Tuesday, July 30, 2013

The Weekend

This past weekend was my birthday! We had planned to go to the beach, but the weather forecast was looking a little iffy, so we just stayed home. Caleb made me feel so special all weekend: he made me breakfast, went shopping with me, took me to dinner, let me relax at the pool all Sunday afternoon. It was such a fun weekend, even though we had to change our plans at the last second. I'm so thankful that I get to spend my life with Caleb who loves me so well!

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

The Weekend

This summer we've taken several weekends to visit our family, and we have loved doing so. We visited my sister and Caleb's sister in June, two weekends ago we visited my other sister (including my newest niece who was then just 2 days old!), and this past weekend we went to Virginia to see Caleb's entire family. In the past 10 days we actually ended up seeing all our family members, including our now NINE nieces + nephews! Some of the visits were super short (like after church), but still...we love our families and every minute we get to spend with them. The top picture is of my nephew, but we really spent this past weekend mostly with Caleb's family. We got to meet our newest niece on Caleb's side (she + her big sister are the ones in the above)! She is so cute and cuddly which I of course loved :) The guys worked on building a swing set for Caleb's parents, and the girls did a little shopping with an iced coffee pit stop...the norm. We were able to make it to church in Virginia to run into some of my family, and then we grabbed a quick lunch with my parents before hitting the road for a (rainy) ride home. Our weekends in Virginia are always jam-packed and so quick, but we're thankful for the time to be able to see family!

Monday, July 22, 2013

What's your favorite household chore?

What's your favorite household chore or errand to run to take care of your home? Mine is grocery shopping, hands down. I know a lot of people hate going to the grocery, but I think it's so satisfying to buy a ton of groceries and come home and stock the fridge + pantry. Since we moved to the South I've really enjoyed being able to do all my shopping at Publix. I drive past several other grocery store chains every week on my way to Publix--it's just that good.

There are always a ton of carts, the carts are actually clean (sticky carts are SO gross), and the entire store is organized and clean. Dirty, unorganized stores lose me as a customer real fast.

Publix carries all of the brands I really like, but I also use the Publix brand for quite a few items. The quality is good, and there are some items that I can't even tell a difference (I did a blind taste-test with Nestle chocolate chips vs. Publix chocolate chips - couldn't tell!). The produce is also good quality, which is really important to me. I love that I can stock up on everything I need for the week in one place, because grocery-store hopping is inefficient and frustrating for me. 

My favorite thing about Publix, though, is the customer service. They take your groceries to your car for you! And load them in your trunk! And return the cart for you! Those three things were the only parts of grocery shopping that I didn't like, and now someone else does them for me! The baggers that take my groceries to the car are always super nice, too. I can't remember a week they didn't ask me how my day was going, or if I had a good day at work, or what my plans for the weekend are. It's top notch, folks. Since I've been going to the same grocery store for two years now, I know who the cashiers and baggers are, and I really like that. One day an employee who restocks shelves was talking to me and he mentioned that he noticed I came in every Monday after work. The employees are just SO nice and I love that!

Now through July 24, look for the Running Out? Run In. event in Publix stores to take advantage of great savings on some of your favorite General Mills brands. Plus, you can get a $10 Publix Gift card for spending $30 on participating items now through August 2.

Disclosure: The information and prize pack have been provided by General Mills through MyBlogSpark. But the above opinions on Publix are 100% my own. I really do shop at Publix every week :)

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Mango Salsa

Let's make some salsa and let's use mango! We're talking fresh ingredients, some chopping + dicing, and we have a salsa for snacking before dinnertime. I threw in mangoes, jalapeno, lime juice, onion, red pepper, and cucumber. You can add cilantro too, if you're into that (I'm one of those who doesn't really like it), and anything else you feel like adding. This is easy, throw-in-what-you-like salsa, and it's hard to go wrong. Mangoes can be slippery + tricky to cut, so grab an OXO mango splitter to make it easier! This tastes better if the flavors have time to meld, so stick it in the fridge for an hour before serving.

Mango Salsa
2 mangoes, peeled and diced
1/2 cup diced vidalia onion
1 jalapeno, finely diced
1/2 cup chopped cucumber
1/2 cup diced red pepper
juice of 1 lime

Combine all ingredients in small bowl. Stir to combine. Cover and store in fridge for at least one hour before serving. Serve with chips, over fish tacos, or anywhere else you'd like to add some fresh salsa.

Disclosure: I received the above OXO mango splitter from the OXO Blogger Outreach Program, but the above opinions are 100% my own. OXO is a brand I have always used and one that I really love.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Around Here, Lately

1. I quit my job. This was one of the more difficult decisions I've made lately, but it was definitely the right one (isn't that how it usually works?). Leaving the known for the unknown is always hard, especially when I got along so well with most of my co-workers, but I realized I was in a job that was not right for me + I needed a change. My last week was the week before we went to the beach, so I was really thankful to have a week of down-time/transition.

2. I started a new job! I started the end of May and have really enjoyed it. It's been a really great fit for me, and I'm so thankful I made the decision to just go for it. The office environment is one that I was looking for, and it's been really challenging--which I LOVE.

3. We went to VA to visit Caleb's sister and her husband. They live in Blacksburg, so we loved being able to walk around the campus at VT and reminisce about college days. We also drove by the house we lived in when we were first married. We really had a great weekend visiting with Emily and Dave; we love spending time with them!

4. I got a donut at the best donut place on the east coast. I am not even exaggerating. Carol Lee Donuts in Blacksburg is where. it's. AT! If you're ever in southwest Virginia, taking a 20 minute detour off of 81 will be totally worth it. This place is partly responsible for the weight I gained in college...

5. The AC in our house broke - womp womp. The upstairs unit broke, then a week later the downstairs one crapped out as well. And let me tell you it was HOT! Thankfully the HVAC dudes were able to recharge the one downstairs, so we only had to replace the upstairs unit. For you homeowners out there, I hope your HVAC units have a long and happy life... because they cost a pretty penny! But we are very thankful to be cool again :)

6. We have a garden! We've slowly been accumulating produce from our little garden out back. We mostly have zucchini, but we're starting to get more cherry tomatoes and have had a few raspberries here and there. I'm starting to run out of ideas for how to use up all of the zucchini, so if you have any great recipes let me know!

7. We went to VA for a second time in June to visit my sister and her family. We had a great time playing with the kids and hanging out in their home. When we go a couple of months without getting to see the kids, they change so much! We love getting to play with them and hear all of the things they have to say.

That's pretty much the summary of things happening around here. I'm going to work on blogging more consistently... we'll see how it goes :) Happy Monday!