Thursday, October 17, 2013

Thankful Thursday: One Year Blogiversary

213 total posts
9 baking posts
13 fall posts
27 keeping house posts
19 book reviews
4 One Little Word posts
33 simplify your life posts
51 Thankful Thursday posts
6 wreaths
22 Greener living ideas

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Thursday, October 10, 2013

Thankful Thursday: Vineyards and Orchards

I'm thankful for a weekend away with some great friends and the ability to cross some thing off my Fall Bucket List.  While it was a little warm (almost 90 degrees!) and too early to see changing leaves, we still managed to capture some breathtaking views and drink some delicious wine.  And the best part was the company of dear friends who treated us to a weekend getaway!

Beautiful vineyards and tasting room at Barboursville Vineyard:
Mmmm, try their Nebbiolo!

 Pollak Vineyards:

Polo field at King Family Vineyards:

Carter Mountain Orchard (and grape vines too):
Got some cider, donuts and fresh picked apples! Check, check, check on my Fall Bucket List!  (I was inspired by Anne's apple picking trip.)

View of Charlottesville from Carter Mountain:

 And just for fun, The Lawn at the University of Virginia:
Do you have plans for a weekend getaway?  Or maybe just crossing something off your Fall Bucket List? Pin It

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Thankful Thursday

I am thankful that every Thursday I have the privilege of serving as an intake volunteer at Buckhead Christian Ministries.    Pin It

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

One Little Word: Third Quarter Update

I just love these little check-ins on my One Little Word progress.  I know you readers out there are holding me accountable, so I better take some time to reflect on my progress.  Well, I do feel like I am doing slightly better than at our last quarterly check-in.  (Read more on that here.)  However, I still have a way to go before achieving peace in my life.  

I recently heard Max Lucado say something to the effect of "God can reweave your pain for a higher purpose."  That certainly helps me re-frame how I look at situations.  What can I learn from this?  How will this make me stronger?  How can this serve to add another dimension to my faith?

I am on a path to peace and it's had some twists and turns.  I'm hoping the path will straighten out a little so I can find and celebrate peace in my life.  Time to breathe.  Time to find comfort and satisfaction.  A little space.
- Christy

Earlier this year, I did some large-scale life assessment (decision to stay at home and not go to grad school), de-cluttered lots of rooms in my house, and for this past quarter, I have chosen to tackle some schedule clutter.  I say "yes" to a lot of things.  Good things.  Worthy things.  Often not-necessarily-the-best-for-me-and-my-family things, though.  I need to be more selective in my choices.  And back away from some of my commitments.  It's okay if I do so (self pep-talk here).  In a lot of my readings lately, I've been learning that to truly live, we need to pay attention right now.  Life is whizzing past me, as if I'm cruising down I-20 at 72 miles per hour.  Paying attention is difficult at the speed I'm going.

In his book, Nudge: Awakening Each other to the God Who's Already There, Leonard Sweet writes, "You are what you pay attention to.  No attention, no life.  Everything comes to life when you pay attention to it.  In a world of inattentiveness, a world that goes largely unregarded, it is the special mission given to humans to bring the world to life.  How do we save the world?  How do we keep the world alive?  Through loving attention . . . by 'tending and tilling,' naming and cherishing the tiniest part of what God has created."

I'm ready to pay attention.  To tend, till, name, and cherish.
- Anne

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Monday, September 30, 2013

Our Favorite Cookbooks

We thought it fitting that our book review this month be of a cookbook since we are focusing on kitchens.

Better Homes and Gardens New Cook Book 
reviewed by Anne:

When I got married fourteen years ago, my mom gave me this recipe book as a shower gift.  
And since then, this has been my go-to cookbook.  I have not been disappointed with a recipe prepared from this book yet.  I also appreciate all of the little extras like "cooking basics," "substitute lists," and great photos that accompany the recipes.  It's really a great all around cookbook.  

Here's a copy of my mom's that she got when she was first married.  
It's still her go-to cookbook.

And Mom recently purchased this Junior Edition for my daughter.  
We're keeping the tradition alive.  Fun!  Yum!

Tea Time at the Masters reviewed by Christy:

My favorite cookbook is Tea Time at the Masters compiled by the Junior League of Augusta, Georgia.  It's not my favorite because Augusta is my hometown or because I am a member of the Junior League myself.  (See this post and this post for my League experiences.)  This cookbook is my favorite for the tried-and-true Southern recipes it contains!

I have all three of the Junior League of Augusta's cookbooks, but this one is their first and best in my opinion.  My favorite recipe is the Coconut Layer Cake on p. 206.  This cookbook is also sentimental to me as it was a wedding gift from a family friend who has since passed away.

Do you have a favorite cookbook?  If so, share in the comments. Pin It

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Apple Blondies

Is apple picking on your Fall Bucket List?  It's on mine!  You can read about Anne's apple picking adventure here. I wanted to give you a recipe to use some of those apples!  I typically make this in the fall, but since it only requires an apple or two, you can make it year round. 
By now you know my love of all things baked and sweet!. My trick is to bake for other people or else I'd be the size of my house!  A friend gave me this recipe when I was newly married and it's been in the rotation ever since.  
Apple Blondies/Brownies

Apple Blondies

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 1/2 cup All-Purpose flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/8 tsp salt
2 tsp. cinnamon
1 cup (about 2 small) peeled and chopped apples
1/2 cup chopped nuts...and in my house this means PECANS!

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Mix butter, sugars, eggs and vanilla in a mixer on medium speed.  In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking powder, salt and cinnamon; add to mixer and combine wet and dry ingredients.  Stir in apples and nuts (I do this by hand).  Batter will be VERY thick.  Spread into greased 9 x 13" pan.  It might not look like there will be enough batter, but just spread it in a thin layer.  It will rise in the oven.  Bake for 35- 40 minutes.
They come out looking all golden brown and divine!  Then you slice them up...
These are great served warm with a scoop of ice cream!  Or caramel sauce.  Or both!!

Do you have a favorite apple recipe?

Click here to see where we party each week! Pin It

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Thankful Thursday: National Book Festival

Some of you may remember this post where I mentioned I am a member of the Junior League of Washington.  The Junior League's mission is to develop the potential of women, promote volunteerism and improve the lives of women and children in our communities.  In the Washington, D.C. area, our focus is literacy.  This past weekend, I had a wonderful time volunteering at the National Book Festival.
Creating a Beautiful Life:  National Book Festival

Creating a Beautiful Life:  National Book Festival
 A lovely view of the Capitol in the background.
Creating a Beautiful Life:  National Book Festival
 The Library of Congress does a great job of space planning on the National Mall.  Although there is rumor that next year the festival will not be held on the Mall.
Creating a Beautiful Life:  National Book Festival
 These are the stickers we handed out to kids!
Junior League of Washington; National Book Festival
This is such a fun event for me.  It connects my love of reading and allows me to contribute to my community by volunteering.
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