Wednesday, January 27, 2010

TASA Convention

I spent the last few days in Austin for the TASA (Texas Association of School Administrators) Convention, also known as Midwinter. You're probably thinking why. Well, in case you didn't know this, my firm specializes in public education (K-12), so being at these conventions is a must. If not for anything else than to see your clients.

So this was our booth..

Steve is on the left talking with a guy from one of the companies we like to use for gym flooring, and on the right are Tim and Richard. I want you to notice something though...

This was our booth at TASB back in September:

And here's our booth now...

There are a few things that were new for this convention that I was able to be in charge of! We got new carpet, new counter tops, new chairs (because the old ones were beat up) and a TV. Before the TV we had a small projector screen with the projector inside playing a slide show from the computer. Now, we have the TV playing a movie that I made off of an AppleTV. If you've never seen one, they're pretty sweet.

Here's a better view of our new carpet:

Isn't it so fun?

I was so excited when I found out that Tim would be joining us again for the convention. Tim is one of our consultants and owns Yaggi (like Aggie with a-Y) Engineering out of Arlington. He and I got to know each other in Houston at TASB and I like to say he's my BFF so I had to get a picture with him!

Then Theresa stopped by...

Theresa and I have known each other for some time now. She works for one of the Construction Management groups we've worked with a lot recently and she is so fun! This is the look she gave Steve when he picked up the camera to take a picture of us.. she was also saying "oh geeze!"

The second day at the convention, I noticed something across the way...

See that guy in the yellow? Well, I didn't take a picture the first day, but he was sporting a bright red coat and an awful tie. When I saw him at first, I thought it was part of their booth... then I noticed the other people he worked with dressed normally, so I had to sneak a few pictures.

You can't see the tie very well, but the tie the second day was just as bad as the first. Please notice the other two guys he is talking to, they all work together.

We were joking that he looked like a used car salesman, or someone out of the movie Anchorman.

So that was TASA. It is so fun to see all of our clients and visit with them. Every person I have worked with since I've been with this company is just so great, and I love getting to know them through these various things!

Monday, January 25, 2010

Erika & Kanyon's Wedding

Saturday evening was Erika and Kanyon's wedding. Erika and Kanyon are (well, were) two YoungLife leaders with me and I'm so happy for them. It is always great to see such God-fearing couples come together in marriage. They will do great things for His Kingdom.

Their wedding was so sweet and so perfect for them. They had the ceremony at the Chapel on the Hill at ACU.

If you haven't ever been to ACU, the Chapel on the Hill is so pretty. There is stained glass on two sides and the colors are just brilliant. My favorite memories of Chapel on the Hill are from the days of Sing Song. Before each show, we (Siggies) would always meet and worship together in there. The acoustics in that room are incredible especially when you put 110 beautiful women's voices in harmony worshiping together. It will bring tears to your eyes.

Enough on that, back to the wedding.

Erika wore her mother's wedding dress that was re-built/designed for her and it fit her perfectly!

Here's the front (well, I guess side)

and here's the back.

If you don't know Kanyon, you don't know that he's a true, full-blooded, country boy. It is rare to see him without his cowboys hat. In honor of this, Erika wore some white cowboy boots and they were perfect!

And here's the groom.. there was no chance I would get a pic of the two of them together unless I followed them around, so you'll just have to get over it!

We also ran into some old friends!! Hi Sawyer!

thanks Bryan!

I love this man!

and last, but not least!

I could have taken this precious thing home! He was the ring bearer and his tux with boots and cowboy hat combo were nearly too much to handle, then he started dancing!

Congratulations Mr. & Mrs. Brown! We're so happy for you!

I spent all day in the convention hall here in Austin and things have gone great! I'm headed out now to take about 30 clients to dinner! More pics to come on that later!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

One down, One to go...

I mentioned something last week about the chairs I'm re-upholstering... and I also told you not to mention anything about how long it has been since I started them. I have good news though! One is finished!

I had to order the tack strips online because Hancocks in Abilene either can't keep them on their shelves, or they can't manage to get them in their shipments.

The other night B and I went to Lowe's to get a legit staple gun because the one I had wasn't cutting it and I had been recycling the old upholstery tacks I had taken off the chair.

When we got home, I got to work and it was finished in no time!

This is what the poor little chair has looked like for literally 6 months.. the main seating area was finished, but the edges and back were not complete.

Here it is now, edging and everything! This was just a quick photo I took before I had to get ready for Kanyon & Erica's wedding (more to come on that later), so sorry about the quality! In the middle is a pillow I made with my scrap fabric and brand new sewing skills! I don't have a pillow form for it yet, and I don't know if I'm actually going to use them, but I was in the mood to sew and I had that fabric on hand!

Here is a quick close up of the welting and bottom panel! I am so proud of myself, and I'm very happy with the result! Most of all, I love that these chairs came from my grandmother.

I love older furniture for its character and the stories that each piece has. Going to a furniture store and buying everything brand new is nice, but to me, you can't beat the character of these older pieces. I love putting the life back into the furniture, and knowing that it is unique and no one else has it!

So there's one. I didn't have time to take a picture of it before, but I haven't started the other and I will be sure to before I do!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

What I found when I came home...

We live in a one bedroom apartment that is the top floor of a house. To get to our front door, you have to follow the sidewalk around the house to the back and then go up the stairs. There are many reasons why we like this, and many why we don't, but this isn't about that... We don't have a backyard, rather we have a side-yard on the side of the house. Up against the stairs (between the stairs and the lot behind us) is Bridger's kennel.

This is not your standard small kennel... this thing is spacious. It's about 10 ft wide and 15 ft deep. On top we have a sun shade made out of that special mesh stuff (i'm getting really technical here), so in the summer, the temperature in the kennel is fairly nice.

Inside the kennel Bridger has a concrete slab with about 5 inches of dirt on one side, a (what I like to call) trough for water, and a dog house to keep her warm from the north winds in the winter (i.e. now). We have to have this kennel for Bridger because she gets bored and will start to "explore" meaning, she will jump an 8ft fence, or literally figure out how to open the door to the kennel, or better yet eat her way out. This is the only kennel Bridger has not been able to get out of. It's one solid piece, too heavy for her to lift, on mostly concrete so she can't dig, has a roof, and the latch on the door is also reinforced with a chain and carabiner. And that could also be because she is 2 and a half now and just starting to mature.


Bridger is very content in her kennel. She has several times gone over to the door and asked to go in it when she's had the luxury of being in the house for an extended period of time (side note--that was before Santa brought her a bed, now I think she prefers the bed).

Bridger does a lot of things that are very weird for a dog to do. I wish I could video them and show you because she has B and I laughing at least a couple of times a day with something she does. One of the weird things she does is that she has probably only used her dog house for its intended purpose a couple of times. Yes, that includes days that it's pouring down rain and cold. Bridger would prefer to assume this position...

She loves being on top of her dog house. I don't know why, but she does. Sometimes she'll jump up on there the minute she walks into the kennel, before the door is even shut. Usually she can hear my car pull into the driveway (remember it's on the opposite side of the house), or hear the "honk" it makes when it locks and she'll jump down waiting patiently for me at the door to round the corner, but sometimes I think she just doesn't care.

Yesterday was one of those days.

She just sat there a top her dog house with her "manners" for me to let her out. One of my favorite commands that she has is her "manners." When we're at any door or she is in any kennel-type fixture, we can say (if she hasn't already assumed the position) "Where's your manners?" and she will immediately sit down and wait for you to tell her to "go inside" or "come here."

It's nice when you're fumbling with your keys, phone and purse and you don't have to deal with a ridiculously excited dog... until you release her of her manners.. then she goes wild. (only slightly kidding)

So that's what I found when I got home from work yesterday, Bridger trying to look as pitiful as possible right before she went nuts!

Tomorrow is Friday!!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

A Day in the Oilfield..

(Over a Year Ago)
So, I was flipping through the nearly 180 pictures on my phone the other day and I found so many that I had forgotten about. That's where this post originated. Last January, I was busy making last minute changes to what I wanted my hair to look like for the wedding, going to showers, and getting ready for my bridal portrait session--I can't believe that was a year ago! While I was busy planning our wedding, B was busy working at a fairly new job.

He worked in Snyder, TX for a year as an accountant at a big publicly traded drilling company where he learned that corporate America was not his cup of tea, neither was sitting behind a desk with the same schedule and tasks every month. But it was a learning experience for him, one that he had to go through on his own and ultimately one that would benefit him in the future.

So a year ago in November, B started a new job with a crude oil marketing company here in town (Thank God I didn't have to move to Snyder) where he became their lease manager and the operations manager for the energy company that company also owned. This job has been a blessing to us in SO many ways. B and I were talking the other day about one of his friends (Wes) from the company he worked for in Snyder, who B still keeps up with and splits a deer lease with. Wes has a wife and a 3-year old and has been working for this company for years. Over the past 6 months, poor Wes has had to work 60, 70, even 80 hour weeks traveling (from Snyder) to Dallas--sometimes driving, sometimes on the company jet--and then working to make up all of the things he missed of his regular duties back in Snyder on the weekends.

I can't imagine B being gone that much.. and working that hard at a job he didn't like. That is just one of the things I'm so grateful for with his new job, and there are plenty more to go around, but I'll get to the pictures...

So last year, B had to run out to one of their leases on a Saturday morning because all of the wells need to be gauged everyday, and his pumper (who usually does this) was sick and in the hospital. Since it was a Saturday, B asked me if I wanted to go out there with him and I jumped at the offer. I mean, I wasn't getting out of the truck... but I thought it would be fun! It was about 18 degrees outside with a 20mph wind, another reason for not getting out of the truck.

So if you're interested in what B does all day, here's a little snippet... (all these photos were taken on my phone with no editing.. get it iPhone!)

Just a couple of tank batteries.. nothing in the oilfield is clean--no kidding, I didn't get out and I still got dirty

here is one of their smallest pump jacks.. just 1 of something like 53.

Here's B gauging one of the wells.. and probably freezing. I made sure to enjoy the heater and seat heater.

and here is that pump jack

Here's the pulling unit (i think).. all this equipment is hard to keep up with.. I do know that this one is named Yarby 1--after the guy who owns it

and here is the only evidence that I actually got out of the truck, but I was bribed with a Dr. Pepper. I took this picture because my mom had been begging me to send her a picture of B's new truck.. this is clean for his truck, you should see it on a regular basis.

So that's what my hubby does on a daily basis, but not really. He does all kinds of things that I couldn't even begin to talk about, because I know nothing about them. The main thing is that he LOVES his job, and he loves that he gets to be out in the field--normally in the country--just being a guy.

Monday, January 18, 2010

FREE Blogger Backgrounds!

Ladies and Gentlemen..
           Boys and Girls..
                  Moms and Dads...
                            Brothers and Sisters...
                                        and ALL other bloggers out there...


now has FREE (that's right, I said FREE)
blogger backgrounds!

More will be added as the days go by and seasonally, but I wanted you to know about a SPECIAL I have going to launch the freebies!

to match one of the  
FREE Backgrounds for only 
(that's 60% off)

Offer ends 1/31/10. Custom Header can include up to 3 personal pictures, title and subtitle of the customer's choice, and coordinating elements to the Free Background used from the KMann Designs Website. Email for more details.

Friday, January 15, 2010

I LOVE Fridays!

Well, Hello Blog! It's been a while! This week I've been incredibly busy for many reasons, and all of my spare time (when I usually write a post) has been filled by other things.

Many of you were asking how the interview went.. It went really well. We won't know for a while if we got the job or not, but things are looking pretty good! I really wanted to see the design the other firm came up with, but they weren't there at the same time so I couldn't. That being said, I'll let you know!

**UPDATE!!** We got the job!! We beat out the other firm solely based on our design over theirs! It's a HUGE step for my career here in town and a huge step for the company!!

In other news, things have been crazy for me at work. I have been busy since the end of December getting things squared away for a convention we have coming up in a week in Austin. I have done all kinds of things to get ready for this event including modifications to our booth, setting up dinner reservations with some school superintendents, and tying up loose ends.

On top of that, I spent the bulk of yesterday remaking a power point for an interview we had with another school board last night, and things went well.

Needless to say, I'm so glad it's Friday because I get off at noon!

Outside of work, I've been sick. Then I got better and got my brand new sewing machine (a Christmas gift from my sweet hubby) and went to work! There are no pictures of this because I was having too much fun to stop! I have sewed the welting for the chairs I'm re-upholstering.. don't remind me how long they've been unfinished. and then I practiced making something for my sister when she finds out in 10 weeks if I'm going to have a niece or nephew on some less expensive fabric and it turned out great!! I'm not going to disclose what it is I'm making her.. because she reads this, but it's SO cute!

Tonight I'm going to a special dinner for the West Texas Rehabilitation Center and B is headed out of town for some hunting with some friends. After my dinner some of the girls are coming over for a movie, and I'm so excited! Then tomorrow night B is coming back in town because he and I and the two partners and their spouses are taking some of the school board members from Ballinger ISD out to dinner at Perini's and I'm SO excited!

I'll leave you with this picture from this past Sunday when B took Bridger hunting...

I wish I was feeling better because I would have gone with him and brought my camera for some better photos, but the iPhone will just have to do!

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend!

Monday, January 11, 2010

Wish me Luck!

I've been battling a spat of bronchitis for the last week and it's getting old. Waking up at 3:30am from a coughing fit and moving to couch to at least let my husband get a full nights' rest isn't really my idea of fun. Thankfully I'm on antibiotics, but unfortunately I'm not feeling them yet.

I am however feeling the abdominal workout I've been getting lately.

In other news, I've been really busy at work. About a week ago we got a phone call from a development group who had just purchased a building here in Abilene. If you're familiar with Abilene, it's the Chase bank building. After talking with the man for about 5 minutes, I had been told to come up with a proposal on renovating the lobby to present to the owners on Tuesday the 12th.

Unfortunately, the man didn't have any idea what they wanted to do to the lobby.. just that they wanted to change it.

So with no direction, Angela (a girl from my office) and I have been putting our heads together to get something going and with no days to spare, we're right on track.

We present tomorrow at 11:00 and as far as I know, there is only one other firm interviewing.

This is a rendering I did today of our proposal for the lobby. This is a small portion of the lobby, but we think it has come together nicely.

Wish me luck!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Just HAD to share!

So, I haven't cooked a "from scratch" meal in a couple of weeks because.. well, I've been busy and tired and getting home late and out of town and any other excuse I couldn't come up with off hand.

Thankfully it doesn't take much to satisfy B, so I'm usually ok if I decide to take the night off and just make grilled cheese.. or even worse, ask him to make pancakes--because pancakes have always been the job of the dad in my house, and even though he's not a "dad," I still like for him to do it!

Monday night I went out to eat with some of my YoungLife girls, and when I got home, I found my poor little husband eating oatmeal for dinner (which he was happy about). So I decided I needed to plan out our meals for the next few nights.

For Christmas, my Aunt got me one of my most desired gifts...

Ignore the produce bag and just look at the cookbook. If you don't know about Ree Drummond, AKA The Pioneer Woman, you should. She is a very talented woman, and I just love reading her blog--but don't worry, so do thousands of other people! Well she just came out with a cookbook about 3 or so months ago, and I've wanted it so bad! Then she went on a 6-week book signing tour and I almost called in sick to work to drive to Dallas and go. But thankfully, my Aunt Lynn went for me... and my mom, and my sister, and who knows how many other people, but I'm so excited about it!

and yes, you can be jealous that mine is personalized and autographed.. If you want to read about PW's stop in Dallas, and see a picture of my Aunt Lynn on PW's blog, you can go here, my Aunt is the lady in the second picture, and now she's famous!

So back to my story about my lack of cooking..

Last night I had planned on making pork chops, but I had a little extra time so I decided to make my first thing out of PW's cookbook: Pizza and it was DELICIOUS!

I hadn't planned on taking any pictures, or even sharing any of it with you, but it was so good that I just HAD to!

This is also the first time ever for me to use this cookbook stand.. I usually just lay the recipe on the counter.. or better yet, put it on the fridge with a magnet!

So I started with the crust. I've never made pizza from scratch before so I wasn't sure if my tiny little kitchen could handle it, but it was surprisingly easy!

I whipped out my lovely KitchenAid Mixer (that I have yet to use before last night) and had to find a place to plug it in. I have only two plugs in my kitchen, one for the fridge and microwave, and one for the coffee maker, toaster, and small convection oven (we have to alternate). I opted to unplug the microwave because it's the only plug close to an actual counter top and luckily I discovered my mixer fits sideways in front of the microwave--you have to get creative when you don't have much space!

I got to making the dough (I halved the recipe)
2 cups flour
1/2 tsp active dry yeast
3/4 cup warm water
1/6 cup olive oil
1/2 tsp kosher salt

Put the water into a bowl or (like me) larger measuring cup and sprinkle in the yeast.

Then combine the flour and kosher salt into another bowl (or your mixer bowl) and turn mix with an electric mixer on low speed.

Once the dry ingredients are all mixed up, drizzle in the olive oil.

Then, using a spoon, stir the water/yeast mixture really well and slowly add to the flour mixture.

Let the mixer run until it all combines to form a ball.

Now grab a clean bowl and drizzle it with olive oil. Once you've done this, place your ball of dough into the oiled bowl and flip it over to coat it with oil.

Place a moist towel over the bowl and store it in a warm dry place for 1-2 hours.

After you've let it rise a little, take your sheet, in my case just a small cookie sheet or you could use a pizza stone or whatever, and drizzle it with olive oil.

Place your dough on the sheet and use your fingers to spread it out to the desired thickness being sure to make the surface bumpy to receive your toppings.

You can really add whatever toppings you want here, this is just what I chose.
Put on a layer of pesto and then take slices of mozzarella and cover the pizza. Then add roma tomato slices all over the pizza and cover again with mozzarella and top with fresh grated Parmesan cheese!

When I saw this, I decided I needed to share.

And then I turned around and saw this, and decided I needed to share... I got lucky on this picture because I wasn't even looking!

Then I decided to show you the size of my oven. For a counter top oven, it's great.. but that is literally my only oven, so all baked quantities must be small.

Then I decided to show you this one last time..

And the finished product...

YUM! It was so good, I will definitely be making it again! I can hardly wait to get home for lunch to eat the left overs!

I hope you enjoy it! And Christy, I hope you could make it through without feeling nauseous! (She's 6-weeks pregnant with my little niece or nephew!)

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

New Years Festivities

For New Years Eve this year, B and I headed up to Lubbock to spend the night with Grant and Laura before continuing on to Amarillo on New Years Day to see his Grandparents.

While we were driving I was playing with my camera and my new lens (thank dad!). I only took one picture while we were in Lubbock because we were all having so much fun playing games and wii tennis (by the way, my arm was soar for two days)! The one picture I took I'm atually not going to share because I think Laura might kill me if I do! It was taken right before we left and neither her or Grant had showered yet because they were cooking us a wonderful breakfast, so you don't get to see it.. sorry!

Have you ever wondered what it looks like driving to Amarillo?

Well there you go! There's hardly any trees and until you get closer to Palo Duro Canyon, there's not much change in elevation either.

When we got to Amarillo (after I stopped at Dillard's and bought my Christmas China) we all met over at Manga and Paw Paw's house for a little birthday party for Lindsay.

Here's the birthday girl with Manga, Paw Paw, and Granny.

And here she is with everyone else (minus me). When you're the one with the camera, it's not very often that you're in the picture.. but I don't mind!

Mississippi Mud Cake, by request. It's basically like a chocolate sheet cake with marshmallow in between the cake and icing. Very good, but VERY rich!

The next day everyone else from Brent's side of the family came over for lunch and to open Christmas presents. Before everyone got there, I sat on a stool at the island just snapping away pictures, but I won't bore you with all of them... just some!

Kirk was walking around eating things and making faces at me...

Connie was making pistachio pudding and cooking the garlic bread

and I sat on my stool because I was still sick with a cold and didn't feel like doing anything except holding the camera.

Granny is B's Great-Grandmother and is in her mid 90s. She still drives, still lives alone, and still cooks. Everyone in B's family is glad for that for the reason in the next picture.

Her picture perfect lemon pies!

Granny slaves over these pies for hours every holiday or time that the family gets together. She makes everything from scratch and as B says, "makes absolutely perfect meringue." People have tried to figure out how to make Granny's Lemon Pie for years, but even with the recipe have never been successful. I think it's the 70+ years of experience to make something so perfect. Either way, some one is going to have to figure it out.

Here's a shot of the inside. I'm not the hugest fan of lemon pie, but this one's pretty good. Maybe one day I'll try to make it.. but maybe not, we'll see.

It was good to see family, but I will say it was nice to be home and in my own bed on Saturday night. With all the traveling we've done lately, I just love the feeling of coming home to my own bed--especially when I have a cold!

I hope you all had a wonderful New Years!