Day 2: Thankful Challenge

I share my house with men.  Two male humans and two male cats.

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I think I am pretty fortunate that they have learned to put up with my crazy ways…most of the time anyway.

I am incredibly thankful for my guys.  Sometimes I don’t know what is going on in their heads, but I am sure they feel the same way about me.

Ryan and I have been married for 14 years.  Yes, we got married when we were 10.  Ok, maybe not, but we did meet when we were 10 for the first time.  I guess you get to know a person pretty well when you have been through your awkward teenage years together and you still love each other.

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anniversaryWe have been through a lot together.  He is my rock when I am feeling like a mush of emotions and I force him to have fun when he is too serious.  He is my spreadsheet loving, type A guy, which is good because that is all a foreign language to me!  I think we are a pretty good balance!

Mr. Luke is my bright, inquisitive, kind-hearted, and amazing 12 year old.  He is a good mix of Ryan and I.  As Luke told me recently, “I am sort of like you and dad.  I like to be messy like you, but then I clean up my room really well and then I am like dad.”  Oh, did I forget to mention that he also likes to tell it like it is?!?!?

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Christmas Memories of Forest House

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I cannot believe how fast he is growing and changing.  In just a couple of months, he will be a teenager!  AACCKK!!  I am so proud of him and it is exciting to see the grow and change.  Speaking of growing, he has now surpassed one grandma and is well on his way to being taller than the other.

I couldn’t have asked to share my house with 2 better guys (make that 4 if you include the cats!!) and I am so very thankful for them every day!  Especially right now as I listen to Ryan working in the freezing cold garage installing a new garage door.

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My Personal Thankful Challenge

It is officially 2 weeks until Thanksgiving.  My house is filled with activity preparing for the big family event that will take place on Turkey Day.  We are planning for about 20 (give or take a few) and really looking forward to it.  Our life has been chaotic the past three years, which has left us pretty up in the air on holiday gatherings.  When we moved into our Forest House, we decided that we wanted to have Thanksgiving at our house.  There was room for everyone and it seemed like a good central location to host the event.

Sadly, it was a short lived tradition due to a river of smelly water that took away that house and then subsequent upheavals that have made our life a little head scratching…

For the next 2 weeks, I would like to spend some time each day reflecting on things that I am thankful for.  When we spend time in gratitude, it changes us.  Our focus changes from the negative and mundane to a more positive outlook.  We see things that we didn’t see before in a new light.  It gives us clarity and perspective, which are beautiful things.

thankfulBecause of Thanksgiving and thinking about the preparations in progress, it seems fitting to be thankful for our house.  After 7 moves since 2008, it is nice to be settled (almost!).  We are making this house a home and hoping for many years of family and friend gatherings within its walls.  A place where laughter will be had, tears will likely be shed, growth will be made, and life will be lived.

So today, I am thankful for home.  After moving so many times, I have learned that a house is just a house until you make it your home.  The memories, the people, and the life in the house is the key to achieving this feeling.  Every house that we have lived in has been full of memories, good and bad, but I am thankful for all of them.  We have learned a lot of life lessons along the way and I am sure we will learn many more in the years to come.

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More Dining Room Updates

The dining room continues to see more progress.   With the wall down, there was painting to be done, a chuck of flooring that needed to be patched/repaired, and other repairs to come.  We really wanted to do a happy dance when we went to Home Depot and they still had the flooring in stock.  We don’t necessarily love the flooring, but it saved us a ton of money to just fill in the gap instead of replacing all the flooring.  IMG_1237

This is the progress of the paint and furniture placement.  Still have to do the trim painting around the ceiling (not my forte!).

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I had no clue what the process would be to fix the floor, but it was way more detailed than I thought it would be.  First Ryan had to put a layer of plywood down.

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Then he found some cheap peel and stick tile to get the floor level because of all the layers of old linoleum under the current floor.IMG_1258

Then he had to remove the cut out tiles, and put in the new tile.IMG_1323IMG_1321 (1)Can’t even tell the difference at all!  We still have wall patching to do and some beam work that we are going to add for detail.

IMG_1246 IMG_1245It is a slow process, but super exciting!  I can now have a family Thanksgiving in my new dining room with room for a good 20 people if we get cozy.  I will do another update with lighting soon.  I am so thrilled about my new pendant lights…old style Edison light bulbs.  Exciting!!FullSizeRender

 

 

 

Turkey: It’s Not Just for Thanksgiving

While on Pinterest (I may still be slightly addicted to it), I found a recipe that made me feel like eating turkey and cranberries. Even more so when I found out that the recipe was a Crock-pot meal.  Between working a full time job, taking classes for my master’s degree, family time, and other various things (like home remodeling), I often don’t really care to cook.  It feels stressful to plan and prepare meals.  My Crock-pot saves the day more days than not!

The recipe is super easy and uses very few ingredients.  It can be found on Jamie Cooks it Up.  Are you ready to see the recipe for Turkey Breast of Wonder?  I did not name it, but the name does crack me up!!

Turkey in CrockpotTurkey Breast of Wonder

Time: 5 min. prep + 8-9 hours cooking
Yield: 12 servings
***NOTE: Make sure you buy a turkey breast small enough to fit in your crock pot.***
1 (5-6 pound) turkey breast
1/2 C orange juice (you could also substitute chicken broth)
1 (14 ounce) can whole cranberry sauce
1 (1 ounce) package Lipton Onion Soup Mix
salt and pepper
Place thawed turkey breast in crockpot.  Mix together all the other ingredients in a bowl and pour over turkey.  I put mine in the crockpot at 7:30 am and left it in until 5:00 on the low setting.  As long as it gets to 180 degrees, you are good.
For gravy, I strained the juice from the crockpot and put them in a saucepan.  I added about 4 T of cornstarch to 1/2 cup of cold water and stirred it together.  Then I poured it into the juices.  Bring it to a boil and let it thicken.  The recipe called for adding a 1/2 can of cream of mushroom soup, but I didn’t do this.  It would make it creamier, though.
IMG_1333Not the most fabulous picture, but you get the idea.  It was very good!  I will be adding it to my go to list of recipes.  I always love finding a good, easy recipe that we can all eat with me having to make changes to make it gluten free.

 

Doubling the Dining Room

The dining space in our house was more of a nook.  It fit a 4 seat dining table, but that was about it.  With Thanksgiving coming up, we decided we needed more space.  On the other side of the dining room wall was a mud room, which seemed like a waste of space when it could be used for something more.  These pictures are from when we bought the house.  I really love the built in hutch, but for the sake of a larger room, it needed to be removed.  By the way, how do you like the salmon colored walls?

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The first step was to knock the wall down.

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Then came the realization that the process was not going to be as simple as it seemed.  Beside tearing out plaster and knocking down stud walls, there was going to be flooring and walls to patch, lights to change out, trim to replace,  a gas line to move, electrical to take out, and walls to paint.  Of course, Ryan realized all that, but I was a little clueless!

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Quite the process, but it looks so much bigger and a whole lot more open!  Want to see the next steps of the process?  You might just have to wait a little while.  How do you like that for suspense?  Stay tuned for the next update very soon!

Summer in Review-Part 3 (and some freezer meals!)

Yesterday I posted on Facebook that I had made some freezer meals and several people wanted recipes so I thought in addition to my summer in review post, I would add some recipes.

At the end of June, we made a short trip to historic Medora, ND for a little getaway.  We did some site seeing, went on a trail ride, ate ice cream, shopped, saw the Medora Musical, and had an all around good time.

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After Medora, we had a family reunion  in Bottineau.  Unfortunately, the rain was the main event of the weekend, but we still had a fun time visiting with family and eating way too much food!  The kids braved the cold, rainy day and went for a ride on the inflatable couch on Lake Metigoshe.

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As is my norm, I had to take some pics of the North Dakota scenery including a calf at my brother’s farm and some North Dakota landscapes.  More iPhone pics!

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The rest of June was rounded out with bonfires and setting up the new pool in the back yard.

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Phew!  We made it through June with the updates.  July coming soon, but now to some recipes.  I am including 2 freezer recipes that I found on All Things Katie Marie.  I made these freezer meals yesterday, but have yet to eat either one.  They sure sound good, though!

FREEZER MEAL RECIPES

Chicken Taco Chili

  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 16 oz. can black beans
  • 1 16 oz. can kidney beans
  • 1 8 oz. can tomato sauce
  • 10 oz. frozen corn
  • 2 14.5 oz cans of diced tomatoes
  • 1 packet taco seasoning
  • 1 tbsp. cumin
  • 1 tbsp. chili powder
  • 3 chicken breasts
  • Chopped cilantro
  • Chili peppers (optional)

Cook in slow cooker on low for 10 hours or high for 6 hours. Recipe adapted from Skinny Taste

 

BBQ Chicken and Veggies

  • 2 green peppers, chopped
  • 1 red pepper, chopped
  • 1 zucchini, chopped
  • 3 onions chopped
  • 6 red potatoes, chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 4 chicken breasts
  • 1 15 oz. can of tomato sauce
  • 1 tbsp. brown sugar
  • 1 bottle of BBQ sauce

Split ingredients into two bags (yay for two meals!). Cook in slow cooker on high for 4 hours or low for 8 hours. Recipe adapted from Mama And Baby Love

Make sure when you make these that you label the freezer bags with the instructions so that you know what to do when it comes time to cook them.  I just wrote thaw and the amount of time that they need to be in the slow cooker on each freezer bag.

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Summer in Review-Part 2

Day 2 of the summer update…

The beginning of June was filled with painting.  My mom came and helped me paint the kitchen, dining area, and front entry.  The place was in desperate need of color!  These pictures are of the kitchen and dining area before we bought it.  Lots and lots of pinkish tan!  Let’s call it salmon.

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After much indecision, I finally came up with this color scheme…

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You can still see the salmon color in the living room (haven’t gotten to that yet).  What a difference a little paint and our decor made!  Sorry the pics aren’t the greatest.  They are just from my phone :)  We are hoping in the future to reface the cabinets to update the kitchen a little more, but it is all a work in progress!

The entry was also salmon, but now it is Sea Mist.  I really love the color.  A soothing aqua that feels very welcoming.  My mom bought me the owls for above the door as a late birthday present.  I love their vintage look!

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We had our first thunderstorm in June, which proved to be interesting.  The gutters were so full of gunk that Ryan had to get up on the roof in the heavy rain and hail to clean them out.  We were lucky to have NO water in the basement during the downpour!

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The picture hallway is coming along quite nicely as well.  It needs a few more pictures added to it, but the progress is coming along nicely.  I am hoping these can hang here for a few years!!

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That’s it for today, but I will be back.