Monday, January 31, 2011

Baked Kale

Recently my sister and I were swapping recipes and she recommended one using kale. Ironically, I have never cooked with this ingredient, but was anxious to give it a try given our last name. :)

Kale chips are super delicious, super easy to make, and a great healthy alternative to potato chips.

Get the recipe here

They are light, crispy, salty, and almost dissolve in your mouth like cotton candy. Yum! I totally recommend these as a snack or light veggie along side chicken or fish.


Friday, January 28, 2011

A Serious Circus

Today was an awesome day.

Zach and I were invited to join the Advance staff (student ministry at FHC) at the circus today. It's been years since I have been to the circus and let me tell ya... it's definitely changed! This is one serious circus! The lights, video, and production elements were much more sophisticated and dramatic than I was anticipating. We had such a blast with all our new friends/ Zach's co-staffers while watching these amazing and jaw-dropping acts.

In all seriousness though I feel like I probably missed half the show. There is so much going on at one time it's completely overwhelming and hard to focus on anything for longer than 2 seconds. If I were a scientist (or psychologist) I think I'd do research on the correlation between ADD and circus attenders. Ha! It was nuts!

Our group caravanned from a train station near the church into downtown for the show. I didn't take many photos, but here are two of my favorite people waiting for the train to the circus!

my Z man
Anna Grace Carson.   Love. This. Girl.  Ahh.
Since taking photos was nearly impossible to do (well) in the arena I opted for lots of video footage in an attempt to capture all the craziness. Here's a little recap of our fabulous and over-stimulating time at the circus...

(Stop music player at bottom before watching)

Thanks Advance team and Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey for a fantastic day!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Allie Inspiration

So I am slowly but surely making progress at the new house. No pics yet (sorry), but it is coming together nicely. Most the rooms will look similar to our old house, but the one new room requiring a new design is Allie's bedroom. In our old house we only had two bedrooms so Al's room was also the guest room if anyone came to stay while she wasn't there. In this house she gets her own fabulous Allie-inspired room and I could not be more excited to get this underway.

Allie and I talked about her room over Christmas and we had similar ideas on how it should look and feel. Great minds think alike. :)

The room will be very "Anthropologie-ish" in a bright green/yellow/white color scheme. The goal is to capture Allie's nature-loving, creative, feminine, unique spirit in the look, feel, and textures of the space. I want it to be a really special place she can call her own and feel inspired, imaginative, and refreshed.

Here are some of my idea images...

Before we left Florida I found the deal of a lifetime on this awesome french provincial 9 drawer dresser and mirror (mirror will be wall hung)...

These pieces will be repainted to match the bed frame I find with a similar look and feel. Or maybe my parents can help me make one... :)

I am anxious to see how all this turns out, but am even more excited for Allie to be here staying in her new room! I think she will totally love it!

Stay tuned for photos of the finished space!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

30 Years Young

Today is my beloved's 30th birthday.

I cannot believe my wild and crazy, quirky and funny, amazingly talented, beautiful, sweet, humble, and Jesus-loving husband is 30!

Oh how I wish I could open up the skies and give him a star or something as equally magnificent to show him how much I love him and how thankful I am for him!

In lieu of my inability to do this, I have taken to doing a few more... realistic things this year to celebrate such a momentous occasion and my special man. Here's the recap...

This morning before church began with a few small gifts and 30 paper hearts.

I hid 30 hearts labeled with either "I love you" or "Happy 30th Birthday!" all over the house in places I knew Zach would eventually look. :)

Even his shoes (and keyboard on stage at church!) could not escape my cleverness. :)

Tonight we will be having a small party after Advance, the student worship service every Sunday night. We normally have all the high school/college guys who lead worship at Advance over to our house after the service just for fellowship and hang time, but tonight we will be having cake and a partay!

I made Zach his favorite- yellow cake with chocolate icing. I actually went wild and put chopped Reece's cups (his fav) and toffee on top. Yum!

We will also be having Donatos Pizza, an all-time favorite of Zach's he use to eat when living in Alabama. To our surprise Charlotte has Donatos as well and tonight Zach will definitely partake. :)

I also whipped up a few decorations...

... to make the house look extra special as well as a birthday poster for everyone to write birthday messages on.

I can't wait for the festivities to begin as we take a few moments to celebrate Zach's precious life!

Zach, I am so ridiculously proud of you and so humbled to be married to such a great man. The way you love others, lead with conviction, give selflessly, and pour everything you've got into Allie inspires me. I have been so overwhelmed with joy watching you lead, grow, and reach your potential here in Charlotte and we haven't even been here a month yet! :) I am so happy you are able to do what you are passionate about and share God's goodness through music. God's love is so incredible and it is obvious He lives and works through you. Thank you for your constant love, support, encouragement, and patience. You are my everything and I can't wait to see what our life looks like 30 more birthday's from now. I love you!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Mystery House Unveiled

So Zach and I just moved into a mystery house. No, it doesn’t have hidden passageways (although that’d be awesome) or an ominous presence, but we had never seen it before/ been inside it until we were at the front door with a packed moving truck on January 4th. (And yes, for all those wondering, I was slightly terrified as to what I had potentially gotten myself into. Ha!) As a designer, I usually visit a rental property, survey every nook and cranny, and take lots of photos BEFORE ever agreeing to rent a place. I know this probably makes me sound like a control freak, but I also will plan in great detail, buy paint, order additional accessories, and already know where everything is going in the new place and what everything will look like before I even pack one box. 
This was far... very, very, far from the case this time. 
Due to some really cool circumstances, we were blessed with the opportunity to rent a house from a previous church employee who had moved across the country. We knew the house has been renovated and we had seen a few photos online, but a lot was left to be discovered when we got to Charlotte last Tuesday. 

The house is awesome for a number of reasons. It’s four bedrooms, 3 full baths, has lots of windows, and lots of yard. It also feels a teeninsy bit New Orleans-ish due to the wrought iron details and narrow balcony on the front. Probably the coolest thing about it though is that the backyard actually backs up to the church property. We literally live 100 yards from Zach’s office and we couldn’t be happier about this. I mean really, who wouldn’t be? We never have to fight the crowds for a parking space on Sunday morning. :) We also can’t wait just to use this house as a great place for fellowship and community since it is so convenient for all our new Forest Hill friends.
Anyways, so here are a few of my favorite things I discovered last Tuesday when I saw our new house for the first time. It’s definitely an upgrade from the last place. Ha!

1. Kitchen sink and faucet

I love love LOVE this giant sink and wonderful garbage disposal in the kitchen. Our last house had no disposal and that got old real quick. Haha! I also love the dual faucet/sprayer. Super cool and convenient.

2. crushed ice 

Zach and I LOVE crushed ice so having ice and water in the refrigerator door is a dream come true! YES!

3. oven and stove
So I had seen the stove/oven in a picture before arriving, but OMG do I LOVE this appliance. I had no idea how horrible our last oven was until I started cooking with this one. SO FAB.

4. pantry

I had no idea how crazy efficient the storage is in the kitchen until I started unpacking the 15 boxes of kitchen stuff we brought. The cabinets make use of every square inch and the pantry is like 2 feet deep. Love it!

5. dimmers
I’m big on soft lighting so I was overjoyed to find dimmers all over this house! It definitely creates a nice, cozy ambiance in all the living spaces. 

6. outdoor grill (not pictured due to being buried under snow!)
The owners also left an AMAZING grill behind equipped with side basket and griddle. We are so excited to use this soon when it stops snowing. :) Also, cool thing, it is wired into the gas line of the house so we never have to go fill a propane tank.

7. fenced in backyard
I also did not know that our big backyard is completely fenced in. I guess this means Bella and Rosie (my sister’s dogs) can visit on occasion after all.

8. gas fireplace

Gas fireplace in the living room. Perfection.

9. utility room
I love having a utility room/ laundry room separate from any other space! Our last house had the laundry closet in one of the bathrooms so it was always mildly disastrous.

10. attic fan
Also, this is going to sound ridiculous, but I love the attic fan. Ha. I had never even seen an attic fan before this house, but it is a great feature when your upstairs area gets a little too hot and stuffy. 

Hopefully soon I will be able to post some finished photos of the interior, but don't get your hopes up! It will be a slow go and work in progress, but worth the wait if you ask me. :) Stay tuned!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Orange you going to say 'thank you'?

So this past weekend my dad drove up to NC to bring Zach’s truck from Florida. We had a great time showing him around our new church and our new city. In addition to bringing the truck, dad brought me a whole bunch of fresh picked oranges AND fresh squeezed orange juice he made himself. 

I seriously have never had such good oranges and juice! Thank you dad for bringing all the deliciousness! I will be enjoying it for days to come.
Zach and I owe my parents so much gratitude for all they have done to help us and support us, especially over this last year. Thank you mom and dad! We appreciate all you do and who you are so much.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Christmas Recap

So I know Christmas already feels like a lifetime ago, but I wanted to post just a few pics from our holiday time. Due to all the craziness and upcoming transition to Charlotte I didn’t take a ton of photos. Boo. Oh well. There’s always next year I guess!

Mom got little snow "people" for our whole family. Here's us!

Bella and Rosie, my sister's dogs, are spiffed up for the holidays with festive collars...

fireplace at mom & dad's
Zach and Allie
Allie reading up on AAA travel deals :)
Allie's smore. I think she ate 4 of these! Ha!
Zach's mom gave Allie a really cool indian puzzle for Christmas we spent a lot of time working on. 
the finished puzzle!
We gave Allie a really nice acrylic paint set and 2 large canvases for Christmas. She of course went to town painting while I was packing and did an amazing job. Her art will be displayed in our new house in Charlotte. More pics to come soon!
mixing paint
Allie at work
Hooray for another holiday filled with fun and family love!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

New Year = New City + New Look

So technically we aren't there yet, but I thought we should start the year off right and transition the blog to our new Charlotte, NC theme.

The city of Charlotte is nicknamed "the Queen City" since it is named in honor of the German Princess Charlotte of Mecklenburg. This hopefully explains the origin of our title 'Citizens of the Queen'. :)

Zach and I are SO excited to be back in a city and thankful it is much closer to Allie in Alabama and Atlanta.

I can't wait to have seasons again and dryer weather! And shop at Fresh Market! And have an airport 15 minutes away instead of 90! And eat at Which Wich! And so many other things. We are so grateful for this opportunity and all that it holds.

Here we come Charlotte! Hope you are ready for us! :)