Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Cinnamon Roll Cake

I made this cake earlier this year, but never blogged about it. Then I made it last night for a work luncheon, and since I am on a baking blog roll, thought I would share it now. It is such a simple way to make and enjoy a warm ooey-gooey cinnamon roll that you won't believe it was this easy to bake! I have never attempted real cinnamon rolls and with this recipe I may never have to. Everyone who has tried this cake raves about it and asks for the recipe. It is that good! The pan never lasts the whole day. And if you make it, yours won't either.

Cinnamon Roll Cake
via Life As A Lofthous

12 servings

  • 3 cups Flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon Salt
  • 1 cup Sugar
  • 4 teaspoons Baking Powder
  • 1 1/2 cups Milk
  • 2 Eggs
  • 2 teaspoons Vanilla
  • 1/2 cup ( 1 stick) Butter, melted
  • 1 cup ( 2 sticks) Butter, softened
  • 1 cup Brown Sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons Flour
  • 1 Tablespoon Cinnamon
  • 2 cups Powdered Sugar
  • 5 Tablespoons Milk
  • 1 teaspoon Vanilla
Directions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9x13 glass baking pan with cooking spray. Set aside.

In an electric or stand mixer add the flour, salt, sugar, baking powder, milk, eggs, and vanilla. Once combined well , slowly stir in the melted butter. Pour into the prepared 9x13 baking pan.

For topping, In a large bowl mix the 2 sticks of butter, brown sugar, flour and cinnamon together until well combined and creamy. Drop evenly over the batter by the tablespoonfuls and use a knife to marble/swirl through the cake.

Bake at 350 for 28-32 minutes or when a toothpick inserted near the center comes out nearly clean.

FOR GLAZE: In a medium bowl, mix the powdered sugar, milk and vanilla together with a whisk. Drizzle evenly over the warm cake. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Destroying The Car Wash

I have been meaning to post about my trip through the new Tim Bush car wash for a while now, but am just getting around to it. A few weeks ago before J and I left out of town for the weekend, I stopped by mom's to drop off our house key and she decided to come for a ride with me to take my car through the car wash. This is one of those car washes where you have to get your tire in the little strip, put your car in neutral, and then just sit back an enjoy. But not if you are Angela Atkins.

When I pulled up I thought the attendant told me to turn to the right a little and keep going, but apparently he and I were not on the same page. So up and over the edge of where your tire goes and over the bar that guides you in I went. Let me point out that the car wash is long and narrow. The angle I was at required that I drive up into the car wash a little and then try and back out at an angle... which was nearly impossible. Especially, when you are laughing beyond control. The guy could not guide me out and I was literally tearing up the car wash. I could not back up because I was at a diagonal and would go up onto the building's front curb, but I could not go forward because my back tires were still behind the metal bar that my front tires had gone over.

Well, pretty soon another guy came out to try and help unwedge me from the car wash. No, joke he looked at me and asked if I was drunk! By this time, one guy was guiding and the other reaching through my window turning my wheel for me. Finally, after asking several times if one of them wanted to drive my car, the guy with his arm through my window said to get out and he would drive. After about 10 minutes my car was free. There were moments they were literally saying I was destroying the car wash, but I was more concerned about my wheels being destroyed as they squeaked and bumped over the metal and concrete!

When all was over with, the guys were laughing and told me there is a video camera that records 24/7 and that they would have to show the video at their next meeting! I really hope they did. Because 30 minutes of 2 guys helping me get my car out of there has got to be the most exciting thing to happen to that car wash. Hope the car waiting behind me thought so, too...

Needless to say... I haven't been back to that car wash.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Compassion International and The Newsboys Concert

I received an email from a worker at Compassion International (the program we sponsor a child through) about a month ago that they needed volunteers for the upcoming Newsboys/Building 429 concert. I am not a huge Newsboys fan, and frankly, rarely know who sings what, but I though it might be fun -  especially if my sister and I both volunteered to do it! Well, I committed myself to volunteering before my sister knew she couldn't and suddenly became freaked out that I was going to do it alone. I am a shy person, but somehow always end up doing things alone. NOT my cup of tea! Upon finding out the lady I would be working with was Cortni Roy (Jason Roy's wife - lead singer of Building 429), I was even more nervous. I also didn't know what the other volunteers would be like or if anyone else would even be there - needless to say I was not too pumped about going.

While I wasn't feeling comfortable about volunteering anymore, I do not like being a person who goes back on their word, So I forced myself to go. Boy am I glad I did! All of the volunteers were SO awesome and kind! These were people I could be friends with in my everyday life. Only one girl was from the Tri-Cities, though. Cortni was also very sweet and I had to control my curiosity of asking silly questions about what life on the road must be like with kids. I am not easily starstruck, but love to learn about others and ask questions, regardless of who they are, so I have to be careful not to invade other's privacy. But honestly, I hate talking about myself. I usually end up rambling and sounding like a dork. Also, I am loud, goofy, and animated when I talk so I easily embarrass myself. Luckily, the other volunteers were all goofballs so hopefully I didn't look like too much of a fool! I wish I would have taken some photos, but it was a busy night and taking a photo would have made me look sort of unprofessional. But I thought I would share a couple stand out moments from the night:

* Being out in the crowd with Jason Roy to pass out Compassion info with the spotlight and all on us and me NOT falling! I had to go up and down stairs and was so nervous I would! Especially with him right next to me!

* An 11 year old  boy and his friend who came to me repeatedly asking questions about sponsoring a child. He was so sweet and told me he felt like God wanted him to donate money. He had come with his youth group and ended up calling his dad about sponsoring a child. When he came back and I asked what his mom said he told me, "My father said no because he can barely keep food on the table for me and my little brother." My heart! He had no mama! He and his 5 year old brother and dad live in La Grande in an apartment attached to a grocery store that his grandma runs. He and his friend didn't want to go to back into the concert because it was too loud and they had never been to a concert before. So I spent like 20 minutes talking to them outside. I pray he keeps his soft little heart towards others and God as he grows. He was a little angel and really made an impression on me!

* Learning that the dude from the Newboys is NOT a white guy!

* Getting 98 children sponsored! The most so far out of any of the tour stops Cortni said!

* Duncan Phillips - the spinning drummer from the Newsboys! Coolest thing I've seen in a while! Click the link. Now.

I am so glad I branched out of my comfort zone! I had a blast and sure hope I made an impression on a little boy's heart and helped to get some sweet babies sponsored!

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

The Emerald City - Goodbye Summer Vacay

The last weekend of Summer we spent in the Emerald City with Jeremiah's family. For J's dad's birthday in July, we bought him tickets to a Mariner's game and planned on attending with his sisters and their families. The only weekend we were all available to go was September 22nd. So our goodbye to Summer literally culminated the last weekend of Summer/first weekend of Fall with a trip out of town. Such a fun way to say "au revior" to Summer! Some highlights of our FULL weekend include:

* Puyallup Fair (FYI: I purchased tickets to this fair for less than our county fair - what a crock!) -  Bigger fair, more food and exhibits, and the layout was way more spacious! So nice being able to walk around and not fight a crowd like at the BFCF. It did seem more like a small amusement park, but I still preferred it over our fair.

* The Bodies Exhibit - The bodies were not nearly as grotesque as one might think (okay, maybe the genitals were. Ha!), but I definitely recommend checking this exhibit out if you have the opportunity. Upon entering you were told to turn your cell phones off and that you could not take photos. Although I was quite tempted, NO ONE was breaking that rule and I really did not want to end up as the next body added to the exhibit! LOL.

* Meeting up with an old SPU cheer squad friend I hadn't seen in 7 years! That was way too long and I would really like to keep up with old college friends better - although, I feel like many of them have deleted me from their FB friends list (I guess for some there are limits on how long they stay friends with someone). A little sad to me. Despite being on the shy side, I really value relationships and people in my life and genuinely enjoy hearing about people's lives and the successes or struggles they have encountered (can get the girl out of psychology,  but can't get Psychology out of the girl).

* Mariner's game with J's family where our 2 year old great niece, Genesis, danced, growled at people, ate her foam finger, and generally just charmed the crowd around us. It was a fun evening for sure.

* After game dinner, dessert, and chit chatting - full of laughs!

* Shopping and dining downtown with the fam. Once again, Nordstrom came through for me! This time at the Ebar where they had hard boiled eggs for purchase! I finally had a healthy and fulfilling breakfast!

* Jeremiah using the hair dryer to warm the the tile in the bathroom at our hotel for me to stand on, in addition to my clothing, since the 60 degree Seattle weather was sucking the life out of me!

* The Kellogg's Tour of Gymnastics Champions -  One of my childhood dreams being fulfilled as the Olympians flipped, danced, and entertained their way into my memories. I told Jeremiah I thought I might cry a couple times! Such a dork, but I was so excited to see the show. I grew up doing gymnastic and one of my only life regrets is giving up gymnastics for dance. This would have been the highlight of my childhood 20 years ago. So to have my hubby next to me enjoying and sharing in something I love warmed my heart. If we would have had a child with us in awe of the show, I am sure I would have bawled like a baby!

* My hubby standing in line during 2nd half of show to buy me a shirt so we wouldn't have to wait after the show and to ensure they wouldn't sell out.

* Heating up our Krispy Kremes up with the car heater on our way home.

And now some photos from our weekend:

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Cascade, Idaho

Well, where do I start! For those of you who may not know, my father-in-law is an announcer in his spare time and announces at rodeos during the summer. This requires (or so my FIL thinks) that Jeremiah help out by running the sound. So I usually tag along and get a mini-vacay out of it. Let's also make it clear that I am not a rodeo gal! Jeremiah's step-mom likes to tell the story of how at my first rodeo I wore these adorable strappy wedges and when we had to trek over and under the arena fence through dust, dirt, and mud I was quite the sight! Even still, both Jeremiah and I look so out of place at these things and my Honda Accord sticks out like sore thumb in the sea of Fords and Dodges. But I can't say it is not an adventure! We also get to see some beautiful country side that we might not otherwise. Well, this June we went to Bickelton, WA. for their annual fair and rodeo and in August we went to Cascade, ID - way over in mountain standard time. That one hour time change gave me some serious mountain-lag. I didn't snap any photos in Bickelton, but I managed to get a few in Cascade, ID. Cascade is a pretty little town about an hour from Boise with a nice lake and amazing rafting park! Getting there was a little tricky, as a fire closed the main highway and caused us to detour through a dusty and windy mountain road that added on at least an hour to our travel time! During this time, my husband noticed the tire on the car making an odd noise. Turns out, we had a lug nut loose which caused the drive home to get rather interesting. Nothing like changing a tire on the side of the road and stopping in every little podunk town to find a tire shop open on a Sunday to help. But the light at the end of the tunnel was eating at an Arctic Circle after getting the tire fixed. That made everything  better. All in all, it was nice to spend some quality time with my hubby and the hotel we stayed at was adorable and had the best sugar cookies - I may or may not have snuck more than my fair share each night. Below are some snapshots from our trip:

Kelly's Whitewater Park.

My dreamboat hubby.


Souvenir shopping - Jeremiah taught me that girls should never wear Idaho shirts. Period.

The window seat in our hotel room where my daily naps took place.
Cozied up by the fire in our new slippers.

Oh, you know, me and my mother-in-law just helping change the tire...

The universe's reward for our troubles.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Peanut Butter Cup S'mores Bars

The weather has been quite a bit cooler these past couple days and I am not happy about it. Fall may be beautiful, smell yummy, offer the opportunity to wear cute boots, and be filled with candy, but Summer offers all of the above and I am not freezing my baguettes off! This year I feel particularly not ready for Fall. I think it has something to do with the fact that last year Summer was so late to arrive and the winter so cold and icy that when Summer arrived this year, in full force 100 degree temperatures, I did not want to let it go. So if you see me in black the rest of the month know it is because I am in mourning of my favorite season ending. I am already eagerly awaiting Summer 2013 when I can come out of hibernation, get my tan on, and BBQ all of my favorite seasonal foods! In the meantime, baking season is upon us. Cooler temps mean it's time to crank that oven on for some extra heat and get busy in the kitchen! But because it is not exactly Fall, I am paying homage to the last days of Summer with a S'mores recipe. If you know me, you know S'mores are my life in Summer. And while I do have to watch my chocolate intake now thanks to some health stuff, all you really need of this rich and satisfying dessert is a small square. So hurry up and make this before the sun sets on Summer!

Peanut Butter Cup S’mores Bars

Recipe via The Sweet Life (adapted from Pinch of Yum and Sprinkle Some Sunshine)

yield: 16 large/20 small squares

  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 1/4 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup graham cracker crumbs
  • 16 peanut butter cups, regular size
  • 1 1/2 cups marshmallow fluff*
*Fluff is pretty impossible to measure, so this doesn’t have to be an exact amount, just kind of eyeball it. As long as you have enough to cover the PB cups, you’re good to go.

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line an 8×8 baking dishing with parchment paper; coat lightly with cooking spray.
  2. In a large bowl of the bowl of stand mixer, beat butter and sugars until fluffy. Beat in egg and vanilla until combined. Scrape down the sides. With the mixer on low, stir in the flour, baking powder, salt, and graham cracker crumbs until mixed.
  3. Spread 2/3 of the dough on the bottom of the prepared baking dish. Lightly press the peanut butter cups into the dough, then spread marshmallow fluff on top. Press the remaining dough on a non-stick surface into the shape of an 8×8 square. Place the square on top of the fluff and press down lightly.
  4. Bake for 30 minutes or until the edges just begin to brown. Allow to cool for at least two hours* to give the bars a chance to set, then remove from the pan and cut into squares with a large, sharp knife.
* I am not kidding these are amazing!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Walla Walla/Dayton - June 2012

In June, Jeremiah and I went to Walla Walla and Dayton with Jeremiah's family to cheer on his awesome grandpa at the Dayton Days car show. J's grandpa has a 1932 Ford Roadster he bought for $150 in 1950 that he enters in various car shows. He was even featured in the Tri-City Herald Cool Desert Night's insert on the front page this year. It's the cutest car and we had fun supporting grandpa and hanging out with family. We stayed at the historic Marcus Whitman hotel in downtown Walla Walla, shopped, ate gourmet food (including Liquid Nitrogen Ice Cream at The Marc), and relaxed. If you've never checked out Walla Walla, it's a beautiful mini-vacay spot and you must do it. Jeremiah and I make a stop here almost every year and it's so close to the Tri's you can do it in a day! Here are are some pics from our weekend:

Liquid Nitrogen Ice Cream being made right at our table at the The Marc restaurant at our hotel.
Beautiful downtown Dayton for Dayton Days.

A camel in Dayton. Pretty sure I could pretend I was in Egypt with this one.
Our great-niece, Genesis, walking my mother-in-law's dog, Mitzi.
Jeremiah checking out his grandpa's car.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Parks Family

I haven't posted a photo session in a while. To be honest, I haven't shot a photo session in a while! I usually just take pictures for fun and mainly at family events, but whenever family asks for a photo session I am game! This featured photo session is of my cousin Jennifer and her handsome boys. This mama is one of the sweetest and most beautiful women I know and has always been more like an older sister to me. It warms my heart when family asks me to take their photos because I am not a professional and still have a lot to learn, but the their trust and faith in me to take images that will be displayed in their homes, on their Christmas cards, or even on their Facebook profiles boosts my confidence and renews my joy in the art of photography. Thank you Parks family for allowing me to capture these sweet images and for helping me grow in my hobby.

Parks Family




Sunday, September 9, 2012

Happy 1st Birthday Samson Luke

Another 1st birthday of a little one so dear to my heart has come and gone. My nephew, Samson, turned one on August 22nd and he sure partied it up like no other one year old I have ever seen! Of course we all know how quickly a year can go by, but what surprises me most is that this baby looks SO different from when he was first born. He has definitely kept his cuteness, but his eyes and hair have lightened up so much! He now looks so similar to his big brother, Eli, it takes you back 4 years in an instant! It's crazy to think of how much a baby changes in a year. Samson has learned to roll, sit, crawl, walk, and talk all in a matter of months. Not only was he early for these milestones, but I think he could walk before he could sit up for long periods of time. This boy has claimed a special place in my heart and anytime we are out people cannot stop staring and commenting on his cuteness. He loves to snuggle, run, climb, and throw things - I'm thinking we have a serious athlete here, and he has no fear and dives right in to everything he does (see cake photo) - this trait will take him far, no doubt! He also has an incredible attention span for a one year old and will sit on your lap and watch practically a whole movie. My sister and brother-in-law sure do know how to make 'em! This boy makes my day with every smile and hug and I feel so honored that God would allow me to share in the blessing of watching him grow and to be his aunt. Happy birthday, Baby Bubs! Love you SO much!

Handsome boy!

The infamous cake photo.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Harper's 3rd Birthday

My favorite girl in the world turned 3 this past July and I cannot believe it! People always says time flies as you get older and when kids are involved that's even more apparent. The tiny baby girl I couldn't wait to paint nails with, go shopping with, have dance parties with, do hair with, and bake with is doing all those things now and more! My niece, Harper Josephine, is a beautiful, brave, kind, strong-willed, loving, silly, independent, and smart as a whip girly girl! She rivals her brothers and cousins in toughness and fearlessness, all while rocking the sparkliest of nails, fluffiest of dresses, and blondest of pony tails! I am so proud of her and she is only 3! I cannot wait to go to her dance recitals, soccer games, school music performances, or whatever else she chooses to be involved in. But I hope time goes ever so slowly so I can soak in every precious moment. I am very blessed to be a part of watching her grow and my heart cannot hold all the love I have for her and her brothers! Happy 3rd birthday to my littlest best friend, Harper! Love you so much, Baby Bops!

One of my favorite photos of my niece. Even her serious "fed-up with auntie's pictures" face looks gorgeous!

Monday, July 30, 2012

Dear Jordyn Wieber

With the Olympics in full swing and upsets and failures inevitably happening to even the best, I heard the question asked: What would you say to Jordyn Wieber  (the reigning world gymnastics champion who was favored to be in the running for the all-around final) failing to advance after a few missteps?

I thought of all the "fluffy" things one could say to encourage, empathize, or put it all into perspective and nothing I could come up with cut the mustard. Only the honest, hard truth that: This sucks. Any other day, it could have been you. But to sum it all up in 3 words: Life goes on. The sting of this loss is going to hurt a day, a month, a year, 10 years, and even 20 years down the road. The "what-ifs" and "what could've gone differentlies" can haunt you forever. But you gotta let life go on. With time and by finding joy in other life experiences the pain will ease. Finish your best and let it be what it is. You don't have a choice. There may always be tears with this memory, but the pain and disappointment will fade as life goes on and the other joys it brings begin to trump this failure. If all we base our life's joy and our self-worth on is our talent, looks, strength, humor, or brains life will be nothing but disappointment after disappointment as our failures and weaknesses in these areas are brought to light. Finding joy and self worth in things outside of ourselves is what helps us move on when we fail ourselves. So dear Jordyn, life goes on and you are worth more than even the Olympic gold!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Seaside Vacation 2012

This Summer for our annual family vacation we headed to Seaside, OR. We used to vacation at Seaside when I was a kid and it hasn't lost it's charm. My niece and nephews hadn't experienced Seaside before so it was so precious to see their little faces light up when they saw the ocean for the first time, felt the unstable sand beneath their toes, and saw all the crazy looking sea creatures. It was nothing short of a blast and I am blessed to have spent quality time at the ocean with those I love. Some of our favorite moments included:

* Finding a penny at Multnomah falls for our usual penny print souvenir Jeremiah and I get everywhere we go and then finding one in the dryer at our beach house. I didn't have to spend a cent on this souvenir! (Side note and fun tip: I turn the pressed pennies into magnets so every time I look at the fridge I am reminded of all the cool places we have been.)

* Jeremiah running from the beach to a toyshop downtown to buy a kite when he realized how perfect the weather was for kite flying. And it was the craziest kite flying I've ever seen! Surprised no bystanders lost an eye! Said kite was also a U.S. Navy kite (my brother-in-law, Leroy, was in the navy). Let the bromance begin!

* Buying countless dollars worth of Salt Water Taffy between all of us.

* Deep Fried Twinkies and other treats from the The Buzz On Broadway - the best candy shop I have ever experienced! We served their salt water taffy at our wedding, even :)

* My sister's dog, Grunt, looking happier than I have ever seen him while running wild and free on the beach.

* Eating at Pig N' Pancake. A must do!

* S'mores on the deck of our beach house on a mini BBQ maintenance had to bring when the gas grill conked out on us.

* My 5 year old nephew, Eli, having more fun catching his marshmallows on fire than actually toasting them for the S'mores.

* Several trips to Rite Aid and Safeway for MORE drinks, food, and much "needed" items.

* Carousel rides, bumper cars, and the arcade! Complete with a giant sized version of Fruit Ninja, free games, and TONS of tickets won for the kids.

* My 3 year old niece, Harper, not enjoying the carousel worker calling her "cutie cutie" and pretending to take her shoes while on the ride.

* Seeing the Miss Oregon contestants everywhere (as the pageant was that weekend) and trying to pick out the winner. We were certain Miss Umpqua would take the title. Not only was she well put together, but I was sure she would have received bonus points for being from a place that makes amazing ice cream ;)

* My 10 month old nephew, Samson, getting a handful of a lazy sea anemone. That'll teach them to get complacent after all those years in the aquarium touch pool!

* My brother-in-law's fantastic "photobombing."

* Random Voodoo Doughnut side trips and zoo stops on the way home.

Pit stop at Multnomah Falls.
Looking cute on the deck of the beach house.
One of my fave little guys.
My fave girl in the world.
My other fave little guy.
Photobombed by the best.
Checking out the sealions at the aquarium.
I think he loved the beach more than anyone!
Jeremiah flying his kite.
S'mores on the deck in our college hoodies.
Gorgeous, Samson.
Loving the carousel until, "Hey there, cutie cutie" came and tried to take her shoes.

Some of our candy haul.
Headed home with some Voodoo Doughnuts.