August 31, 2011

General Tso's Chicken

Work is going to be super busy this week and even more next but I have some updates to the leather shop to show you at some point! For now, I just wanted to take a quick second to share this recipe with you:



 I have attempted two other General Tso's Chicken recipe before and both were mediocre.. definitely not as good as buying it from a local restaurant. And that's saying something since both the Chinese restaurants in Lamesa and Brownfield are so-so. And the boxed frozen kinds at the grocery store are no go.

This one was really good and really easy! I decided to try it since the breading for the chicken was battery instead of dry and it made such a big difference. It may look complicated but just look at these photos from Jessica at How Sweet Eats to see how easy it is - General Tso's Chicken on Tasty Kitchen Blog.

The only modifications I made were to substitute the Chinese chili-garlic sauce for a pinch of garlic salt, chili powder, and about half a cup of apricot preserves or jelly. I didn't have the chili-garlic sauce but I always have those spices and apricot jelly is Kanyon's favorite.

August 25, 2011

The latest leather job.

With Kanyon working on his leather shop, I'm already excitedly thinking about all the room I'm going to get to re-claim in the closet of our office when he moves all his leather and tools out of it!

I'm also excited that he will get to have his own room out there to spread out and organize his stuff. I know his creativity and desire to do projects is really hampered by the fact that he doesn't really have a designated place to do it and has to dig through boxes for stuff. He said himself he can see himself doing a lot more projects once he has a room for it. Right now, its the kitchen table... nice.

He is still doing some leather work though. Here's a belt he made for our banker, Ed, last week. I think its beautiful!

August 23, 2011

Zeb




I actually was able to capture something he does that cracks us up.

I have never had a dog that does this...
Zeb chases bugs. Chases.. not catches. Except maybe in a blue moon.
With so much passion and for hours on end.


Changes.

Loved going to Meet the Dragons tonight! Its finally starting to feel like summer could be over soon, THANK GOODNESS!

(Meet the Dragons is kind of like a kick-off for the school year that everyone comes out to and eats hamburgers at the football field. Oh and they introduce the football team and cheerleaders, hence the "meeting" part.)

So there has been some of this going on in our backyard the last couple of days...






























DEMOLITION!

Okay, maybe not that extreme. But Kanyon and his dad have started cleaning out and gutting parts of the back house, that is going to be Kanyon's leather shop.




I had the pleasure of going through this room.. I'm pretty sure it is home to several seriously poisonous snakes and spiders but I swallowed my fear (Kanyon is rolling his eyes.. he's under the delusion that there are not snakes in there. Yah. Sure) and went through all 20 billion paint cans to decide which ones we wanted to keep. We inherited a lot of paint from the previous owners and have acquired quite a bit ourselves. I was able to pare it down to about 15 cans. And moved it to a different storage shed with no deadly snakes. I told myself I didn't have to work out for a week from all that work... Kanyon is rolling his eyes again.

I can't wait to see how much better its going to look with a new door, the window repaired, and a door over the open closet!

Oh and we also installed a pool in our backyard.





























(Its for Zeb.)

Zeb kept shamelessly jumping into all my pictures...

Oh, and if anyone ever tells you or you read in a bunch of places that Knock-out Roses will even live through a drought... remember this picture.


Ha. Proved them wrong.

Inside the house... I changed up a couple of more things that will probably mean little to you. But humor me because I was excited!

Notice the couch before...




And now after with my new quilt...




It may not seem as dramatic in these pictures but it really brightens up the room! I'm trying to add more white in there. If anyone sees any cute throw pillows that would add white to (and go with... that's what I'm having trouble with) the room, let me know! Oh and also they need to be less than $20. Another problem.

I also picked up a couple of frames that I've loved for a long time but have been out of my price range for 75% off the other day! Only $9.50 for this beautiful frame! So I got one more of this size and a small one for $4. Different designs but similar style.






























And if you noticed that the quilt I put on the couch is one of the ones I bought for the guest bedroom, props to you. I haven't mentioned the guest bedroom in a while because I'm still working on it but its coming together!

Hope you had a great Monday.

August 21, 2011

You could probably skip this post.

This is going to be a short post. Because its Sunday. I'm tired. Because I just got done giving my one year old Australian Shepherd a bath (shower?) outside.  And because Remember the Titans is on TV!

We had another low-key weekend. I'm beginning to think I've become a homebody. But I know once fall comes full force in a couple weeks (first football game on Friday!!), I'll be wishing I had more weekends like this. 

I did finish painting the trim in the hallway though!

Here's a small glimpse of the embarrassing "before":



I really can't believe we let it stay like that for so long. I guess when you really don't want to do something, you can make yourself not see it.

And here's that same door now:


The bottom inch or so of the door frames I left for Kanyon since he's got a much more steady hand than I do and he's going to finish the baseboards.


Last night, we headed to Lubbock to grab dinner and see a movie. We ended up not watching a movie since there weren't any we wanted to see at the right times. But we had dinner at Hayashima's Hibachi Grill. It was so yummy. Today after church, we had lunch with Coach Clayton and Janie Fryar and their two super cute boys and tonight we are having dinner with Meme and Grandad and watching another installment of Anne of Green Gables! Great weekend.



August 16, 2011

Just in case you're looking...

.. I have a couple of new blogs that I love and wanted to show you.

First up is a cooking blog. I am kind of picky about cooking blogs. I like for the recipes to be accessible, the pictures to be professional, and the blogger to be witty.. yes, witty. I can only read about food for so long before it gets boring. Get some funny in there. Which is why I only follow three food blogs [so far -- if you have any to recommend, let me know!].

So the name of the blog, right. Its called "How Sweet It Is" and I found her through Tasty Kitchen, Pioneer Woman's recipe sharing website [which are the other two food blogs coincidentally.. PW and Tasty Kitchen].

Jessica at "How Sweet It Is" is incredibly funny in a sarcastic, don't take myself too seriously, kind of way. And she is incredibly talented in the kitchen. Her recipes are probably 65% desserts.. but hey, I don't mind. I've loved all of the recipes I've tried from her so far.

This was her Grilled Corn Summer Breakfast Hash from yesterday. She posts once, if not twice, a day. [Click on picture to redirect to the recipe].


And she posted these this morning.. making me crave chocolate cookies at 10:30 in the morning. [I guess that's not really unusual.] Salted Mudslide Cookies.



I so wish I had something to bake these for!! But that would require me getting some coffee liquor.. something that I will never use again. I guess I can just use regular brewed coffee?

Okay, the second blog is a home decor/DIY blog called "Our Vintage Home Love". I can't even remember how I found this blog but I know she had just started blogging when I did. Now she has a lot of followers.

Diana is such an inspiration. When she wants something new for her house - furniture, decor, etc.. - she makes it herself. Everything! Kitchen tables, countertops, desks..

Here are a couple of my favorite projects..

Barn Wood Headboard


Isn't that gorgeous??


Master Bathroom Counter Top Re-do

Before...

And after...





























 I never would have thought to do this! It's gorgeous.

She also makes a lot of her own wall decor like this..


And her latest project that she has been selling on Etsy are her vintage bread board she makes and personalizes herself.


I haven't been fast enough to get a set yet because she sells out within minutes!

I showed Kanyon her blog a while back and he jokingly said "Why can't you be more like her??" and it got me thinking.. maybe I can? I've never really been a DIY type of person but I think I might like working with wood. And this rustic style is so up Kanyon and I's alley. So Kanyon and I have come up with a little project to do that was inspired by one of her's. We'll see if it works out. If it doesn't, I'm sure I'll still show the pictures!

The hallway trim and doors are almost done and once I get done with it, I will start thinking more about that project.

Okay, I'm getting back to work but wanted to show you my two new favorite blogs!

August 15, 2011

Slacker


Wow, I slacked off again last week! But lets face it, its not like y'all are waiting on pins and needles for my next post. And I am a-okay with that.

I really have no pictures to share of what we did this weekend but it was another good one! I do have a video to make up for it though:

video


Mr. Tac is quite the cowboy.

Friday night, we went over to Meme's house (Vaughn's mother) for dinner with some family that was in town! It was great seeing Uncle Kirk and Aunt Susan and eating homemade hamburgers.

Saturday, I got an itch to get a project done that we have been putting off for a long time. Painting the hallway trim and doors. It's still a work in progress but it already makes the hallway look so much better. I took a couple before pictures so I'll be showing those.. they're bad. Its amazing we put it off for so long. That's what painting several rooms in your house when you first move in will do to you.. it will make you hate painting. Kanyon helped me for a little bit until he had to go help cook for the event we went to that night.

Saturday night, we headed to Lamesa for the Dawson County Livestock Show Association's Pick-up Raffle. Al and Kasha cooked the steaks for the dinner and they were soo good. They made 600 of them better than I can make one. Unbelievable. We didn't win the pick-up, though, in case you were wondering. Even though Kanyon was wishing with all his might.

Sunday, we went to church and then after, Kanyon, Landon, and I headed to Lubbock to go to lunch with Al and Kasha and then headed to the movie theatre to see the latest Harry Potter in theatres. It was Kanyon and I's second time but everyone else's first. It was even better the second time. I still cried.

We spent the rest of the night at Vaughn and Kalith's, having dinner and visiting some more with family in town.

Oh and here's our Aussie riding in the front seat, human-like.


You should hear Kanyon try to speak for him in his "Australian" accent... sounds more Chinese to me.

August 8, 2011

Rodeo Time

Welp, remember how in my last post I talked about how much I hated being sick.. I should have knocked on wood because I was not ready for what hit me Saturday morning.. but I'm getting ahead of myself.

Last weekend was the annual Lamesa Rodeo. I've really enjoyed it the last two years. Its a fun event where everyone gets even more cowgirl'd out than usual (the boys just wear their normal) and comes out to watch a rodeo and the local kids bustin' their bottoms in the donkey ridin', mutton bustin', and a couple other kid events. 

All the kids had their super cute cowboy and cowgirl clothes on :) 



Emry and Leif, as you could tell, were very interested in the rodeo. They came last year and were looking forward to it again! Aubryn (not pictured) even bought a special shirt to wear for the night!

Tac had on his boots, jeans, and his belt, which he showed everyone.


Like I said, the rodeo is always fun to watch, especially when the local guys compete. This guy I didn't know personally but his dad was in the next box sitting with our friend Troy.
































Tac really got excited about the calf roping. He loves "horsheys" (horses).































I can't say that I even got to watch too much of the rodeo, though.. It seemed like I was chasing kids or taking kids somewhere the whole time. But I loved it! I also had to socialize, of course!

I didn't get any pictures of her, but my mom also came in that night! She was here for the weekend and drove from the airport to Lamesa to meet us there at the rodeo. She got to sit with Vaughn and Emry claimed her lap for some of the night.

Later that night, Landon, Kasha, and I moved down to stand by the chutes with Kanyon and Al (Kasha's husband) and I got a couple of cute pics of their little family.



I'll be the first to say they aren't professional quality but I thought they were cute all the same.

After sipping a glass of wine and chatting with my mom and Kanyon late into the night, I finally took out my contacts (something I was very thankful for later) and we went to bed.

About 5:00 the next morning, I woke up with my left eye the size of a baseball and both eyes glued shut. When I finally was able to open them, they were both blood red. Great, I thought, I had pink eye. And a bad case. Surely all the kids I was holding probably do too. I took my pink eye medicine that I had on hand, which expired in 2002, and went back to bed... but not to sleep. The pressure behind my eyes made them feel like they were going to explode.. it hurt. So Kanyon brought me an Advil when he got up to spray his crops at 6:00 am and I eventually fell back asleep at 8:00 or so.

Thank God my mom was here is all I have to say. I really mean that. He must have known I was going to need her. She deduced that it was not pink eye, since it was in both eyes which is not normal for pink eye, but a major case of allergies. Awesome. My eyes looked disgusting. Huge and puffy, very red, and yellow gunk flowing out of them all the time. You really wanted to know that last part.

Thankfully, I already had a prescription for my eye allergy medicine, it just hadn't been filled. But another symptom of my allergies is that I'm extremely sensitive to light. I definitely couldn't drive the 20 miles to town. Mom to the rescue. Thank you so much, again, Mom.

I didn't leave the house Saturday. I chilled out, hung out with Mom before she had to leave for Lubbock for the afternoon and night (she was here on business) and read my book and made dinner that night. I felt terrible. The congestion didn't really start until this morning, though.

Sunday, I left the house only for church (but we live across the street so its not much of an outing) and I'm sure I looked great in my glasses and puffy eyes. But Sunday night, I decided I needed to get out of the house at least once so I went to check water with Kanyon. Wouldn't ya know it, by the third circle we checked my eyes had swelled up again and were flowing... you know. Confirmation that its something in the air. We had the windows down because Kanyon's a/c is out.

But at least I was able to enjoy the incredible sunset.





























And honestly, that was after it had tamed down. It was a vivid shade of hot pink and yellow but the sun sank below the horizon right when we got to a stopping point. Still though, pretty great shot.

For an update on where we are farming wise, let me just sum it up for you. This summer has been pretty awful, to put it mildly. Kanyon is three weeks away from the point where he will turn off his water completely and he is counting down the days. The extremely high temperatures and lack of rain have left the irrigation farmers with pretty sorry cotton and raised blood pressures.



It may look okay to the untrained eye (a.k.a. me and my mom this weekend) but its not.


But I will say again like I've said before, we are going to be okay. God will provide as He has already so generously provided. We are confident that we will come out fine this year. Its just been an extremely frustrating one for Kanyon. Putting so much work into something and getting sorry results is obviously discouraging. 

Thankfully, we have a lot to look forward to. A rest will come soon from Kanyon's watering and everything else that comes with fall.

I don't think anyone will be sorry to see this summer go.. hello fall temperatures, football season, sweaters, and holidays!

August 4, 2011

Feeling less than ideal.

I'm bummed right now. Kanyon and I planned on having the kids (the nieces and nephews in town right now.. see last post) over tonight for pizza and dirt cups.. but I developed a sore throat last night that developed into a nauseating headache, sore throat, and congestion today that Dayquil has not been able to kick.

I hate getting sick. It makes me feel weak somehow, like I can't hack everyday life. That might be because someone I've come to be around all the time since moving here is a hypochondriac and comes in with a complaint about what he/she is sick with everytime I greet him/her (sorry.. I hate speaking ill of anyone and I'm uncomfortable with anyone even guessing who I'm talking about.. but don't worry, its no one that reads this blog.. its not you). But its the truth. I've come to think of this person every time I feel a little under the weather and make myself think I'm being a pansy.

But the annoying part is.. I've been sick more times since moving here two January's ago than I ever did at any other point in my life. Even college, surrounded by other kids and germs. But my first year here, it seemed like every time I turned around I felt terrible. Everyone kept saying it was the different pollen in the air or the fact that I've never lived anywhere where harvest has happened. Fiber flying everywhere, dust... I understand that maybe it should take me a while to get used to it. But sheesh... I was sick everyday in November. I couldn't speak at Thanksgiving.

I got to the point where I wouldn't tell anyone, even Kanyon, when I felt sick because I was tired of hearing it myself. A few weeks ago, Kanyon mentioned in passing how I've been getting headaches lately and I winced inside. I am that girl that gets headaches.

I should mention .. people who actually get real headaches, like my friend Heather - I've never thought of them as weak. Actually, Heather is one of the most active and strong people I know. But I know my headaches don't hold a candle to her blinding and nauseating ones.

Wanna know something really gross? I had never hawked a loogie (I don't even know how to spell it) in my entire life until I moved to Welch. I had to have Kanyon teach me because my congestion became so bad. Now ... it is seriously a daily occurance. How sick is that? (Don't worry, I still don't let Kanyon hear me do it.. talk about a romance killer.)

This year since January has been better. Maybe my body is getting more used to it. But right now I feel like someone punched me in the nose because of this sinus pressure.

Sorry for the rant. I just really wanted dirt cups tonight.



August 1, 2011

A week has passed.

My last post was July 25th? Wow, I blinked and last week was gone.

The funny thing about that is we didn't have anything going on for once! Back in the Spring when I was completely crazy and thought that I had the stamina to be gone every weekend in July, we had planned to go to Garner this weekend with a bunch of people from Welch. Thank goodness the weather and our good senses held us back. The weather meaning the dry-ness made the river ... dry.. And if we were going to go anywhere to get away right now, it might have to be somewhere in the southern hemisphere where we can get away from this heat. Anyways.

While we didn't leave Welch all last week (except for a brief non-eventful stint in Lubbock for me on Saturday), we did have a great week and weekend.

Last week, I checked out a new book called Firefly Lane. I'm about 25 pages from the end and I am an emotional wreck right now! You get so attached to the characters. Everyone's emotions become your own and several times after reading for a little while, its taken me about 30 minutes to snap out of it and remember my life is not the character's..


The story is about two best friends who meet when they are fourteen, take completely different life paths full of tragedy and happy times, but still remain best friends. I know, I know, sounds kind of corny. This type of storyline has never intrigued me but this is no mediocre story. Its amazing. I especially think anyone who's a mother would love it. Please read it. If you're into that sort of thing.

Thursday night, Jada and Nick (Kanyon's sister and her husband, but more importantly my sister and brother-in-law) and their four kids came to Welch! Nick and Jada left on Friday for their second trip to Kazakhstan (I spell checked it, Vaughn ;). Last year, on this same week, they left for their first trip to help lead a marriage retreat for several couples from that country. I think I'll wait until they get home and get more information before I attempt to tell you about it.

So that means the kids are staying at Nana and Papa's for 10 days! Or as Leif likes to say - they are "living at the farm"! Aubryn (8), Keirah (6), Leif (4), and Emry (2) will be here until next Monday, I believe.





If you look closely, you may recognize Tac's face in there, too.. Al and Kasha left for New Mexico for the weekend for her birthday present - a hunting trip. Perfect wife, huh? I babysat him for that afternoon.

Notice Leif's rodeo vest?  ; )

We've had fun playing with the kids and eating more of Vaughn's cooking than we usually get to (when family's here there's an open invitation to come eat dinner with them.. you know what that means.. 10 days of no cooking for me!... Just kidding, Vaughn ;) ) and Aubryn even wanted to come over on Sunday afternoon and help me clean my house! After a couple hours, I was the one begging her for a break.

 
I don't even know what's going on in this picture. All I know is Emry and Kanyon are giggling in the living room and yelling at me to come take a picture of them doing this.

Last night, a few of our friends in Welch were having a birthday party for a couple of our friends, Brent and Levi. So Kanyon and I headed over there and the guys had grilled steak and corn and their wives had made a bunch of yummy sides! I made my family friend Jolene's brownies and they were amazing. Everyone said they were so good (a couple of the babies charmed me into feeding them half of mine.. only chubby blonde 18 month olds would ever be able to pry a brownie from my hands) I made a couple of the guys take the rest home because I knew I loved them so much that I would eat all five of the left-overs in one sitting. Its been known to happen.

Okay, I did take home one that I'm already excited about eating for dessert tonight... Gah, how are people supposed to eat sensibly with brownies like that in their kitchen??? Thank you, Jolene.

Hope you had a great weekend, too!