Tuesday, November 29, 2011

About a year ago I was granted a dream.  Who knew that a cleaning appliance could be a dream?!?  Well, in my case it really was.  We had been so kindly been given a vacuum when we got married but between then and getting into our house it didn't like to work as well, I blame our carpet... it molts, not attractive, just saying (it's on our list to replace...).   But on that day that my one and only Dyson arrived and for everyday for almost a month I vacuumed.  I was in awe of the fact that carpet was clean... actually clean!  I have issues I know, I wipe it down with a damp cloth... kind of feel like Monica, less the little vacuum.

Almost a year later... still in love.  If you can get a good deal(woot): so worth it!  

Thursday, November 24, 2011

It's time.

Happy Turkey day!

Can you believe it already here?  My tips for the day:

If you have family over or you are going to family remember that it WILL be crazy, things will not go as planned.  Choose to laugh over what could make you mad; find the joy.

Pace yourself and start early on the food so that you can eat all the more.  Yes, more food is the goal.

No matter what time the food is finished: it is the perfect time!

If you are cooking on this holiday: remember that you can do it and then you can RELAX.

Asking for help is not weakness, despite what your family might say (Ignore them, they are probably just hungry ;P).

If you are anything like me: find your pie and hide at least one piece (got to have a contingency plan). 

Most importantly: it is a day to be thankful.  Even if everything goes wrong and things get insane and people are yelling: you still got the food! (Insert big toothy grin)

To all of you out there: 

Sincerely I wish you a blessed and happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Not just your average turkey

While you prep for you Thanksgiving this week remember just cause you are having turkey doesn't mean that it has to be your average turkey.  Have fun with it.  Change it up.  

That's what I did, just a little early since I wouldn't be making Thanksgiving dinner this year.  I made a peach mesquite turkey. You can make your turkey any way you want, any toppings, rubs or oils.  Just keep these keys, to make sure that however you make your turkey that it is a moist and delicious turkey:

1.  Do not stuff your turkey with any bread products, especially not stuffing.  I know it makes the stuffing all the better, but it makes your turkey dry.  Almost same taste to the stuffing pull some of the turkey dripping from the bottom of the pan.  Get the taste without the dry turkey.

2. Stuffing the turkey can be great.  I stuffed mine with peaches but other fruits and vegetables can add great flavor to the meat.

3.  Rubs can be great to keep moister in, otherwise thoroughly apply oil to the outside of your turkey.

4. Keep your turkey covered pretty tightly (Aluminum foil tight is fine enough).  Only uncover for the last 20 minutes or so.

5.  And almost most importantly:  For your best skin and moistest of turkeys insert butter tabs under the skin (I'll give instructions on what I mean exactly below).  It makes the skin crisp up a bit and look beautiful and infuses the mean with a little extra love and not too many extra calories.

Step 1: Clean your turkey.  Pull off the cover and pull out the giblets and neck.  Rinse with cold water thoroughly.  

Step 2:  Depending on the size of your turkey (mine was 13lbs) make a handful of 1.5-2" slices (I did four one for each quarter of the turkey).

Step 3:  Insert tabs of butter into the slices you made, make sure to put them under the skin fully.  (amount of butter can range but I used right around a TBSP for each slice.)

Step four: If you are going to stuff your turkey, here is where you stuff it (I got peaches for really cheap in the summer and froze a bunch and used those to stuff my turkey)

Step 5: Topping/Rub/Oil.  I used a bit of Olive oil and rubbed the skin of the turkey moist so that the rub would stick.  Then I used the spices in my cabinet to make a rub (in this particular case I was given a mesquite steak seasoning that I thought sounded pretty good.)

This is simply to give perspective on how "Stuffed" or not "Stuffed" my turkey was.  You don't need it jammed packed full to do the job.

Then bake it as per suggested on the package for weight.  I have a roasting option on my stove so I used that in my process but regular old baking works wonders too!  If your package doesn't say I would suggest 325 degrees and look online for a estimate to be sure but for my 13lbs turkey I roasted it somewhere around 4 hours.  When in doubt a meat thermometer is a life saver (you can get one pretty cheap, under 15 bucks, that will do the trick... just make sure the part that goes in the turkey doesn't get bent... doesn't work too well after that, go wonder).  

Go out and do wonders with your turkey.  You change up with shock and surprise your family in a good way!

My fancy, my whimsy...

I think my favorite rooms in my house, the day I moved in, were the bedrooms.  For one simple reason: all they needed was paint and decor!

It is surprising how long it took me to paint my back bedroom.  It is our office and it has been a mess.  But a few months ago I decided to get the painting done!  I am fairly a traditionalist when it comes to paint.  I like paint that will stay and work for years... I didn't go that route this time.  Straight out playful.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Gobble, Gobble

Thanksgiving.  Such a unique holiday.  It is a holiday that is only market by food.  Other holidays are set around food, like labor day and 4th of July but they have other aspects (fireworks and water, generally).  The only other aspect to Thanksgiving then food is family...which in my mind go hand in hand.  I mean really Thankgiving's icon is a turkey: the thing that we eat during the meal.  It is an odd tradition but I'm ok with it if only for how tasty it is!  

What are your family traditions?  What are you doing this year?
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Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Heave ho

One of the many gifts the previous owner left us was random pieces of rebar in the yard and deep holes scattered about.  They had Pit Bulls, and a lot of them from what I hear.  They liked digging... my only guess. But alas it is our job to work it out.  So Chris ever so kindly volunteered to remove them... they were humorously deep... after he got the piece of rebar out there were legitimately multiple holes around the yard where Chris can actually disappear up past his knees... 

I still can't figure out what needs to have rebar dug that deep?   It wasn't a base of a building.


Thursday, November 10, 2011

Formal, Casual: just so long as I can eat!

I have always wanted a formal dining room, or really any dining room at all.  When I was little, 3-5 yeas old, my family lived in a pretty big house (compared to the 2 bedroom 1 bath we move into next anyway).  That is the only house I have ever lived in that actually had a dining room.  There is something so nice and formal about it.  Makes me want to host family holidays just thinking about it!  My mind cuts to the thanksgiving scene painted by Norman Rockwell.  The just almost too perfect.  It is like what people idealize about family.  In a reality I don't think that we would actually want our families to be perfect.  Perfect isn't fun.  But when we think about our holidays and how they are supposed to be, our desires can be boiled down to perfect. . . never going to happen.  But in the mean time we can enjoy a wonderful dinning room filled with people you love.

Ps. This is the face I would make if I had a fireplace that big... 

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Fail to awesome

So one of the most awesome things about yard sales is really awkward framed "art".  Why is it so awesome? Because you can get them for $0.25 and revamp them!  One of our neighbors had a moving sale, so I guess past neighbors now, and was getting rid of this framed drawing?  painting?  print?  Wasn't really sure I got it for the actual frame and matting.  

Step one: take off that weird brown parchment paper off the back.

Step two: pull out matting, painting/print thing and glass

Step three: clean glass, have a photo/print/etc ready

Step four: fix frame/modge podge/paint (my case put over the base brown a crackle glaze and then a white matte paint)

Step five: put it all back together

It goes from being a terrible weird framed thing to a cheap yet usefully awesome piece of art!

Friday, November 4, 2011

Remember Remember the 5th of November

Holidays are simply days, but somehow they make life feel a little more special.  I don't have a thing with dates on holidays.  I mean yes, is it nice to set aside a particular day on the day but for me it is more about what you do then the day you do it on, if that makes any sense.  All this to say that holidays are dear to me even including the holidays that have yet to fully be capitalized on, such as Thanksgiving.  

Thanksgiving is acutally my mother's favorite holiday.  I doubt it is the turkey but it could be.  I have always assumed it is because it is a holiday with all activities based around food but that's not what the holiday is acutally about.  It is a day that you slow down and spend time with family, whether traditional blood family or a family you have built with close friends.  

In my love of holidays this one is no exception, and thus I must decorate.  Positively from September on you can have fall decorations up and they are perfect for Thanksgiving too.  I like to add a few more fully Thanksgiving thing around the house. 

I am cheap, I have mentioned this before, so my goal in decorating is to spend no money, or if I have to the least amount possible.  Because of my ever demanding "tight" thought process I try to use things around the house.  You know there is always some stuff around the house you don't use.  That is what today's Thanksgiving craft is all about.  

Making a turkey with the items in your house.

I started with this book.  To be honest it was a premarital book that we were given that was truly horrible, it said that honesty was not something to base a marriage off of and that individuality and independence were key... in my experience those are the complete opposite of true, at least in Chris and my marriage.

Then I proceeded to bend the cover and pages in almost like I was making a paper airplane.  I bent my pages in so that every other would face each other, if that makes any sense.  When looking at the open book, the right page I would bend down towards the middle of the book and then the left page I would bend in that same middle of the book, but to each their own.

This took me somewhere around 3 minutes. 

This is the turkey feathers, lay it flat somewhere, I put my turkey on my mantel, at least for now (I tend to change my mind).

Next step is take a piece of paper, I took mine from legal document in an add book that I got from a company I no longer work with.

My particular piece of paper was too tall so I folded it down, I might suggest that you double up on the paper... you'll see why in a bit.

After you have folded, if you need to, roll the paper up, making the top slightly bigger than the bottom.  Tape the roll, a small amount should do.

Then attach that roll to the book you bent in the beginning.  I did this by taping the almost farthest points of the roll to the book cover, the tap making a large V.  If you decided to attach the roll that way the bottom of the roll will crease some.  This roll becomes the head.  I had a small ball of yarn laying around the house so I used that has the turkey head. 

Making it up as I went, I decided that the look was not complete.  It needed color and a beak.  Looking around the house I tried to see if there way anything I could make into a beak. . . and there was.

A bread tie, I folded and creased it back and forth making a V shape with the bread tie.  Then I wiggled it in between the threads of yarn.

Though the red of the bread tie added some color it wasn't quite enough for my tastes so I pulled out my water colors set, it is nothing special, probably the same set that you would find in a children art kit, but it works.

Though I added the color on the "neck" of the turkey after attaching it I would advice adding it before attaching it... it would make the whole process a lot easier.

It may not be "Martha Stewart" but it get's the job done for free and in under 10 minutes.  I couldn't beat it, can you?  What holiday crafts will you be doing this year?

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Sparing and on occasion.


When I think of flowers I think of a few things, namely: high price, beauty, wonders of nature, weddings and most importantly the 90's.  Yup, I said it the 90's.  I recall most of my wardrobe was made up of floral prints growing up.  It is strewn all across Friends, I mean for the first two seasons you can't go three steps without running across floral prints everywhere.  

Yet despite all the floral print my mother dressed me in as a child, I still like it.  Sparing and on occasion but I still like it.

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Tuesday, November 1, 2011

One down...

The day we moved into our house I was over joyed... and over whelmed.  This was to be our first house and I knew going in that it was a fixer upper.  With a deep breath I made my way across the threshold boxes in hand.  Not one full day in the house and we started on the kitchen.  We knew we would have to completely revamp everything in there due to water damage.  So out came the cabinets, up came the floor... all within the first week.  Unlike the proactive and most movin-it couple I have ever seen, we took a... slower pace.

Nine months later the process was complete.  That process... was not a small process but we did it all, well almost all (didn't up in the counter tops), ourselves!

Pulled out old counter tops, cabinets, 3 layers of floor, had to replace sub flooring and sheet rock, put down Durock and started on tiling.  This all was completed fairly quickly.  Got it done within two months of moving in... unfortunately we had to keep moving our stove out to the porch and back in to cook... very humorous to say the least.

The next step was stalled because of money: Cabinets.  We got great cabinets and for a great deal but it took a bit to be able to throw that kind of cash down.  We put them in ourselves... I was very nervous about this but one of my brothers used to put in cabinets for a living and agreed every so awesomely to come and help us out!  In went cabinets and about 3 weeks later came the counter tops.  Then almost a year later we got our cover for our dishwasher and knobs and pulls, but now it is done (and a bit crowded from storing stuff for my sister's wedding).

Never have I been so grateful for a kitchen!  Though this process is old, bb (before blog) that's for sure, I thought it might encourage those of you who are out there still working away that though your house may not be done, A room can be!  I have to look to that sometimes, when my bathroom is in shambles (right now) when my back bedroom is being used for storage (right now)... it is my light, it is my hope: it can be done!

Please take heart!  Deep breath: one room at a time.