Homemade Pesto

By Natalie

photoI came across a recipe in one of my cookbooks for Minestrone Soup a while ago that seemed perfect for the rainy cold day that it was. It’s an easy soup to make, and it’s very satisfying. The recipe called for pesto, and it didn’t seem to big of a task to take on, so I tried it. The recipe is very simple, only calling for a few ingredients that are most likely sitting in your kitchen this very moment, waiting to be used.


  • 2/3c packed fresh basil leaves
  • 1/4c grated parmesan
  • 1/4c olive oil
  • 1tbsp water
  • 1tsp salt

All you have to do is blend  all of your ingredients together until smooth. I used a Ninja which I would highly recommend. The smaller piece worked perfectly for the pesto. I’m sure a magic bullet or small food processor would work just as well. That’s it! Easier than you imagined right? If you plan on making extra, it stores well in the fridge. The only trick is to put a generous amount of olive oil at the top of your jar to keep it fresh. Try it in soup, with pasta, or on bread. Bon appétit!

Take Me Out to the Ball Game

By Natalie

nationals 3What’s one thing that you can only ever experience once? Something that you can’t go back and change. Everything in that moment captured in time. A first. They are my very favorite. Nothing else can compare a first. Your first steps, your first words, your first kiss, your first love, your first house, your first pet, your first car. Everything in our lives had a first. They’re full of expectation, thrill, and curiosity, what’s not to love! Ok you got me, there is the occasional first that is full of dread.  Like your first… things that have to do with puberty…, public presentation, job. Blech, those were no fun! But I like talking about the thrilling kind. Those moments that are etched in our minds for good.

This is a silly kind of first to talk about because it was just a baseball game. One random Sunday the Young’s asked us if we wanted to tag along to a ball game where they could watch their beloved Braves crush our Nationals. On a whim we figured sure, why not? The tickets were very affordable, I had never been before, and we were in need of a spontaneous outing.

nationalsI had a blast! I so was not expecting much from the little trip and I was surprised at what a good time we had. When the 7th inning stretch came around I may or may not have belted out Take Me Out to the Ball Game with exuberance I didn’t even know I had. Baseball is definitely a sport to be enjoyed live. It was so perfect to sit out in the night air. Looking into that large open field, chomping on our massive bag of peanuts as we cheered. I found that there is something about eating peanuts that makes you feel entitled. Tossing aside the shells as if you are too good to worry about trash. It was all part of the experience. I mean come on, you can’t go to a baseball game and not have peanuts or cracker jacks right?

nationals 2If you have never been, GO! I’m not even a sports fan and I loved it. Open your senses! There are so many firsts out there waiting to be experienced, don’t let them pass you by!


How Having An Absent Father Affects a Girl

By Natalie

A message to all those ungrateful daughters out there. 

It is due time. Due time for me to get this off my chest. There are too many girls out there who need to hear it whether they are a victim to it, or ungrateful for what they have. There are too many fathers out there who need to hear it. Whether they are teetering on the edge of being absent in their daughter’s life, or still adoring his sweet baby girl.

Most who are close to me have heard the story, and every time I share my thoughts on the subject my younger self heals a bit more. My father wasn’t absent in my life so that I could cry over it every day, and feel sorry for myself. What would be the point of that? So I’d pray for a purpose and ask God why I was a victim to feeling so meaningless. Over the years I’ve found the best I can do is share my story with others. In hopes to change lives. In hopes of bringing fathers and daughters closer together for both of their sake.

There were days when we were dating that Brandon would tell me he loved me. Sure, I thought. You love me. But my Dad told me he loved me all the time. Yet somehow it was fine for him to contact me 3 times a year, and see me twice a year. Is that really love? I hardly knew the man honestly. It was weird you know, to have dinner with a man who I was so much like in appearance, and taste, yet he was a complete stranger to me. B always tells me he loves me, and I know he means it because he is there for me. It’s as simple as that.

All through our dating relationship I was convinced I wasn’t good enough. I was always confused as to why B stuck around. Nobody had done that before, and I kind of didn’t know how to handle it. If there’s anything that I was frustrated with my father about most it was the fact that his absence made me incredibly fearful. And fear has a way of creeping into relationships. He was never around. He never hurt me physically, but he wrecked me emotionally. Then one random day B looked me in the eyes without any hesitation and said I will never leave you. They were the most shocking, emotional, and relieving words I’d never thought I would hear. I hadn’t even realized I was needing to hear them until he said them. With complete sincerity, and a wondrous amount of love he shattered my past wounds. No girl who has an absent father needs to be a victim to her past, and every woman deserves to love with hope, trust, and freedom.

Father Daughter Dances

There are girls out there that roll their eyes at their father in embarrassment, and my heart aches every time I see it. Is he really all so bad? Has he supported you? Has he been present in your life? Has he said he loves you, raised you, hugged you? Shall I repeat? Is he really all so bad? These are the things I craved, and still do. A Dad who tells silly jokes, tucks you in at night, makes you feel safe and protected. Sure he may be a bit embarrassing but he wishes the best for you, and provides for you. Be grateful for that father daughter dance you will have at your wedding which was robbed from mine. Think in that moment about how blessed you are to have a man who raised you pass you off to the man who will take care of you for the rest of your life. My sisters and I, as I’m sure most girls like us do, will always cry our eyes out during a father daughter dance. It’s longing for that moment that we never experienced, and that relationship that was nonexistent. But it’s also hope, that there are good dads out there who care.

So if you are a dad, you can make more of an impact on your daughter than you believe, simply by expressing your love for her. If you’re a daughter, tell your Dad you love him. If you are still hurting from a broken past, know that all is not lost. There are days that I still struggle, and question, as I’m sure my older sisters do as well. There is no shame in feeling abandoned. But know that you are worth something! You do not have to live in fear that every man will leave you.

It seems appropriate to dedicate this post to a few good men. First and foremost Brandon, who taught me true love. My generous Father-in-law who’s been the best dad to me, and every dad I’ve seen giggling with his girl, you have all been a part of my healing.

A Message From the Heart

By Natalie

Sometimes one must write down their thoughts in order to make sense of things.

If there’s one thing I’m ready for in my life it’s complete honesty. Beginning with myself, and then to others. No person, and no task gets very far without sincerity. I figure if I actually plan on passionately pursuing my writing this time around then I need to lay it it all out. The good, the ugly, and the just plain depressing. The only way I am truly able to express myself is through being genuine. I have so many stories to tell, and dreams to hope towards that have been overflowing in my mind. It’s about time I do myself a favor and organize my thoughts. I’ve needed a place to stash all of my memories. A place to share my blessings, and a place to simply ramble.

I’ll start with something simple to break the ice… it seems appropriate in this moment to make a somewhat embarrassing confession. I absolutely love Pork Rinds. I know, such a small thing. Yet I would never admit it to people, or even purchase them, for risk of what people will think of me. Even my husband! This is the man who sees me at my worst when I am sick, when I am exhausted, and when I’m grumpy before breakfast. How could I be so embarrassed to tell him that I would much prefer a bag of pork rinds than a box of chocolates every now and then? Not often of course. I mean goodness could you think of something less healthy? Just very rarely, it’d be nice to splurge on my favorite snack.

I am proud to say that the cat is finally out of the bag! I love pork rinds! There, I said it, and I’ll tell you a secret… I feel a million times lighter.


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