Thursday, June 23, 2011

Cooking 101

I see all these bloggers writing about these great meals they've cooked. They post pictures before, during, and after, and try try to walk folks like me through the world of cooking.

I decided I would do the blogging world a favor by showcasing my own 5-star meal ideas on this post.

Take notes, everyone. You're about to see some high-caliber domestic skillz right here.

The meat. Made by Tyson, all you have to do is pop it in the microwave (their preferred method of cooking and mine, too) for a few minutes. It's chicken, if you couldn't tell.

Side numero uno: Great Value corn. Again, you pop it in the microwave for a few minutes, let it do some steamy magic, and presto! Done.

Side number two. Classic Kraft's mac-n-cheese. The instructions on the box are so easy a caveman could do it (is this a Geico trademarked phrase? Can you trademark a phrase? If so, sorry, Geico!).

Dessert. Betty Crocker's in-a-bag chocolate chip cookies. The pouch boasts that it takes 7 minutes to prep and 10 to cook. Add an egg and a stick of butter. "Boom!" as the great Emeril would say.
And there you have it, ladies and gents: my "secrets" to a 5-star meal in the K-family's house....and probably the reason J has lost so much weight since I've moved in.

Happy cooking! :)

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Father's Day 2011

J and I got to sleep in a little this morning, and then it was off to JCP! We got lots of duplicate gifts from the wedding, so we wanted to exchange them for other items on our registry. Did you know that JCP and BB&B both have registry completion programs? Yup. We have 90 days from our event date to buy anything from our registry with a 10% discount! Whoo! JCP also happened to be having a sale this weekend (I'm sure my dad is really shocked to hear this news), so we actually saved a little more.

While we were waiting at the customer service desk, I spotted this sign:
It killed me, so I had to have a picture. I see a lot of mechanical/grammatical errors in "the real world" and have gotten into the habit of snapping pictures and tweeting them to my kids on our class Twitter.

We ended up with a new set of 600 count sheets and pillowcases (yay!), 4 lamps, a suitcase, 8 cups, 3 dress shirts for J, and 2 pairs of shorts for J. We still have a lot of money on our gift cards but can't figure out what else to buy that will fit in the house! Man, I feel rotten typing that. We're so spoiled.

Our next stop was to CostCo, where we fooled everyone into thinking we have a family of 6 at home, based on all the stuff in our cart.
Technically, we only purchased 30 items, but 25 of those were packs of things, so we got a lot of loot! Probably won't have to buy deo for J, toothpaste, bug spray, or sunscreen for another 5 years!

We're going to his parents' house to swim and cookout for Father's Day '11. Hope all fathers are having a great day.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Life in Texas

We've pretty much gotten our home fixed the way we want it. We were SO LUCKY to find the apartment complex that we did. It's true what they say: everything is bigger in Texas...even the housing bills. :( So we feel incredibly blessed to have found such a nice apartment complex with so much room and so many accommodations for a great price. It's in a nice part of town -- far enough away from the road to where there's no noise, but close enough so that everything is still just right down the road. Our complex also has gates that only open with a special clicker, so the only way anyone "stray" can get in is if they just happen to follow someone else in...rare. I feel pretty safe here.

I'm waiting on our wedding pictures to come in so that I can put them in our frames....I'm a picture person, so there are tons of picture frames in our house. But since they all came from house in F-town, they're all of me, my friends, and my family! If I didn't know any better, I would think J didn't live here at all! lol. So I'm anxious to fix that with wedding pictures, once they all come in!

Here are a few pictures of our place. Folks that are reading this: you should know that we're pretty poor right now, so there's no sense in you trying to break in and steal our $2 trinkets, mmkay?


Living room with new navy curtains. Next order of business? New lamps!

 My favorite saying is on the wall right before our room.
I'm in love with this bedspread and this wall art!

The guest room is still lacking (decorations + clean-up of clutter!), and we need to get a move on ordering this really cool piece for above our TV, but that's pretty much it. Those couple of things + wedding pictures in the frames = a complete K household. :) I'm excited.

Playing Catch-Up {Part 4} was here. All the details had been finalized. (And there were SO many more than I first believed!) I made these door hangers and clothing hangers so we could get some cute, detailed pictures:

We went to OKC to get our wedding license a whopping two days before the wedding:

...and we headed off to Stillwater!

We had rehearsal from 5-7 at Theta Pond on the Friday before the wedding. A few folks were late and nearly gave me a heart attack ("what if they're late for the wedding?!"), but we had plenty of time to rehearse. In fact, I didn't really feel like I got enough rehearsal. It was such an important day and important to me that everything goes smoothly and neither J nor I looked stupid at any portion of the day (which is a hard task for both of us), so I felt inadequately prepared. Our reception center needed a few tweaks, but the guy we were working with was a doll and I started to trust him a little more that everything would work out.

J is really traditional, so he didn't want us to see each other at all on the day of our wedding. But we had a bit of a disagreement late Friday night, and we wanted to patch things up so that we wouldn't still feel leery when we saw each other AT THE CEREMONY on Saturday. So around 2:30 am on Saturday morning, J and I met outside the hotel on campus and took a walk around. It was so peaceful at that time, but I didn't really expect anything less. J's epiphany was that "it's our wedding day, we're on our campus, and it's just us." He said it much more profoundly than that, but I forgot because I've slept several times since then. ;) We walked alllll over campus and didn't get back to the hotel room until after 4:30 am. We were both so nervous that I don't think we missed out on much sleep, though. We sat in the chairs set up for our ceremony and walked to the reception location. We toured the engagement spot and everywhere else we could think of. It was a surreal moment to realize that, in less than 24 hours, we would be husband and wife. It seemed like we had waited so long and had a hard journey, what with all that long-distance junk. I may have transferred from OSU after one year of education there, but it still holds a very special place in my heart. It's funny what meaning a spot on the map can have for someone. I will never go to OSU without thinking about J and our life together. It's our place.

On the day of, one of my bridesmaids -- K -- saw a plastic bag in the pond right behind our sand ceremony table. She didn't want that to be in the pictures, so she found a fisherman that was willing to try to retrieve it. 

...Success! :)

K did my hair; M did my makeup. We took pictures. We sweated in the hot afternoon sun. We hugged and laughed, even though my heart felt like it was going to burst out of my chest. All that was left was to walk down the aisle.

Before my dad walked me down the aisle, he asked me if I was happy. (Duh.) He told me his "three things" (1: I'm proud of you. 2: You look pretty.  3: I love you.) and we walked.

The ceremony is a bit of a blur. It was quick (just like I'd asked for), and I was so nervous! We played Vitamin String Quartet during the seating, and then the traditional bridal march for my entrance. The preacher read a few verses about "bone of my bone; flesh of my flesh." Right before he prayed, the OSU clock started chiming! It played the alma mater, and we were ready! At precisely the exact moment, our entire wedding party casually did the O-S-U hand signs and then put our hands back and stepped back into place like nothing had happened. That is one of only two reasons I wish we had videoed this day. The crowd laughed and I was able to breath a little bit again, so it was a good moment! :) 

We poured our sand to "Marry Me" by Train...have you ever tried to listen to that song without crying?! To this day, I have only successfully made it through the song TWICE without sobbing like a baby. It's so sweet and perfect and I'm glad we choose that. 

By the way, no one ever tells you how hard it is to pour sand IN SYNC with another person. You're supposed to do precisely the same amounts and make this cool design, but it's a lot harder than it looks! So we were laughing because we're so awkward and weird about stuff. Probably ruined the seriousness of the moment, but kept us from fainting. ;)

At the end of the ceremony, we walked out to "Forever" by Chris Brown, and I just felt like boogey-ing all the way down the aisle! I was so relieved that it was over, and really thought I was still going to pass out from heat exhaustion and relief. haha.

We were introduced at the reception to the Bulls Theme Song, which I thought was perfect for us (him being from Chicago and being a huge Bulls fan, and me being a basketball fan). It was a hit, along with the photobooth. The reception entrance was the other reason I wish we'd have videoed this thing. It just fit us so perfectly and was so much fun.

SO glad I booked the photobooth! I got online the day after and saw some really funny pictures. I ordered large copies of some (pretty cheap, I have to admit), but we got one half of the photobooth double-picture strip when everyone printed them. I can't wait to scrapbook those.

Our first dance was to "Everything" by Michael Buble and our last dance was to "I Wanna Grow Old With You"....from the Wedding Singer. :)

We used "How Sweet It Is [to be loved by you]" for the cake cutting:

(These last two pictures were taken from a family friend. Visit her blog here!) I used "Single Ladies" for my bouquet toss and he used "Another One Bites the Dust" for the garter toss. We had a sparkler exit to the limo as the Black Eyed Peas's "I Gotta Feeling" was playing in the background. It was my first time in a limo so I was really excited!

We were so exhausted, but had a great weekend. We stayed in Bricktown until Monday morning so we could file our marriage license and get this name-change process started. We're going to Chicago soon this summer, and his mom booked the flight in my new name, so I had to make sure it was changed quickly! Texas takes about 2-3 weeks to print a new license (?!?!), so I may just have a temporary license for the trip, but hopefully it'll be OK! I sent my passport off yesterday to be fixed, so everything is in motion. I can officially say that my last name no longer starts with an "H." :)

In case we didn't tell you, we're really thankful for everyone who helped with, came to, or supported us in the entire wedding event. We are so blessed to have so many people who care about us and want the best for us. If you fall into that category, we thank you from the bottom of our hearts. <3

Playing Catch-Up {Part 3}

J is Catholic and I'm Southern Baptist, so we decided to nix some of the traditional religion stuff out of the ceremony. I'd always wanted an outside wedding, and he was OK with it, so that was one of our first "wedding agreements." We quickly decided that getting married at OSU made sense, given our history, and fit us perfectly, so it was booked very soon. Our reception was on OSU's campus -- at the Wes Watkins Center -- and that was the problem with the booking. WWC is apparently a pretty popular place, so there was only one weekend in June that it was available. Luckily, our spot on campus was available outside on that day, as well, so it all worked out well. We'd originally planned to get married at the Formal Gardens, but quickly realized that that wasn't going to work. There was no place for our guests to be up close to us, and where would the wedding party stand? We moved it to a little spot right by Theta Pond, and it ended up being really pretty! The folks at OSU were pretty helpful (a missed phone call here and there, but I tried to remind myself that they had a lot more going on than just my silly little wedding) and things started to fall into place.

I signed up for and it freaked me out a lot -- there were so many things on the check-list that were already overdue! We had around 8 months to plan this bad baby, and I needed to get crackin'. I spent so many hours on that event -- and I know my family did, too. Due to a friend-of-a-friend, I found a GREAT photographer based out of Tulsa who was new but up-and-coming. His rookie-ness made his prices great, and his portfolio proved his talent in the photography area, too. He was nice to work with and got some great, creative shots, so I'd definitely recommend him! Visit Tulsa Expressions Photography for all your photography needs. :) We did our engagement pictures on Thanksgiving weekend in November, so we're wearing long-sleeves but were still freezing!

I'm pretty much in love with all of these! I love the creativity!

I was a little stressed (OK. Maybe "a little" is an understatement), but all the details starting coming together eventually. One of the things I was most looking forward to was the photobooth. I'm what I call "a picture person," so it was really important to me to be able to capture lots and lots of pictures. We found a cheap photobooth out of Tulsa (T-Town Photobooth) and got a discount code from him off of Twitter, so we ended up getting it for a great price, and I was pumped. It was a hit at the wedding, but we'll talk about that later. ;)

I wasn't the type of girl who played a lot of "wedding" growing up. I maybe pranced around in Mom's heels with a pillowcase over my head a few times, but I never really dreamt of details when I was a teenager. So I pretty much had no idea what I wanted on anything and I was lost when we got engaged! I'm so jealous of girls who have everything already all planned out -- I was clueless! lol. I knew I wanted some type of blue and silver as the colors, but that was about it. J thought it would be wrong to get married on OSU's campus without having orange as a wedding color, so our colors became turquoise and tangerine with silver accents. (Don't get me started on how difficult this was to plan during the winter months, before all the bright and summery colors were released on everything!)

Our caterer was Meditations, and they ended up being delicious! We got cakes from Food Pyramid. My grandma did all the flowers, boutonnieres, archway, and aisle decorations. I made the invitations, RSVPs, and Save the Date cards on I found a free program fan template online, adjusted it on my computer, and printed them at Staples. I found turquoise eyelets to hold together the fan online (can't remember where!), and bought blue- and aqua-colored water beads for the centerpieces. Now I just had to focus on writing thank you cards for our wedding gifts and holding myself together for the wedding!

Speaking of gifts, everyone was SO GENEROUS! We actually had 3 wedding showers. My FHS family at my job gave us a shower (J couldn't come because it was 3 hours away and he was working that day):
Our second shower was held by my home church, but no one got any pictures of that. :( The third one was held by J's family in Chicago. I didn't get any pictures of us with gifts or anything... just pictures of decorations. But after everyone's generosity, I'm pretty sure I'm a pro at writing thank-you cards, so I'm thinking about opening a business.... lol

Playing Catch-Up {Part 2}

J and I continued our relationship, even though it was a long-distance thing. I was still going to school two hours south of OSU, but had moved in with my parents to cut down on housing costs, so we were really only one hour apart. We visited each other almost every weekend and had a blast every time. The long-distance thing was rough -- no mistaking that! -- but it made us such good communicators. We talked for at least an hour or more every day,  and we talked about everything: what shoes I wore that day, what he had for lunch, etc. That was the only way we could get to know each other as boyfriend and girlfriend. We knew a little about each other's personal habits (like how I have no volume control in public or how J can't clap on beat at football games) from hanging out as friends at OSU, but now we were having to communicate as bf and gf, long-distance. I always said the distance was hard but it made us such a strong couple, so I'm really thankful for it.

In August 2010, I accepted a teaching job about 3 hours southwest of my parents' house. J was back in Texas (after having graduated from OSU in May), but my job was still 3 hours northwest of him. It was rough for me, but J tried to visit as often as he could, and I spent almost every weekend traveling. J and I had talked about marriage, but didn't realize how quickly it was sneaking up on us. We knew we'd have to get married in the summer time because of my job (at least ONE of us would be free then!), and I wanted to get married outside, so August and July were OUT because of the heat. June was it. I told J I needed at least 6+ months to plan a wedding. After all, I'd never done it before and didn't know what all it involved! So we'd agreed that if we were going to get married during June 2011, then he would propose at least by January 2011. If not, we'd do the long-distance thing for another year. Although the thought of doing the long-distance for another year was KILLER, I was pretty confident that J would propose. He has what he calls "truth tourettes," so he had a hard time keeping everything a secret from me. I knew when he purchased my ring and where it was from. I had a pretty good feeling about when the proposal would happen, although he never came right out and said it, nor would he confirm anything. I actually made a hair appointment for the weekend before OSU's homecoming because I thought J would propose then and I wanted my hair to look good for the pictures! :) I still laugh about that.

While we were friends at OSU, I mentioned to J that one of my favorite spots on campus was the Formal Gardens/Theta Pond area because it's so pretty. There are lots of grassy areas and flowers on campus, but nothing as intricate or calming as those two places (in my opinion, anyway).

During OSU homecoming weekend 2010, my family and I (with J) had just pulled into the parking lot on campus when J gave some lame-o excuse about needing to meet up with a college buddy of his RIGHT THAT SECOND. So we speed-walked to the Formal Gardens, because supposedly that friend was at the Union. When we got the center of the Formal Gardens, J immediately dropped to one knee. It was so sudden that even though I'd expected it, I hadn't expected it RIGHT AT THAT MOMENT. I distinctly remember OSU fans passing us and ragging us about the engagement, and then myself forgetting to look at the ring because I was too busy being surprised. It was a cool moment, though.

I know the date on the picture said it was October 23, but it was actually Friday, October 22, 2010 when he popped the question. He proposed right before we went on the walk-around, and I was so relieved because I had this fear that he was going to propose at the football game the next day and put it -- unromantically -- on the JumboTron for the world to see! lol. We had dinner at The Hideaway, and my family sat at a different table to give us some newly-engaged privacy. We'd been talking about married for so long, but it was very surreal to see the ring shining on my finger whenever I looked down! We were finally getting married!

Playing Catch-Up {Part 1}

J and I met at Oklahoma State University, so that's why we're such die-hard fans.

After high school, J didn't really know what he wanted to "be" (career-wise), so he took classes at the community college and took a job at a local vet clinic until he could figure it out. Working at the vet clinic made him realize how much he loves animals, so he decided to try to be a vet. OSU is notorious for their animal science program, so he applied there and got in. I find it amazing that J packed up everything and came to OSU without even really checking the place out. I was a wreck, just living one hour from home, but J was a trooper and moved 4 hours away without ever looking back.

My parents are both OSU alums, so there was never a question in my mind that I would attend O-State. I didn't even apply for any other schools or take tours at OSU because I was so set on going there. Because of my financial situation, I lived in a trailer about 20-30 minutes from campus and commuted every day. I had a really hard time making friends because I lived off campus + I was really shy + I was really cheap (had no money to go back and forth to campus for club meetings, so I just didn't join any). I worked a lot and by the end of the day, I was exhausted. I remember being really lonely.

J and I have a mutual friend -- Nick -- whom I was hanging out with after my biology test one day. We were in the dorms watching some movie with Nick's roommate, and that's where I met J for the first time. We didn't really talk, didn't exchange phone numbers...nothing. But J found me on facebook (which I thought was a little creepy, not gonna lie) and we sent messages back and forth pretty frequently. We started going to lunch every Tuesday (or was it Thursday?) in the Student Union. We were both dating other people at the time, so we'd frequently vent about our significant others, and then discuss whatever else. We got to be pretty close friends, but then I decided to transfer colleges. OSU was too big and expensive for me; I didn't think I could cut it. So I moved a couple hours south. J and I still talked occasionally, but we both had so many other things going on that we just weren't as close as we had been.

A few months later, he'd ditched his girlfriend, and we started talking a lot more again and pretty much picked up where we'd left off.  Six months or so after THAT, my boyfriend and I broke up, and J and I considered moving things to a different level. Here's a picture of us on our first date, at the Rancher's Club on OSU's campus:

(Can you believe how skinny and young we are in that picture?!)

Our official dating anniversary is October 6, 2008.