The Wutke Update


Hi Everyone!  Just wanting to stop by and give you a quick update on our lives.  I know many of you have been faithfully praying for Dane and I since we have returned from Australia. We are so appreciative and please know we have seen God do some amazing things in our lives on all different fronts.  Stopping by today to update you a bit on the job front.

I am so excited to share that I am currently working for Hello Sailor, a vintage boutique in Kansas City.  I am helping out with their social media including facebook, instagram, twitter, and writing a blog for them.  I would absolutely love it if you would follow me and what I am doing for this company.  I would love it even more if you stopped by on First Fridays in Kansas City for a little shopping fun!  If you would like to follow Hello Sailor just click on the links and they should take you to the correct webpages.
facebook.  instagram.  twitter.  blog.

As we speak, Dane is interviewing at KU Med Center for a patient care position in the department of internal medicine.  We are praying for God's blessing and favour in this area.

And overall our hopes and dreams for right now include us relocating to the Kansas City area, beginning to serve in a local church (there are so many amazing options here....we just can't wait), and acquiring some health insurance.  Sorry, just had to throw that last one in there because it seems to be a huge topic of conversation as of lately.  Sending lots of love out to all of you and I can't wait to bring the positive news your way soon!  ♥ D+C

Date Night Friday: Hopes & Dreams


Our date night this week involved discussing our hopes and dreams.  Dane and I feel like we are at a point in life where we are almost starting over, so we decided to talk about what goals, hopes, and dreams we have for our future and family.  
This date can be as complicated as simple as you want it.   The idea of the date is to simply sit and talk about your hopes and dreams and them write it down.  All you really need are a few sheets of paper (or even a napkin will work) and a pen.  I love art journaling so I created a mini art journal to record our thoughts. To create the art journal I covered a couple pieces of cardboard for the covers and then used typing paper for the pages.
Get as creative as you would like with your topics of discussion.  Our topics were
Deepest Thoughts: A "mission statement" for our marriage.
Together: Adventures we want to have together.
Prayers for Our Year: A list of the things we are believing God for in 2014
We Want To Be: 5 words we want to define our lives and marriage
Our Home: The culture we hope to establish in our future home
Journey: Places we will travel to together
Treasures: Items we would love to have as part of our lives.

 We loved doing this together and have agreed to make this a practice at the start of every year.  We think it will be fun to reflect on past years, see where God has taken us, and refocus on what we want to work on and grow in.  Happy Friday Everyone!

A Lovely Breakfast


One of our favourite things to cook together is breakfast.  Dane is real familiar with the breakfast fry pan because he grew up flipping pancakes and eggs in his family's cafe.  One morning we woke up craving pancakes and realized we don't have any milk to make them, but we did have a container of greek yogurt.  We figured, why not, and took to the internet to find the perfect greek yogurt pancake recipe.  Ever since that day there has been no turning back.  And we are here to share it with you today.  

What I love about this recipe is that it is four simple ingredients.

(the perfect serving for two)
1 1/2 cups greek yogurt
2 eggs
1 cup flour
2 tsp baking powder

Simply mix all the ingredients in a bowl and cook your pancakes on a hot skillet.  

Since we were having a little Pre-Valentine celebration we decided to make our pancakes in the shape of hearts.  I think most of you know how to do this, but just in case you don't, simply take a metal cookie cutter, spray it with cooking spray and fill it with your pancake batter.  Your pancakes will hold whatever shape the cookie cutter is.  

 We also had another minor pancake emergency one morning.  We were out of maple syrup and lets be honest, although true maple syrup is the best, it doesn't always fit into the budget.  We found that some bottles of maple syrup in Australia would set us back about $15.  This was $15 too much for us, so I took a cooking tip out of my mama's recipe box and learned how to make my own maple syrup on a budget.  Making your own syrups are very simple, its equal parts sugar, water, and then add the secret ingredient.  What's maple syrups secret ingredient?  Imitation Maple Extract.  This will set you back about $2 and you can make SEVERAL batches of syrup with it.

Maple Syrup on a Budget
2 cups water
2 cups sugar
1 tsp maple extract

Simmer the 2 cups water and 2 cups sugar on a stove top for about 15 minutes.  Then stir in the 1 teaspoon of maple extract and pour into your syrup jar.


We sat down to a delicious pancake breakfast.  Topped with strawberries, blueberries, dark chocolate, syrup and whipped cream.  Maybe you could make this lovely breakfast for your special Valentine?  Speaking of Valentines Day, just wanted to express our love to each of you.  We are so thankful to have amazing readers who are always sending us positive comments and encouragement.  Please know that you are dearly loved and treasured.  ♥   D+C

Somethings 002


Something to Create: These Animal Keychains on the Ginger Snaps blog can't help but make you smile.

Something to Encourage: This post titled "I Shall Not Want."  What a good thing to pray over our lives.

Something to Inspire: If Your Dreams Don't Scare You, They're Not Big Enough 

Something to Dance To: U2's new song Invisible.  The boys have done it again!  I cannot wait for their new album which is to come out later this year.  

Something to Indulge In: Vietnamese Coffee from the Anthropologie blog.  I have drank Vietnamese Coffee one other time in my life at a restaurant called Little Saigon in Wichita, KS.  I seriously could not get enough and can't wait to try this at home version.  

This weekend Dane and I are off to KC to see our little nephew and then Sunday Dane is preaching at Clay Center & Idana churches.  Cannot wait!  Happy Weekend Everyone!  

Date Night Friday: Surprise Dinner


Dane and I have always enjoyed cooking together, but we thought it would be fun to make this weeks date night a little treat for someone else as well, so we decided to cook a surprise dinner for our friend Stephanie.  This week was Stephanie's birthday so we decided a little decor needed to go along with the dinner.

Everyone loves coming home to a home cooked dinner ready for them to go.  And Dane and I loved working on this little project together then sneaking into her kitchen to set it all up (although we almost got caught)!  Don't worry we did call ahead and have her family members let us in, we aren't criminals!

So what's the secret to pulling this off?  Create dishes that can easily be prepared.   You know, the pop it in the oven for an hour and its ready to go, kind of recipe.  We made one of my favourite "simple dinner" dishes.  Just place thawed chicken breast in a 9x13, cover chicken with sliced cheese, pour two cans of cream of chicken soup over the top of that.  Then top it off with stuffing mix.  Cover with foil and write the baking directions on the top, bake at 350 for one hour.  We made mashed potatoes as well but if you want to make it even simpler just send along some baked potatoes.

Can't "break in" to your friends house?  Use the good ol' fashioned ding dong ditch method!  Not only will your date night be serving someone else but also adventurous!

Happy Date Night Friday Everyone!

Loving the Season You're In


Here in Kansas we find ourselves in the dead of winter, and its not just any winter, one of the worst winters we've had in several years.  Currently I am surrounded by 12 inches of snow, a below negative windchill, and more of that in the forecast.  Ugh, it is really easy to get bogged down in the middle of winter.  You know the doldrums of winter are kind of like life.

How much time do we spend in life wishing and hoping for the next season.  You are single and you can't wait to be married.  You are engaged and you can't wait for your wedding day.  You are married and can't wait to have kids.  You have kids and you can't wait for the time you get a full nights sleep again.  You are in college and can't wait until you enter the work force and make money.  You are working an entry level job and you can't wait until the day you have an office with a window.  You are in your office with a window and you can't wait until the day you can take a vacation.

Right now Dane and I find ourselves in the "we are unemployed and living in our parents' houses" season.  (Thanks so much to our parents for being so gracious and generous to us).  It is so easy for me to focus on the "I can't wait for the day when we are making money, have our own place, and can afford health insurance."  But I find that continuously focusing on this causes me to miss all the great moments happening around me right now.

1 Thessalonians 5:18 says to "give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you."  I think this verse gives the us the secret of embracing the season we are in.  Thanksgiving.  When we focus on all of the good that God has poured out on us, our hearts become set on things above.  And setting our hearts and minds on things above will bring us the peace of Christ (Phil 4:18-19).  

So instead of fighting it, I have decided to give thanks for the season we find ourselves in and embrace it.  How are we embracing it?  Well this season has allowed Dane and I to spend a lot more time together, talking about our hopes and dreams and just getting to know about each other (that might be weird to say after knowing each other for five years but I hope I always find something new about my husband).  I have time try new recipes for dinner, go lend people a helping hand when they call, create, and work on my photography and styling skills.  Dane has had the time to learn new songs on his guitar, write music, catch up with old friends, and begin a new workout program.

Each night before I got to sleep I create a blessings list.  It only takes about a minute, and all I do is list five blessings from my day.  A counselor once told me to do this, and it truly is a way to end my day focused on all the good God has given me, which almost always  leads my mind to a peaceful nights sleep and contentment in my heart.

So I just want to challenge you all out there to embrace the season you find yourself in right now.  Give thanks for all the blessings God has brought in your life and may His peace fill your hearts as you continue to pursue Him.

Now for those of you who still can't figure out how to embrace this winter cold, let me offer you some suggestions.   Make hearty stew, play board games all day with your friends and family, curl up under the blankets and read a good book, get caught up on those Downton Abbey episodes, make snow ice cream, have your entire family home for a snow day, build a snowman, go sledding, clean your rugs in the snow, sit in a hot tub while white confetti continuously falls around you, write a letter to a long lost friend, or begin a new hobby.

Happy Winter Everyone!  

That's Amore


I love making homemade pizza!  You can get super creative with it and I don't think I've ever met anyone who doesn't love it.  Plus when you make it at home it can be as healthy or as hearty as you like.  

Tonight, with the help of Brittany, we made a man pizza and a lady pizza.  Man meaning lots of meat and cheese.  Lady meaning more creative and gourmet  Truth be told, we enjoyed it all.  So lets get started.  

First off the crust.  I love to make my own crust.  I use a French bread recipe that belongs to my mama. This recipe uses dry yeast.  I find that this ingredient often scares people, but it doesn't need to.  

Mom's French Bread
(make enough for 2 pizzas)
3 cups hot water
1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup stick margarine
2 tsp salt

¼ cup warm water
2 packages yeast

8 cups flour

1. Combine water, sugar, margarine and salt.  Let cool until luke warm. 
2. Dissolve the 2 packages of yeast in warm water.
3. Add yeast to water sugar, salt and margarine mixture.
4. Mix in flour slowly and knead for 5 minutes.
  5. Let rise for 1 hour, punching down every 15 minutes.  
6. After one hour roll out dough in a jelly roll pan for pizza crust

If the steps above make you nervous, then homemade pizza can still be an option for you.  There are some great pre-made pizza crusts at the grocery store.  Dane has also been known to use hamburger buns and create mini pizzas (thank you 4-H demonstrations).  

Now select your toppings.  One thing I love about homemade pizza is that it is a great way to use up leftover ingredients in your fridge and cupboards. Plus it can be as simple or epicure as you want to make it.
For our "man" pizza we knew we wanted to use lots of meat and cheese.  We had some browned sausage mince on hand, pepperoni, and bacon.  For sauce we used spaghetti sauce and lots of mozzarella cheese.  We also had some extra cheese chunks from another meal so we decided to make stuffed crust.  Stuffed crust is super simple to make and is oh so delicious.  Simply take a cheese chunk and pull the dough over the top and seal (picture below).    To finish off this pizza we rubbed the crust with garlic butter.  

And our "lady" pizza was inspired by chicken fajitas.  As a base we used cream cheese.  Seriously cream cheese is one of the best bases of a pizza and something you must try!  We topped it with canned chicken (keeping it simple), grilled onions, grilled peppers, cherry tomatoes, avocado, feta cheese and cilantro  Before putting the pizza in the oven, drizzle the top with fresh squeezed lemon juice and a bit of olive oil.

Cook both pizzas at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes or until the crust is starting to brown.  

Our pizzas were a huge hit with both the men and the ladies.  We couldn't believe how much we loved the chicken pizza, it was a complete experiment and have decided its a keeper.  We would love to hear what pizza topping combinations you love.  Arrivederci!  D+C



{photos by the fabulous Brittany Cunningham}
How was your weekend?  Ours was pretty relaxed and chill.  Dane surprised me with a spontaneous snowball fight, which I LOVED!  We also enjoyed watching the Seahawks win the Super Bowl and had a SPREAD of food.  Tonight we are getting settled in to watch some Juan Pablo on the Bachelor (don't judge me) and get ready for the snow that is on its way.  Lots and lots of snow.  Hope you have a great week!   Stay warm!  ♥ D+C

Somethings: Edition One


Welcome to a new weekend feature here at the Kids Down Under titled "Somethings."  Most of us spend our weekends running here and there, but this post is for some of those quiet moments that come along.  Each weekend it will feature links that you can create, indulge in, dance to, encourage your heart and make you smile.  I hope each link is like a little wonderful surprise waiting for you on the other side.

Something to Create: These Concrete Counter Tops at A Beautiful Mess are simply amazing and a must try in my future house.

Something to Encourage: My friend Jessisca's blog post about faith.

Something to Inspire: Beautiful Winter.  Yes I said beautiful.

Something to Dance To: Beyonce's XO.  I can't get enough of this song or this video.  Reminds me of summer nights at the county fair.  

Something to Indulge In: Ok so I know I promised a link but this is seriously the most delicious tomato soup I have ever ate and the simplest I have ever made.  Win Win don't you agree?  My Aunt Anne first introduced this to me, and it is a must try, especially on one of these cold winter nights.

Happy Weekend Everyone!