Friday, December 31, 2010

New Year, New Resolutions

So, I've looked back on the great things of 2010.
Now, it's time to look forward to what will be great in 2011.

Work my butt of in school.
Aim high...4.0 GPA for Spring 2011 semester???

Take crafting to a new level.
Dig deep and craft up some great things.
So, I can make some awesome tutorials.
And share with you.

Tackle some home improvements projects.
I really want my cabinets painted.
My plan is to attempt to paint my bathroom's one first.
And if I'm successful, I'll take on the kitchen's.

Learn and share some tasty recipes.
I need to broad my collection.
And try new stuff.

Complete Project 365 & work on 101 in 1001.
These 2 lil projects make me so happy.
And I'm glad to be doing them.

What are your goals/challenges/resolutions for 2011?

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Thankful Thursday - 12/30

Wow! It's the last Thursday of 2010.
And what a year it's been!

So, for this Thankful Thursday, this wonderful year is exactly what I'm thankful for.

2010 brought so many great things to our family.

Mark Dean and I FINALLY tied the knot!

My beautiful SIL and BIL announced their pregnancy.
And my lil nephew is growing and bring in 2011 just right!
You can follow the growth of this lil man at Our Small Haven, my SIL's blog. 

My brother and SIL got married, too!

I started this blog.
Where I've met so many WONDERFULLY, GREAT people!
And I am so, so grateful for you all!

This lil monster found his way to our home.
And to our hearts!

I decided it's time to focus on school!
Although I didn't end the semester with the best grades, there were good enough to keep me movitated and get me excited about the next semester.

I left the United States for the first time ever.
Where I enjoyed our honeymoon with Mark Dean...and our great friends, Connie & Vernon.
And I promise, it won't be the last time.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Spinach & Mozzarella Stuffed Chicken & Potatoes

I make this {just about} once a week.
It's super duper yummy.
Which means it's prolly not that healthy.
(But it can be...adjust accordingly if you like healthy. I'll add lil notes that could help with this although I've never tried it so don't blame me if it goes a-rye)

I got this recipe from my SIL, Brittany.
Over time, I've adapted it to suite me and my oven.

Small red or golden potoatoes - about 6-7 per person (I like golden the best!)
Chicken breast - 1-2 per person depending on how big they are
Spinach - fresh or baby spinach that comes in those sealed fresh bags by the salads (I've used both...I like working with the baby spinach the best)
Shredded mozzarella
Ranch seasoning packet (best stuff in the world!)

Slice or quarter potatoes.
Toss into a baking pan/dish with the tall sides. (no shallow pans) (I use a square one for Mark Dean and myself...if I plan to make more than for just us 2, I use a larger rectangle pan)
Spoon butter around the pan.
(This is where I think you could toss the potatoes in EVOO to make it healthier...and this is something I do plan to try one day)
Bake at 375 degrees for 15-20 minutes.

While potatoes are baking, rinse chicken.
Flatten with meat tenderizer mallet. (use the flat side)
Lay out chicken and season to your liking. (I usually use garlic, salt, pepper and a cajun seasoning)
Layer mozzarella, spinach, and more mozzarella (less mozzarella or a healthier cheese, for the healthier version) on top of each piece of chicken.
Fold sides up and secure with a toothpick.

Once the potatoes are done with the pre-cooking, fit chicken pieces in the potatoes.
Add more butter (or EVOO) and sprinkle ranch seasoning packet over the top of all this deliciousness.

Bake at 375 degrees for 45 minutes.


Featuring this recipe on:
Catch a Glimpse Thursday at A Glimpse Inside
and Foodie Friday at Designs by Gollum

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Boo-Yah! Bohek!

Since getting my *new* camera, I've been trying to master the bokeh technique.
And I've gotten 2 great shots from using it.
So, I'm gunna share them with you.
(One of them is in my Project 365)

First attempt...I didn't get as many glowing balls as I'd have liked to
Ornament from our Christmas tree
Second attempt: I do like the way the balls turned out on this one.  But I like how dark the first one was.
A lil snowman that sets on one of our side tables
Downfall, I always forget my settings.
Cuz I play with them so much that by the time I get the shot, I have no clue what I did.
I told Mark Dean that the Christmas tree isn't coming down till I get it down PAT!
Let's see how much I remember this evening!

My {First} Silhouette Project

And it's for my lil nephew, Baby Isaac, that will be born in March.
Come on March!!!

So, I haven't mastered the "tutorial" type post. Mainly because I'm inspired by other blogs. And once I put that inspiration to use, I link up to where I was originally inspired. I never feel a tutorial is necessary...or that it would be fair to offer one.

This time is different.
I thought of this all on my own.

And here is my "tutorial"...if you'd be so kind to accept that term.
(I promise I will do another one of these {a better one} and create a REAL tutorial!)

It's a 8x10 canvas.
Painted brown.
I cut the "i" out of scrapbook paper.
And "isaac" out of the vinyl that came with my fancy lil machine.
(Though, I wish I had used regular scrapbook paper for this...I forgot the dot over the i and it just didn't turn out as clean as I like things to be.)
I Mod Podge'd the letter and name onto the canvas.
Added a scrapbook clip I had (in those cute lil containers I sorted them all in last week!)
And clipped on his ultrasound picture.

I sure hope Mama Carrie and Baby Isaac like it!

P.S. I did have a lot of fun playing with my new Silhouette. If Santa didn't bring you one this year, put it on your birthday list...or next year's Christmas list! :D

Monday, December 27, 2010

Menu Monday - 12/27

For this week, the following sounds nice:

Monday - Ranch Burgers
Tuesday - Stuffed Spinach & Mozzarella Chicken & Potatoes
(I think I'll post the recipe for this this week since we seemed to eat it so much and I'm sure if you try it, you will too!)
Wednesday - Grilled Pizza
Thursday - Tuscan Chicken Pasta (our wedding dish!)
Friday - Fajitas

Lots of grilling going on...
Cuz Mark Dean got a new grill for Christmas!
(from his lovely wife)
And I love grilled food.
So I'm putting him, the grill, and my money to work! :D

I hope everyone has a yummy week!

Sunday, December 26, 2010

It was ALMOST the Best Christmas Ever!

After last year's proposal, I'd say it was the BEST!
And as technologically-challenged as I am, I'm ready to take on all my new toys.

Here's what Santa's elves (Mark Dean and my parents) brought me:
Canon T2i
ALL the Twilight movies + Twilight in Forks & Destination Forks
An adorable set of Ramekins and a Lasagna dish

And my wonderful friend, Connie, got me this:

It was a very Twilight Christmas!
Which the best kinda Christmas to me!

Since I received that shiny new camera, I get to mark off another thing off my 101 in 1001 list: Get a better camera!
Plus, I decided with the fancy piece of machinery, I'm going to start Project 365, another thing on my 101 in 1001 list.

I sure hope your Christmas' were as great as mine.
Tell me...what did you get?

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas

You see,
I ordered this beautiful design to mail out.
And had them shipped site-to-store with the belief (it told me 12/16-12/19) that I would get them in time to mail out.

No such luck.
Wal-Mart still has not received them.

So, I'm sharing my greeting card with you!
And that makes me just as happy as mailing them.
Well, almost. I truly love mailing out Christmas cards.

Merry Christmas...
Family, friends, everyone in the blogosphere.
And a Happy New Year!
I can't wait to see what 2011 has in store for us!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

If You're Gunna Be My BFF, You Need to Know...

I've seen this going on on so many wonderful blogs.
First on Little Miss Momma, where she's hosting an awesome link up for this!
Then Some Kind of Wonderful.
And Vintage Wanna Bee.

And I love the idea.
So, I'm doing it, too.

Things you should know...and that we might have in common...

I can be a leader...and a follower...obviously!

When I shop, I'm drawn to pink.
And most of my wardrobe is pink.

My idea of cleaning is putting dishes in the dishwasher...
And starting the laundry.
(It's extreme cleaning if anything more is done!)

I've always wished I had a sister.
And I think I always will.

I drive way too fast.
All the time.
And it never really bothers me that people I pass catch up to me.
Because I'm rarely in a hurry.
I just like to drive fast.

I don't deserve my husband.
But he loves me. And I adore him.

My closet is either...
in my car {or} in the dryer.

This is an exaggeration. But I thought it was super funny!
I want to learn and know A LOT of things!
To name a few things:
Play the piano.
Finish my education degree.
And go back for graphic design.
Be an awesome photographer.
Learn to sew.
And I want to know it all tomorrow.

When I had braces, I loved them.
And I'd get em' again if I could.

Cuz picking the colors was one of my favorite things!

I'm VERY impatient.
And I'm sure I didn't need to say that.

I wish I had 2 of everything...Noah's household of appliances.
2 ovens.
2 refrigerators.
2 stoves.
2 dishwashers.
2 washers & 2 dryers.

Like my blogging buddy, Heather of Some Kind of Wonderful...
I hate shaving my legs! The only thing benefit of winter is I can go weeks without shaving!

I've been in college way too long.
But I enjoy learning so I'm okay that our relationship has lasted this long.
And that I haven't given up.

A secret wish of mine:
I wish I was part of a sorority.

I do not like change.
So don't surprise me with things like:
A new version of anything.
A different way to do things.
Or detours.

At a Lose for Words

Well, not really.

I'm not one to be short on words.

I do feel overwhelmed.
And I have so much going on through my head to focus.
On blogging.
On baking.
On anything.

Plus, I'm not sleeping well.

I just went grocery shopping for the week...2 days late.
(I apologize for no Menu Monday this week.)
Because I started cleaning the home Monday.
For my family to gather round Friday.
But the effort I made was ruined when I got out of the shower to find this...
in my living room.

And it's still there...

(Side note: I DID start cleaning my craft/reading room and THAT was not ruined...and it makes me quite happy!)
I bought these adorable lil' containers at Bed Bath & Beyond on the spice aisle...
4 for $5...picked up 3 sets...used a $5 off $15. :D
Spent $10 for 15 of these cuties.
And I used them for my scrapbooking brads, rivet-y things, buttons, and other embellishments.
Color coded, of course.

Whether I'm focused or not.
I've got to get the house cleaned spotless by Friday.
And make 2 of those beautifully, yummy Red Velvet cakes.
So, there may or may not be much blogging till after the holiday festivities!

Merry Christmas everyone...
In case I don't make it back by Friday or Saturday!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Ornaments, Cakes, & Disasters!

This week has not been my week...
for baking!

To start off, I started on these super cute cookie ornaments.
I've been wanting to make these for years but just wouldn't get around to doing it.
So, this week, I did.
And let's just say I'm not a rolling-pin-kinda-girl.

But I do want to share them with you.
In case, you are that kinda girl...or guy! :)
Becuase they are SUPER cute!

Applesauce Cinnamon Ornaments

1 cup applesauce
Approx. 3/4 cup ground cinnamon
2 tbsp. ground cloves
1 tbsp. nutmeg
1 tbsp. ground allspice
Straw, skewer, or toothpick
Thread or ribbon

In large bowl, combine the applesauce and spices; mix well until a stiff dough forms, adding additional cinnamon if needed.

On a board dusted with additional cinnamon, roll out each portion of down to 1/4-in thick. Cut into shapes using 1-1/2-in cookie cutters dipped in cinnamon. Reroll scraps. Place cutouts on parchment paper-lined baking sheet.

Using a straw, skewer, or toothpick, make a small hole on the top of each of the ornaments.

Bake at 200 degrees for 20 to 30 minutes. Remove to paper towel to dry thoroughly. When completely dry and cook, string a ribbon strip or piece of thread through each hole; tie the ends to form a loop.

Helpful hints I learned along the way:
Prepare yourself to use LOTS of cinnamon...I kept going back to the cupboard for more.
Don't over do the mixing either...I did and the dough didn't wanna roll out. I think this recipe requires too much patience for me! Ha!

An idea if I do attempt this again:
I'll put bigger cookie cutters and not poke holes through them.
Bake them as usual and place them on a cute Christmas plate for Santa. :D

So, on to the next disaster.

I found a beautifully, yummy recipe for Red Velvet Cake from Jacqueline of Purple Chocolat Home.
This women seriously is my baking-idol!
And her kitchen is a place only in my dreams!
I aspire to be half the baker, decorator and woman she is!

Anyways, this morning I got up, prepared my shopping list, and headed to the store.
Started on the cake right away.
Get to the 2nd step and read the 3rd.
I forgot food coloring!!!

Back to the store I go.
Get home, pick up where I left off, get to the food coloring step.
I didn't get ENOUGH food coloring!!!

Oh well, I use what I have.
And it ends up still pretty red.
Then I get the step where I need to add buttermilk.
Oops! I set it down to read something and left it at the store!

So, I google a substitute.
And am praying that it didn't affect my recipe too bad.

This is where I am right now. And it was truly a nightmare to get this far.

Let's hope icing and travel to the Christmas party goes smoother!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Blog Design

I looove designing my head.
When it comes to doing it, I'm challenged.
On the virtual-level.

I've played and fought Photoshop.
For a long time.

But soon, this battle will come to an end.
The war is OVER!

I'm taking a Blog Design Workshop.
That April Showers Blog Design is hosting!

And I'm gunna learn to dominate Photoshop.
From here on out.
(Hopefully. But please say a little prayer...and keep your fingers crossed!)

I'm suuuper excited!!!

You should join me.
Or sign up for a giveaway and you could learn for FREE!

Thankful Thursday - 12/16

After getting our wedding pictures in and looking through them over and over again, I started to feel so reminiscent of the whole wedding planning experience.

I remember that the month before Mark Dean and I got engaged, we took a trip to Austin, we saw soooo many beautiful things which we normally overlook when we go there.
We even looked at rings on this trip!!!
We ate at this awesome restaurant called the Oasis.
And if you go to Austin, you must go here, too!

Our view from our table at the Oasis.
Well, after eating there, I knew that's where I wanted to get married.
But because of the size of our family and how important they are to use, we decided to opt out of this option.

But before opting out, I planned...a little.
I knew I wanted to get married at the awesome Oasis...where they do hold weddings, parties, and such.

Googled for this...this was taken at the Oasis by unknown photographer.
I picked out an amazing photographer in the area, Sweet Caroline.
Who does awesome engagement pictures that I was really pumped about.
And great wedding photography!
Moment captured by Sweet Caroline Photo
Moment captured by Sweet Caroline Photo
Moment captured by Sweet Caroline Photo
While looking through all the photos of our wedding in HOUSTON, I wouldn't change it for the world.
Because it wouldn't be this magical!
With a super-amazing photographer in the Houston-area to catch all the magic!

Moment captured by SB Image Studios
Moment captured by SB Image Studios
Moment captured by SB Image Studios
But I would go to Austin for a photo shoot with the AMAZING Sweet Caroline!

So, today, I'm thankful for an awesome city: Austin, Texas!

This is, by far, one of my favorite places in the entire world!
This will be the first year, in over 5 years, that I haven't been at least one.
And that makes me so sad to think about with only 2 weeks left of the year.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Letter to My Brother


Always know that:

You are amazing
I look up to you
I've been your number one fan (and always will be)
I am so proud of you
My love for you grows with each second that passes

Your little sister

Happy birthday old man! I love you.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Time Warp

I got our wedding pictures last week!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
(So, be prepared for LOTS of upcoming posts to have some included!)

And to start of this photo-overload, I thought a past and present of Mark Dean and myself would be appropriate.
Mainly because I spent the afternoon at my mom's looking through old photos (for tomorrow's post!) and I found this:

This was our high school 2004.
Thank goodness that technology has evolved and we can own 14 megapixel (or better) cameras nowadays
so our own children don't have to go through this...well, I guess style can't help picture quality. :-/

And this is on our wedding day!
Even 80+ years from now.

Note: Any wedding pictures featured on my blog are done by the amazing SB Image Studios.
(Well, any wedding pictures with Mark Dean and I in them!)

Monday, December 13, 2010

Menu Monday - 12/13

So this past weekend, my pal, Connie, & I were working on our 101 in 1001 and decided to put "Run a 5k" on our list. 

We're researching. 
We're getting prepared.
We're recruiting.

And we are gunna look cute!

With all that drive, I thought it would be necessary to make some adjustment in my eating regimen. 
I just haven't figured out how to do that. 
Maybe next week.

But for this week, we'll be having:

Monday - Chili
Tuesday - Spaghetti & Ravioli :)
Wednesday - Pappacito's for my BIG brother's birthday!
Thursday - Stuffed Chicken & Potatoes
Friday - Lemon Herb Chicken & Potatoes

Friday, December 10, 2010

Day of Progress

Although Mark Dean occupied my morning with his non-sense (so, he didn't have to be by himself!),
I got A LOT done.

My day consisted of the following:

Enjoyed a delightful drive through my lil town.
On a beautiful day.
A semi-autumn scene in the middle of winter.
That's Houston.
I shipped 3 textbooks that I sold on-line.

I picked up these adorable stockings that my wonderfully, creative aunt embroidered for me.

She can embroider things for you, too.

I got another thing on my 101 in 1001 list done!
I signed up for a Rewards Program for my checking account.

And I started on another one of my 101 in 1001 tasks...
I took the money I won at the casinos and paid on some of our debt. :D

I hope everyone had a great day.
And productive, too!
Now, let's start the weekend!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Thankful Thursday - 12/9

I didn't anticipate a Thankful Thursday because it has been so such a rough week for my brother, our family, and his.

But I'm taking it as an opportunity to open light on the fact that our days are numbered.
And we, as individuals and a family, need to take every opportunity to have time together.
Hold onto those memories for dear life.
And cherish one another.
Be there. Through thick and thin.

Change is inevitable.
And this is very difficult for me.
I challenge it head on.
Which hurts even more.

The week has shed light on how deep I connect with the Lord.
How I try to pray so hard, that I wish it was enough to fix everything.
Sadly, it's not enough.
Time is all we have that can heal our wounds.

Please keep my family, most importantly my brother in your prayers.


On a side note...a brighter note...

I spent the day in Louisiana, gambling!

And went home a winner!
Not my actual win...Google search&find.

With that said, yesterday I started my 101 Things in 1001 Days.
And this little baby was on my list!
{Win $100+ gambling}

(I will be sharing my list shortly!)

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

My New Best Friend

I have my last {real} final today!
(Not sure what I'm doing on here.)

But in case you don't already know...
since it's been plastered ALL over my Twitter and Facebook...
I absolutely love Pandora.

I'm a big music fanatic but too cheap to buy CDs.
I do occasionally pick one up if I know the entire thing will be great (so 2-3 a year).

And too cheap to buy songs on iTunes.
Although, after my last computer crash, I'd be smart to break down and buy them.

And too scared to download them anywhere but iTunes.
Yea, last computer need to explain.

Well, since Pandora came along,
none of that matters.
Pandora knows me.

And it's helped me get through the end of this semester.
Focused. And ready to take on the finals!
And even, a lil pumped about next semester!!!


Side note:
When should I invest in a Facebook page for Lil Mrs. Housewife?
This thought occurred to me as I linked my personal Facebook.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Top 10 Places I'd Like to Spend a Year

I'm not crazy about moving. But the idea of seeing all these places throughout the changing seasons and interacting with the locals on a local level, not a tourist level, is much more appealing to me.

No. 1 - Boston, Mass.
Autumn is my favorite season.
And when I think of Autumn, I think of the beautiful outdoors of Boston during this season.
I wish there was a place of permanent Autumn..I'd never move.
And I know this city has so much more to offer than just a beautiful Autumn scene.

No. 2 - Austin, Texas.
One of my favorite places in the world.
6th street. Lake Travis. The State Capitol.
Awesome places to eat. Great things to see. Weird people to meet.
What's not to love about Austin.

No. 3 - Washington D.C.
During an election year.
I can't even imagine the energy.
But I'd def. wanna be apart of it.

No. 4 - Jamaica.

I love Jamaica.
While I was there for our honeymoon, I loved being the towns, almost as much as I loved being on the beach.
The way of life fascinates me.
I'd love to experience simplicity HERE. And teach.

No. 5 - Frankenmuth, Michigan.
One of the most festive places in America.
They really appreciate Christmas!
And I don't know much about my German background. But I do think this place could put me in touch with my heritage. :)

No. 6 - San Francisco, CA.

I love architecture.
I think it's something I wish I would've pursued in school...if I have the drive.
And this place the best of it, by far.
I want to live in one of these adorable homes...not a hotel for just a visit.

No. 7 - Italy
More beautiful architecture.
And amazing food.
That I could spend a year soaking up.

No. 8 - Somewhere in Washington State.
All Twilight-induced, so Folks would be fine with me.
Reading the Twilight Saga over and over, taking it all in on a deeper the setting of the books.
That would be me quite happy.

No. 9 - Durham, North Carolina.
I wonder if you could just absorb the genious-ness that has to be in the air just because it's where Duke University is located.
I didn't have the typical college experience so, living where you can witness the college life and feel the college spirit would be enough.
Oh, and an opportunity to attend would be an added bonus.
Plus, Duke has awesome architecture.
(College Station, home of A&M University, would be a more reasonable alternative.)

No. 10 - New York City 
(or a place close enough that I could travel in and around the city easily)
So awesome things happen in New York.
A year of Broadway shows. Macy's Thanksgiving Parade. New Year's Ball Drop.
I would need a full year to appreciate what this city has to offer.

Ten years of my life would be well worth the experiences.
Of course, to make the experience better (and more unrealistic), I'd like to have a fat bank account and no job to really enjoy and take advantage of every opportunity these places have to offer me.

Yeah, keep dreaming, Lynzi!

Where would you like to spend a year?