November 15, 2013

Five on Friday

Happy Friday! I feel like this week really flew by. Linking up with AprilChristinaDarci and Natasha for Five on Friday. Thanks for stopping by!

{one} This has definitely been one of those weeks of change. I wrote about it here and here. This weekend we will hopefully sell our Volvo SUV, which also tugs at my heart strings, as that was intended for the babes, as well. We just don't need it being in the city but a part of me definitely will miss it. Thank you so much for all of your support and sweet words this week!
{two} Onto lighter you know if you need a sequin elbow patch cardigan? I didn't know I needed one, either, but here it is! It's from Very Jane and I love it. 
{three} We are having professional pictures taken at the end of the month for the first time since our wedding/engagement, which was, ahem--four years ago. I'm pretty excited and am having fun planning our outfits, etc. I fear if we don't have them taken we will only have selfies and individual pics for our entire time here. :)
{four} Target! Boy,  I have missed Target. I know that I can order anything I need online or get it nearby, but let's be honest, it's not the same. My blog and instagram friends have been posting their fun finds from Target's holiday collections and I am green with envy that I can't run out immediately and do the same! So, we found one not TOO far from our place, although you definitely need to drive or take a cab there. We jumped in the car and headed over and I was like a kid in a candy store. Seriously. I know it's kind of sad, but it is the truth. I loved every minute strolling around that store and stocked up on any fun items (and some practical ones, of course) I could get my hands on.

A week in pictures! Here's what we've been up to this week.

 We went one some fun dates this week. We have used HowAboutWe and Gilt City to find some really great places. On Saturday we went to Haven, a rooftop restaurant and aside from the food being so good, the atmosphere was wonderful, too. I would love to see it when it gets warmer here!
Then, on Wednesday we went to Henry, a Jazz bar, which was so fun.

 Trimming THE tree! Can't wait to see it all lit up on December 4th!

Have a wonderful weekend!

November 14, 2013

Closing a Chapter

We closed on our first house today. Overall, it was a fairly simple process. We were under contract two days after being on the market, and aside from a few hiccups along the way, it all went very smoothly.

But as we close on our house today, I realize that we are closing a chapter in our lives. We bought the house a few months after being married, and I couldn't wait to get in and unpack those beautiful wedding gifts and finally use all of our new appliances. We bought a bright red washer and dryer and I imagined using the "baby clothing" setting down the road. We shopped for furniture in almost every room, because, ironically, we were moving from a condo about the size of our current abode. We grew as a couple as we made decisions together, cooked together in our kitchen, decorated and completed numerous house projects along the way.

Like many homeowners, I'm sure, we wanted to make improvements and at times had a pretty long list of "must-dos" and "would-like-to-dos". One thing we always said about our house was that it had "good bones" and we didn't need to do anything too crazy like knocking out walls or reconstructing living spaces. (However, I totally admire you if that is something you've done in your house!) We did renovate all bathrooms and updated most other spaces with simple things that made a big impact, such as lighting and painting. We fenced in our yard for Sadie and eventually Bailey, and we bought a grill, which would be used time and time again in the years to come.

Our first year of marriage was also the first year we spent in our house, and it was so special. After the first year, we decided we were ready to expand our family. That is a long story for another day, but we entered into a new chapter at that point. The first real obstacle we had faced as a couple was that we were having trouble getting pregnant. I was diagnosed with PCOS and we weren't sure how long it would take to become pregnant. We sought help at a nearby clinic, and, much to our delight and surprise, we became pregnant soon after with our sweet boys. If you've been reading the blog for any amount of time, you know what happened next. Losing our twins completely shook our world, as did struggling to become pregnant and having three more miscarriages over the course of the next year and a half. I think about the time we spent in the house prior to all of the heartache, and I am so thankful for that time. It was just us and we were making our house a home,  and I know now God gave us that time as a blessing and as a support for what we were going to endure in the future.

Through every moment of uncertainty, our house was always home and that was constant. I have cried more tears in that house than anywhere else in my life, but I've also made some of the happiest memories there, as well. We had so much fun and loved our neighborhood. We made lifelong friends with our wonderful neighbors. We had dinner parties, Christmas parties, birthday parties, and just-because parties. We carved pumpkins and decorated for Christmas and made s'mores in the backyard. We planted flowers and picked up leaves and played in the snow. We found and humanely rescued a mouse, found a snake in the house (eeek, that one still gets me) and watched deer, bunnies and other critters roam our backyard.

As I reflect back on our time in the house, my mind thinks about the memories made there more than the house itself. This reminds me that while I have had a hard time letting go of that chapter, I'm not letting go of the memories and friends made there. Those remain with me and always will. I'm thankful to a house that truly became our home, like a member of our family. I hope that the future homeowners will love and appreciate the house the way we did. I hope they make lots of happy memories there and that they really enjoy the special neighborhood they are in.

As we enter in to a new chapter, I wonder how I will reflect on our new home. I wonder if I will nostalgically write about the memories and friends made here. I hope so. Each new chapter is a chance to learn new things, to grow and become better. I hope and pray we are able to grow our family, as we have been trying to do for the past three years. A house can't fulfill those dreams. We just have to keep doing the best we can, enjoying the home we have, appreciating the people we love.

We will always, always, have a sweet spot in our hearts for that brick house on Cotton Creek.


November 13, 2013

Thanksgiving side dish-Brussels Sprout Salad

Thanksgiving is right around the corner! I couldn't wait to get my hands on this recipe, and it didn't disappoint. I love roasted brussel sprouts! It looks fancy and tastes it, too, though it really isn't difficult to make. Trader Joe's thankfully sells shaved brussel sprouts so that took some of the muscle work and time off the prep for this salad. I made a few changes  and adapted a recipe from New York Magazine. I think we will definitely have to add this to the Thanksgiving Day menu.

Shaved Brussels-Sprout Salad
with pecorino, toasted almonds, and pears in a honey-Dijon vinaigrette
What You'll Need:
3 lbs. large brussel sprouts (or two bags of shaved Brussels)
1/2 cup plus 2 tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup sliced almonds
zest of 1 lemon
 3 tbs. lemon juice
1 garlic clove
2 tbs. white-wine vinegar (I used apple cider vinegar)
2 tbs. honey
1 tbs. plus 1 tsp. Dijon mustard
1 tbs. thyme leaves
1 peeled pear, julienned
1 pound Pecorino Romano, grated
(I used a shaved parmesan, pecorino and asiago blend from Trader Joe's)
What to Do:
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Strip the brussel sprouts of their outer leaves, and set aside. Holding each sprout by the stem, cut into very thin slices. Toss in a bowl to separate layers. Toss the reserved leaves with 2 tablespoons evoo, and season with salt and pepper to taste. {I skipped all of this and tossed shaved brussel sprouts with olive oil, salt and pepper}.
Spread the leaves on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, and roast in the oven until they're crispy, about 10 minutes. Remove from oven.
Turn oven to 350 degrees and toss almonds with a tablespoon of oil and season with salt. Spread on a baking sheet. Toast the almonds in the oven for about 8 minutes or until lightly browned.
Meanwhile, put the lemon zest and juice, garlic, vinegar, honey and mustard in a blender. Blend at medium speed until dressing is smooth, then slowly stream in the remaining oil. Once the dressing is emulsified, add the thyme and pulse 2-3 times.
Before serving, put the sliced Brussels/leaves, almonds and pear into a large bowl. Pour the dressing and toss the ingredients together. Season with salt and pepper to taste, then top with cheese.


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