Aug 22, 2013

Oh Hey Mr. Sandman

Like most people I know, I never turn down a good chance to sleep. Middle of the day or at night, there is a pretty good chance you can catch me dozing off. Except some nights when I decide it's fun to start projects or clean at 11 p.m. I'd blame that on college but it started long before I was here!

Sleeping against the door in the car
However, my husband likes to make me aware of the fact that I have certain sleeping "abilities" that some, but not all possess. He frequently makes fun of me for these and likes to tell all of our friends about them! Some of our friends have even experienced them a time or two.

1. I can fall asleep in just about any position but nothing compares to curling up into a little ball.
I've also been known to sleep with my legs bent up as well as with my back flat by my lower body completely twisted over. M has woken up to find me sleeping at the end of the bed or completely squished against the wall, even if there is plenty of room beside me. Who knows how I'll wake up each morning. I can sleep just about anywhere, too. In the car, on the floor, in a tiny recliner chair. You name it, I can probably make it work.

2. I have the ability to fall asleep in two seconds flat. This is definitely not always the case, sometimes my brain decides to think of every topic under the sun while I'm trying to fall asleep. I guarantee if we were just having a conversation and I'm sleepy, I will fall asleep immediately after responding to something you just said. Not exaggerating when I say that two seconds later, I'm dead asleep. When M and I were dating, we would text each other before bed. He could immediately reply to my text and I would be out! I also did this a time or two while talking on the phone with him. He'd be telling a story and next thing he knew, he could hear me sleeping. Sorry hubby!

3. Speaking of being dead asleep, I'm known for being notoriously hard to wake up. This started when I was much younger and had to wake up early to get on the school bus every morning. I perfected the art of ignoring someone in my sleep. Then when I finally do wake up, I can't figure out why everyone is so mad at me. This generally results in me being shaken, tickled or poked awake in the mornings. That usually makes me a grumpy chick when I wake up because not only do I have to get out of bed but I was just woken up in a rather harsh way.

4. I'm that person who sleeps through 100 alarms every morning and then gets mad at my phone because it never went off. I set about 6 alarms, every 15 minutes before until the time I have to get up, every time I know M won't be there to wake me up. Lord help me when he's not around, I tend to be late for a lot of things. I can set very, very obnoxious and loud alarms. I can set songs that I love. Songs that I hate. Nothing can get me out of my lovely slumber!

5. I occasionally talk in my sleep. Not usually full sentences or even words that you can understand from what I'm told. But I'm definitely trying to say something! M claims I also snore but I think that's a load of crap!

6. I tend to wrap myself in blankets. Sometimes I like to sleep in a cold room, now that I've been living with M because that's the only way he can sleep. For the most part though, I like to be warm when I fall asleep (now it's a totally different story if I wake up hot in the middle of the night, then I like to be cold)! This means I tend to steal the blankets in my sleep because I don't like to be cold. M also likes to steal the blankets so we each have our own. I cannot sleep without a blanket or a sheet, no matter how warm the room gets. Usually we start off sharing blankets but we each have our own so when we wake up in the middle of the night, we know which blanket to steal back!

7. I have the ability to scare the hell out of myself, even in my dreams. I dream a lot about stuff that scares me the most! I tend to jolt myself awake frequently because I dream about the weirdest, scariest stuff. I've also woken up crying on more than one occasion because of this stuff. And I tend to remember my dreams for at least a few hours after I wake up, too. M usually cracks up at all the things floating around my brain in lala land.

And seven seems like the right number of awkward facts to end on. This post was brought to you by my rambling thoughts, hope you enjoyed it!
-Mandy

Aug 21, 2013

Honey Mustard Chicken & Fried Rice

Guys, I used to hate rice. I thought the texture of the stuff was the grossest thing for years. My mom used to only make rice for the rest of the family when I was sick because she knew I wouldn't eat it.

Now, I cannot get enough of the stuff. You see, my husband loves rice. He loves Chinese food!  He's been trying to make me eat it since we started dating. He just could never convince me to eat it because it seemed like a waste when I didn't eat half the meal (rice). Bless his heart, he still married me even though we never ate one of his favorite foods! A few months ago I decided to try it again. I didn't like it but i thought wow, that wasn't as bad as I remembered. So I tried it a few more times and bam! Suddenly it's one of my favorite things to eat!

I haven't quite mastered how to cook rice so it's not sticky, overcooked, or undercooked. I've been trying different things but mostly sticking to minute rice because that stuff is practically impossible to screw up. I wanted to try and make fried rice like the kind you get in restaurants but with a little twist.

Here's what I came up with:
2 cups rice (uncooked)
1 tbsp oil
2 eggs
4 cups chicken broth
2 tbsp soy sauce
3 cups corn (I used frozen)
2 chicken breasts, chopped 
honey & mustard

Start off by slightly browning the rice in the oil. Then push it off to the sides and scramble the eggs in the middle. Once the eggs are fully cooked, add the corn, soy sauce, and 3 cups of chicken broth. Bring to a boil, then simmer for 5 minutes. At this point, add the final cup of chicken broth and simmer for another 5 minutes if you feel the rice is not cooked enough. Set to the side.

Mix the honey and mustard to taste and toss in the chicken until completely covered. You can either bake the chicken or toss in a frying pan until completely cooked. 

Throw it on top of the rice and you've got some delicious Chinese food for supper!






Hope you love this recipe as much as M does!
-Mandy

Aug 20, 2013

A Weekend With Too Many Selfies




Before and after of a much needed haircut. Growing out your hair pretty much leaves you with no style. I sacrificed a little bit of the length to get an angled bob and my bangs back. Sometimes I get nervous that I'll regret getting it cut while I'm growing it out but I couldn't be happier this time!


My favorite little guy gave me all the snuggles in the world before I left. Can't believe how much he's changed over the Summer and how many words he's picked up! It's only been a few days but I miss him already.


Working on some photography but Gage wanted me all to himself. He hopped up on my lap and tried to shove my computer off. I didn't mind one bit!


We all hung out with Miss Aida on Friday although she didn't want to spend too much time with us. By the end of the night she warmed up enough to play a little!
"How out of it do I look in this picture?" "Pretty out of it.."
Packing makes me look like this..


I took this picture because I was trying to catch the guy on the bridge above waving a giant American flag. I missed but I really like how this picture turned out!



A teeny, tiny bit of our belongings. Thankful that my momma knows how to pack things in so well or we would have needed multiple trips to get it all back.


New bed sheets! M is sort of picky about sheets because he cannot sleep if it's too hot. I'm sort of picky about sheets because I don't want to have ugly sheets. We finally came to a compromise on these and I love them! Target wins again!


At least college kids can be creative with their wifi naming. Cracking up at the wifi names near our friend's apartment! My brother decided to name ours Love Shack last year when he set it up and I don't know how to change it. I'm sure our neighbors think we're freaks!

Crazy to think we've been here for a few days already! We moved in Saturday morning and we're slowly getting things unpacked. The benefit of moving back into a place that we already lived in is it feels like we never really left. We set up everything the same as last year so besides some boxes laying around, it's like we didn't leave.

One thing that has changed is our neighbors this year. You see, we live in a family housing area so although we're married it's harder to relate to our neighbors. Last year the two families living upstairs never said more than hello to us. The couple across the hall was closer in age to us but they were very unfriendly. This made for awkward, tense moments between their giant dog and our little puppy. Needless to say, we were happy to hear that two of the three families were moving out at the end of the year.

Within about 15 minutes of being here on Saturday, I had already met one of our neighbors. She noticed we were moving in boxes and came over to introduce herself. They have the cutest little boy and seemed pretty close in age to us. I was pretty excited that she was so friendly but got right back to moving our stuff in. A while later while we had our door open to bring stuff in, another little dog came flying in our door. I laughed because it was exactly something Gage would do if another person's door was open. A lady came in calling for the dog and then introduced herself as our neighbor from across the hall.

Since then, we've had a couple of puppy play dates and we've gotten to know each other! It's such a relief to know we've got friendly neighbors this year! It makes me (and my mom) much more at ease about what's ahead of me over the next few months.

Now, back to unpacking!
-Mandy

Aug 15, 2013

Snapshots


Some fun snapshots of the kiddos I've gotten to hang out with the last few weeks. Working on these skills day by day! I tend to over-edit but I like making them look unique.














I'll sure miss these little monkeys when I move back to school!

Happy Thursday friends!
-Mandy

Aug 14, 2013

Mason Jar Wedding Favors

A few months ago I pinned our wedding favors to Pinterest. They were just linked to one of my Wedding Wednesday posts. Since then I've been asked how to make them so I thought I would talk about it a little more!



A major part of the "theme" to our wedding was mason jars. I've always really loved them and I thought they would be a simple but perfect way to show off my personality at the wedding. Since we started planning our wedding, mason jars have really blown up!

We just bought wide mouth, pint sized mason jars. We did a lot of research as to where we could get them the cheapest (we bought about 300) and Farm Fleet was the cheapest at the time. Definitely look around and talk to stores. We got a major deal because of the amount that we ordered so don't be afraid to ask for a discount! These were pretty similar to what we got.


We wanted to find labels for the jars to personalize them. When I saw these pink labels they reminded me of homemade jam labels (usually in mason jars) and pink was one of our wedding colors. I fell in love! They were super easy to personalize with our names and wedding date! I never got a picture of the second label we put on each jar. On the back side of the jars was a matching label that said "This jar belongs to.." and then a large space for guests to write their names. We set out sharpies and pens all over the reception space so everyone could label their jars. This website has adorable oval shaped labels like what we bought. We just looked up canning labels on Etsy until we found a label that we liked. I would highly recommend extra jars and labels (I think we ordered 300 jars and labels each but only needed about 250) in case you put them on crooked or jars break.

We found the yellow handkerchiefs on Google. These were the ones that we went with. They were 14x14 which sounded small at the time but they were plenty big to use as napkins. They were fairly spendy so I would recommend searching around a little more to see if you can find anything cheaper!

We added our silverware to the jars and they were ready to go!

If you have any other questions about the mason jar favors, feel free to ask me!

-Mandy

Aug 13, 2013

I got my husband to blog!

Hey everyone, this is Mandy's husband, or M as most of you know me!  She asked me to write a post for her and I finally agreed, so hear it goes...Sorry in advance! (He called me out on my lack of posts lately so I forced asked him and made him sit down immediately!)

Since she mentions me quite a bit in her posts, I figured that I should let all of you know a little bit about me. First off, I'm not sure if she has mentioned it or not, but I am adopted. (Part of the reason that I would love to adopt some day!)  I was 2 weeks old when I came home to my loving family, and I couldn't be more appreciative of the love, kindness, mentoring, and great parenting that I received growing up!  Adoption is such a great way to change a kids life for good, not to mention your own. If you have ever thought about it or wanted to learn more, I encourage you to contact your local adoption agency!  I also have 2 younger brothers, one of whom is also adopted (from Romania) and the other who was on the way when my parents were on there way overseas to complete the adoption!  I gained 2 siblings in less then a year, and although we have had our issues (typical boys), I wouldn't trade them for anything.
  
Anyway, enough of that sappy stuff... lets talk about where I grew up.

I grew up in between 2 very,very, very, (did i mention very??) small towns in North East Iowa.  Right in between Maynard and Fayette, out in the country on a 10 acre piece of land is where I call home! You can look them up if you feel the urge, but Google maps might not zoom in that far!  Living in the country is one of the coolest things I have ever experienced and I am so glad that I got to have the opportunity! (One hundred percent agree with that one) Being able to see the stars at night, hear the wind blow through the trees, and animals howling at the moon, and just having your own space to be you is so freeing!  I don't mind city living (I'm stuck in Ames during the school year) but I am almost positive that Mandy and I will be living in the country once we get a house! (Yes, yes, yes!)

Living in a small community also means going to a tiny school.  Most kids think of a small school as having a few hundred kids that they graduated with, well I graduated with 21 kids! (I thought my 56 was small)  It was nice because everyone knew everyone, but it also kind of sucked because, well, everyone knew everyone!  I crashed my car in high school going to school one wintery morning, with no one around.  Next thing I know, I hear that people are talking about it down at the local bar a few days later.  I'm still now sure how word got out but it doesn't surprise me.  

After graduating from high school, I attended the University of Northern Iowa for a year and a half, before my lovely wife twisted my arm into becoming a Cyclone (I didn't have to twist very hard).  Best move I've made yet (besides marrying Mandy)! I love Iowa State and the education I'm getting there.  I'll be taking a semester off this year however as I attend Basic Combat Training for the United States Army, Hooah! I figure since I am double majoring in Industrial Technology, and Agri-systems Technology, that an Engineering MOS (military occupational specialty) will be a good fit for me! (I still can't keep all of that straight!) I am going to be a Horizontal Construction Engineer, which basically means that I will be building roads, air strips, and clearing paths for other engineers, using bulldozers, backhoes, and all the big boy toys that we dream of growing up! Make sure to check in with Mandy during the time that I am gone to see how she is doing and maybe leave a encouraging note, I'm sure she will appreciate it! (Aww, how sweet of him!)

That's about enough of rambling on about myself, thank you if you made it this far through all of this!
Hopefully when Mandy mentions me, you'll know just a bit more about me now!   
Anyways, thanks again for reading!

- M and Mandy

Aug 5, 2013

Catching Up on Life

There has been a lot going on behind the scenes, work-wise, that has kept me absent around here. A weekend with family and friends has put me back in a relaxed place and I'm ready to pop out some posts.

Last Wednesday night, we took our first step in reducing our future debt by switching our cell phone plans. Not only did the switch save us close to $100 a month but it helped out my brother as well. We were having many issues with paying through the nose for phone and data service but not being able to use what we paid for. When M goes to Basic Training, I want him to have a reliable source to call home when he gets the chance. So far, we're both pretty happy with the service and we both got new phones so that's always exciting!

unrelated dog photo from Wednesday night!
Thursday, I spent the day getting ready for our anniversary photos that we took that night. Once again, we had a blast with the wonderful Fonda of Fonda Photography. I cannot wait to see the rest of the photos, I'll share them here when I can. For now, you can see the one she posted after our session!

The inspiration for this photo is a sign that I had brought with. It was given to us as a wedding gift and is one of my favorite signs in our apartment (M hates the sign). It says "A man's house is his castle...until the queen arrives" and clearly this picture captures that! :)
Still working on my chalkboard skills..

Wedding dress and curly hair

Sparkly tennies to dress down such a fancy outfit
Friday, I spent the day at home, crafting and playing with the daycare kids. It was nice to have a break and to accomplish a few of the things I've been wanting to do lately!

Made M the coffee cake he really wanted this week
Saturday, we had our Christmas get together on my Mom's side. Although I wasn't expecting a whole lot, we had a really good time. It was also nice to know that M still got to celebrate with that side of the family since he will be gone when we normally celebrate.
Excuse the bathroom selfie at my Grandma's. My version of a Christmas outfit in the Summer.
Sunday we had plans to go tubing which we were pretty excited about. Of course the weather didn't really feel like cooperating with us! We tubed for a little while but the water was freezing and there was no sun so we got out about halfway through. Our friends built a gigantic slip and slide into their pond that we hadn't gotten a chance to check out. We decided since the pond water is normally a lot warmer that we could just head back there for awhile. After discovering someone had put diesel fuel in the gas pump, the boys had to tinker around to get it all set up. Most of the group dipped out before we got a chance to hit the water. Once things were running we got to try that bad boy out and let me tell you, it was a blast! Although I flew a little farther off the end than everyone else did which resulted in me hitting my back on the bottom of the pond quite a few times. We headed home after a bit and called it a night pretty early.

For the next few weeks, I will be free of work. I'm going to be at home getting things ready to move again. Definitely a blessing to have some free time to accomplish all of this! Hoping to get back into blogging more regularly as well. With school starting again in just a few weeks, I need to find what time works best for me to blog.
It's raining, it's pouring, I love days like this!
What time works best for you to just sit down and write a post?

Also, after Jenni from Story of My Life talked about Ommwriter, I thought it was worth checking out. Let me tell you, if you struggle with distractions while writing then this is for you! I've been using it for about 1/2 hour and I love it already!

-Mandy