Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Week Sixteen

Today I tried to take a nap, but I couldn't sleep because I was thinking about baby names.  Next week we will find out which half of the list we can cross out!  I have a strong feeling one way, so we'll see if mama's intuition is right!  (I was right last time!)

Any predictions of your own?

Week sixteen with Vera.

Not So Very Long Ago

A couple weeks ago, my parents helped my brother move in at Liberty University, where he is starting as a transfer student this fall.  I am so excited for him, since I had an incredible experience at Liberty and found it to be a very formative time in my life!
Phillip is the tall, handsome one in the center :)

It was not so very long ago that I started as a freshman at Liberty.  It was just over six years ago, but I remember everything vividly... meeting roommates and hall-mates, making new friends, figuring out where classes were, etc.
Kristy, me, and Ashlee
One of my roommates, Kristy (far left) is actually coming to visit me this weekend!  I can't wait!

Organic Toys

I'm posting about miYim, a company that produces organic toys, on She {hearts} It today.

Read all about it!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Hurricane Irene Pictures

Our power is back on!  We got it back last night after three days without it.  We are so grateful!!  Here are some pictures from Hurricane Irene.
from our porch during the storm

our neighbors across the street
the tree that fell on our power lines/back porch

the view of the backyard during the storm after our tree fell
the next day we were happy to see our outside kitties survived the storm!
turns out, the tree was hollow!
Tad worked really hard to get the tree cleared from our power lines, porch, and yard

we have quite the pile of brush
this tree came up from the roots at one house in our neighborhood (it fell precisely next to their house)

this tree fell a few houses down from us and blocked the road for a day

our little neighborhood park lost several large trees

most of the streets in town looked like this - broken limbs, trees on lines, huge piles of brush
We are very thankful for God's protection on our family during the hurricane!  And we are again grateful to have our power back!

edited to add: here are some pictures of Hurricane Irene's destruction across the East Coast

How did you all fare in the storm?

Monday, August 29, 2011

Hurricane Update

Just wanted to post a quick Hurricane Irene update and let you all know we are safe. 

We had some minor damage to our house (a few leaks, a lost shutter, a fallen gutter) and we lost a tree which fell on a power line in our back yard.  We have been without power for three days and expect it to probably be back on Wednesday (praying it is earlier, though)!  We still have water, though, and for that we are grateful!

We spent yesterday clearing our power lines and yard, but we still have some more work to do.  We got a lot done and were able to help a church member with her yard today.

We are so thankful for God keeping our family safe during the category 1 hurricane (the eye of which passed directly over our county).  Our prayers are with the many people affected by this tragedy, including a family at our church who had a tree fall through their house.

Sorry I don't have any pictures to share... I will post some as soon as I can!

Friday, August 26, 2011

My Sweet Girl

Couldn't resist taking a picture of my sweet girl this afternoon!  She just looked so cute in her new little dress from Grammy.

This picture reminds me a little bit of this one taken over three months ago.

It was nice getting a little fresh air (even if it was just a trip to Food Lion) before we're stuck inside for a few days riding out Hurricane Irene!  Hope you all stay safe and dry!

Angela & Drew

We were so blessed to have Angela (my sister-in-law) and Drew (my nephew) stay with us a few days this week after Vera's party.

We had a great time together!  (P.S. I love this picture of the two of them!)

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Week Fifteen

Yay! I'm really starting to feel better again!  While I'm still tired, I haven't felt sick this week, which has been such a blessing.  I've been feeling some fetal movement, which of course is super exciting.  I don't have a lot to share this week, but like I said, I'm so glad to be feeling better!

week fifteen with Vera

On She {hearts} It

Today on She {hearts} It, I'm giving away a prize pack from Carmex!
Head on over to enter!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Birthday Girl

I just have a couple minutes this morning to post a few pictures from Vera's first birthday party!  I'll definitely post more soon.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Vera's One Year Old!

Happy First Birthday, sweet Vera!

Some milestones:
-weighs 18 pounds
-is going to be a big sister in about 6 months!
-said "water"
-waves at everyone when saying "hi" or "bye-bye"
-loves to eat
-favorite foods include watermelon, bread, cheese, hummus, baked beans, blueberries, fried potatoes, and scrambled eggs
-still nursing 4-5 times a day
-still naps twice a day
-sleeps about 12 hours at night
-adores Mommy & Daddy and prefers them to anyone else :)
-covets other children's pacifiers, even though she'll never take one
-still just has two teeth
-enjoys swimming in the pool
-first "morning chore" is helping feed the kitties their breakfast
Dear Vera,

Happy first birthday!  We can hardly believe that a whole year has passed already.  It doesn't seem like so very long ago that we were in the hospital meeting you for the first time.  You were so beautiful and precious then, and you have become even more precious to us since then!

We are excited about the lovely little lady you are becoming and each new milestone thrills our hearts.  Everyone who meets you tells us how sweet and beautiful you are.  People are amazed at how well (and how much!) you eat and how independent you are.

We know you are going to be a wonderful big sister to the new baby coming in February.  You already understand so much now that it will be neat to see how perceptive you are by then.  We expect you will want to cuddle lots with the new baby, just like you enjoy doing with our very patient kitty!

You are a blessing from God and we are so thankful that He gave you to us one year ago today!

All our love,

Daddy & Mommy

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Party Planning

With Vera's birthday celebration happening this weekend, I have been busy with all of the preparations!  We are throwing her a (relatively) small party in the theme of Eric Carle's The Very Hungry Caterpillar.

Here's a little sneak peek of what I've been working on!

Taking Meals to Others

Today I am guest posting on Kristin's Veranda!  I'm sharing about taking meals to others.  Here's a snippet:

If you've ever had someone prepare food for you when you were sick, you know what a blessing the "ministry of food" can be!  I love being able to bless people in need with meals, whether they are (or one of their family members is) sick, grieving, moving, or welcoming a new baby.

I thought I'd share with you today some tips for successfully bringing meals to others!

-Ask them.
This might seem kind of unnecessary, but it is important to talk with the family first and find out if a meal would be a blessing.  Ninety-nine percent of the time they'll say yes, but this also gives you a chance to find out if they have any food preferences (i.e., vegetarian), intolerances, or allergies and what day/time they would appreciate the meal.

To read the rest of my post (which includes lots of other great tips!), click over to Kristin's Veranda, where she is hosting a blog warming party this week!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Week Fourteen

We're moving right along, hitting the 14 week (yay... second trimester!) milestone this week!  I've noticed I've been feeling significantly better this week, with little to no nausea.  I'm still feeling tired, but I am so thankful to be getting out of the nauseous stage! 

On Monday I got a huge burst of energy, which was awesome, and I cleaned house and did laundry all day!  I'm hoping I get a few more bursts like that this weekend for our celebration of Vera's first birthday.

We continue to praise God for this new addition to our family!

Week fourteen with Vera.

Good-bye, Dear Friends

As many of you know from reading my blog in the last few weeks, our senior pastor at our church recently resigned.  It is a very sad time for our family, since we are very close to Travis and Andrea!  They moved out of town today, and it suddenly all feels so glaringly real. 

Travis and Tad hit it off right away when they began working together over two years ago.  Tad learned lots from Travis, and I know Travis appreciated their friendship too.  They got along great and complemented each other in a way I think few senior pastors and youth pastors do. 

Travis is an excellent preacher who has always been faithful to the Word.  He spent much of his time discipling others and pouring himself out in ministry.  Travis was our first pastor as a married couple, and Vera's first pastor ever.  I know Travis and Andrea had vision to be at our church for a long time, but, and only the Lord knows why, that could not happen.  There are still people at our church who will miss Travis deeply, and our family is definitely in that number.

Andrea reached out to me as a friend immediately, even before Tad was officially hired (four months before we were married).  We emailed back and forth all summer, and she graciously volunteered to photograph our wedding.  She has photographed every important milestone in our family: our engagement, our wedding, random mini shoots, my pregnancy with Vera, Vera's birth, one of our first family photos, and many photo ops throughout Vera's first year of life (like this one, this one, this one, and this one).  Did I mention she photographed Vera's birth?  It definitely brought us closer together when she was with me during my labor and delivery! 

Our kids have often played together.  Their youngest son, Owen, is exactly five months older than Vera, and I guess I always thought they would grow up together.  I remember when Vera was just a few months old, Andrea and I were sitting in church a pew apart while our babies smiled and coo-ed at one another during the service.

Andrea is one of the most generous people I have ever met, not just with her possessions, but also with her talents.  She has a heart for ministry, and she is the reason we started a community women's Bible study.  I know the Lord is going to continue to bless her for the many ways she has blessed others.

As Travis and Andrea leave, we know that God has good plans for them.  We will miss them terribly, but we are trusting that 1) God will continue to be glorified through their family and their ministry, and 2) we will still keep in touch and remain friends.

Travis and Andrea, we love you guys and your family and we pray God's blessings on you as you leave!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011


These are something I've been making a lot lately (every week or so) for a quick and easy lunch (and sometimes dinner)!  Tostados are quick to throw together yet they taste great.  They are frugal to make too!  I know I'm always looking for easy and cheap lunch ideas, so I thought I'd share this one with you all!


corn tostados (or use corn tortillas and bake them until they are crispy)
1 large can pinto beans
spices (garlic powder, onion powder, chili powder, paprika, cumin, etc.)
salt & pepper
shredded lettuce
shredded cheese (I like cheddar, colby, or monterey jack)
chopped tomatoes or salsa
sour cream or plain yogurt
any other toppings as desired

Heat pinto beans (drained) in a small saucepan over low heat.  Season as desired (I typically use 1/2 to 1 tsp. of each of the spices mentioned above) and salt & pepper to taste.  Smash about 1/3 of the beans to give it a nice texture.  Layer the tostados with lettuce, beans, cheese, tomatoes and/or salsa, and a dollop of sour cream or plain yogurt.  You can add any other toppings too, such as rice, black beans, guacamole, etc.!  I usually make two per person, and a large can of pinto beans makes enough for 8-10 tostados. 

Serves 4-5.  Enjoy!
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For more of our family's favorite recipes, click here.

Linked to:
Tasty Tuesday
Tempt My Tummy Tuesday
Tuesdays at the Table
Tuesday Night Supper Club
Tatertots & Jello

Monday, August 15, 2011

Vera and the Kitty

Vera loves our kitty! Isn't Penny a patient kitty?  Maybe Vera has a future career in cat massage!

(I'm sorry that this is filmed in the messiest room of our house!)

Fun Find

Last week when I was browsing the dollar bin at Target, I came across a really neat find!  I bought a pack of these Animal Sound Cards and Vera has been thoroughly enjoying them!

There are 20 double-sided jumbo cards (on thick, glossy card stock) in a pack, and they each have a cute picture of an animal and the sound that it makes.  Vera loves when we go through the stack with her, saying the name of the animal and the sound that it makes!
This is such a fun learning activity for just $1, so I thought I'd share in case you want to pick some up too!

I was not paid or perked by Target to share about this find... I just love these cards and wanted to tell you about them!

Saturday, August 13, 2011

A Perfectly Kept House

"A perfectly kept house is the sign of a misspent life."

Agree or disagree?
Pin It

Friday, August 12, 2011

Guest Post: Kristin from Kristin's Veranda!

Today I have a special treat for you... a guest post by my friend Kristin of Kristin's Veranda! I am excited to have her "chatting" with us today, and I am even more excited about a Blog Warming Party she is hosting on her blog(Vignettes) all next week! Without further ado, here is Kristin!

I was so tickled when Aliesha said she'd be a part of my "blog-warming" team! I've known her for many, many years, but we both entered the blog world unbeknownst to the other. Once my blog was up and running, several mutual friends said to me, "Your blog reminds me so much of Feathers in our Nest!" So through their comments, I found and reconnected with Aliesha!

Allow me to introduce myself: My name is Kristin, and I am a blogger of various and sundry interests (don't you love that old phrase "various and sundry"?). Besides old phrases, I enjoy all things domestic, and have a special love for the art form of dance. I adore my husband, and am very passionate about friendships too. I am generally a very healthy eater, but could out eat any of you when it comes to Sloppy Joes or BBQ Sandwiches! So surmise of me what you will from those few choice facts, and let's be friends, k?!

Today I'm here to share with you first and foremost about a little shindig going on at my place next week: A Blog-Warming Party! I hope you'll come join in the fun...and invite your friends too! There will be some guest posters that I know you'll love, prizes/giveaways EVERYDAY, and some fabulous announcements for the upcoming fall season. The celebration begins officially on Monday, but come on over early and introduce yourselves...I'd love to get to know you!

I did want to share one of my very favorite simple ideas with you today before I go: Infused Water, and since we're in the dog days of summertime, an idea for jazzing up your lemonade too. Hope you enjoy!
Oh girls…if you’ve never tried this, you must! Fair warning: you may very well never go back to old fashioned lemonade again. Just make your batch of lemonade however you normally do, and before you cover the pitcher, throw in 4 or 5 thick orange slices and let them swim around and do their magical thing for several hours before you serve it. Oh taste of heavenly deliciousness!!! Pardon me – I need to go get some right now… Now onto a healthier and more necessary beverage: water!

How many of you drink as much water as you should (5-8 glasses per day)? I know unless I’m exercising/working/playing hard, I don’t! I do enjoy water and drink it with my meals, but because it’s relatively uninteresting, I never crave it. – Enter: brilliant idea from Martha Stewart – “Infused Water”. I can’t tell you how much more enjoyable and refreshing and craveable this makes consuming your required amount each day! It’s also very high style if you’re hosting a brunch or spa party or something. All you do is decide which essence you’d like, put a few pieces in a glass pitcher, and fill with water. You can let it sit overnight in the fridge if you want it nice and strong by morning. – I love to just keep my pitcher out on the counter all day w/ ice in it on a trivet w/ a glass nearby, and I know that by the end of the day, my pitcher needs to be empty (which translates to 5-8 glasses consumed). You could do this at your work too – just keep it on your desk and know that by quitting time, you must be able to see the dry bottom of the barrel!

Here are some of my favorite infusions:

Pineapple: just keep the core after you’ve cut one up, and soak the whole core in your pitcher (as pictured to the left – no, it’s not a stick of butter! I know that’s what you were thinking)! You can also wash the rind really well, and soak a few pieces of that.
Lemon slices and mint
Lime slices and lemon balm
Cucumbers: yes, I know it sounds strange, but try it!
Berries: sliced to release the flavor
Oranges slices
Lemon slices
and berries mixed
Mint leaves
This is such a simple, delicious idea, and I’ve been doing it for years. – I hope you give it a try!
Do you have a favorite infusion to share?
Thank you so much Aliesha for letting me post over here today!

Thanks, Kristin for joining us at Feathers in Our Nest today!  I really enjoyed your post!  

Mark your calendars now for Kristin's Blog-Warming Party next week at Kristin's Veranda!  There will be prizes every day (whoo hoo)!
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