Thursday, November 3, 2011

Eating the Fruits of our Labor

We're finally starting to feel a little settled in the house. All my belongings are moved in, our living room furniture has arrived (and we're in love with it), and the stuff Josh doesn't use on a regular basis is moved into the house. He will move the rest of his furniture and belongings in after I leave for Oklahoma (14 days and COUNTING!!!). We still have a LOT of things in boxes, but we're just taking this new life on one box at a time!

After the commotion of moving and Josh's sister getting married (side note: you MUST go check out her fab wedding photos over on her photographer's blog!) and the move we decided we needed to do something fun and relaxing before the wedding! We went apple picking!!! I've never actually picked apples from trees. I've picked peaches, blackberries and strawberries, but in Oklahoma I don't think we even have any apple orchards. If I'm wrong, please correct me! We chose a beautiful Sunday afternoon to do it and soaked up the last bit of sun before this dreadful NY winter sets in for the next several months. I'm really positive about this winter thing...can't you tell???

Here are some pictures of our apple picking adventures.

{I apologize that all of the photos in this post are from my iPhone, but I'm just really lazy with lugging a camera around when my phone has such a decent one!}

We picked both Fiji and Golden Delicious apples. I think we probably picked more than we could eat between now and next summer, so I'm sure we'll be making something for dinner that includes apples every night until they're gone. I'm also planning to make at least one apple pie, maybe two while I'm at it.

Sunday night I made salad to go with our dinner using the golden delicious apples, blue cheese and walnuts. I'm such a fan of the blue cheese apple combo! Here's a picture of that lovely little salad.

Yesterday, I posted on Twitter/Facebook about our Halloween & Harry Potter feast as we waited for cute little trick or treaters to stop by. A few people requested the recipe for pork and apples in the crock pot. I have adapted it a little to suit my taste and ingredients on hand.

Here's a picture of our usual evening: Dinner. iPad. Apple TV. We're really exciting people around here.

Slow Cooker Pork & Apples

1 can condensed golden mushroom soup
1 can condensed cream of mushroom soup
1 cup apple cider
1 tbsp dark brown sugar
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp dried sage
2 bay leaves
2 lbs boneless pork chops*
4 large golden delicious apples (about 4 cups)
2 medium red onions, sliced (about 2 cups)

1. In a crock pot, stir together the soups, cider, brown sugar, Worcestershire sauce, and sage. 

2. Add the bay leaves, apples and onions.

3. Salt and pepper both sides of each pork chop and them to the crock pot. 

4. Cover and cook on low 8-9 hours until pork is cooked through.

*Note: The original recipe called for 8 pork chops equaling 2 lbs. The pork chops at our local Wegmans were a little beefier and I bought 4 chops equaling 2 lbs. In the future I think there would be enough room in the crock pot and enough apples/onions to use 6 chops equaling about 3 lbs.

The pork chops were falling apart when I got home from work. Super moist and full of flavor. We will be using the leftovers to make pork tacos later this week. I totally can't cook for two so I'm becoming an inventive leftover user! :)

Happy Fall, Ya'll!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Move-In Cleaning

I dread and am thrilled about the idea of cleaning the previous owners' funk out of the house. Dread --because it's a large task. Thrilled --because it means I'm in my home sweet home! {Side Note: Just in case the previous owner ever happens across this blog post, I'll say it now she's one of the cleanest homemakers I have ever seen. That house probably doesn't have a speck of dust. Even the cans in the cabinets were all facing front and beyond orderly. I'm not really worried about infectious diseases or finding something totally gross.} We're going to give the house a once over make sure everything is super clean before we descend upon it with paint, new furniture and all our belongings (both old stuff and fabulously new wedding presents).

Here's how I'm aiming to tackle all this in just a few short days. I used Real Simple's many cleaning check lists to guide me and started laying everything out in a spreadsheet of course. Here's what I've come up with...

Cleaning Check List:
1. Clean all fixtures in each room.
Master Bath

Half Bath

Run Dishwasher
Vent Hood

Basement (Laundry)
Toilet (Yes, there is a random free-standing blue toilet in our basement. Yay us.)
Cellar Room Shelves

2. Clean all the vertical surfaces in every room in the house.
Door Knobs
Outlet Covers
Switch Plate Covers

3. Clean the floors.
Hardwood (We have hardwood floors almost everywhere. Excitedaboutit.)
Linoleum -Kitchen (I'm already seeing those pesky projects creeping up.)
Carpet -Attic
Concrete -Basement

4. Install shelf liner.
Master Bath
Half Bath
Master Bedroom (Closet)
Guest Rooms (Closets)

Supplies Check List:
Scrubbing Bubbles
Glass Cleaner
Dishwasher Detergent
Dish Soap
All Purpose Spray Cleaner
Tub & Tile Spray
Toilet Bowl Cleaner
Magic Eraser
Hardwood Floor Cleaner
Cleaning Rags
Paper Towels
Broom & Dust Pan
Shelf Liner  

Okay, friends. Now tell me what I'm missing! What are you favorite cleaning supplies and do you have any tips for cleaning a new (to you) house?


Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Gracious Living

Even though we are still 60 days from being The Bills Family of Two, I thought the day of our closing would be the perfect day to kick off this little family blog. As of today we are the proud owners of a 1920's bungalow colonial in Upstate New York (Okay, okay. It's not quite a bungalow even though it's styled like one, but Bills in a Colonial just doesn't have the same ring!). 

We are in a total love affair with this house!!! We love the neighborhood and love the street. The lot has trees so tall I don't think I can see the tops. While the house does have oodles of charm, I'm sure projects will quickly find their way into our lives! The neighbors we've met so far seem really friendly (even by my more southern standards!). We will be posting pictures within the next few weeks, as we're renting the house back to the previous owners for a few days. For now here are the pictures from the real estate listing.



[Living Room]

[Full Bathroom]

[Master Bedroom]


As a bride-to-be, one of the themes I desire for our household is living graciously. Josh and I both see this as a huge part of how we want our family to be defined. The Lord has been so gracious to us and blessed us in a mighty, might way! We want to be able to pass that grace on in everything we do. I don't just want to be known as a great hostess, but want to be able to share the love of Christ through my hospitality. We want our home, family and lives to be used to bless our family, friends and community. Whether we are hosting a family dinner, having friends in from out of town, working through the local church to meet needs or simply showing our neighbors that we care...we just want the gracious hand of the Lord to be evident to everyone we meet.

A sweet friend recently brought to my attention that bringing hospitality together with a Christ-like attitude is truly the definition of being gracious. The Old and New Testaments reference graciousness and hospitality on many occasions. Here are some verses that really stand out in helping continue this theme in our home and lives.

Romans 12:9-13
Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in brotherly love; give preference to one another in honor; not lagging behind in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord; rejoicing in hope, persevering in tribulation, devoted to prayer, contributing to the needs of the saints, practicing hospitality.

Psalm 37:23 & 26
The steps of a man are established by the LORD, and He delights in his way...all day long he is gracious and lends, and his descendants are a blessing.

Nehemiah 9:17
But You are a God of forgiveness, gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in lovingkindness; and You did not forsake them.

1 Peter 4:9
Be hospitable to one another without complaint.

This is a great desire for our home and we can't wait to share all our adventures with you! Our friends and family are spread out all o
ver and through this blog we hope to post all the schmancy (and not so schmancy) projects, celebrations and milestones that fill our days.

Stay tuned...