Thursday, December 27, 2012

thursday's ten or so: the holiday edition

since i'm still kind of in a holiday coma (and more to come since we haven't celebrated with my family yet!) i thought it would be fun to share a few holiday memories from this year. please feel free to respond in the comments or write your own post with these memories and more!

most awkward moment
a toss up between playing a dirty santa game that half the room wasn't into and when we all had to be silent while an aunt read the weather report from...louisville?

most satisfying receipt of a gift (for me)
anthony's reaction when he realized that i had bought him the complete collection of calvin and hobbes. 

most satisfying receipt of a gift (for us)
we made anthony's mom cry. twice in a row :-) first for a cashmere scarf and second for a family photo from our wedding we had printed and framed for his parents

most surprising gift (for me)
anthony got me a new tv!

most surprising gift (for us)
anthony's aunt bought us the sound of music on bluray, which was on our list. only she got us a limited edition collector's set. it's pretty amazing...and TOTALLY above what we would have ever expected!

most gobbled part of the main meal?
we had prime rib and sides...not surprisingly the prime rib was number one on the "like" list (at least at our table). however, the twice baked garlic potatoes were pretty freaking awesome too!

most fun stocking surprise?
for me? pretty sure it was the OPI bondettes mini set anthony stuffed in there. for him? i think it's a toss-up between the ninja-bread cookie cutters and the om-nom (character from cut the rope) plush. he might tell you differently though ;-)

most pleasant surprise?
that instead of everyone ripping into their gifts at once there were several of us who watched for the reactions of everyone else...that made it last slightly longer, but certainly made it more fun.

most fun new tradition?

we added to an old tradition (that of everyone gathering to watch a christmas movie for 3 or 4 nights) but offering to bring dinner one of the nights. tomato basil soup and grilled cheese is now officially "the" meal for the viewing of white christmas :-)

so. how were your festivities?


Sunday, December 16, 2012

even so...rejoice.

oh come Thou Dayspring come and cheer
oh, Papa, do we ever need your peace. your cheer. your arms to wrap around us.

our spirits by thine advent here
we wait. we dare to hope again. we dream.

disperse the gloomy clouds of night
the clouds this week have have been more sobering than before

and death's dark shadows put to flight
remind us that death, even senseless, tragic, angering death does not win

rejoice, rejoice
give us the strength, the faith, the will to rejoice again

God is with us. GOD is WITH us.

has come to thee, oh Israel


Thursday, November 8, 2012

thursday's ten: the non-suggested 5k edition

times i wouldn't suggest running a 5k

when you've been sick with the flu 3 out of the last 5 days.
when because of your back being injured for 6 weeks followed by the flu, you haven't trained even once in the last 2 months
when it's classified as an off road adventure
when your asthma is acting up
when you stayed up until 3 am with a girlfriend eating junk and watching tv
when you are used to temperatures over the mid 60s (in tennessee) and you are now set to run in 40 degree northwestern kentucky weather
when rain is also predicted
when your tennis shoes are so old they aren't really great for running on any surface anymore, much less non-paved surfaces
when you forget to take your inhaler until halfway up the first hill (thank GOODNESS i had borrowed a spibelt to carry it in and was able to remedy that quickly!)


if you choose to still do the 5k after ALL that?

it may be awesome
it may be fun
it may be the worst time you've ever had because you ended up HIKING in the woods on a single file trail instead of running a 5k (guess that's what they meant by off road)
there may be gorgeous scenery
you may feel an enormous sense of accomplishment just for surviving
it may be something you want to do again, at least once in awhile :-)


Wednesday, October 31, 2012

coming out of my (you guessed it) sick fog to post some exciting swag news

seriously, i'm sick again. although i'm on the upswing now, i've been running a lovely fever and having general flu-like symptoms for the last 3 days.

BUT i just read this and had to come post it quickly.

Starting on November 1st, the Swagbucks Swag Store will be bringing you lower prices and limitless rewards. (and they even make sense now. $5 gift cards are 500 swagbucks, $10 gift cards are 1000 swagbucks, etc, etc. the only exception is amazon $5 cards which will still be 450 swagbucks!

You can now snag even more rewards, because the old monthly redemption limits (except the $5 Gift Card which bums me out slightly) will be gone. You’re still limited to 2 rewards per day, but you can get as many repeat cards as you want! 

this means i may actually get a $10 and $25 amazon card or two each month in addition to my normal 5 $5 cards. this means christmas shopping just got WAY easier. and free-er.

um, if you haven't signed up for swagbucks yet, you really should. click on any of the links in this post and (a) you'll start earning free gift cards by doing very simple things and (b) i'll get referral bucks when you search on sb!

oh, and there's a new program where if you go to stores you normally shop at (like itunes for example...) and purchase something you get swagbucks. it varies how many sb you get per dollar spent,  and you don't get instant gratification. but i just got 18 swagbucks in my account for using an itunes gift card (therefore spending NO money) to buy a 8.99 album last month. check out the shop and earn tab to see what stores are featured!


Monday, October 22, 2012

monday's memory: in the details, He is there

be encouraged -- God sees you, knows you, and loves you
{-me :-)} from this post on august 23

and little did i know that hours after writing those words i'd have an example

because of my scheduled time to arrive at work (9.30 am) there is rarely traffic on my way in. therefore, i rarely consult the traffic app on my phone before leaving my house.

on august 23, however, i did.

and what i saw made me pause. my normal route to work was clogged, apparently. and the secondary way i would have normally chosen was not the recommended way to go. instead, a third way that i wouldn't ordinarily consider popped up as the way i should go.

at first i dismissed it.

but the nagging thought (read: Holy Spirit) kept pressing that i should go that way after all.
and so i reluctantly pulled off the exit. after the light turned green i made my left turn.

and that's when i knew something was wrong.
heart pounding i pulled slowly into the first gas station i could spot
and stepped out of the car to see if my suspicions were correct

sure enough, i had a flat tire. and not just a flat tire that needed a bit of pumping up...a FLAT tire. as in, i'm not even sure how i had made it this far on it, surprised my wheel wasn't damaged, flat flat tire.

and then i had to laugh just a little.

you see, this alternate way that i would have never considered?
the gas station that i had abruptly pulled into?
it happened to be just down the street (about a mile) from where my husband's office is

so he was able to come within moments, drive me to work, and then wait with my car for the AAA guy.

all ended up well
(hello brand new set of tires)

but it could have been the opposite.
my normal way to work? interstate the entire way. i don't even want to think about the ramifications of what could have happened given HOW flat my tire was.

that morning i was prompted to open an app on my phone that i ordinarily would have ignored
i was nudged to follow the instructions on the app even though ordinarily i would have dismissed them and gone a more familiar route

a few hours after all this happened a friend tweeted these words, and i had to smile (and retweet):
"God has never stopped being interested in the details of our lives. so why do we worry?"

i'm sure some people would argue that God isn't interested in the details of our lives
i'm sure some would say that i am imagining the hand of God in this.

and all i can say to that is that i hope they have experiences (as i have) where it is undeniable that God is working even in the tiniest areas of their life. living in disbelief that you are radically loved by God is one of the saddest things i know.

because knowing that the God of the universe, the One who speaks and mountains move is personally and intimately interested in every detail of your life?

it's life-changing, my friends

oh, how He loves us so.


Sunday, October 21, 2012

it's a great day to celebrate granny

this is one of those glorious weekends 
where not much is 'scheduled'
and things are pretty laid back

yesterday morning anthony worked while i had lunch with a friend and ran errands
we had vodka pasta for dinner (yay indulgences)

today is church (at 4.30 pm. being part of a church plant is awesome that way)
and tonight we celebrate anthony's granny's birthday
(i believe there is brisket involved)

i have a gift to wrap
and worship rehearsal to get to

hope you're having a lovely day


Friday, October 19, 2012

recipe of the week: beefy noodle casserole

i love my schedule. except for one small but important detail.

i'm rarely home before 7. 

which wouldn't be a big deal if
(a) i didn't love to cook
(b) we ate more easy/processed foods

but since neither of those are a truth in our home, i have limited options to getting a healthy and tasty meal on the table. 

thankfully i've discovered a few solutions.
(a) prepping ahead of time, and leaving instructions for anthony to pop something in the oven or mix the last part of a dish together
(b) a husband who doesn't mind cooking start to finish since he gets home first (and who does so at least once every other week or so...and would do it more often if i asked!)
(c) a crock pot that i try to utilize several times a month
(d) quicker but still "real food" recipes.

don't get me wrong. i will always love cooking the more involved and impressive dishes. but they simply aren't practical for a weeknight in our home. hello saturdays :-)

with that longest introduction ever, here's a very basic little recipe that you could adapt to fit your own taste preferences. this is actually originally a taste of home recipe that i adapted quite a bit. it's fairly low-fat, calorie and carb though, so i definitely appreciate it!

beefy noodle casserole

2 cups egg noodles
1/2 pound ground beef
1 can tomato sauce (14.5 oz)
6 tbsp diced green chiles (standard small can)
2 tbsp diced green onions
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup sour cream
2 tbsp cream cheese
1/4 cup mozzarella cheese
red pepper flakes, salt, pepper, cayenne pepper to taste

cook pasta according to package directions
 brown ground beef
 add tomato sauce
 green onions
 green chiles
 and spices. simmer together for about 5-10 minutes
 spoon 1/2 beef mixture into bottom of casserole dish
 top with 1/2 the noodles, then layer the cheeses and sour cream on top
 repeat beef and noodle layers
 bake at 350 for 20 minutes or until it's bubbling nicely


Thursday, October 18, 2012

thursday's ten or so: on the tv edition

so, between the debates and all that, i've found time to add a few new shows to the plethora i already watched ;-) in no particular order, here are a few shows that are new this fall that i've made it a point to watch at least one episode of. 

1. go on
2. the new normal
3. elementary
4. nashville
5. last resort
6. guys with kids
7. made in jersey (which was canceled already...)

i also have plans to check out
8. chicago fire
9. partners
10. revolution
11. the mob doctor

i kind of make it a point to watch a few episodes before deciding whether i will continue watching a show or not. so i'll reserve commentary on any of the above for awhile, but i'll say that so far i'm enjoying most of them! it does help that half of them are only 30 minute shows that i can easily watch while prepping or cleaning up from dinner :-)

are you watching any of this season's new shows? what do you think so far?


Tuesday, October 16, 2012

hey, it's ok (tuesday) 10.16

hey, it's ok look forward to your trips to whole foods. hello my happy place. use your lunch hour to go buy soap at target. hey, sometimes it helps to just get out of the building. be grateful for God's timing and divine appointments light candles in the dining and living rooms when your husband is getting ready to have a houseful of guys over to play poker. like they cared. be somewhat amused by the debates (and more than a somewhat annoyed at the facebook/twitter/even freaking pinterest feeds of one-sided responses). not really understand the purpose of gender reveal parties. i mean, fun i suppose. but what's wrong with the good 'ol facebook or group text of "it's a boy!"? 
(if i ever have one, you have my permission to remind me of this post) still not understand the tennessee licensing system. in indiana you got your driver's license and car license plates at the same place. it was even called the license branch. here you have to figure out which to do first if you're a new resident and then go to three different locations: emissions testing, county clerk and ...i still don't know what the place is called to get your driver's license. but you can also register to vote at one of those places. and one of those places you go to every four years and the other two yearly. realize that your job is one part baby fever and one part birth control. snuggling a precious cooing 6 month old and then dealing with a full-blown 3 year old fit in the space of 20 minutes will make you one confused woman. 

please to visit amber and her wonderful blog :-) she hosts this fun link-up every week!


Monday, October 15, 2012

monday's memory: mr & mrs, a year later

so a year and a week ago, we were getting married.

and then last week on monday, we had been married a year
even weirder

when people have asked me how married life is this past year 

(and there have been a LOT of those people asking that question)

i always have said "i finally feel normal. like this is how it's supposed to be."

and that may not be a glowing recommendation of marriage

or the warm fuzzy newlywed right thing to say
but this us? this is RIGHT. 

i have no other ways to say it
except to repeat a few of the words i said to anthony the day of our wedding as we exchanged vows
"I think my deepest joy on this day
Is that from now on…
I get to experience LIFE with you"

and i love this life we share :-)
our actual anniversary: zoo, buying books for each other, yummy dinner

and cutting into the top layer of our still-amazing-tasting wedding cake :-)


Thursday, October 11, 2012

thursday's ten or so: the fall 2012 sickly edition

the funny thing about working with children is that you pick up more bugs than you would normally. and even though i've worked with children in some capacity since about 2000 (at daycare while i was in college)...somehow the children at my new preschool are giving me a whole new "welcome basket" worth of stuff. 

in the last 4 weeks, here's what's happened (this also should explain why i haven't blogged much recently, ha)

1. i got the stomach bug that had ripped through the school. no surprise since i had cuddled sick babies 3 days before.
2. anthony got the stomach bug, only his lasted approximately 3 times as long as mine did. sorry, babe.
3. my back was in the process of going out. while pushing a child's wheelchair one beautiful friday afternoon, it gave up. turning around to stop a child from ingesting paint while pushing wheelchair...not a good plan
4. anthony got a sinus infection*
5. my back continued to be awful, and my hip joined in on the fun. approximate age: 148
6. i started getting a sinus infection*
7. my back finally started getting better with chiropractic visits and lots of ice packs...yay. (and as of tonight it's ALMOST back to normal)
8. i ran a low-grade fever off and on for several days
9. today i went to the doctor with a suspicion. sure enough, i have pinkeye. oh joy.

there's no telling what's next. but you know what? i still love my job :-) bless those sweet little germ carriers.

*obviously we can't blame the preschool for the sinus infections...but there have definitely been some plagues on this house! 

on another note: today my friend natasha and i got tickets to the P!NK concert that's happening in nashville in march. she pointed out later the irony that the day i get pinkeye we got pink tickets. ha. 


Saturday, September 29, 2012

recipe of the week: mongolian beef (crock pot or not)

once upon a time, i decided that i wanted to make mongolian beef.
and none of the recipes i found seemed perfect, so naturally i decided to make my own :-)

here's what you need:

1 pound (or a bit more) flank steak
1/4 cup cornstarch
olive oil
3 large cloves garlic, minced
1 inch ginger, grated
1 tablespoon red pepper flakes
2 tablespoons brown sugar
5 green onions, sliced into 1/2 or 1 inch pieces
1/2 cup hoisin sauce
1/2 cup low sodium soy sauce
1/2 cup water

begin by slicing the flank steak against the grain into very thin strips


place your corstarch in a mixing bowl

toss the steak strips in it until they are well coated

in a large skillet heat garlic, ginger and red pepper flakes in olive oil for 3-5 minutes
add coated beef strips and fully cook
grab your green onions
add them to the mix (perfectly ok to do this while the meat is browning, of course)
add the brown sugar
once the meat is fully cooked, mix the hoisin and soy sauces

pour into the mix and add the water

this is the point where it can go one of two ways. either simmer it on the stove until you are ready to serve it

OR pour into a crock pot and use the lowest setting (i just kept it on "warm") to continue simmering it throughout the day.

serve over brown rice. so, so yummy.