Monday, December 17, 2012


Hello all,

I know many of you have had heard about the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newton, Connecticut, but for those of you who have not, it was one of the saddest things I've heard of. I won't go into detail about it, as I'm sure you can find it easily on any news site, but there was a shooting by a 20 year old boy, who killed 26 people and unfortunately, 20 of them were children under the age of six. There are truly no words for this kind of sadness. When I heard about it I was at work surrounded by my sweet darlings under the age of three. I immediately thought of them in that classroom...of me in that classroom. It was a very sad day and I pray that if you are a parent or have anyone you love that you hold them close and value every moment.

My sincere prayers go out to all of those families that were affected by this tragedy and hope that God can bring comfort and, eventually, healing. I echo the sentiments of this extremely beautiful interview with Robbie Parker, father of one of the little girls.We truly need to pray for the family of the man that committed this crime. They must be absolutely devastated and probably feel such a weight and even a responsibility for it all. They need healing too. The 20-year-old man that did this needed healing, and instead he turned to destruction, murder, and such devastation of other families. It's awful.

In light of this tragedy, let's do our part to be compassionate to others, love others, help others and comfort others. Life is too short to waste it on anger and hurt feelings. Let's deal with each other like we'd want to be dealt with. In love.

Hug your loved ones today...give them an extra hug and kiss. It's a beautiful day to be thankful.


Tuesday, December 11, 2012

The 3rd date of Hanukkah...

A night at Bonefish Grill!

When Toby and I get home we are generally in pajamas and falling asleep pretty quick because of our long days, so imagine my surprise when I got home and Toby comes in and says, "Wanna go out for one of our Hanukkah dates?" I was so excited and kinda had a dating flashback which is always wonderful.

I'm SUPER into these Hanukkah dates but it's cool when he gets into them too! So,  long story short, we went out to Bonefish Grill (one of the 3 cool places to go in this town, haha) and it was fabuloso.  The pre-dinner drink was a Winter Cosmo. So good. He got fish and chips and I got pecan crusted trout with asparagus...A-MAZING. For dessert we got Creme Brulee and I died of deliciousness. I was then resurrected and we went to Barnes & Noble to walk off our fullness, and we bought The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyl and Mr. Hyde. We're so excited to read it...I can't believe I haven't before now! Here are so pics of the night:


The famous Winter Cosmo at Bonfeish garnished with cranberries, SO good.

Hooray new read!

End of the night watching Community with the Hanukkiah burning bright.
  See you soon!


The 2nd date of Hanukkah 2012...

Sunday morning brunch!

We had a nice, quiet afternoon on Sunday (after the fun and crazy sweater-ness the previous night). We slept in late...and I mean really late, but it was well worth it. Well, except that we did not go to bed until 2 am that night because we sleep overdosed. Oh well.

I was busy living in the moment, so I forgot to take pictures from our little brunch, but I did take some from that night.
Our pretty Hanukkiah we got for our wedding!
Our blurry, unshowered, lazy selves enjoying our date :)
  See you soon for date three!


Sunday, December 9, 2012

The Eight Dates of Hanukkah are Back!

Hello everybody!

Well, Hanukkah began last night and we started it with a BANG. Some of you may remember the eight dates of Hanukkah we started last year. Turns out it was super fun and a really nice way for Toby and I to connect over the busy holiday season. I totally recommend it to anyone looking for some fun things to do over this holiday season...or you can do the 12 dates of Christmas if that's your fancy!

Back to the story...Toby and I threw an ugly sweater Hanukkah party for our teens at the synagogue and it was so much fun. We had homemade latkes, homemade sufganiyot (aka donuts), and lots of other unhealthy things that have earned me a 5 hour gym slot. Totally worth it though.

So officially, our first date of Hanukkah was:

The Ugly Sweater Hanukkah Party!

The Serious one (love these kids!)

Awkward family photo? haha

Proud papa pic

The happy one!

Our ugly sweaters: Ducks Unlimited and Grandma's quilt. lol

Happy Hanukkah, friends!

P.S. For a look at last year's 8 dates, start here and follow the little linky links at the end of the post for more!

Friday, December 7, 2012

"Sherlock" vs "Elementary"

Hello all,

*disclaimer: I am about to go into academic mode whilst talking about modern television. If you are prone to boredom, leave now.

Some of you may know that I am an English major that is hopelessly in love with literature (preferably 19th century lit). If you didn't know that, welcome to the club.

My husband and I have a deep love for the Sherlock Holmes stories (in fact I am writing a paper about the very topic I am about to introduce). There is always a desire to "reinterpret" the literature from the greats that came before us such as "Dracula" or "Great Expectations" or any Jane Austen novel-made-movie. The same has been done with the stories of Sherlock Holmes for a long, long time. The new BBC series "Sherlock" is FANTASTIC. Yes, it is a modern interpretation where Sherlock Holmes texts and Watson is a blogger, but watch it and you'll is absolutely true to the characters and we love it.

However, now that we have "Sherlock" we have a new show..."Elementary."

Sherlock vs Elementary

I am not speaking ill of anyone, but I must say that I am absolutely in disagreement with this show's choice to make Watson a woman. I'm sure Lucy Liu is a fine actress and could play any part well, but NO WOMAN should play Watson...not because I'm anti-feminist (which I'm definitely not) but because I'm a text purist. The element that Holmes and Watson have is crucial to the story and to the time period it was set in. The star of Sherlock, Benedict Cumberbatch, has the same view of the show as well:
“If I were the [producer], I’d be frightened of the dynamic of male friendship that you’d lose. Because that is obviously the bedrock of the books as well."
-Benedict Cumberbatch, The Telegraph
Well said, Benedict. The problem with making John Watson into Joan Watson is that it introduces the element of sexual tension between these characters, which is totally untrue to the books. There is only one "woman" in Sherlock's life and that is Irene Adler. Their relationship is complicated but alas, it is the only one. And Watson of course gets married so that's that. So between these two modern interpretations of the Sherlock Holmes story, "Sherlock" is absolutely true to most of it and an excellent show.

 Long story short, Watson should be played by a man because that is what trueness to the story demands. It's my opinion and that doesn't make me the supreme authority on all things Sherlockian, but I shan't be moving from it.

What do you guys think? Like the idea of Elementary? Hate it? Just some food for thought! Now off to finish this paper!


Tuesday, November 27, 2012

A very happy thanksgiving

Hello all,

This thanksgiving was one of the best and coziest I have spent with my family. The last few years we spent thanksgiving with Toby's mom which have been wonderful! But this year we made the pilgrimage to Garland, tx to spend the holiday with my mom and immediate family.

It. Was. Magical.

We had a blast. Seeing my mom was of course wonderful and she rolled out the red carpet, as always, for Toby and I. My cousins (who are basically my sisters) are my best friends in the world and being with them makes my heart so happy. And it's fun to add our hubbies to the equation too! We got to see my sweet aunt who has been through a lot lately and it was lovely to be with her. It would be impossible to list ALL the great moments of the trip, but here are a few to note:

* Having a glass of wine with mom whilst watching movies...that is before she fell asleep during them :)
* Driving in Dallas traffic (don't miss that!)
* Staying with Tiffany and Craig
* Seeing Meredith and getting the tour of Texas Woman's University (where she works) and downtown Denton, TX.
* Dropping the entire bowl of sweet potatoes into dirty dish water (but we made more haha).
* Apple cider and "secret cider" :)
*Late night Taco Bueno run
*Getting my new Minnetonkas!
*Relaxing moments on the swing with Toby.

Here are some photo/instagram highlights!

At the airport.
Thanksgiving + Wal-Mart = American Apocalypse
The most vomitous tree I have ever beheld.
Our lovely Autumn themed, Thanksgiving table. And the dog. haha
I love mom's kitchen. It feels like something out of a storybook!

The (blurry) family! L to R: Toby, me, mom, Meredith, Aunt Linda, Tiffany and Craig

Hahaha. My true nature.

There we go. Thanksgiving sirens! lol

Gluten tag! ahaha (pronounced as if it is in Guten tag) This was the gluten-free section of our meal for those of us who needed that.
Chillin' with my apple cider a-cooking.
My handsome man looking all outdoorsy with his newly thrifted coat!

Leftovers!!! The best part.

American friends, how was your Thanksgiving? International friends, welcome to an American too much ans watch sports on TV haha.


Saturday, November 10, 2012

Fort Bebe

Hello dear friends,

I have been meaning to write about our lovely retreat "Fort Bebe" for some time. On our anniversary we discovered we did not have the time or money to travel and do something fun and crazy (and by discovered, I mean we knew it from the get go). However, Toby and I are not big spenders, honestly it just doesn't appeal to us, so we already had a plan cooking...Fort Bebe! Basically what we do is we pull out the couch bed in the living room and camp out in there. I know, it really doesn't sound super exciting, but let me tell you, we were extremely excited at the thought of it because for us it's like a little vacation. It makes us feel like we're kids that get to stay up all night on new years or something.

While we were fixing up Fort Bebe we were giggling and running around putting up twinkle lights and getting our dinner to eat in bed (like big kids!) and having the best time. If you are married/seriously involved with someone, my experience has taught me that as long as you have each other and an open heart ANYTHING (even  a date to McDonald's) can be amazing. That's just what it was for us. In fact, we loved it so much, we have made it a weekend thing and not just an anniversary thing. It's something we really look forward to every weekend and it gives us really sweet time together. Here are some pics of the fort!

The fort!
Twinkle lights!
Starting the day out right!
So cool that "Autumn" from Vivaldi came on Pandora on our perfect Autumn day!
Our Autumny movie-fest.
The birds.
Toby and I both read (and loved) Dracula. One of the meals in that book that
Jonathan Harker eats is called Paprika Hendl (a Hungarian dish) in honor of
October and our love of literature, Toby made it and it was DELISH.
Hot apple cider.

Off to the fort right now!


P.S. a look at last year's first anniversary here!

Thursday, November 1, 2012

A word about Olives

The olive grove at our synagogue.

No, this has nothing to do with a recipe or food critique, haha.

This little thing about Olives has to do with how we all might feel at the moment. 
Anyone stressed? (raises hand) Anyone feel overwhelmed? (raises two hands)
Anyone feel like they just can't catch a break? (Stands up and jumps around)

Haha. The long and short of it is that we are ALL stressed whether it's now or later. Life happens. Circumstances arise that crush you mentally, physically and spiritually. Breakups, jobs, ministry, friends, family, bills, whatever. Life is unpredictable and it is just hard from time to time. I know I spend a lot of time asking God "why can't this season be OVER already?" When you're in the tough times (especially if the tough times last a while) it's hard to see the silver lining. But, there is great significance to what we go through. Each time I go through something awful, I learn something very valuable on the other side. Do we have to have hardships to learn those things? No. But if everything was just handed to us and easy, we wouldn't appreciate it. Mothers go through excruciating labor, but when they look at their precious child, it was all worth it and they keep having kids usually.
So, where do olives come into this?
In Exodus, when they were building the tabernacle in the wilderness to worship God, He had very specific things He wanted and it ALL had a deeper meaning.
 “You are to order the people of Isra’el to bring you pure oil of pounded olives for the light, and to keep a lamp burning continually. 21 Aaron and his sons are to put it in the tent of meeting, outside the curtain in front of the testimony, and keep it burning from evening until morning before Adonai. This is to be a permanent regulation through all the generations of the people of Isra’el"
-Exodus 27: 20-21
The way you get olive oil is to press, crush and bruise the olives so the oil seeps out. This oil was used for the Menorah that represented God's ever-burning presence and also for anointing.
Israeli Olive Press. {Source}
That stone above is very heavy and grinds down on the olives to press the oil out. Chances are, if you feel very pressed and crushed, God could be drawing something even more precious out of you than you know. It can be hard to trust sometimes, but He does ALL that He does out of love and our complete and total benefit (in the long term sense) is what is on His mind. Even in the pressing, He sustains us and keeps us from the enemy.
" 8 We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; 9 persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed."
- 1 Corinthians 4:8-9
Even in our pain, we will not be destroyed. Circumstances don't define us, God does. We are pressed by so much, but out of it God draws the good in us that he can use and anoint in us. Have hope, and don't give up. Being pressed hurts, but being used by God is amazing.
Love you guys,


Thursday, October 25, 2012

Through flood and fire

Hello all,

Have you ever had a day where you just feel farther away from what's important than you should be? Well, that day was yesterday for me. You all know how I feel about God, and that I love being one of His kids...but it's true what they say, you're either getting closer or further.

I confess, I've been getting further and not on purpose. I have gotten so caught up in the hustle and bustle of this nutty life and have let stress worry and wear me down to a spiritual and emotional thread. It happens to us all. We reach out for help when we should be reaching UP.

I was driving in the car the other day and just felt completely rotten. I turned on my iPod, hoping for some kind of pick me up, and boy did I get it. My iPod shuffled to a song called "You Are Mine" by Ben and Robin Paisley from Enter the Worship Circle (check them out if you haven't...their music has encouraged me so much). This song is based on Isaiah 43 which is a scripture very close to my heart. It says:

"Don't be afraid, for I have redeemed you; I am calling you by your name; you are mine. 2 When you pass through water, I will be with you; when you pass through rivers, they will not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire, you will not be scorched - the flame will not burn you. 3 For I am ADONAI, your God, the Holy One of Isra'el, your Savior - I have given Egypt as your ransom, Ethiopia and S'va for you. 4 Because I regard you as valued and honored, and because I love you."
- Isaiah 43:1-4
 I was in tears before the chorus even started. This verse is so special to Toby and I because the Lord spoke it over us at a crucial time while we were engaged. It was so intensely personal to us then and it is even more so now. These verses are engraved on our wedding rings in Hebrew. Things will get tough. I will feel overwhelmed. But, God will keep me from harm because HE thinks I'm valuable. I needed to remember this. I needed to remember His goodness and His love for me. It motivates me to keep striving.

We all lose steam, but we have hope. Thank you Father for Your goodness to us!


Saturday, October 20, 2012

Survey Saturday

Hello all,

It's that time again! This week's survey is borrowed from the Lauren Hartmann at "the little things we do." She's totally great and makes this whole survey thing easier...that or I'm a lazy bum which is definitely true.

Anyhow, here is the fun little survey!

1.  One thing I plan on doing to relax this weekend is    spend some more time in FORT BEBE! That's right, we built it again. It's like a mini-free-exclusive vacation for us and we just can't resist   .
2.  A big pet peeve of mine is  people coming over uninvited...really just when people decide that they have the right
 to invite themselves to whatever I'm doing no matter what it is. It's just rude. I love people a lot, but I love having the CHOICE to be around them. If you do that, I WILL find a way out...and that way out will probably be me telling you that it's not a good time and you can't come. Everybody has their limits   .
3.  I am really loving  the author Neil Gaiman right now. Brilliant   .

4. The rain is   one of my best friends. You could not put me in a better mood than to have it rain all day with grey clouds and all so that I can pour some tea and read a book  .
5. My favorite girly indulgence is Probably getting a pedicure. It doesn't happen often, but when it does I'm on cloud 9.

6. A song I always get stuck in my head is   That stupid "Call me maybe" song...and also the stupid Taylor Swift "never getting back together" song. Curse you pop divas and your ridiculous immature music. You get me every time .

7.  The best cure for stress is  drinking something nice and warm (or alcoholic, haha) and snuggling with the dude to read or watch a movie...this is after having some me and God time of course :) . 
 That's all I got! Happy weekending.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Another British Invasion

Hello all,

I recently read an article by Alex Williams that I found over at A Cup of Joe. I have to say I loved it and also felt it ringing oh so true in my ears.

The article addresses that Americans are, by droves, adopting British phrases into our vernacular. I am totally a guilty participant and, truth be told, a willing participant. I have recently had many conversations with some of the teens my husband and I work with about British accents and British phrases and how much we love them. One girl said she reads books with a British accent in her head. The other says that children's British accents are precious and that she wishes her kids would have them. I concur with both. haha.

As a child who was brought up with British literature, BBC programs and actual British friends, it was a natural progression for me to use British phrases and occasionally talk to myself in a British accent (busted). However, I can TOTALLY see how our British neighbors can feel like Americans may be adopting their words just to be hip, trendy or "posh". Perhaps they feel a bit slighted, and if so, for my part, TRULY no offense meant!

 With the emergence of Harry Potter, Downton Abbey, and The Office (British version), Sherlock and much more that America has tapped into, it is hard not to adopt the beloved words we hear. We are a generation raised with these patterns of speech in our heads and ears. Britain is so accesible to we Americans. Thanks to television and the internet, the world lives so much more globally than before.

What do you think? Love using these across-the-pond phrases? hate it? British friends, how do you feel? Are we hijacking your words or are you happy to lend them?

Just some food for thought. I thought it was interesting!

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