Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Hustle and Bustle!

Who here is guilty of hustling and bustling a bit too much this Holiday season?

 If asked that question, I would be the obnoxious student raising their hand high to the sky, trying hard to not jump from their seat.

This holiday season has possibly been the fastest in history for me. I find this odd, seeing as I am a stay at home wife with zero kids. Shouldn't time be slow? Shouldn't I have all the time in the world? Shouldn't I have had morning upon morning to decorate for the holidays, go shopping, bake goodies, and rest on the coming of Christ?

Well, I thought it would be that way. Instead, I was busy checking off the to-do lists, buying the gifts, and not really breathing in the meaning of Christmas and the memories that come with it.

Let's hope that this week is different. Mark gets off work tomorrow, we fly to Texas, and we will spend the week celebrating Christ's birth and the wonderful gift he has given us...all with my fabulous family!

Here's a bit of our busy month :)

Thanksgiving weekend Mark's madre came to visit. It was full of fun and included a day in San Francisco and winery hopping in Sonoma. 

Once the first of December hit, I made this advent calendar. My plan was to have a note, bible verse, or activity in it each day for Mark to open. Gingerbread house decorating, Christmas light looking, random gifts, ornament making, christmas movies with hot chocolate, ice skating date night, and etcetera. Sadly, this dream did not become the best reality...with the "hustle and bustle" of life we were lucky this month if Mark got home from work on time and if I had a fresh meal on the table.

The following weekend Mark's dad and step mom flew in from North Carolina. The second they showed up they got straight to work fixing our refrigerator...

After such hard work, we took them to a restaurant to enjoy this huge California steak...

The next weekend, I put on a Fair Trade Christmas Party at church. This is what took up most of my time this holiday season...but it was so worth it. I spent many many hours at our local Starbucks preparing for this night and I'd say it was quite a success, all because of the Lord. He is slowly teaching me to be more like him  by being a good consumer and voting for justice and equality with the items I purchase. I'll share more about this in another post :)

The last several days I have been busy at the home sewing and crocheting Christmas gifts.

{I couldn't show you those unwrapped now...}

Merry Christmas, friends! I hope you find joy and rest this holiday with family, friends, and the saving grace of Christ!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Projects Galore!

Not to make excuses, but the lack of my blogging has largely been due to the countless amount of projects we have undertaken here at the house. So to catch all of you up, here is a glimpse of the projects/fun that has been had the past week or two.

Circa Halloween time I made these yummy candy corn sugar cookies...

And on Halloween Day we finally got around to carving up these...

We sanded some wood

and then distressed it like crazy.

and then stained it as well.

All to get a more organized office...

I started sewing Christmas presents...

but we can't show those!

And I learned am learning to crochet.

We are dog sitting this big puppy...

I sewed a table runner, painted new curtains, and finally made a thankful tree for our table...

{you can kind of see all three in the above picture}

And we finally have some pictures that aren't of just us in this home...

Now we just need to tackle the project we have in store to display those... Any projects you have been up to lately?


I have a confession to make.

I lied. I said I would write a thankful post every day in November, and week later...I have done nothing.

When I sit and think about how much I am thankful for, I realize how ridiculous it is that I couldn't NOT write about it. I think it's because I just don't thank the Lord enough for what He has given me. Each day passes with the many blessings that inhabit it and I don't even take notice that they exist. Yes, I'm thankful for it, but I don't notice it..they are just expected. I don't see them as the beautiful gifts they are.

I pray I shout thanksgiving and count my blessings each day. I pray I take the time to count those little gifts that I am given...because each day is a blessing. I pray that in each breath I give thanks to the Magnificent Creator who made me and in so doing, bring Him glory. 


What am I thankful for today? 

Amazing Grace.

The grace that saves this self-consuming, un-thankful, materialistic sinner. The grace that abounds in and through me each day as He molds me more into His image...because it is only by His grace that I am good. It is only by HIS GRACE that I can be selfless, thankful, and run from the things of this world.

So, Lord, friends, people. 

I have a confession. 

I'm a sinner.
I'm saved by grace. 
I am oh so thankful.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

A Season of Thanks

Psalm 100 explains this season so well...

 1 Make a joyful noise to the LORD, all the earth!
 2 Serve the LORD with gladness!
    Come into his presence with singing!
 3Know that the LORD, he is God!
   It is he who made us, and we are his;
   we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.
 4 Enter his gates with thanksgiving,
   and his courts with praise!
   Give thanks to him; bless his name!
 5 For the LORD is good;
   his steadfast love endures forever,
   and his faithfulness to all generations.

I had my first graders memorize that verse last year. It is such a beautiful verse to meditate on this time of year...the Lord indeed is good. I am going to try to give thanks to the Lord each day this month via this blog. 

And so it begins. 

Day One 
We are continuing to get settled here and each day it is beginning to feel more and more like home to us...

how, you ask?

Well, a home to me involves people... people who can walk in this place without knocking. People who you can share food with and discuss life with. People who can dominate you at Nertz (Mark and I need to practice). People who can pray for you, hold you accountable, and grow with you. We are beginning to form authentic relationships...and even meeting wiser and older folks who can train and disciple us this first year of marriage and counting. 

Folks like these two...

Joking :) This is obviously a Halloween costume of the people that dominated us at Nertz. 

This couple has been such a breath of fresh air as we settle here. Max laughs like a hyena, cooks some mean gnocchi, and radically lives for the Lord. Monica can grow a mean garden, knows all things discounts and good deals, and lives out joy in all circumstances like no other. We are looking forward to living life alongside these two for as long as the Lord has us here. 

I give thanks to the Lord for continuously providing for Mark and I as we make this place a home. I came here with many doubts, questions, excitement, and fear. I left a family of believers to find a family of believers! Thank you Lord for your provision!

Friday, October 21, 2011


Seeing as I haven't blogged in an entire week, I figured now was a good time to link up at this place. 

Last Friday I finished my first ever DIY skirt! Woo! Maybe this will make me wear skirts more...I'm sure my husband would like a change from his "every single day I wear jeans" wife.

Saturday we celebrated our 6 months of being married and my 24 years of being alive and went to Yosemite. We hiked up to Yosemite Falls, which is reported to be a 6-8 hour hike. We did it in 4...and felt the pain from it when it hurt to walk the following day. 

P.S. isn't that beautiful? How great is our God?!

Going to Yosemite made Mark and I miss climbing that much more. 

(Mark pulled his finger pulley so we have had to take a break from it for a while)

So, we finally put up our training board so I could at least train a bit...while my stud husband does one arm pull ups with his good hand.

 let the training commence.

Tuesday we took the ol' Frisbee out for some fun. We walked to a couple parks in town, but it turned out that all the little soccer teams had booked each field.

That's when we were thankful for a good back yard.

Wednesday we took a walk to the local library to get library cards. Mark wasn't too excited when I told him to let me take a picture of him in front of this. Can't you tell?

That's when I put away the phone for a good amount of time...

...until yesterday when I sewed my second DIY skirt for Lori (in addition to multiple other things that I will share eventually). I think I've found a new hobby in sewing...if only I had a job to purchase the needed fabric :) 

More on that later.


Just got back from my morning jogging loop and am now waiting for the espresso machine to warm up to make a much needed latte.

Mark and I get our California drivers licenses today. Starting tomorrow we will no longer get the  long standing joke at the grocery store when we show them our driver's license...

"You're from Texas? I'm sorry."

and I will no longer have to hold my tongue from saying something back.

Happy Friday, Friends!

{linking here}

Friday, October 14, 2011


Last night Mark and I rode our bikes to the town Farmer's Market for the first time...only to realize we forgot the key to our bike lock. So, we biked back to the house to get the key, which is when Mark decided he wanted to walk there instead.

These feet are thankful we only live about a mile away from the happenings downtown.

The weekly Farmer's Market was wonderful. Booth beyond booth of fresh produce, good food, kettle corn, and little shops were lined up on 1st street. We were sad to hear that this weekly ritual ends later this month and won't pick back up until April. 

 We didn't get any fruit or vegi's because we forgot our bag, but Mark decided I looked too legit in these to not buy them...

After strolling down First, we had some good grub, began the stroll back home, stopped at the baseball fields to watch an inning of a kid's game, and then got back to the house to get much needed rest.


Another first for the Felder clan is that I attempted and dominated my first stab at sewing a skirt. Thank you sweet Caroline for great instructions


And the last first that will take place tomorrow...

Mark and I are road tripping it to Yosemite for the first time of many! We are only going on a day trip to hike around. You have to reserve a camping spot there at least 6 months in advance...can I say crazy!?! I'll try and remember my actual camera for once...

Oh...Sunday also marks my first birthday as a married lady... and six months of being a married lady! 

I'll be 24...can I say EVEN MORE CRAZY?!?

Have a great weekend :)

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Fall Recipe Party!

Morning, friends :) 

Miss Mrs. Caroline and I go way back to the summer before college. She has an adorable shop and blogs over here. Today she is having a fall recipe link up party, so check it out to get some yummy goodies and delish meals to cook up this season. 

We decided to take her up on the challenge of sharing a fall dish.

Fall brings so many great things regarding food. Chai lattes, pumpkins, cinnamon, apples, the cool air for thing that I love busting out in the fall is the beginning of winter squashes...which brings us to a new recipe for ya'll!

Butternut Squash Risotto

I loved it. It was creamy and warm, which was great for the cool night. The butternut squash was delectable. You should try it out.

Head to the store and get the following asap.

Olive Oil (2 T)
Butternut Squash (1 pound)
Leeks (2 of 'em)
Thyme (3 sprigs)
Arborio Rice (1 cup)
Basil Leaves (Handful)
Chicken Broth Low Sodium (32oz)
Parmesan Cheese (1/2 cup)

Once you have all the goods go ahead and prep the vegetables. Mark and I like to prep everything and put them in individual bowls. 

before you prep put the the 32 ounces of chicken in a saucepan on the stovetop. Heat it up and let it simmer. 

Moving on...

First prep the butternut squash. You will want to peel it and then dice the squash into 1/2 inch cubes. Here's some photos for you.

cut off the top and bottom to have a solid base.
then peel. 
slice in half long ways. 
it takes some umph, so get ready for a work out.

 scoop out the seeds with a big spoon. 

and if you are like us...
wash and dry the seeds.
pop them in the oven at 300 degrees for around 20 minutes.
enjoy your yummy and healthy snack.

with flat side down, cut vertical strips a 1/2 inch wide.

make cuts through the squash
 you can kind of see it.
they are 1/2 inch.

final cuts and you get semi-perfect 1/2 inch butternut squash cubes.
that kind of look like cheese cubes.

you should have only 2 cups plus some for the butternut squash.
if you had more like me, put the rest in a ziploc bag.
seal it as tight as possible.
throw it in the freezer to make a quick side dish to a meal later in the week.
moving on. grab those leeks.

toss the dark green.
keep the white and light green. is where i would add something looking back now...
make an additional long cut down the middle of each leek to separate each 1 into 2 sections. 

cut 1 inch strips. 
put them in a bowl and set it aside.

take off the leaves from the 3 sprigs of thyme.
chop them up and put them in a bowl.
take your basil leaves.
chop them up.
put them in a separate bowl.

Heat 1 T olive oil over medium high heat in a heavy duty saute pan or a large pot.

When hot, but not smoking, add the butternut squash.
Let it sit there for a bit.
Then stir some.
Let it sit there.
Sitr some.
Repeat for around 5 minutes.
Once the squash is lightly browned, empty all of it into a bowl and set aside.

Bring the heat to medium and put 1 more tablespoon of olive oil in the pan.

Saute the leeks and thyme.

After 5 minutes go ahead and pour in the rice...

And get ready for the tedious part...

Give the rice a stir, and after a good minute, scoop a cup out of your simmering pot of broth.

Stir. Stir. Stir.

The key to risotto is patience. stirring. patience. and more stirring.

In 4 minute intervals, continue to add 1/2 cup broth to the risotto (while stirring). The recipe online says it will last 15 minutes. I say 25 minutes. Keep the heat on medium, but if you need to you can raise the temp a bit more (I raised mine a little to speed up the process). Just remember that the rice needs that time to cook, so don't go crazy and put it on high!

Once you pour your last 1/2 cup of broth, the rice should still be a bit harder than you'd want it to be. Don't worry, you can let it cook for more. And you can stir while it cooks :) 

When the last 1/2 cup is poured, put back in the butternut squash and let it cook and stir for an additional 10 minutes. 

Then add your chopped basil and some 1/2 cup parmesan cheese...give it a good stir.

Then plate it up and add some of the basil on top as a garnish.


For the actual recipe, all credit goes to bon appetit, our usual stop for recipes. Get it here.  

The recipe I posted was split in half to accommodate for 2 people with a little bit of leftovers (Mark always needs leftovers for the next day at work!)

 Hopefully this will inspire you to go out and make your own fall recipe...and then share it with me!

Off to make another fall inspired cinnamon bread!

Go to the Link Party and check out other recipes HERE

Friday, October 7, 2011

A Life Update for Friends Afar :)

In case any of you Texans or Carolinans or whoever were's a quick life update for you.

Warning: This post has no pictures and all words. 

Scratch that.

I just added a video. Yay for technology!

Mark and I found a church we have decided to join here! We wanted to find a place that was in our town so we could really live life with the rest of the body. Last night we went to a small group at a couples home and loved it, so we are excited to start living life alongside these people. We would love prayers as we begin forming relationships here.

- Pray that they are gospel-centered, intentional, and downright fun. Pray that the Lord provides an older couple to come alongside us and disciple us. That would be awesome...and pray for relationships to be formed with maybe some high school students or younger folks that we could come alongside and, by God's grace, train and disciple as well.

- Pray for those people who aren't in our church body who we have become friends with...that good solid relationships will be made and that we won't selfishly leave the Lord out of them because it makes us feel uncomfortable or we are nervous. If we really believed the gospel to be true, then why would we NOT share this good news with others?! I've been super convicted of this lately.

- Pray for me (Ash) to find a place I can work (I had an interview last week at a school and have yet to find out the outcome). Ultimately, pray for me to trust in the Lord's provision, be pro-active and prayerful, be content, and see opportunities for ministry whether I get paid or not.

- Pray for our marriage...that we wake up each day reminded that we have a blessed opportunity to live this gospel out right here in our home. 

- Lastly, pray for me (Ash) to choose joy and to give thanks for all the little things the Lord blesses us with each day. Each things he gives us is a gift. So often I forget such things.

Check out this video I saw about a book...I like it :) 

It's beginning to feel a lot like autumn!

...which also means Christmas is not too far away, but let's not rush ourselves.

Due to the move happening in September, and Mark and I living out of boxes and suitcases for the last 2-3 weeks, I didn't get a chance to really embrace the fact that Fall was approaching. Now that our boxes are unpacked and life is beginning to become normal again, I finally have the time to think about pumpkins and scarves and mustard yellow and chai lattes and flannel shirts and turkey and...oh i need to stop. I'm getting too excited!

Yesterday I even had the time to put together a quick wreath for our front door. 

It's not on the door now...because after looking at it this morning I decided it needed more rosettes, so off the door it came.

I'm a big fan of the grapevine wreath during this time of the year - the lovely brown color just screams Fall to me. With such a great wreath, I decided to keep it pretty simple by just adding some flannel rosettes to it. Having that thing on the door will definitely make it feel more like autumn around here :)

And if you were's a close up!

Don't you think it needs just a bit more fun added to that thing? Hot glue gun turning on and fingers are prepared for a bit of torture...I'm still learning :)

Thursday, October 6, 2011

thursday letters.

Hubs. Last night you diced, caramelized, and simmered all of the onion goodness for me. Thanks for making me not cry and taking the tears from the onions for me. Pink and Turqoise Wonder. I've missed you and am pretty excited to live life in the bike lane. Get ready for many more trips to coffee shops, the grocery store, and strolls around town. Dearest HEB. We miss you very much. We miss your prices and your huge selection of all things coffee, all things seafood, and all things...well...everything. Alas, California grocers will do for now. Hey Handsome. I love you. I don't say that enough. 

I hope everyone else is having a great Thursday! I enjoyed a run in the rain this morning and am just about to start a day filled with crafty goodness. So excited!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Lessons Learned

Yesterday, I learned that biking in the Bay is much different than biking in flat land Texas.

I took the bike out of the storage, put the wheels on, and decided to bike over to a coffee shop to read and the local grocery to pick up some last minute things. It was a climb, but at least the hills were good for burning the calories from my chocolate-chip pumpkin pancake breakfast.

Yesterday, I also learned how to break into our home when and if I lock the keys inside...hopefully that won't happen again...and hopefully, if it does, a window will be left cracked open for me to climb through.

1) take screen off.
2) open up really thin window.
3) pray this pumpkin pancake eating body will fit thorugh said window.
4) attempt to climb up.
5) realize i haven't gone climbing in a while and it would be much easier to have some help.
6) grab stool.
7) laugh at self and get laughed at from school students passing by

<fast forward to now>

This morning I just finished making myself a chai latte.

and some more pumpkin pancakes...

I'll probably jump on the bike again to run errands and attempt mastering the hills...but let's hope I don't relearn the task of climbing through a window again.

Any lessons you've learned lately that you wish you hadn't?!
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