Friday, July 31, 2009

Wish List

My birthday is fast-approaching, and unlike other years, there are plenty of things on my wish list this time. And that's exactly where they will remain! I won't be getting any of these things for a gift this year, but a girl can still dream.

I'm still playing around with the two lenses I already have, but this would be the perfect addition to the family.
35mm f1.8

One of my favorite styles of handbags has always been the hobo, and J. Crew has me drooling over this one.
jcrew campo

I'm getting back into tennis again, but my old high school racket has got to go!
wilson KZERO

Now, this is a more reasonable birthday request. Isn't it beautiful? Get yours here.
orangepoppy ruffle necklace

I never wear watches, but I'm sure I'd wear this one daily!
jcrew military watch

I'll be needing a desk for my new room, and I'm in love with the Parsons desk from West Elm.

I also love the sawhorse desk.
sawhorse desk west elm

I've been to the beach the past couple of birthdays. Hilton Head would be nice.

Practice Makes Perfect?

This Saturday I'm whitewater rafting.

Last Saturday, I was at the Dierks Bentley and Brad Paisley concert.

One of my new roommates and I tried grilling for the first time. We're practicing for parties at our soon-to-be house!


Last Roommate Dinner


I'm glad the roommate I'm taking with me is the one who loves to cook.

I said I wanted steak, and this is what I got. Marinated steak with herbs and onion strings, a side of garlic mashed potatoes, and a salad with homemade dressing.

Our last roommate dinner with the other girls.

One Last Walk

Packing was fun . . until it wasn't fun anymore. Until I became emotional about leaving my neighborhood, my garage, the proximity to Georgetown and everything else. I can get anywhere I need to be in about ten minutes or less. And I'm sad to let that go. I've lived here for 3 years, nearly the entire time I've been in D.C., and I'm sentimental.

So tonight I begged the girls to walk to Georgetown with me. 75 degrees and perfect, I wanted frozen yogurt. And I wanted to enjoy that walk for the last time from my apartment.


Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Ice Cream Cake!

I'm still working away at this packing endeavor, and I've worked up a craving for this ice cream cake. It's a super easy one to make, and the best part is that the flavors can change, but the directions stay the same. I just recommend making it the night before you plan to eat it.

While home in Nebraska this month, I made it for my family one night.

First, the fun part: decide which cake flavors and ice cream flavors you’d like in your cake. We chose mint chocolate chip ice cream and dark chocolate fudge cake. In the past, I’ve loved funfetti cake with both strawberry and vanilla ice creams.

Bake the cake and let it cool completely.

Let your ice cream soften, as well.

Grab a springform pan and tear off a piece of wax paper large enough to sit in the pan and come over the edges.

Here comes the other fun part. Dig your hand into that cake and press about half of it into the bottom of the pan.

Then spread a layer of ice cream over the top of your first layer of cake. You can add another layer of hot fudge, oreo crumbs, nuts, or whatever else you’d like on top of that.

Then, the rest of the cake followed by another layer of ice cream and a fun topping.

Cover your pan in foil and stick it in the freezer overnight.

Enjoy it the following evening, and you won’t be disappointed! True, you could just bake a cake and put ice cream on top, but something about smooshing them together makes it so much more delicious!


Monday, July 27, 2009


There is so much I hoped to blog about that has happened this past week, but one thing leads to another, and I just haven't had to time to sit down and write about it. In fact, I don't even have time now.

My bedroommate Lyn and I are in the middle of packing our first moving boxes. We're moving into a house this Sunday! And we get our own rooms! Plus two new, wonderful roommates, both of which I met over Memorial Day in the Outer Banks. We're so excited. I'm looking forward to showing you all my new place, although I'm sure it will take awhile to get settled in.

Hopefully I'll be able to take a few minutes to share about my weekend, but I'm way too into going through all my crap right now. I made lots of lists today - oh how I love making lists. Lists of what "types" of boxes I'd need - one for electronic stuff, one for kitchen stuff, one for mani/pedi stuff; lists of what the roomies and I need for our new place - a grill, a kitchen island for more counter space, a lawnmower (well, hopefully we'll hire it done); lists of everything I need to do before the move. More than will fit into four days! Rather than block out our Saturday for final packing, the 4 of us new roommates are going whitewater rafting with a big group of friends. We're smart like that.

Needless to say, I need to get back to work!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Real Life

You all, I've got to be straight up with you. My life isn't all fun and excitement. I write about food and fun and friends, but at the end of the day, that stuff does not satisfy me. And if my focus is on those things alone, I won't really be loving those around me, and I won't be finding my fulfillment in my Best Friend, Jesus. Going home was really grounding for me, because it was the relationships, not the fun activities that made it such a blessing. I certainly have wonderful friendships here, but in a place where you're surrounded by activities, excitement, career-minded and highly educated people, you can become pretty distracted. Praise the Lord that He is my peace, my fulfillment, my strength, my provider . . my everything. And if I did nothing but work and come home each evening, I could be content, because He is enough. Much more than enough. I think the blogosphere, facebook, myspace, twitter, whatever it is we do to stay connected - it can actually make us discontent, comparing ourselves to others and their lives, and focusing way too much on ourselves. I'm certainly not planning on erasing my blog or my facebook anytime soon, because I think there are plenty of positives they bring, as well . . but I think it's good to take a step back and ask ourselves whose opinion we value most (for me, it's the Lord) and where we're finding fulfillment (again for me, it's in the Lord). Just some deep thoughts for y'all tonight. I'm not going to start writing personal posts on you or anything. I'm still going to share about my adventures here. But I'd be misleading you if you ever thought my life is great because I always have so much fun. My life is great because I know Jesus in a personal way, and He is so sweet to me. And all the unknowns in my life right now and the things that might make me want to cry, He knows how they're going to turn out, and He's holding my hand and fathering me through it all. And no fun night out can ever give me the joy that He does.

I love this song about resting in the Lord and finding your true identity in Him:

With every breath, with every thought
From what is seen to the deepest parts
I offer all that I've come to be
To know your love, Father, in me

With every step on this journey's walk
Wisdom songs that the soul has sought
I give myself unreservedly
To know your love, Father, in me

Father, you're all I need
My sole sufficiency
My strength when I am weak
The love that carries me

Your arms enfold me
Til I am only a child of God


Monday, July 20, 2009

My Favorite Thing

One of the reasons I thought I'd never move away was my reluctance to leave Grandma's lake behind. Not only because I love her and love being there, but because I love to slalom ski.

But the Lord has really blessed me here in Virginia with a couple of guy friends (my boating crew) who invite me out every time they go. Yet as much as I love Lake Anna, Grandma's lake is smaller, the water can be smoother, and it's equally beautiful. Plus I get to enjoy it with my family.

While I was home over the 4th, Dad was determined to get up on one ski again (after four years), so we set aside Friday to do just that.

He was convinced we needed a longer rope, so he took care of rope selection . .


. . while I walked around the marine admiring the propellors . .


. . and coveting the boats (200HP, yes please).


But we finally made it out to the lake, and let me just say, my Dad is a rockstar.


Wow, huh?


Talk about motivation! I was ready to go after that, and I couldn't wait to cut harder and move faster across the water.


The water was like glass, which made it much more fun.


Fast forward to this weekend when I adjusted the fin five degrees on the bottom of the ski, and it made a noticeable difference. I wasn't fatigued early on, and I was having a blast.


I was also using the handlebar like a steering wheel. Whatever works, right?



It was a gorgeous day outside, and minus the radio cutting out on us and the trouble we had initially getting the boat started . . it was the perfect day.

The sky was clear . .


The weather was warm.


Our food at the cafe was delicious as usual . .


I had a dog lovin' on me . .


And my toes were painted passion fruit.


The drive back to the boys' house was lovely, too.


There's corn here, too. Not as good, of course. :)


Hungry again, we grilled some thin seasoned chicken breasts.


A fresh fruit salad . .


A pasta salad . .


And a belated birthday cake for the bald old man. (Well, he's only 30.)


Here's hoping the boat is working Friday, and I'm able to leave work early, because I'm anxious to get back on the lake!

Saturday, July 18, 2009

The Corn

Did I really just forget THE CORN? No mention of Nebraska sweet corn, the best corn in the nation? I suppose the corn really deserves a post of its own anyway.

We had plenty of it, that's for certain! After a small miscommunication one evening, Mom showed up with two dozen ears to add to Grandma's two dozen! But an overabundance of corn is never a bad thing and Mom ended up shucking her corn and freezing it for later.


The table was set especially for corn . .


And it was the perfect side to our summer meal of grilled burgers, napa cabbage salad*, fresh watermelon, and Grandma's famous baked beans.


The cousins and I savored every last bite of that corn . .


And I mean, we really cleaned it off . .


Even my little niece Sophia went to town . .


Just one more thing I miss about Nebraska. And if you've never tasted it, I wish I could share!

*What I can share is a recipe for the napa cabbage salad. It's another big hit at our family gatherings, and this year, my cousin handed out adorable recipe cards so now we can make it on our own.

Napa Cabbage Salad
1 head napa cabbage (chopped)
6-8 green onions (chopped)
Melt 1 stick margarine
Add two packages unseasoned ramen noodles
1 pkg sliced almonds and 1 1/2 oz. sesame seeds browned
Add dressing 15 minutes prior to serving.
Dressing: 1 c. oil, 1/2 c. white vinegar, 2/3 c. sugar 2 TB soy sauce.

It's no sweet corn, but you're gonna love it!

Food on the 4th

So yes, Nebraska was wonderful. All ten days of it . . although I think eleven would have been pushing it. I was beginning to miss the place that has become my home these past three years. I will always love the place I came from, but for now and who knows how long, I belong in D.C. and Virginia.


The thing that takes me away from the nation's capital over the 4th of July is the family I'll see at Grandma's home on the lake. Nebraska family. Texas family. Indiana family. Cousins, aunts, uncles, family friends I love.


Sand volleyball, delicious dinners, boat rides, hands held around a circle for pre-dinner prayers, games, laughter, and much more. The 4th is my favorite holiday.


With 14 house guests at Grandma's, every night that week is a feast with the 4th being the ultimate meal.

Each holiday has its traditional main dish, and on the 4th of July it's fried chicken, along with Grandma's famous baked beans and famous potato salad.



Others bring their usual sides, as well. {I still miss my late great aunt's waldorf salad.} A family friend is known for bringing the best Rice Krispie treats you'll ever eat.


My sister makes a flag cake every year. It always looks perfect and tastes as good as it looks.



Dessert is just as good as dinner. This year Mom and Grandma got stuck making the homemade ice cream in the rain!


It was much appreciated, I can assure you! I couldn't decide between chocolate marshmallow or vanilla, nor could I choose just one cake.


A friend's homemade hot fudge is equally as crucial to our Independence Day sweets. My brother-in-law feels strongly about this, as well.


Are you as hungry as I am right now? I think I'll grab an after-midnight snack and come back soon to talk about something 4th-related other than food.