Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Fiery Hot Chicken Chili aka Witches Brew

Okay people- if you are a consistent reader, you know I am one for extremes- "BEST EVER" appears in probably 95% of my posts.  =)
However, this recipe really is the best.
Every Halloween at school we have a "Cauldrons and Confections" potluck for United Way for the teachers.
Teams enter into the competition with a chili or soup (or both) and a dessert.  It's a blind taste test, $5 to get in to eat (which goes to United Way), and you vote on the winner.  One dish from each category wins.  The secretaries in the office head it up and decorate the conference room (we even get spooky emails.  Hilarious).  It's a riot.  Last year, someone brought "Boo Bee's" and they were scary bees made from cookies and such.  I didn't get it until I kept saying "WHO BROUGHT THE BOO BEES" and then I got it.  Ya.  Great fun.  =)  We have to make up names for the dishes, so I guess for right now it is "Witch's Brew".  I will come up with something more clever tomorrow.  Thinking of going with "spit" or some sort.

I don't mean to ruin the fun, but this is the recipe I am bringing (Plus, I think the only person from school who reads my blog is the person on my team... and that's because I make her read it.  Baha).  It is delicious.  My husband is a hearty-meal kinda fella (as in "soups aren't a meal"), and he adored it.  I was given the recipe by Susan Libby, a woman from our church (who is also hilarious) who invited us over for dinner a few weeks ago for a double date with her and her hubby.  Love it.  It's low fat and super easy.  The recipe says to saute your chicken, but I left an entire chicken in the crock pot while I was at school and took all the meat off and threw away the skin and bones when I got home.  All I had to do was add the other ingredients.  Also, I am usually a stickler on pricey ingredients and will leave them out.  The chili peppers in adobo sauce is $3.something for 1 can.  You will only use a quarter of it, but do not leave it out.  It makes a huge difference!  It called for bay leaf, but I don't have it and it was expensive.  Oh well!  Not missin' it.

Fiery Hot Chicken Chili
It's not so fiery or hot, don't worry!


  • 1 tablespoon butter (I cut this down from two.  My chicken is already cooked.  You could leave it out!)
  • 1 (20-ounce) package boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1/2-inch cubes (I used half a chicken, de-boned and de-skinned)
  • 1 medium (1/2 cup) onion, chopped (or 1/4 cup dried, minced onions- Daniel no likey onions)
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 2 tablespoons lemon pepper
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic salt (I put in 3 tbsp minced garlic.  We like garlic!)
  • 2 (14-ounce) cans chicken broth (I used 4 cups water+4 bullion cubes.  Meh, already had it)
  • 2 (15-ounce) cans pinto beans with jalapeƱos* (I used regular pintos and 1 can green chilis, as noted below)
  • 2 (11-ounce) cans white shoepeg corn** (Yep, normal corn, too.  Cheaper and at Aldi!)
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons chipotle chile peppers in adobo sauce, chopped
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro


Finely chopped red bell pepper, if desired
Fresh lime wedges, if desired


Melt butter in 6-quart saucepan until sizzling; add chicken, onion, cumin, lemon pepper, oregano and garlic salt; cook over medium heat until chicken is no longer pink (6 to 8 minutes). Add chicken broth, pinto beans, shoepeg corn, chipotle chiles and bay leaves. Continue cooking until mixture comes to a boil (8 to 10 minutes). Reduce heat to low; cook, uncovered, 30 minutes.

Just before serving, remove bay leaves; stir in lime juice, sugar and cilantro.

To serve, top each serving with chopped red pepper and lime wedges, if desired.

*Substitute 2 cans pinto beans and 1 (4-ounce) can chopped green chiles.  TIP- buy the little can of green chiles that are whole.  It's cheaper than the chopped and you get more in the long run!

** Substitute 2 (11-ounce) cans yellow whole kernel corn.

Bazinga!  Dinner.  Licious.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Baby Shower Ideas

There came a time in my life when it seemed like every time I logged into Facebook, someone was announcing their engagement.  Posting ring photos.  Sharing links to fun wedding ideas.
Everytime I check my feed, someone is announcing their awesome, beautiful, miraculous news:  A little one is on the way.
I always think, Man!  There is something in the water!
Then I realize- I am just that age.
All of the people that were getting married are now having their babies and I love it.  Instead of stalking FB for wedding photos, I look forward to seeing baby bump pictures (which you will  be getting weekly from me when that happens for us) and little faces that look remarkably similar to my friends.  So sweet!
My sis-in-law, Becky, is expecting her first in January.

Autumn Nicole will join our family in January (how cute of a name is that?).  We are already a huge family and barely fit in one house on Saturday nights, but it's only starting to get bigger.  Love it!  Can't wait to meet this baby girl.  She is one lucky duck to have Becky and Jacob as parents (and lucky to have one freaking awesome Aunt Katie if I do say so myself-she already has this gorg sweater waiting for her).

Um, hello does this come in mega size for Auntie?
Anyway, baby means shower.  We are planning this partay a little over a month from now and need ideas.  Already purchased invitations (got them on clearance for a cool $1.50 for 15- and bought 3 packages.  So what they are actually wedding invites.  I'm doing a bride a favor somewhere by taking these bubble gum pink invites out of the store.) and blog stalking for decor, food, game, and favor ideas.

I figured with the influx of baby-bearing out there, someone else might benefit from this post.  Here are a few ideas I have seen and love love love!
Hostess with the Mostess is one of my fav blogs for shower ideas.
They have featured:
Elegant and Lush:

Check out those baby shots of Mom and Dad.  So cute!
Chanel Inspired:

Love the Glitter clothesline pins and "notes" to the baby.  So sweet!
Ali's Sweet Treats has these cookie cutters- I am borrowing it from a coworker.  So cute!

To be Charmed has a tutorial for these burlap vase covers.  You could do freezer paper stencils with these and have something baby related- they would be so sweet as decoration with flowers!  AND you could use the 100 vases left over from your wedding.  I knew all those decorations would come in handy one day!

And, of course, what shower would be complete without garland and bunting?  Seriously, obsessed with this stuff!
A Beautiful Mess has tutorials for 10 types of garland.  Awe-some.

Oh, Baby!  Such cute ideas.  I will let you know how the shower goes!  Congrats Becky and Jacob!
Do you have any fun game ideas?

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Weekend in Texas

We went to Waco, Texas this weekend and had a blast!  Besides our reasoning for going down there, spending uninterrupted time in the car with Daniel was one of my favorite parts of the whole trip.
Yes, leggings are pants.  I have ordained Legging Tuesday at school.  Glorified sweatpants.  So comfy!

We visited Texas because My dear friend Julia got married.  We were so blessed and honored to witness such a wonderful event in her life.
It was beautiful!
I am obsessed with bunting!  Love it.

Isn't this gorgeous?  =)

Such joy!

How beautiful is her dress?  Jealous.  And clearly we aren't used to Texas Heat.  Horrible! 

Love them!

I know Julia from K-State.  The year I got married (and lived in our hall for only first semester, since we were married in December), she was the head of our hall and her apartment was across the hall from my room.  We have been kindred spirits from the start.  You know how people say your heart leaps just being around someone like that?  When you have some natural connection that goes without words?  That's how we've always been.  Just spending time with Julia makes me feel at home.  I feel like I've known her for years, when really it's been about 4, and we really only lived in the same state and town for one.  I haven't seen her for about 2 years, but when we reconnected this weekend I felt like it was yesterday.  I am so thankful for the way God has blessed our friendship and has prevented time from playing a factor.  She will forever be one of my dearest.

We both love Jesus and supporting each other through our walks.  We also are obsessed with Peter Cetera and Chicago.  It's a sickness, really.  =)  We used to go to weddings (not together- to ones of people only one of us knew) and would text each other updates throughout the wedding.  I know this sounds horrible, but we would text about all the hideous things people did at their weddings and always joked we would go on E or the Style Network with a show called "Wedding Bashers" and make fun of ugly weddings.  I know, hideous people we are.  Hilarious nonetheless.

Because she was head of our hall in KSU, she really lived there, including holiday breaks.  When we got married over Christmas break, Daniel and I went on our honeymoon the day after Christmas and came back to Manhattan around the 3rd of January.  The Spring semester didn't start for another week or two, so Manhattan was a ghost town.  Julia used to work all day and then come over to our apartment for dinner and fun every.single.night and we loved it.  We started joking that she was our daughter and she would call us "Mom" and "Dad" as a joke (which was even funnier since she is older than we are!).  We still sign cards that way.  We were witnessing to two Mormon missionaries at the time and she would always come over on Tuesdays when they did.  Such a special experience we were able to share with her.
This was our "family photo" with Julia as our daughter.  Ha.

REALLY excited the summer of 2008 to see...

This.  Peter Cetera.  Crown Center.  FREE. Best concert of my life.

Anyway, Julia, if you are reading this, I want you to know how much we love you and how happy we are for you and Caleb.  You have been a source of such joy for our family and we are excited that Caleb is the man God has chosen for you!  We pray for you weekly and look forward to seeing you again soon!

PS-Tomorrow is the last day to enter the giveaway at Land of La!  Be there or be square!

Friday, October 21, 2011

Wainscoting Tutorial

Welcome to the longest posts/tutorials on Earth!
If you are into home DIY, it's totally worth it, I promise. 
I blogged a while ago about wainscoting and moulding- and how much I am in love with it.  In my Dad's words, "it looks sharp man!".  I fell in love with our house when I saw it online- it ended up being the first house we looked at and, obviously, the one we bought.  There were a few contenders that we would have had to fix up and completely furnish with appliances, but we weren't looking/ready for that (maybe next house!).  That being said, there was really nothing that I HAD to change about the house, but some things I wanted to add/make my own.  This tutorial is for one of them! 

Wainscoting is actual wood paneling on the wall, with moulding added around and on top to make boxes.  I didn't want to pay for that, so we just painted the wall.  It really extends the hallways, adds dimension, and I love that it covered some scuffs and I can wipe the wall down with a wash cloth or sponge.  Amazing.  Here you go!

First, measure how far up the wall you want the chair rail portion. We had put chair rail up in our bedrooms and wanted it to be the same height. I read that the general rule is that the chair rail should be about 1/3 of the way up from the floor (between 32" and 36" for an 8’ ceiling). I think ours ended up being 34”. We used a level and tape measure to make marks every 2 feet along the walls and then used a chalk line-snapper tool thingy to snap a solid line across the wall:
Paint! Like I said before, I believe true wainscoting is an entire piece of paneling that is attached the wall- takes a lot more time and is expensive. We bought a $20 can of semi-gloss white trim paint and I painted the walls with a super-smooth roller. We have white trim, so I taped off the bottom trim about an inch down (it’s actually a little “lip”), so the part of the trim that is angled up also got touched up. Awesome! Paint up to the chalk line (not under it! Paint right up to it, if not an inch above).  Paint 2 coats on the wall.

Alright- time for trim. We purchased this pre-primed moulding for $.89/foot. It’s not the real pine moulding- particle maybe? Not sure, but not solid wood. Who knows the difference? Not I. It was half the price! It needs 2 coats of the same semi-gloss paint to be finished, so I paint one coat before it goes on the wall, then the final coat once it is up. Daniel measured all of the wall sections and he cut them at the store to be that long plus an extra 6 inches for nudge room. We numbered each wall and then wrote those numbers down on paper with their measurements. While at Home Depot, we wrote that number on the back of the piece of trim so that we knew exactly where it went once we got home. It didn’t take long at all, surprisingly! We cut them up at the store 1. Because they fit in our SUV better and 2. It kept us organized. One thing we both have learned is to organize along the way instead of doing it all at once.
Measurements with wall numbers

So, one coat of paint. Then, figure out what edges need to cut at an angle and which can stay straight. If your moulding is going to be put up to a door frame, that edge can be left or cut straight- no angles. If it is going to be put into a corner, if needs to be cut at a 45 degree angle.  Some 45's are cut "in" and some "out" depending on what kind of corner you have.

This is what I mean by in and out corners =)
Daniel got this miter saw from Lowes for {WOW} $100! Lowes is apparently trying to get contractors to start buying from them, so they offer them crazy deals every so often. And, here was one. It was originally $200. So. Awesome!
Sorry, but man, HAWT!
Don't ask me how he figured this out, but he did- in involved some triangles and Math.  These are "test" strips- which I would high recommend doing.  If you aren't sure about the angle, practice on scraps until it's perfect, then cut the real pieces.  Daniel said this angle was 19 degrees... somewhere in there.  You'd think getting a 30 on your ACT would mean I would remember this stuff.  No clue.
Anyway, cut all of your angles and cut down to size (remember, we cut each piece with an extra few inches while at Home Depot, so you have to trim it down!). Attach to the wall using a nail gun and air compressor. Our compressor is a tiny little nugget and can’t do much (we have to turn it off after we use it every time), but it does its job- and it was only $20 on clearance at Target. We had the nail gun from a previous project.
I know he's not putting up the chair rail and you're thinking YOU SKIPPED STEPS!  Just showing you the nail gun!
Caulk the top edges using this tutorial =).


Our walls looked like this for a month (minus the blue tape). We got so busy!

Now, the inside boxes. We bought the same type of moulding from home depot, but shaped differently, and it was $.57/foot. We measured our wall and figured out what size to make the boxes so that there is the same distance from the box to the wall and chair rail all the way around the box. It was around 4-5 inches. Draw the boxes on the wall with a pencil (it will come off later with either eraser or a magic eraser sponge!). 

To make the boxes, cut each edge of the box sides at a 45 degree angle. We hot glued the corners together.

Once cooled/dried, put them up on the wall and nail-gun in place.  Fill in holes with putty.

This is awesome!  I went to ACE Hardware looking for putty and this was cheaper- and WAY better. It comes out like toothpaste and I just put it on my finger and filled the hole.  Then, I rubbed it and all the extra dusted off.  Amazing.

You have to fill the nail holes on both sets of moulding- chair rail and the little boxes.

Tape off the wall (even though it's the same paint) so that you can paint the trim boxes and chair rail (2nd coat) neatly, as well as caulk.  Paint and then caulk around the outside of the boxes=)

Tada!  Peel tape and you are done!
The boxes down the stairs were a whole other story.  You have to figure out the angles and, well, my husband did that.  The man and his numbers- sheesh. 



That's howie did it.
WOW.  I am in absolute love with it.  I can't wait to fill this house with babies so they can gum it up and I can wipe it down =)  I will have to settle for my little niece after January!

Next project?  (because yes, we always have to have something going)

We have carpet in front of the entrance to our garage, which is that door in the top picture.  It is disgustingly dirty and will not come clean.  Believe me, I've tried it all!  Plus, the dog pees there and leaves like to visit us there in the fall.  Boo.  The bottom picture is just linoleum.

PS/Disclaimer:  After asking my hubby to proofread this post (note to self- never do that again) because he was in so much of it (no, he doesn't read my blog.  Good thing-if only he knew what I said about him. Ha), I was informed that I needed to note that all "we"s in this post should be changed to "Daniel"s because he "did it all by hisself". I will admit- he did do most of it.  There were several "Katie, get off Facebook and help me"s and "Where are you?  I need you down here!"s.  I did do all the taping, painting, and caulking.  I also manned the air compressor.  Take that!
Marriage. =) Really, greatest blessing on Earth.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Guest Posting at Land of LA

First of all, check this video out:

Curling your hair..with a sock?!?!  Crazy.  I don't know that it would work with my shorter hair, but man, gorgeous and easy.  I usually get a pretty fierce crimp from hair ties, too, so maybe it will never work for me.  Boo for fine hair that blows dry in a commercial break.  I am sure my sissy could do it (but then again, she can do anything and wear anything and look gorgeous.  Don't get me started).

Anyway, I am guest posting at Land of LA today!  It is a tutorial for an infinity scarf from old sweatpants (or any other fabric) and features a cute giveaway.  Head over and check it out! 1.  You will be blessed by Laurisa's blog.  She is truly sweet, hilarious, and talented.  You really need to start stalking her.  2. Make sure to follow the {super easy} instructions for the giveaway!

Off to Texas to see a dear, dear friend of mine get married.  SO excited to see her and have a mini vaca with the love of my life.  Staying in hotels makes me happy!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Meet Laurisa

Laurisa writes at The Land of La.
She is hilarious, super duper sweet, and an ultra-talented Momma, wife, crafter, and nurse.
Really, you need to check her out, back-stalk her, and read all of her funny tales.
She is going to do some 'splanin about why we know each other, so read on. 
One thing (among many, many other things) that I've learned from Laurisa is to be bold.  When you read her blog, the first thing you will notice is how bold she is about her life and her relationship with Christ- and her strong assurance in His promises.  I've also learned that if you don't make the effort to get to know someone, you will never know what great things you have in common with them.  Had I not been a dumb freshman in college and actually talked to my RA (who was Laurisa), we could have started this friendship long ago and stayed up late crafting.  Dang it!  =)  You live and you learn, I guess!
When you are done, blog stalk her and become a follower!  Later in the week I will be guest writing on her blog- and featuring a give away.  Enjoy!

Hi I’m Laurisa! 

I write over at The Land of La. I know Katie from Facebook. Well to be more realistic I was her RA in Ford Hall when she was a freshman at KSU. But I think I talked to her about 3 times.  (Don’t judge- I was an okay RA…just some girls came to programs and some didn’t cough cough Katie ) But really we were Facebook friends because that is what you do when you barely know people- become “friends” on FB. Anyway, I am so glad we did become FB friends because I have kept up with her over the years. She is just the sweetest gal and has an AWESOME blog right?!?! I have learned so much from her. I too am a crafty mc-crafterson and in my opinion Katie’s Tutorials are better than Pintrest!
Really we are friends because we both love Jesus and that forms instant friendships-even over the Internet.
Generally I write about this little pumpkin…

Cute pic right?!?! Well truth is we almost dislocated her kneecap to fit her in that darn pumpkin. She cried for the first minute and just as I was getting ready to take her out because guilt was setting in that I am a TERRIBLE mother just wanting to get a cute photo she started hamming it up. Also I may or may not have found  a good amount of  pumpkin on her bum later that night because she had to be naked to fit in the pumpkin. It’s good for her bum right?

I also do mean things like this instead of comforting her when she cries. (The kid is extremely sweet natured and we have heard her cry only a handful of times it is just sooo cute so I mean I have to capture the memory!)

And then who can resist a sweet pic like this. I could kiss those cheeks every second of every day. Or maybe somedays I forget to change out of my pj’s and don’t brush my teeth till 3pm-yeah funky.  Because I am too busy kissing those cheeks. (Too much hygiene info for the first blog?- ahh well can’t win them all!) For more reality come check out my blog. I just try to live life out loud. The triumphs, the tragedies and the funny stuff along the way. 

Oh geez. I didn’t even mention my wonderful hubby. His name is Daniel too (another thing Katie and I have in common) Dan really. He thinks I am mad if I call him Daniel. He’s great. Knows how to make this mama feel loved. Might be the most selfless person I have ever met and did THIS for me last valentines day- UMMM yeah-get cuter! 

That’s all for now.
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