Super Simple Roast

Hello there!

Today was yet another day off of school (this time not due to snow but rather to extremely low temperatures) and it was a productive one for me! I did a lot of cleaning and spent a solid 1 1/2 hours at the gym, which was really nice. Normally I only have 30-45 minutes to spend there so it was nice to get a nice long session in. I also had lots of time to snuggle my fur babies and give them plenty of love! 🙂

Simple Roast

Since I had plenty of time today and Justin and I happened to be hosting some friends for dinner, I decided to make a yummy roast for dinner. I used a super simple recipe that my mom passed down to me. When I say “super simple,” I mean that even beginning cooks can easily make this and have it turn out delicious! It does need to spend several hours in the oven, so I don’t often have time to make it; however, today I had the time to do it so it was the perfect choice!

My dad provided Justin and I with several roasts that he purchases from a local butcher every year. I am always thankful for local food and meat is no exception; however, this particular cut was rather fatty so I had to spend a little time cutting off most of the excess fat. I placed the roast in my roaster and surrounded it with five potatoes, peeled and cut in half, and about 8-9 carrots, peeled and cut in half.

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I poked several holes in the top of the roast using a fork.

I sprinkled a bit of seasoned salt on top of the roast and then filled the roasting pan with water until it covered all but the top of the roast. I then sprinkled half a packet of onion soup & dip mix into the water.

Then I covered the pan and put it in the oven. (The picture below looks a little gross but trust me . . . looks aren’t everything!)

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After about 4 hours, I removed the roast and separated all the ingredients. I added some flour to the  leftover “soup”  mixtureand voila! Gravy for the potatoes!

I also served this meal with some homemade bread that I made on another day off school. It was delicious and a huge hit with everyone! Easy and delicious meal? Great success!

Super Simple Pot Roast

Ingredients:

-Beef Tip Roast (mine was about 2 pounds)

-5 medium-sized potatoes, peeled and cut in half

-8-10 carrots; peeled and cut in half (you could also use baby carrots)

-Seasoned Salt to taste (I used roughly 2 tsp)

-1/2 packet of Onion Soup & Dip Mix

-Flour (to thicken gravy)

Directions:

1. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. Place the roast in a roasting pan.

2. Surround the roast with the carrots and potatoes.

3. Use a fork to poke holes in the top of the roast.

4. Sprinkle seasoned salt over roast.

5. Fill the roasting pan with water until all but the top of the roast is covered.

6. Sprinkle the onion soup & dip mix into the water.

7. Cover the roasting pan and place in oven for 3-4 hours (depends on how fast your oven cooks). Potatoes should be soft and roast cooked through.

8. Remove from oven; separate meat, potatoes, and carrots.

9. Mix remaining water with a bit of flour to thicken into gravy.

10. Enjoy!

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 3-4 hours

Serves 6 (may depend on the size of your roast)

I hope you love this recipe as much as I do!

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No school but at least hosting dinner gave me a reason to dress up a bit! 🙂

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Lace Shirt: Maurices

Cami: Target

Purple Sleeveless Top: Forever 21

Skinny Jeans: Maurices

Flats: Target

Necklace: Forever 21

Belt: Bluetique

Wedding Wednesday: Begin Planning!

Well, my streak of consecutive days at school over the past two weeks will stop at one, since we had no school again today due to icy roads. I am starting to get really stir crazy around the house! At least I am getting lots of snuggle time with my fur babies!

Wedding Wednesday: The Planning Process

A few days after Justin and I got engaged, I created three different documents on my computer to help with organizing the planning process. Since I am still fairly new to blogging and so not tech-savvy, I was not able to figure out how to upload the actual documents I used to my blog. I originally wanted readers to be able to download each file for themselves if they found any of my documents to be useful; however, actually completing that was beyond my realm of knowledge. I therefore did the closest thing (within my capabilities) and took screen shots of my documents to upload as pictures. Lame, I know. But hopefully it still gives you an idea of how I set things up in case you’d like to set up something similar.

Guest List

The first document I created was our guest list. I actually downloaded my guest list straight from The Knot’s wedding planning website so rather than screen shot my guest list, I’ll just include the link to their list template here so you can download it if you wish. We actually signed up for a wedding website through weddingchannel.com (which is now The Knot) and were able to upload our guest list straight to the site. This made it SUPER easy to have guests RSVP through our wedding website and eliminated the need for RSVP cards. We got an e-mail notification when each guest RSVPed — SO NICE! I highly recommend going this route–it’s simple and f-r-e-e.

**Sidenote: The guest list is one of the hardest things to do. It seems easy enough, but when you have to combine you and your hubby’s friends, family, and all the random extras, it can get big fast. I suggest carving out a significant chunk of time to just sit down and list everyone you even might want to invite. (Justin and I did this on a seven-hour road trip shortly after we got engaged–I wanted to get it out of the way!) Then start to systematically work through and take people out. Don’t be afraid of hurting feelings; it’s your wedding!! And in reality, you simply can’t invite every single person in your life.

A good rule of thumb is to expect about 75% of the guests you invite to RSVP “yes.”

Wedding Budget

Wedding Budget

With this one, I created a spreadsheet in Excel and listed every possible expense I could think of. I categorized the expenses into logical groups (i.e. stationary, reception) and listed all the details underneath. I had an “estimated cost” column to list how much money we were going to budget for each item and then I also had an “actual cost” column to list how much the item actually cost.

I set up the spreadsheet to have a “Grand Total” at the bottom and inserted a formula for the box to automatically update and add up the total in each column so I could easily see if I was under/over budget. This made it SUPER easy to keep track of our money and also helped me see where we could try to cut costs.

Contact List

I cannot stress this enough. A master contact list is an absolute must. It is hard to keep track of everyone’s numbers and information and you will want to be able to stay in touch with your vendors in case you have questions or need to confirm details with them.

Wedding Contacts

 

My master list was super simple. Just an Excel sheet with all the vendors and their essential contact information listed, and also columns to keep track of payments. Some vendors require deposits, others want an additional portion of the payment before the wedding. It’s easy to lose track of who you have paid already and when payments are needed so this is a simple way to keep all the information in one place!

Bonus: Wedding Timeline

Another helpful document to have at the beginning of your planning is a wedding timeline. My sister-in-law gave me a copy of Real Simple’s wedding planner and I used the timeline they had but you can find many online. This was a very helpful tool to keep me on track and help me to know when to do things. Had I not had this, I would probably have had way too many things to do close to the wedding and it would have been stressful. I’m so glad I spaced everything out and had some time to breathe!

I hope you find some of these tools helpful! Feel free to take my ideas and tweak them for your own use 🙂

Happy “hump” day!

***

No school, no outfit of the day. Even if there’s no school tomorrow, I need to put on some real clothes!!

Family of . . . FOUR!

Hi there!

I finally went back to work today after six days off of school due to weather. It was nice to be back — I was really starting to run out of things to do around the house and I was ready to get back to my students! It’s already snowing again though so we’ll see how long this lasts . . .

New Family Member

I am so excited to announce that my little family is growing!

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Before this gets out of hand, I should clarify that Macie’s new little sibling is furry and has four paws. (Gotcha, didn’t I? ;))

Justin and I have been talking about getting a second dog for probably a month now. We adore Macie so much and love having her in our family. She has been the perfect dog for us! However, we hate having to leave her at home by herself all day long. Justin is able to come home during lunch for now, but once he starts his medical school rotations, that will no longer be the case. She is such an active dog that we hate for her to sit around bored all day. We wanted a playmate for her!

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Meet Macie’s new little brother, Scout!

Scout was rescued by good friends of ours last week. He was dumped off in the snow near their house and wandered up to their door in subzero temperatures (can you believe the cruelty of some people?! It makes me sick to think of how someone could do that to a puppy, or any pet for that matter) and was skin and bones. They immediately took him in. After calls to the local pound, no one had claimed him within the week and he wasn’t wearing a collar so we knew he had been abandoned and hadn’t just run away from his owners. My friend already had two dogs and so we decided to give him a home!

We are so in love with Scout already. He is such a sweetheart!

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Can you tell Justin is super excited to have another dude around? Macie is clearly a mommy’s girl so he is hoping that Scout is a daddy’s boy. 🙂

We took him to the vet on Monday and other than some worms, a bit of frostbite on his tail (again, how can people dump a puppy off in freezing temps!?), and being very small due to lack of appropriate nutrition, she said he was actually in pretty good shape! He’s receiving worm meds, an antibiotic, ointment, and lots and lots of LOVE now so he is on the mend!

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Our vet’s best guess is that Scout is a cocker spaniel/hound mix and he is probably around 12 weeks old, though he looks much younger due to his size. We were so impressed with how well Macie took to him! She didn’t bark or growl when he went for her food bowl (although now they each have their own) and they love to play together! She does exhibit a bit of jealousy around me because she is used to getting all my attention, but overall she is very kind to him and they get along well!

They also like to snuggle and nap together 🙂

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Aren’t they adorable?

We are so happy to have Scout join our family. My heart is FULL!

The only problem we have run into with Scout is with crate training. He HATES going into the kennel. I’m not sure if maybe he had a traumatic kennel experience prior to being dumped off. We’d really like to crate train him for potty training purposes,  but I don’t want to make it a negative experience for him. I would love to hear any advice from other pet owners who may have experienced this!

Side note: If you are unable to care for your pet, please please PLEASE take the time to drop him or her off in a shelter or find someone to take him or her in. No pet should have to be kicked out into the cold and left alone.  And a huge thank you to those who are willing to open their homes to strays and rescues!

***

Today’s outfit of the day. Feels good to get to dress up again and not just lounge around in sweats.

Cardigan: Old Navy

Dress: Maurices

Belt: Maurices

Tights: Express

Pumps: Maurices

Glitter Showdown

This is getting just a bit ridiculous.

We didn’t have school again today . . . and I already got a phone call that we won’t have school again tomorrow! The entire week off! Why didn’t I plan a vacation to Florida this week!?

I guess the good thing about not being on vacation in Florida this week (if there is such a thing) is that I’ve been catching up on all of the things I have wanted to do for a while but haven’t had a chance to. My to-do list has gotten much shorter and it’s awesome!!

Nail Rock

One of the things I checked off my list was to try out a new glitter nail polish that I got in my latest Birchbox.

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I was initially a little skeptical of the glitter aspect of this duo because my experience with glitter has never been good. It just always seems to get everywhere! But I decided to give it a shot and try Nail Rock anyways.

The first step involved painting two coats of what looked like a pale pink polish on. Once applied, I couldn’t have even told you the polish was pink. It was so sheer that it hardly colored my nail at all. I was a bit disappointed, because I had initially planned on just putting glitter on my ring finger nails. Once I saw how sheer the pink was, I decided to just go ahead and put glitter on all my nails.

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Step two was dipping my nails in the pot of glitter and pressing the glitter in. I then had to let them dry for 15-20 minutes.

This step was MESSY.  Glitter lived up to its reputation for me because it got everywhere. I even put a paper towel down so I wouldn’t touch anything but it still managed to get on my face, clothes, the couch, you name it. Yikes!

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After waiting 20 minutes, I washed my hands and most of the glitter came off of my fingers. I immediately put a layer of topcoat on over my fingernails to seal in the glitter.

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I have to admit, I liked the way they turned out but I’m not sure the process and mess was worth it. I might try it again for a special event, but for a day-to-day basis I’ll stick to plain old regular nail polish.

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Sorry for two nail polish-related blog posts this week – – this is what happens when I’m snowed in for so long!

Happy Thursday!

Wedding Wednesday: The Beginning

Hey y’all!

So…it is Wednesday night and I just found out that school is canceled tomorrow. AGAIN. We haven’t had school all week due to MLK, Jr. Day on Monday and snow days ever since. Crazy! It’s like a little mini winter vacation. I’ve been trying to keep busy by cleaning (sort of) and cooking/baking. I’m currently in the middle of making some delicious Oatmeal Wheat Bread using a fabulous recipe my friend Leah gave me. It’s so yummy! While the bread was rising, I started flipping through some pics on my computer to pass the time and I came across tons of my wedding photos (It just so happens to be our seven-month anniversary! Whoop whoop!)

Copyright Rothwell Photography

Copyright Rothwell Photography

I just love looking at our wedding pictures! Justin and I got married this past summer and it was seriously the best day of my life. Everyone told me that the day would go by so fast and I wouldn’t remember anything later, but I actually remember so much more than I thought I would. I made a conscious effort to continuously take in the day and appreciate each moment. Justin and I decided from the day we got engaged that we didn’t want to “just get married” but we wanted to enjoy the whole process!  We tried to keep each other accountable to not blow decisions out of proportion and to realize that this was just one day. We knew things would go wrong (and boy they did! I”ll save that for another post) but we also knew that this day symbolized the beginning of our whole life together —we wanted to just have fun and celebrate!!

As I was flipping through these photos, I thought about all the things that had gone into planning the day and I decided I’d like to share about my wedding day on the blog. Just bits and pieces that went into planning (and the day of) that helped me in case it might help some of you! Since it’s Wednesday and I do love some good alliteration (eh-hem Teacher Tuesday!), I think I shall have a Wedding Wednesday from here until my anniversary . . . or until I run out of things to say about it. 🙂

Since I view today as more of an introduction, I’ll just leave you with my biggest piece of advice:

Plan your little heart out. But when friends and family come into town for the big day, STOP planning and enjoy your loved ones.

My absolute biggest regret happened the night before the wedding. All our friends and family were in already. We had the rehearsal and dinner, and after dinner my friends were all there wanting to hang out. Justin and I told them to go ahead without us. Why?? Because we hadn’t finished wedding slideshow. Yup. I valued getting that darn slideshow done so much that I placed it first and foremost. I truly thought we’d just finish quick and have time to go out, but we were up until midnight finishing it, completely missing time with our friends. And you know what? The day of the wedding, it was too light outside to even see most of the pictures. It was totally pointless. Complete fail. I wish I could go back in time and say “Screw the slideshow! Let’s all hang out!” I missed out on a night with friends that I had been really looking forward too because I let myself get stuck on a little detail that I thought was important.

Do yourself a favor. Do what you can in the days leading up to the day, and when the day comes, forget the small details. They don’t matter. If it’s not done by the rehearsal, it’s not getting done. And that’s OK! Create memories with family and cherish time together with friends. This is probably the only time in your life when everyone in your life is together so ENJOY IT!!!

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Still no daily outfit. Because I’m still just wearing sweatpants all day. 🙂

SNOW DAY!!

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There is just something so magical about waking up and seeing huge flurries of snow silently fall to the ground. (Doesn’t hurt that the waking up was accompanied by a phone call that there was no school today…)

Today was absolutely BEAUTIFUL. It snowed constantly until about 6:00 in the evening. All day long whenever I looked out the window, I felt like we were in a snow globe. It just kept coming and coming! Around lunch time, Justin and I decided to bundle up and head outside for some snow day fun.

First thing we did was build a snow fort for Macie!

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She wasn’t quite sure how she felt about the fort, but she loved the snow! There is no word to describe what she did in it other than frolicked. That girl was prancing around in the snow the entire time. We would throw her little rubber toy and she loved digging around until she found it. So much fun!

Part two of our winter wonderland was pretty obvious: a snowman!

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We recently watched the Disney movie “Frozen” and I became slightly obsessed with it. I may or may not listen to “Let it Go” at least once a day. Seriously, it is SO good! I decided to name our snowman Olaf in honor of it, even though our snowman looked nothing like the snowman in the movie.

Before we went inside, Justin decided to measure how much snow we had gotten so far. We already had over 6 inches and it was still coming down strong! I’m kind of hoping for another snow day tomorrow just because no one has plowed our road yet and we can’t get out of our driveway!

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No outfit of the day today because I have been either in sweats or snow pants the entire day. And it has been AWESOME.

Happy Tuesday! Stay warm!

Nail Polish Organization

Hello hello!

This past weekend Justin and I drove 6 hours to Pennsylvania to visit his extended family on his mom’s side. It was SO good to see everyone — all but one cousin was able to make it and we had a great time catching up with family. Since we didn’t have school today due to MLK, Jr. Day, we were able to take it slow coming home. It’s good to be back!

Nail Polish Organization

I never miss an opportunity to organize and today was no exception. I have been in desperate need of repainting my toenails (why is that so difficult to keep up with in the winter??) and I figured no better time than a lazy day off work to do them so I pulled out my nail polish tin.

simplifythechaos.comI bought this tin at Wal-Mart in college on clearance for 75 cents. At the time, it was perfect for my needs and I could fit everything in there. It has served me well! However, as my nail polish collection has grown, this tin has become more and more unorganized. Looking for a particular color takes a while, and if I’m looking for inspiration and want to just browse my colors, it takes waaaaay too long!

I decided it was time to say farewell to the tin and come up with something else. I still wanted something that would still be a space-saver, but also maybe display my polishes a little better.

simplifythechaos.comI had an old hurricane glass jar from Michael’s that I had been using as a candle holder for a while. I got tired of that look so I decided to switch it up and use it as my new nail polish storage!

I really like that this is a colorful display and I’m able to see all of my polishes easily. I also think it’s a pretty cute addition to my dresser. I can see that maybe someday I’ll get annoyed with digging all the way to the bottom for polishes and I may need to come up with a different option, but for now, I love it!

simplifythechaos.comNow my nails are done and it’s time for me to snuggle up with my hubby and puppy and watch The Bachelor 🙂

Have a great week!