Tuesday, June 28, 2011

My Cup Overflows

We have big news... We are building a house!

Now, some fun facts about where we are moving! We're moving to Spring, Texas, to a master planned community called Spring Trails (http://www.springtrails.com/ - yes, the website could use an update!). I like Spring because it feels like Mississippi. There are a lot of trees (not true of some areas of Houston!). My parents were visiting last weekend (more on that later) and mom kept saying that it felt like you were in a small town - which I like!

Our neighborhood also has lots of cool walking trails! It's built on a nature preserve (400 acres of forest), and there are 10 miles of nature trails in the woods. AND a pond! There's also a pool, tennis courts, and basketball courts.

Another benefit of Spring is that it's close to The Woodlands, a really nice area with lots of shopping, restaurants and stuff to do.

We also love our builder, Perry Homes. When we were shopping around, they were by far the most knowledgeable and helpful - and we looked at a lot of builders! They've been great since we purchased, too. We are very happy!

We are so thankful that God has enabled us to do this (we are so blessed!), and we are so excited to move!

I'm behind on my house pictures, so from the beginning...

We are going to be homeowners!

This was the Friday after they cleared the lot (they cleared the lot on Wednesday). The very beginning!

This picture was taken right after the house was framed - a couple weeks ago when Lan's parents came to visit us.

This will be our back door :)

The front of the house (same visit as the 2 pictures above). That "Texas Outhouse" is very inconveniently placed...

Lan took these on one of his visits. He goes up a couple times a week to supervise the process. I'm glad he's making sure they are doing everything right!

I think this is kind of a cool picture. This is in the front of the house. The room this shot looks into is our dining room. I have another picture of this room later...

Looking through our house - Standing in the kitchen, looking into the breakfast room and dining room.

This was taken last week. Notice, there's no shingles on the roof yet.

Back porch! Our living room and bedroom look out onto the back porch. The siding you see here will be painted when they are finished.

This was taken last weekend while my family was here. See the shingles! They did that last week.

The window I mentioned earlier. It's in now! Notice our bricks through the window.

This will be our bar in the kitchen! Our sink and dish washer will be here.

This is the back wall of our living room, overlooking the back porch. These windows are a signature feature of our builder.

Front right side of the house. Looking into our garage.

Lan says that they will do the sheetrock this week, and the builder thinks we'll close in early August! I'll keep you posted with updates and pictures.

Friends and family, please come visit us! We will actually have a guest room and bathroom for you now (a far cry from our 1 bedroom apartment, haha)!

Coming up - a post about my family reunion, more recipes, and house updates!

Love from Houston,
L and J

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Pasta Salad Lan will Actually Eat!

Well, the title says it all. I love pasta salad. Lan is picky. So, when he asked me to come up with a healthy recipe for Saturday lunch a while back, I suggested a pasta salad. He complied, as long as we could serve it at room temp. Apparently that was his big complaint about pasta salad in general.

So, I made up this recipe. This is really how every pasta salad starts, and this one is not so different than any other one out there.

Holloway Pasta Salad - 4 servings

(food styling is not my forte, unfortunately)

2 c pasta, uncooked
1 c fresh broccoli florets
1 c red bell pepper, chopped
1/4 c red onion, copped
1 c tomato, chopped (1 medium)
1/2 c green onion, chopped (I used 3)
1/4-1/2 c mozzarella cheese (your preference)
1/2-3/4 c Italian dressing
2 c chopped, grilled chicken

1. The chicken - we marinaded in Italian (overnight is always best) and grilled the chicken. You could season or marinade however you want
2. Cook pasta (al dente- always), and drain (don't rinse!)
3. Chop all your veggies and chicken
4. Mix veggies, chicken, and cheese
5. Add dressing slowly until you reach the amount you like (we overdressed ours when we made it- take it slow!)
6. Serve

Enjoy! Maybe your picky eaters will eat this too.

Up next - MORE recipes and an important life update. Get excited.

Love from Houston,
L and J

Monday, June 13, 2011

Pioneer Woman Comes to Houston

I have been promising this post for a number of weeks to a number of you (watch for it tomorrow, next week, when I get home..). Oops. Here it is, finally!

Those of you who know me well know that I LOVE the Pioneer Woman. Her cookbook changed my life. That may be a little dramatic, but I love it! And even though Lan won't admit it, he does too, because he benefits from her tasty recipes.

Out of all the cookbooks I own, this is the one that I cook from most often, and have tried the most recipes from. I think it's because she includes so many pictures. I like that. You should buy one! You will love it.

Anyway, she just wrote a really cute children's book, and was coming to Houston for a book signing. SO, I knew I couldn't miss it. Unfortunately, it was Mother's Day weekend, so all of my friends here had plans. But Lan, being a dutiful husband, came with me.

We were able to get a line ticket and leave and come back, which was handy. All in all, we waited about an hour. Not too bad!

The line was long!

The Pioneer Woman signing my cookbook! We also got one for Lan's mom. The whole time in line, I was trying to decide what I wanted to say to her, but I froze when I got up there! I was starstruck :)

Me with the Pioneer Woman! We're practically best friends now.

After we took our picture, she asked me if I came alone, so I said, no, my husband is here with me. I pointed Lan out, and Lan said, "I just came to hold the purse" (which he was doing at the moment). She said, "Aww, what a good husband he is! You should take a picture of that!" So there you go. Lan is a good husband, says Pioneer Woman :)

Upcoming blog posts include lots and lots of recipes and big news! Get excited!

Love from Houston,

L and J

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

My Best Friend's Wedding

So, my best friend, Sarah, got married a few weeks ago (yay!) to her soulmate, Tray. Out of all the couples I know, these two are perhaps the best suited for each other - they are so alike! Sarah and I graduated together, and became even closer friends in our early college days. We lived together our Junior and Senior years and grew even closer :) I have so many fun memories of my college years that involve Sarah!

She is such a blessing in my life! She's one of those friends who always has the right thing to say, and can always, always cheer you up when you're down. I love her and I'm so happy she's my friend! May you live many happy married years together.

Disclaimer - All of these pictures were generously provided by my good friend Angela (aka - my wedding weekend photographer). Thanks Angela!

Me with Sarah at her bridesmaids event at Tokros! We got manicures!

Me and Sarah at the Rehearsal Dinner

Getting ready the morning of the wedding

Me and Katye taking a little break after pictures

Me with the bride - isn't she stunning??

There's a backstory on this one... Several years ago, at our annual Tacky Christmas party, we took the most amazing candid picture ever (it seems that I don't have a copy, or I'd post it here). This is an attempted recreation of that photo - wedding style :)

I love ya'll!

These girls are part of our small group in high school. I loved having these girls to go through junior high and high school with - I'm glad we are still friends today!

Me and Lan at the reception!

Me and Raysha at the reception (photo courtesy of Raysha's cell phone!)

The happy couple leaving :)

Coming up for us - Lan's parents are visiting, my meet and greet with Pioneer Woman(!), my $5 dinner challenge, and future Holloway plans. Get excited.

Love from Houston,
L and J