Tuesday, February 24, 2009


This past weekend, B and I celebrated our first weekend in a month to be able to just be with each other and relax! It was so wonderful!

We picked up our pottery that we made on Valentine's Day from the paint cafe, drank coffee, cleaned house (Ben is great at getting those perfectly straight vacuum lines), went on a mini date, searched for furniture and played with several friends.

We went over to a couple's house on Friday night to play games and eat dessert-- I am pleased to say that I got to teach the group Nelson's and they loved it! we laughed hysterically the whole night.

We also had a some couples over on Sunday night for cupcakes and played some more games!

Needless to say, it was such a relaxing weekend and one that we are so thankful to the Lord for.

BUT the most exciting news of the week, that we have been anticipating all weekend, is that my parents are coming to visit us on Thursday!!

They are going to spend a long weekend with us and tour the oasis of Pensacola (slight sarcasm here), but the beaches are definitely better than in Texas and are much closer to us so that is a plus :)

We are soo excited to show them our apartment and the city and surrounding areas!

AND next week, Jacki and Anna are coming to visit us for a few days!! YAY! Hopefully we don't get too spoiled by all the visits. We aren't going to know what to do with ourselves after they are all gone!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

the end is in sight!

He's almost there!! After four weeks of intense test taking and water survival training he is almost done!! Just one more test tomorrow and B will be a free man...well, sort of.

He will at least be done with the test taking-late-night studying-getting no sleep-living off caffeine- portion of the training!

And that is still plenty reason for us to lift up our hands and praise Jesus!! Believe me, after tomorrow we will be jumping up and down with sheer delight for a weekend free from studying!

B has done very well in his training so far and has not failed a test/event yet. I am so proud of him and he will tell you that its all the Lord's grace!

He will still be in training for the next two weeks, but he is done with academics for the remainder of his time.

Of course, he will be dragged by a helicopter thru water and turned upside down in a helo (I think thats short for helicopter) dunker under water and will have to escape- but hey, piece of cake, right?

I'm sure I will get to update you all on how that goes within the next couple of weeks :)

I wish they would let me tag a long and watch, but I guess its classified or something.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

yummy granola bars!

I wanted to share with you guys a granola bar recipe I made today! I have always wanted to make granola bars from scratch because most of the ones I find in the stores aren't really all that healthy and the ones that are on the healthier side are usually so expensive. B loves to have them as a snack or in his lunch, so these may become a new staple for us. :)

Hope you enjoy- I really liked them!

3 cups rolled oats
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/3 cup butter, melted
1/3 cup coconut oil, melted
2 TBSP molasses (it has lots of antioxidants!) or you could use 1/4 dark brown sugar or cane sugar
1/3 cup honey or maple syrup (I used honey)
1 cup chopped almonds or walnuts (optional)
1/2 cup dried cranberries, dried cherries or raisins
1/2 cup dark chocolate chips

combine all ingredients and put in 9x13" pan. press down and even out. bake at 325 for about 35 min. cool completely before cutting.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

valentine's day

I am thoroughly convinced, especially on a day like today, when love is celebrated, that the greatest love we could rejoice over today is the undeserved, faithful, most gracious and intense love of God.

I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore I have continued my faithfulness to you.
- Jeremiah 31:3
That is love. Faithful love for an unfaithful bride.
In this is love, not that we loved God but that he loved us...1 John 4:10
Happy Valentine's Day! May His love be celebrated most of all!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Random Brain Firings...

Isn't he precious?

This is B on his 3rd birthday. His mom, Mama Carter, sent him the cutest card that exploded confetti when we opened it, and had this sweet picture of him on it :)

I just had to post it! Its way too cute!! What a creative idea!

Ok, side note, for some reason as I am writing, everything is being underlined and hyperlinked- to what I have no clue- but anyway, I don't know how to make it go away.

We started our first small group with our church this week! We keep wanting to call it a HOPE group, but they are really CONNECT groups- same concept, just a different name. I guess any small group we are in will always be a HOPE group to us :)

It was great though, our pastor and his wife are leading the one that we are attending and we are studying a book called "The Pursuit of Holiness" by Jerry Bridges. I think it is going to be really good. I am already really excited about it- and its such an important topic of study- God's holiness and how we are commanded to be holy as He is holy. As important and obvious as a commandment that it is, I feel that at least in my walk, it is something very rarely pondered. What is holiness? What makes God holy? How are we to walk in that, or strive toward that?

Anyway, I am excited. I am sure I will have much more to share as we get into it.

We have also been approached w/ some ways we might be able to serve and minister within the church. We are going to start praying over those soon to see where the Lord may want to use us. We don't know what it will look like yet, but we are excited that the opportunity has already been placed before us!

I am going to try my hand at some curtains now-- we'll see how they turn out :)

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Oh, how I love thee...

...let me count the ways.

For B's birthday, I felt like the biggest way I could show him how much I love him was to take him to his favorite restaurant for dinner.

Now you may be thinking, really? that doesn't seem like that big of a deal- and probably for most people, it wouldn't be. But I'm kind of a picky eater- a really picky eater.

AND B's favorite restaurant is Whataburger. He likes the #1 with bacon, cheese and jalapenos. But poor thing, he just happens to be married to a crazy little lady like me, who has a phobia against fast food joints. Especially Whataburger- they just don't seem to have any semi-healthy options so I can never find anything to eat there, as tempting as an apple fritter might be. So, we never eat there and he hasn't had his favorite burger in a long time.

For his birthday, I decided we would get moderately dressed up and I would blind-fold him and drive him to dine at Whataburger, for a really classy b-day meal ;)

I got him in the car and covered his eyes with my old soccer socks

he kept putting his head right up in my face while I was driving, he found it very entertaining.

he had no clue where we were going---and was so surprised when he opened his eyes!

oh, whataburger!

afterwards, we came home for dirt cake- oreos and gummy worms in pudding.... he's such a little kid at heart :)

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

The Hunt

We had soo much fun celebrating B's birthday yesterday! It was mostly just fun to relax together,to have two tests behind him and to just laugh and celebrate together. When B got home from work yesterday, I sat and waited anxiously for him to finish eating his lunch so that we could open all the fun presents he had gotten in the mail yesterday! He got cards/gifts from Mama Carter, Granny and Paw-Paw, Jim and Ida and Mark & Mama Rhonda, that I had laid out for him on the table when he got home.

We took pictures of him opening all of them on his new cell phone (which was my present to him)...He still has those pictures on his phone so I will have to steal it later to download and post them.

For now I will post what I do have- the hunt. Per request of Mark & Mama Rhonda, I made B a scavenger hunt for him to go on to find the gift that they got for him.

Here are some pics documenting the happening:

b wondering what in the world this little hunt will lead him to

can you guess where the first hint will lead him?

USPS--to the mailbox we go!

the second clue: you scream, we scream, we all scream for...!!!

racing back up stairs and headed toward the freezer!

Ice cream!!

the third hint: rub a dub ducky so you won't be all yucky! (man whoever wrote these things was clever)

to the shower!!

the final hint: its your birthday, and to the kitchen I must go bake, to prepare for you an oh-so-yummy cake!

where could it be?
*there are several more pictures of him opening cabinets and searching frantically for the treasure!

ah but finally! he found it in the flour bin!


hooray for b- he found his little treasure!

Monday, February 9, 2009

Making Macaroni Healthful

B and I stumbled upon this recipe on the food network website and made a couple of adaptations of our own to it. I thought I would share it with you guys for your eating pleasure :)
I loved eating it and knowing that some yummy squash was tucked away in there!
B of course "doctored it up" with a little bit of hot sauce, but we both were big fans of this super easy dish!

enjoy :)


1 lb. elbow macaroni
1 butternut squash or other large yellow squash, boiled & pureed
2 cups low fat milk
1 1/4 cups extra sharp cheddar cheese, grated
1 cup mozzarella cheese, grated
1/2 cup part skim ricotta cheese
1 tsp. powdered mustard
1/4 tsp. paprika
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. olive oil
1/2 cup bread crumbs
1/2 cup parmesan cheese, grated

Set oven to 350. Bring macaroni to a boil for about 5-8 minutes. Strain and set aside in a large bowl. Meanwhile, simmer the pureed butternut squash over medium heat, stirring in two cups of milk. Once the mixture is quite hot, but not boiling, remove from heat and stir in the cheeses, mustard, paprika and salt. Combine with the macaroni and pour into a 9 X 13 baking dish. In a small bowl combine olive oil, bread crumbs and parmesan cheese. Sprinkle evenly over the macaroni dish. Cook in oven for 20 minutes, set the temperature to broil for an extra 3 minutes to brown the bread crumbs.

*B and I added a pound of lean ground beef, seasoned with paprika and red pepper to the dish to make it a more hearty meal for my carnivore husband! It was really yummy!

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Church and our week in review :)

Today we went to church, and afterwards B went to a study group and I worked on my sewing projects. The service was really encouraging today. Our pastor had just come back from a pastor's conference at John Piper's church and you could tell he was so refreshed and rejuvenated by his time there. Today he preached out of John 3:16. When he started the sermon I had no idea how he was going to preach an entire 45 minutes on it- but it was incredible! Some of the best teaching I have heard since we have been in Pensacola.

He talked about the complexity of God's love, and the different types of love He has for: himself & the Trinity, His creation, His elect, or children, and His children who are walking in obedience to Him.

It was an incredibly deep and well thought out message that left me contemplating so many different facets of our huge God and realizing how far I am from ever completely comprehending Him.

Today left me very thankful that He has chosen me as His daughter, that He has drawn me with His everlasting love (Jeremiah 31:3)

Here is the website where you can hear the sermon if you are interested. If its not up yet, it should be coming soon!


An update to my last post, B passed both of his tests on Thursday! praise the Lord- thank you to those who were praying for Him. The Lord truly showed Him great favor & success!

He has another academic test and swim test in the morning so we are lifting those up right now and praying that the Lord continues to give him grace in his studies and in swimming.

This is the beginning of the third week of training- so we are almost halfway there! (It is six weeks total!)

B's birthday is tomorrow!! I am taking him on a special date after training- it will be a gift enough to him just to have a night to relax!

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

update on b :)

I wanted to give you guys an update on life in the military and training here in P'cola.

B is in the middle of his second week of training. His day consists of water survival swimming in the mornings and lectures on weather or aerodynamics in the afternoon- and then coming home to eat and study for his weekly tests.

He passed his first test on Monday, and has another one tomorrow on weather. Please pray for him in this and in his swimming! It is very intense and he has swim tests almost everyday, where they constantly add on new challenges to overcome in the water.
He will have about two tests a week over lots and lots of smarty pants flyer information.

He is a good little student and is on the couch right now studying away! We are going to take a break later to watch lost and eat homeade ice cream with some friends :)

We got an ice cream maker as a wedding gift and are going to try it out for the first time tonight. So that should offer a good study break for him and hopefully some good fellowship w/ sweet friends.

Oohhh aaaand B's birthday is in 5 days!! I have a little surprise or two for them, but you can't know yet b/c you might tell him! and that would be bad! He will be 23 so make sure to call him on his b-day to say hi! I can't promise he will answer, but I know he will be encouraged just to know that he was thought of. He is always encouraged when I tell him people are praying for him.

Thank you for your faithful friendships!

Monday, February 2, 2009

Ladies & Gentlemen...

My first sewing project is complete! Ta-da!

fabric by amy butler and pattern by simplicity
photography by b :)

it has pockets!

a close-up of the waste band

other than a few minor mess ups that hopefully only i can see, its pretty wearable! the skirt had its first debut on Sunday at church-- i like the yellow a lot and think it might be one of my new favorite colors.
its fun to wear something that you've made- i am going to keep working on the same pattern to see if i can do it all by myself and then who knows maybe i'll upgrade to a dress or tunic :)

have a happy day!

Sunday, February 1, 2009

this is a tribute

to mr. Mark Austin Norville, who likes to call himself MAN.  He is my brother and because he wanted to get a picture of himself posted on our blog, and a little blurb written about him, he too made up a blogger profile and became one of my "followers".  

I love my little MAN and every thing about him makes me smile and laugh.  Sometimes he's ridiculous, but most of the time he is just funny! I am very proud of him and I miss being near to him geographically so he better come visit me for SB09!!  (seriously, austin).

well anyway, we love you austin.

and for all those of you who aren't my brother austin, but are thinking, hey i'd like to know who he is, you can read austin's new blog here.

i think my mom and i might be the only ones who read it and i am pretty sure the one post he has on it now might be his first and last.  

but here's to austin's 10 sentences of fame on the Carter blog :)