Thursday, April 26, 2012


Whew!  We have been busy around here, as usual, as everyone is!  I painted my laundry area.  I  went to my parent's for several days while Chris was out of town on a business trip.We all went to Guymon for Chris's youngest brother's Confirmation.  Just when the laundry mayhem was dying down I received an e-mail informing me that Dillard's was taking 30% off the clearance...score!  I was super excited to find a couple of "closet staples" for myself: a black and white sleeveless blouse and a black pencil skirt (which I have been looking for for about 4 years, no exaggeration.)  I also bought a set of 8 Wusthof steak knives for our house for $15!!! Originally these would have cost $120.  Safe to say, this may be my favorite purchase of the day!  And I also bought several items for the growing weeds children in the family. 

During all this hustle bustle, I made pancakes a couple of times.  I had never made pancakes from anything other than a box before I married Chris, and I didn't think this was a problem.  And actually, it isn't.  But! It is so super easy to make them without a mix, and then you don't have yet another cardboard box in your pantry.  Also, the recipe we use (my mother-in-law's) makes very fluffy pancakes and they are oh-so-tasty!  My mom used to put chocolate chips in our pancakes for us from time to time when I was little and I always enjoyed that.  So naturally, I continued to do this with the homemade pancakes.  One Saturday I was sad to discover I was out of chocolate chips, but I did have a few butterscotch left.  Best "mistake" ever!!! Butterscotch have definitely become the favorite pancake embellishment in our house.  You should try it sometime!

I also make some blueberry ones for Christopher
 The recipe makes quite a few, so if you are only making these for 2 people, you could probably cut it in half.  However, we like to have them leftover for easy breakfast for the next few days.  Here it is:

2 c flour
3 tsp baking powder
1/4 c sugar
1 tsp salt
2 eggs
2 c milk
1/3 c vegetable oil

Whisk together dry ingredients.  Beat eggs; stir in milk and oil.  Combine and beat until mostly smooth (batter should still be a bit lumpy).  Cook until underside is golden brown and bubbles appear over surface; flip.  Cook another 1-2 minutes and remove.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Home Improvement

I'm going to blame it on the wonderful Spring weather we've been having: I've got major home improvement-itis!  The first big project was the removal of the pear trees, which took place this morning (it was delayed earlier this week because of rain).  I don't have a great shot of the yard we inherited upon purchase (unfortunately), but I do have a couple of snapshots for anyone who didn't get the chance to see it:
Mom is standing between our front flower bed and the street. Please notice the ring of pavers (which are the strait kind, never meant to be put in a circle) around the massive red tips.

Behind me you can see the pear trees; the greenery in the middle of the pic is the ring of shrubs. (Please ignore the "I'm a new mom, who just moved to a new house, in a new town attire.")

There was also a "berm" (fancy way for saying a mound that would be ridiculous to mow over) between the house and the ring of shrubs. Nice.

So last year, our goal was to remove the shrubs and berm, and to establish some grass. Accomplished! This year the goal was to remove the trees altogether since they are being a liability in any kind of stormy weather. If you remember, this is what our yard looked like before:
And here is what it looks like now! With a few "in progress" pics.

I also painted the ceiling and walls of my laundry room yesterday; it was such a little space, but the paint is a big improvement!
Why do appliances have to make so much dust??

Fresh, white ceiling!
After (the lighting in the before and after isn't great, but it looks so much better!)

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Easy Quesadillas

Continuing the "it's-too-pretty-to-be-in-the-kitchen-cooking" theme, and in answer to a request made by sister Megan, here's another quick and easy recipe.  Last night we had chicken quesadillas, black beans, and chips and salsa.  I used the super easy, super fast salsa recipe I have mentioned before.  Seriously folks, you need to try it.  You'll love it.  For the quesadillas all you need is 1-2 lbs chicken breasts, tortillas, cheese, and whatever else you might want.

Chicken:  Place large skillet over medium-high heat and coat with nonstick spray.  Once the skillet is hot, arrange chicken breasts evenly and generously coat with cumin, garlic powder, and chili powder.  There are no measurements here just sprinkle each spice til you get a good coat.  Immediately flip and spice the other side.  Sear over medium-high on each side for about 4 minutes (depending on how thick your pieces are).  Remove from heat.  Cut chicken into thin slices and return to pan.  Continue cooking over medium-low heat until chicken is done (about another 8-10 minutes). 

I made this part ahead of time so when Chris got in from work all we had to do was heat the skillet back up, throw in a tortilla, grate the cheese, and add the chicken.  Heat until cheese melts, the chicken is warm, and the tortilla is a nice golden color.  Super simple and yet still pretty tasty!  I make chicken enchiladas quite often in the fall and winter, but again, I don't like to have my oven on for that long on a warm day, so this is a nice alternative.


Monday, April 2, 2012


A big thanks to my sister Megan for redoing my blog.  I love the new background!  Peonies and hydrangeas are my favorite flowers.  And speaking of flowers, things are almost in full bloom over here!  This time last year Rachel was still tiny and Mom and Dad spent a lot of time in Edmond helping out with her and revamping our front yard.  Originally, there was a majorly overgrown planting of Red Tips in the front- placed directly on top of a berm, and in between two overgrown Bradford Pears.  Talk about terrible.  The front flower bed had a nice look at first glance, but I quickly discovered everything in there was dying because it hadn't been planted properly (aka...roots need to be below the surface of dirt people!!)  All this to say that last Spring was dedicated to pulling out lots of things and laying sod in the front yard (and transplanting my beloved peony from Mom and Dad's house!).  We didn't really get around to replanting much until the fall, when yet again Mom and Dad helped me do a quick makeover while Chris was out of town for work.  We added some clearance plants (you should always check to see what's left at the end of the get great deals and it's a perfectly OK time to plant perennials!) and hung shutters.  SO! This is my first Spring to go outside each day and see the changes my little plants have made over night!  My irises (transplanted from MaryBeth's old place in Stillwater...tear!) are blooming a beautiful blue, my pink Knockout Rose (transplanted from Mom's because Dad spotted several of these beauties on a clearance at True Value in Fort Gibson) is completely leafed out and even has a couple of blooms, and the clearance plants from last fall (decorative grasses and azaleas) and doing wonderfully as well!  Of course my pansy border is fading, so it is time for me to decide what to plant in it's place.  I will definitely need to pick something that can handle full-sun because we have an appointment to have the two pear trees out front removed next week. Eeek!  I am SO excited for them to be gone.  They are such a mess to clean up after in both the spring and the fall, and sort of a liability since some of the limbs are dangerously close to the house.  I know I will miss the wonderful shade they provide (we are planting another tree in their place, but obviously it will be a few years before we can expect any shade!) but I think in the long run this is the best choice.

My Free Stillwater Irises and Bargain Ft Gibson Rose

Free Ft Gibson Peony

It's going to be beautiful!

Shot of entire house with massive pear trees. I'll post a new pic when they're gone!

Note: I really shouldn't say some of these plants were free.  Mom and Dad have a lot of time, energy, and (unfortunately) gas money invested in these!

I am so glad Rachel likes to be outside because that it definitely where we have been lately!  She already has a little tan line from her T-shirts, which I think is hilarious!  With all of this outdoor time, dinner plans have been put on the back burner.  This is the hardest time of year for me to make myself cook!  And this is definitely when I would be coercing Chris to run to Braum's so that we could skip kitchen cleanup and just enjoy being outside...except for that little eating-out rule I made at the beginning of the year.  So BLTs to the rescue!  Now, I have to admit that Chris and I are majorly spoiled to Nolechek's bacon.  It's from Wisconsin and it is 10 million times better than anything you can buy here.  We stock up on it when we go up there to visit, and ask relatives to bring us some when they come down our way.  I was saddened to discover I am on my last package from the freezer when I realized that my sister-in-law Michelle's graduation is coming up in about a month, and some of the Wisconsin clan is planning to come down!  Yay!  More bacon (and probably cheese) for us!  If I can talk them into it.  Wish me luck!