Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Thanksgiving

Sorry for my lack of blogging lately! I have been busy with some photography stuff and extra commitments lately so I've forced myself to put those things first before blogging. Now that I've finished (for awhile at least!) I can resume my storytelling and life updates here on Citizens. Hooray!

Zach and I spent the Thanksgiving holiday in Florida with my family. It was the first time we had been back to the sunshine state since we moved almost a year ago. Craziness. It was a really great time for us to get away and really relax, something we were really in need of.

Here's some pics from our trip...

On Wednesday while the boys played golf, Mom, Lindsay, and I went to breakfast at Boston Coffee, a local shop in downtown DeLand.
Delicious mocha
I heart cinnamon rolls.
Then Mom treated us to manicures and pedicures at the St. Johns Spa.  I love getting my nails done so this was definitely an awesome treat. Thanks mom!

Me and Lindz
Lindz and Mom
Wednesday night the whole family came together for a pre-Thanksgiving feast at a local Japanese steakhouse. De-lish.

Zach, Mom, Dad, and Uncle Lloyd
Me, cousin Ginny, Lindsay, and Stevie
Scrumptious
Our Thanksgiving was spent at my parents house with a lot of our family from both my mom and dad's families. It's pretty cool this is able to happen each year.

Thanksgiving isn't Thanksgiving without the pilgrim shakers
As usual we had an absurd amount of food.
Fried turkey is a family tradition
And mom made these adorable little acorns out of pretzels, nilla wafers, and chocolate kisses.
Pumpkin pie
My plate was ridiculous and over-flowing with turkey, fried turkey, stuffing, gravy, mashed potatoes, sweet potato casserole, corn souffle, squash casserole, broccoli casserole, beans, a tomato tart, cranberry salad, and bread. Sadly, this was not a sampling of all the food that dressed the table.
Aaand then there's my dessert plate. BAHAHA. Carrot cake, pecan pie, and cherry cobbler.
Adie and my Grandma. I love this pic.
And my Granddad. I love Granddaddy!
After our gigantic meal we worked off some calories by playing corn hole. Super fun family fun.
Stevie, Aunt Susan, Uncle Lloyd, and Chip face off
Z and I were corn hole champs :)

The rest of the family watched from the back porch

Lindz knitting, Gin, Aunt Susan, and Momso
After our games we all had a nice Thanksgiving nap. It was an excellent holiday if I do say so myself. :)

On Friday, Zach and I spent our last day in Florida doing a little shopping and hanging out with the fam. We visited a new boutique called Newfangled Modern Market and it had some pretty cool stuff.
Check out these cool handbags made from a recycled tire tube.

Here's Murphy, my cousin's cute beagle
And a lovely shot of sunlight piercing through the trees and a smoky haze as dad burned some underbrush on the property.
Friday night we had a cook out at "Joiner corner." I made some grilled sweet potato wedges served with lime and cilantro that were a big hit!



Z and I had a great time with all our family and look forward to seeing you all soon. We love you!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

The Things We Do

So most of you know I now work as a Children's Ministry Designer, but you don't know exactly what I do. When I actually take the time to think about it, I'm not quite sure how to summarize what I do myself! Ha! Many of my days are filled with creating/developing/writing content for our large group storytelling environments - the Exploratorium for elementary aged children and the Art Studio for preschoolers, managing the overall brand of Kids@FHC, managing/ creating our new website (coming 2012!), actually storytelling in those large group environments, ordering all sorts of random props off Ebay and much more. 

We often create videos to bring our lessons and Bible stories to life. On occasion I am asked to participate in these videos and it's always... an adventure to say the least. 

This month we've been unpacking the craaaazy story of Jacob and Esau found in Genesis 25 -33. If you don't know this story, go online or pick up your Bible and read it. It's a good one! 

Anyways, since some of this content is really funny/ great for families to watch or do at home, I thought I'd post it here on the blog for those of you who don't attend FHC. It's a great way to connect as a family and just capitalize on those teachable moments with your kids.

Our first lesson focused on the birthright trade- when Jacob traded Esau a bowl of stew for Esau's birthright. Here's our "Jacob makes the stew" cooking show-style video and the recipe if you want to make it at home with your family! (Also, a big shout out to Yoshi James, our team videographer. This could not be possible without you!)


Lentil Stew Recipe

Ingredients:

  •  1 pound sliced Smithfield Smoked Sausage
  •  1 cup Smithfield Deli Thin Cooked Ham, shredded
  •  2 tablespoons olive oil
  •  1 large onion, chopped
  •  1 large green bell pepper, diced
  •  2 medium carrots, cubed
  •  1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  •  1 teaspoon dried thyme
  •  1 bay leaf
  •  2 cloves garlic, minced (chopped)
  •  6 - 8 cups chicken stock
  •  One 16-oz. can peeled tomatoes, crushed
  •  1/2 pound dried lentils (1 1/4 cups)
  •  12 large fresh spinach leaves, cut into small pieces
  •  Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

1. Heat olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add sliced sausage and cook until browned. Remove sausage and place on a platter. Discard all but 2 tablespoons of drippings from pan. Reheat drippings and add ham, onion, green pepper, carrot and spices to the saucepan. Add chicken stock, tomatoes, lentils and sliced sausage. Bring to a boil, cover and simmer over low heat for 2 hours. As soup cooks, skim off fat that rises to the top. After 2 hours turn off heat and discard bay leaf. Add salt, pepper and spinach let stand for 2 to 3 minutes before serving.
Our second lesson focused on Jacob and his mom Rebekah tricking his dad Isaac into giving Jacob the family blessing instead of Esau (Esau draws the short straw again... Ha!) and our final lesson this month focused on the reconciliation between the two brothers and Jacob's wrestling with God. Since not all the story details have been shared on stage, we wanted to make a video to bring the kids up to speed with what had happened between last week and where we were resuming the story. We decided to do it in an old silent movie style and it turned out hilarious. 
Here are a few stills from the video shoot of all the craziness. These are the things we do for children's ministry... :)

I was playing the part of both Rachel and Leah, the daughters of Laban. I was forced into wearing fake eyelashes, but it ended up being not so bad. Here I am as Rachel, the beautiful...
Aaaand here I am as Leah, the... not so beautiful sister. Yikes. 
Here's Jacob/ the scriptwriter
And wildman Esau
And God and Jacob wrestling... (yes, this happens in the Bible)
It was definitely a super hilarious video shoot, but the video turned out even better. Well, you can see for yourself! 

"The Jacob synopsis" silent movie


The kids totally loved it and it was a great end to our 3-week story. Stay tuned for more children's ministry creativity and Bible story videos... coming soon on our new website in 2012! 

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Lois Lodge

This past week Zach and I had the privilege of attending the Lois Lodge Annual Fundraising banquet as guests of our dear friends Ashley and Taylor.

Our table
Delicious chicken
Pretty mousse cup

As previously mentioned I love an opportunity to dress up and go to special events, but this was about more than going to something fun. It was about supporting a ministry in our community that helps young women and families who are experiencing an unexpected pregnancy.

Lois Lodge is more than just a maternity home. They provide a myriad of services for pregnant women that go beyond just housing and shelter. This includes counseling and support, education, life preparation skills, Bible studies, and more. If you are looking for volunteer opportunities in Charlotte or have a heart for this type of ministry, I highly encourage you to get involved with Lois Lodge. They have definitely impacted many lives in our community and for the kingdom of God.

Thanks for the invite Ashley and Taylor! I look forward to serving with you at Lois Lodge!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Dinner Date Delight

So last week Zach and I both had work trips - mine to Lake James, NC and Z went to Houston, TX. We dread times apart so we made sure to have a special date night while we were both in town.

I am the type of person who loves to get dressed up for events or special occasions. These opportunities are much more few and far between than they use to be, but I am grateful Z and I can throw on some nice threads and head out to dinner or an event on occasion.

I also love my husband serenading me while I get ready in the bathroom. :) He's not intentionally serenading me, just doing his normal thing - playing and singing through the house, but I love it. I hope I always remember to pay attention to these moments and treasure them. I know not everyone's husband does this. Ha!

Z outside the bathroom while I curl my hair

This week we decided to go to Bonefish, a restaurant I always forget about, but totally love.
We aren't big chain restaurant people, but Bonefish manages quality and uniqueness while still being a national establishment. One thing that wins me over is the bread. I love restaurants that provide really good complimentary bread.

I also love the bang bang shrimp appetizer. Totally scrumptious and spicy.
Our favorite entree is Lily's chicken - grilled chicken served with spinach, artichokes, and goat cheese.
Even though I'm not a big fan of beards, there is no denying my husband is a hottie. I. Am. Lucky.
Us after dinner
Thanks so much for taking me out Z. I love you so much and treasure every moment with you!