Monday, June 25, 2012

CrockPot Enchiladas

Lately I've been trying to find some new recipes that we both like. I've been targeting crock pot ones in hopes that I can get them a'cookin before I go to work.  I would LOVE to have a nice warm meal when I get home without having to cook it right then and there.  I've found a few but THIS is one Simon and I both loved so I though I would share it.  Now, the only negative is that it only takes 2-2.5 hours to cook but if I have it all ready to go and just have to have Simon switch it to ON when he gets home that may work just fine.  We'll see; regardless, we thought it was delicious!  

We got about 5 big servings out of this.  

1lb lean ground beef
1 Tbsp oil
1 small onion; chopped
1 green bell pepper; chopped
1 (15oz) can Ranch Style beans; drained
1 (10oz) can rotel tomatoes mild; drained
1 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp garlic powder
2 cups shredded colby jack cheese
8 small flour tortillas (I used 4 big ones but the little ones are probably better)
1 (15oz) can red enchilada sauce

Cook beef over medium heat in a deep skillet until done.  Drain (use a deep skillet because you'll be putting everything in it before it goes into the crockpot)

Meanwhile, In a separate pan, saute onion and bell pepper in oil until tender

Add onion and bell pepper to beef.

Stir in beans, rotel tomatoes, chili powder, salt, cumin, pepper and garlic powder.

In the slow cooker, place 2 toritllas side by side (kind of coating the bottom)

Layer with 1/4 of the beef mixture and 1/4 of the cheese.

Repeat this layering 3 more times.  Pour red enchilada sauce over all.

Cover and cook on low for 2 - 2 1/2 hours until everything is heated through.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Blue Ridge BBQ Festival

 We have lately begun to take more advantage of our weekends than we ever did in the past because we don't get to spend nearly as much time together as we used to now that Simon is at work all day.  Once I begin working we'll see each other even less because I will get home an hour and a half later than he does now.  We're adjusting to all of these new differences and one of those adjustments is making Saturdays a chance to really spend time together.    
Probably the best thing so far about being in South Carolina has been the beautiful weather and the amazing nature.  We both love how many trees there are here.  Even in the middle of the city there are tons of trees.  It's refreshing and makes almost any lengthy drive enjoyable.  We've done some exploring and have driven around to find some nice park areas and things like that.  Last weekend Simon and I were trying to find something fun and different to do and we heard about a BBQ festival in Tryon, NC (right above the SC border).  So, on Saturday we set out on a little road trip.  Here are a couple of pictures from the drive.  

 These are the blue ridge mountains.  You can see them from almost everywhere where we live.  

One of the "events" at the festival was an antique car show.  Really, I don't know all that much about cars so I probably didn't appreciate it as much as someone else would BUT it was still really cool.  

The whole reason for the festival was a BBQ cooking contest.  The various BBQ contestants sold their ribs, brisket, etc.  There were tons to choose from.    
Here is who we picked.  It was BY FAR the longest line but apparently they are quite the champions and I figured if you're going to get BBQ at a BBQ contest you might as well wait for the best...  It really was delicious.  

 There was also a craft fair with venders who, for the most part, sold their own work.  There were two vendors selling wooden works.  One guy seemed to specialize in bird houses and bowls.  They were so neat looking but quite pricy.  Definitely well worth the money but... only if you have the money. HA 

We bought one of the inexpensive bowls.

The second wood vendor specialized in coasters and boat shelves (idk how to describe them other than boat shelves) and I bought some coasters for our bedroom since we just got new night stands.  Every coaster was different and they are made from different types of wood glued together.  I really like black walnut wood I've realized (it's the really dark streaks).

After we left the BBQ we went exploring around the area.  The festival was kind of close to the mountains so it wasn't hard to drive up into them and see a nearby lake.  

All in all it was an awesome saturday, we had a lot of fun together, did something new and saw some beautiful places.  I predict more fun road-trips to come as the summer continues!

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Year One - 5.15.12

Despite all of the random and unusual situations we've been in since we've been married: Finishing up school, working in Dime Box for weeks at a time, living with family and packing up and moving cross country, it stills seems as though the year has flown by.  Then again, when I think back on all of the new experiences, new relationships, and new adventures we've had, it is hard to believe it was only a year.

We went to a lot of trouble to keep our wedding cake frozen for the year so we could eat it on our 1 year anniversary and then a week or so before we learn that, on the 15th, Simon will be in South Carolina and I will be in Houston.  Sad day.  So we decided we would have to bust the cake out early.  So with the help of Raya, Nick and Jason we got most of the cake eaten.  We were pleasantly surprised at how good it was.  The icing was terribly sweet but the cake was still delicious.  A thanks to Dan and Sarina for giving up some freezer space for the 2 or so months our cake needed.  So we weren't together for our anniversary but really in the end it's just a day and the more important part is remembering the year that has passed and all that it meant.  

A brief review of what our first year of marriage has looked like:

Celebrating with all of our friends and family the excitement of getting married and the new life that would be in store for us was truly the best way any adventure could begin.   

 Traveling to Europe and spending time with family and getting to see some beautiful parts of the world was also a wonderful beginning to a stressful year.

Working hard in Dime Box definitely gave us the opportunity to find some things we didn't like about each other.  Haha.  I think our worst sides can come out when we're hot, stressed, and tired.  But it was worth it in the end.

Finishing School and reveling in the accomplishment meant so much more once we had struggled through a semester of trying to figure out how to be married while also staying committed to ending school strong!!

Our first Thanksgiving as a "family" was spent with my parents.  

Our first Christmas as a "family" was with Simon's family.

Moving to Houston and celebrating New Years with family and friends was a nice welcome into our lengthy stay!  But being so close to loved ones was one of the blessings of living in Houston.

We were fortunate enough to get to stay through both Ally's and Hannah's birthdays and make that memory with them.  Something we could not have done so easily living in Arkansas and certainly not in South Carolina.

All in all I think we will remember our year, and particularly our last few months with family, best by silliness, laughing and lots and lots of games... 

And not to mention... Simon getting a green card... Heck Yeah! 

We also met some wonderful people through First Colony Church and we will be forever thankful to Dan and Sarina for encouraging us to get involved with their small group.  It definitely helped us more than we can explain to have their support through the job hunting and green card waiting.  A huge thanks to the Hiseys and the Felts' for their support and friendship that welcomed us.  
We hope to be able to find such a great group of people here.

Well... to end our first year...

The drive....  Simon and his truck were hard to miss.  We were both blessed with safe travels 

So far, we love it here. It's such an exciting thing to move somewhere totally new.  Simon's new job was a great anniversary present for us!!  We still don't really know anyone but in time we will.  We've been church hunting and are praying that God will lead us to the right one.  
We can only pray for another blessed year as we settle into our new state and our new lives: A year full of having fun together, growing closer, learning more about each other and how to love and accept each others differences and how to serve God better individually and together, and always remaining faithful.
I love you honey! Happy Anniversary!    

Friday, June 1, 2012

Hired- Take 2

    When we were still in Houston and found out we would be moving, I began thinking about what I would want to be doing in South Carolina job wise.  I new we would be arriving just a couple of weeks before summer vacation for most schools so I though I would look for a summer nannying job just to get some extra money (nannying pays better than an entry level business job) before I really invested in looking for something else.  Because I had such luck finding a nannying job in Houston, I proceeded the same way: via  A family contacted me needing a nanny for twin 4 year olds.  After I spoke more with the family I discovered it was more than I was expecting.  It is through the family's business so it would be a salaried position with benefits etc and a longterm position rather than just a summer.  Simon and I talked more about it and it seemed like it was just too good of a situation to pass up so I proceeded with the interview process.  After about 2 weeks of interviewing and waiting I got the call yesterday that they were offering me the job.  I am very excited! I'm excited both to have found a job but also to get to spend more time with the kids.  I only have met them once, but they are absolutely precious and seem to have tons of energy and sweet spirits.  I will begin in a couple of weeks which will give me some time to relax and take a little break from the whole hustle and bustle of moving.  It seems like everything has truly been falling into place for us the last couple of months; even if it doesn't end up being the way we imagined or expected, it still seems just right and just where we need to be.  God is faithful and it seems that all our waiting has paid off.  More on our South Carolina adventures to come.  Just wanted to share my news.

Our Apartment: All Moved In

Well, we did it! Two weeks in and we finally have everything hung up and unpacked! 
The "dining room" was basically jam-packed with bins for almost the first week which was a little overwhelming but once we got into the swing of things it really went pretty quickly.  

We NEVER would have gotten everything unloaded from the moving truck and into the apartment without tons of help from our friend Jeremy who drove from a few towns over to help Simon unload the heavy stuff.  He also ended up being a big help with the washer/dryer installation which turned out to be a bigger project that anticipated.  Also it was just nice to see him again.  He is a friend from Harding and it was good to catch up after being gone several months.  

I am glad that it is as important to Simon to get all of the decorations and pictures put up ASAP as it is to me.  In my experience, if it doesn't get put up in the first week then who knows when you'll get around to it.  A lot of the things, though, i couldn't have gotten hung up on my own.  He was great and made it a priority which made me super happy.  

I saw this trick on a blog for testing out larger-wall picture placement before actually nailing anything in: painters tape.  

We'll probably change some of the pictures out soon but I haven't gotten around to printing any lately.  Right now they are basically all of us. Ha.  

We brought this big cookie slice of a tree trunck with us from Houston.  We bought it at a sawmill and had planned on making it a table top but seeing how we don't have a place for a table... Simon found a way to get it up on the wall.

So anyways, here is the tour. 

When you walk in the front door, you're in the living room ...

{This is the chaise lounge we got off of Craig's list last week.  Before, there was an awkward empty space in the living room, so we wanted some extra seating that wouldn't block the natural light.  We got lucky and found this for a great price. }

...and the desk Simon made actually fits great! It gives us an office type area.  

The "dining room" is on your left

And the kitchen is straight ahead.  We have a lot more counter space than we did in our last apartment so it makes everything in the kitchen much more fun and definitely less stressful.

Around the corner is the fridge and...

...the washer and dryer closet.  Which we decided to also use as a pantry because there is no designated pantry.

The bathroom.  Double sinks.  An upgrade from apt. number 1.  

The bedroom.  Our bed looks huge in this room but I think it's also the angle from which I took the picture.  Since this was taken we have accumulated nightstands.

Nice big closet... for our standards anyways. 

And last but not least, a little deck area.  There is a storage closet on the right side of the deck were we stashed all of our suitcases and the empty bins.  

That's our place.  There are still some things we need/want that will come later (a rug is number one one my list) but as is, the apartment meets all our needs and we're already starting to feel at home.