Sunday, February 28, 2010

An Easy Sunday Morning

I hope you're having a wonderful day! Enjoy this beautiful Sunday.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Thanks girl!

My sweet friend Neely over at Neely's Nothings passed on this award to me and I'm quite honored. Her blog makes me smile too, it's one of the first ones I read when I open up my Google Reader and Gchatting with her makes the day go by so much faster! I hope to get together for coffee or shopping one of these days!
I'll pass this on to a few more girls that I wish were my friends IRL
Brittany @ Sweet, Sassy and Oh So Classy (who's offering a great giveaway right now)

Valentine's Weekend Recap - Sunday

We left off Saturday night having built a fort in the living room. I have a video of it that I would have really loved to embed but just can't seem to do. Instead I have a link that will hopefully work for everyone. I do have to warn you that it's cheezy as all get out and you should only watch it if you want to see my husband in sweat pants, hear my squeaky talking-to-dogs voice, and get a serious close up of Sandy and Eddie.
Valentine's fort video

Yes, that was the Valentine's fort that we all slept in the night before. We relaxed and took our sweet time putting all that stuff away. But when we finally got cleaned up, Brian took me out for breakfast at one of our favorite spots, Fork and Spoon Cafe. It was delicious as always and the sun had finally come out so we were able to sit on the patio. So nice. After that we ran a couple of errands including a trip to Home Depot, I guess we both should get what we want for Valentine's then came back and went to the Valentine's Day Movie. We really liked it. Sure there's not just a whole lot of depth there, but we enjoyed it anyway, especially Taylor and Taylor. Do any of you find it really bizarre to come out of a movie and it be daylight? It was only about 2:00 when we got out of the theater and regardless of what time I go in, I'm sure it should be late night when I get out. The rest of the afternoon was spent working on the boat and then we went to Mass and Life Teen after. Mass is always the highlight of my weekend but after typing this much about everything else, I'm going to have to leave it at we worshiped, and it was good.

I don't expect that anyone read all of these three posts, but if you did, hey! I'm so proud of you! I often find myself reading statements like this at the end of other bloggers' long posts, so I guess I'm one of the ones that sticks around. Happy St. Valentine's Day!

Valentine's Weekend Recap - Saturday


Brian wakes me up at about 5:00 (completely justifies all my shopping the day before) and we're on the road by about 5:30 heading out to the marina. I just barely referred to this a couple weeks ago, but we keep our sailboat (it's a Catalina 22) out on Canyon Lake at a marina/yacht club there. Just a couple of days before, Brian had been out there to check on it and found out that in all the rain we've had recently the drain holes in the cockpit have become clogged with leaves and it has flooded so high that water seeped into the cabin and had pretty much ruined everything inside there. Thank goodness it was on a trailer, because he told me if it had been in a wet slip like it was until the drought got really bad last fall, it would have been at the bottom of the lake. So we had to haul it out that morning and drain it of water. It's about 30* and 6 am the day before Valentine's day using a shop vac to get all the thousands of gallons of water out of the boat then tow it home, where it sits in our front yard, all high class. He's been working every day since then on rewiring the whole thing, rebuilding ruined drawers, creating new better drain holes and I don't know what else.

There she sits all sad and full of water.
The reason we had to get out there so early is because we had to be done in time to get to his grandfather's birthday party out of town. This was a completely special event because of how amazing this man is and the fact that he was turning the big 9-0! God grant that I live so long! He's still in such excellent spirits and relatively great health. Brian's aunt hosted the shindig which had about 30 people in attendance. Several more were prevented from coming because of snow storms all over the country. It was an all around good time with fajitas, champagne, and three kinds of cake. But the most special part of the party was that everyone was asked to write about their favorite memories of their Grandpa, Dad, old buddy Big Leo. There were such incredible things written about him. Even though I've only known him a couple years, I love him like I love my own grandparents. He's such a good-hearted, Christian man with a sense of humor you can't help but appreciate. I wrote about how special it was for him and Granny to come to our house on Thanksgiving last year as I know they'll be the only grandparents who ever will come to our home. They celebrated with us and I'll remember that forever. Here's a picture of Thanksgiving because we're all a bunch of nincompoops and no one took any pictures of the birthday party.

It really made me reflect on how I want to be remembered and what mark I want to leave on the people around me. People told stories at the party about his service to his country, what a fine father he was to his four children, the one-on-one time he gave to his eight grandchildren teaching them to shoot, to drive, taking them for a hamburger, how he was always available to his friends and gave back to his church. It was really very inspiring to me and I hope to know him 20 more years so I can learn as much from him as some of them have.

After the party Saturday evening, Brian and I exchanged Valentine's gifts. We often can't wait to give each other what we got so the night before is pretty common for us. Now here's where I make the kind of statement that makes men say things like "women are crazy" and "there's no use trying to understand chicks." I don't want exactly what I want this year. The last couple of years I have asked for something very specific and gotten it exactly, no more, no less. I wanted to be more surprised this year, for Brian to give me something that he wanted to give me rather than what I asked for. So when he asked me, I had a strategy. I asked for sapphires because I knew they were out of the question this year, but I really really want them. So I figured on the off chance that he actually gets me sapphire jewelry I'll be so elated I won't care that it's what I asked for, but since he probably won't get them, he'll have to use his imagination.

He did very well on his own. He gave me Dolce and Gabana Rose The One perfume, which I had never smelled before, but I just love. It's pretty and floral just like I like! Since we did the exchange early he "didn't have time" to pick up a card. I don't know when the plan for that was. I got him a double wide sleeping bag with the promise of going camping together this spring. We've had one before, but he got really frustrated with it on a middle school retreat we chaperoned and ripped the zipper out of it. He got the temper from the other grandpa. :) I knew I wanted to give it to him early because I was inspired by Lauren's Date Night Brainstorm and wanted to build a fort in our living room like kids do and I thought the sleeping bag would be perfect in it. Unfortunately, I picked out the wrong one and it was really cheezy even though the salesman said it was the better one. So we still built our fort, we just used comforters instead.

Valentine's Weekend Recap - Friday

Yes, like just about all my weekend recap posts, this one comes in way overdue. I figured I'd better throw it in before we're out of February completely. It's just that so much good stuff happened, I had to share it with you. I wrote the whole thing out and decided it was ridiculously too long so you'll be getting three posts instead of one. I completely understand if you choose not to read the whole thing.

This had very little to do with Valentine's day and much more to do with the fact that Presidents' Day also fell this weekend. I had mentioned a few times on here about how badly I needed pants that actually fit. All of mine start out long enough then keep shrinking and shrinking until I can only wear them with flats or worse, they start garnering comments about floods a'comin. I never really have any problem with shrinking around the waist or hips though, and if they're tight I know it's all my fault. So Friday afternoon, as soon as I got off work I went shopping. First I bought Brian's Valentine's present, but I'll talk about that in a minute. From there I went to the outlet malls I pass every single day (oh, the temptation!) I worked at J.Crew for a year and a half and still do sometimes so I get a discount there. But I always shop at J.Crew and their pants are the worst about shrinking. So I skipped it at first and went to Banana Republic to start off. Of course they were offering a President's Day sale and everything was 50% off! I got two pairs of perfectly fitting khaki dress pants one regular to wear with flats, and one long for heels. Plus a pretty teal sweater that was on clearance plus another 50% off. I tried on several pretty winter dresses, but resisted the temptation to buy. Next, I headed over to Ann Taylor where I struck out on pants but found a very pretty satiny blouse in blues and teals, and a denim pencil skirt that was actually long enough on me for work! Both 50% off again. After that I was about ready to be done, but J.Crew is right next door and I might as well stop in to see my friends right? Well my favorite manager was there and told me she's engaged! yay! Her wedding is going to be georg and also that clearance was an additional 75% off for employees! OMG! That makes stuff just about free. I'm talking I could just try it on and then throw it away and still get my money's worth. I thought I'd struck gold! Now J.Crew has a pretty specific policy about employees not blogging about them, but I'm not saying anything secretive here, just how awesome it is to work for them, so don't go telling on me. I found a pair of black minnie pants, a pink camp shirt, 3 scoopneck painter's tees (I should have bought 12, I love these things so much), a pink ruffle tee, and a pink perfect fit tank (that's not in the picture because I'm wearing it right now). Here's my haul.

I'm sorry I'm such a crappy photographer.

So I called Brian and started listing off everything I got and he's such a buzz kill, you know, because the first thing out of his mouth is of course "how much." Does your husband do that? So I told him to guess. He was supposed to guess like $300, because all that stuff is worth way more, but you know what he says? What would you have said? He guesses $150, which makes my super awesome deal of about $170 for everything not sound so great. But it is, right?

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Fool-Proof Cure

For the Hiccups that is!

That kid thinks hiccups are hilarious! I guess he's right, but not for very long and not if you're the one who has them. I got them this morning for the first time in quite a while and thought I ought to share with you the cure that has worked for me every single time since my grandmother taught it to me. I swear it's better than drinking water, holding your breath, tugging on your ears, or scaring them out (although that did work for me once). Here's what you do: take a spoon and fill it about halfway with regular sugar. On top of that pour a little bit of apple cider vinegar. Eat that spoonful but make it take 3 little sips. You'll probably burp after that, but the hiccups will be gone.
I showed this to Brian once when he had the hiccups and it worked just like I said it would, but he hates vinegar so much he'd rather suffer through them than take the medicine. To each his own, I'd rather get it over with! Let me know if you try it some time.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

I'm one lucky girl!

Last week I won not one, but two, bloggy giveaways! Is that lucky, or what? I'm super excited because my gifts came in today! I've entered several more, so there's no reason to end this streak! Let's keep it coming!
The first was from S&O Productions, a very talented sister partnership that makes beautiful books and sells on Etsy here.
I won this romantic book

Inside, it has beautifully decorated pages with quotes about love and such like these

I think I'll use mine as a trip diary, but it would be wonderful for someone who just got married or just got engaged to keep a journal of that special time. Just a thought.

My second giveaway win was hosted by Diana who runs the Texas Blogging Gals blog group as well as her personal blog at To Everything A Season. Are there any female bloggers from or living in Texas who are not a part of this group? See my cute little button over there ----->? You can have one too! Anyway she generously hosted a giveaway when the group reached 100 members and it has now passed 150. Included in the giveaway were a darling handmade apron that I just love love love!, homemade salsa and jam-delish, and a set of recipe cards and organizing box. I needed something to store all my recipes I find online. Here I am in my sassy apron!

Inspired by these wins, I think I'll host my own giveaway soon. Maybe to commemorate 50 *real* followers when I get there? So if you're not following yet, do it. Then the prize will come sooner! I say real because I'm on there and don't really count, neither does my husband in this case, and my former roommate and friend Stefanie is somehow getting counted twice. I love her, but once is sufficient! So I guess when we get 53, then it will really be 50.

And hey, if you know of any really great giveaways going on or are hosting one yourself, feel free to leave it in the comments!

Wedding Wednesday- Veils

I'm back in the land of the living today, soaking up this glorious weather and not feeling quite so sick. The last few days I've stayed home and done virtually nothing, but today you can just call me Mrs. Productivity! I would have posted much earlier but Brian is telecommuting today and has been bogarting the computer.

Well, I came across Courtney's blog One Fine Wire and got a little bit excited about the linky she has going on today and every Wednesday where bloggers share some aspect of their wedding with their readers. This week's topic is veils. I know that's kind of a funny place for me to jump in having told you very little about my wedding up till now, but it seems to have been going on for quite a while and I'm the newcomer, so I'll just pick it right up and start talking about my wedding veil. I loved it!

Before I even started dress shopping, I knew I would wear a veil. I wasn't sure what type though. My favorite is a mantilla veil, but I wasn't really drawn to dresses that looked right with that type of veil. Birdcage seem to be all the rage, but they're a little too mod for me. I knew I'd have something a little simpler. I tried on several once I had chose my dress and loved the look of the super-long cathedral length. I had quite a long train and ended up getting the veil specifically made for me so that it would trail a few inches past the end of the dress. I got married in a very beautiful church and it was a pretty formal event so I felt justified with it.

The seamstress that did my alterations explained the difference between what I was wearing and a veil. A veil, by definition covers the face. The kind that just goes in the back she said are called illusions and are supposed to soften the silhouette of the wearer. I still call it my veil, but there you have it. There were no embellishments on it as I had some crystal beads on my dress and didn't want to go overboard. It perfectly served it's purpose. I loved my look from behind in that beautiful church, and in the pictures and I took it off before the reception. It wasn't heavy at all but it would have been impossible to dance with and my dress got stepped on plenty. No need for something pulling on my head all night. Well, that's probably enough of an explanation for you. Here are some pictures so you can see what I mean.

Trying it on in the store. Unfortunately we were testing out the bustle in the same pic so you can't see the pretty effect of both trains.

This is my hair trial, making sure that the veil would work. We pinned it on top of the up-do.
Putting the veil on. That's Kaye, my hairdresser, and don't get me wrong, I have known her since I was a kid and I love her, but where are my mom and bridesmaids? Shouldn't they be doing that, at least for the pictures?
Yes, that's pretty much the drama I was going for. Please ignore those flowers, they're not mine. Don't even get me started.
The veil in action. That's my proud papa trying not to cry. We were the Eucharistic Ministers of the cup.
The veil pretty much made my "bridal portraits" I think!

Whew! Who knew there was so much to say about a veil? I plan to chime in next week with some other detail about the wedding. I hope you enjoy this feature!

Monday, February 22, 2010

Menu Plan Monday

Monday: Young adults social at TJ's Burgers and More, yum!
Tuesday: Sticky baked chicken, stuffing, corn
Wednesday: grilled burgers with all the fixins, cole slaw, black eyed peas (frozen from New Years) Brian has been dying for a burger!
Friday: Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms and navy beans

Saturday, February 20, 2010

He said, She said

I saw that Brittany from Sweet, Sassy and Oh So Classy took this cute survey with her hubs (after seeing it at another blog) and I decided I wanted to play this game too. I emailed Brian at work and he was happy to play along. So here we have a few coupledom questions along with a little he said, she said. BTW: he has a much better memory than I do, so I'd trust his answers about the start of our relationship more than mine.

What couple from a movie or TV show are you most like?:

He said: Phil and Claire Dunphy from Modern Family...they both try to be cool, but are lame in their own way; they're completely in love with each other anyway.

She said: The Griswolds

Do you have a song?:


Yes we do. We picked it early on to dance to at our wedding

What is it?:

Have I Told you Lately by Van Morrison

Have I Told You Lately, the Van Morrison version

First movie you saw together in the theatre:

Well, it would have to be in College Station, and the first movie I remember seeing with her there was the 9/11 I guess that one

Oh I’m not sure. We watched Grandma’s Boy at my condo first. It was so horrible.

Who said I Love You first?

She did

I think he did. It might have been at the pool.

Where do you eat out at most as a couple?

Fork and Spoon Cafe

We go to Fork and Spoon a lot, including this Valentine’s day, but we try not to go to the same place over and over because there are so many options

Who is better at handling money?

I would say me, but she is showing to be vastly superior in that department....

He is, but I’m getting a lot better.

What was the first meal that your wife ever cooked for you?

As wife, possibly the home made potato chips that almost caught our new house on fire
Before we even started dating, she made chicken wings...and at that time I hated chicken wings...

I don’t know what the first thing I cooked him was. He made me balsamic chicken and potatoes napoleon and green beans at the duplex.

If your spouse was a cartoon character which one would he/she be?

Ariel from the Little Mermaid. I had it big time for her when I was in pre-school

Elmer Fudd hehe. I only picked that because he goes hunting, but there’s a pretty good chance that Brian will be bald like him before too long! On second thought, let go with Prince Valiant.

How many boyfriends/girlfriends did your spouse have before you?


Maybe 3 or 4. He dated a few more but I think there was only one long term girlfriend before me.

What is your idea of a perfect date?

Spending time in the sun near/on some water with boats or river tubes

Something low-key with really good food involved.

What physical feature first attracted you to your spouse?

The freckles on her nose

His height. I like tall men

Where was your first date?

Cafe Capri

Well we were inseperable from the first day we met so it’s hard to pick, but CafĂ© Capri was probably our first nice date where we actually went somewhere

What is your spouses favorite show?

Project Runway

He really likes Modern Family, but Project Runway and The Dish are in the top 5. He won’t admit that though.

What is your favorite show?

Modern Family or The Middle

I like everything on ABC, I’ll have to put Grey’s Anatomy as number 1 for now

What is your dating anniversary?

Last week in July

July 19th or 20th 2006

If you could go anywhere on a second honeymoon, where would you go?

Back to Playa

Greece! We talked about going there for our first honeymoon but who can afford that? And we loved Mexico.

What surprised you about your spouse after marriage?

How great of a cook she is (pay no mind to the above flaming potato chips...that was me. Haha)

That his interests keep changing! He goes all-in with his hobbies and it drives me nuts sometimes to keep up. He’ll say “I’ve always wanted a _______” and then three months later “_________ is his dream since childhood” I thought I knew all about him, I just didn't know he'd keep changing!

What's the best thing about being married to your spouse?

Her being there everyday

that I know I can count on him going on loving me forever and I can love him back with abandon.

Let's go ahead and set the record straight, he was completely responsible for the potato chip fire, and he had purchased the chicken wings to be cooked that day (the day we met) I was just helping out.

So there you have it. How would you and your partner do?

I want this!

I haven't had a pink bike since I was about 8 years old, but I just love this one! I asked Brian for it for my birthday but I'm not sure if I can wait that long! Right now I have a brown boy's mountain bike (it's what I wanted at 14) but this one is just the perfect style for me now. I'm going for comfort and fun here, it's not like I'm a triathlete. Would I be the cutest thing cruising around the neighborhood and lake house on that, or would you point and laugh at me?

Friday, February 19, 2010

Don't let those blanks stay empty!

1. If I could medal in an Olympic event it would be you must be joking! I couldn't be caught dead doing anything in the winter Olympics. Maybe sailing if I can be on my hubby's crew in the summer Olympics.
2. If I was stranded on a deserted island I'd take Brian, my hot rollers and a laptop. Just cuz I'm on a desert island doesn't mean I can't read the blog roll.
3. Balls are my most irrational fear. (the sports kind)
4. I'd rather brush my teeth then drink orange juice everyday, than play dodge ball everyday. (or even once)
5. I am taking a couple days off next week now that I won't be a long-term sub to get some stuff done around the house!
6. I should really be eating lunch right now! I'm going to run out of time and the kids will be back boring me to death with their speeches in a few minutes .
7. One of my favorite things in all the world is witnessing others grow closer to God .

Thursday, February 18, 2010

My Latest Pet Peeve-recipe related

You may not have noticed this unless you spend as much time reading recipes as I do. Confession: I love cookbooks like teen girls love Twilight. But this particular pet peeve only comes into play with online recipes sites- AllRecipes being my favorite. Most sites have the comments section where users can say something useful like "you can sub the oregano for any green herb and it will still be good." or "mine came out a little watery, but I just simmered with the lid off for about 5 extra minutes and it came out." or "go light on the cayenne if you have kids eating, it's pretty spicy as is." You know, something that keeps the original recipe in tact but gives other users a helpful hint. But what really gets me is when a user rates a recipe and says it turned out great (or even worse, failed) and all they did was simply use pork instead of chicken, tofu instead of polenta, bbq sauce where it called for soy and they cooked the whole thing in a frying pan when the recipe called for it to be baked! Hello! You totally didn't make the recipe that's posted here. If you want to talk about that dish you just made up, go somewhere else!

That's not to say I always follow recipes to a T, just that I'm going to tell you about it on my own blog rather than in the comments section of the recipe (if this example had one.) Here's my attempt at a beef bourguignon slow cooker recipe. I told yall I was going to make it here. The thing is, I picked that recipe out right before posting it and clearly didn't read it all the way through. What resulted was a lesson in how not to follow directions. Here's how the recipe was supposed to go and what I ended up doing to it.

6 strips bacon, cut into 1- to 2-inch pieces Bacon? Opps I don't have any bacon, I guess I'll just leave that out.

3 pounds beef rump, cut into 1-inch cubes Oh darn, mine is only 1 1/2 lbs, but that's ok because there's just 2 of us. I'll just up the volume on the veggies.

1 large carrot, peeled and sliced I threw in 3 carrots.

1 medium onion, sliced 2 onions

1 teaspoon salt check

1/2 teaspoon pepper check

3 tablespoons flour check

10 ounces beef broth, can condensed I've only got chicken broth, I'll just stir some of these beef granules into it and and that's almost the same.

2 cups red or Burgundy wine There's plenty of wine around here!

1 tablespoon tomato paste I have a can of tomato paste but I'm not about to open it up for just one tablespoon. I'll use 2 tablespoons of ketchup instead.

2 cloves garlic, minced check

1/2 teaspoon whole thyme what do you mean, whole thyme? Mine is ground, I guess that will work.

1 whole bay leaf These bay leaves are at least 6 years old, I'd better throw in 3.

1/2 pound white onions, peeled more onions? I don't get it, skip.

1 pound fresh mushrooms, sliced oops no mushrooms! I do have potatoes though. I think four cubed potatoes might help make up the difference in volume.

  1. Sauté bacon in a skillet on stovetop set to medium heat until crisp. Remove bacon and set aside. that's a moot point.

  2. Add beef cubes to skillet and brown well. Remove meat and set aside. Thanks to my awesome All-Clad cooker I can brown the meat right in the pot.

  3. Brown carrot and onion in skillet and transfer to stoneware. Season with salt and pepper. Stir in flour, add broth, and mix well. I did the veggies right along with the meat. Then went ahead and put the wine in at this step.

  4. Add beef and bacon to stoneware, mix, and place in slow cooker heating base.

  5. Add wine, tomato paste, garlic, bay leaf, onions, and mushrooms. Cover; cook on Low for 10-12 hours or on High for 5-6 hours. Ok, now I'll throw in the rest. cook on low for about 10 hours.

I forgot to take an after picture of it, but let me just tell you- delish! How can you really go wrong with beef stew, though? Is what I made still technically beef bourguignon? There is beef and red wine in it even if no other part is true to the directions.
Was that the most boring thing to read ever? Sorry!
In slightly related new, I got to meet Erin Chase of $5 Dinner Mom last night! You've heard me talk about her at least a few times before, but she was in San Antonio doing a book signing so I was determined to go. Brian was worried about me driving there and back alone at night so he came too and we had a wonderful time. Erin was just as sweet as could be, even if I was a little awkward. If I had my head on straight I would have asked for a picture, it wasn't too crowded or anything, but I forgot and just got my cookbook signed and had a little chat. I told her about the BBQ Lentils over brown rice that we had made from her book as a penitential dinner for Ash Wednesday. It was actually quite good!
We hung around Borders a little longer and shopped. It turned into a pretty fun date date night! I got Wishful Drinking by Carrie Fisher and Those Who Save Us by Jenna Blum. After looking those both up I obviously paid way too much even though they were on sale. Oh well! Have any of you read either of those?

Was there ever a better swap partner?

It seems I've waited long enough to finally share my haul from the Pink Swap with you guys. Hopsy over at Monograms and Manicures hosted the second annual Pink Swap. There was a huge turn out and I got paired with the lovely Melissa from Create the Life You Love. I hadn't seen her blog before, but I'm so glad to be new blog friends with her! You should definitely check out her Etsy Store. She has adorable stationery creations and offers giveaways quite regularly, it seems. Here's the bountiful package she sent my way

There is a very pretty candle in a beautiful box, a monogrammed toiletries bag (my favorite, and most needed item out of them all!), a green damask Koozie with my initial on it, a decal I put on my car of the letter E (you can't see it through the glare), Valentine's themed jelly beans, a heart cookie cutter, pink sugar sprinkles, cute pink and white dish towels (so useful!), purse sized kleenex, Lilly Pulitzer bev naps and, coolest of cool, a whole set of personalized note pads and calling cards! I've been using some of the notes at school.Yes, the theme was pink things, but in our emails I told her my favorite colors are really navy and green and she took that into account when making such great stuff for me! I am so happy to have been paired with such a thoughtful blogger! If you're curious, you can see what I sent her here. Now tell me, am I a lucky girl, or what?

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

the post thtat isn't much of a post

Just checking in to say that I'm sorry I haven't updated in a little while. My breaks at work have been getting taken up to do useful things, and I'm fighting a monster cough, but still, I shouldn't neglect my few but faithful readers.
I want to tell you all about my successful shopping trip, how Brian and I spent our long weekend, my plans for lent, and maybe a few other random things, but for now I'll just wish you a holy Ash Wednesday. Here's a hug for those of you in fasting and a high five for others feeling self-conscious with ashes on your head. May the start of this Lenten season bear fruit in your relationship with Christ!

Friday, February 12, 2010

Fill-in-the-blanks Friday

I had fun with last week's blanks and decided to participate again! Thanks for hosting, Lauren!

1. I am hoping my Valentine's day this year includes, some couple time and romance in addition to all the family, curch and chore time that's scheduled this weekend
2. My biggest guilty pleasure is Valentine's Nougat in bulk!
3. I am most proud of the life Brian and I are creating together.
4. If I could choose one outfit to live in it would be an easy summer dress and sandals, but thank God I'm not wearing that today!
5. People are made in God's image and sometimes it's really hard to love them, but it's a blessing to try
6. I would rather have a spa day than go to work today .
7. I love my my husband more than grilled cheese, the Aggies, the internets and my curlers, combined.

Square Foot Garden: Phase 1 - Planning

While the hubs and I are not exactly what you'd call "green thumbs" we are very fond of working outside, the sense of accomplishment that comes from growing something, and free vegetables. The Fall of 2008 was the last time we tried to grow a vegetable garden and it was a total flop. We can't take too much blame though because we were working with almost 100% shade and several garden bandits. I think one cabbage may have come up and gotten eaten before we could do anything with it.

This year is going to be different though, we're sure. We have a beautiful sunny side yard that's perfect for a garden and we're starting off trying to do everything right. I meant to get this post up a few weeks ago so that anyone who wanted to follow along would have plenty of time to do so, but it's not too late yet. We just planted last weekend because we're in the Southernmost zone in which most vegetables want to be planted between February and March. It's supposed to be after the last frost no matter where you are and considering several of my blog friends are under a blanket of snow, you can safely say that time has not come yet. You Yankees may have a couple of months to go.
We read about square foot gardening here and here and decided it would be the best approach for us because all the plants are easy to tend due to layout, the compact nature doesn't allow for much weed and grass growth, the raised beds meant we didn't have to dig at all and therefore wouldn't need clearance from our landlord, and we could have a wide variety of veggies without a lot of extra work. Also, we had tried Lasagna gardening last time and found it to be very fussy and complicated for those of us who don't already compost.
Brian took the helm for the planning phase and here's a little review of how that went.
Here he is laying out the plans for the garden. This is pretty much what he does for every project he works on. I wish you could see some of the extremely detailed drawings for furniture he makes. I like them.

This is the rough (very rough) layout of the garden. The AC unit is on the side of our house and there's a half acre that starts there and reaches out into a peninsula of sorts. That's where the garden will be, but still pretty close to the house. If you can't read my loves writing, there's space for peas which will be replaced by tomatoes and okra in a few months, beets, broccoli, carrots, green beans. And in the second garden, bell peppers, cucumber, squash, basil, parsley, squash, chard, onions, peppers, and flowers. I can't remember if we ended up getting and planting every single one of those. But I'll let you know when they start growing I guess.
Here's the seeds that we did get. Don't they look so pretty? I hope our veggies turn out that photogenic! Although it's kind of like ordering a hamburger off the value menu. Those things don't even look close!

We had a few seeds left from the last gardening experiment and Brian wanted to test them out to see if they were still good. Hence, this potted trial. I'd say the fluorescent straw flags are quite creative. I especially like this picture because it neatly summarizes all the main reasons I hate my kitchen, the junk that collects on the banquette, the Ethernet cables stretched across the room, those awful counters, and the country fruits wallpaper!

The next gardening post will be about the planting of the veggies. I'm going to try to keep really good track of how this process goes for two reasons. Hopefully if there's someone reading who would also like to grow a square foot garden this will be a good reference for them especially if they live in a zone a few weeks behind us. Also, we might like to do this again next year and who likes reinventing the wheel. Leave a comment and let me know what gardening you do or what your plans are. I'd love to keep up with yours as well!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

A prayer for you

Dear God: The lady reading this is beautiful, classy and strong, and I love her.
Help her live her life to the fullest.
Please promote her and cause her to excel above her expectations.
Help her shine in the darkest places where it seems impossible to love.
Protect her at all times, lift her up when she needs You the most,
and let her know when she walks with You, She will always be safe.

My mom just emailed this to me. I don't usually pass on emails, no matter how sentimental or cute, but I did say a prayer for you, yes you, and I wanted you to know.