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Patiently

Only 2 more days until we are reunited with our home goods! I am most looking forward to having a bed cause the couch is getting old.

Even though we’ve been without our “stuff” I can’t help but feel so grateful that we even have “stuff.” So many in the world are not as fortunate and this experience has made me more thankful for the many ways we are blessed. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t frustrated but when you put everything in perspective, this just isn’t that big of a deal.

In 60 years I won’t be telling my great grandchildren about how awful it was to be without our things for a few weeks.

I will be telling them how happy their great-grandfather and I were to be together in our first home. How blessed we were to have great neighbors. How wonderful it was to be so close to family and friends.

Those are the things that matter.

I hope everyone has a safe and Happy 4th of July! I know I’m celebrating at home, with my hero.

*Thank you to all of the brave men and women who have sacrificed for our freedom.*

-Brittany

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Finally Moved

Hello dear readers! It’s Brittany here to give you a quick update!

We’ve finally arrived in Texas! Our stuff has yet to arrive, but we made it here safely!

I made it through my first (of many) military moves and I’m happy we were about to drive all the way here with no problems. We’ve been getting the run around on when our stuff is due to arrive, hopefully soon!

We bought a new loveseat recliner duo and my wonderful parents gave us some furniture so our little house is a bit more homey.

I’ve been working hard cleaning and putting things away, finding everything a home…not easy when you’re terrified of the closets. The home we live in has vast amounts of various closet space, but the closets seem a tad too rustic for me.

I’m seriously paranoid about spiders and scorpions. I’ve already sprayed outside (and emptied the bottle) with Raid Repellent. On the inside I’ve used an eco friendly, pet safe, non-toxic, plant based spray…it balances out my outdoor chemical warfare.

Inside

Outside

Our home is wonderful though, a few quirks that make me feel a little uneasy, but the kitchen covers a multitude of sins!

The kitchen was a major selling point for me. It is spacious with ample cupboards, GAS STOVE, great natural light, plentiful countertop space, GAS STOVE.

In case you couldn’t tell, mama likes a gas stove.

I will be posting some pictures once our things arrive and I’m able to unpack! Until then, I’m heading off to the local farmer’s market!

Hope you’re having a wonderful day! And you those of you with a crock pot and taste-buds should make Vanessa’s new cheesy beer chicken recipe!

-Brittany

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Cincinnati 5 Way Chili

I’m back with another great recipe for you all! This is something that my mom has made for years, and I was always excited to see it on the menu. If you’ve never been to Ohio or known anybody who has lived there, you probably haven’t heard of Cinnicinati 5 Way Chili. It’s a very unusual chili that has become famous at a restaurant in Ohio called Skyline Chili. Years and years ago, my mom saw the recipe in the newspaper and cut it out. Confession: I’ve never actually been to the restaurant that started it all!

Even though I loved this dish, I never tried to make it myself until a few weeks after I moved to Virginia. I’d always thought it would be too complicated and I didn’t have all the necessary ingredients. 5 way chili requires a lot of spices, which are expensive. When my mom was first married and would make this, she’d borrow the spices she didn’t have from her mom, who was also a fabulous cook. In fact, the original copy that she cut out of the newspaper still has her notes to herself about which spices she already had and which ones she had to borrow from her mom 🙂 So, keeping with tradition, my mom occasionally sends me “5 way Chili kits”, all the necessary spices premeasured and put in a plastic sandwich bag. Is she awesome or what?! In case you’re wondering, it’s called 5 way Chili because you can have it:

1 way (just the chili)
2 ways (the chili over spaghetti-I told you it was unusual!)
3 ways (over spaghetti with shredded cheddar cheese)
4 ways (over spaghetti with cheese, and chopped onions)
5 ways (over spaghetti with cheese, onions, and kidney beans)

Sound good? Well, here’s the recipe!

Cincinnati 5 Way Chili

You’ll Need:

1 lb ground beef or turkey

1 medium onion, chopped

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 cup water

1 cup BBQ sauce (I used Jack Daniels #7 recipe)

1 Tbs chili powder

1 tsp ground black pepper

1/2 tsp ground cumin

1/2 tsp tumeric

1/2 tsp allspice

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp ground cloves

1/4 tsp ground coriander

1/4 tsp ground cardamom

1 tsp salt

1/2 oz unsweetened chocolate (I usually cut it in a few small pieces but it’s all going to melt anyway)

Optional: cooked spaghetti, shredded cheddar cheese, kidney beans, more chopped onion

my 5 way Chili Kit!

Directions:

1. Cook onions, garlic and ground beef/turkey in a large pot until meat is thoroughly cooked

2. Drain any fat and return to pot

3. Add bbq sauce and water, bring to a boil

4. Add all the spices and chocolate, cover and simmer at very low heat for 30 minutes

5. serve with desired toppings and enjoy!

Note: There appear to be multiple versions of this recipe. if you google it, you get a version that is completely different from this one and calls for 4 hours of cooking and overnight refrigeration. Um, no thanks! i’ve never had 5 Way Chili at the actual restaurant, but I think this version tastes amazing!

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From a Miss to a Mrs.

As the title alludes, I’ve been in a wedding whirlwind, then a honeymoon hurly-burly, and now I’m switching to a moving mayhem.

Prior to our wedding I went back home to Texas where 2 of my friends threw me an amazing bridal shower and bachelorette party. (Hello Erin and Michelle! Thank you again for your hard work, both parties were AMAZING!)

I had a wonderful time catching up with friends who spoiled me…and my kitchen. Thank you to everyone who attended, it was wonderful to visit and spend time with you all!

One of the best and most appropriate gifts was my very first recipe box. It is odd to think I never had one to begin with! Now that I do I can’t wait to fill it with my favorite recipes and pass it down to the next generation. After a time spent visiting with friends, I headed back to South Carolina for the nuptials. Mine and Ryan’s family flew in for the very small, family only ceremony, which was supposed to be an outdoor wedding, but more on that later.

After my family arrived my mom and stepmom (and even my dad) got to work on making my bouquet and other flower arrangements. I ordered the flowers online and had them shipped to me, knowing I had 2 talented ladies who could easily whip up my dream bouquet.

Which is precisely what they did!

Together, my mom and my stepmom cranked out 1 dream bouquet, 3 boutonnieres and 4 corsages, all the night before the wedding. Not to mention all of the additional floral decor that they took to the venue and used to jazz up the tables and wedding cake. I really couldn’t get over my bouquet. It was what I had always envisioned and they created it with no reference and just a vague suggestion from yours truly. Thank you again mom and Cheryl for working so hard!

(And special thanks to my mom for keeping me grounded and helping me stay calm during all of the wedding catastrophes. Your support and love is greatly appreciated!)

The night before the big day I went to try on my dress for my mom and grandma, only to discover that it didn’t fit.

Cue complete nervous breakdown.

My mom was superwoman and we were off to David’s Bridal like a shot, with my being a sobbing mess. Turns out they sold me the wrong dress and I was lucky enough to discover this the night before my wedding. We ended up scrapping the original dress and got a new one. David’s Bridal was kind enough to take back my old dress and we ended up paying the price difference. They were SO amazing and wonderful, I was not a happy bride and they really went above and beyond the call to help us out.

New dress in tow we returned to the hotel where yours truly lamented about being an only child and therefore denied the opportunity of elopement to which my mom kindly pointed out, “Well… you’d still need a dress for that.”

I love her!

A few more snafus occurred; my makeup artist called in sick and it rained so our wedding had to be moved indoors.

But everything came together just as it was meant to. I had a dream wedding, really and truly. It was wonderful to have everyone enjoying themselves and joking around. One thing I love about both of our families is the shared sense of humor. I walked down the aisle to the theme from Jurassic Park (a youtube video of the song to be precise) and I’ve never seen Ryan smile quite so large. We wrote our own vows and I managed to make it through with just sniffles and no actual crazy tears.

The food was fantastic, our venue was perfect, everything came together as it was meant to be. Despite the rain, makeup, and dress issues, I really did have the perfect wedding.

I married my best friend, what could be better than that?

 

 

**Thank you to our friends and family for your support and enthusiasm. I will update more wedding photos as I have them, the professional photos will take a wee bit of time. We love you all and thank you again for everything!!**

 

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Milestones

I’m back again! Yes, this is Vanessa and no I haven’t fallen off the face of the earth. I know I said awhile back that I was going to post more, but what can I say? Life can be a little all consuming at times. The good news is, I should have more free time now because I graduated a little over a week ago!! After 19 years as a student, I’m FINALLY done 😀 And the best part of all was that I finished my final semester with 2 A’s and a B despite moving and working 40-45 hours a week. I was a bit of a late bloomer when it came to academics, so I was especially proud of my final grades. Then, a week after my graduation, my brother graduated from Purdue. No, we’re not twins. But I guess this is my one chance to know what it’s like to have a twin! Haha.

The most expensive piece of paper I own!

me with my parents at my high school graduation in 2006

…And 6 years later. A little older, a little wiser 🙂

I am quite literally a female clone of my dad. I might never have graduated without his guidance

I adore this picture!

We love each other, can’t you tell?!

You’re looking at a future orthopedic surgeon!

Yes I brought my cap and gown with me, I couldn’t pass that opportunity up!

I was so glad Alex’s graduation fell so closely to mine, because I couldn’t have made it back up to indiana right away if it had been a couple weeks later. So I got to spend a little over a week in Indiana with my family and got to see my brother graduate. After Alex’s commencement, we drove to Indianapolis. I had to be in Indianapolis Sunday afternoon anyway for my flight back to Virginia, and this way we got to have dinner at one of my brother’s favorite restaurants (St. Elmo’s for any Indiana people who are reading) and have Sunday brunch for Mother’s Day. I miss them so much and it was great getting to spend so much time with all of them.

I’ll be honest, graduation was not what I expected. Thanks to a few unexpected set backs, I was in college for 6 years. And while I love learning, I hate due dates, tests, quizzes, and annoying professors. So I couldn’t wait to graduate and I never imagined I’d be anything but relieved when it was over. Then it started to sink in…something that has been a part of my life for basically as long as I can remember  is over, and I can’t get that time back. Even though I technically entered the “real world” back in February when I moved to Virginia and started working full time, I can’t stop thinking about what someone told me when I graduated high school, “College is like the real world with a safety net.” Well, that safety net is gone now. Maybe someday there will be a generation that will listen to their elders when they warn them not to grow up too fast!

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Planning and Preparing

As you may know, I’m getting married soon! My dearest friends are already planning my bridal shower and I’ve been working like a madwoman to lock down dates and venues.

Planning a wedding is extremely time consuming and stressful. I’m not having a huge ceremony, it will be just mine and Ryan’s family in attendance, but it is still hectic to say the least. I’ve got most of it planned out but the remainder has been giving me migraines and an abundance of other health issues.

I’ve already found my dress but now I must find the accessories and a tailor. And flowers. And a cake. And find a hair salon and nail salon. ETC ETC ETC

I was going to try and make my own cake, but everyone talked me out of it. Apparently there is a lot happening on the day of a wedding, and worrying about trying to make and decorate a cake is not something a bride wants to be dealing with. Or so I’m told.

Really, I think they are intimidated by my skills.

The above is an image of my decorating work. Yep, that is my first and last decorating attempt.

For those of you who may have difficulty reading (which is in no way a reflection of my decorating skills) it says “Happy Birthday Kerri”

Okay, maybe they had a point.

Either way I want my cake to taste AMAZING and look nice. I’m not a fondant fan (blech!) so I know my options are a little more limited. I’m off to start researching bakeries and everything else.

Cheers to a good week!

-Brittany

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Review: Three Little Birds Cafe, Charleston, SC

A few weeks ago we went Charleston for a fun weekend getaway. It was relaxing and amazing! We had such a great time and got to do a little exploring.

Being the foodie that I am, I had to find the best place for getting some local grub. After a sub-par seafood experience, I knew I had to find the right place for us to end our weekend on a tasty note. After a bit of googling I stumbled upon Three Little Birds Cafe. I always like to look at the menu online and this one looked very promising!

We pulled into the shopping centre, searching for the cafe and I spotted an Earth Fare! I looked at Ryan and he goes, “I know where we’re going after breakfast.” He loves me so much!

After winding through the parking lot, we finally stumbled upon the cafe. It is located in a bit of a weird location, kind of mid-parking lot. We parked and walked into a packed cafe which is always a good sign. There was no seating indoors, so we opted to sit on the little patio. The sun was shining and there was a lovely breeze. We already knew what we wanted, cheers to pre-reading a menu, so we quickly placed our orders! I got a celery, pineapple, orange, and carrot juice to go with my water. I was very impressed that they offered fresh juice blends, not the standard “from concentrate” cocktail blends.

Ryan ordered eggs over-medium, with andouille sausage and cheese grits. His was gone so fast! He LOVED the sausage and grits. (You can see him tucking into the food while I was documenting our meals 🙂 )

I opted for an omelette with goat cheese and fresh basil. On the side I had mixed greens and a house-made strawberry citrus vinaigrette. DE-LI-CIOUS!!!!!

I loved the omelette so much, I’ve been re-creating it at home!

A little bite of Heaven!

 

After our yummy brunch, we headed to Earth Fare! That is where we purchased our juicer and became juicing fanatics.

Overall I recommend this quaint cafe. It is very vegetarian friendly and very FRESH!.

For an inexpensive and tasty breakfast in Charleston, SC be sure you head to Three Little Birds!

Have a great week!

-Brittany

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