February 28, 2009

Coffee and Curtains

Have I mentioned that I love Saturdays? Only about 100 times I'm sure. I'm getting a little tired of being stuck inside on the weekends, but I'm trying to make the most out of it by getting things done around the house. Believe me, when it's warmer - you won't find me inside!

Today started out like any normal Saturday. I woke up and got the coffee started.

Then I made orange rolls. I had every intention of making the "Easy Orange Rolls" I blogged about here, but I decided to be lazy and let Pillsbury do the work. The rolls may have come from a can, but they were still delicious!

A week or so ago our tax return came in and I was able to get curtains for our bedroom. Todd was nice enough to spend his Saturday putting them up for me. They look great, babe. :)

Don't look too closely - the curtains need to be steamed, our bed isn't made and the paper blinds are definitely not the look I'm going for, but it's a start! Now for new bedding. Maybe the IRS will give us another tax return?

Happy Saturday!

February 25, 2009

See You In A Hundred Years and Another Great Book!

I have been inspired to start reading more and tonight I think Todd got the bug too. I don't remember the last time I bought a new book. I'm a used book girl, but the book I so badly want to read is brand new so I had to give in and go to Border's to pick it up. While I was there I picked up a book for Todd too.

I bought Todd the book Strengths Finder 2.0. I was required to read it for work and it completely changed my relationship with my boss and coworkers. It was eye-opening. I learned a lot about myself, but more importantly, my boss learned a lot about me and how to best use my strengths. I'm now encouraged to do more of the things I do well, rather than working on the areas where I'm weak. Genius, right? I think so. So many people spend their time trying to fix their problem areas instead of letting others that are stronger in those areas help. This book shows how you can be excellent with the talents God has already given you.

If you're a person that is interested in why people act the way they do or how to better relate with others (whether friends, family, or coworkers), I strongly recommend this book.

And just in case you're curious, I listed our top 5 strengths below:

Tara -
1. Significance
2. Individualization
3. Relator
4. Harmony
5. Learner

Todd -
1. Competition
2. Woo
3. Achiever
4. Maximizer
5. Adaptability

You want to know what those mean and what yours are now, huh? Go get this book!

Now, to switch gears, the book I got for myself is "See You In A Hundred Years" by Logan Ward. It's the story of a young couple living in New York who sell their apartment to buy a farmhouse in Virginia so that they can live like people lived in the year 1900. It's a little extreme for me, but I'm really inspired by it. I feel like technology tends to take over (I call Todd's iPhone "the other woman" in our relationship!).

I think about my grandmother who was born in 1919 and how different her life was at 26 compared to mine. She didn't need e-mail - people just came by to talk and tell stories. She didn't need to live close to town because she grew everything in her garden. I used to love picking green beans and strawberries with her. I want to be more like that. Not entirely - I'm not going to give up my cell phone or the internet (I'm not even going to give up the DVR!), but I do want to be able to plant something and keep it alive. I want to hem my own pants and sew my own buttons. I could go on and on, but for now I'm going to sit by the fire and read how the Wards made it by in my new book. It's probably a good thing there is nothing good on TV tonight! :)

More info on this book can be found here.

February 19, 2009

Random Finds

I love finding new ways to be creative. I'm not the most creative person. In fact, I'm far from it. I'm much more a follower than a trend-setter. That's why I so appreciate creative people that I can steal ideas from! :)

Last night after Access (our high school youth group), I was winding down by reading my latest copy of Better Homes & Gardens and came across the best salad recipe. It made me ache for Spring! I can't wait for the weather to warm up so I can make this salad and eat it outside!

I had another great find as I was reading one of my favorite blogs. I'm not ready to have my own babies yet, but you better believe as soon as I am I'm making these adorable onesies.

Want to make them for your own little ones or the new mom's in your life? Get more info here. I think you'll become a lifelong fan of the blog while you're there!

On another note, I'm so looking forward to the weekend. Our awesome friends the Skaliskys have a cabin on a lake near Memphis, so Todd and the guys are going for the weekend. I was thinking, if he's going to be with the guys for the weekend, I'm having a sleepover with my girls! I'm so looking forward to spending the weekend with Christi and Suz. We're just going to be lazy and watch movies, eat junk food, go out for coffee, sleep in late. It's going to be a much needed mini-vacation!

February 14, 2009

Happy Valentine's Day!

Todd and I are enjoying the day at home. This morning we had a very "Valentine's Day" breakfast:

The card Todd got me was great. So like him! The front of the card is above, and the inside below:

As crazy busy as this week was, I still found time to get our Valentine's Day cards out to family and friends. I don't know how this tradition got started, but instead of sending Christmas cards each year, we decided to do Valentine's Day cards instead. Who doesn't love getting a Valentine?


Remember the pecan crusted tilapia I wanted to try? See here. We made it and it was awesome. Yay for Valentine's Day!

February 13, 2009

Children of the Mountains

I just finished watching "Children of the Mountains" on 20/20 tonight. Not many people know this about me, but the stories of the people in the Appalachian mountains really tug at my heart. I have never felt called to go to Africa or India or other countries overseas. Not that I wouldn't be open to that if God called me there, but I do feel a calling to help those that are so poverty stricken in Eastern Tennessee/Kentucky.

During my freshman year in high school, I was flipping through the channels late one night and the program "Feed the Children" came on. The host was in Eastern Kentucky describing the unbelievable poverty in that area. I was so moved that I called in and donated my allowance. I have never forgotten what I saw that night.

As I watched tonight, I prayed...God, send me. Whether it's my time or resources - I want to do more.

Below is the trailer for 'A Hidden America: Children of the Mountains.'

February 12, 2009

Master Bedroom Madness

I have a goal this year - maybe the next two years: to do something with our bedroom. It's the room that I kinda hate in our house. In no means do I say this to brag, but our bedroom is huge. It's long and really could be two bedrooms. Right now we have a bed, two night stands and a bookcase or two. It looks really bad. We have room to do an entire sitting area (unfortunately we don't exactly have the budget for that). We have to start somewhere, so I'm tackling the small things first.

I went back and forth over paint colors and after all the swatches and searching, I decided to not paint at all. It's just easier that way! :)

I found a room on HGTV that Candice Olsen did (I love her, by the way!) and I've decided to make it my inspiration (minus the formal, floral features). Okay, I really just like the colors and the tan couch on the right. We painted our bathroom a soft gray/blue and I want to tie it into the rest of the room.

Photo courtesy of Divine Design/HGTV
Since we can check off painting since we're keeping our walls their original cream color, the next small project is the windows. I thought about finding a pattern similar to the curtains above, but decided solid is more my style. I'm thinking these great window treatments from Pottery Barn - and they're even on sale! Cheaper than Target and Bed Bath & Beyond. Can't beat that!

I love the metal curtain rings, and I found a cheaper version here.

So, here's to trying to finish our bedroom. When I say it could take a year (or more), I'm sadly not kidding. We are in a recession after all! But I'm excited to at least start. We'll see how it goes!

February 8, 2009


It was another beautiful day in Nashville. My friend Emily came over with her baby girl Lyla and we walked the trail in our neighborhood. It was so nice to be out walking in the sunshine. We're so thankful for Emily and her husband Nate. Todd met Nate when he was working at the Buckle. God has brought the greatest friends to our lives.

The picture above is of Emily and baby Lyla. How cute is that little girl?!

Today was also bitter sweet in that fact that I just learned that another little girl, Cora, passed away today just shy of her first birthday. This blog world is a crazy thing. I don't know Cora and I don't know her family, but through a couple of blogs I follow, I came across the blog "The Macs." Less than a month ago they took their little girl Cora in for an ear infection. During her checkup they found out she had cancer... and today she passed away. Although I don't know her personally, I was so touched by her story. Todd and I started reading it together and were praying for her recovery. I can't imagine how her parents are feeling. I know it's not biblical to live in fear, but stories like this make me wonder if I can handle being a parent. I don't know that I would ever be strong enough to handle anything like what this precious family is facing. If you want to read more or pray for this family, visit their blog here.

February 7, 2009

Lazy Saturday

The sun didn't stick around long this morning, but it was around long enough to warm the air, which is all I can ask for. Today has been off to a great start. Todd and I slept in and then got up and had coffee (I had yummy Tazo Chai Tea that I'm officially addicted to!).

We climbed back in bed and checked our e-mail and read for awhile and after lunch went for a walk/jog. The breeze was a little chilly, but it was still really nice out. We walked about 3 miles and once we got back to our house, all of our neighbors were out. I have decided that I could never live in the country. I love the sense of community that comes with living in a neighborhood. There was a yard full of boys playing football. Little girls were riding their bikes up and down the street. Our neighbor Jason and his wife came over for a bit and we may head to their house tonight to play board games. I love it. Oh warm weather, please stay around for awhile?!


Todd and I just finished dinner and it was amazing! My wonderful husband (and grill master) made Mahi Mahi sandwiches and sweet potato fries (Mahi Mahi and fries were from Trader Joe's). Dinner was delicious! I wonder what we're having for dessert. ;)

Todd is starting a fire and we're just hanging out watching Wedding Crashers. I think I'll also get to work on my Valentine's Day cards. I love Saturdays. :)

February 5, 2009

Crazy Love

I'm currently reading Crazy Love by Francis Chan and it's rocking my world. Well, actually it's turning my world upside down and opening my eyes to see how my spiritual walk has been more of a crawl lately. I have somehow let my blessings take my focus off the Giver of those blessings. Over the last couple of weeks I have found my mind racing before bed. Am I thinking about the people that have lost their jobs? Am I praying for those that are facing hardship? Not like I should be. I've been falling asleep thinking about what color I should paint my bedroom and where I should look for new curtains. I know there is nothing really wrong with those things - but they have become distractions. I think in a strange way, thinking about decorating my house makes it feel like all of the "bad" stuff isn't real. But it is all very real and my focus needs to shift immediately. Ironically I started reading this book the night of my Houston incident. God has my attention.

Chapter 6 opens with a prayer that speaks to my soul and I'm making it my prayer each day:

Oh God, I have tasted Thy goodness, and it has both satisfied me and made me thirsty for more. I am painfully conscious of my need for further grace. I am ashamed of my lack of desire. Oh God, the Triune God, I want to want Thee; I long to be filled with longing; I thirst to be made more thirsty still. Show me Thy glory, I pray Thee, so that I may know Thee indeed. Begin in mercy a new work of love within me. Say to my soul, "rise up my love, my fair one, and come away." Then give me grace to rise and follow Thee up from this misty lowland where I have wandered so long. - A.W. Tozer The Pursuit of God

So many people are in need and deserve my prayers. I got a text today that a family member just found out he has cancer. My sisters are away from the Lord. A close friend is facing a potential serious condition, the list goes on and on. I can no longer hide behind trivial things. Don't get me wrong - I still love my home magazines and the Pottery Barn catalogs that arrive in the mail and I will continue to blog about the great new styles that I see because I love creative things, but I can't let them be priority. I can't be afraid to face reality. Too many people are depending on my prayers.

February 2, 2009

Super Bowl Weekend

I'm going to try to catch up on sleep tonight - we had too much fun this weekend. :)

Todd's family and a couple of friends our good friends Clark & Jennifer visited this past weekend. His parents came out last year for the Super Bowl and it was such a hit that it has become an annual tradition.

Saturday morning we all slept in late and once everyone got up and around I made my famous sausage and cheese biscuits. I say "famous" because they are the only thing I make that I actually get requests for! I'm okay with that.

After breakfast we went shopping in downtown Franklin. The weather was perfect. We window shopped and grabbed coffees at Starbucks and then headed to downtown Nashville to eat a late lunch at the Big River Grille. As if our day wasn't packed enough, after lunch we went to the Opry Mills mall (to shop and eat some more!) and to play arcade games at Dave & Busters.

Todd and Tyler (and Tim!) playing Skee Ball

Sunday night was a blast. Josh and Christi joined us for the game and some amazing game day food. Todd's mom made a new recipe - bacon wrapped chicken bites coated in brown sugar and a dash of chili pepper. Wow. The menu also included mini burgers, brats, chicken kabobs, stuffed mushrooms. The list goes on! I just sat back and watched...and ate...a lot! My contribution was dessert. I ordered a football shaped cookie cutter just in time for the big game, so I made football brownies. I ate a lot of those too!

We were all bummed that Arizona lost, but we really had a great time. Can't wait for the 3rd annual Stepp Super Bowl party of 2010!