Practicing calligraphy


I have always had a love for beautifully handwritten things.  I always choose handwritten over typed when I can.  I love the mixing of script and block, all done by a pen.  I love when letters have dramatic flourishes.  I love receive wedding invitations in the mail, with a calligraphy-ed address.  It has been a dream to start taking lessons and have the materials and information to start doing these things myself!  I would love to be able to use these skills in some way outside of being a nurse 🙂  but I have to practice!


Practicing my name and capital letters in Copperplate!

I love this so much, I can’t even begin to say.  I write the names of the states over and over – have to be able to address envelopes somehow!  I write the names of the SEC schools, and their colors and mascots.  I write my friends’ names, I write my family’s names, I write the alphabet.  I write, I write, I write.  Practice practice practice.

There is another calligraphy class coming up that I hope to attend.  I hope it works out that I get to take it.  Maybe once my work schedule gets rolling I’ll get the opportunity to take lessons!



I’m growing herbs!


Today I thought I’d post a little update of my gardening ventures.

First, you should know that it is quite the big deal to put 1/3 of the focus of this blog on gardening, because historically I am not very good at it.  Because of this history, I attended a gardening lesson with my small group with some trepidation, and some excitement.

Would I suddenly have a green thumb once I truly knew what I was doing?  Or would my thumb prove to be the exact opposite of green, as has always been, and I could silently pack up my gardening tools and focus on something else?

My friends, it turns out my thumb is kind of green!  Like a really pale green.  Chartreuse, maybe.  Or lime, except lime green is terrible.  Mint green?

But I digress.

I dutifully planted my basil and oregano seeds in adorable Mason jars as was instructed in the lesson, brought them home and kept the soil dampened.  One day, I had a tiny sprout!  I kept up with this plan and now I have SO MUCH BASIL AND OREGANO, people.  I need recipes that use these herbs!!!

I also took cuttings of my grandmother’s peppermint, and somehow I’m keeping them alive, too!  This is my favorite thing, because I really love mint, and I love putting these fresh leaves in my sweet tea.

So because almost nothing good comes without practice, I decided to keep practicing.  I re-homed mine and Taylor’s basil in a large pail, and recycled those Mason jars with some rosemary and thyme seeds.  In two mini-planters, I planted some parsley seeds.

Success, people!  Check out my baby plants!

In the window, oregano is the one going crazy.  I’ll probably re-plant it soon!

The first tiny sprout is going to be thyme one day, and the other is one of my parsley babies.

Genesis 1:11-12
Then God said, “Let the earth sprout vegetation, plants yielding seed, and fruit trees on the earth bearing fruit after their kind with seed in them;” and it was so.  The earth brought forth vegetation, plants yielding seed after their kind, and trees bearing fruit with seed in them, after their kind; and God saw that it was good.

Even though I physically placed the stones, Perlite, potting soil, and seeds in my little planters, even though I check the soil every day to see if it needs more water and try to put *just enough* on the soil, even though I placed these in my kitchen on a south-facing windowsill  (seriously a magic trick), nothing would have happened if not for God.  He designed every little bit of how plants work and produce more of themselves, and how that makes it possible for me to plant little herbs.

Plus, the new growth is so exciting!  Little reminders that God is always working on new growth in the midst of my everyday life.

What a treasure, and what a blessing.


Butterscotch pie, y’all.


One of my favorite sweets in the universe is butterscotch pie.  I’ve only ever had it at a diner 5 hours away from where I live.  Because I hardly ever make it to said diner, I felt it was necessary for me to make my own version.

Today, that vision became a reality.


(My husband has a handsome hand.)

It really is a dream come true, y’all.  Recipe soon.


Wedding Planning 101: What You’ll Need


I’m a brand-new newlywed.  During the nine months of being engaged, I spent hours upon hours scouring the internet to find the best tips, tricks, and how-to’s for planning your own wedding.  I am a pretty organized person and our budget was not expansive, so I didn’t feel the need to hire a wedding planner.  I was confident I could pull everything off myself.

So for you lovely brides-to-be:* whether your left hand is sparkling or will be any day now, whether you’re inherently organized or just hope to be, whether your engagement will be weeks or years, here are 6 resources you can use to throw a successful event that just about everyone will enjoy.

  1. First, your most important resource is your groom.  I never bought into the idea that a groom’s job was to try on his tux or suit, enjoy his bachelor party, and try to show up on time.  Despite the cultural emphasis on it being all about the bride, I wanted my wedding day to, more importantly, be our wedding day.  And with that came completely open conversations, conversations about things he didn’t care about, and most importantly, never booking anything he didn’t agree to.  (The only caveat to the latter being the possibility of booking something to surprise him.)  My now-husband was a fabulous fiance.  He was there for me when I was stressed, picked up the slack when I couldn’t make phone calls or receive messages from a vendor due to my work/sleep schedule, and faithfully kept up with the to-do list I kept for him.  Enlist your soon-to-be-husband to help you!  I’d guess he wants to, anyway.
  2. Your next resource: your budget.  Taylor and I figured out the total amount we wanted to spend, and then used The Knot’s Budgeter to get a rough estimate of how much we should spend on each vendor.  You can personalize this calculator with many specifics – and if you’d like to do that, do it!  We found that simply having the main categories available to us was enough, and it helped us have conversations with potential vendors or even eliminate vendors based on their rates.  We also sat down with our parents the day after our engagement and told everyone we planned to foot the entire bill, and any gift would be graciously accepted but was not required nor requested.  This conversation gave us final say on all decisions, from the venue to the goody bags to the guest list.  If you are in this position, I very highly recommend you have the same conversation.  It will benefit you later!
  3. Next resource: your parents.  Taylor and I are lucky: all of our parents remain married to one another.  We were blessed to not have very much drama in this department.  However, I know that not everyone is in the same position as we were.  Therefore, take this advice with a grain of salt, knowing your own family so much better than I do!  We found that our parents were great sounding boards for ideas and style inspiration, bringing in ideas from their own weddings.  They were also great listeners when things were difficult.  Our parents made phone calls for us when we both had to work (or sleep, #nightnurselife), booked vendors for us, went with us to bridal shows and meetings, and ran errands with us the week of the wedding.  I’m sure no one in your life is more excited for you than your parents!  Include them as much as you feel comfortable doing so.
  4. Next resource: a wedding planning binder.  Phone convo with the photographer?  Take notes and put it in the binder.  Discover the absolutely perfect hairstyle on Blake Lively from the Golden Globes?  Print it out, or rip it out of the magazine you’re looking at, and pop it in the binder.  Attend a bridal show and get offered 20% off your DJ if you book in the next month?  Make sure you get something printed with that offer, or handwritten and initialed from one of the employees, and put that in the binder.  Kept one of your closest friend’s wedding program, or another friend’s lingerie shower invitation, or another friend’s wedding invitation?  Pop these in the binder, too!  You never know when these items will spur some inspiration for your own big day or other events.  Even if they never become inspiration, you may come across them, remember how you felt watching your best friend exchange “I dos,” the way her bouquet was so perfect with those white hydrangeas, or just how overwhelmed with love you were when the pastor finally said “You may kiss the bride,” and hopefully it gives you some peace for your own day.  Your family and friends will be feeling the same things you did!  Whatever wedding argument you’re in the midst of – and there will be more than one, unfortunately – won’t matter because everyone is going to be so happy for you and that you’re in love.  🙂
  5. Next resource: your guest list.  Oh drama drama drama.  Drama for you, drama for your mama and your papa.  When you hang up the phone from telling the last friend or family member about your happy proposal, delight in the bliss of being engaged, give your husband-to-be a big ol’ kiss, take a deep breath, and start writing down names.  I hate this for you.  This part is so difficult. But the sooner you start, the sooner it’s over.  Start your list with people who are definitely invited.  Parents, grandparents, family members, best friends you intend to ask to be your bridesmaids and groomsmen, etc.  Then write a list of people you really really really want to come.  Childhood friends, close friends from college, people you work with, youth pastors, etc.  Lastly, write a list of people you would love to invite.  You know these, the outliers, the ones you’re friends or acquaintances with but would be okay if they RSVP’d with a “no.”  Invite your parents to make the same lists (for us, we only had them make the first two lists).  Now tally up all these people.  Now when you go venue-hunting, you can get a good idea of prices for column 1, columns 1 + 2, and columns 1 + 2 + 3.  It’ll help you negotiate well.  Also, the polite thing to do is only invite people to pre-wedding events who are also invited to the wedding.  So when your aunt and uncle or husband-to-be’s godmother offer you an engagement party, you know which people to choose from.
  6. Lastly, your style.  If you already had a Pinterest before you got the rock, look it over, especially if you have a board dedicated to clothes.  What do the things you pin say about you?  Are you laid-back and casual?  Preppy and classic?  Bright and colorful?  Use this for inspiration when you make wedding plans.  I found it difficult to translate my personal style into a wedding style, having never planned a wedding before.  But the more I remained true to myself, the better I felt about my decisions in the planning process.  And in the end, my wedding was exactly true to me and my new husband’s style, which made us enjoy the day even more.  We aren’t particularly fancy people but enjoy some fancy things.  So we were comfortable with our cocktail-attire, open-bar event held in a venue decorated with modern uplighting and beautiful antiques.  I’m also not a particularly colorful person, instead usually opting to bring color into my style through accessories.  Therefore, my groom wore navy and the wedding party all wore gray, several different varieties, while we brought color into the event elsewhere.

Whew!  That ended up being so much more wordy than I anticipated.  Gold stars for you if you made it this far!

Next time I write about wedding planning, I’ll be writing about actual books, websites, and other resources I used to nail my style into place, ensure very few feelings were hurt (and that those that were stung were not stung too badly), and keep everything to a timeline so nothing ran late.

Until next time!


* Disclaimer: in light of our society’s transforming attitude towards gender identity and a general increase in LGBT rights, I felt it worth noting that I will be writing all wedding planning posts from the point of view of a bride and groom.  Please don’t take this to mean I’m attempting to exclude anyone who is getting married but is not a straight couple.  I hope you still find the blog welcoming and informative no matter what kind of wedding you’re planning.  🙂

French fries


As you know from my chocolate chip cookies post, my dad came over for dinner on Monday night.  Dessert was the cookies.  The main dish was hamburgers, grilled to perfection by my husband.  But in my personal opinion, the star of the show was the French fries.

French fries and I go way back.  I have always preferred salty over sweet, known for being the child in my family that always chose a cracker over a cookie when offered both.  Bad breakup?  Let’s go through the drive-through for a Coke and fries.  Nothing makes me feel better on a bad day like fries.  Nothing goes with almost every meal like fries.  (Seriously, I’ve ordered fries as a side to my pancakes at lunch from a diner, that has happened more than once.)

So the next time you can’t think of a side item with your chicken, your hamburgers, your pork chops, reach for this recipe, and I swear you can’t go wrong.

The Pioneer Woman, aka Ree Drummond, aka one of my life inspirations, is the source of this recipe.  And like anything else she makes, you can’t go wrong with these.

Here’s a picture!


As a very generalized summary, here’s how to make this magic:

  1. Wash and peel one potato per person you’re sharing this delight with.
  2. Cut ’em into fry shapes.  I love thin fries.  I love all fries (see above), but the thin and crispy ones speak to my heart in a way few things do.  But don’t cut em too thin or they all fall apart (which is what happened last night).  It’ll take some practice to get the right shape for you.
  3. Soak ’em in a bowl of cold water.  Rinse and rinse again.  You’re relieving the potato of its starchy nature, which makes them good for frying.  Don’t skip this step!  Soak for minimum 2-3 hours.
  4. Drain off all the water and then lay out the fries on paper towels and blot with more paper towels so they’re pretty dry.
  5. Fry ’em once in 300-degree-Fahrenheit oil (2-3 inches’ worth in a heavy-bottom pot).  I used vegetable.  Only cook until they’re soft and kind of brown.  This is to cook the potato.
  6. Blot off the excess oil.
  7. Fry ’em a second time in 400-degree-Fahrenheit oil.  Now cook until they’re brown.  Drain again on paper towels, but you may not have to blot as much.  They’ll probably dry out on their own.
  8. Sprinkle salt (or Tony’s, or any spice blend of your choosing) on ’em and serve to your adoring fans.
  9. Curtsy (or bow) gratefully as they applaud you and your excellent cooking skills, and with a big ol’ grin on your face, say “It was nothing.”  Then swear not to make them again for awhile so you will always have this reaction.  It’ll be worth it.  🙂

Other blogs may post this tale and play it perfect, like nothing went wrong.  But this ain’t other blogs.  So learn from my mistakes…

  • I cut the fries too thin, so even though they were nice, long sticks when they soaked, they broke apart in the frying process.  Most of the fries ended up the tiny pieces my sister and I always call “the crunchies.”  It’s the best version of a fry, but very difficult to eat when you don’t have any whole ones.
  • I got oil everywhere.
  • I don’t have a great set of tongs yet, so I had to scoop the fries out of the hot oil with a slotted spatula.  It took about 30 years longer to do it this way!
  • My fabulous husband is so fabulous that he already owned a house by the time we’d only been dating for one month.  That said, I’m still getting used to the big kitchen appliances.  So I fried and re-fried all of the delicious potato goodness except for the last batch with the stove set to heat a smaller size pot than the one I was using.  So it took a really long time.  Pay attention to your stoves, people!

Thanks for taking the time to read about making delightful homemade french fries.  I hope you enjoy them!  And I hope the people you share them with enjoy them, too!


Chocolate chip cookies


Yesterday, my husband and I invited my dad over to join us for dinner.  We decided to grill burgers, one of the easiest and most delicious at-home dinners one can have.  But I chose to go the extra mile and also make homemade French fries and chocolate chip cookies for dessert.  Nevermind that I had just baked and quasi-destroyed a chocolate cake on Sunday for Mother’s Day!  Yesterday was a new day.  A new day that needed its own dinner…and dessert.

This was quite the undertaking.  Unless you’re really super good at both of these things, maybe don’t do them on the same day.  If you do, don’t do them on a day when you have a weird, unexplained backache.  If you do that, don’t do them on a day when you are pressed for time.

But don’t worry, I did all of those things!

First, the cookies.  (We’ll save the fries for another day!)  I used this recipe, shamelessly borrowed from one of my favorite blogs, the College Prepster.  Carly’s mom perfected this recipe, and I must say, it truly is perfect.  The cookies manage to be soft and crumbly.  The sweetness of the batter is perfect with the bitterness of the semi-sweet chocolate.  These cookies are fabulous.  I love to share things I bake, so I shared these with my dad and husband last night, and they’ll probably end up at our Bible study group tomorrow night.  What good is doing things with your hands if you don’t share them?


Here’s all the ingredients all lined up.  Aren’t they so cute?  And there’s my recipe journal, too.  I only use the internet to follow recipes when I’m trying something new.  If it works out, it goes in the journal.  Here’s where you can get it from amazon.


Round two of the ingredients being all mixed up.  One egg at a time!


Ta-da!  Cookie dough.  I ate too much of this step 😦


And ta-da again!  Cookies!  I intentionally made these smaller than instructed, because I have a weird love of tiny things.  I knew they would be bite-size for Taylor and my dad, too.  Doing it this way took a long time, though!  It also made the cookies a little crunchier than if you make them as directed!

I hope you enjoy these!  I hope the people you share them with enjoy them, too!


I started a blog!

Hello everyone!

Welcome to the land of strange thoughts, random ramblings, terrible quality photos from my iPhone, tales of attempting to garden, stories about wedding planning, blurbs about calligraphy, and who knows what else.

But I hope you enjoy it.