Tuesday, July 27, 2010

My Baby Sister is Going to be a Mommy!

Yes, you heard me right, Chelsea Lane will be a mommy in 2 months (maybe, if baby Tyler decides to cooperate!). Chelsea has always been the kid who fluttered around like a little butterfly meeting no stranger. She was always the one who had not a care in the world. She was the one who no one would have ever thought would settle down, become a wife and mommy-to-be. Low and behold, she is doing just that! Words cannot express how utterly excited I am for her to take on her new role as a mamma.

Her and and her husband, Levi where married this past spring at my mom and stepdad's home. It was a beautiful spring wedding where some beautiful pictures that where taken by Heidi Mitchell.

So when this baby bump started showing, I just HAD to *try* to take some belly shots. There is just something absolutely so precious and beautiful about a pregnant woman... Especially my sister! She has the cutest baby bump ever!!! (No, I am not bias...)
Enough rambling from me! Here are some of the shots. I am in no way a professional photographer, but I am ecstatic at how well they turned out!

There are many more belly shots, but these are a few of my favorite that I know Chelsea won't mind if I share. 

Congratulations, Chelsea and Levi! 
We can't wait to meet baby Tyler!

Monday, July 26, 2010

Summer is Almost Over... :(

For the past three summers that John and I have been married I have always made a 'summer' to do list of things I wanted to accomplish while I am off for the summer... For the past three years I never get everything done on my list. But, isn't that the point of making a checklist? I feel as though the people that rely and depend on a 'list' always have one going, and going, and going. It doesn't matter if the list is for home, the grocery store, or for school, the list just keeps on forming!
Well, this summer I was determined to get something accomplished! I set out with a list such as:

  1. Paint our bedroom and bathroom
  2. Get our 'guest' room (aka the junk room) setup and decorated
  3. Plant more flowers in our hummingbird/butterfly garden
  4. Go through my clothes (to get ready for back to school shopping, of course!)
  5. Organize our desk full of piles an piles of papers to be filed
Did I complete these things??? No.
In some sort of way, I did attempt to do something on each one...
  1. Paint our bedroom and bathroom...
    1. Well, this idea was immediately shot down by my husband who claims that we have newly painted cream walls and there is NO sense in repainting them :(
  2. Get our 'guest' room (aka the junk room) setup and decorated
    1. Well, I did spend two afternoons in there, but I sort of lost focus and stopped. ABRUPTLY. and moved on to spending time decorating frames to hang in that room. However, I am not blaming this all on myself... the furniture that is supposed to go in there is still sitting at my mom's house. See? I said it wasn't completely my fault.
  3. Plant more flowers in our hummingbird/butterfly garden
    1. Well we bought  all sorts of flowers.. they are still alive, thank goodness, but not so much planted in the ground... yet.
  4. Go through my clothes (to get ready for back to school shopping, of course!)
    1. Yay! Finally, something I did accomplish. Although I feel like this is something that is always on that never ending to do list...
  5. Organize our desk full of piles an piles of papers to be filed
    1. Check this one off too! Wahoo!! I even found a huge check that my dental insurance had mailed me!! See, it pays off to open up the BCBS statements and file them! This day was a GREAT day!

So this was my list and it still in a sense is, BUT THE MORE IMPORTANT THING here is that I made a sort of life list of things I wanted to learn to do, become better at, or just accomplish! I am not quite ready to share my entire list, but I will share three of the things that I have attempted...

  • Paint/Draw: I have always loved to paint and draw things, but have lost that opportunity to do those things with life happening all the time, but this summer I am proud to say that I have dabbled a bit in the painting department. These pictures are nothing fabulous, but I am proud!
This is a picture of a baby train. I got this train from my grandmother that she had received from my great-grandmother who had found it at a yard sale. NO. I am not expecting a baby. But, my mom had asked me if I would paint it so that my family could use it at all the wonderful baby showers we always have at my grandparents' farm.

These next two pictures are my paintings on a clay bought we had bought from Lowes. Our plan is to plant one of our rose bushes in it so it can 'spill' out into the garden bed.

  • The next work in progress off of my life list is BAKING!! YUMMO! Which you can see a few sneak peaks from previous blog posts! I can honestly say that I truly love to bake and decorate!
  • The THIRD thing I have started to get into this summer is PHOTOGRAPHY. Taking pictures is something that John and I both have so much fun doing! Since this post is soooo long, I will save my photography project for the next post... which will include my adorable sister, who is a mommy-to-be! Oh yea, and some pics from our New Orleans trip too! ;) 
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Saturday, July 24, 2010

To Yard Sale or NOT too Yard Sale?!?

The thought of a yard-sale or garage-sale has always intrigued me. I mean, who doesn't want to go out in the morning, before the heat, and come home with TONS of good deals... RIGHT? Well, this never seems to happen to me...

After a loooonnnnggg early Saturday morning of not being able to find ANY yard sale that was advertised in the stinkin paper, my mamma and I decided that we are more of 'antique-ing' gals or shopping for things that look old, but are much easier to find, like persay... somewhere that is air conditioned and easy to locate: a STORE!

HOWEVER, we did happen to find an estate sale that was supposedly going to have all sorts of antique furniture, china, books, records, etc.
This is when I realized that it isn't so much finding all these yard sales and getting a bunch of things, it all pays off when you finally find ONE really good thing!
My good find: a pair of beautiful antique chairs from the mid 1800's. For those of you that know furniture lingo (That is, if there is anyone actually reading this!) the chairs have the rush seating, hand painted floral design on the thumb back seats. Here is a picture, see for yourself!

There is tons more of the history behind these chairs, but I wont bore anyone else. Besides, I still have three more posts I am looking forward to doing: summertime hobbies, my sister's maternity shots and our New Orleans trip.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Just a simple cupcake kind of day...

I wanted to do something nice to celebrate John's last day of work at his current job and the moving on to his new one! So, I decided to bake a simple chocolate cupcake. This recipe is one that came from a great teacher friend of ours, Annette. She is one of the best bakers I have ever met!! This lady can make a chocolate chip cookie that is to die for. :) My stepdad even jokes that he would love for her to retire from teaching and come work for him... basically so that he can make sure he ALWAYS gets some of the freshly baked cookies.
Moving on, she makes a wonderful chocolate cake with a buttercream icing. I decided to take her great recipe and make cupcake with it!

The recipe was actually pretty easy to make... as you can see from the pictures, it makes a TON of cupcakes! This recipe would be a great one to use if baking for a party... not for one person like I did. :)

This picture has nothing really to do with the cupcakes, but a lot to do with a day in my kitchen. I turn around for one milli-second and look who is checking things out! Agh! Tugger is our youngest cat of three and he thinks he owns the place. I mean, I really think that he thinks that we moved into this house just for his sake! We love him dearly, but he does not listen to his mamma!

And to the grand finale! These cupcakes didn't 'rise' to the occasion, but I figured I was icing these chocolately tasty cakes and J could tell me the truth when he got home...
I used a Sweet Butter Cream Icing that turned out to be so fluffy. I felt like I was truly piping clouds from the sky on a dark, chocolate, moist cupcake! It was soo tasty too! I would tell you where I got the recipe, but this one I did all on my own. No measurements, of course... All I know for sure is that I used two sticks, YES 2, of non salted sweet butter. YUMMY!!!

Lessons Learned:
1. Always plan out what you what your final product to look like. I thought I did... then I tried to fit the entire CONGRATULATIONS on the tray and it was a noooo go! At least not without looking entirely silly.
So, I improvised and now the 'L-A-T-I-O-N' is sitting on a plate in my microwave.
2. Sometimes the best things are discovered by IMPROVISING! For instance, I didn't have any milk in my fridge. Weird, I know... What can I say? My husband is a demi-vegitarian and drinks either soy or almond milk and I am not a big milk drinker. So, it was either buttermilk or heavy whipping cream... and heavy whipping cream it was! Hey, I never said that my baking was low in fat! ;)
This changing of the recipe was probably the best thing ever!

I kept decorating to a minimum mainly because John isn't big on a lot of icing and I really just felt like baking today, not decorating.

It is safe to say that John LOVES the cupcakes!

Sometimes, Change is a good thing...

For those of you that are not aware, John has been spending a lot of time over the last few years to try and get his name in the 'teaching' spectrum. If you aren't already aware, getting a teaching job can be VERY grueling and sometimes impossible if you don't know anyone that can 'help' you out... With that said, the past two years have been very difficult and I know stressful at times for my hubby. He has tried so incredibly hard to find a teaching job. Interview, after interview he was told that it was his 'lack of experience' was the breaking point for hiring him. How is one supposed to obtain experience if no one will ever give that person a shot??
Anyways, all of that to say that John FINALLY got a teaching job!!! YAY!!!
I am SUPER excited for him to start this adventure! Although, he has noooo clue what he has gotten himself into ;) lol...
I know that he will make such a great Elementary P.E. Coach!!!
So, to celebrate an opportunity at a lifelong career here is to you, honey!

I feel as though sometimes we pray so hard for something and when it doesn't come in our time we start to question if we are praying for the 'right' thing. But, I have to remember to take a step back and realize that everything happens in God's timing. I am so hopeful for what the future holds for John, me, and US!

P.S.- More pictures to come of THIS cupcake adventure... They will be on a different post...

The Crab and the Octopus

The Octopus and the Crab Cookie:
I was inspired to make these cookies when I was trying to come up with a game plan of what to make for my sister, Chelsea's Baby Showers in August and September. My sister and her husband have decided to do the baby's room in all things Ocean. I thought these turned out super cute!
I used a wonderful sugar cookie recipe from the Martha Stewart "Cake" book and a cute crab a octopus cookie cutter. A little royal icing, okay a lot of royal icing, and food coloring gel.
All in all, these cookies took me about 3 and 1/2 hours total; that is from the time I stepped into the kitchen until the time I took the very last picture. Not toooo terribly bad for a 'newby' to the decorating world. :)
Things I learned from this little cookie project:
1. Cookie dough works better if it is cold... not TOO cold though, or it will break apart. Cookie dough is very difficult, especially when you are trying to cut out a little octopus with thin little legs! At first, I thought I did something wrong, but a little patience was worth it!
2. How to 'flood' a cookie with the royal icing to get that smooth, hard look. Flood? Seriously, I never would have imagined that word would be used in decorating, but it is... Basically all you have to do is have one thick batch of royal icing to use for the outline and one thin batch of royal icing to flood in the cookie. First, I outlined my cookie, well I tried to outline it! Then I took the thin icing a spooned it in and then using a toothpick I spread it out to smooth over the cookie. TaDa! The flooding is complete. :) I think that this skill definitely takes practice, but for my first time, I feel like it went well!
3. Patience is sooooooooooooo important! This is where I have a major problem. Normally, during the school year, my patience is completely shot by the time I make it home. Mainly because I have repeated, redirected, and waited one thousand times over for things to be complete, but also because I have my homeowner/wife/ ME responsibilities that I know I have to do! So, with summer being here it is MUCH easier for me to wait for cookies to cool, wait for the icing to thicken, take my time cleaning allllllll of my dirty dishes. When we have patience, it just makes the whole baking/decorating experience much more F-U-N!

That is all I have for now...

Welcome to our BLOG!!

Okay, so here goes nothing... I am starting a blog! John and I have talked recently about the thought of creating and keeping a blog. I have been thinking about it for quite sometime now, but I just didn't know how to narrow down what I wanted my blog to be about, travel? teaching? being newlyweds and in a new home? my new found hobby of baking? our cats? (Just kidding about the cat thing! Although you will see them often.) ;)
So, I finally came to realization that I don't have to write a blog about one in particular 'thing.' This blog is going to be a place for me, or us when J feels like it, to share our daily adventures through life.
I know, what could be so adventurous about a being a teacher and having a husband who is starting his career as a P.E. teacher? You would be surprised!
Come along on this journey with us in which we call our 'Bizi' life...