Archives for December 2014

A Collection Of Terribly Important Information

– One day last month the lovely and oh-so-talented Christy Nockels mentioned on Twitter that she was getting ready for a live CD recording, and I sorta kinda invited myself to attend. I mean, I invited myself by making a joke, but then Christy totally went above and beyond and sent me the info. I initially hoped that State would be in the SEC Championship game this past Saturday and wouldn’t that just be perfect to go hear Christy Nockels the night before, but even without the SEC Championship game, it turned out to be well worth the drive. David, Alex, and I felt so welcome at Passion City Church (thanks, Donna!), and Christy Nockels? OH, MY. The songs, the worship, EVERYTHING was just phenomenal. We were so grateful to get to go, and I plan to invite myself again the next time she records a live CD.

I’m only sort of kidding.

– The other big part of our time in Atlanta was a trip to IKEA. We have been talking forever about turning our 4th bedroom into an office, and a few months ago I decided that I wanted to get the desks – along with some shelving – from IKEA. We finally made the pilgrimage Saturday morning, and y’all, we walked through every single bit of that store. Thirty-six hours later I’m still a little overwhelmed by the MAZE of it all, but we got what we needed and then some. The store was a little warm and I was wearing that dadgum boot, so I may have been a little prideful when we finally got back to our car.

– There’s still no Christmas tree in this house. I just feel like I need to admit it. We’re gonna try to get ‘er done this week, though.

– A few weeks ago a friend sent me some Biscoff Spread, and I would just like to say SWEET HEAVENLY DAYS.

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I understand that it’s very similar to Trader Joe’s cookie butter, and that means it could be very dangerous for me when Trader Joe’s opens here in Birmingham. This stuff is addictive. Only it’s not really addictive in our house anymore because it’s ALL GONE.

– Hummingbird Farms makes a lavender lotion that I’ve mentioned here on the blog approximately 58 times. And I still love that lavender lotion a lot. But they have a new body butter that’s some of the best stuff I have ever used on my VERY dry skin.

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The scent is light and lemon-y and herb-y, and the body butter is exactly what my skin needs this time of year. I just wanted to pass along the info in case you’re looking for Christmas gifts or stocking stuffers!

– Last night Beth Moore posted a recipe on Twitter, and I thought it looked so delicious that I decided I’d make it today. It is OUT OF THIS WORLD. I’ve made a couple of white chili recipes that I thought were sort of bland, but this one is flavorful and filling, not to mention that it makes your whole house smell divine.

I used two rotisserie chickens because I have to work hard to convince my people that soup is a meal, and I loaded up with the garnishes: Monterey Jack cheese, Fritos, sour cream, and diced avocado. I’ve already decided that this will be our Christmas Eve meal. SO GOOD.

Happy Monday, y’all!

The Big Boo Cast, Episode 40

I will warn you that we talk about our dogs a whole lot on this one.

We also talk about Melanie‘s far-reaching knowledge about back pain, Christy Nockels’ upcoming worship concert, our nostalgia for the 70s, decorating for Christmas, college football, coaching searches, TV, and who knows what else.

Let me put it this way: when I texted Mel to tell her that the podcast ended up being over 50 minutes, she said, “That’s a whole lot of nothing.”

And to that I say “amen.”

You can click here to listen. Or here. You can even listen right here.

Or, as always, you can subscribe on iTunes if you’re feeling particularly fancy.

Enjoy, y’all!

Unwrapping the Greatest Gift

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I’m terrible at doing Supermom-type things like creating traditions. Maybe I enjoy variety way too much, but there just aren’t a whole lot of Christmas things that we make sure to do year after year after year. Our primary points of consistency are a Christmas card tree in our kitchen and non-stop Christmas music starting December 1st. Other than those two things, we tend to change our Christmastime routine a lot.

Over the last few years, though, I’ve tried to be consistent and intentional about celebrating Advent. We have a beautiful wooden Advent wreath that I absolutely treasure, and this year we’re using Ann Voskamp’s new book Unwrapping the Greatest Gift: A Family Celebration of Christmas for devotions every night.

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Y’all. This book is beautiful, tender, captivating, and absolutely saturated with Truth. Tonight I was all teary-eyed by the second paragraph, and I am telling you that there was an 11 year-old boy sitting around our table who was LOCKED IN to the words we were reading. The readings are simple enough for kids to understand and deeply meaningful for adults as well. One of the things I like the most is that there are two or three discussion questions at the end of each story, and that gives us a chance to dig a little deeper.

All that to say: this book is going to be a treasure in our family just like my beloved wooden Advent wreath. It’s such a simple way to pull the family together for ten or fifteen minutes every night (or morning, or afternoon, or whenever) and focus on why we celebrate this season. If you do a Jesse tree, the book works perfectly with that (there are ornaments that go with each day’s devotion, and the book will tell you how to download them), but you don’t even have to do anything extra. Just read the words. Speak them out loud over your family. Or let one of your kids read to you. The “how” isn’t the issue. This is all about the Who.

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So, just because I love it and think you will, too, I’m giving away three copies of Unwrapping the Greatest Gift. I’m only going to leave the giveaway open until 10:00 central tomorrow (Wednesday) night, and then I’ll draw for winners. I’ll order the books ASAP so that hopefully the winners will have their copies by this weekend. At that point you can play catch-up or just jump right in to that day’s devotion. OR you could give a copy to a friend or family member as a Christmas gift. YOU HAVE OPTIONS.

Leave a comment if you’d like to win – and I’ll notify winners by email tomorrow night.

Happy Advent-ing, y’all!

This giveaway is now closed. Winners will be notified ASAP via email.

That Appetizer Heather Made For Thanksgiving

I met my friend Heather about seven-ish years ago when her husband was Alex’s very first soccer coach. The kids on that team were so small that most of them just found a spot on the field and pointed at airplanes, and if they happened to kick the ball, they’d usually spend a minute or two jumping up and down afterwards. A couple of those young’uns brought some real focus and skill to the mix, but by and large the kids were playing soccer for two very important reasons: 1) an opportunity to run through the parent tunnel after everyone high-fived the opposing team, and 2) the post-game snacks.

You really can’t underestimate the motivational power of a bag of Cheez-Its and a Capri Sun.

After that first soccer season I’d run into Heather from time to time; we’d see each other at the soccer fields or at basketball camp or in the parking lot at school. And somewhere along the way – a couple of years ago, maybe – we discovered that not only do we both love music, we love the same music. Plus, we share a nearly identical level of obsession over really good lyrics, so every time we’re around each other we usually have a moment that can best be described as ENGLISH MAJOR NERD POWERS: ACTIVATE. It’s a delightful thing.

Heather and I also share a love for dips and appetizers in all their wondrous forms, and before she and her sweet family came over to our house for Thanksgiving last week, she told me that she had a few appetizers in mind for Thanksgiving Day. She absolutely did – along with a turkey, a ham, two salads and four packs of rolls.

So I guess what I’m saying is that if you ever find yourself with a broken ankle, Heather is the kind of friend who will show up with an array of serving pieces and platters and groceries and basically take care of the bulk of the Thanksgiving meal.

One of the appetizers that Heather brought over last week was a spinach dip unlike any I’ve ever had, and when I tell you that it was the hit of Thanksgiving 2014, I mean it. People RAVED. David actually fixed me a little plate of it in case it was all gone before I got a chance to taste it, and y’all, it is a home run. It’s light and flavorful and different and absolutely delicious. It’s one of those things that I will make for the rest of my life, and IT DOESN’T EVEN HAVE CREAM CHEESE.

So. Without further delay – here’s the appetizer that changed Thanksgiving forever.


(And by the way, I’m leaving all of Heather’s parenthetical notes in the recipe because y’all know I’ve never met a parenthetical note that I didn’t like.)

(They just help to clarify some things, you know?)

(See what I did there?)

Mediterranean Spinach Appetizer


1 box frozen chopped spinach, thawed and chopped
1-2 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 cup red onion, chopped
1 roma tomato, deseeded and chopped
1 flame roasted red pepper (I buy them in jars near pickles)
1/4 cup nuts of your choice, chopped (I use pecans or walnuts, can do almonds or pine nuts)

1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
juice of 1/2 lemon
dash salt
dash black pepper
container of crumbled feta (usually 4-6 oz)
honey or sugar, up to 1 teaspoon (optional)

Pita chips or fresh pita, cut into wedges and baked or fried


Squeeze thawed spinach in a colander it until it is as dry as you can get it. (I use paper towels to press it.) Chop it until it’s fine and then chop some more. Saute briefly (3-5 minutes) in olive oil over medium heat, just to warm it and evaporate most of the water.

Remove from heat and add to mixing bowl with chopped onion, tomato, pepper, and nuts. Combine Greek yogurt (plain), juice of half lemon, salt, black pepper, and red pepper flakes. Fold into spinach mixture and add feta cheese. Sometimes, depending on the spinach, it tastes a bit bitter or sour. Add honey or sugar to sweeten if desired.

Refrigerate for at least an hour. Use your hands or a bowl to form into a ball and serve with pita wedges (you can bake or fry your own!).

(This is Sophie. I can also wholeheartedly recommend Stacy’s Pita Chips, because EASY.)

(I also noticed that Heather chopped everything pretty fine – and all the chopped stuff was roughly the same size.)

(Just FYI for all of you appetizer overachievers.)

I know that we’ve talked about lots of dip-type situations over the years, but this one is special, y’all. I can’t recommend it enough.

Hope y’all enjoy it!