Dayenu

While we aren’t Jewish, Christopher and I celebrate Passover every year with our friends from church. A portion of the evening is spent reciting a song called “Dayenu” which essentially means “it would have been enough for us.” The song is full of the pieces of the story of the Exodus when the Jews were freed from slavery in Egypt. And in the song, you are saying that “even if all You had done was ______, it would have been enough for us.” And you fill in the blank with each step of the journey (brought them out of Egypt, split the sea, given us the Torah, etc). Any one of these things would have been “enough for us” and so much more than we deserve. I love this way of thinking because it still applies to life today.

dayenu

Some days I realize that things may not always happen the way I plan or hope that they will. On days like that I am reminded of how much God has already done for me. For the amazing ways He has worked in my life already. Each of those things would have been sufficient already and yet He continues to bless me. So even if everything doesn’t work out the way I hope… He is still good. Always. Because Dayenu – it has been sufficient.

he is still good{source}

Love Rach

Pioneer Woman’s Chicken Fried Steak

(this post contains affiliate links)

Two years ago I got the The Pioneer Woman Cooks Cookbook and I pinned different recipes to remind myself to make them. One of those recipes was her Chicken Fried Steak. In the two years since I pinned it, it has been repinned nearly 1200 times with 90 cute little heart likes. So I figured it was way past time I actually made it myself, ha!

pw chicken fried steak

Dear BakingBySue, you’re welcome for sending so much traffic your way over the past two years. ;) I finally got around to making it last week. And it was amazing. :)

pioneer woman's chicken fried steak

pw chicken fried steakClick recipe card to see it larger. Recipe slightly adapted from Ree Drummond to feed just the two of us versus an army. :)

I considered making a healthy salad or steaming a veggie to go along side this meal, but when you’re frying food in your kitchen… well, mashed potatoes just call your name. ;) So I made my favorite old fashioned mashed potatoes and we devoured this meal. If you like good old fashioned chicken fried steak, you should try this recipe. You’ll love it!

Do you love the Pioneer Woman as much as I do? She has the best home cooking recipes!

Have you had chicken fried steak before? This is the first time I’ve had it in years (since before we got married), but it was SO good!

Love Rach

Favorite Hair Products

Another video for you this fine Monday morning (although I actually filmed this one yesterday afternoon). This one is all about hair products so perhaps not the most intriguing one I’ve ever posted, haha! But it’s a question I get asked frequently so I thought I’d share. :)

Products mentioned in this video:

Paul Mitchell Super Skinny Serum
L’Oreal EverSleek Sulfate-Free Reparative Smoothing Shampoo
L’Oreal EverSleek Sulfate-Free Reparative Smoothing Conditioner
It’s A 10 Leave-In Conditioner Plus Keratin
Nexxus ProMend Split End Binder
VO5 Extreme Style Heat Defense Conditioning Spray
John Frieda Full Repair Touch-Up Flyaway Tamer
Ribbon Hair Ties

For the record, none of these companies asked me to promote their products, but L’Oreal really should have considering that I talk so much about liking their products better than more expensive lines, ha! However, to be totally transparent, this post does includes affiliate links. But I really do genuinely want to share my favorite products with you guys! :)

Have you tried any of these products before?
What is your favorite hair care product?
Love Rach

A spoiled pooch and a flying fish

Last weekend was our first weekend back in Memphis in what felt like ages. It was so good to be home. Saturday was full of house projects and that evening was a lazy night of homemade pizza, a movie, and watching the pups play (we’re dog sitting this week). It was wonderful.

oreo and mabelBy the way, our dog… not great at sharing his toys. He’s a spoiled only child pooch. He lets her play with them for a little bit and then he’ll snag them from her and hide them. He’s bratty like that. But they are definitely having a great time together. They spent last night rolling around the floor together and playing. Christopher and I find ourselves wanting to get a second dog so Oreo will have a bestie to play with every night. They are so cute together. :)

flying fish collageFriday night was spent in Downtown Memphis with Brodie and Lyndal. We were all ravenous by the time we walked into Flying Fish and it did not disappoint! Their fried pickles for $3.99 were THE.BEST. Definitely the best fried pickles I’ve had in Memphis plus they were cheap! We were hungry so between the four of us, we also ordered catfish, fried shrimp, grilled fish, fish tacos, oysters, and calamari. Yeaaaah… we had a LOT of food, haha! But it was all delicious! And as you can see from the second photo of our table – we ate it all. :)

Flying Fish on Urbanspoon

street artWe walked down Beale Street after dinner and watched this spray paint artist work! He was incredible! I didn’t have cash on me, but the next time we’re down there I’m going to have a piece custom made. :)

dancingAs always, there’s live music all up and down Beale Street. We stopped for a while at this spot and listened and danced to this random band. It was fun!

brodie lyndal rach christopherThe four of us at the end of Beale Street before heading home for the night. :)

 It was so great to have a weekend in town! And guess what… this weekend is a second weekend in a ROW to be in Memphis! We love to travel, but we also love being home. So thankful that we get to do both. :)

If you have a pet, is s/he good about sharing her/his toys?
Have you seen a spray paint artist work?
Do you prefer to travel or be home? Or a little of both?
Love Rach

Mommo

After we got back from Illinois, I mentioned spending time with some of Christopher’s family, but I decided that Mommo needed her very own post. Mommo is Christopher’s grandmother and she is such a spunky, independent lady.

christopher and mommo

On my side of the family, we all try to get together frequently for holidays and birthdays and just to see each other. Christopher’s family doesn’t really do that as much so to see Mommo we try to make a trip up to Illinois at least once a year.

us with mommo

We’ve missed two years out of the six we’ve been married, but it’s better than not seeing her at all! She is a special lady and we don’t know how many years we’ll have left with her. Though… Mommo is so fit that I wouldn’t be surprised if she outlives us all! She walks a couple of miles every day! And she finally just retired from the “old folks home” where she worked (you know, where many of the inhabitants were younger than she was, ha!).

us with mommo2

I had one great-grandmother who lived until I was 13 (my namesake: Rachel, in fact!). But other than her, I don’t remember any of my other great-grandparents. In an effort to let our future children know Mommo just a little bit, we filmed her giving them a little bit of advice. I know this may seem morbid, but it’s not like we think we’ll never see her again. It’s just something we wanted to do while we were thinking about it. We want to give our kids the chance to see and hear their great-grandmother. And her little speech turned out to be SO true to who she is when she goes off track that I felt like it was a great way for our kids to get to know her a little. And since I think it’s hilarious, I want to share it with you guys as well!

So I actually couldn’t see what I was filming at the time because of the sun which is why this is missing part of her head some of the time, ha! But the video is still so true to Mommo – right down to the bugging-us-to-have-kids-but-then-taking-it-back thing. ;)

Did you grow up knowing any of your great-grandparents?

Do people bug you about the next stage of life? (when you are you going to start dating/get married/have a kid/have another kid/etc). Does it bother you when people ask you those questions?
Love Rach

DaiYan came to visit!

Remember last year when one of my best friends from China came to visit me?! Well, this year another girl from that friend group came to visit! :) This was us a little over 10 years ago when I was still living in Wuhan:

rach and daiyan collageYuuuup, that’s 16-year-old Rach. DingJing (who you got to meet last year via this blog) is in several of these pictures too because we were in the same friend group. :)

daiyan and rachAnd here we are 10 years later!

daiyan with will and malDaiYan also got to meet the kiddos I nanny! I’ve taught Will a little bit of Chinese so she was super impressed by his language skills. She taught him a few simple characters and some new words. She told me that he’s a genius with language. ;)

will mal hadleyHadley came over for a little bit yesterday morning, too, so DaiYan really got a taste for what my days look like. Yeah, I literally play with kids all day. It’s a good life. :)  She had fun playing hide-and-seek with them all throughout our house and building with legos (don’t worry, the little girls were supervised with those tiny lego pieces!).

dad will malOh, and my parents came too. They are the ones taking DaiYan around on the grand tour of the US of A. This was the first time the kiddos I nanny got to meet my parents and after Dad showed pictures of bugs on his laptop and Mom doled out treats, the kids decided they could stay. ;)

daiyan and rachWe spent the late afternoon and evening out in the country. Of all the places DaiYan has been so far in the US, this was her favorite. She is used to the hustle and bustle of big cities, but never something as serene as the country. I told her she needed to visit where Christopher grew up in Illinois, ha!

daiyan and rach collage10 years later… :)

It was so good to see her again after all these years. One of these days I’m going to make it back to Wuhan and see everyone that I miss! And eat all the delicious food that I miss! And hear that Wuhanhua (dialect) that I miss! And just in general, be in the place that will always hold a piece of my heart. :)

Have you had any friends come visit recently?

Does hanging out with kids all day sound like fun or super stressful to you? (as mentioned in my video on Monday, there was a time that I never could’ve fathomed doing what I do now so I totally understand!)
Love Rach

 

14 Random Things

My post of random things you might not know about me went over really well and my post with a video went over really well so today I thought I would combine the two! Here’s a video of me sharing 14 more random things you might not know about me:

Did you know any of these things about me already? 
Do we have any random things in common?
Tell me something about yourself that I might not know!
Love Rach