15th Anniversary Weekend: Day 1 – Tea at Eddison and Melrose

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In December, I went to a nearby Tea Room with my wonderful friend Diane to celebrate our birthdays together. It was fabulous! Read about it here. Then when my Sweetie offered to take me to Carmel for our 15th anniversary (yippee) I thought I would see if we could have tea while we were up there, maybe at the Tuck Box? More on that later, but in my search I found two things, the wonderful Eddison and Melrose in Monterey, and a Living Social coupon for them! After reading many amazing reviews, I bought the deal and made the reservation. That morning, we got up early and drove straight to Eddison and Melrose. I can’t say enough nice things about this place! No wonder the reviews were so great. I wish I could go every week!!

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Sometimes the food is a bit sparse, like one of the ones near us, but not here. Plenty to eat and enjoy, and we didn’t go away hungry at all!! Everything was so yummy and lovely!

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I had delicious apricot tea. It’s nice to like flavored tea now so I can enjoy this! Thank you to Laviece from J. Henry Manor for giving me a love for flavored tea with her French Caramel Creme Brulee tea!! I miss her shop!

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She also made my favorite cream scones, but, happily, Karen’s scones tasted nearly exactly the same. I’m wanting some right now!!! She needs to be closer to me!

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One of the things I loved about this place was the way they were so friendly. They also paid careful attention to detail and extras. Some examples are trading out the frilly cups for more masculine ones for the men, (see the above photo) and special catering for children. Look at the personal plastic teapot for the little girl’s hot chocolate “tea!” :>

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We saw a couple of groups of women, a mother and daughter date and a family with sweet kids while we were there. Truly a lovely place for all to visit!!

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Two Belleek sightings:

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You know I find flowers everywhere I go! And they’re extra special in a Belleek vase!

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You may not know the treasure that awaits from the outside, but once you’re in the door it is completely transformed, and so is your afternoon!! :>

If you’re ever in the Carmel/Monterey area, this place is definitely worth the stop! And if you’re local, go…and go often!!!

Tea time anyone!!

P.S. All of these photos were with my phone instead of my real camera, less distracting to other people’s experience that way. :>
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God’s Not Dead Film Review

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Source: Family Fiction Website

 

Over the weekend we saw the film “God’s Not Dead.”  Here’s the premise of the film:

“How far would you go…to defend your belief in God?

Present-day college freshman and devout Christian, Josh Wheaton (Shane Harper), finds his faith challenged on his first day of Philosophy class by the dogmatic and argumentative Professor Radisson (Kevin Sorbo). Radisson begins class by informing students that they will need to disavow, in writing, the existence of God on that first day, or face a failing grade. As other students in the class begin scribbling the words “God Is Dead” on pieces of paper as instructed, Josh find himself at a crossroads, having to choose between his faith and his future. Josh offers a nervous refusal, provoking an irate reaction from his smug professor. Radisson assigns him a daunting task: if Josh will not admit that “God Is Dead,” he must prove God’s existence by presenting well-researched, intellectual arguments and evidence over the course of the semester, and engage Radisson in a head-to-head debate in front of the class. If Josh fails to convince his classmates of God’s existence, he will fail the course and hinder his lofty academic goals. With almost no one in his corner, Josh wonders if he can really fight for what he believes. Can he actually prove the existence of God? Wouldn’t it just be easier just to write “God Is Dead” and put the whole incident behind him? GOD’S NOT DEAD weaves together multiple stories of faith, doubt and disbelief, culminating in a dramatic call to action. The film will educate, entertain, and inspire moviegoers to explore what they really believe about God, igniting important conversations and life-changing decisions.”

 

Of all of the films out there right now that are being billed as Christian, this is the one to see and here’s why.

 

*The gospel message is clearly and accurately delivered.

*There are a diverse group of characters coming from diverse beliefs and backgrounds.

*It shows that, although there are often earthly consequences for standing for God, it’s still well worth it.

*We’ve all been disappointed by God at some point when we didn’t get what we wanted or expected, been angry at Him or given up on Him. But He never gives up on us!

*Too many of us just go along with what everyone else is doing or thinking, putting God on the back burner.

*Sometimes those who have more at risk than us, are willing to stand up for Christ, even if we aren’t.

*Even the Godly Pastor humbles himself when it’s His turn to learn a lesson.

 

This is a refreshing look at a few people who, against all that our culture throws at us, decide God and His words are more important. And lest you think this sort of thing is made up, that professors aren’t trying to convince students to throw away all that they believe and adopt the professor’s beliefs instead, watch the credits for all of the schools and cases that the film is based on. It’s no wonder so many college students leave their faith behind during their college years. Between weak Biblical truths in many churches, too many example of living for the world instead of God, and college professors pushing their ideas as truth.

 

I loved the many examples of these different students from different walks of life taking on the question, “Is God Dead?”

I loved the way some chose to believe He’s alive, despite the cost. We all pay a price when we choose to truly follow and obey the King of Kings!

I loved the imperfections of the characters.

I loved the raw, real, true emotions we see in the professor’s own struggle. A portrayal  of the journey any of us may go through after hard times.

 

And most of all, I love the TRUTH that God is real, alive and a part of my life! That Jesus Christ loves me and gave His life so I might be forgiven for my sins and live with Him forever in paradise!! That there are still people who won’t roll over and say God is dead, because God’s Not Dead!!!

 

Here’s a preview:

 

 

 

And here’s a great article by Jacinda at Growing Home about Christians and college.

 

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No Sew Modest Swimsuit Ideas

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I thought with summer only a few months away, I would add a little to my previous modest Swimsuits posts HERE and HERE in time to put something together you can feel comfortable with. My previous posts talked about making over a suit to make it more modest, and I truly LOVE mine! I’m even planning on making another with the above suit. I bought two on clearance so I can add sleeves and a modest panel with the second one. I personally look better in an empire waist, so that’s what I’m highlighting here.

A friend expressed interest in her own modest suit and I realized, since she doesn’t sew, I could give some tips for no sew suit ideas. So today, here’s a no sew way to be modest, and it’s easy!

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Find a top you like, this one is going to be my second suit! It’s best if the bottom part is looser, for a more modest fit.

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Like this. Pair it with a modest necked, close fitting swim shirt or t-shirt, preferably out of workout fabric or something else that dries quicker and swim shorts, skirt or knee shorts (I like the knee version) of the same fabric, and voila! You’re all set for the beach or pool!

 

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These are regular swim shorts, not the knee length kind.

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My current, made over suit (I’m still looking for brown shorts or fabric). I loved the fabric and couldn’t find swimsuit fabric I liked to start from scratch, which was my original plan. But this gave me the opportunity to think over the no sew ideas! :>

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Don’t be discouraged if you want to be more modest but don’t know how, especially in this area. It’s tricky, but can be done, even when buying off the rack! You can do it!

Happy Swimming!

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15th Anniversary Weekend: Day 2

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This is Part 1, but Day 2 of our weekend away to Carmel to celebrate 15 years of marriage, but I’ll still be posting about Day 1 at a brand new Tea Shop in Monterey. I’m ready to go back!!

So there’s a hint about what is coming, but on our second day we visited the Monterey Aquarium, and it was AMAZING!! I am NOT an animal person, but it was AMAZING!!! So glad we finally got there!

And, as you might guess, you will see more photos than words in this post! :>

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I told my Sweetie I wasn’t sure I wanted to see the jellyfish, but they were my FAVORITE!!

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I am so thankful for my Sweetie and these years together! We’ve had MANY struggles together, but God continues to bless us with His grace and hope. Every day we choose to stick together to honor God and each other. It isn’t always easy, but so worth it!!! :>

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He’s like an elephant fish to me!  I love elephants! :>

DSCN3706Crystal Jelly

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DSCN3887Giant Pacific Octopus

DSCN3904Creeping out…

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DSCN3922…and creeping back into the dark.

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DSCN3805_2Just lounging…

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DSCN3825See how tall the rope is?

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I find flowers everywhere I go!!

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Shark anyone?

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Standing under the man made wave.

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So much exhausting fun through glass!!

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Celebrating 15 Years!

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Happy 15th anniversary to us!!!

No rain for us here in California, but I’m spending the whole weekend with my Sweetie in Carmel! Yippee!!

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Irish dancing and and Irish kilt at our Irish themed wedding. No big surprise for anyone there! :>

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God has given us 15 years of love, trials, sorrows, joys and a commitment to stay together, no matter what. Believe me, that has been tested, especially around the 10 year mark! (Of course we had MANY trials during our dating years as well, no bliss for us until after we were married). But God has seen us through to the other side, and brought us close together again. Praise the Lord!! He is good!!

(And one of these days we’ll get these photos scanned…)

I’m thankful for this life with my Sweetie!!

Recipe Exchange: Shepherd’s Pie

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Here’s a new and improved Shepherd’s Pie Recipe post for the Recipe Exchange! If you’ve been reading for very long, you know we love all things Irish and enjoy the culture year round, but especially like to celebrate Ireland in March. So I made Shepherd’s Pie and Brown Soda Bread last night and took some new and improved photos! I usually make White Soda Bread, but I’ll be making brown more often now that I think I’ve figured out a little trick for the flour for us Americans.

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I ALWAYS make it the same way, the way we made it when I lived in Ireland, where I first ate it, until the last few times when I shook it up a bit. But the whole idea of this dish is that you (the shepherds) use whatever you have on hand and throw it all in together. The original would have had, and still does sometimes, lamb instead of the ground beef or “mince” that I use.

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This meal always takes me back to my days of living in Ireland and all of those great memories!

Shepherd’s Pie

Ingredients:

1 1/2 lbs ground beef (mince)

1 tsp minced garlic

6 lg potatoes

3 lg carrots

dash of parsley

1/2 cup cheese

2 T brown gravy powder (I always use Irish Bisto)

splash of milk

1 3/4 cups water

2-3 T butter

**Brown the ground beef and garlic in a large frying pan or skillet deep enough to hold the carrots and gravy later. At the same time, boil the carrots and potatoes until just tender. Mix the gravy powder with 2 tablespoons water to make a paste. Add the rest of the water and stir. Immediately pour over drained ground beef, stirring constantly  on medium-low heat as gravy thickens. Add the cooked, drained carrots. Keep warm on low while you drain and mash the potatoes, adding a splash of warmed milk and butter, if desired.

You now have a choice:

**Shepherd’s Pie: Pour gravy mixture into a 9×13 baking dish, spoon the potatoes on top and smooth them out to cover the meat mixture. Sprinkle the cheese and parsley over the top and bake at 350 degrees for about 40 minutes, until the cheese is melted and the potatoes are a bit crispy. You can also make it ahead of time and just do the baking the day you serve it.

**Mince and Potatoes: Spoon potatoes onto the plate, make a well in the center and pour the meat and gravy mixture into the well.

This time I added Brussels sprouts and forgot the garlic, so I poked it in before the oven bit, as you’ll see in the photos. :>

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I like my potatoes smashed and a bit lumpy. :>

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The “gravy.”

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The Mince and Potatoes version.

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Spreading the potatoes over the gravy.

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A sprinkling of cheese.

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The finished product. See the garlic cloves? :>

Happy Irish Celebrating and Happy Eating!!

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Recipe Exchange: Lily’s Brown Soda Bread

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Tuesday means the Old Fashioned Recipe Exchange, and since it’s March I like to celebrate Irish culture. One of the ways we celebrate is with Irish food! So last night I made Shepherd’s Pie and Brown Bread, otherwise known as Brown Soda Bread, as opposed to White Soda Bread. I lived in Ireland for two years as a missionary and made some lovely local friends over that time period! Last June we went over for our Irish friend’s beautiful wedding. :> This is her mother’s recipe, and it is FABULOUS!! It goes perfectly with their wonderful spirit of hospitality. I have NEVER been to their house without being offered food! I have always been warmly welcomed and served with love alongside my tea, brown bread, etc. The Murtaghs embody a similar welcoming attitude you will find all over the Emerald Isle! You can find out for yourself by visiting their now famous Causy Farm in County Meath! The Duggars from “19 Kids And Counting” did!! 🙂

In fact, I was watching the show one night when I heard Matt Murtagh’s voice, looked up, and there he was! I had no idea they were visiting my friends and was completely surprised to see their Irish  farm on the show!

It felt so good to be greeted last June from many friends with, “Welcome Home!” It WAS my home for two years and still feels that way when we visit!

They have turned their farm into a unique, fun business. Take a peek at Causey Farm here!

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So, without further ado…here’s the recipe:

Lilly’s Brown Soda Bread

Ingredients

  • 1½ cups of plain flour (all purpose)
  • 1 cup of wheatenmeal
  • ½ teaspoon of salt
  • 1 level teaspoon of bread soda (baking soda)
  • 1 small egg
  • ¾ cup of buttermilk (I usually just add a tsp of white vinegar to the milk)
  • spoon of butter to grease tin
  • Grease the loaf tin thoroughly with butter.
  • Put the wheatenmeal, flour, salt and bread soda into the mixing bowl.
  • Lift the contents of the bowl through your fingers to let air into the mixture and to thoroughly mix the dry ingredients.
  • Add the egg and milk and mix to a dough with the wooden spoon.
  • Put mixture in tin and bake at 200°C for 25-30 minutes. (400 F)
  • Turn out onto a baking tray and leave to cool.

Note from Lily: “Most people would be more likely to have a 2lb loaf tin rather than the very small 1lb tin we use at the farm. Just double the ingredients if you are using a 2lb tin. Otherwise if you wish you can use a flat tin and form the mixture into a round cake for baking, marking a cross on the top with a knife, for easy cutting.”

Here’s her version of White Soda Bread:

**Same as Brown Soda Bread, except replace the wheatenmeal with plain flour (2 and ½ cups of plain flour altogether).

**We can’t buy wheatenmeal here, so you can try it with wheat flour, but it won’t be the same. When I run out of my stash of wheatenmeal I brought back with me, I’m going to try making cracked wheat flour, as that is what it looks and tastes like.

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Happy Baking!!

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Giveaway Winner!

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Time to announce the WINNER of the Irish themed GIVEAWAY!

And the Winner is……Rachel Anna!! Congratulations!

Let me know if you want the necklace or a different item and I’ll send it out to you asap! And send me an email with your address please. :>

Thanks everyone for entering!

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New items in the SHOP!

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Happy Irish Celebrating!

Modest Monday: Men, Modesty and Bathing Suits

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I firmly believe that modesty is important for both men AND women. I know that MANY people think it’s only for women to implement, but that isn’t true, it’s just that there is a much bigger problem with immodesty in our culture with women. But, really modesty goes both ways. My Sweetie has learned a lot about modesty along with me throughout our 15 year marriage! Unlike me, he has always dressed pretty modestly. I rebelled a little bit against my mother’s VERY strict rules and would sneak tight pants and mini skirts to school and change clothes to look more cool and to attract guys. So I had further to go when I was fist convicted of my clothing choices. The beginning for me was with bathing suits. Even though I always wore a one piece, it still always felt like I was wearing my underwear in public, and I knew that that is wrong! So I started wearing shorts and t-shirts over mine. That was the beginning of changes for me. Ironically, the biggest change for my Sweetie also involved bathing suits, so he now wears a t-shirt with his longer trunks. I’ve always had a problem with men going shirtless, and I know other women have the same issue.

So here’s a Modest Monday post focusing on modesty for men, featuring my super handsome Sweetie! Both casual and dressier clothing.

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And speaking of bathing suits, here’s a post about the one I wear now. :>

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Modeling my super nice camera cover!

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Modesty takes a bit more effort, but it’s so worth it to please our Lord and Savior!

And be sure to enter my March Giveaway!

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And thank you to the Modest Mom for featuring my post from last week!

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March Giveaway

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It’s March  and for a lot people that means it’s time to celebrate the Irish culture with food, music, dance, green and shamrocks! We actually celebrate the Irish many times and in many ways throughout the year. It’s a fun culture and I really love the beautiful green isle and my dear friends over there,  so I decided to do  an Irish themed GIVEAWAY!!

Then I was doing a bit of behind the scenes work this morning and discovered two fabulous things: I’ve nearly reached 20,000 hits on this blog, and one of my posts had so many views it knocked out my previous top post by more than double! You can see it HERE. It turns out that that is thanks to my being featured on the Modest Mom Modest Monday blog post today!! Exciting!  And the post happens to feature a bunch of Irish fashion from our trip last June. See, I think I need an Irish themed giveaway! :>

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Rafflecopter doesn’t work with WordPress, so I’ll be doing this the old fashioned way. I’ll put all of the entry names into a hat and have my husband randomly draw the winner. :>

Here’s how it will work: Head over to my Etsy SHOP and pick your favorite item from the Irish section, then tell me which one you chose in the comment section below. (Don’t worry, you can always change your mind if you win). The winner will get to pick any Irish themed item I have for sale. I may even be adding more things in the next couple of days! ;>

P.S. I may throw in a special freebee if you pick one of the Bobby Pins!

So, pick your item, leave a comment and you are entered!! Giveaway ends Friday night at midnight, pacific time. Happy looking all!!

 

***Giveaway is now closed. ***