Saturday, January 25, 2014

Who Gets a Car for Christmas?

Ever since I was a child, I always wondered, "Who actually gets a car for Christmas?" You see those commercials on TV with the beautiful homes all dolled up for Christmas, a car in the driveway with a big bow, and a handsome man guiding his wife out to a Christmas surprise and think, "Who really gets a car?" Rich people or something. Well, let me tell you. Little white girls, fighting through health conditions, trying to live an honest and respectable life, with amazing husbands bestowed upon them do!

Earlier in the year my poor Honda was involved in a hit and run. It was sad, but it was about time to get a new car anyway. I had just paid it off not long before so I was planning on waiting a bit to hunt down just the right car. Jeremiah knew this and so we never did any serious car shopping except to look and see what was out there, what I liked, and what we wanted to spend. It had even been months since we did that. Then one festive Saturday in December we had a Christmas party at my cousin's to attend. Jeremiah said he had some errands to run before, but that I couldn't come. I figured it was normal Christmas shopping. Well, as the party time drew near he still wasn't home. He texted and told me he'd meet me there and I told him I'd just ride with my mom so we didn't have two cars at the end of the night. Unbeknownst to me this was all working out perfectly. When we got to the party a few people asked where Jeremiah was even though they knew. This party was also an ugly Christmas sweater party so I had brough Jeremiah's shirt for him and left it in my mom's car. Luckily, when he got there my mom took him out to get it so I wouldn't see my new car parked in my cousin's driveway.  I guess a few people asked who's car was in the driveway, but I didn't hear anyone! I still had no clue! When it came time to start the gift exchange, I was number 3. I told jeremiah I was going to pick the smallest box because it would most likely be a gift card. When it was my turn I headed to the smallest package and Jeremiah told me, "I think there's a smaller one on the other side of the tree." So I looked where he pointed and saw a small box with my name on it. I was super confused. I felt like I was about to be proposed to, but I was already married. I opened the box and inside was a BMW FOB. Now I was really confused. My whole family was witnessing this and my mom started saying, "You got a car! You got a car." What? In the family gift exchange? I looked at Jeremiah who was smiling and everyone started yelling, "Go outside." So we go out and there in the driveway is the prettiest little BMW. Jeremiah looked at me and said, "That's yours." Talk about a surprise. Felt like a dream. I cried. My sister cried. Everyone was taking pictures. It was the most perfect special Christmas moment. I am blessed. And now I can answer the question, "Who actually gets a car for Christmas?" Well, sometimes patient and well loved wives do. Thank you, Lord, for blessing me with Jeremiah.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Gluten - Free Blueberry Popovers

This past Sunday, while watching the Seahawks defeat the 49-ers, I almost had a conniption. I'm a new football fan, you see. And after attending the Seahawks opening game against the 49-ers this Fall, I became a real fan. I actually cared about the games they played and was rooting for them. I'm a great fan, too. Even louder and more enthusiastic than my husband when watching the games. Sometimes I can't even watch them because it's too much. Why do men do that to themselves week after week? Anyway, during the 4th quarter I decided I could take no more and needed a break. The kitchen was my refuge of choice. So of course, I decided to bake. I had been eyeing the Popover recipe on the back of the Gluten-Free King Arthur Flour box for a while and thought this was the perfect time to try it out. I decided to tweak the recipe a bit to make it dairy-free and added some blueberries and extra sweetness. The turn out was delicious. This was my first venture into Popover land so I was pleased they puffed up and hollowed out just perfectly. There is no sugar in the batter so how sweet you want them depends on how much syrup or agave and powdered sugar you prefer in the end. You don't have to make them dairy free, btw. Also, I have no clue how they turn out with other flours or milks. But I have feeling just fine. :)

Gluten-Free Blueberry Popovers
*adapted from


1 cup King Arthur Gluten-Free Multi-Purpose Flour
1/4 teaspoon xanthan gum
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups coconut milk, slightly warm
4 large eggs
1 egg white
3 tablespoons butter, melted (I used dairy/soy free Earth Balance)
1/2 cup blueberries
*maple syrup (or sweetener of choice) and powdered sugar to taste, if you like.

1) Preheat the oven to 400°F. Grease a 12-cup popover pan or standard muffin pan.
2) Whisk together the eggs, butter, and milk in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk the flour with the xanthan gum and salt, then gradually sift and whisk into the liquid ingredients until you have a smooth batter. If, despite your best efforts, there are more than a few tiny lumps, strain them out of your batter with a sieve. Stir in blueberries.
4) Pour the batter into the prepared pan, filling each cup about 2/3 full.
5) Bake for 25 minutes, then reduce the oven heat to 350°F and bake for an additional 15 minutes, until the popovers are deep brown.
6) Serve warm with maple syrup and powdered sugar on top, if you like.


X, A!

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Pear Blueberry Crisp

For Christmas my sister gave me a gluten free baking cookbook. Every recipe has a picture. Just like a good cookbook should. And they all look tasty! I've had the opportunity to bake a few things now so I know from experience they indeed are. One of the recipes I couldn't wait to make was a crisp. Buttery granola, with fruit, cinnamon, and sugar - ahhhhhh! The recipe was technically an Apple Pear Crisp, but after a few adjustments it became a dairy and gluten free Pear Blueberry Crisp. I decided to make it for a New Year's Eve gathering and again a few days later it was so good. I literally ate the entire pan by myself in two days because I loved it that much. So please make this. Ain't no joke. This crisp is serious business. And it's very easy to put together.

Pear Bluberry Crisp
Recipe adapted from Gluten Free Baking by Michael McCamley


2 pears (recipe called for Bosc, but I used Bartlett), peeled, cored, and sliced
1 cup blueberries 
1 tablespoon apple juice or water (I used water)
1/2 teaspoon corn-starch
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
2 tablespoons honey

Oat Crisp:
1/2 cup gluten-free all-purpose flour (or regular flour if you have a normal American diet)
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
2/3 cup gluten-free rolled oats (or regular)
1 stick dairy free butter, plus more for greasing (or regular butter, I used dairy/soy free Earth Balance)


1) Pre-heat oven to 325. Grease a 9-inch square baking dish. 
2) Place the blueberries, pears, apple juice or water, corn starch, cinnamon, and honey in a bowl and mix well. 
3) Mix flour, sugar, oats, and butter in large bowl, rubbing together the ingredients with your finger tips. 
4) Spread a small layer of crisp mixture over the bottom of dish. Arrange the pear/blueberry mixture on top and sprinkle the remaining crisp mixture over that.  
5) Bake in preheated oven for 30-35 minutes, until golden and slightly crisp on top. 


XX, A! 

Tuesday, January 7, 2014


I've never read this book, but began following this woman somehow on Twitter. I always love what she has to say and am convicted by it often (might have to check the book out). These two quotes she posted ages ago struck a cord with me. Maybe they speak to my selfish/greedy/jealous nature and although painful to admit, good to acknowledge. I'm a work in progress and while growth is uncomfortable, I know true contentment comes from within. From knowing and trusting Jesus - I'm on that journey. So if you're on it with me they may speak to you, too. :)

The only reward you will get from trying to live out someone else’s destiny is contention and dissatisfaction. - Christine Caine "The Core Issue"

Gratitude begins at the point where our sense of entitlement ends! - Christine Caine "The Core Issue"

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Hear hear to the New Year!

2013 was an eventful year. Full of many challenges and obstacles that were overcome and trips and fun and grown up decisions. We kicked 2013's butt and 2014 better be ready for some fun with the Atkins!

Here are a few of our unforgettable moments:

Indoor skydiving at iFly Seattle. Incredible

Hanford B Reactor Tour to learn the history of the nuclear reactor and where we live. 

Mothers Day trip to the Pendleton Underground Tour Comes to Life. Totally recommend! It's only once a year in the spring. So get your tickets early. 

A week in NYC. Complete with a stay in Times Square, Broadway shows, shopping, high rise views, and lady liberty. Unforgettable childhood dream achieved! 

First time camping trip at Lake Wenatchee and Leavenworth. Okay, okay, it may have been in an RV, but after seeing everyone else struggling in their tents I'm more than glad we had the RV. 

Jeremiah getting a new job that allowed us to avoid a move to Greenville, SC (despite our loving it there, we love our family more). Such a God thing and we owe so much thanks to Him. 

A new honey of a bike for Angie. I really lucked out in the transportation department this year. 

Tried our hand at winning big at The Tri-Cities version of the Kentucky Derby at Sun Downs for the first time. 

Angie got her braces off after 2.5 years! 

First time trip with Jeremiah's family to the Pendleton Round Up

5 year wedding anniversary trip to the 49-ers vs. Seahawks opening home game and setting the first world record for loudest stadium at Century Link. 

Huge home improvements including new hard wood flooring, new trim, wall paint, and accessories to match. Here's to hoping it sells quick one day! 

Welcomed an iPad and Kindle Fire HDX to our technology family this year. 

A very big surprise Christmas gift - A new BMW for Angie! Sorry, ladies. Jeremiah is all mine. 

There were also some disappointments. I don't like to focus on the negative, but I am all about authenticity and real ness. Some of the things that broke our hearts this year were Angie's body not being healed and a few more food restrictions being added on (but praise to knowing more items to avoid), Angie losing her grandpa to lung cancer, some difficult family relationship dynamics, young people we truly care about making poor decisions, and of course the infamous tendon slice the night before Thanksgiving that resulted in a serious hand surgery for Mr. Atkins and continuing physical therapy. There goes all that hard core gaming for a while. Maybe that one is not so bad. ;)

Things we're looking forward to in the New Year:
A family trip to Disneyland with Angie's family in February, health and healing, our first family reunion in South Dakota as a married couple this Summer, hosting a Halloween party this Fall, growing closer to God through trials and triumphs, a possible Thanksgiving New York trip, and a trip to the beach... any beach will do. ;) 

How was everyone else's year? What were your highs and lows? What are you looking forward to? I pray the highs outweighed the lows and 2014 brings you all blessings and joy!

X, A!