Sunday, November 28, 2010

Apple Dumplins a.k.a. My New Food Addiction

Before Thanksgiving, I bought four Granny Smith apples to bake with. I originally intended to just fry them up as a side dish for dinner, but that never happened, so a lady at work suggested that I make "dumplins" instead (as a former New Yorker, I really want to call them "dumplings", but I will go with the flow here). At first, I thought the Mountain Dew/Pillsbury crescent roll combo sounded gross compared to from-scratch home-cooking, but I was wrong. Oh, how I was wrong! I LOVED them!!! I loved them so much that I had THREE helpings. And tomorrow I will finally break in my eyesore of a stationary bicycle to burn off all the extra calories. Here's the recipe:

Apple Dumplins

1 1/2 cups sugar
1 cup butter
2 packages of crescent rolls
1/2 tsp cinnamon
2 granny smith apples
1 12 oz can Mountain Dew

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Melt butter with sugar and cinnamon on stovetop. Peel apples and cut each into 8 slices. Put one slice inside of an individual crescent "triangle" and roll up, pressing edges together to seal the apple inside. Roll all apples up inside the crescent rolls and place in a greased 9x13 inch pan. Pour butter/sugar/cinnamon mixture over the top of the dumplins and then pour Mountain Dew on top of that. Bake for 35 to 45 minutes or until golden brown. Pig out!

I improvised a little because I had 4 apples and didn't want to use two whole sticks of butter (it's a precious commodity in our house at the moment. Long story.). I also had one package of jumbo crescents and one package of regular, so I wrapped 2-3 apple slices in each crescent. There was alot of juice in the pan in the end, but, since it was just for the two of us and not for company, I really didn't care. This is such a tasty treat for a cold Fall night. Or a Winter night. Or any night. They're just so good I'm going to have to go eat another one.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Partial Foyer Makeover and Other Home Improvements

We've lived in our house for 18 months and it still seems like we've barely put a dent in decorating it. It just doesn't seem homey enough, but hopefully that's going to change quickly. For example, I've been wanting to put a small table or bench in our foyer, but am too cheap to buy anything. Today I had an epiphany and decided to take our old coffee table that was being used to store toys in the family room and move it into foyer to use as a bench. Here's the before (I need to repaint, but wallpaper must be taken down for that to happen and I'm not ready to tackle that!):

I had three pillows stored away in the closet that were from our apartment and didn't match our new living room color scheme. After a good dusting off, here's how the foyer looks:

Now there's a place to put shoes on before taking Layla for a walk. A woven basket or two underneath the "bench" for shoes, hats, mittens and such would complete the look, I think, and save me room in the coat closet opposite this wall for other "stuff".

As part of our Black Friday shopping endeavors (no, we did not go out at 4 am. I did go out at 7:30 for an hour and then went out at noon with Alex), we stopped at Lowe's to look, once again, at their area rugs. This has been another project that was 18 months in the making. I bought a rug six months ago and promptly returned it when it began to get worn out after owning it three weeks. Today we found this one:

I hate to say it, but I'm not in love with the olive green color. I'm trying to let it grow on me because I really love the icy blue color so much and the lightest tan color matches our couch perfectly. The picture doesn't capture the exact colors very well. I think the living room is just about complete and is feeling much cozier just in time for winter!

Lastly, we bought a new computer desk for Alex and are going to move his office out of one of the spare bedrooms and into the family room. The plan is for me to paint the trim in the family room next week while we're on vacation so that it matches the rest of the house. His old office will eventually be a nursery, but for now, we are just ready for a change. With his office in a different part of the house, we can be together even if we're both doing separate things. I'm excited to integrate the family room into part of our home instead of it being a pass-through to the backyard and a storage room. Here's a teaser of sorts as to what the family room is going to look like. I'll post pictures when it's a little further along:

And, last but not least, Layla "helping" build the desk, or just looking cute ;) :

Hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving and enjoyed time with loved ones! Enjoy the weekend! I know we're going to enjoy a week of "staycation"! Woohoo!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

A Dandy Lion

After taking a two-month siesta from sewing, it was time to get moving on some more Christmas presents. I knew just what I wanted to sew for my three-year-old niece, Bella, but my beginner sewing skills limited me when it came to the finer arts of embroidery and appliqué. Thankfully, a hero came to my rescue and saved the day by fixing my disastrous attempt at embroidery (seriously, it looked like a toddler had gotten a hold of a needle and thread!) and even offered to do the appliqué, too (Thank you, Hannah!)!!! I would have taken the time to learn how to appliqué myself, but that wasn't possible under the circumstances this week. Here's the end result:

Is she not the cutest girly little lion you've ever seen?! I'm in love! But, alas, she seemed a little lonely, so I decided to send a little kitty along to keep her company:

Best friends! I really hope that Bella enjoys playing with them. I'll have to sew another cat or maybe a bunny to give to our youngest niece for Christmas since Bella will now have these two cuties, but that just gives me more opportunity to practice and learn new sewing skills. The pattern for these animals came from Bit of Whimsy's store on Etsy.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

November Resolutions, or Why There is an Eyesore in My Family Room

I got a jump start on my New Year's resolutions by moving an old (and I mean OLD) stationary bicycle out of the garage and into our family room/Sky's playroom in hopes that I'll actually exercise once in a while. My parents bought it at an estate sale a few years ago and left it behind when they moved out. Over a year ago. When I asked my mom if I could have it, she promptly told me "no" and that she was ready to move it to her house. She said that like three weeks ago, and since it had already been sitting out there for 18 months, I thought it was safe to ignore her and make the bike my own :) This exercise equipment eyesore isn't as painful to look at my ever-atrophying muscles so I figure it's time to get back in shape. I even bought a yoga mat yesterday, which Alex says is a waste of money. I told him that it was too painful to do crunches and pilates on our hardwood floors, that I needed a cushion on my back and if he was ok with his spare tire, that was fine with me, but I'm tired of mine! He's gonna have a smokin' hot wife again someday and he's gonna like it! We'll see if I actually get anywhere with all my great intentions, but for now, moving the exercise bike into the house is a start. I hope that I'll be much more likely to use it if I don't have to trek across the backyard to get to it. That's such a treacherous journey to walk a hundred feet, you know? And what if it's cold or rainy or windy? I'll never go out there to exercise in those weather conditions! Wish me luck! Or rather, wish me willpower!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Happy Veteran's Day and Some Wall Art

Thank you to all our military, past and present, that have given their lives to protect our country's freedom! And thank you to all the military families who also sacrifice by moving where every duty calls and enduring long separations from loved ones. You are all heroes in my book.

Today is Veteran's Day and I'm off work. I'm glad that banks observe this holiday because I was excited to get away from the piles of tax returns sitting on my desk ;) I went to a friend's house, whom I happen to work with, to cut out a saying for her foyer wall. She's been planning for weeks how she wanted it to look and I finally came up with something she liked. After four hours or so, this is what we ended up with:

Having to cut it out in 4 sections and then piece it all together was hard, and I don't think that all the words are perfectly level, but by the end, I was too tired to try and fix it. Beverly was able to straighten it out after I left (she's brave to attempt that!) This is another design we made a few weeks ago:

She has always loved this little saying because she has three dachshunds that are, of course, long and short and oh so cute! I'm vinyl wall decor-ed out! Nap time! Well, more like clean-the-house-so-Alex-doesn't-come-home-from-work-and-think-I've-been-lazy-all-day time. Maybe I'll get a nap in this weekend. A girl can dream!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Answered Prayers

Have you ever prayed for a situation thinking that there were only two different ways that God could answer, such as yes or no, now or later, etc and then God surprises you with another alternative? While I was thinking about Sky's situation in my limited human mind, I felt like there were only two possible solutions, neither of which were fantastic. But God came through today like He always does and allowed the perfect decision to be made - one that nobody had really considered an option before. Sky will be staying right where he's at with his grandparents, but his mom will be moving to Kentucky to be near him and hopefully get a fresh start. We're all so excited about this since it means that Sky can stay in his current school (which he loves!), continue to have stability and a routine and have all his family around him to love on him. It means that he probably won't be staying at our house much, but I'll cherish the memories we made with him and we'll just have to go visit my in-laws at their house instead of at ours. I'm overjoyed at how today turned out and am in awe of my God who knows all things. I'm so glad that He has a plan for our lives and that those plans are far better than anything we could think up on our own!

Monday, November 8, 2010

A Birthday Gift

For my mother-in-law's birthday a couple weeks ago, I etched her gifts.

The grandkids call her "Memere", which is French for grandmother:

Last name blurred out to protect the innocent ;)

And her card:

Audrey is a great cook and makes everything from scratch, so I hope she enjoys baking in her new personalized dishes. I always prayed for great in-laws, and God has certainly answered my prayers. My mother-in-law has certainly been a blessing in my life!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

FWF (Family Wrestling Federation)

Here's how we wrapped up our weekend with Sky (I can't resist taking pictures when the subjects are so cute!):

I don't know exactly what's going on in that last one...maybe Sky's feeding Alex a dog treat...

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Changing Seasons of Life

As the leaves have turned colors and fallen from the trees and the air has turned from humid to cold, another season in our lives may be about to change. Next Wednesday, a decision will be made to determine our nephew's future. I'm torn as to what the best decision would be, so I've been praying for God's will to be done. These last seven and a half months have flown by. Alex and I kept Sky this weekend so that my in-laws could have a weekend away and I took advantage of the opportunity to create a few good memories in case this is the last such weekend we have with Sky.

We played in a pile of leaves:

And roasted marshmallows in the fireplace:

I'm thankful that Fall has given us a different variety of activities to do than what we've done the rest of the year. And on that note, several friends have started lists of things they're thankful for this month. Here are a few of the things that top my list, in no particular order:

1. The opportunity to get to know Sky and hopefully fill his life with lots of love and happiness.
2. Our second year of marriage. Although we haven't had as many milestones as during our first year, when we got a dog (our first child! Haha), changed positions at both our jobs and bought a house, this second year has brought us many opportunities to grow as a couple. I've grown more in my relationship with God this year than ever before, and our struggles have been worth it.
3. My job. Even thought it can be monotonous sometimes, I'm blessed to be employed.
4. Family and friends. They've supported me and taught me so much this year. It would take a year to list all the many reasons why I'm thankful for each one of them.

Be blessed, my friends, as this holiday season fast approaches! Each of you has blessed me more than you could know!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Throw on Your Rain Boots and Praise God Through the Storm

I've noticed that it seems like every Wednesday I hit a wall. I hadn't been to a Wednesday night church service in several years because of college classes and then being lazy after graduation, but I've started going again this year and I'm loving it. Even though I know that I'll learn something, that God will move, I still fight going. Today was a hard day because of emotions, too much talk of babies, leftover junk that wasn't resolved from the day before, etc and I've just been a basket case. The weather was gloomy and rainy, to add to my less than "sunshiny" mood. I came home from work and tried on my new rain boots and decided to crank up some worship music and dance through the house with Layla. Life has been an emotional roller coaster since June and I'm ready for breakthrough! I'm praising God through this storm! Quite perfectly, this song came up on Pandora while I was running through the house with the dog:

Hillsong: Desert Song

This is my prayer in the desert
And all that's within me feels dry
This is my prayer in the hunger in me
My God is a God who provides

Verse 2:
And this is my prayer in the fire
In weakness or trial or pain
There is a faith proved
Of more worth than gold
So refine me Lord through the flames

And I will bring praise
I will bring praise
No weapon forged against me shall remain

I will rejoice
I will declare
God is my victory and He is here

Verse 3:
And this is my prayer in the battle
And triumph is still on it's way
I am a conqueror and co-heir with Christ
So firm on His promise I'll stand

All of my life
In every season
You are still God
I have a reason to sing
I have a reason to worship

Verse 4:
This is my prayer in the harvest
When favor and providence flow
I know I'm filled to be empited again
The seed I've recieved I will sow

I serve and AWESOME God and He meets my needs even when I least expect it. He never ceases to amaze me. I have a reason to sing and a reason to worship. He is worthy of all my praise and of my life and I am so thankful for His love. I am even thankful for this storm in my life because there is sunshine when the storm is over and God will still be there with open arms.