Tuesday, January 29, 2013


Good afternoon, dear readers.

Today- because it is a randomly warm and rainy winter Tuesday, because I have a lot of random crap on the brain, and because I don't feel like cleaning the bathroom or grocery shopping- I shall assemble my random thoughts in list form for your reading enjoyment. (...and lets be honest, who doesn't love to read random lists? Actually, don't answer that...) 

photo of Florence, Italy
taken by the talented Frock, via

1. I loved this movie. I cried my eyes out like a little pansy, but not necessarily because it was sad. It was mostly because of the powerful message of grace, and the incredible talent that I was beholding. These tears were in the same catagory as beautiful-sunset tears and listening-to-Jackie-Evancho-sing tears and eating-amazing-food tears.
Am I the only one who gets misty-eyed over an incredible culinary experience?

2. Speaking of culinary experiences, my mister and I had an epic one this weekend. Our lives are forever changed. The sky has turned a deeper shade of blue, and the future looks ever so bright.
Why? Cheddar Cheese Grits. Thats why.
I want to eat them every day for the rest of my life. I'm hardly kidding. Along with Buttermilk Baconcakes.
Oh. my. goodness.

 3. I need to get out of this peculiar cooking rut I am in. I have literally been cooking nothing but soup for the past couple weeks.... and usually it is of the pureed variety. Poor Mister. His wife keeps feeding him baby food.  Maybe someday I can learn to cook like the famous Bengali Mama....  a girl can dream, right?

 4. I am so excited to have a house of our own to play with, but I'm truly so thankful for where we are right now.   I love our little rental and I know leaving it will be bittersweet.

5. Currently listening to (and loving!) this.

6. I loved this post about hospitality. Actually, I just love her whole blog and have been a faithful reader for the past few years. God has seriously used her words to challenge and break my heart in so many ways... my dreams and prayers for the future definitely look a bit different because of this.

 7. If you are bored, you should read the reviews for this. Too stinkin' funny!

 8. I am looking into this program... anyone have experience/ thoughts?

9. I have developed a dangerous new habit of adding vanilla ice-cream to my coffee.   Send help quickly!

 10. Do yourself a favor and watch this video: 

Well, I'm off to figure out more ways to put off cleaning the bathroom.  Wish me luck!
Happy Tuesday, everyone!

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Monday, January 28, 2013

Moody Mondays....{cozy}

Well folks, Monday has arrived in her usual too-soon fashion.    Like most other people in this world, I'm not the biggest fan of Mondays....especially the Mondays that take my beloved away from me for the week.  Darn you, busy season!  
(In all honesty, we are so thankful for his job and the awesome opportunities that it provides.  Such a blessing.  It's just that I am a sappy romantic to my core, and am a bit selfish/whiney at times.  Also?  I can't help it he's a good kisser.)

blurry old pic from our honeymoon
Bunny trail- sorry 'bout it.
Anyways,  Mondays need some jazzing up if you ask me.  I think a fun little design/art/ fashion/food brainstorming sesh is just what the doctor ordered.  I'm thinking inspiration.  I'm thinking mood boards. 
So without further ado, I bring you......Moody Mondays. 

Each Monday I will be sharing my current 'moods' (or cravings) in any of the aforementioned areas.  I do realize the word 'moody' tends to have a negative connotation, but it fits with the word 'Monday' just beautifully in my mind.  
My current craving is for all things soft and cozy
 Michigan has turned into a white wonderland over the past week, with snowshower after snowshower after everlovingsnowshower.  It has left me daydreaming about cozy neutral colors, scads of texture, and a memorable mix of styles to keep things interesting.  (It has also inevitably resulted in me lazing about in my trusty yoga pants with my fluffy blankie,  listening to Enya like my life depends on it. )  

May I present to you my very first little Monday mood board:

that random black floral would be either wallpaper or curtains...
It's far from perfect, but hopefully you get the idea I was trying to convey.... Soft and cozy, but interesting, with a puppy thrown in for good measure. ;)
I hope to eventually figure out how to make these suckers the right way.   I really have no clue what Im doing yet.  (what do people use to make e-design boards, anyhow?  I used polyvore, but it was SO frustrating...)
So enough about me, what are you in the mood for these days?
Im all ears!  And eyes!  
(well, I'm not actually all eyes...that would look a bit freaky.)

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Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Snow day

Today was a snow day. 
 It was reading in front of the fireplace with a steaming mug of coffee.  It was cozy slippers and yoga pants, topped off with a sock bun and a little mascara for good measure.  It was hanging with my sister, sharing laughs and tears and leftover chili.  It was attempting yoga, while chuckling about Sir Rodney Yee's word choices...."move your buttock flesh downward as you breeeathe...".   It was burning three bags of popcorn only to discover that they had expired, uh, SEVEN years ago.   It was Disney movies and soft blankets, afternoon naps and texts that made me smile.  
Today was unexpected, blissfully slow, and beautiful.  

Today was a gift and I am so thankful for it.



Thursday, January 17, 2013


what i'm reading

"All the fairest beauties in the human soul, its greatest victories, and it's most splendid achievements are always those which no one else knows anything about, or can only dimly guess at.  Every inner response of the human heart to Love and every conquest over self-love is a new flower on the tree of love."
                                                                   - the Shepherd to Much-Afraid,  'Hinds Feet on HighPlaces' by Hannah Hurnard

So, there's this book i'm reading right now.   (thanks to my friend, the resplendent Bengali Mama, for the recommendation :)  It is really hitting a nerve, and in a good way.   I have about 37 pages bookmarked (obsessive much?) and I'll be darned if there arent 37 more by the weekend.  There are gems in this book, and I do not want to forget their beauty and richness.  
Written in a simple, approachable manner, the book follows crippled Much-Afraid as she meets the Good Shepherd, who woos her and calls her to take the difficult journey to the High places. The Shepherd has provided two guides to accompany her up the mountain.  Suffering, and her twin sister Sorrow.  Yikes!  
The story is similar to 'Pilgrims Progress', in that Much-Afraid must come face to face with many 'foes' on the journey.  Pride, Self- Pity, Lonliness, Resentment... all these the Shepherd helps her to leave behind.   
So, so good. 

Here's the thing- keeping secrets is not something I enjoy.   Especially when they are good ones. Therefore, I have unfortunately taken to making poor innocent people read excerpts of this book upon entering my home whilst I watch awkwardly, waiting for them to laugh or cry or break out in song or something.  

And now, lucky for you, we are going to pretend this blog is my house, and you just came over.  


Oh my word, Hi!  Its SO good to see you thanks for coming over loveyournewhairdoblahblahblah oh my gosh READ THIS:  

(... you think I'm kidding.  how cute.  Im not.)

....."This" said he, motioning toward the first of the silent figures, "is named Sorrow.  And the other is her twin sister, Suffering.".....Much-Afraid's cheeks blanched and she began to tremble from head to foot.  She felt so like fainting that she clung to the Shepherd for support.
  "I can't go with them," she gasped.  "I can't!  I can't!!  O my Lord Shepherd, why do you do this to me?  How can I travel in their company?  It is more than I can bear.  You tell me that the mountain way itself is so steep and difficult that I cannot climb it alone.  Then why, oh why must you allow Sorrow and Suffering to be my companions?"
A strange look passed over the Shepherd's face as he listened to this outburst, then looking at the veiled figures as he spoke, he answered very gently,..."Remember your promise.  Will you still trust me, Much- Afraid?  Or do you wish to turn back to the Valley, to all your Fearing relatives, to Craven Fear himself?"
The choice seemed terrible.  Fear she knew only too well, but Sorrow and Suffering had always seemed to her the most terrifying things she could encounter.  How could she go with them and abandon herself to their power?
She looked at the Shepherd and suddenly knew... if she were unfit to love and be loved by anyone else in the world, yet in her trembling, miserable little heart, she did love him.  Even if he asked the impossible, she would not refuse.  
"Others have gone this way before me," she thought, "and they could even sing about it afterwards.  Will he who is so strong and gentle be less faithful and gracious to me, weak and cowardly though I am, when it is so obvious that the thing he delights in most of all is to deliver his followers from all their fears and take them to the High Places??" 
She replied, "Do I wish to turn back?  O Shepherd, to whom should I go?  In all the world I have none but you.  Help me to follow you, even though it seems impossible.  Help me to trust you as much as I long to love you."

... He replied softly, "Fear not, Much-Afraid, only believe.  My Peace I leave with you.  My Joy be fulfilled in you.  Remember that I pledge myself to bring you to the High Places at the top of these mountains and that you shall not be put to shame and now 'till the day break and the shadows flee away, I will be like a roe or a young hart on the mountains."
Then, before Much-Afraid could realize what was happening, he was leaping up the mountains, springing from height to height, going on before them....

Excerpt (slightly paraphrased) from 'Hinds Feet on High Places' by Hannah Hurdard

I am sure a lot of us can relate to poor little Much-Afraid.  I know I most certainly can.   I have had a pretty easy life so far, and Suffering?  Sorrow?   They scare the living daylights out of me.  I will stay right where I am, thank you very much.  The thought, no, the promise that these will at times accompany us on this narrow road makes me want to run back to that familiar valley.  However, I have been called to the High Places by my loving Sheperd. Whether Sorrow or Suffering accompany me, I know that He has gone before me.  He has made a way for this cripple to journey up the mountain.  

..."The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God's children.  Now if we are children, then we are heirs- heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in His sufferings in order that we may also share in His glory.  I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us."     
Romans 8:16-18, NIV  (emphasis mine :)

..."Peace I leave with you; My peace I give you.  I do not give to you as the world gives.  Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.  
John 14:27, NIV

I'm so glad you came over today.  Come back soon, okay?  Then I can force some more reading on you!  That sounds fun, right?  Right??


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Tuesday, January 15, 2013

luscious green soup

I made Green Soup for dinner last night, and I've got one thing to say about it-
Green soup should be the law, people.   Green soup for President!!

*note: It was technically called Creamy Broccoli soup, but that conjures images in my mind of Broccoli- Cheese soup and this is NOT Broccoli- Cheese soup, so to avoid any confusion I will be calling it 'Green soup'.  Clever and original, no?
It is hard to make green soup look appealing- bear with me.
Green soup is all sorts of wonderful.  Healthy.  Easy.  Quick.  Comforting.  Looks like baby food.  ( hey- my blog, my definition of wonderful.)
Anyways, if you want a meal that is all of the above, you will need:

1 head broccoli (1 lb), cut into small pieces/ florets
1 yellow onion, diced
3-4 cloves of garlic, chopped
1 can of Great Northern White beans (15 oz.), drained
2.5 cups of Vegetable stock
salt & pepper
parmesan, for serving

Start by steaming up that broccoli...

When the broccoli is bright green and fork- tender, separate out 1 cup of the florets and set aside. 

Saute the onions and garlic in a little olive oil until onions are translucent.  Add vegetable stock and beans and bring to a simmer.

Add broccoli and puree in batches.  Salt and pepper to taste.
Serve with the remains of the artisan cheese bread from your parents that you were maniacally scarfing on the way home from church.
(what is it about church that makes you SO hungry??)
we did a number on this poor bread...
Garnish with thin slices of parmesan and the broccoli florets.
Promptly devour the delicious and nutritious soup you have made.


{Please disregard the Christmas-y centerpiece... we still have our tree up, too...}

We really really really liked this soup, and will definitely be making it again.   Green soup... It's a good thing.  ;)

peace, love, and luscious soup~

PS.  recipe originally from 

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Thursday, January 10, 2013

....thoughts for the new year....


 Confession: I did not make a resolution this year.

Sure, I could come up with a list 37 miles long of things I should 'work on' or habits I could tweak, but making resolutions and proceeding to break them has not proved to be an edifying practice for me.   
 It turns out I'm in good company- there are apparently lots of other folks who want a simple focus for the year ahead.   It seems the New Years 'word' is replacing the resolution for many across blog-land.

This year I decided to jump on the 'word' bandwagon.
 Its a nice wagon.  I rather like it. 
As my good friend Anne Shirley would say, 'there is so much more scope for the imagination'. 
At the start of the year I took some time to reflect and pray and listen.  As I did so, i realized how withered and dry I had become, and the words 'refresh' and 'revive' began to settle into my mind.  Spiritually, relationally, creatively... I realized that I have been letting my passion shrivel up in so many areas.  My prayer for 2013 is for much needed refreshment and revival to happen in my own heart, and that I might be able share that refreshment with other thirsty souls.  

'Refresh':  to restore strength and animation to, revive; to freshen up; to restore or maintain by renewing supply; replenish, arouse, stimulate; to run water over or restore water to, to restore well- being and vigor 

'Revive': to return to consciousness or life; to become active or flourishing again; to restore from a depressed, inactive, or unused state; bring back

Do you have a word (or two :) for the new year?  Im all ears!

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Tuesday, January 8, 2013

House dreams....

My mister and I are currently in the throes of shopping for our very first house, and goodness- we are chomping at the bit to find a space in which we can truly experiment with our style.  We have been renting since we married two and a half years ago, and while it has been wonderful, we are ready to plant gardens and paint walls and really leave our mark on a place.   (and get a puppy, who surely will leave marks of his own.... )
So, since our house dreams are still just in dream form, I thought it would be fun to share a handful of the images that have inspired our vision for this future abode.

image via

Yes, we will live in the Shire.

The kitchen will likely be some crazy mash-up of this:

image via

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and this:
image via

(I suffer from multiple style disorder.)

The rest of the home will go something like this:

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                                          ..... And there you have it.  The home in our heads.   

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Monday, January 7, 2013

Hello there!

My mister and me

Thanks so much for stopping by!  
Right now you might be saying "Shaina, what is the deal with your blog's weirdo name?".
I will tell you!
Hock and Frock are my mom and grandma.  Lily... that's me.
We really like to decorate and create together, and somewhere along the way (none of us quite remembers how or why) we became Hock, Frock, and Lily.   
Utterly nonsensical, yes, but also sentimental and a little catchy.

This blog is going to be a place for me to *attempt to* organize my rather abstract thoughts, chronicle my design dreams, relay adventures in cooking and entertaining, share encouragement, record memories, and hopefully meet some friends... and maybe learn how to NOT take 3 hours writing a single post.  Who knows, maybe I'll even get Hock and Frock to join in the blogging fun from time to time!

Wulp, here goes nothin! 
(nothing but 3 hours worth of typing and deleting, that is)

-Shaina, aka. Lily