Wednesday, October 27, 2010

French Dip Sandwiches & Friends

Tuesday started bright and early in the Miranda House... Hector had Bible study at Starbuck's with his community group guys and I just couldn't sleep past 5am. So I did some catching up on my TV shows.. Brothers & Sisters was calling my name.

Four (ok--maybe five) Pillsbury cinnamon rolls later I got up and started cleaning-for we had a dinner guest coming over that night! My best friend at work, Leslie Pate. We survived nursing school together and ended up working in the same hospital, same unit. And after discussing our jobs at length last night, we realized they have never put us as roommates in the same room.. hmmmm.. Do they think we'd be trouble together, or what?? :)

And at 10am Hector and I started making dinner. :)

French Dip Sandwiches
1 2.5-3lb beef roast
2 T olive oil
salt and pepper
2 1-oz packets of dry onion soup mix
2 cans beef broth
2 cups water
6-8 large buns (we used Sara Lee French rolls-which were PERFECT)
Swiss, provolone or mozzarella cheese

First, rub the beef roast with salt and pepper-be generous, this adds so much flavor! And literally rub it. I sprinkled it on and then rubbed it to really smear it into the meat. Heat the oil in a skillet until HOT. Then brown the meat on all sides. This only take a couple minutes, if your oil is hot. You're not cooking the meat, only searing the outsides to seal in flavor and juices.
After all sides are browned, place it in your crock pot. Sprinkle the onion soup mixes on top. Then add the two cans of beef broth and the two cups of water.
After all ingredient are in the pot, turn it to "Low" for 8-10 hours. You can also save an hour or two by cooking on "High" for 4-5 hours then "Low" for another 3-4 hours. We just did "Low" from 10:30 to 6:30 and it didn't need another minute. When it's ready, take the meat out and shred it with a fork.

Place the meat on the rolls and top with cheese. Broil open-faced in the oven for a few minutes, you just want your bread to be slightly crispy and your cheese to melt. Ladle the juice from the crock pot into little cups for dipping and dig in!
Oh, they were delicious. For next time, we left ours in the oven for just a second too long and the meat dried a little. But the cheese got a little crispy and I thought that added a whole other flavor!

A big thanks to the ladies over at Our Best Bites, for providing the recipe!

Later today, after our doctor's appointment, I'll put up my 28 week belly pictures, though, you'll recognize the outfit above. :)

It was a nice night, hanging out with Leslie and Hector, eating great (easy!) food and watching House. It was a NICU episode.. how appropriate? :) Can't wait to do it again!

So we have a check-up today at 11. Then some fun errands to run (that may or may not involve getting our Halloween costume materials...). I'll fill you in later!

Friday, October 22, 2010

Glider Project 2010

I needed a glider for Cohen's nursery. I knew this, Mom knew this.. but only Mom was proactive about it. :) I mean, I was checking Craig's List daily, but they were all $150 or more or really janky. Mom was merely driving by a garage sale and saw one sitting out there for $30, in good condition, with an ottoman! Steal! She knew we were looking for a project, or at least willing to put in some work for the right price. So she bought it. Here it is before we touched it...
Of course, we wanted the wood to be the dark espresso color and the cushions to match Cohen's bedding. So, Hector got right to it... sanding down to the skeleton of this chair, out in my Dad's shop.
He worked SO hard! I would have sanded one piece, gotten seriously bored/tired and quit. He sanded for hours and hours!

In the meantime, Mom and I were inside working on the cushions. I'd gotten some super soft corduroy-esque fabric at JoAnn's and was real excited to get rid of the dirty blue denim-ish fabric that currently covered the cushions. And when I say that Mom and I worked on them, I mostly mean that she measured, cut and sewed while I watched. How much can two people really do at the same time on a sewing job?? Thanks Mom.. :)

Then it was time to stain! And staining to the dark espresso color of Cohen's other furniture is easier said than done! But I did help with this.
Really, I just stopped to smile for a second.. ;) And please pardon the size of these pics, Mom emailed them to me and I couldn't make them larger without making them look pixel-y.

So, after two trips to Paris and countless hours on Hector and my Mom's parts.. the glider and ottoman are finished!
It's sitting up in Cohen's room right now, looking quite amazing, if I do say so myself. I'll put up pictures of the room in a day or two. We're getting the dresser after this payday, so his room will be about complete once we add that. Then, I'll post pictures.

A special thanks to my Mom, for grabbing up this great deal of a chair and for all your expert sewing know-how. You always amaze me, how crafty you are. And for your contribution in sanding all those little curvy pieces of the chair!

Thank you Dad, for letting us use your shop and your tools. And for cutting out the new piece for the ottoman. No matter what we needed, you provided it. Thank you so much!

And to my sweet husband, Hector.. You are amazing! This chair is so much prettier than I ever imagined it could be. Your dedication and hard work really paid off. Your attention to detail and need for perfection really come in handy on a project like this. I just know it's going to be such a calming addition to our son's room. Just think of all the nights he'll fall asleep in my (and your!) arms while we gently rock with him on the glider.

State Fair of Texas

For the past two years, I've sworn I'm going to go to the State Fair of Texas. For two years, I never got around to it. This year, however, I HAD to go... Why? Because of the food and my gigantic appetite. :) So, a week and a half ago, armed with Zantac, Tums and some good walking shoes, Hector and I set out to the Fair.

We took Dr. Pepper cans to get in for 3 dollars each.. (a savings of 24 DOLLARS!) Spoiler Alert: This post is mostly about food at the fair. :)

First rattle out of the bag, what should welcome us through the gates but......
Chicken Fried Bacon!!!!!
Yes sir... I didn't think you could make my favorite pork product any tastier, but they did. And with a little Tobasco sauce? Mmm. Tums #1.

Then we kept on walking. We passed the petting zoo, and the Wine Garden. I couldn't sample wines and Hector didn't feel like it, so we bypassed this otherwise desirable portion of the fair. We passed tons of fried desserts and the famous fried frozen margaritas (how'd they do that??) but we knew what was next on our list... Fletcher's Corn Dogs. So, we kept going, eyes on the prize. We rounded a corner and lo and behold..... FLETCHER'S!
WORTH all 30 tickets it cost us for two corn dogs and a large lemonade! Tums #2.

Then we looked at all the cars they had on display.. And dreamed of having a new car someday. :)

Now that we'd had our corn dogs, we were not particular about what we had next. But Hector had heard that they had fried guacamole bites somewhere, so we stopped to ask an information lady, and she said, "Oh yea, just go left here, right here, straight for 50ft, pass this, around that corner and THERE they are." How do they do THAT? Of all the foods and sights to see, she knew exactly how to get to the guac bites! And she was spot on. With some difficulty remembering, we followed her instructions and VOILA!, there they were.
Hector liked them. Not his Fair favorite, but he liked them.
Oh, Hey Big Tex~ Couldn't go to the Fair without saying hi to this big guy!
And I also couldn't let Hector 'one up' me on the fried delights... so I saw the fried cheesecake stand! Tums #3 and #4. These were perhaps the very best part of the evening.
No, I didn't trust the strangers around me enough to let them take a picture of us. So, extended arm picture it is. :) That was the line for the Ferris Wheel behind us, MILES long. I so wanted to ride but didn't think I could stand in a line for so long.

I was pretty full, but we made out way to the indoor Food Court, just to be sure we didn't miss anything. And I guess we would have, because:
Hector found gorditas...
And I found funnel cakes! Tums #5. He said the gordita was awesome, and we both thought the funnel cake was award-winning. :)

So, we were very tired by this time... And my feet hurt. We started to make our way back towards the side we'd parked on. And we realized we had 12 tickets left. Well, that's like 6 dollars, and we didn't wanna WASTE it, so Hector remembered seeing a fresh-squeezed lemonade stand near where we walked in. A mile later, we found the stand (not near our entrance, I might add) and we got the greatest tasting fresh lemonade we've ever drank. (Fair delirium?? maybe..)

Ahh.. Another year, another Texas State Fair gone by. I'm very glad we made it out there. What did I take away from this experience (besides a very full belly and achy feet)? #1 Sadly, some of the greatest foods out there happen to be fried. #2 We should probably go get put on cholesterol-lowering medicines, immediately. #3 I don't think I can ever take my kids to that dirty place, especially when they're in strollers. #4 The midway and its creepy carnies scares me a little bit. and #5 We should buy less tickets next time, to keep from feeling obligated to buy more food. :)

All in all, a great night. :)

Friday, October 8, 2010

Small surprises!

It's been a really nice two nights off. Like, reallllly nice and relaxing.

Wednesday evening we had our group night at Tyler and Lisa's house. It's getting... interesting! :)

Then Thursday began with us waking early and walking to Starbuck's where I feasted on a Chai tea latte and an over sized rice krispie treat... my guilty pleasure. We then walked through Barnes & Noble and a few other shops before coming back home. And relax, we did. We watched House Hunters, The Blind Side and other various shows. There was lots of watching/feeling Cohen stretching and kickboxing. Man, we love this kid. We talked about how we can. not. wait. to meet him. We made pizza and watched Couples Retreat, which, sadly, was a pretty sorry movie. Not funny and pretty slowww.

Then we decided to play dominoes! Which we've never done. We got a set of double twelve dominoes as a wedding gift, and for some reason have just never even opened.
Yes, Hector won.. And he made sure to get my leftover ten dominoes into the picture (there in the bottom left)..

I think we'll probably rematch soon. :)

Why call this small surprises? Because Hector likes to surprise me occasionally and he did something cute this week. You know how they make those rice krispie treats from Kellogg's with the space to write a little note on them? Sweet Hector bought some of those and snuck them into my lunches on Monday and Tuesday. I didn't know we had them. :)

Monday night's treat..

Tuesday :)

Ahhhh.. I really love him. <3

Sunday, October 3, 2010

The beginnings of a happy place...

So, I told you all a while ago that we were getting the crib delivered, as well as the bedding. Well... They arrived this week and we couldn't be more happy with the results so far!

The crib is BSF Baby Addison from Babies 'R' Us and the bedding is CoCaLo Snickerdoodle, also from BRU. The baby mattress is a Colgate Classica III Supreme (a dual-firmness foam mattress) that we researched high and low before purchasing. :) It is super firm on one side, then the other is made of egg-crate foam and is slightly less firm for Cohen to sleep on when we convert his bed to a toddler bed.

This is what Cohen's room is looking like so far:
My glider will go there in the corner behind me after Mom and I refinish it!

The set came with the diaper stacker, which I've been told is a useless item ;)

I love all the soft textures and colors of the quilt (which we'll hang on the wall for decoration while he's an infant)..

We like to see how tiny he'll look in his crib by laying his clothes in there. :)

I am so pleased with how the curtains turned out! It really softens the room and will provide some much needed darkness for Cohen's nap times! This is not the lamp I want here.. this is ours from our bedroom, but we needed extra light for the decorating. Hopefully I'll find what I'm looking for sooner or later.
This is what I have in mind for a lamp.. and I hadn't found one for a price I liked yet, but when I Google searched it just now to put a picture on here, this one from Lowe's came up for $44.97! That's more like it!

In a couple weeks, after we save up some more, we're going to hopefully get the dresser. Everyone has told us NOT to buy a "changing table" because after he outgrows it, we'll be stuck with a baby changing table and be needing a dresser. So, we've opted to find a 6-drawer, dresser that we can just set a changing pad on top of for now. We've found some great deals.. and of course, I'll show you once we buy it. :)

What do you think so far? :)
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