Thursday, August 29, 2013

A Pin That I Pinned that I (well...Nate) Did: Tortellini & Sausage Soup

I know that we don't usually do food posts, when but I instagramed the most amazing dinner ever last night (Made by the one and only Nate) I got tons of people on my facebook and on IG asking me where I got the recipe.

Well I found it on Pinterest during my weekly "I really should have a plan..." grocery pinning. Here is the pin I pinned it off of.

When I saw the pin, it just screamed "yummy home Olive Garden" so I thought I'd give it a shot. You can view the recipe here if you aren't a Pinterest person. I think the best thing about this was that it was a croc pot recipe!

We are slowly trying to give Nate a few dishes that he knows how to make to help me out when I'm too pregnant to function and this was soooooo yummy that I know we'll be making it a bunch this winter. The only prep it required was browning the sausage! (I used mild just to stick with the recipe but I prefer hot sausage so I ended up adding a bunch of red pepper flakes)

The cream cheese in it makes the sauce really creamy. The only way I can describe it is like the braised beef and tortellini at Olive Garden's sauce. Just creamy and fantastic. I'm sure this thing isn't the healthiest for you, but the pictures didn't lie!

Also, Nate said he ended up having to add the spinach in increments because it wouldn't all fit- I don't know if we have a smaller croc pot than it wanted (I think we have the standard size...) but everything did fit once the spinach had wilted.

Here is the picture on the website.

And here it is out of my bowl.

I fully endorse this meal. Give it a shot!

Monday, August 26, 2013


Last night we ventured upstairs to measure the walls to order wallpaper.

Of course, we have the jankiest walls EVER. So, I'll be calling Hygge and West and asking them how the hell I'm supposed to do this...

 Everything is really waiting on the wallpaper. I can't paint the walls until I have something to color match and I can't paint the furniture for the same reason.

Nate is on a mission to finish cleaning out the playroom and I really need to get around to finishing the crib. My doctor gave my permission to spray paint if I wore proper protective gear and worked outside, but man, it is too hot to be in that mask for long periods of time! I've gotten two pieces of the crib done so far because it's just been too hot or too muggy for me to be all dolled up like a surgeon.

I think another reason the wallpaper is so hard to measure for is because of the whole pattern repeat thing. Hygge & West has the wallpaper listed as 27 inches wide by 30 feet long with a 3 foot repeat.

Well, that's fine and dandy but with those angles my little preggy brain is about to explode. Does anyone have any hints?

On the plus side, we are DEFINITELY pregnant as shown by this picture.

 Has anyone wallpapered an odd surface before? How did you go about it? (If you've written a blog post about it please feel free to leave a link! I'd love the help!)

Friday, August 23, 2013

The Nonsensical Hormonal Ramblings of a Cranky Preggy.

 Note: I'm crazy and hormonal today- so there is rude language in here and nothing involving home decor. If I had a life section I'd post it there, but I don't. 

The other day I was sitting on facebook for an obnoxious amount of time. Like, seriously, an unhealthy amount of time.

In my defense, I got attacked by a sinus infection (we're on day 10 right now of feeling like shit! Yeah!) and was stuck on my couch.

But, as I said, I was spending an abnormal amount of time on facebook, perusing through old posts and I saw that my friend posted this.

And I was like, yeah, you know what? We're going to get a little hormonal up in here today.

Pregnancy is weird. You have a lot of feelings that have no where to go. Almost like...two people's feelings worth. My friends told me as soon as we'd hit the second trimester it would be sunshine, rainbows, frolicking through a sex filled haze where everything makes you happy and you'd hump a cucumber in the grocery store.


We are 15 weeks on Monday and you know what I want?

A fucking nap.
To not have a sinus infection that makes me feel like there's a canon ball on my brain.
To not feel like every time someone at work/home asks me a simple question, or tells me to do a simple task that they are INTERROGATING and ATTACKING ME. (Dudes, I know you're not, but I can't control the fury.)
To EAT A DAMN HAMBURGER. (Wookie is anti-cow...)

You know what else I'd like? To feel like we're making ANY progress on ANYTHING that we said we would do before the baby would get here.

But here we are 15 weeks in, heading towards the busiest time of the year for us, only to find out that we have about 3 free Saturdays between now and when the baby gets here. Can I already curl up in a ball and preemptively cry?

I miss hamburger helper. I know it's the worst thing for you on the planet, but I LOVE the damn strogonaff and the fact it takes me about 25 seconds to make. I miss diet coke. Granted, that one is my fault, I voluntarily am doing no caffeine...why I made that decision, I don't know. I mean, I guess I was all, "If I'm already quitting drinking and smoking I mind as well give up caffeine!" Well, you know what? Caffeine free diet coke is NOT the same as "leaded" diet coke. It's not even worth my time.

I think the weirdest thing about being pregnant is you KNOW you're being a nut. Something will fly out of your mouth and you'll almost watch them leave thinking, "wait. no. why? no!"

And then you have to sit sheepishly in a ball going "sorry. baby cranky...."

Granted, I am lucky to have a saint for a husband. Nate does not mind the crazy at all. He is getting really over the attachment to food. But what can I say? I'm a plus size girl with a baby that doesn't like cow and is bored of chicken.

Like, seriously, last night I told Nate I wanted Taco Bell. Something I haven't eaten in probably 4 years? But I told him explicitly I wanted a chicken chalupa with fire sauce.

Well, I got the chicken chalupa but Taco Bell forgot to give him hot sauce.

Enter pregnant sadness. I no longer wanted the chalupa. I was so hungry, but without the fire sauce, what is the point? It's just a flavorless mess at that point.

At least I am not a totally crazy wife and I didn't make Nate drive back across town for the hot sauce, but I was hungry the rest of the night because my appetite just shuts off when stuff like that happens. Literally SHUTS OFF.

One night I wanted curly fries from Arbys and they gave Nate onion rings instead.

SHUT OFF. (Besides, uhhh gross. Onion rings...)

Another night I wanted strawberries. I opened the container in the fridge and they were like all gone or dead. All we had was raspberries.

Done. Shut off.

So this is what has been happening in our house lately. I'm being crazy, and aware of my craziness. Nate's being a Saint (and is secretly happy he's back to school three nights a week) and humoring me while I mope over hot sauce and curly fries. We're both confused as to how I'm 15 weeks in and down 15lbs. You know....pregnant basics.

Anyone have any ridiculous pregnant stories from your time? Pregnancy is nothing except a time to laugh at yourself.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

DIW: Agnes' Chicken Coop!

Today's DIW comes from Agnes in Maine! Agnes has done a project that I have absolutely no experience with so I told her to do a write up for me- we hope you enjoy it! 

Chickens are probably the most fowl (ha!) creatures that you could keep in your backyard. They poop on and in everything. And these feathery fellows do not have nice rounded scoop-with-a-plastic-bag poops, the have white/brown/green/black runny messes. So how did two early–to-mid-twenty year olds decide, “Hey, we should get chickens!”. Well, I will tell you but it is not pretty… A swollen colon.  Christiaan has an auto-immune disorder called Ulcerative Colitis.  I am not going to bore you guys with the nitty gritty, and frankly disgusting details, but consider Christiaan as the canary in the coal mine.  Seriously, his innards can sniff out the slightest amounts of:  gluten, sugars, dairy, complex starches, pesticides, and additives like gum stabilizers.  Christiaan was on some pretty intense medications that had worked well at first but had lost their pizazz causing the doctors to say, “Next step, biological therapy!” This is the end of the line for people who suffer from disorders like ulcerative colitis, IBS, and Chron’s…  well, the last step before you get your colon removed that is. Understandably, he was not ready to give up on himself at 23 years old.  Enter present day: Christiaan sticks to a diet that is void of any gluten, sugars, complex starches (yes, potatoes too), and additives. This lifestyle change brought on many new things: a garden, a worm compost bin that is sitting in our 3-season porch, and now chickens! At some point we know we want to have a small homestead with a huge garden to sustain our very high vegetable needs, two pigs, two goats, chickens, meat rabbits, maybe a cow, and hopefully a horse…hopefully.  So we are starting small and learning the basics with chickens. 

At this point you may be thinking, “These guys really thought this through!” . No, no we did not. We had been toying with the idea but it was put into effect when my future roommate, Jen, said, “YES, LET’S DO IT NOW.” Christiaan googled DIY chicken coop, Jen and I read about chicken breeds and then BAM, we were driving home with these cuties.

The instructions… haha “instructions”… Christiaan found the coop design and materials list on the Purina Mills website, and here is a peak at what we went off of…

 As you can see there are no instructions and Christiaan has ZERO construction/building background. But he did it! We went to Home Depot and picked up all of the wood listing below the coop designs and they cut it to size for us FO FREE. Well, kind of… we still paid ~$200 for all of the wood and paint and nails. So we went home, dropped the wood off, and Christiaan got to work while Jen and I went out to pick up additional supplies: feeder, water, chick feed, bedding, and another “How To: Chickens” book for about $100.  Our coop has access from the back for easy cleaning, a small door in the front to let the chickens outside, three brooder boxes for egg laying, a heat lamp, and a sky light… A SKY LIGHT.  Once the chicks matured a bit we built them perches with the remaining wood from our original Home Depot run. Here is my warning: it looks crappy. REALLY crappy. But they love it! It has three levels that they can perch and sleep on.
Here is the coop after 3-4 hours of Christiaan sweat. 

And here is is only needing a coat of paint. The weird wood floor linoleum stuff cost us $12. We caulked it in so that the wood won’t rot through over time

Here is the view from the back so you can see the brooding boxes for future egg laying.

 This is the inside at first...SO CLEAN (never to be this clean again...) There is no bedding in the boxes because the chicks couldn't get up there at this time. 

We painted it a forest green. Here is the run area before they destroyed it and we put a second layer of fence in...

This is the inside as of now. We have added crappy perches and bedding to their boxes. Also, behold the glorious chicken poop.

And this is what their outdoor area looks like today. The strange object next to the house is a sawhorse that they use as their outdoor perch. It was free which was awesome. 

So as you can tell, the start-up is a little costly, especially for three graduate students. However, looking back I can give a few pointers on how to save some money. Craigslist! We had looked at buying a used coop on Craigslist but we do not have a trucker/trailer to pick it up. You can find them a bit cheaper BUT you can also end up with a pretty janky coop. You could find the feeders and waters for cheap on Craigslist or construct your own. The coop we Christiaan built took 1 day of hard work and 40 minutes of painting! 

If you are curious, the chicken breeds we selected were Rhode Island Reds and Plymouth Rock Whites. We selected these because they are considered “dual purpose” breeds. They lay nice large tasty eggs but you can also eat them. So here we go, judgment time. We purchased six hens, two roosters, and two turkeys. We do plan on eating the two turkeys and two roosters and yes, we are going to do it ourselves. Now before you close out of this window and say, “ANIMAL HATERS” let me explain. Christiaan and I both feel that if we are going to be consuming meat as much as we do (2x daily for me, 4x daily for him), then we should fully understand what the animal is giving us. By raising these guys from chicks, feeding the everyday, cleaning up after them, and rescuing them from the neighborhood cats, we feel that we will appreciate the meat more. I like to think of it as a give and take. We are providing the chickens a very nice, humane lifestyle compared to what they likely would have faced. These guys are outside scratching around from 9am until 8pm, we are providing them non-medicated feed, fresh greens and fruit, clean bedding, space, constant fresh water, and safety from predators. In return we will collect their unfertilized eggs, let them turn over our garden in the fall and spring, and we will use every part of them to nourish ourselves. I hope you enjoyed this non-traditional DIW!

Agnes & Christiaan

Snaps to Agnes and Christiaan! If you have a DIW you'd like to submit, please send details and photos of your project to

Monday, August 12, 2013

A To Do List.

Lately, I've spent a lot of time glaring at various things in my house. I guess when you spend most evenings on the couch you start to notice things...

I've noticed a lot of things. Things I want done before the baby gets here.

But. They are things that certainly do not have to get done at all- they're more my crazy need for things to be nice than anything else.

So here is my crazy pregnant lady list.

1.) Add cabinet doors to the bottom shelves of the built in bookshelves to keep wires/dvds/etc out of reach/sight/temptation.

This is super bothering me and I want it resolved. Now.

2.) Repaint the white trim in the rooms with white trim.
There are dings from moving furniture, scratches from jumping dogs...all that good stuff. I'd love to get a fresh coat of white up.

I have been staring at this wall of doom forever. I'm over it and it needs to be fixed. Of course, there is no way I'm getting up on scaffolding so it looks like this will be a Nate and Brenna project. It needs to be stripped and painted...and not glue covered...

4.) Make a Family Command Center
Nate and I have never been calendar people- there's never been a reason- every week is the same. ...Except now it's not. We'll soon have daycare to plan, maternity dates, hell, even now we have like a million doctor's appointments and stuff so it's just getting crazy. Between Nate going to school and me constantly being at appointments we really need to get our shit together. Please, before the holiday season...

5.) Build a storage system in the basement.
We talked a bit about this in this post, but as we have a lot of things that will be going the way of plastic storage bins out of Wookie's room, this really needs to happen to keep everything off the floors.

6.) Build an office.
I have my bead studio, but there is NO WHERE for a filing cabinet in my studio and did you know that those EOBs from Blue Cross actually mean something? Amazing. Now I have to store them....ugh- even though I'm an office manager, my home organization is terrible- I really need to get this shit together.

7.) Have the ducts cleaned.
I do not want my baby (or myself) to be breathing 110 years of dust (who knows if they ever got cleaned before?) We meant to do it last year but the year got ahead of us and we never got around to it.

8.) Get the garage fixed.
We have mentioned this about 10000 times and last time my guy friend Robby was up he took a look at it and it appears that we just need a new top panel and a new chain (the motor works and everything). I would really like to get the garage fixed so 8 month pregnant Emma is not walking on potential ice in January instead of just going through the garage.

9.) Add a railing to the basement stairs.
My husband may have taken it off and never reinstalled it. Now he doesn't want to because he thinks it makes the stairs too narrow. I need a railing because my balance is already off on those painted stairs of doom. MY WORD IS LAW.

10.) Go on a vacation with Nate.
I really want to go somewhere, just Nate and  I for at least a weekend. Somewhere in a hotel where we can not cook, clean, or do anything. A Babymoon, if you will.

What did you guys feel needed to be done when you were having kids? Any crazy weird thoughts?

Friday, August 9, 2013

National Holiday(s)

If you guys notice, we were quiet this week. Those of you that follow us on Facebook know the reason but I thought we'd pop in with a little life update! ...with PICTURES.

Why haven't we been posting this week?

Nate and I have always been Shark Week freaks- we have even been known to hide at restaurants that will play it when we didn't have cable. Yeah...some people go to bars for sporting events- we go for sharks leaping out of the water.

I mean, come on- you don't want to watch this all week?

You may have even noticed in pictures of our Master Bedroom that we have a guest.

...That's "Shark"...he's my buddy.

We did have a little exciting baby development this week- we are officially over 12 weeks which makes us just elated. Although my bump picture this week was very deceiving due to the pattern on my dress- I think we will not be wearing patterns for bump pictures from now on.

I think this is a much better representation of where we are at. There's definitely a bump. I definitely can't wear normal jeans (OMFG have you WORN Maternity jeans? I feel like Flanders wearing "nothing at all!") but it's not like I have a small country under there yet. These pictures are from a wedding we went to in May (which is about where we started at) and a wedding we went to last weekend.

We also found out at the doctor this week that I'm down 10lbs. a little odd since I'm not throwing up, but hey- I'll take it! It must be because Wook hate's hamburger and we mostly eat a lot of fruit.

Wookie was playing along with Shark Week though, every time we found the heartbeat on the doppler Wookie would swim away- so it was really quiet, but we blasted it through our car speakers for the grandparents. I thought I'd share it with you guys, too.

Nate also was amazingly adorable and surprised me last night with the stroller and car seat that we wanted! He found them on super clearance (yay!) and in a pattern we hadn't seen!

The pattern?



We went with an Evenflo Embrace. Our options were very limited as our car is so small and this was about the only option we could find that had good safety ratings that fit in our backseat (you get too small and it starts not being the best). We had been seeing it a lot in green and purple so we were going to register for it in green (which runs about $80 for the car seat)- after a lot of digging I was able to find the pattern on Amazon at a crazy high price...

Nate found this set for $90 on clearance at target! It must have been a special order (assuming since we've never even seen the embrace at Target- we've been seeing it at Wal-Mart) Basically we got the stroller for FREE! And, it's in an awesome pattern- could that be any more of a win-win? Oh, besides the fact that it is super easy to attach and unlock it from the base and the stroller, and the stroller has one button that collapses it.

Now, my only issue with this is that I can't fully test it out as I am sans baby until February :) I guess that's the problem with buying stuff early, but you know us, if you see it, you know you need it, it's on sale, DON'T LEAVE IT THERE! This has saved our butts more than once.

It also helped that Nate was ADORABLE putting all this stuff together last night. Proud papa was beaming.

So that is what is going on in our neck of the woods right now. I hope everyone is well! I am also hoping to get some stuff done for the nursery this weekend (ordering wallpaper, anyone?)

What's going on with everyone else?