Saturday, November 24, 2012

I survived!

I did it! Thanksgiving was a success. I have to admit, having everyone bring a little something was a HUGE help. I'm sure that roasting a turkey would have sent me right over the edge. Thankfully, my mom and step-dad took care of that for me.

I wish I had some pics to share, but in the chaos of timing the food (that was probably the most difficult part) so that we all had a hot meal, I wasn't able to take any. Hopefully my family will share their shots and I can add to this later, but for now, I hope that everyone had a wonderful holiday! Now, let the Christmas craziness begin.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Thanksgiving Eve

I don't know where this day has gone. Somehow in my pre-thanksgiving frenzy I have managed to spend the ENTIRE day cooking. I will admit that when people used to tell me that they did this, I never believed them. I guess this is karma laughing in my face. Okay Karma, I get it. Thanks for the lesson!

My morning started with creating a pecan cheesecake. Now I realize that this was wayyyyyy over my cooking ability and patience threshold. It better be freakin' delicious because it took me over three hours to put together. At the beginning I was all ready to document my first Thanksgiving preparations so that my sisters could laugh at me. (Yes, I know I am a TOTAL dork. You don't need to tell me...again, Ladies)
Here are all the ingredients:

Yes, I was not messing with you, I started cooking at 7:00 this morning. And I even took a picture to prove it. This was a little into the process, obviously.
This was literally like cooking two cakes in one. I made the crust out of vanilla cookies. Then had to make the filling for a pecan pie. (I was literally holding the mixer in one hand and stirring the mixture over the stove with the other.) Because both hands were occupied, I couldn't take a picture of that one, but I did get a shot of the bubbling gooey mess before I started with the mixer.
I have to tell you, at this point I was FREAKING out. I thought this little adventure was going to be a disaster. But I pushed on because I didn't want to crumble to the ground and start crying in front of my five year old.

At this point, I completely gave up on taking pictures. I will snap one tomorrow before we eat...if I remember. After I got this interesting looking mixture into the crust, I still had to make the cheesecake, then bake if for an hour, then let it sit for another hour in the over. This waiting game was not something that I had planned on. Oh well, c'est la vie!

At 4:45 I was done cooking for the night (well, except dinner) and had precooked:
1 pecan-pie cheesecake (Taste of the South magazine)
1 chocolate fudge pie (Real Simple)
1 pumpkin pie
green bean casserole
orange glazed carrots
stuffed mushrooms

Looking at this list, I feel like I accomplished NOTHING. I did get the upstairs of the house cleaned (Yay!) but not the downstairs (boo!). I am keeping my fingers crossed that everything goes smoothly tomorrow.

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone! I hope you have a fun-filled day with friends and family. There is SO much to be thankful for! Oh, and Mom, I'm sorry I never appreciated the day long cook-fest that you had to go through to get Thanksgiving ready. I get it now. Thank you!

Monday, November 19, 2012


Have you ever heard of Movember?
Me either!

Apparently Movember is a way for men to raise money to support prostate cancer research. (Read more here). I know deep down, that this is a wonderful cause. And I applaud all men who participate. Really, I do. But, I was less than thrilled when I heard that my husband was planning on joining in.

Why, you may ask. Am I some kind of heartless human being? No, at least I hope not. I tried to problem solve with him when I heard about this wonderful, awesome way to show support to all mankind. Maybe he could wear a fake mustache around work all day? No? Okay, maybe try for a full beard, mustache combo. I know, I am not super psyched about the lumberjack look, but ANYTHING is better than the solo mustache. He calmly explained the rules to me and then, when I continued to whine, directed me to the rules on the website.

Thankfully the month is almost over! I have made sure to take every opportunity to remind him that the mustache look just isn't the best for him.. in the nicest way possible of course. I just want to make sure that when the calendar page turns from November to December that the thing on his face goes away with it.  Apparently he is getting similar feedback from his colleagues, so I am starting to realize that I really have nothing to worry about.

In an attempt to support the cause, (and apologize?) I decided to make a little memento for the members of his group participating in Movember. So, thanks to Pinterest... Behold! My attempt to support Movember:

It was SUPER easy. All you need is some white mugs and a black Sharpie. Simply draw whatever you want on the mug and bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes (at least that's what Pinterest told me to do). Apparently, these beauties are handwash only, but hey it was super simple and kind of fun!

Apparently participants are EVERYWHERE. As we watched football last night by husband was jumping out of his seat at each mustache siting. Anyone else out there participating in Movember, or have a loved one who has joined in?

1st Thanksgiving... AHHH! Guess we need a table.

Obviously it's not really my first Thanksgiving, but it is the first one that I am in charge of so, yeah, I am under a little pressure. I should have seen it coming. After all, my husband has been telling me for YEARS that when we get a bigger house, holidays would be at home.

We also have the added challenge of just moving into the house and not having enough furniture for it. We have spent the last three weekends on a whirlwind shopping spree...well, not really shopping spree, but an all out search to find cheap inexpensive furniture for the house. Needless to say, the hubby is about to kill me. I have brought back two rugs, and I am now itching to bring back the third. We have completely failed to find chairs for the living room, and have decided to use our outdoor wicker furniture in our living room for the big day. (Classy, right?) And we have spent an inordinate amount of time refinishing a table from his mother's house. That's right, we got it totally done, only for him to turn to me and say, "the top isn't smooth enough." So we had to sand the whole thing down and start again.

If you want to know how to, eventually, refinish a table, I have put the steps below. My helpful hint for today: make sure the top is as smooth as you want it BEFORE staining and polying it, or you will have to do it ALL over again.

Start with a nice table, that looks just slightly outdated:

Sand the ENTIRE thing down.
 (Make sure that it is as smooth as you would like it THE FIRST TIME.)

Pick out the stain that you would like. 
We were originally going to do the base in an espresso stain to match our island cabinets and have the top lighter. But, once we started putting the lighter stain on the top, my ultra-conservative husband we decided to go with all one color.

Helpful hint: If you aren't sure which stain you like, find some scrap pieces of the same wood (or even use the underside of the table if it is all you have) and test out the different stain colors. This way you can make sure that you like the color BEFORE putting it on the whole table.
Extra points if you do it in your pj's!

Wait for it to dry (the can says 4-6 hours) and then apply another coat (if you want it to be darker).

Wait for it to dry... again. 
Then apply a coat of poly. We chose the satin finish.
Expect to wait a little longer because you will have some more drying time...
Use steel wool to lightly sand the top to get rid of the annoying little air bubbles from the poly.
Then apply another coat of poly. We only did two coats of poly because I an a VERY impatient person and we had already gone through the whole procedure twice. I just couldn't wait anymore.

And, after 24 hours of final drying time, VOILA:

Dining table fit for Thanksgiving... well, almost. 

And before you ask, no the chairs aren't done yet. I am still trying to convince the husband to paint them because I ABSOLUTELY don't want to sand all six chairs. 

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Home from the Ground Up!

My husband and I recently built a house. At the time, we had NO idea what we were getting ourselves into. All we knew was that our house had sold unexpectedly and we could NOT find a new house to buy. As soon as we were under contract we started desperately searching. Alas, there was nothing... ABSOLUTELY nothing. As our closing date neared we bit the bullet and decided to move in with my (extremely generous and loving) parents to buy ourselves more time.

Boy, do I have some stories and advice to share from those days, but those are for another day...

After two months of searching, we decided to build. We found a builder that we LOVED and a location that met all most of our requirements for our new home. It is my hope to share all of the details of this adventure with you and, hopefully, give some ideas, advice, thoughts about building your own home and what to do after it is built. Believe me, there is a TON of work to do after the house is "finished" to get it to "home" status. I should know, we ours is still a work in progress.

Along the way there may also be some DIY, recipe, decorating, life, and other family type things because I can't stick to one topic at a time and life is kind of all over the place like that. Enjoy!