Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Sometimes the wheels just come off

This is a favorite saying of mine because it has actually happened to us.

Imagine our little family of four, trucking down the road at night in our free 1984 Toyota Van.  Just van.  No fancy model name.  Van.  We called it the Ghost Car because our kids said it reminded them of Scooby Doo's car and they were too little to remember Mystery Machine.  Anyhoooo, we were having a lovely ride until smoke started POURING from the van.  It was so much smoke, when the hubs pulled over, I yanked both kids out of the car and ran away.  I thought it was on fire!  Silly, right?  Except that we had another van that caught on fire once so I wasn't taking chances.  Turns out the car wasn't on fire but there was something terribly wrong.  We called my step dad to give us a hand.  He decided to tow us, redneck style, to his house.  (Redneck style is where you attach a chain to the vehicle you are towing and basically drag it to your destination while someone sits in it and steers)  So I loaded the kids into his jeep and away we went.  There was some God awful noise a few miles down the road and while we were wondering what that could've been, a carload of teenage girls pulled up next to us and said, "HEY! The wheels fell of that car back there!"  Did we stop? Nope.  We dragged the Van the last mile, sparks a flyin.  Turns out the back axle fell off.  Amazingly enough, my hubs found a replacement axle and the Van was still in working order years later when we sold it to a collector of Toyota Vans.

No worse for the wear and a funny story.  I love it when life turns out that way.  Which brings me to today.  I am sick with what I can only describe as allergies from hell.  Except it's not really allergies but a stress related illness compliments of my wacky immune system.  And as I was malaise-ing on the couch, I was surfing Facebook.  I ran across a recipe for something called Potato Candy from Christy Jordan's Southern Plate.  (Just a side note here, I love Christy Jordan.  She is sweet and kind and knows how to cook those Southern recipes your MawMaw made without being fussy or expensive.)  This recipe was insanely simple and something my step dad would love.  He is the eater of all sweets and loves peanut butter.  But when I went into the kitchen, I realized peeling a potato and then cooking it was too much work.  I crack myself up.  I felt too lousy to do this step but ended up spending an hour making Buckeyes.  Do you know what Buckeyes are?  Peanut butter balls dipped in chocolate.  The recipe I did today is at the bottom of this post.

This is something I've done before and I have a really hard time making anything dipped in chocolate.  The chocolate seizes or I make huge globs instead of neat balls or what I'm dipping crumbles/melts/messes me up.  There is typically a huge mess and each time I do these things, I foreswear all dipping stuff in chocolate!  So I blame the sickness.  I was delirious and candy sounded so good and things started out really well.


so round and shiny

I love that knife, btw.

THEN the dipping commenced.  And it was going ok for a second.  I got about 12 balls done and the chocolate was cooling already.  The balls were not coming off the fork well.  GLOBS WERE FORMING.  And then...yep...the wheels came.

I needed to add more chocolate to melt and a piece shot out from under the knife into the floor.  I stabbed a hole into that plastic dish by mistake.  My spoon broke.  The chocolate was too warm and the peanut butter was making the coating slide off.  WHEELS. OFF.


blobs and exposed peanut butter. arg!

I seriously contemplated throwing it all in the garbage and pouting.  But I remembered one time when I used leftover almond bark to make bark.  Imagine that.  So I poured the chunky melted chocolate into a small square dish (it is actually the tray to my food scale) and put the remaining peanut butter balls into it.  I melted the last of the almond bark and poured it over to seal everything in.

This might be genius!

I think I just invented the best homemade candy bar to ever exist!  I put the tray in the fridge, slammed it out on the counter, and cut into bite size pieces (use a really sharp knife and don't saw through it).  The "filling" is smooth and packed with peanut butter.  The outside is shiny and just the right amount of chocolate.  Think Reese's Peanut Butter Cups, which as it turns out is my step dad's favorite candy.  

See?  No worse for the wear and a funny story.  Love it!


Here's my little recipe for what I made today:

1 c. creamy peanut butter
2 c. powdered sugar
1 tsp. corn syrup
1 lb. milk chocolate almond bark

Combine peanut butter, powdered sugar, corn syrup until a very stiff dough forms.  Shape dough into teaspoon size balls (or bigger, depends on how many you want to make).  Chop almond bark and place in a shallow microwave safe dish.  Cook at 30 second intervals, stirring after each, until melted and smooth.  Dip balls into almond bark and place on wax or foil lined cookie sheet.  Store in airtight container once set up.  I prefer not to refrigerate because they will sweat.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

The best walk you'll ever take is walking down the aisle

I heard these lyrics in a country song by Jana Kramer.  It struck a deep chord in me.  THAT is the best walk I ever took.  Though the first two years of our marriage was racked with grief and fear and questioning our very faith, we made it through.  Every year since has brought it's own troubles and doubts, arguments and hurt feelings but I look back on that blazing hot day in July and I am glad.

The other day, sweet girl asked us how daddy proposed to me.  He and I just looked at each other and died laughing.  He DIDN'T propose to me.  We were leaving my mom's house one day and I was looking out the window.  I remember how bright and clear it was that day.  While I don't remember what we were discussing, I do remember saying, "I think we should get married."  And he said, "I do too."  And that was it!  It was a little bit crazy since we had known each other oh...about a month.  But we were in the throes of, what I call a case of, love at SECOND sight.  The first time we met, he hardly paid me any attention.  But a few days later, I arrived at a mutual friend's house for a bible study and when we saw each other, lightning struck.  We were each other's answer to prayers said from desperate hearts, longing for a Godly mate.

Our families were delighted over the news and plans for an October wedding began.  The soon-to-be hubs and I were a little too excited in celebrating and I discovered I was pregnant.  I was beside myself.  He was over the moon.  I remember calling my best friend in the middle of the night and telling her this terrible news.  She said, "Amanda!  You are 25.  You are not some teenager working at McDonald's.  You HAVE a great job.  You HAVE a man you love, who is excited."  Her GET IT TOGETHER speech worked and though I had more doubts over the next several days,  I GOT IT TOGETHER.  We scratched the fall wedding and opted for July.  I wanted to look "not pregnant" in my wedding dress.

Every thing went so very well in planning the wedding and in my pregnancy.  My morning sickness was subsiding, I found THE dress, we had the chapel...then I got cold feet.  There was some minor argument with my betrothed about money or a bill or whatever and I ran to my mama, crying.  I told her, "This guy is not responsible!  This guy is not who I want to be with!"  I went on and on.  She looked at me and said words that felt like a bucket of cold water being dumped on my head.

"Then don't marry him."

It was that simple she explained.  If I didn't want to marry him then I didn't need to feel obligated to go through with it.  She said she would support me no matter what I decided.  But God spoke to my heart.  It was like everything was out of place because we had chosen to follow our fleshly desires and I knew if we would make it right before the Lord, everything would be ok.  So on that sweltering Sunday, I walked down the aisle with my fears and doubts nagging me but determined to make this covenant.  I actually do not remember taking our vows.  I only remember the transforming wholeness I felt when we were pronounced man and wife.  I was a Mrs. and I was a changed person and I had no idea what we were about to face.

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