Italian Panini

Last night, I made my favorite panini to date!  And I didn't even follow a recipe!  Rather, I tried to copy my favorite Firehouse Subs sandwich - the Italian sub.  And I'd say I did pretty freakin' good!

Sour dough bread
Sliced cheese of your preference (we used pepperjack)
Red Onion
Shredded Lettuce
Italian dressing
Pam spray

1) Spray panini press with Pam.
2) Spread mayo on one side of one slice of bread. 
3) Spread Italian dressing over mayo.
4) Layer ham, salami, pepperoni, sliced tomato, sliced onion, shredded lettuce, and cheese onto bread and top with a second slice.
5) Grill on a pre-heated panini press until warm and crispy.

So easy and so good!


Today marks the HALFWAY point of my summer.  (Sorry to depress you, teacher friends.)  What the heck?!?!?!?  How on Earth is summer already HALF over??  We've been having a TON of fun during my first 5 weeks off - going for walks, going to the pool, going to the Farmer's Market, meeting friends for coffee, meeting friends for lunch, and much more!  But there's even more in store for the second five weeks - birthday parties, 4th of July, Ozark trip with my family, Florida, Ozark trip with friends, whew!  I cannot wait!

Only 8 days remain until the big first birthday!  I'll be honest - the planning took a backseat for awhile while we stayed busy with all of the above.  But now, it's in full force!  The peanuts and cracker jacks have been purchased.  Banners are being made.  Yesterday, I baked a smash cake.  Today, I'm going to attempt frosting it.  If it turns out nicely, I'm going to use it for Brantley's first birthday photo session tomorrow!  If not, I have a week's worth of practice ahead of me.  Here's a sneak peak at the decor!  (Ignore my crafting supplies.) 

The smash cake, undecorated (soon to be a baseball)

The hubs has made several requests to keep this party on a budget.  I'm doing my best, honey!  Promise.  I'm just not one to half-ass a party.  It's not in my blood. always, I'm DIYing most of it.  Which helps.

I will admit.  I got emotional last night.  At Walmart.  After I made many of the above purchases.  Not because I'm sad that my baby is turning 1.  But because of how far we've come in just one short year*.  The pregnancy scare, the NICU, ugh, what an emotional roller coaster that was.  But the rest has been smooth sailing, and I am so, SO thankful for a happy and healthy toddler!

Anyway, how about a video of the almost-1-year-old?  It's my first Instagram video, so it's only fitting that it goes on the blog! :)

*Speaking of, it was a year ago tomorrow we found out we were being induced.  Time really does fly!

Happy Friday everyone!


Blogs.  These days, everyone and their dogs have one.  (Except my close friends.  Not enough of them have blogs.  Hint hint, friends.)

I love blogging.  I love documenting my life.  I've always thought of my blog as part diary, part scrapbook.  And I love looking back on old posts and reminiscing.

I also love blog-following!  Friends, family, acquaintances, and even strangers - the blogging world is a lot of fun!  After all, it is where I learned to do all kinds of things from making diaper totes to making first birthday invites to making some darn good meals. Where would I be today without the world of blogging? with all things, blogging can have it downfalls.  It seems blogging (as well as other forms of social media) is a way to brag about one's seemingly-perfect life.  And that part often annoys me.  I recently read an article that parallels this opinion.

Everyone’s life looks better on the internet than it does in real life. The Internet is partial truths—we get to decide what people see and what they don’t.

Soooo true!  It's so easy to blog about everything good.  It's fun to post photos of your perfect meals (guilty) and your perfect wardrobe (sometimes guilty) and your perfect life.

Side note: I love my life, but it's far from perfect. :)

So I'm here today to remind myself of why I blog.  I don't do it to pretend my life is perfect.  I don't do it to show off.  I don't even care about how many followers I have.  I don't have sponsors.  And I definitely don't do giveaways.  I don't blog for anyone else.  I blog for myself.  I blog so that I can remember the little details of my everyday, semi-exciting, but mostly-boring life.

Does that mean I'm going to stop posting recipes?  DIY projects?  Heck no!  I love sharing my life with anyone that cares.  But please remember - my life is not perfect, and I will never pretend it is.  I'm not a perfect wife.  Not a perfect mom.  Not a perfect housekeeper.  Not a perfect teacher.  Not even a perfect friend.  So if you're looking for perfection, you came to the wrong place.  I don't blog to be perfect.  I blog to remember.

I recently watched this video as part of a leadership team for my school.  And it really hit home.  This is why I blog.  Why do you blog?

Our House...Is a Very, Very, Very Fine House!

For sale signs are dropping like flies in our neighborhood.  And the houses are selling quickly, too!  Which got us thinking.  {Again.}  "Should we sell?"

We even had a realtor come look at our house. {Again.}  She's confident our house would sell quickly in this market, and we are, too.  She even suggested a listing price that we were very happy with.

But, in the end, we're not gonna do it.  {Again.}  Apparently, we're more attached to our house than we'd like to admit!

We're going to move someday.  But someday will be when we can afford everything we want (or more) and not have any reservations about it.  And when that day comes, I'm sure it will be very bittersweet.  After all, this is the place we got engaged, came home to as newlyweds, and brought home our first born from the hospital.

In the meantime, I thought I'd make a list of all the things I love about our house.  And all the reasons we're content here for as long as need be!  So, here 'goes....

1) The paint colors - We've painted every visible wall in this house...some more than once!  I love the colors we chose!  Among my faves - the dark gray and red master bedroom, light gray nursery, blue guest bedroom, red half bathroom, and light green kitchen.  And let's not forget about the newly painted exterior - I love that, too!

2) The backyard - We have a huge {fenced in} backyard.  Some of the newer houses in our ideal neighborhood don't have that.  Ours is perfect for playing a game of croquet or having a backyard party, and it accommodates our new swing set perfectly with plenty of room to spare!

3) The deck - Like the backyard, we have a pretty good sized deck.  We use it often.  Most of our spring/summer dinners are consumed here, as well as late night beers and glasses of wine.  (We also have a pretty sweet sound system that streams wirelessly to the deck, thanks to the hubs.)

4) The vaulted ceilings in living room and master bedroom - They just make the place look bigger!  I also love the balcony overlooking our living room.  Makes me want to recite "Oh Romeo, oh Romeo, wherefore art thou Romeo?"  (Did anyone else have to memorize that in ninth grade?)

5) The skylights - To me, nothing is better than natural sunlight.  And I love that we have skylights in our living room to allow that sunlight to shine through!

6) The nursery walls - Should we have moved within months of painting the nursery stripes, I would have cried.  And I'm not joking.  I love the nursery.  The furniture could be packed up and moved to a new place easily.  But those stripes...let's just say I would have been POed about painting those for a second time.

7) The kitchen granite, sink, & faucet - I could get over the granite.  But I love the extra large sink and pullout spout with sprayer.  In fact, whenever I go somewhere without these features, I feel a little lost.

8) The bathroom vessel sink - When remodeling the main floor half bath, I really, really wanted a vessel sink.  I'll be heartbroken about leaving it someday.

9) The guest bath vanity - This was actually the original 1989 vanity.  But my awesome hubs sanded and stained it and made it look brand spakin' new!  (I wish he would do the same to our nasty orange kitchen cabinets...)

10) The stainless steel appliances - Sure, we could always buy new ones at a new place (or better yet, move somewhere that already has them), but we purchased these (plus dishwasher) with our wedding money.  Something seems weird about leaving them here for the next owners.

11) The shuffleboard table - We may not use it often, but c'mon, how many people actually have a shuffleboard table in their house?!  But let's be honest, that thing is not coming with us when we move!

12) The walk-out basement - Maybe not the best for potential tornadoes, but a walk-out truly is a nice feature to have!  We initially planned on putting a hot tub out there.  But then we learned the price of running electricity to it.  Let's just say it was more than the hot tub itself and we decided there was no way in hell!

13) The pool - We are very spoiled, and after living here, will never move anywhere without a neighborhood pool.  Everyone is so social at our pool, and that's how we've met most of the people in our neighborhood!

14) The neighbors - Speaking of, we love our neighbors!  Not necessarily our next door neighbors, but we know a number of people in this neighborhood and enjoy the socialization (at the pool, Friday night firepits) amongst them.  We also love our backyard neighbors!  So much that the men just installed a gate between our yards!

15) The 'hood - We live in a great neighborhood!  There's an elementary school within blocks (supposedly a really good one!), a pool, and two parks.  It's a Rodrock Community, which means a sleigh ride at Christmas and Easter egg hunt in the spring!  It's a very kid-friendly neighborhood!

16) The location - We're a mile from I35 and blocks away from Target (and lots of other stores/restaurants).  We have easy access to 69 highway, 435, Town Center, and Oak Park Mall.  We're about in the middle of where each of us work.  The location really couldn't be better.

17) The memories - This was our first place, our starter home.  Lots and lots of amazing memories here and I'm sure there will be lots more before we pack up and find a new home!

A Weekend of Home Improvements

What a crazy/busy/fun weekend it was!  The poor hubs worked pretty much non-stop from 6am until 8pm on both Saturday and Sunday!  But don't think it was all work and no play.  There was a little fun thrown in there, too!  Here's a recap of our busy weekend!

Stained the deck.  We technically hired someone to do this, but the hubs still cleaned and prepped it.

Stained the swing set.  (Craig did this himself.)  Finally, a really hot weekend with little going on - perfect for staining the swing set.  I'll be the first to admit - it totally looks like a new swing set.  And one we paid a pretty penny for!  (We also played on the newly stained swing set!)

Installed a gate between our house and our backyard neighbor's.  Now we can go back and forth easily without hopping the fence...or lifting heavy kiddos over it.  And now your herb garden is game on, Paul!

The work-in-progress picture.  Didn't take one of the finished product.

House pained.  I already posted those pictures.  And obviously, we hired someone to do this.

New patio chair cushions.  I loved our old ones, but they were torn in multiple spots.  So, we went on a search for new ones.  And found some pretty yellow ones at Target!

Hung new address numbers.  Love the black and they're much more visible than the old ones near our front door.

And now for the fun stuff!

Friday night Royals game and tailgate!  It was a Mill Valley outing, but mostly just the math department, as usual! :)

Black Bob Bay on Saturday.  It's an Olathe public pool with kiddie play area and lazy river, among other things.  My friend Lauren and I took our babes, while Craig stayed home and worked.

Sunday afternoon bike ride.  We took Brantley in his new bike carrier and rode our bikes to a nearby park.

And of course, a couple of pool visits.  Nothing extravagant.  Just a quick cool off from the hard work/bike ride!

What a fun summer weekend it was!  It sure seems like they're dwindling away... :(


An Exterior Makeover

Hi friends and family.  Next time you visit, don't be confused!  Our house is no longer yellow!

A few more pics...