Rock Climbing @ Stone Summit

This is what we did last night.

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It was really fun playing on the boulders and scaling the other rock walls. We had a great time with good friends!

Crock Pot Ravioli

For my 8th Crock Pot Challenge meal, I decided to try out some Crock Pot Ravioli. We made just enough for 4 people, so our friends and neighbors Jen & Blake joined us for dinner! It was so delicious that I forgot to take pictures :) The recipe was one I found through Pinterest, on the “Eat At Home Cooks” site, and was super easy! It can definitely be tweaked to each person’s preferences (for example, you can use Spaghetti sauce that has been pre-made, rather than making your own like I did). Another success! Two more to go before the challenge is over.

This was also the first Crock Pot recipe I’ve made in our brand new Crock Pot. We turned in our old small one for a bigger version with a digital timer. Woo hoo!

Have a happy Tuesday evening!

Imagine Dragons

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For our Valentine’s “treat” to ourselves, B and I headed to Atlanta to see Imagine Dragons in concert at the Tabernacle. Right after work, I headed home, hopped in the shower, and got ready for our adventure. I had been looking forward to this concert for weeks, ever since I made the impulse decision to buy tickets for us. B was excited as well, because the Imagine Dragons are one of his favorite bands. It is also one of the only bands we both really like. Bonus! (Our taste in music actually varies a lot!)

I had never been to the Tabernacle before, even though I had been to other popular Atlanta concert venues, such as Eddie’s Attic, Centennial Park, Philips Arena, Park Tavern, and Chastain Park. Never the Tabernacle though! I was stoked. As soon as we turned onto Luckie Street, we could tell this concert was a big deal. The line snaked around the corner and down the sidewalk for almost 2 blocks. Thankfully, I had thought in advance to buy parking tickets, so finding parking was no issue for us. We headed inside and began exploring the venue. It took a while, but we finally settled into some seats on the top level. We had a perfect view, incredible sound, and I was very glad we were sitting!

Imagine Dragons had two opening acts: Nico Vega and Atlas Genius. I had never heard of either one of these bands before, but Atlas Genius has had a song that was featured on an MTV show. The song is called “Trojans”. I loved both of the opening acts, and it seemed their energy would be hard to beat.

When Imagine Dragons finally came on stage, the crowd erupted in excitement. They put on quite a show, playing several of our favorites. Namely, “Radioactive”, “Amsterdam”, “Hear Me” and “It’s Time”. The energy that this band has is incredible. You can tell that they are all so passionate about their music, and the excitement is contagious. Based in Las Vegas, Imagine Dragons prides itself on expressing raw and often painful emotions through the art of music. If you have never checked them out before, you definitely should. If you go to their website, you can sample some of their songs.

It was a fantastic Valentine’s Day treat for our first Valentine’s Day as a married couple. Last year, B told me that he loved me for the first time right around Valentine’s Day, so it’s been a special holiday for us for more than one reason. B also presented me yesterday with a photo album including pictures and other souvenirs from our Honeymoon. I hadn’t yet seen some of those pictures, so it was so fun to think back on our trip just 5 months ago! We had such a great time.

I hope you had a great Valentine’s Day!

What is the best concert you’ve been to? What made it so fun?

Spoiled Rotten

When I was little, I remember my Mom and Dad often saying to my sister and I, “You are just spoiled rotten!” Of course, they meant it playfully, but I think there has always been a little truth to it, for better or worse. I am one blessed girl. The biggest difference between then and now is a recognition I’ve gained from the Lord that “all good and perfect gifts are from above”. And of course, I’m not just talking about material gifts! (Even though this post is about that!)

Today I feel spoiled rotten. There were TWO (count ‘em, 1-2) packages on our front step when I got home from work. The first was a medium-sized square package from Rue LaLa. I knew what is was right away- my new shoes!

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I spotted these babies on Rue LaLa and wanted them instantly. That pink?? Love it!

The second package was much tinier and I knew what THAT one was as well :) On Super Bowl Sunday, my friend G had her first Stella & Dot Trunk Show at her home. It was so much fun to look at their beautifuljewelry and accessories, and to eat & drink and catch up with friends. I also purchased a little something. The earrings that came to my door today!

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Just in time for Valentine’s Day! 

What is the best package you have ever received? Was it a surprise or did you know it was coming? 

Crock Pot Chicken Tacos

About a month ago I began participating in the Crock Pot Challenge with fellow bloggers around the world wide web (does anyone say that anymore??). It’s been really fun and I’ve enjoyed experimenting with various recipes. We’ve enjoyed using our Crock Pot so much that we actually bought a brand new one a few days ago! It has a digital timer on it, and I can’t wait to use it! (More on that later)

For my 7th Crock Pot Challenge recipe, I made some Chicken Tacos. This is by FAR the simplest recipe I have ever made. It’s even easier to make than my Old Faithful go-to recipe.

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Confession: I didn’t plan ahead as well as I needed to… we didn’t have any Taco Seasoning. Oops! We made it with Chili Seasoning instead. It was still good, but would have been much better if I had paid attention.

I found the recipe on Pinterest.. I am sure many of you have seen it! It goes like this:

3-6 chicken breasts, depending on how many you are feeding

1 packet of taco seasoning

1 jar of Salsa (big or small, depending on # you’re feeding) 

Leave in Crock Pot/Slow Cooker for 4-6 hrs on high, 6-9 on low. Scoop into your taco shell (hard or soft) of choice and load up with goodies! 

This weekend has been the perfect blend of relaxing and productive. B and I are finally “re-emerging” in the social scene of life. Since we got married 4 months ago, we have laid low, with work and marriage itself keeping us sufficiently busy :) But this weekend, we have had 3 different meals with 3 different couples, attended a wedding shower for some other close friends, and still managed to get chores done at home, relax, watch TV, exercise & go to church! I know, I know… when I say it like that, it doesn’t sound restful at all! Tonight, we had dinner at a nearby pizza restaurant (a neighborhood favorite) with a couple we have been friends with for many years. They got married 2 months before we did, and this was one of the first times we have gotten to hang out and catch up, just us, since then! It was wonderful to swap marriage tales! We are very blessed to have such a wonderful church community here! If/when we ever move, it will be hard to beat the friendships we have made in our town.

Well, the Grammys are on, so I’m signing off. Enjoy your evening!

Creamy Italian Chicken & Irish Beef Stew

I am admittedly a little bit behind in my blogging. Last week, I took a 4-5 day break from the gym, since I hurt my back so badly last Monday. Meanwhile, we’ve been busy with work and stuff at home. Between those two things alone, I’ve been a little uninspired in my blogging life. A good break never hurts anyone, right?

Since I last blogged, we have made 2 new recipes in the Crock Pot for the Crock Pot Challenge.  The first was a recipe I found at The Country Cook. It’s a creamy chicken mixture that is later poured over a pasta of your choice. We chose spaghetti, even though the recipe called for Rotini (we ran out!). It turned out pretty delicious and creamy! I would definitely consider it a success. Unfortunately, we scarfed it down so quickly, I don’t have any pictures to share.

The next recipe we tried was our dinner tonight. It is an Irish Beef Stew from The Little Kitchen blog. After a disaster of a morning trying to get this little guy prepped and into the Crock Pot, it turned out DELICIOUS. It has a LOT of ingredients and a good bit of preparation instructions, so be sure you leave yourself enough time to prepare it and don’t stress yourself out in the morning by rushing it :) Thankfully, my neighbor and friend was able to come over and finish it up for me since I had to run off to work! The recipe caught my interest because of the Guinness and Red Wine in the sauce :) It spelled a-mazing when I walked in from work this afternoon. Yum, yum.

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I am making my way to my 10th recipe… the Creamy Italian Chicken was Recipe #5 and the Irish Beef Stew is #6. Four to go!

What Crock Pot recipes do you recommend? I’m still trying to track down my last four choices :) Feel free to comment below. 

I’m a Hoarder.

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I am a real life hoarder of books. Gosh, it feels good to get that off my chest. Thankfully, B gave me a Kindle for Christmas. I think in the long run, that will at least cut down on the … Continue reading

Lifting Off The Monday Blues

Monday always slaps me in the face. It’s so rude. But somehow I always survive. It’s definitely the grace and mercy of the Lord helping me through that one.

Lately, our weekends have been so great that it makes it extra difficult to wake up and get going on Monday mornings. This weekend was no exception. Friday night, as mentioned in a previous post, was a fun and relaxing Girl’s Night with some friends from church. We all chipped in and brought something to munch on, and just sat around the coffee table talking and catching up. A few of the girls there I had never officially met before, so it was great getting to make new friends!

Saturday and Sunday were relaxing as well, despite the fact that I had to be at work for several hours on Sunday for an Open House. I think it helped take the shock of Monday away a little, so that was an upshot.

One of the best parts about Monday is finishing work and not having concrete plans. Most other days, I have something else going on either in the afternoon, evening or both, so days where I have “nothing to do” are fantastic! I usually take advantage of these days by heading to the gym. That is exactly what I did this Monday.

As it turns out, I overdid it a bit. I headed to the gym with a plan, and it worked against me this time that I actually DID everything I planned to do. My back is killing me today. It was the first week that I have increased the weight on my deadlifts, and I think I was overly ambitious or did my reps too quickly. Regardless, the protein I’m consuming each day is there to help with muscle repair, so I’m counting on that!

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Here is Monday’s workout:

  • Deadlifts 45 lbs, 4 sets, 5-8 reps
  • Dumbbell Curls 10 lbs, 4 sets, 5-8 reps
  • Dumbbell Hammer Curls 10 lbs, 4 sets, 5-8 reps
  • Hip Abductor 100 lbs, 4 sets, 5-8 reps
  • Tricep Extensions w/ dumbbells 15 lbs, 4 sets, 5-8 reps
  • Hip Adductor 130 lbs, 4 sets, 5-8 reps
  • Dumbbell Shoulder Press 15 lbs, 4 sets, 5-8 reps

I typically do my deadlifts at 35 pounds. Not this week! I increased my weight to 45 instead. The lifting part in terms of my weight was perfect, but I think my form was a bit off for some reason. I also increased my hip adductor weight to 130. I’ve noticed how quickly I am building muscle and strength. This is a definite benefit to being a beginning weight lifter as a woman. More on that on T-nation’s article.

1 Week Flashback: My Birthday

Last weekend was my birthday! I share a little bit about my birthday weekend in a previous post. I still have a bit to share, including some pictures I re-discovered on our camera. So, here it goes.

After a great dinner in Atlanta Friday night with just a handful of friends, B and I had a relaxing Saturday sleeping in, working out, and creating a delicious T-bone steak dinner.

On Sunday (my actual birthday), we had a few friends over to watch the Falcons game. Sadly they lost. You wouldn’t have thought that I cared much because I fell asleep during the game. The highlight of my birthday was getting to open my presents from B! He gave me some super-cute gifts, several which I already shared about: my new knives.

A few pictures of the present-opening process:

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Peanut Butter Chocolate Banana Protein Smoothie

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Long title. Short & sweet results.

This is my “go to” smoothie.

Peanut Butter Chocolate Banana Protein Smoothie

You will need:

1 tablespoon Greek Yogurt

1-2 bananas (I keep my sliced and frozen in the freezer to help create even creamier smoothies)

1 tablespoon Peanut Butter

1 scoop of Syntha-6 Protein Powder (in Chocolate Milkshake flavor) … can sub in YOUR favorite protein powder.

Almond Milk- probably 3-4 tablespoons… I usually just estimate… if you use too much, it’s not as thick.

I also throw in 2-3 ice cubes just to add a little coldness.