Jalapenos. Bacon. Cream Cheese.

I know that since I haven’t posted in MONTHS, I should be posting about our incredible wedding, wonderful honeymoon, move to Texas, my lovely husband, etc. Instead, I’m going to write about what’s on my mind, in my hand, and almost, into my tummy. Football season in our home is like an ongoing holiday, and although we’ve only been in real pigskin mode for about a week, these little suckers have shown up twice already. Let me introduce to y’all… bacon wrapped, cream cheese stuffed jalapenos!

I feel certain that I’ve come across these somewhere online before (Pioneer Woman, perhaps?) but I had forgotten about them until I recently discovered that jalapenos are cheaper than water down here in Texas. These little guys are my newest go-to for any and all football parties, as well as a delicious appetizer to have ready when my ravaging husband busts through the door at approximately 5:37 each night. So easy. So yummy.


  • 10 jalapenos – the smaller ones, approximately 2″ to 3″ long, work best.
  • 1 8oz. package of cream cheese, softened at room temperature
  • 1 package of bacon – NOT THICK CUT!


**Preheat oven to 375 degrees.**

1. Cut jalapenos lengthwise. Scoop out all seeds and pull out the white veins. If you like things HOT HOT HOT, you can leave in some of the white membranes. At your own risk.

2. Fill cleaned jalapenos with cream cheese. This can be messy. I say the more the better, but really just fill them to your preference.

3. Cut bacon in half, and wrap 1/2 slice around each jalapeno. Secure with a toothpick if necessary. You may be tempted to eat them now, but don’t. Raw jalapenos = fiery hot. Raw bacon = food poisoning. All together, a bad idea.

4. Place wrapped little pieces of goodness on a cookie sheet. Leave a bit of space, an inch or so, between each. If you have aluminum foil, I’d wrap the baking sheet with it. Also, if you have a cooling rack, I’d put that on the baking sheet so that the bacon is sure to be cooked allllllll around. If not – for the foil or cooling rack – it’l still work. Don’t let anything hold you back from being able to make them.

5. Bake for about 20 minutes, or until the cheese is melted & browning on top and the bacon is fully cooked. If you like crispy bacon, just leave them in for a bit of extra time.

They should come out looking something like this:

Ta da! Delicioso! A lip smacking appetizer, football party snack, or heck, dinner. From my kitchen to yours, enjoy!

And oh yes, totally not my picture above, but they DO really look like this. Maybe one day I’ll have a camera that can capture such stunning foodie shots 🙂


Sweet Engagement

We Are The Dukes of JMU!

I WISH I could say this was mine!  via Taylor Adkins on Facebook.

I’m A Valley Girl.

hburg/jmu/cville/valley things on my mind…

  • the smell of rain, especially autumn rain – most people say it smells like dog food, I say it smells like home (:  please, don’t judge me.
  • DaytonDays – apple dumplings, miles of crafts, bluegrass  & cloggers
  • the Pack Family farm

  • the quad, the commons, Devon Lane – all. things. JMU.

  • my sisters/parents

  • mountains. blue ones. in the autumn time.

  • waking up in the princess bed

I feel home,
when I see the faces that remember my own.
I feel home,
when I’m chillin outside with the people I know.
I feel home,
and that’s just what I feel.
Home to me is reality,
and all I need is something real.

What is HOME to you?

Hburg To Ktown


This weekend, my parents came into town to see my new home, meet some of my friends, and hang out in Knoxville now that I finally know my way around. They arrived soon after I got off work on Saturday – after a short stop in Bristol to watch the second half of the USA soccer game. Our great friends from England, Dick & Jean, are here for the month and seem to have gotten my parents hooked onto soccer (er, football?), so an hour and a few beers later, they finally got to my place around 7. We hung out for a bit, catching up, and then headed downtown to check out Market Square and the Old City – two Knoxville must-sees.

When my parents moved me to Knoxville last August, our first meal in the new town was at Barley’s Taphouse and Pizzeria. Anyone who knows Knoxville knows Barley’s for their delicious pizza, huge beer selection, live music scene, and the pool tables upstairs. My father remembers Barley’s as the place that almost didn’t serve him alcohol because he didn’t bring his ID. For those of you unfamiliar with my daddy, he’s about 6’3″, 250 lbs, with salt and pepper hair and big bushy beard… someone CLEARLY over 21, and really just a guy you don’t want to mess with. Needless to say, he enjoyed the experience on the firs go ’round, and wanted to go back. I couldn’t say no.

We downed some hawaiian pizza and a Fat Tire or two, and called it a night. After 7 hours of traveling, even my one-bedroom apartment was calling their names. Five people in less than 800 square feet can be tricky, but we made it work. Looks comfy, huh?

Thanks, Mom & Dad for being so low maintenance!

Sunday was a full day! We dropped Dick & Jean off at Ruby Tuesdays so they could enjoy the England soccer match, and set them up with everything short of a win… so sorry England fans. We headed to church, followed by a BBQ lunch and an afternoon at the Willows pool – a much needed relaxing afternoon!

After many conversations about my parents having first visited Knoxville for the World’s Fair back in 1982, we headed down to World’s Fair Park for dinner at the Butcher Shop. YUMMY! The World’s Fair venue has changed a bit, but it was fun to see the landmarks they remembered (only the Sunsphere, really) and to hear their stories about life wayyyy pre-Kelsey.

After dinner we did a quick loop around to see the football stadium at UT – a Knoxville landmark that can’t be missed – and headed back to my place. Tripp’s JMU roommate, Mark, and his wife, Leigh Ann, have been GREAT friends to us in our time thus far in Knoxville, and I was so pleased that they came by to meet the folks!

Below: Tripp & I with Dick and Jean, and then him and I with my parents.

Thanks for making the long journey for such a short stay! Knoxville has been so good to us, and we love sharing it with friends and family. Stop by anytime!

alpaca burgers.

So, my dad saw a sign the other day at the farm supply store for two free alpacas. I mean really,why would anyone use a bush hog to clear land when you can have two of these guys?

Clearly a perfect photo op with my cousins who drove in from Alabama. Some people say cheese, Tom Pack says ‘1-2-3…ALPACA BURGERS!’

Welcome to my family. I can’t imagine it any other way.


I entered worship this morning, by myself. It had been a while since that had happened, but in that moment I was keenly aware of the care and support of the local church in my life in Knoxville. I was, indeed by myself –  but I was not alone.

During our two hour service at Cornerstone Church of Knoxville, the beginning 40-45 minutes each Sunday is devoted to worship. It is a beautiful display of how the Holy Spirit shines through each person in that time. This morning, Cornerstone was straight up rocking out. There’s no other way to put it.

A middle aged man, tall, broad shoulders, salt and pepper hair. Most likely played football in college. Dancing in the aisles with excitement, like he was 13 at a Miley Cyrus concert.

The young boy in front of me, complete with a blonde bowl cut, not a day older than 6. His right hand holding the left hand of his father. His free hand, raised with praise, clenching his fingers into a fist as his gazed turned upward and he sang with unbounded joy.

The couple in the back of the room, crying, holding each other, as if they were the only ones there. Bowing their heads between each song, merely to listen to the whispers of their Father.

I cherish these differences of expression, and the freedom our church gives to come as you are – God meets us in our place of desperation, and it is through his Grace and absolute forgiveness that we are wiped clean. This morning, as we sang about God’s holiness and the day of his return, it grew heavy on my heart the depth with which I need a Savior. We need a savior.

Praise God that we have a Savior in Christ Jesus.

In the twinkling of an eye

we will be changed.

We will meet you in the sky, Almighty.

via FB

i always thought that the Facebook ‘notes’ were silly. which is why this is the only one I ever did. 1/29/2009. fascinating…

DISCLAIMER: This is ONLY being done because my sister tagged me. She’s one of four people in the world I would do this for – see Random Thing #5.

Once you’ve been tagged, you are supposed to write a note with 25 random things, facts, habits, or goals about you. At the end, choose 25 people to be tagged. You have to tag the person who tagged you. If I tagged you, it’s because I want to know more about you.

(To do this, go to “notes” under tabs on your profile page, paste these instructions in the body of the note, type your 25 random things, tag 25 people (in the right hand corner of the app) then click publish.)

1. When my mother found out she was having another girl, I was either going to be named Brittney, Courtney or Kelsey.

2. My favorite childhood memory includes playing hide-and-go-seek in the alfalfa fields. Thank God I’m a country girl 🙂

3. I got punched on the bus in 8th grade by a boy because I told him ‘he wouldn’t do it.’ I cried.

4. Since I was young, I have always wanted to be on a football team. Daddy said no.

5. My four incredible sisters are my absolute best friends.

6. NO, my parents were not just trying for a boy.

7. With five daughters, we’re obviously going to compare ourselves to other things that come in fives. I was Sporty Spice.

8. Tulips are my favorite flowers.

9. When I get bored, I do obnoxious, excessive things like rearrange my room, dye/cut my hair, write notes by the hundreds, etc.

10. I was born at Rockingham Memorial Hospital and have lived in the same house my whole life.

11. It’s true – I’ve seen Rascal Flatts 5 times in concert. It’s just something about those studded pants and fringe shirts I can’t stay away from.

12. Secretly, I enjoy NASCAR (shhh.)

13. I’m taking a class called Beverage Management, the technical term for wine tasting, and I love it.

(pondering #12 and #13… I don’t make sense.)

14. If I’m tired, giving a presentation, excited, or have had even a drop of alcohol, my accent comes out. I attribute it to my parents being born in WV and KY respectively, but they don’t even have accents.

15. I get bored really easily, but somehow love yoga.

16. My boyfriend in 6th grade told me after a haircut that I looked like I had been run over by a lawnmower. I went to the bathroom, cried, and told my teacher I was sick and needed to go home. It was my 12th birthday.

17. When I’m stressed, I cook or craft.

18. In 9th grade, I was part of a clique called the ‘Whack Nine.’ Not cool.

19. My favorite season is fall… think leaves, pumpkins, hiking.

20. You might consider me the best sale shopper ever.

21. James Taylor, Jackson Browne, Crosby, Still & Nash will absolutely forever make me think of road trips with my father.

22. Also thanks to Papa Pack, I’ve had the joy of tasting ostrich, groundhog, pheasant, and most likely some things I’ve worked for years to forget.

23. I accidentally shot my little sister with a bow and arrow when we were little. It was a field tip, it’s fine. She’s tough. (I love you, Haley.)

24. More than chocolate, I love anything fried or salty.

25. I wore safety pins in my ears, wore ELEMENT shirts, cut holes in my jeans, and listened to angry girl music one year in high school. People called me a poser. I called it ‘finding myself.’



ktown, so far

a little glimpse into my Rocky Top world…

neither of my roommates have gotten a B. on anything. they’ve also warned me that the church I attend is ‘where people go to get married.’ it ain’t happening. we’re not drinking the kool-aid.

tripp and I have successfully found four great coffee shops. none quite as homey as Para in Charlottesville, but our favorite so far is Remedy. great coffee, friendly baristas, and nurturing atmosphere.

everyone in this town seems to have the demeanor of a Wal-Mart greeter. without a doubt, the kindest city I’ve ever been to.

i have successfully locked myself out the house in lacrosse shorts and a tyedye t-shirt, only to meet the neighbors as they suspected me of breaking into my house.

in one of our ‘adventures around knoxville,’ tripp and i donned our green and orange at an irish festival @ World’s Fair Park – complete with guinness, cloggers, and cooked rose petal beads.

in an interview for an apartment leasing job, the manager of the company prayed for God’s guiding hand in my job search and new life down here, whether it be with them or elsewhere, that His will would be done. cool. SO cool.

after sneaking into the UT dining hall, i proceeded to have a table of freshman boys holler that i had a bug on the back of my skirt. i swatted it off. it was a bee. it stung the crap out of my hand. i screamed. everyone laughed. curtsy to the crowd. thank you.

i never thought i would say this, but i miss Ashby.

there are a few running paths in my neighborhood that i’ve had the chance to venture around, only to have my quads screaming at me to stop. and i thought virginia was hilly.

my list of things i’ve left at home has passed the two page mark. that’s what i get for being an amateur mover. or maybe it goes back to the fact that i’ve never lived outside of rockingham county.

however, i’ve fallen for this place. i love the scenery, community, people, adventures, opportunities, and new friends. this is a good thing.

here goes nothing

Those of you that know me well, know that I’ve been contemplating the decision to start a blog for months. With the inevitable end of one era in May as I graduated from college, I thought of this as a possible means of communication with those of us whose physical paths may rarely reconnect again. As well as a means to more effectively and efficiently keep in touch with friends and family ever present in my life, since our crazy world can all too often skew priorities and coffee chats and phone dates become instantly booted. Instead of relying on gchat statuses and random texts, I decided to go for it. Thank you in advance for bearing with me, a not-so-tech-savvy beginning blogger.

The name of this, strange enough, was born out of Clementine Cafe, on one of many Tuesday Trivia nights. My best friend, Britt, and I were a team of our own one night this past spring, and I was bummed out wearing a tye-dye shirt from 1st grade, while she donned her typical Britty yellow. Thus, the name was born…tye-dye sunshine. We weren’t dolled up for a night out, just two simple girls having simple, yet intentional conversations about life. IT became so easy to process the shine and shadows in our own lives through the love, comfort, and open ears of that setting. Thus, I attempt to recreate it. A place where I, more than anyone else, can try to make sense of some things.

So here goes, my blog.  A quick overview for starters…

home sweet home

I was born and raised in Rockingham County, Virginia – smack in the middle of the Shenandoah Valley. A county known for its turkey production and marked by four huge bronze turkey scultpures at each corner of the county line.

I have felt continually blessed through the love of my family – two wonderful parents and four incredible sisters…and now 3 brothers-in-law, one niece, and one nephew. What I have and who I am can in large part be attributed to our mud slingin’, bow shootin’, trampoline jumpin’, tom boy upbringing.


I graduated from James Madison University (GO DUKES!) in May with a degree in Hospitality and Tourism Management, and spent summer 2009 working at Cross Keys Vineyards and Winery a mile from my house. Great wine, beautiful scenery and some of the most gracious people I’ve ever met.

At the age of 22 I figured it was time to move away from my homewtown (for the first time, I might add). My boyfriend, Tripp, was offered admission into the University of Tknoxville,GA, NC 011ennessee for graduate school, and as his assistantship fell into place and I visited the city a couple times, we decided that it would be an excellent opportunity for us to pursue professional and relational growth in Knoxville.  I grow daily more appreciative of the tangible ways in which God is showing himself and his plans for me in a new place, through all my apprehension and anxiety. Although I am sans-job at this point, I am enjoying exploring the area, and am thankful to live in a beautiful home with great, Christian girls.

So, for those of you meeting me here in a new place, hopefully that’s a small but accurate sliver of what you’re getting into. There’s no telling as to how often or how much I will conquer this blog, but thanks for entering into the journey with me. Let’s see where this goes.