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Tuesday, November 30, 2010

back on campus

over the thanksgiving weekend, 
we ventured to my alma mater in greeley, colorado.
it had been over two years since i'd been to g-town & 
i hadn't been on campus during a regular school day
since i was a student years ago (can you guess how many?!)

being somewhat of a student union geek & 
often taking my job too seriously, 
i was eager to walk around the university center
& show off my favorite places, both on and off campus.
it's been over seven years since i graduated & left northern colorado,
but i remain so grateful for my four years there. 
i can't explain why i ended up at a teacher's college on the colorado plains,
in a less than scenic city (compared to other universities in the state)
but i'm convinced it was meant to be. 
my experience as an undergraduate opened the door to a graduate assistantship that then showed me i could have a career in student affairs.
thank you unc. thank you university program council.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

key caddy & dry erase board

i keep losing my keys...maybe misplacing them is more accurate;
my husband misplaces his keys and even locked himself our last week.
i have had a few ideas in mind for making a key caddy to go by the door
and had bookmarked this months ago, but planned to add hooks for our keys.
[photo credit]
needing something that can offer more function,
i re-purposed an old frame containing a  photo collage by
changing what was displayed inside & adding hooks.

it's right by the door so we won't forget our keys...
and can leave a note using a dry erase pen.

what you'll need
an old wooden photo frame [anything with right angles will work]
cup hooks [similar to these]
cute fabric

how to
1- remove the photo collage from the frame & use the cardboard back
 as a guide to cut a piece of fabric slightly larger than the cardboard.

2- pre-drill holes and insert the hooks on the bottom of the frame
remove the glass from the frame so you don't accidentally drill into it
[i made three holes].

3- insert glass, fabric and cardboard into the frame,
fasten as needed so it is secure.

4- screw hooks into holes serves as a dry erase board & key caddy
5- hang it on the wall & enjoy

i'm linking up here

Friday, November 26, 2010

grateful girl

frugal friday finds is on holiday & grateful girl is taking its place

 73. thanksgiving:
cooking in a lovely kitchen

74. being home with family in colorado

75. friends who would watch milton while we're gone
(i hope he's not driving them nuts)

76. going through photos, clothes, trophies and other items from my childhood

77. the upcoming christmas season
(we already planned when we'll buy our christmas tree)

Thursday, November 25, 2010

thankful on paper (4)

i'm joining no. 17 cherry tree lane's thankful on paper this month.

this week i am thankful for one of my oldest friends, keyne.
we caught up on the phone just yesterday since
we no longer live in the same state.
i met keyne in 1996 when she moved to the area my family lived to start up
a young life club where i was going to high school.
she had just graduated from college & i was a sophomore in high school.
when we met, i had no idea we'd be lifelong friends.
with keyne (left) and jo at my bridal shower
keyne's friendship was genuine.
she knew when to ask for my help with creating flyers for young life.
we met together to talk about my life & things i cared about;
we had a favorite spot at a local bagel shop near my high school.
she quickly became my role model & mentor.
watching keyne's life as a young adult
taught me about loving people & growing in faith.

i remember being there on keyne's wedding day in 1999
and meeting each of her three children for the first time.
from 2005-08, i was blessed to live just 30 minutes away from keyne
and her beautiful family &
loved the time getting to know each of the kids.
it was such a blessing to be able to share our wedding day with her last may.
{photo credit}
she arranged our flowers...aren't the beautiful?
keyne's influence taught me the importance of memorizing scripture &
she introduced me to the sport of running.
she was there to listen to me when i learned my mom had cancer
and a month later when she passed away.
keyne still challenges me to consider how i spend my time
& who i spend it with.
she, along with very few other women, push me to be a better person.
{photo credit}
thank you, keyne, for setting a great example,
not only for me, but for so many others.
you remind me to take myself less seriously,
you are one of few friends who remembers my mom
your pursuit of faith encourages me to keep on striving for more.


i came across this image over a month ago, 
and now that we're going to denver i am excited to have reason to post it!
[photo credit]
it's especially fitting, since i checked the forecast 
and the high for the day we arrive is 26 degrees.
nonetheless, i'm real excited to spend some time with family & friends 
in the centennial state!

happy thanksgiving from colorado, friends!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

thankful garland

after being gone for five days, i was able to spend a day at home...ahh...
amidst the piles of laundry, catching up on blog reading and 
trying to restore our place to its somewhat clean & pile-free state,
i finally made the thankful garland i'd been looking forward to creating.
back in october, i considered making something more like this,
but never purchased the supplies and just didn't have the time.
then, i bought fabric a few weeks ago with the intent of
creating my first bunting banner, however i have not purchased
a sewing machine yet, so paper garland it is:
it wasn't exactly what i had planned, since i have not yet purchased 
a sewing machine, but it certainly makes our living room look festive!

i'm linking here

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

fabric scrap wreath

recently, i came across this tutorial from elise blaha
and just had to make one!
it was so simple & quick (the kind of project i love).
lately, i've been eying all kinds of wreaths and
can't wait to get started on something made of yarn for christmas/winter!

i'm linking here

along the road

i had the privilege of attending the 61st annual acui region 1 conference 
over the weekend held at bryant university in smithfield, rhode island.

as part of the conference planning team, i was especially excited 
to watch the whole thing come together, with over 100 undergraduate 
students, 38 international delegates, more than 10 graduate students
and over 70 full-time professionals.

our conference theme was a road trip to rhode island,
complete with a rest stop (snack area), lots of signs and travel bag.
some highlights:
opening keynote from dr. jeffrey jenson arnett 
and his emerging adulthood theory,
hearing the students from our bsu delegation share ideas they had
& things we should add to our ever evolving campus center office,
conversations with colleagues about how they 
do various aspects of the job on their campus
getting to know the international delegates of region 1
who traveled from england, ireland, scotland and wales,
winning the donnachadh o'haodha international scholarship to cover registration fees for a conference 'across the pond' in may 2011 to galway, ireland!
[photo credit]
i learned a lot over the weekend and am so grateful for the professional development opportunities i have received as part of region 1.
throughout the course of my career, acui has become a second family to me
and i am so thankful for the many friends i've made there.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

grateful girl

it's been a busy week for me, but i have a lot to be grateful for!
66. my husband supports my work & my commitment to my current role 
(evidenced multiple times this week).

67. my dog's new chew proof bed & toy seem to be working nicely.

68. it's operation christmas child time of year.
this week we assembled shoe boxes with our students in the 
university ministry at our church & went on a shopping trip together.
children receive boxes in sudan [photo credit]
69. friends who listen to me.

70. the many applicants we received from bsu students
to travel to guatemala city for their spring break in march.

71. new colleagues & friends i made this weekend

72. a week of vacation to look forward to next week!

Friday, November 19, 2010

frugal friday finds [to go]

i'm traveling to rhode island for an awesome conference this weekend with my professional association
and then again for thanksgiving next week. which means i'll be packing...

here's a list of things i'm taking along 
wish i was taking with me...all from etsy:
vintage pearl button hairpin from sandy a la mode
i bought these hairpins last week, along with some super-cute earrings.
great value, sandy!

falling leaves from pretties by meg
i bought these in september & can't stop wearing them-
i love fall & they go with everything!
my sister-in-law gave me this for my birthday.
not only is it super-cute, but it's made from re-purposed materials
(girls' dress and tablecloth)

say something baggie from pure and noble
this shop is a recent discovery & amazing find. 
i love lists, so it's just a matter of time until i own this!

peaceful pendant charm necklace from in honor of design
i've also been pining over this pendant necklace.
and its bare branches make me think it would be perfect for winter!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

thankful on paper (3)

i'm joining no. 17 cherry tree lane's thankful on paper this month

week 3: saying thank you to my dear friend, cory.
rockies game in 2008
little did we know meeting for the first time ten years ago in college,
we'd be more than pals, but roommates, travel companions and doggie moms.
cory's love & knowledge for music always amazed me
...and introduced me to the music world outside of ccm
(i will forever be indebted to her for this alone).
she saved me from living alone my senior year,
inviting me to live with her my last year of college.
the timing could not have been better.
she opened the door to my career in student affairs, by suggesting i look for an internship in the student activities office.
all that, and i had only known cory for three years!

throughout my time in grad school, we kept up being just an hour or two away. and then the time came for me to make a decision about where to take my first baltimore.
cory was the one to drive cross country with me in 2005.
it was her first trip to the east coast and we had a blast!
not only did we have great music on the ride, but we spent the 4th of july with granny, visited lots of sites in washington, d.c. and the amish country and explored baltimore a bit.
following a day the beach, cory had her first maryland crab with granny
in the past ten years of knowing cory, i have learned a few things from her life
and she so sweetly to summed them up in a beautiful wedding gift she made.
it now hangs in our living room:
"dream big, pray daily, laugh often, love deeply, believe in truth, live fully"
cory, i am so grateful to have you in my life.
thank you for sharing your joys, sorrows and fun finds with me.
i can always count on you for a silly youtube or snl link
or a new band i should listen to.
i admire your amazing artistic abilities and creative skills
--i sometimes wish i could go back to high school and take your classes,
but maybe i can just send my kids someday.
and most of all, thank you for standing by my side, always.
photo by meaghan elliot [used by permission]
i am so excited to see you over thanksgiving 
& i'll give you your letter in person! xo

read more thankful on paper posts here

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

baked pumpkin + butternut mac 'n cheese

about a month ago i made my first pumpkin mac and cheese following this recipe
we liked it, but i think i'm more of a baked mac + cheese kinda gal.
 since i still had some gruyere cheese on hand, i started looking through cookbooks (i usually just google recipe options, but though i should make use of a wedding gift).
i finally settled on a recipe from our betty crocker cookbook
making some modification along the way.

2 T butter
1/4 c. white flour
2 c. 1% milk
salt + pepper to taste
1/4 t. dry mustard
1/4 t. worcestershire sauce
1.5 c. whole wheat elbow pasta (uncooked)
1 c. sharp cheddar cheese, grated
1 c. gruyere cheese, grated
3/4 c. pumpkin puree*
1/2 c. butternut squash puree*

*note about puree creation: it's surprisingly simple
roast the pumpkin cut in half at 350 degrees F for 30 min.
let cool & puree in blender or food processor
roast butternut squash cubes at 350 degrees F for 45 min.
let cool & puree in blender or food processor 
preheat oven to 350 degrees F
grate cheeses and set aside
using large sauce pan, melt butter of medium heat
when butter is melted, add milk, flour, salt, pepper, mustard and worcesrershire
stir often (it will slowly thicken)
while stirring, cook pasta according to package directions
bring to boil & stir continuously for 1 minute
remove from heat, add cheeses, then add pumpkin and butternut purees
add cooked pasta to the cheese + squash sauce, gently mix together
coat 9x9 glass baking pan with non-stick spray
pour macaroni and cheese sauce into the baking dish 
& bake for 25-30 min or until slightly brown & bubbly

i liked this recipe a lot and my husband agreed it was better than the last one. 
the butternut squash flavor combined with pumpkin really added something. 
this dish was creamy & the only lumpy part was from the butternut squash puree 
(i don't think i waited long enough for it to cool before putting it in the blender), 
but i wouldn't say the small bits of squash ruined it by any means. 

i'm linking this post here

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

tent city

i spent the night in a tent.
the social justice league at bsu is raising awareness for homelessness this week
by setting up a group of tents and having students, 
faculty and staff sleep there monday through thursday nights. 
on monday just after 9pm, about 15 students gathered for the nightly discussion at tent city.
we sat on the cement patio of the rondileau campus center
and talked about homeless children.
the average age of a homeless person in the u.s. is eight years old. 
more statistics about homeless children can be found at horizons for homeless children
(two representatives from the organization came to speak with bsu students yesterday).

the night was cold, but not freezing.
it was lightly misting when i went to bed and i slept through most of the night.
i awoke to the sound of rain lightly pitter pattering on my tent and
i'm glad i spent last night in the tent on the campus center lawn.

thank you, social justice league for your work in raising awareness of homelessness.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

a crafty saturday night

my dear friend, amy, was in town over the weekend...what a treat!
she taught me how to make button jewelry, 
which she's shown off on her blog here
a few highlights of our weekend fun:

we ate at our favorite indian restaurant, shanti
(sorry i forgot to take a picture)

we cuddled with milton while watching when harry met sally

we made some jewelry of our own
the earrings i made & each showing off a pair on sunday
we relaxed & caught up, which was lovely.
thanks for a fund weekend, amy!

i'm linking here

Friday, November 12, 2010

frugal friday finds: attention target shoppers

this is gonna make me look like i went on a target shopping spree
...maybe i did

ordered these online for $12.99 mossimo odell ruffle ballet flats in teal 
mossimo fingerless gloves (couldn't find these listed online),  $8
but i've been wearing them all week & theu're perfect for my htc evo touchsreen
rimmel nail polish in steel grey $3
according to the reviews online, the color lasts for a week...stay tuned.
happy friday, friends!
have you found anything fun at target lately?

Thursday, November 11, 2010

thankful on paper (2)

i'm joining no. 17 cherry tree lane's thankful on paper this month
week 2: i am grateful for my husband, brandon

next month will mark the two year anniversary of our first date.
we've known each other for just over two years.
we met just months after i moved to boston and was attending citylife church, where my three roommates went.
brandon was the first person i met the night i visited cg.

two of my favorite photos...they capture new england fall so well!
thank you, brandon, for loving me unconditionally & just as i am.
you don't try to change me, but encourage me to look outside of myself to others.
i admire your desire for community development work & ambition.
your hard work & perseverance inspire me not to settle.
telling your southern self to deal with boston winters because i love snow & cold.
i'm thankful you encourage me in work that brings fulfillment & professional growth.
you let me cry when i can't explain it.
your faith is strong & your passion to go to seminary is awesome,
can't wait to see what's next!
i'm grateful for your sense of humor, love of cooking & restaurant knowledge.
i love that we got a dog in our first year of marriage when we said we'd wait at least a year.
your talents never cease to amaze me-- whether it's carpentry [our beautiful coffee table] or graphic design [our wedding invitations, my blog header]
or leading a bible study, i'm amazed!
a special thank you for putting up with the ever growing list of things i can be fanatical about:
making lists, the red sox, planning our meals for the week, maps, twitter, trader joe's, making 1 hour trips for bagels or ice cream, new projects, this blog and anything pumpkin flavored!
i can't wait to see where the rest of our life together leads us.  i love you.
skagway, alaska [on our honeymoon]
on our wedding day
you can read more thankful on paper week 2 posts here

grateful girl: veteran's day

arlington national cemetery, tomb of the unknown soldiers, [source]
this week's grateful girl post is dedicated to veterans:
thank you for your service in the u.s. armed forces and to our country.

i am very grateful for my upbringing as an air force brat.
my dad's career in the air force afforded us many opportunities,
all of which kept us in the lower 48,
and allowed us to live in colorado springs and fort walton beach, fl
(among other not-so-scenic places).
both my grandfathers served in the air force, along with one uncle 
and my brother-in-law is currently stationed at charelston, afb.

my heritage has taught me respect & admiration for those who serve.
thank you to the men & women who served our country
and thank you to those serving today
in the air force, army, marines, navy, and coast guard.
wall of freedom at the world war II memorial in washington, d.c.
each of the 4,048 stars represents 100 fallen u.s. solders from WWII[source]

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

post secret event

last week, frank warren, creator of the post secret blog, came to campus
i asked several of our campus center student employees to attend the event
as the second session of our c.l.a.w. (creating leaders at work) program for the school year.
 post secret started five years ago with frank handing out self-addressed postcards
around washington, d.c. asking people to write their secrets down and mail the postcard.
once he started receiving the postcards, he would scan & post them on to his blog.
knowledge of the blog spread and went viral .
in 2008, he linked up with 1-800-suicide and was trained to take calls.

beyond the blogging aspect, which i obviously enjoyed, it was interesting artistically.
frank shared how he had an art show at georgetown & his dad came out from arizona to see it
and finally understood the impact of what he was doing,
opening the door for conversation.
frank warren believes reading other's secrets opens the door in your own relationships.
he told stories of his blog readers who testify to learning more
& deepening a relationship thanks to regularly reading post secret with their significant other.
image found on amazon
he earned further popularity with the all american rejects' dirty little secret video,
which features 300 or so of actual postcards he's received.
the project has been going for five years & he's published five books of the postcards.
image found on amazon
and i had a very positive response from the students i asked to attend the event;
one even stopped by my office to say thank you.
thank you, frank warren, fore creating something to help us converse.

Monday, November 8, 2010

butternut squash risotto + pork chop

martha came through once again;
i'll admit my skepticism, but this recipe was a hit.

i've had three pretty squash staring at me from the counter for the past week
on saturday, i moved them into the dining room for a centerpiece,
but then decided i needed to use them throughout the week.
butternut squash has been a favorite of mine for the past five years or so. 
on sunday, i began looking for a butternut squash recipe & came across this one

butternut squash risotto
1 T butter
1 1/2 pounds butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into 1/2-inch chunks
Coarse salt and ground pepper
1 cup arborio rice
1/2 cup dry cooking white wine
28 oz. reduced-sodium chicken broth, mixed with 1/2 cup water and heated
1-2 diced shallots
1/3 cup grated Parmesan sharp cheddar cheese, plus more for garnish
1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage, plus more for garnish

in a medium heavy-bottom saucepan, melt butter over medium heat
add squash; season with salt and pepper
cook, stirring often, until edges soften, 6-8 minutes
add rice; stir to coat
add wine; cook until almost all liquid has evaporated, 1-2 minutes
reduce heat to medium-low; add 1/2 cup hot broth mixture
cook, stirring, until almost all liquid is absorbed
add remaining broth mixture, 1/2 cup at a time, stirring until liquid is absorbed before adding more, 35-40 minutes total
about half way through the adding liquid process, i added the diced shallot (i'd probably add two diced shallots next time)
finally stir in cheddar and sage
serve immediately, garnished with more Parmesan and sage, if desired
rice added and first half cup of broth, love the bright orange
finished risotto, after about 40 minutes of stirring & adding broth
 while standing at the stove to make the risotto and stirring it repeatedly, 
i thought about how to prepare the pork chops we planned to have for dinner.
i had only ever prepared pork chops by 1- grilling them on an outdoor grill 
or 2- using a george foreman grill, but those didn't seem like good options
 in tonight's rain storm (and we don't own a foreman grill).
after perusing a few websites, i came up with the following...

pan + oven fried pork chop
2 pork chops
1/2 c. bread crumbs
1/4 c. whole wheat flour
2 tsp. lowry's seasoning
1 egg, beaten
1/4 c. milk
extra virgin olive oil (1-2 T)

preheat the oven to 425 F
combine bread crumbs, flour, lowry's seasoning in a bowl & mix thoroughly
combine egg and milk, mix and set aside
dip each pork chop into the egg/milk, then dip into flour/bread crumb mixture
heat ~1 T olive oil on pan over medium heat
pan fry each pork chop for 2 minutes per side, then transfer to greased, glass baking dish
bake for 15 min in preheated 425 F oven
butternut squash risotto & pan + oven fried pork chop
this was one of the best meals i've had at home in a while. 
the creamy texture of the risotto was perfect with the crisp yet tender pork chop.
looking at this image reminds me we should have had a green veggie or something...oops!
warning: this meal takes a while, plan on at least an hour of prep + cook time

i'm linking this recipe here