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Last week was filled with some important things and I never did get around to posting my weekly photos, so I’ll be sharing the past two weeks with you today. Can you believe February is upon us?! I am still working on some personal goals I have for this year, so I am feeling good about the fact that I haven’t forgotten them already! I’m also getting excited about some recent thoughts I want to share with you soon, on this little space.

Here’s a quick recap of our past couple of weeks…

+ Are these the greatest glasses?!! These belonged to my uncle’s mother and have been passed along to our kids. It’s fun to get a few unique finds that come with some family history tied in.
+ Layers of snow and branches against the most beautiful blue sky, it was breathtaking.
+ Birthday candles and the customary chalkboard birthday greeting, done by the kids of course!
+ Making dozens upon dozens upon dozens of chocolate chip cookies.  A perfect Saturday baking day!
+ What remained of the snow by day three after our storm. The kids all made a family of snow-people, who (sadly) were all melted by morning. We all miss it.
+ Andy’s homemade pasta… nothing like it!!
+ They play so well together. He plays games with her that she likes, even though they may seem childish to him. It is the sweetest thing ever and I just love their little friendship.
+ Enjoying some much needed coffee watching the light stream in through the glass.
+ Conversations with her are so much fun.  She thinks about what she is asked, and she makes very thoughtful answers.  Usually they make us laugh, but lately they have been quite insightful for a little four year old.  She really is something else.
+ Cheeky kisses.

Have a great week! xo

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A few of you have mentioned that you were interested in the coffee toffee recipe I used when I referred to making the candy over Christmas; and voila! I have it for you… and just in time for Valentine’s Day! I came across the simple recipe in this cookbook of mine. The author is a food blogger (one of the best food blogs of all time), and she has shared this exact recipe on her very wonderful blog. All that is needed is for me to leave you with the link.

It was surprisingly quite easy to make. You will want to be sure to have a candy thermometer on hand. What is required is the ability to move quick, and have all your ingredients prepped and ready to go. Then, it’s just cook, pour, sprinkle, spread, and sprinkle again. And, we took Deb’s advice and popped the tray into our freezer to set quicker and ultimately be able to eat even sooner. (wink!)

Here is the link, and some notes to what I did:

  • I used molasses, not honey or corn syrup.
  • I used fine sea salt.
  • I used chocolate chips, but I like to cut them smaller so when they set there aren’t as many lumps of chips.
  • I made it with hazelnuts on a couple of occasions, and with almonds (not skinned, but toasted) the last time; and both were delicious.

I also froze a batch and they were just as good after a couple of weeks in the freezer as when they were just made.  Give them a try, and I hope they are just what you expected! (And my fair warning to you, they are incredibly addicting!)

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This little kitchen of ours has been worked rather hard over the past several days.  Yesterday, I was talking with one of my dear friends about how we both function rather well in small kitchens. We stood, scooping up hundreds of little mac + cheese bites for an event we catered last night, and discussed how each of us, having large families, who we love to cook for, ironically have rather small kitchen spaces.  Yet, it isn’t really about the kitchen space to us. What it’s really about is the ability to use any space we’ve been given to pour our love out to others in a way we enjoy, through food.

Today, throughout hours of cleaning up to get our kitchen back in shape for our day to day rhythms, I have been pondering why we do what we do. What may seem like (to others) sheer craziness… frying more chicken, smoking more pork, baking more cookies, and toasting more nuts than you could even imagine, to us it’s because we love to serve those people we hold dear.  This idea of hospitality is something that, to me, is hard to put into words because it is truly something that seeps out of one’s heart and is shown through it’s very action.  Just typing that gives me chills and makes me want to cry at the same time because for me, it is the very core of who I am as a created creature of God.

Andy has suggested that I begin to write about my heart for hospitality, but I have struggled at knowing just how to do that, and where to start; and quite frankly how to not just talk about myself… which is really not what this blog is about.  But, to be honest, I get extremely excited about hospitality. This action is more than just having people over to your home for a meal.  For me, it comes from inside your soul; it’s a way of loving others so conscientiously that they know without a shadow of a doubt that they are loved, well thought of, and appreciated.

Over the past couple of years I have had opportunity upon opportunity to do just this. I have been able to cook for musicians and speakers and leaders; and with each person I am thoughtful about what would make them feel nourished inside and out. Spending time on someone is a piece of the puzzle, the mystery that is hospitality, that isn’t often recognized because it’s done in one’s head and heart, and often not seen. Much of hospitality is done behind the scenes, it may never be noticed or recognized. Part of being passionate about this means it is not about me in any way, but sincerely all about others.  It is not for any recognition (which is why I struggle even writing this post!), but completely about someone other than myself.

After days and weeks of planning this event we did last night, I find myself physically exhausted, and at the very same time extremely rejuvenated. I love being with people.  I actually find it a bit funny that I also like doing so much work “behind the scenes,” often with a small team of people. But when I am able to work with all of my heart for others, I find that it refreshes me in a very healthy way. I come home exhausted, and I literally have said (repeatedly) to my family and those I’ve worked with, I’ll never do this again! to find myself doing it over and over again. I am being stretched and strengthened and invigorated through all of this, and my soul is loving every second of it.

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Surprise! More photos of the snow, but it did take up a large portion of our past week. 🙂 I have heard, since the big storm that came through on Friday, that Nashville hadn’t seen this much snow for twenty-eight years! How exciting that we got to be here for that?!

As I sit here, the snow has melted from a rainy night, and what we have is a little remnant of a snowman the kids built yesterday.  Aside from all the fun of our snow-filled weekend, we got much relaxation in as we couldn’t really go anywhere.  For some reason, our specific street keeps slippery iced roads longer than other streets.  We were talking with our neighbors about this, the other day as we built a neighborhood snow-cowboy in their yard, and none of us can figure out why the surrounding streets are drivable, but not ours.  What that did provide is some good old snowed-in adventure for us, which we honestly didn’t mind one bit.

I can’t believe January is almost complete, eleven more months of this new year, and so much to look forward to.  Hope you all have a wonder-filled week! xo

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“I wonder if the snow loves the trees and fields, that it kisses them so gently? And then it covers them up snug, you know, with a white quilt; and perhaps it says, ‘Go to sleep, darlings, till the summer comes again’. 

– Lewis Carroll, Through the Looking-Glass

I shared this quote the other day on Instagram and I believe it to be entirely true of what happened here at our home in Nashville. We’ve been covered in a white quilt; kissed by the snow… and my heart has exploded all over again.

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Andy and I were up watching the snow fall at six am Friday morning. The weather predictions were that it would arrive later that day, so I was surprised to see that it had begun and was already accumulating. I stood at the window, watching; I didn’t want to do anything but stand and gaze.  As the kids slowly woke, and one by one trickled into the dining room, we discussed the days plans and the necessity to cut school short and go outside and play!

The snow came down the entire day until the dark hours when we watched it fall in the street lights, as the moon filled the sky. Saturday morning, with flurries still swirling around, we drank coffee, sitting in our illuminated living room. The brightness of the snow had filled our home with more light than ever, almost blinding, but so, SO beautiful. These days felt like a fairytale, as though they weren’t real… like time had stopped and we were living in a magical white wonderland.

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Snow really does do something to you; something unique and deep, digging into your soul, if you let it.  The child-like freedom; the spontaneity of stopping whatever you’re doing to run and slide down a hill; the way it makes you want to scream on the top of your lungs just how much fun you are having (which I most definitely did)… it is freeing, and it is worth every second of time that it stops.

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I’m breathing it all in… and so extremely happy.

xo

 

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