Saturday, September 28, 2013

What Love Ought to be...

The other morning I woke up on the wrong side of the bed. I was being a total grumpster for no reason. I showered then went to grab my favorite Trader Joe's pop tarts and be on my way to work. Well it just so happened that my husband had eaten the last packet of pop tarts, which infuriated me. He knows I only eat a few select things for breakfast on school days...why would he eat MY poptarts? (Told you I was being a grumpster) So out comes my inner princess and I start to stomp around and pout to show him that I was not happy with his decision. #imaroundkidstoomuch My husband should have just slapped me and said they are OUR pop tarts not yours, but God bless his heart, he didn't. Instead he insisted on making me a granola yogurt concoction to-go. I didn't DESERVE his kindness or compassion. I was being selfish, I was choosing to make something so small a big deal yet he chose to love me unconditionally and actually return my extreme moodiness with kindness. What?!

That is what love ought to be...loving each other despite our flaws and going out of our way to make others feel special even when they absolutely do not deserve it. That is how Christ loves us and how I want to love others. Thanks sweet husband for showing me love in the smallest of ways each day.

Ought to Be by Audrey Assad on Grooveshark  
Ought To Be-Audrey Assad
"I love you more than a slow falling summer rain
Or in the silence that only the snow leaves behind
I love you more

And I love you better than the gray of the autumn air
Better than the spring in it's blooming against the sky
I love you more

It may not be red as a rose is yet
It may not be strong as the old oak trees
But love planted deeply becomes what it ought to be

Your love is steady and sure as a mountain's high
Moving my heart like a river that gently bends
Your love is sure

Your love is wide open spaces where I can run
And yet we're tangled up roots in the warm broken earth

Yeah our love is sure

And it may not be clear as a morning yet
It may not be wide as a restless sea
But love given freely becomes what it ought to be

And it may not be clear as a morning yet
It may not be wide as a restless sea
And it may not be red as a rose is yet
It may not be strong as the old oak trees
But love planted deeply becomes what it ought to and
Hearts given freely become what they ought to and
Love planted deeply becomes what it ought to be
What it ought to be"

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Snippets of fall

Fall drinks, fall food, fall hiking, fall decorations. Can it get any better? 
I love you fall...forever and ever amen.

Linking up with Shanna.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

PW APPLE DUMPLINGS {with a secret ingredient}

Fall baking is just fantastic. I absolutely adore any and every fall flavor including apple. When deciding on a fall recipe to try out this past weekend, I quickly turned to Pioneer Woman expecting to spend at least 2 hours baking in the kitchen. To my surprise I found the easiest and least time consuming PW recipe of all time: Apple Dumplings. Not only are these little treats easy, but they are divine and you just won't believe what the secret ingredient is.

See if you can spot which ingredient doesn't belong in this picture...
Yes, why that is Mountain Dew in the is not a mistake. It is actually the secret ingredient to an amazing apple dumpling! Sounds crazy, I thought so too, but I trust PW with food so I just followed her directions and was not disappointed. Here's what else you will need...

Cast of Characters:
2 Granny Smith Apple (peeled and sliced into 8 wedges/apple)
2 8 oz. cans crescent rolls
2 sticks butter
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 can (12 oz.) Mountain Dew
Ground Cinnamon

1. Preheat oven to 350
2. Peel apples and chop into 16 wedges
3. Add one apple wedge to each crescent roll and wrap up
4. Butter a 9x13 dish and set each crescent roll face down in dish
5. Melt butter in medium sauce pan then add sugar and vanilla and stir for a few minutes. The sugar does not need to fully dissolve in the butter. Grainy is good.
6. Pour butter mixture evenly over the apple filled crescent rolls
7. Now here's the scary awesome part...pour the 12 oz. can evenly over top of the whole mixture
 8. Sprinkle with Ground Cinnamon
9. Stick in the oven and bake for 40 minutes. It will start to smell amazing so try to resist taking it out early!
10. Let it cool and eat with vanilla ice cream!!!
These Apple Dumplings are the best I've ever had. I mean whatever the Mountain Dew does to the crescent roll is seriously delicious. You have to let me know if you try these. Hot or cold they are yummy. I promise I am NOT crazy!
Original recipe found here!

Monday, September 23, 2013

BBQ, Oktoberfest, Cheap Books & A Visitor

This weekend was jam packed. Whenever I have a visitor I like to go all out and give them the full Cincinnati experience. One of my college friends was here so we made the most of our weekend. First she got to experience Montgomery Inn...
Then she experienced IKEA (We were obviously too overwhelmed to take pictures.) Then we hit up Oktoberfest and ate our way down 5th Street.
We also stumbled on the most amazing book sale of the year. Half Price books was having their annual clearance sale and it just so happened to be right up the street from my house. We both walked away with bags of books and movies. #Winning
And somehow we made time to make a Pioneer Woman recipe. It screams fall and I'll be sharing it with you tomorrow. You won't want to miss it. It's easy and incredibly fall-tastic.
Hope you had a wonderful weekend friends!

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Fall Bucket List

Since today is the first official day of Fall I decided it would be the perfect time to share my Fall Bucketlist on the blog. Here it is...

Make apple cider
Get Spooked at Halloween Haunt
 Attend a Halloween party and dress up
Go camping
Visit an Apple orchard
Go to the Apple Fest in Lebanon
Go back to my old stomping grounds for my college Homecoming
Have a bonfire with good friends
Eat pumpkin pie
Go to one of my student's football games
Carve a pumpkin
Play in a pile of leaves
Try a new chili recipe
Find my way through a corn maze

What's on YOUR Fall Bucket list?

Thursday, September 19, 2013

One of my very favorite days!

It was on this very day 5 years ago that my husband proposed to me on our elementary school play ground. I will never forget how special he made me feel that day and how he continues to make me feel that way to this day. I am so incredibly blessed to have such a devoted, supportive and thoughtful husband. Today will always be one of my very favorite days.

Read our complete engagement story here.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Lentil Chili [recipe]

I am a huge fan of chili especially on fall evenings like we had in Ohio this past weekend. When my friend Bekah told me about a lentil chili I was intrigued, but not sold because I really do love meat in chili. Well it was love at first bite friends and when I made this for my husband he instantly proclaimed that we should have this chili once a week! So this is a recipe that you should definitely try this fall! Mmmm Hmmmm.
 Cast of Characters
8 cups chicken or vegetable broth
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
2 large carrots, chopped 
2 large celery stalks chopped
5 cloves garlic, finely chopped
4 tsp chili powder 
2 tsp cumin
1 Tbsp. Oregano
1 (16-ounce) package brown lentils (about 2 1/4 cups lentils)
2 (15-ounce) cans diced tomatoes
Chopped cilantro
What to do...Chop, chop, chop and add everything in the crock pot. I'm going to call this the chop and drop method. Then cook on high for 7 hours in the crock pot. Best served with sour cream and shredded cheddar cheese on top. Also tastes amazing with Beer bread and a pumpkin flavored beer.
Nutrition facts if you care:
Per serving : 120 calories (5 from fat), 0g total fat, 0g saturated fat, 0mg cholesterol, 180mg sodium, 21g total carbohydrate (7g dietary fiber, 6g sugar), 6g protein


Monday, September 16, 2013

Beer & Wine Festival

Every September Glendale has a fabulous Beer & Wine Festival complete with hundreds of beer and wine vendors and food trucks! You pay money to get a glass and 5 drink tickets that you can turn in to try beers and/or wines from all over! We were excited to try the seasonal flavors. I love pumpkin everything!! Here is our night in a few pictures...
I think I need to start my own grilled cheese food truck business.
I think I had my caloric intake for the week in one night. Oops.
Have you ever been to a beer or wine festival?

Linking up with Sami

Friday, September 13, 2013

Remembering Jenny {9.13.03}

Today it has been 10 years since my dear friend Jenny passed away in a car crash. I remember getting the call like it was yesterday. I was a freshman at college only a few weeks in and my world was completely shaken. While I was looking for old pictures for our 10 year reunion slide show I stumbled upon a notebook that Stephanie, Jenny and I passed back and forth in middle school and I started reading and couldn't stop. I was laughing so hard at our code names for boys and our obsession with N'Sync. And did you notice the address on the inside cover? 777 Hotties Drive? Oh middle school...
When the letters in the notebook had ended I flipped through the pages to see if I had missed any and in the very back of the notebook I found the notes to the speech that Stephanie and I wrote for Jenny's funeral. We wrote it as if we were talking to her.  Here is what we wrote....

Dear Jenny,
There are so many reasons why we consider you our best friend. Where do we even begin? From the time we were little girls in Mrs. Lovett's first grade class we were drawn to your engaging smile and nurturing personality.
As we grew older your playful personality always led us from one adventure to another. I remember the time we snuck over to the park without our Mom's permission and we couldn't cover up our secret because you came home with two chipped teeth!
Another big adventure for us as big fifth graders was when you won us a limo ride to McDonalds. We felt so cool and stylish dressed up in our limited too outfits. Speaking of stylish, remember how stylish you were being the only 4th grader with black high tops and pink pumps? Everyone was so tempted to pump your shoes and of course you let them.
Your generosity has always been appreciated whether it meant adopting a grandmother who you invited to all your sporting events or lending an ear to a friend in need. You always know the right thing to say and it's always spoken from the heart.
You could brighten anyone's day even if it meant telling one of your corny jokes. Not only did you make your friends laugh, but you made yourself laugh. My favorite joke of yours was "What did the bird say when it's cage broke" Cheap. Cheap
You always know how to lighten the mood. I'll never forget the night I called you at midnight and the next thing I knew we were on three-way with Cleo the psychic and were charged $40.00 for a five minute phone call.
So many of our happy memories are wrapped up in the time we spent with you. You truly are a blessing. We've been so fortunate to have you in our lives and we will cherish the times we have had together forever. Best friends forever.
Love, Allison and Steph

This was the last note that the 3 of us "exchanged." I miss Jenny and the light she shared with the world. Even though she is not here physically, her legacy carries on. A group of us are getting together at her grave sight this weekend to remember and celebrate her life and I hope we can smile and laugh together because that is what she would want.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

10 Year Highschool Reunion!

Last weekend was my 10 year high school reunion. #iamofficiallyold Let me just start by saying I was slightly nervous going into it, but it was ah-mazing. I know some people hear the words high school reunion and turn and run, but ours was truly a good time. It was one of my favorite nights of the summer. Since Drew and I both graduated from the same high school it made it easy. Here's us getting ready and excited for the big night...

My best friend is our class President aka she was in charge of the entire reunion operation so I gladly got roped in to helping. These name tags were one of our girl's night projects.

Then the girl talk, drinking and laughter commenced. We really do have an amazing graduating class!

 The check in tables with our old Comet memorabilia. I even made a custom banner for the occasion.
We made a playlist of songs that were popular when we were in high school and everyone had a blast dancing to our old favorites. From the window to the wallllllll....
One of my favorite parts of the night was when my dear friend Stephanie aka our class President decided to bust out the worm on the dance floor. In a dress. She immediately regretted that decision.
No one wanted to leave at midnight when we got kicked out of the event center (sign of a good time) so we all met at an Irish pub and continued the fun there. I had so much fun catching up with friends and staying out later than I have in foreeeeevvvveeeer.
If you have a reunion coming up, I would encourage you to give your reunion a try. I'm so glad I did! Anyone else go to theirs? Are you glad you did?