Thursday, March 31, 2011

thursday's ten: registry, registry

sorry for the late start's been a crazy morning already :)

today's 10 is back in the wedding swing of things: things we're registering for
(i almost made a top 10 list of things finn plays with that are not toys.  like the water bottle he's been obsessed with for the last 10 minutes.

<center><a href=""><img border="0" src="" /></a></center>

(all these can be found on the websites of one of the three places we're registering...williams-sonoma, bed bath & beyond and target.  oh if ONLY ikea were near here...)

1. stand mixer.  of course.

2. food processor (haven't selected the brand/model yet)

3. something to make the office space a little more fun/funky.  like this lamp.

or this one

or this one (floor lamp)

4. a slipcover for his sleeper sofa...for the guest room/office
5. an air mattress (for camping AND guests.  wait, did i just write "camping"?  yikes.)
6. fluffy towels!
7. good knives (any advice on brand there??)

8. fun casserole dishes

9. a toaster oven

10. a vacuum cleaner.  because the two we have are kinda crap. (and by "crap" i mean mine sucks some stuff up and his sucks up less)

and of course, fabulous sheets. :-)

what was on your registry that you're glad you added?
what was on your registry that you didn't need after all?


Wednesday, March 30, 2011

recipe of the week: chicken burgers w/garlic-rosemary mayo

my friend natasha and i love to hang out
and we looooove to cook
so last week i realized
she's nannying about 15 minutes down the road from me
and i get off on wednesdays right about the time the baby she's caring for goes down for a nap
we got together and cooked!

i found this amazing recipe on food network (thank you, giada!)
and we tried it
and looooved it

chicken burgers with garlic-rosemary mayo

1 cup mayonaise
1/4 cup fresh or 1 tablespoon dried rosemary leaves
1 glove of garlic minced or grated

1 pound ground chicken
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper (ok, we used WAY more than that)

4 burger buns or sandwich rolls
1 cup arugula
olive oil

in a small bowl, mix together mayonnaise, garlic, and rosemary; set aside.

preheat a gas or charcoal grill or place a grill pan over medium-high heat. in a large bowl, add the ground chicken, salt, pepper, and about 1/3 of the mayonaise mixture*.

gently combine the ingredients and form the chicken mixture into 4 patties.

place the burgers on the grill and cook for about 7 minutes on each side.

brush the cut side of each roll with the olive oil and 1 teaspoon of the mayonnaise mixture. grill for 1 to 2 minutes until slightly golden.**

spread a dollup of the remaining mayonnaise mixture on the tops and bottoms of the toasted buns. place the chicken burgers on the bottom halves of the buns. top each with 1/4 cup of arugula and finish with the top half of the bun.
 we topped ours with havarti cheese
 and served with trader joe's tabouli salad

* original recipe called for 1/2 the mayo mixture.  i reduced it based on reading reviews that said the burgers held together better with less mayo
** we totally skipped this step because we were SO hungry!  they were still amazing


Tuesday, March 29, 2011

hey, it's ok (tuesday) .7

visit amber for the original!

hey, it's ok

... to think the folgers commercials are a bit over the top. the latest one shows people drinking out of a ramekin and creamer cup because they can't spend the 2 extra minutes to locate the box marked "mugs" in the kitchen they just moved into.  i mean, really?

... to expect your phone and computer to communicate simply because they are both made by apple.  why is syncing such a nightmare?

... to think the spicy chicken deluxe combo from chick-fil-a is preferable to any other chicken meal EVER.
(but in all fairness, i don't love chicken.  i'm a beef girl)

... to have discovered and fallen in love with pinkberry.  this is not necessarily a good thing!

... to be excited about starting our registries this weekend. not have a CLUE what we're going to register for.  it's overwhelming!


Saturday, March 26, 2011

it's a great day to just put up the wordle

busy day of learning about life languages and working...much weekend love to you all!


Friday, March 25, 2011

recipe of the week: adult brownies

i made these for st patrick's day last week, and loved them enough to make them for my own birthday party tonight!  i found the recipe on the betty crocker website and (for once!) didn't feel the need to change a single thing!  probably because of the baileys ;-)

they are a *totally* simple recipe.
here's what you need:

1 box brownie mix
and basically follow the instructions on the back.  except substitute "baileys irish cream" when you see "water"
for example, the betty crocker fudge brownies i used required this substitution:

1 egg
1/2 cup oil
1/4 cup baileys -- except the second time i made them i put in 1/2 cup and they were even.more.amazing

mix all ingredients together as you normall would and bake according to package directions.
once brownies have cooled for at least 45 minutes, you can frost them


1/2 cup butter, softened
2 cups powdered sugar
2 tablespoons Baileys
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
2-3 tablespoons milk

Beat 1/2 cup butter in small bowl until light and fluffy. Beat in all remaining frosting ingredients, adding enough milk for desired spreading consistency. Spread over cooled brownies.

yummy!  enjoy...but don't share them with the children! ;-)


Thursday, March 24, 2011

thursday's ten: about turning 30

so by the time next thursday rolls around, i'll be 30. my birthday is monday. that SO does not seem possible! entering a new decade seems like it should be a bit more monumental to me, but i guess because i've done so much living since turning 20 that it really isn't fazing me.

here ARE 10 things about turning 30 in a few days though...things that i've learned in the last 10 years.

1. i love an excuse for celebration. especially when that celebration includes a pub night ;)
2. i'm much more comfortable in my own skin than i was 10, 5, even 1 year ago.
3. that biological clock just keeps ticking along!
4. i'll make my own birthday dessert to share just because irish cream brownies are that good.
(i'll post the recipe here tomorrow. ish.)
5. there are some things and some situations that just aren't worth my time. and i've learned to recognize them a bit more readily.
6. some days don't contain enough caffeine. this gets truer as i get older!
7. there really ARE more aches and pains in my body than there were when i was 20. i'm not imagining that. but i don't have to dwell on them, and i don't have to let them define me or how i feel.
8. taking a few moments to sit on a porch swing or lay in a hammock is time well spent. so is the occasional afternoon nap.
(my 20 year old self is SCREAMING that this statement can't possibly be
9. kids really do want structure and boundaries. they crave them. and there is a healthy way to create and enforce these things.
10. you really CAN get used to wearing a piece of jewelry 24/7 :D

how about you? what have you learned or done differently in the last 10 years?


Wednesday, March 23, 2011


the first time i felt the prompting to give to her i winced
not because i deemed her unworthy
but because of the fresh cigarette she had hanging from her lip
and the fact of my severe sensitivity to cigarette smoke.

i knew that the simple act of rolling down my window to buy a paper from this contributor seller
would cause me to cough for several minutes
and my eyes to water uncomfortably

yet i knew she was the one that week
to receive the money i had stashed to give to a seller
(i purposefully sow into this work
of helping the homeless earn money
so they can buy a room for the night
or save up for an apartment
or simply buy food that day...good, nurishing food)

so i rolled down my window
and handed her a few bills
saying "i actually already have a paper this month
but wanted to give you this"

she shoved a paper through my car window anyway
before i could protest
and said "no, take one!"

i don't often see the same people selling
but this scene
with this woman
has been repeated several times over the last few weeks

and it's been a joy
to drive away
(coughing ;-)
knowing that i'm sowing into one person's life
one among many

because most of the people i give a wad of cash to
i don't see again for several weeks, if ever
this woman, i've seen at least 2-3 times per week for the last month.

yesterday was a little different

as i rolled up to her normal stop
i smiled as i realized she was there

and as i rolled down my window
she snuffed her fresh cigarette on the ground
before she came over

since the light was freshly red
we chatted a bit
she apologized for being "dirty" today
but explained it was for a good reason
because she'd come straight from her brand new part-time job
where she was doing some sort of manual labor
(she told me exactly what kind...i just can't remember)

she was beaming as she told me
that she still needed to sell the papers for awhile
but once she found a second part-time job
she could be done

i told her i'd pray for her
and she lit up
and said "pray hard, please!"
and proceeded to tell me that she'd broken up with her boyfriend of 3 years
earlier that week
because she felt God was telling her that He had better things for her
and that the boyfriend was holding her back

so join me in praying for Katelyn please.
one of many
who has impacted me greatly
while i thought i was making a difference in her life


Thursday, March 17, 2011

thursday's ten: st patrick's day

abbreviated today because my life this week = i.n.s.a.n.e

it's no secret that i'm fiercely proud to be Irish and German (*mostly.  some other random stuff thrown in).
it's also no secret that in both those lineages are things that i'm not thrilled about.
lots and lots of occult and pagan stuff in irish history especially

and yet, on this day i remember
that the irish are a deeply spiritual folk
(which is likely why they were so faithful in their worship even in pre-Christian ireland.
and is likely why the fighting among christians has been so strong there.
we irish are awfully stubborn
and when we think something is right it's pretty hard to tell us otherwise)

they're (we're) also a fiercely optimistic bunch.
and a resilient population as well.
(hellooo potato famine, several invasions, etc, etc, etc,)

i tend to think it's my irish side that tries looking at situations from the most positive perspective possible.
after all, it could be so.much.worse
(almost always)
and the irish...well, are quite colorful at getting that point across.

i think you'll see a bit of a glimpse of that in the following irish blessings i've collected.
some are favorites from years ago.
some are recently discovered.

i hope you enjoy...and i pray that you're blessed.

May God give you...
For every storm, a rainbow,
For every tear, a smile,
For every care, a promise,
And a blessing in each trial.
For every problem life sends,
A faithful friend to share,
For every sigh, a sweet song,
And an answer for each prayer.

May the roof above us never fall in.
And may the friends gathered below it never fall out.

Christ be with me,
be after me,
be before me,
and be at my right and left hand.
May everything I do be for Christ.

May those that love us, love us.
And those that don't love us,
May God turn their hearts.
And if He doesn't turn their hearts,
May He turn their ankles
So we will know them by their limping.

May the road rise up to meet you.
May the wind always be at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face,
and rains fall soft upon your fields.
And until we meet again,
May God hold you in the palm of His hand.

Christ be with me
Christ before me
Christ behind me
Christ in me
Christ beneath me
Christ above me
Christ on my right
Christ on my left
Christ where I lie
Christ where I sit
Christ where I arise
Christ in the heart of every man
who thinks of me
Christ in the mouth of every man
who speaks of me
Christ in every eye that sees me
Christ in every ear that hears me
Salvation is of the Lord.

Dear Lord,
Give me a few friends
who will love me for what I am,
and keep ever burning
before my vagrant steps
the kindly light of hope...
And though I come not within sight
of the castle of my dreams,
teach me to be thankful for life,
and for time's olden memories
that are good and sweet.
And may the evening's twilight
find me gentle still.

Sleep, my babe, lie still and slumber,
All through the night
Guardian angels God will lend thee,
All through the night
Soft and drowsy hours are creeping,
Hill and vale in slumber sleeping,
Mother dear her watch is keeping,
All through the night
God is here, you'll not be lonely,
All through the night
'Tis not I who guards thee only,
All through the night
Night's dark shades will soon be over,
Still my watchful care shall hover,
God with me His watch is keeping,
All through the night

Wherever you go and whatever you do,
May the luck of the Irish be there with you.

Wishing you always...
Walls for the wind,
A roof for the rain
And tea beside the fire.
Laughter to cheer you,
Those you love near you,
And all that your heart may desire

St Patrick's story is a great one.  may i point you to a couple of my previous st patrick's day posts: the veggie tales version of his story and one of st patrick's prayers


Wednesday, March 16, 2011

lessons from songs: that place you thought you'd be

on one of the cds i asked for (and received) on christmas, the ditty bops cheerfully sing about being
"in between the place you thought you'd be
and where you are"

might i just suggest that actually BEING in the in between spot they sing about
is not quite as cheerful as they make it?

because...the times i've felt that i'm not where i *thought* i would be
the moments i dwell on where i am in life
and compare it to where my expectations had placed me
the former loses.
every time.

but does that have to be the case?
after all, life experiences would be so few
if i was where i thought i would be.

i laugh at my younger self sometimes
when i think that at the age of 18, i thought by now
i'd be married with a couple of kids
and then at the age of 25
i was positive i would never marry and would just adopt
two very small examples of where i thought i'd be
and where i am
(by the way, where i am is SO much better than either of those scenarios)

but there are the other things
by now i thought i'd have lived in my house for almost 8 years
where i actually am is in a spot of ruined credit and a foreclosure to put the cherry on top
by now i thought i'd have landed a job back in the classroom
where i am is completely loving what i do
but without health insurance of any kind (which means that going on birth control in a few months is gonna be tricky...)

(and there's always one of those, right?)
i am so thankful for where i am!

some of it has been kicking and screaming
but most of it hasn't
especially once i learned
that my decisions
aren't going to screw up God's plan

they may screw up MINE
but mine isn't the one that ultimately matters, right?

might i (gently) remind you
that if you're not where you thought you should be
it may be because of choices you've made?

here's the thing i'm learning
slowly but surely

i am in the place i thought i should be

it's all about me

my hopes
my dreams
my wants
my supposed needs

but where i actually am?

God is here
and that
is what makes the place i am
so much better
than where i ever thought i would be.


Saturday, March 12, 2011

it's a great day to take emi to the vet

poor emi has to go to the doctor today...she gave us quite a scare the other night and i just want to make sure she's ok!

after she gets a clean bill of health (ahem!) anthony and i are grabbing chinese for lunch and hanging out for a couple of hours.  he's having a guys night and i'm babysitting, so it'll be nice to steal a few moments together!

tonight is my favorite.  i hate, hate, hate "falling back" and even though springing forward means we "lose" an hour of precious sleep...i also don't have to drive home at 4:30 pm in the freakin' dark!  so YAY for getting back to the right time!

other than that, not a whole lot going on in my corner of the world...
have a great weekend and don't forget to change those clocks!


Friday, March 11, 2011

3 in 30: march checkin

quick checkin here!

  • drink at least 3 glasses of water per day so far i'd say about 5 out of 7 days per week this is happening. i'm working on it!
  • try at least 4 new recipes well, i'm gonna be doubling up one of these weeks because i have NOT been HOME for the last few it just hasn't happened.
  • carve out at least 30 minutes of time per day for me.  this cannot include wedding planning or doing laundry... ;) this one, i'm happy to say, is happening.  perhaps 1 day in the last few that it hasn't!


Thursday, March 10, 2011

thursday's ten: diy centerpieces

that's right, ladies and gentlemen. i hereby vow to NOT let this become a wedding blog (or a marriage blog...or a baby/kid blog when that time comes) BUT because this is the stage of life i'm currently in, expect at least one post per week about wedding planning!

so, we're on a pretty tight budget and i've been perusing the internet for ideas for beautiful and cool things to do. i'm a teacher, and our motto is pretty much "beg, steal or borrow" so i have no qualms about it!

i have found SO many cool ideas, just in the last week or two for DIY centerpieces. some of them are cool enough that i'll probably keep them in a file for future entertaining ideas. we plan to host people in our home quite often, so i am anticipating needing ideas for beautiful and inexpensive decor!

here are 10 of my current favorites (it was hard to limit the post, so there may be another post or 3 of these before october!)

(clicking on the picture will take you to the original site.)

harvest centerpiece -- definitely appropriate for our october date!

these candles are STAMPED.  genius.  another tutorial on the same site uses vellum paper

morrocan is not our theme, but these were too cool not to include (i would make sure to wrap wire at the top to hide the obvious lid grooves if i were doing it...but that would be easy to do with copper wiring and copper paint instead of gold!)


LOVE this "chandelier" made with varying heights and styles of taper holders.  gorgeous.

 we likely will not use flowers in our centerpieces, but if we DO, this would be a fun way to incorporate a few.


our reception site ceiling isn't low enough for this one, but how COOL is it?!  if i ever host a crafting party...

mmm-kay, this one is UBER cool and a great way to recycle your own wine bottles!

for a summer wedding?  perfection.  and honestly, for our fall wedding we're considering using apples and other appropriate "harvests", so this could be adapted.

another relatively inexpensive way to use florals

if we were having a winter wedding...but i can TOTALLY see myself making this for a dinner party in mid-january...

it's a little overwhelming to find so many GOOD ideas!  i definitely have some thoughts running through my head of what i envision on our tables, but i'll have to play around with it some before i announce it here :)

what did you do?  or what do you think you'll end up doing when that time rolls around?


Wednesday, March 9, 2011


every year i get to fat tuesday and i start wondering
"hmmm, what should i give up this year for Lent?"

this year, it was more of a pondering
with all that has been given up this year
both voluntarily and with me kicking and screaming
and with all that i've learned this year
about the Grace of God
about being a daughter instead of an orphan
about breaking off curses and welcoming in blessings

with all that charismatic and wonderful stuff
is it even appropriate to celebrate Lent?

still, the stirrings in my soul cry out
to follow a church calendar
to remember the heritage
of a Church more ancient than any worship style
than any living earthly being

to remember Sacrifice
that brought us that Grace
to remember the Son
who made it possible for me to be a daughter
to remember that He was the one who broke off all the curses
and brought all the blessings

there are so many things i'm learning about
about Papa
about Jesus
about Holy Spirit

but today i will begin by asking Holy Spirit for guidance
as to what my Lenten sacrifice will be
i will attend a mid-day Mass
grateful for a Catholic church that will place the ashes on my Protestant forehead
reminding me of the sacrifice of the Son
and i will end the day by attending a class that talks about Father's heart
in a church where i will likely be told more than once
that i "have something on my forehead"

and i will smile and explain
the reason for the ashes

Father, Son, Holy Spirit
all entertwined in this day
all entertwined in my life

this is how it should be

and for these 40 days of Lent
may i remember