miscellany monday

Miscellany Monday @ lowercase letters

One-I'm directionally challenged.  Really, I can get lost so easily. I am very thankful for my Garmin because of this.  And I'm pretty sure this may be one reason that God gave me my hubby...he's the opposite of me and can find his way around anywhere.

Two-At this point in the summer with just a couple weeks of freedom left, I really try to remain in denial that school is starting so soon.  My classroom is pretty much ready, but if you're a teacher, you know how many more little details haunt you until the kiddos are walking in the door and you just have to realize you've done all that you can to prepare.  That constant thought about it coming so soon is quickly forced to the back of my mind quite often right now.

Three-We now have a wireless printer and I'm thrilled.  We found a great deal we couldn't pass up.  Love that!

Four-The only time I have been out of the country is to Eleuthera in the Bahamas for a mission trip...a gorgeous outer island.  It was gorgeous.  Stunning.  Seeing the Caribbean is something completely different than seeing the ocean here in the US.  Since that was about three years ago, I'm ready for another stamp on my passport.  I would love to travel out of the country again sometime soon.  On my list of must-sees are Italy and Greece...but I'm open to adding to that list.

Five-Have you seen the movie preview for Despicable Me? The part where the little kid just won the stuffed animal and she shouts out, "IT'S SO FLUFFY"? That makes me laugh so hard.  Justin does a reenactment really well and I randomly ask him to do so I can get a laugh.  We've decided that this part alone is enough to sell us on seeing the movie!

Happy Monday! Now go link up your own miscellany to Carissa's blog!

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wordless wednesday--a favorite retreat

I'm loving spending time here reading and relaxing in my backyard this summer.

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me....a runner?

It's funny how things work.  How you get something in your mind you think "no way" and then so many things point to "yes".  Well that's just what has happened in my mind the past couple days.  It all started when Justin and I passed our church parking lot Friday night and saw tons of cars and quite a few of people we know.  We couldn't figure out what it was and because we were so curious about what in the world could be going on at our church that we didn't know about (that sounds conceited...what I mean is we're just really involved).  Finally we realized it was the 5k that takes place the day before our big day each summer where we celebrate our county (yep, antique tractors, parade, and all).  It always starts and finishes at our church.  After saying hey to a few people and leaving the parking lot, we had a short and sweet conversation about maybe setting a goal to do "one of those" together.  It was very nonchalant.  We decided on next summer.  Ha! Well when I get something on my mind, I really have a hard time getting it off my mind until I have a set plan of action.  Because of that, we have sped things up quite a bit. 

With my hubby by my side, I will be running a 5k in late October at an amazing local park that will benefit a local non-profit agency that helps suffering children, whether they may be abandoned, neglected, in need of medical assistance, in crisis, or have any other concerning issues.  It's an amazing organization that I am thrilled to support.  Now the part I'm not really as fond about here is running.  I've never been a runner.  Ever.  I love to take walks.  But I don't want to just walk the 5k...I want to run it.  Being a softball and basketball player in middle and high school, I was a pretty good sprinter....but long distance running has never been my cup of tea.  However, I've been very goal-oriented lately.  And this is simply another goal I have set for myself (and Justin has set for himself....even though I'm sure he could run it with ease right now with no training), in order to get in shape and benefit something I really believe in....helping kiddos in need. 

My inspirational bloggy friend, Natalie, posted a few days ago about her 5k goal (another one of the things that nudged me closer to taking this step).  She shared a great plan for non-runners prepping for a 5k...the Couch to 5k Running Plan.  Yes, that would be perfect for me as I'm pretty seasoned in sitting on the couch.  It's a great, detailed plan that you do three times a week for nine weeks.  Justin and I will begin this in a couple weeks.  I can't wait! Adrenaline rushes through me just thinking about this. 

I love how God works in the small details of our lives.

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miscellany monday and an anniversary

This Monday is extra special to me because we are celebrating our second wedding anniversary! I'm blessed to be married to an amazing man of God that serves others willingly and invests in others without any reservation.  He's my best friend and simply a wonderful person.  So this miscellany monday post is dedicated
to my love.  

One-You love me for who I am.  You claim you wouldn't love me if I wasn't my goofy, sometimes negative, sometimes a little ditsy, self.  I love you for you too.  You're charming, always positive and never putting up a fight self.  

Two-About that fighting stuff.  You don't get too worked up.  Ever.  I can be steaming at the ears and stomping around the house, and you still take a deep breath, let it pass, and hug me until I have to give in.  I love you for that.

Three- I roll my eyes when I hear another "zoom" or ruffling of an exhaust or motor coming from your computer, but really I love that you're so knowledgeable about cars.  Its' your thing, and I appreciate that.  I look forward to the day you teach our son all about cars and get him into projects with you and the day you teach our daughter how to change her own oil and check her tire pressure.  Your knowledge is manly and I love that you're a manly man.  

Four-Your love for God and ability to take the time to truly hear what He is speaking to you inspires me.  You are always willing to give your time to mission trips, working with the kiddos at church, and investing in lives.  You always let your kindness and joy for life shine.  What a blessing God created when He created you.

Five-You're an amazing puppy-dad.  You play with Boone, throw the ball in the lake for him at least a thousand times when we go, you find the perfect sticks for him, and you let him cuddle up with you on the couch.  This can only mean you'll be an even better human-dad.  In God's time, I can't wait to have kiddos with you.  (I hope they get your great personality and are as chubby as our chubby baby pictures combined.)

I could go on and on.

I'm so thankful that God has blessed us with a second year of marriage that has nourished our love even more.  As you always say, keep God at the center and we'll only grow closer together.  That's my prayer for this next year together.  Whatever falls into our path, may we continue to look at our amazing God and grow deeper and more passionately in love with Him and each other.  I love you babe....happy 2nd anniversary!

(leaving our reception)

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Our 2nd wedding anniversary is tomorrow! Because it's on a Monday and we both have a busy day, we celebrated early (a couple times).

Our first celebration was this past week on one of Justin's "rain days".  (One of the perks of his job being outside is he gets random days off due to weather.  I'm not complainin'!)

We went to lunch at a quirky little place called Lynn's Paradise Cafe and then spent the day exploring a local shopping area that has many fun and eclectic shops.  This amazing restaurant is one of my faves for the wonderful food and the super-fun atmosphere.  It's totally eclectic/hippy but has amazing home-cooking type food that has such fresh ingredients.  It's been featured in Southern Living and is a must-see (or eat) when you are in the Louisville area!


(Kentucky staple...the Hot Brown & my cheeseburger with sweet potato fries)

(games on the table while you wait for your meal)

The second celebration was last night when we went out to dinner at Ruth's Chris...an amazing restaurant that I have always wanted to go to! My parents were extremely kind to bless us with a gift card to celebrate our anniversary.  Our Ruth's Chris is on the 16th floor of an office building.  The view is amazing as is the food.  You can ride a glass elevator up to the 16th floor and observe the view as you head up to eat and also walk around the perimeter of the building, which was so neat! We so enjoyed our time together.

(Louisville skyline)

(The Gentry's est. 2008)

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lifted up

Lately I've had a lot on my mind.  I'm sure it's because it's summertime and I have much more time on my hands.  During the school year it seems that things come to my attention but I can't give much thought at all to them because I'm living day by day, trying to not let stress overwhelm me.  Therefore, I seem to often put a barrier up, and not deal with things going on at all.  Maybe not the best way to handle things.

There was a moment (or two) within the past week where sin crept in and the devil was trying his darnedest to take over my thoughts.  I've spent a lot of time lately reading my bible and working on growing in areas of my relationship with God.  It seems those are the times in life where the devil works his hardest, but our God is so amazing, and through that time spent with Him, prepares our hearts, souls and minds to resist the devil.  Whether it was working on our budget, seeing money leave quickly due to paying for my masters, thinking about some things in the future, or even words uttered by others, the devil was laughing in my face at the stress that slowly crept in. 

The sweet thing is, Christ always offers a way out of temptation...mine being to give things over to stress and worry.  The way out He offered this time, was sweet reminders through scriptures and "little things" here and there that have reminded me once again that He always provides and often does so in ways we never expected or may even pass up as not being God.  Yet, I'm a firm believer that God works through random acts of kindness (a very generous gift card from my parents to use to celebrate our upcoming anniversary), a package deal that will save us hundreds on an upcoming Disney trip, information about my hubby's future in his current job that may (prayerfully) make it a little more "workable" for me to stay at home down the road with our little ones, and even a website that has made our budgeting even more easy alongside Dave Ramsey's envelope system.
Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.
James 4:10

So I'm posting today, with a heart that has been lifted up by the Lord.  By simply handing it over and praying to God, knowing that He has always provided and always met my needs, I have been humbled and reminded all over again that this faith in my God is a true blessing and something I hope and pray everyone I come in contact with can experience.  What an amazing way to live...full of Christ and empty of self.  Not completely free of worry, but complete with freedom in Christ.

Be lifted up today.

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guilty pleasure....magazines

Obviously from the title of this post, y'all know that one of my guilty pleasures is magazines.  I love the surprise of getting a new magazine in the mail full of ideas, information, and inspiration.  I dog-ear pages and "ooh and ahh" out loud as I turn through the pages.  Sometimes, the lucky person sitting next to me, be it often my hubby or mom, gets to have parts of the stories or certain ideas shared with them.  And summertime is the perfect time to catch up on all my magazine reading.  (I just may have to admit to you all right now, that other than my bible and professional books I have to read for my teaching profession or grad school classes, rarely do I truly read a book.  Gasp.  I admitted it.  This "can't sit for too long" chick just doesn't do well with something that requires too much time to read.  And, personally, I like pictures people.)

I have many go-to magazines.  I'm a regular subscriber to Country Living (I soak in every ounce of inspiration the pages ooze with), Glamour (which I'm not re-subscribing to....it's losing my attention, and frankly, a little too risque at times for me even now as a married gal of two years), and Shape (umm...I should probably spend more time utilizing the pages of this one).  However, due to my thrifty nature and finding some awesome deals through great blogs, I have managed to get them all for free.  (Well Country Living is a yearly Christmas gift from my aunt.)  But Glamour is courtesy of Coke Rewards points and Shape is courtesy of www.freebizmag.com.  (Justin also gets some great freebie subscriptions such as Marlin Magazine and some great car magazines.)  Freebiz emails you with freebie offers, you put in your profession, and if your profession is one that they are offering the subscription to, you can get it free.  Great deal!  Well I also randomly sign up for free trial subscriptions, most of which are hassle-free and have not begged me to subscribe at the end or sneaked their magazine into my mailbox requiring a bill after the trial runs up.  (Those are the ones to sign up for.)  I also love to find magazines at flea markets, yard sales, and Half Priced Books where you can buy them for next to nothing or even swap with friends and family.  Because of all these thrifty outlets, my goal is to never pay full-price for magazines off the rack or a subscription. 

My guilty pleasure has now led me to three new magazines that I adore:

For unique DIY projects of all kinds and innovative solutions, this is an amazing go-to magazine! I can't believe what some people come up with!


For ideas on how to make your way of life a little more healthy, natural, organic, and laid-back, this magazine is perfect.

This one is by far my favorite, but sadly, I don't think it's published anymore.   This has amazing insight on how to live a natural and organic lifestyle that is balanced and not overwhelming.  Think " 'normal' chick goes organic."  The articles are full of information and specific products are reviewed.  Some of my favorite articles so far:  raising a child with less "stuff" including info on cloth diapers v. disposable diapers, why high fructose corn syrup is as nasty for your body as exclaimed, and reviews on organic, natural bug repellents.  Love it! (Anyone that has information on this magazine or a similar magazine that I could look into finding would be greatly appreciated!)

Image links: here, here, and here.

So what magazines are your favorites? 
Which ones can you read in one sitting and "ooh and ahh" over?

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peanut-free no bake cookies

As I have shared before, my hubby is allergic to peanuts.  Sad thing is, he was allergic to chocolate (I know, crazy, huh?) when he was little and so therefore enjoyed peanut butter tremendously as a substitute.  Well he outgrew the chocolate allergy and then was allergic to peanuts.  Poor thing.  Anywho.  I have now made it my mission to make his favorite recipes that include peanut butter with the amazing I.M. Healthy Soynut Butter that even a peanut butter lover like myself can't taste too much of a difference.  My grandma has made amazing "peanut butter" fudge with this soynut butter...and if you can make tasty fudge with it, I'm sold to the idea that you can make any peanut butter dessert with it.  So the first recipe that I tried was one of Justin's favorite cookies...no bakes.

-2 cups sugar
-1/2 cup milk
-1 cup soynut butter
-3 cups rolled oats
-1/2 cup butter or margarine
-1/2 cup cocoa powder
-1 tsp. vanilla

To make:
-Mix sugar, butter, milk and cocoa in a saucepan.
-Boil this mixture for 1 minute (time it for 1 minute exactly when you start seeing bubbles...this is one of the tricks with no-bake perfection)
-Pour mixture over soynut butter, vanilla, and rolled oats in a bowl.
-Stir until well mixed.
-Drop by rounded teaspoonful on wax paper.
-Let stand for about 2 hours before serving.
(Recipe states this makes 3 dozen...my cookies were larger and just made about 2 dozen.  Choose your own desired size.)

 *Substitute peanut butter for soynut butter to make the original recipe.
*Recipe adapted from Rainbow of Recipes Volume I


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miscellany monday

Miscellany Monday @ lowercase letters 

Goodness, I am finally taking a moment to participate in Miscellany Monday.  Love it! But I haven't joined in quite a few weeks.  I'm making a point to do it this week because it's just too much fun to pass up!

One-I blame Jimmy Buffet for my crazy yearning to go to the beach.  I was already longing for it like crazy, but then Justin and I watched some of his fundraiser concert for the gulf coast last night. I grew up going to the gulf coast every summer.  This summer we aren't.  Not because of the oil spill but because we already had a different summer trip planned.  My heart really yearns for the ocean...no joke.  There is no place that I see God's beauty in His creation more than sitting on the shore of the water.  I can find a peace there that no other place brings.

Two-We have baby twin deer that hang out with their momma right around our house.  They are almost always by our neighbor's tree across the yard.  But sometimes they show up in our backyard to bed down, or by our mailbox, or in the woods on either side of our house.  They are spotted and so adorable.

Three-I am hoping my teaching career allows for another shark dissection sometime.  (I never thought I would have said that.)  My first year of teaching was the year that my grade level dissected sharks.  First year of teaching! Yikes! I was terrorized and traumatized by the thought.  I had never dissected anything in all my school years.  But I survived a week of having six dog fish sharks in rubbermaid containers in my classroom.  With awesome volunteers we somehow managed to dissect the sharks with (very dull) dissecting tools, found whole parts of fish that had been swallowed, and I loved every minute of it!

Four-I have a crazy obsession with naming our unborn (and/or un-adopted) children.  Really.  I've decided it's an obsession.  I'm not saying what names I really adore just because those will be shared as the right time comes.  I will share that I love the idea of strong biblical names, strong family names, naming kiddos something unique so that they have a unique identity, and naming a kiddo a strong name that gives them a story to share.  But know that I have a list in my journal and am always saying to Justin, "Hey what do you think of.....?"

Five-Bugs love me.  Mucho.  It's like my skin screams "besame" ("kiss me" in espanol).  My ankles were eaten alive this weekend at my husband's grandparents' estate yard sale.  Justin's grandpa had amazing apple, pear, and peach trees that the bugs must love.  While we were cleaning things out getting ready for the yard sale, they left their midday snack of fruit and snacked on my ankles.  Gross.  The same thing happened to me a few summers ago on our mission trip to the Bahamas.  Two words.  Sand fleas.

Six- I love seeing wind turbines.  If we could, I would have one in our backyard.  I just think they're so cool.

Seven-My current health kick is trying to train myself to eat less.  Really, I'm one of those people that can just eat and eat if something tastes good.  I kinda ignore that "I'm full" voice sometimes. :) So I'm trying to make sure to have a to-go box when I leave a restaurant and have enough food left from dinner to have leftovers for a second meal.

Okay, that's all.  Happy Monday and happy miscellany! (I actually enjoy Mondays during the summer!)

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my etsy

So you'll notice a little update to my pages at the top of my blog.  What used to be titled "jewelry creations" is now titled "my etsy" and it makes me so excited! This has been a goal of mine for about a year now...and I am finally getting it up and running since I have had time to devote to the creation process.  I would love for you to go ahead and check it out! I will have more items listed soon.

So without further ado please meet.....

Yep, caitiedidesign it is! The name comes from a nickname my family uses at times for me (mainly my grandpa).  And while you're checking out etsy, please visit my friend Jessie's etsy shop, Little One Design, where you can find some great growth charts that you can personalize for the special little one in your life!

Have a wonderful weekend!

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greening the home

Moving into the "green" mindset has been a choice of my family being healthier and our habits being more budget-friendly.  I know a lot of people feel like it's "jumping on the bandwagon" or it's just "a fad", but really, it's just like anything else.  There are pros and cons of the changes.  I also firmly believe in helping to sustain this amazing world that God blessed us with and placed us on to take care of and be good stewards of. 
He calls us to do so. (Genesis 1:28, Genesis 2:15)

Moving on from the soapbox....I wanted to share some of my favorite "green" items we've been using around our home lately.

(Six of these are made from just one recycled 12 oz. plastic bottle, the soap in them is biodegradable and phosphorus free, they clean pots and pans without any hard scrubbing, and they don't scratch the surface of my pots and pans at all.  Love them.)

(Cleans germs botanically instead of with nasty chemicals that I can't pronounce.  Odds are if I can't pronounce what's in it...I don't want it in my home.  Love how this stuff suds up!)

(I can use this on the same counter surface I make a sandwich on.  Cleans botanically just like the bathroom cleaner.  It's a multi-surface spray and replaces the other nasty chemical-ridden options at the stores.  Be prepared for a different smell--it is natural and not induced with chemicals to smelly perfectly lovely--but I have gotten so used to the natural plant smell, I love it.)

(We found these at a local store that sells all things green.  These gallon-size bags keep fruits and veggies so fresh, plus they are reusable! Just wash them with a little soap and water and turn them upside down to dry.)

(Also found these at our local green store.  Oh my goodness.  They're amazing! I have cut down on the number of paper towel rolls I buy tremendously.  You just wet the cloth and use it as a paper towel. So absorbent, fights tough stains, and is completely reusable.  I have used the same one for months now since the cool little cloths are top-rack dishwasher safe.)

*You can find all these products on Amazon by clicking the link I have included with the names.  However, I do recommended buying the Seventh Generation at your local Target.  Use a Target coupon they often have on their website and a manufacturer's coupon you can usually find as a print-out online, and you get a great deal on these eco-friendly products.  They're not bad for the budget at all...even if you don't have a coupon.

So what "green" options are you enjoying in your home? How has it helped your budget or made you feel more at peace with what your family is being exposed to?

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what I've been up to

Not sure if you've noticed but I have been MIA in blog world lately.  Two weeks ago today, we left for Justin's best friend's wedding in Texas with my in-laws.  We left Texas on that Sunday, dropped Justin off at our church youth mission trip in Alabama and spent the night there, and then came home Monday.  I stayed home last Monday through Wednesday to finish up my night class and then left Thursday morning to return to the mission trip.  We finally got home this past Saturday evening.  With piles of laundry, finalizing grades, cleaning a dirty house, enjoying the 4th of July weekend with family and friends, and getting settled back at home, things have been a bit crazy and I have neglected this lovely little blog.  After two days of laundry, cleaning, and finally getting necessities back in our house such as food to eat, I have found a moment to sit down.  (Don't let that blank week I posted about yesterday deceive you....this gal has been busy.)  But I've loved every minute! Let me share some photos of our week and a half adventure.

We road-tripped our way through Kentucky, Tennessee, Arkansas, and finally made it to Texas after a night's stay in a little town in Arkansas!

We stopped in Jackson, Tennessee for dinner the first night at Casey Jones' Old County Store.  Pretty sure this wasn't a healthy meal (at all), but it was good southern home cooking!

We stayed in Frisco, Texas the first night in Texas.  Justin was the best man and planned a great bachelor's party including a Rangers game with all-you-can-eat seats.  The boys enjoyed themselves and I had fun with my in-laws and Corey's (the groom) mom, dad, and sister.  We ate at an amazing restaurant (Babe's) that served everything family style.  And then my in-laws were kind enough to take me to my first Ikea.  Oh my.  They really are as amazing as everyone says! I found a lazy susan for our kitchen table and an awesome scarf organizer for my closet.  I'll definitely be returning to one that we have closer to home very soon.
The next day we made our way to Paris.....Texas for the wedding festivities.

We even saw the eiffel tower!

Justin and I standing in front of this fun landmark.  (Voted one of the tackiest in Texas.)

The cowboy hat was added on to put this eiffel tower in the books as the second (or third...I got a couple different stories) largest eiffel tower in the world.  Haha.  We definitely got a kick out of this.

Justin decided he was cowboy while we were down there.


The wedding was gorgeous.  Bride, decor, and all.

Amy and Corey...

Us with the newlyweds...

Pretty table centerpieces...

And we loved the candy bar!

It was a great trip!

When I made my way back to Alabama later the next week...Hartselle to be exact....(a small dot on the map...but tons of charm) Justin and I got gifted two nights in a little cabin on the grounds where we were working and staying. (You can see a glimpse of it to the left of the tabernacle.)  What a treat (instead of sleeping in the bunks).

This outdoor tabernacle is where the hymn, Leaning on the Everlasting Arms, was written.  It was such a peaceful, serene place to do a quiet devotional each morning.

It was a wonderful few days of fellowship, worship, and hard work.

I so love my church family...mission trip is always a highlight of our summer!

We loved our time away...but we're also happy to be back home.  Hope your summer is lovely so far!

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what I'm loving...

Is a blank [work] week in my planner.  Sigh. 

That is enough to overjoy me.  This never happens.  Never.  Usually, I'm having to cram in everything that I need to do/remember in order to fit it in the box.  This is lovely.  I will thank God for this time now...because the reality is that summer break is nearing the down slope and those blank weeks will be absent from my planner in the near future.

Does this sorta thing make anyone else happy?

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