Sunday, March 30, 2014

Spring is Coming!

Other than having a mild cold, it was a great day! Life has been good and I'm loving how fortunate I am.

We got a puppy last Sunday. He's a little chocolate lab mix named Jack. He was born 2/6 and is already over 10 pounds! We're hoping to have a big boy! He is smart, too! He is learning how to sit, shake, and lay down. We didn't have any accidents in the house for the last two days, so he is catching on to house training very quickly. For the most part, he is pretty mellow. We are training him to be a polite dog, so no jumping up on people, no barking, and to walk nice on a leash. I hope that who ever visits us can help us with the training by ignoring him when he has bad behaviors. Can't be reinforcing naughty puppy behaviors! Jack is in love with my future father-in-law. He gives him all kinds of kisses when he comes over!

The cats weren't as pleased about our new family member, but they weren't nearly as upset as I had anticipated them to be. Arnold is the most accepting but he likes Jack to keep his distance. Dakotah will smack him and hiss if Jack gets too close and Lily isn't having any of it. She's highly irritated that Jack exists. I believe it won't be long before Arnold is running around the house, playing tag with Jack. Dakotah and Lily got a new cat tree as an early birthday present. I can't believe they are going to be 7 on April 26th!

Eric tried to fix the leak on the entry way by replacing some rotted wood on the roof, but we noticed water in there today...I'm secretly hoping it was just a puppy accident in that corner, but who knows. Eric did a lot of work to seal that entryway up, so if it's leaking again, a contractor is going to be called in to fix it because he is over it!

Today I tore out the rotted front deck and made a big pile in front of the house. I'll clean it up next weekend and take out the landscaping blocks where the deck was. It came down very easily. The house has no rain gutters, so I'm thinking that's why it rotted- all the water from the roof falls directly onto it. The steps were pretty sturdy yet, but the part of the deck right under the side of the roof was in very bad shape. Jack had fun helping me with the project.

Next weekend, I plan on cleaning up the yard- picking up garbage, getting all the landscaping blocks picked up, raking. I also want to get my clothes line installed. My garden is way too muddy to do anything with yet so I'll have to wait. I should start my green peppers inside, but Dad and Terri gave us this little herb pot for growing herbs inside the house and I failed with it...We just don't have enough sunlight, so if I want to grow anything successfully in the house, I'll need a plant light.

Eric got a lawn mower from his dad that isn't working, so he's been tinkering with it in the shop all weekend. It looks like it needs a new starter. He de-greased it and gave the motor a good cleaning today. He'll have it up and running soon!

Dad and I went down to Chicago last weekend and it was a lot of fun. I love just hanging out with him. He's a goofy guy and we like to eat, so we check out lots of neat places. It'll be his last show unless he decides to do Nationals, which is a bummer, but I'm sure we'll still find other ways to hang out. We went to this cool German restaurant called Hofbrauhaus and Dad got a 34 ounce beer! He, naturally, got sausages and kraut. I ate potato and bread dumplings with a pork roast.

I drank a lot of Starbucks on my visit to Chicago!

For the last few Sundays, I've been making big suppers. The rule is to make something new every Sunday. Sundays are perfect because if it's something that needs a lot of prep, I have all day! Last week, I made Chicken Cordon Bleu with Dijon-Parmesan sauce. Today, I made Beef Ravioli from scratch. Yes, I actually made the dough, rolled it out, and stuffed them! I was in my happy place making ravioli. It's very time consuming but I enjoy it. If you think about it, ravioli is expensive. You buy a can of Chef Boyardee and it's $1.00 on sale, and you only get about 6 raviolis out of it. You can buy the frozen ravioli for $7-$8 per bag and you only get about 20 of them at Walmart. My meal made seven servings, including sauce. It only cost around $5. That's 44 ravioli! Saving money makes me happy inside.


I rolled and cut out over 80 pieces!

Ready for filling!

I let them dry and froze about half of them.

Finished product!

For lunch we had brats and I made potato wedges from scratch too. They are very simple to make, and  I made a bunch extra so I can just pull them out of the freezer when we need them. I do the same with biscuits. I have a giant bag of biscuits and a bag of bread sticks, all made with my two hands ready for use. It is fascinating to me how easy it is to save money. I understand people wanting to just used canned for the convenience factor...I just love to cook, so I don't mind spending my weekends prepping and making things for future use.

We have only 104 days to go until our wedding! I still don't fit into my dress, but I'll get there...I hate dieting! Kim has her bridesmaid dress picked out. Karen will have hers soon, I'm sure. We got the suits picked out last week, and Eric and his guys are going to look spiffy! Everything is pretty much planned....Just need to wait for the big day and pay for everything.

Work is going great. My 5 month review is excellent. I love my job and I look forward to learning more about it and maybe a promotion one day. We are going to travel next week for a conference so I won't be home for three nights, but I'm really looking forward to it. I really like my coworkers and we all get  along so well. We'll have a good time.

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