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Monday, July 28, 2014

Cooking with Kimberly Lesson 2: Steak Parmesean

Remember how we started this series where New Roomie was gonna teach us how to cook?  Yea, I don't blame you for forgetting.  Because it's been forever since the first one.  Apparently New Roomie was too busy being generally awesome to help us out (or maybe I just forgot and it's all my fault).

Either way, we are back today with the second installment of Cooking with Kimberly.


Being that we are two ranch girls who live together, anything with beef in it is a welcome dish in this house.  The first time that New Roomie made this dish, I seriously wanted to eat the entire pan in one sitting.  Amazingly good, and super easy!

Steak Parmesan

1/4 C. margarine
1 can evaporated milk
Shredded Parmesan cheese
1/3 C flour
1 tsp. salt
Dash of pepper
8 thin round steaks
8 oz can of tomato sauce

Pre-heat oven to 350.  Place butter in small baking dish and melt in the oven.  In a small bowl, pour 1/2 C milk.  on wax paper, mix flour, chese, salt and pepper.  Dip meat in milk and then in flour mixture.  Arrange crossiwse in baking dish.  Bake uncovered for 30 minutes.  Combine 1/3 C milk and 1/2 C cheese.  Pour tomato sauce over meat and spoon cheese/milk mixture over sauce.  Bake for 25 minutes.

Serve alone or over pasta.







Friday, July 25, 2014

And the Honeymoon Destination Is.......

I was never a girl who dreamed about her wedding.  I never thought about dresses or flower arrangements or first dance songs.  But a honeymoon?  Now that, I can get on board with!  The world traveler in me was quite excited to do a little research and plan something awesome.

We sort of narrowed the world down to four finalists.

1.  Ireland

We have talked about going on a honeymoon trip to Ireland since about 2 months into this relationship.  It is at the top of both of our dream travel destinations list.  I love sheep.  He loves beer.  We want to drive on the wrong side of the road.  It sounds amazing.

Downside....we only have a week.  By the time you take a day out to get there and a day to come back, you don't have much time in country.  Everyone I talked to tells me you want to have at least 10-14 days there.  Plus, if we flew clear to Ireland, I'd want to be sure we ran and ran and saw as much as we could to get our money's worth, and that might not be the ideal pace for a honeymoon.

So after a lot of thought, we ruled this one out but you best believe that there is a 5 year anniversary fund already in the works so that we can make it happen in 2019!

2.  Vermont/New Hampshire/Maine

Once Ireland was kinda out the window, I tried to think of something else fun.  We really aren't beachy people, so ideas like Florida or the Bahamas were just not our speed.  I came up with the idea of doing the Northeast, kind of fall foliage, maple farms, light houses, bed and breakfasts type tour.  I've never been and thought it might be sort of romantic and relaxing.

The Boy from Texas wasn't a huge fan.  He thought it sounded kinda boring and he's spent some time working  up in the Northeast and wasn't a huge fan.  So, another one bit the dust.

3.  Napa Valley, California

My next idea was Napa.  After my summer in San Francisco and subsequent girls weekend there, I just love the Valley.  It's so beautiful and peaceful and we could go wine tasting and ride in a hot air balloon!  Well, when I asked The Boy from Texas about doing a hot air balloon, he responded with, "The only positive thing I can say about that is that at least we would die together."  Not as positive as one might hope.

So my sweet friend Mrs. Arizona helped me check out hotel options and flights and all sorts of activities.  It was definitely the cheapest option (thanks to Southwest flights being cheap into Oakland), but in the end we just weren't sure it was for us.  I don't drink and I had already been there.  The Boy from Texas apparently hates hot air balloons.  And while I thought he might like Napa, I also thought he might think it was kinda snooty and pretentious.  So, another option down.

4.  Banff, Canada

As I was on Google and Pinerest looking up "honeymoon destinations," I came across a photo of Lake Louise, Canada and immediately thought, "This is where we have to go!"  Once I showed said p photo to The Boy from Texas and mentioned we could drive to the place where Lonesome Dove was shot, he was ready to book immediately!

The Banff area is located in the Canadian Rockies in the province of Alberta.  I've had several friends go there (and a couple from not far from the area) who have raved about it being fun and beautiful and a great trip.  Flights are much easier and shorter than other international destinations, prices are not wholly outrageous, and there looks to be a ton of things to do.  Hiking, kayaking (if it's not too cold?), sleigh rides (if it's cold enough), a glacier tour, cute shops, beautiful drives.....Oh, and I'll be able to accomplish my goal of being to 10 countries before I'm 31 (used to be 30 but that ship sailed!)

Ladies and gents, we have a winner!

Photo via Pinterest


Oh, and because we are awesome and only doing this honeymoon thing once....we'll be staying three nights at the gorgeous hotel you see in the picture.  Yep.  Chateau Lake Louise, here we come!  (The rest of the nights you may find us at Motel 6 or a box under a bridge because we'll be out of money....)

So....if you have been or know anything about the area....give us some must-do ideas!!

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Throwback Thursday #65: The Meat Wagon and the Texas Tornadoes

I spent a lot of time in an old probably 1970's model Chevy suburban during my teen years.  Usually with a steno notebook in my hands and manure on my boots.  Our 4-H judging team rolled in style.


The suburban was lovingly referred to as the "meat wagon."  Legend has it that before it was used to haul kids around to judging contests, it was an ambulance.  Whatever the reason, the name stuck.  We traveled lots of miles.  Sometimes, she did good.  Sometimes, she died before we even made it out of Texas and we had to trade her in for a navy blue 18 passenger van that made us look like a swat team every time we stopped and got out (possibly because someone insisted on yelling "go, go, go each time the doors opened).

No matter the vehicle, the same cassette tape was always blaring over the speakers.  The Texas Tornadoes.  I'm willing to bet you to this day any of us could easily tell you every word to songs like "Hey baby, que paso" or "Who were you thinking of."  You know, the classics.

We traveled all over the country from Louisville, Kentucky to Kansas City, Missouri to Madison, Wisconsin.  We won several state championships.  We had a lot of fun together.  In some ways it seems like yesterday.  In others, like a lifetime ago.

I feel like we sort of came of age in that meat wagon singing those songs.  We learned about life and EPDs and love and travel and the difference between a Jersey and a Guernsey and what to do when someone has a mild panic attack while stuck in traffic on a bridge over the Mississippi River, that they don't have Dr. Pepper north of the Mason Dixon Line or green chile east of the Missisippi, how to read reigning patterns, and how to spot a Furr's Cafeteria from miles away.

And I've got to say, I'm not convinced there is a better way to grow up than that right there.  In a world today filled with iPhones and video games and people hardly talking to each other, I sure hope that somewhere, another suburban load of 4-H kids are learning about life one Texas Tornadoes song at a time.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Why My Parents Are a Bad Example

Yesterday, my parents celebrated their 35th wedding anniversary.  As I looked over the dozens of comments on Facebook, many of them mentioned what a good example my parents' marriage is.

The more I thought about it, the more I realized that they are actually a bad example of marriage looks like.

Because they make it look too easy.

And from what everyone tells me, marriage is hard.  It takes work and dedication and effort.  Every single day. You have to learn to accept and forgive and sacrifice.  There are times you want to beat the other person with a frying pan, and times you want to just walk away.  I've seen other couples speak hatefully towards each other or about each other to people.  I've seen relationships full of lying and deceit and plain unhappiness.

But not these two.


They started out with a single wide trailer house, a wedding dress from Sears and a hand me down engagement ring.  And 35 years later, they are always happy.  They are always laughing.  They harass each other a lot.  I can probably count on one hand the number of times I have honestly seen them fight.  They still act like teenagers when they go to Vegas.  They always seem to know the right thing to do.

They just make marriage look more like fun than like work.  

And that's why they are a bad example.

But maybe they know the trick.  Maybe it is this.  Maybe if you marry the right person, 35 years later you look back and even the work seems fun because you're doing it together.

It worked for those these two kids 35 years ago.


Friday, July 18, 2014

Saying Yes To The Dress: The Finalists

Y'all.  You guys are amazing.  My poor phone was not prepared for all of the texts, blog comments, Facebook messages, etc. of everyone voting for the dress!  This was a fun little game!

Today, we will be announcing the two finalists.  But first, I will be sharing a tally of the votes.

Dress #1:  6 votes
Dress #2:  7 votes
Dress #3:  54 votes
Dress #4:  11 votes
Dress #5  23 votes
Dress #6:  1 vote

Next, in true former judger style, I will be giving reasons as we eliminate the non-finalists.  I was not the 2000 FFA High Point Individual National Champion in Dairy Reasons for nothing kids!

Drumroll, please.....


My least favorite was dress #2.  I honestly didn't care for this at all.  I felt like the top didn't go with the bottom.  I also don't like tulle.  Lastly, it had a halter top which does NOT go well on these ol' shoulders of mine so we were going to have to figure out how to make it strapless.  This one was off the list fairly quickly.


Next up we have dress #4.  This one was interesting because the truth is, I really liked the dress.  As did everyone else in the room.  In the end, though, we decided that it might have been a bit fancy for my particular wedding.  Were we doing something in a ballroom with The Boy from Texas in a tuxedo (I laughed just typing that), I might have bought this dress.  But the super fancy beading and lace was just a bit much for a venue that will include hay bales and a groom in boots and jeans.  Another one bit the dust.


Dress number 6.  I loved this dress.  Period.  Loved it.  We don't have a front view on my phone or College Roomie's phone (although I'll guarantee you The Boy from Texas' grandma has one on her camera because she was snapping pictures like the paparazzi!), but it made me look very skinny.  It was quite flattering and simple.  It was very light weight and the inside was lined with silk.  But this one was sort of on the opposite end of the spectrum of dress #4 in that I decided it might be a bit too casual.  I could wear that to a dinner party and no one would know it was a wedding dress.  Had I been getting married on the beach or something, you best believe I would have walked away with that dress!


So, for those of you keeping count, we're down to the final three:  1, 3, and 5.  I had a really hard time choosing between these three.  We went to lunch contemplating these three dresses.  I would have loved to wear either one. 

I ended up ruling out dress #5.  In all actuality, it might have been my favorite dress.  I loved the sort of campaign-y color, the lace, the sort of 1950's vibe, and especially the train.  It was gorgeous.  But....it was a sample and had pretty clearly been tried on several times.  There were some snags and things like that.  My mom and TBFT's Nana were pretty adamant that the other two dresses were much higher quality.  Plus, having the personal service at the local store (including the sweet owner saying she would physically go with me to alterations to be sure things were done correctly) was a major selling point for me.  So this one was off the list.

Good thing too, because when I showed TBFT a picture of this dress (I let him see all the "no" options), he made a disgusted face and said something along the lines of "Eww...it's not even white."  Well, okay then. Glad I didn't buy that one!


So...the finalists are #1 and #3.  Like you all, my entourage voted for #3, with the exception of my mom who preferred #1.  Here are my thoughts on them...


#1--I love the neckline.  I went in knowing I wanted to try on an illusion neckline for sure.  I love the "sparklies" all over the dress.  It feels very fancy.  I do worry about the fact that it's quite tight over my hips and rear and we had a lengthy discussion over whether, from the back, it made my ass look 3 miles wide.  The entourage assured me that was not the case, but let's be honest, were they really going to say it did?

#3--I love the lace.  I also really like the sparkly belt and feel like that dresses it up quite a bit.  I also really like the long train.  I wish it had some more sparklies all over it to make it a bit dressier.  I also feel like it might have had too much poof (it looks less poofy in pictures than I thought it did in person).  No concerns about size of rear end here.  Always a plus.

The funniest part of this whole thing is that I walked in with four thoughts.  (1) I want lace.  Accomplished.  (2) I want strapless.  Nope.  Neither finalist is strapless. (3) I do not want a trumpet fit dress.  Well one of the finalists is a trumpet.  (4)  I do not want a long train.  And the other finalist has a long train.  What the heck do I know anyway?

Just 99 days until you know which one I picked!  Stay tuned...

Thursday, July 17, 2014

These Two....

This evening I am headed for the Windy City to help celebrate the marriage of these two...

Perhaps I shall wear my party hat again.

I have to admit that I've been to a lot of weddings and I've always been super excited for the bride and groom, but these two are just extra special.  They are two of the sweetest, kindest, most fun, most faithful, most amazing people I know.  They have taught me more about love and relationships and faith and trust than they will ever know.  The fact that they will be Mr. and Mrs. tomorrow just makes my heart happy. 

Plus, I was kinda there in the beginning when I had to explain to ND Friend that Tiny Dancer hanging around with us the entire St. Patrick's Day weekend had nothing to do with his love for all things Irish (or my charming personality) but had everything to do with him being completely into HER!  I have been Team Tiny Dancer from the beginning.



Chicago, here we come!  Let the celebration begin!

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Saying Yes To The Dress

First off, no one panic.  The Boy from Texas is under strict instructions not to read this blog.  And he minds well, so we're cool.

Last week, I ventured out on a wedding dress shopping expedition.  As someone who likes neither shopping, nor fashion, I must admit I was a bit hesitant about this whole thing.  But I am happy to report that a dress has been purchased! 

I met up with my parents, matrons of honor (College Roomie and Cousin Whitney), and The Boy from Texas' mom, grandma, and sister in Lubbock for the big event.  Things started out a bit rough when my parents got lost trying to pick me up from the airport, my dad got very cranky, my mom had to learn how to  use a turnaround on the loop, and our hotel changed names and didn't tell us.  It really could only have gone up from there.

That night I tried on a beautiful dress from a sweet friend of mine who got married a few years ago.  Sadly, she's about 6 feet tall and built like a ballerina.  I, on the other hand, am 5'3 and built more like a Mack truck.  In light of that, the dress did not fit.  She did, however, have a beautiful cathedral length veil that I quickly fell in love with and will be wearing when I say "I do" to The Boy from Texas.


The next morning I tried on another dress from a friend only to learn that while we're technically the same size, our rib cages are not.  I, thus, referred to myself as being very bold sprung, a term frequently used by FFA kids judging dairy cattle.  It's a good thing in dairy cows, not so good when you're trying to fit into a dress.  Another one bit the dust.

So off we went to the cutest little boutique called Bliss Bridal.  The owner was this adorable, hip, nice lady and she took great care of us.  We tried on probably 5 dresses or so there and found two that I was pretty in love with that were in my price range. Next up, we headed out to David's Bridal.  After having the full attention of the owner and her assistant at Bliss, David's was more of a free for all.  It was honestly kinda overwhelming to me, but I did find a couple of dresses that I liked quite well.

By this point we were all freaking starving, so we headed to meet up with my dad at Jason's Deli.  He skipped out on the dress shopping altogether, electing instead to hit up Krispy Cream Donuts, the car wash, and a nice shade tree where he took a nap in the car.  That's real life, folks.  After we were all feeling a bit better with food in our stomachs, it was time to make the final decision.
 

In College Roomie fashion, I've decided to keep everyone in a bit of suspense about which dress I finally selected.  I am going to have you all vote on your favorite and on Friday I will reveal the two finalists.  You'll have to wait for October to see which one I selected!

So....which of these dresses would you have chosen?  (Disclaimers:  Dresses are listed in the order in which I tried them on.  Facial expressions are meaningless.)

#1
#2
#3
#4


#5


#6
In conclusion, a few things.  First, my poor abs were so dang sore the next day from sucking it so much to get into the wedding dresses that I almost cried.  Sit ups, here we come!  Second, I am abundantly blessed with a group of people who love me and support me and tell me when a dress looks ridiculous and assure me that my rear end does not look like the side of a barn.  I'm so grateful for the people that I have in my life....they make everything more fun!
 

Now vote!  And come back Friday for the finalists.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Lake Weekend Recap

In all the engagement excitement, I missed posting pictures from our recent family lake trip.  We had a lovely time on a perfect summer day at the lake.  Lots of swimming and skiing, only minimal sunburns, and no major injuries.  Win, win, win.  There were two minor incidents involving Little Brian losing a paddle and he and Cousin Whitney managing to strand me in the middle of the lake when the boat got blown into some rocks.  Eh, live and learn, I say.

Here are some photos from the day!

Right before that paddle got lost.

Cousin Whitney

That's me

Me again

Right before he dunked me in the water.

Posing with the ol' boat.  1974 model, still runs like a charm.

Dad and Little Brian

Cousin Whitney's crew.

My dad.

Uncle Rusty

Traditional father/daughters photo

Two of my favorite guys

Thursday, July 10, 2014

29 Years Ago.....

....this guy was born.
 
 
 
I'm pretty dang glad that happened. 
 
Happy Birthday to The Boy from Texas.
 
I love you!

Monday, July 7, 2014

Fourth of July Weekend

Well here we are, back in the real world after a lovely three day weekend.  Sigh.  How is it that time off always goes by SO dang fast?  Here is a photo recap of the weekend around these parts.

{1}

Let's start off with the amazing engagement gift that sweet ND Friend and Super Mom had delivered, piping hot to my door on Wednesday evening.  My friends are better than yours.  No question.

{2}

On Thursday, Teacher Friend called and said I had to get to Hob Lob right away...50% off sale on burlap wedding d├ęcor.  Off I went on my lunch hour.  Here are a few of my finds.  Act surprised when you see them at the wedding.

{3}
 
The Boy from Texas and I spent Friday afternoon at two stores, a couple of wedding gift checklists, a scanning gun, a few Dosaritas....but we survived registering for gifts!  He was quite the trooper.  I have to admit, that as someone who hates shopping, I was not real excited about this.  But it was really fun to get to think about what our life together will look like and pick out stuff for our future house.....for about an hour.  And then it got a bit tedious. 

{4}

The aftermath of said Friday afternoon.

{5}

We checked out the fireworks at the George Bush Presidential Library and were quite impressed.  Yay, 'Merica!

{6}

On Saturday, we had lunch at the mecca of all things good....J.Cody's.  This bbq joint has a "side bar" rather than a salad bar, so all of their amazingly yummy, butter soaked sides are all you can eat.  Why do I ever eat anywhere else?

{7}

 
 
I had planned a little surprise road trip for The Boy from Texas since his birthday is coming up next week.  I wouldn't tell him where we were going or what we were doing, but we ended up in Gruene where we met up with one of his best friends and his family, along with "the ring guy" who helped The Boy from Texas put this shiny rock on my finger and his family, for dinner at Gristmill.  This place is amazing....the best food, on the Guadalupe River, seats 1,000 people, tons of fun.

{8}

Saturday we spent lots of time (but took no pictures) cuddling with Baby Liam and hanging out.  We also bought ourselves a new memory foam, some other fancy words, mattress for when we are finally married and living in the same zip code. Not gonna lie, I thought about seeing if I could smuggle it home with me right now because it's so dang comfy!  We then stuffed our faces with amazing burgers.  (Anyone sensing a pattern here?  I'm never gonna fit into a wedding dress!)

{9}

Then I dropped The Boy from Texas off at the airport to go back home.  I'm going to start a countdown of how many more times we have to do that...hands down my least favorite part of distance is having to say goodbye at the airport on Sundays.

{10}

I am going to get back on a workout/eating right/not being a pig routine if it kills me!  That's not really related, but I feel as though I should end with 10 rather than 9 and maybe if I say this out loud, it will happen.