Italian White Bean Soup

Winter suddenly decided to make an appearance in the South this week!  After a warmer than normal season it was quite a shock waking up to lows in the 20’s-30’s with the highs barely making it over 40!

{I know y’all up north laugh at our cold weather whining…}

When the temps drop I love nothing more than a bowl of warm and comforting soup, even if it is mid-March and everything is in bloom!

This week I whipped up a pot of Italian White Bean Soup for the family.  This scrumptious soup was so easy to prepare and is healthy as well!

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I used organic and low-sodium white beans, chicken broth, carrots, onion and spinach to create this soup.  I chose low-sodium ingredients to counter the salt found in prosciutto. It made for a totally filling supper without adding side dishes as well as a little extra for the hubby’s lunch the next day.

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What I liked best about this soup was that it was a convenient one pot (don’t you just hate a sinkful of pots & pans on a busy night?) dish.  Start with diced prosciutto in a little olive oil, then add the veggies to sauté, adding the beans and chicken broth to simmer a few minutes before throwing in freshly chopped spinach.

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Are you hungry yet?

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Click for the printable version of Italian White Bean Soup ….

and Buon Appetito!

What’s your favorite winter comfort food?

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“Do Not Disturb”

“I didn’t have very much to do this evening, so I thought I would touch up a few things.”

“Do you have to paint everything in sight?”

“I didn’t paint everything in sight.  I painted a breadbox, an end table & that chair you’re sitting on.”

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“I’ve just got to get that house in order.  Are there any other antique dealers that we might visit today?”

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via Getty Images

Anyone that knows Audley and me could totally imagine that these are conversations between us as we are working to put our new house in order.

{All four of our kids will attest to this.}

In fact I am positive we’ve actually had these conversations before… on more than one occasion.

In reality, these are lines from the extremely cheesy and comical 1965 Doris Day movie “Do Not Disturb”.

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The subplot of the movie is Doris Day’s character trying to decorate the new home she and her husband have moved in after transferring with his new job.

{Sounds familiar, right?}

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You would think after fourteen moves I would have the art of decorating and organizing a home nailed.

My reality is quite the opposite.

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I’ve always managed to have two or three main living spaces mostly put together in our home, but the remainder of the house stays partially complete.  For example, we didn’t have curtains in our living room of the house we just moved from until this past December (just before a large Christmas party we hosted); we found out we were moving early January.  Our master bedroom wasn’t complete until we lived in the house for three years (and I was having major surgery that would have me confined to the bed for quite a while).  I redecorated the kitchen three different times because I couldn’t find something that spoke to me without a massive overhaul that just wasn’t possible because we were leasing.

You get the picture.

I’m really bad at putting it all together without doubt in my mind, and extremely bad in finding a way to pull my eclectic style together.

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Our antique dining room suite

I’m constantly saying, “I’ve just got to get that house in order” and then heading off to do something else.

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I do have a paint project in the works… and I can’t unpack certain boxes until it’s completed.

Mainly because I don’t know what I want or doubt how to make it happen.

When we closed on our house several weeks back and moved in two and a half weeks ago, Audley suggested that I not waste any time and put our house in order; to do what I needed to do to make our new house a home without doubt or fear or procrastination.

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Our new sofa from Ikea

So that’s what I’ve done.  Staying within a budget we set, box by box, room by room, and shopping expedition by shopping expedition I’ve been slowly turning our new house into our new home.  We are so close to the empty nest, things that I’ve not done because I didn’t think it was kid/family friendly, or didn’t want the kiddos to mess it up are no longer valid excuses.

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Pillows… Plants… Color…

Colors for the walls were done the week before we moved in, we have curtains hanging in every room, big pieces of furniture arranged, and I think that I have a grasp on how to make my eclectic style work with our not quite empty nest.

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Working on the mantle… Mixing it up with antique books

We shall see and hopefully in the coming weeks I will share a little of what Audley and I have pulled together.  Until then I hope you enjoyed a few glimpses of what we’ve started on and will stop back by as we finish!

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For now, “Do Not Disturb.”

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Learning to Let Go

Happy New Year!

OK, yes, I know it is February.

Yes, I also know that I’ve posted very little the last two months.

And yes, I missed writing.

My focus was just elsewhere.

Life has a way of throwing chaos into our perfectly arranged schedules; car accidents, changes in college plans, early graduation, holiday travel, and this momma beginning a new full-time job….  If you follow me on social media, you’ve probably seen a glimpse of what’s happening in our life including many of the above mentioned things. While these little changes weren’t drastic, there is one more.

After five years here in South Carolina, we are moving.

While I have known this was a possibility for months (my Audley has been very unhappy with his job for about 8 months now), reality hit in December when after countless leads, interviews, glimmers of hope, disappointments and a flat-out “no”, what we were praying for  and least expected was offered to us.

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Honestly, it is not the ideal time with graduation, a wedding, and other big events in the near future, but apparently God felt it was the right time and it is actually a really good thing for us.  It’s also been good for my own spiritual life, something I really needed.

My prayer life has always been weak.  Growing up in a Christian home, I cannot begin to count the number of times I’ve been told to “just give it all to God”.  It sounds so simple, but my version of giving it to God has always been “here you go” and then proceed to tell Him how to do His job.  It’s so difficult to relinquish control.

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I guess we are all like that from time to time.  As a mother I think it’s only natural to fix things, but I couldn’t fix my husbands disappointments with work.  The one thing I could do is continue to support, encourage, and build him up as I have done for nearly twenty-two years now.  As Audley’s frustrations began to grow, our prayer life actually grew stronger with them, which is the opposite of how we normally deal with stresses in our lives.  We found ourselves praying together more, and for the first time in my life I found myself giving my stresses, anguish and questions to God and not telling Him what to do!  I didn’t want the mess anymore!

Let me tell you, it’s a liberating feeling to finally completely surrender control!

It’s funny when I look back on my youth and think of the things I prayed for: to make Georgia state honor band, an “A” on a test I didn’t study for, make the softball team, a later curfew, or to wear makeup like my girlfriends… These things were trivial, but I wasn’t afraid to pray for them.  As adults it’s easy to forget the trivial and think only the big things matter like sickness, protection, forgiveness.  Sometimes I feel like I’ve rehearsed a standard prayer and can’t deviate from it because that is what an adult would do!

Oh to have that childlike faith of saying whatever is on my mind again!

The crazy thing is, we can have it, we just have to humble ourselves like we did years ago!

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So those precious moments when my son prayed for a dog or to get a hit in a baseball game as a little boy and the time his 16-year-old self recently thanked God for “letting his dad live to be so old” (Audley is 45…) and to let his sister not kill him with her driving on the way to school are the same way we should be willing to open up and pray as adults!

After experiencing the results of letting God take control, it’s something I plan to continue pursuing.

So, where will move number 14 take us?

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We will be in the suburbs of Atlanta.  Two hours from MacKenzie when she marries in June, just under two hours from Madeline when she heads to Point University to play lacrosse in the fall and Just over two hours from our oldest, Samantha and her hubby, as well as my parents in Tennessee.  Perfectly centered to be more available for all of our family!

Bradley has asked that we make the move as soon as possible so that he can jump in and get involved to finish his junior year, making his senior year much easier to begin.  He’s even been researching school districts on his on.

I’d say that boy of mine has been doing his own praying and has complete faith God will guide him through this as well.

Have a fabulous weekend my friends!

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Christmas Eve Hot Chocolate

There is something about having hot chocolate on Christmas Eve that has become such a special tradition for us, even if it is nearly 70° in certain parts of the south!

While it is so easy to rip open a pack of Swiss Miss, I love the rich, creamy deliciousness of this homemade hot chocolate.

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{Printable Version Available christmas-eve-hot-chocolate}

hot-chocolate-ohfiddledeedee-comIf you are serving Santa tonight as he stops while making rounds at your house, leave the whipped cream off and have it on a coffee mug warmer for his convenience.

And from our family to yours –

a very merry Christmas!

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