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Monday, September 12, 2011

I love audiobooks but.....

My husband and I are both HUGE readers.  We both love to read, to learn new things, and we both love to talk about what we're reading.  That's great right?

Problem:  We like totally different types of books.  Jacob reads non-fiction and primarily business books.  Me?  I looooooove me some fiction.

It's a tragedy, really, since we can't share books.  Yesterday, we went to Borders and picked through their remaining books.  I got three fiction books and he got three business books.

I haven't started reading mine because I am currently listening to Jacob's.  I love audiobooks but this is different.  For the past day and a half, he has been reading OUT LOUD to me his books.  The most predominate one he is reading to me is about private equity firms and how they are destroying America.

Trust me, if there is one thing that is more boring than a business book, it is a business book about private equity firms.

Right now, as I am writing this, he is reading out loud to me.  My favorite part is when he finishes reading a section he will stop and paraphrase what he just read in a way that I can understand.  I am trying very hard to listen and make affirming cues like "Oh, wow, really?"  Or, "No way!  That is horrible."   I am a very good wife that way.  :) 

Even if I could care less about his books, I love him.  He makes me smile.  He is so darn cute when he is learning and processing ideas.  He is so passionate about things...and those are the very things that made me fall for him.   

I think, though, that it is only fair if I read to him too.  "Harry Potter" anyone?


When I was able to get Jacob to pause reading the private equity firm book, I read this post to him.

He said, and I quote, "I don't need to read Harry Potter, I saw the movies!  They don't make movies about this kind of stuff!"

Me:  "There is a reason for that, dear."

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Now, on to the whole world domination thing....

Today is my 3-month wedding anniversary.  Hey, we mark milestones in months for babies, why not for  marriage? 

"How old is your baby?"

"He's 18 months."

Now insert the world "marriage" instead.

"How old is your marriage?"

"It's 3 months."

"Wow, 3 months already!  My how quickly it's grown!"

"Yeah, isn't it crazy?  First thing you know, the most expensive 12 hours of your life is over and one day you wake up and you're married for 3 months!  The time has flown by."

"That's great, Holly.  You're marriage is just the cutest little 3-month old I've seen since my own!"  

Okay, sorry, enough pretend conversations.  Maybe I need to get out more.

ANYWAY, today Jacob and I have been married 3 whole months.  For our guest book we made this really fun picture book with empty pages for people to sign.  That way we could leave it out and look at it from time to time.

In the introduction page, we had this:

Step one: Marriage.
Step two: World Domination

Throughout our engagement we joked about how we were going to dominate the world and then live in the Eiffel Tower.  You may think we're joking, but we're not.  We've established our "evil" plan to dominate the world--through fried (and some baked) pies.

That doesn't sound evil now does it?  You'd be surprised, though.  Jacob is an entrepreneur and super savvy at business.  I love to make pies and other crafty things like quilting.  Why not marry those skills?  So, we have been working on starting a business for me.  Many people are very supportive.....but there are others that aren't so much.

Today Jacob and I were talking and were trying to figure those people out.  Why is it so bad to start a business doing something you love?  Answer: it's not.   However, I think those naysayers just secretly want to do that very thing themselves but feel like they can't.  Where is the rule that you have to do a job you hate, each day pushing the proverbial rock up the mountain for someone else's dream, some else's product?  That's just's not written ANYWHERE!  Woo hoo!  However, I think that the lesson I am learning right now is that there will always be some that are not supportive.  As a budding entrepreneur, I am learning that lesson.

So, at month #3 we are starting our plan for world domination.  We're going to try our hand at making pies and other goodies.  We are going to develop our own paradigm, our own dreams.  I am excited.

And how can THESE little beauties be evil?  :)

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Packin' and Cleanin' and Wishin' and Hopin'

Today's agenda is doing laundry, cleaning the house, and packing!  Tomorrow we leave very early in the morning to head to Oklahoma then Texas on Saturday!

Tomorrow we are leaving just before the butt-crack of dawn so I can make it to Norman in time to see my coworkers.  I'm looking forward to hearing how the school year is going and catch up with them!  We'll then spend the night with the Smiths and hopefully see the Devero's as well.   

Saturday we will leave a little later, thankfully, just after the butt-crack of dawn to make it to DFW for Scott and Susanne's baby shower.  I can't wait to see them and celebrate the new arrival!  Afterward, a good group will hopefully hang out, and will get quality time with all of my friends down there. 

These two locations hold the bulk of my heart friends.  I will get to see 6 of my 8 bridesmaids this one weekend, not to mention other close friends.  And the whole trip, I will have my handsome husband at my side. 

Relationships are so important to me.  This one trip will fill my tanks for weeks to come.  I am truly, truly blessed!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Missing College

School started yesterday.

I went to OU and after 5 years of study, I graduated.  I loved college and Norman, so I stuck around.  I lived in a college town for 16 years.  I worked with college students as a career for 9 years.  This is the first time that I am not working with college students.

Today I got an email from one of my former students.  It made me smile and encouraged me too.  But it made me a little sad as well.  I do miss my job and my students...and I even miss living in a college town.  My identity was very much connected with that unique subgroup of people. 

Although I miss it, I am very thankful for this new chapter.  I have so many new lessons that I am learning about being a wife.  Jacob is my best friend, and we have so much fun together.  He makes me laugh, he supports me unconditionally, and he makes me a better version of myself.

I miss you Norman, but this Kansas boy has my heart. 

Monday, August 22, 2011

Dr.......I Have an Appointment!

If you know me, you know I LOVE Dr. Pepper.  The full-octane, full calories kind (although I respect the DDP and DP 10 versions).

When I saw this picture, I almost fainted.  These. Were. Made. For. Me.  I cannot wait to make my own version of these little beauties.

Dr. Pepper Cupcake Recipe List of Ingredients:
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 2 1/2 cups brown sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 3 oz unsweetened baking chocolate, melted
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 2 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 2 1/2 cups cake flour
  • 2 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 cup boiling Dr. Pepper

How to:
  • Cream the butter and add the brown sugar.
  • When well blended, add the eggs one at a time, beating well.
  • Add the chocolate, slightly cooled
  • In a small bowl, add one teaspoon of the baking soda to the buttermilk.
  • Mix the remaining dry ingredients in another bowl.
  • Add the flour mixture and the buttermilk mixture to the butter mixture alternatively.  
  • Add the vanilla.  Finally add in the Dr. Pepper.
  • Pour into cupcake molds and bake at 375-degrees for 20-25 minutes.
  • 1/3 C soft butter
  • 3 C confectioner's sugar
  • 1/2 C dark cocoa
  • 4 Tbs heavy cream
  • 1 tsp freshly grated ginger
  • 1 can cherries in syrup (or in liqueur)

Cream the butter, cocoa and sugar together and stir in the cream.  Add the ginger and enough cherry syrup to create the desired consistency.  Refrigerate if necessary, and spread over the cupcakes when they have cooled.  Top each cupcake with half a cherry.


PS....I have had a lot of people asking how to cut the cans.  These were the smaller cans, 8 oz, version.  The best tool I have found to remove the lid is the small, super light-weight, camping style can opener (see attached pictures).

Friday, August 19, 2011

Kabobs...that's what's for dinner!

I come from the land of butter and cast iron skillets for frying.  My mom's version of low-fat cooking was frying one thing.  That's how I learned to cook.  And it tastes goooooood.  If our last names came from our favorite food, my name would be Holly Gravy.  I am southern through and through.

My husband, however, doesn't want to weigh 900 pounds, so I am learning.  I'm learning...use less butter.  Don't fry.  Be healthier.

I am lucky that he is not a picky eater (minus the whole "healthy" thing), and he will eat the same thing day after day.  However, I like variety.  So coming up with a variety of healthy options has been a challenge since we got married.

Today I succeeded....a work of art really.  Kabobs.  Mostly veggies, grilled and filling.  Yum.  Here is the yummy marinate I was a hit with my southern soul and my hubby!

Honey-Chicken Kabob Marinate
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1/3 cup soy sauce
  • 2 cloves minced garlic
  • 1/4 teaspoon finely ground pepper

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Butterbeer Cupcakes

I can't wait to try out my new KitchenAid (thanks Kris and Amy for the wedding gift), and I can't think of a better inaugural recipe to try than Butterbeer Cupcakes.  If you are thinking, "what the heck is butterbeer" then you've probably not read Harry Potter.

Butterbeer is a favorite drink of wizards in the popular book series.  Jacob and I are fans too.  We got to taste the "muggle" version at Universal Studios when we visited Harry Potter World.  It's a magical drink...can't wait for the cupcake version.

A friend and fellow Harry Potter lover sent me this recipe:

Butterbeer Cupcakes
Makes 18
For the cupcakes:

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar, packed
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon butter flavoring
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup cream soda

.For the ganache:

  • 1 11-oz. package butterscotch chips
  • 1 cup heavy cream

.For the buttercream frosting:

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/3 cup butterscotch ganache
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon butter flavoring
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 16-oz. package powdered sugar
  • Splash of milk or cream (as needed)

For the cupcakes: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line cupcake pans with paper liners. Combine your flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in a bowl and set aside. In a large bowl, cream your butter until light and fluffy. Add your sugars and beat until well-combined. Beat in your eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Then beat in your vanilla and butter flavoring.
Alternate adding your buttermilk, cream soda, and dry ingredients in batches until all are well incorporated. Fill each cupcake liner 3/4 full, then bake for 15 to 17 minutes until a tester inserted into the center comes out clean and cake springs back to the touch. Cool completely on wire racks.
For butterscotch filling: In a double boiler (heat-proof bowl over a pot of simmering water on the stove), combine butterscotch chips and heavy cream and stir until completely combined and smooth. Cool to room temperature. Fill a squeeze bottle with ganache and insert into the center of each cupcake, squeezing until filling begins to overflow.
For buttercream frosting: Cream butter in a large bowl until fluffy. Add in ganache, vanilla, butter flavoring, and salt and mix until well combined. Beat in powdered sugar 1 cup at a time until reaching desired consistency. Add milk or cream by the Tablespoon as needed. Frost cupcakes and top with a drizzle of butterscotch ganache.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Team Jacob/Harry

My name is Holly, and I am a Harry Potter addict.  (Hello, Holly.)

Tonight my amazing husband is taking me to see the last Harry Potter movie.  I have made him watch all of them.  He listens patiently at all my comments about how the movie messed up this or that from the book.  He even took me to Harry Potter World at Universal Studios on our honeymoon.  He is a good man.....better than I deserve.  

If you're one of those people that think Twlight and Harry Potter are in the same league, let me tell you this.  They. Are. NOT.

Sure, I was "Team Jacob" throughout my engagement (Team Jacob being a Twilight reference), but I am so much "Team Harry is soooo amazingly better than Twilight ever hoped to be" it's not even funny.  I can't wait to see it....and I can't wait to see it with my husband.  Thanks, Jacob, for caring about my interests!

Let's end it here...."Harry Potter is about confronting fears, finding inner strength and doing what is right in the face of adversity. Twilight is about how important it is to have a boyfriend."~Stephen King

There's No Place Like Home!


Well, it is official.  I received my Kansas driver's license in the mail today.  And it had a new name on it too!  I think it is only appropriate, though, I have on my OU t-shirt.  I mean, I am still an Oklahoma girl at heart. 

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Not a "big" fan....

My husband and I are a lot alike...sometimes freakishly alike.  But we definitely differ on many food favorites. 

I love breakfast, and I never miss it.  Lunch, sure, skip it, but you don't want to see me without a good breakfast in me.  Jacob.....well he usually doesn't eat breakfast unless you count a couple bites of cantaloupe and a couple of strawberries.  And I don't.  Count it, that is. 

I also like salty.  Chips and salsa always trumps ice cream in my book.  So it is not surprising that salty-themed breakfasts are my favorite style too.  But how can you be choosy when your husband says he will get out of bed on Saturday morning to make breakfast?  How sweet, right!?  Yeah, we are newlyweds.  Yes, I have been warned this will stop.  I don't believe them.  :) 

Today Jacob made breakfast.  He made sausage and pancakes.  When he asked me if pancakes were okay, I said, "I'm not a big pancake fan, but sure, babe, whatever you want to make."

Did I mention he is so sweet?  And he listens.  Guess which ones are mine?  Remember, I'm not a "big" pancake fan....

Friday, July 8, 2011

Do you take coupons for that?

Jacob is known for his thriftiness.  He uses coupons and never pays full price if he can help it. 

So today we went to the county courthouse to get our marriage license.  Because we did marriage counseling, it only cost us $ cash.  When the lady asked us for the $5, Jacob looks at me.

"Do you have any cash?  All I have is two dollars."

I dug around and had $2 cash too.  "Do you have any change?"  Jacob asked.  So I dug around my cavonous purse again to produce two quarters, three nickles, 2 dimes, and 15 pennies.

We were able to pay for our marriage license.  And we gave the lady a funny story to tell.

As we walked out, Jacob remembered where his two dollars came from.  We'd gone to Target the night before to get some necessities.  After we were already checked out, Jacob remembered a coupon.  Target gave him the $2 cash he was owed from the coupon.  If it weren't for that coupon, we'd not had a enough cash to pay. 

So, yes, you can use a coupon to pay for a marriage license. 

Sunday, June 26, 2011

The Heart of the Home

Jacob has lived in our house for 5 years, and he never liked the kitchen.  It was a deep purple with a wine border around the top.  Neither of us drink and neither of us liked the color.  It was first on BOTH of our lists to re-do.

It took some time to pick the color but we both really like the blue.  Getting it together with all our new wedding gifts was also so fun!

Now this is a place I can create some love on a plate.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Beans, beans the musical fruit.....

My dad would sing me this song every time we had goes like this:
Beans, beans the musical fruit.
The more you eat the more you toot.
The more you tool, the better you feel.
Let's have beans for every meal!
 Sorry, I had to post that.  Sing it to your kids--they'll love it.

Anyway.....I love beans and always haveIt probably comes from my mom's side of the family.  When I was little, I would spend the day with my Nanny and Little Papa while my parents were at work.  Every day for lunch we had a pot of beans and cornbread.  I learned to like beans.   

It's not surprising that I made beans for one of the first meals for Jacob once we got back from the honeymoon.  Jacob grew up with "Mexican Fridays" I decided to combine our two histories by making black-bean quesadillas for dinner on Friday.

These are super easy to make and great for anyone on a tight budget.  

What you will need:
  • Tortillas (I get the large ones)
  • 1-2 cans of black beans
  • Cheese (I use a 2% Mexican Blend)
  • Cumin and Garlic Salt
  • Butter (or spray oil)
  • Toppings you like....we like tomatoes, green onion, sour cream, guac, salsa, and black olives
  • Large non-stick skillet
How to make them:
  • Drain and rinse the black beans.  In a small bowl, mash the beans until you get the consistency you like.  We like them where you still see some of the whole beans.  Add some water to the mixture--about 1/4 a cup or so.  Heat the mixture, add garlic salt and cumin to taste.  We like a lot of cumin.
  • On one side of the tortilla, lightly spread butter (or spray oil).  (Butter taste better, but follow your own heart.)  Place butter-side down in a medium-high non-stick skillet.  Take the heated black bean mixture and spread on 1/2 of the inside of the tortilla.  Add cheese to your liking.  Fold in half.
  • Press with a spatula until one side is golden and then flip to brown the other side.  Once it is browned, it is ready to eat.  I use a pizza cutter to size into wedges.  
These are super filling, yummy, cheap to make!  Let's have bean for every meal!  :)

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Goodbye Norman, Hello Kansas

I had this quote in my office.  I thought it was appropriate for new freshmen that sometimes hang on to the past "good thing."  Today it applies to me too.  
"Every new beginning comes from some other beginning's end."
In the fall of 1995, I arrived at the University of Oklahoma in Norman.  I went pot-luck with roommates and really didn't know a soul there.  My home town had about as many people as I had in my new freshmen class.

Like it was yesterday, I can remember thinking Norman was SO BIG.  I couldn't remember how to get anywhere but to my car to the road to my hometown.

That was 16 years ago.

Today all my earthly possessions are packed into a truck.  Tomorrow my soon-to-be-husband, my mom, Mick (my dog), and I are driving to Kansas to move me into my new home.  My new life.

Norman, I will miss you.  You've been good to me.  You've become home.  But I have a new beginning that is waiting for me.  And I cannot wait to start the journey. 

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Shower of Love From my Hometown

I had an amazing weekend and wedding shower in Marlow this weekend.  I am so blessed to have so many people in my life that love me. 

Many of the hostesses have literally known me my whole life....and they were a large part of who I became as a women.  It's times like these that remind me again the importance of relationships.

My call is to touch others lives.  I have been given so much by others, and I want to continue to be the kind of person that gives my life to those that cross my path.

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Mick's first trip to Kansas

We know in a couple months that Mick (my dog) and Rowdy (Jacob's dog) will become doggy-brother-and-sister.  Jacob brought Rowdy to Norman, and it was a very good first meeting.  So this weekend I decided to bring Mick with me to visit his new home.

Overall, the dogs get along great.  Mick can't get the hang of all the stairs just yet, but he will get there.  We think they are soooooo cute together!

New friends:

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Stop and Smell the Roses

Three years ago today, I lost my precious Daddy. 

His death came at the end of the hardest year of my life.  The following year was also difficult--trying to find my footing again without him in my world.  There were times that I wondered if things would ever be good for me again.

But they did improve.  Time began to heal. 

God brought Jacob into my life in September of 2010, and we will be married in a couple months.  Man, how I wish my dad could have met Jacob.  He would have loved him.

Today I am with Jacob in Kansas, and he said he had a surprise for me.  We went outside and he had a rosebush that he wanted to plant in memory of my dad.  He wanted me to choose the spot at his house (soon to be OUR house).   The spot I picked had a plant, but Jacob eagerly dug it up and moved it so my rose bush is right in front of the house where we can see it every day.

I love you daddy.  I miss you. 

I love you Jacob.  You are the love of my life.  I'm so thankful for you.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Some More Peeps Please!

I am not a fan of Peeps, the iconic Easter treat.  But THESE....I could totally get behind.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Engagement Photo Shoot

My friend Jenny is an awesome photographer and volunteered to take our engagement photos for us.  It was the COLDEST, most windy day possible!  The first few shots I was so cold I was literally almost in tears.  But somehow we got some great shots. 

Here is one of my favorites:

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Summer is on its way....

Just had my first snow cone today.....and it was free so it tasted even better than normal!  (Ever notice food always tastes better when it's free?)

I enjoyed the  Margarita Swirl--made with Margarita, Strawberry, and fresh lime.  So sweet yet the fresh lime made it refreshing too!  Yum. 

Here is to many more summer days and snow cones.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

I am the champion.....again.

I'm a college football fan.  Basketball, well, I really don't follow.  My supervisor, Casey, sure does care though.  Part of working in the office is filling out the NCAA Bracket each year.

Last year I literally picked according to what state I liked better, my gut hunch, or I would employ the exact science of which team has a prettier uniform to make my selections.  I had not watched one game all year.  I did no research.  I simply guessed.  But my guesses must be better than most, because I won.

This year I was presented with the same task--fill out the bracket.  So I began clicking and filling it out in my usual fashion, and Casey quickly said, "Take your time--feel free to do research or whatever you want.  No hurry."

I kept clicking.


Post on my door.

Within minutes all the guys were making fun of my bracket.  I didn't care, to be honest.

Today I won the office bracket for the 2nd year in a row. 

Friday, January 28, 2011

Friday, January 14, 2011

Happy Birthday Jacob

I got to be in Kansas for Jacob's birthday weekend, and it was so fun!  I made chicken and dumplings and fried pies for about 20 of his friends and family.  He said they were all coming over to see me, but I was determined to make it about him.

He was so gracious to let me destroy his kitchen in the cooking process.  He was so cute and even tried to help although he hates to have his hands sticky.  I let him help out a little then turned him over to his best job, looking cute and keeping me company.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

A week with Jacob

I am so excited that Jacob and I got to spend a whole week together.  I came up to Kansas and spent a couple of days with him.  We went to Topeka to see his "hometown" and I got to meet his mom and dad.  They were super and it was very comfortable!

As we left their house, I said, "Well, crap."

"What?"  Jacob asked. 

"They're normal."  :)  We had a lot of fun.

We headed down to Oklahoma and met my brother Aaron and fam for lunch on the way down.  Then we continued all the way to Marlow where he met Mom and we stayed the night. 

The next day we headed to Texas for New Years Eve party at Dan and Amy's house.  This was the first time Jacob got to meet all my besties in Texas.  We had a great time, and everyone loved Jacob (I'm not surprised...what's not to like?).

We headed back to Norman and finished out our week there.  It was so fun to get some much time with him.  I miss him already.

Here is a pic of us from New Year's Eve: