Friday, November 22, 2013

Coconut-Seared Shrimp with Kale, Avocado, and Fresh Salsa

Yay!  It's back!! Friday's Fabulous Foods!

This week I have a phenomenal recipe for you.  I actually found it here.  I changed it up a little bit to make it more cost effective for my family.

Ingredients:
5-10 stalks kale, washed and destemmed
1 avocado
A package of shrimp
Coconut Oil
1/2 fresh lemon

For the fresh salsa:
1 tomato
1/4 white onion
1 T cilantro
1/4 fresh lime



Directions:
I like to make my salsa first, because it takes up the most time.  Dice the tomato and onion.  Finely chop the cilantro.  Squeeze the lime over and mix together.  You can add some fresh ground pepper or sea salt if you would like to.



Add the coconut oil and turn the skillet to a medium heat.


Evenly sear the shrimp (or scallops as the original recipe calls for) on both sides.


Prep the kale and use it as the base of your plate.  Slice the avocado and divide it between 2 plates.  Place the shrimp over the greens and top with 1/4 cup fresh salsa.  Squeeze 1/4 of a lemon over the top and serve.


This recipe serves 2.  It is so yummy AND healthy!

Monday, November 18, 2013

FNP Meets The Attic

Friday night we had an experience that brought back some amazing college memories.  If I had to pick a year, I think my freshman year of college was my favorite.  Here's where my husband will interject and tell you his feelings are hurt {because I didn't meet him until midway through my sophomore year}.

Freshman year was my favorite for a couple of reasons.  I found three girls that were my age to hang out with.  We were inseparable.  We were in each other's rooms.  We "studied" in the library until it closed.  We drove around town singing at the top of our lungs.  We went splashing in the fountain at Jordan Valley Park.  We busted ice off each other's cars when it iced over that year.  We had sleepovers.  We attended Christian Campus House events together.  We got each other.

One thing that we did together...that I didn't fully remember until Friday night...was attend Friday Night Praise {or FNP}.  FNP was exactly that.  We gathered at the boys' house from Icthus {another campus ministry} and boy, did we pack that place.  I'm talking rows and rows of people...on the couches, on the floor, stacked up the stairway, in the kitchen and bedrooms and anywhere else you could find a place to sit.

Our favorite place to be was in the kitchen.  It was quite funny to see the boys' cleaning schedule up on the fridge each week...and to see that they might not have been the cleanest people, but they did try and that's what counted.  Friday Night Praise was acoustic worship with people from all over campus.  They had a projector with words, and if you were in the living area, you could see them.

It was that year that I really learned to worship.  I learned that you didn't have to be singing the words to the songs in order to worship.  Since we were almost always in the kitchen, we didn't see the words.  When we didn't know a song, we listened.  We closed our eyes and focused on praising the One who gave us that moment.  About midway through, they turned off the projector and turned off the lights.

It was that exact moment that I lived for all week.  It was in that moment that I felt closest to my Creator.  It was in that moment that everyone's voices got a little bit louder.  The foot tapping got a bit heavier.  The emotions were a tad higher.  It was in that moment that I could lift my hands and release all the tension, anger, stress, sadness, happiness, joyfulness, praises to the One who really loves and cares about me.



This past Friday night, Tyler and I attended The Attic for the first time since we've lived in St. Louis.  It was hosted at the church we attend, so we decided to check it out.  It was an hour of singing.  And in that hour, my mind was thinking back to my college memories.  It was thinking about what it really means to worship.

I want to get back to the heart, to the root of worship when everything is about Him.  It doesn't matter if I sing or pray or serve...if it's about Him, it's worship.  I want to put Him first in everything.  Some days are harder than others, but He's here to help guide us.  

What does worship mean to you?

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

A Christmas List

I am in Christmas mode.  Usually I'm not this time of year, but something about buying a house has made me want to decorate!!  On Saturday, we bought a BIG tree.  I had been using my 4 foot tree that I got when I moved into the residence hall during my freshman year of college.  I told myself that I wasn't buying a big tree until we bought a house.  And here we are.

With that said, I've been looking for Christmas gift ideas and I want to share with you what I have found.  These are tooooo good to keep to myself!  Enjoy!


>>>>>>>>>><<<<<<<<<<

First up, we have the shop Farmgirl Paints.

Becky creates custom cuffs.  You pick the cuff you like.  Then you pick the metal plate and finish up the customization by picking your word or phrase.  I love her work, and I even own two of her cuffs.  



My first cuff was the top one that says, "Redeemed."  I wanted a tangible reminder that no matter what I've done or what situation I'm in, God has redeemed me.

My second cuff {technically third...I bought one for my mom} was purchased when I was going through my tough time at work.  I really wanted a new job, and finally I got that option.  God knew what I needed, and I knew what I needed.  But He had a better plan...one that was more that I could hope for or imagine.  Ephesians 3:20-21 has always been some favorite verses of mine!

These would make perfect Christmas gifts!  But hurry!! Her shop is only open until November 20th.  Then it won't be open again until February 1st!


>>>>>>>>>><<<<<<<<<<

Scrap Art By Nina is another one of my favorite shops.  Nina is such a sweetheart!  She makes signs for your home, as well as some other pretty things!  I am always tempted to purchase something in her shop, because she comes up with the cutest things!  

I currently have this sign waiting for me to hang in my new home:

via
Nina is great to work with!  She hand crafts these beautiful signs herself.  These signs would make a wonderful housewarming gift, but also Christmas gifts as well!  

>>>>>>>>>><<<<<<<<<<

Pen and Paint is a great shop to get more artwork for your walls!  Lindsay is very talented and creates prints that are encouraging for your home.  She also has various other things in her shop from time to time, and I'm so happy to have snagged a hand painted canvas from her!  I wonder where it will go?  :)  Her prints are gorgeous and it is hard to decide which one to get!  These would make great gifts and even stocking stuffers!



>>>>>>>>>><<<<<<<<<<

Hope Homemade is a shop filled with beautiful things!  This mother-daughter duo is quite the team!  You can find some of the most beautiful, encouraging items in their shop.  From embroidered pictures to hand-stamped jewelry, you will definitely want to take a peek!

via
>>>>>>>>>><<<<<<<<<<


I also just recently made a purchase from Katygirl Designs. She makes gorgeous prints as well!  These are the ones that I have and am currently trying to decide where to hang:


She makes beautiful prints that share Truth.  Be sure to check her shop out! 

Each of these shops are wonderful!  They take pride in their handmade businesses.  Hopefully I've shared something that will go on your list?  Or maybe you see something that would be the perfect gift for someone else.  

Small Business Saturday falls on my birthday this year...November 30th.  Please consider supporting a small business.  It's here where you will get most heart for your money. :)

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Our House Buying Experience

You know how when you're little and you dream about the future? Well, all my dreams have come or are coming true...but BETTER than I EVER could have imagined. I'm seeing Ephesians 3:20-21 played out in my life RIGHT NOW. My heart is so full...I am so completely blessed and so undeserving of these blessings in my life. This morning I'm filled with emotion that I'm not sure I've ever felt before {a good emotion}...but even more than that, I'm filled with a peace that surpasses ALL understanding. Even when I have no idea what the future holds, I KNOW that everything is going to be alright. I'm thankful for grace upon grace in my life. I'm thankful for peace. And I'm thankful for every. single. blessing that God has given me.

>>>>><<<<<

The above was written shortly after we offered on our house.  I couldn't convey how I felt exactly, but I can tell you that my reality is way better than my dreams.  

Several months ago, back when we went to Walt Disney World {here, here, and here}, Tyler and I started talking about actually saving for a down payment for a house.  We had just signed a new lease at our apartment, but we knew we wanted to get out of our apartment.  So we started saving and we actually had money transferred into our savings account.  Each week after payday, we would have a certain amount of money transferred out, and we watched {excitedly} as our house fund grew!

Ideally, we were hoping to find a house that we could move into after our lease was up at the end of March.  So we started looking slowly...as in, we looked online for houses that were available at the time.  My sister-in-law had just recently gotten her real estate license and connected us with a realtor here in St. Louis.  The realtor had contacted us to let us know she would be happy to show us houses.

Being the eager people we are, we took her up on that offer.  We looked at several houses, but found one we loved.  So we slept on it for a few days.  I couldn't stop thinking about that house.  We absolutely loved the floor plan, and Tyler could actually picture us living in that house.  I mean, I could picture it, but it was important to me that Tyler could as well.  So we called her back and said we wanted to take another look at it.

It's funny what you see the first time you take a look at a house.  It's also funny to come home and think about what you didn't see during that look.  So the second time we went back, I made sure to open every. single. door in the house.  I looked behind every door.  I had a list of things I wanted to make sure this house had before I fell even more in love with it.



We made an offer that night.  In the days that followed, we countered and finally came to an agreement.  The house would be ours!  I was thinking that it was too good to be true.  How could I, at 24 years old, own this house?  The inspection went beautifully.  We asked the sellers to fix the minor things, and that was that.  It was really just a waiting game for us.  At our final walk-through {a month and a half after the offer}, I got to see my future new home once again.  I had been dreaming about it since that night in September when we offered.  I couldn't wait to move in and make this house our home.  

Our realtor said she couldn't believe how smooth the sale went.  That was music to my ears.  Being a first time homebuyer is nerve-racking enough.  We closed the next day and immediately started moving things in.

Tyler and I are excited to use our home as a tool that God gave us.  We are excited to invite people over, have people stay with us, and enjoy our home.  In the coming weeks, I hope to have a home tour series on the blog.  So stay tuned for that!

We are so blessed to be able to move into this home, and we are looking forward to what God has in store for it!