Friday, May 15, 2015

A Quaint Danish Town

There is a town in California near the Pacific Coast Highway called Solvang. I visited it the other day, and absolutely loved the place! Apparently awhile ago, a large group of Danish settlers came out west and built this town. They built it exactly like back home in Denmark, so there are windmills and the style of houses and streets are totally Danish. 

The place was adorable! Of course, it has turned into a tourist attraction now, so the streets are lined with restaurants and little shops. 

This chocolate factory looked amazing...but I resisted. I didn't get anything haha

We ate at this cute little cafe right on the Main Street. It was delicious...

Of course, I was having the time of my life because of all the little antique and cuckoo clock shops...

So now you have also seen the beautiful, historic town of Solvang! 
I'm enjoying these last few days before I fly home to PA for part of the summer. 
Until later!

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Oh Mother, mine!

Let me first say, I have the strongest, smartest, most amazing mother ever. That sentence sums up this post; but really it's just the beginning of the equation. 

When I was growing up, my mom was such a strong woman. A pastors wife, homeschool mom to 7 kids, involved in politics, teaching piano...the list is endless. She would drive my brother around to debate tournaments, take my sister to sewing lessons, take me to piano lessons, violin lessons, orchestra practices...that list is also endless. 

It's funny...but when I was younger I never noticed any of that. It was normal life for my mom to write out checks for me to take violin lessons. Now that I am a little older, I realize how much I have taken my mother for granted. 

I remember this picture was taken in November of 2009. I had just turned 18 and my parents, brother and I went to Nags Head NC in the outer banks for a vacation. This picture was taken at Kitty Hawk. 

I also remember that it was during this vacation that we began really noticing that there was something up with my moms hands. They would turn a dark purple color, she couldn't feel them and when she could, it was terrible pain. In this picture, my mom was talking about how cold her hands were, and my dad was saying how he would warm them up. :)

I remember that my mother went through a carpal tunnel surgery the following year. Her hands continued to get purple and very cold though. I remember that the next spring, my mother decided that she and I would take miniature field trips to historic spots in Pennsylvania. That was definitely the best school year of my life. Those trips with my mother meant so much to me. 
This picture was taken on one such trip, to the Delaware River, to the spot where George Washington crossed. 
I remember when my parents were informed by the doctors that my mother had Raynaud's Syndrome, which is often mistaken for carpal tunnel. This was why her hands were losing circulation, they said. 

I remember that phone call my parents received in February 2010 when my mother was told that she had a debilitating disease; that it was called Scleraderma and that she needed to go to Johns Hopkins for treatments right away. I remember my brother and I didn't know what was going on, but that we were scared. After all, my mom was the strongest woman I'd ever known. It was a scary time, and my mother was given only a few years to live. 
This picture was taken at my high school graduation in May of 2010. You can't see in this picture, but my mother is wearing gloves. Her hands were always so cold...
She surprised me with a dozen white roses, and I remember crying because she was. 

That summer was one of the hardest summers. I watched my mom begin losing her strength, and I worried every day that I wouldn't see her the next. I remember When my parents decided to use the homeopathic way, rather than the medications and pills the doctors were prescribing. I would make her a mixture of cottage cheese and flaxseed oil every day. And every day we would crush her pills and mix them in applesauce for her to take. 

This picture was taken on the day before I left for college in the fall of 2010. I was going to attend Golden State Baptist in Santa Clara, CA. In spite of my mothers pain and great loss of strength, she planned a going away party for me. She wanted to take pictures with me before I left. I remember in this picture, my mom is literally leaning against me, to stay up. 

It was a nice time at the party, but the whole time, I was so scared that my mother was going to die. 

   That whole school year, I wrote to my mother every week. Sometimes twice a week. She wrote me back, and she was always so positive. She would tell me about the new bird feeders she got, and the hummingbirds that would come around...she would talk about the chickens and turkeys. And she would write and tell me about how good God is. Do you know how incredible that is? 

The next summer of 2011, my mother was strong enough some weeks to go with me to market. We would bring a comfortable chair, set it up, and she would greet and talk to the customers. The customers love my mom...

The following summer came, and my family had this picture taken. My mom had more strength! As you can see, she's wearing her apron because she was making a meal for Sunday. I think she is holding either a sprig of basil or of tea, to make either lemonade or tea. 

Of course, my mother is not completely healed. The Scleraderma is still there, and she suffers now from her internal organs being affected by the disease now. Her lungs, heart and esophagus are always hurting. think that in 2010, I believed that my mother wouldn't live to see 2011. And here it is, 2015 and my mother is regaining her strength. 

Her last son graduated from highschool, so my mother began a small day school at the church. She goes there every day from 8am-2pm. She also takes care of all the chickens (that's well over 150 chickens) and pigs, and feeds most of the animals. She does all the chores around the house. Cleaning, laundry, ironing...she even takes on tasks like stripping and sanding the staircase! 

It's almost like my mom came back to life a new person, with a renewed energy. I know she is in pain, but she never talks about it. She continues to write to me, and I know that she does special things for each of my siblings as well. 

I may be a tiny bit biased, but I believe that my mother is the most amazing woman in the world. I wouldn't be the person I am today if it were not for my mother's influence in my life. 

A happy Mother's Day to the best mother I know!

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Goodbye McDonald's!

I finally quit my job at McDonald's!! I began working at McDonald's 2 1/2 years ago and I can say helps pay my bills. But my life long dream has never been to rise up the proverbial ladder at McDonald's. My only goal was to help pay for college and living expenses. 
And McDonald's helped me to do that. 
I am now finished with college and ready to move on to the next stage in my life. I've worked there long enough to see many coworkers come and go. McDonald's employees come and go on a regular basis. 

This is one of my coworkers. She encouraged me when I wanted to quit, she made me laugh when I was annoyed or irritated, and she always always always had a kind word to say to me. 
Some of the coworkers I have worked with were characters, to say the least. But I could always count on her to make my day awesome. 

I was so excited on my last day that I took a selfie with my store...

And three of my coworkers surprised me with a cake, cupcakes, a card and lollipop. It was so sweet of them...

The question I always get asked when people find out I work at McDonald's: "Do you hate McDonald's food now?" The answer is no...I'll still go through the drive thru and get a grilled chicken ranch snack wrap any day! You can expect to find a post later about my emotions and thoughts regarding the fast food industry. But for now, I just couldn't wait to post and say "I'm officially done working at McDonald's!" 

Color me Rad 2015

Bear with me, readers! As of yesterday, the only piece of technology I own that still works is my phone. My laptop stopped working about a month ago. Rather than having it fixed, I thought "I'll just wait until I travel home. I can get by with using my ipad." And then yesterday morning, the ipad wouldn't turn on. I have no idea what's wrong with it...but now I'm left with my phone. And it works best when I am in the house by the wifi. So,  if this post looks strange, it's because I am posting from my phone.

Anyway! I ran a 5k color run a few weeks ago and forgot to post a picture! Its the same run I did last year with a group of friends.  It's a company called Color Me Rad and they travel all over the country putting on these 5k's. 

I know It isnt the best picture, but it shows at least part of the chalk and paint! It seems silly to pay money to go get sprayed with paint and dusted with chalk, but there is something unexplainably exciting about getting completely dirty for no reason. Almost like when you are little and its fun to splash in puddles or play in mud. 

Most of it washed right out of my clothes, but I am still working it out of my shoes. Anyway, so that's my picture of the Color Me Rad color run! 

Saturday, May 2, 2015

My new favorite fudge

When I was home at Christmas time, I went to my sister Katie's house for New Years Day and she had some peanut butter fudge there for dessert. I tried some and it was amazing,..absolutely to die for. So I asked her for the recipe. Well I sort of forgot that I had this recipe in my papers, and then I found it the other day and tried it. It's so amazing and so easy to make, I love it!!!!

It only calls for 
1 cup peanut butter
1 3/4 cups confectioners sugar
1/2 cup melted butter. 

There's no cooking or anything, just mix it all together! Honestly, this stuff is so good that my landlord and landlady and I finished it in about a day and a half...
So of course, I made another batch. Haha. 

I've also been getting back into baking recently. I grew up baking in my moms bakery, but since being in college I haven't done much of it. But I go to winco about every other week and buy baking ingredients and just make pies or's good to test my memory and see if I still have the recipes memorized :)

I know this isn't much of a post, but I had to post that amazing fudge recipe. Go try it, you'll be so happy you did!!!