Friday, March 29, 2013

just a thought for this weekend.

"At that time Jesus declared, 'I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that you have hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to little children; yes, Father, for such was your gracious will. All things have been handed over to me by my Father, and no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him. Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and i will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.'"
Matthew 11: 25-30

early morning light
this passage shows a beautiful picture of my Jesus: blessed with Almighty power and authority from his Almighty Father, yet at the same time gentle and lowly in heart. all-powerful arms stretched out to the weak, burdened, and lowly, saying 'come here, i've got this covered.' forever the supreme ruler and authority in this world regardless of what we do or say or think about it.

willing to take the fullness of his Father's wrath against sins that he never commited, dying an unimaginable death so that you and i and that guy down the street can have life. rising to life again three days later, displaying his absolute authority over all things: even death. he is the perfect blend of power and meekness, justice and grace, wrath and love.

Jesus is why i celebrate this weekend, and why i love it so much. Jesus is my hope and my salvation.

happy Easter weekend!

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

a little bit of decorating.

everyone should have a friend like my friend Nadine. on Saturday, after we had both stayed up late at my birthday party, i texted her to see if she wanted to grab some lunch and help me spend some birthday money - and she was all in. it didnt matter that we both had chores we could have been doing, we dropped it all to spend some quality girl-time together.

we hit up chipotle for lunch, uptown cheapskate and kohl's for some deal hunting on clothes, and ended up at ross to check out home accessories - all in just one afternoon. 'twas fabulous. i love that girl.

at ross, i found a fun red $10 vase (pronounced like 'vaws' cuz i'm fancy like that) and some $5 decorative sticks to put in it. when i got them home, i put it all together on the fireplace hearth.

i noticed there were some chips in the vase, and also some broken sticks from handling them with slightly less than the most tender care. both less-than-lovely issues were remedied with just a little bit of sharpie: red for the vase, and black for the sticks.

its a little thing, but i'm learning that its the little things that can make the difference between a house and a home.

ps did you notice the decorative styling of the mantel? do you like it? 
mark did that all by himself. he's definitely a keeper.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

this is my year.

i told you a couple weeks ago that i had a lot of thoughts about my birthday, and not a lot of time in which to write them all down. so this post for the past few weeks has been a work in progress for me - a place to try and sort through my thoughts a little bit at a time, whenever i had 15 or 5 or 2 minutes to spare.

i started writing a different post right before i left for birthday weekend. i only ever got as far as the title: "so tell me what i want, what i really really want." i had every intention of it being a deep self-reflective piece that would plunge into the depths of my inner mess and straighten out my jumbled up brain space into a coherant declaration of the really important things that were my truest desires. and then that didn't quite happen.

instead, i took a vacation day and headed to Pittsburgh to celebrate birthday weekend with my sister and my BFITW and her sister and whoever else we could rope into our shenanigans. and over the course of birthday weekend, i had an epiphany of sorts: i was really having fun, and i was hanging out with people who were really having fun, and it was all just a lot of really fun FUN. there was no stress. there were no tears (not even when we were driving dahntahn!). there was no worry. it felt awesome. and i realized just how much i missed that.

i realized that i have spent the last few years being kind of bogged down by life. i got caught up in the seriousness of everything - what with graduating college, landing a job, getting married, buying a house, fixing up said house, making dinner every night, keeping up with dishes and laundry, and just generally attempting to perfect my all-grown-up-and-responsible persona. i wanted my life to be perfect, i was trying really hard to achieve that, and i felt bad anytime i thought i was failing even just a little bit.

stress at work followed me home and turned into pointless stress-fights with the hubs. spending time on new projects meant saying no to spending time with friends. piles of laundry meant i was failing at life. 5 minutes spent on pinterest was all i could take before i became aware of just how much i wasn't doing right.

and i forgot. i forgot about spontaneous luau's. playing outside all afternoon. giggles. wacky tennis ball catch in the parking lot. living with a complete lack of self consciousness. the simple joy of balloons. the calming effect of that little jingle at the beginning of an episode of Gilmore Girls. so many simple little things that bring me great joy.

maybe its a little bit of wisdom coming with age. maybe its wistful nostalgia for a past that i can never get back. maybe it was just finally getting a taste of sunshine and warmer weather. but i have a better handle on what i want now. an idea of what i want to do and who i want to be and how i want to live.

 embrace imperfect. live. laugh. plan more. plan less. focus on family. relax. and enjoy. focus on friends. read. craft. create. be present. seek joy. share love. play. smile.
be gracious. accept grace. have fun.

this is not to say that i am going to become irresponsible an unserious - because the laundry and dishes arent going to do themselves - but i am learning that there is a place for both in my life. so these are my goals for this year. for my 26th year. this is my year.

i'm already off to a great start: may this be the best year yet.

Monday, March 25, 2013

meal plan monday: march 25.

on the sixth day of Spring, Mother Nature gave to me:

   - three inches of snow and more to come
   - one outfit change after cleaning off my car
   - two states full of incompetent drivers
   - 30 extra minutes added to my commute
   - all sorts of people who think headlights are optional
   - and a chance i'll get snowed in in Delaware.

today, all i want to eat is hot soup and leftover birthday cake. actually, i'm pretty sure i could survive on that all week. and since chances of me making it to the grocery store after work today get slimmer and slimmer with every snowflake that CONTINUES TO FALL TODAY, that might just be a pretty real possibility. but just in case i do make it to the store, i should probably have a plan, so here it is:

Monday: Meg's fish packets with veggies and rice. (recipe)
Tuesday: soup from a can.
Wednesday: crock pot chili. (recipe)
Thursday: boboli.
Friday: taco night.
Saturday: grilled chicken on spinach salad.
Sunday: Easter lunch with the inlaws.

PS dear Mother Nature - if it is still snowing on Easter, you and I are going to have to have ourselves a little talk...


Wednesday, March 20, 2013

spring, day 1.

it was 29 degrees this morning when i left for work. the forecasted high for today is 48 degrees. there is a chance of snow flurries this afternoon/evening and its going to dip back down to 29 degrees.

i wore a skirt today anyway. because it is spring.
and now my legs are cold. awesome.
what happened to my sunshine and warmer weather?
stupid groundhog is a liar and a tease.

Monday, March 18, 2013

meal plan monday: march 18.

Birthday Week (n) - the seven (or more) days of celebration either leading up to or surrounding one's actual birthday. celebrations of all types, sizes, and duration are acceptable and encouraged during this time.
see also: Birthday Weekend, Birthday Month

so far i can forsee at least three parties this week: one at work, one on my birthday with friends, and one over the weekend with the in-laws. but as you know, i already started celebrating two weekends ago with my BFITW, and i really only plan to stop just in time for Easter.

here's what our birthday week meals are going to be:

Monday: turkey burgers. (recipe)
Tuesday: grilled cheese sandwiches and tomato soup.
Wednesday: crock pot beef burgundy. (recipe)
Thursday: frozen raviolis.
Friday: pulled pork sandwiches and birthday cake! (recipe)
Saturday: baked tilapia with roasted potatoes.
Sunday: birthday lunch at the in-laws.

Friday, March 15, 2013

8 unmistakable signs of spring.

spring is on its way. i can feel it creeping up on us, and here's how i know:

1. warmer weather.
2. birds chirping in the morning.
3. new green growth popping up allover!
4. more sunshine.
5. daylight lasting longer in the evenings.
6. shamrock shakes.
7. adorable baby cows at the farm down the road.
8. Mark shaved the beard!!!

bring it on, spring. i am so ready.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

gonna get down on pi day!

ugh. curse you Rebecca Black and your earworm.

lots of things to say. lots of good things to say. absolutely no time to sit down, think them through, and say them. i'm working on it.

but until i get it all together, enjoy some pi(e) on this most deliciously awesome of holidays!

sine cosine cosine sine! 3.14159!

Monday, March 11, 2013

meal plan monday: march 11.

well. i guess i should know by now that super-fantastic weekends...



... most often make for less than stellar mondays. but i am totally ok with that. this weekend was SO worth being just slightly behind this morning and scrambling to assemble a plan and a grocery list for this week. more than worth it, actually. (i promise i have MUCH more to say about birthday weekend, but that will have to wait a day or so) but since these monday posts are supposed to be all about the food-stuffs, here goes nothin':

Monday: grilled chicken penne pesto pasta.
Tuesday: fish, rice, and veggies.
Wednesday: crock pot chicken tacos. (recipe-ish)
Thursday: soup from a can.
Friday: veggie omelettes.
Saturday: turkey burgers. (recipe)
Sunday: breakfast for lunch, grilled cheese and tomato soup for dinner.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

framed. updated. again.

when i cleaned out under the craft desk over the weekend, i realized just how many unused picture frames i have: enough to fill an entire crate and then some. and as i walked around the house later, i began to realize just how many empty walls i have.

so i put one and one together and did something about it. now i didnt do anything crazy exciting like a big gallery wall in the hallway or anything, but i do have one less frame lying around and one less empty wall in my house.

(L to R: Niagra Falls, a flower in our backyard, ferris wheel at the
local carnival, my toes at the beach, statue in Sedona)

mark's mom got us this frame for our first anniversary, which was over a year ago, which borders on being a completely unacceptable amount of time to take to do something this simple. since i'm not 100% sold on the breakfast nook being its forever home, i just hung it with two command hooks to avoid putting holes in the walls. and then i filled it with some pictures that i had in a box. they are random and unrelated, but they just make me happy.

one frame down, one whole box left to go. good thing there are plenty of walls in this house.

three days after i hung this frame, one of the command hooks decided it was having none of it, detached itself from the wall, and sent the frame tumbling to the ground. it has yet to be re-hung. it was so nice while it lasted. at least i'll always have that nice floor dent to remind me of the happier times we shared...

i re-hung this frame about a week later using command velcro instead of hooks. fingers crossed that it continues to keep the frame up on the wall. so far, so good.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

its like spring cleaning, but more fun.

in this week's edition of Stuff I Did This Weekend, we will cover: hanging out with friends, laundry, dishes, organization, workouts, date night, shoe shopping, picture frames, church, adventures at Lowes, more friends, basketball, pizza, coffee, and paint swatches.

ok, so maybe that's too much for just one post. so fine. i wont talk extensively about ALL of those things. (but when you put it all together, just know that it all adds up to awesomeness) actually, i think i'll just hit the parts i took pictures of, which ironically in the grand scheme of an awesome weekend are really the boring parts.

this past Saturday, mark and i were unstoppable organizing machines. he tackled his side of the basement: organizing tools, rearranging the workout area, recycling a ton and a half of cardboard, cleaning everything, and generally making it possible to see the floor again over there. i wish i had been able to snap some pictures, because the difference is remarkable.

i spent my day mainly focusing on my craft corner. why my craft corner? because it was in need of some lovin'. in fact, you didnt even know i had a craft corner until just now, that's how unloved it was. so sad.

this desk and little black shelf moved into this corner out of the office back when we reorganized in there and got a new desk. since then, it had morphed into a dumping ground for as-of-yet-unused wedding presents, leftover wedding decorations, various frames and other random things that i was never quite sure what to do with. basically it turned into the smaller, slightly more organized version of the mountain-o-junk.

while the space had a great concept and unlimited potential, it was mostly unused. that chair is broken beyond the point of salvagability. there were so many boxes under the desk that even if the chair could support any weight at all, sitting there was out of the question. and as far as actual craft supplies go, it was difficult to find what i was looking for in the disorganized mess of big boxes and piles of the remains of old projects.

there are no less than 7 projects represented in this mess.

the motivation to spruce up this little corner of the basement came in the form of a shelf. an awesome shelf. an on-sale shelf that had already been refinished by the nice guy who owns a new-to-me furniture rehab/antique shop. a shelf that the hubs agreed that i should buy myself for no real reason other than that i saw it, i liked it, and i knew it would make my random craft stuff look amazing. and i was so right.

it took me pretty much all day, and it definitely got worse before it got better as i unpacked and spread everything out all over the basement before slowly putting it back together again, but it finally looks like a space where someone could actually be creative. the new cubby shelf holds all sorts of random bits of craftiness - rubber stamps, inkpads, glitter, some fabric scraps, ribbon, twine, hot glue, cards, tape, paper punches, sewing stuff, buttons, and beads. i didnt even know i had some of this stuff.

there are still a couple little aesthetic things i would like to find to really up the classy factor, like some little baskets or buckets to corral some of the less attractive items, but even without that i'm pretty impressed with how good this stuff looks when its all spread out and organized like this.

the smaller old black shelf is way less exciting, but still very important. it holds all my paints, varnish, spray adhesive, paper, paper scraps, stickers, scrapbooking supplies, crayons, markers, colored pencils, and coloring books. and they're all nicely organized in boxes and stacks and everything has its own place now.

 the big boxes got packed back up with extra fabric, wire, magnet paper, and silk flowers, along with some pictures and other old memories from high school that were apparently waiting to be scrapbooked at some point. they're probably going to be waiting indefinitely (i might have to elaborate more on some of those memories later - i spent a good half an hour just laughing at my high school self) the blue crate under the desk holds the 25 mirrors from our wedding centerpieces that we're going to donate to the church for special occasions. the black crate is still full of picture frames in need of a home.

all this corner needs now is a (non-broken) chair or stool to make it completely functional. and then there's no telling what kind of craftiness will ensue...

Monday, March 4, 2013

meal plan monday: march 4.

i have nothing interesting to say about meals for this week except to brag a little bit because i was having way too much fun over the weekend to sit still long enough to make a plan before the last possible minute, so i threw this plan and grocery list together in about 5 minutes this morning before work. go ahead. be impressed.

Monday: turkey burgers. (recipe)
Tuesday: boboli.
Wednesday: crock pot roast w/ veggies.
Thursday: quesadillas.
Friday - Sunday: BIRTHDAY WEEKEND!!!

also: i physically cannot wait for birthday weekend i am so excited!!!