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Friday, June 28, 2013

fun links

happy friday and hello, weekend!  do you have any fun plans for the weekend?  on saturday, we are looking forward to getting together with family for a picnic at our house.  i sure hope that the weather is nice!

here are a few fun links that i found around the internet recently:

remember those "keep calm and carry on" posters?  i couldn't stop laughing when i saw this one.

has anyone tried this one pot pasta recipe yet?  we tried it and loved it!

8 signs that you are actually a cat . . . that explains a lot.

rules that everyone needs to follow.

i want a pair of these cute eiffel tower scissors.

how to fold a shirt in 2 seconds!  whoa!

where have these taco plates been all of my life?

how did i not know that this is how a key lock actually works?!

also . . . don't forget that google reader will retire on july 1st!  if you are currently using google reader to follow love, laurie you may want to consider switching to bloglovin'.

have a great weekend!
love, laurie

Thursday, June 27, 2013

splish splash

in addition to his full-time day job, ryan also works part time as a stage hand for various concerts, events, plays, and musicals at different venues in our area.  on monday, we found out that ryan's employer was offering free tickets to a local water park for the employees and their families.  the tickets were only valid yesterday between 4pm and 8pm.  so, we packed up our bathing suits and our towels, and headed over to the water park right after work yesterday.

the water park sits at the base of a ski resort.  in the summer the water park is open along with the chair lifts for scenic rides.  then, in the winter, they cover everything with snow and people can ski right through the water park!  we have been wanting to check it out since it opened, but we never got a chance, so we were thrilled to be able to go for free!

we had a really great time, and we went on almost all of the rides.  we were really grateful that the weather held out too (especially since thunderstorms had been predicted for the evening).  the free water park tickets were such a nice treat.  it turned out to be a fun little wednesday night date!

we enjoyed the lazy river so much 
that we decided to float around it three times.

the wave pool was a lot of fun too.

ryan's face when he got to the bottom 
of the water slide was just priceless!

by far this was our favorite ride.  as soon as we got off, 
we looked at each other and both said "again!"  
we ended up going on it four times!

the chair lift ride was so peaceful, 
and it was a great way to dry off too!

we found this guy next to one of the water slides.  
it was really entertaining watching the lifeguards and security guards 
trying to coax this little guy back into his natural habitat!

. . . 

love, laurie

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

strawberry picking

we had such a great time when we went strawberry picking last summer so now that it's june (prime strawberry season) i have been itching to go again.  on sunday, we took a drive up to pallman farms and spent some time picking strawberries.  the weather was gorgeous and the smell of the strawberry fields was amazing.  the strawberries were much larger than last year too.  we filled up our bucket and ended up with just under five pounds of strawberries!  now we will have to make some plans for all of our berries.  let the strawberry fest commence at our house!

love, laurie

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

our recipe for a happy and healthy marriage

today i am guest posting over on lauren's blog choosing joy.  lauren is getting married this week, and she asked me to share a few tips for a happy and healthy marriage.  (you can check out my guest post here.)

i consider myself blessed to have such a wonderful relationship with ryan.  this summer will mark 10 years that we have known each other, 9 years together as a couple, and 3 years of marriage.  over the course of our relationship, we have found just the right ingredients to make our marriage both happy and healthy.  since ryan and i love to cook and bake, we decided to present our tips via a recipe.  so, from our kitchen to yours, here is our recipe for a happy and healthy marriage . . .

recipe: a happy and healthy marriage
yields: one loving couple

1 pound love
1 ounce patience
1 teaspoon honesty
1 tablespoon trust
1 pint encouragement
1 cup teamwork
1 quart gratitude
1 pinch appreciation
1 gallon communication
1 dash laughter
1 handful time

blend all ingredients together well and bake with love.  season with generous portions of passion.

recipe notes:
the first ingredient in our recipe is love because it is the foundation of our relationship.  our love for one another runs deep, and each day we love like there is no tomorrow.  next we add patience because it is important to stay calm in a marriage without becoming angry or upset at the drop of a hat.  a little ounce of patience certainly goes a long way.  honesty keeps the integrity in our marriage.  no matter what, we have made a vow to always be honest with one another.  we are confident in our relationship, because we trust each other 100%.  encouragement provides support, and we find little ways to encourage each other as often as possible.  teamwork teaches us cooperation and lets us work together in harmony and unity.  no matter what happens, we know that we are a team.  gratitude is necessary because it is so important to remember to say thank you, and to not take each other for granted.  appreciation of the little things, as well as the big things, makes us thankful for one another.  communication is a crucial ingredient because it allows us to be transparent with each other.  we always keep an open mind and an open heart in our communication, and we try to be the best listeners we can be for each other.  laughter connects us.  sometimes we have to remember to not take ourselves so seriously, and we enjoy laughing together.  lastly, time will allows us to work on blending all of these ingredients together.  we always put each other first, and we always make time for each other, no matter what.  we take time to dream together, to explore together, and to be together.

these ingredients help us to have a happy and healthy relationship.  we hope that your relationship is just as delicious as ours!

love, laurie

Monday, June 24, 2013

the weekend.

^a very large batch of brownies (48 brownies to be exact) 
that we made late on friday night for an event on saturday^

^a butterfly release at posie's park on saturday^

^sunday morning buttermilk pancakes 
with fresh raspberries from the farmers' market^

^very serious bird watching (and neighbor spying) on the back porch^

^a new spearmint plant that ryan's mom grew for us^

^freshly picked strawberries from a local farm^

and a few things not photographed . . .

my mom and i kicked off the weekend early with a mother-daughter day on thursday.  we got massages, went out for lunch and ice cream, and walked around historic bethlehem.  it was such a great day.  (we are going to need to schedule mother-daughter days more often!)

ryan's dad had surgery on thursday, and he is doing great!  we were happy to be able to visit ryan's parents on friday night (and again on saturday).

we had a picnic at a local park with my family on saturday after the butterfly release, then we traveled to the allentown farmers' market.

on sunday, we finally got a chance to use a gift certificate that we have had for almost a whole year for a local indian restaurant.  it was such a great lunch date!

after much research and deliberation, on sunday evening we finally decided to take advantage of the buy back promotion that best buy is offering this week.  we each got a brand new iphone 5 for free!  you can't beat that.

the weather sure has been crazy lately!  luckily the weather was gorgeous this weekend.  saturday was nice and warm, but then sunday was unbelievably hot.  ryan, leko, and i were all totally wiped out from the 90+ degree heat  and the ridiculous humidity on sunday.  now the forecast is calling for thunderstorms all this week.  weather, make up your mind already!

this weekend was jam packed and it flew by so fast!  i can't believe that it is monday already.

hope everyone had a great weekend!
love, laurie

Friday, June 21, 2013

slice-and-bake brown butter cookies with chocolate chunks and pecans

for father's day this year, we made cookies as gifts for our parents.  i mean really, who doesn't want to receive a bunch of cookies stacked up on top of each other in a cute bag tied up with string?  (i wish i would have taken a picture of them all wrapped up.  the packages really were cute.)

you simply can't go wrong with classic chocolate chip cookies, in my opinion.  however, it is nice to change things up a bit from time to time.

so, for our father's day gift cookies we incorporated brown butter and pecans into our cookies.  we also replaced traditional chocolate chips with large chocolate chunks.

instead of scooping out the cookie dough onto the cookie sheet like normal, we wrapped the cookie dough up in parchment paper and refrigerated it for a little while.  once it was cool, we pulled our huge cookie dough burrito out of the fridge and sliced it into disks.  voila!  slice-and-bake cookies.

the cookies were tender, delicious, and not too sweet.  the brown butter and the tad of molasses added a great depth to the flavor of the cookies.

there were chocolate chunks and bits of pecans in every bite too.  yum!  

slice-and-bake brown butter cookies with chocolate chunks and pecans
prep time: 1 hour
baking time: 12-14 minutes
yields: approximately 32 cookies
adapted from joy the baker

1 cup (2 sticks) salted butter, softened
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon molasses
1/2 cup granulated white sugar
1 large egg
1 egg yolk
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1 cup chocolate chunks

to brown the butter: in a sauce pan, melt 1/2 cup (1 stick) of the butter over medium-low heat, stirring constantly.  once the butter starts to bubble and foam up, watch in very closely.  as soon as the butter begins to turn a deep golden brown color, remove the pan from the heat and carefully pour the browned butter into a glass bowl.  allow the butter to cool (about 15 minutes).  

in the bowl of an electric mixer, cream the remaining 1/2 cup (1 stick) of butter with the brown sugar until light and fluffy (about 3-4 minutes).  add the vanilla and molasses.  beat well to incorporate.  once cooled, pour the browned butter into the batter along with the granulated sugar.  beat for 2-3 minutes.  add the egg and egg yolk.  beat well to incorporate.  sift the flour and baking soda into a bowl to remove any lumps.  gradually add the sifted dry ingredients into the batter.  beat until just incorporated.  stir in the chopped pecans and the chocolate chunks.  scoop the cookie dough onto a sheet of parchment paper and roll the dough into a long log.  wrap the dough in the parchment paper and refrigerate the cookie dough for at least 30 minutes.

preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.  remove the cookie dough from the refrigerator and allow it to rest for several minutes before slicing it into disks.  place the sliced cookie dough disks on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.  bake for 12-14 minutes, until the cookies are golden brown.  once baked, allow the cookies to cool on the cookie sheet for 5 minutes before transferring them to a wire rack to finish cooling.

love, laurie

Thursday, June 20, 2013

individual cornbread squares

cornbread is a traditional favorite, so we decided to make cornbread as a side dish for our father's day cookout over the weekend.

this cornbread recipe has become our go-to recipe for when we want to make cornbread muffins to go alongside a bowl of warm chili during the cooler months . . . but cornbread shouldn't be forgotten in the warmer months.  it's a great addition to any bbq or picnic.

this cornbread is light and moist.  we also love that it's not too sweet.

instead of making cornbread muffins or a loaf of cornbread, we used our brownie pan to make individual cornbread squares.  they turned out so cute!  the individual cornbread squares were the perfect size for our cookout.

individual cornbread squares
prep time: 5-10 minutes
baking time: 18-20 minutes
yields: 24 cornbread squares
adapted from the complete magnolia bakery cookbook

1 1/4 cups yellow cornmeal
1 1/4 cups all-purpose four
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
2 large eggs
1 1/2 cups milk
3/4 cups (1 1/2 sticks) salted butter, melted

preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.  in the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the cornmeal, flour, sugar, and baking powder.  in a separate bowl whisk together the eggs and milk.  add the liquid ingredients to the dry ingredients and beat to combine.  mix in the cooled melted butter.

spoon the batter (approximately 3 tablespoons of batter for each square) into the wells of a greased brownie pan.  bake for 18-20 minutes until golden brown, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of one of the cornbread squares comes out clean.  do not over bake.  once baked, allow the cornbread squares to cool in the pan for 5 minutes before removing them from the pan and transferring them to a wire rack to finish cooling.

love, laurie