The Big Move, an Ikea Adventure, and an Injured Opie.

We signed the lease for our new apartment last Monday and started moving things over on Wednesday (we didn’t get the keys until then). I worked extra hours the week before to make up for all of the hours I would miss moving and left early on Wednesday to help Tyler. By the time I got off, which was only noon, Tyler had already moved a bunch of stuff and didn’t even really need my help. We had already packed a bunch of smaller things and he moved them over while I was at work. I unpacked a few things at the new apartment then we went back to the old apartment to pack even more. It is crazy how much stuff we were able to fit in that little apartment! Thursday was the day we rented a U-Haul to move all of the big stuff and to make the trip to the new Ikea. On Thursday we woke up ready to move and of course ran into a huge roadblock.

We had planned to move a few more little things and then go pick up the U-Haul, possibly get donuts, and make the pilgrimage to Ikea. The first snafu came when Tyler thought our reservation was at 9 when it was really at 8. So we didn’t get to move little things first and rushed over to U-Haul to get the van. Tyler goes in and I wait outside in the car just in case there was a problem and we were lucky I did because there was a huge problem. U-Haul was experiencing a nationwide service outage. Their system was completely down including their website. We were told it would be up at 8:45 so we waited at U-Haul for 45 minutes only to be told it would be up at 9. We decided to go back to the apartment to pack more and move a couple of small loads over. We consistently checked the website and their Twitter for updates but everything was still down. At 11:30 we decided to go back to see if they could do an offline checkout process, we couldn’t even call them because their phones were down. By noon we had the U-Haul and were on our way to Ikea, but I never did get those donuts….

The new Ikea had opened on Wednesday and we had the crazy idea to go on Thursday. I mean we had the U-Haul so we might as well get some use out of it. We also needed new living room furniture. When I moved into our old apartment I went to Goodwill for my couch and love seat. They were already showing wear then and the last four years of daily use plus Percy’s teething had taken their toll. Tyler had the brilliant idea of taking the couches apart to fit them in the trash compactor rather then having them hauled away. They weren’t worth donating as Percy had chewed up the bottoms and a hole in the seat of one while the other was missing an entire back cushion. After we signed the lease on Monday, he want to work sawing them apart and hauling them to the trash. So until we moved we were just hanging out in our dining room chairs. My anxiety was through the roof just with the move in general but the thought of dealing with the crowds at Ikea just made it that much worse.

If you’ve ever been to an Ikea, it is already overwhelming with how much there is to see and that on top of it only being opened the day before was a recipe for crazy. We get to Ikea and are directed through the parking lot by cops and other traffic directors but I quickly found that my worries were unfounded. Yes it was crazy, but I think the fact that we didn’t end up making it there until noon was a good thing. The morning rush had clearly just ended, we got a close parking space, and the crowd had thinned out. The showroom sections were way worse than the actual product sections. Everyone wanted to get into rooms and see furniture, a lot of people were just browsing and not actually shopping, and a lot of people didn’t really know how Ikea worked. For example, Ikea sets up sample rooms and product areas in the beginning i.e. the showroom, and you have to walk through all of that to get to the marketplace where all of the knick-knacks are actually kept in bulk and to the warehouse where you pull furniture pieces. People were tending to just grab things they liked from the sample rooms, which usually aren’t marked for sale, and walking off with them. We were able to get through most of the main sections quickly thanks to our trip to the Cincinnati Ikea a couple of months ago. We knew what we wanted, we had a list, and we prioritized the main things we needed. We ended up getting a new couch, an armchair, a side table, a lamp, a small trash can, and a couple of little things like silverware holders and new kitchen utensils. Tyler is planning to go back today to get even more stuff, I think we’ve gone Ikea crazy.

After the U-Haul problem was fixed and the trip to Ikea completed, moving the big stuff went really quick. We were able to make it only two loads but most of the stuff made it in the first load. We spent the rest of the night unpacking important things and Tyler got to work putting together the new couch, which he messed up and we didn’t realize it until the armrests weren’t fitting on right. I honestly don’t think it would be a normal Ikea adventure though if something wasn’t put together wrong at least once in the process. Friday we went grocery shopping, moved a few more small things, put the living room together, and just relaxed.

We made our first meal in the new apartment which was this great Bacon Asparagus Pasta. It is one of our go to meals and is always delicious. I deviate a little of course, like I usually do. I add half of a sliced white onion at the same time as the asparagus. After I remove that I add a minced clove of garlic until fragrant, about 30 seconds, then add the wine (usually one cup total). I also add a tiny bit of salt and a good amount of pepper at the same time as the Parmesan. Be careful with the salt though because bacon and Parmesan already have a good amount.

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Saturday was the last full day we had the old apartment so we went back early to finish loading up the random things still left and clean. Percy sheds a lot, like clumps of fur. Thankfully, his breed (Shiba Inu) usually only sheds twice a year, with very low shedding in between. Technically its called molting/blowing because it is mostly the undercoat coming out. So you can imagine there were areas we couldn’t reach normally that needed TLC after we moved everything out. Tyler did all of that work while I scrubbed down the kitchen and the bathroom. By 1 we were done, packed up, and had the keys turned in. It was kind of sad leaving that apartment behind and all of the memories we made there but we are ready for our new adventure.

Opie and Percy are adjusting surprisingly well. I was a little worried about moving them both to a new place, especially Percy. He is afraid of everything and a new place would seem absolutely terrifying to him. He has been a bit more jumpy, a lot more cuddly, and does not like it when the folks upstairs move to loudly. Other than that he loves the view and explored the whole apartment right away. Opie is just Opie. The week before we moved we had to take him to the vet because he couldn’t bend his head down without yelping or crying. It turns out the little turd slipped a disc in his neck. We got some medicine, elevated all of the food and water bowls, and he was put on strict confinement for a week. The day we moved we took him off the meds to see if he was fine, per the vets instructions, and I was so worried all of the excitement would cause him to slip it again. So far he seems better. We kept him in the kennel for a few days after we stopped the meds just to be careful but I think he will be alright. The thing with this type of injury is that it can, and most likely will, happen again. I always thought mutts were supposed to have less problems than purebred dogs but Opie must be an exception.

We have been slowly unpacking, arranging and rearranging furniture, and getting use to living in a new environment. It’s pretty easy to get use to with this amazing view…….

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Tyler and Football and Food and Other Things

As many of you know, probably all of you since our president is throwing a tantrum over it, football season is in full swing! I never used to watch football, knew any players names other than quarterbacks, or really even cared about the sport until I started dating Tyler. He usually goes all out, fantasy leagues, multiple games on multiple screens, etc. I really hated it at first. I mean I really despised his love of the sport at the beginning of our relationship. It was mostly because on Sunday, Tyler would ignore me and use all of our internet in order to watch his beloved sport. I couldn’t even watch Netflix! Then I started cooking and Sunday became a cooler day for me. I usually make lunch and dinner and try to do special football food, like wings, beer battered onion rings, nachos, chili cheese fries, and more! Then we upgraded our internet and everything was perfect. I work my butt off in the kitchen and get to binge-watch my favorite shows at the same time! I’ve also started to watch football and enjoy it! Not for the actual sport itself but to see all the weird, goofy, awkward moments that happen with the crowd, the coaches, the players, and, of course, the announcers.

We bought a giant bag of chicken wings at the beginning of the season and just finished them this last weekend. I make really good buffalo wings but this weekend we mixed things up and I made Sticky Asian Chicken Wings. They were amazing. Spicy, sweet, savory, and overall delicious! I didn’t follow the recipe exactly though. She baked her wings in the sauce which makes a great sticky sauce but doesn’t give you the crispy wings that we love. So I baked the wings separately after coating them in a light layer of flour with salt and pepper. While the wings were cooking, I reduced the sauce on the stove and then tossed the wings in the sauce before serving.  For lunch I made Pastalaya, a pasta version of Jambalaya. It was an instant hit with both of us and an easy one pot meal.

Both of these recipes are from Budget Bytes, an amazing food blog I found a long time ago. We have tried at least 20 of her recipes so far and they have all been perfect. I love this website because it isn’t bland, boring recipes but a wide variety of recipes from around the globe that do not break the bank. I highly recommend checking it out for cheap but delicious meals!

In much bigger news, our move is approaching fast, and by fast I mean we sign the lease on Monday! Originally we weren’t signing until Wednesday, October 11th, but the complex called and said we could come in early to sign. I’m not sure if we will get the keys on Monday though since the power in the new apartment doesn’t go into our name until the 11th. It doesn’t matter though because I still have to work Tuesday and Wednesday so we didn’t plan on moving anything big until Thursday. We’ve started doing little things around the apartment already to get make things easier when we start officially packing up. We’ve both gone through the closet to get rid of old clothes, we’ve started cleaning little things here and there, and Tyler is working on organizing things while I’m at work. I’m pretty excited to move, though not for the actual packing or moving or unpacking, but just the part where we get a new apartment that is bigger. Did I mention already that there are two toilets (I know I have but I’m really stoked about it!)? I’m also really excited for the new Ikea! It opens the 11th and we are going on the 12th. We are either really smart or really dumb to attempt to go to a brand new Ikea the second day it opens. But the pay off will be new living room furniture and other little things to help our new place feel like home!

 

Thanksgiving and It’s Aftermath

Oh Thanksgiving!

This year was a little different for me.

For the last several years, I have been having Thanksgiving by myself and then when Tyler came into the picture I made dinner for both of us. It is not that I don’t like my family, I do but the holidays are wonky.

First, there is Ferly Thanksgiving at my grandparents house. Ferly = fake and early. While it isn’t a fake meal, its totally real, we just call it fake because it happens early. Fancy word play I know! It usually comes two weeks or so early because my grandparents make a yearly pilgrimage to the the Gulf Coast for most of the month of November and December. So technically I do go to that Thanksgiving but not this year. This year my grandma had to have surgery on her cataracts and then they decided to just go down to the Gulf early. So one meal was knocked out of the running.

Second, is Thanksgiving at my Grandma Imogene’s. The food is good, the noodles alone are worth going for, but the house is too small for the amount of people on that side of my family. There are also a lot of children, ranging from 4 to 15, that run amuck the entire time. Being someone who is socially awkward and doesn’t like crowds or talking or being touched, it was always uncomfortable for me.

So my junior year of undergrad I decided I was just going to stay home with Opie and make my own meal. I usually made a scaled down version including a small chicken instead of turkey but keeping all the traditional sides.

I liked my method and it was much more fun with Tyler came into my life because I could go all out with the sides and what-nots. He has his own family thing that he goes to during the day but he always saves room for what I make.

This year, my sisters and I decided to do a sister’s Thanksgiving. It was myself, Emily, Ryan, Kelsey, Kendal (my nephew) and Paisley (Kendal’s puppy). Emily and Ryan, her manfriend, recently bought a new house with an amazing kitchen that was perfect for the event. We all split up our responsibilities and got together Thanksgiving day and made an amazing meal.

I was in charge of stuffing, corn casserole, mac and cheese and the turkey. I had never cooked an entire turkey myself before and was really nervous that I would fuck up the star of the show. I did a bunch of research like I normally d0 thanks to the nerd in me and decided on the Epicurious recipe for Roasted Turkey and Stuffing. I followed both recipes to a tee and made the most amazing looking turkey. It was perfectly browned, though the breasts could have been darker, and the meat was so moist on the inside. The stuffing had flavored the meat perfectly and it tasted amazing. Of course, no one remembered to take a picture before I cut into it so I have no evidence, you will have to take my word on it.

We had some delicious sides including Ryan’s homemade green bean casserole, Emily’s mashed potatoes, rolls, sweet potatoes wrapped in bacon, and Kelsey’s amazing cranberry fruit salad. My corn casserole was really good, so was the stuffing, and the gravy I made out of the turkey pan juices. The mac and cheese fell short but I think its because we made it too early. It’s hard to take your time when you and everyone else are super hungry!

The next day we hung out and started Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life. We got through two episodes together and they went downtown for the annual Christmas Lights festival and I went home to Tyler and our boys. We all ended up watching the last two episodes at different times throughout the weekend and we all agreed we needed more episodes and we needed to re-watch from the beginning.

The day of Thanksgiving we finally bombed our apartment for fleas. Opie went to Tyler’s mom’s house for the day and Percy came with me to Emily’s. He hated every minute of it.

So when we were finally all under the same roof it was nice to just veg out, eat leftovers, and be with my little family. Tyler has been working on Alien: Isolation and if you haven’t played it and you like survival horror I highly recommend it! He just finished the game last night and could not stop raving about how much he liked it. On Black Friday he went out and got a PS4 and Uncharted 4 so hopefully he will start playing that soon! I have really enjoyed watching him play the Uncharted series!

We are still treating for fleas but we think we are finally at the tail end of things. Percy is still itching his old bites like crazy but we are seeing less and less fleas. The boys are getting another bath tonight and then their monthly flea treatments tomorrow. I will be so happy when this scourge is over.

Well that’s all for our update. We finished the rest of the leftovers last night and tonight is Taco Bell night!

FOOD!

Throughout the week, Tyler and I don’t really get fancy about dinner. We have tacos every Monday from our local Mexican restaurant, Tuesdays are usually reserved for leftovers, Wednesdays and Thursdays we either make ourselves something simple or we go to Chipotle, but Friday, Saturday and Sunday we go all out. We usually eat out at least once and then spend the rest of the time making delicious homemade meals. I plan on starting a new blog post highlighting some of our favorite recipes including chicken tikka masala, baked ziti, enchiladas, and much much more. I actually planned on starting it this past weekend but every time I went to cook, I would be half way through and realize I didn’t take any pictures!

This weekend was kicked off Chinese food from the place in our hometown, Tyler had to run up there to get a package and we always get China Garden to take home. Saturday’s lunch was simple lunch meat sandwiches but with the good quality cheese and ham from the grocery store deli, it tasted amazing! Dinner I made my chicken enchiladas. It was a simple recipe I found on a budget food blog, but I can’t let recipes just be. I always have to add something extra. The original recipe is just beans and cheese wrapped up in a corn tortilla with a homemade enchilada sauce and topped with fresh avocado. I add seasoning to the refried beans and I use refried black beans instead of plain old pinto beans. I add extra salt to the sauce and change up a little bit on how I add the spices. And finally I add chicken breasts that I have seasoned with a tex mex mix from The Pioneer Woman and seared off in a pan. These enchiladas are one if Tyler’s favorite meals.

Sunday was football day and we always try to make food that is extra special. For breakfast we had avocado toast. Avocado toast is so simple and so delicious. You can easily just use mashed avocado with salt and pepper but we usually make guacamole. By we, I mean Tyler makes guac. I tried once and misread the directions and I don’t ever think he will let me make it again. After Tyler expertly makes the guac, he makes the toast and fries up an egg. They all come together to make the most simple and scrumptious breakfast/brunch ever. The best part is the leftover guac came in handy later because I made carnitas for the first time ever on Sunday and they turned out amazing. I just browned up large pork loins threw them in the crock pot with some spices and beer and 6 hours (and several movies and football games later) we had this amazingly cooked pork for carnitas tacos. Tyler made some pico and it all came together perfectly.

We of course had a bunch of leftovers, so Monday night I just ate another 4 tacos but yesterday I wanted something different and I was craving pasta! So I made a quick pasta sauce with tomato paste, garlic, olive oil, red wine, Italian seasoning, salt, pepper and some of the leftover meat. It made this delicious ragu style sauce and it only took 20 minutes!

We have already planned the meal for this weekend and I will hopefully remember to take pictures and share the recipes!

An Adventure in Sushi Making

Another week down and the first story for He and She is finished! Before I publish it on here, I want Tyler to read through it and find all of my grammar errors. He has written several short stories himself but hasn’t published any. I wish I could swipe them from him and publish them myself, they are all really good.

We had a pretty good week (minus one minor setback) in the Murphy-Ewen Household. 13325719_10153788648314075_786734642520900410_nThe fourth of July weekend was rough on the boys. We already knew Opie hated fireworks but we were not prepared for Percy. He does not get all worked up during thunderstorms so we thought he would be okay with fireworks but boy were we wrong. The whole weekend involved prying him out from under the bed and dragging him outside at night to go potty. If he wasn’t under the bed, he wanted to hide in the back of the closet curled up in a little ball. Even now he doesn’t want to go outside after dark.

I went vegetarian for the week and it was a lot easier to drop meat than I thought. But in the end I love meat, I mean really love meat. I spent another lovely two days at IHS cataloging. I had my first reading room shift and everything went smoothly, it helped that there was only one person in the room for two hours. We went to look a new apartment this weekend and it was awful. The place was highly rated but the apartment was just way too small and the model they showed us literally smelled like shit.

I got to see some of my old work friends at a housewarming party. It was a lot of fun to sit Snapchat-4971154430950138678 (1)around and chat, drink and dance. Sunday consisted of homemade sushi, Bioshock Infinite, and chicken tikka masala. Sushi is my favorite food by far. I think about it at least once a day everyday. We have a Japanese grocery store not far from our apartment, we usually go there to eat at the their cafe but this weekend we went there to shop. It was a lot cheaper than I thought it was going to be to make it myself. I read several horror stories of people trying and failing at making it themselves but I was going to try it anyway. It turned out amazing! From the homemade sushi rice to the freshness of the fish it was like eating at a sushi restaurant. Chicken tikka masala is one of our favorites and I love making it.

Overall it was a very good Sunday minus the bad news I received in the middle of my sushi making. I did not get the position at the Carmel Clay Historical Society. She said I did a great job in the interview, gave me pointers for my resume, would have been a great addition to the team but I lacked the experience they were looking for. I’ve started applying for positions that are full-time again and most of them are out of state. I don’t really know if that is the right move but I can’t afford to have a position that is only two days a week with all of the bills we have coming in. Oh well, I’m young and I am sure things will fall into place eventually.