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Friday, October 29, 2010

[frugal] friday finds

and it's another week of browsing.
confession: i haven't purchased any of these.

i'm a sucker for cards-- i just love writing notes on pretty stationary.
i started looking for some cute cards on etsy this week...and here's what i came up with!

i also adore all things with a state outline or state flag.  weird, huh?
look at these adorable cards i found on etsy this week!
new hampshire fold paper cards from KardsbyKathryn
for those who may not know, i had a special birthday this week
& really would have loved getting this card
(but finding an image of it makes me smile...a lot!)
blank greeting card party like it's 1980 from cooljane
all this card looking, started me thinking about postcards, which i used to collect
a few weeks ago while looking for a boston image, i came across this one
found it on
absolutely adore these with their stitched leaves & simplicity
autumn leave notecards from ohwrite
i've been missing my home state lately & this card makes me so happy
columbines prepare for a storm from blondedutchgirl
what have you found this week?
i'm most interested in "window shopping" from my computer the past few weeks :)

Thursday, October 28, 2010

grateful girl

48. i was sick this week, but seem to be recovering well
...i'll take this as a reminder i really need to make getting a flu shot a priority

49. we took strengths finder on our own at work this week
& i learned my top 5 strengths
i'm looking forward to discussing it at our next staff meeting

50. my dog has been super-cuddly lately.
milton is growing like a weed!
51. being 30 doesn't feel any different 
(i suspected this, but am glad it's true thus far)

53. my husband is thoughtful
& planned a surprise birthday party for me
(i was too surprised to ask someone to take a picture)

54. the colors of fall aren't fading as quickly as  years past
55. i made a new student affairs friend this week
who actually goes to our church & i just didn't know she was in my field

56. our car was broken into yesterday...but nothing was stolen

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

sick day

my mom had a collection of teacups.
she drank from them on occasion, not daily, but she loved those teacups.  
i had my own tea set for years as a child, but remember feeling so grown up
the first time i got to drink tea from one of mom's  teacups.

a few years after she passed away, we sold a bunch of the china
but i kept four of the tea cups because they held strong memories of mom.
after being boxed for five years, they're now in our china hutch (along with other dishes).
despite being sick, today's cup of tea never tasted so good.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

sorelle accessories

i got a package from sorelle accessories on etsy
beautifully wrapped items and i just had to share them with you

letter b necklace
home decor. similar items can be found here
check out this etsy shop from two colorado sisters today!

Monday, October 25, 2010

my birthday

breakfast with the hubs at mckenna's, our favorite neighborhood restaurant.
we walked there in the chilly morning fall air (love it)
got some great birthday gifts (many thanks)--
family & friends know me so well.
panera gift card, brown scarf, pretty handmade necklace & more.

lots of cards (oh how i love cards!)

lunch with my dear friend, carrie.

great pm service at citylife.
homemade pumpkin space latte.

dinner with the maxwells. 
steelhead trout
steamed asparagus
mashed potatoes
gorgonzola, walnut & apple salad
(cooked by the hubs) 
tasty apple crisp with vanilla ice cream from brock. 

i am so blessed & grateful to the many friends and family 
i got to spend time with and/or called, emailed, etc.
here's to another great year and one in which i have some real goals!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

new-to-me restaurant #1

i got to try out a restaurant i'd never been to in jamaica plain 
(one of boston's 20+ neighborhoods), on saturday. 
this is the first of five new-to-me restaurant visits i set as one goal 
in a recent post: my thirty things list

centre street cafe in j.p.
is known for its brunch menu. 
rachel picked it out & what a treat it was! 
i think the photos speak for themselves.
outside the cafe
our favorite part of the menu
rachel loves hot chocolate...note how it's actually overflowing!
huevos rancheros with cornbread
omelette with butternut squash & maple glazed brussel sprouts 
self-serve coffee station in action
great choice, rach!
in case photos are not enough, the highlights:
self-serve coffee while you wait to be seated (you can bring your mug outside)
seasonal menu with lots of yummy local & organic choices
friendly service...seriously!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

pumpkin bread

in an effort to conquer leftovers: 
homemade pumpkin puree from this recipefelt from fall wreath making 
i decided it was time to get creative. 
(not to mentioned i've been slacking on the craft & recipe posts lately)

fresh out of the oven pumpkin bread
pumpkin bread (slightly modified from
2 c. homemade pumpkin puree
1 c. sugar
1/4 c. canola oil
1 c. plain yogurt
1 1/2 c. all purpose flour
1 1/2 c. whole wheat flour
2 t baking soda
2 t baking powder
2 t ground cinamon
1/2 t salt
3/4 c. raisins

preheat oven 350 degrees fahrenheit.
in a large mixing bowl, beat together pumpkin, sugar, oil, and yogurt.
in a medium bowl, combine the flours, baking powder, soda, cinnamon, and salt; 
add to pumpkin mixture, stirring until just moistened. 
stir in raisins (i did one loaf without raisins).
pour into 2 greased loaf pans & bake for about 1 hour.
(my loaf pans were too small, so i also made 6 muffins)
cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes then remove from pan and cool completely.

pumpkin puree which i learned to make here
the batter was such a pretty color
one with raisins and one without
my loaf pans are smaller than normal,
so i had enough batter to make 6 muffins
the pumpkin bread & muffins turned out so well, very tasty!
i actually prefer the pumpkin loaf with raisins over the one without.
check out my felt leftover cure here

pumpkin autumn necklace

autumn hand-stitched felt necklace
i loved making felt flowers for my fall wreath
but the orange felt was too bright  & i didn't end up using it.
this weekend, i was thinking about pumpkins (probably from the leftover puree)
 & wondered how difficult it would be to stitch a felted pumpkin for a necklace or pin.

the pumpkin looked a little lonely,

so i then made a few leaves to complete the necklace.

i'm linking up here:

Friday, October 22, 2010

frugal friday finds: pretty autumn place setting

because it doesn't cost anything to window shop (or should i saw screen shop (aka looking from my computer))?  i was thinking about how i might decorate for thanksgiving if we were hosting dinner

vineyard floral tablecloth collection from cost plus world market
orange little classic hurricane lantern from luna bazaar
 white and gold wool acorns from sewn natural
 pine cone candles from cost plus world market
 nonstick red ramekin from pier 1 imports
 tree place cards set from oh happy day creations
crocheted mini pumpkin from 38stitches
today, i am linking to these parties:
found here
found here
found here
happy friday!!!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

grateful girl

41.  my husband enjoys cooking 
& often takes on dinner prep

42.  it took less than three minutes to clear the campus center 
during fire alarm testing this week
43. over the weekend, i learned our puppy can sleep well on the bed 
with me while my hubs is away
(no pacing or laying on my head as i feared)

44. our community group sang "happy birthday" to me last night &
we ate yummy chocolate cake with airy buttercream frosting
45. i finally met one of our upstairs neighbors this week
& i seriously hope to run into her again (i have a feeling we could be friends)

46. we are making "ugly quilts" for the homeless
with our bu students & the rest of the university ministry group from our church
(they are made from old sheets, blankets, etc. and sewn into warm sleeping bags)
learning how to assemble an ugly quilt
photo credit: Jasmine Kim
47. i have left my office"on time" three days in a row 
& there has been very little traffic
(i'm admitting this knowing today's gonna be insane since bruins play at home)

what are you grateful for this week?

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

thirty things

my thirtieth birthday is approaching in a few days
& i find myself a bit more reflective than usual.

it got me thinking about all that's happened in my life so far
& as i have said before, i have a lot to be grateful for!
i experienced love, heartache and peace.
in the past 29 years i lived in six states (two of which i moved to twice)
 & set foot in 45 of the 50 united states (counting airports for four of them).
bagged my 1st fourteener (colorado speak for hiking a mountain over 14k feet tall).
bought a brand new car & paid it off in less than four years.
cooked at least a dozen 10+ lb. turkeys & made gravy from scratch (not all at once).

unlike jenna rink, i am not looking forward to 30 so i can be "thirty & flirty"

but i came up with list of
30 things i want to do while i'm 30
my hope is to celebrate life all year long with a list of things that will
challenge me.  while some may seem silly, they are all things i have not done before.

1 - travel to a country i've not been
2 - buy a sewing machine (i have growing list of projects for it)
3 - go sailing on the charles river
4 - watch a film in subtitles from start to finish
5 - make soup from scratch
6 - sleep under the stars (without a tent)
7 - become proficient in adobe photoshop
8 - sew an item of clothing & wear it
9 - read a c.s. lewis book from cover to cover
10 - learn to play chess
11 - kayak or canoe the concord river 
12 - spend a night at a new england b&b
13 - cut down our first christmas tree with the hubs
14 - string our christmas tree with cranberries and/or popcorn
15 - attend a broadway show (or maybe an off-broadway show since it's $$$)
16 - go for seven consecutive days without wearing brown pants or shirt
17 - apply to be a member of the daughters of the american revolution
18 - visit wrigley field in chicago
19- hike at least 10 miles of the a.t.
20 - go to a winery
21 - watch the sun rise over boston
22 - make new pillow cases for the living room
23 - train the pooch to obey commands consistently (this may require classes)
24 - write & publish an article for my professional association, acui
25 - send letters to my compassion child more consistently
26 - listen to more classical music, i really enjoy it but don't often listen
27 - lead a service or alternative break trip
28 - make donuts from scratch (already have a recipe in mind)
29 - visit five new-to-me boston restaurants (i'm taking suggestions)
30 - frequent garage sales (or tag sales as they're called in new england)

this list is sure to bring fun blog posts & i hope you'll join me!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

singing the mid-semester blues (or blahs)

challenges come and go constantly in the course of the semester.  things get moving and everyone is finding their rhythm, academically & socially.  it's exciting, even for the non-first year students.  but then, about four weeks into the semester (or sooner) students inevitably realize they will have to "buckle down" and do their work.  by the middle of the semester (six to seven weeks in a 13-week semester), they're [hopefully] into their routine.  

academically, there are consequences to blowing off class and/or assignments.  socially, there can be costs associated with decisions to skip or attend a party.  within the involvement and student employee world (where i meet students most often), the outcome of a bad decision can have an equally large impact.  the cost for missing a shift can be as extreme as losing one's job.  
as we find ourselves in the middle of the fall semester, feeling burdened by commitments (and over-commitment in some cases) we have a choice to make: keep on plugging through or throw our hands up and admit we're in over our heads.  i am speaking to myself as an administrator as much as i am speaking to students, we are likely over-committed, so what should we do?  i've never been good at saying no, which is why i struggle with the overly committed issue repeatedly, but i have learned a few things.

  1. breathe. take a step back from what's overwhelming you and take a few deep breaths.
  2. take a walk. get away from where you often hang out and spend some time outside.
  3. make a list...make multiple lists if needed. list the assignments/projects you have to do. list the commitments to clubs/groups you're a part of. list other things that are stressing you out.
  4. determine priorities. review the list(s) made & decide on what's most important and tackle those things first.
  5. keep moving. don't feel paralyzed by seeing everything spelled out. when you start to feel overwhelmed repeat steps 1 & 2.
if all else fails, start singing!  find your favorite tune(s) of the moment and blast it out if necessary.  yes, i said sing & dance it out!  

happy mid-terms, friends!

Monday, October 18, 2010

pumpkin mac and cheese

i learned from the best. find the recipe here
also pictured: chicken breast (baked) trader joe's (frozen) eggplant & zucchini medley
 last week, i had a hankering for mac 'n cheese. 
until i saw this recipe for pumpkin mac 'n cheese and i had to have it!
tonight, we tried it out & i have to admit i did enjoy it. 
i don't think i added enough salt, but that's easy to remedy.
my favorite part was that it allowed me to make the pumpkin puree from scratch.
i had never roasted a pumpkin before & i love a new cooking/baking challenge.
i am now considering options for the remaining puree...
i'm not sure how i feel about the tj's frozen veggies; they were different than we expected.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

reflective weekend

this weekend i split my time between work and retreat.  weird, huh? 
our university ministry retreat for our church was held 30 min. from our apartment, so i could attend (parts) while i wasn't working homecoming weekend at bsu.  while driving from one to the other, i had some time to reflect.

i find myself in the kitchen
my mom taught me to help out in the kitchen & eventually i grew to love the kitchen after many reminders to set or clear the table (among other tasks).  when i go to someone's house, i often end up in the kitchen.  sometimes it's helping out, sometimes i sit and chat with the host or hostess.  i find great comfort in being in the kitchen.  this weekend was no different, both nights included cleaning and conversation in the kitchen.  friendships grew, dishes were cleaned and it was beautiful. 
i have a bad sense of direction.
this is really hard to admit, but i am terrible at directions, even with a gps!  i will spare the exact story, but it involved rain & darkness & going to the wrong t stop to pick up some students for the retreat...followed by another pick up trip in which the gps routed us rather oddly!  my husband has a great sense of direction and i really appreciate that, in fact i often take it for granted and assume i am just as good with finding my way, but i am not.  (i miss the rocky mountains, living along the front range they served as a guide (in addition to their beauty)).  i muddled through & students got where they needed to be: the retreat.  i need to trust myself to follow directions (via the gps).
i am not as much of a loaner as i like to think.
my husband spent both nights at the retreat site while i slept at home with the dog.  it was the first time i had spent the night at our place without my husband.  it was more weird than i expected.  i used to pride myself on my independence (which i know is wrong).  but since i've been married, i realized more fully my need for people in my life to speak grace & truth, as well as the beauty of companionship.  even though i was around a lot of people at homecoming and the retreat, i missed simple conversation at home & in the car (i can only tell the dog so much).  i have a renewed appreciation for simple conversations at home & the companionship of a dog. 
i am growing all the time, learning about myself & those around me.