Monday, October 29, 2012

Don't Sweat the Small Stuff

It was a somber Saturday night at the Cash residence.  Our arch nemesis Lefty (the mouse) met his untimely death on a sticky pad in the guest bathroom of Cashablanca.  Now that we've finally gotten rid of him, we are hoping and praying that his little mice friends don't come to avenge his death.  Now that Lefty is gone, Stephen and I have begun cleaning and sanitizing our house like crazy.  If you've ever had a mouse in your home you know that with these pesky creatures comes lots of poop.  Lots and lots of poop.  Sorry for the harsh language...I mean "droppings."  But this little mouse didn't "drop" anything...he unloaded an arsenal of mini-poop bombs all over our house.  We thought he was just camping out in the guest bathroom, but we have since discovered his little "presents" all over the place.  Including our guest bedroom.  I guess Lefty thought he'd checked into the Holiday Inn or something.  So we've stripped all the beds and linens and sanitized the carpets and floors along with everything we think he may have touched.

Here's where the story takes an unexpected turn.

Saturday night as Stephen and I begin cleaning and laundering the poop infested linens, I somehow managed to overload the washing machine with pillows.  Not knowing this, I went about continuing to clean the house.  About fifteen minutes later I needed some cleaning supplies from the laundry room so I headed back in there to get them.  As I was walking through the kitchen (our laundry room adjoins our kitchen), I felt a splash under my feet.  Thinking it was probably melted ice, I squatted down to clean it up but noticed it wasn't just a puddle...there was water EVERYWHERE.  It was pouring from underneath the laundry room door and had flooded not only the laundry room but half of the kitchen.  I yelled hysterically for backup, and Stephen came running in to help.  Being the level headed one of the bunch, he got the washing machine turned off and ran to get the Shop Vac.  After an hour and a half of clean up we finally got the place back to normal.

We have had quite an eventful first month of marriage in the Cash household and through it all I know that the Lord is trying to teach me day by day.  What exactly is He trying to teach me?  I'm still figuring that all out.  Maybe it's that no matter how hard I try to control things, there are circumstances in life that are beyond my control and I have to learn to release that desire to have things the way I like them.  Maybe it's that I've got to lighten up a little and quit worrying over the trivial things in life.  Whatever it is, I trust that He is using it to make me the godly woman I'm to be.  My mother used to tell me all the time "don't sweat the small stuff Lauren...and remember, it's all small stuff."  Even when you're panic stricken over mouse poop and wading knee deep in our laundry room lagoon...God is bigger than all that small stuff.  :)

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Friday, October 26, 2012

Cheesy Stuffed Calzones

This Friday night Stephen and I stayed in for date night and I made some pretty tasty calzones for dinner.  They are super easy to make and are a nice change from the typical weekend pizza delivery :)

Here's what you'll need:

  • 1 (13.8oz) can of Pillsbury Pizza Crust dough (Classic crust)
  • 1 cup pizza sauce
  • 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
  • Toppings of choice (I used black olives, pepperonis, green olives, mushrooms and jalapenos)
  • 2 Tbs. melted butter
  • Minced Garlic
  • Seasoning salt
  • Marinara or pizza sauce for dipping


1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Roll out pizza dough into a rectangle on your baking sheet.

2. Spread pizza sauce lengthwise over the middle of the pizza dough.  Make sure it's just in the center because we will be cutting the left and right sides of the pizza dough later to close up our calzone with.

3.  Just like with a pizza, scatter your toppings on top of the pizza sauce.  Season with your favorite seasoning salt or italian seasoning.  Add shredded mozarella cheese over your toppings last.

4. Now comes the fun part.  Taking your kitchen shears, cut strips into the left and right sides of your dough.  Each strip should be about 3/4 inch wide and you want to make sure you don't cut into your filling.  

5. Next you are going to wrap or weave your calzone closed.  Start at the bottom and stretch a piece of dough from the left side over to the right side and then a piece from the right to the left (like an X shape).   Alternate sides overlapping the strips of dough to fit over the filling.  Do this until your calzone is completely wrapped.  It's going to look like you have braided the dough. 

6. Once you've finished weaving the dough, bake in the oven for 25-30 minutes.

7. When your calzone has finished baking, combine your butter and minced garlic together and brush over the top of the calzone to give it more flavor.  One can of dough makes a HUGE calzone, so I cut it in half and Stephen and I shared.  

8. Serve with warm marinara or pizza sauce for dipping. 


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An Unexpected Guest

Two days ago Cashablanca received an unexpected guest of the rodent persuasion.  If you know me, you know that I'm a bit of a clean freak so knowing there's a mouse in the house is slowly driving me nuts.  Wednesday night after church Stephen went to the store and bought mouse traps, sticky pads, and poison and went to work on his foiled plot to catch that little rascal.

The first night passed with no success of our own, but that weasel managed to pull a fast one over on us and take the bait from one of the traps.  Real smooth buddy, real smooth.

Skip on over to last night.  At about 1:30 I woke up out of a dead sleep to the sound of a trap snapping in the other room.  I laid there for a while debating whether or not to wake Stephen up but after about 5 minutes of playing scenarios in my mind of mice climbing up in the bed with me I decided it would be best if I shook him from his peaceful slumber.

Me:  "Stephen, I think I heard the mouse trap snap."
Stephen: "Ok." (rolls over to go back to sleep)
Me:  "I hope he doesn't get out of the trap and come in our bedroom."
Stephen: "Would it make you feel better if I went and checked the traps?"
Me:  "Yes please."
So Stephen lovingly hops out of bed with his flashlight to brave the battlefield.  Knowing something is about to go down, I sat up in the bed to listen...

Stephen: (excitedly yells from the other room) "We got one!"
Me:  "Is he dead?"
Stephen:  "Nope.  Still alive.  Caught him by his tail."
Me:  "Are you gonna kill him?"  
Stephen:  "UgghhAHHHHHH!!!!!!!!"  (crashing noises ensue)
Stephen:  "He got out!  He got out!!!!  That joker is fast!"
Me:  (slowly having a heart attack as I imagined the mouse jumping into bed with me)              "CLOSE THE BEDROOM DOOR QUICK!!!!"

After 10 minutes of searching with no luck, Stephen finally gave up on finding Lefty (yep, we named him).  He's probably having a house party at Cashablanca with all his little mice friends as we speak.  I envision them all sitting around playing poker, eating up our groceries, laughing as Lefty re-tells the story...

Lefty: "You should've heard that guy squeal!  I really gave him a good scare.  Those humans don't stand a chance against me." 

I too have been laughing all morning thinking about hearing Stephen shriek.  I wish you guys could've heard it.  It was probably one of the funniest things I've ever witnessed.  We seriously need our own reality show.  Hopefully we will bring down Lefty sooner rather than later...stay tuned in for the latest.

Mouse-1, Stephen-0

Let the Hunger games begin...

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Thursday, October 25, 2012

Pumpkin Prayer

Last night at Teen Moms Bible study we did a super cute activity called the "Pumpkin Prayer" by Liz Curtis Higgs.  If you've never heard of it, this is a great activity to do with children (and even youth) to explain our need for Jesus and how when He enters our lives He changes us from the inside out.  As we went through each part of the poem, we carved a pumpkin as a visual reminder.  Here's the link to the original document...I tweaked it a little to make the lesson applicable to our girls.

Pumpkin Prayer
by: Liz Curtis Higgs

(Cut off top of pumpkin)
Lord, open my mind so I can learn new things about you.  

(Remove insides of pumpkin)
Remove the things in my life that don't please you. 
Forgive the wrong things I do and help me to forgive others.

(Carve out eyes of pumpkin)
Open my eyes to see the beauty you've made in the world around me.

(Cut out nose)
I'm sorry for the times I've turned my nose at the good things you provide.

(Cut out mouth)
Let everything I say please you.

(Light a candle and put inside pumpkin)
Lord, help me to show your light to others through the things I do.


The Scripture verses I used for this lesson were:

"Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation.  The old has passed away; behold, the new has come." -2 Corinthians 5:17

"In the same way let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in Heaven." -Matthew 5:16

Mr. Pumpkin riding home on the hump

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Wednesday, October 24, 2012

A Servant's Heart

This weekend was our annual Women's Retreat with Capstone Church.  Friday afternoon mom and I headed out to Gallant, AL to Camp Sumatanga for a weekend of worship and the Word.  Our whole weekend was centered around Grace (kinda funny how God keeps throwing that one at me...see post here for more on that).  I am so thankful to be connected to such and amazing body of believers in a church where the Gospel is preached not only through the Word but through compassion and service to the Tuscaloosa community.  Here are some photo highlights from the weekend:

On top of an amazing weekend with the women of Capstone, when I got home Sunday afternoon Stephen had the entire house cleaned, candles burning, the laundry washed and dried and surprised me with a gift certificate to get a manicure and pedicure.  Seriously guys, could I be blessed with a sweeter husband?  He is a constant reminder to me of Christ's love and embodies the quality of unselfish servanthood, a quality that characterized the life of Jesus while he was on this Earth.  Through marriage I'm constantly having to remind myself that it's not all about me (who knew?) I seem to think from time to time.  I am a work in progress and I'm just flattered to think that God still chooses to love me and use me despite my shortcomings.  I am so thankful for Stephen's godly leadership in our marriage as well as the leadership in our Church body that are a constant reminder of our call to show the saving love of Jesus Christ to others.  HE MUST INCREASE, i must decrease.  

"For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many."  -Mark 10:45 (ESV)

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Monday, October 22, 2012

DIY: Driftwood Starburst Mirror

I've recently found a love for driftwood home accents...

Adorable reindeer & stars from Pottery Barn Kids                     Side table from Crate & Barrell


I think this new obsession goes back to when I was a child at the beach.  Me and my Paw Paw (my grandfather) would take walks on the beach and pick up seashells and pieces of driftwood we found along our route.  Well, while on our honeymoon to St. Simons Island (mentioned in previous post)  Stephen and I hit the jackpot on driftwood.  It was EVERYWHERE! 

So last night as I was perusing the web to find inspiration for a project I could do with the driftwood, I came across this beauty on Etsy...

ArtworkbyBre Etsy Shop

Pretty amazing huh?  Well I decided to recreate it using my souvenirs from the Atlantic coast.
Here are the supplies you'll need if you'd like to create your own:
  • Driftwood pieces (Twigs & branches could also work for a rustic look)
  • A round mirror (I bought mine at Michael's for $2.99)
  • A round wooden circle (I bought mine at Hobby Lobby for $2)
  • Super glue or any other strong glue (I used E6000)
  • Hot glue gun & glue sticks
  • Pencil
  • Ruler
  • Sawtooth picture hanger (I got mine at Hobby Lobby for $1.47)
  • Hammer
Step 1:  Rinse your driftwood pieces in water and allow them to air dry. This step will help the wood to stay on the mirror better once you glue the pieces down. 

Step 2:  Using your ruler and pencil, measure and mark the center of your wood.  This is where your sawtooth hanger will be attached.  (Yes that's a Garfield ruler, don't judge me.)

Step 3: Take your sawtooth hanger and center it on the pencil mark/line you just made.  Using your hammer, drive both sides of the sawtooth hanger into the wood using the nails it came with.

Step 4:  Flip the wooden circle over and glue your round mirror in the center of the wood using super glue.  I used E6000 for an extra firm hold.

Step 5:  Sort through your pieces of driftwood, separating the long ones from the short ones.  Once you finish, arrange your driftwood around the mirror, alternating the long and short pieces. 

Step 6:  Hot glue the pieces of wood to the mirror.  Some of the thicker pieces of driftwood may require reinforcement using super glue as well. 

Step 7:  Find the perfect spot to hang your masterpiece!

I think she turned out pretty cute!

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Tuesday, October 16, 2012

The Honeymooners

Several of my friends and family have asked about our honeymoon so I wanted to share a few photos and highlights with you guys.  Stephen and I were married on September 22nd of this year and spent our honeymoon in St. Simons Island, Georgia.  If you've never been there, I highly recommend visiting!  It's a quiet little town right off the Atlantic coast nestled between Jacksonville Florida and Savannah Georgia.  Here are a few pictures from our time away...

Top 5 favorite restaurants to visit in St. Simons Island (in no particular order):

1. Bubba Garcia's Mexican Restaurant 
2. Crabdaddy's Seafood Grill    
3. Southern Soul BBQ (featured on Diners, Drive-ins & Dives)
4. Blackwater Grill (also featured on Diners, Drive-ins & Dives)  
5. CJ's Italian Restaurant  

As for dessert, we recommend:
* Moo Cow Ice Cream (Try their banana pudding ice cream in a homemade waffle cone)
* St. Simon's Sweets  (Pralines to die for)

Some of our other favorite sites and places:
* Red Fern Village (Shopping and nightlife)
* St. Simon's Lighthouse (A bit of history)
* The Atlantic Ocean (Swimming & sunbathing!)
* Pane in the Glass (handmade stained glass & other crafts from local artists)
* Glynn Art Association (Art Museum and gift shop)
* Neptune Park Fun Zone (Mini-golf)

We also took a day out of our week to visit nearby Savannah.  Here are a few photos we took that day...
Leopold's Ice Cream

Lady & Sons (Paula Deen's Restaurant)

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Thursday, October 11, 2012

DIY: Barnwood Towel Rack

Like many of you other ladies (and gentleman- no hate) out there I am a Pinterest fanatic. Many of the decorative elements in Cashablanca (our home) are ideas I've gotten from various blogs I found through pinterest.  One of the ideas I saw on Pinterest was to take an old piece of wood and add vintage knobs for a necklace holder.  Well, I decided to put my own spin on the project and turn it into a towel holder instead.
Here's how I did it:

Supplies You will need:

  • Scrap piece of wood
  • Drill
  • Glass door knobs of various sizes.  I bought mine at Hobby Lobby.  They range from .99 to $3.99 a piece.  I got all of mine for under $10 because I purchased them during their 50% off hardware week.  Check your local Hobby Lobby flyer to see when they are on sale!
  • Yard stick or tape measure
  • Pencil
  • 2 small screws
  • 2 sawtooth hangers 
  • Lots of patience and creativity!

Step 1.  Find an old piece of wood to attach your knobs to.  I got the wood for this project from an old barn that belonged to my great uncle.  It's important that you find a flat piece so that it will lay against the wall nicely.  My piece of wood was a little warped so it was a booger to try and attach to the wall.  Learn from my mistakes when picking out the perfect piece of wood.

Step 2.   Using a yard stick or tape measure, mark your wood with a pencil in the spots you want the knobs to go then drill small holes where the markings are .  If you aren't OCD like me you may be able to just eyeball it without having to bust out your measuring devices.

Step 3.  Attach your knobs to the wood through the holes you drilled in Step 2.

Step 4. Attach your sawtooth hangers onto the back left and right sides of the board to get ready to hang.

Step 5. Measure the distance between the two sawtooth hangers and mark holes equal to that distance on your wall where your screws will go. These screws are what the sawtooth hangers will rest on, affixing the board to the wall.

Step 6.  Drill screws into your markings on the wall and hang your finished project!

A nice addition to our guest bathroom, don't you think?

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Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Easy Peasy Chicken Pasta Salad

Tonight I made one of my favorite easy meals for dinner. It's an unlikely combination of ingredients but it takes little to no time to make and is pretty tasty! Here's what you'll need:

  • 1 (12oz) box garden rotini (tri-color) pasta
  • 1-1 1/2 cups Ranch dressing (depending on how creamy you want it)
  • 2 cups sliced red and/or green grapes
  • 10 oz shredded (or canned) chicken

1. Bring four quarts of water to a boil and add pasta. Boil for 8-10 minutes or until tender. 

2. Drain pasta in a colander and transfer to a 4 qt bowl.  Add ranch dressing, sliced grapes and shredded chicken.  

3. Fold ingredients into pasta until mixed together evenly.  Chill 15-20 minutes then serve.
Serves 4. 


Here's a similar recipe I found online that uses Poppy Seed Dressing instead of ranch if you want to try something different:

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The Dangers of Home Improvement

Stephen and I recently moved into our first home (we lovingly refer to her as Cashablanca) and although it's only a few years old, we've been doing some beautification over the past few weeks to make it our own. On Saturday we ventured out to Home Depot and purchased some shelving for our laundry room and bedroom closet to give us additional storage space. We figured it would take us a couple of hours to install three shelving units because, come on, how hard could it be? Well for those of you other shelving rookies out there be warned...those suckers are tricky. The "couple of hours" we thought it would take quickly turned into a 2 day project. Yep that's right, 3 shelves...2 days. In retrospect I realize it may have gone a little quicker if I had done something besides supervise Stephen, but I regress. After all, I'm pretty great at the supervisory position (being the loving, supportive wife that I am).  

Moving forward to Sunday afternoon. Stephen is in the laundry room trying to finish up the beast we know as shelf #2.  While he was working on that I decided to start organizing my lovely silver and other serving pieces we got from our wedding showers onto shelf #1.  Once I finished I had a bout of OCD and decided to rearrange the pieces on shelf #1 because it didn't look the way I wanted it to.  Stephen heard me grunting and groaning as I took boxes down and offered to help me.  As he was doing this, he somehow managed to knock one of the silver pieces off the shelf, hitting me in the head with it.  The result was a large bloody gash above my hairline. Naturally I started crying.  **Note to the reader: I'm an ultra sensitive gal.**  Stephen, being no stranger to my tears, got me a tissue, helped me mend my wound, and got me an ice pack and 2 Excedrin.  When I finally stopped seeing stars I walked back into the laundry room to make sure none of our new gifts had broken in the shelf debacle (you know, priorities).  I walked in to find the guilty culprit of my blunt force trauma laying on the ground...

Stephen and I couldn't help but laugh.  Kinda ironic that the tray was engraved with the word "Grace."  Ironic for 2 reasons.  First, because I'm a total clutz and my friends and family lovingly call me Grace from time to time.  Secondly, because in the two short weeks we've been married (and over the course of our dating) I've learned that if there's one thing you need an abundance of in any relationship it's grace.  When I lose my temper...grace, when I'm feeling irritable...grace, when I say something I don't mean...grace, when I burn dinner...grace, when your husband leaves the toilet seat up and you get a mad case of wet butt...grace, when your husband accidentally gashes your head open...grace.  So how do we become more gracious?  By looking to the Father who pours an abundance of grace on us on a daily basis. 

 We are all in need of grace, and when it comes to our spouse we have to learn to let the little things go, forgive and forget, and just learn to laugh at ourselves.  Have you been hit over the head with grace this week?  I have.   

 "Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need." -Hebrews 4:16 (ESV)

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Sunday, October 7, 2012

Mr. & Mrs.

Well guys,
It's been a long 10 months, and Stephen and I are finally married!  And like all the other hip, young newlyweds out there I thought I'd jump on the blog bandwagon and start my own internet diary (you're welcome world). I'm not sure that any part of my life is so interesting that you guys would want to read about it, but maybe I can entertain you on those days when Facebook and Twitter drama is lackluster.  With that being said, I'm going to leave you with a few snapshots from our big day.  Shout out to my Mom for making our DIY wedding a HUGE success!  Love you Mama!

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