Wednesday, February 29, 2012

4 Years

Four years ago today Isaac took me on our first date.  He claims he knew we'd be engaged 6 weeks later and married 19 months later, but who knows?!  :)  That night, we enjoyed dinner and Nim's Island at Star Cinema.  Leave it to me to pick the kid movie on our first date!  It really is a cute movie, but the book is good too.

Since we don't get to celebrate our 'dating anniversary' every year (Leap Year!), we decided to use the last of the Christmas gift cards and go to Outback tonight.  Then we headed to Cherryberry for big bowls of White Chocolate Mousse yogurt.  It rivals TCBY's any day, and since the nearest TCBY isn't really near, I'm quite thrilled by this new find!  I also had a bouquet of gorgeous flowers waiting for me at home after work. 

I love you, Isaac!

Monday, February 27, 2012

Meal Planning Monday

Sunday: Church

Monday: Broccoli and Cheddar Quiche

Tuesday: Chicken and Cheese Flautas

Wednesday: All on Isaac

Thursday: Leftovers

Friday: Leftovers

Saturday: Pearland

Monday, February 20, 2012

Downton Abbey: Masterpiece At Its Best

Carson, Mrs. Hughes, Ethel, Mrs. Patmore, Dasiy, William, Anna, Bates, O'Brien, Thomas, Matthew, Violet, Richard, Cora, Mary, Edith, Sybil, and Isobel

When my mom was in Britain in October, she mentioned watching this really cool TV show one night in Scotland.  She and her friend Teresa were worn out from a day exploring Edinburgh and were turned in for the night at one seriously posh hotel.  Teresa told Mom a show called Downton Abbey was about to come on and that they should watch it.  The episode they saw happened to be the Season 2 finale, and Mom thought Downton Abbey was super awesome. 

Fast forward about 2 months.  Mom sees previews for Season 2 of Downton Abbey on PBS and starts to realize that the newest wave of the British Invasion has arrived to America's shores.  Then, moms at school start telling me that I just must watch this fabulous show called Downton Abbey.  Yes, I love period shows/movies more than most.  Like, seriously addicted, watch them numerous times, and swoon incessantly over them.  Jane Austen might not have a bigger fan, and anyone brave enough to try to recreate Victorian and Edwardian England in visual format is a hero in my book.  However, if you know me, you also know I can't stand TV, we canceled our cable about 7 months ago, and I watch maybe 2 shows a week.  BUT, PBS is non-cable friendly, and Downton Abbey just barely squeaks past my approval rating for Christian friendly viewing.

When Isaac's grandpa first was doing poorly, my plan was to catch up on Season 1 of Downton via Netflix streaming.  The Friday I was home alone, I think I watched 3 episodes before finally succumbing to sleeping.  I was HOOKED.  Thankfully, Netflix travels well so all of those hours I spent in bed in Michigan with the stomach bug were easily passed lost in the world of the Crawleys and their household.  I must admit that with the antics Mrs. Patmore and Lady Violet, being sick wasn't nearly so miserable. 

Unlike so many TV shows, Downton's characters are incredible well formed.  They are just a bit predictable, as most of us are, but they have their flaws, just like we do.  The creepy crawly characters that are so despicable grow as such, but just as I really want to be incredibly disgusted with O'Brien for the rest of her born days, she does something small to show she does have a bit of a heart.  Darn.  And right when I think dear Sybil is just the best thing since chocolate, she shows a wild streak that makes me cringe.  But isn't that how all of humanity is?  We have our niches and our morays, but we can still be influenced by outside forces.  I very much enjoy TV that reflects this. 

Julian Fellowes has written a script that piques my history sensor.  I'm terribly intrigued with the immense culture shift that occurred worldwide between 1890 and 1940, and Julian has appealed to that in every way.  And, just because he can, he's romanticized the story lines just enough to draw me in and make me melt.  Just the way I like it!  Yet, even the romantic side of Downton is far from perfect.  Lady Mary may have her Prince Charming, but her past still haunts her.  Anna and Bates may have true love, but false accusations stand in their way.  Beautiful.  Dramatic. Perfect.

If the story line isn't enough, watching in awe as Maggie Smith delivers each line perfectly will draw in most stragglers.  I have adored Maggie as an actress nearly all my 27 years.  She is one talented lady.  The whole cast in phenomenal in their respective roles.

Shirley McLain will join Season 3 of Downton Abbey.  Filming in England begins soon, and I'm sure the new season will air early this Fall in the UK. We'll probably have to wait til after Christmas again, but it's so incredibly worth the wait.  Until then, Jane will keep my company.

Maybe I can find a teaching gig for the Fall semester across the Pond?  :)

Meal Planning Monday

Sunday: Church

Monday: Steak with baked potato for Isaac and sweet potato for me.

Tuesday: Pancakes, bacon, and eggs for National Pancake Day

Wednesday: Meatloaf and greenbeans

Thursday: Gumbo I never made last week

Friday: Leftovers

Saturday: Chili 

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Riverdance-Valentine's Edition

Isaac and I are such old fogies when it comes to late nights on work nights.  We decided we'd celebrate Valentine's Day this weekend, and then I saw in the paper early last week that Riverdance was in town for their final North American tour.  Um, yes please!  I mentioned this to Isaac, who happens to be as much of a dork as I am when it comes to these kinds of things, and we ended up with tickets for Friday night's performance. Granted, we would've gone even if it wasn't Valentine's weekend, but it was a nice excuse to say this was our Valentine treat.

We're not the kind that make a big deal out of Valentine's Day, but since our tickets were this particular weekend, we used a gift card I still had from Christmas (thank you, Jessica Richards!) to eat at Olive Garden before the show on Friday.  The portions at Olive Garden are HUGE, so we ended up with dinner for Saturday as well.  That's my kind of dinner out!

Waiting for Riverdance to begin
Hobby Center is a gorgeous venue for a show, and Isaac had never been there.  I think he would've been content looking at the galaxy lights in the ceiling all night.  Riverdance put on a show that words can't describe.  Irish dance is fascinating, both soft shoe and hard shoe.  My favorite scene was in the second act when the Irish immigrants and the Roaring 20's blacks have a tap off.  Woohoo!  As a former dancer, this made my day. 

Not only can these dancers dance, but most of them also sing...phenomenally!  Riverdance is a true musical, and I loved every second.  Amazing.  Now I just need to see Lord of the Dance whenever it decides to come back to Houston.  And I need to take Isaac to Ireland so he can see where my family came from and all the places I fell in love with during my trip there at 13.

Tonight we've been pretty low key.  Isaac is sick with a bad cold, so I'm glad we did do something fun this weekend.  I made a special dinner of salmon, and we enjoyed cake balls I bought from a friend's son for a fundrasier and chocolate covered strawberries we made last night.  Yum, yum!

Yum, yum
Aggie Belle taking good care of a sick Daddy.
We prayer your Valentine's is full of Christ's love. 

We love because He first loved us!  ~1 John 4:19

Monday, February 13, 2012

Meal planning Monday

Sunday: Church

Monday: KFC thanks to coupons!

Tuesday: Oven Roasted Salmon with pasta and broccoli

Wednesday: Santa Fe Chicken

Thursday: Chicken and Sausage Gumbo

Friday: Leftovers

Saturday: Bacon and Cheddar Potato Soup

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Book Review: Kisses from Katie

Oh, my, how do I adequately describe this book?!  Katie Davis has boldness for Christ and honesty that scares many, and I that's the ONLY reason I can use to explain why there are folks who criticize her. 

Katie is now 22 and living her days in a village in Uganda, raising 13 girls she's fostering and running Amazima Ministries.  She's from Brentwood, TN, so that of course makes her cool in my book, but there is so much more to her than being from Nashville.  Some would say Katie has given up so much to live with so little, but after reading her words, I think she would agree that she gave up a lot, yes, but has gained oh so much more.  Katie has seen God work day in and day out to meet the needs of the people she loves.  What could possibly compare?  There's nothing wrong with living in America, but she has learned to be dependent on God for everything.  I wonder how much deeper our faith would be, and the actions that pour from it, if we had to truly be dependent on our Father for every day needs. 

I must be honest; while reading Katie's book, I became a bit jealous.  She has a life I dreamed about for years.  I could've been her, had I been bolder and trusted the Lord more.  The truth is, my faith is weak.  I'm afraid of the unknown.  Despite the fact I have the contacts and support to make a life like Katie's happen, I chose the known.  I struggle with that, but God has blessed me anyway. I now have a husband that loves me and supports my crazy dreams to be in Zambia, and he's trying to help me make that happen on a temporary basis, since for now, God has us planted pretty deep in Houston for the time being.  Maybe if NASA bellies up because our government is become more and more incapable of making smart choices, we're end up there on a permanent basis.  In the mean time, God will show us how to stay involved where He's planted my heart while living here.

Isaac and I attempt to live intentionally for Christ, and Katie's words are encouraging me to become even more aware of how we're spending our time and our money.  It's not enough to read our Bibles each day and be involved at our church.  We've got to be seeking out ways to join God in serving His children day in and day out.  That's what matters.  Katie is doing an amazing job of having her actions back her words, and because of that, folks are coming to know Christ.  Why don't we get how important our actions are, and that helping others-meeting their needs-is exactly how Jesus intends for us to live?

Her descriptions of her emotions during visits back to America ring so true to me.  I don't always feel comfortable here after seeing how the rest of the world lives.  It's not wrong or bad to live here, but I do think that as Christians it comes with an extra responsibility to be aware of how our time and money are used.  Katie has challenged me to stay aware, learn how to remain in a more constant state of prayer, and learn how to stretch my faith. 

Check out what Katie is currently up to at her blog called The Journey.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Meal Planning Monday

Sunday: Super Bowl Party at Church

Monday: Pancakes, Bacon, and Eggs

Tuesday: Leftovers

Wednesday: Bertolli bag

Thursday: Rosemary-Mushroom Chicken Soup

Friday: Chilis

Saturday: Soup leftovers

Friday, February 3, 2012

Fill in the Blank Friday

Several of my blog buddies are participating in "Fill in the Blank Fridays", and it's such fun!  Here's this week's:

1. If money wasn't an issue, the first thing I'd cross of my life list is moving to Zambia and adopting our girly.
2. Chocolate and orange juice is something I like that other people think is weird.

3. If my life were a movie right now, the title would be The Teacher Diaries .

4. Three things I am looking forward to this month are hopefully Isaac finishing my cedar chest update going to the movies and seeing the projects my kids make about Africa.
5. My favorite song to sing in the shower is whatever is currently stuck in my head from choir rehearsals.

6. If I found out that the production of Yogi Pomegranate Green Tea was ending this month, I'd go out and buy as much as I could tomorrow.
7. One thing I'll never grow tired of is reading.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Happy 1st Birthday, Aggie Belle!

Our little roly poly of a fur ball is all grown up and turned 1 big girl year old today!  The ten months we've had her have flown!  We're so proud of how well Bailey has adjusted to her as well.  Aggie Belle is still a pup at heart, but she is learning to mind so well.  Her one weakness is pulling on walks, but we're working on that, and she's learning.  We're so grateful for all the joy she's brought to our little family!  Happy birthday, sweet girl!
Playing with her birthday present, a food puzzle.
And, most importantly, it's my mommy's birthday too!  We'll be celebrating with her and all the rest of the family on Friday night, assuming we can all stay healthy.  It's been germy in our homes lately. 

This is from my bridal luncheon, so it's older, but I like it anyway!
Happy birthday to the best mommy a girl could have!

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