Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Picking Peaches

Nathanael and I have enjoyed a very busy start to spring this year.  We are still slowly working on decorating our master bedroom as well as a few projects in our backyard.  The most exciting thing that has happened has to be our decision to get a puppy.  We quickly decided that a goldendoodle would best suit family and lifestyle after pet-sitting for some friends with a darling doodle named Suubi.  A week or two after pet-sitting, we decided to contact our friends' breeder just to see if there were any puppies available. 

 We were very excited to find that there was a litter of puppies that had been born on March 19!

After several agonizing weeks of waiting, we were finally able to select our puppy on May 2.  We had the choice of four female pups, and they were all absolutely adorable.  I seriously wanted to bring them all home.  In the end, we decided to go with the calmest and curliest of the four.

Meet Peaches!
We brought her home on Sunday, May 15.  I am so grateful that she is sleeping through the night in her crate without crying.  We couldn't be happier with our little puppy!

Taking her morning nap...so far we have only heard her growl and bark in her sleep.

She looks like a little teddy bear and is proving to be a quick learner.  We love her so much already!  Last but not least, here is a video from her first day at home.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Feeling Blue

I am so excited to share pictures of our freshly painted master bedroom!  After we placed the new bed in our room, we knew that we would eventually get rid of the pale peachy tan on the walls.  Nathanael and I agreed that a blue-gray would be perfect with our bed and bedding.  We made a trip to a home improvement store and got two samples that I was convinced I would love...I was wrong.  One looked like a pastel baby blue and the other looked like bright aqua with our lighting.  I am so glad we didn't just buy two gallons of either of those!  We ended up going back for more samples and finally found the perfect color for our room.  It is Benjamin Moore's Gray Wisp (1570), and we had it color matched in Behr paint in a flat finish.  The entire project took the better part of a Saturday, but it was so worth a day's work.  I am so happy with the progress we are making in our bedroom.  We also plan to build nightstands, replace the current lamps,  and refinish my light oak dresser over the next few months.

This is our view from the french doors.  

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Snow Day

Last Thursday, we woke up to a few inches of snow on the ground. It was so beautiful! I just had to share a few of pictures of the house. Sadly, the snow melted a day or two later. We are having an extremely mild winter this year. I wouldn't mind spending another day watching it snow while sitting by the fire. I suppose there is still time...

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

New Year, New Bed

Nathanael and I have finally finished our bed!  It has been a really fun project and excellent learning experience for both of us.  It gave me the opportunity to learn the function of several basic power tools, and it was exciting to see just how much my husband already knows.  I will admit we made at least 10 trips to the hardware store to find random things like 4 1/2 inch  screws, untreated 4x4 posts, and mattress supports.   I am still amazed at Nathanael's enthusiasm about the project from start to finish, even when we had to drive 45 miles on the coldest evening in December to get the right screws.

What I learned...
1.  Every saw/tool has a very specific purpose (your husband is right about this one)
2.  Double the estimated cost of your first furniture project to be accurate
3. Also double the estimated time it will take to complete the project (Christmas and colds happen)
4. Use steel brackets + a center support to hold the nearly 400 pounds of husband, wife and mattress
5. Complete painting projects in the garage between the months of April and October (in Missouri)

Even though the project wasn't super easy or seamless, I am so pleased with the end result.  Our bed is so sturdy, and I absolutely love the design.  The plans were created by Ana White.  Be sure to check out her blog...it is amazing!  Last, but not least, a fun video of our bed building experience....

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Recipes from Christmas

I didn't do a lot of cooking this Christmas since we spent the holiday with Nathanael's family in Texas.  I did my best to be helpful in the kitchen, but Nathanael's mom definitely did most of the work.  She is a fantastic cook and planner.  I did take a batch of my favorite cookies and made a salad to accompany our Christmas dinner, so I thought I would share those recipes here.  Sorry I don't have any pictures to go along with the recipes.  Enjoy!

Best Cookies on Earth (from Under the Magnolias, A Tasteful Tour of Athens, GA)

2 sticks of butter
3/4 cup light brown sugar
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 cups self-rising flour
1 1/2 cups oatmeal
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 cup chopped dried cranberries
1 package toffee bits (I use 1/2 package)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Cream butter and sugars.  Add egg and vanilla, mixing well.  Blend in flour, oatmeal, chocolate chips, cranberries and toffee bits.  Drop by teaspoonfuls onto a greased baking sheet.  Bake for 10 minutes.

I often roll the dough into 36 balls and freeze in packages of 12.  It makes it so easy to bake fresh cookies for guests or just us.  I just thaw the dough in the refrigerator and bake the next day.

Greek Salad Dressing (by Ina Garten)

2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 cup olive oil

Whisk together the garlic, oregano, mustard, vinegar, salt and pepper in a small bowl.  Still whisking, slowly add the olive oil to make an emulsion.

I usually serve this dressing over a salad with lettuce, tomato, green bell pepper, red onion, banana pepper, cucumber, and feta cheese.  Whisking the dressing while slowly adding the oil does make all the difference when making a homemade vinaigrette.

Friday, December 31, 2010

2010 in Review

2010 has been a very busy and exciting year for us.  We planned our wedding, got married, and I moved from Florida to Missouri to be with Nathanael.  Here are some of the highlights...

January - I celebrated the start of 2010 with my grandparents in Punta Gorda, Florida.  On January 2, my grandmother and I went wedding dress shopping.  I found "the dress" in less than an hour in the first shop we visited.

February - I traveled to Branson, Missouri, to visit Nathanael and celebrate his 28th birthday.  We also looked at two houses and ended up making an offer on one the next day.  Two weeks later, the closing was complete and Nathanael had the keys to our first home.

March - We made a day trip to Cumberland Island to have our engagement photos taken.  Nathanael created his first iPhone application, iPeeInABottle.  I couldn't be more proud of him :)

Photo by Valerie Bruce

April - We celebrated Easter with some very special friends at Orange Park Bible Church.  I traveled to St. Simons Island with several of my closest girlfriends for a triple bachelorette weekend.

May - Nathanael attended the wedding of two close friends from his Small Group in Missouri.  I attended the weddings of two of my college roommates in Georgia.  I also left my job in Jacksonville.

June - On June 6, Nathanael and I were married at Lovely Lane Chapel on St. Simons Island, Georgia.  It was a very special day celebrated with our closest family and friends.  We then spent a week relaxing in Blowing Rock, North Carolina.  Nathanael's wonderful parents drove a moving truck full of my things across the country while we were on our honeymoon.  We were so fortunate to be able to fly home to Missouri from North Carolina and simply unpack.

Photo by Valerie Bruce

July - We celebrated July 4th with Nathanael's family in Texas...I even shot off some fireworks!  Nathanael published his second iPhone application, KillerAnts.

August - Nathanael and I began Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace University at a local church.  I highly recommend the class.  We attended another wedding of two friends from Nathanael's Small Group.  I decided to join the 21st century with the purchase of an iPhone!

September - We attended another wedding of two friends from Nathanael's Small Group.

October - We hosted our first weekend guests in our new home.  Nathanael's parents visited, and we had a blast.  We took them to Silver Dollar City, Sight & Sound Theatre, and Andy's for custard.  Nathanael's dad also helped fix some things around the house, and we shopped for tools.

November - I turned 25!  We traveled to St. Simons Island for Thanksgiving.  We got to spend time with two of my close friends, my parents, brother, grandparents, my mom's brother and his wife, and two of my cousins.  

December - We began our first major furniture project, building a bed for our master bedroom.  Nathanael also created two more iPhone apps, iWriteNotes and iWriteGifts.  We traveled to Fort Worth for my first Miller Christmas.  We spent the holiday with Nathanael's parents, grandmother, two brothers and their wives.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Christmas in Branson

I just wanted to share some of the Christmas decor in our home this year.  I think we spent a total of $40 on decorations, so I mostly worked with what we already had.  My dad was very kind to purchase our tree as a gift for my 25th birthday.  I really love it and am amazed at how real it looks.  We made our own popcorn and cranberry garland for the tree which we hope to make an annual Miller tradition.

 We found stockings for the fireplace in red, gray, and ivory.  I think I may add garland to the mantle next year.

I made a pair of coffee filter wreaths for our french doors after seeing the idea on Money Saving Mom.  I added a snowflake ornament and some red ribbon to each to tie in the colors and design of the stockings.

I even added a few things from my grandmother's collection to our living room bookcase to make it more festive.  

Last, but not least, I added some small ornaments and vase filler to a lantern and candle display that I use year round.