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Tuesday, November 27, 2012

I'm Moving

After spending literally 3 hours today trying to arrange a total of 6 pictures in a post on blogger, I am moving over to Word Press. I might just be technology challenged, but I have had several problems formatting in Blogger.

Please add to your RSS feed! New post coming soon. :)

Thanks for reading!

Sunday, October 28, 2012

New House

Front outside

Standing at the front door, looking to the left, there is the living room!
Standing at the front door, looking straight ahead .

First guest bed ... the entire right wall is a closet. Probably the craft room.

Standing in the hallway, door leads to the garage, looking into the hallway bathroom.                                                          
Hallway bathroom - shower, tub, sink, toilet
Guest bedroom - shelves are staying!
Master bedroom
Master bathroom
Kitchen ... and relator. :)
Standing at the back door, looking through the dining room into the living room. Kitchen is on the left. 

Friday, October 26, 2012

Before I'm 25

This is not a "25 Before 25" list.  I think I made one of those on my old blog, and filled it with things I would love to do, however they were mostly expensive and not attainable with the amount of vacation time that we are given at our jobs.

This list will most likely not have 25 things (I'm thinking of things as I write), but it will have a few things that I need to do or think about.

1. Realize that 25 isn't really that old. My baby clock isn't ticking yet, even though I think it is.

2. Complete my yellow and gray bedroom.  We are moving into our first house in December, and the bedroom is my first priority. Here are some ideas I have:

This is the bedspread we currently have.

We currently have this hanging on our wall as well. I want this hanging on one wall. The attractive man in this picture can stay too, I suppose. :)

I want a gallery wall like this. I found a bunch of yellow/gray/teal prints on Etsy that I am asking to have printed for Christmas. I want to put them all in white frames. Maybe the gallery can be on the same wall as the "LOVE" letters?

I want these curtains from Ikea.

I want to make this headboard ... shutters will probably be white or light yellow.

I want this dresser from Ikea

 I will probably paint the walls a really light gray and I also have a dark gray chair my aunt is giving us, if we ever bring a vehicle to Colorado that it will actually fit into.  It used to be my great-grandma's chair. My aunt reupholstered it and it is so cute now!

3. Get more involved with God. We really struggle with personal Bible study. We can barely make it to church some Sundays. I really think it would be good for us to do something together and maybe separately as well.

4. I hate the phrase "bloom where you're planted," but it's the best phrase I can think of for this next one. I want to be happier here, complain about Oklahoma less, let Garrett know that I want to stay here, he isn't the one forcing me to live here.

5. Actually pray for people.  I often say, "I'll be praying for you!" I often forget about it 10 minutes later. I want to work on that.

6. Go to somewhere I avoid because of bad memories, and make a good memory there.

7. Eat healthier. I'm doing a detox the first week of November. I'll keep you posted on how that goes.

8. See a midnight showing. I have been avoiding midnight showings of movies like The Plague. The last time I went to a midnight showing was when Captain America came out and then the next week Harry Potter 7.2 came out. I still hadn't recovered from one when I attended the other. The morning after the second one, I babysat at 8am, and swore off midnight showings. I had never been so exhausted. However, I will be on vacation when Les Miserables comes to theaters.  Midnight showing on Christmas Eve? What do you think, Garrett?

9. Play the piano more when people are around. Garrett says I never play the piano. This isn't true, however, he has zero evidence that I have even touched the piano in the last 6 months. I hate playing in front of people.

10. Think of one more thing for this list. 9 things is a weird amount.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

We Bought A House!

Well, it's official. We bought a house!  This is what it looks like!  Ignore the fire hydrant and electrical box, and check out that great climbing tree!

I would be lying if I told you that our house buying process was stress free. We looked at 4 other houses before this one, and I started to wonder if we should wait until we could afford something bigger. I was just not impressed with a single house that we looked at. Then, this house came along. It has a master bathroom and two different bedrooms that will fit our king-sized bed. It has a one car garage. It has a shed. A room that would be perfect for a craft room. The kitchen is small, but the dining area is good sized. The living room is big and has a cathedral ceiling. I LOVE IT. And, because I love it, so does Garrett.  He's pretty cool like that. 
We made an offer on Monday night, and they accepted it Tuesday without any negotiations. Not only are they paying our closing costs, but they are giving us a pretty big repair allowance, which is awesome because there are a couple things that we wanted fixed.  I will post more pictures when it's our stuff in the house and not someone else's!
Our closing date is November 30th!

Monday, October 22, 2012

Chicago Trip 2012

Every year-and-a-half or so my friend Devin and I drive up to Elgin, Illinois to see our friend Justin. We only went to school together one year, but can easily pick up where we left off. I love it! I love how they have made a commitment to keep up with our friendship even though I am an old married lady now.
Every time we visit, Justin makes sure we go to the city at least once because he knows how much I love it.
This year, the day we went to the city was cold and rainy (just drizzling). I thought it was perfect! The only downside was that my shoes were pretty much soaked by the time we got back on the train to head back. I love how busy the city is.

I love these pictures because you can see how cloudy it was that can't see the tops of the tallest skyscrapers. Even in the clouds, the city is still beautiful.

The ferris wheel at Navy Pier. I really wanted to ride, but it was closed because of the weather.
The Chicago Theater
A statue made out of canoes ... this was new since the last time I was there. Also, notice the Corvette Limo in the back.
View of the city from Navy Pier ... here is one of the shots where you can't see the top of the buildings due to cloud cover.
Another view from Navy Pier
I'm obsessed with this city, ok?!
This is where Batman flips his bike in The Dark Knight.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

What We're Eating Parts 2 & 3

This section of the blog is going to be postponed for 2 weeks. I leave on Thursday for Chicago and Garrett & I always go on a date when one of us goes on a trip. Last night's dinner was at Olive Garden where I had Chicken and Gnocchi soup, stuffed mushrooms, and a mango daiquiri. Yum.

Next Monday, I will be driving home from Chicago, so dinner will most likely be extremely greasy and probably come in a paper sack.

I will leave you with this Chicken and Gnocchi Soup recipe from Taste of Home. We made it last month, and we loved it almost as much as Olive Garden!

Chicken & Gnocchi Soup
1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1/3 cup of butter, divided
1 small onion, chopped
1 medium carrot, chopped
1 celery rib, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
3 1/2 cups of 2% milk
1/3 cup of flour
1 1/2 cups of heaving whipping cream
1 teaspoon reduced sodium chicken bouillon granules
1/4 teaspoon of pepper
1/2 cup of chopped fresh spinach

In a large pot, Brown chicken in 2 tablespoons of butter. Remove and keep warm. In same pot, sauté onion, carrot, celery, and garlic. Whisk in flour, gradually stir in milk, cream, bouillon, & pepper. Let boil. Then reduce heat and cook 2 minutes. Add gnocchi and spinach, cook 3 minutes. Add chicken. Simmer 10 minutes, do not let boil.

Here's a picture of my soup at Olive Garden.
Also a picture of the sunset when we walked out of the restaurant last night, just for fun... :)

Monday, October 1, 2012

What We're Eating Part 1

I have decided to do a series on this blog. Every Monday I will post a recipe of what we are eating for dinner. I will try and do recipes that are relatively easy and cheap!

This week's recipe is Tortellini with Smoked Sausage & Edamame.

You will need:
1 package of frozen tortellini
1 smoked sausage link
1/2 a cup of frozen, shelled edamame
Olive oil
Parmesan cheese (optional)

First off, make sure that you get tortellini from the frozen section of your grocery store. Usually the brands that are sold in the deli section are a lot more expensive.

Slice up the sausage and brown in a frying pan. While the sausage is cooking, boil water and cook the tortellini according to package directions. Usually the tortellini and the sausage get done at about the same time. The edamame can be prepared several ways, but we usually just put 1/2 a cup in a bowl, cover with Saran Wrap and microwave for 2-3 minutes.

Drain the tortellini and place the noodles back in the pot. Add the sausage and edamame to the pot as well. Toss with olive oil. Then eat!!

We both love this recipe. We usually can get 2 dinners out of this. The tortellini is about $4/package, the sausage is $2.50 and the edamame is $1.50. That's an $8 meal that can feed both of us twice!!

Hope you try out this recipe and enjoy!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Pumpkin Chocolate-Chip Bread

Fall is finally here!  To me, fall means cozy cardigans, lots of tea, flannel pajama pants, cooler weather (although Oklahoma seems to need some reminding) and baking with pumpkin.  I love pumpkin. My mom taught me how to bake pumpkin pie when I was young, and to this day it remains at the top of my list of favorite desserts. Two months into our marriage I was gearing up for fall and cooking some pumpkin-cranberry bread, when best friend broke the news to me that he hated pumpkin. After recovering from shock and telling him he should've told me this before proposing, I got over it and ate the whole loaf of bread myself. And you know what? Pumpkin bread is better when you don't have to share it. SO THERE!

This pumpkin chocolate-chip bread is the real deal people! It makes two loaves, so if you are also married to an insane person, maybe you can share it with one of your neighbors. Or not. :)

You will need:
1 (15oz) can of pumpkin puree
3/4 cup of vegetable oil
1 1/2 cups of sugar
3 eggs
2 1/2 cups of flour
3/4 teaspoon of baking soda
3/4 teaspoon of nutmeg
3/4 teaspoon of cloves
2 teaspoons of cinnamon
1 1/2 or 2 cups of chocolate chips

Mix together pumpkin, oil, sugar, and eggs.  You can use a mixer, but I just used a fork.  Add in the flour, baking soda, nutmeg, cloves, cinnamon, and chocolate chips, mixing well after each addition.  Pour mixture into 2 greased bread pans and cook at 350 degrees for 50-60 minutes, or until a toothpick stuck in the middle comes out clean.

Enjoy your little taste of fall!

*photo by Crystal Mumby :)

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Brownie Fail x2

I love to bake. I love sharing my baking successes on this blog - but I also want this blog to show the other sides of my life. Here is one of my baking failures.

This is a little story about how my wonderful husband's brownie craving turned into a kitchen disaster twice in the same week.

Garrett was really craving brownies last week. He mentioned wanting some a couple days in a row, so I offered to make him a batch. I remembered that my mom makes some really delicious chocolate caramel brownies, so I decided to look a similar recipe up online. During our hunt for a simple caramel brownie recipe, we found a recipe for Salted Caramel Bacon Brownies and thought we should give them a try. To make the caramel, the recipe had you melt 1/2 a cup of sugar and then add cream and bacon grease to the melted sugar. The recipe specifically said that the mixture should be a nice auburn color. Well it was that color, for about 1 second, and suddenly the mixture was black and my kitchen was filled with smoke.
We opened the back door and two flies found their way inside our house, and 5 days later one of them is still in our kitchen. I decided that even though the mixture was burned, that there would be enough sugar in the brownies to cover up the burned taste. It still tasted mostly like caramel, and just a little bit like it was burned. The brownie batter was DELICIOUS. So I swirled the brownie batter an the slightly burned caramel together in a baking pan an popped it in the oven. Turns out that when you cook something that is already a little bit burned, it becomes even more burned! I don't know why this didn't occur to me before putting the brownies in the oven. Needless to say, the brownies were disgusting.

Try number 2. I decided to make the same brownies, but leave out the bacon. I did not burn the sugar, however I did forget to add cream to the melted sugar (a mistake I didn't realize until writing this post and thinking about why this attempt failed). While I was mixing the brownie batter, the melted sugar solidified and was hard as a rock. So I remelted and swirled together with the brownie batter. While the brownies were in the oven, the melted sugar caramel basically turned into shards of sugar glass. They didn't taste too bad, but you just had to be really careful eating them so that you didn't cut your mouth up. Garrett and Devin both ate one and declared them "good if you know what to expect and don't mind a little crunch." Well, I do mind a little crunch, especially in caramel brownies!!

That said, it looks like I'm going to buy a box mix for attempt #3. Can't screw those up, right?!

Monday, September 17, 2012

Fall Bucket List

I know a lot of people make bucket lists in the summer, but that is not for me. I feel like my plans often get thwarted by the oppressive Oklahoma heat. Instead of a summer bucket list, I have made one for fall.

1. Go on lots of walks with Garrett.

Thanks to the cooler weather this past weekend (finally!) we were able to take a few walks this weekend. The best part was that Garrett let me step on all the crunchy leaves -- that's love, people!

2. Plan Halloween costumes.

Yes, I am one of those people who likes to do couple Halloween costumes. Right now I am thinking Black Widow and The Hulk, but Garrett is trying to get me to let him dress like Bruce Banner. Sounds like a cop-out if you ask me ... :)

3. Bake lots of things with pumpkin.

Although, I'm not sure who will eat everything because I married a crazy person that doesn't like pumpkin.

4. Go camping at the Wichita Mountains.

Camping is something that I enjoyed as a kid and hated as a teenager. Too much family togetherness. However, I really think I would like to hike and camp with Garrett.

5. Clean the house.

I do not believe in spring cleaning. It's already too hot to go upstairs in the spring. We might be moving soon, so I need to clean some stuff out anyways.

We also have some exciting things already planned for fall!

We are going to see the Broadway play Lion King in a couple weekends. It is playing in Wichita which is only a couple hours away from our house. This will be our anniversary present to ourselves. I am SO EXCITED.

My brothers are also coming to stay with us for a weekend. I haven't lived at home since they were 10 and 8, and now they are 17 and 15. It's hard to believe how much they change every time I see them. I was able to see them over the summer, and they are both taller than me and attempting to grow facial hair. So weird!

What exciting things do you and your families have planned for the fall?

Monday, September 10, 2012

DIY Menu Board

Recently we have had a big problem with throwing away food. We are really, really bad about eating leftovers.
A couple weeks ago, I made this menu board, hoping that if I actually wrote down the meals we were having, and what day we would eat them, that maybe we would throw away less food.

You will need:
- A collage style photo frame
- Scrapbook paper
- A dry erase marker
- Stickers (optional)

All you have to do is cut the scrapbook paper to fit the sections of the frame; mine were 4"X6".
On each paper I put a letter sticker with the first letter or abbreviation of the day of the week, and since I had one frame left over, I made that one "list" so we could write down when we use the last of a certain thing.
Simply put the paper in the frame the same way you would a picture.
You can write what you are having for dinner that week on the glass with a dry erase marker.

So far, we have actually done pretty well eating all the food that we buy! We schedule 2 days a week for leftovers, which helps as well.

Even if you don't have problems eating your food, this could still be a cute addition to your kitchen!

How We Are Happy

Recently Garrett was talking to a co-worker about being married and how we do everything together. His co-worker responded with, "Oh, that will change in a couple years!" thinking that we must have only been married for a few weeks. He was shocked to find out that Garrett and I have been married almost the exact amount of time as him and his wife. I often have friends tell us that we are "too cute for our own good" and have had a few people mention that they have marriages as happy as ours. I take both of these as HUGE compliments. I hope that we always give people the impression that we are newlyweds!

Obviously we have only been married 2 years and still have many things to learn about being married, but here are 5 things that I think have made the last 2 years so great!

1. Garrett is the first person I tell anything, big or small. I try to make sure he doesn't find things out about me from someone else. I haven't always been great about this. I am slightly addicted to Facebook and he is ...not. He started having Facebook send him emails whenever I would post something. That was a huge eye-opener for me...tell your spouse before you tell Facebook!! Even if it's something small, like something funny a kid at work said or did, I'll usually text it to him so he can laugh about it before sharing it with everyone else.

2. We go to bed angry sometimes.
I think the advice "never go to bed angry" is complete crap. If its 2am, and you can't even remember why you are arguing in the first place, it's probably time to just go to sleep. Usually we wake up and aren't mad anymore.

3. We go to bed at the same time.
Occasionally, Garrett won't be tired when I am, so he will stay up later watching tv, but he still lays in bed until I go to sleep. Personally, I don't understand how one person can go to bed at 10 and their spouse not come to bed until 4. That's 6 hours you could be spending together! Who cares of you're asleep?! Sleeping is the best thing ever! Why not share it with your favorite person?!

4. We hold hands excessively. If we are standing or sitting next to each other, we are holding hands. To go along with that, we tend to not separate in big groups. Unless of course he is talking to a bunch of guys about some computer thing. If we are playing a board game with friends, we sit next to each other. If there is only one spot on the couch when a big group of us are watching a movie, we both sit on the floor. We just stay together a lot of the time.

5. We try things that the other person likes. Garrett likes really obscure nerdy board games that not many have heard of. I try to play each one at least once. If I don't like it, then I won't play again, but I have been surprised at how fun some of the games have been! He watches chik-flicks with me, usually without complaining. :) If we never tried something we wouldn't normally be drawn to, there wouldn't be very many things for us to do together.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Life Happens...

This month has been pretty discouraging for me. This is the first month that we were going to start saving up a pretty significant amount of money for a house. We were saving here and there, but I was ready to get serious. That plan changed when we spent all we were going to save plus some fixing both of our cars. Today, Garrett's truck wouldn't start. We haven't even taken it in to see what is wrong with it, but it is hard to decide if we should keep fixing an old car or if we should just buy a new one. Either one will cost money and set us further back than we planned for buying a house.
I am anxious to buy a house because I have a bad case of baby fever. We will likely adopt our first child and I have read statistic after statistic that has said that couples paying a mortgage are way more likely to get picked to be parents than people who are just paying rent. That said, I want to buy a house ASAP!!!

Sometimes we need to take a step back, take a deep breath, and remember that God's timing is perfect. Our timeline for life might not always be the same is His, and we need to step back and ask him to get us back on track and just trust that He knows what He is doing. Satan wants us to stress out about worldly things and take our eyes off of God's way, but we can't give into him.

I am confident that one day Garrett and I will live in a nice house and we will have a baby. It might not happen as quickly as I would like (yesterday), but I have to keep my faith in God and trust that he knows my deepest desires.

In the mean time, if you read this, please pray that we will work everything out.
Have a great rest of the week!

Sunday, August 26, 2012

A New Creation

Today in class at church, we focused on the passage found in 2 Corinthians 5:17. "Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!"
Our teacher pointed out that the word "new" in this verse, doesn't necessarily mean something that is brand new, something that has never before been in existence. It actually is referring to more of a renewal. For Paul, the author of 2 Corinthians, this renewal brought about several changes in his mannerisms and views. He mentions no longer having a worldly view of Christ. We know from reading elsewhere in the Bible that Paul, or rather Saul, actually persecuted Christians. When he becomes a new creation, his view of people changes. Instead of killing them, he is actually persuading them to follow Christ. The love of Christ completely controls him.

The idea of being a new creation is something that I have had some problems grasping. I grew up in a Christian household, and generally was a good kid. When I was a teenager, my mom and I didn't get along very well, and there were some rules that I broke, but I never got into any really serious trouble. I was in a program called Bible Bowl where I did some pretty intense Scripture memorizing and studying. I was homeschooled, and had many friends through that, and also had several friends at church. Every single one of my friends was a Christian. When our youth pastor encouraged us to bring our unsaved friends to church, I really had no one I knew to invite.

When I got to college, I struggled with my beliefs a lot. I was sucked into the reality that I really needed to decide what my own faith was. I was not raised in a Church of Christ, so I was suddenly having my beliefs challenged by many of my closest friends and professors. I responded to this by finally asking my friends to quit bothering me about it and pretty much decided that Sunday morning was a really good day to sleep in. .  During my freshman and sophomore years of college I did some things that I am not extremely proud of. Sometimes, it is really difficult for me to not mentally dwell on those mistakes. Because of the mistakes that I had made, I was not very close to God at all. I didn't really study for my Bible classes - the work came easily to me because of my upbringing in a church and involvement in Bible Bowl. My junior year of college, I was baptized by my friend Tim. I didn't feel like a new creation, I felt totally the same. And I was the same on the outside, it was the inside that was changing.. Although the inside of me was becoming closer and closer to God, and still is, there are definitely times where I still dwell on the mistakes I made in the past.

Today's lesson really struck a chord with me. We talked about how a renewal doesn't always change an outward appearance, but changes the heart. Sometimes we have to wake up each day and remind ourselves that we are not going to participate in our old behavior. We have a new way of living that should come naturally to us, but it is still hard to get accustomed to. The way we used to live is no longer a part of us and there should be nothing about our old selves that we should overlook or forget, because it was washed away when we became a new creation. When the sins of the past are washed away, we still have to work at forgiving ourselves. I think that is the hardest part.

When we become a new creation, we should physically and mentally no longer be able to participate in the negative things we did in the past. Our teacher tied this back to Genesis, in Joseph's response to Potipher's wife. She has just asked him to sleep with her, and Joseph replies, "How could I possibly do such an evil thing against God?" Because he is a believer in God, he CAN'T! That should be how it is for us. It is hard to stay on the path that God has laid out for us, but when we become a new creation, we are no longer alone on the path. We have someone there with us who is keeping us on the path as well and helping us not to dwell on our past selves.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Starbucks Mocha Frappuccino

This summer, I became completely hooked on bottled Starbucks Frappuccinos. I worked at a daycare and often had to make trips to Wal-Mart before school, either for school supplies or because half-way to work I realized that I had forgotten to pack a lunch. I don't even want to know how much money I spent on those little bottles of delicious coffee. Last weekend, Garrett suggested that we find a recipe for how to make our own. Smart man, that one. :)
We found several recipes on the interwebs and I played with them a little. I knew I wouldn't be satisfied with homemade unless it tasted REALLY close to the original. 

Here is the closest tasting combo that I came up with. It is pretty dang good. And, it's approx 50 calories less than the store bought version, which is always a win in my book. 

Unfortunately, I did not take any pictures of the creation of the drink, but it is pretty self explanatory. One thing that I think really helped make the coffee taste pretty close to the original is the kind of coffee used, so I quickly snapped a picture of the coffee bag before writing this blog. Make sure to buy Starbucks Dark Espresso Roast. It looks like this and can be found at your local WalMart ... you will need 1/4 of a cup for this recipe.

Now, for the rest of the recipe. 
You will also need:
1/4 a cup of sugar 
2 Tablespoons of unsweetened cocoa 
6 cups of whole milk 
On some websites, I saw that you could use low-fat milk with 1 Tablespoon of pectin added, but I don't know what that is, so I went for the easy route. Wal-Mart was really crowded while I was shopping for these ingredients, so I wasn't big on spending any more time in the store than absolutely necessary.

First, make your coffee. Use 1/4 of a cup of coffee and 2 cups of cold water to your coffee maker, push start, and enjoy the fabulous smell that is engulfing your kitchen. 

Next, using a whisk, mix the sugar and cocoa into the coffee mixture until completely dissolved.
Once dissolved, add the 6 cups of milk. 
Viola. That was easy, wasn't it?!

If you have a bunch of old frappuccino bottles waiting to be recycled, this mixture will fill up 5 of them. I only had one, so I keep my coffee in a pitcher, and fill up one bottle every morning. 

Here is the best part. Normally a 9.5oz bottle goes from anywhere to $1.70 (7-11) to over $2.00 (CVS). One 9.5 oz bottle of this homemade version should cost you anywhere between 40-60 CENTS, depending on where you shop and what brands you buy! 

Monday, August 20, 2012

Anniversary Weekend

Today is our 2nd anniversary! Since weekdays aren't very conducive to celebrating, we decided to celebrate on Saturday. The morning started off with some of our favorite weather ... cool and rainy. We are both HUGE fans of rain. It was the perfect start to a perfect day!

We started the day playing Keckopoly, the game I made that was described in this post. Since Monopoly takes a billion hours, we took a break for lunch at Nhinja Sushi followed by some frozen yogurt at Red Mango.
Here is Garrett half-way through playing Keckopoly ... he only had 2 dollars left and was obviously thrilled that I had decided to document the day in pictures ... of course, an hour later he had taken all my money and I had to forfeit because I couldn't pay him rent for landing on his space with 2 houses on it.
After Garrett completely whooped me at Keckopoly, we went to the best dinner of our lives at Deep Fork Grill. I highly recommend it if you live in Oklahoma City and are looking for a nice place to eat dinner. I got lobster fettuchine alfredo and it was the best lobster and the best alfredo I have ever had. Their rolls are really delicious too ... always a plus! We were definitely in food heaven for a solid 2 hours afterwards. After dinner, we went to the lake/pond where we got engaged and took some pictures.
 Here is where I miraculously shrank 4 inches ... usually we are the exact same height.
Garrett is pretty good at picking out gifts ... by that I mean that I send him an e-mail with some things that I like, and he picks a couple off the list. He got major brownie points this year because recently I have been obsessed with elephants. Last summer, our zoo got a baby elephant and ever since then I can't get enough. I have collected some pretty cool things in the past year - a couple of my family members even had some things to give me. I'm going to be that old lady with 1000 elephants in her house - although I don't think Garrett will let it get THAT bad. This iPhone case and elephant necklace were perfect presents!

I will end this post with my favorite picture from our wedding day. I can't believe it has already been 2 years. Being married has been the greatest experience of my life!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012


I recently saw an idea on Pinterest for a DIY Monopoly board. What the girl had done was basically just changed the locations on the board to places that were special to her and her boyfriend.  

Garrett and I are going to be celebrating our 2nd anniversary on August 20th, so I decided to make a similar adaptation of the game, using places that meant something special to us, starting the day we met, and ending on the day of our 2nd anniversary.

To make the board, I bought a large piece of posterboard and literally traced a Monopoly board. It made the spacing of each square super simple. I also tried to keep the same color scheme as the locations on the board so that I wouldn't have to make cards with the rent and prices of each location, but unfortunately I didn't have the right colors to do that. I did leave all the prices of the locations in the same order that they are on an original Monopoly board. 
At the bottom of this post is a list of all the places that I used and the reason they are on the board. I put it at the bottom so that if you don't care you don't have to read it! :)

I kept the income tax, railroad, community chest, jail, Go, Free Parking, and utility spaces in the same place as the original board, but I changed the names of some of the spaces. For the railroads, I used "Honeymooners Railroad," "Cupid's Arrow Railroad," "True Love Railroad," and "Sweetheart Railroad."  I changed "GO" to "Home" and "Free Parking" was changed to "Free Rent."
I called our game KECKOPOLY ... clever, I know. :)
Here is my board:

For chance and community chest cards, I left any dollar amount the same, but on some I changed the wording to apply more to our own lives. 

(I wish our student loans were only $150...)

Finally, here are the location cards that I made. This one is for Edmond Church of Christ, where we got married. Using the original Monopoly board, I saw that this space corresponded to Kentucky Ave. So, I found the Kentucky Ave property card, and just copied everything that was written on the card. 

For the railroad cards, electric cards, game pieces, and money, I am just going to use the original pieces from the board. 

Here is the list of the places that I used:

-Tim & Grace's Apartment, OC Phase 2 (where we were first introduced!)
-Cracker Barrel, Edmond, OK (where we went on our blind date, accompanied by Tim and Grace)
-Tinsel Town Theater, OKC, OK (another stop on our blind date)
-Josh and Kristen's House, Edmond, OK (this is where I was living when we met. At some point after our blind date, he brought his Star Wars movies over because I hadn't ever seen them. My roommates encouraged me to see if he could stay and watch one with me. I have no idea what it was about.)
-Red Couch @ OC Library (where we first said, "I love you.")
-Kenz's Apt OC Phase 4 (where we had our first kiss)
-Chatuauqua Park, Boulder, CO (we visited my family so that Garrett could ask my dad if he could marry me! This is one of the places I took him to while we were there.)
-Pearl Street, Boulder, CO (another stop on our Colorado trip that I have many fond memories of and wanted to share with him)
-Teal Ridge Pond, Edmond, OK (where we got engaged)
-OC Pond, Edmond, OK (where the Alpha guys ambushed Garrett on our way home from church and "ponded" him - an OC tradition)
-The Melting Pot OKC, OK (where my in-laws took us to celebrate our engagement)
-Edmond Church of Christ, Edmond, OK (where we got MARRIED!!!)
-The Airport Hyatt, OKC, OK (where we spent the night of our wedding)
-The Water Tower Hyatt, Chicago, IL (the hotel where we stayed on our honeymoon)
-Soupbox, Chicago, IL (our favorite place to eat on our honeymoon - we ate here for lunch every day)
-Navy Pier, Chicago, IL (one of the places we went on our honeymoon)
-Wrigley Field, Chicago, IL (another stop on our honeymoon)
-Peter Pan's Flight, Disney World (we went to Disney World with some friends in Oct. 2011, and this was my favorite ride)
-The Dole Whip Stand, Disney World (another Disney World favorite ... the BEST pineapple soft serve)
-Smashburger, Edmond, OK (one of our "go to" restaurants when we want to go out.)
-Nhinja Sushi, Edmond, OK (another one of our "go to" restaurants ... and where I finally introduced Garrett to the wonderfulness of sushi)
-The Grandison Inn Bed and Breakfast (we were going to go here this coming weekend to celebrate our anniversary, but then both of our cars broke down in the same week so we had to cancel our reservation to help pay to fix them, but we are definitely planning on going at a different time!)

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Brownie Batter Dip

Have you ever opened your cabinet and found 3 half-used bags of pretzels? I only use pretzels for baking, and one time I needed the skinny stick variety, and one time I needed the kind that look like grids. I also had half a bag of the normal looking ones.

While I was on Pinterest yesterday, I found the perfect use for all my pretzels: Brownie Batter Dip! This is the perfect snack for an evening of Olympics watching or a game night with friends.

You will need:
8oz of softened cream cheese
1/2 a cup of melted butter
2 1/2 cups of powdered sugar
5 T of flour
5T of cocoa powder
2T brown sugar
3T of milk
1t of vanilla

Use a hand mixer to cream together the cream cheese and the butter. Then add 2 cups of the powdered sugar and 1 tablespoon of milk. Mix well. Then add the flour, cocoa, brown sugar, vanilla, and one more tablespoon of milk. Mix well. At this point the mixture could be considered done, but add another 1/2 cup of powdered sugar and 1T of milk until it is the thickness that you like. Eat right away with pretzels or let chill for about 30 minutes if you want it a little thicker.


Monday, August 6, 2012

Homemade Bisquick

Growing up, I was extremely lucky to have a mother that cooked everything!  I don't think I ever ate anything out of a box. I'm sure as a kid that I probably complained about missing out on Kraft macaroni and Capri Suns, but now I am grateful. I think having my own kitchen and someone else to cook for made me realize that it's kind of a pain in the butt. I like cooking well enough, but my mom cooked 3 meals a day ... everyday! Maybe someday I will be that awesome, but for now, I will continue feeding Garrett cereal for dinner at least twice a week. Luckily, he doesn't mind!

The great thing about eating lots of homemade food growing up is that it really was homemade!  As soon as my mom realized how much money she could save by making her own biscuit mix, she always made up this recipe. We used to have biscuits and gravy all the time when my dad was out of town, because it was a meal that he didn't like. We went through those expensive boxes of pre-made mix very quickly.  If you like biscuits, then save yourself some money and try out this mix!

You will need:
An airtight container (I bought one that said it could fit 16 cups, and this mixture BARELY fit.)
9 cups of flour
1/4 cup of sugar
1/3 cup of baking powder
3 teaspoons of salt
1 teaspoon of cream of tarter
2 cups of shortening

Mix together dry ingredients in a large bowl. Then use a fork to cut in the shortening. Mixture should resemble coarse crumbs. Store in an airtight container in a cool, dry place for up to 6 months.

For biscuits, combine 3 cups of mix with 2/3 of a cup of milk. Mix well.  Turn out onto a floured surface and knead 10-15 times. Roll out until dough is 1/2 an inch thick. Then cut with a biscuit cutter.  Cook at 425 degrees for 12-14 minutes.

You can also add 1/2 a cup of sharp cheddar cheese to the mixture, bake, and then brush a garlic salt/butter mixture over the biscuits when they are done for some yummy Garlic Cheddar Biscuits!


Thursday, July 26, 2012


If we are not friends on Facebook, then there is something you probably don't know about me.  I am an independent consultant for Premier Designs Jewelry. The fall catalog just came out, and I am doing a catalog party for my friends and followers on the internet. The Premier catalog has over 500 pieces of high fashion jewelry, and each piece comes with Premier's golden guarentee: if your jewelry breaks because of manufacture defect within the first 60 days of you owning the jewelry, you get a replacement FOR FREE, and any time it breaks after the 60 days you can replace the jewelry for just 5 dollars.

This is how a catalog party works:
If you love jewelry, and would love some new pieces, let me know!  You can send me an email at garrettandkenzie(at)gmail(dot)com with your address and I will mail you a catalog. You can look through it and we can touch base through phone or e-mail to get you the pieces that you would like to order.

I am also making this party "mystery hostess."  Everyone that orders will get placed in a drawing. Whoever wins the drawing will get the benefits of a normal party hostess!  You will receive up to 50 dollars in free jewelry, 4-6 pieces at 1/2 price, and 30% of the retail value of the party in FREE jewelry!

This party will take place from now (July 26th) until August 15th.  You have between now and then to e-mail me with your address, look through a catalog, and get back to me with an order. I will draw the winner on August 15th, you will be contacted that day, and I will tell you about your hostess benefits!

Let me know if you would like to participate!

Monday, July 23, 2012

TOMS flag wallet

TOMS flag crafts have been all over Pinterest lately.  I recently saw a picture of a cute TOMS wallet. I didn't click on the link because I knew I could make it myself.  I am not the best at explaining things and my pictures are a little sketchy, so if you can't understand these instructions there are many more tutorials out there that you can easily find by searching on Google. 

To start, iron all the creases out of your flag.
Flip your flag over and fold up the bottom blue section. Iron at the crease.

 This is what it will look like right-side-up.  Using a dollar bill to measure (or just eye-ball it) mark on the front of your flag how big you want your wallet to be.
 Flip back over, and cut off the extra pieces of the flag. Save the extra!
 Next, cut off the top blue section too.  Save that as well!  The extra pieces will be used for credit card pockets.
 Next, fold up 1/4 of an inch on each side for seams.  Iron at the crease and then sew.
 Next, fold your wallet in half!  Don't sew up the sides yet.  It is easier to sew on the credit card pockets if your wallet isn't completely together yet.
 For the credit card pockets I just folded my wallet in half, like it would be if it was closed.  Then, using the extra scraps from the flag, I measured how big one half of the wallet was, and cut the scrap a little bit smaller than that.
 Unfold your flag, and sew those pockets on!  I only did one on each side, but there were probably enough scraps for 2 per side.
 Finally, fold the wallet in half lengthwise and stitch up the sides.
Ta-da! Your wallet is finished! 

Now, the only issue I have had with this wallet is that it is a little flimsy. If it turns upside-down in my purse, the cards tend to fall out.  This is a huge problem for me because I have one of those huge Mary-Poppins-purses, so digging around for a credit card or ID could take awhile.  It needs some kind of lining or maybe I just need to make the credit card pockets a little tighter fitting so they can't slide around. Any ideas?