Sunday, February 26, 2017

A Lot Can Happen in a Year...

One year ago today, Josh and I made one of the most serious commitments in our relationship yet: we decided to build a house.  Hopefully not just a house, but a home.  [And after selling my condo & moving twice, I'd be more than content if this were our FOREVER home!]  One year ago tonight, we "signed our lives away" and put an offer on a lot.  It's fun to think back to the 'headaches' that went into the decision-making... Josh is the one to think things through before making any big decision and not that I rush into things, but once I make up my mind, it's hard to change it.  We surprisingly agreed on everything from siding color to cabinets to flooring and lighting.  Josh has let me put a few more holes in the walls now that we're nearing seven months of calling this place home.  The picture of us below is from a spec home in Cedar Falls a week and a half before the big decision - I was over it & he was still excited/thinking things out.  I'm glad he knew deep down what he wanted because the view from the back of our home is my favorite.





Tomorrow is my step-dad's birthday.  His second birthday he's celebrated in Heaven after he passed away just one year and eight days ago.  I don't know that I could find many words to describe the void I've felt in my life since that day, not having him here to see our home or to help me celebrate getting my MBA among many other things & holidays.  I'm thankful to have had him and his love & support in my life for the years that I did.  I've been relying on this quite a bit - "Tears are prayers too. They travel to God when we can't speak." Psalm 56:8

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Life Lately // January Update

How is January two days from being over, already?!  A lot has happened since my last post but it feels like it was just last week!


If you read my last post you know that Josh & I made a 'deal' with each other to have a Friday night date out for dinner if we cooked at home all week, and I'm proud to announce we did it!  I honestly don't even remember what all we made besides spicy chicken tacos & goulash but we rewarded ourselves with trying out the new Little Bigs on the Hill that Friday night for little bacon cheeseburgers, buffalo fries & sweet potato fries.  Oh, and Blue Moons (on special!) and Bud Lights.  We took a little road trip the next day to Dubuque and of course had to make a pit stop at Five Guys before we left. 




On our way home that Sunday, Josh got a text that our new nephew was here!  It was quite the surprise and we (I) was so excited to get to the hospital that night to visit everyone and meet Liam John!




We also [finally] got our TV stand painted, moved upstairs, & hardware & top installed.  We love it!  I'm still rearranging things on top and how to make the DirecTV box 'fit in' better on the top shelf.




The next week was great because it was a two-day workweek for me with MLK holiday on Monday and vacation Thursday & Friday.  We took off for Des Moines Thursday morning and stopped at Homemakers for a quick [two hour] browse before checking into Hotel Renovo.  If you're planning a trip to Des Moines, check into that hotel - the lobby in itself is absolutely gorgeous!  We used Uber for the first time to make our way downtown to meet Jenelle & Mike at Iowa Taproom before heading to the Wells Fargo Arena for ERIC CHURCH! 




It was an amazing concert - three hours of just Eric - and Josh became such a big fan that he stole my CD and put it in his truck when we got home! ;)  After leaving the hotel, we met Josh's cousin Taylor for lunch at Jethro's, then made our way to Five Guys for milkshakes.  On our way there, we passed The Container Store and Josh willingly[!] pulled into the parking lot.  I was in Heaven that day, that's for sure! 


I'm ready for another month closer to spring, or at least some sunshine.  January was a good month with lots of blessings - the most recent being one of my best friends giving birth to sweet little Bowie Jo last Wednesday.  I went up to visit her and Aimee took me into the nicu to meet her.  They went home yesterday and I can't wait to visit and be able to hold her! 


We're looking forward to another fun trip coming up next week - this time we're heading north!

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Meal Prep Sunday // Crockpot Breakfast Bake & Buffalo Chicken Chili

Disclaimer: I am no meal prep pro by any means!  I am, however, pretty proud of myself for having breakfast and dinner done in the crockpot all in one day.  Now, if I could only get in the habit of doing this every week!


I didn't think to take any pictures of the breakfast bake I made in the crockpot, but it is so, SO easy!  And delicious!


Ingredients:
2 lbs frozen hash browns
Your choice of meat (I used one package of Jimmy Dean turkey sausage crumbles)
1 doz. eggs
1 bag or 2 cups of shredded cheese (I used Colby jack)
1 cup milk
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
Onion salt (or 1/2 cup diced onions - whichever you prefer)


Instructions:
1. Beat eggs until well blended (I did this with my KitchenAid mixer to save some time).

2. Beat in milk, garlic powder, salt & pepper.  Set aside.
3. Layer potatoes and season each potato layer with a pinch of salt, pepper and onion salt (or onions).
4. Layer in meat.
5. Top with 1 handful (or cup) of cheese.
6. Repeat the layering 2 more times.
7. Pour egg mixture over layers.  For refrigerated hash browns, cook for 6-7 hours on low.  For frozen hash browns, cook for 7-8 hours on low or until eggs are set.


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For dinner, we are having buffalo chicken chili and after trips to two different stores this morning, I forgot the bleu cheese crumbles. :)  The original recipe I have is a stovetop one with diced tomatoes so I did a bit of altering the last few times including throwing it all into the crockpot.


Ingredients:
Frozen chicken breast (I generally use 2-3 breasts)
2 cans white or northern beans
32oz chicken broth
1 cup diced celery
1 cup diced carrots
1/2 cup Frank's buffalo hot sauce
1 tsp minced onion
1 tsp minced garlic
8oz cream cheese
Optional: top with bleu cheese crumbles & tortilla strips




Instructions:
1. Dice vegetables.
2. Place frozen chicken breasts in crockpot and add in chicken broth, minced onion & garlic, beans, celery, carrots and hot sauce.  Place cream cheese on top.
3. Cook on high for 4 hours.
4. Keep lid on and shred chicken breasts with forks & stir in the cream cheese during the last half hour and then turn to low or warm, depending on how long it will be until you eat.





We topped it with tortilla strips and tried shredded mozzarella and gouda cheese.  I think Josh liked the gouda better - he tried both and took gouda to work, I only tried the mozzarella.


/////


I also made a double batch of these granola/energy bites.  SO easy and I filled about 12 snack sized baggies with 3 bites.  I used a cookie scoop today to save my hands from being a mess so they turned out a bit bigger than in the past. 


Breakfasts, lunches and snacks are prepped for the week, dinner ideas are planned, and if we stick to it, we just might reward ourselves with a date night on Friday to finally check out the new Little Bigs on the Hill.  Here's to hoping we really do have willpower to cook at home and can make it through the week!

Saturday, December 31, 2016

New Year // New You -- 2016 Reflection

I've never been one to stick to resolutions.  I'm ridiculously good at starting something and not finishing or following through - workouts, projects, eating healthier, getting up earlier, starting this blog back up, you name it...  I'm a creature of habit, I'm not great at welcoming change, and I'm far too hard on myself.  I'm not sure what 2017 will bring - I'll say that I hope that it's a healthier, more intentional year with lots of travel and lots more time, sweat [and probably tears] put into this home.


2016 was a year of change.  It started in January with a New Years Day trip to Minneapolis, different responsibilities at work, and house hunting - mainly to see what was on the market and what we liked/agreed on.




February was a very painful change with the unexpected loss of my step-dad.  March kicked off with a signed purchase agreement of Lot #19 in Audubon Heights.  In April, Josh started a new step in his career as an industrial mechanic, we made some big decisions on our home and "finally" broke ground on our roots.  I took a leap on listing my condo 'FSBO' after a few disappointing showings via Facebook, and was surprised to get an asking price offer just days before I planned to list it with a realtor. 





May brought more challenges with lots of travel for work, packing, finding a 'temporary home' and moving most of our belongings into a storage unit.  We celebrated my step-dad's life one afternoon at the Lighthouse.  Josh finished school and we celebrated with a small party at Old Chicago.  Challenges continued into June with more travel for work, and a delayed closing on my condo which lead to a rental agreement.  However, June ended pretty sweetly with a trip to Chicago to celebrate the completion of my MBA, and a [COMPLETE] surprise graduation party at Mulligan's & some fun at Sturgis. 









July was a big month with closing on our home on the 29th, and was quite stressful between work - traveling + testing for a new payroll system - and FINALLY closing on my condo on the 27th.  Yes, you read that correctly.  I closed on my condo a day and a half before we closed on our home.  I cannot thank my attorney enough for dealing with the changes and questions I had on an almost daily basis! 







In August, our new payroll system went live and I spent a much needed week away fishing in Minnesota with my two favorite guys - much to my surprise, I caught the most fish for once!  The weather was pretty crappy, but nothing beats those sunsets and the peace that place brings - oh, and me catching the biggest crappie. :) Josh celebrated his 33rd birthday and we became pros at lawn care by watering our sod and new plants. 







September began with an annual camping/kayaking trip on Labor Day weekend and continued with unpacking lots of boxes & totes and finally getting things organized at home. 






October was a fun month - mostly because the Cubs were on fire and we had so much fun having date nights at home watching them on TV.  We took a trip to STL for the Blues home opener and surprisingly, I'd go back in a heartbeat.  We had our entryway/mudroom area & my office done by an old friend of mine and it all turned out absolutely gorgeous.  I celebrated my 29th[!]birthday with a dinner date at the Brown Bottle and a Cubs W.  On Halloween, Josh discovered a dead mouse in his work boot in the garage and we had an unplanned but so, SO fun night on a party bus dressed up as Leo & Michelangela. 






November was a THANKFUL month that started with the Cubs winning the World Series, and Josh & I being emotional wrecks with Anthony Rizzo!  I still can't believe I witnessed a game 7 World Series W!  I had fun decorating our home for Christmas and spent some much needed quality time with family - both in November and December. 






We hosted our first annual holiday party with an ugly sweater party on National Ugly Christmas Sweater Day and had quite a few overnight guests this month.  We hosted Josh's family Christmas on Christmas Eve Eve and our hands, home and hearts were beyond full.  This week between Christmas and New Years was well-spent at home with lots of movies and time to reflect, laugh and cry, and plan for what's to come.







This holiday season was a hard one, and I'm sad to say that it just didn't feel quite like Christmas.  I had more tough moments than I'd like to admit, but again, I am thankful and blessed to have what and WHO I do in my life - on Earth and in Heaven.





Happy New Year, ya filthy animals.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Guess Who's Back?

It's been awhile, eh?


Sadly this isn't my first blog post using those four words...  There has been some exciting moves in the years I've been away from this space. I've pondered different ways to document my thoughts and photos, and I keep coming back to this. I have always liked writing and am much better at expressing myself through words in a setting like this, regardless of who is reading. 


In a nutshell, there has been:  a heartbreaking & unexpected loss, too many school papers and projects to count, several road trips, mountains and valleys, changes and challenges, tears over things not turning out the way I planned or expected - many of which I later laughed about, my first trip to Florida, enough work trips that I could navigate to Horicon or Moline with my eyes closed, a for sale by owner on the first home I purchased (+ MANY headaches but an overall good experience, and no, I won't be doing that again), a diploma - a MBA diploma (finally!), and in THREE days... moving into a forever home with my best friend. Most of that has happened in just the past year alone! I can't wait to share more, but we have a condo to close on, an apartment to pack up & clean, a storage unit to pack into a U-Haul, a brand new house to close on, and a brand new home to move into. There's sure to be some good laughs & snaps in the next few days and I. can't. wait.


Here's how beautiful the view was last night - more progress on my Instagram (@lindseyschuler).


Now if I could just pick up photography - surely a Canon captures better blog photos than my smartphone... ;)

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

What I'm Loving

First off, I have to say that I want to get back in the writing world. Whether that means continuing this blog or expressing myself elsewhere, I'm excited because writing proves to be an outlet for me. I'm not engaged or married [or currently dating for that matter] nor am I a mother [to a child or furball], or have an exciting job, and I think at times I feel like the purpose of my blog doesn't go very far. BUT - it is my life. And as much as I think that not a lot goes on, looking back at previous posts make me smile and remember different times and events, and more importantly - how I felt. I know there are many bloggers out there who started before they were married or became parents, so maybe that's why I'm sticking with this journey. Either way, I hope that you are reading and somewhat enjoying what you are reading. :)

Back to my point. What I'm loving...

- these Sam Edelman sneakers. I've never been much of a 'leopard' person, but I'm more than obsessed with shoes at the moment and Zappos isn't helping anything.

Sam Edelman - Becker

- March Madness. AND - every Wednesday in March I can wear jeans to work...along with my favorite team's tee, sweatshirt or jacket. I'm not a big basketball fan, especially the NBA, but Iowa & UNI men's basketball is something I can handle watching. And March Madness? I'll sit and watch every single game if I could. I filled out my brackets and I may be slightly ashamed to say that I have Michigan State winning one of them... at least they're in the Big Ten?


- daylight savings. No explanation needed!

- one more thing I'm [always] loving - Taysen James. Here's one of his 3 year pictures. I can't handle it & I can't wait to see the rest!


Happy Hump Day!

Friday, February 21, 2014

Recent Thoughts...

It's been awhile, eh?

I went back to school at the end of August and let me tell you, I do not know how people with families and kids do this. Balancing work and school full time is hard enough for me. My boss finally talked me into enrolling in Upper Iowa University's online MBA program. I decided on the Quality Management emphasis, partly because I thought I would get the most out of that area and learn something new. I'm single with no kids so why not now? Remind me that in a few months when I'm seriously questioning it and asking "how much longer?!"...

I've been thinking a lot lately about what I want to do [when I grow up.] And how, exactly, do some people just know exactly what it is that they want to do, forever? Am I supposed to be having "second-thoughts" about where I'm at in life? Is this a quarter-life crisis? I'm beginning to think so. The worst part of it all is that nobody can tell me what to do, because I have to figure that out for myself. What makes me happy? What will make me happy? Will what's important to me now be as important to me 5, 10, 20 years from now? At what point do people tell themselves to just go for it, make that final decision and not look back? Because at times I wish I were that person.

I'm not thinking about these things because I'm not happy, because I am. I could not ask for anything more in this life of mine without being too greedy. In the meantime, I'm going to keep thinking and keep reading this quote...

"Life begins at the end of your comfort zone." - Neale Donald Walsch