travel

Vacationing in Paradise

 Friends, can we all just stop for a minute and agree on the fact that the beach is just awesome?!...okay...agreed, now we can carry on. But really, when I think of the one place that is the definition of my "happy place" I would say it involves the beach. From the sand, to the salty wind, I love the relaxation that comes with a beach trip. It is so nice to get out of town, windows down, singing along with the radio knowing you are headed to vacation in paradise.

So needless to say I loved our time in Florida this past weekend. Ben and I went to celebrate our one year anniversary (a week late) and enjoyed every minute. We got sunburned (really sunburned) the first day, but we were determined nothing would damper our moods on this trip. So we explored shopping malls, neighborhoods, and little beach communities. We watched a million episodes of The Office ever night before bed while shoving yummy ice cream down our throats. We ate some of the best fresh fish I have ever had (seriously, Scamp Parmesan at Dewey Destin...oh my goodness, I will dream about that dish). We had a great time. I figured everyone would appreciate a few pics, so here are some shots from the weekend!








The best part is that we get to go back to the beach TWO MORE TIMES this summer. Yeah, twice...pinch me! Both of our families have asked us to tag along with them on their trips, and we were not super hard to persuade (we had our fingers crossed about getting to go on both trips). So cheers to an awesome weekend with my handsome hubby, and two more beach trips in the months ahead! 

Are you a beach person? What are you favorite spots at the beach?

P.S. Oh, and by the way, CONGRATS to Holly H. on winning our survey giveaway! Madison and I have sent you a $20 Starbuck giftcard via email, AND you will get to be our very first co host! We are so appreciative to everyone that took the survey! We are going to be looking over y'alls responses this week and next, and discussing how we want to restructure the link up! Exciting things happening ladies, we will let you know dates, and everything else really soon!!  
Check out my sweet sponsor this month, Madison of The Wetherills Say I Do!

Tour Our City: Chapel of Memories

Ben and I love Starkville, MS. This was our college town, and now had become our home as newlyweds. We want to share little snippets of our life here with you, so occasionally I will be writing these "Tour our City" posts to show you where we live and what we love in our community.We both were very fond of this place while in school. I was even a student recruiter/tour guide while I was in undergrad. MSU is one special place to us for a million different reasons. However, there is one spot on Mississippi State's campus that is extra special. The Chapel of Memories.


This place is full of history. There was a dormitory called Old Main that was on MSU's campus back in the early days of the University. Back before women were allowed to come to school here. It was said to be the largest dormitory in the nation at the time. It burned down over a Christmas break, thankfully only one person passed away in this accident. 

The University wanted to create a way for everyone who came to MSU to remember this accident and the massive dormitory. So, they built The Chapel of Memories out of the bricks salvaged from Old Main. It is now always open, day and night, for students, and alumni to enjoy. You can walk in and often hear talented student playing piano, it is such a peaceful place.


The Chapel is special to Ben and I for a different reason. This is where our first conversation took place, where we went for long talks and jam sessions on the piano, and where Ben proposed. (Read story here) He washed my feet in this fountain and prayed over me just minutes before he took me inside and got down on one knee. 




We love this place. It is a little piece of history, and a reminder of days gone by for anyone who sees it. I am really looking forward to sharing more with you all in the future of our favorite spots and places around Starkville. 

What are your favorite local places?

Much Love,

Rachel



Columbus Air Show

This weekend was so much fun. Aren't weekends such a blessing from the Lord? 2 days of rest, and freedom from work with your loved ones. I love our weekends when we have no traveling going on. We just get to be locals in our community and it really is such a joy. 

This Saturday we were outside all day, and it was glorious! We went on campus for a Mississippi State sorority/fraternity event called Derby Days. All the sororities are given a theme and create a lipsync dance routine along the lines of their theme. This is all a big fundraiser but so much fun to watch. This year all the girls were given different Disney movie themes...Aladdin, Peter Pan, Jungle Book...they were adorable. 

After this we went to Columbus, MS, which is about 30 minutes down the road, to the Columbus Air Force Base for their Air Show. It was my first time ever going to an air show and it was INCREDIBLE! We met up with some families from our church and enjoyed such a fun filled day in the sun seeing some incredible pilots fly their planes. 




We were able to see planes that actually flew in the World Wars. Some planes are one of only 6 or 7 of their kind still in flying condition. It was mind blowing. Ben was just in heaven. He has fond memories of going to air shows with his family when he was younger, and has a deep desire to get his pilot's license one day. Needless to say he was right in his element. 








We were also so privileged to get to see the Thunderbirds fly while we were out at the base. They were so incredibly talented. It was just a show stopping performance that left our ears ringing for quite sometime.




Overall, we had a wonderful weekend. It is so much fun to just get out in your community and enjoy local events. Whether that is an arts festival, tour of homes, or something like an Air Show, local events are always so much fun and a great way to support your city.

What did you do this weekend? 

Much Love, 

Rachel


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Camping Recipes (not your average campfire food)

Good morning all! The sun is shining here finally, after a rather gloomy day yesterday it is so refreshing to wake up to some sunshine and birds singing outside our office window. Our pastor often reminds us that it is important to listen to what he calls "the sermons of the birds" every morning. Why is this important? Well, in Matthew 6:25-26, Jesus says, "Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air; they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your Heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not more valuable than they?" When we stop to listen to the song or sermon of the morning birds, we are reminded of the Lord's provision for us. He provides for the sparrow, so how much more will he provide and take care of his beloved children. It is a good thing for me to remind myself, even now as I am typing, that our God is a provider, and he desires to meet the needs of his children, both big and small. 

So as I promised yesterday I wanted to write a post on the recipes we used while on our camping trip! Ben planned all the meals, and just gave me a list of what I needed to buy at the store. They were simple meals, but more unique and fun than just the traditional hot dogs and s'mores. 


Chorizo and Cheese Quesadillas

You will need:

Propane stove top
Cast Iron Skillet
Flour Tortillas
Chorizo Mexican Sausage (casings removed)
Pepper Jack or Monterey Jack Cheese (shredded)
Yellow Onion (chopped)
Garlic (minced)
Cilantro

Just saute the onions until translucent, add garlic in for about 30 seconds to a minute. Remove from pan and set aside. Brown sausage in pan until cooked through, remove from pan. Wipe grease from pan with a paper towel. To tortillas add onions, garlic, sausage, cheese, and cilantro. Place quesadillas in the pan just until the tortilla is brown and crispy and the cheese is melted. Enjoy!





Bacon-Wrapped Corn on the Cob

You will need:

Bacon (thick cut)
Corn on the Cob
Salt + Pepper
Butter
Aluminum Foil

Remove the husk and silks from the corn, rub with butter and season with salt and pepper. Wrap with bacon slices. Place in aluminum foil and seal tightly. Place the aluminum packet in the edge of your fire, near some coals. Let sit in the fire for 15-20 minutes or until bacon is cooked through. Enjoy! 


Dutch Oven Apple Crisp

You will need: 

Cast Iron Dutch Oven
Dutch Oven Liners (not mandatory but so helpful with cleanup when you are camping, we bought a pack for a couple bucks at Walmart)
1 Can of Apples
Can opener (we forgot ours and had to borrow one from some other campers)
1 Box of Yellow Cake Mix
1 Stick of unsalted butter








Place the oven liner in the dutch oven. Pour can of apples on the bottom. Pour cake mix on top of apples. Cut butter into slices and place evenly over the top. Set the dutch oven lid on top, and place on some hot coals. Also, add hot coals on top of the lid to allow for even cooking. Allow to cook for 20-30 minutes. Enjoy!

Dutch Oven Monkey Bread

You will need:

Cast Iron Dutch Oven
Dutch Oven Liners
1 can of Buttermilk Biscuits
Cinnamon + Sugar
Butter (about a stick)

Tear biscuits in half or thirds and roll into small balls. Roll the balls in melted butter, and toss ins cinnamon sugar mixture. Place in dutch oven. Place the lid on top and set over hot coals, place hot coals on top to allow for even cooking. You may need to replace the coals as the monkey bread cooks if they begin to cool off. Allow to cook for 20-30 minutes or until biscuits are cooked and golden brown. Eat alongside a mug of yummy French Press coffee and you will be one happy morning camper. Enjoy!


We had the best time making our own food! I hope you enjoy these fun camping recipes! What are your favorite things to make when you go camping? I would love to hear from you!

Have a happy Tuesday friends!!

XOXO,

Rachel






a trip for the books

Happy Monday friends! I hope your Valentines Day weekend was just spectacular. Ours was the best weekend ever, we went on one awesome camping trip. BUT before I get too much into that how much do you love the new blog design? A huge thanks to Victoria of Happily Ever Strader Blog for designing my new look, and for being such a joy to work with. If you or anyone you know needs some help refreshing their blog's look, Victoria is your girl, make sure a give her some love. She has a heart for Jesus and her blog is so encouraging and refreshing, please check her out.   

So back to the trip. We went to Cloudland Canyon State Park for our camping getaway. And I cannot say enough about how much fun we had. The park was absolutely beautiful. There was a ton of snow on the ground when we arrived (about 4 inches) and an 80% chance of rain Friday night but we still had a blast. We collected our own firewood, made all of our own food (recipes coming later this week), and went hiking. It was so great. Due to the rain and snow we stayed in what is called a Yurt. It is basically an glorified type of Teepee with furniture and even a little space heater. (see pictures below) I think this should go on everyone's bucket list -- stay in a Yurt. It was so fun, and such a cool little place to stay. The furnishings were all rustic and well crafted, we even had our own little back porch with chairs. It is a perfect family place because in the middle of the Yurt Village there is a playground for the littles to run around on. All in all, I do believe I have been bitten by the camping bug and that this will quickly become a hobby both Ben and myself do often and really enjoy. Here are some snapshots from the weekend.


{Our Yurt, number 7 for our camping adventure}






















{the walking bridge in downtown Chattanooga, TN}




The little deal that we made in regards to this trip was that we would sleep outside one night, and in a hotel in Chattanooga the next. This was Ben's way of getting my feet wet when it comes to camping. We stayed at the Sheraton Hotel in downtown Chattanooga Saturday night. It was such a nice hotel, and was so great to get a nice hot shower after "roughing it" outside for 24 hours. We got lunch at a local pizza joint that was funky and delicious. Lupi's Pizza had great pizza with a fun atmosphere as well. We really enjoyed it and would highly recommend it to you! 
We then explored downtown some more, we walked on the walking bridge at sunset, looked at some shops, and then went to another local restaurant for dinner called Urban Stack. We waited for an hour to get a table but it was SO WORTH THE WAIT. Everything about the place was local and trendy, from the decor, to the food. and boy was the food incredible. I ordered their fried green tomato burger and it was to die for. We ordered sweet potato fries to split and they may be the best sweet potato fries we have ever had. We will definitely venture back to the Urban Stack next time we are in the area, and would be willing to wait 2 or 3 hours for another delicious grass-fed burger!!



To round out the trip we went to breakfast at a super quirky place Sunday morning called Aretha Frankensteins. We again had a long wait, but with delicious french toast, waffles and fried potatoes we decided it was worth the wait. 

We loved this trip. This was the first time Ben and I had gone on a trip totally and completely for us that was just for fun. We have traveled a good bit since we have been married but it has always been tied to visiting family, going to friend's weddings, or Ben's business trips...so this was such a treat and a weekend we will never forget! We were able to stop and see some good friends on our way home as we passed through Birmingham. We stopped at my all time favorite BBQ spot Jim N' Nicks. We ate dinner with 7 of our college friends. All the husbands were fraternity brothers of Ben's, groomsmen in our wedding, and the girls were good friends, or roommates from college. It was sweet fellowship catching up with everyone. Such a great trip. 

Being adventurous is a blast. Cannot wait to share about our next camping adventure. 

Happy Monday!! 

XOXO-

Rachel