Wednesday, November 24, 2010


I can't tell you how wonderful it is to have a husband who is super handy. Especially when you own a house and are very picky about how things turn out. :) Over the last few years we have lived in our house Steve's skills have been put to the test by himself and by me. He's built some window treatments off of little direction from my aunts and I. Made an awesome brick patio and re-did most of it after my criticism. He has done countless other projects, but his latest tops them all. We have redone our basement, it was livable when we bought the house....if you wanted to hang out in what looked like a crappy barn. The whole room is amazing, thanks to Steve. You can read all about his amazing work here. I want to talk about one part of the room...the mantel. He took this drawing I made and turned it into reality.

Now I know nothing about building, nothing about how wood goes together, dimensions or anything. I just knew what I wanted it to look like. This poses a very big challenge to Steve. He now has to take my drawing and make it look as great as the picture in my mind. Minus one mini blow out at home depot (I am sure the Home Depot workers have seen greater arguments), I think it went quite well. I am sure Steve might say differently, as he had to actually put it together. I must say though that I LOVE how it turned out, it definitely met and even exceeded all my expectations. It looks better than it did in my mind even, but you should just see for yourself!

Thank you Steve!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Pumking Carving!

So we had gone and picked pumpkins, that means we must carve pumpkins! This is a James' family tradition and I try to get Steve into it. He's not a huge fan of it though, so we seem to do it every other year so far. I tell him he better start enjoying it before we have kids cause then we are for sure carving them every year. Growing up we always went to Eckart's to pick pumpkins, then we would design what we wanted and help dad carve them. He would have out all kinds of tools, each year figuring out which ones worked best perfecting the art of pumpkin carving.

Me digging into one of the pumpkins. Got to get it cleaned out really well! This is the part Steve hates the most.

Steve helping me draw out the design for my pumpkin.

Our creations! Mine is the SK2 one and Steve's is the birds and the moon.

Our front deck stairs were perfect to display them on.

We also sprayed them with a concoction of jalapeƱos and hot sauce we blended to keep the squirrels away from them. Don't breath near it though or it will burn your nose! It worked though, no squirrels eating our pumpkins this year!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Pumpkin Patch!

A few weekends ago Steve and I went to Lawrence, KS to pick pumpkins! We went a few years ago and it was a good time. We had gone late in the season though and our choices of pumpkins were slim. This time we went a week after it opened and there were a ton to choose from!

Steve on the tractor heading from the barn to where the pumpkins are.

Trying to pick out a pumpkin! There were a lot of odd shaped ones that I wanted. In the end though I picked a normal looking one.

We eventually found two that we liked.

Steve carried them both to the car for us. Afterwards we went to downtown Lawrence for lunch. It was a nice way to spend a Saturday afternoon.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Fall is Here!

I love fall! So many things about it...the smells, the leaves changing colors, breaking out scarves, boots and hats, home decor and of course the food! Pumpkin is one of my favorites. I love pumpkin everything. So when I got a free pumpkin the last week of our CSA I figured why not make my own puree and cook the seeds. Mama told me I wouldn't want to do it, but I figured why not try!

I cut the pumpkin in half and put the halves face down on a cookie sheet. Then baked for an hour and 45 mins.

It made the house smell delightful! I then let it cool, scooped it out and pureed it in the blender. Since then I have used the puree to make pumpkin cupcakes and pumpkin bread. Both of them were delicious.

While the pumpkin was cooking I made a butternut/acorn squash and sweet potato soup. It was beyond good...just ask Steve.

I also saved the pumpkin seeds from the one I cooked to make the puree and roasted them with olive oil and sea salt. We ate them as a snack all week. I just love fall!

Monday, October 11, 2010


We went to Chicago at the end of September to celebrate our first anniversary. It was such a great time. We had a blast seeing the city. It was also very relaxing, something we had been needing!

We went to the aquarium. It really is one of the better aquariums I've ever seen, not that I have seen a ton. :)

We rented bikes from a stand outside the aquarium. We saw a ton of the city on the bikes, Navy Pier, Millennium Park and the River Walk. It really is a great way to see a city.

At Millennium Park, in front of The Bean.

We also had to hit up some Chicago style pizza. It was delicious, but it has nothing on St Louis style.

We also went to a Cubs vs Cardinals game at Wrigley Field. Too bad the Cards lost. We still had a ton of fun though. Thanks mom and dad for the tickets!

I also kicked butt in pin-ball. I got my name on the score board in the top 40! haha It was pure luck and a lot of beer I think.
I know we wont be able to celebrate every year of marriage this way but it was a great way to spend the first one for sure. Any trip with my best friend is a good trip though, no matter the occasion. :) Click here if you want to see more pictures from our trip.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Happy Anniversary to Us!

Yesterday was our first anniversary. We had celebrated all weekend by a trip to Chicago. We flew back to KC later in the day yesterday, but last night we took a few more minuets to celebrate by having our wedding cake.

There was a ton left! Some of both flavors we had at the wedding.

We cut a few pieces of each kind and poured ourselves some very nice champagne that we had gotten as a gift. The cake wasn't too bad. The icing didn't taste right though. It was sort of like eating a cold stick of butter! We had a few bites and that was all.

Cheers! To the start of another great year!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Welcome Liam!

Steve's bff Tom and his wife Rebekah had their first child a few weeks ago. It was a boy, a big boy at 9lbs 2oz! Liam Ray Martin, born on 9-02-10 :)
Steve and I visited them in the hospital. He was just precious.
Tom and Rebekah are going to be great parents. Steve and I can't wait to watch Liam grow up. I can just picture many years from now Steve and Tom playing video games or Star Wars with him.
Congratulations Tom and Rebekah!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Family Time

Our newest Skyping buddy! :)
Isn't she such a cutie? Kim and Brian got a camera for their laptop this past weekend and Sunday night Steve and I had a Skype date with them and Leah. Leah was just amazed at the technology. haha. She would just stare and stare and us on the computer screen. A little much for her brain to understand just yet that her Aunt and Uncle are in a different city talking to her. After just looking at us like we were on tv for a while she showed off a lot of her new skills.
It was awesome getting to watch her push her piano around the room, try to wave at us and pull cords and keys off the computer. Steve and I are both so happy to get to spend some "quality" time with our niece. Thanks Kim and Brian for getting the camera, we look forward to many more Sunday nights visiting!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Jackson County Tri

Three weeks ago I had my second triathlon. It was at the same place as the tri class I had taken, so I knew the course pretty well. Even though I knew the course already it was still harder than the first one I thought. Steve thinks I biked and swam faster then the first one. The run was pitiful though.

Me setting up my transition station at 5:30am. Steve was nice enough to come with me again, even though his duties pretty much end after we park and walk to the transition station. He's my crew chief. :)
Katie and I waiting for our turn to swim. We had to wait around forever!

My swim start. I am in the back on the right. It was my first group start. It was chaos! But it must have helped cause I swam this one almost 3 minuets faster than the WIN tri.
I wasn't a fan of any of the bike or run pictures so I will just leave you with the swim ones. :) The bike took me an hour, it was 13 miles and the run like I said was a pitiful showing of a 5k, but hey I finished! Overall I liked my first triathlon better than this one. This tri just didn't seem organized well at all and it was kind of annoying. I might skip this one in the future.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010


Skype has been around for a while now, but I had not thought about using it in a long time. We used it often when Ellen went to Australia. Recently I have picked back up using it again and it is awesome. It works great since my laptop has a built in webcam and microphone. Ellen and I Skyped a few weeks ago and played a game from our childhood...pitch/keep. She helped me get rid of jewelry I don't wear anymore, like or need.
I also spent some time with Charlie.

Bailey came to the party for a while also. And I got to see my mom, she didn't want a picture taken of her though. hehe

Last week some of my girlfriends and I went to "happy hour" together. We all sat at our own computers and had some beers together while Skyping. You can't video chat with more than one person, so we just did the voice dial. But every now and then one of us would sign out to go do something and the other people could video chat. It was awesome getting to see each others faces and even when we didn't have the video going it was so much fun just getting to all talk and hang out at the same time. Look at how happy some of us were....
Krista waving "Hi" from Boston.
Sarah and Leslie laughing at pictures they were taking of me from St Louis.

I can't wait to Skype again with my sister and friends. I also just found out that my littlest sister in law, Jessica, got a web cam and a Skype account and I am looking forward to Skyping with her. Now we just need Kim to get one so we can chat with her too and so Steve and I can see Leah growing up "in person".

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Yuri is 1 year old!

Yuri turned 1 yesterday! For his birthday he got a puppy pie. :)
He waited patiently for his treat while I made Steve snap a photo of him in front of it.
He had to share it with his brother of course. They were both super excited.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Dog Park

Last weekend we took the dogs to Shawnee Mission Park. They have a nice off leash dog park area. Chewie has visited most of the dog parks in the area, but Yuri had yet to go to any of them. This was his first time and he loved it! I think Chewie loved it a little more being there with his brother too. He was more adventurous than previous times we had taken him.
There is a place where dogs can get into the lake and swim around. This is as much as they wanted to get in. hehe.
They really stuck together the whole time. Chewie was the leader and Yuri would go where ever he was, occasionally running back to us to see that we were still there and let us know they were alright. Hopefully the heat backs off soon and we can take them to adventure at the dog parks around more often.

Friday, August 6, 2010


One of our local grocery stores, Hen House, has a CSA program. CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture. It is a program where you can get locally produced foods and for a good price. You should really look into if there is a CSA in your area! Everything that you get is so fresh and tastes like it too. It is awesome for Steve and I cause it is a pre-made grocery list each week, halfway through the week, and we are getting things that we would never have picked up on our own. Which is getting us to cook new things.

How it works is first we signed up and choose a pick-up day. For us this is Wednesday. We never know what we are doing on Saturdays(the other choice) to know if we would be around during the pick-up time. This also gives us a chance to not buy weekend groceries that we don't use or go bad. Our weekend shopping is now for just 2-3 meals, since we can pick-up anything else on Wednesday when we are at the grocery store to pick up our CSA. Each week they send you list of items you will get that week. Sometimes things change though based on the crops and weather effects on them. Each item is given a points value based on its price. You can exchange anything you want for things of similar points values. They also have a table set up with things you can exchange for not on the list that week. There is usually a meat item each week, a dairy item and then veggies. Ranging from 5 to 6 items each time too. If you can't pick-up a week you just tell them. Also, it is just $25, no matter what the actual cost of the items totals. Lately its always around $30 worth of stuff. Here are just a few of the awesome things we have gotten and some of the things we have made with them!

A whole chicken! I had no idea how to cook a whole chicken. Luckily Steve just got a new cookbook with a recipe for cooking a whole chicken. We also invested in a dutch oven for this. Got a great deal on it. This is one of those things I am not sure we would have ever bought, a raw whole chicken.

Fresh baked bread. It was delicious!

A melon(who knows what type this one was, we are getting to know all different types of melons. Did you know there was more than watermelon, honeydew and cantaloupe?) Also heirloom tomatoes. I made a "bruschetta" with them. Used the above bread and some whole milk white cheddar cheese we received one week.

Baked some red potatoes with fresh dill...again all from the CSA.

This is not even a sliver of all the things we have gotten and made since signing up a month ago. It is such a great program, I really recommend looking into if you have one around you. And remember it is all local!