Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Do You Use NuVal?

Do you follow this blog yet: http://dineanddishchicago.blogspot.com/

Dine and Dish is a brilliant career woman who won't brag about her successful job, an amazing wife who doesn't talk all that much about her marriage, and the sweetest friend...not to mention an unbelievable cook. Her blog is about food - the experience of cooking and the way it brings people together.

This past weekend I was able to spend some quality time with her, eating her amazing vegetable quiche and chatting about all of the thing she usually doesn't chat about, including her job. I learned she has a ton of information she should be sharing with all of us that will help with grocery shopping. I did my shopping this weekend using the NuVal codes she told me all about. Instead of me repeating it, which I planned on doing, just pop over to her blog and check it out for yourself.

Thank you Dine and Dish!

Isn't This a Blog About Books?

So glad you asked. I have been reading. In fact I've been reading like crazy and just neglecting to share. Sorry.

Last night I stayed up a good part of the night finishing the most amazing book. I get very involved in all the books I read, as you know, and this one was no different. And this one forces you to get involved and stay involved. Forcefully enough to keep me up into the weeeee hours of the morning just to finish it.

Jeannette Walls tells a story, her story, about survival in her memoir, The Glass Castle. It is completely chilling and unbelievable - however, it's true. She wrote her memoir beautifully. I cried and laughed and felt like I should be praying for the tiny little girl in this book - knowing deep down that it would all turn out okay because she was a grown woman now, writing the book herself.

If no one has told you before, I highly recommend you read this book. Each of us has issues growing up. Most people's lives aren't fairy tales. And Jeannette Walls's wasn't even close. But she was strong and survived and is sharing her story with the world. It's inspiring.

So inspiring that I just ordered another book by her - Half Broke Horses - and I can't wait for it to come.

In order to share this story with you, just in case you won't buy it yourself just on my recommendation, I am going to give one of you my copy. What do you think of that? I decided to start my very first giveaway.
And all you have to do is post something about this blog on Facebook and comment below that you did so and you are interested in this copy! I will announce a winner this weekend!

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Weekend After Weekend

I tell ya, I don't think my heart can take much more of this before it bursts. Last weekend was such a blessing to me, to be able to spend time with my best friend and her one year old daughter, and now this weekend too was jam-packed full of love.

Once again I woke up Saturday morning to hop in the car and hit the road. This time to Columbia. And this time my beautiful mom rode with me so the drive was even more wonderful. And this time the trip was to celebrate Sister #2 and her upcoming wedding. She is one of my favorite people to get to celebrate. If you've ever been around her, you know her love for her friends and family and her love for life is completely contagious. I can feel it in my soul that it's time to be around her when we've been apart too long. It's completely refreshing and exciting.

There is so much going on right now in all of our lives. Sister #1 is selling her house, Sister #2 is getting married, Sister #4 is getting ready to graduate, work is busier than I ever imagined, my friends are raising their babies, my mom is running back and forth to Florida to be with her dying brother, and I'm busy falling more and more in love with my husband (who bought me a new dress and shoes to wear to the shower and put new windshield wipers on my car and stocked it full of my favorite treats and cash for the trip - such a sweet sweet man!) I think it's times like these, when it seems like there is actually no time at all to spare, that it's even more important to make these special trips.

From the minute I got to the shower, I was overwhelmed with happiness and peace. I hope that your weekend was as memorable and peaceful as mine was. And if it wasn't, make sure next weekend's is.

 One of the beautiful hostesses and me

 My gorgeous mom

 Sister #1 and Sister #2 (the Bride to Be!)

 Missing Sister #4


One of the yummiest cupcakes ever

This isn't from this weekend, but I just wanted to show off what I get to come home to after running around all weekend. Love these boys!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Why Didn't I Think of That...

Are you all using Emeals without me? My BFF (refer to a previous post for the who behind this title. I feel like if you really have been best friends since 4th grade you get to use the BFF title) told me all about this site this past weekend. Amazing! Brilliant. I just got signed up. I will let you know how it goes, but if you are interested check out emeals.com.

You can pick how many people are in your family, and this site gives you seven meal ideas with the grocery list and prices. Get this - they even let you pick your grocery store and will put your grocery list in order for you by aisle. I'm obsessed. You can even pick things like meatless, or gluten free, or other particulars. It's so fun!

Did you all already know about this? And why didn't I think to start this...maybe because every week would be pizza, grilled chicken with a sweet potato, grilled chicken wrap, salad, and leftover pizza...

Oh, and if you do sign up, use this link -  copy and paste - so I get referral credits (I don't really know what that means, but it sounds good!)

http://emeals.com/amember/go.php?r=301886&i=b0"><img src="http://emeals.com/banners/banner-486x60.jpg" border=0 alt="EMEALS EASY AND DELICIOUS DINNER RECIPES" width=486 height=60></a>

Steamer Bags

Last week Sister #1 gave me some handy little bags that I'm quickly becoming obsessed with. You all know I love my veggies anyway, but sometimes I get a little bored of eating them raw or putting them in the oven the same way every time. Last night I filled one with broccoli and a tiny sprinkle of Mrs. Dash and popped it in the microwave for a minute and 30 seconds. It was amazing! We can't wait to try sweet potatoes, green beans, and carrots in them!

A Blink of a Weekend

Is it really Tuesday already? I had a wonderful weekend, but it had to be the quickest one ever. Friday night I left work and met my wonderful husband and his brother for pancakes. Yep, we ate pancakes for dinner. Maybe this is a St. Joe thing, but the Lions Club in town puts on a huge pancake breakfast/lunch/dinner benefit and it's always so fun.

Saturday morning I woke up like it was Christmas morning. That's because I knew I would get to jump in the car and drive to see one of my best friends in the world. My BFF (yep, just used that) from fourth grade lives about 4 1/2 hours away. You might think that's not all that far, but it is - it's just far enough that we don't get to see each other much at all. This past week her perfect daughter turned 1 year old. So I started the first of an annual tradition that we will spend our Birthdays together.

Can you believe this angel? Her favorite foods include green beans and sweet potatoes. Must be a born-in-early-March thing.

I got there early afternoon and you would never know it had been 8 months since the last time I saw my dear friend. We made lunch, played with sweet Neely, drank tea, and talked and talked, and talked some more until it was time to get a few hours of sleep before I had to leave.

I woke up early in a rush to get home because Miss Baby K, Brady and Marissa's angel was getting welcomed to the church. On my way home, I was listening to Andrew Peterson sing "Rise up, oh you sleeper, awake, The light of the dawn is upon you. Rise up, oh you sleeper, awake, He makes all things new...." and thinking about how very happy I was to see all of my friends so happy and I drove straight into this....Are you starting to think my life is all cupcakes and puppies and sweet babies....


Don't tell Baby K that I rushed home 4 and a half hours to get to church by 10:45 to see her dedicated and that somehow I missed it! I can't believe it. I go to a church that says the start time is 10:30ish and I still missed it! The one week they decide to start on time.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

One Minute

I know I've already said it, but I have been working a lot lately. Well, a lot more than I used to - maybe not a lot compared to you. It seems like I don't even take a minute to rest or eat or walk around outside or anything.

On the walk to my car I called my husband to promise I was ready for a walk in the beautiful sunlight with him and my dog. So I rushed home and changed clothes and off we went. After our walk he jumped in the car to pick up some dinner and I walked next door to visit my beautiful neighbor.

This neighbor lost her husband - our dear friend Herald - just a few months ago. He passed away in our backyard, picking up these funny little walnuts. He was a wonderful friend and neighbor who helped me plant things and keep up with our house. We were heartbroken when he passed away. Since then we have spent a lot of time with his sweet wife, JoAnn. They had been married 62 years and had never dated anyone else. She always tells us how they had never spent a night apart. I love hearing her stories.

8 weeks ago she started getting very sick and spent 8 weeks in the hospital. She is home now and she's dying. She's okay with this. She is so happy to be home. And I'm okay for her because I can't imagine living as long as she has in these past few months without my husband (of 13 months let alone 62 years).

So I went over and held her hand today for just a minute. And on my way over I was thinking about everything I should say to her and everything I should volunteer to do for her...and what I should do when I get home...make the coffee for tomorrow...iron my pants...put a load of laundry in the washer....vaccuum...clean out the fridge. And then I walked in her front door and straight back to her bed that is set up in front of an open window and she looked so peaceful. She grabbed my hand and just held it and smiled.

She told me that she was so happy we moved in next to her. And she told me that she remembers that she and Herald had watched us look at the house and hoped that we would be the ones to buy it. And that we looked so young and so happy. And I told her how happy I was that we had been the ones.

And then we just got to sit. For just a minute and I held her hand and she smiled. And I promised I would be back tomorrow. And she said she would be there. I'm not sure she will. And when I left her front porch I started crying. I would have kept crying while I did all the things on my to do list. But instead, I turned the handle and was accidentally locked out of the house. So instead of going on with my to do list, I sat, without my phone or any distractions, not able to check my work email on my phone, or text a friend back, or answer a Facebook message. Instead, I sat on the front porch, the front porch that I love in the neighborhood that I love, where Herald helped me plant flowers that haven't yet bloomed for this spring yet, on a beautiful sunny afternoon, and cried for how much I will miss JoAnn but how happy I was for her that she will be with Herald again soon enough, and I enjoyed the sun and peace and quiet for just one minute.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Spring is in the Air

I don't know what it's like where you are, but here in my beautiful hometown, it has been mid 60s and sunny. Yesterday was gorgeous and today is cool and rainy. I love it! It is Spring and it makes me ready to throw on an easy, comfy dress, some flats and add colorful jewelry. And it's time to start running again - my very favorite past-time (after reading and snuggling my husband and big brown dog, that is).

My  half-marathon partner Molly and I were supposed to start running today but I opted to wait until tomorrow when it's supposed to be in the 70s and use today to watch Harry Potter and drink red tea. It's cold and rainy and perfect for Potter....and online shopping. So here is what is on my list this year. Chances are I will talk myself out of half of them, but it's still fun to look!

Comfy Toms. Every Friday at work I get to wear jeans and I think these would be super cute for Spring.

You know how I love purple, right? I love these super cute Sperry's!


I love this cure and easy dress from Gap! I think it would be perfect with some flip flops (if I'm tall enough...)

And I really want two skirts from Ann Taylor Loft that I think are so adorable. I can't get the pictures to show up so here are the links:



What are you looking at for Spring?