Simply Mrs. Edwards

{just the life of a new wife}

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Wife of the Year and Gourmet Hamburgers

Attention! I have an announcement.

I have earned a highly esteemed award not one, not two, but THREE years in a row. I have yet again won Best Wife of the Year! YEAH! This award was won in 2010 when I surprised Josh with the Grill of his dreams and then again in 2011 when I got him the smoker attachment for dream grill.

How did I earn it again in 2012, you ask? Oh, just by being an awesome wife who is keen to what my husband wants. And what does this man want the most in this life? To be a Barbeque Master, to grill like no body’s business, to reign supreme in the smoking wars (smoking brisket, that is). A few months ago I saw a Living Social deal for a 5 hr. professional level barbequing class. Five whole hours with Big Ed from Big Ed’s Buzzard BBQ. Cha-ching! I bought that deal without a second thought. With Josh’s birthday at the end of April, I knew that this was just the thing I needed to get him!  I paired it with the Barbeque Bible and this awesome Stainless Steel Hot Dog Roller for the grill (awesome, right?!). I’m not gonna lie, this birthday present will probably benefit me just as much as it will Josh. I can see many, many awesome meals coming from this gift!

So, although I’d love to keep on bragging about how great of a wife I am, I’ll digress and get to what I’m really here to share. A few weekends ago we visited my parents and had a fantastic barbeque with them and some of our friends. Without too much effort, my mom whipped up some cheese stuffed hamburgers from a friends recipe. They were so so sososososo good! I cannot emphasize enough how great these things were. I strongly urge you to try this- not only is it pretty foolproof, it’s customizable and sure to please a variety of appetites!

Cheese Stuffed Hamburgers
*Add the following ingredients per pound of beef (we used 3lbs. of ground beef which made 7 huge burgers)

  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup BBQ sauce (Sweet Baby Ray’s is recommended)
  • 1/2 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 Tbsp. soy sauce
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1 tsp. onion powder
  • Cheddar, provolone and/or crumbed feta cheese

1. Place your ground beef in a bowl and pour milk over the top. Mix to incorporate, cover and refrigerate 1-2 hours.
2. Remove ground beef from fridge and add all the remaining ingredients. The beef should have soaked in most of the milk- if not, drain off excess before adding final ingredients.
3. Scoop out ~2/3 cup beef and pat into 1/2 inch thick, flat, round shape onto wax paper. Repeat to make 2 patties the same size.
4. Place cheese in center of one beef patty leaving a border around the edge.
5. Place other patty on top and pinch edges together.
6. Refrigerate patties until you’re ready to barbeque- this also helps them to set up.
7. Grill over medium heat to your preferred done-ness (we like medium well).
8. Place on bun, top with favorite toppings, ENJOY!

These burgers were amazing and I can foresee us having them a lot throughout this summer grilling season! My favorite is the feta burger, Josh’s is the provolone. Hope this recipe helps you woo your friends at your next backyard barbeque!

Wife of the Barbeque Master,
Mrs. Edwards


Mrs. Edwards, How Does Your Garden Grow?

An Afternoon in my Bed 4.1.12 {via Instagram}

How did the flower bed above come from something looking like the one in the next picture?

A ridiculous amount of sheer determination and brute force, that’s how.

This flower bed is one of the only areas around our house that gets enough sun to grow much of anything. Living in the redwood forest has pros and cons…cons include the cave-like sunlight. Sunny flower beds are a rare gem in Mount Hermon and finding one that can grow anything is like finding gold. For the past 10+ years, this flower bed has done a wonderful job of growing ivy. Lots and LOTS of ivy. The kind that has roots to Timbuktu and back again. I’ve been mildly successful with potted flowers on our deck, but I’ve been dying to get this bed cleaned out and ready for planting. A few weeks ago, my mom and I spent a day and a half starting the job and last weekend, Josh and I spent another day finishing up clearing half of it. Yep, that’s right…it took us 2 and a half days to clear out only half of the flower bed! Its about 40 ft. long and 5-6 ft. deep, so clearing half of it was quite the undertaking.

Once we pulled the ivy, sticks, leaves, bottles, rusty metal, and old junk out of the area, we planted some boxwoods and golden euonymus along the newly discovered/uncovered fence. I love the look of the uneven old fence and I think it’ll look even better once the bushes grow up just a bit!

Just in front of the bushes we put in some lily and dahlia bulbs and to the right, some iris and clematis. I can hardly wait to see what they look like in a few weeks!

Because I’m really a bit impatient and wanted a splash of color sooner than the bulbs will provide, Josh took me on a date and spoiled me a bit. Home Depot was having a sale on marigolds- $.99 for a six pack! Hard to beat that- so we got 6 packs :) Josh was feeling generous so we threw in some ranaculas and an azalea bush for another project. This was the first time in history that we left Home Depot with a cart full of stuff for me, and nothing for Josh…crazy, right?! I’m pretty sure that won’t happen ever again.

I planted the marigolds the next day and gave my tired gardening hands a rest.

Our goal is to clear out the rest of the bed and continue the planting party down the street. We’re thinking something pretty hardy that won’t need too much tending- maybe some lavender or something. This corner is seen by tons of cars and pedestrians every single day, so its been really fun to hear from neighbors how much they love it!

If the other half of the planting bed is anything like what we’ve cleared out so far, we’ve definitely got our work cut out for us, that’s for sure!

It’s been fun to get my hands dirty through this project. I think that I may be on to a new hobby! We have another sliver of sunshine on the side of our house that is just begging for a raised vegetable garden. Maybe our next date to Home Depot will include some lumber for a raised garden bed?? :)

The Gardener,
Mrs. Edwards


Waking up Slow with Banana Pancakes

A huge bonus of being married to Josh? He LOVES breakfast, but even better…he loves making breakfast. What’s better than that, you ask? It’s that I’m always the lucky recipient of his talents. It’s a tough, tough life.

This past weekend, Josh tried a new recipe. If I have my way, I’ll be eating these every Sunday morning from here on out! Jack Johnson has it right, waking up slow with Banana Pancakes is probably the best thing ever.

Banana Pancakes (found here)

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon white sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 ripe bananas, mashed

1. Combine flour, sugar, baking powder & salt.
2. In a separate bowl, mix together egg, milk, oil and mashed bananas.
3. Fold egg, milk, oil & banana mixture into the dry ingredients.
4. Grease a griddle or large frying pan and heat to medium heat (we have this flat Calphalon griddle and LOVE it and use it almost every day).
5. Pour batter in 1/4 cup scoops onto pan and cook until golden brown. Serve warm with syrup, banana slices, walnuts, etc.

Seriously, my husband is such a blessing to me and I do not take him making breakfast for me every weekend for granted! He is so good to me and I am so thankful for him!

Hope you get to enjoy these yummy pancakes with someone you love!

In Love,
Mrs. Edwards


Free Turned Fab

Before Josh and I got married, neither of us had much to offer in the furniture department. I had a bed, a desk and a dining set. Josh had a desk, a camping chair and not much else in the way of home furnishings. We were super blessed by friends who let us use their furniture while they were out of the country (yay Kit!) or while they were living in furnished staff housing (yay Callan!). For about a year, we were able to use these items ( a couch, chair and dresser), all the while knowing that at some point we would need to become adults and buy our own furniture. Well, that point came just a couple of weeks ago and I needed to find a dresser ASAP. This is where Abbott’s Thrift Store comes in. This place is quickly becoming my favorite place ever! Some friends of mine (hi Megan and Jean! :) ) were taking a trip to Abbott’s so I asked them to see if they had any inexpensive dressers. Megan texted me 3 or 4 pictures of different items, but none of them seemed to catch my eye- and their price tags didn’t either. And then, she sent a picture of this beauty:

A little rough, right? Looks like it was teleported from the 70’s, right? Looks like it’s been neglected, right?

FREE! My heart did a little pitter patter when Megan told me it was free. Ahh…a match made in thrifting heaven.

Admittedly, this thing was kind of gross. THICK lacquer, missing hardware, random stickers, mis-matched drawers, thrift-store-smelly drawer liners. Gross…but free.

Along with all of the visible stuff, there was quite a bit of damage to the guts of the dresser. Most of the bottoms of the drawers had moisture damage and were bowed and/or falling out. Along with that, the drawer rails and tracks were loose or missing completely. We definitely had our work cut out for us! Thankfully, Josh was up for the challenge! :)

Josh took charge of fixing the mechanics of the piece while I was in charge of the appearance. First, he started by fixing the loose rails by nailing, gluing and clamping them back in place:

If you notice in the pictures above, the center top drawer doesn’t match the others whatsoever. We think the original might have gotten damaged so the previous owner replaced it with something that was similar. It was super wonky so we put our thinking caps on to figure out what to do. I can’t remember where I’ve seen it done before, but my idea was to take the drawer out completely, build a shelf to replace it and place a basket or two for storage in the space. Josh happily obliged and built one out for me using some leftover wood from our bathroom shelf (seen over here)!

After he finished that up, he went and bought a $10 sheet of 1/8″ mahogany plywood to replace the bottoms of the drawers. A friend and co-worker gave Josh great a tip on how to make the drawer bottoms extra sturdy: make sure that the grain of the wood runs perpendicular in the bottom of the drawer (basically, make sure it runs left to right, not front to back in the bottom drawer.) This adds extra strength and will help the replacement bottoms last even longer!

After the bottoms were replaced, J replaced the drawer tracks as well. He was able to use some scrap wood and used a table saw to do a dado cut (don’t worry, I had no idea what that was either).

Because the lacquer was so thick, we thought we might need to strip it off. Oh BTW, Josh had some funny interactions while asking the clerks at the local hardware store, “Where do you keep your strippers?”…haha, oh husband. We found that the stripper didn’t do much to the finish, so we resorted to sanding the whole thing. It took some time and made a bit of a mess, but in the end did the trick.

After we finished our sanding adventure, it was time to paint! I did quite a bit of research on how to best paint over a sanded lacquer finish. Turns out, the best solution is to use an oil based primer and then a latex paint on top. We picked up a gallon of Kilz Oil Based Primer, Sealer and Stain Blocker (I just found out that they make an odorless version of this. I wish we had known that earlier!). This stuff REAKS. No matter how much ventilation we had, the smell was enough to knock you over. BUT, it covered well and that’s all that matters! Here’s my handsome hubby working away on priming the dresser:

For the finish color, I decided that I wanted to do a robin egg blue color with white hardware. I got my inspiration over here on Pinterest. P.S… my name is Terra and I’m addicted to Pinterest. For realsies, it’s bad. I cannot get enough of it! It is the best/worst distraction ever, but offers so much inspiration! Anyways…back to paint colors. We went with Eucalyptus Leaf by Behr from Home Depot. I loooove it! It’s calm and cheery at the same time. Too bad the dresser has to live in our closet…maybe someday in a future home it’ll be a featured piece. Here’s to dreaming! :)

For the hardware I wanted to keep our cost as inexpensive as possible, so I chose to keep the original brass drawer pulls and spray paint them. Spray paint is quickly becoming one of my favorite things ever! It is the quickest way to make something look new and is so affordable! We picked up some Rustoleum Universal White Gloss Paint & Primer in 1 at Home Depot for $6.50ish (not bad for paint and primer!). First off, I soaked and scrubbed the heck out of those drawer pulls! I soaked them in Dawn soap and warm water for 30ish minutes and attacked them with a Scotch-Brite pad. Boy, oh boy…those things were nasty! The top is after scrubbing and the bottom is before:

I learned a fun trick before I started spray-painting the pulls (thanks to the helpful interwebs): To reach all parts of the pull, wedge a toothpick in the hinge:

That trick saved so much time and potential messy screw ups!

If you’re going to try painting brass hardware, or any type of metal for that matter, make sure you do multiple light, even layers and be sure to keep your can moving the ENTIRE time you’re spraying to avoid drips (thanks hubby for the painting tips :) )

After I got the first coat on the drawer pulls, we pried open the can of Eucalyptus Leaf in semi-gloss and ahhh….so relaxing. We poured some of that soothing color into a paint tray and I got started on the drawer fronts!

I tried something new on this dresser; I used a small foam roller like this one from Home Depot. SUCH a good purchase! The density of the foam helped the paint go on in thin, smooth layers. Again, I cannot stress this enough…do multiple THIN coats to achieve the best finish!

Are you ready for some fantastically-amazing-blow-your-mind after photos? Ok!


(The color in these photos is a little more vivid than it is in real life because we shot them outside as the sun was going down. The closest to accurate color would be the last photo, the close up of the drawer.)

Pretty amazing, right? I’m super proud of our accomplishment and so happy to call this dresser mine! Again, Josh amazed me with his carpentry skills and is so helpful to me as I’m learning the ins and outs of painting and furniture re-dos. For a free dresser, this thing sure cleaned up nicely!

Budget breakdown:

  • Dresser: FREE! (from Abbott’s)
  • Mahogany plywood: $10
  • Wood for drawer tracks: Free (already owned)
  • Wood for drawer-turned-shelf: Free (already owned)
  • Kilz Oil Based Primer: $20
  • Rustoleum Paint and Primer in 1: $6.50
  • Behr Eucalyptus Leaf semi-gloss paint: $24
  • Ultra-dense foam mini roller: $5
  • Total: $65.50

Not bad, right?! We really only used about a quart of both the primer and paint, but we’ll count the entire gallon into the cost of this project. I still need to buy a few baskets for the shelf to hold scarves, jewelry, accessories, etc. But that’ll come later. Right now, I’m just giddy to have an awesome dresser holding my clothing! :)

Mrs. Edwards


J&T’s Wedding

You are cordially invited to my very own DIY wedding!
{November 14, 2010}

Planning our wedding was fun, kind of stressful and a huge learning experience all at the same time! Our families really stepped up to the plate and wowed us with their DIY skills- from making 200+ jars of jam, to creating decorations out of heirlooms, to catering a meal for 230 people, to creating bridesmaid dresses. Our family is unbelievable and we couldn’t have pulled this off without them! We made use of things we owned, things borrowed and things found at great prices and came in under our $5,000 budget!

Without further ado, lets take a look at some pictures!

We bought our flowers from Boulder Creek Flowers, a distributor of locally grown flowers. I wasn’t too concerned with having a specific type of flower, instead I wanted to have things that were in-season and were loosely based on a yellow color scheme. My bouquet was a mixture of tulips and tuberose. The tuberose had SUCH a heavenly scent! Our good friend, Callan did such a great job on the arrangements!

My dress! Ah…I loved it! If I could find a reason to wear it again I’d jump at the chance. It was the first one I tried on and was exactly what I wanted: simple, lacy, and gorgeous.

My girls looked a-mazing! My awesome/fantastic/amazingly talented mom made their dresses from scratch! I found the inspiration over here, but there was no way in h-e-doublehockeysticks that we were going to pay close to $300 per dress! I loved the design of the dress because it was so versatile and could fit so many different body styles. Each of my girls wore theirs tied in a different way and each looked fantastic. We were able to find a sewing tutorial over here and in the end, the dresses cost around $30 each for materials. Score!

My girls and I wore TOMS wedges. I love the one-for-one mission behind TOMS, so to be able to support them by having 6 pairs of their shoes at my wedding was so cool!

My niece and flower girl, Livy, wore the 6th pair, Tiny-TOMS :)
(P.S. my mom found her dress for $7 at Target and my sis-in-law spruced it up with a big yellow bow on the back. So cute for a 1 1/2 yr old!)

We wanted to get something that our groomsmen wouldn’t have to break the bank on, that would look good with my girl’s dresses, and that they could wear again. We finally settled on a grey cotton shirt and simple khaki’s from the Gap, a yellow tie and Van’s (we even got itty bitty Van’s for our ring bearer and nephew, Zack!) Josh’s getup was a little more challenging to find though since we wanted him to stand out a little. After much deliberation, we had him wear a white shirt, khaki’s, yellow tie and a sweet jacket we found on sale at Men’s Warehouse. We searched high and low for that jacket (seen to the left of the grey shirt below) and boy did it deliver. My guy looked dang good!

Our photographer, Sam Wells, is one of Josh’s best friends. His work is unbelievable and he made a point to catch the little details of our big day. Case in point, this shot of our rings on a cracked redwood round. Love!

Sam caught the soft, vintagey vibe I was wanting in our photos. He scoured our venue for the best sites and lighting and did a baller job (word usage straight from Sam’s vocab).

My sweet, sweet Aunt Jeanie made my veil. She added tiny pearls along the edge to add to the vintage feel.

Such a happy guy! He even shaved for the occasion (and hasn’t been clean shaven since haha)

The location and time of year made for some amazing photos, if I do say so myself. Our big day just so happened to land on the warmest day in November. Go us!

Our crew made our special day perfect. To have our closest friends surrounding us and cheering us on was amazing!

Josh’s sweet family:

My sweet family:

Ok, so now details of the ceremony! Our venue, Mount Hermon, is a camp & conference center nestled in the Santa Cruz mountains. The place holds special significance to both Josh and I individually but also as a couple. It’s where we live &
work, where we met, and where we started dating. So it was only fitting to have our wedding there! The ceremony was held in the Auditorium, a building that was built in the 40s or 50s. It has great rustic charm and fit our theme perfectly. The great part about having the ceremony there was that it didn’t need too much decorating. We used antique french doors, an original window that came out of my parents house when they remodeled, a bunch of mason jars that belonged to my grandmother, and a great piece of vintage furniture that we borrowed from a friend. Other than the lumber to build the frames that the jars and window hung from, we did not purchase any of the items seen on the stage!

Here’s a shot of the wagon Livy rode down in (Zack wouldn’t agree to sit with her so he walked along side haha). My dad made chalk boards out of some old gold frames a friend gave us. Super easy and super cute!

We hung different sized jars at different lengths to add interest to the dark back drop:

The sign that hung above us was the theme verse at Mount Hermon for 2010. I think it will always be a reminder to Josh and I of how good the Lord has been to us and continues to be!

One of the biggest highlights of the day was to have my now father-in-law perform the ceremony. His words were so sweet and so meaningful and will forever be a treasured memory of the day! Having his blessing over our marriage is so, so cool.

We had a 3 piece band (piano, violin and cello) that played a hymn compilation while our guests were filling the Auditorium. They also played Coldplay’s “Viva la Vida” as we exited the building…so fun!

Right after the ceremony, we all headed out to take a group photo. I was so worried about the logistics of it, but it went so smoothly! We used this photo in our thank you notes and its a great reminder of how many people love us!

Now…on to the reception! Everything about our reception makes me happy- from the cotton candy and popcorn, to the photobooth, to the Arizona iced tea we used to toast with. Everything there was a piece of who we are and what we love. We had food that we loved and desserts that were to die for (no plain jane cake here). We had fun with the photobooth and even had s’mores for our guests outside. We had close friends playing music while our guests ate and I was serenaded by Coldplay’s “Green Eyes.” I wish we could go back to the day and spend more time enjoying everything!

Josh, a graphic designer, created this “brand” that we used throughout our wedding. Our guests first saw it on our invitations and then saw it again on this h-u-g-e sign that welcomed them to the reception. Once again, our friends and family stepped up and helped us big time when it came to painting this thing. Thanks guys!

They also saw the brand on their popcorn bags- thanks to a custom designed stamp from (we also used the same stamp on our thank you notes):

Our centerpieces were a simple 12″ x 12″ square of plywood with burlap stapled on, lace edging hot glued and a piece of colored fabric to top. We topped that with a fantastic centerpiece of in-season flowers made by Callan and a jar of pretzel sticks.

Along with a simple photo filled guest book, we created a fingerprint tree to remember the day. My incredibly talented sis-in-law drew the outline of the tree and Josh and I started off the fingerprints with ours that were turned into little bride and groom blue birds…adorable right? This piece now hangs in our home and will always be a reminder of that day.

Here’s the brand again on our favors…jam! My mom, sis-in-law Sarah and I made tons and tons and tons of jam! It was a long process but so worth it! Not only did we get to create something sweet for our guests, but I got to learn the art of canning which is definitely not something every girl knows how to do! We gave our guests options of strawberry, apricot, plum and blackberry. YUM! We displayed them in some antique suitcases and wooden boxes…all owned or borrowed.

Not only did my mom make my bridesmaid’s dresses, made tons o’ jam, and helped me with decorations, she also catered the reception! She is a woman of MANY talents and I am SO grateful for her! She was able to cook for 200+ people for around $2.00/person. Unbelievable! And boy, was it good….yum! For serving the food, we used old wooden fruit boxes with damask fabric liners (courtesy of Wonder Mom) and Jadeite borrowed from my friend Katie.

Both Josh and I have a slight addiction to Arizona Iced Tea. So, what better thing to toast with at our wedding?!

I didn’t want to go the traditional route of a huge iced cake for dessert, so we opted for a small two person strawberry shortcake for us and cobbler, pies and cheesecake for our guests. I don’t think anyone was disappointed in our choice!! Our cake was made by our lovely friend Patrice- she’s great and the cake was de-lish!

One of the funnest parts of the reception was our photobooth! My BFF’s husband used his camera with a tripod and guests dressed in items that we raided from Mount Hermon’s skit closet (it is a camp, after all). I made the mustaches from felt, hot glue, and dowels…they were a hit!

We handed out little cards that had a Picasa link where guests could download the photos. Our photobooth made multiple Christmas cards in 2010! :) You can see all of our photobooth pics over here.

Our getaway was through a tunnel of cheering family and friends. It was a perfect end to a perfect day!

Josh’s fully restored ’54 Chevy was an excellent getaway vehicle!

We had a blast at our own wedding and I really think that’s all that matters. Our family and friends were such a huge part of our day and nothing would have been possible without them. It was perfect in so many ways and I wouldn’t change a thing…except maybe getting to eat more of our cake! :)

Mrs. Edwards