Friday, October 31, 2008

prettied up!

i took a mental health day today. very much needed. i had planned to be quite productive with the long list of things i've had to do since we got back from our honeymoon(s).

instead i got caught up on my computer (big surprise, right??) i wrote 4! posts (scheduled a few for the next few days) and spent tons of time making a new banner (quite difficult if you don't have photoshop) and pretty-ing things up around here.

i refuse to feel guilty - i would have been working and not getting things done anyway, right??

look at my pretty buttons. i know ya'll are on google reader, but work out your index finger and click over to check it out.

ooooooooo ahhhhhh....

Programs Featured, etc...

photo by lauren brooks (who is getting married tomorrow - congrats!)

Style Me Pretty also just featured the joint effort by Jon (mostly) and me (a little) that was our ceremony programs. Abby also emailed me last night asking if she could feature our wedding when we get the photos back -- ummm... YEA you can!

Probably near the end of November/Beginning of December we'll be featured on at least three blogs (love all you nice people who like our wedding!)

I also plan to start doing some posts that chronicle the week and day of the wedding in more detail and also go over some of the projects that I didn't post much about (because i was sneaky like that). This may or may not be something you look forward to, but it will make me happy on two fronts to get some of my thoughts about the wedding out.

1. it will help me come to terms with it all (i, for some reason, have a lot of anxiety surrounding how it all went off - mostly, i think, because it is all very blurry - which may or may not be a result of the amount of alcohol i consumed that day) - don't misinterpret this anxiety as being associated with the fact that i ended up married that day - that is the one thing i have absolutely no qualms about.

2. i try my hardest to journal, but i'm no good at it. blogging fills this void for me so if i get it up here it will be recorded for us to look back on.

so anyway, look forward (or don't) to that...

pumpkin patch: a retrospective

lindsey, kendra, and i spent last sunday morning at the lone pine farms pumpkin patch. it is a beautiful place that would fill any child's pumpkin fantasy. it had been a rough weekend full of emotional ups and downs - i was just barely holding it together (and proceeded to lose it shortly thereafter). this resulted in me being no fun to be around, but i think we all still enjoyed taking in the beautiful october day in oregon. our last october in oregon. my favorite time of year. sad.

it has been beautiful here lately. so funny - i always hear everyone saying how surprising the weather has been this october, yada, yada.. don't they realize that the best time to be an oregonian is indian summer?? its like this EVERY year. i guess God just helps you forget so the next time it comes around you can fall in love with it all over again.

did i mention i am in LOVE with the photo at the top of this post. for some reason it just speaks to me. if i knew how to use photshop i could probably help it along, but i still love it.

here is proof that the last two octobers have been just as fabulous as the current.

2007 at lone pine - just the two of us...

at northern lights colonial harvest days -

oh, to live near jon and jess again (CAN.NOT.WAIT)...

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Martha hearts Pingg too!

i've been hearting for about a year now. it is an online event planning site - you can send invites and set up an event website all for FREE! i like it better than because the images appeal more to my taste and i like the website set up better.

i barely ever use it because we never plan parties, but i did use it this week for G's dissertation defense party.

where does martha come in?? she just partnered with pingg! so i'll be seeing more of her, which is just fine with me.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

DIY Featured on Style Me Pretty!

Its DIY (do it yourself) week at Style me Pretty. I submitted some of my wedding stuff and so far they have featured my fabric flower corsages (originally posted here). Fun!!
Have I mentioned I heart blogs?

Monday, October 27, 2008

christmas craftiness begins...

This weekend Lindsey, Kendra, and I set off to begin our christmas craftiness. We spent Saturday morning at Jo-Ann's and the rest of the day watching movies and getting our initial crafts done.

The report so far: I think our goals are doable and affordable. I love that I am spending less money and getting more for it: more opportunities for me to craft and better gifts for our loved ones.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

some things

that have been making me smile

1. my (dried) wedding flowers and candle holders around our house

2. cool nights analyzing data in my slanket

3. looking through pictures of wedding day set up - i have to say i'm pretty proud and frankly amazed at what our small army did

4. candlelit dinner for two drained newlyweds

5. discussing big life decisions with my fiancee husband - makes me fall in love all over again

Monday, October 20, 2008

one month in

i am in absolute awe that we have been married one month. absolutely insane. it has been one of our hardest months.

i don't feel any different now that we are married. we were always in it for the long haul - we just made it official. my name is different - that is weird - nicole simmons.

its just been hard because life is hard and we are in one of those times when it feels like we can't catch a break.

grant is quick to remind me that it is 2008 and we knew when we decided to get married, finish a PhD and move across the country (or world) it wasn't going to be an easy year.

i wish it were though.

things i am struggling with...

1. what to do with my life. how do you decide this when you want to be a professional capable of supporting yourself, yet long to be a homemaker?

2. where we should move, if given the choice.

3. the state of this country, on so many fronts.

4. how to get it all done. there is just so much.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Halloween Costume Ideas

Alisha asked if I had any unique ideas for kids costumes... i replied that all of my 'ideas' are replicas of others, and most frequently that 'other' is martha. Here are the links I sent her.

Could they be any cuter?

Can't you just see Ella James in one of these?

goldfish, spring chicken, lambs

this is good for a mommy or daddy who want to be festive, but not go all out (click for more)


little red riding hood & wolf

egg (kinda makes me laugh)




lilly of the valley


**all photos from or martha

Monday, October 13, 2008

i spoke too soon...

just as things were turning around i gradually developed a sore throat, headache, and body aches throughout the day today. let me tell you it is really fun to deal with not feeling well while running around like a chicken with your head cut off because recruitment is so successful - 80+ girls have contacted us since last wednesday.

i now have a temp of 100.1 F. a colleague has strep, but i just got tested - its not strep. oh and the doc informed me that if he had seen G & i immediately after mexico he would have put us on antibiotics...we never got anything. and G still isn't 100%.

pray that i wake up feeling better so i dont have to cancel the 3 assessments and 2 meetings i have tomorrow. if you'll remember - i was home sick LAST tuesday so it'd be good not to call in again...



attempting to organize myself for Christmas Crafting

i have been in a funk ever since returning from our wedding & honeymoon(s). i think i was just so overwhelmed with all that was going awry and also not feeling well. this weekend i really started to feel better physically and i decided that if i wanted the overwhelmed feeling to go away i had to start on something.

so i cleaned. and cleaned. and cleaned. our place was never as dirty as it was in the months leading up to and following the wedding. it FEELS so much better. as a result of my time spent cleaning, this has become my best friend. (seriously - IT.IS.amazing!!)

being in a clean house makes such a difference in my attitude! i have to remember this. since my house was clean i was able to tackle the other major thing i'm taking on - 100% handmade (by me) Christmas. this is what i did to get myself ready and organized - took me several hours on saturday, but i now think it is possible to get everything done in the next two+ months!

1. Use this template (blogged here) to make a list of who you need/want to give gifts to.

2. Use your notebook and etsy to come up with ideas for what to make for whom.

3. Print out any tutorials/patterns you will need to use.

4. Organize them by type of gift in a binder with dividers.

5. Make a supply list.

6. Buy supplies

7. Be crafty!

I'm very excited about this and REALLY hope it all works out. Could be interesting with us hosting our first Thanksgiving (for 10-12!! yay!) and G plugging away at his dissertation, BUT i think its doable!!


update for those interested: Grant really enjoyed his time in Missouri (said it is absolutely beautiful too!) and we will know more on Friday. He will also be returning from Detroit that day so it should be a good day of updates.

Sunday, October 12, 2008


I always knew there was a reason that the crockpot was my best friend and this chicken is it. Seriously it was so good and juicy and flavorful and the best part - if i went really slow it took me maybe 5 minutes to get ready. Grant claims to hate rice and lapped it up with this sauce! He proclaimed it to be the best meal I've ever made.

I found it here, but the recipe is below.

Crockpot Vietnamese Roasted Chicken

4-6 chicken thighs
1 1/2 T soy sauce
1 1/2 T fish sauce
1 1/2 t white sugar
1/2 t black pepper
4 cloves chopped garlic
1 T canola oil

Mix all ingredients together and pour over chicken. Cook in crockpot on high for 3 to 4 hours OR low for 6 hours.

Few things: My thighs were frozen when I put them in and all was fine. I left the meat with the skin and bone (which I don't like to do) but after cooking the skin just fell off and the meat fell off the bone. I buy the garlic that is already minced (because I find chopping it INCREDIBLY irritating) so if you had to chop it yourself it would make the prep time longer (duh...). Also, I cooked 6 thighs and I was concerned that this wasn't enough sauce so I tripled it. Probably wasn't necessary in the end - I would probably just double it. I like the sauce to mostly cover the meat when it starts cooking so it doesn't dry out.

Oh and one other thing - I thought my crockpot was on low when in fact it was on high so I overcooked these for HOURS and they were still amazing. ENJOY!

Thursday, October 9, 2008

crafty goodness

the mailman was super good to me today. i got TWO packages full of awesome crafts. 
the first one i opened was my kit from Posie! so excited about it! i may just have to keep these for myself... 
the second was from a little family called the McCords. Jenni - I LOVE the needle keeper!! and, of course, the card. THANK YOU!!
I also don't think I ever showed you this...

my mom made these as favors for my bachelorette party - so random, but funny and cute - good paperweight! G liked it so much he requested one - his is more masculine... (if you can't tell - they are foot shaped rocks painted to look like a foot in a flip flop)
G made it safely to Missouri. He really likes it there! He is giving a talk tomorrow and meeting with current post docs! Keep praying for us!!! Next week he is off to Detroit.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

guest blogger??

i'm so excited! emily from once wed stumbled upon our blog and wedding photos and "instantly fell head over heels" for our "lovely wedding"!!! i was so excited to get her email just because she loved it, but then when i kept reading and she asked me to guest blog i about fell over!
i'll keep you updated and post a link! 
maybe things are looking up...

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

creamy rosemary penne with chicken

i have enjoyed 3 + weeks of not having to cook, but the real world is back. i spent 2 hours saturday night meal planning/grocery list making and 2 MORE hours sunday grocery shopping at two grocery stores.

found this recipe at dinner's on me. this blog is in my reader, but this is the first recipe i tried. i am NOT a casserole person. i swear my dad went through a few years where that is all we ate and i haven't been able to go back. i decided this was going to be ok because it was pasta based so i could pretend it was just pasta with sauce. hmmm...

grant claims not to be a casserole person either, but he was OBSESSED with how good this was. (i warn - he is very easy to please) i thought it was ok. very easy to make. VERY RICH. i ended up adding a cup of milk to my serving to water it down and found it much more appetizing.

PS - if your oven breaks while making this just heat each serving in the microwave. if your oven breaks while heating a papa murphys pizza cook it for 45 minutes and then turn it upside down and cook it another 20 - so easy......

seriously could anything else go wrong lately?? oh and i'm home sick from work cuz my tummy is STILL upset.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

things i am loving right now...

1. this handmade holiday gift planner from Skip to My Lou
2. this fun meal planner from futuregirl. i am not a big fan of meal planning or cooking and this makes it just a little bit better!
3. our new camera. i somehow lost the battery charger between the wedding and when we left for mexico. i was FREAKING out. no camera for the honeymoon AGAIN. well for 1 lindsey is an angel and tried to mail us a new charger but mexican mail sucks and 2 the battery STILL hasn't died!! isnt that insane??
4. rainy days inside with cozy fires.

Friday, October 3, 2008

update and a new do...

a just for fun picture of G.

update: still not feeling great. went to the doctor and they can't tell us anything before they run nasty tests on stuff that comes out of sick. i have the worst case of creepy crawlies. sounds like we most likely have a parasite of some sort. i'm hoping whatever it is it is something that they can find. being sick and all of this unknown is very not fun/scary.

to make matters worse. while we were gone some moths decided to start procreating in our pantry. eggs, larvae, hatching - SICK! why is this all happening???? we had to throw EVERYTHING out and will bomb tomorrow. so yes on weak stomachs we (read:grant) cleared out our pantry while moths hatched and crawled (really there were only a few so don't picture our house filled and for the record i keep things clean so i have no idea why this happened..)

in other news. i cut my hair. it was necessary. my hair was the longest it has ever been and i had been growing it for almost 2 years. it was a long, uncontrollable, frizzy mop. i think i like the new do... still trying to decide if it makes me look like a boy.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

our western honeymoon (aka honeymoon#2)

this photo is very pioneer woman

***i think the video tells it all...such a sweet man i married***