Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Goodbye Summer. Hello Autumn!

Why are people so excited for Autumn? I confess, I am one of those "people" I speak of, but shouldn't I be sad summer is leaving? I love the feel of the sun on my skin, walking barefoot, wearing less constricting clothing and no layers, staying out late till it gets dark around 8:30 p.m., eating fresh fruit and veggies, and grilling outside.

Yes, I do love summer. And I will be very sad to see it go. But, there is something magical and exciting about Autumn. The tastes, smells and scenery are quite something special altogether - apple, cinnamon, pumpkin and chili, tailgates, football games and the changing leaves. {sigh} Then, there's the holidays - Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas. Just seeing those words typed out gets me excited and jazzed for the upcoming months of fun to be had. These next 4 months are definitely my favorites out of the year.

But before the sun fades into the West, the Hubs and I will be celebrating the end of summer in style by heading out on our own camping trip. I've camped in friends' backyards and fields (yes, cornfields) before, but I've never gone "real" camping. And by "real" camping, I mean more than a 5 minute walk from a friend's house. I'm pumped. I'm excited. I, I, I have no idea what to bring...

Happy End of Summer!

How will you be celebrating Labor Day?

Monday, August 22, 2011

An emotional wreck

That is what I am right now.

My little Latino Lover of a Nephew, "Buddy," started Kindergarten right this minute, and my heart is breaking at the thought of his parents waving goodbye, and him being scared and lonely. It is the end of an era. 
He's growing up. 

Dios Mios. I can't handle this. Oh Lord, Lord, Lord, Lord. I think I'm taking it harder than him.

Friday, August 19, 2011

The color of fall

Blue is everywhere! Charmeuse, denim, gingham, cotton, felt and lacquer! Blue is taking over fall colors this year, and here are a few of my favs :)

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Got my lunch packed up, my boots tied tight...


YAY! It's the first day back to school for the youngins, and I'm sooo jealous! I wanna go school supply shopping and pick out some new shoes and backpack! My mom always bought me Reebok high tops. I love high tops. And I love pencils. I miss pencil sharpeners. The old school kind that were nailed to the wall and had a handle. Hmm...I wish I were a kid again.

What do you miss about the first day of school?

 And here's a little gem of a song to get you in the mood for Back to School :)

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Signs of Fall

Is it just me, or does it feel like Fall is quickly approaching? 

There have been so many glimpses of Fall lately...
The sun is less harsh, the air is slightly cooler and I swear last night I felt an autumn breeze in the air.

I even saw a few cobwebs on our front porch and back porch last night, too!

As I sat on our back porch breathing in the cool air, I was blessed to observe and aerial show by our local barn swallows. Have you ever seen these birds fly? They are aerial acrobats feeding on dragon flies, cicadas and other little bugs they can find as they dive through the air. A wonderful, fall prelude to behold, for sure!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Rainy Day Randomness

It's gloomy and rainy here today. I am happy to see the rain, though. We've gone a looong time without rain. My flowers are loving this! I'm kinda loving it too. It's getting me in the mood for fall. I've been day dreaming about pumpkins, apple-scented candles, home-baked goods made with cinnamon, and...twinkling lights :)

The rainy weather brought to mind a favorite song of mine by Nicole Nordeman, "Every Season":

Love this song! Who couldn't love this song, though. Jesus. Check. Autumn. Check. Piano. Check. Sigh.

On a different note, I made this last night:

Stuffed Banana Peppers
Mi madre gave me TONS of banana peppers, so I whipped them up last night and they were soooo good! I used fat free cheddar cheese and blotted the bacon so they were not too fatty. But 80 calories each is not bad for these tasty little treats!

Also, here is my weekly menu :)

Tuesday: Maple-Thyme Pork Chops and roasted asparagus

Wednesday: Sesame Orange Beef, rice and brussels sprouts

Thursday: Pasta with Garbanzo Beans and baked zucchini sticks with marinara sauce

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Weekly Menu...I fell a bit behind already!

Wow, I am so good at doing things a second time...um, not so much. Ok, so I already failed at posting this week's menu, but I didn't completely forget, so here we go:

Wednesday: Sesame Encrusted Baked Chicken Tenders and Rice  
Thursday:  Lemon garlic tuna burgers and asparagus with olive oil, lemon and salt

Friday: Radiatore with fresh tomato sauce and asparagus with olive oil, lemon and salt :)

I was in Branson with the Hubs and the family for the past weekend, so I guess you could say it threw me off a bit...or its just me...no excuses, really. Enjoy!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

On that note!

Last night, my Bestie called to chat and she told me that I had I impressed her with my cooking skillz that neither of us knew I had until after I got married :) A skill born out of necessity! haha! So, I thought I'd start sharing my weekly menus. I make menus ever Friday and then I go grocery shopping that night. I try to plan for meals that will have left-overs for the Hubs to take to lunch and are healthy aka low in calories, low in fat, high in protein. We have a small grocery budget, but we are still able to eat healthy and somewhat gourmet :) Enjoy!

Friday: Home Alone night
I ate a frozen dinner, ice cream sandwich and wine!
Sometimes, its fun to have bachelorette nights every now and then :)

Saturday: Beer-Battered Fish Tacos with Tomato Avocado Salsa

Sunday:  Steak Sunday!


Chicken and Guacamole Toastadas
Southwestern Black Bean Salad

Roasted asparagus with olive oil, lemon, salt and pepper

Thursday: I'm a bum tonight :)
Trader Joe's Tomato and Roasted Red Pepper Soup
Fresh Pineapple

A life of purpose

Sarah Jane Studios - Get your free print here!
Purpose (pur-pose) the reason for which something exists or is done, made, used, etc.; an intended or desired result; end; aim; goal; determination; resoluteness; the subject in hand; the point at issue; practical result, effect, or advantage: to act to good purpose.

Purpose. This is my daily prayer to God. I've never been one of those lucky peeps who just knew what they were destined to do with there life. But, I've always felt a need to nurture, love, share and allow others to feel open to share and love, to serve others (be it cooking, entertaining, hosting, making people laugh at my own expense), and be loved in return. I am a nerd and took a personality test the other day, only to find that my personality is that of "The Helper." I'm in the same category as Mother Teresa. Um, ha! That makes me laugh. NO WHERE CLOSE! But, I've taken a couple of personality tests/career tests and it always comes out the same. I'm a nurturer, a helper, and I've been told this in my job evaluations too.

This is difficult for me to swallow when we live in a world where the focus is more on serving our own needs.
I stumbled on this blog, and found this little blurb that I can totally relate to: Popular culture promises that by recognizing and focusing on our own needs, we will find empowerment. But, in reality this creates a culture of comparison, distraction and discontent, none of which lead to empowerment. The act of mothering … caring for, teaching, and nurturing, has just the opposite effect.  It emboldens us with confidence, contentment and purpose.

Now, this whole blurb is about motherhood, something I know NOTHING about, but I think you can replace "mothering" with "serving" and get the same result. In my life, I strive to serve God, my husband, my family, my friends, my co-workers and the little kiddos I lead worship to on Sundays. I love cooking for my husband and serving him good, healthy meals, cleaning the house and making it a relaxing, comforting place to come home to after a hard days work, and cuddling with him and making him feel loved. With friends, family, co-workers and the kiddos, I just try to serve with love, patience, kindness, time and understanding. It is nothing grand or anything to brag about or put on my resume to help me climb the ladder in my career, but I am believing more and more that God has called me to love and serve others. The "how" part, I'm not sure of yet, but I'm just going to continue striving and doing what I'm doing because I hope and believe He will reveal my purpose to one day :)

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Let them eat cake!

The Hubs and I FINALLY ate our wedding cake to celebrate our 1 year anniversary! While it was still very gorgeous looking, It was extremely difficult to cut into AND it tasted interesting. The Hubs cut himself a big slice of cake and ate the whole thing. Guess he didn't notice the interesting flavor.

Also, here is the Blueberry Sour Cream Coffee Cake recipe from yesterday's post! Soooo good :)

Monday, August 1, 2011

What a wonderful world

"Love is to the heart what the summer is to the farmer's year - it brings to harvest all the loveliest flowers of the soul." ~ author unknown

What a wonderful weekend! Despite the Hubs being out of town for the weekend, I managed to make the most out of my time alone. When I wasn't studying for the GRE, I was enjoying a glass of wine (or two) with a dear friend who I don't get to see as often as I'd like due to her busy residency schedule, I cooked myself up some blueberry pancakes thanks to my momma giving me TONS and TONS of blueberries hand-picked by herself and my nephew, cleaned the kitchen, vacuumed floors, organized and cleaned the laundry room, cleaned the bathrooms and finally hung some photos I've been dying to hang, and this was all done before Sunday!

Once Sunday rolled around, I started the day off leading worship for the pre-schoolers, sprawled out by the pool with some good girlfriends and cooked an AMAZING dinner for me and the Hubs!

 Here was our dinner menu for the weekend:

Saturday Night:
Bud light lime (of course)
Blueberry Sour Cream Coffee Cake

Sunday Night:

The corn on the cob was seriously the best corn I've ever eaten thanks to the amazing jalapeno butter! WOWZA!

Wall art hung in kitchen. Art by Katie Daisy

Photo collage hung in kitchen. "LOVE" art by Katie Daisy.

Blueberry Sour Cream Coffee Cake...drool.