Saturday, March 24, 2012

New Ride!

There has been quite an exciting and unexpected turn of events in my spring break.  Not only did my best friend (besides my husband) of 22 years come home from Germany for a visit, but I got a [brand] new ride.

So long, Altima!  It had been good for me for the past 8 years, making it all the way through college with me, but it decided to die over spring break.  I guess it picked a good time since I didn't have to travel to and from work everyday.

Now for the new addition...

Isn't she pretty?!  It's kind of a silly story how this all worked out.  We had absolutely ZERO plans of buying me a car for about another year or year and a half.  But how many times do we realize that things never work out the way we plan?  My Altima had been acting up for a couple of months and after another visit to the shop this week, we just realized we better go ahead and cut our losses.  Thank the Lord for working everything out for us.  We went car shopping Friday in the most awful weather and immediately found exactly what I wanted.  We made the deal, they agreed on our numbers and it was done!  This is my first Honda and my first brand new car.  I love the new car smell!  I can't help but see God's grace be extended in everything.  He just gave us peace over the finances and worked out our deal perfectly.   I the tee exactly what we were willing and wanting to do.  So thank you for those of you who prayed for us to get this all worked out. We felt your prayers!  Blessed!

Through this, J and I have realized something about ourselves.  When we really decide on something, we know exactly what we want and we don't waste time.  Our home was the first and only house we looked at when buying.  We had looked online at homes for about a year, but this was the only one we went and viewed in person.  When buying this car, we shopped online for a couple of days, made a list of cars we wanted to see, and this car was #1.  Went to the dealer, drove it, bought it.  We don't waste any time I guess.  Ha!  But make no mistake...we are VERY informed about our choices.  We research, research, research (and PRAY) before any major purchase.  It makes the whole transaction go very smooth.

Besides all of that, we had beautiful weather today. I'm thankful for that during these last couple days of my vacation.  We enjoyed our Saturday morning relaxing on the back porch with doors and windows open.

Yup, that's mustard oozing out of my sausage biscuit. :)  Don't knock it till ya try it!

We'll be enjoying ourselves tonight at a "Saturday Night Fish Fry"!  Y'all have probably never heard this song, but having a dad that was born during the great depression has lots of perks.  I've been exposed to some of the greatest music.  I love hearing my dad sing these old songs - brings a smile to my face just thinking about it.

Enjoy your weekend!

Thursday, March 22, 2012


It's so amazing to me how this whole world was designed with a plan by the master creator.  I just love this time of year - the birds singing loudly as they build their nests, the new life coming back from the cold winter, beautiful flowers, fresh fruits and vegetables being planted...I could go on and on.  As I get prepared for Easter in my heart, I just can't help but be so in awe of how everything comes to life this time of year.

This is kind of random, but I just wanted to make sure I document some of the beauty in our yard that we're seeing for the first time since this is our first spring in the house.  We have a little tree FULL of these blooms.  They smell so delicious and look like honeysuckle, but we knew they weren't.  They've finally been identified as wild azaleas...who knew?!  My mom, of course.  The plant guru.  I'd never heard of them, but apparently they're indigenous to this area.

Hub-sand has been working so hard in the yard almost everyday.  This weekend, he literally spent the WHOLE weekend out there.  I am very grateful because he is making it look beautiful. I know it's a lot of hard work. The picture quality in this photo is terrible, but I though this back corner of our yard was so pretty.

I saw something on Pinterest the other day that I'd really like to try.  Beautiful, right?  It's a mini resurrection garden.

And of course spring would not be complete without a new wreath on the door.

I bought this from a lady who designs these crosses in memory of her son who died in a car accident.  I have another one of hers hanging in our house.  I just love them and love the meaning behind her work.  Hubs doesn't quite know what to think of it, but I assured him that it looks great.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Spicy New Orleans BBQ Shrimp

I'm sitting here eating leftovers while hubby is at Bible study.  I could not help but think I needed to post this recipe because even the leftovers are delish.  It was another pinterest experiment and one that has been added to my recipe book!  If you're in the mood for spicy, smokey or seafood, this will not disappoint.

Spicy New Orleans BBQ Shrimp

-1-2 pounds fresh,jumbo shrimp, peeled and deveined
-1/2 cup butter, melted
-4 tablespoons Heinz Chili Sauce
-3 tablespoons olive oil
-2 tablespoons Worcestershire
-2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
-1 tablespoon fresh parsley
-1 1/2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
-1 1/2 teaspoons Liquid Smoke (hickory)
-1 teaspoon paprika
-1 teaspoon oregano
-1/2 teaspoon Tabasco sauce
-5 cloves fresh garlic, minced

1. Peel and devein the shrimp.
2. Add all of the other ingredients in a saucepan, stir and let simmer for 10 minutes.
3. Remove pan from heat and let cool.
4. Arrange the shrimp in an oven- proof casserole dish and pour the sauce over the shrimp.
5. Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours, or preferably overnight.
6. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Bake shrimp for 15 - 20 minutes.
7. Serve immediately with crusty French bread to sop up the delicious sauce.

Normally I tweak recipes, but I followed this one to the tee.  It was so so good.  If you're not a huge fan of spicy, opt for just 1/2 to 1 tsp of cayenne pepper.  And I suggest letting it marinate overnight.  I let mine sit for about 8 hours and it was still full of flavor, but I can only imagine how awesome it would be if it soaked all night.

Switching gears - I read a powerful scripture yesterday...

Therefore, although in Christ I could be bold and order you to do what you ought to do, yet I prefer to appeal to you on the basis of love. It is as none other than Paul—an old man and now also a prisoner of Christ Jesus.  -Philemon 1:8-9

Wow.  Just chew on that for a moment.  Love is the greatest gift of all.  It was a wonderful reminder that I really need to show love more than anything else in every aspect of my life - even to those who irritate me so badly sometimes.  Ha!  Love is more powerful than any boldness, authority, or pride.


Monday, March 19, 2012

Meal Plan & Salmon Puttanesca over Spinach with Buttered Gnocchi

Hey y'all!  Happy Monday!  It really is happy for me because I'm on spring break!  Never thought I'd experience spring break again after college, but I am very thankful to recharge myself this week.

Since I'm terrible at blogging lately, I figured I'd bring ya a meal plan with a recipe I had a few people request last week.  This week's meal plan will be...

Monday: Blackened Cobia and steamed asparagus
Tuesday: Spicy New Orleans BBQ Shrimp and broccoli
Wednesday: Out to dinner with friends!
Thursday: Grilled pork steaks, sweet potatoes and steamed asparagus
Friday: Green Chili Turkey Burgers

Here's the recipe from my facebook as well.

Salmon Puttanesca over Spinach with Buttered Gnocchi 
(adapted from Publix Apron Meals)
(photo courtesy of

-2 to 4 salmon fillets, skin removed
-1 bag fresh spinach leaves
-1 tbsp shredded Parmesan cheese
-1 tbsp garlic butter
-1 1/2 cups pasta sauce (any type you like)
-1 16 oz package gnocchi pasta
-1 cup chicken broth
-2 tbsp olive oil
-1/4 tsp paprika
-1 clove garlic, minced

1. Preheat large saucepan over medium/high heat until heated through.  Season both sides of salmon with salt and pepper.  Place 1 tbsp olive oil in pan, add fish, and cook for 4-5 minutes on each side.  Pour pasta sauce over fish, reduce heat to medium, cover and simmer for 8-10 minutes or until fish flakes easily.

2.  To prepare gnocchi, bring chicken broth to a boil, add in gnocchi and butter and boil for 2-3 minutes.  Reduce heat to low, add in 1 tbsp shredded Parmesan cheese and paprika.  The gnocchi will absorb most of the liquid.

3.  To prepare spinach, heat a medium saucepan over medium/high heat.  Add 1 tbsp olive oil and minced garlic.  Saute for about 1-2 minutes, being sure not to brown the garlic.  Add spinach a handful at a time, stirring until all is wilted and tender.

4.  Serve spinach topped with salmon and a side of gnocchi.

This was a different dish than we normally have, but we both really liked it and it's been added to my recipe book.  It'll be making its rotations into my meal plans. :)

I'll try to post more later this week.  I'm off to enjoy some relaxation and spending time with some of the very best people.  God bless! XO


Saturday, March 3, 2012

Break My Heart for What Breaks Yours

It's a rainy dreary day here and I'm taking a much needed mental break from school work.  I have so much to write, but do not know where to start.  I can start with the hardships and end on a positive note.  I'm just rambling to myself trying to make sense of everything so sad, yet everything so wonderful.

This past week was just full of bad news.  I know there are certain seasons of life that just seem more grim than others.  We fluctuate from highs to lows.  And death seems to have cycles like this as well.  It'll be a long time without anyone I know passing and then all of a sudden I'm reading about someone new everyday.  Yesterday was just like that.  We learned of 3 deaths yesterday, with more earlier in the week and some still suffering, not long for this world.  It just breaks your heart to see others hurt that way.  And I can't help think of this song by Hillsong United and a different one by Matthew West that says break my heart for what breaks Yours.  This line has been on my mind for awhile and I pray for that.  And it was surely answered.  I have particularly had such a heavy heart for one of my students.  It is unreal what some children go through.  This child has been through some of the lowest valleys I can imagine and I just don't know how he even functions.  God's grace has seen this child through many a storm and his storms keep on raging.  Teaching is in no way an easy career.  It's trying of your patience, full of long days, and your heart just breaks at times.  But it is absolutely rewarding if you have the calling.  I just praise God that He put this student in my class.

My favorite song at the moment.  Learning to Be the Light by Newworldson

Through this I have learned a very important lesson - I am where I am strictly because of God's grace in my life.   I can remember saying after we bought this house that we had worked so hard to put ourselves through school and start careers so that we could be in this position to buy.  But I was SO WRONG.  It wasn't anything WE did, it was everything HE did.  I am where I am because of His grace alone.  What makes me live in a home and not on the street is not because I have a great job or a college education.  It's because the Lord's grace provided that for me.  There are millions of people who are born into or experience circumstances beyond their control and that could just as easily be me.  It was such a sobering realization for me, but one that I needed.  I don't even know if this makes sense to anyone else, but it does to me.

So yesterday evening, I was feeling particularly down and just sad.  We had a Ladies Night Out event at church and I was just praying that it would lift my spirits and lift my spirits it did!  I ended the evening with so much joy restored to my heart.  I got to spend some good time with my SIL Amber, her friend Jessica, and my friend Rachel.  They are such awesome folks.  It was good and I felt so refreshed.  :)

I woke up to a beautiful, cool morning today (before the rain set in).  Hubs and I had coffee on our porch and walked around the yard admiring some gorgeous flowers in bloom.  I love spring and the rebirth of everything!  It's hard not to smile when you see beauty all around.

 This azalea is covered in hundreds of tiny blooms!
I forgot what these are called but they're so pretty with their little pink flowers and purple leaves.

I can't wait to see what else will bloom soon.  Our hydrangeas are starting to bud.  Those are my favorite!

I'm happy to end this on a positive, peaceful note.  No matter what goes on all around, Jesus' place in my heart provides me peace and comfort.  Be blessed! XO