June 30, 2016

June Save the Date

 We kicked off June with a front porch ice cream date.  The first week of June was crazy as we prepared for the kids to move and all of the emotions and stress that went with that.  So one night after we got the kids to bed, I went and bought us some Ben and Jerry's and we enjoyed it in our front porch rocking chairs while we talked about lots of things.

One of our first dinners out after the kids moved.  This was also our first (of many) dinners at a neighborhood restaurant.  We tried out a Thai place and enjoyed a dinner together while we talked about plans for the future

David works from home once a week, so a few weeks ago we took advantage of his lunch break and had a lunch date at one of our favorite places.  My co-workers introduced me to the original Chiloso in Rockwall not too long after I started at ECI.  I then introduced David to this one in Richardson and we go there a lot.

And we closed out June weekends with David's birthday weekend and a trip to the Ballpark in Arlington together.  It was a fun month dating my guy!

{More about Save the Date here.}

June 29, 2016

What's up Wednesday

Today I decided to participate in What's Up Wednesday.  Thought it would be a fun way to talk a little about what's going on in our world right now.

1. What we're eating this week...
I've tried out a few new dishes this week.  Monday I made this Crockpot Beef and Broccoli for dinner.  I left out the cornstarch combo to thicken it since I was trying to keep it fairly low carb and both David and I really liked it--it had a lot of flavor and was great leftover for lunch yesterday too!  Last night I followed this method for crispy baked buffalo wings--I used only chicken drums and it turned out so well.  I served mine with Buffalo sauce and ranch and for David's I made this homemade spicy BBQ sauce--both were really good!  And we're also eating lots of delicious banana pudding that David's mom made for his birthday.

2. What I'm reminiscing about...

With all of the prep for our friend Amy's wedding last week and our 3rd anniversary next month, I've been reminiscing a lot about our wedding and all of the little things I tend to forget.  It was such a fun time and it's fun to look back on it.

3. What I'm Loving...
Eating at our neighborhood restaurants.  When we first moved into our house we started a list of the restaurants in our neighborhood and we've tried out a few, but recently I decided I wanted to be more intentional with trying out all of these places.  So about a month ago we drove around and made a list of all of the restaurants within a mile of our house.  We went a little further than a mile, but no more than 1.5 miles... and we had a list of 70+ places to eat.  Once we took out some of the chain restaurants (Chipotle, McDonald's, Starbucks, Subway etc.) there were a little over 50 places.  And we've been working our way through them this month.  So far it's been really fun trying new places to eat--I'll definitely post more about that soon.

4. What we've been up to...
As we settled into our new normal with the kids gone, I've been up to a whole lot and nothing all at the same time.  I've been doing a lot of cleaning... such as our pantry--it used to be really messy and now it's at least a little organized:
And David and I have been discussing various hobbies to start together.  One of the ones he was most interested in was puzzles.  So we bought a few puzzles to do and spent a Sunday afternoon putting together this one of the US.  Each state was it's own puzzle and then you put them all together into the map.  He did most of it, but I helped some :)
Mainly we've been doing a whole lot spending time together just the two of us and catching up on life together.  

5. What I'm dreading...
100 degree weather.  I feel like the last few weeks have been really hot.  I've been trying to workout more and go for a walk/run/bike ride when I get up.  But I pretty much have to be out the door before 7:00 for it to be bearable at all.  I'm not looking forward to it getting even hotter.  But that's summer in Texas.

6. What I'm working on...
In addition to all the cleaning and other projects around the house, I put up our 4th of July decor this week. 
I usually leave up the Red, White and Blue through Labor day when I start to put out my Fall decor! 

7. What I'm excited about...
We recently booked flights to go to Boston in September and I have been trying to plan out our itinerary and look at what all we want to do.  As Summer is in full force, I am looking forward to exploring Fall in Boston!  Neither David or I have been there, so it'll be fun to check it out together.

8. What I'm watching/reading...
During my downtime, I've been re-watching Gilmore Girls on Netflix

And David and I have been enjoying American Ninja Warrior this summer as well.

And I'm reading:
Sophie Hudson's Giddy Up, Eunice

I've been doing a book club with a few friends from my old job, and this month we are reading The Nest, so I am making my way through that before we meet next week.

9. What I'm listening to...
Since I'm not in the car as much, I haven't really been listening to music at all, but I have been listening to several podcasts when I workout.
I've been working through several episodes of The Happy Hour with Jamie Ivey and I always love getting to hear from her guests.

I love both of these bloggers and love listening to their random podcast episodes--they've done a few new ones this summer and I've enjoyed them.  

My friend Jill also recommended a podcast called Marriage is Funny and David and I have been listening to a few of those as we drive different places on the weekends.

10. What I'm wearing...
A lot of times at home, I am wearing workout clothes or pajamas.  But when I have places to go, I've been wearing a lot of dresses--mostly random ones I've found at Walmart.  In April I found a navy maxi dress at Walmart and bought it.  After wearing it, I found it so comfortable and easy that I went and bought the exact same dress in pink.

A few weeks ago, I picked up this dress in the red and white stripes on a trip to Walmart.  I wore it that day and liked how it fit and felt so much that I went back the next day and bought the same dress in the coral/white/blue stripe pattern.  I love how easy dresses are to wear this time of year.

I've also been wearing my Sseko Sandals a lot, especially while they do their 10 Ways 10 Days Promotion.  I'm on Day 9 and plan to post more about those and the different ties soon!

11.  What I'm doing this weekend...
We honestly don't have anything planned right now.  We've been pretty busy the last few weekends, so it'll be nice to have some down time.  We're planning to do some swimming and eat some barbecue and hang out with friends!

12. What I'm looking forward to next month...
We've booked a weekend getaway to Hot Spring, Arkansas in July.  Looking forward to a road trip with my guy!

13. What else is new...
Not a lot... I already feel like this is the longest blog post ever...
14. What is my favorite July 4th tradition/recipe
I can't think of a lot of traditions or recipes for 4th of July.  For several years, we've gone to see Fireworks at Breckinridge park with friends and that is always fun.  I also love coming up with red, white, and blue themed things!

And that is What's up around here.

June 27, 2016

Birthday Weekend

David turned 29 this past weekend and we had a busy and fun weekend celebrating!  Friday night, we went to the rehearsal dinner for our friends Amy and Chad.  It was fun being with close friends that night and listening to stories of Chad and Amy's relationship.

 Saturday morning was David's birthday and we started off the day with Amy and Chad's wedding.  It was so fun getting to celebrate the day and see so many friends!  We realized that although we have been to a lot of weddings since our own, this was the first wedding we've been to at Woodcreek since we got married.  This was also the first wedding reception we'd been to at Woodcreek since our friends Matt and Daisy got married, and that was the day David first asked me out.  So it was kind of a fun trip down memory lane for us as we celebrated with friends Saturday morning.

We had to cut out from the wedding a little early to take some friends from our Community Group to the airport.  We dropped them off and then headed to the George W Bush Presidential Library.  I had been asking David for a couple of weeks what he wanted to do for his birthday and he couldn't think of anything.  Then the middle of last week, he decided he wanted to go visit the library so that's where we spent our afternoon!

 Our friend Katie had worked at the library when it first opened and she and her sister said we had to check out Cafe 43.  We told them we already had lunch and dinner plans that night, but they said we needed to at least try out the homemade ice cream.  So we stopped for some ice cream before we toured the museum.  It was very delicious!

David with the President's Baseball Collection.

 Sitting at the Oval Office

Hanging out with the Bush Presidents

At the end we toured one of the special exhibits called The Path to the Presidency.  They had a lot of information about former presidents.  They also had displays for all of the different years that voting laws were passed--when non-landowners were allowed to vote, when black men were allowed to vote, when women were allowed to vote, when the poll tax and literacy test were done away with and when the voting age was lowered to 18.  One of the neatest things was this rug that ran along the floor and had every presidential election with a bar graph of how many votes each candidate got, including 3rd party candidates.

After the museum we met up with David's parents for dinner at Pappasito's and then we went back to our house for dessert and showed off the "cake" I made.

Sunday we slept in and then spent the afternoon at the Ballpark.  David had tickets to the Rangers game yesterday afternoon and he took me along with him.  It was a hot day, but luckily his seats are in the shade so it wasn't too bad.  And the Rangers had a good game!

It was a fun weekend with my favorite guy!

June 26, 2016

DIY: A Non-Cake Birthday Cake

David's birthday was this weekend and I struggled with what to get him.  Gifts aren't really either one of our love languages, and there wasn't a whole lot of useful "stuff" I could think of to buy for him.  I had contemplated booking us a getaway for his birthday weekend, but it ended up being pretty busy so I didn't think that would work.

I eventually decided to try my hand at a "soda can" cake.  I had seen several ideas for this on Pinterest and thought it was a fun idea.  I didn't really follow a tutorial, just winged it a little.  At first I tried using plates between the layers, but since they didn't lay flat, they didn't work very well.  I set out to the store to buy some of the cardboard cake plates, but they only sold them in sets of 4 and I would have had to have bought a few different sizes to make it work.  I settled on a cupcake stand instead and the cardboard layers from that worked well.

I put the bottom layer of Dr Pepper cans on my cake plate and arranged them.  I taped some ribbon on and then did the remaining layers of Mountain Dew and A&W Rootbeer.  I put masking tape on a few places around each layer of cans to help the ribbons stick tightly and then I just taped the ends together on the back instead of trying to tie them off.  Since David seems to like activities more than stuff, I also taped "coupons" around the cake for different things.  I used some of the coupons from this blog post about a wallet surprise and then I made up some of my own.  The coupons included things like a night of Top Golf, a Bike Ride for 2, his choice of a home-cooked dinner, a night of Baseball watching, etc.

I topped it off with 29 straws for candles and then hid it for a few days until his birthday. 

Saturday morning I brought it out to the living room and presented it to him along with a card.  Now he's got some drinks to enjoy and some coupons for date nights down the road.  

June 23, 2016

DIY Project: Kitchen Window Shade

Well our June has been a little crazy.  The kids left the second week of June and moved to another placement, and we have been slowly but surely getting settled into our new (old?) normal.  When we knew the kids would be leaving, I started making a list of things to do with my time--things that I have been wanting to do but haven't had time or energy to do over the last few months.  Several of those things were house projects.

I spent the first week after the kids left cleaning and organizing like crazy.  I cleaned out their room, rearranged our living room and dining room, cleaned out our office and our pantry, etc.  One of the things I've had on my list for a while is figuring out a cover for our kitchen window.  

One of the first things most people notice about our house is all of the natural light in the living room and kitchen area.  The windows in the living room are huge and let in a lot of good light.  They also face East and let in a lot of sun and heat.  So we bought curtains for the living room at the beginning of last year and left it at that.  

Since I've been home during the day more, I have noticed how hot our kitchen is in the mornings.  When I was working full time, I left before sunrise most days so by the time I was in the kitchen in the evenings, the sun was on the other side of the house.  But since I've been home with (and now without) kids, I've noticed how hard it is to do dishes/make breakfast each morning because of how warm and blinding it is in our kitchen.  

This is our kitchen window last week.  I wanted something other than plain blinds for this window and I had found several tutorials for a DIY window shade using blinds and fabric so I decided to try that out for our window.  

I went Friday and bought blinds and some fabric.  All of the windows in our house are weird sizes, so this one is 46.5" wide.  Which meant that I had to be pretty picky with the fabric I bought since most are 44-45" wide so they wouldn't fit at that width.  I settled on this one from Hobby Lobby:

I also found that you can buy pretty cheap blinds (like less than $4) at Walmart for windows 39" wide and less.  But I had to pay more since our window is bigger.  Overall though, I still completed this project for less than $20 and I was pretty happy with how it turned out.  I followed this tutorial pretty closely.  It was pretty simple--I cut the ladder strings on the blinds and then removed most of the slats and adjusted the blinds frame to be the right height.  Then I used fabric glue to glue the remaining blind slats to the fabric and to hem up the edges of the fabric.  The hardest part was hanging the hardware in our windowsill to hang the blinds! :)

Here is the finished project. When the shade is closed it definitely makes a big difference in how comfortable our kitchen is in the mornings!  And it's easy to open up to let light in the rest of the day.

June 3, 2016

May Save the Date

It's hard to believe it's already June!  May was a very crazy month for us and we had a lot going on.  I felt like it was a really long month in a lot of ways.  I'm grateful for these moments with my guy in the midst of all the craziness.

For our first date of May, I surprised David with tickets to the new Captain America movie.  I knew it was one he'd want to see, and we don't get out to movies too often right now.  So I lined up a babysitter and got the ball rolling.  I even bought an AMC gift card while grocery shopping so the charge wouldn't show up on our credit card and tip him off.  The morning of the date, I left a copy of the ticket confirmation in his car asking if he wanted to go on a date with me.  We enjoyed dinner out and a movie together and it was a great night.

And then we were homebodies for the rest of the month...

The weather in May was crazy, but we took advantage of one of the nice nights to spend the evening on our back patio enjoying dinner and conversation together after we put the kids to bed.

 We also spent an evening catch up on our DVR and watching a movie together

And last weekend we spent an evening playing some trivia.  We both play on the app Quiz Up and we will challenge each other to different topics sometimes, but I thought it would be fun to do a tournament and play through lots of topics together.  We made a list of some of his top categories and some of mine, some of the ones we have in common and then some that neither of us had ever played.  For each category we played 3 rounds and saw who one at least 2 out of 3 before moving on.  David won the most overall categories, but I held my own for most of them.  

Thankful this guy is by my side through all the months, especially the crazy ones!