Monday, January 17, 2011

Menu Plan Monday

After days of cloudy skies and rain, we finally have sunshine again! The sun has motivated me to get my cleaning finished inside of the house so that I can spend at least some time outside.

Here’s what’s on the menu this week:

  • Steak, grilled; Baked potatoes; Corn; Salad
  • Stir-fry, beef; Rice
  • Chicken breasts (cooked how??); Pasta; Frozen Green Beans
  • Beef Soup
  • Roast; Mashed potatoes; Gravy; Carrots; Salad

We have wedding commitments for both Friday night and Saturday afternoon/evening. So, while this week will be a busy one, at least two meals are taken care of!

I hope y’all have a great week!

Friday, January 14, 2011

Ribs, in the Crock Pot

These ribs have been in my recipe box for some time now. They’re one of my favorite busy-night meals, too. My aunt, Monica, made these ribs for one Sunday get-together and I’ve loved them ever since. She even makes her own barbeque sauce, but I haven’t perfected that…yet!


You’ll need ribs, your seasoning of choice, vegetable oil, and a little water. I recommend using baby back or short ribs. Spare ribs are good for barbequeing, but they’re really too fatty for the crock pot. The seasoning I used is just a Rib & Brisket Rub from a local packing house.


Unwrap the ribs and place on a large pan to catch the mess.


Pour on a little vegetable oil.


Shake on some seasoning.


And rub it all in.


Flip it over.


And repeat.


Cut into sections of two to three ribs.


I ended up with six sections. Which is enough for our family, but if you have big eaters, you may want to use two slabs of ribs.


Throw them in the pot and add about a half inch of water in to help them get started.


Find yourself a pretty little helper to push the buttons.


Cook the ribs on high for six hours or on low for eight. Ten hours is just too long and the meat will completely fall off of the bone.


This is after three hours of cooking.


And this is after six hours.


Serve them up with your favorite sides and enjoy!

This is a great quick, easy meal for a busy night! Try it soon!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Front Entry Remodel

Back in November, Travis & I ordered a new front door for our house. Here are a few pictures from the remodel.


This is what the front entry looked like on the day we bought our house. We quickly removed the wrought iron which opened the entry up right away. We knew it would be awhile before we could get to replacing the front door, but we could live with this for now.


Inside was a built-in planter box. This was the first thing we demolished in the house.


What we didn’t know, was that the slab was counter sunk in this area to accommodate the terrazzo tile and the planter box. As I was chipping the tile out, the “concrete” under the tile sounded very hollow. After a few more swings of the hammer, Travis & I discovered that the concrete was not part of the slab of the house and all of it had to be removed.


That left us with a huge hole in the slab roughly 8 feet long, 4 feet wide, and 3 inches deep. It all had to be filled in and level with the existing slab.


Before we could pour new concrete, we had to remove the old front door and side light. Of course, it’s December and cold, so we put plywood up and screwed it to the house to keep out most of the cold. This also gave us room to work.

The footing the old front door was on was also not connected to the existing slab and Travis could move it with his hand, so we also tore that out.


We started pouring concrete around 10 p.m. Travis’ dad came over to help, thankfully, because we could not have gotten it done without him! Here, dad is wetting the existing, sunken slab with water to help the new concrete adhere to the old. He also painted full strength cement on the vertical sides to help the new concrete bond to the old.


Travis poured the first two wheelbarrows full, then he took over the troweling, while his dad & I mixed concrete. It took just under 20 bags of concrete to fill this hole.




After the concrete had set, it had to be covered for five days to cure. We could walk on it the next day, so we left it as covered as possible and got to work installing the new door and side light.


Even Elizabeth helped!


Travis also moved the old switches around the corner so that the interior entry, exterior entry, and exterior flood lights were all together on the same wall.


So…This is before…


And this is after!  We removed all of the plywood from the entry (except for the ceiling) and replaced it with new, grooved cedar. We also put in cedar to trim the door. Travis took down the light fixture, cleaned the glass and painted the frame black. We replaced the doorbell and put a new cover on the outlet. After a couple of coats of “Caribbean Walk” paint, the exterior entry is complete!


This is how the front door looks from inside of the house. We have not trimmed it yet, because we are trying to decide what type of trim to go with in this part of the house and we have three exterior doors that we would like trimmed the same.

Also, this door and side light are stainable textured fiberglass. It has a wood grain texture. This is not the final color of the door. We needed to get the exterior painted before we picked out a stain color. We’re thinking something brown with no red in it. I may wait until spring to take the door off and stain it so I’ll have nicer weather. It’s just too cold now to live without a front door for a week!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Rocking Chair

About a year ago, Travis bought me a rocking chair. I’d had been asking for one for a long time and knew that I wanted one from a “naked” furniture shop. I never took a picture of just the rocking chair by itself, but you can see what it looked like in the picture.


The store we bought it from will stain the chair for you for an additional fee, but since we no longer lived in that town, we just bought the cans of stain and urethane, all the while saying that I could just stain it myself.

Fast forward 12 months and I have finally stained my rocking chair. I am so pleased with how it turned out.


Two coats of stain and three coats of urethane later, it’s finally ready to be “really” used! I actually liked the way it turned out so much that I’ve started sanding down an old chair that my mom gave Elizabeth. It was stained before, but it has now faded and the protective clear coat has been peeling for some time.

I’ll have to take pictures of the next project now that I have a small handle on what I’m doing! More than anything, I’m just happy to have one more project checked off of my list!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011


I’m walking for exercise, to feel better, and to shed a few pounds. Not to mention that I would love to “win” at least once when my Dad & I weigh in.

While we were visiting my parents over Thanksgiving, The Biggest Loser: Where are they now? was on. Yeah, yeah, nothing else was on! Dad had a great idea that we all (Mom, Dad, Travis & I ) weigh in that night and then again on January 1st. Who ever lost the most weight “wins”. Wins what? Nothing but bragging rights! Well, Dad won. And he’s using his bragging rights…liberally.

I’ve spent the last week working up my enthusiasm for exercise. We agreed the next weigh in would be the last weekend in January when we go there to see Kate and for Dad’s birthday. I have to win! Have to!

So, I got on the treadmill. The one that’s been staring at me for the last month. I just need to make the time to keep it up!

I’m just not sure how to make the most of my time walking. Do I walk/run/walk? What should I do? Help! I need suggestions on a good exercise program. How should I get started?

Dad’s weight loss ego is out of control, please help me tame it!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Sister Kate

Today  is my sister’s 25th birthday! I was scouring my computer for a recent picture, but had no luck.


This picture was taken back in 2006 at one of my wedding showers…Kate, when you come home, we have to take a new picture!

Kate is a wonderful, strong, independent woman. I admire her ambition and ability to live somewhere completely different from where we were raised. She is an awesome long-distance aunt who loves to Skype with Elizabeth. She’s always good for a rant or lending an ear. Talking to her is one of my favorite things to do, especially since we don’t see each other often enough!

I guess what I’m trying to say is that I love you, Kate. And I’m happy that I’m the one who gets to be your sister.

(Let your quarter-life crisis commence!)

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Menu Plan Monday

We’re in for a chilly week, but we still need to have good food! Here’s what’s on the menu this week:

  • Steak Sandwiches; Salad
  • Chicken Noodle Soup
  • Crockpot Ribs; Rice; Squash Casserole
  • Hamburgers; Fries
  • Steak, grilled; Baked potatoes; Green beans

I’m also going to make a Plum Cobbler early in the week, yum!

I hope you all stay warm and have a good week!

Friday, January 7, 2011

Christmas: A Little Late

Happy New Year! December was a very busy month for us both with work and with Christmas. I’m sorry for not posting more often, but I’m working on changing that!

Travis & I celebrated our four year wedding anniversary yesterday. Four years! My very nice mother-in-law entertained Elizabeth for the late afternoon/evening so we could go out to eat. We tried out a relatively new Mexican restaurant in town; we were not disappointed!

One last note before I get on to all of the pictures. I have changed the comment settings. Now you can comment on a post even if you do not have a Google ID. I encourage you to comment; I love getting the feedback and it is always easier to keep blogging when I know people are reading! If you decide to post using “anonymous”, please consider signing it with your first name so I know who you are!

Ok, now on to the pictures!


Elizabeth in her new Winnie the Pooh pajamas. This little tree was our only tree this year. There’s just not much room for a big tree with all of the remodeling going on.


The ornaments on the tree are part of her new Advent calendar. Each day has a little book about Jesus’ birth. It is also an ornament, so every night, before bed, we would read a book and she would hang the ornament on the tree.



Elizabeth & Aunt Margaret


Elizabeth received a new baby and stroller from Aunt Barbara! I made Baby a little pallet out of blankets on the floor in Elizabeth’s bedroom. Now every time Elizabeth goes to take a nap or at nighttime, Baby has to be in her “bed”, too! Very cute!


These are a few pictures from Christmas at our house after church Christmas morning.


Elizabeth received her traditional “3rd Christmas” ornament (from Hallmark).




Opening what Santa brought.


A new train set! She loves it! And loves changing the track layout…often.


Playing dominoes with Uncle Stephen.


Grandma & Grandpa gave Elizabeth accessories for their play set, so now she can swing and glide when she visits! Very fun!




This picture isn’t really part of Christmas, but she put her boots on (the wrong feet) with her jammies and thought she was hot stuff!


Christmas at Nana & Grandpa’s. Uncle Matt & Cheyenne gave Elizabeth a sleeping bag! She thinks it’s pretty cool!


Cheyenne & Matt…holding up “the kill”!


Travis, happy with his new crescent wrenches.


While we were “up north”, Dad needed to move cattle, so we gladly helped out. It was a little chilly, so Elizabeth had to bundle up!



Momma & Elizabeth ready to “rock ‘n roll”! That’s one of her favorite new sayings. She runs around saying “Elibeth ready rock ‘n roll!”



Two cuties!


Uncle Matt saying goodbye before we head back South!

Sadly, Kate (oh, and Nick!) didn’t make it home for Christmas in December this year. A huge blizzard dumped over 30 inches of snow where she lives and her airline cancelled her flight. They have rescheduled their trip for later this month…just in time for Daddy’s birthday! So, I’ll have more “Christmas” pictures to come.

We miss you Kate, hurry home! And I hope this satisfies your temper tantrum!