Thursday, September 6, 2012

Moving Again!

Gotcha. Just moving to a new bloggy home. I am infinitely more impressed with Wordpress than blogger. They've got it goin' on over there, folks.

Here's where you can find me now: https://itsagracelife.wordpress.com/

I'm still settling in and making it home (sounds eerily like my "real" life), but check back for more soon!

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Media Wall Unit



With every move, we face the challenges of new spaces and making our furniture and belongings look like they are supposed to "go there." Our new home here presents several challenges, the largest of which include lots of windows (love all the light!) and a large main living area...which is fabulous, but with all of the windows, there isn't much wall space, so you have to carve out "areas" within the room. The one wall which is unbroken by windows is HUGE...like, eighteen feet long huge! We did have our tv sitting on our Korean tansu initially, but it was swallowed by the wall, and then you had these awkward gaps on either side. Not wanting to waste all of that great space, and knowing we were in need of some extra storage, I came up with a sketch of what I thought would work well in the space, and my terrific husband made it happen. Love that man!

I looked at several pieces on Pottery Barn's website, and went from there. I liked this and this but definitely not the price! I knew that I needed a decent number of cabinets to store things that aren't so "pretty" like school supplies, board games, and the cable box, printer and DVD player.

I also knew I wanted to bring in a lot of color, since this is housing and we have to leave the walls white (boo). Enter my favorite hue: turquoise! I'm really missing my beautiful turquoise kitchen back in Virginia, so I thought I'd channel some of that. At the same time, I wanted the pieces to have a bit of contrast, so I chose to stain the top of the base cabinets. I also antiqued them by mixing some translucent glaze with the stain and doing the wipe on, wipe off technique. It gave the turquoise paint a bit of depth that I really like.

So are you ready? I mean, most of you have probably seen it on Facebook already, but humor me :). Here's the before (taken with my phone, but you get the idea):



See what I mean? Big, plain, awkward wall.






And here are the after pictures:









Soooo much fabulous storage! I think we are ready to start the school year now :).

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Coconut Poke Cake

I found this recipe when I was browsing Allrecipes for a new dessert idea. I've been on a coconut kick lately (hmm...what could have brought that on?) and this one fit the bill. It is complete coconut overload but in a really good way!

I followed the original online with the following exceptions:
- I used a yellow cake mix in place of the white mix
- I made a basic cream cheese frosting recipe and mixed it half and half with the cool whip...yum! It seemed like plain cool whip would have been too boring, but straight cream cheese frosting might have been too rich. This mixture was perfect.
-I toasted the coconut before topping the cake with it. It gave the coconut a little extra crunchiness that I really liked.

Verdict? My new favorite dessert. So cool and refreshing...make sure to serve it chilled!
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Ingredients

1 (18.25 ounce) package white cake mix
1 (14 ounce) can cream of coconut
1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
1 (16 ounce) package frozen whipped topping, thawed
1 (8 ounce) package flaked coconut

Directions

Prepare and bake white cake mix according to package directions. Remove cake from oven. While still hot, using a utility fork, poke holes all over the top of the cake.
Mix cream of coconut and sweetened condensed milk together. Pour over the top of the still hot cake. Let cake cool completely then frost with the whipped topping and top with the flaked coconut. Keep cake refrigerated.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Moving In

This is how tired moving in makes us. All of our household goods arrived two weeks ago. It's crazy that all of your earthly belongings can be boxed up and dumped in a pile in a matter of hours. We had the BEST movers we have ever had-- and we've had a lot! Six energetic Hawaiian men worked hard in the heat and had the crates unloaded in record time. They were cheerful AND efficient. You can't beat that combination!

I've spent the past two weeks unpacking, arranging furniture, hanging pictures and doing all of those things that make a house a home. It has been both challenging and fun to find new places for everything. We have our first houseguests coming in just a few days...they have been my source of motivation!

The girls keep disappearing for long stretches of time to their room, rediscovering all of their toys. It's kind of like Christmas for all of us:). 

It's starting to feel more like home and less like a really strange vacation. School will be starting soon, CJ is getting busier at work and I am finding my way around without Maggie more and more frequently. We are still searching for our church home, but I know it will come with time. God is good and so is life!

Monday, July 9, 2012

Surrounded by Beauty

This is such a beautiful place, but I can tell that I am already getting used to the beauty that is around every turn. It's hard to remember to stop and appreciate beauty when it is what you wake up to every day. Here are some shots from around the island. I can't believe we get to live in this beautiful place!

Friday, July 6, 2012

Leonard's Malasadas

We stumbled upon something legendary without even knowing it! We had driven by a truck advertising malasadas...what in the heck are those? I googled them and the answer came back: Portuguese doughnuts. Translation: we have to stop the next time we pass that truck, Babe!

When we arrived, the line was long. And slow. We began to think we might be onto something good. We watched customers ahead of us walk away with pink boxes and smiles.

Once we had our own pink box of goodness, it became clear why they were smiling. Oh.my.goodness. Krispy Kreme has nothing on these babies! Little balls of sweet dough, fried to perfection and then rolled in cinnamon sugar. The best part? The custard. Oh, the custard! We ordered half of them filled with custard and half without. The next time, we will be getting them all filled...they are so delicious with the warm custard in the middle!

We made sure to work off the calories by lazing around the beach for the rest of the day. I kid, I kid. At least about the working off calories part. :)

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Directions Needed

Yes, it's an island. Yet....when you want to go somewhere, it can feel like a three day road trip from Virginia to Texas. Or vice versa. It doesn't rally matter...the point is, it take longer than you think and more effort than you anticipated. We were on our way somewhere last week, and I made the statement to CJ "So, I can see where I want to go. My problem is that I don't know how to get there, or how long it's going to take me." Whoa. Did you hear the application to real life in that???? It's like, totally blowing my mind, man. Ok, maybe not so much with the surfer dude talk, but still...wow. That very well sums up how I feel in most areas of life. Right now it specifically hits my heart in my walk with my Savior, homeschooling and parenting. I know what the goals are (or should be), I just feel like I frequently take the left instead of the right, and maybe temporarily lose sight of the goal because of something that comes up on the journey. In my van, when I get lost, I turn to faithful Maggie, the GPS. The girls even know to ask "Mom, maybe Maggie can help? She knows the way!" But even more important than Maggie and landmarks on the island is keeping our eternal destination in sight as we navigate the twists and turns of daily life. I want to make sure my girls know where I turn when I lose my way during the wrong turns and detours of life. "In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths." Proverbs 3:6