Charis' birthday present.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Ok, guys.
My little niece posted a blog post for me and Uncle Shawn that made my day.
It was her birthday a couple weeks ago, and I sent her a belated present of some clothes, a couple Ring Pops (Mommy's favorite), and a People magazine (also Mommy's favorite). I thought it was about time to introduce her to these very wonderful things in the world (ha!).

I loooove this series of pictures of her... go here to see it.

Dear Charis,
I had a feeling you'd like your ring pop. What a mean mommy for taking it away (just kidding). :) You can count on me for the very best of gifts... I'll get you a ring pop and a People magazine anytime you want. I love you!
Auntie Whit

You're invited...

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

UPDATE: The sewing class is full! But you know what this means? It means we'll have to do it again in the fall. If you're interested in a late September date, please email me and I'll put you down!


Tell me if this describes you... 
You own a sewing machine and can thread it and sew a straight line, but that's about where your sewing skills end. You'd love to learn to make something more, but you need someone to sit with you and show you how. I knoooow how you feel because that was me for the longest time!

So if that describes you (and you can make it to Franklin, TN), you're totally invited...


My sweet friend Whitney is cohosting this with me. There will be some yummy snacks, good fellowship, and a whole lot of sewing! I'll provide lots of fabric and zipper options for you to choose from, so all you need to bring is your sewing machine. Space is limited (my house is only so big) but we (the Whitneys) would LOVE to have you, even if we've never met!

My favorite lunch, as of late.

It's healthy, fresh, filling, and gluten-free! Can't beat that in my book.

Toast some gluten-free (or regular, for those who can) hamburger buns. I buy Whole Foods brand and love them.
Add some goat cheese.
Then a veggie burger, and some avocado.
And then (not pictured), some southwestern mustard on the top part of the bun.
And you've got yourself a yummy burger! Serve with your favorite salad or chips.
I could eat this every day of the week.... 

A night with the grandparents.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Last week, Grandma and Grandpa Tunney came in town for a few days to see my parents' new house.

After dinner, we went outside to take the compulsory group picture with the timer. We took one pretty good one, and then my funny Grandpa made a funny comment and I just couldn't help but laugh (really hard). A good picture otherwise. :)

Time with family is just the best.

The night I became Shawn Newby's girlfriend.

Friday, July 22, 2011

I know I know... this is the longest series ever. I didn't really expect it to take this long to write out! If you've been following it for all these months, you deserve some kind of medal. If you are just tuning in, click up on the top right side of the page under "a love story" to get caught up.

After that first date to Weber Grill, Shawn and I were inseparable. We'd meet first thing in the morning at Joe's (a coffee shop on campus) and we'd read our Bibles next to each other. Then we'd go our separate ways to class, then meet up again for chapel. And it went on and on. At this point, the rumors were rampant and we didn't deny anything. We liked each other. That's all anyone really needed to know (as if they needed even that).

But before we were "officially dating" - exclusively, I guess - Shawn took the initiative to keep my parents in the loop. I vividly remember him pacing around in the plaza where we met, making sure he knew exactly what he was going to say before he picked up the phone to call my dad. He had met Dad briefly a couple weeks before early in the morning. But it was brief. And I was there. Not really the time to explain his intentions.

He picked up the phone, and I have a feeling my dad had seen it coming. Because the questions Dad offered in return were just a little too perfect. :) Shawn told Dad that he wanted to date me and didn't want it to seem like he was going behind his back just because my parents didn't live in the same city. I don't remember much of the conversation, but I remember smiling nervously, hoping my dad wasn't being too tough on him. And then I remember that before they got off the phone, Dad asked to pray for us, and then gave Shawn his blessing.

Now to those of you who maybe didn't grow up in such a conservative background, this all probably seems a little crazy. Maybe you're thinking at this point, "You're not even getting married... just dating... and he has to ask your dad's permission?" I thought the same thing at first. But I also thought it was so beautiful and respectful that Shawn wanted my parents' blessing before he pursued me in any way. I think both of us knew that we would end up getting married, and he wanted to start out on the right foot with my parents. And boy did he! They love him like their own son today and I have a feeling part of that goes back to this very conversation.

So on with the story...

After he hung up the phone, we walked down to the mail room to check our mailboxes and I beamed, "So it's official! I'm your girlfriend!" I thought he would hug me or smile, but instead, he just said, "Well I haven't really asked you yet."

Ok, then. :)

He told me he wanted to take me to dessert that night and talk about it. So we did. It was lightly snowing outside, and we walked to the Grand Lux. If anyone knows us well, they probably know that we love that place, and a lot because it holds some of our dearest memories of all of our days in Chicago. He asked me officially if I would be his girlfriend. I said yes. And we smiled and laughed and leaned across the table just giddy about each other. It was perfect.

He had planned for us to go to the top of the Hancock tower that night to see the view, so we walked hand in hand down a near-empty Michigan Avenue. The snow was still falling, but it wasn't all that cold (at least in Chicago terms), and we felt like the happiest people in all of Chicago.

As we walked, two other people walked on the sidewalk toward us, but we weren't really paying attention until one of them called out, "Whitney?"

It was my ex-boyfriend from high school who had no idea I lived in Chicago. He was there just for the weekend looking for a job all the way from Texas. And I was stunned.

We chatted with him and his friend for a few minutes, making small talk, as we hadn't actually talked since we broke up 3 or more years before. I could not believe (still can't!) that out of all of Chicago, there he was. And there I was. And there, on the same square of pavement, was my boyfriend as of about an hour ago.

As we walked away, Shawn said, "How fun was that! Your friend all the way from Texas?!" at which point I explained who he really was and started crying. I think it was all just so emotionally confusing. But when I look back at it now, I see it as God not-so-subtly saying to me, "Look what I've given you. This is your past. And this - Shawn - is your future. All on the same sidewalk." The contrast was sobering and comforting all at once.

My new favorite way to eat zucchini.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

If you're anything like us, you've had a lot of summer squash and zucchini floating around your house. (And you've been eating a lot of it, too.) Here's my very favorite way to eat it lately...

1. Wash your zucchini or squash and use a potato peeler to make long thin ribbons.
2. Heat up a little butter or oil in a sauce pan.
3. Sauté your zucchini with about a tablespoon of minced garlic and a teaspoon of rosemary for just a couple minutes. It cooks up fast.
4. Top with a little parmesan cheese and enjoy!

Garden update.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

I'm a little sad to admit how neglected our garden has been this year. Nevertheless, it's been so good to us despite us letting it run over with grass and weeds.

Here's what we've got so far:
Green bell peppers

Bushes of basil (literally... bushes. Anyone need some?)

Our first baby tomatoes!

Arugula (which actually looks kinda pretty in a vase)


And tons of okra

And finally...we have something we didn't even invite...
Watermelon is a funny thing. It likes to grow all over all of your other plants - so we didn't plant it again this year. But lo and behold, it came back anyway! As long as it's here, I hope it produces many sweet watermelons!

What's growing in your garden??

Playing in the sun.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Saturday night was the perfect date night for the two of us.
Before we left, we played in the warm, glowy sun for a little while... just us, our glorious backyard, and our camera. It's not often we take pictures of each other (and even less often that we have a picture of the two of us together), so excuse the overload of them in this post. :)

Highlights of our evening: 
Catching up over chicken piccata and grilled salmon
Having no distractions - no computers, cell phones, or homework
Taking a tango lesson with about 500 people in Centennial Park
Funny moment - a girl stole Shawn to be her tango partner! (She didn't know his wife was on her way.) So I ended up dancing with a high schooler who was at least 3 inches shorter than me for the first few minutes. :)
Live big band music
Pinkberry yogurt piled high with kiwi, strawberries, and gummy bears
Time to look my love in the eye, to hold his hand, and to dream about our future

Charis turns 1!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Today is a very special day in the life of our family.
Sweet Charis Lynlee, my niece, turns 1! (Does this make her a toddler now?)
Look how grown up she looks! She's even reading upside-down! :) She is spending her big day in Jerusalem, her home, but I still thought I could wish her a happy birthday from Franklin and hopefully she would feel my love.

Sweet Charis,
Even though I've only had the chance to meet you once, the love I have for you doesn't match our time together. You are beautiful - those big blue eyes, the cutest sugar bowl ears, and that smile that I'm sure must make all those other one-year-olds you meet a little jealous. But I don't even love you for those things. I love you simply for who you are. You're the precious daughter of my sister and brother-in-law and you are the joy of their lives. You make my mom and dad light up when they talk about you, especially the fact that you can recognize them when you see them on Skype (keep doing that - they really love it).  You are, most importantly, a child of God. He formed you with His own two hands, and carefully crafted you into who you are becoming. You're already full of personality, but I'm so excited to watch that grow and develop over the years. Whenever I pray for you, I pray that you would know Jesus intimately at a young age and be passionate about following Him. That's your purpose in life on this earth, and I pray that even now, you understand a small piece of that. It's such a privilege being your auntie and I can't wait to see you again. Happy birthday, sweet girl! I love you!
Your auntie Whit

My very colorful lunch.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Today for lunch, I wanted to recreate one of my very favorite meals: the famous veggie bowl from Joe's Naturals. (I'm not really sure how famous it is, but it's famous to me! I think about it all the time.)

I got most of these ingredients from Trader Joe's, and they're easy to find during the summer.
Even better would be getting them from a local farmer's market.
And even better would be growing them on your own.
But with our garden, we only have jalapeño, squash, zucchini, and basil that's ready to pick so it didn't quite work out this time.

Anyway, it's super easy to put together and so colorful! (And it's gluten-free, dairy-free, and vegan.)
I started by cooking about a cup of quinoa, and chopped my vegetables for the 15 minutes or so that the quinoa needed to cook.
I chopped up sugar snap peas.
Then chopped some tiny tomatoes into halves and quarters.
Then chopped some yellow bell pepper.
And finally, added some shredded carrots.
I also made a quick balsamic vinaigrette by simply blending olive oil and balsamic vinegar:
Once the quinoa fluffed up, I added a scoop of it to the plate, then tossed the veggies on top. On top of that, I added a dollop of roasted pine nut hummus that I had, some chopped avocado, and finally a drizzle of the balsamic vinaigrette.
So healthy and so delicious (I even made another plate for dinner)! :) I hope you try it!

DIY: Post earrings.

Friday, July 8, 2011


This little DIY is something I've been making for a while, but recently thought would be fun to post. (I know I love reading DIY projects on other blogs, so I thought you might enjoy this.) :) I don't have many post earrings because I tend to like big earrings, but in nursing school, we're only allowed to wear posts in clinical settings. These are so bright and happy and you can make them in any color, so they're perfect for what I need.

The supplies are easy to find on Etsy, if not in your local craft store. In the supply list, I've included some links to find them easily (just click on the supply that's highlighted).


You'll need:
1. Pretty cardstock. It doesn't have to be cut into circles - any cardstock will do. I think cardstock works better than paper, and the smaller the pattern, the better.
2. Clear cabochons, 15 mm round bezels to hold the clear plastic part, and earring backs (which can be found at any local craft or bead store). Just make sure the cabochons and the bezels you order are the same size.
3. E-6000 glue. My go-to glue for any jewelry making.
4. Diamond Glaze OR any glue that works well on paper and dries clear.

Here's what to do:
1. Figure out what you'd like in the center of your earrings. Place the cabochons on the paper to see what it'll look like. It tends to magnify the image a bit, so keep that in mind.
2. Trace around the plastic part, then cut just on the inside of your line.
3. Add a dot of Diamond Glaze (or glue) to the bottom of the gold part, then put your piece of paper on top so it's glued to the base.
4. Add another dot of Diamond Glaze or glue on top of the paper, and set your plastic piece on top. You want to make sure you have enough glue that when you press the plastic part, it covers completely. But you also don't want too much glue that it starts leaking out the sides when you press down. A little practice makes perfect, I promise. :)

Next, flip the pieces over, add a dab of E-6000 glue, and attach the earring backs.
Then make cute little earring cards, and give to all your friends!


You could also use fabric for the inside, or even old sheet music.
Let me know if you end up making these! I'd love to see them!!

PS - If you're not up for making them, I may put some in my Etsy shop soon. :)
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