Monday, November 24, 2014

Pre-Thanksgiving Celebration

Hello and Happy Monday! What are you Thanksgiving plans? We are heading down to Sun River for a 4-day Thanksgiving extravaganza and we are so excited! Yesterday, we got to host an early celebration for Dustin's family and Becky before we left for the holiday. We watched football all day and grazed before finally sitting down for a late dinner. Here was what our food lineup looked like (links for recipes provided):

Bar Cart:

Stocked with Irish Coffees, Mimosas, White and Red wine


Cranberry Brie Bites (similar recipe here), Goat Cheese, Pancetta and Honey Crostinis, Teriyaki Meatballs, Veggies, Chips and Dip

Main Course:


Pumpkin and Cherry Pies

Monday, November 17, 2014

Our Weekend

Hello! Here's a picture of a snuggling pup to remind you that today is Monday and we didn't get to sleep in.

Our weekend started with dinner over at our neighbor's house along with another couple that moved in shortly after us. It has been so nice getting to know the folks on our street and we are excited to get together more often!

On Saturday, we went out for coffees and breakfast sandwiches before doing a few Saturday errands. We spent the rest of the day at home, Dustin in the garage and I worked on reorganizing the back two rooms and our kitchen.

Tyler and Marissa stopped over and it was fun catching up with them! Dustin and I then headed out to try a new pizza place that has been recommended to us several times. After that we used Dustin's birthday AMC gift card to go see Gone Girl, so intense! It's been at least a year or so since I've seen a movie in the theatre!

On Sunday, I headed over to Gig Harbor for the day. Becky already has her place put together so it was fun seeing everything in place. We did Costco together, went on a walk and then grazed the rest of the day watching football!

Dustin bbq'ed some ribs last night for dinner and we topped off the weekend with a few more episodes of Criminal Minds. What can I say, we're addicted!

Friday, November 14, 2014

Our Week

Hello and Happy Friday! It's been a really chilly week over here and I've been enjoying the bright sunshine and fall colors on my morning walks with Mya.

How do you like these new pendant lights? I really like them, they are screaming "add white subway tiles" and I might need to listen to them sooner than later.

It's been a really low-key week over here with a fire in the fireplace every night, just how I like it. We had friends over Sunday night for a big dinner which was great and provided enough leftovers for lunch this week! I had happy hour with a good friend and Dustin has been busy wiring and adding light panels to his garage and it's coming along really well.

I've had my eye on this recipe box lately. I finally purchased it and have been working on organizing all of mom's recipes in it. I just love it!

How was your week?

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Butternut Squash Quesadilla

If you are a fan of The Matador, then you might recognize this recipe! I used ingredients listed off of their menu and recreated my favorite dish, their Butternut Squash Quesadilla with Cilantro Lime Sour Cream.

Here's what you'll need:

- 3 cups cubed butternut squash
- 1 sweet onion
- Tortillas
- Monterey Jack cheese
- Goat cheese

For the sour cream:

- 8 ounces sour cream (I purchase this pre-cubed at Costco to make life easy)
- Juice of 1/2 a lime
- 2 tablespoons cilantro paste (or you could chop some up, I couldn't find any fresh cilantro at the store)

Begin by roasting cubed butternut squash and chopped onion, season with salt and pepper. Prepare for your house to smell amazing. Do this by setting your oven to 375 degrees for about 30 minutes.

While the squash and onion are roasting, you can make your sour cream. I used 8 ounces of sour cream, two tablespoons of cilantro paste and the juice of half of a lime. I mixed it all together and set back in the fridge.

When your squash and onions are done, take them out of the oven and start to make your quesadillas!

Over a hot skillet, place your tortilla down and sprinkle a small amount of monterey jack cheese and crumbled goat cheese until melted. Then, add your squash and onion mixture. Cook, flip and cook to your liking!

Serve with your cilantro lime sour cream and a nice margarita!

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

A House, No Longer a Home

The only way I know how to write this 6 month anniversary post is by sharing what has happened over the last few weeks.

4 days before we left for Europe, we received news that someone had placed a generous cash offer on my mom's home. A home where my aunt still lived, where memories were created for 21 years and where mom's belongings still had a place in every room. A home that wasn't going to enter the housing market until spring and a home that I still had time to sort through carefully and thoughtfully, when I was ready.

4 days before Europe, I was alerted via text message about the surprising cash offer and was asked to move my things out before our trip. It was strictly business, no ounce of compassion was conveyed by any of the characters that were spelled out on the screen of my phone.

After chaos settled, emotions were set aside and everyone came to an agreement that we could move our belongings out after our trip. It made the move rushed because time was limited and a closing date was in sight. Sorting, sharing and remembering each belonging was no longer possible. We were on a deadline.

When I would to try to explain how I felt about losing the house so soon, many responses hurt me even more. So I stopped.

"It's just a house."
"Well, it makes sense."
"It was going to sell anyways."
"It's frustrating to tell you such good news and have you react negatively."

The house officially closed last Friday and I am sure the new family has already settled in, enjoyed a few meals and hopefully gathered around the fireplace. Mom's siblings seem to be excited that the "long process" is over. Was that home really more of a pain than a joy for everyone else?

The article I posted yesterday empathized with the emotions I still struggle with and made me realized that the house is another gigantic loss and another hole that cannot be filled. However, she mentions that these problems are no longer at the top of everyone's mind. Can I blame others and be mad at them? I want to, but I can't.

I could continue to babble on, but want to keep this post short. Hopefully, it gives you a glimpse into the life of someone who is still mourning months or even years after a loved one has passed. Maybe you can consider placing another person's problem at the top of your mind for a few minutes. Maybe you can even relate?

6 months down, many more to go.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Words That Aren't My Own

9 Things I Learned in the Year after my Mother Passed.
By: Alyssa Samson

It was a Sunday. November 3, 2013 inflicted a wound like none other, reaching inside of me and tearing out what was left of my beating heart. It was the day I shattered to a million pieces without a hope in the world to piece it back together.

It was the day I lost my mother.

I’m not sure how one describes the jumble of emotions, the racket of wailings or the enduring isolation that follows when a mother passes. The very fabric of life seems to buckle and cave in from the sheer burden of it all. Sense no longer works as a blanket of indifference that separates you from the raw emotions and delight of life.

Breathing is an effort. Organs go on strike. And then, life lurches forward with a momentum so strong that it defies physics. Suddenly, I found myself lost and alone, suffocating in a world of white noise.

It didn’t matter if I was in a crowd of people or surrounded by those I had left. I felt a visceral separation and an undercurrent of another seething emotion.

I was angry. That day had taken my biggest supporter and my number-one fan from me, and I wanted to give up. Words fail to exhaustively articulate the painful parting of mother and daughter… or having to write your mother’s eulogy at age 24… or the knowledge that you’ll never hear her voice again.

Or, the desperation of listening to every voicemail you ever saved on repeat, just to capture a last lingering moment with her.

Losing someone so significant, inspirational and influential is an experience no textbook or novel could begin to teach me to comprehend. Now, as a year without her approaches, I count my moments by breaths and no longer by hours or minutes.

As I look back on the breaths I have survived, struggling to cross that bridge of adversity and pain, I have figured out how to survive. Here’s what I’ve learned:

I learned the world won’t stop for you.

There are many days that still leave me defeated, but life isn’t a video game. You can’t pause the moment or rewind time; you are not given an infinite number of lives.

You are given one life, and the world will continue to move on, despite the fact you may feel like your whole world has stopped. The only way to heal is to keep moving.

I learned your troubles will not always be at the forefront of everyone else’s mind.

When you are fighting your own internal battles, it seems surreal when no one else notices the torment raging just below your surface. You may feel as though you are screaming and railing against the bars of life, but still, no one will hear you.

Through this experience, I learned people will move on quicker than you will. Sympathy is fleeting when you are not the one with an injured wing — and that’s okay.

I learned love knows no boundaries.

I used to fear that moving away from those I loved most would hinder my relationships and somehow fade with physical distance. Now, I fear the unrequited stream of communication with the person I love most will cause those precious memories to slip through my fingers, like a wisp of smoke.

But love — unconditional love, at that — knows no boundaries; it will never be lost, regardless of the distance in time and space.

I learned that though people can’t be replaced, you can still find peace.

Justifying death can put you on a journey with a revolving door. It is endless and forever spinning. No amount of begging, crying or yelling could possibly right the wrong you feel.

While it will take a lifetime to recover from the emptiness I feel, I have taken a step down the path of self-preservation to find peace within myself.

I learned there is strength in perception.
You could spend years wondering why the world chose to plague you with misery and misfortune or you can pick up your head and see the heartbreak around you. Someone else may be willing to give everything to have the gifts you overlook in your own life.

When sadness and despair begin to close in around me, I find myself redirecting those thoughts to others who are struggling elsewhere. Reevaluating the negatives in your life with a different perspective can often bring you a step closer toward reconciliation.

I learned to be grateful for what you still have.

The happiest people are those who value what they have rather than focusing on what they lack. How can you appreciate the good without the bad? If you lost something or someone dear to you, take a moment to appreciate everything you still have within reach, regardless of how big or small.

I learned you still have control in your life.
Understanding you have control over your emotions and actions is the first step toward overcoming any obstacle.

You may not be able to change everything that happens to you in life, but you can change how you react and behave in challenging situations and the direction you choose next.

I learned adversity isn’t an excuse to give up.

Motivation. Dreams. Goals. Focusing on forward movement will not only keep you from remaining stuck in the past, but also help to purify your thoughts.

In the end, after you overcome those struggles, you can look back to see the strength in your pain. You can rarely recover what you lost, but you still have everything to gain.

I learned it’s never truly goodbye, only see you later.

I know in my heart my mother will never be gone, even when I’m aging in my rocking chair. As the one person in my life who is irreplaceable, I know she will always be there. So, it is not goodbye, just see you later — until next time.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014


Sometimes the right things simply come to you at the right time.

It's been a challenging few weeks as I am preparing to say good-bye to something that I am not ready to let go of quite yet.

It's been mentally, physically and emotionally exhausting. I feel like I am stuck in the first week of grief and anger.

I'll be ready to talk more about it soon, but for now I leave you with this devotion from my Jesus Calling app.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014


via SMP

I really want a plant, similar to the ones shown above. Does anyone know where to get one? And while I am adding things to my never-ending wish list, I will take that rug too!