Friday, August 30, 2013

Ooops, I’m Sorry: Happy Birthday

8-birthday-cupcake-ruth-blackWelp, I forgot my own birthday….by over a month!  I guess this summer has been busier than I thought!  LWTH turned 4 years old at the beginning of July.
For your reading pleasure, and some giggles, let’s take it back about 4 years and see how this place got started with my first post.


This is my first experience blogging, please be patient with me. It may take a while for me to get the hang of this, but I will catch on with time.

Anyhow, welcome to our blog! The Mr. and I met in school at Randolph-Macon College and were married in 2007. It's hard to believe that we have almost been married for two years; even we can't believe it sometimes. I guess time really does fly when you’re having fun. Since we’ve been married, we have kept ourselves really busy. We are constantly going to a game, museum, traveling, meeting new people, etc. Unfortunately, our family and friends are spread out all over the country, and we hardly get to see one another to catch-up. We thought a blog would be a great place to meet and share the stories of our lives. We will post pictures and information about what we have been up to in hopes that everyone will be up-to-date with our lives. Hopefully you will enjoy reading what the Mr. and I have been doing in our blog.

So far this summer I think we are both just trying to stay cool. The daily temperature bobs around 100! While it is pretty hot, I think that last summer was warmer; however, that could be because I'm starting to adapt to the Texas weather. Summer officially starts for us tomorrow, July 3rd. Now that classes are over we are hoping to take some weekend trips for summer vacation. This past winter, we went to several of the major Texas cities, but we have yet to make it to the beaches (which the exception of pre-Ike Galveston). Hopefully this summer we can make it to the beach a few times and even back home to Pittsburgh.


hehe It’s funny to look back and see how much has changed…..which I guess is the point of a blog, right? lol
I’m looking forward to many more memories around LWTH!
Have a great weekend friends!

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

What I’m Lovin’ Wednesday: Comedian Inspiration

I recognize that I am one of the few, one of the lucky, that has their dream job.  I would totally be lying if I didn’t say that I absolutely love my job.  I am excited about work every.single.day.  I know that this is a blessing from Him, and I am so grateful that I have this position.  But even someone who loves their job, whether it’s a professor, accountant, or mom, needs to be refreshed & inspired.  Today I hope these genius comedians inspire you.amy-poehlerbill-cosby-quotebob-hope-quoteconan-obrien-quotegeorge-burns-quote-2george-carlin-quotejon-stewart-quotekristen-wiig-quotelouis-ckricky-gervais-quotesteve-martintina-fey-quote
Happy Wednesday folks!

Monday, August 26, 2013

Back to School Dinner: Apple-Cheddar Soup & BLT Salad

Guess what folks?! It’s the first day of school again!  Another school year kicks off today and I’m very excited for a new semester.  Every new “first day of school” for a teacher is like New Years…..a new semester of opportunity, goals, growth, and learning; makes this professor all warm and fuzzy hehe

In honor of teachers, and those students who are the apple of our eye, I want to share this recipe with you.  It’s perfect for those evenings when you’re getting back from work, totally exhausted, but still need something comforting to get on the table.  This soup & salad is rich and light and creamy……all at the same time! You can get this bowl of comfort on the table in under 30 minutes!From the Kitchen of Darby HawleyDSC_0140-2
Ingredients:
16 oz. sliced bacon, about one package
1 small onion, chopped
3 small red apples, peeled and chopped (Gala or Fuji work just fine)
2 medium potatoes, peeled and chopped
3 cups of hot water with 3 chicken bouillon cubes 
1 and a 1/2 cups organic apple juice (unsweetened)
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
2 and a 1/2 cups shredded extra-sharp cheddar cheese (I use sharp Irish cheddar cheese)
sliced french bread
2 tsp dijon mustard
salad fixin’s: lettuce, tomatoes (I like multi-colored tomatoes just because they’re colorful and pretty but you don’t have to do that if you don’t want to; use what you’ve got), red onions, cucumbers, etc.

Directions:
  1. Cook bacon in a large pot (i.e. dutch oven) until crispy and place on a paper towel to soak up the grease.  Once the bacon has cooled, you can go ahead and chop it up.
  2. In the same large pot (with the bacon grease) over medium heat, add the onions, apples, and potatoes.  Cook and stir frequently until they begin to soften (about 6-8 minutes).  Then add in the chicken broth, apple juice, salt, & pepper, and bring to a simmer for about 12 minutes.  Add the cheddar cheese and stir until it melts.
  3. For this step you have two options depending on what type of kitchen equipment you have (I have done this both ways and it works fine either way): If you’ve got a hand blender (like this one) you can simply stick that right into your pot and puree the mixture into a soup, OR you can work in batches putting the mixture into your blender to puree. 
  4. Once the soup has been pureed, return it back to your pot on low.  Now it’s time to make your bread and salad.
  5. For the bread: In a preheated broiler, add sliced french bread topped with dijon mustard and cheddar cheese for about 30 seconds (or until the cheese melts).  Then remove and cut into 1-inch pieces.
  6. For the salad:  Mix together a salad with the fixin’s of your choice.
  7. Once you’re at the table, top both the soup and salad with your chopped bread and bacon.
  8. Dig in :-)

Collage 1DSC_0148-2DSC_0141-2DSC_0140-2

I hope you enjoy this soup & salad and that it’s perfect for your busy week nights, but also warms your bellies during the school day as left overs :-)

Friday, August 23, 2013

Beadboard Island {DIY}

DSC_0116-2Since the original reveal, I’ve posted about how to paint your cabinets, install hardware, and how we updated our light fixtures, and faucet.  Once everything was updated, the Mr. thought our island looked “naked”.  I had to agree that him; it looked unfinished.  So we decided to add some beadboard.  This was so easy and so cheap and so fast to do!  It literally took us him 15 minutes to add to the island!  DSC_0001-2DSC_0087-2
We purchased 1 sheet of beadboard from Lowe’s for $20, and it was more than enough to cover the three sides of our island.  I cannot take any credit for this project; this was ALL my husband!  He measured, cut, nailed the board into place, and added the trim.DSC_0088-2
The Mr. had two very intense supervisors!DSC_0090-2DSC_0105-2DSC_0103-2DSC_0116-2
It doesn’t look naked anymore!
Do you love beadboard?
What have you made with it?
Have a great weekend y’all!

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

What I’m Lovin’ Wednesday: Coffee Sweet Sprinkles

We all know I’m a coffee fanatic; nothing about that is new. 
I don’t have a specific coffee all the time, and I don’t always have it in the same way (cream, sugar, black, etc.)
I like to switch it up every now and then and try a lot of different types and styles.
So when I was contacted to try, Sweet Leaf Stevia Sweetener I was thrilled.
Stevia is a natural herb that you can buy at Lowe’s or Home Depot and plant in your own garden.  It is a really sweet herb, and Sweet Leaf (get it? hehe) is a non-GMO (genetically modified organism), certified organic, zero calorie, carb and glycemic index sweetener.  It also comes in 17 different flavors. 
I chose to try the hazelnut so that I cut add it to my morning coffee.
The first time I tried Sweet Leaf I went a little crazy with how many drops I added to my cup.
Holy Cavity! lol
Not really, but it was definitely sweet!
Lesson learned: Less is more!DSC_0217

Now I add one drop of hazelnut Sweet Leaf Sweetener to my morning cup of Joe and I’m ready for the day!DSC_0222
You know I really should be excited that this is organic and all that stuff blah blah blah…..
But if I’m being honest, I’m really more excited that it has ZERO calories and tastes fantastic!
I can’t wait to try this in my smoothies :-)
Have you tried this yet?
What do you think of Stevia sweeteners?
I received this product complimentary from Sweet Leaf Stevia for testing purposes; however, everything stated was of my own opinion.

Monday, August 19, 2013

A Me LONG Weekend

Hey Friends!  Happy Monday!  I rarely do weekend recaps, but since I had a long weekend I decided to share the details of my weekend.  Last Thursday morning I dropped the Mr. off at the airport.  He was flying back to Pittsburgh for a wedding.  I would have gone with him but I was supposed to have a work training, but the dates for my training were changed after the trip was booked.  So instead I scheduled a bunch of "me things" to distract & entertain myself.

On Thursday I did A LOT of shopping.  I don’t go shopping very often…maybe 4 times a year; typically, if I purchase anything it’s via Amazon.com.  But on Thursday I went shopping at my favorite stores: Target, Pier 1, and Anthropologie.  I got some new dishes, LOTS of fall scented candles, some new shirts for me and my new niece, and some cosmetics.  Shopping Collage
Thursday night I went out with some of my girlies from blogland and had a blast! Fellow Houston bloggers, if you couldn’t make it, you were definitely missed.  I’m looking forward to catching up with y’all next month.DSC_0226-2
But when I got home Thursday night, my fur babies were in some serious trouble! They have never been this bad.  They don’t normally get into the trash or chew anything but their toys, but they got into the kitchen trash can.  There were coffee grounds everywhere!!!  I was completely shocked!  Check out these guilty faces!Bad Puppies
Friday I cleaned my house from top to bottom.  As hot as it’s been here in Houston, I feel like my dogs are trying to see just how much fur hair they can shed.  It drives me nuts and I’m cleaning constantly.  While I really do enjoy cleaning (I find it therapeutic), I am looking forward to when the weather is cooler and the shedding slows down.  Once I was done cleaning I did our grocery shopping and got to cooking.  I was having my female co-workers over for the first time since we moved.  I put together a really yummy cheese spread for when everyone was gathering. DSC_0234For the cheese board I had a couple kinds of dried salami, blueberries, grapes, dried cranberry trail mix, 2 kinds of crackers, fig spread, basil pesto, brie, tomato & basil goat cheese, a sharp Irish cheddar, & a chipotle Vermont cheddar.DSC_0247-2Cheese Plate-1Cheese Plate-2
For dinner & dessert I made a fig, prosciutto, and arugula pizza, and pots de crème (recipe).
Fig PizzaDSC_0236
Saturday was really relaxing.  I made some oatmeal cookies, read some of my photography books, watched When Harry Met Sally, went to Hobby Lobby (and didn’t purchase anything; this was a first!), played with the puppies, and watched lots of football.Saturday
Sunday I went to church and then to the airport to pick up my hubby.  It was a good weekend, but the best part was getting the Mr. from the airport.  It was so nice to have him back. 
The fall semester begins for faculty today so I have a lot of lists, planning, and meetings this week, but I’m ready for it.  
How was your weekend? What did you do?

Friday, August 16, 2013

Summer Reading 2013 {Part 2}

At the beginning of the summer I had every intention of catching up on my pleasure reading; I even purchased 20 books to read!  However, I ended up teaching an additional summer course which really cut into my reading time.  It’s bittersweet because I love teaching but I was really looking forward to diving into some books.  Oh well life happens sometimes.  Anyhow, I reviewed a couple books in June (see here), but I wanted to review a couple more that I read last month.Summer Reading
Good Enough to Eat
image
Good Enough To Eat by Stacey Ballis- I know that someone recommended this book to me but I honestly can’t remember who it was;  if it was you, thank you!  This was a pretty good book, but it definitely wasn’t what I thought it was going to be.  For some reason I thought this book was going to be a lot about food (as the title would suggest), but it was about waaaaaayyy more than just food.  This book was about learning how to live right; to put yourself in a good place emotionally, physically, psychologically, and relationally.  We need balance in all areas of our lives and this was a great reminder of that need to keep life balanced.  A balanced life IS “good enough to eat!”  This was a great tale of independence and learning how to find yourself, freedom from being a slave to food, your past, your habits or the way things have always been done, learning to live right and to give back, to believe in others, to not dwell on the past, a tale of true unwavering friendships found in the oddest yet most meaningful places....that are strong enough to last a lifetime.  A good book that I would certainly recommend for poolside or sandy beach-side reading.
From the back cover:
The last thing Melanie expected to lose when she went on a diet was her husband.  Former lawyer Melanie Hoffman lost half her body weight and opened a gourmet take-out café specializing in healthy and delicious food. Then her husband left her-for a woman twice her size. Immediately afterwards, she's blindsided by a financial crisis. Melanie reaches out to a quirky roommate with a ton of baggage and becomes involved in a budding romance with a local documentary filmmaker. In this warm and often laugh-out-loud novel, Melanie discovers that she still has a lot to learn about her friends, her relationships with men, and herself-and that her weight loss was just the beginning of an amazing journey that will transform her life from the inside out..
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
A little saltie to cut the sweetimage
A Little Saltie to Cut the Sweet: Southern Stories of Faith, Family, and Fifteen Pounds of Bacon by Sophie Hudson- My dear friend Joy recommended this book to me one afternoon while we were on the phone; darn if she doesn’t know me perfectly!  This book was absolutely perfect for this southern gal; so comforting and familiar!  I felt like I was sitting right across the table from Sophie talking & laughing about our family life in the south.  I was reminded of my home and my family from when I was younger.  This book was southern, genuine and the best book I’ve read in a while.  Something that made this book stand out was not just the southern stories (which were hilarious), but it was how Sophie tied everything back to her faith and scripture.  What a breath of fresh air and encouragement!  You’ve got to get this book and bury your nose in the pages….STAT!

From the back cover: 
  Here’s the Thing: Family is worth celebrating.  And since I’m Southern, I would almost always advise that the celebrating should involve a table where both the fried chicken and the laughter are abundant.  But as wonderful as family life can be, it can also be complicated. Family can get under your skin like nobody’s business. No matter what, though, I love my people to pieces. I imagine you feel the same way about your family. And while food may be what brings us to the table when we get together, it’s the people who provide the real nourishment. As we join hands and bow heads and break bread, God faithfully teaches us deep, lasting lessons about loyalty. About love. About Him. This book is a collection of some of my favorite family stories. I’m just as tickled as I can be to share them with you. And I hope you’ll feel right at home.

  Alright y’all, have a fabulous Friday and weekend!!!!
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