Easter is Coming!

I know it was JUST St. Patrick’s Day, but next week is Easter! While Easter is absolutely THE most important holiday in the Christian faith, I’m not going to get too into that today. You’re welcome. Instead, I’m going to highlight a few of my favorite springtime crafts and treats from Easters Past.

And so, without further ado…

I like to call this one, “Ode to that one time that Carli and I weren’t married yet and she didn’t have three baby girls yet and we spent a whole weekend crafting and baking and making marshmallows…”

I also don’t have a ton of Easter decor around my house – maybe when we are a little more settled down for the long haul I can buy some of this and this – but I make due! Last year I made this wreath, and bought some cheap but sparkly Easter eggs to brighten things up.

In lieu of an Easter basket for my hubby (he doesn’t eat a lot of candy, anyway), I filled each egg with a reason I love him. Call it a grown up version, I guess!

OKAY let’s talk about food… Breakfast is my favorite, and I’ve shared some of my favorite brunch items before. But my favorite FAVORITE FAVORITE treat, in general, are scones. I don’t know why, I just love them. I love their texture. I love how well they dip into coffee. I just love those little suckers. And here are my favorites, made for Easter a few years back with my roomie: Maple Scones. Happy Easter, Jesus is Risen, INDEED.

Then let’s talk about Easter 2011. This was my first holiday with the family that would later become known as my IN-LAWS. They are amazing, and of course, I really REALLY wanted to impress. How does one impress one’s future possible in-laws? One makes this cake, that’s how!!

And then finally, for Easter 2013, at which point my now-hubster and I were engaged, so now I like really REALLY want to make sure everyone likes me, I made salted caramel brownie parfaits. I think if they weren’t sure yet that I should be marrying their son/nephew/brother/uncle, they were sure then…

Can I get an AMEN? I know that Dennis the Obese Mini-Dachshund told us all that food is NOT love, and I understand that’s very true when it comes to loving your pet-child, but I’m here to tell you that when it comes to winning over future in-laws, FOOD IS LOVE.

Married at First Sight

I know it sounds INSANE. But I got completely hooked on this show last year when it debuted on FYI (which, by the way, did you know there is a channel called FYI? I didn’t.).

Married at First Sight. It is exactly as it sounds.

 

It is the ultimate “social experiment,” where a group of singles trust four experts, each with a different specialty pertaining to psychology and relationships, matches three couples. Those three couples then marry each other…without ever having met. Think arranged marriage meets the 21st century.

I was very skeptical. I realize that in this modern age, people meet in all sorts of strange and crazy ways. We have the Bachelor. We have match.com. We have Coffee meets Bagel. We have all sorts of strange ways to connect with people. But THIS? 

With a degree in psychology, I have always LOVED seeing how different aspects of our personalities mix together. Watching the first few episodes of this show last season completely hooked me. I could see why and how the “experts” matched the three couples. To me, it made total sense.

After being married five weeks, and because this was a legally binding marriage, each couple had to choose whether to stay married or get divorced. Two of the three couples chose to stay married. And then, Married at First Sight: The First Year began, where we, the audience, got to follow along in the first year of the marriage.

I FREAKING LOVE IT. I think I love it because the two couples who stayed married are adorable, of course, but have also gone run the gamut of normal issues. They are very, VERY real people with real joys and hurts. I also think it takes a lot of courage not only to go through with this experiment, but to do it on national television.

Here are the two couples from the first season – Courtney & Jason, and Doug & Jamie. ADORABLE.

 

This season, A&E picked it up. Smart move, A&E. Very smart. So far, we have seen two episodes – the matchmaking and the weddings. Already, I see so many similarities to the couples from last season. I truly wish these six individuals the best. They were married in December, so in “real life,” they have either been married for three months, or they are already divorced. They all seem like genuine people, in it for good reasons, and committed to the process.

Here are the couples for this season. I pretty much agree with this assessment of the couples…don’t read it if you want to form your own opinions!! My personal favorite is the couple in the middle – Sean and Davina. Have you watched it? Do you watch it? What’s your opinion of the whole modern day arranged marriage premise??

When Envy Creeps In

In an effort to be as authentic as Bonnie, I want to talk a little bit about envy today, how it creeps into our lives, and what God has to say about it.

As Bon points out in her post on authenticity the other day, we all KNOW by now that the things we see in social media are only representations of OUR BEST SELVES and OUR BEST MOMENTS. I don’t show you pictures of when I wake up in the morning. I don’t talk about what makes me cry (and let’s be real, I’m a Crier, with a capital C). I don’t talk about how I have no idea how to get our old claw-foot bathtub completely clean and it taunts me EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. I don’t talk about real issues, like body image and marriage hiccups and finances. And if I do talk about them, it’s in a very general sense of “Sometimes people have body image issues…” Like, HELLO. I DO. You do. We all scream for ice cream.

So I found myself feeling very envious the other night, some having to do with social media, which I slap myself on the wrist for. But some envy coming from made up things in my head. Unrealistic expectations of how things SHOULD be. How I COULD be.

I took a step back. I dove into the Bible. Check out some of Galatians 5:

13 You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love. 14 For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” 15 If you bite and devour each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other.

16 So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.17 For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.

19 The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; 20 idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions 21 and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. 24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. 26 Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.

I know it’s a lot, but READ it. Seriously, read it. How many of the “acts of flesh” are you doing? How many of the “fruits” are you NOT doing? For me, it’s oh so many. Of both. Okay, so, I don’t partake in witchcraft and orgies, but I get jealous. I get angry and have little temper tantrums. I’m DEFINITELY selfish. And I definitely get drunk sometimes, which usually leads to one or more of those other things I just named.

If I acted lovingly to everyone around me, ESPECIALLY myself, would I feel so envious of others’ accomplishments, or would I feel more satisfied with my own? If I practiced self-control, in my eating, drinking, prayer, and reactions to others, would I be less jealous of those who seem to successfully lead a healthy lifestyle when I struggle with it? If I truly gave my husband all of the love I have to give, and put his own needs above my own, would I be envious of other marriages that seem to go smoother? I remind you and myself at this point that we only know so much of what other people are going through, and we only see BEST sides represented online. But yet, we become jealous of what others have and do.

How to remove this envious feeling from our lives. If I could really complete that statement, I’d probably be super wealthy right now. But have you considered that maybe it has NOTHING to do with all those other people, and EVERYTHING to do with you? Instead of getting hung up on everyone around you, turn the focus to yourself.

Remember this goody in Matthew 7?

“Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.

I constantly fail at looking at MYSELF when dealing with any issue, be it envy, anger, or negativity. So my goals are to continue to be introspective, something I seem to keep failing at. What do you do to improve yourself? Any tools for assessing your own struggles?

Weekend in Review

This was one of those weekends that managed to strike JUST the right balance of fun, productivity, and relaxation. They are rare, but OH how I love them.

Pre-weekend, I presented at a small conference on Friday here in Columbus. Lots of schools from across the state were represented, and we ended the day in a “networking” happy hour. A great start to the weekend, if you ask me.

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Friday night included a nice dinner out to celebrate the end of a crazy week, followed by TV and early bed time. Yep, I’m a dork but IT WAS AWESOME.

I got up early Saturday, knocked out a 3.5 mile run (a big deal for me), as I’m training to do a 10K in early May. The hubs and I went to breakfast, I finally used a groupon to Krema and got a ton of nut butters, and a few other miscellaneous errands. Then I did a bunch of random reorganizing and throwing away of old crafty things and home decorations. Downsize, downsize, downsize.

There might have been a nap, and then some basketball watching with friends. A healthy dinner at home, red crinkle cookies, and an Ohio State loss in basketball, but NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP in wrestling. Holla!

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Sunday brought CBS Sunday Morning, coffee, church, lunch, groceries…and since it’s basically spring, I freshened up our living room a little with some new green/grey/blue/yellow potpourri and candles. You like? What did you do this weekend?

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The Adoption Plan

megstermeter:

Because adoption has been on my mind again lately, I am sharing this post I wrote two years ago. I hope everyone has a beautiful weekend ahead!

Originally posted on Megoirs:

I’ve written about adoption a time or two before, but every now and then, it comes back around into my life and I feel the need to share a little more. Today, I was inspired by a friend of a friend (of a friend)’s blog: http://thenewplana.wordpress.com/. They are just beginning the adoption journey, and it got me to thinking…

My friends are starting to have babies. I have friends who had no trouble getting pregnant, and others who struggled for years. I would venture a guess that I have other friends struggling right now who I may not even know about. I cannot imagine how hard it would get, after trying and waiting and trying, to hear about everyone else getting pregnant and doing all the things you only wish you could be doing.

I would also venture a guess that most people our age, in their mid to…

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Yeah, I made a paper chain…

Last year for our belated honeymoon, Jonathan and I took THE MOST AMAZING TRIP to Negril, Jamaica. We loved everything about it, and while part of me feels like maybe we should try other resorts down the road, a much larger part of me just wants to go back here every time we can.IMG_7107

Recently, something beyond exciting has happened. WE BOOKED ANOTHER TRIP TO JAMAICA! And the other night, I felt so moved to create a paper chain countdown out of old magazines to tick away the days until our trip. I’m a nerd. I was procrastinating. I really wanted to do this.

And this time with our friends, John and Lindsey. We will be celebrating a few fun things while there:

1. Jonathan’s 30th birthday

2. Jonathan graduating from grad school

3. Lindsey being accepted to grad school

4. John and Lindsey’s first wedding anniversary

5. Jonathan’s and my second wedding anniversary

6. Hopefully a job for Jonathan?!

Basically, me and John (Lindsey’s husband) are going to be all like “congrats to you guys!” and sitting at the “I don’t have anything to celebrate but my wedding anniversary” table, but it’s allllll good. I cannot wait to share this place with them. The boys can golf. Lindsey and I can lounge and yoga. We all drink the most amazing smoothies anyone has ever had anywhere in any life.

Just 111 more days to go!!

My Favorite Every Day Smoothie

I’ve posted about a few of my favorite protein shakes, but I really do have one go-to that’s my favorite. My base is ALWAYS frozen banana (either a half or whole one), almond milk, and protein powder. Beyond that, the options are endless. But here is my FAVORITE daily one…

And it happens to be green-ish! Just one day after St. Patrick’s. SORRY FOR THE BAD PHOTO. I was trying to get out the door!

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Ingredients:

1/2 banana

1/4 cup blueberries

1 cup spinach

2 slices of pineapple

1 serving protein powder

1 cup plain, unsweetened almond milk (or milk of choice)

Directions:

1. Prep first four items in advance by slicing, bagging, and freezing. I make several baggies at once.

2. Combine frozen ingredients with your favorite vanilla or chocolate protein powder plus almond milk.