friday || 06

The weekend has come, my friends. It always does; however, some weeks you just thrill at the thought of it more than others.

It’s been a sweet week here; full of cozy time at home, normal weekly tasks, a few snowflakes falling outside, valentine packages from grandparents arriving, and two evenings spent being so heart encouraged by darling friends. Some more difficult moments have been had, as well. So thankful that His mercies are new every morning and His faithfulness is great.

What do you lovelies have planned for Valentines Day tomorrow? Our plans involve a leisurely family day, good food, and an evening spent celebrating happy news in the lives of some of our dear friends. Sweets will most definitely be making an appearance. It wouldn’t be Valentines Day without some form of chocolate. Do ya’ll have any Valentines Day traditions?

I hope that, however you spend your day, you enjoy a beautiful day with the ones you love!

– a few of my favorite things –

friday6

01 || J and I have dreamt of visiting Greece for a long time now. This winter, in particular, it has made its way into my daydreams frequently. One day, our Mediterranean dreams will come true.

02 || I came across this book, Our Q&A a Day: 3-year Journal for 2 people, at Anthropologie the other day. They are now sold out on their website, but you can find it on Amazon. I think it’d be a perfect Valentines Day gift to share with your spouse. All the memories you’d store up in a book like that would be a treasure to look back on for years to come.

03 || How I love tulips. I thrill when Trader Joes floral area explodes with the simple loveliness of tulips. They are so very spring.

04 || I adore chocolate truffles. Truly, what’s not to love? I have yet to make them, but here’s a couple of recipes I’ve stored away recently. 01 | Brazilian-Style Truffles.  02 | Chocolate Truffles. 03 | Chocolate Coffee Truffles.

05 || The leopard flats in my closet are reaching their end and I’ve been eyeing a pair of leopard loafers for sometime now. I love these Factory Addie Calf Hair Loafers from JCrew Factory. You can’t go wrong with a good pair of leopard print shoes.

06 || I’m also a fan of the simple and classy look of these Factory D’orsay Flats from JCrew Factory. It’s a nice way to change things up a bit.

Well, darlings, you all have a Happy Friday and a sweet Happy Valentines Day!

 

Advertisements

a difficult answer

IMG_2291

For the past few days I’d known that this wasn’t the month for a baby. I’d known I was going to start my period. The waiting every month is the hardest part for me; the waiting to discover what the answer is. I want to be hopeful, but to be honest with you, being hopeful scares me because I don’t want it to hurt even worse. I woke up feeling these emotions quite strongly two days ago. My heart ached and I battled fearing the unknown. What grace, that at that very moment, I could cast those emotions and fear at the foot of the One who loves me more than I can comprehend, and who knows, with perfect wisdom and reason, what and why the answer would be the one that it was. To be able to live in this comforting instruction, “casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.” I cast my anxieties, asking for His grace for what He has planned for this month. I prayed that if this wasn’t the month that He would allow me to start my period soon, even that day, and that He would fill my heart with overflowing peace to be able to rest until I knew the answer and for whatever the answer was to be. In His grace, He gave me the answer that night.

The answer was “not this month.” It’s hurting, but over the past 16 months of this journey, my confidence and absolute assurance in God’s perfect timing has grown to be more solid than ever before. He has used this, every single bit of this, to refine me. Being refined often aches and often stings, but the result brings greater goodness that we can often imagine. This past month, as we’ve struggled with the side effects of the Clomid, the Lord has continued to strip away feelings of inadequacy, fears, desires to control, or expectations we hadn’t even realized we had. This continues to be one of the greatest tools the Lord has used to work in our hearts and minds, to bring us to a greater understanding of ourselves and Himself, and to deepen our love and trust in Him to an awesome extent. The definition of awesome reads like this:

awe·some
ˈôsəm/Submit
adjective
extremely impressive or daunting; inspiring great admiration, apprehension, or fear.
“the awesome power of the atomic bomb”
synonyms: breathtaking, awe-inspiring, magnificent, wonderful, amazing, stunning, staggering, imposing, stirring, impressive

Through this struggle with being able to conceive, the Lord has made known to us, in a beautiful and unique way, His breathtaking, awe-inspiring, magnificent, wonderful, amazing, stunning, staggering, imposing, stirring, and impressive character and love that He has for us. He is an awesome God; in the joy and in the pain. Though I struggle with being fearful to hope, I truly shouldn’t. My hope is set in the One who knows the best timing for us to grow our little family, the One who knows what our hearts need, and the One who has shown Himself perfectly faithful in our lives. His grace is undeserved, His sovereignty is my assurance and His wisdom is sweet hope. The hard days come and they hurt, the tears come and they sting, but the Lord is in the hard days, too, and I see His promises and His love woven throughout them in the most beautiful ways.

Thank you for journeying with us, friends. For your abundant prayers and your thoughtful encouragement. You’ve truly no idea what it means. That love of our Lord’s I was just talking about…..I see that through ya’ll.

recipe || broiled halibut (or cod) with béchamel sauce

I watched Giada make this recipe on Food Network the other day and it went right onto my menu plan. I must say, it was especially due to the béchamel sauce. Butter, flour, milk, and cheese is one of the best culinary combinations. The whole recipe was simple and delicious. J was a fan, and so was I. Success.

IMG_2863-2_31_45PM

 Broiled Halibut with Béchamel Sauce

Béchamel Sauce

5 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature

1/4 cup flour

2 cups whole milk, warmed

1/2 cup grated Parmesan

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Pinch ground nutmeg

Halibut

1 (750ml) bottle white wine, such as pinot grigio

2 cups water

4 (6-ounce) center-cut halibut fillets, about 1-inch thick (see Cook’s Note)

1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/2 cup grated Parmesan

2 tablespoon unsalted butter, diced into 1/4-inch pieces

Directions

Cook’s Note: The halibut can be substituted with 24 ounces of sole fillets. Reduce the cooking time in the wine mixture to 3 to 4 minutes.

Spray a 7 by 11-inch glass baking dish with cooking spray. Set aside.

For the béchamel sauce: In a 2-quart saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the flour and whisk until smooth, about 2 minutes. Gradually add the warm milk, whisking constantly, until the sauce is thick and smooth, about 10 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the cheese, salt, pepper, and nutmeg.

For the halibut: In a large saucepan, bring the wine and water to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to a simmer and add the halibut. Cover the pan and cook until the flesh is opaque, 8 to 10 minutes. Using a fish spatula, carefully remove the fish and arrange in a single layer in the prepared baking dish. Season with salt and pepper.

Preheat a broiler. Spoon the béchamel sauce over the fish and top with the Parmesan. Dot with butter and broil until golden, 2 to 4 minutes.

*Trader Joes didn’t have halibut, so I went with some Alaskan Cod Fillets. I followed the cooks note on the recipe for the cooking time for the cod, as they were thinner fillets than the halibut. 

Recipe via Food Network

Enjoy, friends!

friday || 05

I do love Fridays; and when Fridays involve cheeseburgers and greasy paper bags full of french fries and no dishes to wash after dinner, I love Fridays even a little bit more. Simple pleasures, my friends. And there’s a whole weekend ahead after that. Bliss.

We have a very restful weekend planned. Some work that needs to be done, plenty of family time, catching up with a dear friend, and our noses buried in books and our mugs filled with coffee. Now that J is settling into his new job, we are enjoying a more refreshing season. January was an overwhelming month of provision and a lovely month of learning; of the Lord revealing different things to us and refining us even more. I’m thankful He’s never done with it. It hurts sometimes, but the joy and peace that comes from it is profound. I shall share a bit more with you all soon.

Meanwhile……..

     – a few of my favorite things –

friday5

01 || I started Women of the Word this week, and I was encouraged after just reading the introduction. Jen Wilkin’s heart to come alongside and teach women how to better understand and study Scripture is so evident. What an encouragement!

02 || My lovely friend, Vanessa, gifted me my “J” Monogram Mug from Anthropologie for my birthday, and I drink my coffee out of little else these days. It’s the coziest of all mugs. It also makes for darling decor. One of my close friends stacked 3 mugs, just like the picture ^, with her son’s initials on a shelf in his bedroom.

03 || I’ve been daydreaming about lemon desserts this week after I watched Ina Garten make Lemon Meringue Tart the other day. Though lemon desserts often proclaim spring, I think February would be the perfect month to enjoy a tangy dessert such as this. How’s a wintertime tea party sound, lovelies?

04 || Look at this darling Striped Linen-Blend Dress from Old Navy. The stripes, the buttons on the shoulder, the light pink & white combination — simply sweet. I think I shall dress AK in it and we shall go walk along a beach somewhere.

05 || I have come to find that Gap and Loft jeans are the best fitting for my body. Though Gap jeans are my go-to, the Loft jeans I own fit well, are comfortable, and long-lasting. Top 3 criteria for me. Right now, Loft is doing a $25 off all their full-price jeans! I like these Modern Skinny Jeans in Dark Rinse Wash. And with those leopard print heels — perfection.

Happy Friday, dear ones! Enjoy your weekend.

portraits of AK || 05

“a portrait of her every week for a year”

2.5.15

IMG_2846

Little Bit, I love having you to tag along with me on every errand and shopping excursion. You grab your “pack-pack”, stuff your book and your water bottle inside of it, stick your “b” under your arm, and say, “it’s time-a go wun ew-ands, Mom.” When we go to Trader Joes, you drive your own “baby cawt” and if you can’t get around people you say, “I got jammed, Mom.” I love watching your independence grow and seeing you learn more about being brave and kind as you interact with others. When you get so excited for errand day it makes my heart so full that you, too, love those days like I do.

book review || the guernsey literary and potato peel pie society

IMG_2833

This book is pure delight. It is set in England and the little island of Guernsey, right after the end of World War 2. The main character is Juliet, a writer, who receives a letter from a man named Dawsey who lives on Guernsey. He asks a literary favor of her and so begins their correspondence. Enter many other creative and lively characters, their letters, their lives, and their literary society, and you have the perfect setting for a story that is witty, romantic, heartbreaking, and engaging in all its dimensions.

The author’s descriptions are magic. I felt transported to every field, cottage, town, city, or ocean view described. The island of Guernsey has now been officially added to my travel list! Set between England and France in the midst of the English Channel, can you imagine how lovely it would be? Just the name itself is appealing.

The characters absolutely endear themselves to you. Whether you instantly fall in love with them or you come to disdain them, they form one of the most delightful groups of people you’d ever come to meet. They are so well written, each one unique in their own way, and everyone of them causing you to wish that they were real and you could go spend a month traipsing around Guernsey with them.

The based-off-of-historical-facts bits and pieces that are shared are sobering, just being reminded of the devastating affects of that war. The sweet side of those facts is being reminded of the unbreakable bond that tragedy unites amongst friends, family, and even total strangers. Beauty wrought from pain.

You must add this title to your book list, friends. It is one of those I’m eager to read again, and can’t wait to share with my girl when she grows older.  It’s just lovely.

Link: The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society 

 

dark chocolate salted caramel pie

My hubby is a big fan of the salted caramel craze that took over coffee shops and chocolate companies a couple years ago.  It was only appropriate, then, to make something with “salted caramel” in the title for his celebration dinner this past week. And it did not disappoint.

Tip: Don’t forget to sneak a couple Oreos as a little baking gift to yourself as you are preparing this treat. You’re working hard, after all.

IMG_2179

Dark Chocolate Salted Caramel Pie

1 package (about 36) whole Oreos

1 cup (16 tablespoons) butter, divided

2/3 cup packed brown sugar

1 1/4 cups heavy whipping cream, divided

1 (12 oz) bag dark chocolate chips

Directions

Finely crush the Oreos with a food processor or blender. Stir crumbs together with 8 tablespoons melted butter until well combined. Press into the bottom and sides of a pie pan. Freeze crust for 10 minutes until set.

Combine remaining 8 tablespoons butter and brown sugar in a small saucepan. Cook over medium heat, whisking constantly, until mixture begins to bubble. Continue cooking, whisking constantly, for 1 minute. Remove from heat. Slowly whisk in 1/4 cup heavy whipping cream until smooth. Cool caramel about 15 minutes.  Pour the caramel over the Oreo crust, then return to freezer for about 30-45 minutes until just chilled and set. (You don’t want the caramel to fully freeze.)

Place chocolate chips in a glass bowl. In a saucepan, bring 1 cup heavy whipping cream to a simmer over medium-high heat. Pour the cream over the chocolate chips and let sit for 5 minutes, then whisk until completely smooth. Pour the chocolate over the caramel and freeze for a final 30 minutes, until just chilled and set. OR refrigerate, covered, until ready to serve. Before serving, sprinkle the top with a flaky sea salt like kosher salt or Fleur De Sel.

Enjoy, my friends!

Recipe via Pinterest