Archive for December, 2010

I’ve been seeing this list float around and thought it would be fun!



1. Four TV shows that I watch:

  • White Collar
  • Burn Notice
  • How I Met Your Mother
  • The Office

2. Four things that I’m passionate about:

  • My family and friends
  • Food
  • Football
  • Reading and writing


3. Four words/phrases I use a lot:

  • Mags – nickname for Maggie
  • i know, right?
  • Stinky – nickname for Maggie AND Roxy
  • um


4. Four things I’ve learned from the past:

  • Friends don’t have to live 5 minutes away to stay close to you
  • Always tell people how you feel. You never know if it will be the last time you see them
  • Learn from your mistakes and keep moving
  • Ask questions when you don’t know something – it’s never to late to learn something new

5. Four places I would like to go:

  • Italy
  • England
  • France
  • The Holy Land

6. Four things I did yesterday:

  • Sat around waiting for the cable guy
  • Swept the floors
  • Did 2 loads of laundry
  • Cuddled with Maggie

7. Four things I am looking forward to:

  • Spending our first full year in our new home
  • Celebrating 7 years of marriage in May
  • Spending more time with family and friends
  • Summer trip to Honduras



8. Four things I love about winter:

  • Sledding and snowball fights with our neighbors
  • Watching the snow fall
  • Sweaters
  • Slippers and a big cup of coffee, tea, or hot cocoa in front of the fireplace




Play along, if you want – list some of YOUR answers in the comments ; )


PS: Since we still don’t have internet or cable, Nick and I have been reading a TON at night in front of our fireplace.

After getting cozy and warm with our books and magazines (and cookbooks, for me), we get really sleepy.

Last night we went to bed at 9:15 pm. I think we are getting older by the minute.

PPS: I am missing all the college football bowl games…and this is not okay. *Crossing my fingers we have cable/internet by Monday night for the Hokie game. Otherwise, we’ll be crashing a friends’ house, simply to use their tv.


PPPS: Only two more days! Help Holly + me raise money for Jovenes en Camino, an orphanage in Honduras for abused, homeless and orphaned children. Tis’ the season for  giving – we hope you’ll join us in this challenge.

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First things first: I have a real, live pantry! No more cramming canned goods and cereal into regular cabinets…or having things fall out on my head whenever I open the cabinet doors.


Sorry for the empty rooms – I haven’t had the chance to take pictures this week in the daylight with our stuff in the house.

But they’re coming – our internet is being hooked up tomorrow so I’ll have the time to take some more pictures.


Obviously, not everything in this house is our style or something we would choose ourselves, but those things are easy to fix. And the other bigger projects? They can wait a few years. We’ll slowly put our mark on our home while keeping the charm of this old farmhouse in tact.

We’ll be tackling small projects at a time. First things to be done? Wallpaper, most likely.

Since the house was originally built in the mid 1920’s, the majority of the house still has the latham plaster walls, which leaves us two options: get the walls done with a textured plaster or re-wallpaper. We’re okay keeping some wallpaper in the house since it fits the time period, but we definitely want to update the paper and pick out prints and colors that we like.

And I’m so happy we have another claw foot tub in this house. We had one in the old place and I didn’t want to give that up! But we’ll eventually be getting rid of all the gold fixtures in here. We’re silver people.



The front room (which also has the fireplace and antique mantle) has the textured plaster on the walls. It’s one room we don’t have to worry about.

I also love love LOVE the foot-tall baseboards in the house. They’ve never been painted, and the wood work is beautiful.

Also – see that front door? It’s the only front door that has EVER been on this house. So, in 14 years, the house (and this door and the floors) will be 100 years old! Crazy.


Maggie and Roxy are adjusting well to the move. I don’t think Maggie cares where she is as long as she has her toys and can play in the snow.

And Nick and I are totally enjoying the fireplace. It’s so warm and cozy in that front room at night.


Who knew moving could be so exhausing and exciting at the same time?

Sunday night, Nick and I went to bed at 9:30. I think buying this house aged us overnight.

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O Christmas Tree

**tap, tap**

Is this thing on?

I have been completely unplugged for days and have loved every minute Smile 

It’s been filled with moving, family, and 8 inches of snow.

The great thing is that we’re pretty much set up in the new house! Just a few more boxes to  go through and unpack and we’ll be ready to start working on some projects we have planned. There will definitely be pictures soon – we’re still working on some rooms and have big plans for future projects (mostly wallpaper, thank goodness) but it’ll be exciting to get started on those!

But because of a lapse in moving from our old house the new, our cable/internet isn’t being hooked up at the new house until Wednesday so I haven’t watched tv or gone online or seen any football games (!) since last week.

And it’s been a nice break – just spending time unpacking things, sitting in front of our fireplace with family and our Christmas tree, and drinking lots of coffee.

So…in the mean time, I’ll be bringing my laptop into work so I can post at lunch.

Here’s to being back! And to celebrating the end of 2010.

We had a great time celebrating Christmas with our family, and I hope you did, too.

On Tuesday afternoon, after a crazy day of running around to our walk through and closing on our new house, Nick and I headed to a local tree farm.


Fun fact: One man that works in my office also has a Christmas Tree farm! They only have organic and sustainably grown trees and they have a great selection, so we drove up the mountain to pick one out for our new house.

Even with all the craziness of this week with the move and with the holiday itself and our family that are coming to visit, we really wanted to get a real tree and have a fun holiday setting in our new house this weekend.

My family has always had real Christmas trees – never fakes – and it’s the only way I want it. You just can’t beat that smell in the house; no candle or spray can match it!


We got a beautiful 7-8 foot Douglas Fir – and it’s a biggie! Much bigger in the house than we thought it would be, but it’s beautiful.

Full, round, and just waiting to be covered with ornaments.

My mountain man cut down our tree and hauled it back up the hill to the truck so we could take it home – to our new home.

I’m so excited that we got to have a real tree for our first Christmas in our new house!

Pictures coming!

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Jovenes Update

As the holiday season starts to come to a close, I just want to say thank you.


Thank you, thank you, thank you from the bottom of my heart for all the donations, good thoughts, and prayers you’ve been sending for Jovenes, the orphanage that Holly and I are raising money for this holiday season.


As of right now, we’re at $715!!! I can’t tell you how excited I am about this – we are SO CLOSE to hitting our goal of $1,000, but the end of December is coming quickly!

If you’re still looking for a group to give back to or a great organization to support, please consider Jovenes.

If you can, we would be honored if you all would help out.

It takes $28,000 per MONTH to keep Jovenes running, and while I know money is tight for all of us, every little bit we can raise is going to help them cover their costs.

Just to show you what your contribution can do:

  • $25 = support of children at Jovenes
  • $50 = purchase backpacks & school supplies
  • $75 = funds skills training program
  • $100 = purchase school shoes & uniforms

The minimum donation is whatever you want it to be. Maybe you can go without a new jar of almond butter or coconut milk ice cream and donate that $5-10 here instead. Or maybe you can give more and sacrifice your holiday lattes for the month of December. In the grand scheme of things, it might not be much of a sacrifice for YOU, but it can make a huge difference to them.

I can vouch for this orphanage, for this program, for these boys: anything, everything you can give, is used to keep the orphanage running, to keep the boys healthy and educated and to help give them a life that they wouldn’t have otherwise.

Please consider giving this season.

Share the blessings you’ve received with someone less fortunate.

If you are feeling merry this holiday season,
please click here to donate to Jovenes!

Or here.

And perhaps here.

You can click here too.

Donations are completely secure and private.

We would appreciate any linkbacks you can give to this on your blog, e-mails you can send to family + friends as well as any other ways you can think to encourage others to donate (Tweet! Facebook! Call!). 

Again, we are hoping for $1000 by Christmas so we can provide Jovenes with the much-needed funds to help them continue doing their selfless, amazing work.

Thank you all for everything you do – I know how amazing this community is and the power that comes when people truly get behind something they believe in.

Love and good wishes,

Holly + me

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A Few Snapshots

The move is going well. We haven’t done much yet since my family is coming up tonight to help us with the bigger furniture, but things are moving quickly!

Since I just had my surgery done two weeks ago, I can’t lift anything too heavy so I’m helping with lighter items and unpacking – and, actually, I’ll be at work for most of the day today while Nick is working on stuff until my family arrives.

I’m so excited to get in the house and for my family to see it! It will be fun to have Christmas in our new home ; )

And honestly – it still doesn’t feel real yet. I can’t believe this is our house.

For now – here are a few shots of my favorite parts of the house.


We definitely have plans to change up some wallpaper / paint in the house, but we just fell in love with the layout and the charm of this old farm house. And the updated kitchen didn’t hurt, either ; )





And this view from the front porch. Can’t be beat!

Not sure what will be posted next – most of my food for the next few days will be quick meals and I’m not sure when I’ll have time to sit and post more pictures, but they’ll be coming as soon as possible!


PS: We’re on our way to reaching our goal! If you’re still looking for something to do to give back this season, please consider helping Jovenes.

Help Holly + me raise money for Jovenes en Camino, an orphanage in Honduras for abused, homeless and orphaned children. Tis’ the season for  giving – we hope you’ll join us in this challenge.

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To Closing!

My life is in boxes.



There are only 3 pairs of shoes left in my closet.


This can only mean one thing – we’re moving!!! Smile

That’s right – the day is finally here.

Nick and I will be doing our walk through and going to closing this morning, so by lunchtime, we will officially be home owners for the first time! I am terrified to hand over that check, but it’s a good thing.

Be back later, and pictures will be coming soon.


Thank you, thank you for all the well wishes and advice! We’re very excited to move in and get settled in our new place.

See you soon!


PS: Did anyone stay up to watch the eclipse?!?


Help Holly + me raise money for Jovenes en Camino, an orphanage in Honduras for abused, homeless and orphaned children. Tis’ the season for  giving – we hope you’ll join us in this challenge.

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My Nany was one of a kind.


She ate a bowl of ice cream every single night before going to bed. She made the best Chex Mix, deviled eggs, and potato salad.  She used to let us girls crawl all over her in her favorite recliner and put our Strawberry Shortcake doll’s rollers in her hair.

She was a yard sale fanatic, marking up her newspaper each week with the houses she wanted to visit early Saturday morning. And even though most things at yard sales are cheap, Nany never missed a beat – she was a hard bargainer and would rarely pay more than fifty-cents for anything.

She loved Hardee’s breakfast biscuits, grits, and coffee. She had a collection of housecoats, slippers, and long beaded necklaces hanging on the back of her bedroom door. Her house was decorated in mauves and country blues and had one of those frilly curtains hanging around her shower.

We played in her make up, using her mood lipstick as much as possible – even tricking my dad into putting some on one day.

She gave the best hugs and kisses.

And, no fail, you’d get a phone call on your birthday from her. But not just any phone call. As soon as you picked up, she’d start singing “Happy Birthday”, adding her signature “I love you. Guess who?” at the end. We never had to guess – we’d know that sweet, southern, joyful voice anywhere.

I miss that. I miss her.

Many of her recipes, including her famous deviled eggs and potato salad, were lost when we lost Nany. She never wrote them down and no one has been able to recreate them yet.

But one recipe lives on, and it’s one that my dad and his brother remember as one of their favorite snacks and a true treat when Nany would pack it in their lunch bags.



Nany’s Chocolate Sauce.

Or Would-be-cake-frosting-if-it-included-butter.

And Delicious-spread-for-saltine-crackers.


According to my dad, the best was when Nany would pack a few chocolate sauce and saltine sandwiches in their lunchbags because, by the time lunch rolled around, the crackers were just a bit soggy, making each salty-sweet bite even better. Sort of like when your mom would pack you a pb & j sandwich and the bread would be mushed together and soggy from rolling around in your bookbag or locker until lunch. I loved that.


Sadly, I never had this when Nany was alive. She didn’t make it much once the boys were grown up, but it’s so simple, I knew I could make it and create my own memory of her special chocolate sauce.


Yes, it’s one stick of butter away from being homemade cake frosting.

But it’s also incredibly easy and delicious. And very good spread between a few saltine crackers…or eaten right off the spoon.

Nany’s Chocolate Sauce

  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 Tbsp cocoa powder
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • pinch salt
  • 1-2 Tbsp milk
  1. Mix sugar, cocoa, and salt in bowl.
  2. Add in milk and vanilla and stir until mixture is combined, adding more powdered sugar until sauce is thick enough to spread onto crackers.
  3. Serve.

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We move into our new house next week, and the only items we’ve boxed up? Books, cds, sheets, an extra comforter, and random other stuff in a dresser that we haven’t used since we put them away.

I haven’t gone running or done any other kind of exercise since late October.


I was training for a half marathon that was in November, but after my ER visit and scheduling my surgery, I stopped because I was scared that something else would happen with that cyst. I’m thinking of easing back into yoga once I can move without pain again.

I’m not ashamed to admit that my very favorite Christmas album is this:


Yup, Hanson.

Don’t knock it until you hear it! My little sister and I used to be totally in love with the Hanson boys. We had a binder that we filled with pictures of them from magazines like Bop (do you remember that?) and Teen Bop. We also had a concert on tape…it was a little ridiculous, but fun : ) And maybe I don’t listen to their regular cd anymore, but my entire family loves their Christmas album. Get it!

Last week, this house felt like it was in full holiday mode, minus a tree and decorations.



I have recipes ready to be shared but am in a total brain fog when it comes to putting the posts together. One is a special family recipe of sorts and I have no idea how to start telling the story. But no fear – it will be coming soon, I’m sure.

Some days, I just want holiday candy for breakfast. And lunch.



Help Holly + me raise money for Jovenes en Camino, an orphanage in Honduras for abused, homeless and orphaned children. Tis’ the season for  giving – we hope you’ll join us in this challenge.

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Do you have any friends who a await the arrival of the Starbucks’ Pumpkin Spice Latte?  It has been here for 2 months and people love it.

Unfortunately, a Venti (20 ounces) will set you back 510 Calories! (whole milk and whipped cream included)

ummm, ouch.  There is 60% of your daily value of saturated fat in this single drink.

But, since you read Branappetit you are probably ordering the TALL size (still 200 calories).  You can have all kind of fun on Starbucks’ website playing with what you add to their drinks ([[ Pumpkin Spice Latte]]).

Frankly, I don’t like the Pumpkin Spice Latte because I find it too sweet.  I do adore pumpkin spice so I thought I would attempt my own version.  It turns out that ANYONE can make their own pumpkin spice latte.

Why would you want to make your own?  You will save:

*Calories – mine is 130 calories less than Starbucks’ lite version

*Money – saved about $2.50

*The Environment – no paper cup and lid to toss away

You don’t need an espresso maker with a milk frother to make this drink.  You can buy a milk frother that runs on batteries called an Aerolatte.  I have one (first saw it in Europe) and it works great! 

Buy some pumpkin spice from the baking section of your supermarket, skim milk, sugar, and you are ready to go.  Try adding just one teaspoon of sugar and see if you like it.  You don’t need a lot of sugar to make this taste delicious.


Pumpkin Spice Latte Recipe

4 ounces coffee or espresso

1/2 cup skim or nonfat milk

2 teaspoons sugar

1/4 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice (plus extra to dust on top)

Brew coffee and heat milk until hot in microwave.  Foam milk with Aerolatte or other milk frother.  Mix sugar and pumpkin pie spice in coffee and pour milk on top.  Enjoy!

(77 calories, 0.2g fat, 14.8 g carbohydrates, 4.3 g protein)


Bio:  Lisa Cain, Ph.D. writes about healthy snacks on Snack-Girl.com. She is a published author, mother of two, and avid snacker.

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Still Standing

Still here, recovering.

Still swollen to the point where I really can’t wear any of my jeans.


So…still in sweatpants today.


Still snowing! We’ve got about 2 inches already this morning, and we’re supposed to get anywhere between 4-8 by the end of the day.

Still working on my coffee.


Still wondering how we’ll get everything done in the next week.

We move into our new house next week!!! And, it’s Christmas. And we’re not done with gifts or packing.

This weekend will be full of things at home – lots of packing boxes, finishing Christmas gifts, laundry, and cleaning.

I feel so overwhelmed by everything but so excited. My family is coming up next week to celebrate the holiday with us and help us move. Should be fun Winking smile 


PLUS – I’ll finally be able to start posting pictures!


Are you getting snow today?


Help Holly + me raise money for Jovenes en Camino, an orphanage in Honduras for abused, homeless and orphaned children. Tis’ the season for  giving – we hope you’ll join us in this challenge.

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