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Friday, January 30, 2015

What Not To Say To Your Husband During a Remodeling Project

We're 3 days into some DIY garage remodeling at the new little house on the prairie.  Here are some of the conversations that have happened.  

Me:  (After a hole was cut incorrectly for a plug in) I'm pretty sure you're supposed to measure twice and cut once.
The Boy from Texas:  *Mean glare and spits on the floor.*

Me:  What's this stuff (sheet rock) made of?
The Boy from Texas:  It's sheet rock.
Me:  I know, but what's in it.
The Boy from Texas:  Um....rock.

Me:  So when you paint with this sprayer, how will we ensure it doesn't get on the floor?  Should we buy drop cloths?
The Boy from Texas:  It's a garage.  We don't care about paint on the floor.
Me:  We should always care about paint on the floor.

Me:  (After we put up the first big piece of sheet rock.)  Wow!  Look at that, it's just the right height, how did that work?
The Boy from Texas:  Yea, how about that.  It must be a miracle.
(I realize now that there is a standard height for this kind of thing and it was not, in fact a miracle.)

Me:  Don't just throw those screws on the ground!  We can use them again.
The Boy from Texas:  They're junk.  They used the wrong screws.
Me:  There are different kind of screws?
The Boy from Texas:  Yea, we are using drywall screws, they used cheap junk screws like you'd use on a door hinge.  It's important to have a good screw.
Me:  That's what she said.

The Boy from Texas:  (After trying to drill a screw in the dry wall where a framing board should have been.)  Bunch of dang idiots didn't make the frame every 16".  Only an idiot would do that.
*10 minutes later we had to replace a 2x4 that was rotted.*
Me:  Um....that's not 16 inches.
The Boy from Texas:  Whatever, it's fine.

Me:  What kind of saw is this?
The Boy from Texas:  A sawzall.
Me:  Saws all?  That's creative.  This blade is bendy.
The Boy from Texas:  *Shakes head in disbelief.*

Me (about 17 times):  Be careful with that hammer, don't bust the sheet rock we just put up on the other side.
The Boy from Texas:  Do you think I'm stupid?
Me:  No, I don't think you're stupid, but you are kinda a bull in a China shop.
The Boy from Texas:  *Hits the wall and spits on the floor.*

We're maybe 1/4 of the way done and we've reverted to hiring someone to finish it up tomorrow. Wonder why he didn't want to keep working with me?

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Confirming I Am Still Alive

After getting multiple emails checking on my well being after a week of blog silence, I want to assure you all that I am, indeed, still alive.  Here's a little summary of what's been goin' on 'round these parts.

*  Southern Dairy Conference.  Last week, I made a whirlwind trip to Atlanta to speak at the Southern Dairy Conference.  It was a really fun presentation on how to prevent and survive an undercover video on your farm.  There was a great group of dairy industry folks in attendance, and this was a fun (and important!) new topic for me to speak about!

* Bucket List Checkmark:  Meet a Blogger in Real Life.  For years I've hoped to meet one of the bloggers who I follow (and didn't already know) in real life.  I was able to do that in Atlanta when I met Dairy Carrie.  She is a huge blog and twitter sensation, so when I saw her on the agenda, I had big hopes that I could introduce myself and check this one off the list.  Sure enough, she actually raised her hand to comment during my presentation, Tweeted that I had done a good job, and we got to visit for about half an hour while waiting for an airport shuttle.  She was the sweetest person in the world and, turns out, we have quite a few things in common.  Biggest blogger regret to picture was taken. What was I thinking??

*  We suspect a pregnant dog in our midst.  Don't even get me started.  Apparently the dog The Boy from Texas repeatedly told me as old and barren is like Sarah of the Bible and it looks like we will have puppies in the next month or so.  The puppy daddy belongs to my parents, so I'm on a mission to make these things half their responsibility.  They claim no parental responsibility.  Sheesh.

*  We've hit up several sheep shows.  So we've been running all over the Panhandle going to sheep shows.  Our lambs have been doing an excellent job of bringing home purple banners.

*  We bought a house!  We are so excited to have closed yesterday on our very first house together!  It's a tiny little cottage (well, not quite like that show Tiny House, but not that far from it) with a few acres.  As you know, The Boy from Texas and I are both farm kids and we love the idea of having our own land.  So the next week is going to be chaos as we clean out junk (why is it that when people move they don't haul off all of their crap??), doing a bit of work and painting, and moving in.  I took before pictures last night and will have after pics soon.....stay tuned!

Friday, January 16, 2015

Inspiration for your Friday

I've come across several great quotes and articles about faith lately, so I thought I'd share some of those with you all today.

* Nicole Kidman and Jimmy Kimmel's Story.  You may have seen the video of Nicole Kidman talking about meeting (and liking) Jimmy Kimmel years ago, who had no idea she was interested.  After watching that blog, Annie Downs wrote this amazing article.  Go read it right now (and watch the video because it's hilarious).

Her point is that God is always in control, and his timing is always perfect. In light of that, we should thank him for the missed opportunities in our lives.   A few of my favorite lines.

I needed to be reminded that God’s sovereign hand is tightly gripped around my little life.

God knew all along.

We will never know how many near misses and misunderstood stories and random circumstances all had to dance together to get us right here, with the right people, at the right time.  But He knows.

* Let Them See You.  I've had this song on repeat for a week.  I just think that it's not only a beautiful song, but such a perfect prayer.

Let them see You in me let them hear You when I speak
Let them feel You when I sing
Let them see You, let them see You in me

* Baylor Quarterback Gets It.  After Baylor lost the Cotton Bowl in terrible fashion....letting Michigan State come back from like 21 down....BU quarterback, Bryce Petty, made the following statement.

* Burn the Candles.  I think this is maybe the best New Years advice I've ever read.  I'm a total saver.  I don't wear my favorite jeans because they'll wear out.  I don't burn my favorite candles because I can only buy them in the fall (thanks Bath and Body Works).  If I'm honest, I waste days thinking they are not special enough.  Every day is a gift.  So we need to stop saving up our best candles, our best attitudes, our best things for special occasions.  The fact that we are still here on earth means it is a special occasion.  I am going to consciously work on doing better at this over the next year!

What would would it look like for you, this year, to burn your candles, to allow yourself to be as loved and worthy as the people around you believe you are? What are you hoarding away for another day, for someone else, someone more deserving or special or fancy? What have you been given that you won’t allow yourself to enjoy?

Open the jam, the journal, the wine. Slather that fancy lotion all over your feet. Put on those sparkly earrings even if you’re just going to the grocery store. Because someone gave them to you out of love. Accept that love. Burn the candles.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Newlywed in the Kitchen Recipe #9: Apple Dumplings

A couple of weeks ago, The Boy from Texas selected a recipe from "Bring 'em On Home:  A collection of recipes from famous rodeo cowboys and their families," which we got from Cousin Whitney as a wedding gift.  He went with a recipe from Cesar de la Cruz for apple dumplings.

The Boy from Texas Rating: 4

The Boy from Texas Comments:  "These are real buttery.  You should use less butter next time."  This started a minor fight where I told him I was trying really hard and comments like that made me feel like a bad wife and he needed to be more sensitive to my feelings and they tasted fine to me.  I discovered later, that when I decided to half the recipe, I forgot to half the butter.  Man, I hate when he's right.

Apple Dumplings

2 Granny Smith Apples
2 cans crescent rolls
1 cup butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Brown sugar
1 can Mountain Dew

Peel and core apples.  Then cut each one into 8 slices.  Roll each apple slice in crescent roll.  Place in 9x13 a greased pan.  Melt butter, then add sugar and barely stir.  {I think the book left out needing I added in about 2 tablespoons of brown sugar and called it good.} Add vanilla, stir, and pour entire mixture over apples.  Pour Mountain Dew around edges of the pan.  Sprinkle with cinnamon to taste and bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes.  {We took them out about 5 minutes early because they were about to burn.}  Serve with ice cream and spoon some of the sweet sauces from the pan over the top.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Honeymoon Recap Day 4

Honeymoon Update Day 4:   We saw lakes, waterfalls, and the Natural Bridge. Thought those were cool until we stumbled upon 5 elk in the middle of the mountains. We watched them for over 30 minutes. Amazing. The Boy from Texas has become a fashion diva. He did not approve of our waitresses skirt, which he said resembled our bath mat.  Met our friend Miss Canada for dinner at The Grizzly House, where The Boy from Texas learned he does like fondue and it is not the same thing as hummus. Got a ticket. Hope the Mounties are not after us!

As you saw, Day #3 was pretty lazy, well we made up for it with Day #4.

We decided to give our journey to British Columbia another shot after failing to make it the day before.  All went well this time.

We kicked things off at Emerald Lake--a really beautiful, tree-lined lake.  The water was so clear!

 Next up, we headed for The Natural Bridge.  This was a great recommendation from the Concierge at the hotel---it's a bridge of sorts created by the gushing water flow through the rocks.

 Then, we finally reached our destination for lunch....Truffle Pigs.  This is a tiny little restaurant in a tiny map dot. It was well worth the drive!  We both had an excellent brisket sandwich.  The Boy from Texas had homemade fries and I had a butternut squash and apple soup.  

 As we were leaving, we drove by a house with a huge cake--one of those someone can jump out of--in the yard.  The Boy from Texas insisted we turn around to go back and get a photo.  You're welcome, he says.

Then we headed back to the Bow Valley Parkway, planning to hike to a water fall and hoping to see some more wildlife.

Hiking was up first. was a long walk.  We had too many clothes on trying to stay warm, so we got hot.  It was cool, but not anyone's favorite part of the trip.  Plus, when we got back to the Jeep, we had a ticket from the Mounties.  Failure to have a park pass while being in the National Park.  Crap.

 As we headed for Banff to check into our next hotel, we came upon 5 elk, grazing right along the road.  I've never seen anything so awesome.  We pulled off and watched them for at least 45 minutes.  The elk, cool air, beautiful was something that pictures just don't do justice.

 When we peeled ourselves away from the elk, we were off to Banff for dinner with our dear friend, Miss Canada.  Getting to see her was totally a highlight of the trip! She took us to Grizzly House, an amazing fondue restaurant.  When I suggested fondue to The Boy from Texas, he said he didn't like it.  I was confused by this--its cheese and meat---what's not to like?  Finally, three days later, he made some comment about not wanting to go there because he didn't like chick peas.  Ah....he had fondue confused with hummus (which I made him try once and he hated).  Once we got that cleared up, we were good.  

The food was phenomenal.  We started off with bread and cheese fondue.  Then we had veggies boiled in  a mixture of buttery goodness.  Then we got hot stones on which to cook our meat (we were boring and passed on things like elk, moose, bison and went for chicken and beef).  We polished dinner off with chocolate fondue and a mixture of fruits, marshmallows, and bread.  

What a day....this was totally even better than we imagined Canada would be!

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Honeymoon Recap Day 3

Honeymoon Report Day 3. Woke up to snow over Lake Louise. It was beautiful.
Went driving. Headed west but a crazy snow storm changed the route. Ty enjoys reading every French road sign aloud. Trouble is he does so with a Spanish accent. I am going to go ahead and say that's not correct. We saw some mountain goats in the wild. Amazing.  We were asked where we are from. We said Texas. They said they knew it, we have very thick accents turns out.

After waking up to snow at Lake Louise, we headed for British Columbia to see a couple of lakes and waterfalls, but mostly to eat at a place recommended by our waiter called The Truffle Pigs.

We made it about 10 miles, it turned into a freaking blizzard with nasty icy roads, and because we were both traumatized from watching a reality show about tow trucks in Canada who respond to bad accidents in the snow, we headed back East!

We decided that Plan B would be to drive along the Bow Valley Parkway between Lake Louise and Banff.  It was an absolutely beautiful drive. The highlight was when we came upon a herd of mountain goats.

Then someone needed a pit stop....

 We grabbed lunch in Banff and did a bit of checking out Banff.  Then we drove over to some lakes just outside of town...more picture perfect scenery.

Then we headed back to Lake Louise where we bummed around the hotel, had dinner, and popped the cork on the free champagne they left for the newlyweds.  Neither of us were too impressed, we're more whiskey can take the kids out of the country.... 

Monday, January 12, 2015

Leona's Quilt

I've got a favorite blanket.  I've had it since I was about 13.  It's two colors I'm not particularly fond of--yellow and purple.  It's torn.  Tattered.  Stained.  But I'm here to tell you, I'd fight to the death to keep that quilt.

My childhood best friend's grandmother, Leona, made it for me.  She was constantly making quilts.  The day she gave this one to me, she took me into one of the storage rooms she had, which was completely stacked to the roof with quilts, waiting to find a new home.  Her front room always had scraps of material from her cutting thousands--heck,  maybe millions--of small squares.  Every color, every pattern, every size you could imagine.  And she never told me her secret, but I am here to tell you, that old quilt is the warmest blanket I have ever used.

I'd known Leona as long as I can remember.  Growing up, I spent lots of time at her house with my friend.  I knew stories behind almost all of the trinkets she had lining her shelves.  My class picture was included on the wall with those of her own grand kids.  I knew to lookout for her peacocks in the yard. If I was spending the night, I always tried to wrangle my way into the bed in the back bedroom because that room used to be a porch that they turned into a room, and I thought that was awesome.

My absolute favorite Leona story happened a few years ago.  After she managed to high center her car on a median in town, her sons told her it was time to give up her keys.  She told them she was tired from all of the commotion and they could talk about it the next day.  So, as promised, the sons showed up the next day, expecting a fight.  When they arrived, she just handed the keys over.  Bullet dodged, they thought.....until they saw her cruising down the boulevard the next day.  She had gone to the lock smith and had about 5 extra sets of keys made.  The sons, not to be outdone, unhooked her battery cable, sure this would solve the problem.....until they saw her cruising down the boulevard the next day.  When her car wouldn't start, she called the nice young man at the auto shop, who drove over and took a look at it for her.  Talk about resourceful!

This week, Leona will be laid to rest after 92 years on this earth.  She was quite a lady.  And I hope one day when it is my turn to be remembered, I will be seen as even a fraction as warm as Leona was, both because of her personality and those quilts.  May she rest in peace.

Friday, January 9, 2015

Things I'm Loving

I thought it would be fun to share some of the things I'm currently enjoying this Friday.

*It's Friday.  Enough said.

*  These bowls.  We got so many absolutely amazing wedding presents that I could never try to pick a favorite.  But if I had to pick what we use the most often, it might be these babies.  What's even better, they're cheap.  And, alas, I didn't even register for them.....someone smarter than me must have known they are awesome.

*  This kid.  I mean, seriously, how does Little Cowboy not crack you up in this hat with his gun.  This was his attire for Christmas Break.  Side note:  He's got his first basketball game on Saturday.  I'm dying to hear how this goes.  Perhaps we will do an "Ask Little Cowboy" about it.

* This song.  I heard it on the radio yesterday and rushed right to iTunes to get it purchased.  I absolutely love it!  Here's my favorite verse. "Here's to this place I've found, the love I've known, the earth and sky that I call home.  Here's to the things I need, bigger than me, and the moments I find myself right where I'm supposed to be."

* This  shirt.  Super Mom and ND Friend got me this for Christmas and it is hands down, no question, absolutely the most comfortable shirt on the planet.  I would wear it every minute of every day if I could.

* Not doing Project 333 anymore.  I waived the white flag.  Remember when I said I was going to wear only 33 items of clothing for three months?  Screw that.  I made myself last a month for good measure, but I hated it.  I felt blah and frumpy and just wanted to dress cute, dang it.  Plus, I got lots of adorable things for Christmas that I just had to wear.

*  The Christmas gifts we made.  Following Super Mom's lead from last year, we decided to make homemade vanilla for Christmas gifts this year.  It was really just put vanilla beans in vodka and let them soak for a month or two (shaking every week).  Then we put them into jars, labeled them, and off they went to their recipients!

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Newlywed in the Kitchen Recipe #8: PW's Salisbury Steak Meatballs

Listen up, kids.  This is hands down my favorite Newlywed recipe so far.  I honestly think I could eat this every single week!  It's easy to make and you're gonna absolutely love it.  It's from The Pioneer Woman so I should have known to expect big things.

The Boy from Texas Rating:  4.

The Boy from Texas Comments:  I mean, the meatballs are really good, I'm not sure about these noodles.

Pioneer Woman's Salisbury Steak Meatballs

The Pioneer Woman did a great job not only giving you the recipe, but also giving you step by step instructions with pictures!  To get the info, go to the PW website

 I followed her recipe with just a couple of changes.....(1) I added in 1/4 C of shredded Parmesan cheese to the meatball mixture....cheese makes things better; (2) I'll add in a chopped green bell pepper when I make this again just to get some veggies in there; (3) You know I don't care for onions, so I left those babies out; (4) I didn't use any "Kitchen Bouquet" because I don't know what that stuff is; and lastly (5) I used parsley out of the spice rack we got for our wedding....ain't nobody got time for chopping fresh parsley.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Honeymoon Recap Day 2

Honeymoon Update Day 2:  Rental car place gave us a free upgrade to an SUV for our honeymoon. White for the bride. We much prefer speed limits in Texas. I am glad to be a runner as that helps with this miles to kilometer conversion. Got an upgrade to a lake view honeymoon suite at Chateau Lake Louise. Hiked for 3 hours with the most beautiful views I have ever seen. Fancy dinner at which Ty said "I envision places like this serving meat and potatoes, not...peas." That's my husband.

As soon as we got a glimpse of Lake Louise, we knew that we totally chose the right honeymoon destination.  It was hands down the most beautiful place I had ever seen.

The upgrade to the lake-view honeymoon suite was just the icing on the cake.  I'm telling you, The Boy from Texas spent hours just looking out the window at the beauty of the lake.

We did a couple hour hike around the lake, which gave us awesome views of hotel, the mountains, the lake, and the glacier.

Love this shot...see the hotel?

The glacier

My favorite pose.
I love this one....look how little TBFT looks!

 You've just never seen water that blue.



All smiles.  Love that guy.
Look at that reflection!

 After our hiking adventure, we headed to the lake view saloon for dinner and drinks.  It was the perfect end to the perfect day.  And the free dessert didn't hurt anything either.