My Girl :)

I just can't get enough of this sweet face (and my new 50 mm lens! WOOHOO!) She's the best, funniest, snuggliest dog in the entire world. I know, Whit- I'm obsessed :).

Did I mention I'm in MEXICO?!!! I arrived last night and I could not be happier about it!!! I am so blessed to be here for my beautiful friend's wedding for an entire week!
If you're looking for me, I'll have my feet in the sand, drinking in the sunshine!

Ni Hao Y'all Photobucket


Grown Up Grilled Cheese Party!

This past Sunday we hosted our third annual Pumpkin Carving Sunday Funday
"Oh, because you have kids?" you ask? Well, not exactly...
Let me clear something up:
yes I am 27 years old, yes I still carve a pumpkin every year, and yes I make all of my friends do it, too.
I also still dye Easter Eggs, open a stocking and make turkey cards by tracing my hand.
There- I said it. :)

So anyway, I knew I wanted to serve my guests grilled cheese and tomato soup, but I decided to take Martha Stewart's advice and spice up the old favorite.
Enter the grown up grilled cheese! 

I sliced up yummy ingredients (think procuitto, pear, and apple) and displayed them on trays from Crate and Barrel. After my guests arrived, we all built our own signature grown up grilled cheese. It was fun to see the endless, delicious combinations of ingredients that we all piled high onto our bread. 
When we had sufficiently created pumpkin masterpieces, I grilled our sandwiches to perfection and served them up nice and hot. Add in tomato bisque, homemade dessert and football, and it's safe to say that we had ouselves a party!

Want to throw a Grown Up Grilled Cheese Party?

Your Grocery List:
*cheeses that spread easily (I bought cheddar and gruyere)
* proscuitto
*green apple
*red onion
*wheat, white, and rye bread
*Sophisticated toppings (I bought 3 from Willaims and Sonoma- fig jam, honey mustard and caramelized onion- delish!)

Happy Halloween!!!!!

Make it Yours @ My Backyard Eden



Just a Little Somethin...

eceI am obsessed with all things shelves
aannnnd all things decorative pillows.
aaannnnnd all things Pottery Barn for that matter. 
But this past weekend it was the shelves that got the best of my OCD, and I just had to do some rearranging. 
That's when I had an idea.
Just a little somethin', but I am in love with how it turned out.
My little idea was to hang a few pictures above some of the shelves in my family room to cover more wall space. 
 I just recently framed that picture on the second shelf from the top. I took it in Ireland and I absolutely love it! So instead of just setting it on a shelf, I hung it up! 
Here's one I hung up on the opposite shelf. Even though it's nothing major, literally every time I've looked at my shelves since last weekend I've smiled! (is that sad?! HA)
I just love the way it adds more dimension and shows off great pictures!

So I just wanted to give you another idea of how to make your home more YOU!
Happy Hanging!

Oh yeah, and please excuse the spiders- they're only with us until the end of the month.
(the fake ones anyway!)



B & W Wednesday

Though I really, really, MAJORLY should be in bed (I'm taking 24 eight year olds on a field trip in a mere 10 hours...) I just had to hop on the computer for Black and White Wednesday. 

This is a picture of my dad, aka The Big Kat. I took this picture of him at a family friend's party last weekend, and every time I've looked at it since it's made me smile.
My dad is the man.
and oh how he loves his family.
I mean just look at him! His smile just makes my heart burst.
As my brother said, this picture captures our dad doing what he does best:
Having a good ol' time.

Happy Hump Day!
the long road



Young Women and Strokes

As I have written about before on my blog, my wonderful, beautiful, 35 year-old cousin Shana had a stroke a few years ago that turned her life upside down and left her unable to swallow for months. While she made a miraculous recovery and there are no lingering physical signs of her stroke to the outside world, no doubt she still thinks about it every day. 
Recently she was contacted by another young woman who had a stroke at just 28 years old. The woman had gone searching for other young women this had happened to and found Shana's story on the internet. A few weeks ago a team from Good Morning America came to Shana's house to interview her, hoping to spread the word about how to detect this type of stroke. 
After Shana's stroke, she passed 2 stroke tests in the hospital and laid there for days while doctors deliberated over what had happened to her. Thankfully, they finally figured it out and she started her journey towards recovery.
I would highly recommend that all young woman watch Shana's Good Morning America clip and forward it on to your friends.
Let's spread the word!


Free Fallin...

So... just when I was getting slightly bummed about fall arriving (fall = winter = MISERY), Columbus went and discovered America and I discovered a 3-day weekend. 
Well- let me rephrase that slightly. 
Columbus went and discovered America and brought with him summer temperatures over said 3-day weekend.  
Therefore, for the past 3 days I have loved Columbus.
And I have absolutely loved fall.

I am not sure I have ever loved a 3-day weekend so much.
Though I probably think that very thought every time one rolls around. 
How different a Sunday feels when it's really like Saturday. 
How that one more day seems to make everything calm an relaxing.
One more whole day just to explore.

I did so many great things with my 72 hours! First of all, I saw The Town and it was a-ma-zing.  
Like almost-redeems-Ben-Affleck-for-ever-making-Gigi amazing.
Ok, maybe that's stretching it.
But nonetheless, LOVED.
I could have watched it for 10 straight hours without even blinking.
If you have seen this movie, please tell me if you agree. 

I went to my friend Katie's fantastic engagement party with my family, and my other friend Katie's delicious BBQ. I went shopping, decorated for Halloween (Hello! Start of the Holiday Season!!!) and went to the grocery store. 
I know- let that soak in. I.ran.an.errand. 
But more on the ridiculousness of errands later.

I also read, relaxed, and watched Chris play football at a park right next to the airport. I was so happy to do this because I had been eyeing this spot for a while. Planes take off not 100 yards away, and they flew overhead so closely that it seemed like I could reach out and touch them. It was really awesome.

And of course, it wouldn't be fall without a child-like adventure (or 10) to the pumpkin patch. 
Yesterday we went to an orchard in Maryland to pick apples and a good lookin' pumpkin. I picked out a 16 pounder and named it "Chubbs". 
And yes, I was probably happier to be there than most of the 4 year olds.

And to think that I asked "Are you sure this one's big enough?"

It was a wonderful, absolutely beautiful weekend. 
Now if Columbus could just discover something every Monday...


Hang Out, Make Lots of Noise...

For those of you who read my blog regularly (thank you!!), you may have noticed that I've been a little MIA these last few, well let's be honest- basically the entire month of September. 
Getting back into school mode has totally kicked my tail 
(teachers you KNOW what I'm talking about!). 
Most nights by the time I crawl through the door, the last thing I want to do is even look at a computer.
But I have been having a blast getting to know my new students, and I have been taking major advantage of my weekend free time. 
Here are just a few memories I've made in the past 2 weeks!
My best friend Stephanie and I went to a Sugarland concert last weekend and it was 
out of this WORLD. 
We packed a picnic, danced, and sang our hearts out under the stars. The weather was beautiful, and I got to hear one of my favorite bands perform next to one of my favorite people
This is the sky that greeted me as I left work one night last week. I was feeling really tired, and yet all of a sudden I had a huge smile plastered across my face.
It was just so beautiful.
As has been my tradition every night since school began, 
I rushed home and took Kenzie for a long walk and soaked in the last few minutes of day light.

This past Saturday night my beautiful, hilarious, intelligent, long-time, wonderful friend Stephanie 
got married outside at a really cool museum in Richmond, Virginia. 
Stephanie is one of my precious D-12.
She's the 4th one to say "I Do", and as usual, the Dirty Dozen (minus one who stayed home with her sweet, sweet newborn) came from far and wide (like Germany wide!) to honor her and celebrate.

It was a 24 hour lovefest
We talked for hours and danced the night away and hugged each other extra tight. 
Thanks to Stephanie we also ate reeaallly good food.
Like Chicken and waffles and a macaroni and cheese bar good.
I mean Really.
Stephanie and Brian are a perfect match, and I am really happy they found each other because I really like hanging out with them. 
Oh yeah- AND because I think they'll make each other laugh until they're old and grey.
Congratulations, Steph!
Last but certainly not least, yesterday the best mom in the entire world turned 61 years young.
Luckily for me, she's mine.
Our family celebrated at Morton's Steakhouse, and we laughed together for hours. 
This is what our family does. And this is just one of the million reasons I love my mom.
Because she taught us the meaning of family.
And as I sat and told stories with the people I love most in the world, 
and celebrated my awesome mom for everything she is and does, 
I thought to myself
'there is nowhere on earth I'd rather be'.
BM- Here's to another year of great memories. XO


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