Tuesday, February 28, 2012

{The Super Bowl For Girls}

I LOVE LA!  There is not much I dislike about the City of Angels, except that a lot of peoples' moral compasses seems to be a bit off kilter.  I got to go on a little 8 month adventure out west and do miss it.  I need a little weekend trip here soon if anyone's interested in joining!  That being said, I have walked the stairs to the Kodak Theatre (not sure how long it will retain that name) more times than I could count. 

My SIL Ashley, My MIL Brenda and Me on the stairs at the Kodak

View From The Street
I have seen many a red carpet.  This southern girl's never actually walked one, but they sure do look fun, and pretty and red!  Here are some shots of the Kung Fu Panda red carpet at Grauman's Chinese Theatre.  Ashley and I kinda accidentally stumbled upon it on our 2008 trip to LA.  As you can see, it's a madhouse! So much fun and chaos!  We walked up just as Jack Black was running across the street to sign some autographs.  There's a pic of him down there too! 

That's all super fun, but red carpets really mean just one thing to me...PRETTY DRESSES!  If you know me, then you know I LOVE clothes!  A beautiful dress will render me speechless.  This, and for no other reason (unless Reese Witherspoon or Sandra Bullock or anyone from The Help is nominated) , is why I love the Oscars.  You get to see these exquisite gowns displayed on living mannequins.  I love it!  I would kill to be Rachel Zoe assistant on Oscar Sunday.  Shoot, I'd hold her sunnies for free if she'd just let me come along for the ride!  As Kevin and I decided, Sunday was like the Super Bowl for girls...and it was a good one!  Here are some of my personal favorites (in random order):

Jessica Chastain in Alexander McQueen

Katie Holmes in Elie Saab
Michelle Williams in Louis Vuitton

Nancy O'Dell - Not sure who designed this one, but I like it!

Octavia Spencer in Tadashi Shoji (Curvy girls...this is how it's done!)

Sandra Bullock in Marchesa (They can do no wrong in my book - I love nothing more than a serious dress in the front with a back that takes your breath away!)

Girls...did you have any favorites?  I would love to hear about them!

Sunday, February 26, 2012

{A Mother's Love For Her Son}

A Mother's Love For Her Son
By: Valerie Dupont
A mother's love for her son is pure and special.
It can not be broken or reckon with.

It's a kind of love that softens even the hardest of hearts.

Love between mother and son is strong and visible from the sea.

It brings peace of mind and dries sad tears.

It can bring a man to his knees and make him weep.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

{Words to Live By}

I'm pretty sure these would do the trick!  Pink and Sparkly...YES, PLEASE!  I'm not sure where I would wear them, but looking at them everyday would make me super happy!!!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

{Noah's Ark of a Different Kind}

Today, we got to go spend some time with friends at Noah's Ark Animal Rehabilitation Center.  If you've never heard of it or been there, it's such a great place with an even greater story.  We had so much fun that Hayden asked to take a nap as we were leaving.  That never happens, so it must have been a pretty good day in his book! I wish I could have gotten some good photos of the lions, tigers and bears, but those pesky fences got in my way!  My hubby gets home tonight from a week long work trip, so I heading to the kitchen to cook some dinner (shocker!).  Enjoy these photos from our day!!!

Saturday, February 18, 2012

{Roller Coaster Ride}

"The same roller coaster that brought you to your nightmare, will bring you to your dreams."  Beth Moore

Photo Found HERE

As I mentioned in a previous post, I am doing a wonderful Beth Moore study called, James: Mercy Triumphs.  This has been very eye opening for me, as the first few weeks we have been learning about trials and adversity.  Mrs. Moore made the statement above the photo, and I quickly wrote it down, because the visual makes so much sense to me.

The last year has been a struggle, in so many ways, just as it's been absolutely wonderful.  We made the decision to move to GA from Florida because we just were not happy.  As wonderfully blessed as we were, we just knew that our life there was not right.  I know it sounds CRAZY!  We had very good jobs, a home of our own, friends, family, a wonderful church.  Yet, there were things that came up, behaviors and situations that Kevin and I put ourselves in, that really made it clear to us that our life in Florida was not what God had in mind.  That was not an easy notion to come by...at all!   My husband and I fought, cried, and prayed over some pretty serious emotional and physical struggles, before finally deciding that things had to change.  Frankly, the first half of last year was, by far, the most difficult season of my life. 

When we made the move to Georgia, for some reason, I thought that everything would magically get better.  POOF...No More Struggles!  I was wrong!  As a family, we struggled to acclimate to our new environment.  Kevin struggled to find a job.  We struggled to find a church home that would create a stirring in us, like Christ Fellowship did.  It was not easy!

But, somewhere along the way, this stressful, anxiety filled season morphed into one of the best things that has ever happened to me.  From anguish to absolute joy!  I have been able to watch my babies blossom and develop a very special brotherly bond.  My husband just landed the job of his dreams, which was initially on his 5 year plan.  I have kinda found myself again in all of the chaos.  We have been able to spend so much time together as a family...more than we ever would have in Florida.  And, to top it all off, we found a church that we love, one that has completely embraced us and encouraged us when we really needed it most.

We are blessed in the good and the bad.  Without the bad, I don't think we would have been brave enough to take a chance and ultimately find the good we were so desperately seeking.

If you are in a season of just plain difficult...I feel ya!  Been there / Done that! But take heart...it does get better.  Our Heavenly Father made that promise to us.  Stay faithful and praise Him in the good and in the bad!  Because after the trouble passes, the joy is sooooo much sweeter!!!!

"Then fix this firmly in your minds: You're going to be in deep mourning while the godless world throws a party. You'll be sad, very sad, but your sadness will develop into gladness. "When a woman gives birth, she has a hard time, there's no getting around it. But when the baby is born, there is joy in the birth. This new life in the world wipes out memory of the pain. The sadness you have right now is similar to that pain, but the coming joy is also similar. When I see you again, you'll be full of joy, and it will be a joy no one can rob from you." John 16: 20-22 MSG

Have a lovely and blessed weekend, friends!

Friday, February 17, 2012

{A Burtch Fridge Staple}

If I am going to eat healthy and make better food choices during the week, I have to prepare.  Those days that I am forced to wing it, I head straight for the Ramen or Spaghetti O's.  That's no good, so these days, I am making meals that I can stick in the fridge and eat off for several days.  This is one of my favorites and it's pretty much a staple in my fridge.  When I was working in Florida, I would watch food Network during my lunch break.  I didn't cook at all at the time, so I think I was just amping myself up to take a chance and just do it!  One day, Bobby Flay made THIS meal and I fell in love!  I left work and immediately went to the store and bought everything I needed to make it for dinner.  It's super easy and really versatile.  I love it because I can get the boys to eat the same thing Kevin and I are eating, which is rare.  There something about the crisp veggies and warm pasta that make for a great combo.  I have been making a modified version to keep around for lunch during the week.  I am amping up the veggies and cutting out meat whenever possible, so it's a little different from Bobby's recipe, but yummy all the same.  Enjoy!

Photo Courtesy of Angel Kisses Photography, Inc.

  • 1/2 pound orzo, cooked al dente as directed on the package
  • 1 large cucumber, seeded, quartered lengthwise, and sliced
  • 1 tomato diced
  • 1 yellow bell pepper diced
  • 1 can of chickpeas
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh dill, plus extra for garnish
  • 1/4 cup white wine vinegar 
  • 3 tablespoons Dijon Mustard 
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 3/4 pound feta cheese, crumbled
Directions: Combine cooked orzo, cucumber, bell pepper, tomato and chickpeas in a large bowl. Place dill, vinegar, and mustard in a blender and blend until smooth. With the motor running, slowly add the olive oil and blend until emulsified. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Pour the vinaigrette over the orzo mixture and stir well to combine. Top each serving with feta.

Friday, February 10, 2012

{**Star Student**}

My sweet Hayden is STAR STUDENT OF THE WEEK!  I am so very proud, especially since this is the second time he has been given this honor.  This time around, Hayden got to bring home the class puppy, Happy, for the week.  He had a little bit of an assignment to complete.  He had to show Happy his room, introduce him to the family, play with him and read to him.  We had to photograph all of these events so that he can tell the class about it today.  Here are some of the shots we got:

Happy The Class "Dog"

Hayden Reading "Grover Goes to School" to Happy

Introducing Happy To His Family
Today, Hayden also had to take his custom Valentines Bag to school to share for Show-And-Tell.  Here is what we came up with (I printed the photos out and glued them to his bag, then spruced it up with some glitter...of course):

Hayden told me exactly what he wanted and helped me design this.  He is so proud to share this with his friends.  I'm not going to lie, I'm pretty proud of myself.  I'm getting better at this photoshop/design thing.

Have a Wonderful Weekend Everyone!!!!!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

{Happy Birthday To Me}

It's my 31st birthday today.  I have to admit, I am so glad to move on from 30.  Last year, I was so excited...I knew and had known for a long time that 30 was going to be BIG!  The Good Lord knows, I had no idea how big.  The last year has been more of a marathon than a sprint.  I can honestly say that I learned more, about myself and others, in my 30th year than ever before. 

I started a new womens' Bible study yesterday...The wonderful Beth Moore's study on the book of James.  James 1: 2-4 kinda stopped me in my tracks:

"Dear Brothers and Sisters, when troubles come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow.  So, let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing."

I wish I had read this on my birthday last year.  Some of the challenges of the past year would have made much more sense.  But hey...His timing is perfect!  I WILL NOT argue with that!

I am grateful for all of the lessons learned, because they brought me to where I am at today.  I am in a place of peace and joy and contentment.  There is a lot to come this year...I feel it...and I cannot wait to see how God will use me and my family.  I have a feeling there will be a lot of opportunities to serve this year and I cannot wait.  BRING IT...I'm ready!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

{What I LOVE Wednesday}

I LOVE our new church!!!!  We have been going to Momentum CC in McDonough for a few weeks now...and WOW!  You just walk in the place and you feel the Lord at work.  We decided after week #1 that this was our new church home and we cannot wait to start our life group tonight!!!  Already, we have met so many new friends and have received an outpouring of support and encouragement.  These are the people I want to do life with and that I want my children to grow up around.  HUGE BLESSING!!!

This sounds like something my Grandmother would have said.  I love this print and if I were allowed to have pink anywhere in my house, I would buy it and frame it!  You can find the original HERE.

I love this outfit!  What I love even more, is that I currently own all of these items except the pink scarf.  That should be easy enough to find for pretty cheap.  Of course, I have pink heels, not flats, but I would have made that swap anyway.  If you haven't checked out Polyvore.com you should.  It's almost as addicting as Pinterest!!!

Don't you love the whimsy and playfulness of this foyer?  Well, I do!  Our Fifth House is one of my favorite blogs to read.  It's written by a lovely woman with a great sense of humor and even better style.  You should check out her living room...if it weren't so frowned upon, I would (attempt to) copy everything in it!  And don't get me started on her dining room!

Oh My Word!!!  We made this Slow Cooker Parmesan Honey Pork Roast a few nights ago for dinner.  Words cannot describe how yummy it was!  The sauce, oh the sauce!  We added mushrooms to it, and I could have just eaten it with a spoon.  Delicious!  This was a Pinterest find also, but I forgot to actually pin it (again).  I got so excited that I just wrote down the directions and forgot to keep track of it (I do this quite a bit if you can't tell).  I was able to find THIS blog post, and it looks like we saw the same pin.  It's the exact same recipe we used.  Super easy and beyond delicious!!!!
This is a picture of my dinner.

Happy Wednesday Everyone!  You're Halfway There!!!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

{Cheeseburger Pie}

Kevin was away last for a couple of days for interviews, so I took the opportunity to make a few kid-friendly meals.  Here is one of the new favorites....Cheeseburger Pie!  This is a Pinterest Find, but I didn't actually pin it, just wrote the directions down. Now the link is lost in the never ending abyss of recipes.  I would LOVE to give credit where credit is due, so if you have seen this, please let me know!!!

1 Prepared Pie Shell (We used Kroger Brand and it worked okay.  Now sure if the trouble was the brand or just me!)
1 lb of Lean Ground Beef or Ground Turkey Breast  (We used Ground Turkey)
1 Medium Onion Chopped
2 Garlic Cloves Chopped
1/2 Cup of Flour
2 tbsp of Pickle Juice (We used sweet bread and butter pickles, but next time I think I'll use Tony Packo's Sweet Hot Pickles & Peppers...the BEST!)
3 Slices of Pickles Finely Chopped
2 tbsp of Yellow Mustard
1 tbsp of Spicy Mustard
2 tbsp of Ketchup
1 tbsp of Steak Sauce
2 Cups of Shredded Cheddar Cheese

- Bake pie shell as directed on the package
- Drop the oven temp to 350 degrees once the shell is cooked
- Cook onions and garlic in a small amount of oil until tender, then remove from the pan
- Cook ground beef/turkey, adding any seasonings you typically use when grilling hamburgers. Grain grease.
- In a large bowl, add onion mixture to the ground beef.  After it has cooled a bit, also add flour, pickle juice, pickles, mustard, ketchup, steak sauce and 1 cup of cheese. Mix up and add to the pie shell
- Bake in the preheated oven for 15 minutes.
- Remove from over and sprinkle the remaining cup of cheese on the top and return to the over for an additional 10 minutes.  Then, it's ready to serve!  Super easy and really yummy!

Friday, February 3, 2012

{Best Fwiends}

"A friend loveth at all times, and a brother is born for adversity."
Proverbs 17:17

Oh, how this verse rings true with brothers.  My boys are the quintessential brothers.  They fight like crazy, but at the end of the day, there is no one else they'd rather fight with. 

Kevin gets a real kick out of asking Colton who his favorite person is.  Colton's answer is always "Daddy".  This little competition goes way back.  You see, Hayden has been a Momma's boy from birth.  I have always been able to calm him down.  He comes to me when he has boo-boos or something really cool to share, or just needs some love.  So, when Colton was born, Kevin primed him to be a Daddy's boy.  I would wake up in the middle of the night, and find Kevin snuggled up to Colton beside me.  Colton didn't wake up crying.  Oh no, Kevin would just wake up and pull him into bed for a little snuggle time.  The groundwork was laid.  For the first year of his life, I barely held the child.  He wanted Daddy (I said that with a jealous sarcasm in my head, btw).  He didn't say Mommy until he was almost 2.  I would try to get him to say it...Colton would laugh...then say, "No. Daddy" with a devilish grin on his face.  Needless to say, Kevin and Colton have always been big-time buddies.

This morning, as I was trying to get a kiss from the little stinker, Kevin asked: "Colton, who is your favorite person?"

To our surprise, he said "Bubba.  He's my best fwiend.  Bubba's my best fwiend." (the w is intentional...he can't say his r's yet and I quite like it that way)

Competition aside, this made my heart so very happy and brought a little tear to my eye.  What a special relationship they will have growing up.  I am so glad that I was blessed with 2 very special, loving boys.  They are the absolute joy of my life and I thank the Lord above for them each and every day! 

They Love One Another.

They Act Silly Together. 

They Cause Lots Of Trouble Together.

They Lean On Each Other For Support.

They Guide One Another.

They Cannot Sleep Without Each Other.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

{Selling the American Dream}

The past week has been totally insane, and I have fallen behind (again) on my blogging.  But something really big happened, and I really want to document it.

One July 17, 2009, a personal dream came true when Kevin and I closed on our very first home in Wellington, FL.  This was literally the perfect house for us.  We really had no intentions on ever leaving it...at least for the next 10 years or so.  We had both lived in 10 different places over the course of a decade, and were so happy and grateful to have a place to call our own.  Well, yesterday, we finalized the sale of that house and I am a little torn over how to feel about it.  While our life has certainly moved away from Florida, I have so many emotional attachments to that house that are difficult to ignore.  We became a family of 4 in that home (less than 2 weeks after purchasing it). Tatiana joined our family in that home.  Kevin and I faced and overcame some really difficult challenges in that home.  We poured blood, sweat, tears and a lot of TLC into it.  I became a different person, and finally realized what I want for myself and my family there.  I know God put us there to prepare us for everything we are getting to experience today...so much growth occurred under that roof.  When we felt the urging to pick up and move to Georgia, leaving that home was one of the hardest pills to swallow.  But, when God says move, I have learned it is in my best interest to move.

So , today I celebrate a very special season in our life as a family.  I am grateful that we found that home, that we loved it and that it loved us back.  I found out yesterday that the gentleman that purchased it, bought it for his daughter and her family.  They have a 5 month old daughter and they adored the house.  I hope they love it as much as we did.  It's a good house!

Closing Day 7/17/2009

Living Room

The Boys Bedroom
One of My Favorite Places in the House

The Boys' Playground...I loved that Backyard!

This was taken about 5 minutes before the moving van pulled out.