Monday, August 30, 2010

Summer Recap

Our seasons are not determined by the calendar but by semesters. Yesterday was Phil’s 1st day back in school, which means the summer is officially over. To recap, our summer was really busy, but we were blessed in so many ways. We took as many service opportunities as we possibly could this summer since our participation is limited during the school year. We volunteered for the KSBJ Share-a-thon (answered phones & took donations for the local all-listener supported Christian radio station), Extreme Makeover Home Edition (the awesome ABC TV show that built a home for an awesome family in Houston), Houston Project (evangelized in neighborhoods & taught the adult Spanish-speaking women about Jesus at a week-long vacation Bible school for a less fortunate area of Houston), and moved furniture and pulled-up carpet (so much carpet!!!!) at our church for the renovation of the children’s area. Serving others is something that we love to do and has become such an important activity in our lives and we were so blessed by participating this summer.
We were also blessed to take a few trips this summer. We started by visiting Austin and the capital building, as well as Lake Travis. This was our second trip to Lake Travis, but it still shocks me to think that we’re still in Texas when we go there. Also, after 3 years in TX we finally made it to a beach! I love living this close to the beach; if it were up to me we would be there every weekend. On our last trip to the beach, we were out to dinner and got seated next to a woman sitting alone. Before she left, she came to our table and told us that we reminded her of her and her recently deceased husband when they were young. We could see that she was troubled and realized that we had the perfect opportunity to witness to her. It was a great reminder that every opportunity and every encounter we have in our lives is a chance to lead someone to Christ…even when you’re on vacation. In addition, it was another reminder that you never know when you’re last day on earth will be, so love the Lord and love others as much as you can. I doubt that we were as much of a blessing to the restaurant lady as she was to us.

Austin Lake Travis

Surfside

We were also blessed with a new nephew in early June. Let me tell you, Elijah is a cutie and growing so fast! We’re so anxious to meet him in December. My sister got to visit us in June and we had a blast. It will be hard to wait until Christmas to see her too. In the kitchen this summer I cooked a lot of CHICKEN! I haven’t started on any new recipes from my cookbook club, but I have still tried several new recipes (most of which were based on chicken); in the fall I will probably jump into the new cookbook. This summer I tried my hand at cake decorating, but I am not good at all. Right now it’s embarrassing, but I hope to get better during the fall. Phil and I took a painting class at the beginning of August and here is the picture of our class. Amongst all the fun activities this summer, Phil aced his class and I taught 2 courses. We had an end-of-semester celebration dinner at Smith & Wollensky. It was our first time there, but I loved it. The food was so delicious and we even splurged for dessert; wow, yum-o!

We had an action-packed summer filled with blessings & we are certainly looking forward to the fall! Happy Fall Hawley blog readers!

Beyond Delicious

Do you ever feel like this in the morning? I DO! I must look like this every morning because Phil calls me “monster-head” before I have my first cup-o-Joe. I really think that he should call me “bobble-head” instead because I don’t really say anything, I just bob around zombie-style while I wait for my brain to figure out that I’m awake. To me though, coffee in the morning is the best; coffee on a crisp fall walk (which I am anxiously awaiting, but super happy that Pumpkin Spice is back [early] this year at Starbuck's), coffee while reading my Bible in the mornings, coffee with a friend….. ahhhhh perfection and beyond delicious!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Newbies

I haven’t tried too many new recipes lately (just been sticking to the tried-and-true), but here are some from the past week:
Taco Pizza- I got this recipe from my Food Network magazine. I will definitely be making this pizza again, because it was so easy to make & was really yummy!
Low-fat chocolate pudding- I saw this recipe in my FN magazine and thought “no way that can be tasty.” It was actually good, but I think I must to have done something wrong because it never took to a pudding consistency.
Pork BBQ and potato salad- I have yet to find a place in TX that makes good southern Carolina pork BBQ. There are many places that make great TX BBQ, but pork is my favorite type of BBQ. I have never made it because I thought I needed a smoker. I was wrong; all I needed was 16 hours. I spent one day last week making this 10 lb BBQ masterpiece. To me the only RIGHT way to eat Carolina BBQ is to top it with some homemade potato salad. So for the first time ever I made my own BBQ, BBQ sauce, & potato salad. Yum-o! Greek whole-wheat pitas- I made this last night really fast. The recipe just called for a Greek salad, but I added some grilled chicken. If I didn’t serve my husband some form of meat for dinner, he would think I had lost my mind!

Vintage Cowboy

In July our smallgroup hosted a baby shower with a Vintage Cowboy theme. In light of baby Callum’s arrival, I guess it isn’t too late to post the pictures! It was a super cute shower; but I’ll let you see for yourself:
The beautiful invitations that Morgan made.
Decorations when guests first arrived: the front gate & front door.Some of the decorations inside: on the stair railing, the coffee table, & in the powder room.
We had a station set up for guests to offer some words of wisdom for the new mommy. Morgan made the fabulous memo board (She is so crafty & even used the same material that was used to make the nursery bedding!) and Stephanie made this adorable diaper cake. I love the little boots attached to the cake with a clothespin. Stephanie, I have to learn how to make one of these!
The food for this shower was beyond phenomenal! The menu was so perfectly prepared (not by me; I never could have pulled off something this tasty!) and went so well with the theme; I was so impressed. For breakfast there were skillet omelet/hash browns, biscuits with sausage and gravy, fruit, yogurt and granola, blueberry muffins, and of course some tasty cupcakes. Didn't Morgan do a fabulous job with the toppers!
To drink, guest got to drink their punch out of a mason jar. (Morgan, please thank your dad again!) Here are the decorations that were on the buffet.
Before "hitting the trail," we sent guests home with a bag of trail mix.
Presents!
I don't know about everyone else, but I had a blastie-blast at this shower! The hostesses with the then mommy-t0-be, and now, new mommy. Congratulations Wyatt & Amy on your new beautiful baby boy! We can’t wait to meet little Callum (aka Roshambeaux)!

Arrington Farm

A friend of mine from work, Nikki, invited me out to her farm in early July and I had a blast! I love animals and this was an opportunity to see a lot of them, especially horses! They have a gorgeous farm. I got to see all of the animals in the barn and some that were out in the fields.Nikki also gave me a freshly laid egg (it was still warm!). I was a little taken aback because I had no idea what to do with it. I brought it home and put it next to a typical egg that I get at Kroger to see the difference. Which one is from the farm and which one is from Kroger?
Thanks Nikki for having me out to the farm!

Monday, August 16, 2010

Diamond Club

The Pittsburgh Pirates were in town this weekend to play the Houston Astros. Of course, this is our favorite baseball game to watch in Houston. We asked some friends to go with us, but little did we know, they already had tickets for us, and not just tickets, but the best seats in the ballpark! We got seats in the Diamond Club! We drove right up to the door, were practically escorted to the club area where there was all-you-can eat anything you want for the entire game, a waitress bringing us food and drinks to our 3rd row seats, an amazing view, and we were on tv and on ESPN Sports center. Even though we lost by 5 runs, it was by far the best baseball game I have ever been to; so much fun! Thanks Hills for the awesome tickets!
The food was amazing! I seriously never imagined eating food that looks like this at a baseball game! Delicious! In addition to the all-you-can eat steaks, there was also unlimited typical baseball game food (i.e. ice cream, hot dogs, cracker jacks, nachos, peanuts, popcorn, cotton candy, etc.) Oh yeah, there was a game too! Here are both teams at bat. Phil and I sporting our Pirates colors in front of our seats (a.k.a. behind home plate)!
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