Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bread

A friend of mine made some amazing Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bread last week, which was given to her by a friend. Chad and I enjoyed the slices she gave us as we blew through the Raleigh area on our way to the airport and headed to Dallas, TX to visit my family.

So I got the recipe and tried it out for our family Christmas party. The first batch was ok, but whether it was the altitude here in Texas or my mom’s oven running hotter than normal, it just didn’t do as well in loaves- the outside was done before the inside was. The recipe makes two loaves. It really shouldn’t even be called bread since it’s very cake-like! And oh so yummy. So I switched to muffins and mini muffins, and those seemed to bake much better.

Here’s the recipe. Enjoy!

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Catch Me If You Can

Whew! It has been quite a ride lately! So terrible I haven’t blogged since October, but time flies when you’re having fun!

Let’s see… here’s what happened recently:

October 24th – My Myrtle Beach Mini Marathon (half marathon 13.1 miles)

October 29-31 – Weekend getaway with the hubby to Charlotte for Carrie Underwood in concert! Uh-Mazing btw… And a visit to Elevation Church is always awesome!

November 4-6 - I flew to Texas to watch my cousin’s nuptials to a beautiful bride & re-connected in person with many of my dad’s family that I haven’t seen in 2 years. We have a very musical family and it was so good to hear family singing in the ceremony. Such a lovely and fun wedding. So excited for those two in their new adventure together. Also this month, a friend and I had a little post-race photoshoot in downtown Wilmington, NC by a fave photographer Jen Griffin, SurfHouse lunch and facial- so fun!

November 7 and on – The launch of Barefoot Church‘s 2nd physical campus in Whiteville, NC, about 45 minutes away from our North Myrtle Beach campus. It was a great day and throughout November we’ve been building crazy momentum, building giant trains on stage, and kicked off our “Unstoppable” Christmas sermon series.

November 25 – Thanksgiving Day and week. Such a sweet time spent in the Raleigh, NC area with family. Did a mini prenatal shoot for Chad’s cousin and her husband. I also had 2 good friends give birth, my friends Joi & JB in California welcomed her 2nd baby (another son) into the world, and Cyndi & Nathan brought a 4th child and son to join us! Such precious little lives.

December 1-9 – Flew again to Texas, this time with Chad, to celebrate our “Christmas” with my side of the family. Nice to be around the parents, sibs, and extended family. And of course I made sure to get some Texas beef brisket at Rudy’s- off the chain!! I celebrated 28 years on Thursday the 2nd with some shopping and pizza too. I decided to use the $100 Forever21 gift card I got last Christmas to get stuff now that I’m wearing some smaller sizes, woohoo! There’ll be a party this weekend, a trip north to Arkansas to visit some of our closest friends, and more time with family before we head back.

And of course the rest of December is action packed with lots of festivities, multiple Christmas services and chances to show the love of Christ to others! Before you know it, the New Year will be upon us and I can’t wait to see what God has in store this next season.




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The Half of It

So I did it. A part of my weightloss journey is over. My friend Michelle encouraged me to attempt this feat in the first place… so I started out with a 5k race and set a new goal. The training was good for me. I’m good with schedules. 12 1/2 weeks ago my friend Julie and I embarked on the Myrtle Beach Mini Marathon pilgrimage. Yes, people do run and put themselves through pain for the fun of it. Or at least to accomplish a goal. I think I got a lot of my race morning jitters out when I went along for the ride supporting a group of friends running their Rock ‘N Roll Half Marathon in September. And my in-laws were also there rooting us on along with two of our friends that came out before sunrise to see us off. That meant so much!

I was hoping that the half marathon, which started out with horses at the Medieval Times in Myrtle Beach and ended alongside the beach at the new boardwalk, would go as well as our 10 mile run the week before. And overall I guess you could say we did well. I would’ve liked to have pushed through the last few miles though, but I just couldn’t run any faster. Mile 7 was tough, got a 2nd wind briefly, then mile 10 was tougher. Off and on between mile 11 1/2 and 12 1/2 were brutal- I got tired, my toe was throbbing from a bad blood blister (I don’t know why my 2nd toe on each foot impacts so hard), and I just flat could not run any faster. The last winding half a mile beside the ocean was beautiful, but I kept thinking “Where is the dang Finish sign?!” I’m so thankful for Julie, she has been such a great, encouraging running buddy. She could’ve easily shaved off about 15-20 minutes off her time and ran on ahead, but we trained together and we finished together.

Everyone needs those kind of friends that hang with you til the end. They push and encourage you. They stick with you even when they could run on ahead because they seem stronger. And the key is just committing to finishing in general. And we did. We finished well.

Check out some pics from the race:

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So now I need a new goal… Julie’s trying to get me to do the whole marathon… I dunno…

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All things Fall

Alright, I’ll chime in on fall. A couple of friends have blogged about the loveliness of fall so I shall as well. It seriously is my favorite. Crisp, cool air. Pumpkin spice lattes. White chocolate mocha with 1-2 pumps pumpkin spice latte. ;) An assortment of gray hoodies. (I can’t help it, I have a thing for gray.) Hiking in the woods. Lots of activity and fall festivals. Knitting lots of hats and scarves for friends and family. My new fall wreath that my sweet mom in law got me. And a hearty loaded baked potato soup! I’m also making good progress with my half marathon training (9 out of 12 weeks) and the “Myrtle Beach Mini Marathon” expects to have a brisk high of 66 degree temperature on race day October 24th. Should be great!

I can’t wait to make this soup soon. I didn’t make it THAT often last year since it’s probably NOT real low in calorie, but it’s so good! Here’s the recipe:

Loaded Baked Potato Soup

Ingredients: 2/3 cup butter, 2/3 cup flour, 7 cups milk, 4 large baking potatoes (baked, cooled, peeled and cubed makes about 4 cups),  4 green onions thinly sliced, 10-12 strips bacon cooked-drained-crumbled, 1-1/4 cups shredded mild cheddar cheese, 1 cup (8 oz) sour cream, 3/4 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp pepper

Preparation: In a large Dutch oven or stockpot over low heat, melt butter. Stir in flour; stir until smooth and bubbly. Gradually add milk, stirring constantly, until sauce has thickened. Add potatoes and onions. Continue to cook, stirring constantly, until soup begins to bubble. Reduce heat; simmer gently for 10 minutes. Add remaining ingredients; stir until cheese is melted. Serve baked potato soup immediately. Serves 6-8.

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Girls That Rock

Can I just say that I had the most amazing Labor Day Weekend I’ve ever had in a long time? I don’t think I’ve had a “girls weekend getaway” since college. And while we had did have one dude with us, it was the most enjoyable company! Since women use up about 20,000 words per day on average, you can imagine what it was like to have at least 4-6 women in a minivan the majority of the time.

Not only are these some of the kindest, brightest, funnest and funniest, most Godly women I’ve had the pleasure of knowing and getting to know, I learned SO much from them in just a weekend. Now that I think about it, I believe I was the only one in the group who’s not a mom yet. I loved hearing their thoughts and opinions on their hobbies, God, worship, church planting, cleaning, cooking, kids, homeschooling, babies, delivery, breastfeeding, running, and everything in between!

Well the main event was the Rock N Roll Half Marathon in Virginia Beach, and the whole group beasted it. They finished strong and well! Most of the girls finished in around 2 1/2 hours and our lone guy finished at 2:02. From the hotel, to the traffic, the shuttle, the almost leaving the car running during the race, the complete 13.1 miles and then relaxing at the pool after, it was one crazy fun weekend!

Here are a few of my favorite snapshots:

Now… only 6 weeks left until my half marathon in Myrtle Beach!

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I Get Around

I’ve not posted in a while. And the last was a crazy peek into my frazzled mind during sleep. Sorry about that. So… what’s shaking?

I definitely don’t know if I looooooove running yet, but I do enjoy it most days. It’s a good, quiet, thinking/processing outlet. It’s a good non-thinking activity too. Even when I’m with my running partner, I love how we can talk or not talk and it’s great. Ending week 4 of half marathon training. It’s going…uh, well… Ok. The weekdays are pretty good. I’m trying to push myself a little more each run to improve time. The long run day, not so much. 4-5 miles is extremely hard for me. The last couple weeks I haven’t been as hardcore with my water intake, so that could be partly to blame. But mostly I just get tired. And it’s been so incredibly humid here, even at 5:30 in the morning. I feel like I’m breathing in water. Some days I’m thinking, “What did I get myself into?” or “how am I ever going to run 13.1 miles with training weather this stinking humid?” Blechhh. But I press on I guess. I do have a great running partner though, and I always seem to run better, or a little quicker with her. I want to quit half way through when I’m by myself. What does that say about me? Well, I guess it’s a good indication that we’re not designed to do life alone! That’s for a whole different post though… ;)

I did buy new jeans though. Even took them in a little more at the waist, since even going down in size is still kind of in between sizes for me… that was exciting. Weightloss and body fat loss progress!

The running saga to be continued…

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Random Dream

This is gonna be a really random post. I am a vivid dreamer and I often remember my dreams as soon as I wake up. Sometimes I can even  still remember them later in the day if I try really hard. I dream really weird dreams sometimes and there are a few that have been recurring since I was little. Do you have dreams like that? If so, post a comment with a dream that you’ve had several times and what you think it means.

Would be neat to have an interpreter! Here’s last nights dream:

Chad and I are living in a house in a pretty rural area. We only have our dog Chewie at this time. It’s in the wee hours of the morning and I get up to go to the bathroom when I hear something. I go to the living room and a small alien hovercraft is near the ceiling. It’s about the size of wall clock and cylinder shaped. A straight, blue beam comes straight down out of it and begins scanning the room. I duck for cover so that it can’t see me as I watch. I wonder what it’s looking for? It makes an exhaling kind of noise and the contraption lengthens a bit and other parts of the craft pop out. It flies out the window and leaves. Over the week I hear on the news that this is happening in other areas, peoples houses are somewhat ravaged and I wonder what they want. (Sound a bit like Signs right?)

It eventually comes back and shapeshifts into a small bear cub. (Who knew alien hovercrafts could do that??) It destroys much of our things and we are frightened. We are also taking care of a niece and nephew and are worried something will happen, so we begin to make plans to send them with some people to a safe place. Chad and I eventually chase it into the woods behind our house where it has shapeshifted again into older cadillac. The alien cadillac with full brights on emerges from the wood and crashes right through our kitchen bay window. At this point we have a grabbed baseball bat and small statue to defend. We catch it, hold it down and demand to know what they want, what they are looking for. It explains that they like our flying automobiles on our planet and want them. So I say, “ohh is that all? you could’ve just told someone instead of being so hostile and we would help.” I explained that if they hovered high enough they could scour the landscape and find dealerships with many flying cars and you could just take one or a few to figure out how to build them since they are so intelligent. The alien was very nice and said from now on they would be peaceable and then they left our planet. We got our niece and nephew back and resumed normal life and never saw or heard from the foreign hovercraft again.

Are you still reading? If you are, kudos to you. Yeah…this is my mind sometimes during the night.

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