Thursday, June 28, 2012

...and It Was Delightful

I know that it's almost the weekend again but I just wanted to share some little tidbits about this past weekend. It was very lovely and I couldn't have been more thrilled!
I'm a lucky girl! My hubby brought me home flowers today! #lifejoy
Last Thursday began my weekend since I had Friday off. And it began well because my dear Collin brought me home this beautiful bouquet of flowers! Love him!
I love this dress!
I went to Target on Thursday evening and found this dress on clearance. It cost me $12! So I just had to wear it for my errand running on Friday! It was so comfy and cute.
It looks like we may get some rain this afternoon.
Friday afternoon some dark clouds rolled in. Then they rolled out. Then a BIG thunderstorm rolled in around 6PM and some of the thunder was so loud it shook our apartment! It even produced some hail.
I absolutely adore where we live.

Saturday afternoon we ventured down to St. George's Island, which is a tiny little island in the county, for a friend's congratulations party. This was the view on our drive. I love where we live!
So thankful for a hubby that helps with the housework!
I am so thankful for a hubby that helps with the housework. I don't mind to vacuum but my back started hurting pretty bad so Collin vacuumed the apartment before our friends came over Saturday afternoon.
Today was such a beautiful day. For two reasons. The weather and my husband's baptism in this bay!
I shared this photo yesterday but it was such a significant part of my weekend that I wanted to share it again. This is the part of the Chesapeake Bay where Collin was baptized on Sunday!
Pretty sunset tonight!
After the baptism was over we enjoyed an afternoon with our friend Megan at her apartment and then out to dinner at Bob Evan's. This was the view when we walked out of the restaurant. Pure bliss. And a great way to end our weekend!


Wednesday, June 27, 2012

(Semi) Wordless Wednesday

Today was such a beautiful day. For two reasons. The weather and my husband's baptism in this bay!

This, my dear friends, is a very special part of the Chesapeake Bay. On Sunday my husband was baptized right in this very spot. How incredibly special. He's been a Christian for as long as we've been together but he was finally ready to take his faith to the next step. I am so proud of him and I love the way God has been working in his life! I hope to share more pictures soon from this special day. I didn't bring my camera down to the actual baptism time for fear of getting it wet. But other people had their cameras so I just gotta find some pictures. =)


Thursday, June 21, 2012

A Tribute to Summer


Hello, summer! Summer has definitely arrived here in Southern Maryland! It is HOT! But I can't complain too much. We had almost a full week of gorgeous weather! Anyway.. I wanna do a top 20 list (since the first day was June 20th) of my favorite things of summer!

1. Being able to wear flip flops all the time.
2. Wearing dresses and not needing tights or leggings to stay warm.
3. Going to the carnival.
4. Going to the Solomon's Boardwalk just to stroll and/or to get ice cream!
5. Fireflies!
6. Growing sunflowers (and seeing them everywhere, too)!
7. The River Concert Series.
8. Fresh fruits and veggies.
9. Jet skiing.
10. Thunderstorms (this is a fairly new one).
11. Taking late evening walks around the neighborhood.
12. Going to the minor league ball games.
13. Long days with lots of sunshine.
14. Taking camping trips.
15. The generally relaxed feeling about everything.
16. Being at the water/on the water.
17. Watching firework shows.
18. Vacation Bible School
19. Making day trips to places close enough but also just far enough away.
20. Lots and lots of flowers and colors!

Summer is such a great season and I'm welcoming it with open arms! Here's to an easy, breezy summer filled with lots of good times and many, many blessings!


Wednesday, June 20, 2012

(Semi) Wordless Wednesday

I love how much this boy enjoys snuggling.

Can I just emphasize how much I love snuggling with my boy? He is the sweetest thing and I love it when he snuggles under my neck like that.


P.S. Come back tomorrow for my tribute to summer! I know today is the first day of summer but I want to make my post tomorrow. =P

Monday, June 18, 2012

Good Weekend Lovin'

This past weekend was quite a great one! We had a delightful time every day. It started out real well Friday evening because we got to go to the Solomon's Boardwalk and grab some soft serve ice cream with our friends Jeff and Jeannie. I love spending time with them. But what made it even better was the amazing sunset we got to see over the water. It had been a long while since I'd seen a sunset from the boardwalk and I was quite excited about it.

Currently at the most beautiful place in Southern Maryland.
Watching the sunset over the Patuxent was some serious #lifejoy

 then, she {snapped}

I think what made me the most excited (and this will sound silly because it's so obvious) was getting to see the sun get lower and lower within just a matter or minutes. I would take a picture, go back to talking, turn around two minutes later and it would be further under the bridge. It was so cool!
Saturday was fantastic! Collin had the whole day off and we did whatever we pleased. We woke up early and went yard saling! We got some pretty great stuff. A couple shirts for me, some miscellaneous cables and electronic things for him, a new driver (golf club) for him, and just some other random things. We had a delightful morning yard saling and it was the perfect temperature for it, too!

Checking out yard sales with my favorite guy!

Then in the afternoon we got some groceries, took a nap, did some browsing around for patio furniture and I even got to make myself a delicious chocolate milkshake! Evening time came, Collin made DELICIOUS chicken fajitas for dinner and we got to play a game of Scrabble before bed. I just wish you could play proper nouns because I totally would have had a Bingo towards the end of the game. =)
Scrabble with the husband.
Too bad you can't use proper nouns. Haha

Yesterday was Father's Day and Collin's dad wanted to go golfing together so the two of them did that while I spent the afternoon with my mom and dad. Their neighbor brought over their new baby kitty and I got to hold him for quite a while. It definitely made me want to get a little kitten sometime soon. Then later Collin met us at the wharf where the jet skis got put in and we spent some time at the water. While we were there we found a kitty that was very friendly but definitely a stray. She was so, so sweet and I wanted to take her home with us but Stanky-boy wouldn't like that very much. =/ After the water adventures we went back to my parent's house, had a DELICIOUS dinner, and enjoyed some family time.
My parent's neighbor brought their new kitten over. So, so sweet!
Sitting on the water.
Welp, the jellies are definitely out.
We found a very friendly kitty at the wharf today. I wanna take her home.

So yeah, I'd say it was a pretty great weekend. =) I hope yours was just as delightful as ours! And I hope you had the same awesome temperatures that we've had!! It's been GLORIOUS!


Friday, June 15, 2012

Best. Dinner. Ever.

Best dinner, ever!

Oh my gosh. I've found my new favorite meal, ever. After our trip to NC in April where I discovered I really liked North Carolina style BBQ I've been wanting to try to make it myself. I searched all over the internet for the perfect recipe and I finally found one. I pinned it to Pinterest so I would remember it and did nothing with it for a few weeks. And then one day I decided I was gonna try it! And I had recently pinned a recipe for Panera's mac and cheese and decided to make that with the pork. WOW. My mouth is watering just thinking about this meal!! Anyway, because it was so good I decided to share the recipes with my lovely blog friends!

Crockpot North Carolina Pulled Pork BBQ
Recipe adapted from Savour Fare blog


2 Tbsp brown sugar
1 Tbsp smoked paprika
2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
1 (4-6 lb) pork butt or shoulder roast (do not use a loin, it will get too dry)
1 Tbsp liquid smoke
1 cup cider vinegar
1/3 cup Worcestershire sauce
1 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
2 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp dry mustard
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper


1. Blend brown sugar, paprika, salt and pepper; rub over roast.
2. Place roast in Crockpot. Drizzle liquid smoke over roast.
3. Combine vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, red pepper flakes, sugar, mustard, garlic, and cayenne pepper and stir to mix well.
4. Drizzle about 1/3 of vingear mixture over roast. Cover and refrigerate remaining mixture.
5. Cook roast on low for 8-10 hours.
6. Remove roast from Crockpot and shred the meat; removing any fat. Add juices from Crockpot and remaining vinegar mixture (a portion may be reserved to pass at the table).
7. Serve plain or as sandwiches.

I'm telling you. So, so, so good! I'm warning you though, it makes a lot! Fortunately for us we've really enjoyed eating it as leftovers!

Panera's Stove Top Mac and Cheese
Recipe from Smells Like Home blog


16 oz pipette pasta or other small pasta shapes
4 Tbsp unsalted butter
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
2 1/2 cups milk, heavy cream, or half-and-half (I used milk in my recipe)
4 oz white American cheese, chopped or torn into pieces
8 oz extra sharp white Vermont cheddar, shredded
2 tsp – 1 Tbsp Dijon mustard (adjust according to your tastes) (I used 2 tsp of Spicy Brown Mustard)
1 tsp Kosher salt
1/4 tsp hot sauce (like Frank’s)


1.In a large stockpot, cook pasta according to package directions. Drain well.
2.While the pasta cooks, melt the butter in a 4-quart sauce pan over medium heat. When the butter has melted and has started to bubble, whisk in the flour; cook for 1 1/2 minutes whisking constantly. Gradually whisk in the milk until no lumps remain. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook milk mixture, whisking frequently, until it thickens and bubbles, about 8 minutes.
3.Remove sauce pan from the heat and by the handful, stir in the cheeses allowing all of the cheese to melt into the sauce before adding more. Stir in the mustard, salt, and hot sauce. Return the sauce pan to the heat and stir in the pasta. Be sure to stir up the sauce from the bottom of the sauce pan and thoroughly coat all of the pasta with sauce. Cook for 1-2 minutes over medium-low heat until heated through. Serve hot in bowls with spoons.

If you've never had Panera's mac and cheese, it doesn't matter. Make this. It is to die for. White Vermont cheddar is my favorite kind of cheese and I have a feeling that's part of why I love this recipe so much. However, it is gooey and creamy and cheesy and so, so good. Definitely a winner in my book!

If you try one (or both!) of these recipes let me know what you think. I hope Collin and I aren't alone in our love for good ol' Southern style food!


Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Book Review: Hope Springs

The latest book that I chose to read and review for Booksneeze was Hope Springs by Kim Cash Tate. This was also my first ebook that I've ever read! I don't have any of those electronic reading devices but I do have my iPhone and I discovered they make a snazzy Kindle app for it! Woo! I did enjoy the ease and accessibility of being able to read the book whenever I wanted on my phone but there was something missing not holding a physical copy of the book in my hands. That and it made it really hard to flip back a few pages to check on something that happened prior. There was no way to keep my current page while flipping back. So I'd have to remember what number I was at and go to that location. I kept forgetting. =P Anyway... it wasn't all bad. But this is a book review not a review of my e-reading experience!

Hope Springs was a great novel! I'd never read anything by Kim Cash Tate before but after reading this book I will definitely be reading some other novels from her. The book took place in a small North Carolina town called Hope Springs. It featured three main character women, Stephanie London, Janelle Evans, and Becca Anderson. Stephanie and Janelle are cousins from a very large extended family and Becca married a man who grew up in Hope Springs and was close with the other ladies' family as a child.

Stephanie is married to a doctor and lives in St. Louis with her husband but has no job and no responsibilities. Stephanie and her husband go to Hope Springs for Christmas to visit but when Stephanie finds out her grandmother is gravely ill she decides to stay and help her cousin Janelle take care of her. Stephanie had been feeling like she needed to do something more with her life and takes this as her "ministry boot camp" while her husband is in Haiti on a medical mission trip for a month.

Janelle lost her husband two years before the start of the book. She lives in Maryland and has two young children. They also make the journey to Hope Springs for Christmas and when she learns that her grandmother is sick and needs someone around to take care of her she volunteers to stay and help because she realizes there is really nothing in Maryland that she urgently needs to get back for. While in Hope Springs she reacquaints herself with her first love and falls into an easy friendship with him. She helps to start a Woman's Bible study and slowly grows into a fresh relationship with God since her husband's death.

Becca has been a small time woman's speaker at Christian conferences and the like. She recently got an offer to become part of the speaker team for a well renowned women's Christian conference and finally feels like God is leading her into a wonderful path for ministry. Then her husband feels called to become the pastor at his late father's church in Hope Springs. Becca is unsure how living in the small town will affect her ministry dreams but she will soon find out that God has big plans for her!

This was such a good book! Like other books I've loved, it was told from the perspective of the different women and each chapter featured a different woman. It was all told in third person form but you really got to know the characters through each of their chapters. And the chapters all intertwined which was really wonderful. I definitely did not want to put this book down which I suppose was a good thing it was on my phone because it made it a lot easier to read whenever I wanted. Even though it was a fairly long novel it went by so fast! I got the book on Wednesday of last week and finished it on Monday. And that included my very busy weekend where I didn't read at all! I love that this book included not just one God lesson but many. And each of those lessons were poignant and touching. It was a great reminder to me that God is working in all my circumstances and has a plan much bigger than I can ever imagine. =) I highly recommend you pick up this book. Definitely a five star rating in my opinion!


Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's guidelines.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Good for the Soul

Do you ever have one of those good for the soul kinds of weekends? I had one this past one. I was busy, and sure I would have liked a little bit more relaxation, but it was great. I spent time with Collin (though less than I wanted), spent time with friends, spent time with my sister, and got some more work done around the apartment! My weekend started on Thursday once work was over! I absolutely adore having every other Friday off. And when I got home I discovered that some Washi Tape I had ordered from The Plain Barn came in!! I was so excited because I have not been able to find it anywhere local! Our Target sells two different kinds. Black and white polka dots (which is cute) and some weird green one with words that are really only good for scrapbooking (which I don't do). So I was elated when The Plaid Barn did a deal on washi tape.
Since I couldn't find Washi tape anywhere local I got a great deal one day at Plaid Barn. It finally came!! Can't wait to use it!

And then, after opening my tape I realized that my buddy boy has been feeling neglected lately and wanted some loving. So I began to play with him and boy was he spunky. At one point I moved rather quickly and it must have startled him because he decided he needed to "hide". I wonder if he knew this was not an effective hiding spot. lol
I wonder if he really thinks this is an effective hiding spot... lol

Friday I got to do some much needed grocery shopping early in the morning and I bought myself a beautiful hanging basket of Citrus Fire for the porch. It has made me SO happy to have that beautiful plant on my porch. I also bought some potting soil and seeds (I already had two pots) for planting zinnias and dwarf sunflowers. I'll have some pretty little flowers this summer!
My new beautiful hanging basket that I'm so excited is bringing color to my porch! #lifejoy

Friday afternoon I spent with a friend whom I hadn't seen in quite some time. We did some much needed catching up and then we went to our local library's free showing of The Help. We had both finished the book recently and really enjoyed watching the movie. So, so good. Then in the evening I went to a Tastefully Simple party with my friend Jeannie and had a good time trying out some new food.
Saturday I headed up to Annapolis to do some shopping with my sister. We had a great time together and even though I wasn't planning to buy anything I did find a sexy yet sophisticated dress at Ann Taylor LOFT that was on their final sale rack for $14.99 and it fit so well I couldn't pass it up! It was originally a $90 dress!! So excited about that purchase. I can't wait to wear it. =) After doing some clothes shopping we headed to Menchie's and got delicious frozen yogurt!
Oh yes!! Menchie's. Soo good.
Can't you tell I'm excited? Lol

Yesterday after church Collin and I got some stuff done around the apartment. He cleaned out some of his stuff from the hall closet and put a few more boxes into our storage room off the porch. We hung a few things up around the house before Jeff and Jeannie came over in the afternoon. Jeannie and I made lots of cards while the men played frisbee golf and video games. Then I made dinner for us all and we played Monopoly until it was time to say goodnight! And I had beautiful fresh flowers in the house that I'd purchased at a Farmer's Market I discovered! Love! It brought me such joy!
Fresh flowers in the house. #lifejoy

 then, she {snapped}

This weekend brought so much joy to my life. It was definitely good for my soul. Because some weekends you need to be surrounded by loved ones and lots of fun and pretty things. And yet others you just need to relax and do nothing. Both are absolutely fine. I just know I enjoy any weekend that is just what my soul needs, whether filled to the brim with great things or filled with relaxation and quiet. =)


Thursday, June 7, 2012

Picturesque Retreat

So I talked a little bit about the Women's Mini Retreat and shared two Instagram photos on Monday for you all but I want to share some more pictures I took (still on my iPhone just not filtered through Instagram) because the retreat center we were at was just gorgeous. That and the day we had Saturday was so incredible! If you are ever in the need for a retreat center, check out Camp Maria! It is right on the water (and really close to me!) and has plenty of sleeping cabins, delicious food, and great spaces to use for meetings and what not. Plus there are plenty of wonderful activities to take place in. I highly recommend it for any retreats! Anyway, I was not paid to "plug" the center, I just liked it so much I wanted to mention it! Now... onto the pictures!

I'm off tomorrow so I probably won't be posting anything but I hope that you my dear friends have wonderful weekends! I hope that it is beautiful and these pictures can be a bit what it looks like. =)


Wednesday, June 6, 2012

(Semi) Wordless Wednesday

Wow. Beautiful sky today! Whoa!! Crazy sky tonight!
 then, she {snapped}

So yesterday the sky was pretty intense. The first picture was one I took on my way home from work just after I pulled into our neighborhood. It was SO pretty (and the temperature was gorgeous, too!). Then after praise team practice was over we walked outside and this is what we saw above the church. WHOA. No storms happened or anything but it was pretty ominous looking. And if you can't tell, just to the left of the picture it was still really quite blue. And driving home we saw HUGE puffy white clouds that were beatiful. So, so interesting.

*Both pictures were taken on my iPhone and uploaded to Instagram without any filters.*


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