My Favorite Animals

Mark and I both love love love animals, and we kinda have a lot of them for newlyweds. We have Mickey Mouse the cat, Maddux the dog, Donatello the turtle and Fanta the turtle. They all give us so much love in return, and we’re so blessed to have them! 

photo (2)Meet Mickey Mouse (Mickey for short). He’s a ten-year-old cat I received at age seven when his previous owners had to let him go. He loves stealing cereal, meowing during the night, and cuddling anytime. He’s adjusting well to his new home; in fact, you’d think he owns the place!

photo (4)Say hello to Maddux the pup! He’s a one-year-old terrier mix. As I mentioned in an earlier post, Mark and I adopted Maddux from a shelter back in May. Since then, Maddux has enjoyed going to work with Mark at the vineyard, snuggling with anyone he sees, and going on long walks.

photo (1)Here’s Mr. Donatello, but I like to call him, “Big Man”. Donatello has been with Mark for a number of years, but he’s new to me. I just love having chats with him because he’s so curious! He loves to chomp small fish and sunbathe.

photoLast but not least, meet wee Fanta. Fanta also lived with Mark for a while, but we became quick friends while Mark and I were dating. You see, Fanta gets super excited whenever he sees someone come near! Mark says he gets excited because he thinks the person will feed him, but I like to think he’s just happy to see me! Love me some Fanta!

So, there you have it. You’ve met our little family. Do you have pets? Care to share about them? Thanks.

Peace,

Alyssa

Advertisements

3 Things I’ve learned from marriage so far

Good morning!

I’m writing today about things I’ve learned from marriage so far. I’ve only been married a short time (7 weeks), but honestly, I could go on and on about the lessons I’ve learned. I’m picking three to share with you which I wish I would have known before I got married.

1. Changing names takes a long time. Be patient with the process. I guess I never really considered how long the name changing process would take. I read instructions online and figured it’d be pretty simple. Change name on Social Security card, get new I.D., and change name on “everything else”. Well, turns out it takes a long time to do those things! Honestly, I’ve gotten my Social Security card which took about 4 weeks once we got back from our honeymoon… And I’m going to apply for my new Driver’s License today. Yep, I’m only on step 2! I’ve already prayed for patience with this process multiple times because I just love my new name so much & I want it to be official! Anyway, now you know. Did anyone else feel like me? Are you going through the process, too, or will be soon?

2. There’s no such thing as a “perfect wife”, so give yourself some grace! If you’re like me, you grew up seeing some picture-perfect families on television (through sitcoms, commercials, movies, etc.). I let those images sink into my subconscious and give me unrealistic expectations for myself when it comes to my homemaking pursuits. For example, the third meal I made for Mark as his wife was homemade macaroni and cheese. I’d made homemade mac so many times that of course, I didn’t use a recipe! Well, unfortunately, I got carried away with twos and doubled the milk in my cheese sauce. You see, I usually use 2tbs. butter, 2tbs. flour, 2c. of cheddar cheese and 1c. of milk, but alas! I used two cups of milk! I had macaroni soup in lieu of creamy mac and cheese! I was so embarrassed as I plated Mark’s dinner, but he gave me so much grace as he ate it anyway. He even commented on how good it tasted! On the other hand, I didn’t enjoy my dinner because I was not living up to the expectation (perfection) I set for my cooking. Let me tell you, I had several other mishaps before I realized, I’m not perfect and I need to allow myself grace to be human, to make mistakes. Has anyone else made silly mistakes like mine? How did you deal with them?

3. Be flexible with your plans. Mark and I made a lot of plans for our married lives. One such plan was to make a budget together and stick to it, so once we found the time, we sat down & made a comprehensive monthly budget. After we made said budget, we went to Walmart and bought some things we needed for our apartment. Then, we immediately realized we hadn’t budgeted for our trip! Of course, we brushed it off, but within a few weeks, we realized we were having trouble keeping track of and spending within our budget. At first, this realization was frustrating! We thought, “if we can only stick to this budget, then we’ll be set!”; however, after much discussion, we realized the budget we made just wasn’t suited to our needs. We made a new budget with more freedom for ourselves, and so far it’s going good! All it took was some flexibility with our original plans. It’s good to realize we’re new at this whole marriage thing, and we’ve got plenty of time (our whole lives) to figure out how to make things work for us.

For those of your who are married, what did you learn in the beginning of your marriage journey? What have you learned since? Even if you aren’t married, I’d love to hear your thoughts on my list. Thanks!

Love,

Alyssa

Mark’s Birthday and More

Hello Again! So much has happened since I last wrote to you guys. I’ll share the highlights here:

1. Mark turned 23! We celebrated with our friends, Bill and Laura, by going to a local joint, Jake and Mike’s, for dinner. The four of us enjoyed our dinner on the patio seating, so Maddux could join us, too. I must say, the food was delicious! I had a seasoned vegetable grilled cheese, and Mark had a Chicken Fuego sandwich! Yum! The best part of the night was when Bill, Laura, Mark and I collaborated on a list of ways that our waiter, Drew, could get to a nearby bar after his shift. Some of our ideas included: Marty Mcfly-ing it, taking a ride on Mary Poppins’ umbrella, or tightroping on some powerlines. Genius, right?

2. On Friday night, Mark and I watched Divergent. We both read the book, but it was our first time watching the movie. I liked it, but Mark was less enthusiastic about it. Have you seen Divergent? What were your thoughts?

3. Mark and I threw our first party on Saturday! We invited a couple of couples over, and we kept the bash pretty chill. I made easy recipes: Velveeta queso with chips, Pigs in a Blanketand fresh vegetables with ranch dip. I got the veggies from the Farmer’s Market on Saturday morning, and they were amazing! For dessert, I made a special ice cream cake to suit Mark’s tastes (he’s not a normal cake person). I bought an Oreo pie crust, filled it with Mint Oreo ice cream, topped it with whipped cream and Hershey’s syrup, and stored it in the freezer until time to eat! It was a major hit, and it couldn’t have been easier!

4. On Monday night, I had a date with my dear friend, Brittany, at one of our favorite places, Hyperion Espresso. It was the first time we had a chance to hang out since Mark and I tied the knot, and the time was such a blessing as we caught up on each other’s lives! Also, since I can’t tolerate caffeine after a certain hour, I tried something new, a Raspberry Italian Soda! I loved the fresh taste, and it definitely cooled me off after a hot summer day! What drinks cool you off in the summer?

5. Last night, I was inspired to make a German-style pancake! You should know, I’ve never been able to make proper pancakes on a griddle. I just can’t time the cooking process right. Well, this German-style Pancake was easy peasy, and it turned out heavenly! The batter was ready in next to no time, and the pancake cooked in the oven for 12 minutes. Mark and I gobbled up the goodness with Grade A Maple Syrup from Whole Foods and sweet, creamy butter. Find the recipe here: http://www.bettycrocker.com/recipes/german-oven-pancakes/319273e2-2f36-4cbf-8cce-3fede62a94b4.

Wow. Apparently, I had a lot to say about food this week, but this girl does love to cook! What have you been up to lately?

Peace and Love,
Alyssa

An Intro to My Husband…

Today is my husband, Mark’s, birthday eve. He turns 23 tomorrow. As I write, I can’t help but reflect on the day before I turned 23 years old. That day, I went on a first date with a funny, charming gentleman, and it changed my life. That’s right, I went on my last first date. God wrote an amazing love story in my twenty-third year of life, starting with a budding relationship and ending with a marriage proposal the day before I turned 24. As Mark turns 23, I pray God writes a truly amazing story in his twenty-third year as well. I pray God blesses Mark with peace, love and joy. I pray God stays close to Mark and reveals His true nature. I pray Mark learns new things, makes new memories and has lots of fun in the coming year!

So, here’s a bit more about my husband:

1. He’s the most genuine, caring guy I know. He helps people without any expectation of something in return. For example, he helped a brother from church recently who was struggling with growing grapes.

2. He’s a very hard worker, and he does a lot for our family. You could even say he puts his blood, sweat and tears into his labors because yesterday, he cut his finger wide open whilst removing grapes from the vine (he works in a winery, and by the way, there weren’t any tears as the expression suggests, just blood). He’s working a lot now that it’s harvest, and I’m so proud of all he does at the winery!

3. He makes awesome decisions (he married me after all lol). Honestly, Mark’s much more spontaneous than me, and his decisions can reflect that about him. He makes me happy with all the surprises his has in store for our daily lives, and I love his upbeat attitude! For example, he downloaded the Yelp app on our honeymoon and picked a breakfast place for us to try. It had the best lavender french toast in the world (check out Over Easy if you’re ever in Asheville, NC. You won’t regret it).

Anyway, these three things are just a small glimpse into the wonderful human being who is my hubs. You’ll learn more about Mark as my blog and our lives go on… Here’s to Mark and his birthday!

Wonderful Weekend Vol. 2

The following are my top 5 favorite things about this past weekend:

1. Watched The Hundred-Foot Journey with my friend, Cindy. I hardly ever go to the movies, so the film was a special treat! I enjoyed it because I love cooking and chick flicks!

2. Taught Ladies Bible study on Saturday morning at my church. I was so encouraged by meeting together with like-minded women. We’re studying Philippians and our curriculum is “Knowing Jesus, Knowing Joy” by Melanie Newton (available online for free at http://www.melanienewton.com/free_bible_studies_files/knowingjesus-joybiblestudy.pdf). We also had a potluck breakfast before class, and the fellowship was amazing! Love those ladies 🙂

3. Made crafts with my friend, Ashleigh, and her daughter, Scarlett (age 5)! I worked on a top-secret project for Mark’s birthday while Ashleigh painted cards and Scarlett painted artwork for my apartment. We also told jokes, and Scarlett taught me about her Tinkerbell video game. I was incredibly blessed by our chill time while Mark was away at work!

4. Ate Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Muffins! Mark and I started his birthday week right with homemade muffins on Sunday! I made them in the morning before church, and we ate them warm… So good!photo (3)

5. Walked to the library with Mark and my brother, Tim. The weather was so mild on Sunday, and I’d been cooped up in the house doing chores and writing Thank You cards. At about three o’clock, Tim and I decided to walk to the library (a little over a mile away), and we invited Mark and Maddux to join us! I picked up a book called, The Summer Wind, by Mary Alice Monroe. It’s the second book in The Lowcountry Summer Trilogy. I’ve started the book, and it’s really good so far. What are you reading these days? Anyway, the walk was lovely! I’m so glad to live in an urban environment where I can walk to places such as the local library!

How was your weekend?

Peace and Love,
Alyssa

Wonderful Weekend Vol. 1

I loved my weekend because:

  1. I started Blogging Again! Yay!
  2. Mark and I got doughnuts from Paul’s Bakery. We brought home: an Oreo, a sourdough glazed, a maple, a cinnamon twist, an apple cinnamon, and a chocolate-frosted buttercream. The doughnuts were amazing as always! If you’re ever in Fredericksburg, VA, you need to find Paul’s Bakery. It’s classic!
  3. We’re finally done moving in! It’s taken several weeks, but our last boxes are unpacked and all of our things have a home in our new place.
  4. I went to Spinning class for the first time since before the wedding. It was definitely a hard ride since I’d been gone so long, but I look forward to getting back into the gym habit. Have you tried a spinning class? Did you like it?
  5. Mark and I cleaned the entire apartment. Since we finished moving our stuff in, we made ourselves busy as bees to make the place shine. It looks so good, and I love the smell of Pine Sol in the air.

    That’s my weekend in review! How was your weekend?

    Also, Mark and I have been married a month as of today! We’ve had an amazing time so far, and I can’t wait to see what the next months and years bring!

    Peace and love,

    Alyssa

I’m back

Hi guys! I’m back. I could give you a long list of reasons why I’ve been gone, but what good would it do? Instead, I’ll fill you in on the highlights of my life in the past months.

First, I got married to my wonderful husband, Mark, on July 12, 2014. He’s such a blessing to me!

Also, Mark and I adopted a terrier mix named Maddux in May. He’s adorable!

Finally, as I’m now married, I moved out of my parents’ house in the burbs into a little apartment in the city! Love it 🙂

So, today I’ll start a Fantastic Friday series. I’ll list 5 fantastic things about my day or week… So here we go!

1. On Monday, I was sick with a stomach bug, and my dear Mark went to 7-11 at 5:15am to  get me Gatorade and Sprite! It made me feel so loved to have someone care for me in that way. What a dear man he is! …and I felt better by Tuesday, so that was good, too.

2. We had our lovely friends, Bill and Laura, over for dinner last night, and I discovered a new way to make my mashed sweet potatoes. I usually used Paula Deen’s recipe which mostly consists of sweet potatoes, butter, brown sugar and honey. I didn’t have honey, so I had to improvise. I whipped my cooked sweet potatoes in the Kitchen Aid with 4tbs. butter, 2 heaping tbs of brown sugar and a dash of freshly grated nutmeg. Let me tell you, the sweet potatoes tasted like Christmas! So yummy! I recommend you try adding nutmeg and see for yourself.

3. I went to Wegman’s today for groceries, and our grocery bill was the least it’s been since we wed! It sure takes a lot to get a pantry going, but we’re getting there.

4. So, I must say, I love love love coffee, and my dear husband makes me coffee like everyday. It’s amazing! This week, we have Peet’s which is so delicious and strong… and it tastes even better when it’s made with love!

5. Tonight is date night! No, I’m not going out to some fancy restaurant or even to the local coffee shop… but Mark and I are renting a movie & cuddling on the couch. It’s like the best ever date for us because we get to just be alone and enjoy each other’s company. I can’t wait!

Well, that’s all for this Fantastic Friday post. What fantastic things happened to you this week?

Peace and Love,

Alyssa