Monday, September 30, 2013

Food Truck Friday

The Food Truck Rally was a great success! Sharing pictures with y'all? Not so much. I transferred all my information to my new iPhone 5s on Saturday morning and the last time I backed my stuff up was Friday before the rally. Boooooooo. You'll just have to use your imaginations!

We arrived at Rural Hill a little after it started and the wide open field was already pretty crowded. The band was rocking and the lines were growing as we staked out a spot in the middle. We made a loop around while we waited for friends to join us. While we waited we munched on pumpkin and kale tacos and sipped Highland Brewery's IPA. Mmm!

We were joined a bit later by some of our sweet friends from church. Then we were all off for more food! Some of our favorites were:

fried broccoli
homemade sweet potato chips
crabcake sandwich
turkey philly cheesestake
a burger loaded with slaw, bbq, and other yummies
mozzarella sticks
pomegranate margarita pop
spiced plum pop

There were more yummy food choices than we could possibly try, but we did our best! There is another food truck rally in a few weeks and you better believe I'll be dragging David to that one too!

Friday, September 27, 2013

Friday's Letters [09.27]

Happy Friday, folks!


Dear Food Truck Rally, I am SO excited for you. I kinda fell in love with your concept when  I heard about one in Raleigh. The fact that there is one just a hop, skip, and jump away from us has me giddy with excitement! I will be fasting all day in preparation to pig out on you.

Dear iphone 5s, I can't wait to meeeeeeet you! You are scheduled to join the fam this afternoon-wahooooo!

Dear David, I love you. You are wonderful and amazing and superb and any other similar adjective that exists.

Dear allergies, I am done with you. Donezo. Caput. See ya later, alligator. Hit the road, Jack and don't you dare come back! I am so tired of clawing my eyeballs out and sneezing more times than I can count.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Love Languages

If you're married it's likely that you've heard of this concept. If you're single, you're probably wondering what the heck I'm talking about. Or maybe it's backwards. No matter what category you are in, I highly suggest figuring out your love language! Let me explain. . .

The 5 Love Languages originated as a book by author, Gary Chapman, and exploded from there. The concept is that there are five "love languages" and everyone has at least one that they "speak". This is the way they prefer to show and receive love from others. You can only imagine the problems that can be solved/prevented if you know how your loved one prefers to be loved! Keep in mind that a loved one isn't just a spouse. This can be a sibling, a parent, a friend-anyone!

We received this book as a gift at our wedding and didn't think much of it. It wasn't until we started hearing people talking about it that we started investigating. We researched what the five types were and immediately saw which one we each identified with the most. We didn't even have to take the quiz to figure it out!

Any guesses?? If you've spent any time with David you know that he adores having his head rubbed and his back scratched. We knew pretty quickly that his love language was touch. I, on the other hand, do not require constant touch or connection but I do love receiving and giving notes, food, and "prizes" (what I like to call them). We saw immediately that my love language is gifts. The thing to remember about love languages is this is not only the way you like others to show you love, but this is the way you show love to others. For example, I used to give David cards or gifts for almost every month anniversary when we first started dating. Homeboy could have cared less! All he wanted was to put his head in my lap and receive a good scratch. 

It's amazing how much our relationship has benefited from this realization. I now no longer give David pointless odds and ends and instead just take the time to rub his head or scratch his back every night when we're relaxing. He also no longer tries to cuddle with me at night (this lady needs her space to sleep) and instead leaves me random notes or surprises me with Starbucks on occasion.

If you haven't taken the quiz I highly suggest you take the time to do it!

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

30 Before 30-Vacation Somewhere New

Well, this past week my sweet husband who reads my blogs daily (hey, baby!) reminded me that I could check something off my 30 Before 30 List that I haven't checked off yet-a trip somewhere new! A few months ago we took an amazingly awesome super exciting trip out West to Colorado and it didn't even dawn on me to check it off. Here are the posts about our trip:

 19 tasks down, 11 to go!

Monday, September 23, 2013

The Amazing Maize Maze

I've mentioned a time, or twelve, before how important dates are to us. We try to have some form of a "date" once a week to connect with each other. So, a few weeks ago when I saw a Groupon for admission to a corn maze I jumped on it!

I grew up one town over from where we live now and I remember going to the maze many, many moons ago when I was a kid. I remember it being a lot of fun trying to figure it out with my friends. I knew it would be just the right challenge for two oldest children who love to compete. The downside to this little Groupon gem was that we only had a few weeks to use it. In an effort to make sure we used it before it expired we ended up going when it was raining. It wasn't torrential or anything like that, but it was more than a sprinkle. In fact there was one point when my beloved husband turned to me and said, "this is absolutely miserable". But I'm jumping ahead of myself. . .

We arrived just in time to received our "maze orientation" from a very enthusiastic worker who has been leading people for almost 20 years. He got all into character and told all sorts of silly jokes to get us excited. Once he finished his spiel we were off! 

David taking the lead with the flag. 

We knew the general outline and the maze and where we needed to go first. While it wasn't our original goal we ended up collecting all 12 of the maze pieces for our map. There were times of running and excitement as we raced through it and then other moments of dread and frustration (not to mention claustrophobia!) as we dragged ourselves through it.

The corn was 10 feet high!

We finished in exactly 90 minutes with all 12 of the pieces. While we didn't set any records or anything it was a lot of fun. As we were leaving we even learned about a Fall Food Truck Rally the farm was holding the next weekend-score! 

 A little soggy and a little tired, but we did it!

A pumpkin beer-the perfect end to the day!

Friday, September 20, 2013

Friday's Letters [09.20]

Happy Friday, folks!


Dear Fall, Oh, how wonderful you are! These cooler temps and beautiful days can stick around.
Dear ios7, You are totally tripping me out, but I love it. You are beautiful and awesome and fun and all sorts of things. 

Dear Twitter peeps, Who is your favorite account to follow? Don't have one? I'd like to introduce you to the funniest character on Twitter, Honest Toddler. Start following now. You won't regret it, I promise.

Dear Rue La La, I don't quite know what to do with you. I love all the ridiculously awesome sales you have, but if you continue to tempt me like you have I'm going to end up in the poor house! Many thanks for offering these gems for $49.50 instead of their regular price of $198.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Baked Tilapia

I have recently started cooking more fish at the request of my dear husband. In the past the only thing from the sea that I would consume was shrimp, but I am slowly expanding my horizons. Here is a tilapia recipe that has been getting a lot of face time around our house!

4 tilapia filets
2 tsp butter
1/2 tsp of Old Bay seasoning
1/2 tsp garlic salt
1 lemon, sliced

Preheat the oven to 375.
Grease a 9x13 inch baking dish. 
Place the tilapia fillets in the bottom of the baking dish and dot with butter. 
Season with Old Bay seasoning and garlic salt. 
Top each one with a slice or two of lemon. 
Cover and bake for 25-30 minutes.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Defining vs. Refining

Our lives will always contain conflict. There is no way around it, so no sense in denying it. The difference in each of us is how we handle our conflict. 

Do we allow it to define us or refine us?

refine: to improve or perfect by pruning or polishing
define: to determine or fix the boundaries or extent of.

To define ourselves by our difficult situations would be to dwell in them. It would be to play the "woe is me" card. To allow life's complications to define us would be to allow the negative to control our lives. To refine ourselves by our situations would be to consider the situation, what can be learned from it, and grow. It's to take those complications and allow them to mold you, but not control you.

I often get caught up in the moment when I am faced with conflict. I react before I even think. It's only later when I think about it that I am able to really respond to the situation. I do think about it later, though. I think about it a lot. I ask myself what I did wrong and how I can correct my behavior for a later situation. At least this is what I try to do.

It would have been very easy to allow Emerson's death to define us. We could become "the parents who lost the baby late in the pregnancy". We could become "the depressed couple who can't move on". No, we're probably not ever going to "move on", but that's okay because we're not dwelling in it. We're not allowing our loss to completely control and confine us. Yes, there have been moments that absolutely stunk and I'm sure there are more to come, but we're doing our best not to let it define us. It has certainly refined our faith, our marriage, our relationships with others-essentially our whole lives-but it will not define us. God's sacrifice of His one and only Son promised us of that and the moment we start letting it define us we are telling Him that He is not enough. 

Monday, September 16, 2013

Super Belated Concert Post!

The Country Megaticket was one of the best purchases we have ever made. This summer we have been able to see a good many impressive acts while also expanding our musical selection. Win, win! This past weekend had us rocking out to Dierks Bentley and Miranda Lambert with some of our sweet friends, Scott and Tiffany.

So glad our fellas decided to become friends back in the day!

 Cheesin with my main squeeze.

Only the cool kids are the captains of the cornhole boards.

Hooray for good friends and good times!

It was an awesome night of incredible music, though I'm pretty sure the fellas weren't feeling all our Miranda Lambert's girl power. Te he he. It was good for them to expand their horizons;-)

Friday, September 13, 2013

Friday Letters [09.13]

Happy Friday one and all!


Dear Blogger, I don't know what your deal is but can you nip it in the bud? It's a smidge frustrating when I schedule a post that yo just decide not to publish. Or when I publish a post the you don't show. Ain't nobody got time for that.

Dear Jason Aldean, Thank you for a rockin' show last night. It was a fabulous way to end our summer concert series. And the fact that you surprised us with Kelly Clarkson?? Major bonus points there, sir.

Dear Triplets, Y'all are FINALLY 21-WAHOOOOOO! All the Wardlets have officially reached this milestone. Drink up and enjoy your day!

Trouble from the get-go. Can you figure out who's who?

Dear David, Six.freaking.years. Holy canoli. Being married three seemed like a big deal, but the fact that we're been together six is mind blowing. Here's to many, many more!

Our first picture together many moons ago

Dear Farmer's Almanac, So I heard you're spreading this rumor about a "very cold winter". I'm going to have to ask you stop right where you are. No body likes a liar.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

You're Gonna Hear Me ROAR

I got the eye of the tiger, a fighter, dancing through the fire
Cause I am a champion and you’re gonna hear me ROAR
Louder, louder than a lion
Cause I am a champion and you’re gonna hear me ROAR
Oh oh oh oh oh oh
Oh oh oh oh oh oh
Oh oh oh oh oh oh
You’re gonna hear me roar
-Katy Perry

These were the words that kicked off my very first 8K race and boy, did they get me pumped up!

About a year and a half ago I ran my first 5K and as is the tradition there were a few booths with information. One of the booths was advertising for a 5K/8K race and a Duathlon. I didn't think much of it and put their little brochure into my goody bag. Well, the brochure must have fallen out because a couple months ago I found it under the passenger seat of David's car. It sparked my interest and I headed to the website. Turns out an 8K is a little under 5 miles. I thought to myself, "I might just be able to do that" and quickly signed up for the Nutrithon 8K!

I wasn't quite sure how I would do because this summer has been rough on me running-wise. I haven't been able to run more than two miles without stopping for water. After a quick break I can get going again only to have to stop in another mile or so. It ends up taking me quite a while to log any miles. I decided not to dwell on it and set a goal to run the entire thing. 

I arrived a few minutes early for the 7:45am race (oof) and got ready to go with the other 8K runners. There weren't very many of us, but it was still fun for me to see who I would try and pace with. I usually pick someone out who is a smidge faster than me and spend the entire race trying to catch them. Sometimes it works out well for me, other times I completely miss and end up just trying to push myself.

Once we were off I quickly figured out who I would follow and kept my eyes on his red shirt the whole time. I kept with my goal of running the entire time and finished sixth overall, third among the women, and first in my age group! My time was 37:44 and my mile pace was 7:52.

The race bug has bitten again and before the end of the day I had already signed up for another race. This time it's a 5K Trail Run called Trails for Tails raising money for abused dogs. Sounds like a good cause and a fun new challenge to me!

Friday, September 6, 2013

Friday's Letters [09.06]

Happy Friday one and all!


Dear Daisy, Nobody likes when you refuse to go on walks then walk around the house whining unceasingly because you have so much energy. Nobody.

Dear ladies, Need a new reading plan? Look no further! #SheReadsTruth is an incredible group of godly women who write heart-opening commentary based on different books/series in the Bible. You will regret it if you don't start reading, trust me.

Dear students, It's only been two weeks and you have already stolen my heart with your humor and love. Be gentle because this mama bear is already watching out for her kids!

Dear birthday, You were pretty awesome but I hate that you had to go so soon. Already looking forward to your return!

Dear Fall, Heyyyyyyy. After a monsoony summer we are ready to welcome you with open arms. Bring on the Pumpkin Spice Lattes, the scarves, the football, the falling leaves, and fairs! We're ready for ya!

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Garlic and Basil Carrots

This past week a friend of mine from work gifted us with a ziploc baggie of fresh basil. Talk about a good friend! I quickly hurried home to figure out what in my kitchen could be transformed with this gift. I came up with the following yummy and healthy recipe!

1 bag of carrots, chopped
1 Tbl. minced garlic
1 Tbl. olive oil
2 Tbl. fresh basil, chopped

Cook carrots in boiling water for for 2 -3 mins until softened.
Combine the garlic and oil in a nonstick pan. 
Cook over a moderate heat until you can smell the garlic.
Add the carrots and cook until well combined.
Toss in chopped basil and sautee until carrots begin to char a bit.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Monogrammed Wreath-Take 2

A few months ago I made a precious monogrammed wreath from styrofoam and twine. Now, whether it was the crazy wind storms we had this Spring or some neighborhood hoods, my poor wreath broke. David would like to point out that the likelihood of it being "hoods" is super low and it was probably the wind, but you can never be too sure in a super safe neighborhood with a neighborhood watch.

 This left us in need of new door decor, enter Pinterest and all the cutesy stuff it has to offer! 

All this precious gem took was three fake flowers, a wreath, and a monogrammed M! Less than $10 and David says he likes this one better. Score! 
I guess maybe I owe the wind/hoods a thank you.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Times Have Changed-School

In honor of the start of school I'm investigating how things have changed in schools through the years.

Those of us in education know that much of our field is trends. Things come in with a force, then leave out the backdoor before popping back up ten years later. One thing that is new and not likely to go anywhere the readiness of technology. Whether the kids in your local school are tapping at computers or researching the world on their iPads this is a trend that isn't disappearing anytime soon. 

Funny Family Ecard: Glad I could show you how to turn your computer on, Mom.

It is incredible what can be done these days that was impossible even ten years ago. If we're having a discussion in class and none of us know the answer all it takes is a simple Google search to figure it out. 

What about completing a research paper? Gone are the days of encyclopedias. Now, our kids can go in depth without ever leaving the classroom.

It's also amazing how you can truly tailor your lessons to every level of learner with the innovative programs available. I may have a high reader and a low reader in the same class who both need something completely different from me, enter some pretty awesome programs that allow me to create assignments for each of their individual levels.

Want to create a safe place for students to discuss their responses without feeling intimidated? How about a discussion board? This tool allows students to sound off on a topic without having to say it out loud to a group of their very intimidating peers.

What about if a student has a question while working on their homework late at night? Helloooooooo, email. I love when my students email me questions about assignments. I love that they take the time to ask and dig deeper into a task instead of completely giving up. Email is also an amazing way to contact parents. I bet our ancestors wish they had email when they were contacting parents about Billy pulling Sally's hair at recess.

I could also talk for days about the superbness of social media in the classroom. Need a quick way to remind students about a quiz? Post it on Twitter. Help your kids learn the importance of keeping up with local politics by retweeting the Mayor's tweets. Or create a Facebook page for your class to encourage collaboration.

Today's schools are FULL of advancements that would blow the minds of our grandparents. Stay tuned for the next installment!