Sunday, August 30, 2009

God Pause

Every day I receive a daily devotional in my email inbox through Luther Seminary called God Pause. I love receiving it in my email because my days vary so much in work and activities that I don't necessarily have 30 min of each day to spend doing daily devotionals, and I don't want to carry around a book with me all day to try to find time for it. However, each day there is certainly enough downtime to open my email and devote a quiet moment to thought and prayer. While some of you may think this is the slackers way out, it works for me.

I've save the ones that speak to me in one way or another, and I thought I'd share a few here from time to time. I thought this was perfect for today, as I am finding myself wanting a lot lately- new fall clothes, new upholstery for the furniture, a new job, a new workout routine, etc. The 23rd is one of my favorite Psalms, but I've never, ever broken it down to the individual verses. Who isn't always wanting for something? Am I trying to fill myself with things rather than God? How can I devote more of myself to his purpose rather than to internet shopping?

Psalm 23:1
The Lord is my Shephard, I shall not want

When given the assigned texts for this week I had to ask if today's reading was the entire twenty-third Psalm or just the first verse? To my disappointment, I was told it was only the first verse. It would have been much easier to write about the Lord leading me beside still waters to take a nap in a lush green pasture, instead of a single verse ending with "I shall not want." I do want...all sorts of things, all the time. That is why I/we need the first five words of Psalm 23, "the Lord is my shepherd." More than the words, we need the guiding presence of the One to whom they refer ("the Word"). When we are led by the Spirit we are not only free from sin and death, we can even experience freedom from our wants. (Well, except for the flat-screen TV I want, but God wants me to have that, right?)

Heavenly Father, leading Spirit, shepherding Savior, help guide me toward the things I need and that only you can give; eternal nourishment, rest and forgiveness. Amen .
Andy Jolivette
Associate Director of Admissions, Luther Seminary
Master of Arts, 2008

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Items for sale


If you are interested, I have a few items up on ebay for sale. You can check them out here:

Vineyard Vines NWT dress

Lilly Pulitzer Skirt

Lilly Silk Top

Another VV NWT dress

Feel free to ask me any questions here!!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

End of summer bounty

By now, if you are growing tomatoes, you are (hopefully) starting to have them come in in droves (or, if you are like me, the squirrels ate all 10 of yours that were coming in so beautifully so now you have to wait for the tiny green ones to do something, anything!). If you aren't growing your own this summer, head to the local farmers market to pick some up because I have an amazing recipe for you to try! I served these on Saturday night when friends came to dinner, and they were a perfect accompaniment to a grilled meat. They're so fresh, not too heavy, and, honestly, not too tomato-y (if you are a picky tomato person like B).

Provencal Tomatoes
(From the Barefoot Contessa Family Style)

6 ripe tomatoes (2 1/2 to 3-inches in diameter)
1 1/2 cups fresh white bread crumbs (5 slices, crusts removed)
1/4 cup minced scallions, white and green parts (2 scallions)
1/4 cup minced fresh basil leaves
2 tablespoons minced fresh flat-leaf parsley
2 teaspoons minced garlic (2 cloves)
1/2 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup grated Gruyere cheese
Good olive oil

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Cut the cores from the tomatoes, removing as little as possible. Cut them in half crosswise and, with your fingers, remove the seeds and juice. Place the tomato halves in a baking dish.

In a bowl, combine the bread crumbs, scallions, basil, parsley, garlic, thyme, and 1 teaspoon salt. Sprinkle the tomato halves generously with salt and pepper. With your hands, fill the cavities and cover the tops of the tomatoes with the bread crumb mixture. Bake the tomatoes for 15 minutes, or until they're tender. Sprinkle with the cheese, drizzle with olive oil, and bake for 30 seconds more. Serve hot or at room temperature (I recommend serving them warm).

These aren't the best as leftovers, so just make as many as you need for dinner that night. It's an easy recipe to halve or quarter if necessary. I would say that most people will eat one half, though some might eat two.

The part of the meal that got the most raves was the Cheddar and Black Pepper Biscuits from my King Arthur Flour Cookbook. These were perfect with the tomatoes, a salad, and the grilled pork tenderloin we did, though they'd go well with any grilled summer meat or a warm hearty soup in the fall. I can also imagine they would be perfect the next morning split with a fried or scrambled egg, a bit of ham, and a touch more cheese. YUM. B has already requested that we make these again.

Cheddar and Black Pepper Biscuits

3 cups all-purpose flour
2 Tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 Tbsp sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
1 cup grated cheddar cheese
3/4 to 2 1/2 tsps coarsley ground black pepper
3/4 cup buttermilk (I ended up using 1 1/4 cup to get the right consistency)

In a large bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and sugar. Cut in the butter and cheese (you can use the food processor for this). Stir in the black pepper (I used the maximum amount). Refrigerate the dough for 1/2 hour. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Gently stir the buttermilk into the chilled dough. Gather the mixture into a ball with your hands, and, on a well floured surface, roll or pat the dough into a 12x8 inch rectangle approximately 3/4 of an inch thick. (If you overknead the dough, you risk the butter melting too much and the biscuits becoming less light and fluffy. Try to knead/roll out as minimally as possible as needed to get everything to stick together).

Grease a baking sheet. Using a large spatula (or two) transfer the dough to the baking sheet. Use a a dough scraper or a sharp knife to cut dough into 1 1/2 inch squares (these will be bite size) or larger depending on your needs. Separate the squares slightly on the baking sheet. Brush each square with buttermilk. Bake the biscuits for 15-20 minutes, or until lightly browned.

Both of these recipes are quite delish, and I'm sure your loved ones will thank you for making these for your next weekend family dinner!!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

End of season reading

Have you all read Anne Rivers Siddons's books? My mom loved her books when I was in high school, so I read them all back in the day. I just finished her newest, Off Season, and really enjoyed it. While the ending wasn't as concrete as I normally like, it's there to make your own (relatively easy) conclusions, and I really enjoyed the main character, Lilly. As a general whole, I enjoy ARS's books though three of them are major standouts. If you are in the mood for books about women, the South, friendships, and life lessons, try these out. I think they're worth reading!!

Colony- For any of you who have a summer place and value traditions, you will completely appreciate the characters in this book.

Outer Banks- Well defined characters, a good twist, a great setting.

Downtown- A young college graduate trying to navigate her way through Atlanta during the turbulent times of the 60s.

Now that I've seen the covers again, it's making me anxious to get to the library and pick them up for some re-reading. Anyone else read these back in the day?

Monday, August 24, 2009

Solheim Sunday

We had so much fun on Sunday at the final day of the Solheim Cup. After watching some of the tournament on tv on Saturday, we were both a little nervous about Europe being able to take the cup. However, Americans are known for their ability to play well on Sundays in previous Solheim Cup tournaments, and they definitely delivered! Morgan Pressel ended up with the winning shot on hole 16- the roar from the crowd was awesome! Michelle Wie played like a rock star all weekend. This is after she has struggled with the fame and pressure throughout her career on the LPGA. I'm only hoping that this week gave her the mental stamina, the confidence, and the fan support to win her first LPGA tournament soon! She was really fun to watch- she was SO excited after every hole. Paula Creamer (my favorite!) was able to pull off a win on hole 16 over Suzann Petterson, an amazing European player, and that seemed to set a great tone for the rest of the afternoon. It was Juli Inkster's last Cup, and I'm so glad I was able to see her come through on the 17th hole. What an amazing career she has had!

The crowds were so nice and so supportive of the ladies. It was so fun chatting it up with people and cheering together for the USA. While not as big, it had a similar feel to the Olympics. The nice thing about LPGA events vs the PGA events is that there are fewer spectators which truly allows you to get up close to the best players out there and feel like your cheering is truly making a difference. On that same point, the LPGA is one that definitely deserves more support. The women are phenomenal players, and it would be nice if there events were covered more by mainstream media and if more people came out to support them.

Have you ever attended a LPGA event? If the LPGA comes to your area in the next year, I would highly recommend heading out to see them play! It's a great experience. Quite kid friendly too, in my opinion. I think you all would LOVE it, and I know the players would love the increased support!

Friday, August 21, 2009

Solheim Cup

On Sunday, B and I will be attending the Solheim Cup out in Sugar Grove, IL. I cannot wait! Paula, Natalie, Michelle, Morgan, Cristie.....they'll all be there! We've never been to a tournament in this type of format (team format, ie Ryder Cup), and it'll be fun to see it! Plus, since I think so many of the American Girls are amazing, it'll be easier to cheer for the whole team than the individual players!
The weather is going to be gorgeous here as well, and I can't think of a better way to celebrate summer than being outside, watching golf, and people watching.

I'm glad it is USA vs Europe rather than USA vs the World because South Korean women are the hottest thing in women's golf right now, and I'm not sure how our country would stand up to them. They have a lot of young, talented players and they are really working hard to take over the game. While there is plenty of talent from Europe, I am convinced that the American's will be able to take them this weekend! Hopefully I am right!!!! I would love to see the trophy being presented to all the girls I've grown to really like on Sunday afternoon!

I can't decide if I should wear a red, white, and blue outfit in support of the American team or if I should truly prep it out and wear VV or Lilly. Anyone out there have a suggestion?

Blogger questions


I realize I've been posting for awhile now, but I also know I am SO basic when it comes to all this computer stuff. I have a few questions for you out there who are so much better than me at all of this!

1. Google Analytics- I can find it but I have no idea how to add my blog to it and get the information. I'd love to know how people find my blog and who is reading out there but, for the life of me, can't figure this out. Yes, I know that admitting this makes me seem incredibly stupid, so can you please help a lady out?

2. I adore responding to my commenters but many people come up with the dreaded "". How do I know if my profile does this? I hope that it comes up with my email address so anyone who needs to can respond back, but I don't know how to check this out. Also, how stupid do I feel knowing that I have responded to people in the past before I realized that everyone wasn't getting these messages? If you comment regularly on blogs, make sure your email is hooked up to your profile so that other's can get back to you!

3. A lot of my pictures show up with white boxes around them. Does anyone know why this occurs and how I can prevent this from happening?

Hopefully someone (or many someones) can help me out with a few of these issues so that I can fix some of this stuff over the weekend! Thanks!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Quick post!

**I just found out a college girlfriend and sorority sister of mine is in the process of adopting a baby from Ethiopia. She and her husband have always felt called to adopt and, after she did a mission trip there this spring, she knew she was there for a purpose. They are finished with the paperwork and now are on the waiting list (6-12 months). I'm beyond thrilled for them and can't wait to see the first picture of their darling child. Reading her "announcement" email and then talking to her on the phone made me realize (again) how awesome of a person she is and how truly devoted she is to God's plan in her life.

**Please, someone, help me figure out what you do with your dog at night!! We have been kenneling her at night but she always wakes us up around 1 or 2 am barking and whining like crazy until we let her out of the crate. She doesn't have to pee, she just wants out. She then wants to get into bed with us and snuggle, but, ladies, she is 80 lbs and too big to share our bed. We only have a queen! Plus, she'll probably be around 120 when full grown, and we just can't have another full size body in our bed with us. Do you guys use a dog bed? Does your dog stay on it all night? Anyone do anything else? Any advice would be greatly appreciated as our sleep is sorely lacking in the last few weeks. Also, for those of you who have larger breeds, which chew toys last the longest for you? Junie B loves her kong, but I need something else to keep her busy as she is a CHEWER!

**After seeing so many bloggers post about the Gap Fit parties, B and I went last weekend to try some on. He was in desperate need of new jeans, and I'm always looking for ones that have a good fit. Plus, at least three pair of mine are old and yucky and just need to be tossed. We both found jeans we loved! Yippee!
B got the Standard. They fit him like a dream, and, because of his consistent training for the marathon, he is officially a size smaller! Such a proud wifey, I am!

I ended up getting the perfect boot in the dark wash. They actually make my butt look small and there is no gapping in the waist. It truly is a great fit for me!

Definitely consider heading over to the Gap to check the new styles out. B's jeans ended up being under $40/pair (I made him get two because they looked so good!). Steal!

Have a wonderful day out there!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Tagged!- Summer Memories

HB&HB tagged me today to tell you all about my favorite summer memories. While this summer hasn't been a "true" summer for me (hi chilly Chicago summer!), I just adore summertime in general, so I'm super excited about this tag! Without further ado....

Favorite Summer Movie:

Hmmmmm.....this summer I've seen ONE movie. While The Hangover was good, I would definitely not count it among my favorites. So, I'm going to say that I really want to see Harry Potter and The Time Traveler's Wife (one of my favorite books ever) and my plan for the next week is to see both of them! I think maybe a Friday or Saturday matinee is in the works for me!

Favorite Summer Cocktail:
Where to begin............
How about with a Vodka Soda with two limes. Perfectly light and refreshing on a hot night.

Next, I'll have a Pimm's Cup, darlings. Would anyone care to join me for this fruity, refreshing beverage?

Lastly, a summertime staple. A bottle of white is perfect for drinking on the beach in adirondack chairs while watching the sunset, don't you think?

Favorite Summer Meal:
For my perfect summertime soirree (this word is definitely underutilized in the English language!), I would start with either this amazing fruit salsa or shrimp cocktail. I love both!

For dinner I would do it all on the grill- flank steak, either corn on the cob or grilled asparagus, and fingerling potatoes with sprinkle of sea salt.

For dessert, I'd have to go with either a walk to the local ice cream shop or a fantastic strawberry shortcake. Are you a person who likes ice cream or a whipped cream on your shortcake? I'm definitely a whipped cream girl for this dessert!

Favorite Summer Outfit:
Dresses! I adore summers because they are full of weddings and other events in which looking nice is a MUST. I also really like fun, bright colors, and summer just allows for that to come out. How silly would I look wearing a bright yellow strapless dress in mid-January! I adore Lilly, but this summer my favorite outfit must be this one. It received numerous compliments in real life and here in blog world. (Be forewarned, my hair (and everyone else's) was AWFUL this day due to the humidity and the wind- not a good combo!)

(See, don't women just look so darling when they are in bright, fun dresses? If I ran the world, we would wear dresses much more often!)

Summer Reading:
So far this summer, I have loved The Help by Katherin Stockett

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

And I can't WAIT for this to come in on my library list. Daniel Silva is one of my top three authors of all time. If you or your hubby at all likes spy or CIA novels, this is one author you cannot miss!

Favorite Summer Moment:
The first night we brought our new puppy home! How could I not love this face? She's been funny, horrible, loving, sweet, energetic, lazy, and any other puppy adjective you can think of. I am so delighted to have her as a member of our small family (even if she does love B more than me!)

Thank you so much for the tag HB&HB! I've loved getting to know you this summer, and I can't wait until I can order that pink and green headband that you posted about!

I'm going to tag

Vineyard Vogue
Three for Tippy
Queen Bee Swain
The Preppy Baby
Hopsy and
Post Smith

I can't wait to see what all of you come up with!!

Monday, August 17, 2009

Getting BIG!

Here are a few of the latest pics of our puppy! Last weigh in was two weeks ago at the vet. 80 lbs at 8 months old! Yowzers. She's doing pretty well in puppy school, loves going to the beach and the dog park, and tries desperately to sleep with mommy and daddy (wayyyyyy too big for that!). We both are loving being dog owners. I really do adore coming home to her at night!

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Lobster attire

Each summer we attend a lobster party on the beach of Little Traverse Bay. It is certainly one of the most looked forward to events of the summer for us. It's an extremely preppy, fun crowd, and I adore checking out all the fashions that show up. Lots and lots of Lilly and white summery dresses as well as lots of popped collars, madras, and critter pants/shorts on the men.

I spent forever trying to find the perfect pants for B a few years ago, and, trust me, they are still awesome! He gets lots and lots of compliments when he busts these bad guys out! Probably my favorite ebay purchase of all time!!!

This year I just had to snap a photo of this precious girl (who I totally don't know) to show you all the most adorable dress she had on. I wanted to ask her mom to sell it to me once she grows out of it because, not only would I use it for the Lobster Party someday, it's also perfect for parties around the 4th of July. I adore the smocking, the ric rac trim, and the bow!! Seriously, don't you wish children were always dressed in this way??

I've also bought B a lobster belt from J Crew, and I have needlepoint slides with lobsters on them. Two years ago I bought his aunt the lobster napkin weight from Mariposa. I would LOVE to find other cute lobster wear to help accessorize the rest of the group, so if any of you find great lobster accessories throughout the year, feel free to pass them along!

The littlest ones...........

B's oldest brother has three darling children whom I adore. They are too cute, so loving, and wonderfully high spirited. I wish we lived closer to them so that we could spend time with them each week rather than random visits two or three times a year. It was fantastic spending time with them during the vacay. Here are some ADORABLE pics!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

A great way to save $$ and have a night out!

Have you all tried yet? I saw two other bloggers post about it while I was on vacay and just today found the time to actually sit down and try it out. I typed in our zip code and made our radius 5 miles and over 150 restaurants came up with bargains! Woo Hoo!

I ordered three certificates. All are worth $25 but I only paid $10 for each. $15 extra (read: free) at dinner out in the city? I'll take it anyday! This time I ended up going with restaurants we have been to before and love (namely Mrs. Murphy's Irish Bistro and Turquoise Cafe). Next time I'll sit down with B and see what other new restaurants we want to try. This is a great site, and I would definitely encourage you to head on over and score a deal for this weekend! You can print the coupons off right away, so even if it's a last minute thing, don't worry, it still works!

Also, B is currently loving Groupon. It's similar to the above in that it's amazing discounts that you can print off coupons for. It differs in that enough people have to sign up for the daily deal in order for everyone to get it. He's scored some SWEET golf deals, and we're headed out to Zocalo this weekend on a great coupon as well. There are boutiques, restaurants, activities, etc that are all tailored to the city where you live (though it appears that it is only major cities). Definitely check both of these sites to enhance your spending power this fall! With all the money you save here, there may be enough extra in your bank accounts for that new pair of jeans, heels, or Lilly dress you've been lusting over!

PS- Chicago girls, if you haven't yet been to Mrs. Murphys, you MUST go. It is the perfect place for a fall or winter evening out with the gorgeous fireplace, the amazing bar, and the fabulous bathrooms! It's definitely one of our favorite places in the city!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Flip Books

Remember those? The ones where you would flip through really quickly in order to see the story unfold in pictures before your eyes? This series of shots I took on the beach last week totally reminds me of those! See if you can visualize the hystericalness behind this.......

Neice #1 screams "Mommy, come look, come look!" We run over to find nephew and Neice #1 buring Neice #2 in the sand

This is when I asked her to smile. She just shook her head no!

Too funny! These kids are some of the cutest bunches ever!

Too cute for words!

So, awhile back, I was the super lucky winner of a giveaway by none other than Mojito Maven. It was a custom design by Ashley Brooke Designs. I'm sure most of you in the blog world are familiar with her, but if you aren't, pop over there right now to see her stuff! She was wonderful to work with when doing our custom design, and I couldn't be more pleased with the final product (especially since her people tend to be long and lean- which I so am not!)

I think everyone will love to get one of these in the mail. In fact, because they are too cute, I am going to send 3 letters this week, just because! Who doesn't love opening up the mailbox to "real" mail??

BTW, I'm also going to have to start saving my pennies because these will be a must have someday!!!

Aren't they just precious? Absolutely perfect for a sip and see! My friends and I have thrown sip and sees for all the new Bay View babies, and these invites would be just perfect for the next one! Or perhaps I'll do something similar for a baby announcement someday? I just think this design is perfect for a newborn!

Also, Ashley sends the kindest thank you note after you order from her. Seriously, the process was wonderful! This would be a wonderful gift for anyone, especially yourself (or a hard to buy for relative, friend, in-law, etc!)

Monday, August 10, 2009

Happy Anniversary, my love!

To my husband,

I adore you more now than ever before. You have my heart in the palm of your hand, and I love that every day you do your best to hold it with the most perfect grip- never too light so that it slips away, never too tight so that it is crushed. I am so thankful the Lord placed us in Chicago together and that he engineered mutual friends. I'm thankful you found my spirit a perfect match to yours. More than anything, I'm just thankful you love me. You are not perfect (hee, hee), but you are perfect for me. I will never want for anything more.

I am blessed.

I love you,

PS- I hope all our kisses are as tender as forehead ones!

Checking in

Got back from an 8 day vacay last night. One would think that would be nothing but bliss...........unfortunately, that is not always the case. My mom always said if you can't say something nice, don't say it at all, so I'm going to keep my trap shut here (also b/c I've found out that "real life" people know about the existance of this blog and I don't want to delve too far for privacy's sake). all I can say is that this is the first time I've ever looked forward to coming home from up north. I even tried to come home early :( We did have some memorable (and happy) moments caught on film, so I'll bust out some pics later in the week for you to see!

I'm currently attacking the 900 or so posts in my reader-------commenting will be fairly non-existent until it's at a much more reasonable number!

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Need new stationary?

Shutterfly is offering a free promotion through the 5th of August for 12 free stationary cards. I can lay no claim to the paperweight or the quality (yet!), but having to pay for only the shipping for the cards is enough of a deal for me!

I just ordered these (designed by Boatman Gellar- a preppy favorite!)

They have a TON of other options, including darling baby announcements, other personalized options, party invitations, etc.
Isn't this darling for a new baby boy?

Head over and order a cute new set for fall. The code is 12Free!