Friday, October 29, 2010

Photo collage inspiration

I'm still knee deep in wedding photo dilemma; figuring out a creative and non-overwhelming way to enjoy our wedding photos is proving to be quite the challenge. Work has been somewhat quiet this morning, which has allowed me to search for inspirations for possible solutions. 
I wish we had a stairway- this is super cute!

This might look good in our hallway

I'm also drawn to the simplicity of just three frames

Love, love, LOVE these Pottery Barn tabletop frames!!

This, however, is definitely too much!
(all photos from here)

Hopefully inspiration will strike me soon!!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Wedding Photo Dilemma

The extensive and drawn-out process of acquiring our wedding photos is finally nearing its end. Thank goodness, Yay,  Hallelujah, oh Happy Day!!
 We were able to view the photos initially in August, and while I was quite pleased with my photographer’s work, there were a few editing issues that I wanted her to address. Like including black and white coloring for some photos, and lightening/darkening others, etc. -they were all seemingly simple requests. But numerous emails and 2 months later, I’m finally at the closing stages of this process and I couldn’t be happier.

But now I’m faced with the dilemma of what to do with them. Jameson and I received beautiful frames as wedding gifts, and I haven’t put anything in them yet as I was waiting for the wedding photographs. Yet as I’m going through the pictures, and deciding which large prints to order, I realize…our house is going to look like shrine to mine and Jameson’s wedding. It would be so monotonous and boring to walk through every room in our house and see the walls filled with pictures from the same day, each of us in the same outfit. As much as I LOVED my dress and adored how adorable Jameson looked in his tuxedo, I believe I will tire of being surrounded by such repetitive decor.
So what should I do now? I’m thinking I will pick just a couple of my favorites for large wall frames, and then have groupings of smaller tabletop frames? Or maybe go crazy in the hallway with a large collage of wedding photos, including those with family and the wedding party, but not have any wedding photos anywhere else in the house? (Keep in mind we have a very small home). What about wedding photos in the kitchen? That just seems odd- I think I will steer away from that.
Sadly, I don’t have any artwork to throw into the mix to add variety. I hope to at some point in the future, but for right now, I must work with what I have.
Below are some pictures I took of our house soon after we moved in. We have changed a few things, and done a little more decorating, but mainly it's the same.

Our kitchen

Our living room. There is a similar empty wall on the other side of the couch

Our bedroom

Don't worry- we have since hung that mirror
As you can see, we have plenty of empty wall space, plenty of beautiful frames, and plenty of desire to finish decorating...but we must come up with a plan of action, and decide how to tastefully utilize our wedding photos. I plan to tackle this project feverishly because I'm itching to have this completed. (These photos have been a thorn in my side for too long!!) I'm welcoming and requesting any suggestions or tips! 

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Our Weekend

It's Sunday evening, which sadly means the weekend is almost over and the upcoming workday is looming in the future. Jameson and I had a great weekend. We were super busy, which was fun, but made the time pass by too quickly.

Friday evening we made an impromptu trip to McMinnville to spend time with Jameson's family.  It had been a few weeks or more since we had seen them, so the trip was overdue! Unfortunately we weren't able to be with them for very long, but we had a great time just the same. Jameson's mother is the perfect host, and we always leave there with full hearts and stomachs!
The Bouldin's beautiful home

Saturday morning came too quickly, and not long after arriving in McMinnville, we departed for Knoxville. Thankfully we were able to visit with Jameson's lovely Nana before heading east.
Good ole Rocky Top welcomed us with an air of excitement and hope. Even though we knew better, Jameson and I allowed the electric atmosphere to convince us that maybe UT had a chance to pull out a win, but alas, we were disappointed.

UT was only down by 3 at the start of the third quarter

After the game, we met up with some good friends we hadn't seen in a while, which helped eased the sting of losing...a least for a little bit.

Saturday night we stayed with our dear friend Rachael, who is always so gracious in opening up her home to us. Thanks Rach!! The drive back Sunday was tough; we spent the first hour of the trip analyzing the game, rehashing what went wrong, and coach Jameson discussed his thoughts on what UT should have done differently. (He is hilarious!) We won't lick our wounds for too long however... redemption will happen at some point. We will see you next year Alabama!!!

Friday, October 22, 2010

The Third Saturday in October

Jameson and I are traveling to Knoxville this weekend to participate in one of the oldest traditions in college football. The University of Tennessee and The University of Alabama have been playing football on the third saturday in October for generations. The first meeting between the two schools was in 1901!! Since the Southeastern Conference split into East and West divisions in 1992, the game has not always been played on the third Saturday, it often falls on the fourth Saturday, but fans still refer to the event as ''The Third Saturday in October".

Image found here
There is always a certain excitement in the air for this game; the weather is finally cool and crisp, and the trees are at their peak of color (lots of orange everywhere!). There is such history and emotion related to this game that you can feel the weight of years of tough battles with every snap. And the fans are as deeply entrenched in this rivalry as the players themselves.
Tennessee is in the rebuilding process, and Vols fan's hopes aren't very high for this year's match up, but Jameson and I will do our best to support our Alma Mater. We will be there cheering with every down, wearing our orange, and putting all emotion into pulling out a victory...just as Tennessee fans have been doing for generations.
                                             GO VOLS!!!!!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Home; it’s what shapes us…

Jameson and I have been living in our home for three months now, a home that once belonged to my beloved Grandmother, a home that still means so much to my family and myself. Living in her home has been bittersweet for me; I’m confronted with daily reminders of the wonderful lady she was, and of the wonderful life she lived. With the recent one-year anniversary of her passing, I can’t help but reflect on how much my life has changed in a year’s time, and how much I’ve learned from her, even in her absence.

Every time I clean the house,
I think of how she would always say “I love my little house, it’s the perfect size for me, if it was any bigger it would just be more for me to clean”. And that’s exactly how I feel! The two-bedroom house is just right for Jameson and I; cleaning it is a breeze, and allows us to spend time doing other things.

Every time I take a shower,
I think of how when I was little, she always made me cut my fingernails and toenails after my bath because that was when the nail was softest and easiest to cut. That is so smart!! And to this day, I only cut my nails after a shower. 

Every time I put something on top of the fridge,
I remember the little wooden basket that she used to keep up there that was full of trinkets, hair bows, and other girly things. When I would spend the night at her house, after my bath, and after we cut my nails, Grandmommy would let me get the basket down and she would put my hair in the little pink, soft curlers. (Cousins, do you guys remember that basket??) It was always so fun to stay with Grandmommy.

Every time I get a birthday card in the mail,
I think of how great she was at keeping up with her correspondence. Grandmommy had index card boxes filled with information about everyone who had a place in her life. Each person had their own index card, filed alphabetically, that listed birthdays, anniversaries, and important life events. Occasionally, she would have you update your card with recent information, and when a new person came into the family, she would have them fill out a new card. This allowed her to be so efficient in sending cards for all occasions. Often I would get my birthday card weeks before my birthday, just because she wanted to make sure I got it in time. And how great she was at thank-you cards too! She instilled in me the importance of a timely and well-written thank you. How I hope I sent her thank-you cards for all the things she did for me, although I really couldn’t have written enough.

Every time I look at mine and Jameson’s new car,
I think of how proud she would be of our purchase. My Grandmother was a banker before her retirement, and she was so good with money. I can remember her telling me, even at a young age, the importance of paying for things with cash, and limiting the use of credit. She would tell me how she was able to pay for her vehicles in cash, and I would listen and absorb her wisdom, not understanding its full implications. But when Jameson and I faced the opportunity of purchasing a gently used, 12-year-old car with minimal mileage, I heard her advice ringing in my ears. Our new car isn’t flashy, pretty, or stylish, but it’s in fabulous shape and will last for many years. And the best part, we were able to pay in cash! I can hear her now saying “Good for you, that’s so smart!” 

Every time I cook in my kitchen,
I’m completely amazed at what a wonderful cook she was!! I always knew her food tasted fabulous, but now that I’ve had to cook and entertain in the same small kitchen she used, I’m in awe of her ability to feed the masses with ease! I never thought twice of going to her home for Sunday lunch, where she would have food prepared for our whole family, every bit of it hot and ready to eat. How did she ever get everything cooked to the perfect temperature, steamy and delicious, and ready at noon? How did she find the space to heat and prepare all of her dishes, and the space to serve them, and the sanity to keep it all together in the process?? I remember her telling me  “Always clean as you cook. It’s very important to keep your workspace clean. I’ve washed and put away two loads of dishes already!” That must’ve been her secret, one secret amongst many secrets I’m sure. Now looking back at those wonderful Sunday lunches, I don’t remember seeing any dirty pots, measuring cups, spoons, bowls, cutting boards, etc. (those items are often found in my kitchen!!) She must’ve cleaned and whisked everything away before we all arrived. Last night, I did a load of dishes while cooking (I don’t have a dishwasher…have I mentioned that yet on this blog??), and I teared-up a little as I thought of how proud she would be. I know she would tell me, “Emily, you are so smart!”. I’ll be channeling Grandmommy as I continue my quest to become a fabulous multi-tasking, multi-talented cook! 

A beautiful tree in our yard

Every time I look at our yard,
I remember how much she loved to garden, and I’m inspired by her desire to have a well-kept exterior. She never had extravagant flowerbeds or ornate arrangements, but she had well-placed shrubs, neatly tended to flowers, and immaculate trees. Anytime a tree became unruly, she would have someone trim it immediately. Whenever the grass got out of control, she would have it cut without delay. She kept her shrubs precisely trimmed, and her steps swept of leaves and sticks. It would be nothing for Grandmommy to walk along the edge of her yard (and my parent’s yard too) and pick up trash that had been thrown out by passing cars. Even in her later years, I would see her out in the yard with her cane, picking up trash. I always hated when she did that, as I would fear for her safety. But Grandmommy took such pride in keeping her home looking clean and beautiful, and it always did!!
As I now watch Jameson tend to our yard, I wonder if it is a coincidence that I married a man that has so many of the same qualities that I admired in my Grandmother. He too prides himself in having a well manicured home. He will spend hours mowing, weed-eating, picking up sticks, watering flowers, sweeping our steps, and of course, picking up trash. Does he even realize how much he is honoring Grandmommy by doing so? (I love that man!) I know she would be so proud of him and tell him, “Jameson, you are so smart!”

I'm so happy Jameson was able to get to know Grandmommmy!

Living in this home means so much to me; it’s helped me grieve the loss of my Grandmother, it’s allowed me to remember and reflect on the many wonderful memories I have of her, it’s aided in my continual learning process of how to maintain a lovely home, and it’s inspired numerous aspirations for my future. And lastly, it now plays host to the formative years of mine and Jameson’s marriage. How special to experience our growing love for each other while in a home that has such a history of love. How meaningful to form our own family and learn to rely solely on one another while in a home once inhabited by someone so special, that many relied on her. 

I’m so thankful for the years that Jameson and I have ahead of us living in this special home!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Dinner results

Monday night I attempted to make these cheese-stuffed shells, and I'm happy to report that they turned out great!! Of course, like always, it took me quite a while to cook everything. From start to finish I believe it was about 2 hours, but the recipe listed prep time as 15 minutes, and cook time as 1 hour and 30 minutes, so I guess I wasn't really that far off. (Compared to my last venture that quoted the cook time as 30 minutes but it took me 2 hours). Dicing an onion and mincing garlic are still very time-consuming for me, but I'm hoping that with continual practice I can get faster and more proficient.
The flavor was divine and it was very rich and hearty. Pioneer Woman (I love her) suggested adding a little crushed red pepper for heat if desired, and I took her up on it!! Since Jameson and I enjoy spicy foods, I added quite a bit of crushed red pepper, and boy did it have a kick!! It was just the right touch!
Here are some pictures of the finished product:

It made enough for two meals, and I was even able to share some with the neighbors!

After slaving away for two hours, it was great to sit back and enjoy the delicious meal while watching a little post-season Braves baseball. Sadly though, as the game neared the end, it became evident that the Braves would not be able to pull out a win, thus ending their season, and ending the great career of manager Bobby Cox. Bobby Cox has managed the Braves for most of mine and Jameson's life, a feat that is almost unheard of these days. He is the epitome of class, hard work, and loyalty, and will be very missed by the Bouldin household, and all of Braves country. I can't imagine what it will be like to watch a Braves game and see another man sitting in the dug-out. We will miss you Bobby!!

Yes...I took a picture of the TV screen

The opposing team saluting Bobby after the game.

It was a sad night! I cried, a lot, which really isn't that surprising, and even Jameson got a little misty-eyed. Not only for the sad departure of one of the greatest managers and men in baseball.....but also for the horribly dirty kitchen left for us to clean up...sans dishwasher. 

Monday, October 11, 2010

Tonight's dinner...

 It’s Monday, one of my least favorite days, and it’s 2:30, one of my least favorite times of the day (I’m so ready to be home), and of course…I’m already thinking about dinner.
At least I have a well-thought out plan for tonight’s meal; I’m going to be making these hopefully tasty cheese-stuffed shells. It’s a recipe from Pioneer Woman, one of my favorite blogs to follow; in fact I’m obsessed with her or maybe just infatuated with her or maybe I love her, either way I’m crossing my fingers that mine will taste and look as great as hers!

Here’s to hoping that it doesn’t take me 12 minutes to dice an onion, and I don’t drop the casserole dish and have the entire entree splattered across the kitchen floor! Yes that's a true story I will have to share another day...once I swallow my pride...and can bear to talk about it.

Anyways...wish me luck!!

Friday, October 8, 2010

It’s the weekend, or at least approaching the weekend, and I’m beyond excited!!

Jameson and I have a very busy schedule for the next few days…in fact, I’m not sure how we are ever going to get anything accomplished, it’s going to be very tough!
Take a look at this strenuous schedule: (note the sarcasm)
Mazatlan Mexican restaurant (our absolute favorite, we could eat there everyday but restrain ourselves to only once a week)
Then home to watch the Braves game. It’s playoff time in Major League Baseball, and with the Braves already down 0-1 in a three game series; a win tonight on the road would be great!

Sleep in, which for us is like 8:30 or 9- oh glorious sleep!!
Watch College Game-Day on ESPN, a Saturday morning must for us.
Then get settled in for the UT game. The Vols play the Georgia Bulldogs this weekend, and sadly it will probably be a close game. Both programs are having ‘down’ years, which should make for some interesting football. However Tennessee has had Georgia’s number the last few years, take a look at last year’s score!

Tennessee smack down- what a fun game!!

The remainder of Saturday’s schedule is packed with more football, USC vs. Stanford, Alabama vs. South Carolina (Go Gamecocks!), Arkansas vs. Texas A&M, and the list goes on!
This itinerary might seem boring or monotonous to some, but to Jameson and I it’s one of the best ways to spend a weekend! The only thing that would make this delightful football -filled Saturday even better would be a visit from Jameson’s brother, we are keeping our fingers crossed!!

Hope everyone has a great weekend! Go Braves and Go Vols!!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

"What's for dinner?"

Aaaaahh, this question plaques my thoughts daily. It begins to creep into my brain around 2 o’clock, when the afternoon hunger pains begin to rumble, and then around 4:30 it’s swirling around in my head with vigor. This question, quite frankly, drives me crazy!
I’ve never been much of a cook, I’m quite skilled at ‘preparing things’, i.e. putting together quick-fix meals made up of frozen and/or processed food, but actually cooking fresh, made from scratch meals is still new to me. But it’s something I’m desperately wanting to transition to. Jameson and I both need to eat healthier; we LOVE cokes, especially Sun Drop, candy, potato chips, rotel dip, and a variety of other delicious yet unhealthy goodies. Thus tasty, fresh, nutrient-filled dinners is exactly what we need. However, accomplishing this goal is always easier said than done (at least for me anyways). Since we’ve been married I have prepared a few of these meals, and man were they delicious. I researched a recipe beforehand, bought the needed ingredients, and with excitement and motivation delved into the exciting world of cooking…only to realize how overwhelmingly time consuming this can be. One meal, delicious mushroom and Swiss sliders with baked French fries, took me over two hours to prepare, TWO hours! Not to mention the clean-up time (we don’t have a dishwasher, oh woe is me!) So often I resort to a frozen pizza, or boxed macaroni, or something else equally unhealthy.
Am I missing something here? There must be a way to fix healthy and fresh meals during the week and still have time to do other things, like laundry, cleaning, watching an occasional TV show, or maybe even breathe!! There must be a balance between having time to relax and upwind from a busy workday, and spending an entire evening slaving over a hot stove. This is my dilemma and quest; I must divide and conquer and be crowned the perfect working wife who keeps her family fed and her sanity…does this even exist??
Until then, I’ll continue to ponder over the nagging, ever-present question… “What’s for dinner??”