Friday, September 30, 2011

Traveling: For the Holidays

If you're one to travel during the holidays much like my husband and I do every other year for family, you'll want to have a little fun.

I've decided to share the recipe for a safe and happy travel! Whether you're traveling by car or plane, mishaps can always happen. It's what you do with them to make them fun. Here are some tips on ensuring your entire holiday is a success.

1. Embrace the complicated.

My husband and I have had issues where we were stranded in a unknown city or ran out below freezing window washer fluid. Rather than panicking we laughed our way through it.

In the new city we embraced the opportunity to learn something about the town. Visiting their information center we learned they were all about their wood carvings, which were beautiful! It allowed us time to have our flat tired changed & bond a little before heading off for the rest of our journey. Think of it as an adventure.

With the window washer fluid, we drove down the freeway with a bottle of fluid throwing it aimlessly on the car before the windshield froze over again. Not a pleasant experience but we laughed during it -- and learned a lesson!

2. Be Unique.

My husband and are quirky but on a road trip we plan surprises. On mile marker 622 I'll have a special mug of hot apple cider waiting for him. Half way through the road trip he'll stop by a local supermarket and we'll pick up a tiara for me and a comedy CD to listen to on the next phase of the trip. The more surprises that come the less it feels like travel and the more it feels like adventure.

3. Play those games.

You played Eye Spy or the Alphabet game when you were a kid, what's stopping you now? It's a lot more fun when you're both actively seeking for the next letter of the alphabet, or searching for the fifty states on licenes plates. Traveling isn't meant to be all stress. Make it fun!

4. Waiting Time is Fun Time.

When waiting to board the plane check out the little shops. They are there for you. You don't need to buy everything in sight but it's fun to pretend you can afford that expensive piece of jewelery or just get comfy in your seat and people watch.

My husband and I decide if someone is traveling for business or pleasure. In choosing one we must, from there, set up a story for why that person is going and what kind of experience they'll have.

Most of all just have a little fun! If you're not having fun you'll find yourself subjected to longer flights, terrible layovers, flat tires, and the baby that won't stop screaming next to you.

How do you travel? Have any tips for me?

Monday: Hot Apple Cider in Apples!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Decorative Tip: Dressing up your front entrance for the seasons

I know not everyone owns a house, but first impressions are key when you first walk into someones home. Whether it be a house or an apartment. I love dressing up the front so when someone walks in they can see my personality!

If you have a great entrance with a table, coat hanger, and more you have any more to work with! If you're like me, and have just island from the kitchen in your tiny apartment, that's okay too. Each home can have a decorative spin and it doesn't have to be costly!

Here's a few tips on how to make your home a little more festive. Since Halloween is here I'll go with simple knick knacks to add a little flare!

First I love to check my local stores. Hobby Lobby, Michael's, Pier 1 Imports and Kirkland's are my go to places!

Simple ways to liven up your space for under $10

Holiday Candles - ($1-5): Buy mixed matched colors, different sizes, set up your own design with various shades of orange and different designs.

Ornaments & Tree - ($1-10): Hobby Lobby is known for carrying mini-trees all year long. Grab yourself one (paint black or green if necessary), buy little pumpkin, ghost, and bat ornaments to complete the theme.

Fun knick-knacks - ($1-10): Hobby Lobby (everything 50% off) has these adorable sparkly pumpkins (various colors), and holiday bears with witch hats, and graveyard scenes on their shirts. It's a festive and fun look to your home.

Table cloth - ($5-10): With either holiday table cloth or fabric that's own sale, this is a simple and very quick way to show your holiday spirit.

Halloween cards - ($1-10): Walmart has a fabulous $1 section where you can pick up several holiday cards. For a cheaper route they're also colored card stock to buy in bulk where you can decorate your own cards for a Halloween look on a budget.

For outside decor ranging from fall to christmas there is tons of variety!!!! Think wreaths, color, and pumpkins!!

Question: What would you do to add a little Halloween life in your home?

Friday: Travel Tips, For the Holidays (and all year round!)

Monday, September 26, 2011

Relationships - Keeping the spice in your marriage

Nights in are golden.

I know we aren't ones to spend a lot of money these days, and my hubby and I enjoy each others company, it doesn't always mean it needs to be a night out.

The way we keep our spice in tact is through a night in. It's the most intimate setting because it's your space.

The week before we plan our menu. On date nights we try something fresh and new. We'll pick up some fun ingredients and the evening of the date we cook together. It allows us time to connect again, laugh, and make something together.

We pick out a new movie and spend time cuddling with one another. The connection bringing us both closer together.

Dessert. This is where I love to make something that allows the whole house to smell delicious. Homemade cookies, the smell of warm apple pie. It's really up to you on what you make but the sweeter the house smells, the sweeter the evening.

Now for those of you who have children I suggest picking a few items from the store: fresh fruit, champage, whipped cream, chocolate, popcorn and some popcorn seasonings. While the children are tucked in for the night pop up a bowl of fresh popcorn and lay the spread out on your coffee table. Lay a blanket down with some fluffy pillows and pop in a favorite movie of yours. It allows you time to chat with one another while the movie plays in the background. It gives you the connection you both need, without technology sitting in front of you.

Question: How do you keep the spice in your life?

Wednesday: Decorating your front entrances according to the season!

Friday, September 23, 2011

Holiday Tip - Dressing up your pumpkin

With Halloween around the corner it's always great to start thinking of ideas early!

How are you going to play it this year?

Chic and stylish?
Scary and Gory?
Fun and festive?

When you're able to decide what theme you'd like around the house it makes it so much easier! You'll want to decide if you want real or fake pumpkins. I love real, but sometimes neighborhood teens have a tendency to play the pumpkin throwing game and that gets messy! Regardless of the pumpkin you choose the same rules still apply!

Chic and stylish:

1. Ribbon love. Grab those remnants of holiday ribbon and add double sided tape, and voila - a cute centerpiece!
2. Spray Paint or Craft Paint. Polka-dots, stripes, swirly designs. Get funky, these cute little pumpkins are easy as painting on a coat of your favorite color and dressing it up in style!
3. Tag Line Cutie. Leave cute little trick or treat quotes on scrapbook paper, use some halloweenish ribbon and leave these little gems all around the house! They're the cutest little addition for the holiday!
4. Crepe Paper Votives. These are one of my favorites! Crepe paper, glue, and baby food jars and you'll have the cutest pumpkins and ghosts in town! Check out the instructions!

Scary and Gory:

1. Pattern love. The online world is a fabulous one, find the perfect SCARY pattern to carve OR paint on your pumpkin!
2. Throw them up. So this one I always enjoy seeing, I personally wouldn't want to deal with the clean-up, but when you're going with gross this one's the real deal!
3. The more the merrier. If you're going for a wicked look I suggest several lit up pumpkins. The neighbors will think you've gone crazy, but you've just nailed the perfect look.
4. Angling for the best outcome. I find that placing the pumpkin in different positions often gives the pumpkin a new edge, character. Utilize all the space.

Fun and Festive:

1. Decortive. Utilize every day house items to spruce up the pieces out on your front porch, dining room table, etc. Shovels, rakes, silver - black - white or orange bowls to liven up the halloween spirit.
2. Team Spirit. Often times you'll see sports initials and mascots on pumpkins and that's the way people celebrate! If your little one loves princess or a wizard, find a pattern and use it as a way to make Halloween less scary in your household.
3. Pumpkin Decorating. Buy paints and let the kids go wild with their own versions of pumpkins. With pinks, blues, greens galore, everyone is sure to have a good time and want to show of their finished pieces.
4. Every color pumpkin. I love nothing more than visiting the pumpkin patch and picking out the odd colored ones, from green to white they add just a little more flare to your decorative feel.

Question: What theme are you thinking about this year?

Monday: Keeping the spice in your marriage!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Party Tip: Party Pantry Checklist

I had the pleasure this weekend of meeting the fabulous Tara Wilson. She attended the Metro Cooking Show here in Houston. It was an absolute blast. The Houston Blogging Chicks and I had the pleasure of an intimate setting where she taught us her speciality! Here we all are! Tara's in the cute dress right up front!

She is a fabulous event planner. If you're looking for party tips on a budget she's your gal! She loves taking inexpensive items and turning them into something fabulous.

I'll share tips that I learned from her, from time to time.

Today's tip - Tara's Party Pantry Checklist...
"When you stock your party pantry with these items, you'll be ready to entertain whenever the moment strikes!"

1. Mixed Nuts
2. Decorative Cookies
3. Gourmet pastas and pasta sauces
4. Forzen hors d'oeurves
5. Assorted crackers
6. Variety of cheese
    Hard: Machego
    Semi-Hard: Blue
    Soft: Chevre
7. Wine
8. Champagne or Prosecco
9. Bourbon
10. Gin
11. Gin
12. Mixers
      Coke, Diet Coke, and Sprite
      Cranberry Juice
      Orange Juice
      Soda Water
      Tonic Water
13. Garnishes
      Colored Sugars
      Pickled onions
      Stuffed olives
14. Cocktail Napkins

Now I have to say after going through this list I panicked. Until I realized that I'm not at the stage where entertaining is appropriate. After all, my first attempt with pancakes was clearly a disaster. However, I've put her checklist in my pantry for inspiration. I do hope to end up where uninvited guests do arrive and I'm able to provide a delicious pasta meal!

Question: Do you own anything on the list? Are you one to have many uninvited guests?

Friday: Holiday Tip - How to dress up your pumpkins!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Recipe: Cinnamon Roll Pancakes

Subject: Cinnamon Roll Pancakes
Recipe: Found on Stumbleupon
How I fared: Horribly

Yes. This round definitely earned an F. Following directions was easy, to start with, but putting it into action was terrible. Not only was I frustrated but there were several uses of inappropriate language.

It sort of went like this:

Hubs: I'll start the bacon and eggs.
Me: *nods* *furrows brow* *pours batter* Dammit!
Hubs: What happened?
Me: Look... *we both stare at half the batter in the pan the other half out*

By the fourth try I was able to keep the batter in the pan, add cinnamon mix (with a plastic spoon) - bag instructions they offered blew this beginner out of the water.

Thoughts: Maybe next time I'll just add the cinnamon to the batter... it'd probably taste the same.

So, I'm sure you're all interested in a photo.

Here is what it was supposed to look like...

Here is what mine looks like. Clearly the swirl is not my area of expertise... and yes, this was with the spoon (it was difficult regardless). You also don't see much cinnamon on the finished product (the other side was awful), but you can see it is indeed a pancake.

Looks - Like a pancake (though my kitchen was atrocious)
Taste - Delicious

Question: Have you had any beginner mishaps?

Wednesday: Tara Wilson's Party Pantry Checklist - Leaving you ready to entertain at a moment's notice!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

About Me

I'm the beginner housewife.

A twenty-five year old women's fiction writer who is tracking her way through marriage, one topic at a time.

On this blog I'll give you tips on decorating your house on a budget, getting ready for holidays or parties, and sharing recipes that I love, I try, and I fail miserably at.

This will be my first time testing out the kitchen. My husband is normaly the one who does the cooking, but this is my attempt to become slightly more domesticated.

It's a way to see exactly how far I'm willing to go and how many times I fall on my ass.

Now I must warn you, seeing as I'm a beginner if you're looking for expertise in the cooking department, you should make your way over to Paula Deen - she's going to get you there. I'll be one to aim high but fall short (at least the first few times I test out the recipes).

Tomorrow: My attempt making Cinnamon Roll Pancakes