Monday, May 28, 2012

Work of Love

Today I conquered a fear... whole chicken.

Anyone else have this problem? One look at the skin and let's not even mention the innards... and gag.

For the love of our four-legged chocolaty goodness, I prepared this protein rich food supplement out of determination and frugalness.

This small organic, free-range chicken made almost 5 cups of meat and 11 cups of broth! 

Best part? The chicken was on sale at Kroger for $6! Total steal. There's the frugal!

How do you boil a whole chicken?

Easy. If your chicken has innards, pull them out. I threw mine right into the trash quicker than I care to admit... but saner people than myself actually cook them. Rinse the chicken, place in a big pot and add water to cover. Bring to boil uncovered and then reduce to simmer and cover. I flipped my chicken every 20 minutes till an hour passed. You know when the chicken is done because the legs and wings fall right off. Pull it out, let it sit for about 10-15 minuted to cool slightly and then shred. 

If you are making a full flavored chicken stock, add carrots, onion, celery, etc. I kept mine bland because I'm using the broth and meat for Memphis. 

Anything for this "not so little anymore" guy...

He's worth all the innards in the world!

Danielle Jones

Saturday, May 26, 2012

One Little Bird Pitched on Our Doorstep

Last night, we had an unexpected guest visit our home...

He was hanging on the front door wreath and flew in when we opened the door. 

Poor thing was hurt and in shock. Not being able to help this tiny creature broke my heart. 

After a while, Clay was able to catch the bird with a towel and place it back outside.

Thank you precious little bird for stopping by. 

I choose to believe that you are somewhere now singing these beautiful Bob Marley lyrics, reminding the world that every little thing will be alright. 

Till next time,

Danielle Jones

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Chocolate Truffle Cookies

*Adapted from Ellie Krieger's Triple Chocolate Cookies

What you'll need:
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened*
  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup Sugar in the Raw 
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil (bring to liquid form in microwave, doesn't take much!)
  • 1 egg*
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup King Arthur's Unbleached All-Purpose Flour 
  • 1/2 cup coconut flour
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder 
  • pinch of Himalayan Pink Salt (about a teaspoon) 
  • 1 box of Trader Joe's Dark Chocolate Hearts with Rich Truffle Filling (You can fill with any chocolate candy you'd like. These chocolate are available during Valentines, so next time I might try Dove Hearts. Any chocolate candy will do. Pick your favorite!) 
*Must be at room temperature so that it doesn't solidify the coconut oil during mixing. 

Note: Some of my ingredients are pretty specific and that is for those of you that are like me and enjoy knowing exactly what someone used in their recipe. Free free to use whatever you have in your home! Check our original recipe for alternatives. 

What you'll do:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. In mixer, blend together the butter and sugars until well combined. Add the oil and egg and blend until creamy. Add vanilla. In another bowl, whisk together the flours, cocoa powder, and salt. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients in three parts. This allows for better distribution of ingredients and a smoother batter. 

Using an ice-cream scoop, scoop the batter onto an ungreased cookie sheet. Place your chocolate of choice on top of each mound and press down slightly. These cookies do not expand, so whatever the circumference your cookies are before baking, they will be pretty much the same when they come out. Bake for 12 minutes. Transfer cookies to a rack to cool.

Of course, I didn't have the patience last night to wait till the truffle cooled completely and I must say, they are much better this morning. The smooth texture of the truffle against the roughness of the cookie is wonderful. Hope you enjoy!

Happy Baking,

Danielle Jones

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

The Day A Solider Lived

Heavenly Father,

What can I say, other than "Thank  You?" How can I do anything else but pour my heart out to you in constant gratitude? Two years ago today, you kept this world from taking my husband. You surrounded him with angels and blessed our testimony with a miracle. You gave him the wisdom to wear his bullet proof gear when the other guys looked upon this routine with eyes of invincibility. Without it, the large pieces of shrapnel, now sealed tight in a jar, would have penetrated his chest and killed him instantly. You allowed pieces to graze the top of his helmet, surrounding him left and right. You comforted his fall with minor injuries, yet allowed hundreds, possibly thousands of tiny pieces to enter his arm and cheek. You left scars that will never let us forget the day you spoke loudly, "You are mine and I have great plans for you." Allow us to never forget the emotions that came and went during this time. Allow us to speak of your grace and mercy to others and testify of your Mighty Hand for years to come. Just as you spoke the world into motion, I believe you spoke into motion every piece of metal that was aimed directly at Clay. You provided swift hands and feet to the men around him. Father, my words are so futile to what is felt in my heart. Thank you for allowing us to still dream and walk together as husband and wife. Thank you for saving a husband, brother, son, best friend, and the future father to our children. I can't imagine growing old with anyone else besides him. Thank you for our love, Father. More than that, thank you for first loving us. May the 14th of March be a special day of remembrance for the rest of our lives, not only for your saving grace, but also in gratitude to all of the families who have, are, and will sacrifice for the freedoms we have... Amen.

Many of you may recognize this prayer because it was posted exactly one year ago today. I will continue pray this prayer for the rest of my life. March 14 has been forever marked. 

Danielle Jones

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Photo a Day - Week 1

Love this. I know it's older, but it was the perfect UP photo. Couldn't resist.

For me, this was an easy photo to get because I eat fruit every day! I love it! Favorite, couldn't tell you... least favorite - apples! 

Clay and I love to take Memphis down to this section of our complex. It's beautiful and Memphis gets his energy out! He loves getting into the river too.

I decided to start reading for fun again and started with the Time Quintet. I have enjoyed reading the books so much and am glad to say that I have read A Wrinkle in Time! 

Do I really need to say more? He is marvelous. 

Does anyone else laugh out loud continually during this show? Barbra Jean and Van crack me up!! One of these days, I hope to own the box set.

Like the uh, tiger markings on my shoes!? 
Memphis thought they needed a little texture.
Wanna know what these photos are all about?

Danielle Jones

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Happy 80th Papaw!


This past weekend, I traveled to Memphis with my aunt and cousin to surprise my Papaw for his 80th birthday! We had a wonderful trip...even if we did stay only a day!
Here is what we did:

First, we ate a wonderful lunch at The Trolley Stop Market with family. Then, we celebrated the big day with dinner at Abuelos. Naturally :)


The food was terrific, atmosphere relaxing, service outstanding, and the evening was well spent with loved ones. What a memorable time! Thank you John for taking such great care of my family, celebrating 80 years of a wonderful life. 

Here is to you Papaw! God has blessed you with so many talents. I'm thankful for being able to enjoy your work right here in my home and the love each piece represents.  You are an inspiration!

Happy Birthday!! I love you!

Danielle Jones

Friday, February 17, 2012

Still Rockin' V-Day

Clayton and I celebrated Valentines Day last night due to his midterms and my cranky wisdom tooth. Last year, he was super sweet and got me my FAVORITE animated movie, Up. If you haven't seen it, please do yourself a favor and watch it! It'll make you cry,  laugh and dream of growing old with your best friend. 
So, this year, he continued with the movie theme and bought me Lady and the Tramp! I was so excited because I dropped a couple hints when I saw the commercials and he got it! Such a great listener. 
I have this thing... when I am oober excited about something, I CANNOT wait to open it. Even if I can't use it right away. I do this all the time grocery shopping. Unfortunately, because of this obsession... some groceries sadly never make it home. 
Of course, I began opening the DVD right away. Were we going to watch it right then a there? Nope. Were balloons and pixie dust going to fly out of the box upon opening and congratulate me on a Magical Disney trip? Nope... but that would have been pretty darn cool! 
I found the Disney Rewards code sheet and shrieked like a five year old girl. Come on, I'm getting close to 1000 points!
But then something magical did happen... Clay asked me what kind of version the DVD was. I thought for a second and answered... "Uuummm... Blue-Ray?" Where was this going?
"Yes, but what kind?"
I took a second look and then noticed the top of the box, which stated, "Diamond Edition." 
Gulp... yes, folks it happened. 
As the words were leaving my mouth, Clayton reached in his pocket and pulled out an 
absolutely gorgeous set of diamond earrings! 
I couldn't believe it. I have always wanted a pair and these are my first! My excitement is greater today than it was yesterday because the shock has worn off. A little. 
Now I know how Gollum feels.
Naturally, the evening continued with a wonderful Italian dinner at Cafe Prego.

Visiting Atlanta? Go get you some Prego and I don't mean out of a glass jar. The atmosphere brings you into a little piece of Italy, the food is great, and the service was authentic and kind. 
Thank you to my adorable, bright, caring, delightful, encouraging, fabulous, gifted, handsome, intelligent, jocular, kind, lovable, marvelous, nice, outstanding, powerful, quiet, romantic, sexy, talented, unique, valuable, wonderful, xenophilic, youthful, zingy husband. Your my greatest treasure and I love you!

Danielle Jones

Sunday, January 22, 2012

The Fun, Adorable, Lovable Whale!

I just completed my first sewing project! Ok, so I may have just fibbed a little. My very first project on a sewing machine included these adorable felt stockings I made with the sweetest gal ever, Melissa.

Go make yourself a cup of coffee and visit her out at Greener Grass. Promise you won't leave without wanting to be her new best friend! 

My wonderful husband surprised me with a sewing machine for Christmas and I have been looking for a doable project to break the ice. This was it:

I found this cute idea thorough Pinterest a couple days ago and fell in love. Craftinessisnotoptional is a very helpful site for beginners such as myself.  The tutorials are very easy to follow and templates are included! Food Tutorials, like these felt kiwi, are next on my list. 

Memphis was VERY interested in my new creation!
Here is to fearless treading into the vast, rewarding, never ending world of sewing...


Danielle Jones

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Font Heaven!

Please O Please go, right now, to this website:
Promise You’ll have a blast!
Danielle Jones

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Share The Love

Project Live Love is a non-profit organization designed to influence culture through the power of love. Not just any type of love, but "love in action."

Our Mission: Think Love. Share Love. Do Love.
Our Project: Paint a Room and Feed Residents at an At-Risk Rehab
Our Motivation: We love because He first loved us. 1 John 4:19
Project Live Love allows you to tell your feet where to go and they follow without fault. One of my prayers since I have moved to Atlanta has been for volunteer opportunities. I want to meet the people of Atlanta, develop relationships, and become a cheerful giver of my time. 
Doors are beginning to open. As of today, I have committed myself to Project Live Love every quarter and am also looking forward to another wonderful event called Expedition Give at the end of the year, which I discovered through watching Jeopardy this week! Good PR from a contestant :)
The Lord is tugging on my heart strings and am excited to see what He has planned. On my way to the event this morning, I blared this song in my car, lifting it up to the Lord in prayer. Hope it is a source of encouragement for you, just as it was for me. 

What a blessing it was to be a part of such an incredible initiative today! 
Especially, with this sweet lady...

Happy Birthday Twinkie! 
Wanna learn more about P.L.L.? Wanna get involved!? Please visit HERE for more details. 
Time to tell your feet to start walking the walk.

Danielle Jones

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Happy Twenty-Twelve!

I know what you are thinking. How can she go from a Thanksgiving post to Happy 2012? Do the Joneses even celebrate Christmas!?
Let's just say, life is a constant adjustment and a couple things, including my blog, have been placed on the back burner. To be honest, finding a balance in this chapter of our life is proving to be more difficult than I anticipated. We haven't quite found our groove yet. But we will!
I'm not a fan of moving into such an unknown place, but I'm sure neither were Sarah and Abraham when the Lord uprooted them to Canaan. God has placed us in Atlanta for His purpose and now it's time for us to start asking Him how we can use what He has given us to serve Him most effectively. Just as God's promise was revealed through the birth of Isaac, it's time to believe that our time here will lead to laughter and joy.
So, now... what to catch-ya up on.
We went to Memphis for Christmas and had a wonderful time. Yes, there was stress, craziness, and too much food, but all of that didn't mask the beauty of time spent with family. I so enjoyed getting to spend time with my grandparents. I only wish I had longer. It's amazing how stretched you get when you visit home for the holidays. Scratch that... anytime. You literally become a human ping-pong ball. Those of you married out there know exactly what I'm talking about. Your more tired leaving than when you arrived, but the trip is never regretted. Life is messy and I'm thankful for sharing it with those whom I cherish the most. 

Besides a great Christmas here are some other updates:
  • We bought a new car! 2011 Nissan Rogue. Ole' red finally bit the dust. Gonna miss that car.
  • I have committed myself to a "Thankfulness Journal." I write 3 things down everyday that I am thankful for. Can't wait to see what the Lord has planned for 2012!
  • I'm reading an AMAZING book. Will blog on it soon. Promise!
  • Santa Clay bought me a sewing machine for Christmas!! Excitement is an understatement to how I feel about this new addition to our home! 
  • With Clay on break, I have become a Skyrim widow.
  • Florence + The Machine and Of Monsters and Men have been discovered.  F +TM on Pandora = hours of awesomeness! Thank you X-Factor.
  • 2012 is the year of secret projects. I have two and they will be revealed at the end of the year. 
  • Memphis will not stop growing. Stay tuned...
Hope everyone had a great New Years! May the Lord shower your life with His love and grace in abundance this year!

Oh, and thanks for sticking around :)

Danielle Jones