Monday, February 28, 2011


Whenever I visit my parents they always want me to go to storage to get some of my stuff out of their storage unit. I've taken stuff, but I've also run out of space myself so it's become a great excuse as to why I can't take anything more. Well John and I are on a purging/organization kick as of late and we've both agreed to get rid of some of our junk out in the garage. So I went through a few of my bins and thought I'd share a few of the gems I came across with everyone this week.

Here's the first thing - my MVP trophy I won in 4th grade:

Edited to add that I won this for Cross Country. I was really awesome at running when I was younger, but then had knee and ankle problems and had to stop. My elementary school in California had a ton of sports, wrestling, football, track, cross country. None of my other elementary schools I attended had that. I competed at County for my school that year and placed 6th overall. Not pictured were a bunch of ribbons I had as well. Both the trophy and the ribbons are staying put and not being purged.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Flexees Rave

I picked these up a few weeks ago and absolutely love them.

I bought this one in white

and this one in black.

I prefer the black one a bit more only because it's one layer. The white one has the fat sucker material on the inside and a slightly looser outer layer. I really prefer just the one layer. On both tanks the top parts are the looser material so it's not squishing your boobs. On the black one the last two inches or so is also a bit looser so you can really layer it well and it's not squishing your hips. What's also great is that the tanks are taller. Since I have bigger boobs a lot of tanks ride down and don't keep things covered very well, which sometimes defeats the purpose when you're pairing it with something lower cut.

I can also wear these all day and be totally comfortable. I find it hard to last more than a few hours in a pair of Spanx, but have been fine in these.

I also tried on the T-Shirt one and really liked it, I just didn't buy it at the time.

The only one I tried on and didn't like (and couldn't find it on the website) were the tanks with the lace bottom. I think they may have been a lighter "hold" and didn't seem to do as good of a job holding everything in.

I found mine at Steinmart during a sale. I've also seen them at Macy's, Costco, TJ Maxx and Ross. The cheapest place to get them are Ross and TJ Maxx - about $15 I think. You'll find a wider color selection at Steinmart or Macy's. They're great to layer, but I would also wear it under a jacket as a shirt. They really do a great job at holding everything in, hiding the muffin top and my absolute favorite part? They do a really good job at covering up back fat around your bra straps.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

We Have Growth!

Last night I went out to check on the seeds I planted last week and things had already started to sprout!

Here are the radishes


This MAY be a spinach plant or it could be grass. Kind of hoping it's grass because it's the only thing the sprout in the 3 spinach squares and I really hope I don't have that bad of luck with it.


Here are some lettuce plants that are sprouting as well.



Inside the new seeds that I started have finally taken off! The 4 Amish Paste transplants look great.


In this one I have 4 Amish Paste on the left, then 3 jalapenos and 2 cherry.


The lone cherry seedling that I had last week died. I only need one plant so I'm going to transplant these two and see how they do.

In this container the Better Boy tomatoes are finally going, but no bell peppers.


I did get one bell pepper that I've transplanted since it had it's second set of leaves.


Hopefully it survive. I may just have to buy pepper plants this year.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011


One day I'd like to get new furniture for the living room. I've had an idea of how I'd like the living room set up when that time one day comes so I thought I'd try it out with the existing furniture we have.

Here is the previous set up. I realized that I didn't have any pictures that are current of the entire living room so some of these pictures are a bit dated, but you can get the general idea of the setup.

When you come in the front door, the living room is on the left. The couch is on the left wall,


the sliding glass door on the next, the fireplace in the corner,

the TV on the next wall (direct view from the front door, but this picture was taken from the sliding glass door),

and then the shared wall between the kitchen and the living room is where we had the two chairs. They're basically in the direct path from the front door (picture taken from the sliding glass door).

Here's the new set up - view from the hallway.


From the front door:


There's a nice walkway now from the front door to the back of the house:


The DVD cabinet that was by the sliding door has been moved to the corner in the hallway.


It's made the living room feel a lot more cozy. It's also nice to not have to maneuver around two chairs and an ottoman when you come into the house. I'm not sure of the chair over by the fireplace, but it's the only spot for it for now. We'll get rid of them when we get new furniture (which will probably be a couch and love seat set). For the space next to the TV we'll probably move the two bookcases out of the guest room and into the living room. I also want a mirror to put over the fireplace. We're going to find a new home for the picture Jen sent us soon.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Coq Au Vin

I've been wanting to make this recipe forever. When John got me my dutch oven at Christmas I finally had an excuse to make it it. There are a TON of recipes out there for Coq Au Vin. Some braise the dish in the oven, some in a large skillet, crockpot or a dutch oven. I wanted a one pot stove version. I ended up combining this recipe with the one from Betty Crocker Bridal Edition Cookbook. I also added celery, which some recipes out there have (neither of mine did) and I took out mushrooms as a personal preference.

Coq Au Vin

3lb cut up whole chicken (I halved the breasts)
1/2 cup flour for dredging chicken
salt & pepper
4 slices thick cut bacon
1 yellow onion - diced (other recipes use 1 lb of pearl onions which I couldn't find)
3 Tbsp butter
3 cups mushrooms (I omitted)
2 celery stalks (diced - optional)
2 Tbsp cognac/brandy
1 cup chicken broth
1 750ml bottle of red wine (others ask for less, but I felt it made enough sauce. I think less would not give you enough sauce)
4 medium carrots - roughly chopped
3 cloves garlic - minced
3 sprigs fresh thyme
1 bay leaf

1. In a shallow dish mix flour, salt & pepper. Coat chicken.
2. In a dutch oven cook bacon until crisp. Remove from pan and drain on paper towels; set aside. Cook chicken in bacon fat until brown on all sides - about 10 minutes. Add a bit of butter to the pan if you need to between batches. Remove pieces and set aside.
3. Melt butter, add garlic, carrots, mushrooms, onions, and celery to pan. Cook until slightly tender.
4. Add cognac and simmer until liquid is almost gone. Raise heat to high and then add wine, bay leaf and thyme. Bring to a boil and let wine reduce to about half.
5. Stir in the bacon and chicken broth. Return to a boil.
6. Add the chicken pieces to the pot, cover and let simmer for about 35 minutes or until chicken is done.
7. Remove thyme sprigs, bay leaf and serve over buttered egg noodles.

This recipe turned out SO GOOD. It was absolutely delicious and totally worth the work. I say work only because I had to sit down every now and then and not be able to stand over the stove. Here it is about to be covered:


Yes, I realize it doesn't look great. This is another one of those recipes that doesn't photograph well.

Here's the completed pot of goodness. The wine cooks down into a thick sauce. I'd call it gravy, but it's almost like a cream sauce that you put over the noodles - except there's no cream.


Plated up and ready to go:


You can also make this in a slow cooker. You'd still need to brown the chicken. That part is important. Betty says not to cook the mushrooms in the crockpot (I guess they may get too mushy?). Cook everything else on low for 4-6 hours. Stir in mushrooms and increase heat setting to high. Cover and cook for another 30 minutes.

Friday, February 18, 2011


My super awesome wedding photographer Jennifer emailed me this week to get my address because she had a little something she wanted to send to me.

I came home and found a package on my doorstep with this inside.


It's one of our Trash the Dress pictures. It's one of John's favorites, "because he thought of the idea" for the picture. It was also picked to be in the Knot magazine which Jennifer loved. It was such a great surprise! Thanks Jenn!

Thursday, February 17, 2011


I am not a hat person. The only time you'll find me in one is on the weekend if I need to run out of the house and haven't showered. Then it's a St. Louis Cardinals cap that I stole from John.

We're having an event at work tonight to kick off our annual fundraising campaign. The theme is horse tracks/derbies and we're actually even bringing in some horses from our camp. We were asked to wear derby attire. I can't exactly sport a frilly dress since I'm still in my boot, but I can bust out a big hat.

I may not be a hat person, but will occassionally buy one that I almost never wear more than once. In fact this one still had the tag on it. I figured it would be easy to dress up so I stopped in to Hobby Lobby to pick up some extras to add to it.

Here's what I came up with:



Not too bad for a fake flower, ribbon and feathers.


Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Back in Business

I got my laptop back today! Yay! It came back really fast seeming as we sent it in on Thursday last week. It seems too that the adapter cord was the problem and not the motherboard. They also replaced my wireless card. I'm going to have John take a look at it to make sure it's running at the speed it's supposed to, but it seems to be running faster than it was. No more ethernet cords being drug around the house! This is my third Dell Latitude in about 10 years and the first one I've had any issue with. My aunt currently has my first one and my parents have my second so they're all still running strong. Plus this one came with a three year warranty - thought it was a one year - so that's really good to know.

Other random business to add to this post. I planted my first round of seeds last night when I got home. It's supposed to be in the upper 70s this whole week so hopefully they'll like the warm weather and will sprout soon.

I talked to the second instructor about Pilates and it turns out she also had a foot surgery and thinks I'll do great in the class. We talked about some modifications on a few of the exercises I may have to do. My foot will also be elevated for most the class so that's perfect! I'm excited to get back into the workout groove again.

This week last year I quit my job. I can't believe it's been an entire year already! I'm in SUCH a better place than I was this time last year. I'm happier and have a job that I REALLY enjoy. I also found out my old boss left last week under some similar circumstances. As much as it sucks to be treated badly at a job, or have a job you enjoyed turn into one you hate, karma can kind of be a bitch right?

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Garden Prep

This weekend I got the garden ready for planting. I pulled up the last of the dead plants including some live carrots that weathered our "winter" including the snow. They're Chantenay Red Core Carrots so they're actually supposed to be short and stumpy.


I raked out a lot of leaves and roots and added two bags of compost and a small bag of peat moss. I also replaced the strings to make new squares.


It was starting to cool off and get dark so I didn't plant anything. I'll probably plant tomorrow morning before heading off to work so they'll have all day in the sun. I'll start with everything in the blue squares.

2011 Garden

As for the seeds I've started some are doing good, others not.


Last weekend I moved the Amish Paste tomatoes into larger peat pots. They're the only ones that had been going strong.


In this tray I have two more paste tomatoes (in case some don't survive the transfer - one is the seedling on the left). On the right is the lone cheery tomato that has sprouted. I've added more seeds to the pods. The jalapenos haven't sprouted at all, but I'm still hoping.


In this tray I have three of the Better Boy tomatoes going. The little one in the upper left is one that I planted last weekend. There is also one bell pepper that has sprouted, but the rest haven't. I've added additional seeds as well as some soil with a few bell pepper seeds and a Better Boy tomato.


If the peppers don't ever take off I may just buy plants when it comes time to plant the peppers and tomatoes. I'm a little disappointed after last year when all my seeds took that this year hasn't been the same. Oh well! It happens.

Monday, February 14, 2011


Warning. I'm posting pictures of my post surgical foot. They're a little gross, but not necessarily graphic in any way. Just some swelling, bruising and some redness. Seriously, my foot looked like it had been run over by a truck.

Last Thursday I went to get my stitches out. I had gone from a bandage like this:


to one that was basically just gauze. I don't have a picture of my gauzed foot, but it was easy to keep a big stretchy sock over and to offer just enough support that I could hobble short distances barefoot. I hadn't seen my foot since 2 days after the surgery when my Dr. changed my surgical dressing. It just looked like a big puffy sausage with some stitches. So when I finally saw my foot a week later, it was a bit shocking. I wasn't really ready for all the bruising. My incision is just over an inch long.


I also thought it was kinda gross that my signature was still on my foot a week and a half later.

Here's my foot today, nearly two weeks after surgery.


Really, you should be glad the first picture was a crappy cell phone one in my bad office lighting because the bruises were ugly. Now they're mostly gone. Plus I finally painted my toenails. Yay!

I still have a bit of swelling, but my Dr. says it looks great. I joked with John last night that it looks like my left foot got botox since the wrinkles are all nice and filled out and my right foot is all sad and wrinkly.

My Dr. cleared me to wear tennis shoes as long as they're comfortable. Honestly, I hadn't thought my foot was that swollen anymore until I tried to put it in a tennis shoe. I can only do short bits in a regular shoe before I have to put the surgical shoe back on. He also said I needed a really good arch support. My right foot was sore from hobbling around, I put the arch support in my right shoe and all the sudden the pain was gone. I couldn't believe it! I'm probably going to be wearing them for the rest of my life they're so wonderful. Nothing compared to the gel insoles I sometimes wear. Go buy yourself some arch supports. They'll solve everything.

I'll be in tennis shoes for awhile, probably about a month. Whenever I ask my Dr. about doing activities or timelines, he still gives me the conservative timeline. The closest he's come to giving me anything shorter is that I just need to do what I'm comfortable with. If I feel like I can wear a tennis shoe, wear it. If it feels better to keep it elevated, then do it. He wants me to keep up with the ibuprofen to help with the swelling and any pain for at least another week. When I asked about activity he said to do what I'm comfortable with.

For now I'm wearing the surgical shoe mostly and keeping it elevated if I'm sitting. Neither are going to hurt me, they'll just help speed my recovery. I'm glad that I'm doing so well, but have been careful not to push myself too far and take it easy after doing any extended activity.

Also Happy Valentine's Day since this post is going to be published Monday morning. John and I decided this year our gift to eachother would be to not give eachother anything and it's fabulous. Best decision ever.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Dear Bag of M&Ms


1. I don't share.

2. I also don't appreciate being called a fatty on the back and now the FRONT of the package because I ate the entire 2 serving bag by myself. I like to pretend that it was only a one serving bag and that the calories actually don't count because it was "one if those days" that warranted the purchase of a bag of chocolate.

Wednesday, February 09, 2011


I was allowed to return to work this week only because my surgery was on my left foot so I could still drive and because my job basically requires me to sit at a desk all day. I still have to keep my foot elevated though (which often makes my leg fall asleep).


Yes, that's an exercise ball. I sit on it when my back hurts.

Also who knew that the fuzzy socks that I get at Christmas from different people each year would finally come in handy? I am not much of a sock person. I swear my feet get colder with socks than without. I much rather wrap my feet in a blanket than put socks on. These fuzzy, weird colored socks though? They're the only ones that have been able to fit comfortably over my bandage. Tomorrow I may rock the red & white striped ones.

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Knitting in the Round

John has been wanting me to knit him a hat since I learned to knit. So while stuck in bed this week I decided to finally take on knitting in the round and make him a hat.

Things I learned:

1. Your needles have to be smaller than the object you're knitting. So for a hat you need a 15 inch circular needle.

2. You don't HAVE to go to double pointed needles if you don't want to towards the end of your hat. It's a bit harder to knit, but really I got down to about 30 stitches before it got really hard and 24 when I cast off.

3. No matter how many videos I watch, knitting on double points looks like a big giant mess that I'm not ready to attempt.

4. Stitch markers make your life so much easier when you're decreasing and on pain meds. I'm sure stitch markers are your friends when not on pain meds as well though.

Finally, there is this wonderful method out there called Magic Loop.

You can also see it here and here. (I love The Knit Witch's tutorials)

Magic Loop lets you knit a small item on long circular needles. I haven't tried it just yet, but will soon.

Here's my finished hat:


John loves it!

IMG_3033 (2)

I knitted John's hat with size 8, 15 inch circular needles. I used Lion's Brand Wool-Ease. I measured John's favorite hat to figure out the size. My pattern says a Large is 18 inches and X-Large is 22 inches. I made a large and chose to cast on 88 stitches rather than 90. Why? Symmetry. You want your stitches to be easily divisible. I did 88 and did 8 decreases as apposed to the 9 you would do with 90. I liked the even number of decreases over the odd.

I did 4 rounds of knit 1, purl 1 ribbing. When knitting in the round you'll always knit the knit stitches and purl the purl stitches for ribbing. Then I knitted every round until my piece measured 5 inches (that's when the decreases started on John's favorite hat). Just knitting results in stockinette stitch. If you want your hat to have a rolled edge, skip the ribbing and just knit.

When I got to 5 inches I started my decreases. I placed stitch markers every 11 stitches. I knitted 9 and then k2tog and repeated the full round. (Use a different colored stitch marker at the beginning of each round so you know where the beginning is) Knit the next round. Repeat these two steps until you have 30 stitches left and then bind off.

Use mattress stitch to sew your seams together at the top of the hat. You can see how to do mattress stitch here and here.

Monday, February 07, 2011

A favorite from the Superbowl

My friend Kandis took this picture of us all during the halftime show. Guess the Black Eyed Peas weren't entertaining.


Saturday, February 05, 2011

Snow Day

We've had a few flurries here and there since I've moved to San Antonio, but no accumulation. They had been muttering the "F" word on the weather station all week - that's F for flurry.

The day came and that's ALL they talked about. Every commercial had a weather update. Snowmaggedon, Snowpocalypse, SnOMG, #AyDiosFrio were all over the news and internet. Texas actually shut down all major highways. Most didn't open here in San Antonio until around noon. This is what happens with the F word is muttered in South Texas. We just don't know how to deal.

John and I talked about staying up to watch the snow fall, but midnight turned into 1, 1 to 2 and all we had was freezing rain so we went to bed. We woke up that morning to this:



Yep. A whole 1/4 of an inch shut down highways and cities across Texas. Actually, it mainly had to do with the layer of ice that was underneath.

I hadn't been doing well pain wise so John actually wheeled me outside in one of the office chairs.


I really wanted to make a snow man, but our snow was more the consistency of shaved ice and wouldn't stick together. John did get a snow ball made and let me throw it at him.


We went out at 8 am, and that's also when it seemed the whole neighborhood came out to play in the snow too.


The dogs though, they were not amused by the snow in any way. They couldn't WAIT to get back inside.


Wednesday, February 02, 2011

As if I Didn't Have Enough to Do

Saturday Julie tweeted that she was going to make a tufted headboard. I've been wanting to make one for awhile now. I had even priced it and picked out fabric. Then I never got around to it. Come on - it took us 6 months to finish one of two bathrooms. We go big in a day or two or go home around here.

There are some great tutorials out there on how to do your own headboard. Here are a few that I consulted:

Centsational Girl
Project Pretty
Apartment Therapy

First we measured to find out how big of a headboard we wanted. We have a king sized bed and our dimensions came out to 78x48. Then we measured the car and decided we'd have to change the dimensions to 78x44 because that's what would fit in the car. Our top mattress is 8 inches so making it to where just 4 inches instead of 8 hung past the mattress wasn't a big deal.

We bought plywood at Home Depot and had them cut it to the dimensions that we needed. We also bought D-Rings so that we could hang it.

Then I went out to buy all the other supplies that I needed - foam, batting, fabric, buttons, and wire to secure the buttons.

I got home and John and I found the studs and put in screws.


John drilled the holes for the D-Rings and the buttons. I decided to do 16 buttons in 3 rows. 5, 6 and 5. The first row is 7 inches from the top and the rows are 7 inches from eachother. There is 13 inches between each button. The top and bottom rows are 13 inches from the edges of the headboard. The middle row is 6.5 inches from the edge, then 13 inches apart and the 6th button is 6.5 inches from the other edge.


I ironed the fabric. I had trouble getting all the wrinkles out so I also hung the fabric from the curtain rings and steamed it.


Then I went out to put the foam on. I used spray adhesive to attach the foam to the plywood.


I straightened the fabric and placed the batting over it.


Then we laid the plywood foam side down and stapled the fabric and batting to the back of the board. Sorry, no pictures of this process, but you can see the back below.

Then came the buttons.


My fabric was not very thick and so it was really easy to make the buttons. (Aside from my crappy circle cutting that luckily gets hidden when you tuck the fabric in) My problem came in "sewing" them on. I used floral wire to attach the buttons. I'm just bad at any type of sewing so getting the needle and wire back through the hole wasn't easy for me. Then (what I eventually found was the easiest way to do it) push the button into the foam, staple the wire to the plywood and hammer the staples into the back of the board so they stay nice and tight. Plus if your buttons aren't the sturdiest like mine you won't break any of them trying to pull them tight (I broke two). Pushing them in and then securing them will give you the look you want.

Here's the finished product:




Here are my addtional tips/problems I ran into and a cost breakdown.

Plywood (HD) - $14.97
D-Rings (HD) - $7.96
3 yards of Fabric (Jo-Ann from the sale bin) - $21.00
Floral Wire (Jo-Ann) - $1.99
Foam (Walmart, rolls of 72x24x1. I bought 2, meant to get 4) - $31.94
Batting (Walmart, I forget the size, something like 90x60)- $8.47
Buttons (Walmart, metal fabric buttons, 4 in a pack, bought 5 packs) - $7.85

Total cost - $94.18 plus tax

My original fabric choice was an upholstery fabric. It was a faux suede looking one and very dark so I decided against it. Now I didn't take time to really price shop aside from what I had done the first time around several months ago. So I may have been able to find a few more deals than what I did. I found linen fabric on sale and bought 3 yards (which is more than plenty for 78 inch headboard). Because it was on sale I couldn't use a coupon. No big deal. I could have used it on the floral wire and saved a $1 but I didn't.

The problem with other fabrics is that they are not as tall as upholstery fabrics. Mine came out to 48 inches so it would work for my 44 inch headboard. Most others are shorter than that so keep that in mind.

Again, because I was doing this in one day I didn't bring a sample home. In store it was a more of a greyish color which is what I was looking for. At home it's much more taupe, but I still like how it looks.

I also bought linen fabric, which I knew would be a pain in the butt to iron. I have a steamer so it wasn't a big deal for me to get all the wrinkles out.

I had originally planned on having two inches of foam. Somehow I got my math screwed up and didn't buy enough foam to double it up. I didn't feel like going back to the store and just went with one. I still like how it looks.

Plus I'm not sure if I would have had quite enough fabric to get it to really look how I wanted with 2 inches of foam. I also don't think the cheapy metal buttons I bought would have been able to hold up being pulled tight with two inches of foam.

The only other thing I wish I'd have paid attention to is which was the top when I was putting the foam on. Again, I'm a crappy crafts person when it comes to measuring and cutting so the pieces that I cut ended up on the top. The top isn't quite as neat as I'd like it and required some additional stapling and tightening to get it to look right.

So just my lessons learned and tips for you. Overall I'm really happy with the look and am enjoying during my "bed rest" this week.

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