Tuesday, July 31, 2012

How I Make That Money Honey Link Up

Today I am linking up with Lindsey over at The Bargain Blonde for the how I Make That Money Honey Link up.  This link up is all about what you do for the daily grind, your real life job.  I love getting to find out about the girl behind the blog and about everyone's actual "real lives".  So here you go.
Growing up in youth group at church I had the opportunity to travel on several summer mission trips to work with kids.  We traveled to places like Jacksonville, FL, Charleston, SC, West Palm Beach, and Memphis, TN.  I found a passion for working with underprivileged kids and knew that I wanted to help others when I grew up, specifically kids.  For me, it just clicked that this was my calling.  That paired with my passion for helping and encouraging others pointed me in the direction of some sort of counseling.  

I ended up graduating as valedictorian with a BA in Psychology and minors in Spanish and Sociology.  This catapulted me into my career path.  In order to be a counselor you have to have a Master's degree.  I ended up getting a fellowship to study School Counseling at UNC Charlotte, my hometown where Brandon just happened to get an Engineering job after we graduated.  It was meant to be. 

I finished my Master's in School Counseling in May of 2011 and began the job hunt.  I ended up getting a job as a middle school counselor.  I just finished my first year counseling and I absolutely love it.  I get to work with students on academic, personal, social, and emotional concerns.  I speak to kids about issues ranging from friendship to suicide and self-mutilation.  My job is never boring and I feel like I am making a difference on a daily basis.  

I never thought middle school was the age group for me, but I love them.  They are in their own special world with unique issues.  Plus, a perk to working in the school is that I get summers off, Praise Jesus!  After working with middle school issues for 10 months, I definitely needed a break.  I am looking forward to continuing to grow my counseling skills and make a difference in kids' lives. 

Sunday, July 29, 2012

We Heart the Olympics

I am so excited that the Olympics are here!  I love getting to watch all of the different sports that are not normally televised or the most popular.  These athletes are so amazing and talented and I truly admire them.  It is so awesome how one activity can bring the world together in a unified way.  I wish every day life could be like that.  I share my excitement for the Olympics with lots of friends and we got to share that love on Friday night for the Opening Ceremonies.  Our friends threw an Opening Ceremonies party, complete with dressing up.  It was so fun to cheer on the USA and welcome the games.  Personally, I thought the Opening Ceremonies were a little strange, but hey only my opinion.  We had a great time with friends and got to wear some pretty sweet shirts.  Even Brandon's broken ankle got festive :)   P.S. sorry for the photo quality, they are all from my phone

USA Badminton Team

The torch and the runner

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Good Enough To Eat: Garlic Pesto Chicken and Tomato Cream Penne

I found this recipe on Pinterest and it just looked so delicious I had to try it.  Since I am off of work for the summer I have a lot more time to plan meals and cook and this recipe looked like a good one to try.  It was easy to make and really delicious!  We ended up with leftovers, which is always a good thing.  

For the chicken:
1/2 bottle of Herb and Garlic Marinade (I used the store brand instead of Lawry's and it tasted wonderful)
2 large spoonfuls of Pesto
Chicken tender cutlets (you can use chicken breasts and cut them into strips, but buying the strips is easier)

For the pasta:
Whole grain/whole wheat penne
2 tablespoons of olive oil
3 cloves of garlic- minced
2 spoonfuls of pesto
1/2 cup of chicken broth (about half a can)
8 ounces of tomato sauce (I used Ragu Sweet Tomato Basil)
1 cup of half and half 

How to make it:
Mix the marinade and pesto.
Place the raw chicken in a large ziploc and cover with the marinade/pesto mixture
Marinate for half a day or more 

Once the chicken is done marinating, you are ready to put the meal together.  

Start the water and boil the penne.

While the water and penne is boiling, pour the entire marinade and chicken into a skillet and cook the chicken fully.

Heat the olive oil in a separate pot and cook the garlic. 
Add 2 spoonfuls of pesto to the olive oil/garlic mixture.
Add in the chicken broth and simmer until half has cooked off.  
Pour in tomato sauce and then add half and half.
Simmer sauce mixture until it thickens a little (5-7 minutes).  
If the sauce needs to be thicker add a little flour.  

Once sauce is thickened, toss with penne.  Serve chicken on top of pasta.  Enjoy!! 

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

If You Really Knew Me...

I have seen several of these posts floating around the blogging world and I thought it would be a fun thing to join.  So here ya go!

If You Really Knew Me, You Would Know...

...I am the most indecisive person on the planet.
 I think it is a woman's trait in my family.  Get us together and we can't make a decision to save our lives.  It goes like this..."Hey, where do you want to eat?  Oh, it doesn't matter to me, you choose.  No, you choose."

...I hate vegetables.  
Seriously, the only vegetables I like are spinach leaves (like in a salad) and butternut squash (does that even count as a vegetable??)

...I love reggaeton, especially when I am working out.
Nothing gets me more pumped up while running than a little PitBull.  It brings out my gangsta side.

...I love speaking Spanish.
I have a minor in Spanish and studied abroad in Peru.  I love when I have an opportunity to speak it.  

...I am very sensitive.
I will cry at the drop of a hat.

...I hate taking my shoes off in a dressing room.  
I always try to stand on top of my shoes because the dressing room floors freak me out with all their germs and nastiness.

...I am a tomboy at heart.
I grew up playing softball and basketball and I love getting outside and doing adventurous things.  I don't get the opportunity enough.

...I am a hopeless romantic. 
Anything about love makes me melt.

If You Really Knew Him, You Would Know...

...He is the most patient person I have ever met.
He balances me out because I have the patience of a two year old.

...He will make up a song about anything.
He will walk around the house singing about a pot if you asked him to.  Hilarious.

...He spoils our puppy way more than I do.
I'm concerned for when we actually have human children.

...He is a nerd at heart.
He grew up playing in chess tournaments and was 2nd in the state at one point.

...Like any man, he loves watching football.
Every Sunday during football season is consumed with endless hours of football games.

...He has a knack for making people laugh and feel comfortable.
He will instantly be your friend.

...He makes the best french toast.
Every Christmas, chef Brandon cooks up a french toast feast.  Nom Nom.

Monday, July 16, 2012


Let this be my declaration this week.  When we face troubles, the Lord is by our side.  He always comes through.  He has so much more for me than what and who was in the past.  Declaring this to myself today.  I will not fear, for my help is on the way. 

Friday, July 13, 2012

Friday's Letters

Dear Brando,  I am praying that your broken ankle heals quickly so that you can enjoy doing fun things again.   Being a hob-along is no fun for either of us.  Dear Piper, stop being such a hermit and come out of your kennel and play with me.  I am seriously considering getting you a puppy sibling to draw you out again. I miss your cuddles and cuteness. Dear house, please decorate yourself because I don't have enough patience, decision making skills, or money to do so.  I'm gonna need you to look like you belong on HGTV.  K?  Thanks.  Dear summer, please slow your roll.  You are going by way to fast for my liking.  I am not ready to deal with middle school drama yet.  Dear Ikea, thanks for putting our fave furniture line on sale this weekend.  Maybe I can get started on  decorating my guest bedroom after all.    Dear Diet, You are not working!!  I have worked out every single day this week and cut out sweet tea and dessert and fat and yumminess only to lose a grand total of 0.00 lbs.  Come on, at least give me a tenth of a pound.  Dear Piper (again),  I love that you talk to us (see video below).  You are seriously adorbsDear hubby (again),  I am seriously a blessed woman to be married to you.  Just thought you should know. 

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Get Crafty

I am in the thick of summer vacation and loving it, but sometimes I get bored.  Yesterday, I made the decision to tap into my crafty side.  I've been wanting to make a wreath for months now.  First, it was a fall wreath, then spring, and now it's summer and I still have no wreath.  Well gosh darn it, I needed a wreath.  I set out to Pinterest to look for inspiration last week and came up with a vague idea of what I wanted to do.  I knew I wanted to incorporate bright colors and handmade rosettes of some sort.  I couldn't decide if I wanted to do a fabric wrapped wreath or a yarn wrapped one.  I ultimately settled on yarn.  I am really thrilled with how it turned out!  I feel so accomplished when I complete a project.

Wreath- I got a wrapped straw wreath from AC Moore for less than $3
1 Skein of Yarn
Glue Gun and sticks
Fabric or felt to make your rosettes
Ribbon to use for hanging

How to:
1. Wrap your wreath with the yarn.  It doesn't have to be perfect the first time you go around.  I went back around to cover up holes that I missed the first time.  Make sure you start by gluing the end of the yarn on the back of wreath.  Once you finish, glue the other end down as well.

2. Once your wreath is completely wrapped, begin to make your decorations.  I made fabric and felt rosettes using this Tutorial.  

3. Embelish your wreath.  I chose to put them on the lower "corner" in a cluster, but you can do it any way you want.  Pinterest has a ton of ideas.  You also want to add your ribbon to hang it by.  

4.  Voila!  You have yourself a pretty summery wreath.  

What crafts have you all been doing this summer??


Monday, July 9, 2012

Feeling It

To be honest and transparent with you all, I have to admit that I have not been in a good place emotionally for the last couple of weeks.  Lots of things have happened and my emotions were put in a tailspin.  For starters, Brandon broke his ankle, my mom was in the hospital for 6 days (very scary), I once again am dealing with old hurts being brought back up, etc, etc.  Now, this is not to wallow in self-pity, but simply to let you all know where this post is coming from.  I think inspiration can come from even the most painful moments.

I, like many women, wear my heart on my sleeve.  Being a counselor, I feel very connected and cognizant of my emotional state, which only intensifies things more.  While going through all of this I began to think about the line between emotional intensity and the need to turn things over to the Lord.  I think the Lord gives us emotions for a reason.  They help us make decisions, help us protect ourselves, teach us lessons, and make us vulnerable.  With that being said, I think a lot of Christians think that whenever something happens we can just give it over to the Lord and never look back.  That the feelings of the situation are no long warranted.  While it is true that the Lord does take our weights and makes us new, I don’t think we can just forget about the way we feel.  

As human beings, especially as good Southern girls, we try to conceal our pain and put on a front that everything is always ok.  We say “oh I’m fine” with that smile that we think hides everything.  As I moved through the emotional roller coaster that was the past two weeks or so, I realized that I need to give myself permission to feel it.  Our feelings are justified by our circumstances, whether or not another person would react the same way or not.  I did lay the circumstances at the feet of the Lord, but that doesn’t mean that I instantly felt okay.  Less burdened?  Yes.  But the pain was still there.  Just because we ask God to guide us through a circumstance does not take the hurt away.  As we move through a situation our emotions change and eventually the Lord gives us new perspective.  I think the Lord wants us to feel our emotions because they make us weak and the Lord can use the weak.  When the Lord works through the weak, nobody else gets the credit except Him.

I don’t know about you, but I am giving myself permission to feel it.  When I feel it, I know specifically how to pray and how to let the Lord work in my life.  That’s the beauty in the pain.  We move forward and see new vision…eventually.        

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

It's a Wrap

Recently, I have really gotten into making wraps. While in San Diego I had a delicious spinach wrap and it inspired me to make my own. They are a healthy lunch or dinner option and you can customize them however you want. Here are a couple that I have enjoyed this summer. 

Spinach Salad Wrap:
Ingredients: Spinach wrap
                       Spinach leaves
                       Grapes (or you could substitute cranberries)
                       Chopped walnuts or pecans
                       Cheese crumbles (I use goat cheese)
                       Dressing of your choice (I like Balsamic Vin. or Lite Ranch)

Toss all of the ingredients with your dressing and wrap 'em up!

Buffalo Chicken Wrap:
Ingredients: Spinach Wraps
                       Shredded chicken breast
                       4 TBSP Frank's Red Hot Sauce
                       1/2 tsp. italian seasoning
                       Ranch Dressing (I used Lite)
                       Shredded cheddar cheese
                       Spinach leaves

Boil the chicken breasts and shred.  Toss chicken with hot sauce and italian seasoning.  Heat wraps in microwave for 20 seconds (put a paper towel between wraps on plate to keep moist).  Put ranch dressing on wrap.  Add spinach leaves and chicken.   Top with cheese.  Enjoy!

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