Tuesday, April 26, 2011


If you have been living under a rock like we apparently have and haven't yet seen The King's Speech, then I highly recommend that you see it! It just came out on DVD and it is also here at the local dollar theater.

Also go here and take a look at the trailer for the movie The Help. I loved this book and I can't wait until August 12 when it comes to theaters!

We DESPERATELY need some ideas for our Netflix que...please advise!!!

Monday, April 25, 2011

Fire Up the Grill!

The lovely weather outside and the desire to not heat up our small apartment with the oven has motivated us lately to fire up the grill. Need some more motivation to get grilling? Check out these delicious recipes:

Tender Grilled Pork Chops- This is another great recipe from Mel's Kitchen Cafe. These are delicious and super easy. We have made them several times in the last month. Grill some extras and enjoy them later on a bun with some bbq sauce.

4 boneless pork loin chops
1/4 cup olive oil
2 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon steak seasoning

Mix up the marinade, then pour it over pork chops in a ziplock bag. Marinate for several hours and then grill! I have been using the extra lean thin sliced pork chops that Publix sells. Typically there are about 6 in the tray and it sells for about $3.

Grilled Chicken Kabobs with Mint-Feta Sauce- This is seriously one of my all time favorite recipes. My mother in law first shared this Martha Stewart gem with me. Please try these, you won't be dissappointed!

1 pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into twenty-four 1-inch pieces (I use chicken breasts typically)
1 zucchini, halved lengthwise and cut crosswise into sixteen 1-inch pieces
1/2 small red onion, quartered, layers separated
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon dried oregano
3 tablespoons red-wine vinegar
Coarse salt and ground pepper
1/2 cup crumbled feta (2 ounces)1/4 cup plain low-fat yogurt
1 cup fresh mint leaves

1. In a resealable plastic bag, combine chicken, zucchini, onion, oil, oregano, and 2 tablespoons vinegar; season with 1/2 teaspoon salt and teaspoon pepper. Marinate at room temperature for 30 minutes (or refrigerate up to overnight).

2. Heat grill or grill pan to medium. Soak eight 6-inch wooden skewers in water for 15 minutes.

3. Onto each skewer, alternately thread 3 pieces of chicken with 2 of zucchini and 2 of onion. Grill skewers, turning occasionally, until chicken is cooked through, 12 to 14 minutes.

4. Meanwhile, make dipping sauce: In a food processor, blend feta, yogurt, mint, and remaining tablespoon vinegar until smooth. Serve kebabs with dipping sauce.

Tonight we grilled Pizza Burgers. I am not going to share the exact recipe that I used because I wasn't really satisfied with it, the patties fell apart way too easily. I'm not sure that it tasted like pizza as the recipe promised, but we did enjoy the Italian flare. You could totally make your own version by adding oregano, thyme, basil, rosemary, onion powder and garlic to your favorite burger recipe. Then just top it with sliced mozzarella, tomatoes, lettuce and fresh basil.

Now go fire up your grill!!

P.S. Got a favorite recipe for grilling?? Share it with me in the comments...would love some more to try!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

For Mama

“Behold, God is my salvation;
I will trust, and will not be afraid;
for the Lord God is my strength and my song,
and he has become my salvation.”

Isaiah 12:2

Monday, April 18, 2011

A Little Catch Up...

A lot has happened since I last blogged. Terrible tornados swept through the South last Friday. Sadly they hit really hard in Clinton where we used to live and where Aaron's parents and grandfather live. They are all ok and didn't have a lot of damage and we are very thankful. Our old townhouse didn't fair so well:

During the bad weather on Friday, though unrelated, my laptop died. Sob! I knew the end was coming and backed up pictures, but it will be missed.

Due to the bad weather, the dress rehearsal for my first round of recitals was canceled. Needless to say this made me pretty nervous about how the recital would go on Saturday. All my little dancers did great though. This is one of my kindergarten classes. Aren't they just so cute?!

Today is Aaron's birthday...Happy Birthday Ronnie!!! We celebrated tonight by using a Living Social deal that we had bought to Mugshots Grill...the burgers were delish. Later he opened some presents...

and then I made this:

Banana Nutella Stromboli

I posted a pic of this recently on facebook and promised I would post the recipe. It is so terribly easy that you really don't need a recipe, but here it is finally:

Banana Nutella Stromboli

You will need a banana, a pizza crust, and a jar of nutella (optional: 1 T butter and a little sugar)

1) Preheat oven to 375 degrees
2) lightly grease a cookie sheet
3) roll out the crust and then spread some nutella down the middle

4)top it with sliced banana
5) cut the sides with scissors into inch wide strips then criss cross them over the center. Optional step here is to melt a little butter and brush it on top and then sprinkle with a little sugar. This just gives it is nice sparkly and crunchy top.

6) Bake for 15 or so minutes and then slice and enjoy!!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Learning to Fly

Have you not known? Have you not heard?
The Lord is the everlasting God,
the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He does not faint or grow weary;
his understanding is unsearchable.

He gives power to the faint,
and to him who has no might he increases strength.

Even youths shall faint and be weary,

and young men shall fall exhausted;

but they who wait for the
Lord shall renew their strength;
they shall mount up with wings like eagles;
they shall run and not be weary;
they shall walk and not faint.

Isaiah 40:28-31

This morning I saw something beautiful. She was a delicate and graceful bird and she flapped her arms like wings in the most gentle and beautiful way. Her name is Audrey and she is a student in one of my special needs creative movement classes. I only wish I had a video to share with you because I know it would bring a smile to your face. Audrey has come a long way this year and daily deals with some huge obstacles. Thanks to the careful and patient instruction of wonderful teachers who have faithfully worked with her she is soaring. Today she danced with a scarf, she stopped and froze at the signal of the music, she clapped her hands joyfully and today she flew.

Friends, don't lose hope in your struggles, obstacles and exhaustion. We have a loving Father who patiently and carefully instructs us and who strengthens us, the weak and weary. He even gives wings to soar!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Easy Crafty Gift Idea

I just love cleaning with microfiber cloths. They are awesome for dusting! When I came across these little packs of cute colorful ones back in the fall at Dollar General, I decided to get my craft on.

I cut out circles of varying sizes and then made little yo-yos. If you don't know how to make them rest assured they are super easy! Here is a tutorial if you want to know how. I then attached the yo-yo's to another microfiber cloth or plain hand towel by sewing a button onto the center and VIOLA:

I also made this hand towel in our bathroom from an old yellow towel, but I don't really recommend this as the towel was much more difficult to work with than the microfiber cloth. I sewed those yo-yos on backward since they weren't as pretty.

I did this project months ago and have since given these as little gifts. It pairs great with the bottles of Martha Stewart Cleaning Spray that I scored for cheap at Publix.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Recipe Entry: Pesto Chicken Pasta

Well friends, sadly this is the last recipe entry I have to share with you from the giveaway. I hope that you have been inspired and maybe found some go to recipes to add to your list. I have enjoyed trying them out! Thanks again for sending them.

This recipe is from Emily T. She wrote me, "My mom sent me this one from one of her cookbooks (I can't remember which one). This recipe tastes great served hot or cold, which is really nice since you can make ahead of time and then just pull it out of the fridge when you're ready to eat it."

Pesto Chicken Pasta
(makes 4 servings)

1 Tbsp olive oil
1 lb skinless, boneless chicken breast halves, cut into thin bite-sized strips (or about 10 chicken tenderloins)
2 cups chopped yellow summer squash and/or zucchini
2 Tbsp refrigerated basil pesto
2 cups fresh spinach
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
2 cups cooked pasta (any shape you like)
2 Tbsp finely shredded Asiago or Parmesan cheese
1/4 tsp salt (or to taste)

In large skillet, heat olive oil over medium high heat.
Add chicken strips and squash.
Cook and stir for 4-6 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink.
Stir in pesto and remove from heat.
Add spinach, tomatoes and salt and toss until spinach begins to wilt.
Toss in pasta or serve over pasta.
Sprinkle with cheese.

Thanks Emily!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Strawberry Cupcakes for Memo and Millie

Last month I had the pleasure of helping to host a baby shower for my best friend Memo and her baby Millie that is going to be born in May! Memo LOVES cupcakes, so I knew they were a must for her shower. There is a local bakery here called Edgar's that makes a strawberry cake that is AMAZING, quite possibly the best cake you will ever taste in your life in my humble opinion. I set out to make a copy cat version. Edgar's magic is in their delicious icing and I cannot claim to have recreated it, but I do think this comes in a close second. It took me three tries, but the third time's the charm! The pink color is perfect to celebrate the birth of a baby girl and the consistency is just right for piping into a nice swirl on top.

Strawberry Cupcakes
recipe from the book Cupcakes from the Cake Mix Doctor by Anne Byrn

24 paper cupcake liners
1 package plain white cake mix
1 package (3 oz) strawberry jello
1 cup finely chopped strawberries with juice
3/4 cup milk
3/4 cup vegetable oil
4 large eggs

1. Preheat oven to 350 F and place liners in pans.
2. Mix the cake mix, jello, strawberries, milk, oil and eggs with mixer on low (be sure and scrape sides and bottom of bowl) and then increase to medium for 2 minutes. Place about 1/3 cup of batter in each cupcake cup.
3. Bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes, until lightly golden. Cool on wire rack before icing.

Strawberry Cream Cheese Icing
recipe from Glorioustreats.blogspot.com

1/2 cup butter, room temperature
8 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
1 tsp vanilla extract
4 cups powdered confectioners sugar
2 Tbsp strawberry preserves
red food coloring

1. Use mixer to blend butter and cream cheese.
2. Add vanilla extract and powdered sugar. Mix on medium speed til fluffy.
3. Mix in preserves and red food coloring with medium speed til it is the desired color.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Recipe Entry: Naked Spring Rolls

Margo sent me this recipe entry. She blogged about it here. She says, "I call this salad "Naked spring rolls" and I would probably serve this with a soup for dinner. Maybe even miso soup which is fast pantry food around here. Naked spring rolls do, however, have a carb, protein, and vegetables."

Naked Spring Rolls

2 c. leftover cold rice (you could use cold noodles)
3 c. sliced Chinese cabbage (or regular cabbage)
3-4 chopped scallions
1 grated carrot
1/2 c. chopped cilantro
2-4 Tbs.??? Hoisin sauce to taste - it's no chore to taste it until you get it right!

We garnished our naked spring rolls with chopped salted peanuts.

Thanks Margo!

Monday, April 4, 2011

Birthday Weekend

I had a birthday this past Saturday and it was a fun one! I had previously signed up for lots of fun birthday freebies and it was fun to cash in on some of them. On Friday night we went across the street and split my free burrito at Moe's, then we headed to World Market. Did you know that if you sign up for the World Market Explorers club they will email you a $10 certificate for your birthday?! So fun! We planned to go for a hike and a picnic on my birthday so I cashed in on fun specialty food items.

Saturday we packed our lunch and headed to Ruffner Mountain.

It was a beautiful sun shiny day, warm but with the perfect cool breeze.

We enjoyed exploring yet another trail there and working up a good appetite, then we sat down and enjoyed this:

It was yummy and fun! We also went out to eat later, enjoyed strawberry cream puff cake with family and...

confession: we worked on getting the new daybed set up in the guest room, but hit a wall. We realized that we were losing some valuable under bed storage (a commodity in a small apartment) and we faced the dilemma of not really wanting to get rid of our current bed frames and box springs, but not having a good place to store them. So we deliberated and then took the daybed apart and the twin beds back into their places. I promptly posted the daybed on craigslist and within a few hours it was sold and gone.

So that is the story of the daybed. I guess sometimes you just have to try something out before you realize it doesn't work :)

Hope your week is off to a great start!

Friday, April 1, 2011

Book Review: Adopted for Life

"But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons."
Galations 4:4-6

"Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world."
James 1:27

You might have noticed that over on the right side of the page I have a little section called currently reading. Adopted for Life: The Priority of Adoption for Christian Families and Churches by Russell D. Moore has been on there for a few weeks and just this week I finished reading it.

I don't think I could more heartily recommend this book! It was so good! It is very well-written as Moore weaves his own family's adoption story with the beautiful Gospel truths that we have been adopted as children of God.

This book is moving, encouraging, informative and most of all challenging. This is a book for everyone, not just those considering adoption. This is for the single person, young couples and parents, and those who are empty nesters or retired. He has so many practical ideas for how all of these categories of people can and should be involved in the care of orphans and their adoptions.

Please read this book! (I own it, so let me know if you want to borrow it).