Thursday, December 29, 2011

Date Night

Tonight, Nate and I had a date night. We went out to eat at Chili's (and were "Awwwww"ed at by the waitress when we sat on the same side of the booth), got coffee (HOT coffee instead of iced coffee for the first time in forever!), and then went home. We decided that we were going to stay up all night and watch movies and just have fun since we don't have to get up for work in the morning. As soon as we got home I changed into my pajama pants and crawled up into bed. Nate was already lounging on the bed, playing music and singing. I just laid here for a few minutes listening to him sing and watching him before he asked me what I wanted to do. I didn't have think twice before answering, "Just this". He smiled and we just hung out for a little while longer. Seriously, carefree, relaxed nights with my husband are my absolute favorite. It isn't even possible to have enough time to spend with him because there is too much of him to love. This life we lead together is wonderful, indeed!

Monday, August 8, 2011

Grilled Eggplant Pizza

Woo hoo! My first recipe post!
This recipe was inspired Miss Wisabus's Zucchini Mini Pizzas.
There are no pictures, but they really are not necessary because this is so simple.
You will need:
One eggplant
Pizza Sauce
Shredded Cheese
Pizza Toppings of your choice

First, slice your eggplant. I sliced mine to an average thickness, about the same as you would slice a tomato for big burgers. 
Next, grill one side of each eggplant slice. I used a panini press to do this, but a griddle or George Foreman grill would work just as well. This could possibly be done right in a pan, but removing the pizzas after they are topped might be difficult. 
Once the top side of the pizza is warm to the touch and you have nice grill marks on the bottom of each eggplant slice, flip each slice. 
Now you can start topping your pizzas. Put the pizza sauce, cheese and toppings on each slice. I usually take them off the grill once the cheese has melted because then I know that they have heated all the way through.

This is such a cheap, easy, and healthy meal! It tastes a lot like Eggplant Parmigiana, but because its not breaded, its healthier. It can also be low-carb, if you use a low-carb pizza sauce and low-carb toppings.  
For real, this doesn't take more than ten minutes to make and its sooo good! Nate liked it, too, and he liked that it was a healthy, yet tasty, dinner.

It's About Perspective

What a weekend! The past six days have been completely crazy.
Our plan was to drive to Jacksonville after work on Wednesday to pick up Ron (my father-in-law) and Andrew (my brother-in-law) from the airport and then spend the night at Aunt Sue's house before heading home. We were going to make a quick stop in Gainseville on Thursday to visit some friends to pick up a car that some friends were going to let Ron borrow. Unfortunately, on our way home late Thursday night, our car died in the middle lane of the intersection. We pulled over, realized that it was completely dead, and left it there for the night. We all piled in the car that Ron was using to head back to the Fairfield's house in Gainseville to spend the night there until we could tow our car in the morning. At that point, the car we were borrowing started to act up. Ron managed to get it working and we got to the Fairfield's. By now, I felt so overwhelmed. I was sick of dealing with car troubles. I knew that we would get home okay, but I didn't know how we would continue to get to work after that. It wasn't just the stress of the car problems that overwhelmed me. The kindness of our family and friends was so much more than I could have asked for. My dad and brother volunteered to drive up to Gainseville to tow our car back early the next morning. My dad assured me that we would figure something out and that we could borrow his car. The Fairfield's daughter gave up her room so that we would have a bed for the night. Mrs. Fairfield asked if she could wash my clothes for me and that was when I lost it. I just cried. I am continually surprised by how amazingly generous our families and friends are. I was thankful and just felt so undeserving. I was very stressed and on edge by the time we got home late Friday evening.
Here's the thing: while I was dealing with car problems, which seemed huge at the time, some friends of our family were dealing with much harder problems. My dad's friend, Achrol, was in a motorcycle accident on Wednesday. He was immediately bayflighted to a hospital in Tampa and remained in ICU all weekend. His sons, Jared and Austin, are my age and have families and responsibilities of their own. All of a sudden they were being faced with an actual life-or-death decision. I went to see Achrol on Sunday and the worst part was seeing the hopelessness in his boys' eyes. They wanted to be positive but were afraid to get their hopes up. Achrol went back and forth between getting better and getting worse. We were (and are) praying constantly. As of now, it seems that Achrol has no chance of improving. I have been told that he will be taken off of life support tonight.
Our car problems don't even compare to what this family is facing. I am thankful for the wake-up call and the reminder that life is fragile, but I wish it wouldn't have come this way. I pray that I will live my life with a Biblical perspective and will keep my faith in God alone. I will let the Word determine my attitude and perspective, not my circumstances.
Please join me in praying for Achrol, Jared, and Austin, as well as their families. They are going to need a lot of prayer, love and support in the times to come.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

DIY Freezer Paper Stencil Tutuorial

Well, the long-awaited tutorial is here. About a week ago, I found out that you can make stencils for t-shirts, bags, pillows, etc. out of freezer paper. It looked pretty simple and freezer paper is cheap so I decided to give it a go. Nathan and I decided to make t-shirts because the Harry Potter premiere is coming up and we wanted to have awesome shirts for such a momentous occasion.
Here's what you'll need:
a t-shirt
freezer paper (about $4 for 150 sq. feet at Wal-Mart)
a pen (or a printer-more on that in a moment)
an Exacto knife
an iron
a paintbrush or sponge
paint (we used acryllic because that was what we had on hand, but fabric paint will work, too)

Let's get started! I don't have pictures for the first step because 1) I'm a slacker, and 2) I was too excited about making the shirts to stop and take pictures. Lame, I know. I will be better next time, I promise.
Ok, first, you will need to decide on a design and put it on the freezer paper. I put a lightning bolt on the back of my shirt and Nate just free-handed that for me so he drew it directly on the freezer paper. We put words on the front of the shirts and I wanted a specific font, so I printed out the phrases we wanted. Here is where the tape comes in handy. We simply taped the freezer paper on top of the computer paper so that it would stay still as we traced our design. Important Note: Your design needs to be traced on the papery side of the freezer paper, not the waxy side. (I have read that you can cut the freezer paper to the same size as normal computer paper and print your design directly on the paper. This would certainly save time, but as I don't have a personal printer and have not tried it, I cannot personally recommend it. I have heard that it works well with normal printers, but could cause problems in larger, industrial-type printers).
After you have traced your design onto the freezer paper, you need to cut it out. An Exacto knife makes this pretty easy. Make sure you save the little inside pieces (i.e the little circles that go inside a lowercase 'e' or 'o') of your letters or picture because you will  need them later on. Also, make sure you put a cutting board under the paper so you don't ruin a table or work surface (Thankfully, I'm not speaking from experience here!)

Once you have cut the inside out of the design, your stencil is ready to be ironed on! Simply put it waxy-side down on your t-shirt and iron it on. Make sure that all of the edges (both inside and out) are completely secured to the shirt so that the paint does not seep through. This is also the time when you will want to iron any of the little pieces on.

Now you simply need to paint inside the stencil. Nathan and I used paintbrushes for the front sides of our shirts and then I used a sponge for the back of my shirt. Both the paintbrush and the sponge worked equally well, so use whichever you are more comfortable with. We both needed to paint two coats on our shirts, but that may only be because we were painting light-ish colors on a black t-shirt.
Once the paint has dried, just carefully pull the freezer paper off and you're all set!

Seriously guys, this is so simple, not to mention, cheap! Nate already has plans for putting one of his own drawings on a t-shirt. As soon as I get to Hobby Lobby to buy some canvas bags, I plan on decorating a few of those as cute, but inexpensive, personalized gifts. There might just be a onesie project planned for the near future, too (Hi Sean!). :)

If you try this, let me know! I would love to see pictures!
Thanks for tuning in for my very first tutorial! I have more planned and will hopefully be posting a few within the next few weeks!
P.S. I will be posting the pictures of our finished shirts on Friday, the day of the movie premiere!

The Maintenance Man's Wife

On the way to work this morning, we passed a house that we drive by every day that I have never really paid any attention to. 
Nate commented, "Those guys are always selling something weird. Now they're selling bobcats." My eyebrows shot up and my jaw dropped just a little bit.
"Bobcats??! I want to see!", I exclaimed as I twisted around in my seat, trying to catch a glimpse of their fenced-in yard. And there they were, prancing around the yard...NOT! Much to my dismay, I saw two big ol' pieces of Bobcat machinery parked in their front yard. I spun around immediately to find Nate staring at me with a look of awe on his face. Then we both just started cracking up.
Nate rolled his eyes. "Seriously?" he asked.
"What?! I'm not a maintenance man. When I hear 'bobcat', I think of the animal, not the machine!", I exclaimed defensively.
We just laughed again.
As glad as I am that my husband is a maintenance man who is very handy around the house, I sure wish that just a little bit of his expertise in all things maintenance would rub off on me!! Haha!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Toothbrush Wars

A conversation between Nathan and I as we brushed our teeth the other night:

Nate: Your toothbrush is a lot louder than mine.
Julie: Because mine is way better than yours!

A little bit of competition is healthy in a marriage, right?? 

Keepin' It Classic, Baby!

I bought my first tomato pin cushion last night.
My mom has had one of these for as long as I can remember.
I know what you're thinking..."Julie, does owning this classic sewing accessory immediately make you more well-rounded, mature, and feminine all at once?"
Why yes, yes it does.

P.S. Photo courtesy of the hot guy I'm married to.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

DIY Pillow Slipcovers and Pillows!

Woo hoo! I have finally found a material that I like at a decent price so soon I will be making throw pillows for our living room! We found our couches on Craig's List at a great price over a year ago and we covered them so that they would match our living room and they do look great, but the arms on these things are not comfortable at all. We love cuddling on the couch to watch movies, so the pillows are a necessity. Nate saved three pillows from being thrown away last year and they are very comfortable, but ugly. I have been talking about covering them ever since I saw them, but I just can't ever seem to find a material that I like that is also decently priced. This weekend, I finally settled on a couple of solid colors and I bought the material and thread so this project is at least started. I also bought some stuffing so that I could make a few extra small throw pillows as well. I am so excited to finally be making these! I just hope that this project is as easy as I am imagining it to be. I am only making basic pillows/slipcovers this time, but I do have my eye on a very cool rosette pillow that I would like to attempt if this project is successful. My mother is an amazing seamstress so I'm counting on her genes for this one. Now I just need to sweet-talk my mom- my beautiful, wonderful, smart, pretty, awesome (Are you reading this, mom??)- into letting me borrow her sewing machine! :)
Pictures will be posted just as soon as the project is complete!

Friday, June 24, 2011


Nathan and I just got back from a very busy weekend in New York and it was wonderful! Believe me, we were exhausted afterwards, but it was so worth it. We were in New York to do the photography at a friend's wedding  and while we were there we got a chance to catch up with her, as well as some other friends.
Being there and seeing all of our friends made me realize how much I miss them all. After graduating from the Bible Institute, we all went our separate ways. Some of us went to school, some moved back home, some got married, and some even had babies! We have kept in touch with most of our friends over Facebook, but its not the same. At WOL, we all took the same classes together, sat together for every meal, studied together, exercised together, and even went to Wal-Mart together! Back then, I used to wish I could just get a minute alone with Nate. That is probably why ever since Nathan and I got married, I have been content to just stay home and be with him. I didn't usually feel the need to hang out with friends or spend time with anyone else. He was my best friend and he was all the company I needed. But now that I've had that little taste of being with our friends again, I miss it terribly! I definitely don't want to go back to being single or in school, but I kinda wish we could back to being young, dorky, carefree students for just a day. Don't get me wrong, we are still young and dorky, but now we are dorks with full-time jobs, an apartment to clean, bills to pay, and dishes to wash. Being grown-up has its perks, but it has its responsibilities, too.
Right now I'm wishing that I could combine the best of both worlds. What's the plan? I plan on moving all of our friends to the same apartment complex so we can hang out whenever we want! And instead of regular jobs, we will all just be in a band or something! Our kids will grow up together and marry each other and then we will all be family! And for old times' sake, we will still carpool anytime we go to Wal-Mart! Sounds awesome, right?!
So, in other words, David, Steffany, Alicia, and Derek....pack your bags!! I need you to move to Florida!

Monday, June 13, 2011

My Mother's Daughter

So, I had a moment. You know, one of those little moments that were the reason I decided to write a blog. One of those moments that lasts only a few seconds but will leave an impression that I hope to never forget. Tonight after I finished washing the dishes, I rinsed out the sponge, cleaned the counters, and then made my way over to the stove to scrub the top of it. As I was leaning over the stove, I immediately thought, "Gosh, I feel like my mom!" As soon as the thought crossed my mind, I thought it was kind of funny and wondered why cleaning the stove would make me feel like my mom. But I think I've figured it out.
You see, doing dishes was the daily chore that I shared with my sister, Kristy. Oh, how we hated doing the dishes! To this day, I would rather clean the bathroom then wash the dishes! Ah, but alas, I am married and my mother and sister no longer live with me, so washing my own dishes is the fate to which I have succumbed! :) Anyway, when Kristy and I would finish doing the dishes, that was it- we were done and we were not going to do anything else that afternoon except watch Sabrina the Teenage Witch and have an afternoon snack. When my mom washed the dishes, however, she would proceed to wash the counters and scrub the stove. She didn't just wash the dishes, she cleaned the kitchen. This must be why cleaning the stove triggered the immediate "mom" feeling in me.
This is just one of the many reasons why I love my mother and am lucky to be hers. She is the hardest worker and most selfless person you will ever meet. I'm telling you, you won't ever find a person who knows my mother, who doesn't immediately praise her at the mention of her name. My mother is amazing and wonderful!   So I suppose that growing up and becoming my mother isn't such a bad thing. I can honestly say that I am proud to be my mother's daughter!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

My Very First Post!

Wait, what?! I'm blogging?! A few months ago, I didn't even know what a blog was! After stumbling upon the Pioneer Woman's site, I started following more and more blogs and soon I was hooked. Then I came across a blog ( in which the author stated, "Perhaps its frivolous; painting, photographs, writing it all down. But what if I wake tomorrow only to have forgotten everything?" That got me thinking- my life is so wonderful! I don't want to forget a single second of it. Even in the hardest moments, I've learned the lessons that are most important to remember. I have had so many amazing experiences and I don't want to forget the magic of any of them.
Of course, thoughts like these are bound to make me think of The Notebook. Like Allie, I want to preserve my story through words and pictures. I am going to try to retell the beginning of my love story as accurately as possible and will continue to tell the story of my everyday life here. This is an exciting new adventure for me! I will need to start carrying my camera in my purse again. I haven't done that since college but I think its about time to start up that old habit! 
Even if my story and this blog never inspire anyone else, I think it will inspire, encourage and motivate me and that is all the reason I need! 
Welcome and enjoy!