Wednesday, March 30, 2011

I love a good book...

I've started a new book and I feel I must share it with you. If you have not read this book, you must. Drop what you are doing and go buy this book. You will not be disappointed nor will you put this book down. Francine Rivers is an amazing Christian writer.

About the book:
"California’s gold country, 1850. A time when men sold their souls for a bag of gold and women sold their bodies for a place to sleep.  Angel expects nothing from men but betrayal. Sold into prostitution as a child, she survives by keeping her hatred alive. And what she hates most are the men who use her, leaving her empty and dead inside. Then she meets Michael Hosea. A man who seeks his Father’s heart in everything, Michael Hosea obeys God’s call to marry Angel and to love her unconditionally. Slowly, day by day, he defies Angel’s every bitter expectation until, despite her resistance her frozen heart begins to thaw. But with her unexpected softening come overwhelming feelings of unworthiness and fear. And so Angel runs. Back to the darkness, away from her husband’s pursuing love, terrified of the truth she can no longer deny: Her final healing must come from the One who loves her even more than Michael Hosea does…the One who will never let her go.  A life-changing story of God’s unconditional, redemptive, all-consuming love."

I read it before I was married just a couple months after Kyle and I started dating. If you are a girl out there, you need to read this book. I've started it again now that I am married to see if there was anything I missed and maybe have a different perspective.
It's a pretty thick book but give me about 4 or 5 days and a weekend, I'll have it finished. It's THAT good.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Some just need a salad.

So I wanted to share with you my favorite salads. Since my best friend is getting married this weekend and I'm in the wedding this week is a PERFECT week for a salad!
So my perfect salad is this...
baby spring mix
smoked almonds
dried cranberries
blue cheese

Best. Salad. Ever.

more of my favorite toppings:
feta cheese
dried cherries

And the perfect dressing to go with this salad:

Balsamic Vingerette
1/2 cup Balsamic Vinegar
3 T. Dijon Mustard
3 T. Honey
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 t. salt
1/4 t. pepper
1 c. olive oil

Whisk together first 6 ingredients until well blended. Gradually whisk in olive oil. Refrigerate leftovers.

Good thing about this dressing is that it doesn't require a lot nor does it feel/taste heavy like cream or milk based dressings.

Hope you enjoy!

Monday, March 28, 2011

Easy Peasy Lasagna!

Recipe Monday! I'm suprised I have the engery to post this last at night. I promise my posting will get more frequent...there's a lot going on in my life (softball coach's wife, best friend getting married THIS WEEKEND!, working on the weekends (blah!) and trying to keep up with laundry and the rest of the world). So with that being said Kyle and I have found this recipe very helpful. We can make it ahead of time and freeze it or make it one afternoon and eat it for dinner that night. Without futher adooo:


1 pound sweet Italian sausage

3/4 pound lean ground beef

1/2 cup minced onion

2 cloves garlic, crushed

1 (28 ounce) can crushed tomatoes

2 (6 ounce) cans tomato paste

2 (6.5 ounce) cans canned tomato sauce

1/2 cup water

2 tablespoons white sugar

1 1/2 teaspoons dried basil leaves

1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds

1 teaspoon Italian seasoning

1 tablespoon salt

1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

4 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

12 lasagna noodles

16 ounces ricotta cheese

1 egg

1/2 teaspoon salt

3/4 pound mozzarella cheese, sliced

3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese


1.In a Dutch oven, cook sausage, ground beef, onion, and garlic over medium heat until well browned. Stir in crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, tomato sauce, and water. Season with sugar, basil, fennel seeds, Italian seasoning, 1 tablespoon salt, pepper, and 2 tablespoons parsley. Simmer, covered, for about 1 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally.

2.Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Cook lasagna noodles in boiling water for 8 to 10 minutes. Drain noodles, and rinse with cold water. In a mixing bowl, combine ricotta cheese with egg, remaining parsley, and 1/2 teaspoon salt.

3.Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).

4.To assemble, spread 1 1/2 cups of meat sauce in the bottom of a 9x13 inch baking dish. Arrange 6 noodles lengthwise over meat sauce. Spread with one half of the ricotta cheese mixture. Top with a third of mozzarella cheese slices. Spoon 1 1/2 cups meat sauce over mozzarella, and sprinkle with 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese. Repeat layers, and top with remaining mozzarella and Parmesan cheese. Cover with foil: to prevent sticking, either spray foil with cooking spray, or make sure the foil does not touch the cheese.

5.Bake in preheated oven for 25 minutes. Remove foil, and bake an additional 25 minutes. Cool for 15 minutes before serving.

Finished product:

(I totally dressed it up for the picture, we topped it off with wayyyy more cheese than that!)

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Frost bites...literally...

So I spent most of tonight covering up our silly plants. I know we planted our garden just a tad bit early but considering our crazy lives right now, last weekend worked. So I was the crazy bag lady running around covering up all the flowers we planted last weekend and even some of the flowering bushes that are starting to come out. I will be very glad when spring is here on a consistant basis.

So since spring is offically here, I decied to change our door decorations. I had the wreaths from the wedding up, peacock feathered wreath with a sparkley "C" in the center. Very cute and worked perfect for winter. So Danielle and I made a stop in Pier1 on tuesday (love love LOVE Pier1). So I found this container for the front door. Love it! Still working on what should go in it. These flowers were sitting in the guest bedroom, left over from the wedding.

I have a few ideas, I just need to have time to run to Hobby Lobby or Michaels and finish it up. A new friend of mine, or Danielle's rather, had this on her front door. Might play copycat and steal the idea!

Another little find at Pier1 were these:

Trying to figure out what would be the better one to put over our bed. I've been looking at the sunburst mirrors. I want a big statement piece because I'm going to keep everything pretty simple and classic.

Would love your opinion!

Monday, March 21, 2011

I interupt this program to bring you "Recipe Monday!"

Hello World! I realized I told you I would try to share a recipe with you every monday and so far, I've only shared one. So on today's menu:
Potato Roll Sandwiches.

Potato Rolls (or Hawaiian Sweet Rolls)...32ish
Swiss cheese slices
2lbs shaved honey ham

1/2 c. butter
4 T Sugar
2T honey mustard
1T poppy seed
Dash of onion powder

Layer ham and a slice of cheese in rolls. Heat remaining ingredients in saucepan over low heat till mixed well. Brush over rolls and heat in over at 350 for 12 minutes or till heated through and cheese is melted.

This is THE perfect party sandwich and they are SUPER easy and taste AMAZING!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

i heArT being a homeowner!

It's done! It's done! Our wonderful yard is done! We worked so hard yesterday that we finished with some daylight left and we were to tired to cook ourselvs dinner! I'm so proud of how our front and back yard look!
We started around 8am Saturday morning going to Lowe's (only took 2 trips and a seperate trip to Across the Pond) and finished around 4:00 Saturday afternoon. The pictures really tell the story...

No, the flower bed doesn't look "bad" just needed some "umph!".
And we needed a new tree!

These were the plants that we bought at Lowe's on friday night. The best time to go in the spring, friday night! There was only a few people...nothing like a saturday or sunday afternoon. I was able to think through what I wanted...Kyle and I were able to talk and figure out what we were doing. It was lovely. A very good Friday night date, too!

Saturday. The process begins:
We moved around those two pink/purplish bushes so they weren't in the middle of the walk way. Then we layed down the stone. It took longer to load the stone at Lowes then it actually took to lay it out.
Next came the mulch...this year we chose brown instead of black. The black last year stood out so much that you almost saw the mulch instead of our flowers.

Finished front yard!

Now on to the backyard...yay. I had a real good attitude by that point. Not.
There's not much you can tell about the backyard yet. We re-seeded it...and dumped a ton of weed killer on it. So there will be follow up soon.
However, I did get this cute little veggie garden!

There's herbs, tomatoes, bell pepper, romaine lettuce, brocelli and strawberries.

The porch still needs some work too. Patio funiture, lights, concrete for the grill BUT I did get these pots started. These barrels were left over from last years "container gardening accident". Hopefully Old Time Pottery will have some cute ones. Hopefully I can get there soon.

So that was a days worth of work! However, Kyle and I would have never been able to finish as fast as we did if Susan and Phillip hadn't helped us. I also like having Susan around. We think alike and she was a big help in picking out the plants for the front flower bed.

Now that the outside looks good, I need to get the inside looking good!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Spring, Spring, Spring!

So I think after today's weather and Monday being the actual first day of spring, we can start refering to "this" as spring. I love spring. April is my favorite month...(next to June of course). I love to watch everything come to life after winter's cold. I love's in my blood. I come from a long list of farmers...while my family hertiage doesn't come with a trust fund, if we were to ever degress back to farming...better believe me or my family wouldn't starve. All my life I've been around plants, gardening, veggies...something coming from the ground. My grandparents both had veggie gardens...I use to spend a week with my mom's parents (Grandmother and Granddaddy) in the summer and I would be outside from dusk till dawn. If I wasn't playign in the corn stalks, I was making soups and stews with the veggies Grandmother deamed "bad".
So last year, Kyle let me run a little bit in our soon to be house together. We planted a few things and learned more lessons about gardening than we had expected. So this year, we're older and wise and trying it again.

Our first big project is to edge our front flower beds with stones and build up the flower bed just a little bit. Also when the builder planted the bushes in the front bed...I don't know that he really thought it through...some of the bigger bushes are in the front with the smaller little ones in the we would like to switch a few things there.
This is the look we're going for...key word..."going"

So depending on how far we get Saturday kind of depends on what flowers and shurbs go in the bed...that might just have to be a project for the next weekend.

I want to see what kind of room we are working with and do some research as to what does best in sun/shade/wet/dry conditions.
I'm going for something out a southern living magizine so i'm doing a lot of reading!

I would love to hear your ideas about what you have found that works,tips, tricks...
What are some of your favorite flowers or shrubs for a flower bed?!

Hopefully I'll post before and after pictures if i'm happy with what happens this weekend!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

I have the coolest mom. ever.

For those of you who don't know my mother very well, you are missing out. She is the best. Basically. So what makes her so cool? Well, last weekend New Hope softball was playing in Tuscaloosa and I was super pumped about going down to my "mothership"...well, Mother Nature is a RAT! Weekend long storms totally blew my plans away. Literally. So I was stuck at home to do those things that a "wife" should do on the weekend....clean house, do some laundry...restock our pantry...things of that nature. (It actually turned out to be a fabulous weekend because I got to go to some of Danielle's wedding showers AND never did the "housewife" work like I should have done. :) ) So Sunday in church she passed me a note that said... "What about a weekend trip to Atlanta?" response: "HECK YEAH!" So that's why my mom is the coolest mom ever. She takes me to Atlanta.
So Friday night after work we head out to Grandmother's and spend the night with her. This way we were only about an hour and a half outside of where we needed/wanted to be Saturday morning. Plans for the weekend included taking Britney to the American Girl Doll store (AMAZING!!) and then driving to Ikea.
Saturday morning we started at the American Girl Doll Store along with the rest of America who decided they wanted to visit the store too. I have never been around so many screaming "me-me's" in my life. However, the store was freaking amazing. I collected AG dolls when I was younger and started Britney off with a good size collection...well, needless to say, our kids are going to rule the world with the amount of AG stuff we have now. We walked around taking in the clothes (and screaming "me-me's") and dolls set up in display cases showing off the latest outfit/accessories/pets/everything. We walked around for a while before Britney made her selection.
Britney and her goodies!

After walking about the AG store and getting slightly closterphobic, we decided to walk around the mall, check it out and having some lunch. Mom and Britney had never been to The Cheesecake Factory so we decided that would be a good place to rest and get recharged for Ikea.
Britney and Mom's "Excited face"

So of course no one goes to The Cheesecake Factory and does not order cheesecake...
Red Velvet Cheesecake:
Turtle tracks:

So finally we made our way to Ikea!
While at Ikea, after closing my mouth from the shock of the store, I noticed something that would make my life complete...

This picture does not do this "closest" justice.
The shelves...the shoe racks...the slide out drawers just waiting for someone like me to fill them with my non-existent jewerly...I want this... Kyle...I want this...

So in one day I think I did enough damage to last for a good while...

All in all...great day. I can't wait to show you some of the projects I have lined up with what I bought at Ikea...better stay tuned!

Monday, March 7, 2011


So I was downloading new songs the other day...I use to be real good in college about finding some good music but lately, i've slacked off of the hunt. The first song I stumbled on was a new song by Francesca Battistelli called "This is the stuff". I have a few songs by her that I LOVE so i decided to listen to has now turned into my anthem song for my life. I know I'm on a journey...led by God but some days, I'm a snot, i'm selfish, i'm undeserving and i forget how truly blessed I am. I know it and God does too. He's using this time in my life to teach me patience.
I love planning. I plan dinners, I plan my weekends, I plan my off days for work and I plan my life. I've had about 12 life plans since I've started college. None of which I am on right now. In my head i've been all over the world, I've had 3 different jobs, I was some single girl making her way in a man's world and I never saw myself married right after college. Things change. I know that. I'm learning that what I want and what God wants are two totally different things. I am, however, working on what God wants. I'll get there and along the way, I'll learn a lot about myself too.

Until then... I'm learning patience...and man, God is a real good teacher.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

A outlet...

So i had the girls over the other night because it had been over a month since I had last seen them. We were so use to seeing each other 50+ times a day at Wesley and now we get one night a month, maybe. We talked about it all, boys, marriage, girls, crafts, ideas, jobs, and how much we miss college. I was relieved to hear them miss college as much as I did. I tear up right now just thinking about how that part of my life is over and it went by so fast. I walked in as a scared freshman eager for adventure and a happy ending and I was very lucky that I got both. I can't believe I'm saying this but I miss the stress, the tests, the life being complete chaos but yet, I was on my own- no bills, no obligations. I know I complained and I know I wanted out...but I take it all back. Give me the chance to go back, I'll be there faster than you can finish the sentence "Would you like to go back?"

However, among the chit chat we managed to get some pretty cool stuff done last night. I painted a sunflower that I found online, Lauren painted a cupcake, and Alicia made bracelets.

Our crafting area:

Lauren's super cute cupcake painting:

Alicia being crafty:
(She made me this super cute bracelet and a lady tried to buy it off me today at the bank!)

And here's what I did:

Let me give you a little explanation...I don't usually feel like I've done really good on a lot of things...I mean, A LOT OF THINGS...but this one I have to give myself kudos. I'm really proud of this painting and plan on hanging it up in the kitchen I like it that much.
It's an 8x8 canvas and I feel that staying that small is really good for me and my ADD-craft disease. I will say I did copy this picture but that's it. Everything else I did.
So this is a brag on myself...take it as you wish!

I'll take pictures of the final version after it's framed. Taking it tomorrow to Hobby Lobby. Conveniently I got paid today AND Hob Lob has custom framing 40% off!

Shout out to everyone reading this... I promise it will get interesting one day. :)