About Me

Monday, October 22, 2012

Homemade Sugar-free, Gluten-free (Two Ingredient) Chocolate Chips!

I don't know why I never thought of these beauties before. They're extremely fast, easy, and actually taste and hold form like regular chocolate chips! Just take a look and you'll believe me!




No more chocolate chunks that require many ingredients, melting on a stove, and storage in the freezer because they melt at room temperature!

Just get a box of Unsweetened Baker's Chocolate and some honey and you're good to go!

1. Melt the chocolate blocks in the microwave in 1 minute increments. 
2. Mix in about 1-2 teaspoons of honey per block
3. As you stir, the honey will cool the chocolate down and solidify it a bit.
(EDIT: My friend, Becca suggested I add (gluten-free) vanilla extract and they turned out even better!) 
(Add 1/2 tsp per block of chocolate)

4. Spoon the mixture into a baggie and cut the tip off an end, making a
piping bag. 
5. Pipe the mixture onto a greased cookie sheet into little chip forms.
6. Stick into the refrigerator if you want them to harden quickly. 

They can be stored at room temperature! 

Enjoy!! 

Friday, October 19, 2012

A Public Admission of Hypocrisy

I have so many thoughts swirling in my head and feelings in my heart, that I have to get them out before I explode. This week has been a fascinating process of watching myself break down every long held belief until I was left bare, vulnerable and wide open to being who I truly am. God is merciful, and he is good, but he doesn't make things easy for me, which I am glad of.

Since the very day after Sean and I got married, life has become overwhelmingly humbling. The first month was one of the hardest times in my life so far, even to the point (because I'm being completely transparent in this post) of wondering if I really wanted to stay married. It was hard. I was in a dark, dark, place that I wanted to stay in on my own, I didn't want any help from God and certainly not from this strange man who said he was my husband. But God is merciful, he hears us, he knows us, and he loves us with a love that is past being able to grasp. I am so blessed that I have a husband who listens to God and asks for wisdom, because the both of them were able to meet me inside of those strong, thick walls that I've built up around my heart, and for the first time in my life, I wasn't alone in my depression and loneliness. They didn't break through the walls with the strength of superheros, but they melted them away with the strongest and most overwhelming love I've ever known.

It was a long road, this road that Sean and I travelled to marriage. I knew, before we even dated, that I never wanted to be apart from him. I knew, just weeks after meeting him that I would marry him, which  I was angry about because I had just turned 20 years old and by my so carefully thought out life plan, I wasn't supposed to meet my husband until I was 26 so that we could marry by 28 and I could have children by 30. HAH. I had spent a good part of my life up until that point harshly (really...very harshly) judging every couple I knew who got married young. I talked about how they were missing out on life and they should get an education! Travel! Experience life! What did they think they were doing?? I would NEVER be that person who just threw away her life to marry some guy. Through the two years that Sean and I dated before we got married, I violently switched back and forth between "I want to marry him desperately" to "I could never marry this man." Weekly, daily, I would switch back and have torturous conversations with myself in which I would bury myself into a deep hole of misery.
You see, (although I didn't) that I never once thought about leaving Sean. Never. I knew I wanted to be with him for the rest of my life, but I couldn't understand what was wrong with me. It took two years to realize that I was denying myself what my heart wanted more than anything in the world, and that I was a hugely subconscious hypocrite. I was insanely jealous of all of those people who had gotten married, who had chosen the life that I could never admit to myself that I wanted. It hurt, especially once I was dating Sean, to see these people have what I couldn't, because I wouldn't let myself have it.

I've never known what my calling from God was, okay, rephrase that, I have ALWAYS known what my calling from God was, but I refused to see it, because it couldn't possibly be right. In the world's eyes it's stupid, it's against all that feminism accomplished (according to some people), and I never thought it was worthy, because it seems so small and insignificant. There is nothing my heart desires more than to be a wife, a nurturer, a teacher, a homemaker, a creator of brilliant and magnificent beauty in the world. My heart desires to love people with a love that is so strong that it scares most people. It desires to live with a love for God that will grow exponentially through the years and it desires to reach out to people who have felt stifled by the world, and give them the courage to do what they feel called to do. I don't want a career, I hate traditional schooling with every neuron in my body and I will never return, (there's a whole separate blog post in that topic), and I will probably never pick one singular thing to "be when I grow up." That's not me. And after years of trying everything BUT what God was calling me to do and being miserable doing it, I can not only say this all to myself, but say it to all of you. I am smart, regardless of what traditional schooling told me for so many years, and I have learned more in the past year of being out of school than I did in the entirety of being in school. I challenge myself not by writing papers, taking tests, and getting good grades, but by making a marriage work, by asking God to help me love those who I find completely unlovable, by reading everything that interests me, by problem solving how to create the perfect baked goods with limited ingredients, by creating beautiful art out of nothing. It seems like nothing to many, but it is everything in the world to me.

This week was especially hard for me...my period was late. Very late. Later than it has been in my entire life and I was terrified. I have spent many years of my life nannying and babysitting until the point in which I began to hate children with a spite that scared me. I couldn't fathom choosing a life that these mothers had chosen, being sick, tired, miserable, and having to deal with little brats day in and day out. What I didn't know is that over the years, I was becoming sicker and sicker and depression liked to accompany that sickness and make it worse. That along with these not being my own children, but yet feeling as tired and sick as if they were, was a bad combination. Sean and I had had a few conversations in which I told him flat out that I refused to have children. Later he told me that even though he loved me and wanted to be with me for the rest of his life, there was an honest possibility that he wouldn't marry me if I didn't want kids. Before we married, we compromised and I said that I would have one child. That was it...and if it wasn't completely awful, we would adopt a second. I was scared. Every pregnant woman I've ever been around has had the absolute worst and traumatic pregnancies...and there was no way I thought that I could ever willingly get pregnant, knowing what it could be like. I have spent years being sick and would (still) get panicky at the thought of being trapped inside of horrid sickness for almost a year.

When you get married, people ask you a lot of stupid questions, such as "are you excited??? (no, you idiot, this is an arranged marriage and I don't love my future husband in the least), and "how's married life" (it sucks, how's yours!) and...of course, "Omg!! Are you like, SO excited to have babieeeeezzz??" To which I reply, "You know, we've decided to wait at least 5-8 years before having kids." To which they ALL reply "Oh that's really great, I think waiting is a good idea...it gives you time to get to know each..." Hah. Just kidding...they all say "Ohhhh riiiiight, hehe, we'll see about that! I'll bet you'll change your tune in a few months!!" To which I shoot daggers in their general direction and hope that their demon baby keeps them up all night. So, that was all to say that I have spent pretty much my whole life adamantly telling people that I don't want kids until I'm thirty...and then, a little over a month after we get married, there's a possibility that I might be pregnant. This is where the hugely hypocritical part of the story comes in. At the beginning of the week, all I could think about was how scared I was, how badly I didn't want this to be happening, and how annoyed I would be when all of those stupid people said, "Tee hee, I tooooold you sooo!!" But as the days wore on without any sign of "auntie flo" I started to have some pretty serious conversations with myself. Sean and I talked a lot about what we would do if I were, how we would react, and we decided that we would meet this challenge head on and with abandon. We would throw ourselves into being parents and we would rely on God to be the best parents we could be. But these conversations always ended with, "...but you're not pregnant, right?" "No, I don't think that I am." I was lying. I took pregnancy tests that came up negative but I didn't believe them. I sensed something different and somewhere along the way, my thought pattern changed. I was at work all day, and every child that passed, I wanted, every pregnant lady that came in, I found beautiful. As I scrubbed the heck out of the sinks at work, my head was a swirl of yelling, talking, praying, and arguing with myself. It hit me all of the sudden that I would be devastated if I WASN'T pregnant. I wanted this baby so badly that my heart felt like it was breaking. And for the second time this year, I admitted to myself another part of my calling that I had always written off as being illogical and unworthy. I want to be a mother. I'm crying just writing that, because there is such a release of guilt, of lying, of not being true to myself and to God that is gone now. This melting of my heart, this week of torrential emotions have broken down more walls of resistance and have freed me to be who I am called to be. I was talking with God on my way home from work and told him that I will never go back to the bitter, fake, lonely strength of not wanting kids. If that was his purpose in all of this, then it was accomplished. I am a vastly different person than I was last week, and I will never be the same again. My period started this morning, but I am at peace, because when the time is right, I will be a mother, and now I know that I will anxiously await my child instead of anticipating it fearfully.

I have been singing this song all morning, and once again, JJ Heller speaks the words of my heart.

Scenes of you come rushing through 
You are breaking me down 
So break me into pieces 
That will grow in the ground 
I know that I deserve to die 
For the murder in my heart
So be gentle with me Jesus 
As you tear me apart 

Please kill the liar 
Kill the thief in me
You know that I am tired of their cruelty
Breathe into my spirit
Breathe into my veins
Until only love remains 

You burn away the ropes that bind 
And hold me to the earth
The fire only leaves behind whatever is of worth 
I begin to see reality 
For the first time in my life
I know that I'm a shadow 
But I'm dancing in your light

Teach me to be humble 
Call me from the grave 
Show me how to walk with you upon the waves
Breathe into my spirit
Breathe into my veins 
Until only love remains

"Only Love Remains" JJ Heller


Thank you for listening.

Love,
Rachel

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Beach Inspired Soap Dispenser and Containers

Hot glue is my friend. It's like the crafter's version of duct tape...anything that needs to be fixed, stuck, or bonded together for life, (including friendships...many bonding moments have haven't over hot gluuuuuue...) hot glue is the one to turn to! Suffice it to say that this is yet another project that I did entirely with hot glue. :) I'm pretty sure that what I lose in brain cells, I make up in calluses. 

This was an old Mrs. Meyer's Lavender Handsoap bottle (my fav!)







I love keeping my brushes in a container, and my makeup in one, too. It works well for an um...preoccupied person such as myself who tends to move on to something more interesting before cleaning up my messes. =D








Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Skirt to Apron!

I have a skirt that I bought a few years ago, but it never fit quite right. I loved the bright fabric though, so I've been hanging onto it hoping that I could make something of it...someday. Well, that day finally came! I was making muffins yesterday and noticing the flour all over my shirt, I realized that I finally needed to have an apron...so I made one! It was pretty simple, not too much cutting or sewing to be done.

This is the skirt I started with.


It had an underside, that I cut off to use for the bib of the apron.


Like so! I folded it until it made the right size for the bib. 


I cut the skirt exactly in half, stopping at the elastic waistband.


I cut the other half of the skirt off right under the waistband and then cut the waist band in half.


I then held the bib section up and measured from the top of my tank top to just where the apron waistline reached (higher than a normal skirt). 

Then I pinned it in place and sewed it straight across. 


I used the drawstring from the skirt to make the halter, which turned into regular straps because the bib stuck out too much and didn't actually cover my shirt. :P

I also put a button on one end of the cut waistband and a loop on the other. 



Then I made a little flower and sewed it to the top. :)


I think it turned out pretty cute. :)


-Rachel 

Monday, October 15, 2012

Wedding Pixie Cut Hair and Fascinator


I had such a hard time finding photos of pixie cut hairdos so I hope these can help someone out there! We got our wedding photos back last week and I couldn't be happier with them! Here are a few pics focusing on my hairpiece and hairdo from our wedding day. :) The veil cost me about 5 dollars to make and was really easy. I bought the flower pin at Michaels and the netting for $2.00 at Joann's.

I have really thick hair, so I decided to curl it a little bit and make a slight "faux updo" based on this video: Short Formal Updo

These photos are by Wes and Alisa Courtney of Funky Trunk Studios. They blew my mind with their photos and are two of the nicest and fun people you'll ever meet! If you live in the Seattle area and need a wedding, portrait, or family photographer, look them up!! They're incredible! (http://www.funkytrunkstudios.com)

These are a few of my "getting ready" shots.






That's my poppa. :) I did a first look with him. :)



We had so much fun on our wedding day. It was relaxing, beautiful, and a total blast. I think it's pretty obvious that I adore my husband! :)



Hope this helps! 

Driftwood and Sea Glass Jewelry Hanger




I posted my version of a "Pinterest Inspired Jewelry Board"when I first started this blog, which looked like this: (shudder...)


It was so ugly that it drove me crazy, so I painted it again and turned it into this:


Slightly better and more organized, but I grow bored of things quickly, so I decided to think of something new to make. I have two full bags of driftwood that have been sitting on my porch since Christmas and were feeling neglected, so I put them to work.




It was super easy. I just stuck thumbtacks into the driftwood and hot glued pieces of sea glass on the ends of the tacks. I hung the wood pieces by fishing line with white flat tacks in the wall. 

I love that my jewelry can be art when I'm not wearing it...especially since I rarely wear my necklaces for who knows what reason. 

Also, it's nearly impossible to take decent pictures inside my cave of a bathroom. My apologies. :)



Burlap and Jute Note Board

Ever since Sean moved into his apartment last December, I have been wracking my brain for something to put on the wall in the dining room. It's blank, white wall stared at me day after day with a cold and taunting look, but practically the moment we got home from our honeymoon, I knew exactly how to vanquish it! It normally takes me a few days (or months) to figure out how I want to work a project, but never have I been inspired to make something so quickly and had all the materials at my fingertips. It was awesome! Our living room was full of our wedding decorations...which included burlap, jute, and clothespins. Bingo! I've also had an old canvas that I grabbed for free on Craigslist and never knew what to do with.




I tacked some twine around the back and then spray painted some clothespins with our leftover wedding color spray paint.


I originally intended to use it for notes and such, like a bulletin board, but I never ended up hanging anything on it because I'm an OCD spaz about balance and symmetry.


After it hanging exactly like this for a month...
(Aren't those dahlia's gorgeous?)


I decided to turn it into a photo display board.
My husband and I took our film SLRs out the other night and had fun taking pictures of fall...turns out it was the last sunny day we'll see for a while. Not that I mind, rain makes my heart happy. :)






Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Easy Homemade 5 Ingredient Chocolate Chips - with honey!

UPDATE: I made a FAR better recipe here: Homemade (Two Ingredient) Chocolate Chips. They don't have to be kept in the freezer and they taste like the real thing...but they're sugar free!


I have yet to find decent chocolate chips that don't have sugar or artificial sweeteners in them, so I made up my own recipe that is both delicious and easy. These are freezer chips, meaning that they have to be stored in the freezer until use, but they hold up alright in baked goods.

For about 1-2 cups, I use this recipe:

1/2 cup coconut oil
1/4 cup honey
1 TBS brewed coffee
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1 tsp vanilla.

1. I melt the coconut oil, honey, and coffee together in a sauce pan and then mix in the cocoa powder in until smooth.

2. Once I remove the pan from heat, I stir in the vanilla.

3. Taste test! If you think it needs to be more chocolatey, sweet, or more semi sweet, add cocoa, coffee, or honey accordingly. If you want to stop where you are and guzzle the whole thing, you're on the right track!

4. I grease a baking sheet with oil and then pour the sauce pan contents onto it and stick it on a flat surface in the freezer.

They should be ready in about an hour.

I have used butter before but they don't set as well as using coconut oil and they melt funny in your cookies. I don't have any pictures right now because the last batch I made I used butter and oil and they didn't set at all. :( Trial and error!

To get them off the pan, I just slice into little pieces with a sharp knife and then scrape them off with a scraper (while eating al least all of the "deformed" ones. :P)