Monday, July 14, 2014

Watermelon Feta Salad {Recipe}

Summer is most definitely upon us and I have absolutely NO desire to want to turn on the oven. If you are in 100+  weather can you blame me?

So I've been really excited to try some summer salad recipes. My favorite fruit is watermelon. I remember as a child eating it for breakfast, lunch and dinner.  It's just a super sweet treat that I enjoy. I've also discovered feta cheese. I know, I'm super late to the party.  So when I discovered a marvelous recipe for a watermelon feta salad from Shauna Niequist book, Bread and Wine, I knew I HAD to try it.

8 cups watermelon, cubed
8 ounces feta cheese, crumbled

10 ounces arugula
3 tablespoons fresh mint, chopped
1/4 of a red onion, finely chopped
2 limes
1/4 cup white balsamic vinegar or white wine vinegar
1/2 cup olive oil

Cube 8 cups of watermelon, and let the cubes marinate in the juice of one fresh squeezed lime for several hours.

Combine the fresh squeezed lime juice and zest from the remaining lime, white balsamic vinegar or white wine vinegar, and olive oil. At serving time, toss arugula with half the vinaigrette, and combine watermelon, feta, red onion, and fresh mint. Layer the watermelon mixture over the arugula, and drizzle with remaining vinaigrette.

Serves: 6 to 8

If you have any potluck or BBQ's coming up this salad is perfect! Let me know how you like it.
What is your favorite summer meal? Maybe I'll add it to my meal planning for August.

from my kitchen,


Monday, July 7, 2014

How to style a {tiny} patio space

Hi friends! I'm so excited to share some news with you!

Drum roll please... Alright, this summer my Hubs and I are moving to a condo. [Insert loud shout of excitement here!] We are so thankful for this awesome opportunity. We are gaining some more storage space and a much larger living room. Overall a heck of a lot more square footage. Don't worry, game nights and movie nights are totally happening! So naturally, with a move, comes the packing. [Dun, dun duuun...] Our adorable little apartment is full of half packed boxes and piles of things to toss or sell. Our sweet new condo has a sliver of a backyard, it's basically a patio/courtyard and I couldn't be more excited!

Now I've already been dreaming up what we could do with this space. (I told you I'm pretty excited!) So now, I've come up with 5 must haves for our outside space.

1. Lighting. I'm thinking of streaming cafe lights around. I've even spotted a DIY for solar lamps. Don't worry, its on my "to do" list! 

2. Seating. With any small space you must get creative when thinking about seating. Also, be mindful of cramming a tiny space with furniture, that might make it even smaller. I'm dying to try out a wrap around bench and maybe a few chairs for extra seating and store them away when not in use.

3. Decor. I would love to go for a fun friendly vibe that can easily be turned into a soft romantic vibe, when the sun goes down. I'm imagining some great dinner dates out back with my Hubs. Candles, plush comfy pillows, and a lovely table top with some pops of color

4. Table. I would love a large wood table. Something for hosting outdoor dinners. We will have to see with the limited space. Another idea that crossed through my mind was having 2 small tables pushed together for when we have larger groups over. When we have a smaller crowd we could store away the second table! Remember, its all about being creative with your space.

5. Greenery. I've always wanted a lemon tree. I have no idea why, but I've always wanted one. I hope I can get one when we move! I would love to keep my little garden, but maybe transfer some plants into the ground. One of the patio walls is cement [its hideous] I plan to grow an ivy wall to cover it up. Or maybe I'll make an herb wall? What do you think?

Its gonna need some major TLC. right now it has a few planter boxes and paver stones. This space is BEGGING for a little love. I'm looking forward to this project!

So these are just some dreams for our outdoor space. I plan to do an update after the move when things progress out there and the move settles down. What is something in your backyard or patio you love? Maybe I need it too. ;)

from my heart,

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Fear over Faith

This is the blog I couldn't write for years. The subject that was always the hardest and that I tend to shy away from. The biggest fear I have.

Fear can hold you back.

Fear can paralyze you.

Fear can control you.

Fear has been an idol in my life. Particularly in the area of children. When my husband and I were dating we had "that conversation". You know the conversation of "how many kids do you want". Don't act like you haven't thought about it. (I'm serious). When I told him I didn't want to have children you would have thought I told him I didn't want children to exist in the world. He was shocked and seemed disappointed that there was something we actually disagreed on. My dear husband has always dreamed of having a family he can care for, love on and ultimately teach sports too. ;) He definitely values children and has always desired a family with the idea of children. Now, I am not saying that I do not value children. But when I told him I didn't want to have them I was ultimately saying that my fear is greater than my trust in the Lord.

I can't remember when my fear started or where it stemmed from. I remember telling my roommate at the time, who also didn't understand why I wouldn't want to have children, and she just sat and prayed with me, and cried with me. A lot of woman are vocal about their desire to have children and how they desire to have them sooner than later. I'm usually shying away from those conversation or changing the subject because it would typically lead me to tears at the thought that I didn't have those same strong desires. I wrestled with this frustration, and fear for a long time. If I'm honest I still do. However now, I realize that back then when I would say I didn't want to have children it was really my fear saying I'm scared to have children. I truly desire to have a family of my own. I have a whole Pinterest board dedicated to those dreams and desires. But when that fear creeps in, it literally wrecks my heart and paralyzes me to even think about actually having them. So my "simple" reaction is I don't want to have them. When that is the farthest from the truth. The "what if's" creep into my mind. What if I can't have them? Will my husband and family still love me? What if i'm a terrible mother? What if I fail? To be clear, my husband is not pressuring me to have children today or tomorrow. But, sometimes, when the conversations start and the "baby" word is said, I clench up and am literally brought to tears of the idea that I may not be able to give him the children we both desire. I remember when I told my husband about these fears for the first time and he told me he would love me either way and that he was trusting in the Lord for His plan. If I'm honest, at that time I'm not sure if I believed him.

I wrestled with this fear. Pleading, and asking for answers. Shoot, I think I demanded answers as if that's the way God works. You know, throw a fit over something I cannot control and God will just let me peek into a glimpse of His plan. Yeah right. Pretty sure my mind couldn't handle a tiny glimpse of His perfect plan.

How could I truly believe the Lord to be faithful in all areas of my life EXCEPT this one? This was the little piece that I couldn't give to the Lord. This deep fear and insecurity that I kept holding onto, and bottling inside. In my case, fear ultimately became an idol. I was a slave to these thoughts and feelings. Jesus didn't die on the cross so that I could be controlled by this fear.

To set the record straight I do enjoy babies and children. Sure, I may not know every little thing about them and yes, sometimes I cry when I hold them. Okay, that happened once. (sorry baby Grey). But the reality is that my heart is so wrecked by those fears that I miss out on the JOY because I'm choosing fear. I'm choosing to not trust that no matter what happens, children or not, God is enough and if that is not in His plan for us I will embrace what He does have planned for us. I will lean into that and know its all for His glory. I need to remind myself of that truth when the fear creeps in. If I'm being honest, It happens more than I let people think. Its an internal struggle that I am bringing to light, knowing that my God is bigger than my fears and frustration. I want to chase after the Lord choosing Joy even in the unknown. I want His desires to be my own, while I fully trust in Him.

Most of all, what I'm learning with my husband right now in this season is that we want to be content where we are. Not to worry or stress on the what if's but to sit, and soak and truly enjoy where the Lord has brought us in this moment and to continue to choose Faith over fear.

from my heart,