Thursday, May 26, 2011

Fantastic Finds

I'm one of those women who loves doing lots of things. I love cooking, decorating, crafting (when I'm in the mood), writing, travelling, and trying new things. None of these, however, are exclusive, which is why I love blogs that are specifically limited one specific idea, but I couldn't limit myself to only one topic. As you've heard, Nate and I are in the process of buying a home - I use the word "process" loosely seeing that we're still in the beginning hunting stages. This, coupled with some much needed free time and light workload, has allowed opportunities for me to light my creative fire and spend hours scouring over decorating pictures and ideas on the Internet.

I recently discovered two blogs that I absolutely fell in love with, and I wanted to share them to you self-decorators out there.

The Nester - The Nester is a blog written by a mom of three boys. It has wonderful inspiration and ideas for homemade and cheap decorating (love the cheap part of that).

Knock Off Decor - This blog is amazing! She researches and finds knock off designs from everywhere. You can find designs or ideas by store (Pottery Barn, Crate and Barrel, etc.).

After spending several hours looking through these blogs, I felt motivated to decorate our house. The good news is when we find a house, I'll be ready. The bad news is, I'm mentally decorating for an imaginary house. Hope these fun blogs bring a smile to your day!

Happy decorating.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Vegas, Baby!

This past weekend Nate and I went with my brother, Wade, and his girlfriend, Lindsey, to Vegas for a quick, 48-hour trip. Nate's been to Vegas several times, but for Wade, Lindsey, and I, it was the maiden voyage. We had a wonderful time gambling, eating wonderful food (in large quantities), enjoying the spa and the pool, and doing some phenomenal people-watching. A few things I learned about Vegas are that the hotels and casinos are beautiful and worth visiting; the food is incredible; the pools and spas are luxurious and worth spending all day at; and the city lights at night are pretty fantastic.

The trip itself was fun and exiting, but the flights there and back, not so much. On Saturday morning, Nate and I missed our flight by 5 minutes (the one time in my life a flight has left on time or early), but we lucked out and got another flight that left only an hour later. Our flight back to Dallas on Monday was suppose to be only three-hours which would put us home at 12:30 pm. Somewhere around 12:20 our pilot told us we were detouring for an emergency landing at an air force base in Wichita Falls. Apparently we had a faulty fuel gauge, and the pilot thought it was unsafe to keep going without having it checked out. This "quick stop" turned into a three hour wait and we didn't land in Dallas until 4:00 pm. I'm all for safety and thankful we made it, but needless to say, we were very ready to get off the plane!

All in all, had a great time with my husband, and I love our trips and adventures we are able to take. I'm so thankful that we have so much fun, laugh together and truly enjoy being with each other. We walked away with a little bit lighter pockets, a sunburn, and some funny stories. I would say more, but you know what they say... "what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas" :)

We did a lot in a short period of time, but here are my list of "MUSTS" for Vegas:

1. Bellagio fountains - They start at 8:00 pm every night and go until 10, and the show put to music is breathtaking.

2. Visit as many hotels on the strip as possible. Each hotel has something different and special about it - whether it be restaurants, themes, or casinos, and they're all very unique. I would also suggest staying on the strip; you get more for your money and you can walk everywhere.

3. Eat big! We ate at Emerill's steakhouse at The Venetian, and it was incredible! It was pricey but well worth it as Nate and I both said it was the best meal we've ever had.

4. "Aquavana," the spa at The Venetian. It's only $20, and you get to enjoy the spa amenities all day without having to pay for a service. All of us went, and even the boys enjoyed it!

5. Spend an afternoon at a hotel pool. The pools at the hotels on the strip are amazing. The Venetian pool had a beach, three pools, two bars, a restaurant, and beautiful layout gardens. On top of this, the people-watching at is hilarious - you'll never see such a conglomerate of people anywhere else.

The last thing I would suggest that we didn't get to do is see a show. I know the shows are amazing, and there are so many to choose from. However, if you do a show, make sure you stay more than 48-hours because our time was full as it was.

What are your thoughts or suggestions for future trips to Vegas?

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Easy Bar-B-Q Ribs Recipe

Bar-B-Q Ribs. Sorry folks, no pictures to go with this recipe, but it's so easy and delicious, I had to share it:

1 rack of ribs (pork or beef)
1 jar Bar-B-Q sauce (I prefer "Sweet Baby Ray's Honey Chipotle")
salt, peper, and garlic

1. Create a dry rub mix with salt, pepper, and garlic salt (add chili powder to taste) and rub on each side of raw meat
2. Fill crock pot with about 1-2 inches of water
3. Cut ribs into two sections to fit and place them in the crock pot
4. Put 1/3 of Bar-B-Q sauce in crock pot
5. Let cook on LOW for 6-7 hours
6. After 3 hours, turn ribs over and add another 1/3 or Bar-B-Q sauce
7. Remove when tender, place on serving platter, add remaining sauce

These are fall-off-the-bone tender and a crowd pleaser! Enjoy.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Game Night!

Growing up, Monday night was always "Family Game Night," which meant we ate dinner and carved out at least an hour to do something together, other than watch TV. Now that I'm semi-grown up, I applaud my mom's effort to bring the family together, even if, as teenagers, we kicked and screamed our way there and some nights ended with someone huffing and puffing their way to their room. I treasure that time I spent with my family and know that when we have children, we'll be doing the same thing! If you don't make a habit of playing games, I would encourage everyone to do so! Game Nights are a great way of bringing friends, family, and loved ones together.

I love games, even when it's just Nate and I playing them. Games have a funny way of drawing out interesting conversations and bringing people to a common ground. Nate and I have learned that we're both very competitive, so there is no such thing as a "close game," once we start, we'll inevitably keep playing until there is a very clear "winner."

As I've mentioned several times, Nate and I have been so lucky this year to be able to see April and Wade so much. Every time April comes in, we always pick up where we left off playing the board game SORRY... Who knew that a game we use to play in elementary school could be so fun and exciting! It is more difficult to find games to play with just two people, but a few of our favorite games to play with as few or many people available are:


What are some of your favorite games?

Friday, May 6, 2011

Letter for Mom

Dear Mom,

How could I ever say thank you enough for all you've done for me. Thank you for your willingness to put us first and be so involved in our lives as we grew up. Thank you for your time working at the school, driving me to cheerleading practice, watching choir concerts, and playing for our music competitions. 

You have been such an incredible example to me of a godly woman and mother. Your fun and spontaneous attitude is always a joy to be around; your warm and friendly personality puts others at ease and makes them feel welcome; and your compassionate and servants heart always helps and blesses others. As I've grown up, you've been my encourager, supporter, cheerleader, mentor, and friend. I'm so lucky that I can call my mom one of my very best friends. I love how similar we are and how we think alike. You have taught me so much about myself that has helped me grow into a better person, wife, and one day mother.

Some of my favorite memories with you include our time together at the piano practicing for choir concerts, singing "Danza, Danza"; coming home from high school and plopping down on a bar stool in the kitchen to tell you about my day, before even changing clothes; sharing a cup of international coffee as we catch up; my funny interpretations of you and our inside jokes; our SING comments and evaluations; and our morning phone calls on my way to work.

I don't know what I would do with out you, and I am constantly aware of what a blessing you are in my life. This weekend, as you celebrate Mother's Day, I wish I could be there. I wish on Sunday we could go to church, eat lunch together, come home and drink a cup of coffee as we sit on the couch, play the piano and have a sing-along, and watch a really cheesy chick flick together. On Sunday, I hope you know I'll be thinking about you all day.

I love you so very much! Happy Mother's Day.


Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Sweet Reminders

Every day our minds are filled with thoughts about work, relationships, finances, events and obligations. In response to my last post, here are some wonderful thoughts on which to meditate:

"Trust in the Lord with ALL your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways aknowledge Him, and He will direct your paths."
- Proverbs 3:5-6

"'For I know the plans I have for you,' declares the Lord. 'Plans to prosper you and not to harm you; Plans to give you a hope and a future.'"
- Jeremiah 29:11

"A man's heart plans his ways, but the Lord directs his steps."
- Proverbs 16:9

"And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus."
- Philippians 4:19

What are some of your favorite verses?

Monday, May 2, 2011

Don't Borrow Trouble

Don't borrow trouble. That's a phrase I haven't heard in years yet suddenly came to my mind this morning. I love how God uses whatever means necessary to teach us and get His point across to us.  For me, that happend to be waking me up at 2:00 am last night. God really put on my heart yesterday how much I worry, and on a deeper level, the fact that my worrying comes from my desire to be in control. I'm a planner - I love my calendar, live by lists, and consider myself productive most of the time. That's also the reason I love my husband... he is not. Nate flys by the seat of his pants, doesn't let too many things ruffle his feathers, and is perfectly content doing nothing. God has totally used him in my life to grow and teach me. Last night, however, I needed an extra lesson in giving up control and trusting God.

Nate and I are just starting the process of looking to buy a house. As exciting as this is, it's also a bit overwhelming and nerve-racking, and I spent the day yesterday worrying and stressing about every part of buying a home. When I woke up in the middle of the night, my mind immediately began the cycle of worry. Almost immediately, I felt the Lord speaking to me of Provers 3:5-6 - "Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding..." I woke up this morning and told Nate what a great reminder it had been of a few things:

1. God is ultimlately in control and His plan will prevail, no matter how much I try to control or put my plan in place.

2. God is a good and faithful God, and His will for our life is perfect... meaning it's much better than anything I can try to figure out or do on my own.

3. Worry and stressing about things that are out of my control doesn't change things or make them better.

I know that God made me a planner for a reason and there are some great qualities that come from that. For now, I'm content resting in the fact that God's got us covered - in every part of our life!

Happy Monday.