Saturday, September 12, 2009

Wedding Photos Arrived Today!

Our wedding pictures arrived today. Yay Lance! Lance Murphey was our photographer. I highly recommend him. He has a heart for his craft and for weddings. He captured some really touching pictures of family and friends that I never told him I wanted. He has a real knack for figuring out what matters. Here are some previews until I can show them to you in person. 

Above is Brian getting ready. He was so handsome. 

To the right is Erin talking me through a moment. (No second thoughts or  anything).  Erin was the wedding coordinator. It was her first wedding and she was a pro. She was calm, cool, and collected right up until I cried before leaving the reception. Then she cried with me. So many emotions.       

It rained on my our wedding day. (Still getting used to the "us" thing.) Matt, Brian's brother-in-law, saved the day with the brilliant plan below. And yes, I am a little embarrassed that my dress is practically up around my waist. But doesn't it make for a funny picture?                                    

My pastor has never been known to preach a short sermon and my wedding was no exception. By the time he pronounced us husband and wife my legs were like jello. I made it to the chair in the foyer before collapsing. Good thing my new husband we there to catch me.  My wobbly legs were worth it though, because Bro. Bobby's message was so unique and gospel-centered that Brian and I will cherish it for years to come. 

I cried during our vows. Shocked everyone, especially Brian. Must be something about marriage because I haven't stopped crying since. Geez. 

My bridesmaids were amazing. Christian, Brittany, Katie and Jenn were just as loving as sacrificial on my wedding day as they have been the whole of our friendships. I love you ladies. Thank you for all you did. You were beautiful attendants.                                            

How Pork Chops Will Be in Heaven

Yesterday I got better acquainted with my crockpot. I'd never even used one before last week. Most people (including Brian) find this hard to believe but it's true. Mom taught me a lot of things but the art of crockpot cooking was not one of them. 

So we had a crockpot lesson via phone. She said to put a cup of water and 1/2 an onion soup mix packet in the crock with my 4 pack of thawed pork chops. I peppered them and left them on low for 4 or 5 hours (they could have been done at 2 or 3 I think but I had all day so I figured they did too) and turned them to warm for another 2 hours. They were so tender that just looking at a fork made them fall apart. 

I haven't been to the grocery store lately. I love most all things domestic but I loathe going to the grocery alone. Mostly I like help carrying them to the car and up 5 flights of stairs to our apartment but I also enjoy the company. I've been putting it off thinking Brian and I could go together but it seems our schedules just won't permit. All that to say that I had pitiful little to add to my amazing main dish. I decided that a hearty sauce would make up  for whatever side dishes were lacking. Not only did it make up for lack of side dishes but I would have eaten it alone with a spoon. Please try this sometime. It was amazing. 

Heavenly Pork Chop Sauce:
1 c. pork chop broth from slow cooker
1/4 green bell pepper chopped lengthwise
1/3 onion sliced
3 or 4 small mushrooms sliced
2 roma tomatoes sliced (optional)
2 or 3 dallops sour cream 
a few splashes half and half

Sauté peppers, onion, tomatoes in light cooking spray or 1 T. butter until softened. Add 1 cup of broth and let simmer. Add sour cream and half and half. Simmer until creamy and serve atop pork chops. So simple. So good. 

What would you add to the sauce if you were making it? I think the only spice I added was a little bit of garlic salt.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Homemade Granola and My Birthday

I made my second batch of homemade granola today. I didn’t follow a recipe or even measure my ingredients; I smelled and felt and cooked and it was much better playing by the rules. I’m not sure it tastes better but the process was less messy and more enjoyable.

Granola is really expensive at the store so I never buy it. The good kind is upwards of 4 dollars for a small bag. Making it at home is cheaper, much healthier and if you don’t burn it, tastes way better too. I only ingredients we already keep around the house so I’m not adding to budget my making it. Here what I use:
  • a c. Applesauce (I get mine on sale at the natural grocers in different kinds like cinnamon apple and blueberry)
  • a couple T. butter
  • 1/2 c. honey
  • 1 T. cinnamon (since it’s already in the applesauce I use less. You could probably use a little more
  • 1 t. ginger
I put these in a medium sauce pan and bring them to a boil for 1 minute or two then mix with:
  • 3 or 4 c. old fashioned oats (you can use minute oats I believe)
  • 1/3 c. chopped walnuts
  • 1/3 c. chopped almonds
  • 1/2 c. raisins
And bake on lightly sprayed cookie sheet at 300 for 10 minutes, stir around on sheet,  and bake for another 15 (check on it occasionally).

Wednesday while I was drinking my coffee on the couch Brian brought me my first Birthday present from him (we weren’t dating last year on my Birthday. And now we’re married! Man, we’re fast). It was an old ugly, ratty, too-big-for-him t-shirt that I loathe (in case you couldn’t tell).

He said I could do whatever I wanted with it, including throwing it in the trash which I threaten to do once a week anyway. I decided to sleep in it on fat days since I took all of my over-sized t-shirts to Goodwill. That way it will still be in Brian’s life just not on his body or ever in public.

After work Brian planned a surprise picnic for me. We ate fancy cheese in the park by our house and really relaxed. After sufficient picnicing we went downtown to a place called the Market. It was like an old general store on the inside and they made amazing desserts and brewed fabulous coffee, both of which we enjoyed. The atmosphere and the lighting were delightful.

It was a wonderful evening. Thanks to Brian and all the friends and family who thought of me for a great Birthday :)

Sunday, September 6, 2009


I’m about to take a little trip to the Eddie Bauer Outlet for what Brian would call a shopportunity. A shopportunity as defined according to Brian is: 
Shop-por-tun-ity: Noun. A chance that women (namely Ashley) take whenever the opportunity arises to shop for clothes, shoes, accesories, housewares etc.
This particular adventure is built around Brian’s winter wardrobe. I think (he does not, but that is irrelevant) that he needs a couple warm and durable long sleeve button ups. I want them to suitable for work, dates, and church. I have already made a scouting trip (see footnote for explanation) to see which shirt at said outlet fits this description.

It’s important when talking about shopportunities to differentiate between impulse buys. I do not, under any circumstance, make impulse purchases. I am about to offend some people here, but if you make impulse buys often (not occasionally but often) you need to work on some self-control issues. I’m not hatin’. I’m just sayin’.

The difference is this: An impulse buy is characterized not by how you buy something so much as what you buy. If you buy something you absolutely did not need or know you had need of previous to making the purchase, that is an impulse buy. A shopportunity is characterized by buying something you needed/planned to get eventually but the opportunity had not previously presented itself.

Oh, and there’s another factor that makes a shopportunity different from an impulse buy. You have the money for it in your budget. Brian and I have some Dave Ramsey (a Christian finance guru) action going on at our place. It’s commonly referred to as the “envelope system.” 

Here’s how it works: You have envelopes for your expenditures like food, gas, clothing, date night, hair cuts, etc. You get the picture. And when you buy something that falls into an envelope category you put the receipt in the envelope.

This was not easy for me at first because I hate receipts. But Brian is better with balancing the budget than I am so I tuck them in my wallet dutifully and bring them home to their envelope. This helps us know at any point during a given month if we are over or under budget. So today, I double checked the clothing envelope to make sure my shopportunity was permissible. And it is so I’m going to jump on it before school lets out and the teenagers take over the mall.

*A Scouting Trip is the trip before the shopportunity where you stalk (i.e. look at, touch, maybe even try on) your desired purchase to gauge how much or if at all you really need the item.