Monday, August 31, 2015

Homemade Taco Seasoning

When I meal plan for the month usually every Tuesday has taco's on the menu...and I'm not kidding.

We used to by the small packs of individual seasoning packs but since we eat tacos so much we decided to start buying the value size. We were still buying a new pack of the seasoning every other week, and that stuff adds up! I also looked at the ingredients and they were not the healthiest. So I searched Pinterest for a homemade recipe and came across a good recipe from one of my favorite bloggers, Carolina Charm. We got the ingredients this weekend and I put it together in about 5 minutes. So easy! 
Yields approximately 1.25 cups of taco seasoning, which is more than 10 packets of store bought taco seasoning!

I poured two ingredients in at a time and then put the lid on and shook it to mix it well, and then mixed again after it was all in there together.

1/4 cup Ground Cumin
1/4 cup Garlic Powder
1/4 cup Onion Powder
1/4 cup Chili Powder
4 tbsp Ground (or crushed) Red Pepper 

Mix it all together!

- 2 tablespoons per pound of meat 

I can't wait to make more! Happy (early) taco Tuesday!

Friday, August 28, 2015

"The ultimate compromise"

One of the many things I have learned very quickly in marriage is compromise.
I think we both have had to learn this lol. Whether it be on decor for our apartment, who gets the extra drawer, where we go eat, what movie we watch, etc.

Two things really quick....
1.) We were talking the other day about our Christmas tree. I still have one from my apartment I used the past two years we could use and will use in the future, but I really want a real tree. At least once.
Growing up we used the same exact fake tree every year until I was around 15 or so and then we got another fake tree. Don't get me wrong there is absolutely nothing wrong with a fake tree and there are many positive things that come from having a fake tree. I just really want to experience having a real tree. I might regret this decision a week or so after we get our real tree when having to clean up after it lol but I am willing to do it! I think it will be fun and quite the experience!
Also, I think it's going to be so much fun going and picking it out together.

2.) Matthew absolutely hates doing laundry. Really he just hates folding the laundry lol he would rather do every other step in the laundry process (sort, move one load to the dryer & start the next, hang up/put up clean clothes) than fold. I'm not too big of a fan of laundry, but I don't despise it as much as he does lol. 

So the "ultimate compromise" my genius husband came up with...

If I do ALL the laundry until Christmas then we get to go pick out a real Christmas tree for our 1st Christmas together!!!!! I am SO excited. Even though I have a feeling he would have given into the real Christmas tree without a compromise (eventually) I agreed to do all the laundry. Also, apart of our little agreement...we get to make some Christmas pictures at the Christmas tree farm to document our first Christmas. Y'all didn't think I was going to let him get out of all that laundry that easy now did you?! ;) 

Also, I am hoping to be able to make something like this after we take it down!

It's the little things y'all!
I hope you all have a great weekend! 

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Weekend trips are the best trips

Matthew's older brother recently bought a house in Chattanooga. He has been there a little over a year and decided to get out of renting and find a house. Well this weekend I was finally able to see it, and I loved it! It's in a nice and quiet neighborhood and he has plenty of space!

We met Matthew's brother and parents in Murfreesboro for dinner and to get Nathan, so he could ride to Chattanooga with us. We got to Chattanooga pretty late Friday night so we got a little tour of his house, talked and then crashed for the night. 

Saturday we they helped him move some last big things from his apartment and then went downtown for lunch and walked around. I love walking on their bridges in Chattanooga and getting to see all the pretty views. 

and I love the Snap Chat has filters for different areas.
HAAAAY Walnut Street Bridge ;)

One of our friends from Tech is going to school in Chattanooga now and just moved in his new apartment so he joined us for lunch.
We ate at Genghis Grill downtown. It was my first time eating there and it was pretty good. The small size bowl is still too much for me, but would make a great second meal. I think I seasoned it a little too much, so next time I will go easier on the sauces lol.

Saturday night we went over to one of Andrew's friends house for dinner and a movie. They actually knew them from college. Kayla and I have been friends on social media for awhile now after meeting briefly the last time I was in Chattanooga. She had posted a picture of their new farmhouse table that her husband built them a little bit ago so when I realized we were going to their house for dinner I got really excited to see it.

Here are a couple of pictures of it that she posted on her Pinterest 

Don't you just love it?! Matthew and I have been looking up plans for farmhouse tables every since we left their house Saturday night! Matthew and I both agreed that we would love to have a farmhouse table in our house one day!! Also, Kayla and Allison both told me they read my blogs along with other ones (Hiiiiiiii Kayla and Allison!!), how fun! 

We went to church Sunday morning and then to Old Chicago Pizza for lunch. Y'all we ate well on our trip ;) I haven't been to Old Chicago in years and had forgotten how good it was. My mouth is watering thinking about those huge slices of pizza now! After lunch we packed our stuff up and headed out soon after that. 

It was a great weekend and I am so glad we got to finally see Andrew's house! Such an exciting time for him!

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

The Marriage Diaries Vol. 1

July 18th was exactly one month ago today. I've been a wife for 31 days. 
Sometimes it is still hard to wrap my head around the fact that we are married but then again I am loving every second of it. I though I would do these "Marriage Diaries" as little updates each month throughout our first year. I want to always remember the little things and always be able to come back and read about our first year together. I know once kids get thrown into the mix of already busy lives (in the future) then it will be so nice to remember when it was just us and starting out as newlyweds! So if this makes you want to puke then just skip over these each month ;)

If I had to describe our first month it would be:
The busiest month with a lot of hard work and fun times mixed in, all while doing it all together. 
Hard work: Moving the rest of my stuff out of my Cookeville apartment and unpacking it all. Also unpacking all of our wedding gifts and organizing where everything goes. We ended up getting a lot of presents at our wedding and still mailed to us after the wedding. We are SO blessed by all of our sweet family and friends who have shown so much love for us through this season of life. 
Fun times: Just being able to do everything with Matthew and knowing that I get to come home to him after a long day made all that moving and unpacking okay. Dancing in the kitchen, taking a break from the unpacking to watch a movie, making little Target trips at the last minute to grab something, just riding around with the windows down and talking about our future and where we want to be in a year, encouraging each other, those sweet goodbye kisses each morning as he walks out the door. I'm telling you, it is all fun, even the not so fun moving, is fun when we are together and working as a team. 

I love the silly moments where Matthew has me doubled over in tears from laughing so hard that remind me marriage is a GOOD thing. I love the serious moments that remind me that Jesus and His will always come first. I love the sweet moments that make me tear up and fill me with so much thankfulness and remind me that this marriage is the sweetest gift.

We have been attending a new church, one that is closer to where we live now. So far we are loving it. They have a young married class that we have been going to and I am SO excited about it. Our first Sunday back from our honeymoon was the start of a new quarter so we haven't missed any lessons. I loved coming in on the very beginning so we weren't clueless as to what we would be studying. Our teacher is great and is very knowledgeable. We joined their Facebook group and I about died, I was so excited lol. They have girl's and guy's night and then have group outings that we are looking forward to attending. Also, they are having a marriage retreat this October. Y'all, I am so excited about this I can't even stand it. I have already been praying over the retreat and whoever our speakers are going to be. I love retreats and I love marriage! 

I have absolutely loved watching Matthew transition into his role as a husband. He has done it with grace and the best attitude. He leads, he serves, he protects, and he comforts all while being the sweetest man on the face of this planet. Now I'm not too naive to think it's going to be rainbows and butterflies the rest of our lives, but it's nice knowing that when the going gets tough I'm going to have Matthew by my side. This whole being on the same team thing is kinda the best thing...ever. 

Marriage is fun, being newlyweds is fun, making our apartment a home is fun, cooking together is fun. Life in general right now is just fun. I keep thinking to myself THIS is finally happening and THIS is real life. I remember during the end of our dating years I was getting pretty impatient thinking we were never going to get engaged and then married, and that time was moving so slow, but now looking back, I wouldn't change that time for the world. Our timeline leading up to us getting married was perfect and perfectly laid out by God. Everything happened at the right time and place and it's becoming more and more evident to me that it was all apart of God's plan. 

I promise these won't be as long each month, this first month has just been so, so sweet. Can we just be newlyweds forever?!  Matthew, thank you for being the best husband, for working so hard for us, for making me laugh all the time, and for choosing me. I'm honored everyday that the title of "Matthew Coats' wife" is mine.

I was going to post this yesterday on our actual "one month", but there were more important things to post about. I checked their Facebook's a little bit ago and there weren't any new updates. Still in constant prayer for the Waldron family and hope that you are, too. 

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

1 Corinthians 12: 26-27

I was going to blog today about an update on our apartment and life, but there is something more important than that.

Friday night I was scrolling though my news feed on Facebook and one of my friends shared a status requesting prayers for one of his really good friends. He had been in an awful ATV accident and he had to be air lifted and was undergoing emergency surgery on his brain. One thing led to another and I was on said guy's dad's Facebook. Crazy how that happens, I know. The guy who was injured, his parents are missionaries in Honduras and were trying to book flights back to the states to get to their son. Matthew and I don't know this couple, but we have A LOT of mutual friends, so that's how we 
are seeing all these updates- also, his parents Facebook's are not private and that's how we are able to see their updates as well. 

From looking through a couple of mutual friends facebooks I saw that the guy that was injured, Harrison, had been married a little over a year to his wife, Hayley, and they were in NY for a wedding that Saturday. They had gone out to ride ATV's the night before and that's where he wrecked. By time I went to bed there were a lot of people posting about the accident and asking for prayers. My heart was aching for him, his wife and his family and friends. I told Matthew about it and prayed for them before going to sleep that night.

Saturday morning Matthew and I both had to be up early and the first thing I did when I woke up was check my phone to see if there were any updates. As soon as Facebook came up on my phone I saw a ton of posts on this couple. Literally over 50 posts, I just kept scrolling and scrolling. There was an update saying that his brain injury was devastating and there was some serious damage to his brain stem. As a newlywed I honestly could not imagine going through any of that with my Matthew. 
I had about an hour drive that morning and spent most of my drive praying for this couple, their families and friends and the doctors. I checked for updates throughout the day and his wife had updated that he had wiggled his toes and squeezed their hands in responses to questions. Matthew was with his family in Chattanooga and I was helping host a bridal shower for my best friend in Murfreesboro. So whenever there was an update I would screenshot it and send it to Matthew. I stopped and prayed multiple times throughout the day on Saturday and squeezed Matthew extra hard Saturday night when he got home. 

Sunday we checked Facebook as soon as we both woke up and yet again, I was amazed and people's reactions and response. There were I know 100+ new posts asking for prayers. People that, like us, didn't even know them we sending out prayer request for them. I told Matthew this couple had to really be loved by all the posts we were seeing, and that's when he said "Shel that's what happens when a member of the Church is hurting." Goodness his comment stopped me in my tracks and brought the biggest tears to my eyes. He was SO right. Which made me think of the verses in 1 Corinthians 26-27

1 Corinthians 12:26-27

26 And if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; or if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it.
27 Now you are the body of Christ, and members individually.

The body of Christ has shown SO much love and compassion for this couple, and it's one of the most encouraging things I have ever seen.

Matthew and I both checked Facebook for updates throughout the day on Sunday and when we woke up yesterday. They did an MRI yesterday and had to wait all day on the results. The results were not positive at all. I'll share what his mom posted, "After waiting all day we finally met with the neurosurgeon to discuss the MRI results. The results showed that Harrison has extensive brain damage and according to modern medicine, there isn't much hope. Now we must wait on God. We were encouraged by the fact that he is breathing on his own and very reactive during this evening assessment. Mostly we trust in a God full of compassion and mercy and we are all resolved to praise Him, no matter what! God is good all the time!"  We saw that update last night while at a Sounds game and I about lost it and we almost had to leave. After a few minutes and some silent prayers I calmed myself down and was able to remain calm but the ride home wasn't so pretty. The strength his wife and family are showing is, yet again, so encouraging. I've been in constant prayer for this couple and ask that you pray for them as well. One of their friends set up a GoFundMe account on Saturday and they have already raised over 15,000. God's hands are all over this situation y'all. 

1 Thessalonians 5:17

Thursday, August 13, 2015


I am finally getting around to sharing about our honeymoon with y'all! I uploaded the pictures the other day so here they are!

We left the morning after our wedding bright and early. We stopped at McDonald's on the way to the airport for a quick breakfast. Can I just say living so close to the airport has its perks? Hello extra sleeping time :) We had both packed before our wedding day which helped tremendously! Also, don't you love my luggage set?! There is another small rolling piece to the set.  Matthew picked it out himself! 

 I haven't been on a plane since I was 10 and was a little nervous at first, but loved it! This was both of our first time out of the country. So glad we could check that off together!!

 Our first glimpse of MEXICO :)

The view from our room

Sadly the beaches were covered in seaweed. As in no one was in the water, we never got to get in either but we did enjoy plenty of pool time and lounging on the beach. Everyone was at the pools (there were four total on our resort) so we practically had the whole beach to ourselves! And, they still came down to the beach and took our drink orders. Hello unlimited glasses of coke!

All four pools were beautiful and huge

There was a theater on our resort and they had shows every night!

The show, Grease

I ended up getting a selfie stick, as much as I hate them and laugh when I see people using them. I just knew I didn't want to have to stop and ask people to make our pictures and I wanted good pictures, you only honeymoon once y'all!

Matthew surprised me and booked two excursions while we were there. He told me the night of our rehearsal dinner, and we were PUMPED! He spaced them out perfectly, Tuesday we went and toured Tulum, one of the oldest Mayan Cities, and Thursday we went and rode ATV's though one of the jungles and then went cave exploring. We both agreed that we enjoyed the ATV's and cave exploring the most!

Tulum was very interesting and there was a lot to see! It was extremely hot and really crowded but we had a good time! It's not like we get to see all of that stuff everyday so it was worth it!

These little big guys were EVERYWHERE in Tulum and they weren't afraid to come right up to you. There were even some on our resort but they weren't as friendly, thank goodness!

We weren't allowed to take our camera or phone on the ATV rides or in the caves but they did make pictures of us that we were able to purchase. I did snap this one on our way out though! I will have to do a whole new post about our excursion on Thursday, It was SO much fun!

The food their was different, but there was always plenty. I'm almost positive I had bread and guacamole with every meal. The wedding diet was officially over and I could eat ALL the bread I wanted to that week, HA!!

One of our favorite restaurants was the Italian restaurant. Hello delicious bread and pasta!! I only got the lasagna there but Matthew ordered the ravioli one night and I tried a bite, it was good, too!

On Saturday night, our last night, they had a ton of vendors come in and set up on the resort. It was like a little market that you could go through and buy stuff at. Some people don't leave the resort so we both thought that was pretty cool. This man made magnets. He hand painted most of it, only using a fine brush to do the really small details. He was so talented and did a ton of magnets. We ended up getting two! He put "Honeymoon 2015" on one of them for us! I stood there and watched him make a couple of more because it was just so neat. Matthew got a really nice leather wallet and he picked out THE prettiest necklace and earring set for me! He is so good at picking jewelry out ;)

One of our favorite things to do, I think we did this every night, was to walk down to the beach right after dinner and just lay on the chairs talking, listening to the waves roll in and have our toes in the sand (at least my toes were in the sand, Matthew isn't a big fan of sand lol) We would sit there for at least two hours just talking. We talked about everything, from the wedding, to creating a budget, to where we want to go on our next vacation, to where we see ourselves in 5+ years. It was probably one of the greatest memories I have of our honeymoon, and there were a lot! No one was really down there so we again, had the whole beach to ourselves. A few nights we stayed out there so long it was time for the resort workers to put the chairs up for the night, which was our cue to leave!

Although I can't say we will go back to Mexico or that resort we had the best time together. Whoever thought of the idea of a honeymoon is probably one of my favorite people. Spending the whole week with your new husband, not knowing a single soul around you, limited wifi access, and not having anywhere to be or on a certain schedule was THE absolute best thing the week right after we were married. I'll admit it was a little strange going to work the following Monday and not being with Matthew almost every single minute of the day lol.

My heart is so, so full and I am still on cloud 9!