lovely things: weekend edition

This weekend we stayed home.

After a summer of going, going, going…it was nice to relax at home without weddings and long car rides.

Here are a few things that I found lovely:

(most links and pictures found on tumblr)

1. I woke up this morning & was so thankful for our apartment.

We live close to school / both of our jobs, and I always feel safe in our apartment complex.

I love that even though we’re renting, and planning on leaving Phoenixville in the near future, we have still made it a home.

A beautiful, cozy, love-filled home.

APARTMENT1

APARTMENT2*Please note the water stain from falling asleep with wet shower hair*

APARTMENT3

APARTMENT4

2. Milo.

He gives me so much joy, and I like to talk to him over breakfast. He really is the sweetest.

Milo not only likes to eat Life cereal, but also enjoys:

– sweet tea

– ice cream

– crunchy leaves

MILO LIFE

He fell asleep with his little paw on my foot.

milo sleeping

3. I’ve been working out at the YMCA pretty regularly, and needed new music to keep me motivated. Every song on this playlist is gold.

4. Pomplamoose.

 

5. Flowers.

I wish my flowers had really bloomed, but there’s always next summer.

flowers

6. Riptide // Vance Joy

7. Caleb and I “babysit” for a single dad that has a 17 year old son. We basically hang out with the kid, and watch the game show network; it’s a really sweet deal. Last night we made dinner, watched t.v., and had ice cream.

I’m thankful for random babysitting jobs, and seemingly spontaneous provision.

God definitely always knows what we need, even before we do.

ice cream

8. This dog. It almost makes me want to buy a puppy.

9. Finally, babies.

I go through moments when I don’t ever want children (mostly because I’m scared, and the thought of motherhood gives me anxiety), and moments when my baby fever is at an all time high.

This weekend I really just wanted to hold a baby.

I wanted to smell that clean baby smell, and wrap a little bean in a soft Ikea blanket.

Am I super weird for wanting that?

Because I am not pregnant (and will hopefully stay that way), I settled for adorable pictures of babies on tumblr. Here are two of my favorites:

baby baby 2

Photo Credit: Love & Squalor

Basically everything Lindsey Ocker does is beautiful.

I really am a sucker for good photography (if I could choose any other profession besides teaching, it would most likely be photography).

baby babyPhoto Credit: (www.katiepurnell.com)

Katie Purnell is wonderful as well.

What are some things that made your weekend lovely?

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just another shameless Parks & Recreation reference.

I really love Leslie Knope.

I think my issue with making friends stems from what I like to call my Leslie Knopespectations. I want to find people that are passionate about me & the things that mean the most in my life. Passionate in the way that they care about the little things I say, and make me waffles all of the time. I want a friend that remembers my birthday weeks in advance, and throws a party suited just for me.

A part of me really wants to be locked in a room with my favorite movie, a steak, and a glass of Riesling. On the other hand, I’d love a bouncy house, and to be called a beautiful tropical fish.

A part of me is Ron Swanson.

 A part of me is Ann Perkins.

And sometimes, when I’m at the gym, I like to work out on the treadmill and pretend I’m Chris Traeger.

But more than anything, I want to be a Leslie Knope.

I want to be just as: kind, caring, intelligent, strong, persistent, and passionate.

And I want to be that friend that is passionate about other people, and throws them unforgettable birthday bashes.

Today I found this, which was the inspiration for this post:

 

As this summer comes to a close, Senior Year is fast approaching.

Hopefully, by the time 2016 rolls around, I’ll have my teaching degree, and we’ll be getting ready to say goodbye to: America, the YMCA, our tiny (yet perfect) apartment on Parkview Drive, friends, family, and possibly our cat.

We’ll say hello to: traveling, Korea, lesson planning, English Language Learners, an even tinier apartment, hard days, lonely days, adventure-filled days, and strange squid treats from the Family Mart across the street.

In all of this I want to be excellent.

I want to be the friendliest American in Seoul / Busan / whichever city we are assigned to.

I want to make my students feel inspired, significant, and empowered.

And I so desperately want to make some sort of impact, wherever I go.

At the same time, how does one accomplish this? How would someone like me, become the Leslie Knope of whatever endeavor I am currently pursuing?

 I think the key is not wasting time on meaningless things, yet still finding meaning in the ordinary. It’s about knowing when to say “yes,” and knowing when to say, “I need a break. Get out.” Not everything/everyone deserves my time and my devotion, and that’s okay.

I’ve come to terms with the fact that I am not good at everything (the perfectionist inside of me is screaming right now), but I will put the time and effort into perfecting what I do excel in.

Writing. Reading. Teaching.

I’ll even try things again and again, despite obvious and disappointing failures.

Knitting. Crocheting. Exercising. Baking a custard.

It’s not about perfection, but about putting in 100% even when you know there’s a great chance that things will crash and burn. Literally.

What do you want to be the Leslie Knope of? What does that mean to you?

tuesday

Happy happy Tuesday.

I hope your day has been as great as this cover of “Stars Fell On Alabama,” by Daniela Andrade & Hanbyul Kang.

Daniela is one of my favorite singers in this whole wide world.

Her cover of “Creep” is also pretty rad.

Today I spent a day with some of my favorite littles, and I heated up our very first freezer meal!

Chunky Chili. I hate the name, but it sure is tasty.

I took it out this morning, and defrosted it in the fridge. When I got home from work, I put it in a pot, and it heated up in about 20 minutes!

It tasted great, and we were able to share it with our good friend Sam. Even better.

I leave you with “The Moon Song.” Another one of my favorites. 🙂

-K

Fabada

soup

 When Caleb and I first started dating, one thing we both agreed upon was our love for soup.

Soup is a beautiful thing.

During my first (and also last) semester at Elim Bible Institute, Thursday (or was it Tuesday…) was designated as “Soup Day.” Everyone would line up after chapel, grab a bowl, pick a soup, and choose a piece of stale, yet delicious, bread. I loved soup then, and I love it now.

Soup played a big part in our lives during our run in with the “Clean Diet.” That pesky little thing that took every good and perfect food out of our diet, and the other food that we were allowed to eat was made into soup.  Hearty soups became a thing of the past, and soup no longer gave me the joy it once did.  I almost lost hope in soup…almost.

However, there are times when you come across a soup recipe that is so delectable it makes you wish you had a never ending soup pot. Kind of like the pasta pot in Strega Nona, but one that doesn’t cover an entire town in pasta.

This was that soup.

When we made our freezer meals this past weekend, Caleb was unsure about how it would turn out so we only made it once. Now I wish we had doubled the recipe. Nay, tripled.

Spicy Sausage & Bean Soup / “Fabada” (modified)

  • 8 cups Chicken Stock 
  • 1 can Lima Beans
  • 1 can Cannellini Beans
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped 
  • 4 ounces Polska Kielbasa, sliced
  • 4 Spicy Italian Sausages, sliced
  • 8 Bacon Strips, diced
  • Pinch of dried thyme 
  • Salt & Pepper to taste
  • A couple handfuls of Orzo Pasta

1. Dice the bacon strips, and cook them in a large stock pot until crispy.

2. Remove the bacon from the stock pot, and add the Italian Sausage. Cook until brown & remove from pot.

3.  Add the onion and kielbasa, sprinkle with thyme, salt & pepper, and cook until the onions are soft.

4. Pour in the stock, beans, bacon pieces, and Italian Sausage. Bring to a boil, add the Orzo pasta, and lower the heat & simmer for half an hour – forty five minutes. 

5. Add more salt & pepper to taste.

Because the soup ended up being a little too watery, we also made a roux, and added it to the soup. We let it simmer on low for an extra 20 minutes, and the soup thickened up.

Because we used canned lima beans and cannellini beans, we were able to significantly reduce the cooking time, and since the kielbasa was already cooked, we cooked it just until it was crispy. The italian sausage gave the soup the spicy kick it needed, and was balanced out by the salty kielbasa. The bacon, of course, needs no explanation.

Caleb added the Orzo Pasta, which was also a great addition. You can add more or less pasta, depending on how adventurous you’re feeling that day.

I have never enjoyed cold soups, and while this would probably be labeled as a “winter soup,” it was perfect for a sleepy Sunday afternoon.

So, live a little. Go enjoy some soup.

xo

-Kelly

that time we made all the dinners

Because we’ve been so busy this summer with work and traveling, we were somehow able to put off buying groceries for a whole month. That’s right, a month. We’ve saved money, but this past week, things got a little desperate.

On Tuesday, I used the last pound of venison that was in our freezer, the rest of the potatoes that were shriveling up in the bottom drawer, and the two lonely eggs hanging out in their carton. Wednesday, we came home, sat on our couch, and after a few too many episodes of Family Ties, realized we hadn’t eaten dinner, and it was almost 9 p.m. I ate cereal. Caleb ate the last piece of meatloaf drenched in ketchup.

After a burger and fries from Sonic, I decided that we needed a change. Not only did we need to buy groceries, but I needed to find the motivation to cook. It’s easy to say that I’ll make time to prep crock pot meals before we leave for work in the morning, but let’s be real – waking up a half hour early is easier said than done. It’s awesome to think that I’ll want to cook something other than eggs and toast when we get home from work, but the only thing I want to do is curl up next to Milo and talk about his day.

That being said, we decided to try freezer meals.

Usually, if I want to know how to do something related to the home/kitchen, I start with Google and/or Pinterest. So that’s what I did. I discovered the Happy Money Saver Blog, and her post about making 50 freezer meals in one day. I could totally do thisI thought. So I did. *Correction* We did. Caleb did all of the dishes. 🙂

We started by picking a few recipes that we wanted to try, including a couple that blogger Karrie listed in her post.

Recipes: 

– Honey Lime Chicken (3)

– Honey Glazed Pork Chops (2)

– Corn & Zucchini Queso Chowder (1)

– Chunky Chili (2)

Spicy Sausage & Bean Soup (1)

After a trip to Aldi, a broken burner, and three hours of cooking later, we cooked enough for at least a week of meals. We usually have leftovers because we don’t eat as much as a family of four would, so they will most likely last us a bit longer, or at least provide us with some lunches. The number next to each recipe signifies how many times we multiplied the recipe. Caleb was unsure about the Corn & Zucchini Queso Chowder and the Spicy Sausage & Bean Soup, so we only made each soup once. This is what our freezer currently looks like:

 Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

While we didn’t make fifty meals (I thought it might be a bit much for our first try), I’m really happy that we tried it, and that “making dinner” will be as easy as picking out a meal, and defrosting it/putting it in the slow cooker.

Hopefully the Corn & Zucchini Queso Chowder keeps well, and tastes good once we defrost it. Someone commented that freezing a milk based soup turns out grainy, and just didn’t work.

Ultimately, I think this is definitely something that I want to do again; especially once classes start up again, and I have even less time and energy. Three hours, of what is essentially prep work on a Saturday afternoon, is nothing compared to having to do the same prep work after a long day at work. It’s totally and completely worth it. It also helps to have a hardworking husband that is willing to follow you around with a sponge, and clean up spilled flour and dirty dishes.

If any of you have tried freezing meals – – – did it work for you?

What are some of your favorite recipes?

the final wedding

I am all wedding-ed out.

Thankfully, the three weddings I was a part of were lovely.

  • lovely brides
  • lovely grooms
  • lovely cakes
  • lovely scenery
  • lovely love

This past weekend, I celebrated the wedding day of one of my dearest friends, Elizabeth. We met during our first year of college, and quickly became buddies; bonding over shrimp cocktail, and our mutual love for Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman. In all honesty, it was more our love for Joe Lando/the tomahawk wielding Sully that brought us together. Please. Watch this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o5h052g5-Rs Elizabeth is one of the kindest, most genuine souls I am privileged to know, and while I wish I could have done a million times more to relieve her stress this past Sunday, I am honored to have played the role of bridesmaid. I am honored because she is:

  • constant
  • supportive
  • encouraging
  • hilarious
  • understanding
  • able to answer my medical questions because she is a nurse
  • also, this:

we took turns wrapping ourselves in my comforter because it was like sleeping in a cloud.

 Rare are the friendships that can be set down for a semester of college classes, and picked up again over a panini at Panera Bread. Far and few between are those that remain silent due to busy schedules, marriages, and distance, yet lend an encouraging word or a listening ear in a moment’s notice.

This is Elizabeth.

liz 1

She was also an incredibly beautiful bride.

 

liz 2

I have come to the realization that I love…love. I didn’t shed a tear on my own wedding day, but standing at the altar next to Katie, then Meredith, and finally, Elizabeth, my heart was akin to a bowl of maple & brown sugar oatmeal. I have also discovered that what I love most about weddings now is not what I loved when I first became obsessed with all things bridal.

I used to spend hours avoiding homework, swooning over pictures of wedding dresses, and engagement rings. I vowed never to wear strapless. I didn’t. No regrets. I thought constantly about bridesmaids dresses, wedding venues, and the timeless debate between indoor and outdoor ceremonies. Wedding photography became a troubling obsession. I hated sepia. I still kind of do.

After being a bride, and now a bridesmaid three times over, my favorite part is the vows. Yes, I still love bouquets, dresses, and first dances, but what I have loved the most about each wedding this summer is watching three of my closest friends vow their love, respect, and devotion to their significant others.

My first year of marriage has been one of the most wonderful and fulfilling years of my life thus far, yet I know that years to come will not be as calm. Times will be rough. Times when I think to myself, “why did I marry this man that just ate my last cheese danish?” (I only say this because I just ate our last cheese danish)

The times when the vows become the most significant, I feel, will be when giving up seems to be the best option. When I think to myself, “I deserve something better, and I don’t want to try any harder than this.”

These are the times when I will need to cling on to the phrase “I choose you.”

And this is why I love vows. I want to believe that love can be eternal, and couples are still willing to choose love, and to fight for it. I want to believe that love can still be as exciting and exhilarating 20 years down the road, as it was when Caleb first saw me that night at Applebee’s, and when I finally noticed him that night at the vending machine. And I want to believe that e.e. cummings’ words will always ring true for not only me, but for my three newly married friends as well.

i carry your heart with me(i carry it in
my heart)i am never without it(anywhere
i go you go,my dear;and whatever is done
by only me is your doing,my darling)
                                                      i fear
no fate(for you are my fate,my sweet)i want
no world(for beautiful you are my world, my true)
and it’s you are whatever a moon has always meant
and whatever a sun will always sing is you

So, I dedicate this post to you, dear Elizabeth. And to Katie. And to Meredith. And I hope that this next year is as lovely and sweet as each of you are.

m o n t r e a l

It’s official.

Caleb and I have mastered the art of long weekend trips.

In four days we: 

  • visited Saratoga National Historical Park
  • crossed the Canadian border (after an hour and a half wait)
  • navigated through the streets of Montreal and found our hotel
  • went to Mont Royal Parc, and climbed 400 steps to reach the top (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cM1bwePNDIk)
  • visited the Notre Dame Basilica of Montreal
  • visited Olympic Park, and went up to the top of the Montreal Tower (the tallest inclined tower in the world)
  • walked around the Old Port, and climbed to the top of the Clock Tower (192 steps)
  • we also ate Poutine at La Banquise…where Andrew Zimmern ate Poutine on his Montreal edition of Bizarre Foods
  • on Sunday, we went to mass at the Notre Dame Basilica, which also reminded me why I do not frequent Catholic services in my spare time, and also why I appreciate my personal relationship with God
  • Sunday was also the day we decided to bid adieu to Montreal, we Pricelined a hotel in Lake Placid, NY, and crossed the border once more

Our Poutine Review:

Caleb: disappointing.

Kelly: it was delicious. Because mine had bacon.

Of course, I also have to add that although we had a car during this trip, we walked everywhere, making our weekend even more incredible; incredible because we were able to stop whenever we pleased to appreciate the city, and incredible that our legs and feet still work.

 Field Notes on Montreal: 

– everything is in French

– there are a lot of hipsters

– everyone drinks…all the time

– food is expensive everywhere

– I want to learn French

– I want cheese

My favorite part of our time in Montreal was definitely the Notre Dame Basilica. Caleb tried to take my picture inside the basilica, but I felt awkward doing so, and promptly deleted the picture of myself standing there not knowing what to do with my arms. I looked at all of the other tourists visiting from various places around the world, and wondered if they felt the same way I did. If they were blown away by the beauty of this place like I was. I mean, just look at it:

There was a stillness and a reverence that accompanied this basilica, and I somehow felt that a picture of myself posing near the altar would ruin everything good and perfect about this place. When I mentioned the service in my list above, I was almost hesitant to add the part about remembering “why I do not frequent Catholic services in my spare time, and also why I appreciate my personal relationship with God…” I feel almost rude admitting these feelings, yet I couldn’t help but sit in that beautiful sanctuary on Sunday morning and wonder if the beauty becomes lackluster due to the routine of it all. At the same time, the service was entirely in French, and I wonder if I missed something inspiring or convicting.

By Sunday afternoon, we were ready to head back to the States, and after waiting over an hour to cross the border, we celebrated our return by swimming in Lake Placid, NY, and eating a large pizza in our EconoLodge hotel room.

As for pictures, here are a few of my favorites:

The Hudson River

Saratoga

Mont Royal Parc

Mont Royal Parc

Caleb // Olympic Park

The Old Port

This weekend, we are headed off to Upstate New York to visit my family / I am a bridesmaid in one of my dearest friend’s wedding. Caleb is also really excited because we’re going to Mr. Chicken, a dive in Watkins Glen that has the best chicken in all of Upstate. Pictures and stories to follow. 🙂

xo

-K