Thursday, December 19, 2013

Make It Personal

I really can't believe that Christmas is right around the corner! The final countdown is on and the constant reminder of how many shopping days remain can give us all anxiety. Tis the season for giving and I love coming up with the perfect item that will make someone happy.  This year I decided to put together some gifts for friends with a personal touch by making them myself. 

It's no surprise that the weather is dry and freezing during the winter in New England. When I hosted a ladies holiday party last week, I wanted everyone to leave with something special. So I created a homemade peppermint sugar body scrub. It was super easy, inexpensive and smelled amazing!

Peppermint Sugar Body Scrub
2 cups sugar
1/4 cup coconut oil
3-4 drops peppermint extract
5-6 drops red food coloring 

I found cute canning jars at Christmas Tree Shops. This is a New England store but the same jars can be found at Home Goods, Target, Amazon....pretty much anywhere. I mixed the ingredients with my hands until the sugar was fluffy. For the candy cane effect, layer the white mixture and the red. Make sure you press down each layer with a spoon to pack in as much as possible. This will keep it from shaking around in the jar. I made half candy cane and half solid white and accessorized the jars with candy. The sugar and coconut oil leave your skin so silky! 

My parents have a group of friends who they always exchange gifts with each year. I think it's pretty cool that they keep it up year after year so I wanted to start the same with our group of friends on Cape Cod. The gifts are always festive and usually involve food that can be enjoyed with family or when friends stop by during the holidays. Chris and I decided to make our own herb infused olive oil. It's a great item to have around the house with some bread, olives and cheese. 

 We started with a mixture of spices and crushed them with a mortar and pestle. This opens the herbs up and will allow the flavor to infuse in the oil. I really love the 21 Seasoning Salute from Trader Joe's. If you have your own garden, it's great to use fresh rosemary with this as well.

Herb Mixture
21 Seasoning Salute
Sea Salt
Black Peppercorns
Red Pepper Flakes 

We put 1 jar of each spice in the mortar and pestle to crush up. Be modest with the red pepper flakes because not everyone likes it spicy. We only used half the jar in our recipe. Then using a funnel we added 4 tablespoons of herb mixture to each bottle before filling with a really good extra virgin olive oil. 

I found the bottles on Amazon and they are perfect because the cork top will keep the oil fresh. I plan to tie a wooden gift tag around the neck and they will be ready for delivery. If you are a baker, you could even bake some bread to go with the oil. I am putting that on my list of things to learn to do in 2014! 

Have a wonderful holiday season! I hope to share more of what's going on in our home and various projects I'm working on in 2014. Stay tuned!!!

Monday, December 9, 2013

Holiday Treats

My apologies for taking so long to update my blog. I promise more excitement to come as I am working on a few fun projects that I can't wait to share! Today, I would like to share what's going on in our house during this holiday season. This is the time of year to enjoy friends and family. I love entertaining whether its a huge dinner party or a few friends for a glass of wine. In any situation, we are always in need of some snacks to go with that glass of wine or eggnog. I like to keep these items around during the season in case friends stop by without notice or in case I haven't had time to go to the store. It saves time and allows you to enjoy friends and family without worrying if you have something to serve. My grandmother always had bowls of various candy and treats so my inspiration comes from her. There was never any lack of food at her house!!

Spiced Oyster Crackers
These are super easy and only take about 30 minutes to make. You can prepare them in bulk and store in a large tupperware container. Then pour out in a small bowl as needed.

1 package Ranch Dressing Dry Mix ( I use Hidden Valley)
1/2 tbsp Dill Weed
1/2 tbsp Lemon Pepper
1/2 tbsp Red Pepper Flakes (leave out if you don't like spicy)
1/4 tbsp Garlic Powder
1/4 cup Vegetable Oil
5 cups Oyster Crackers

Mix ingredients together and pour over crackers. Stir to coat and transfer to baking sheet. Bake at 250 degrees for 20 minutes.

People Puppy Chow
A sweet treat that will be a fan favorite for sure! I usually have to make this a couple of times since my husband loves it so much. It should be covered in a bit more powdered sugar than my photo. I ran out on the day I was taking photos.

1 package Semi Sweet Chocolate Chips (I use Nestle Toll House)
3/4 package Peanut Butter Chips (I use Reece's)
1 stick Butter
1 box Rice Chex Cereal
1 box Powdered Sugar

Melt chocolate chips, peanut butter chips and butter together in microwave safe bowl or on stovetop. Pour over cereal and stir to coat. Pieces will clump together and this is okay. Using your hands to mix ensures all cereal pieces are covered. Place mixture in a large plastic bag and add powdered sugar. Shake to coat. I have used a trash bag for this or you can split recipe into 2 large ziplock bags and shake until contents are covered in white sugar. Store in a large tupperware container and serve in small bowls as needed.

Peanut Butter Rice Krispie Treats
This is an oldie but goodie and takes no time! The peanut butter is a nice twist or you can always do the traditional plain marshmallow.

1 stick butter
1 package Mini Marshmallows
1 package Peanut Butter Chips
5 cups Rice Krispies

Melt butter, marshmallows and peanut butter chips together. Stir in Rice Krispies until all are coated. Pour into 9x12 pan. I usually spray with Pam to make sure the bottom doesn't stick. Allow to cool then slice into squares and serve.

Happy Holidays!!

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Fresh Juice-No Juicer

Yes, you read the title correctly! I successfully made my own juice without the use of an expensive juicer. I just returned from eating my way through Texas I knew it was time to get my diet back on track with some fresh juice. There are a ton of companies that offer really great delivery programs right to your door, but they are expensive! I wanted a way to have fresh juice as a regular source of vitamins and nutrients for my body, but I did not want to break the bank while trying to lead a more healthy lifestyle.

I started this adventure by researching different vegetable and fruit blends that would provide me with all the good stuff my body craves. My research lead me to This website has so many great recipes and also lists why each blend is beneficial. Really great information.....totally wish I came up with a site like that. So helpful!!

I did my shopping at Trader Joe's because they have incredibly fresh produce with even better prices. If you don't have a Trader Joe's, check out local farmer's markets or community gardens for inexpensive fresh produce. Or work on a garden of your own! I saved on the cucumber and parsley because I already have those items in my garden.

My Shopping List:
Green Apple
Red Apple

Now for the juice without a juicer! You will need a blender so I'm sorry if you thought you could do this without any appliances at all. A blender is useful for so many other reasons. You will get much more out of it than a juicer. I have a Vitamix and it is incredible! Highly recommend! I can make soup, smoothies, sauces, dips, spreads, juice, margaritas and a whole mess of other things with it. Totally worth every penny!

You will also need a strainer and/or a cheese cloth. I have found a two step process with both is more successful when it comes to removing the pulp so you are left with only liquid juice. I hate pulp so the two step process is necessary for me. It may not be for you so pick your poison.

Juice #1
2 Cups Kale
2 Cups Spinach
1 Cucumber Peeled
2 Stalks of Celery
Handful of Parsley
2-3 Large Chunks of Pineapple
1/2 Cup of Water

The great thing about the Vitamix is that you don't have to finely chop your vegetables. I literally threw everything into the blender in chunks and let the machine do the work. After everything is turned to a liquid form, it's time to strain the pulp out so you are left with only juice. My two step process is shown below with a strainer and then a cheese cloth. I started with the strainer then put what didn't drain through the strainer into the cheese cloth. Gently squeeze it to help all the juice to press out. You will be left with a very interesting green clump that can go directly into your compost. The cheese cloth can go in the compost too so clean up is super easy and you are making the most of everything by not putting the excess in the trash. Juicing and saving the planet all in a day's work!

Once I have all the juice squeezed out, I store it in mason jars for safe keeping in the fridge. It will be fresh for about 3 days. I like to drink it after it has been refrigerated for a couple of hours. Cold and refreshing!

Below are a couple more recipes I have tried and love. This has really made me feel so much better. Whether you want to do a juice cleanse or incorporate juices into your daily diet, I highly recommend!! Please share thoughts and any recipes you have in the comments section. 

Green Machine

4 Cups Kale
2 Stalks of Celery
1 Cucumber Peeled
3 Green Apples Cored
1/2 Piece of Ginger Peeled
1 Lemon Squeezed (Juice only in blender)
1/2 Cup of Water

Orange Monster
6 Cups Carrots
2 Lemons Squeezed (Juice only in blender)
1 Inch Piece of Ginger Peeled
1 Cup Water

3 Red Apples Cored
4 Beets Peeled
2 Cups Carrots
1 Cup Water

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Living North of the Mason Dixon Football Edition

Recently a lot of people have asked me 'How do you like living on Cape Cod?' It's funny because the tone always implies that I'm going to respond that I hate it. I live at the beach in a vacation could anyone not love it here?? The summer is amazing and I wish it was longer, but I feel like this is true with a lot of places. You take the bad weather with the good. When I lived in Dallas it was a billion degrees in the summer. Not exactly ideal but there are other times in the year that make it worth it. 

Now that we are seeing a glimpse of fall coming around it does make me miss the south quite a bit. It's Football Time in Tennessee and I do wish every Saturday that I was in Knoxville signing Rocky Top at the top of my lungs while moving my arms along to every routine I can remember from my dance team days. There is no better place in the world than Neyland Stadium on Saturdays!! The campus traditions of the Vol Walk, the parade with the Pride of the Southland Marching Band, running through the 'T', the beauty of the orange and white checkerboard end-zone, V-O-L-S, and of course the Whooo in Rocky Top are more than enough to give you chills and cause your hair to stand on end. 

Along with football comes the best tailgating in the world. Waking up to the sounds of Game Day and wondering through a sea of orange will wake you right up in the morning. It doesn't matter what time the game is as long as you are on campus first thing in the morning. The smell and view of amazing tailgate spreads like BBQ, chili frijto pie, Smokey dogs, and dips as far as the eye can see. My favorite part of tailgating is bouncing around from tent to tent having a taste of all the southern goodness that is homemade with love and usually cream cheese. YUM!! Then a little friendly game of cornhole will keep you going until its time to enter the stadium. 

While I do love where I live, I miss so much that comes with life south of the Mason Dixon line. College football, fried food, tailgating, and of course the most amazing accents on the planet. The best part about southern accents is that only we can differentiate between states. TN is very different from SC who is very different from AL and AR and GA. It's wonderful! But we are all part if the SEC which is the best! I think the funniest conversation Chris and I had was about our favorite teams. When I asked him who his football team was and he responded with the Patriots I about fell in the floor. He didn't have a college football team!!!! What a tragedy!!! All it took was a visit to Knoxville for the TN/Bama game for him to be a fan and to understand the deep love that southerners have for their college football teams. There is nothing better in the world!

It's Great To Be A Tennessee Vol!!!!

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

If you organize and pack it....

I feel like we have been planning our house renovation for a decade so last week I decided that if I started packing and organizing the house then maybe it will finally happen. If I organize and pack it, they will come. 'They' referring to the team that is going to help us create our dream home. Cheesy play on Field of Dreams but if it worked for them maybe it will apply to our situation. Or I can just blog about this until it finally comes together!

The planning began about a year ago with a combined vision from Chris, myself and my dad. I may be the luckiest girl in the world because my father is one of the most talented architects on the planet. Chris and I wanted to update the home he bought from his father. It was built in 1900 as a summer cottage and needs some TLC to bring it up to date. My dad opened Pandoras Box by designing a compete work of art along with the necessary updates that will allow us to build a family and live here forever. Once I saw his plans, which were about 10 times more major than I had in my mind, I knew this was our home and we would have to go for it. I was so grateful that Chris purchased the home and we didn't have to search for a place to live after we got married, but the house was his parents and it has been difficult for me to live in their space. We need a space that is ours and a home that we can create together. That's exactly what we are going to get....hopefully sooner than later. 

Growing up with a father who is an architect came along with a house that was and still is under construction. It's beautiful, but a constant work in progress. I made it very clear to Chris that I did not want to live in a house that is constantly under construction. I'm a nester and I like organization where everything has its place. I hate clutter and that may be the biggest argument we have had. Chris puts things in piles around the house with no rhyme or reason. But he always knows what's in those piles. Blows my mind!!! Is this a man thing? My dad does the same thing. A year could go by and they still know exactly what pile that tiny piece of paper with a phone number is in.   

So the house is going to be a major project and will require us to move out, hence why I am packing and moving everything into storage. We will start by lifting the house and digging out a finished basement. The house currently sits right on the sand and is beginning to tilt like most old homes do. The basement will also be ideal for the day kids come along so we can send them down to play. This was an argument that was won by me after our friends brought their kids over during a football game. Chris quickly realized how necessary a basement will be. More necessary for me in the near future so Chris can have his own man cave where I won't complain about his video games. It's a win win!!

Once the house is lifted, we will insulate everything and add on a master bedroom where I will finally have a closet!!! Another problem with old closets. Such a mystery to me. Did they not have clothes or shoes back in the day?? Currently my clothes are on rolling racks in the corner of our bedroom. Not acceptable! :) Our master bedroom will come with a master bathroom where the toilet will have its own room with a door. I watched the Oprah episode about what goes in the air when you flush the toothbrush on the sink next to the toilet is not working out. So gross! 

So, this is going to be a big project, but I am so excited for the outcome. It has been a long road of approvals so far since we live in maybe the most historically preserved area ever!! I understand the need to keep everything historically correct and we want our house to be a Cape Cod style home, but man they are taking forever. My fingers and toes are crossed that the machines and work crew will show up shortly so I can start planning the interior details. So much fun to finally design something for myself!! The challenge is keeping it Cape Cod chic but not beach house overload since we live here year round. Until then, I will continue stalking Houzz, Pinterest and any design magazine that catches my eye. I have a notebook with tabs separating each room of the house and inspiration photos in plastic sheet protectors. I did say I like organization, right?!?!
Stay tuned for progress updates!! The house lifting should be pretty cool to see so I will share along the way. 

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Life Through a Lens

While sitting and watching 4th of July fireworks this weekend, I noticed how many people were recording the show with various devices. iPhones, iPads, Androids, Samsungs, tablets and a million other hand held pieces that I don't even know the name of. As I was watching, like I thought most people do, I realized I was one of the few who didn't have a recording of the display. The worst part was the crowd of kids....young kids....sitting on the front row watching the entire night through their phones or tablets. What happened to enjoying the moments in life as they happen?? I am a huge fan of documenting moments with photos, but I really don't understand the need to record every moment of a fireworks display or a concert. The same thing happened recently at a concert. People were recording the entire show on their tablets instead of watching what was happening right in front of them. Why come to the concert if you are going to watch on a screen? Is it for posting on the internet or social media sites? Is this what the internet has done to us? We feel the need to record everything in order to post it or share it or edit it in a creative way like no one else has before?

This is another fear I have about raising children in the world we live in today. Kids are getting iPhones younger and younger and they aren't playing outside. I remember playing kickball, capture the flag, tag, soccer, softball and riding bikes until I couldn't pedal any longer. We would build forts and lemonade stands on hot summer days. The only time I was inside was if it was raining and even then we would use our creativity to find something fun to do. Technology wasn't a part of my daily life. Of course I am saying this on a blog and I am so guilty of using social media and playing candy crush on a daily basis! But, I want my kids to have a childhood like I did. I want them to play and experience life as it happens, not through a camera on a computer.  I want them to build real forts and sell real lemonade, not virtually against other people on the internet.

What comes next? As soon as I think technology can't get any better, something new comes out. Will I be expected to give my child a phone when they can talk? Or at that point something better like a flying barbie car with bluetooth? When do we go back to just playing outside and coming home when the street lights come on? That's what I remember about my childhood and I don't need videos of it all to have great memories. I know it will be our job to set boundaries and to decide what is right for our children when they reach that age.

I guess my ultimate question in this post is about drawing boundaries. How do you decide what to allow and when to allow it when it comes to technology? What do you do when your children have friends who have access to information on the internet that you don't want your kids to see? Where do you draw the line and how do we get back to enjoying life in the moment?

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

First comes love, then comes marriage.....

Let me start this by saying I am NOT pregnant. This is simply a conversation starter about where we are in our marriage and the order of what comes next.

It's funny when you enter into a relationship and the questioning that comes along with every step of that relationship. Dating-When are you getting engaged? Engaged-When is the wedding? Married-When are you having a baby? These questions are totally understandable and I am guilty of asking them of my friends, but now I am having a chance to reflect as I have entered the 'third phase'.....when are you having a baby?

When Chris and I got engaged, we really wanted to enjoy that moment in our life because it is a chance to celebrate the relationship and take time to plan an event that truly represents who you are as a couple. The wedding went by in a matter of hours and now everyone is in a rush to find out when the kids are popping out. What happened to enjoying your time as a couple and having the opportunity to experience life together?? So much pressure is put on the process of marriage and starting a family and I'm not sure why everyone is in such a crazy rush. After our wedding we agreed that we didn't want to bring up the idea of having a baby until we had been married a year. (Let me add a side note here.....this is our opinion and not what I think everyone else should be doing. Every couple is different and I truly believe each person should do what is right for them.)  So, we celebrated our first anniversary and naturally the question of starting a family came up. We had a crazy first year of marriage with the show and traveling and I wouldn't change a single moment. But, we are still enjoying the ability to travel as we please and to take advantage of opportunities that are sent our direction.

My mind goes back to college and living the single life. I always wanted to live in the moment and experience everything I possibly could at that place and time. It was my chance to be selfish and to only worry about myself. Now, I want to live in the moment with my husband and to be selfish in a different way with him. Is that so bad?? Expanding our family will be a huge decision and we need to be ready to commit to the fact that our lifestyle will change. I think everyone is aware of my only child syndrome and I am still getting used to sharing a bed with another person! I'm learning to share and I'm still learning that I don't always get my way. So with that said....I'm throwing any sort of planning out the window. What is meant to be will be and I will roll with the punches. (Chris will say this is not a phrase that ever comes out of my mouth.) I don't typically roll with the punches. I am a planner and I am fairly OCD in making sure there is a plan in place. I get this from my mother. Chris drives me crazy because he is about as opposite from me as possible in this capacity. He NEVER makes a plan. EVER. Which is good at times because as I have said before, marriage is about balance and compromise. But for real, you think we are going to just walk into a very popular restaurant at 7:00pm without reservations and it's all going to be fine? Just make a reservation.....why is that hard?

With the family planning topic, I just need to be mentally prepared for how our life will change. I have seen friends who get pregnant immediately, some who got pregnant by accident and others who have struggled through every effort of trying to conceive. This is the reason for throwing out the plan. I have no idea what our experience will be. I would like to say that we will have 3-4 children close in age and that things will be smooth sailing. But it's time to enter the reality of the situation and that's looking like we have to roll with the punches and take it as it comes. I find it so ironic that women try so hard not to get pregnant, then when many are ready to start a family it's near impossible to get pregnant. So many of my friends have experienced this and it makes me think about what my experience will be. Everyone is different. My grandmother had my father and his twin brother at age 45 so crazier things have happened. She was a saint....identical twin boys at 45. So, maybe I will follow in her footsteps.....hopefully before I'm 45.

Jimmy and Charlie

Until the 'right' time comes along I think it's time to get a dog! We have been looking at Swiss Mountain Dogs. My parents have two Newfoundlands, who are huge and so lovable. I wanted a Bernese Mountain Dog because they don't drool like the Newfies, but Chris wasn't thrilled about all that hair. So that's what brought us to the Swissy. Let me know your thoughts if you have experience with them and if you know of a breeder in New England that you would recommend. I'm already picking out names....all southern of course because I know I will lose that battle when it comes to kids names.

Gabby and Lillie at Christmas

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Where do I come from?

This week while watching television, I finally paid attention one of the many ads that came on during a commercial break. I have watched this ad a million times and always thought in the back of my mind that it could be cool to look into my family tree. I don't know how to answer people when the question "where do you come from" is asked. My answer consists of "I come from a small town in East've probably never heard of it." But if the inquiring mind asks me about my family heritage I come up blank. English...Irish....Scottish....I don't know. I'm a white blonde girl so it has to be one of those. All I ever really knew was I had extended family in Virginia and Tennessee so we are southern to the core.

My dad told me his father came from Canada so that got me thinking. Chris's family is also from Canada....oh crap what if we are related??? I think that's what ultimately was keeping me from looking into the family tree. I said I was southern, but not in the marrying your cousin kind of southern. I'll cut to the chase....we are NOT related beyond our marriage. Shew!!

Here's the mother's side of the family is from Virginia and Tennessee for the most part. There are a lot of them! My grandmother had 4 brothers and before her generation there were even more. The Blessing family was blessed in the fertility department. My grandfather is a Reed, but his last name should have been Read. Somewhere in the birth certificate department the spelling was changed. I have found this in several extended lines of the family. Multiple spelling of names.....that totally wouldn't fly in 2013. I guess before technology handwritten documents were easy to misinterpret.

My dad's side of the family was interesting to me. My first and middle names, Peyton Jennings, come from that side so I really wanted to dig deep into where my name originated. This was another common question I couldn't answer...."Who were you named after?" My answer...."Ummmm a great, great, great not sure how many greats, uncle or someone who was in the Civil War and an aunt of some sort that we spend Christmas with, but I'm not really sure exactly how we are related." Now I can proudly say I was named after Peyton N. Hale, a Captain in the Civil War who was the cousin of my grandmothers grandfather. The website lists him as my first cousin four times removed. My parents saw his headstone in a family cemetery before I was born. I believe his middle name is joke. My mom used to say that was the other name they had on the short list when I was born. Glad that didn't work out! The third name on the short list was Eli, who was my grandmother's great grandfather. Ironic isn't it....Peyton and Eli......Manning. Get it now?!?!

Then my middle name, Jennings before I got married, came from Lucille Jennings who was my grandmother's first cousins daughter, or my second cousin 1 time removed. Still don't understand the times removed part of these relationships. I grew up knowing her as 'Wogs' because when she was a child they said she looked like a pollywog. Not sure that resembling an amphibian is a compliment but it stuck as a nickname until the day she died.

Now do you see my confusion when answering these questions about my name??

To go a little further, my dad's father was from Montreal, Canada. I never knew him as he passed away when my dad was in his 20's. But his grandfather, so my great, great grandfather, Captain James Wright, originated in Scotland before heading to Canada in the 1830s....on a boat. Can you imagine how long that had to have taken??

So to make this extremely long story short, I come from a Scotland, Canada, Virginia and Tennessee. What a wonderful combination!! I do have to give credit to my cousin Rachel for starting this project before me. I pulled so much information from parts of the tree she had already created and that was a huge help to finding what I was searching for. Thanks Rach!

And thanks mom and dad for creating me! Love you!

Friday, May 3, 2013

Marriage Year 1

My mind is blown as we approach our first wedding anniversary this Sunday May 5. I have been experiencing flash backs all week as I remember exactly what I was doing at every moment leading up to the wedding. Today is Friday and 1 year ago at this exact moment, I was laying at the pool with all of our friends and family preparing for the rehearsal welcome party. (Hard to believe since it's 50 degrees here on the Cape today). The entire weekend was perfect-marrying the most wonderful man I could ever imagine, sharing our love with friends and family, and having the greatest time at a wedding in the history of weddings. I'm sure every bride says that, but our wedding truly was the best ever! I have a lot of favorite moments from the weekend, but I think the fact that so many of our guests traveled to Charleston is a true testament to how amazing all the people in our lives are. It was wonderful watching them all meet and then hearing how many of them have kept in touch since the wedding. I couldn't believe that many people from so many different parts of the US and Canada would all mesh like they had known each other for years. Really cool to see!

The past year has been a complete whirlwind in the best possible way. I went from being a pretty independent only child to a wife living with a man.  Our life together has been anything but normal. But really, what is normal?? We have traveled the country helping families fix their outdoor spaces for HGTV and in the process have learned to live on the road together, as well as work together. Curve balls have been thrown and we find a way to work through each road block. I have to give credit to my extremely patient husband for keeping me from blowing too much steam out of my ears. He causes plenty of the steam but is great when it comes to putting out the fires. With the travel and crazy schedules, it has made us stronger and has helped me relax and learn to roll with the punches....well some of them. I did mention I am an only child, right? I like having a plan and rolling with the punches has never been my strong suit. But marriage is all about balance and compromise. I think our biggest argument has been over who is making dinner. And not the 'I'm not cooking tonight, you are' kind of argument. We both really like to cook but in very different ways. I like to add butter and cream of something or another to about every recipe I know. I'm from the south....that's what we do! Chris is a very clean eater so we have really learned to compromise on the cooking front. I'll thank him one day when he doesn't have to wheel me down to the beach.

Chris is a runner and I am not at all. There have been several attempts at running together but that hasn't gone well. I grew up in dance and the furthest I ever ran was a mile to warm up. This will never compare to my husband who won awards for running track in college. He did convince me to run my first 10K at the Falmouth Road Race. I did it and ran most of the way. I was totally shocked and amazed at what adrenalin can really do for you. This year, I have decided I will train for the race. I said that last year too, but I figured if I put it in writing then maybe I will stick with it. Stay tuned for updates.

As the wife of a landscaper, I am learning to get my hands dirty. I find that weeding can be pretty therapeutic believe it or not. I actually spent the entire afternoon outside the other day pulling weeds and cleaning up our yard. Just because you are married to a landscaper doesn't mean you automatically have a beautiful yard. You can compare it to the saying about the cobbler's children not having shoes. The landscaper's yard can be touch and go depending on how busy the season. So I decided to learn and take matters into my own hands. We have a whole shed of tools that I have no idea about, but I will learn....and YouTube will help me. After a year of waiting for Chris to drill a hole for the dead bolt on our new front door, I went to Sears and bought the tools needed based on a YouTube video. I had to look up another video to show me how to use the drill, but the point is I learned how to drill the hole properly all by myself. I love having a partner I can come to for help, but it was really fun figuring this project out all on my own. Chris tried to tell me week after week that drilling the hole was a really difficult process and would take FOREVER. It took me about 30 minutes. Now we are in the early stages of a massive house renovation. We both plan on being very involved with the work. I'm going to make an attempt at refinishing some furniture and will keep you posted with my progress.

After a year of marriage, I can say we are on the right track and I am excited to see what our future holds! It's all a learning process and I am loving every minute! We plan to spend our anniversary weekend on Cape Cod because we desperately need a weekend at home! I am looking forward to watching our wedding video and flipping through our amazing photo album telling stories and reliving the best weekend of our lives. But first, we will watch an all new episode of our show, Going Yard, on HGTV Saturday morning at 9:30am EST. I hope you will join us in watching the show! We really want to film another season and need those ratings!!!! :)