Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Pinterest Love, Part II

Not along ago I shared with you the projects and recipes I had already completed from all the pinning I do on Pinterest. (Speaking of, did you see the new button I added? To the right? It says "Follow Me on Pinterest". Click it. Because once you follow me, I can follow you back, and I always need new inspirational people to follow and repin!)

The ratio of what I have pinned "to do" and what I have actually done is about a bajillion to one. I chose my favorites from my Craft & DIY board, otherwise I'd still be staring at all my pins trying to pick favorites! Here are some of the things on my list to do...

Memory Jar (credit)
This is something I pinned a long time ago and have been really excited about doing for the new year. Actually, it's good that I'm writing this, because I've been so excited about it that I forgot to get it ready! The good news is, this is an extremely simply project--just a mason jar and some slips of paper. I want to use it to record the little moments of 2012 that we would normally not remember, and then next New Year's Eve, we can read them all.

Lotion Bottle --> iPhone Charger (credit)
This is one of those pins that is so simple yet so amazing! I am constantly plugging my iPhone in wherever I can find a plug, usually in the kitchen while I'm cooking dinner. And while nothing has happened yet...let's just say my odds aren't good. This is a cheap solution, and so cute! I can't wait to make this.

Rag Quilt (credit)
Oh.My.Word. I am in love with this quilt! In college, my roommate and I went through a phase where we made rag quilts for everyone we knew. Let's just say the phase ended with a broken vacuum cleaner and lots of blood. The quilts did turn out pretty though. And since it's a rag quilt, details aren't so important, so I am sure I can manage this. I especially love the way the grey creates borders on this one, and the color and fabric choices are gorgeous. 

DIY Quote Canvas (credit)
I have seen a couple of different versions of the DIY Quote on Canvas. There's this one, which I love, and also one with wooden letters glued onto the canvas and painted the same color, which I love as well. I can't decide which one I actually want to make. I also have a couple of quotes and song lyrics that I can't decide between... I may end up making both types of canvases so I don't have to choose!

No-Sew Cardigan (credit)
I am in love with this. As I've said, I can sew sort of a straight line, but the idea of no-sew appeals to me much more. I really want to go scour a thrift store for a cute long sleeve shirt and do this! A little bit of stitch witchery and a button... I can handle that!!

So there's a few of my favorite pins that are on my to-do craft list. One of my news year's resolutions is to actually start and finish projects, so hopefully I'll get these done!

Do you have any projects on your "to-do" list? How do you motivate yourself to start and finish them??

Monday, December 26, 2011

2011's Top 10 Moments

I am joining Mrs. Pancake's link party for Top 10 Moments in 2011. I really enjoyed reflecting on my year and picking my Top 10! These are in no particular order, because I don't have the patience to sort them :)

Number One: Joining a Church
Josh and I had been church shopping since before we got married. We had attended a very large church where most of our friends went. It was okay, because we knew our friends, but when a church is so big, it's hard to get involved and build new relationships. We tried several churches in the area, but from the moment we walked into this church, it felt like home. It's a small Baptist church with the sweetest and friendliest people I've ever met. We became members within a few weeks, and it has been such a blessing to us. We have made dear friends and having a church home has brought us closer to God and to each other.

Number Two: Josh's Home Inspection Business 

Josh started working on his Home Inspector's license in the spring. I don't think either of us quite realized what a long road it would be! There was lots of studying, classes, more studying, and finally, a huge test to get his license. I was so proud of him when he passed, and I'm even more proud of him now that his business is getting off the ground. It's long been a dream of his to be self employed, and he is on his way!

Number Three: Emma
My sister in law, Elizabeth, had a daughter in June, making me an official aunt for the first time (more on that "official" part in a minute!) Emma is the cutest, chubbiest, and sweetest little girl on the planet. It has been such a joy to watch Elizabeth become a mother and to watch Emma grow. You can't help but smile when you're with Emma. Plus, those cheeks just ask for kisses and squeezes!

Number Four: Myles & Emmett
As I pointed out, Emma made me an aunt officially. Unofficially, I became an aunt in April when my good friend Lindsey gave birth to Myles. He was a whole month early, and made his appearance the weekend Lindsey's shower was scheduled. Myles is truly a joy to be around, and hello, handsome:
In October, one of my very best friends gave birth to a tiny itty bitty boy named Emmett, who joined the world 8 weeks early. He weighed just over 2 1/2 pounds. The first time I went to see him, he was in an incubator in the NICU, and was unbelievably adorable. Emmett is a fighter and made incredible progress. He's been home for more than a month now. I got to hold him for the first time a few weeks ago, and he's still so tiny, but has come so far! For your reference, the pacifier is the same in both pictures:

Watching Sam and Lindsey become moms and love their boys has been so much fun. Myles & Emmett are lucky kids!

Number Five: Occupy Thanksgiving
We joined my dad, stepmom, and brother for a Thanksgiving camping trip at a private campground. Growing up, my family often camped for Thanksgiving, and it remains my favorite way to celebrate the holiday. We are serious campers, there are no RV's--just lots of tents and firewood and good food. Everyone asks if we cook the turkey over the fire--the answer is no! My dad cooked it the day before and we reheated it over the fire. It was delicious :)

Number Six: Upgrading to iPhone's
 Compared to everything else on my list, this seems pretty silly. We went from old school flip phones to iPhones as an early Christmas present from my mom. WOW! It was a huge upgrade and I love my iPhone. Especially with Josh starting the business, these came at a perfect time and have been so useful. And so much FUN!
Number Seven: Our First Anniversary
 On April 24th, we celebrated our first anniversary. Our first year was not entirely easy--it was filled with car accidents, unrelated trips to the ER, emergency surgery, and job changes. But we survived! And we had fun. Everyone always says marriage is harder than you think, and it truly is. It's also a lot more fun than I thought. No one can make me laugh as hard as he can. 
Number Eight: My Old Job
 Last winter, I accepted a promotion at my company. My new job only lasted eight months. I was stuck in a cubicle, had no interaction with people, and was bored out of my mind. When my old boss called me and asked if I'd like to come back, I immediately and gratefully said yes. Without getting into details, let's just say that my "old job" was a million times cooler than the promotion. I have been back for six months, and even though it was a step down in the eyes of my company, I couldn't be happier.
Number Nine: Not Buying a House
In February, we started house shopping. We found one we loved, put an offer on it, and were SO excited. We currently live in a one bedroom apartment, and while I still consider it home, it's not easy. With two dogs and a husband who loves tools, things get a little cramped. I couldn't wait to have a kitchen with more than one countertop! The inspection proved that the house was not worth it, and we took a step back. Instead of rushing to find something else before our lease was up, we decided to wait. Honestly, it was not a fun decision and if left to my own devices, probably not the decision I would've made. However, I am so grateful that we did it. It has given us another year to save, and to think about what we really want. 
 Number 10: Christmas Eve
Christmas Eve just happened, but it was one of the best nights of the whole year for me. We went to the candlelight service at our church, and as I was working on writing this post, I was so aware of how much our church family means to me. We stood outside with candles and sang Christmas carols, and I was reminded of all the ways God has blessed us over the past year. After the service, our assistant pastor and his wife invited us over for dinner with their family, and it was yet another example of why I love our church so much.

So that's our 2011. I hope yours was just as wonderful, and I hope 2012 brings many more wonderful memories for all of us!

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas!

"For unto you this day is born in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord."
Luke 2:11

Wishing you a Very Merry Christmas from Josh and I.

May the joy of Jesus fill your life today, and the rest of the year.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas Eve!

While tomorrow might be the "big day," Christmas Eve feels like a holiday in and of itself to me.

I grew up with Santa coming on Christmas Eve, opening presents late into the night, and sleeping by the fireplace. Christmas Eve was (and is) just as important to me as Christmas Day.

This morning, Josh & I opened our stockings and ate a yummy Crockpot Breakfast Casserole. Our puppies got to open their stocking too, and loved their new toys...

June's favorite thing in the world is chewing, so she got a new Nylabone that should (hopefully) last her while.

 Both girls got new stuffed toys too, which will probably survive for about 24 hours before being reduced to a piece of fabric. But it's Christmas, so if they want to rip all the stuffing out of their toys, it's okay by me.

This afternoon, we will head to the Christmas Eve service at our church, where I am looking forward to singing Christmas carols and reflecting on the birth of our Savior.

Hope everyone is enjoying Christmas Eve as much as we are here!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Christmastime Is Here...

I guess we can't avoid it any's officially almost Christmas! Not that I'm complaining. I, unlike a certain man I happen to be married to, really enjoy Christmastime. I actually think I may enjoy the time leading up to Christmas more than Christmas itself.

I love Christmas shopping. It sounds crazy, right? Especially since Josh and I are not exactly at a point where we have tons of money to spend. Most of the year, I hesitate to spend money on anything we don't need. At Christmas, I feel a little justified to spend more than I usually would. The thing is, I really enjoy picking out gifts for people I love. It's important to me that I put thought into gifts, that I know the recipient will really enjoy what I picked out. Sometimes I am so set on finding the perfect gift that I drive myself a little bit crazy. I'm not satisfied picking out something generic! I am proud to say I have successfully found "the perfect gift" for everyone on my list this year. (After Christmas, after everyone opens their presents, maybe I will do a little post on what everyone got & why...)

I also loooooooove Christmas lights. Poor husband hates it, but I like to drag him out to drive around and look at light displays. Growing up, my family always went out to see Christmas lights on Christmas Eve, and when we got back, Santa had come! (We opened presents on Christmas Eve, which is the German tradition.) This year I researched the best light displays in our area, plugged them into my phone, and we went to see them all. I especially love large old fashioned multi-colored lights, and silhouette nativities.

Another thing I really, really, really love about Christmas is the music. I have a playlist on my iPod titled "Happy Birthday Jesus" and I have to force myself to wait until Thanksgiving to start playing it on repeat. This is one of my favorite Christmas songs. My dad always played this for us, along with a German version of "O Christmas Tree". This isn't exactly a classic, and you've probably never heard it before, but give it a listen. I guarantee it'll put a smile on your face! 

Since I've gotten older, I've always really learned to enjoy traditional Christmas carols. O Holy Night is my all time favorite, especially this line:

Long lay the world,
in sin and error pining, 
till He appeared...
and the soul felt it's worth.

You can't get much closer to the meaning of Christmas than that.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Pinterest Love, Part I

Oh, Pinterest, how I love thee. (If you are a female, and have not yet become addicted to Pinterest, please leave me a comment so I can send you an invite so you can share in the joy). Some of the girls at church are planning a Pinterest craft day, so that we can accomplish some of the many things we have pinned and have yet to actually do.

So in the spirit of Pinterest, and how much there is to love, I thought I'd share a few of my favorite pins that I have actually done (go me!). These are mostly recipes, because I have to cook so I might as well make something fun. Unfortunately, at this point in my life, I don't have to craft, so those things get left undone.

Bacon & Egg Toast Cups (credit)
This is like a fancy twist on one of my favorite breakfast staples, the egg-in-a-hole. Yum. Basically, it's a circle of bread (I used a drinking glass to cut them out) pressed into a muffin tin, add a slice of bacon, and an egg. Bake at 350 until the white of the egg is set. These were easy, and delicious, and now my husband wants them all the time.

Buffalo Chicken Dip ("Crack Dip") (credit)
 Another yum. I have a slight obsession with all things buffalo sauce, and have done everything from buffalo chicken mac & cheese to buffalo chicken calzones. So this dip is right up my alley. And considering it uses one of my secret kitchen shortcuts, canned chicken breast, it was super easy. I served it at a church potluck with some Wheat Thins, and it was a hit.

Peanut Butter Cheerio Treats (credit)
If you are looking for a simple and delicious snack or dessert idea, this is the recipe for you.  I'm generally wary of things that call for boiling sugar, because I don't have a candy thermometer, and don't want one (see my last post) and I usually end up over boiling or under boiling the sugar. I took a chance on these and made them for my family when we went camping for Thanksgiving. I consider it a success when my picture (on the right) looks almost as good as the one on Pinterest!

Twine Wrapped Letter (credit)
The first (and only!) Pinterest craft I have completed so far. I saw this on Pinterest, but I actually saw one that my friend Ashley made first. Again, mine is the one on the right. This project involved a wooden letter from Hobby Lobby (I've heard paper mache may be better, but they were out of S when I went), a ball of twine, and an absurd amount of hot glue. Especially around the ends, I think there may be more hot glue than twine. I love how it turned out though! It is currently hanging above our key hook, and it makes me smile every day. 

So now you can begin to understand my addiction to Pinterest. Next time I'll show you some of the things I want to make!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

The Opposite of Perfectionist

Admission: I am so not a perfectionist. So not detail oriented. Also, I am one of those people who starts things with really great intentions, and then gets three quarters of the way through and never finishes.

 My parents would tell you this is not a recent development. Throughout childhood, I attempted a variety of sports and hobbies--swimming, jazz dance, horseback riding, tap dance, softball... I always wanted to quit midway through the season.

These traits combined lead to some pretty cool projects that I start and then give up as soon as there are details or precision measuring involved. I have really great intentions, but not a lot of follow through.

Not long ago, I decided it would be not too difficult to make some covers for our couch pillows. I have a sewing machine, I sort of know how to use it. How hard could this be?

They are pretty cute, right? What you don't see is the unfinished edges (that frayed in two days), the uneven stitching (meh, I couldn't be bothered to iron or pin or any of that detail-y stuff!) and the loose seams that ripped open in a few weeks. Oops. (For your information, I went back and fixed the loose seams several months later. And left the edges unfinished. They are still fraying.)

I can't even finish my coffee. Ask my husband, I drink 3/4 of a cup and then leave the rest sitting there. Every single day.

Early this morning at work, I got the dreaded email from accounting saying my last bank deposit had been off. So I pulled the reports, checked it out, and realized I had not made one mistake but three. Yikes.

I thought at some point that I could be ADD. That would be a great excuse for the lack of attention to detail, and the distraction halfway through. Except I know deep down that's not really the case. Most of the time, the truth is that I'd rather be curled up in my pajama pants, reading a good book.

A good book. Now that's something I've never had a hard time finishing.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Catching Up!

So I had a bright idea to start a blog...and I did it...and then I promptly forgot about it.


I left my first post up, from over a year ago, because it still applies. We've been through a lot in the past year, and I've grown a lot. When we have problems, and of course we do, I still want to fix them immediately. I still feel weird and agitated until we've made up. I am getting better though, because I am making a conscious effort. I have to tell myself to take a deep breath, say a prayer, and remember that even though we may be fighting, we still love each other.

And love each other we do. One of the things I treasure most about our relationship is our ability to be silly.

I found this on Pinterest (you can count me among the addicted, and follow my boards here ). I love it. We are silly. We make funny faces and tickle each other and pick on each other. Now that we have fancy iPhones (thanks, Mom!) we send each other silly pictures and FaceTime each other from different rooms. His goofiness is one of the reasons I fell in love with him, and it's still one of my favorite things about him.

Did I just make you gag a little bit?

Oops again.