Friday, April 24, 2015

A #RedNation Meal

In case you're not from around these parts, I need to tell you that our beloved Houston Rockets are in the playoffs right now.  They're playing our former favorites, the Dallas Mavericks.  My husband will tell you I'm FAR from a sports buff much to his dismay, but when it comes to basketball, I'm all over it.  

I lived in Houston when the Rockets won their first two championships during the 93-94 and 94-95 seasons. Those were the good days!  Robert Horry...Hakeem Olajuwon...Vernon Maxwell...Kenny Smith...Sam Cassell...Otis Thorpe...those were some of my most favorite players (even though Maxwell had quite the temper).  I will never forget the celebrations that followed their victories.  I remember hopping into the bed of my dad's white double cab Ford truck (GASP!!!!!) with all the other kids at our Rockets watch party and driving down the street honking the horn and screaming at the top of our lungs.  The excitement was palpable.  And then hopping in the car with my cousins...after decorating it with shoe polish and Rocket's paraphernalia...and driving circles around the Summit (now Lakewood Church). Clutch City, anyone?!?!?!  Times sure have changed!  HA!!!

I got to feel that same kind of excitement all over again when the Dallas Mavericks went to the playoffs in 2011.  We went to every.single. home playoff game that year.  Some of our most favorite date nights!!



We couldn't go to Orlando for the final playoff game that year, but we did meet some of our best friends downtown close to American Airlines Center that night.  We sat on the patio at St. Ann's (my favorite Dallas restaurant...hello HUMMUS!!!!) and watched the game...with hundreds of other fans...on the big screens outside. We all erupted into serious fits of screaming and cheering when they won the championship.  I remember walking from St. Ann's down to the AAC and celebrating with the hundreds and hundreds of people who filled the streets of the city.  GAH!!!  That was genuinely one of my most favorite nights of all time!!!!  I loved my boys in blue!!!!


When we moved back to the Houston area a few years ago our family insisted we get right on board with our hometown team.  A move from the Metroplex meant a change in our sports team loyalty (I've NEVER been loyal to the Cowboys...NOT a fan at all. #sorrynotsorry).  While we loved our Mavs (#MFFL) we really wanted to root for our hometown team.  We're #RedNation all the way these days, but watching my two favorite NBA teams go head-to-head tugs on my heartstrings thismuch.

We couldn't wait to cheer on our Rockets Tuesday night and I figured a #RedNation themed dinner was in order.  Enter "FIRECRACKER CHICKEN" because, well...Rockets & Firecrackers sorta go together...no?! Okay.  That might have been a stretch, but in my tiny little mind, I think the two things have a connection.  Word association anyone?!  

Even if you're not a Rockets fan, I guarantee you'll LOVE this dish!!!!  

FIRECRACKER CHICKEN 

1 TBSP. olive oil
1-2 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken breast tenderloins (sliced into thin strips)
3 cloves of garlic, chopped
1 bag of snow peas, ends snipped
1-2 red bell peppers, sliced
1 medium yellow onion, sliced
1 (8 oz.) can of sliced water chestnuts, drained
1/2 Cup + 1/4 cup of Asian Toasted Sesame Dressing (Kraft)
1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper (more if you like it hot!!!)
2 Cups of rice, cooked
Salt, to taste



In a large skillet, heat oil on medium/high heat and toss in the chicken and garlic.  I sliced my tenderloin into thin strips to help speed up the cooking process and make for a more manageable bite :)  Saute until the chicken is browned.

While the chicken and garlic are satueeing, cook your rice.  I'm a boil-in-a-bag kind of girl, so that's what I did. #easymultitasking

Toss in the snow peas, bell peppers, and onion.  You can sub 1 red pepper for a green pepper or omit 1 altogether.  I love veggies...especially red bell peppers!!!...so we piled 'em in.  Saute veggies in the chicken/garlic for about 4-5 minutes or until they're tender and chicken is cooked through.  


Now toss in the water chestnuts, crushed red pepper, and 1/2 C. of the dressing.  This is the dressing we used....


Cook until heated through (4-5 minutes).  Now let me tell you that we like heat, so we added a bit more crushed red pepper...and a pinch of salt for good measure.  Once the mixture was heated through, I added another 1/4 C. of the dressing and mixed well to combine and reduced the heat to low for about 2-3 minutes.  I wanted a bit more of the dressing added to the mix since we were serving this over rice.  You could always omit the extra, but I would suggest adding it in :)  



Seriously one of the yummiest meals we've had in a while!  The perfect game night meal or any night meal for that matter.  As you can see, this was extremely easy to prep and my total time in the kitchen was about 20 minutes!  Quick, easy, and tasty...a winning trifecta.  I'm thinking this meal was a lucky charm for us because our boys won on Tuesday.  I guess I'll just have to make it tonight and for the rest of the playoff games as well...I sure would hate to jinx us ;)  NO complaints from these fans!!!  HA!  SO good!

GO ROCKETS!!!!!!!!
#RedNation

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

What the Teacher Wore Wednesday


This is a rather short post because I was out of town for a few days and didn't document any of my outfits while I was out of town.  In looking at the very few pics I took this week, I realize I have an identity crisis when it comes to clothing.  I don't have a "style"...I like it all!!!   
Some days I feel a little boho.  Some days I wanna be a cowgirl.  Some days the "preppy" look makes my heart sing.  Some days casual calls my name.  I seriously like it ALL. 

I absolutely LOVE this little top.  It's one of my most favorites.  I love anything that's flowy.  My husband, on the other hand, doesnt like these kind of shirts at all.  Bless.  I always like to pair a bigger/flowy top with skinny jeans and I think this will be super cute with jean shorts and either boots or gladiator(ish) sandals in the summer!  The only thing that bugs about this top is that it wrinkles so easily.  I wore this on my flight to Nashville and by the time I arrived in Tennessee, it looked like I had slept in this shirt overnight :)  But dang...it's so cute!  I've been wanting a pair of fringe sandals, but wasn't ready to make the commitment.  So many of them are full of fringe.  This is the perfect pair for anyone who's teetering or non-commital like me :)  For $20, they're worth every penny and super cute to boot.  I've been wearing them almost non-stop!!!


Shirt: I got it at a boutique online back in January, but can't remember which one!!! HERE'S ONE that's kind of similar
Jewelry:  Bracelet - I got mine at a little boutique last May, but THIS ONE is similar (pictured above);   Kendra Scott Rayne Tassel Necklace

Here's another little dress in my dress collection and this one couldn't be more comfy.  I like that I can dress it up with wedges and pops of color with my jewelry if I want.  This is definitely a stretchy t-shirt kind of outfit, so it absolutely lends itself to dressing down while still looking somewhat put together!  I just threw on some sandals and a simple necklace and while it wasn't fancy, I still felt semi decent.


Dress:  Old Navy (last month, but I'm not seeing it online??  THESE are the same style, but the black and white stripe isn't an option); THIS ONE is very similar;  I absolutely ADORE this one!!!;  This isn't black and white, but THIS IS ANOTHER Old Navy stripe dress...cute!

I adore this top and couldn't resist it when I found it.  Right under $20, it's the perfect little pop of fun I'm sure I'll be wearing more often than not in the hot months to come!  I have some different colored shorts I'd love to pair this with to change it up.  These coral jeans need to be retired.  They're a bit faded and don't fit quite as well as they used to, but they sure are fun.  And y'all....these sandals.  I got these at Target (online) and love them.  I usually wear a 6.5 so that's what I ordered, but they're a little big.  I want the cognac pair and if I get them, I'll probably order a 6.  They are SO dang comfy!!!!


Shirt:  Tribal Print Tank, Forever 21 (it's all sold out!!!)
Jeans:  Target, about 4-5 years ago

That's about it!

Now, I didn't wear this outfit out yet, but I had to take a pic because I'm trying to figure out if I like it or not.  I bought this dress back in January because I knew I'd wear the pieces out of in during the summer.  I love the way the model paired it with a kimono, so I've been on the search for one I thought would pair nicely.  I eventually settled on this one because I figure I can wear it with a lot of different outfits.  The dress is longer in the back than in the front and the kimono is the same length.  I will wear boots with just about ANYTHING and I do love the dress with the boots.  These are my favorite pair and just worn to pieces.  I know all the cowboy-boot-hating Texans are rolling their eyes right about now...this is not representative of how people dress in Texas all the time.  However, it's how I like to dress.  Bring on the boots!!!!   But seriously....the dress and the kimono.  Yes??  No??  





Linking up with The Pleated Poppy

Monday, April 20, 2015

It's Like Crack (Or So I Hear)

HAPPY MONDAY!!!!



Do you have yours on yet?!


I had quite an eventful weekend.  I headed to Nashville on Friday for a weekend with the girls.  Part business, lots of play.  We were part of a focus group for this amazing company called GoNoodle.  If you're a mom with kids at home, you MUST check it out.  And if you're a teacher who isn't GoNoodling yet...get on it ASAP!  Saved my sanity in the classroom!!!  

Anyway, we enjoyed a weekend full of fun, lots of laughs, and ten times more food.  Donuts at The Donut Den, barbeque, best ice cream ever (holla, Jeni's!!!!), a fancy dinner at Sinema, and the world's most amazing breakfast.  Monell's is my happy place.  I even got to meet Top Chef alum, Dale Levitski!!!  I was such a #fangirl (not embarrassed) and had to have my picture with him.



I was supposed to get home in time to tuck the boys in last night, but the Lord had other plans.  The weather was absolutely awful here in Houston and judging by the terrifying turbulence during the flight, I'm pretty sure the weather was bad all over.  Our flight was diverted to New Orleans and we sat on the plane in Louisiana a little over an hour to wait out the storms in Texas.  When we were headed to our final destination, the turbulence was about 10 times worse.  White knuckle flying.  Needless to say, I couldn't be more thrilled to be home...and safe.  And I won't be getting on a plane again anytime soon :)



Now let's talk food.

I love potatoes in any form and when I found this recipe I knew it would be a keeper.  Easy to prep and sounded like a definite crowd pleaser.  I made this as one of the sides I served on Easter Sunday and there wasn't a bite left in the dish.  Everyone was a fan.  The only problem was that I wish I would've made a few more pans!!!  

LOADED POTATO CASSEROLE

2 (16 oz) tubs of sour cream
2 Cups shredded cheddar cheese
2 bags of real bacon bits
2 pkgs. Ranch Dip mix
1 large (28-30 oz.) bag of frozen, shredded hash browns



In a large bowl, combine sour cream, cheese, bacon bits, and Ranch Dip packets.  Mix well to combine and then add your frozen hash browns.  I gave my hash browns about an hour to thaw out prior to prepping this dish because I figured they'd be easier to stir into the mixture if I didn't have to work to break them up while trying to coat them.  

Lightly grease a 9x13 baking dish and add the potato mixture.  Heat oven to 400 and bake for about 60 minutes.

What I love about this recipe is that it's ridiculously delicious, easy to prep, and lends itself to adding a few additional ingredients to really take it to another level.  Chopped green onions would be a great addition.  We tossed in a little Tony Chachere's to give it an extra kick and HELLO!  YUM!!!  

Like I said before, this was a crowd pleaser and something I will definitely be taking with me to future get-togethers!!  So easy and SO delicious!!!  

Thursday, April 16, 2015

A Tex Mex Throwback

I was cleaning out some of my cabinets the other day and ran across a little box full of recipe cards. I remember getting this when I got married 11 years ago. All the women in my life knew my cooking skills were limited to Hamburger Helper and frozen pizza and they were trying to set me up for cooking success.  Bless.

It took forever for me to learn how to cook something without burning it.  Or to find "green onions" in the grocery store. (I was #sosmart...I'd sift through all the yellow onions trying to find the greenest.  Did I just admit that?!)  To say my kitchen skills were sub-par is the understatement of the century.  When I finally did learn a thing or two about following a recipe, I stuck to a very limited menu and repeated it week after week for the first 3-4 years of our marriage.  It looked a little something like this...

Monday: Fiesta Chicken
Tuesday:  Taco Salad
Wednesday: Hamburger Helper (beef stroganoff, please!!)
Thursday: Chicken Squares
Friday & Saturday:  Out to eat
Sunday:  Pizza

Dear Lord.

I'm happy to say we've come a LONG way since those childless days and worn out meals.  My husband can't say the words "Fiesta Chicken" & "Chicken Squares" without inducing his gag reflex. I have the same reaction when I pass by the boxes of Hamburger Helper at the grocery store.  I'm not knockin' any of these meals, but if you eat the exact same thing every week for the first 3-4 years of your marriage, I'm pretty sure your gag reflex would go into overdrive, too :)  

All that to be said, I came across a recipe card I haven't seen in ages.  Tex Mex Chicken and Rice.  While I'm no whiz in the kitchen, I decided to add a few new things to this dish to take it from bland to grand (<<<<< see what I did there?!) and now it's a family favorite.  But I PROMISE not to keep this one on repeat :)

TEX MEX CHICKEN AND RICE

2-3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cooked and shredded (OR rotisserie chicken, shredded)
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
2-3 jalapenos, seeded and chopped
2-3 cloves of garlic, chopped
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 (4 oz.) can of chopped green chiles
1 (12 oz.) can of Rotel
1 tsp. salt
2 tsp. cumin
1 (12 oz.) can of evaporated milk
2 cups shredded colby & monterrey jack cheese
1/4 C. chopped cilantro
2 eggs, beaten
2 cups of cooked rice
Panko bread crumbs (optional)



First, let's go ahead and preheat your oven to 350.

Prior to getting started, cook your chicken, shred (or shred your rotisserie chicken), and set aside  I cheated and used rotisserie.  You'll also want to make your rice and set aside, too.

Chop your onion, jalapeno, and garlic.  Put the olive oil in a pan and heat on medium/high.  Add the onion, jalapeno, and garlic to saute (about 5 minutes, give or take).  

Add the cans of chopped green chiles and Rotel to the pan and toss in the salt and cumin.  Mix until combined and let simmer for about 3 minutes.  

Add the chicken and mix to combine.  Simmer for another 3 minutes.

Now add the cooked rice  & evaporated milk, stir, and remove from heat.  Toss in the cilantro and shredded cheese and mix well to combine.

Beat two eggs in a small bowl and add to the chicken & rice mixture.  Mix well to combine and transfer mixture to a lightly greased 9x13 baking dish.  

If you're looking for a little more texture, sprinkle the top with some Panko bread crumbs.  Bake at 350 for about 60 minutes.


The addition of the egg sets the chicken and rice and makes this dish more of a meal that can be cut and served in squares.  A "thick" meal, not creamy. Amazingly delicious.
If you're wanting a creamier version of this chicken and rice dish, omit the eggs and replace the evaporated milk with  1 & 1/2 cups of half and half or whipping cream and reduce the baking time to about 20-25 minutes (or until bubbly). 
We've had it both ways and both versions are delish.  Just depends on the kind of texture you're wanting!!!  

This is just the kind of throwback I'm happy to revisit!!!!

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

What the Teacher Wore Wednesday

I'm linking up with The Pleated Poppy again for another week of What I Wore Wednesday.  This week's theme was WHATEVER.  Let's just say I need to do laundry in a bad way.


In the warm months ahead, I will be sporting dresses as much as I possibly can.  They're comfy and forgiving and just perfect for running errands or attempting to make it appear as though I put a lot of thought and/or effort into my choice of clothing.  I found this dress last year when I was in San Antonio and knew if I didn't get it right then and there I'd miss the boat.  This little number even has pockets!!!!  I love the way it fits!  
Remember when I said I don't have any style?!  I don't live by the current fashion trends or fads.  I'm not too worried about this being out of style because I love the pieces out of it.  This won't be the only time you see this one.




Dress:  Target (last March) 
Jewelry:  Plain Gold Hoop earrings; Necklace:  Kendra Scott Rayne Tassel Necklace
Shoes:  BCBG Richmand Sandals (they're all sold out...BUT...these are a cute, inexpensive alternative)


Another one of my favorite dresses because it's cute and comfy.  I've worn wedges with this before to try and dress it up just a bit, but on this day I put on my favorite sandals.  I absolutely LOVE this style of sandal.  I feel super self conscious wearing wedges with shorter dresses, so when I wear this I most often wear it with some type of sandal.  #imnot21anymore

Dress:  Target (last year)
Jewelry:  Necklace - Sam Moon;  Bracelet: Tory Burch Leather Double Wrap Logo Stud in black
Shoes:  Target (last year...THESE are a similar concept and THESE leopard sandals couldn't be any cuter!  Already in my cart!!!)


Dirty hair don't care.  Nothing a little dry shampoo and a baseball cap won't cure.  It was my grocery/errand day and I clearly needed to wash my hair and do some laundry.  Not impressive, but perfect for the day.  This hat was one of my favorite Junk Gypsy purchases at Round Top and it definitely came in handy this day!


Jeans:  Forever 21 skinnies ($10)
Shirt:  Oversized white tee, Forever 21 (4 years ago)
Accessories:  Honkeytonk Angel trucker cap;  earrings: Round Top find


I clearly have a bit of a chambray obsession right now and had to snag this one at Target as soon as I saw it.  Between this one and my chambray popover, I should be good to go.  Rounded this look out with my KS necklace and tried and true sandals.   I swear I just buy things and wear them to death.  I'm a one trick pony, people!



Chambray button down:  Target Favorite Shirt Merona - Shadow Blue (HERE'S another that's similar)
Jeans:  Express legging skinnies


I bought this top last year and must have stuffed it in the closet as soon as I brought it home because I just found it (tags still attached!!!).  I remember buying it and thinking it was cute, but it's not the most flattering.  I know that's the "style" of the top, but still.  I do adore the detail.  I pulled it out the other day and threw it on with my 8-year-old jeans from Old Navy and wore it to bible study.  This is the only pair of blue jeans I've ever bought from Old Navy.  They never fit me the right way, but these do!  Now, their Rock Star colored skinnies are a totally different story...I LOVE those!!!   
  And what a shocker...those dang sandals...and necklace...AGAIN!!!!

Shirt:  Forever 21 (last year...I can't really find anything similar : (
Jeans:  Old Navy (I'm pretty sure they're about 8 years old!!!  

I tend to gravitate toward stripes when I shop.  I love any and everything of the striped persuasion.  When my mom and I go shopping together and I pick out something striped she'll always say, "don't waste your money...looks like everything else you own!"  Touche, mom...touche.   #motherknowsbest
I've had this top for several years and love it just as much now as I did when I bought it.  Simple and cute....or at least I think it is.  We were headed out for a day full of walking and whatnot, so I kept it simple with sandals.  

Shirt:  Forever 21 (about 4ish years ago.  THIS ONE is super cute)
Shoes:  BCBG Richmand Sandals (they're all sold out...BUT...these are a cute, inexpensive alternative)


This might be one of my *favorite* tops.  I absolutely ADORE the detail.  I bought it from Forever 21 last year and I'm shocked to see they still carry it!!!  I love tops like this one!!  So feminine :)

Jeans:  Jessica Simpson Skinny Jeans
Shoes:  Louse Et Cie Palma Espadrille Wedges (got them at Dillard's last year and looks like they're sold out online :(  SAD!)
Necklace:  Sam Moon

Now...time for some laundry!!!!

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Home Tour Tuesday - The Not-So-Formal Dining Room


Welcome to Home Tour Tuesday!

Today we're touring my not-so-formal dining room.  This room has been through several transformations since we moved in almost 3 years ago.  It's finally a space I enjoy.  Not only is it our dining room, but it doubles as my office, too :)  

It's still a bit of a work in progress.  I need to move the plates over to the right...I'd love a few more textured chairs to replace the wood ones...I'm thinking about making the plate display bigger or adding something on either side?!?!  That's what's in store next for this little room.  Ideas?


Table, bench, & chairs - Pier 1 (about 4 years ago)
Two fabric covered chairs on either end of the table:  Marshall's (last year)

You'll notice that the chandelier is slightly askew and NOTHING in this room is centered.  The chandelier story is one we'll laugh about in the years to come, but the wounds are too fresh to rehash right now.  Let me just tell you that I don't say I-told-you-so very often, but it was absolutely necessary during the installment process.  

Moving right along...

Over in the left corner of the room used to sit a corner hutch.  It housed our fine spirits and craft supplies, but it was a bit of an eyesore (in my opinion).  It just didn't go.  We decorated around it...all the plates...and when we removed it from the room, we didn't adjust the plates to be centered in the wall.  As much as I love this space, all those off-centered details drive me a little bonkers (and yet here I sit too lazy to change it.  Story of my life.)



The dining room is the first room you see (to the right) when you walk in the house.  You can see the kitchen from the dining room and in the little hallway off to the left is the guest room, boy's room, and jack-and-jill bathroom.


This is my view when I'm standing in the kitchen.  Like I said, don't pay too much attention to the chandelier.  The fact that the wire wasn't woven into the chain is driving me batty right about now. 

 GAH.  

Those little chalkboard plates hanging from the wall in the left corner are a bit too small for the space.  I threw them up there a couple of weeks ago to try them out and I'm still not feelin' it.  I found them at Marshall's back in January.  I'd love to find a neat set of botanical prints...or maybe even bird prints...to put there.  I even thought about chicken wire baskets filled with old book pages and cotton bolls.  Ideas?!?!?!


The antique buffet was a fun find at our local trade days.  I absolutely LOVE it.  Let me tell you a quick story.  I know I said the wounds were fresh, but the story needs to be told :)  

When my handy husband was installing said chandelier, he thought putting a step stool on top of the table would be a good idea (even though I BEGGED him to get it off for fear that he'd fall off and break his neck).  Like any confident man would do, he ignored the woeful pleas of his better half and well...he fell right off the step stool and onto the floor from the top of the table.  I freaked my freak.  I thought I'd be calling 911.  It banged up the front of my buffet pretty good and the table and one of my chairs are dinged up, too.  He swears he cracked a rib.  He's just now starting to feel better and it was installed over a month ago.  Needless to say, he won't be doing that again any time soon :)  (Is this a bad time to say I-told-you-so?!?!?!)  In more serious news, I am SO happy he wasn't injured badly!!!!  I would've lost my mind!!!!


The buffet decor is pretty minimal.  Just the way I like it.  To the left sits a bowl of green apples, an antique pewter pitcher filled with my wedding bouquet, and a topiary.  The pewter pitcher was a wedding gift from Adam's late grandma.  We just adored her and love displaying something so special as a reminder of her in the house.  The topiary was from Marshall's (about 2-3 months ago, but I still see them in store from time to time).  

The lamp bases are from Kirkland's (last year) and the shades were from another set of lamps I scored at Ross (in December).  The wire basket (Home Goods) is filled with mason jars and my grandma's old silverware and books.  The wire cage to the right was a $6 find at Kirkland's (January) and I think it's missing a base which is probably why I scored it so cheap!  The frame is, of course, from Marshall's. I added the linen table runner for more texture and love it.  


Moving back to the table, I never know what to do for a centerpiece.  I go back and forth and it all feels like a hot mess.  This is finally a set-up I really like.  I've had this up for a couple of months and think I'll keep it for a while longer.



Hurricane glass - Ross ($6 a piece, they always have them)
Large clear vase - Marshall's, $14.99 (they have this one all the time!)
Glass filler - Dollar Tree


Here's my view from the living room.  See that tile in the entry?!  I'm not a fan.  It's a little out of place.  It continues in the kitchen and I get that.  But not so much in the entry.  We'd like to have it replaced with wood in a herringbone pattern.  Add that to our list of to-do's.  
The plates are all random finds from Marshall's/Home Goods/TJ Maxx/Ross.  I've had them for several years.  



We had the chairs on either end of our table in our bedroom for about a year.  I've been wanting to add some different fabrics and textures to the dining room for a cozier feel and so we moved them out of the room to try them out.  I loved the way they look, so they stayed :)  My office is the big chair closest to the French doors and makes working so much more comfortable :)  We found these at Marshall's last year.  




Here's a little view of the right side of the room looking toward the front of the house.  I bought that little white table at an antique auction about 7-8 years ago.  It's run the gammut of paint colors and antique white is the color it will stay for a long time to come.  I love this cozy little corner.



Here's a little close-up of the randomness.  I need to redecorate this little tabletop in a major way. #soon  
Since I work right next to the table, I keep my laptop, mouse, and cords in the crate.  Easy and efficient storage.  Love it.


Chalkboard from Marshall's, chalk art by me
Bless Your Heart art - Hobby Lobby
Candleholders - Home Goods
Hydrangea urn - inherited from my grandma
Distressed crate - Ross (last month)


Here's a view of the dining room standing outside the French doors.  A very, very crooked view.



I'm typically sitting in this chair right here, so this is my usual view.  When I work, the TV stays off and I just listen to Spotify.  The snoring pug in the house is the only other noise I hear :)  



This little set-up is in the "hallway" which I consider part of my dining room.  My family likes to joke that time always stands still in my house because not one of my clocks is working.  I mean, they all work, I'm just #toolazy to put the batteries in.  SAD.


Blue table:  inherited from my grandma
Metal ball - Marshall's
Boxwoods:  Ross
Clock:  Kirkland's (in January)

On the other side of the doorway next to the blue table is this little file display.  That giant wood frame used to hold a huge piece of wrought iron.  We found it when we lived in Dallas at a local trade days.  We were sort of over all the iron, so Mr. Spouse removed it and then we hung the file inside.  I'm still not 100% sure I loveit.  The frame is a bit big for the small file.  But I do love the file itself. 


Hanging file:  Michaels (current)


My favorite thing about this space is the French doors.  I love that they open up and I will often keep them open when I'm working or on really cool days.  I especially love to keep them open when it's raining outside.  


And that's it!  My not-so-formal dining room/office :)

Not too sure where the tour is headed next week, but I'll be back to give you another peek next week!

Tour the "Mystery Room", too!!

Monday, April 13, 2015

Let's Get Poppin'

Happy Monday!

We're currently in recovery mode from a weekend full of family fun and way too much food!!!  I absolutely LOVE when Adam's family comes to visit.  The boys are always beside themselves.  The only problem is that they never stay long enough.  The visit goes by in the blink of an eye.  Let me just say we're way too far from Indiana.  We cherish these family visits and wish we were able to spend more time together more often.  The time we did spend together this past weekend was just perfect.  

As I said before, it was filled with lots of food....


A new Mexican restaurant and some DQ for dessert!  YUM!!!



But more importantly, lots of family time!!!  We can never get enough of that!!!  


An unxpected visit to the San Jacinto Monument after lunch.  The boys got a little history lesson (and they weren't impressed.  But they did enjoy chasing each other around the battleground).

Grandma helped the boys build this little gem and Landon excitedly named it.  Kid writing is my FAVORITE!!!!  Oh, to be 7 years old again!!!!  



Before our family arrived on Friday, Mr. Spouse put his handiwork to good use and hung these letters in our little outdoor seating area by the pool.  Kind of loving that galvanized tin!!!  And just in time for the weekend :)  



I love it when family comes to visit because I really do love to host.  I get to cook for more than just myself and my boys and that's always fun.  I made these delicious enchiladas on Friday night and subbed the shrimp for rotisserie chicken instead.  HELLO!!!!  SO good!!!  And there were no leftovers, so I considered that a good sign!



We also snacked on our new favorite dip all weekend long.  I served this on Easter Sunday as well and there wasn't a bite left in the dish halfway through the day.  It's so creamy and sinfully delicious.  If you're hosting guests or need a dip to take to a party, this is a must try!!!!  It's got a little bit of a kick, but nothing too outrageous.  Just the perfect amount!  Did I mention it's delicious?!  Just don't expect any leftovers!!!!


JALAPENO POPPER DIP

2 packages of cream cheese (8 oz. each), softened
1 cup of mayonnaise
1 (8 oz.) can of chopped green chiles
1 (4 oz.) can of diced jalapeno peppers
1/2 cup of shredded colby & monterry jack cheese
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
1/2 cup - 1 cup of panko bread crumbs

This dip really couldn't be any easier to prep and bake!



In a large bowl, mix together cream cheese, mayo, green chiles & jalapeno peppers.  The original recipe calls for less chiles and jalapeno peppers, but after reading through the reviews and comments, I decided to add the full amount in each can.  SO glad I did!!  

Fold in the shredded cheese and grated parmesan.  (I switched this up too from the original recipe)  Mix until well combined.  Transfer the mixture into a 9-inch pie plate and bake at 400 for about 25-30 minutes.

Serve with pretzel thins, Ritz crackers, wheat thins, or tortilla chips.  We LOVE this with the El Milagro brand tortilla chips!!  SO delicious!!!  

As if I didn't get enough of this dip this past weekend, I'll be taking it to bible study tonight, too!  We're starting this one tonight and I'm SO excited.  This has been on my list for quite some time!  God's word, fellowship, and food!  These are a few of my favorite things ;)