Friday, February 24, 2012

Indoor Grill Party!

We are definitely anxious for warmer weather here.  Mother Nature has been teasing us with brief glimpses of warmer weather, and yesterday was a perfect example of her teasing.  In case you are in Atlanta and you stayed under a rock yesterday, let me tell you, the weather was amazing.  Justin and I knew that the weather was not around for good, so we celebrated in a way that mirrors Mother Nature’s temporary ways.
We decided to have and indoor grill party.  We decided that we would have the BBQ classics.  We already had chicken marinating.  We picked up some shrimp to grill.  We also got my favorite, squash, to grill.  And to top the meal off, we decided to make fresh squeezed lemonade.
I started making the simple syrup over the stove.  You just mix approximately a cup and half of water with a cup of sugar and cook until the sugar is completely dissolved.  While this is on the stove, start squeezing those lemons.  We bought a pack of ten, and that is about how much you will need.  I left two lemons unsqueezed to slice and throw into the finished lemonade.    Then you throw the lemon juice, simple syrup, and about 4 cups of water to dilute.  Throw the other two lemons in and refrigerate. 

It was a great meal.  Super delicious!  The lemonade was so refreshing!!!

Squash and chicken on the grill!
Shrimp grilled with butter and cajun seasoning!
Some bacon on the grill!

Mother Nature make up your mind, and bring us summer!!!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

My Valentine

When I met Justin, I had no idea the part he would play in my life.  I had been slyly spending time with him at church.  And it is true, that Justin’s church attendance increased by leaps and bounds, and I now believe that I had something to with that.
Although in the beginning, I was looking for a boyfriend.  I wasn’t looking for one in Justin.  I had a major crush on someone else.  This other guy was smart, cute, and a Christian.  That combo is hard to come by when you are in high school.  I was sure that this was the someone special that I had been praying for.  I was sure that God wanted us to be together forever.  God, obviously, had a different idea.
I needed a date to the band dance.  So I asked Justin to be my date on November 26, 2003.  And that same night, Justin asked me to be his girl.  And I said yes.  I thought it was a fair exchange. 
I would say that I started to feel differently around August of 2004.  We had been together just 3 mos. shy of a year.  It was then that I told Justin, I love you.  Now Justin had told me million of times that he loved me, and I always replied, I love you, too.   But this time, I said it first and then I cried.  I cried, because I felt it and I knew I meant it.
Fast forward years and years. Through graduations, through internships, through different jobs, through new homes, through a wedding, and an amazing first year of marriage.
Today, we have been together for 3,002 days, and I cannot imagine my life without him.  No, it hasn’t always been fun and easy.  But I can say that it all has been worth it.  I have never met someone who understands me so completely and makes me so happy.   After 3,002 days, I still miss him while I am at work.  I still get jealous.  I still get excited to spend time with him. 
He is my Valentine, and I feel very lucky that I am his. .

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Organization Transformation

When we first moved to our new place in April, I vowed that I would be more organized.  I would put things back where they belong and I would make a solid effort into being that part of the homemaker that I am not so good at.  If you know me, then you will not be surprised by this upcoming confession.  I love to cook.  I love to create.  I love to decorate.  But I do not love to clean.  I do not love to organize.  I do not love to do laundry. And if I didn’t have a wonderful husband, I would not have clean clothes. 
But this time was going to be different, and it will be.  I am not na├»ve enough to think that these changes can be made overnight.  I have been disorganized for 25 years; it will take some time to get used to the idea.   And so, that is how the master closet slipped back into disaster world.  I really don’t know how it happened.  I am going to blame it on the cats.  They are the only ones that are there all day, and I KNOW that this is not my fault.  (After I work on my organization habits, I am going to tackle denial.)
In steps, Kacee, my organizing hero.  She agreed to help me organize the master closet.  She believes that this sort of thing is a possible hobby/side job for her.  And I felt like my closet would be the test of her commitment.   This is what she saw the first time.

To my surprise, she did not appear surprised.   She was very non-judgmental, which was very comforting in this entire process.  She took pictures.  She took notes.  She measured things.  And then she left. 
A couple days later, I got an email with a massive list of ideas.  And after a little discussion and a little shopping, all that was left to do was the actual work.  I can honestly say, I wouldn’t have gotten through Saturday without Kacee.  She was a vital part of the process.
Are you ready to see the final result???

I think it is an amazing transformation.  We added a shoe tree and a hanging shoe organizer.  We also added creative ways to hang my scarves and display Justin’s belt buckles.  We also added a closet doubler.  There are some amazing options out there for closet organization.
P.S.  She also helped to organize my yarn.  I will have to show that off another day.
P.S.S. Kacee, I am going to try really really hard to keep it this way. 

Monday, February 6, 2012

Epic Post Fail

Well, today was going to be an amazing blog post.  I was going to post about the massive organization project that was completed this weekend.  But Kacee has the pictures for that, and you really have to see it to believe it.   I was going to post a tutorial on how to make your own headboard, but I ran out of time this weekend, so it did not get done.  I did buy the fabric, so that post is coming.  I was going to post about my healthy and delicious Super Bowl snacks.  But at the last minute, we made plans to play Keno and watch the Super Bowl with friends.  So the snacks didn’t get made.  You see, how this was going to be an epic post, but now all I have to post about is plants.   I know, Lame.
But houseplants for Justin and I are a big deal.   We have talked about getting plants, but couldn’t decide of which ones to get, where to put them, or how to keep them alive.  So we just kind of tabled the idea of houseplants for awhile.

 For my birthday this year, Holly gave me an orchid.  I love flowers.  I really do,   this was the perfect gift.   I say, was, because it has died.  But it lasted 5 months.  I research how to take care of it, and I think I did a pretty good job.   There are some things that I will do differently this time around.  But I think as a first effort at keeping something besides me, my husband, and my cats alive, it was a total success. 
We found some houseplants on sale this weekend at Home Depot.  We were careful to pick plants that the flower expert said, “you could not kill”.  She said this, and we bought the plants.   Yes, we intend to hold the flower expert lady personally responsible if these plants die.  I have done the initial research on how to keep these plants alive, and it seems pretty easy. 

But ask to see my plants in 5 months, and we will see if this was a success!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Five Chinese and a Vest

It has been awhile since I have posted about food.  Don’t worry, I am still cooking and trying new things.  But I have been switching phones for the past couple of weeks, so my pics seem to always be somewhere else. 
I have been doing a pretty good job of working with a meal plan lately.  I think the holidays through some kinks, but we are past that.  I really like having the meal plan.  It has allowed me to try a lot of new recipes.  I made an awesome calzone two weeks ago, but that one didn’t last long enough to take a pic.
  Anyways,  like the rest of the world, I am addicted to Pinterest.   Pinterest is how I found the  SkinnyTaste Blog.  She has a ton of great looking recipes.   One of which, I thought I would share with you.
Click on her blog to see the actual recipe.  Now I have wanted to experiment with the Five Chinese Spice, so I had that on hand.  As for the garlic cloves, agave, and shallots, I did not have on hand.  And yesterdays, was one of the days that I was not going to brave the grocery store to get these ingredients.  So I improvised.  I made the marinade with the Chinese five spice, soy sauce, black pepper, sugar, garlic powder, and ginger.    I let the chicken marinate overnight, and roasted it.  It was delish.  I served it with some sticky rice, and some roasted zucchini. 
I am aware that this chicken leg is HUGE!
Roasted zucchini is quickly becoming my new fave.  All I do, is to chop it up (or ask Justin to) and throw some black pepper, Greek seasoning, and seasoning salt,  and bake it for 20 minutes.  Delish!

Vest Update
I have been working on my vest, and it is coming along nicely.  I put it down for a minute or week, because I was feeling a bit discouraged.  Now the rows are so long, the take forever, and I am not seeing any really quick progress like before.    But I sewed up the seams on Sunday, and tried it on, and it is looking good.  So I am determined to finish it during the month of February.   
I know it is not a great pic, but you can see I am working on it!

Justin and I watched a movie last night, and I knitted the entire time, and only got 5 rows done.  This is going to be a long month...