Impromptu Girls’ Night at the Drive In!

Every Tuesday night (for nearly 4 years now!) a group of 10ish of us have gathered at our friends’, Whitney & Jonathan’s home for dinner. Usually we sit around and chat for a couple of hours and then we all head home. Well not this week! Mandy and I were talking about how much we loved Pitch Perfect 2 and the other girls were saying that they wanted to go see it. Mandy and I both said we’d be more than happy to go see it again. Then the drive-in got brought up. And we all thought that was such a great idea. And next thing I know I’m checking movie times. And it’s playing in 20 minutes at the drive-in. So we grabbed a bunch of blankets and pillows, left the boys with the kiddos and off we went!

at the drive in

Even though Christopher and I don’t have kids, a lot of our social life is lived as if we do. Since most of our friends have kiddos, we work around their schedules (naptimes, feedings, bedtimes, etc). Which means we are rarely out late with this group of friends. This was such a fun (and totally impromptu) night!

at the drive in2Whitney, Courtney, Me, Mandy, and Heather

We sat all squished together and laughed all through the movie. Even though Mandy and I had seen it, we both still found it hilarious!

malco{source}

Also, I’m not sure how I have never blogged about the Summer Drive-In. It is a favorite of ours! $7.50/person and you get to see a double feature if you want to stay late enough for it (we ended up leaving after Pitch Perfect and not staying for the second movie because it was 10:45pm and way past all our bedtimes… so yes, we are old, haha!). They even let you bring your own snacks which I think is super great. :)

Have you been to a drive in movie? 

Are you more of a planner or an impromptu fun sort of person? I am most definitely a planner by nature. I’ve learned a lot from Christopher about being more spontaneous which has been good for my soul. :) So while the two of us have a good balance between planning & spontaneous/impromptu fun, we usually have more planned times with our friends (because of their kiddos’ schedules). So this was such a fun, unexpected, unplanned evening! :)

Love Rach

Weekend with the family

We spent this past weekend with Christopher’s family. Here are a couple of the highlights:

familyThe six of us together.  L to R: Michael (Christopher’s brother), Katy (Michael’s wife), Christopher’s parents, and us.

family time (1)My brother-in-law, Michael, has recently gotten into photography so he and I spent the weekend bonding over our DSLRs, lenses, Photoshop, and Light Room. He mostly photographs coral and I mostly photograph people, he knows about Light Room and I know about Photoshop. So we had two very different skill sets which made for lots of great learning together. Here he’s showing me how to reverse a lens to make it a macro lens (I’m holding extra lighting up). Which leads into…

family time (2)Us attempting to take a macro shot of Christopher’s tongue. Gross, right? But intriguing! And definitely a fun experience.

bocce ball with familyChristopher and I brought our bocce ball set with us and it was a hit (especially with my mother-in-law)! All six of us won at least one round which is a sign of a good game in my book. :) I don’t have photos of it, but we also went bowling over the weekend. Christopher’s dad astounded us with his muscle memory skills! His dementia is progressing which makes many things difficult for him, but he still managed to pull out a strike and several spares!

petit jean (3)We spent Saturday at Petit Jean Mountain State Park! We saw some beautiful overlooks including a waterfall. Christopher and I are excited to come back someday and hike down to the waterfall. :)

petit jean (7)Christopher brought along his selfie stick (he bought it for our trip to the Grand Canyon earlier this year). Michael was not impressed with Christopher’s selfie stick skills. ;)

petit jean (4)I, however, have fully embraced the selfie stick after seeing how great our Grand Canyon pictures turned out. :)

petit jean (5)And Michael eventually came around to the selfie stick! {side note: check out the amount of CHEEESE in this photo, haha!}

the caveWe explored a cave at Petit Jean and this is Christopher’s selfie inside the cave! Look at that handsome silhouette. ;)

family pic And the whole family in the cave! This is one of my favorite shots from the weekend! {Michael actually used the selfie stick to take this photo of us! We’ve decided we’re buying him one for his birthday this summer ;) }

And now we’re home for 3 short days before we head out again! It has been a busy busy busy May! But a good one. :)

Love Rach

That one time I aged 20 years in 2 days…

This past Monday I went to get my hair trimmed. My stylist’s first question was “So are you out of school for the summer yet?” I laughed in response. Then I told her that I actually graduated high school 11 years ago. She told me I was lucky for having such a baby face and I didn’t disagree with her. :)

little RachMe when I really had a baby face, haha! I was a cutie. ;)

Ever since I was 13 years old people have guessed my age to be around 16-17. I think some of that was that I was a bit more mature for my age because of the things I saw and experienced living overseas (we spent the school years living in China, only returning to the States for 6-8 weeks in the summers). And I think a lot of it was that I was always so tall. I liked that people thought I was 17 when I was so young, but it was in the back of my mind that someday I might look 40 when I’m 20.

abs, rae, hollyTwo of my sisters and me in December of 2000. Abby (on the left) was 11, I was 13, and Holly (on the right) was 19. I was already 5’6 or 5’7 by this point so you can see why people guessed I might be closer to 16 or 17.

Well thankfully that didn’t happen. Instead I hit age 17, 18, 19, 20… and continued to look 17. These days people typically guess my age to be between 17-22. I still get asked pretty frequently what grade I’m in or what I am majoring in. If I’m with Christopher during the winter when he has his beard, people guess his age to be 30s and mine to be late 20s. And those are pretty accurate guesses (he’ll be 30 in December and I’ll be 28 in July). But most of the time people guess my age way low.

Until Wednesday night.

Every Wednesday night we go to church with the teens we mentor and then go out to dinner with them afterward. We got to meet the new college student who is interning with the teens this summer. He’s a college student named Easton (we already knew the girl intern). Poor Easton made the mistake of asking Christopher if we were Kelsi’s parents. Kelsi just graduated high school and is turning 18 in July.

us with kelsiUs with Kelsi at her high school graduation last week

You guys, this college student thought that I was old enough to have BIRTHED a high school graduate. Christopher and I both died laughing (and so did Kelsi when I called and told her). We love Kelsi and would be honored to have a daughter like her, but honestly we think of her more as a sister. She’s only 10 years younger than me.

So somehow, between Monday and Wednesday I managed to go from looking like a high school student to a lady old enough to have given birth to a high school student. I’m definitely not wearing that outfit again! ;)

Have you ever had someone guess your age and be way off? I’ve had little kids guess my age anywhere from 12 to 100 because, well, they are little kids and don’t quite grasp the concept of age, haha! But this was definitely a first for me coming from a college student!

Love Rach

Bone Broth in the Slow Cooker

Before I forget to mention it yet again… the winners of the Thai Pants are Kelsi (blue) and Jayda (black)! Hooray! You’ll be receiving them from me soon! :)

Earlier this week I mentioned how Casey and I sat together chatting while drinking our bone broth. A couple of you asked me to share more about that. I had thought I would see if I stick with drinking it daily for awhile before posting about it, but since you guys asked, I figured it wouldn’t hurt to go ahead and share. :)

Bone Broth (4)(Not coffee! Nope, that’s my mug of reheated bone broth that I drank today. I add a pinch of salt, pepper, and garlic and it’s perfect!)

Several years ago my sister, Melissa, sent me her favorite method of making chicken broth. I added it to my list of things to try and then just never got around to it (I had no idea how simple it was – I kept thinking it was easier just to grab chicken broth from the store). Fast forward several years to last spring when we went to visit Casey’s family. While we were there Casey shared with me what she had been learning about gut health. And one of the big things is making homemade bone broth and drinking it daily.

Basically bone broth is made by simmering bones in water for a long time. It extracts all the minerals and goodness inside the bones and puts it into the broth. {more on the specifics at the end}

Bone Broth (1)

I came home and did some of my own research and thought “I should try that!” But then summer came with all its craziness and then it was the holidays and then I forgot. Until April. When my doctor told me that I needed to change some dietary things (long story for another day). So I decided to try my hand at making bone broth (which is the same as my sister’s method of making chicken broth). And decided to try drinking it every day.

I haven’t been doing this long enough to say “oh yes! I will make bone broth weekly and drink it daily forever! And the health benefits are awesome!” But I have been making it long enough to know that it is so much easier than I expected. And that I did feel awesome during the two weeks I drank it daily (of course I made several dietary changes during that time so it could’ve been any number of things that made me feel so great). About three weeks ago I had a week where I wasn’t feeling great so I ate pretty much nothing but carbs (hello comfort food). And then I got out of the habit of making my bone broth. But the weekend with Casey has jump started me again.

My bone broth broth recipe comes from Wellness Mama. If you are interested in the benefits of bone broth, read her post about it! She goes into a lot more detail than I did here.

Bone Broth (3)

Bone Broth

-2 lbs of high quality bones (I’ve only used chicken bones so far because that’s what I make most often – in fact the carcass from that roasted chicken recipe that I shared with you guys became bone broth!)
-1 onion, roughly chopped
-2 carrots, roughly chopped
-2 tbsp apple cider vinegar (to help draw out the goodness from the bones)
-enough filtered water to just cover the bones & veggies in your slow cooker

Add all ingredients to your slow cooker. Turn on low and let cook for 24 hours. After cooking time has passed pour bone broth through a strainer to remove the bones, veggies, and tiny gritty pieces. Store in fridge up to 5 days or freeze in silicone muffin molds for individual portions. Let broth freeze in silicone muffin mold then pop each one out and place in large freezer bag.

Bone Broth (5)

Like I said before, I don’t know that I will continue to drink it daily forever. But I do know that it is better than any chicken broth I have ever bought from a store. So if nothing else, I will continue to make it just to have chicken broth on hand. And if it continues to make me feel great, I might just keep drinking my bone broth every day forever.  :)

Have you ever made bone broth? Or chicken broth? Or any homemade broth?

Would you try drinking bone broth or does this gross you out? Christopher thinks it’s weird to just drink straight broth. But to me, it’s like sipping on the broth from soup (which I love!). So it’s no hardship. :)

Love Rach

A weekend in Louisiana

This past weekend we drove to Louisiana to visit some sweet friends of ours.

with casey

Casey and I have been friends for nearly 3 years now. We “met” through the blog world and quickly went from commenting on each other’s blogs to sharing our life stories. We first met in person in the summer of 2013 when she and her family passed through Memphis. Christopher and her husband, Alan, hit it off instantly. Since Casey and I were so close and Christopher got along so well with Alan, it just made sense for us to go visit them for a weekend last year. So we did. And had a wonderful time. So we decided it should be annual thing. Which brings us to current day… and the reason why we were in Louisiana this past weekend. :)

us with casey and alan

Casey has her hands full with two little girls now so she doesn’t write on her blog often these days, but I love that a friendship that began through the blog world has lasted. Despite the fact that she rarely blogs, Casey and I still talk often (2-3+ times a week). Usually through text, but email and phone calls as well. Casey is so good about picking up the phone to check in (and I’m so bad about initiating that – I’ve learned a lot from her!).

sisters collage

Briley is nearly two months old now and we were so excited to finally get to meet her. And seeing how much Landry has grown really blew me away! Time is flying by, but I’m so glad that we have these quick little weekends together to spend in person.

me with the girls

This weekend included a lot of good conversations and just some sweet fellowship together. Including the sweet fellowship of the boys making fun of Casey and me as we sat together drinking our homemade bone broth. Casey was the first one to really start educating me on gut health last year. I’ve learned a lot from her so it was only fitting that we should sit down together and chat over steaming mugs of bone broth. ;) We had such a wonderful weekend together! Casey and Alan are such a blessing to us. And we love getting to watch their sweet babies grow up. :)

Have you gotten close to any of your blog friends? I have found myself so thankful to have such an amazing group of ladies I’ve met through blogging! 

Been to Louisiana recently? If so, how does the humidity compare to where you live? Memphis is humid because, well, it’s the south. But every place I’ve been in Louisiana (Baton Rouge, New Orleans, Monroe, and Alexandria) confirms for me that it is literally the most humid place I’ve been in my entire life {and I once spent a week in Houston, Texas in July!}. No wonder Casey and her friends all have such perfect glowy skin, it’s like they live in a sauna. ;)

Love Rach

A morning on the beach

I wake up when the sun rises. Even on vacation. So in the summers that means I wake up around 6 every morning. Which is great in day-to-day life because Christopher is an early riser as well. We love getting an early start to our day. However, on vacation Christopher usually sleeps in (and by “sleeps in” I mean 7-8am so still not late, haha!). During that hour or so that I’m awake before him on vacation, I usually take some time to spend with Jesus (in normal day-to-day life this time usually happens in the afternoons). Since we were at the beach this weekend, I could think of no better spot to spend with Jesus than to go watch the sunrise over the beach.

beach morning

I pray a lot. All throughout the day. In some ways it’s like breathing. Something that just happens because God is so much a part of my life. But taking time to sit down and rest in His presence is something that I really have to be super intentional about. So I have a prayer journal to help keep my mind focused. Day-to-day my quiet time with God consists of reading scripture and writing my prayers down in my prayer journal. But I’ll be honest, I often forget to just be still. To just sit in His presence and allow Him to speak to my heart.

beach morning2{my current prayer journal}

But this past Sunday was different. It was such a beautiful time of worship. I’d say normally about half of my prayers are prayers of thankfulness (because really, God has blessed me above and beyond what I ever could have asked for) and the other half are prayers of petition (“God, please heal this person. God, please teach me to love better. God, please forgive me for my selfishness.” etc). And that’s not wrong or bad. But that morning on the beach, there were no petitions. No asking anything of God. Just pouring my heart out in praise and thankfulness to Him.

beach morning3

I was overwhelmed by the beauty and majesty of the creation surrounding me. So for an hour I sat on the beach and worshiped the Creator of everything around me. I took some time to just sit and be still in His presence and you guys, it was wonderful. The whole trip was fantastic and nurturing for the soul, but that specific morning was especially awesome.

Love Rach

That one time we got caught in a rip current

We go to the beach a lot. At least 4 or 5 times a year. Sometimes more. We love the beach and understand that as beautiful as it is, it can also be a dangerous place. We’ve learned to leave a wide berth in the ocean for the jelly fish and to watch where we step to avoid crabs. We wear lots of sunscreen to protect our skin and sunglasses to protect our eyes. We’ve even seen the occasional shark (nowhere near us, though). But this weekend was our first experience with a rip current.

A rip current can be incredibly dangerous if you don’t realize what’s happening. Which we didn’t at first. Christopher and I were playing way out in the ocean and the water was pretty rough with some big waves. But we love playing in the waves so we were having a blast! I was on a float and he was next to me swimming around. We went over several big waves and had fun splashing and playing. And then suddenly Christopher looked behind me and went from playful to serious in a millisecond. He reached for my float and said, “Oh babe, hold on.” And then a massive wave broke over us and took us both completely under.

As the water slammed the side of my head, I wrapped both arms around my float and held on for dear life knowing that it would eventually bring me back to the surface. In probably less than 10 seconds (though it felt like forever) I broke through the water’s surface and took in a huge breath. No sooner did I make it to the surface than I heard Christopher’s voice yell at me to hold on to the float and then a second wave crashed over us both and took us completely under again. Again I held on as my float slowly brought me back to the surface. Christopher made his way to me just in time to tell me that another wave was coming. Yes, we got completely pummeled by three giant waves in a row.

When we went under the third time, Christopher found me under the water and grabbed me with a lifeguard rescue stroke. He was a lifeguard for three summers and instinct kicked in when he saw I wasn’t swimming. I can swim, but I didn’t realize we were caught in a rip current so I kept thinking that as long as I held on to my float, I’d be fine because I’d eventually float to the top and the waves should carry me back to shore. Because we kept getting taken under I couldn’t see anything and didn’t realize what was happening. Christopher, however, had identified the problem and realized that we needed to get out of the current. Once he had his arm wrapped around me and started swimming parallel to shore, I realized what was happening and started swimming too.

Once we got out of the line of the enormous, crashing waves we were able to make it to shore quickly. One of those guys who rents umbrellas & chairs on the beach walked up to us to be sure we were okay. He explained that a rip current had just opened up in this area and was really dangerous (obviously, ha!). Once we knew where the current was, it was a lot easier to avoid it or be more careful while in it for the rest of the day. :)

It was only after we sat down on the beach together that the impact of what had just happened (and what could have happened) actually sunk in. We found ourselves very grateful to be safe and sound. And on the bright side we now have experience with swimming out of a rip current. Helpful for future beach trips for sure. :)

beach day2

Love Rach