Wednesday, October 26, 2011

cookin with carrie anne.

so in my last post, i mentioned that i made three desserts for my Family Lake Day. I figured that I would at least post the recipes... even though I forgot to take pictures of each step :)

First up, S'more Cups!!!!

What you'll need:  
7 whole graham crackers
1/4 cup powdered sugar 
6 tablespoons butter, melted
4 bars of milk chocolate candy (I used 2 packages of fun-sized Hershey bars... actually cheaper than buying the big bars!)
12 large marshmallows

So - you preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Crush the graham crackers until they are very fine - use a ziploc plastic bag and smash away!! Combine those graham cracker crumbs, powdered sugar, and butter in a small bowl. 

I used mini cupcake liners, but you can certainly just put them straight in the pan. You'll put a tablespoon or so of the graham cracker mixture in each one.

here they are all filled up!

what you do next is a very technical term I like to call "smushing." :) My big toe thumb seems to be the perfect fit for these mini cupcake tins... I'm sure there's a kitchen utensil perfect for this, but why not use what God gave me? :)

You'll smush each one to make a shallow cup and then bake for 4-5 minutes or until the edges are bubbly. Next, you'll place a rectangle of chocolate in each cup (this is why I thought the mini candy bars would be easier). 

Next, you cut the 12 marshmallows in half (if you run your scissors under cold water before you do it, it makes it a little easier). You'll place one half of the marshmallow (cut side down) on each cup. Then you'll put it back in the oven 1-2 minutes, or until the marshmallows are a little soft. 
Remove from the oven and let cool completely. 

Finally, melt your remaining chocolate in the microwave (I just put it in there for 20 second intervals and stirred after each one). Grab a spoon and drizzle the melted chocolate over the top of the marshmallows, and you've got yourself a s'more cup. Let it stand about an hour for everything to set... or if you want the campfire feel, dig in :)

Next up: Sugared Crock Pot Pecans

What you'll need
16 ounces pecan halves
1/2 cup melted butter
1/2 cup confectioner's sugar
1 and 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ginger
1/4 teaspoon allspice

Stir the pecans in a 4 quart crock pot with the melted butter until combined. Then add the confectioner's sugar until all the pecans are coated. Cover and cook on high for 15 minutes. Next, take off the lid and cook on low for two hours (or until the pecans are covered with a nice glaze and are pretty crispy). 
Move the pecans to a bowl, combine all the spices, and toss together. I put a lid on the bowl and really shook them pretty good :)  Enjoy! -- Tastes just like the holidays!

Finally, No Bake Peanut Butter Chocolate Cookies!!

What you'll need
1 cup confectioner's sugar
1 and 1/3 cups peanut butter (I used chunky for more crunch)
1 cup white corn syrup
4 cups rice or wheat cereal, like Special K. (I used Special K, Chocolate Delight - the chocolate pieces melted perfectly and made it taste SO good!)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 pinch salt

Blend syrup, sugar, vanilla, and salt in a microwave-safe bowl for 4 minutes (or until it boils and sugar dissolves).
Stir in peanut butter, then add the cereal.
Drop by teaspoonfuls (I made them much bigger) onto waxed paper. Let cool before boxin em up!

that's it!! Those were seriously some of the easiest desserts I've ever made. Apparently they tasted pretty good, too... I had none leftover! :) Enjoy!

carrie anne

lovin life.

well, our weekend turned out pretty awesome. our date night on friday turned into something we hadn't had planned at all, but it was wonderful to get to hang out with some friends we hadn't seen in a while. We went to Amilya & Noel's house and Bobby John even came over (and updated us on Aletha)... it was seriously a really good time, and we talked about "life." I love those times when you can just open up with good friends and share honestly... hopefully we will get to hang out again soon. 

the day at the lake with family was more than I could have hoped for, and I am so thankful I got that time with them! There was SO much food... I even made 3 desserts. I'm trying to branch out and become that "wife" and woman who actually adds to the table instead of just showing up and taking :)  I think my stuff turned out really well. It's always a good sign when you don't have anything to take home!

Here's what I made:

These are peanut butter/chocolate no bake cookies.  

s'more cups :) yummm 

 sugared crock pot pecans. 

And here are some pictures from the Family Lake Day

 people sitting out on the front porch area

 mom & mammaw by the dessert table

mammaw & me 

some of the boys playing washers 

 view of the lake from the back of the lakehouse. sooo gorgeous

 aunt helen, bella, & mammaw. Great, great aunt & great-grandmother 

 my beautiful momma in front of the lake

 me and mom by the water

 me and two of my favorite women

 sisters! :)

bella playing with the hay. such a cute spot for a picture. 

well, one reason i love Fall is the fact that there seems to be SO much going on. Between football games, family events, holidays, birthdays, home group, etc... there's always something to keep us busy. I honestly really love it. There's nothing like this time of the year - I'm already REALLY ready for November, and that's a good thing because it's less than a week away (if you can believe that!!!!). 

we've got some plans for this weekend... we might go watch a high school football game friday night (i like them the best when it's cold outside). Saturday, I've got a bridal shower to go to... can't believe I actually get to see my friend Kat this weekend!!! I'm so VERY excited... to see her, for her upcoming wedding, and to FINALLY meet her fiance. Ryan and I get the pleasure of meeting David and hanging out with him and Kat Saturday night. [[And we're praying for cold weather for them since it's so warm in Austin. We need to give them a break from the Texas heat!!]] Good times ahead. Sunday, we've got our newlywed Home Group, and we're anxious for that since we had to miss last time. 

I'm still waiting on my license number from the state board. That's the only thing keeping me from working and of course, making money. Let's pray for that to come in the mail soon, too :) The break from work and school has been nice, but I'm ready to feel productive and have a schedule again! And possibly... put a Dr. in front of my name. Yes, getting my Ph.D has been heavily on my mind, and I'm still working out in my brain if I will go for it. All in God's plan!

Lots of things going on. Feels like the transition toward the holidays is almost here. I can't wait. It's my favorite time of year to spend with Ryan Keith. :) 

im thankful.
carrie anne

Thursday, October 20, 2011

season of thankfulness.

it's the beginning of the Fall!! The weather is cool and crisp, and i'm starting to feel that amazing Fall feeling... the season of thankfulness. 

i have to much to be thankful for lately. My licensing process is well underway, and I have sent in my (hopefully) final shipment to the State Board... all I have to do is wait for them to send me my license number, and it'll be official!

And what's the point of being licensed if you don't have a job, right? I got offered a position yesterday at a local agency in adult day treatment. I'd like to say that it's official right now, but there are still some things to work out (drug test, background check, training, etc)... but we're thinking that as soon as I get my license number, I'll be ready to work. To think that I could be WORKING this time next week is so crazy to me. That's one part of my life that I have learned to love -- things happen suddenly and quickly... it's welcomed after having a couple months of calm and peace. 

I know how difficult it can be to get a job in today's economy/society, and I do not take it for granted at all how blessed I am to come right out of school and get a job. I'm very, very thankful, and I am preparing myself to work hard and help some people!

In other news.....

Ryan & I are planning on a date night tomorrow night. Yay!! I love our time we get to spend together, and we are actually getting to go OUT this week! (Love pay days!) I'll surely post pictures next week of where we went. I'm excited :)

Saturday... I'm really excited about this, too. I get to spend time with LOTS of family - some people I've never even met! This is my Mammaw's side of the family - The Reece side. One thing that's got me REALLY excited is that I get to see my Great Aunt Helen (my mammaw's sister - she lives in Little Rock). She's had some health problems this year, and I hope this little reunion will lift her spirits. She and my Mammaw are the only remaining members of their generation in the Reece family. They're BFF's, and I know they're pumped to get to spend all this time together. 

What makes it pretty cool is that we're all heading to my Aunt Helen's son's lakehouse on Lake Eufala in Oklahoma. It's a little bit of a drive, but I hear that it's BEAUTIFUL and close to the water. There will be tons of food, family, and laughs I'm sure. Family events used to be a "drag" to me when I was younger... but as I'm getting older, I get excited to see my family and learn more about our history (My husband's love of family history has definitely rubbed off on me, too). Plus, if I get to spend time with Mammaw and Aunt Helen, I'm the happiest girl in the world. They are seriously some of the wittiest, funniest women... and they're 83 and 88 years old! I cherish them so much, and I'm anticipating everything on Saturday that it's hard for me to focus on much else! :)

 this is aunt helen & me before i got my wedding dress last year!

mammaw, aunt helen, and me. love them so much!

I have lots of ideas for interesting posts... and maybe i'll post more than once this week :) I was just excited to share my news: job, licensing, dates, and family events! 

im thankful.
carrie anne

Friday, October 14, 2011

can it be fall yet?

for the first time in my life, I'm convinced that Fort Smith has actually had a transition between summer and fall. I swear, it usually goes from 115 degrees to 40 degrees in a weekend... the past few weeks have really been "nice" weather, but I'm ready for some COOL weather... like, make me wear a jacket weather.

updates on my oral interview... it lasted almost 45 minutes, and I somehow got through it. I had three members of the board interview me. I had to talk in a microphone (I hate that - I'd laugh and you'd hear my breath hit the microphone... annoying!). They asked questions I did not study, but I think it went well. I had been prepared to expect that there would be a "good cop/bad cop"routine, and that's exactly what happened in mine. I felt like I was being VERY challenged and almost intentionally scrutinized. It was a pressure cooker of emotions for me... I think it's because I was "over-answering" the questions they asked me, but a board member actually said "I'm going to ask you a question that's not even on my rubric because I just want to see if you know it." I got it right, and I think that irritated him even more! haha

I felt confident toward the end of the interview, and I let my true colors come out. During one question, the board member asked me what I'd do if I saw another therapist breaking the code of ethics. I told him that I would confront that person and tell him what I saw and what I thought. At this point, this board member interrupts me and says, "What if he's 6'6" 275lbs, and really angry?"

My response?   "Hey... I'm a pretty tough girl."

Touch of humor, big touch of honesty... the other board members laughed. He did not. Anyway, they told me after I finished that I did a really great job... I'll find out by mail sometime soon whether I passed/failed. The lead member in my interview actually said that it's nice to have someone who is well-prepared. Talk about a boost of confidence for me! :)

((sidenote: my husband was WAY more nervous than I was. He kept sighing, pacing, and asking if I was nervous. Poor thing. :) He was in the room while I did my interview, and he said that he just stared at the floor and didn't look at me... and was SO relieved when I was finished!))

this is me right after my interview on the steps of the State Capitol. Glad to be done!

other than recovering from that stressful day, I've been getting things ready for employment!! Resume, application, paperwork, references, etc... there's so much that goes into this. PLUS, I've been working on my paperwork for a Private Practice. There is so much that goes into this that seems so small, but it feels so big once you get in it! :sigh: I'm glad I'm chipping away at it now while I've got time.

Also - I've been consistent with hitting the gym for an hour a day. I burn about 630 calories a day now... Since I started working out/eating healthy about 2-3 weeks ago, I've lost 6 pounds. I keep telling myself that my weight is coming off at a healthy pace, and that is really is a big accomplishment... sometimes a pound a week just doesn't seem big! 
Big picture, carrie anne, big picture!!

Plans for this weekend: Ryan and I FINALLY get a night together tonight. I'm beyond excited. We plan on staying in, watching movies, and spending time together. that's the best.
Tomorrow, we are heading to Greenwood to carve pumpkins with the Feeros. We are excited to get to see Ryan's brother and his girlfriend (Stephen & Shelbie!).
Sunday, my brother is singing the national anthem up at the University of Arkansas... so we are loading up and going to watch him... then we are thinking about going to the Corn Maze up in Cave Springs that's in the shape of a RAZORBACK! How awesome!!!!

AND -- I'm waiting for my new iPhone 4s to be delivered to my door! Can't wait to have volume buttons again... oh yeah, and all the cool new features :)

lots of fun things going on. exciting things. pumped to start work and do what i love. ready to spend time with my hubby and my family this weekend.

im thankful.
carrie anne

Friday, October 7, 2011


perhaps it would be wise to begin this post with a disclaimer: this will be very long, personal, and emotional... I have cried more times than I can count organizing pictures, looking at video, and thinking about this beautiful story God has written. 

This is the story of how a sweet baby girl, Bella Marie, changed the lives of so many people. This is a story about adoption.  This is the story of my sister's life, struggles, and victories. This is a story of God's faithfulness, love, and redemption. He is so good.

It all started for our family in 1979. Our parents got married, and the next year... my sister, Chrissy was born. [[I just recently found out that my Papaw named her, which is so special to me because I never got to meet him... yet everything about him somehow ripples to me. He passed away in 1982. He was only 59.]] In 1985, my sister was riding her bike in our home in Barling, AR. She took a really hard fall, and things didn't seem right because her bruises weren't going away. A quick trip to the doctor proved to be one of the most difficult days for my parents and my sister. The "accident on her bicycle" trip to the doctor soon became extremely serious, scary, and intimidating... somehow, my sister had leukemia

there are so many hospital stories, scares, and "almost lost her," traumatic moments in the next few years for my family... in the middle of all that, my brother, Casey, was born (November of 1985 - talk about a gigantic year for the Craigs). My sister was undergoing constant treatment... Arkansas Children's Hospital to St. Jude's in Memphis... at one point - they actually sent her home to die. They told my parents to enjoy life with their little 6 year old girl and accept this detrimental news.

my parents never gave up. 

they kept fighting. kept believing. kept praying. see, my sister is a miracle... her life is a testimony in and of itself, and my parents weren't going to give up on this miracle named Christa Marie. They also had a new bundle of joy welcomed into the family, somewhat unexpectedly. That baby girl was me... born in February of 1987. 

I was born in a time of extreme stress and almost crisis. My sister was going to get a bone marrow transplant... only we had to go to New York City -- and they had to wait for me to be born so we could move there. I was just a few days old, and I took my first cross-country trip to one of my (now) favorite places in the world, NYC. 

my mom and dad are seriously heroes to me. imagine their marriage up until this point: newborn baby, dealing with losing a father, finding out your 5 year old has cancer, another baby a few months after that, almost losing your daughter, medical tests that rip your heart out, seeing other cancer patients pass away, not to mention friendships/church families that hurry up and leave when hard times come, yet the rich and beautiful relationships maintained and begun during that time... then to have another baby (while miscarrying 2 other babies during my pregnancy... i was a triplet!), then to move across the country to a HUGE city with a sick kid, a toddler, and a newborn baby... not for sure knowing that this would be successful.

their faith inspires me

 here the 3 of us are taking a bath... :) 
 this is chrissy holding casey... she'd been on chemo - so she lost her hair.

this story keeps getting better. my brother was my sister's bone marrow donor. he was a perfect match, and she accepted it wonderfully! things were looking up for our family at that point... little did we know there were more hurdles to come. my sister had many complications... brain bleeds, tumor, etc - these things popped up AFTER the bone marrow transplant... it seemed as though they'd always been battling something medically. 

once my sister's health improved and maintained... there was a blow that came that i want to say only a woman can truly understand... they told my sister

you won't be able to have children.

can you imagine hearing these words at such a young age? it's a blow that i can't even comprehend. dreams are crushed. hopes are shattered. part of you that feels like a "woman" is gone. yet, God always redeems.

my mom was wonderful to my sister during those difficult times. she's told me stories about how when chrissy was in the hospital, they'd sit and talk about her graduating from high school and college... having our dad walk her down the aisle... and having kids. After they got the news, my mom immediately encouraged her. Adoption is definitely an option, and she told her that you may not take a pregnancy test or experience childbirth... your telephone call will be your pregnancy test. they will, in essence, tell you... Chrissy, you're pregnant. 

then of course, the dreadful thought of having to tell your future husband that you can't bear him any children. i'm telling you, this story is beautiful.

God is faithful.

my sister started dating Jason, and we all pretty much knew they were going to get married. they were perfect together, and our family was ready to grow with him in it! then of course... my sister had to tell him about her inability to get pregnant.

they were coming home from one of her yearly doctor's appointments in Little Rock, and she began to tell him her heart, her pain, and ultimately, her news about having to adopt once they get married.
Jason pulled the car over... You see, Jason had a little secret of his own that he hadn't told my sister yet. On the side of that highway, he shared that he himself had been adopted and had always wanted to adopt when he got married. 

God writes the absolute best stories. 

 here they are volunteering at a summer camp for kids with cancer. 

 this is right after they got married in their house.

and oh no, the story isn't over yet. 

a few years into their marriage, they decided that it was time to start the adoption process. now, some people might have some lofty ideas about how "easy" it is to adopt, and how "hard" childbirth is. I've never given birth to a child, but... I might go ahead and say that the adoption process is one of the most difficult, emotional, and painful... yet AMAZING things in life. you can definitely see the "pain" promised to Eve in Genesis paralleled to any women who has experienced adoption. 

the waiting game might be the hardest. birthmoms pick a couple she wants to raise her child. mind games can come into play here... but we were hopeful and ready to get a baby to just love in our family.

that day came in February of 2010. On a Thursday, my sister and Jason found out that they had been "picked" by a birthmom.

she got her call. 

the trick was that the baby was due the NEXT WEEK. Talk about a whirlwind of emotions... I was so excited that I went out that night and bought my sweet niece a bunch of new outfits. My whole family laughed at me and said I was jumping the gun, but I couldn't help my excitement.
 ((Little did we know that the next day, our sweet Bella Marie would be born.))

I got a call at work on Friday morning from my mom... birthmom's blood pressure was too high, and they had to induce her. OUR BABY WAS GOING TO BE BORN THAT DAY. Yes, my sister found out she was going to have a baby the DAY before it was born. It's the best story, huh! My mom and I just drove up to NWA as fast as we could. I brought all the clothes I had bought the night before (yes, the girl had clothes!)... and we went to help Chrissy get the "essentials" for what a newborn needs... and i'll let the pictures tell the story of the day. 

 here are mom and sister looking over the to-do list for baby day!

 here are all the outfits from auntie carrie. notice the onsesie that says, "I love my auntie"

 my mom and i excited and thrilled... just arrived at the hospital

 the parents-to-be waiting for their daughter to be born.

 we had a whole waiting room full of people

 everybody wanted to be there for this day!

watch the video below to get a feel for how it is waiting for a baby to be born. you can hear how excited we all are... especially my sister :)

and below is the picture that makes me cry the most. my sister's smile has to be the biggest and brightest I've ever seen it. Every bad medical test, every tear shed as you grew up over not being able to have a baby, every doubt and fear... is erased. God knew way back then that Bella Marie would be in your arms on this day. He is faithful.

 these 3 kids in New York City....

 grew up to be these 3 kids in Arkansas....

 who welcomed this amazing gift named Bella Marie.

 instant love.

 a proud Pops.

 the sweetest little baby.

 with Mammaw

 we used to play with dolls...

 now we have a baby.

 a 6lb, 5oz little thing stole my heart February 5th, 2010. 

 hi, bright eyes.

 uncle ryan & bella

 the kids with the baby.


favorite moments from this day:
 seeing my Mammaw hold Bella and whisper in her ear, "it's your great-grandmother."
seeing my sister and jason smile bigger than ive ever seen
watching a family grow
seeing my parents' prayers come to life in a baby named Bella
making bella dance when she was only a few hours old
seeing all of our hearts have to grow exponentially to contain our love for this little baby

 Grams, your prayers and dreams have arrived in that little bundle.

 Leaving the hospital. Outfit thanks to Auntie Carrie!!

 my little strawberry :)

 her 1st Valentine's day... only a little over a week old
 kisses for my sweetheart.

 she's got Pops around her little finger, too

 how many babies get to attend their own baby showers? Bella did!

 cherishing time with family!

 raising her right - she's a hogs fan as a newborn!

 my little munchkin!

 proud mom & dad.

 loving mama.

 so cute.

 "watch me grow"


 so cute!

 8 months old!

 on the lake with the family. She loves her Grams

 4 generations of us women!

 mammaw's namesake... Bella Marie

 1 year Birthday party!

 loved her cake!

 like father...

 like son...

 She's getting big now!

 riding the train with Grams, Mammaw & Auntie Carrie



 laughing again. sweet girl

 she loves Grams.

 She loves Mammaw, too.

 Uncle Ryan & Bella Marie

 She loves poochin those lips out for kisses, too!

our sweet, sweet girl.

So wow... there's the whole story about how a tiny little baby changed all our lives. The best part: God knew all along that it would be this way. He knew it when my parents were worried about their daughter surviving cancer. He knew it when my sister was in tears about not being able to have kids. He knew it during the painful adoption process. He is good. There is no better author to our stories than Christ. I look back and my family's history over the past 30 years, and I know the only reason we are here today... celebrating together, loving Bella and each other, and living life... is because of Him. 

The best stories are the ones when you can't guess the ending right? who would have ever guessed such a beautiful one for us?

im thankful.

carrie anne

PS -- watch me teach her all her dance moves here... just a few hours old!