Friday, August 24, 2012

Super Mom to the Rescue!

Now, I think I have been working hard and getting things done the past month with registry stuff, cleaning, cooking, organizing, etc. didn't seem to be getting very done. Enter Super Mom!

My mom is wonderful, she's great, she's not only a Super Mom but she taught me (practically everything) I know! It was time for  her magic to make my house become a home and not a clutter cove.

She came over yesterday and we totally dominated! My kitchen, dining room, and living room are completely cleaned, tidied, organized, livable and even cute! When we were almost done, we realized we hadn't taken a BEFORE picture, but then we quickly said, "that's okay, we prefer not to remember what it looked like before." So, here are all the AFTER pictures.

Shiny new silverware, awesome Cutco knives, and colorful measuring utensils.

Candles, serveware, pretty glassware

Dining "Room"

Centerpiece: Table Runner gift from Crate and Barrel, vase and candle wedding gift, rocks found in cupboard.

Our Living Room

Got this table from Re-Store and have plans to re-finish it soon.

All the colors in my kitchen make me happy!

Tupperware and cooking prep bowls/measuring cups

Cookbooks and Vitamins

Probably my favorite picture because it contains so many great things! Fiestware dishes and canisters, spice rack and fruit bowl from C&B and Pistachio KitchenAid!

Love our new toaster and espresso maker

I am so glad we have an island

Gotta love organization in the kitchen

My wonderful non-stick pots and pans from Costco

So pretty, right?

Parker Mixing bowls from C&B, pretty serveware: Eva Mendes and Fiesta

All my bakeware including casserole dishes from C&B


Great cupboards for storing big and extra food items

Cleaning supplies and my aprons

My "office" nook for now

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

I Feel Like Super Wife Today

Do you ever have a day when evening comes and you just feel like you accomplished SO much! Now, I still have presents sitting in my living room and I'm still not unpacked...but I did a lot today and I feel good about it! Just what did I accomplish you may ask? Well....

I did 7 loads of laundry! Some still hanging to dry, most of the others already dried, folded, and put away.

I tackled the impossible tub to clean. I have cleaned our tub extensively with several different cleaners and tons of elbow grease. Finally, I decided to try something new:

Our tub before I cleaned it today...GROSS

Our tub AFTER....yay!

It took a toll on the sponge, but it worked!

A few weeks ago, my mom sent me this blog post about how to line your dresser drawers. I decided to give it a go! I bought the fabric the next day, but it has been pushed back until I finally did 3 of my 7 dresser drawers today.

Here is the $30 awesome dresser we got from a thrift store...I can't wait to re-finish it or paint it eventually.

Empty, boring drawer. Definitely needs something cute.

Like this fabric! Purchased with a coupon at JoAnn's.

Multi-surface adhesive  spray that I bought with a coupon from Hobby Lobby (I can't figure out how to rotate the picture haha sorry)

 My 3 drawers

First step, wipe the drawers clean with a damp rag
Now if you read this blog, it shows how she finger pressed the edges before sticking it to the drawer. My mom helped me cut the fabric long enough to do this folding on the sides. However, when it came down to it, I felt like I didn't have enough fingers and hands to spray the adhesive, fold the fabric, and get it down smoothly and then try to fold the other end when I got there. So I sat there in frustration as I often do when I start a craft project. I just don't have the creative juices to figure it out and make it work. I was sitting in this frustrated position when my wonderful husband came home. He immediately jumped in to help me. He taped pieces of paper together inside the drawer to figure out its size. Then he got a hobby knife, cutting board, the fabric, and trimmed it down to the right size.

My great husband to the craft rescue!

Now that my fabric was the right size, I sprayed away! I sprayed one edge first and laid the fabric right up against the wood sides. Then I folded back the fabric and sprayed the majority of the bottom of the drawer. I used a pan scraper to help me smooth the fabric on the drawer without any bubbles. If I matched up my first edge just right then the middle and other edge went really smoothly.
Yay! 3 drawers complete!

Now onto the kitchen. I have been craving something sweet. So I looked through my Pinterest recipes for something with chocolate...but not too much or else my husband wouldn't eat it. I also needed it to use ingredients I already had because I didn't feel like going to the store.

I chose this recipe for Oatmeal Chocolate Peanut Butter Bars! It was the maiden mix of my Pistachio KitchenAid :) Here is the finished product chilling in the fridge.

Finally...I made dinner in the crock pot and rice cooker tonight!

I used this recipe to make chicken for burritos

1 lb boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 packet taco seasoning
1 c. chicken broth

Combine in crockpot; cook 6-8 hours on low. Remove breasts from crock and
fork-shred. Spoon a bit of the juice over it if desired. Serve on warmed
tortillas with cheese, salsa, sour cream, black olives...anything your taco
heart desires! 


Shredded chicken and veggies prepped for the tortillas.

 It was a delicious and filling meal! Plus, I made extra chicken and rice to freeze for a future meal! And my wonderful husband helped me by cleaning up the kitchen after dinner! Such a great and productive day! Now to try one of my dessert bars and then go to bed...super wife is tired! 

Any Super Wife moments for you? 

Thanks to Amanda from Crafty Fox and Angela at Cut to Pieces who provided the inspiration and instructions for my dresser drawers.

Cut To Pieces

Positively Splendid


Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Blessings Come Through Raindrops

This morning I woke up to a strange sound...raindrops! 3 months ago I would have hated waking up to this sound, but this morning it was so nice. I knew today would be cooler and a relief from the heat both inside and outside of my house. Not only is it raining though, but there was also some good thunder and lightning. I actually enjoy thunder and lightning storms. There is just something beautiful in the flashes and booms that makes me feel vulnerable and small yet safe and protected because the One who controls the storm also holds me in His hands. (sidenote: I do not however like when the house gets hit by lighting...the beauty is lost VERY quickly in that instance).

As I sat this morning reading emails and looking out the window at the rain, I thought back to the last time it rained...the morning of my wedding! And the last time there was thunder and lightning...after my rehearsal dinner.

The two weeks leading up to my wedding, the forecast showed sunny and HOT. My mom was not happy about the hot as she has told me since Day 1 to not have an outdoor summer wedding because everyone will pit out. This is probably the only instance I completely disregarded what my mom said and planned my outdoor summer wedding anyways :). So when the forecast showed her words becoming true, I quit looking at the weather websites. I knew I was not in control, that yes we might be hot, but as long as it didn't rain (especially since the month before had been SO rainy) I would be happy.

Fast forward to Thursday night before my wedding. After my bachelorette party and all my bridesmaids went to sleep, my parents and brother pulled me aside to "talk".  They announced the worst news that a bride could hear for her outdoor summer wedding: there was an 80% chance of rain for Saturday. NOOOOOOO!!! I will be the first to admit, I cried. Okay, I bawled. No, no, no. How could this happen? The middle of July! I had dreamed of, planned, and imagined this outdoor, sunny, summer wedding practically my whole life. All the decor I had spend months on would be soggy and gross. Guests would be miserable and leave early or not even come. My hair would be a frizz-bomb disaster. This was not good. I cried some more.

My parents told me we needed a Plan B. For the time being, we would stick with Plan A and pray, but if we thought of a second option now, we would be able to execute it sooner and make it as great as possible rather than waiting until the last minute.

We created several Plan B's:
~have the wedding inside our church and the reception either outside or inside there as well
~have the wedding outside at the farm and then the reception inside at the church
~rent as many tents as we could to cover ceremony, dance floor, and tables plus umbrellas for pictures

Oh it was so hard to choose one because any totally destroyed the image in my head. I did NOT want it inside, but I did NOT want guests and decor to be soggy and lead to a short wedding/reception. I was leaning towards the church however because at least then people would be dry and stay for a fun time. Thankfully my parents told me I could sleep on it, and we could decide later the next day or even Saturday morning. When my mom said "goodnight" to me, she said, "remember, only 2 thing are important on Saturday: you and N get married, and God is glorified." Those two things were very much our motto the last week leading up to the wedding and even more so now with my dreams potentially being washed away.

As I crawled into bed, I called my fiance and we talked about it while I cried a little bit more. He, as always, went the optimistic route and said he wanted to stick with Plan A unless it was a torrential downpour. Rain where I live is either a 5 minute downpour or a several hour light drizzle. Either would be manageable.

Friday morning was sunny, but the forecast was still not looking better. My parents were both on the phone figuring out logistics and options. My dad was able to rent several large tents and so we decided to stick with the wedding and reception at the farm. The tents would be used in the best way possible to keep people, decor, and food dry. To create the best set-up based on the weather, we changed the delivery of tables, chairs, and tents until Saturday morning.

We went about our tasks on Friday, buying last minute food items, discussing decor set-up, and the rehearsal. The rehearsal, by the way, was SOO hot. My Maid of Honor got heat exhaustion from earlier that day and skipped the rehearsal to recover so that she wouldn't be sick for the wedding. Thankfully that did the trick and she was revived in time for the rehearsal dinner. The rehearsal went smoothly, dinner was fun and delicious, and it was gorgeous and sunny the whole time. But on the drive home, the dark clouds rolled in, and that night it rained, thundered, and lightninged.

I fell asleep that night telling myself "2 things, just 2 things are important." I was disappointed of course, but I was okay. I knew it would still be great.

Wedding day! I woke up, and it was raining. My heart was a little sad, but I was still okay. I knew my parents and dear family friends were already at the farm working to set everything up in the rain. I texted both my parents to say "sorry they were getting wet, thank you for doing it, and I could come help if they needed." My mom replied saying she was still in bed! I got up and went and crawled in with her as she made phone call after phone call to coordinate food prep, someone buying umbrellas for taking pictures, etc. etc. etc.

As my bridesmaids woke up and we started getting ready, it stopped raining, and the sun slowly, but surely began peeking through the clouds. Dozens of people were praying for good weather and God was answering!

By the time, the photographer arrived, it was completely sunny and we were able to take bridal party pictures outside. We headed over to the farm. It. Was. AMAZING! There was a tent over all my decor pieces that looked so great! Having it in the tent really pulled it all together. All the tables were covered by tents and twinkly lights had been strung up! My parents and so many dear friends worked very hard to make it look incredible! They got wet and spent extra money to pull it off and make the image of my wedding become a beautiful reality! Thank you thank you!

It ended up not raining at all! We were so blessed! It was sunny, blue skies, beautiful, and a nice warm temperature. The tents were still great to provide shade and I think it looked really nice how the tables were all together under the twinkly lights and tent tops.

I learned some good things through all this:
~always have a Plan B, even if it is the middle of July
~focus on what is truly important
~prayer is powerful
~different can be better--the decor tent turned out better than I think it would have without the tent and with the tents over the tables we were able to have twinkly lights!
~expect rain at some point in the day if you get married at that farm (mine was the 3rd wedding there with rain at some point in the schedule)
~friends and family who will do anything for you are the best things ever!

So I sit here today, thankful for the rain because it will be cooler and allow me to comfortably be productive in my home. And as I sit here, I think back to my wedding, the tears, the smiles, the rain, the sun, the people, and the memories! I am so thankful for all of that. I think I needed that rain those few days. I needed that reminder that even though I had planned, I had made decisions, I had worked, I had dreamed, still, I was not in control. I needed to re-learn those things I listed. I needed to be blessed by the rain.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Soup is better for Winter than Summer

I knew this, it makes sense, but did that keep me from putting soup on the menu for this week? No. And so our mouths and tummies were happy and our bodies were sweaty and hot. Now our house is already a nice little oven so cranking up the heat in the kitchen doesn't help one bit. But as I said, dinner did make our tummies very happy and that's because I made Italian Wedding Soup!

Probably the best part was that I got to make it in my NEW pot! My pots and pans arrived from Costco today. Yay!

This is SUCH an easy recipe. My mom and I got it from our family friend. There really isn't anything to do except put everything in the pot.

You need 3 boxes of chicken broth, 1 cup of orzo pasta, about 30 frozen meatballs, 4-5 carrots (I had baby carrots so just used 3x as many), half an onion, fresh or dry basil and S&P. My grocery store only had fresh basil in a HUGE bundle so I went with dried.

Now the way I got this recipe from my friend is really just the list of ingredient and not so much the "how to" part. But the way I did it worked and I really don't think you can mess it up.

First pour the broth into your pot and begin cooking it at a medium-high heat.

I sliced up my carrots as thin as I could so they wouldn't take too long to cook. Add those to the broth.

Then I chopped up my onion and added that.

I forgot to take a picture, but next I added the meatballs. You have to lower them in or else the hot broth splashes all over. Oh, and you can put them right in frozen, you don't need to thaw or anything.

So then right before I went to add the orzo pasta, I realize...pasta is usually added to boiling water. Hmm..maybe this should be boiling and it would also help cook the meatballs and veggies. Okay so crank it up to high and cover to bring to a boil. Then I added my orzo and kept it on high for 9 minutes with the lid off.

While my soup was cooking, I got started on the biscuits. I just followed the recipe on the back of the Bisquick box for drop biscuits. (notice how with all my meals I seem to always make one thing from scratch and one from a box? well, ya I do...get over it :) !) It was 2 1/4 cups of mix and 2/3 cup of milk. I of course used parchment not having to wash the pan and worry about sticking biscuits. Oh, and you may already know this...but I learned from experience...a whisk is not a good utensil to use for biscuit dough. It just got all clumped up and not mixed.

Mmmm...the soup is looking good! With most soups, I think you can just let them simmer on the stove for as long as you want. I checked with my husband to see how hungry he was and since he wanted to eat sooner than later, this wasn't going to be a simmery soup. I spooned up a good selection of the ingredients to check for doneness. Orzo pasta should be cooked and soft, carrot should be soft, and meatball should be warm all the way through. It was ready!

Here are the biscuits! I don't have a bread basket or cloths yet so I improvised by using an empty basket that usually goes on my desk and paper towels. Biscuit tip: the recipe says 8-10 minutes or until golden brown. I went 10 minutes and then a little...I probably should have taken them out at 8. They weren't bad at all. Just a little crispy on the bottom. Oh well. Live and learn. And butter and honey are great ways to fix a little burnt taste.

Voila! It was yummy! While we were eating...I said to my husband, "I think this recipe would be better in the fall or winter; I didn't need extra heat today." But it was GOOD!