Daily Archives: September 10, 2012

What’s a “Down” Again?

I’m a brand new coach’s wife.  When Sam was applying for teaching jobs this summer, he never thought he’d be coaching.  Unlike most coaches, Sam was initially more interested in teaching and wasn’t actively seeking a coaching position.  When he showed up for the interview at Maypearl High School, he quickly found out that the position would require him to coach football, basketball, and track.  It’s been an adventure as he’s stumbled into unfamiliar territory, but so far he’s had a ton of fun coaching football.

The Panthers won their first varsity game in two years last Friday!  It was great to see the boys so pumped up and excited about their win.  The entire coaching staff deserves a big congratulations for taking the boys to the next level so soon in the season.  I’m so thankful Sam has such supportive and encouraging co-workers.  Of course, his first year of teaching will be (and already has been) a huge challenge, but he’s in a great environment to get on his feet.

I’m still looking for a job, and nothing has come up so far.  I keep hitting a lot of dead ends.  I have to admit, it’s hard to see Sam come home from a long, exhausting day of work knowing I haven’t done anything to contribute to our family funds that day.  I’m trying to be patient and not feel guilty.  I know the right job will come along when the time is right.

In my spare time, I’ve been exercising, cooking, and trying to learn something about football so I don’t feel like a complete idiot at Sam’s games.  Honestly, I attended maybe three football games in high school, two in college, and one arena football game that my brother-in-law played in.  Each game, I just went with the “cheer-when-everyone-else-does” method.  Unfortunately, now that I’m attending a couple of football games a week, that method isn’t really cutting it anymore.  It’s pretty embarrassing (and, frankly, slightly scary) to accidentally cheer for the wrong team at a small-town-Texas Friday night football game.

So, I’m expanding my vocabulary.  I know how many quarters there are and… um… Okay, I’m still working on it!  I kind of understand what a down is, but I don’t get how the points work (how come sometimes a touchdown is six points and sometimes it’s eight?).  I have a lot of trouble keeping up with where the ball is (could they maybe make it bright orange?).  But, I love the team and I really love one of the assistant coaches.  I guess all the other pieces will fall into place with a little more Wikipedia research.  Go Panthers!

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Categories: My Life | Tags: , , , | 2 Comments

Fuzzy Buddy

Meet Rigby. Last Spring, Sam and I decided to buy a pet because I was getting lonely during the day and wanted some company around the house. He was student teaching at the time, and his supervising teacher had a chinchilla named Oscar in her classroom. Sam came home talking about how cute he was, and the next thing I knew I was sending an email to a breeder in Midland.

Two months later, Rigby was ready to come home. He was so tiny and fluffy! I fell in love right away. The first time I lost him in the house sent me into tears for hours. He’s sneaky and ornery and completely adorable.

Right now he’s learning simple commands for treats. He’s pretty darn smart for a little fluffball. As far as pets go, he’s great. We love him even though he loves chewing on Xbox controllers (something Sam loves) and old books (something I love). That says a lot right there.

Also, chinchillas are the closest you can get to actually owning a Pokemon, so there’s that, too. :)

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Categories: My Life | Tags: , , | 4 Comments

Revell’s Food Cake

[Originally posted on August 19, 2012]

Today, I have created a recipe that I’m certain I’ll still be making when I’m a grandmother. I call it Revell’s Food Cake, and it will change your life. I promise.
 
I created this recipe from two different components: a base cake recipe and a frosting recipe. I chose to make cupcakes to send with Sam to school tomorrow. You might say I’m trying to make his fellow coaches like him by giving them delicious baked goods. You might be right.  I began by looking for a red velvet cake recipe because Maypearl’s school colors are red and black. However, I got sidetracked by this incredible recipe posted on Kevin & Amanda’s Recipes called Brownie Batter Chocolate Fudge Cupcakes.  This particular recipe got amazing reviews. It’s basically a cake base with a brownie center and chocolate frosting.
 
Everyone who knows me should be aware how insane I get for chocolate, but even I was a little nervous about the amount of chocolate in this recipe. It seemed a little overwhelming. I wanted a cupcake that I could eat without feeling like praying for forgiveness. However, I was very attracted to the frosting. It seemed like exactly what I needed: thick, gooey, and rich. The original recipe called for five sticks of butter! Five! I cut my recipe down to four sticks, but still. I should probably start praying. I cut down my recipe by one-fifths because sticks of butter are sold in groups of four. That’s why the measurements will be a little strange. You can find the original recipe on Kevin and Amanda’s Blog.
For the base cake, I remembered a recipe I’ve been meaning to try for a while now: Hershey’s Black Magic Cake. It’s a recipe that’s been floating around for decades. Originally, Hershey printed a version of it on their cocoa tins (back when their cocoa came in tins). I found this version on a blog called My Baking Addiction. It’s called Black Magic for a reason… It’s incredibly moist and feels completely evil. It’s soft and fluffy, just the way I like my cake.
With a little tweaking here and there, I combined the two recipes to make Revell’s Food Cake. It will probably make an appearance at a party or family gathering in the near future.
 
 
 

Revell’s Food Cake

Makes 1 cake (10-12 servings) or 28 cupcakes.
For the Cake:

2 cups sugar

1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour

3/4 cup Hershey’s Special Dark Cocoa

2 teaspoons baking soda

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

2 eggs

1 cup buttermilk

1 cup strong black coffee

1/2 cup vegetable oil

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions:

1. Heat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour two 9-inch round baking pans or one 13x9x2-inch baking pan. For cupcakes, set cupcake liners into a standard cupcake pan and spray the cups with non-stick cooking spray (preferably butter flavored).

2. Stir together sugar, flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder and salt in a large bowl (the bowl of your mixer works best). Add eggs, buttermilk, coffee (hot), oil, and vanilla; beat on medium speed of mixer 2 minutes (batter will be thin and slightly bubbly from the hot coffee). Pour batter evenly into prepared pans. If making cupcakes, only fill the cups 2/3 of the way full.

3. Bake 30 to 35 minutes for round pans, 35 to 40 minutes for rectangular pan, or 15-20 minutes for cupcakes. Test with a toothpick or fork poked into the center. If it comes out clean, they’re done!

4. Let cool for 30 minutes. Use wire cooling racks if you have them.

While the cupcakes or cakes are baking and cooling, wash out your mixer bowl and start on the frosting.

For the Frosting:

4 sticks of unsalted butter, softened to room temperature

3/4 cup + 1 tablespoon of powdered sugar

1 cup + 3 tablespoons + 1/2 teaspoon dark cocoa powder

1 cup + 3 tablespoons + 1/2 teaspoon light corn syrup

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

12 ounces chocolate chips (one bag)

Directions:

1. Melt chocolate chips in the microwave, stirring well every 30 seconds. Allow to cool for 5-10 mins.

2. Combine butter, sugar, cocoa, and salt in your mixer bowl with a large spoon. Attach the bowl to your mixer and add the corn syrup and vanilla. Mix on medium speed until just combined; don’t over-mix! It will have a strange consistency at first because of the syrup. Add the melted chocolate and mix until smooth.

3. Refrigerate for 30 minutes. By then the cupcakes should be completely cool and ready to frost. Enjoy!

Are they good? Here’s what Sam had to say:

 

UPDATE: 10/20/12

Here is what this recipe looks like as a full cake!  :)

Ignore the strange glow from my computer screen.

 
Categories: Revell Recipes | Tags: , , , , | 4 Comments

Pictures of You, Pictures of Me

[Originally posted on August 17, 2012]

Ever since we received our wonderful engagement and wedding photos courtesy of Jenny Linh Photography (would highly recommend her!), I’ve been interested in ordering photo books to hold them all. I was on Pinterest one day and discovered a link to Jen’s blog (different Jen from Jenny Linh) at A Thousand Words and she showed the difference between traditional photo albums and digital photo books. Not only do they take up less space, but hardcover photo books are super durable and professional looking.

 


 

I chose to use the same company Jen did because they looked so wonderful on her shelf.  Blurb.com offers high quality photo books at reasonable prices. I enjoyed using the customizable layouts with the design software, and I was giddy with joy when they finally arrived in the mail. I must’ve said, “Sam, look!” fifteen times, even though I’d already shown him the books on the computer.

 


 

I was especially attracted to the idea of printing the years on the upper portions of the spine. Can you imagine in a couple of decades having a whole row to thumb through? EEP! So exciting to think about all those memories. Of course, I’m realizing I won’t have enough pictures from 2012 to have its own book, but maybe I can clump a few years together. I’m sure when Sam and I start having kids down the road, we’ll have so many pictures we won’t know what to do with them all. (Now, don’t start getting any ideas… I know everyone is anxious for us to start blessing the world with adorable baby pandas, but that’s still many years away!)

 


 

But, speaking of baby pandas… I’m excited about the idea of sitting with them on the couch and reading our love story to them so they can see how their mommy and daddy fell in love. And then when they’re teenagers they’ll think it’s really lame and embarrassing… but maybe when they get older and come visit home from college they’ll pull the books off the shelf and read them again just for fun.

 


 

It’s important to remember where we came from and how we started. It’s nice to have something physical to hold and look at when I’m having trouble remembering which party I learned Sam’s name at or which dress I wore for our one-year anniversary date. I love our wedding album because that’s the day I became Mrs. Revell and therefore one of the happiest days.

 


 

Happy days should be immortalized with pictures and words. They’re just too precious not to.

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Home is a Third Floor Walk-Up

[Originally posted on August 11, 2012]

Our new home has huge windows we can’t quite afford curtains for just yet. These windows offer a fabulous view of Texan sunsets and the Dart Container factory. They make things like plastic cups and take-out boxes. Our apartment complex has a luxury pool we happen to share with several hundred other people, and a beautiful view of a man-made lake stocked with fish.

Sam and I are now the proud renters of a gorgeous apartment in Waxahachie, Texas.  The rent is more we ever expected to pay six months ago when we were still in student housing, but we’ve lost a bit of our naivety since then. We are learning grown-up words like salary and deductible and interest rate. I admit, these words don’t taste so great.

After submitting over 80 applications to various districts around Texas, Sam got more calls for interviews than he could attend! I’m very proud of him; he has the kind of interviewing skills everyone should envy. That combined with his sharp wit and dashing good looks, and it’s no wonder several districts called him within an hour of his interviews offering jobs for him!

It took a ton (and I do mean 2,000 pounds worth) of praying and discussing before we decided it would be best for him to accept a position as a high school Spanish teacher / coach in Maypearl, Texas. Did Sam go to school to be a Spanish teacher? Why, no, no he didn’t. What’s that, you ask? Did he go to school to be a coach? Well, no, not exactly, no. But he’s enthusiastic and he likes his school (Go Panthers!), so what more can you ask for in your first year?

His salary is enough to get us by if we’re frugal, but of course I want to get a job, too. It’s a little harder for me, though, because… Okay, I’ll put it bluntly: I’m not really sure what I want to do with myself now that I’ve graduated. I don’t want to go back into retail if I can help it (I mean, that was the whole point of college, after all), so what can I do? I’m a great proofreader, I’m good at managing people, I’m awesome at keeping a schedule. I’ve applied for a few jobs already, but no luck. Maybe this is part of the whole Grow-Up-and-Don’t-Be-So-Naive thing, but I was kind of hoping in the envelope my diploma came in there would be a few business cards of people interested in hiring me.

(Mostly joking… I didn’t actually think that… Wouldn’t that be amazing, though?)

Meanwhile, Sam is trying to get used to waking up at 5:15 every morning to get to work on time. Those of you who are acquainted with my husband know this is going to take a miracle from Jesus, so pray for him.

To me, growing up feels like this blanket I’m under right now. Sam and I bought it from Bed, Bath, & Beyond on a whim a couple of years ago. I have a habit of touching everything when we go shopping (I like textures, okay?), and when my hands landed on this blanket, I squealed for Sam to stop scoping out pillows and come feel it, too. It felt like a baby lamb might feel if you spritzed it with fabric softener and cuddled with it on a memory foam mattress. I gave Sam my best pouty face, but it was unnecessary; he wanted to buy it, too. We went “splitsies” on it (wow, we’ve only been married 8 months and I’m already having a hard time remembering what it was like not to share money) and took it home.

Well, the blanket has seen better days. It started out white, but now it’s an interesting creamy color like vanilla ice cream. In student housing, Sam and I didn’t have a dryer so we had to dry our clothes outside on the clothesline. Our yard also happened to be a minefield of stickers and burrs. After being dragged through the grass a few times, this blanket feels like growing up. You’re just sitting here, watching The Big Bang Theory with your husband and wondering when Leonard and Penny are going to get together for real, when you shift positions and find yourself assaulted by a little spiky mine (a.k.a. a sticker). So, what I’m trying to say here is that for the most part, being grown up and independent is great. The other day we bought a box of ice cream sandwiches at H-E-B and had some right before dinner… just because we could! But every now and then a sticker shows up to remind us why, when I was a kid and I begged my mom to buy me one of those amazing My Twin dolls (you know, the ones you could order to look just like you that just so happened to cost a small fortune?), she just laughed and shook her head and said she needed to pay bills instead.

I’m excited to explore our new home in the coming weeks. I’ve heard Waxahachie has a beautiful downtown district and a nice library. It’s also a short drive from DFW, which has, you know, everything you could ever imagine. I’ve been working on helping Sam get his classroom ready for school to start. We’ve both gained a huge appreciation for living on our own that makes this fight for independence, even the painful stickers, completely worth it.

Categories: My Life | Tags: , , , | 1 Comment

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