Carolina Bound

I still remember sharing the news back in 2014 that we were moving to Oklahoma for Sean’s work. Our friends and family were of course sweet and supportive, but I could tell they thought we were a little crazy. Maybe were were!? But dang…I’m so glad we were.

Continue reading Carolina Bound

Thirty Three

 

For those of you who follow this blog from time to time, I’m a day late on this special list! Sorry ’bout that. I was just having too much fun on my birthday yesterday. I ate chocolate cake for breakfast. I snuggled with my family. I laughed a ton. I met The Pioneer Woman’s daughter, Paige. I met sweet strangers from all over Oklahoma who also came to visit “The Mercantile” in Pawhuska. I bought myself a pair of earrings, far too much coffee, and a t-shirt. I sipped wine and laughed at dinner with my sweet hubby, my favorite person, while devouring sushi at Akira Sushi here in Owasso. I was also left SO grateful from the love and well wishes that poured out from my sweet friends and family all day.

15056492_919316835009_5101247483257918126_nIt was a perfect birthday. My heart is so full.

Now, in full “Kath fashion”, I’m sharing a list of the beautiful and random things I adore. The rules are that the list matches my age, so 33 things. Order doesn’t matter. Just things that make me happy. It’s that simple. Things that make me smile just as I did in this happy picture to the right, the day my besties visited Tulsa (photo cred to my girl & fellow mama, Christine Joiner!). I just feel like this photo screams “It’s my BIRTHDAY!”

Here we go:

  1. Popcorn popped over the stove
  2. The first cup of coffee in the morning
  3. The comfort of family and friends
  4. A fire in the fire pit, blanket on my lap, glass of wine, and lots of laughter
  5. A slow drive through the countryside
  6. Sipping white wine outside in the summer watching the sunset
  7. Sipping red wine inside in the winter watching a movie…or reality t.v.
  8. Henry’s jovial spirit bursting from his wide open smile
  9. Emily’s gorgeous face, especially the way her eyes light up when she smiles
  10. Sean’s incredible love for our family
  11. Remembering that my happiness is my choice
  12. Cheese
  13. When Stella falls asleep on my lap
  14. Chamomile tea before bed
  15. Anything on HGTV
  16. Seeing my running pace drop each week
  17. How having “me time” makes me a better mama
  18. Prayer
  19. The relief of a changing season
  20. Date nights with my hubby (my favorite person)
  21. Making both Henry and Emily laugh at the same time
  22. How Henry loves to give hugs
  23. How Emily squeals with joy and smiles when I get right up in her face
  24. Steak. Medium rare.
  25. Bacon and coffee on a Saturday/Sunday morning
  26. Hearing anyone say, “It’s my birthday!”
  27. When you can tell that someone is 100% focused on your conversation
  28. Perseverance and hard work for something you really want
  29. The power of positive reflection
  30. Sushi
  31. A chocolate milkshake & fries tossed in Old Bay
  32. Old classics on vinyl playing on a rainy day
  33. Having time for a shower (fellow mamas will especially understand this one)

You’re up! What are your favorite things? Make a list! Feel free to share a few in the comments below. Consider it a belated bday present for me!

Big hugs,

Katherine

 

Veggie Lentil Soup

It’s been a nice and easy weekend here in Oklahoma. I love weekends like this where there’s no agenda aside from cleaning a bit (but only “a bit”), guilt free laziness, and attempting to be healthy from time to time.

On that healthy note – I’ve heard lots of good things about lentils lately. So yesterday, when I was grocery shopping, I saw a bag of them sitting on the shelf just staring at me. Normally I’d just continue on my merry little way, but this time I checked the back and saw a good lookin’ recipe for lentil soup! It was a little dreary outside with rain due last night and all of today. “Hmmm……I can totally do this!” I thought. So I chucked it in my cart and off I went feeling all proud of myself 🙂

The back of the label was a recipe for Lentil Soup & Kielbasa. Since I was already planning a slow cooker heavy beef stew for tonight (Sunday), I just wanted to keep it veggies & lentils only; nice and light. I researched a few other recipes on the web and ultimately came up with this little number below. I hope you enjoy!!!

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup Olive Oil
  • 1 Onion, diced
  • 4 Carrots (mine were on the smaller side), sliced
  • 4 stalks Celery, sliced
  • 5 small Red Potatoes, peeled + cubed (roughly the same length as your carrots)
  • 3 cloves Garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon dried Oregano
  • 1 Bay Leaf
  • 1 teaspoon dried Basil
  • 1/4 teaspoon rubbed Sage
  • 1 can crushed Tomatoes OR 1.5 whole tomatoes chopped + crushed
  • 1 & 3/4 cups dry Lentils
  • 6 cups Water
  • 2 & 1/5 cups Chicken Broth
  • Salt & Pepper to taste

STEP 1

In a large pot, heat the oil then add in the onion, carrots, and potatoes.

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Let it all heat up & soften for a couple of minutes, then add in your seasonings: garlic, oregano, bay leaf, basil, sage, salt, and pepper.

Stir & let it all together and let the seasonings snuggle up and say “heeyheeey!” to the veggies for a minute or two.

STEP 2

I didn’t have a can of crushed tomatoes at home like I thought I did (womp womp) but I DID have two tomatoes ready to be messed with! Score! I chopped them up and used a potato masher to lightly crush them up a little (not too much though – I still wanted some chucks of tomato still in tact). I used one and a half tomatoes for this and it was perfect!

Add those crushed lil’ “toms” to your soup mixture and stir it on in.

STEP 3

Right after adding the tomatoes, go ahead and add in the water, chicken broth, and lentils. Stir it all up, cover, and lower the temp to allow the soup to simmer for 1 hour. Stir occasionally and add salt to taste if needed, but remember that the taste of salt really comes out at the end after letting it simmer for a while…so don’t go crazy ;).
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Enjoy!

Remove the bay leaf, pour, and enjoy!

Well goodness gracious. This was just about the most delicious, wholesome, healthy, and simple homemade soup I’ve ever made! Want some?!

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If you prefer your soup to be more brothy, you may want to add in more chicken broth or water towards the end. The broth gets absorbed by the lentils & veggies as you continue to cook it, especially when it also sits overnight in the fridge.

Can’t wait to have more for lunch todaaaaay! 🙂 Lemme know if you give it a try!

 

 

So Very Thankful

HAPPY THANKSGIVING, friends!!! Ohhhhh how I love this season. It builds a much needed anticipation of all things – good; in its purest, most honorable, and gorgeous meaning. The joy, hopefulness, hugs, prayer, laughter, and home-cooked meals that the holiday season delivers is just remarkable. I wish that wherever you are and whoever you’re with today, that the day fills your heart with all things good. You most certainly deserve that.

As for me, I couldn’t be happier. This has been an incredible year filled with so much good. There were of course some “downs” that snuck in there before and after some “ups” in the year, but that’s to be expected; this is life, after all. If anything, holidays like Thanksgiving remind me to look back on any disappointments yielded against my own silly agenda and to be so very thankful for where each moment led me in the end.

In true Katherine-fashion…I wanna make a list 🙂 You should try it too. It’s fun and even a little therapeutic! My unwavering love of list-making (happy things only, always…that’s the rule) is one that will stay with me into my older-than dirt years and I’m so excited to watch how these lists progress over time. For today, in no special order, here’s my random and lovely list of what I’m thankful for:

  1. traveling to new places with hubby
  2. laughter to the point of tears
  3. my Wilson, Mason, and extended families
  4. all my friends (old and new)
  5. Oklahoma!
  6. a job that makes my husband happy
  7. a job that humbles me and brings me joy each day
  8. answered prayers
  9. un-answered prayers that teach me patience and faith
  10. did I mention family and friends?! (seriously…love you all so much!)
  11. FOOD. All the food. Particularly home cooked meals; both healthy and unhealthy. Today especially: Mama’s homemade mashed potatoes (seriously y’all….Sean and I are going to eat ALL of her mashed potatoes…we’ve already decided)
  12. how hard parents work for their children’s happiness
  13. my husband (he’s my favorite person)
  14. coffee
  15. long, overdue hugs
  16. seeing someone shed a tear or two when they are so incredibly happy
  17. mountain scenery
  18. when people aren’t afraid to let their joy shine! Debbie-downers can’t hold us down! Nope 😉
  19. the joy of shopping for other people
  20. the joy of….shopping for yourself, hehe (let’s be real…it’s so awesome)
  21. Stella – the best dog in the entire universe
  22. indoor heating
  23. fires in the fireplace
  24. the anticipation of getting this year’s Christmas tree
  25. hiking, running, biking, walking, and dancing
  26. the ocean
  27. how my mom, sister, and I get each other’s humor (usually pun-worthy)
  28. remembering that happiness is a choice. Because it really is!
  29. pine trees
  30. America!!!
  31. The men and women who do everything in their power to defend, protect, and preserve this great country
  32. The smell of onions, garlic, and olive oil sizzling on the skillet (totally what I’m smelling right now, btw)
  33. a really good book, and the satisfaction of reading it cover to cover
  34. chocolate
  35. cheese. All the cheese. I love cheese
  36. gift-giving
  37. the inspiration I get from the people I choose to surround myself with
  38. the option to filter my Facebook newsfeed 🙂
  39. Instagram…and its simplicity
  40. snuggling with Stella, my lab
  41. going for long walks
  42. an unforgettable culinary experience
  43. fresh flowers
  44. meeting new people who are filled with joy
  45. time to myself to watch rom-coms
  46. the new craze of adult coloring books. I want one!
  47. seeing smoke pipe out of chimneys from a few distant houses in the mountains
  48. learning from a new perspective
  49. a feast at the table with family/friends
  50. Today! 🙂

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone. Wishing you so much laughter, so much food, a nice little walk afterwards, and a nap. Or…whatever makes you happy 🙂 Feel free to comment below with anything you’d add to your list, or anything on mine that you love love love!

Happy day,

Katherine

Evening walk.

Sights and sounds from my evening walk:

2 cows. 3 horses. 3 roosters. 4 chickens. 2 dragonflies. 1 siberian pony. 1 orange sherbert colored sunset. 3 sets of couples sitting on their front porches. 1 father + his 2 daughters racing each other on go-carts & laughing hysterically. 6 dogs. The synchronized repetition of roughly 349,294,303 crickets…..or so. Gorgeously manicured lawns next to perfectly untouched fields. Stella happily panting with an occasional look up at me as if she’s saying “yaaaay!” Dozens of antiques out front on an older man’s yard. Beautiful American flags.

It’s the ultimate “me time” when I decide to walk. I absolutely love running, but then there are nights like these when the season is starting to turn and the air is full of new adventure…and I just want to slow time down a bit in order to take it all in. Tons to see. Plenty to be inspired by. T.V., books, and computers can wait.

What do you see on your walk?

Seriously though…comment and share what you’re view is from here in Oklahoma, out there in Montana…or D.C….or California…or England.

Happy walking.

“Livin’ on Tulsa Time”

What a year it’s been! Exactly one year ago we began to unpack our lives and settled into a new home here in Oklahoma. The year delivered a whirlwind (both literally and figuratively) of events: our first tornado scare, getting published in TulsaPeople Magazine, learning the two-step together, meeting Trisha Yearwood (twice!), starting a new job, singing our hearts out at more country concerts than we could keep track of, becoming OK Women Bloggers’ Blogger of the Month, weekend escapes into the country, and so much more. Here are just a few of my favorite memories from our 1st year as new “Okies.”

Kind people, great food, and breathtaking landscapes are all too common out here. It’s safe to say that this part of the country has done wonders for our soul.

Here’s to the next adventures yet to come. We’re ready for ya, Oklahoma! Meanwhile, click on over to my post “Oklahoma’s like…”  to read of the senses that this beautiful land delivered us as newcomers just one year ago.

Vintage Finds @ The Flying Pig

Flying Pig Vintage Market May 30 31The Flying Pig Vintage Market has become one of my favorite places to visit on weekends. Ever need a little you-time? Like…every day? Mmmmhhmmm. Well, when I need a good dose of “Kath time” this sweet little house/business is at the top of my list of where to go here in my town, Owasso, Oklahoma. I’ll typically start off by getting a latte from The Misty Brew coffeehouse along 86th St. in Owasso as I make my way over to Main St. where The Flying Pig is. Latte in hand, I love to wander around each room in the house as well as the adorable wrap-around porch all while “oooo-ing” and “aaahh-ing” over the fun vintage and repurposed finds. When my sister-in-law, Mandy (hey girrrrl!), flew out here from Virginia to visit me and Sean for a weekend (and the Garth/Trisha concert too) she already had The Flying Pig on her “must-visit” list after seeing my photo of it on Instagram.

So twice a year The Flying Pig hosts an outdoor market and I was SO stoked to go today! The outdoor market pulls together tons of vendors who locally want to showcase their vintage and repurposed finds as well. Game on, Okies. I was ready to find some adorable new additions to my home. Wanna see!? DSC02970

After I purchased this beautiful piece below, I went out to buy 3 candles to fill the space. I love the simple contrast. It got me thinking though, this could also be an adorable stand to showcase my next ‘lil cupcake creation, or even a mini-cake?! Whaaaaat! Oooooh that’ll be so fun. Or…what about using this as a classy little envelope holder for outgoing mail or bills? Riiiight? Vintage finds can be so fun!DSC02969

Next up. This fancy-pantsy pitcher! Threw in some flowers (fake flowers…btw…not even sorry about it) to spruce it up a bit. Figured this would be an adorable bed-side table item, right? I love it.DSC02968

And finally, this vertical “Welcome” sign. Not vintage…more like a cute painted welcome sign, but I love it! Where should I put it…in my office at work? Outside our front door against the brick like this? Hmmm…. DSC02971

There we have it! More finds to come, but just felt like sharing a fun little place that I love here. Oklahoma friends – where should I go next? Being such a new Okie-import I rarely know where to go for fun finds like this and would love your suggestions.

Happy Saturday 🙂

“Newlie” joined OK Women Bloggers!

Delighted to share that I am “newlie” (hehe…never gets old) a member of Oklahoma Women Bloggers! This community shares inspiration, humor, how-to’s, recipes, and much more. Their mission: “Gather. Grow. Connect.” I’m thrilled to do so with the fabulous women bloggers of this beautiful state.Oklahoma Women BloggersAs the worldwide population of bloggers continues to grow, so do the challenges to connect to truly interested readers within your own content. Sure…there’s always Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest – lots of great tools…but having a community like this to “talk to” and read about is exactly what I’ve needed as a newcomer to Oklahoma. Thanks for including me, OWB ladies! If anyone has suggestions on any additional communities that you think me/Newlie would be a good fit for – I’m all ears!

The Amazing Stella

Reason #179,086,566 why our dog, Stella, is amazing. She’s an expert at playing fetch…and I captured it on slow-mo. Enjoy!

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins

It’s a recipe for fall, y’all! It’s been a while since I’ve posted…anything. I started two other special posts which have both been patiently waiting to be finished and published, but work kinda took over while I was traveling so I’ll get ’em up this week. Promise!

What’s up next? So glad you asked! Two new “TOP 5” posts: one is on my top five travel tips, while the other is on my top five tips for those of you considering blogging. Stay tuned!

Snow!I’m really excited to share both of those, but just for today I had to start with this bad boy of a post in honor of a perfecly snowy Sunday here in Oklahoma! We only got a little snow…but of the little we got – it was enough to inspire the crazy wannabe baker in me to get started. I felt compelled to bake something pumpkin-like with the cans of pumpkin puree lining the aisles at the local grocery store, the fire in our fireplace, and the simple fact that I’m home. Home home home.

I love being home.

I found a recipe that deliveres a perfect little dose of pumpkin as my favorite season of autumn comes to a close: Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins. High fives for this post goes out to Marg from food.com – thanks for the recipe!

Now, I’ll have you know that before I left for my last two week stretch of work-travel back East, I put on my fancy pants and actually made pumpkin puree from scratch. Like, from an actual pumpkin…not a can. Totally did! I was so proud of myself. I followed the instructions from my favorite Oklahoma homecook, Ree Drummond. Check out how to make it from scratch here: Homemade Pumpkin Puree.

I made it, froze it, and when I came back from my trip it was gone. Gone. I was devistated. No wonder Justin Timberlake wrote a song about it. Gone. It’s heartbreaking to make something from scratch and then have to start over when you’re toooootally not in the mood. It wasn’t Sean’s fault, btw. Just for the record – there was an issue with our new fridge/freezer’s power while I was gone and the poor guy had to throw everything out and buy new stuff. Sooooo those cans of pumpkin puree were lookin’ pretty good today.

Here’s what you’ll need:

Ingredients

2 Eggs (the picture above looks like 3, but 1 was a double yolk…so I just went with it!)

1 cup – Sugar

1/2 can (8 oz) – Pumpkin Purree

1 & 1/4 cups – Canola or Veg Oil

1/2 tsp – Vanilla Extract

1 tsp – Ground Cinnamon

1 tsp – Baking Powder

1 tsp – Baking Soda

1/2 tsp – Salt

6-8 oz – Semi-sweet chocolate chips

 

*Pre-heat your oven to 400 degrees.

STEP 1:

Mix the eggs, pumpkin puree, vanilla, and oil into a bowl until it’s nice and smoooooooth lookin’.

STEP 2:

Then add the cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

STEP 3:

Easy, right? Then the flour…in stages. Dumping it in all at once means that you will be wearing most of the flour. Ain’t no time for that. So add it in slowly, but steadily. It’ll look like this: Steps 1 and 2

STEP 4:

Then, remove the whisk/paddle/whatever if you’re using an electric mixer, and make sure you fold in the chocolate chips with a spoon/spatula.

STEP 5:

I’m a HUGE fan of these parchment paper wrappers. They’re so easy. Now, this recipe calls for about 15 muffins but I wasn’t about to use two different trays, so I just made all 12 a little larger and it worked out beautifully. So, either spray or greeze the pan or fill the paper cups about half way. IMG_7821

STEP 6:

Into the oven they go for about 20 minutes or less! 20 minutes was great for these rockstars since I filled ’em pretty well.

STEP 7:

Let them cool for about 5 minutes and enjoy!!! IMG_7846

Boom. Delicious muffins prepared, baked, and enjoyed in under an hour.

Happy baking!

 

A Tale of Two Muffins

This morning I woke up, made myself a cup of coffee, and watched the 8:30 a.m. episode of The Pioneer Woman – pretty standard Saturday morning so far. Ree made her precious family  some cinnamon sugar muffins to kick off some hard work on their beautiful Oklahoma farm. And then it happened. My eyes widened…my caffeine-induced energy spiked…and I wanted to bake. There was no stopping me. I turned to Sean…

Me: So I wanna bake something. I think muffins.

Sean: Chocolate chip and banana.

Me: No bananas.

Sean: Chocolate chip and cinnamon.

Me: Hmmmm….I was thinking about apple cinnamon. I’m pretty sure I want apple cinnamon.

Sean: Chocolate chip…and….chocolate chip…….chocolate…….chip.

Hehe. He’s pretty cute. But oohhh it was ON! Who was gonna win this battle? Luckily – brilliance stepped in.

I researched a few simple apple cinnamon recipes scattered online and decided to adjust the basics to my own variation for the batter and then split it into two separate bowls right before adding the final key ingredient. Problem solved! One dozen muffins – 6 apple cinnamon, 6 cinnamon chocolate chip.

As Ree Drummond, the Pioneer Woman, says, “Here’s the cast of characters:

Flour – 1 1/2 cups

White Sugar – 1/2 cup

Light Brown Sugar – 1/4 cup

Baking Powder – 1 1/2 teaspoons

Ground Cinnamon – 1 teaspoon

Ground Nutmeg – 1/8 teaspoon (or…just 3-5 sprinkles if it has a filter)

Milk – 1/2 cup

Unsalted Butter (melted) – 1/2 cup

Salt – 1/4 teaspoon

1 Egg (slightly beaten)

1 Apple (pealed, cored, and diced up into little cubes)

1/2 cup of Semi Sweet Chocolate Chips

Penzeys Spices

I’ve gotta add a little shout out here to my girl Jeanne for her contribution to this recipe. For my 30th birthday back in February she and her husband, Travis, gave me some AMAZING Penzeys spices. You better believe I packed these bad boys up carefully when we moved from MD to OK last month. It was time to break out the Penzeys nutmeg and cinnamon for today’s little tale. Jeanne’s fellow blogger who loves to try new recipes, so be sure to check out her delicious recipes here: Jeanne’s Kitchen!

And there you have it! The entire “cast of characters” needed for my own little adjusted recipe for 6 apple cinnamon muffins and 6 cinnamon chocolate chip muffins. Be sure to PRE-HEAT your oven to 375 degrees. Now, here’s how “the tale of two muffins” unfolded:

STEP 1

Combine the flour, white sugar, light brown sugar, baking powder, salt, ground cinnamon and nutmeg together in a bowl/mixer.

STEP 2

Add in the milk, melted butter, and slightly beaten egg to the dry ingredients. Stir slowly, or have the mixer on low. Combine until it looks all fabulous…like this:

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STEP 3

Are you on the edge of your seat!?! Here’s where the magic happens. Separate the batter evenly into two bowls. In one bowl add as much chocolate chips as you’d like. In the other, yes – very good, add the diced up cubes of apple. I didn’t use the whole apple by the way. I only really used like, half of it. You can use as much as you’d like…but be mindful of how the apple will create way more moisture in the muffins depending on how much you add.

STEP 4

Grease or spray a 12-cup muffin pan. Fill 6 with the apple cinnamon batter and the other 6 with the chocolate cinnamon batter. Then, into the oven it goes for 18 minutes.

6O9C1974STEP 5

Check on them periodically, but 18 minutes at 375 degrees should definitely do the trick. Take them out and let them sit for about 5 minutes. Meanwhile, melt a tablespoon of butter and brush it over ONLY the six apple cinnamon muffins. Then…sprinkle over a little sugar! Tehe!

STEP 6

Woooohoooo! Enjoy. We sure did. We each thought our original preference was the best. Sean loved the Cinnamon Chocolate Chip Muffins, while I loved the Apple Cinnamon Muffins.

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The beauty of this recipe is that you can add anything to it. There are so many possible variations to the key ingredient that you could play around with, like…blueberries with a little lemon or orange zest thrown in there? Heck yeah! Or maybe go a little crazy during the holidays and make some white chocolate chip and cranberry muffins with this batter. Ooohhhh the possibilities 🙂

Happy baking, friends!

 

A Southwestern Sunday

Last Sunday was everything that a Sunday should be: uncomplicated, with just a hint of productivity.

In our home –  you could hear on T.V. the rolling roar from fans in the stadium for an NFL game, mixed with a frequent whistle blow from a ref, and of course…both cheering and heckling from my husband, Sean.

Outside – you could feel the warm breeze strolling through the scene of a jaw dropping blue sky with puffy white clouds scattered throughout.

Sean and I went out for breakfast, Stella and I went for a jog, I baked and cooked a little…but before all that we started the day with a little adventure nearby.

So, at 6:00 a.m. the alarm (set to a local country music station) began our day. I got my cowgirl boots and new red dress on. I poured myself a coffee while Sean packed up his camera, tripod, and lenses. We were going out to take photos of “the Oklahoma” that we adore so far, and I got to be the wannabe country girl that I am, staged in these photos. We live right by a huge, beautifully maintained open farm in town; we’re surrounded by them actually.

Our scene was set as the sun rose a brand new day for us.

Sean’s an amazing photographer. Seriously amazing. He just “gets it” when it comes to capturing an image’s inspirational lighting, its balance between interest and intention, and the pure mechanics and inter-workings of the camera that I have yet to comprehend. He’s just awesome. I’m totally biased, I know. He’s my hubby! But I’m just say’in…I’m super proud of him 🙂

Here are some of our favorites from that morning:

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You’ll probably recognize one of them in “Newlie’s” new header. Thanks, Sean Mason Photography!

What do you think? Fellow “Sooners” – where should we go for our next photography adventure?! I’d love your thoughts.

Thanks y’all 😉

Katherine

Will Run For Corndogs

packageGraphicYou read that correctly. Living Social recently promoted the Corndog Classic 5K in Tulsa this month! It took all of 30 seconds for me to think about it, check out the details, and register.

This Living Social deal takes 50% off the original registration fee of $30…AND offers a few other goodies like a beer/lemonade mid-run (one guess what this country girl’s gonna choose), a t-shirt, and free admission to the upcoming Tulsa State Fair this fall!

Jealous? Live near Tulsa?!

Don’t you worry. You can register here to get the same deal of $15: Living Social Deal for Corndog Classic 5K

If y’all end up running this let me know! Pre-Corndog Classic race photo? I believe it must happen 🙂

Happy running!

Katherine

 

Oklahoma’s like…

I adore Oklahoma. Sean and I had a lovely, but long, road trip out West from where we lived near Washington, D.C. Once we crossed the final state boarder into Oklahoma we were in awe of its beauty and instant serenity. We chose to live in Owasso, and have been here only just a few weeks now.

It already feels like home.

I’ve been trying to figure out how to best describe this unique state of the country…state of our lives…state of mind. It only feels right to describe it from the heart of it all – my senses. I hope this provides a brief perspective of what Oklahoma feels like to a newcomer:

It’s the  feeling…

…of a comfortable breeze brushing your newly Southwestern sunburnt skin every minute of the day.

…of a dry September heat. It’s a heat that packs a “Welcome to Oklahoma” punch to pale newcomers from out East.

…of holding Sean’s hand as we take in this much needed change in our lives.

It’s the sight…

…of white puffy clouds against a baby blue canvas; straight out of the opening of a Simpsons episode.

…of the sun bursting through the clouds while setting over a calm lake, uninterrupted by an endless breeze.

…of nodding heads, open doors, and smiling faces saying “Mornin!” and “Hey there!”

It’s the taste…

…of sweet, smoky, slowly roasted barbecue.

…of locally grown and soulfully seasoned vegetables.

…of a perfectly strengthened mocha latte from my new favorite coffee house.

It’s the sound…

…of patience. Anyone know that sound? It’s standing in line without hearing complaints. It’s listening whole heartedly to a stranger’s story without thinking of where you need to be or how time may be ticking away. It’s accidently spending too much time looking at my GPS after a traffic lighted turns from red to green…and no one beeps at me.

…of roosters crowin’, cows mooin’, and horses snufflin’ early in the mornin’.

…of…(go ahead and giggle)…the wind as it comes sweeping down the plains. Literally. The musical Oklahoma! doesn’t lie.

It’s the scent…

…of torched hickory wood smoking up a pork shoulder all…day…long.

…of grateful growth from the grass after a much needed rain.

…of nearby campfires surrounded by celebrations of a new season and reunited friendships.

 

What a beautiful land to live in. We’re mighty glad we came here.

So that’s what I’ve discovered so far. More updates to come 🙂

Big hugs,

Katherine

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Packin’ & Plannin’

Sean & I have a seemingly endless list of “to do’s” lately: packing, cleaning, errands….followed by more packing, cleaning, and errands. It started off with the typical stress of attempting to organize and de-clutter a home that’s accumulated years of dusty papers, old clothes that we haven’t worn in years, etc. Thankfully, the stress is dwindling as I’ve started to see more clearly again; that it’s all for the best. It really is.

Apart from the fact that we’re continuing our little lives in a brand new, beautiful, part of our great country, I’m realizing what a happy time moving can be when I choose to see it from its best angle. This past week has evoked a million positive memories from our past; the video I put together from my cross-country bike trip in 2007, Sean’s baseball cards and family photos, letters from my Grandmama over the years, medals from high school and college crew races, and so much more. How lucky we are to have a life like this! It’s so easy to remember what we need to do, what we’re doing wrong, and what we should do better. But what I’ve loved about this time of packing is (apart from throwing non-keepsakes into donate and trash piles…’cause that’s a pretty sweet feeling on its own) has been revisiting these memories and organizing them so that we can reach them again when we need it most.

But then, there’s also the part of packing that gets all-consuming and exhausting. Like, when our house is filled with cardboard boxes, paint, spackle, tools, dust, packing tape, 863 pens, 72 un-accompanied socks, enough change to buy our groceries for the next month…oh, I could just go on and on! I’ve learned via this “newlie” (yay!) found happiness in packing that it’s best to give myself time to do something fun each day to break it all up. Tonight, it’s dinner in Annapolis with my girls. This morning, it was playing frisbee with Stella on our front lawn, talking to my mama and sister on the phone, annnnnd planning our road trip in about 6 weeks!!!

This is where YOU come in. I need your advice! I found the awesome site, Roadtrippers, which helps you plan your upcoming road trip. Check out the map I’ve pasted below to show you our planned stops.. You can click on it to make it larger. We’re hoping to do this in 3 or 4 days:

  1. Day 1: Silver Spring, MD to Newburg, MD – first stop to see Sean’s parents
  2. Day 2: Newburg, MD to Black Mountain, NC – next stop to see my parents
  3. Day 3: Black Mountain, NC to Nashville, TN – onward and westward! Hoping to get dinner in downtown Nashville, and for us to see a show at the Grand Ol’ Opry. I’ve been to Nashville & Opry once before and LOVED it. Can’t wait to re-visit w/ Sean! Any dinner suggestions in Nashville?!
  4. Day 4: Nashville, TN to Memphis, TN to Little Rock, AR to Tulsa, OK! – thinking we could do this all in a day (see the hours in between each destination below on the left). Any lunch or sightseeing suggestions for Memphis? What about sightseeing suggestions for a quick hour/so in Little Rock?

Road Trip to Tulsa!

Thanks in advance for your thoughts and suggestions, friends!!! I can’t wait for this little adventure, followed by the big adventure of living in Oklahoma!

I’ll get back to packing now.

Big hugs, and happy Saturday.