Friday, December 30, 2011

A Southern Christmas

For our very first married Christmas, we decided to spend it with Zach's sweet family. Originally, I was okay with this because I knew I'd be coming home to my family even if I didn't spend the actual Christmas Day with them.

Well, then we moved. So needless to say, I was a little emotional about being away from my family for the first time. I haven't seen my family for two months and I wont see them for another two months and I miss them. So much. But luckily for me, I am beyond blessed by my inlaws. I could never have dreamed of a better family to join!

So here's our week in pictures :)

Red sparkly Shellac manicure, Christmas lights, making homemade caramel, the stocking my MIL picked for me!

lots of sleeping, bonding with Logan, and a new tradition of Christmas Eve jammies!

clues to find hidden gifts, friends, and a book from my husband

our first married Christmas, southern dinner [!!], Zach and his awesome dad, and my beautiful Sister in law[who might slap  me for showing her belly..that I'm obsessed with]

Overall, it was amazing! I wouldn't trade last week for the world and I'll say it again, that I LOVE my inlaws!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

The Magic Behind the Camera: Holson Photography

Ever wondered where my incredible 'blogger profile pic' came from?

Please, allow me to introduce you to the darling Heather of Holson Photography.

She just happens to be hilarious, beautiful, and most of all super talented! I wish we could've done our engagements in Seattle so that we could have used her for those too. It was super important to Zach to do them in Marietta (his hometown) so I respectfully obliged like a good wifey.

We didn't want to see each other before our ceremony because we're all traditional in some ways, which btw I am SO glad we didn't! It made walking down the aisle so so so special. We decided that since we wouldn't have unlimited time between ceremony & party for pictures, we'd ask Heather to do a "trash the dress" a few weeks after the wedding. I had never heard that term before asking her and when she said it I about fainted. She quickly reassured me I didn't have to actually trash my dress. [here's us]

Anyways, where was I.. Oh yeah, Heather! Check her out if you're in the Seattle area because she is seriously amazeballs!! [whenever anyone says that word, I always think of her cus I heard it from her first. True testament to her awesomeness]

One day I'll share our day-of wedding photos, because those are pretty stellar too :)

Thanks again, Heather!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

We Grow Up So Fast

Do you ever wake up one morning and realize, "holy crap, I'm actually growing up" ?

Yeah, me either. More like while I was walking around the other day.

I was working alone and reminiscing about Christmas growing up full of cousins, aunts, uncles, grandparents, fires, hot tubs, and laughter. Both my parents come from huge families so there usually wasn't a quiet moment around the holidays. Both sides of my family are so so special to me but I always loved going to my dads parents house because all of us cousins are only a year apart.

Now, when I think back to holidays growing up I have little snippets of memories (my family has never been one for many pictures) but mostly it just makes me feel warm & fuzzy thinking about what an amazing family I have on both my mom & dads side; happy, healthy, supportive, and loud.

So anyways, back to my point. I was working alone the other day going through the memories in my head and all of a sudden it dawned on me that I literally will never be in those places again. Since my adolescence, one grandma has passed away, the other grandparents are snowbirds and won't come north for Christmas, and all of us older kids have pretty much scattered around the country.

What I realized is that Christmas will forever look different. I don't know when exactly all that happened, but never will I wake up in the loft to the smell of my grandma's breakfast (always including bacon!), surrounded by cousins. Never will we drive from California to Washington to spend Christmas morning with my mom's parents.

But, as I realized all this, I didn't feel sad. I felt so excited for the future and blessed to have sweet memories of the past. I can't wait til we have a bunch of kids to take to THEIR grandparents house, to sleep with their cousins. And until then, we will spend holidays alternating parents, who happen to live on opposite coasts, and enjoy the new meaning of Christmas as a married couple. Im so looking forward to making memories with my husband and his sweet family.

Here I sit on a plane headed East, missing my own family, and excited for learning about what Christmas has looked like for Zach while he grew up and getting to spend time with my wonderful in laws.

Merry Christmas, y'all :)

Friday, December 16, 2011

Crock Pot Santa Fe Chicken & A Trick!

It's time to share one of my very favorite crock pot recipes! This recipe is super duper easy & tastes delicious. I love getting recipes off of Skinny Taste because I know that not only will they taste amazeballs, but they are usually healthy & that means they wont upset my stomach [I'm sensitive to dairy, gluten, sugar, etc etc etc]. So pretty much means that I can always count on Gina to provide me with an all around "good" meal. Also, her recipes are healthy but not skimpy. They are always always always filling, and even Zach agrees! He is a tough one to satisfy, he is not afraid to tell me 15 minutes after consuming a meal I worked hard on, that he is STARVING. But never with this meal! Without further ado, I give you:

Crock Pot Santa Fe Chicken a la Skinny Taste


  • 24 oz (1 1/2) lbs chicken breast
  • 14.4 oz can diced tomatoes with mild green chilies
  • 15 oz can black beans
  • 8 oz frozen corn
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 14.4 oz can fat free chicken broth
  • 3 scallions, chopped
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper (to taste)
  • salt to taste

What to do:

Combine chicken broth, beans, corn, tomatoes, cilantro, scallions, garlic powder, onion powder, cumin, cayenne pepper and salt in the crock pot. Season chicken breast with salt and lay on top. Cook on low for 10 hours or on high for 6 hours. Half hour before serving, remove chicken and shred. Return chicken to slow cooker and stir in. Adjust salt and seasoning. Serve over rice. Voila!

Now you have a delicious meal for only 190 calories per serving. Pretty stellar if I do say so myself!

I forgot the cilantro, and the fact that I live 45 minutes from a grocery store made it so that we just went without. It was still delish, but I do love me some cilantro.

And now for my trick that I am so graciously sharing with y'all! Do you know how to shred chicken easily & without getting it under your finger nails? It's okay, I didn't know either until a few months ago. I used to wait until it cooled, then pull it apart with my hands [which I hated, because I loathe touching food with my bare hands]. 

Until one day someone showed me this!
Please excuse the awkward angle & poor lighting. Apparently photography is not in my husband's future.
All you do is use two forks to pull the chicken away from the other one. You can make it as fine or chunky as you like depending on how much you shred each part. Piece of cake, right?! You're welcome.

Now go crock & shred away!
Let me know if you make it & what you think of it!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Well Done

When it's your time to leave this world, what will people say about you?

Last night, I saw on Facebook that someone on Young Life staff had passed away. I didn't know him well, but I did work with him for a month about five years ago and remember him being a very genuine, vibrant, and witty man. He has two little boys and a beautiful wife who are still living, and my heart breaks for them. I cant imagine life without Zach anytime soon, especially if we had a family. I don't know them, but I am praying them.

What my heart doesn't break for, though, is the fact that this man is so undoubtedly in heaven. I was reading through what people had written on his facebook wall, lots of stories, memories, but mostly were countless young men and women, in high school or in college, or in their twenties leaving a note saying that this man had lead them to Christ. Without him standing up strong for what he believed in, and doing what God asks of all of us, to spread the gospel to the ends of the earth, it appears that hundreds of people would not know their Savior.

However, the post that stood out the most to me simply said, "Well done, good and faithful servant." 

That's all; no story, no thank you.

This made me think, if I got cancer, was in a car accident, slipped on ice and fell into a coma, whatever... what would people say about me? When I get to the gates of heaven, what will God say about me?

Yes I work at a Christian camp, yes I led Young Life & mentored teenagers for two years, yes I invite my family to church often; but what about my thoughts? What about  my actions?

The words in that quote are beyond meaningful. I know the only way to be preaching the Gospel without words, is to have my heart fully hidden in Christ (so filled with His love & compassion there is no room for my own selfishness). When I read the posts on this man's facebook wall, I was overwhelmed with the feeling that God must be pleased with him.

I can only pray that God is pleased with me too. I'm pretty dang good at talking the talk, putting on a happy face. But when we start talking real, I don't always know if my intentions are in the right place & I'll be the first to admit that my thoughts are not always pleasing in God's eyes.

A verse my favorite Marlene (my mentor) always reminds me is to "hold every thought captive to God". It took me awhile to grasp the meaning of this verse, but I think it's time to start remembering this every day.

Source: via Katie on Pinterest

So by the death of a man who I barely knew, the Lord is speaking to me. I know He can speak to you too, if you'll listen.

These lessons aren't always easy, but I know its time for me to start thinking about my day to day life. Am I pleasing God? If today was my last day, do I think the Lord would say to me, "Katie, well done my faithful servant" ... maybe He would. Maybe I am too hard on myself. But I know have a lot of room to improve and grow.

My prayer will be that my life will be one that is worth someone saying Well done, good and faithful servant.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

A New Name

Hi, it's still me!

Just a new name & URL. I didn't feel like my sunroom fit me anymore, and wanted the name of the blog to fit the style a little better.

If you do keep up with me, make sure to update the link URL cus I went ahead and changed that too, just to keep y'all on your toes, k?

So welcome, and thanks for keeping up with what's goin' on with me lately :)

Snowflakes That Stay on my Nose and Eyelashes [Favorite things December Edition]

It's time to share a few more of my favorite things! I just get so excited about them I feel like you all should know about them too :)

1. Nordic Pine Soy Candle 
smells like a real christmas tree :)

2. White Choc Peppermint Creamer
my favorite holiday latte, out of my very own fridge. swoon.

3. Sunsets Like This [even better in real life. this photo doesn't do it justice]

4. That my iPhone Screens Are Christmasey 
lock screen
home screen

5. Homemade Advent Calendar [awesome wedding gift!] 

Thank you to Laura Lester. You're amazing.

Merry Christmas, y'all.

Monday, December 12, 2011

How The Glitz Stole Christmas!

First things first, thanks to Lindsey and Raven for hosting this awesome swap! These are two of my must read blogs, they are both hilarious!

I joined this game a little late when I saw Lindsey's tweet about how someone's partner had dropped out. I am so glad I did. I got paired with Kristin & Camie of Twist of Dazzle, and we managed to swap gifts in time for today's link up. These ladies blog about all kinds of cute DIY projects, decorating etc. I already love their blog!

Here's my loot:

They wrapped it so well I didnt even want to open it! [Note to self: work on presentation]

Here's what I saw when I opened up the pretty box. Oh la la!

Here's a spread of all the goods! A phone clutch, "H" ornament [love], pink glitter nail polish [currently wearing], three types of bracelets [!!!], super swaggy earrings, and ELF eye make up!!! Score!!

Thanks again ladies, and Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Getting to Know me, a Q&A

Hi friends! I saw this circulating and took it upon myself to fill it out! A little about me in real life :) PS hi to you new followers, my blogger wont let me see who you are but I'd love to 'meet' you :)

#1. What's a nickname only your family calls you?
Katarina or Pumpkinhead
#2. What's a weird habit of yours?
licking my teeth; first upper then lower. do it all the time 
#3. Do you have any weird phobias?
#4. What's a song you secretly LOVE to blast &&
belt out when you're alone?
today is was Mariah Carey (christmas songs) but changes all the time!
#5. What's one of your biggest pet peeves?
noisey eaters/drinkers. maybe just mouth noises all together
#6. What's one of your nervous habits?
clenching my teeth
#7. What side of the bed do you sleep on?
looking at the bed, the left
#8. What was your first stuffed animal & it's name?
Pooh Bear, his name was Pooh Bear
#9. What's the drink you ALWAYS order at starbucks?
grande americano, 2 pumps white mocha and and inch of cold soy. i order this hot or iced depending on the weather
#10. What's the beauty rule you preach.. 
but never ACTUALLY practice?
cut your hair every 6-8 weeks!
#11. Which way do you face in the shower?
this is such a strange question.. how else do you face besides away from the water?
#12. Do you have any 'weird' body 'skills'?
not really. i can roll my tongue which some people cant do?
#13. What's your favorite 'comfort food'/food thats 
'bad' but you love to eat it anyways?
ice cream!
#14. What's a phrase or exclamation you always say?
"how funny!" i hate it.
#15. Time to sleep- what are you ACTUALLY wearing?
baggy t shirt and sweats. every.single.night.

this brings me back to myspace surveys...anyone else??

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

I Made Stuff: An Ornament Wreath.. My Way

My floor is covered in glitter (its even stuck in my husband's beard) but this wreath turned out awesome! I made the mistake of glancing at a tutorial before hurrying to get my supplies, and halfway through realized there is a much easier way to make this. But nevermind that, let me show you the more difficult, more time consuming, more OCD inflicting way that I made my wreath!

First, gather a TON of ornaments. If you think you have enough for two wreaths, buy more. Trust me. Everything you'll need:

  • glue gun
  • lots of extra glue sticks
  • foam wreath form
  • ornaments, ornaments, more ornaments
  • a flower if your heart desires (mine did)
  • ribbon
Pretty easy, right? I bought all my ornaments at the 99 cent store, and everything else at Joann's. For 50% off. Score!

Ok so let's get started, why don't we.

the first genius thing I did was pour all my ornaments onto the kitchen floor. so that my floor would be covered in glitter and my kittens could run and slide into them 400 times and hour, clearly.

second, listen to what other people say and spray paint your wreath before glueing ornaments to it. I missed this step and regretted it immensely. it prompted the first bout of OCD to cover all green foam I could possibly find.

other people say you should glue all the ornaments around the outside and inside perimeters, but I took it upon myself to do it my own way. I just started gluing. It seemed to work. I did the a few on the inside, then worked my way around to the outside, and kept my wreath flat on that blue box to make sure it would also hang flat against the wall. here's where the second bout of OCD came in. I wanted it to look like the ornaments were randomly thrown on there, but my little mind couldn't do it. so I made sure not too many silver/gold/white were by another, and also no shiny/matte/glitter were next to one another.

once I was about ready to give up, I decided to add a poinsetta. it helped me gain back my sanity. with that sanity came the realization that my life would become easier if I glued the ribbon on before the ornaments, so I added ribbon. I doubled up on thin ribbon because I forgot to buy thicker. from here I just kept gluing, gluing, gluing until I reached the end!

bam. take that ornament wreath! I actually think it looks pretty dang awesome.

Let me know if you decide to make one of these babies, I'd love to see your variation! And incase you were wondering what the easier way is, its to hang all the ornaments by their tips on a wire hanger, then form it into a circle. areyoujoking? Oh well, I still like mine :)

What are you crafting this season? 

Sunday, December 4, 2011

If I Had a Million Dollars

I've been planning this post all week, preparing to show you readers how I would decorate my house if I had no budget. I've searched the Pottery Barn, Pier 1, and World Market websites just to show you photos like this

and this

and this.

I was planning to write all about how magical and glittery and warm and fuzzy Christmas makes me feel, and how I'd love to place those all of those items in our home, if only I was fortunate enough to afford it all.

Now, let's rewind. We are searching for a new home church down here, and both are getting discouraged with the ones we've tried so far. We were blessed by an incredible community at a church for 4 years, and recently switched to a non denominational church in Seattle prior to moving down here. We adore the pastor there, still listen to his sermons online, and are having trouble finding someone who can compare. We pray about this everyday, and both our hearts are just hurting, yearning for a church to call home.

This morning we drove a little further to try a church that looked promising. We really enjoyed the worship (I'm picky) and then they turned on the video screen. Immediately I was turned off; I like the pastor to be standing in front of me, not feel like I'm at the movie theatre... Anyhoodles, the pastor started talking about a ministry the church has in Mexico to feed children whose parents either abandon them, don't come home from their nightly work with drugs sex or crime, or who just can't afford to feed them. These children live in 6'x8' storage units. Most of the doors have been broken off and are replaced with pieces of broken wood or abandoned buildings. These kids just stay in their storage units, all lined up next to each other (I envisioned a row of prison cells when the pastor was telling all this) and hope their mothers come home that morning to unlock the door.

Last year, the church's ministry there had enough money after feeding 400 children, to get each child a gift worth 15 cents. They felt bad for only giving each child a pencil and a candy cane. When those kids realized they each got a pencil and a candy cane, they shouted and laughed and jumped up and down! They were so excited to get a gift of a pencil and candy cane tied together.

Here's where I broke down. I felt so incredibly ignorant, selfish, and materialistic. My heart was broken for these children. I ugly cried in church while the pastor on the TV screen talked about the Mexican kids. Not only do they live in storage units hoping that their parents to come home each morning, but they are cold. Most of them don't own any blankets and sleep on the dirt floor. Insert more ugly cry. Do you know how many blankets I own? I just bought a heating pad yesterday because I didn't think my blankets were warm enough.

I will say now, that I am so incredibly thankful for where I was born and the family I was born into. I am so thankful that we can afford to stay warm and cozy, and to brighten our home with Christmas decorations. I have parked my booty on that heating pad and fully intend on keeping it there.

But in the midst of the season of giving, I have been reminded that it's not all about me. It's not all about fulfilling wish lists. For thousands of people just 70 miles south of me, their wish list is much simpler than mine. So today, while shopping at Target with my wonderful husband, we bought a blanket. A big soft fleece one to send to Mexico. It feels so small and insufficient compared to how much is needed, but for now it's what we want to give. I can tell, though, that this is the beginning of something pulling at my heart strings.

I love the Christmas season, I love the lights and the decorations, I love the friendliness it brings out in strangers. It's so easy to focus on the cheeriness of this season, but this morning, my friends, my heart was broken for this season. I needed to share my heart with y'all. But mostly for myself, to look back and remember how I felt today, remember these kids and be reminded that I am incredibly blessed, and have the means to share with others.

So in the midst of my broken heartedness, I will rejoice that there are ministries reaching these children and many other children each day. I rejoice that our God, our King, cares. He cares about you and I, and He cares about those we don't even know about. Our God is big, so big, and he will provide for those kids, I just know it.

"But God will never forget the needy,
nor the hope of the afflicted ever perish." 
Psalm 9:18

Thursday, December 1, 2011

We Went for a Drive

Okay, I know I have mentioned a few times how beautiful it is here. On our way home from church last week, we stopped at one of the many "vista points" on the road to our home to look and take some pictures. Just wanted to share!
'nuff said.

Love this picture & my bearded husband.

The view looking South

view looking West. that blue on the left beyond the land, is the ocean

this view is from the main part of camp. that blue is also the ocean.. its much more vivid in person!

Sadly, we have lived here for almost a month and haven't actually been to the ocean! I'm hoping my hubster will take me on a date there soon. Until then, I am totally enjoying these views from the place I call home.

The LORD is gracious and merciful,
   slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.
The LORD is good to all,
   and his mercy is over all that he has made.

Psalm 145:8-9