Friday, July 30, 2010

Our Anniversary Gift

There's the old saying that 'great minds think alike'. Well, there's no description more fitting when it comes to describing the situation Aaron and I found ourselves in the week before our anniversary! Seriously, it was the most hilarious, and slightly ridiculous thing we've ever done.
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So here's the background information. The "traditional" First Anniversary gift is paper. Aaron and I love traditions, although we may or may not always give the "traditional" anniversary gifts in our future. However, for our First Anniversary I loved the idea of sticking to tradition. (Apparently Aaron was thinking the same thing!) We decided we didn't want to do extravagant gifts, so this meant using a little creativity.
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Its no secret that I love pictures, love them. I'm also really big into starting annual traditions for us and our future family. Well guess what? So is Aaron!
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The weekend before our anniversary, Aaron sent me out of the house for a few hours so he could get "some things done," meaning I need to work on your anniversary gift! Ha! When I returned home Aaron had a very strange look on his face and was acting different. He sat me down and told me he needed to talk to me about something. Hm, okay... not the neatest feeling. So, we sat done and he spilled his guts. He was on the computer trying to work on his gift for me when my gift for him came up on the screen (I'll explain more later!). Well, rats! So we both divulged our plans to each other and had a few good laughs.
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Now to tell you what you don't know! The gift we had both (INDIVIDUALLY) decided on, planned out, and worked on was the exact same. Exactly the same! We had the same idea, identical! It was so bazaar!
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So what was the gift???
The gift was a professional photo album filled with pictures from our first year of marriage. We even BOTH had plans to make this an annual tradition by creating a new album every year! Is that not wild???
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So once we discovered that we had plans to give each other the same gift, we began talking about all of our different ideas and using all of the best ones to create an awesome album! So here's how it turned out!
WE LOVE IT!!! It has 50 pages filled with at least 200 pictures! We used MPix to create the album and could not be happier. Their software was very easy to use and there were several different options.
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This is the beginning of our album.
The first two pages of pictures.
At the back of the album we decided to include an index. The index has a description of every single picture in the entire album. We thought this would be a great idea for when we are 80 years old with very limited memories! Ha! We also wanted to do this for our future children and grandchildren so they would know why each picture in the album was so special to us.
We think its insane that we had the same amazing idea, but are so happy to have our first album! We are already taking lots of pictures in preparation for next years album!
XOXO

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

First Anniversary Getaway!

Aaron and I are pretty frugal, to say the least. So when he whisked us away to Dallas for the weekend, its safe to assume that I was in shock! We had basically decided that we didn't want to go on a trip. But, you only celebrate your First Anniversary once, and that is exactly what Aaron thought :)

We arrived in Dallas at our destination, The Rosewood Crescent Hotel, late Friday night. The Crescent is absolutely amazing. Its huge, has several restaurants and shops, lots of gardens, and gorgeous architecture. The only two restaurants at the hotel that we had time to eat at were the Palomino and The Capitol Grille. Palomino was delicious. Its a little bistro that serves paninis, pizzas, and salads. We both ordered a panini and were beyond pleased (mine was tomato,basil, mozzarella....O.M.G). They also had the best fries.
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The Capitol Grille was the restaurant we chose to eat at for our Anniversary Dinner. It was very upscale and nice, and the waitstaff was very tentative and friendly. After our meal, Aaron told our waitress that he really appreciated her for making our anniversary dinner so enjoyable. He was just trying to tell her she did a "good job," but she then went even more above and beyond. She scurried off and before we knew it came back with a camera, took our picture, and then hurried off again. Then, the House Manager came over to our table to visit with us. He handed us an envelope with a handwritten note from him, our printed picture, and a gift of $50 dollars to the restaurant. What??? Seriously???
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This place was beyond amazing and we had the best time. We will definetly be returning there during football season later in the Fall to use our gift. Besides, the gift amount is enough to buy a steak. That's one steak my friends. No sides. No drinks. Nada. But the steaks are sooooooooooo worth it. Just ask Aaron! And the hollandaise sauce for the asparagus was p-e-r-f-e-c-t. Here is the picture the waitresss took of us. The quality is kind of poor. It looks like she may have touched it before it was dry by the looks of all the fingerprints! And you can see the huge wine cellar behind us. Gorgeous. Over the weekend we also spent some time at the pool, but not nearly enough! It was on the second floor so you had the skyline view and a view down below. We were both very relaxed out there and wished we could have spent an entire day by the pool. But, when your visit is less than 48 hours, you're pretty limited! Ha! Aaron also bought tickets to the broadway play Beauty and the Beast at the AT&T Performing Arts Center. I had already seen it several years earlier, and he knew how much I loved it! Its my favorite Disney movie and I was beyond thrilled to get to see the play again!It was just as good this time, if not better! He loved it too, and kept humming the song "Gaston" the rest of the evening! Ha! Inside was the most gorgeous chandelier you have ever seen. Ever. As the lights began to dim, the chandelier retracted itself into the ceiling, layer by layer. So neat! I didn't even think to bring my camera for this and I was so sad!

Saturday night we went to The Ballpark in Arlington to watch the Texas Rangers play the Angels. It was beyond hot and there was a ton of people crammed inside! It was standing room only, too! Ha! Too much body heat. And the Rangers unfortunately lost.
We also brought our wedding cake topper (which was surprisingly very good) and enjoyed some oh so good chocolate covered strawberries. We had such a good weekend and I'm so glad that Aaron decided to do this! The weather was perfect for us all weekend and the drive wasn't bad at all! It was the perfect way to spend our First Wedding Anniversary!
More on the gift we gave each other later with some pictures of how it turned out!
XOXO

Monday, July 26, 2010

One Year Ago

One year ago, last Saturday, we were doing this:
One year ago, yesterday, we were arriving here:
One day ago we had the time of our lives all over again! More on that tomorrow!

Saturday, July 24, 2010

First Anniversary: Today's the day!!!

I've tried to write this post several times now. I'm having the hardest time putting everything into words. This post has gone from being super long to short and sweet. For me to explain how much this past year has meant to me would be a failed effort. there's no way you will ever fully understand. So I'm going to give you the basics.

To say that Aaron means the world to me is an understatement. He is better than the husband I could have ever created in my wildest dreams. I love him so, so dearly. And he loves me in return in a way that's deeper than I could have ever imagined. There is literally not enough seconds in the day for us to get to spend together. We always want more. And that's just how we want it.

I never dreamed that this milestone would have such an effect on me as emotionally as it has. I tear up at the thought of any wedding memory. At that time, in the moments of our wedding, I knew how big of a deal everything was. But now that we are living the life we only dreamed of living then, everything means so much more. Like the day we got our marriage license. I was emotional that day, but looking back at pictures, I find myself even more emotional now. It has an even deeper meaning to me.

One year ago today, I became the happiest girl I've ever been. I love my marriage, my husband, my life, my bigger family, and all the possibilities our future holds. Here's to all the years to come :)

***sorry for no pictures! More to come this week. I was actually taken to Dallas before I created this post at home! Also more on our gift later!!!

Friday, July 23, 2010

Cornflake Chicken Strips

***52 weeks ago today, I married my very best friend. While this is not the actual date of or wedding, it is the weekday we were married on. That Friday was an Amazing day. This morning Aaron and I talked about how we both felt this time last year: nervous, excited, and so happy! We stayed up entirely too late the night before the wedding talking on the phone. Neither of us could sleep! We double checked or packing list for the honeymoon and made sure we had everything we needed to leave the country. What a fabulous time in our lives. And it just keeps getting better!!! ( Tomorrow we will get to celebrate the actual date! July 24th! Yay!)***

Yummm. Lots of people make these...I think. I've heard of it a few times anyway. Especially from my sister! So, I decided to find a recipe for them that sounded good. And I succeeded! (I've racked my brain trying to remember where it came from, but failed. Sorry!)
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I cooked these little strips of deliciousness last night for dinner. They were scrumptious. Easy. Full of flavor. And very crispy.
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Here's a picture I found that looks almost exactly like what I made. We were so hungry that I didn't even pause to take a picture! I sprayed a cooling rack with cooking spray and then placed the rack on a cookie sheet. This prevented the chicken strips from losing their crispiness on the bottom. I chose to purchase chicken tenderloins for this dish, but you could easily purchase chicken breasts and cook them the same way. There are lots of variations on this dish, one of which includes using paprika, but here's how I did it!

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CORNFLAKE CHICKEN STRIPS

INGREDIENTS:
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (I used chicken tenderloins)
1 1/3 cup sour cream
2 cups crushed cornflakes (about 4 cups whole)
2 teaspoons garlic powder
2 teaspoons Lawry's Lemon Pepper Seasoning
Salt
Pepper

DIRECTIONS:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Grease a cooling rack and place on cookie sheet.
3. Rinse and trim fat from chicken, pat dry.
4. Place cornflakes in a gallon size freezer bag and crush using a rolling pin.
5. In a medium bowl mix cornflake crumbs, garlic powder, Lawry's, salt, and pepper.
6. Brush chicken with sour cream, coating all sides well.
7. Place each piece of coated chicken into the cornflake mixture, coating well.
8. Place chicken strip on the rack.
9. Repeat with the remaining chicken strips.
10. Bake for 45 minutes, or until chicken is cooked.
11. Broil for 3-4 minutes or until golden brown.

Aaron and I just loved these. These chicken strips are already pretty healthy, but you could make them even healthier by using light sour cream. This would definetly be a great protein for kids. No grease or fat like the chicken strips from fast food restaurants or the freezer section! Mom's can feel good about giving this to their little ones, and kids will be sure to love them! I will definetly be adding these to our game day watch party menu this year! Can't wait to eat them again!
XOXO

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Almost There!!!

I am so giddy today!!!!!! Elated, overjoyed, and excited are not grand enough words to describe how blissful I am right now!

Today, I got a very special visit, from a very special Man, with a very special gift, for a VERY special reason! The reason???? Our First Anniversary!!! Not today, and not tomorrow...but Saturday. On Saturday we will celebrate our first year of wedded bliss! So this was a fabulous surprise!

This year has been beyond amazing, but more on that on Saturday! By now I'm sure you've guessed who my special visitor was, right? It was Aaron! My sweet, sweet Husband of almost one year! So what was the surprise??? These!!!
Sorry for the low quality picture. It was taken with my iPhone! But aren't they gorgeous??? I miss them already! I left them at work so I can enjoy them all day tomorrow while I'm there :)

I can't wait for July 24th!
XOXO

Friday, July 16, 2010

We Have The Best Nieces!

Last weekend our sweet, sweet nieces came to visit us. We love our nieces. Seriously, we ADORE them. They are the sweetest, funnest kids to be around. Ever. Period.
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My sweet sister and B.I.L know how much their girls mean to us and never hesitate to drive them to Russellville for us to kidnapp for the weekend. We always rendezvous at a Mexican restaurant there for the pick-up and drop-off. I so look forward to these weekends. We make them ALL about the girls and soak up as much of them as we can in the short 48 hours!
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Friday night (and pretty much any time we had free time!) the girls played the wii and then we had movie night.
Saturday morning we ate breakfast at Rick's and then went to the Farmers' Market. I love going there so, so much and the girls loved it too! Aaron was super sweet and basically followed us around with the camera. He is such a great Uncle to our sweet girls! We bought loads of fresh produce and let both of the girls design their own bouquet of fresh flowers. They loved doing this!
After the Farmer's Market we came home for a little Slip'n'Slide time! The girls had a ball.....and so did we! Yes, I admit, Aaron and I slid down that slide like the best of 'em!
Then we cleaned up for bowling and dinner at Red Robin, one of Ashley and Gracie's faves! For dessert we knew we just had to take the girls to Orange Mango, one of our faves! They thought it was too cool! We ended the evening with one more round of Slip'n'Slid time and then another movie night.
We had such a ball with Ashley and Gracie. Every single minute with them is such a blast and so entertaining! We just can't wait for them to come stay with us again! We love you girls!
XOXO

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Balsamic-Garlic Chicken with Easy Pesto Orzo

Last night I tried out a recipe I found in my July issue of Southern Living magazine. (Which, by the way, if you don't have a subscription to this magazine, you MUST GET IT! Aaron got me my own subscription for a stocking stuffer our first Christmas....so sweet!)

Back to the recipe. It is delicious and super easy! The flavor of the orzo is of course divine and the balsamic-garlic sauce is sooooooo good. Here's the recipe as found in the Southern Living magazine and and on the website.
BALSAMIC-GARLIC CHICKEN

Ingredients:
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
2 tbsp butter
1 tbsp vegetable oil
1/2 cup chicken broth
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
3 garlic cloves, chopped (or 1 1/2 tsp garlic powder)
1 1/2 tsp honey

Directions:
1. Sprinkle chicken breasts with salt and pepper.
2. Melt butter with oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.
3. Add chicken and cook 6 to 7 minutes on each side or until done.
4. Remove chicken and keep warm.
5. Add chicken broth and next 4 ingredients to skillet, and cook 5 minutes or until slightly thickened, stirring to loosen particles from bottom of skillet
6. Serve chicken with sauce.(Here's how our meal looked. It just so happened that we had some broccoli in our freezer, so we made the EXACT same meal as in the magazine! Ha! Delicious!)

EASY PESTO ORZO
Ingredients:
1. 1 cup uncooked orzo pasta
2. 1/4 cup refrigerated pesto
freshly grated parmesean cheese

Directions:
1. Cook pasta according to package directions and drain.
2. Combine pesto with cooked pasta, mixing well.
3. Top with grated parmesean cheese.

I hope you try this recipe. And I definetly hope you read this magazine! There's all kinds of good stuff in there!
XOXO