Monday, March 25

Snapshots From Last Week...

 Lots of veggies to go with our pasta (recipe coming soon!)

 Ollie's two most prized possessions -- his pink ball and a cardboard box.

 Jonathan prepping for painting.

We have two more games left as season ticket holders, but I will always be a Grizzlies fan. 
More on this later. 

 Ollie and his British box. 

 Porter, my painting assistant. 

 See the paint on his tail? He sat in my paint bucket.

 He went from there....

 to here in a blink of an eye. Can you say spoiled?

Look at this spoiled dog! He stole my painting sheet multiple times, but he was really great company. I painted three days in a row, and K-Earth and P-Dog were my companions!

 After all that painting, pasta sounded good (recipe to come!).

 Little Love Birds thank you notes designed by me...coming soon to the Gerald & Joan Shop.

It's a terrible photo, but I made that bread (recipe to come soon!)

P.S. My sister is getting married in less than two weeks, so there's lots of chaos in my world this week and next!

Monday, March 18

A Sweet Message

Every once in a while, I read something that touches me so deeply that I feel moved to share it here. This came from a daily devotional from Reverend Richard Smith of Germantown United Methodist Church. He recently received a card that included it. It's a good reminder that regardless of how alone and lost we feel, we are never truly alone or lost.
I'm praying for you today...
asking God to come into
the middle of your circumstances,
the middle of your road,
the middle of your life,
and do what only
He can do - wrap His arms
around your heart,
fill you up with love
from deep inside,
and give you peace
that passes understanding.
He's got good plans for you
and He's going to see you through.
So know you're loved...
and keep holding on to the One
who will never let go of you.

P.S. I feel neither alone nor lost today, but don't we all have days when we feel discouraged and down in the dumps? Hopefully I'll remember this when I experience one of those moments...

Friday, March 15

Loving Lately

So the sun is out today, and the high is 75! Woo hoo! In honor of this blissful weather, Porter and I are spending some time outside. Ollie has been banished to the house, however, after he tried to escape from my lap. Such a bad boy!

To celebrate this perfect weather, here are some things I'm loving from a safe distance. No shopping for me right now, and I'm on a sort-of diet until after my sister's wedding.

Who needs food and clothes when you have sunshine, anyway?

Source: via Crystel on Pinterest

Monday, March 11

Gerald and Joan Branding

I have been trying not to spam PPR with too many Gerald & Joan-related posts, but I'm proud of our branding and really wanted to share it with my blog friends. You can read the full story here

Monday, March 4

Living in the Moment

For as long as I can remember, I've always been thinking about next week, next month, next year, sometime in the distant future. Jonathan is the same way, so much of our free time is spent dreaming and scheming about the future and what we want our life to look like. We also spend a lot of time talking about weekends, holidays and vacations. Based on the number of "dreaming of the beach" posts shared on this blog, I'm sure you'll agree with me. We're often thinking of another place and another time.

On Saturday, I was scrolling through Instagram, and I saw a post from a dear friend in California. For a moment, I really wanted to be in California, enjoying the 80-degree weather at the beach. Instead I was home alone (with the pets) in Memphis. It was REALLY cold (for Memphis), and flurries were falling for the first time since Christmas Day. Usually I'd be one to stay inside where it's warm, but it occurred to me that this might be our only "snow day" of the year so maybe Porter and I should play in it. Since it was light flurries, I decided a walk was the best way to enjoy the "snow." Porter seemed to agree with me, so off we went. Needless to say, no one else was walking and the people who passed us in cars gave us funny looks. 

Despite the frigid temperatures (for Memphis) and odd looks, we walked a long way and really enjoyed the moment together. While we were walking, I realized that if I had been in California at that moment, I would have been sad I missed the "snow day." I also would have been pining away for our pets like I always do when I'm out there. I didn't feel sorry for myself because Jonathan wasn't with me or that I wasn't at the beach -- I just enjoyed the moment as it was. When Porter and I returned home from our walk, we sat on the deck watching the snow flakes fall for a while. It was lovely.

 Although they didn't stick, the flakes were big enough that I was actually able to make out the snowflake shapes.

Porter's official "snow day" photo.

Snow makes us playful.

Another shot of the big flakes. So cool.

All energy.

 Okay Mom, I'm ready to go inside now.

Ollie came out to join us for a while. 

I'm going to work really hard to continue the mindset I had on Saturday. Today it was already 60 degrees by 10 a.m., so we worked outside on the deck. 

Oliver was the only one who was not pleased by this arrangement.

He joined us after lunch...until the crazy-high winds made the umbrella fall over. 
After that, he was ready to go inside. 

 Lunch for two?

Oliver's favorite lap. He is always happy in the moment.

How do you stay in the moment? 

UPDATE: Speaking of living in the moment, I just realized that Jonathan bought our house five years ago today. We moved our furniture in the next weekend, and it snowed. A year later, it snowed again. A year after that, I wrote this post. It's so funny to go back and read it again. I sound like such a baby

Friday, March 1

Baking Bread and Other Food Thoughts

Have you ever made your own bread? While I am far from an expert (I've made three loaves), there is something very satisfying about baking bread -- mixing the flour, salt, yeast and water, kneading the dough, waiting for the bread to rise, etc. I'm showing how much of a newbie I am, but I get really excited when I check on my dough and discover it has doubled in size! Hurray!

I'm not ready to share my bread recipes or photos yet (newbie again), but I do want to talk about food.

Lately we've been eating lots of cheap, in-season vegetables (green and red cabbage, acorn squash, butternut squash, sweet potatoes, carrots, spring lettuce mix and onions) with quinoa, noodles or brown rice. Protein has mainly been coming from beans (lentils, chick peas and black beans have been in heavy rotation), but we've also had wild-caught fish a few times (fish tacos are a favorite of ours). Corn tortillas, tortilla chips and salsa are always on our pantry shelves, and we've made homemade guacamole once or twice. I love my avocados and still buy them when I can.

Oats and bananas are our breakfast staples, and we've had some cereal (Kashi was on sale) and oranges (also on sale) as well. For snacks we have Kashi bars and peanut butter/almond butter and crackers.

This might come as a shock to you, but I don't mind shopping at Wal-Mart. It has surprised me because I hated it for so long, but the tradeoff has been worth it. When I was really honest with myself, I realized that Whole Foods and Kroger were just as exhausting and stressful anyway! I have missed certain vegan staples that I can only buy at WF or Kroger (Tofutti, Ezekiel tortillas, organic collard greens, Akmak crackers and facon), but we're doing okay without them. Our bank account hasn't missed them either! Just to clarify, we still go to Costco very occasionally (and with a list) for quinoa, almond butter, rice milk, almonds, Kashi bars, granola and bulk veggies (such as avocados). The prices are still better on those items from there. I've also noticed that Kroger has better prices on some dry beans, tortilla chips and wheat flour. Hey -- you live, you learn!

Cooking (and eating!) continues to be really fun for me, and I'm still inspired to try new recipes. Having more time at home allows me to plan out meals and have everything on the table at a decent hour. It has been a nice change for us.

Here are a few recipes that are on my radar for March. As usual, Asian and Mexican dishes take center stage. I'll let you know how they turn out!

Source: via Crystel on Pinterest

Source: via Crystel on Pinterest