So long February.

28 days felt like a week. 

Here we are tipping over in March and it is still in the double digit negatives. I am expecting great things from March with the highest thing on my list being warmer temperatures. Usually we have a good month of polar temps, but they seem to have claimed every "winter" month so far. EXCEPT for that lovely teaser of a warm up a few weeks ago.

Next on my list for March are a few important birthdays. You know who you are people. Get ready to celebrate jumping further into adulthood.

More baking/cooking. I've decided I do better with month resolutions rather than a whole year's worth, so this will be my focus in March. Hopefully you will reap some of the benefits of some new recipes I want to try and then share.

More reading. Enough said.

Working out more. Trying to keep on a 3-4 days a week schedule. For some reason a 6 by 6 foot room with a treadmill never sounds appealing. (another reason summer needs to hurry up and get here)

Speaking of healthier habits, the local Dairy Queen also opens up tomorrow (March 1st). Which means Ellie will probably drag me there even though it is still way too cold to stand outside waiting to order ice cream. Then we will sit inside our car with the heater blasting while eating our long awaited treat. Is it worth it? I think so? ha. I think I would be disappointed if we didn't go...below is a picture of last year's March opening.

Okay well I need to scurry off to bed. The morning will come too early like always. Goodnight!


Chocolate Whoopie Pies

At my sister's bridal shower a few weeks ago I made some Chocolate Whoopie Pies. This is considered the classic whoopie pie flavor...They have a delicious rich chocolate cake with a marshmallow flavored frosting middle. How can you go wrong with chocolate and marshmallow? They do get a little messy to make with the frosting, but if you give yourself adequate time (not rushing around piping frosting 10 minutes before guests arrive) you should have a beautiful finished product. 

Chocolate Whoopie Pies
{with Marshmallow Filling}

makes about 24 sandwich cookies


For the cookies:
3½ cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. salt
1½ cups unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tbsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
2 cups sugar
2 large eggs
2 cups buttermilk, at room temperature
2 tsp. vanilla extract

For the filling:
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
7½ oz. marshmallow fluff
2 tsp. vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 400˚ F.  Combine the flour, salt, cocoa powder, baking soda, and baking powder in a medium bowl; whisk together to blend.  Set aside.  Line two baking sheets with silicone baking mats or parchment paper.  In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the butter and sugar.  Beat together on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, 2-3 minutes.  Beat in the eggs one at a time, blending well after each addition.  Blend in the buttermilk and vanilla extract until incorporated.  Mix in the dry ingredients, blending just until combined.

Using a 1-oz dough scoop, drop the batter onto the prepared baking pans, 12 cookies per pan.  Bake for 12 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through baking.  Allow to cool on the pan 5-10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.  Repeat with the remaining batter.
To make the filling, place the butter in the bowl of a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.  Beat on medium-high speed until smooth, 1-2 minutes.  Blend in the confectioners’ sugar until incorporated.  Beat in the marshmallow fluff and vanilla until light and fluffy, 2-3 minutes.
Once the cookies are completely cooled, match them up in pairs by size.  Fill a pastry bag fitted with a plain with the marshmallow filling.  Pipe a dollop of marshmallow filling onto the flat side of one cookie of each pair, and sandwich the cookies together, pushing the filling to the edges.  Store in an airtight container.
SourceMartha Stewart


Thoughts on Perfection

The human story does not always unfold like a mathematical calculation on the principle that two and two make four.  Sometimes in life they make five or minus three; and sometimes the blackboard topples down in the middle of the sum and leaves the class in disorder and the pedagogue with a black eye. 
~Winston Churchill

I have never considered myself a "Perfectionist".

But even having made such a bold statement I can still definitely pull out the areas in my life where I desire perfection (even though I realize it's impossible).

Right now for instance, I am even having a hard time deciding how to approach such a broad topic. How do you try to perfect your thoughts on the idea of "perfectionism" when the whole basis of it is ironic if not hypocritical. Why is that I feel a need to strive for perfection when I know that it is impossible to achieve? Often when I get caught up in a need for perfection I become overly critical of not only myself, but others surrounding me. I set myself up for a cycle of impossible expectations, worry, and ultimately disappointment. By doing this I often miss noticing the growth I did experience simply because I deemed it as "not enough".

Here is the truth:

As human beings we can never achieve perfection. It does not matter how much we strive for perfection or how hard we work. God has called us as Christians, however, to do our very best to obey him in all circumstances and to model ourselves after Christ, seeking perfection in a right relationship with God. Then, although we cannot achieve perfection on our own, God will make us perfect, holy and blameless before him through the blood of Christ.

This makes sense to me, but at the same time I often forget this.
I was reading Matthew the other day and was struck by the following command...

"Be perfect, therefore, as your
 heavenly father is perfect."             

  Matthew 5:48

I then found this commentary that helped me to clarify what God was asking of us in the scripture.

"Is this a contradiction? Is God on one hand telling us that we cannot be perfect but on the other hand commanding that we must be so? Not exactly. The Greek for the word "perfect" in this verse is telios, a word which does not imply sinless perfection, but instead implies full development and growth into maturity of godliness. The emphasis of the verse falls more upon the "committed and close relationship with God." This verse is also in a context of love. The challenge is to love as the Father loves, not loving only those who love us, but loving even our enemies and those who persecute us."
                                                 - Matthew Ropp "Seeking Perfection""

At first it may be a tough thing to accept. I (by my own strength) will never be perfect, but then there is the grace that comes with such knowledge...knowing that I am loved as I am. I am accepted as I am. My perfection is not what will save me. To be loved as a perfect human being is maybe more logical of a reason (even as impossible as it is), but to be loved as the sinner I am is amazing and astounding. 

For even the Apostle Paul failed to reach perfection, and I gained further understanding by reading more in the previously mentioned commentary...

"If anyone might have obtained perfection or been guaranteed of his salvation, one would think the Apostle Paul would qualify. In Philippians 3:12-4, however, we see that such was not the case. "Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus." Paul forgets what is behind, whatever accomplishments he has made up to this point and also whatever failures are in his life, and strains toward what is ahead. He longs to achieve salvation, to be made perfect in Christ Jesus. No matter what is in the past, whether good or bad, each day is new in Christ and from wherever we are there is always room to grow closer to God. Like Paul, each day we should press forward, straining toward what God has called us to through Christ. "

What do we need to learn?

That Perfection belongs to God alone. This is not reason to give up trying, but rather to realize that perfection on our own is never the goal. Only when entering into heaven will we enter into true perfection. A person could take this information and misconstrue it to mean that there is no point in trying. The danger is that the inability to be perfect is not an invitation to give up. Rather we are to press onward like Paul seeking  to be made perfect in Christ. What I have taken from all of this is that I need to be aware of what motivates my need for perfection. If it is to grow closer to God so that I become more and more like Christ, good. If it is to please those around me and the expectations the world sets, not good.

So being perfect is not about...

Perfection is knowing that God is perfect, and because of Christ I don't need to achieve perfection on my own.


How good is that?


Day 8: Grand Turk

It has been awhile since I posted about our vacation, so I figured it was about time I remembered to post a few photos from the next day. I didn't take too many photos on this day because much of our time was spent walking along the beach and searching for sea glass. Having a heavy camera around your neck gets in the way so sadly it was stowed away in my bag for most of the beautiful day. The beach was gorgeous... especially when you walked far enough to get away from the crowds of people, and I wish I had photographs to show you. Looking at this photos make me wish once again for the sunshine (it is snowing lightly here again).

My handsome husband squinting in the sun. 

We stayed until the late afternoon when clouds started rolling in.

Catching up on some reading.

{Links to other days of our trip}
Day 1 Miami
Day 2 Christmas Eve
Day 3 Christmas
Day 4 at Sea
Day 5 St. Maarten Part 1 and Part 2
Day 6 St.Thomas
Day 7 Puerto Rico
Day 8 Grand Turk


My weekend and a day off.

Can you blame me if one of the tiniest reasons I love being in Education is that I get all Holidays off?  I don't work today or Tuesday so I am trying to balance out my time with relaxing and productiveness. So far I have only really tackled the relaxing part, but I have high hopes and a long list for the second part. Currently, I am wearing my pajamas still and a large cozy sweatshirts of my husband's. I must admit that I enjoy having his wardrobe to peruse on days I feel like being swallowed by a cozy sweatshirt. Add a cup of coffee and some time spent reading...perfection.

I have began a knitting project this weekend. It has been a year or so since I've spent time knitting because I feel like I would be breaking a law if I did it during the beautiful summer months. It is much more suited to cozy evenings spent indoors while the temperature drops below zero outside. While knitting, I am reminded how much patience it takes, and for me this is a struggle because I like picking up a project and finishing it before putting it away. So I tell myself to slow down (which is a good lesson to learn in life as well). I will show you the finished project when it is complete, and if I commit to be patient this means it will be a few weeks. If I suddenly show you pictures at the end of the week you will know I lost my battle with patience.

We woke up this morning to a few more inches of snow. I am thankful that it covers the ugliness of the brown slush that we were left with during last week's warm up. I think I was also spoiled from spending the weekend at my family's cabin where everything is a beautiful clean white each and everyday. This weekend was another  cold snap so we didn't make it outside at all, but we did manage to play a few (and by few I mean 20) games of dominoes.

There was a little glimpse into my weekend. I hope to catch up on my blogging during my mini vacation. 


Get up and go

So this summer I hope to go on a road trip. 

Right now we are thinking heading west, perhaps to Seattle?

Thinking about it and researching this trip makes winter not seem so dismal. It will get nice again, and we will  smash into a car and drive somewhere. 

I am flexible on the destination, but not on the road trip part. 

Here are some photos for inspiration below...




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click on the pictures for their sources.


Love Day.



So you may fall into the category of thinking Valentine's Day is silly...and it is in many ways.
I'm not quite sure where I sit with the matter but I will tell you that my perfect Valentine's day will be spent with my cute husband, eating take out Chinese food on the couch while watching a movie we rented. 

Oh and homemade chocolate shakes for dessert. yum 

So celebrate how you see fit, but rather than get caught up in who "invented" valentine's day...

remember who first loved you. 

We love because he first loved us.
1 John 4:19


Where I've spent my days (lately)

So be prepared for a mess of jumbled photos and thoughts.

I have the afternoon off so get ready.


Photos uploaded....check.

Sunshine streaming in from my window....check.

On Friday I drove to St.Paul to meet with my sister to pick up her dress. I can't show any pictures of her gorgeous dress but trust me it is perfect. There are a few photos of some details in the bridal shop though.

Later that evening Ben and I headed over to our friend Bekah's new apartment to help her with the moving process. Zach and Ellie joined us later in the afternoon and to celebrate our moving success we went downtown to get some dinner at Ike's. After some delicious chocolate shakes, and amazing burgers we walked back to our car while appreciating the lack of wind in the city. 

(note: this was what Ben and Zach got...my burger was a little less intimidating)

Saturday was spent bumming around the cities again and a few hours spent in IKEA. It's a good thing that this place is 4 hours away from where I am currently living because it's a dangerous place when on a budget. I was proud of myself however because I only purchased the few small items that I knew I needed to get before even entering the store. (no impulse buys = a successful IKEA trip haha). Bekah however had to make some tougher decisions because she was looking for a kitchen table, chairs, bookcase, etc. 

We ended our weekend with a little furniture assembly party that included Bob the bird singing in the background (Bekah was bird sitting for a week). On Sunday we had a late breakfast and then said our goodbyes and began the long drive back to the tundra.



Currently I am...

sipping on my second or maybe third cup of coffee.

reading and unable to stop.

trying to motivate myself to begin packing for the weekend.

ignoring that the dishwasher needs to be unloaded.

ignoring the fact that there is clothing in the dryer that needs to be put away before it wrinkles.

waiting for 12:00 to check for substitute jobs for next week.

enjoying the winter sunshine through our windows.

missing my husband who is at work right now.

making plans in my head for my sister's wedding shower next weekend.



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