Saturday, March 31, 2012

A tourist in our own town

We've been here in Birmingham for a little over nine months. And it's been great! We have really come to love this city and all that is has offered us. It's big, but not too huge, and has quaint, small villages that have a variety of cute stores, tasty restaurants and other businesses.

However, we haven't seen everything or experienced all that Birmingham truly has to offer - the Botanical Gardens, the Zoo, all the restaurants, the antique stores, and of course all the shopping!

My parents are in town this weekend, so we thought this would be a good opportunity to do some of those touristy things. Yesterday morning we went to the Botanical Gardens. It was a perfect sunny, warm spring morning for walking through gardens (minus the screaming field trip kids).

I, of course, took my camera and practiced close ups of flowers. I wish I could tell you what each flower is, but I unfortunately have not started my botanical training yet. Some day, when I do have my own garden and green thumb, I hope to be able to tell you all about flowers because I really do love them.

And I really do want a big, colorful, bright, fragrant garden.

For dinner we tried a new restaurant, Avo, and loved it! It's a trendy California style restaurant in Mountain Brook Village. We split a plate of avocado dip with house fried chips, Paul had a Cali burger, I had a farro and roasted vegetable salad, my dad had a steak, and my mom had fish tacos. It was all SO good!

Tonight, we are cooking in. We're making pasta to make into ravioli. Can't wait!

God Bless

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Awesome God and Blueberry Muffins

I love Pandora and healthy recipes!

And they go so well together! I turn on Pandora on my IPad, turn the volume up probably too loud, and jam out while cooking or's the only way to be in the kitchen baking.

Today, I was listening to "Group One Crew" radio station - they're a Christian mix of pop, rock, and a little rap, which is awesome to listen to for great up-beat songs that can get you singing way too loud and dancing around while mixing a teaspoon of this and tablespoon of that. One of the songs that came on was "Awesome God". Now, I grew up singing this song. We sang it at all of the Christian summer camps I ever went to, and I loved Michael W. Smith's version. However, this wasn't the summer camp version. It's my new favorite song right now. If you can stand rap, and yes, there are Christian rap bands out there, this is a great song! It's called Anthem by R-Swift. Then I remembered this version by Rich Mullins, another one I grew up singing, which is a flash back to the 90s! And then there's the Kirk Franklin version, which I first heard live at a Christian Music Festival in high school - it just makes me smile while walking down memory lane.

Oh Kirk Franklin...there are no words.

While I was singing out to my God full voice, I was also making these blueberry muffins. My sister made them for us when we went to visit a few weeks ago, and I have been waiting for an opportunity to make them my self. My parents are coming to visit this weekend, so I thought I would whip up some muffins for breakfasts of snacks.

Blueberry Muffins

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1/3 cup white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/3 cup applesauce
  • 1 blended/mashed banana
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 eggs
  • 2/3 cup milk
  • 2 cups fresh blueberries

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Grease muffin cups or line with muffin liners.
  2. Combine flour, sugar, salt and baking powder. Place vegetable oil and applesauce into a bowl; add the eggs, vanilla, blended bananas, and milk to fill the bowl. 
  3. Mix this with flour mixture. 
  4. Fold in blueberries. 
  5. Fill muffin cups right to the top.
  6. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes in the preheated oven, or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
Very tasty! Thanks Mera for the recipe! 

God Bless

"Our God is an awesome God
He reigns from heaven above 
With wisdom, power, and love.
Our God is an AWESOME God!"

Friday, March 23, 2012

A Cajun Wedding

My childhood friend, Andrew, who has been like my brother growing up, got married last weekend in Baton Rouge. My sister, Meredith, and I decided to make a road trip out of it, so she and her baby, Henry, drove to Birmingham to pick me up and we drove over to BR. The drive was beautiful and was so easy. We drove through a lot of middle of no-where places, but got to see some beautiful landscape of Mississippi and Louisiana. Plus, we had six hours each way to talk and catch up and enjoy spending time with each other. Hanna had to work that day, so unfortunately she couldn't join us for the ride and she was greatly missed, but we were still able to catch up when we met up with her at the hotel.


My mom taught Henry how to say "yah" with his arms in the air! So every time we would say "yah, Henry!" he would hold his arms up! It was the cutest thing ever! 

As he is learning to make sounds and "talk", by making the "m" sound, he has learned how to make bubbles in his mouth! It's really funny, but so adorable. 

First time trying lemon at lunch on Saturday...he didn't like it too much. :) 

On Saturday before getting ready, we were able to walk around the city a bit. I had never been to Baton Rouge and although it was quiet in the city, it still looked like a neat city.
We walked to a pier and got to see the Mississippi River. This is also a view of the city from the pier. 

Looking down the Mississippi - made me think of Huckleberry Finn and Mark Twain. 

A proud Papa at the reception. 

The wedding cake. It was gorgeous and very tasty. 

Mrs. Overcarsh, Bev (my God-mother and also the mother of the groom), and my mom. 
 Mr. Overcarsh, my Dad, and Mr. Hutchinson (the father of the groom).

Me, Bev, Michael (grooms brother), and Hanna. Bev has always considered us her three daughters, and she has been like a second mom to us. Needlesstosay, Andrew and Michael are like our brothers!

Sadly enough, I did not get a picture of the groom and his beautiful bride. However, Kati looked absolutely stunning and I am so happy for the newly married couple. I pray their marriage will be full of wonderful life long years. 

God Bless

Saturday, March 10, 2012

She said....


Congratulations to my wonderful brother-in-law, Scott, and his amazing fiance, Holly, on their engagement! 

We are so excited for you both and cannot wait to have Holly as a sister. 

We love you both so very much! God bless your marriage and your life together. 

God Bless

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Happy Wednesday

Yesterday was one of those days where everything that could possibly go wrong did - and then some! It seemed like around every corner I was being targeted with a "flaming arrow of the evil one" (Eph. 6:16), with some bad news on top of it all. It was hard to smile throughout the day and to play happily with the precious little children I take care of.

But the Lord is faithful and I felt His presence along the way as I went about my day.

It was the little boy asking for a hug and kiss before I left.

It was sweet emails and text messages with words of encouragement.

It was the ray of sun that hit my hand as I wrote in my journal.

It was my husbands loving arms welcoming home after a long day.

It was a vase of flowers waiting for me with a reaffirming note that I'm not alone.

It was God's Words whispered softly in my heart: "Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; He will never leave you or forsake you." (Deut. 31:6)

Today has been better. I was able to to take Vance for a nice long walk in this gorgeous weather, which is always wonderful. The sun was out. The birds were singing. The trees and flowers are blooming.

He was a little tired after walking for an hour. 
I stopped by the library expecting to pick up one or two of the books I had reserved and ended up getting all five! I can't wait to read each of them. Although I think it may take me longer than the three weeks I have them. Thank goodness for on-line renewing.

And I had the sweetest orange ever for a snack. It was SO good! And didn't last long.

Happy Wednesday!

God Bless