Thursday, November 27, 2014

Thank You, Pilgrims

I am thankful for Thanksgiving. It is such an American holiday when you think about it! A whole day devoted to the things we in this nation love most: food and family, with a little bit of football and a few celebrities sprinkled in the mix.

And THEN, the day after Thanksgiving, we have a day that is all about spending money, which is also pretty American.

Today was my first Thanksgiving with Stephen's family. It was wonderful! We spent the night at their house last night, so Brandon had to sleep on the couch. I'm lucky he loves Stephen so much, so he never complains we take over his bed and kick him out. And it happens at least once a week....

The day started with this AMAZING French toast casserole that Diane made for breakfast. (Actually it started with Logan running in, smacking Stephen, and yelling hysterically that we were going to miss the snow and we'd better get up right now and take him sledding, but we don't need to talk about that.) There was also homemade buttermilk syrup! So that ushered in the food heaven that was today very nicely. 

Luckily Thankfully, we live in Utah. So we did not miss the snow. It may have been 57* in Lehi, but there were 32 inches of snow waiting patiently for us up in the mountains of Little Cottonwood Canyon. 

You might not be able to tell in this picture, but the snow was so deep it was hard to walk in. It was up to our knees and sometimes even deeper!

It was so fun getting all bundled up and playing in the snow, especially since once we were done playing, we could leave all that lovely snow behind. I think we have a new Thanksgiving tradition now!

Thanksgiving dinner was more like Thanksgiving lunch, which I actually like. I was in charge of the sweet potatoes and the banana cream pie and the kid's craft.

Here's how the sweet potatoes turned out:
I forgot to get a picture before we started eating, but they were amazing!
Here's how the banana cream pie turned out:
Also amazing. 
Here's how the kid's craft turned out:
Yeah it was not a hit with the kids. But Stephen was nice enough to wear the pilgrim hat I made!
And I guess now is a good time to add that I did Black Friday online this year, instead of going out, and I am almost done with my Christmas shopping! So, holler for that, and I hope your Thanksgiving was as fantastic as mine :)

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Things I Feel Strongly About Today

For some reason I woke up today and I was super-opinionated. So I'm here to share some thoughts that for seriously no reason keep bopping up.

1. I don't like sushi and I really don't think I ever will. Because I've tried it twice at least, and didn't like it either time, so why would I keep trying it? If I ever did like it, I'd want to eat it. And then I would have to buy it, and sushi is expensive, and like, why. My not liking sushi is something I really like about myself.

2. Ditto on manicures. Every time I get a manicure, I get at least 10 hangnails in the following week. So now I don't get manicures, and instead I go to my friend's house and we do gel nails, and I never get hangnails and I never have to spend money on manicures, either.

3. The Giver is a great movie! I loved it!

4. Blackout curtains are wonderful. I am a believer.

5. Cardio day is actually the worst day. This month is all about eating healthy and working out for Stephen and I, and I scheduled exactly what we need to work out each day. And we both agree that cardio day is the worst of all the days.

6. Winter probably shouldn't exist past Christmas.

7. I need the Big Bang Theory to be more readily available to me, please.

8. If Sammy's closes, I will probably cry.

9. Taylor Swift is coming to Utah in September 2015 and I will be going.

10. I don't get the whole, I want to do something different for my wedding thing. Why? Why would you wear a pantsuit when you could wear a dress?

11. The Dating Divas are so great and I've been spending a lot of time on their website ever since I went to a class they did at the Pinners' Conference. So now, I feel more stressed out than usual about people who don't seem like they're putting enough effort into their marriages. I just want to tell them to go to the Dating Divas website so their marriage can be rockin! It's so fun when your marriage is rockin, so why wouldn't you want that?

12. I am not interested in becoming a real estate agent. Like, ever.

13. I'm pretty solidly against "liking" things on Instagram or Facebook that already have 100+ likes.

14. "You Better Work" is maybe the best song Britney Spears ever did, and it didn't get nearly as popular as it should have. But it is so motivating! I think it didn't get very big because people don't want to work (work).

15. There are lots of artists that I love whose first big song I did not love. Here are some songs that I do not enjoy: "I Kissed a Girl," "All about that Bass," and "Whatcha Say." But I love Katy Perry, and Meghan Trainor's new song "Lips are Moving" needs to be on the radio more, and Jason Derulo is just so great with everything else he's ever done. {Besides breaking up with Jordin Sparks.}


....I'm just saying. 
17. Stephen is the best husband in the whole wide world, and I love teaching, and I love my kids so much, but off-track time with him makes me wish I was off-track all the time.

18. I do not have a natural knack for organizing. It's something I really have to work on, but my gosh, it drives me crazy to see my stuff not organized. So this off-track, that's what I've been working on :)

19. That one workout at the gym, where you have to bend over this thing (a hamstring curl machine?) and then lift up this other thing with your legs, is so embarrassing. I can't believe that thing even exists in gyms. Stephen keeps trying to get me to do it, but we've come to an understanding that that does not happen unless he is standing behind me, and it is butt day.

20. These are the things that make me want a baby: looking at baby clothes at Target, the baby in The Giver, or Maleficent, or really any baby in any movie, watching Stephen build forts with his brothers.

I mean
21. These are the things that make me not want to have a baby: thinking about how much it costs, when I have a really good nights' sleep and realize that would all be over, following "Kids are the Worst" on Instagram (which is actually quite hilarious), people asking me when we are going to have a baby.

PS I am not pregnant.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Once Upon a Kitchen

Once upon a time, Stephen and I lived in an apartment with a kitchen the size of a hallway. There was a fridge, oven, 8 cabinets, and just enough space for a counter-height table for two, and one bar stool. There was no dishwasher, which means that 80% of our newlywed fights were about dishes, and our microwave - the smallest one we could find - took up one-third of our countertop space. Which left us with two countertops.

When we moved, it was to our Home Sweet House. Our two-person counter-height table looked sadly out of place in the expansive kitchen, but we were thrilled at the opportunity to find and buy a more appropriate table. Other than that, there wasn't much that we loved about our new kitchen. 
This is what I started out with: yellow formica countertops and backsplash from probably the 60's. 
That wallpaper took me about a week to remove.

I MEAN. I don't want to complain, but I'm just saying. 

The cabinets were durable, but not too pretty.

Aaaand, this was the floor. A beautiful, flowery laminate. 
It was too overwhelming to re-do everything at once. We started with painting the walls.

You can kind of see it here: the two-toned gray that we did in the rest of our casa.
The next thing I attempted to change was the countertops. I scoured blogs about how to paint your countertops to make them look like granite, and one day did it as a surprise for Stephen.  
He was very nice about it, but he wasn't really sold. He is all about the real Mccoy stuff. 
The next big thing we re-did was the cabinets. We wanted to re-do the floor, and in order to do that, we had to take out all the cabinets, and once we had taken them out, it was clear they were not going back in even if we had wanted them to.
When we took off the weird box thing above the cabinets above the sink, we discovered that that wall had never been finished. Ever. 
The demolition part of the cabinet re-doing was actually kind of fun! We used a crowbar and a sledgehammer, and Stephen's brother helped.  

We moved e'erything in the kitchen (appliances included) into the living room.

So that was a little awkward and we looked like hoarders, and I told my visiting teachers they couldn't come over, but I think we can all understand why.
We toiled over the floor (more details on that here) and when it was finally in, we were ready to insert our new cabinets. 
This was enough to keep us happy for a while. Some friends of ours gave us a dishwasher and microwave, which we pretty much peed our pants over. It is our first dishwasher we've had the whole time we've been married! 
With the cabinets up, we had some more choices to make. We had gotten a plain ol countertop from Ikea, but as I mentioned before, Stephen is all about the real Mccoy stuff. After a lot of back and forth, we finally decided to get granite. 
We ended up ordering our granite from Ogden Flooring. We highly recommend them! Sterling was the main person we talked to, and he was amazing. He was so prompt in getting back to us and really made an effort to get us exactly what we needed and wanted. We also ordered our backsplash from them, and the sink.
But unfortunately, everyone else loves them too, so that meant we had to wait another 3 weeks after ordering before the kitchen was totally finished. 
Which meant that when I made pumcakes, it looked like this.  

.....what a life.
Oh! And you know what else? I didn't have a sink for that time. So dishes had to all be done in the bathroom sink, and one time I made tomato soup from my garden tomatoes, and it looked like we killed someone in the bathroom when I was done. 

Oooh. Here's one of me making tuna noodle casserole. No countertops = you have to improvise.
And then! One day! Stephen texted me this picture, along with the caption: "Looks good so far!"
We were so excited, we put knobs on that very night. 
Also, our date night may have been clearing the clean dishes out of the dishwasher with child-on-Christmas-morning-like enthusiasm, and making comments about how warm and clean they were. It's the little things. 
Notice that we moved the dishwashing soap back to it's home, as well as our knives and wooden spoons. 
At this point, we were just waiting on the backsplash and two more drawers. 
Just a few days after the countertops were in, they came back to do the backsplash. We are a little obsessed. 

Clearly, there is one thing in this picture that sticks out like a sore thumb: the oven / stove / range. (Why does that thing have 3 names.) It's the one that came with the house, and we were planning to replace it next. But for the time being, it worked fine and wasn't too big of a concern.

THEN our friends who got us the dishwasher and microwave called to say they also have a new oven for us! When he was describing it over the phone I couldn't believe my ears. It was exactly the kind that Stephen and I had talked about getting!

So it was out with the old and in with the new!

Much better :)
I know I complained loud enough for my ancestors who cooked over fires in the wilderness to hear me, but throughout the whole process, we were really very blessed. It was not a small task, but now I have a kitchen that I am excited for my family to see when they come out here for Christmas! I have an oven that I can safely set to the right temperature, instead of turning it 50* lower. I have a microwave that I can fit a whole dinner plate in without it clanking against the side when the turntable turns. I have more cabinets than I know how to fill and more counter space than I've had my whole life as a married lady.

And best of all, I don't have yellow formica on any walls, anywhere, in my house.


I probably posted way too many pictures for anyone to have made it all the way to the bottom of this post. I just can't stop looking at the transformation! Just tell me if you want to see it in the person. We'll invite you over for dinner :)