Monday, April 30, 2012

Strawberry Lemonade Bars

I pinned this recipe for Strawberry Lemonade Bars on Pinterest a long time ago, and finally made it a few weeks ago when I helped make dinner for my small group again.  They were a tad bit tart for my liking.  The recipe called for 1 cup of fresh lemon juice, and if I make them again I'll probably only use 3/4 a cup.  But other than that, they're a good summer time dessert, and the pink color makes them good for showers and girly parties, kind of like these Pink Lemonade Glazed Sugar Cookies!

Strawberry Lemonade Bars

1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/4 tsp salt

1 cup fresh lemon juice*
2-3 tsp lemon zest
1/2 cup pureed strawberries (about 3/4 cup berries)
1 1/4 cups sugar
4 large eggs
1/4 cup all purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt

*It took me 6 lemons to get 1 cup of juice.


Preheat oven to 350F. Lightly grease a 9×13-inch baking pan.

Begin by making the crust.  In a large bowl, cream together sugar and butter, until smooth and fluffy. Working at a low speed, gradually beat in flour and salt until mixture is crumbly. Pour into prepared pan and press into an even layer. Bake for about 17 minutes, until set at the edges.

While the crust bakes, prepare the filling.  In the bowl of a food processor, combine lemon juice, lemon zest, strawberry puree, sugar and eggs and process until smooth. Add in flour, baking powder and salt, then pulse until smooth.

Gently pour the filling over the hot crust when it has finished baking. Return pan to oven and bake for 23-26 minutes, until the filling is set (There will be a light colored “crust” on top from the sugar in the custard – nothing to worry about).

Sprinkle the bars with some powdered sugar.  Cool completely before slicing and use a damp knife to ensure clean slices.  Store bars in the refrigerator, especially on a hot day.  Makes 24 bars. 

This recipe was a little tricky for me since I don't have a blender or food processor, but I made it work.  To puree the strawberries I used this little chopper thing that I have.  And then when it came time to process the whole mixture, I just used my hand mixer, turning it on and off like it was pulsing.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Sunday at the Park

Today was such a fun day!  Once a semester our church has it's service outside at a park, and today was the day and it was beautiful!  It got warm pretty early this year and then got chilly again, and the past week was straight up cold some days and rainy a lot too, but it warmed up this weekend and today was bright and sunny and quite warm .  My face is pink, my shoulders are red, and I have a criss-cross pattern burnt on my feet from my sandals.  But every now and then during the service a nice breeze would come through and it was oh-so-refreshing.  Also every now and then during the service, or announcements, they'd have to stop talking because a boat was going by on the lake right behind us and we couldn't hear anything.  But even with the heat and and noise, it was a wonderful to be outside surrounded by God's glorious creation, singing praises to him and hearing from his Word.  A wonderful Sunday, indeed!

This is what happens when you have to give your camera to a guy to take pictures...

Jillian and I

Some of the wonderful, beautiful young ladies I work with!

Me and Tiffani

Saturday, April 28, 2012


Students have finals next week, and since I knew a lot of them would be studying all day today, I figured I'd invite some over for dinner as a little study break.  Heather and Catey Laura came over and we ate pizza, watched Grease, took funny pictures, and watched videos of cats on YouTube because we're cool like that.  

I was talking with a student recently about how even though the week before and the week of finals week is awful, I have lots of fun memories from the last two weeks of school.  All those late night study sessions ended up in hysterical bouts of laughter, as sleep-deprived people started acting crazy.  I've always said, "Finals make you wear things you normally wouldn't wear, eat things you normally wouldn't eat, and do things you normally wouldn't do."   For example...

I remember during my Junior year wearing the same hoodie and pair of sweat pants three or four days in a row.  I always showered and put on clean underwear, but I would take off the hoodie and sweat pants late at night when I finally crawled into bed, and then when I woke up the next morning, "Oh look, right there next to my bed are clothes.  I think I'll wear them today!"

One time I left campus at 3am and drove to McDonalds to get a frappacino.

And the following story wasn't necessarily brought on by finals, but it happened those last few awful weeks of school....Some of the rooms in the dorm I lived in my last two years at Milligan had porches outside of the windows.  These would be ideal for crawling out on to tan, but in order to prevent students from crawling out of the windows and on top of the porch roofs, the screens in these rooms had been screwed in place, from the outside.  My room and my suite mates room was one of these, and we were so bummed that we couldn't get out on the roof.  Well one day while in the storage room, I randomly found an extra screen, and I came up with an idea...We could knock out the current screen so we could get out on the roof, and then at the end of the semester we could just put this other screen in its place and no one would ever know!  So that's what we did.  Every afternoon we would take out the screen, climb on up Tatum's desk and out onto the porch roof.  One time I fell asleep out there studying and got super sun-burnt, and another time we forget to put the screen back in and we didn't close the window when we went to class and a bird was in the room when we got back!  Despite these little things, the plan worked great until it was time to move out.  We couldn't get the new screen back in place well enough to cover up what we had done (like we would have been able to anyways...), and my suite mates ended up getting fined for it :(   I did help pay for it though.  And I didn't mention this earlier, but I was an RA at the time.  So definitely not wise decisions on my part, and I am not encouraging the destruction of school property!  Nevertheless, it's one of my many fun Milligan memories!

Camera Cleanse

I've gotten into a bad rut lately of only blogging on the weekends, and I hate it.  Hopefully once the summer hits I can get back into more of a nightly blogging schedule.  A few months ago I did a post that I called Camera Cleanse, where I just posted a bunch of random pictures that have piled up on my memory card.  It's time for another enjoy!

The following 4 pictures were taken during the week of our fundraiser banquet, as we were getting ready...mass chaos...

I took this picture the day after the banquet, before I erased the board that had been running our lives for a week and a half.

I was on my way to a friend's house when I noticed a bunch of white stuff up ahead on the side of the rode.  At first I thought it was a bunch of trash, but as I drove by I realized they were paper plates.  Lots and lots of paper plates scattered along the road...

When I came back to the office one day last week there was a rose and a funny note from a "secret admirer" on my desk.  I quickly discovered that they were from Staci.  They had been giving the roses out on campus for some sort of awareness, and she had brought hers back to the office and came up with the note.  Even though it was a joke I put it in a "vase" and it was fun to watch people walk in and think it was "from someone special." 

Staci has been making lots of cupcakes lately, and bringing them to us to try.  This one was cotton candy flavored and it was YUMMY!

Monday, April 23, 2012

Food, Fire, and Warm Feet

Tonight was the last night of our small group for the semester, so we celebrated with lots of yummy food and a fire!  People could just bring whatever they wanted, so we had an interesting assortment of food, but it was all so good!  And almost everything on my plate was a carb - pasta salad, bread with honey butter, spinach artichoke dip and guac dip with chips, little veggie pizza square things, and all of it was homemade, except for the tortilla chips.  We have had the best dinners all semester long!  We keep talking about making a recipe book with all of the recipes from our dinners and then selling it to raise money for the orphanage in Guatemala that our church is partners with, and I think we should!

And it was chilly cold all day today, so the fire was perfect!  My feet are always cold, and so I had them propped up near the fire pit for while when I realized that my toes were getting really warm.  I pulled my feet back and realized that the tips of my shoes were burning!  There weren't flames or anything, but they were smoking!  And my left shoe especially is all warped looking.  You think I would have learned from it, but not really.  I kept wanting to get cozy so I'd prop them up again and then somebody would say "I smell burning rubber!" or "Aimee, move your feet!"  Thankfully it didn't burn through the soles, and you really can't even tell unless you're looking at the bottoms.

Haha, oops!

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Hot Tubbin'

One thing is certain about working with college students - there is never a dull moment.  It was a little after 9:00 tonight, and I was sitting on the couch in my sweatpants, reading and journaling and planning on being in bed by 10:00, which hasn't happened in a long time.  Then Heather called and told me to come get in the hot tub with her, Ivy and Catey Laura.  I hesitated at first and she called me a grandma, like she always does, but then I decided "Why not?  I've been inside pretty much all day and I haven't been in a hot tub in forever."  So I went, and it was fun.  And it's gotten me even more excited about this summer!

Saturday, April 21, 2012


The theme of our banquet this year, and now the last two weeks of The Well, is REMADE.  Focusing on the truth of 2 Corinthians 5:17 - Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation, the old has gone, the new has come.  We have been remade!  To open the banquet, we wanted to uniquely and powerfully share the stories of our students, and how they have been remade in Christ.  Seth gathered stock images of things that showed brokenness - weapons, pills, drugs, people crying etc.  Those broken images covered three panels, and each one said either LOST, EMPTY, or BROKEN.  Each of those large panels was actually a combination of smaller squares, each one representing a student.  On the smaller panel was part of the students' story, areas of brokenness in their life.  They said things like: Living for the weekends; Addicted to drugs and alcohol; Felt unloved and unwanted by my father; One foot in the world and one foot in Christ etc. 

While a long called All Things New played, students came up on stage one by one and unhooked their panel from one of the three words.  They came to the center of the stage and held it up for everyone to see.  Then, they flipped it around and shared the rest of their story.  Like: Living for Christ; Forgiven and set free by of Christ; Saved by my Heavenly Father; I'm all in.  Then they went and hung up the new side of their panel, and when they were all hung it said REMADE.  And the pictures on this were all of the pictures I've been taking all year.  Pictures of our students, at all of the events and activities we have, laughing and smiling.  Pictures of real people who have been remade!


Heights and H20

I spent part of Wednesday afternoon on top of a 16-foot ladder, muttering things like "Oh my gosh, oh my gosh, oh my gosh," and "Why am I up here?" to myself.   I had asked Seth if there was anything I could do to help get the stage ready and he said it would be a huge help if I could straighten out the lampshades.  

Background story on the lampshades:  We wanted to hang lots of large lamps from the stage ceiling for the banquet, but large lampshades are pricey, so we made them ourselves.  Once the house lights are dimmed and the lamps are lit, they look good, but it takes a lot to get them to that point.  Lots of messing with and readjusting.    

So back to Wednesday...We had decided to use the same set design from the banquet for the last two week's of the semester.  Which meant hanging up the lampshades again.  And when Seth said that's what needed to be done, I had a moment of "Ugh, anything but that!"  Because I knew that would mean getting up on the ladder.  I'm not scared of all heights, just heights that I can easily fall from - like 16-foot ladders.  But that's where I found myself Wednesday afternoon, muttering things under my breath and trying carefully not to fall off and onto the drum set below me.  And what didn't help the situation any?  The fact that I had worn my rainboots that day, and didn't have extra shoes with me.  I knew climbing up and down the ladder with boots on would be difficult, so I just took them off.  But climbing up and down the ladder in socks with no traction is dangerous!  I slipped once, and thankfully I was only two rungs from the bottom, but I swear I saw my life flash before my eyes!  In the end it was all worth it though, as it always is, because the stage looked great!

My socked feet on the ladder.
Looking down through the lampshade to the drum set below.
The finished product!  Even though the one above the drum set is still crooked :(

We had an event called Water Wars planned for Wednesday, and even though it was rainy and chilly, we decided to go ahead and have it.  Not many people came, I think there were 12 students, 11 of them being ministry team members, but we had a blast anyways!  We had organized games and relays, but when they were all done it turned into an all-out water fight.  There's something about water balloons and buckets that will turn anyone into an 8-year old again!

Dribble, dribble, SPLASH!

Pool toys relay.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012


I've been following a blog for about a year now.  It's called Enjoying the Small Things, and it's about the day-to-day life of a family whose youngest daughter was born with Down syndrome, which they were not expecting.  Even though Kelle can be a bit hippie-ish and uses language from time to time, I love reading her blog.  She's an animated story teller and an AMAZING photographer.  Add her camera skills and her adorable girls, and you've got photographs that make everything in life look beautiful.  

Kelle wrote a memoir, Bloom, which was just published on April 3rd, and if you pre-ordered the book by April 2nd, she would autograph and send you a bookplate.  I've never really been one who has to have books or DVDs or CDs when they're first released, but I wanted that book, and I wanted it autographed!  But I just never got around to ordering it until I realized it was about 10:00pm on April 2nd, so I got to it and ordered my book!  Last Monday when I got home from work there was a sticker on my door from UPS stating that they had tried to deliver my package but couldn't because I had to sign for it, which was going to prove difficult because I'm never home.  So I decided to have it shipped to the UPS store where I could just go pick it up.  Well it had to be picked up by today or it got shipped back, and that was also going to prove difficult since last week was super, SUPER, SUPER busy!  I didn't even have a chance until today to go get it anyways.  When I printed off the tracking information, I clicked on the map to see where this UPS store was, and thought I had a good enough idea that I could figure it out without printing directions.  Silly me.  Of course it wasn't where I thought it was.  There was a number on the tracking info I had at least been smart enough to print and bring with me, so I called it.  It was only the number for their main headquarters and they didn't have the number for the actual store in Johnson City, so I couldn't call and find out where they were located.  Awesome.  The lady was able to give me directions though, which eventually did get me to the right location, but of course took me the long way, and then I got turned around coming back.  What should have taken about 25 minutes ended up taking an hour!  Ugh!

When I finally got home tonight I plopped down on my red love seat, tore open the cardboard box, pulled out Bloom, sniffed its wonderful new-book smell and starting reading.  

 It took all that I had not to flip through and look at all the pictures first, but I knew I'd regret it later and refrained.  I read the intro and first two chapters and then I stopped and ate some dinner.  After dinner I stretched out on the love seat with it, and decided to take off the cover of the book while I read it.  I had no idea there was a totally different look to the actual book, and I loved the picture on the front.  I love red shoes, I have three pairs in the closet right now, and that picture made my heart happy.   

 I read chapters three and four, nodded off and then woke up and read chapters five and six.  There are fourteen chapters all together, so I still have a little ways to go, but I got a good start for my first night!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012


Jillian and I have been having our Monday morning meetings in the cafe at Earth Fare.  There are two rows of booths along the walls, with a bunch of tables in the middle, and this morning we were sitting in the row of booths that you see as soon as you walk in the door.  Jillian needed to go back to her car to find a black pen, since she only had a blue one with her and the paper she had been writing on was already in black ink.  As she got up to go to her car she said, "I'll be right back," and I said "I'll be here."  Then I thought, "Wouldn't it be funny if I weren't here when she got back?"  So when she was out the door I gathered up all our stuff and just moved to the other side of booths.  It was funny to see her walk in and just stop when she realized our stuff was all gone.  Hahahaha.  I just crack myself up some times.  

We've been reading through Hebrews all semester and we finished up a few weeks ago, so now we're going through and kind of outlining it and putting it into our own chapter titles.  And here are just some of the verses that have really stuck out to me:

Therefore, since the promise of entering his rest still stands, let us be careful that none of you be found to have fallen short of it.  For we also have had the gospel preached ti us, just as they did; but the message they heard was of no value to them, because those who heard it did not combine it with faith.  Hebrews 4:1-2

During the days of Jesus' life on earth, he offered up prayers and petitions with loud cries and tears to the one who could save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverent submission.  Hebrews 5:7

God is not unjust; he will not forget your work and the love you have shown him as you have helped his people ad continue to help them.  Hebrews 6:10

Because God wanted to make the unchanging nature of his purpose very clear to the heirs of what was promised, he confirmed it with an oath.  God did this so that, by two unchangeable things in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled to take hold of the hope offered to us may be greatly encouraged.  We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain,  where Jesus, who went before us, has entered on our behalf...Hebrews 6:17-20

Instead, they were longing for a better country - a heavenly one.  Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them.  Hebrews 11:16

He chose to be mistreated along with the people of God rather than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a short time.  Hebrews 11:25

May the God of peace, who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, equip you with everything good for doing his will, and may he work in us what is pleasing to him, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.  Hebrews 13:20-21

A sneaky under-the-table picture. 

Monday, April 16, 2012

David Platt Breakout

Tonight for our ministry team small group Bible study we listened to the breakout session that David Platt did at Passion 2011.  There's still a lot for me to process, but here are some quotes that really stood out to me.  And since he talked fast, I jotted things down fast as well, so these might not be word for word.

Our love for Jesus should make our closest relationships in the world look 
like hate compared to how we love Christ.

We aren't saved from our sin because of what some Roman soldiers decided 
to do to Jesus, but because He chose the cross.

You don't come to Jesus to get life, happiness, stuff, health, wealth, this, or that...NO!  You come to Jesus 
to get Jesus!

Jesus will never say, "I wish you would have kept more to yourself."

Every gift and skill and passion He has given you is for one purpose: to advance the Kingdom of God!  Whatever you do, use it as a platform to advance the Gospel to the ends of the Earth, when we do that that the gates of Hell can't stop it!

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Shoe Back Up

Like I mentioned last week, I taught Sunday school on Easter, so I figured there was no need to wear my new Easter dress.  3 year-olds don't care what you look like, they just want you to be fun and give them extra animal crackers at snack time.  So, I wore my Easter dress today, not that anyone in "big church" cares what I look like either.  I had fancy-ish heels on, because they looked good with the dress (thank you Amanda for choosing bridesmaid shoes that can be worn again!), but was afraid that once I got to church I'd regret it.  I can walk fine in heels, but the hardwood floors at church are slick in places - I've almost wiped out in flats before - and I though heels might up the chances of that actually happening.  Also, none of my friends wear heels, and I didn't want to tower over everyone.  I had a pair of small wedges that kind of went with the dress, but just didn't look as good.  So, just to be prepared this time, I headed out the door in my heels...with my wedges crammed in my purse!  I felt funny opening up my purse to get out a pen, and there was a shoe right there on top, but I was prepared!  I might actually start doing this more in the future.  Anyone else ever done anything ridiculous in the name of fashion?

Monday, April 9, 2012

Broccoli Salad

I remember that the first time I read this recipe, I thought it sounded disgusting, but then I tried it and really liked it.  I make this a lot in the spring and summer when I need a side dish for a large gathering, which is why I made it for our community group dinner tonight.  And as with most salad recipes like this, you can add or take out some of the ingredients to fit your own taste buds.

Broccoli Salad
2 bunches of broccoli, cut into small florets
1 cup mayonnaise
2 tbl. vinegar
2 tbl. sugar
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 medium onion, diced
1 jar/package real bacon bits

Just mix it all together and serve cold.

Sunday, April 8, 2012


I was scheduled to teach Sunday school this morning, which,  I'm not going to lie, I was a little bummed about at first.  We only have one service, so that meant I was going to miss it, and I was really looking forward to finally being at a Redeemer Easter service.  But, once I was with the kids, I had fun, like I always do.  I was afraid they might be hyped on sugar, but they were really well-behaved today, and really funny too!

After church and lunch, I headed to a park that's only about ten minutes away to do some reading and journaling and picture taking.  It was an absolutely gorgeous day!  Days like today remind me that I take the scenery around here for granted.  I love our rolling hills and distant mountains!  For anyone reading this who lives where it's flat, I'm sorry.   

I actually took this while leaning backwards, I'm sure I looked so strange!

The makings of a good afternoon (and why I carry two cameras sometimes).

On the first day of the week, very early in the morning, the women took the spices they had prepared and went to the tomb. They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. While they were wondering about this, suddenly two men in clothes that gleamed like lightning stood beside them. In their fright the women bowed down with their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, “Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here; he has risen!...Luke 24:5-6

Happy Easter!

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