Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Mardi Gras Wreaths

For the past two years I had planned on making matching Mardi Gras wreaths to go on our front doors.  I bought most of the supplies I needed but never got around to making the wreaths.  This year I was determined to get it done.  All I really needed were the actual wreaths to decorate.  I was under the impression that I needed to use the fake greenery type wreath, I guess because I have one Mardi Gras wreath I bought years ago and that's what it originally started as.  After talking with a lady at Ellis Pottery I decided grapevine wreaths would work just fine.   One night this past week I was off of work and Jon was out of town so I figured it was the perfect time for a little craft project.   My mom and I went to Ellis Pottery and I got the two grapevine wreaths and headed home to get to work.
I set out all the supplies I had and tried to figure out what I would use and what would look best, etc.  I had two different types of metallic garland that I used to cover the grapevine wreaths.  They turned out better than I had expected...

Then I went to town adding and taking away and adding more things to the wreaths until I thought they were presentable.  It was a lot harder making two that needed to be opposite of each other and still making them look decent.  This is them almost complete...

I had to find a video on YouTube to teach me how to make a bow.  I still need a lot of practice, but I was able to get by this time.   I added the bows to the wreaths and a few mardi gras beads to give them some character.  Once they were finished I hung them on the front doors.  One of them I was able to use one of the suction cups I always use to hang the wreaths on the doors, but for some reason the other was not cooperating.  I found a 3M adhesive hook that I used and so far it is working great!  Here are a couple of pics of the finished products...

Laissez les bons temps rouler!

Monday, January 23, 2012

DIY Menu Board

Are you like me and tired of trying to figure out what is for dinner?  Jon and I are constantly scrambling for ideas at 6 or 7 at night which inevitably leads to us going out to dinner.  As I had mentioned before, we are trying to learn to live on a budget, and going to out to eat almost every night is not going to work.  I came up with the idea of making out a menu for a week at a time, that way we would be prepared and know what to make for dinner.  My next idea was to make a menu board that was not cheesy looking so that we could hang it in the kitchen.  I turned to google and pinterest and came up with a few ideas which led me to Hobby Lobby.  This is what I came up with...
-all my supplies-

-painted the letters-

-ironed the fabric-

-wrapped the fabric around the frame backing-

-glued the letters to the fabric-

-applied the stickers to the fabric-

-placed it all in the frame-

-hung it on the side of the refrigerator-
So far I have been good about filling it out (I just write on the glass with a dry erase marker) and sticking with the plan.  It has really helped out so far, especially with Jon and I on different shifts and working different days now.  Hopefully I will continue to stick with it and make it a habit!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Oh My Deer!

I know quite a few people who cringe at the thought of eating "wild game."  I, on the other hand, find it a nice alternative to beef.  My husband is not a hunter so we don't always have an abundance of wild game in the freezer.  This year we were given some deer meat from my parents and also Jon "split a deer" with one of his co-workers, so our freezer is stocked a plenty this winter.  I have been trying to find different recipes to be able to use venison as a substitute.  Our first venison dinner we had was fried back strap.  Basically my husband breaded and fried the deer steaks.  They were delicious.  I believe I made okra and tomatoes and fresh pinto beans to go along with the steaks.  Next I made the wonderful chili from Annie's Eats and used ground deer meat instead of turkey.  It turned out wonderful!  Even my MIL, who is one of the ones that does not eat wild game, enjoyed the meal!   I came across the recipe for homemade taco seasoning (at Annie's Eats blog of course) and had all the ingredients, so I threw some of that together.  I then decided to make some tacos with, you guessed it, ground deer meat.  They were good, just your average taco, nothing special.  The latest creation with venison was burgers.  I can not take credit for the burger patties, that was all Jon, but I did partake in the making of homemade buns!  Jon and I had been wanting to make bread, and I came across a recipe for hamburger buns, we were sold!  We had pretty much all the ingredients, so one afternoon we started on the process and by that night we had delicious homemade burger buns for our venison burgers.

I like to experiment with food and try new things, so hopefully I can continue to find new ways of cooking this deer meat, because we definitely have a plentiful supply right now.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Porcupine Parables

As most of you know I have been dealing with crazy headaches and migraines for quite some time now...5 months to be exact.  If you didn't know about it you can catch up and read about it herehere, or here.  I tried all sorts of treatments and nothing seemed to help.  I decided to look in to acupuncture and researched it a little, asked around for opinions, and found a couple of places here in town that offered it. I decided I was going to try it, because what the heck?!  If it didn't work, well I would just be in the exact same position, but if it did work, then alleluia!   So I called the guy I decided I wanted to use and spoke with him about it and made my appointment.  He informed me that acupuncture works best for headaches and that after 3 visits, if it worked, I shouldn't have to deal with these terrible headaches much anymore.  I had my first appointment on December 8th and it went something like this...
-it's hard to see the needles in this pic-

-but they are there, and have electricity connected to them (only a few in my head at least)-

I have to admit that I was a bit nervous, but it was a great experience.  Jon went with me to be my moral support (and my photographer).  It did not hurt, and it was very relaxing.  After the first week I could tell a difference in the type of pain I was having with the headaches, but I was still having them pretty frequently and they were pretty severe.   I went back the next week for my second treatment and told him about the difference I was experiencing, so he put even more needles in my head and on my neck that time.  That appointment lasted twice as long as the first.  After that appointment I was not having headaches as often and they were not as severe as they had been.  I was scheduled to go the week before Christmas, but had to cancel because life was just too busy trying to get ready for the holiday.  I do plan on going back for at least one more treatment.  The acupuncturist is out of town, but when he returns I do plan to go back.   I will say that I have not had a headache (at least not bad enough to take any medicine for it) in at least 2 weeks.  I have been putting off writing this post because I am afraid of jinxing myself or speaking too soon.  I'm keeping my fingers crossed that I have finally found a cure for these dadgum headaches!

Monday, January 2, 2012

First Christmas as Mr. & Mrs.

This post is a little late...but better late than never, right?

This was our first Christmas to spend together being married!  It was a wonderful first Christmas for this Mr. & Mrs.!  Our usual plans around Christmas time....Christmas eve- go to Jon's uncle's house and eat in the late afternoon with that side of the family, then head over to my parents house and spend time with them, my siblings, and my grandparents.  Christmas day- eat lunch at my grandmother's house and then eat a late lunch at Jon's parents house and open gifts.   This year was nothing like it has been in the past.  A few weeks before Christmas we had the opportunity to get together at Jon's uncle's house with that side of the family and spend time with them.  Jon and I both had to work the Friday before Christmas and Saturday, which was Christmas eve.  So this year we volunteered to host Christmas at our house and combine all the family time together.  It was a lot of people, but we enjoyed being able to see everyone and spend time with them.  My sister was able to come in town and so was Jon's uncle, Jimmy, and they both stayed at our house.  On Christmas morning, Jon's parents came over and Jon made us all a Christmas breakfast.  After that I went and took a little nap, since I had not been to sleep since I got off of work. Then that evening both sides of the family came over...a total of about 25 people...including Jon's uncle Jeff and two of his children...and we all had a big Christmas dinner together.   I am so very thankful for the MIL, because without her dinner would have consisted of deviled eggs and a pecan pie (the only things I contributed).  Jon and I are so thankful for everyone in our family and we were very happy to be able to have everyone together for a great time!

-just a few of the presents to be opened by all-

-the MIL trying out the boots we bought her-

-MIL, my grandmother, and Regina-

-The Mr. & Mrs.-

-Anna Leigh, Abby, Cindy, and Madalyn-

-Jon with his uncle, Jeff, and two of his children, Mattie and Nolan-

-Me with Jon's uncle, Jimmy-

-me and my parents-

-Garrett, Harrison, and Jeff playing video games-
I hope that all of you were able to find the time to spend with family this holiday season!  

New Year Traditions...

There are a few New Year traditions that people participate in to ring in the new year and start the new year off right.  I usually partake in most of these traditions, but this year wasn't quite the same.

On New Year's Eve it has become a custom to pop fireworks, especially at the midnight hour.  Jon and I had great intentions to do this.  We went to the firework stand and bought all the things we loved popping as a kid.  I think it made Jon feel like a kid again as he was picking out what fireworks he wanted.  We had plans to come home to our house after dinner and a few drinks and ring in the new year acting as children again, all giddy, popping fireworks...that didn't happen.  Instead we lost track of time visiting with friends and realized it was 11:55 when they were passing out champagne where we were.  Oh well, I told Jon that maybe we could just save the fireworks for July 4th and relive our childhood then.

Another tradition is to make a toast at midnight and drink champagne...we did partake in this.  We were at Vintage Wine Bar hanging out with friends and just before midnight they passed out complimentary champagne.  I do have to admit that it was pretty tasty (usually free champagne is super cheap and nasty!)

According to Wikipedia, failing to kiss someone at the stroke of midnight ensures a year of loneliness.  I don't actually believe in this superstition, but I did get a kiss at the stroke of midnight from none other than my wonderful husband!   Guess we have another year of not being lonely! ;)

On New Year's Day it has become a practice for people to have ham, black eyed peas, and cabbage for their meal.  The ham is to represent positive motion, because pigs root forward when foraging.  The cabbage symbolizes money, and the peas, since they swell when cooked, symbolize prosperity.  I also know that some people believe that you are to leave 3 peas on your plate in order to have good luck in the new year.   I will probably be broke, fail in numerous things, and move backward in 2012, because my New Year's Day meal consisted of a cheeseburger from Wendys.  Maybe the lettuce can replace the cabbage, the burger patty replace the ham, and the bread replace the peas (bread probably swells in my stomach after eating it?!)

People always seem to make New Year's resolutions.  I know that I have in the past and I can not recall one resolution that I stuck with throughout the year.  The new year gives people a sense of hope and new beginnings, therefore giving them the motivation to start doing something good or quitting something bad.   Although I never stick with these resolutions, I always seem to make them.  This year I only have two that I can come up with that I really want to be effective.  First I want to learn to set a budget and live on it.  I was never raised to set budgets, much less live on one.  Money was definitely not in abundance growing up, but my parents never (that I know of) made out a budget and stuck with it.  I know what I make and what I can spend, but I feel there is more to it than that.  Jon and I are really wanting to start paying off some of this debt we have ourselves in, and if we don't limit our spending, then we will never be able to get these balances to zero.  My second resolution is to grow in my faith and develop a closer relationship with God.  I pray often and I give Him credit for this wonderful life that He has blessed me with.  I want to go to church weekly without it being an option.  I want Jon and I to become active in the church and meet new people who will help us to grow in our relationship and faith. I will continue to pray, and will start to pray more because I am a firm believer in the power of prayer!

I hope that all of you had a wonderful and safe New Year's Eve, maybe some of you even practiced some of these traditions!  Here are a few pictures from our New Year's Eve...

*We joined some friends for dinner at Sushi Gen*

*Micaela, Jennifer, and Me*

*Me and the hubs ringing in 2012*
Here's to 2012...

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Tacky Christmas Sweater Party

This post is a little late, but it took me a while to get the pictures loaded up on the computer.  In early December some friends of ours, Alissa and Josh, had a Tacky Christmas Sweater Party at their house.  Of course Jon and I got totally decked out in all our tacky Christmas attire.  It was such a fun party!  They served some great food, we played some really fun games, and enjoyed spending time with friends we don't hang out with as often.   Alissa asked each couple to bring a container filled with the items you would need for a Christmas dinner and she took all the containers to the Providence House for those in need.  I thought that was a great way for everyone to be able to give back to the community, and I was so happy she came up with that idea.  I know there were a lot of grateful families that enjoyed some yummy Christmas dinners this year!
Here are a few pictures from the night...
(Adam & Jon with Zoe, who obviously didn't want to take a pic at this time)

(Jon and Josh-the host)

(Jon and I donned our gay apparel)

(Luci and Jacob- they made their sweatshirts!!)

(Jon and Adam)

(Alissa explaining one of the games- the first person to shake all the ornaments out
of the box wins...the catch...the box was attached to your waist, above your booty!)

(Another fun game where we had a relay race and the team that finished eating Hershey
kisses with oven mitts on first won!)

(Me with Alissa, the hostess)

(Me and Jon with our stocking for Providence House)

(the whole group....bad iPhone pic)

Bring It On 2012

This past year has been a wonderful year, in fact, the best year yet!  Of course the highlight of the year was on March 26th when I married my best friend!   These past few years Jon and I have been very blessed and able to celebrate many milestones and accomplishments!  I can not wait to see what is in store for us for 2012!   I know a few things that will definitely be happening in the coming year, and I am so excited about them...

First, Jon will be starting a new job as a Recovery Coordinator with LOPA (The Louisiana Organ Procurement Agency) on January 9th.   I know that he is really looking forward to this job and the new experiences that it will entail.  With this new job he will have so many opportunities to minister to those families that he will be encountering.  I know that some aspects of this job will be difficult at first, but the big picture and main goal will be rewarding for him and others too.  I am so very happy and excited for him!

In February we will be celebrating Jon's 30th birthday!! You know I am excited because that means I get to plan a party!  I started brainstorming and planning many months ago, and I am looking forward to really getting things together.

March 26th will be our first wedding anniversary!  We may be in Colorado skiing, but not too sure yet...still working on the details.

These are the only things I know for sure will be happening in the new year, but I have great confidence that He will continue to bless us throughout this year, just as He has in the past!

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
Jeremiah 29:11