Saturday, August 25, 2012

oh there you are...

She's back! Yes, it's been since April since my last post. There's no real reason for the lack of blogging other than I just haven't! Today is a very rainy day, so I thought I'd catch up some!

School has started back up, and life is busier than ever. Our summer was wonderful, but it seemed very short! We spent a wonderful month at a Young Life Camp in New York called Lake Champion. It was amazing, and we miss our Lake Champion family! Here's a little snapshot of some of my LC ladies!

Rodeo Night at Camp!

During June, husband and I also celebrated our three year annivesrsary.

Anniversary dinner

Now we are falling into our "fall routine" and are currently enjoying a quiet weekend at home. I just got all of my September magazines in the mail and I'm looking forward to some fall cooking! More to come on those dishes later.

Today, I thought I would share my favorite free fonts. I love downloading new fonts to use on various projects. They're great for making signs for around your house, creating invitations, or any other crafty projects you may have. These are all available from


Well, that's all for now. I will check back in soon!

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Oh Happy Day

This girl is happy to report that spring break has officially begun! Horray! I've already started a list of things I want to accomplish over the break, but the list is going to wait until Monday. I am going to relax this weekend and spend some good quality time with my husband and our dog. That's right, we got a dog. I'm not sure that I ever thought I would own a dog, but low and behold here we are. We are now the owners of a lab/shepard mix dog that we rescued from the Humane Society in Lynchburg. His name is Tucker and he is five years old. He really is the perfect first (for me) dog. I am not a fan of the drooling/barking/jumping type dog and Tucker does none of the above, so we've been pretty compatible so far. It's been a fun two weeks getting to know him and spending time together. Currently, his only downfall is that he super stubborn when it comes to going to bed, in other words, he refuses to unless it's on his time. I just don't get it...I'd love for someone to tell me I have to go to bed every night. I personally am a fan of sleep. Perhaps he will learn over time...

Since it's been a while, I am going to wrap up the past few weeks in a picture tour.

This is Tucker...taken on the day we got him.
Last weekend we did a lot of yard work and spruced up our porch.
I also worked on a little repainting project. This is our little porch you can see it was quite rusty.

A few coats of spray paint and it's good as new!

I made this really easy chicken dish that could be a great prepare ahead meal. Recipe below.

This is blurry because I took it on my iPad, but it is my precious husband and Tucker both asleep. Too cute.

Here is the above chicken recipe. It is directly from Real Simple. It was so good and I didn't change a thing (other than I just made three pieces of chicken instead of four).

Serves 4

Hands-On Time: 15m
Total Time: 1hr 15m


6 tablespoons olive oil

2 lemons, 1 thinly sliced, 1 juiced

4 cloves garlic, minced

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

3/4 pound trimmed green beans

8 small red potatoes, quartered

4 chicken breasts (bones left in, with skin, about 3 1/4 pounds)


1.Preheat oven to 450°F. Coat a large baking dish or cast-iron skillet with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. Arrange the lemon slices in a single layer in the bottom of the dish or skillet.

2.In a large bowl, combine the remaining oil, lemon juice, garlic, salt, and pepper; add the green beans and toss to coat. Using a slotted spoon or tongs, remove the green beans and arrange them on top of the lemon slices. Add the potatoes to the same olive-oil mixture and toss to coat. Using a slotted spoon or tongs, arrange the potatoes along the inside edge of the dish or skillet on top of the green beans. Place the chicken in the same bowl with the olive-oil mixture and coat thoroughly. Place the chicken, skin-side up, in the dish or skillet. Pour any of the remaining olive-oil mixture over the chicken.

3.Roast for 50 minutes. Remove the chicken from the dish or skillet. Place the beans and potatoes back in oven for 10 minutes more or until the potatoes are tender. Place a chicken breast on each of 4 serving plates; divide the green beans and potatoes equally. Serve warm.
It was delicious and takes very little prep time. The rest of the time is spent in the oven!
Tonight I felt I got a gift...the gift of time. I have felt like lately I'm just rushing through my days and just getting done what needs to get done. Cooking has been a chore rather than something I am doing because I love it. Tonight I knew that I had nothing to get done, nowhere I had to be, and nothing to wake up early for tomorrow. It was awesome. I just took my time cooking and cleaning up the kitchen. I really enjoyed being in there making our meal tonight.
I am so excited for this weekend. I LOVE Easter. It's my favorite holiday (after Thanksgiving). I am looking forward to our church service which is always so beautiful. Then, we're heading to my home to see my family. I just love the feeling of new life and beauty that this week and weekend brings. Tonight I read these verses from Phillipians 1: "...because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus." A few things stand out to me in these two verses, 1. "partnership in the gospel", I love thinking of how I am a partner with Christ and with others in bringing the gospel to those around me, 2. "he who began a good work in you will carry it through", wow. Even though I fail often, and sometimes can't see that good work, it is there because I have been created to do a good work. I have the author and Creator of life seeing it through. That's awesome. How privileged we are to celebrate the cross and the One who died so that we may have a good work in us so that we may partner in continuing to share Him with others.
Well, I am headed to bed. I really want to contact the Apple support people but I suppose since it's close to 1am that they aren't "open". My itunes software is sending me over the edge by not updating which is causing a slew of problems. Oh well. Tomorrow we're getting up and going to the Farmer's Market! I'm excited for this new little addition to our town!
Happy Easter!

Friday, March 9, 2012

A little bit of this, a little bit of that

Hey's been quite some time since my last post; over a month to be exact. But, we are still alive and well...we are just alive, well, and busy. But, I have some good recipes to share and a DIY project or two to tell you about, so let's get to it.

First off, I must blog about one of my favorite appetizers- spinach and artichoke dip. My friend Megan and I discovered a recipe for this scrumptious dish in college by Alton Brown (Food Network). It is hands down the best spinach and artichoke dip I have eaten so far...and I've tried a lot of them. This is not a health conscious recipe, so if you're looking for a healthy version this is not the one to use. Me? I don't really's too good to give up. I've tweaked it just a bit from the original recipe. Here's what you need:

1 box of frozen spinach (preferably thawed)
1 can of artichoke hearts, drained OR  1 1/2 cup frozen
6oz cream cheese
1/4 cup mayo (I use Duke's)
1/4 cup sour cream (I use Breakstone)
1/3 freshly grated parmesan
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp garlic powder

Boil the spinach and artichokes until they are tender, about 5 minutes. Drain. While that is working, heat the cream cheese in the microwave until softened. Then, in a medium bowl, stir together all of the ingredients. Eat. My favorite dipping tool is a tortilla chip.

His original recipe calls for red pepper flakes. I'm not a huge spicy fan, so I leave them out.

The next recipe I want to share is one we had tonight. Since we are Catholic, during lent we can't have meat on Fridays. So, we opt for fish instead. Tonight we had tilapia with a tomato and onion saute. This is a take on a recipe that I found in Real Simple a few years ago. I feel like tilapia is such a versatile fish that you can do just about anything with it. I typically season mine with evoo, garlic powder, paprika, salt and pepper, panko bread crumbs, and lemon slices. I then roast it for 12-15 minutes at 375 degrees.

Tonight I switched up our saute a little bit. First, I heated about 2tbs of evoo. Then, I sliced a small onion. I then started getting the onion soft in the pan. While that was working, I sliced a pint's worth of cherry tomatoes in half. I then added them to the pan. While they were softening, I added 1/2 tsp dried basil, salt, pepper, garlic powder, and a generous drizzle of honey. I let that work for a few minutes and then covered the pan for 3 minutes, just to sweat the onions and tomatoes. After that, I uncovered the pan, let it saute for about 2 minutes more and then served my fish on top of it all. It was so tasty! The honey really took the saute to another level. This whole meal took about 25 minutes to make. A great weeknight option.

One last recipe suggestion... In January, Southern Living printed a recipe for ratatouille. I had never made ratatouille before so I was excited to try this classic dish. It was so good. Husband ranted and raved about it for days. You should check it out here.

Now for a few simple projects...

Since we moved to a place with a lot more wall space, I've had to get a little creative to fill the spaces. It's all still a work in progress, but we're getting there. Here are two simple projects I did to add a little something to our new walls.

First is a super easy, super fun way to make some "word art". From a website called you can create a word shape using any words that you like. I typed in words describing our marriage and generated them into the shape of a bird. You don't have to register or anything at Tagxedo, just go in and follow the directions. The more times you type in a word, the more times it appears in your word creation. Here's the one I created for our dining room.

The second piece I made was one I made for Kenneth for Christmas. I saw the idea on Pinterest. My suggestion for making something like this is to download fonts that you think will work for your piece. I downloaded ten or so fonts and played around with them until I got something I liked. I create this whole piece in Microsoft word.

Making and printing out the two projects above was virtually free. I then just put them both in nice frames and there you have it!

In other news, I got a haircut this past week. I hate it. This is not unusual, though, I pretty much never like my haircuts. (Isabella House is nodding right now) I went in thinking I was going to a medium length and came out with a much, much shorter length. I think I lost at least four inches of hair when it was all said and done. All I know is that this head of hair isn't going near scissors for a long, long time. My husband is sweet and keeps telling me he likes it...we even went out to eat to make me feel better about it. Here's my first day of short hair picture. (Ignore the fact that my hair is slightly covering my eye)

That's all I have for now...perhaps my next update will come sooner than a month from now! Enjoy the new blog design!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

On the last day of 25

Here I am on the eve of turning 26. It's been a low key night as I am battling a ferocious cold and am feeling kind-of run down. I was just thinking back over the past year of life and reflecting on all that has happened. I believe that this year has held more for me than I ever could have imagined. I am definitely not standing in the place that I thought I would be last year on this day. Kenneth and I have been through many different changes this year which have brought us stress, joy, strength, frustration, compassion, and most of all have brought us closer to God. If I've learned anything in year 25 it is that I continually have to let go of what I have for my life and hold to what God would have for me. So as I enter into my 26th year, I will hold fast to this: I am loved by a bigger God than anything I could see or imagine and His plan is best and nothing is too big for Him.

As promised, I am going to leave the rest of this post to photos of our new place. Everything is unpacked and now it's just down to tweaking and adding decorative elements over time. I have before photos, but they're not too great because I took them with my i-Pad, but they'll give you an idea of what we were working with. Enjoy!

living room before...a lovely shade of hunter green
living room, side 1, after

side 2, after
master bedroom before
master bedroom after

dining room before
dining room after

guest room before
guest room after, still a work in progress

office before
office after
kitchen before
kitchen after

So, that's our place as it stands right now. I will get more detailed into each room in later posts. I am looking forward to adding to our decor and making it more like home over time. Well, that's all for now. I am off to bed, hoping that some rest will help cure this cold! More posts to come soon on DIY projects, yummy dinners, and easy, tasty appetizers!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

oh hey...

Just a short update tonight. We are all moved and are slowly settling in to our new house. All the rooms are painted, curtains are sewn, furniture is arranged, pictures are hung, and things are being unpacked. It's been an overwhelming process. We moved in on a Saturday and traveled to Florida the following Tuesday for Young Life's All Staff Conference. So, I've really only been in the house for a little over a week. I have a lot of recipes to share, diy projects to post about, and pictures of our rooms to show, but it will have to wait. More work still lies ahead of me for tonight. We had a great time in Florida and we learned so much..more to come on that too. Just wanted you all to know that we are alive and well, ha. I am looking forward to having this weekend to get things settled and to host our first party on Sunday. So, that's all for now, look for another, more detailed, update soon.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Be Willing

Today the weather man told me that there is a chance of snow flurries tonight. This is quite good news. I really hope this man delivers. I would like enough for a two hour delay please.

Well, the new house is coming along. I'm pretty sure I've successfully inhaled an unreasonable amount of cleaning supply and paint fumes. Sadly, I will continue to do so again this weekend. So far, we've fully painted the two bedrooms. The living room and office both have the first coat on them and are ready for a second. It seems like I've painted forty-seven rooms instead of just four because all of the rooms thus far have needed primer before our paint go could on. This is in addition to using the paint with the primer in it...oh yeah, the previous owners really liked dark red and hunter green. I am trying to keep an open mind and be excited about this new little place. The Lord is working on my heart about being willing. Being willing to try new things, to make this move, to follow as He leads, not necessarily as I would see best. I'm also trying to adapt this willing spirit in trying new classes at the Y or making things for our house.

Today I finished a little DIY project that I set out to do last month. It was pretty simple except for the cutting part. I am not a very good cutter- I always got S's instead of E's on my report card in the cutting category. I found this picture on Pinterest and decided I'd like to do the same sort of "art" for over our bed.

via Pinterest
So, I gave it a try. I purchased two square canvases from Michael's and some white and gray paint. In all, my supplies cost me about $8.00. I painted the canvases white first. Then, I typed up the words for my stencil. I then printed the words on card stock.

Next, I cut out the letters. This task would have been easier with an x-acto knife which I do own. However, I thought that it was in a craft box that was buried under a lot of other heavy items and husband wasn't here to move them, so I didn't bother. Really all this only to find out that after I had finished cutting the letters out, my x-acto knife was on the table to whole time with my paint brushes. Terrific.

After that, I stenciled them on the canvases and viola, all done! I'll post final, dried pictures when we hang them up in the new place.

In the spirit of being willing, I also tried a new chicken salad recipe this week. I don't really like chicken salad all that much, but Kenneth does, so we have it every once in a while. This recipe came from Ina Garten and is called "Mustard Chicken Salad". It was so good! I actually enjoyed eating chicken salad!

Here's what you need to make it:

  • 2 whole (4 split) chicken breasts, bone-in, skin-on
  • Good olive oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 cups broccoli florets
  • 1 1/2 cups good mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons dry white wine
  • 1/4 cup Dijon mustard
  • 3 tablespoons whole-grain mustard
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh tarragon leaves
  • 1 cup cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
I used boneless chicken breasts which worked fine. I also only used 1 cup of mayo and I thought it was plenty. I also used dried tarragon and white wine vinegar. (I didn't read the recipe correctly and just now read it and realized it said white wine not white wine vinegar ha)

Here's what you do:

1. Preheat the oven to 375. Coat the chicken in the evoo and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast the chicken for 35-40 minutes. When the chicken has cooled, cut it into bite-sized chunks.

2. While the chicken is cooking, prepare a pot of boiling water. Add the broccoli florets to the boiling water and boil for one minute. Then, place them in ice water to keep them crisp and green.

3. Make the sauce. Combine the mayo, mustards, tarragon, and wine. When the chicken has cooled and you have chopped it, place it in a bowl and cover with enough sauce to moisten it. Then, add the broccoli florets and the tomatoes, stir, and refrigerate to let the flavors set. You can serve it cold or at room temperature.

 Recipe from

It was super good, I recommend it! I'm off to find a snack and settle in for some afternoon TV- relaxing before another long weekend working on the house! I will leave you with the verse that is speaking to my heart. 

 Create in me a pure heart, O God,
 and renew a steadfast spirit within me.
 Do not cast me from your presence
 or take your Holy Spirit from me.
 Restore to me the joy of your salvation
 and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me
Psalm 51: 10-12