Thursday, October 18, 2012

Home Cooking for the Hubby!

Our home feels whole again now that Jason is home from his TDY to Maryland. Having survived on my own for the 10 weeks he was away, made us realize that as much as we would hate having to be separated by a deployment, we could (and will) do it. It won't be fun, but our love for each other is strong enough and we both trust that God put is in this crazy life for a reason, the last thing we are going to do it bail. 

Since Jason has been home, I have been trying a few new recipes out on him. A couple of them we really enjoyed and I will be making again soon! My favorite is called Sweet Baby Ray's Crockpot Chicken. We got introduced to Sweet Baby Ray's BBQ sauce in Indiana and were so thankful that they sell it here in Colorado, too. This recipe is so easy, I just threw it all together and had Jason turn on the crock pot during his lunch. 

Sweet Baby Ray's Crockpot Chicken Recipe
(Photo and recipe credit Just a Pinch Recipes)

Sweet Baby Ray's Crock Pot Chicken

4-6 chicken breasts, boneless and skinless
1 regular size bottle sweet baby ray's bbq sauce
1/4 c vinegar
1 tsp red pepper flakes
1/4 c brown sugar
1 tsp garlic powder

Mix BBQ sauce with vinegar, red pepper flakes, brown sugar and garlic powder.
Place chicken in crockpot (still frozen is ok). Pour sauce mixture over chicken.
Cook on LOW 4-6 hours.

See? Super easy! Great weekday recipe. It's a bit spicy, but you can tone down the red pepper flakes if you don't want too much of a kick. The other recipe that I tried out on the hubby was Baked Chicken Parmesan. Jason is not really a fan of Italian food, but he LOVED this. He finished 3 pieces of chicken and then everything I didn't eat. I always know I did a good job when he finishes off my plate too ;) 

(Photo and recipe credit

Baked Chicken Parmesan 

4 (8 oz) chicken breast halves, sliced in half to make 8
3/4 cup seasoned breadcrumbs 
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 tbsp butter, melted (or olive oil)
3/4 cup reduced fat mozzarella cheese
1 cup marinara sauce
cooking spray

Preheat oven to 450°. Spray a large baking sheet lightly with spray.
Combine breadcrumbs and Parmesan cheese in a bowl. 
Melt the butter in another bowl. Lightly brush the butter onto the chicken, then dip into breadcrumb mixture. Place on baking sheet and repeat with the remaining chicken. 
Bake in the oven for 20 minutes. Turn chicken over, bake another 5 minutes.  
Remove from oven and top with mozzarella cheese and bake until cheese is melted
Top with marinara sauce (warmed) and serve over pasta

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Fall Decorating

Well, here in Colorado we went straight from summer to winter. In 24 hours it went from 80 degrees to 25 degrees with freezing rain. I love fall, so I'm not to happy about this. It should be fall-like weather this week, but you never know at 6,000 feet.

I made an amazing wreath this weekend for Halloween. I was getting a little discouraged while making it, but I am so pleased with the outcome. It took a bit of time, but it was well worth it!

I also added some more fall decorations to the house. I bought these cute boxes of Kleenex from Target with owls on them. They were just too cute to pass up! Owls are everywhere right now, I can't go anywhere without seeing something with an owl on it. Most of them are pretty dang cute, too.

Dining room table

Coffee table

Wonderful (and cheap!) candles from Kohl's

It is finally the week I have been waiting for since the end of July! Jason comes home in 4 days and the time can not got any faster! Thankfully I have work all week to keep me busy, but I have a feeling the days are going to drag by.

And last but not least, my parents gave me money for my birthday to go get myself a new Coach purse :) I went to the Castle Rock Outlets this weekend walked out with a purse AND wallet. Gotta love outlet prices!

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Crafts, Cooking and IKEA!

I've been really productive lately in making crafts for the house. I am really picky when it comes to decorating our home, but I have made a couple things lately that look wonderful in our house. Of course, I found the "how-to" on Pinterest, but changed it up a little. Here is the first one I did...

 I used this tutorial

I changed some of the steps because I didn't want to cut out letters from the printer and stick them onto the canvas. I used cardboard letters from Michaels and Hobby Lobby and just placed them onto the canvas covered in fabric, then spray painted it. It took quite a few coats of spray paint to cover the fabric completely, but it looks great! I was really surprised that it worked without sticking the letters to the fabric. More of these will be made in the future!

I had some fabric left over, and decided to make this! 

Here is the tutorial 

The tutorial says that she used backsplash tiles for behind the letters, but I had the fabric and it turned out wonderful. I still want to add a flower of some sort to it, but haven't found the perfect color and size. Also, I found it impossible to find the right size letters and numbers foe the "est 2011" and ended up ordering them online. I ordered just the numbers and letters I needed in the size I want from these guys They were very inexpensive and shipped out that day! I was impressed and would definitely use them again for all my wooden letter needs ;) 

This past weekend, I took my first trip to IKEA! Oh my, I have been missing out all these years. I went in telling myself I wasn't going to buy anything... well, that didn't happen! Their stuff is amazing and so responsibly prices. I was able to get a lamp and throw pillows for our guest room that really finished it off :) I will be making a trip or two out there in the near future. It might be for the best that I hadn't been there until now... 

Last week, we had a freak hail storm out here. One minute it was sunny, then it poured down in hail, then it was sunny again. Oh Colorado... never a dull moment. Thankfully the hail was small and didn't do any damage, but it looked like it snowed here afterwards.

I've made a couple new recipes since Jason has been away, and they all have been wonderful! I have made this broccoli salad a couple times and have taken it to work for lunch. 

Bodacious Broccoli Salad

8 slices bacon (I used turkey bacon to make it a little healthier)2 heads fresh broccoli, chopped1 1/2 cups sharp Cheddar cheese, shredded1/2 large red onion, finely diced1/4 cup red wine vinegar 1/8 cup white sugar1-2 teaspoons ground black pepper1 teaspoon salt2/3 cup mayonnaise1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice 

1. Place bacon in a large, deep skillet. Cook over medium high heat until evenly brown. Drain, and crumble. 2. In a large bowl, combine broccoli, cheese, bacon and onion.3. Prepare the dressing in a small bowl by whisking together the red wine vinegar, sugar, pepper, salt, mayonnaise and lemon juice. Combine dressing with salad. Cover, and refrigerate until ready to serve. 

I also made a great Crock-Pot Orange Chicken recipe. I LOVE my Crock-Pot more than anything in my kitchen! I use it to make dinners more than I use my oven. 

Crock-Pot Orange Chicken

3-4 boneless chicken breasts, chopped into small chunks
1/3 cup flourolive oil1/2 T salt1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar3 T ketchup6 oz. frozen orange juice concentrate (thaw or throw it in the microwave for 45 seconds)4 T brown sugar

1. In a bowl, mix the orange juice, brown sugar, vinegar, salt, and ketchup.
2. Pour the flour in a small bowl.
3. Cover the chicken breast chunks in flour and shake off the excess.

4. Pour a small amount of olive oil in a skillet and brown the flour-covered chicken. The chicken doesn't need to be fully cooked since it's going in the crock pot.
5. After the chicken is done cooking, pour the pieces into the crock pot. Then cover the chicken with your sauce mixture and give the pot a stir.
6. Cook on low for 5-6 hours or on high for 2-3.
7. Serve over rice and even add veggies if you want a healthier meal.

Finally, Jason comes home in Olds days! ;)

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Skydiving, Flat Tire, Crafts and Furniture!

A few weekends ago, Jason and I went to SkyVenture Indoor Skydiving in Lone Tree, CO. I had bought us each a gift certificate for our anniversary and we hadn't had a chance to go until the end of July. We had such a great time! I was a little nervous because I didn't know what to expect. But Jason had done indoor skydiving and he's jumped out of a plane five times when he was at USAFA. He did really well!

My mom came to visit last weekend! It was a last minute trip, but we had such a great long weekend together! I can't remember the last time we have a visit when it was just me and her. It was much needed and really hard when she left :( But we will be back in California for Christmas this year, and it will be here before we know it.

On my way home from dropping my mom off at the airport, the Jeep's low tire pressure light came on. I was almost home so I didn't think much of it. But the next morning I came out to a completely deflated tire :( Thankfully I still had my car to drive to work. I called USAA and they sent someone out that night to change it for me. I felt foolish for having a company come and change my tire, but I have no idea how to do it and we don't know anyone on base yet. The guy was really nice and told me he was just on my street the day before jumping a car for another woman :)

After taking the tire off, we found a huge screw in it.
Thankfully I can get it patched and be back 
to normal :)

I've done a couple of crafts this past week. I've been meaning to make a new wreath for the found porch and finally had the time and motivation to make one! It just took me a while to figure out what color I wanted. I tend to lean towards browns and earth tones, so I thought I would make this one a bit more vibrant!

I also made this for our bedroom :)

When my mom was here, she bought us new tables for the living room and a new TV stand! I love my parents :) They totally spoil us. They gave us their 55" TV when we were in California last month and just had to get us a bigger stand for it ;) The furniture really makes the living room more homey. I love it! 

I found this rug at Walmart for $20! It make the HUGE dining room
feel a little less huge. And our voices don't echo as much. 

We still haven't found a church home here in Colorado, but I am heading to a new church this morning and I am praying that it fits! Not having a church here makes me miss Bloomington, a lot! Not that I wouldn't miss them if we had a church, but High Rock was an amazing church for us and it breaks my heart that we had to leave. But, God has a wonderful plan for us! Just have to be patient :)

And finally, Misty got a bath yesterday...

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Long Time No See, Blog!

Well, I think it has been long enough to go without an update! The reason I haven't updated isn't because I haven't had anything to blog about, but because we have been going non-stop since my last update! As most of you know, two days after my last blog (June 26th) we got evacuated from my friend, Laura's, house from the Waldo Canyon fire. What most of you don't know is the story of that horrifying day. I was at work that day, it was about 4:30pm and I looked out our window and saw nothing but black smoke and flames coming down the mountain. It was moving fast and straight towards our office. I ran out of the office and into my car just as they were closing the road in the direction of the fire. I sped my way through the traffic on Centennial Blvd. towards Laura's where we had all of our sentimental/important thing and, most importantly, the three doggies! (Misty, Lacy and Laura's dog, Guinness). I have to say that was one of the most frightening moments of my life. Not knowing where this fire is going or how fast. I got to Laura's and started loading dogs, belongings and whatever else I can get my hands on. Jason came home about 30 mins after I got there and the AMAZING Tom and Aubrey came by with their truck to help load stuff and get out of there! (They got evacuated shortly after that too!) We headed to our house our here at Schriever AFB (that we got that morning, THANK YOU LORD!) and just waited to hear anything. Jason went to work the next day and I sat around in an empty house with three dogs for two days. We found out that Saturday that my work was still standing and that my co-worker, Julie, who's house was in the area of the fire, house was still standing with minimal damage. As terrifying as it was, God blessed us and protected us :)

This was taken at lunchtime the day we evacuated.

The burn area from my work.

The night before...

After I ran out of work... the fire coming down the mountain.

The following evening

On a happier note, we are here in our home at Schriever AFB! We are all unpacked and settled. Being in such a small place in Indiana, we are so thankful to have so much space in this place. We have plenty of room for guests and more than one bathroom! I have a 45min commute to work, but it is so worth it to come home to my wonderful husband and our beautiful home.

My boo boo (Valerie), her husband, Jesse and their four month old cutie pie, Ben, came for a visit the week of the 4th of July. It was so amazing to get to see them and meet Ben for the first time. He is such a little cutie and has the chubbiest legs I have ever seen! I am so glad we are close to them for the time being. Jesse is contracted with the Air Force so they can be heading off somewhere else soon, too :( At least we have them close for now.

This past weekend we headed to California to visit with my family for a couple days and then head down to LA for one of our friend's weddings. It was such a great trip, even though it was so short. We got to see out niece, Zoey, who just turned 1 in April. Last time we saw her was our wedding and she was barely 2 months old. Steve and Erin's wedding was amazing. We had such a great time and are so glad we took time to head out there for it.

On our way to CA!

Glad I saw her for a couple hours.

Ruffle butt!



Still smile when I see this name :)

I am realizing more and more how difficult military life is going to be. On top of leaving all our friends and church in Indiana just last month, we had to say goodbye to some of our really good friends and my old roommate yesterday. Tom and Aubrey are now stationed in Texas while Tom goes through school. We knew they were leaving, but we still miss them and it's still hard to say goodbye. We don't know when we will see them again, but know our paths will cross again someday. I know this life will be full of goodbyes and tears, but it doesn't turn us off from making friends wherever we go. We will just have best friends all over the world!