Thursday, September 29, 2011

First Anniversary & First Home

Oh my...I feel so disconnected from blogging.  It's so weird, but I miss it so much!  Let me try to play catch up VERY quickly.  There is not enough time in the day.

First of all, J and I celebrated our 1st Anniversary!  I just cannot get over how fast this year went.  And just how blessed we have been through it all.  I know I always say that but I have to give all of the credit to God because without our foundation in Him, we would not be where we are today.  He has seen us through everything and increased our blessings by more than we could have ever imagined.  He is so faithful, always!  I just hope who ever reads this is inspired to have a marriage founded in Christ to last a lifetime.  He is the way.

Our 1st Anniversary, although VERY special, was also very eventful.  Like I said, we have been blessed.  I just started my new job not too long ago so I am staying extremely busy....This meant that our week long vacation we had planned was out of the question.  Also, we were closing on our new house 5 days after our anniversary so money was to stay put until that process went through.  So for our present to each other - it was our Sales Contract on our house.  First anniversary is supposed to be paper so I thought it fit the bill, haha!  Our new home is more than enough for any "present".  It's where I get to build my future with my husband and raise a family.  We did manage to squeeze in a nice romantic dinner;)  And eat our top tier from our wedding cake (which by the way, was still as good as it was on the day of our wedding).

Here's to many more years with this amazing man!

So, like I mentioned up there about 100 times, WE ARE HOMEOWNERS!!!!!  Ahh!!!  I still have to pinch myself.  I just can't believe it!  But we have worked SO hard to reach this goal.  Nothing has ever been handed to either of us on a silver platter and we had to put ourselves through school and work very hard to get to where we are today.  And the best part - we did it together.  This just goes to show that good ole fashioned hard work does pay off.  Some say we are living the "American Dream," but this is way more than that, folks.  This is the Lord's way of being faithful to us because we were faithful to Him.  We work hard and do honest work.  Nothing came easy, but it is so worth it.

Now I must say, the home buying process was painless for us (we were fortunate).  It probably helped that I worked in that industry for about 4 years so I knew all the ins and outs and terminology.  We did not have one hang-up and closing was perfect.  I can't wait to finally be settled!  We're working on painting this weekend.  Well, J and my brother-in-law are.  I will just critique.  :)  Picking paint colors has been a lot more difficult than I imagined.  We finally settled on Sherwin Williams as a brand and finalized our colors last night.  I'll post pictures when it is all finished.  Here is some inspiration from Pinterest, my favorite website ever.

Living Room Layout

Cabinet Color Inspiration

I'll get to decorate so much more at the new home!  I look forward to holiday celebrations for many years to come at this house.  We can't wait to have our family and friends gather at our home.  We took Rosie over last night for the first time and she loved it!  It helps that cats frequent the yard so she had lots to sniff.

Since it's almost Friday, I hope y'all have a great weekend!  I know I will - garage sale shopping, school stuff, seeing old friends, and getting to enjoy my new house.

Be blessed! XOXO

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Weekend Recap, Church & Recipes

This weekend has been special for so many reasons.  First off, it was my husband's birthday...and a pretty land mark one too!  I love birthdays and tried to make this one extra special.  My kids wanted to make him a gift, but instead we made him a card from my class...I have the sweetest kids!  We were able to spend the day together pigging out, relaxing and of course watching some Hog football (as well as any other game on TV).  I am so blessed to have this wonderful man as my husband and even more blessed that the Lord has given us another year.

Today is September 11th....10 years since the awful attacks on U.S. soil - something I never thought I'd see in my lifetime.  All weekend we've spent time watching interviews and new stories related to that infamous day.  I just couldn't help but break down every time I watched one. Tears would just stream down my face and I'd turn to J and ask if I was silly for being so upset.  It's just heart wrenching.  If I could, I'd love to sit and watch an interview of every single survivor and hear every story of a person who's life was lost that day.  I feel that I owe it to them.  They were just ordinary people like me...going to work on a beautiful Tuesday morning.  They had no idea what fate awaited them.  May we never forgot.  I'll always remember.

I was so nervous about church this morning because I just knew I'd spend the whole morning crying, but it was so uplifting and just what I needed.  Pastor made an excellent comparison to the sacrifices made 10 years ago today and also the sacrifices made over 2000 years ago - the one true Lord who died to save US ALL.  God has really laid his hand on our nation since the 9-11 attacks and prevented others from occurring.  We, as a nation, need to unite together and come back to Him...One Nation Under God.  Pastor preached from Isaiah 33:22 and it was such a powerful message.  He tied the verse into God's reign and control over our great country.  Basically, it's broken down like this.

"For the LORD is our judge, the LORD is our lawgiver, the LORD is our king; it is he who will save us." - Isaiah 33:22

1.  For the LORD is our judge - He is the Judicial Branch
2.  the LORD is our lawgiver - He is the Legislative Branch
3.  the LORD is our king -  He is the Executive Branch

And it is ONLY He who will save us.

I'm a teacher and I definitely respect when someone breaks things down in layman's terms.  It just makes so much sense.  My wish is that all of our great nation would unite together under this knowledge and truth instead of being so divided by political beliefs.  I vow to do my part to make this possible.

Now, I've been out of the blogging loop due to my new career (which I could not be more thankful for) so I've really been missing posting recipes, meal plans, and other random facts about my little life.  J requested a homemade apple pie for his birthday (a first for me) so I figured I'd share.  I have never even attempted an apple pie so I did my research and adapted my recipe from Paula Deen's 'Mom's Apple Pie'.  I'll post her original recipe in regular text and my changes in italic.  It turned out fabulous and made my house smell DIVINE!!  OH and I bought my first cinnamon broom yesterday.  You can read about my love for those here.

Homemade Apple Pie (adapted from Paula Deen)



For the filling:
8 apples - peeled & sliced (half Granny Smith, half Macintosh) (I used 6 and that was plenty.  Half Granny Smith, half Macintosh)
2 tablespoons unsalted butter – chilled and sliced
1 1/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon ground nutmeg (I used 1 teaspoon and it was plenty!  Nutmeg is a very strong spice)
3 tablespoons flour (I used all purpose but you could use self rising)

For the dough:
2 1/2 cups All Purpose flour
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 sticks of butter, cold & cubed
1/4 - 1/2 cup ice water
Egg - lightly beaten for egg wash
Cinnamon sugar for dusting

1.  Preheat oven to 400ºF.
2.  In a food processor combine the flour, salt, sugar and pulse. Add in the butter and slowly gradually add the ice water.  Pulse until dough just comes together.  Don’t overwork the dough or it will make a tough crust.
3.  Remove the dough from processor. Cut into two equal sections. Pat sections into discs and wrap in plastic wrap and place into refrigerator. Chill for 1 hour.  (can be frozen for future use)
4.  In a small mixing bowl bowl, combine cinnamon, nutmeg, sugar & flour, set aside.  In a large mixing bowl, add the peeled and sliced apples.  Sprinkle spice and flour mixture over apples.  Toss to coat.
5.  Remove one chilled disc of dough from the refrigerator and roll out on a lightly floured surface, large enough to cover your pie pan.  Shape to fit, cutting off any excess.
6.  Pour apple mixture into pie pan and add your sliced butter to the top of the mixture. Remove second dough disk from refrigerator and roll out large enough to fit the top of your pie with an overhang. Place pie dough on top of apple mixture and crimp edges to seal. With a knife, add four slits to your piecrust.  Lightly brush egg wash onto top of dough. Sprinkle liberally with cinnamon sugar.
7.  Place onto a baking tray into preheated oven for approximately 50 minutes or until golden brown & bubbly. Allow pie to rest until cool before slicing. Refrigerate any uneaten portions.  Enjoy!

Stay tuned, I'll be posting my brownie recipe later this week.  I've had a lot of requests for this one.  Hope everyone has had a wonderful weekend!  Enjoy your week & be blessed!