Friday, January 17, 2014

Early Spring Cleaning

    Spring cleaning has begun in the Linde household!  I've done the same thing at my office.  Decor has been updated, cleaning started and finished, (though decor not so much at the office, still have a little ways to go!) We went through a huge filing project and went through at least 15 years worth of files.  Good news is it will now be much much easier for next year when we only have to throw out a few files.  They are now nicely and neatly organized by year. 

     I wish I could say we were done cleaning and organizing at our house too.  This year I am going to focus on de-cluttering.  It will be hard.  My husband and I like things.  We like stuff.  And that's ok.  We just need to get choosier about the kind of stuff that we keep.  Like the out-of-sight stuff.  But really we need to clean it all out.  I think it's gotten a little out of hand.  I will feel so much better once I have all of our surfaces cleaned up and cleared off.  It really isn't as bad as it sounds.  But lets be honest here....any flat surface is a stuff magnet: mail, dishes, nick-nacks, discarded purse items, bullets, writing utencils, coats, name it.  

  Our formal livingroom was in much need of an update.  While the furniture in it was comfortable and nice, let's face it; it was the furniture that Husband had had from his single days apartment.  Bottom line, it was time for an upgrade.  Everything else in the room is pretty much light and airy so we needed something that was going to stand out and not just blend in.  

    After a little looking around, we finally found the couch at Sunshine Furniture.  We really liked the contrast.  I think you all will agree.  We also kept the old pillows (for now,) and added a few more to tie in the lighter colors.  The two cream ones with designs came from one of my favorite stores, Garden Ridge.  They were on sale!  The one in the middle was hand drawn by a man at the Vintage show called 2 Girls and Junk that I posted about a few weeks back.  I love it! It says "If Vintage is wrong then I don't want to be right." $15 and he could write anything you wanted on it.  


Don't you love it??

    My coffee corner is a constant work in progress.   I'm never happy with it for long.  But I'm starting to like it more and more. These canisters were $29.99 from Cracker Barrel and were just sitting up in our attic in a box ever since our wedding.  (We used them at the wedding in which to put candy.)  The coffee sign was $5.99 from.....Garden Ridge!  Cow creamer $4.99 from Target, and the double stacked teapot/teacup was a Christmas gift from one of my best friends!

Our pantry was my first home organization project this year!  Just a few toes, some labels, and some patience helped lead to this wonderfully organized pantry.  Storage cubes were $6.99/piece from Target.  I separated them into Pasta/Rice, Breakfast, baking, condiments, and one the shelf not pictured- snacks.  Snacks actually got 2 cubes.

    A new springy tablecloth from....Target! $4.99 on clearance!  You will notice a couple of recycled pieces from my Christmas/Winter tablescape.

     {And a sneak peek at my next project for my booth!!}

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

New Years SoireƩ

We finished last year out with spending time with friends and family.  What better way is there to spend it?  I had a fun time organizing and planning a little intimate party at our house with some of our closest friends and family.  I made several dips, (all of which was my first time making them,) and had lots of munchies to dip in them, made a signature sparkling Apple Cider Punch, and had a wonderful time socializing.  Surprisingly the cheesy artichoke dip was a huge success!  Never have I worked with artichokes more than just ordering an artichoke dip while out.  But I promise I made this one my self!  It was easy!  Too easy... I also made a Mexican corn dip and a Mint Avocado dip, (whose recipe I got out of a Better Homes and Garden magazine whilst frantically cleaning for the party.

{A sweet picture of Daddy with his 'grand-dog, Bandit on New Years Day}

{Some of the delicious dips I had fun making!}

{ My theme was red/white/silver.  Funny story about the drink dispenser.  It was something I'd gotten from Kirkland's with a gift card from our wedding shower.  The party was my first time to use it.  Who would have thought to check and make sure the nozzle was completely screwed in??  Certainly not I...  Drink made, bacon cooking in the over, mixing up another dip; I noticed a little pool of punch under the dispenser, which was sitting on the stove top.  Hmmm, I must have spilled some while I was pouring the various ingredients into it... Wrong!! 
 Upon further inspection of the pour spout, I spied with my little eyes a small rivulet of punch flowing from beneath the spout.  I put my finger under it, it stopped.  I took it away, that little rivulet was back.  "David, come quick!  It's sprung a leak!  I don't know what to do!!"  Were a few of my frantic cries as I summoned my husband to the kitchen.  Looking at the stove top, I then saw that there were puddles of punch...everywhere!  
Good thing there was a lip on the stove or it could have been a lot worse.  
  As Husband was trying to figure out how to help me, I continued frantic cries of it's leaking, it's leaking!  All the while, our puppy was staring at me very confusedly... like Daddy, what's wrong with Mommy?  Why is she acting all crazy?  That is a very good question, Bandit.
  For our wedding, we had also received a beautiful clear glass serving bowl.  And guess what?  It was the perfect size to pour the leaking punch into.  And I mean purrr-fect.  Crisis averted.  I was thinking I was going to have to wrap the spout in electrical tape, upon thinking so, I began looking for a roll of electrical tape which I knew had to be there somewhere.  I'd spotted it earlier in the day, I just knew it!  Thankfully, it all came down to having to screw the nozzle all the way in.  Crisis averted, Mommy calm down, and happy Husband.  You are welcome, for a delicious punch!  Who knew so much went into making it??

Happy Tuesday!!

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

New Year is Upon Us

I can't believe that tomorrow we will stop writing 2013 and commence writing 2014.  It does not feel like a year has gone by already. This year has been filled with so many new and wonderful things.  God has blessed us so much this year.  I am so incredibly thankful for all that He has done.

I was in my first mainstage opera with Tulsa Opera through TOC...

Traveled to Boston/Vermont/New Hampshire for my first time, with my wonderful husband and got to spend time with his amazing family!...

Celebrated our 1 year wedding anniversary...

Got my very own concealable handgun for my birthday...

Witnessed beautiful snow and got to enjoy half a snow day...

Got to be a blessing to others and ourselves while volunteering at Church on the Move's Christmas Train...

 Spent tons of time with my Handsome Husband...

Finally got my dream red leather jacket (Thank you, Husband!!)...

...and so many more things!!  Thank you to those that lent to a fantastic 2013!  I couldn't have done it without you.  Your memory will live on in my heart.  I hope to make 2014 and even better year!  

Happy New Year, everyone!!

Monday, December 30, 2013

Pretzel Breaded Chicken with Apricot Dijon Sauce

  I hope everyone had a very Merry Christmas!  We enjoyed spending time with family and friends, relaxing, playing with our new toys, and also remembering the reason for the season.  We went to Church on the Move's Celebrate Christmas program.  It was amazing!  It contained secular Christmas songs, along with hearing about the story of Jesus.  What that church is doing is amazing to see.  As its name implies, it's really going places.  They have so many people that they are helping and outreach into the community.  Their hearts are truly on fire for God!  As we move into the new year, (which I can't believe it's already almost next year!  Eek!!) we are going to be starting a series called "How to make 2014 better than 2013."  It's about new years resolutions and what they are usually lacking and why they fail.  Anyone had the resolution of exercising more, spending more carefully, being more productive, trying more new things?  Yeah, so did I.  Ask me how long they actually lasted....better yet, don't ask!  I'm looking forward to hearing how to include God in my new years resolution this year and making myself let go and hand it over to Him.  Who's with me??

    One of my favorite things about hosting a party is that my house suddenly has to get cleaned.  And by 'had to get cleaned,' I mean I run around cleaning like a mad lady.  I did some of the cleaning yesterday. (I even scrubbed the toilets!  But actually, now that I think about it...I did one then poured the cleaner in the other and forgot about it til just now...woops!  I'm sure it's even cleaner for having sat there for a while.  And I think I remember Husband using that bathroom last night, soo I think we're good.)  One thing I like doing while cleaning, and really it doesn't look like cleaning at all and slows me way down is going through old Better Homes and Garden, Martha Stewart and Real Simple magazines that I've let pile up and tear out the ideas and recipes that I really like so that I can throw away the rest of the magazine.  I then put the torn out pages in those clear plastic sleeves that I keep in my idea binder.  I got the idea from my parents.   

    Anyway, one of the pages I tore out was a recipe for Pretzel Chicken with Fig and Mustard Sauce.  It looked and sounded amazing!  Of course, my version didn't quite turn out the same as theirs did, namely because I used chicken thighs instead of drumsticks, but Husband and I were still pleased.  He even said this had made it to the top of his favorites of things I've cooked.  This is something I never would have thought to put together.  As I was mixing together the alternative apricot jam and Dijon mustard, I was pretty skeptical....until I tried it!  Same with Husband.  It has a kick, a zing to it when you first taste it, but the flavors somehow oddly complement each other. I hope you enjoy this as much as we did!!  The original recipe can be found here.  My version of it is listed below.

3 cups honey mustard flavored pretzels
1 tsp. ground Cumin
2 eggs, lightly beaten (though for this small amount of meat I think 1 egg would be enough)
2 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken thighs
1/4 cup Apricot or Fig jam (I used Apricot)
1/4 grainy mustard (aka Dijon mustard)
Thyme Leaves (yeah..I forgot to use these and it still turned out deliciously!)

*Another difference between my version and BHG's was that I didn't have a chicken roaster like the magazine version described.  So I placed mine on a foil lined baking pan.  The online version seems to use this method.  Be sure to coat the foil with nonstick spray.  I did not do this so the chicken was hard to separate from the foil*

1. Preheat over to 425 f.  In a resealable plastic bag crunch up pretzels with rolling pin.  Add Cumin then shake to mix
2. Place beaten eggs in a shallow bowl.  Dip thighs in egg and let excess drip off.  Place in baggie of pretzels and gently shake to get chicken evenly coated.
3. Lay thighs on foil lined baking sheet after first having sprayed the foil with nonstick spray.  (This was an important step that I left out when making mine. Yes, I regretted it.)  Bake at 425f for 40-50 minutes until pretzels are a little browned.
4. While chicken is baking, mix the Apricot or fig jam and the Dijon mustard in a bowl to serve with the chicken.

  I'm usually scared of cooking chicken, namely because it seems to take forever and I'm always afraid I won't have cooked it long enough, then I'll over cook it and it will get tough and dry.  But this...this turned out as perfectly as I could have hoped for.  It was so full of flavor.  We were both pleasantly surprised.  I congratulated myself on trying a new recipe, one that I was very happy to have tried.  We will definitely be having this again.  Maybe even serve it with vegetables!!

Monday, December 23, 2013

Cupcake Garland

     I cannot believe that Christmas is in 2 days!! 2 DAYS!!!  We still have a couple of more gifts to buy.  I know, I know.  I tell myself every year that I'm just going to start buying stuff throughout the year so as to have it all done before December.  Well guess what?  Maybe that'll happen next year...  I'm just a big procrastinator.  They don't call me Sarah Procrastinator Linde for nothing...  Actually, nobody calls me that.  I just wanted to see what you'd say.  I used to do that at my college job all the time.  Someone would say something nice about me and I'd say "Well, no one calls me Sweet-Spirit Sarah for nothing."  They'd look at me and say "No one calls you that."  They liked to keep things real.  I appreciated it.

    Lately I have been staying up way past my bedtime.  I think it could have something to do with Season 4 of Vampire Diaries that I recently got.  Once I start watching it's hard to stop.  Oh, just one more episode...ok, one I really mean it, this is the last one...  you know how it goes.  I can't be the only one that has an obsession with finishing a a show like that!  What's sad is that I'm now on the last disc of Season 4.  Season 5 is on TV.  I can't handle using the CW website because I don't have the patience for my slow computer.  And I don't like commercials.  So I guess I will be waiting until next Black Friday to get a $50 DVD set for only $10.  

  The good thing about staying up later is that  I now have more time to craft.  Though I have to be careful and not craft anything too noisy, otherwise I wouldn't be able to hear the already lowered volume of the show.  (Husband goes to bed before I do.  I get in trouble if I go to bed before I'm actually ready to sleep because I'll lay there and play on my phone.  I think I'm quiet and still about it.  But Husband seems to know when I'm on it and accuses me of game playing because it wiggles the bed.  [I really do think I'm quiet and still.  I can't think of what I would be doing to move the whole bed. I must be pinning exuberantly or something...])

  One of my late night crafting projects was this cute cupcake liner garland.  Idea courtesy of the December issue of Better Homes and Gardens.  (The original idea and video tutorial can be found here.) It was actually pretty simple!  I didn't use the glue dots like they did in the video, (namely because they didn't seem to mention it in the article,) but I think I did just fine in hiding the staples.  I couldn't imagine making enough of this to line an entire doorway, but I did stay interested enough to make a garland long enough for our kitchen island.

  All you need are varied sizes and colors of cupcake liners, a stapler, and (according to the video) glue dots.  But I'm sure double sided tape would work just as well.  I like the contrast of metallic wrappers and  normal colored wrappers.  It lends a nice balance to it.  

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Two Shows and a Shop

I had such an inspiring weekend!  I got to go to two different vintage/craft shows with my family. I got a lot of neat ideas that I can't wait to try out.

This is part of the mural on the building of the antique mall in which I have my fun booth.  They are still going to be doing a horse drawn buggy on the blank part.  Pretty cool, eh? It's in a neat location in historic downtown Sapulpa. Brick pavement, old buildings...nostalgic surroundings.  Sometimes I think I was born in the wrong era.  I think the late 1800's/early 1900's would be really interesting. Not to mention the cloooothes.  Really, the clothes is all I'm thinking of in those centuries.  And maybe a few other things.  but when I really think about it, I'd miss the modern conveniences such as cars, cell phones, computers, the internets, airplanes and so on.  But then again, if I'd lived then I wouldn't have known what I would be missing...

The other craft/vintage show I went to with Sister, the indie art show across from the new Guthrie Green in downtown Tulsa.  Beautiful, inspirational things.  My cousin had a booth there selling her handmade purses and leather pins.
  All in all it was a wonderful weekend.  We finally got rid of our old living room furniture so that we could arrange our new chairs and couch.  I will have a post about that as soon as we get it finished.

                Happy Tuesday, everyone!

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Christmas Tidings

In fun news, my little booth at Back Alley Bygones in Sapulpa officially opened today!  Super excited!  It contains the seasonal recycled wine/beer/Pellegrino bottles decorated for Christmas, some canvases I've painted and some of Husband's photography.  Y'all should come and check it out.

I made some paper chains out of beautiful wrapping paper I snagged from Big Lots for $3!  Once I started, I couldn't stop.  And I wanted to make more!  One for every doorway. But I stopped myself...just barely.

I love the combination of the natural colors of brown and tan and green.  It gives a very neutral, natural feel that's very soothing.