Monday, June 29, 2009

Happy Belated Father's Day!

Proud patriot, Titan of tools, Sun kissed surfer, Griller of delicious grub, recently Registered Nurse and always- "Dad."Saturday was spent celebrating dad, eating ice cream cake, and watching the puppies fight play. :) After a scrumptious linner(a lunchtime dinner that is) we went on a daddy/daughters movie date and saw "The Proposal," which won two thumbs up from all!

Love you Dad, Happy Father's Day!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Baked Parmasean Spinach Dip

A close co-worker, Southern Living consultant and hostess extraordinaire shared this recipe with me, so I knew it was going to be a hit. :) Last night Chris had a friend come over and I made this outrageously yummy(so were the reviews) appetizer. And, it's healthy to boot! I feel one step closer to Rachael Ray now that I've accomplished a dish outside of my normal, and limited, food repertoire. Now all I need is a new set of tastebuds to enjoy all of this green goodness!

Makes about 3 cups; 12 servings

1 package (10 oz.) frozen chopped spinach, thawed
1 cup reduced-fat or regular mayonnaise
1 package (3 oz.) cream cheese
1 onion (6 oz.), peeled and minced
1 clove garlic, pressed or minced
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1 box Wheat Thins (or cracker/bread of your choice)

1. Squeeze spinach to remove liquid. With a mixer, beat spinach, mayonnaise, cream cheese, onion, garlic, 1 cup Parmesan cheese, and pepper until thoroughly combined.
2. Mound mixture in a 3- to 4-cup baking dish. Sprinkle evenly with 2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese and the paprika.
3. Bake in a 350° oven until hot in center and lightly browned on top, 25 to 30 minutes.
4. Serve with Wheat thins!

Happy Appetizer-ing!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Weeds Be Gone

In addition to pesky flies, we're at war with the weeds! I recently stumbled upon this tip from one of my new favorite blogs, "Keeper of the Home: Naturally Inspired Living for the Christian Homemaker. " Because my thumb has a long way to go before turning a fruitful "green," I feel that the least I can do is tackle these weeds! We're all about natural solutions, especially considering that Piper goes out back a lot and it's such a small area. We've tried boiling water, and while it does sort of kill the weeds, it's only had a so-so effect. So here is my new and simple action plan for getting rid of these strongwilled weeds, courtesy of "Keeper of the Home":

1 lb. Table Salt
1 gallon White Vinegar
Liquid dish detergent
*Dissolve the salt in the vinegar, then add 8 drops of liquid dish detergent. Store in a labeled spray bottle.

Crossing my fingers that it works! Now if only I had these types of weeds...I'd just let them grow and grow :)

Monday, June 15, 2009

Sweet Sweat Equity

Introducing adventures in doing it yourself….Our Fantastic Floor Makeover!
After a bear of a project like this, I am happy to exclaim “WE DID IT!” For over a year Chris and I have been talking about our dream hardwood style laminate floor, and now it’s a reality. After countless conversations, calculated planning, months of saving, and days of hard labor, we can finally sit back and enjoy our brand new living room floor.
Very early in the process, I had bright idea that we could make HGTV proud and do it ourselves- saving a ton of money in labor made it a no-brainer. Of course we weren’t alone. Thank goodness for the experienced hand of my dad, who was such a trooper to come up and help us install our floors. After a backbreaking day of hard work laying, hammering and jigsaw-ing away, I’m happy to say that the end result was completely worth it.

Was it unbelievably more intense than I thought? Yes! Did we totally underestimate the amount of work and elbow grease required? Absolutely! Would we consider doing a project of this magnitude again on our own? Debatable, lol!
I’m so proud of my dad and Chris. Both of them were such hard, patient workers! The floors look phenomenal, far better than I had hoped even. This past week has been like Christmas morning waking up to them! Plus, I feel so much cleaner to be rid of that awful carpet! Piper’s a huge fan of the floors as well, and is enjoying the retreat of a cool floor from the hot summer sun.
The finished product!
Without a doubt-and despite the crazy hard work- doing it ourselves was twice as gratifying as it was challenging. I’m glad that we were good stewards of our money, and knowing we put in the hard work to get these floors down gives us a heightened appreciation for their value and care.

While we installed the actual floors in one(FULL) day, the process from beginning to end took a few days, and we still have some minor ends to tie up. It all started with moving the furniture on Wednesday, losing our tv in the process, lol. Then on Thursday we reached the point of no return as Chris and I tackled the daunting task of pulling up our carpet. That part was'nt so bad, it was the glue and carpet tacks that really took the cake, ugh! Not to mention the insane amount of dirt and dust living under our floors…I thought the sweeping would never end. Finally on Friday my dad met us bright and early and we worked all. day.long. On Saturday we moved all of our furniture back and I swiffered like I’ve never swiffered before-I don’t think I’ve ever be that excited to clean a floor! After we finish recovering(it's been a week already, lol) we'll have to put down quarter rounds, and figure out some minor transition details on our own…but after beating this bear of a project, I feel like we tackle anything.
Praise the Lord, we made it! I am SO thankful for the opportunity to finally realize this long awaited goal of ours. Moreover, I'm so glad that we got it done with all of our fingers and toes intact, and with no major setbacks or defeats. God is so good to us :)

Not pictured:
One very loud and unhappy puppy who did not enjoy being left outside all day.
Two pounds of sawdust and wood chips covering our front porch.
THREE pitchers of Cherry limeade drank throughout the day.
Countless trips to Lowes Hardware-yes, we are officially homeowners!

Monday, June 8, 2009

Dear Housefly,

In case you missed the memo, you are not a welcome guest in this home. I did not invite you over for dinner, nor do I enjoy the sporadic hum of your buzz buzz while cooking Spaghetti in my "no flies allowed" kitchen. Beware: I would like you to evacuate this house immediately, and am willing to use force if need be (f-l-y-s-w-a-t-e-r ring a bell?). You have been warned.


PS-Tell your friends.

Photo of the week...

...belongs to the 1 year birthday boy!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Happy Birthday Piper!

One puppy cake comin' up! Piper LOVED his very special birthday cake, and wanted to share this K-9 friendly recipe for all of you dog lovers! We can't believe our sweet puppy is already 1 year old!
Dog Friendly Peanut Butter Carrot Cake:


1 egg
1 cup of whole wheat or white flour
1/3 cup honey (we skipped the honey)
1 tsp of baking soda
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 cup of peanut butter
1 cup of shredded carrots
1/4 cup of vegetable oil

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Now mix the baking soda and flour and then add the remaining ingredients and mix well and pour the mixture into a ring mold sprayed with a nonstick spray and place in the oven for 30 minutes.

For frosting use low fat cottage cheese decorated w/ carrots, dog treats, ect.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Lions, Tigers and Polar Bears Oh My!

Yesterday Chris and I took a day trip to Asheboro to visit the North Carolina State Zoo. It was a great day under the sun as we walked through North America and Africa to see the animals. I especially loved meeting "Willie" the Polar Bear, who was feeling a little lazy under the hot summer sun. Chris and I both taged the Aviary as another favorite of the day. Enjoy the pics!

While we both truly enjoyed and highly recommend the NC State Zoo, I have to say that Disney's Animal Kingdom still holds the "best zoo experience ever!" award. Mostly because this picture, taken on our honeymoon in Disney, wasn't even cropped... wow!
On an unrelated note, this trip also verified our uncanny ability to schedule trips alongside middle school field trip days. My what brave teachers there are! :)

Monday, June 1, 2009

Oatmeal White Chocolate Chunk Cookies

Chris just LOVED these cookies. And what better way to preserve a great recipe than to blog it?! While I'm not a fan of craisins or white chocolate, I thoroughly enjoyed baking with this colorful recipe. It's very simple and straighforward, and pretty healthy too. You can substitute the craisins for cranberries or plain ole' raisins if you prefer.

2/3 cup butter or margarine, softened
2/3 cup brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 1/2 cups old-fashioned oats
1 1/2 cups flour1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 six-ounce package Craisins Original Sweetened Dried Cranberries
2/3 cup white chocolate chunks or chips

DIRECTIONS:Preheat oven to 375ºF. Using an electric mixer, beat butter or margarine and sugar together in a medium mixing bowl until light and fluffy. Add eggs, mixing well. Combine oats, flour, baking soda and salt in a separate mixing bowl. Add to butter mixture in several additions, mixing well after each addition. Stir in sweetened dried cranberries and white chocolate chunks. Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheets. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on wire rack. Makes approximately 2 1/2 dozen cookies.