Our house is rockin’!


We (meaning mostly Jason) recently replaced all of the pine mulch in the front of our house with pea gravel. From a distance it doesn’t look all that different.

But closer up it looks really nice and clean.

And it won’t decompose and need to be refreshed twice a year.

A little piece of Arizona style xeriscape in Nashville, Tennessee.

My First Knitting Project


I know—like I have time for another hobby, right? Wasn’t I just saying last week how I didn’t have time to blog because I had so much freelance. (Freelance isn’t really a hobby, I guess…)  Regardless, I’ve decided to start knitting. I bought this soft gray yarn last week …

and turned it into these fingerless gloves!

Just kidding. They’re from H&M. But I think I did get a pretty close match with yarn.

What I plan to make is this scarf this from Pickles:

I’m hoping it’ll match the fingerless gloves…

And also kinda-sorta this headwrap/earwarmer/topless-hat that Jason bought me from the Faroe Islands.

Not quite but maybe I can pull it off. Or else my next project might be a teal blue scarf!

Have you Seen Craiglook?


Everyone who collects mid-century antiques knows about craigslist. Heck, anyone who buys and sells secondhand anything knows about craigslist! But have you heard about Craiglook? Our friend Sean tipped us off to it a few months ago. It’s an RSS Browser for craigslist that can save searches, broaden your results up to 250 miles from your zip code and best of all: search results have photos and you can quickly look at details without having to leave the search results page. Brilliant!

Thank you, whoever created craiglook, for making the great local classifieds database more user-friendly! (And thanks Sean!)

Happy Birthday, Ginger!


Today is my sister-in-law Ginger’s birthday. I don’t think she reads my blog but I wanted to give her a happy b-day shout out here anyway. I hope this year is an amazing one for you—I know it will be! I can’t wait to find out if that’s a sweet pickle or a dill pickle you’ve got in there!

I feel very blessed to have a brother-in-law and sister-in-law that we’re so close to—right across town—but also that Jason and I are good friends with. Ginger is one of the most thoughtful and caring women I know. She’s got a huge heart for people, especially the vulnerable and oppressed. She’s got strong faith and a beautiful relationship with God. She can be serious and also completely silly—the best kind of friend. In 5 months she and Dan are expecting their first baby and I’m so happy for them! Also, I totally can’t wait to be Aunt Martina to that little baby and shower him or her with love.

Phone Photo Friday


Oh no! Last one! Good thing they’re on sale at Target. I love Lindt Lindor truffles, especially the hazelnut ones!


Sorry for the lack of blogging this week. I’ve been really busy with freelance—which is a huge blessing—but means I’ve had to work every evening this week when I get home from my regular job. Plus, you know, things like laundry, cooking, dishes, banking, paying bills and some quality time with the husband and pup. Blogging got squeezed out this week. I hope to be back at it next week.

Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup


Lately Jason and I have been buying whole chickens from the grocery store. They’re pretty inexpensive and we end up getting several meals out of one. We cook the whole thing in the crockpot with seasonings and fresh herbs sprinkled on top. After 6-8 hours the cooked chicken is tender and tasty and there is a bit of broth left in the bottom of the pot. After we’ve had 1 or 2 meals with chicken, I like to use the broth and the small bits of leftover chicken to make soup.

For Chicken Noodle Soup you need:

carrots (2) chopped
celery (3 stalks) chopped
chicken (cooked & chopped up)
salt, pepper, bay leaf and/or other seasoning to taste

First I like to peel the carrots.

Then I prep the celery for chopping. I decided to cook the leafy parts of the stalks for flavor but left them whole so I could fish them out later.

Chop the carrots and celery up into small chunks.

Cut the chicken into bit-size pieces.

I added a bay leaf, 5-6 balls of all spice, a boullion cube and some water.

Then I added the carrots, celery, chicken, and about 1 cup of noodles. I recommend using bigger noodles than this. These fine egg noodles get so soft and don’t really hold their own in this soup.

Cook for a couple of hours and then fish out the bay leaf, all spice and leafy celery parts.

Done! I made this soup on the same day as the tomato basil soup so I decided to freeze all of it. In other words, I forgot to take a picture of the finished soup in a nice bowl.

Love Suffers


Love is risky. It requires vulnerability as we trust our hearts to another person, believing that he’ll take good care of it. But every person fails at one time or another. Failures from the ones dearest to us hurt the most, don’t they?

Believe me, I do my fair share of failing my husband, but the other day it was my heart that was aching from a misstep on his part. I decided to reread 1 Corinthians 13 as I was making a choice, subconsciously after 11 years, to love him still and trust him again with my bruised heart.

I think just about everyone has read or heard 1 Corinthians 13, “the love chapter,” at some point. It’s popular at weddings and it’s no wonder — it’s a beautiful passage. Verse 7 popped out at me. “[Love] bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.” Then I saw verse 4, “Love suffers long and is kind …” That sounds painful. Messy. Beautiful. Dangerous on one side and safe on the other side.

Much like the overwhelming feeling of joyful reunion that we would never experience without times of separation, love would not be the beautiful feeling that it is without the risk of pain.

I am thankful to have a husband who loves me well. When he slips up, he is careful to tenderly pick my heart back up, take it to the Healer of broken things and to lovingly hold it again, a little tighter than before. I hope that I do the same.

Phone Photo Friday


The first fruits from our key lime (Mexican lime) tree! They’re so little and cute.

Terro: The Good Stuff


While Jason was out of the country, I somehow managed to let some tiny ants into the kitchen. I bought some Raid ant traps at Target and set them out in various places around the kitchen. The ants showed some interest but the crumbs in the spice cabinet and the cookies I made for Jason were much more appealing… Time to bust out the big guns! Terro Ant Killer circa 1960s or 70s. Oh yes, they still make Terro, but they no longer make it with arsenic and let me tell you, that stuff is AHHmazing! It only takes a drop and the whole colony of ants dies. And that’s why this bottle is still around. It was my granny’s, now it’s my mom’s. If you ever come across a bottle of this stuff – grab it! It’s hard to find and it works better to get rid of ants than anything I’ve ever seen. (Keep it away from pets and kids and anyone you don’t want to poision, obviously.)

Bathroom Renovation Stage 14: FINISHED!


I just looked up my first post about our bathroom renovation and was shocked that it was almost exactly 1 year ago! Wow! I doesn’t feel like it’s been a year. I guess that’s partly because we had a usable toilet almost the whole time, a usable shower after 5 months (the most labor intensive part of the project) and a usable sink and vanity after 8 months.

Before I go on to show pictures of the finished bathroom, I need to reminisce a little. Here’s a look at where we started:

Remember that this room was originally a bedroom and was turned into a master bathroom and laundry room at last minute and when the house flippers ran out of money. (We’re assuming anyway.) Before layout and our plans for the renovation:

We pretty much stuck to that plan except some of the scale seems to be off here. The shower is 4′ x 5′ as it says but we decided not to do a door or a built in bench. Also, we decided we only wanted one sink on the vanity. (Marriage Advice: Have 1 sink in the bathroom. Learn to take turns!)


New door installed between the bathroom and laundry room.

Baseboards on, caulked and painted.

Our hope for this room was that it would be a totally relaxing spa-like space.

See all of my bathroom renovation posts here.