Thursday, September 29, 2011

What I Love About Moving

You know what I love about moving? It's certainly not the packing. Not the cleaning the old house and the new house. Not having to bribe and beg your friends and family to help. Although I do enjoy all the purging I do before a move. When I give away a box or bag to Goodwill, I get a type-A organizational high. But that's not what I'm talking about.

What I love about moving is the motivation to make our new place more beautiful and functional than the last. I have ridiculously detailed plans for every room (even the teeny, tiny bathroom) in our new apartment. 

Since we are saving on the new apartment, I have a little bit of an initial decorating/organizing budget. I'm going to try use to as little of it as possible on actual decorating so we can do something fun for both of us like a new TV. 

One of my besties is moving too. Fortunately she is moving before me, so I can rummage through all her goodwill castoffs from her move. Today while helping her with some last minute moving I accquired:

Two black lamps that are big enough to actually provide light in the living room and are my style (I'll need to paint these to blend into my lighter color scheme and get new shades since these a little banged up)
Three small red metal lanterns that will look awesome above my fire place (also will need to paint)
A large Monet flower print that will tie all my living room colors together (I'll need to frame it, so I'll keep an eye out for Hobby Lobby's 1/2 off framing sale)
So these are my "free finds" for the new place. Can't wait to get started on their transformation!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011


If we are in Christ we are going to be continually transforming from our old selves to our new selves by His grace. Sometimes the changes are dramatic and rapid and sometimes they are subtle and slow. Today, I'm rejoicing over one of those subtle and slow changes in my life and I thought I'd share it with you so you could rejoice too. 

If you've been reading my blog for a while, you might remember my post about taking over our budget and how I spent the first year of our marriage freaking out about money. Money is one of those things that brings out the true condition of my heart. I'm happy if the budget is in balance and all of our bills are paid on time and there are no unexpected expenses. If one of those things go awry, I'm depressed and sulking. 

So normally when an unexpected expense crops up I feel cheated. The money I had intended for something else (it could be as small as a latte or as big as new dining room table) must now go to this hugely inconvenient unexpected expense. Or even worse, when I feel the Lord asking me to give money to someone or something I feel the same way. 

For a long time now, I've practiced preaching the truth to myself in these circumstances: "Ashley, you can give this money/pay this unexpected expense gladly because your money is not yours, it's God's. He knew _______ would break and need to be repaired or He choose to meet this person's need through you." But no matter how much I told myself this truth, my heart still felt all those nasty selfish feelings. Until recently ...

We've had some small unexpected expenses the past couple months. The kind that would normally send me into a tantrum (just being honest, people. I never said it was pretty). But instead of going berserk over a 12.00 charge, I let it go knowing it's only 12 bucks and God is taking care of all our needs and a lot of our wants. 

Well on Monday evening, I was leaving the apartment to make a cookie run when my car died in the parking lot. No warning. Just died. I tried to restart it to no avail. So I called Brian to come out and work with the car while I sprinted back in to be with Ava. 

And not once did the repair costs cross my mind. I don't know if it will cost 100.00 or 1000.00 to fix the problem, but I'm still not sulking and I don't feel cheated. And believe me, there are a lot of things on my wish list that will have to be pushed back because of this unexpected expense. But it's okay because my money isn't really mine anyway. Neither is my car. It's all God's and I finally believe it in my heart as well as my head.  Let's hope this transformation sticks when I get the bill from the mechanic ;)

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Pumpkin Soup

Two of my girlfriends and I had a Harvest Tea last week. Ava slept through our actual tea time, so I was able to enjoy real tea cups and adult conversation. I tried to keep it classy by using my cloth napkins and not talking about poop. 

I contributed pumpkin soup for our Harvest themed entree. I read a few different recipes and adapted them to fit what I had and it turned out great. I'm thinking about bringing this to Thanksgiving dinner. 
Harvest Tea Pumpkin Soup
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 large red onion, diced
  • 1-¼ teaspoon Curry Powder
  • ½ teaspoons Salt
  • ¼ teaspoons Ground Coriander
  • ⅛ teaspoons Cayenne Pepper (more To Taste)
  • 3 cups Chicken Broth
  • 1 can Pumpkin (15-16 Oz, Solid Pack)
  • 1 or a little more cups half and half
  • a pinch red chili pepper paste
Melt butter and saute onions and garlic until golden brown. Add spices and simmer for 2 minutes. Stir in broth and simmer, partially covered, for 20 minutes. Add pumpkin, stirring till smooth. Add half and half. Heat over medium heat for 5 minutes. Puree. I pureed mine with an immersion blender. It wasn't as smooth as I prefer, so next time I'll probably go to the trouble of putting in the blender. 

In other news, Ava is rolling both from front to back and back to front. She is a very vocal baby, talking and cooing and squealing a lot. We love it. Except when we're trying to watch Psych (it's impossible to hear over her jabbering.) So we turn off the TV, thankful for the reminder that these early months fly by, and just enjoy her. 
We are moving November 1st. We've been trying to relocate to an area here called Cragmoor. This is one of the areas of the city that our church is trying to reach, so we've been praying and looking at apartments there for a while. Last week we found one that will not only meet our space needs (unless you count my need for my own bathroom and an excessive amount of storage), but also will allow us to save pay Sallie Mae a nice chunk of money every month. 

Since we are saving on rent, I'm going to have a decorating budget! I've got most of my paint colors picked out. If you have any paint suggestions or tips, I'd love to hear them.