Saturday, September 27, 2008

The Gosselins' Website

I may be a bit obsessed, but I know there are others out there, too.

The devotionals, written by Kate, will make you cry. Or laugh.

Friday, September 26, 2008


Look what I found on the side of the road! This is going to be our kitchen island. It's just about exactly like what we wanted and were saving up to buy, only it was free. Structurally, it is really solid, but you can tell it's had some wear and tear, so just like our cabinets (and the rest of the house for that matter), we're going to do a little rehabilitation. Sand, prime, paint, countertop extension so we can scoot up two bar stools on the reverse side for some extra seating, and new hardware should cover it. The two openings at the top are odd, but hopefully I can find some wide baskets or something to use as drawers. I'm so excited that I found this. I'm telling you, bulk collection days are where it's at.

Also, I'm considering resurfacing our fireplace. It's pretty ugly in general (not to mention it is in the CORNER--who does that?), but I'm seeing some potential. I believe a little TLC can fix just about anything. If not resurfacing (because the cost can add up), then painting or using Brick-A-New. I don't know anything about this product or if it is worth anything, but I love the look it gives. What do you think? And I will definitely be taking off the ugly gold 'n black glass cover, cleaning it out well, and letting it be 'as is' with a free-standing fire place gate.

Those are my current DIY projects right now.

Monday, September 22, 2008

So Not Pottery Barn

I'm frustrated with my mantel. It's space has been mostly vacant for the last 2 years that we've lived in our house. The design-lover that I am has had a hard time finding the "perfect fit," and I feel like it's such a potentially-attractive focal point if I could just find something that looked good. I've tried gathering odds and ends of what I have to find something fitting, but to no avail. Today I went to Pier One and Pottery Barn in hopes of finding just the right thing. I don't really know what I want though, so that probably doesn't make the decision process any easier. I liked this fall decor concept that I saw, but figured I could just make the items or find them around my home instead of spending money (you know me).
Here's my attempt that sadly failed. It doesn't look at all like what I had hoped. I even went out on my dimly-lit street out front to pick up tons of acorns and carry them inside in my 'shirt bucket.' And I went to our log pile and got two big sticks and had Chris cut them on a large bias on the saw...just like at the store. And I had some of those fake, polished rocks that I threw in there to go along with the natural scheme of things. And I threw in my little sparrow statue because what's more trendy than birds right now, right?? Bad. All I can say about this is "U-G-L-Y. You ain't got no alibi. You ugly, yeah, yeah, you ugly."

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Happy Birthday, Mom!

oh man. this is funny! we were stylin'.

Friday, September 19, 2008

He's Very Amosly

We went to La Zona Rosa last night and saw Amos Lee! We LOVE his music and are hooked on every album he makes. The concert was short, but he was so good that the melodies made up for it.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

God Loves Good Little Girls

Have you ever overheard a statement like that? Perhaps spoken from an adult to a child, emphasizing the incredibly wrong statement that we often believe? In fact, it's completely contrary to the message that the entire Bible preaches. The truth is, we have no good apart from Christ and there's no working our way up to be 'good enough' for Him. He wanted us as the full-out sinners that we are. Nothing we do can gain goodness or righteousness.

It is by GRACE we have been saved.

No pursuit of spiritual disciplines or quantity of official "quiet times" will help us acquire acceptance. Sure, they help us grow in other ways, but those aren't the keys to God's approval of us.

Once we grasp that truth, it brings us to our knees because we see what we really are...infidels; entirely insufficient, inadequate, defective, imperfect, incapable, and having sheer hopelessness. We realize our inability to add a single inch to our spiritual stature. And I think that pit we find ourselves in is refreshing to God. I bet it's nauseating to Him when He sees us trying to measure up and impress Him. What a denial of the gospel of grace.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Good Vino <$15

My goal for sometime now has been to compile a list of really fantastic wines under fifteen bucks. I've been working on it for the better part of this year and have a chunk of my research on a pad of paper that I want to share with my readers. (You'll notice I started with Spain's white grapes and traveled to fuller-bodied whites. I'm now onto uvas riojas.) Some are a bit more difficult to find than others. You won't find most at your local market, but if you have a wine merchant in your area, bets are they will have them or know a vendor who supplies them. Items with an (*) are among my top picks.

Light Whites
- *Bodegas Pedro Escudero Valdelainos Verdejo, 2007
- Marqués de Irun Verdejo, 2006
- *Torres Vina Esmeralda, 2006

Medium Whites
- Domaine Tselepos Moschofilero, 2006
- Garofoli Macrina Verdicchio, 2006
- Ladairo Godello, 2004
- La Vielle Ferme Blanc, 2007
- *Vega Sindoa Viura Chardonnay, 2007

Full Whites
- *Remy Pannier Vouvray, 2006

- *Domaine de Fonsainte Gris de Gris, 2006
- El Coto de Rioja Rosado, 2007
- *Mas de la Dame Rose du Mas, 2007

Full Red
- Castano Monastrell, 2006

Recent Reads

1. Of Men and Mice--John Steinbeck
2. The Giver--Lois Lowry
3. Three Cups of Tea--Greg Mortenson & David Oliver Relin
4. Affluenza-- John De Graaf, David Wann, Thomas H. Naylor

Friday, September 12, 2008

What's My Something Radical?

For quite sometime now, Chris and I have been contemplating our lives; the purpose of it, the future of it, etc. I find myself asking the same questions over and over again. We've discovered ourselves. Here we are, in our mid-to-late twenties with a house, jobs, cars, dog, paychecks, vacations, yard work, housework, oil changes, faxes to be made, emails to be sent, lists to complete. And we find ourselves dissatisfied. We recognize the ways that God has provided for us and given us much, however, we want more! Hear me out. We want more than all of this. We want satisfaction at the end of the day that our time was spent well. We want what we do, what we think, where we go, how we spend, what we play, what we all be significant and important in the Kingdom of God. We want to fight for something.

I've been reading this book, "Three Cups of Tea," and man, is it challenging. Greg Mortenson lived out a radical life that served many. Jesus did, too. From it's pages, something beckons each time that I read. I put it down and the question floating in my mind every time is 'what's my something radical?' I feel like Chris and I are still waiting to figure out how God will use us to do something big for Him. We've considered everything from foster parenting to moving across the ocean for cross-cultural missions to campus ministry to church planting to urban ministry out of a sweet shop. But we are reminded of our calling as Christians to take care of the orphans, widows, homeless, naked, and hungry--and whereever God leads us, we are feeling that that is how we want to spend our days.

A heartug from Mother Teresa: It is our duty to care for "the hungry, the naked, the homeless, the crippled, the blind, the lepers, all those people who feel unwanted, unloved, uncared for throughout society, people that have become a burden to the society and are shunned by everyone."

What is your something radical?

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Around Here

Marlow had fun playing at Red Bud with his cousin, Kenya, yesterday. They love each other, but we need to work on his sharing.

Looking toward our yard from the flower bed we share with our neighbors.
I made Lamb Chops for tonight's dinner with Raita and Spiced Couscous.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Thank Goodness For Big Purses!

What's in yours'?


Today my sweet friend turns a year older. This is my shout-out to a wonderful, beautiful, creative, loving friend who I met in 7th grade but became great friends with in Etymology class in 10th grade.
I love you, Michelle!

Hor D' oeuVwhat?

Yesterday I catered a menu of appetizers for a friend's baby party. We also hosted it which made the "delivery" quite easy from oven to table.

Le Menu

Artichoke Pastry Bites
Bacon-wrapped Shrimp with Spicy Chili Sauce
Proscuitto-Melon Purses
Corn Fritters with Sweet 'n Spicy Salsa
Caprese Skewers with Balsamic Reduction
Zucchini Rolls with Local Goat Cheese
Roasted Garlic-White Bean Crostinis
Frangelico-Chocolate Pudding & Almond Biscotti (forgot to take pictures!)

To serve the desserts, I bought these mini glass mugs and appetizer spoons. I was pretty excited about them and think it'd be great to serve other sweet treats or soups or mousses in them. Someone last night said to me that I was the envy of all the other ladies who attended because I actually have a reason to buy extra fun serving-ware like these. I agree! Hehe.

Without trying to sound arrogant, I have to say that I am still surprised that I am in the line of work that I am. I can't believe sometimes the duties I take on and the selection and presentation of little tasties that come out of me. I studied Education, moved here, started culinary school and here's where God has brought me. I love what I do and get so excited to plan menus and execute my product.

The food went over well. 16 had RSVP'd, so I planned for 20 and 30 came. They wiped out every last piece, which I guess is a good sign. I had to reserve a chocolate pudding for myself in the fridge so I could be sure to try it because I didn't get a bite of anything else. I heard some really great compliments and hopefully will get several referrals from this event.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Labor Day Weekend

Friday: Jason & Jenny invited us over and cooked a delicious dinner. We loved seeing the updates on their awesome 1920s home they are remodeling in East Austin, and as always, it was great catching up with them and talking. They were our first friends when we moved here.

Saturday: We slept in and took our time doing things around the house, then we packed up the car and headed to Colorado Bend State Park in Bend, Texas where we camped for one night. We ate by the fire and really enjoyed the opportunity to get away from the city. We saw buzzards, hawks, armadillos, and wild mountain goats!

Sunday: Despite the wailing of a baby in a nearby tent, we slept pretty well. We woke up and built a fire to make breakfast. More armadillos made their way through our camp site and that was really odd since I'd never seen them before. They are weird little creatures. They seemed very tame and surprisingly fast when running away. *Marlow got caught on fire in his pursuit to make friends with one. We also took a very long hike and saw some gorgeous scenery. We found lots of cascading watering holes that were all attached with 3-5 foot water falls. The watering holes themselves were about 3 feet deep, so perfect to tromp through and cool off in.

Monday: We babysat Jaxson Reese for the day to let his mommy have some time to herself on a day off. We played the echo game, Army crawled down the hallway, giggled at Marlow, took a long nap, and ate lots of bananas. His parents came over for dinner and we managed to watch and finish a terrible movie.

*Story of the Day: We had Marlow attached by a rope to a pole so that he could wander about as we set up camp and made food. The armadillos enticed him and he really put on his best hunting moves to get to them. His chasing method didn't work out as expected. The rope had some stretch to it, so it bounced him back into the fire. He just stood there, so I rushed to get him out of the fire pit. I blew out flames and patted out embers that started smoldering his fur. Oh Marlow! Luckily, he's fine. He limped around the first couple of days, but is back to normal almost.