Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Unbroken Movie

If you haven’t read the book, Unbroken, you are in big trouble! You need to go out and get it ASAP. It’s currently being made into a movie and will be released late this year. It’s a heartbreaking and inspiring story of courage, perseverance, and forgiveness that can’t be missed.  Quick! Put this on your must-read list this year and get to it! I wrote a blog entry about this book once before, but today I saw this video about the upcoming movie and it reminded me how much this book moved and inspired me.

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Sunday, September 29, 2013

Halloween Wreath

The temperatures are dropping and my candy cravings are starting to increase. That can mean only one thing…it’s time for the holiday season to begin! To me October signifies the beginning of the magic—Halloween, pumpkin treats, turkey, and of course Christmas delight. We finally made it, so I decided to do a Halloween wreath to kick things off.

All you need for this spooky wreath is:
  • Grapevine wreath
  •  Black spray-paint
  • 3 sheets of orange felt
  • Ribbon
  • Glue gun
  • Raven or spider
  • Black jewels or beads (optional)
I spray-painted the wreath black and then used this tutorial to make the felt flowers.  Once I created all the flowers, I positioned them on the wreath and then glued them on with hot glue. Easy as pie! The raven and jewels were just a little touch that helped bring it all together. I love it!

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Throw Blankets

I decided to work on my crochet skills so I attempted a few afghans blankets. They were really fun to make. I made the blue and white blanket for my dear friend, Angela’s baby boy, and I made the grey and yellow afghan to match the color scheme in my master bedroom. I decided to go with wide stripes to make it a bit more modern. Now I just need another reason to make one. Anyone need a new blanket?

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Fearless and Lone Survivor

I read two books recently that I just can’t stop thinking about. They are powerful, heartbreaking, and make you oh so proud to call yourself an American. Both books are about Navy Seals and their experiences in training and combat. These men (and their families) are incredible. I am amazed at their strength, perseverance, and dedication to our country. I’m so grateful a friend recommended these books to me, and I just had to share. Both of them are a must read!

Fearless by Eric Blehm
The story of Adam Brown is truly inspiring. The book takes you through Adam’s early life, personal struggles, and eventual triumph to become a Navy SEAL. I enjoyed that the book included perspective and insight from Adam’s wife and family. The sacrifices they made and the support they gave him are incredible, and his devotion to faith, family, and country are inspirational. Keep the tissues close at hand when reading this one. An inspirational and touching story!

Lone Survivor by Marcus Luttrell and Patrick Robinson

An amazing story about amazing men. I’m in awe of the Navy SEAL’s—all they do and all they sacrifice to protect our country. The book includes a thorough description of the training to become a Navy SEAL. It was really eye opening and made me realize how much these men go through to become the best. The description of the mission is heartbreaking and inspiring. If you aren’t already obsessed with/in awe of the Navy SEAL’s, you certainly will be after reading this book. 

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Bunny Book Club

Gigi loves bookshelves. She enjoys hanging out on or under the shelves. I like to think it’s because she loves books as much as her mother does, but it probably has something to do with the burrow-esqe qualities of the bookshelf.

However, the other day I walked into the office and she had taken a book off the shelf and was investigating it on the floor. Now remember, she doesn’t have thumbs, so I was quite impressed. And it’s not like she just tore all the books off the shelf, but she picked just one. She was just sitting there, turning the pages with her mouth and doing some nibbling on the edges. What was Gigi’s first book selection, you ask? To Kill A Mockingbird—a classic! Oprah would be so proud! After I got over the fact that she was eating my book, I was so proud of her for choosing such a great read! Luckily it was just a paperback, so I’ve let it become her new “toy.” It’s hilarious to watch her turn the pages. I think next I’ll “introduce” her to Alice in Wonderland or Watership Down...something she can really relate to.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

A Carb Lovers Dream

I love a good sweet treat, but my true weakness are the carbs. I’m a sucker for bread, pasta, and more bread. Is it a coincidence that Italy is my favorite place? I think not!
Well, ever since I got this beauty for my birthday last year…

 I’ve been obsessed with making the perfect homemade bread. I tried out several recipes over the past couple of years, but I really like this one I found on Allrecipes.com. I now try to make homemade bread as often as my time and waistline will allow. Oh, and did I mention I like to pair it with homemade cinnamon-honey butter? It’s pretty much a mouthful of heaven. I had to share the recipes. Carb-lovers unite and enjoy!

Homemade White Bread

Adapted from Allrecipes.com

  •  3 cups warm water
  • 3 tablespoons active dry yeast
  •  3 teaspoons salt
  • 4 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 8 cups bread flour

  1. In a large mixing bowl, combine warm water and yeast and let yeast dissolve.
  2. Add salt, oil, sugar, and 4 cups flour to water and yeast mixture. Mix thoroughly, and let sponge rise until doubled in size (about 30-45 minutes).
  3. Gradually add about 3 - 4 cups flour, kneading until smooth. Place dough in a greased bowl, and turn several times to coat. Cover with a damp cloth. Allow to rise until doubled.
  4. Punch down the dough, let it rest a few minutes.
  5. Divide dough into three equal parts. Shape into loaves, and place in three 8 1/2 x 4 1/2 inch greased bread pans. Let rise until almost doubled.
  6. Bake at 350 degrees F for 35 to 45 minutes. The loaves may need to be covered for the last few minutes with foil to prevent excess browning.

 Cinnamon-Honey Butter
(copycat Texas Roadhouse butter)

  •  2 sticks of butter softened
  • 1 cup honey
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 tsp. cinnamon

  • Combine all ingredients.
  • Whip together in a mixer or with a hand-mixer until it’s smooth like butter. :)

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Pineapple Lemonade

I love all things lemon. I don’t care for soda, so lemonade is my fountain drink of choice. It is oh so delish to me! Imagine my delight when I found a tropical version of lemonade. Introducing…Pineapple Lemonade! Ta da! I made this for my sister’s baby shower, and I’ve been loving it ever since. It’s incredibly refreshing, and it makes me feel/wish that I was sitting on a beach in Bora Bora.

Pineapple Lemonade 

·         2 cups Country Time lemonade mix*
·         1 (64oz) bottle Pineapple Juice, chilled

·         3/4 of a 2 Liter bottle of Sprite, chilled

·         2 cups cold water

·         lemon slices and ice (opt)

Combine all ingredients together in a large punch bowl. Add lemon slices and ice. Serve!

This is the recipe for a larger group, but you can also make a glassful for yourself by using ¾ of a glass of lemonade, a quarter cup of pineapple juice, a dash of Sprite, and lots of ice. I know you will love it!

* P.S. I highly recommend the lemon-lemonade kind, and not the pink lemonade. As a very wise fellow lemonade-lover once told me, “When’s the last time you saw a pink lemon?”

Saturday, April 20, 2013

AZ Bloosoms

Number 33 on my travel bucket list is visiting the cherry blossom festival in Washington D.C. I just missed it this year, so instead I’ll have to just enjoy the Arizona equivalent—palo verde bloosoms—from my back yard. They aren't cherry blossoms, but I still love them!