It's OK Thursday

Thursday, May 31, 2012

It's OK — with Amber

Its Ok Thursdays

... to drive over 360 miles in one day, especially when that means I get to have lunch with one of my besties!

... to stalk my Facebook, twitter, and even this blog. Just remember, not every post is about you. And if you are affected, then that must mean you're guilty of something.

... that I'm excited to have our first guests at our "Sweet Home Alabama" arriving today!

... to compare every book I've read since "Fifty" to that trilogy, because I haven't read anything as good as it, yet.  

... to try new recipes, and in the end admit that it's not a keeper. 

... that we've scoped out the nearby gas stations to see which ones sell coke icees.

... to be excited that Dance Moms new season comes back on next week.

... that today and tomorrow will be rainy days. The earth can use some rain, and my skin could probably use a break from sunning at the pool.  

Hope y'all have a wonderful Thursday, and enjoy this last day of May!  

50 Questions to Free Your Mind (Part 2)

This is the second part of yesterday's blog post. You can read the first 25 questions by click, here

26. Would you rather lose all of your old memories, or never be able to make new ones?
I'd like to pick nether! However, if this did happen, I would hope to remember all the old memories with all the old photos that I have. And maybe those around would help the new memories become old memories revisited.
27. Is it possible to know the truth without challenging it first?
Assumptions will get you in trouble, and usually hurt feeling is the end. Get the facts first.
28. Has your greatest fear ever come true?
No, and I hope it never does. Plain and simple!
29. Do you remember that time 5 years ago when you were extremely upset? Does it really matter now?
I do actually. But no, it doesn't matter now. We can always forgive, but it's sometimes hard to forget.
30. What is your happiest childhood memory? What makes it so special?
Growing up, every Friday night we had Pizza Hut for dinner. I still remember the smell of the pizza grease on the cardboard filling the car on the way home. Why is that memory so special? Because it was the start of the weekend, and we all sat down together as a family to eat and watch TV.
31. At what time in your recent past have you felt most passionate and alive?

Honestly, it was when I met the hubs over three years ago, and every moment since then. We bring out the best in each other which makes us both feel very alive. 

32. Have you ever been with someone, said nothing, and walked away feeling like you just had the best conversation ever ?

I can't say that I have. I have a voice, and I don't mind using it! But, maybe I should try it. =)
33. Why do religions that support love cause so many wars?
Religion doesn't cause wars, people do.
34. Is it possible to know, without a doubt, what is good and what is evil?
The definition of evil is the violation of, or intent to violate, some more code. So yes, I do think so.
35. If you just won a million dollars, would you quit your job?
The Mr and I have the conversation all the time, and no we wouldn't. Now if it were 30 million, that answer might change. However, we both feel if you are in a job you love, we'd keep working, but only part time.

36. Would you rather have less work to do, or more work you actually enjoy doing?

More work you actually enjoy doing makes the day go by so much faster and enjoyable.
37. Do you feel like you've lived this day a hundred times before?
Some days are like that, but if you look at each day as an adventure, no day is the same.
38. If you knew that everyone you know was going to die tomorrow, who would you visit today?
I'd spend the day with the Mr., my family and friends. One big party to celebrate life!

39. Would you be willing to reduce your life expectancy by 10 years to become extremely attractive or famous?
Is this seriously a question? Absolutely not! Everyone is as famous as they want to be, and everyone is already attractive in their own way.
40. What is the difference between being alive and truly living?
Being alive is just existing. Truly living, is getting up everyday and living your life... not wasting a moment, enjoying every moment you're given!
41. When is it time to stop calculating risk and rewards, and just go ahead and do what you know is right?
I'll always over-analyze everything, and make sure what I'm about to do it right.
42. If we learn from our mistakes, why are we always so afraid to make a mistake?

I think it's our fear of failure. But some would also say some mistakes we never learn from...
43. What would you do differently if you knew nobody would judge you?
Unfortunately we all know this would never happen... seems these days we get judged for just living life the way we do. I'm not sure there would be a change, even if people didn't judge!

44. When was the last time you noticed the sound of your own breathing?
Last night. I was stopped up and having a hard time breathing, and as I laid there trying to sleep, I listening to my own breathing. Of course, the Mr's breathing could be heard, too. =)
45. What do you love? Have any of your recent actions openly expressed this love?
I love living my life. I love living it with my husband. I love our little adventures, and every day is an adventure with us.

46. In 5 years from now, will you remember what you did yesterday? What about the day before that? Or the day before that?
People ask me why I blog, and part of that reason is so I can remember yesterday, the day before, and the day before it. Everyday entails something worth remembering.
47. Decisions are being made right now. The questions is: Are you making them for yourself, or are you letting others make them for you?
It's not just me anymore, which means it's a team effort. No decision is made without a discussion between the Mr and I. We make life's most important decisions, together. 

48. If you could go anywhere in the world, where would you go?

The Mr and I are going to St Lucia for our one year wedding anniversary, and I can't wait!
49. What do you think would be the hardest thing to give up on?

Happiness. Everyday you can chose to be happy even if you think there is nothing to smile about. Life without happiness isn't life at all.
50. What were you doing the last time you really had a good laugh?

Cooking last night with the Mr. Our apartment kitchen is much smaller than we are use to, but both of us in there working on dinner together was hilarious. Especially when he missed a step in the directions. =) 

50 Questions to Free Your Mind (Part 1)

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

I wanted to do this blog post while I'm 30, so I can look back at these questions and answers when I'm 40 to see if I would keep the answers the same, or have a different view. These questions have no right or wrong answers, but they will make you think! Today, I'm answering the first 25, tomorrow I'll answer the last 25.

1. How old would you be if you didn't know how old you are?
I'd probably say I'm 8 to 10 years older than I am now, but then again I've always felt this way. Why? Well, I like to believe it's the way I think. We don't have two legged children, but I've always thought like a parent. I think about the consequences of the what if before doing something. I learned this from my parents. They were always overcautious, and I didn't always understand growing up, but now I do.
2. Which is worse... failing or never trying?
Never trying. How do you know if you never try? Failure is a part of life. Trust me, EVERYONE fails, but it's how you react to your failures that makes you who you are today.
3. If life is so short, why do we do so many things we don't like and like so many things we don't do?
That's life, right? Many people have bucket lists, and not all those items get crossed off. And no one actually likes cleaning the toilet, but what if you never did? 
4. When it's all said and done, will you have said more than you've done?
Wow, that's a question. I'd have to say I've done more... actions speak louder than words, right? Of course, there's always ways to do even more.
5. What is the one thing you'd most like to change about the world?
Let's see if I can put it into words. I like the simpler life that was 20 even 30 years ago, but I love the technology that we have today. I feel that some of this technology is to blame for why the world is what it is today. But, would you be willing to give it all up to live the simpler life and make the world better? 
6. If happiness was the national currency, what kind of work would make you rich? 
Well, I'm living part of that dream... being a wife. I love taking care of my husband, and in return, I love the way he takes care of me. This is my happiness, and my happy ever after. The other part of this dream will come in the future... being a mother. 
7. Are you doing what you believe in or are you settling for what you are doing?

I'm living the life I believe in. If you are settling, you aren't living life. 

8. If the average human life span was 40 years, how would you live your life differently?
That would mean I only have 10 years left. I'm not really sure I'd live it differently. However, I would be sure to add more time with family and friends and make each moment count (which I try to do every day.)
9. To what degree have you actually controlled the course your life has taken?
Every decision I've made in life has controlled the course it's on. Other decisions that have been made for me, whether I've let that happen or had it happen to me, have helped take me down roads I never thought I'd travel. It's all how you react to those situations that make you the person you are today.
10. Are you more worried about doing things right, or doing the right things? 
I'd say both. I like to do the right things, right.
11. You're having lunch with three people you respect and admire. They all start criticizing a close friend of yours, not knowing she is your friend. The criticism is distasteful and unjustified. What do you do?
I'm not a pushover. And, I always stand my ground whether it's for myself, my husband, or a close friend or family member. Ever had one of those friends who talks about someone to you... how they used them or did "such and such" to them? Guess what, they will turn right around and talk about you this way, too! Then you realize you don't respect or admire that kind of friend anymore.
12. If you could offer a newborn child only one piece of advice, what would it be?
Never let anyone tell say that you can't do something. If you put your mind to it, you can do anything you want!
13. Would you break the law to save a loved one?
Ask me this again if I'm ever put in this situation. The answer I want to give right now might change if this were to happen.
14. Have you ever seen insanity where you later saw creativity?
Haven't we all? A person's sanity is usually measured by how successful their creativity is.
15. What's something you know you do differently than most people?
I eat ribs with a fork. Don't judge! =)
16. How come the things that make you happy don't make everyone happy? 
Thankfully, not one human is exactly the same. Things that make me happy aren't everyone else's cup of tea, but that doesn't make it right or wrong. Things that make me happy:  sun bathing, reading, cooking, watching tv with the hubs, a clean home, family time, etc.
17. What one thing have you not done that you really want to do? What's holding you back?
Become a mother. We've only been married two and a half months, give us time!
18. Are you holding onto something you need to let go of?
Yes, but like I told the Mr, females hold onto to things longer, because it usually hurts us more. However, I'm  working on letting it go. “Those who mind don't matter, and those who matter don't mind.”
19. If you had to move to a state or country besides the one you currently live in, where would you move and why?
Ha, I just had to move (kidding Mr, we both decided on this move) so I'm gonna say, if I had to move, I'd move back to our hometown. Why? Because it's the city where we fell in love, it's where we first shared a home together, and where our families are.
20. Do you push the elevator button more than once? Do you really believe it makes the elevator faster?
HAHA, not unless the light doesn't come on. And no, I know it doesn't make it come faster.
21. Would you rather be a worried genius or a joyful simpleton?
I wouldn't consider myself a genius, but I do over-think and over-anazlyze everything. However, I do enjoy the simpleness in things. So maybe a little of both?
22. Why are you, you? 
Why wouldn't I be me? I love the person I am, and the person I am becoming every day. It's a joy to be Joy.
23. Have you been the kind of a friend you want as a friend?
You'd have to ask my friends this question, but I'd say yes. Being a friend is about giving and taking, listening and being truthful. No friendship should be one sided. 
24. Which is worse, when a good friend moves away, or losing touch with a good friend who lives near you?
Both are hard. It's never fun with a friend moves away. Thankfully technology has it where we can stay in touch and talk every day. However, losing a friend is always tough. No matter the situation, it's always hard to not pick up the phone and call them when you're happy or sad. When you see their vehicle, or even pass their home, you perk up, but usually the reason you are no long friends anymore reminds you why you smile and keep moving forward.
25. What are you most grateful for?
My life. The life I live is full of love, friendships, family and happiness. I wouldn't trade my life for the world, and I'm grateful for all those in my life who are making it what it is today!

Tomorrow I'll share with you the last 25 questions. Have these questions made you think? They certainly got my wheels turning.

What I'm Cooking... Homemade Lasagna

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Growing up, mom use to make this recipe at least once a month. I think my brother was the biggest fan of it, but grew to love it as I got older. It's really easy, and you don't have to boil the noodles before hand.

Here's what you'll need to make this dish:

1lb. ground beef
24 oz. jar of Ragu Traditional spaghetti sauce
3/4 cup of water
12 oz. ricotta cheese
2 to 3 cups of mozzarella cheese (I add that 3rd cup at the end to sprinkle on the top)
1/2 cup of grated parmesan cheese
2 eggs
1/4 cup of chopped parsley
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1/8 teaspoon of pepper
uncooked lasagna noodles

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Brown beef; drain, and add sauce and water; simmer about 10 minutes. Combine remaining ingredients, except lasagna for filling. Pour 2 cups of sauce in the bottom of a 9x13 pan. Layer 3 uncooked noodles on top of sauce; top with about 1 1/2 cups of sauce and add 1/2 of the cheese filling. Repeat layers of noodles, sauce and filling. Top with a layer of noodles and remaining sauce. (This is when I sprinkle the extra cup of mozzarella cheese on top.) Cover with foil and bake for 50 minutes. Uncover and bake another 10 minutes. Once out of the oven, let it sit for a few minutes to firm. And ENJOY! I serve with garlic bread and salad.

Clockwise: cheese mixture, all together before going in the oven, meat sauce mixture, & the finished product right out of the oven.

Weekend Roundup

Monday, May 28, 2012

Technically it's still the weekend since it's a holiday weekend, but today we are celebrating this Memorial Day... relaxing!

Saturday, we ran a few errands and decided to grill some yummy burgs for lunch. The lunch was complete with my homemade crinkle cut french fries, and nothing beats a cold coke icee!

Saturday evening we spent time with my folks. Dad did some massive grilling — burgers, brats and chicken, and mom made baked beans and potato salad three ways (original, without egg and with egg but without pickles) and I'll let you guess which one Terry picked and I picked.

Of course, the evening wouldn't be complete without belly rubs for Mar Belle...

Yes, she loves her mommy and daddy...

But sometimes, I think she loves her granny, more...

How can could anyone ever be cruel to animals, especially those that are this adorable?

Sunday we had lunch with the Mr's folks and afterwards, we packed the car (and I do mean packed it full) to head back to the apartment. Only my passenger on the way home seat belted in was our suitcase. The Mr drove his Harley, and I followed.

To say I was a nervous wreck the entire way... an understatement. I'm pretty sure I yelled at half the drivers crowding him. Call me an overprotective wife, that's fine with me. I love that he has this hobby, however, it's probably a good thing I don't follow him often. As soon as we got home, I crashed, and I think it was because I was tense the entire drive home.

Hope y'all are enjoying your long holiday weekend. Happy Memorial Day!!

Doll Whiskers original art, 2012
by Dana Parker Gault

In Full Bloom... Daylilies

Saturday, May 26, 2012

These "purdy flowers" were in full bloom at the Meridian house when we got here yesterday. So happy we are getting to enjoy their vibrant colors this weekend.

Meridian Eats... Griff's BBQ

Friday, May 25, 2012

On our way back to Meridian tonight, we were trying to decide what we would be having for dinner. A couple of things rolled off our tongues, but then Terry had a suggestion:  what about the place in the old Lonnie and Pats location? As soon as he said it, I told him I had just seen on fb where The Price's dined there last night and sang their praises. So we found out their hours, and drove straight to Griff's as we got into town.

We both got the pulled pork sandwich, LaLa's potatoes and baked beans. First off, the pulled pork was the best I've ever had. It was tender and flavorful. The bbq sauce was sweet and delicious — just how I like it. The potatoes were smashed red potatoes with sour cream and cheese, and the baked beans weren't my favorite, but then again, I tend to like mine better than anyone else's.

They also offer catering, and are taking orders for ribs for your Memorial Day gatherings. And he said he tried his best to keep the old Lonnie and Pat hamburgers just like they use to make them. If you haven't been, then you are missing out on Meridian's best bbq. Let me know if you've been, or when you do try it out!

the Friday five


the Sowell life's Friday five...

• Our first week in the apartment, and we've actually enjoyed it! Not that we are so excited about living in an apartment, but excited that we are finally together! We've enjoyed our evenings after the hubs gets home from work: having dinner together, watching tv together and snuggling together.

• I've started back reading, again and have been taking the kindle with me to the pool to soak up some Vitamin D. Only yesterdays pool time was cut short. I kept a close watch on a bug near me, but when I thought it was gone, it crawled on me and that ended my relaxing for the day.

• I made "crack brownies" on Monday. It's a must for this weekend, y'all. Head over to Sarah's blog to get the recipe. I saw it this past weekend on her instagram, but she blogged about it today! It IS a must!

• It's Memorial weekend!! The official start to summer. We are heading back to Meridian to see our family and friends. We have a few things to get back at our home there, and some of those things will fill up the hubs new "baby." He said it's like a refrigerator because led lights come on when you open the door! HA! Praying the traffic isn't awful today, and we plan to beat the traffic by coming home Sunday.

• Some of you took my suggestion and read Garbiel's Inferno... well, the sequel came out on Tuesday and it was even better than the first book! And yes, I read it in a day! Do you have any reading suggestions for me?

Whatever you have planned this weekend, I hope it's full of fun! Enjoy and Happy Memorial Weekend!!

It's OK and Thankful

Thursday, May 24, 2012

I'm doubling up today, because it is OK and I am very thankful!!

I'm linking up with Amber & Mrs. Hargrave! You can get it on the fun, just head over to their blogs to see what you need to do.

... to admit that I get my best sleep when next to the Mr; which means I've been sleeping SOOOO good since last Friday.

... to want a lazy weekend. Traveling over 330 miles every weekend is very tiring.

... that I still get butterflies when I hear my husband coming through the door!

... to reminisce.  

... that I read an entire book in one day, because it was that good. 

... to plan out our weekly dinner meals, but decide to order out one night instead.

... to laugh and enjoy a show like Duck Dynasty. What's not to love? They pray, work hard, play hard and love their family. You don't find shows on TV like that anymore.

... to see some of the 80s fashions coming back, but secretly hope some of them never reappear. 

I'm Thankful — with Mrs. Hargrave

{I'm thankful} we have very supporting family and friends. Our parents both had roles in helping us move, and I have to give a special shout out to Abs... she truly is the bubble wrap queen!!! 

{I'm thankful} and blessed with a husband who knew how important it was for me to make this feel like home and didn't stop helping me until I was happy with the outcome.

{I'm thankful} for our amazing life. Did I picture our life where it is today? No, but I know we are in good hands with the big man upstairs.

{I'm thankful} for blog friends who have become real friends. I love our special bond, and that we share recipes with each other! 

{I'm thankful} for a long, holiday weekend. I'm going to enjoy having the Mr home with me on Monday!

{I'm thankful} for the little things we take for granted every day. 

Have a wonderful Thursday, y'all!

An update in the Sowell life

Monday, May 21, 2012

Where do I begin? As most of you know the Mr took a job in Pelham, Ala. back in November, and we knew we would eventually move "full time" to that area sometime after the wedding. We've been house hunting since December, and even though there are thousands of homes on the market, we have a lengthy checklist and simply will not settle until we find "our" perfect home. So since our wedding in March, we have been living apart, him in Pelham and me in Meridian. Do you know how hard that is? Well, we finally decided that we had enough of just weekends together, and over a month ago, started searching for an apartment. Our biggest criteria in that search was finding one that would let us out of our lease when we do find "our" perfect home. And our second criteria was having a bottom floor unit. After talking with four or five apartments, we finally found one that met our biggest need. And the second time we met with them they were able to meet our want of a bottom floor unit!

Last week was hectic as I hired movers and packed, but in the end, everything worked out perfectly. The move went very smooth and we couldn't have asked for it to have gone any quicker. Friday, the movers were there at 9:30 and we were packed, loaded and on the road in an hour. Yes, you read that correct! They had a mission and made it happen. After lunch we arrived at the apartment and met the Mr and unloaded. And I'm happy to report if you were to come in, you won't see any boxes, storage bins, or even a trace of bubble wrap.

While unpacking the kitchen bins (most of it gifts from our wedding) I found the cards to go with the gifts. It was overwhelming to reread all those cards and feel the love that we felt at our wedding shower and reception. Here's one of the cards from we found yesterday from our niece, Hannah.

We had a "few" things to buy to complete the apartment (we left a good bit at our house in Meridian, because we will still be back and forth until it sells) and one of those items we needed was bedding for our guest room. Now we are prepared for guests.

Btw, found that comforter set at Target on clearance. Yay for a bargain on a very cute, summery comforter!

And probably my least favorite event of the weekend was "stocking the pantry." Why? Because we had to start over. As I mentioned before, we are still in Meridian, too, so we left the kitchen stocked so we can cook there as well. I didn't get everything we will need, but it's a start.

Thankfully, we have a Publix a half mile away so we can get those other items quickly if needed.

Last night I cooked our first meal here and it's not the kitchen that I'm use to, but it is huge for an apartment and I don't mind being in there. We celebrated three years of dating yesterday by getting this place feeling more like home. No, we won't be here forever. However, once inside the apartment, you'd think you were sitting in a field on five acres. It's sooooo quiet. We are still looking for "our" perfect home, but we are okay living here for awhile. One thing we learned during this move (even though it wasn't bad at all) the next time we move, we will be staying for a long, long time. That's why we are making sure we get everything we want in "our" search for "our" perfect home.  

I've been asked for pictures of our apartment life, and I will try to do that once we put the finishing touches on it. However, today I'm resting my left foot. I apparently did something to it during the move and it's been swollen and hurting for the past day and a half. So I'm taking it easy today until time to cook dinner for the hubs.

Well, that should have y'all caught up for now. Hope y'all have a wonderful Monday!!

Put me in coach, I'm ready to play!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Our nieces started playing softball a few weeks ago at the Northeast Complex and last night, I finally had a moment to go watch them play. Hannah's game was at 6 and Emma's was at 8. Hannah gives it her all and made two great plays and got on base!

In the end they lost 11-6, but I think Hannah loves playing. And, I think she will become a pretty good ball player soon!

Next up, Emma's game. Now, this was entertaining. This age group had their coach pitch for them and all the players played. I'm pretty sure I counted at least 5 outfielders. =)

Emma was in the outfield, and apparently this is how outfielders play... (when I asked her what she was doing, she said she was "swatting at huge flies!"

Emma's first time at bat, she hit the ball and got to second base!

The second time at bat, well... just watch the video below...

She's fine, but it scared her pretty good. Emma's team lost by one run. However, I think her love for softball might evolve, one day.

It was a long night, but it was fun watching all the girls play. I remember when I played many, MANY years ago all the chatter... you know "hey batter batter, swing." Well, they have come up with quite a few more and they go on and on and on. =)

Thanks girls for letting me come watch y'all play!
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