Catching Katy

Reads, Eats, & Everything Else


1 Comment

You and Me Forever

We are part of a married small group through Buckhead Church. We really enjoy being able to spend time with other married couples who are in a similar stage in life – and we all are because we’ve all been married less than a year – and have great leaders who are a little further along in their experience. We’ve done various studies and recently finished You and Me Forever: Marriage in Light of Eternity by Francis and Lisa Chan.

If you’re not familiar with Francis Chan, he is a very “real” writer and speaker. He will tell you how it is and doesn’t sugarcoat things. The main premise of this book is that by making things right with God and striving for a life Jesus would be proud of, you will also have the benefit of a meaningful and fulfilling marriage. Now we all know no one can actually accomplish a life anywhere near to that of Jesus. But that is the goal. It was hard to read and think about the fact that in heaven, you won’t have a husband or wife. That we should be anxiously awaiting the day that Jesus returns and have no problem with that happening tomorrow regardless of what you still want to do or accomplish here on Earth. But that should be the ultimate desire of Christians.

There were videos to go with each chapter which I always like and each chapter had parts written by both Francis and Lisa. It did feel repetitive at times, which made it drag on a little bit. But it triggered some great discussion in our group as well as at home. And it’s good for newlyweds and for couples who have been married a while. It even has a chapter on parenting!


Leave a comment

Little Fires Everywhere

I have finished a few books recently so am behind on my reviews. I read Celeste Ng’s other book, Everything I Never Told You, a few years ago. After starting Little Fires Everywhere, I remembered more about that book, or really Ng’s writing style.

Little Fires Everywhere was an interesting book about suburban America, set in a real Ohio town where Ng grew up. It covers a lot of issues – adoption, parental rights, parenting, race, social class, family dynamics. Possibly too many issues. Overall I thought the book was slow, which is how her other book was for me as well. I also was not thrilled with the ending.

A single mother, Mia, and her daughter Pearl find their way to Shaker Heights, an suburb touted as the best in America. They never stay long in any place, but Pearl quickly makes friends with the children of a typical, wealthier Shaker Heights family, the Richardsons. Throughout the story, glimpses of Mia’s secretive past creep in but eventually, a local scandal pushes Mrs. Richardson, a local journalist, to dive deep into Mia’s past. The local scandal is a family attempting to adopt a Chinese baby who was left at a fire station, but the mother resurfaces and wants her daughter back. I cannot imagine how hard this would be from either side. The Richardson children end up with various relationships and debts to Mia which Mrs. Richardson will not accept.

Little Fires Everywhere is an interesting outsiders look at a Stepford-like town, both from the reader’s perspective and Mia’s outsider perspective. Again, it’s a little slow so I wouldn’t expect to fly through it. And it covers more serious topics, so don’t expect to laugh. But it was interesting and a great commentary on social relations in a small town.


Leave a comment

Pure Barre

I’ll admit that I can get sucked into fitness trends. I like to switch it up and not do the same thing ALL the time. When I lived in Nashville, barre studios were opening like wildfire. And I hit them all up using various Groupons and Living Socials and first month cheap deals. It was a great workout.

So when Pure Barre opened a studio a mile from my condo in Brookhaven, of course I had to check it out. I think I got a pre-opening one month deal. But I didn’t continue after that because, to be honest, it’ not cheap. But then I got engaged. And who doesn’t want to look amazing on their wedding day?! My friend had done the pre-wedding Pure Barre regime and looked amazing so what did I have to lose?! I didn’t necessarily have weight to lose, I just wanted to be toned, feel healthy, and feel good about my body!

So I started with a pre-wedding package at Pure Barre Brookhaven a few months before my wedding. Right from the start, everyone was super nice and welcoming and every single class was challenging. And that can be hard to achieve at 5:30 in the morning. Yes, I’m a morning person and have to exercise in the morning or it just won’t happen.

Well after a few months I was hooked. And as with many things, the more you buy, the better the deal. So we worked it out in the budget and I committed to a year. Two to three months after that I reached 100 classes and got some cool socks.

And then this past weekend I hit 250 CLASSES (and got some more socks and a gift card)! Each class is about 50 minutes so that’s 12,500 hours of tucking, crunching, lifting, toning burning, shaking, and sweating. It truly is a full body workout.

The best part about it is that they celebrate achievements and do challenges to help push you. And challenges always have prizes. I have SO enjoyed my year+ at Pure Barre Brookhaven! And yes, every class is still hard and challenging. If you’ve never tried a barre class, you definitely should. No dance or ballet experience required. No formal exercise training required. The instructors will make sure you know what you’re doing and doing it correctly.

Sadly we are moving soon and I will not be close enough to a studio. But maybe I can still pop in from time to time to get my tuck fix. Thanks Pure Barre Brookhaven for an amazing workout and for helping me stay in shape! Here’s to my last 2 weeks!!


1 Comment

French Boneless Chicken

I have a wonderful cookbook called Entertaining with Friends and it was made by the Monroe Carell, Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt, where I was a patient through college. It was a wonderful place that does great things for kids and families. I think a friend gave me the cookbook but honestly I can’t remember.

20140216_193131

I don’t know about anyone else, but I don’t do a great job of using my cookbooks. I usually have a couple of recipes from it that I make and then it gets put to the side and forgotten about. This is one my go-to recipes from this cookbook that I wanted to share.

It’s a pretty easy recipe and we actually had everything we needed when I thought to make it recently. I remembered to take pictures a little late so they’re not quite as detailed as I usually like for recipe posts but you’ll get the idea!

Start with your ingredients and some prep. Pound and season the chicken. I also cut the breasts in half. Chop the onion and quarter the mushrooms. We accidentally chopped the mushrooms because the recipe right next to this one requires chopped mushrooms. But it’s still mushrooms all the same!

Briefly sauté the chicken then place in a baking dish. Sprinkle the cheese on top of the chicken. Then make the sauce in the same pan, adding each ingredient and letting it cook. First the onion, then mushrooms, then the wine and simmer.

Pour the onion mixture over the chicken and bake!

img_2900

We also baked some delicious brussel sprouts with our go to recipe – salt, pepper, olive oil, and balsamic vinegar. Add a salad, bread, rice, whatever other sides you want!

img_2901


French Boneless Chicken

Ingredients

  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken pieces
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • Garlic powder to taste
  • 3 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp. butter
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 8 ounces mushrooms, cut into quarters
  • ⅓ to ½ C white wine
  • 1 C (4 oz.) shredded mozzarella cheese

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350⁰
  2. Pound the chicken to a uniform thickness. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, and garlic powder.
  3. Heat 1 ½ Tbsp. olive oil and 1 Tbsp. butter in a skillet. Add the chicken and sauté briefly. Remove to a baking dish.
  4. Melt the remaining 1 ½ Tbsp. olive oil and 1 Tbsp. butter in the same skillet. Add the onion and sauté until tender. Add the mushrooms and sauté until tender. Stir in the wine. Simmer for a few minutes.
  5. Sprinkle cheese on top of the chicken. Top with mushroom mixture.
  6. Bake for 30-45 minutes or until bubbly and the chicken is cooked through.

Yields 4-6 servings

Happy cooking! Print the recipe here: French Boneless Chicken

 


Leave a comment

Puppies!

Happy National Puppy Day!! This week marked 10 years of having my precious pup. He’s obviously not a puppy anymore but every dog still has a little puppy in him. I got Tucker 10 years ago from a coworker who was not able to keep him anymore. He was 3 at the time and had been rescued as a puppy. He was terrified of everything. He warmed up to me and my 3 roommates fairly quickly, but we were recent graduates/in graduate school and liked to have people over to our fabulous rental house in Nashville. He would run upstairs and hide every time someone came to the house.

It wasn’t a completely smooth transition – including one escape to chase after me which resulted in him getting hit by a slow-moving car. He bolted but miraculously reappeared at the front door 6-8 hours later. He had only been with us about a month! We pretty much forced him to be social and he became a completely different dog.

img_2907

He’s weathered moving and living in about 6 different apartments and houses. And most recently has adjusted to having a young, very energetic step-brother. They get along pretty well, though old man Tucker has his snippy moments.

img_2787

And I can’t let puppy day pass without also doting on Royal who is the sweetest, smartest dog. He may have a little too much energy sometimes but he keeps ya on your toes!

img_2912

We love our pups!! ❤

735998e9-12c5-4f1e-826c-00e8e437b4c2


4 Comments

AR Workshop

I like to be crafty and I like the idea of DIY but I am also a slight perfectionist (though not nearly as bad as I used to be). I also have trouble decorating. I have trouble visualizing decor and making decisions. So all around some issues! Luckily for me there are lovely little shops and activities that can solve many of these problems.

I’ve tried the sip and paint places and painting is definitely not my gift. I’ve done a couple and have never painted anything I would actually hang on the wall. Then last year my friend discovered AR Workshop. There are a number of them around Atlanta (and around the country) and we have now been to two different locations. They have mostly wood projects – signs, frames, display boxes, clocks, trays. You pick your date and project (some can be customized) ahead of time to reserve your spot then just show up! At the locations here you can also bring your own wine.

This is also not the cheapest activity you will do but think about it. You end up with a piece of decor that you made (or at least put together and painted) that you can actually use in your house. I love it!

Last year the shop in Lawrenceville had a Christmas in July sale so we made Christmas decor. I made a plank sign that I did actually hang on the wall, though I wish I had done a couple things differently. This time we hit up the Smyrna location since it was a little closer for two of us. Since we are moving to our new house soon and we got married last year, I wanted to do something cute with our last name.

When you get there, everything is set up for you! Your wood pieces, the stencil of your design, and any materials might need. You’ll have a pro or two (depending on how many people are doing projects) who will walk you through every step. Everyone mostly has the same steps, depending on how fancy you want to get. You’ll pick out whatever stain, method, and/or paint you need, and they have lots of examples to looks at as well expert advice to offer.

The first step is always sanding the wood, getting rid of rough edges. Then you stain any wood that needs staining. Mine was the frame that needed staining. You can also use different methods of staining to give it different looks, but since mine is just the frame I kept it to a simple dark stain.

The next step for mine was painting the main board. You could also stain this if you wanted to. I picked a nice gray since that is a main color in our new house.

img_2883

Next, you take your stencil and tape all over the cut-out space with little pieces of tape. Then you peel off the backing from the blue stencil and stick it to your wood. Then you peel off all the little pieces of tape. I’m going to be honest – I have no idea why you do these steps. I didn’t ask, I just did as I was told. I’m sure there’s some science around it and if I sat and thought about it for a minute I could probably figure it out. But I don’t really care how it works, just that it does!

Once your stencil is placed and tape-free, you paint! You dab the paint into the stencil (as opposed to painting strokes). This keeps the paint from getting under the stencil.

Then you peel off the stencil and voila! You have a lovely painted wood project! You may need to do some touch ups, which the expert can you do. And not pictured is the putting it all together. In my case it was using a nail gun to put the frame on. I know, I know – how could I not get photographic evidence of the nail gun. It’s obviously the coolest part. Next time.

img_2899

I loved my project and will definitely go back, even it’s once a year when there is a specific project I have in mind or holiday I want something for. I highly recommend getting a group together and checking it out. Find one near you!

0b58bdd9-a041-45ff-961c-d47df4bd9bad


Leave a comment

Time’s Convert

Time’s Convert is the fourth book I have read by Deborah Harkness. I read her All Souls Trilogy a couple of years ago and enjoyed them. You can find reviews of those on my reading list. This book involved the same characters – vampires, witches, daemons, warmbloods – but there is not as much action and I felt it was more character development than anything. So it was a little slow. I did enjoy reading about the pasts of some of the vampire characters and how they became vampires, but there was a LOT of detail. Harkness does weave in historical events and people, which was done really well, so that made it more enjoyable.

Overall, I thought it was a little long and boring. And if you do read it, I would definitely recommend reading the All Souls Trilogy first so you have some background on the characters and their relationships to each other.

Seven books complete for my 2019 challenge. Happy reading!

timesconvert