Saturday, December 29, 2007

Delinquent

I'm sorry I've been so delinquent with my blogging. Life has been busy. But that is not an excuse for failing to blog in a MONTH! Pathetic. Here are some highlights from the past month:

Babysitting Nightmare: While I was babysitting this little boy, he decided he wanted to go run off and cut his hair. Chunks of golden locks were covering the acid-stained concrete kitchen floors. Panic.

Gingerbread Decorating: I was intending to post these picture weeks ago, but blogger.com is not letting me upload my pictures!. I was going to post pics of our 5th Annual Gingerbread Decorating Party. Every year, my Aunt Amy comes over to my parents' house and makes Gingerbread houses with my sisters and I. This year was so much fun. We had Lindsey, Cristina (Lindsey's friend), Shannon, Me and Destiny (my mom and Shannon's mentee). We had a blast! I will post pics when I can.

First Married Christmas: It was awesome. We had a great time and gave each other iPhones for Christmas. In August. I don't think we will do that again. It's not very festive.

We're buying a house: Yay! We are really really excited about this. The house is going to be awesome and it has so much potential. But of course, it is going to take a LOT of work! So I'm preparing to "roll up my sleeves" and get to work.

That's pretty much it. I am trying to fix the no picture thing. This was just a quick blog to redeem myself from the pit of blog despair and from the condemnation I have been receiving.

I will post something fun with pictures as soon as I can!

Monday, December 10, 2007

Wasps, Global Warming & Noah

Yes friends, I intend to blog about all three things mentioned above. I will start with my most disfavored creature on this planet, Wasps...and all things in the Bee family (no I will NOT be seeing the movie BEE). Last night, my husband discovered there was a very large wasp in our home, yes INSIDE OUR HOME. He of course killed it in one foul swoop, but it wasn't over. This morning, there was one buzzing outside my front door trying to gain entry! Before I proceed, you must know that I am terrified of bees, wasps, hornets, yellowjackets etc. Some, who will remain nameless, have even told me I have a stronghold in this area!! People ask me all the time if I am allergic, and I have to pitifully answer, "No, but I am psychologically allergic"." I did have a traumatizing experience as a youngster, I was stung on my scalp and my parents had to practically restrain me with ropes to get me to lie still while they plucked the stinger out with tweezers. I will never forget it.

Anyways, sure enough, in mid-December there was wasps galavanting outside, ruining my winter! These things need not be! There should never, under any circumstances be bee-like creatures outside in mid-December. I look forward to the winter every year when those heinous little creatures go underground to hibernate and I can walk outside without fear of being stung! Well, not this winter! Why are they out, you might ask? IT IS 70 DEGREES TODAY!! And no, I do not live in Florida, I live in Central Virginia where it would normally be snowing right now!

OK, before you jump to the "global warming" comeback, hear this! I have discovered that global warming is an unbiblical idea. Yes friends, take heart, I am about to give you a biblical comeback to all that global warming hysteria. I discovered this passage in the Bible when I was doing a Beth Moore study this summer called Living Beyond Yourself. It was a great study, I highly recommend it. I was reading in Genesis about Noah and the flood and God's promise to Noah never to flood the earth again. We all know that of course. However, I did not know that God promised more to Noah. Genesis 8:15 through Genesis 9:17 are referred to by scholars as the "Noahic Covenant". It of course includes God's promise to never flood the earth again but there is more! In chapter 8:22 the Lord states, "While the earth remains, Seedtime and harvest, And cold and heat, And summer and winter, And day and night Shall not cease."

I don't know about you, but when I read that my eyes nearly jumped off the page! The Sustainer of the Universe tells us right here in black and white that "cold and heart, and summer and winter shall not cease!" I had no idea that was in Scripture! I don't know about you but I get annoyed with all the hocus pocus about global warming and I finally found my scriptural comeback! Of course, I doubt this would hold any weight with someone who is not a believer, but to someone that is, I think it certainly should. So fear not friends, the world is not going to turn into a giant microwave! God has promised He will not take away the cold! Praise Him for his provision and promises!


P.S. I just have to recommend this product if you too, hate all things BEE.



This is a must-have product in our home. Note, it is says "Instant Kill, Dielectric Breakdown Voltage of 49,500 Volts". This is music to my ears! :) Spray on friends!

Friday, November 30, 2007

Shrimp 'n Grits Y'all!

James 1:17 tells us that "Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights." I must say, Shrimp & Grits is a good and perfect gift from above! Praise Him! Tonight, for the first time, I made Shrimp & Grits. They were absolutely divine. I was telling Jackson, I love that Shrimp & Grits combine the "comfort food" feel of meat and potatoes with the elegant presentation of a more refined dish. It is perfect for entertaining and I plan on making it again soon. I must share this recipe, it is just that good (and it really is not hard at all...a beginner could make this).

Here's the recipe:

SHRIMP & GRITS

2 servings cooked grits
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup diced tasso ham*
2 tablespoons diced leeks
2 tablespoons diced onion
2 tablespoons diced green peppers
20 medium to large shrimp, peeled and de-veined, with tails on
1 to 2 tablespoons white wine
1 cup heavy cream
Salt and pepper
Green onion tops, chopped
*Cook's Note: Tasso is a Cajun ham and is often hard to find outside of Louisiana, but you can find it at some specialty gourmet shops or by mail order. If not, you can substitute salt pork, pancetta, or prosciutto, but you will have to beef up your seasonings, as tasso is very flavorful.

Cook grits according to package directions; set aside and keep warm.
Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add tasso and saute until crisp. Add diced vegetables and saute until onions are translucent. Add shrimp and saute for 30 to 45 seconds, or until pink. Remove from the pan and set aside. Deglaze the pan with a little white wine. Slowly add the cream and let reduce until thickened. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.

Divide grits among 2 serving plates. Line plate edges with shrimp (10 shrimp per serving). Pour sauce over grits. Garnish with green onion tops.


Of course, this came from the kitchen of:



Which means it included this...


and at least one stick of this....



So, if you don't mind one night of caloric indulgence, this recipe is worth it! Here is the finished product:





And one happy hubby!



Happy Friday Night Y'all!

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

A Day with the Doodle

Since Jackson and I don't have our own child, sometimes we like to steal Mark and Jaime's daughter, Grace and tote her around grounds pretending she's our own. Creepy? Maybe so, nevertheless we had so much fun yesterday watching Grace for a couple hours. Let's just say...she's a little Wahoo now :) Enjoy our faux parenting pics! I hope our child is this cute!!!

Sweet Little Doodle




Stirring her nature "stew", don't worry Jaime, I made sure it was 100% organic


Please notice Jackson's face






She hasn't quite mastered "smiling" for the camera

Monday, November 26, 2007

Things I'm Thankful For

1. My Savior, Jesus Christ, who by his sacrifice on the cross, provided me the opportunity to have fellowship with the Father.
2. A husband who loves the Lord and who loves me. I absolutely adore him.
3. My family that is safe and healthy that also knows the love of Christ.
4. A church family that has truly become our real family here in Charlottesville. They have shown me what biblical community looks like.

Those are the top four. As promised, here are some pics from our first Thanksgiving as a married couple. We were at Jackson's parents house on Smith Mountain Lake. It was a great time. Almost the whole family was there.


Jackson showing me how to shoot the 22


Not that I need any help!


Cute


Jordon, showing us all how to do the "Soulja Boy" dance


Jackson & Braydon


Right before Thanksgiving Dinner


The Whole Gang: Britt, Aaron, Betty Ashton, Jiewon, Braydon, Jackson, Me, Jordon


Beau, Betty Ashton and Aaron's dog


Moses ("Samson right?")


I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving too!

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Crusty Artisan Bread, Anyone?

Last night I had the pleasure of attending a King Arthur Flour National Baking Seminar on "Crusty Artisan Breads". It was absolutely delightful. I went with my friend, Jaime and her mother, Ann. We had so much fun. If you haven't tried King Arthur Flour yet, you should. It is very high quality, un-beached, organic flour. Here's your visual.



The friendly folks at King Arthur were nice enough to give out raffle prizes at the end of the seminar. Jaime walked away with a lovely, "white wheat flour". Ann got some whole wheat flour, and I left with this:


And this is the bread that I will never be able to bake, despite attending the seminar :)

Mommy-In-Training

Here are some pictures of the sweet little girls I babysit.


This is Lucy, age 4



This is Elle, age 2


Me & Elle


The Sisters

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Wow...8 people voted!

Things are looking up for this blog, despite my lack of posting. Eight people actually voted on my last poll! The winning Thanksgiving treat was a tie between pumpkin pie and stuffing! Yummy! I am so ready for Thanksgiving. We are going to Jackson's parents house for Thanksgiving and I cannot wait for the feast that will be enjoyed! It's going to be great. There will definitely be pics from that weekend, so take heart, pics are coming!

My ENTJ Ways

I am frustrated at the moment and want to blog about it! I swore I would never be "that" person who uses their blog to talk about their feelings. But, here I am. Jackson and I just got out of a class where we were supposed to give a presentation today in front of the whole class. The presentation wasn't that big of deal, but we had still put a lot of time and effort into making it good (it was on remote perception by the way, that is the scientific name for ESP and psychic abilities). Bottom line, I was proud of it and actually excited to do our presentation for the class. Well, there were three other groups presenting before us, and each group was supposed to have fifteen minutes for their presentation. Of course, the first group goes literally thirty minutes and no one stops them! I was getting annoyed because I knew that every minute they went over was one minute taken away from our time. Then the second group goes, they were better, they only took about twenty minutes. Then the third group goes, and by the time it's our turn it is 1:38. Our class ends at 1:45!!! I'm not going to lie...I was kind of annoyed.

So, here is where I need your opinion to decide whether the following scenario is "rude". The professor stands up after the third group and looks at us and was like "Do you guys want to try to squeeze it in?" in front of the whole class. SO, being the assertive person that I am I say (very matter-of-factly) "Well, we prepared a fifteen minute presentation according to the guidlines given, so no, it is not going to work." I thought this to be a perfectly appropriate, factual statement. But sweet, diplomatic Jackson was blown away and was like "Woah Mal...simmer down".

It's funny how the Myers-Briggs tests are so right on with our personalities. I personally am obsessed with such tests and I recently re-took the myers-briggs after several years and I discovered that my personality is an ENTJ. Here's some of the description:

-"Outgoing, logical and decisive, the ENTJ leads by providing conceptual structure and setting goals, rather than by detailing and enforcing procedures, codes and regulations."

-"There is not much room for error in the world of the ENTJ. They dislike to see mistakes repeated, and have no patience with inefficiency. They may become quite harsh when their patience is tried in these respects, because they are not naturally tuned in to people's feelings, and more than likely don't believe that they should tailor their judgments in consideration for people's feelings. ENTJs, like many types, have difficulty seeing things from outside their own perspective. Unlike other types, ENTJs naturally have little patience with people who do not see things the same way as the ENTJ. The ENTJ needs to consciously work on recognizing the value of other people's opinions, as well as the value of being sensitive towards people's feelings. In the absence of this awareness, the ENTJ will be a forceful, intimidating and overbearing individual."

-ENTJs love to interact with people. As Extroverts, they're energized and stimulated primarily externally. There's nothing more enjoyable and satisfying to the ENTJ than having a lively, challenging conversation. They especially respect people who are able to stand up to the ENTJ, and argue persuasively for their point of view.

-ENTJs want their home to be beautiful, well-furnished, and efficiently run. They're likely to place much emphasis on their children being well-educated and structured, to desire a congenial and devoted relationship with their spouse.


Well, I think that was some of the good, the bad, and the ugly about the ENTJ. Go to this site if you want to find out which type you are: http://www.humanmetrics.com/cgi-win/JTypes1.htm

Take the test and tell me what you are, I think its fascinating.

If you read all the way here and put up with my rantings, I'm impressed!

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Lo Siento

Sorry I have not updated my blog lately. Life has been crazy! Jackson and I have had a lot of school work recently. Also, my camera was not charged for a while and no blog post is complete without pictures. I promise to do better this week, I will start taking more pictures.

Jackson and I are currently on the couch unwinding from a busy but fun weekend. On Friday we drove to Virginia Beach for the night to see our family and pick up our new car. On Saturday we drove back to Cville and hung out with Jackson's brother who was in town for the night. Then Sunday at church we were wrapping up the "I Am Portico" series on stewardship. After church, Mark and Gracie came over to hang out with us at the cottage and Grace and I made snickerdoodle cookies! This was the highlight of my day...making snickerdoodles with a 2.5 year old. Hilarious. Grace makes me want to have kids, she's the most precious child I know. I'm kicking myself that I didn't take pictures. I of course had her dressed in one of my aprons with oven mitts and a rubber spatula. It was a total Hallmark card. After that, the Atwell's had all the staff families over for chili and the Colt's game. It was a great Sunday. Now...top it off with a little desperate housewives..perfection :)

Saturday, October 27, 2007

And The Winner Is...

Dwangela! With a record breaking FOUR VOTES the winner of our halloween costume poll is Dwight and Angela. I have two reactions to this outcome. One, excitment because I love Dwight and Angela and that is who I voted for. Two, I am disgruntled with the fact that I got only four votes, one of which was myself. This means that only three people voted! Now here is the sad part...there are probably only three people that read my blog. OR, there a couple more but they are just shy. Well, be shy no longer! Let your presence on this blog be known! I want people to comment...in fact I beg you to comment!

Get excited for pics of our halloween costumes coming soon!

Saturday, October 20, 2007

A day in the life of...

two former beauty queens. Today a former Miss Northern Virginia and Miss Teen Virginia Beach hit up Short Pump Mall in Richmond for a day of shopping! Aka...window shopping & starbucks. My friend, Jaime, and I had a glorious day finding her a pair of "dynamo denin". She came away with a great pair of Joe's jeans. I was her official "guru of glamour" although she certainly doesn't need one. We had way too much fun and my stomach hurts from laughing so hard. I think we might have gotten a little carried away...you be the judge.

Strike a pose

"Introducing...Miss Northern Virginia....JAIME CAMPBELLLL!"

Do you love it or do you love it?

The Pied Piper

Candy striper???

Ok...so all was going well and were having a fabulous time. As our day is coming to a close we make our way out to the parking lot. I open my car door and HORROR OF HORRORS:



This was sitting there when I opened my car door! Shock and panic set in all at once! I called Jaime, my former Miss Northern Virginia to the rescue! She came quickly and squealed appropriately. What else does one do when they open their car door to find a tarantula sized spider lurking???!!! Then...some sweet, kind man came over to see what our commotion was all about and ever so kindly got the spider off my car with his car keys. This may seem like an exageration or an overreaction. I swear to you it was neither. This spider was literally the biggest spider I had seen in my life. We were both tramautized at the sight of it and had to go to starbucks immediately to calm our nerves! After the grande triple, non-fat, no whip pumpkin spice latte kicked in we were more collected and could continue our journey home. Whew! Just another day in the life of two FORMER beauty queens :)

Friday, October 19, 2007

Announcement!

Greetings Bloggers!

Jackson and I have some very exciting news. Jackson has accepted a job with our church, Portico. He will start work with the church when we graduate this May and he will be working with the kids' ministry and launching a new youth ministry. We could not be more excited about this and feel so blessed to work with a church that we love so much! We can't wait to get started. We would love your prayers as we begin our journey in ministry! There will be more to come on this so stay tuned! Check out Portico's website, it is one of my links on the blog.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Shop Til You Drop

Last weekend I had an amazing time at Tysons Galleria with my mom, older sister, my mom's bff and her daughter! We had a blast. It was such fun girl time (even though I missed the hubs soo much). If any of you make your way up to Tysons this season, you must hit up Anthropologie. They have some adorable stuff in right now! I wish I took more pictures, but I only came away with a few and then my camera died. Darn. Here's what I got.


Nothing like starting the day with a little bucks.

Megan, Me, Lindsey

Success at Anthro!!!

We should totally make this an annual thing! :)

Thursday, October 11, 2007

It Finally Feels Like Fall!

Fall is in the air...finally! Yesterday it was 90 degrees and today it was low 60s. What on earth? I didn't realize how much I like fall until this year. Maybe it is because I have a home now and I am suddenly interested in pumpkins and making things feel festive. But I also realized my "style" is much more suitable to fall. I think my favorite outfit consists of cowboy boots, cute boot-cut jeans, and a fitted jacket. Fall is the perfect weather for my favorite clothes! I am also looking forward to busting out my pashminas!

As I am writing I am sitting next to my sweet husband and enjoying the fire he built tonight. Yes, our very first fire in our first home. I feel like this is one of those big moments. One of the things I am thankful for is a husband who can just start a fire! We walked in the house and I said something about a fire and he said, "That's a great idea, I'll go get some logs!" and voila...ten minutes later we have a fire! He is just so good with all those "manly" things and I just love it. He's so capable. Sorry, I just had to brag on him. I'm leaving tomorrow for a shopping trip in D.C. with my mom and sister (fun fun fun) and this will be the first time we have been away from each other since we have been married...I'm sad! Anyway, here are some pics from our first fall as a married couple!



THE PUMPKIN...I picked the biggest one I could find! I was so pleased.


Hubs with our pumpkin


Hubs making the fire


The first fire at the Andrews' home

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Gorgonzola Delight

So, this past weekend my in-laws came to visit us for the first time :) I cleaned for hours, bought a pumpkin for the front porch, made pumpkin spice bread, bought flowers for the kitchen table, and bought apple cider. I felt compelled to make our home feel festive and fall-ish. Jackson's older brother, Braydon and his girlfriend Micah came to visit too. We had so much fun with them. Braydon lives in Minneapolis and attends John Piper's church...so cool.

All you married women, you know how it is when the in-laws visit, you want to make something really really good. Something impressive but not too "gourmet" to look like you are trying too hard. Here was my menu for the visit, and it turned out great: filet with gorgonzola sauce, roasted garlic potatoes and sauteed snow peas. It was all a hit. But, I must share the gorgonzola sauce recipe with you all because it was simply divine!

It is of course, a Barefoot Contessa Original...

GORGONZOLA SAUCE
4 cups heavy cream
3 to 4 ounces crumbly Gorgonzola (not creamy or "dolce")
3 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons minced fresh parsley

1)Bring heavy cream to a full boil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, then continue to boil rapidly for 45-50 minutes, until thickened like a white sauce, stirring constantly. **NOTE: I thought boil rapidly meant boil on medium-high...it does not, you must turn it down to low so it is "simmering" if you keep it on high it will burn fast!

2)Off the heat, add the Gorgonzola, Parmesan, salt, pepper, and parsley. Whisk rapidly until the cheeses melt. Serve warm. If you must reheat, warm the sauce over low heat until melted, then whisk vigorously until the sauce comes together.

Enjoy this recipe!

Here's a picture of Micah and I whipping it up in the kitchen....

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Reality Check

My older sister is getting her Master's in Counseling at Regeant. I'm excited because I can now get free counseling from her! Today she shared something with me that I thought was very wise and important to keep in mind. Everybody has those relationships in their life that disappoint them. Maybe it is a relationship you can (and should) get out of, but maybe it isn't. Maybe it is one of those permanent relationships: a coworker, a family member, or even a friend. What most of us tend to do is live in a fantasy world where we keep hoping that the person will not dissappoint us again. We say things to ourselves like, "maybe this time will be different," or "surely this time they won't hurt me again". When the person follows in their usual behavior, we are let down again, and potentially crushed because we had hoped for something that was simply not our reality. We need to remember to live in reality! If you are honest with yourself about the reality of this person's ways, then it is easier to deal with and you can manage your expectations.

With that said, I am not saying that you cease to pray over a difficult relationship. I am not saying give up on it, or harden your heart towards them and become bitter. By no means! God can perform miracles and change people's hearts! But, oftentimes we cannot. I can't make someone love me or appreciate me. I have learned that it is not emotionally healthy to live in a fantasy world because reality is hurtful or hard to deal with. We have to manage our expectations according to reality and let Christ get control over our emotions. Surrender the hurt feelings and dissapointment to Him! He cares and wants to be the one to comfort us. So many times the first person we run to is not Him, but our spouse, or friend or mother. This is the exact opposite of what we should do. I've heard a quote, "Take it to the throne before you take it to the phone". Amen!

Let's live in reality and be honest with ourselves about the expectations we should have for others.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

The Fabulous Life of...

our Portico Community Group! OK, even though this happened over Labor day weekend, it was just so much fun I had to write a post about it. The Andrews, Campbells and Dauberts hit the high seas and went on an overnighter on the beautiful Dreamgirl as a community group bonding trip (we missed you, Redgates!). We had the best time! Enjoy the pictures!


Us

The Dauberts

The Campbells

Chesapeake Bay Sunset

Monday, September 24, 2007

To blog or not to blog?

I have never "blogged" in my life. I don't even like the word "blog". However, after discovering the Living Proof Ministries (from here on, "LPM") blog, I found myself intrigued by the world of bloggers. All these women who love the Lord (most are from the Lone Star state) manage to make very ordinary experiences seem exciting and fun. I wondered if I too, could make a trip to the grocery store morph into a hilarious posting. Let's see if I can measure up to the fabulous Texas women who have mastered the art of blogging. In order to make blogging a success, one must have "real" friends that actually coment and read their blogs. I believe that if we join together, we can create a wildly successful and entertaining blogosphere that might, dare I say, trump the Texas bloggers! I mean, they do say Virginia is the mother of Texas. Is anybody with me?