January 30, 2011

Baby Boy Shower

Today I had the honor of co-hosting a baby shower in our home for one of my closest friends. Allison's little boy is due in March and today we celebrated his coming arrival. We're all head over heels in love with him already and can't wait to meet him very soon!

So excited to meet you, little man!

January 22, 2011


I find so much inspiration from blogs; from recipes to book recommendations to home decor ideas. I think it's because most of the blogs I read are written by normal women who need quick recipes for their busy families or ideas for the home that aren't too far out of reach.

Several weeks ago I stumbled on a blog and a light bulb went off. The photo of the author's kitchen stopped me in my tracks. She had the greatest art pieces hanging below the bar in her kitchen. For months I have been trying to find photos or art for a bare wall in our kitchen. Once I saw this blog, I knew I wanted to try to replicate her art in my house.

See the X & O prints under her bar? I love them.

This morning Todd and I created a version of our own for our kitchen.





January 19, 2011

Books with Pictures

Our first apartment in Nashville was a nightmare. It was cold, dark and infested with bugs. I wore flip-flops in the shower and wouldn’t sit on the carpet. It was awful. Thankfully it only took one complaint to break our contract. We signed a one-year lease and lived in the apartment 28 days. The longest 28 days of my life.

Todd and I didn’t know many people during our first month in town, and since staying in our apartment was too depressing, we spent countless hours drinking coffee and reading books and magazines at Barnes & Noble. We would stay until we were asked to leave, wanting to be anywhere but our home.

We quickly upgraded to an adorable apartment in Franklin, then again to a cute townhome and eventually bought our first house. Now we don’t want to be anywhere but home, but we still enjoy bookstore coffee dates. The only thing that has really changed for me is the reading material. I now love pouring over cookbooks. I can’t get enough of them. I wish I had bookshelves full of cookbooks, but unfortunately I don’t have the budget or the space.

Instead, I’ll take advantage of coffee dates at Borders or Barnes & Noble and I’ll take mental notes of the amazing photos and recipes I see.

However, I do have a little Christmas money left and there are a few cookbooks that I’ve had my eye on…

I bet I have picked this book up half a dozen times. I love that Katie is close to my age and sticks to the food she grew up with. Fried chicken, anyone? You can’t go wrong with comfort food at any age.

I bought this book for my step-mom for Christmas and I think I was more excited to read it than she was! Although my dad tells me they have had several dishes from this book, so it sounds like the gift was a hit. I only read it through once and immediately wished I had my own copy. Southern food at its finest with special tips from Garth Brooks is a perfect combination. Interesting fact: Garth likes to add cheese tortellini to just about everything. 

Saturday mornings used to be filled with cartoons. Now they’re filled with my favorite Food Network shows, and Giada At Home is an absolute favorite. This book is basically her show in written form. This is another book I flip through often. 

Lastly, a new to me cookbook that I discovered in a magazine (I think it was Southern Living). The author is all about FWB’s (food with benefits). This book would be a good, healthy compliment to The Comfort Table and Trisha’s book!

Any other great cookbook recommendations? 

January 10, 2011

Snow Day

You would have thought two children lived in my home last night. Todd and I were giddy at the thought that work might be canceled because of snow today. We were constantly looking out the window, waiting for the first snowflakes to fall. Right before we went to bed the sky seemed to open and spill out snow on our quiet neighborhood. Within ten minutes the streets were covered. We knew we wouldn't be going anywhere in the morning. 

We're well into the afternoon and Todd and I have yet to change out of our pajamas. I've been cooking and cleaning (also taking breaks to check work e-mail now and then). When Todd hasn't been playing video games, he's been having snowball fights with the neighbors and their kids. Calem, our little neighbor across the street was up early building a snow fort with his dad, waiting patiently for Todd to step outside so he could attack. Honestly though, I think the "big kids" enjoyed throwing snowballs more than the little guys. So fun!

After lunch I tried a new recipe - Peanut Butter Banana Ice Cream. It's so easy and pretty tasty.  More than being in the mood for ice cream, I really wanted to try out my handy new food processor that Santa was nice enough to bring me. This recipe would be great for you girls with kids.

Peanut Butter Banana Ice Cream
(via 5 Ingredient Fix)

2 to 3 ripe bananas
1 to 2 tablespoons creamy peanut butter
1 to 2 tablespoons honey

Cut the bananas into 1-inch pieces and freeze. Put the frozen bananas in a food processor and puree, scraping down sides periodically, until smooth. Add the peanut butter and honey and puree. Serve immediately or refreeze until ready to enjoy.

Happy Snow Day!

January 1, 2011

So Long 2010!

It's 2011. Hallelujah! I can't remember a time when I've been so excited to begin a new year. I'm ready to dive head first into 2011. It's funny, this time last year I woke early to read my devotional and one phrase set the tone for the entire year: "Come to me with a teachable spirit, eager to be changed." Those words terrified me. I was certain that hard, uncomfortable change would fill 2010 and I couldn't have been more right. There were times during the year when I wondered if we would make it. But we did, and not only did we make it, we are stronger and better for walking through the fire.

This morning, I quietly read my devotional while Todd slept beside me. I was well aware of the words I was about to read. I've lived with those words for 365 days. But this morning I was excited to read them. I smiled when I thought about the change God has in store. This year will be filled with good change. This year I will be different. I know that God will never leave my side. Todd and I faced the threat of having our most meaningful relationships crumble, we experienced the loss of a job and watched our siblings make difficult, sometimes dangerous decisions. We cried over the loss of our best friends' miscarriage, over health issues that plagued friends who are more like family and later cried again as other best friends buried their mother.  This year I'm ready for change. Today I will put on my armor and will wear it proudly. Today is a new day and this is a new year.

While there are many things I would like to forget about 2010, there are many good memories that I want to keep with me...

January -
We kicked off the year celebrating at our home. Allison and I learned to cook like The Pioneer Woman. Our guest bedroom got a much needed makeover. A blizzard hit Nashville and Todd and I got to see LeBron James and Shaquille O'Neal!

February -
Todd's parents came out for the Super Bowl. I got a little crafty. Todd became a pro at making his favorite recipe, corned-beef hash. We celebrated Matt & Suz's engagement!

March - 
Todd's parents were here and we finally visited and fell in love with The Silly Goose. I quit twitter. But more importantly, Matt and Susan got married!

April -
We joined a meal group with old friends and met new friends that have been such a blessing to our lives. Josh & Christi went to Missouri with us for Easter and I was able to see Janessa, whom I've been friends with since the third grade. I received my first Gold Record and Todd and I took a dream vacation to Destin to celebrate our 5th Anniversary.

May -
Nashville was devastated by one of the worst floods in history. Todd and the boys went on a 3-city baseball trip. We perfected the watermelon margarita and went back to Missouri for a family reunion.

June -
We celebrated Christi's 28th birthday. Todd faced a brief health scare and we added some much needed color to our home.

July -
We spent an incredible vacation at the cabin over the Fourth of July weekend. My parents came in for a fun getaway. I read Bittersweet for the first time and it rocked my world. We wrapped up the month with baseball and great food with Todd's parents in St. Louis.

August -
I didn't take many photos! Todd lost his job in August, but not all was lost. I spent a fantastic weekend in Philadelphia and New York with my best friend Mary. Instead of photos, I decided to give videos a try. 

September - 
We made a quick trip home to Missouri for Labor Day before heading to Folly Beach for a week of relaxation!

October -
I turned the dreaded 2-8 and found out it isn't so bad. Todd's family visited and we introduced them to Fido and spent hours laughing at hilarious YouTube videos. We attended our first chili cook-off, which will now be an annual tradition. The month ended with a weekend spent on the farm that felt more like a retreat than a typical visit home.

November -
I really don't take as many photos as I should. I was hoping a new camera would fix that! Maybe that should be added to my list of resolutions this year! In November Todd started a new job that he loves. I had my first giveaway, hoping to get my friends and family who read this little blog fired up about the Bittersweet event at Tap Root II. The next week we drove nine long hours to Raleigh, North Carolina to spend Thanksgiving with my mom's side of the family. My sister and I discovered the best little cafe in Durham called Guglhuph. It quickly became a favorite and a must-see when I visit Raleigh-Durham.

December -
With Todd's new job, he now has the same vacation days for Christmas that I have. Since we had so many days off, we were able to spend a week in Missouri with family and friends. It was stressful trying to fit in everything, but we had to remind ourselves how blessed we are to have so many people to love.

I'm thankful for the many memories made in 2010, and even more excited about what's in store for 2011.  Let's resolve to make this year the best yet!

Happy New Year!
Todd & Tara