September Aventures

This month has always been one of my favorites. The weather is usually that perfect in-between of cool, crisp mornings, warm, sunshine-y afternoons and cozy evenings all in one day.

Anticipation of October, the heart of fall.

Apple picking.

Soft and subtle color changing.

Cinnamon scents that remind me of home.

The beginning of this month brought the most unanticipated of hardships; something that I’d never felt before. But following those first few weeks I have experienced a healing so true to the Lord’s heart, filled with family, friendships and experiencing beauty in the things I love.

Here are a few snapshots capturing some of my September adventures-

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The Terrain at Styers and Longwood Gardens

My mom gave Brent & I two tickets to Longwood Gardens- I was so excited because I had never been there before! We decided to make it a day and Brent took me to one of my favorite places, The Terrain at Styers. Terrain has done an amazing job of creating an atmosphere that invites inspiration. I loved experiencing the first subtle touches of autumn; mini white pumpkins, wheat, and dried flowers in bright red and orange hues. We ate lunch in the cafe, and after my delicious wheatberry salad I indulged in a white chocolate pumpkin latte. It was heavenly, and I again came to the conclusion that trips to Terrain do not disappoint.

My favorite part of Longwood was definitely the wildflower fields. Brent and I walked through the hills and valleys of these bright yellow buds and I felt surrounded by beauty. The sky was clear blue that Sunday, and in the midst of a pretty raw week I felt so much peace.interior
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Hiking on the Appalacian Trail

Last weekend Brent &  I spent Saturday hiking with some friends on the Appalacian Trail. Our friends were camping, so we decided to hike into the site with them, and then hike back out. We, or at least I, forgot that we were doing in one day what they would be doing in two. Approximately 12 miles later I felt exhausted, accomplished, and very sore. Brent said, “I thought you like hiking.” That was when I realized that Chickee’s Rock may have been the depths of my hiking experience prior to this.

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{I survived!!!}

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Visiting Carolyn at Eastern University in Wayne, PA

I mentioned a few posts back that Carolyn started her college career at Eastern University this fall! I miss her dearly, but am practically ecstatic that she chose a school in one of my favorite areas. The little town of Wayne is in walking distance from her dorm, and the best part is it’s a beautiful walk, especially with yesterday’s weather! We had so much fun looking at all the gorgeous homes in neighborhoods attaching Eastern’s campus to Wayne. Once in town, Carolyn & I ate lunch at this fun little place called Elegance Cafe. The cafe offered a variety of homemade salads and breads, and reminded me of Brent and my favorite market stand here in Lancaster, The Goodie Shop. I ended up with a delicious avocado chickpea salad and my favorite, caprese. We followed lunch with a trip to Carolyn’s fav place in town, a coffee shop of course. The Gryphon provided us with just the fuel we needed to finish our day out shopping. Energized on pumpkin spice (what else) we hit thrift stores with some great finds, the Gap downtown which had amazing deals, and of course Trader Joes for my monthly grocery trip.

It was a refreshing and much needed sister day, and I realized how lucky I am to have a sister who is one of my best friends.

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This September has not been perfect, the blue skies haven’t always been easy to see, but this morning as I journaled my heart felt overwhelemed with the moments and experiences I’ve been blessed with in this season. I have felt love abounding and grace dawning with each new day. Another month of memories for me to cherish. Time expanded and rest created where I couldn’t forsee it.
With October will come more excitement, and more moments I’m sure! Brent and I purchased our first home and will be moving on November 1, so I’ve begun planning my “packing days” already!
But today I am thankful for September’s adventures.

let’s be real here. {a tribute to 2013}

 2013.

My Year in Review.

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The Big Move

With January came a whirlwind of change. In other words, I dived right into this whole new year. The first week of 2013 I moved from my parents’ home in Ronks to my little city apartment. The move was seven miles. That’s it. So you’re probably wondering, “why oh why did Katie spend night after night mourning the loss of her family and home when she could’ve literally run home?”  And it’s true. You have a very valid point.

This move was major for me, and I did cry. I actually would say I hyperventilated loudly. This move was neither the prettiest or the most graceful moment in my life. Other than our family migrating up from Baltimore, Maryland, (me at nine years old reacting the same way I did at the ripe old age of 21), I have never moved. I’m the girl who attaches herself to everything and the kitchen sink. At 10 years old my Dad too Carolyn and I to Chicago for a few days. Tea at the American Girl Doll Place, shopping, downtown Christmas decor and a fancy hotel. While my sister, (six at the time), waved goodbye to  Mom and walked out the door, I sobbed and stared backwards out the car windows the whole way to the airport (or at least until I became carsick), all while expressing my concerns about terrorists and airplanes. Family vacations (yes family meaning, with my family) still offered up homesick pangs over things such as my bathroom or my bed.

You get it. Moving out was a big deal. And it’s not even like I assumed I’d live with my parents ’till I was old and gray. I just didn’t picture it happening so fast. See, when Brent and I began to discuss possibilities of marriage I knew I had to start the separation process to spare him a sobbing wife to soothe him to sleep each night. As I approach one year of living on my own, I realize moving into Lancaster was the best possible thing I could’ve chose at that time. I grew in housekeeping, money managing, cooking, and of course, independence. While it was by no means easy, it was well worth it.

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Mrs.

When I was a little girl I dreamed of marriage, I carried my doll-babies in a make-believe Ergo before I knew such things existed. I fed my daddy so many plastic hot dog and pancake sandwiches it probably made him sick. I passionately clung to a mini crush on the boy next door (who was ten years my senior), and I stated, time after time, “when I grow up, I want to be a MOMMY.” While this last statment has not come to fruition, yet, (And i’m ok with that right now), 2013 was the year that delivered me into this forever dream of mine.

Marrying my high school love was perfect. I gained a soul tie that can never be broken, and I can continue clinging to the dream of my youth, because I’m living it! But this dream is not all peaches and rose petals like my mini-mind envisioned. We fight, we snuggle, I cry, we make-up. Whoever coined the term “roller coaster ride” as it pertains to relationships was spot on. I mean seriously, doing life with another person is no simple task.

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{Photos by Amber Martin, Jeremy Hess Photographers}

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I’m an MU GRAD

Holy what the world. No words describe the feeling I get when I realize the fact that, come spring semester at Millersville University, Katie (Sigman) Hostetter will NOT be attending. As i’ve mentioned at numereous points in time, the beginning of my college years was rough to say the least. The past 3.5 years have taught me a thing or two, about myself, about others, and potentially about academic stuff. I learned that parking at Millersville is just as bad as the rumor mill says, that learning MLA format in high school was useless, because not one college professor cares ( AP ALL THE WAY), and that even just holding a cup of coffee in your hands really does make you feel more alert, and altogether more college-y.

As I raced around Millersville’s campus for the last time, trying to correct my minor forgetting-to-sign-up-for-graduation mistake, I realized something. I’m gonna miss that place, I’m going to miss the beautiful pond and the swans [ which I never saw but always seemed to magically appear on brochures and tour days]. I’m going to miss thw simple joy of finding parking in a central location on a rainy day. And I actually, believe it or not, am really going to miss the hours of paper writing punctuated by bathroom and snack breaks. I like writing papers. It’s weird.

All that to say, treasure life’s season. In the moment they may seem rough, at best, but they truly do only come once.

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So here’s to 2013. A year of change upon change, of tears and of laughter, most importantly, of growth. It really is insane how looking back over one whole year so much has evolved. I’m still Kate Elisabeth yet I’m so different. I mean, even my last name has changed! My favorite thing in all of this is that, no matter what, through every season, the Lord has proven faithful to me.

My prayer is that, as I {as WE} enter 2014, we will continue to commit my ways to Him. Life is so messy, and at times nothing seems to be the way we envisioned. It’s crazy to look back and realize so much more than what we feel in the moments.

So a Happy New Year to YOU. A year full of following the Lord’s leading, of stepping out in things yet unseen, of trusting that, upon looking back, you will trace His faithfullness in all things!

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“To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose.”

Ecclesiastes 3:1

[NKJ]

so this is Fall…

It truly is THE most wonderful time of the year… {you may hear this quote come out of my mouth around Christmastime too…or any holiday of the year really.} I love ANY excuse to celebratebakedress accordinglydecorate. So of course, the fact that I know have my own little home to decorate is just feeding this love {addiction} of mine. Between perusing my favorite Facebook blog Cotton & Cashmere and my It’s Fall!! Pinterest Board, I am prepared for the crisp weather and ALL things pumpkin.

Here’s a sneak peek at my fall thus far, specifically the decor part (all on a cash budget I might add 🙂 ).

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Thank you A.C. Moore for these sweet little guys. All I added was a Sharpie touch and they are perfect for our bedroom mantle!

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And there it is-

Pumpkins & berry branches courtesy of A.C. Moore (with the coupon of course).

Brown paper garland courtesy of Cotton & Cashmere (and a J.Crew paper bag).

Framed leaf courtesy of the beautiful tree down the street. No joke.

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Found this gem of an idea on Pinterest of course, so on one of our Mondays off my friend Nicole and I decided to try it. If only we had videoed the two of us with a hand saw, shaping this piece of wood (found in my basement) to the perfect size. I will say, this looks great on my coffee table 🙂

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More berry branches (99 cents each at A.C. Moore) added the perfect touch to my simple Ikea mirror. I have found that simple is perfect because I love accenting way too much to leave anything the same, ever!

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In my kitchen I keep a selection of any dried flowers I have salvaged from Brent’s many bouquets. All it took was a couple perfect leaves to turn this into seasonal decor.

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The best part of my kitchen is THE BEST Yankee candle I think I’ve ever smelled. A friend introduced me to FreebieShark and I got lucky on a BOGO Yankee coupon, turning my $28 candle into a $14 essential for my home!

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My favorite part of decorating was {of course} picking out my pumpkins. A friend and I discovered this amazing stand in Manheim and loaded up on what I would call specialty pumpkins 🙂 The prices were impossible to beat.

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In sum, I spent $40 and ended up with everything I wanted to create that cozy, Autumn atmosphere in {and out} of my home. Perfect fall days are here at last!

I am thankful.

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{besides fall decorating, Katie Hostetter loves Central Market days, long walks, and her hot husband}

pathway to perfection [or lack thereof].

…and so it begins…

Another day in the life of me, starting out on a rough note. 

It’s 8:00 AM on a Saturday morning and I [literally] pop up out of bed, horrified.

How could I have done this? I slept through my alarm. This never happens.

And for one of the first times in my summer I have officially slept past 6:45, no turning back now.

Feeling terribly guilty and mourning the fact that I do not have time between now and 9 AM, when I plan to start painting my new living space, to fit in my morning run, I determine to redeem myself. 

Brent’s coming down, so I’ll surprise him with breakfast.

And so I set out to create the perfect yogurt parfaits, a specially iced coffee drink, and throw a quiche in the oven for a little lunch treat. All this while hoping that I look cute and domestic but also capable and fit in my painting outfit. 

[I don’t know where I get these ideas.]

9AM rolls around and Brent comes in. He likes the parfait, but things the coffee drink is a little too sweet, I can tell. I inwardly scold myself for messing up, as if my life depends on coffee drinks and creating them is my sole talent. 

[I’d be in trouble if that was the case.]

And so the day proceeds, me trying to be perfect in every way, wanting to be the perfect painter, the perfect organizer, the perfect wedding crafter. Wanting to be so efficient that I won’t take water breaks and sitting is not an option, only pacing. 

What is this strive for perfection in me?  

I asked myself this question on my run this morning, while simultaneously pushing for a new time on my run that, if I did not make, would cause the run [in my mind] to be a total waste of time. [3 miles is 3 miles, no matter how many minutes I shave off. Why can’t I just get that through my head?]

So I am criticizing my perfectionistic tendencies, while pushing myself in one of them. Seems contradictory, right? 

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So what am I getting at?

1. I am a perfectionist. In school, in relationships, in my interests, in my talents, with my body, with my mind, with my heart. 

2. I will never achieve this perfection that I insist on aiming for. Mankind was not made for perfection.

3. I was made for grace

As I write, I consider the quote that I constantly recited to myself as I ran my first half marathon, I will hold myself to a standard of grace, not perfection

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My challenge- to you- to me- to all imperfect perfectionists, seek out grace, fall into grace, accept grace

Romans 11:6

And if by grace, then it is no longer by works; if it were, grace would no longer be grace.

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And while your at it, that quiche I mentioned, it was pretty good too 🙂

PERFECT CRUSTLESS QUICHE

Makes 8 servings

10 oz of fresh, shredded zucchini

1/4 C. vidalia onions, choppe

1/4 cup sundried tomatoes

Additional fresh herbs, use at your descretion (I added fresh basil)

4 eggs, beaten (if adding extra veggies, use an additional egg)

1 (16-ounce) container cottage cheese

2 cups shredded Paremesean cheese

1/4 cup chopped bread for sprinkling on top

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C). Lightly grease a 9″ pie plate or quiche pan.

Place thawed spinach in a small saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally until soft. Remove from heat and drain off any remaining liquid. Stir in green onions, other veggies if using (optional), eggs, cottage cheese, and Cheddar cheese. Pour mixture into prepared pan.

Bake uncovered in preheated oven for 30 minutes. Remove from oven and sprinkle with crushed croutons (or bread crumbs). Return to oven and bake for an additional 25 to 30 minutes, or until eggs are set (if you are adding extra veggies and an egg, your baking time may be a little longer).

ENJOY!

 

it’s Real Simple.

There are days when I find myself entering into this place. A place I don’t like. My mind starts racing, my heart beats faster, I begin to sweat. Sometimes I break out in hives. This place is totally not a place of rest. This is a place of stress

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Why am I stressed? Why do we stress? Well right now I can tell you it’s about money, about the fact that I’m beginning a new life and investing in new things. Suddenly there are so many more responsibilities, more things to think about and more things to buy.

Where is the simplicity of life that is so often discussed?

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In an effort to reduce the heart palpitations, I reached for my latest issue of Real Simple  magazine.

The tagline?

| Life made easier |

The headline?

stress-free SUMMER.

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Titles like 67 Refreshing Ideas to Make Every Day more FUNCool Drinks, Hot new beach reads and my personal favorite, Look Great in Pictures: 17 Expert Tricks. All of the words scream read me, I’ll fix this, and for a moment, I buy it. (I mean I bought the magazine for some practical reason didn’t I?)

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With my magazine [and a peach] in tow, I head to my bedroom for a relaxing read and to rest my brain. The scent of lavendar greets me, as the lavender buds ordered for our wedding are currently hiding under my bed.

Ahhhhhh, I need this cleanse. I deserve this.

I hate to say that’s what I’m thinking.

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It is SO easy for me to think to myself, “i am a bride-to-be, i am working and i am a college student. i have every right to be stressed.” 

But it didn’t take more than two minutes for me to realize that the magazine and a sense of lavender scented self-entitlement was not what I needed. I opened Jesus Calling, my go to for a little refreshment. This line immediately spoke to me.

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the glitter of this world is tinny and temporal. the light of My Presence is brilliant and everlasting. 

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The beauty of these words overwhelmed me. Here I am reading Real Simple when real simplicity is at my beck and call [excuse my punniness]. Peace washed over me. I have to allow myself to relax. Submit myself to a presence so much greater than I could ever create with loads of lavender and way more than 67 refreshing summer fun ideas. 

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peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you. Do not let your hearts be troubled. 

Trust in Me.

{John 14:27}