30 November 2013

The cup of coffee that made me more thankful for my Mom and sister...

Black Friday my Mom, sister, and I have a standing tradition of waking up early to hit the stores and snatch up some bargains. 
This year we were hitting the pavement at 5am, and no we did not trample people to death to be the first ones in the mall; we were the perky ones skipping into the store. 
We literally shopped till we dropped.

And sure while we all found some great deals, it didn't compare to the awesome heartfelt conversations I had with my Mom and sister. 

We laughed so hard till it hurt, people watched, and giggled about jokes between the three of us no one else could ever appreciate.  At one point while perusing the racks at JC Penney my sister pulled me aside and thanked me for everything I helped plan and do for her recent wedding; how much it meant to her, her new husband, and how much fun she had doing it with me.  It completely caught me off guard but totally warmed my heart in every way.

After hitting up one of our favorite stores LOFT (everything was 50% off...what the gravy!?!?) we headed to re-fuel ourselves with some caffeine at Starbucks where I also had the second coffee of my life; an iced peppermint mocha.  Coffee and I are new acquaintances.

My sister just got married in October so this has been the first time in a long time all three of us have really had some quality girl time together.  Once we all sat down and started talking it got deep fast. We talked about.everything. Being married, sex, future baby names, how to be an effective Christian witness, being a good wife, mistakes we've made in life, etc.  Annie and I talked with Mom/asked advice on being married and how to be a good wife; Mom shared her wisdom and life experiences with us and what she has learned from her mistakes in marriage and motherhood. 

We talked about how since us girls have grown up (mostly) how MUCH we appreciate our family origin, as we've met so many people who were not blessed with the family life we had growing up.  We talked about our relationships with our Dad and brother.  I asked their advice on how to handle certain situations/people with my in-laws and how to make those relationships work out well.  I talked to them on issues Jim and I have been working through in the time since we've been married. 

We talked about how not to judge other people and shared lessons we have all learned in doing that.  There was really nothing that was off limits.  We were just present to each other; three women in different stages of life and facing different challenges. Honestly it felt like just a heart-felt therapy session with Mom and Annie, and was just what my heart needed.

As I came home and was telling Jim about our day, (and showing him the purchases) this was more than another Black Friday shopping trip for me.  It was a simple, beautiful, grace-filled moment to simply be with some of the people I love most in the world.  I was so blessed by it and am so thankful God has given me these amazingly awesome women who both encourage, support, and challenge me all at the same time in my life.

An iced peppermint mocha, two scones, and 10 hours later...I was excited to that all our Christmas shopping was done, but more importantly I was counting my blessings for these two ladies in my life:)

20 November 2013

Shake it up, baby!

..Twist and shout!
Nothing a little bit o' twisting and shouting with the Beatles to start your Wednesday off!! :)

Two weeks ago, I hosted my women's small group at our house.  I wanted to make a fun fall-ish dessert for our evening together, which also happened to be the first snow of....fall!?
Life in the Midwest, go figure:)

So I whipped up some tasty gingersnap pumpkin milkshakes.....hence the shake it up baby play on words ;-) 

Gingersnap Pumpkin Milkshakes

  • 12-15 small gingersnap cookies
  • 1-1 1/2 pints of vanilla ice cream
  • 1/2 cup of cold skim milk
  • 1 cup of canned pumpkin ( I ended up using the whole can, cause I'm a pumpkin fiend:)
  • 1 tablespoon of cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon of ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon of nutmeg
  • (Optional) Cool Whip topping and gingersnap cookies for scooping/snacking

1// Put gingersnap cookies into blender on high speed until pulverized into fine crumbs

2// Add all the yumminess: pumpkin, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, ice cream, and milk
Blend on high speed until mixture well combined

3// If too thick add more milk...if too thin add a little more ice cream

4// Pour into pretty glasses (cause it makes the shake drinking experience that more enjoyable:) and enjoy the taste of fall!

12 November 2013

Blueberry Buttermilk Pancakes

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, and also happens to be my most favorite type of food to eat.  Growing up I would love it when my Mom would surprise us with breakfast food for dinner.

A few weeks ago, when Jim came home from errands and I told him we were having pancakes for dinner, he looked a little confused...apparently he didn't get the memo in marriage prep class that breakfast food is a totally righteous thing to eat for dinner also;) 

Thankfully, he didn't seem to mind the blueberry buttermilk pancakes I had made.  Apparently they must have been good because I didn't have many left-overs to throw in the freezer for future snacking.

2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp Kosher salt
2 Tablespoons sugar
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1 cup fresh blueberries
2 cups buttermilk
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 lemon, zested

  1. Whisk together dry ingredients in a large bowl
  2. Combine buttermilk, eggs, and lemon zest together in a small bowl
  3. Slowly pour wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, mixing just until combined(batter may be lumpy, that's a-okay)
  4. Fold in the blueberries (I ended up using 1 1/2 cups of blueberries)
  5. Heat a large skillet or griddle over medium-high heat
  6. Spray with non-stick cooking spray 
  7. Ladle 1/3 cup batter onto skillet for each pancake.
  8. Flip when small bubbles appear on the surface and continue cooking until golden brown
  9. Grab some Mrs. Butterworth and chow down

 Nothing like a good hard cider to wash down yummy pancakes ;-)

11 November 2013

I've had some work done...

Okay so I'm not referring to "that type of work", but I have changed things up around here in this space.
For one thing I have changed the name/title/address, whateves you call it of my blog.  Honestly, when I started blogging I just picked some title at random without putting much thought into a name that really reflects me.  So after a skype date session with Jenna aka blogging school, I decided to really switch everything up with a new name, design to reflect it, and TONS of ideas to really help me write better and more intentionally.  I decided on 'a modern grace' because growing up my favorite old movie actress and style icon was Grace Kelly.  I loved her movies (Rear Window is still my favorite!) and read anything I could get my hands on about her life.  This title also reflects my love for things like design/clothing/home decor that I like to call "classy elegance"; but more importantly it reflects my desire to become the woman/wife/sister/friend God wants me to be.  Striving to do this with with a huge dose of grace, class, and at times, a little bit of sass ;-)

It's been a good long time since I have posted here regularly.  The last month has been crazy busy!  My grandpa, Papa died, there have been 2 weekend long retreats in youth ministry land, Jim and I have been busy doing some intensive marriage enrichment, and oh yeah, that 10 page biblical exegesis paper on a few verses of Genesis didn't help much either.

I'm looking forward to writing much more frequently, but also being much more intentional about what/why I write.  The last month away has been good to re-evaluate why exactly do I blog and how I can use this space to be honest, real, and just more of who I am; instead of trying to be like other bloggers or comparing myself to others.
Like all other people who have a blog, at the end of the day, we are all just people behind a screen, and that's been a good reminder for me over these past weeks to think about as I really think about why I blog.
I'm looking forward to this fresh start:)

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