LOVE this. It makes my lashes look like I am wearing falsies. The wand is really big and allows for an even coat of mascara across your eyelashes. WARNING: don’t use on your bottom lashes unless you are into the whole “i wanna look like a doll” look, which I am totally not a fan of. This mascara is a little much for everyday use for me, but it really works wonders when you want that added glam.

And for my go to day to day mascara…

Benefit – They’re Real

This wand took me a little while to get used to simply because it is a rubber based wand, but I absolutely love this mascara. It really separates the lashes and makes them look thick and long without looking clumpy. It works amazing with the new They’re Real Gel Liner. Seriously go buy these and you eyes will look amazing everyday. 

My oh my…

Have I really been away from the blog since November? I am so sorry. I guess I got caught up in the whole going back to school to finish my teaching credential and masters thing. I have made lots of delicious recipes in the last 7 months and I hope to be uploading some of them soon! I have also tried lots of new make up and beautify products that to TDF (to die for) and I will be posting about those when I get the chance. Please bare with me though as I am beyond busy this month trying to prep my classroom for the new school year! That’s right folks, I will be teaching 8th grade science, which is scary considering I look like I am in 8th grade myself. I am sure I will have lots of funny stories to add about my first year of teaching, so you might find a new section on this page too. I look forward to getting back into the blogging game!

xoxo Shelby

Pumpkin Pie Ice Cream

 

 

 

 

Whoever said homemade ice cream was just for summer is completely wrong. I believe there is never a wrong time for homemade ice cream. I am bringing this to Thanksgiving this year, and I think my cousin Hannah is capable of eating the entire batch by herself. It tastes just like pumpkin pie and it would be delicious in a gingerbread crust for an ice cream pie. I hope you enjoy!

6 large egg yolks
3/4 cup brown sugar, divided
3/4 cup pumpkin puree
1 1/4 cups heavy cream
1 1/4 cups 2% milk
1/2 t salt
1/2 t ground ginger
1/2 t ground cinnamon
1/2 t vanilla

Begin by whisking the yolks with half the brown sugar (6T), cinnamon, and ginger in a heatproof bowl just until the yolks are broken. Set aside. In a saucepan, bring the cream, milk, pumpkin, salt, and remaining sugar to a slight simmer over medium-high heat. Then, reduce the heat to medium. Scoop out roughly 1/2 cup of the cream mixture, and while constantly whisking the eggs, add the the cream mixture. Do this again one more time. Then, using a rubber spatula, stir the remaining creaming mixture in the saucepan while you add in the egg mixture. Over medium heat, stir the mixture constantly until it thickens. This will only take a couple of minutes. Next, using a fine-mesh strainer, strain the base into a separate bowl. Place this in an ice bath and stir occasionally until the base has cooled. Then cover the mixture and refrigerate over night. The next day, whisk in the vanilla and follow the directions on your ice cream machine.

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Mac & Cheese

When the weather gets colder, there is nothing I enjoy more than a nice warm bowl of mac & cheese. It is a comfort food that takes me back to a simpler time, which is always a nice break from the crazy life of being a graduate student. If I could have mac & cheese everyday, I would. This recipe is super easy and is the perfect end to a busy winter day.

1/2 pound macaroni
3 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons flour
1 tablespoon powdered mustard
2 cups milk
1/2 cup yellow onion, finely diced
1 bay leaf
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1 large egg
12 ounces sharp cheddar, shredded
1 teaspoon kosher salt
Fresh black pepper

Topping:
3 tablespoons butter
1 cup panko bread crumbs

Preheat oven to 350˚. Begin by cooking the macaroni. Grate the cheese in a bowl, dice the onion.

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Set asideIn a separate saucepan, melt the butter. Whisk in the flour and powdered mustard.

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Make sure all the lumps are gone. Add in the milk, onion, bay lead and paprika. Let simmer about 10 minutes.

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In a small bowl, whisk the egg. Then temper the egg. Add egg mixture to the cream mixture. Mix in 3/4 of the cheese. 

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Add in the cooked macaroni. Transfer to a casserole dish.

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Top with remaining cheese.

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In a separate bowl melt the butter for the topping. Mix in the panko bread crumbs. Cover the top of of the mac and cheese mixture with the bread crumbs.

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Bake at 350˚ for 30 minutes.

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Snickerdoodle Bread

There are few things I love more in this world than cinnamon sugar. I would have cinnamon sugar on my toast and popcorn everyday if I could. This is probably why snickerdoodles are my cookie EVER. My grandmother knows me all too well and gave me this recipe since she knows my obsession with cinnamon sugar. This recipe was originally my Aunt Tina’s, and I am so glad it exists. My mouth is watering just writing about it. Plus I can smell it baking in the oven right now and the whole house smells delicious.

1 cup butter, softened
2 cups sugar
3 eggs
3/4 cup sour cream
1 t vanilla
2.5 cups flour
2 t baking powder
2 t cinnamon
1 package Hershey’s cinnamon chips
3 T sugar & 3 t cinnamon mixed.

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Typically, you can only find these in the grocery stores around the holidays. However, I have found that Walmarts with full grocery carry these year round at a lower price than the grocery stores.

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Preheat the oven to 350˚. Grease and flour 4 mini loaf pans.

Combine the butter and sugar.

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Add in eggs, vanilla, and sour cream.

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In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking powder, salt, and 2t cinnamon.

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Add dry ingredients to the wet ingredients.

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Mix in the entire package of cinnamon chips.

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Combine 3T of sugar and 3t of cinnamon.

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Pour batter into 4 mini loaf pans. Sprinkle with cinnamon sugar. Bake at 350˚ for about 40 minutes.

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Cool completely before removing from pans.

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