Friday, December 30, 2011

Jammin' Mahn!

I hope my phonetic spelling was correct! Anyways, I've been LOVING this song this week and thought I would share some chill, head bopping tunes with you. :)

Jack Johnson is one of my favorite musicians to listen to; keeps me relaxed and smiling and I can often times pretend I'm laying in a hammock somewhere tropical while tapping my foot to his melodies. Enjoy!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011


Oh yes. The time is upon us! As this brand spankin' new year approaches, I can't help but sit back and think on some 'resolutions'. Oh of course I've thought of the typical 'lose weight, be nicer, find a cure for cancer, etc, etc', BUT (and this may be a resolution in and of itself) I want to make some really good, realistic, challenging, relevant resolutions this year. I don't know about you, but often throughout the year I get stuck in a rut. I don't like who I am at those times; I feel like I've lost my happy, jolly self and don't know what to do. I'm resolving this year to make some important changes.

1) Get in shape. I know what you're thinking- "You just said that was typical!". Well making a big push to lose holiday weight is always a big deal, but that's not what I'm talking about. This past year I lived a very unhealthy lifestyle, and it has taken its toll. My skin, my weight, my moods, my energy- no good!! I'm resolving to cut out simple carbs (this is kind of necessary due to insulin resistance I have developed) and to begin exercising regularly to get in shape!! This is going to be a biggie- and probably the hardest for me.

2) Commit to keeping my house clutter free. I'm a pack rat. I married a pack rat. I have seen way too many hoarders episodes to be comfortable keeping junk anymore. So in 2012 I will continue de-cluttering and keeping my house simple and neat. I'm very excited about this one! Less clutter leads to more projects! And we all know I love projects!!

3) Be committed to serving in a church. God led us in an unexpected direction church-wise this year and it has been awesome to see God bless our obedience, but it is hard to get plugged into and committed to another church. Please pray for us that our hearts will ignite with passion and we will find a place to serve.

4) Get out of debt!! Honestly, I don't really consider 2 credit cards and a home loan a lot of debt but it's important to me to be debt free. We need to purchase another vehicle and will not be able to do so until I get these credit cards off my back.

5) Save, save, save money!!!! Our responsibility with money has matured a whole HECK of a lot (I'm not sure how much a heck is, but it's gotta be a bunch!); however, in order to visit one of my best friends in England, feel comfortable talking about having babies, visit precious friends that live in California, and be able to pay our bills without ridiculous juggling and pushing due dates- we gotta get ahead of the game. Paycheck to paycheck ain't gonna work.

Over all, I think this is a good start. There are lots of other things I would love to work on when it comes to improving myself. It's my firm belief we need to strive to improve. Being content with how we are leads to laziness and complacency. Don't get me wrong! You should love who you are!! For sure! But you shouldn't make excuses for habits and quirks that you know are not letting you live the best life you could. Trust me- I've been through a lot this year and I know.

Dealing with a terrible workplace at the beginning of this year, working for someone who enjoyed breaking down my confidence and self esteem, eventually losing my job due to said person, being forced to find a job a week before I got married, running my credit cards to the max to afford my simple wedding, working so hard to convince an underwriter to approve my home loan, dealing with a variety of serious medical issues, eating spaghetti over and over because we couldn't afford groceries for a few months, and struggling to understand my role as a wife the first 6 months of my marriage almost broke me. Like I said, I know.

But I can still look at this year and my eyes mist over at the incredible amount of blessings I've experienced- having the man God hand picked for me ask me to spend the rest of my life with him, becoming a homeowner and moving into a beautiful house, being showered with love and gifts by so many family and friends before we got married, finding another teaching job before I even got married at a place where I am valued and praised for my very hard work, adding a sweet little girl named Kina and a mischievous little guy named Maverick to our small family, walking down the aisle in a gorgeous dress to become the Mrs. to my very best friend, and because of that acquiring a new family who's been so incredibly helpful and along with the rest of our family been our cheerleaders, and finally reaching a place in our marriage where we understand each other and spend our evenings together, not against one another. Boy am I blessed!!

And I cannot wait to see what next year has in store!!

Until the new year,

Friday, December 23, 2011

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Heart of the World

Wow. Just wow. The past 6 months have absolutely flown by. Truth be told, some days seemed like they would never end and hours passed like incredibly awkward moments. All in all, though, it's hard to believe Josh and I have already been married for six months!! I have heard from many friends and family members that the first year of marriage is the hardest- Lordy I hope so! From injuries to new jobs to important things in the house breaking, these six months have been full of trials and errors and fights and feuding and the butting of heads. Many of the highlights are found here on this blog- a living memory book for us to look back and remember the feelings, emotions, and moments that are so special to us; good and bad. That being said, I will also say there were definitely days I wanted to run away and forget I had ever attempted this thing called marriage. And one time I did. Hahaha! I was so mad at my poor husband I led him to believe I was taking trash to the garage and I left! I drove around for about an hour with no idea where I was or where I was going. I ended up going back home. And we talked, and we worked things out. But the fact of the matter is marriage is not easy.

So, Andrea, why even go at it? Why try? I'm so glad you asked. :) God brought Josh and I together. Forever. We promised in front of our cherished friends and family members to love each other through good and bad, thick and thin, and use our marriage to better serve and bring praise to the name of God. Oh, what about the love and passion? I'm glad you asked that as well! I love him. Period. He loves me. Period. Although sharing chores and paying bills doesn't always lend itself to heated passion, we've got it for sure! And there is something about true love between a man and a woman that even when you detest the thought of even being in the same room as your spouse, you still feel your heart crack at the thought of never waking up to that sleepy smile or feeling those arms around you ever again.

You're sorry you asked now, aren't you?? Enough with the mushy gushy already!! Okay, okay. Basically, even though life these first sixth months has been less than desirable financially and circumstantially, we are still incredibly blessed to be able to wake up next to each other and choose to love. We are blessed with a good sense of humor to look back on our misfortune and laugh together, enjoying our current Pax Romana. There's no telling how long this time of calm and balance will last, but we are enjoying it and soaking up every. last. second. of it. 

I found this song on Spotify and cried my eyes out. Maybe it's my hormones still working themselves out, or PMS, or maybe I just really love Josh so much that the words of this song go straight to my ticker. It also reminds me of the reason we are all held hostage by the magic and twinkling lights and wonder of this beautiful time of year. There was a baby in a feeding trough, wrapped in cloth, being kept safe in a cave that housed animals. His mother gave birth to him a virgin, and His earthly father stood watch with pride. Jesus is the reason this season brings out the sap in me.  A sinless man loving a sinful world. Warms me up from the inside out, people! I would not be who I am- strong, independent, in love, joyful, hopeful- without the precious sacrifice that baby made as a man!! I'd love to tell you my story. You just need ask.

Enjoy. :)

Until next time,

Tuesday, December 6, 2011


No, not the laundry detergent. Or the short skirted, toe touch & high five variety.

I am talking about CHRISTMAS CHEER my good people!!!!!

I adore this time of year. Lights, the excited faces of Santa and elves and snowmen and sweet mooses (yes, I am a firm believer that moose should have an 's' on the end if its plural- don't judge), and just an overall sigh of relief that another hard year is almost over. Cozy nights and a fresh start are around the corner.

To celebrate the Christmas season, I created a (reusable!) wreath. I got the twig wreath at a thrift store for 60 cents, bought a few embellisments and a letter at Walmart for less than $7.00 all together. So with a little ingenuity and some hot glue,  this is a less than $10 wreath to hang on our door and welcome this wonderful time of year! (Plus, I can take the greenery out and recycle it for Spring, Summer, and Fall too!! Booyah!)

I used a lighter to burn the edges of the 'A' and shabby it up a little bit. :)

The burlap holding the wreath is cut from burlap used in our wedding as the runner.

So, Merry Christmas from the busy Atkins household to yours!!

Until next time,

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Holiday Hijinx and Then Some

I hope I spelled that right... if not, chalk it up to tiredness. Chasing after 110 teenagers all day is quite exhausting! However, I wanted to be sure to check in and dump some photos on you guys to give you an idea as to what has kept me from writing tons of interesting blog posts
In reality, sleep deprivation is probably to blame for most of it, but feel free to enjoy my photo journalistic excuse anyway. :)

After picking up some mistinted paint, we went for it with an accent wall.

We kind of love each other. A lot. :)

The photo's crappy, but you get the idea. We love it!
The resemblance is uncanny!

Such a cutie.

Ready for the trick or treaters
Our first trick or treater- Alvin the Chipmunk!

We began a Halloween tradition- Orange pancakes!!

They were super yummy!!
Scooby: "Really, Mom?!" Kina: "Let's just get this over with."

The chosen spot for our first Christmas tree!

Gittin 'er fluffed
Yeah baby! Virginia Pine, a la Target After-Christmas Clearance.

It had been a long day. Jus' sayin'. Gettin ready for the star.

Lovin' that smile. Back off ladies, this star hanger belongs to moi.
O Christmas tree, O Christmas Tree, you have stinkin' awesome liiiights

And garland, but not of the Judy variety

And whammo! It's a stunner. :)
Sweet boy and girl moose.

Reason for the season. We're so thankful for Jesus!!!

Mantle's not done, but still makes me wanna stay put on the couch.
I painted this piece at Sips N Strokes in Greenville. It was so fun!

I just love our tree!!!!!!

Many of you remember this from the souvenirs post..

This one as well.

One of my favorite ornaments that used to adorn my mother's tree

Garland and a cardinal that also came from my mother.

So there you have it! I hope you all enjoy this little photo journey of our past few months. We are enjoying learning more about each other and embracing God's purpose for our marriage as we grow closer together and closer to Him!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Mental Block

Yeah... pretty much. The words mental block really do kind of capture how I've been feeling toward blogging lately. It's not that I don't want to do it; it's just trying to come up with things that are exciting enough to gush about on here for all of the world and my sweet friends/family to see has been pretty difficult lately. Maybe if I ramble something will come of this. Maybe my block can build a castle. Tee hee hee.

It's getting to be that time of year that I ADORE. Autumn. I love it so much!! There's something about that first good chilly day that makes you slow down for a second and take a deep breath. You feel like you can breathe again!! I smile to myself as I drive to work and see the gorgeous trees proudly showing their robes of red and gold. Man what a beautiful time of year! Oh, and the baking. I love to bake and I love the flavors of Fall: pumpkin, cinnamon, nutmeg, hot chocolate, apple cider, yum yum yum!!!

Something that has been super special this year is our very first fire in our fireplace:
I love fires!!!!! Safe and in their proper place, of course! Josh has done a wonderful job of burning us  some very cozy coals. Not to mention the sultry romance a warm fire brings to a home. :)

With this time of year we remember the things in life that really count; and ironically those tend to be the things that are free: long conversations with old friends over coffee, mornings snuggled with your soul mate dreaming of the future and things to come, cold football games cheering on the old alma mater (and my little brother. \o/ Go PJ!), crunching leaves as you plod down the sidewalk; and let's face it- going out of your way to step on the super crunchy ones, and spending time with loved ones surrounded by a Thanksgiving day parade or football game and tons of food or even glittering trees and presents wrapped in colorful paper, soaking in the last days of the year, listening to the Christmas story, or 'Twas the Night Before Christmas.

Something about this time of year is just so... perfect.

I guess what they say is true: It's not about the number of breaths you take, but about moments that take your breath away.

I hope you all are enjoying this delicious time of year!! Hug the ones you love and hopefully you will hear more from me soon-- I have more pinteresting things and recipes to share!

Until next time,

Monday, October 10, 2011

The Shepherds and Their Pie

There are days when I am more than happy to submit my & my husband's diets to the incredibly un-nutritious cuisine that is so conveniently picked up at some of the places we indulge in as a guilty pleasure; because as a teacher (and really for anybody with a job), there are just some days when you come home and the last thing you want to do is put a meal together.

So, if you just read that and could nod in agreement, you will appreciate this recipe!! It was so good, easy to make, totally good for you, and my annoyingly picky eater of a hubby tore into it like there was no tomorrow.

The English have it right with Shepherd's Pie. You take what you've got, throw it together and chow down! I love all things English, but they make their Shepherd's Pie with lamb. Sorry, that's not how I roll. However I brilliantly put together a scrumptious concoction nonetheless, with the wonderful Brits as my inspiration. :)

Andrea's Not-So-Shepherd-But-Totally-Yummy Pie
(I thought long and hard 'bout that one!)

1 lb. ground turkey
1 packet brown gravy mix
1 can of corn
Mashed potatoes (You can use one microwaveable package or if you're fancy, 2-4 potatoes peeled boiled and mashed)
1 cup cheddar cheese (or 3/4 depending on how much you like cheese. We couldn't live without it)

*Preheat oven to 375
1. Brown turkey in a pan. Season with salt and pepper (optional). Stir in 1/2 the packet of brown gravy mix. Do NOT add water. The gravy mix is to season the turkey. Pssst- It's a secret ingredient to this recipe's yummy goodness! Be sure to cook the turkey all the way through.
2. Prepare mashed potatoes according to your preference
3. Open the can of corn (Hey I'm just trying to be thorough :P)
4. In an oven safe dish, spread the turkey on the bottom.
5. Spread the corn on top of the turkey.
6. Spread the potatoes on top of the corn (Are we seeing a pattern, people?!)
7. And finally, sprinkle the cheese on top.

Cook in the oven for 5-10 minutes, or until the cheese is melted completely.

And there you have it! Trust me, you'll wanna make this all time- I sure do. It's super easy and a definite crowd pleaser. The turkey is figure friendly, and using low fat cheese will make it even more so. You can also use beef if you'd like and if you're feeling particularly fond of that awesome place over the pond, feel free to use lamb as well! Let me know if you try this and if you like it or come up with a variation of it- we'd love to try it for sure. :)

Until next time,

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Lack of Footage

Soooo I said I was going to start doing better about blogging more frequently, and I have an explanation for the lack of quantity. My camera is messed up. *weeps* That thing went EVERYWHERE with me!! One night I was going to transfer some photos to this here loverly macbook and the camera wouldn't turn on. And hasn't turned on since. Gaaah. Yall know I love stuffing your beautiful faces with pics from my exciting journey I call life with an ADHD husband. :)

However!! I am now going to try and get creative by sharing some things from Pinterest that I LOVE!

Fall is here!!! And with it will hopefully come regular date nights where I can dress up cute like this! Pinned here.

When I come home to find a mess in my house... this is the exact response I get from my sweet animals! Ha ha ha! Pinned here.

I'm in the middle of reading this book right now. It is SO GOOD. It has really helped me take scripture and imagine it happening during that time and makes me admire and stand in awe of God's grace and mercy ever so much more! Pinned here.

My future baby will have this hat and will wear it and will look just as incredibly adorable!!!! This picture just makes my uterus ache. tmi? Sorry. :) Pinned here.

I am so in love with this nursery. The colors and the patchwork and the letters and the pillows. Just... *sigh*... perfect! Pinned here.

I am so down with this idea of an all year wreath. Check out the link on my Pinterest for the directions. It would take some time, but be totally worth it! May have to tackle this during Christmas break. Pinned here.

I took this idea and use it in my classroom and my students eat it up! They love grabbing a smile on the way out my door. Pinned here.

Beautiful!! Pinned here.

Homemade Reese's peanut butter eggs!!!! I did actually make these. They were yummo and taste just like the real thing. Next time I'm going to use a little less powdered sugar than what the recipe calls for. Pinned here.

Nothing says true love quite like loving someone more than my morning coffee. <3 Pinned here.

So there you have it! A little sampling of some of the things I love and enjoy. If you are interested in Pinterest (I'm so punny) then you can just leave me a comment and I'd be more than happy to invite you to join. If you ask for an invite on the website, it can take a while to happen. My invites are instantaneous! Probably because I'm just awesome. Yeah, that's why.

So what have you been up to lately? Have you decorated for Fall? I'm gonna be pulling out my fall decorations today and I can't wait! Have a great weekend everyone!

Until next time,