Friday, April 29, 2011

Blog Trends...that I don't understand

I read a lot of blogs about crafts and home decorating.  There are some "trends" that I just don't get.  I'm sorry in advance if I offend anyone...I'm not saying I don't like these things, I just don't understand what all of the fuss is about.

#1  "Chevron" Pattern

The actual Chevron logo looks like this:
Chevron patterned things that I see at LEAST once a day on someone's craft blog, look like this:

I've seen Chevron pillows, rugs, picture frames, curtains, hand towels, name it, it's been made into a Chevron craft.

I like this pattern.  The thing I don't get is:  
The "Chevron" craze makes this seem trendy and new...but I'm pretty sure they're just ZIG ZAGS.

#2 Rolled Fabric Flowers

Many, many people think these are ADORABLE.  I'll be honest...I do not.  I think that unless they are done REALLY well, they just look like a ball of fabric.  Maybe that's because they are just a ball of fabric.

I prefer the following fabric/felt flowers:

#3 Keep Calm and....

I loved the original "Keep Calm and Carry On" sign.  It was a motto of mine during the month of February last year.

And I didn't even mind the Christmas version of:
But this trend has officially gotten out of hand.  I have seen the following phrases on various blogs:
Keep calm and..
...cupcake on
...rock on (ok I like that one)
...make tea on
...carry yarn
...don't sneeze
...put it on Facebook hilarious
...Hello Kitty
...egg hunt on
...scary on
...carry garlic

See what I mean?  Can't we just leave cute enough alone?  It kind of makes me want to

Ok, I'm off to the store to buy the supplies for another blog trend....a yarn wreath.  But that trend, I love.  Pictures to come later!


Thursday, April 21, 2011

Because he gets it...

This week I bought some concert tickets that I am really excited about.  In August, my BFF Michelle and I will be traveling to New York City to see Jeremy Camp in concert and I signed up for a spot in the "Meet and Greet" after the concert.  I do love Jeremy Camp's music, but that's not the biggest reason I am excited for this concert, and REALLY excited for the possible chance to meet him.

All the excitement is because HE GETS IT.  Take 5 minutes and watch this.

A more detailed description of his story can be found here

I have met several amazing young women on this journey who have lost husbands to cancer.  I have met one other woman who married her husband knowing he had osteosarcoma, like Isaac.  So, when I listen to Jeremy Camp sing "You Never Let Go", the last song I ever stood beside Isaac and sang in church, I know that as he sings those words...he gets it.  Not just that he gets trials, because we all have those in our lives, I feel a connection to his music because I know he gets MY trial.

The meet and greet session is something you put your name in for, and they tell you 24 hours before the concert if you're being if you think of it, pray for me to be able to go.  This is one guy I just have to meet.


Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Random American Idol Thoughts

This is a mildly lengthy post where I share my opinions of the current Idol contestants.  If you don't watch Idol or just don't feel the need to read my opinion ( that'd be the case)...scroll to the bottom of the post and check out the video at the end. It's worth it.

So...of the 7 contestants that are left on Idol:

1.  Scottie - He has a great voice, and he does a great job at singing country music.  I just don't like country music all that much, and especially not male country singers.  So I fast forward through his performance.  Every. Single. Time.    So, I'd tell you what I thought of his performance tonight, but I didn't watch it beyond the first few seconds.

2.  Jacob - I appreciate the gospel voice...and I even like the theatrics.  I know this annoys most people, but something about his quirky, good-hearted nature just makes me smile.  And he has serious pipes.  But, I don't like the "Dance With my Father" this one got a fast forward as well.

3.  James - This guy used to annoy the heck out of me.  This is mostly because he REALLY reminds me of a particularly challenging student I have this year.  But, the more I watch him, the more I like.  I don't really care for the whole screaming thing, but he totally had me when he sang "While My Guitar Gently Weeps" 2 weeks ago.  He has a VOICE!  And this week - a drum line??  As a former band geek, I LOVE IT!

4.  Haley- Another one who I used to really dislike, but as she has begun to find the style of music that suits her, I am liking her more and more.  This week when she did "Rolling in the Deep", I was loving it!!  I think she's really hitting her stride and I can't wait to see more of her.

5.  Stefano - This guy is handsome...but really....WHO IS VOTING FOR HIM???????  He is so boring.  I actually burst out laughing during his performance tonight.  PLEASE STOP VOTING FOR HIM.

6.  Casey - Sigh.  Ok, I get it - everyone loves him and thinks he's this super amazing musical genius.  I think he's just annoying.  One week I thought my opinonIf you take away all of the funny and the gimmicks, his voice is NOT THAT GOOD.  Plus he's annoying.  Did I say that already?  Plus, I LOVE Maroon 5 and he's got nothing on Adam Levine.

7.  Lauren - She's my current favorite.  I know, I know...she's the generic cute poppy countryish Carrie Underwood wannabe contestant...but I just love her.  She reminds me of my friend Lauren, who is one of my favorite people on earth, so that makes her my favorite.  And to Stephen Tyler...who suggested this week that she sing something more like Alison Krauss, Faith Hill, or Shania Twain next week...she sang Sara Evans, which is pretty much exactly like the other 3.  Duh.

And for the folks voted off...

I LOVE Paul.  I realize he was not popular, and had a quirky style, but I love that raspy voice, guitar singing, folky type of music.

And Pia...ok yes, she has an amazing voice.  It's pretty much flawless.  But boy was she flawless to watch.  Come out on stage, stand in the middle, sing a ballad perfectly...blah blah blah.

Of all the contestants though, I think there is one missing.  My hands down favorite from Hollywood Week was Colton Dixon.  Remember him?  He played the piano and had a mohawk.  He is AMAZING and I hope he puts out a CD soon - I'll buy it!  And...he's a Christian who leads worship.  It's unfortunate that he is also 19.  Take a listen to him:

Ok - so who are your favorites???


Monday, April 18, 2011

Tasty Tuesday Randomness

Tonight I made a bunch of yummy things!

I made the green tea as part of the "Try It" Challenge being hosted at Peak 313 Fitness.  Each week, Clare gives a new food and several ways to try it out.  So far, all 3 have been foods I already eat regularly, but I have found new ways to enjoy them all!

Week 1 was Greek yogurt.  I tried "FroCho" Pops - definitely a keeper!

Week 2 was Breakfast Quinoa (pronounced 'keen-wa' unless you are my mother, in which case you would say 'quay-no')  This is AMAZING!  I followed Clare's recipe, and it is not only delicious but it is filling.  It kept me from feeling hungry for at least 4 hours.

Week 3 is Green Tea!  I brewed a batch of the Jasmine Mint Green Tea tonight and it is great!


Tuesday, April 12, 2011

The Scarlet Letter

Sometimes I feel like being a widow is a bit like wearing a scarlet "w".  While I don't find myself thinking "I'm a widow" all too often, I do feel this pang of anxiety when I meet new people or when I see people from the past and I have to explain that I'm a widow.  I get the same look every time I tell someone.  It's a mix of shock, sadness, and a whole lot of sympathy.  And it's always awkward.

I'm just going to say it plain and simple:  I hate being a widow.  I loved being married to Isaac, and though it was painful beyond words, I love what God is doing through Isaac's death.  I just really, really hate the word widow. It sounds so negative to me.

Lately, I've been trying to view this widow thing differently.  As I wrote about earlier, I've been listening non-stop to the Audrey Assad CD.  My current favorite song is "Carry Me".  The song talks about the burden of the crosses we all carry, and how God carries us through those things.

Being a widow is a cross I carry with me every day.  Some moments it is so heavy it stops me from moving forward.  Other days, I hardly feel it's weight, but it is always there.  It always will be.

Paul tells us in Acts 5 of the imprisonment and terrible treatment of the apostles.  After their release from prison, these men REJOICE.  They rejoice because they were counted worthy of suffering.  How many times do we stop in our suffering to say "Oh thank you God for giving me this trial, it makes me feel so joyful"?  It's easy to get caught up in the pit of despair and negativity, and not look outside of our suffering and see that God is there carrying us every step of the way.

To me, that's what it means to carry my cross.  It means looking at the suffering and the sad times and the trials and CHOOSING to praise God in them.  Choosing to give Him the glory and be THANKFUL that He loves me enough to carry me through something so difficult, because it has taught me so much.  It means joyfully taking up whatever cross it is we carry, and carrying it for His glory and in His strength.

What cross are you carrying today?  If it's feeling especially heavy, take a moment to stop and lay it down at the feet of Jesus.  Ask Him to help you carry your burden.  I promise, it will feel lighter!

I'm sharing this at Women Living Well and Internet Cafe Devotions!


French Toast Bake

I made this breakfast bake for a breakfast my church had this weekend.  It was easy, and delicious!  
The Pioneer Woman has a fantastic step-by-step tutorial if you're interested in that.  I'm just posting the recipe!

Baked French Toast

  • 1 loaf Crusty Sourdough Or French Bread
  • 8 whole Eggs
  • 2 cups Whole Milk
  • ½ cups Whipping (heavy) Cream
  • ¾ cups Sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons Vanilla Extract
  • Topping
  • ½ cups All-purpose Flour
  • ½ cups Firmly Packed Brown Sugar
  • 1 teaspoon Cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoons Salt
  • 1 stick Cold Butter, Cut Into Pieces

Preparation Instructions

Grease 9 x 13-inch baking pan with butter. Tear bread into chunks (or cut into cubes) and evenly distribute in the pan.
Mix together eggs, milk, cream, sugar, and vanilla. Pour evenly over bread. Cover tightly and store in the fridge several hours or overnight.
In a separate bowl, mix flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt. Add nutmeg if desired. Add butter pieces and but into the dry mixture until mixture resembles fine pebbles. Store in a Ziploc in the fridge.
When you’re ready to bake the casserole, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Remove casserole from oven and sprinkle crumb mixture over the top. Bake for 45 minutes for a softer, more bread pudding texture. Bake 1 hour or more for a firmer, less liquid texture.
I'm sharing this at Tasty Tuesdays!


Monday, April 11, 2011

{seven years ago}

April 11, 2004.
It was Easter Sunday.
I wore a blue sweater with pink flowers.
It was raining.
I walked into a church.
An invitation was given.
And "yes" was my answer.

It has been 7 years since I said YES to a relationship with Jesus.
In seven years, I have grown.
I have changed.
I have been broken down and built back up.
I have doubted and questioned and wondered.
I have been blessed in abundance.
I have been deeply, deeply loved.
I have been captivated by the beauty of this God.

"Ever since the day that I saw Your face
Try as I may, I cannot look away, I cannot look away…
Captivated by You
I am captivated by You
May my life be one unbroken gaze
Fixed upon the beauty of Your face"


Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Tasty Tuesday - No Noodle Lasagna

I got this idea when I was visiting with my college roommates recently.  Kristin whipped this up for us for dinner and it was delicious, easy, and HEALTHY!  She made her's meat free, but I added some ground meat so I could "beef it up" - haha!

No Noodle Lasagna

1 spaghetti squash, cooked and separated
2 cloves of garlic
olive oil
chopped veggies (whatever you like or have on hand!  I used peppers, mushrooms, and zucchini, Kristin used peppers, broccoli and spinach)
1 jar of tomato sauce
1 lb. extra lean ground beef or turkey
cheese (I used feta - I think you get more 'bang for your buck' with feta, you can use less cheese and still get lots of flavor)

1.  Cook the spaghetti squash.  I did mine the day before and refrigerated it.
2.  Sautee the garlic and veggies (all but the spaghetti squash) in a little olive oil.
3.  Once the veggies are soft, add the tomato sauce and cook through.
4.  Put that mixture into a big bowl.
5.  Add the ground beef to the same pan and brown.
6.  Mix the beef with the veggie mixture.

7.  Press half the squash into the bottom of the pan to make the "noodle" layer.

8.  Spoon the veggie/meat mixture on top.

9.  Sprinkle with cheese.

10.  Repeat!
11.  Bake in a 350 degree oven for 20-30 minutes, until warmed through.

I served mine with a side of my friend Laura's "Low Guilt" Garlic Cheddar Biscuits!  Delicious!

Linking this with Beauty and Bedlam!