Page 71: Valentine’s Weekend 2016

I first wrote of my love of Valentine’s Day earlier in the month. I believe in love. I believe that it is a powerful and healing force. I also don’t believe that love is only for people who have squishy, lovey dovey feelings at each other. I think that love begets love—in action and in feelings.

So on Saturday, I had some of my best lady friends and their best lady friends over for a Galentine’s Day brunch. We ate a lot of carbs, listened to this playlist, gave one another gifts, read to each other, talked about the hard stuff and the cheap stuff and it was wonderful and lovely. I got barely any photographs because I was having too much fun.

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And a lot of people asked me for the recipe for the frittata that I made. Which is sometimes hard for me to do as I barely follow a recipe. I mostly just follow my instincts. But I remember everything exactly this time. So if you’re interested in a recipe with no photographs to back up the lovelieness of this dish and you’re willing to just trust me, here you go!

Galentines Day Brunch Frittata
(Served the 11 people at my house with about 25% leftover)

2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cups sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into a small dice
1 small yellow onion, diced
2 large red peppers, diced
2 or three large handfuls of fresh spinach
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
½ teaspoon salt
light sprinkle of red pepper flakes
1 cup shredded itallian cheese blend
10 medium-sized eggs
¼ cup half-and-half
1 ½ tablespoon seasoning of your choice. I used McCormic’s Belgian Style White Ale spice blend (which I love because of the combination of citrus flavors and bold pepper).
½ cup crumbled feta cheese

I used my 12” cast iron skillet—it’s important to use an oven-proof skillet, however. If your oven-proof skillet is smaller than this, I recommend scaling back on the eggs because that will create a more veggie-dense dish.

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F.
Over medium high heat, warm olive oil and add sweet potatoes. Cook for several minutes until they just begin to soften and brown. Add in onions and red peppers and stir to coat with oil.
Once onions begin to sweat and soften, stir in spinach. It will feel like way too much spinach but once it begins to cook down, it will shrink up considerably. Stir in nutmeg, salt, and red pepper flakes and turn off heat.
Stir the mixture around so that everything appears evenly distributed throughout the pan. Sprinkle the shredded cheese over the top.
In a large mixing bowl, whisk together eggs, half and half, and whatever seasoning you would like.
Slowly, pour the egg mixture over the veggie mixture in the pan. Do not stir! Sprinkle the feta over the top and quickly move the pan into the oven.
Bake at 350*–checking at 30 minutes for doneness. The frittata is done when it begins to brown around the edges and when you shake the pan and the center barely jiggles. Let it sit for at least 10 minutes before serving to ensure that the eggs are all set up.

After that, my husband and I cleaned up only the most important food items, packed our bags, and drove to Wichita where he’d booked a room and I’d made dinner reservations.

I don’t foresee the rest of our Valentine’s Day celebrations going so extravagantly but between me recently moving to a work-from-home position and our house being in a not-that-relaxing, there-is-so-much-to-be-done state of affairs, Ryan thought it might be best for us to just get out of the house for a night. Which was the right move, if you ask me.

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I was/ am obsessed with this grey chair. I want one just like it at my house.

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Funny story, though! As soon as we walked into the hotel lobby we found that not only were we staying here but also hundreds of young teenagers! Someone thought that Valentine’s Day Weekend would be the perfect time to book a bunch of teenagers into a fancy hotel for a youth conference!

I had to be very active in recognizing that my expectations are my own business. Maybe I expected to not have screaming kids outside of my door all weekend long—I didn’t run that by anyone else. It’s not their fault I had that idea. They had other ideas. Ryan and I put ourselves into their positions. Being a kid at a youth conference was one of my greatest joys in my childhood and we were going to let them enjoy it. I didn’t stick my head out of my door and scream “shut the hell up already!” even one time! With that perspective shift, I was able to laugh with them instead of scream at them. I’m proud of that.

Also, since we are usually stay-at-home on Valentines Day people, we didn’t realize that my favorite restaurant was going to transform into a seriously expensive, extra fancy place for the weekend! It is no exaggeration to say that we ended up spending more than either of us had ever spent on a meal, before.

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I was really proud of the way that we rolled with the punches, though. Rather than getting upset and anxious, which is my natural way, we found a way to just go with it, enjoy ourselves, and not stress at all. And in the end, you know what? We had an excellent time! And our entire dinner was decadent and inspiring (I ate a grilled salad, you guys!!). There wasn’t a single part of it that I didn’t love. The place was packed, too. God bless those servers.

Then, because we weren’t quite ready to go back to the room just yet, we stopped at the hotel bar.

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The next morning we slept in so late and watched tv and took long showers. We went to brunch and then to stall going home, we went out for more coffee, and stopped at a bookstore where I found this beautiful copy of Flannery O’Connor stories. I’d given away my original copy so I was really excited to find this magnificent replacement.IMG_7411IMG_7419IMG_7420IMG_7443

 

And now it’s back to every day real life. It was such an exciting weekend! It was a constant exercise in c’est la vie.

So after that lux, relaxing weekend, this announcement! We are moving to a new house this weekend!! With that being said, things might be really quiet around here for the next few weeks while I get my house and my office set up but I promise that when I come back, it will be so good. Thank you for sticking with me though this transitional phase.

What do you think about Valentine’s Day? Did you do anything to celebrate? Tell us about it!

XOXO, Lib

Page 64: What a beautiful weekend…

This weekend was really nice. There’s a lot of work that we should be doing. But we pushed all that aside for now. We’ll make up for it.

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We had our nephew, Owen, overnight and we had the best time. We built a lot of things. We ate a lot of kid food. We had a slumber party on air mattresses in the living room where we watched Aladdin until we fell asleep.

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We went to church where, in Children’s Church, Owen misinterpreted the story of Jesus Calming The Sea in such a way that holding in my laughter brought me to tears. But then we got to tell him the real story and he was like, “Oh, okay. That makes sense.”

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And I learned that I say no to everything and Ryan says yes very easily and I hope that if we ever get to become parents, I can learn a lot from him. For example, Owen wanted to wear his tie to church with a t-shirt. I laughed and was like, “Hahaha. No.” And Ryan was like, “But why not, though?” And I was like, “… I don’t… I don’t know.” This is one example of about half a dozen things that went like this.

And then I went to a coffee shop and met up with some of the most beautiful women that have ever existed. I can’t believe that I didn’t know most of these women before but also I can’t believe that some of us only just recently met. This past year has been about making new friends and really connecting with old ones. I didn’t think I’d be able to make good friends in my adulthood but it’s been so much better to have friends in my 30’s.

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And that was my gorgeous weekend filled with gratitude and love and cuddles.

What was your weekend like?
XOXO, Lib

Page Fifteen: Organize This!

I might be the only person who doesn’t know what to do with a four-day-weekend.

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Due to the fact that the Fourth of July was on a Thursday, most places in town decided to just give their employees and extended weekend. That included my place of business. I was so excited for it! But once we were done celebrating, I just had no idea what else to do with my time.

So I joined one of those community Buy Sell Trade groups on Facebook and listed a couple of pieces of furniture that did little for my home save provide a place for me to stack piles of things that I didn’t know what to do with.  Oy! And I am never doing that again. Don’t get me wrong, I think that for the right kind of person, this is an extremely effective way to get rid of your stuff. And I did get rid of most of the stuff that I listed. But not without heightened stress levels and annoyance to the nth degree! It was frustrating for me to be tethered to Facebook in order to answer peoples’ questions about my stuff and then being tethered to my home, waiting for the takers to stop by to pick up their new home goods (you know, when people actually did show up). It’s over, though! Like I said, I did get rid of a lot of stuff that I haven’t been using at all and certain parts of my home feel all light and airy rather than weighted down with excessive, unused furniture and mess.

So, the organization bug bit me and I decided to tackle a project that I’ve been meaning to get taken care of for nearly a year. I re-organized my coffee bar (I’m in the market for a new descriptor, since this is neither a bar, nor solely dedicated to coffee. Leave suggestions in the comments.).

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In this before photo you’ll see an honest look at what this spot looks like all of the time. I have America’s dinkiest kitchen with limited counter space (usually occupied by dirty dishes and a fruit bowl) and a single electrical outlet. So if I ever want to have toast (and I do), I need to find a new spot for the microwave, coffee maker, and espresso machine. Is it necessary to have both a coffee maker and an espresso machine? In short, of course it is.

What we have here is a lovely print fabric ruined by all manner of coffee stains, an unsightly Rubbermaid tub stuffed to overflowing with boxes of tea, a can of coffee, generic garbage, and a 2013 Nice Jewish Guys calander. Unseen: dust, gunk, grime.

IMG_3752I went to the fabric store and wandered around in the clearance isle before settling on this striped number. I like it because it’s got a Mexican vibe to it (which I’m very into these days) and it’s, I don’t know, maybe summery? Maybe it’ll freshen up the joint when wintertime comes around. We’ll see.

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The main thing that I did, here, was to incorporate this tiny little shelf that I bought before I even moved into this place (three years ago) but haven’t figured out what to do with it. I just could never get rid of it on account of the cuteness. I painted it blue a few months ago but that didn’t help me figure out it’s purpose. This is what it’s been waiting for. If I didn’t have plaster walls, I would have hung a shelf or two a long time ago. But not only are the walls plaster, they’re also rented. If they were my walls I wouldn’t mind experimenting with shelving but I really don’t want to turn a little whim into a deposit-eater.

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I also took all of my teas and put them into jars that I’ve been collecting specifically for this project. I spray painted (most of) the lids white so that it would have some cohesion and I’m pretty satisfied with how it turned out.

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Coffee and Espresso have had their own jars for a while, now. I stuck some letters on there in order to help differentiate which is which–not that it would be difficult to figure out eventually but pre-coffee brain is so different than coffied brain.
Not pictured: I have a wide-mouthed jar in which I keep all of the espresso machine accouterments.

How do you spend an extra-long weekend? Any easy-peasy projects that you’ve been putting off for no reason at all? ALSO, what should I add to this situation? I’m hoping to hone my espresso skills but I’m never sure what I should have in my arsenal.

Page Fourteen: Quiet Weekend

May and into the first week of June, was an incredibly busy time. Every single weekend featured overnight guests. Don’t get me wrong, I love to play the hostess (especially to my favorite people–who are the only people who sleep in my guest bed). But I’m also an introvert and I need time to myself in order to recharge and become myself again. So I (hopefully politely) declined any invitation this weekend so that I could plug in.ImageImageImageImageImageImage

Ryan and I visited the new Mexican restaurant in town. For the record, he didn’t love it but I was totally down. I was in the mood for the small-town-lack-of-atmosphere atmosphere and the over abundance of flour tortillas. This weekend was the City Wide Garage Sale and since I’m in the market for a less-than-garbage couch, so Ryan patiently drove me around all four quadrants of our town over the course of two days and we found nothing. But I did get a few tin trays with painted strawberries and a copy of Little House on the Prairie all for a dollar. I took the money that I didn’t spend on a couch and put it into a tin can to save up.  We learned that the latest season of Master Chef started, like, a month ago. I’ve been binge watching that on Hulu this weekend with a chub of goat cheese and a box of Triscuts. My brain has been in a terribly thinky place, lately. I feel like I’ll be able to talk about it soon. But not yet.

I’m feeling, good. I’m feeling like the energy bar over my head has gone from the red into the green. I feel rested and clean and happy and I’m excited to go into the world tomorrow.