Secret Craft Project: DONE!

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I had an awesome blog planned for today. I just finished the sweetest project that was only INSPIRED by something I saw on Pinterest. I made it up myself and am pretty proud of it. The only reason I can not share it today is because it’s a gift for a friend and I should probably give it to her before I share it with the internets. So instead, would you settle for 10 wedding ceremony pictures? I thought you might…

Now keep in mind, my dear readers, that there were over 250 pictures from the ceremony alone. These are just 10 of my favorites from the about 50 that I had narrowed it down to a few weeks ago.

Enjoy… I know I did. πŸ™‚

 

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By the way, inserting the slideshow into the post was ridiculously easy!! More of these will happen. I mean, shoot, we have 1,000 wedding pictures and another 1,000 honeymoon pictures!

 

Weekend Update, after a busy week!

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Oh my word. Thank the LORD above for the last seven days! Brian and I worked a combined total of 7 days during the week. Our jobs ranged from Special Education to 8th grade English to Espanol. I’ll let you guess who subbed which categories. πŸ˜‰

Next week, I have four days scheduled and Brian has one (although with the way things have been going recently, I have a feeling he will sub more than just that one day).

In all of the craziness, I still managed to coach some highschool speech. The kiddos were off to Conference Speech this weekend and they all had their game faces on. I was so impressed with all of the emotional breakthroughs that I saw — it makes my heart smile when I see such raw emotion come from these kids. They are unbelievable — and they had a GREAT day! They brought home the Conference Champion Plaque!

While I’ve been at speech, Brian has been home perfecting his new hobby — Coffee Bean Roasting! It’s quite the project and he has a blog in the works for later this week!

Brian and I had a delightful meal week. On Ash Wednesday, we made an awesome Mexican meal complete with homemade guacamole, homemade refried beans, and great veggie fajitas. Fish has also made a strong comeback in our meal routine — we got such great deals on fish this week! No tuna casserole for us this Lenten season!

People have asked what Brian and I are giving up for Lent — and no, we’re not giving up pop or sweets. We decided to keep things private and personal this Lenten season. Do things that better us and help discover the reason for the season. Be on the look out for a blog closer to Easter when I reflect on the homily we heard at Christmas Mass (I promise, it will make sense!)

 

In other news, we’ve decided to change the way we blog. We’ll try to post on Tuesdays and Thursday in addition to Weekend Updates. We’ll use that time to blog crafts, recipes, and things that we want to talk about. One day Brian will post, the other day I will. I think it will be a way to make this blog more of an “US” thing.

Thank you to everyone who shared our blog this week! It warms my soul to know that my Pinterest addiction is making a difference in other people’s lives! πŸ™‚ Keep on sharing, friends — and COMMENTING! I love seeing what you think. Any ideas on projects or blogs, let us know! πŸ™‚

 

Tea Wreath

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Finally, after weeks of saying I was going to start this project, and more weeks of working on the project, I finished my tea wreath. (But it’ll probably be a few MORE weeks before it makes its way to our kitchen wall.)

Even though it took me so long to make this awesome craft, it wasn’t hard. It was more a factor of not having the motivation to complete it in a timely fashion — combined with an inability to make a circle in the exact middle of another circle.

Here’s the website with complete instructions and step by step pictures.

Forgive my lack of pictures for the first few steps… there was too much frustration with cardboard, circular kitchen objects, pencils, scissors, and rulers to try to capture it all on camera. So we’ll jump ahead.

Here’s what you need:

-cardboard

-a large and medium compass (which would have been handy — two bowls work just fine, too)

-about 20-ish clothes pins

-scrapbook paper — at least 1 12″x12″ piece and then scraps that match

-ModPodge

-hot glue gun

Steps:

1. Cut out your wreath from the cardboard. Mine eventually ended up having 9″ diameter on the outside and about a 5″ diameter on the inside.

You can see that I had a 9″ serving bowl and the bottom of our plastic pitcher just happened to be 5″! It was great — but difficult to line up the pitcher so it was exactly in the middle of the bigger circle. Cutting is hard — make sure you have GOOD scissors!

2. Lay down your big piece of scrapbook paper and cut about a 1/2 inch larger than your circle so that you’ll be able to fold it over and cover the sides. After cutting out the circle, cut lines along the edge of the paper, you’ll glue these pieces onto the cardboard as you fold them up around the edge. This is what it’ll look like when you’re done:

3. Mod Podge your scrap paper onto your clothes pins.

4. Hot glue the clothespins onto the wreath with the clip part on the inside — that way your tea bags will clip along the outside. Then attach your tea bags and hang in the kitchen. I love how all my different variety of tea is displayed — makes it easier to pick a bag in the morning!

A Loving Weekend Update

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I’m honestly glad that Valentine’s day was this week. I’ve been so busy lately that I feel I haven’t gotten any quality Brian time… so Tuesday was a great night to devote to each other. Today, we found even more time to fall back into an old routine… but more on that later…

First of all, the subbing picked up this week. I subbed three days, Brian 2.5, although the half day of band SHOULD count for like… 3 whole days! Next week, I have 4 days already lined up, and Brian has a promise from a secretary to call if anything comes up. πŸ™‚ Thursday and Friday, Brian was so popular he had to TURN DOWN jobs because he’d already accepted one. SO thankful that the ‘dry spell’ is over!

Last night, we headed to Kearney with some friends to celebrate a birthday. Tiffany, a beautiful mother of three, looked absolutely radiant as she celebrated the big 2-6 — pregnant belly and all!! (So excited to see what kind of personality baby #3 has! Max and Owen are so wonderful, yet so different!) Anyway, we went out to eat a great Mexican dinner, then headed back to Jake and Tiff’s for some DQ Ice Cream Cake. The food was GREAT, but the company was EVEN BETTER! It made me miss when we all used to live under the same roof of Stout Hall.

I know this post is NOT going in chronological order, but I wanted to make sure I covered everything before I got to the two special days of our week — Tuesday and today, Sunday.

Brian and I have never done Valentine’s very traditionally… one year we both chipped in to buy a Wii and another year we purchased our first water purifier. (We did NOT like Kearney tap water… the water purifier was the best gift ever!) So you see, we haven’t really ever done anything super disgustingly romantic… and that’s kind of become our style. Sure, we’ll go out and have a nice dinner, but no flowers or other sentimental gifts are required.

This year, we both felt added pressure to really celebrate in mushy-gushy romantic style since it was our first married Valentine’s day. But I told Brian not to get me flowers — they are just a waste of money, in my opinion… you get them, they’re pretty, it’s a nice gesture, but then they DIE! Our LOVE isn’t going to die, so why get me a gift that will??? I did say if he felt obligated to, a nice potted plant would be good. But not necessary. He said he didn’t need anything either.

So I come home from subbing (an excellent two-day gig, I might add… the kids are so great in that class!) and what do I find??? Mint meltaways and a beautiful potted hydrangea. My heart melted. And then froze when I realized that I was the unromantic one who didn’t get my HUSBAND a single thing, not even a card! So, I told him that he could get some raw coffee beans that I had previously hinted that I thought he should wait to get. He was so thrilled, and thought it was the perfect gift! (On Saturday when I got home from judging speech, the house smelled like freshly roasted coffee… but Brian will post more about THAT experience later!)

Then, we couldn’t decide where to eat (at least in GI; we thought of several Kearney and Lincoln restaurants that sounded appetizing). So, we just went and got some Chinese and came home, snuggled on the couch, watched some TV, and just ENJOYED each others company — something that we hadn’t done in several days due to my schedule.

I thought that was great — the perfect “US” way to spend Valentine’s day — until today. This Sunday, February 19, 2011 has been the greatest Sunday of the entire year (at least so far). We worked this morning, and when we got off work, we came home and had some lunch. Then gathered our shopping list and did our weekly grocery trips to all 3 supermarkets. No Wal-Mart required! Before we started our shopping, we stopped at the library and each picked out 5 books.

When we got home, we turned on some NPR and unloaded groceries, did dishes, started laundry, and opened the shades to enjoy the last few hours of sunshine. Then we sat down and read for a bit before starting dinner.

I know, it sounds super LAME and very old married couple of us, but friends, it was BLISS. In college, we often spent Sundays finishing homework, reading, and listening to NPR, so it was very reminiscent of our past… and it just warmed my heart. Days like these are the ones where I’m so glad to have Brian by my side. His love shines through when we do simple household chores together. When we laugh together at the little kid dipping his hands into the rice bin at the grocery store. Brian inspires me to read — and I could spend a whole day wandering the aisles of a library with him, searching for the perfect book. When we work together in the kitchen, without fighting, MAGIC happens — I could seriously taste the love in our deep-dish breakfast pizza tonight.

I know we’ve only been married for 8 months and 15 days, but after a day like this, it feels like we’ve been married forever. It may not be storybook romance, but this is US. And today was the perfect end to a Valentine’s week.

Quick Weekend Update

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Things have been kind of crazy this weekend, and I don’t feel like I have time to sit down, let alone blog. But here goes…

-Judging speech is the highlight of my weeks. I feel so bad that it means leaving Brian at home for 12 hours. But I didn’t have TIME to miss him this Saturday! I judged all day, and while it was EXHAUSTING, I had a blast! To top that, I get to work with some of the most talented kids! I adore going in and helping coach during the week. I forgot what an important part of my life speech was — and I love this side of it even more than I did competing. And yeah, I do this without getting paid for it. I do it because I see the potential these kids have and I want to help them find their greatness. I want to see the looks on their faces the first time they break their event to finals, the disappointment when they don’t do as well as they deserve, the loud/obnoxious van rides home, the plethora of inside jokes, the bonding of a group of students as they see themselves becoming a TEAM. It seriously made my heart smile!

-Brian made an awesome apple crisp today. It’s kind of my little sister’s specialty, but he put hers to shame. (Though I will never tell her this. And you better not either!)

-I think I’m FINALLY (knock on wood) over my cold. Last weekend before the giant snow storm, I broke down and went to the doctors. It’s a good thing I did because she said if I would have waited until after the weekend, it could have turned into pneumonia. Just as I was getting over it, I had a massive coughing fit and messed up one of my ribs. That took about 2 days and lots of cough syrup with codeine to get to the point where I could breath, move, hiccup, cough, sneeze, and laugh without feeling like I was going to die. Now, I’m feeling back to myself. Thank the Lord!!!

-Last week was a super slow sub week for both of us. But, it gave me a chance to return to health and craft. Pictures/blog post instructions soon to come. πŸ™‚ It also gave Brian and I an opportunity to spend some quality time together playing games, watching movies, and cooking. Nothing spectacular was made, but just cooking full meals was a treat!

-This week, I have 3 sub days already planned — I even get to sub on Valentine’s day for a class I’ve subbed for a few times! I can’t wait! πŸ™‚ Brian doesn’t have anything planned, but will take them as they come — so PLEASE pray that teacher’s have sick kids, are sick themselves, need mental health days, have workshops they forgot about, break bones, etc.Β  So help get my husband out of the house and into a classroom!!!!

-Our washer leaked today. My dad happened to be in town with nothing to do while my mom, sister, and I went to a local theater’s production of “Guys and Dolls”, so he helped Brian look at it. They found nothing wrong, so let’s hope they at least scared the leak out of it. We got a great deal on our washer/dryer, and I am NOT ready to need a new one!

 

Well, this was a lot more than I had planned on writing, so I’ll wrap it up for now. Let’s hope for a busy, but peaceful week. Happy Valentine’s day to all! Hope your week is full of love and happiness!

The Super Bowl — oh shoot, was that tonight?!?!

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I’ve never been a huge football fan — and yet compared to Jeralynn, I’m the resident football expert (allowing me to exude a misleading amount of confidence when explaining so matter-of-factly the rules of inbound and out-of-bounds catching to her in the fourth quarter).

We only watched about a quarter and a half [what a strange sounding fraction!!] of the game despite being Americans who owned a television and had no real plans on Super Bowl Sunday. We just didn’t really care.

That’s not to say we didn’t take advantage of the other all-American aspect of the Super Bowl: finding any excuse to turn a day into a sanctioned Eating Holiday.

[See below for pictures and recipes]

What about the commercials you say? Half of them were online before the game even began, and tomorrow the Today Show will show the best of the best without me having to sit through all the car commercials that still don’t attempt to do anything but make driving look really, really fun whilst telling you in small print to never ever try to have this much fun without a closed course or professional training. Un-anti-ir-regardless,Β the plan has always been to catch the commercials throughout the next several days.

Odd yet meaningless reflections on the Super Bowl:

  • the scattered quarter and a half of football I watched today was more pro football than I’d seen the previous 6 or 7 months combined.
  • the time spent watching the Super Bowl commercials will probably come close to the time watching other commercials during the same several months. This is a clear effect and benefit of watching Netflix almost exclusively for my tv.

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Homemade Chicken Nuggets

Breadcrumbs (made my own by toasting 4-5 pieces of nearly old bread, then putting in food processor until … breadcrumb-like)

Flour, seasoned with some salt and pepper

2 whole eggs mixed with a splash of milk

Raw chicken bits

Preheat oven to 375. Shake the chicken bits in a bag with the flour until each piece is evenly covered. Whisk together the eggs and milk in a large shallow bowl, with the breadcrumbs in a separate bowl right next to it. Proceed to dredge each piece of chicken (a few at a time) in the egg mixture followed by the breadcrumbs. Each piece should be well covered by each step, but not overly so; shake off any excess.

Line a cookie sheet with aluminum foil and place a cooling rack, sprayed with Pam, on top of the foil lining. Place each breaded nugget on the rack — I did just fine bunching them together with very little space between. Cook them for anywhere from 10-20 minutes.

After removing from the oven, I took about 1/3 of the nuggets and tossed them in a store-bought buffalo hot sauce. The rest were left plain to accompany a variety of dipping sauces.

Notice I gave no measurements, because indeed, I did not measure anything. I ended up with exactly enough breading (and pan space), so good luck.

Β Β 

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Scotcharoos (made by Jeralynn)

1 C white sugar

1 C corn syrup

1 t Vanilla

1 C Peanut Butter

5 C Cheerios

PLUS

1 C chocolate chips

1 C butterscotch chips

Bring the syrup and sugar to a very brief boil, then take it off the heat. Immediately mix in the vanilla and peanut butter, and stir until mixed. Then pour mixture over cheerios in large bowl. After stirring until caramely sauce is entirely covering the cereal, spoon the mixture into a greased 9×13. As the cereal mixture cools, melt both types of chips together in the microwave, and then spread over the cereal. Let chocolaty topping harden and chill before cutting into bars.

Β Β 

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Craft Time!

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Well this post is long over due! But I just have to share it because it’s such a great idea for sentimental people like me. I wish I would have found this idea before my last round of deep cleaning where I threw away all of the birthday, Valentine’s, Christmas, Halloween, and graduation cards I had received in the last 24 years. The only cards I did NOT throw away were all of our beautiful wedding and bridal shower cards we received in 2011. So I was thrilled to have found a way to preserve them without making an unsightly mess in the bottom of a drawer.

Here’s where I found my inspiration… Something Turquoise … You can also find a link on my Pinterest DIY board.

I pretty much followed all of the steps on the website above. Man, I hope I’m giving her enough credit. Her steps to follow were great and very helpful. Usually, I would walk you through what I did, but she did such a great job that I highly recommend you go straight to SomethingTurquoise.com and let her help you through the steps!

Here’s what my finished products looked like:

We had so many wedding cards that I ended up making two different books and I used 2 inch book rings to connect them.

I also decided that we should start saving the cards and letters we get at Christmas time, so I made a book for those too! I used a 1 inch ring, but have a 2 inch ring available as the years go on and we get more cards. I also used a SUPER long piece of ribbon to ensure that in 5 years I don’t need to redo it! (But it makes the bow look a little untidy now…)

I loved this craft so much, and the books look so nice on our bookshelf! It was pretty easy, too… once I got all the measurements right.

 

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