Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Family Video 2017

We had our pictures taken again this year, of course! It really is one of my favourite parts of the year. It's fun to coordinate wardrobes and scout a good location. As always, I like to try and vary my photographer, if possible. I love pictures so much, and they are a form of art - each artist has his own take on it, and I like that personality to be a little different, if I have that option available to me, and this year, I did!! Luke Rieke took our pictures this year, and he's quite talented. He is our former pastor's son, and was in youth group when Brian was the youth pastor there. We decided on a downtown Norfolk scene - and I think it suits us. I adore city shoots. Anyway, enjoy our pics with a little walk down memory lane - because I know we're all thinking, how did these kids get so big?!

Monday, November 13, 2017

Chicken Lombardy - Recipe

Every once in awhile you see a facebook video on how to make something. And it looks SO delicious you just have to try it. And when you do, #winning, it's ah-may-zing! That's how we feel about this spectacular dish, which tastes like something you might order in a restaurant. The official recipe I used is here. But it's a little "fussy" as written. I'll put ingredients here with my own "how to", and if you know how to cook, you're good to go. Perhaps if you don't know how to cook you need more step by step, but I'm saving you time, and not altering the outcome, so you should love me, if you don't already that is;-) This is perhaps our very very favourite dish, currently!

(I double this recipe for our family, and we have a serving or two left over - it's excellent reheated)

3 boneless skinless chicken breasts - cut thin (butterfly if thick), and pound between wax paper or similar
1/3 C butter divided (2 T approx for mushrooms, rest for cooking chicken)
1/2 C flour
8 oz sliced mushrooms - canned is ok in a pinch, but trust me, fresh makes all the difference here! If using canned, use liquid, don't drain it
3/4 C Marsala wine
1/2 C chicken stock
1/2 t salt
1/4 t pepper
1/2 C shredded mozzarella (shredding it yourself instead of pre-shredded really does make a difference)
1/2 C parmesan cheese ("real grated" instead of the 'for spaghetti' kind really makes it great, but can use either)
green onions (optional, but nice)

Dredge the chicken in flour, and pan fry in butter (or olive oil), flipping for even cooking, until done (but not over-done). If you have two large pans, when chicken is nearing done, start cooking the mushrooms in butter (if you don't, use the same pan for both - maybe do mushrooms & sauce first, then set aside and cook chicken), when mushrooms are cooking down well and browned and delicious, add the wine, stock, salt & pepper, bring to a boil, then reduce to simmer while chicken finishes cooking, about 10 mins. Heat oven to 450, and grease a 9x13 pan. When chicken is done, place in 9x13 in a single layer. Pour the mushrooms and sauce over all. Top with cheeses and green onions. Bake for 15-20mins, (while you make the rice), once cheese is melting and browning, you're good to go! Serves well over rice, or pasta

Monday, November 6, 2017

Daddy Doesn't Pray Anymore

*This was written and posted on Instagram in November 2015*

Well folks, it's a new song, but an old, old memory. There is much to be grateful for, when taking that ol' trip down memory lane.

My life has been both extremely ordinary and extraordinary - paradoxically, at once. Perhaps it was the ordinary that allowed the exceptional to seem so, or, perhaps the unique just made the rest seem mundane. But either way, having lived it, it always just seemed like life to me.

If asked to name one single, solitary, defining thing that shaped my growing up, the very first thing that springs to mind time and again is this: Music.

I've spent more time sitting and listening to sad old songs, sung by a smooth baritone than probably anything else, collectively. My favourite pastime, and his too. There were songs about love, and life, and the Lord. The soul stirring cries of notes on the page, brought to life in a six string. I can't help but hear a new song, like this one, and not reminisce. It's hauntingly familiar in every way. It's not the only kind of music that speaks to my heart - but it's the best kind.

It's the kind that makes you wish you never had to grow up. The kind that makes you wish people never left. The kind that makes heaven seem wonderful. Because: Jesus and music. Could there anything sweeter? I'm grateful for my Dad, and his passion for music. I'm so glad that I have memories buried all the way down to my toes - of music.

And I'm grateful for new songs to sing everyday. Music, just like life, is a story that never ends. Always have a song in your heart, even if it's a sad one. There will always come a brighter day, and a happier note.

Because like it or not, we all dance to the tunes we know.

https://youtu.be/4nTch_IbOHE (link to Chris Stapleton's Daddy Doesn't Pray Anymore)

Summer Fun

It's been a year since our big renovation! It took us a little time to get our feet under us again after that, but I feel like we're doing pretty good! I'll have to post house update pics soon. But anyway, for awhile we couldn't really accommodate large crowds like we used to, but I think we're "there" again. We tested that theory by having 50+ people over for a BBQ. It worked out really well!
A bunch of the men started a "keep the ball up" game or something. It was well over 100 degrees out and incredibly humid. They were literally soaked to the bone in sweat (ew).

We have a "pop up" beach tent that we set up for additional shade. There is nothing "pop up" about it, it really takes a little effort to set up, but it sure does work well, so it was nice to have. So part of our summer fun has been: Friends
The other part of our summer fun, as always: Water
They love love love the ocean, and I love that. They are getting to be good like body surfers, and have zero fear, even when there are riptides.
*Found this post in the drafts folder, never posted, from Summer 2016*

Friday, November 3, 2017

DIY Toner

Facial toner! It feels amazing! I use an amber glass "spritzer" bottle - I get them on amazon and they are so useful (I use for after sun spray etc). Spritz on face after washing it morning and evening.

1oz witch hazel
10 drops Purification
10 drops Lavender
10 drops Frankincense
10 drops Cypress

Monday, October 23, 2017

Foaming Face Wash

I put this in a "foaming handsoap" refillable dispenser, and it's GREAT! An easy way to wash your face and get all that makeup off at the end of the day. Because I have all these ingredients on hand for "normal life" this costs me basically nothing to make. I do tend to use cotton make "rounds" for wiping it away and rubbing it around my eye area etc. Use this in the shower, or each morning or evening. Sometimes I use a wet-with-water cotton round to "rinse" it, sometimes, I don't. It's great for your skin, so it doesn't need to be cleaned off per se.

3/4 C cooled brewed chamomile tea OR filtered water (I prefer the tea)
1/4 C liquid castile soap (I like Dr Bronner's Peppermint)
1/2 t sweet almond oil OR jojoba oil OR grapeseed oil (I prefer jojoba - each one is good for a different skin type, so google the best choice for you)
3-4 drops Vitamin E oil
8 drops Frankincense essential oil
8 drops Geranium essential oil
(you can add other oils to this, or replace these with other ones that are great for the skin. A few ideas are Lavender, Tea Tree {aka Melaleuca Alternafolia - good for acne prone skin}, and Elemi)

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Fall, Waiting

It still feels like summer, but I'm ok with that.

We don't get beautiful autumn-orange and brilliant-yellow, and a red that seems to set a spark in your soul. But that's ok too. 

Everybody else has pictures to share of the places they live. Where winter comes long and hard, but is somehow made bearable by the amazing turning of the seasons, and it often makes me wish I could see what they see. 
But then I have to remember - this place is not a mistake. It's not less beautiful. It's not "supposed to be" better, and is somehow merely acceptable and looked-over for something that shines brighter. 

This place was created just as perfectly as a personality by a creative God who has good uses for all of His creations. It is no mistake we are each made with our own "dull spots" that seem to shine with less brilliance than our neighbours. 
Because for every negative that we compare, there's a positive that we don't see rightly. 

And it still feels like summer here. #achievablebeauty