Friday, December 30, 2011

Going grey with grace

Once Hubs and I moved into our new place and some of the "new" wore off, we got to thinking about just where we were going to start to make this place our own.  

The day we looked at the house, the master bedroom looked like this. A lot of furniture, bed up against the wall and not much free space.  

And, while I thought that we should start the renovating with the main living spaces (such as the living room, dining room, kitchen), Hubs was pretty steadfast that we start in our bedroom.  And let me tell you, it's the best idea (other than marrying me) the man has ever had! 

So, over a lunch break one day, I picked the color for our bedroom.  While that is not something I highly recommend or typically do (I am much more of a "let me sleep on it" style decision maker), it worked out great! 

It's a really soft grey. The color is from True Value and is named Stunning Maiden. 

We painted the walls grey and the trim white.  I am a lover of white trim.  

Two things I want to point out:

We went to Best Buy and bought two new TVs (one for living room and one for bedroom)  The TVs we had were old and were big, heavy tube TVs.  (The poor kid at BB looked at us like we were ancient when we told him that.  Then he looked at us like we were really crazy when we played, rock, paper, scissors in the middle of the store to decide which ones to buy.... we're adults and we make decisions like children.  So what?)
But we knew we wanted to hang the bedroom TV and we wanted it to swivel up completely against the wall.  But what's so cool is the way Hubs ran the cords.... behind the wall!  I know that's like "duh" but as much as I HATE cords being exposed, I was really not thrilled about TWO cords hanging from the TV.  This is one more reason I LOVE HIM!

Number Two Thing I Wanted To Point Out:

I bought this picture at a fancy schmancy decorating store, which is usually only a place I go to look for ideas of things I can hack, but once I saw it, I  

And here's why: 

 It was the first thing I bought for our new house and I love it. 

I'm still looking for something for the big wall in our room and I still need to paint the doors.  However, lemme tell you, I LOVE that this room is "done." After stumbling over boxes and paint cans and tools and "stuff" all over the rest of the house while we were working on it, I love that we can come in here, shut the door and relax.  

I tell you what...that man of mine... he's a thinker... and a keeper!

I loved the grey color so much, I used it in other parts of the house, too, but you'll have to wait to see that in another post! 

Friday, December 23, 2011

My Village... updated!

Remember last Christmas when I posted about my awesome Snow Village?  (If not, I won't hold it against you... the post is here.)

After posting the pics of my village, I got a note from one of my friends that said, "I didn't know you were one of those crazy village people!" 

I don't traditionally think of myself as crazy, but in this instance, the label might apply.  :)

I have new pieces to add this year and, because this blog is more of a place to virtually "keep" things, I wanted to share!

This is a grainery, or what would today be an elevator.  And with my job switch, it seemed pretty appropriate.  We added the tractors :)

This gazebo came with ....

...this lighted tree.  Hubs got me these last year because they are part of the set that goes with....

... this inn!  And how fun are the people that came with it that are checking in at the inn?

It's technically named that Eden Prairie Inn, just fyi.  

Last year, Hubs also got me this sweet little log cabin.

And it came with this little guy and his dog who are out collecting firewood for the cabin. 

My village is just a small part of the way I carry on our family's tradition of Dept. 56 Snow Village.  

Any other village crazies out there?

Merry Christmas!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

By Request: Cheeseburger Soup

So here's what happened...

I posted on Facebook that this seemed like a Cheeseburger Soup kinda day and I had a few people ask for the recipe.... 

....and since I had a blog at one time *wink* I decided to just do a post about my loverly cheeseburger soup.

This is Hub's favorite, or one of them, and it is one of those meals that I only fix on rare occasion.  

If he loves it (and I do too, BTW) why is it a rarity   
Because it takes me a long time to fix it.  Today, it took me two Miranda Lambert albums and one Christmas music album... not kidding, dude.... it takes a while!  

It's not hard to make, but it requires multiple steps and lots of chopping.  I also made a triple batch because if I'm going to go through the work, we're going to eat it for more than one meal. And, in my opinion, it tastes better after the first day, anyway.  It also freezes well.

Without further ado, here's some pics of my soup.  (I'll type out the full recipe at the bottom, so you don't have to take notes throughout the post... just sit back and admire my awesome photography skills)
(that's a joke...about the photography...I didn't work too hard at it)

Step one: brown hamburger, drain and let it sit in the sink

Saute celery, onions and carrots in some butter.

Chop up potatoes

Line up canned ingredients and some more butter and take a picture.
Add broth, potatoes and beef back to veggie mix.

Think to yourself, "is that too many potatoes?"

In another pan, create a rue with butter and flour.  
(I don't know if that's really how it's spelled, but I that's what I'm going with.) (Also, I will note, I screw up this step every.single.time. I make this recipe.  So I know from experience that whether you do this right, screw it up and add it anyway, or screw it up and don't include it.... the soup's still delicious)

Add cheese and evaporated milk

Let it simmer till you're ready to eat.  

At this house, we eat it with bacon bits sprinkled on the top, but do whatever you like!

This is a recipe my mom found somewhere and she's passed it on to us. Therefore, if someone out there needs credit for creating this, I honest-to-goodness don't know who it is.

So here's the actual recipe: (sorry I didn't put it on printable cards, I missed that day of blogging class and I don't know how to do that.  But you can copy and paste!)


Cheeseburger Soup:

1/2 lb ground beef
4 T butter or margarine, divided
3/4 cu chopped onion
3/4 cu chopped/shredded carrots
3/4 cu chopped celery
1 tsp dried basil
2 cans (14.5 fl. oz each) chicken broth
4 cups of peeled and diced potatoes
1/4 cup flour
2 cu. cubed Velveeta
1 can (12 fl oz) evaporated milk
3/4/ tsp salt
1/4 to 1/2 tsp black pepper
bacon bits

Cook ground beef in large saucepan over medium heat until brown; drain and set aside.
Melt 1 tablespoon of butter in same saucepan over medium heat.  Add onion, carrots, celery, and basil; cook, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes.
Add broth, potatoes, and cooked beef; bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to low; cover.  Cook, stirring occasionally, 15-20 minutes or until vegetables are tender.
Melt remaining butter in small saucepan over medium heat.  Sprinkle in flour; cook, stirring constantly, 3 to 5 minutes or until bubbly.  Add to soup; bring to a boil.  Cook, stirring occasionally, 2 minutes.
Reduce heat to low; add cheese, milk, salt and pepper. Stir until cheese is melted.
Garnish bowls with bacon bits, if desired.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Where have I been?

I feel like I've been in the middle of nowhere and I feel like I've missed A LOT! 

(I have a new nephew that I didn't meet until he was almost a month old... I'm not ok with that)

You know when you feel like you've been bustin' your butt all day long, day in and day out, but when someone says, "what've you been up to?" all you can say is, "nothin' really... just work."

That's me.  I've been working... a lot... or at least it feels like a lot.  These 60+ hour weeks are zapping me.  I know many, many people work that much all the time, but let's just say that on more than one occasion in the past 8 weeks or so, I've been happy that the state of Illinois won't legally let me work 13 days in a row without a full day off.  I'm not accustomed to this much work... I'm not afraid to admit it.

(please note, to borrow a line from a Martina McBride song, "I ain't complain', but I'm tired, so I'm just sayin' what I feel.")

In the midst of working, we finally bought a house!!!  We are OUT of that daggum apartment! 6 months there was about 5.25 months too long.  I will not remember the place fondly... it was small and in town and I was depressed a lot of the time that I was there - homesick, unemployed and just general ick.  The Good Lord took care of us and gave us that place to stay, but I was thrilled to be done with it. 

I am so happy to be putting together our nest again, I can't even find the words. 

But as nice as it's been to have some space to expand and breathe again, it also looks like our old house threw up in our new one.  There's stuff...boxes....dirty laundry... trash....paint cans....curtain rods....etc....EVERYWHERE!  And working so much has put stress on my dear Hubs, who is just trying his best to make our house a home without my loving guidance.  (ladies, don't you roll your eyes at me, you know exactly what I mean...)  He has done laundry, cooked meals, taken care of the dogs, retrieved all of our stuff from Indiana.  He has even painted, which he hates.  

I am so blessed to have him.  (We've been together 11 years...and I really am SO LUCKY!)

Speaking of painting... 

let's talk for a minute.... 

let's keep this candid.... 

let's keep this real...

This is our kitchen the day we first looked at the house:

It pretty much still looks the same - complete with that sweet linoleum... 

....and this border (which is nice, but ain't my style and was all ripping up and peeling)

This was the living room the day we looked at the house.

This is the living room today... tv flipped walls and still basically undecorated, but painted! 

(It also now has grey curtains.)  

(I'm also aware the dog bed and blanket on the ottoman don't match.... these things take time, people!)

(FYI: painting a house is so much more gratifying that cleaning it.)

This is a closer representation of the color... more grey and less baby nursery.

And now I'm on the entry/dining/kitchen... this wall right here on the right was primed in this pic.  It's now the  same blue that's in the living room (it was painted a red that coordinated with the border)

 (the living room is just past the primed wall and the areas all open up into each other)

Soooo.... I painted our master bedroom a soft grey that I love...(which I, of course, don't have a pic of)... but if I painted all the kitchen and the entry and the dining area that same grey (it will butt up against the blue), will it be too much grey?

Should I just paint it tan because I feel like that's the safe decision? 

All the trim is white  (or will be). 

Will our tan furniture look bad?

 Am I overthinking this? 

Anyone else paint their main living areas grey?  Does it feel like a jail cell?

Enough questions for one night... 

I have more boxes to unpack....

Monday, September 19, 2011

You dropped a bomb on me, baby!

(editor's note: my formatting seems to have gotten all screwed up... at least it looks like it on my end...sorry about that!)

So there's this chick I know....

She's pretty cool....

She helps run her family's dairy over in Indiana (which gives her extra cool points in my book!)....

And she's had a hand dealt to her that's taking a bit of the spring out of her step but not the smile off her face...

This is Leontien and she's one of the most fearless gals I know.  (and when I say I "know" her, I do mean mostly through her blog, Four Leaf Clover Tales.) 

If you have some time, you can read through her blog and find out why so many people think she's as great as I do.  

And while it's not my place to go into the details about the battle she's fighting, please keep her in your prayers as she faces round two with cancer.  

You can leave her a comment on her blog or visit the Love for Leontien Facebook page. 

If anyone can kick caner's butt, it's this gal... she's tough!

And while I was thinking about writing about my life today, I felt like I couldn't resist dropping a "Love Bomb" on Leontien because I know that the things on my mind are nothing compared to what may be on hers.  

After all, everybody needs a little luck...

Right, Leontien?   

Monday, September 12, 2011

Pinning = Winning

That's right, I'm pinning! (or am I pinner?)

I know, I know, I'm so trendy that you just can't stand it.

Okay, but seriously... or seriously (if you say it with your teeth clenched together and pull your lips tight like Thurston Howell on Gilligan's Island) ... this is my ploy to try to get you to follow me on Pinterest.  (that's where all these pics come from)

I think I'm a pretty cool girl and I think that, like, you'll, like, like what I like. (That really needs to be read like a teenage valley girl to make any sense)

But seriously, we could be friends...unless Pinterest is blocked on your computer because you're reading my blog at work instead of from the comfort of your couch... I'm not judging, by the way...

But I'm not looking for the kind of of friends that share drinks, because that's gross.... unless I know you... and I know you don't let your dog kiss you on the mouth... wait, did this post just suddenly go south?

It's all fun and games until someone gets tongued by their dog (ok, now it's gone south for sure)

Back to the point, Pinterest is full of links to fun stuff, crafty stuff, smart stuff, inspiring stuff and generally neat stuff.

Go check it out... unless you don't want to... then... well... fine.... be that way....

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Family Fried Food Extravaganza!

So yesterday, some of my loyal readers (hi mom-in-law and mom-in-law's co-worker) pointed out to me it had been 41 days since I updated my blog! Whoa! 

That got me thinkin'....
Noah coulda built an ark in that amount of time... 
and I haven't built anything in that amount of time...
I really haven't done much in that amount of time at all... 
but I have been able to spend some time with family....
and I have eaten several meals in the past 41 days.... 
including one that I'm sure my arteries haven't forgiven me for...

Enter the 
Family Fried Food Extravaganza!

(we didn't get t-shirts made, but looking back, an "I survived the Family Fried Food Extravaganza" memento seems appropriate)

Here's what happened: my dad takes an annual fishing trip where he a group of guys go spend a few days in boats and they bring back fish with the intention of freezing it and frying it before they go fishing again.

Needing the ability to fry large amount of fish, or using it as an excuse to buy a new toy that is propane powered, Dad got a turkey fryer.  

After we fried fish one weekend and realized how good it was, it got us to thinkin' about what else we could fry.  

And the 
Family Fried Food Extravaganza 
was born!

We actually started with homemade doughnuts so they wouldn't end up with a flavor of onion or hot dog.  (kudos to my mom for thinking of that before it was too late.... and who doesn't like to start a meal with dessert?)

We made cheese sticks, mini-corn dogs, 


...vegetables, mushrooms, onion rings ...

But we balanced it out with some chicken and beef kabobs and pasta salad along with homemade lemonade... delish!

We fried and ate all afternoon and then we'd take a break before we'd eat a little and then fry something else.

The young kids had a good time....

...playing with the big kids (their great-grandparents.)

But too much fried food can make a person sleepy and a blanket under a shade tree works for people of all sizes to take a snooze!

(disclaimer: while it was fun, I don't actually think this is a healthy diet.  Don't write me and tell me we're ruining our lives or setting these kids up for heart disease.  If you actually believe that, lighten up and have a doughnut.  After all, the family that fries together stays together!) 

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