Saturday, May 31, 2008


I was excited to wake up and go to Quest today for the women's sessions and to hear the chorus that my mom directs perform. But, since I overslept/turned my alarm off while I was sleeping, I didn't make it.

Even though I didn't make it to Quest, today was an excellent day of being around friends and family! I feel so blessed to have such a wonderful husband, friends and family to be surrounded by!

I was able to catch-up with a great friend today over lunch and LOTS of shopping (more like browsing)! It is fun to have friends who are in the same stage of life, who are so similar to you and fun to be around! God puts special people in your life just when you need them!

We got to spend some time with my brother, sister-in-law and precious niece tonight, which was great, too! It's amazing how fast she is growing! She is such a blessing!

I feel so blessed to have our first Sunday at MRCC tomorrow! I am excited about this new opportunity for both Josh and myself and I feel very blessed by the opportunity to stay around my wonderful friends and family!!

It has been a blessed day!

Friday, May 30, 2008


Blurry pic of me and pizza at Gino's East

Jewish deli-first stop on our food and cultural tour

The Spice House-TONS of great spices to choose fromTasting at Oil and Vinegar shop! It made me want a salad!

Beautiful house (big bucks!) on our tour! One of my faves!

The best Chicago Pizza!! I need to look up the name of the place. We'd highly recommend it!

Raspberry truffle and peanut butter chocolate from Ethel's Chocolate Lounge.

Millennium Park concert

The Mexx

Josh and the Lego Man!

Me and the Lego Man!

Navy Pier
Peanut Butter Fudge Sundae at Ghiradelli!

The view from the windows above our bed...pretty cool!

Josh and a pretty church

Art Institute

One of my favorite paintings

Descartes Coffee

Josh and I returned at midnight on Tuesday from a FUN 3 day/3 night trip to Chicago!! I am finally able to sit down and blog about it.

Since returning, I have been unpacking at least 20 boxes, that were in storage, of all of our extra decor, etc. At one point I was hopping over boxes just to get to the next room. But, after about 8-10 hours of unpacking, decorating, flattening boxes, etc., my house is almost good to go. It was kind of like Christmas-opening up all of the things I love, but had forgotten about! My house feels like mine again! I love that feeling!

Like most blogs about trips, this mostly for our own memories to reflect on later. But, I welcome you to read it or not...your choice:) You'll have to deal with my blogging about the food. That's my favorite part of any trip!

We arrived in Chicago on Saturday night and were STARVING! So, we went to Gino's East and had pepperoni deep dish pizza. Now, I have to be honest....I was not impressed. The crust and the pepperonis tasted like they were from a frozen pizza. Sorry, Chicago, but the deep dish pizza isn't for me! After that, we walked down Michigan Avenue for a bit and then went to bed.

Sunday morning we got up and the weather was absolutely gorgeous! We went to breakfast in the Gold Coast district at Corner Bakery. The local breakfast spots had very long lines. We walked around for a bit and then met up with our tour guide to go on the Food and Cultural Tour....VERY cool!! I am not in to tours and that sort of thing, but this was super fun and informative. It was a walking tour that last 31/2 hours and led us to a Jewish deli for latkes, a WONDERFUL tea shop for a glass of iced tea, a chocolate shop where we learned how they make their chocolate and we got multiple samples of toffee (yum!), a spice store where we could try any spices we wanted and learned the process of how they acquire their particular spices (they are 6 weeks old or less...very fresh), an oil and vinegar shop with the BEST balsamics I've ever tasted, a GREAT local pizza shop that has GOOD (wish we could have more) stuffed Chicago pizza (see pic), a shop for cheese samples and the last stop was Ethel's Chocolate Lounge....yummy chocolate and a great store concept! This was such a fun experience for us. It was great to go to the non-touristy spots where the locals actually eat, shop, live, etc. We saw lots of awesome houses that are millions of dollars, some historical, some not. And, we got to go to OZ park! Yes, all of the characters are there in statue form! After that fun event and resting up a bit, we went to Millennium Park for a concert on the lawn. It felt like a scene from a movie! There were toddlers dancing on the lawn to the orchestral music, families picnicking on the lawn and people just lounging around. We stayed there for a while and then went back to the Gold Coast district for some super Mexican food at the Mexx. I enjoyed chicken flautas and Josh had the tacos. The food was great and it was the perfect day for patio dining! After that, we grabbed some coffee from a local place and walked back to our hotel, The Omni.

Monday was our Michigan Avenue day. It was VERY hot and muggy! We grabbed Starbucks on our way to shop, had lunch at the Oak Tree (I wouldn't recommend it). Shopped all day up and down the mile and then headed back to the Gold Coast district (can you tell it was our favorite area???), purchased some tea from our favorite new tea store, and had dinner at Carmine's. It wasn't that good, but apparently it's a hot spot, because we saw Tommy LaSorta there...pretty cool! The Dodgers were in town for a game, so that's where he dined.

Tuesday was our last day. It went from 80ish degrees on Monday to about 40 degrees on Tuesday. It was SOOO cold and windy!!! We got up and went to a local breakfast joint that we had heard a lot about, The Original House of Pancakes. I must say this one was NOT overrated. It was really good!! I had a half order of their strawberry pancakes and they were the best, lightest, tastiest pancakes I've ever had! I ate 3 and could have eaten more, which is rare for pancakes! After that we checked out of our hotel, left our luggage with the hotel staff, and went to the Art Institute museum. It was fun to see all of the famous works! Some of the art truly is incredible! We walked around there and then had lunch in their garden restaurant, which was nice and relaxing. We headed back to our hotel after that, in the cold wind and stopped off for some coffee at a local coffee shop, Descartes Coffee...great atmosphere, not so great coffee, unfortunately. But, the place was super cute! We went back, got our luggage and headed to O'Hare.

Funny Story (maybe not as funny in writing...we'll see!)
While we waited for our evening flight, we stopped at the Chili's Too for dinner. We had quite the experience there, let me tell ya! While waiting for our waitress to take our order, I overheard her talking to the family next to us who was ordering a child's plate for their 3 year old. The waitress told them that they shouldn't order her her own meal and that she just needs to eat off of their plates. I was sitting their thinking, that really isn't her business, but oh well. But, when it was our time to order, I ordered a BOWL of chicken enchilada soup. Once my soup arrived in a CUP (didn't dawn on me at the time), Josh and I decided that we wanted chips and salsa, too. When I ordered those, the waitress informed me that I didn't need the chips and salsa and that she would just bring me a few on the side, because that was more than I needed. I was a little irritated to see the least. I sat there thinking, should I be offended? Is she saying that I'm too fat to have a bowl of soup and chips? If Chili's new about this, I think they might be a little irritated, because they lost at least $10 because she wouldn't let anyone order anything. Anyway, that made for an interesting time. I will say that I kept asking Josh if we were on a hidden camera show, because while I'll of that was going on, the guy at the table next to us was wearing headphones and drinking a beer and either couldn't hear himself or was too drunk to notice, but he burped OUT LOUD at least 3 times....very disgusting! It was hard not to laugh. But, no, we were not on a show, just around crazy people!

We made it home and have been on the run ever since. We had a really great time!! Our legs are very sore from all of the walking, but it was worth it!!
A special thanks to Josh's family for providing us with the means for this trip! It was a great way to celebrate Josh getting through 8 years of school! We truly enjoyed it!!! THANK YOU!!!!

Friday, May 23, 2008

Makeover Giveaway!

I have been eyeing the great blog designs done on several of my friends' blogs! I'm hoping to win one over here! This blog could definitely use some pep!

To enter the giveaway, visit

Visit her site to see her great designs, too!!!

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

SIMPLE Iced Mocha Recipe

I came across the recipe below over the weekend. I love coffee, especially mocha drinks, however I will say I've always been a little skeptical of iced mochas. I love the blended fraps, but ICED, I was a little unsure. But, I had everything to make this one and it seemed really easy. So, I gave it a whirl and the verdict is in!
I actually really enjoyed this one! It is super simple and cheaper than going out for mochas. And, it has the bonus of being able to adjust the amount of coffee that goes in, if you prefer just a hint of coffee.I'm guessing you could blend it with ice and make a frap. I may try that sometime soon!
I didn't add the chocolate shavings. But, I bet it would be great with that and/or whipped cream!

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Proverbs 16:9

I am sitting in my house typing out this email and contemplating where to put all of my decorative items, that are currently in storage, back out in our house. When staging our house to move, I packed up my favorite decorative odds and ends and put them in storage. But, I will GLADLY say that I get to take them out and use them!! That is because we are staying put. We get to stay in our house in Oklahoma City!!!

Josh has accepted a position as the Education Minister at Memorial Road Church of Christ. I am looking forward to attending MRCC again! I attended with my family from the time I was 4 until I was 11. I went back in high school to be in the youth group. I have very fond memories of classes, worship and the people there! We are excited to get back in to ministry! We are also very excited to stay close to our family and friends!

Over this past month we have realized that you can plan all you want, but God really is in control and he really does determine your steps! God has changed our hearts and helped us realize after lots of prayer and guidance that this really is our course.

Thank you for those of you who have asked about my job opportunities in Texas and your concern about us selling our home (which is off the market, by the way!). Thank you for putting up with my very vague answers as we have been in the process of getting everything squared away! Thank you to my sister-in-law, Mandy, for doing an amazing job on marketing our home!! Thank you also to everyone who has prayed for us over the past few months regarding our move, etc.!!

I am happy to say that Texas license plates will not be decorating my car any time soon!!! I'm ready to break out my iron skillet and stink up the house again! Pan-seared steaks anyone?!?

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Not too Okie-fied

What American accent do you have?
Your Result: The Midland

"You have a Midland accent" is just another way of saying "you don't have an accent." You probably are from the Midland (Pennsylvania, southern Ohio, southern Indiana, southern Illinois, and Missouri) but then for all we know you could be from Florida or Charleston or one of those big southern cities like Atlanta or Dallas. You have a good voice for TV and radio.

The West
The South
North Central
The Inland North
The Northeast
What American accent do you have?
Quiz Created on GoToQuiz


I am currently surrounded by the following piles and to-dos:

-files/lesson plans to sort for Sonshine School (Sept.-May)
-clipboards to paint (qty 6)
-clean laundry to put away
-2 episodes of Lost to catch up on, not to mention tonight's new episode!!
-July 4th goodies (thanks, Target Dollar Spot!!) to find a home for until July

It's all good! Just a little messy!! Of course I will likely be eating THIS and watching THIS for the remainder of the night. What a wonderful housewife I am!!!

Oh, and thanks, Jenny, for finding me some dinner tonight! We already enjoyed our Southern Chicken Sandwiches!

Those buckets will be cute with little votives in them!Yes, those are actually files!

Monday, May 12, 2008

Happy Days!

We celebrated Mother's Day with my mom on Sunday. We had my parents and my brother for lunch yesterday. It was a fun afternoon! I made a roast and sides, which turned out well. I have a wonderful mother who is my best girlfriend! She is so special to me! I feel so blessed to have her in my life!!

Today is my brother's birthday. Happy Birthday, Matt! We went to our traditional birthday lunch spot, Cocina De Mino. When it is your birthday you get a huge FREE dinner! So, we've gone there since we (me and my brothers) were in elementary school! It's a fun family tradition! Of course, it helps that we love the food!

We look forward to celebrating Josh' brother's 16th birthday and his mom's Mother's Day next weekend!

Lots of happy days around here! Happy Mother's Day and Happy Birthday to all of our mothers and brothers!!

Saturday, May 10, 2008

14 Hours

Let's just say that 2 Tylenol PM are amazing!! I haven't slept well this week at all. Yesterday I was up from 3:30am-6:30am, decided to get out of bed and blog/surf, went back to sleep from 6:30-7:30 and was back up for the rest of the day. That was one of many sleepless nights this week. SO, I decided I couldn't do that again. Last night at 6:00 I took the 2 lovely pills and was asleep by 7:30(after booking a trip to Chicago!!!---more details later). 14 hours later, I'm finally awake! I was so tired last night that I fell asleep in my makeup-yuck!

On an unrelated note, I made VERY easy corn chowder for dinner last night and it was really good and quick (15 mintues, max)! I found the recipe from my favorite magazine/site, Real Simple.

Corn Chowder

4 slices Oscar Meyer Ready to Serve Bacon

1 10 3/4-ounce can Campbell's Classics Cream of Potato soup

1 cup low-fat or whole milk

1 11-ounce can Green Giant Corn Niblets

Oyster crackers

Heat the bacon for 20 to 40 seconds in the microwave; set aside. Pour the cream of potato soup into a sauce-pan. Add the milk and corn. Break up the cooked bacon into small pieces, then stir it into the sauce-pan. Heat for 5 minutes or until the soup reaches a simmer. Serve with the oyster crackers.
Yield: 2 servings

I served it with a side salad and chocolate cupcake! I didn't serve it with oyster crackers, but I'm sure that's good, too.

Friday, May 9, 2008

4 Years!!

Josh and I celebrated our 4th anniversary yesterday! I can truly say that these past 4 years have gone so quickly! I've loved every minute of them! I have an incredible husband and feel so blessed!!!

We had fun celebrating last night at The Coach House! Josh surprised me with a fun dinner there. Our wonderful meal included poached artichoke salad, pineapple with peppered salami appetizer (from the chef), bread, roasted chicken with mashed potatoes and asparagus, chocolate chili tarts (from the chef) and to top it off, a flourless chocolate cake topped with chocolate ganache and raspberries and wrapped in phyllo dough! Everything was WONDERFUL!!! It was a nice relaxing evening!! Josh was sweet enough to bring lunch up to school for me yesterday, too, which was a welcome change from my usual PBJ.

Happy Anniversary, Joshy! I love you!!!

Monday, May 5, 2008

Pepperoni Pasta

This is a new favorite of mine that I threw together a month or so ago. I made it again tonight and it only took 15 to 20 minutes to make from start to finish. It's easy and very flavorful! I usually reserve pepperoni for pizza, but the pepperoni in this recipe adds tons of flavor and is a nice change from your typical ground beef. I keep my pepperoni in the freezer and can make several batches out of one bag. This recipe made enough for me and Josh for dinner tonight plus enough for us both to have it for lunch tomorrow. I served it with salad (with lots of ranch!) and steamed frozen veggies.

Pepperoni Pasta
1 cup pasta shells according to package directions/drain and set aside

-Saute (cook until onions are tender and pepperoni is lightly browned-approx 5 minutes):
1/2 c. pepperoni slices
1/4 c. chopped onion (I use frozen chopped onions)

-Add to pepperoni/onions and simmer 10 minutes:
1/4 c. grated Parmesan cheese
1 can diced tomatoes, drained
1/2 can tomato sauce
Italian seasoning (to taste...probably 2tsp to 1 Tbsp)
salt/pepper (to taste)
minced garlic (to taste)

-Stir in pasta shells, stir in mozzarella cheese just before serving and top with additional Parmesan, if desired.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Back from my month-long sabbatical!

Josh and his family after graduation.
Me and Josh at baccalaureate lunch

Yummy Chocolate Cupcakes!

Viv and Josh

Me and Viv

This past month I've had an unintentional blogging sabbatical! Feeling overwhelmed and uninspired, I didn't feel the need to post. But, I'm back at least for tonight with my usual random ramblings!

This has been a nice, fun and relaxing weekend! Friday night started out with book club and was lots of fun!! Jessica had great bread bowl soup, salad, chocolate cake and more! We had fun chatting and laughing! Great times!!

Saturday I slept in a bit, had a matinee movie date with Josh and came home to babysit precious Viv for the night! She is getting so big and is a blast! I also baked these yummy chocolate cupcakes. These were my first attempt at made from scratch chocolate cupcakes. I have been wanting to bake them for a while and finally had all of the ingredients! They turned out really tasty!

Today I went to church and spent the day with my mom. It was nice to just relax and hang-out! It has been a completely lazy day for me!!

I am excited that Josh and I get to celebrate our 4th anniversary on Thursday! I can't believe it's already been four years, yet I truly don't remember what life was like without him! He's wonderful!

Here are a few things that have occurred in the past month:
-house went on the market April 1st
-2 trips to Fort Worth
-1 job interview (teaching job)/job search
-Josh graduated from OC with his masters....CONGRATS!!!!
-Sonshine School program...the kids were so cute!
-lots of cleaning
-a HUGE lack of cooking
-tons of painting for my business as my products were purchased for a boutique in Georgia
-keeping cute babies!!

Of course there were the usual day to day things, too! Hopefully my sabbatical is over for a while!
I actually plan on cooking this week and I am excited!! I miss it!! Maybe I'll post some recipes or pics or something!