Friday, February 26, 2010

Lesson 26- A New Mortgage Payment

Earlier this week we got some super good news. Husband bought the house a little over three years ago, pretty much at the height of the housing market inflation.

So when the housing market crashed shortly after we were paying an inflated mortgage payment on a house that had lost significant value. Not fair in my opinion. But as my dad would always say, "Life isn't fair". But fortunately for us, Wells Fargo thought it wasn't fair either and lowered our interest rate to 2% for the next five year, saving us roughly $25,000, or $5,000 a year. See, super good news.

So I guess this lesson is check with your mortgage lender and see what programs they or the government are offering. And if you think, like we did, you won't qualify, give it a shot anyway...somebody has to qualify, and it very well might be you too!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Lesson 25- Making a Grown-Up Bed

I have never had a headboard. I have always wanted a headboard. They make a bed look so refined and classy. But have you ever priced a headboard? Holy good grief!!!

When Husband and I first got engaged there were so many things to consider and work-out. But while he was wondering how we would work out our milk situation, I was wondering how I was finally going to get my long-desired headboard.

This last weekend my dreams finally became a reality. We built our headboard! And I love, love, love it!!!

We started with just a plain piece of plywood cut to the measurements of our CalKing bed.
I added 2" foam to the wood

And used batting to help keep the foam in place

We covered the whole thing with upholstery fabric.

So that our piece of plywood now looked like this:

Then to make it a little more sturdy and add some height to our head board Husband attached 2x4 and a spare piece of plywood across the bottom.

This was the finished product! Doesn't it look so purty!!! And it only cost us about $80! I have covered buttons to add to it, I'm just not sure whether I want to add 'em or not. What do you think?

P.S. The milk situation that Husband was so preoccupied with while I continued to dream of headboards, was he only drinks skim milk and I only drink 2%. He was worried that having 2 gallon-sized bottles of milk in the fridge at a time would be a bit extreme. So, far we haven't had too many issues with our milk differences. But, we have only been married about five months.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Lesson 24- Saving a Beloved T-Shirt

I think I've mentioned before, but Husband is a HUGE (and I mean HUGE) 49ers fan. After all, our dog is named Montana--and not after the state. Any piece of clothing that is 49ers related is his favorite. And this was his favorite shirt

And I destroyed it! Well, really he destroyed it with tons of stains and natural wearing-out-ness. My part of the destruction was actually an attempt to salvage the beloved shirt. So rather than Husband giving it a proper burial, I offered to turn it into a pillow. See, I am a good wife! I am! I am!

After sewing the two pieces together I stuffed it up and finished sewing. Now Husband has a pillow and the t-shirt was saved from a certain death.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Lesson 23- A Cheap Expensive Art Project

Yes, I know I used antonyms to describe one object. But it was a cheap and expensive art project. Our guest bedroom is what I like to call 'antique travel'. And I promise to someday show you pictures of it, but for the time being maybe you can use your imagination. There's some cool stuff in there, but one wall was still completely blank. The original plan was to hang a large map of the world there, but that never happened and the blank wall was really starting to get to me.

I came across some foreign currency that I've accumulated over the past 20-ish years both from my own travels and other family members' travels. Then I came across some shadow boxes I had bought last year and never got around to their planned project. And then the idea came to me: use the shadow boxes to display the currency. One for the paper bills and one for the coins.

I just used straight pins for the paper bills to keep the damage at a minimum. The coins were glued using a hot glue gun. And the lovely thing about hot glue is it keeps the damage to the coins to a minimum as well.

I think it fills the blank wall quite nicely. What do you do with left over money from your travels?

Monday, February 22, 2010

Lesson 22-Happy New Year!!!

You may be thinking this is a bit late. I mean it is over a week past Valentine's and I'm just now wishing you Happy New Year? But have you forgotten--as I usually do that the Chinese New Year falls after our Gregorian (that is the calendar we use, right?) New Year. Some friends of ours, R & J, are Chinese--by way of Canada--and invited us to their house last night to learn how to make won-tons. And they were even nice enough to let us eat them after wards!!!

Since we were complete novices our main responsibility was folding the noodle in preparation for boiling. The stuffing was ground pork, shrimp, cilantro, black fungus (not as gross as it sounds) and some other stuff that's slipped my mind. The noodles were store-bought to save our hosts from the hassle of making 300 won-ton squares.

With about 10 people helping fold the won-tons into 'nurses hats' we made 300 won-tons! And as K, R & J's daughter, instructed so firmly: "You can't have any holes or they'll explode!" We did pretty good, considering all the hands that were involved in the folding process--only 5 blowouts! Not bad for a bunch of amateurs, I'd say.

After all 300 were boiled they were topped with barbecued pork, noodles, sesame oil, chives and a broth. It was so yummy!!! For dessert we had ice cream with lychee. That was so yummy too!!!

We also had fun reading and learning about our Chinese zodiaks. I'm an ox and the Husband is a tiger. And man is he so proud of being a tiger.

And in case you're wondering this is the year of the tiger. And last year was my year, the year of the tiger.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Lesson 21 - Making a Baby!

Just for fun I wanted to see what our offspring will look like when we do decide to pro-create. Kinda cute, don't you think? And there's no midnight feeding, yucky diapers or $400 stroller to go along with the cuteness.

What do you think about my little new baby Baby Miller? - What will your baby look like?

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Lesson 20- How to Teach Your Husband About Pancake Day


Today in Pancake Day!!! Or Shrove Tuesday. While in England I learned the brilliance of eating pancakes for dinner the day before Ash Wednesday. And it's healthier than binge drinking in New Orleans.

Pancakes in Britain tend to be more like French crepes--perfect for making a savory entree. On the menu tonight was Spinach and Mushroom Crepes and dollar pancakes.

Crepe Recipe
* 1 cup flour
* 2 eggs
* 1/2 cup milk
* 1/2 cup water
* 2 tbsp. butter
* 1/4 tsp. salt (I left it out)

1. In a mixing bowl, whisk together flour and eggs. Slowly add in milk and water. Stir until smooth, then add butter (and salt). Beat mixture till it is smooth.

2. Pour mixture into a lightly oiled frying pan. Use about a 1/4 cup of batter for each crepe.

3. Cook the crepe for about 2 minutes on each side.


Spinach Mushroom Filling
* 16 oz. fresh mushrooms, sliced
* 10 oz. fresh spinach

* 3 tbsp. butter
* 1/4 cup flour
* 1 cup milk
* 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese

1. In a frying pan, saute mushrooms in 2 tbsp. olive oil until tender. Then add spinach until wilted.

2. In a saucepan melt 3 tbsp butter. Add flour and mix until a paste is formed. Slowly stir in milk stirring constantly until a smooth gravy is formed. Add Parmesan to mixture.

3. Once cheese is melted add mixture to spinach and mushrooms in frying pan.

4. Spoon mixture onto crepes and serve to your Pancake Day newbies!

P.S. It was delish!!!

Friday, February 12, 2010

Lesson 19- Why Shrink Wrap is my New Favorite!

This post could also be titled "How to Make a Cheap and Cheesy Valentine Present"

I'm posting this before Sunday cause I'm hoping that the Husband won't look--and chances are he won't. But I'm also excited about the way my present turned out and wanted to publish it before Valentime's [sic] in case some of you are still in need of a pressie. And don't feel bad, this is the first year I've actually been on top of things!

For starters, Husband is a HUGE fan of spicy things. And I mean HUGE!!!! He'll put hot sauce on just about anything and everything. So I gathered some yummy spicy things:

*Hot Cheetos
*Hot Cheetos with Lime
*cinnamon gum
*Hot Tamales
*Spicy Nacho Doritos
*Salsa Verde Doritos
*spicy beef jerkey
*Pace's picante sauce
*Louisiana hot sauce
Okay, so it's not a healthy present. But a gigantic box of chocolate is?
And then I threw this in, just cause the Husband really wants it. See, aren't I already becoming such a good wife?!

I placed it all in a basket from the $1 Store with some red filler and shrink wrap around it. This was my first time using shrink wrap. And it is now my favorite! Hence the title of this post. You put it around your basket and tie it shut. And it looks loose and sloppy. Like this:

Then I took my handy-dandy hair dryer and shrunk the shrink wrap so it formed nicely around the goodies in the basket. Then it looked like this:

Much better don't you think?

Now you may be wondering where I'm going with all the spicy stuff for Valentine's day when the tradition is candies and chocolate. Well for starters it's a little more personalized for my Valentine. But to tie everything together and make it more themed for Valentine's Day, I added this tag to it:

Get it?!?! Spicy snacks=I'm hot for you I thought it was clever and I love it!!! Hopefully the Husband will love it as much as I do!!!

Happy Valentine's Day!!! Hope you share the day with someone special!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Lesson 18- Why Being Married is SUPER!

Over the past four and a half-ish months I have been asked the question "How's married life?" more than I can count. If only I got a penny every time they asked me we'd have the house paid off already! That may be a slight exaggeration, but you get the idea!

And the simple answer is: I LOVE it! And I guess the not-so-simple answer is still, I LOVE it. But do I know why I love it? Here are some ideas I've come up with:

1. I always have someone to snuggle with. My mom raised me as a snuggler. And sorry if you find this weird, but that was one of the best things of living in a sorority house. There was always someone to snuggle with. Which was nice when you're stressed about classes or there's a boy giving you a hard time. But having a husband--is for starters-- a little more socially acceptable to snuggle with. And he has to. It was in our vows. Not really. But in hindsight, it should have been.

2. I always have someone to kiss me goodnight. It's comforting. And I'm fairly certain it makes me sleep better. And again, in hindsight, should have been included in our vows.

3. I have someone to cook for. Since I was about five years old I've always enjoyed cooking and sharing it with people I love and care about. Cooking for myself seems so blah. But cooking for husband is terrific. I'm doing something I enjoy and I'm taking care of my man too.

4. I get to spend the rest of my life with my best friend. This one was in our vows. Good thing too, cause sometimes I think I annoy him! Hehe!

5. He challenges me. By nature I am a procrastinator and sentimental (i.e. I keep almost everything! I still have movie ticket stubs from high school). And by nature the husband is pretty much the complete opposite. Bills get paid almost straight away and when he says he's gonna do something is has a good record. Not perfect, but close! I don't buy him many cards cause I know they'll be thrown away a day later. I'm learning to let go of more and do more on time.

6. He's fun to be around. And we get to be around each other a heck of a lot more now that we're married. Just being able to hang out and eat dinner and drink wine, or watch "Bones", or go grocery shopping, or clean the house, or going to the movies, or... Well you get the idea. Just doing the mundane, every day things are fun. Cause I'm with him. And it's okay to gag--if you've even made it to this point without gagging.

7. He's the one person I know I'll always have on my team. I've never really felt like it's me against the world, but knowing that my husband will always support me and want whatever is best for me is one of the most comforting feelings in the world.

8. We still learn stuff about each other almost every day. It keeps things exciting and new. And not boring. Which is good, cause sometimes I get bored. I tried to get my dad to diagnose me with ADD, but he won't. Oh well. Hubby keeps things fun and interesting so my ADD shows up less often.

9. I have a tendency to be a little on the up-tight side of things. The Husband tends to be 180* from the up-tight side of things. He makes me chill out, relax, and realize that I need to calm down. Even if I don't always let on that me make me feel those ways. So, shhhhhh, don't tell him. His head is big enough as it is. I often wonder how he gets through doorways, hehe.

And just to be cheeky, I'm not going to post a 10th reason why being married is so super. It would be expected, and sometimes the expected is boring. And a tenth reason may be overkill on the gag-factor. I don't really want to make anyone throw up.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Lesson 17- Cupcake Stand

I love cupcakes. Almost as much as I love my husband. It's so close that instead of a traditional wedding cake we had cupcakes. My FIL built a stand that looked like a wedding cake and one of my super friends, A made over a 100 cupcakes for us. People love us! Anyways, as much as I love the stand we had at our wedding, it isn't practical for most other social gatherings. Mainly, cause it's a beast!

I was on a mission to have one a little more party friendly. And that mission took me to Goodwill. I'm a relatively new patron of Goodwill thanks to my MIL. I found the supplies needed to make my cupcake stand!

* 2 white bud vases ($0.69 each!)
* 3 white plates ($2.99 for the set)

* Gorilla glue (purchased at Wal-Mart)

- glue bottom of vase to center of plate
- let dry according to glue instructions
- glue top of vase to center bottom of second plate
- let dry according to glue instructions
- glue bottom of second vase to center of second plate
- let dry according to glue instructions
- glue top of second vase to center bottom of third plate
- let dry according to glue instructions

There's the finished product. All for the super low price of $4.37! Not bad when they go much more at Target or Bed Bath & Beyond.

And it looks so much prettier with cupcakes on it!

Lesson 16- Football Tablecloth

So this is super late. Sorry!!! I really need to get better about this blogging stuff. I'm workin on it, folks. I promise!!!

Anyways, we hosted our first Superbowl party this weekend as a married couple. Or a couple in general since I was in NM last year and The Husband was in AZ. I wanted to have some fun with it. Hence the awesome invitations we sent out! Well the table--that was gonna be full of food--needed to look cool too! I found this idea at As a sorority girl in college any party with a theme--sign me up!!!

* 36x72 inch piece of green felt
* white ribbon- 1/2 inch thick (5 pieces, 37 inches long)
* adhesive numbers- white varsity font (five 0's, one 1, one 2, one 3, one 4, one 5)
* hot glue gun & glue

- Lay the green felt out on the table or counter surface where you'll be serving the food
- Spread the ribbon out evenly across the felt
- Glue ribbon to felt with hot glue gun, gluing extra at ends to backside of felt
- Peel off the adhesive from your numbers and stick "10", "20", "30", "40" and "50" near the end of each strip of ribbon to create the yard lines. Iron them according to directions for extra stay-put-ness. (This will create half of a football field; if you want to create an entire field, you can double your amount of yard lines)

He was a good helper. Wish I'd gotten a pic with him actually using the glue gun. It'll probably never happen again.

We accessorized the table with food (duh!), football plates, football napkins, and team specific napkins. It looked pretty. And it was a good game! What did you think about the game? Sad for Peyton? Or happy with for the Saints and celebrating Mardi Gras early?

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Lesson 15-Superbowl Invitations

Every year Husband hosts a Superbowl party. He's a big football fanatic. Big. More specifically, a big 49ers fan. This year I get to co-host. Apparently he does a good job--for a bachelor. But this time, I get to have a say in things! The annual guests won't know what hit 'em!!! Here are the tickets that I sent out about a month ago.

I made them in Word since I'm scared of Photoshop. Someday I'll conquer it, but not today. Anyways, they came out looking pretty cool.

And in case you were wondering, the numbers used to the section, row, and seat do have significance.

17- my birthday
22- Husband's birthday
26- our anniversary

I'll have more on our Superbowl excitement later in the week. But I'll leave you with this question: Who are you rooting for this year? Indianapolis Colts and Peyty? Or New Orleans Saints and Brees? Personally I want the Colts to win. Not because I like them or really want them to win, but I'm mad at the Saints for beating the Vikings. I really wanted Brett to go to the Superbowl again. He's so handsome.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Lesson 14-Chocolate Chip Scones

My mom and I discovered this recipe when I was fundraising money for my year in England. One Sunday after worship service, I hosted a "tea" based on donation. We made approximately 12 dozen scones and served tea and coffee. The recipe is delish! And better than any scone I had in England! But shhhhh...don't tell my English pals!

Last week, I decided to spice up the recipe and add chocolate chips. I thought they were yummy! And while making them, I discovered that although I have about 2 dozen different cookie cutters (inherited from my Grandma) none of them are in the shape of a circle. So I improvised and used a white wine glass. Worked perfectly!

*2 C. all-purpose flour
*1/4 C. granulated white sugar
*2 tsp. baking powder
*1/8 tsp. salt
*1/3 C. cold unsalted butter
*1 large egg, lightly beaten
*1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
*1/2 C. heavy whipping cream, half & half, or milk
Egg Mixture for brushing tops:
*1 large egg, lightly beaten
*1 tbsp. cream or milk
1. Preheat oven to 375*F and place rack in middle of oven. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.

2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Cut the butter into small pieces and blend into the flour mixture with a pastry blender or two knives. The mixture should look like course crumbs. In a small measuring cup combine the whipping cream, beaten egg and vanilla. Add this mixture to the flour mixture. Stir until just combined. Do not over mix!

3. Knead dough gently on a lightly floured surface. Roll or pat dough into a circle that is 7 inches round and 3.75 cm thick. Cut this circle into rounds with a 2 1/2 inch cookie cutter (or wine glass in my case!). Make a mixture of well-beaten egg and cream. Brush the tops of the scones with this mixture.

4. Bake for 15-18 minutes or until lightly browned and a toothpick comes out clean. Remove from oven and then turn boiler on high. Sift confectioners (powdered or icing) sugar heavily over the tops of the scones and place under the broiler. Broil for just a few seconds, turning the pan as necessary, until sugar has melted and turns golden brown. Make sure to watch the scones carefully as the sugar will burn very quickly. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

Serve with Devon cream or softly whipped cream and your favorite jam.
If you chose to add chocolate chips, I used 1/2 cup semi-sweet and served as is. But butter or clotted cream would be a great addition too!
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