Monday, April 29, 2013

Current Events

Exhausting weekend!

Friday night we had some friends come over to celebrate Brian's birthday. I made Barefoot Contessa's Caramelized Bacon for appetizers and also used her recipe for Whiskey Sours. Everyone who came to the party can thank me for a five pound weight gain this weekend. ;-)

On Saturday, I ran a 5k with my mom. A friend of ours at church has a son battling Sarcoma, so we both ran for "Team Andrew C." Although I had to wake up at 6:45am after a night of partying, I'm really thankful I got to participate in the event. It was a humbling experience to be there and witness all of the Sarcoma patients and survivors running alongside us.

Brian found some artwork on Craigslist last week to place above our mantle.

It's not that I don't like it, per say. I just find it a little creepy. Very Tim Burton-ish. And it brings back vivid memories of this:

Scary scenes from the Jungle Book.

I also bought a piece of artwork for our guest bathroom.

The image is on a piece of wood, but made to look like a framed picture. I just love it. Purchased from Pawmazing Gifts on Etsy.

Saturday night we had a cookout with friends and family to celebrate our marriage (i.e. celebrate six months of marriage). We had a lot of fun and got so many great gifts. It was so thoughtful of everyone to do a party for us.

I've been gradually putting away all of our new gifts, but this one is still sitting on the kitchen counter:

Adorable, right? 

Okay, I have nothing planned for this week. I think I will be depressed because I'm about ten pages away from finishing Gillian Flynn's "Dark Places."

I've been so emotionally invested in this book. I'll be sad when it ends.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Words to Live By

I have two quotes posted at my desk.
Pretty much sums it up.

Happy Friday!

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

To Brian On His Thirty First Birthday

I purchased no present, but just to be fair,
I did write a poem, which now I will share.
So sit back and remember these bits of your life,
"Happy 31st Birthday!" from your much younger wife.


In Summer '09, we had planned a nice date,
And you showed up approximately one hour late.
You came to the door - no, not with a flower -
But with the request "Um, can I use your shower?"

You had made the long drive in your '89 truck,
With no AC, traffic, and lots of bad luck.
You showed up all sweaty 'cause your ride got so hot,
(Thinking back, I must have really liked you a lot.)

Our first year of dating, I turned twenty two,
We'd hang out in your condo - just me and you.
Always coming and going, I lived out of my car.
And each weekend night, we'd be out at the bar.

Brewery tours, car shows, vacations galore...
Key West, Las Vegas, the Rhode Island shore,
Charleston, Asheville, the Charlotte speedway...
Kayaking last year on that perfect Fall day.

Well, then we got Otis. Our lives changed for good.
We entered the world of dog parenthood.
The pre-Otis years, they now seem like a blur.
Was there ever a time we weren't covered in fur?

Today on your birthday, I hope you have fun.
You look good for your age, so don't worry, hun!
Let's fire up the grill and let's have a few beers, 
And let's toast to another thirty one years.

Happy Birthday Brian!
Love you to the moon and back.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Three Quick & Easy Meals

I'm always on the lookout for quick and easy dinners. Well, this week is no exception. It's one of the busiest weeks I've had in a while, but I'm looking forward to being productive and also spending time with friends and family.

#1. Cheesy Sausage Tortellini
I visit food blogs on a daily basis. Recipes from Kevin and Amanda never disappoint, and this is one we've tried recently. Brian and I absolutely love this meal. So yummy!

{image from Kevin and}

This is absolutely amazing. 
I may have told you a hundred times already, but Ina Garten is my favorite celebrity. I wish she and I were best friends.

{image from Quentin Bacon on the Barefoot Contessa website}

Brian even said he liked this meal, which is a huge feat since it involves breaded chicken. I made angel hair pasta to go along with this dish. In the recipe, I used about half the amount of lemon juice that it called for and I poured the sauce on the pasta instead of the chicken. Believe it or not, this was the first time I had ever cooked angel hair pasta. It only takes about 1-2 minutes for angel hair pasta to cook, so keep a close eye on the clock!

#3. Boneless Pork Chops

Okay, this is my own concoction, but the idea came from the following blog post: How Sweet Eats.

Marinate the chops in Worcestershire sauce (enough to cover) for one hour. I mixed in about 3 tbsp brown sugar for the marinade as well. Salt & pepper the chops, then sear on a greased cast iron skillet for about 3 minutes per side. I put the skillet into a 350 degree oven for about five minutes, mostly to keep the pork chops warm while I was cooking the side dishes. Everything turned out delicious.

Moldy Tree Stump

Now you know what orange slime mold looks like.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

The Trails

I have to give credit where credit is due. Brian does all of the yard work at our house. There was one time this past winter that I helped him pick up sticks around the yard, but I got bored after about 20 minutes and it was miserably cold outside.

We don't have any grass to mow, but do you remember what our driveway looked like in November?

That was the driveway buried in leaves.

Brian's got his work cut out for him! He spends every weekend working outside in the yard, while I spend every weekend taking pictures outside in the yard. Someone's gotta take the pictures, right?!

Azaleas are in full bloom, so I need to do a blog post on the landscaping. It's a work in progress, but the yard is looking good.

There is one moldy tree stump that still needs removing. It's really gross. I'll need to post a picture. ;-)

Brian's recent project involved making trails in our back woods.

Here's looking down at the trails from our back deck:

I have several more pictures of the wooded trails, but it's just woods and leaves. You get the idea.

Now all we need is a four wheeler.

In the picture above, you can see the fire pit Brian made and also the "hobo fireplace" (the trash barrel he purchased on Craigslist). Brian is all about building fires and burning stuff. I think it's a guy thing.

I just like fires if there's marshmallows involved.

Here's a close up of the fire pit:

Can you see the dirt piled up around the bricks? That's the ant problem I was telling you about earlier this week. Luckily they're black ants, so they don't pose any threat, but I did call Terminix to come out yesterday.

Here was my phone conversation with Terminix:

"Ma'am, we need someone to come out to spray for ants."
"Ok, that's not a problem. Which room are the ants in?"
"They aren't inside."
"Oh, ok. They're outside?"
"Yes, we have a lot of ants.....outside."

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Three Reasons Otis Never Wants to Leave My Parents' House

Reason #1: This happens

Reason #2: This happens

Reason #3: This happens

So when it's time to go and he has to leave, this happens:

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

A House in the Woods

Despite the presence of snakes, ticks, termites, and all other crawling critters, a house in the woods is simply amazing.

Fall 2012

Winter 2013

Spring 2013

All for now...gotta go call Terminix to come out this week. We've got a case of the ants.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Living Room Transformation (Still in Progress)

A lot has happened in the living room lately!

Let's go all the way back to when we first moved into the new house. Here's what the living room looked like:

It's a huge open space that could easily be two separate rooms. We donated those large bookcases to Trosa and we centered our living room furniture around the fireplace. I liked the cozy feeling of having the living room as a small, separate space; however, it left a lot of open floor space on the opposite side.

Brian purchased this living room set when he moved into the condo several years ago. He has good taste. I'm a huge fan of this set, since I tend to favor traditional decor.

You can see how cozy the space was in this picture. Brian got into the habit of regularly making a fire, which made for warm Winter nights. Also, you'll notice one of my favorite things over there on the right hand side of the fireplace. Here's a close-up:

It still was pretty empty looking over on the opposite side of the room though - just a map of the Chesapeake Bay, which we have since moved in to the kitchen.

We added a rug to fill some of the empty space. The rug was left in the basement from the previous owners - I love it!

The rug officially became Otis' play area. :-)

Brian and I also agreed on a Pottery Barn wood painting of an airplane. We rarely agree on anything, so this was, in fact, a miracle.

Next up, we purchased a mantel for the fireplace. It looked really bare without one. Brian did all the work himself to find exactly what he wanted and it turned out great!

Mantel was purchased from Amish Wood Works.

As you may remember from my previous post, Brian got a new fish tank. It's enormous, and since Brian requires that everyone stare at his new masterpiece, we had to move the couches so that they now face the fish tank! 

I also moved the rug over to the living space, which I think helps tie everything together. I wasn't crazy about the furniture rearrangement, but I am slowly warming up to it.

We're pretty much done in here for a while, although Brian would like one more rug for the foyer area. Also, we are keeping our eyes peeled for the right piece of furniture to go underneath the airplane panels (perhaps a large console, a bar, or a buffet?). It needs to be really large and I'd prefer to get something used from thrift shop or a consignment store.

OK, all for now.
Brian's cooking me dinner tonight...eggs and toast! I think I'll go serenade him with the Thrift Shop song.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Sweet Little Otis Boy

A song dedicated to our dog, Otis, who celebrated his first birthday yesterday.

When you get to the file dropper website, click "download this file" and enter the security code. Then file should download. It's few extra steps, but I think it's worth it!

Sweet Little Otis Boy 

Recorded by Ame Deaton
Song Lyrics by Kelly Strawberry
(Words based on lyrics to Sweet Little Jesus Boy)

Sweet little Otis Boy,
Your owner's name is Kelly.
Sweet little Otis pup,

She didn't know who you was.

Didn't know you'd come to save her,
To make her life complete.

Her eyes were blind, She couldn't see.
She didn't know who you was.

Long time ago you was born,
Actually it was just one year.

Sweet little Otis boy,
Kelly said she didn't want you.
But please just forgive her, Otis.
She didn't know 'twas you.

Sweet little Otis Boy,
Born one year ago.
Sweet little Otis pup,
She didn't know who you was

Monday, April 8, 2013

New Design. Also, Brian Doesn't Write this Blog.

Okay, here it is. The new design! Only a few more tweaks until it's completely done.

So, what do you think of the boy and girl image at the top? The image, of course, represents Brian and me.

I showed the image to Brian and he said he liked it. Then he changed his mind and said he didn't like it. And then he said the image makes it look like he writes this blog. Let the record show that Brian does not write this blog. His antics, however, supply a good portion of my blogging material.

Remember the time that Brian purchased Snap Pea Crisps from the grocery store because he thought they were salad croutons? This weekend we're headed to Wrightsville Beach with our same group of friends, so I'm sure I'll have good stories when we return.

Well, folks - Otis turns 1 year old today!!!

A Letter to Otis on his First Birthday
My sweet Otis. Remember the time we came to your house and met you for the first time? Well, truth be told, I didn't want you. I pointed at your brother and said "I want that one." Even though you always seem to favor me over Brian, it's time you know the truth: Brian is the reason we have you.

Brian is stubborn and relentless when it comes to getting his way. So, in the end, you were the dog that we brought home with us even though I was unhappy. I pouted for a few days, but I finally warmed up to you. Now I can't imagine my life without you.

Your favorite food right now is, well, anything.

In addition to food, you enjoy eating kitty litter, sticks, and any toy that can be swallowed. You love watching TV. You've learned a lot of tricks and you seem to be really smart, except you haven't quite caught on to the fact that ice cubes aren't really dog treats.

You bring so much joy to our lives and we love spending time with you. I couldn't ask for a better dog.

Happy Birthday Otis! We love you!


Friday, April 5, 2013

A 220 Gallon Fish Tank and 220 Reasons I Need a Drink

This is me:

(Stressed out lady who I don't know. Source: I don't know.)

About a month ago, Brian purchased a 220 gallon fish tank. I thought to myself "bad idea" and I had this reaction: 

Brian said "but it's a really good deal." In reality, I knew that this really good deal would turn really expensive really fast. So I was like:

And then pieces of the tank cluttered the living room and dining room for several weeks. I thought to myself "there are worse things in the world than a messy house," but everyday I sorta did this when I looked around:

And then Brian told me that the tank would weigh approximately 3,000 lbs once it was done. The thought of 3,000 lbs of water sitting in the upstairs of my living room made me all like: 

And then the new tank was set up and all was right in the world.... for a few hours.

Well, last Sunday I heard several curse words coming from the living room while Brian was working on the tank and I was like "OMG, what now....."

And then I saw a large water spill on our nice hardwood floors, and I was like "You've gotta be kidding me."

So then he cleaned it up and had it working properly a couple days later.

But a couple days later, our nice hardwood floors started buckling in one area (buckling as're ruined). So, naturally, I was like this...

Well, that brings us to a recent heart-to-heart conversation between Brian and I about whether or not this fish tank is really worth so much hassle.

Kelly: "Hunny..." (in a tone which I'm obviously being fake nice because I'm at my wits end)
Brian: "Yeah?"
Kelly: "Is this really worth it? I mean, you're always frustrated with the fish tanks anyways and they never seem to bring you much joy. So, uh, why did you even buy this?"
Brian: "I bought it for you. I thought you wanted it."

Welcome to my life!

(Brian posed with the new fish tank before it was set up. Notice his smile. 
That smile didn't last long.)