Saturday, October 29, 2011

Be Courageous

Last night, Brad and I had the privilege of traveling to Downingtown for a work-related date night. Brad works for a great company, one in which he and his co-works continuously encourage each other both personally and professionally. Family and values are vital to each member's success in the business, and strengthening relationships and continuing to develop and grow is vital. Here's where the "date night" comes in.

We were invited to see the movie Courageous (you can read more about the movie here) with several other couples from Brad's company. We headed do Downingtown a few hours before we were scheduled to meet the others (we had to avoid the traffic!) and had a lovely dinner at a little Italian restaurant near the movie theater. This past week seemed to be a busier-than-normal week, so it was nice to relax, enjoy a nice dinner, and catch up with each other.

We headed to the movie theater, where we met up with some other wonderful couples--there were five couples who were able to make it, and a few who were unable. You might remember reading about some of the couples who were with us here. (Special congratulations to Matt and Shannon on your engagement, and to Megan for your Cardinals winning the world series!)

You can see the trailer for the movie below...

Courageous was done by the producers of Fireproof, which is a great movie about love and marriage (Brad and I actually watched that our one of our first date nights after we got married). Courageous has a strong focus on family, and specifically what it means to be a father. It was an absolutely phenomenal film, and anyone who is a dad, has a dad, or hopes to be a dad should definitely check it out. The movie sparked some heartfelt discussion, and made me realize what an awesome dad I have! Love you daddy!

What a great way to end the week!


Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Donated Date Night

Hi all!

Sorry for the lack of posts--I feel like we've been rather boring lately! Brad was away for the majority of the weekend (he was at a men's retreat with the church), and I didn't think you'd want to see pictures of me doing laundry. :)

This week, because of crazy work schedules, we had our date night on Monday. Any guesses as to what we did? That's right--dinner and ice cream. Brad whipped up some sweet potato gnocchi that we picked up at Trader Joe's, and then we headed to Ice Cream World (thanks again Erick and Denyel!) for some treats. Now that it's starting to get cold, I'm not sure that we'll be eating so much ice cream.

Because Brad was away for most of the weekend, spending this quality time together gave us a chance to catch up and have a really great conversation. There is definitely a difference between spending time together, and spending quality time together. I would consider our date nights to be quality time (and my primary love language, if you've read the book The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman).

Because we managed to keep our date night this week so inexpensive, we decided to pay it forward. We used the money that we would normally spend on a date night and put it toward a good cause. Giving feels good.

We've got a very busy weekend planned, so I'll have more to share with you soon. Until then....


Saturday, October 22, 2011


Hi all,

Here's a little something that I find very inspiring--I just wanted to share it with you. Enjoy!

This is not my creation, nor do I own the rights to any photos or music included in this video. 



Friday, October 21, 2011

Date Night...AND what went well this week!

It's finally Friday! I hope you all had a wonderful week!

Don't worry. I know I didn't post about it yet, but we did have the chance to celebrate date night tonight, on our four month wedding anniversary. We were celebrating all kinds of accomplishments on our date night this week, and hopefully I'll be able to post about everything shortly. Sorry for being vague, but stay tuned for more info.

Anyway, Tuesday ended up being date night, and we headed to Bethlehem to eat at a restaurant recommended to us by some friends. We were raving about our dinner at White Orchid (which you can read about here) and they recommended Thai Thai ii in Bethlehem (sorry, they don't have a website). We decided to give it a try, and really enjoyed our meals. We both had Pad Thai, and I thought it was good (Brad really enjoyed the coconut soup). I thought the Pad Thai was even better when I ate the leftovers for lunch the next day.

We took an after dinner stroll through downtown Bethlehem, then headed home. It was a good, relaxing evening--exactly what we needed.

The rest of the week seemed to fly by, but here are some things that went well this week:
  • dinner (and playing games!) with friends
  • good news
  • my first paycheck from my new job
  • meeting some wonderful volunteers with hearts of gold
  • appreciating God's timing
  • new opportunities
What went well for you this week?


Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Did you know that you can vacuum a toaster?

Neither did I. But apparently, you can.

As demonstrated by my wonderful husband...


 Yes, really.

Just another night in the Nelson household...

Until next time,

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Whirlwind Weekend

Hi all! Brad and I had a busy Saturday. Here's what our day looked like (in pictures)...

I started my day with some of this...

before Brad and I made a trip here...

Seriously, this place is amazing.

We celebrated this little one's 6th birthday...

...who coincidentally has the same October-lucky-13th birthday as Momma Wynn. (If you did not yet wish her a happy birthday, it is not too late!)

And we finished the day at the Fuse Fall Festival with some wonderful folks. We had the opportunity to "dress up" as Steelers fans and cheer on our favorite football team.

Now we're spending the day relaxing and preparing for next week. Just in case you were wondering, here is our completed DIY date night project as it hangs on our front door.

Until next time!


Thursday, October 13, 2011

Homemade Twix Bars

I found this recipe and had to give it a try. I apologize in advance for the lack of pictures; while theses turned out to be pretty tasty, they certainly weren't pretty. I'm hoping they will look nicer next time (because I'm almost certain there will be a next time). Despite their unusual appearance, Brad's coworkers seemed to enjoy them.

Here you go!

Homemade Twix Bars


Shortbread layer

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) salted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup confectioners' sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all-Purpose Flour

Caramel layer

  • 2 cups caramel, cut into small chunks (I used a bag of caramel candies)
  • 3 tablespoons heavy cream

Chocolate layer

  • 3 cups chopped milk chocolate or dark chocolate, melted (I ended up using 2 bags of milk chocolate chips)
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable shortening (optional -- I did not include this)


1) FOR THE CRUST: Preheat your oven to 300°F. Spray a 9" x 13" pan lightly with cooking spray, or line with parchment, and set aside.
2) In a medium-sized bowl, beat together the butter, sugar and vanilla. Add the flour. At first the mixture may seem dry, but will come together as you continue to beat at medium speed.
3) Take the dough (it will be somewhat stiff) and press it evenly into the pan. Lightly flouring your fingertips will help with any sticking.
4) Prick the crust all over with a fork. The holes will allow steam to escape and the crust will bake evenly with fewer bubbles.
5) Bake the crust until it's lightly golden brown on top and the edges are deeper golden brown, about 35 to 45 minutes. Remove from the oven and immediately run a knife around the edges to loosen the crust. Set it aside to cool completely.
6) FOR THE CARAMEL LAYER: Melt the caramel and cream over low heat in a small saucepan. Pour the caramel over the cooled crust and set in the refrigerator for 30 minutes to chill and firm up.
7) FOR THE CHOCOLATE LAYER: Melt the milk or dark chocolate slowly in a double boiler or over very low heat. If it seems very thick, add a tablespoon of shortening to thin it. 
     Option 1: Pour evenly over the chilled caramel layer and spread to cover all of the caramel. Return to the fridge until the chocolate is well set. Cut into 2" x 2" squares to serve. It's best to store these bars in the refrigerator.
     Option 2: These bars can also be cut and dipped in milk chocolate to resemble Twix ® bars. After the caramel layer has chilled firm, cut down the length of the pan, splitting the bars into two long, narrow bars. Then cut each long strip into "fingers". Dip the chilled bars into melted chocolate and place on parchment paper to set for several hours. (This is the option I used).

Give it a try and let me know what you think. And if you have any tips on how to successfully dip the bars in the chocolate, please let me know!


Wednesday, October 12, 2011

DIY Date Night

Last night, at Brad's suggestion, was "DIY" date night. After seeing this on Pinterest:

we decided that we would attempt to make our own. After a delicious dinner (prepared by yours truly), we headed to Michael's to pick up the supplies.

Brad managed to find this lovely "N" in the clearance bin. Final price: $0.90. We also picked up some flowers and ribbon:

...and a glue gun.

We had to stop at Sears to pick up some twine, since they didn't have any at Michael's (really?). Then we headed home and got to work.

We wrapped the letter with twine (it was a bit more time consuming and complicated that we originally anticipated, but it was worth the work), then added the flowers.

The final project looks like this:

and will soon be hanging on our front door! We had fun, and working on arts and crafts definitely made for an interesting date night. Brad knew that his handiwork would be displayed on the blog, and proudly sang, "Nothing but Nelson!" as he worked (for you Northwestern folks, it was in the tune of KBK).

No worries -- I still managed to end the evening with a little bit of ice cream. :)

Stay tuned for a picture of out DIY project after it's in place, as well as a delicious recipe. Coming soon!

Until then,

Sunday, October 9, 2011

A visit from Mom and Dad

This weekend, mom and dad came for a visit. We spent some time catching up before heading over to Bethlehem for the Harvest Festival. We had a great time, and even took part in the soup trail. We visited 10 different restaurants and got to sample a different soup at each stop. I should have written down all of the soups that we tried...but I didn't. I can tell you that the wild rice turkey cranberry was one of my favorites, as well as the Mexican soup with pulled pork. Here are some photos from our adventure.

At the petting zoo


Feeding the goats...

They must have been hungry...

Check out this little guy!

My momma and a llama...or an alpaca.

Brad and me

Mom, dad, and me. 

We headed back to the apartment in time to watch PSU win. Now we're watching the Steelers (and by watching the Steelers, I mean that Brad is napping and I'm watching the Steelers, who are currently winning). Until next time!


Thursday, October 6, 2011

Date Night: Can you guess what it involved?

This week, Wednesday night was date night. It involved some incredible ravioli from Trader Joe's (seriously, that place is amazing!) guessed it: ice cream.

I've been adjusting to going back to work, so things have been a bit different. Here are some goofy pics from our trip to Premise Maid. They have wonderful ice cream (and apparently, cakes, cookies, bread, pies, chocolate, etc). We discovered this place a little while ago, but it was so good that I said I wasn't going back until I got a job -- it was going to be my reward. OK, we may have cheated and gone back one time when I was having a majorly bad day, but this time it was a celebration.

Until next time!

P.S. A special thanks to a great friend who called today exactly when I needed it. Thanks for everything, even if you can't comment on my blog ;). God is good.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Weekend Review

I just wanted to say thank you for all of the well-wishes and congrats on my new job. Today was my first day -- and so far, so good! I definitely have a lot to learn, but I really think I'm going to enjoy it once I get things figured out. I'm sure there will be more to come on this!

I just want to share with you some weekend highlights (other than the Buddy Walk, which was amazing!).

On Friday we celebrated my new job and some of Brad's successes with dinner and some shopping. I decided when I began the whole job search process that some new shoes would be my reward -- so we went shopping.

First we had dinner at White Orchids Thai Cuisine. It was absolutely amazing, and I highly recommend it to anyone in the Lehigh Valley (and beyond!). We had a colossal prawn appetizer, and these were seriously the biggest shrimp I have ever seen in my life (Brad compared them to lobster tails). I even told him, "We should take a picture of these!" but we were too busy eating them. :)

Then, some shoe shopping!

Finally, I just have to share with you that we had our first experience at Trader Joe's this weekend. I've heard other people rave about it, but was excited to finally check it out for myself. I don't think I've ever been so excited to grocery shop. We got a ton of cool stuff and are very excited to check it all out.

What did you do this weekend?


Sunday, October 2, 2011

Buddy Walk

Brad and I were very fortunate to be able to travel to Villanova University this morning to participate in the Buddy Walk to benefit Children's hospital of Philadelphia.

I love this ice sculpture! It was being competed at the Buddy Walk. 

 The Guinan Finacial Group and Nothwestern Mutual were the big sponsors of the event. Our job: hand out lollipops to kids (and adults!). Not a bad gig. Kudos to those of you painting faces! :)
Have you ever seen this many lollipops?

The Center Valley Group 

Here we are!!

Chewbacca even made an appearance, along with the rest of the Star Wars gang.
If I was a little kid, I definitely would have been afraid of this guy!
The Buddy walk was a great event -- thanks to those of you who sponsored us and helped to raise money for CHOP. We look forward to going back again next year!