Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Chris's Cilantro Corn

The Mister has an obsession. His obsession is with cilantro. I am NOT over-exaggerating this, I promise. He loves it. When he is making salsa, he will say ATLEAST 3 times during his taste tests "needs more cilantro" before he is satisfied. He loves to add cilantro to any recipes.

So, I tried to jazz up a vegetable that can be very boring. Corn, kept on the cob.


To make this corn, I chop up half a tablespoon of butter and rough chop about 3 sprigs (which is about 9 medium sized leaves) without the stems. Crack a little black pepper and salt over the top. Then, the corn, along with these lovely things, are rolled up in foil, thrown in to the oven at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes. I usually throw it in at the beginning of the meal and pull it out once everything else is finished cooking. You can even just throw this on the grill to cook.


The corn comes out juicy, brighter, and smelling delicious. If you are into substitutions, I have successfully substituted olive oil brushed on the corn instead of the butter. 


With fingers crossed, I served this to The Mister, hoping he would really love it. And he totally did. This is now Chris's favorite way to eat corn. So, if you know someone obsessed with cilantro, give this super easy veggie side dish a try!!

Monday, June 25, 2012

Confidence

Well, hello readers! I have not been able to keep to my normal posting schedule... Life has been crazy! I graduated from college with my bachelors degree in nursing (yay! All of the hard work was so worth it!), I studied and took my exam for my nursing license (and I passed! YAY!), and my BEST FRIEND OF ALL TIME came back after spending 9 months in China, teaching oral English and loving the people there. So, now I am starting my new job, reaping the rewards for so much time, energy, and stress put in to my degree.

My attire is a bit askew, but I love the sweet encouragement and pride that The Mister has on his face.
With that said - the blog is not going away - no sir. I will just be switching from morning posts to evening posts. So, I'm excited!!! Expect some posts on food, diy furniture,  and taking care of your pet. But today, I want to talk to you guys about having confidence.


Some of my most uncomfortable conversations are those that I have with people who have either previously experienced something I am sharing, or know someone who did. Anyone see "Hitch"?
Watch this clip. Disgusting. Girls tend to get caught up in it superficially - like in Mean Girls, when they are looking in the mirror... I tried to find a clip, but here is the scene, transcribed:

Karen: God. My hips are huge!
Gretchen: Oh please. I hate my calves.
Regina: At least you guys can wear halters. I've got man shoulders.
Cady: [voiceover] I used to think there was just fat and skinny. But apparently there's lots of things that can be wrong on your body.
Gretchen: My hairline is so weird.
Regina: My pores are huge.
Karen: My nail beds suck.
[pause. All look at Cady]
Cady: I have really bad breath in the morning.
Karen: Ew!

So, I have seen more of the later - girls trying to boodst eachother up by tearing themselves down. But, I have also heard when people try to out do eachother in a more positive way - like who eats the healthiest meal... or cooked the most complicated meal... or saved the most money... or has the best marriage... sweetest husband... most servant heart (not by literally saying "I have a servant heart" but by talking about the things they do... and it tends to be a lot).

And these things started to weight on my heart... I started to compare my self, my actions, and my marriage to all of these things that I was hearing. Isn't that what our culture tends to push us to do? Compare yourself and your experiences and try to outdo eachother. But this just reminds me of something beautiful and true -

Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord. Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. Romans 12: 9-12

At first, I justified my comparing myself to those around me by saying they were pushing and challenging me to be a better person. When in all actuality, it just made me feel like I had to DO something or ACT a certain way so that I could come across as a "better" woman and wife, and have the "perfect" marriage so I could contribute to these conversations.


With all of that said, the Lord has slapped me with some good, sweet truth (mostly anchored in Romans 12). My goal shouldn't be to outdo those around me (whom I love, by the way) with forced actions and behaviors and whatnot. I have to let God come in, cause a change in my heart so that I desire to be the woman he has made me to be. And maybe that means I'm not the super domestic wife, or the perfectly put together woman, or the woman who has a quiet grace and sweet disposition. Maybe I'm supposed to be a little rougher. Maybe my marriage is supposed to be more silly and quirky and goofy - because that is who we are.

So I will stop stealing my own joy by comparing myself to those around me. I will aim to outdo those around me in honor. I will love Jesus and my husband and my friends in the way He has made me. And I will try to be more aware of those around me, try not to make them feel like they have to compare themselves with me. (Which is SO crazy - I am such a messed up, broken sinner only justified by the cross of Christ and the love of God!)

If you're reading this, please remember your worth. Because you are worth more than you can wrap your mind around. You weren't made to be that person or that couple that you compare yourself to. You were made to be you. Be confident in that.






Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Making a Prayer Board


We are a family that prays. And we tend to write down prayer requests from others in lots of random places - in my journal, in the notes section on my phone, try to stash it in our head... But we decided that we needed to put these all in one place so that we could see them daily.

I threw around a lot of different ideas - a chalkboard, a whiteboard, a magnetic board... But then I remembered something that we already had (much the same way I remembered the room divider that we repurposed into our headboard). I doubted the decision to use this memo board because it would involve the use of paper... lots of paper. But then I though of the perks of that. We could spin around a prayer request and make it a praise. So, I started to transform an old gift that use to match my decor, but no longer does.


As you can see, this is a premade board. First, I looked at how it was held together and discovered it was just some light, tacky glue that held it together. I removed the hardware and carefully pulled off the back (which wasn't that difficult at all).




 Then, I carefully pulled off the fabric and the ribbons. The ribbons were attached with one quick stitch to the plaid fabric. A quick snip and the points came apart. But both of them were just held to the back with light tacky glue. Easy-peasy to pull off. I was very careful to keep the ribbon straight so that I wouldn't have to remeasure or anything like that to attach it back to my refinished board.


I ditched the red and black plaid fabric and kept the ribbon laid out on the back of the board.

Then, I pulled out the burlap we had for our wedding (you can take a peak at some of those photos here), got my hot glue gun and some scissors to cut that burlap to size. You can see  that nice foam and the cork board like board that it lays atop, now free from plaid fabric.



 Then, I realized I would be burning my fingers over and over because the burlap has those tiny holes... So I grabbed my stapler.



I stapled all the way around, pulling the burlap taut. I didn't worry too much about any ripples I saw because I knew when I hot glued the back on, those babies would be tucked away.



 Then, I moved the board on top of the ribbons, lined it up, and began hot gluing the ribbons in place.


Then, the back of the board went in place, and the hardware was screwed back in.



When I flipped it over, I saw that the ribbons weren't completely symmetrical, but after taking a peak at my before shot, I saw that before this was hidden by the plaid pattern on the fabric. I wasn't too worried or concerned about it to reglue the ribbons. 


Then, I pulled out my trust Cricut, some pretty paper that I thought would look good in our bedroom, and picked the Gypsy font. I glued my letters to the paper and then glued the paper to the top of the board. 


Above, you can see strands of twine peeking out from under the books holding down the paper to the board to make sure it glued well. I put that twine between the board and the paper and tied to to a ribbon, just so that there was something rough (and with tooth) that the glue could help the paper stick to.



What do ya think?? This design enables us to add just random pieces of paper that we may write praises and prayers on with ease. It is also covering our breaker box. We like it.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Upcycled Headboard

When I moved out of the dorms and into an apartment, it was fully furnished. But, I wanted to get some custom pieces to make it feel more like home. So I bought a room divider. At first, it's purpose was to help organize a room I would be sharing with a roommate. Then things changed and it was just me in one bedroom and another roommate in another bedroom.


Above is my old bedroom. You can see the room divider served as my headboard. I purchased it from Hobby Lobby, originally priced at $79.99 but on sale for $40. It followed us to our first apartment together and kind of hopped from place to place. When we moved to our new place, we decided to put a lot of stuff in a closet while we lived in the space and decided what we liked and wanted, decor wise.

We threw around a lot of headboard ideas, particularly ones made from reclaimed wood like I showed you guys here. But, after getting our dresser (I will share all of those details as the room comes together), we just didn't think that style of headboard would a cohesive room make. This prompted us to look at our other options and we remembered our faithful room divider.

Black would have been too dark, so we threw around some other color options and landed on a grey-blue idea. We looked at the options available in spray paint and found the perfect color- just what we had envisioned. Slate blue Rust-oleum. We bought 2 cans of the color and just 1 of primer.


 


Our reasoning for only buying 1 can of primer was that full coverage wasn't super important. The material of the room divider is like that of a basket, and you can clearly see the weave pattern. Because of this, we were confident that the paint would stick, but we didn't want to risk getting a different color by just painting the black material.



So I got to work taking the divider apart. While doing that, I saw that this piece wasn't super high quality. A few screw heads were bent and wonky, making it difficult to unscrew them. The metal hinges had also become discolored and bent up a bit.



 We have a garage now (yay!) so we set up a painting station and got to work. One coat of primer, 2 coats of paint, just following the drying time instructions of the paint.




Before, Middle, Finished

See that texture??

We LOVE the color. And the texture of the room divider. We only painted on side because there wasn't enough paint to do both sides (and the other side is up against the wall... sides and top are painted, though). 




I didn't reattach the divider because 1. The hardware was trash and 2. The pieces together weren't wide enough for our queen (even though they were perfect for my full size).


What do you guys think?? We still need some throw pillows and are debating a couple other additions to the new headboard (like maybe a big M hanging in the middle). But we will see as we live with it! Anyone one else use a room divider for things other than adding a separation to a room.


Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Marry and Eat Cake

Sorry I didn't get a post up yesterday (I promise I will make it up later in the week). The Mister and I had 2 days off together in a row with no previous obligation (which doesn't happen as often as we would like) so we decided to head back to our hometown and visit family.



Our one year wedding anniversary was a couple of weeks ago (and I told you guys about what we got each other here). Sadly, we didn't get to do the traditional eat-the-top-of-our-wedding-cake thing because we didn't have it at our apartment. But going back home to see family gave us access to my mom's freezer where said wedding cake was kept. So we dug in and had another celebratory moment of one year of marriage.


To make sure the cake stayed fresh and to avoid freezer burn, my mom and the AMAZING woman who made the cake and served as our day-of wedding coordinator (the Maid of Honor's mom that we love) wrapped it with A LOT of plastic wrap and then aluminum foil, Then it was set in a box and the box was closed up with aluminum foil, too.






I've been asked by friends if the cake still tasted good... and it did!! I liked it more than on our actual wedding day where I couldn't eat as much as I would have liked due to the excitement. I highly recommend couples keep this tradition.

Happy anniversary to us and all of those other couples out there.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Green Thumb Part 2

We talked about our first attempt to garden when I told you how terribly we did with seeds.


Then, The Mister told you about our planter box. So, we had a beautiful planter with no plants.


 We threw around several ideas for the planter box, like painting it with the same yellow paint we used on our nightstands. I was really digging that idea. Then, I started to think about what our patio would look like after the summer ends. How would we decorate for the rest of the seasons (even though the temps of summer can continue well in to the year, long after summer is over by the calendar's standards)? I picture our patio with pumpkins and mini Christmas trees and Christmas ornaments.... Yellow started to seem like a bad idea, especially for the pumpkins. That led us to use the stain we already had on hand for the hutch and Chris's ukulele's.

After staining, adding another 2 supports underneath to make a shelf (Chris had these pieces at our apartment already), we had our planter (sorry, the finished picture wasn't taken until plants were placed inside so keep scrolling for that image).

Well, to continue the story of these gardening adventures, let me tell you the story about how we switched from seeds to the already grown plants. We figured that the plants we could get at the the nursery were already acclimated to the weather and would do just fine in our planter box.

After a short shopping trip, we came back home with rosemary, sweet basil, flat leaf parsley, and a tiny baby cilantro that wasn't doing great, but we got it for fifty cents and decided we would try to nurse it back to health. The Mister also requested a jalapeno plant, but that guy was put in his own pot.

We lined the planter box with a garbage bag (to catch anything that may have decided to slip through the cracks and hurt the objects underneath on the shelf). Then, a layer of marble rocks went down (to keep roots healthy) and regular potting soil went down.

Then, the plants were lovingly laid in their new bed.





Giving us this beauty.



Underneath is a candle lantern we bought about a year ago from Ikea that we like to keep 2 pillar candles of different sizes inside. There is also a soft weave basket with leather handles that we bought from Lowe's for $12.99 that we keep the gardening tools and plant food in.

But, if you remember in the first post, these didn't last long - 1 week. We planted them too late. They did not handle the heat well. So, the journey to find our green thumb continues (because it seems we still don't have one).

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Building A Planter from Scrap Wood

I told you guys a little while back about our first venture in to having a garden. I had this beautiful idea in my mind - lovely, flourishing herbs in a planter custom built by my man on our new patio. When we built this planter box, it was Easter weekend and we were at my parents house. The herbs were still holding on by a thread at this point, so we were hoping they would pull through and our vision would come to fruition (or herbition --?? I tried.).

We are saving pennies, but still wanted this idea to come to life, so The Mister scrounged up scrap wood from my dads garage as I helped my mom and brother organize an area of it. He managed to find all of the pieces to build it! Pretty amazing, huh?? So here he is to tell you guys about this endeavor! Take it away, honey -

We decided on a box shaped planter with legs. This style would be easy to build and give us plenty of room for plants. So we gathered a few pieces of scrap wood that would form a box. It is usually a good idea to find a design you like and buy the wood in long lengths that can be cut to size. We built this on a Saturday at our family's house, so we didn't plan much. We designed this planter based on what materials were available to use.

After cutting a few pieces of the wood to form the sides and bottom, I like to lay out the pieces to make sure they fit.

Keep in mind we were still in the design process and still laying out pieces to see what was our best option.


It is pretty simple: Measure, mark, and cut. Don't forget to check your measurements.


When using one long piece, leave about 1/8" between cuts to make up for the material that is wasted by each cut.

Above, you see that I am cutting 3' legs out of a 12' 3/4" piece of 2x2. Its really 1.5"x1.5".

Sometimes its better to measure for each cut.

Safety glasses don't look cool, but being safe is cool. Trust me.


Cutting out a rough corner to make room for the legs.

Screws are the fastest and most secure way to put most projects together, which gives you more time to spend with the ones you love. Lola likes working on projects with us. She's a good shop dog.

Remember it doesn't have to be perfect, just sturdy.
One leg at a time.


After attaching the legs, it's a good idea to stand the planter up and see if its level or not. One leg was shorter on this project. This is nothing a little sandpaper can't fix.

I had a screw go through one side of this piece. I repositioned and a new screw went in just fine.


Notice the fact that I'm not wearing safety glasses? Don't do this. Wear impact resistant glasses when using tools. I was switching back and forth between my glasses and the safety glasses every time I used the drill or the saw, but I forgot a few times when I was using the drill.


Using 2 screws to secure the leg braces was a great idea, but it is really easy to crack the wood if you aren't careful.


Measuring to find the center where I would attach the center brace.



Sanding the legs to level the planter.

The project is almost complete. The only thing left to do is paint or stain the wood.


Isn't it so nice to hear from the love of my life? He is a wonderful, handsome man indeed. There aren't any specific dimensions on this particular post because this was literally scrapped together on the fly - very little planning and whatnot before hand. But, The Mister did say he was willing to write up a "How To Build A Planter Box" with a more step-by-step tutorial. If you're interested. Make a request in the comment box. Ready to show you guys the next phase to this project - in an upcoming post titled "Green Thumb Part 2."