Tuesday, May 31, 2011

how sweet it is

how sweet is is...

to have a cabin in the mountains.

to have a mom and dad who still hang on to my every word.

to go wading in the same part of the lake that I used to swim in as a little girl.

to watch my puppy leap into the lake and fetch sticks (and the occasional floating leaf)

to have chocolate and vanilla swirled ice cream at a place called "Twirly Top" (**note: we went to the Twirly Top when I was younger and I had NO idea that it was only fifteen minutes away from our cabin. I'm a little ticked, b/c that means YEARS of my life were spent right down the road and missing out on delicacies like fried soft pretzels and funnel cake sundaes)

to have finished anna karenina. finally.

to drive home to see your husband who has been gone for almost a week and run through the door expecting to run into his arms and then realize he is in the bathroom. ok, so that wasn't very sweet...

to fiiiinally get to smother Andy w/ hugs and kisses and be smothered back

to have a guy who missed me so much that he agreed to playing Scene It with me

mmmm I love long, lazy weekends. hope your Memorial Day weekend was just as sweet as mine!

Friday, May 27, 2011

oh, New York

A terrifying (but fascinating) video of a man who was stuck in a NYC elevator for FORTY ONE HOURS
here's the story to go along with it


watch the video on YouTube... "this lane is for slow people"

OK now you also have to watch this video where Improv Everywhere had 80 people walk into a Best Buy
dressed like Best Buy employees. I need to be a part of this group.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

without him here

The house is so quiet when Andy isn't here. I don't hear the coffee maker or the sound of him banging around in his closet. I don't hear him screaming at his computer (losing sports or Starcraft) or the freaky sword noises that comes from his ipod when he plays games in the bathroom (hehe). I don't hear "I love you" or "I wield you" or "I will nyit" or "you are my favorite" (boys and their languages).

Having Andy home and not being with him is SO different than not having Andy home and not being with him. When he's here and we're doing our own thing, I often will stop whatever I'm doing because I'd rather be doing something with him. Now I don't have a choice. He left for a wedding in Florida on Tuesday and will be home at some point on Monday. He gets to see lots of his buddies and make all the noise he wants (it's going to be so loud in Tampa this week).

I'm enjoying the quiet. I'm enjoying watching my girly shows, reading on the deck with Casey, blasting girly music whenever I want and making up incredibly embarrassing dance moves, putting off laundry and dishes and dog hair because I can, making cereal for my meals and not feeling guilty... it's so, so good to be together, but it's nice to just be with myself and miss him and think of how much fun he is having.

Tomorrow after work I will make the house shine. I will have it all ready so that if he gets back before me (I'm going to the cabin Sunday-Monday) he will be able to step through the door and be at home. 

Until then, I'm treating this house like a bachelor pad. Sweatpants and ice cream and dirty socks galore.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

daily bread

"Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you."

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 (ESV)

Saturday, May 21, 2011

summer tunes

girl gotta have some variety.

yea temper trap!! "sweet disposition" is really the perfect summer song, but I'm guessing that since I'd heard it before some of you may have too. look it up, though. their whole CD is amazing.

look up Dave Watkins on iTunes and check out number 8 on his CD "Odds and Ends." great summer jam. oh and hey, we went to high school together. he's so talented it's stupid. doesn't Number 1 sounds like it could be an Andrew Byrd song?

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

quick and easy chicken and sausage w/ cream sauce

I've discovered my next "must make for company" meal.

I'm not much of a recipe follower, so this is purely Laura-made Laura-eyeballed, so I apologize for those of you who get nervous and break out in a sweat when you see the words "smidge" or "pinch" or "to taste."

spicy chicken and sausage over pasta w/ cream sauce (serves 6)

-package of hot links (we used Hillshire Farms- from the bargain meat section), cut into bite-size pieces
-3 chicken breasts
-salt and pepper
-heavy cream
-half of an onion, chopped
-half of a red, yellow or orange pepper (I used orange), chopped
-parmesan cheese
-pasta (I used linguine)

toss the hot links and chicken breasts into a crockpot. add salt and pepper (I use grinders and probably did four turns of pepper and three of salt, cuz we're pepper lovers). I cooked the meat on low for about 7 hours, but you could do it on high for 4. Turn off the heat. Cook pasta. While pasta is cooking, get out a large skillet and cook the onion and pepper until tender. While they're cooking, tear up the cooked chicken into small chunks. Add the hot links and chicken to the skillet, and stir in heavy cream by the quarter-cup over medium heat. I probably used 3/4 of a cup. Add parmesan cheese and extra salt and pepper to taste, toss with pasta and serve.

most of the hot link chunks were blackened on the outside but super tender on the inside and not at all burnt-tasting. probably 3 of my little hot link chunks were dried out and inedible, but that's because I didn't put any liquid in the crockpot. I'll probably put the onion and orange pepper in the crockpot w/ the meat next time, but it turned out fine the way I did it. the chicken was insanely flavorful simply from chillin' w/ the hot links all day, and the cream sauce was so good that I thought about it for hours after I had eaten the meal. andy and I couldn't shut up about how good this meal was.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

spaghetti cat

have you seen Spaghetti Cat? google it. absurdity.

so, Andy and I have decided to start saying "Spaghetti Cat" instead of using bad language (to us, bad language is saying "what the eff?"), or even when we are experiencing frustration or ridiculousness and can't phrase what we're feeling. "Spaghetti Cat" just says it all. Plus, if I'm tempted to say a bad word, forcing my mind to transition helps me to recognize sinful habits and also puts my focus on something silly instead of something negative.

we went to Winchester on Saturday night to see Andy's adorable fam and decided to get Checkers before hitting the road. we leeeerve Checkers. obsessed. guess what? it's all boarded up. you've got to be kidding me. SPAGHETTI CAT.

the trash can that resides a few feet from my desk is about a foot to the left of where it normally is located. sure, I could move it. instead, I just get angry/giggly every time I toss a tissue or wrapper over and it lands on the floor instead of in the can. SPAGHETTI CAT.

okay, get this...
I've caught myself unbuttoning my pants at work while still on the way to the bathroom. AAAHHHH spaghetti cat!!!!!

Monday, May 16, 2011

what in the what?

Last night I mixed tuna with a small amount of tomato paste, salt and pepper, paprika, minced garlic, garlic powder, onion powder and cayenne pepper. I tossed it with shell pasta that had been coated with a tiny amount of olive oil, and I topped the dish with parmesan cheese. I had NO idea what I was doing - I wasn't following any recipe (though I remembered a friend making a tuna/tomato paste/shell pasta and corn dish). The first couple of bites were "hmmm.... okay.... hmmm..." and then it become something I couldn't stop eating. It's good cold, it's good hot. How this is possible, I do not know.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

beach reads

When someone asks for a book recommendation from me, my first reaction is joy - my friend is going to read a book! People DO still read books! Wahoo!
My second reaction is hesitation and fear - ohmygosh what if I tell them to read a certain book and they do and then they hate it and think I'm insane and they'll never want to read a book again?

Lately a few friends have been asking for beach read recommendations. Aren't beach reads the best? I personally mostly read memoirs, literary fiction and general fiction. Most of these are books I read in 2010 (here) and the books I read in 2009 (here). I don't have Nicholas Sparks or Jodi Picoult on here but both authors provide good beach reads-- though you might need to bring tissues in your beach bag.

women's fiction and my two favorite memoirs
The Help
A Thousand Splendid Suns
Coming Home (or any Rosamunde Pilcher book-- they are old school but they're beautiful and sweet)
Belong to Me
The Girls
If You Lived Here
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society
The Courtyard
Don't Let's Go To the Dogs Tonight (memoir)
The Glass Castle (memoir)

if you want to laugh:
The Nanny Diaries 
A Year of Living Biblically
It Sucked and Then I Cried

if you want to be inspired:
An Ordinary Man
The Same Kind of Different As Me
Girl Meets God

books for both guys and girls:
The Kite Runner
The Hot Zone
AJ Jacob's books
Bill Bryson's books

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

I think we found a new tradition

Last week at a bridal shower a friend suggested a cute way to keep the romance going in a marriage. You take two jars and each person writes down different things that would make them feel loved on slips of paper. The wife puts her papers in her jar, and the husband puts his papers in his jar. then, each day or week or however often they choose, the husband picks from his wife's jar and so on and so forth... you get the idea.

I told Andy I'd like to do this for our anniversary. When I opened his letter (we opted out of cards this year-- my card was my blog post, he wrote me a very sweet letter), attached was a document with seven different things on it... seven different things that Andy was going to do for me to make me feel loved.

Well, he didn't quite get the whole jar idea, but he NAILED me! I would've written all but progressive dinner on my slips of paper, and the only reason I wouldn't have written progressive dinner is b/c we haven't done one in so long that I forgot about them!

- Andy dusts, vacuums and cleans while Laura watches a show, drinks tea or hot chocolate and relaxes (how cute is that?)
- Progressive dinner (appetizer at one restaurant, entree at another, dessert at a third)
- I can't put this one on my blog, but I can tell you he added "blinds closed, please!" haha :)
- Barnes and Noble date
- Andy makes a special dinner
- Take puppy to river/park, picnic, reading... whatever Laura wants
- Charlottesville date

A few of the ones I wrote for him included making gobs of chicken salad, going to the new Taco Bell when the building is completed and bringing him Sheetz on demand.

We're going to space out our "coupons" (I don't know what else to call them) and I am super excited about all of them. This will definitely become an anniversary tradition for us!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

three years

I wanted to reach but the dreams were so far away
I wanted to speak but the words were so hard to say
You didn’t know where my heart had been
There wasn’t a time or a moment when I could or we could be open
I needed a reason to speak but I couldn’t find it
I knew that it wouldn’t last forever
(**not referring to relationship, referring to inability  to speak**)

I wanted to blink but I thought I might miss a minute or a memory
I wanted to write but I couldn’t contain it on a list of a thousand and rising
You didn’t know where my heart had been
There wasn’t a time or a moment when I could or we could be open
I needed a reason to speak but I couldn’t find it
I knew that it wouldn’t last

You were more than enough for my best
The one that I was dreaming of
‘cuz you were an ocean apart from the rest, yeah
you were more than I could ever guess
the prayer that only God can give
‘cuz you were an ocean apart from the best I’d ever seen,
the rest that’s ever been shown me, a lesson in being
‘cuz you are an ocean apart

< at Heathrow seeing each other after six weeks of separation >

I wanted to wish but I couldn’t believe it
The way that it seemed there was no way
I wanted to be strong but I couldn’t control it
My emotions inside wanted to run away
You didn’t know where my heart had been
There wasn’t a time or a moment when I could or we could be open
I needed a reason to speak but I couldn’t find it
I knew that it wouldn’t last

You were more than enough for my best
The one that I was dreaming of
‘cuz you were an ocean apart from the rest, yeah
you were more than I could ever guess
the prayer that only God can give
‘cuz you were an ocean apart from the best I’d ever seen, 
the rest that’s ever been shown me, a lesson in being
‘cuz you are an ocean apart

Andrew Scott Rennie,
You truly are more than I could have ever guessed.
You melt me, you move me, you challenge me, you teach me, you lead me, you love me.

happy three years, baby!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

what makes a mother

A mother is someone who is willing to sacrifice her time, her looks and at times, her sanity, in order to nurture her child.

A mother is someone who doesn't give up entirely when her child screams for hours and hours (even though it's probably very tempting).

A mother is someone who will hold out her hands so her child can throw up in them.

A mother is someone who will stop what she's doing to watch the scary parts of Little Mermaid with her child.

A mother is someone who can stop her child dead in her tracks just by giving her a Look.

A mother is someone who informs her child of the rules and disciplines the child when the rules are not obeyed.

A mother is someone who takes ear infections, sinus infections, allergic reactions, chicken pox, stomach bugs and the flu in stride (because a mommy falling apart is way worse than anything)

A mother is someone who loves and respects her husband, and shows her child how to love and respect others.

A mother is someone who doesn't take ANY guff.

A mother is someone who won't let her child buy clothes that make her look skanky.

A mother is someone who will say "cheeks" or "lips" when her child could use a little color on her face (and it might drive the child crazy, but she will appreciate that someone is looking out for her)

A mother is someone who will do her child's hair (even when her child is married and in her 20's).

A mother is someone who will read everything her child writes and will say it's brilliant.

A mother is someone who tells her child that she is proud of her, that she loves her, that she is beautiful.

A mother is someone who tells her daughter about Jesus.

thank you mom, for letting me puke in your hands. thanks for helping me get through the scary parts of Little Mermaid. thanks for being my personal cheerleader and for guiding me in the right directions. thank you for all of the sacrifices you have made for me. Happy Mother's Day!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

the cry of my heart

"May my cry come before you, O LORD; give me understanding according to your word.
May my supplication come before you; deliver me according to your promise. 
May my lips overflow with praise, for you teach me your decrees.
May my tongue sing of your word, for all your commands are righteous.
May your hand be ready to help me, for I have chosen your precepts.
I long for your salvation, O LORD, and your law is my delight.
Let me live that I may praise you, and may your laws sustain me.
I have strayed like a lost sheep.
Seek your servant, for I have not forgotten your commands."
Psalm 119:169-176

sometimes when I wake up and my heart needs helping, you hold on to me tightly and tell me of all your lovin', I thank you oh Lord for listening to me now and out on the front porch for sitting me down, I needed to hear, you remind me of how you love me just for who I am, I thank you oh Lord for these times that we spend.- swb (sunday worship band-probably nowhere on the internet)

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

gift basket ideas

I just got home from a beautiful bridal shower for my dear friend Jessica. It got me thinking about my favorite gift ideas, especially since it seems like everyone is either getting married or having a baby!

For baby showers
-- baby bath filled with bath toys, lotion, wash, washcloths, towel
-- stack of books tied up with ribbon (don't forget to write a note in them- I've forgotten before)
-- handmade coupons to babysit, cook, girls night, etc.
-- a small stuffed animal or toy for baby and then a bigger gift for mom (spa certificates are always appreciated)

For bridal showers
-- honeymoon basket (my favorite! this can go naughty, but really think about the bride and her personality. keep it simple and G-rated for your more modest friends with advil, travel size lotion and shave gel, a sleep mask, magazines, a big floppy hat, sunscreen, sunglasses, etc)
-- specific room basket (for family room, get a big blanket, a movie or two and a popcorn bowl-- I most recently gave a medicine cabinet box, which isn't super exciting but trust me, it'll come in handy)
-- a weekend bag (TJ Maxx usually has cute ones- I use mine constantly)
-- a book of recipes and a meal planner

For weddings
-- movie tickets
-- restaurant gift card
-- a cooler or insulated bag (fill with ice packs and maybe some fun outdoor dishes)
-- an appliance and something to go with it (pair a crockpot with crockpot recipes, pair a coffee maker with coffee and filters)

happy gifting!

Sunday, May 1, 2011

what's going on w/ the Rennies

We are on week six of p90x. Andy is ripped. I am not. That's OK, though, because I'm not using heavy weights on purpose. I'm hoping to see more definition appear in my abs and arms, but I'm feeling great. I first blogged about p90x here and was down 18 pounds. I'm now down 23 and have only five more to go!

The best part of p90x is how cute Casey is when we're working out. She likes to bite our arms and hands when we're doing yoga, plyo or kempo. She play growls at us and runs in circles around us. She wants a workout too!

Yesterday the women's ministry at our church (Aletheia) hosted a tea. We wore hats, ate yummy treats and got to hear three beautiful testimonies. I finally got to wear my butterfly dress outside of the house (I like to walk around the house in it), and I paired it with my new Seychelles. It was fun to get dolled up.

I've been using our slow cooker quite a bit lately. It's so nice to not have to make dinner at night! Last weekend I put three chicken breasts in the slow cooker with 3/4 of a chopped onion, some chicken bouillon, little water and salt and pepper. I served it over potatoes and stuffing. It could have been more flavorful, but it was still really good. We had TONS of chicken leftover somehow (seriously, some loaves and fishes action was going on in our slow cooker), so I shredded it and mixed it with bbq sauce. We ate the shredded chicken for four days, sometimes for both lunch and dinner. It was really good heated up and put in a salad. Three chicken breasts = 8 servings. Boggles my mind. On Friday I made a big pot of chili and sadly, I'm about to eat the last bowl. I can't give you the recipe because I might make it for the church's chili cook-off in the fall. After I win I will share the recipe.  :)  Today my slow cooker has got some pork shoulder in it for pulled pork. I'm taking it to a couple who just had a baby, but I'm going to use the rest of the pork (Andy got a LOT) for us. I just came across this black bean and barbecued pork soup recipe and since Andy's heartbroken that our chili got eaten so fast, he'll be glad to have another big pot of soup to devour.

check out this list of recipes from a woman who used her slow cooker EVERY DAY for a year! I have to say, some of the recipes don't sound appetizing to me, but I'm really impressed by her accomplishment. She admits she spent more money than usual because honestly, a family can only eat so much (they froze a lot and gave some food away), and she gained eight pounds. 

andy is closing today (1-11pm) so I'm spending this rainy Sunday getting stuff done around the house and doing my workout all by my lonesome. I have coffee with my dear friend Kelly to look forward to, though, and I have some good music to listen to.