around the kitchen.

Remember how I told you that I have found my passion for cooking and trying new things? Well, thanks to Tasty Kitchen and fresh fruits and veggies, I've been cooking up a storm recently.

01. Friday was chicken crescent rolls and wine. {We added frozen peas to the mixture to get a little more color in them.Friday was also the end of True Blood Season 2--what a whammy! Can't wait for Season 3 to be released via DVD.

02. Thanks Grandma for these tomatoes from the garden so that I could make:

Bruschetta before church. Broiled bread with melted butter is so completely heavenly...

03. And today, one of my sweet co-workers brought in some peaches she got from the farmer's market. Now all I have to do is decide if I want to make Peach Coffee Cake or Peach Iced Tea. Good thing is, I've got enough for both! :)

Wanna share any recipes? I'd love to hear.


back in from recess.

1. How many pets do you have?
One. One little baby Karma that we call our own. Chad has had her for five years and she's our sweet little mama. Enter photo montage!
{Karma with Chad circa 2007. Karma and I sharing our 2nd Christmas together circa 2006.}

We hope to get a dog within the first year of our marriage, but only time will tell. We haven't been searching for anything yet, but it's definitely one of our goals.

2. If you could switch places with anyone in the world for one day, who would it be?
The two people I immediately thought of where Gwyneth Paltrow and Heidi Klum. I don't know why they were the ones who became my dream day-switchers--maybe it was the fabulous blonde hair or the idea of being mom for a day to some cutie little babies {not to mention having a singer/hottie hubsters.} My vote goes to:

Heidi. I mean, she is The Body for Victoria's Secret after all.

3. What is your favorite money saving tip?

Use coupons. Even if you don't know all the ins and outs of the coupon world. Even if you don't know the best way to combine the coupons and the grocery store deals. Even if you sometimes are under 10% total savings on your grocery bill. You can save. It really adds up--a dollar here. 50 cents there.

And this gives me a chance to shamelessly plug my sister's website! Please check out Pocket Your Dollars where you'll find many helpful tips and online tools. I can attest to their help: I am a complete beginner when it comes to money-saving for grocery shopping, and browsing this site really helped. {If you're wondering which articles my sister writes for, her name is Laura.} :)

4. What do you want your kids to be when they grow up?
Happy. Healthy. Mine.
I just pray that I'm able to be blessed enough with having children.

5. What is your favorite quote?
The first one that popped into my head was this: Do not be afraid. Stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord, which He will accomplish for you today. ~Exodus 14:13

I'm so glad that I have bloggers around me to continually thicken my quotes binder. I have a full folder dedicated to all the quotes that I've come across the last couple years.



a list of {ifs}

If I were a month, I'd be... May. Everything is growing and it's the start of warm weather.
If I were a day of the week, I'd be... Sunday. In my eyes, it's the start of a fresh new week.
If I were a time of day, I'd be...the afternoon.
If I were a planet, I'd be... Earth. Thankfully, I've watched this series which has convinced me.
If I were a sea animal, I'd be... a colorful tropical fish.
If I were a direction, I'd be... southeast.
If I were a piece of furniture, I'd be...a queen-sized bed. I dream about the day when we'll get one.
If I were a historical figure, I'd be... Laura Ingalls Wilder. What a life.
If I were a liquid, I'd be... Milk--cold, delicious milk. You guys already know how much I like it.
If I were a gemstone, I'd be... a diamond. They are a girl's best friend, after all.
If I were a tree, I'd be... a willow tree. I love how they whisper when moving.
If I were a tool, I'd be... a paintbrush. I would be unstoppable.
If I were a flower, I'd be a... gerbera daisy. I think a reason is because I had them at my wedding.
If I were a kind of weather, I'd be... sunny + 75 degrees. With a little breeze. {Perfection.}
If I were a musical instrument, I'd be...a piano. Don't know how to play well, but I love listening.
If I were a color, I'd be... a combo featuring aqua + light green. So cheery and refreshing.
If I were an emotion, I'd be... joy. Pure unbridled joy.
If I were a fruit, I'd be...  blueberries. My new baking best friend. 
If I were a sound, I'd be... Laughter/Giggling. Like when you hear a child getting tickled.   
If I were a car, I'd be... a Ford Escape. I might be a little biased {that's what is in my driveway.}
If I were a food, I'd be... toast. It's tasty. It's versatile. It's easy. It's yummy. 
If I were a place, I'd be... a hammock swinging from the trees.
If I were a material, I'd be... silk. It feels so good on skin. Smooth.
If I were a taste, I'd be...savory.
If I were a scent, I'd be... fresh. Fresh clothes. Fresh hair. Fresh air.
If I were an object, I'd be... crayons. So many children use them to make imagination known.
If I were a body part, I'd be... hands. Imagine your life without hands...life would be impossible.
If I were a facial expression, I'd be... a loving glance from a husband to a wife. It's the best.
If I were a song, I'd be... a well-known childrens song. They get so excited singing their favorites.

originally found here



"My personal hobbies are reading, listening to music, and silence."~ Edith Sitwell 

Let's break Edith's quote down, shall we?


Of course there's the big stack of magazines I've been getting through. Dog-earing. Recipe-copying. Product-finding. But, other than magazines, this summer has been one where I always have a book in my purse.

Here's the list of books I've read in the last 3 months:

I Feel Bad About My Neck: and Other Thoughts on Being a Woman by Nora Ephron
My Name is Memory by Ann Brashares
The Geography of Bliss by Eric Weiner
The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger
Water For Elephants by Sara Gruen
The Help by Kathryn Stockett {am picking up from the library today. am eager to start reading.}

listening to music.

Thanks to Amazon.com having $5 MP3 albums, Chad and I have a full new stock on the iPods. While he's listening to Mumford & Sons and Arcade Fire, I'm finding different music to love. If you want to get in on the deals to, you'll have to hurry--the offer is good only through the month of August.

Here's my list of new-to-me music all thanks to Amazon's 5 dollar deals:

Trouble by Ray Lamontagne
The Fame Monster by Lady Gaga {awesome workout tunes}
Nighttiming by Coconut Records
Burn to Shine by Ben Harper
Brett Dennen by Brett Dennen
Underachievers Please Try Harder by Camera Obscura

and, here's what I've gotten without the Amazon's 5 dollar deals:

God Willin' & The Creek Don't Rise by Ray LaMontagne & The Pariah Dogs 
Firecracker by The Wailin' Jennys

and, if you're like me and you love listening to music at work, please do yourself a favor and listen to music via Grooveshark. Unlike Pandora, you have the power to listen to complete albums instead of individual songs. It's my newest online love.

as far as the silence thing goes...I'm still working on that one. :)

What books and albums am I missing? I love getting reader recommendations! 

quote originally found here

shut. the. front. door.

The words of Rachel Zoe describe these streusel topped blueberry muffins perfectly. They are delectable and so simple to make {no butter used in the actual muffins either!} I made them on Thursday and am so glad I did.  For the lighter version, click here. If you want to make the original version, search your Betty Crocker cookbook that you have in your cupboard somewhere {you know you have one...}

Enjoy! You will. Trust me. 


ms. z turns 1.

Today marks one whole year in this little lady's life. She is my friend, Dani's, daughter and she is completely adorable. Every single month I get photo updates tracking her life and the 2nd photo is from month 11.

Zoey's grandparents left bright and early today for Nebraska {where Z + parents live} for an all out birthday bash for the one-year-old. She is without a doubt, one of the most beautiful babies on earth: those big, blue saucer eyes and that adorable expression she makes when someone is taking her picture--precious girl!



Above is a photo of Karma. Acting like a shrimp. I swear, this little one will be in the most odd positions all day. One minute she's sleeping soundly on the chair and the next she's got her feet above her head and she's biting her tail.

On the agenda...

I'm this close to finishing the Time Traveler's Wife. Up next is Water for Elephants per a recommendation from 3 of my co-workers.

I bought a little birthday present for myself on Saturday: these jeans. Say what you will about Lauren Conrad, but she knows how to make a great pair of jeans. They are perfect roll-up-into-capri jeans.

Check this out: our local celebrity, Justin Vernon is collaborating with Kanye West. We are ecstatic {and by we, I mean me and Chad...there was a discussion between us last night of the possibility of getting an autograph. In our dreams.}

P.S. The countdown has begun: Only 23 days until the start of big-girl-going-to-college. Yikes. :)

lovers of chalk.

Happy to report that my mr. arrived safe + sound + exhausted yesterday afternoon. I missed him so much that I didn't even realize that I was following him around the house until he was brushing his teeth in the bathroom and I was in there. "This is weird" was all he said. I guess I didn't want him out of my sight for one second. :)

Below are some pictures of what I did this weekend, sans Chad. It was Chalkfest, an annual event in my town where local artists/aspiring artists take an afternoon to create some sidewalk art. Now, my sidewalk art experience is limited to tracing kindergartners' body outlines on the ground, so this was a nice change of pace, to say the least. 

*Snapping a shot of my fellow art enthusiasts

*the coolest van...apparently the owners didn't mind that their van became its own exhibit.They encouraged it, putting out chalk for all the young artists in attendance.

*Onto my favorite pieces of the evening...
*01. Rosie the Riveter. 02. A Melting Popsicle. 03. Ironman {in progress...}

it was my pleasure.


while the mr. is away...

the mrs. will play.

Since Chad is gone on a camping trip all weekend, I'm thinking a girly, relaxing weekend. Why is it going to be girly? Well, check out my reading material {3 of them were delievered just today}: Glamour, Real Simple, and Food and Wine. Not to mention the Time Traveler's Wife that is sitting right next to the stack of magazines. Yeah, not only that, but I think I've got a date tomorrow with Miranda, Charlotte, Carrie, and Samantha.

Why is it going to be relaxing? Because, for once, my weekend is my own. Don't have to go out, don't have any expectations. I just get to eat, drink a glass of wine, go to one of our small-town events and miss my guy.


on being a wife...

3 thoughts of being married for less than 3 months:

01. I discovered last night one of the special treats that I get because I'm Chad's wife. I get to listen to him whenever he has something to say. Last night, for instance, I was on the computer, doing my thing, catching up on blogs and he started talking about how his job was giving him grief. A little voice in my head went "Amanda, shut the computer and listen to him. This is important. He is important and needs his wife to listen to his troubles." One of the great things about being married is that we are allowed to be vulnerable with each other. We create an environment in which we are allowed to truly be ourselves. We get to say how we feel about certain things and know that our partner will be there.

02. I've realized something else about myself: I enjoy cooking. It's such a joy being able to have a kitchen of my own and writing out my own grocery list. I like finding recipes and new things for Chad and I to try. I like going on websites and planning out what day we will have ginger stir-fry and what day we will have homemade mac & cheese. I know that I'm not the best cook in the world but in our house and in Chad's eyes, I'm pretty good. I've made my own biscuits, my own tortillas, my own guacamole and I will continue to find recipes that I can try out. I know that one day, I will probably not enjoy being the main cook in the house. I will be too tired and too burnout to fix a meal. Luckily, I have a guy that will pick up my slack and not complain about making food for our family.  Once, when I was beating myself up over a burnt fish sandwich you know what he said? "Honey, no matter what you make and no matter if it ends up being good or not, I will like it. I will like it because I know you tried and I know that you are doing this to keep me happy and healthy." I'm not perfect. I'm not the perfect cook or the perfect homemaker but I'm trying my hardest. To Chad, that's all that matters.

03. And finally, it's been a transition from "We don't live together" to "I live here." Chad lived in our apartment before our wedding day {like a year before} and it's been a transition {to say the least} that I live in this house. I've told Chad on more than one occasion that I sometimes feel like a guest in our house. My stuff lives here, my mail gets sent here, my food is in the refrigerator, my toothbrush is in the holder, and my book is on my nightstand. I don't by any means feel like I have to walk on eggshells in the house, but it's just weird. It's weird going from leaving each other at the end of the night to being able to go out until 1230am and then just simply walking back to our apartment. I am miss independent {to a certain extent} and I'm really enjoying it.

*All you married chics out there--what were you feeling 3 mo. into wedded bliss?

numero dos.

Favorite movies set in New York

Personally, I have never been to New York. Never toured the Empire State Building, seen tourists in Times Square, or gotten a New York hotdog. But, every time I see any of these movies, they remind of why I want to go. From the 50's Rear Window to the 00's Julie and Julia--I'm always pleasantly surprised that with these movies, New York always invites me in and lets me stay a while.

New York in the past:
Rear Window
Guys and Dolls {read my love for musicals here.}
An Affair to Remember
Breakfast at Tiffany's

New York in the not-so-distant past:
Trading Places
When Harry Met Sally {read my thoughts about the movie here}
Home Alone 2: Lost in New York {a Christmastime staple in A and C's house}
Sleepless in Seattle

New York in the recent:
You've Got Mail
For the Love of the Game
The Family Man
Two Weeks Notice
Elf {another Christmas must-see for us}

New York in the even-more recent:
13 Going on 30
The Devil Wears Prada
I Am Legend
Julie and Julia

What New York movie do you like? Any NY movies that I haven't seen? {I'd love to check out new flicks...}

P.S. Read list 1 here.


havin' a summah

Came across this hilarious video a couple days ago and I thought you all would enjoy. It features my girl, Zooey, being taught how to enjoy summah.

My favorite lines from this charming little vid are below:

"You gotta reach out and grab those summah moments."
"You gotta get lousy with summah."
"You gotta rub summah all over you."
"You gotta roll around in summah."

I'm off to pick my summah gum and pull a summah prank on someone. :)


one year older.

A guilt-free birthday cupcake

Today is the day when I get to eat a cupcake. I get cards. I get phone calls from siblings singing me "Happy Birthday". I get Facebook messages filled with well-wishes and XOXO's. I get to buy my father-in-law a gift. I get to go to the local thrift shop and find my birthday present to myself: the perfect glass pitcher.

Today is the first birthday I have a husband for...I wonder what he'll do??

Here's the list. The birthday list of things I what to get done before the next 8/4.

22 things to accomplish when I'm 22.

01. mail out all the wedding thank-you notes.
02. create and send out Christmas cards for our first Christmas.
03. do a giveaway on this blog.
04. go on a random, surprising, unplanned road trip with hubs.
05. make a homemade pizza.
06. paint something with chalkboard paint. perhaps a gift for uj's 2nd birthday.
07. purchase a new TV with the mr. Man, have we been doing research.
08. fill my cupboards with more fiestaware.
09. buy a new camera. ever since i saw marta's review I've wanted a new one.
10. get my haircut again. short this time.
11. finish my first year in my new school.
12. host a family dinner at my house. parents and then one for the in-laws.
13. buy more prints via etsy.
14. find my perfect purse. must meet my specific super-anal criteria.
15. fill my closet with the wardrobe essentials that fit my body type.
16. do more thrift store shopping and garage sale-ing to find perfect items for c/a's house.
17. buck up and find my perfect lipstick shade.
18. learn my true bra-size. {males: it's true..I don't know of any woman that knows their size}
19. develop the habit of bringing my reusable canvas bags to the grocery store.
20. force my dad  ask dad sweetly to teach me how to crochet. use knowledge to make a scarf.
21. find the perfect blazer. one that will carry through every season.
22. become a frequent farmer's market goer.

P.S. Happy Birthday, Barack. I feel like our birthday date is now famous.  :)


on my plate.

I love watching the cream/coffee mingle. One little pleasure of mine.

The above picture is my breakfast for today. Toast with butter + honey and peanut butter + strawberry jam. I'm always trying to find new combos to put on my multi-grain to make it even more delicious. The classic pb + j is one that I'll always love.

In the glass is our homemade iced coffee. We've been making it daily and can't. get. enough. In our opinion, it's better than McDonald's {and about 1.50 cheaper per cup}.

We brew a pot the night before,
pour it in a pitcher,
add a little sugar for sweetness {while it's still hot so that it dissolves completely},
let it cool overnight,
pour it into a thermos the next morning right before work {adding ice cubes to the cup},
adding creamer if desired {I desire, C doesn't desire. Sometimes he does add a little chocolate sauce, but he's more of a straight-out-of-the-coffee-pot kind of drinker}.

My figurative plate is full today too. I'll be busy with household to-dos {laundry, dishes, vacuuming, putting everything in the right place}, a lunch date with a friend {so excited to show her wedding pictures}, dinner, and then C's softball game. 

Finally, I'm lovin' my readers as of late. You guys are so charming and you are just like real-live girlfriends. I am thankful that all of your voices are telling me that you liked Inception too, you have new school fears too, you love gg just as much as I, you are a list-maker, and you hunger for God's Word. If you feel like talking, I'll be so appreciative. Anything on here that sparks a thought: I'll listen. Blogging is the best. Truly--I enjoy every single comment so so much. 

p.s. It's my birthday tomorrow. Hip hip hooray. Tune in to view my list of 22 things I want to accomplish in my 22nd year.



A charming passage for your day:

When your words came, I ate them; they were my joy and my heart's delight, for I bear your name, O LORD God Almighty. {Jeremiah 15:16}

It's such a comforting message to think that whenever you are in need of some serious food for your spirit--God provides it. You don't even have to ask for it, His words come to us. No waiting at the drive-thru, no waiting at the restaurant...it's just already there. It's enough to fill your belly and leave that satisfied post-Thanksgiving-meal fullness. 

Not only is there enough food--it's your favorite. It's your joy and heart's delight. It's like eating every single favorite food of yours all rolled into one satisfying meal. Nothing that will make you gag, nothing that causes you to cringe. To me, it means that I am delighted by every single pleasurable morsel that you give me through your words. 

Help me LORD. Help me to bear Your name. 

photo credit

for the list-lovers & the concert-goers.

I {like so many other bloggers/wifes/women/students out there} love making lists. I like checking off each task with a big, satisfying black X. Right now, my bulletin board, aka: the heartbeat of my apartment, has lists like: groceries to buy, apartment wishlist, general to-do list, to-blog list, meal ideas list...I could go on and on {but, I think you get the general idea}.

I thought that I would beef up my simple lists tab with a few more posts. A website called listography.com is a whole site dedicated to list lovers and list makers. Since I'm both, I thought I'd give you awesome readers a little glimpse into my thoughts: list style.

The first one is all about music. More specifically: artists that I've seen live in concert.

Here's a little background--before I was 15, I hadn't seen one artist in concert. Then my sister, her friend, my mom and I went to see Josh Groban. I missed a day of school and had to make up a test, but it was worth it to see his amazing concert.

Then, after I started dating Chad, I went to more. And then more. And it's gotten to be that I've seen almost every artist that I'd like to {with the exception of the Beatles...oh to dream}.

Here's the rundown {in no particular order}--

01. Josh Groban.
02. Jason Mraz. {when he was still singing "geek in the pink"}
03. Justin Vernon. review here.
04. Keane. review here.
05. Coldplay.
06. Mat Kearney.
07. The Decemberists.
08. John Mayer. Sharing pictures below since it's been almost 6 months, and you haven't seen them yet:

Share if you'd like: Who have you seen in concert? Have any of us seen the same artists?


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