Pinspiration In The Kitchen Par-tay!

Hey y'all!

I don't know why I just said "y'all"... I'm in a Southern mood. It must be the cornfields, guys.

Anywho, tonight I'm linking up with Carrie from Frugal Foodie Mama and Brittany from Confessions of a PinAholic for their Pinspiration In The Kitchen Party! :) My favorite kind of party.

Tonight's dinner? Spinach Tomato Tortellini Soup! I've been dyyyyying for fall to finally show up and this definitely quenched my appetite.

Oh, deliciousness. Come to me. 
Add a pile of parmesan cheese and you've got yourself heaven in a bowl. 

Here's the pin: Spinach Tomato Tortellini Soup from my 'In The Kitchen' board.
And here's the original link: Spinach Tomato Tortellini Soup from Food.com.

Enjoy! :)

P.S. If anyone can help me figure out why the button for this link-up isn't showing up, I'd appreciate the help!


Update: Life In Chambana

Life is more relaxed here. 

More sun.

More fresh air.

People are friendlier.

Gas is significantly cheaper.

Josh is finally able to fulfill his dream of becoming a teacher. 

Perfect view in the mornings.

We're both much, much happier here than we ever were in Virginia.

I feel safer here. Even when Josh is away.

Every time I drive past a cornfield (which is often when you live in a cornfield) "Wide Open Spaces" by The Dixie Chicks plays in my head.

Our life feels more settled here. Maybe it's the laid-back lifestyle or the fact that I know we'll be here for at least 4 years, but it feels concrete - like I'm finally standing on solid ground for the first time in 3 years. 

Life in Champaign is one big fresh start for us. And we're taking full advantage of the opportunity. 


Weekend Recap

Friday night was my very first Fantasy Football draft (aka Drunk Draft). Josh and his friends have a league and this year they invited me to join! I was so honored, really. We tried two new brews (say that ten times fast) and I apparently snagged the best team just by choosing players whose names I remember hearing when Josh watches games. Score!

If you're like me and can only stand fruity beers, try Wild Blue. It's delicious!
I'm a winner already. AND I'm facing my husband in Week 1. Woop!
On Saturday we slept in and did lots of organizing around the apartment. Then we had date night at Chili's and spent the evening at the freshman welcome at U of I, since Josh is well...a freshman. :) They had a DJ and different food in each room, lots of photo booths and bouncy houses, and free junk (glow sticks, wristbands, etc.) to promote all the different clubs and organizations on campus. There was also "Battleship" in the pool at the recreation center where the students tried to tip each other in canoes. It was pretty entertaining. Haha!

I did my make-up for the first time in months! 
Soft bronze shadow (for fall!) and my favorite accessories.  
The two of us before heading out. 
The clock tower on campus.
Watching Battleship.
Us. :)
On Sunday we slept in again. Might as well take advantage of it now that we have our weekends back.  We did some housework and listed a few things on Craigslist (let me know if you're interested in buying a Mac! We've got 2!). I also begged Josh to help me hang a few things on the walls and he sooooo lovingly obliged. ;) Then we spent the afternoon at Taste of Nevada, another Welcome Week event that's also open to the public.

Lots of sun, lots of lines, lots of food, lots of people.
We had a great time and it was so nice to finally have a few days to ourselves. I can honestly say that I'm much, much happier when Josh and I are able to have a little alone time and I'm looking forward to having more consistent date nights here in Champaign. :)


Girls Night Out Linky Party!

The Girls Night Out Link-Up is FINALLY here! I've been so excited about this and I can't wait to see what you're all dreaming of for your night out on the town. :)

If you're unsure of what to include in your GNO, look here and don't forget to include this button in your post! 

Let's get started, shall we, ladies?

The Ensemble

You can't go wrong with a good pair of jeans, lots of black, and a kick ass accent color.

Out of the way, but still sexy as hell!

Loving the teal liner underneath. Can someone teach me how to do this, please?

It's GIRLS NIGHT so you can't forget the pink!

The Getaway Car


Tiffany colored R8. Bam.

The Location of Choice

Source: noupe.com via Meagan on Pinterest

Good ol' Chicago, baby.

The Cocktail

Godiva Chocolate Martinis, anyone?

The Entertainment

Seriously, girls. We're in Chicago. Need I say more?
There you have it! My dream girls night out. It ain't much, but I'm sure we could rock it 'til the break of dawn. What's your dream GNO?


Update: Mom {Pt. 1}

*Don't forget to get your post ready for Girls Night! Link-up is this Friday, August 24th!*

To read the preceding post, click here.


What I'm about to tell you is nothing short of a miracle. But there are two parts.

Are you ready?

Most of you know that my mom was diagnosed with breast cancer in July of this year. Lobular carcinoma in her left breast, to be exact.

She underwent multiple tests, scans, and ultrasounds. She had tons of blood drawn and saw about 8 different doctors, surgeons, and radiologists.

Their plan to help my mother destroy this cancer? Mastectomy of the entire left breast to remove a KNOWN 3 millimeter cancer and anything else that could be unknown.

On Tuesday, July 24th my mom underwent one of the most emotionally and physically painful procedures a woman can go through. And she was such a champ through it all. I've never seen my mother so nervous for anything in her life, and she had never had surgery before, so I could understand how that part was scary for her. But this woman is STRONG, people. She did everything the nurses asked of her and even laughed a bit before going into surgery.

The surgery was in two parts. The first piece was to remove the breast and the second was reconstructive surgery. In between, Dr. Reilly (my mom's oncological surgeon) came out and took my dad and I into a private room. I don't think I've ever been so anxious for what he had to tell us. But his news was good. He was very happy with the results of the surgery and said that everything looked good. He also reminded us that we needed to wait about 4 days for the pathology report to come back to determine just how much cancer there actually was. We left the room happy and hopeful.

That afternoon, after the surgery was finished and Mom was in her room for the night (it's typically just a one night stay) Dad and I set up camp on our computers while Mom rested. As she came out of the anesthesia, I saw her in so much pain that I started to cry. When the woman who's kissed every boo boo and bandaged all your scraped knees is in incomprehensible pain, there's nothing more you can do. She pushed the happy button (you know what I'm talkin' about!) a lot that night and I'm glad she did because I don't think I could have handled an entire night of her crying out in pain. My poor mama.

Unfortunately, only one family member was allowed to stay overnight, so I left my parents at the surgery center and went home to get some dinner and some rest. After a rough day, my friends and my hubby knew exactly what I needed - a chick flick and some chocolate.


OHPW: Crafty McCrafterson

This week's pins are "do-able" crafts, meaning that I already have almost everything to complete these crafts and display them in my home. :) Hold me accountable to my new rule...One craft per month!

Source: pinme.ru via Meagan on Pinterest

Source: imgfave.com via Meagan on Pinterest

Source: buzzfeed.com via Meagan on Pinterest

Or maybe this...

I think that's enough simple crafting to keep me busy until the end of the year, don't you? What are you pinning today?


Update: First Week of Work

*Don't forget to get your post ready for Girls Night! Link-up is this Friday, August 24th!*

The first week of my new job was...

Laid back. 

Yeah. All of that and more.

Though Josh was away and I missed him like crazy, it was really good for me to be working so much that week and to have the apartment to myself in the evenings. Not only did I get SO much done at the new place (more on that later this week), but I really learned a lot about myself and the kids during my alone time with them.

Ava and Eli are such great kids. Really. They're well-behaved (though all kids have their moments), silly, laid back, happy, and up for anything I suggest...other than nap time. We had so much fun last week!

Monday: We spent the morning at home and in the afternoon we took a nice, long walk to the park.
Tuesday: I took them to Tuesday Two's at the library and they loved it! That afternoon we went to the park and played in the backyard.
Wednesday: We played outside and colored in the morning and in the afternoon we finger painted and the kiddos got a bath.
Thursday: It stormed all day, so we stayed indoors. We watched Ariel, colored, and played with toys in the basement.
Friday: We spent all morning at the park and taking a walk because it was so nice out. They napped really well, so we just played with toys until Mommy got home.
Saturday: We went to the park AGAIN. It's just been too beautiful outside not to take them out. :)

This job is exactly my cup of tea, you guys. I don't think I could have asked for a better fit if I had hand-picked the parents and kids myself. Ava and Eli's parents and I get along so well and have almost identical views about raising kids. Their momma keeps saying that the kids are so happy and Ava always asks when I'm coming back. I don't know about you, but to a nanny/babysitter of 12 years, that's one of the highest compliments.

I am so excited and blessed and overwhelmed by how well this all fell together in God's perfect plan. 'Nuf said.


My Deepest Fear

*Don't forget to get your post ready for Girls Night! Link-up is this Friday, August 24th!*

*Each Monday's post will be dedicated to My Happiness Project and will include a "Happiness Goal" for the week. For more, visit the "Happiness Project" tab at the top of the page."

We often hear the first two and a half stanzas of this poem, whether it's quoted in a movie or on an inspirational poster at school or work. 

But have you ever taken the time to read the rest? 

When quoted, it usually ends with, "Actually, who are you not to be?" But there's more. So much more. 

"You are a child of God...We were born to make manifest the glory of God within us. It is not just in some; it is in everyone."

Did you catch that? The glory of God is in EVERYONE and you were born to show it off.

Oftentimes, when I'm reading through other blogs (you know - the ones with the perfectly photoshopped pictures and the impressively dressed, unbelievably gorgeous authors) I tend to let my mind wander to "I wish my pictures turned out that well" or "Why can't I eat whatever I want and still have a body like hers?". And when I let myself slide into that mindset of pity and jealousy, I slink further into my shell, afraid to let the world know who I truly am for fear that I might get rejected because I'm not like "those girls."

But you know what? I wasn't made to be her. I was made to be me! And there is no one like me. And the same goes for you! Who ever said we all had to be perfectly manicured and and have impossibly well-behaved children and succeed at all our crafts and make a gourmet meal and have it all together AND work a full-time job? 

No. One. 

"As we are liberated from our fear, our presence automatically liberates others."

God created us to be unique, even "faulty" at times. He knows we enjoy sitting around in ratty pj's until 10 A.M. sometimes. He knows that we added waaaaaay too much flour to those cookies and they were rock hard and inedible, even if the pictures looked flawless. He knows that we feel insecure over silly things. 

But he still loves us anyway. 

If that doesn't give you courage to be your true you, then I don't know what will. 

This week's Happiness Goal: 
Embrace who I really am and don't be afraid to show that off to others. In the word's of Dr. Seuss, "Those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind." I can do inspiring things when I rid myself of fear of rejection and fill myself with uninhibited confidence.


Guest Post: Confessions Of A PinAholic

*Don't forget to get your post ready for Girls Night! Link-up is Friday, August 24th!*

Happy Friday, lovelies! I hope you've enjoyed this week's guest posts as much as I have. Don't be afraid to stop by and tell these ladies hello! Today, we've got one more guest gracing us with her presence - my newest blog friend, Brittany. This girl is hilarious and such a sweetheart. I've definitely loved getting to know her the past few months. Enjoy! :)

Hi, Dolls!  I'm Brittany and I ramble over at Confessions of a PinAholic.  I'm fairly new to the blogging game...just started back in July...and I can honestly say that I've loved every minute of it.  I've made some great friends, like Meagan here.  I hope you come to visit my little space on the web.

I'm twenty-seven {soon to be twenty-eight in October} and a Georgia girl who loves to...

Drink sweet tea out of baby bottles:

Chillax on the beach:

Love on this baby guy:

My Adorable Baby Cousin!

Spend countless hours on Pinterest:

Cook yummy things:

And drink lots and lots of lemonade:

I'm also mommy to my furbabies Kahne and Dr. Cooper and a few neighborhood stray kitties:

Kahne currently lives with his Daddy, my ex-husband.

Dr. Copper.  Dr. Sheldon Cooper.  BaZnGa!

and this beautiful girl:

Her name is She Devil and until I have kids, she will be my baby!

I also just bought my first home.  I love it.  I've got big plans for this place.  Huge!  And I'm looking forward to sharing my DIY craftiness with you throughout my journey.  My first project is my guest bathroom; which I've painted, but haven't gotten any further than that...yet.

My bloggy friend, Amanda and I host a DIY Link-Up party and giveaway called Two Girls and a Pin that goes live on the last Tuesday of every month.  We would love for you to link up your DIY post!  The next Link-Up is scheduled for August 28th.  We look forward to seeing you there.

I hope you've enjoyed getting to know me better.  Stop by and say hey anytime!