Tag: Desperately Seeking {Gina}

Recipe Review {Foodie Friday}

Written by ARWB February 2012 Blogger of the Month, Gina Knuppenburg of Desperately Seeking {Gina}.


Perusing my collection of cookbooks you’d probably find it interesting seeing Disney’s Family Cookbook {link: http://www.amazon.com/Disneys-Family-Cookbook-Irresistible-Recipes/dp/078686382X } amongst all the other more grown-up cookbooks.  I bought it fifteen or sixteen years ago when I was a nanny.  I loved cooking and baking for my charges and this particular cookbook was fabulous for baking with kids.

It’s filled with simple, tasty recipes easy enough for kids to help with, whether it’s scooping flour, mixing batters, or even just licking the spoon.  The book is filled with large, colorful photographs, easy-to-read recipes, and comes spiral bound for easy maneuvering.  The outside cover is durable enough to stand up to sticky hands {as evidenced by my much used copy} and splatters wipe off easily.



One of my old favorite recipes to make with my two charges was PB & J Surprise Muffins {you can find the recipe here}. {<~~~link: http://familyfun.go.com/recipes/peanut-butter-jelly-surprise-muffins-676593/ }



I remember making these multiple times and enjoying them every time.  With this batch, however, I received only mediocre results.  The muffins were better eaten immediately after baking, but seemed dry after  a few hours.  Reheating didn’t seem to help. Also, I would definitely recommend adding 2 teaspoons of jam instead of the as-written one teaspoon.


I was slightly disappointed that they just didn’t taste the way I remembered them!  So, I asked myself how I could make them better and this is what I heard:


“Self, what goes with peanut butter better than anything??”  And, I answered!  Chocolate.



I added five “chunks” of Nestle Tollhouse Chunks per muffin.  In retrospect, I could have added at least five more.



I liked the chocolate better, but sadly, they were still a tad too dry for my liking.  Any foodies out there have any suggestions how to improve this recipe?

You can learn more about Gina by reading her blog Desperately Seeking {Gina} or by checking out her Blogger of the Month Page.

Reading & Friendship {Love Story}

Reading & Friendship {Love Story}
Written by ARWB February 2012 Blogger of the Month, Gina Knuppenburg of Desperately Seeking {Gina}.

I’ve been an avid reader for as long as I can remember.  My summers were spent with my nose buried in a book. While my real-life friends were outside playing, I was inside with my “book friends.”  My parents took us camping every June and while my brothers loaded the camper with fishing poles and rafts, I stacked piles of books to hold me over our week-long camping adventure.

In my late twenties, while I was busily preparing to move out of my childhood home, I had a difficult time deciding what to do with the many boxes of books I had accumulated over the years.  I had collected two series in particular that I had a hard time parting with:  Ann Martin’s The Babysitter’s Club and the Sweet Valley High series.  I know it seems silly now but I felt like I was parting with dear friends.  Ultimately, I decided to sell the books to a used book store for credit.  I said a quick good bye to my old friends and moved on.

Sometime last year I got a sudden urge to revisit some of those book friends.  I requested a copy from an online paper back swapping site that I am a member of and reacquainted myself with those childhood friends. They hadn’t changed a bit!

Last week I came across a complete set of Sweet Valley High series in a thrift shop.  I have to admit that for a moment, I contemplated buying the whole lot.  I settled for reading a few chapters there at the dimly lit, dusty store.  It was a quick visit and I left with a smile {I also read a few chapters of later books that hadn’t been in my collection}.  I also left wondering where my own books had gone to.  Had they found new homes?   Did their new owners look at my loopy signature inside the front cover of each of those books and wonder who and where I was?

I think that my love of reading is directly related to my love of blog reading and why I appreciate this forum as much as I do.  ARWB has introduced me to so many new friends: friends I haven’t met {a lot of you!} and some that I have been lucky to meet in person.

As February comes to a close, I want to thank ARWB for inviting me to be a part of this community.  And, I’d like to thank those of you who stopped by to comment.  I appreciate your clicks over to my blog to say hi as well.  Your friendship online and off has kept me company, entertained me, and has made me feel welcomed here in Arkansas.

Happy reading, friends!

You can learn more about Gina by reading her blog Desperately Seeking {Gina} or by checking out her Blogger of the Month Page.

Every Tree Has A Story {Love Story}

Every Tree Has A Story {Love Story}
Written by ARWB February 2012 Blogger of the Month, Gina Knuppenburg of Desperately Seeking {Gina}.

Most of us learn the genealogy of our family tree early on in life. We can connect Mom to all the children of Great- Auntie Betty or name Grandma Minnie’s father’s second wife’s son. I certainly can. But what I can’t retell is the story of how the tree was planted.

I know, for sure, the story of how my parents met; at least I know the basics. It’s the details I don’t remember. Was my mom head-over-heels in love with my dad? Were they a mushy couple? Did dad buy mom trinkets and flowers and declare his undying love every Valentine’s Day? I know that I’ve asked these questions countless times and my mom patiently retells their love story each and every time.

As my grandmother’s aged and I sat with them and listened to their stories, I never thought to write them down. At the time, I never thought about a future without my beloved grandmas. It never occurred to me that the leaves of their branches would fall from the family tree and be lost in the wind.

As bloggers, we often tell stories of our day-to-day activities. We relate our lives to current events. We explore thoughts, feeling, emotions, and struggles. Good news is shared.; good fortune proclaimed. We type out goals and lists. Recipes are shared and pretty pictures pinned. It should be easy for us, then, to tell the story of how our respective family trees were started.

So, my question for you, ladies of ARWB: are you recording your {love stories}? Are you blogging about them? Journaling them? Will your children, ages from now, be able to recount the story of how their parents met, fell in love, and married {or didn’t marry…there are SO many different kinds of stories to tell}? Will the story of grandma’s and grandpa’s love be retold throughout countless generations?

Relationships change, love may fade. Marriages dissolve or never happened to begin with. Not every story will end happily ever after. Those stories need to be told, too. Not every story will have a beginning, middle, and end. Details may already be lost. The important thing is to jot down what you do know.

Need some ideas to get started?


  • Blog about it! Be sure to print out your posts.
  • Journaling. Dedicate a notebook to telling your love story. Even if you don’t fancy yourself a story teller you can use this method. Don’t write in complete sentences. Jot down thoughts, feelings, dates, times, specifics.
  • Scrap booking. Include pictures, mementos, menus from restaurants, corsages, etc.
  • Videography. Write up a list of questions. Sit grandma, dad, mom, aunts, and uncles {or yourself!} in front of the camera and get them talking.


  • How did you meet?
  • What did your parents and/or friends think about your new relationship? love?
  • Who proposed and how?
  • What was your wedding/first home like?
  • What did you like to do together?
  • Can your associate your significant other with a scent? sound?
  • First impressions

The possibilities are endless. Be creative. Or, don’t. How the story is told is less important than why it should be told. No matter if your family tree is merely a seedling or as tall as a California Redwood, the leaves of it’s branches should be watered, nurtured, and most importantly it’s canopy of love stories should be told and retold for generations to come.

Miss February 2012 – Gina Knuppenburg

Do you ever find that your kitchen, bathroom, or junk drawers are the cleanest when you’re under a deadline? Me, too.  In fact, I just cleaned off my desk and filed a bunch of receipts in the short time between creating this page and crafting that first line.  Deadlines are even harder to make when one has to write about one’s self. This particular deadline-a post about myself-is so difficult I’m contemplating cleaning out the refrigerator or alphabetizing soup cans in the pantry.

One would think that having blogged for six years that I’d have plenty to say about me.

I suppose I should start by introducing myself.  Hi! I’m Gina, of Desperately Seeking {gina}. I’m a lover of books, pretty photos, owls, really-really good food, and a boy named Thom. By day I crunch numbers {I very much dislike the number five} and by night I stalk the cat and write home about what I had for dinner.

My little space on the web, Desperately Seeking {gina} was originally titled Desperately Seeking Thom. I was looking for someone from my past-someone I desperately wanted one last conversation with. I was seeking…closure. After six months of silence I came to realize that what I was searching for was completely wrong and I started seeking myself instead.  And, I’ve been looking ever since.  Funny how what “they” say is true:  the moment you stop searching for whatever it is you’re longing for, is the moment it will find you.  It turns out that Thom  was searching for me as well and found me through my blog.  It didn’t provide the closure I wanted. Instead,  it was just the beginning of a love story that brought me to Arkansas.  Weird, huh?

And so, my story continues.  Every day a new page is written.  Themes are planned out. Characters explored. Plots discovered, uncovered, rewritten, and sometimes wadded up and thrown away.  As I discover who I am, who I want to be, and what I want to become, I document it for the world to read.  I hope you’ll stop by.


You can find more of my story here:

Desperately Seeking {gina} (www.isogina.blogspot.com)
Facebook (www.facebook.com/DesperatelySeekingGina)
Twitter (www.twitter.com/gknupp)
Pinterest (www.pinterest.com/gknupp/)

Pinterest Wreath Challenge and GIVEAWAY!

Written by Gina of Desperately Seeking {Gina}.

Thank you to the ladies of AWB for inviting me to share one of my favorite Pinterest Projects thus far!

I’m not sure what it is about this site that is so interesting and addictive.  Maybe it’s the pretty picture overload? Or the insane amount of talented, creative people sharing ideas, tips, and tutorials?  Whatever it is, I’m enjoying looking and doing!

At first glance, it may be difficult to understand what Pinterest is all about. It can be overwhelming for first-time pinners-pretty picture overload for sure.  But, at the heart of this newest social networking craze, Pinterest provides a unique outlet for crafters, photographers, aspiring cooks, and artists of all kinds.  Pinterest is a visual pinboard.  It’s a place to bring out all those sites we have saved in the deep depths of our browser bookmarks and store them in picture form instead of words.  It is a place to inspire {artists, crafters, cooks sharing their creations} and to be inspired {spinning those pins and making them our own}.

Finding inspiring Pinners is as easy as following your favorite bloggers-who-pin. Many of the bloggers here on Arkansas Women Bloggers pin and you can often find links on their websites.  Additionally, one Pinner leads to other like-minded Pinners creating a communtity of fun, interesting, and inspiring projects.  It is a place to gather ideas for everything from deciding what to have for dinner to painting techniques for that old dresser you hope to refurbish.  Pinterest is a place to grow our blog-reader lists and circle of blog friends around the world.  And, most importantly, Pinterest is a place to connect with those friends and artists.

Gather, grow, connect- exactly what the creators of Arkansas Women Bloggers hope to accomplish here in this forum!  Pinterest just provides another chance for you to get to know the great ladies here on Arkansas Women Bloggers.

Pinterest Wreath challenge

The project I’m sharing today comes from my Craft Inspiration (http://pinterest.com/gknupp/craft-inspiration/) pinboard and is from Jen over at the ever-inspiring Tatertots & Jello blog (http://tatertotsandjello.blogspot.com/2010/01/2010-burlap-wreath-and-giveaway.html)

Lets get started:

The key to this project, for me, was gathering and prepping the supplies over a three or four day period.  Having the supplies at-the-ready
was a hurdle well cleared when it came time for this challenge.


Pinterest Wreath Challenge


For this project you’ll need to gather:

-3 yards of burlap (Note: You can buy burlap cheaper at hardware stores like Lowes and HomeDepot than at fabric stores!)
-scrap fabrics
-scrap booking brads or buttons
-hot glue gun and glue sticks
-14 inch wreath form
-stamp pad
-assorted scraps and yarn to hang wreath
-circle cookie cutters {to trace onto fabrics}
-fabric marker
-a good pair of fabric shears

Begin by cutting a four inch section down the length of the burlap and set aside. This will be used to wrap the wreath form a little later.

Using your cookie cutter {or a cup} draw one 3-inch  circle, and one 2-inch circle on the burlap and cut out. Use this template to cut remaining circles.

Pinterest Wreath Challenge

You’ll need:

Burlap : 50 – 3 inch circles
25 – 2 inch circles

Fabric  25 – 3 inch circles
25- 2 inch circles

Combine layers of circles that are pleasing to you, forming flowers of burlap and fabric.  Secure in the center by pushing a brad through and fastening on the backside.  Lay out flowers as you go.

Pinterest Wreath Challenge

Tip:  layer more burlap-on-burlap flowers than you think you need.  Layer 2 to 3 circles each.

Pinterest Wreath Challenge

You’ll need a total of 120 – 150 finished flowers.

Pinterest Wreath Challenge

Lets put it all together:

Pinterest Wreath Challenge

Take the 4 inch section of burlap you cut earlier and secure one end of the burlap to the wreath form with a beaded line of hot glue and gently {and CAREFULLY} press the fabric into the glue until secure.  Begin wrapping the form tightly, overlapping as you go.

Time now, to begin hot glueing your fabric circles to the wreath form.  A small bead of hot glue on the back of each circle will be enough to attach your flowers.

 Pinterest Wreath Challenge

Start by laying out 3 fabric flowers symmetrically around the form.

Pinterest Wreath Challenge

Fill in with remaining circles adding pops of color with your fabric flowers.

Pinterest Wreath Challenge

Next, flip the wreath over and attach twine with a small dot of hot glue on each side of the wreath.

Pinterest Wreath Challenge

Flip back over and attach your message to the twine with tiny paperclips or tiny clothespins.  I originally typed and printed a message onto paper, cut out, and inked the edges.  However, during my search for clothespins I came across a little letter “g” and covered it with leftover fabric scrap from this project. I attached it with a paperclip from my scrap booking stash.

Pinterest Wreath Challenge

Finish by looping scraps of fabric, yarn, or leather {such as shoelaces!} to the top of the wreath from which to hang your finished wreath.  Hang and Enjoy!

Pinterest Wreath Challenge

Gina has graciously agreed to giveaway one of these beautiful wreaths!  You have several chances to win and we will be using Rafflecopter to help us keep track of your entries.  Entries will be open through December 16th.  Good Luck!

(For info on how to win – please click the “continue” button below!)

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