Monday, October 29, 2012

BIG news!!

They're engaged!!!


Last Saturday, Drew asked Stephanie to be his wife!  We are completely thrilled, excited, happy, thankful... there are just not enough words to adequately describe how we feel.   We have loved Stephanie from day one (which was about 9 years ago) and she is already like a daughter to us.   The two of them have never had eyes for anyone but each other since they first met, and they have patiently waited for this time in their lives where they can finally get married.  They are both 21, Drew is graduating from the Master's College in May with a degree in business/accounting and works at an investment firm, and Stephanie has been working full-time at Grace church for about a year.  They have submitted themselves to the Lord and to their parents over these years and have a beautiful story of friendship.  They are just perfect for each other and we couldn't be happier!

Rich and I are overwhelmed with God's kindness in giving our son such a godly and beautiful girl to have as his wife.  Stephanie's parents are dear friends of ours and we know that their faithfulness in raising Stephanie translates to incredible blessing for Drew and our family.  As parents we pray for our children and their future spouses, and when God answered that prayer of ours, He really did so above and beyond what we could have ever imagined or dreamed of.    We are so very thankful.

So, I guess I should give a few details of the engagement...  well, many years ago, they met at San Clemente State Beach campground.   San Clemente is our favorite camping spot, and we were on a trip with our bible study, using the large group campsite.  Our friends, the Brooks, had recently met the Tubbs family, and had invited the two oldest girls, Lindsay and Stephanie, to come along on the trip.  I still remember the girls coming out of the van and thinking that they were adorable.  Well, apparently Drew set his sights on Stephanie.  As she describes, he "stalked" her the whole trip.   They got acquainted and Drew even engaged her in a card game of "Go Fish" to have her attention.   They stayed in touch over the next year or so, and then her family began attending our church and joined our bible study.

There were many more camping trips after that, in which our family took with the Tubbs family.  There were trips out to the desert where the kids could go on motorcycle rides, and also trips to Yosemite and our local beaches.  They had the wonderful opportunity of spending time together not alone, but in the context of our families being together.  When they got their drivers' licenses, sisters Emma and Lindsay were often part of a foursome when they went places together. 

Suffice it to say, by the time that they were about 18 (and possibly earlier), they knew they were heading in the direction of marriageHowever, that still being years off, there were challenges. I am really proud of Drew for the way he submitted himself to Stephanie's father in pursuing her during that time.  Robert was amazing in coming alongside Drew over those years, and really discipling him in a way as their relationship slowly progressed.   The Tubbs warmly welcomed him into their home often and really took the time to know Drew.  Meanwhile, we did the same with Stephanie and she easily became part of our family as well.   There were ongoing conversations between Robert & Luci and us over the years and we are so thrilled that we will now be "family."  

OK, well back to the engagement... so on Saturday, Drew planned that he would take Stephanie to San Clemente for the big question.  I think he has had this idea for some time, as this is truly their spot.  He asked her to come down and spend the day here, and when she arrived, he had a new outfit ready for her.   :-)   She changed and he said they were going somewhere for the day.  They hopped in Rich's cute little car and headed for San Clemente.

He took her to a cute little crepe place for lunch, then they headed over to the campground.  San Clemente is situated on a cliff, and there is a spectacular walk down to the beach.  You head down a steep path, and when you round a particular corner, the whole Pacific ocean comes broadly into view and it truly is spectacular.  A little ways down from this is a bench which is the most perfect spot to sit and admire the beauty.  They made their way there and Drew pulled out a deck of cards.  He asked her if she wanted to play "Go Fish."  They began to play, and at the end there was one card left in Drew's hand.  She asked why there was a card leftover, and he handed it to her.  It said "marry me" on it. :-)  He then got down on one knee, and proposed.   He had a beautiful ring made for her and handed it to her in a black box.  Somewhere in there she must have said yes!  Then, Emma popped out from a hiding place where she had been taking pictures!  They took some more photos together and then spent some time calling their families and friends, and of course updating their social media! They eventually headed to our house, where the Tubbs family and us were anxiously awaiting their arrival!  We had a big dinner with Stonefire Grill and Porto's desserts waiting for them.  It was a great evening celebrating and hearing them tell the story.  A truly happy occasion.  They are planning to get married in the spring!

 The happy couple and their parents.
I love this pic of them with all Stephanie's sisters! 


post signature 

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Candle Sale Today!

Update: the candle sale is now over.  More holiday scented candles coming with my soap sale Dec. 3rd!

As promised, I'm selling some of my homemade fall candles on the blog today!  Click here if you missed the info on this sale.

To recap, these are 100% soy wax, highly scented, clean-burning candles!
I'm offering two sizes - 14 oz and 8 oz jars.   
Burn time on the 14 oz is 80+ hours, 8 oz. is 40+ hours.
The 14 oz size is $12, and the 8 oz size is $8.
 Supplies are limited but more are coming for Christmas!



The scents and availability are:
Macintosh apple 
14 oz:  sold out
8 oz:   2 jars
Cranberry woods
14 oz: 4 jars
8 oz:  8 jars
Pumpkin & vanilla
14 oz: sold out
8 oz:  sold out

To place your order, please email me at

~other details~

Payment:  I accept PayPal at, cash, or personal checks (checks only if I know you, please).
Delivery:  I can arrange delivery if you are local, but I am glad to ship if you are not.  I can ship up to 6 candles for $11.35 in the USPS medium flat rate priority shipping box.

post signature

Monday, October 8, 2012

Perfect brown rice!


FINALLY!!  Perfect brown rice - in about 45 minutes!  I cannot describe how elated I am!  This has truly changed my life!

Confession:  I have always struggled with cooking brown rice.  It's never turned out right, and most of the time I wouldn't exactly classify it as edible.  I did the standard rice cooking method - adding water and rice together in a saucepot, bringing to a boil, covering and cooking on low 45 minutes.  It was gummy. Soggy. Chewy.  Yukky.  Desperate, I became addicted to TJ's frozen brown rice.  Definitely not economical, and cooking a plastic bag in the microwave didn't sit well with me.  But what was a brown rice loving girl to do?

Recently, I even put out a plea on facebook for advice on rice cookers that did brown rice well.  I got plenty of advice - most suggested a $275 rice cooker named Zojirushi.  Somehow I couldn't justify a machine that cost that much to make 30 cents worth of rice.  Besides, I didn't need another machine in my kitchen (especially a one-trick pony).  There had to be a better way.

Anyways, so in my continued search, I came across a new method - boiling the rice.  Sounded weird, but I was desperate enough to try it.   It looked easy enough so I followed the simple directions. I think I truly jumped for joy when I tasted it!  Cooked perfect, it was light and fluffy even.  You've gotta try this!  You will feel like such a winner, I promise. 


1.  Rinse 1 cup brown rice (I used medium grain, but any kind 
     should work) with water for 30 seconds.
2.  Bring 12 cups of water to a boil in a large pot.
3.  Add the rinsed rice to the boiling water, and boil for 30 
     minutes, uncovered.  
4.  Drain the rice for 10 seconds over a sink.
5.  Return the drained rice to the pot, quickly cover and let sit 
     10 minutes.
6.  Fluff.  Voila! Perfect brown rice. 

post signature

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes with Mascarpone Icing!


Welcome fall!  I usually go a little pumpkin crazy at this time of year.  After our date last Saturday night, I made my husband stop at Trader Joe's where I proceeded to buy a full cart of assorted pumpkins for the front porch.  And, I also grabbed a generous supply of canned pumpkin, still remembering the tragedy of the pumpkin shortage of a few years ago {shudder}.  Rich put three dark chocolate candy bars in the cart.  We were quite the pair - pumpkins and chocolate!  As you can see, we compliment each other very well.

The first recipe of the season for me was these pumpkin cupcakes.  I would like to thank Martha for the recipe as it is super yummy and just what I was looking for.   I wanted to use up some extra mascarpone cheese I had, so I whipped up this frosting and it was divine!  Regular cream cheese would work, but if you want magic, buy the mascarpone.    Mascarpone is an Italian cream cheese and is a vital ingredient in Tiramisu.  TJ's carries it.


Pumpkin Cupcakes
Martha Stewart
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 4 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 can (15 ounces) pumpkin puree
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line cupcake pans with paper liners; set aside. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and allspice; set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together, brown sugar, granulated sugar, butter, and eggs. Add dry ingredients, and whisk until smooth. Whisk in pumpkin puree.
  3. Divide batter evenly among liners, filling each about halfway. Bake until tops spring back when touched, and a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean, 20 to 25 minutes, rotating pans once if needed. Transfer to a wire rack; let cool completely.
Mascarpone Frosting
8 oz. mascarpone cheese, softened
10 tbsp. soft butter
¾ tsp. vanilla
¾ lb. powdered sugar (or a little more if needed)

Whip mascarpone, butter, and vanilla until creamy.  Slowly beat in powdered sugar until you reach desired consistency.

Makes 2 dozen

post signature

Monday, October 1, 2012

Soap and candle announcements

First, I would like to announce that I will be having my annual Christmas SOAP and CANDLE sale this year on Monday, December 3rd at 9:00 am PST.  Please mark your calendars.  :-)  I will post the selections a week or two ahead of time so you can have the opportunity to "shop." 

However, due to popular demand (okay, well maybe a few people asking), I have decided to offer some fall scented candles now.  I mean, who wants to wait until December to burn Macintosh apple, cranberry woods, and pumpkin & vanilla?  I know that when October rolls around I am ready for fall scents.  At December's sale, I'll add some holiday scents such as eggnog, gingerbread, and vanilla & cedar to the line-up. 

And, while I'm partial to clean white candles, I made these a warm, creamy ecru color to blend in more with the fall season.  I think they're pretty yummy.

By the way, these are  homemade,
clean-burning 100% soy wax candles.  They are highly scented and hand-poured in small batches in my own kitchen.

But since this is just for fun, I do have a limited selection and supply.  Last spring, I only offered the 14 oz size, but this time you can choose the 14 oz jar or the smaller 8 oz size jar. Burn time on the 14 oz is 80+ hours and the 8 oz is 40+ hours.  The 14 oz sells for $12 and the 8 oz for $8.  There are three scents:  Macintosh apple, cranberry woods, and pumpkin & vanilla. 


8 oz. jars - burn time 40+ hours - $8



 14 oz jars - burn time 80+ hours - $12


The fine print:  I'll be taking orders first-come, first served, through email (, on Wednesday, October 10th, 9:00 am PDT.  I usually arrange to meet my "customers" in person, but these candles ARE available for shipping, too.  For $11.35 I can ship up to 6 candle jars (USPS Priority).

post signature