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.  

Monday, December 9, 2013

Deck the Halls

Is everyone in Tulsa surviving all of the snow?  I must say that I do love winter accessories very much.  And I like a little cool weather.  And I do like white Christmases.  But Fall is still my all-time favorite season. Though I think the snow is beautiful, this biting weather is just too much.  

My husband and I volunteered at Church on the Move's Christmas Train for our first time this year.  It was amazing!  And cooold!  I got to go around as part of a 10 or so person group caroling throughout Dry Gulch.  Husband was a train conductor!  I had to do a double take when he came out of his dressing room all dressed to the nines like a conductor straight out of the late 1800's. He looked so good!!  I wanted him to keep the costume and wear it all the time.  It could fit into an electrical drafter's office environment, right?

  It was so rewarding getting to walk around and see the happy looks on people's faces.  They requested Christmas carols, sang along and took pictures with us.  It's something we would definitely do again, though hopefully it won't be so cold next time.  They said that it was the coldest it's ever been while still keeping the Christmas Train open.  It even snowed a little!  

Our children will love us.  They will love being dressed up in little outfits and being paraded around as the most precious kiddos in the world.  Bandit on the other hand...he was shaking as I put his little Santa jacket on before her went outside.  I don't know if it was because he was already cold or if he was so ashamed to be seen in it.  That was his shortest little trip outside since it snowed.  He did his business then was ready to come back inside.  Mommy's sorry you were embarrassed....but you looked so cute!!

I am proud of how this little tree turned out.  It was a very sad looking tree when I pulled it down from the attic.  All flattened with branches going every which way, and was missing 1/3 of its little legs to stand on.  Husband came into the sun room to find me sitting on the floor with the tree in my hand, woeful look on my face crying, how do I make it stand up?!  Husband, in all of his logical-ness said "Why don't you put it in something..."  So I did.  An orange insulated mug that I found on the kitchen counter, wrapped some burlap around it and called it good!  Know one will ever know....except for y'all because I just told you...shhh.

Since it's in our sun room and our sun room is nautical themed, I did a halfway nautical themed tree with seashells and little blue and cream paper accordion bows.  I was pretty pleased with myself and my resourcefulness.    

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Sister's Tree

We had such a fun time the other night helping Sister decorate her Christmas tree.  Three generations coming together to celebrate such a wonderful season.  I had to make myself slow down and take a step back.  I noticed I'd had the tree up and started putting ribbon on it before anyone else had gotten there.  I get a little excited and on a roll when it comes to decorating.  They made it in time though and Mama helped wrapping the ribbon around the tree.  

It was a lot of fun.  We had Christmas music playing in the background, pine tree scented candle burning and decorations spread out everywhere.  It was so peaceful.  We used a combination of mine and Grandmother's ornaments.  The fun thing about Grandma's ornaments are that each one has a story, or she made some of them.  Mom and Grandma would go to craft shows, buy a prototype of something they liked then have Grandpa make it for them to put the finishing paint and decorating touches on.  I come from a family of crafters.

The finishing touch on the tree.  Sister putting on the last ornament.

Anyone else remember how delicious this ribbon candy is?  I've actually never had it this big before.  I just remember at my church growing up, around Christmas time they would pass out bags of candy to all the little kids.  Bags full of the mini ribbon and pillow candies.  All bright yellows, oranges, reds, pinks and greens.  Much like this:

I could eat it all day...or until my teeth were so covered in the candy that I couldn't open my mouth any more to chew.  

  What are some of your favorite Christmas memories?

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

The Leg Lamp

Happy Tuesday!  

  It's that time of year again.  The time where red, green, white, silver and gold are the primary colors seen everywhere,  Christmas trees, ornaments, and snowy window-scapes adorn every store display window, children's eyes are wide with wonder as they walk the mall being toted behind their parents, songs like O Holy Night, Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree, and Mariah Carey's  All I Want for Christmas is You can be heard all over the radio, 24/7, (94.1 the Breeze is Tulsa's 24/7 Christmas station.)  Husbands can be seen scaling ladders and hanging precariously to satisfy their wives by being the first in their neighborhood to put up their Christmas lights.  Churches prepare for their Christmas pageants, with little angels and snowflakes running around, the birth of Jesus, our savior being fully celebrated.
   And then out come the Christmas decorations.  There's so many varieties that it's hard to keep track of: traditional, rustic, vintage, funky, girly, and I'm sure there's some Ducky out there somewhere!  As for us, we mostly have traditional.  Except for our entertainment center.  That leans more towards woodland.  Woodland!  That's one I forgot to mention.

This is one of the more fun pieces of decor we have.  We got it from Dick's .5 & .10 while on our honeymoom in Branson last year. (Which I still can't believe it's been a year already!!)  It's from one of the classic, iconic Christmas movies, A Christmas Story.  I'm sure everyone is familiar with it.  There's a station on TV that plays a 24-hour marathon of it on Christmas day.  And from it, the iconic leg lamp, which full sized ones cost upwards of $80!!  One day we will splurge and get a real one.  And yes, we will find a way to put it in our front window, even though the window doesn't really have a ledge. There will be a way!  Husband loves this lamp.  He also has a leg lamp puzzle that came in a much smaller version of the wooden shipping crate. 

Of course, even though it doesn't really match I had to put on the ornament for my alma mater.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Outdoor Decor

Welcome back, everyone!!  I hope you had a delightful, family-filled Thanksgiving!  Pardon my absence these past few days.  I've been getting spoiled by getting to spend these past 5 days all with my husband, getting to be off work and spending time with family.  Celebrating our thankfulness.  We have a lot to be thankful for.  God has provided us with so many blessings that it's hard to keep track!  I've felt him working in our lives these past few months, bringing us closer together and closer to him.  I can't wait to see what He holds in store for us in the next year.  

  I can't believe it's December already!  That's just crazy.  It's starting to feel like winter and look like it.  Though I've been listening to Christmas music for about a month straight now, I'm still not tired of it.  Christmas is such a happy time of year.  Lights are slowly going up on people's houses, including ours!  We were busy Christmas bees this weekend.  Our house is all decked out and feels so cheery.  

Husband braved the roof to hang up the Christmas lights for me! They went up in no time.  He's so good!  I went up on the roof for a little bit just to prove that I could do it.  It really wasn't too bad...until I had to get down.  That was a little scary.

Once, when I was like 6 or 7 years old, my dad was repairing the garage/laundry room roof and fell off of it...right on me!  That was scary.  None of us were hurt though.  I went off crying into the house because I hadn't known what to do.  It was a life changing moment.

Husband has just been surprising me more and more lately.  This cross was his idea.  He wanted to put it in our backyard so that people could see it from the road.  He made this!  It's 7 ft tall.

"And presents under the tree...."  I've been waiting 2 years to finally put these out.  I got them on mega after Christmas sale from Kirkland's Home Decor back when I used to work there. I didn't put them up last year because I'd forgotten about them.  But this year was the year!!  They look really neat at night.