Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Motivation Shmotivation

I am in my last week of coursework and I could not be more unmotivated. I have 2 papers left and a final and have found everything else to do besides do these last few things. Christmas shopping, decorating, cleaning, Charlie Brown shows on tv...you name it. Anything except doing my homework.  I should really get on this already. I mean, they are due by this weekend. I think I have a case of senioritis...or since you aren't really a senior in grad school is it almost-last-semesteritis kicking in? Graduation, May 2013, you cannot come soon enough.
Poor Charlie Brown.

Cute Christmas Centerpiece! :)

Fighting the crud in our house this week. Rest and homework it is.

Now about those papers...


Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Outdoor Adventures

This past weekend, my friend Heidi and I took the dogs to the bark park. Heidi, who does not have any dogs of her own, is a stand-in doggy parent to several different friends' dogs. One of which is Buddy too. And every dog, when her name is spoken or they see her, they immediately FREAK OUT because they know a hike or a walk or a fun adventure is about to happen.

So this past weekend, we loaded up our friends' 2 beagles and Buddy, and we set out for some outdoor fun, before it gets too cold, and we have to wait to do this until springtime.

Photo courtesy of Heidi! A great shot!

There was a WHOLE lot of doggy handshakes (aka. butt sniffing)...

...and lots of happy tails and smiles...

...one of which decided to crash while in the car on the ride home...

Needless to say, the pups had a BLAST!

...those were some sleepy pups after their outdoor adventures!

Until the next adventure,


Sunday, November 18, 2012

Yup, I'm THAT girl.

I am that person. The one you go to a restaurant with and you change one or everything about an option on the menu to make it what you want or need it to be. I feel bad for the waiters and waitresses that have to wait on me. And I feel bad for my friends who sit there and have to listen to me say...once again..."I have a question about {this food item}".  Thankfully, they are all really good sports and just give a good chuckle because I did it again.

When KGK and I went on our first date, we decided on the restaurant beforehand. In hindsight, I am very grateful for this simple fact. Many times, you may not know where the date may be, but for me, this was great.

KGK asked me to dinner. We went to this great spot that had a wide variety of food items to chose from: steak, chicken, salads, seafood..really a very large selection. For this, I am so glad. You see, when I go out to eat, I have these crazy food allergies and intolerances. And unfortunately, the list is quite extensive.  So, before our date, I looked up the menu online (of which I am also very grateful for!) and scanned what I wanted ahead of time, so I didn't have to ask a thousand questions or take FOREVER to order. Don't want to come across as high maintenance or anything on our first time out! :)  So on our date, I was able to order with no difficulty, made the impression I can scan a menu, order quickly, and don't get to know the waiter faster than the person you are on a date with because of all the crazy load of questions. Online menu= goal accomplished! I was one happy chick.

Thankfully, KGK is very helpful with checking to make sure all my allergies and intolerances are taken into account, now that we have been together and had many meals together. And our families and friends are also so wonderful to always check ahead of time to ask what I can or can't have. This is especially nice around the holidays were every type of dish under the sun is resurrected from the years past and feasted upon and about 80% of them have something in them I can't eat.  I always say, please, don't plan around me. I will find something! But, they always check and they always make sure there is more than carrot sticks that I will be able to enjoy.

So today, in the spirit of thanks as Thanksgiving is upon us and food is ever-present on our minds, stomachs, and waistlines, I want to say THANK YOU to all my friends and family who constantly keep me in your thoughts when it comes to food. For many, this isn't even a glimmer of a thought. For me, it is every trip to the grocery store, every meal out, and every party where you feel like a goober for not trying the famous dish of the night. It can be embarrassing to say "no, I can't, but thanks anyways!". So thank y'all for being gracious and so thoughtful towards me! I appreciate it more than most people realize!


Thursday, November 15, 2012

More than the Latest & Greatest

The Holiday season is upon us. For me, right now (and the past year as well), this means a mad rush around Thanksgiving to get my final projects, papers and assignments complete as the semester comes to a close. All the while, there is FOOD GALORE (yum!) and lots of cleaning and planning.

The fall is one of my favorite times of the year, but I love the excitement that comes with the holidays. I love making a list of what gifts to prepare and what meals I want to make. It is hard with schoolwork at the same time, but I really try to focus my energy towards getting meaningful and useful gifts for people and making recipes that are sure crowd-pleasers. There is nothing greater than giving a gift to someone that screams THIS IS SO YOU. I love it.

In addition, this is a great time of the year to help out others in need. Whether it be children overseas, those affected by the wrath of hurricane Sandy, or one of the people in your very own circle of friend or family that just need a pick-me-up.  Even something as simple as donating blood...thank you iron count, I was good to go! I was able to donate today! :)

One blog I follow in particular does a great ministry every year to those who are in desperate need. I have not been following this blog for long, but Glennon, the writer, and her "Monkee" friends, have created such an amazing community to help those who need more than the latest gadget or gizmo for the holidays.

Check out how to give through her site here or find your own that is close to your heart, but be sure to find time this holiday season for giving more than the latest and greatest. Find time to think of someone who truly needs something and enjoy that you have blessed someone with something that they truly need.


Monday, November 12, 2012

Let's Give 'Em Somethin' to Blog About: Inspiration Destination

"Let's Give 'em Somethin' to Blog About" is an effort for me to share a blog posting that I have read somewhere or an article I have found interesting. I will give my thoughts that rambled on through my head as I read them or have been marinading since then. Some I may have just read within a few hours and others may be ones that have stuck with me through the weeks, months or even years, and I want to grasp something from it and remember. They are a way for me to look back and remember.

Today's Post: Our Wedding

Young House Love. What else can I say besides...LOVE! These two are fantastic (well, and Clara & Burger too!). John and Sherry are full-time bloggers with so much energy, quirkiness, and creativity that you can't help but soak up all they write. Amazing. Many of their projects and ideas have inspired me to think beyond what I actually see and create from that canvas to something so different you can't believe the transformation. They LOVE their ORB (I am a huge fan of it too, Sherry!), painting everything they can white or yellow (have I said before that I just love yellow?!), their ceramic animals, and crisp clean lines with bold burst of color and soft gray contrasts. I did not love gray or yellow or ORB or being crafty..at all... until I started reading their blog a few years ago (wow, has it already been that long?!). So it wouldn't surprise anyone then to say that their DIY wedding was a HUGE inspiration for me as KGK and I started thinking about our own wedding ideas. With that said, let's get into the pure simplicity and merry of their DIY backyard wedding. 

John and Sherry bought a house in Virginia and planned to have their wedding be as relaxed and friendly as their awesome personalities are. They had those cute vintage touches with the water and mint lemonade in the wine bottle, and string lights overhead to set the scene. Everyone looks so happy and soaking up the love of the day. They really focused on their guests and how much they appreciated them coming to their wedding and being a part of their lives.  There was also a photo booth where guests could commemorate the occasion with awkward yet funny pictures with friends and family, and enjoy the peaceful setting of a backyard cookout. How fun does that seem! 

So when KGK and I were planning our wedding, having it as relaxed and "us" was the focus. We wanted it to be as outdoorsy and inviting as we possibly could. Laughter, eating, catching up with family and friends you rarely see, and enjoying the time with people you see often was the main focus of our wedding. It was perfect. 
College friends!

Fall Centerpieces

Yeah, I love this guy ;)

So thanks, YHL, for the inspiration to keep it simple and you through the whole shebang. It made it so worth it. 


Monday, November 5, 2012

Let's Give 'em Somethin' to Blog About: I'm Still Me

"Let's Give 'em Somethin' to Blog About" is an effort for me to share a blog posting that I have read somewhere or an article I have found interesting. I will give my thoughts that rambled on through my head as I read them or have been marinading since then. Some I may have just read within a few hours and others may be ones that have stuck with me through the weeks, months or even years, and I want to grasp something from it and remember. They are a way for me to look back and remember.

Today's Post: Sarah Sitting Down

Sarah's story was first revealed to me by Kelle Hampton (I told you I really liked her blog!). Sarah's story has been tragic and amazing and wonderful..and I say all these with the utmost awe and respect. She was paralyzed from the waist down after an accident while horseback riding. Her story has been on my mind, and I eagerly await to hear the next part of her journey and what she is learning to embrace. 

In each blog post, Sarah eloquently describes her story. Her scary-yet-enlightening story. She goes through the different times she has struggled and was adjusting to a new way of life. So many times, I think that a new way of life is something that YOU initiate. That it is something you have chosen to do-- like become a vegetarian, or move to another country, or change career paths. But Sarah, she had an accident. Her path was chosen for her. She didn't have a choice in this. She just had to deal with what happened to her and learn to live her life in this new scenario. 

So many times, I plan (cue laughter now!). I plan every detail of a day or hour or minute. I try and have a course of action or a well-thought-out road map for where my life should go. But really, it just doesn't always go as we planned. We can account for whatever curve balls will come our way, yet we will still miss something. That's just life.

Her story makes me come back to the whole "If God has a plan for your life". I really believe He does. Whether you believe in God or not, there are so many things in life that really seem to come together, even when the unexpected happens. For me, I like to believe that those things are the ones that will, in time, make us stronger. They may not make us happy, but we will be different because of them. It is just up to us whether we chose to be better from it. 

This change that occurs within us-whether from something major, minor, completely life-changing, or just a small insignificant memory or moment that stays with us- we need to be patient. While we are still living, we are still able to grow. We can adjust, adapt, grow, crumble, and build back up again. We can have hope. 

And not all change is from bad circumstances. Change can be fantastic. Like, getting married--since this is something very real to me right now. It is wonderful to share life with someone. The one person you have committed your time on this earth to. This change has been wonderful for me. And I am excited to see how I will change and grow from this point forward.

It is funny, when I was younger, I thought getting married meant you would somehow be different by that point. Well, I am still me. I have changed, but I am still the same in many ways. In my teenage years, I thought when you went to college, you would have everything figured out. NOPE. And when I was in college and right after, I thought that then, I would have it all figured out. NOPE. I always viewed adults as the ones that knew things. They just did, somehow. They were grown ups. I thought being a grown-up meant you had it all figured out. NOPE. And when I was single, I thought, when you are married, you have made it. You will be grown up and have it figured out. NOPE. Well, I have realized that I am still me. I am still growing. Changing. Evolving. I still have areas where I need to mature and grow up. There are things that I have overcome and do not worry about from when I was younger. Things have changed-life has changed.

While my change has not been as drastic as Sarah's, she has learned to grow and adapt in ways that I have never and may never even begin to imagine. She has overcome so much. Her story is inspiring.  She is strong and courageous. She works through life and she is always adapting to be better. She is living life and learning to figure things out. She is constantly working to be herself.

To Read Sarah's Story from the beginning, go here


Thursday, November 1, 2012

Crock Pot Applesauce

On our honeymoon, KGK and I went apple picking. What a great way to celebrate fall, right?! It was GLORIOUS! I had been wanting to go for quite some time now, so we decided to find a spot to go during our last day of the trip. It was perfect fall weather!

When we got back, we had SO MANY APPLES, I had no idea what to do with all of them. Apple pie is one thing, but we could have made 4 or 5 of them. So it was time to think of something else. So then came...


Crock Pot Applesauce !!

This recipe is fantastic!! I found this online through a serious of friend's blogs and some online recipe searching. Not sure where the original credit goes, but I altered a little anyway. Enjoy!!

Don't mind the vase and flower stems in the background:)
I have a ROCKIN' husband who got me flowers!
The Goods:
8 large apples, cubed & peeled
1-2 tablespoons cinnamon (really just however much you like)
3 tablespoons brown sugar
1.5 teaspoons vanilla extract

Ready to cook! :)

The How-To:
Cut your apples into cubes and be sure all the skin is off. Put into large crock pot and sprinkle the entire thing with cinnamon (stir and add more if you like more cinnamon). Add your brown sugar and vanilla. Stir. Cook on low for 6-7 hours and stir intermittently. Enjoy!

Cutting & peeling the apples takes the longest time, but once you do, it is SO worth it! I think I may make this again this week! :)

And here are the flowers that were cropped out of the picture above...I'm in love:)

yellow love