Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Vacation Time!

Hubby gets a week off for vacation in a couple of weeks, and this time we are actually going to take a vacation instead of visiting family or going to a wedding.  Wahoo!

We spent soooooo much time trying to figure out where to go without spending too much money.  I looked at all of the vacation deals with flights on Groupon and Living Social and, while we did find some good looking trips, the ones in our price range either didn't fly out from a nearby airport or were not good for the dates we need.  Boo!

Then we looked into trips here in the States.  Beach, mountains, city, or desert?  I actually really wanted to go to the desert (we have never been to the Southwest), but Hubby didn't seem too keen on the idea.

He also wanted something more relaxing than a city.

I wanted to do something we haven't done before (he was drawn to cruises, but we have been there, done that, and while they are fun, if I was going to sit my tail in a chair I would rather be on a beach than a boat deck).

There is also the added stress of figuring out what to do with the pets.

I really wanted to go to Harry Potter World at Universal (I am a HUGE fan of the books), but had to go with my sister (who is also a huge fan; Hubby is not so much) and she was not available that week.

I spent several days looking at various options, and we ended up booking a place on the beach.  In Destin, FL, a city we have been to and love.

So much for somewhere new.

But I am excited.  It will be relaxing and fun.

And just 7 days before Hubby and I leave, my sister and I booked a weekend trip to Universal.  Yaaaaay!

So I have spent so many hours lately just looking up restaurants and tips for Universal and the Harry Potter sections specifically.  I found this really awesome resource, Orlando Informer, that has pages upon pages of details about Universal!

We are going to nerd out.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Casual Outfit: Maroon shirt, white shorts, and brown sandals

You will probably see these white shorts in most of my warm weather outfits.  I love them so much!  I bought them in the junior's section at Dillard's last year for $20. I couldn't find them online, but the brand is CP Jeans.

I found the shirt at Goodwill.

My sandals came from Academy of Sports and Outdoors a few years ago (or maybe last year?  I can't remember).


I can't remember where I found the necklace, but I do know it is second hand.

I love these earrings.  They were from Francescas and originally had a blue bead above the gold flower that I removed.  They are not the best quality, though; the hook is turning green.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Summer Gingham Picnic

I put together a potluck barbecue for our spouse group to end the year.  We rented a picnic shelter, provided barbecue from one of my favorite restaurants, and brought face painting for the kids.  We asked people to bring a side dish.  It was a big success!  I gathered many ideas from Pinterest for the decorations, and this is what I came up with.

Centerpieces were mason jars with daisies and citronella candles.

This is the food table before people arrived.  I made the "PICNIC" sign to go on the front.  Please disregard the paper lanterns in the back...that was a bad idea and they fell down quickly, anyway.  We didn't bring a ladder to tie them to the beams.

This is the dessert and drink table (our name is on top of our cooler, so I covered it up for the blog).  The bubbles for kids eventually went into a bowl that arrived after I took the pictures.

To help our guests, I made sure to label each cooler clearly.

It was a lot of fun!

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

July Meal Plan

When I meal plan, I come up with 4 meals per week.  Two of those meals include leftovers, and that leaves one night for eating out.  I vary easy meals with more time-consuming ones, but I do not specify a day for each meal; I put the meat out a day ahead with the next day's plan in mind.  It is very flexible.

July's Meal Plan

June 29-July 5

1. Chicken tetrazzini, salad
2. Baked fish (in Old Bay seasoning), mashed potatoes, roasted squash, steamed green beans
3. Sloppy Joes, roasted potatoes
4. Grilled kabobs, grilled squash, loaded potato salad, corn, roasted green beans (we are having company for the 4th).

July 6-12

2. Grilled basil garlic pork chops (from a magazine), country potato salad, grilled squash, salad
3. Chicken parmesan, spaghetti, roasted green beans
4. Chicken pasta verde, roasted green beans, bread with olive oil and herb dipping sauce (for our anniversary)

July 13-19

2. Stir fry
4. Meatballs (frozen leftovers) in marinara sauce, tomato cream pasta, green beans

July 20-26

1. Baked pesto chicken, alfredo pasta (minus the chicken in the recipe)
2. Hamburger steak with gravy, rice, green beans
3. Crock pot chicken and dumplings, lima beans
4. Chicken strips baked in Dale's sauce, cheesy potato rounds, green beans

July 27-August 2

1. Mozzarella tomato sauce pork chops, roasted potatoes, steamed green beans
2. Grilled bratwurst, oven baked fries
3. Crock pot rotisserie-style chicken, roasted potatoes, green beans
4. Three cheese spaghetti gratin (from a magazine), salad

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Two Months Already?

Good grief...it has been nearly two months since I have written.  I just got so busy with all of the projects we tackled, and then I took on more hours at work, and I just have not been inspired to write anything.  I'm still cooking, cleaning, and organizing.  Of course I still get dressed every day.  But I just haven't felt like anything I have done has been blog-worthy (or I just haven't taken pictures of things that were).

This blogging thing is hard, especially when I'm not trying to make it into a career.  I am not trying to find affiliates, or do giveaways, or even make money on it (I don't want to deal with the taxes involved)!  It is so hard not to compare myself to blogs with professional web designers and photographers.  I feel like the pictures I take and the content I write is not good quality, but it is me.  I don't hide behind a staged home or perfectly plated entrees.  I certainly don't look my best when photographing outfits (my shirt today has spit-up on it from the girl I keep).  But the point is not to promote myself; the point is to share my ideas instead of keeping them to myself.

Sooo...what has been going on the past two months?

We completed many projects, mostly in the yard.  I am struggling to get grass to grow.  We planted good grass, but mostly it's just centipede grass and weeds that are taking over.  Oh well.  When it is at least green, I will take pictures of all of the work.

I took on more hours at work.  It is still part time, but enough to interfere with the schedule I had created.  I am beginning to settle into a new routine, though.

It has been a busy time of year for our Resident Spouse group and I am vice president for this upcoming year, so that has taken up a lot of time.

I started growing a vegetable garden.

Hubby just finished intern year!  Whoop whoop!

And the budget?  Yeah...let's not talk about that.  I have high hopes for July, though.

I am going to try to cut back from three posts per week to just two and see if I can be consistent with that.

If you are still around, thank you!!!

Friday, May 9, 2014

Cinco de Mayo (from scratch!)

I really should start posting these things *before* the holiday...

Anyway, I L.O.V.E. Mexican food!  I love to go to Mexican restaurants and I love to cook it (however unauthentic my cooking may be).

I had soft tacos on my menu plan for the week, so I cooked those up using this recipe for the seasoning.

I also cooked my usual Mexican rice...so delicious!

There was a time where I made my own salsa, but have gotten lazy.  Hubby requested it the other day, so I whipped up a batch of it.  I don't measure anything; I just chop and combine the ingredients and keep taste-testing until it is delicious.  This was the first time I threw the ingredients into a food processor to make it less chunky.  The ingredients I use are: canned petite diced tomatoes, part of an onion, cilantro (lots!), jalapeno slices (just a few), lime juice (a dash), salt, and garlic powder.  Maybe one day I will figure out the measurements and blog the recipe!

I also made the margaritas from scratch using this recipe I found on Pinterest.  The recipe makes a gallon, so I used one cup of tequila, converted the other measurements into ounces, and divided by six to make just over two drinks.  They were good; Hubby enjoyed it more than I did.  I thought it was a little too tart and next time I will be limiting or eliminating the lemon juice from the recipe.  As it watered down, I enjoyed it more.

I was very proud of this meal and it was all delicious!

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

DIY Initial Door Hanger

 I am normally a wreath-lovin' girl.  I have made several wreaths for my front door!  Unfortunately in this home, our door is red, which I love, but it tends to clash with my regular wreaths.  My spring wreath is pink cherry blossoms, but it looked terrible against the red door!

I was going to make just a daisy wreath for spring, but decided to be a little more trendy and make a letter door hanger!  I figured yellow would really pop against our red door.

You will need:
  • A letter (this one is 13 inches from Michael's)
  • Paint
  • Flowers
  • Burlap or ribbon
  • Hot glue gun
  • Paintbrush
First, I painted the entire letter yellow, making sure to also cover the sides.  (I didn't think you needed to see a picture of me painting it!)

After the paint dries, cut the flower off until the stem is flat against the bottom.

Glue the flowers to the letter in whatever arrangement you like.  I like things in threes.

If you have burlap, cut a length you want and then cut it in half.  If you are using ribbon, then just cut two lengths you want.  Basically you just need two lengths of material that are about 2-3 inches wide.

Since this is the support for the letter, I wanted to use a lot of glue to make sure it holds.  I glued a little bit of the burlap on at a time so it wouldn't dry out.

Again, since this is the support for the letter, I glued quite a bit of burlap to the back.  I just wanted to make sure it holds!  I glued the entire width of the ribbon.

Tie the top of the ribbon together (I just tied a regular knot).

The grand total for this project?  $12.66 and 20 minutes (to let the paint and glue dry).

I think it looks great!  Now to repaint the door...