Capital Area Greenway System

Although Josh and I have lived in Raleigh for almost 8 months now, it still feels kind of new to me. For example, when well-meaning people give me verbal directions involving a variety of Raleigh roads and landmarks, I just have to smile/nod and then jump into my car and immediately whip out Google Maps.

…I’m working on it.

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As a way to get to know Raleigh a bit better and also to get ourselves out into nature more often, Josh and I are exploring the greenway system! So far we have done: Lake Lynn, Shelley Lake, and Mine Creek Trail. I’ve enjoyed all of them but my favorite was probably Mine Creek, because it takes you along an actual creek (go figure) and you have to climb over some rocks so it made me feel outdoorsy. 🙂

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Looking forward to slowly but surely exploring the rest of the Raleigh greenway trails!

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DIY Pickles

Soo until very recently, I did not know homemade pickles were a thing. I guess I just never really thought about it! A few weeks ago I came across a recipe in a Family Circle magazine (I’m secretly a middle-aged lady at heart) and thought I’d give it a whirl:

Homemade Dill Pickles

-2 lbs cucumbers
-2/3 cup dill sprigs
-2 tablespoons pickling spice
-3 1/2 cups water
-6 halved cloves garlic
-1 cup white vinegar
-1/4 cup kosher salt

Divide the pickles, pickling spice, and dill between two 1-quart canning jars (I used 5 smaller ones). Boil water and add garlic, then stir in the vinegar and salt. Pour liquid into jars; cool to room temperature. Cover and refrigerate 2 days before eating. Enjoy for up to 1 month. 

The only things I had to buy for this recipe (well, aside from the cukes) were the mason jars and pickling spice, so it was a fairly inexpensive project. I am in a very extreme dill phase and am growing some on my patio, so I added way more dill than the recipe called for. Always a good choice.

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I was somewhat skeptical about how these would turn out but I have to admit, they are way better than the store-bought kind. Josh loves to eat them plain, while I prefer them on a burger or some sort of sandwich. Let the summer grilling begin!

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Wild & Free

I am such a fan of Jess Connolly. When I heard she was co-writing a book I was like YES! Finally! It took me awhile to get my hands on it (aka I totally forgot about it…) but last week I was in the library and it all but jumped out at me from a shelf. Divine intervention?

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This book would be a perfect beach read, although as it stands I have just been reading it from the comfort of my couch, which makes me pretty happy too. It is such a great “Gospel refresher”- a reminder of who we are in Christ and what that actually means for our day-to-day lives. It is specifically geared towards women, which I kind of love.

Here is a brief excerpt:

“The world may tell us we’re too much and never enough.
But we can walk wildly in who God created us to be
and rest freely in the work Jesus did for us.
We do not have to be confined or conformed by cultural expectations.
We are unchained from our past and unafraid of our future.
We choose compassion over comparison.
We love without condition, without reserve.
Our eyes are on God; we hold nothing back;
we run fast and strong; we do not hide our light.
We aren’t wild and free for our sake alone;
rather we sing life, hope, and truth over the world
with abandon – just as our God sings over us.
We are wild and free.
And we are poised to do might things, in Christ alone.”

Also pretty excited about some other books I have on tap- Animal Vegetable Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver (a re-read), Wonder by RJ Palacio, and The Broken Way by Ann Voskamp. I’m envisioning lots of Eno time in the near future…!

Simply Tuesday

Several months ago I came across a concept introduced by author Emily Freeman called “simply Tuesday.” She wrote a book on it (which I haven’t read yet) and also started an Instagram hashtag to promote slowing down and noticing the simple moments in life. I love this quote from her:

“It’s time to release our obsession with building a life, and believe in the life Christ is building within us- one simple Tuesday at a time.”

I wanted to intertwine this “simply Tuesday” idea with another post on intuitive eating, since a few people messaged me to say they enjoyed my “What I Ate Wednesday” post. On this particular Tuesday I had the day off, so I captured my eats and also a few simple moments here and there to share with you. I am not one to always have my phone out, but it actually helped me slow down and notice the little things a bit more.

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The day started off gray and gloomy, which I secretly love because I think it’s so cozy! I stepped out on our patio to enjoy the cooler weather and some decaf “bulletproof” coffee. I’ve been doing either decaf or half-caff lately, because all of a sudden regular coffee gets me wayyy too jacked up.

I love slow mornings because it gives me extra devo time! This particular morning I read through 1 Peter 4:7-11. Just a few simple verses, but so beautiful. “Above all, love each other deeply…”

Breakfast was eaten on our coffee table: toast (one side with butter and one with cheddar), scrambled eggs with spinach, and OJ.

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After breakfast, I skyped one of my very best friends who is in Greece right now! I love that girl so much. Our conversations always encourage me and remind me to look to Jesus for my joy. Friendships are such a gift, and one that I try to never take for granted.

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I have to confess a weird guilty pleasure of mine… watching Rachael Ray while I fold the laundry. I love Rachael Ray (haters to the left) and, strangely, I love folding laundry, so combining the two feels so nice and relaxing to me. It almost never happens since Rachael rudely scheduled her show at 10am on weekdays when I am typically at work, but when it does happen, it makes me so happy!

I spent the rest of the morning running errands, and snacked on these honey roasted peanuts while I was out and about.

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I also popped into Barnes & Noble to peruse some books. I am dying to read Love Lives Here by Maria Goff but can’t bring myself to pay $17.99 for it! I’ll have to see if they carry it at our library.

Lunch was soup + crackers, plus I finished off a dark chocolate bar from Trader Joe’s. PSA: Stop making low-sodium soup! Soup is meant to be salty! I think I used like half a shaker of salt on this bowl. Unfortunately I impulsively bought the 8-pack from BJ’s, so I am going to have to find a way to doctor it up in the future to make it more appealing.

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My afternoon was super relaxing. I napped, took a walk outside while listening to a podcast, and then started randomly looking at old photographs while I was “cleaning.” I think this might be my new hobby. Nostalgia overload!

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This picture is from Halloween of 1997 (or maybe ’98?) and it cracks. me. up. because my brother is a telephone. A TELEPHONE! I wonder if he was smiling for the camera?! We’ll never know.

At some point during the afternoon I snacked on my new obsession: Puffins + blueberries. I crave cold cereal so much in the spring and summer!

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Eventually I changed out of stretchy pants (sad) and got ready to go to dinner with friends. Josh got home around 6 so we hung out for a bit before heading to Bar Louie for a triple date with friends from our old bible study in Chapel Hill. I don’t think I’ve been on a triple date before? It was fun!

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The Tuesday $5 burger special will forever have a place in my heart. I got a turkey burger topped with sauteed onions, mushrooms, and pickles. Plus TOTS on the side! (Can anyone my age eat tater tots without thinking of Napoleon Dynamite?)

We got home and for some reason I was exhausted, so I crashed into bed almost immediately. The day was nothing spectacular, but at the same time, I went to bed that night feeling so grateful. To have amazing friends, a husband I adore, a job I love, delicious food every day, books and music and photographs… Life is good, y’all.