Nature At Its Best!

Lately I have been in the photography rage mode. Yes, rage. I think that basically sums up how I feel about my camera. Not the kind of rage that is like someone going crazy angry and such, but this rage is going to go towards the obsessive, I want to take a picture of everything. And I love it. You can never capture too many memories. As they say a picture is worth 1,000 words.

With that said, I would like to share with you my trip to my grandparents house in Arkansas. They have a lot of land and the most wonderful part about it? Theres only two houses and the rest is beautiful land that God created! :) How awesome is that? You go to Texas and it’s like concrete jungle, you go to their house and BOOM nature at its best!
We only got to stay the weekend, but in just a few short days we sure do get a lot of stuff accomplished.  Hiking, shopping (with the girls of the family), fish fry, games, talking and of course some frozen yogurt! We always have a frozen yogurt trip when we go to Arkansas because that is when I finally talked my dad into going and then he discovered this wonderful treat so after that it has become a tradition! Since I have been on this picture taking mode lately I went on a hike and just took random pictures or of things I thought were cool or beautiful and so forth and so on.

Anyways… How about some pictures? :)

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their front yard! with a pond!

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the railroad tracks in the back of the property, it just goes into nothing but trees and then a really beautiful bridge!

 

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This cute little dog’s name is Cricket :)
and to the right is the dutch oven we fried the hushpuppies and fish in! Nothing like good ol’ cast iron to cook in :)

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Well I hope you enjoyed this post!

-April

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Birthday. Birthday. Birthday!!

 

Yesterday was my birthday!!! Dang, I’m 20 years old now… But I don’t feel any different.  When you get older do you feel any different? Or like those people once you hit a certain age you get all upset and want to cry? haha I know someone who used to be like that.  It was kinda funny.

I realize its been a while since I’ve posted. I feel bad for not keeping up with my blog.  But that should change soon! I’m becoming not so busy and freaked out about things.  Want to hear about yesterday?! I know you do.. :)

I woke up super early for once, which never happens on my day off, yeah thats right I had not only my birthday off, but they whole weekend! Yes!! Anyways did the usual ate breakfast, chilled then decided to go around and shop and use up some of my giftcards. Went to Ross, Thrift Town and Goodwill. Okay, I confess, I really like thrift shops… It’s cheap and besides who wants to pay $35.00 for a pair of jeans?! I definitely do not want to. I’m more of a um I’ll pay $15.00 for jeans or less… Unless the jeans fit like a amazingly well, then I’ll pay the extra.  But I bought 3 pairs of shorts, 2 pairs of pants/capris, and a pair of overalls! All under $30.00. Winning!
After all of that was done it was time to go pick up the kids from school.  Picked up my cousin and the little boy and they’re shouting “Happy Birthday!!” It was cute c: We got back to their house and opened up the presents!! I got cooking stuff, yay! Then we went to Jamba Juice and the park. Success. It was fun and we ran through the field and screamed. How else does a 20 year old nanny spend her day??
After that I took them home then I went home and got ready to go out to dinner with my friends.  We went and had Chinese food, which is my all-time favorite cuisine.  Delicious!
Opened gifts with my parents and then went to bed.  It was a nice, relaxing day.

But the most exciting part of the weekend was cooking a brisket for my birthday!! Believe it or not I hadn’t had a brisket since I was 6 years old! So we went to our old house and got a bunch of Pecan Wood and some Apple wood. Oh yes. We started smoking it on Saturday morning and ate it on Sunday evening.  The bark on that brisket was amazingggg.  I will post pictures, don’t worry.  Started it saturday, we had to work in shifts.  We kept an eye on the temperature because we didn’t want it to go over 250 degrees.  So whenever I went to bed my brother stayed up and then woke me up at 630 on Sunday which is when I started cooking and watched the temperature.  I made Roasted Strawberry Ice Cream, Meyer Lemon Cupcakes, White Dill Potato Salad, Coleslaw, Baked Beans, Black Pepper Pinto Beans and Cornbread.  SOOOOO much food! But it was so wonderful.  Okay, now it’s picture time :)

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wood      brisket 2lemon cupcake

 

Doesn’t that look delicious?! I will share with you the frosting because it was amazing and paired so well with the lemon cupcake.

Buttercream Frosting:

1 stick unsalted butter (room temperature)

5-6 T heavy cream

1 t vanilla bean paste, extract or just 1/2 vanilla bean

1/2 t almond extract

1/4 t lemon extract (Or juice!)

2 cups powdered sugar

 

Cream your butter, add in the extracts.  Add the powdered sugar in increments so you don’t have a mess with the mixer.

For the sugar I just went by texture so you may need more than that.  As for the cupcakes I used the recipe from this blog: http://thestir.cafemom.com/food_party/150103/the_best_lemon_cupcake_recipe
The frosting I created went so well with these cupcakes. It was light and had just enough lemon that connected it with the cupcake and then the almond flavoring was light and rounded out the tartness from the cupcake.

I hope that link works, if not let me know!

Also I hope you enjoyed this post, thank you for taking the time to read it. Have a wonderful day!

-April