Posts filed under "Top 5"

Weekend Top 5 - Single Car Family

The Weekend Top 5 is back!!

Before I dive into my weekend reminiscing, let me just send out a warm thank you to everyone who read the first guest post that went up on Friday. We had almost 100 views, which is incredible. For anyone who was a first time reader, I hope you'll come back. For those of you who read somewhat regularly, I hope you enjoyed Jason's take on his favorite summertime song. We'll have more guest posts from Jason throughout the summer and I know that each of them will have just as good of a viewership.

Now, onto the TOP 5!

#5: One Car Family.
This really isn't a favorite thing about the weekend, but it's a big story for me nonetheless. A few weeks ago, Jason's car got hit. He wasn't in it. In fact, it was parked. But anyway, the door got messed up and so last Monday he took his car to the shop and was given a rental car. Friday, I took the rental car to work and was supposed to return it and pick up his car. Well, his car wasn't ready until the rental car place was closing, so I wasn't able to accomplish my task. So, Saturday morning I headed downtown and returned the rental car. I was worried I'd need some sort of paperwork or piece of info that I didn't have, but luckily the return went off without a hitch. Enterprise took me to the body shop and dropped me off. I was in my workout clothes and ready to pick up Dora the Explorer (yes, that's what I lovingly named Jason's car when we were dating), head to the gym, and get my Saturday-o-errands started. But guess what? The body shop was closed. So of course I called Jason crying my eyes out (I'm one of those awkward people who cries when I get really mad or frustrated), because I was stranded downtown at a deserted body shop. Poor Jason had to take his lunch break at 10:00 in the morning, rush downtown, and save me from the situation. So, on a weekend when Jason worked both Saturday and Sunday, we had one car. I drove The Summit a lot this weekend. There's always a silver lining, and this time it was the fact that I got to spend more time with Jason on a weekend that I wasn't going to get to spend much time with him.

#4: 24 Day Challenge Ends.
Today is the last day of the 24DC. I know that's not technically the weekend, but this was the last weekend doing the challenge. So far, I feel great. I'll measure tomorrow, but I do know that I've lost 6lbs, which is more than I've been able to lose in a month in a LONG time. I would definitely recommend this to anyone looking to jump start their weight loss. I'll continue eating the same, and I really like the Spark energy drinks and the meal replacement drinks. I'm planning on keeping those around.

#3: Flatbreads.
I'm obsessed with homemade flatbreads right now. I've basically got it down to an art.

Here's how I make them:

BBQ Chicken Flatbread

Yields: 1 Serving
  • Flatout Spinach Flatbread
  • BBQ Sauce
  • 3 oz. cooked chicken, diced
  • About 1/4 c. of shredded, reduced fat cheese
  1.  Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.
  2. Cover a cookie sheet with foil and spray cooking spray on the foil.
  3. Lay your flatbread on the foil and spray the top with a little bit of cookie spray.
  4. Put 1-2 tbsp. of BBQ sauce on the flatbread and spread around.
  5. Spread your chicken around on the flatbread. 
  6. Sprinkle with cheese.
  7. Bake in the oven for 7-10 minutes. Keep an eye on it. You'll want the edges to almost look burned. That's how you know it's crispy. 
  8. Enjoy! 
Sorry the picture is a little dark.

#2: House Hunters.
No, we're not going to be on the show, [yet] (I applied, although I really want to be on Property Brothers.).  Jason and I decided back in January that we're going to start looking for a house to buy in Birmingham around our one year anniversary. Well, Saturday marked our nine month anniversary, so that means only about three months until we get to start really house shopping!! I'm literally beside myself and my favorite pastime has become driving through neighborhoods to look at houses that are for sale. Yesterday, Jason and I drove around the Cahaba Heights area for about 45 minutes just looking. It's just really a lot of fun to dream together. We still have to figure out what kind of house we want and what part of town we want to live in, but the time to make all of these decisions is fast approaching and I couldn't be more excited!

#1: Welcome Home Lauren!
One of my best friends from college, Lauren, just moved back to Birmingham. I literally could not be more excited. Saturday night a group of us all met up at Jackson's to surprise her with a welcome home gathering (Jason was supposed to get a video of the surprise part on his phone but after the surprise ended, he realized he forgot to press record. Silly Jason). It was great to see her and other friends from college. We really have to get together like that more often. I am thrilled that Lauren is in Birmingham now and I can't wait to start getting together regularly...just like the ole days!
Pictures stolen used from Lauren's Instagram.

One last thing - 

If you're looking to make a delicious, healthy, cold treat this summer, look no further than right here. Saturday I made some chocolate strawberry popsicles at home.

Here's how:

Chocolate Strawberry Homemade Pops

Yields: 4 Popsicles
  • 1 c. Light Chocolate Silk milk
  • Handful of frozen sliced strawberries (make sure the buy the bag that has no sugar added)
  • Popsicle molds (Target has them for $2.99 on the seasonal summer isle in the back)
  1. Place strawberries in the molds.
  2. Pour milk over strawberries.
  3. Freeze overnight.
  4. Enjoy!!!
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Posted on June 24, 2013 and filed under "24DC", "Top 5", "cake", "friends", "recipe", "weekend".

Weekend Top 5 - Road Trip Weekend & TWO BONUSES

Instead of doing a Top 5, I'm going to give you 5 events from the weekend. Let's go!

Obviously we went to Jacksonville so that Jason could be in his friend Cody's wedding. Beautiful wedding. Gorgeous bride. Wonderful food. Now, Mr. & Mrs. Jones are in Jamaica and I'm kind of very jealous.
Mr. & Mrs. Cody Jones
Most awesome groomscake ever.
Me and my handsome groomsman
Us again :)

My sister Julia is now officially a high school graduate! She did such a wonderful job walking across that stage, not to mention the four years of lots of hard work and dedication. She put in so much during her time at Fort Walton Beach High School and I know that she's just going to love college and flourish at Samford.
"There she is!" That's what my grandpa always says when he sees one of us.
Me, Jason, lots of brand new high school graduates, their parents, some friends, and my grandparents. Oh yes, it was awesome.
Grad party photobooth.
Super Sassy, even at 91 years old!

Most incredible people ever. 91 and 92 and they're rockin' this party!
My parents and Julia are in Birmingham right now (Carlee is taking classes at home this summer...we MISSED her!) for Samford orientation. It's been great to spend some extra time with them during lunch. For the last two days I've been able to go eat with them in the caf. Since Jason works for orientation, we are able to eat for free. Yesterday Jason and I got asked if we have a son or daughter who will be a freshman next year. 

Last night Jason stayed at Samford really late so that he could get video footage of Samford's karaoke night that they have during orientation. Sidenote: I actually remember Jason from my orientation. Anyway, since he was working late, I had a night at home by myself. I usually don't like to be by myself for long periods of time, but I really enjoyed the relaxation and quiet after such a busy weekend. I got to watch my shows, watch a movie, and eat a really healthy dinner. It was kind of a treat.
My delicious dinner for one.
Today I began the "max" phase of the 24DC. I'm feeling really good and excited to start seeing results. Since last week I couldn't get into a routine of any kind since we were traveling so much, so today was my first day back in the 5Club. I was up at 5:00, at the Lakeshore Trail by about 5:30, and done with my workout by 6:30. When I got home, I was able to unload and load the dishwasher, make lunch, put dinner in the crockpot, and make my delicious meal replacement shake. It was quite a productive morning. I guess that's what happens when I wake up three hours before I have to leave. I'm thinking of making a badge for my blog for each day that I wake up at 5:00.
Lakeshore Trail at 5:30 a.m.

Meal replacement shake packet, 8 oz. water, 3 large ice cubes. Blend. YUM!
Best flavor of Spark EVER!
How about this...I'll make a 5Club badge, and if you get up at or around 5:00 (let's say any time between 4:30 and 5:30 in the morning), comment below the badge! That'll be really encouraging for anyone who gets up early just to know we're not alone!!

Plus, it'll give you another reason to BLOGBACKTOME!


This is an EXTRA BONUS! I'm selling my 13" MacBook Pro. I got it last year and it's the late 2011 model. It's in really good condition. If you're interested in buying it, comment below and I'll send you the tech specs and price.

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Posted on June 11, 2013 and filed under "24DC", "Top 5", "graduation", "travel", "weekend".

Weekend Top 5 - The Traveling Morales'

We've been traveling for three weekends straight. It's been a blast and I'm sad to see it ending next Sunday - although we're going out with a the best trip of all!

At the end of this week, we'll drive south to my hometown to see my sister graduate from high school (YAY JULIA!). Then we'll head east to Jacksonville to see our friends Cody and Lacey get married. Jason's actually in the wedding, so we'll be there all weekend, and then head back to Birmingham on Sunday just in time to see our friend Rachel off on her midterm mission trip. We will sure miss her over the next 12 months!

Now, here's this weekend's top 5:

#5: 24 Day Challenge.
So I've seen a lot of people on social media who are doing the Advocare 24 Day Challenge. I'm always looking for ways to eat healthier and just kind of kick start my body into eating better. I wasn't really sure if I wanted to do this or not though, because last time I did something like this I quit when it got really heard (remember the cleanse round 2?). But after talking to a friend about it and talking to people at the gym about it, I decided to do it. I began Saturday. So far, so good. I'll keep you updated.

#4: REALLY good food.
After beginning the 24DC, it was kind of tough to go out of town. But we did, and I think for a day of traveling I did pretty well. Saturday night I made salmon, asparagus, and for Jason I made garlic cheese bread. YUM! I also made some protein packed blueberry muffins so that I could gave a breakfast on the go or a good snack while we were traveling the next day. Usually that's a problem because even if I like the healthy version of things, Jason doesn't. BUT, he really liked the blueberry muffins so these are coming to you "picky-husband endorsed".

Here are my yummy eats from the weekend:
Salmon and asparagus.
Blueberry muffins.
Pulled pork salad from Fox Brother's BBQ in Atlanta.
Balsamic Bleu Salad from Ted's in Atlanta (I didn't eat the fried onion straws).

#3: Fall Out Boy. 
Jason has been a FOB fan for too many years to count. As he put it, he's been a fan since before their fans were all teenage girls. So since FOB has reunited, Jason bought tickets to THREE of their shows. One in Atlanta that was last night. One in Nashville at the end of June. One in Atlanta in September. He decided to sell his Nashville tickets after he bought the tickets for the second Atlanta show because he figured that three might be overkill. I just let him do his thing because I get to see JT in November - so I'll save rock and roll with FOB 10 times if that's what Jason wants. The show was actually a lot of fun. I'm a fan of FOB, but not nearly as much as Jason. I recognize most of their songs and I know a handful. But overall, we had a blast...other than them stopping the show four times because people kept passing out from heat exhaustion. Thankfully we snatched some seats upstairs where it was much less crowded, but still really hot.

Fall Out Boy.
Not sure how Jason has on a hoodie because I was absolutely disgusting due to the heat.
#2: Passion City Church.
We were planning on going to the Georgia Aquarium yesterday, but after a late start that idea got postponed. So, what do you do in Atlanta when your aquarium visit gets nixed? Go to Passion City Church of course! We went. We loved it. Jason got a pop (yes, King of Pops has carts there to raise money for the youth kiddos). Matt Redman led worship. Louie preached. We sang. It was awesome. I wanted to take a picture for the blog during the worship set, but I don't really like it when people take pictures at church, so I decided not to be "that girl". Instead I took one before the service started. It's not great, but I was trying to hold my phone in my lap so that no one would see me. Here's what I got:

#1: Backyard friends.
Friday night some of our friends had a little house show in their backyard. It was so cool. I love to hear my friends sing because they're all incredibly talented. I just love and admire so much how they use their beautiful voices to bring friends together and to worship our Creator. The backyard party was so much fun and such a wonderful time of fellowship with friends. We hope they decide to do it again soon!

Here's the recipe for the blueberry muffins:

Blueberry Muffins
(recipe adapted from this one)
Yields 12 muffins

  • 1.5 c. all-purpose whole wheat flour
  • 3/4 c. granulated sugar (I used baking Splenda)
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 (6-ounce) container nonfat Greek yogurt (I used Fage)
  • 1/4 c. unsweetened almond milk
  • 1/4 c. canola oil (I used unsweetened apple sauce)
  • 1 egg (I used egg whites)
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1.5 c. fresh blueberries
  1. Preheat oven to 400F. Grease muffin cups or line with muffin liners. 
  2. Combine flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in a large mixing bowl. In a separate bowl combine, Greek yogurt, milk, oil (applesauce) and vanilla. Stir liquid ingredients into dry ingredients just enough to combine. Fold in blueberries. Fill muffin cups right to the top. 
  3. Bake for 12-15 minutes in the preheated oven, or until done.
How was your weekend?

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Posted on June 3, 2013 and filed under "24DC", "Top 5", "friends", "recipe", "travel", "weekend".

Weekend Top 5 - Atlanta

So we had a pretty busy and exciting weekend. To be completely honest, our adventures on Friday and Saturday left me really tired and lethargic on Sunday. I basically laid on the couch watching TV and reading until about 4:00. On the flip side of that though, I feel surprisingly rested for a Monday.

Here's the weekend top 5:

#5: Figuring out a new aspect to this blog.
Beginning next week (hopefully) {mr}blogbacktome (aka Jason) will be adding one post a week to my blog. His posts will consist of music, movies, tech tips, and all things media or technology related. He knows SO MUCH about that kind of stuff. We constantly have friends asking us about music, movies, and technology related things, so I thought I'd give him a little platform to share information about what he knows best. I think you'll all really enjoy it. I'm going to archive his posts on the page that is currently "under construction" called Morales Media. The idea is to have an archive built up so that if you're looking for new music, movies, or books, you can just go to that page and have plenty to choose from. I'm considering giving him another section about tech related stuff, but we'll just have to see how much he's able to talk about that sort of thing due to the restrictions he has with his job. I'm also trying to figure out the name for his blog posts because I want them to all have the same name and then just have the specific subject as a subtitle.

I'm thinking either Morales Media Mondays or Media from the Mister.  

What do you think (blogbacktome at the end)?
He makes my heart smile.
#4: Going to Ikea and Pottery Barn.
So, I wasn't aware that Mr. Jason Frank Morales had never been to Pottery Barn before. Well, that changed a lot on Saturday. We went to the Lenox Square Mall in Atlanta and just happened to mosey into their HUGE Pottery Barn. After about 5 minutes of Jason walking around saying, "That's SO COOL!!" I asked him if he'd ever been in a Pottery Barn before. His response: "What's that?" Oh man, oh man. So we spent close to an hour in Pottery Barn just getting ideas for our future house and then gasping at the prices. On our way out of town, we decided to swing by Ikea just to ease our minds after seeing such ridiculous prices at Pottery Barn. Our style is definitely more Pottery Barn because they use warmer colors and it's almost a little bit more rustic, but Ikea's prices are definitely more in our price range. I walked away from Saturday very interested and excited to see what it's like once we actually buy a house.
Just trying out Pottery Barn.

The Mecca of furniture and household items.
#3: Grocery shopping at Trader Joe's. 
I've been reading blogs for a couple of years now. Almost all of the health, food, and fitness bloggers I follow love shopping at Trader Joe's. We tried to go to one in NYC while we were there, but it was so crowded and the line was literally wrapped around the store. It was also raining when we went to that one, so we didn't want to carry around paper bags for the rest of the day while walking around NYC in the rain. I knew there was a Trader Joe's in Atlanta, but I didn't know where. I also didn't really think about looking into it because I figured that Jason would not want to spend time in a glorified grocery store while on our little road trip adventure. But, as we were driving to Lenox Square Mall, I saw it. I was complaining about sitting at every red light, and then my eye caught the sign and I started freaking out. Being the kind and selfless man he is, Jason said, "Do you want to go?" and my untruthful response was, "No, we don't have to do that." Again, Jason being amazing, said, "Let's go," and he turned into the parking lot. About 3 grocery bags and $75 later, we have enough nonperishable items to last a few months.
When I saw this, I started freaking out on the inside.

Best coffee I've had in a while. Only $6.99 for this. They basically were giving it away.

Happy Jessica.
#2: Reading the book of Ruth.
As I've said before, I'm doing Guthrie's plan to read through the bible in a year chronologically. Saturday I was supposed to read all of Ruth, but we were so busy that I just never found time to. So yesterday, while I was being ridiculously lazy, I read Ruth. After I read it, I decided to go back and listen to each part of the four-part series on Ruth that David Platt preached in 2009, which was before I went to church at Brook Hills. For this series he asked our incredibly talented friend Mandi to write a song about each book/sermon part for Ruth. I've listened to these songs since Jason and I started dating (he played "Love Story" for me on our second date under the pretense that it's a great song a friend of his wrote - he's very smooth), but I hadn't listened to them in the context of the sermons or scripture they were written about. Yesterday, I read Ruth and then listened to the first sermon. After I finished the sermon, Jason suggested I listen to the song So Long, Familiar that goes along with the sermon. Even though I'd heard the song multiple times, it was really just a blessing to hear in context. I plan on doing the same thing for each sermon part and finish up on Wednesday. 

#1: Reconnecting with Atlanta friends.
I told you all on Friday that we were going to the Braves game (which was awesome) with my college roommate and her husband. We literally had the best time with them just catching up and sharing stories about newlywed life. It was encouraging, refreshing, and everything I knew it'd be and more. But we also had an unexpected visit with some other friends. Let me go back in time a bit...
When Jason was in 8th grade, he became a believer. He wanted to be involved in youth group and he wanted to get plugged in at the church all of his Christian friends went to, but because his mom worked, so he didn't ever have a ride to church on Sundays or Wednesdays. When 9th grade rolled around, a man named Darren was his Sunday School teacher. Jason told Darren that he wanted to keep coming to church, but he literally couldn't because he didn't have a ride. So Darren found an easy solution to that problem - he and his wife Sarah started picking Jason up for church. Darren was also the person who ran sound (I'm probably saying that wrong) and was the tech guru at their church. Because of that, he had to be to church early, which meant Jason did too. Since Jason was there early, Darren used that time to teach him all about running sound (still probably saying that wrong...Jason: you can make fun of me later). So one thing led to another, and Jason found a place and a purpose among a large youth group in a large church. Jason's friends and experiences from his youth group impact his life today on almost a daily basis. Jason's youth pastor, you may have heard of him - Mark Hall - and their youth band, you may have heard of them as well - Casting Crowns - went on to be a award winning and popular Christian band and Darren was their head production person (sorry, I don't know the official title). Jason was able to tour with them multiple times after he graduated from Samford doing sound stuff, and then eventually breaking into the merchandise realm which has taught him an unfathomable amount and led to where he is in his career today.
So, all of that to say, Darren and Sarah are VERY special to us and we got to have dinner with them and their three hilarious kids on Saturday night. We are eternally grateful for their lives that have been devoted to ministry for many years, and we're blessed by their friendship as well.
At the Braves game - this is what we call "Chillaxin'"

Ashley and I after the game...and after the rain.

My first experience at the Varsity.

Leaving to come back to Birmingham.
Let me also just take a moment to encourage any of you who are involved in student ministry. I know that the school year has or is coming to a close and you may or may not be off for the summer in your student ministry duties. But either way, be encouraged that what you do matters. The hours you pour into your students, the time you spend praying for them, the events you plan to invest in them, the tasks that you do that are completely out of your way - that ALL matter. Not only are you following after God's calling for your life, but you are impacting students just by being there for them. They may be snotty and stuck up sometimes, but your ministry and your life DOES have an eternal effect on them. So please, be encouraged by the story of Darren and Sarah. They're still doing student ministry today, even with three kids of their own. Jason will turn 27 this summer, and he reaps the benefit of their ministry daily, even 13 years later.

So that all being said, how was your weekend?!?

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