What I Wore Wednesday...

What I Wore Wednesday...

Aaand it's Wednesday again... which means it's time to share my outfit pics by linking up with Lindsey at What I Wore Wednesday!! I am extremely grateful that it is finally turning cold around here and I was able to pull out my boots and heavy coats this week. Hooray!

Shirt- Jones New York via Belk
Skirt- Lof
Shoes- Old Navy

Necklace- Target

Awanas on Wednesday:
Cardigan- Target (Merona)
Lace Tank- Ann Taylor (this summer)
Jean Skirt- Target
Flats- Nine West via Macy's

Necklace- J. Crew (an old favorite!)

Dress- Loft
Cardigan- Target
Necklace- Target

(My favorite outfit this week!)
Chambray- Target
Skirt- Old Navy (old)
Necklace- Caroline G Shop

Hanging out this weekend:
Shirt- Old Navy (I'm pretty sure it cost me less than $2)
Scarf- Target
Skirt- Target
Boots- Belk

Church on Sunday:
I'm pretty sure this is all Target!

Sunday night-
Target again (sweater and skirt)
Scarf- Van Heusen outlet
Boots- Belk (last year)

Who doesn't love polka dots?

Dress (belt came with it)- Belk
Cardigan- Target
Boots- Belk

Here's to *finally* being able to layer without getting ridiculously hot by midafternoon! Oh, and to hot chocolate. And Christmas music. And Christmas decorations. (I know, I'm crazy.)

Happy Wednesday!


Face to Face(Time)...

Face to Face(Time)...

One of the major downers of living far away from my family is that now my sisters have kids and I don't get to see them nearly often enough. And, let's face it... anyone with nieces and nephews knows that those little munchkins are the number one reason that you even visit home anymore. (That and being the only child far away makes you the crown jewel of the family when you do visit.) Anyway, I really don't know what people back in the dark ages (you know, three years ago) did before FaceTime and Skype. It really is marvelous to be able to "be with" the kids even though I'm hundreds of miles away. And, of course, they need to spend time with me every day so that they don't forget how wonderful I am or that I am their favorite auntie. =) 

Look at these faces... I mean, really! 

Amazing that she's laughing and not crying at the terrifying face in the corner...

And, lest you think I never talk to Leslie, I do... but Miss Priss refuses to stand still for a picture for me. She's apparently better behaved for other people who want to take her picture, so here are a couple of recent moments of adorableness.

Oh, this smile. It kills me.

And this is how the children feel when they have to say goodbye to Auntie Ashley. Depression sets in, obviously.

Thank goodness for technology... I'm sure the person who invented FaceTime would love to know how much I enjoy making stupid faces in order to make three little people laugh. Many thanks, Steve Jobs.


13 by '13...

13 by '13...

Last year I saw a post by Kate called "Twelve by 2012" that was similar to a list of New Year's Resolutions... but the twist is that you don't start after the new year... you start now and try to achieve each goal by the start of the new year. (Novel, I know!) Anyway, it occurred to me that instead of waiting till January 1 to lose those five pounds or get my closet organized or whatever, I should probably start today and try to check off these "I'll-get-around-to-it-never-eventually" items off my list. I'm a big fan of lists, and even bigger fan of checking items off when they're done. Plus, they say accountability is the best ability (or is that dependability?) so I'm using including all you lucky people to help keep me going. I'm sure the excitement is overwhelming you at this very moment. I realize there are just over two months left in the year, which means I'll have to get my butt self (just for you, Mom) in gear!

1. By 2012, I would like to purchase a treadmill and walk on it five days a week. (Check... you know I had to start with something I have already completed!)

2. I recently bought an app that allows you to take pictures of what's in your closet, organize them, and even create outfits with them. Then I looked at the sheer volume of clothing that I possess and decided- app, shmapp- that would take forever! But even if I never get around to using the app, I do need to organize my closet and drawers, so that's item dos.

3. Drink more water and less soda... this is sooo hard for me. Maybe it's all in my head, but I NEED caffeine in the mornings, you know? Otherwise I'm just a grumpy zombie teacher and those, I hear, are not very attractive. However, grumpy zombies whose clothes don't fit are even harder to love, so I must find a balance.

4. I need to start eating a good breakfast (as in, more than a granola bar on the way out the door.) As hard as it is for me to get up early, I always feel better in the morning when I actually take the time to eat something substantial. Not to mention actually sitting down at the table for breakfast is more relaxing than shoving food in my mouth on the way to school and trying to brush off the crumbs as I get out of the car. (You didn't know I was so classy, huh?)

5. Put together some cute, homemade Christmas decorations like the ones I've been pinning for months. Oh, I'll buy some things... but I enjoyed my fall crafting so much that I am excited about trying a few Christmas things, too. A trip to Hobby Lobby on Saturday definitely got me on the right track to get this one crossed off!

6. I'd really like to get back to writing notes for people... I really enjoy doing it and I've kind of gotten out of the habit.

7. It's been forever since I've read a book for pleasure (partly because I'm so busy and partly because by the time I get home I'm feeling too lazy to actually think) but thanks to Janssen's recommendations I now have no excuse. 

8. In the next few months, I would really like to get my play (yes, I wrote a Christmas play... I'll blog  about it sometime, maybe) out to a publisher of some sort. Any information on that would be helpful, since my contacts in the publishing world come to a total of zero. Who knows if it's even good enough to be published... but I would at least like to look into it.

9. Our upstairs office/nook is a messs... and I need to fix it up. I'm not even that interested in decorating up there right now- just getting it organized so I can enjoy a restful little spot to write and blog.

10. Also inspired by Kate, I want to turn my ginormous entertainment center/armoire into a jewelry/accessories station. It really just needs a new coat of paint and a couple of hooks and rods, but that would get all my scarves out of the closet and all my necklaces from off the rack on the back of bedroom door (plus it would eliminate the exceedingly obnoxious noise that my multitude of necklaces make when slung against the door every time it moves.)

11. I had planned on adding "schedule an eye exam and get new glasses," but good old stupidity took care of this for me (I stepped on my glasses last week and broke them in two irreparable pieces.) So, instead of having Old Faithful and a new pair, now I'll just have the new pair. I ordered them last night and will give a full report when they come in. (Sorry to keep you in suspense.) I guess my goal, then, would be "don't step on your glasses, dummy."

12.  Incorporate whole brain teaching into more of my lessons... I've already used it with great success, but I'd like to add it in even more. If you're a teacher, PLEASE try it. I promise it will spice things up!

13. This last one is very important to me, but I'm a little unsure of where to get started. I'd really like to spruce up my blog with a personal design... you know, "about me", categories, etc. If anyone knows anything about HTML or blog design and wants to help, feel free to let me know. (Hint, hint Julie! =) I'm totally clueless but I know that the automatic template is just not cutting it for me anymore. I believe, that whether I have 10 followers or 10,000 (and I fall a little closer to the first number =) that I should make this space as pretty as possible, if only for myself. 

There you have it... I'm sure you are just thrilled to know about all the projects and things I'm working on/toward. Perhaps you could make it a goal of yours to help remind me to meet mine? =) Here's to be being productive and meeting goals... and keeping friends accountable! If I don't get my closet organized by New Year's I am holding you strictly responsible! =)


It's Friday...

It's Friday...

Good grief... it's the end of the first nine weeks of school already! (Sorry if you don't live by a school calendar.) I needed to post some good things from the week since I am MAJORLY bummed about missing the Fall Fun Night at my parents' church... it's the first time in 8 years that I won't be home for it! Waahhhh.... I won't get to see the kids dress up or do the cakewalk or carve a pumpkin... but, I digress... Let's move on to the happy stuff. (And, as always, I'm linking up with Lauren for High Five for Friday!

1. Facetiming with this little lady and hearing all about her school "in her very own home!" I must say that she can already color in the lines better than Auntie Ashley does...

2. Thanks to early voting, we only had to wait about half an hour to cast our vote! Woohoo!

3. My new specs from Bonlook are finally on their way! Thanks Grace for recommending these!

4. Our pastor's son Matthew is such a sweetie... and I love him because he is probably the first baby ever (including my own flesh and blood) who has never acted terrorized by me. Which is shocking because of my very nurturing persona... right?

5. Chambray and floral, and my yellow bubble necklace... a winning combination to boost my spirits on a gray morning.

I'm keeping it short and sweet... hoping this day flies by since we're going to Goldsboro tonight! Let's hope Mamaw is preparing the fatted calf for my arrival... hehe! =) Happy weekend everyone!


What I Wore Wednesday...

What I Wore Wednesday...

This is just my second time linking up with Lindsey at The Pleated Poppy, but I have already been loving the other blogs I've been connected to through the link-up! It's always fun to meet other bloggers and, course, see what they're wearing! =)

I mentioned this necklace last week, but I looove it and the pretty earrings that match- both were a gift from my best friend. Merry Early Christmas to me! =) 

Dress- Loft (one of my greatest deals ever... $10!)
Necklace/Earrings- NY&C (gift)
Nude Pumps- Target

One of my favorite things to do for fun is "shop" my closet- find things that I've had for a while and try to mix them up and create new outfits. This blazer is really old... like, I bought it my freshman year of college. But I still think it's so pretty and I love the detailing. Plus, I'm a sucker for a tie-front blouse. I thought the herringbone pattern mixed with the polka dots looked interesting but not overwhelming. 

Blazer- American Eagle Outfitters (thrifted)
Blouse- Jason Wu for Target
Khaki Skirt- Target

I wore this to our youth rally the other night and I can't wait to wear it again... it's one of my favorite outfits these days! 

Denim Pencil Skirt- Ann Taylor
Gold Loafers- Nine West via Macy's
Cardigan- Target

Striped Shirt- Lucky Brand via Sam's Club
Scarf- Target

Can I just say that I love this scarf so very much and I am trying to resist the urge to wear it every day. 

Sunday Morning

Dress- Target (old)
Cardigan- Target
Bubble Necklace- Caroline G (shop... she has great prices!)

I also wore my bubble necklace with this polka dot shell from Loft and a Target cardigan. Along with the other many, many people out there, I love these necklaces. They really are very versatile and add such a cool touch to any outfit!

That's it... hopefully soon I'll have some new looks that include my new GLASSES (I broke the last pair... because I'm dumb and I stepped on them. Ugh. Blind for now...) Have a wonderful Wednesday! =)


Potato Soup...

Potato Soup...

Even though it still isn't that cold here (boooo!!!) except for in the mornings, I have been wanting potato soup and last night I finally gave in to the cries of my weary-of-pizza-husband had all the ingredients so I ventured into the kitchen to create some yumminess. As usual, this is my mom's recipe, and other than the ungodly amount of time it takes me to peel potatoes, it's really not hard to make. If you are even remotely more coordinated with a knife than I am, this should be a breeze.

1. Scrub up a bunch of potatoes and peel away. (Don't hurt yourself like I usually do... but if it does take you forever, like me, feel free to engage in some mindless tv-watching.) 

2. Cover them with water and add some salt, then bring the water to a boil and let the potatoes get soft, but not too soft because the other stuff needs to settle in also and you don't want them falling apart.

3. You'll need milk, shredded cheddar cheese, butter, flour, and (drum roll...) the secret ingredient: cornmeal!

4. Add butter (half a stick or whole... Probably a half stick would be fine) and two cups of cheese to the pot and let it get melting.

5. Stir two tablespoons of flour into the milk BEFORE you add it to the pot. If you don't let the flour dissolve into the milk, it will get all clumpy in the hot water (ewww) and yes, I learned that the hard way the first time I made this.

6. Next add a couple of tablespoons of cormeal and stir it around... this adds a yummy texture to the soup, but if you don't like that graininess, you could just leave it out.

7. Take picture of camera-shy husband. (Just kidding... not necessary.)

8. Add salt and pepper (generously... potatoes need salt!) and let everything get all mixed and bubbly until the potatoes are nice and tender.

Clearly my goal is to dirty up as many dishes as humanly possible.

Waiting in joyful anticipation...

...to add some cheese to the top and enjoy!

I know there are a ton of "loaded" potato soups out there, but I'm pretty simple when it comes to mine. I'm not a big fan of all the fancy stuff... just cheese and potatoes. Obviously you could add bacon and chives or whatever you like but I like it plain like this. Also, I was just telling a friend that you could easily make this with fewer calories by using 1% or skim milk, reduced fat cheese, etc. Anyway, it's really good and was just as yummy at lunch today as it was last night. In fact, I'm planning on having it again for supper, along with these biscuits that Janssen posted about this morning... the ones I've been craving ever since.

Happy eating!


Ignite 2012...

Ignite 2012...

This past Saturday night, we got to be a part of something really awesome... our church put on our first ever Ignite Youth Rally. Over 700 teenagers (yes, that's a bunch of kids!) and few dozen adults gathered in the field behind our church and we had a church service, followed by a huge bonfire. Our speaker was T.C. Stallings, former pro football player who is now a Christian actor (you've seen him in the movie Courageous!). This night was the result of tons of hard work, headed up by our youth pastor Stephen. He and his wife did a fantastic job and I did not envy all the decisions they had to make (or hundreds of texts they had to answer leading up to Ignite. =) Anyway, it was such an awesome night and Jonathan and I had a blast helping out!

One of my sweet students from last year, Andrew, was there with his mom and dad and I got to hang out with him a little bit. It kills me how tall he's getting!

Chelsea is one of our sweet teenagers at church... and she has a special place in my heart because she was my first "friend" at church since we bonded my first week in New Bern at camp. =)

My dear friend Katelyn and her husband (??? it's so hard to believe we're all married now!) brought a group from their church. I love knowing that so many of my friends are serving the Lord!




Very yum. By the time the service ended, it was COLD.

The bonfire was awesome!

Unwrapping Hershey bars... it's a tough job, but someone had to do it. ("This piece is broken... better set it aside. A piece for the tray, a piece for me..." Maybe I wasn't the best person for the job. =)

Mrs. Kristie and I handed out marshamallows and coat hangers.

This is a terrifying picture of me, but that smore was sooo good!


The service was so awesome... the singing and preaching were great and it was really neat to see hundreds of teens locked in on a speaker who was spot-on with his message about playing on God's team. One of the things that impressed me the most was T.C.'s point about making changes in your life. So many times people use grace as a license to live however they want. As T.C. pointed out, works or outward changes do not save you, but they are a "thank you" for grace. I won't repreach his message =) but it was so good and something every teen (and adult) needed to hear. The Gospel was presented very clearly and many teens made the decision to "join God's team." I had the privilege to pray with several girls at the altar. That is such cool feeling!

What it's all about...

T.C. preached again in our Sunday morning service, and it was another excellent message. This guy is the real deal!

Ignite 2012 was a smashing success.... thanks in large part to the work of our church people but mainly because of God's working among us! Everything went smoothly, from the sound to the parking to the food. Obviously God had His hand on the night since there were over 700 teenagers and lots of fire and no one got hurt or burned anything. =) I was even pleasantly surprised at how polite and mannerly all the kids were... I probably talked to about 200 of them at my table and nearly every kid said thank you and was so nice. It was awesome! If you can come next year, definitely try to make it. I am so thankful I was able to be there and meet such a genuine servant of God. And a night that includes smores is always a good night. =) Happy Monday!