Sunday, January 29, 2012

Our First Wedding Anniversary & Dakota's Steakhouse

       For our first wedding anniversary, John and I decided to do something simple. Our anniversary is January 29th, which fell on a Sunday this year. Saturday we spent the morning coaching our basketball team and refereeing a couple of games so it wasn't an option to make this an all weekend getaway.

     I don't know about you but with me, it doesn't matter what's going on, holiday, birthday, celebration etc - when I come home I find work that needs to be done. These chores either distract me and frustrate me that I'm not doing them or I go clean/do laundry/dishes etc rather than spending uninterrupted dedicated time with John.  So we booked a hotel in the Dallas area and made reservations to eat some place nice that neither of us has been to before! Dakota's Steakhouse in Dallas was the consensus.
      For us, going out to Dakota's Steakhouse was a big deal! I have honestly never been to such a nice restaurant before! I can honestly say that I have never seen a menu quite like theirs, just comes with the territory I guess. We both kind had bug-eyes when I opened the wine menu and not too far down the list was a wine so expensive that we could have purchased a house, a very nice house for! For dinner we started with soup. I had never had a chowder soup, and I'm not exactly the most adventurous with my food, so John had the Seafood Chowder and I had the Soup de Jour, which was a creamy chicken enchilada. I of course ate some of his (I've been eating off his plate since our first date!!), and they were both amazingly delicious!! For our main course, we both had the 14 ounce Rib eye steak. Their sides are served family style; John ordered the loaded baked potato, which was pretty much exactly as it sounds. I ordered the onion rings - won't lie, I wasn't all that impressed with the rings or the horse radish sauce it was served with. We agreed that the fact that the steak was so good made up for the sub par onion rings. ; )

      Oh, and to make the night all the more perfect... there was, of course, a nice gentleman playing the piano throughout the evening. Intertwined throughout several of the melodies he was playing was Hey Jude!! As random as it may seem this is "our song" of sorts!

      Last year, after our honeymoon, I prepped the top layer of cake to freeze, but it didn't make it more than a month in the freezer. The wonderful ladies who helped us with the cake and cleaning after the wedding & reception made sure that we had a piece of both of our cakes in all the flavors (mine had two flavors) to take on our Honeymoon.  Beyond that, and the bite we shared when we cut the cake - that was all the wedding cake we had.  We were far too tempted by seeing such a scrumptious cake in our tiny freezer, so we ate it! And it was delicious!!

     So, we had no cake to eat on our one year anniversary so I ordered a cake last minute from a bakery in town. It wasn't the same thing but this cake was delicious too!  If I had it to do all over again, I would have saved a big piece of cake from the top tier for us to share on the anniversary and we still would have eaten the rest!

     The actual day of our anniversary, we came home; I was one of the hostesses for a friends wedding shower, did that. Then, I went back to the house, ran a load of dishes, a couple of loads of laundry and cooked dinner. We ate dinner in bed watching an old movie (Kramer vs. Kramer... we started it the other night and rationalized that it is silly to be superstitious about watching a movie about divorce on our anniversary!) I honestly loved that at least a little bit of it all was our normal routine of sorts. The newness of cooking and cleaning and running a household is still there for us. I still find it a novelty to come home and put dinner on the table for my husband. I hope I can say this next year, and the year after that..

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Thirty-One Bags & Gifts

     As of today I am officially a Thirty-One Consultant!  I discovered this company when I saw a coworker carrying one of their bags. Not only was the bag really cute, she told me about how Thirty-One is a Christian company all about empowering women!  I did some research and the more I read, the more I loved the company and it's products!

    This past fall I threw an online catalog party, when my friend Lauren, started her own Thirty-One business.  My love for the products and company came spilling out as I recognized how different products would be perfect for my various friends in their daily lives.  That was the birth of my idea to start my own Thirty-One business!!

    Stay tuned for more information regarding my first Thirty-One catalog party and website as I get things started!!

    Stop by new Thirty-One website! The first week of February will be my first party! It will be a catalog party, your first opportunity to shop from the new spring line!!

   **And for those who are keeping tabs, this takes care of number 11 on my 101 List!**

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Louisiana St. Grill

      Just over a week ago, John and I went out to dinner with our friends Kim & Ryan.  Every couple of weeks we get together, usually at Buffalo Wild Wings and catch up - this time the guys requested that we eat at Louisiana St. Grill in McKinney.  Their friend Jesse is opening this restaurant with his family and he is the General Manager!

     Of course we want to support our friend, but there is no bias here - the food was Great!!  When we went, it was only open with a limited menu, we can't wait to go back and look over the full menu! In fact, this morning we decided that this is where we will go for our Valentines Day dinner.

     We started with the Spinach and Artichoke Dip. My mouth is watering just thinking about it! It is warm and delicious, and so rich. My favorite part? It was served with this great crispy flat bread! So much better than tortilla chips or other alternatives with the dip. It was seriously so good that John and I have had conversations about it since then! (we love food!!)

    For dinner we had the Louisiana St. Burger. This was a great burger! It's a half pound, and they mean a half pound! The fries that come with it are wonderful, crispy but not over done! Delicious!

    I can't attest to anything from the Bar, but Kim and Ryan enjoyed their selections!

    I also love the atmosphere!!  The guys love going out to a sports bar so they can do their two favorite things; watch sports and talk sports.  Kim and I don't mind so much when it is baseball season, or perhaps our team is playing; but this is rare. At Louisiana St. Grill, the guys were able to watch the game in a nice restaurant setting but Kim and I weren't having to scream over the volume of the TV's to have a nice conversations. A perfect balance.

    We'll be back and you should check it out too!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Stationery card

Sun Flowers Purple Baby Shower Invitation has unique shower invitations and more.
View the entire collection of cards.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Knocking them out!

       This past weekend I completed my second pin - and didn't really even mean to!  My little cousin turned three!! He is turning into quite the young man!  I had been talking to my Aunt for a while about making a construction or tractor cake for his birthday for a while. I had seen several cakes for inspiration on Pinterest, (my favorite website!).
       Due to some change in schedules my Aunt moved my cousins birthday party back from next weekend to this weekend. (We're all pretty lame and none of us have any big New Years Eve plans) I thought that I would have a whole week to prep for his cake but when plans changed I had about 8 hours to make what I thought would take 3 days! Well, lucky for me my Aunt does a good job keeping my elaborate, time consuming plans that are totally unrealistic grounded. So, I cut out some of the unnecessary (although cool) parts of the cake and focused on the big picture.
       Introducing the cake I baked for an event I was not hosting! (Cross off number 51!)

I apologize for the picture being sideways - I cannot figure out how to rotate. The saved image was the right direction. Grr...

1 Down, 100 to go!

       Number 18 on my 101 List is to create a recipe board using recipe cards.

       The idea here is that if you plan out a couple of weeks worth of meal plans you are much less likely to eat out because you don't know what you can make for dinner or don't think you have time to cook. Also, you will spend less money (or at least spend more wisely) when you grocery shop. This is really important to us since we are trying to free ourselves financially. I already coupon and price match almost every item that goes into our grocery cart! It saves us a ton of money!! (if you are interested in couponing and how to get started, I highly recommend Hip2Save!)

       My plan is to consistently plan out two weeks worth of meals, allowing for a night or two of eating left overs, we can work to eliminate the frantic calls between John and I at 5:00 on our busy days trying to figure out what we can do for dinner that night. We already do crock pot meals, and that helps a lot - but hopefully this will help us free up some of that wasted budget space on fattening fast food and unused groceries.

Background for Menu Board 1
       I got my idea for a menu board from a few places, Pinterest primarily though. I really like the idea of creating your own dry erase board so that you can easily write out your plans and any memos to go with that days meal. I also really liked the idea of having recipe cards so that I wouldn't fall into a rut of having the same things over and over again simply because I couldn't remember other things we liked or would like to try. My solution to create a hybrid of the two is to put a pocket on the dry erase board with recipe names and where to find that recipe (if needed...I obviously won't be putting a recipe for your basic spaghetti or quesadilla etc.) and that will allow me to just flip through the cards when it comes time to make meal planning decisions.

       For my board background I was going to use a cute piece of scrapbook paper. BUT, I'm was work, there was nothing to do since no one was in the office after Christmas; I was determined to get started on the project, no use in wasting the first of my 1001 days! While poking around on Pinterest looking for a solution to not having scrapbook paper or time to stop at the store tonight, I stumbled upon one of my (forgotten) favorite things by Martha Stewart for weddings! And, right below it on her website was this other gorgeous printable template, so between the two - I had my pieced together background for the board.
Background for Menu Board 2

When I got home and went to frame the paper to finish the project I found a much larger frame than what I had remembered having. So, this is my finished product! It will let me write out the menu for two weeks, any grocery lists, messages etc. Then on index cards I wrote out the name of dishes we make and if I anticipate needing to reference the recipe I notated where I can find it.

(The picture quality isn't the greatest, but you might be able to see that on Wednesdays and Thursdays I have listed "Biblical/Sandwiches". We have church activities on Wednesday and we coach basketball practices on Thursday so we either have a Biblical meal, seek and ye shall find ; ) or we plan ahead and take sandwiches.)