"Two are Better than One!" ~Ecclesiastes 4:9

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

There's no place like home!

I have been so tough this last year pushing through sickness, but this weekend was the exception. We went to visit Todd's parent's in Gulf Shores (their winter home!) for what was supposed to be a relaxing weekend. Instead, my body and this yucky tummy flu bug had different plans for me! I started to get sick on the drive up, which was no fun. I think Todd thought I was just car sick...for a while even I thought maybe it was in my head. Why couldn't I shake this? How frustrating - I wanted to turn around and go back home, but we kept driving. We made more stops than we normally would on the drive up - I was really feeling green! When we arrived, I pulled myself together, went inside and greeted everyone and promptly laid in bed thinking a little nap would help. I would wake up an hour later and feel brand new. However, an hour later I felt worse, and it only progressed through the night. I had the full blown tummy flu and really wanted to be at home in my own bed. I knew Todd was right and it would make no sense to get back in the car and attempt the drive home, but I didn't want an "audience" and wanted to be snuggled in the comfort of my own home and bed and pillows, or even bathroom floor! Todd put up with my continual whining every time he came in to check on me or make me attempt to keep down more meds. Please don't think he was torn up by my sickness, he was probably rejoicing since it meant uninterupted basketball watching with his dad for the weekend. In fact, now that I think about it he may have chosen this weekend to go there for a reason - strength in numbers maybe?? haha

Saturday morning greeted me with a trip to urgent care due to continued nausea, inability to keep anything down, and the effects of dehydration! I think this was Todd and I's first doctor visit together...I know how exciting! HA! Todd did take good care of me, and while we waited for my scripts to be filled, he walked through the aisles of Target with me picking up broth, crackers, and anything else I might keep down. The rest of the day was a waste, and spent catching up on much needed sleep from the night before thanks to good drugs.

Sunday, I got up and humored everyone by going to church. I would have slept on Todd's shoulder through the service and lunch if I could have gotten away with it, but unfortunately I am not 12 anymore. :( I was still not well, but trying to not be a complete drag! The one thing Todd's mom wanted to do while we were there was go shopping, so we went for an hour on Sunday and I was worn out! I went home to do nothing other than sleep! Todd woke me up Monday morning in just enough time to pack my suitcase of unused clothes (I wore jammies all weekend), and get on the road. Thank goodness we were finally on our way home!

I am still recovering from this flu that kicked my butt! However, as of last night I get to do it in my own bed! Todd is out of town for work, and I talked to my parents and brother tonight (and need to call my sister)- gosh I miss all of them! Sitting at home by myself with Breck in my lap makes me think about all of those I love...and miss greatly! ...and there's nothing like being sick to make you wish you were back in the days of Jello-O and cartoons on the couch, home from school, trying not to get your siblings sick, with Mom doting on you! Off to bed -- have to be up early and am ready for a normal night of sleep! There is no place like home! :)

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

It's Official!

It's official! I have been a Floridian since yesterday! I now finally have an ID with my married name on it also! After a 4 hour wait, having to drive back home to get Todd to write a letter that verifies we are married and live in the same home (interesting government we have!), and a whopping $48 dollars it is finally done! This silly task that I had an inclination would take much longer than necessary is finally no longer on the back burner! Which only means several more errands such as bank account changes and things of that nature. I didn't realize how many things had my name on them! The scope of how much has to be taken care of is crazy! I am absolutely believing that the bride should get the big ring to compensate her for her time and sacrifice to change everything she owns to a new name, deal with government agencies, and wait in long lines -- only kidding! At least my ring gives me something pretty to look at in drab waiting rooms full of crazy people! Oh, and the other perk of being a Floridian...I can now get Florida resident rates at Disney! So, here it is, I knew I had to share so luckily it's not half bad!!

Friday, March 19, 2010

March Madness

I knew I was marrying a basketball lover from the beginning. The fact that basketball would be in our house daily in one way or another was never a suprise to me!

Basketball was never a big thing in my house growing up. Therefore, football being the game of choice on our TV, I am a football fan. I was a cheerleader in high school, and while basketball was fun, football was the coveted squad to be on. Basketball cheerleading also meant no life - games 3 times a week all over the state, and long bus rides only to get home at midnight and rushing to do homework before school the next day. It meant doing homework in the bleachers in between games sometimes, fast food dinners the majority of the week, and wearing short skirts in a gym when it was 30 degrees outside. Basketball games in person are fun, and I've even bought Todd and I tickets to games before. However, it is so hard to get into such a fast-paced game on TV for me. Football is just my thing...I like to tailgate, have people over to watch games, and own a jersey or two. I beat about 70 males in an office NFL survivor pool and won a good chunk of change two years ago. I love fall for several reasons, but one of them would be football season!

That being said I am slowly learning to love basketball, but I don't think it is possible to develop to the extent Todd does! Todd is touted by his friends to know anything about basketball there is to know. I was at trivia night in Atlanta before we got married with some mutual friends of ours. One of the sports questions was to name the colleges that five different NBA players attended. A group of 12 of us (consisting of sports loving guys) struggled to name 2 or 3 of the 5. At one point, Todd and I's friend Chris looked over and said, "I wish Todd were here, he would know". A week later Todd was in town, and the story of our trivia flop was told, Todd immediately knew the answer for all five guys after being told the question we missed. He could even name the high school they attended, and other information no one should have room for in their brain! I was geared up and ready for basketball in our home -- and ready for the undeniable fact that I would most likely be sucked into it too!

Right out of the gate, Todd made it clear basketball was king in our home! The first day of our honeymoon, Todd acquired tickets to the Maui invitational. We had a great time -- the gym was half the size of the one at my high school and such a fun atmosphere! We got settled in our new home in Florida, and not even a week later Todd was taking off to go to a Magic game with friends. That's alright, I ventured out to the mall that night and did a little bit of damage! And I'm sure you have guessed it, basketball has been on our TV nonstop lately. Yesterday Todd was out of town for work, so I got a nice break from what would have otherwise been a full day of hoops! Instead, he got home and it was on our TV no more than 5 minutes after he walked in the door. I fell asleep to basketball last night :)

We have both filled out brackets for march madness. I know I don't have much of a prayer against the guy who knows every player, every coach they have player for, their height, and their stats since 1996. But, I taped them to the front of the fridge anyway (nothing goes on the front of our fridge, only on the side). After yesterday's games, Todd is up a game or two. However, I let myself put Georgetown through much further than they should have, and after their loss yesterday I am hurting! But, the great thing about basketball is you never know who is going to win -- I love a good Cinderalla story! So, here's to hoping that I make it out of this without being too embaressed to keep my bracket on the fridge!

Friday, March 12, 2010

This is what should be for dinner...

With the yucky weather we have been having (rain, tornados, high winds, cold fronts) it was time for a good comfort food. I was watching Emeril live when I saw this recipe for soup and couldn't help but go to the grocery store in the yucky rain to get the ingredients. When you see the ingredient list you will find this shocking, but garlic was not on my grocery list; we seem to stockpile garlic here, and go through it quickly! This dinner was a hit, and I think the general concept would be great to make it into squash, potato, or pumpkin soup! I think I would just cut way back on the garlic, and include another veggie during the saute phase of the recipe. Like my title states, you should rework your menu so that this is what's for dinner tonight!

I started with my Le Creuset dutch oven, and heated 2 tablespoons of olive oil in the bottom of the pan on the stove. Once heated, I added 1 1/2 cups of quick diced sweet onions, a pinch of red pepper flakes, about 15 cloves of whole garlic (1/3 cup), and 3 bay leaves. I'm sure you are probably supposed to use fresh bay leaves, but I decided to cut back on the cost and used the dried bay leaves I had at home already. If you do this, make sure you pull them out after the soup has simmered. I then added several turns of ground pepper, and 2 1/2 teaspoons of sea salt. The salt helps with the cooking of the onion and garlic, be sure you season these base ingredients now instead of later when the soup is complete. I sauteed this mixture until the garlic and onions had a nice toasty brown caramel color, about 7 minutes. Make sure you don't over-cook at this point -- garlic becomes very bitter when this happens, and since they are the main ingredient you really want to avoid this!

Notice all of the yumminess on the bottom of my pot? That will be deglazed with stock to incorporate it into the soup. The recipe calls for 2 quarts of chicken or beef broth, but I did a mixture and it was great. In fact, I think all beef would be too rich of a flavor, and all chicken would be too bland. But, use what you have - I am a huge believer in using what is already in the fridge or pantry instead of buying new. So, once you have completed sauteeing your onion and garlic mixture add your choice of stock to the pot. Follow the stock with you guessed it, more garlic! This time, add 1 tablespoon of miced garlic. I went ahead and just pressed a few small cloves into the stock. Then, the recipe says to add 1 teaspoon of freshly chopped thyme and basil leaves. Again, I had lots of basil at the house and no thyme. I had a hard time justifying a two dollar purchase of fresh thyme for one little teaspoon, so I used dried and ground thyme out of the jar. And, to be completely honest, I used probably triple the amount of basil that was called for. We love fresh basil, and it looked like such a small amount in the pot so I added more! Bring this mixture to a boil, and then reduce the heat and cover the pot. This will simmer for 40 minutes.

Use the time the soup is simmering to prep a few things for the next steps in the soup. I went ahead and made the croutons to go on top. The soup will later require either french or italian bread. I used italian since it was on sale, and used some of the additional to make my croutons. I used a small skillet, and heated 4 tablespoons of olive oil in the bottom. Then, I added about a cup of the bread that I had diced into small cubes. I just watched the bread, and frequently stirred until the bread was golden brown and toasted.

When the bread is done, pour it out onto paper towels to drain. Go ahead and season them immediately with pinches of garlic powder, paprika, ground pepper, and salt. Put aside until you are ready to plate.

At this point, I went ahead and grated 1/4 cup of parmesan cheese, and diced an additional 2 cups of the italian bread. Had I been thinking, this would have been a great time to open a bottle of white wine to compliment the soup...but why not start enjoying it now while you wait for the soup to finish simmering!

After finishing a glass of wine, and 40 minutes of simmering, increase the heat. Whisk in the bread and a half cup of heavy cream. I used half and half because, you guessed it, that's what we had! It was great even without all the fat, so don't be afraid to cut back on the calories. Continue whisking for about 10 minutes, until the bread has basically disintegrated. Then, add the parmesan cheese, and remove from the heat. I used my immersion blender (which I love!) to puree the soup at this point, but if you don't have one stick it in the blender!

I used our shallow soup bowls and put a little over a cup of the soup in the bottom of the bowl. I grated a little bit more of the parmesan cheese onto the soup, and added a heaping amount of croutons. This soup is so rich and savory! We had it as an entree, but I think it would be great with a simple arugula salad or even as a side to a yummy sandwich. Hope this is for dinner at your house tonight, and if not... make it soon!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010


I love having company in town. I think it is so fun to have house guests, and even just dinner guests. In fact, I think event planning would be my "fun job" if I could have any job I wanted. Entertaining is in my blood; I'm an extrovert! Todd made fun of me a few weeks ago because he answered questions to a quiz in my Mom's food network magazine about my entertaining style. I don't remember what the exact title of what I am was, but I fell between a casual hostess, and the "trying too hard hostess" -- which doesn't make sense that I could be both in the first place. He found this quite funny...but, I don't think it is that I am trying, it's that I enjoy doing it! Magazine quizzes are so stupid - they only give four options that fit you into 4 stereotypes based on your answers...or their answers that don't quite fit what you would have answered. Anyway....It is so much different to be hostessing as a couple than by yourself -- definitely more fun. I think we get more guests now too. No one wants to bring their family over to the single girl's house for dinner. I like being able to use all of my platters and fun serving dishes outside of girls night (the only time I would have people over before beign married). Setting the table, or making a spread of food is always fun, as well as planning a menu. I love using the nice napkins that we don't use daily, and setting out our monogrammed soaps and things in the guest bathroom. I'm sure this wouldn't be half as fun if we weren't married. A monogram for yourself isn't quite as fun, and looks a little funny to guests I am sure. Who knew I would ever be saying this.... I remember thinking to myself as a child that I would never have "guest towels". We were never allowed to use the guest towels because they were for guests, and it was always a big deal that the house was cleaned spotless before they got to town. Having guests as a child wasn't this fun; it meant work. Which is quite ironic because the work of it is now what I love about it. I am sure my poor children will not enjoy the hoopla of having guests over. In fact, I think Todd is experiencing this already. I cleaned the guest bathroom last week, and he continued to go to the bathroom in it which meant I had to continually clean it until our guests arrived. Just like my mom, I wanted to clean it and let is sit a spotless shrine until guests arrived. Just walk the extra steps down the hall to a different bathroom...it makes complete sense to me! I'm sure he was ready to lose it, but I was too! haha

We are currently looking at several dates on the calendar in the next few months where we may have some guests in town, and it is getting me so excited! Since we got married, both of our parents have come to stay with us, and my parents helped us move which we were so thankful for! Just last weekend, we had our good friends from Atlanta come stay and we had a great time! They brought their maltese, so it was a big time for everyone, even Breck! My parents are planning another trip next month. It will be nice to have them here, because Todd will be out of town for work for part of their visit. Yes, I am a baby when it comes to Todd being out of town. It is worrisome when I don't know many people around here I could call if I needed something while he was gone. I am working on building up some friendships and a better support system here though! Finally, the icing on the cake is that my cousins and aunt and uncle from Seattle are coming to town for a week in October and doing the whole Disney/Universal thing (For the new Harry Potter exhibit). In addition, my parents are coming to stay with us during that time to meet up with everyone, and my sister and brother-in-law and their kids may be coming also. We love the fall for so many reasons, but this will be another reason to look forward to it!

Todd and I are having margaritas and homemade tacos for dinner tonight. So, cheers to being so blessed with quality time with Todd in our first home together, and to all of those who pass through our door! :o)

Friday, March 5, 2010

Division of Labor

As we get ready for some good friends from Atlanta to stay with us for the weekend, it made me wonder... what is the division of labor like in most homes? I don't think Todd and I are the norm -- I am certainly blessed to have Todd as a husband. Todd is so helpful, and even now that I am not working he insists on helping with the day to day things in the house. I can't sing his praises enough! He does so much around the house, and the more I think about it, I just don't know many men who are so involved with the division of household labor.

Two nights ago, Todd had a friend coming through town that we were going to meet for dinner. In the end, he stayed with us after realizing how far away his accomodations were and that he would have to pay for a cab to the airport the next morning. The best part is, yesterday morning I woke up to find that our bedroom door was closed so that I could sleep and Todd had already stripped the guest bed and had the washing machine going, took Breck out to potty, and unloaded and reloaded the dishwasher. He may have even done more in that time, but how thoughtful of him to do all of that before sitting down at his computer to work!

When we were both working, I felt so blessed to have a husband who was so good about helping equally in the house. But, now that I am at home and not working I feel that I should be taking on the majority of the work around the house. However, that is not the case. Todd still contributes greatly to the daily chores in our home and I feel so grateful to have him! Not only does Todd do the "manly" things like take out the trash, and reach things on high shelves for me, but he does everything in between too. Being in an apartment, most of the things that need to be done around the house are more domestic - we have no yard to mow, no leaves to rake, no plumbing to fix, etc.

We joke that Todd is my sous chef, as making meals has turned into good quality time for us. We share a bottle of wine, enjoy some cheese and crackers, and he truly does help dice, stir, and plate anything I ask for help with. He is actually seeming to be more comfortable in the kitchen, when only a few months ago his best friend was the microwave. I am never surprised to find that he has already switched the laundry from the washing machine to dryer when I go to do it myself. I think Todd is primarily the one to make sure Breck has food in the morning, and takes him out at the two worst times...first thing in the morning, and last thing before bed. While I am the one who primarily loads the dishwasher, Todd always seems to put the dishes away before I get to them. Oh, and for all of the horrible hand wash only items like pots and pans and knives -- he does those regulary too! And, as I write this he is going to get the mail...as he usually does.

All of this to say - I thank God for such a supportive, helpful, and giving husband who wakes up daily thinking of what he can do to make my day easier! How sexy is that?!?!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

100 days of Marriage!!

Yes, I am a little late on this post. My cousin never misses a beat, and pointed out my failure to include it in my March 1st posting! Thanks for the reminder :) Todd and I have been married 100 amazing days now! Most people talk about how difficult the first year is...learning to live together, be in each others' space all the time, re-learn "normal", etc. We have a few challenging moments, but for the most part it has been so much fun! Learning about each other, and starting a life together has been such a blessing for us! So here are some things we have learned among all the fun:

-Todd is a morning person, and I am well...NOT! He likes to be up first thing in the morning, take his shower and be completely ready before starting his day. I, on the other hand, like to enjoy my tea in jammies and hit the computer for a bit before jumping in the shower. Learning point: Todd smells good in the morning, and I do not!

-I am a night owl, and Todd is not! If I get going doing something, you bet I will stay up until it is done. Todd, well he shuts down around 9, and once he is done...he should be left alone! Learning point: Let Todd shut down at night, and stay clear til the morning! ;)

-We are both OCD! While I like to keep things organized and put away, Todd likes them organized and in plain sight. So, his tidy little piles of work materials under his desk dont bother him. However, when we have company over I like them to shift to drawers or in a closet -- especially since Todd's office is also our guest room. Learning point: While we are both OCD, we seem to differ here. I may have to be the one to get over it.

-Todd likes salty and I like sweet. I know we will never agree on this. I will not snack on anything all day, but reward myself after dinner with a bowl of ice cream. Todd isn't a fan of sweets and would rather snack on chips and salsa during the day. Learning point: He doesn't complain about my stash in the freezer, and I don't say a word about his stash in the pantry!

-1700 square feet is not as big as it seems. Who knew moving two 1000 square foot apartments into a 1700 square foot space would not be enough! We had a bed too many, way too many sets of mis-matched dishes (You guessed it, the dishes were Todd's), a desk too many, too many armoires, and as Todd calls it "Elizabeth's stuff". Learning point: I had to come to terms with getting rid of some of my amazing girlie things like my antique rod iron chandelier-style candelabra. I'm sure others are loving my things now. ;'( Todd had to learn that his 15 year old full mattress would not be as appreciated by our overnight guests as my 7 year old queen mattress. PS - His mom commented on how wonderful our guest bed was when they came to visit...I think that helped Todd's learning curve ;)

-.... oh yes, and Todd learned that all my "stuff" makes for such a cozy and decorated home! So do area rugs on cement floors.

-Todd has very contemporary taste, while mine is more traditional. We have had to make lots of compromises in decorating the house, and purchasing things. Learning point: It was not easy blending the two styles, but it turned out so great. Masculine and feminine at the same time!

-We both like to save money....on different things! Todd would eat Boca burgers and cereal for every meal in order to save money...as if we are in college and can't afford more than Ramen noodles! haha However, I enjoy no longer being in college and good food, and think eating should be an event! I like to save money by hunting for deals, Todd does not like the thrill of the hunt as I do. He would rather walk in and pay full price to have it done with. Learning point: I do the grocery shopping for the most part, we seem to have a more balanced diet that way, and after all I do the cooking. Todd does not have to worry about my spending being out of control since our last months clothing expenses are as follows: Todd $700 (a navy jacket from his favorite expensive boutique on Park Ave., John Craig) Elizabeth $65 (a pair of Lucky jeans from the outlet, and a cute graphic print long sleeve shirt from the Eddie Bauer outlet)

-Todd did not want pets, and I wanted a dog. I thought we would have to have an adorable little girl big enough to beg for a puppy before I ever got one. After exposing Todd to friends with cute, fun little dogs, Todd gave in. Learning point: When I am ready for children, I will simply expose Todd to friends with cute, fun little kids!

I'm sure there is so much more! I tried to hit the high points! Haha For anyone wondering, Todd did approve this message...and even laughed a few times! ;) Well, off to take my shower...only kidding I am bathed already, just not very put together! I am actually off to make dinner for a couple at our church who have a premature baby in the hospital, give Breck a bath, and do a run-through pick-up of the house before we a have a friend of Todd's over for dinner tonight. Chao!

Monday, March 1, 2010

Crazy Weekend!

We just got back from a whirlwind tour of the southeast this past week! We left for Atlanta last Wednesday morning, and arrived in the late afternoon. Todd had a meeting that night at Seasons 52, so I dropped him off, and proceeded to girls night at Eclipse de Luna! We had such a great time, and enjoyed margaritas of course! I have decided that we need to do this everytime I am in town! Thanks to Lisa Anne for always having a camera...

The next day, after Todd returned from meetings in Atlanta, we left for Birmingham and spent the evening at one of Todd's coworker's for dinner. We stayed at the Ross Bridge Renaissance that night, which was so fun since we stayed there the night of our wedding! However, we were actually able to enjoy our room and the hotel a bit more than that night when we rushed in, and the next morning when we rushed out. We had such a great and relaxing breakfast the next morning overlooking the golf course with a shrimp and chirizzo fritata and a smoothie over the paper. Todd then left me so that he could go teach a pharmacy class at Samford -- after all, it was the reason we were in Birmingham. We enjoyed lunch with some good friends of ours, Beau and Rachel before hitting the road back to Atlanta.

We returned back to Atlanta for my brother-in-law's surprise "yay for making partner" party. Oh, and also my sister's birthday was this weekend, so my mom and I made her cupcakes with little pink and yellow gumpaste daisies. Sorry, I failed at takign pictures this weekend! It was so nice to spend the weekend with family and friends. My nieces and nephew gave Breck so much love while we were in town, and my Dad affectionately named him Oscar the Grouch...because that is who he would favor if he were only green! haha I think I may have to agree! Halloween costume idea?? Maybe!!

We made the long drive home yesterday, and as always were happy to be home! Today, I was so excited to put up the drapes my mom made for me while we were home. I bought some toile fabric years ago, and always had the intention of having her make them, but never knew what I wanted. So, I decided to finally just have something very simple and versatile done with them for our guest room. That way, they will be very easily used in whatever home we live in. I'm sure Todd is happy I waited to have them made, because they were originally for my bedroom when I was single, and I had planned on fringe, and lots of girlie flair! So, here is a peek...thanks Mom, they look great and I love them!!!