Monday, December 31, 2012

2012 in Review

Well,'s been quite a year! Tomorrow is my baby's official due date -- never thought I'd have a 6 week old baby on my due date. But, I am so happy I do. He is such an amazing blessing from God, and I thank the Lord every day for his health and how wonderfully he is developing. I've never shared his name on my blog, but I'd like to share it with you all now. My son's name is Samuel. From the moment we found out his gender and picked his name and for the rest of my pregnancy, my husband and I prayed over him that he would grow in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man -- which is how Samuel is described in 1 Samuel in the Bible, and later a young Jesus in the book of Luke. 

My resolution for 2013 is really more of a promise: a commitment to my husband, to my son and to God to be the best wife, mother  and worshipper I possibly can be.... To take things in stride, to not sweat the small stuff, to know I can't do everything but I can make the most of everything. 2013 is going to be a great year!

Last year, I presented my top projects for 2012, so I figured I'd give y'all a quick run down on how I did. So, here are the projects I hoped to do this past year and my results. Enjoy!

My Top 10 Projects for 2012

1. Swap out my builder-grade flying saucer light fixture in the entry way for something sassier. 

DONE! It's still one of my most popular posts here at Pig and Paint -- How to Make a DIY Capiz Shell Chandelier.


2. Spruce up our entry area, around the front door.

DONE! Sort of. It's still a work in progress, but I've moved some bookcases to flank the doorway. I'm not 100% satisfied with it, but once I am I'll post pictures. 

3. Make a tufted poof to sit in that empty spot along my staircase wall. I smell fun fabric!

NOPE! I never got around to this....still have all of the supplies for a poof sitting in my garage.

4. Install a board and batten treatment on my staircase wall.

NOPE! I ultimately changed my mind about installing board and batten here, but I did do a fantastic Faux Board and Batten Installation this year in my master bedroom that I'm pretty darn proud of.

5. Paint my dining chairs and add nail-head trim.

DONE! Again, sort of. I didn't end up painting the chairs, but I did add nailhead trim

6. Finish my living room.....right now we're rockin' an eclectic mix of furniture (i.e. our OLD loveseat, and mother-in-law's chair-that-doesn't-hurt-her-back). Need to create some cohesion here. 

NOPE! I never got around to this. In fact, we got rid of the loveseat, so this area looks even less finished. 

7. Give the lonely wall in my family room some pizazz with DIY antiqued mirrors (described in this post).....still brainstorming this one, though. 

NOPE! I never got around to this fact, I have a pack 'n play set up on that wall right now, so it may be awhile before anything happens here. 

8. Address the fireplace. Not ready to think about this one yet. 

DONE! And it's stunning, if I do say so myself! My Fireplace Project was one of my favorites. 

9. Address the TV nook. Built-ins maybe? Wallpaper in the back? Still deciding...

DONE! I installed a Wood Plank Wall -- so happy with how this turned out!

10. Make some sort of progress in B's recording studio.

DONE! We hung acoustic-treated art and moved my mother-in-law's Hammond organ into the room. Other than that, not much else has been done here. 

Six outta ten ain't bad!! Obviously, I had a change in project priorities part way through 2012 when we found out we were expecting, but I actually did better than I expected! How about you? Did you accomplish what you wanted this year? What's on your radar for 2013?


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Friday, December 28, 2012

Braised Lamb Shanks with Kale, and Creamy Polenta

Hope you're all having a fabulous Christmas and holiday season! I finally re-entered my kitchen after having my baby. Quick shout out to my mother in law who stayed with us for about 3 weeks after my c-section and generously made all of our meals, did all the laundry, made trips upstairs for me, and was just all-around awesome. I don't know what we would have done without her! Recovering from a c-section is serious business!

So, my first venture back into the kitchen was a big one: our Christmas Eve dinner for our little family of three. On the menu: braised lamb shanks and kale over creamy polenta.  

I adapted the recipe from one I saw in Bon Appetit magazine awhile back. It was amazing!! My modified version is below for your viewing pleasure.

Braised Lamb Shanks with Kale


  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon, divided
  • 1 3/4 tsp ground cardamom, divided
  • 4-6 lamb shanks
  • 1/4 cup evoo
  • one bunch green onions, chopped, divided
  • 6 large garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 14.5 oz can whole san marzano tomatoes
  • 1 32 oz box of beef broth
  • 1/4 cup golden raisins
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1/4 tsp saffron threads, crumbled
  • large pinch of ground cloves
  • 1 bunch kale
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • Salt and pepper

  • Preheat oven to 325°F. Season lamb shanks with salt and pepper. Whisk flour, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, 1 teaspoon cardamom, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper in pie dish to blend. Working with 1 lamb shank at a time, coat shanks in seasoned flour. Heat oil in dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add 2-3 lamb shanks. Sauté until brown, turning occasionally, 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer lamb to large roasting pan. Repeat with remaining 2-3 lamb shanks.

  • Add half of green onions to same skillet. Reduce heat to low; stir 2 minutes. Add garlic; stir 30 seconds. Add tomatoes with juice, 2 cups of broth, raisins, tomato paste, remaining 1 teaspoon cinnamon, 3/4 teaspoon cardamom, saffron, and cloves. Increase heat and bring to boil, scraping up browned bits. Return lamb to pot.

  • Cover dutch oven; place in oven. Braise lamb until tender, turning every 30 minutes, about 21/2 hours. Transfer lamb to large rimmed baking sheet. Set pan aside.

  • Meanwhile, cut center rib (including stem portion) from each kale leaf. Roughly chop kale. 

  • Spoon off all fat from top of sauce in dutch oven. Add kale and remaining green onions and bring to boil over medium-high heat. Return lamb to pot. Cover and return to oven. Braise for 20 minutes, and for an addition 5 minutes uncovered. 

  • I served this over creamy polenta (okay, all honesty, it was actually creamy, cheese grits, but polenta sounds fancier). But, this would be great over mashed potatoes or over pasta.

    To plate, portion out your polenta, grits, mashed potatoes, or whatever you're serving the lamb with. Top with a lamb shank and cover it with the kale / sauce mixture.

    Isn't that gorgeous? We're not done yet.

    Garnish with a bit of fresh parsley.



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    Friday, December 21, 2012

    In case you hadn't heard...

    Well, friends...our little bundle of joy arrived a little sooner than expected. He showed up 6 weeks early, just before Thanksgiving. Both he and I did GREAT -- he was out of the NICU after 6 days -- which is amazing and a blessing. The past few weeks have been a whirlwind! I am so in love with my little guy.
    I'm working on writing up his birth story, and will share it soon. :) We are so happy to have our little guy with us...even Aybee is smitten!


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    My baby's adorable hiccups

    This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of © Blue Shield of California for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.

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