2013 – A Look Back

Highlights from 2013..

Around the World in 2013 – Know your history!! Key events from around the world for the year 2013 can be found here, here, and here.

Image courtesy of here.

Image courtesy of here.

Personal highlights

  • Finally started my own blog. Hopefully 2014 will bring more dedication to actually posting on regular basis though.
  • Really dug in to beginning “DIY/Natural homemade lifestyle”. Some recipes that I made and actually continue to use include cleaning products, facial toner (this recipe), laundry detergent, and no-poo hair routine (similar to this routine). Made first ever maxi skirt (used this tutorial) and dyed my own shorts for summer. Actually completed some crafts that I have “pinned” on Pinterest and pictured in my head including turning wooden crates to bedside tablesdoor hanger, and flower tower.
  • Had a column published in the  local newspaper. And actually was paid for it!
  • Completed 12 hours towards my Master’s degree, while still working full-time and continuing to grow in expectations/responsibilities at work.
  • Was successful at first ever public speaking engagement that was actually for my job rather than for a grade in school.
  • Quit smoking!

Jekyll Island, Georgia – first full family vacation where Ronnie Dean got to experience a full week of vacationing with my family, and my family experienced a full week of vacationing with Ronnie Dean. This included:

  • Ronnie Dean was able to truly experience my sister’s love of “birding” – as in every time she yelled at Dad to randomly pull over on the side of the highway for a picture of a “rare” bird.
  • The family experienced the Montgomery focus and dedication when discovering a new way of hobby. Ronnie and I discovered the “old school” way of catching blue crab, and Ronnie also got to walk along the beach with a homemade spotlight looking to “spear” fish. Although they have heard me talk about it, they finally experienced first hand how Ronnie Dean is like a kid on Christmas morning when discovering a new kind of “hunting”. Poor Dad did not realize that staying with his daughter and son-in-law on the beach to catch crabs would last until 2:00 in the morning.
  • This family vacation also provided Ronnie Dean’s first actual flight and the first time we actually flew together. Saw Captain Sig Hansen from Deadliest Catch tv show in the Atlanta airport – Ronnie Dean got pretty excited! 😉
  • Ronnie Dean and I discovered that no matter where we go, we can always find a fellow “redneck” to discuss fishing/hunting and the different techniques in different parts of the United States, hence the “old school” crabbing and the spear fishing.
  • Whole family went deep-sea fishing. It was fun seeing my parents and sister, especially my mom and sister, reeling in the black sea bass. They even touched the fish! And of course we have the large fish we caught at the taxidermy to go on our wall and the piece of driftwood hand chosen by Ronnie Dean on driftwood beach for the fish to be mounted on!

Hunting highlights

  • Ronnie Dean broke his bad hunting streak and got that buck he has worked towards. Plus the freezer is full of venison!
  • Got my first coyote!

Family highlights

  • Ronnie Dean and I grew our first garden. And plants actually grew!! Abundantly!! We  are loaded down with pickles and peppers still. First garden and canning adventures were a success. This also led to my first ever HOMEMADE PIZZA!! and it was actually tasty!
  • Celebrated our third year of marriage, September 18th.
  • Our slobbery bloodhound turned three, July 18th.

It has been an eventful year with lots memories made. However as with everything I saved the most important change/highlight of 2013 for last. This past year, Ronnie Dean and I made the decision that we were ready to expand our little family. I did not refill my birth control prescription for June and we made the decision to not exactly “try” but rather to quit trying to prevent it and if it happened, it happened. In all honestly, we thought it would take months for the birth control to get out my system and there was no reason to stress/rush the process. Well needless to say what we thought would probably take months to happen, actually took less than a month. (Yes, turns out I was actually pregnant when we went on that family vacation. In fact, my sister informed me last night that while on vacation, she actually asked Mom if she thought I might be pregnant!)

As of today, December 31, 2013, the last day of the 2013, I am 26 weeks and 5 days (based on my estimated due date). The baby is around 14-15 inches from crown to heal and weighs around 1.6 to 2.2 pounds. (Based upon three different pregnancy apps.)

Miss Harley Cheyenne Montgomery is expected to be here April 3, 2014.

Needless to say, 2013 was an excited year with lots of memories made and milestones. However, the year two thousand and fourteen is shaping up to be the most life-changing so far, and I for one cannot wait!

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Happy Birthday Oak!

Happy Birthday Oak!! Our pretty boy is 3 years old today!!

He is goofy, loud, slobbery, wrinkly, big, stubborn, hungry, playful, hairy and a complete mess. He is our “child”, and he loves us unconditionally!

Take a look back at the past three years of the crazy, loopy, howlin’ bloodhound that we call Oak!

“A person can learn a lot from a dog, even a loopy one like ours. Marley taught me about living each day with unbridled exuberance and joy, about seizing the moment and following your heart. He taught me to appreciate the simple things-a walk in the woods, a fresh snowfall, a nap in a shaft of winter sunlight. And as he grew old and achy, he taught me about optimism in the face of adversity. Mostly, he taught me about friendship and selflessness and, above all else, unwavering loyalty.” ― John GroganMarley and Me: Life and Love With the World’s Worst Dog

Rummage Sale-I just had to stop!!

I just couldn’t resist…. passed three rummage sale signs all advertising the same place on my way home from work. After the third one, my curiosity got the best of me. Whipped the truck around and went to see what they had to offer. Turns out I found some pieces to add to my closet! 😉

I apologize in advance for the awful pictures (bad lighting and bathroom mirror pic-ugh) but I just had to show what I found! Another man’s (or little old lady in this case) junk is going into my closet! 😉

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Blue jean jacket, two sweaters, silk button tank, and silk square scarf = $2.00!!

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I have been on the lookout for a silky, long button tank. Tucked in or left out, I’m pretty much loving it! And yes it is missing a button, but thats a quick fix!

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I can never have too many blue jean jackets- especially if I get it for $0.25! It did have a rip in it, which I can patch right up! Plus the fact that I have a new scarf to wear at the lake and on the weekend to cover my messy hair…. I am one happy girl!

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So I’m thinking…. this sweater, leggings, and boots curled up by the camp fire this fall. I am loving the pattern, plus it’s super soft! And yes… I so just bought a sweater in 100 degree Arkansas weather!

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Before you think I am crazy for buying an “old lady sweater” let me explain! I love cooler weather and oversize sweaters! They are awesome for cozying up in the cold. I love the colors, and with a scarf and boots, I will so be rocking this come winter!

Just remember that, ultimately, dressing is always about attitude, feeling comfortable, and confidence. -Kate Moss

Personal style is about having a sense of yourself….. When you have that confidence you can wear whatever you want. -Ralph Lauren

Can you find your style at a rummage sale hosted by a little old lady?

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Veggie Pizza – A Recipe Experiment Success!

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Our first garden is doing better than Ronnie and I expected, so we have been canning and trying out new recipes like crazy. Also, my husband has been working on the road during the week, therefore he is only here on the weekends to help me figure out what to do with all these veggies. When we decided to grow our vegetable garden, it was centered around having the vegetables to make pickles, in which Ronnie swore he would help with if the garden was a success. Well as you can see in the picture above, we are in veggie overload, especially on cucumbers and zucchini, and he can’t really help from a hotel room! It sucks when he has to work on the road and stay in a hotel room throughout the week, but it does have one advantage. I always try out new recipes whenever he is gone. This is because if the recipe is good (and I know what Ronnie considers good), then I have something to surprise him with when he gets home. If I try out a recipe and it is bad – no big deal. I can just eat it/dump it and no one has to know!

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Well last night was one of those “let’s try something new” night since I have all these veggies that need to be taken care. I had to stop by Kroger on my home anyway (needed ingredients to pickle my cucumbers!), so I went ahead and bought thin pizza crust dough and pizza sauce. I chose Prego Pizza Sauce Veggie Smart – no specific reason other than it was on sale. I chose Pillsbury brand for the dough because again, I just focused on sale items. If this recipe was going to stink, at least it wouldn’t cost a lot! I have on my kitchen bucket list to make my own pizza dough and pizza sauce, but for now these will work. In the end the pizza turned out AMAZING! This will definitely become a surprise for Ronnie when he gets home20130711-082004.jpg

Ingredients:

*Pillsbury Thin Crust Pizza Dough

*1/3 cup Pizza sauce

* 1/3 cup Zucchini – sliced

*1/3 cup Squash – sliced

*1/2 cup Carrots – shredded

1 pod –  Okra – sliced

*1/4 cup Shredded CheeseSeasoning/Fresh Herbs

*These are rough estimates of the amounts. I used these
numbers to enter data into My Fitness Pal in order to have the nutritional values found below.

-Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.                   -Bake 10-15 minutes

-While the oven preheated, I rolled out my dough. As you can see, I did not exactly get a round pizza. I think my dough got too warm on my way home (happens in 100 degree weather here in Arkansas). The package said it would just roll out, and well it didn’t. It still worked just fine, and the shape didn’t bother me. I used my pizza stone to bake the pizza on, but you could use a basic cookie sheet as well.

-Once you have it the size (or shape) you want, place in oven for about 5 minutes (followed this step based off instructions of Pillsbury container).

-While waiting for dough to pre-bake, slice the veggies you want. I used my Mandolin Slicer, so about five minutes was all I needed to get my veggies ready. We already had the shredded carrots in the fridge, so I added those as an afterthought.

-After the dough is done pre-baking, take it out of the oven and spread your pizza sauce on. The recipe on the dough package called for 1/3 cup, but I just     eye-balled the amount until it looked right. After that I added my veggies and shredded cheese. I added some dried herbs on top. **Please note, whenever I try new recipes, I just grab random herbs/spices and then can never remember which ones I used. That is part of the fun of trying new things, you don’t have to be too serious about it. For this recipe, I used basil and Italian seasoning. I know I used one more, but for the life of me cannot remember what it was.

-Bake in the oven for about 10-15 minutes or until you reach the desired crust. **The package stated 6-9 minutes, but as my dough turned out a little thicker, I put it on for longer until my crust looked a little darker. I like my crust a little on the crispy side.

-Let the pizza cool, and enjoy! This took all of 30 minutes,which would have been shorter if I didn’t have to fight the dough with my roller! Simple, easy, and delicious!

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Please ignore the “Goal” column. These are my personal goals set up in My Fitness Pal, which is a free app that makes it easy to track your food intake and exercise goals. Plus it comes in handy for determining nutritional value for new recipes!

Thanks Mom!! My Mandolin Slicer

So yes, I am a dork. I am thanking my mom for a mandolin slicer. Back-story: my mom gave this to me over a year ago. We tried it out while she was at my house with an orange. It made a mess; I think we did it wrong. Ever since, it has been in its box in the back of cabinet. Last night, I decided to make zucchini pickles and was DREADING having to cut all the slices. I can never cut them even, and it just takes forever. Then I remembered that weird little slicer in the back of the cabinet. I decided to give it a shot, and the outcome: IT’S AWESOME!!! My slices were perfect, and it took no time to slice the veggies. YAY!

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So we are starting to get quite a few zucchini from the garden, and with the hubs on the road this week I am tired of trying to eat them all by myself. So after giving some away, I headed to Pinterest to find a zucchini pickle recipe.

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PERFECT SLICES!!

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I found this Pickled Zucchini Recipe at neckredrecipe.blogspot.com. Really simple recipe.

Saturday Morning Junk Patrol

Whenever we go to the lake, I take every available opportunity to make the thirty minute drive into Mountain Home to check out the farmer’s market, yard sales, and flea markets. This past Saturday, while Ronnie and his brother fished, I took advantage of having a few hours to do whatever I pleased. So when the boys pulled down to the lake at 6:30 Saturday morning, me and Hailey (my brother-in-law’s girlfriend) took off for Mountain Home to see what we could find.

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Cappuccino anyone??

After a quick trip through McDonald’s drive through (I was really needing caffeine and was craving my caramel mocha!) we stopped by the Mountain Home farmer’s market.  First purchase of the day – fresh strawberries, blueberries, cucumbers, freshly baked banana bread and AWESOME homemade guacamole and salsa! I also completely forgot to take pictures of these finds as I was too overwhelmed with the thought of eating it all right there in the parking lot of the farmer’s market. I’ll do better next time! 😉

As we had a few hours to burn, we decided to just drive around and whip the truck down any road that had a yard sale sign posted. We also threw in some flea markets  along the way.

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This was a tent set up in the middle of town named The Weathered Window. Check out their Facebook page. Apparently, they set up once a month and we picked the perfect weekend! Although I didn’t buy anything, the items at this place were perfect inspiration for future craft ideas!

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More Inspiration from The Weathered Window!

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Inspiration for a pillow (The Weathered Window), outdoor plant (yard sale), and patriotic quilting (Mountain Home flea market)!

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Awesome wood piece at The Weathered Window.

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Loving this ladder at The Weathered Window. Now to find my own wooden ladder…..

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When I found a box full of old chicken feeders, I was interested but not sure of what I would use them all for. But when the lady told me I could have them all for $1……SOLD! Can you guess what I have been searching all over Pinterest for this week? 😉

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Possible Planter???

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Mail Holder???

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Utensil Holder??

 

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Can you tell which shirt cost $1 at a flea market, and which one I bought at the department store??? Yea, me neither —SOLD!

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Just another addition to my burlap sack collection!

When we got done shopping, we met up with the boys and spent the rest of the day on the lake!

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Silly Husband!

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Me and Hailey

20130611-212839.jpg“On the pontoon.. Makin’ waves and catchin’ rays up on the roof.. Jumpin’ off the back, don’t act like you don’t want to.. Party in slow motion.. Out here in the open.. Mmmmmmmm…motorboatin” — faboulous lyrics from “Pontoon”, Little Big Town

 Family + Junk Patrol + Farmer’s Market + Lake Time + Cold Drinks = PERFECTION!

Happy Memorial Day!

Before I begin this blog post, I just want to wish everyone a Happy Memorial Day!!! God bless our troops – past and present! Thank you for your service and dedication to this wonderful country!

Free image from http://howtonestforless.com/2012/05/28/happy-memorial-day-free-printables/

Free image from new blog I found here.

For the past several years, my husband and I celebrated Memorial Day weekend at the lake. This involves fighting with the pontoon to get it running after sitting still all winter, cleaning up a bit around the camper, meeting up with our “lake friends”, and working on our tans (or sunburn in my case). This year however, we decided to stick around the house, get some yard work done, and (for me) complete a D.I.Y. project that I have had my eye on. I will admit, I was a little upset at staying at home – I was really looking forward to getting out of town, swimming, and perhaps trolling some flea markets and yard sales around the lake. However, I must say I actually enjoyed just relaxing at the house on my four day weekend. This is a little what my extra long weekend involved…..

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Friday, I decided to travel to a nearby town and check out some flea markets. Although I didn’t find anything I just had to have, it was quite relaxing. I did find some elephant decor that made me think of my elephant-obsessed coworker! Her blog (www.elephantgrace.com) is actually one that helped inspire and encourage me to create my own.

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Turned some plain wood crates into new night stands for the guest bedroom. Blog post on that project coming soon!

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Warning! If you happen to get wood stain on you, your legs WILL be stained for a couple of days! Needless to say, I could not wear shorts in public for most of the weekend.

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Although my husband has gotten to go fishing several time this year, I finally got the chance to tag along! First catch of the year (for me at least)!!!

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Weeding my garden was spread out over all four days. My garden makes me so happy!!

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Radishes fresh from the garden!!

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Found this recipe for pickled radishes here and here.

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Along with my co-chefs, made some pretty awesome radish dip with this recipe.

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Of course our Sunday afternoon was planned around the big race and grilling some burgers. While my husband and friends watched NASCAR, my previously mentioned co-chefs and I built a sleeping bag tent in the kitchen!

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Oak won that wrestling match!

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Poor Oak was wore out by the end of the weekend!

Hope you had a good weekend and enjoy this short work week!!