April 22, 2014

Easter: Greek Style

We celebrated this Easter with close family friends of ours - and what a wonderful Easter it was! Our friends are Greek and cooked an incredible traditional Greek Easter dinner, complete with a lamb on the spit.

I was too busy eating to capture the full spread of food, but let's just say none of us left hungry. By the end of the night Jake was trying to find a way to be adopted into their family.

A great day was had by all and finished with a boat ride at sunset.



April 18, 2014

Three Years

We continued our annual anniversary picnic tradition this year, packed up the car and headed about an hour from our house to Morrow Mountain.

We ate and drank and laughed and hiked and ate (and ate some more!). We talked about all that we've faced as a couple in these past three years, and what our hopes are for this next year of marriage -- and beyond. 

I so value the time that our picnics give us to reflect and become more intentional about our marriage. Sometimes we get caught up in the busyness of life and forget to take a step back to really look at how we're doing as a couple.

A spring day in the woods with breathtaking views, delicious food, wonderful conversation and the man that I love -- who could ask for anything more?


April 16, 2014

The Little Things



(These beauties were in full bloom on our wedding day and always blossom on our anniversary.)

Each year on our wedding anniversary, I do my best to gather my thoughts well enough to express my love for my husband. It’s hard to gush about someone without coming across as braggy or less than genuine. I’d hate it if my words or photos left my female counterparts rolling their eyes at my latest attempt to paint a picture of a perfect life.

Know that for every photo that I post of a lovely looking meal there’s a not-so-appetizing greenish brown smoothie (yum!) or overcooked piece of salmon being served. For each adorable pet picture, there could just as easily be one of Cooper puking on the carpet (double yum!).

The same goes for our marriage. For every blog post proclaiming that my husband is the sweetest man alive, there’s an unwritten post about the times that we get on eachother’s nerves. I try my best to toe the line of acknowledging and celebrating the beautiful things, without denying the existence of the not-so-beautiful things.

Three years into marriage and I think we’re getting a better handle on not setting unrealistic expectations for ourselves (we still have miles to go). We don’t yet live in our dream home, one of our cars is the same one I cruised around in at 16,  our pets are kind of crazy, I can’t really guarantee that all of the rooms in our house will ever be clean at the same time. But we’re trying.

Three years is an in between kind of anniversary. Not a hallmark ten and not the romanticized first. Yet, I still want to shout my love for Jake from the rooftops (cue the rolling eyes).

But for real, I found a good one, you guys. He’s the kind of man that shows up for me every day. He remembers to put a dozen eggs in our cart at the store because we only have three left at home. He never fails to plan something special for my birthday and usually on a tight budget. He still reaches for my hand when we cross the street.

Do these things sound less than romantic? I’ll tell you, after fourteen years together and three years of marriage it’s the little things that make all of the difference.

April 14, 2014

The Beginings of a Garden + A Summer Salad


I've had the urge to start a garden for a few years now, but have always felt intimidated and nervous about the process. Mostly since I have no earthly idea what I am doing. Because of this, I chose to start small with our first garden. 

Jake and I assembled two small raised beds that will house herbs (sage, dill, lavender, rosemary, parsley and basil) as well as a few different varieties of tomatoes. I incorporated pots and planters around the garden with strawberries, mint (since in my gardening research I learned that this guy tends not to play well with others) and different greens (mixed lettuce, spinach and arugula).

I used paint stirrers from the hardware store and leftover chalkboard and white acrylic paint to make free plant markers. I saw this idea floating around a year or so ago so I can't take credit for its genius.

What's been really cool about this process is that I've discovered how much I enjoy being in the garden. I love to play in the dirt, talk to my plants (this doesn't even make the top ten list of the most embarrassing things that I do on a daily basis), care for them and watch them slowly grow -- a lesson in patience. 

Cafe lights have been on my dream backyard wish list since we moved in over four years ago, but I was unsure about how to hang them since we don't have a pergola or structure to drape them from. Lucky for me, I found this tutorial on how to use PVC, electrical conduit and pipe straps to make poles that the lights could hang from. We purchased the clear cafe lights at Target in their outdoor section. I really love the warm glow that they give off at night. If you have the space, I highly recommend taking on this simple and inexpensive project!



Some warm weather salad inspiration: 
Arugula, grilled pineapple, blueberries, feta and raspberry vinaigrette

Really looking forward to incorporating some of the produce that we grow into our salads this summer!


April 4, 2014

Addie Turns Five



I'm behind on blogging and life in general right now, but wanted to pop in while it's still technically Addie's birthday week to show her some love on the blog.

How in the world is Adelaide five? Cliche as cliche can be -- but wow, time flies! I never quite noticed just how fast it really goes until there were little ones in our family.

Addie is at such a fun age right now. The things that come out of her mouth these days are all kinds of hilarious.

Jake, Addie's grandpa and I took her to Chuck E. Cheese the other night for her birthday. A few of my favorite quotes/ moments from the evening:

+ "Aunt B, would you please buy me some hand sanitizer? I need it for when I have my own little family. I want to keep my children very clean."

+ Hears that the Chuck E. Cheese mascot is walking around, "Eww I don't want to see that little rat!" (hides under table).

+ "I really want a unicorn!" Don't we all, Addie, don't we all.


March 25, 2014

Progress



You may have noticed the new blog design and with it a “health” section. I’ve been working on defining how healthy living looks within my daily life and I’m hoping to share more on that here.

Over the past several years, I’ve based most of my food choices on convenience and comfort. I had a minor health scare in October 2013 and have been working ever since to be more intentional about the lifestyle choices that I make.

Some of the changes I’ve implemented include:

+ Eating a more plant-based diet. When I do eat meat I try to keep it organic and local. I don’t always eat this way when I am outside of the home or with friends on weekends. Did I drink wine and eat cake for my birthday this weekend? You betcha. My new mantra (via a motivational friend) is, progress not perfection. sayitwithmenow.

+ Moving more via walks with the dogs, work outs with Jake and yoga on my lunch breaks. Also, my parents surprised me with a gorgeous bike for my birthday that I plan on putting to good use!

+ Drinking lots of H2O. Water with lemon, water with fresh mint and fruit, water with a splash of green tea. Water, water, water all day every day!

+ Using less toxic chemicals. I’ve traded out my makeup, personal care and home cleaning products for non-toxic alternatives. Stay tuned for a post on my favorite products!

These changes haven’t all taken place at once and some have been easier than others. I plan on writing more health related posts and will be transparent about what works for me. I hope that you’ll join me on this journey!


March 17, 2014

Cheese State Visit

This past week, we traveled up to Wisconsin to spend some time with my husband's side of our family and to meet our new nephew, August. He's such a beautiful baby and I loved spending time with him. Our niece, Madelynn, is getting so big and can already sing her ABCs.

We packed a lot in to a 5 day visit and got to see over 40 members of the family!


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