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Showing posts from November, 2013

Life Lessons - A Perspective on Thankfulness

A lovely woman has included me on an email list that has a devotional called, Jesus Calling, sent directly to my inbox everyday. It is written from the Lord's perspective, and often times is exactly what I need to hear. If you are interested in hearing more about it, here is at link to the book reviews on Amazon to take a look at! Below is a recent Jesus Calling excerpt that really touched my heart and made me focus even harder on being grateful for what I have now and always.
As I prepare for Thanksgiving day, I always reflect on what I have to be thankful for, and this year is no exception. While it sounds cheesy, I wish people lived everyday this way instead of just making an effort during this season. It would make such a huge difference in America. Please, for your sake, start thinking more about what you do have and not focusing so much on what you want. 
I KNOW that I am blessed. Just having the freedom to write these words is so incredible. Do not take your freedoms …

Sharing the Wealth in my Season of Reading

Bill and I have a problem.  We have officially run out of bookshelf space.  We have small stacks of books piling up around our home and I have decided, as a result of this recent dilemma, as I finish a book, I will send it someone who would enjoy reading it, to make room in my house for more books in the future and to send someone a little joy at the same time.   
SO, if after reading my short review (and potentially doing a little research of your own) you are interested in having any book you see on here in your collection, just leave me a comment and I will arrange to have it sent to you so you can sit in a comfortable chair with a cup of tea and be transported elsewhere, even for just a few minutes a day.  Reading is wonderful, and hoarding books, especially ones I have finished, seems like a crime.  I want to share the wealth!
The being said, I'd love to tell you about this lovely read.  It is a collection of short stories of women who lived over seas and excerpts of their live…

Away For the Weekend - Vegas Here I Come!

I am heading to Vegas this weekend, and as is always the case when I say those words, I am really excited. 
I just love it.  Maybe it is because I am very responsible, I have a structured job, I make a meal plan every week, and I go to church every Sunday.  I am organized and clean and do laundry and don't make spontaneous purchases.  I am very methodical about my life.  I do not buy junk food, never stay up past 10 pm, wake up at 6 am everyday and (attempt to) always put others first. 
And then I go to Vegas…  I sleep in, eat big breakfasts, play games, drink oversized drinks, stay up til 2 am, eat fast food and snacks, do not have a plan, and do what I want.  I think because it is always in short spurts, I really enjoy just existing there for awhile.  Other places I go for vacation, I feel like I need to be productive and see it all and have a plan of attack, but not when I am there.  People say Vegas is dirty and raunchy, but I think that Vegas is what you make of it.  The casi…

My Family's Contagious Joy

This picture brings my heart joy and is currently my desktop background at work. 
My family has a contagious energy and my siblings are beyond a blessing to me.
I miss them more than words can describe, but feel peace in my heart about our individual journeys.
This picture is a throwback to the night before my wedding :)

Food I Ate Friday - Almond Biscotti

There is something about biscotti to me...  Maybe it reminds me of my time in Italy, maybe it is my fascination with different kinds of baking, but whatever it is, they make me happy and I love them in a unique way.  I cannot have them without a cup of tea or coffee to dunk in, and my preference is black tea with milk and a hint of sugar.  
As usual, I did not make up the recipe this week.  I found it on Pinterest, and the pin led me to the Hungry Brownie Blog.    If you are foodie, I encourage you to explore the rest of the blog.  There are definitely a few more recipes I want to try on there!  The photo and the recipe both belong to the blog referenced above... I really need to start focusing on the pictures I am taking!

Almond Biscotti
Ingredients
2 cups all-purpose flour 1 cup sugar 1 teaspoon baking powder 1/8 teaspoon salt 3 large eggs 1/2 teaspoon pure almond extract (or 1/2 teaspoon amaretto) 1 teaspoon vanilla 1 teaspoon anise extract (optional) 1 cup of almonds, toasted and chopped, but…

Be Encouraged - My First 10K

I want to take this opportunity to encourage anyone that doesn't think they can do something, because I genuinely and sincerely did not think that running a 10K was ever a possibility for me.  I am not lazy or unmotivated, but I just never enjoyed running.  I would always literally laugh at people who signed up for races because it sounded that absurd to me.  I ran a 5K last year, and left it feeling accomplished and like I never needed to push harder than that because it would be out of my reach… well I was wrong.
I know how cheesy it is, but I really do think all you have to do is put your mind to something.  In training for this, I learned a lot about my body, what it can handle, how diet effects exercise and why it is important to push yourself to do a task you do not believe you can do.  
That morning, when I started the 6.2 mile journey to the finish line, I remember thinking that if I didn't give up mentally and kept believing my body could handle it, I could jog the enti…

Food I Ate Friday - Chicken Tikka Masala

Watch out people, I got a crock pot and I am becoming obsessed with it.

Honestly, this recipe could not be much easier or more delicious!  It came from Real Simple magazine (as many of my recipes do) and it can be found here for your reference.  It turned out so good the first time we made it, we immediately made it again the next week.  I recommend shredding the chicken and serving it with the frozen Trader Joe's Naan bread :) 
Ingredients
1 15-ounce Can Crushed Tomatoes 1 Medium Onion, Chopped 2 Cloves of Garlic, Chopped 2 Tablespoons Tomato Paste 2 Teaspoons Garam Masala (Indian Spice Blend) Kosher Salt and Black Pepper 1 1/2 Pounds Boneless Skinless Chicken Thighs 1/2 English Cucumber, halved and thinly sliced 1/4 Cup Fresh Cilantro Leaves 1 Tablespoon Lemon Juice 1 Cup Basmati or some other long grain white rice 1/2 Cup Heavy Cream

Directions
1) In a 4-6 Quart slow cooker, combine the tomatoes, onion, garlic, tomato paste, garam masala 3/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper.  Place the …

Happy Birthday Daddy

This is my dad.
Today is his 56th birthday.
He is my biggest fan, the first man I ever loved and the best example of selflessness I have ever known.  He lives his life to make those around him more comfortable, and he is such an incredible husband, father and grandpa.  Growing up makes you see your parents differently, and while some may find their parents not everything they thought they were, I certainly have had the opposite experience.  He is everything I need him to be and is ALWAYS there for me when I need him.  Walking down the aisle with him was an honor because I am SO proud to be his little girl.  

My dad is a man who enjoys the little things.  A cup of blueberry coffee, a walk on a brisk morning and a cabin in the woods are things that make him smile.  He loves the trees changing in the fall and can't wait until the next time he gets to be in Maine.  Sam Adams, tubs of tri-flavored popcorn and Halls cough drops always make me think of him.  Isn't it funny what will mak…

Oh Hello Friend Party and Quality Time with My Girls

Me and two of my best girls went to a 5 Year Anniversary Party for a blog we have admired for a few years; and while I was so happy to be there and experience it, I was most excited about spending time with my girls.  They are both so dear to me, and I just love any quality time we can spend together.  We laughed in the car and gawked at the cute items and I just loved being around them for something like this.  We had the best time, and it reminded me that no matter what I envy in the blog world, I have it all in my reality.

I did a poor job getting pictures of the event, it was absolutely adorable.  There was cute food and drinks, fun colorful decor, someone who created silhouettes of attendees, a calligraphy artist, a fabulous band playing, a photo booth and a cotton candy machine.  It was a true celebration.

We looked through the shop that opened after the blog gained popularity, which was right around the corner from the party, and you can tell it is a dream of the owner's …

A Season of Reading - A Lovely Italian Adventure

This book is an Italy loving foodie's dream.  I definitely could not get enough of it.  It was like going on vacation whenever I picked it up, because I dream of being the woman who wrote this when I "grow up" :)  She writes with such poise and confidence and makes her meals sound like the most incredible experiences I can even imagine.
The recipes are so sumptuous, and every dish described can almost be tasted from the amount of detail.  Oh my gosh, I just wanted to jump in the pages and be sitting at the table with them!  I can picture myself with a glass of deep red wine soaking it all in sitting in a rustic, yet comfortable wooden chair around a table filled with laughter, candles and conversation.
I have been daydreaming about a trip my family and I are planning to Paris, Germany and Tuscany in the fall of 2015.  While that is only 2 years away, it feels like an eternity.  I cannot wait to be there, living in the setting of this book.  I miss living in Italy everyday…