I’m Boring

I know I haven’t updated in awhile but I have not forgotten my blog! This time of year is always busy and lately I have not been inspired to write, nor have I done anything too exciting to share. Tomorrow, though, we are having a Christmas party for our multiplied community group at our house. We expecting about 35 people. This should be interesting since we have a tiny house. It will be warm and cozy for sure!! I’ll be sure to take pictures and post all about it Thursday!

-E

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Waynesville, OH

About three times a year the girls in my family head to Waynesville, Ohio, to do a little shopping. I love our trips and I absolutely love Waynesville! The town itself is older than the state of Ohio. It’s located about 45 minutes north of Cincinnati, which is where my family lives.  The town is small and has a long main street filled with specialty shops, antique stores, and two big fabric stores. Most of the smaller decorative items in my house are things I’ve purchased in Waynesville dating back to my early teens. I know it may be weird to think of a 13-year-old girl buying home decor, but I got it from my Mom who got it from her Mom and so on.

All of the store items are very affordable; not to mention that most of the stores are in old houses or buildings. Many of my Christmas decorations come from Waynesville. I love to look at them and remember our trips or the stores from which I got them.  We recently went up the day after Thanksgiving and I wanted to share some pictures of the day and of the town with all of you! Maybe you will even want to check it out for yourself!

Looking down Main Street

Historic buildings

The inside of one of the stores

My Mom, niece, and sister-in-law posing for a picture!

The outside of one of our favorite stores

-E

A Christmas Craft for All.

I love to make my own things. There is so much satisfaction in creating something with your own hands. That’s one reason I love throwing pottery. My hands are in the clay turning it into a functional piece, but since I don’t get to throw pottery anymore (it’s too expensive 😦 and I graduated :)) I like to look for other things to satisfy my creative side. I found the following craft in my November issue of Country Living. What is great about this craft is that it works as a fall, winter, and Christmas decoration. All you need in order to get started are some pine cones, solid ribbon, and a hot glue gun. I bought all three things at Michael’s for $9.00!!!

Here is my finished version.

When choosing your eight pine cones at Michael’s, Hobby Lobby, or wherever else you might find them, make sure they are in good condition and are 2-4 inches in length. You can also use a different color ribbon. My sister used a bright red ribbon which also looked really good.

Now lets get started!!! First you need to cut eight strips of ribbon. Each strip needs to be about two feet in length.

My eight pine cones and eight ribbons.

Next take your warmed glue gun and put some glue either on the end of a ribbon or directly onto the top of the pine cone. Press the ribbon and pine cone together.

Once you have glued all eight pine cones go ahead and put them somewhere safe to dry. Now go ask your husband for a massage. Just kidding. . . sort of.

Drying beautifully!

Once you are super positive that the ribbons have throughly dried to the tops of the pine cones gather them all up and stagger them so they hang at different lengths. Tie a knot and snip the tops of the ribbons at a pretty angle.

That’s it! Wasn’t that easy? Now go hang your beautiful decoration on your front door, on a window, or between two windows like I did.

The ribbon goes perfectly with the couch.

Merry Christmas!!

-E

Our House

One of the reasons I wanted to start this blog is due to my love for homes, architecture, and decorating. David and I bought our home in Louisville    July 1st, 2008. We love our little house and I have had a wonderful time turning it into a  home. I have taken my sweet time doing so because I didn’t want to make any hasty decisions and then regret my choices later. This post will hopefully be the beginning of a series of posts about the coming together of our home. To get things started I want to give you a quick peek at the outside of our house 🙂

Here is a before shot of our house taken July 2008

Our Home today!!

This is our beautiful entrance. I love our front door and the mums came from my sister’s wedding in October

Our Fall display

Having the responsibility of owning a home is hard but I have sure learned a lot. Who knew I would know so much about soil acidity, electric mowers, paint color choices, and shower mixers? Hopefully I’ll soon be able to do a before and after post of the inside our house! I just love before and after pictures. I hope you do too!

Time to Sew

This year for Christmas I’m asking for a sewing machine! Sewing is something I have wanted to get into for a while now. I always see people creating the most creative things, like my sister for example, and wish I could do things like that. Then, about a week ago, I thought, “What’s stopping me?” So my Christmas list now includes a Singer sewing machine, a sewing kit, a book by Anna Maria Horner called Seams to Me, and a Joann Fabrics gift card. I’m really excited about all the sewing to come. Sometimes in life you just have to jump right in, even if you have no clue what you are doing 🙂 You’ll have to promise to keep me accountable so my new sewing machine doesn’t sit there getting all dusty!

-E

Gettin Figgy With It

I have started listening to Christmas music; I am not ashamed to admit this. If I waited until December 1st then I would only have 25 days to enjoy the thousands of Christmas songs that are out there, which makes no sense whatsoever! Plus, do you know how fast 25 days go by?! FAST. So today I was listening to the song, We Wish You a Merry Christmas, on Pandora. This is my least favorite Christmas song ever. When I was young it would scare me because these so called “we’s” — the ones who kept wishing me a merry Christmas over and over again — also demanded something called “figgy pudding.” And they certainly were not leaving until they got some. Which leads me to the question: what exactly is figgy pudding?

Now if you are completely bored at this point then by all means stop reading. But if you’re like me, and often Google random obscure things that pop into your mind, then keep reading. Okay, so what is figgy pudding? Well you might be surprised to find out. . . IT’S NOT PUDDING AT ALL! Confusing, huh? While exploring articles about figgy-not-so-pudding, I found an NPR segment that explains the dessert quite nicely. Apparently, Michelle Norris has been wondering what figgy pudding is too. What a coincidence! So instead of me writing a bunch of stuff about which I’m not even really sure, you can listen to the 8 minute NPR segment: Now, You Can Bring Us Some Figgy Pudding.

While you listen please enjoy some nice but questionable pictures of figgy pudding.

That looks like something that should remain unmentioned. And do I see peas and carrots?

figgy 1

This one looks much more edible.

figgy 2

Mmm… a personal-sized figgy pudding with shredded cheese, maybe.

figgy 3

Sweet and Sour Chicken

Do you ever wish you could make a meal that tasted just like the restaurant version or even better? Well here’s your chance! I came across this recipe for sweet and sour chicken a few months ago and couldn’t believe how good it was. I don’t usually order sweet and sour chicken at restaurants because it’s heavily fried with very little chicken. Well, this recipe has lots of chicken, a little fried, and plenty of yummy sweet and sour sauce! You should feel very special that I’m about to share it with you 😉

Sweet and Sour Chicken

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  • 3 lbs. chicken breasts
  • 1/2 cup white vinegar
  • 1 tsp. garlic salt
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • 1/2 black pepper
  • 3 1/2 Tbs. ketchup
  • 1 whole beaten egg
  • 1 Tbs. soy sauce
  • cornstarch
  • 2-3 Tbs. pineapple juice
  • 3/4 cup white sugar

Dice the raw chicken and sprinkle with garlic salt and pepper. Put in the fridge for 15 minutes.

Dip chicken pieces in egg and coat with cornstarch. Brown in hot oil until the coating holds together. Place in glass baking dish and cover with the sauce. Bake uncovered for 45 minutes at 365 degrees. Stir once halfway through.

Sweet and Sour Sauce

Combine sugar, vinegar, chicken broth, ketchup, and soy sauce. Heat in saucepan. Add cornstarch dissolved in cold water gradually until sauce thickens. Add pineapple juice to sweeten. Pour sauce over chicken. The sauce will smell strongly of vinegar but no worries, it won’t come out that way!!

Mmmm can’t you just taste it!

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Enjoy!!

-E

*Recipe from http://www.pioneerwoman.com/tasty-kitchen/

Aldi

Many of my friends have recently become more aware of the amount of money they are spending on their groceries and thus have begun taking steps to spend less. Of course I wanted to do the same! Most of my friends have turned to couponing and man are they good at it! I started doing some research myself and soon found I was becoming overwhelmed with all the websites, coordinating, clipping, and organization it took. Not to mention that you have to plan your meals around the coupons you clip. Also, here in Louisville we do not have the great store Publix. We have Kroger. Yay. Not. I could definitely see couponing if we had Publix, but alas. So I began looking for a different option.

A couple of my friends — as well as David’s Aunt — shop at Aldi. Now I have never been a big fan of Aldi because I judged the store as cheap with products that reflect that cheapness. I had never even stepped foot in the store and I already had set my opinion! Don’t we all do this? Anyway, back at the ranch. I mentioned that some of my friends shop at Aldi; every time that I’ve eaten at their homes I have found the food to be quite delicious and not lacking in any sort of quality. This led me to believe that I should give Aldi a try.

Before I get to my experience of shopping at Aldi let me preface it with a couple of things. First, David and I believe in the importance of eating good quality food. We try to avoid processed food or boxed food. I try to follow the strategy of perimeter shopping, where you stick to the outside edge of the grocery store and avoid the center aisles where all the boxed ready-made food is. However, this can get expensive; still we paid the high prices because we felt the long term benefits outweighed the high costs.

Second, I enjoy cooking from scratch. I like to try new recipes, especially ethnic recipes. This too can be expensive and my grocery bill was reaching upwards of $100 a week. I knew I needed to make a change, but I didn’t want to lose any of the food quality. I tried Meijer, Kroger, Value Mart, and even Wal-Mart but I was not impressed with the prices of the first three or the quality of the last. OK, so this is where Aldi comes in.

Aldi hails from the small German town of Essen, and was started by two brothers in 1913. Aldi now has stores all over the world. Their motto is, “No frills shopping so you can spent little and live big.” Sort of like the IKEA of grocery shopping. No frills, meaning the store is not decorated and the items are not shelved. You pick the items off of pallets and once the pallets are emptied they are replaced.

Interior of Aldi

aldi in

The discount store also asks you to pay with cash and to bring your own bags. You also bag your own groceries which I found I enjoy. Not only are you helping the environment but your bread and eggs are not getting smashed! As far as paying with cash goes, Aldi is saving money by not having to pay thousands in credit card fees, which ultimately results in lower food prices. Also, the only advertising Aldi does is old fahioned word of mouth. Again, no advertising costs equals lower food prices. There are other ways Aldi cuts prices but lets move on.

Once I made the decision to try shopping at Aldi I started to plan. I created my two-week meal plan, got some cash, grabbed my bags, found a quarter for a grocery cart and headed to the store. The first thing I noticed when I arrived was all of the available parking. There were only about seven people in the store which made shopping  easier. (It may get more crowded in the evening and on the weekends.) While shopping I quickly discovered that they had most everything I needed. I was impressed with their veggie and fruit section. The milk was only $1.49 and the eggs 99 cents! They had good meat too. A bag of 6 chicken breasts was $5.99. I found everything I needed except for a few specialty items!

After the cashier rang up all my items it was only $30!!!! I could barely contain my excitement! I then headed to Kroger to get my remaining items and spent $20. I’m sure I would have spent $100 if I had bought all my items at Kroger.

David was super impressed with my shopping success and we both enjoyed all the meals I made over the next two weeks. We each love Gala apples and I bought a big bag at Aldi. I can honestly tell you they were the best I’ve had in a long time! Once we were out of meals I made another two-week list and headed to the store again. This time my list was longer but I still only spent $44!!

Here is a picture of everything I bought yesterday at Aldi

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I would not usually go on and on about a grocery store, but I couldn’t believe my savings and the quality of food. I know that I was weary of shopping at Aldi, but let me just tell you, not anymore!! I realize that Aldi does not have numerous locations like other larger grocery chains, but they are in most metro areas. To find an Aldi near you head here. I would suggest giving Aldi a try if you live near one. I think you’ll be impressed with the quality and the savings!

Here is a salad I made with some Aldi ingredients!

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Pros of Aldi:

  • Amazing savings
  • Quality Items
  • No waste on adverting or frills
  • No large crowds
  • Monthly cost on groceries before, about $400. Now, about $150

Cons of Aldi:

  • You may not be able to find all the items on your list.
  • Only a few locations in each city.
  • You have to pay with cash
  • You have to bring your own bags and bag your own groceries (this is a pro for me).

Enjoy shopping!

-E

Halloween

David and I spent Halloween this year in Northern Kentucky at my parent’s house. There were parties to go to here in Louisville, but neither of us felt like going on the great costume hunt so we opted to spend the day with my family. Before we headed over to my brother’s house, David and I went for a walk around my parent’s place and took some pictures of the fall foliage and such. Here are some photos from the day.

Fiery red leaves on a Japanese Maple tree.

Japanese Maple

I stood under the branches so David could take a picture.

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David didn’t exactly get the same effect I did.

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Oh well, I knew going into the marriage that he has an awkward time taking pictures 🙂

Later on we went over to my brother and sister-in-law’s house to see our nieces in their costumes. I didn’t get too many pictures of them but they were super cute!

Alex was Princess Presto and Kate was a monkey. Who has the cutest nieces? I do!

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We took them trick-or-treating and saw a lot of creative costumes including a giant spoon and a man dressed as a beer bottle. Alex, referring to beer bottle man, said, “He looks like funny!” Later, we saw beer man again and she said “There’s the man in the chocolate milk costume.” Too cute! We had so much fun that it made me want to have my own kids to take trick-or-treating. In time people, in time.

-E

A Decision Made

My first blog post! Eeeee! This is something I have wanted to do for a very long time but it never seemed like the right time. It’s exciting that a decision has finally been made! My blog title describes what I want this blog to be about. A glimpse of my life captured here. A glimpse meaning just that, not me telling you what I do every second of every day. That would be boring!

Hopefully you’ll find plenty of pictures, tips, recipes, stories, interesting tidbits, and other things I can’t think of right now. Enjoy!

-E