2015 is starting off with a bang!

Thank goodness we had two and a half weeks off of work, I needed the time to relax, rest, and regroup.  We started back on Monday January 5th and I had an event every single day at work.  It has been crazy busy.  Also, the president of our university unexpectedly resigned over break so there was a lot of uncertainty going into the week.  To say I have been under a lot of pressure and stress would be an understatement.

First the good news…..the man who has agreed to act as our interim president is awesome, it really gave everyone a sense of relief that we have someone who genuinely cares about the university in charge while the board comes up with a succession plan.

Second, more good news…..my kitchen back splash is finally DONE!  Whoo hooo, it has been a long process, but definitely worth the effort.  I am so grateful to my husband and neighbor for all of their hard work.  it looks amazing! I couldn’t have been more pleased.

Canyon Creek, Year 3 015



Third, because of the kitchen project and my work schedule, I didn’t cook a thing in my kitchen until Thursday night.  While making dinner and getting ready to take some photo’s we had a small plumbing issue (nothing serious), and dinner was put on low until it was resolved.  We finally got a chance to eat at 9pm and the last thing on my mind were photos!  I kept it simple, pan-fried pork chops with mushroom gravy, mashed potatoes, and peas.  Easy, simple, filling, comfort food.

Friday night we had sausage and peppers with a side of pasta.  I used really colorful peppers and it looked so pretty.  I completely forgot to snap a photo before eating, so I am afraid you will just need to take my word for it!

Today, I need to head into work for an event this afternoon, as I said, it has been a busy week.  Thank goodness the students come back on Monday, it has been quiet without them and I can’t wait to hear all about their time at home.

One last thing – I need to wish my great aunt H a happy birthday! May 2015 be your best year yet.  I love you.

So how was your first full week of 2015? Eventful, exciting, exhausting?

Well Will You Look At That……

OK, thanks to some amazing help from other users of WordPress, we are back in business!


After one loooong week of not cooking, the tile backsplash project is complete!

Tile Backsplash

I was surprised that it only took one weekend to actually lay the tile, I figured this would take us at least two.  My neighbor and hubby had cut and sanded the tile the weekend before so all they had to do was lay them in the pattern we choose.   Originally, I had been debating between two patterns, both had white tiles with black accents.  I would have been fine with either.  When the hubby showed the pictures to our neighbor, he suggested the pattern that we eventually wound up with.   I should probably tell you that tile is what the neighbor, B, does for a living.  What I didn’t know until we started this project, was that by going with the pattern he suggested, every single white tile would have to be cut on at least two sides, and sanded.  Whoo hoo, leave it to me to fall in love with the most labor intensive pattern on the planet!

It is amazing how the tile just draws you eye as soon as you walk into the room.  I wasn’t expecting that.  In our old house, our backsplash was so subtle, nice, but subtle.  The backsplash makes the room just POP!  I am so happy with the results, and I can’t wait to get back to cooking in my kitchen.  I was kind of getting withdrawal, you know, sweating, hand shaking, heart palpitating withdrawal.

Thank you to our neighbor for his help, insight, patience, and time.  We could not have tackled this project without him, we are entirely grateful.


WordPress updates….

So it seems wordpress has done some updates to their site, I am having issues trying to load pictures into my posts, as soon as I have this resolved, I will be back with pictures of the new backsplash…..stay tuned!

Kitchen Tile

I am so freaking excited, finally, after two years, I will be getting a tile backsplash in the kitchen……whooo hoooo!!  Posts might be a little scarce since I won’t be able to cook for a few days, but I will be back soon with delicious dinners and canning in the weeks to come.   Here is a sneak peek at the pattern I chose……..

Kitchen Tile August 2014 036

Can I tell you just how excited the hubby is that every single, solitary tile must be cut on not just one, but two sides.  Hopefully he doesn’t divorce me before this project is done!  Once the tiles is up, I promise to take a picture so you can see the full effect.   Oh happy day!

Since I didn’t have pictures of anything cooking in the kitchen, I will leave you with a picture of the blue morning glories that popped up in my yard this morning.

Kitchen Tile August 2014 006

What a Week!

Usually the week before the students come back is busy but not too crazy, this year, our President decided to have us plan a staff wide training day, we had new graduate student orientation and our state of the university address.  Needless to say it was a very busy week.  I have worked at least twelve hours a day, every day this week.  I am a little tired!

The training day was a huge hit, we offered 64 classes throughout the day in three different tracks – Academic/Information Technology, Human Resources and Faculty Development.  We had a morning and lunch time keynote speaker.   Everything went so well.   It was a fantastic day and the president was very happy. So happy in fact, we are scheduling another day in June, before our faculty leave for the summer.

New graduate student orientation is always a fun night.   Welcoming new students is such a great way to spend a night but these are adults, for the most part, coming back to school to further a career, change careers, or just learn a new skill. It is a totally different vibe from incoming 18-year-old freshman.  It is more relaxed, these people have done this before, they just need information on how we do things.  They also appreciate that we are working professionals as well who gave up a night with our families to give them the information they need to succeed.

The State of the University address this year was brutally honest.  It is one of the things I admire about our new President, she tells you what you need to hear, not what you want to hear.  Not that it was  bad news, we know the economic crisis has hurt higher ed, specifically private schools like ours and we need a plan to tighten our belts, work smarter, and provide the best quality education to our students.  We have a great many new programs/initiatives coming down the pike and I believe that we are making the changes necessary to stay competitive in these challenging times.

Speaking of challenging times, things have changed a lot for me at work.  I am now a one woman show until they hire me some help.  I am working for a senior VP who is giving me the opportunity to learn, mentoring me for the future and challenging me to try to do things out of my comfort zone.  It is a bit scary at times but I am certainly ready for the challenge and grateful for the opportunity.

I am off today, watching it snow………AGAIN……catching up on life – laundry, bills, grocery shopping.  What are your big plans for the day?  Mine includes making a big pot of Chicken and Barley Soup and Homemade Bread.

All Done for Another Year

The tree has been stripped of it’s pretty ornaments, lights and decorations.   Presents have been opened and the Christmas decorations are done for another year.

All over for this year!

All I have left to do is vacuum up the darn pine needles, that should only take until June, I am sure!

When do you take down your holiday decorations?  I usually do it on New Year’s Day because the spring semester at work is so busy and I just don’t seem to have the time or energy once January gets in full swing.

The living room looks so big now that the tree is down. I will miss the lights, it is so nice to plug in the lights on the tree and relax on the couch with a cup of tea or glass of wine.  Ah well…..it will come again, sooner than you think!  Maybe I should start my shopping now so I can spend more time enjoying the sights and sounds of the holidays in 2014.  The best laid plans…we will see if it becomes a reality!

Getting Ready

I have spent my Sunday prepping my house, pantry and fridge for the upcoming holiday season.   I had deliberately let the pantry and fridge get a little bare.  Today, I pulled out everything from the fridge and cleaned all of the shelves, drawers, etc.  While I had my hands on all of the condiments, I checked the expiration dates and tossed what needed to be tossed.  I made a list of what I tossed, what we were low on, what items I might need for holiday recipes.  I also added to the list quick appetizer items (cheese, pepperoni, marinated veggies, that sort of thing) in the event we have people who stop by to say hello.  I always like to have something that I can pull out of the fridge on a moments notice and feed people!

I rearranged the pantry, figured out what I had on hand, made a list of the items I might need more of for the holidays (chocolate chips, nuts, flour, the basics!) and what specialty items (crackers, chocolates)I might want to have on hand in case of unexpected guests.  I also made a list of easy quick meals that I can have on the table within 20 minutes and stocked up on those items.  The holiday season seems to get more and more busy each year and I want to make sure I have items on hand that translate to easy, quick, nutritious meals so we don’t have to resort to take out if we come home late from shopping and we are terribly hungry!

After tackling that I changed and washed the sheets on all of the beds in the house, added blankets, changed the lightweight comforters for heavier ones.  Everything is ready in case we have last-minute guests.

I have a basket in the guest bathroom with soaps, shampoo, lotion, toothpaste, etc.  I checked the dates on all of those items and made a list of what I need to replace, change, and have more of on hand.

I checked the hall closet for paper towels, tissues, and toilet paper.

Once I had my list, I went to the store and stocked up on what I could.  I like getting my house ready for company and I like doing it before the craziness of Thanksgiving descends upon us.  Now all I need is some company to arrive!

Do any of you have any pre holiday chores?