our full life: march, april, may

Hello again!

I’ve missed this. It’s been a while since I have posted and I am looking forward to writing and sharing some things here! Finding time to keep up with blogging is difficult, but I recently had a surgery that has forced me to rest. So, silver lining, folks!

In March we enjoyed lots of celebrations:

March Collage

  • A beach birthday party for one of our favorite 12 year olds
  • Started two very different, but very good novels: Landline and The Nightingale
  • Went to dinner and a Jose Gonzales concert with one of our favorite couples ever
  • Celebrated 5 years of marriage with my sweet, handsome, enthusiastic, funny, strong, kind husband
  • Spent a weekend away in Las Vegas on the lake, enjoyed a Gordon Ramsey burger, and the best breakfast I’ve ever had at Bouchon Bakery
  • Bret treated me to some shopping and I ravaged the Anthropologie sale rack
  • Date day at VGs, Zumbar, SD Zoo, and El Indio
  • Celebrated EASTER SUNDAY at the Flower Fields in Carlsbad
  • Celebrated my husband turning 30 years old! Whoa…good thing he has the best baby face I’ve ever seen.

In April we enjoyed:

April Collage

  • Co-Birthday 30th Birthday Party for Bret and Steve
  • Beach walks and runs
  • 2 Fountain Valley girlfriend dates
  • Fun celebration work dinner
  • Guy and Girl hang outs with our Jr. High kids
  • Candle making class at Mr. B’s Necessities shop
  • A beach birthday party for one of our favorite sweet 16 year olds
  • Broke my pinky toe playing beach soccer
  • Spanish themed Cooking Club – I made olive tapenade toast and mushrooms sautéed in garlic and white wine
  • Spike ball Sunday
  • My mom came to visit from Idaho! We had a beach day, watercolor night, Community Group, and dinner together at Benihana (her first time hehe).

In May we enjoyed:

May Collage

  • Bret traveled with one of our Pastors to Reno for an Acts 29 Conference
  • Primos tacos and gelato with our Community Group
  • Date Night at Target and The Flying Pig
  • Mother’s Day dinner at my oldest and best girlfriend’s house
  • Book Club meeting for The Nightingale with the best french food spread ever
  • Said goodbye to the palm tree outside our front door…I loved that thing
  • 8th Grade Graduation party with our Jr. High kids – SO fun!
  • Lofty Coffee with Jocey
  • In home massages (late Christmas present for Bret)
  • Memorial Day appreciation and BBQ with friends

Something else that happened in March and is just now beginning to wrap up is an unexpected health update. My GP looked at my neck back in March and she thought my thyroid gland looked enlarged. She ordered an ultrasound which revealed that my thyroid was normal size but they could see there was a mass growing on the right side. I was then sent to a specialist. He did a biopsy and recommended I get it removed due to its large size. The biopsy came back a few weeks later as negative – PRAISE THE LORD! But I still had to consider surgery. I felt the most peace with moving forward with surgery and I am sure glad God directed me that way. Just this last week, they removed the mass and the Doctors laughed to each other when my husband asked how big it was. They said, “That thing was impressive!” So the mass is gone, it’s not cancerous, and I still have most of my thyroid intact. Recovery isn’t fun, but I am so grateful for God putting good doctors around me and for helping me to get healthy. I’m also so grateful for all the people who have prayed for me – God heard all of those prayers. And for those who have brought me flowers and food and cards and blessed me with your company. THANK YOU SO MUCH. My body is in pain but my heart is full.

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Until next month…I hope you enjoyed hearing about “our full life” over the last few months.

xo sarah

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i love lists: 3 things i’m loving

I’ve posted about this before, but I am currently pretty hooked on The Happy Hour podcast with Jamie Ivey. It’s fun, encouraging, inspiring, and a bright spot in my week. The podcast is hosted by Jamie Ivey and she has a new girlfriend on each week to talk about life: the good, the bad, and everything in between. It will make you laugh, cry, and nod along. I’ve binge-listened up through 55 of the episodes and I’ve been listening week to week ever since. I’ve already listed today’s newly posted episode and it was so good! One of my favorites, I think. So…yeah, I’m hooked.

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One of the questions that Jamie asks each of her guests is to tell her three things they’re loving right now. I love that question because it’s simple and it can be as serious or as silly as you want – a book, a relationship, an accessory, a TV show, anything! So that is what my list is going to be today – the three things I’m loving.

  1. I’m loving my new throw pillows. They’re really comfy and cute. They lightened up my dark couch and gave it a mini makeover. I think Bret was hesitant about the colors being too feminine, but once I set it all up, he loved it too.
    pillow Collage
  2. I’m loving my new Community Group. I wrote about community yesterday, but for real, this group is so awesome. It’s such a wonderful hodge-podge of different people that all live close to Carlsbad Village. We eat together, pray together, laugh together, sometimes cry together, and enjoy getting to know each other more. It was such a hard decision to leave our old Community Group this fall, but I can already see the plans God has in mind for us.
  3. I’m loving reading. This past year has been a big milestone for me as far as reading goes. I used to like reading in High School, but by the time I got to college, there was no joy in it. My brain was downloading too much info, textbooks were piling up, and I just stopped enjoying reading for fun. This year, all that has changed. I am reading as many books as I can, as fast as I can (I read really slowly). Reading actually has given me much rest and calm during this busy and stressful season of life…it’s a bit of an escape, I think. Also, I joined a book club that meets 4 times a year. All that to say, reading: two thumbs up! Here are 3 noteworthy books I really enjoyed in this last year:
    Book Collage

What are 3 things you are loving, friends?!

#write31days #31daysofwriting

on turning 27…

SO, I turned 27 this week. And it feels good. No, it feels very good.

When I was in Jr. High, I thought 27 was OLD. I also thought that I would probably have, like, seven kids by now. But that’s a whole other story. All that to say, I haven’t always had the best expectations when it came to my age. So…as a 26 year old, I was freaking out about turning 27. Dumb, I know. But it felt so much OLDER in my head.

Well, surprise-surprise, I was wrong again. I just feel good! Excited, hopeful, peaceful, and humbled.

27 adventures[Picture from a birthday hike with my sweet dad. He and I share the same birthday!]

I received so many sweet and caring birthday texts/calls from people on Monday. I loved each and every one. My favorite came from my sister in Alabama (love you Sare) and my other favorite came from my friend Luanna. She said “Happy Birthday” and proceeded to tell me why I am now her favorite age. I asked her why 27 (she is now in her early 30’s) and this what she wrote:

Lots of reasons. Seemed like I was finally old enough to have some wisdom/life experience under my belt, but still carefree (no kids). We had a tight group of friends we did real life ministry with and I finally had a job I wanted that paid more than just peanuts. Also, I was in super good shape. Yep, 27 was a good year for me. Plus, I mentally got stuck there so now you’re my age. 😉 “

Luanna has been a friend of mine for only a few years, but it has felt like longer, in the best possible way. She is my peer and also someone I really look up to. She is a lovely person and wonderful friend. I am so thankful God placed her and her family in my life. Plus, she really makes me laugh…like, big belly laughs and long silent laughs. The best.

Anyway, back to the text. This text was so interesting to read because I could relate to it 100%. It’s a really true depiction of how I am feeling about 27 right now. Here’s how I relate to Luanna at 27:

  • I love where God has brought me, what He has taught me, how He has challenged me, and the ways He is transforming me. All glory be to Christ.
  • I absolutely cannot wait to have children. I am still waiting for that blessing to come, but until that day, there is a lot my wonderful husband and I can be care-free about: schedules, dinner times, date-nights, having a nightcap, reading books, spontaneous adventures, binge-watching Netflix, and being bride & groom.
  • I am at an awesome church with an incredible community. So many brothers and sisters to support me, love me, pray for me, do ministry with me…and vice-versa. God regularly blows my mind with this reality. He has made me very rich.
  • I just got a super cool job at a local software company. At first, it felt like I was living someone else’s life. Now I’m in it. And I’m loving it so much. It’s challenging for sure, but it finally feels like I’m where I want to be.
  • I just started pouring more of my time and energy into eating really well and working out more. It’s been fantastic and just what my husband and I are needing right now. And I’m really excited that one of my birthday presents was a fitbit!
  • I also plan on having lots of adventures this year: Texas, surfing, Florida, Disneyworld, Alabama, camping, and COOKING. A creative kitchen goal for me this year is to cook/bake 29 adventurous things before I turn 28. I want to make macarons, my own cheese, chocolate croissants, cornish hens…oh the possibilities. This will most likely happen on what we like to call “cheat days”. I’ll try my best to post the outcomes here.

So there you have it. 27 is already shaping up to be a good year. A very good year.

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What did you like about being 27?

xo sarah

this abundant list

The weekend is ALMOST here! Happy Friday, friends. Please enjoy these links, take a load off, and get some rest.

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  1. Another fun way to use mason jars…and CAKE.
  2. TEN blogging apps more tempting than a cinnamon roll.
  3. I LOVE my new job!
  4. I think this Mediterranean salad sounds lovely too.
  5. Here’s a great (and super healthy) recipe for leftover almond meal. Yum!
  6. This Mister Rogers mug is hilarious! Brings me back.
  7. Chick Flicks for every season! Thanks for this, Nicole!
  8. Adding THIS to my birthday wish list. Such a beautiful cookbook.
  9. These too! drool…
  10. I’m a little obsessed with this photo shoot. DANG!
  11. This blog has the right idea on community and I LOVE it!
  12. GREAT post with some awesome visual theology!

What do you have going on this weekend? I will be sleeping, laundry, sleeping, cleaning, and sleeping some more, hehe! Much love.

xo sarah

this abundant life: best of 2013 {instagram edition}

Here is what 2013 looked like for me as captured by instagram.

I love how I can look back and review the year. See the highlights. Remember how I felt in each season. See how often I took pictures of my food, ha!

The year starts and ends with the gospel for me. I can’t be saved with out it and I can’t live each day without it. Jesus is so good and I need to remember His truth each moment that passes. How can I love if I do not first understand His love?

2013-01-09_1357748454Gospel.

2013-02-25_1361762734Snow and Jr. High Winter Camp.

2013-04-03_1365024212Lots of working.

2013-05-04_1367627987New blogging adventures.

2013-02-01_1359755775This is my best friend, my love, my one and only.

2013-02-28_1362033585Lucy is growing up beautifully. (Can you tell I just want to squeeze her?)

2013-05-10_1368223254Bret started seminary at Talbot.

2013-02-26_1361842428I made pans and pans of these in 2013.

2013-02-10_1360486613I turned 25.

2013-04-01_1364844845We tried our best at clean eating.

2013-02-03_1359869044We played together.

2013-07-16_1373957653Replanted our pallet garden with succulents (that I can’t kill).

2013-06-04_1370316682Two visits from mom this year!

2013-06-07_1370622336Romans.

2013-06-23_1371961221New invention: treat corn.

2013-01-31_1359607297I made apple crisps for dinner guests quite a few times.

2013-05-06_1367866512We bought a Blendtec and made lots of green smoothies. I ironed weekly.

2013-07-13_1373687883Jr. High Ministry in our apartment – going strong.

2013-01-20_1358663168He is my sunny day.

2013-10-16_1381902267Gained new friends and grew in community.

2013-08-01_1375337043We experienced the loss of a dear loved one.

2013-06-22_1371872801We spent more time at the beach than ever before.

2013-07-03_1372836564We drank lots of coffee & tea.

2013-05-13_1368414862My life-long friends blessed me with their love.

2013-06-10_1370823511We learned how to surf.

2013-08-02_1375407827Surfing and beach camping in my new favorite spot.

2013-08-18_1376786366My close friend got married to her one true love.

2013-08-23_1377299725I learned more about photography and had great adventures.

2013-10-05_1381003942We picked apples and learned about fruit.

2013-12-11_1386786993Gracelyn was born. Isn’t she lovely?

2013-12-16_1387174956Christmas Under the Stars with The Fields.

2013-12-27_1388183211This is where we lived.

Instagram makes life’s memories so tangible! AND fun.

What was your favorite memory from 2013?

xo sarah

pumpkin spice coffee cake

Fall in Southern California isn’t exactly what you would expect. Today is November 14th and it’s supposed to be 80 degrees outside! If I could have any season last all year long, it would definitely be summer, so don’t get me wrong…I’m more than pleased. BUT at the same exact time, all I want to do is wear a beanie and my black jeans with a cozy scarf.

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I also want to eat all things squash, pumpkin, and apple. This week I made a few recipes to satisfy my cravings, but today I am sharing the easiest and best for hospitality.

Pumpkin Spice Coffee Cake with Streusel Topping. YUM.PSCC 2

Honestly YUM really inspired me, so I made their recipe and tweaked it just a bit. I also brought it to my Church Community Group the other night and everyone really loved it. It’s not overly sweet so it works for breakfast or dessert! It goes so well with a cup of coffee (shocker) or black tea. I also really liked that it got me into the fall season, even if the weather is not matching up quite yet.

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Ingredients for Cake:

  • 1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons of ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon of ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon of ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon of kosher salt
  • 1 stick of unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup of firmly packed brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup of pumpkin puree
  • 3/4 cup of sour cream

Ingredients for Streusel:

  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon of ground ginger
  • 1/8 teaspoon of kosher salt
  • 5 tablespoons of unsalted butter, melted
  • 3/4 cups of all-purpose flour

Directions

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9 inch bread pan and line with parchment paper.
  2. Start by making the cake. Sift the first 7 dry ingredients together in a bowl and mix well. Set aside.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer, using the paddle attachment, cream together the butter and brown sugar.  Beat in the eggs, one at a time.
  4. Mix in the pumpkin puree and sour cream until well combined. Make sure the mixture is incorporating well and scrape down the sides of the bowl if needed.
  5. Slowly incorporate the flour mixture on the lowest speed until well combined.
  6. In a separate bowl, make the streusel. Mix the sugar, flour, spices, and salt in a bowl. Pour the melted butter over the sugar mixture. Combine the melted butter and sugar mixture with your hands.
  7.  When it is well combined, you will be able to pack it tightly into the bottom of the bowl. Then crumble it into pieces over the top of the cake batter.
  8. Bake your coffee cake for 50 minutes. Insert a toothpick and if it comes out clean, it’s done. ENJOY!

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Bring this delicious coffee cake to your next fall party, girls night, to the office, or even Thanksgiving! You will get all kinds of compliments. How sweet is that!

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I hope you have a splendid fall and enjoy this coffee cake time and time again. I know my family will.

xo sarah

our full life: week forty-two

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This is real life. Week 42!

beef dinnerIt was my first time making Julia Child’s famous Beef Bourguignon. Bret went crazy for it, so it will definitely become a part of our everyday eats menu.

minion loveMy honey getting malled by the cutest puppy ever.

CG familyCan this picture get ANY more adorable?

chai breakWorking from home in my pjs and enjoying a chai latte.

cutie piesI had the pleasure of babysitting these two cuties. How sweet is their sibling love.

beach eveningYES. Thank you, Lord.

evening walkIt was a lovely sunday evening spent with my friend Susan walking the beach.

beach townFinding trails and watching sunsets.

lazy hairBun head.

Enjoy your week! GOD is good all of the time!

xo sarah

red, white & BRUNCH!

Red, White & Brunch

This Independence Day was one to be remembered!

It was the first 4th of July party my husband and I have ever hosted together. While it was a tad stressful to plan, we were SO excited to put together the menu, cook together, and open our home to some of our closest friends! We had about 20 people over (including kiddos) from our Community Group for some delicious food, treats, and drinks. Everyone enjoyed themselves and we even had a couple guests suggest to make it an annual event!

I hope you enjoy reading about our menu! It is just the right amount of savory and sweet, and would be perfect for any brunch.

brunch 2

First, this delectable coffee cake. It’s a sour cream coffee cake with a maple glaze. I also sprinkled a little maple sugar on top. It was moist and sweet with just the right amount of spice. Recipe from the amazing Shutterbean.

brunch 3

brunch 1

Next, we adapted a recipe from Joy the Baker and made the easiest sausage croissants and dark chocolate croissants (pictured below)! The kiddos loved these options the most.

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brunch 5

No brunch would be complete without a fresh fruit salad! This one had chopped granny smith apples, blueberries, strawberries, and green grapes. Tossed with some fresh squeezed orange juice for a little sweetness. YUM!

brunch 4

Now this was the show stopper. A breakfast pizza with bacon, egg, three kinds of cheese, and arugula, with an extra kick from some red pepper flakes. O.M.G. Everyone raved about it and a few asked for the recipe. All props go straight to Shutterbean for her delicious dough and pizza genius. The only thing that I added was a little rendered bacon fat underneath the cheese. You probably think I am crazy, but trust me…you will not be sorry you did it.

We also had some donuts (obviously) from our favorite place (VG’s), as well as freshly brewed coffee, iced tea, milk, and blended strawberry slushies (leaded for adults & unleaded for the kiddos).

It’s not a surprise that I fully agree with Julia Child when she said, “People who love to eat are always the best people.” We were overjoyed to “break bread” with the best people. Until next year, friends! I hope you all had the most amazing 4th of July!

xo sarah

our full life: week twenty-one

OFL 21Thank you Jesus for week twenty-one. It was so fun and relaxing. Lots of carbs too!

park nightLast community group before our summer groups begin. We celebrated together and had a night at the park. All the kiddos were running around and laughing. So cute!

exotic flowerExotic flowers in the park. So gorgeous.

andylakersMy co-worker & friend, Andrew, loves his Lakers.

bruisesGot this gnarly bruise from tripping over something in my office. Thank goodness it was early in the morning before anyone else was in the office. Me = clumsiest girl ever.

sarahsbagelEvery other Friday, Bret has the day off. We celebrate with bagels & coffee. I really like my 9 grain toasted with cream cheese…

bretsbagelwhile Bret likes his giant six cheese toasted with cream cheese.

friendsiesI had an awesome girls night with these two. We had dinner, drank tea and baked.

strawberry champagne teaStrawberry champagne tea from the famous Teavana.

strawberry shortcakeVegan strawberry shortcakes. Dee-lish!

big sanwichThe week ended with a date night with this handsome guy. We shared 20 inches of sandwich heaven at Capriotti’s before our movie.capistramiThis is The Capistrami: pastrami, russian dressing, coleslaw, swiss on a rustic roll.

That our week, friends. Love you!

xo sarah

our full life: week nineteen

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This week was extremely colorful and full of yummy food! I hope you enjoy the photos and take advantage of your abundant life in the week ahead. God has great plans for you!

I spent my Monday indoors. As it rained and the cool breeze came in through the windows, I got some ironing done and drank a homemade green smoothie. It’s the little things.mymonday

The cold weather deserved a big hearty dinner. Perfect Roast Chicken and a salad.mondaydinner

Spending time in community is aways a favorite part of our week. We love these people and it’s a joy growing with them through each and every season of life.Ladick CG

Bret and I woke up on our day off and ate an amazing breakfast together. Eggs, bacon and oatmeal with all the fixings! With our differing schedules, we don’t get to do this that often. It was such a treat.ourfriday

Then we went around town finding books for Bret’s big paper he has to write on Pauline Theology. 12 pages requires a lot of resources…bookshelf

Half-off frappucinos is what got me in the door…and then I couldn’t resist the packaging on this spring-inspired coffee. Cannot wait to try it! new coffee

Look at that view. I love walking on the beach with friends!beachwalkfriday

Hassleback potatoes were a huge hit this week! Garlic slices in each little section and lots of fresh butter makes them too good to pass up!hasselbacks

Color Run in Orange County with my best friends! We got super dirty but had so much fun making new memories.IMG_3773

After the race we went to SoCo and had lots of girl time and window shopped.IMG_3776

We also had a much deserved lunch from the famous food trucks and farmers market. I got Camarones con crema and it was outstanding! Naps quickly followed…camarones

With my Mom all the way out in Idaho and Bret’s Mom on a lovely vacation, we were so bummed to not get to celebrate with them. BUT Happy Mother’s Day to you both and we are so grateful God would bless us so richly with you as our mothers. We love you!!!

Have a great week, friends! Summer is so close I can hardly stand it!

xo sarah