The View from Where I Sit, Part 2.

As I look out at our very large, very overgrown backyard, I can’t help but think,

“Man. I’m really glad Dennis will take care of most of this.” Ha.

(No, but really.)

Let’s back up a bit. So in February this happened:

 

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Then not too long after, this happened:

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And the past few months have been a flurry of house buying, engagement pictures, house selling, contractors, wedding planning, Home Depot, MORE contractors, MORE HOME DEPOT.

By the end of 2015, I will have changed my marital status, my last name, my address, and perhaps most importantly, finally become an Amazon Prime member.

Not going to lie, I worry a little bit that this year is filled with so much good stuff that future years are bound to be a disappointment. But deep down I know that’s not possibly true. There is still so much to discover and learn about life. And I’m looking forward to having some one else to explore all of that with.

And from where I sit today?

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This is the actual view from our bedroom. It’s a real problem because all I want to do is sit here all day and drink coffee and write.

Everything’s looking pretty lovely.

She Gets It From Her Momma.

In honor of Mother’s Day this weekend (this is me reminding you that it is THIS weekend) I thought I’d share a few of my favorite words of wisdom from my mom which have helped me survive into adulthood. The past 28 years have been fraught with countless lessons from her, but these just happen to be the ones I find myself repeating to myself the most. My most important Mom Massey-isms if you will!

A watched pot never boils. Figuratively speaking, this is obviously a lie (unless you forget to turn the burner on, because let’s all admit we’ve done that…) I distinctly remember her saying this to me one time when I was little and impatiently staring out the kitchen window, waiting for one of my friends to be dropped off to play. Stop being so anxious; if you occupy yourself, you won’t even realize time is passing and whatever it is you’re waiting for will be here before you know it. But good Lord, time moves SO SLOW when you are just sitting there watching it tick by. Though this is a mantra I repeat to myself often, I can’t say it’s actually helped my patience…mom still wins that award by a landslide.

When you’re crying, wipe your eyes with the tissue before you blow your nose. This one doesn’t need any philosophical explanation. It’s simple. Just use common sense. Nobody wants to smear snot all over their face. Wipe your eyes first. But also, don’t be afraid to cry, like ugly, girl cry. Let it out. And mom’s lap is still the best place to curl up while doing so.

Always have pasta in your kitchen. I think her original idea behind this was a survival method…pasta is nonperishable, can be eaten plain if necessary and could be boiled in a fireplace or kerosene heater if we lost power. Side note: we had both a fireplace and kerosene heater when I was growing up. Now I have neither, so this isn’t really a survival option unless I want to gnaw on raw pasta…so there’s that…But I can’t express to you how many times this has saved me from starvation. Sometimes I get home really late. Sometimes I’m just too lazy to want to cook. And when that sets in, pasta and spaghetti sauce are my go-to. It fills me up and I can make enough to have leftovers (because you know there’s a good chance we’re going to have deja vu tomorrow.) And I can throw in whatever leftovers I might have in my fridge (mushrooms, hamburger, chicken, veggies, etc.) Instant meal!

That mom…she sure does know her stuff 🙂

What about you? What are you favorite momma moments?

365 Days of Blue Cottage.

Nothing jolts you into adulthood faster than signing your name on a loan worth more than all of your other possessions…combined.  Yet, here I am, one year in to ownership of this little gem:

The teeny-tiny little Blue Cottage, perfectly sized for myself and the two fur balls. It’s been incredible to actually call somewhere “home.” To have a space that I can host friends. To have some sense of permanence and establishment (two things I’ve been craving since college.)

One of my favorite benefits is being able to work on projects around the house anytime I want. You’d be surprised how much trouble a little lady armed with a power drill can get into. This year I tackled some pretty big interior projects, including:

Painting the main room and drapes that my momma made.

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THE KITCHEN. Holy cow. In one week. Never again.

And my bedroom. This was a much easier job. Just a little paint and more drapes from mom!

And of course I have more ideas I want to do, including finally finishing (or starting…) the office/spare bedroom and updating the bathroom. New year, new projects!

Like any new phase of life, there are a million lessons to learn. I thought I’d take a little look back at some of the big ones from the past 365 days…

There is always something to work on. Everybody told me this. And though I didn’t doubt it, I didn’t actually grasp the concept. But there really is always something else to work on. Always. My list never ends. Money, however, does.

The beauty is in the imperfections. My house is roughly 60 years old and it still has all the original woodwork and TONS of closets with original wood doors. While they’re showing their age; scratches, dents and discoloration, I can’t bring myself to paint them or replace them. There’s part of me that feels like I would be betraying the house and its history by changing something so unique to its character.

Patience. I have none. Moving on…

It is actually possible to have zero trees in your yard and yet have more leaves to rake than your neighbors. The science behind this still boggles my mind.

There is no greater feeling than welcoming friends into your home. Making dinner. Having coffee. Sitting outside on late, summer evenings. When I bought I house, I wanted a space that I could share with other people. And that’s just what I got.

Here’s to the next year…happy housing, friends!

Operation Kitchen.

This week begins Operation Get Rid of the Pink Kitchen. Now don’t get me wrong…I LOVE pink. Just not in my kitchen which is themed around this pretty little thing…

My baby.

Currently, my kitchen looks like this…

And here’s a little bit of the plan…

I’m most worried about painting the cabinets…but I’ve done my research so here’s hoping it goes better than I expect! Luckily my mom is coming to visit for the week and I’ll be keeping her busy 🙂 Updates to come for sure!

Happy week, friends!

5 Years and Counting.

Approximately five years ago, give or take a week, this was me…

Graduating undergrad. Leaving my home at Otterbein and heading off into the real world. I was in a pretty good place; I had an apartment with my three best friends and a job that I started prior to graduation.

This time of year always holds a special place in my heart. Working at a university, I’m reminded of the utter excitement and absolute fear that ending college brings. And as this is a milestone anniversary, I thought I’d take a look at a few things I’ve learned in the past 5 years:

I don’t know if you ever feel like an adult.
The other day someone called me an “MBA holding homeowner” and I literally almost started sobbing. I have these things; titles, degrees, mortgages, etc that are all supposed to mean that I’m smart, responsible and capable. And yet most days, I still feel like a child. I’m often intimidated by my students and all the ambition they have, forgetting that I’m in the mentor position. I always kind of thought that when I got to the next milestone, I would feel more prepared. But alas, I’m not sure it works that way. I’m not sure we ever feel ready and settled.

It’s ok not to know.
I spend my days convincing 18-22 year olds that it’s ok if they don’t know what they want to do the rest of their lives We push everyone to always have an answer to “what now?”; Where will you go to college? What will you study? What will you do after graduation? When will you get married? When will you have kids? Bahhhh…

Sometimes, it’s ok to just enjoy the present. Sometimes you just need to be still and figure out who you are before you can figure out where you want to go. And if you do set off in a direction, and it doesn’t work and you turn right back around…that’s ok too.

One of my favorite verses, Psalm 46:10: “Be still and know that I am God.”

Home will always be home.
No matter what, I will always be a Clyde Flier. I will always love Pizza House, sitting around bonfires and going to Lake Erie on weekends. I’ll always be a country girl. I still want my mom and dad to sweep in and make things better. And even as I change, and my hometown changes, I still feel comfort every time I drive into town (which unfortunately isn’t that often anymore.) There’s just something special about knowing where you belong.

People are more important than anything. Anything.
I’m notorious for saying that the people I spend my work day with are more important than the work I’m doing and the pay I’m receiving. And I believe that. I’ve had jobs in which I spent my days alone in an office, sometimes never talking to another co-worker the whole day, never seeing a human face-to-face and accomplishing nothing except seemingly making money. I don’t believe that’s a fulfilled life. We’re here for a reason, and that reason involves connecting to each other. Put people first. Everything else will fall into place.

Family is a fluid concept.
It isn’t until you’re away from your family that you realize that can mean more than blood relatives. I’ve found my true soul mates are some of my best friends. We’ve gotten each other through the past five years, sometimes dragging one another when life made that necessary. We’ve laid on the floor, staring at the ceiling, waiting for some kind of direction. We’ve stood next to one another through weddings, heartache, babies, moves (oh, good grief, so many moves!!), job changes, job loss, celebrations and frustrations. I know for a fact that I would not have come through these past few years without these people. They mean the world to me. And when you’re on your own, nothing could be more important.

I’ve learned far more than just five things in the past five years…but I thought I’d save you from some of those boring lessons, such as how to cook a turkey on Thanksgiving or how to steam a wedding dress (of which I think I’ve become an expert!) What lessons do you have to add to the list??

To any of my students (I know some of you find this)…know that it’s ok. The next few years may be scary as all get out. But we’ve all been there. And we are coming through on the other side. There are some lessons that only life and time can teach us.

New Recipe Love: Spinach and Feta Quesadillas.

Yep, you read that right. This recipe is quick, easy and delicious. It’s one of my new favorite finds on Pinterest!

I adapted the original recipe found at Closet Cooking. Here’s what I came up with:

1 handful of fresh spinach, steamed and squeezed (recipe says 1/2 cup…I like to eyeball measurements…)
1 teaspoon chopped fresh parsley
1 handful crumbled feta
salt and pepper
Shredded mozzarella cheese
2 corn tortillas
*I left out a few of the ingredients from the original recipe (mostly because I didn’t have them) so I missed a little bit of the greek style, but I still loved them.

Directions:
1. Steam spinach, drain and squeeze excess water.
2. Meanwhile, warm your skillet with a little bit of cooking spray or EVOO.
3. Combine spinach, parsley, feta, salt and pepper in a bowl.
4. Warm each tortilla one at a time in the skillet.
5. Fill one tortilla with a small handful of mozzarella, followed by the spinach/feta mixture. Top with a little more mozzarella and the second tortilla.
6. Cook on both sides until tortillas are browned and cheese is melted.

And the finished product!

“Eat Out of My Own Kitchen” Week in Review.

I did it!

I managed to eat the whole week out of what was already in my refrigerator/freezer/pantry. Here’s a little sample of what I indulged in:

Lasagna
Chili (made from my mom’s recipe; I make a GIANT batch every fall and keep it in my freezer for the winter. It’s my favorite!)
Tortellini soup adapted from the recipe found at eatliverun.com
This killer parmesan chicken recipe made using chicken fingers
Mashed potatoes (out of the freezer)
Salad (which included the parmesan chicken)

Snacks included almonds, cashews, cheese/crackers, carrots, cucumbers, protein bars

Now I will admit, I was lucky enough to have three lunches provided at work this week (the blessing of event season!) so that does make my meal planning a little easier sometimes. But I also attend classes in the evenings which throws my entire eating schedule out of whack. Seldom do I ever actually sit down and eat an entire meal; so most of the time I’m looking for food I can pack to take with me to work and graze all day long (ask any of my coworkers, I almost always have food sitting on my desk.)

Meal planning and creativity is something I’m constantly trying to work on; I just get bored with the same food all the time and I’m often on a tight schedule. If you haven’t already, check out my friend Sonya’s blog…she’s great at posting new recipes and her meal plans for the week.

Did you try “Eat Out of My Own Kitchen” week? I’d love to hear how it went!

I Declare This Week “Eat Out Of My Own Kitchen” Week.

Why you ask?

Because my freezer looks like this…

And my pantry looks like this…

I have so much random food in this apartment! I’ve been stocking my freezer for months with chili, stew, soup, leftovers…and for some reason I never eat it. But the time has come, my friends, to stop stocking up and start enjoying! So I have declared this week “Eat Out Of My Own Kitchen” week…also known as the week that I give the grocery store a break (except for a few fresh staples as needed.) Each week it seems like I buy more food and avoid what I’ve already got waiting for me.

Already tonight I’ve made lasagna (with leftovers for the next day or so) completely out of ingredients in my kitchen.  With a little creativity, I’m confident I will use up some ingredients in my fridge/pantry and eat up some meals from my freezer…at which point I can then enjoy making new recipes to restock 🙂

I’ll try to update later this week on how my mission went. But I’d love to hear from you, what are your meal planning/use-up-random-ingredient-and-leftovers secrets?