You know what I love?

You know what I love?

Thinking of a meal to make, then going in my kitchen, making it, and having it turn out exactly how I imagined it would.

Today I got off work at 6:30, so I needed something fast which meant looking to the freezer. I didn’t want anything in there, though… But then I realized I was wanting some magic combination of ground beef, potato, and peas and carrots.

What do I have that meets that bill…. aha!

Potato soup (homemade of course)!

I can just cook up some beef and peas and carrots, and add it to the soup and whala! It’d be like Shepard’s pie in the soup form.

Once home, I defrosted the meat, cooked it up, added the veg, then added the defrosted soup and it turned out EXACTLY how I wanted it to. The taste and feel and my mouth were exactly what I was hoping for.

Ah, so great!

~Amber Joy

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Beginning to feel the weight.

Finals are approaching, and I’m beginning to feel the weight of the pressure of 4 tests worth 100% of my grade… Blech.

Good news is three weeks from today I’ll be 24 hours into summer break.

Bad news is three weeks from today I’ll be 24 hours into summer break.

I am not near ready for my exams. A lot of information has to be crammed into my brain before the 2nd, 4th, 9th, and 11th.

I’m kind of feeling like this cat:

Yep. I’m a little freaked out.

Fortunately, it has been a super productive weekend and I even managed to spend a little time outside at the Law School’s annual Softball Social. When I came home my roommate said, “Man your arms are tan!!! Especially compared to your legs.” Thanks?

Here’s what I brought to the potluck:

Dirt Pudding! Ever law student needs a little bit of childhood every once and a while. It’s easy-peasy – just make pudding, crush some oreos, and bury some (gummy) worms.

Now I think I’m going to go make some Fluffy Banana Chocolate Chunk Cupcakes.

If this is my last post until after finals – do not despair. I’m come back after I return from my hole studying my brains full of information – pray for my survival.

~Amber Joy

PS – Just because I love her:

Being a hero for the afternoon.

Today I had the opportunity to be a hero for the afternoon.

Without going into detail, I helped out my backyard neighbor in an abusive situation. As she was running up my driveway I got permission to call the police for her. I watched the whole situation unfold, and made sure she was safe and taken care of by the police. As a law student, all the different laws kept popping into my head as I hid out in my dining room, watching.

This evening she came to our front door and thanked me. It was surprising to have her do that, but I was glad to see her safe and hear a little bit more of the story than what I witnessed. She thankfully has a protective order, and wouldn’t have been able to get it if I hadn’t called 911.

It was a good experience to have from a bad situation.

A Visit From Tiffany

The photo uploader has finally cooperated! That means you get to finally experience a bit of my wonderful weekend with my sister, Tiffany.

By the way, the photo was taken in Old City Cemetery. We’re pretty good at self-portraits, as you will see.

One perk to Lynchburg for Tiffany (besides me, of course) is our two J-Crew clearance stores. We have a warehouse here, so the stores are full of good deals and even some sample clothes that were never put on a line.

After visiting J-Crew we made our way out to Polar Forest – Thomas Jefferson’s home away from the White House. Unsure as to whether the admission fee was for just tours or for all visitors we snuck around the grounds a bit.

On Sunday, we went to a great Easter service at my church.

After Easter dinner at my LifeGroup leaders’ house, we hit up Old City Cemetery again. It has the BEST tree swing.

Still in our dresses later in the day, we went to Cook-Out – soooo good, and super cheap.

When we got home, Tani convinced me to share my shake.

We also finally got to dying eggs!

Monday, we spent a lot of time outside on Liberty Mountain.

Tiffany flew in and out of Greensboro, so we made our way down to NC in the afternoon.

Because Minnesota has a lot of World’s Largest landmarks, we managed to find one in High Point, NC – the world’s largest Chest of Drawers!

Apparently High Point is the furniture capital of the world… and they really like chests of drawers. We visited a second one that is 80 feet tall, but less impressive since it’s part of a building.

We also took the time to try out some furniture before we made our break when a salesman starting coming towards us.

Both Tani and I were really sad to see Tiffany go. It was such a fun weekend and so good to be together for a few days!

I love you, Tiffany! Thanks for being the BEST sister ever.

~Amber Joy

Preview of Weekend Fun

My sister was here this weekend!!! It was wonderful. For some reason, the uploader is acting funny, so this is all you get for now – just a preview of our weekend.

10 points to the person who guesses where we are! Hint – it’s one of my favorite places around here.

~Amber Joy

Book and Movie review: We Bought A Zoo

Have you seen, read, or heard of We Bought A Zoo? Well, I have, and if you want to know more (and possibly read a few “spoilers”), or want to know my take on movies v. books, keep on reading this post!

First, I’ll start you where I started with We Bought A Zoo: the trailer.

Looks pretty great, right? I thought so too, so I went and saw it once it hit our dollar theater. It is a FANTASTIC movie. So good, in fact, I pre-ordered it as soon as I got home. The only thing was, it has a sad undertone for most of the movie. Why? Because it’s about a father who’s wife just tied of a terrible illness, and his struggle with his children to start over. The end, however, is happy. Knowing it was based on a true story, another thing I did when I got home was order the book – also fantastic.

As much as I loved the movie and the book, they seem almost like two different stories. Hollywood definitely changed it up, keeping just the basic undertone of reality.

Here’s what really happened:

First of all, the Mee’s are British, not American. The zoo is in England, not California.

Benjamin and Katherine Mee, and their children (who are much younger than depicted in the movie), were living a happy life when Katherine’s cancer was discovered. With the death of Benjamin’s father, he and his family, including his siblings and mother bought a zoo.

The rehabilitation process of the zoo is about the same as depicted in the movie, except Katherine dies part way through. In the movie,  she’s dead before the purchase of the zoo.

Also, from what I could tell, Benjamin doesn’t like Kelly, who in real life is just the keeper of the big cats, not the head zookeeper.

Fortunately the endings are the same, with the zoo opening and everything is happy.

I guess the movie isn’t too far from reality, but it certainly adds to the storyline. Either way, We Bought A Zoo is great entertainment.

BBC2 even did a four episode series on the zoo, but I can’t find them online anywhere.

On a completely different note, my sister is coming tomorrow! She chose to spend her Easter vacation with me, and I am so excited!

Have a wonderful Easter weekend, celebrating the reality of the season – Christ dying for our sins and rising again!

~Amber Joy

A Delicious Afternoon in the Kitchen

This afternoon I decided to spend some good quality time in the kitchen with my good friend, Renee (she’s a sophomore at Liberty, and we’re from the same home town/church).

We both had browning bananas, which made our search for recipes narrow, keeping in mind I’m gluten free. We were considering banana bread until we checked out my pins on Pinterest and saw this:

FLUFFY Banana Chocolate Chunk Cupcakes, Gluten Free, from Gluten Free Canteen.

That picture left us with no questions – this was the recipe we were going to make. One problem, though, all the measurements were weights, not amounts, so I estimated and prayed it would still turn out. The recipe calls for 300 grams of gluten free flour – I rounded this to 2 cups of Bob’s Red Mill All Purpose GF Flour. We also put in less sugar than the recipe calls for, and skipped the Godiva Liqueur (because who on earth has that on hand?!?) and frosting. Also, note that the directions leave out the part of mixing in the flour – do this after the butter, before the bananas.

Here are photo’s of the process, thanks to Renee’s phone:

Ready to go in the oven!

Are they done? Not yet, but looking good.

Out of the oven and smelling AMAZING.

2 dozen BCC cupcakes - get in our tummies NOW.

The real question, however, was were the cupcakes actually fluffy? This had to wait until after dinner – the second part of our delicious afternoon.

I had been craving cheese and really wanted a good homecooked meal, so I concluded Mac and Cheese was the best option. We made my mom’s recipe, so you’ll have to ask her if you want the details. All I’m going to say is I never knew cheese and noodles could make two girls so happy.

Just look at that meal! So good.

After we polished off a good amount of the mac and cheese, we finally got to devour the cupcakes. Renee, being a normal eater, loved them just as much as I did. They were indeed fluffy, and so delicious we were both ready for a second one before even finishing our first.

Our tummies are satisfied, although another cupcake would be good right now…. Self control, Amber, self control.

Have a great rest of the weekend!

~Amber Joy