Monday, May 30, 2011

Summer Sweet Mint Tea

Hi Friends!


Happy Memorial Day.  I spent my day at the beach with a friend and our dogs.  It was fabulous!  I hope all of you had a fabulous Memorial Day as well!


The beach that we went to is located on Fort Monroe, an old military base.  The Hampton Roads area (where I live) is a huge military town.  I just want to take this opportunity to thank all the men and women that proudly served our country and in the end gave their lives so we could have our freedom.  Because I live in an area that has many military bases, I also get to witness firsthand the spouses and children that are left behind while their husbands and wives, fathers and mothers leave for months on end... so we also thank you.


We do not take it for granted.  


While Memorial Day is the official day to thank those that lost their lives,  Memorial Day also unofficially marks the start of summer.  Summer is in full swing in Hampton Roads with temps in the 90s  and rising, so I thought I'd share a sweat tea recipe that is guaranteed to make your summer days a bit cooler and a lot sweeter.   This mint iced became a summer staple last summer after my friend Ashley over at It Rocks to Be A Knox shared the recipe with me.  I swore I had shared the recipe with you last year, but after much research  a quick search through the the blog archives I realized that I kept this all to myself.  Sorry about that!


It's so simple!  Just fill a large glass container with water; 6-8 lipton iced tea bags & a handful of fresh mint leaves.






Place it in the sun all day, like so...

Bring it inside right before it gets dark in and add 4-5 cups of sugar or other sweetener.  (Note: don't add the sugar at the start of the day or you'll have an ant infestation.  Don't ask how I know this!)


I made my first pitcher today and I'm enjoying a glass as I write to you.


 Happy Memorial Day!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

"I'm Lovin' It..."

Hi Friends,


Last night, I had the joy of volunteering with the Ronald McDonald House (RMH) in Norfolk, VA.  


RMH provides a place for families to stay for extended periods of time if they have a child in the hospital. I don't have kids (yet!) but I couldn't imagine the immense burden these families carry every minute of every day.


My friend, Alysha and I made dinner for the fifteen families that are currently staying at the house.


That's me!


And this is Alysha!
 We realized after it was too late that we should have snapped some shots of us actually cooking instead of opening pre-made bread... but you get the idea.

Here's what was on the menu:

Stuffed shells
(Alysha chose the recipe for the stuffed shells. I'll be sure to post the recipe as soon as I can get it from her)

Salad and bread


Sarah's  Blueberry Pie 

Here's the recipe for the blueberry pie. It's so easy! 


(Makes 1 pie) 

1 deep dish pie crust         
Additional sugar for blueberries
3 cups fresh blueberries      
1 egg
½ stick butter, melted     
8 tbsp all purpose flour
¾ cup sugar            
½ tsp cinnamon

Preheat oven to 400ยบ. Pour blueberries into pie crust. Sprinkle some sugar over the top of the blueberries.* Mix remaining ingredients to form batter. Pour batter over blueberries and bake 30 – 40 minutes. Let pie cool partially before serving, so it’s not a runny mess.

So easy! You’ll feel like you’re pouring this glop of stuff over the berries, but it spreads when it cooks, so don’t worry about it. But be ready to pour it on immediately; it does set up a little if it sits and then makes it harder to pour!


I got the recipe from a friend... who got it from a friend... who got it from a friend.  So if you're Sarah, your pie rocks!  In the words of Ronald McDonald, "I'm lovin' it!"



We hope to do this once a month.
If you'd like more information on volunteering with the Ronald McDonald foundation, check out their website.  And if you're local to the Hampton Roads area, here's the Norfolk site.


Enjoy your weekend!

P.S.  I'm spending my Sunday afternoon painting some more cabinets.  I hope to have some more pics to show you in the days to come.

P.S.S.  The pics for this post were taken with a camera phone so sorry for the poor quality.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

An Amazing Story of Adoption

Hi Friends,

Kristen and Mark Howerton have two adopted children and two biological children.  Kristen and her husband believe every child deserves a chance.  After reading their adoption story on Kristen's blog, "Rage Against the Minivan" I knew that I wanted to book them for an appearance on The 700 Club.  Kristen was visiting her soon-to-be son, Kenbe in Haiti when the 2010 earthquake.  She had to leave her son behind, unsure if and when she'd see Kenbe again.

Watch their story and interview:



Aren't the Howerton's an amazing family?  What an encouragment!
Today, Kristen shared information on why you don't have to adopt to care for orphans. Check out her post here.

If you missed it, we announced that we'll be adopting.  Read our story here.


P.S.  The Cozy Cape is now on Facebook. Click on the botton below and "like" our page:




Sunday, May 15, 2011

The Cozy Cape Now on Facebook

Hey Friends,

The Cozy Cape is now on Facebook!  Swing by and "like" my page.  You can click on the Facebook button below and it will take you right to my page. 


I look forward to seeing you around.  

Update: Kitchen

Hi Friends,

Here's a sneak peek at how the kitchen is coming along:


I'm still working on the arrangement of dishes but I'm digging the open cabinet look.

Also, I still need to take off the brackets.  

You can read more about why I can't get those suckers off at the moment, right here.  

I'm doing this project one cabinet section at time so I can rotate the contents without allowing disaster to ensue.  I plan to add decorative trim and molding to the cabinets after all of the cabinets are painted.  Read more about my plans for the kitchen right here.

I'm already loving the lighter and brighter look of the cabinets.  I can't wait to see how much brighter the space will be once all of the cabinets are painted.  I'll have to wait a little longer though, because I'll be taking a break from the kitchen renovation for a few days because hubby needs a clean space for a bit.  On Tuesday, we are celebrating our eight year wedding anniversary and he plans to make an amazing dinner for two. Gotta love a guy that can cook... and actually enjoys it!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Confessions of a Drill-less DIYer

Hi Friends,

I have a confession to make...
I've been writing this blog for almost a year about home improvement on the cheap and I don't even own one of these:


Nope, not a drill to my name! 
For almost a year, a had "borrowed" my dad's drill but when he needed it back for a project of his own, I was left in drill despair.

I can no longer ride on the coattails 12 volts of pure power of and drill bits of my dad.  I'm in the midst of our kitchen renovation and these brackets are impossible to get rid of without a drill.



I need to remedy this situation immediately.  It's time I put on my big girl pants and get one of these in my life:


Isn't it a pretty shade of blue?  
I know, I know... that was totally a girlie comment to make... but I still meant it!  
Off to the store I go... Blue, I'm coming for you!



P.S.  I want to thank everyone for the amazing and encouraging words that you left for me on my last post regarding our fertility struggles and our adoption plans.
Unfortunately, blogger had a major malfunction and this post was lost.  Despite Blogger's claims that everything would be restored back to normal, my post, and your sweet comments are lost in cyberspace. Blogger, of all posts, really!?
  I reposted the last draft that I had, right here.  Unfortunately, I can't repost your comments for you, so if you left a comment, would you mind stopping by and leaving it *again*.
Second times a charm.
Thank you!

On A More Serious Note...

Well, as many of my fellow blogger friends know, Blogger had a major malfunction, which caused all posts from May 11th to disappear.  They claimed that they'd restore everything to normal and that we'd receive our lost posts.  Not so.  Good thing I had this post saved on a word document, because I'd venture to say the post that was lost in cyber space (along with all of your wonderful and encouraging comments) was the most important post that I have written to date. I guess this will teach me a lesson to back this blog up. I didn't even know you could do or needed to do such things with web content.  Au contraire, my friend.

Oh well.  Without further adieu, here's my blog post that was lost:


Hi Friends,

Over the last year you’ve gotten to know my house… and little bit of me through those projects and posts.  Well, now it’s time to peel back one more layer; it’s time you know why I decided to start this blog.

I started this blog because I needed a hobby; I needed something to care for; frankly, I needed a distraction.  A distraction from what, you may ask?  Well, a few years ago I was diagnosed with a condition called Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS). This is something that can cause a host of problems depending on the severity and if it progresses with time.  One of the issues this dreaded syndrome can cause is infertility.  Unfortunately, that’s been the case for us.  I’ve known from the young elementary age that I always wanted to be a mom.  When children answered, “doctor, lawyer, teacher” to the question of “what do you want to be when you grow up,” I always answered “a mom.” I never thought it would this difficult to fulfill that dream. 

Rewind to December 2009:  One close friend after another shared the joyous news that a baby was in their future…. That they were expecting a bundle of joy… soon they would have something in common, while I would sit back and observe others living my dream.  2010 was a low point for me.  It was full of mixed emotions.  I was overjoyed for my dear friends, all while a little piece of me hardened inside as I attended one more shower… as I picked out one more gift… and I made one more hospital visit.  I smiled through the heartache as each woman gazed into their new baby’s eyes.  I was able to hold it together long enough to make what seemed to be a long trek to my car.  It was there I laid my head on my steering wheel and began to sob. As each day goes on, it does get easier to share in the joy of others instead of focusing on what I’m lacking.  Stories of breastfeeding, crawling, walking and talking are all going to take place.   All of these make the days a little more difficult. It is such a strange feeling because these events are surrounded with such joy, yet I'm left feeling guilty because of the sorrow that I feel.   I’m blessed to have friends that understand that I’m happy for them all while I still long for their experience.

Some days are easier than others. Mother’s Day, Easter and Christmas all leave me feeling a little empty inside.  But I still hold onto the hope that I will one day hold that baby in my arms.   We hope to make this happen through adoption. There are so many children that need homes and we know that we can offer a child a wonderful home full of love, compassion and joy.  As things progress with this part of our lives, I’ll be sure to fill you in.  Right now, I’m working on a myriad of projects that I hope to sell in order to raise money for adoption… it’s really expensive.  The expense could be daunting but I won’t let it overwhelm me.  One project… one sale… one dollar at a time we’ll reach our goal.   Our hope is to raise the majority of the money by early 2012.  At that point, we’ll sign with an agency and begin the process with a home study.  I truly believe God will provide and God already has the perfect child chosen for us.  I bought this little guy as a reminder to keep my eyes set on the goal.  


 One day, this will sit in my child’s room.

I’ve been holding onto this post for awhile.  I was waiting for the right time to post this.  I'm not exactly sure why this is the right time, but it just feels right.  I guess, I'm hoping to encourage another person with a similar experience.  If you are going through this, you are not alone.  I don't know what God's plan is in all of this, but I do know he does have a plan.

Our fate lies in the hands of the Lord… and in the hands of a teenage mom that will make the selfless choice to give her baby a better life, all while making our dreams a reality.  I don’t know who you are yet, but I say THANK YOU. 

With Love and hope,


Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Welcome!

Hi Friends,

I did a guest post for Shaunna at "Perfectly Imperfect."   I just wanted to say welcome to new readers...



And if you are a regular reader, check out my guest post right here.

Thanks so much for stopping by!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Operation DIY Kitchen Renovation Has Started...

Hi Friends,

In my last post, I showed off some painted kitchen floors that I adored. 
 I'm leaning towards this one...

but I haven't made any final decisions yet.  I have a few weeks to decide on the floors because I started the kitchen renovation with the cabinets.

Last week, my kitchen looked like this:




Currently, it looks like this:

(Would you look at that mess!)

And my yard looks like this:

 

I'm taking this one step at a time.  I have a long checklist of things I'd like to do to revamp this kitchen.  That list includes painting the cabinets, walls and floor;  replacing hardware; adding decorative molding... and the list goes on.  This project will happen slowly but surely, as our budget and time allow.  I think I can... I think I can.. 

This won't be one of those projects that I get to show you a bad before picture one day and an awesome after picture the next... but I'm okay with that. We are all working under some form of budget restraint, so I'm sure you understand. I'll be sure to update you along the way.

Wish me luck because there are a lot of projects that I plan to tackle for the first time.
Do you have any cool before and after kitchen pics?  I'd love to see them.

Thanks for stopping by! 



P.S.  I need to offer a shout out to my hubby that remains unshaken by the constant upheaval that my projects cause.  He arrived home from Philly on Sunday only to be greeted by a demolished kitchen. Thanks honey!