A Balanced Life

Although I feel like I have been studying non stop, I did make some time to spend with family and friends this week. Wednesday night, our sweet friends- the Hodges had us over for dinner. Sarah is an excellent cook and made pretzel encrusted chicken, green beans and sweet potato chips. It was to die for. For dessert, I made a pineapple-pecan cake with cream cheese icing. I caught John eating spoonfuls of icing in the kitchen before we left. So, I'm taking it that the recipe is a keeper!

Pineapple-Pecan Cake with Cream Cheese Icing

2 cups flour
2 cups sugar
2 tsp baking soda
2 eggs
1 20oz can crushed pineapple with juice
1 cup chopped pecans

1 stick butter, softened
1 8oz cream cheese, softened
2 cups confectioners sugar
1 tbsp vanilla

Cake: Preheat oven to 350. Mix the dry ingredients in a large bowl. Add in pineapple (along with its juice), eggs, and the pecans. Stir together and pour mixture into a buttered 9x13 inch baking pan. Bake for 35 minutes. Cool completely before icing!
Icing: While cake is cooling, combine butter, cream cheese, confectioners sugar and vanilla. Beat until smooth. Frost cake using all frosting. Enjoy(& don't forget to lick the bowl)!

Thursday night John and I went to one of our favorite local coffee shops, Church Street Coffee and Books, to meet with our small group. Since it was too late for coffee (and in all honesty, I'm getting too old to be drinking caffeine after 6 PM), I opted for a cup of decaf tea. They had lots of yummy options, but I chose the peppermint. It was so refreshing, warm and just what I needed after a long day of hitting the books.

Friday night John rewarded me for my long hours of taking practice tests by taking me to see Spike Jonze's new movie, Her. It was definitely one of a kind, to say the least. I mean, the main story line is about a man falling in love with his iphone-esque device. Even though it sounds strange, I found myself having more feelings for their relationship than I thought were possible. Afterwards, we took a short walk over to Steel City Pops. We both tried new flavors- carrot cake for me and coconut for him. They were both really good, no surprise. Since we were already out and about, we stopped by another one of our favorite coffee shops, O'Henry's for late night tea.

Saturday night we were so excited to get to see our new baby nephew, William. Since his parents are hard at work 24/7 with their bundle of joy, we decided to bring them dinner. He is so cute and seeing John hold him (like a pro, I might add) was so heart warming. After we got home, my sweet tooth kicked in. So, we decided to make a true Southern classic, a purple cow (grapico and vanilla ice cream). It hit the spot and that along with a game of Scrabble, was the perfect end to the day.

This morning my sweet husband surprised me with breakfast in bed. While I slept in a bit, he was hard at work making banana and chocolate chip pancakes. When I woke up, he was beside our bed holding a tray with a home cooked delicious breakfast. He is too sweet and I am so blessed to have such a romantic man.

Later this afternoon after I had taken a few practice tests, we walked across the street to the botanical gardens. The weather was finally above freezing. So, it was wonderful weather for a walk outside. The gardens are so pretty and there are so many gardens within it. So, every time we go, it feels like we see something new. On this particular walk, we found a greenhouse full of cotton!

Tonight after church, we treated ourselves to Urban Cookhouse for dinner. Their salads are out of this world (I had the Local Mix) and their sandwiches are yummy too (John had the El Cubano), but the best thing we had was the half baked cookie, hands down. It comes in its own miniature cast iron skillet and is topped with vanilla ice cream and drizzled with chocolate syrup. Sweet on the lips and not on the hips, but you have to splurge every now and then, right?

After we finished our delicious dinner, we went to Good People Brewing Company to catch a free concert. That's right, I said FREE. Lera Lynn and her band came down from Nashville for tonight's show and didn't disappoint. They reminded John and I of the likes of Ryan Adams or First Aid Kit. They put on a quite a show and the laid back atmosphere was awesome.

It's hard to believe that in a week and a half I will be done with boards (of course I won't find out my score until the end of the month- so, let the prayers continue). Even though I have spent most of my time staring at textbooks, notes, and computer screens- I have been lucky enough to have friends and family who support me and bring balance to my life. 


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