Sunday, March 31, 2013

Happy Easter!

Happy Easter, Friends!  It's been a wonderful weekend with family, enjoying some beautiful weather and fun Easter traditions.  But the highlight of the weekend was our incredibly powerful church service we attended. Holidays like Easter and Christmas tend to get commercialized, and sure, they are also a great excuse to get together with family and friends.  I love Easter traditions (deviled eggs(!!), easter baskets, and egg hunts), but I never want to take for granted the reason I celebrate.  I am thankful for Jesus Christ, who came to this Earth, humbled Himself as the ultimate sacrifice for my sin and shame, and died on a cross so that I could have new life.  Our pastor spoke from 2 Corinthians 5:17 at our Easter service, which reads, " Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: the old has gone, the new is here!"  My mistakes, my pride, and my shame are gone, and I am free to live life to the fullest.  I am thankful for that Easter promise!

Our neighbors also made getting into the Easter spirit easy this week.  Haha!
I see things like this and think that humanity may not be so bad after all.

On Saturday, we dyed Easter eggs.  My niece, Avery, got quite into it and was easily frustrated if her eggs didn't turn out.  My dad also was quite passionate about the process.  These two are inseparable.

My sister bought some rhinestone stickers for the eggs---they added a little sparkle.

I also tried to snap some Easter shots of my little niece and nephew in their Easter outfits.  As you can see from the photo below, my attempts were fruitful. 

After the chair pose proved to be useless, I let the kiddos run around.

(This little man in his Easter sweater truly kills me.  Add in argyle, and I'm
done for)

(My mom's beautiful Easter cake!)

(My mom also sent us all home with little Easter goodie bags)

In other Easter related news, I think I finally perfected my deviled eggs recipe.  A couple Easter's ago, I offered to make the deviled eggs, and they turned out so bad that my family begged my older sister to take back the tradition (Her deviled eggs are always so good).  Messing up deviled eggs on Easter is like burning the turkey on Thanksgiving, and I'm afraid the family has never forgiven me.  Well my sister, Erin,was out of town this year and couldn't make her eggs, so I was determined to redeem myself.  I combined a couple recipes, and think I came out with a winner.

(Mustard, paprika, Grandma's canned relish, miracle whip (NOT MAYO), ground mustard, and hard boiled eggs (colored is optional)

(I love to see the dye that sneaks through the shell)

I also learned the ultimate tip for easy to peel hard-boiled eggs.  Immediately after cooking, soak in an ice bath.  Seriously, the shells will peel right off.  

(Another tip, use an icing bag and star pastry nozzle for pretty eggs.  A little extra effort goes a long way)

Recipe for Deviled Eggs:
- 12 Hard-boiled eggs
- 1 tsp. ground mustard powder
- 2 tsp. prepared mustard (Note: I like my deviled eggs to taste "mustardy, so I add even more than this....)
- 2 Tbsp. relish
- 4 Tbsp. miracle whip
- Paprika
- Salt and pepper to taste

Cut eggs in half and put cooked yokes into a bowl.  Ground up the yokes using a fork, until they are all crumbly.  Then add the rest of your ingredients and stir together really well.  Place into your pastry bag, and pipe into egg half using the small star nozzle.  Sprinkle with paprika.

YUM!  I'm proud to say I didn't ruin the deviled eggs this year-- Easter was saved!
I hope everyone had a wonderful Easter weekend with their family and friends.  

"Til on that cross as Jesus died
The wrath of God was satisfied
For every sin on Him was laid
Here in the death of Christ I live, I live."

Lyrics from "In Christ Alone"

Monday, March 25, 2013

No Sign Of Spring

It is March 25th, and we got about 8 inches of snow last night.   This means my tulips and hyacinth starts are now covered under a thick blanket of winter's last word instead of showing off their cheery greenery.  Here's hoping I can survive a few more weeks of this!

My husband surprised me when I pulled in the driveway today from work today with a completed snowman. At least it adds a little humor to the snow.  

(I added the lemons, lime, and scarf....... still thinking of a name for our snowy pal who will unfortunately be sticking around for awhile)

I'd like to think that my general mood remains unaffected by this type of crappy weather, but I have a husband who might disagree.  Come already, Spring, we're waiting on you!

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Being Thrifty Ain't Easy

Do you ever read those blog posts that randomly insert, "I picked up this [insert item] from my local Goodwill/thrift shop" or "I found the greatest [blank] at the thrift store this weekend."  Well I'm here to give a little PSA to you fine folks, thrifting ain't easy. There's a reason the stuff [ahem, crap] in thrift stores is cheap----- it's mostly junk.  Sifting through it all is pretty time consuming. Unfortunately, the whole thrift shop concept doesn't lend itself to perfectly arranged displays and organized racks.  There are a lot of  times I walk into my local Goodwill, scrounge around, but end up leaving empty handed.  

In order to increase my scrounging efforts and in an effort to accessorize our new casa, I started to utilize some new tactics.  
First tip: I started going to different Goodwills.  I'm fortunate that between home and work, I am always near several Goodwills.  A quick pop into a couple every other week or so doubles my chances at finding some treasures.  I'll also note that the Goodwills near my work are in a "richer" part of town, so I benefit from rich people's junk---AKA gold mine.  This past week I came across this planter in perfect shape for $3.  I mean who is giving this stuff away?  Rich people, you be crazy, but I love you for it.

Second tip:  It's important to think outside the box for your sought after items.  For example, I've been looking for planters lately to accomodate some new houseplant purchases.  After a few trips to Goodwill and coming up short on smaller planters [unless you count the handmade kids' clay projects that Mom is throwing out when nobody is looking], I decided to think outside the standard variety.  After opening up my requirements a bit, I came across these two cuties.

Neither of these were originally planters, but add a little succulent and you'd never know. (Note: these have no drainage holes and likely wouldn't work for plants that need constant watering, but I'm going to try my luck with dry-loving succulents)

Third tip:  BOOKS- buy them.  I love the look of antique books and have actually started collecting the Reader's Digest Condensed Books that have the most beautiful covers.  My mom gave me my first one, and now I'm obsessed with the hunt for more.

The covers and spines of these books are adorable and come in all different colors and patterns.  However, in order to find these books, you have to dig.  And in addition to digging, you have to be prepared to look like a legitimate crazy person by removing the paper jackets of the books in order to find the gems.   This extra step led me to these over the past couple of weeks to add to my collection:
(Vintage Walt Whitman poems collection and selected works of
Shakespeare? Yes, please.)

I love using my Reader's Digest books on bookshelves and buffet tables around the house for their pops of color and hope to find even more to add to my collection. 

Final Goodwill tip: patience and perseverance is a must.  If you are looking for a specific item and need it ASAP, the thrifting method isn't gonna cut it.  Months ago I saw a vintage scale show up in a Pinterest image, and ever since then I have been hoping to find one for my own kitchen.  I wasn't having any lucky at antique malls or Goodwill, so I turned to Etsy and Craigslist.  That was mistake as I didn't find anything for cheaper than $100.  Well patience paid off, friends, when I came across my newest kitchen accessory hidden away in an obscure antique mall.
Goodwill hunting [arr arr] isn't for the faint at heart.  It can be time consuming and frustrating at times, but at the end of the day, I love the thrill of the hunt.  And while popping into Homegoods or shopping on Etsy might be easier, I like knowing that I found some of my favorite house accessories second hand.