The Wedding Crafting begins…

Good Evening Guys!

Hope you all had a lovely weekend! My weekend was filled with family time, and I also dove into my first wedding project. Although Brett does most of the DIYing around our house, I often enjoy partaking in small craft projects of my own as well. I’m very excited about the project I worked on this weekend, but I won’t leak any details until I’m completely done.

The rest of my weekend was pretty laid back, yet entirely too quick. On Friday evening Brett and I enjoyed a sushi date at Sushi Roxx in Broussard, LA. We each started with a mushroom soup and edamame, and then shared the sushi rolls below.

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We also shared a canister of Saki at dinner and decided to stop by Albertson’s on the way home to purchase a bottle of Saki to enjoy later that evening.

I took a Body Pump class Saturday morning which resulted in soreness all day today in my chest and abs. I ran a few errands after the class, and then later that afternoon my parents arrived to my house. That evening they took Brett and I out for dinner. Once we returned home, we all got to bed pretty early since today was a busy day for all of us.

We attended mass at St. Genevieve this morning, which is where Brett and I will be getting married next year. The mass was beautiful, but the choir was outstanding. I literally felt like I was attending a live musical. There were a few guest musicians in the choir today, so the music throughout the mass was amazingly powerful. Some songs even moved both my Dad and I to tears. Yes, we both have huge, soft hearts. I honestly love this special trait of ours, but I’m certainly not sure how we will make it down the aisle on my wedding day.

After returning home and eating lunch, everyone got to work. My Dad and Brett pretty much worked on the outside of our home today. They are currently replacing a few of the exterior wooden panels to the house. Once the rotten panels are repaired, we’ll then move on to painting. I cannot tell you guys how much this excites me since I cannot stand the Christmas theme colors that appear on my house at the moment. See below.

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Below are a few pictures I captured today.

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And of course, like any project, a mess was made.

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In the midst of all the remodeling today, Brett was also able to cook all of us a Chicken Stew for dinner. I wrote down his recipe as he cooked the stew today since we all know that Brett is horrible at documenting his amazing recipes. He claims it’s all stored in his head, but I told him that I knew our readers would appreciate my efforts of jotting down the recipe. See recipe below.

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Chicken Stew

2-3 pounds of chicken (we used boneless thighs and breast tonight, but we usually use bone-in legs, thighs and boneless breast)
Salt, pepper and garlic powder to taste
Kitchen Bouquet

2-3 onions
1/4 cups of cooking oil (Vegetable or Canola)
1 quart of Guidry’s Creole Seasoning
Water
One whole bunch of green onion
Savoie’s Instant Roux & Gravy Thickener

Season meat with salt, pepper and garlic powder. Then add a tablespoon of Kitchen Bouquet and toss meat in order to coat evenly. Brown onions in cooking oil. Once they are browned, add chicken to the pot. Once the chicken is browned, remove from the pot. Add a pint of Guidry’s Creole Seasoning to the pot and brown. Once the Guidry’s is browned, place the chicken back into the pot and add three cups of water. Cook on medium fire until chicken begins to break apart. Add green onion. Then finally, place Savoie’s Instant Roux & Gravy Thickener into pot until a stew-like consistency is achieved.

We served the stew over rice with a side of potato salad and roasted broccoli. Everything was delicious!

Well, we are all off to take showers and get some rest for another busy day of working tomorrow. As always, I wish you guys a fantastic week ahead!

Wedding Update: We officially have a date, a ceremony site, a reception site, a photographer and a florist. Woo hoo! I won’t be announcing the date via Facebook or the blog until we send out Save the Dates to our potential guest. 

 

Asian Almond Crunch Salad

Hey Guys!

Just wanted to pop in real quick to share with you guys a recipe and a workout I came up with today.

I always face a challenge during lunchtime if I do not have leftovers in the fridge. This past Sunday I purchased a bag of broccoli slaw, and wanted to incorporate it into my lunch in order to consume some very nutritious vegetables. I looked around my kitchen (actullay dining room, since Brett is renovating in the kitchen at the moment) for other items to toss in with the slaw, and also created my very own dressing. Below is the recipe for my very own Asian Almond Crunch Salad!

Asian Almond Crunch Salad

2 cups of broccoli slaw
1 1/2 tablespoons of sliced almonds
1 tablespoon of green onion

Dressing:
2 tablespoons of plain greek yogurt
2 teaspoons of Asian salad dressing
2 teaspoons of Veri Veri Teriyaki sauce

I mixed my dressing first in a bowl, then added the rest of the ingredients and tossed until evenly distributed.

This was my kind of meal since there were little dishes that needed to be cleaned afterward.

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If you have a tough time consuming vegetables, I highly recommend giving this salad a try. In fact, I think I may toss another one together tonight for dinner.

After work today I headed to the gym and completed 10 minutes on the stair-master followed by one round of the below workout, then 10 minutes on the elliptical.

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I had initially planned to do the circuit workout for two rounds, but because Brett was off of work today, I decided to cut the workout a bit short. Even though I cut the workout short, I was still dripping with sweat as I left the gym.

So, as I mentioned earlier, Brett is renovating in the kitchen this week. It drives my OCD bonkers when the house feels like it’s in a million pieces. I took a picture of our dining area, but I’m a little too embarassed to share it with you guys. Although these stages of renovating drive me nuts, I try my best to keep my thoughts positive because I know that the improvements will make the house look great in the end.

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The kitchen renovations all started with the installation of recessed lighting this past weekend. Now it has moved on to painting the walls and possibly painting the cabinets as well. Brett is not crazy about the idea of painting the cabinets a creamy white color but I’m all about it. What are your opinions? I cannot stand to looks at those ugly, orange cabinets anymore. I’m hoping to ask my co-worker to photoshop a picture of the cabinets the color I’m envisioning so that I can finally convince Brett that this is indeed a stellar decision!

And last, but not least, check out our flowerbed near our patio. Brett finished up this flowerbed the same day that he proposed to me. I guess I got a bit consumed with out recent engagement and kept forgetting to post the before and after pictures on the blog. It looks a million times better, don’t you think?

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Well guys, we’re halfway through the week! Enjoy your evening!

Weekend Update

Good evening guys!

Wow, I sure am happy that today is finally over. We had some horrible weather come through last night which kept me up until almost one in the morning. Needless to say, I didn’t get the rest I needed to power me through this busy, busy Monday.

It’s always really difficult for me to get back into work mode when the past weekend was super fun and also not quite long enough.

Our weekend began by attending the Way of the Cross Friday evening as a family. Afterwards, my parents took Brett and I out for crawfish. On the way home, we needed to make a quick trip to Wal-Mart for a few items. Little did we know our quick trip would take us a bit longer than we expected. As we were parking, a middle aged woman flagged us down. Her vehicle was not starting and at first we thought she only needed a jump, but it turned out that she needed to replace the battery to her vehicle. Luckily my Dad and Brett helped her choose a battery, and also purchased the tools that they needed to replace the battery since the maintenance department had already closed. It was truly wonderful to see my whole family come together in a random act of kindness, and definitely made all of hearts feel warm and fuzzy.

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Earlier that day, Brett had found a lawn mower on the side of the road and was determined to bring it back to life. I tell you, this guy loves picking things up off the side of the road. After about an hour of trying to fix the lawn mower, he finally admitted defeat. Oh well, even though he was not successful, we were able to enjoy a few cocktails while socializing together.

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The next day Brett and my Dad installed recessed lighting in our kitchen. We’ll dedicate another post later on the blog about this, but I must tell you guys that it’s quite amazing what different lighting can do to a space.

My parents headed back home early in the afternoon, and after cleaning ourselves up, we headed out to Rayne, LA. Brett and I had an appointment to check out a possible wedding reception venue in Rayne, and I think we may have found a winner. We have one more place we’re going to check out tomorrow, then it’s decision making time.

After wrapping things up at the venue, we headed over to Ryan and Angie’s for a small get-together that evening.

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It was such a beautiful afternoon spent with most of Brett’s co-workers from the hospital.

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Rachel was super sweet and brought Brett a cake in order to celebrate his birthday with everyone.

Later that evening, Brett’s co-worker Toby was nice enough to let us sample his homemade wine.

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All three wines that I tried were fantastic, and I’m very impressed with Toby’s neat hobby.

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Below is a picture of Brett with all of his nursing buddies.

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Thanks Ryan and Angie for an incredible evening and for your hospitality.

Sunday was spent doing my usual Sunday rituals, and we ended the weekend by watching 12 Years a Slave. I give this movie four out of five stars. It was a really great movie, but I must warn you guys that it was a bit hard to watch at times. I found myself tensing up many times throughout this movie, but overall it was fantastic and very well deserving of the Oscar it was awarded.

Today was a very busy day in the office. I had two meetings, one of which was revolved around planning for a visitation of four high school Robotic teams to our facility. My company sponsored the kits needed for these teams to build robots for a regional competition. We found out in the meeting today that one of the four teams placed first place and will be competing nationally later in the year. Our main objective for sponsoring these teams was to give back to the future of our company. We’re hoping that these students can potentially become engineers for our company, and ultimately realize that they do not need to leave our community in order to find a career in this profession. Below is a picture of myself and two co-workers presenting a “big check” to the Lafayette Parish School System.

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After work today I headed to the gym and did 15 minutes on the stair master followed by a 50 minute cycling class. So, I think it’s safe to say that I’m beyond exhausted, and now I’m off to shower and get to bed early.

I hope your week is off to a great start, and I’ll be back throughout the week with more post!

Patio Sofa Reveal – DIY

Good evening friends!

I hope you guys had a fantastic weekend. I plan to do a weekend recap tomorrow since our latest DIY post is ready for it’s reveal…finally! I’ll let Brett take it away from here, so I wish you all a nice and productive week ahead.

Dumpster Dive Sofa Spruce-Up

Hey guys, Brett here. I recently went on a fishing trip with my friend Ryan. On our ride back home, he and I spotted this old sofa in a garbage pile on side of the road. It was quite difficult to envision how I would recreate this piece while standing on side of the road, but I knew I could do something to bring this old forgotten wood sofa back to life. 

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First, I decided to strip the piece down to its frame and start fresh. I used a gel paint stripper to remove varnish and then used a belt sander to take the old stain finish out.

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I then used two types of baseboard panels to dress up the frame of the sofa. I simply secured them into place with my brad nailer and sanded the seem flush. In this picture I was testing the placement of the wooden feet.

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I drilled holes in the base and fitted four unfinished wood feet that I purchased from the hardware store. To create the seat and backing of the sofa, I used tongue and groove pine panels. I applied some construction adhesive in grooves and clamped all the panels, allowing it to dry overnight. The following day, I used wood screws to secure the panelling to the frame of the sofa, and used wood putty to fill the holes made by the brad nailer and screws.

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Because of the size of the sofa, I applied Dark Walnut stain by MinWax with my garden sprayer.

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I allowed the stain to set in for a few minutes, and then wiped away the excess stain with a large towel. I let the piece dry overnight.

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After the stain was dried, I applied three coats of Helman’s exterior spar varnish. Because the piece of furniture was going on our patio, I knew it would need an exterior sealer to withstand the elements.

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And finally, we added some outdoor pillows for additional comfort and color.

DSC03642This dumpster dive project did require a number of materials, but cost were still kept to a minimal. For lumber, feet, and finishes (not including pillows) the cost totaled $78.00.

At first, I had a hard time re-imagining this piece, so I simply walked down the lumber aisle at the hardware store and brainstormed as I browsed. I had fun with this project, and I learned it is sometimes better to have no plan at all. I decided to “go with the flow” on this project, and it paid off! Celina and I were very happy with the end result and have already enjoyed a few evenings on our new outdoor sofa.

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Happy Birthday James & Brett!

Happy Friday everybody!

To all my frequent readers…I apologize about not posting as often these past few weeks as I have in the past. Brett and I have been super busy lately, but I can assure you guys that we have a DIY post in the works and we’re hoping to post it soon. Wedding decisions and planning are a main priority for me at the moment. I’m thinking once the bigger decisions have been made, I can get back to my normal blogging schedule.

I’m upset to report that I failed to give a big shout out to my big brother for his birthday this past week on the blog. Although I shared some love with him via Facebook on Wednesday, I’d like to wish him a HAPPY BELATED BIRTHDAY today!

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Even though we’re separated by miles, I still hold you close to my heart! I’m so proud of your recent accomplishments, and continue to pray for you every day! I love you, and look up to you as I always have my entire life.

I know that James had a fantastic day since he spent most of it on the water fishing. The picture above was actually taken on a fishing trip a few years back. I’m really hoping that we can squeeze in a few trips this coming summer since it’s honestly one of my favorite outdoor activities!

Also celebrating a birthday TODAY, is my fiancé Brett! And by the way, I still catch myself calling him my boyfriend. I have a feeling it will only become natural to call him my fiancé right before I have to transition myself to calling him my husband. Ahhh, that’s so crazy!

Anyway, HAPPY BIRTHDAY BRETT!

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There we are celebrating his 21st birthday as newly boyfriend and girlfriend back in 2009. We had gotten ballpark burgers from the baseball field near his house in Morgan City and French fries from McDonald’s that day. Then brought everything on a picnic that we enjoyed at Lake End Park. It wasn’t the healthiest of meals, but it was a beautiful day spent with each other.

This year Brett received a brand new grill for his birthday. Since we cook outside at least twice a week, I have a feeling we’ll get lots of use out of this guy.

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My parents came into town yesterday to begin working on the outside of our house, so last night we celebrated Brett’s birthday by taking him out to Pamplona Tapas Bar. The same restaurant we celebrated our recent engagement. I also surprised him today with a Tres Leches cake from Indulge, which is one of his favorite desserts.

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When my parents are in town, I usually try to get to the gym in the morning since our afternoons are typically filled with activities. Unfortunately, I failed to get to the gym the past two mornings, so I made sure to get a bit of exercise in today during my two breaks. I was forced to walk the stairwell for my morning break due to a thunderstorm. I actually welcomed this task since I wanted to burn more calories due to my absence at the gym yesterday and today. The sun came out after lunch, so I was able to enjoy a walk with Maggie this afternoon.

And great news, Brett will be off this coming weekend! Our weekend plans will be filled with CRAWFISH! This is very exciting for a Louisiana resident….trust me. Tonight my parents are taking us out for crawfish, and tomorrow we are attending a friend’s crawfish boil. I’m crossing my fingers for pretty weather, but according to the forecast it doesn’t look likely. Oh well, we’ll make the best of it no matter what the weather decides.

Have a great weekend!