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Saturday, March 23, 2013

Things I love


It's been awhile since I last posted.  I have learned a lot about computers in the past few days.  1. I learned that before I upgrade my windows explorer to the newest version, I should first make sure my work systems are compatible.  2. It's harder to downgrade than upgrade. and 3. System restore is one of the greatest tools of the computer system.  That being said, I wish to share a slew of other things that I love.
   First thing up is my hubby!  We got married November 10, 2012 at Olivet Baptist Church.  He has made me such a happy woman.  He is so loving, caring, talented, handsome, giving...the list could go on and on.


Next thing up is family.  They are so precious to me.  Sister, Mama, Dad, Grandma and Hubby.  They have all  been so supportive.  They come to all of my concerts and shows, even when they were in Edmond and Oklahoma City.  They are giving, loving, godly people.  I love spending time with them.  We eat dinner (Sunday lunch) there every Sunday after church.  It has been an enjoyable tradition since before I was born!  I wouldn't be who I am today without them.


Bandit!  We adopted him and brought him home from the SPCA in September 2012.  He is so precious.  He has such a unique personality that takes after us, his mommy and daddy.  Here he is keeping an eye on me one night while I stayed up late, reading.  He does that periodically.    If I stay up past Hubby, he'll go to bed with him, but come out and check on me periodically.  He's such a protector.

I love Grumpy Cat.  He makes me laugh.  This is one of my favorite Grumpy Cat pictures.





Other things that make me happy are good friends.  This is from one of my wedding portraits shoots.  It all started when Shurayah (friend in picture with me) was adjusting my neckline.  Her husband (Tyler, our photographer) looked over and for some reason thought she was choking me.  He must have thought we were trouble makers or something. (completely inaccurate. ;)  )  So there was nothing left to do but to reenact what he was accusing us of.  Thus, the resulting picture!  I love laughing and hanging and goofing off with friends.  It keeps one happy, healthy and well...happy!

One last thing to add to the list.  I love Dunkin' Donuts.  Edmond got one the month before I moved back to Tulsa.  I regret that I did not take advantage of it while I could.  Unfortunately, Tulsa has yet to jump on the Dunk' Donuts bandwagon.  They have excellent selections of coffee and delicious donuts.  Sorry Daylight Donuts.  You're good too, though.  But Daylight, you don't have delicious iced coffee.  I'm pretty partial to iced coffee.  That's another thing I love: Coffee.  Yes, Coffee with a capital 'C'.  So this picture is kind of two-in-one.  Coffee and donuts. And by donuts, I mean douGHnuts.  (I once lost an 8th grade spelling bee because of that word.  All of these places thinking they're clever in cleverly shortening words or spelling them in quirky ways to stand out.  I'm afraid it will teach people to misspell things.  Like doughnuts.  Now I want iced coffee and donuts...

Monday, March 18, 2013

Happy St. Patrick's Day!!

Such a fun and eventful weekend.  At least the first part of Saturday boasted beautiful weather.  Enough for a small, unexpected sunburn!

  First up is a homemade Chicken Alfredo and Spinach pizza!  That was my experimental cooking of the day.  And very easy!  It was a nice and refreshing.  A quick meal after a warm morning at the dog park.


I wore my new weiner dog shirt for the dog park outing.  It was warm and sunny and Bandit had a blast!  We let him in the big dog park for the first time and hea actually played with a few of the bigger dogs.  Of course, he would run right back to Mama and Daddy every 5 seconds.  I have to admit though, I'm kind of glad he still clings to and depends on us while outside.  It's a good feeling to know how much he loves and trusts us and feels protected by us.  He is so precious to us.


It took such a long time, and some support from MY Mama to actually go down into our storm shelter for my first time since we moved into the house in February of 2012.  It was covered in grass and spiderwebs and was in dire need of a thourough cleaning before we actually might need to use it during tonado season coming up.  I will admit that I did as much vacuuming with the shop vac as I could, using the hose and extension to reach the steps and all around the door.  Luckily, I only found one live spider.  Mama was so sweet and went down in there to sweep up the bits I couldn't reach.  I figured if Mama could do it, then so could I.  This is the semi end result!


And to finish the Saturday, an early St. Patrick's day celebration in Tulsa's Blue Dome District.  There were tons of people, and tons of beer!  There were tents, tables, beads, beer, amazing smelling food, smoke, loud music and tons of people.  It was a lot of fun.  We got to spend time with some friends we hadn't seen in a while, which made for a good time had by all.  The only thing that could have made it better was warmer weather. 

The weekend was capped off by a delicious Irsh Sunday dinner at Grandma's.  Corned beef and cabbage, potatoes, carrots, green beans, nd salad.  Dessert of a chocolate sauce and marshmellow cake with ice cream.  Bottom line?  Sunday was used as a nap day.  And back to work on Monday we went.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Owl Always Love You

Well folks, we made it to Friday!!  The skies are sunny, the breeze faint and a high of 83 sparkling in the very near future of today!  Makes me want to be outside.  Maybe I will finish pulling all the old plants out of our front beds and prepping it for my new big plan.  Hubby is going to prep for planting grass seed in the back corner of our yard.  It is sadly bare back there.  Poor corner.  :/   Another project of mine will be planting the little Sweet Basil plant that I bought at Lowes.  It goes on everything!  Well, maybe not everything, but burgers, and pasta and other Italian dishes.  But enough about that.  I promised house things on Fridays, so house things you will get!  We'll call it Restoration Friday...

  This is one of my favorite room decors.  It's also done in the room that we actually use the least.  The Guestroom. The room that might nor might not still have a couple of wedding gifts waiting to be given a home in the house.  When we moved into this house, everything was white.  White walls, white ceilings, and in some rooms white vinyl floors.  I really wanted a room that was gray.  The main rooms of the house are in bold but cozy colors; red, yellow, and bamboo.  So I wanted to soften up the bedrooms with soothing colors, hence the gray. 

I promise there's more to the room than the pictures show.  It was hard to take the one perfect picture that showed the whole room. 

Here is the semi finished transformation.  I booughtthe sheer curtains at IKEA when I went on a shopping trip with family to Texas. (There's an earlier post about it if you are just now tuning into the blog.)  I'll add more pictures on the room details in another post.  Like I said, I'm still trying to get better about taking detail pictures! 
    If you hadn't guessed, the room's theme is.....OWLS!  I fell in love with owls a few years ago and haven't been able to stop.  Some of you might recognize Hedwig hanging over the bed, in the window.  The painting on the right is one that I did especially for this room.  You gotta start somewhere! 

    This quilt was a wedding present to Hubby and I from a dear lady at church.  She was in a quilting club with my great Grandma York and this was the quilting pattern of one of the quilts they'd worked on.  (Though this isn't the actual quilt they'd worked on together.)  The quilt contains pieces of fabric from the maker's own clothing from when she was growing up!  Such a precious precious gift.

Three ofthe things in this picture are from my beloved Kirkland's; the owl, the flower and the small corner of mirror that you see.  The note is one of the many sweet notes from my Husband from back when we were dating.  It's one in which he says that he will one day make me his wife.  And he did!!


This is the whole mirror (ofthe corner)  that you saw.  A couple of the small mirrors, along with the big mirror (obviously) are missing.  I hope to one day find a piece or have a piece of round mirror made to go back in the center.  I love this piece!  It's modern, yet classy.  Hubby does not share my sentiments.  Haha.  But he has a whole workshop to decorate.  I have the house.  :)
Here are a few details of the things on the book shelf.  If I remember right, Hubby's dad actually made this shelf.  Of course, there's the Hunger Games trilogy.  Good books!  If you haven't already read them, I highly recommend them!  Of course owl paraphernelia. (sp?  that word has always tripped me up.  Even trying to say it!)  The two plus owls were made by and given to me by Grandma! (my Mom's mom.) One for Christmas, and one included in a wedding gift.  The little Eskimo fan wasa refurbished oscillating fan.  Refurbished by Hubby.  It's a big hobby of his, which has slowly but surely overtaken the house. You are sure to find atleast 3 oscillating fans in each room, sometimes more! (I won't even mention the fan stash in the attic!  I guess you could call it a fan-attic! Cause he's a fanatic about fans...)  The glass figurine is Suzuki from Puccini's Madame Butterfly.  The figurine itself is from 1986, the year I was born.  It was one of the things I got from my Nan Sarah, Dad's step-mom, after she moved into assisted living.  It is a very dear piece to me.

 
And there you have it!  Like I promised, I will be posting more pictures of this room soon.  There are more fun details that have yet to be seen!!  I hope you all enjoy your weekends!

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Easy Peasy Bread

I am trying to get into a rhythm and routine with my posts.  Monday's I like to post about what I've accomplished over the weekend, or a favorite weekend outfit or activity.  Wednesday's I'm going to try to post a how to or a baked good or crafty item.  Friday's I'll post about all of  the progress we've made on our house.  Hopefully the post before the weekend will inspire you to start a project of your own!
    Well, since today is a Wednesday, that means it's time for a baked item or crafty project.  Today, our project will be making the easiest bread you've ever made!  To me, that idea of making a nice fresh loaf of bread has always been daunting.  I mean, who has the patience to let something sit for 12 hours(!) before you can actually do something with it!  The bread recipe i've included below is so simple.  The total time from prep to fnish only takes about 5-6 hours.  Definitely a morning or afternoon project.  Plus you can leave it to run errands and come back to beautifully risen dough!
 
Easy Artisan Bread
For this recipe, you will need:

  • 3 cups lukewarm water
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons granulated yeast
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons kosher or other course salt (I would use a little less salt than this. My bread turned out a little saltier than I had anticipated.)
  • 6 1/2 cups unbleached all purpose flour (I accidentally ended up using half unbleached and half bleached and it still turned out just fine)
  • cornmeal for pizza peel (optional)
1. In a large bowl, start by adding together your flour, salt and yeast.

2. Pour in the 3 cups luke warm water and stir.



It will all start to get sticky and clump together.  That's good!

3. Cover with greased plastic wrap or foil and let sit for 2-5 hours.  (I let mine sit for only 3.5 hours and it turned out just fine.  Like I said, I really don't like having to wait to do something.  We killed time by going to the Tulsa Home and Garden Show.)

The dough will rise to about 3-4 times its original size.  This picture is when it's only about halfway done sitting.

4. Remove the plastic and try cutting the dough into 3 even chunks. (the dough will sink down a little when you cut into it) I ended up just tearing mine apart into 3 chunks because my knife wasn't sharp enough.  Using floured hands, form dough into 3 even balls and lay on floured cookie sheet or pizza stone.  (I tried it on both surfaces to see which worked better.)




5. Letthe dough balls sit for 30 minutes. (I went and cuddled with my doglet to pass the time.)
6. Using sharp knife, make 3 parallel cuts (or 4 crisscross) in the top of the dough.  This allows for the bread to vent.
7. Preheat over to 5450 degress F and set a pan filled with 1 cup of water on the bottom rack.  Bake bread for 30-35 minutes before removing and placing on a cooling rack to cool. (mine only took 30 minutes to bake, but each oven varies.)


Mmmmm!  Don't they look so yummy baking??


See? Now did't I tell you how easy it was going to be?  Now sit back and relax and enjoy the bread that you work so (not really) hard on.  I have been enjoying my bread for the past few days with jams and preserves.

Concise Bread Directions:
 
 
1. In a large bowl, start by adding together your flour, salt and yeast.
2. Pour in the 3 cups luke warm water and stir.
3. Cover with greased plastic wrap or foil and let sit for 2-5 hours. (I let mine sit for only 3.5 hours and it turned out just fine. Like I said, I really don't like having to wait to do something. We killed time by going to the Tulsa Home and Garden Show.)
4. Remove the plastic and try cutting the dough into 3 even chunks. (the dough will sink down a little when you cut into it) I ended up just tearing mine apart into 3 chunks because my knife wasn't sharp enough. Using floured hands, form dough into 3 even balls and lay on floured cookie sheet or pizza stone. (I tried it on both surfaces to see which worked better.)
5. Let the dough balls sit for 30 minutes. (I went and cuddled with my doglet to pass the time.)
6. Using sharp knife, make 3 parallel cuts (or 4 crisscross) in the top of the dough. This allows for the bread to vent.
7. Preheat over to 5450 degress F and set a pan filled with 1 cup of water on the bottom rack. Bake bread for 30-35 minutes before removing and placing on a cooling rack to cool. (mine only took 30 minutes to bake, but each oven varies.)

Monday, March 11, 2013

Spring Awakening

This weekend was a semi big weekend.  I was able to fit a lot into those 2 short days.  I was able to take a half day at work on Friday to get all sorts of stuff done that I wouldn't be able to do during the week.  such as getting my updated license with my new last name!!  It all finally seems official. (All I lack is getting a new passport)  It only took me an hour to stand in line to apply for my open carry permit and to get my fingerprints and photos taken for it at the Tulsa County Sheriff's Office.  It's amazing how waiting in a waiting area for an hour or longer can really bring people together.  Towards the end, we started clapping or cheering whenever a person was called to go back.  It made the long wait a little more bearable. 

Saturday morning, on a day that felt less like a Spring day and more like a winter reawakening we went to the Tulsa Home and Garden Show at the Expo Square.  There was a lot to see, though not as many plant booths as I'd hoped.  All in all, there were only two booths that we saw that had seeds and bulbs.  I was hoping to stock up on bulbs to plant in the front flower beds that i've begun clearing out.  My current idea is to tear out all the little fluffy grass fronds and put in a multi-layer of other plants.  Towards the back, i'd like to put little bluestem (which is a native prairie grass) that boasts beautiful colors in the summer and in the Fall. (In the fall, they turn from summer green to a bronzy red.) In front of those, I'd like to put orange butterfly weed.  It would be so fun to see how many butterflies it would aatract during the summer months.  And in front of those, at the front edge of the bed, maybe Marigolds.  I harvested the seed pods off of the Marigolds I got for graduation last May so have plenty to grow!
                                                                                          
Here are some precious, dainty blue flowers that have appeared all over our backyard.  The grass around them is so green and the flowers so bright.  I almost hate to step on them!  They're just one sign though that spring is awakening as the winter is being pushed back. (Minus a few blah cold days that we've recently had.)  There were some beautiful pnk flowers that sprang up last Spring beneath the big pecan tree that's in the middle of our backyard.  I am hoping that they make a reappearance.  (The last grouping was mowed down by the lawn service, despite my telling them to be careful of  them.)

No weekend is complete without a little cuddle time with my puppy, Bandit.  We were sitting at the front of the house, waiting for Hubby to get home.  The front of the house is Bandit's favorite creeping spot.  There's two windows, one that opens up to the street and one that faces our neighbors.  He enjoys looking out of both and seeing the people and dogs walk by.

  (I was also distracting myself form the second portion ofthe rising that the bread I made had to do.  I will put this super easy bread recipe on here in a couple of days.  When I say easy, I mean e.a.s.y!!)

Saturday was an exciting evening!  I arrived at TU's Lorton Performing Center to prepare for the evening's Gala and Concert.  Tulsa Oratorio Chorus (of which I am a first year member) celebrated it's 20th Anniversary with a beautiful gala before our Tribute to Film and Stage Music concert.  The Lorton Performing Arts Center (named after Roxana  R√≥zsa  and Robert Eugene Lorton) is a beautiful, new state of the art facility.  It boasts practice rooms, a small recital hall (the Meinig Recital Hall,) the main recital hall (Gussman Auditorium) and student practice rooms.  It also holds a number of beautiful art pieces, including an original Picasso piece.
Our concert contained pieces by Bernstein from West Side Story and Candide (It's well known 'Make Our Garden Grow'), pieces from Les Miserables, and film pieces by John Williams, Morricone, and 'the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly!  All in all, it was a great performance that entertained all.  My only regret is that I could not turn around and stare at t he projection screen the whole time.  While we were singing, pieces of the films from which we had music represented were playing on a giant projection screen.  I had never been to a concert like it.
 
All in all it was an enjoyable weekend!  I spent it with friends and family, and (despite the surprisingly cold weather) got a lot accomplished.  Those always make forthe best weekends!



Thursday, March 7, 2013

Table Refinishing

So I realized that I haven't done a how-to or a crafty post in a little while.  So I am presenting you with this table refinishing.
   
    Here it is shortly after we got it.  You better believe that I had it decorated for Fall as soon as we got it set up!  (If you didn't know already, Fall is my favorite season.  It's filled with great holidays (especially to decorate for.))  This table was an excellent find on Craigslist.  $80 for an expandable table with 3 leafs and 6 chairs!!  How can you say no to that?  We loved the table, but felt like its brown might make the room too dark. Soooo we decided to paint it.  We decided to leave the chairs dark.  An orange table AND chairs might be a little much.


The first step was sanding everything.  Normally we woulddo the sanding outside in the garage, but when I get excited about a project, I don't want to take the time to take it apart again and carry it piece by piece outside.  So we just did it where it was.  Halfway through though I started smelling a very odd smell.  This table had belonged to someone that had had a lot of cats and animals.  Upon disturbing the sirface with the roughness of sand paper it stirred up the smell of it having been in a house full of animals.  We were slightly grossed out and decided to finish the sanding outside after all.
  Now this table wasn't a real wood stained surface.  It was a laminate or formica, which meant we couldn't really get all of that darker wood color off.  We just sanded it enough to where the surface was a little rough and textured. (That way the paint had something to adhere to.)

We picked a nice russet orange color that I felt embodied Fall and still went with the brown chairs, brown curtains and bamboo colored walls.  This process was definitely done out in the garage.  We made sure to keep the garage doors open, that way I didn't suffocate from all the paint fumes.  We bought a quart of regular paint (VALSPAR Brand) that you can get in the paint department at Lowe's, and it didn't even take us the whole quart!

It took a couple of coats to fully cover everything. 
    When painting the legs, we had strung up a rope line in the garage and bent wire hangers to where the screw part of the leg could rest in it like a sling and hang on the line.  It was easier to let them hand there and dry rather than trying to balance them on their ends.
Then, to seal everything in and protect it from food and being scratched, we put a layer of clear varnish over the surface.  We also did two coats of the varnish

Here it is decoratedfor Easter.  (I know it's a big leap from getting the table in August up to March, but I'm not very good at taking in between pictures.) (I can assure you though, that I have gotten better at chronicaling our projects!)

Monday, March 4, 2013

Weekend!

This weekend was a wonderful weekend filled with friends, laughter, fun and food!  Two of my best friends from Edmond came into town Friday night and stayed through Saturday evening. 

Friday, I went home at lunch to start dinner for our Mexican dinner evening.  Let me just say that I am in love with my crockpot.  It makes making meals so easy so that all I have to do when I get home fromwork is stir and serve.  Friday, all I had to do was put 6 dethawed chicken breasts, 1 jar of salsa and a packet of taco seasoning in the crockpot and let it cook on low setting for 4-6 hours.  When everyone got there, bam! chicken tacos!  We then had a raccuous game of dominoes til midnight! (Which was 3-4 hours past my normal bedtime. But friends are worth it!)

We visitedthe Jenks Aquarium and came across all sorts of interesting creatures.  Here's a giant Eel that peek-a-booed out of his hole for us.

My personal favorite, the mini jellyfish!!!  I just wat to be able to scoop up a handfull and takethem home with me.  "I shall call you Squishy and you shall be mine.  You will be my Squishy!"  Findging Nemo, anyone??

We got to walk under the shark tunnel!!  It also had very good accoustics.
And of course, what trip to Tulsa is complete without a trip to the Center of the Universe?!  Lizzy was very amazed at what happens with your voice when you stand in the middle of that little concrete circle.


And then we finished off the Tulsa tour with Ollie's Restaurant and Train Museum on the oldroute 66 in Redfork.  They have delicious homecooked meals with amazing prices.  I got my favorite Monte Cristo sandwich for just $6.99!  They have trains that run on tracks all aroundthe restaurant.  They're a little loud, but it's a really fun and different environment. 
    It was hard to say good bye to them when they left.  We of course had to sit around the piano for a while and harmonize and sing some reminiscent chamber choir pieces.  All in all, it was a good visit full of people I love enjoying one another's company.