Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Sandy Rowe - 1994-2010

There really aren't many words I have to describe this little furry bundle of joy. He came into my life on my 10th birthday, as a gift from my parents. I still remember picking my dad up from the airport, and noticed that he was carrying a small crate with a tiny white furball inside. I was ecstatic!! Especially because he arrived just in time for my pool party that would take place at our house the next day! He would surely be the star of the show...and he was. And he continued to be the star of the show, and of our family, for the next 16 years.

We went through a lot together...lots of tears, lots of laughs, lots of cuddles, lots of pancakes, and lots of wet kisses. (I was the only one who allowed him to kiss my face..ok, my mouth. But that's just how much I loved him!) We even "ran away" together one rainy night. I was crying and was headed out the door to who knows where, and just scooped him up and brought him along with me. There was no way I was leaving him behind. I remember telling him that we were going to just fine, me and him. That we could make it on our own together. He seemed to agree.

We made it about 15 minutes, then went back home.

He loved Christmas. He let us dress him up every single year in his Christmas sweater and Santa hat. He didn't keep it on very long, but he always let us take a few pictures. He really loved his stocking. He knew which one was his, and couldn't wait to get his whole head inside of it to see what goodies were waiting for him.

He loved to act. His best role was 'Simba'-from the Lion King- he loved performing the "Circle of Life" with Dad, as he was raised above our heads just like in the movie. He was such a good sport ;)

He loved the beach -- he was named "Sandy" because the day we got him, we took him to a playground and he just rolled and rolled around, completely covering himself with sand! We always took him to the beach, and although he enjoyed prancing around on the beach, he would never go near the water. He hated the water.

Sandy was a blessing to our family. He was the joy in our lives and always made us smile. We will miss him terribly, but we are so incredibly thankful for the many years he spent with us.

We love you Sandy, and always will.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Mr. and Mrs. Mautz!!

First of all, let me say, CONGRATS TO MR. AND MRS. MAUTZ!!!! We had the most wonderful weekend in St. Simon's Island celebrating the marriage of Chels and Matt! It was a fabulous affair full of lounging at the beach, a delicious BBQ dinner, a poolside bridesmaid's luncheon, hearing some of the best/funniest toasts I've ever heard, a gorgeous wedding, a beautiful sunset, lots of dancing, and tons of quality time spent with some of my favorite people in the world!!! Here are some pics from the weekend, Enjoy!! :)

Congrats again - We love you!!!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

'Shabby Chic' China Cabinet

I am not a naturally creative person. Sadly, I did not inherit the artistic and innovative genes from my mom. But, I do like projects, and I am inspired by others who do have a talent for being creative. Last year, I found an amazing deal on an antique china cabinet via Craigslist. I decided I could not pass it up, and I bought it right away, thinking that I could turn it into a little DIY project.
I knew I wanted to paint the cabinet, and then hopefully distress it, giving it a "Shabby Chic" look.
Step 1: Since it had a glossy finish, I vigorously sand-papered the entire cabinet, until it had a rough finish.
Step 2: I wiped the cabinet down with a slightly damp cloth, removing all dust, dirt, and grime. You must do this before you paint.
Step 3: I taped off all the corners/sides with painting tape.

Step 4: I painted the cabinet off-white with just one coat of paint. The painting job does not have to be perfect, just make sure to coat the piece completely.
Step 5: I let the cabinet dry overnight. Then I used a clean rag and a BriWax stain to wipe down the entire cabinet. This leaves the "distressed/worn" look. (You can always add more or less depended how dark you want the stain to be.)
Step 6: I added new hardware, and it was ready to go!!

Monday, June 21, 2010

BBQ and Baseball

This weekend marked our last weekend in Memphis...insert tear. John and I wanted to do a few "Memphis-y" things, so along with our good friends (The Rodgers), we went downtown for some delicious Rendezvous bbq, and then cheered on the Redbirds baseball team! We had a blast, despite the heat, and it was a great way to wrap up our time here.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Happy Father's Day! the most incredible Dad in the world!! My dad is truly my hero and has been there for me through so much. I am so proud and honored to be his daughter - he would drop everything (even his golf game) to be there for his family, or to just answer my phone call. I know I can count on him for big things and small things - funny things and sad things. He's been the rock of our family and is the most sacrificial and generous person I know.
My dad has taught me so much about myself, and about the woman that the Lord has created me to be. He is encouraging, loving, and he always told me that I was beautiful, even during my most awkward stage (think a mouth full of braces, frizzy hair, and horrible fashion sense.)

Thank you Dad for the million memories I have of our times together, and for raising me the way you did. You have given me strong morals, a heart for Jesus, the passion for travel, and the confidence to make a difference in the world. (And you also gave me your knee-knocker legs, but I'll forgive you for that one.)
Thank you for your unconditional love and support over the past 26 years. I love you so much.

And here are my two "Dads" together. I am so blessed to have a wonderful father-in-law who means the world to John and me. He is selfless, compassionate, serving, and devoted to his family. Happy Father's Day Papa!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

"See you Later"

Our dear friends, the Hursts, Humphreys, and Mr. Moore, threw us a wonderful "See you Later" party last weekend. It was such a fun time, and thank you to everyone who came! We are going to miss our family and friends sooooo much. Here are some pictures from the shin-dig.

Farewell Signs!

Adorable "Memphis Loves Emily and John" Cups - thanks Aud!

Baked Ziti

This is a delicious, flavorful ziti dish that is perfect for so many occasions. I usually divide the recipe into 2 separate dishes (9x9 or 8x8 dishes) and freeze one, or take one to a friend. It is a hearty dish and you can always trade out the ground turkey with ground beef or sausage.

Baked Ziti with Spinach and Ground Turkey (adapted from Your Home-based Mom)

1 pound ground turkey (or ground beef or sausage)
1/2 C chopped onion
2 tbsp minced garlic (or 3 large garlic cloves, chopped)
1 28-ounce can diced peeled tomatoes
1/4 C pesto (optional)

10 ounces ziti or penne pasta (about 3 cups), freshly cooked
4 cups or hand fulls of baby spinach leaves
6 ounces grated or cubed mozzarella cheese
1 Cup grated Parmesan cheese

Cook meat, onion and garlic in large skillet until meat is cooked through. Add tomatoes with juices. Simmer until sauce thickens slightly, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes. Add pesto. Season sauce with salt and pepper.
Bring mixture back to simmer before continuing.
Preheat oven to 375° F. Lightly oil 13 x 9-inch glass baking dish.
Combine pasta, spinach, mozzarella and 1/3 cup Parmesan cheese in large bowl.

Stir in warm-hot tomato mixture.
Place in prepared baking dish. Sprinkle remaining 2/3 cup Parmesan cheese over.
Bake until sauce bubbles and cheeses melt, about 30 minutes. Enjoy!

Baked Eggplant Parmesan

I used to be a very picky eater...some say I still am. Eggplant never would have been allowed to be on my plate, that is, until I came across this recipe. It's a healthy alternitive to a layered lasagna, but still has amazing flavor. A great vegetarian dish that is a staple in our house. It is fresh, delicious, and pretty simple. I usually serve it with a fresh garden salad and breadsticks.

Baked Eggplant Parmesan (adapted from The Sister's Cafe)

2 fresh eggplants, peeled and sliced 1/4 inch thick
2 egg whites, beaten
2 1/2 cups Italian seasoned bread crumbs
1 large jar marinara sauce, divided (you can make your own, or use your favorite brand)
2 1/2 cups mozzarella cheese, shredded and divided
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese, divided
1/2 teaspoon dried basil or 2 Tb fresh basil, chopped

Arrange eggplant slices in a single layer and sprinkle with salt. Leave for 20-30 minutes then rinse with cold water and pat dry with paper towel.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Dip eggplant slices in egg whites, then in bread crumbs.
Place in a single layer on a baking sheet. (I baked on parchment paper, but you can also just grease baking sheet very well.)

Bake in preheated oven for 7-10 minutes on each side.

In a 9x13 inch baking dish spread marinara sauce to cover the bottom.

Place a layer of eggplant slices in the sauce. Sprinkle with mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses. Repeat with remaining ingredients, ending with the cheeses. Sprinkle basil on top.

Bake in preheated oven for 35 minutes, or until golden brown.


**You can very easily divide this recipe in 1/2 to have about 4 small servings.