Summer Salvation

My usual summer morning consists of the following: almost dying on my morning run due to the sweltering Texas humidity, jumping into a freezing cold shower to cool off, and then hiding in the air conditioning for the rest of the day to avoid all unnecessary bug bites, sunburns, and sweat. Although this may be a slight exaggeration (don’t worry, I always shower), I often avoid summer’s baking temperatures by baking in the air-conditioned comforts of my own kitchen! Although the oven tends to heat up the house, the extra warmth is totally worth it as I savor each delectable bite of a newly-baked creation.

One of my favorite desserts to bake fruit_pizzaduring the summer season is Pinch of Yum’s Fruit Pizza. This absolute showstopper of a dessert appears extravagant but is surprisingly simple to make, and it consists of a cream cheese frosting (think pizza sauce) spread over a soft sugar cookie crust topped with a plethora of sliced summer fruits. Impressive but simple, this desert makes the perfect addition to any summer gathering and is sure to please both the health conscious and the sugar obsessed! (Fruit is healthy, right?!)


FOR THE CRUST: (You could even purchase pre-made sugar cookie dough if you’re in a hurry!)

  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 14 tablespoons (1 3/4 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs


  • 12 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 7 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 3/4 cup powdered sugar
  • assorted fresh fruit cut into slices


  1. Beat the butter and 1 1/2 cups sugar together in a large bowl until fluffy, 3-5 minutes. Add vanilla and eggs and mix until combined. Add the dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, salt) and mix until just combined, about 30 seconds. Chill the dough.
  2. Preheat oven to 350. Roll chilled dough into one big cookie and place on a round baking stone. Sprinkle with 2-3 tablespoons sugar. Bake for 17-20 minutes. Let cool; chill in fridge.
  3. Mix frosting ingredients together and spread on chilled cookie. Chill again to set and thicken the frosting.
  4. Top with fresh fruit. (I suggest blueberries, strawberries, grapes, and kiwi!) Cut into slices and serve!

Written by Leah

Featured Image Credit

Image and Recipe Credit


How to Combat Summer Boredom

Summer is finally here. As a student, I really look forward to summer every year. It seems like I have so much going on during the fall and spring semesters, and at least one aspect of my life is always completely out of control. If I don’t have eighteen projects due for my classes in the span of one week, then I’m preparing for a big weekend with the media team at my church. If things at the church aren’t crazy, then I’m dealing with some family crisis or my friends suddenly want to hang out until way past my preferred bedtime. The problem is that I care about all of these areas of my life, so I want to give them all as much attention as they require. During the summer, it seems like every area of my life comes to a screeching halt. Suddenly, there are no classes to attend, no homework to do, and maybe no one on campus to hang out with. I find myself wondering what to do with all of my free time. Maybe you do, too, dear readers. Don’t worry. I’ve got some ideas for you to combat summer boredom.

My first idea is a pretty simple one. During the school year, there are a lot of things that get put on the backburner. Summer is a perfect opportunity to get some of those things done! At different points throughout the year, I’ve wanted to read some of the Harry Potter series, re-watch The Office, play a video game called Undertale, clean out my closet, and have my sister come to stay the weekend with me. Now that I have a few months without anything too crazy happening, I can probably do all of those things and more. Maybe some of you readers have goals you always seem too busy to reach. They can be small goals, like the ones I listed, or really big ones. Even if your aspirations are too high to reach in only a few months, maybe you can get your start this summer.

Another thing you can try if you find yourself bored out of your mind is going on an adventure. I grew up in a small town where there wasn’t much to do and there weren’t many places to go. In this boring environment, my friends and I used to come up with small adventures to keep ourselves busy. We would go to our nearest movie theater and see the worst-looking movie playing, just so that we could laugh at how bad it was. We would buy sidewalk chalk and draw murals at our local park. We would take a road trip to visit the closest zoo on half-price ticket day. We would walk to the highest point in town to watch the sunset overlooking our neighborhood. Sometimes, we would even just sit in my living room and watch the first episode of a bunch of different shows on Netflix. There are all kinds of adventures to be had if you open up your mind and use your imagination.

phineas and ferb

My last tip for staving off summer boredom is to just rest and relax. I know it might seem counterintuitive to try to rest when you want to be busy doing something, but that’s kind of the point. During the school year, I tend to become so busy that I run myself ragged. Without the presence of that busyness, I realize how slowly time can move. This summer, I want to take a deep breath and revel in a change of pace. I want to take the time to appreciate the world and the people around me without distractions. I’ve spent a lot of time in prayer over the past few weeks, and that time has made me really hungry to understand my God more. I’ve never felt a hunger this strong, and I want to run with it. I want God to show me new things. I think the perfect environment to foster this desire is a few months when I’ll be taking things slow, when I can rest, be still, and know that He is God.

Those are just a few ideas to fight the beast of boredom. Hopefully your summer will be a fun, enjoyable few months. Even if your summer will be busy with classes, work, mission trips, or just life in general, I pray that the God of peace will give you rest.

Written by Becca

Image credits: Header image, Phineas and Ferb

Escaping Summer Boredom

As summer approaches, schedules and living situations will change, and many people may have a job lined up, are planning to travel the world, or will be taking extra classes. Others may plan to catch up on reading or binge watching their favorite shows on Netflix. Some may not have a single idea of what to do with their upcoming summer. Typically, when summer freedom first begins, the usual free-time activities can be quite enjoyable, but as time passes they can become dreadfully boring. Fear not! I decided to come up with a list of a few things to do to escape the summer boredom trap.

The first idea is to learn a new skill. The great thing about learning a new skill is that it can be anything! It could be a party trick or something you can put on your resume. For example, you can learn to juggle, do a backflip, change a tire, fix an engine, write really well, build a website to make money off of, or even learn the ins-and-outs of your computer! Honestly, the list is endless. So, have fun! If you don’t like anything I’ve suggested, you can always search online for goofy or serious things to learn how to do.

The second idea goes along with the first one: learn new recipes or teach yourself to cook if you don’t know how already. There are an uncountable number of recipes on the web, including ones from different cultures. I would suggest, in order to not overwhelm yourself, start with a main ingredient, such as a meat, fruit, vegetable, grain, or dairy product and look for recipes that include the item. If you decide to learn to cook but don’t know where to start, check out cooking websites, or simply search online. Even better, go out and buy a cookbook: any cookbook. Cookbooks have plethoras of recipes for you to choose from and each gives step-by-step instructions on how to make the dish.

The third idea, and my personal favorite, is to go thrift shopping. The most famous thrift shop is Goodwill, but most likely there are multiple hole-in-the-wall thrift shops in your town or city. So, give yourself a price limit, such as $15, and see what inventive outfit or crazy gizmo you can find. Or, you can even look for furniture or decorations for a do-it-yourself project.

Number four: Go camping, stargazing, or hiking. This one probably requires a little planning, especially if you decide to go camping. Grab some friends: pack a tent, clothes, and food, and head out to the country for some camping and bonding. Or, to avoid planning or taking up too much time, take a day trip. Go to local hiking trails and hike as far as you can and watch the stars. If you live in a city, sometimes your roof isn’t a very good place to stargaze because of all the lights from downtown; therefore, I suggest driving outside the city limits. For all three of these, don’t forget to bring your binoculars or even a telescope. Another suggestion is to purchase a map of the stars so you can look for specific constellations.

The fifth idea is to learn about a different culture. You can study one or multiple cultures. Search online, read books, listen to the language, or visit restaurants to try delicious cultural foods. Read about the places you want to travel, so when you do go you’re well prepared. Learning about a different culture helps you gain a new perspective on various ways of thinking and living.

Another idea I strongly suggest is do-it-yourself (DIY) projects or any type of art. Painting, drawing with pen or ink, working with clay, creating two or three-dimensional designs, and coloring books are all crazy fun ways to express yourself and let your creativity run wild. Some DIY projects include the following: turning a t-shirt into a work out tank top, transferring photos onto a slab of wood, glitterizing anything with Mod Podge and glitter, turning an old cowboy boot into a wallet, or wood burning coasters. The list of art and DIY projects is endless. Pinterest has a vast number of projects from which to choose. Pick your favorite and get started.

The seventh and final idea is to develop healthy habits and stop bad ones. Scientists say it takes 28 consecutive days of doing something to make it a habit. One habit I want to work on eliminating is Netflix binge watching. I want to replace it with reading the Bible and studying more. An important thing to recognize is what your unhealthy habits are. Make two lists. One list should be a healthy habits and the other should be unhealthy habits to replace.

This summer I will be working full time and taking classes, but I hope to complete all seven things! Good luck to you and have a wonderful and productive summer!

Written by Cheyanne

Image credit:

It’s Time to Write

When you’re in grade school, you dream about the last day of school. The countdown to freedom begins about a month in advance, and you are sure to remind everyone in your wake. When the day finally arrives, visions of festivities dance through your head as you sit in your last period class, watching the hands of the clock turn ever so slowly. The final bell rings, provoking you and your peers to burst through the doors of English class. Roars of “No more papers!” fill the halls of the school while teachers sigh in relief at the departure of their students. The celebration is nothing short of your favorite High School Musical number.

Now thacovert you’re in college, you have aged and matured into a nice and refined adult, which caused you to tackle the end of the spring semester with grace and poise. You waited until the very last moment to submit your final writing assignment, not because you procrastinated or watched an entire season of The Office the week before it was due, but because you were truly saddened by the idea of having an assignment-free summer, right?

Yeah. I didn’t think so.

I’d be lying if I said that I wasn’t excited for summer. In fact, I’d be lying if I told you that my inner 7th grader didn’t come out after I submitted that last essay. That’s right. I sang that High School Musical number; I sang it real loud.

If you’re like me, you enjoy writing on your own terms and on your own time. It took years for me to become comfortable with writing specific papers. I never liked being told what or when to write, which didn’t work out so well for me in high school. After spending so much time dreading writing specific assignments, I quickly lost the desire to write at all, which meant that I rarely picked up a pen during the summer. This is one of my deepest regrets.

Although I’m still daydreaming about Troy Bolton and random musical outbreaks taking place in the lobby of the Learning Center, my views and perspectives on writing have completely changed since being in colledownloadge and working in the UWC. Obviously, there is great importance in writing specific assignments for classes, no matter how tedious or ridiculous it may seem at the time. That being said, I believe that it is absolutely essential for us to write for self pleasure as well. I am continually astonished by the things that I find out about myself while writing as a pastime, rather than writing as an obligation. The simple act of putting pen to paper has gotten me through the best and worst times of my life.

So, today, I’m writing this blog for one sole purpose. It’s not to remind you of the good ‘ole days of grade school or to reminisce about one of my favorite Disney classics, but it’s to encourage you to write. Write a poem or a song. Write something non-fictional or down right imaginative. Write in a journal or on a wadded up napkin that you found in the floorboard of your car. Write whatever you want, whenever you want.

Summer is an amazing opportunity to express yourself through writing. There are no specific topics, time limits, or grades. It’s just you, a pen, and a world of possibilities. Don’t take it for granted.

Written by Haley