Friday, April 29, 2011


Some random notes and thoughts from the week...

I don't have kids. I'm not pregnant. But I'm obsessed with Zulily. It is my new go to source for baby shower gifts!

I am at work today. And I woke up at a normal time to come to work because there was no way I was getting up early for the royal wedding. Did I turn it on as I got ready? Yes, but there was no way I was getting up any earlier for it. However, if I were back in college, I know I'd be getting up at the crack of dawn with my friends + mimosas to enjoy this girly, fun event. Oh college. I miss you sometimes.

Yesterday I went in to work late. When I got there at 10:30, my kids said, "We're so glad you're here, Mrs. W! We were so afraid you were gonna miss you're favorite day...corn dog nuggets!" students know what makes me happy which makes me happy!

NEW book club book! Head over to the book club blog for more information!

My new obsession is Words with Friends. I feel the need to play every night before bed. Is that healthy??

I ate a bowl of stove topped popcorn for dinner. It was just what I wanted. Some of you comment and say we always cook so "gourmet," but the truth is, some nights, a big bowl of popcorn is all I want.

I've been furminating Layla and Rosie a few times each week, and it does no good. The dog hair is everywhere all the time.

It's still clicking in that we're moving in about a month and a half. Have I started job hunting? Fixing up my resume? Nope. I'm not letting myself feel overwhelmed by the stress of finding a job. I continually remind myself that it's all going to work out.

Anyone else watch Rob Lowe on Oprah today? He was pretty adorable. And his house in Santa Barbara? AMAZING.

And I think that's it! Hope you've had a nice week!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

movie time

Over the past 2 weeks, I have watched a lot of movies. With spring break around, I had lots of free time on my hands. Here's what I watched...a pretty good mix of new and old.

And my thoughts?

The Apostle: Fantastic. Robert Duvall doesn't disappoint. It's kind of a crazy movie, but he really owns it. I'd recommend to anyone who loves Robert Duvall or enjoys movies with religious undertones.

Something's Gotta Give: This was one of those movies that's been on my "to see" list for years, just never got around to it. I enjoyed it very much. A sweet romantic comedy. Although, I would have been fine without a naked Diane Keaton, but maybe that's just me. I'd recommend to anyone who likes a solid romantic comedy.

Black Swan: Just as expected, it was a crazy 2 hours. I am still processing what happened. Loved Natalie. LOVED her. The movie was well done and twisted and all kinds of weird. Definitely different from my other movie choices. I'd recommend to anyone who needs to lose a few hours of sleep. This will keep you up thinking all night.

Love and Other Drugs: Not at all what I expected. Anne Hathaway sure loves being naked. I'd recommend to those who enjoy watching two good looking people with mediocre chemistry.

Life as We Know It: It was cute, but nothing special. Glad I rented it, but don't need to see again. I'd recommend to anyone who needs a mindless chick flick to preoccupy their time (because we all have those nights).

Country Strong: I liked this a lot...up until the last 10 minutes. The story had me wrapped in, I liked the music, Gwyneth was beautiful, but then the end threw me for a total loop. I'd recommend to those who are Gwyneth fans. She does a fabulous job.

So there you have it!
Any thing you've watched recently I should add to my list?

Monday, April 25, 2011

A Rather Pesto-y Menu Monday

My Meals:

Tomatillos Shrimp Fajitas and Cuban Black Beans

YUM!!! This will definitely get made again. I used a salsa verde from Trader Joe's as my tomatillo sauce. I also topped our with avocado.

Pesto Orecchiette with Chicken Sausage

This popped up in my Real Simple magazine this month and I tagged it immediately. This is one fabulous pasta main dish. The pesto, the sausage, the green beans...I kind of felt like they wrote this recipe just for me.

Marinated Pork Chops and Sweet Potatoes

This is kind of my "blah" meal for the week. Nothing special. There was supposed to be a cucumber salad, but my cucumber had gone bad so just meat and potatoes. Oh well! I love a good pork chop, and this marinade is fabulous. It's a crowd pleaser.

J's Meals:

Soy Marinated Grilled Pork Tenderloin and Black Beans with Brown Rice

A very solid meal if I do say so myself.

Pasta with Sweet Pea Pesto and Chevre

Another pesto dish, but so different from my recipe. This is a vegetarian recipe, and it was quite tasty. It also made some stellar leftovers for my first day back at school.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Easter Sunday

I had planned to write my own post today for Easter, but after reading my dear friend Sarah's post on Friday evening, I knew that my own words couldn't sum up my feelings on Easter as well as her's.

Sarah is a fabulous writer (I've always felt this way), and this post just says so much, so well.

Take a second and go here to read her post from Friday on what it means to love a perfect Savior and to know that He loves us back despite all of our sin and brokenness.

Thank you Sarah for sharing your words.

"I could never myself believe in God if it were not for the Cross. In the real world of pain, how could one worship a God who was immune to it." John Stott

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Saturday Gardening

Even thought we're moving in a little less than 2 months, I still want to have some pretty plants on the porch. So this morning, off to the garden store we went!

Side note: This is one of my favorite, locally owned shops in Norfolk. The staff is so nice and they always have a wonderful selection of plants.

Anyone else feel overwhelmed when you shop for plants? I DO NOT have a green thumb, and know very little to nothing about gardening. My husband grew a pretty successful herb and veggie garden last year, but that doesn't seem to be my specialty. When I walk into a green house I think everything looks so pretty, but I never know what to buy. I typically just read the little tags in the pot and if it sounds like I can handle it, then I get it.

Here's what ended up coming home with me...

Some inpatients, some pretty purple flower (see? I already forgot the name...bad gardener), and some rosemary. J got some bell pepper seedlings for his garden and some arugula. Sadly, we'll probably never get to enjoy these yummy plants. The next renters are going to luck out.

It's gorgeous here today, so when we got home, I put on my gardening gloves and got to work.

It was hard work potting four plants. Now it's time to sit back with a glass of lemonade in the sunshine! Too bad we don't have lemonade...maybe a beer then? Happy Saturday!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

spring break...i love you

Spring Break 2011 has been a blast. Not as wild and crazy as some of my college spring breaks, but it's been incredibly lovely and relaxing. Tomorrow I am getting a massage (thank you living social!) to end my glorious week off.

So far this is what I've been up to...

Visiting my family in Richmond and watching my two big dogs play with their two little dogs

Visiting Whole Foods for the first lovely. I wish we had one here!

Enjoyed lunch out with my mama at a fun little cafe in Midlothian

Visitied Hobby Lobby and World Market (once again, we don't have these in Norfolk...happy to report that Charlotte does!). I picked up new placemats and cloth napkins at World Market. I was really hoping to run into John and Sherry from Young House Love at World Market. Seems like the kind of place one might find them and baby Clara. Sadly, that didn't happen.

I dyed Easter eggs with my little brother

Coming back home and being attacked by pollen
(this was AFTER a large storm had washed most of it away)

Bought myself some new nail polish and gave myself a mani/pedi

Also came home to these that bloomed in our front yard

And I've been eating these since I picked them up at Wal-Mart yesterday. Who doesn't enjoy robin egg malt balls? Actually, I'm sure quite a few of you dislike 'em. Not me. I can't get enough.

I will be sad to see this break come to an end, but happy to know that there's only about 8 weeks of school left when we go back. I can handle that!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Late Night Menu Monday

First off...thank you so much for your kind comments on my last post. It's so nice to read your sweet comments and hear encouraging comments from those of you who know the area well. Be expecting to hear lots more about the move in the coming weeks.

But for now, let's focus on food. Here's what we've been eating...

My Meals:

Another win for Iowa Girl Eats. It's rare that she lets me down, and once again, I was very pleased with this meal. I could eat gnocchi every night for dinner if my hips would allow it.

J's Meals:

Pizza + Salad

Nothing fancy here. Pizza dough and sauce are from a can. We topped our pizza with some leftover prosciutto from our fridge and onions and peppers.

My standard mixed greens, white beans, artichokes and homemade lemon vinaigrette dressing. So fresh and delicious.

Are you tired of seeing this on the menu rotation yet? I just can't get enough of it.

And last but not least....

My Dad's Meals:

Chicken Chili and Beer Bread

My dad has never been one who I'd call a cook. I have vivid childhood memories of him burning pancakes on Saturday mornings or ordering out dinner for us when my mom would go out of town. Awhile ago, he woke up one day and decided he wanted to make chili. He did some searching on the internet, found himself a recipe, and this is now his signature dish. From what I hear, he's made it for many, and everyone seems to be a fan. I had not had it before this weekend when I was visiting for spring break, but I have heard many times about how delicious this chili is. I was thrilled to get to taste it. I'm happy to now add the following phrase to my vocabulary: "Great dinner, Dad!"

Saturday, April 16, 2011

big news

Remember two weeks ago when I alluded to some possible big plans for our future?

Well, it's official now. Papers are signed and J is starting a new job in two weeks. But that's not the big news. The big news is that the job is in...

Yep...we're moving.

I've been a Virginia girl my whole life, but by July, I'll be living in North Carolina. I'm very excited (and a little nervous too), but I'll post about all of that later. I just wanted to share our exciting news with all of you. Also, for those of you in Charlotte (or anywhere nearby) please let me know in a comment or email! I'd love some contacts here!

Friday, April 15, 2011

a mess

This picture sums up my life right now. It's kind of a mess.

Thanks goodness that at 3:00 today, I am FREE for a week. No kids, no work, no lesson plans, no tutoring...I cannot wait. Maybe I'll finally clean up this "space" that was at one time a living room. Maybe. Or I might just lay on that sofa all week watching movies and drink hot tea and read books and play words with friends. The possibilities are endless.

And I should also share that my most favorite TV show returns to NBC tonight. I don't even think I can handle the excitement.

So goodbye to my messy life and hello to resting and a BREAK!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

my new favorite....

This would be my new favorite bag...

Isn't she pretty?

It's not just any bag, it's my Kelly Moore camera bag. It is stylish and adorable, yet it's made to protect my camera and lenses. I am obsessed.

Thank you to my husband for this very belated Christmas present! It was out of stock in December and I finally got it in March. Nothing like a belated Christmas gift to lift your spirits!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Menu Monday

My Meals:

Cilantro Lime Shrimp with Cuban Black Beans and Brown Rice

This is one easy, healthy, staple in our menu rotation. I serve the shrimp over Trader Joe's cuban black beans and brown rice. Very filling and delicious!

Hot Dogs, Sweet Potato Fries, and Cole Slaw

Due to Sonic's new campaign for hot dogs, I have been craving a hot dog night for quite some time. This week we made it happen and YUMMMM! And I'm pretty sure nothing goes better with hot dogs than a hot batch of sweet potato fries. Am I wrong?

Pasta with Tomato Cream Sauce with a mixed greens salad

Thank you again Pioneer Woman for another fast and easy pasta dish. I love spaghetti and love to switch it up with different variations. This was another fun version. I served it with a mixed green salad with artichokes and white beans. I topped the salad with my favorite lemon vinaigrette.

J's Meals:

Such a tasty vegetarian dish. Very different from all of our other risotto recipes.

Penne and Sausage Casserole

There's lots to love about this meal. J halved the recipe and we still had 3 containers of leftovers of lunches.

Rosemary Beef Skewers, Cous Cous, and Skinny Tzatziki Sauce

I'd be perfectly happy if we ate this every single night. I love steak. And grilled veggies. And I REALLY love tzatziki. I may or may not have eaten the last of this bowl with a spoon. Feel free to judge. It was well worth it.

Saturday, April 9, 2011


Do you love Etsy? Keep reading...

So I know you all love Groupon, and Living Social, and Rue La La, and One King's Lane, and Zulily, and all the other wonderful daily deals that are out there, so I'm feeling the need to share about my newest find...HEARTSY!

Heartsy is essentially a daily deal for different Etsy shops. I've been shopping on Etsy for 4+ years now, and I've been nothing but pleased with my purchases from the shops on there. It only makes sense to subscribe to Heartsy so I can not only get great deals, but it's also a fun way to discover new shops.

Here are some of today's deals...several of which are already sold out (you have to be fast!)

So....go sign up!

And buy many cute things!

{And yes, I'm using the referral link so I can get a $10 credit if you sign up
and make a purchase. That's the best part of these daily deals sites!}

Wednesday, April 6, 2011


We're one month in to ownership of two dogs, and it's safe to say that everyone is very happy.

A month ago, I thought Layla would never be nice to Rosie. She was snarly and mean and bossy (well, she's still bossy). Now...they're Best Friends Forever. I can't keep 'em apart. If they're not wrestling and knocking my whole house down with their combined 133 pounds of dog, they're doing this...

And then my heart just melts to pieces.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Menu Monday + a challenge

Monday is here again. Time for Menu Monday!

But before I share my meals, I want to share this meal I came across this week that, I'll admit, I'm too afraid to try. I am challenging someone else to try it. One of you should make it and share your thoughts!

Cheeseburger and Sweet Potato Fry Pizza...strange right?

Seriously, if you make this, I wanna hear about it. I love cheeseburgers. I love sweet potato fries. And I love pizza. But all in one? I'm not sure if I could do it. Anybody out there more adventurous than me?

Anyhow...moving onto the meals we actually were not too afraid to cook!

My meals:

This sounded better and smelled much better than it tasted. It was kind of blah for me. J seemed to enjoy it, but I don't think I'd make it again. It was healthy and pretty easy, but the flavor was lacking for me.

Spaghetti with Lemony Beef Sauce

This meal on the other hand, was fantastic. The flavor was fabulous and so different. The mint and the lemon gave it an unusual kick, but I loved it. I can't wait to add it to the rotation again. Another win for Rachael Ray! Also...for those who care, I used regular ground beef, no grass fed ground beef could be found.

J's Meals:

Barbecue Chicken Pizza

This was an original. Very basic and easy. He used Pillsbury pizza dough (woop woop for boxtops!). He boiled a chicken breast, shred it, and threw in bbq sauce (the kind from a jar). He then caramelized the onions and threw it all on the pizza with some shredded mozzarella. Fairly simple and delicious.

Breakfast for Dinner!
Pancakes and Bacon

Not much else to say other than...YUM!