Saturday was such a fun day for us!! We spent the afternoon at Matt's family's 6th annual cookie bake - what a good time!! What's better than spending time with aunts, uncles, cousins, nieces, and nephews all while eating and decorating cookies!! Seriously - such a fun tradition!!! Then we headed to my aunt and uncle's house for a family dinner with my dad's side of the family - 2nd annual dinner stuffing our faces with yummy lasagne, desserts, and alcoholic beverages and then playing games - another fun tradition!! (if you like the game Apples to Apples you HAVE to get the adult version - Cards Against Humanity - sooo inappropriate at times but so fun!!) Here are a few pictures:
That's right - one year ago today we signed our lives away and bought our first house. No, I don't love being a homeowner but when I think about it I don't regret our decision. Our house is far from perfect. It's not the biggest house. It's not the nicest house. It's not our forever home. The projects are never ending (mainly due in part to my obsession with Pinterest.) Our to-do lists keep growing while our bank accounts keep dwindling.
But for now, it works. It's ours and we're trying to do our best to make it HOME. We're enjoying the neighborhood. Matt loves learning new things and is quite the handy man. There's been a lot of hard work, blood, sweat, and tears (from me of course) over these past 12 months. But we'll keep pluggin' away and doing the best we can. Life is an adventure and this is just part of the ride...
Today I want to share one of our favorite recipes. We make this every Sunday to have for the week. We take it for lunch as well as adding to our scrambled eggs in the morning - soooo good!! Ya gotta try it!!
Quinoa Salad (click for official recipe)
Cook 1 cup of quinoa according to directions (basic instructions are 2 cups water, 1 cup quinoa - bring to boil - lower heat - cover - and let cook until all water is absorbed - about 15 minutes.)
Meanwhile take a pint of grape tomatoes and cut in half. Take a bag of baby spinach and shred or cut into bite size pieces. Drain a small can of pre-sliced black olives (but save a little bit of the olive juice in a separate bowl.) Add all these ingredients to a large bowl.
To make the dressing - stir together the little bit of olive juice you saved, some olive oil, some balsamic vinegar, a little bit of lemon juice, pepper, and oregano. I don't measure anything - just do whatever you think looks good. Add more olive juice if that's what you like. Or maybe red wine vinegar instead of balsamic - do whatever you want!!!
Once quinoa is cooked - put on top of spinach/tomato/olives and toss. I find that the hot quinoa helps wilt the spinach a little which we like. Next, pour the dressing over and toss until well coated. If it looks a little dry add more vinegar or olive oil. And that's it!! So easy - so quick - so good!!!
I love Pinterest. Actually, it's more of a love/hate relationship I have with it (more on that in a later post though) So even though there are days I despise it I have found a lot of really great ideas and projects on there. Today I thought I'd share a few of the things I've actually completed for our home that were Pinterest inspired (speaking of which...I can't believe we've been in the house for almost a year already. AND big news today...had an interior designer come today for the kitchen...big reveal on that update the first of the new year after we're done! YAY!)
So here ya go...not all inclusive but just a few of my faves (look for an upcoming post on holiday inspired projects once Matt actually lets me decorate for Christmas ha-ha):
Keep checkin' back for more updates on the house and projects we do!!!!
This statement should not shock you. In fact, there are many reasons I need therapy. We'll save that discussion for another day though. Today, though, today I want to discuss road rage. Yup, that's right - I need therapy for my road rage. Seriously. In fact, a lot of people would probably benefit from this - maybe I'm the only one to admit it. I have no shame...I'll be first in line - sign me up baby!!
Ok back to business...in my last post, I stated I'm a terrible driver and if I never had to drive again I'd be the happiest girl ever(when I win the lottery...after I actually start playing it...the first thing I'm doing is getting myself a chaffeur!) I've always had a little road rage - you know, I'm not usually the most patient person and I'm easily annoyed, ESPECIALLY when driving. But I find myself having more and more road rage as I get older (seriously...isn't getting old hard enough?! As if I need to deal with MORE crap?!) Now don't get me wrong - I'm not like CRAZY - I just tend to yell alittle, shake my head/roll my eyes at them, shake my hand at them (you know like how us Italians do), and I may have even been known to give someone the bird before (I know I know...it's terrible and I swear I've only actually done that a few times because I feel bad!) But it's getting out of control. I mean for goodness sakes I yell at these people as if they can actually hear me (I think people probably see me and just think I'm a crazy who talks to herself) Heck I even annoy the hubs when I actually drive...which isn't very often of course...and he is not one to get annoyed. Just ask him what it's like to drive with me.
He'll tell ya what a joy it is.
So in conclusion, if you see me on the road - it's best to either a) stay away from me or b) just don't do anything that's gonna make me angry. Got it? In the meantime, you'll find me searching for road rage therapy sessions...
You've probably seen all the statuses on Facebook. You know - someone posts random facts about themselves...you 'like' their status...they give you a number...and whatever number you get you have to post that number of random facts about yourself as your status. Yeah I know...lame, right?! But then I got to reading them. And it was actually FUN & INTERESTING to learn more about people (maybe it's just because I'm nosey like that.) I mean, a lot of my Facebook friends I don't talk to on a regular basis (you know...those people from HS or college you knew...but didn't REALLY know...c'mon we all have 'em.) So it's actually pretty cool getting to know some people a little more. So I figured...why the hell not...I'll join the fun - it'll make for an interesting (or maybe not) blog post. So here goes nothin'
1. I've known my husband since we babies - we grew up together in the same small town. But we never dated in HS. We weren't even in the same social circle (he was cool...I was not....just ask anyone.)
2. I've ran a marathon and 3 half marathons.
3. I'm lactose intolerant...but dear Lord do I LOOOOOVE cheese!!
4. My dream job is to be in the FBI.
5. I am the world's worse driver. (or is it worst?!...I can never get this right)
6. If I never had to drive again I'd be the happiest person EVER (see #5)
7. My neighbor set our house on fire when I was in 1st grade. (he consequently went to jail - and yes, his parents still live next door to my parents.)
8. I've never broken a bone.
9. I have an afghan (that my great grandmother made for my dad when he went to college) that I sleep with every night. Matt hates it with a passion. To make it even better it's the classic 70s colors of burnt orange and brown - no joke - it's flippin' awesome...I love it...and I'm not ashamed.
10. I have a total potty mouth...I blame my mother.
11. I want to observe a surgery of some sort one day. If I was any good at science (or smart enough) I'd totally be a surgeon.
12. I am absolutely, positively, 110% petrified of deer. (so imagine how I reacted when this happened...in my neighbor's front lawn...a few feet from me...yeah, I was hysterical. I was beside myself...I was a legit mess!!!)
My weekend looked a little somethin' like this...
Spending the weekend in Massachusetts with one of my best friends and her family was SO MUCH FUN! (Now if only I could convince her to move back to the big ROC) With being 6 hours away, the time we do get together is just that much more special - though it's never quite enough. It's the simple things over the weekend that I enjoyed most - going for a run with her (even if it was at an ungodly hour on a Saturday morning!), doing crafts with her kids, snuggling with the littlest one, and us adults playing games and laughing once the kids were in bed. It's these things that matter the most and the moments I'll always remember. We've come a long way since C and I first met in college...12 years ago (seriously?!? are we really that old?!?!) We have our good days and bad days...our ups and downs...our tears and laughs...but at the end of it all we're always there for one another. So thank you Zogg family for having us and for being incredible people!! Much love to ya'll!!
Balloon Rockets - up, up, and away!!
Since our weekend was spent in MA with these 3 adorable kids (and their awesome parents...more on what we did in a later post) we figured out our menu for the week on our drive home (that way we could stop at the grocery store while we were out already.) I didn't have internet access so I couldn't get on Pinterest so no new recipes this week (I know - slacking already, huh?!) But here you go anyways:
Monday - salmon, baked sweet potato, roasted cauliflower
Tuesday - crock pot picadillo with brown rice (sooo good - click on the link for the recipe!)
Wednesday - salad
Thursday - chicken & couscous skillet
Friday - spaghetti squash with marinara sauce
Saturday - ?
Sunday - fend for yourself
Have a fantastic week!!!
Crock Pot Minestrone Soup
I'm Italian..the hubs is too. We love to eat - anything and everything. We are especially big fans of soup during these cold months - and anything I can put in the crock pot and have ready when we get home is especially good in my book. I found this recipe on Pinterest (of course!) It came from My Real Food Family - check out the recipe here. We really liked this soup - the only thing I'd do differently is cook the small shells separately - by the time we ate it the pasta was mush (though that could have been our fault since it cooked for a lot longer than the recipe said - it was in the crock pot for over 10 hours.) Other than that, we loved it and we'll definitely keep it in our rotation for the winter. It's quick, easy, and healthy - you could add whatever veggies you had on hand. Next time I think I want to add some celery (it'd be good with beans too but I'm not a big fan of them.)
Honey Mustard Pretzel Chicken
First things first...hopefully, I'll get better at taking pictures. I look at these pictures and I'm not impressed - but ya know - I'm keepin' it real here. It is what it is. And hopefully if I'm going to post pics of what I make I sure hope I get better at my presentation skills as well - I mean look at that plate of chicken and brussel sprouts - PATHETIC ha-ha Guess I better keep my day job.
Matt enjoyed this dish a lot more than I did...however, the sauce was to die for!! Sooooo good - definitely the best part of the dish (it'd be soooo good to dip pretzels in or veggies or even as a spread on a sandwich!) I'm not sure if I did something wrong but once the chicken FINALLY cooked (it took forever to bake - over an hour - but our chicken pieces were pretty thick) the bottoms were soggy. I was definitely looking for a more crunchy outside - even the top wasn't what I expected. I think next time I'd definitely try to use smaller chicken pieces and pound them out more. Maybe I'd even brown them quick in a skillet before putting them in the oven to try to get that crispy outside that I think would really make it a WOW dish. So I'll definitely try this recipe again and make some adjustments.
How can you not love this face?!? I mean seriously?!?! <3 (and I bet he's just going to LOVE the fact I chose this pic to post) Here he is - the hubs...or as I call him my lovebug (Gosh - now I really hope he doesn't read this post...)
You can stop gagging now…this post isn’t going to be all about how good lookin’ he is (but he sure is going to make some cute babies, isn’t he?!) This post was
inspired by a blog that I follow regularly – actually the first blog I subscribed to and the one that inspired me to start mine. It’s called Southern Mess. She recently posted about the best marriage advice she’s ever heard – you can read it here (things will make more sense once you have read her post.) It really hit home with me and inspired me to post a little something.
Treat your spouse like you would treat your best friend
We've been married for a little over a year now. And a lot of people comment about how cute we are together, that we’re perfect for each other, and we seem to have a perfect marriage. Those comments always make me feel good, not gonna lie – I have never once doubted that I married the right guy for me and that we’ve got a great thing going here. But I also want people to know our marriage is not all ‘sugar and spice and everything nice’ all the time. We work HARD at our marriage (I recognize that I’m not the easiest person to be married to.) We are constantly learning new things about each other, always figuring out how to better our marriage, always working on things. Some days it’s easy – other days not so much. That’s just the reality of it.
Another reality is I, too, tend to snap at Matt – A LOT. I’m not proud of this but it’s just the truth. I’m one of those high-strung, needs to be doing something all the time, stressed out 24/7, everything needs to be perfect, mind going a mile-a-minute kind of girl. Matt is not. AT ALL. He’s patient. And calm. And level-headed. And a very chill kinda person. And sometimes that frustrates me. And sometimes I get royally irritated at him (by the way – I think by now men should be able to read our minds…don’t you?!) But he IS my best friend. I know he doesn’t deserve to be snapped at. And yet I do it more than I’d like to admit (especially lately.) So with that being said – I am going to print off the quote and put it on our fridge (trust me - we'll see it the most if it's there!) Am I saying I’ll never snap at him again? Of course not (I’m good but not THAT good!!!) But we’re in this for the long haul and we’re both still trying to figure out this whole marriage gig. And I think a strong marriage involves knowing your weaknesses and striving to work on them– individually and as a couple. Having these little reminders make me take a step back and realize what’s REALLY important in life – like your spouse, and family and friends. So…here’s to less snapping and more dance parties and funny faces.
And finally, thank you Southern Mess for the post. And a bigger THANK YOU to the hubs for being truly amazing and for always loving me, even on my really bad days. There is no one I’d rather be a wife to than you <3
“We may not be perfect but we’re perfect for each other.”
Every Sunday Matt & I take 5 minutes to plan our dinners for the week. We both go to the gym after work so we don't usually get home until 7 or later. Having our dinners planned already makes things much easier and it really helps keeps us within our budget at the grocery store as well (not to mention we don't have to make any decisions after a long day at work which of course is a bonus for us!) I also try to make atleast one new recipe each week - usually ones I have found on Pinterest. This week I am actually trying 2 news ones and will feature them later this week.
So here are our meals for this week:
Monday ~ Crock Pot Minestrone
Tuesday ~ Chili with cornbread
Wednesday ~ Salad night
Thursday ~ Honey Mustard Pretzel chicken with sauteed brussel sprouts
Friday ~ We will actually be heading to MA Friday after work so we will grab something along the way
Saturday ~ MA
Sunday ~ Fend for yourself night (growing up Sundays were always fend for yourself night - right mom?!?!)
Who would have ever thought I'd have a blog? (Certainly not me or anyone who really knows me!) So for my first post I thought I'd share a little about me. Here are just a few things that make me plain ol' happy...
Being a wife - seriously...marrying the hubs was the best thing I have ever done (sappy, yes, but the truth! I'll share our story in a later post.)
Running - so far 3 half marathons and 1 full marathon under my belt. It just makes me happy
Wine -the sweeter the better for me...but I am starting to appreciate some of the more dry ones out there
Creating Excel spreadsheets and using Pivot Tables whenever possible - I'm an Accountant so I've got more than a little geek in me - don't hate :)
Food - I'm a total foodie who can eat a lot more than most people think I can. Put me in the kitchen on a cold dreary day and I'm a happy camper
Flat iron - I can't live without one (just ask my husband about the meltdown that occurred one morning when I realized the one I had was broken...lesson learned - keep a spare in the linen closet!)
Music - turning it up as loud as it goes and singing my little heart out and not having a care in the world
Hot showers - I could stay in there for hours...enough said
Exclamation points - I use them A LOT...and probably not correctly and I'm OK with that
Chevron - anything and everything chevron...scarves, rugs, paper, placemats...if it's chevron patterned I want it
Work out clothes - seriously I could spend mad amounts of money on work out clothes - I'm obsessed and don't think you can ever have too many
I could go on and on but I'll spare you the rambling. What are a few of your favorite things?
Hey ~ I'm Renée...just your ordinary, 30-something Accountant, new mommy, wife, runner, foodie, & Pinterest addict! Welcome to my newest adventure...stay awhile...look around...and keep comin' back!