Friday Favorites #3

Hello friends, and welcome to Friday! This week was a busy one and went by fast! I’m looking forward to a chance to get caught up on things and spend time with friends.

Time to celebrate this week’s highlights!

  1. Breakfast Potatoes – I mentioned these in Monday’s post, but man oh man I didn’t know how awesome they would be! They need to be called something like All Day Potatoes because they were so tasty and were awesome in so many meals this week. I covered the Russet potatoes in cheese and bacon for dinner Sunday night, covered them again in cheese as a side dish on Monday, and combined the sweet potatoes with apple sausage and eggs for dinner on Wednesday! I almost need to make two batches; that’s how much we loved these!

    breakfast potatoes

    Ready to bake!

  2. Early Birthday Dinner with the Grandparents – My mom is going out of town for the next week or so, so we had my early birthday dinner this week. My Poppa (the unofficial chef) made chicken alfredo, garlic bread, and salad for dinner (my request), and we had my signature cake for dessert. Seriously, I’ve had this cake every year for my birthday for about 20 years. It’s the best. We’re also cat sitting while Mom is gone, and somebody is NOT happy about it.

    picture

    Touch me and die, human.

3. Kitchen Renovation – No, not mine. I wish! My mom’s landlords are redoing her kitchen because of some structural issues with the floor. That means new cabinets, new floors, and new paint! Here’s the before so you can fully appreciate her nice new one in a couple weeks! That’s when it’s supposed to be finished anyway. We’ll see. I had a blast working with Mom and Grandma to get it all emptied. Those women are crazy…

kitchenbefore2kitchen before

4. Thirty-One Tote Steal! – Since I’ve officially become an Aldi convert, I needed something to use to carry my groceries since they don’t use bags. So far, I’ve just been putting the loose groceries in my car and using a laundry basket to carry them inside. Classy, I know. I wanted a pretty Thirty-One Tote, but couldn’t justify the $50 price tag. Luckily, I found out one of my co-workers is a rep, and she had one on sale for half price! It even came with a lid! I may have been a little too excited about this. Now I can get my super cheap groceries in style! 🙂

tote bag

It’s so pretty!! Look at all that room!

Yes, two of my favorite things are food related. #fatgirlstatus

How was your week? Do you have a go-to recipe that you make every week?

~Red~

TBT to Our First Home

Picture of our first home

One of my favorite stories from people who have been married awhile is the one about their first home. Even if they were dirt poor when they got married and could barely afford a one bedroom apartment, they almost always get this glazed, lovey-dovey look on their faces when they go back to that point in their lives. Ahhh…the romance…

We’ve only been married for a little over 2 1/2 years, and we’ve only lived in our new house for about half that time, but I get just as dreamy-eyed when I look back at our time spent in our first home.

Picture of our first home

Because we weren’t super young when we got married, we were a little better off financially than some and were able to look for houses to rent instead of apartments. Which is a good thing, because my Missouri-born husband was used to being miles away from his neighbors, and I think he would have gone nuts if he had to share walls with strangers.

We actually found our house very quickly. We sat down one afternoon about six months before our wedding, pulled up Craigslist, and saw this beautiful, old farmhouse for rent right within our price range. We drove by to make sure the neighborhood wasn’t sketchy, and called to schedule a showing.

Picture of our first house

This room was always so dark!

Right after we scheduled it, however, we got the most terrible news. My husband’s grandfather had passed away. Not only were we heartbroken, now, he would be travelling to Missouri and would be gone the day we were supposed to see the house.

Since, we were both really interested in it, we decided that I would go anyway. I took my mother so she could keep me grounded. I tend to be overly optimistic when it comes to looking at houses and was afraid I would miss something super obvious, like the house not having a bathroom or something. When we pulled in the driveway, we were greeted by an older man in a Hawaiian print shirt and shorts who was covered in white paint. After we introduced ourselves, he started walking us through the house.

Picture of our first home

   Isn’t that an awesome table? Yeah, it’s actually a desk. My first decorating “hack” and I was so proud!

I still laugh when I think about how I fell in love with the house even though it was still full of the previous renters things, was in desperate need of a good scrubbing, and smelled…funky. For some strange reason, all I saw were original hardwood floors (the house was built in 1907!), a wood-burning fireplace in the bedroom, a beautiful front porch and side screened-in porch, and a gorgeous yard. I was in love.

PIcture of our first home

      See the fireplace?! I still miss it.

If you haven’t caught on by now, we rented the house. And Hubs hadn’t even seen it yet, other than driving by. I was so nervous when he came home to see it for the first time. I had already signed the lease, so we were stuck for a year whether he liked it or not. On top of that, he was going to be living there for six months by himself! I really, really hoped and prayed he would like it, and he did! In fact, it was almost identical to the house he grew up in. We just new we had found the perfect place to start our new life together.

Picture of our first home

And we had. 🙂

Next week, I’ll share some of our favorite memories from the farmhouse. Hint, as with any farmhouse, dead mice are involved.

~Red~

Friday Favorites #2

Friends, the weekend is upon us! So far my weekend is shaping up quite nicely, and by that I mean I have NO plans other than a bonfire tonight with the hubby. And I really do have to clean the house at some point this weekend.

I need a maid. Or some friendly forest animals. Or Matilda’s magical powers.

I’m not picky.

But for now, it’s time to share some of my favorite moments from the past week!

01. Mom’s Birthday Dinner!

We try to have dinner with my grandparents at least once a week anyway, but this week was better than usual because it was my mom’s birthday! She’s the only girl, so she’s a little spoiled (whether she admits it or not), and my grandfather, aka Poppa, pulled out all the stops. He cooks the best steak, and spoiled us all with a delicious dinner. I’m happy to celebrate your birthday anytime, Mom.

02. Aldi Shopping Trips with Kelly

Aldi opened in our town a little over a year ago, but I always forget to shop there because I’m a creature of habit. Since Kelly works so close to me now (Yay!), we decided to go after work and get groceries for the week. Well, I needed groceries. She just went with me for fun and because she knows I hate doing anything by myself. Yes, I have issues. I ended up getting a week’s worth of groceries for a little over 50 dollars! I spy a weekly tradition?

03. Lunch Dates with this Cutie!

IMG_20151008_122046551

Hubs was on fall break this week, so he got to come have lunch with me! This image pretty much sums up our week. He had way too much caffeine in attempts to keep up with homework, and my work has been super slow because my boss is out of town. Apparently,no one wants to come talk to just me. Strange. I’m obviously quite charming.

What were some of your favorite moments this week? Do you go to the same grocery store out of habit? Or do you shop the sales?

~Red~

TBT to That Time I Dropped a Class, and Drank Black Coffee, Because of a Boy

Once upon a time, I sought to diversify my resume. I planned to add a computer science minor to my English major, making it pretty much impossible for any company to refuse my multi-talented self.

Before declaring though, I decided to take a few trial run courses to make sure I could hack it (see what I did there?) in the world of ones and zeros.

One of these courses was Web Theory and Design. I imagined all the ways it would be useful in my very lucrative future and just knew I was on track to prove everyone wrong who assumed being a barista was the only viable option available to English majors.

However, Web Theory and Design was, fittingly, an online class. Online classes are challenging for those of us who are…let’s just say…lacking in the time management department.

Unit one was due Friday. I met my friend (and a few other frantic classmates) to START working on it Thursday night.

Yep. I was that student.

After an hour or so of working diligently on what proved to be a very complicated assignment for me, I got a text from a boy with the three words every college girl wants to hear:

You want coffee?

We had only been texting for a little while, and had never officially gone out together, but I wasted no time in texting back.

Yes, yes I did want coffee thank you very much.

He showed up a little while later with a huge thermos full, and we talked for two hours while standing in the parking lot.

Only when my friend started texting me thinking I had been kidnapped did I finally go back up to the computer lab, where I drank two cups of BLACK coffee, shut my computer down, and announced to my friend that I would be dropping Web Theory and Design.

Maybe it was the cute boy who distracted me from my determination to rule the world through both written word and typed HTML.

Maybe it was standing for two hours that caused all the common sense to drain from my brain.

Or, maybe it was when he shyly handed me the old book about the bird girl that reminded me of my love for literature.

Now, that same boy makes me coffee every morning.

He puts cream in it.

~Red~

2015 Reading Challenge

I thought when I graduated college that I would finally read all the books that had been sitting on my shelves gathering dust for four years. Since I would no longer be rushing to meet deadlines, write papers, and go to classes, I just knew I would have ample time to finally read for fun.

Here I am, over two years later, and I’ve read one book. One.

Grant it, it was the Russian beast that is Anna Karenina, but I still don’t want that to be the only reading I do for 2015.

Enter The 2015 Reading Challenge from Modern Mrs. Darcy (<–what my blog wants to be when it grows up).

2015 Reading Challenge Graphic

I love that it only has 12 books on it, which seems doable even with a busy schedule, and I love that it’s flexible enough that I can find a good fit for most of the categories without purchasing a book.

The first category is, “A book you’ve been meaning to read.”

Although I have several books I’ve been meaning to read, I decided to go with Green Mansions: A Romance of the Tropical Forest by W. H. Hudson. Mainly because I had already started reading it and needed to motivate myself to not take six years like I did reading Tolstoy.

Written in 1916, the book is about a man who flees his home country after attempting a revolution and finds himself living among the natives in Guyana, where he forms a relationship with a mysterious “bird girl”. (that’s all I know right now, I haven’t finished it yet!) 🙂

Why did I choose this book? I didn’t. Before my husband and I started dating, he asked me to feed his dog while he went out of town to visit family. He brought this book back for me as a gift because it was A) old and he knew I loved old books and B) it sounded like an interesting story.

At this point in his life, the only reading he did involved sports articles and Facebook updates, so it meant a lot to me (and still does) that he took the time to find something I might like.

So far, I love the language and the characters in this book. It’s simple enough to follow, but challenging enough to keep me engaged in the storyline.

My goal is to finish it by the end of the month. I’ll keep you posted on my progress!

What good books have you been reading lately? Have any of you read anything by W. H. Hudson?

~Red~

To the Woman Who Gave Me Everything

When I look at the many, many blessings I have in my life today, I can’t help but credit them all back to you.

I’m happily married to my best friend, but only because you taught me what true love really looks like.

I have a beautiful home, but only because you reminded me that a home has less to do with fancy furnishings and more to do with the love found within.

I have a job that I love, but only because you encouraged me to follow God’s leading in my life and not settle for anything less than His perfect will.

I have real joy, but only because you showed me everyday how to find the good in everyone and everything around me.

I have a deeply rooted relationship with God, but only because you were a constant example of His love to me.

So, thank you, Mom.

And Happy Birthday to the most wonderful person I have ever met.

~Red~

Monday Musings

Few things in life sneak up on me quite like Mondays. No matter if our weekend was jam-packed with activity or full of nothing but coffee drinking and Netflix (my favorite kind), Monday always comes before I’m ready for it.

This weekend was a perfect mixture of fun and relaxation. It started with dinner with friends at one of our favorite hibachi restaurants. I don’t care how old I am, I will never stop laughing at the onion volcano and the guy peeing on the fire. Gets to me Every. Single. Time. Afterward, we got coffee and browsed through Barnes and Noble. Hubs is in grad school working on his teaching degree, so I quickly lost him to the education section.

picture

#gradschoolwidow

Saturday, my mom, brother, and his wife came to our house to have lunch with us. My mom’s birthday is tomorrow, and she loves nothing better than hanging out with all four of her “kids”. Sometimes I think she likes the in laws better though….not sure how I feel about that.

I made chicken soup using some random ingredients I had on hand and baked these garlic cheddar biscuits, which fit the cold rainy day perfectly. Hubs said it was the best chicken soup he ever tasted. He loves me though, so I wouldn’t take his word for it.

Yesterday after church, we ran some errands before coming home for spaghetti and salad. After lunch, we sat around watching Hallmark movies on Youtube (because my mother is slightly completely obsessed) while Hubs did homework. We were in the mood for a snack later, so I made a simple fruit dip with cream cheese, brown sugar, and vanilla extract (full recipe here). My husband might have done a happy dance over this one and even ate all of the fruit instead of just eating the dip with a spoon. Small victories are still victories.

Picture

Served on my new dishes I got for my birthday! It doesn’t look pretty, but it tasted great!

Even though Monday snuck up on me, I’m actually really excited to start this new week. Today is my friend’s first day at her new job, which just happens to be at the same university where I work!  Here’s to a life filled with biffle lunches, google chats, and work picnics that double as biffle dates! Can’t wait!

What were some of your weekend highlights? I’d love to hear them!