Friday, September 28, 2012

Celebration of Life Update

I am still living on the energy from my experiences last weekend!  I journeyed to Illinois on Friday Sept. 21st to attend the Fifth Celebration of Life - A Benefit for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.  You can click here to read my Celebrate Life entry explaining the event. 
It was such an amazing night and I am blessed to have attended the celebration.  Patrick Elwood from Fox News Chicago kicked off the evening with a special story and tribute to Jordan and her 'super sibling' Kaley.  My volunteer role for the evening was to receive the papers that documented individuals that were honored in the ceremony.  It was a special role to be face to face with those who are living out a loved one's legacy.  A highlight of the evening was the presentation of the first ever "Robert W. Piercy, Jr. 'Dancing in the Rain Award'".  The recipient was Jenna Benn.  What an inspirational woman!  I highly encourage you to watch her documentary video below explaining her journey on becoming the founder of "Twist Out Cancer".  It was such a motivational evening and just confirmed the difference we are making on funding research for cancer.  One day there will be a cure!

"We don't accomplish anything in this world alone...and whatever happens is the result of the whole tapestry of one's life and all the weaving of individual threads from one another that creates something.  -Sandra Day O'Connor

Andrea {Jordan's mother}, me and Coach Marie
These ladies are so inspirational.  Andrea has a heart of gold and is motivated to find a cure after the cancer diagnosis of not just her daughter, but her son and her mother. The beauty of our friendship extends past age and experience...we just  make each other better women and support each other through the mountains and valleys.  Coach Marie is the angel who took this non-athlete and inspired me and believed in me and literally walked me to the finish line!
 Love you ladies!

With the honoree, Jordan.
Jordan is my every day hero and it brought me much joy to see her, dance with her and just be together again celebrating the young woman she has grown into. 

Emily {my twin sister}, Jordan and Me

Where do I begin?  I have an incredible twin sister who supports me in every endeavor.  She was the one who helped me fund raise, encouraged me in my training and came to Disney to celebrate in my marathon commitments.  She loves the things I love and therefore has a special relationship with Jordan and Kaley.  I made my sister promise that when the day came and I could no longer attend Camp Quality with Jordan she would go in my place.  So I passed the torch after my little love was born and my sister now takes the role as Jordan's companion at camp.  We are so thankful for the opportunities we have to be together with the ones we love!

A video documenting Jenna Benn, Founder of Twist Out Cancer

Thursday, September 27, 2012

fall foilage

As I was driving this morning I was in awe of the beautiful leaf colors on the trees I passed.  I am thankful for God's creativity and attention to detail...even in the process of leaves dying and falling from trees!

I unfortunately did not have my camera with me to document the beauty I saw this morning.  However, I did google images of "Michigan fall leaves" and wanted to share a few photos with you.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

{etsy} burp clothes

A dear friend of mine contacted me this week to see if I would be willing to make her some burp clothes to give as a gift to a family member.  I made them today during nap time and I must say it felt good to be back at the sewing machine!  Making the burp clothes also reminded me of the first few months with our little love.  What precious memories!

I currently have removed the listing of burp clothes from my etsy store but am considering renewing the listing following this interest from my friend.  Burp clothes are a wonderful gift and definitely an item that new mommas use on a daily basis.  Look for them in my store again soon!  If you ever have a need for a gift or a crafty idea I can assist with, please feel free to contact me and I'd love to make your dream reality!

Here are a few photos documenting the burp clothes I made today.

{MWW} Barbequed Pork Chops for Two

Today I am sharing a recipe for Barbecue Pork Chops for Two from my Pillsbury Slow Cooker book.  You can find the recipe on the Pillsbury website by clicking here. Continue to read below for my tutorial and commentary on preparing this meal.

Pillsbury photo documentation of this meal:

Barbecued Pork Chops for Two

My photo documentation of this meal:

Barbecued Pork Chops for Two

2 boneless pork loin chops
       1 inch thick (about 3/4lb.), trimmed of fat 
2 slices of onion
I cut my onion into chunks instead of round slices as I also used some with my side of potatoes/onions. 
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
1/2 cup barbecue sauce
I use Sweet Baby Ray's original barbecue sauce
1 tablespoon water
1 teaspoon cornstarch

{directly from the Pillsbury Slow Cooker book I own}

Spray 3- to 4-quart slow cooker with cooking spray.  In cooker, place pork chops.  Top each with onion slice.  Sprinkle with garlic.  Pour barbecue sauce over pork.

Cover; cook on Low heat setting 5 to 6 hours.

About 5 minutes before serving, remove pork from cooker; place on serving platter.
Top each pork chop with onion slice; cover to keep warm.

In 2-cup glass measuring cup or small microwaveable bowl, stir water and cornstarch until smooth.  Pour juices from cooker into cornstarch mixture; mix well.  Microwave on High 1 to 2 minutes, stirring once halfway through cooking, until mixture boils and thickens slightly.  Serve sauce with pork.

My commentary on directions:
5-6 hours is entirely too long to cook the pork in the crock pot.  At 4.5 hours my pork was already becoming dry. Thankfully the sauce revived it and it still tasted good.  Make sure to allow cornstarch mixture to boil otherwise you will end up with a chalk-like texture to your sauce.  All in all a very good meal that I will make in the future!

Monday, September 24, 2012

have peace

Pinned Image

We are currently praying our way through some big life decisions.  The only one who can give my heart ultimate peace and keep my spirit calm is the Lord.  These images were found on Pinterest and are my Monday Motivation!

Thursday, September 20, 2012


Today I give thanks for the ministry of MOPS {Mothers of Preschoolers} at NorthRidge Church!  We had our first meeting this morning and I am so encouraged and excited for the upcoming year!  This is my first year serving on leadership as a table leader.  I have a wonderful mentor mom and 8 lovely ladies at my table.  The theme this year is "plunge". We will be taking the plunge into relationships and learning how to "Love as if our life depended on it" {1 Peter 4:8}.  I am so excited to see how God uses this ministry to teach, equip and encourage each of the women.  I am thankful for the opportunity serve, love and be in community with other moms.  Yeah God!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

{MWW} How to store fruits and vegetables

We all strive to be healthy {or at least I hope you do!}  Healthy eating can come with a larger price tag as junk food is typically cheap in cost.  I cringe every time I have to throw away produce and vegetables that have gone bad knowing that good money has been wasted on good food. 

I pinned an article on Pinterest that tells tips on how to store fruits and vegetables to keep them from spoiling. I want to share it with you so we can eat healthy and not throw away our money in spoiled food!  To read the article click here.

How To Store Fruits and Vegetables

Pinned:  How To Store Fruits and Vegetables to Keep them From Spoiling
Origional Source:

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Celebrate Life

I want to share a precious season of my life with you.  If you know me personally, you know my story and the "Journey of Jordan".  {Warning: this is long post!}
In the late summer of 2004, I was preparing my kindergarten classroom for the new school year and was approached by my principal. She came to explained that one of the students {Jordan} enrolled in my classroom had relapsed with leukemia on July 15th and would be qualifying as a 'home bound' student.  My principal wanted to know if I would be willing to accept the duty to home school Jordan throughout the school year while she was receiving treatment.  I of course never even considered not being her teach - in whatever environment that entailed.  Honestly, I believe in God's divine intervention and that it was not by chance that Jordan was enrolled in my kindergarten classroom that fall.  Actually, I believed it was the answer to the desire of my heart.  When I was in college, I was part of a service sorority, ESA, and one of our philanthropies was St.Jude Children's Research Hospital.  I had the honor of going to Memphis and presenting a check to the hospital from our fundraising efforts throughout the year.  While taking a tour of the hospital, we came to the classroom where a Memphis school district teacher would work with the students on appropriate skills and complete assignments they miss while receiving treatment.  It was at that moment in time, I vowed that I would one day be a teacher at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital for a season of my life.  Well, God taught me that I didn't have to travel to Memphis to make the impact in a child's life who was receiving treatment and unable to attend school...I could serve and teach a little girl right down the street from where I was teaching.
I had the honor of meeting Jordan in August 2004 at her home when I arrived for our first session of kindergarten.  I will never forget the shy yet joy-filled spirited girl who came down those stairs that day.  It was the beginning of a special friendship.  I will fast forward the story and bring you to the end of my school year as Jordan's home bound teacher.  I had asked Jordan's mom how I could stay connected to their family following my time as Jordan's teacher.  It was then that I learned about Team In Training.  Jordan's mom was training to do the Disney World 1/2 Marathon that coming January and invited me to join them in Florida.  We had two different ideas - I thought join them to experience Disney and cheer her on in the race; she was thinking that I would do the race with her!  I politely kept my laughter to myself and at a different time told her that I would not be doing the 1/2 marathon with her. Well, God changed my heart and I ended up training with Jordan's mom and doing the 2006 Disney World 1/2 Marathon...and then the Nike Women's 1/2 Marathon in October 2006...and then the 2007 Disney World Full Marathon!!  Needless to say my passion for children and finding a cure for childhood cancer motivated my decision to fund raise and participate in these endurance events with Team In Training!
This past season of my life I shared with you is vital in understanding the importance of the event I am attending this Friday evening in Illinois.  The Celebration of Life event is a huge fundraiser for Team In Training participants as well as time to remember and honor those battling cancer, survivors of cancer, and the angels who have passed on. I was actually part of the planning committee for the first ever Celebration of Life and am so blessed to have the opportunity to attend the 5th one this year.  The event includes food from local restaurants, a deejay, silent auction, raffle baskets, and a special ceremony.  This year the special guest of honor is the one and only Jordan!  Jordan is being honored as she is now considered "cured" from ALL!! July 17, 2012 Jordan celebrated being out of cancer treatments for 5 years! Amazing blessing!!  With a joyful heart, I accepted a ticket from Jordan to come and Celebrate her life!  What a honor it is for me to attend and give thanks to Jordan for being my every day hero...inspiring, giving, teaching and loving me!

Thank you for reading this long post! Now you know a piece of my story and a quick snapshot of the "Journey of Jordan".  If you are lead to know more, send me a message!  We have a beautiful, treasured friendship between my family and Jordan's.  My husband even trained and participated in a Century Ride after hearing Jordan's cancer testimony! I could go on and until I write more...

...enjoy a few snapshots of the tiles I am donating to the Celebration of Life event.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

it turns out well

I am thankful for God's promises that 'this too shall pass' and 'it turns out well'. 
Our family is in a collision of life events right now.  My husband is in his 5th year of general surgery residency which is a huge praise that the last year of training has finally arrived.  The time in residency can be described as the 'independent woman' season for me and the 'work as a slave' season for my husband. I can't forget that a year and a half ago we entered the 'parenting {or solo parenting} season' as well. We are also in the 'waiting' season as the details of my husband's pursuit of a fellowship are being decided.  It is at these times, when the future looks cloudy and uncertain that we must cling to the hope we have in the Lord.  It is by his strength and power we have reached the position we are in now.  We must remember the gift and talent my husband has in the field of medicine and that God called him to pursue this career.  We must find joy in our every day living. The future is unclear, but I know that today I can invest in someone, serve someone and love well.  And when I seek God daily to show me that he is in every detail, I will see him unfolding my future as detail at a time.

I am clinging to God's promises that he has great plans for me, my  husband and our family.  We  know that because we are His children and that His love for us is unimaginable, that the story He is writing for us will turn out well.  It will be more than we could even dream possible.  And I so look forward to the day when I can see all the pieces that added up to where He takes me/us next.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

{MWW} Greek Chicken Pita Folds

When I was doing our meal planning for the week, I decided to incorporate some new recipes for our family to try as I was beginning to feel like I was making the same things over and over again.  I have an assortment of slow cooker recipe books that have been sitting in my basket of cook books that I finally got out to use for this week's meal inspiration.  I just love my slow cooker!  It makes life so much easier when I can prepare dinner during nap time and put it in the crock pot and have it ready to be served at meal time!

First up for dinner on Monday was Greek Chicken Pita Folds found in my Pillsbury Slow Cooker book.  I did a little research and located the recipe on their website as well. You can find it here:  Pillsbury Greek Chicken Pita Folds  Below you will find my tutorial and commentary on preparing this recipe.

Pillsbury photo documentation of the meal:
Greek Chicken Pita Folds

My photo documentation of the meal:

 Greek Chicken Pita Folds

1 medium onion, halved, sliced  
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
1 1/2 teaspoons lemon-pepper seasoning 
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano leaves
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1 lb. boneless skinless chicken thighs 
4 pita bread folds
1/2 cup Yoplait 99% Fat Free plain yogurt {from 2-lb container}
1 plum {Roma} tomato, sliced 
1/2 medium cucumber, chopped {about 1/2 cup}

My commentary on ingredients:
I only used 1/4 of an onion as we are not huge fans of onion but knew it would give it good flavoring. I had never heard of lemon-pepper seasoning so we had to purchase it.  Under $3 in the spice section.  I didn't have chicken thighs so I used 3 chicken breasts instead.  I failed to read the packaging correctly and got pita bread instead of folds.  It still made a pocket to place food in but it was much thinner and a bit tougher I'd say.  Still tasted good though! I cut tomatoes and cucumber in small pieces as this  meals was served to our 1.5 year old.

{directly from the Pillsbury Slow Cooker book I own}

 Spray 3- to 4-quart slow cooker with cooking spray.  In cooker, mix onion, garlic, lemon
 pepper seasoning, oregano and allspice.  Add chicken; coat with seasoning mixture.

Cover; cook on Low heat setting for 6 to 8 hours.

About 10 minutes before serving, heat pita bread folds as directed on package.
Remove chicken from cooker; place on plate.  Shred chicken by pulling apart with 2 forks.

Stir yogurt into onion mixture remaining in the crock pot.

Spoon chicken onto warm pita breads. 

Spoon onion mixture, using slotted spoon, onto chicken.

Top with tomato and cucumber.

Fold pita breads in half to serve.


1 1/2 year-old son approved!

My commentary regarding directions:
I already had the mixture in the slow cooker when I reread that I was supposed to spray it.  So I didn't...and I'm sure that is why the edges were 'well done'.  I cooked it closer to 3 - 3.5hours on HIGH and checked to make sure the chicken was cooked before serving.  I find the easiest way to shred chicken is to place it on my 'meat only' cutting board and use a fork and knife.  When creating the sauce questioned why it was recommended to use a slotted spoon.  Maybe to not include the onion slices?  I thought the sauce was good and ate it as described in the original directions for my first serving. I then decided I wanted to try making it thicker {more like the sauce you would have on a gyro} so I added another 1/2 cup of yogurt.  It was very tasty both ways. I believe using 3 chicken breasts instead of the thighs might have yielded more meat as we had our initial meal, ate it as leftovers for a meal and we still have a bit of chicken left.  Maybe we should have used more for each sandwich?
Nonetheless, this recipe was husband and child approved and will be added to our meal rotation!  {score!}

ah...vacation day THREE...a day on the water

Morning cruise with my little family on the fishing boat

 We rented a boat to water ski and going tubing with.
The boat was a huge hit with our little love!

Momma catching air on the tube!
I wasn't as brave as Uncle Ransom who was tubing with the boat going 40mph!

Momma watching daddy water ski.
He got up on his first try! What a pro!

Ended our day with a amazing Michigan sunset! Just breathtaking!

Monday, September 10, 2012

remembering day #2 of vacation 'Up North'

When returning from traveling and vacations, we quickly get forced back into our daily schedules and often vacation seems like a distant dream.  I have committed to keeping our memories and the beauty we experienced at the forefront of our minds so that we can reflect on God's beauty and opportunity we had to share life together with our family for 5 days. Vacations are far and few for us so we must hold onto our precious memories!
Yesterday I posted a few photos from our first day at Glen Lake and will continue to post photos here on the blog as a reminder to me as well an the opportunity to share our adventures with you!

A peaceful morning with my husband by the lake

Sleeping Bear Dunes National Park

My fun 'in-law' family!

Sleeping Bear Dunes National Park
Scenic Tour - Lake Michigan look-out

Mini-putt and go-carts at Pirate's Cove of Traverse City

Ice cream treat on the way back to lake house from Traverse City 

My second dessert - a smore with perfectly brown roasted marshmallows!

Sunday, September 9, 2012

daydreaming about our first day of vacation on the lake

Vacation day #1
Morning:    travel

Afternoon: Explore property, canoe and play in the water
Evening:    Dinner at Boone Docks restuarant in Glen Arbor
                   Campfire and smores while neighbors set off fireworks
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