Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Moving Right Along...

Hi friends! Our kitchen renovation is moving right along. The above picture is of my kitchen last Christmas. It had several areas of major wasted space and just plain odd looking things about it (all of which are notated above in red). To begin with, the vent hood that was over my stove was 42" long and looked very funny sitting over my 30" stove. There was also about a foot of wasted space on the other side of the oven that was completely unused. My kitchen has wood beadboard/paneling on the walls. The beadboard was behind the stove as well and stuck out about 3 inches over the top of it (which really got on my nerves).

So the solution was to remove the bead board and replace it with Sheetrock. Replace the humongous vent hood with a smaller one and a little cabinet. We scooted the oven down and made a cookie sheet cabinet next to the stove. I also moved our microwave into the laundry room to give me a little bit more counter space.
My DH built my two additional cabinets (notated by the red arrows), put up the new Sheetrock along the back splash, and put in my new vent hood this past weekend. He worked so very hard and he did a wonderful job (if I do say so myself). He is going to make the doors for the cabinets and we are going to at least begin the prep work for painting all of the lower cabinets this weekend. The guys come out to measure for my new counter tops tomorrow. I am so excited, but we have a lot and I mean a TON of stuff to do before they install the counter tops.

Thanks for touring my "in the works" kitchen. I hope that your day is blessed!

Monday, January 26, 2009

One Happy Day...

Three years ago today, I found out that my family and my DH were in cahoots. They were all in on the surprise. My DH (then boyfriend) casually asked me on Sunday if I wanted to plan to come over to watch a movie and eat some dinner on Thursday. When Thursday came I went over there dressed in jeans. My DH answered the door in a dress shirt and a tie. The first thought that crossed my mind was "Oh shoot, I apparently missed the dress up for this announcement." My DH then said that there were some clothes I could change into in the office. I walked in and there was the dress that my Mom and I had picked out to wear when Matt and I went out for Valentine's Day. Everything was there, right down to the earrings that I was planning of wearing. After I got dressed, I walked into the living room and then I see that my DH has made it look all romantic. He set up a table next to the fireplace and cooked a delicious meal. When we started eating dessert he started telling me about how much he had enjoyed our time together. And before I new it, he was down on one knee. He told me that he loved me (which he had never done before) and asked me to marry him. I of course in the midst of tears said "Yes!". After dinner he took me to Books-A-Million so I could, of course, buy wedding magazines. We were married 14 weeks later.

I am still so glad that I said "Yes!"

Saturday, January 24, 2009

The Mess of a Kitchen...

Hey everyone! I hope that your Saturday is going well. We have had cold weather here today, at least cold for this part of Texas.

My DH and I started with our kitchen renovation last night. I had to pull out all of the contents in my lower cabinets which has made a HUMONGOUS mess out of our living and dining room. Hopefully my kitchen will be workable by tomorrow evening. We are having to do this bit by bit because we can't afford to eat out every meal for four weeks.

Last night we pulled the counter tops off the cabinets along with the sink and put them on the back porch. We pulled the laminate off of the walls which in turn tore up the Sheetrock underneath. This morning, my DH pulled out all of the Sheetrock so that he can replace it. He had to reinforce some of the existing cabinets today and now he is building one of the additional cabinets. He said that he will be working on it all day tomorrow after church so that we can at least put the sink and cabinets back for the week.

This is the kitchen at 8:30 last night.
This is how it looks now.
Next weekend we are going to be prepping the lower cabinets for new paint. The installation guys are supposed to come out on Thursday and measure for my new counter top. They will install them within 2 to 3 weeks they said. That means that we have a lot of work to do in a short amount of time.

Friday, January 23, 2009

National Pie Day Among Other Things...

Hey everybody! Sorry I have been pretty absent around here the last few days. I have not been feeling well at all. I am currently taking some medicine that is giving me awful migraine-like headaches and making me feel absolutely exhausted. I have been so exhausted that I went to bed last night at 10 p.m. and didn't get out of bed until 12:30 this afternoon. Isn't that just AWFUL! I hate it when I sleep my day away, but I tell you that my body was not at all interested in getting up anytime before then. So enough about that though.
Mrs. U over at Making a House a Home is celebrating National Pie Day! She mentioned it last week and I thought that it would be fun to join her. So, this afternoon I made my first ever Lemon Meringue Pie. We haven't eaten any of it yet, so I hope that it tastes good. I cooked the meringue a little to much, but the consistency is wonderful. Here is a picture of the pie right now. I will have to share a picture of a piece of it later.

My DH and I are starting on a minor kitchen remodel/renovation this evening. I am getting new counter tops in a few weeks and we are adding a couple of extra cabinets this weekend. So, as of probably 6:00 p.m. tonight I will not have a kitchen sink, dishwasher, or counter tops until Sunday. We are planning on ordering a pizza tonight and eating sandwiches tomorrow. For now I have to go finish picking up the kitchen so my DH can get started when he gets back from Home Depot.

I hope that your Friday is going well and Happy Pie Day!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Inauguration Day Ponderings...

I finished watching the inauguration just a little bit ago. Many things crossed my mind while watching it. I was thinking how relieved former-President Bush must have felt now that his time as President is over. I was thinking about our nation and all that the last eight years contained. My mind continued on and what quickly came to the surface were the fears that I have about our new President. Yet in the back of my mind, God was reminding me that the United States, Barack Obama, and the whole world for that matter are being held completely in His hands and nothing surprises Him.

After pondering this thought for a few moments, I began to feel a great deal of conviction about praying for the new President and his advisers. I may not like all (or much at all) of what Obama has stood for in the past. But I have a God-given responsibility to pray for the man.

"First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way." ~ 1st Timothy 2:1-2

I need to pray that he will lead our country well and lead our country in a godly manner. I pray that if his heart and soul are not devoted to bringing honor and glory to God in the way that he leads our country, that he would become overwhelmed with a conviction to walk in the way of the Lord. I pray that he will seek guidance from the Lord about the leadership of our country and that the great responsibility that he now has on his shoulders will make him pray like he has never prayed before.
I hope that you will join me in praying for our new President, Barack Obama. If you would like to join with those around the U.S. that are praying through the 1st 100 days of the new Presidency you can sign-up to receive specific prayer requests each day.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Laid Back Monday ("Perfectly Chocolate" Chocolate Chip Cookies)...

Hi friends! I hope that all of you had a nice weekend and a great day.

My day was busy cleaning the house and watching the kiddos. Today while J. napped, A. and I made some Banana Nut Bread and some cookies.

A. and I made the Banana Bread first and then after a snack while enjoying the sunshine we make some cookies. The cookies we made were "Perfectly Chocolate" Chocolate Chip Cookies from the Hershey's Cocoa Easy Baking Cookbook.

This evening my DH and I are probably going to watch Middlemarch or play a game after we eat dinner. For dinner we are going to have Salmon Croquets and Cheesy Spinach Grits.

"Perfectly Chocolate" Chocolate Chip Cookies

1 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 eggs
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 cup chopped nuts (I used pecans)

Heat oven to 375 degrees F.

Beat butter, granulated sugar, light brown sugar, and vanilla extract in a large bowl until creamy. Add eggs; beat well. Stir together flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt; gradually add to butter mixture, beating until well blended. Stir in chocolate chips and nuts, if desired. Drop by rounded teaspoons onto ungreased cookie sheet.

Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until set. Cool slightly; remove from cookie sheet to wire rack. Cool completely.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Simple Sunday - Kitchen Island/Cart

I am thankful for my kitchen cart/island. I have been able to survive with the very limited amount of cabinets that are in my kitchen because of this cart. It hold so many of my cooking things. I am so thankful for the extra drawers and cabinets.

Friday, January 16, 2009

An Anniversary Wish...

Today is my parents' 26th Wedding Anniversary.
I thought that this was definitely something
to celebrate and notate on my blog.

May God bless you with many more years together.
We love you both so much!
~Your Daughter and Bonus Son

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Chipotle-Lime Pork Tenderloin...

My DH likes to do many things. One of the thinks he likes to do is grill. His schedule has been so busy since last summer that he hasn't gotten to grill very much at all. Well this week when I was making my menu, I asked him if he would like to grill something for dinner one night. He jumped on that opportunity very quickly and last night he made a delicious meal.
He grilled Chipotle-Lime Pork Chops with some skillet potatoes. We also had green beans and salad with it. It was so very tasty.

I thought that I would share the recipe for the pork loin if anyone (or your DH) would like it.

Chipotle-Lime Pork Tenderloin

1 1/4 lb. pork tenderloin
1 cup honey-Dijon mustard
2/3 cup chopped cilantro
1/2 cup lime juice
2 to 3 Tbsp. canned chipotle peppers in abodo sauce, minced
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp. ground cumin
3/4 tsp. salt
3/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 cup chopped honey-roasted peanuts

Remove silver skin from the tenderloin, leaving a thin layer of fat covering the tenderloin.

Stir together mustard and next seven ingredients; remove and reserve 1 cup mustard mixture. Place pork in a large shallow dish or zip-top plastic freezer bag; pour remaining mustard mixture evenly over pork, turning to coat. Cover or seal, and chill for 2 hours, turning occasionally. Remove pork from marinade, discarding marinade. Let stand at room temperature 30 minutes.

Grill pork and let stand 10 minutes.

Bring reserved chup mustard mixture and 1/4 cup water to a boil in a saucepan; reduce heat, and simmer 2 minutes. Slice pork, and sprinkle evenly with peanuts. Serve pork with mustard sauce.

Recipe is from page 26 of the
Southern Living Ultimate Grilling and BBQ guide from July 2007.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Called and Kept...

I have been going through the Beth Moore study on the book of Daniel. The last few weeks we have been studying the prophecies in the book of Daniel (7-12). I must admit that in the very recent past, I have been scared of the book of Revelations and things to do with Satan's "unbridled" rule of the earth. Going through the book of Daniel has changed that.

One thing that I realized last week was that Satan doesn't know when God will send Christ back to the earth, not even the Son knows (Mark 13:32). I knew that information in my mind, but I had never really thought about the implications of this. The main one being that Satan is always preparing for his reign and terror and that is why in every generation the return of Christ seems near. May we always be anticipating Christ's glorious return!

Today God really spoke to me through what Beth Moore wrote in relation to the Greek ruler Antiochus IV Epiphanes's forcing the daily sacrifices to stop (Daniel 8:12). "Based on all the Jews understood, the atoning blood of the daily sacrifices enabled them to approach God in worship and relationship" which in turn could lead them to believe that God had abandoned them. (What a scarry and sad lie.)

What is so neat about the application to today is we are often tell ourselves the same lie. "Oh, how Satan wants the people of God to think God has abandoned them! Thank goodness, God is the initiator, enabler, and sustainer of relationship. Though He undoubtedly calls us to obedience, we can offer nothing that paves a path to the throne of grace. God alone makes the way, and the same God who calls us keeps us."

All the quotes from above are from the Beth Moore study Daniel on page 162.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Quick and Easy Salmon Cakes...

Hello everyone! I hope that your week is off to a good start. My week is going well. I am really liking the hours that I have added to my day by getting up early. I have actually been a able to sew a bit today. Yay!!!

Salmon has many health benefits including being high in omega-3. I try to have one salmon dish on my weekly menu since it is so good for you. Last night I made some easy salmon cakes with broccoli and coleslaw for dinner. I wanted to share the recipe with you. The salmon I use is the canned type (Chicken of the Sea). The canned kind isn't as expensive as buying fresh fish, but you still get the benefits of eating salmon.

Quick and Easy Salmon Cakes
(from Kraft Magazine)

1 pkg. (6 oz.) Stove Top Stuffing Mix
3/4 cup water
1/3 cup mayonnaise
2 cans (6 oz. each) salmon, drained, skin and bones discarded
1 Tbsp. lemon juice
1 cup Shredded Mozzarella Cheese
1/2 chopped green onions

Mix all ingredients together. Cover and refrigerate 10 minutes.
Heat large nonstick skillet sprayed with cooking spray
on medium heat. Shape 1/3 cupfuls of the stuffing
mixture into patties; add to skillet in batches.
Cook 3 minutes on each side or until golden brown
on both sides, turning over carefully.


Sunday, January 11, 2009

Simple Sunday - My Family

Davene over at Life on Sylvan Drive is hosting Simple Sunday. So I thought that I would join in with her and hope that you do as well.

I am thankful for my family and the time that we had to spend with them over the last few weeks. It was such a blessing to be home with all of them.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

The Routine of Things...

Hey there friends!

Sorry I have been a little sparse this week. I have been busily working around here and am quite happy with the results. On Wednesday I worked hard to unpack everything from our trip and put it away in its place (both the suitcases and bags of random stuff) all while watching J. On Thursday I managed to take down all of my Christmas decorations and pack them away in their plastic bins. Yesterday I ran my usual errands (grocery, Target, and Sam's), zoned my kitchen, and finished straitening the whole house. Today, I spent the day hanging out with my DH and the weather has been very chilly, which makes me want to cuddle up on the couch.

This week I also worked very hard to get myself into a routine. I have been going to bed promptly at 10:00 p.m. and waking up at 6:00 a.m. Which is good for me because if I did what I usually wanted to do I wouldn't go to bed until 2:00 a.m. and that doesn't make for a very productive or routined life (at least in my case). Since I have been waking up so early I have been doing a walking DVD every morning, doing my quiet time and getting a shower first thing (not late in the afternoon, thank the Lord!). I am really liking how productive I have been and look forward to having a very routined life this next semester. I have very high hopes for all the things I can accomplish with God's help and His discipline.

I hope that the rest of your weekend is great!

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Back to Our Humble Abode...

This picture is from 2 1/2 years ago when we first moved to Texas.

Well after a day of driving my DH and I are back to our home. Our house was just fine even though we were gone for 2 1/2 weeks. Our security system never went off and there were no funky smells meeting us as we came in the door. Thank the Lord!

I am getting back to work tomorrow and will be trying to unpack from the trip. I have made my menu for the week and just got back from the grocery store. Hopefully I will be able to get my Christmas decorations put away this week as well.

Hope you are having a great week!

Monday, January 5, 2009

A New Game for the New Year...

Hello everyone! I hope that your new year is off to a good start.

Last week my DH and I went to the mall for a mini-date. We stopped at the pretzel kiosk and chatted over our pretzels and root beer. While we were there we saw that the game kiosk in the mall was having a "going out of business because Christmas is over" type of sale and all of their games were 50% off. We found a few games that we didn't have and purchased them. We bought Kings in the Corner, Canasta Caliente, and GO.
We have been playing Canasta Caliente since New Years day and have been having a blast with it. From what I understand you can play Canasta with a standard deck of cards. The Canasta Caliente version has a couple of specialty cards that you can't play in regular Canasta. Being that I have only played the Caliente version I couldn't tell you exactly what type of differences there are. Canasta comes from a South American origin and became very popular across the U.S. in the 1950's.

Canasta is a rummy-like game. You have to make sets (melds) and there are no runs. My DH and I have played it with three players and four players. We haven't played it as a two player game yet but it says it is for 2 to 6 players. We have been having a great time playing this new found game. In fact, I think that it might become a favorite.

Do you like to play games? If so, what is your favorite game to play?

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Welcome to a New Year...

Well, the new year is here. May 2009 be a blessed year for you, bringing you closer to God and your family. May this new year be filled with many precious times to remember in years to come.

Happy New Year to you and yours!