resolve 2010

I strongly believe in a new beginning with the new year.

"Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!" 2 Corinthians 5:17


I have three categories for my resolutions. What? I like to be organized!

personal
- get into better shape (don't really need to lose weight, but I am so out of shape!)
- journal everyday
- do the laundry every other day
- cook dinner 5 times a week, 1 day for leftovers, 1 day for fend for yourself/out to eat

spiritual
- more consistent quiet time
- don't just ask God for change, embrace what changes he wants from me
- minister to others more

together
- pray together every night
- be completely open/honest about everything we are going through

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

family photo

We sent out Christmas cards this year with our picture on it...a tradition we started our first year of marriage. Only now I feel bad because we have added a new member to our family since the picture was taken. So here is our new family photo!Happy New Year!


Love,
Eric, Heather, Maggie and Nebbie

great grub 15

I recently went to Massachusetts to visit my dad and grandmother (we call her Tata). My dad's family is from Lebanon. He was born in Zahle, about 30 minutes from Beirut, the capitol. Over the last couple years I have been very interested in learning how to cook lebanese food. Tata doesn't have ANY recipes written down and she never measures. So I watch and eyeball and write everything down when I see her. Now I am going to share some with you! We will start simple...

Salata (Salad)

Ingredients:

- 1 bag baby spinach
- 1 yellow onion, sliced thinly
- 2 tomatoes, diced
- 1/4 cup dried mint
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 1/2 cup lemon juice
- salt

Directions:
Whisk oil and lemon juice together with the salt in the bottom of a large bowl. Add the remaining ingredients and toss until coated. Salad should be very wet. Eat with lebanese bread!!!

Enjoy!

stop making excuses

My heart aches for this world that we live in. It aches for the nonbelievers. More so, it aches for the believers who lost their way. For the ones who don't understand what the point to all of this is. It's love people. The main complaints and indescretions from believers and nonbelievers alike that I hear constantly are listed below. I believe we use these as excuses to not grow in the Lord. Here is what scripture has to say about it.

- "God doesn't hear me/care about me."
- The LORD is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth.He fulfills the desires of those who fear him; he hears their cry and saves them.
(Psalm 145:18-20)

- "Why hasn't God answered my prayer for marriage?"
- There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under heaven:
a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain,
a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace.
(Ecclesiastes 3)

- "My children are driving me crazy."
- Behold, children are a heritage from the LORD,
the fruit of the womb a reward.
Like arrows in the hand of a warrior
are the children of one’s youth.
Blessed is the man
who fills his quiver with them!
He shall not be put to shame
when he speaks with his enemies in the gate.
(Psalm 127 3:5)

There are so many more than the ones I have listed. I myself am guilty of being anxious, greedy, gluttonous...the bible makes reference (many times more than once) to all of these sins.

Maybe we should be more conscious of saying these things. God loves us. Hands down he loves us more than anyone we have ever met here on earth. The bible is nothing but one big love story written specifically for me and you. We need to stop worrying so much about what God's plan is for our life that we miss the daily opportunities we have to bless other people that he puts in our lives.

He is sovereign. (Psalm 68:20)
He has a plan. (Jeremiah 29:11)
He does not have to let me in on it. (Psalm 139 should prove that)
Even if he did, I probably wouldn't understand it. (Isaiah 55:8)
So I will love. (1 Corinthians 13:4-8, Galations 5:22, Romans 13:8-10, 1 John 3:17, I could go on...)
And I will not complain. (James 5:9)





great grub 14

I told you I would post this recipe, and I did not lie. Like I said before my father-in-law is diabetic, but his favorite part of Thanksgiving is pumpkin pie, which he clearly cannot eat. So I modified a recipe I found online somewhere to make a pie that has less than 10g of sugar in the whole thing! So here you go:


Maple Pumpkin Pie

Ingredients:

- 1 can pumpkin pie
- 1 cup sour cream
- 2 Tbsp maple syrup
- 1.5 tsp cinnamon
- 1.5 tsp pumpkin pie spice
- 1/2 cup splenda
- 1 egg, 2 egg whites
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 9" pie crust

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350°F
Mix all the ingredients together until well combined. Bake for 1 hour!

Enjoy!

great grub 13

Well we all know what holiday is right around the corner! Every year since I was about 8 years old I have been responsible for the pumpkin pies at Thanksgiving. It is definitely my favorite food for this day. I have tweaked this recipe about a million times, but I finally have one that is simple and delicious. This year I may just try my friend Sarah's pie crust! (Side note: My father-in-law is diabetic but loves pumpkin pie, so I will be posting his version soon!)

Perfect Pumpkin Pie

Ingredients:
- 1 15oz. can pumpkin
- 1 12oz. can evaporated milk
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1 tsp. cinnamon
- 1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
- 2 eggs
- 1 9" deep dish pie crust (homemade or frozen)

Directions:
Preheat oven to 425˚F
Mix the sugar, salt, cinnamon, and pumpkin pie spice in a small bowl. Beat eggs in a large bowl. Stir the pumpkin into the eggs. Add the spice mixture. Slowly stir in the evaporated milk. Carefully pour mixture into pie shell. Bake at 425˚F for 15 minutes. Reduce temperature to 350˚F and bake for 40-50 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool for at least 2 hours. Can be refrigerated but do not freeze as the filling will separate from the crust. Serve with homemade whipped cream!
Enjoy!

heaven is the face

This is the song that Steven Curtis Chapman wrote for his little girl that went to be with Jesus. Just listen...so much of this song can be applied to our lives.

inexpensive etsy 9

Well it is almost my favorite time of year...Christmas! Time to start shopping folks. I am going to show you what you can get on etsy for all your favorite people. This week we will focus on what to get for "him." Could be dad, husband, brother or uncle. Whatever you need, etsy is sure to have it.





I love a good wallet for man. I think they are one of the most tell-tale accessories. Bifold or trifold? Leather or cloth? Lots of pockets or just a few? All men have a preference. I love this one from hypothesis.






And we all know men love their t-shirts. My husband has a growing collection of vintage looking shirts. My friend Allen has the BEST collection of Jesus shirts in the southeast for sure. I love this one from Loftymornings. Hippie meets biker. And it's organic!












Of course we all have to think of something awesome to get our techie men...so why not something for their favorite accessory the iphone? I LOVE this cover from AlyssaLyn. Cute and functional!








Happy shopping!

when i say

When I say… “I am a Christian”
I’m not shouting “I’m clean livin’.”
I’m whispering “I was lost,
Now I’m found and forgiven.”

When I say… “I am a Christian”
I don’t speak of this with pride.
I’m confessing that I stumble
and need Christ to be my guide.

When I say… “I am a Christian”
I’m not trying to be strong.
I’m professing that I’m weak
And need His strength to carry on.

When I say… “I am a Christian”
I’m not bragging of success.
I’m admitting I have failed
And need God to clean my
mess.

When I say… “I am a Christian”
I’m not claiming to be perfect,
My flaws are far too visible
But, God believes I am worth it.

When I say… “I am a Christian”
I still feel the sting of pain.
I have my share of heartaches
So I call upon His name.

When I say… “I am a Christian”
I’m not holier than thou,
I’m just a simple sinner
Who received God’s good grace, somehow.

-Maya Angelou

thankful...

I am stealing this idea from my friend Sarah!

Today I am thankful for:

- walks with my nephew and my dog
- coffee with flavored creamer
- my job(s)
- really good friends
- my walk with Christ
- new recipes
- date nights with my amazing husband/best friend
- the fact that His mercies are new EVERY morning!

PRAISE GOD!

great grub 12

This is actually a new one for me...I just made it up last night! It is super healthy and it turned out great. Couldn't ask for more, right? Wrong! It is also a beloved crock pot meal!!! I hope you like my:

Crock Pot Chicken and Black Eyed Peas

Ingredients:
- 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
- 1/2 lb. black eyed peas (rinsed, not soaked)
- chicken or vegetable stock
- 1 onion, chopped
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1/4 tsp. pepper
- garlic powder
- 1/2 tsp. thyme
- 1/2 tsp. rosemary

Directions:
Dump it all in a crock pot, using enough chicken stock or water to cover it, on low for 7-8 hours. I like this dish with carrots and biscuits!

Enjoy!

your hands

Just listen to these words. Such a sweet reminder of God's love for us.
"Your Hands" by JJ Heller

lost and found

"What strength do I have, that I should still hope? What prospects, that I should be patient?"
- Job 6:11

"Delight yourself in the LORD and he will give you the desires of your heart."
- Psalm 37:4

I learned from a pretty young age not to put much hope in things. Now I am not saying that I had a terrible childhood or anything, but it just wasn't filled with much in the way of hope. I did not know the Lord until I was 12, which I know played a huge part in how I dealt with loss or disappointment or grief. There were big things that made me lose hope, like my parent's divorce and my grandfather's death. Lost hope. There were little things too. There was this time when I thought I was going to be able to spend the night with a friend for the first time...for some reason or another it didn't work out. Not a big deal in hindsight, but devastating at the time. Lost hope. It seems like all these things just added up, and the more disappointments and let-downs there were, the less and less I hoped.

Fast forward a few years when I meet Jesus. He gives me a new song to sing, and a renewed hope in people, circumstances, and life in general. He becomes my everything. He teaches me how to dream and achieve the things He wants for my life. However, sometimes I feel that 5 year old girl mindset just creeping back in. So here in lies my struggle. Go back and read the two verses above.

Some days I feel like this: I am so sick of hoping and being let down. We are promised the desires of our heart right? I don't know God's reasons (and I may not until I meet Him and then I probably won't care! I will be hugging Jesus!!!) and I try REALLY hard to trust Him and His decisions for my life. I have little patience. I begin thinking things like "maybe I am not reading my bible enough" or "maybe I need to pray more often" etc. Yes, these things are both true. Then I remember that what God gives me is not based on what I do for Him. All my righteous acts are as "filthy rags" to him!!! I didn't earn His love, His grace, His mercy, His forgiveness, and the list goes on! It's not like school where you work hard and that hard work pays off in the form of a good grade or even a scholarship. Why can't I get this through my head? Like my pastor says, I am human and I leak. I leak all the good stuff that I get from reading His word, praying and hearing from Him.

Other days I am just thankful that He loves me. I am happy that He wraps his arms around me and comforts me. I am glad He keeps me from harm, hurt, and rejection. I trust His plan for my life. I also know that He is never the cause of my sorrow. He is the source of everything that is good in my life.

My question is, why can't I feel like that more often? Or all the time? Why does my gratefulness fade over time and I revert back to old ways? Why do I lose hope in a God that commands the universe?

The answer? Selfishness.

I am a selfish and ungrateful person by nature. I choose to lose my hope, it doesn't just happen. The worst part is I know when I am doing it and sometimes I don't try to stop it! Man do I just love a Heather pity party.

So where does that leave me? On my knees. Actually on my face on the ground asking for forgiveness and feeling utterly unworthy of it. Slowly God is changing my heart, even though I go kicking and screaming most of the time.

Slowly He is teaching me to hope again. In Him, not in anyone or anything else.

Found hope.

hold my heart

This song just sums up how I feel about 90% of the time.


inexpensive etsy 8

Halloween can be a little controversial. I prefer to think of it as a fun day to decorate your house and let your kids dress up and eat candy, end of story. So here are a few super cute halloween-y things I found on etsy this week!



One of my favorite things to do growing up was to help my mom paint the windows in our house for Halloween! (We used tempera paint, don't worry!) Basically this transformed into a full blown love for decorating throughout the seasons. I think this pillow from TheMaterialGirl would look awesome at my house!







I fell in love with this little cloth pumpkin from SeaPinks as soon as I saw it. This is one of those pieces that could last all the way through Thanksgiving too!








That is all for now! Happy shopping!!!!!

great grub 11

Remember those recipes mom used to make when you were little? I am the oldest of 4, and there were a lot of times we didn't have a lot of money and my mom had to be pretty creative. Those recipes (which she dubbed "mom surprise" when we asked "what's for dinner?") have become some of my favorites! Thanks for some awesome recipes mom!

Texas 'Taters

Ingredients: (recipe for 2, can be doubled)
- 2 large baking potatoes
- 1 cup shredded sharp cheddar
- 1/4 cup sour cream
- 1 Tbsp. butter
- 1/2 cup salsa
- salt and pepper
- 1/4 lb. ground turkey, cooked (optional)

Directions:
Bake potatoes in the oven for 1 hour or until soft. Allow potatoes to cool to the touch. Split the potatoes open on top, being careful not to ruin the shape of the potato. Scoop the inside of the potatoes out into a bowl, leaving the skin intact. Add the rest of the ingredients into the bowl with the potatoes, excluding a small portion of cheese. Mix all ingredients well and the scoop back into both potatoes. Yes, they will be overstuffed! Top with the remaining cheese. Place back in the oven for 5-10 minutes or until cheese is melted.

Enjoy!

life coaster


When I think about my walk with Christ I often wonder why we call it a "walk." I mean to me it feels much more like roller coaster, with ups and downs, highs and lows, twists and turns. The only part that is different is the fact that I won't end up right back where I started. Even though I may be anxious on this "ride" I can rest in the fact that I will learn and grow in the knowledge and love of my saviour.

So basically I equate my life to a roller coaster on a continuous upward climb with a few dips along the way. I think part of the journey is figuring out how to still rely on God during the ups and how to not lose faith in him during the downs. Theoretically we should get better at this the closer we get to the "top." Yes, we will backslide (technical difficulties) but it all part of the ride.

Where is God on this roller coaster? Well he is the vehicle I sit in, my seatbelt, the track, the electricity that is needed to run it, etc. Most importantly, he is my best friend sitting right next to me throughout the entire ride.

Remember, the front seat is always the best ride!

miniature earth

Our pastor showed this video in church this morning. I think it speaks for itself.

timing

Sometimes you just can't deny God's timing on things. This poem was exactly what I needed to hear yesterday. Hope it speaks to you like it did to me.

Wait

by Russell Kelfer

Desperately, helplessly, longingly, I cried;
Quietly, patiently, lovingly, God replied.
I pled and I wept for a clue to my fate . . .
And the Master so gently said, "Wait."

"Wait? you say wait?" my indignant reply.
"Lord, I need answers, I need to know why!
Is your hand shortened? Or have you not heard?
By faith I have asked, and I'm claiming your Word.

"My future and all to which I relate
Hangs in the balance, and you tell me to wait?
I'm needing a 'yes', a go-ahead sign,
Or even a 'no' to which I can resign.

"You promised, dear Lord, that if we believe,
We need but to ask, and we shall receive.
And Lord I've been asking, and this is my cry:
I'm weary of asking! I need a reply."

Then quietly, softly, I learned of my fate,
As my Master replied again, "Wait."
So I slumped in my chair, defeated and taut,
And grumbled to God, "So, I'm waiting for what?"

He seemed then to kneel, and His eyes met with mine . . .
and He tenderly said, "I could give you a sign.
I could shake the heavens and darken the sun.
I could raise the dead and cause mountains to run.

"I could give all you seek and pleased you would be.
You'd have what you want, but you wouldn't know Me.
You'd not know the depth of my love for each saint.
You'd not know the power that I give to the faint.

"You'd not learn to see through clouds of despair;
You'd not learn to trust just by knowing I'm there.
You'd not know the joy of resting in Me
When darkness and silence are all you can see.

"You'd never experience the fullness of love
When the peace of My spirit descends like a dove.
You would know that I give, and I save, for a start,
But you'd not know the depth of the beat of My heart.

"The glow of my comfort late into the night,
The faith that I give when you walk without sight.
The depth that's beyond getting just what you ask
From an infinite God who makes what you have last.

"You'd never know, should your pain quickly flee,
What it means that My grace is sufficient for thee.
Yes, your dearest dreams overnight would come true,
But, oh, the loss, if you missed what I'm doing in you.

"So, be silent, my child, and in time you will see
That the greatest of gifts is to truly know me.
And though oft My answers seem terribly late,
My most precious answer of all is still . . . Wait."

speaks volumes

This is a picture my pastor showed us this morning in church. A new play on the "straw that broke the camel's back." Enjoy!

great grub 10

Wow I can't believe this is recipe number 10! This is kinda of a mix-and-match recipe. It's a good "whatever you have in your cabinet" or "happen to be in the mood for" or "don't have much time tonight" dinner. The possibilities are endless folks for...

Quesadillas

Ingredients:
(necessary)
- large flour tortillas
- mexican blend cheese
(optional)
- black beans
- salsa
- onion
- spinach (fresh or frozen)
- bananas
- chicken
- hot sauce

Directions:
Ok the basic steps are fill half of your tortilla with whatever fillings you like, top with cheese, fold it over and cook on medium heat until golden brown on the bottom. Flip over and cook until golden brown on the opposite side. I use a stainless steel skillet, but I think it would work in anything. No butter or oil needed! Cut into 3 wedges and dip into sour cream...mmmm.(Tip: use a wide spatula to flip)

Our favorite topping combinations:
- cheese
- caramelized onion and cheese
- black beans mashed with salsa and cheese
- chicken breast cooked, shredded, and doused with buffalo sauce (dip into ranch!)
- spinach and cheese
- black bean, caramelized banana, and cumin (sounds weird but Kimberly made this for us and it's delicious!)

Bon apetit!

inexpensive etsy 7

Ok I have a nephew that is nine months and a niece that is 15 months and I am only slightly obsessed with them. I probably have spent more money on them then on groceries. I absolutely adore baby things! Too bad etsy has a MILLION things for kids. Ugh I hate to love that place. I don't care if this stuff is practical or not, it is super cute!






This bib from BeanPickleSprout is probably the most adorable thing I have ever seen in my life. Boy or girl. CUTE!











These booties from Tiny Toes and Bows would look adorable with anything from jeans and a tee to a hot pink dress!















This is one that I actually bought for my nephew. My dad is a HUGE Elvis fan. We are talking knows every word to every song and thinks the king is still alive type fan. So of course I had to get this elvis onsie from bambinamia!











HAPPY SHOPPING!

have it all

I just finished reading The New Eve by Robert Lewis. It was an incredible book that validated everything that has been going on in my life the last few months. He talked about seasons of a woman's life and what they were and what they meant. I am in the "newlywed" season, even though we have been married for 3 years now. Basically he means married with no children. He talks about being content with the season you are in and not living in past seasons or being too anxious to move on to the next season. I can tell you the latter is what is so hard for me! I like to run ahead of God.

This book was super reassuring though. It taught me a lot about being in God's will for my current season and furthering his kingdom NOW. You know by now that I quit my job as a teacher, and since school just started this has been a bittersweet decision. However I am tutoring at All Things Bright and Beautiful, taking care of sweet Ms. Alice on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and privately tutoring some pretty awesome kids from church. Not to mention I am still coaching the Emerald High swim team. I am a busy girl for sure! I am so thankful for all the opportunities God gave me after we made THE decision. There are still people that don't understand our decision, but maybe reading The New Eve would give them a better perspective. When Eric and I have children we have discussed that I want to stay home with them. I believe it is biblical. I also believe that you should not have children just to pawn them off on daycare or babysitters or school. Now with that being said I am not anti-working mom. There are definitely cases where it's not an option for mom to stay home, but when it is I am an advocate. I have so many friends who stayed home with there kids and they never once say "I wish I worked." However, I have heard the opposite statement come out of my own mothers mouth.

Basically the book boiled down to this. Eve took the apple, the forbidden fruit. She wanted to "have it all." I am redefining what it means to have it all.

I am done ranting for now...but if you get a chance I highly recommend that book. (And I don't recommend them often!)

great grub 9

This is a first for me folks...this next recipe is 100% mine. I made it up. All by my lonesome! I love this dish for 2 reasons: 1. it is super yummy and 2. it is super easy! One of my favorite kitchen toys (I inherited my mother's love of kitchen gadgets) is my crock pot. Throw the food in, turn it on, do WHATEVER, eat! My favorite kind of prep. Hope you like my

Greek Crock Pot Chicken
(sorry, no image yet!)

Ingredients:
1 can artichokes, cut into strips
1 can fire roasted tomatoes
1 can mushrooms
1/2 large onion, cut into strips
3 cloves garlic, smashed
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. basil (dry or fresh)
1/2 tsp. oregano (dry or fresh)
1 tsp. thyme
orzo pasta
1/2 cup gorgonzola cheese, crumbled

Directions:
Coat chicken with salt, pepper, garlic powder and put into crock pot. Dump all the remaining ingredients over the chicken, including all the liquid from the cans. Place on high for 4-6 hours or low for 6- 8 hours. Serve over orzo pasta and sprinkle with cheese. Enjoy!

inexpensive etsy 6

I have to be honest, I haven't been an etsy junkie like normal lately. The more I look the more I want to buy, and the husband and I are conserving money these days! Here is my newest find though. I am a sucker for anything nature-related and I also have a soft spot for all things jewelry. This adorable tree pendant from charmingladies3 makes my heart go pitter patter! Especially for that price!!! Gentlemen, a great bargain for the lady in your life. ;)

three

Like I said earlier, my hiatus was due to a number of factors, but none so important and life changing as going to Costa Rica for 12 days. When we got home home I think I was depressed for at least a week, and I didn't even really want to talk about the trip for about 2 weeks. It wasn't because I didn't have a great time or it wasn't what I thought it would be, it was because the experience was so overwhelming. In an awesome way. In a God way.

I won't go through and recount my trip detail for detail (even though I would LOVE to) but I will tell you the top three things God taught me up on that mountain in Grano de Oro.

1. "I am BIG."
He is not kidding. There is nothing that could make me feel smaller (and I am pretty small to begin with!) than standing on that mountain and looking at everything He made. HE MADE THE WORLD! He made the world and everything in it for you and for me. Just think about that for a second. Francis Chan describes it the best I have ever heard it in Crazy Love. Read it!

2. "My son died for you."
I gave my life to Christ when I was 12 at a VBS at Hyde Park Baptist Church, and I knew what it meant and what I was doing. However one of the things I love about my God is that he is constantly giving me deeper understanding. I know why Jesus lived and I know why he died and I know how my life ties in to all of that! But there is nothing more humbling than when you talk to God and he personally tells you that he loved you enough to send his child in your place.

3. "Less is more."
We always say Americans don't know how good we have it. It is the honest truth. Never in my life have I seen people live in what can only be described as huts with dirt floors and 1 pot to cook in. That is the kind of stuff you read about and see on tv. But they are SO happy! They have nothing, literally nothing, but Jesus and they don't seem to mind at all. They totally and completely rely on Him for their every need. I want what they have!

great grub 8

This may be the easiest thing to bake on earth! I like to believe that I am on my way to being a pretty good cook, but in no way do I think I will ever be a good baker. This is because baking takes two things I lack: patience and measurements. I never measure. Ever. I eyeball EVERYTHING! Usually this works for me, but about 7 Boston Cream Pies later I learned it does not work for baking. I have found a loophole though. I can bake something delicious using only 1 bowl, 1 spoon, and 1 measuring cup! It is none other than...

Peach Cobbler

Ingredients:
- 5 to 7 ripe peaches (or two cans drained)
- 1 cup self rising flour
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 cup milk
- 1 stick butter
Directions:
Preheat oven to 350.
Slice and skin peaches into wedges. Melt butter in the 8x8 glass pan in the oven. Remove from over and add the peaches. GENTLY mix flour, sugar and milk. Pour mixture over the peaches and butter and do not stir! Bake in the oven for 35-45 minutes, or until the top is golden brown. Serve with vanilla bean ice cream!

i'm baaaaaaaaaaaaaack


Ok, I know. You don't have to yell. I have been gone a while. I am SORRY! I could come up with a list of excuses such as a 2 week mission trip, a new kids ministry, tutoring, and vacation, but what good would that do? So I will stick with a simple "I am sorry and it will never (cough) happen again."

Forgive me???

More to come!!!

dos dias...

...until we leave for COSTA RICA!!! Eric and I are beyond excited. I am more excited for this than our cruise for our honeymoon! (Well, at least equally as excited ;)

Here's a little Q&A I know you are dying for:

Have we packed?
Does washing clothes and borrowing a suitcase count?
Have we finished reading Genesis?
Do you know how long that book is? We are making a dent...
Have we prayed for our teammates?
Check.
Have we prayed for our missionaries, The Jones'?
Check.
Have we prayed for peace of mind for our family members we are leaving back home?
Check, but to no avail so far!
Have we emptied our refrigerator?
Except for some milk (to be polished off with cookies tonight!) and some juice.

Have we thanked God for this amazing opportunity every day since the day He called us to go?
ABSOLUTELY! Thank you God, you are truly magnificent.

"Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age."

Matthew 28:19-20


hole in the wall

Yes, we have a giant 6 foot hole in our wall! When Eric and I bought our house back in February of '08 we had BIG intentions for it. It wasn't necessarily what some would call a "fixer-upper," but it had lots and lots of potential for improvement. Slowly but surely (as we like to save up for home improvements, not credit card them) we have made some small changes in our house. We have literally painted every wall in our house, minus 2 bedrooms. Eric's music room is tan and we actually like the color in there. We are holding off on painting the 3rd bedroom because it will one day become a nursery...therefore paint choices will be made upon discovery of the sex of said future child.

Sooooooooo back to the original idea of the post, the wall. It is the wall that separated the living room from the dining room. As the trends of today have dictated, we love an open and airy floor plan. Enter: sledgehammer. NOT! I am a little bit of a freak when it comes to destroying my house and I didn't want drywall dust everywhere. So we carefully covered every inch of our furniture in both rooms and tacked sheets up in all the doorways leading to other parts of the house. We are now on day 6 of the project (it is a lot more waiting than I anticipated) and we are almost done! But guess what? NO FINISHED PICTURES FOR YOU! Ha! I will post them later...guess you will have to come back and see them!!!




I will leave you with a before shot of the dining room:













Eric trying to walk through the wall...












And a during shot!

great grub 8

Yes, I know. It has been a long time since I last posted. That is what happens when you don't work and don't get on the internet!!!

This next recipe is part mine, part internet find. My friend Karen aptly named them "Popeye Patties" because they are mainly spinach. Here you go!

Popeye Patties

Ingredients:
1 (10 oz.) box frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained well
1c. italian style bread crumbs
1 onion, chopped
5 eggs, beaten
3/4 c. butter, melted
1/2 c. grated Parmesan cheese
1 tbsp. garlic salt
1/2 tsp. thyme

Directions:
Add all ingredients into food processor and pulse until combined. Form balls, using 1 teaspoon mixture for each and bake on lightly greased baking sheet for 20 minutes at 350 degrees. May be frozen either before or after baking. Yields 2 to 3 dozen.

ENJOY!

great grub 7

I can not take full credit for this dish. I found the recipe at recipeland.com and stole it and made it my own. It is also part of my quest to eat at least 3 vegetarian meals a week and do it on a budget. You can add all kinds of veggies to this dish too. This is a yummy budget-friendly meal for sure! (Sorry no picture this time...I am really bad at remembering to take those!)

Mexican Lentil Casserole

Ingredients:
1/2 cup onion, chopped
1/2 cup green bell pepper, chopped
4 cups water
1 cup lentils
2 cups brown rice, cooked
6 oz tomato paste
1 packet taco seasoning
1 1/2 cups shredded fiesta blend cheese
8 oz. sour cream
olive oil

Directions:
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

In a medium saucepan coated with olive oil, saute onions and green pepper. Add the water. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Stir in lentils, cover pot, reduce heat to low, and simmer 20 minutes. Lightly oil a casserole dish or spray with a nonstick cooking spray. Remove saucepan from heat and stir in remaining ingredients, reserving 1 cup of cheese, mixing well. Spoon into prepared casserole. Bake, uncovered, 20 minutes. Add reserved cheese blend on top and bake 5 more minutes. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.

inexpensive etsy 5

I haven't bought anything for a while off Etsy...and then I looked at Maggie. She had just had a bath and started smelling all pretty when I noticed, she needed a new spring collar. Enter: Lucky Fiona. And wouldn't it be my lucky day when I entered her store that she was a having a buy one get one free sale! So I did. It hasn't gotten here yet, but this is the one I bought:

The free one was super cute too...but I forgot to get it's picture. Oh well!

Happy shopping!

to rejoice or not to rejoice...

I am 2 half days away from the end of my career as a teacher. I can't lie, it is very bittersweet. When Eric and I made the decision to walk away from this profession, I was nothing short of ecstatic. Weeks later I sit here in a quiet classroom reflecting on my experiences over the last year and a half with mixed emotions.

I love(d) teaching. I am glad that God has given me this opportunity. It is cliche, but true, that I think I learned more from my students than I actually taught them. I went to public school, but it is a whole other world when you view it as a teacher. These kids just want to be loved and paid attention to. It doesn't matter their background, white/black/hispanic, broken home/loving parents, rich/poor. They crave attention. They crave discipline (whether they realize it or not). They crave love. No matter how sarcastic I was to them, or how mean, or how many names I called them, I still had at least 10 kids in my room every morning before school and 1 or 2 everyday during lunch. If I stayed late after school I am sure they would have been there too.

They all have stories. I have had kids that go to school all day, work half the night, and come home to a mom/dad passed out on the couch drunk. I have young girls that are so wrapped up in their boyfriend's that their straight A's turn to C's and mama wants to know why. I have young believers that think they know so much of what Christianity is and have to learn the hard way that they have only just begun to understand. It absolutely breaks my heart that I won't be here next year for the new bunch or the returning bunch.

I can take solace in the fact that my God is bigger than me. I don't have to be the one to "save" these kids. God ordained this new journey I am about to take, and he will send someone in my place for these kids. It is definitely not about me. That doesn't mean that my heart won't hurt for them.

I am leaving a part of my heart at Emerald High School, but with the security of knowing God hasn't left his.

great grub 6

I am pleased to announce that this recipe is all mine. I just made it up as I went along. We had small group last night and the Owen's house and they ordered pizza. We offered to bring the dessert. Normally I make something chocolate, but I had a feeling Ms. Iona would bring her infamous congo bars (and she did!). I decided on a fruit dessert, and that is where this came in:

Strawberry Shortcake Trifle

Ingredients:
- 1 vanilla pound cake (store bought or homemade)
- 1 pint heavy whipping cream
- 4 Tbsp confectioners sugar
- 1 bag frozen strawberries, thawed
- 1 cup sugar
- 1/2 tsp cream of tartar
- 1/2 cup crushed graham crackers

Directions:
Cube pound cake into 1 inch cubes. Beat cream and confectioners sugar together on low until it forms stiff peaks (don't over mix or it becomes butter!) Store in refrigerator. Combine strawberries and sugar in large pot over medium heat. Use a potato masher to gently crush strawberries and release their juices. Add the cream of tartar and continue to stir, about 3-4 minutes. Take strawberries off the heat and let cool. When cool enough, store in refrigerator for 30 minutes to chill. Assembly: Layer half the pound cake in the bottom of the trifle bowl. Spoon half the strawberry mixture over the top evenly. Then layer half of the whipped cream. Repeat the process with the remaining ingredients. Top with graham crackers and serve!!!

Disclaimer: no, this isn't my actual picture, I forgot to take one!

great grub 5

Yes, Kimberly, I am stealing this from you. What are you gonna do about it?

So I have made this recipe a few times now since discovering it on one of my good friend Kimberly's blog. I straight up stole it, and I don't feel bad because it is AWESOME! It is the perfect balance of healthy/cheating on diet. Here you go!

Butternut Squash Risotto

Ingredients:
- 7 cups chicken broth (2 boxes)
- 3 Tbsp butter
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 1 butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch cubes
- 2 tsp chopped fresh rosemary
- 2 cups basmati rice
- 1/2 cup white wine
- 4 cups spinach (1 bag)
- 1/2 cup grated parmesean
- 1/2 cup blue cheese crumbles


Directions:

Bring 7 cups broth to boil in large saucepan. Cover and reduce heat to low.

Melt butter in heavy large pot over medium heat. Add onion and sauté until tender, about 5 minutes. Add squash and rosemary; sauté 4 minutes to coat with butter. Add rice and stir 2 minutes. Add wine and simmer until evaporated, about 1 minute. Add 7 cups hot broth; bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer uncovered until rice is just tender and risotto is creamy and slightly soupy, adding more broth by 1/4 cupfuls as needed to maintain consistency and stirring occasionally, about 18 minutes. Stir in spinach, cream, and parmesean cheese. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

ENJOY!

inexpensive etsy 4


Eric and I don't have any kids yet, that is, we don't have any 2-legged ones. We most definitely have a 4-legged one. Her name is Maggie (short for Magdalene, which she gets called frequently) and she is a 10 lb. mini dachshund with more personality in one claw than any other dog I have met has in their entire body. She is sweet, spoiled rotten, headstrong, stubborn, loving, and playful. As badly as I may talk about her, she is one of the things in life I love the most.

The dachshund breed in general is pretty special. They are some of the most loyal dogs on earth, but also have a reputation for being incredibly independent and stubborn. Best of all, their shape makes for some really fun home decor on Etsy! Here is my Etsy ode to the Dachshund:








This flying dachshund t-shirt from MisNopalesArt is absolutely hilarious. I need one!













Even better is dachshund yard art from metalcrafts, who doesn't need this in the back yard?






When we have children, they are totally going to sport this dachshund onsie from BellaBludesigns because it is cute AND funny!





















And my favorite, the dachshund pillow from nakeddecor. Too flippin cute!









HAPPY SHOPPING!

the big news

Ok, a while ago I promised big news. This won't be new to some of you, but to others it may be a shock.

I quit my job.

Let's backtrack, shall we? I graduated December o8 with my bachelors in mathematics and a job teaching at Emerald High School. I was stoked! This meant 2 incomes for our family! What would we do with all that money?

My first semester teaching was rough, to say the least. My kids were considered "bottom of the barrel" by most in the school. It wasn't like the classes I took when I went to Emerald. I knew I would have to do some major adjusting, but I still loved the idea of having a ministry in public school. We live in the bible belt, so people talk about Jesus all day, but how many public school kids experience Jesus?

By the way, the extra money was awesome! No we didn't go crazy with it, in fact we decided to still live like we were on one income and put most of the rest towards loans and savings. But it was nice to go out to dinner every once in a while and not feel guilty.

Fast forward 1 year.

December 09 rolls around and all of a sudden I hear God tapping on my shoulder. I don't listen, so he knocks harder. God told me to slow down. God told me to be a better wife for my husband. God told me I would need to be a great mom one day. God told me to quit my job. I still didn't listen, nor did I discuss any of it with Eric. Every day God spoke to me in little ways that I chose to ignore. Finally I broke down and told Eric about what God had spoken into my life. He took it way better than I expected. This is one way I knew that he must have been hearing from God too. So we prayed. And prayed. And then when we were tired of talking and praying, we prayed again. We made the decision together that I would not sign my contract. I was still uneasy. God knew that.

So I went on the women's retreat to Bonclarken. Of course all I could think about was my newly made decision and all that it entailed: "what will people think? where will we get the money to pay off our loans? Erics parents are going to freak..." Then God knocked me over the head with a spiritual 2x4. While on the women's retreat I was offered not one, but 2 jobs with ladies at my church. Tutoring oat All Things Bright and Beautiful, a christian-based tutoring business and teaching one of my favorite girls in youth, who is homeschooled, Algebra next year. How much more do I need from God? When are the signs enough?

After that weekend I went home without any anxiety whatsoever about the decision to quit public school. God gave me a peace that surpasses all understanding. It really does! I gave my resignation the day before spring break and I felt absolutely amazing.

Three days later Park Seed (my husband's place of work) announced that they would no longer be working Fridays, starting after Mothers day. They would also be taking 2 weeks of furlough. This would cut 32 hours a month from our monthly income. No small hit, to be sure. However, one of the furlough weeks falls when we go to Costa Rica, which is a blessing. Eric won't have to take vacation those days.

I took this as another message from God: "Do you trust me? Do you really trust me?" is what He was asking us. The answer:

A whole-hearted, 100%, abso-tutin-lutely YES. The peace God gave me never left. It was there, and it is still there and I am crying as I write this because my God is incredible. He will never give me more than I can handle, and when He does it is because He is going to carry me through it. I love Him.

One of the harder things we had to do was tell our families. My mom took it well, I knew she would. She loves the Lord. It is a lot easier for a Christ follower to comprehend. Eric's parents held their tongues. I know they don't really get it, but I have faith they will one day.

We had a discussion in small group last Monday that was so honest. God asks you to do things that nonbelievers, believers, and even you yourself do not understand and most of the time can not even explain. The difference between you and the others is that YOU have the peace, they do not. What seems crazy to them makes perfect sense to you because God spoke to you, not them.

"But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. Peacemakers who sow in peace raise a harvest of righteousness." James 3:17-18.

I love my God and I am secure in Him. That is all that matters to me. I look forward to what this new adventure will bring us. I am so excited to be a better wife for Eric. I am so excited to one day be a great mom. Most of all, I am excited to be in God's will.

cell phone + milk = bad idea


So Sunday was my birthday. I also had nursery duty at church that morning. I got up, took a shower, did my quiet time, and headed off to church on time. I arrived at church and was greeted by a slew of happy birthdays (thank you facebook). I made my way into the nursery to wait on my little bundles of joy to arrive. I put my pocket book away as I normally do, but then remembered that family would probably try to call to give me my birthday wishes as well. So I got my phone out of the bag and put it directly into my back pocket.

Time elapsed, kids came in, kids wanted to be fed. In the process of feeding my beautiful friend Rachel's almost 1 year old, Benjamin, another child (who will remain nameless to protect the innocent) put his bottle down on the chair where I was sitting. Unfortunately, aforementioned pocket squeezed out my phone and spit it onto the chair...right next to the bottle...the bottle that LEAKED.

Once discovered, panic ensued. Now I am not one of those "can't live without my cell phone" people. In fact I relish the days that I forget it at home and no one can call. I raced to the bathroom, took the phone apart into as many pieces as I could and cleaned it out. Pressed the power button and...nothing. Dead. Gone. The End. The reasons I was upset are as follows: 1. it was my birthday and people will want to get in touch with me and 2. we are not up for a new phone nor do we have the money to pay for one right now.

So Eric and I left church and grabbed a bite to eat, then headed to AT&T to find out what could be done. After being greeted like we were celebrities (try being the first customers of the day, you will find out what I mean) the man promptly assured us of what we already knew. Yes it was dead, no store credit, cheapest phone $300. NO THANKS! He then gave us two options. Numero uno, go to Wal-Mart and purchase the $20 trac phone and replace the SIM card with my own. Or numero dos, take my existing milk-logged phone apart as much as possible, clean all parts with alcohol and try again the next day.

We opted for both. A phone to tide me over until we figured out our next best move. My husband, being the ingenius one that he is, suggested we try out a myth we heard recently. Put my soggy phone into a bag of rice over night. Apparently the rice will suck all the moisture out. I thought, it can't make it worse! So I stuck my Razor into a bag of basmati and didn't look back. The next day I got home from school, took out my phone, replaced the SIM card and hit the power button and guess what?

IT WORKED!!!!!

How amazing is that? Now I won't be returning said trac phone for fear that one day this phone really will die and I will need a temporary replacement. However, I really think Jesus healed my phone because He knew we couldn't afford another one.

So in conclusion I leave you with a system of equations:
cell phone + milk = bad idea
soggy phone + rice = phone that works
phone that works iff jesus healed it

The End.

great grub 4

All right people get ready for some good eatin. I have mentioned this recipe before when I blogged about Wednesday night girl's night dinners. Pizza is one of America's favorite foods. I love America and I love food, but I also love arabic cuisine. So when my friend Kimberly came up with the idea of hummus pizza I jumped at the chance to try it!

Instead of your regular marinara sauce - based pizza, this one is hummus based! It also incorporates a variety of arabic/greek flavorings. Feel free to play around with this recipe and add your own favorites to it.

Here you go!

Hummus Pizza

Ingredients:
- store bought whole wheat pizza crust (12")
- homemade hummus (see previous great grub)
or store bought works just fine
- 1 package feta cheese crumbles
- 20 to 30 calamata olives
- 2 tomatoes, diced
- 1 onion, caramelized
- 1 can marinated artichokes
- olive oil, salt, pepper

Directions:
Preheat oven to 400.
Chop onion however you like it and put into a saute pan over medium heat coated with olive oil. Saute onions until tender and brown. Chop artichoke into bite sized pieces. Pit and chop calamata olives. Spread hummus over pizza crust. Top with olives, diced tomatoes, onion, and artichokes. Spread the feta cheese over the pizza. Salt and pepper to taste. Drizzle olive over the entire pizza lightly. Bake for 15 minutes, or until crust is golden brown and cheese is melty.

Enjoy!!!

costa rica update

EXCITING NEWS!!!!

Eric and I are officially finished raising support for our Costa Rica trip this summer. God is so amazing. We never had a doubt he would provide for us, we just didn't anticipate how fast he would do it! We are both so excited that given the opportunity we would leave today!

However, there are many who still need support. We are having Costa Rica night on May 15th at GCS to raise money for them. The cost is $15/ticket and we will be having O'Charleys grilled chicken, corn bread, black beans, rice, and more. Let me, Eric, or any of the other Costa Rica bound individuals know if you want a ticket!

Costa Rica here we come!

great grub 3

Wednesday nights are girls night as most of you know. Tomorrow we are adding a new player to the game, Eric's cousin (and one of my best friends!) Amy and her baby Lula Mae. So girls night now consists of Me, Cissy, Sarah, Amy, Abigail, Emma, Sophia, and Lula Mae. I love and cherish the times I get to spend with the girls. Thank you God for wonderful friends.

Now on to the menu! Sarah and I decided last week we would make smoked gouda mac and cheese and brownies. Amy volunteered to make the spinach dip. (Spinach dip recipe coming soon to great grub!) I am so excited I can't stand it!!! Due to an eye appointment tomorrow, Cissy and I are making the mac and cheese tonight and we will bake at Sarahs' tomorrow. Without further adieu, I give you...

Smoked Gouda Macaroni & Cheese

Ingredients:
- salt
- vegetable oil
- 1 lb. pasta (whatever short cut you like)
- 1 quart milk
- 1 stick butter, divided
- 1/2 cup all purpose flour
- 12 oz. (4 cups) smoked gouda, shredded
- 8 oz. (2 cups) mozzarella, shredded
- 1/2 tsp. black pepper
- 1/2 tsp. nutmeg
- 4 small tomatoes
- 1 1/2 cups fresh white bread crumbs

Directions:
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Drizzle oil into a large pot of boiling salted water. Add the pasta and cook according to the directions on the package. Drain well.

Meanwhile, heat the milk in a small saucepan, but don't boil it. Melt 6 tablespoons of butter in a large (4-quart) pot and add the flour. Cook over low heat for 2 minutes, stirring with a whisk. While whisking, add the hot milk and cook for a minute or two more, until thickened and smooth. Off the heat, add the smoked gouda, mozzarella, 1 tablespoon salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Add the cooked pasta and stir well. Pour into a 3-quart baking dish.

Slice the tomatoes and arrange on top. Melt the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter, combine them with the fresh bread crumbs, and sprinkle on the top. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until the sauce is bubbly and the macaroni is browned on the top.

BON APETIT!

inexpensive etsy 3

Mother's Day is just around the corner! If you are like me, you wait until the very last minute to even think about what to get your mom. My mom happens to be pretty easy to buy for. If it is organic, all natural, healthy, tea, chocolate, or plants she is happy. She is getting one of the above this year!

Here are some of mine (and Etsy's) suggestions for Mother's Day:






1. Jewelry. You can't go wrong. I love these earrings from TheIntuitiveGarden.







2. Art. Most people love art. I don't think you have to be a connoisseur of art to enjoy it. My rule for buying artwork is if you like it, it speaks to you, and you have somewhere to put it in your house, BUY IT. I love this piece from eyeful.






3. Edibles (or drinkables!). Anything you can eat is a great present! If you don't agree you should re-evaluate your priorities! Kidding! But seriously, giving a gift is all about getting something for someone they wouldn't necessarily buy for themselves. An exquisite box of dark chocolates, a gift certificate to a 5 star restaurant, or a yummy coffee sampler! My choice for the latter is this one from TheRoaster.



No matter what you pick for dear old mom, just make it personal. And what better way to do that than by supporting artists! Happy shopping!!!

spring break = productive


Many of you know that I was on Spring Break this week from my job teaching at Emerald High School. It was a well-needed break. I made up my mind before the break even started that I was going to be productive, not lazy. I had made plans with my sister that lives in Charleston to visit her Thursday - Saturday, so that only left me Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday to accomplish my list:

1. make homemade spaghetti sauce and freeze
2. make split pea soup and freeze
3. make black bean soup and freeze
4. get all laundry PUT AWAY
5. plant vegetable garden
6. plant herb garden
7. have as many lunch dates as possible (I so miss this when I am at work)
8. get Maggie's nails clipped/flea pills
9. de-clutter my house
10. spend time with my best friend/husband

Lofty goals for a short amount of time, right? Here is the breakdown of what I actually got done.

1. I did make homemade spaghetti sauce that is delicious. I made a ton of it so it is in our deep freezer in the garage to be used in lieu of going out to eat. We are trying really hard to scale back on that for reasons I will divulge in a later post.

2. Split Pea Soup = delicious and easy. I also made a ton of this and it is in the deep freezer as well. I did this one in the crock pot overnight and it was one of the easiest things I have ever done. I heart crock pot meals.

3. Black bean soup is a work in progress. I soaked the black beans but then couldn't find a suitable recipe. I couldn't even frankenstein recipes together like I normally do in order to get one that I liked. Suggestions welcome!!!

4. HA HA HA

5. DONE! We planted squash, zucchini, and tomatoes. Yes, we are going to start small. This is our first gardening attempt so we decided simple is better. If this year goes well we would love to add green beans, broccoli, carrots, peas, you name it! More on the garden later...

6. Also DONE! Rosemary, basil, chives (that came back from last year!) and Italian parsley round out our little herb garden. I use all of those herbs fairly frequently. My plan is to get enough basil to make pesto this year!

7. Check! I ate with almost all of my favorite people! Sushi date with Kimberly, Howard's on Main with Denine, business lunch with Bridget at McAlisters. I had dinner with Jess one night too at O'Charleys. And by dinner I mean I ate their new smores dessert for dinner. No joke. It was awesome. I LOVE MY GIRLS!

8. Got Maggie's nails clipped and her flea pills. She was not happy with me, but she was a trooper. Even when we discovered they cut one too short and she was bleeding for over an hour. Nothing a little flour and gauze couldn't fix though. No worries, she is fine!

9. again...HA HA HA!

10. It is never enough for me.

6/10 ain't bad!

the easter bunny is real

He is Risen!

Yesterday was Easter Sunday. This follows Good Friday, which for me this year, was absolutely amazing. We had a "Tenebrae" service at church that Friday. If you want to know more about it, go to my friend Steve's blog. It is all explained there!

Back to the story at hand. I woke up Sunday morning (Eric had to play in the praise band this morning so he was already at church by the time I woke up.) thinking to myself Easter just isn't the same as an adult as it is when you are a child. There is no half-eaten carrot on the table where the Easter bunny had been, no Easter basket, and worst of all, no candy. Slightly dejected I got up, took a shower, put on my new Easter dress and headed to church.

As I walked up to then entrance I was greeted by my friend Matt who informed me that there was a surprise inside on the Welcome desk for me and Eric. By the time I got to the Welcome desk I had met 3 others who told me the same thing! Well Eric found it first and had already put it on my seat. Lo and behold there was a bona fide Easter basket on my chair at church this morning with a note that read "To Eric and Heather Evans, From The Easter Bunny." No joke! It was filled to the brim with Easter treats, including milk chocolate eggs (one of my faves) peeps (Eric's fave), two water guns, Hershey's chocolate bunny, jelly beans, easter side walk chalk, sweet tart bunnies, and a Reese's bunny. The Easter Bunny knows us well! Even after all these years...









Eric and I both agreed our favorite treat was the Funny Bunny wind up rabbit that "drops" jelly beans from under his tail as he hops. The Easter Bunny has a sense of humor!






So the moral of the story is, just when you think all of your childhood has past, the Easter Bunny comes to visit! So Easter Bunny, wherever you may be, THANK YOU!

great grub 2

So I am back with another great grub post. This is my all time favorite thing to eat (exception: chocolate). It is delicious and nutritious, yummy in my tummy, lebanese goodness. Have you guessed it yet? It is HUMMUS! Also known as حمّص‎; also spelled hamos, houmous, hommos, hommus, hummos, hummous or humus. You pronounce it "hum - moose," for those of you who don't speak arabic.

Here is my grandmother's, whom we call Tata, recipe for hummus. Now this is her adapted version, when she lived in Lebanon things were a little different.

Ingredients:
- 2 cans chick peas (or garbanzo beans)
- 4 Tbsp. tahini (Whole Foods has it on the peanut butter isle)
- 2 Tbsp. lemon juice (better if it is fresh squeezed)
- 4 cloves garlic
- salt

Directions:
Drain the chick peas, but save the liquid! Add the chick peas, tahini, lemon juice, and garlic into your food processor and blend until garlic is pureed. Add salt to taste (I usually add anywhere from 1/2 tsp. to 1 tsp. depending on the saltiness of the chick peas). Pour in the reserved chick pea liquid as it is blending to reach the desired consistancy. Traditionally it should be thick enough to almost, but not quite, run off a spoon. Enjoy with lebanese bread...if you can find it! Tata ships me mine every couple of months from a bakery in Boston. We freeze it and it lasts for a long time. If you can't find lebanese bread, store-bought pita is a decent substitution.

ENJOY!

inexpensive etsy 2

As promised I am going to update you on cool stuff I find on my favorite website: Etsy! This week's post is about shopping locally on etsy. It is awesome to support artists, but I am also all about supporting people in your own community. My husband and I eat at local places, shop at local places, and donate to local places all because we believe it is important to give back where you live.

So if you want to shop local stores on etsy, here is what you do: Go to http://www.etsy.com/shop_local.php, type your city and state into the search box and go to town!

I live in the big city of Greenwood, South Carolina. There are 3 local shops from Greenwood, Jillie07, yellowbright, and fearlesscreativity. Go check them out if you like jewelry and other home decor items. I haven't bought anything yet, but I am eyeing these earrings from Jillie!

Happy shopping!

great grub

It is a goal of mine to someday have time to cook every night of the week. We spend entirely too much money going out to eat every month. In my quest to do so, I have collected a bevy of recipes that are quick, easy, inexpensive, and good for you! I'll share some I have found. Disclaimer: not all of these are my original recipes. Some start as ideas, and then morph into frankensteining recipes together. Some I have stolen from friends and family. Some are straight up Rachel Ray or Giada De Laurentiis.

Wednesday nights a few of us girls get together for "girls night" at my friend Sarah's house and we cook...and talk...and laugh. (She has a 16 month old and 4 month old twins, so we go to her!) She is a vegetarian, so I have had to become very creative with my menus. Since the first of the year I have been cooking 2-3 vegetarian meals a week at my house. They are usually healthier and inexpensive. It has really broadened my horizons, and I am not a picky eater at all! A few of my favorite vegetarian recipes to date: 1. sweet potato fries and spinach dip 2. black bean, onion, and cheese quesadillas 3. mexican lentil casserole 4. hummus pizza.


Sweet Potato Fries
Ingredients
-3 large sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch sticks
-vegetable oil
-1/2 tsp. salt
-1/4 tsp. cayenne
-1 tsp. brown sugar

Preheat oven to 375. Arrange the sweet potatoes on a baking sheet so that they are not overlapping. Drizzle vegetable oil to coat all sides of the fries. Sprinkle salt, cayenne, and brown sugar. Toss with your hands to coat evenly. Bake for 30 minutes, turning them over halfway. Enjoy with honey mustard!

If you want any of the other recipes, just email me at heathersevans@gmail.com! I will be posting more recipes later.

inexpensive etsy

For those of you who don't know, I am completely obsessed with a website: www.etsy.com. It is an online store of stores basically. All the things you find listed on Etsy are HANDMADE! How often do you find that nowadays? I think it is incredible. I also like the fact that you can support local and nonlocal artists. Prices range from $1 - $5,000 for everything from home decor, pets and plants, to food, music and vintage pieces. You can find it all on Etsy.


A few of my favorite purchases include this wall decal from LeenTheGraphic'sQueen's shop which I recently put in my house on a wall in the front entry (sorry, no pic of the actual thing). It is a dandelion blowing in the breeze. It reminds me of my grandfather that I lost went I was 11. He hated dandelions! He was an avid gardener and he always said dandelions were not flowers, they were weeds. It might seem strange to you that I would put something in my house that he didn't like, but it serves it's purpose: to remind me of him daily!

I also adore this collar that I got for Maggie, our miniature dachshund. (She loves it too!) She is a princess. Just ask her father. I have actually bought her several collars all from the same store: Lucky Fiona. I love this place.



And last, but not least, my favorite thing to buy on Etsy is jewelry. Believe me, it is available in abundance on this site! A lot of it is super nice for not a lot of dough, which to me is the best combination! I got this piece from MoonFace's for $9.50 - shipped. How cool is that?

So if you are in the market for something new for you, or perhaps a gift for a friend (especially if we are friends!), check out Etsy. Just don't blame me when you get hooked! Oh, I will have Inexpensive Etsy updates periodically, so look out!