Saturday, November 30, 2013

A little pie

Sometimes all you need is a little pumpkin pie. Little pumpkin pies are the best. 

This dairy-free pie was so fun to make, and much less finicky than a traditional pie. I made the crust using Pamela's gluten-free mix, and used this recipe for the filling and idea. 

I hope your Thanksgiving was wonderful this year. 


Friday, November 29, 2013

Patty Thanksgiving

 Today was the first time the Patty family cooked the entire Thanksgiving dinner!

With teamwork, and some time-saving-genius-cooking-tricks, the cooking was enjoyable and the time passed slowly in the loveliest way. 

Honestly, words are not even needed to express how sweet this day was. I think the pictures speak for themselves.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

A time for rest

This Thanksgiving season is unlike any other I've ever had. It's the first year I won't be spending the holiday with Josiah Venture. I have never spent a Thanksgiving in the States, nor only with my family.

I'm sad I can't be with everyone at home for Thanksgiving, but so far, our time here has been really good. Catching up on sleep, drinking lots of tea, chatting at the table with family, and cooking with Mom have been just what I needed.

I also have to say, I am extremely thankful for sisters! Haley and Lara - I love you both, and am so happy that you are a part of our family now (or will be "officially" very soon)! 

Monday, November 25, 2013

God is loving

 I am humbled today, and extremely blessed.

Thank you, thank you, for showing me a glimpse of God's unending love today, sister in Christ. The girls on my floor know from one of the first days of being here that care packages are one of my "love languages". Your words and treats mean so much to me today. 

God uses the body of Christ to show His love, even in unexpected ways. He is good all the time, and I am reminded of that yet again. 

Sunday, November 24, 2013


Today marks a special occasion!

I have now been in America for 100 days.

That is by far the longest I've ever spent in the States without going home. It's been good so far. I honestly can't believe it's already been this long. The semester has flown by! From what I hear, college in general goes by pretty quickly. I'm trying to learn, to be thankful, and soak up as much as I can from being here.

Today, on this 100th day, I went to Grace Church in Wheaton, had lunch with my parents and Caleb and Haley (Mom and Dad are back in Chicago for a month!), and am about to start working on homework.

Go HERE to see what I love about the USA and what I miss about Czech.

Also, on this 100th day, I found out that one of my buddies here at Moody, Carlie, is engaged as of last night!! She and Mitchell have been dating for a couple years now, and I can't picture them being with anyone else but each other. It's time to celebrate on Smith 4 (our floor)!! Congratulations Carlie and Mitchell!

Saturday, November 23, 2013

For Snack-Attacks: Granola Bars

It happens at college. Sometimes the cafeteria food just doesn't stick as long as a home-cooked meal would. I get snack attacks at random moments during the week.

I've struggled with finding foods that actually satisfy me when I get hungry throughout the day. For a while, I couldn't figure out which foods actually helped. I think I finally found one thing that is good! Homemade granola bars.

These granola bars are Caleb-approved (he said he loved them!), college-budget-friendly, not a big time commitment, and you don't even need an oven to make them.

Gluten-free No-Bake Granola Bars
Inspired by this recipe HERE.

1 3/4 cups gluten-free oats
2 cup gluten-free rice cereal or rice krispies
1/8 cup ground flax seed
1/2 tsp cinnamon
pinch of salt
1/3-1/2 cup honey
1/3 cup mini marshmallows
1/3 cup natural peanut butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips

In a large bowl, mix dry ingredients. In a medium microwave-safe bowl, add honey, marshmallows, peanut butter, and vanilla. Microwave for 1 minute, then stir, and microwave for another minute, or until marshmallows start to melt. Stir the warm mixture well. Pour wet ingredients into dry, and with a large spoon, fold until the thoroughly combined. Once the mixture cools slightly, add chocolate chips. 

Divide into muffin tins, or press into an 8" pan. Make sure you press all down evenly (you can use parchment paper, or plastic wrap to make it easier). Place in refrigerator or freezer for a few hours. Remove and slice, then store your bars in the fridge or freezer. Snack your heart out whenever you get hungry!

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Hot Chocolate

Last year, I made two cups of hot chocolate, topped them with mini marshmallows, placed them strategically in a light place in the living room, grabbed my camera, and took a few (ok, maybe more than a few) photos...

I wish I could do that now. I still have my camera, but it's different. I don't have pretty decorations at hand; light doesn't come streaming through the windows in my room, because our building faces a brick wall, blocking most sunlight.

Today, this same hot chocolate looks like this:

Simply an iPhone picture, taken on my plain ol' desk. But this is life right now.

Life is not all about the perfect picture, or the perfect light.

It's also about capturing the evenings when I make a cup of hot chocolate to give me a boost for the next leg of homework. It's about the teddy bear that my mom gave me last year. It's about the postcard I bought in an antique used bookstore in Czech that reminds me of home. It's about the birthday card from my grandparents that still makes me smile.

Speaking of hot chocolate... who needs hot chocolate packets when you can make the most delicious warm goodness in under five minutes from scratch?

I'll share my college-friendly hot chocolate recipe... please try it! It's delicious, if I do say so myself.

Dairy-Free Hot Chocolate 

1 cup almond milk (here's my favorite)
1-2 squares dark chocolate
1 tbsp cocoa powder (preferably dutch-processed - it's the best kind!)
1-2 tsp honey or maple syrup
Dash of cinnamon
Mini marshmallows
Optional: a piece of a candy cane - AH-mazing. 

Pour almond milk into your favorite mug. Add the rest of the ingredients (except for marshmallows). Stir. Don't worry about it not mixing all the way at this point, it will be easier to mix when it's warm. Put in microwave for 2-3 minutes. Half-way through, stir again, until everything feels mixed in. When it's just the right temperature for you, pull it out, and top with mini-marshmallows.

(You can also make this in a saucepan on the stove. Whatever works!)

As you can see, this is not a hard-and-fast recipe. Make it how you like! This is my go-to recipe, and it's so much healthier than using a packet. It's a perfect pick-me-up. Yum!

Back to Old Testament paper writing! Have a wonderful day.

Monday, November 18, 2013

From Home

This absolutely made my day today.

I received a small package in the mail today from one of my dear friends, Verca, in Czech. I sat next to Verca for three years in high-school. We saw each other here and there outside of school, but mostly lived life together at BMA. It's amazing how much life is shared in between classes, and experiencing the same stress or joy that comes from school. We have so many memories together!

I miss you, Verca!!

I almost cried reading her sweet note... they would have been happy tears, of course. I was so touched by her thoughtfulness just in the little things. A note, and a Czech kids game... absolutely perfect for a busy and exhausting day when home sounds wonderful.

It's the little things.

Today, I miss home. I am so thankful for a reminder of it.

Sunday, November 17, 2013


I think everyone needs a little cuteness to start their week. Plus, these sheep were simply delightful, and who doesn't love innocent fluffy Oregonian sheep?

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

The Philippines

Yesterday a friend of mine asked me to take pictures for their upcoming "live music" event in Joe's, the campus coffee shop. Of course I said yes!

My heart goes out to the Philippines in these days. Not only do I have some roots there (my grandparents were missionaries there, and that's where my dad was born too!), but I also have a friend, Gabes, here at Moody who is Filipino. In fact, she is the one who asked me to take these photos. Thankfully, her family is safe, but the devastation of their country affects them nonetheless.

My prayer is that through this heartache and tragedy, people would come together like never before, and most importantly, that the message of Hope would be proclaimed. I pray that people would find their hope in Jesus Christ, and the believers in the Philippines would serve humbly, and share the Good News boldly.

Design of text by Gabes. :) 

Tuesday, November 12, 2013


I'm not sure when it started, but trying to make Bapa really smile in pictures is a tradition now. He will do a closed mouth "smile" any day, but getting him to actually do the "American smile" is a rare sight.

Thus, it has always been my personal goal to get him to smile in pictures. 

This time, I made a deal with him that I'd smile like him, if he'd smile like me. It worked! 

Silly Bapa! He just likes giving me a hard time. I love it though. I'm proud to have a real smiling picture with him!

Sunday, November 10, 2013

West Coast

A day at the coast looks like this:


One of the best gluten-free sandwiches I've ever had: 

One of my favorite little art galleries:

Today was a good day. 

Saturday, November 9, 2013

It all started with a text

Two months ago...

iMessage, September 9th:

Mom:   Hey guess what?
Claire: What?
Mom:   We figured out a time for me to go see Grandma and Bapa! While dad goes to Denver for a men's conference and to see Grandpa and Nana, I will go see G and B! 
Claire: Aw! Can I come?? (completely joking)
Mom:   I wish!!!!!! Believe me...I really do!
Claire: Wish I could come for just a couple days! (sad face)
Mom:   I do too!
Mom:   Just out of curiosity... what time are you done with PCM on Fridays??
Claire: Six PM. But if I needed to take my one cut, I could, and make it up another week.
Mom:   What time are you done with classes?
Mom:   On Fridays??
Claire: Twelve PM. 
Mom:   I could get you a flight, on miles, at 3:51, arriving in Eugene at 8:22!!
Claire: Seriously??? 
Claire: Would it be worth it??
Mom:   Hmm... this is quite a thought! I could get you back by Monday night at 8 PM. 
Claire: Oh man, this could be crazy, and epic!!
Mom:   Imagine the blog posts!! (Laughing smiley faces)
Mom:   Pray that the Lord makes it clear!
Mom:   So I reserved it - it's too good of an itinerary to pass up and didn't want to lose it. I have until Thursday to book it. Let's pray!!! 
Claire: Wow! Ok!!

And so it started. Mom talked to Dad, and they talked with Grandma and Bapa, and a ticket was booked through my Dad's "miles". It was that fast. It was one of those "inspired moments". 

That brings us to today:

That brings me here - to the upstairs bedroom of Grandma and Bapa's house in Oregon, sitting with my Mom! I haven't seen Grandma and Bapa since last Summer, and didn't think I would be at their house for at least another year. It was so good to hug them today. I'm so glad I can have this time with them.

We should be going to bed, since we have a big weekend ahead of us, but instead, Mom and I are catching up together. I can't believe this is really happening.

Thank you Lord!!!

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Rainy days

Rain reminds me of home.

Every time I hear the rain pounding outside, or when I see it make the streets shiny, I'm reminded of cozy days in Czech. I don't run to get to the next building when I'm outside, because part of me likes getting wet from the rain. I equally like drinking tea on days like these and watching movies. Even working on homework when it's rainy seems easier.

Today, I'm thankful for rain.

It's a different city, in a different country, but the seasons still change, the rain still comes from the same sky, and God is still the same.