Sunday, July 31, 2011

God's Bounty

Support your local Farmer's Market.

I seriously got butternut squash and Indian peaches for $1. Not only was it delicious and healthy, but I felt so connected with my brothers and sisters through this earth — I know, total hippy moment. And for produce that cheap, I can hardly justify trying to garden myself!!

I'm really enjoying being challenged in the kitchen. When I brought the butternut squash home, I had not a clue what to do with it. Thanks to my friends on Facebook who made recipe suggestions! I opted for smashed butternut squash — sorta like smashed potatoes, but more flavorful! Even Jonathan liked it. Next time, I'm going for the butternut squash soup!

And speaking of God's bounty, it struck me in church this morning that you really don't know you need a church family until you have one. What a tremendous blessing Four Corners, my community group and all my church friends have been to Jonathan and me. We've definitely seen a whole lot of "fruits" of the Spirit! ;-)

I encourage those who don't have a church family to seek one out. Give church a try — or, perhaps, another try. You may have been burned by Christians in the past, but you'll never be burned by Christ!

I also ask for prayers for Jonathan's grandmother, our Nonna, who is undergoing spinal surgery on Tuesday. We hope she will heal quickly and enjoy a quality of life she hasn't had in some time. We love you, Nonna!!!

Thursday, July 28, 2011


Whew - we barely squeaked this post in in time....

Today (Thursday) is the one-year anniversary of buying our beautiful home!

Well, we all know it didn't start off beautiful — or very home-like! We've done a lot of little things inside and out to add value. But, we've also done a few big things.

Inside, we've demo'd a kitchen wall and built a new one, replaced the old countertops with granite and updated the appliances. We're replacing light fixtures — something little that goes a long way.

Outside, you all have come along with us as we've virtually torn out every bit of the landscaping the previous homeowner had in place and started from scratch. We had the windows and front door painted before we could even close on the property. And who can forget the wonderful patio we nearly killed ourselves creating — you know, the one we haven't been able to enjoy because of the mutant mosquitos and oppressive heat/humidity.

There is still SO much more to do. Trust us. It's intimidating! The next big thing we're going to tackle is our sitting room. Here's a panoramic of what it looks like now:

It's having a SERIOUS identity crisis. I want to splash on a new coat of paint, replace the doors to the bar cabinets, add shelving and decor. I want a lounge — a place people would want to congregate!!!

Here's sorta what I envision when it's complete:

(Now, I just need something fancy to go over the couch, shelving above the bar and track lighting — oh, and to actually carry out these plans I've made! P.S. Hubs wants the world to know his Illustrator skills are much more advanced that this picture shows....he worked under the whip!)

Monday, July 18, 2011

Reunited and it feels so good...

Jonathan and I had a blast this weekend at my 10-year high school reunion. Go Bobcats!

Unfortunately, this blogger didn't take a single photo at the reunion, and I'm still waiting for my fellow 2001 graduates to share theirs!

Here are the photos my mother took of me and Jonathan before we left:

(Our aloof faces??)

You gotta love coming home to visit when your parents always spoil you and send you home with goodies!

Here are my mom's marshmellow pops, which are GREAT at Christmas:

She also sent us back to Georgia with homemade Lady Fingers. There are none of those left to photograph. We joke that we feel like Hansel & Gretel when we're in Seneca...

Friday, July 15, 2011

In a short 9 months...

In a short 9 months of marriage...Jonathan and I have grown closer and more in love than I ever believed possible.

What?? What did you think I was going to say? ;-)

Yes, today Jonathan and I are celebrating 9 months of marriage by hitting the road to S.C. for my 10-year high school reunion — and, of course, to visit my sweet family (who I don't get to see often enough)!

J and I have been talking about how wonderful marriage has been and all the things we're looking forward to in the coming years — and there's a LOT, so stay tuned!

Thought I'd leave you with some pics from our honeymoon in Montego Bay, Jamaica, in case you haven't already taken a gander (Rita!):

(Why did we not know about Dirty Bananas before this trip??)

(Our butler left us the most perfect rose. Wow, you can't say that and not sound pretentious!!)

I'm thinking it's about time for another one of these trips!!!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Taking the Plunge

When I walk outside and want to throw up from this heat and humidity, it's time for a new project:

Can't you just see it??? A tiny backyard lagoon would be perfect!! Now, who wants to help?

Thursday, July 7, 2011

July 4th-Part 3

Here is another installment on our recent holiday happenings. Thought I'd share some recipes from the delightful treats served!

Rita's Patriotic Trifle

(Yum-my — and you don't have to feel bad about eating it!)

1 small can of lite peaches cut into halves (save the juice to pour over the angel food cake)
2 small tubs of lite cool whip
2 large boxes of sugar free vanilla pudding
vanilla extract
1 sugar free angel food cake
1 large tub of fresh strawberries cut longways; (pour a little water and sprinkle some organic sugar over strawberries to make a liquid mixture to pour over the angel food cake)
1 small tub of fresh blueberries
fresh raspberries

Make the 2 vanilla puddings following the directions on the box. When cold to consistency, add about 3 tablespoons of vanilla and stir well. Refrigerate until other tasks completed.
Pull the angel food cake apart in small chunks.
Line the bottom of the trifle dish with the sliced strawberries, standing up all the way around the sides of the dish. Put a blueberry between every two strawberries for visual interest. Add some sliced peaches and peach juice over the angel food cake. Put some strawberries and blueberries on top of this. Next add some of the vanilla pudding, and then a layer of cool whip.
Repeat layers and continue repetition of pattern until you have the cool whip as the last layer on top of your glass trifle dish.
For a decorative, patriotic touch, use raspberries and blueberries to make a flag!

My chocolate mousse with raspberries:

1 12-ounce can of evaporated milk
1 box instant chocolate fudge pudding mix
1 cup frozen whipped topping, thawed
raspberries (optional, but delicious)

Combine evaporated milk and pudding mix using electric mixer. Fold in whipped topping. Spoon into dessert dishes. Top with fruit. Refrigerate at least 5 minutes before serving.
Yes, it's really that easy.

Ellen's Pinwheels (my boss):

2 cups Bisquick (plus milk to make dough)
Athenos crumbled feta cheese (I used garlic & herbs)
10-ounce package of frozen, chopped spinach, thawed

Make dough following directions on box. Roll out dough in thin rectangle on baking sheet.

Top with cheese and spinach.

Roll longways until you have what looks like a long snake. Bake according to directions on Bisquick box. Slice into thin sections when cool.

Now I just need to steal the recipe for Amy's Buffalo Chicken dip — I'm craving it just remembering how good that tasted!!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

July 4th-Part 2

Now I will share a few pictures of the decorations from our Independence Day backyard bash. Hopefully they will inspire you to be creative the next time you entertain!!

(Our wheel barrow beverage cart! Crafty, ain't it!?)

(Good use for our potting stand. You can't have enough flowers — or citronella!)

(Our final patio set-up w/ everything in place)

(I even borrowed a bunch of plants from my mother-in-law!)

(Everyone should have a nifty drink dispenser. Sorry this pic is dark — it was raining! Tip: I used frozen lemons to keep the drink cold)

(My new obsession: paper poms!)

(Our festive backyard!)

(One more view. Confession: J spent forever putting the poms together and hanging them from trees. Then it rained a lot and now they're but soggy reminders of the fun we had!)

(Here's me pretending to help)

(One more of us in our backyard)

Stay tuned!