Sunday, February 27, 2011

My Etsy Store - T. Wattenburger

I went ahead and did it. I started an Etsy store. I don't have much in it yet, but I'm hoping to have time this week to start filling it up.

You can click on the link in the right sidebar to go to the store, and it should be shuffling through some of the items. Take a look, and email me with any questions!

Here are a few of the few (6) items I have listed right now:

Blue and Salmon Card Holder

Green Blue and Brown Card Holder

Brown Blue and Green Card Holder

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Cold, Cold Weather!

It is seriously cold here today, with blue skies. Deceivingly blue. I keep looking out the window and thinking that I should take Micah for a walk. Or just spend some time outside in the beautiful day.

Then I step outside and my icicle fingers fall off. Okay, not really, but it's cold out there! The Weather Channel says 24 degrees. I thought I moved to the desert... where is the sun?

What? What's that you say? It's winter? The desert has winter too? Well I don't remember signing up for that. I'm ready for some spring. For some sunshine. I'm ready to sit in the backyard with Micah and Maverick, wearing shorts and a tank top.

In the last few weeks we've had nice weather. The kind that tricks you and makes you think spring is here. I went for walks, felt good going outside, and was thinking about getting ready to start planting vegetables. I'm ready for spring!

And then on Thursday, I woke up to this:

Someday my spring will come. At least, I hope it will.

**According to The Weather Channel, our temperature is supposed to double by tomorrow. 48! I think I'll stay in the nice, warm house until then.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

~ TASTY THURSDAY ~ Pioneer Woman's Chicken Parmagiana

I recently tried this recipe from the Pioneer Woman, and I'm in love! I think about it often, and I wish we had some chicken breasts and parmesan cheese ready right now - I'd go whip some up. Unfortunately, we don't, so I'm going to have to wait until another night. Hopefully that night will come soon... maybe tomorrow!

Also, if you haven't checked out her website - do it! She has some delicious recipes, with pictures to show you what to do the entire time. There are many, many recipes that I'd like to try, just not enough days to cook them all.

Here it is:


You're Going to Need:
4 whole (up To 6) Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts, Trimmed And Pounded Flat
½ cups All-purpose Flour
Salt And Pepper, to taste
½ cups Olive Oil
2 Tablespoons Butter
1 whole Medium Onion, Chopped
4 cloves Garlic, Minced
¾ cups Wine (white Or Red Is Fine)
3 cans (14.5 Oz.) Crushed Tomatoes
2 Tablespoons Sugar
¼ cubes Chopped Fresh Parsley
1 cup Freshly Grated Parmesan Cheese
1 pound Thin Linguine (I think I used spaghetti, because I didn't have any linguine.. turned out great still!)

What you need to do:
Mix flour, salt, and pepper together on a large plate.

Dredge flattened chicken breasts in flour mixture. Set aside.

At this time, you can start a pot of water for your pasta. Cook linguine until al dente.
Heat olive oil and butter together in a large skillet over medium heat. When butter is melted and oil/butter mixture is hot, fry chicken breasts until nice and golden brown on each side, about 2 to 3 minutes per side.

Remove chicken breasts from the skillet and keep warm.

Without cleaning skillet, add onions and garlic and gently stir for 2 minutes. Pour in wine and scrape the bottom of the pan, getting all the flavorful bits off the bottom. Allow wine to cook down until reduced by half, about 2 minutes.

Pour in crushed tomatoes and stir to combine. Add sugar and more salt and pepper to taste. Allow to cook for 30 minutes. Toward the end of cooking time, add chopped parsley and give sauce a final stir.

Carefully lay chicken breasts on top of the sauce and completely cover them in grated Parmesan. Place lid on skillet and reduce heat to low. Allow to simmer until cheese is melted and chicken is thoroughly heated. Add more cheese to taste.

Place cooked noodles on a plate and cover with sauce. Place chicken breast on top and sprinkle with more parsley. Serve immediately.

Yum!! You're going to love this meal.. And I think we're going to have to eat this for dinner very soon. It's making my mouth water, just thinking about it!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

~ FOR YOU ~ My First Giveaway

In the next few months I would like to start an Etsy store with the crafts I've been making. In order to get word out a little bit, I thought I would have a giveaway here on my blog. Plus, I really appreciate that you read the thoughts I write down, and I want to be able to express that through giving things away!

What you win:

A set of four travertine tile coasters, made especially for you. You can choose from one of four coordinating sets:

*** Green and Cream

*** Black and White

*** Brown, Blue and Creams
*** Giraffe (4 matching)

There are a few ways to enter:
  • Leave a comment telling me which design set you would choose!
  • Be a follower of this blog in the right sidebar! (If you already are a follower, that's great!)
  • Write a blog of your own about this giveaway. (Please be sure that you leave a link back to this blog post!)
  • Post about this giveaway on Facebook
Please be sure to leave separate comments for each of the methods of entry that you do. Feel free to do more than one. :) In a week and a half (the evening of March 4) I'll do a drawing using to select the winner from the comments.

Good luck to you all!

Saturday, February 19, 2011

~ CRAFTS ~ Custom Tile Coasters

I've been having a lot of fun doing crafts lately, usually in the afternoons after work, while Micah is taking a nap or jumping in his jumperoo.

One of the fun things that I've made is customized coasters. They're super easy, and look really nice (at least I think so!). Here is a little tutorial if you want to try to make them:

What you need:
  • Four 4" tiles (I used travertine, because I like the holey texture of them)
  • Four pieces of scrapbook paper, which coordinate with whatever theme you'd like to use
  • Mod Podge
  • Polyurethane
  • A paintbrush or a foam brush

The first step is to choose your scrapbook papers. I like to have them all coordinate, and look matching. Here are some that I've used:

Once you've chosen your paper, wipe any dust off the tiles. They tend to be fairly dusty, and you want to get rid of it so that the paper will stick to the tile better. Next, you cut the scrapbook paper to fit the top of the tile. I usually trace one of the tiles onto the back of the paper, and then adjust so that each piece fits exactly. With the travertine, the edges aren't perfect, so you have to cut the paper to adjust for the little holes and dents.

Next, spread a thin layer of Mod Podge onto the top side of the tile.

Press the paper onto the Mod Podge, starting in the center and working toward the edges to remove air bubbles.

Then you take it outside, or a well ventilated area, and spread a layer of polyurethane onto the tile. This will seal the paper so that water won't ruin it. We all know that water and paper don't mix well!

When you put the poly on, it really make light-colored papers look like they're blending into the tile - very cool looking!

Let it dry for at least 24 hours so that it's completely hard, not tacky, and cover with another layer. (It's probably alright with just one layer of polyurethane, but just to be sure it's completely protected I like to add an extra layer).

When it's dry, put a little felt circle, available at Wal-Mart, on each corner of the bottom of the coaster, so that it doesn't scratch the table you use it on, and it's finished!

Now you have a customized set of beautiful coasters! Enjoy!

**I have spilled water on mine a lot, and you can't even tell. I've been using them for two months and they still look brand new. That polyurethane really does the trick in protecting the paper.

Friday, February 18, 2011

~ TASTY THURSDAY (ON FRIDAY) ~ Creamy Blueberry Pie

I intended to post this last night, but then I got distracted by the new episode of Parks and Recreation, and afterward I went to bed with a cold... so here it is, a day late, but still delicious.

This pie, I'm unsure what to call it, is super simple and absolutely scrumptious. I was given the recipe last year by my friend Alison, and it's quickly become one of my favorites. I've changed it up a little bit with different fruits, and I think that there are a variety of ways you could make it that would be just as yummy. :)

  • 1 can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1/3 cup lemon juice
  • 1 container of Cool Whip
  • 2 cups (approximately) of blueberries or other berries
  • 1 graham cracker crust
This is really one of the most simple desserts I've ever made. In a large bowl, with a spoon, mix together the sweetened condensed milk and lemon juice until it's smooth.

Then you fold in the container of Cool Whip (you don't want it to be frozen or it will be difficult to get the chunks out). According to this online cooking dictionary, to fold means: "Go down through the mixture on the far side of the bowl with a spoon or spatula. Bring the spoon across the bottom of the bowl and up the near side. Turn the bowl slightly and repeat. Keep doing this until the mixture is well blended."

This creates a mixture that is thick and sweet. Yum! It has the consistency of yogurt that has just come out of the refrigerator - not yogurt that has gotten warm... I remember bringing yogurt for lunch in elementary, and even middle school, and it got warm in my lunch box. It always sounded so yummy in the morning, but I dreaded opening it up at lunch when it was runny and lukewarm. Reminds me of Revelation; I wanted to spit it out!

But this is good, don't worry.

Next, just fold in the berries. I really like blueberries, but it's fun to have a mixture. Last summer I made it with a mix of blueberries and raspberries, and I fell in love! That's probably because I love anything with raspberries in it. They bring back memories of sneaking berries from the rows next to our neighbors' house. But, alas, there were no raspberries at Safeway yesterday, so I used blueberries.

When the fruit is all folded in, pour the mixture into the graham cracker crust, put the lid on, and stick that sucker in the refrigerator for at least an hour. You want it to be good and cold when you eat it.

Cut yourself a piece, put some fresh blueberries on top, or raspberries if they're in season, and enjoy!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

~ LOOKING BACK ~ What I've Learned in Six Months

One of the things I feel strongly that should happen with blogging, as with any form of writing, is reflection. I want to frequently take the opportunities that I'm given to reflect and learn from the experiences that I have. Being a parent has been one of the most challenging, life-changing, and rewarding experiences I've ever had, and it's only been half of a year. So, here are some things I have learned in the last six months, as a mommy to Micah.

  • I don't need as much sleep as I thought I did. If you know me well, you know I'm not a morning person. (My college roommates would tell me they were afraid to come into my room in the morning, as I wasn't very happy to get up...) At this point in my life, after waking up four times a night, it's still hard to get up (I'm not so grumpy now though), but once I've gotten out of bed in the morning, I'm able to function pretty well. I do appreciate help of a cup of coffee, preferrably a Grande Cinnamon Dolce Latte from Starbucks, if you're wondering. I've never really been much of a napper, so that hasn't been an option for me. I end up feeling nauseous. I don't really find myself feeling tired all day, but when it's time for bed at night, I'm ready!
  • Poop is not that gross. It hasn't really bothered me (or David, for that matter) to change diapers, even the really gross, sticky, and stinky ones. There have been a few "accidents", where we didn't get Micah's diaper on soon enough, and we had quite a mess to clean up! That mostly happened when he was smaller, and less mature. :) As he's eating more solids, they're getting to be more smelly and have a gross consistency, but I'm still not really all that bothered by it. It's probably a good thing, since when you use cloth diapers, you deal with the poop much more than with disposables.
  • Laundry is not a once-a-week chore. It used to be that one time a week was often enough to wash clothes, but with diaper leaks, spitting up, and now starting to eat solids, like avocados and carrots, our laundry has doubled! It's amazing how those tiny clothes take up so much space, and how many blankets I'm washing! What a messy little guy... Add cloth diapers into the mix, and we have WAY more laundry to be done than we ever had before!
  • We can no longer just go where we want to, when we want to. No longer can we just decide to go to Tri-Cities, hop into the car, and go. We now have lots of planning ahead, packing up supplies, like diapers, wipes, a change of clothes for Micah (and I really should bring one for me, because it's embarrassing to be in the mall with a spit up spot in the middle of your shirt...), toys, the car seat, the Baby Bjorn (great for Costco!), and blankets.
  • Just because your baby will take the bottle once at five weeks old, doesn't mean he always will!  When you try again a month later, he just might not want it. At five weeks, Micah happily slurped his milk from the bottle, but never again has it been so easy. I didn't think I needed to practice often and consistently, because he had it down. Now, I've tried every brand of bottle, have tried when he's tired, when he's awake, when he's hungry, when he's full, in his bouncy chair, and in our arms, when I'm around, or when I'm not even in the vicinity. He chews on the nipple of the bottle like it's a toy, but doesn't really eat anything.
  • Our dog is an awesome dog. (Please excuse my lame sense of humor.) I was a little apprehensive that when Micah came and "uslurped" Maverick's role as the center of our attention, we would have a big jealousy issue on our hands. Maverick has surprised me, though, and has adapted really well. He loves Micah! He lays on the floor, as close to Micah has he can get, or even on the blanket with him if he can. When we stop for gas, Maverick now growls at the attendant (pretty fiercely), as though he has to protect his baby.
  • I need to learn all of the words to "It Is Well."  There was a period where Micah would stop crying if I sang that hymn, but I could only remember the first verse and the chorus. Consequently, I sang them over and over and over and over. It seemed like no other song would calm him down as well - which is very fitting, as it's a great, soothing song!
  • I don't know what I'm doing. Every day I feel like I just take a guess about what might work, and a lot of times I feel like my guesses are competely wrong. I'm struggling to get Micah to be able to go to sleep on his own, without having to be rocked, held, fed, or driven around in the car. Nap time has been a huge frustration lately, leading to a lot of tears (some from Micah, a lot from me, and none from David - he's tough!). I need to spend a lot more time praying and seeking God's wisdom on what to do. I've also invested in some books to see if I can't get a better idea of what to do. Seasoned parents, what did you do? How did you get your baby to sleep?

The last six months feel like they've gone by in a whirlwind. I look at our little boy, who is getting so big, (and really heavy), and am amazed at how much I love him! It has been a challenge, to be certain, but it also has been worth every tear, yawn, smile and laugh. I know that the next six months with him will be great too!

Wordless Wednesday

Monday, February 14, 2011

For My Valentine

David and I haven't done much for Valentine's Day since we've been married. We have gone out to dinner, and spent time with each other, but we're not really ones to buy big fancy gifts and shower each other with presents. Our house is not decorated with hearts and valentines, besides bags of chocolate hearts and candy... but that's there all year, because I love candy!

We did get to go out to dinner this year, because Marci babysat Micah for us. What a wonderful time we had, enjoying one another's company, and talking over a delicious dinner (Farmer's Kitchen - if you haven't been there - go!), without having to worry about whether Micah needed his diaper changed.

In the last couple of days, I've been thinking back over our relationship, and how it has changed and grown. So, here's a little synopsis, with some fun pictures too. (They're fun for me at least... you might not care. :) )

We started dating in September 2005, during soccer season, after spending the summer doing camp team with two other Corban students.

Soccer season, October (?) 2005

We dated all through college, spending many weekends, parts of summers, and Christmas breaks together in Everson, Hermiston and Salem.

Our first day of junior year (2006) at Corban
At the Nature Trails with friends, Summer 2007
We spent one summer, 2006,  of Camp Team apart except for a week and both knew in that time that we never wanted to be separated for that long again.

At Camp Elkanah, the only week of camp we had together (July 2006)
 We went on lots of adventures: driving to Lincoln City at midnight and during the day, a mission trip to New Orleans and one to the Philippines.

At Lincoln City in October 2006

In New Orleans, Christmas Break 2006
  And then, our senior year, David gave me this:

A few months later, we made it to this:

Two weeks after graduation, we did this:

Best decision I've ever made
May 17, 2008

I really could go on and on with the pictures, but the point is, David, I love you! The last five years together have been great, and I know the next 55 will be even better. Happy Valentine's Day!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

I Can See Clearly Now, The Cobwebs Are Gone

Last weekend, my mom and dad came down for a couple of days, and my dad put new windows and doors in our house! Our landlord had been planning to get them replaced for a while, and it worked out really well that Dad could bring his tools, and put them in while they got to visit with David, Micah, and I. Mostly with Micah, though! Coincidentally, my little sister, Stephanie, who really isn't all that little any more, came to visit the same weekend.

It was a really nice weekend with family, and it's great to have new windows. Our old front window, which was enormous, was just a sheet of glass, with a storm window on the outside, maybe four inches apart. Spiders and dirt were in there all the time, and it was always dirty. I would clean it and clean it, and it never was clean! Now, it's beautiful, and it even opens up, so in the summer we'll be able to have some breeze coming through the living room.

I'm so excited to have new windows that open all the way, and are so clear and pretty, and doors that don't let in air when they're closed! Thanks for putting them in, Dad!

The new front window and doors before they were installed.

Micah and Grandma Lora

See how helpful Steph and I were? We're so good at construction-type work...

Although the trees look prettier in this picture, the windows were much worse. Check out that big front window... yuck!

New windows and doors! Yay!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

My Little Sitter

I feel like it's been a while since I've posted much about Micah on here, so I wasted to share some of my most recent pictures.


My favorite view from the driver's seat! (I was parked in the driveway when I took this!)

He's getting so big! Next week he'll be 6 months old. It's amazing how fast it's gone.


I love lasagna! And I believe that there is nothing in the world quite like a delicious, cheesy, saucy lasagna for dinner. Lasagna is usually pretty messy to make, and it does take a good amount of time, but the results are so delicious, it's totally worthwhile.

I tend to use the recipe off the box and alter it a little to work with what I have on hand, and to add a different flavor. I always end up making way more than we could eat in one meal, and have at least one 8x8 lasagna for the freezer, in addition to a 9x13 for us to eat... so be prepared to have a lot of lasagna, or just cut the recipe down. I like to have one frozen though, so I can just put it in the oven for an hour or so and it's done!

  • 1 pound of ground beef
  • 2 jars of spaghetti sauce (you could make your own sauce, but I like the simplicity of having it made already. We've found that Safeway's store brand of sauce is pretty good.)
  • Italian seasonings, Parsley, Oregano, Thyme
  • 1 16oz. container of Ricotta cheese
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup or so grated parmesan cheese (I buy it in a block and grate it myself - the flavor is much better than the grated that comes in a bottle in the pasta section)
  • 2 cups grated mozzarella... I tend to use more like 3 or 4 cups, because I really love cheese, and I really love cheesy lasagna
  • 1 box of lasagna noodles
  • Olive or vegetable oil
  • Salt
In a large pan, boil 6 or 7 cups of water to cook the noodles in. Add about 1/4 cup of oil, and about 1 teaspoon of salt, when you put the water on. Once the water comes to a boil, add the lasagna noodles and cook al dente - you don't want them to be overly cooked, because they'll be cooking a little in the oven too.

In a shallow pan, brown the ground beef and then drain the grease. I like the chunks of meat to be fairly small, so I chop them up pretty well, but size them to your liking - my dad always likes big chunks of meat. Once this is done, add the jars of spaghetti sauce, and season the mixture to taste. I always add a little bit of water to thin the sauce a little bit, but you could also use tomato sauce. Let it simmer while you mix up the cheeses, and start to assemble in the pan.

When the noodles are cooked, pour out the water, and put one layer down in the bottom of a 9x13 (or 8x8, whichever size you prefer) pan.

In a large mixing bowl, stir together the ricotta, parmesan, the two eggs and about half of the mozzarella (in my case about 1.5-2 cups, leaving about 1.5-2 cups for the top). Now, spread a big glob, about 1/4ish, of the mix on top of the noodles. It gets hard to spread with a rubber spatula, so often times I have to use my fingers to get it even. Next, pour on some sauce, until the cheese is covered.

At this point, you should preheat your oven to 375.

Repeat these steps until your pan is almost full, ending with a layer of sauce. I usually end up doing three layers, but depending on how thick you make the layers, you may only do two. Now, put some foil over the pan and put it into the oven for about 30 minutes, or until the center is hot.

Once it is sufficiently heated through, pull the lasagna out of the oven and sprinkle, or in my case pour, the remaining cheese onto the top. Stick it back into the oven, without the foil, just until the cheese has melted.

Wait a couple of minutes until it's not so hot that you're going to burn your tongue - you're going to want to be able to taste this. Serve with ceasar salad and a nice, crusty loaf of italian bread to mop up the extra sauce.

** If you do have enough to make an extra lasagna, bake it from frozen at a later time at 375, for 1.5 to 2 hours, until completly heated through.