Friday, February 28, 2014

{Taste: raspberry-orange-banana bread}

Recipe will be shared when I'm done devouring.

{Sound: Hanson}

My car is so smart. She knew exactly what I wanted to hear when I left work on this gorgeous Friday evening. Volume was cranked. Sunroof was open. Happy weekend!

{a journey to minimal: the numbers.}

So far, the great purge of 2014 is seeing some good numbers. For example:
4 (not an exact number as I took a few to goodwill a while back): hefty bags of clothes and linens
5 bankers boxes full of books and magazines
10 purses/bags
a few: trash bags, thrown (happily) into the can.
1 32-piece set of dinnerware
3 boxes of various decor items/ holiday stuff/ unused, randomness

...I will keep updating this as we go!

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

{Taste: chicken panini}

Herb focaccia. Grilled chicken. Pesto. Provolone. Spinach. Tomatoes.
At Jason's Deli.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

{Sight: houseplants}

It's simple really. House plants are lovely. And I have a serious case of spring fever.

Monday, February 17, 2014

{a new day. a new routine.}

It's been said that doing something the same way, at least 7 times, will form a new habit.
There are 7 days in a week... I'm thinking that that is not a coincidence...
Yesterday, I spent the day washing, drying and folding the piles of laundry that can usually be found all over the house. As I folded/hung up each item I considered it carefully before keeping it or adding it to the big, black hefty bag that will make it's way to Goodwill when it's full. If you've read my recent post about embracing a more minimalist lifestyle, then you know that our first step towards that peaceful life is our wardrobe.
We both have jobs that provide us with "uniforms" (David gets full outfits of shirts, shorts and pants that he HAS to wear and I have 6 shirts that I CAN wear, if and when I want to...5 polos w/ company logos and a t-shirt).
I have decided that it is in my best (minimal) interest to put these shirts to good use and wear them daily. Not only will I be better representing my employer, but it will also save me from worrying about what to wear for at least 250 days of the year! Paired with shorts, jeans, capris or even skirts and I'm done.
As for the Mister...I will get back into my newlywed habit of laying his uniforms out for him each night. It's the least I can do. He gets up so early and works so hard all day. I honestly don't know why I ever stopped blessing him with that routine.
So here's how my daily routine has been for far too long:
Wake up at the last minute, wash hair as quickly as possible (without actually bathing myself), throw on some clothes (hoping that I look presentable), rush out the door without eating anything, drive 30 minutes to work (stopping for fruit for the lobby basket and a frozen breakfast bowl), get to work later than I would like, drink coffee, eat "breakfast" and do my job, all at the same time (while still feeling rushed and irritable). Go through my day, ready to be back at home where I can plant myself on the sofa and be as lazy as possible. Head home, usually cruising through a drive-thru for "dinner" and then spending the rest of the evening on the couch in front of the television, making a half-hearted attempt at conversation with my husband, while snapping at the dogs for being annoying (when really, they are just so happy to have us home). The weekends are spent cleaning up our laziness from the week before, or sleeping to avoid it all...usually stuck in the house, never getting out and enjoying ourselves and the world around us.

And here is the new plan:
Wake up the FIRST time that the alarm sounds, enjoy a simple breakfast with coffee or hot tea, have some quiet time with the Lord, dress simply and easily, drive straight to work (without rushing or stopping!), have extra time to get the morning reports done, spend the rest of the day doing what I do and mentally keep myself as relaxed as possible (which really isn't hard since I'm a very laid back, go with the flow type lady), stop at the store for any dinner ingredients we might need, and grab the lobby fruit- if I wasn't able to do so on my lunch break, get home, prepare and completely enjoy dinner, spend quality time together and with our sweet pups, clean up after ourselves, shower and prepare for tomorrow. Do things immediately and efficiently and with purpose. Make the most of the day we have been given, not relying on a second chance to get it right.

Morning #1 is in the books. Let's see how it blesses the rest of my day.

How can you rearrange your routine for maximum bliss?

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

{less will be more.}

I spent the weekend  reading everything that remains by Joshua and Ryan. AKA the Minimalists.


For the past several months, I've tried planning home decor projects, cooking projects, reading projects...I've planned a whole new (bigger, better) wardrobe for myself...I've thought about our plan to buy a bigger house and fill it with lovely things...

But...I haven't had much follow through. I didn't understand why though. I mean, I've always been good at shopping and spending money (even when there wasn't any to spend) and filling our home with...stuff. Meaningful or not. Mostly, not.

This past week, I stopped with all the daydreaming/mental money wasting and started really listening to my soul.
It wants less.
It wants calm.
It wants me to see that what we have is so much more than enough.

Yes, we want a larger house...but to fill it with family and laughter and memories. Not...stuff.

I counted the hangers on my rack in the closet...only my rack...not David's and not all the extras in the laundry room...about 140. Seriously.
I am not any kind of fashionista. I wear the same few things over and over.
Why in the hell do I have 140 things hanging in my closet and still more clothes in piles around the house?!
"Just in case" mostly.
I'm so done with that!
I'm cleaning out my closet. Literally.
There will be absolutely no more than 40 hangers on my closet rack at one time...and my side of the dresser will actually be used.

This is just the first step.
The Martins are going minimal.

No more of this:

so much, packed so tight. overflowing.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

{taste: biscuits}

Greek Yogurt Biscuits
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 6 tablespoons very cold butter, cubed
  • ¾ cup plain nonfat Greek yogurt (we like Fage)
  • 2 eggs
  1. In the bowl of an electric mixer, mix together flour, baking powder, salt and sugar.
  2. Using your hands (and working quickly), mix butter with flour mixture until crumbs are formed. You want to keep little pea sized clumps of cold butter in your dough because this will create little air pockets in the biscuits as they bake and make them nice and fluffy.
  3. In a separate small bowl, beat the eggs and then stir in the Greek yogurt.
  4. Add the egg and yogurt to the dry ingredients on low speed until a dough ball forms and pulls away from the edge of the bowl.
  5. On a lightly floured surface, knead the dough about ten times.
  6. Roll out the dough to at least 1 inch thick. Using a 3 inch round cutter or the rim of a glass, or even a fun cookie cutter (stars?), cut out your biscuits and place them on a Silpat lined or greased baking sheet.
  7. Bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes. The tops of the biscuits should be golden brown.
Using the star cutter, I was able to get about a dozen biscuits...and managed to save 2 for the photo! Yay for adding a little whimsy to a simple meal :)

{gratitude in february}

1. for sharing our stories. and hoping that it helps another.
2. for love. a whole month of it!
3. for morning messages from the Lord.
4. for being able to cheer my favorite when he's down.
5. for warm jackets. and leggings.
6. for thursdays.
7. for friday night bubble baths.
8. for dine-in theaters. with recliners.
9. for clarity. and books that I can't put down.
10. for determination.
11. for clear roads. and safe driving. others aren't so lucky this morning.
12. for precious, tiny 2.5 lb baby Lewis. I adore him already.
13. for waking up to a new day.
14. for a day devoted to love.
15. for hours spent with my husband...even if it's because we are car shopping :/
16. for the smell of clean laundry.
17. for new routines.
23. for minimalism. and less junk.
24. for bosses that respect me enough to ask my opinion.


via pinterest

Saturday, February 1, 2014

{the evolution of me: a teenager}

Adolescents are not monsters.  They are just people trying to learn how to make it among the adults in the world, who are probably not so sure themselves.  ~Virginia Satir, The New Peoplemaking, 1988

In 7th grade, Fall of 1996, my world was once again rocked.
We moved from what I knew as home (Keller) to a town so completely different (Haltom City) that I actually experienced culture shock. Keller was slowly growing from a sleepy little town into  cookie-cutter-houses-slightly-upper-middle-class-suburbia (it would go on to be named "one of the best places to live in America") and HC was...well, full of already-old-lower-middle-class homes and businesses. This was in those fabled days before everyone had the internet and facebook. I wouldn't personally know anyone that had a computer with internet for about 3 more years. We had a phone though, and as best I could, for as long as I could, I stayed connected to my 2 best friends, Shannon and Leesa. Leesa and I grew apart soon after, and Shannon's family was uprooted and moved to Louisiana. I'll admit, I was a terrible penpal. Shannon, if you are reading this, I apologize for not holding up my end of us. I met and made some new friends, sure, and a few have endured to this day, but inside, I was miserable. I felt lost. I felt unnecessary...and combined with a family that I didn't like or understand...well let's just say I was sad. Very sad. I hid it well though. 
One sunny day in May of '97, I sat alone in my room. Per usual, my radio was on and I was sitting crosslegged beside my bed. The family dog snoring somewhere nearby. 
I had a bottle of aspirin next to me and a sharp knife, just in case.
As I mustered up the courage, trying to give myself a sort of suicide peptalk, an unfamiliar tune weaved it's way through my sadness and tears and my hungry heart listened.
"You have so many relationships in this life,
only one or two will last.
You go through all the pain and strife, 
then you turn your back and it's gone so fast."
"So hold on to the ones who really care,
'cuz in the end, they'll be the only ones there..."
My breath caught, I started shaking. There was a tiny flicker of hope and even happiness in my heart. I had ones that cared. I had aunts and uncles and cousins that I adored. Hell, the love I had from my granny alone would have been enough. I had a baby niece that might need her Aunt Amy some day. So, I latched onto that song. I threw the bottle of pills at my closed bedroom door. I cried. A good, raw cry, the kind that cleanses. The kind that heals. I then carried the pills and knife out to the kitchen. I went back and sat by my radio. waiting and waiting for that beautiful melody to come through the speakers again. Blank tape at the ready, and when it did, I hit record. 
A month or so later, I was spending summer break with my granny in her tiny little trailer on Lake Tawakoni. She didn't have a CD player, but she had a cassette player. So, seeing my love for that song (and probably just wanting hear something ELSE from that old boombox, she took me to walmart and bought me the full album on cassette. If you haven't figured out what the song is- it's "Mmmbop" by Hanson.  You read that right. That "annoying" song from the  summer of '97 is the very thing that saved my life. Scoff if you wish, but it did. 
To say that I wore that cassette out would be an understatement. It was eventually replaced with a CD version and looped 24/7 from my tiny corner of this great big world.
That little song and a love for the band of brothers singing it led to new friendships. It bonded us. We were a sisterhood. Life looked good again.
High school came and went. Laughter was heard, tears were wiped, hearts were broken and mended. Memories were definitely made. 
I met my 2 best girlfriends in the world, Ashlie and Heather within the classrooms and hallways of that school.
On the first day of 9th grade, I walked into my English class rocking some pretty awesome red Doc Martens. As I sat in my seat, the girl next to me exclaimed "Zac Hanson has those! Only in yellow!" I turned with a grin and showed that I was also rocking a Hanson shirt. We would go through the next 4 years so close, that we were often mistaken for sisters. I even introduced her to her husband when we were just 16!
Heather and I didn't really meet or become friends until sophomore year. I like to believe that our friendship is the reason that my family had moved to Haltom City. She only lived a few blocks away and we would walk between our 2 houses daily. Eventually, we would drive. Today, she is my sister. Married to my brother and mother of one of the most perfect little boys to ever grace this earth. She is my soul's true mate.
I met the boy who completely held my heart for 6 whole was completely unrequited love, but eventually we would grow very close. I also met the boy who would eventually introduce me to my husband in that school...driving past Haltom High School still brings such a smile to my soul.  
During the summer  before my senior year (and then a week before my 18th birthday) I lost my grandpas. One's hand I was holding as he took his last breath, surrounded by his loved ones; the other went alone, sitting in his front yard. A perfect illustration of how their lives had been lived. Heather, Becca, Brian, Kevin, Ben, Chris and will never truly know how you all carried me through that heartache, but I say thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

I love these people and these memories dearly and can not even imagine going through this life without them. 
To think, I could have missed out on some pretty amazing years, and some of the greatest people, had I given in to the sadness of a lonely childhood.

Stay tuned to hear about my roaring 20s.