Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Kitchen Cabinets - Done!

We finished painting our kitchen cabinets a couple weeks ago and hung them up last week. They look absolutely amazing! We wanted to brighten up the kitchen, but didn't want the cabinets to be all white since the appliances, counter, floor, and walls are all various shades of white/off-white. A dear friend from Seattle helped me choose the perfect sage green for the bottom cabinets and I couldn't love it more! We opted to spend a little extra on the paint in hopes that it won't chip and will last quite a few years before needing to be touched up. We got Stix primer since the laminate cabinets are super shiny but can't be sanded much because they're cheap particle board underneath. And then for the paint, we used Benjamin Moore Advance, which is designed for cabinets and it looks wonderful! Since we couldn't really do much with the cabinet pulls, we bought new ones (we bought cheap-ish ones, but they were still expensive!). After the expense of the cabinet pulls, we didn't want to spend more to buy new hinges, so my hubby took one of our new cabinet pulls to Home Depot and came home with a can of spray paint that matched the color almost exactly. Just one coat of spray paint and the hinges looked so much better! The project still isn't completely done, we want to paint the pantry doors green also (and we'll put new door knobs on the pantry - the fake gold ones just won't do!) and there is a wall in the kitchen that is still wood paneling, but it looks a million times better already!

And, without further ado, here is the before and after picture!

Monday, April 21, 2014

Little Blessings

Last week was really wonderful, so I wanted to share some of the little blessings God gave to us as He continues reminding us that this is where He wants us. These little blessings have come in many forms, each one putting smiles on our faces - a card in the mail, a box of tea, a visit with family, beautiful flowers, time with new friends, and beautiful weather.

One blessing that particularly stands out is the ladies at our new little church that have been so kind to me since the moment we arrived and I am so thankful for each one of them! A week ago on Friday, a group of about 20 ladies took me to lunch (at an amazing bakery - my new favorite place!), and gave me a "gift-card shower" to help us get things for our new home. I had such a great time and I'm so blown away that God has brought us here, to such a kind and generous group of people!
Beautiful flowers from one of the ladies from church!

Thursday, April 17, 2014


From my last post, you'll know that we've been painting... Kitchen cabinets take a long time to paint... one coat of primer and 3 coats of paint, plus lots of drying time, plus other life things that mean we don't paint every day makes it take even longer...

In addition to painting the cabinets, we're also painting the built-in hutch that's in the dining room. When we came to visit and saw the house, we initially hoped we could remove this hutch. But then we realized that the carpet didn't go under it, so removing it would have been a big hassle. So I started looking for pictures of similar built-ins for ideas of what to do and I stumbled across someone's blog post about remodeling their kitchen from a 1970s mobile home. And, since our place is a 1970s mobile home, I was inspired! They had almost the exact same hutch, and with some paint (and removing the fake-glass doors), it actually looked really nice (here's that post: So, I knew that I'd be painting our built-in. I just decided to paint it with the same colors as our cabinets, since we already had the paint. What I didn't realize is that the hutch is big. I mean, it doesn't look big, but there are so many corners and surfaces to paint that it's really big. So... I feel like it's taking forever to paint. I think I started 3 weeks ago and I still have at least one more coat to finish up... We're still trying to decide what to do with the huge mirror, so if you have any ideas let me know!

Okay, here's a picture. Since it's not finished, it can't be a before/after picture, so it's a before/during picture :-)

Friday, April 4, 2014

House Projects

Since we moved into our new house, we've been unpacking and also thinking about which house projects we should tackle first. Before we moved in a lot of people from the church graciously spent hours working on the house for us. They painted most of the rooms and cleaned everything up really nicely - what a HUGE blessing!! The house looks completely different than when we saw it two months ago. But there are still a lot of things to do: painting both bathrooms, painting the kitchen cabinets, installing a blind in the dining room, curtains for all the windows, new doors throughout the house, painting the front door, and planting flowers and vegetables in the garden (there are probably more things, that's just everything I can think of right now).

We've decided that our first two projects will be painting the kitchen cabinets - we already started this - and planting some flowers and veggies in the backyard (mostly because if I don't plant them soon, they won't grow this year...). Just for fun, here are two before pictures:

The Kitchen... Who's jealous of those lovely "wood" cabinets?!? haha...

The Backyard... It needs some flowers!

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

New Home!

We made it down to Pleasant Hill, Oregon about a week and a half ago, after a day of last-minute packing, loading the truck, and driving (and then unloading the truck...). It was a long day, but with all the help we had on both ends, we felt totally blessed and things got done pretty quickly! We even had some wonderful new friends make our bed while we were unloading the truck so we didn't have to worry about a thing!

So far life in Pleasant Hill has been wonderful! It'll definitely take some adjusting as we have been walking everywhere for the past 3 years and now the closest grocery store is 10 miles away... But we love the green grass and lots of trees around here :-)

Paul didn't start work until yesterday, so we enjoyed some time settling into our new house. Unpacking is still in progress, but we got started on some house projects, so that's exciting (before and after pictures will come later). Our first major project is painting the kitchen cabinets! They're going to look so much better!!

Our new house :-)

Right after we arrived and unpacked the truck

Friday, March 21, 2014

A Bittersweet Goodbye...

Wow! I can't believe it's time for this post... our apartment has been taken over by stacks of moving boxes (thanks Home Depot for having affordable boxes!) and we're getting ready to say goodbye to our first home together. Paul moved into this apartment right before we got married and then I moved in after the big day. We have lots of good memories here, and it's so sad to go... But... We're officially heading down to Oregon tomorrow! We're trying to make the most of our last day in Seattle while still getting all our packing done. It's bittersweet, that's for sure. We have some amazing friends here and it'll be sad to move away, but we're so excited for our new adventure and to see what God has in store for us in this next season :-)

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Oatmeal Banana "Cookies"

The other day I was sitting at home trying to think of something healthy-ish to snack on... I had a very ripe banana and oatmeal so I figured maybe I could  make some sort of banana oatmeal something. After some quick googling, I discovered that I could make something with only those two ingredients! So I tried it, and they are yummy! 

Oatmeal Banana "Cookies"

  • 1 ripe banana
  • 1/2 cup oatmeal
  • chocolate chips, optional

Preheat oven to 350 F. Mash banana, then add in oatmeal. Mix well. Stir in chocolate chips if desired (I added chocolate to half of mine). Place spoonfuls of mixture on a lined cookie sheet. I made 6 cookies per batch. Cook for 15-20 minutes, until golden. They're best right out of the oven, but also good cooled down.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Homemade Frozen Burritos

Possibly one of the hardest things for me to figure out since getting married has been how to cook enough food for dinners and then have enough for lunch... I don't like sandwiches, so there aren't a lot of easy lunch options for me... My hubby would be fine eating a PB&J everyday, but I wanted to give him something to look forward to for lunch most days. I started sometimes buying frozen burritos (the healthier ones), but I didn't want to keep paying $3 for each burrito that wasn't even that good or healthy. So then I had a light bulb moment and realized that I could probably make my own burritos and freeze them for those days when there weren't leftovers or we were rushed to get out the door. The results were some amazing homemade burritos! I love them and so does my hubby :-) 

For us, there's just something about a breakfast burrito, so I've been making all of them more breakfast-y even though we eat them for lunch. I make batches of 10ish at a time, so my tiny kitchen gets a bit chaotic, but it's worth it!

Homemade Frozen Breakfast Burritos (for lunch)

  • 12 eggs
  • Sweet potatoes, approximately 2 pounds
  • Some kind of meat (I use either sausage or seasoned ground beef)
  • Salsa
  • Anything else I feel like adding (black beans, cheese, mushrooms, onion, etc)
When making these, I use two pans - one for the sweet potatoes and one for the meat and then the eggs. 
1. Cut up sweet potatoes and cook in a large frying pan
2. Meanwhile, cook the meat - along with any veggies or anything else that needs cooking. When the meat is done (it probably won't take as long as the sweet potatoes), move it to a bowl and cook the eggs in the meat pan. 
3. When the eggs are almost done, add the salsa
4. When everything is cooked, assemble the burritos with a spoonful of meat, spoonful of eggs, and a spoonful of sweet potatoes
5. Heat a griddle to medium heat. Put the rolled up burritos fold-side down in the pan (I can fit 4 at a time on my pan). Heat until light brown and sealed shut, then turn and heat until golden brown. 
6. Remove from the pan and let cool. Then wrap in foil or cling film and freeze or refrigerate.

To heat from frozen, microwave for 3 minutes or heat in the oven.

Homemade Flax Seed Hair Gel

With my super curly hair, I've spent a TON of money on various hair products. I finally found something that worked well, but I was spending around $20 each month on hair products... When I got married, this just didn't fit in the budget, so I started researching how to make my own gel. The gel I'd bought was flax based, so I started there (and never had to look elsewhere). I still need to get slightly better at making each batch consistently the same texture, but it all works. It actually works really really well and I end up spending about $0.10 a bottle rather than $8 a bottle! Even though the hold of my homemade gel isn't quite as good as the stuff I used to buy, I can use more since it's so cheap and the end result is the same!

Homemade Flax Seed Hair Gel

  • 2 cups water
  • 1/4 cup flax seeds
  • 1/2 tsp (ish) vitamin E oil
  • essentials oils/scents (I use coconut and passion fruit)
  • Nylon knee-high (the cheap ones from the drug store)
1. Put water and flax seeds into a pot and bring to a boil, stirring often
2. Boil for around 10 minutes, or until a white frothy gel like liquid forms
3. Let cool slightly and poor into the nylon knee-high. Squeeze out the gel using tongs
4. Mix in the vitamin E oil and scented oils
5. Store in an air tight container. I find that an 8 oz bottle lasts about a week and is fine to be left at room temperature. I store the rest of the batch in the fridge and use it the following week.

Almond Pulp Macaroons

Another one of my favorite things to make from almond pulp (after making almond milk) is almond pulp macaroons. They're a great snack and especially tasty with a cup of tea! 

Almond Pulp Macaroons

  • 1 1/4 cups almond milk pulp
  • 1 cup dried, unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • dark chocolate, optional
1. Place almond milk pulp in a warm oven to dry out (unless you live somewhere dry, then you can just leave it out on the counter and it will dry out in a few hours)
2. Preheat oven to 325 degrees
3. Mix dry ingredients together
4. Add honey, vanilla, and coconut oil. Mix thoroughly until well combined - it will be crumbly
5. Form mixture into tight balls and place on lined baking sheet. Note: if it will not stick together, add more honey
6. Bake for 18 minutes or until golden brown
7. Let cookies cool, then dip in melted dark chocolate

Almond Pulp Granola

After making homemade almond milk for the first time, I realized I would need something to do with all of the almond pulp leftover. At first I added it to my oatmeal and made cookies out of it (future blog post!). But I think my favorite thing to make with it (at least right now) is almond pulp granola. I eat it for breakfast with a mixture of half homemade coconut milk and half almond milk.

Almond Pulp Granola

    • 2/3 cup almond pulp
    • 1/4 cup slightly chopped pistacios
    • 2 Tablespoons unsweetened shredded coconut (or coconut pulp from making coconut milk)
    • 2 Tablespoons melted coconut oil
    • 3 Tablespoons honey
    • 3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
    • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
    • 1/3 cup (or more) dried fruit - I use chopped unsulfured apricots, cherries, and sultanas (golden raisins)
  1. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees.
  2. Place the almond pulp on a non-stick cookie sheet and into the oven for 15-20 minutes to dry out.
  3. Increase the oven temperature to 325 degrees.
  4. Mix the cooled pulp with the pistachios, seeds, coconut, and cinnamon.
  5. In a separate bowl, mix the melted coconut oil with the honey and vanilla.
  6. Mix everything together (the ingredients should be slightly wet…not dripping and not too dry)
  7. Pour everything back onto the cookie sheet and place into the oven.
  8. Let bake for 15 minutes.
  9. Remove and stir.
  10. Replace the pan and bake for 15-20 more minutes until lightly browned, stirring every 5 minutes.
  11. Remove and allow to cool (it will crisp up more while cooling).
  12. Stir in the dried fruit and enjoy!
The Finished Product!

A Little Update

So... clearly I didn't do a good job at blogging... But today I'm going to spend some time adding some new recipes and other things.

Since my last blog post, our apartment flooded (only minor, none of our stuff got damaged, but they did have to tear out some walls), my hubby has worked hard on job applications, I went to South Korea to visit friends, we started a class with our church, I took a last-minute trip to England, and we traveled to Colorado and then Hood River for Christmas. It's been a roller coaster, but in the end, we have a lot of joy and thankfulness for what God is doing in our lives and in our marriage.

I spent a good chunk of last year working on knitting us Christmas stockings. I definitely wasn't expecting to have both finished by Christmas, but during my trip to England, I had some time and I ended up finishing! Since they took me about 13 months to complete, I thought I'd post a picture :-)

Christmas 2013

So far this year is off to a good start - the weather has been very gloomy for the past 2 weeks, but I guess that's normal for Seattle... I don't like "New Year's Resolutions" and I'm not very good at reflecting on the past year, but I'm growing in that. So I have a few things that I want to work on this year:
    1. Occasionally writing down some thoughts (either on this blog or in a journal),
    2. Keep a prayer journal - I'd love to be able to look back and see how God has answered prayers
    3. Stay around after church to talk to people - as our little church plant has grown to around 250 people in attendance each Sunday, I've found it harder and harder to talk to people after church because I feel like there are so many new faces.  

Okay, that's about it for this post! Now on to the yummy recipes!