Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Love Him Like His Dog Does?

I'm sorry that it's been a while since my last post. My home computer died, and it's difficult for me to justify blogging at work without staying late! :) So, until I get a new computer I won't be able to blog as regularly as I'd like to. I am keeping track of my ideas, so when I do get a new computer, I'll theoretically have lots of new posts! yay!

This weekend I heard a new song on the radio, "Like my Dog" by Billy Currington. It's all about how he wants his lady to love him like his dog does. While I have to admit it sounds pretty silly, I think there is actually some pretty good advice in it.

1. "He never says why don't you get off that couch?" = Don't nag your husbands! If you have something in mind for your husband to help you with, ask him! 

2. "When I come home, I want you to just go crazy". Imagine if we acted like our dogs do every time our husbands come home? Okay, maybe we don't need to run around in circles and jump all over him, but it would certainly be nice to stop whatever you are doing and go to greet him at the door with a big hug and kiss!

3. "He never looks at me like he might hate me". I think this is the thing I have to consciously work on the most... I don't ever "hate" my husband, but I am guilty of rolling my eyes at him from time to time. This action conveys complete disinterest in a person, and I never want to give that impression to my husband.

4. "He don't play dead when I wanna pet him". This made me laugh! It might be a bit personal, but you should never deny your husband the intimacy he desires. It's one of the most special gifts that a marriage offers to a husband and a wife and should occur as often as possible!

5. "He don't get mad at me and throw a major fit". Arguments are a normal part of any relationship, but loving communication is the key. Yelling, swearing, excessive crying, etc. are all immature ways to express yourself. If you feel like you can't verbally communicate in a gentle fashion, try writing it down.

So, as silly as it sounds, take some advice from your dog and love your husband unconditionally!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Preparing for guests

With the Christmas season in full swing, I'm sure most people are busy "decking the halls", cooking, cleaning, and preparing their homes for guests. My In-Laws are coming this weekend! This is the first time they will be staying with us in our new home.... actually, they are the first overnight guests in our new home.

On top of the normal cleaning one does while preparing their home for guests, we had to turn our empty spaces into actual guest rooms! They were completely empty, untouched rooms. It's amazing how many "things" it takes to make a guest room and bathroom functional. 

We had to buy a bed, bedding, pillows, mattress pad, comforter, lamp, shower rod, shower curtain, bathroom rugs, trash can, etc.... Up to this point, we've had no reason to use the guest room or guest bathroom so our parents were definitely the motivation to finally make these rooms usable. We found a great Black Friday deal on a mattress set and Martha Stewart bedding ensemble at Macy's. I didn't even know Macy's sold mattresses, so I was really excited we'd be able to use our Wedding gift cards to help with such a large purchase! Plus, we were able to save an additional 20% with our Registry Completion discount. I love when you can find great deals on things you need NOW!

Our Guest Room (complete with Christmas decor!)

Most of the stuff for the bathroom was on Clearance at T. J. Maxx. I've never really shopped there, but I must admit, I was pleasantly surprised with their quality and pricing. The bathroom still needs some work, but at least it's functional. & I love the shower rod and curtain rings! I'm hoping gravity will take some of those wrinkles out of the curtain.... otherwise I'll be doing some ironing Friday night! 

Guest Bathroom

Pretty Shower Rod and Rings: only $15

I think it's funny that I've put more effort into decorating our guestroom and bathroom than our own bedroom and bathroom. When I was mattress shopping, the sales guy told me that most people don't want a guest-bed that's too comfortable because most people don't want their guests to stay too long.... That has to be the most ridiculous thing a salesman has ever told me.... especially since more comfortable=more money=bigger commission for them!

I certainly do not embrace that mantra, and I want to make sure that our guests are as comfortable as possible (within our financial limits). Plus, my father-in-law will be installing cabinetry that he made for my laundry room while they are here, so they'll certainly be earning their keep! :) So excited to see them!!

The ornaments of your house will be the guests who frequent it.  ~Author Unknown

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Easy as Pie... Pumpkin Puree

With Thanksgiving just 2 days away, I started prepping for my Pumpkin Pie last night. I made ginger snap cookies to use for the crust and homemade pumpkin puree. I did a side-by-side comparison of canned organic pumpkin vs. homemade puree last year, and that was all it took to convince me to never use canned pumpkin again! After you see how easy it is to make, and how much better your pie turns out, I'm sure you'll also adopt this policy!

First, get a 4-6lb sugar-pie pumpkin, and wash the exterior.
Preheat your over to 400.

Cut the stem off your pumpkin, and then cut your pumpkin in 1/2, 
and scoop out the seeds/mush. 
Save the seeds to roast later for a delicious snack.

Next, sprinkle the pumpkin flesh with Kosher salt
 to draw out the excess water

Then, place them flesh side down on a parchment lined pan and roast at 400 for 30-45min 

They are done when you can easily pierce through the skin with a paring knife.
 Poke the pumpkin in multiple places to make sure it's done.

Place the pan on a cooling rack and cool pumpkin for 1 hour.

Next, peel the skin away from the flesh, and place the flesh into a food processor

Then Puree for 3-4 minutes until completely smooth.

Store your puree in the fridge for up to 1 week, 
or in the freezer for up to 3 months.

I will probably make this pie Wednesday evening, so I will post the complete how-to for this amazing pumpkin pie then.


Saturday, November 12, 2011

Follow-up: When Your Nice Things Get Ruined...

A few weeks ago, I posted this blog  about the problem with having nice things- they inevitably get ruined. Well, it happened... our puppy had an accident on our new couch, smack dab in the middle of the cushion. 

Unexpectedly, my husband did not freak like I thought he would, (YAY!) probably because Stewie, our Yorkie, can pretty much do no wrong. In Stewie's defense, he was recovering from a UTI (Urinary Tract Infection), and certainly did not mean to have an accident.

Ok, so your BRAND NEW couch has been soiled. What next? I decided to read the directions attached to the label under the cushion:

  • Even though these cushion covers have a zipper, they should never be removed for the purpose of washing.
  • When trying to clean a spill, blot, don't rub with water only.
Seriously? While my husband is banishing Stewie to his crate in the garage, I take in a deep breath and remove the cushion. It says not to wash it, but I have to do something! First, I do as they say and try blotting with a clean rag, wet with water. It's not working.... I decided that, at this point, it's already "ruined", so I might as well try some cleaner. First, I put a clean white towel into the cushion cover, so that my spray wouldn't bleed through to the good side. Then, I got out my trusty Spot Shot. I lightly sprayed the spot, and started "blotting", not rubbing with a ShamWOW . After a few minutes, it looked much better, just wet from the spray. I had some errands to do, so I left it to dry. A few hours later when I returned, it was dry and looked good-as-new again! Literally, you couldn't see anything wrong with it. I was AMAZED and so thankful!

I've been using these products religiously for all of my carpet stains for about the last 4 years, but I never expected them to work this well on my brand new upholstered couch. So, if you have a Pottery Barn, brushed canvas, upholstered couch, and it gets "ruined" don't freak out! Try SpotShot and a ShamWow. 

FYI, I was recently at my local PotteryBarn looking for some pillows to help my couch not blend in so much to our unpainted walls :) and the store associate in their design department told me that the upholstery material is the same as their slipcovers, which are machine washable. She said that she had washed her cushion covers, and they came out fine. However, she did suggest that you wash all of them, even if only one is ruined,  because they will fade slightly. I think I'll continue to stick to the method I described above, and only if that fails, try washing them.

Here are some pictures from our new living room. I still need to paint, or at least get some paintings hung on the wall, and find some lamps, but it's finally starting to feel like home! And, it's been a sanctuary for the few hours my husband gets to be there.

 I'll post more pictures as I continue to "finish" this room.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Filling up my LOVE tank!

Hello friends! It's good to be back! I took a break from blogging last month so that I could work on filling up my LOVE tank.

My husband was on an "easy" rotation, meaning, that for the most part he was working the same 9-5 workday as me. It was wonderful having so much free time together, and since we knew that the next 4 months were going to be very difficult, we made it a priority to put our relationship first. We had leisurely walks with our dog, lengthy conversations over mugs of hot tea, lazy days making homemade pasta, and we tried out a few French dishes from our new favorite Cooking Channel show, "French Food at Home".

Monday marked my husband's first day of his Neurosurgery rotation. He left our house at 4:30am and didn't get home till 10:30pm. He ate the vichyssoise and crostini that I had ready for him, went to bed, and did it all over again the next day. This will be our life 6 days a week for the next 4 months. Technically, this will be our life for the next 6.5 years, but intern year is always the worst. 

As we were preparing for this crazy schedule, I asked him if there was anything in particular I could do to make his life a little easier. He said that he'd love for me to get up with him at 4am and make his breakfast every morning. I believe I honestly laughed out loud, and gave him the "you're kidding right?" look. I don't really do mornings... If I wake up before 7, I'll typically feel nauseous and sluggish, regardless of what time I went to bed. However, I decided to pray about it, and when Monday rolled around, I got up with him, made his tea, and prepared his breakfast and lunch. After realizing that he would be working 17 hour days, I decided that if I can allow him to get an extra 15 minutes of sleep by helping him out in the morning, it was the least I could do. Today was the 3rd day in a row that I got up with him and I'm surprised at how easy it's been to adjust to this new schedule. I have to admit that I have been going right back to bed after he leaves, but I think that next week I will try to stay up and get my day started early. This morning he leaned over to kiss me and said, "You have no idea how much I appreciate this". That definitely made my sacrifice worth it! :)

I'm so thankful that my husband and I were able to spend so much time together filling up our love tank as we anticipated the difficult times ahead. It's always good to be on a "love high" when dealing with stress.  I suppose difficult times typically come out of nowhere and take us by surprise- In that case, we should be constantly working to fill our love tanks so that our relationships are strong enough to withstand anything that comes our way. Just like gas prices, the cost of filling up your love tank can be very high in today's non-stop lifestyle. 

So, find a spare moment and do something nice for your honey today:
  • leave a love note in their car or lunch
  • get up early and make them a special breakfast
  • make them their favorite dinner
  • take a "coffee break" together
  • go for a leisurely walk after dinner
  • give them a back rub as they fall asleep
  • say a prayer for them

How do you prepare for relationship-straining times? Is your LOVE tank full or empty? What can you do to keep it full?

Prayers for full LOVE tanks!

Friday, October 14, 2011

The Problem With Having Nice Things...

My husband and I recently moved from an old 1880's apartment building in "Historic" Baltimore to a brand new town-home in Nashville. We have lived here for about 4 months, and are still in the process of turning this house into our home. So far, I LOVE it; It's so clean and organized, (mainly because it's still very empty) and all of our new furniture is a huge upgrade from the stuff we had during our college and med-school years. The problem is that now I feel so obsessed about keeping everything "like new", especially because it has to look nice for at least all 7 of my husband's residency years and hopefully through his Attending years. I "freak" out when our pets jump on our new furniture (leaving hair and scratches), or scratch the wood floors, or have an accident on the new carpet. I've always been a "neat-freak", even in our old apartment in Baltimore that was so old it always looked dirty no matter how much I cleaned it; but if we got another scratch on the old couch, it just blended in with the hundred other ones, and if our puppy had an accident, or we tracked mud/snow onto the carpets, I did my best to clean it up, but it never really bothered me- we were renters, and everything was so old and stained anyways.

Our old apartment in Baltimore

We have been working hard and saving to create that "magazine perfect" living room. We figured it was where we would spend the majority of our time (we don't get out much), so it should receive the majority of our furniture budget. I was so excited the day we ordered our new couch and chairs, and have been dreaming about how "perfect" it would be for the last 12 weeks that it took to be delivered. Our couch finally arrived last weekend, and it is so COMFORTABLE and beautiful. But, as soon as I plopped down onto it, my puppy and kitties wanted to hop up there with me, and I had to go into "M.O.M" mode (Mean Ol' Mommy)!!  I've already vacuumed it twice (in 48 hours), and have been guarding it like a hawk. I can only imagine how my husband will react when we have a child and they spit-up or spill food on the new furniture or carpet. EEK!! I guess that's why they have professional upholstery cleaners... Maybe we should have gone with a slip cover!

Image from
I'll post another picture when our new living room is complete.

What's the point of having nice things, if we can't truly enjoy them?? My new couch may be beautiful and comfortable, but I was probably less stressed on the old, wore out, knobby one, where I felt free to indulge in some cuddle time with my pets! Yet, the old, sloppy furniture was not nearly as inviting as our new stuff. The new stuff is relaxing in a different way. Sure, I have to try harder to keep it clean, but the whole feel of the room is so peaceful and brings much joy to my husband and I as we relax together in our living room. I guess the lesson here is that we just have to learn to find the new joys in every situation. 

The following verse is from my Good Morning Girls study this week: 1John2:15

"Do not love the world, or anything in the world". 

This reminded me that we must not LOVE the things in our lives. If I'm not in LOVE with this new furniture, I won't care about the imperfections caused from using it, and instead, I will find much joy and happiness LIVING with it to create lovely memories with my friends and family. 

Monday, October 10, 2011

You know you're domestic when....

You get excited about CLEANING!!

I recently "gave in" and bought a Shark Steam Mop, and I have to admit, I LOVE it! I had been using a broom, Swiffer dry cloths, and Swiffer wet jet.  I hated that I needed to use 3 tools just to get my floors "clean"... and they didn't even do that great of a job... The Swiffer Wet Jet was leaving a waxy/sticky residue on my floors, so they never really felt clean. My husband would complain that his socks were sticking to the floor! :( Now, I only need 1 thing: my Shark Vac then Steam. The Vacuum sucks up all the crumbs AND the pet hair. (we have 2 cats and 1 dog) The mop uses just water to clean and SANITIZE your floors. The mop cloths are re-usable: Just toss them in the washer and air-dry them. I LOVE that I no longer generate all the waste that Swiffer made and I no longer have any chemicals on my floor... This is much safer for my pets and our future children. I wouldn't think twice about letting babies crawl around on these floors!

I use my Vac then Steam all over my house: Laundry room & bathroom tile, wood floors, and the marble in front of my fireplace. Plus, you don't even need to put any "backbone" into it like I had to with the Swiffer. It's so easy to use and it really works! My neighbor came over the other day and the first thing she said when she came in was "It feels so clean in here"! My house is always "picked up", so it had to be the awesomely clean floors she was noticing! Do yourself a favor and make the investment ($120 with 20% coupon at Bed, Bath, and Beyond). I was probably spending nearly that much/year on Swiffer cleaning products/cloths. I honestly can't say enough about this product. It really has changed my life!