Saturday, April 28, 2012

Vacation Itinerary

In one week Caleb and I will be on our way to Savannah, Georgia and Charleston, South Carolina.  

I get kinda crazy about vacation.  I tend to get all caught up in ensuring that every little detail is perfect and then I get anxious that I have forgotten to pack things, that it won't turn out exactly how I have envisioned it, and that we will just end up disappointed.  Can we say Anxiety??

Regardless, vacation is my favorite time of year.  Can we classify it as a holiday?  Yes, I think so.  Vacation time is my favorite holiday of the year!  In an attempt not to have my usual last minute freak-attack, I have been slowing gathering all of the things we need and piling them in the middle of the living room floor.  

We have snacks in the basket, wine, plenty of sunscreen, and some feel good books.  What else could we possibly need?

The only itinerary we have for our vacation is eat at Paula Deene's restaurant, attending afternoon tea with our books, and aimlessly exploring the cities.  Ahhhhh...

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Quick and Easy: Ultimate Creamy Grilled Cheese

Okay, here's the scoop.  I am about to tell you how to make the most amazing grilled cheese on the face of the planet.  My beautiful, amazing, fun, mom friend Brittany first made this a few years back and I have been indulging ever since.  You can thank me later...

You only need a few basic ingredients for one grilled cheese:

The Most Amazing Grilled Cheese on the Planet
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
2 oz. Cream Cheese
A dash of Garlic Powder
A dash (or two) of Seasoned Salt
2 slices of bread
Butter to spread on bread

1. Mix the first four ingredients together in a bowl until blended and assemble sandwich like your everyday run-of-the-mill grilled cheese (oooooh, but this is going to be so much more!!!)
2. Toast in a skillet until golden brown.
3. Enjoy!

I use an iron skillet because I think it makes everything taste better...

This sandwich is amazingly rich, smooth, and cheesy.  I don't even have any other words to add... I can't explain to you how this grilled cheese has changed my life.

Sometimes the simple things are the best things.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Decorating Dollar Tree Style: Bright and Cheery.

Motivation.  I seem to have very little lately.  Well, that isn't entirely true.  I'm motivated to read countless blogs, drink hot tea snuggled in a blanket with the window cracked and the chilly Spring breeze wafting through the apartment.  I'm motivated to cook, plan our vacation, and decorate.  Basically, I have not been motivated to work.  This time of year is always difficult.  Its the time of year when snow and chill is replaced by flowers and sun and a desire to be outside.

Whats the solution?  I have no idea, but making an effort to make the most of my personal time seems to do the trick.  Taking an extra half hour to read another chapter of my book, going for an after-work walk, getting a new haircut, and Italian sodas made at home all get the job done.

But tonight a trip to the Dollar Tree and some new, bright, and cheery decorations to replace the Easter place setting seemed like the best idea.

Now, I can sing the praises of the Dollar Tree all I want, but there are times when "the Dollar Tree sweep" can be more difficult than others.  Like when the place is packed wall-to-wall with shoppers, the line at checkout stretches for miles, or times like tonight... the dreaded limbo that occurs when a store is switching their stock from one season to another (Easter to summer)... the picking were SLIM. 

But I smelled a challenge.  I walked through that store three times before finally seeing these lemons.  Inspiration! 

From there it was a cinch.  Queue the tea towels, add the bright dishes, a clear vase, some cute placemats, and voila!  I added the Dollar Tree flowers from my last sweep, some books from our shelf, and my prized chalk cat from a local shop.

I can hardly wait to eat Saturday breakfast off these new dishes, drink a hot cup of coffee, and read a good book at the counter.

I know you're wondering about this cat.  You either love him or you hate him.  I love him.  Caleb hates him.  I think he has character.

All it took was a few inspirational lemons!

If anyone is looking for a good read I would suggest Bloom by the amazing Kelle Hampton.  I just finished my copy.  I laughed, I cried, I felt inspired.  Loved it!  I have an extra copy if anyone is interested!

Sometimes the simple things are the best things!

Monday, April 9, 2012

Easter with Family and a Melted Bunny.

I went to see my grandparents this weekend.  It was a holiday weekend and the thing that my family knows how to do best is celebrating holiday weekends.  My family is loud and fun and they know how to have a good time.  

My family also knows how to eat.  It may be the thing that we do best.  Well, maybe second to loving each other.  Shapuras' are very good at that, especially my Grandma and Grandpa.

When I think about Easter the first things that comes to mind are chocolate bunnies.  

You have to have a chocolate bunny on Easter.  Regretfully mine didn't make it to my mouth.  It melted into a brown bunny puddle after being left in the hot sun, and regardless of the tragedy, the egg hunts and basket opening continued unaffected and blissfully unaware of my bunny's demise.  

Aside from the bunny mishap, my weekend was relaxing and wonderful.  I ate 13 cream puffs made special by my grandma, watched the deer in the field, and spent time with my beautiful cousin who is expecting baby number 2... baby number 1 did not want to be held and was more interested in making mischief than making me happy by snuggling.

My favorite face.  My favorite cook.  My grandma.  She's the one who fed me the 13 cream puffs.  And then sent me home with a pack of Oreos and four boxes of Girl Scout cookies.  Ha!  

Sometimes the simple things are the best things.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Soul Food and a Soul Sigh.

Is there anything better than staying in a nice hotel?  Well since you asked, yes there is!  Staying in a nice hotel with a glass of wine, some gossip, and a good friend that you haven't seen in ages is much better!  Its food for the soul.    

I find it very rare to remain friends with someone as long as I have been friends with Ashlee.  Childhood friends seem to come and go with the different phases of life.  And thats okay, but when you find someone that you can remain friends with no matter what changes life brings your way, where you live, or how busy you may become... you know you have found something special.

I've been reading a new book lately that has challenged me to think about the things that "make the blood rush to our head, our hearts skip a beat, and our souls sigh" (Sarah Ban Breathnach from Simple Abundance: A Daybook of Comfort and Joy).  What better way to celebrate the good things in life than to get together with an old friend.

Or buy some Junior High-ish friendship rings... Mind you these rings are from a real jewelry store (NOT Claire's) and are made out of sterling silver... and cost more than $5.99 for a matching pair.  I've been proudly wearing mine for the past two weeks... :)

What else feeds my soul, makes my heart skip a beat, and my soul sigh?  Sunday drives.  To new places.  Through the country.  Under fluffy white clouds.

And cheesecake.  

I'm looking forward to many more things in the upcoming months that will be sure to make my "soul sigh."  

What makes your soul sigh?