Thursday, November 27, 2008

for what i am thankful...

i heart thanksgiving - good food and good times. this year we are hosting our first Thanksgiving for both sides of our family - should be a very good time!

i am especially thankful this year. with our country and economy in turmoil i am thankful for:

-loving family and friends who accept me with all of my faults
-a husband who loves me unconditionally
-a job that provides enough for us to get by
-gas that is affordable again (as we start planning a cross country drive)
-a warm home with a food filled kitchen
-money, time, and space to create things and the people who compliment said things

have a happy and relaxing start to this special season. xoxo

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

meet bear!

lets just say i am incredibly jealous of my brother's new puppy. i want one SO BAD. i babysat him all day sunday and although he is exhausting i didn't want to give him back. i don't think grant will let him come over again (he might have had a few accidents - but he's just a baby!)... it was fun while it lasted!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Recipe Update...

The chicken noodle soup from this week's meal plan is AWESOME. My only complaint would be incredibly soggy noodles when eating the leftovers. In the future I will be cooking the noodles separately and adding them in each time we eat a serving. So good. So easy. Try it.

The mexican lasagna was equally awesome. And EASY. A nice alternative to our usual tacos or tostadas.

The parmesan rosemary chicken pasta was not our fav. We decided that we don't really like rosemary in pasta type dishes (see our review of this pasta) Its great as a meat seasoning, but too much in stuff like this.

Thank You's Featured!

I had planned to blog more about these, but since they are being featured here I'll just leave it at that!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Friday, November 21, 2008

i am so proud

as this post goes up my best friend is experiencing one of the biggest accomplishments of his life. he wrote the sweetest things to me in his dissertation. here is where i will return the compliment...


today is a day you have been working for since long before i came along. i can not begin to tell you the immense sense of pride i have at how you have conducted yourself and your work over the past few years. i am in awe.

these past few months in particular you have blown me away. you married me, honeymooned with me, attended two post doctoral interviews (resulting in two offers and one job), and dealt with a frazzled, sometimes irrational, always emotional wife - all  of this in the midst of writing the biggest work of your life. 

i have always known you were incredibly smart, but WOW i'm a little shocked at what this dissertation has shown you are capable of figuring out. it is so fun to see the joy it brings you to discuss and integrate your findings. it reminds me that the struggle has been more than worth it.

lets close this hard, fun, and overwhelming chapter of our life. i can't wait to begin the next one.

 relish this moment. you will shine. explain your little heart out. 

  i love you, nicole

Thursday, November 20, 2008

dessert trays...

i don't believe i've ever blogged about this addition to wedding craftiness, but i HEART these trays. they were featured here today.

for the wedding i wasn't too picky about what plates to use because they would all be covered up. older ones i've made to use around my house (fruit tray, gifts) i have been more picky.

i was quite pleased with how the table turned out.

the cake stand was even made using a large (12 in) platter and a champagne glass. our bride and groom were found for $3 at goodwill - she was blond so we painted her and changed her veil and they were perfect! i, of course, made those pesky crepe paper flowers.

i will probably blog more about these someday, but all the steps are at the featured link.


my days have been filled with 6am studies, endless phone calls (to moving companies and rental agencies - boo.), and thanksgiving/defense prep. but they have been ending in creating.

ahhhhhh! feel the relief...

update: you can buy or make fabric labels. i bought mine at fabric depot, but here are some other links...





Wednesday, November 19, 2008

why you too should watch PBS

this is ONE of the reasons i watch PBS... only station with unattractive people. seriously. think about it. its by far the best news and most intelligent conversation, but the other stations don't allow unattractiveness. makes me laugh from time to time. always a good thing when you are watching the news, right??

i know. i'm horrible. get over it. i had to a long time ago...

oh. and in my defense. grant took this picture.

wedding review :: crafts :: scrapbooks

i heart pictures. i mean i REALLY heart pictures. so i wanted to include pictures of our relationship somehow, but a big slideshow didn't feel right to me. it would have been logistically difficult in our venue and i just didn't feel comfortable.

as an alternative i thought i would make a scrapbook for each of the 19! tables. i felt this was cool on a multitude of fronts (1) people could look at them at their leisure and if they didnt care to look they didn't have to (2) it allowed me another craft project (3) family and friends could take them home.

they were quite basic - cardstock for the covers, on the front cover - machine stitched a flower from our wedding fabric (which i am no longer in love with and would have chosen something COMPLETELY different by the time the wedding came around...), used brads to secure the dates, 4x6 pictures rubber cemented to scrapbook paper.

everything was bound using a technique i learned in 5th grade and kept meaning to use again - its called japanese book binding. i used this link to refresh my memory. it is a very simple way to bind pages, but i would recommend getting an awl to punch the holes. i couldnt find one at michaels and used just a needle instead. my fingers hurt SOOO bad for DAYS. (side note: i saw an awl at joann's this weekend near the sewing stuff - seam rippers and the like - i will purchase it soon!)

here is a little (and kind of embarrassing/weird) video i made to send to my far away bridesmaids so they could see the new crafty addition to the wedding. shows you more details than i have pictures of...

these were a big hit with our people. we ended up just getting to keep one and i'm not even sure who all they went to!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

crafty books dream list...

i want i want i want...

wedding review :: the dress

this post is the first in a series reviewing things i didn't blog about while planning our wedding, including crafts, the week prior to the wedding, and the big day. hope you enjoy!
i have had a tumultuous relationship with this dress. the picture above is the day i ordered it from a little boutique in seattle - i was SO excited. 
my favorite parts were the flouffy layers (flouffy is a technical term) at the bottom and the train. oh the train. makes me swoon... 
my body is weirdly proportioned so i listened to the lady when she told me that i should order a larger size. such.a.bad.idea. 
after the larger size and me losing quite a bit of weight (due to a new medication) this is how it fit. not good. after visiting many a seamstress (most of whom quoted me more than the dress cost in alterations) and insisting that somehow the dress needed to fit (and make me look like i have a womanly figure), jennifer phillips saved the day.
by the last fitting it fit so well that i struggled to breathe deeply while dancing the night away!
hmmm... now that i'm at the end of this post i'm wondering if there is any real point to sharing this... i guess i never talked about my dress before?? eh.

Monday, November 17, 2008

gratitude wrap weekend

christmas crafting continued this weekend. kendra and i made SouleMama's gratitude wraps (get the pdf on her sidebar).

i heart them.

i did NOT heart doing rounded corners with bias tape. who ever thought that was a good idea?? if anyone ever tells you rounded corners are easier scoff at them and then use this tutorial to prove them wrong. SERIOUSLY - i wanted to punch someone after my first two (i know part of the problem is me being incredibly inpatient, but it still sucked)

 eck! look at that corner!

and then my second two made me MUCH happier.

ahhhhh. soooo.much.better.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

tomato soup recipe update

so... we made the aforementioned tomato soup. it was AWESOME. it literally took me 10 minutes from the second i started til it was on the table and it was really flavorful. this will definitly be a go to meal - very good for lunches too! go make it. you will be happy you did.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

what's for dinner :: nov 15 to nov 28

i am trying 100% new recipes this time so we'll see how it goes!

saturday, november 15 & sunday, november 16
monday, november 17 & tuesday, november 18
 wednesday, november 19 & thursday, november 20
friday, november 21
  • chapala w. family and friends to celebrate the boy's accomplishments!
saturday, november 22
sunday, november 23 & monday, november 24
tuesday, november 25 & wednesday, november 26
thursday, november 26 & friday, november 27

baking fun:

cookie cutter fudge

maple leaf cookies - to be used as favors and place cards at thanksgiving! recipe in the november issue of martha stewart living, but this one looks similar

**remember you can see all of my weekly menus by clicking on 'whats for dinner' in my label cloud**

Friday, November 14, 2008


image via craftzine blog

this woman combined two of my loves: anatomy and embroidery. i HEART this.

such a cool gift for someone into anatomy.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Look Mom!

i sewed my first zipper!!! i'm so pleased with myself! 
this is a prototype for christmas presents so i won't devulge more, but aren't you impressed??


here too!

Sunday, November 9, 2008



my husband came home with these on friday. aren't they beautiful?? it was the day he turned in his dissertation and he spoiled me - when i asked why he said 'are you kidding me? i couldn't have done this without you' very sweet. 
we are so excited to have that part of our life complete. he will take the next two weeks to prepare for his defense and THEN we will have a doctor in the house!
a month after that we will head to missouri. its going to fly by!!!

Friday, November 7, 2008


...basking in the aftermath of the enormity of what happened this week. people all over the world are celebrating. i get chills and tears every time i think about it. did you now that more people voted in this election than in any election since 1960!
hope is a powerful thing.

why i heart rotten bananas

in our house every time a banana goes rotten it is sent straight to the freezer. then, every few months when they start taking over i give in and make heaps of banana bread. YUM. its one of my favorite things. i usually hate banana flavored anything, but i heart banana bread.

here is the recipe i use:

Banana Bread

makes two loaves

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 4 very ripe bananas
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
In a medium bowl combine flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. In a large bowl cream together eggs & sugar. Stir in mashed bananas, vanilla, oil, and cinnamon. Stir in flour mixture a third at a time until just combined.
Divide into 2 - 9x5 loaf pans. Bake at 350 for approximately an hour (watch this closely - mine always take closer to 45 minutes)


P.S. did i tell you we are moving to columbia, missouri in January?? and that i got an INTERVIEW at the nursing school?? kind of exciting/nerve racking. i was on the phone all day yesterday with mortgage brokers to see if our broke-asses can buy a house.

View Larger Map

Thursday, November 6, 2008

note to self

copy this. ASAP.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Caps to Cap Haitien

i had a crappy day yesterday. not for any particular reason - its just how i am. sometimes i just feel... i don't know exactly how to describe it... some combination of apathy, boredom, sleepiness, frustration, being over/underwhelmed. the best way to describe it is feeling blah. its how i feel when i'm headed for a low, but not there yet. it happens a lot this time of year. its lame, but because this isn't something new to me i've started learning how to cope.

so far i've learned that i feel better if i give myself permission to be frustrated, and maybe even feel a little sorry for myself, that i feel this way. this ususally results in some major downtime, in which nothing productive occurs. i've also learned that if i allow myself to wallow too much i get worse. so i have to do something. anything.

now the point comes. nothing can make you feel better than helping other people right (even if it is in a very small, almost inconspicuous way)?

haiti (via maine) will get 20 newborn caps from me! i'm very pleased with them.

i made 12 of the regular knot caps out of our old t-shirts and then used sleeves to make an additional 8 skull caps. i worried that they weren't as cute, but grant thinks they are cuter so i'm sending them too.

i was quite worried about sewing on jersey - it sounded like it would be hard. i didn't find it to be that bad. this may be because, although i am, in every day life, a very anal person, i am a very sloppy seamstress. i just want it done. i used a tight zig zag as the pattern suggests and i only f*ed things up 4 or 5 times and never enough to get ruin any. i did manage to sew one with wrong sides together, but i decided it is still cute so i'm sending it.

for more information on how to help visit mamatomama.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

thank god.

intently listening to the president-elect speak 
(we watched coverage all night with jim lehrer - love him!)

it is hard for me to describe how overwhelming it feels to have faith in the person who is to be our next president. i am hopeful and excited to be an american for the first time in a long time. it is likely i will enjoy listening to our president speak for the next 4 years instead of embarrassed. i look forward to being proud of our country again and i think today was a huge step in that direction. we have an african american president-elect! amazing.

and now for a small rant. click away if it annoys you, but i need to get it out.

i don't care that people think you should have a logical or educated reason to vote for a president. i voted for someone who i felt good about and i think that has as much weight as someone who is the logical choice. that is not to say that i would vote for some random person off the street that i felt good about, but barack obama is extremely well educated and has experience (i know-you say not enough). i also think he possesses the know how to surround himself with people who can pick up where experience may leave off. i also feel like he may be less 'tainted' because of his lesser years in washington. i feel like he is a person, not a robot, when he speaks. that is important to me.

making decisions based on logic and fact can hold just as much uncertainty in outcome as making decsions based on 'gut instict' or feelings. and, really, when a friend asks you advice on a tough decision do you ask 'what does logic tell you' or do you ask 'what does your gut tell you?'

however you voted i hope and pray that our new president can earn your trust. i hope and pray i made the right choice. i hope and pray that our country is headed in new (better) directions. i feel very good about it.

p.s. can you believe my forehead vein in that picture?? gross.