Friday, May 29, 2015

A Trip To the DoSeum

Yesterday was extremely nostalgic. I spent the morning at the new children's museum {The DoSeum} where my inner child came out. They recently moved from downtown to Broadway and we got to get a sneak peak before they open on June 6th. 

Right when we walked in we knew it was going to be incredible. The colors, structures, and textiles they used were not only eco-friendly, but made the place feel alive. There are windows everywhere allowing natural light to fill the rooms.

The thought that went into every little piece is incredible. There are different exhibits for younger and older kids, but adults will have just as much fun. One of my favorite places was Little Town. This space is meant for tiny ones and what I loved was the thought behind it. There are different places to visit in Tiny Town, like the vet, the grocery store, an airplane, the car, a mail box. Each one is meant for them to better understand how everyday life/stores work. Our guide was saying that when the volunteers work this space they shouldn't try to pick up after the kids, especially if they think they are done playing. It will ruin the kids whole thought process. She said how they had a few kids in to test the concept and the kids would take their luggage from the airplane, to the car, to the grocery store and all of that took over an hour. If someone were to go to the car and take out the luggage it would have throw off their mission completely. I could have sat and listened to her speak on early childhoof education for hours. 

The outside was just as beautiful. They had fountains and streams for kids to walk through and play and all kids of toys and outside exhibits. Playing outside is a great way to break up the different sections of the DoSeum and trust me, they built the building with this in mind. While we were there they were busy craning in a huge tree house a local artist made. The kids are not going to want to go back inside. I would choose that tree house as my home if I could..

They are having a couple nights in July just for adults and you can already count me in for that. I can't wait to snag my siblings for a few hours and go play with them {not that you need kids to go}. It was such a great experience and offers so many ways for children to learn and interact. 

{run wild}

{virtual puppet show}

{the spy exhibit. it was a mixture of clue, guess who, spy kids, and extreme fun} 

 {sound sensation exhibit. i am in the eavesdropping booth. those "ears" pick up all the sound around you and you can hear everyone's secrets}

 {that ear horn looking thing is a live stream with another museum in Mexico. urban pen pals}

 {a giant room for building stuff}

{Dave-he shows you how to build things}

One of our vendors at work brought these over to us when we all got back. They were too cute note to snap a picture of. It makes me want to get in the kitchen and create. 

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

25th Year

I am a week late in writing this post, but it's never too late to share some bday love. My birthday was on a Sunday this year, so Mike decided to make our plans Saturday so we could spend my actual birthday straight up relaxing.

**insert Friday night. Mike surprised me with tickets to Pitch Perfect 2. It was hilarious. proceed.

Saturday started with my new favorite coffee spot, Indy Coffee, and a blindfolded trip to (little did I know) Austin. Yes, I spent about an hour blindfolded. Mike went through random neighborhoods to through me off, and it worked! The next thing I know we are in the parking garage of the Whole Foods headquarters. It was a pit stop to get breakfast and a little surprise that I couldn't know about until later.

Next stop, Epic Sup paddle boarding. The weather had been crappy the week leading up to my birthday, so Mike made sure we took advantage of the sunshine. It was absolutely beautiful out and the water was cool and crisp. We had been paddle boarding one time before, but it was in a little canal off the coast. It was so peaceful having pretty much the whole lake to ourselves and feeling the wind change directions every 5 minutes. There was one point we paddle all the way up stream so we could spend the last 15 minutes floating back to shore. We had finally made it and the wind decided it would mock us and switched directions. Very funny. Let's just say that paddle boarding is a great workout! I loved it and was so thankful Mike got me out in my happy place... like I have said before, I could live on the lake.

Sweet Mike had done his research on all places in Austin that were paleo. Though that is what I should have eaten, my mind wanted a margarita and that only meant one place, the original Chuy's. Mike and I always end up going here when we are in ATX, so it only made sense. Thank goodness Chuy's is within walking distance of Zilker Park where Mike had our next pit stop planned. I love me a good park. It was so alive and full of energetic people. And dogs. Everywhere. Ps. I thought we were getting a dog at least 5 times throughout our Saturday adventure. Next time...

Zilker is where Mike brought out his Whole Foods surprise. A few months back we were watching a food show and saw Skull and Cakebones. They are based out of Austin and are vegan cupcakes. We talked about how we wanted to try them one day and little did I know Mike had that planned. We get to a rock at Zilker and he had me close my eyes while he put them in my hands. It's the little things, yall. Those replaced my birthday cake and I wouldn't have wanted anything else. He got us the Love Pack that had almond and coconut cupcakes. DELISH. He's a winner.

The ride home was nap time for me. I was pooped and needed my beauty rest for the night. Mike had dinner reservations for us at Liberty Bar where we had scrumptious cocktails and yummy entrees. We had to wrap it up around  7 to make it down town for the Mat Kearney concert!!! He surprised me with one of the artists I had been wanting to see for a long time! The great thing about concerts is that they are a gift for both of us and boy was he incredible! He had Judah & the Lion open for him and they are now on my Spotify playlist. Love me some folk music.

On Sunday, my actual bday, we did exactly as planned. Relaxed and hung out with family. We met my dad and siblings at a local coffee shop where we caught up and laughed a ton. It turned out to be one of my favorite parts of the day. From there we met up with my step mom and hit up the mall to shop and eat. Mike and I ended the night with a palette on the floor and the Billboard Music Awards. It might sound like not much, but it was perfect.

Here's to another great year and many more memories to come!

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Small Group Love

On Tuesday, Mike and I have small group which is our night to dive into the word, serve our community, worship, and have intimate fellowship with great friends. It is such a great way to start off the week and get connected. 

With our group growing closer, Mike and I decided to host a game night. We brought out every game we own and threw it all out there:) It was so refreshing to know that we can all be serious and crazy at the same time. They are a true blessing. 

We also played a game called Nert. Anyone ever heard of it? I definitely hadn't, but I crave it now! It is like Solitaire on steroids! 

My new favorite games:
  1. Nert-hard to describe. 
  2. Headbands- write celebrity on a piece of paper, pass to the right, and stick the one you got on your forehead. Figure out who you are by asking one yes/no question at a time. *you might get frustrated. 
  3. Fishbowl- everyone rights down 6 random objects/nouns and puts them into a bowl. Divide up your team and sit accordingly. The first person starts by drawing a word and acting it out. Keep going through until the 45 seconds are up. Keep your words, count them, and pass the bowl on to the next player (opposite team). Continue playing. After each round put all of the words back into the bowl. The second round is silently acting the word out. The third and final round is describing the word on the paper in one word. By the third round, you should know most of the words in the bowl and hopefully you can get through them quickly. Keep your teams score for each round and who ever has the most words wins. It is extremely hilarious watching people describe the words they pull.

Who's ready for round two? 

Friday, May 8, 2015

It's Friday, I'm In Love- Mother's Day

Mother's Day is such a sweet time to really focus on the love we have for our moms and reciprocate the love they have always shown us. Happy (early) Mother's Day, Moms!

Here are a few gift ideas... and these are great for any last minute pick-ups:

Anthropologie Candle: These Volcano  candles from Anthro are a must! They make any room smell beautiful and the jar itself would be a beautiful gift.

A Good Cookbook: My mom has always been a big influence for me in the kitchen, especially with Paleo. She is the one that introduced me to Whole 30, thank you mom, and so cookbooks are always a great gift for her. The Paleo Kitchen is our go-to with short listed recipes and great outcomes.

Lululemon shorts: These shorts are winners. They are extremely comfortable, breathable, and fashionable. How cute are these flower printed ones?!

The Wet Brush: OMG. This is one of the best things I own, no lie. I got this hairbrush in my Easter basket a few years back and left it at my Mom's house over Thanksgiving. I texted my sister to see if they had it there and she had taken it captive. I get out of the shower with my hair ALL a mess and with one comb through it is perfectly smooth. It doesn't catch or pull... it is perfect. I got mine at Target.

Flowers: When in doubt, get her flowers. You can get beautiful bouquets locally or create your own! PS: I follow floretflower and their flowers are gorgeous! I may or may not have some of their flowers as my phone background.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Foody Photos

Since I have known Mike I have wanted a big, nice camera. Price, experience, and time deterred me from getting one, but finally this year, we bit the bullet and got it! After hours/days/weeks of research, we walked into a store just to ask a few questions and walked out with a beautiful camera. I still have so much to learn and am using anyone or anything as guinea pigs, but I am having so much fun behind the lens.

One of the main reasons why I wanted this new camera was to capture the meals I make. The iPhone is great and all, but after seeing the difference in quality there is no going back. With the hopes of only getting better and knowing that I am by definition an amateur, here are some food pictures (and recipe links) I have snapped so far.  

When it comes to eating Paleo/Whole 30 /eating in general, Mike and I do really well with meals made in bulk. This easy breakfast casserole was 1) easy 2) a hit and 3)re-heat and go. Does it get any better than that? 

This creamy sun-dried tomato pasta was by far one of the best things I have made! I have been pimping it out to everyone. It was extremely quick and the flavors were da bomb. This will definitely be going into my rotation. 

Every week, I put stuffed bell peppers on our meal list, but never end up making them. They are a great lazy meal, but they always get put on the back burner for me. Not this time! It is a great meal for those veggies that need to be used asap. For these stuffed peppers, I used:
  • 1 lb ground turkey
  • 1/2 onion
  • 1 can of diced tomatoes
  • 1 cubed sweet potato
  • all the spinach we had left- about a cup
  • 1/2 tsp of spices- oregano, basil, cumin- I keep adding until I really taste the flavor

Before I preheated the oven, I cut the tops off the bell peppers and pulled out all the vains and seeds. Once that was done, I set the oven to 350 degrees and placed the peppers on a baking sheet and in the oven. The pre-heating oven it helps the bell peppers soften (about 10 minutes). 

While that is going on, I added the turkey, onion, sweet potato, and tomatoes to a pan and let it all cook on the stove top. Once the meat has browned and the veggies are soft, I add in the spices and spinach and stir for a few more minutes. Then pull out the peppers, fill them with the mixture, add the pepper tops, and place back in the oven for about 10-15 minutes. And then they are ready to serve after that! One of the easiest meals to help you use up those veggies.

It has been really fun taking random pictures. I have found that I am taking at least 10 of the same picture, but something is different in each one. Pretty cool. So much more to learn, including lessons learned from these photos:
  1. eggs are not the prettiest models
  2. clean the fork after you cut into the dish 
  3. lighting is key.. our windowless kitchen does not do the trick
  4. keep playing with it! practice makes perfect
If you have any photography tips or advice I would LOVE to hear from you! Please share!!

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Ruth: Chapter 1

There is something so amazing about talking about God with my siblings. I have prayed for their faith for years, and it is so beautiful watching it grow as they get older.

My sister, Hannah, and I started our Bible study last week and last night we spent time together going over it. Do you know how full my heart is? Going over the questions together and building on each other’s words was moving. It made me so proud to hear her thoughts and to listen to her faith.

We are reading over the book of Ruth; a true woman of faith. One lesson is broken up into 5 days, so we spent last week reading the first chapter of Ruth. Some of the questions are pretty simple, but it is helping us dive in deeper and really understand the story. Each lesson has a journaling section, which makes us really think about past, previous, and future things. Even though we are 8 years apart, it is neat to see how our different scenarios relate.

Some of my favorite verses and quotes from the lesson:

“When the going gets tough, the tough get closer to God, because forgiveness is just a prayer away.”

“When you feel down and think you want out, stop and ask yourself two questions: What am I running from? And Where am I running to?

From Robert Frost’s poem “The Road Not Taken”: "A choice repeated becomes a habit; a habit unchecked develops a character; and character determines your destiny.” – Hannah brought this one up to me. Your habits, good or bad, end up developing your character. Make sure your habits are positive and showing great grace and mercy.

Ruth 1:16-17- “Wherever you go, I will go; wherever you live, I live. Your people will be my people, and your God will be my God. Wherever you die, I will die, and there I will be buried.” -- What great love Ruth shows. She is trusting God and Naomi during a fork in the road, which shows great faith.

We are growing in faith and holding each other accountable. My heart is so happy!

Monday, May 4, 2015

May the 4th Be With You

I didn't think I would like today as much as I did. My office has had a surprise planned for us on the 4th, but we didn't know what was to come. Little did we know, it was Star Wars Day. 

Star Wars characters started coming through our office doors and I couldn't help but let out a cheesy grin. I was snapping pictures left and right sending them to Mike and my little sister. I had watched the movies growing up, but it had been a long time since I re-visited the characters. They were legit. Then we took it to the streets... 

Surrounding offices, tourists, and passerby's during lunch all started surrounding the characters to get photos taken with them. It was awesome. And for such a great cause! 

My office is celebrating it's 20th year anniversary, and with that, we are taking moments throughout the year to give back and celebrate. So today, my office gave $500 to the St. Baldrick's foundation. This is such an amazing foundation raising money for childhood cancer research. 

May the 4th be with you!