Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Surprise!

So the word is finally out...

I'm pregnant. More on that tomorrow... :)

Saturday, January 28, 2012

On our way

So I did manage to make it to work yesterday in case you were all on the edge of your seats waiting to know. However, last night my body kept thinking it was Tuesday?!?! Weird.

Anyway we're off to LA today and I'm so excited to see family and Mickey and sunny weather!!! Have a great weekend!!!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

A cruel inner clock

"Yaayyyy!!! It's finally Friday!!! I've been waiting for this day forEVER.

Wait.

Hold on.

Why does my phone say Thursday?

My brain says Friday.

So it must be Friday, right?

No?

WAAAAHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!"

This was the sad conversation I had with myself on my way to work today. (Yes, I even did a fake sob out loud.)

I have been so off this week. My inner clock told me it was Thursday yesterday but obvs it wasn't so this morning I woke up thinking/feeling like it was Friday. Why, brain? Why would you do that to me?

Hopefully tomorrow I don't think it's Saturday and decide to not show up for work.

By the way, this popped up on the Google searches that led to my blog. I bet they were sadly disappointed.

"Bears attacking a gladiator"

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

EPIC FAIL

So, as promised, here is the "Pioneer Woman let me down in the worst way" post.

The setting: 2 nights before Christmas in our apartment (which at this point had reached a level of stuff strewn everywhere that makes me cringe to think about - presents, wrapping, bags, suitcases waiting to be packed, baking supplies, etc.)

The characters: a very sick me (when you're coughing and sneezing everywhere, that's usually the perfect time to make some homemade goodies that you're going to give away) and my faithful sidekick hubby

The plan: make some caramel apples (via PW), sugar cookies (via PW) and chocolate covered pretzel sticks

The promised results:

Because we were planning on giving these away, I followed both of her recipes to a T. Even the lemon peel in the sugar cookies.

The result: Let me just begin with the apples. Everything seemed to be going fine until about an hour after we had made them when my husband decided to try one of the extra apples.

It was rock hard. As in pounding it on the table sounded like an anvil was going to splinter our poor little Ikea table. He tried biting into it, barely left teeth marks. He tried microwaving it - nothing. Those apples looked exactly like the ones in the picture; however, she failed to mention that you have to eat them immediately because they will soon become nothing more than paperweights.

We were informed later that a few were edible but for the most part: EPIC FAIL.

The sugar cookies. To be fair, I hate sugar cookies. They're boring and bland to me and they're just not something I love. But after The Sugar Cookie Disaster of 2010, I had to try them again just to prove I could actually make sugar cookies.

They were flavorless and her cook time was way too long (unless they're supposed to be crispy and hard). My husband said they tasted like lemon cookies. I KNEW the lemon peel was a weird ingredient but I trusted PW and added it and the result was disastrous.

I've decided sugar cookies aren't my thing and I'm just going to stick to Chocolate Chip Cookies because I know and love those.

Lastly, the pretzel sticks. I didn't have a recipe for these - I just planned on winging it. And guess what? These turned out perfectly. They were ridiculously easy to make and it was so fun that each one could be decorated differently. I learned from my brother-in-law's mother to use a fork when drizzling chocolate and they actually looked like professional! Of course at this point we had rock-hard, caramel apples and tasteless, crispy sugar cookies AND it was 11 at night, so of course we were much too exhausted to take pictures. But nevertheless, they were a success and I was told that they were very much enjoyed by the recipients.

So there you have it... I am wary of trusting PW and next time I will follow my gut which says "don't put lemon peel in cookies".

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Imaginary World of DIY

In my head, I have tons of time to do things. In real life? Well, life gets in the way. I've pinned about a bazillion things that someday I want to do. I'll just have to wait until I'm like a stay at home mom and all I do is sit around and eat bon-bons all day.

Right?

I mean, babies and kids take care of themselves, don't they? I figure they're like dogs. Just set out some food and water in a bowl once in awhile and hose them down every few weeks and you're good to go.

I kid, I kid.

I'd hose them down at least every few days.

At any rate, maybe someday in the not-so-near future I will get around to doing at least one of these projects... (And please know that I'm kidding about the kids. Although if taking care of my garden is any indication of the kind of mother I'll be... then yes, you should be worried. Send help and bon-bon's immediately.)

This purse just seems so easy. Buy some leather. Sew it into a giant pocket with a zipper and stick some studs in there to defend yourself in case someone tries to take it. So simple, right?

These might take me a little longer to make but I'm fairly certain I could reproduce something similar in a few hours... Plus the studs. Adorb.

Source: etsy.com via Stephanie on Pinterest

I just realized I may or may not be obsessed with studs these days. But how cool does this look???

Source: etsy.com via Stephanie on Pinterest

The other day I thought about doing these because they're just so simple. I asked my husband if he had some washers. He said yes, what did I need them for? I said "I'm going to make bracelets". He said "Then no, I don't have any."

He can be such a kill-joy sometimes.


This is the most complicated, most intimidating pin I've ever pinned and I can see hours of tears and frustration just waiting for me but someday... someday I might attempt it...

Well there you have it. All the things that are on my bucket list to complete before I hit the old age of 30. That's only 2.5 years away... can I accomplish that? Maybe I should extend my deadline to 40. Although that's like ancient... Hahaha... I joke Mom! (She's going to be 60 this year and she looks fabulous!!!)

Monday, January 23, 2012

Can you tell me how to get.... to Sesame Street?

Today is brought to you by the number 1 and the letter S.

1 is the number of times I've been to the gym in the past 2 weeks.

1 is also the number of Oreo milkshakes my husband brought to me on Sunday afternoon (which incidentally is a nice way to wake up from a nap).

1 is the number of crocheting projects I've actually finished.

1 is also the number of crocheting projects I've thrown across the room in frustration. (Curse those patterns!)

1 is the number of packages I'm awaiting in the mail. And guess what? It's clothes. Ssshhhhh... don't tell anyone.

S stands for Stephanie. (That's me.)

S is for Silly times I have with my husband that make me so thankful for him.

S is for Steaks of which I've had several in the past week.

S is for Scale which I've avoided until this morning and then it hurt my feelings so now I'm mad at it.

S is for Somebody tell me it's Friday already.

Did I ever tell you guys I learned how to tie my shoes from watching Sesame Street? True story. That Ernie really knows what he's doing when it comes to laces.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Happy Rainy Friday

Today I got to pull out my rainboots for the first time this year. Every skier or snowboarder in Nor Cal will tell you that this is some much needed weather. Apparently Tahoe hasn't been without snow this late in the season for like a hundred years or something exaggerated like that.

Not that I care because I've had my bout with snowboarding and let's just say, it's not worth it. The cold butt, the chapped face, the sore muscles... I'll be the one curled up next to the fire with a good book and some hot chocolate, thanks.

Which reminds me... does anyone want to buy a Burton snowboard? Lovingly used for 1 year and then gathered dust for 4 years. I'd include the bindings but I broke those (from all my mad boarding skiillllzzzz).

Today is finally Friday and one more week is going to drag by before we get to make a very highly anticipated trip to LA. This weekend we will be doing absolutely nothing, which is what we've been doing the past few weekends and it's been glorious.

Wait.

I take that back.

I will be crocheting for LIFE (and picking up some more yarn for a few more scarf projects from Joann's). However, crocheting is fun and it's best to do it when you're snuggled on the couch under a blanket watching a movie. Having a bowl of cookie dough nearby helps too.

It's going to be a wonderful weekend. :)

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Living Room Inspirations

So I mentioned that we're looking for a house. I'm already having visions of how I want to decorate and things I plan on doing so I started with the easiest room - the living room.

We already have a gray microfiber couch that we got for free on Craigslist. (Yes, you read that right and I'll have to tell you that story another time.) We also have the white/burlap lamps that I made here and white baskets that I made here and it should be no problem to whip up a few cushion covers in some neutral colors. I want the room to be very neutral and relaxed. I'd love to tell you where I got all these images except that I can't remember. Except for the paint one, I stole that from House*Tweaking's Paint Post.

So what do you guys think?

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Sweet Potato Casserole

This is kind of part of the Thanksgiving Turkey post from yesterday but also not. I have a sweet potato casserole recipe that is really more like a dessert but it is OH so yummy.

Sweet Potato Mixture
3 cups of mashed sweet potatoes
1 cup of sugar
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1 teaspoon of vanilla
2 eggs
1 stick (1/2 cup) of butter

Crust Mixture
1 cup of brown sugar
1/3 cup of flour
1 cup of chopped nuts (pecans or walnuts)
1/3 stick of butter, melted

Directions:
Combine the crust mixture in a bowl and set aside. Combine sweet potato mixture in a bowl in the order listed. Pour sweet potato mixture into a buttered baking dish. Sprinkle the surface evenly with the crust mixture and bake for 30 minutes at 350 degrees.

Enjoy.

This is how it looks BEFORE it's baked. After it's baked, it disappears too quickly for my
camera to capture. I think my husband may be the culprit since this is his favorite dish ever.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Thanksgiving in January

Ahh... so here we are halfway through January and I'm finally going to write my turkey post. That's totally normal right? Well I had already mentioned I was going to follow PW's Turkey Brining and Turkey Roasting recipes. I had found a decent FRESH (this was really stressed by PW) 13 lb turkey during our Thanksgiving food shopping trip which incidently didn't cost me a dime thanks to my job and some coupons.

So on Thanksgiving Day (since we were actually having our Thanksgiving dinner on the day after Thanksgiving) I started on the turkey brine. It took about an hour to mix up and it ended up looking just like hers so we were off to a good start.




Then her next step was to cool the brine. Just like that. So simple, right? Nope. It took FOUR HOURS for the brine to get down to room temperature. First I stuck it in the freezer and all the steam promptly began to melt everything that was in there. Clearly we don't have an industrial grade freezer but apparently Ree does. So I decided to put it outside on the porch since it was a chilly 42 degrees outside. I kept the lid on so nothing would get in like a bug or a leaf. Those were not in the recipe. Well leaves were but probably not the kind that might fall in there. After TWO HOURS of sitting outside, the pot was still hot to the touch. So I transferred it to a different pot and 2 hours later, the brine was finally cool enough.

At this point, I was beginning to have my reservations about Ree.

Luckily, I had started everything a bit early so there was still plenty of time for the turkey to brine for 16 hours. I didn't use a brining bag because we had regular roasting bags leftover from last year and guess what? It's the exact same thing. It's like buying a Ziploc sandwich baggy versus buying the cheaper ones that just fold over on the top.

So the turkey was in the fridge and the brine was working it's magic.

Friday morning rolled around and I began the roasting process. The thing that worried me was that Ree didn't have a total time on there of how long it would take. She just said "baste every 30 minutes until it reaches this temperature". I'm paraphrasing there. I guesstimated that it would take 4 hours for the 13 lb turkey and it ended up taking almost 5. Once again, helpful time limits would've been good but I suppose I can't slight Ree for forgetting that little detail...

Freshly stuffed and ready for the oven
I was nervous about removing the foil and letting the turkey just roast all bare and naked in the oven because I've heard that can really dry out the top layer of meat, but I trusted PW and her brine and her instructions so I did as the recipe said and removed the foil.

Oh, I also stuffed the turkey and I think that's why the time was so funky also but to me stuffing HAS to go in the turkey and soak up all the good juices and it's just so yummy that way. In fact, now I want some. How much longer until Thanksgiving?

About halfway through the cooking time
Basting the turkey with butter. LOTS of butter.
Well, I won't bore you with what I did in those 5 hours but it did include my infamous cheesy mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, sweet potato casserole, cranberry and biscuits, all the while pulling the huge turkey out of the oven and basting it with melted butter every 30 minutes.

Side note: I bought 2 boxes of butter and ran out after I had finished all my Turkey Day cooking. Ree must buy it by the bucket loads if she cooks like that all the time.

I had already made my {also} infamous Cherry Oreo Cheesecake the day before and I was so very glad that dessert was one less thing to cook. Plus cheesecake is ALWAYS better if you let it refrigerate overnight.

She says to roast the turkey until the internal temperature reads 170 degrees. We actually pulled it out after 5 hours when it still read 155 and I think that was perfect. It was thoroughly cooked with no pink spots and the breast of the turkey would've gotten too dry, in my opinion, if we had let it get to 170.

When the turkey finally did come out of the oven, it was lovely. It was in fact very juicy and I could definitely taste the difference between a plain turkey and a brined one. It was a hit with everyone and we all lived happily ever after.


Side note: I also did tackle the gravy but I did not follow her recipe because at this point I was hungry and ready to eat food and didn't want to spend 45 minutes following her steps. I just started with the juices in the bottom of the pan and added flour and the leftover water from boiling the insides of the turkey alternately until it was a good thickish watery gravy and that turned out to be a hit too! With avid gravy lovers, I might add.

Well there you have it. I will probably brine again next year and I might even do PW's recipe again but I'll probably prepare the brine much earlier so it has time to cool and I'll probably start the turkey earlier knowing now that it takes a long time to cook. But all in all it was a success and this time, Ree did not let me down.

Next, Christmas post! I must warn you that this does not have a happy ending. Or pictures. Oops. Also, I warn you that I use the word "next" very loosely here. I mean it took 3 months to get a Thanksgiving post up... Let's not have exceedingly high expectations, mm'kay?

Monday, January 16, 2012

My So-Called Life

Things I forgot at home today:
  • my current crocheting project (another scarf - I'll share deets on the one I already made later this week).
  • paperwork for the guy who's going to help us get pre-approved for a house loan.
  • my brain.
  • my heart. Actually my husband took that with him to work this morning. *Insert "awww..." or "ewww" depending on your relationship status.* Sorry for having the best husband EVER!!! 
Things we are currently up to on this end of the world:
  • finding a closer-to-home job (this one is for my husband and it's proving to be tough but we're just praying and trusting the Lord!)
  • finding a house to live in. Preferably a dumpy one where I won't feel bad ripping everything out and starting with a fresh clean slate. Also, preferably one where the nearest neighbor isn't literally an arms reach from any window. Also, preferably one where there is original wood flooring but ok I realize this one is a bit much to ask for. I'll settle for wood laminate (a.k.a. the fake stuff).
  • planning another trip to LA to see family (we just can't get enough of those guys). Also, my little sister has threatened to disown me if I don't bring her the scarf I made for her. As a Christmas gift. Okay, she hasn't threatened, but she has definitely been persistent in asking me how it's coming along. The good news is that I finally finished it yesterday and I decided to wear it to church and I got many compliments and even 2 requests to have their own handmade scarf by yours truly! I told them I'd have the scarves ready by July. So let's add "crocheting for life" to this list. And yes, I'm allowed to wear this scarf before giving it to my sister because she's my sis and she's not gonna be using it for 2 weeks. Plus it's my arthritic hands that crocheted it! (I'd be the worst Etsy Shop Owner ever...)
  • High School Ministry. Lots of planning. Does anyone have fun games for High School kids? I seem to remember having lots of fun playing games in High School group but I can't seem to remember what the games were. I suppose that's not too bad considering it was a decade ago.
  • no internet. Much like the man who's dream we are celebrating today, I too have a dream. That one day we will have unencumbered internet service and that Pinterest would be unblocked from work. Sadly, I don't think my dream is as noble as MLK Jr.'s but I hope it's not unattainable.
  • laundry. Seriously. Never. Ending. Laundry.
  • the gym. Today will be my first day back after a month off. After 2 weeks of being sick, I had no excuse to not go so I've really got to kick my butt back into gear because we all know summer (and shorts) are just around the corner.
Joey: Geez Ross, how much do you weigh!?!?!
Ross: I'd prefer not to answer that right now, I'm still carrying a little holiday weight.
  • football. I have to admit I was pouting yesterday because the Packers lost. (My husband even refused to watch the last five minutes of the game.) To be honest, the only reason I like Aaron Rogers and Clay Matthews is because they're funny and they make funny commercials. Which is also why I like Allstate. Mayhem is my favorite commercial guy.
  • blogging. Finally. It's good to be back. :)

Friday, January 6, 2012

Thankful.

Well I had plans to get back into blogging but then this week happened. Just after my last post, I was informed that my boss had passed away. She was 44 years old so it was by no means expected and it's been a rough week trying to pick up the pieces and keep working.

Everyone kept asking if I was okay, and I really was for the first few days. I was kind of on auto-pilot and just making sure things got done at work (especially after being gone for so long) that I don't think I really let it sink in. It just felt like she was on vacation and she'd be back.

Yesterday morning, my cold came back with a vengeance so I left work early and on my way home, the reality of it finally hit me and I just lost it. I think I scared Brian because I called him and all he could hear was me sobbing before I managed to choke out an "I'm okay".

Just so you guys know, crying for 30 minutes when you have a cold does not help anything except maybe the snot-producing factory in your sinuses.

In addition to that, our apartment was a bigger mess than I thought and it took longer to crawl out from under the laundry pile than I had imagined. Plus our modem gave out again and I'm just so exasperated with Motorola, I'm not even going to try to deal with it. (Fortunately, my husband is all over that problem.)

All that to say that today I am going to steal a note from Mrs. Britt and just be thankful. I'm thankful for my salvation and that God chose me to be His. I'm thankful that He gives me grace daily and in abundance. I'm thankful that He has given me His Word to comfort, guide and strengthen my heart. I'm thankful that He blessed me with such a wonderful man to be my husband who gets to hold and comfort me when I'm crying, and my nose is running out of control and my face looks like a punching bag. (He's a lucky guy, that one.)

And I'm thankful for you guys! :)

Have a great weekend!

Monday, January 2, 2012

Guess who's back

Oh my weeeeerrrrrrddd you guys I'm finally back!!!

It's so weird to be blogging again. Can you believe its been like a month since my last real post that wasn't like "internet is stupid and my life is over"?

In that time, we've seen the holidays come and go and now tomorrow I'll go back to work after having 11 days off.

It's been crazy. To say the least...

Let me just start with the fact that this was probably one of the worst Christmas's I've ever had physically and bloggically. After the whole internet debacle, I decided the week before Christmas that I would tackle all the homemade gifts I needed to make.

I have to say with extreme sadness that Pioneer Woman let me down in the worst way this holiday season. But I'll save all that for another post.

Oh and then 2 days before I was supposed to have 11 blissful work-free days, I got a sore throat. Which was followed by body aches and stuffiness and coughing and sneezing.

In other words I was hit in the face with a virus known as nasopharyngitis. You might know it by it's other name: the common cold. 

Monica: Phoebe! You gave me your cold! 
Phoebe: You mean you STOLE it!!!


So for the first week of my vacation, I spent it lying on the couch, breathing through my mouth and talking weird and feeling dizzy and sick and blah blah blah. It was awful. 


We still managed to trek down to LA which was probably a bad idea considering how sick I was and I spent almost every day doing nothing because I felt like poo but it was good to see my family and hang out for a bit. 


And then when we came back, guess what? My husband caught whatever I had and I managed to contract a stomach flu so we spent the next few days trying to keep our dying bodies alive. Not that I'm like being dramatic or anything...


So that's what's been happening in my life. I'll try to catch up on gifts and food and Christmas happenings over the next few days but first I need to clean our apartment because it looks like a bunch of homeless people have been using it as a refuge for the End Days. 


Be back when I climb out from under the mountain of dirty clothes!