Oct 31, 2012

Down under.

It's true!!! We are going to...

Australia Beach Print

After a year of planning, dreaming, scheming and saving our pennies {quite literally... in a jar in our closet}, we finally booked tickets to fly down under and spend our December in Aussie!

We will be flying into...

Sydney, Australia Skyline Poster Print Wall Art for Home, Office, Children's Room - style E8-O-SYD

And road-tripping up the Gold Coast to...

Brisbane Skyline Poster - Australia - 8x10 City Skyline Art Print - Choose Your Color

And we are hoping to do a lot of this along the way...

If In Doubt Paddle Out - Typography Print-Retro-10x8 Print-Inspirational Quote-Surf Print-Coastal Art

And this too...

Snorkeling Girl with Clown Triggerfish animal art print by Susan Stockdale

And we also hope to sneak up the Sunshine Coast and visit the...

Australia - Great Barrier Reef Tourism Poster - 8.5x11 Poster Print - also available in 13x19 - see listing details

But we need your help! Our tickets are purchased, but we need to know what to do, where to stay, and what to eat while we are there. If you have ever visited Australia or if you've ever lived there, we would love your tips! And of course, any suggestions on how to save money while we are there would be super appreciated, since it's such an expensive place. In the words of an Australian, we are keen to save money while we are there!

We are so excited and incredibly grateful for this opportunity! Can't wait to hear your thoughts and advice!


Oct 30, 2012

Closet Challenge! Join Me!

You may remember that a few weeks ago when I wrote about the closet challenge I've given myself. You can read about it here, but this is the recap: I am trying to wear EVERY article of clothing in my closet. 

Every single one. If I don't want to wear an item or if I put it on and find that it doesn't fit well or is unflattering, I am getting rid of it. The goal by the end of this challenge, which is I expect will take months, is to have a fully functioning closet in which every article of clothing is something I like that fits me well.

Many of you mentioned that you would like to join me. Well this is your chance...

In two weeks, on Wednesday, November 14th, I will be hosting my first ever blog link-up.

And I want you to share your own closet challenges.

If you are trying to do my same challenge and wear ALL of your clothes, then please tell us how it's going so far {and bravo! I'm so excited for you!}.

But if my challenge is a little too extreme, that's okay. You can choose a smaller challenge for yourself to get started. You might just challenge yourself to clean out your closet or re-mix three new outfits or reorganize your winter clothes as the season approaches. You might dare yourself to wear five items that you haven't worn in over a year. You might challenge yourself to donate one bag of clothes to the Goodwill or host a "shop my closet" sale on your blog. You might challenge yourself not to shop for clothes until the end of the year and instead shop your own wardrobe for new outfit ideas. The possibilities are endless. Whatever the challenge is I want you to link up and share it! I will seriously read every post because I am obsessed with cleaning out closets and apparently my readers are too judging by the comments I receive every time I post about closet management. The goal is that we will all walk away from our personal challenges with a better functioning closet, so we can better stewards of the clothes we already have instead of always shopping for new ones. {Read this post by Erika about editing your shopping habits.}

Also, I conveniently am scheduling the link up on a Wednesday so you can show off any remixed outfits on WIWW as well! :) I even made a button. Please grab it and share it if you plan to participate! 

And here's a quick update on my own challenge...

So it's fall here and I'm in a bind. I am in bind because a Phoenix fall is still 85-90 degrees and my heart is longing for sweaters and scarves. But I'm also in a bind because I am supposed to wear EVERYTHING in my closet, which means it would be convenient to wear summer stuff, since it's still 90 outside, but I want to wear my winter-y stuff for the sake of fashion. So what's a girl to do? Boots and a scarf with a tank top. That is my solution. Here's the anatomy of a fall outfit in the desert....

Scarf: Ross // Tank, skirt, and boots: Banana Republic // Watch: Skagen {Nordstrom}

That's all for now! See you back here for the link-up in two weeks on the 14th!!!

|Linking up with The Pleated Poppy|

Oct 29, 2012

Work. Space.

My work space a few weeks ago...

Lately, I find myself fascinated with work spaces. As I get closer to the time when I will be writing my dissertation, my work space seems more and more important. I am about to be done with the "taking classes" part of my education and instead I need a place where I can work independently and write prolifically on my own. I need a place where I my head stays clear, I can't see distractions, and where the words flow easily from my mind to my fingertips and out onto the glowing computer page in front of me.

Love this office...

I have a desk in our bedroom, but I never use it. It's basically become Micah's work space, even though it's decorated with all my girly stuff. Instead, I usually find myself sprawled out on the kitchen table, books, notebooks, pens and post-its all around. Usually you will find my water bottle and phone nearby and perhaps a half-eaten bowl of granola while I pound away at the keys. I love this space in the early morning as the sun rises over the mountain behind our house. I love the peace and quiet as I write with the sunlight slowly filling our back windows while everyone in the house is still sleeping. But this spot only works for so long. Once people in the house wake up, they trudge into the kitchen for breakfast, thereby ending my morning solace. And once the daylight enters in completely I see all too well the other things that need to be done around the house... the dishwasher that needs unloading, the floors that need to be swept. The gentle dawn that hid the distractions is gone and all I see is one crumb after another calling me from my work....

My neglected little desk...

The current state of my work space as I write this post...

I want to create a better work space and work routine for myself, but I'm not sure where to start. What does your work space look like? What does your routine look like when you get into the zone with your work? I would love any insights you have to share!

Working next to a humming washer sounds soothing, I think.

Pinned Image

Love this organized desk area


Until I hear back from you, I will be perusing this tumblr that curates beautiful photos of people's work spaces...

Oct 28, 2012

Lovely Little Things

Hello to a dear friend visiting from Seattle. 
Hello little pie pumpkins on my kitchen table.

Hello deep red skinnies. I couldn't wait another day to wear you, even though it's still in the 80s or 90s here.
Hello relaxing weekend camping. I want to go back to the mountains soon!

Hello future baby daddy. You look so cute when you practice :)
Hello pumpkin pie blizzard. Would it be bad to eat you at least once a week?

Hello day date in Tucson with my blog best!
Hello s'more thingies that the SIL brought home. You are like marshmallow crack.

Hello first day wearing boots and a scarf this fall {and hello ASU bathroom}.
Hello giddiness over fall fashion... and making it work with a tank when it's 90 degrees out!

The little things are the loveliest.

|Linking up with Hello Hue and InstaFriday|

Oct 25, 2012

Flowers Fade Friday: A Sinner Redeemed

I was listening to a song the other day and it referred to believers as sinners. I forget the exact lyrics but something like "weary sinners" or "desperate sinners" before a great and mighty God. Whatever the exact words were they got me thinking about how I don't think of myself as a sinner often enough.

In those moments when I am feeling entitled, selfish, and anxious over not getting what I want when I want it. When I am desperately seeking for control or going through each day with an ungrateful heart. I need to be reminded...


I am sinner.

I do not deserve the abundant gifts in my life. I do not deserve health. Relationships. Money. Contentment.

Who am I to go through life with a haughty heart focused on what I think I deserve instead of a heart focused on the One who gives me grace everlasting in spite of my sin?

Lord, remind my proud heart of what I truly am. A sinner to the utmost.

But at the same time, I often forget my true identity. I am a sinner, to be sure, but I am a sinner redeemed by Christ.

As often as I think too highly of myself, I also think too lowly of myself. When I feel uncertain of my worth, uncertain of how to use my gifts, uncertain of how to walk boldly in Gospel obedience... I then belittle God's strength in me.

I am a sinner. I need to be reminded of this constantly. But I also need to be reminded that I am a redeemed sinner, able to carry out with excellence all the things God has called me to do. I am able to live in joy. Able to preach the Gospel. Able to love others extravagantly.  Able to walk confidently to the throne of grace. Able to commune with God daily. Able to use my gifts boldly. Able to forgive lavishly. Able to walk confidently on the narrow path with my head held high, my eyes fixed on Christ, knowing that I am a precious daughter of the King. Fear cannot stop me. Worry cannot paralyze me. Sin has no hold on me.

I am a sinner but a sinner redeemed. I can live life to the full because of the grace of Jesus poured out on me.  May we never forget the weighty cost of our sin or the glorious riches we have in Christ.

Oct 24, 2012

Simple {seven ingredient} banana bread

I have been searching near and far for years on end for the perfect banana bread recipe.

But you know what I've figured out? They all pretty much taste the same.

I've tried all the fancy recipes that include "secret" ingredients like sour cream or buttermilk, and they are great. But I don't usually keep sour cream or buttermilk on hand, so I have to buy extra ingredients for these recipes and a good portion of it always goes to waste and blah, blah, blah.

So when I saw this recipe for an easy banana bread that only requires seven ingredients that I always have on hand {and you do too, assuming you are looking for a  banana bread recipe because you have some overripe bananas sitting in your freezer}, I was all in.

The result was delicious and there was no buttermilk required. Not that I have anything against buttermilk.

What you need:
2 cups flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 cup butter {one cube, softened slightly}
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 eggs, beaten
3 overripe mashed bananas

What you do:
1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat a bread pan with cooking spray.

2) In a medium bowl, mix together flour, baking soda and salt. Set aside.

3) With your mixer, cream together softened butter and brown sugar. Add beaten eggs {I just whipped mine up with a fork first} and bananas. Beat on a medium-low speed until well-blended.

4) Stir banana mixture into flour mixture; stir just until moistened. The consistency will be somewhat thick, almost like a thin cookie dough.

5) Pour into a greased loaf pan. Bake for approximately 60 minutes at 350 degrees. It's done when a toothpick comes out clean!

See... how easy is that? Now just try not to eat the whole loaf in 24 hours like I did {with a little help from my husband}. Except you probably will. Just sayin'.

|Linking to: Stonegable, Rattlebridge Farm, Something Swanky and Gooseberry Patch|

Oct 23, 2012

Broccoli-Cheese Bake

I've made this recipe twice in the past two weeks. It's that good. One time I made it as a main dish, because I try to do meat-free meals every now and then. About a week later I made it as a side with pork chops. This is great way to sneak some veggies into a delicious dish. My sister-in-law doesn't even like broccoli at all and she loved it!

What you need:
1 cup shredded cheddar (4 oz.)
3/4 cup milk
1/2 of an 8oz. pkg. cream cheese
2 tsp. herb garlic soup mix or marinade powder
3 cups cooked rice
2 cups cooked broccoli florets (small pieces)
3/4 cups crushed cornflakes

*For a healthier recipe, use nonfat milk and reduced fat cream cheese. You can also use brown rice if you prefer it.

What you do:
1) Preheat oven to 375.
2) Cook rice according to instructions. I use Minute Rice.
2) Take one broccoli crown and cut florets into extra small pieces. Sprinkle with olive oil, salt and pepper and bake on a baking sheet for ten minutes. Set aside. (You can also steam your broccoli if you prefer.)
3) Coat an 8x8 baking dish with cooking spray.
4) In a large skillet, combine cheddar, milk, cream cheese and soup mix (I couldn't find herb garlic soup mix at the store, but I found a packet of herb-garlic marinade powder on the seasonings aisle and it worked great!). Cook and stir over medium-low heat until cheese melts and mixture is smooth.
5) In a large mixing bowl, combine cooked rice, baked broccoli, and cheese mixture. Stir together until well mixed.
6) Spoon into greased baking dish and sprinkle with crushed cornflakes. I also sprinkled a tiny bit of cheese on top.
7) Bake for 25 minutes. Serve hot!

Cook your rice.

Cook your broccoli. I like mine baked, but you can also steam it.

Heat cheese sauce.

Mix rice, broccoli, and cheese sauce together.

Pour rice mixture into baking pan and top with cereal. I cheated and used Chex because I had it on hand, but I think it tastes better with Cornflakes!

Bake on 375 for 25 minutes. I sprinkled a little cheese on top because I couldn't resist!


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