Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Merry and Bright!

We had the merriest of Christmases this year in Savannah. It was the first time I had seen my parents since our move. I loved spending time with them, eating good food, playing games, and seeing extended family {more details of our week in Southern soil soon}. Thanks, Mama and Dad for a fun trip!

Merry Christmas to you and your's. Christ has come. He has good news for us! He is our peace and joy. May you know the fullness of his presence this season.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Random Ramblings 03

{My niece showing me a picture of a dog in Real Simple. She loved looking at all the pictures in that magazine. It's a sign that it's every girl's favorite!}

01:: We got to Skype with my parents on Thanksgiving day. It was the first time in months we’ve talked on Skype, and it was good to see them {even if it was through a computer screen}.

02:: I make these pumpkin cookies a couple of times to help me get in the Fall/Thanksgiving spirit. They were pretty good and much, much easier than the homemade version I made last Fall.

03:: Over Thanksgiving our sweet niece, Grace, started doing these double fist pumps when she really likes something. It’s completely amazing to see this little person with so much enthusiasm for life.

04:: I finished watching Brothers & Sisters this week. I started watching the show in July – shortly after we moved. It was my escape on particularly hard job-search days. {A cable line has never been installed in our apartment building and Fuller housing doesn’t allow you to install a dish so we have Netflix, hulu & an antenna to get by. It works for us – although I sure miss HGTV and hubs misses ESPN.}

05:: For the past four or five years, I have hosted an ornament exchange brunch over the Christmas holiday with my friends in Athens. I haven’t been able to decide whether or not to have one this year – new friends, new schedule….just not sure it would be the same. What do you think I should do?

06:: My most amazing husband went grocery shopping with me tonight. I HATE going to the grocery store by myself {or at all, for that matter}. It’s these little ways he loves me that makes him the best.

07:: I still haven’t switched over my summer clothes yet. It is finally getting chilly here, and my closet needs my warm clothes and some major reorganization.

08:: I bought myself a Coach purse on Saturday {from the outlet store at a deeply discounted price}. This summer I told myself that once I got a job my reward would be a new Coach purse. This is my first Coach bag, and I really like it. I have to admit that I’m feeling a bit of guilt about spending more money than usual on said gift {no time to go into all those thoughts right now}.

09:: I recently posted pictures to Facebook and realized how much K&G have been part of the past 6 months! What a blessing they are to us. We’re so thankful that we’ve gotten to grow our friendship with them, which is part of why we chose to move here.

10:: Hubs and I started a new running routine last Monday. We hit the road on Mondays and Wednesdays as soon as I get home from work for a quick run. I’m excited that we’re finally fitting exercise into our regular schedule. Since it’s getting a bit cooler outside, I’m definitely going to need some warmer running clothes {hint, hint}. :)

11:: To help with my commute to work, I’ve started listening to audio books. Last Monday I started Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet and am enjoying it so far. Yesterday I finished loading all of the CDs onto my computer to sync with my iphone and realized that I completely skipped disc 3 – over 10% of the book! Only I would do something like this…

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Big Bear weekend

Over Labor Day weekend {yes, I know I am way behind in updating my blog} Kim & Greg invited us to join them in Big Bear for the holiday. We rented a cabin together with some friends of theirs. It was a really fun weekend away from our usual routine. Hubs and I were both very happy to have something fun to do for the weekend. Usually we go to Oak Island over Labor Day with all of hubs’ college buddies, and we were missing them.
We dreamed about buying our own vacation home up there. Big Bear is a small mountain resort community two hour northwest of Pasadena. In the summer people spend time on the lake, and in the winter it’s a ski resort. For all of you Georgia readers, it reminds me a little of Helen.
We enjoyed hanging around and relaxing. We spent some time with our sweet niece and tried to convince her to walk. {She is now walking – or running – all over the place!} Quality time with that girl is the absolute best.
{Grace helping Uncle Mike choose his fantasy football team.}
We ate some delicious food – including a trip to Chick-Fil-A on the way home! I made a couple of special treats {cheesecake brownies and rice krispy treats} for all of to share during the weekend too. :)
We went on a 4.5 mile hike which had great views of Big Bear Lake.
Hubs went off-roading with our brother-in-law. They had a really fun time. It was the first time hubs has done something like that. I know he's looking forward to going again!

Thanks, K&G for the invite! We had such a fantastic time with y'all. Next time we'll make Blueberry buckle. ;)

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Giving Thanks on Thanksgiving

This year my sister-in-law started a new family tradition for Thanksgiving and invited us to participate. We would write down the things we are thankful for from the past year. Each year at Thanksgiving, we'll make a new list, review our previous list and remember those things from years' past.

It was pretty difficult to write my list. Not because there aren't so many things to be thankful for but because I haven't had a very grateful heart lately. {That's a hard confession to make.} I'm not sure why. Maybe it's because I want so many things for our home and our life here. I think I've been distracted by what I want instead of thankful for what I have.

It was good to reflect on all the blessings and good things in life. Here are a few of the things from my Thanksgiving list.

- Mike's unconditional love
{I'm sure there have been many times over the past few months when I made it really difficult for him to love me}
- Our parents' hard-work & help in getting us moved
- My sister-in-law & brother-in-law being so supportive of our move to Los Angeles and that they are so close by.
- Movie passes & sour patch kids
- Our niece, Grace...and the rest of our family. :)
- Leaving InterVarsity staff in a good place
- Moving across country & making the transition without using our credit cards
- My new job
- Diet cokes & french fries
- Friends both near & far who send love & prayers our way
- That God's grace & peace rules my heart.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Fish Tacos!

A couple of months ago {I can't believe it's been that long}, I mentioned we had fish tacos. It was my first time using tomatillos, and I was pretty pumped to try something new. Our friend Janna came over to hang out, eat good food, and play Mario Bros on the Wii. It was such a fun night with her! We've been friends with Janna for several years now; we worked together for InterVarsity in the Southeast. She moved to Pasadena this past spring to start her master's degree at Fuller and pioneer a new InterVarsity chapter at Pasadena City College.

I found the recipe from Better Homes and Gardens in May.

1 1/2 lb. cod or halibut fillets, but into 1-inch pieces {I used tilapia}
2 fresh tomatillos cut into 1/2-inch pieces {2 cups}
2 tsp. olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 tsp orange zest
1/2 tsp lime zest

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a bowl toss together the fish, tomatillos, oil, garlic, orange peel and lime peel. Season with salt and black pepper; set aside.
2. Cut six 12-inch-square sheets of foil. Place one-sixth (about 2/3 cup) fish mixture in center of each square. Fold diagonally in half in a triangle. Fold edges two or three times to make a packet. Place packets in single layer on a large baking sheet.
3. Bake fish 10 to 12 minutes, until packets puff slightly (carefully open a packet to check fish doneness; fish should flake easily with a fork). Meanwhile, in dry skillet warm tortillas over medium-high heat until soft, about 15 seconds per side.
4. To serve, divide fish mixture between two tortillas. Top with Cabbage and Chile Pepper Slaw. Serve immediately. Makes 6 servings.

I didn't use the slaw for ours, but am interested to try it. We just had ours with plain shredded cabbage tossed in vinegar and guacamole. The flavor of the fish was very light & tasty. If you like spicy tacos, I think the cabbage & chile pepper slaw would add it.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

My new job!

Honestly, I have struggled with this post for so many reasons...so much internal dialogue - what to share, what not to share. Do I share about the months of searching for the right job? It is difficult to put into words all of the emotions that went along with this search. {There were several big let-downs that happened in these past few months.} Do I try to talk about how hard it was to find an open door that also fits my skills and passions? After months of looking for work a door finally opened. Is it a good fit? Yes!!

I started working 3.5 weeks ago at a very large hospital in Los Angeles in the Volunteer Services office. Right now, it is a temporary position that I am hoping turns into a permanent place within their department. This particular hospital has over 2,500 volunteers and lots of different programs where people in the community can contribute. We have people from ages 14 to 94 who volunteer with us each week. I am very impressed with the department as a whole, and I really like the people I work with. My job specifically is to run the front office: I answer lots of questions, process applications, pre-screen applicants and set up interviews, and so much more. Each day it seems like I am taking on more responsibility, and I am thankful for the opportunity. I love that it is a service-oriented position, that it is both people and paper heavy, and that the people I work with are so great. There is still so much to learn about the office and my position there.

I am thankful for the routine too. I am thankful for the commute {albeit my least favorite part}; you have heard {read} how challenging it can be. Each day I drive an hour to work and a little more than that home. If you ever want to call to catch up, the best times to reach me are 7:30AM or 5:15PM, Pacific Coast Time. :) Now, I just need to figure out how to fit in an exercise plan. :)

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Driving Lessons

This summer I learned how to drive a stick-shift. Yes, it was super, super challenging, and there were points that I thought I just wouldn't get it. But, I learned...while driving across country, while making a sick run to the grocery {hubs and I had the stomach bug at the same time this summer}, and while learning Los Angeles traffic.

Let me tell you. LA traffic is CAH-razy. It's predictably unpredictable. I have to give myself extra time to anticipate bag traffic because you just don't know how bad it will be. Anyway, I'm just going to be honest. I need some space to vent about today's misadventure. Every morning I leave the house at 7:15 to get to work {more on my job soon, I promise!}. This morning began as usual - I left on time. I drove my usual route. The freeway was a bit hectic as usual but not a parking lot. Well, this morning, I decided to get the bright idea to drive an alternative route for a small portion of my drive. I wanted to stay on surface streets thinking it might cut my commute by a few minutes. Instead, I got lost. Like, really lost. I was 30 minutes late to {my new} job. UGH!!!

It was awful. My iphone wasn't working for me. I couldn't pull up the map, and even when I did the GPS in it couldn't find my location. It wouldn't let me call hubs for help either. Finally I got through to him in almost hysterics. He had to find me and give me directions. I told him we were buying new phones this weekend {probably not}, but I was ready to toss mine out the window this morning.

Here's to much more peaceful, easy-going mornings and happy driving. What do you listen to during long commutes? I could definitely use new music and podcast suggestions!

{P.S. I promise to add a picture or two later, but I seem to have lost all my photos. Hubs wiped my computer and clean installed Snow Leopard. For some reason, I didn't get iPhoto back.}

Thursday, August 18, 2011

LOVE her!!

So, this morning while eating breakfast, hubs was reading the news on his CNN app and shared this song with me. We {well, mostly hubs} like making up our own funny songs. Hope you enjoy Anne's. :)

Monday, August 15, 2011

I {heart} Super King!!

Okay, so I know I haven't posted much about life in California yet. I promise to give some updates and pictures soon. Honestly, I need to devote a whole post just about a grocery store because their prices are incredible! Yes, I really am blogging about a grocery store! Hey, when you're living on a tight budget, it's the simple things in life that really make life good. And, I'm glad we can eat unprocessed food cheaply {more on this soon}.

Here's the list of things I got last week at Super King for only $30!!

- 3lbs of tilapia fillets
- 1 pack of bacon
- 20 eggs
- 80 corn tortillas
- 14lb watermelon
- 2 mangoes
- 4 bananas
- 1 bunch of celery
- 2 heads of romaine lettuce
- 2 cucumbers
- grapes
- 6 peaches
- 4 plums
- 3 lbs of carrots {at least}
- 1 green, red, and yellow bell pepper
- 2 jalapenos
- 6 tomatillos
- 2 limes
- 6 apples
- 1 onion
- 1 bunch of asparagus

We usually just get our fruits, veggies and some meat there...everything else is not such a great price. The first time I went, I had this ridiculously huge smile on my face because I was so happy to find fresh produce at such incredible prices. I asked hubs {who I dragged with me} if we was happy we saved some moola. He said he was, but just not "girl happy." So, I decided to call my mom and rave about the prices. :)

P.S. We had fish tacos last week, and they were delish! It was my first time cooking with tomatillos.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Two Kelly's to Cali, Day 5

By our last day, day 5, of the long trek westward, we were more than ready to be in California. At one point we had considered extending our stay at the Grand Canyon to do some hiking. Then, we thought about spending one more day in car. Day five was probably our most boring day. We drove through the second half of Arizona and then got into California. Let me tell you, the eastern part of the state {at least on I-40}, there is NOTHING!!! We drove through the Mojave Desert, crossed over the mountains, and got to L.A. before the traffic got bad.

Because there was nothing, our bathroom breaks became "interesting." We saw a sign that said there was a rest area 10 miles ahead so we trekked on to it, expecting to be able to stretch our legs in just a few minutes. Well, the rest area was closed!!! Hubs couldn't wait until the next town {which was 30+ miles away} so we had to create our own rest area {if you catch my drift}.

Mike stretching his legs in the Mojave Desert

Throughout the trip, we kept letting ourselves get WAY too hungry for meals. Hubs and I are like the guys on the Snicker's commercials when we get hungry. Needless to say, it doesn't create a friendly car environment. We resorted to eating some "interesting" snacks {we had already eaten all the good stuff}. Thanks again, mom, for packing away all of that food for us on the road! Anyway, it was almost 2pm before we had lunch at In-N-Out, but it was deee-lish. In-N-Out Burger is to California what Chick-Fil-A is to Georgia.

The most "interesting" snack during the roadtrip.

We arrive at my sister-in-law's place in Los Angeles at about 4pm. It was SO very nice to get our car unpacked. As I mentioned before, we stayed with them for about 5 days before our cube arrived with all of our stuff. Thanks, K&G, for being such gracious hosts and so generous with your home.

That's it folks - our whole trip to California. Sure hope you enjoyed following us along. If you missed a post, click on the link for Day 1, Day 2, Day 3, or Day 4.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Two Kelly's to Cali, Day 4

Finally, I’m updating the finale of our cross-country move. By and large, day four of our travels was my favorite! We stayed at a KOA Kampsite {again} in Holbrook, AZ. This was my favorite campsite of the three we went to – definitely had that Mom & Pop feel. The man that ran the Kampsite cooked breakfast every morning: only $2 for all you can eat pancakes.

Then, we spent the entire day site seeing {WARNING: there will be lots of pictures}. This was our only day of just being a tourist. After our pancake breakfast, we packed up camp and headed to the Painted Desert and the Petrified Forest. We drove through these amazing landscapes and enjoyed breath-taking view after view. In the Painted Desert there is this old inn and restaurant that is now just part of the National Park. The architectural features and detail-work in the Painted Desert Inn were definitely my favorite.

Once we made our way through these two parks, we had a short 2 hour drive to the GRAND CANYON!! We were both super excited about going to the Canyon – neither one of us had ever been. A-MAZING!! Really, we drove from look-out point to look-out, and at each point we couldn’t believe how awe-inspiring the view was. Breath-taking. {Okay, I’m going to stop trying to describe it since I can’t get away from every cliché imaginable}. It’s good for me to be in places where I realize this world is so much bigger than my little place in it. We stayed through sunset to watch the light play on the rocks in the canyon. While we’re out here in California, we plan on going to the Grand Canyon again to spend more time exploring and to hike down into the Canyon.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Home Sweet Home

We've already been in California for 3 weeks now, so it's well past time to show you pictures of our new place! In a later post, I will share some of our home projects. We have lots we want to do to make the apartment a bit more like home sweet home. Let me just say, though, that I'm proud of hubs and myself for getting all of our boxes unpacked {at least all of the ones we could do}.

Here's the living room {and our new couch from IKEA!}

{Please ignore the Goodwill box right next to the TV}

Here's the small dining room with our patio furniture. :) We sold our dining room table & chairs before the move because we didn't think they'd fit in our smaller place. One day soon we'll get a more fitting dining set {still nothing fancy, but something that looks better in the space}:

The kitchen. I have been surprised by how much storage that little space has. I'm going to need to figure out a couple of creative ways to increase my counter space, though.

This, my friends, is "Minty" the bathroom. I did my best with the space. That's all I have to say about it...

Finally, this is our bedroom. These aren't the greatest shots. I'll probably update them with better ones soon.

There were a couple of "spaces" we left out. We also have a little study nook with a desk in the far corner of the living room. Just off of the dining room/living room combo, we have a balcony. I'm excited to get out there and make it something really enjoyable {future project}. Right now, it's super boring.

I sure hope you enjoyed the tour! :)

Saturday, July 2, 2011

California Living

It's really, really hard to believe that we've been living in Pasadena for over 2 weeks. Since being here, we've managed to slip in few fun things, but mostly we've just been doing the usual stuff of getting settled into a new home and town. We have an incredible "So Cal" view of the mountains. Hopefully sometime soon we'll get the chance to hike in 'em {our friends told us there are over 100 trails through them}.

The view from our patio.

Before our lease began, we spent a few days staying with my sister-in-law and her sweet family in Los Angeles. We are so thankful to have family close by! The favorite part of our stay was the time we got to spend with our niece. She is 8 months old and has so much personality now; she's a lot of fun! The first Saturday in town, we got to babysit her for the entire day.

We are almost completely unpacked, even with our pictures on the walls! {There is a laundry list of additional things we want to do to our new place - maybe I'll share in a later post}. Our new place is approximately half the size of our our place in Athens, but there still seems to be plenty of room here. Good thing we sold, donated, or stored some things a
t our parents' houses. I promise to post pictures soon.

Last Sunday, we were invited by some new friends to a free concert at Levitt Pavilion. Every Wednesday - Sunday, there are free concerts during the summer there. It's definitely a place we'll be checking out again! AND...we're looking forward to hanging out with these friends again soon.

Tomorrow morning we are going to another new church. I'm hoping & praying that we find the right church pronto. We're only going to give ourselves 2 months to find our new place of worship.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Two Kelly's to Cali, Day 3

We hopped back on I-40 early in the morning for a 10-hour drive through Texas, New Mexico and Arizona. At this point, the terrain really started to change to first the golden prairies and then to desert once we hit New Mexico. This day was full of driving, driving, driving. We made an intentional effort to talk a lot more intentionally today about stuff – our dreams and goals for the next three years in Pasadena. We also listened to several podcasts: Dave Ramsey and NPR’s “Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me.”

It was obvious that in Texas we needed a break from driving. Hubs said that if we saw a cowboy boot store along the interstate we could stop. {I’ve been wanting a pair of boots for a while now}. As luck would have it, we found one and stopped. It was good to get out of the car for half an hour to look around…too bad the boots I liked were Lucchese, another name for WAY out of my price range. We stopped in New Mexico twice – once to update my blog at a McDonald’s and again in Albuquerque for supper. We had super spicy, authentic Mexican food covered in green chile sauce. It’s really different than salsa verde because the base is chiles instead of tomatillos.

We arrived at our campground in Arizona pretty tired , but it wasn't all that late because Arizona doesn't observe Daylight Savings time.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Two Kelly's to Cali, Day 2

First off, we stopped at Graceland – quite the cultural experience. The entire house and grounds have been preserved just as Elvis left it – with 70s décor to the hilt: shag carpet on the floor {and ceiling}, dark wood paneling, and lots of bold colors. Hubs’ favorite room was the Blue & Yellow TV room. It was decorated with Elvis’ logo from the 70s “TCB” with a lightening bolt. It was his personal slogan that means “Taking Care of Business.” We both enjoyed our little detour, but were a bit disappointed as there was not an Elvis sighting while we were there.

Uga meets Elvis
The Blue & Yellow room.
We hit the road again and immediately crossed over the great Mississippi River. After a few quick stops we made it to Little Rock, and I took over the driving until almost Oklahoma City {it’s been an interesting adjustment in driving a stick shift}. We only made it through 2 states on Day 2: Arkansas and Oklahoma.
An Oklahoma sunset. The advantage of traveling west is that you get to see a spectacular sunset each day.
We decided to stay at a KOA Kamping Kabin for the night, and it worked out great. The campsite was clean and easy on our budget. We’ll probably stay at KOA’s the rest of the way. {Thanks, Mom & Dad for the suggestion and the guidebook}.
Our KOA Kabin in OK. :)

Two Kelly's to Cali, Day 1

Mom & Dad saying goodbye outside of my first home with hubs.

My family was absolutely incredible and helpful in getting us out the door on Saturday {more about them later}. After a quick bite to eat downtown and finding our travel companion, Uga, we hit the road at about 1 pm. On the first day of our trip westward, we passed through four states {can you count the state you start in??}: Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi and Tennessee. It rained almost the entire drive. Mike was a total champ in getting us through the bad weather.

Our trusty companion.

Uga helping me with sandwiches for supper.

I convinced hubs that we needed to stop in Memphis for the night so that we could tour Graceland the next morning. I found a deal on our hotel though Priceline. Unfortunately, we arrived way past supper-time and weren’t able to get some famous Memphis BBQ. Maybe next time…
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