Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Front Porch Living!

Summer is finally here! We are just about to head out on vacation to Black Butte in Oregon! We get to stay with family and see some of our favorite friends that we don't get to see all that often. We are looking forward to a week of Togetherness, Pool Time, Tennis Tournaments, Bike Riding, Family Dinners, More Pool Time, Reading, Early Morning Walks, Family Fued, and probably some more pool time! We can't wait! But before all that fun begins I wanted to leave you with an installment of our latest Dinner @ Eight!

During nap time I prepped our meal... super yummy Cape Cod Chopped Salad.
Look at those ingredients....some might call this a $10 salad :)

I knew Damion would love it because it had BACON in it. I am not really a bacon fan ( I know shocking...I am just happy that there is at least one fattening food that doesn't strike my fancy) Anyway... the above picture shows my set up for roasting the bacon. It is my preferred method of cooking bacon for multiple reasons 1. it stinks up the house less 2. if you bake it in a little foil pouch like this you can just remove the bacon, roll up the foil, grease inside, and throw it away just like that! 3. the pan stays clean!
Beautiful Ava woke up mid-prep so she got to help me! We brought furniture and plants and decor from inside to make the porch a little fancier then normal. I wish it looked more like this all the time! I added white twinkle lights and tea lights that somehow I didn't manage to get a good picture of so you'll just have to imagine :) I also wrote a little love note to Damion.
Our little date nook!
Our date started at just about 8...with only one small interruption from the kids :) We enjoyed our Cape Cod Chopped Salad and Potato Rosemary Bread and saved a little room for a slice of store bought cheesecake and fresh strawberries. We talked about our marriage and how far we have come in the last 7 years. The vacation that I mentioned above got us thinking. We took this same trip two years ago, and we were in a pretty rocky place. I was prego with Noah and Ava was 2. Damion was working tons of hours and going to night school and I was really worn through. We were both in high demand seasons and boy did it show. The season probably would have gone a bit better if we didn't fight when we did have time together, but that is not the story we lived. There were moments that were so painful that I actually considered the D word. I didn't actually want to get a divorce, but I sure didn't want to be married. The pain was too great. (0r so I thought) I felt like I was failing all the time. As the Lord worked in my heart I had many revelations. Just as an example, I realized that I was working really hard to please Damion in areas that I thought were important. As my eyes were opened, and I intentionally listened, I realized I needed to work less hard in those areas, and change my focus to the areas that really counted to Damion. I also needed to encourage my husband more about how hard he works and not complain about the long hours. After all, he is doing all this back breaking work because he loves me. I wanted to love to welcome him home instead of begrudgingly accept him after a long days work. As I obeyed day by day the Lord changed me. I used to have an arsenal of criticism for my hardworking husband...and today I am overwhelmed with praise. I married well. Damion is the hardest working, most compassionate and considerate husband and father. Talk about selfless..I could write a book on all the ways this man has served me, just this week. He loves well. Praise God he changed me so that I could see the gift in front of me.

As we looked back, we realized how much we learned through the struggle. We have ALOT more grace for one another and ALOT more agreement. Although that season was emotionally and spiritually excruciating, the Lord was FAITHFUL to bring us through. Not only did he bring us through, but we are more in love than ever and we both got an upgrade in faith and character. Along the way we read a book called Sacred Marriage, the tag line is this: What if God designed marriage to make us holy more then to make us happy? Gary Thomas is the author. This book definitely helped us in the journey! Okay, now back to the date:
Damion read the note I wrote him and then we also looked back through the letters we wrote each other during our first year of marriage...the year he spent in Iraq. That season the Lord solidified many areas of our theology and our trust in Him- in life and in death. What a gift. It was so fun to read through those precious letters.

We ended the night feeling so blessed that the Lord put the two of us together! Love you all deeply! I am so enjoying dating my husband and hearing all your fun stories!

Here is the recipe for Cape Cod Chopped Salad (it won't disappoint):

6 pieces quality bacon
8 ounces baby arugula (I just used lettuce from the garden...but this would be fantastic with favorite lettuce (has a peppery taste to it)
1 large granny smith apple
1/2 cup toasted walnut halves ( I used pecans)
1/2 cup dried cranberries (I used cherries)
6 ounces crumbled blue cheese

For the Dressing: ( halved this and we had plenty)

3 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 tsp grated orange zest
2 tbsp freshly squeezed orange juice
2 1/2 tbsp Dijon mustard
2 tbsp maple syrup
kosher salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
2/3 cup extra virgin olive oil


Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Place bacon on tin foil and place on a baking sheet. Roast the bacon for about 20 minutes, or until nicely browned. Allow to cool.

In a large bowl, toss together the arugula, apple, walnuts, cranberries, and blue cheese.

For the dressing, whisk together the vinegar, orange zest and juice, mustard, maple syrup, salt to taste and black pepper. slowly whisk in the olive oil.

Chop the bacon in large pieces and add to the salad. Toss the salad with just enough dressing to moisten. Sprinkle with a little salt and serve immediately. Enjoy!


  1. Wow, Candace--thank you for sharing your heart. This is so encouraging, you guys are definitely a powerful team for the Lord! I can't wait to spend some great quality time with you guys!

  2. Beautiful story, I remember it well. And now- Victory!!!
    Vacation sounds like it's going to be AMAZING!
    Love you so much.

    I love salad, and this one looks incredible. Hey, I found this great pack of four salad toppings at Costco- little blue tortilla chips, crispy wontons, etc. But it's made salads that much more fun!

    Love you tons.