Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Giving Grace



Ya know, it seems like folks are oftentimes just looking for a reason to be offended.
Just waiting for someone to do something to set them off.
And on the reverse token, a person that has truly offended someone by a bad attitude,
unkind words, bad business dealings, rude behavior, etc, they turn it around
to blame anyone else but themselves.
They justify it & make everyone else the bad guy, never taking personal responsibility
or righting their wrongs. 

To this I say, take a look at yourself & your actions.
You know when you're acting in a way that's ugly & unbecoming.
Instead of being one who's easily offended, try giving someone the benefit of the doubt.
Try realizing there may be more going on than you realize.
Try not thinking about yourself all the time. 
 Half the time, the things that you conjure up in your head aren't even true anyway. 


And how about the power of an apology.
Saying 'I was wrong.  I was out of line. I messed up.'
There's such freedom in owning your mistakes & asking for forgiveness from those you've wronged.
It takes a much stronger person to apologize than one who always justifies
& never learns from their own bad behavior.

I've used this phrase so many times in the last couple years,
& if you've been around me much at all, you've heard me say it
{I've even heard some of my friends using it which makes me happy ...
makes me realize you are getting the concept}:
I GIVE A LOT OF GRACE CAUSE I NEED A LOT OF GRACE.

I know there have been times that I have spoken quickly & wish I hadn't.
I've forgotten things that are important to people.
I've made a decision that may have hurt someone & I may have not even known.
There've been times when I've been tired & not on my game.
My frustrations may shown through.
And for ALL these times that people have given me grace, dealt with me in a understanding manner,
& overlooked my shortcomings, I am so grateful.
Hurting anyone intentionally would never be my aim. 

So, I encourage you today ... go the extra mile.
Be kind.
Give people the benefit of the doubt.
Say sorry.
Forgive easily.
Love one another.
Be in each others corner.
Be a friend.
Act like Christ.













Monday          C.R.A.F.T      The Dedicated House  I Should Be Mopping the Floor
                  Between Naps on the Porch  The Modest Mom
Tuesday     A Delightsome Life   A Bowl Full of Lemons    Titus Tuesday      A Stroll Through Life
Wednesday   Raising Homemakers        Savvy Southern Style         Adorned From Above
                    The Thrifty Home   A Wise Woman Builds Her Home
Thursday    Between Naps on the Porch   Serving Joyfully     Lamberts Lately
Friday      Rooted in Thyme  The Thrifty Groove   Farm Blog Hop  Best of the Nest
               French Country Cottage  The Girl Creative
Sunday    Nifty Thrifty Things    Suburbsmama    Sew Many Ways

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Grape Salad



I first heard of Grape Salad several years ago when my sister said a friend of hers 
was going to make it for an event.
I thought to myself, 'grape salad'?
What in the world could that consist of?
Grapes aren't the most common ingredient, after all.
Well, unless you are making grape jelly, of course.




I never thought about grape salad again until several years later when I saw a recipe for it 
& decided that I'd give it a try.
Honestly, I was just ok with it.
I'm not sure why, but I just wasn't overly impressed.
The other day, however, I bought too many grapes {& too much other fruit}
& they just weren't being eaten.
I couldn't allow them to go to waste.
So, you guessed it ... I pulled out the ol' Grape Salad recipe & gave it another go around.
This time, it was amazing ... & was devoured quickly!

I have no idea what the difference was from last time til now
{I followed the same recipe},
but we absolutely loved it.
I snapped a couple pics & knew I'd have to share it with all of you.




This is one of those super quick & easy recipes.
In fact, halving the grapes is what takes the most time.

Grape Salad
  • 1 ½ lbs green seedless grapes  
  • 1 ½ lbs red seedless grapes  
  • 8 oz sour cream 
  • 8 oz cream cheese 
  • ½ cup granulated sugar 
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans 
Topping
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • ½ cup chopped pecans

Remove stems from grapes, rinse & cut in half. 
Beat sour cream, cream cheese, granulated sugar and vanilla with a mixer.
Stir grapes & 1/2 cup of pecans into the mixture and place in a serving dish.
Combine topping ingredients and sprinkle over top.
Refrigerate for at least one hour before serving.

I like to use fat free sour cream & low fat cream cheese & it greatly reduces the calories,
making this a pretty figure-friendly dessert.
That's always a bonus.



It's been pretty hot around here for days & this made the perfect, refreshing summer dessert.
If you are in the mood for something a little different, I hope you'll give this one a try ...
& I hope you'll like it the first time around ;)
As always, blessings & thanks for stopping by.






Who doesn't love a good party?!
You can find me here linking up with these great blogs.

Monday          C.R.A.F.T      The Dedicated House  I Should Be Mopping the Floor
                  Between Naps on the Porch  The Modest Mom
Tuesday     A Delightsome Life   A Bowl Full of Lemons    Titus Tuesday      A Stroll Through Life
Wednesday   Raising Homemakers        Savvy Southern Style         Adorned From Above
                    The Thrifty Home   A Wise Woman Builds Her Home
Thursday    Between Naps on the Porch   Serving Joyfully     Lamberts Lately
Friday      Rooted in Thyme  The Thrifty Groove   Farm Blog Hop  Best of the Nest
               French Country Cottage  The Girl Creative
Sunday    Nifty Thrifty Things    Suburbsmama    Sew Many Ways

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Sand + Candles = Easy Centerpiece


Up until last week, we've had a very mild summer.
In fact, it's been downright cool at times, feeling more fall-like on some evenings.
That's right up my alley, of course.
That being said, we've enjoyed many dinners on the patio.

I thought of making this centerpiece last year, but didn't get around to it.
This spring, I added a bag of sand to my list & picked it up 
when I bought all my hanging baskets & flowers.



This fun centerpiece literally took all of about 3 minutes to put together.
I've had this little galvanized metal container for years.
I love it so much & have used it in a variety of ways.

Seem like the candlelight makes my pictures kinda wonky, 
thus further solidifying that I am NOT a professional photographer.
Don't hold it against me, alright?





I just poured in the sand, stuck in the candles, gave them a light, & we were good to go!
Instant simple centerpiece.






The wax from these candles drips down the sides, looking all craggly & neat ...
& when it hits the sand, it puddles up & dries.
You can pick it out and throw it away for an easy clean up.






It's amazing how much light comes from these 7 candles ...
just right as the evening grows darker.





Ya know, in a few short months, we'll probably be watching the snow fly ... 
so I think I'll enjoy this as often as I can until then.
Hope all of you have had a great summer.










Wednesday, August 27, 2014

The GORGEOUS Gaylord Opryland Hotel


Speaking of gorgeous //winky face//



We decided after exploring the District the night before, we'd end our 2 day stop in Nashville
by visiting the Gaylord Opryland Hotel.
Let me tell you, you have to see it to believe it!
It's like a whole little city inside a hotel.
You can even take a boat ride to tour the interior of the property.



There is one picturesque spot after another.


Many of the guests were sitting on their balconies enjoying brunch.
I hope to do just the same one of these days.
Course, I'm nuts about window boxes & these were definitely a great added touch.


This was one of my very favorite spots.
It was all set up for a wedding & oh, what a pretty place to get married!
Wow.


This huge arrangement was to die for.
I mean, it was massive!
The picture can't even show it.


Look at this little bistro set all covered with green!
I totally fell in love with this.


Eeekkkk.....nothing could be cuter.
Nothing.


Well, except maybe Gunnar.


And Riley.
{Look at those guns!}
{BTW, there were 2 teenage girls that followed Riley around all through the hotel. Oh my.}


Me & my palm tree obsession.


This one was SO tall ... several floors tall.



Just everywhere you look, there are all kinds of trees, plants, greenery, & flowers!
So lush.
And with the sound of streams & waterfalls, it was very peaceful, even with all the tourists around.



So, our plan is this:  we want to check in here for a few days & maybe not leave!
Why would we?
There are 8 or 10 restaurants, many gift shops & stores, & as you can see, plenty of places to sit & relax.
Sounds like a pretty romantic weekend to me.
Truthfully though, we'd probably have to split our time between this lovely hotel & exploring Nashville.
There's still plenty we want to see in the city.
Either way, we're looking forward to it!

In case you aren't familiar with the Gaylord Opryland Hotel, click on this link
& ready about it's history ... very interesting.








Who doesn't love a good party?!
You can find me here linking up with these great blogs.

Monday          C.R.A.F.T      The Dedicated House  I Should Be Mopping the Floor
                  Between Naps on the Porch  The Modest Mom
Tuesday     A Delightsome Life   A Bowl Full of Lemons    Titus Tuesday      A Stroll Through Life
Wednesday   Raising Homemakers        Savvy Southern Style         Adorned From Above
                    The Thrifty Home   A Wise Woman Builds Her Home
Thursday    Between Naps on the Porch   Serving Joyfully     Lamberts Lately
Friday      Rooted in Thyme  The Thrifty Groove   Farm Blog Hop  Best of the Nest
               French Country Cottage  The Girl Creative
Sunday    Nifty Thrifty Things    Suburbsmama    Sew Many Ways

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Wild & Crazy Nashville, Tennessee!


Well, that's how I'd describe the main drag anyway!
Guess I wouldn't use that description for the Gaylord Opryland Hotel,
but if you've been to Nashville, TN on a Friday night walking down the main drag,
you totally know what I'm talking about!







We drove into Nashville from our week's stay on the beach in Perdido Key, Florida.
This was a good half-way home stop & a chance for our family to visit here,
since none of us had before.
We checked into our hotel & headed downtown to find all the action.
And action is precisely what we found!


 This area is called The District.
 There is one honky tonk after another, with lots of restaurants & shops thrown in the mix.


And people ... droves of people the night we were there.
Nearly every place had live music going full swing & the doors were wide open,
music & people spilling out into the streets.
You know what they say about Nashville.
Everyone here is trying to make it big if they haven't already.

















It was pretty neat to see these iconic places.







And for those that couldn't make it on stage in one of the honky tonks, they just played on the sidewalks.
There were lots of these bands playing throughout town.



 We even ran into Elvis.




James decided that Elvis needed a picture with him.



This must've been the night for bachelorette parties cause we saw lots of girlies
with their sashes, crowns, & buttons on.


Had to snap a pic of the 'Batman' building.


 
Garrett liked this shirt, "keep calm & carry gun."
I like Garrett & his awesome tan.
You can tell we just came from from a whole week on the beach.




We were definitely entertained & we laughed our heads off at people.
James captured some pretty funny moments on video, but I'm not so sure that I should post those here ;)

We are planning to go back to Nashville & stay a few days ...
we'd like to visit some of the museums & all the historic places throughout the city.

I'll share pics tomorrow of our visit to the Gaylord Opryland Hotel.
Boy, is it beautiful & we were so glad we decided to go there.








Who doesn't love a good party?!
You can find me here linking up with these great blogs.

Monday          C.R.A.F.T      The Dedicated House  I Should Be Mopping the Floor
                  Between Naps on the Porch  The Modest Mom
Tuesday     A Delightsome Life   A Bowl Full of Lemons    Titus Tuesday      A Stroll Through Life
Wednesday   Raising Homemakers        Savvy Southern Style         Adorned From Above
                    The Thrifty Home   A Wise Woman Builds Her Home
Thursday    Between Naps on the Porch   Serving Joyfully     Lamberts Lately
Friday      Rooted in Thyme  The Thrifty Groove   Farm Blog Hop  Best of the Nest
               French Country Cottage  The Girl Creative
Sunday    Nifty Thrifty Things    Suburbsmama    Sew Many Ways



Thursday, August 21, 2014

Steak & Chicken Fajitas



Is this not just about some of the prettiest fajita filling you've ever seen?!
I think yes!



I wasn't even planning to share this on the blog, 
but when they turned out looking so festive 
{& perfect},
I quickly grabbed my camera.
When they were equally as delicious, it was a done deal.
They are going on the blog, I said.
Plus, this will help me remember how to duplicate these the next time ;)





You see, I have to admit, although I've made fajitas more times than I could count,
{it's one of our faves!}
I just make them, well, however I'm in the mood to make them.
I don't follow a recipe & they've probably never been the same way twice.
You can do that with fajitas cause it's a pretty general recipe ...
meat {either steak or chicken or both}, peppers, onions, seasonings, fresh tortillas, & toppings.





I sometimes use a seasoning packet specifically for fajitas, but most often I don't.
I open up my spice cabinet & throw in a little of this & a little of that.
I may use fresh tomatoes, I may use canned.
There is usually some variation.
However, they were SO good this time that I may just make them like this every time from now on.






Here's another thing that I like about fajitas.
I love the 'cook once, eat twice' concept.
The chicken breasts I used in this meal were done in the crock pot the day before.
 All I had to do was to shred up the leftovers for this meal.
That helped me pull this together in no time.




So here are the ingredients I used:
  • steak & chicken {about 3 pounds total}
  • peppers & onions {I used 1 red, 1 yellow, & 1 onion}
  • cilantro {a lot - we love it - minimum a 1/2 cup chopped}
  • 2 cans diced chili-ready seasoned tomatoes
  • 1 jalapeno, seeded & chopped 
  • 1 lime

For the seasonings I used:
  • 2 Tbsp. Worchestershire sauce
  • 1/2 tsp. salt {or to taste}
  • 1/4 tsp. pepper
  • 2-3 Tbsp. chili powder
  • 2-3 Tbsp. garlic powder {or 6 cloves minced}
  • 1 Tbsp. cumin
  • 1/2 tsp. onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp. dry chicken soup base


Saute steak & chicken in 2 Tbsp. olive oil 
{steak according to your preference & chicken until no longer pink inside}.
Since my chicken was already cooked, I just shredded it & tossed it in with the steak when it was done.
After both meats are in the pan, pour on the seasonings!
This is what really makes a fajita, in my opinion ... the seasoning.
Stir together, making sure all the meat is coated 
& then toss in all the chopped veggies & the canned tomatoes.
{Lots of additional flavor comes from the spicy tomatoes.}
Reduce heat to medium & cover for a few minutes.
The veggies need to soften just a little bit.
Right before serving, squeeze a whole fresh lime {or lemon} over the fajita mixture in the pan.
This adds a bright punch of flavor at the end.


Fill the warm tortillas {I usually serve flour & corn} with the fajita mixture & top with shredded cheese.
Each person can add any additional topping they'd like:
sour cream, avocado, diced onion, lime/lemon, salsa, shredded lettuce, cilantro, etc.



This is a relatively quick meal that's authentic tasting & pretty healthy, to boot.
It's also a great meal for leftovers ... just as good the second day.
For variation, I like serving the fajita mixture over a toss salad.
Top it with ranch dressing & tortilla strips/chips & you've got a delicious southwest-style salad.


Now, get in the kitchen & cook =)