Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Basil out the ears

The Hubs and I grew basil this summer, and the hot summer sun (and the Hubs DIY irrigation system) has really helped our basil to grow like a beast. LIKE A BEAST, I tell you.

I love basil. Basil, basil, basil. Yum, yum in my tummy. We have so much of it, we are making tons and tons of recipes with it, such as...
 Margherita Pizza ala Me Recipe:
12 inch wheat dough - I buy mine from a local pizza shop or you could make your own

3 medium tomato(es)   
1 cup basil, shredded into ribbons

1 cup mozzarella cheese (buy a ball of mozzarella cheese and cut into 1/2 inch slices)


  1. Place a pizza stone or inverted baking sheet on the lowest oven rack; preheat oven to 400F
  2. Roll the pizza and place on a 13-inch circle. Make it thin! Oh yum!
  3. Bake the pizza a bit before topping it until the bottom is crisp for about 5 to 8 minutes.
  4. Top with sliced tomatoes, cheese and shredded basil. 
  5. Drizzle 2 tsps of olive oil on top and bake for another 5 to 8 minutes till crust is golden, but don't let mozzarella brown!
  6. Serve immediately.
Make your own dough:
1. Combine 3/4 cups whole-wheat flour, 3/4 cups all-purpose flour, 2-1/4 tsp yeast, 3/4 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp sugar in a food processor; pulse to mix. Combine 1/2 cup hot water and 2 tsps of oil in a measuring cup. With the motor running, gradually pour in enough of the hot liquid until the mixture forms a sticky ball. The dough should be quite soft. If it seems dry, add 1 to 2 tablespoons warm water; if too sticky, add 1 to 2 tablespoons flour. Process until the dough forms a ball, then process for 1 minute to knead.
2. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface. Coat a sheet of plastic wrap with cooking spray and place it, sprayed-side down, over the dough. Let the dough rest for 10 to 20 minutes before rolling.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Because you gotta have friends!


"Lots of people want to ride with you in the limo, but what you want is someone who will take the bus with you when the limo breaks down." ~ Oprah Winfrey

Imagine me screaming the post title at the top of my lungs and you will get a pretty good picture of me in your head right now. Good girlfriends are a real treasure. Be it a sister, a parent, a cousin, a co-worker, bible study girls, what have you. Friendship is one of God's sweetest blessings. To be real and vulnerable with another human being is comforting. It's easy to look at other people's lives {on Facebook} and think "Man, they got their act together," but friendship allows you to see that everyone has their own hot mess they are struggling with in life. To love and to let others love you despite all your imperfections and flaws is powerful. I am truly thankful for all my girlfriends out there, old and new. Thank you for blessing my life in more ways than you'll ever know.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Home Makeover - Hubs and J edition

The Hubs and I have been living in our home now as a married couple for 1 year. Prior to our marriage, the Hubs lived with 2 male roommates - One of them was a fellow med student classmate of the Hubs and the other was a college friend of the Hubs, both of whom were in our wedding. As one can imagine, the house was a bachelor pad, to say the least. Smelled like boys lived there and looked like boys lived there. The walls were tan and there was little to no decorating in the entire house except for some photography the Hubs displayed throughout the house. 

Thanks to our parents who gave us the best wedding gift ever, our house was transformed from a tan, boring bachelor pad to a colorful, inspiring home. The Hubs and I have put a lot of thought into each element of our home, and are trying to find a balance between his love for the ocean and my love for all things artsy, eclectic and vintage. Here is what we have come up with so far. Enjoy!

Entry way

Art by Katie Daisy

Living Room

Kitchen Table

Spray paint solves everything!

"Wine is bottled poetry" Art by TagTeamTompkins

Wall of Fame
Vintage Cross...from Hobby Lobby...haha :)

"C" from Hobby Lobby and Fish from a boutique in Dallas, TX

My favorite photo on the Wall of Fame
More art by Katie Daisy

More art by TagTeamTompkins

My favorite piece of art by Katie Daisy

Monday, July 18, 2011

Something is in the air...


I can't remember the last time I enjoyed life this much. There have been more smiles, more laughter, more hugs, {more kisses...ehm}, more joy, and more love. There is just something special about this summer. I think its called "contentment." I am at peace. I have enjoyed cooking meals for others, lounging out at the pool with girlfriends, spooning with the hubs every night, taking walks when its not melting outside, and most recently, leading pre-school worship at my church.

Life is balanced. I am filling up my cup emotionally, socially, physically and spiritually with a healthy heaping of good eating to top it all off. Most recently, I cooked the most delicious dinner for the Hubs on "Steak Sunday" - its the one night a week that we eat red meat; other days of the week we eat fish, chicken, turkey pork, etc. But last night, I had the Hubs cut some fresh basil and mint from our garden, and I made this and this. Good lord, it was delish. I think I found a new hobby! I LOVE cooking for others. Who would have thought! It not only allows me to be creative in the kitchen, but create a good meal for my loved ones be it the Hubs, friends or family.

{I need this apron from Anthropologie}

Life is really good. I think the last time I felt this happy and peaceful was in middle school to be honest. There was no drama in middle school...at least for me. My biggest dilemma was how to get the rat's nest untangled at the nape of my neck! Ugh, drama. I believe it is all made up in our heads. And, I am all about less drama these days. This summer has taught me a lot about myself. I'm not perfect, I make mistakes and I fall down, but I have the choice to learn from all these experiences and grow from them. This summer, I have learned to open my heart wider, love deeper, and extend and accept more forgiveness and mercy. 


I use to think I could survive this life alone, on my own. But then, love came into my life. Not just the love of a husband, mother or father, but the love of friends. I realized I don't want to just survive life. And, I don't want to be alone. Where is the fun in that? God created us for relationships and community. For our friends, family and loved ones to be a "helper suitable" for us.

To sum up this summer :) Love is a home-cooked meal, a smile, a joyful song, a listening ear; It covers all things. Community and Friendship is vital and necessary in our lives. God loves me, forgives me, is always with me and gives me purpose.

And, I am at peace.

Friday, July 15, 2011

It's a smile, it's a kiss, it's a sip of wine

Oh how I would love to have this scene in my backyard! I love outdoor movies, and those lounges look sooo comfy! Unfortunately, it is like 100+ degrees here so I would be a sweaty mess if we were to do this outside. Yuck. 

However, I am going to see a movie this week. Drum roll please. Harry Potter, Harry, Harry Potter! YAY! Alas, the end of Harry Potter is near, and I will get to revel in all its glory on Saturday evening. Glorious. We are going with our besties, Luke and Lindsey, who graciously shared their wedding gift, of 4 free passes to a movie of their choice, with us! They love HP as much as we do...and that's sayin' somethin. Before we head off to see Potter, we are gonna grill out at our place, and I found a recipe for Butterbeer Cupcakes. If you are a HP fan, you will know what I'm talking about. Should be a delicious way to start the end of an era. 

You can also find me lounging by the pool, working in the yard and drinking a cold one on the deck this weekend. My ooooh my, life is grand.

Thursday, July 14, 2011



"Men are not prisoners of fate, but only prisoners of their own minds."
- Franklin D. Roosevelt

Heavy quote there from dear, old FDR, but it brings clarity to a lot of the thoughts I've been having lately. I'm 27 years old, although my Hubs would tell you that I'm 30 years old. He would be wrong. He just likes to age me like that, when in truth, he is only 1 year younger than me, and yes Hubs, you will be 30 one day too. You can't escape it.

The ever-looming 30, summer and my new role as a Pre-School Worship Leader at my church has brought so many thoughts to mind. As I watch all the pre-schoolers singing about Jesus with huge grins on their face, I think about who I was as a child. I was very care-free, joyful and innocent. I laughed a lot, caused some trouble, but I was just a baby. My faith was the same as my childhood. Care-free, joyful and innocent. God came first. Well, I might have put myself first at times :) But he was always in my thoughts. I thanked him for everything - the moon, the stars, the sunshine, the grass, my cats (when they were alive :) ), etc.

As I grew up, my innocence along with my care-free and joyful nature slowly got chipped away. I hurt people and people hurt me. I experienced pain and caused pain. People stole pieces of me and I gave up pieces of myself out of shame from my sin. This caused separation between me and God. I didn't feel good enough for His love anymore, and I slowly lost bits of my joy and love because He IS my joy and love.

I also have been thinking a lot about the Apostle Paul and what he has to say about our pasts and sin.

"No, dear brothers and sisters, I am still not all I should be, but I am focusing all my energies on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I strain to reach the end of the race and receive the prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us up to heaven." Phillippians 3:13 - 14

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. 
Hebrews 12:1 - 3 

In your struggle against sin, you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood. And have you completely forgotten this word of encouragement that addresses you as a father addresses his son? It says, 

 “My son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline,
   and do not lose heart when he rebukes you,
because the Lord disciplines the one he loves,
   and he chastens everyone he accepts as his son.”
Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as his children. For what children are not disciplined by their father? If you are not disciplined—and everyone undergoes discipline—then you are not legitimate, not true sons and daughters at all. Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of spirits and live! They disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, in order that we may share in his holiness. No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it. Therefore, strengthen your feeble arms and weak knees.“Make level paths for your feet,”so that the lame may not be disabled, but rather healed. 
Hebrews 12:4-13

Man, if only I knew then what I know now. We are human. We make mistakes, we burn bridges, we break hearts, we have our hearts broken, we lie, we cheat, we sin...Somewhere in life, I let all that "stuff" put limits on my life. "I can't be this or that because I did this," "I am this because of this or because he/she thinks I am this or that," I would tell myself. But we do not have to allow our past sins, failures, mistakes, etc., put limits on us or define who we are. God's love and truth defines me.

And, I am still that cheerful and joyful little girl. I have lived a little bit more than she, but I have also learned a lot more. Life is limitless. The only limits in this life are the ones I set on myself. "Forgetting [and forgiving] the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I strain to reach the end of the race and receive the prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling [me] up to heaven. I am not lame or disabled by my past, but rather healed.

Thank you Jesus for the sunshine, for the flowers, for my Hubs, for my family and in-loves, for my friends, and for your grace, love and forgiveness.

Happy Thoughts on a Hot Summers Day

Life is good.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Lovin' the heat


I am so soaking up summer this year! Lovin' the weather despite the 104 degree temps! Spending the days reading some good books, sittin' out by the pool, sippin' on lemonade and waterin' my flowers. Aaah :)

Also, check out this song...Its my summer song this year!

{You will have to turn off the music player so you don't get overwhelmed by sounds :) }

Friday, July 1, 2011