Second Wedding Anniversary

IMG_9187

Today is the day! Two years since THE BIG DAY. What a day it was, with friends gathered and hashtagging away, and families celebrating their new link to each other. While the last year didn’t bring as much change as the first, I have a feeling that yet again, we have a lot of change on the horizon. Seems like “lots of changes” may end up being an every-other-year theme for us… My “gifts of cotton” were not as creative as last year’s “gifts of paper,” (think: nice clothes from Banana Republic), but hey, we can’t all be awesome year over year, right?

IMG_9099

Everyone says that marriage is hard. But here’s the thing you guys…I don’t think it’s so much that marriage is hard as it is that LIFE is hard. LIFE is really nutty sometimes! It’s stressful, it’s nerve wracking. People get sick and pass away. Relationships of all kinds ebb and flow. Jobs change. Money sucks. NO TWO PEOPLE see things exactly the same way, whether it’s parent and child, roommate and roommate, or husband and wife.

IMG_8884

Sometimes you’re all like, “OMG YOU ARE THE MOST AMAZING HUMAN I’VE EVER KNOWN.”

And sometimes, you’re all like, “bye felicia.”

But isn’t that true of EVERY relationship? Marriage is special, though, because it’s a choice. I’ve chosen to go through all of that stuff WITH YOU. And because of that, no matter how much the years go up and down, neither of us are going anywhere.

IMG_9869

So happy anniversary to the one I love! Two years looks good on you.

IMG_9178

 

Skinny Eggplant Rollatini {from Skinnytaste}

I make a lot of recipes from Skinnytaste, but so far, this is definitely one of my favorites. The Skinny Eggplant Rollatini is super flavorful and rich, but yet light enough for a summer dinner. The hubs is out of town, so I made myself this nice big pan on Sunday night, so I have dinners ready-made throughout the week. It was also pretty easy. Only took me a minute to slice up the eggplant (I didn’t use my mandolin, so they are a little uneven, but it really didn’t matter…)

IMG_7848

Three minutes to mix up the filling…

IMG_7849

Another three minutes to roll them up, and voila! Just need to bake them!

IMG_7851

Not the prettiest photo, I know, but these were SO GOOD. And that’s four meals or so right there, ready to go.

IMG_7854

I don’t usually go meatless at meals, but I decided to switch it up. You could definitely throw some ground turkey or something into the mix if you wanted to up the protein. I’m sure this would make a great “lasagna,” too, but the cute little rolls make me happy. Enjoy!

State Cookies + Archie Griffin

IMG_7753

Sometimes, you just feel like making cookies from scratch. And you have cookie cutters to represent the states you live in. And so you make state-shaped cookies from scratch.

What?

I tried a new recipe – the hubs didn’t love it, but I did! Whenever you are rolling out dough and using cookie cutters, you need to make sure you are using a recipe that won’t rise or puff up at all, because that would jeopardize your shapes. They are already going to look a little wonky – don’t make it worse!

IMG_7741

I used this VERY simple recipe from Nestle. I ended up drizzling chocolate on them to make them a little extra sweet, but you could also ice them as they show on their website.

IMG_7746

OKAY BUT THEN our department of about 50 people were planning our “Celebrate Archie” day, as Archie prepares for a job transition, which included an Archie “trivia” game with our staff…

IMG_7827

And then an ice cream social, with these adorable balloons…IMG_7834 IMG_7838

And I thought, I SHOULD MAKE OHIO COOKIES! So I made these…some Vanilla Almond cookies with a football cookie cutter, and some of the afore mentioned chocolate chip cookies shaped like Ohio, and with a little extra chocolate love. Also I made a LOT more than six, but I forgot to take a photo, and this is what was left near the end…

IMG_7843

I think he liked them! I’ll miss seeing this face around the building everyday…IMG_7841

A Father’s Day Package

I don’t know about your dad, but my dad is a LEEEEETTLE difficult to buy gifts for. He has everything he needs, and when he needs something else, he goes and buys it. And like most dads, he doesn’t want me spending my money on him. But I still want to find something fun and thoughtful to send to him in WI!

And so, here is what I came up with this year…a fun box of little doodads that I know are right up his alley.
IMG_7810

I made him cookies, and bought him beer socks, a very handy utensil, and a squirt gun. I also bought a plain white mug which I decorated with sharpie and then baked (twice) so he can wash it. There’s a message on the back just for him :)

IMG_7807

Do you and your dad have any fun traditions or things you like to buy each other? Dad has always sent me socks…through college and since. It’s his “thing” because he knows “you always need socks.” It used to be tube socks, but then I redirected him towards athletic ankle socks…and now I really do use them whenever he sends me some! I felt like sending him socks of his own was appropriate.

We also used to have squirt gun fights, which were usually initiated by him getting on the roof of the house and squirting at us from above. This little squirt gun may not have that kind of power, but it’s still a nice reminder.

And the tool? My dad is a fan of handy gadgets. I just thought he would like it!

Happy Father’s Day to all you papas out there…and especially to my own!!

"Mwahhaha I ATE ALL THE CHEEZEBURGERS, DAD!!!"

“Mwahhaha I ATE ALL THE CHEEZEBURGERS, DAD!!!”

I’m Finally in a Musical Again!

After a five-year hiatus, I’m finally rejoining the world of community theater. WOOT.

I was never the lead in high school, but by senior year, I was cast as the comedic supporting role…and loved it!! I remember thinking, “Oh my gosh, I think I’m funny…” This whole time I had thought I wanted to be the ingenue, only to learn I REALLY just wanted to make everyone laugh and totally steal the show from the ingenue… I know, I’m a bad person. It’s cool.

In college, I joined the amazing group “The Original Cast,” and continued doing musical theater just for fun. My favorite roles, still, were the funny ones… Like Logainne Schwartzandgrubenierre. I did occasionally play that good ol’ ingenue role, but often felt like I missed out on that little spunky punch I love about comedic roles. After graduating, I did a few community theater productions, including How to Succeed In Business Without Really Trying, Seussical the Musical, and a local writer’s new show entitled Call Me Home.

Then I got a new job, which included travel every other week, and community theater just wasn’t a possibility. It’s been on hold for five years now, and finally, my travel has reduced enough that I can make it work. So, I auditioned, and got in! Hooray! Community theater is a funny thing, where EVERYONE knows EVERYONE. Breaking into that little world is definitely a tad challenging, but hey, I’m just happy to be connecting and getting re-started.

In early August, I’ll be in Bat Boy, put on by Emerald City Players just outside of Columbus.

0

I admit, I have actually really loved this quirky musical since I first saw it in high school the music is fun and clever, and it’s a totally ridiculous plot based on that 1990’s “Weekly World News” article about a half boy, half bat being found. HA! It’s what you might consider a “cult musical,” which is perfect for a summertime community production.

There are four main characters, and then the rest of the ten-person cast (so six of us, if you’re bad at math) play two or three characters throughout the show. I’ll be playing Ruthie/Ned (oh yeah, most everyone plays a guy and a girl at some point). No matter who you play, you’re on stage a lot and you’re singing a lot! Who could ask for anything more? ;) Seriously, can’t wait to dive back into that rehearsal grind, plunk out some fun new harmonies, and utter the words, “I can’t – I have rehearsal” on a regular basis. Happy Friday!

Because Brunch.

IMG_7788

Y’all know I love a good brunch. I ESPECIALLY love hosting a good brunch! Recently, I hosted a Sunday brunch for the ladies of my small group at church. Eight of us around my hubs’ grandmother’s table just makes me so happy!

IMG_7792I turned the usual “bar” area of the dining room into a coffee and juice bar, which really worked out well. See the flowers? Those were sent to me at work the week before by my hubby and they are still going strong and are a beautiful addition to the house!!IMG_7793

If you’ve been around my blog a while, you’ve probably also noticed my love of baby’s breath. It kind of works out that it’s one of the cheapest flowers out there, so comes in very handy when sprucing up the place for a little event like this. Sunflowers also happened to be my absolute childhood favorite – my dad and stepmom can attest to my bedroom that included a sunflower comforter, yellow walls and dresser drawers, and sunflowers stenciled EVERYWHERE.

IMG_7787

It was a potluck brunch, but as the host I really wanted to be sure to have some main courses ready to roll. Eight people = quiche. Perfect! I made my usual recipe with a few veggies swaps, and added these mini bell pepper slices on top for a little visual prettiness.

IMG_7789

And also bacon. And sausage.

IMG_7790 (1)

Everyone brought AMAZING dishes, and we had such a great time just chatting about jobs, marriages, babies, etc. A very happy Sunday for all of us!

Super Easy & Healthy Shredded Chicken {Crock Pot}

You get one crappy iPhone photo and THAT’S IT.

IMG_7795 (1)

But it doesn’t take away from the awesomeness and easiness of this chicken. I’m kicking myself (figuratively AND literally) for not doing this sooner. How easy, you ask?

THIS EASY:

Put one pound of chicken breast and two cups of chicken stock in your crock pot. Low for 6-8 hours, or high for 4 hours.

YOU’RE DONE. I shredded mine in two seconds with a fork because it was so tender. I let it chill a little longer in the juice, but that’s completely optional.

I also diced an onion into some large chunks and threw it in there with some seasonings. You could add any veggies really: carrots, onions, bell peppers, etc. But at the end of the day, all you REALLY need is chicken and stock.

OMG WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN ALL MY LIFE.

Happy Wednesday, y’all!