Bucket List Item Checked Off!

Anyone remember this post?  On July 22, I shared that I was planning to run the St. Jude Half Marathon.  It was a big goal to me and at the time I thought I was a crazy person...and that December 4 was really far away.  Some 5 months later, I have found a love for running that I thought I would never have and I have completed my first half marathon!  I followed my training plan from "Smart Coach" offered through runnersworld.com (thanks Becca!).  This plan gave me a great schedule to follow and kept me accountable.  Thanks to everyone who encouraged me in my running and an even bigger thanks to those who ran with me to get me to this point!  I couldn't have done it without you! 
 I was really nervous, anxious, and excited going into race day, but it was a blast!  I couldn't believe how the miles were flying by.  There were definitely my moments of fatigue and hurt, but it was all worth it in the end to run to the finish line in the Redbirds stadium, especially with Mary Renfroe, the newly engaged Elizabeth Butler, and Jill Horton by my side!  I coudn't have done it without these girls.  It meant so much to have Jesse and Kelley there at the finish line to celebrate with me. I'm taking the week off to rest, but I'll be hitting the pavement next week to continue running.  I feel like I have finally gotten to the point that I really love it and need it in my week.  I would like to continue running 6-10 miles a week until I decide what to train for next. 

That night, we celebrated the finish of the race and my 24th birthday at the Doodle Noodle and Beauty Shop in Memphis!  Before leaving Memphis on Sunday, we filled up on Cracker Barrel breakfast then came home to decorate the Christmas tree and bake cookies.  It was a great birthday weekend with a bucket list item checked off!  However, I had to make a trip to the doctor's office today to get some antibiotics to knock out a cold that I think came from the cold weather running... planning on a week of rest this week!


Christmas is a comin'!

Hello blogger world!  I hope all of you had a great Thanksgiving with your loved ones!  Thanksgiving was really special to me this year because I was able to be with my parents, sisters, brother in laws, and neices and nephews. It is rare to be able to have EVERYONE there for holidays. So, we did something extra special this year and hired a photographer to take family photos for my parents as an early Christmas present... also to get christmas card pictures!  I told Jesse that I wanted to do a card every year with a photo of our family since the year we got married.  I'm excited that this year we have an addition to our picture thanks to Mags, our growing lab pup! I think it will be neat to have a collection of cards over the years to see how our family grows.  :)  I have been looking at christmas cards online and my favorite ones that I have found have been at Shutterfly.  Here is the link to all of their holiday cards.  I just think they are adorable! I love all of their options.  And as a plus, they are doing a promotion for bloggers- check it out! http://blog.shutterfly.com/5358/holiday2010-blog-submission-form/

They have Christmas photo cards:  http://www.shutterfly.com/cards-stationery/christmas-photo-cards
Some favorites:



Personalized holiday thank you cards:  http://www.shutterfly.com/cards-stationery/thank-you-cards
Some favorites:
And calendars, too!  http://www.shutterfly.com/calendars (which make great gifts!)

I'm really excited to see the pictures from the photographer... should be getting them back hopefully tomorrow!  Once I pick out the perfect picture, I will be picking out the perfect christmas card from www.shutterfly.com!

As for now, I am sipping on hot apple cider and watching Rudoph the Red-Nosed Reindeer on CBS.  I love the holidays!  




So, my work travels today took me to Tupelo where I got to meet up with some dear friends for lunch.  Casey and Laura Zumwalt have been friends of ours for quite some time now, and we love them dearly!  We had lunch at a great place in downtown Tupelo, Cafe 212.  I had the chicken salad BLT and it was devine.  Even better than the food was the company.  Casey and Laura are two of the most creative people I know.  They do photography for weddings/senior portraits, etc, graphic design, and Laura is an amazing cook.  They always amaze me with the new things they have going on.  I got to go upstairs (above Cafe 212) to their studio where they do photography consultations as well as their photo edits.  Way cool.  If you are in the market for a wedding photography, I highly recommend these two.  They shot our engagement photos.  Check out their website: http://lovelyunion.com.

This picture is from my first 5k that I ever ran.  Laura was the reason I ran my first race!

Here's Casey and I the beginning of my sophomore year of college.

I hope they are ok with me posting this, but I'll leave you with one of my favorite engagement photos taken in front of the courthouse in Birmingham, Alabama.


Terrific Turkey Chili

So recently in the food world at the English household, we have been cookin' up some "good eats" as Alton Brown would say.  Recently on the menu: chicken florentine, poppyseed chicken, whole wheat baked ziti, lentil stew with deer sausage, and tonight, "terrific turkey chili."  The name for tonight's dish doesn't do it justice... just sounds silly for such a fresh, full flavored dish!  We tried to think of a better name, but never came up with anything.  Recently, I have been so impressed by the recipes I have been getting off of allrecipes.com.  Some of my favorite new dishes have come from this website. Amazing! I also love the reviews.  Anyways, back to tonight's dinner.... when I first saw this recipe and read zucchini, I was like, zucchini???......in chili???... Hmm, lets give it a try.  Oh my goodness was it good.  Jesse loved the fresh veggies in this chili.  The only change was that we added corn.  Black beans would be a nice touch too, but didn't have those this time.  This chili is far from your average ground beef, tomatoes, beans, and chili seasoning... takes a little bit more time, but ooohh the flavor!  I also made Beagle Bagel chicken salad tonight for lunches this week... yum.  Have I ever shared that recipe? I'll save that for another post.  On the menu next week: tomato basil soup with grilled cheese. Anyone want to join??  

Speaking of all of this eating, yes, I have still been training for the half-marathon.  Did 6 miles last night, which I as so proud of (farthest I have ever run), however, still a long way to go to 13.1!  December 4th is fast approaching, so trying to stay on schedule- 8 miles on Thursday. eek.

I'll leave you with the recipe from tonight, compliments of allrecipes.com.  Hope you enjoy!

Terrific Turkey Chili



  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
  • 1 1/2 pounds ground turkey
  • 1 (1 ounce) package taco seasoning mix
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon chili pepper flakes
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 (14.5 ounce) can beef broth
  • 1 (7 ounce) can salsa
  • 1 (14.5 ounce) can crushed tomatoes, or coarsely chopped tomatoes packed in puree
  • 1 (7 ounce) can chopped green chile peppers
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper, diced
  • 3 medium zucchini, halved lengthwise and sliced
  • 1 bunch green onions, chopped
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese


  1. Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a large stock pot over medium-high heat. Crumble turkey into the pot, stirring with a wooden spoon to break apart as much as possible. Season with taco seasoning mix, coriander, oregano, chili flakes, and tomato paste, and mix until meat is evenly coated with seasonings. Continue cooking, reducing heat if necessary, until turkey is well browned.
  2. Pour in beef broth, and simmer to reduce liquid slightly, about 5 minutes. Add salsa, tomatoes, and green chilies, and continue cooking at a moderate simmer for ten minutes. Adjust the thickness at any time you feel necessary by adding water.
  3. While chili is still cooking, heat one tablespoon of oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Cook onion and green bell pepper, stirring occasionally for 5 minutes, or until onion is translucent and bell pepper is lightly browned. Add onion and bell pepper to the chili, and continue cooking at a very low simmer.
  4. In the same skillet, heat the remaining tablespoon of oil over medium-high heat. Add the zucchini, and cook stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes, or until lightly browned. Add the zucchini to the chili, reduce heat, and continue cooking 15 minutes more. Again, adjust the consistency with water as needed.
  5. Ladle chili into serving bowls. Top with sour cream, green onion, and cheddar cheese, and serve.


Fall Break

I know, I know... it's been forever since I have blogged.  And by the looks of some friend's blogs, I'm not alone!  I guess this is just a really busy time for everyone.  I decided that a new design of the blog was in order, since it has been so long since I have really updated!  Hope you like.  :)

Tomorrow marks 1 month of working for Admissions. Where did this month go??? Oh, maybe to meeting with families, college fairs, private visits, Bulldog for a Day, and Preview Days.  I LOVE MY JOB.  I get to recruit students to come to MSU!  How could I not??  As a plus, I get to work with amazing people who make getting to work somedays at 6:30 totally fun and the families I meet totally make it worth it.  You better believe, though, when I get home, I don't really want to talk.  Ok, maybe you don't believe it, but its true!  After I have to talk and be peppy all day, sometimes I just want to sit... and rest my face... and my brain... and everything else.  Too bad training for a half marathon doesn't allow too much time for rest.  I'm either up before the sun, or spending every last bit of energy at the end of a day to get those miles in.

Jesse is still trudging along with grad school.... and is doing awesome!  He is always working on all of his projects, spending countless hours on his computer working on designs, and grading papers for his TA class. We still don't really get to see each other much these days, so our time together is so precious to me... I know that the Lord has a great plan for us and this stage of life that we are in is preparing us for it!

This past weekend + Monday and Tuesday was Fall Break for MSU (students).  Being an employee (and the fact that we had 1,400 people coming to a MAJOR recruiting event on Monday) I wasn't able to enjoy the last two days of said break.  Jesse, Kelley, Maggie, and I left at lunch on Friday to head to Marianna, FL for a way overdue visit with the English family.  Jesse, Kelley, and I enjoyed being able to relax with the family, watch some football, and eat some goooood food.  Maggie thoroughly enjoyed her weekend as well -- having the run of 50 acres with the "big dogs", getting dirty, digging holes, playing in the woods, hanging out on the front porch, and annoying the cats.  She must have thought she was in puppy heaven.  On Sunday, Nanny and PawPaw drove over from Molino to join the fun.  I hate that the long weekend was cut short due to my work, but it was a GREAT weekend, none the less.

Here are some pictures from the English Family Weekend!


Trick or Treat!

So, I know Halloween is still a little ways away, but I started searching for Maggie a costume... 

What do you think?

I think she would be BEEautiful. 



I am so terribly embarrased at how long it has been since I have blogged.  Somewhere in the move, I have lost my camera, so maybe I feel like if I can't "show" you my life, then I can't write about it, but that is so not true!

Let's catch you up..... since I last blogged, Jesse's schoolwork has taken off, Maggie is getting bigger by the day (18 lbs!), and I have started a new job!  I never thought that I would leave Mississippi In Motion, but Jesse was randomly checking the MSU job site, and noticed there was a position available as an Admissions Counselor for State!  I was a Roadrunner with the Office of Admissions and Scholarships as an undergrad and absolutely loved it.  I had always thought being an Admissions Counselor would be the best job ever, so when we found it available, I HAD to apply!  Well, I applied on a Monday, had an inteview the next Thursday, and was offered the job the following Monday.  I never really told anyone that I was applying for it, because really, it was so random and I had no clue whether I would get it or not.

The same day I was offered the job, I had to tell my current boss that I would be leaving.  That was one of the hardest things I've EVER had to do!  Once I told her, though, I felt so much better and could finally be excited and share with the world the news!  Sorry if you found out on Facebook.

Well, fastforward 3 weeks:  I started as an Admissions Counselor this Monday and boy has this week been CRAZY! Highlights from my first week:
Monday: I wasn't exactly sure what people in the office wore, so I thought I would be a little bit dressy and wear high heels.  Well, Erron Flowers and I made our way over to the Sanderson Center to meet a group of 9th graders to give them a bus tour of campus.  When we get there, we were told that they wanted a walking tour, not a bus tour.  GREAT! I'm wearing heels.  So, first day on the job, I walked around the entire campus of MSU in heels.  I still have huge blisters on my feet to prove it.  I changed shoes at lunch and will never wear heels to work again, bc knowing my luck, the time I do will be the random day that someone wants a walking tour.
Tuesday:  One of Dees Murphy's family members passed away and took a few days off, so Meredith Clifton and I had to cover her college fairs.  I got to work at 6 am so we could travel and be at all of the college fairs this day.  Talked to hundreds of students about coming to MSU and stayed the night in Tupelo.  **I bought the cutest maroon lamp for my office!**
Wednesday:  Ready to go at 6 am for another full day of college fairs!  Made it back to Stark later that evening.
Thursday and Friday:  These days were fairly normal.. sat in on meetings with families and learned a lot about admissions requirements and all that good stuff!

Needless to say, I am LOVING my job!!! (P.S. I get to work with Lindsay Sistrunk... be jealous.) Most weeks won't be as crazy as this one has been.  I should be traveling maybe 1-2 days a week and will be in the office meeting with families the rest of the time.  I love Mississippi State- always have!- and I love getting to talk with high schoolers about choosing MSU for college.  :)  I also love working in such a fun office surrounded by such great people!  It is such a blessing.

So, in other news, Jesse is currently in Atlanta for a class trip.  He is going to IKEA this morning to get bookshelves for our living room!  He gets back sometime this afternoon.  I'm pumped about these bookshelves, because once we load them up, we should have NO MORE BOXES left in the house!  Wooo Hooooo!  I promise, as soon as it gets finished and I can find my camera, I will do a house picture post!

We are looking to join a sunday school class at First Pres and are really excited about it!  We love First Pres and love being involved in the church body.  We are both still very active with the college ministry, Intermission, and Jesse is leading worship on Sept 26!  It's so great to have a church home to serve in and among other believers.  My pilates class at church is still doing good - hoping to have some new people join the class this week. Also, this week kicked off leadership team meeting and Thursday night bible study.  Love my church!

I guess that is most of the news recently in the English household... final tidbits: Still training for the half marathon...slowly but surely!  It will be here before I know it. Went on a run with JP Corhern this morning.  We have had our first houseguests: Becca and Brian Page, my parents, Kyle Lynch, BJ Wilson and his friend (sorry friend- I can't remember your name), and Kaylan Norman.  Looking forward to adding more of you on that list this football season! Oh! Kelley and I took Maggie to the dog partk for the first time last night and she LOVED it.  I forsee many trips there in the future. She played for an hour and had a ball.

I guess that is about it for now. Go Dawgs tonight!  Beat LSU!

 Love you all!  Sorry again for the belated post. I will do better!


Rainin on Sunday

Oh the joys of a rainy Sunday afternoon!  This weekend has been great - I would say relaxing would be the key word. :) 

Friday, I left for a leadership retreat for First Pres college ministry at the Tombigbee River.  It was a great time full of prayer, reading the word, preparing for ministry, food, and games.  We have a very eclectic group this year on LT, so it was really fun to spend time with people who aren't like me.  We stayed at a beautiful river house owned by a couple from church and had lunch on Saturday at the "Down Yonder Cafe".... yes, it is exactly as you picture in your head just now. I had fried catfish, green beans and macaroni and cheese. Yum!

I got home Saturday afternoon and was greeted by my very hospitable puppy and my sweet husband doing laundry. Jesse and I just spent the rest of the day together - which was amazing!  I'm dreading the semester getting busy, but alas, I know for him it will.  As we are still not fully settled, we mainly worked in the guest room (which has become the "Where does this go?"  "I don't know, just put it in the guest room" room).   Why, you ask?  Because we are having our very first house guests this weekend!  Becca and Brian Page will be staying here at the English Bed and Breakfast in the Lodge Room Thursday night and my parents will be here on Friday/Saturday.  I'm super excited about house guests and MSU Football kicking off! Go Dawgs!

As for today, we woke up to a steady rain, went to church where Olin preached on Psalm 51, and had a lunch date at Bulldog Deli (be jealous)!  This afternoon has consisted of the rest of the laundry, some schoolwork, and Jesse's NFL Fantasy Football draft.  In honor of a rainy Sunday afternoon, I decided to make oatmeal chocolate chip cookies.  Yumm.  Since I'm such a nice person, I'm going to share the recipe with you. ;)  

Vanishing Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies (makes 4 dozen)

2 sticks butter, softened
1 c. firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 c. granulated sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
1-1/2 c. all purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. salt
3 c. oats (uncooked- quick or old fashioned)
1 c. chocolate chips

Heat oven to 350 degrees
Beat butter and sugars until creamy
Add eggs and vanilla - beat well
Add flour, soda, cinnamon, and salt - mix well
Stir in oats and chocolate chips
Drop by tablespoons onto ungreased cookie sheet
Bake 10-12 minutes/ until golden brown
Cool 1 minute then remove to wire rack.

Too bad dogs can't have cookies, because Maggie sure wanted some! 
 Here's my "little baby puppy", as Uncle Kyle says, in Memphis 2 weekends ago:

And here she is today!  I think she's grown. :)

Much love from the Englishes!


Amazing Dinner

Hello Faithful Readers!

Things have been crazy in the English household recently  - now we half way settled, but are at the point in a move where you are sick of looking at boxes, are ready to be settled but are just SICK of going through everything.  Blah.  I'll post pictures of the house once everything is settled...the goal is by the 1st footbal game.  Also- expect a post coming up about our recent trip to Memphis!!!

In the meantime, I HAVE to share our amazing dinner last night.  Jesse picked the menu and it was awesome.  
Summer Pasta with Basil, Tomatoes, and Cheese
courtesy of allrecipes.com


  • 2 pounds vine ripened tomatoes, seeded and diced  (we used 1 1/2 lbs of Roma)
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh basil (from our garden!)
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint leaves (from our garden!)
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup cream sherry  (we used balsamic vinegar and it was amazing)
  • 12 ounces spaghetti (we used whole wheat angel hair pasta)
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Asiago cheese
  • 2 cups fontina cheese, shredded (we used Gruyere - also amazing)


1. In a medium bowl, toss together tomatoes, garlic, basil, mint, salt and black pepper, hot pepper flakes, olive oil, and cream sherry. Let stand at room temperature for up to 2 hours, stirring occasionally.

2. Cook the pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water until tender, but firm to the bite.

3. Drain the pasta, and transfer to a large serving bowl. Drain 1/4 cup of the liquid from the tomato mixture, and toss with the pasta to coat. Add cheese, and toss until it begins to melt. Add the tomato mixture, and toss until mixed.

We topped ours with fresh parsley and it was amazing!  With it we had homemade  herb bread (made by Jesse's mom) dipped in olive oil and freshly ground black pepper.  

Talk about AMAZING.  Love the fresh herbs for our garden.  I wish I had taken a picture because it was very colorful.


Now, if this wasn't enough.... (and at this point, we pretended we weren't full) we made Alton Brown's recipe for Angel Food Cake.  I had some strawberries in the fridge that needed to get eaten so of course we made homemade angel food cake with real whipped cream!

If you have ever watched Alton Brown on the Food Network, you know how particular he can be...

Angel Food Cake
courtesy of foodnetwork.com


  • 1 3/4 cups sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup cake flour, sifted 
  • 12 egg whites (the closer to room temperature the better)
  • 1/3 cup warm water
  • 1 teaspoon orange extract, or extract of your choice
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cream of tartar


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
In a food processor spin sugar about 2 minutes until it is superfine. Sift half of the sugar with the salt the cake flour, setting the remaining sugar aside.
In a large bowl, use a balloon whisk to thoroughly combine egg whites, water, orange extract, and cream of tartar. After 2 minutes, switch to a hand mixer. Slowly sift the reserved sugar, beating continuously at medium speed. Once you have achieved medium peaks, sift enough of the flour mixture in to dust the top of the foam. Using a spatula fold in gently. Continue until all of the flour mixture is incorporated.
Carefully spoon mixture into an ungreased tube pan. Bake for 35 minutes before checking for doneness with a wooden skewer. (When inserted halfway between the inner and outer wall, the skewer should come out dry).
Cool upside down on cooling rack for at least an hour before removing from pan.
Cook's Note: Since they're easier to separate use the freshest eggs you can get.

Oooooeeeeeee.  We topped this cake with fresh strawberries and real whipped cream.  Ok, I think we consumed enough calories for the week.  No more eating for us!

Now.... get your grocery list started and include everything you need to make this pasta.  I promise you won't be disappointed!