Please pray for my friend Christine and her family. Sadly, her father passed away Saturday night and her stepmom passed away early this morning. Her little brother, Michael, is 12 and lost both his parents this week. Michael will need the most prayers as his life is never ever going to be the same. Luckily, Christine is an incredibly loving mother and sister and he will have a home with her and her family. Right now, though, they all just need prayers to give them strength and guidance during this terrible time. Thank you!
Today my parents are celebrating their 27th wedding anniversary! I'm so happy for them! My dad bought my mom the sweetest gift that he found while he was in Europe - glasses just like the ones they used for their wedding day. As soon as my mom opened the box, her heart melted! Hopefully they get to do something romantic this weekend to celebrate!!
I wish I had some wedding pictures on my computer so I could share some of their sweet moments the day they said "I do" but, alas, these are what I did find. (Sorry, my dad doesn't like to be in pictures so it took some digging!).
This week I'm thankful for the two free books I've won from goodreads. My friend told me to join and I've had a blast on this social network for readers! You can discuss books, rate books, see what your friends are reading, and even apply to win free books (signed copies or early releases)! My first signed book should come in the mail today and I'm excited to get started on it. Since I spend so much money on books every week (yes, I read at least one book a week usually!), it's nice to get some for free so I can save a bit of money! The book I'm getting this week is a crime mystery. Hope it's good!
I'm so thankful for the relationship I'm forming with Caitlin. My Uncle Steve, who passed away in March, always called me his daughter - till he had a beautiful girl of his own. He still called me his daughter till the day he left this earth but I know I never stood a chance compared to Caitlin. We knew each other when we were young but never got to know each other very well. In honor of Steve, we decided to focus on getting to know each other and become close friends. The more I get to know her, the more special I realize she truly is. Caitlin is an amazing girl with a good heart. She will make a huge impact on this world and I can't wait to get to know her even better.
Sometimes Husband's patience truly amazes me. Yesterday, I updated my software on my new iPhone and it wiped out EVERYTHING on my phone. I couldn't even turn it on! After a slightly immature fit, I calmed down and 3 hours later, my phone was running again. I was so grateful for the patience Husband showed during my mini-meltdown. He was so great and willing to go out of his way to help me get a new phone today if necessary. Thank you, Sweetheart!
Christine is in the middle of our "triplet" group
This is my friend Christine's last week at work :( :( :( She is moving to California for a few months because her husband was transferred out there and she's taking her gorgeous little boys with her. Even though I'm sad that she won't be here any more, I'm thankful for the fun times we have shared at work and the times we have spent outside of work as well! She is a blast to be with and I can't wait for her to move back!
My dear cousin-in-law (sister-in-law is more like it - we decided to upgrade to that title this weekend) is a walking miracle. Carrie was not supposed to last till Thanksgiving after her stage 4 cancer moved into her spinal fluid. We thought we would lose her so many times and ech time, we prayed so hard for her to feel better no matter what God decided.
Seven months after they moved her into Hospice and decided to "make her comfortable", we are thanking God for every moment we have with her.
This weekend, Carrie came to a graduation party that my mother-in-law threw for some family friends and she looked amazing. I even got videos of her dancing and laughing! It's truly a blessing to see her happy and spending quality time with her little girls. I thank God every day for giving her more time with us. Her cancer has spread to her liver now and she is trying a new chemo. Things haven't changed much but I still hope beyond hope that another miracle will happen and she will wake up one day cancer free. She is such a strong person and if anyone can beat such an awful disease, Carrie can. Please keep praying for her (I know many of you have been and I truly appreciate it). While you're at it, check out this beautiful miracle woman!
She looks SOOO happy
This weekend, we went to a wedding for Husband's cousin Lindsey. It was a small, family wedding and it was beautiful. Lindsey looked so incredibly happy during the ceremony and during the first dance, I don't think she realized that anyone else was even in the room. I'm very happy for her and I wish her many, many years of happiness.
The decorations at the reception were so gorgeous and Lindsey put a huge amount of time and thought into them. Though I wanted to take a picture of EVERYTHING, I tried to limit myself to only a small sampling of her great creativity. Below are examples of how precious her decorations were and some of the things that truly scream "Lindsey."
My friend Gretchen is an amazingly talented artist. She is so creative and has such a broad range of abilities. An article was published this past week at examiner.com about how she started her Etsy shop and where her inspirations come from. Read the article here. Gretchen tries to recycle things and turn them into art and that makes for some incredibly creative items. You can find her shop at here. No matter what you want, I'm sure Gretchen can create it for you. She does jewelry, pop-up books, paintings, sketches, makes boxes, paints designs on floors and walls (even computer monitors haha!), clothes, and she can make items such as curtains or books. Below is a tiny sampling of some of her work but it doesn't even begin so show off her talent. Take a look at her site and you'll see even more of what she can make!
As a side note, not only is Gretchen an incredible artist but she is also a dance teacher and a heck of an Irish-step dancer. Above all, she is a good-hearted, amazing girl :)
I made this delicious South Beach Diet meal last week (with a slight variation) and it was incredible. Got lots of compliments from the Hubs and it was filling and tasty!
Here is our delicious meal cooking!
Chicken Breast Stuffed with Goat Cheese and Spinach
4 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 (1/2 pound) bunch spinach, tough stems removed
4 (6-ounce) boneless, skinless chicken breasts
4 ounces low-fat goat cheese (I used locally made sun dried tomato and basil goat cheese - amazing)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Heat oven to 400°F.
Heat 2 teaspoons of the oil in a large ovenproof skillet over medium heat. Add garlic and cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in spinach and cook, stirring constantly, until spinach is wilted and liquid evaporates, about 2 minutes. Season the spinach well with salt and pepper and transfer to a plate. Wipe skillet dry with paper towels.
Beginning at the thickest end of 1 chicken breast, carefully insert a sharp knife into center and cut a pocket as evenly as possible, leaving a 1-inch border on three sides. Repeat with remaining breasts. Open each pocket, sprinkle with salt and pepper, then fill evenly with goat cheese and spinach. Seal each with two toothpicks and season outside with salt and pepper.
Heat the remaining oil in the same skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken and cook, turning once, until well browned on both sides, about 3 minutes per side. Transfer the skillet to the oven and bake until juices run clear, about 8 minutes. Serve hot.
10 g total fat (3 g sat)
3 g carbohydrate
42 g protein
1 g fiber
390 mg sodium
On May 15, 2008 an angel returned to Heaven leaving behind hundreds of people whose lives she touched more than she ever knew.
Just a couple days after graduating college, MB was in a fatal car accident and this world lost someone irreplaceable. She was one of my best friends in college and only a day younger than me. I don't think there will be a year when I won't think of her on my birthday and miss her great laugh and incredible voice.
Each year that passes, it gets a little easier but sometimes a person doesn't even know how many parts of their life is touched by someone until they lose them. The littlest things remind me of MB and I find myself laughing as I remember her little quirks.
The day of her funeral, we went to eat at an Asian place and I think she was looking over my shoulder as I opened my fortune cookie. It said, "Life is Short. Live today." Losing a shining star at the tender age of 21 is exactly what that fortune was referring to and to this day, I carry that fortune with me in my wallet. That way, I always have a little message from MB reminding me how important it is to live this life God gave us. She sure did. And during her short time with us, MB touched more lives than I could ever hope to.
I have always loved photographing flowers. For some reason, I have found them a beautiful art. Each flower is different and has its own elegance. Hernia weekend, we were at Lowes and saw some gorgeous hibiscus that I had to take a picture of. As I was reviewing those pictures, I thought I would share some of my flower pics I've taken over the years.
I hope everyone had a chance to tell their mom how special they are and how thankful you are to have them. I mean, you wouldn't be here if it weren't for them!
We started our Mother's Day by going to church together at my parents' gorgeous church and then having my family (and my mom's best friend) over for brunch. I made caprese fried eggs (my recipe I made up last week - recipe forthcoming), banana pancakes, chocolate chip pancakes, and fruit salad. It was delicious! Then Dad and Husband left to play golf while Hermano, Mom, and I went to pick out paint colors for my kitchen. We relaxed during the afternoon and then went as a family to Ciro's. Ciro's is an Italian restaurant with bocce pits outside! (If you don't know what bocce is, look it up. It's like the Italian version of shuffle board or horseshoes. Lots of fun!) Dinner was delicious and the weather was perfect for an evening outside. My mom had a wonderful time and I am so glad!
What did you do to celebrate Mother's Day?
Loving and learning a little more each day.