Wednesday, November 30, 2011

DIY Christmas Wreath

One of the things I look forward to the most during the Holiday season is turning up Kenny G on pandora and decorating our home for Christmas (more on this later).

Earlier this week I played hooky from school to make a Christmas wreath! The steps are below or you can find additional ones here.

Cole's parents have magnolia trees with huge green glossy leaves in their backyard so before we left the upstate on Sunday, his mom and I did some clipping. I choose magnolia leaves, or course, because it is an iconic Southern plant and nothing else yields a more true Southern welcome...I also clipped holly, red berries, spruce, and cryptomeria for embellishment. 

Next, I gathered my supplies...wire wreath, oasis, scissors, knife, and floral wire. The oasis fits within the  wire wreath as shown in the photo. I usually wet it a bit to keep the foliage fresh. 

 Then I inserted individual leaves into the oasis. This can be done however your prefer.
Last year I only used magnolia leaves, which turned out really nice. This year, I decided to add a little extra. We will see how long it lasts. Last year the wreath held on for about 3 weeks! Other wreath ideas can be found here


Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Transforming Thanksgiving Leftovers

I don't know about you, but the Sims are eating leftovers this week! I am so thankful to have a husband that really loves leftovers (He actually thinks some dishes are better the second go 'round.) I like leftovers myself, but after 4 Thanksgiving meals, I was in need of ways to transform our thanksgiving leftovers.

On Tuesday night I made Turkey Tostadas with Cranberry-Chipotle Sauce, inspired by Southern Living. I tweaked it a bit, and it was delicious! With the Mexican touch, you would never think you were eating Thanksgiving fare.

I bagged multiple containers of both ham and turkey for the freezer to use in soups later this winter and to shred on salads too!

After a long day at school/hospital and a run downtown, Cole and I were starving! Turkey nachos and cheese were calling our name...I thawed some of the turkey I had frozen this weekend, used some leftover ingredients from last night's meal, and voila! 

My mom and sister made Turkey Cranberry Pinwheels from Pillsbury last year and they were a hit! Maybe I will try this one soon. 

What do you do with thanksgiving leftovers?

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Let's Give Thanks

These are the questions/verses/thoughts my Bible study is going through this week. I want to share them with you and challenge you to make time to go through them. I promise your spirit will be renewed! Split them up however you choose. There are 7 so one a day would be good. I hope this season will be unlike any before and that you will focus your thanksgiving to Christ alone! 

1. Read James 1:17. What good and perfect gifts are you most thankful for? Think of big and small things. Spend time today thanking God for providing each of them.

2. Read Romans 12:12, John 14:27, and I Thessalonians 5:18 . Think about the most stressful part of your week (i.e., work responsibilities, schoolwork, etc.). List five reasons you're thankful to be where you are (example: "I'm thankful to be working at _________ because I've met 2 new friends there.").

3. Read 2 Corinthians 4: 7-10  in light of our discussions of Paul. Think of times that you have been "hard pressed on every side", "perplexed", "persecuted", and "struck down". Praise God for being all-sufficient for you and not abandoning you during these times. How has the Lord shown His faithfulness to you personally? 

4. Read some Psalms....Psalm 28:7-9, Psalm 47 and 48, Psalm 95:1-7, Psalm 96, and any others you find to PRAISE HIM. 

5. Read Colossians 2:6-7. How can you live to better emulate this verse? Do you continue to live in Him? Are you rooted in Christ? Are you being strengthened in the faith? Are you overflowing with thankfulness? 

6. Spend time in prayer with your Bible and a journal. Think specifically about the characteristics of God. Who does He claim to be? What is He to you? What are your favorite qualities about God? What characteristic(s) of God are you most thankful for? Feel free to flip through Scripture to find verses about this. 

7. Read Psalm 100, Hebrews 12:28, and Romans 6:23. Spend time worshiping God and thanking Him for the greatest blessing of all, the gift of our sins being forgiven by the death of Jesus Christ.

10 pages of memorizing this...

calls for a glass of wine!!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

The Nobel Peace Prize and Dynamite

You may be interested to know that the founder of the distinguished Nobel Peace Prize, Alfred Nobel, also developed nitroglycerin into the explosive dynamite. This is so ironic to me!! The founder of the peace prize invented dynamite?!?! Yes! Nobel combined the drug nitroglycerin, originally discovered a few years prior by Sobrero, with a few other materials to make dynamite. This story is especially interesting to me as a fledgling pharmacist because nitroglycerin is still used today as a pharmaceutical. It is most commonly used in angina attacks and works by widening the blood vessels in the body to increase the blood and oxygen flow to the heart. It saves many lives, and I would imagine over its history time course, it has probably killed quite a few too.
Alfred Nobel

On that note, my family had the privilege to meet one such recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize, Oscar Arias Sanchez, the President of Costa Rica, in 2008 during one of our visits to Veraqua Rain Forest. If you ever venture to Costa Rica, Veraqua is a must see!
Oscar Arais Sanchez

The family (minus William) with Oscar and Dad's business
partners on each end. 

Friday, November 11, 2011

Today is Special for Three Reasons

1. It is my Dad's 55th Birthday! (11/11/11)
Dad and I on our trip to Ecuador...after reaching a summit!
Also in 16,000 feet! 

2. Cole took me on our first date 5 years ago today!

3. Today is Veteran's Day, and we recognize and thank my grandfather for serving in World War II in Germany and Uncle Benny for serving in Vietnam and the Korean War.
Papa, Jojo, and Dad

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Speaking of a weekend with friends...

...we spent last weekend with Brittany and Spencer in the Blue Ridge Mountains. 

I couldn't stand a fall season passing by without seeing it in the mountains! 

After an almost 4 hour drive and 2 pit stops (one for boiled peanuts and one for bbq smoked chicken), we arrived at Ceaser's Head State Park to this view!

We had a wonderful weekend together! We relaxed a lot, hiked a little, played games into the night, slept late, read on the porch, cooked, watched football, and canoe raced! It was fun spending time with such good friends. The pictures speak for themselves. Enjoy! 

Raven Cliff Falls

As you can see, I am really good at taking the weekends off from my studies! It always seems like a good idea at the time :). Therefore, I have been CRAMMING my tests and assignments in this more to go! So glad the week is half-way over!

See my previous posts here and here about the mountains...

Monday, November 7, 2011

Pear Chutney Bruschetta

When we go off with friends for the weekend or have guests in town, I am always looking for recipes that I can make ahead of time. I want to have exceptionally good food to serve, but not spend every minute of our quality time in the kitchen. I stumbled across this recipe that is perfect for this!  The chutney can be made ahead up to 3 days in advance and assembled just before serving. It made for a wonderful appetizer this weekend in the mountains. I will definitely keep this one handy. 
  • Pear Chutney Bruschetta
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped shallots
  • 1 1/2 cups finely chopped peeled Anjou, Bartlett, or Bosc pear
  • 1/2 cup pear nectar
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped dried apricots
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons cider vinegar
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • (3-inch) cinnamon stick
  • 4 ounces French bread baguette, cut diagonally into 16 thin slices and toasted
  • 8 teaspoons chopped pecans, toasted
  • 8 teaspoons crumbled blue cheese (I used goat cheese instead) 
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh chives
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
  • 1. Heat a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Add olive oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add shallots, and sauté for 2 minutes or until soft. Add pear and next 6 ingredients (through cinnamon); bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium; cook 20 minutes or until pear is tender and mixture is thick. Cool to room temperature. Discard cinnamon stick.
  • 2. Spoon about 1 1/2 tablespoons chutney over each baguette slice; top each with 1/2 teaspoon pecans and 1/2 teaspoon cheese. Sprinkle evenly with chopped chives and thyme.

Recipe courtesy of October 2011 Cooking Light. Find the it here

Friday, November 4, 2011

We have survived!

One of my favorite childhood memories is making a thankful tree every November. Cole and I have continued this tradition in our home. We like to focus on being thankful to the Lord for His provisions and blessings in our life for the entire month. It is also an excuse to get out my crafts! Every year it looks a little different, but here is what the Sims are thankful for in 2011.

Step 1: Draw a tree
 Step 2: Cut out leaves and paste on the limbs.
 Step 3: Add Bible verses about God providing for us and having hearts of thankfulness.
Step 4: Gradually write on the leaves specific things we are thankful for.

First on our list is Cole finishing his surgery rotation! He is taking his SHELF exam as I type, and will be finished around lunch. It has been a very long 6 weeks!! But, WE HAVE SURVIVED, and for that we are thankful!  I haven't shared much on the blog about it, but it was the hardest rotation I think he will have as a medical student. I hope he is right! Here is just a taste...Our alarm went off between 3:30 and 4:00am every morning. (I did not wake up then!!) He would head to school and work in the OR and clinic until about 5 or 6pm. His latest day was getting home at 8:45pm (that is a 16-hour day!). He rarely had a spare minute to eat. Once he got home, he had to prepare for the patients and cases he would see the next day. Bed around 10:30-11:30pm...not much sleep! He worked one 21-day stretch and a few 25-28-hour shifts. I got more practice staying by myself, but most nights I would go to Marian's! Cole decided that surgery is not the field of choice for him, but he absolutely loved being on the surgical oncology team and would choose that over studying any day! There were high and low points and unfortunately, he received a lot of experience with how to handle telling sad news to patients and families. He also experienced his first patient to pass away right in front of him. There were many high points as well, especially when he was able to finally convince his dad into getting a colonoscopy!! I am really proud of him for all his hard work and dedication to his career! I am glad it is over!! Now on to family medicine rotation...

What are you thankful for this month?

Blogging Milestone

Recently a friend taught me how to check my blog stats, and this week I hit the 10,000 mark for number of views of my blog! Thank you so much for reading!!

My first post to this blog was on March 17th of this year. Since then, I have gained 29 "followers" and many more readers from 10 different countries. Many of you bloggers out there trump these numbers by a TON, but for little 'ol me, I am proud!

I hope this blog updates you on our lives and is worthwhile for your time reading it. I would love any suggestions you may have. This blogging adventure sure has been a blast on my end. Keep in touch because there is more to come!!

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