"Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the LORD rises upon you."

Isaiah 60:1

Friday, December 30, 2011

Butternut Squash and Prosciutto Spaghetti

Butternut Squash!
I have recently been inspired to do more cooking recently.  Wow!  It's about time, a year and a half into our marriage!  Rollin has been our main cook.  One of the first weekends in December Rollin was in San Antonio and I was bored so I made good 'ole chili.  Then over Christmas break Rollin and I stayed with my brother and sister-in-law, Matt & Anne, and Anne made butternut squash and prosciutto spaghetti and it was so yummy!  So today at the grocery store a butternut squash caught my eye and I felt the creative desire to cook it and have fun!  I cooked dinner tonight, which is sooooo unusual for Rollin and I.  It was a great success.  Thanks to Anne!!!  I'll post some pictures and put the recipe at the bottom if you want to try it!

Thanks, Anne, for the recipe!
Working in the kitchen!

Roasted butternut squash!

Yes!  A perfect rolling boil!!!

Almost done.  I forgot to take a picture of the finished product.  All that was left was to put the spaghetti and butternut squash in with the meat and squash and to mix it!

Here's Anne's recipe from her blog:

  • 1 medium butternut squash, about 2 pounds
  • onion powder
  • 1 scant teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
  • 3 to 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 8 ounces spaghetti
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 Tbs sage
  • 1 Tbs rosemary
  • 2 medium cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 package proscuitto, chopped
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • shredded Parmesan for garnish


  • Heat oven to 375°.
  • Using a vegetable peeler, peel the squash.  Cut in half and scoop out seeds and cut into 1/2- to 1-inch cubes (I find after peeling the squash it helps to microwave it for a couple of minutes to make it softer for cutting).
  • Combine squash, onion powder, 1 tsp salt, 1/8 teaspoon pepper, and 3 to 4 tablespoons of olive oil.
  • Toss to coat and spread out in a large foil lined cookie sheet.
  • Roast for about 30 to 35 minutes, or until tender and lightly browned, turning about halfway through the roasting time.
  • Meanwhile, cook pasta as directed on the package; drain and rinse with hot water. Set aside.
  • In a large saucepan or skillet over medium-low heat, cook butter, rosemary and sage until the butter begins to brown.
  • When the sediment turns medium brown, add the garlic and proscuitto and continue cooking for about 1 minute. Do not let the butter burn.
  • Add the cooked and drained pasta and roasted butternut squash to the butter mixture.
  • Put back on the heat and continue cooking stirring, until pasta and squash are hot.
  • Taste and add salt and pepper, as needed.
  • Garnish with more Parmesan.

Serves 4 to 6.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

a long overdue update

So it is December 13th and I really haven't blogged AT ALL this semester.  I'm sorry.  I am sitting down with a cup of tea and honey to soothe my sore throat.  Yes, I have a feeling that at the end of every semester (as long as I am a teacher) I will be sick.  During each semester I'm so stressed out over everything I have to do I don't let myself get sick because I can't afford it.  So my immune system holds out and once the semester wraps up my immune system crashes and burns and I get a cold.  So here's a month by month update since August.

We drove back from Colorado and attended our church's staff retreat for about 4 days.  It was energizing to be back in our community and be surrounded by leaders of our church seeking the Lord.  Another perk was the retreat was at Surfside Beach and we stayed right on the beach!  Trust me, I spent a lot of time at the beach :)


The start of school!  There are a lot of changes going on at my school: new superintendent, new professional development program, a grant for our school to implement changes....a lot of CHANGE.  It has created a lot of stress and pressure.  It's been an adjustment.

My parents came to visit and it was lovely!  Then at the end of October we went to SCW which was amazing!!!


At the beginning of November Rollin went to GCM Staff Training in Orlando and was away for 9 days.  It was really hard and difficult not having my partner with me.  Then we had Thanksgiving Break and spent it with the Mayes!!!  Oh!  I almost forgot!  We ended December but purchasing a Toyota Prius November 28th!!

Finally the end of the semester!   I must confess, though, that I'm not feeling very hopeful for next semester.  I just feel SO burnt out I really have no idea how I'm going to get through next semester.  I need hope from Jesus.  And I know He will give me hope.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

we made it up long's peak!

I know this post is pretty late after the fact, but life has been CRAZY with school starting again.

But on July 31, 2011 Rollin and I made it to the top of Long's Peak.  We had a great hike!  We both felt great physically.  We left around 2:25 in the morning and hiked the first 6.5 miles straight without any breaks and made it to the Boulderfield in about 2 hours and 45 minutes.  We saw shooting starts along the way :)  We made it to the Keyhole around 6 in the morning and watched the sunrise as we climbed up to the Keyhole.  Around 6:15 we left the Keyhole and made it to the top around 7:50 in the morning.  The last mile and a half was brutal.  The weather was perfect so we relaxed on the summit for about 2 hours before coming down.  We made it back down to the Boulderfield campsite around around 11:15 and when we left the Boulderfield we almost RAN the last 6.5 miles because we made it back in 1 hour 55 minutes!

The hike was perfect and so special.  Rollin and I love hiking and enjoy doing it together to enjoy the beautiful creation.  I'm thankful that we have had these opportunities to do things like these.

At the Boulderfield at 5:15 AM

See the sun rays?


 At the Keyhole

 Rollin about the summit!



 Long's Peak has a very flat summit about the size of a football field!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

my hiking anxiety

This past Thursday Rollin and I hiked my DREAM hike. One of the most beautiful lakes and popular lakes to hike to in the park is Mills Lake. What makes this lake so beautiful is the backdrop of this lake is the backside of Long's Peak, Pagoda, Chief's Head, and McHenry's. If you look at the picture you will see what I mean! And if you look closely, you can see that those mountains sit upon a shelf above treeline.

On that shelf are several hidden lakes: Blue Lake, Green Lake (with Italy Lake just behind it), and Frozen Lake. Also on a separate little shelf in that gorge is Shelf Lake and Solitude Lake. Shelf and Solitude lakes are not as far back as the former lakes mentioned. Ever since I climbed Long's Peak and looked through the Keyhole down into this gorge seeing all of these little lakes, it has been my dream to find them!

Looking down on the gorge from the Keyhole

View of the shelf from Shelf Lake

Last summer of 2010 Rollin and I found Shelf Lake and Solitude Lake. They were so beautiful!!

Shelf Lake

Solitude Lake

So this summer, we wanted to find the rest. The way to find these lakes is to hike to Mills Lake and then continue on for 2.2 miles to Black Lake. Once reaching Black you are at the foot of this shelf. The Shelf pretty much encircles Black Lake, except for on the left side (east side) there is a valley in which a waterfall flows. You can follow a trail and climb up this valley to get onto the shelf, which we did. Once we got up onto the shelf I was blown away. The shelf was huge, everything was farther away than it seemed.

Getting above Black Lake

The shelf

Things are farther than they seem

Our first destination was Blue Lake. It took us quite a while to find Blue Lake...things were farther than it seemed. Finally we found Blue Lake. We stayed a few minutes and then set off for Green Lake.

Blue Lake

Leaving Blue Lake and headed for Green Lake which is on a shelf to the left of the Spearhead (large rock formation in the center of the picture)

At this point I was feeling discouraged. The shelf was huge, I didn't know if I had the mental and physical strength to climb to the rest of them. The distance between Green Lake and Blue Lake was at least a mile, and the terrain was very difficult to hike through which made it take a long time to get to Green Lake. By the time we made it to Green Lake (and Italy Lake) it was almost 11AM. For some reason I started to get anxious. As much as I LOVE hiking in unknown territory that few people explore, it also TERRIFIES ME! You're completely isolated here. Something about that scares me so much. So as much as I wanted to find these lakes and explore up here, the intensity was almost more than I could bear. I was also anxious about going back down to Black Lake. Since it took a long time to get up and around back here, I knew it would take a while to get down, which made me very anxious.

Green Lake

At Green Lake I had a little bit of a cry-fest. Rollin was so good to me and caring. Rollin keeps me going. He gently nudged me on toward Frozen Lake. Without him, I would have turned back at this point. We set off for Frozen Lake, it was a bit of a climb. Every 5 minutes until we reached Frozen Lake I was saying "I want to go down now." But we made it to Frozen Lake, unfortunately I was feeling quite anxious and had trouble really enjoying the lake. But I did it! With Rollin's help and encouragement we found all of those lakes!

Frozen Lake Looking north toward the Mummy Range!

Then we started heading down. Again, the terrain was pretty difficult and made it slower going down since there was no trail. But finally we saw cairns and followed them and found a TRAIL!!!! All my anxiety left. How ironic. It's the lack of a trail that made me so anxious, yet I love exploring territory that is not climbed very often. We followed the trail down to Black Lake and I was fine.

Heading down...

Found the trail!

Phew. But wait. I'm still anxious. Long's Peak. July 31st. A Sunday. My dad wants to climb Long's Peak, or at least make it to the top of the trough. If he makes it that far, I'm pulling him up the rest of the way. Rollin's never climbed Long's Peak. I want both of them to summit. But Long's Peak terrifies me!!! It's quite ironic, because I've climbed Long's 3 times without any difficulty, one time I even made it to the summit BY MYSELF! For some reason, I'm scared. I'm scared of falling. I know there's a 1 in 20,000 chance of falling and dying. But for some reason I'm anxious about it.

The summit of Long's Peak

When I was talking to the Lord about this I heard him saying "Rachel, have you forgotten that I AM? Have you forgotten that I am the LORD and there is no other." He's right. I have to trust him. This climb to Long's Peak is much more than a mental or physical journey, but even a spiritual journey of trusting the Lord. If He wills, we will make it. And He will protect us!

My first summit on Long's Peak in 2007

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

summer's going downhill

It's already July 20th! Ah! I'm not ready for the summer to end. It's gone by so quickly. I'm not sure I'm ready to go back to teaching. Here's what the summer's been full of for us so far...

June 5th--Celebrated our 1st Anniversary spending a few days in Austin, TX

June 18th--Visited friends and family in Illinois and had an Ahrens Family Reunion!!

June 25th--Wedding in Columbia!

June 30th--Hiked to MacGregor Falls

July 2nd--We hiked into Moraine Park.

July 4th--We had to work but participated in the YMCA's 4th of July Parade as the Housekeeping Bride and Groom!

July 6th--Hiked Sky Pond. First hike of the summer!

July 5th--We had some Texan girls visiting and had a blast sight seeing with them!

July 7th--We went into town to celebrate my birthday and took some cute pictures!

July 8th--While Colleen was visiting for the week we hiked to Gem Lake. It's only 1.7 miles but we made it a super fun hike!!

July 9th--Then Ben came and visited us. We took him up Trail Ridge Road!

July 13th--Rollin and I hiked to Sandbeach Lake, it was really cool! And that's Meeker in the background!

July 14th--We conquered Spraque Mountain! It was a 17 mile roundtrip hike and over 11 of those miles were above treeline in exposed tundra. It was a huge accomplishment for me!

July 19th--Rollin and I got in our car around 6 in the morning to go hiking to find that our car wouldn't start! At that early in the morning we really couldn't do anything about it so we hiked Eagle Cliff. We had a good time :) And it turned out that our car just needed a new battery!