Monday, October 3, 2011

Evidence of God's Grace

Had quite the experience this week. It started out not so great...but ended...well, read on to find out!

On Tuesday morning, I was leaving for work around 7:40a. I got in my car and backed out of my spot, directly into a BMW SUV bumper. OUCH. I was parked in a spot that was perpendicular to the BMW, and he was hanging out of the spot by about 3 feet. That's what happens when you don't look in your side mirrors but instead focus on the Ipod. Booo.
Here is what I did to the BMW. 
So I get out, get mad, calm down, take some pictures and get back in my car to write a note to the Beemer driver with my phone number to call if he wants to exchange insurance info. Jump in the car, maneuver out of the spot (very tight), call the hubs, text the boss and spend the morning worrying how much this is going to cost us. The thought "His bumper is worth more than my whole car" definitely ran through my head a time or two.

Around lunchtime, the guy calls me and immediately said, "I can't believe you left a note." I was kinda flabbergasted as to what to I said "It was the right thing to do, and I didn't want to get busted for a hit and run." The guy then proceeded to tell me why he parks the way he does (because the pole blocks him from getting out of his car and he has to crawl out the passenger side...understandable). He was very nice, but I was still waiting for him to drop the hammer. Instead he said, "Are you a Christian?" I replied, "Yes, I am sir." He said, "Well, we will consider this manner taken care of. God bless you," and he hung up the phone. WOW. I was so blown away. My heart felt so full and I immediately called Graham, and we both had tingles. Such an amazing example of how God provides for us in ALL areas and how He is always with us. It has been awesome sharing this story with our friends here, our family back home, and I hope you enjoy it as well. God Bless YOU!!

Friday, September 30, 2011

Brief update

Yeah I have been MIA for a bit. But for good reason...I've been working! I have a sweet new J-O-B as a nanny for a 4-month old precious gerber baby girl and a 5-year-old boy-who is smart and hilarious and well-behaved. More on that later...I gotta get back to surfing the net! New favorite websites...
If you aren't on are so missing out. Although, I definitely think it is more of a girl things than a guy thing and definitely a DIY-ers dream come true. Check it out, and follow me!
Laughter for hours. Ok, a half an hour-but still.

Ok, that's all I can think of for now. Hoping to get some more posts written this weekend to schedule for next week. Thanks for being patient!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

We went on a Cruise...!

Well, a short hour long of the Puget Sound. Graham's mom was in town and we wanted to do some 'touristy' type things. Our first stop on Saturday was the cruise...and we had perfect weather for it! It was sunny, mid to upper 70s and the water was bright blue. We saw the shipyards, and got a grand tour of the Seattle skyline-learning lots of history and fun facts along the way. G and I both agreed, this was probably the coolest thing we have done in Seattle. Below are some pictures taken from the cruise ship.
Seattle Skyline from the Puget Sound

Condos...I like the look of these...what a great view they have!

Space Needle...designed to survive massive earthquakes!

View of the mountains were hazy due to the large amounts of wildfires burning in eastern WA.

The black building is the tallest building in Seattle...I think it is the Columbia building?

After the cruise, we headed to Pike's Place Market-always a good time, although crowded! We got a really good deal on some beautiful flowers...we paid $5 each for two huge bouquets. We also picked up salmon, scallops, veggies, amazing yellow nectarines, and monkfish to cook the next 2 days. We ate lunch at Pike Place Chowder (yes, again) and also had "World's Best" macaroni and cheese from Beecher's. G said it was good, but he has had better...although when I asked him to name where he had better, he came up with nothing. Personally, I found it to be the WORLD'S BEST! (Sis and Mauri...I found our lunch spot when we go to the market in November!!)

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

MV Visits...and I eat RAW VEGAN lunch!

G's mom, MV, was in town for her first ever trip to Seattle this past Thurs-Monday. We had a great time seeing some sites and introducing her to our new friends, taking her to church, cooking fresh seafood, etc. MV arrived on Thursday night and Friday G had to work, so I took MV to the Museum of Glass in Tacoma. WAY COOL. MV is a glass bead artist, so I knew this would be fun for her. We saw a live demonstration of glass art making in the 'Hot Shop' as well as galleries full of various glass art pieces. The highlight was definitely the Chihuly bridge. Difficult to explain, hopefully the pictures will paint a picture in your mind. Oh yeah-I scored 2 for the price of 1 museum tickets off Groupon...jackpot!
Hot shop demo.

Heating the glass...designing a flat vase.

Put the finishing heat on the piece before going into the cooling kiln.

All the pieces in the Chihuly bridge...sooo cool!

The length of the bridge

The top of the bridge....this was the coolest!

Another view of the ceiling. 

This was my lunch at a RAW restaurant. It was 3 kinds of sprouted quinoa, tomatoes, avocado, on a bed of cilantro and cabbage, with some flax seed chips.

Vicky had a taco salad...the 'meat' was walnut meal...very interesting texture and we both actually enjoyed it! Vicky also had a hibiscus iced tea that was naturally sweet and refreshing. I had a 'cinnamon roll' that was made with almond meal...not really what I would consider a 'pastry' in any shape or form. It had good flavor, but the texture was strange. It was a fun experience and I know Vicky was glad we found a RAW restaurant for her to try while she was here! 

We finished the day by coming home to meet up with Graham after work and walking up to the Newcastle Days sidewalk sale. Got to visit with some of our friends and check out some fun arts and crafts booth...we also did a wine and choc tasting...yummy! For dinner we went to a restaurant on  Lake Washington where we had a wonderful view and enjoyed a nice walk before returning home to rest up for day 2!!

Monday, September 12, 2011

New Recipe...or Old Recipe?

For one of our (many) Christmas presents from Graham's mom, MV, she made me a cookbook with recipes from her family as well as some of Graham's favorites. Tonight, I tried an awesome recipe that G loves, called Taco Chicken....and it was DELICIOUS! We made enough to have for tomorrow night as well, and G told me this was possibly the best meal I ever made...woot woot! Below is the super simple recipe...from our home to yours!

Taco Chicken
4 eggs
bottled salsa or taco sauce
1/4 tsp salt
2 cups plain dry bread crumbs
2 tsp chili powder
2 tsp ground cumin
1 1/2 tsp garlic salt (I used garlic powder)
1/2 tsp oregano
1 chicken breast per person (I made 5 this time)
1/4 cup butter
shredded lettuce
sour cream
diced tomatoes
sliced avocado
sliced green onions
1 lime-wedged
(we also used black olives)

-While preparing chicken: Place butter in 9x13" pan in 375 degree oven. Remove pan when the butter has melted.
-Beat together eggs, 4-5 Tablespoons of salsa/taco sauce, and salt in one bowl.
-In another bowl, mix bread crumbs, chili powder, cumin, garlic salt, and oregano.
-Rinse each chicken breast in clear water, coat with egg batter, then dip in crumb mixture.
-Place chicken in pan, turn once to coat with butter, and bake about 35 minutes. (do not cover pan).

To Serve:
Place chicken on top of a bed of lettuce, arrange remaining ingredients as desired.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Tears rolling down my face...

laughing my butt off at this hilarious site. It will waste hours of company time...but, hey-it's Friday and oh so worth it!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Latest Masterpieces

Here are some of the latest cards I have created:

All of the products I use can be found on and purchased through ME! Which one will be coming your way soon?!?!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

I read you books and I read you books...

Some of the books I have read lately...and I highly recommend!!

A story about a mom who was kidnapped, raped multiple times, and held captive...told from her 5 year-old sons point of view....very riveting, I had a hard time putting it down and ended up reading it in a day!

Another book I couldn't put down! This was a captivating story set in Mississippi in the 1960s. There is a reason it is so popular peoples...I really want to see the movie (both my mother and step-mother-in-law gave it rave reviews!) but not sure we will make it to the theater before it goes to DVD!

This book came highly recommended by my mother-in-law, otherwise known as MV. We got this from the library and I am sad that is due back next is definitely a good book to have on hand! This book of full of info on the toxins that are present in every day products (saran wrap, deodorant, body wash, household cleaners) and what you can purchase to be greener for your body and the environment, as well as how to make your own cleaners from baking soda, vinegar, essential oils, etc. I am 3/4 of the way through this book and will likely write a post when I am finished about the changes that Graham and I are making in our lives to GO GREEN! I think this book may find its way under a Christmas tree or two come December!

Finally, a silly, easy read book that I am going to finish today. I used to follow this guys blog some and it always cracked me up. Again, not a serious book...but seriously funny!

 Happy Reading!

Monday, August 29, 2011

Weekend Update with Jill Marks

Updates from our world:

-Visits and travel! Graham's mom (Vicky) is coming to visit next Thursday for 5 days! Super excited to have our first house guest, and do some more exploring! We are going to Snoqualmie Falls, Museum of Glass, Pike's Place, and who knows what else! Oct 6-10...I am heading to STL/BG to celebrate the Grote/Jardosh wedding, see my bff and goddaughter, and visit with the fam-and apparently work a catering job for my mom...gag. Nov 3-6-Sis and Mauri come to visit! We are going to hit up the Space Needle, EMP, and go on a Puget Sound cruise. Really excited to see both of them. We will be home for Christmas Dec 23-Jan 1...still working out the details of where we will be when-hard to fit so many family/friend visits in a short amount of time. Once we have it all worked out, I will post it here-that way if you are going to be BG/STL the same time we are, maybe we can meet up!

-I got a new job! I start Sept 14, as a nanny for a family from our church-they have a newborn and a super smart 5-year-old that will be in Kindergarten. Possibly might be doing a nanny share with another family in our church who has an infant the same age. Really love the family and we are on the same wavelength regarding morals, expectations, and child rearing. Graham's work is going well-he is working on three projects now and it is finally keeping him busy! He is enjoying it more and more.

-We really love our church and are getting more and more involved. The Community Group we originally joined was getting too big, so we went to a smaller group in the area, and are loving it! The leaders are a couple we have made good friends with, Nick and Rachel, and we will be helping with outreach as the group continues to grow. It has been a huge blessing to find this church and the Community Group for Christian fellowship!

-Tonight, Graham and I have volunteer orientation at the Jubilee Center. Our church is one of the sponsors at this center for low income, under privileged families in the area. I have signed up to work their before school program on Thursday mornings and they have recruited Graham to teach computer classes to parents one night a week. We are both looking forward to the opportunity to serve God and minister to the community.

-We applied for a rescue Boston Terrier through an agency in Seattle. Unfortunately, they don't get many rescue puppies, so we now have to decide if we want an older dog or if we want to spend the money and buy a puppy from a breeder (anywhere from $400-700!)...we are keeping our eyes peeled and running some searches online every other day in case something comes up! Friends in our Community group have a BT and they call it the Boston Terrorist...which scares me a bit :)

-Weather has been BEAUTIFUL here...although it is overcast and chilly today. Hope everyone is well!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

To dog, or not to dog?

So, as some of you know, Graham and I have been discussing the option of getting a dog. We both grew up with dogs, me with black labs (RIP Nick and Reggie) and Graham with boxers. We have a lot of hesitations at this point-time spent away from the dog, costs, living in an apt (is it a barker, need lots of room to run around), shedding, and my #1 training. We have done some research and while I wanted a lab and he wanted a boxer, neither one are very well suited for apartment living! Instead, we are looking at this:

Awww...look at the cute Boston Terrier! I really want a black and white one, but Graham prefers the brindle (sp?) ones that look like this:

Not nearly as cute as the black and white, am I right??

Websites say this is a good watchdog but not a loud barker, has a good temperament and is generally well behaved, great around children, and requires moderate exercise. Anyone have a Boston Terrier or have any tips for getting our first dog?? Do share!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Likes and Dislikes

An alternate title for this post would be "Things we do and don't miss about St. Louis."

 We LOVE the weather here. We are in the non-rainy season, so for the most part we haven't seen much rain. The temps have been in the 60s or 70s and when the sun is shining, it is totally gorgeous! We certainly don't miss the awful heat of Missouri, although I do miss the thunderstorms. It doesn't storm thunder, no lightning, no ominous clouds. It just sorta rains, then gets tired and stops for a bit but might get a second wind and give it another go later.

Coffee. Oh, how I love thee. Yes, there is coffee in St. Louis but in Seattle there is COFFEE. And it is everywhere. I have decided that Seattle-ites have a uniform of sorts: pants (usually jeans), a t shirt, a hoodie or sweater, and a coffee cup. I think the coffee cups are permanently attached to their hands.  In addition to Starbucks, Tully's, and Seattle's Best being in every strip mall, corner, and grocery store, there are also these tiny little coffee stands in practically every large parking lot you drive past. I find these are the best quality with the best prices. Graham doesn't like coffee and I had more or less weaned myself off of it, but now I am back...with a vengeance. I want a Keurig quite badly so I can make it everyday...Christmas maybe?

Things we miss about STL...obviously friends and family-OBVIOUSLY! I miss the ease of going anywhere in STL in 20 minutes. Traffic here is nuts, nuts I tell ya. "Rush hour" lasts for about 4 hours in the am and another 4 in the afternoon/evening. You have this tiny window of time between 10a-1p if you need to go anywhere. Pretty much we stick close to Newcastle and Bellevue during the week. If there is something we want to do downtown, it has to wait until the weekend!

It is so weird...but they don't have Sonic here. WTH?!?! We used to get it all the time in the summer at my old job and now that I can't get it, I think about it all the time. Strawberry limeade...yummy...first place I am going when I land in STL on October 6! Other than Sonic though, there is a huge selection of food here...particularly large amounts of ethnic food. Lots of Indian (yuck, not a fan at all!) and Vietnamese (ever had Pho? its pronounced "fuh" and there is a restaurant in Bellevue called What The Pho? Cracks me up every time I see it). I've had Pho once and willing to try again, and G really liked it. Eating out is very expensive here. In STL, we found that we could often go out for about $25 for the two of us, here we are lucky if we get out under $40. So, I cook a lot and there is great access to local, organic products at reasonable prices.

That's all I can think of for now...I'll probably write another post on this in the future! 

Thursday, July 28, 2011


It's been two weeks since my last post-major slacker! Am hoping to be more consistent in my posting from here on out! So since it's been awhile, I will just give brief updates on various areas of our lives to catch you up to speed!

-I finally got a  job! YAHOO! I start on Monday and will be nannying for two beautiful little girls, ages 4 and 6. I am excited to be a nanny again, as I really enjoyed that when I was in grad school.

-Graham is slowly but surely getting adjusted to his job. He had a bit of a slow, somewhat boring start, but things are starting to pick up speed and  he is learning a lot. As this is the first of 4 rotations, he is looking forward to experiencing other areas of greater interest.

-We found a church! It is big, and not something we are really used to-but we like it a LOT. We had our first small group meeting on Tuesday, and are feeling very blessed that the Lord has brought us here.

-Graham and I have both been working out on a regular basis! I go to the gym for cardio and weights in the mornings and he hits the gym on the way home from work each day. He is getting back into juggling and I think he is up to being able to do 5 balls at once-working hard to get back to 8! It is a great upper body workout for him and he is so happy to be back at it!

-Married life is great! We love being married-and have been for 2 months today! It has really flown by!

-We are thinking about getting a dog...but that is going to be my next standby!

Hope all of our friends and family are well! We miss you all!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

We visit Pike's Place Market

 The view from the parking garage.

 Look closely at the size of those shrimp and crabs!

 This is where we bought the salmon and scallops. They had shrimp that were as big around as my fist and lobsters that were as long as my knee to ankle. It was craziness!

 There is the lobster-and the monk fish that we are going to get next time!

We had lunch at Pike Place Chowder-where we split a clam chowder, seafood bisque, and crab roll-the soups were soooo good, the crab roll was so-so. Too much celery and mayo, not enough crab. We also saw tons of fresh fruits and veggies, baked goods, the original Starbucks, cheese shops, and loads of craft/art booths. So-come visit! We'll take you here!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Delicious Dish(es)

So today I want to share some recipes that I have recently tried. First up, there is an amazing, healthy Banana Blueberry Oatmeal that I made for breakfast this morning and both the hubs and I quite enjoyed it! It was simple enough to make, although I did have to get up extra early to bake it so it would be finished in time for G to eat it-but it was worth it! Plus there is enough for tomorrow morning, so you can't beat that! I got the recipe from my sister's food blog, which you can find here.

At the last church luncheon we attended before moving to the great Northwest, our friend Michelle brought this delicious chicken salad. Now, I HATE chicken salad...yech-all the celery, onions, overly strong mayo...not a fan. This stuff however, is sooo good! The recipe is from Whole Foods, and you can find the original recipe here. Below is the recipe with Michelle's changes as well as the ones I made to lighten it up and reduce some of the cals and fat grams.

Sonoma Chicken Salad
6 chicken breasts, cooked and cut into bite size pieces
1 apple, cored and diced
1/2 c. chopped pecans
2 T. poppy seeds

1/2 c. mayo
1/2c. plain, non fat yogurt
4 tsp. apple cider vinegar
5 tsp. honey
salt and pepper to taste

Whisk the dressing together and toss with the rest of the ingredients. Enjoy!

Thursday, June 30, 2011

On the silver screen...

Lately Graham and I have seen quite a few movies via Netflix, and I wanted to share a few that we really enjoyed and I would highly recommend.


Based on a true story, starring Hilary Swank (I adore, Graham can't stand) and Sam Rockwell (i.e. Buffalo Bill from The Green Mile)...I really enjoyed this movie quite a bit. I love movies that are based on true stories and it has a feel-good message. Rent it!


This movie came highly recommended by my brother-in-law. I was hesitant, as I have spent the last 2 1/2 years watching Disney and/or Pixar movies every day. My hesitation was NOT warranted-this movie rocked! Great effects, better story line, and was not all that predictable. Super funny. I pass the recommendation on to all!


Hangover 2-We saw this opening day, 2 days before our wedding. It was funny, but not as funny as the first. I would still suggest seeing it and I could bet money my husband purchases the DVD when it is available. Smh.

This weekend we are hoping to see Larry Crowne, the new Tom Hanks/Julia Roberts movie. I've never seen a bad Tom Hanks movie...(is there one?!?!), so this should be a good time. Other movies we are wanting to check out this summer: Horrible Bosses, Friends with Benefits (I HEART JT!), and The Change-Up. Anything we are missing??

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

A New Hobby!

Sorry for the lag in posting...I have had a touch of food poisoning that has left me less than energetic and creative!

So last week, in the midst of a little homesickness/low feelings of self-worth due to the non-existent responses to the dozens of job applications I have sent, my husband suggested I check out and find a hobby, bible study, women's group, or ANYTHING to give me a break from the job hunt. I did and found a really neat-o card making group that meets about 2 minutes from my house. I went to my first 'meetup' last Thursday morning and here is what I made:

They were definitely fun to make, and much easier than I had anticipated. Believe it or not, I can follow step-by-step instructions with the best of them! I enjoyed meeting new people and also getting tips on where to go for groceries, dinner, and fun places to hit nearby. I went to another class (being taught by the same instructor) on Saturday morning, where we learned how to make 6 cards from 3 sheets of paper. There weren't as many people at this class as Thursday's class, but I really liked learning the new techniques and 6 cards from 3 sheets of paper (can't beat that)! Unfortunately I forgot to photograph these when I was finished...but maybe you will find one in a mailbox near you!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

What's all the buzz about?

After only being able to find this product in Pike County, Missouri for the first 29 years of my life, it made its debut in St. Louis a few months ago. And now there are commercials in Seattle. What do I speak of you ask? This glorious beverage:

What's next? Porkburgers being sold at Cardinals games? Keep it real people. And know this-we had Sun Drop first, we loved it first, and no one can take that away from us!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

First Day of Summer in Seattle...

Today actually got pretty warm here...I think the high was 78 degrees. The funny thing is, for those from the midwest-this would be a beautiful, shorts and t-shirts kind of day, to be cherished as the future is holding 100 degree, 100% humidity days. In Seattle however, 78 degrees is HOT. I was running errands this morning and saw NUMEROUS guys with their shirts off-driving, waiting for the bus, walking in neighborhoods, etc. I picked Graham up from work this afternoon, and upon leaving the apartment complex I saw a large group leaving the pool in bikinis, swim trunks, and wet towels. I think these kids need a trip to St. Louis for a week in August :)

Dude. It's not that hot.
Needless to say, Graham and I are loving this weather-and particularly loving the fact that we don't have to turn on the air or heat.  Oh wait, we don't even have air conditioning in our apartment (most places in Seattle don't). Supposedly, we will rarely use the heat, even in the hello low utility bills!
Hope everyone had a great first day of summer!

Friday, June 17, 2011

Furniture? Yes, please!

On Wednesday, Graham and I decided that we needed some furniture for the living room (we only had the couch and tv), and we desperately needed lamps, as there is minimal lighting provided in the apartment. We went to a furniture store in Bellevue that I had read about online-it got rave reviews for quality furniture at discount prices. When we walked into the store, the first thing we saw was an end table for $499. We quickly assessed that we weren't in the right place! After a brief stop at a HUGE Crate and Barrel, we headed here:

This place was ginormous. The size of a city block and it was ALL painted that bright blue color. Only this one was like a warehouse with no windows...very strange. We entered the building and proceeded through the human mouse maze checking out furniture. We were able to find some good deals-we got 2 end tables, a coffee table, an entertainment center, and 3 lamps-all for $200! It is a dark wood (called black-brown) and not the greatest quality, but it will definitely get the trick done for the next year or two or three.

We had an issue getting all of the furniture in the rental car and ended up taking one of the pieces completely out of the box in order for it to all fit. All of the pieces come in ready-to-assemble pieces with instructions...but not written instructions, just pictures! I was able to quickly put together the end tables and 3 lamps while Graham put together the coffee table. Those were all simple enough-and then we opened the entertainment center. This is a very simple piece (pictures coming later) but it had approximately one million pieces/parts/nails/screws/knobs. It took Graham 4 hours!! to put together. See, I have proof:

My hard working man! Finally, we had it all finished and our home was coming together! Stay tuned next week for a full photo tour of the apartment.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Hello, Seattle!

We're here! After 8 long months of planning the move to the great Northwest, it has finally happened. We flew out of St. Louis on Saturday evening, after our belongings and cars had been shipped earlier in the week. We spent Sunday at the hotel and shopping for clothes and shoes for Graham (gotta have him looking sharp for the new J-O-B), and the movers arrived at 9a Monday morning. It was a long, exhausting day-but we were pretty fortunate-nothing got lost and only 3 things got broken-2 pie plates and a whisk. The apartment is cute...bigger than I initially thought, so that is helpful! Yesterday we went to Ikea (more on that in a later post!), so bit by bit the apartment is slowly coming together. Graham is tackling the guest room/office, but other than that, we are doing pretty good.

The weather has been awesome! Mid 60s-70s everyday, with little to no rain. When it does rain, it rains for about 30-60 minutes, then the sun comes out. Everyone we meet tells us we came at a good time, that the real rainy season doesn't start until Sept/Oct (and goes until May!). Here is a beautiful picture from when we were on Whidbey Island a few weeks ago.

Graham starts work on Friday. I continue to look for work and apply for jobs. We are writing this blog to easily keep in touch with friends and family, and share our newlywed adventures-hopefully it will make you laugh a little along the way!