Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Catch Up

Life at our house has been pretty low key lately. After being sick for four weeks I went to the doctor (for the second time in 2 weeks) and found out I have pneumonia. It is not fun but it was somewhat of relief just because I was starting to wonder what was wrong with me. I was afraid I had just reached a new level of lameness. One Friday night Fletcher gave me a list of options of fun things we could go do and all I wanted to do was lay down. In addition to 5 different medicines the doctor ordered lots of rest. My cough is definitely getting better, but she said I will probably continue to feel tired/weak for another month. I have to give a shout out to the husband because he has been doing so much for me so that I can take naps and get my rest. The day I went to the doctor he came and got my prescriptions, got them filled, then brought them back to me at work. When I looked in the bag of medicine there were 2 Lady Antebellum tickets, and the concert was that night. I was so excited! I decided the whole resting thing could start the next day. He had texted my sister about going with me, so we went and loved it! He has gone to the grocery store for me, filled my car up with gas, helped me with the laundry, and all sorts of other little things. I am so thankful for him. In addition to lots of rest, here is what we have been up to lately...
A couple of weeks ago we went to Niki's West and had the vegetable buffet - another item checked off the list of 100 things to eat in Alabama. 
My mother in law is involved with a fundraiser for missions trips this summer at our church and she helps put together boxes of fruit and veggies from the farmer's market. She has been keeping us stocked with lots of fresh fruits and vegetables, it has been awesome!
Little nephew man had a sleep over last weekend. I'm starting to think he might be the perfect baby. He slept until 9 on Sunday morning! (Sidenote-I am not contagious anymore). Lu loves it when he comes over. She follows him around and waits outside his door while he sleeps. 

At the Lady Antebellum concert!

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Summer Reading

Seven by Jen Hatmaker. This book could use a post of it's own, but since my sister is better with words, read her post on this book here. This book has made me question so much about my lifestyle as a Christian and convicted me on so many levels...What am I doing to reach the lost? How am I being the hands and feet of Jesus? Do I look just like every other American consumer? Many more questions flooded my mind as I read the book and now I have to figure out what to do with all my thoughts. The book is the story of her fasting in 7 different areas in her life. 

"If a fast doesn't include any sacrifices, then it's not a fast. The discomfort is where the magic happens. Life zips along, unchecked and automatic. We default to our lifestyle, enjoying privileges tra la la, but a fast interrupts that rote trajectory. Jesus gets a fresh platform in the empty space where indulgence resided...A fast makes us hyper-aware, super-sensitive to the spirit."
She wraps up the book with this thought...
"Love God most. Love your neighbor as yourself. This is everything. If we say we love God, then we will care about the poor. This earth is God's and everything in it. We should live like we believe this. What we treasure reveals what we love. Money and stuff has the power to ruin us. Act justly, love mercy, walk humbly with God. This is what is required." 

Thanks Sister for giving me a copy of the book, it is the most compelling book I have read in a very long time. 

Yankee Doodle Dixie by Lisa Patton. I finished this book in the late Spring. It took me a while to get in to it, but it is set in Memphis, so I enjoyed the Blues City references. At the end of the book I was pleased, but I wouldn't call it a "Must read."
Loving by Karen Kinsgbury. This is the fourth and final book in Karen's Bailey Flanigan series. The third book left the reader torn between Bailey's two loves - a current love and an old love. I read this book in 2 days! Karen Kingsbury was laying on the cheesiness at the end, but that is how she rolls after all. I have enjoyed all the books about the Bloomington crew!
The Meaning of Marriage by Tim Keller. I have heard a lot of buzz about this book recently. At first when I heard about it I thought, "I wish that would have been out when I was engaged!" Then I realized a book on marriage would be even more useful now that I am in the midst of it. It is on it's way to my mailbox now, and I can't wait to start it. Tim Keller is so wise and I know I have so much to learn from this book.
Becoming a Woman of Faith by Cynthia Heald. This is the book my bible study will be reading this summer. I haven't read anything by Cynthia Heald, but I have heard great things about this series. She has a variety of different "Becoming a woman of..." books. I'm excited to start this one.
Kisses from Katie by Katie Davis. I know most of you have heard of this one. This is the story of a Nashville girl who decided to leave everything she knew and move to Uganda when she was only 18. I picked it up from the Library this week, and it is next on my list to read.  

Then Came You by Jennifer Weiner. This book follows the story of 4 different women and their "interlocking drama". I don't know much about it, but am looking forward to reading it. 

Monday, June 18, 2012

Laundry Detergent

There are a few daily essentials that I really hate buying...They are toilet paper, dog food, and laundry detergent. I don't know exactly why I have singled these three out, but I think it has something to do with the fact that I run out of them at the same time. So when I always seem to buy them in the same trip it is frustrating because all of the sudden I'm spending $50 at Target and I'm walking out with 3 boring items. So during my last trip I decided that I would have to try making my own laundry detergent next time. So here we go...I used this post as a reference and just slightly adjust everything (my batch wasn't as large as hers). I also read a couple of other posts about homemade laundry detergent, just to get a feel for the different proportions of each item. Here is what you need...
6 cups of Borax -$3.38 for the box 
2 bars of Fels-Naptha Soap -$.97/bar
5 Cups of Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda -$3.24 for the box 
2 cups of Baking Soda $.68/box
1 Cup of Oxi-Clean -$3.86
Use a cheese grater to grate the fels-naptha, then mix everything else together and store in a jar with a lid. The end - easy peasy! And the total cost was $13.10. Plus, I have left over borax, super washing soda, and oxi-clean for the next time I need to make a recipe of detergent. But, I am not going to need more detergent for a very long time. 
You only need 1-2 Tbsp. of this detergent per load, and looking at my container I seriously think I have a year's supply. I'll let y'all know when it runs out. 
I have successfully done my first load and I don't exactly know what to look for, but it looks great to me. I inspected the clothes before I put them in the dryer and they looked good. The detergent isn't super fragrant, but you could use fabric softener if you like for your clothes to smell a little stronger. 

Friday, June 15, 2012

A Pioneer Woman Dinner

This week I tried two recipes from the Pioneer Woman's new cookbook.  Both were a success! The main dish was Ranch-Style Chicken and I served it with her Twice-Baked New Potatoes. For the main dish I cut her recipe in half, and it was perfect for four people. 
First you cut the chicken breasts in half down the middle to create 2 breast pieces. You need to marinate the chicken for 2-4 hours. For the marinade mix together honey, dijon, lemon juice, paprika, salt, and crushed red pepper (I omitted the red pepper).  After 2-4 hours it is ready to go. Her cookbook gives instructions for cooking the chicken on the grill, but online she gives instructions for cooking it on the skillet. We went the skillet route for the sake of time. Before you cook the chicken, you cook the bacon in the skillet and reserve the bacon grease. Use the bacon grease (mixed with an equal amount of canola oil) to cook the chicken. When the grease is hot, add the chicken. Cooking about 1 and 1/2 minutes on each side (you don't need to cook the chicken completely in this step).
 Set the chicken on a large baking sheet and bake at 400 for 10 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven, lay a couple slices of bacon on top of each chicken piece, then sprinkle cheese on top. Return to the oven for 5 minutes or until cheese is melted. Now moving on to the potatoes...
Drizzle the potatoes with olive oil and roast them in the oven at 375 degrees for 20-25 minutes. Halve the potatoes, use a spoon to remove the insides leaving the edge intact.
Mix together scooped out potatoes, cream cheese, sour cream, monterey jack cheese, chives, garlic, salt, and pepper. Mash (I used a hand mixer) until the potato mixture is smooth. Scoop the mixture back inside the potato shells. 
Bake the potatoes for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown.
We loved both recipes. PW, our tummies thank you for a delicious dinner!

Twice Baked New Potatoes:
10-12 New Potatoes
2 tablespoons olive oil
½ cup sour cream
4 ounces cream cheese, softened
1½ cups grated Monterey Jack cheese
1 tablespoon chopped chives 
1 garlic clove, pressed
Salt and pepper to taste

*I forgot the chives and omitted the garlic and they were still good

Ranch Style Chicken:
1/2 cup Dijon Mustard
11/2 cup Honey
1/2 whole (juice Of) Lemon
1/2 teaspoon Paprika
1/2 teaspoon Salt
Crushed Red Pepper (optional To Taste)
6 whole Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts
1 pound Thick Cut Bacon
Bacon Grease
Sharp Cheddar Cheese, to taste
Canola Oil
*I cut this all in half and it made 4 servings

Tuesday, June 12, 2012


Things are starting to slow back down to a normal pace around our house. We have so enjoyed the traveling and visitors and part of me is sad to see it all come to an end. Especially since now it is time for the summer home organization initiative (deep sigh). But that sure isn't very fun to talk about, so moving on to a recap. Our marathon of busyness ended with the Baltimore crew spending a week with us in Alabama. It was wonderful! I love when all the munchkins are together. There is never a dull moment with these three - ages 2,1, and 5 months. 
My sweet mother in law offered to keep all the little ones the night before they left so that the adults could all go out to dinner. It was such a fun treat and so sweet of her to take on all three munchkins. It was a great end to a great week. I think Fletcher loves getting to spend time with them as much as I do, which makes it even more fun. We are already looking forward to when we see them again!

Monday, June 4, 2012

Jeff & Julie McKnight!!

This weekend we went to Memphis for the wedding of my high school friend Julie. The wedding was at Heartwood Hall. Heartwood hall is a beautiful old house on the outskirts of Memphis. The wedding was outside and then the reception was in a barn on the property. It was such a wonderful weekend with friends celebrating the happy couple. Jeff and Julie are precious and I loved getting to be a part of their big day. The weekend started with the rehearsal and rehearsal dinner, which unfortunately I didn't get any pictures of. I think I got enough pictures the day of the wedding to make up for my lack of pictures on Thursday night! Warning - picture overload. I had too many to choose from and I loved them all!

Friday morning we started the festivities with a bridesmaids luncheon at Heartwood Hall. It was nice to be at the same location all day and spend the whole day together.  
Before we knew it, it was time to start getting ready. Julie was the calmest bride I have ever seen! Not to mention she was a beautiful bride! Glowing all day long!

It was the perfect day for an outdoor ceremony. Sunny and 70 degrees, which is quite abnormal for Memphis in June. 

Love y'all!
My favorite wedding date!
My sweet mom!
Sam & Lace rocking the glowing glasses!
Congrats Mr. and Mrs. McKnight! We had the best time being a part of your wedding!