Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Simply Lovely, giveaway edition

As promised, a giveaway to celebrate five hundred posts here at New Every Morning.

I'd love to share with you a few items that I think are indeed simply lovely.

~ My favorite Lollia hand cream in the "Wish" fragrance.  It reminds me of a summer breeze at the beach.  Fresh and light.  (Click on the link for a full description of the fragrance.)

~ A package of ten Caldrea French Pop-up Sponges. I can't think of a child who wouldn't do a stack of dishes eagerly if they get to watch the magic sponge expand before their eyes! (And I have to admit I like that part too!)

~ A 4x8" woodgrain chipboard journal kit, from Studio Calico.  It contains two pieces of thick chipboard and a 60 page bound pad of ledger/graph paper.  All that's missing is your unique binding and embellishment! (You can still find them here, though it looks like Studio Calico is sold out of this exact kit.)

~ A package of Toffifay Chocolates. "A Whole Hazelnut in Chewy Caramel with Chocolate Hazelnut Filling and Chocolate." What's not to love? (Remember when I mentioned these in my European chocolates post??? About a week after writing that, I found them at the grocery store I frequent. I think I will be keeping them stocked!)

~ The Republic of Tea's Strawberry Blueberry Green Tea, made exclusively for The Fresh Market.  You should know that I adore this tea. And I don't usually like green tea. But my wonderful Mom introduced this one to me, and now I stock up whenever I'm in Asheville (or anywhere else with a Fresh Market.)  It's wonderful hot...but I have a sneaking suspicion that it will be even better over ice this summer.

The wooden parat is not included in this giveaway, but I get lots of questions whenever I photograph this tray, so here's the source!  I found it at Wisteria's storefront in Dallas, but you can order it online. They are found objects, so the color and size will vary, but I had the hardest time choosing, as they are each so unique and gorgeous.

To enter this giveaway, leave a comment telling me two things:

1. Share something you think is simply lovely.
2. Let me know how you found New Every Morning!

This giveaway will close Friday March 2 at midnight EST. I'll announce a winner on Saturday!  (US only please, unless internationals are willing to help with shipping.)

Monday, February 27, 2012

everyday moments

The month of February has been full of everyday life.  

Wonderful, special, normal, ordinary moments.

We've had a snow day (two Mondays ago)...our first of the winter...of which we took full advantage.

We stretched out Valentine celebrations over two weeks. I'm still finding heart shaped paper and candy and valentines around.

We had a week without Daddy...and are so thankful for more time in between now and the next trip.

Someone (mostly me) has had a cold at some point during February. I'm finally feeling better, mostly.

We've had unseasonable February weather...60's and 70's...and the kids have loved being outside again. (Nathanael was golfing on the front lawn while this picture was taken of the girls.)

We tend to have realtors at our house on the weekends. No news to report yet.

I've been making lots of soup...and enjoying a few new recipes.

We've had some lightbulb moments in math, which were most definitely celebrated.

I've spent some happy moments working on my Project Life album, which I hope to share with you later this week.

I'm anticipating the month of March starting this week, as we should know sometime next month where & when we will be moving.

And with this post, I've hit 500.  Many thanks to you, for reading here over the years...and being a part of my everyday.  I appreciate your comments and interest and hope you'll continue to visit!

To celebrate?  Come back tomorrow for a giveaway!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

a new favorite

Sorry about the scarcity of posts lately...between Brent gone last week, Valentines celebrations that lasted almost a week, a cold that's now entering week #3, and keeping the house market-ready, well, something had to take the back burner. Sorry! :)

But I'm here with a yummy recipe today that might surprise you a bit.  It sure surprised me.

I'm happy to say that as an adult, I now like most of the "untouchable" vegetables of my youth.  Artichokes. (Thanks to Brent.) Asparagus. (Thanks to Shannon & Morton's during college.) Cilantro and bell peppers. (That would be Shawna.)  Sugar Snap Peas. (My own discovery.) 

As a child, I liked broccoli and green beans.  Salad.  Corn on the cob and mashed potatoes. (Which Mom would never let me get both of them when we'd eat at a Luby's or some other similar cafeteria-style restaurant.  Apparently those are both starches. Hmph.)  And that was about it.  

My first experience with Brussel Sprouts occurred at the lovely Le Mesengeau on a trip to France, where Brent and I celebrated our 1st anniversary.  We enjoyed dinner prepared by the owners in the company of the other guests: two British couples, a French couple, and an Australian couple.  I count that meal among my favorites during that trip...there was something so wonderful about sharing a meal with strangers from so many nationalities...and the food was delicious.  Quail.  Cucumbers in fresh cream. An amazing and beautiful pear tart.

And then Brent passed the brussel sprouts. And I quickly passed them on to the English lady on my left.  She fussed over me, "You forgot to take your brussel sprouts!"  

I assured her I was fine, and that I didn't think I cared for them.  Shock. That was the expression on her face.  She explained that they were a great treat for her...that they only served them for Christmas and on other important occasions.  So I took two, to be polite, tried my very first bite ever of the "delicacy" and realized that my guess was confirmed.

I did not care for brussel sprouts.  And I told her she could have the rest of my serving. :)  

About 9 years later, which would mean sometime in the past year, Brent and I were eating at an Irish pub in town and on our waitresses' recommendation, I tried the brussel sprouts as a side. They had to be better than the "mushy peas" option. 

Seriously. Mushy Peas. It's on the menu.

And my skeptical attitude changed in an instant. I am now smitten with brussel sprouts.

I've tried to replicate the recipe...and it's simple. And so good.  (And I don't mind at all that the children will only eat their required two.  More for me!)  I could probably eat the whole recipe.  The addition of the Herbs de Provence comes from my friend Stephanie whose daughter loves the "little green balls" and told my Mom that Madeleine would like them more if I "made them like her mommy does"! (And Madeleine does "like" them a little bit more, though they're still far from a favorite.)

Brussel Sprouts

15-20 small brussel sprouts, or 10-15 large
1/4-1/3 stick of butter, or more depending on the amount of sprouts used
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 tsp. Herbs de Provence

1. Prepare brussel sprouts by removing the outer leaves and trimming the stalk with a knife. If the brussel sprouts are large, cut them in half.  I usually leave bite-sized ones whole, but you can also cut them in half if you wish.

2. Melt butter in a large sauce pan.  Add prepared brussel sprouts, tossing to coat with butter and then placing cut-side down.  Sprinkle with salt and Herbes de Provence.  Allow to saute 2-3 minutes, until they begin to brown and smell fragrant and nutty.  Stir occasionally, until cooked and bright green.

Serve immediately.

Serves 3-5.

So tell me.  What foods do you like that you thought you never ever would?

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Valentine Favorites


I have to admit, while I'm not usually a sugary-sweet candy fan, I love conversation hearts. Except the orange ones.

(And dark chocolate truffles, of course. Mmm.)

les fleurs

I just adore the surprise of these gorgeous white and pink blooms my sweet Brent just sent me.  They pair my favorite hydrangea with the sweetest smelling lilies and roses, along with some beautiful spring-heralding tulips and snapdragons.


May I share a sonnet from one of my favorite poets?  

Trust me, I have not earned your dear rebuke,
     I love, as you would have me, God the most;
     Would lose not Him, but you, must one be lost,
Nor with Lot's wife cast back a faithless look
Unready to forego what I forsook;
     This say I, having counted up the cost,
     This, tho' I be the feeblest of God's host,
The sorriest sheep Christ shepherds with His crook.
Yet while I love my God the most, I deem
     That I can never love you overmuch;
          I love Him more, so let me love you too;
     Yea, as I apprehend it, love is such
I cannot love you if I love not Him,
          I cannot love Him if I love not you.

~Christina Rossetti
Sonnet 6 from Monna Innominata: A Sonnet of Sonnets

Everytime I read that, which I first discovered and loved in college, I am reminded of this passage of scripture from I John 4.

"We love because He first loved us." vs. 19

the perfect Valentine

"In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we have loved God but that He loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins." I John 4:9-10

A perfect Valentine, penned so long ago, for all hearts who need to know Love.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

12 on the twelfth

February edition:

  1.  Nehemiah 6, this morning's sermon text
  2.  Congregational Meeting
  3.  a plethora of bananas
  4.  the "catch-all basket" currently full of library books
  5.  Valentines wreath
  6.  Valentines tree (which alternates between the dining room & girls room)
  7.  love these candlesticks
  8.  all those lights on means we're about to show the house (the kiddos love turning on all lights!)
  9.  trip to WalMart (but I got to stay in the car!!!) after a yummy Mexican dinner*
10.  Madeleine had to wake up early from her nap (see #8) Realtors LOVE naptime.*
11.  on my bedside table: Anna Karenina & The Letters of John Newton
12.  reading Narnia next to a roaring fire while snow falls softly outside. Perfect.

* All photos in chronological order except these two...silly Blogger won't allow them in reverse.

Tuesday, February 07, 2012

Simply Lovely, No. 11

The breathtaking majesty of the sky.

Immense. Awe-inspiring.

I have always loved silver linings and sunbeams.

Thursday, February 02, 2012

I've got a golden ticket...

I remember asking to watch Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory when I had the chicken pox over Christmas break. That would have been kindergarten.  I didn't ask for it by name; I think I asked my aunt to pick out the movie where the little girl turned into a blueberry.  (I'm sure a friend had told me about it.) I don't think they brought it home from the video store that day...and to be honest, I don't remember the first time I watched the movie. But I do clearly remember the first request I made for it.

I do remember the first time I read Roald Dahl's book. It was a few years after the chicken pox. I remember loving the sketched illustrations (especially the grandparents all in one bed).  I remember wishing to be a character in the story. To drink from that chocolate river.  To taste an everlasting gobstopper.  (And I think it was the first book I ever read with a "bad word" in it!)

And though I don't remember my first viewing of the original movie, that scene where the winners of the golden tickets first see the chocolate river and room full of candied flowers...well, that memory is so very vivid. The lickable wallpaper. And oh, those golden eggs and Veruca Salt. :)

I was never very pleased with the Willy Wonka brand of candies produced...though I love Nerds...and to be quite honest, if Willy Wonka's chocolate factory truly existed, well, in my perfect world, it could only exist in Europe.

I love dark chocolate. All kinds of dark chocolate.  That top picture? Purchased from a trip to Whole Foods.  I'm a new fan of Madecasse. Love the chocolate, love the packaging.

But I've never been a fan of American milk chocolate. {gasp} I know.  Hershey's bars and chocolate kisses and M&M's have never held much appeal to me, even as a child, but especially as an adult.

However. German milk chocolate? That's a whole new world.

A friend of ours hosted a German exchange student who introduced me to Ritter chocolates...and while we can get a few varieties here in the US...the one pictured above is my favorite and up until a trip to Asheville's Fresh Market last fall, I couldn't find them. So of course, I stocked up.

Some friends brought these back from a trip to Germany over Christmas...the Toffifee? It's wonderful.  And the kids love the Yogurette.  (They also brought another Ritter...I can't remember the name (and we ate it before I could take a picture!) but it's what a Kit-Kat SHOULD be. Mmmmm.)

So how do you feel about chocolate?  Dark or Milk or White? Favorite brand? Any must-try recommendations for me?  I figured this would be a great discussion since Valentine's Day is around the corner!

...and with a golden ticket, it's a golden day!!!!

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