Monday, August 30, 2010

A Downtown Tour

Yesterday Tyler and I packed up the pupster and headed downtown for a little photo shoot. I have decided that I want to hang some black and white photographs of our downtown in our newly renovated master bathroom and this is what my wonderful husband came up with!

I think the top 3 are my favorites, which ones do you think I should display?

Have you had a chance to see all of the hidden jewels of our downtown? It's amazing what you can find if you just take a little time to explore!

Happy Monday!

Friday, August 27, 2010

Before and After: The Kitchen Edition

Happy Friday to All! I thought today would be as good a day as any to begin our Before and After series. We don't have any huge, amazing, groundbreaking transformations to show but we did do a few things here and there to spruce up the place!

The second we moved in in June of last year Tyler and I painted over all of the pumpkin colored wall paint in the entire house. We chose Hawthorn Yellow for the the kitchen walls and Timid White for the trim and cabinets, both by Benjamin Moore. We also quickly had my dad remove the chandelier and other ceiling light and had recessed lighting installed which made a huge difference! We lived with it like that for a while until the spring of this year when we called Justin Chesser with Faulkner-Myric Tile and he installed our beautiful River White granite! Tyler put up our back splash and about a month later we finally we had our new stove and hood installed.



More to come and have a great weekend!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

The Polls are Open! Please Vote.....

For Stronbow's 2010 Halloween costume, that is! I have narrowed it down to 4 choices so please help me choose!

#1 The Taco

#2 The Bandito

#3 The Caterpillar

#4 The Indian

I am hoping to order it on Friday so PLEASE VOTE by leaving me a comment!

Monday, August 23, 2010

A Tale of a Party and a Pizza Stone

I would like to preface with an apology for the strange name of this post but I promise, I have a point.

So we had a big weekend. A few of us threw a little bash for my big brother and his fiancé on Saturday and I must say, it was a success. We had a great crowd and the happy couple left with some great loot!
Here are a few pictures of Chris and Jessica from the party.

So now on to topic numero dos. A pizza stone. Chris and Jessica received a pizza stone at the shower and of course I got on my soap box and stressed the importance of using it properly!

Tyler and I use ours EVERY time we cook a pizza. The key is to put it in the oven at 500 degrees for 30 minutes before you cook your pizza. This way the stone is hot enough to start cooking the bottom of the pizza the second you put it on the stone. If you are cooking a pizza from scratch you will only need to cook the pizza for about 10 minutes or until the cheese has melted and your crust will be PERFECT!
A little tip: We build our pizza on parchment paper and then slide both the pizza and parchment paper on the stone. Less clean up and it's easy to maneuver.

Once we started making our own dough we decided that we could never go back to the store bought stuff! Here is our favorite pizza dough recipe from Annie's Eats (check out her post for more tips on freezing leftover dough)

Basic Pizza Dough
makes enough dough for 2 medium pizzas or 4 calzones

 ½ cup warm water
2 ¼ tsp. instant yeast
4 cups (22 oz.) bread flour, plus more for dusting
1½ tsp. salt
1¼ cup water, at room temperature
2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil

Measure the warm water into a 2-cup liquid measuring cup. Sprinkle the yeast over the top. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the bread flour and salt, mixing briefly to blend. Measure the room temperature water into the measuring cup with the yeast-water mixture. With the mixer on low speed, pour in the yeast-water mixture as well as the olive oil. Mix until a cohesive dough is formed. Switch to the dough hook. Knead on low speed until smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes (If you dont have a stand mixer you can use a hand mixer or even just a good ole spoon, be sure to kneed on a floured surface until smooth and elastic). Transfer to a lightly oiled bowl, turning once to coat. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise until doubled in size, 1½-2 hours.
Press down the dough to deflate it. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured work surface. Divide the dough into two equal pieces. Form each piece of dough into a smooth, round ball. (If freezing the dough, wrap in plastic wrap and freeze at this point.) Cover with a damp cloth. Let the dough relax for at least 10 minutes but no longer than 30 minutes.
To bake, preheat the oven and pizza stone to 500˚ F for at least 30 minutes. Transfer the dough to your shaping surface, lightly sprinkled with cornmeal. Shape the dough with lightly floured hands (I prefer a floured rolling pin). Brush the outer edge lightly with olive oil. Top as desired. Bake until the crust is golden brown, and cheese is bubbling, 8-12 minutes.

My friend Lindsay from A Pinch of Yum also has a post on pizza dough using beer so check it out!


Friday, August 20, 2010

Happy Hour at IKEA?

Are you ever been inspired just waking in to IKEA? Most normal people are inspired to redecorate their living room or remodel their kitchen. However, last time Tyler and I walked in to IKEA we were inspired to drink!
We came across these $2.99 finds and just had figure out something to do with them.

When we went to Charleston for our 1 year anniversary we found a restaurant that had pineapple infused vodka and it was probably a bit too tasty for our own good! That said, we decided to try it!
So... we went to Costco and bought one of their pineapples (much cheaper than the grocery store FYI). We brought it home and Tyler butchered in to pieces narrow enough to fit in the bottle. We then stuffed the pineapple into the bottle and filled it about half full with Vodka. It sat in a dark cabinet for about a week until we couldn't stand it any longer and had to take a swig! All I can say is IT.WAS.GOOD.
After the "test" swig we mixed it with some ginger ale and sat back and pondered the beauty and deliciousness of our newest creation.

If you try this, beware, the pineapple that is left in the jar is lethal! I mean that stuff sucks up a lot alcohol so don't eat it all at once or you will be sorry!

The only complaint I have is that I wish we could use larger pieces of fruit; so we might invest in one of these next time. This one will also be easier to serve out of as well.

You can infuse Vodka with just about anything including herbs and spices. Give it a try and let me know which one is your favorite.
Oh yeah.... please drink responsibly.
Happy Friday to all!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

My Middle Name is Sargento

Like I said yesterday, I am now a cheese maker. I would like to take this time to formally apologize to Barber's milk company for blaming them for the lack of curdling in the cheese making process. It was my fault, I didnt stir fast enough.
So it starts like this, I called Healthwise Foods because I was convinced that I needed local milk. They said that a gallon of milk from Dothan is $8.99! Can you believe that? After hearing that I gave up until I walked into Costco... $2.50 for a gallon of milk!  So right then and there my spirits were lifted. I figured their milk is from Nashville which is local for someone so it worked for me.
On with the story. I came home and got to work and 30 minutes later I had some great tasting mozzarella cheese. I don't have any pictures because this, again, was a late night project and my ball of cheese was not pretty. I have got to work on that.

Mozzarella is so easy to make and you don't have to sit around while it ages either. I used this kit from I'm really glad I ordered it because it has everything you need in it along with some great directions and recipes but now that I kind of know what I'm doing I will probably just buy the ingredients since that is a bit cheaper. Tonight is pizza night with  my homemade pizza crust ( I will share the recipe later) and homemade mozzarella. If you are in the neighborhood, stop by and I'll give you a sample just like they do at Costco!

Please go out and try it and let me know how it goes. Montgomery could become the new Wisconsin after all!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010


I did it, I am now a cheese maker! Round 2 and I beat the curdled beast! My mozzarella was actually really good but I will tell you all about it on tomorrow’s post.

I am going to try to post on Monday, Wednesday and Friday only because guess what, I start school tonight. I will be working on my 3rd semester of my MBA program on Tuesdays and Thursdays so I am going to leave those nights open to school work instead of blogging. Ugh, it’s hard being so responsible!

Monday, August 16, 2010

Last Days of Summer

Well we had grand weekend plans of glazing windows, making cheese, doing this week's long run actually outside this time and just hanging around the house. However, none of it happened and I'm actually kinda glad!

The contractor came Saturday morning to work on the bathroom and was in and out by 2:00 pm. As he was leaving we got a desperate call from my little bro begging us to come to the lake and entertain him! He is leaving for school in 2 weeks and will be in South Florida at a baseball acadamy for his senior year so when he threw the guilt trip on we caved. The fact that he is currenly healing from leg surgury really helped his case as well. So we all jumped in the car and headed to the lake for our last fam jam of Summer 2010.

As you can see, Strongbow loves his car rides to the lake.

Mom made us pose so that she could have a pic for her 9 kids and 1 grandchild.

A few of Tyler's pics. He was practicing using very little light, he is getting good don't you think?

So we got back to the homestead at about 5:00 and talked ourselves out of running our 7 miles outside (we are training for the Montgomery Half Marathon) and ran on the treadmill while we watched the finale of the Next Food Network Star.

Then....when we got home at 9:00 I realized that my gallon of milk that I bought to make cheese was about to expire so I just had to start that project that night as well. As you can tell, my time management skills are a bit lacking! Don't blame me, there is so much to do with so little time. So back to the cheese, I know I told you in an earlier post that we have already tried to make cheese but I lied, we haven't tried. I already had the kit so I figured that was good enough, my bad. I guess God was teaching me a lesson about fibbing because my cheese SO did not work! I'm blaming Barber's milk though, not myself. I need local milk according to the directions. Anyone know where I can get local milk in Montgomery and since when is Barber's not local? Anyway, I will prevail!

Happy Monday!

Friday, August 13, 2010

What's in a Name

Since you and I are still gettting to know each other here in blogland, I feel that I still have a few introductions to make. Tyler and I have a son, and his name is Strongbow. He is a tri color Cavalier King Charles Spaniel and he is just the light of our lives!
Strongbow at 11 weeks

at 4 months with his favorite toy that he has aptly named Flippy Floppy

Today at 6 and a half months

If you are thinking, "wow Sara, Strongbow is a very strange name for a dog!" I agree, so I'll tell you the story. Don't worry, I will be quick.

Before Strongbow was even a twinkle in our eyes, we had him named. Tyler and I backpacked through Scotland in 2008 and on the train from the Highlands to Edinburgh we drank a 2 L bottle of Strongbow. Don't judge, it was a long ride and we weren't driving. Strongbow is a British cider and, fear not, you can get it in the U.S. but definitely not in a 2 L bottle! So after drinking 2 L of the stuff we thought it was a brilliant name for a child. Low and behold it stuck and 2 years later our child was born! Joy to the world!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

The Joys of Compost

I was so thrilled to get my first request for a blog post, and yes, the request was for a post about, get ready for it........home composting!
As I mentioned on Tuesday's post, Tyler and I have tried our hand at composting and have gathered a few tips that we can share.
First of all, what is composting and why do it? Well, according to Wikipedia it is the purposeful biodegradation of organic matter, such as yard and food waste. So why do it? Who doesn't want to save money on potting soil and trash bags?! Compost is probably the best thing you can do for your plants. I promise, your roses will smell sweeter and your tomatoes will taste better! Plus, it is so good for the environment and apparently green is the new black!

Composting so easy to do, by the way. Tyler and I just make sure to keep all of our kitchen scraps like fruits, vegetables, coffee grounds (Starbucks gives away their coffee grounds just for this purpose so be sure to ask), egg shells and tea bags and then we throw them in this galvanized bucket that we got from World Market. World Market also makes actual countertop compost buckets but they are more expensive and this one serves the same purpose.

After, our bucket has filled up we take it outside to where the magic happens. Tyler built this guy this spring after our, way too expensive and ugly store bought bin fell apart. Tyler puts leaves, grass clippings, paper and our kitchen scraps in here and mixes it up about once a week.

The key things to remember about composting are green, brown, water and air. Your compost needs both green materials which are weeds, grass clippings, kitchen scraps, etc and brown materials such as dead leaves, pine straw, wood chips and other dry organic materials. Composting also requires watering. We water ours every week or so if we are lucky. Just give it enough water to make it look damp but not watery. Lastly your compost needs air. It needs to be "turned" or stirred every week or 2 to ensure that oxygen is constantly introduced to even the stuff on the bottom.
One thing to remember is the more attention you give it the faster it will decompose. There is nothing wrong with just dumping stuff in and never touching it but it will take MUCH longer (up to a year) to decompose. If you do everything right, it can be ready in about a month. However, you can't really mess this up!

Tips from our experiences:
-Plastic store bought bins like this one work faster because they get hotter and they have a cover but sometimes they don't hold up as well.
-Shady spots, like ours, slow it down.
-Put at least one bag of grass clippings in each time you cut the grass.
-Don't forget to put some of your dead leaves or pine straw in before you bag it and put it on the street.
- Newspapers are great for compost but avoid any paper with too much ink.
- Cut up anything that might be too big like paper or corn husks, the smaller the better.
- Don't put in anything with seeds or you might get some pepper plants or a peach tree growing in your bin!

Below are a few great sites if you are interested in learning more:

Happy Composting!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

The 2K10 Bathroom Shakedown

Let me tell you, when we looked at this house for the first time, I must say, the master bathroom frightened me! The house was "born" in 1968 and has had very little updating; so the avacado green bathroom is truly like walking into a time machine! We have...avacado green floor tile, wall tile, bathtub, sink, and even an avacado green toilet! When we moved in I decided it would be brilliant to try to pull down some wall paper that looked like it was pealing off. However, as I worked I began to find yet another layer of VERY stubborn lime green floral wallpaper, so after getting about half way through with the first layer I waved the white flag of surrender! No amount of neutral shower curtains and rugs could help this situation so thanks to Jennifer and Bobby Trott who gave us the name of a great contractor, our renovation is now in its 3rd day! (if you want our contractors name and number just let me know)
Below are a few pictures of the bathroom when we moved in. The only thing that has changed in the year that we have lived in this house is the wallpaper which was half removed!
bathroom before 1

bathroom before 2

bathroom before 3
Here are a few inspirations for our new bathroom. Check out some other white bathroom inspirations on Rachel's blog.


Lauren sent me to Hardy Royal's warehouse where I found a remnant of this beauty for our countert top:
marble top
And here we have our chosen bathroom fixtures from Lowes (how fitting that they are named Caldwell made by Moen!)

Faucetshower valve
We are using white subway tile behind the shower and a pretty light colored slate tile on the floor. If you have any ideas of what color to paint the walls, please share!

Currenly, the bathroom is in shambles but we just got our new WHITE tub installed so I can see the improvements already!

I will be sure to post some "after" photos as soon as it's done!