Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Thanksgiving 2014

 I guess it's better late than never right, y'all?!  This was actually the first Thanksgiving Jon and I have been physically together.  Two years ago, we had just started dating and last year I flew to Wisconsin  by myself to be with Jon's family because he was in Afghanistan.  So yeah, it was pretty exciting for me because I'm the girl and girls get all excited about first holidays together and stuff.:)  From what we hear, the first years of marriage can be tough when it comes to compromising on whose family to spend which holidays with.  Believe it or not, I think we were ready to seal the deal on spending the rest of our lives together when we discovered we wouldn't really have that issue.  Praise the Lord.  Early in our relationship we discovered that Jon's big family holiday was Thanksgiving, and my big family holiday was Christmas.  Ta-da! Basically, let's get married.  :)  So, the plan is to gather in Wisconsin with Jon's family for Thanksgiving and in Virginia with my family for Christmas.  Obviously, it's never easy to sacrifice any holiday with loved ones, but this seems to be working very well for us.  How about y'all?  Any interesting family holiday arrangements?

We headed out to Wisconsin Wednesday evening to meet one of Jon's brothers, his sister and dad at the airport.  We just had to make a pitstop at the amazing Culver's for cheese curds and custard on the way to Jon's mom's house.  When in must stuff your face with as much cheese as possible.  We get to the house, and as tradition goes, we stay up late chatting with loved ones and eating yummy snacks.  Thanksgiving morning, Jon's mom took us out to an amazing big breakfast, we headed over to visit with Jon's dad for a bit, and then over to his grandma's house on the lake to join in on all the fun.  There have to be about 20 people in one room, around one long table.  It is amazing...truly a picturesque Thanksgiving with the sweetest people.  One tradition the guys participate in is a football game...usually in the snow...because Wisconsin is frigid, or at least it is in my Virginia raised mind.  Clearly, I do not enjoy participating in anything that would include a temperature of less than 70 degrees Fahrenheit.  Therefore, my "tradition" is to chat with the ladies inside while eating lots of cookies.:)

 Friday, some of us headed out to Carr Valley Cheese to learn about the art of making cheese and to stock up on tons to share with the family.  Oh my goodness, y'all.  This cheese = amazing.  You can order some.:)  Friday's tradition is to gather at the lake house and enjoy Jon's grandma's incredible homemade pizza.  Sadly, I don't even think I have a picture of it because it's just that good.  I was too busy inhaling it to snap a photo.  Thanks, Grandma!  Saturday, we had lunch with Jon's mom and stepdad at the airport, and headed back home to have a day of rest on Sunday before Jon had to go back to work.  I hope y'all had amazing Thanksgiving celebrations with family, friends and loved ones!

Monday, December 8, 2014

Weekending with Favorites

Happy Monday, Y'all!  I hope everyone had a relaxing weekend!  Jon and I spent a lot of time just snuggling up on the couch, which I'm pretty sure is one of my most favorite things to do on our weekends together.  Friday night, we joined sweet friends for dinner and a couple's Bible study.  We had Blue Bell Spiced Pumpkin Pecan ice cream, and it was amazing.  You should definitely try it.  Saturday, we slept in and went to our favorite mom and pop diner for omelets and coffee.  (Okay, so maybe this is our favorite thing.)  We headed out to get Jon a coat to wear with his uniform to work since it is getting frigid here.  Nevertheless, we stopped for Coldstone on the way home, and then I got some things done around the house while Jon caught up with a friend over coffee.  Saturday night, we had a date at Travinia, one of our new favorite places.  We had only ever eaten dessert there, so we were pretty excited to try it.  We got the nachos and a couple of their delicious spicy shrimp pizzas.  Who goes to a fancy Italian restaurant and orders pizzas?  These kids.  Of course, we followed with chocolate cake and apple crumble.  Everything was delicious.  Yesterday morning, we headed to church.  Jon and I are so thankful for the church we have here and the amazing, sincere community it provides.  We headed home, snuggled up on the couch for some football and skype time with family, and finished the day off with another one of our favorites, Domino's.  How was your weekend, friends?

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Currently // December 2014

 Hey there, Ladies!  Happy December!  It's the first Wednesday of the month which means it's time for another 'Currrently' link-up with my girls Jenna and Anne.

MAKING--Pumpkin turkey chili.  I know, I haven't shared the recipe.  I seriously hadn't tried it until last night, but it was yummy.  Husband-approved, too.  I had been wanting to try pumpkin in my chili for some time now.  I promise to share soon!

LISTENING--To 'Oceans' by Hillsong.  They sang this in church Sunday, and I can never seem to make it through this one without tears.  I'm also listening to a lot of Christmas music on Pandora, of course.  Who isn't on that bandwagon?

WRAPPING--Coffee mugs with these adorable cozy wraps made by my sweet friend, Hilary!  Check out her shop, Stitch Grace.

WATCHING--So much HGTV.  I can't get away from the stuff.  Yay for a new season of Fixer Upper starting in January! It's my favorite!

ANTICIPATING--The arrival of our Christmas cards I just ordered from Snapfish.  Can't wait to share them with y'all!

I hope your month is off to a wonderful start!  Jump on in here and enjoy the fun with today's link-up!

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Easy Crockpot Turkey Sausage, Green Beans and Potatoes

easy crockpot sausage staying salty blog
 Hi, y'all!  Today I want to share a super easy go-to recipe for the chilly winter days ahead.  While Jon and I love good soups, this meal is definitely for a more hearty, meat and potatoes kind of day.  So, let's get started.

Shopping List:
8 baby red potatoes
4 cups frozen green beans
black pepper (to taste)
garlic powder (to taste)
onion powder (to taste)
13 oz. cooked smoked sausage ( I use Hillshire Farm Turkey Polska Kielbasa)

Spray crockpot with non-stick cooking spray.  Chop potatoes into about 4 pieces each.  (Half and then half again.)  Place potato pieces and green beans into crockpot.  Sprinkle pepper, garlic and onion powder over the potatoes and beans.  Cook on high for 3-4 hours. (until potatoes are tender)  Slice sausage into pieces and place on top of potatoes and beans.  Continue to cook on high for 1 hour.  Stir and serve.

This recipe will feed approximately 4 adults.
Total cook time:  4-5 hours.

I hope you guys enjoy!  Today I'm linking up with Rachel and Natasha for The Bread & Wine Project.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Five on Friday: Things I'm Loving and not Loving


Happy Friday, y'all!  Things I'm loving and not loving today:

-one- Loving:   the cute little "one cup of fun" coffee scoops I got for $2.99!

-two- Loving:  the Panera Bread pumpkin muffin I devoured this morning.

Pumpkin Muffin
-three- Loving:  the pumpkin cranberry biscotti that I made last week. I promise to come up with a recipe soon!
Displaying photo.JPG
-four- Loving:  the beautiful tulips Jon got me just because.
-five- Not loving:  the fact that all of the pumpkin spice m&m's have magically disappeared from our Target to make room for Christmas stuff.  What's up, Target?  It's November 7th, and this makes my Friday morning a little less exciting.

Pumpkin Spice M&M's 
Happy Weekend, Y'all!  Today I'm in on the following link-ups! Come join us!

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Thoughts for Thursday: Perfect Love Casts Out Fear

 "There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love." [1 John 4:18]
Fear.  No one likes to talk about it; perhaps because talking about it makes it feel more real to us.  I had a beautiful study this morning with some of my Women of the Chapel ladies.  As we sip our coffees and share amazing recipes, I think each of us is hoping, praying that the Spirit would work in us to stir one another up and to encourage one another in our weakest, most vulnerable moments.

The Lord undoubtedly worked among us today to break down barriers, to cast out fear; and ladies, it was amazing.  You see, it's difficult as a military spouse to be moving around frequently and develop close friendships.  It's even more difficult sometimes as a sister in Christ to go beyond that to levels of deep, trusted, vulnerable fellowship.  In other times, it's amazing to see the almost immediate connection you can have with other believers when the body of Christ comes together.

So what keeps us from sharing? from being vulnerable? from trusting other sisters whether we've known them for two weeks or two years?  My dear friends, I think it's fear.  Yes--we have all been stomped by putting ourselves out there, but I think the enemy uses that stomping, that previous hurt, to keep us from trusting even among the body of believers.  Is there a chance we can be hurt by sharing our deepest hearts, our "silliest" ideas?  Yes, but to assume that will undoubtedly happen is to live in the bondage of the lies of the enemy.

"For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery." [Galatians 5:1]

Sisters, we are free.  Free to live without fear.  (I need to say this to myself in the mirror each morning. Perhaps I'll start that.)  I definitely live in fear, believing the lies, but all I know is that sitting with beautiful sisters this morning, His perfect love cast out the fear, and we were vulnerable, and broken, and because of it we were able to more clearly gaze upon the magnificent beauty of our Father.

Linking up with Annie and Natalie for Thoughts on Thursday.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Currently // November 2014

 Reading // Revolution in World Missions by K.P. Yohannon. This book is completely confronting me.  It is causing me to reevaluate so much of what my ideas of ministry look like.  Super great book.
Creating // Pumpkin cranberry biscotti.  So good.  I end up eating entirely too much of what I bake.
Loving // Warm, cozy fleece blankets.  I just bought a new grey one to snuggle up with this winter.
Appreciating // The gorgeous tulips Jon bought me at Whole Foods this weekend.
Wishlisting // Revisiting our honeymoon resort to escape the coming cold weather!

What are y'all up to? What are you loving this month? This is my first 'Currently' link-up with Jenna and Anne.  Come join us! :)

The Colors of Fall

 Jon and I recently made another grown up purchase.  We bought a DSLR camera, and have totally been loving it.  I've been nerding out reading about aperture, exposure, shutter speed, etc.  I'll tell you what; it sure makes me appreciate all of the professional photographers out there who have a knowledge of these things that comes like second nature.  Maybe one day I'll get there, but as for now I'm just adventuring.  The other afternoon I walked around to gain more experience with the camera and capture the amazing colors of fall before they literally do fall.:) I hope you have been able to enjoy this beautiful season as well.  Happy Fall, y'all! 

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Our 1st Anniversary: Baltimore, Maryland

one year anniversary staying salty blog
Jon and I celebrated our one year anniversary on September 28th in Baltimore, Maryland.  We had a blast exploring the city, eating amazing food and staying at the most adorable bed & breakfast.  We headed into town Friday evening to check in at the Scarborough Fair Bed & Breakfast.  Jon and I had never stayed at a bed & breakfast before, and had always wanted to, so we checked out the map, read some reviews and made the reservation.  This place was perfect!  I would love to go back.  Upon entering, the entire home smelled of hot mulled cider and pumpkin spice biscotti...amazing!  We grabbed some delicious snacks, got settled into our adorable room, and took off to find dinner.  The amazing thing is that we were able to walk everywhere.
scarborough fair bed and breakfast
We strolled the street and ended up at Regi's American Bistro.  Somehow they were able to seat us right away on a busy Friday night.  The staff was super friendly and the atmosphere was nice because tables were divided into a series of smaller rooms.  I like that feel...makes it a bit more personal.  The menu had a wonderful selection, but I knew I just had to try the crab (when it Baltimore).  Yum!  It was so good. After dinner, we walked up to a coffee & wine bar that had caught our eye earlier, and was located almost across the street from the bed & breakfast.  The Metropolitan was a favorite of our trip.  We ordered their espresso martinis and sat at a table in front of the large open windows to take in the evening.  We are definitely not martini drinkers, but these were so good, y'all.  Oh my goodness. I want to make them at home. (espresso, vanilla vodka and coffee liqueur)
regi's american bistro
regi's american bistroregi's american bistro
Metropolitan Coffeehouse and Wine Bar
 The next morning we woke up to the sweet aroma of a home cooked meal and joined two other couples in the dining room for breakfast.  (one of which was also celebrating their one year the same day as us!)  We had quiche, sausage, biscuits, homemade blueberry granola, and pumpkin biscotti.  After stuffing ourselves silly we headed out for more adventure.  One thing Jon and I have both always wanted to do is see the Baltimore Aquarium, so we headed there first.  It was so fun!  In addition to seeing lots of cool animals, the aquarium's layout and design was super impressive.  We also got to see a 4D show on wild salmon (kind of random, I know), but the 4D was incredible.  In addition to the 3D glasses we wore, we got sprayed by water, blown by air gusts and had our floor and seats rumble.  It was pretty exciting, and definitely caught us by surprise.  As you can imagine, people's children were loving it.
baltimore aquarium
baltimore aquarium
Isabella's Brick Oven
affogatto cafe and gelato
 affogatto cafe and gelato
Baltimore, MD
Abbey Burger Bistro
Abbey Burger Bistro
Abbey Burger Bistro
 Metropolitan Coffeehouse and Wine Bar
one year anniversary starbucks
m&t bank stadium baltimore ravens
Of course, once we got home we had to break out the year old wedding cake.  It was still great!  I ate the entire top tier over the next few days. (This girl really loves sweets.)

one year anniversary wedding cake
We are so thankful to the Lord for the gift of marriage.  He has already used it to teach us so much, drawing us closer to Himself and closer to each other.  We cannot wait to see what year two has in store!