Nov 24, 2011

Giving Thanks...

Be thankful for the family and friends who can share this day with you and grateful for those who make it possible...


Be thankful for the food we have to celebrate with and be aware of those who do not...


Be thankful for all that we can afford and always remember those who can not...


To all celebrating this beautiful day I am thankful to share it with you.

Happy Thanksgiving

Nov 21, 2011

DIY Fall Wedding Ideas...Its Not too Late!

We have officially blazed past fall and are heading into winter.  But there is a week or two left before I will concede to the official change of seasons.  As a last minute hail Mary for my favorite season I would like to share a few ideas from our wedding last fall.

Wedding favors/Seating cards:

We went seasonal, edible, dual purpose, and cheap...a few of my favorite things!  We bought Taffy Apples in bulk (with nuts for the adults and without nuts for the kids), switched out the plastic casing for cellophane goody bags from Target, and hand wrote tags with names and seating numbers.  Then we simply punched a hole and tied with twine.  So simple but decorative...and delicious!  There was not a single apple left behind.

The apples cost 69 cents a pop and the cellophane about 20 cents.  The tags were made out of extra thank you notes I had that matched the invite.  The thanks you notes were on sale at 25 for $5 and each card made 3 tags.  Since they were extras they didn't cost a dime which brings the grand total for each place card/wedding favor  89 cents!!  Perfect for our budget.

Wedding menus:

My mom and I made the menus by printing 2 per regular size card stock (with a bit of trial and error to get the sizing/fonts just right) then cutting them in half lengthwise.  Next, I took one of our favorite photos (printed in mass quantity) and glued them to card stock which I used my crafting scissors with the scalloped edge to cut the smaller card stock down to size.  People loved the individual touches and we loved the price tag!  In total the paper cost $7 and the photos $7.  $14 for 70 menus!!


We decided to forgo the traditional wedding cake as I am not a huge fan.  What I am a huge fan of is creme brulee which we opted to have instead of cake.  As an added bonus, my mom and grandma baked dozens of cookies in the days before the wedding day so we could  make a platter for each table.  we simply arranged the various types of cookies on paper doilies and decorative tin trays both purchased from the Dollar Store.  Toss in a few chocolates for good measure and there was plenty of dessert to go around.  Since our wedding was an hour and a half from home we made sure to place a bunch of cellophane bags on each table so people could take them to go for the ride home.


Since we were having a small wedding I wanted to keep it as intimate as possible.  I kindly asked/begged my brother in law, Sam Worden, to do the photography.  I wanted to make sure Sam felt like a guest and not just the paparazzi so I told him ahead of time which things were important to me and what wasn't.  Before the wedding I took pics with the fam.  He also took pics during the ceremony (which timed in at 5 minutes exactly) and after the ceremony with E for about 30 minutes.  After that I had no requests but he did manage to catch a few of my favorites when we weren't looking like the one above.  This is the picture of what we got to see from our table - all of our friends and family there to celebrate the day with us.

So that's it.  A look at our special day which we managed to do in a budget friendly way with enough DIY special touches to make it ours and only ours.  So how about you guys?  Got any special wedding tips to add to the list?  Feel free to leave a comment for all the future brides out there!!

Nov 18, 2011

Foodie Friday #22 - An Ode to Potatoes

I love potatoes.  I love them oh so much.  I love them to the point that if I was on a desert island and could only eat one thing for the rest of my life I would eat potatoes every single day.  Though ye old potato may not be the most nutritious thing to choose in that given scenario it is by far one of the most versatile therefor I have decided in a land with only one food the rest of my life I would forgo a long life of eating one nutritious thing for a satisfied short life of eating one not so nutritious thing cooked many different ways.  Anywho...this little party is all about the potato.   

With grilling season on it's way out we decided to give it a go one more time with an old time favorite -  Hobo Potatoes (I am not sure why a hobo would have foil laying around but that is the name and I shall stick to it).  Hobo Potatoes are sliced thin, sprinkled with whatever spices you have laying about and wrapped up in foil to go directly on the grill.  Since they are sliced thin these babies will be done in 15-20 minutes (depending on how hot your grill is) which makes it a perfect accompaniment to your main grilled course.  Here is another non recipe from yours truly...

Hobo Potatoes

  • Take any kind of potato and slice thin.  I use my food processor for this task but a sharp knife or mandolin would do the trick just fine.
  • Dunk all potatoes in a cold water bath to remove the starchy juice and keep the potatoes from browning
  • Put all the potatoes in a large bowl and flavor as you wish.  I drizzle some olive oil then sprinkle parmigiana, garlic powder, a bit of cayenne, and salt and pepper.  E prefers to do his spicy with a bunch of cayenne, crushed black pepper, and whatever else floats his boat that day.  Now mix it all up to coat...the best way to do this is with your hands but you may use a spoon if you must.  

  • Take a large sheet of foil, spray with cooking spray, and mound some potatoes in the center.

  • Roll up the sides just a bit and add about a tablespoon of  water.  This will help steam the potatoes and keep the bottoms from burning.  
  • Now wrap them up and place them on your grill flipping half way.  Some juice may leak out but it will work fine either way.  
  • Cooking time will vary depending on type and size of potato.  If you aren't sure on the cook time take a peek into one of them after around 15 minutes.  If they are cooked through you are good to go - if not, seal up the foil again and leave for a bit longer. 

And here is where I drifted off to my desert island and forgot to take pictures of my final product.  By the time we remembered the potatoes were long gone.  Oops!  Hopefully you all have better luck this week and remember to photograph your end product...  Let's see what ya got!


*Here are couple rules before we get this party kickin'...*
  • Your link MUST be a food related item, duh! It can be a recipe, a specific dish you are craving, a new foodie product you just found, a specific restaurants specific can be a picnic you had - I really don't care! Just make me want to eat it!
  • {mandatory} Please post my button or a clickable link in your post so others can join in - they are located on the bottom of the right sidebar...Walnuts or Garlic? I dig em' both!  If you don't know how to do this just email me and I can help you out...
  • Try not to post and run - check out another recipe and see what's cookin' elsewhere! You may just learn something! :)
  • Please DO NOT link up your linky parties.
  • FYI - By linking up your are giving me permission to use your recipe, blog, and or photos in an upcoming feature.  No worries - Ill always link back to you and your blog!!  :)

Let the mouth watering, drool inducing, stomach grumbling fun BEGIN!! I'm Hungry...

Nov 14, 2011

Hello - My Name Is...

Now that I am back I thought this may be a good time to get reacquainted with ya'll.  It has been nearly a year since my first blog post in December 2010.  A lot has happened in the past year to the blog, our home, and even myself. At times you think the days move slow but then you look up and it is already November 14!  I can't believe it! So here is a little catch up with Little Brick Ranch and yours truly...

I am still me.  I mostly look the same (besides a haircut a few months back) and I mostly act the same.  I have begun to think a little differently, however.  My newest mantra is easy.

It began with:  Simplify. Simplify. Simplify.  

A 350 mile hike across Spain will do that for you.  

I left for Spain with 12 lbs of gear on my back and the weight of the world on my shoulders.  I returned with the gear (most of it, anyway) but none of the worry.  Life is too short.  It seems once you are out "there", in life, the only thing you really need is faith.  This isn't a religious faith type of thing (unless that is your belief and then I say go with it).  This is the type of faith that everything is going to happen as it should.  That if you are thirsty and have run out of water someone will have some to share, if you get to town late after everyone else there will indeed be a bed for you or another accommodation will be made available, and if you have been dreaming of raspberries along the road you will eventually find them...maybe even on the honor system...

Your life will unfold exactly as it is supposed to.  It won't always be easy.  You may find yourself in a pension sharing a double bed room with an overzealous Italian man causing you to pack your gear asap and high tail it out of there in the middle of the night stumbling in the dark as you walk 2 km to the next available alburgue.  But have a little faith, once you are there you will see a familiar face and a warm bunk bed and soon you will realize that you are where you were meant to be.  OK - not many will find themselves in that same situation but the outcome is the same - you are where you should be.  

Upon my return from Spain I have kept the Simplify Simplify Simplify mantra when it comes to my household and projects.  But when I wander into my beliefs and overall feeling on life I have narrowed it down further to the belief that I am where I should be.  It is amazing the sort of clarity that comes with not only saying that but actually believing it.  

So where should LBR be?  When I first started blogging I wanted to improve our house, teach others to do the same, and wow the universe with my amazing insight on all things DIY.  Ummmm...I've simmered down a bit.  When blogging 5 times a week and meeting so many fabulous bloggy friends this momentum takes over which is quite similar to the term "Keeping up with the Joneses" except I was trying to keep up with the Kates, Petersiks, and Nesters instead.  There is simply only one word to describe it: EXHAUSTING!  My house was constantly in shambles, there was always a half finished project (more likely a 1/4 finished project) and even when I finished something I was constantly thinking of ways to improve it.  While all this was happening I also started working again which took even more time away from my blogging and those projects...I simply couldn't keep up and was starting to sink under the pressure.

I am happy to say that this blogging break has shattered those feelings.  I am back to being me...not some mocked up am-I-writing-enough-wit-and-puns-to-make-others-snort sort of me.  As much as I love those ladies (and gent) I am not them nor will I ever be.  This is why blogging is so fabulous, after all - we all have our own wit/humor, our own goals to achieve, and our own ideas...and when we run out of ideas we all have Pinterest!

So where are we now?

When we last left you we were in full fledged Foodie Friday mode.  Every Friday I hosted a fabulous array of dishes you fine peeps brought to the table.  I loved it, you loved it, my family loved it, my friends loved it!  It was fabulous.  After much consideration I have decided to continue Foodie Friday however I need to find time to focus on some other parts of my day to day that I was skimping on...

Now that I am back at work I am traveling.  A Lot.  I am hoping to include some of my travels with you to give others a chance to get to know the cities where you come from.  Where is the best antique shop?  Who has the best donuts?  What is your town best known for??  I need the deets people!  I typically fly weekdays and have around 15 hours in each town which only leaves around 5-6 hours to truly explore.  I will let you know what towns I am visiting ahead of time and I hope you all will give me some tips on what to do while I am there.  Once I get a chance I will post my trip for all to see in the event that one day you find yourself hungry at Pikes Market in Seattle and craving a Dungeness Crab roll loaded with fresh sweet crab I would send you straight to Lowells.  Mmmmm...let's think about that one for a moment...

Or perhaps you have a few hours to kill in Greenville, South Carolina and feel like some fresh air?  I would point you in the direction of Parks Falls where you can explore to your hearts delight...

So this is the not so new but improved LBR.  My new goals for the blog are to write what makes me happy, do projects that I can (and will) finish, and continue to make friends along the way.  I want to share my travels with you, our household projects, and all the ups and downs that make us who we are.  I hope you will stick around for the ride!

Nov 11, 2011

I'm Baaaack! I Will Stick But Will My Runner?

That's right, ladies (and maybe a couple gents?).  I am back from a blogging break and ready to let the creative juices flow.  A little break turned into a couple month departure (which included a 350 mile hike in Spain! More on that later...) and after all is said and done I have to say - I missed you gals!  So let's get right to business with a little project I have been meaning to do fo-eva!

My long kitchen runner is both friend and foe to me.  First off, it was hard to find a good natural fiber runner long enough for our galley kitchen.  On top of that it was super duper hard to find one at a good price.  This baby came via at the bargain price of $80 including shipping.  Holla!

This bad boy vacuums up nicely and, though it has yet to happen, I am sure wouldn't mind a quick hose down were I (or E) to spill something such as wine or a whole plate of pasta on it.  Although the trim was supposed to be a chocolate brown, it turned out to be more of a milk chocolate than the dark chocolate I had been hoping for.  Eh - I have since learned to live with it. So with all these rave reviews what exactly are the sticking points?  Well, that's just it...there is no stick.  This runner slides and moves, even runs (hardee har) all over the kitchen.  See how it is all cockamamie...

I even tried an Ikea non slip gripper pad AND some sticky carpet tape but nothing seemed to do the trick...

In fact, due to movable runner, my loving husband accidentally punched me in the gut while trying to imitate the Karate Kid by throwing a fake punch, stepping onto running runner, and sliding right into my stomach.  Not E's finest moment but we were laughing so hard we nearly wet ourselves (and the runner) and I am happy to report I have since regained the breath that was knocked out of me.  But, come on now, this is serious stuff!

   Moving runner
+ hot boiling water while walking to the sink to drain pasta
= no bueno...did I mention I was recently in Spain?

So whats a girl to do?

Caulk, baby, caulk.  I found this little trick on Pinterest (aka my new BFF) so I thought I would give it a whirl.  You all know my affinity for caulking as seen in the kitchenbathroom, and even those pesky extra cabinet shelving holes that I filled with caulk.  Well, since we have been all around the house my trusty caulk has made it's way right back to the kitchen and into the hear of my runner.  Here is a quick way to non slip your slippy rug or runner:

  • Roll out the runner upside down.  Give it a good vacuum to make sure all the dirty, dusty, furry bits are off.  Then get a helper to inspect and re-fur the de-furred runner.  Since our runner is so long I had to move some furniture out of the way so don't mind the crampy furniture madness in the background or the sandy dusty floor....

Seriously...she wouldn't budge and insisted on giving my the stink eye for messing with the runner!

  • Once your helper has relaxed and consented to the project, you may move on with the caulk gun and start squirting away.  I made some zig zags up and down the runner...perhaps I got a little carried away...  

  • Let said Rug or Runner dry overnight.  Try to keep all furry beasts from walking on it during the night.

  • Flip it back over and hope for the best!

Looks like it worked but to be sure we had to run it through the LBR quick test.  After an encore presentation by the Karate Kid, I am happy to report the failed fake out punch of E's past is now easily averted.  I will let you know how this little project holds up over time, but for now - go forth and conquer all.  I challenge you to look as graceful as Daniel Son rockin' the Crane...

**  If by chance you see this tip floating around Pinterest please shoot me an email with the link so I can give the original pinner there due share of credit!  I have seen it a few times and never pinned it since it was one I could remember and now I can't find it!! **

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