18 December 2010


For some reason, I'm often the lone witness to glorious happenings. Like the time in WalMart that I returned a lamp because the knob was broken, and the clerk did the return successfully, but when it came time to record the problem, she wrote: Broken Pfknobe. I guess if the K is silent, then the P, H and E are, too. I felt sure that my response was being recorded on Candid Camera. (Assuming that show still exists.)

Then one day I was in the laundromat cleaning my feather bed in an industrial washer and dryer. When I threw it in the dryer, I tossed in some tennis balls. A lady questioned me, and I explained that throwing in tennis balls or tennis shoes help redistribute the feathers. To which she replies, "Hmm...must be the tena!" Again, I looked for the hidden cameras, trying desperately not to crack.

Fast forward to today. I was able to leave early for Christmas break. I decided to stop by Tuesday Morning because sometimes you can find a good deal. Not that I ever have, but I hear that deals are to be found. As I walked in, a customer was disputing a price with a clerk. Once the customer left, the clerks decided to call another store for confirmation of the discount. The conversation is, as follows:

Clerk A: Why don't you call the store in Paris? I bet they can tell us.

Clerk B: Okay. [Retrieves directory.] Do you spell Paris with a P?

Clerk A: [Sweetly replies.] Yes.

Me: [Thinking to self.] Where in the WORLD are the hidden cameras? And why can't I have a friend with me to hear this? And what other letter sounds like P? [Run through alphabet in my head and discover that no other letter sounds like the phonetic sound P.] [Smiles and attempts not to laugh.]

I'm telling you, I'm the witness to greatness. Aren't you jealous?


If you don't watch The Big Bang Theory, then you are missing out on one of the funniest shows ever. This weeks episode made me scream-laugh harder than any other episode of any other show this year. This YEAR! I just don't know if there's a funnier show on, and I'm all about funny shows. Modern Family, Cougar Town, and How I Met Your Mother are all on our DVR. But this...this is hilarious. (And I'm pretty sure you can watch it on the CBS website.)

(Don't tell my husband that I recommended that. He works for the cable company. They want your money.)

(Actually, scratch that. I want your money, too. Buy the cable so that he might get a raise.)

(Thank you.)

Here's a picture from this week's episode. Even if you don't like superhero's, you'll think it's funny. And if you're have even a smidgen of nerdiness in you, you'll think it's funnier than funny!

(And for those of you who hate the words Big Bang Theory and/or evolution...it's just the name of the show. No need to be offended. You'll still think it's a funny show.)

(If you don't, it's a money back guarantee. Or a box of Milk Duds. [A reference to this episode.])

(From me. Not the cable company. Husby nor the cable company is liable.)

That is all. Have a good weekend!

17 December 2010

Merry & Bright

Christmas decorations at our home went up the Sunday before Thanksgiving. I know it's early, but I do love Christmas. And really, the thing I'm most thankful for is my Savior. So I have no issues with ushering Christmas in a little early, especially if it reminds to be thankful of His great love. Does anyone else feel like Christmas decorations make their home cozier? I've always thought that! Maybe it's the rearranging to fit a tree inside the living room. Whatever it is, I like it. Here are a few of the cozies that make our home fun at Christmas (you'll notice that I'm a lover of bright colors at Christmas--no neutrals for this gal!)...

I feel like I finally got a decent picture of our Christmas tree. I played around with some buttons that I'd never used on my [6 year old] camera. It's amazing what can happen! You can see the ornaments and lights (although there are colored and clear lights), and the super cute red and white ball garland. That's this year's new addition, and I love it!

Our mantle. I should have taken a side view of the mantle. It's about 7 inches wide and slopes down to the front, which causes all sorts of anxiety for me. See the red glittery stuff hanging off the front? I feel like it's only a matter of time before it all falls down. I've collected all types of Christmas trees over the years (mostly on clearance at Pier 1 and Target). I like the look of random trees. This year's addition to the mantle are the fun little stockings all over. Cute, huh?

I found this frame a Target a couple of years ago. I had to have it, but wouldn't spend $7 on it. I just knew it'd go on clearance. The next time I was in, I couldn't resist; I spent the $7. The silver tree is from my great-grandmother's Christmas decorations. I love that I have it!

This wreath hangs on the door between the kitchen and living room. It's courtesy of my mother-in-law, who happens to supply many of my Christmas decorations.

Here's the kitchen. We have windows along the wall of the kitchen, which doesn't allow for much storage space, but I like that it's so open. I decorated each set of windows with various wreaths and serving platters, many of which I've had since college. The little angel in this picture was made by my great-grandmother; it's around 50 years old. Again, love it!

This platter is one of my favorites. Isn't the reindeer so cute?! I also love the gumdrop tree.

16 December 2010

A Christmas Break To Do List

Oh, y'all. I just love being lazy. Unfortunately, sometimes a good thing crosses the line into sit-on-the-couch-for-eight-hours-and-do-absolutely-nothing-and-hope-that-Husby-doesn't-notice-that-there-are-still-4-loads-of-laundry-to-be-done. In order to avoid the above scenario, I decided that I need a list to tackle during my Christmas break. Two weeks off at Christmas is an excellent time for rest, family and just getting things done.

I wasn't successful at purging 100 items before Thanksgiving. I gathered about twenty and had others in mind for removal from our home, but wasn't able to complete the project. So that will stay on my to do list, along with several other things I hope to will accomplish during the break, which begins this coming Monday:
  • Purge our home of 100 items (donate to Goodwill, sell on Craigslist, throw in the trash)
  • Take my wedding dress to be preserved finally
  • Print wedding portraits finally and have framed
  • Organize closets (Husby's, mine, and one other)
  • Clean, clean, clean (also read: vacuum, dust, mop)
  • Organize the cabinets off of the kitchen
  • Complete recipe binder reorganization
  • Research making a king-sized upholstered headboard (find navy velvet fabric)
  • Search for end tables to silver leaf
  • Research how to silver leaf
  • Decide on new bedding (but wait until January White Sales to buy)
  • Organize my iTunes account
  • Hang the huge clock we received for a wedding present
  • Undecorate after Christmas :(
I'll keep you posted on my progress--mainly because I need to know that others will know what I've done and haven't.

15 December 2010

Wide Wide World of Web

  • Catalog Living is a HILARIOUS website! You know the Sonic commercials with the husband and wife in the car? Well, this website was started by the wife character. Each of these pictures is from a catalog (Pottery Barn, Crate and Barrel, etc). The captions are between the husband and wife of the house, Elaine and Gary (who are not the husband and wife of the Sonic commercials). Again, HILARIOUS!
  • I love Anthropologie. I can spend hours in that store, especially in the home section--mostly because it's a tad more affordable than the clothes. After perusing their website, I found these adorable clothbound books for children, and then these clothbound classics for adults. Oh, how I'd love to have all of these, but I'd settle for Anne of Green Gables and Sense and Sensibility.
  • I found an inspiration room for our master bedroom. I really enjoy ideas from Little Green Notebook (see the link to the right). I've found that I love white/neutral bedding, but don't want to sacrifice color in a bedroom. This allows for both. What do you think? (Yes, I plan to do the silver leaf nightstands. But no couches. Our room isn't quite that big.) Click the link above for more pictures.

 via Little Green Notebook
  • I found these Brownie-Covered Oreos last week at Picky Palate, and totally plan on making them for Christmas Eve at the in-laws. Aren't they SO cute?!

14 December 2010

Top 2: Favorite Games

First, of all: I LOVE GAMES. Seriously love them. I love having friends over for dinner and games. I can't think of a better time. [And, yes, I have crossed over to boring adulthood. If the dinner/game nights are wrapped up by 9:30 so that I can scoot to bed, it's just fabulous for me. Although I never mind staying up till 11:00 with good friends; maybe even midnight on special occasions.]
My top two games are:
I grew up playing LIFE quite often; it was a favorite. It doesn't require just a whole lot of strategy, and it's just fun! This will forever hold a dear place in my heart since Husby proposed to me while we played LIFE. It's a really great story. You can read about it here.

I also love card games: Spades, Canasta, Pinochle, Hearts, Speed, War. I'll play just about anything. I even act like I know how to play poker, but I mainly bluff. It makes those who actually TRY so mad when I win. And it makes me so happy that it gets under their skin that much. I've recommended that they play by bluffing.

Because I love games so much, I can't limit it to two. Here are a few others that I enjoy:

What about you? Do you like to play games (board, video, Wii)? What are your favorites?

13 December 2010

Weekend Update: Birthday Edition

It's Monday, and it's so cold! When we woke up, the weatherman informed us that it was 26 degrees. That's chilly for Texas folk! I do enjoy the cold weather because I love wearing dresses and tights and boots. I just feel so cozy in this winter "uniform." Ha! I'll feel even cozier next week when I don't have to get up before dawn. Oh, the joys of the education field.

We had a semi-relaxing weekend. Saturday was Husby's birthday; we'd planned to do absolutely nothing, but he surprised me last week with tickets to a Willie Nelson concert for that night. He's just so sweet. Husby loathes country music, but still bought tickets for me to do something that I've always wanted to do. And that he went on his birthday--well, that's just even sweeter. We were successful in doing nothing during the day.

We took Crickett on a walk late in the afternoon and happened upon an estate sale. I'd like to preface this by saying that I love a deal. I scour Cragslist. I try to visit garage sales and estate sales, but only find junk or over-priced items. I never find anything fun or cute or cheap. But it all changed on Saturday. Even if I never find another good piece via Craiglist or garage/estate sales, I hit the jackpot with this purchase. (And I don't have a picture now, but I'll post one soon.)

I've always loved this home in the Azalea district:

I mainly went into the estate sale to see the inside of the home. (When else would I have the chance to peek inside? Without being a creeper?) I left Husby and Crickett outside while I made my rounds through both stories of the house. When I walked into the house, the homeowner shared that everything was 1/2 off. I saw pieces that I would love to have, but Husby doesn't share the feeling that 1/2 off of $1800 is a good deal. Ha! It was everything I dreamed of. I even went into the closets, which rival the size of our dining room. That's when I found our new chest of drawers. This piece was almost 5 feet tall and 4 feet wide. And it was 1/2 off $250. What?! I ran downstairs and grabbed Husby; the owners told us that Crickett could go inside the house. I showed him this piece of furniture, and he agreed that we should buy it. We don't need it now, but as our family grows (not prego), we will. And you can't find a piece that cheap! When we hauled it downstairs--with the help of Jeremy's brother and SIL, we discovered it is SOLID wood. I can't wait to refinish or paint it! It'll be perfect in some room, someday.

On Sunday, we went to church, and then right back home. We lounged, did a bit of Christmas shopping in the afternoon, and then I made dinner for my sweet husband. His choice of dinner: filet mignon with blackberries, roasted asparagus and baked potatoes. It was so yummy! I'll post the recipe for those steaks this week. I also made a chocolate cake that was SO rich I couldn't finish the last two bites. And I don't typically give in while eating chocolate. It super easy, so I'll post that recipe, too.

I hope you had a great weekend, too! Be a blessing this week.

11 December 2010

Happy Birthday, Husby

P.S. It's also the three year anniversary of him first calling me to ask me on our first date. Eek! I was so excited that I didn't answer his call. Ha! I immediately called him back and made up some excuse. :)

P.P.S. (or P.S.S., whatever) I have the best husband ever!

P.P.S.S. He's also the cutest.

10 December 2010

Friday Fives: Favorite Gifts

Just Me and My Life

Y'all know I love a list, and I haven't done a Friday Fives in a while. (You can see others here, here and here.) Today's topic is favorite gifts you've given or received. Let's get to it!

Probably my all-time favorite gift, which I still have today is...

...Crickett Marie! Isn't she so cute?! I received a 2-lb. dog as my "big" gift six years ago. Until then I wasn't a dog person; I casually mentioned to my parents that IF I ever got a dog, I'd want a miniature dachshund. My mom's best friend was at WalMart just before Christmas and saw mini dachshunds for sale. Somehow, she thought that I really wanted a dog and chose Crickett out of the litter. I was shocked when I received her, but I'm so glad that she's mine. Well, now she's ours. It took her about a year of dating to warm up to Husby, but now she's crazy about him.

I've already received a gift this year, and I'm so excited to use it. Husby came on Monday night and announced he needed to give me an early Christmas present. Since I'm not one to squelch the enthusiasm of others, I agreed to receive the present early. And do you know what it was? Tickets to a concert to see...

That's right! Willie Nelson! Don't judge me. I've liked him for years. And I'm super excited to see him in concert. I would have put this concert on my Bucket List, but considering he could be more likely to kick the bucket first, I didn't think it was a good idea. It'd just be setting myself up for disappointment.

Okay, now one of my favorite gifts I've given was to Husby a couple of years ago. We had a ski trip planned, and I wanted to do something a little out of the ordinary. Husby loves experiences more than things, so I knew that I could hit it big in the mountains of Colorado. We went dog sledding!

It was so much fun! The picture above is Husby driving the sled with me in the passenger seat. These dogs were so amazing! We both had so much fun. I'd highly recommend it!

Okay, this wasn't a Christmas present, but I just checked the rules (that don't really exist), and so I feel fine posting it. The first birthday present Husby gifted me with was a hot air balloon ride. (He really is all about fun experiences!)

Although I'm terrified of heights, this was so much fun. The balloon doesn't move very fast; it doesn't have jerky movements. It's very serene. Just a side note: don't wear a dress or skirt when hot air ballooning. There is no way to modestly climb into the basket wearing such an outfit. But I looked cute. Which is important.

Oh, my goodness. I have the best husband ever! He's such a good gift giver. (I'm breaking the non-existent rules again.) Last year for my birthday, he gifted me with tickets to see:

This is my all-time favorite musical. (Sorry, Les Miserables.) It was playing in San Antonio, which is quite a drive for us. He found a wonderful bed & breakfast and booked two rooms since we were still engaged. We walked the Riverwalk, toured the San Antonio missions--including the Alamo, ate amazing food, drank fantastic margaritas, bought way to much chocolate to eat in one night, and saw Wicked. It was such a good weekend, and most importantly, he liked Wicked, too.

Okay, I could go on and on with the boom box/CD player I received in 7th grade, my American Girl doll, Kirsten, the super cute wool hat Husby gave me last Christmas. I think I should stop. And as much as I love telling you about the gifts I've received, I do love giving gifts even more!

What about you? What's a favorite gift? Do you hand-pick presents for people?

09 December 2010

Not a Wordless Wednesday

My original plan for posting today was "Wordless Wednesday." But then I somehow figured out that it's not Wednesday, so this post won't be wordless. If I had done a Wordless Wednesday (which I probably won't ever do because I keep typing worldless and having to correct it), I would have simply posted a picture of my Christmas tree. Let's go ahead and take a look...

I think that I should take a class on taking a picture of my Christmas tree. I just can't get it right. It really is covered in ornaments and has clear and colored lights and it's flocked, and the bow on top looks a lot better in real life. But you can't tell this from the picture. You'll just have to trust me (or give me tips on taking a good Christmas tree picture.) Oh, and I love my Christmas tree skirt. It has grosgrain ribbon, rick rack AND buttons. That's like the trinity of cute--you don't know how they all fit together, but they do.

Happy Wednesday Thursday!

08 December 2010

Wide Wide World of Web

Because it's Wednesday.

And I can't really function well because all I can think about is Christmas break.

And I still have 8 days to go. (Actually, I think it's 7.5, but since I have to wake up on at dark on these days, I'm counting all 8 days.)

I've decided to share a few links.


1. This video is hilarious. Who knew that ducklings would do this in the wind?!

2. One of my students wore some oh-so-cute earrings yesterday. I hadn't seen anything like them. She shared with me the gloriousness of What's In Store, a cute boutique in Franklin, Tennessee. Since I live about ten hours away, it's a good thing they have an online store. Visit What's In Store here.

3. My BFF-west-of-DFW, Patti, hounded me for WEEKS to listen to Mark Driscoll's Peasant Princess sermon series. I finally caved and downloaded four podcasts for my trip last week. Oh. My. Word. They are so good. I've heard approximately 128 sermons on Song of Songs, but this is so different. I can't wait to listen to more in this series, and I can't wait for Husby to hear these. I'm thinking of taking a road trip just so we can listen to them. Yeah. They're that good. You can find them here. Mars Hill has an iPhone app, so you can always pull up a sermon to listen. So nice!

4. And while you're at it, ladies, I highly recommend his Marriage and Women sermon; listen to it here. As I looked for that, I found others about women: Women and Femininity, Women as Homebuilders, Women as Wives. I think I know what I'm doing over Christmas break.

That's it for today. Be a blessing!

07 December 2010

Top 2: Ornaments

You should know that I LOVE Christmas ornaments. (So I linked up with The Undomestic Momma to share!) Our tree is covered in ornaments--probably 20 dozen, and I secretly wanted to use more. When I married, Husby came with about 14 dozen beautiful glass ornaments. (He wasn't using these; they were stored by his mom for his future wife. Score!)

We really don't have a specific theme for our Christmas tree unless "Super Cute" can be a theme. I love any ornament with red on it. Polka dots, glitter and ribbon are also big drawing points for ornaments. But I'm not picky...We have cute little angels and giraffes and homemade felt ornaments and dainty ornaments from Prague made out of blown-out egg shells. Please don't sense that the theme is "Tacky." I promise; it isn't. Somehow, it all works. Perhaps it's that the enormity of the ornaments.

I scored this ornament as a gift exchange last night. Being uber-competitive, I hated that I was the last to choose. But since I was new to the group, I quitely sat, waiting my turn. I was so excited when I opened this cute give. It's meets the criteria for the cutest of the cute: big, red and green, with ribbons. And since I was last in the gift exchange, no one could steal it from me. Yea!

I bought this ornament last year and thought it very fitting to adorn our first Christmas tree. Again, it meets the cute criteria: big, colorful, and a green ribbon.

What about you? Do you have favorites? Are all your ornaments part of a theme? I'd love to know (and steal ideas!). You can see a few other of our ornaments here.

06 December 2010


Hi, friends! I can't believe it's December. And Christmas-y. And cold. Mostly, I can't believe that this semester is almost over. (For the record, my brain has always worked in semester/summer increments. Even when I had a non-school job.) If my calculations are correct--and I'm pretty sure they are--45 of my sweet students have completed about 225 college applications, and we only have about 12 more to submit. Whew! That's a feat!

Last week I spent three days on a trip with my juniors. We toured five different schools. It was a great trip, but exhausting. I think there's also an age where chartered buses are no longer comfortable. In fact, most modes of transportation have lost any comfort I once thought they had. And for some reason, this girl who could sleep ANYWHERE just a few years ago, cannot sleep in a car/bus/plane any longer. I blame it on my turning 30. It's been a good year, but things sure do change.

Oh, another change is my eyesight! Evidently, I'm not supposed to drive at night without glasses. I didn't think it was super important that I get a pair of spectacles, but Husby had an eye exam two days after mine, and our doctor/family friend asked if I'd driven at night without glasses and shared that I'm not "legal" to drive at night without glasses. Now, Husby is a little concerned and won't let me drive at night until the prescription is filled. And did you know that glasses are EXPENSIVE?! After 30 minutes of trying on an average of six frames per minute, I found a pair. But I had to have her hold them for me because this frugal lady doesn't rake over a wad of cash that easily. I'm trying to decide if I need the cutest/more expensive pair since they're primarily for night driving. I mean, I will be wearing them at work when my eyes get tired, too. And I don't want to look like a MawMaw.


I'm sitting in our oh-so-cute-Christmas-y living room. I just love our Christmas tree. It's a flocked tree with that pre-lit with both colored and white lights. I love it! I just wish I could take a decent picture of it. Does anyone else have trouble getting a good picture of their tree? I think it must be a lighting issue. Our stockings are stuffed for each other. Although I have a feeling that they'll get a little more full in the days before Christmas.

I had an urge of creativity tonight. I started by making Chocolate-Butterscotch Haystacks, which are easy-peasy. I got the recipe from friend, and former roommate, Sarah. They're great for a Christmas party.

Chocolate Butterscotch Haystacks
from the kitchen of Sarah

2 C chocolate chips
2 C butterscotch chips
10 oz (2 cans) chow mein noodles

Melt butterscotch and chocolate chips. Stir in noodles. Drop onto waxed paper and chill until firm.

And when I was still in a creative mood, I made a little something to frame in honor of Elf:
If you'd like to print it, but it doesn't print well, leave a comment with your email, and I'll send it your way.

I hope you have a great week. Nine days left until Christmas vacation. Hallelu!

22 November 2010

Prayers, please...

Hello, all. I'm enjoying Thanksgiving break this week. It's such a great perk of working in the education system. Actually enjoying might not be the proper word; I'm getting caught up on doctor's visits (wisdom teeth problems, still). But to have a week off to do these things is just glorious. I'm actually blogging tonight, tired after putting up our Christmas tree with 23 dozen ornaments (not really an exaggeration). But my heart is heavy, and I'd love for you to join me in praying for a friend.

Lindsey and I served together during our single days, planning events for our singles group. I hope you've visited her blog, Pleasant Drive. (Here's the link--or you can access it easily anytime from the menu on the right side of my blog.) Lindsey is a woman of God whose faith and love for Him is just amazing. As an young woman, she's a two-time survivor of breast cancer (diagnosed at 25 and 26). If there's one thing that I learned as I prayed with her through her second diagnosis last year, it is to be bold with your prayers as you petition our Lord. Here's a verse that I'd heard, but never fully comprehended until that time:

Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence,
so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.
Hebrews 4:15-16

Today, Lindsey was diagnosed with a brain tumor on her frontal lobe. On Wednesday, she will have brain surgery to remove the tumor. Let's intercede on behalf of Lindsey, her husband, Brian, and their families. Jehovah Rapha (the Lord who heals) healed Lindsey's body twice from cancer. I believe that he has a plan for Lindsey's life. I believe the life of faith she's lived is a testimony like none other. Let's pray hard. Let's pray confidently.

Pray for healing.

Pray for wisdom for the doctor's.

Pray for steady hands during the procedure.

Pray for complete removal of the tumor without any ill effects.

Pray as Lindsey, Brian, and her doctor's create a treatment plan.

Pray that Lindsey and Brian will feel an overwhelming peace from our God.

Pray that their families will be comforted during this time.

Pray that Lindsey and Brian's young marriage will only grow stronger through this.

Pray that Lindsey and Brian will seek Christ during this time.

Brian & Lindsey (a great picture totally stolen from her facebook page!)

Thanks for interceding, friends. Have a great holiday week!

17 November 2010

A Must See

Because it's Wednesday.

Because it's been the longest week ever.

Because I scream-laughed when I watched this.

And because I think you should, too.

Please watch "You Forgot Blueberries."

You're welcome.

That is all.

**A special thanks to Brooke for finding this video. :)

16 November 2010

Faves: Stocking Stuffer Ideas

I'm so proud of myself. Already, I've bought over half of the Christmas presents we'll give. Woo hoo! I've done lots of online shopping, which has been super nice, especially when free shipping is an offer. Here are a few of my favorite things, and things that would be great stocking stuffers.

Did you know that Texas is a producer of olive oil? It's pretty new, but I was able to taste some at Mistletoe & Magic--a holiday market with specialty boutiques. Oh. my. goodness. Texas Olive Ranch makes amazing olive oil. I was a little hesitant to try it, since they pride themselves on their oils being so good that no bread is needed for tasting. I wasn't keen on the idea of drinking olive oil. But once I did, I could have kept going. We had some great "cocktails"--oils mixed with balsamic vinegars. Oh, come on! Though we only had sips of each cocktail, I could have downed it!
One of my favorites was orange Rio Orange Olive Oil mixed with Orange & White Orange Infused White Balsamic Vinegar. I came home with the Arbequina Variety EVOO and Figalicious Fig Infused Dark Balsamic Vinegar. I can't wait to use it on a salad. Each bottle is $10. You can order online at Texas Olive Ranch, or in select stores (a list is found on their website).

Next up: Coconut Body Butter from The Body Shop
This stuff is fabulous. I bought a tub last year while honeymooning in San Francisco. Our hotel was next to excellent shopping. Unfortunately, Husby isn't the shopping type, so I only visited this one store. I hadn't been to The Body Shop previously, but the smell wafting from the store intigued us both. This cream is excellent. It's made from coconut oil, which is a solid, so it's super thick. I love it! They have tons of different scents: lemon, olive, grapefruit, almond. They're on sale now for $14 per tub, regulary $20. At either price, it's worth it.

Last year, Husby got Origins Skin Diver Active Charcoal Body Wash in his stocking. And then I started using it and discovered how fabulous it is!
It's a natural body wash that smells like rosemary and spearmint. I love it. Although $19.50 and pricier than drugstore body wash, it lasts for a long, long time. And it just smells so good!

Fingers crossed, I'll have my Christmas shopping done next week when I'm off for Thanksgiving. Then, I'll be able to wrap and be-ribbon the gifts to go under the tree.

15 November 2010

Recipe: Banana Crumb Muffins

I love muffins. As we ate these yesterday, I declared that muffins are the perfect breakfast food:  filling, but not heavy; tasty, but not sugar-y sweet. This recipe was found in desperation as I hoped to use over-ripe bananas instead of throwing them out. It was a Saturday morning, and I often make some actual breakfast food on Saturdays, rather than the usual cereal or oatmeal. This recipe is not difficult, and the results are wonderful. The muffins are lighter in texture than banana bread, but taste very similar.


1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 bananas, mashed
3/4 cup white sugar
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/3 cup butter, melted
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon butter


1.Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Lightly grease 10 muffin cups, or line with muffin papers.

2.In a large bowl, mix together 1 1/2 cups flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. In another bowl, beat together bananas, sugar, egg and melted butter. Stir the banana mixture into the flour mixture just until moistened. Spoon batter into prepared muffin cups.

3.In a small bowl, mix together brown sugar, 2 tablespoons flour and cinnamon. Cut in 1 tablespoon butter until mixture resembles coarse cornmeal. Sprinkle topping over muffins.

4.Bake in preheated oven for 18 to 20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into center of a muffin comes out clean.

5. Enjoy!

14 November 2010

Weekend Update

Today has been a day of rest at our home. Other than brewing coffee and making muffins, we've done almost nothing. Which is nice considering our busy day yesterday. Husby and I went Christmas shopping--and eating--with his family. A day of Pottery Barn, Williams-Sonoma, Banana Republic, and World Market, sprinkled with meals at Grand Lux Cafe and Maggiano's, sounds perfect to me. However, Husby does not enjoy a day spent at stores. Luckily, he did enjoy Angry Birds and Cut the Rope on my iPhone, when The Container Store just didn't do it for him. We're quite different in that respect. I could spend hours in The Container Store, dreaming of my next organization project.

As I type this, our bellies are full from yummy Banana Crumb Muffins. Although I've claimed not to bake in my Things I Don't Do list, I am a pretty decent muffin maker. I was quite happy with this mornings result: 

I'll share the recipe later this week.

This morning, I finished The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. It is such a fabulous read! This book has been on my book list for about a year. I finally snagged it at a local used bookstore. It's written in letters, and I couldn't wait to finish one letter so that I could move to the next. Guernsey is a Channel Island (English Channel) that was occupied by the Germans during World War II. The book is set just after World War II ends; each character tells stories about the Occupation, but more importantly, their relationships with each other during this time. Now, I badly want to visit Guernsey. I want to smell the sea air and walk along the beach. I fear that I might be disappointed when the reality of the characters as part of fiction sets in. I'd love to walk along the beach with Juliet and Kit, or share tea and raspberry pie with Amelia. Although a quick trip to Guernsey isn't an option, I do think that a re-read is imminent. Here are a couple of quotes that made me fall in love with the book even more:

"I wonder how the book got to Guernsey?
Perhaps there is some secret sort of
homing instinct in books that brings
them to their perfect reader.

"Reading good books ruins you
for enjoying bad ones.

Next up on the docket? A game of domino's with Husby. Then I plan to be somewhat productive. My goal to purge our home of 100 items by Thanksgiving requires some action on my part. (Read about that here.) I need to gather 10 items per day to make it a little less overwhelming. I have my eye on a few things that will make an exit.

10 November 2010

An Oops and a Goal

I may have committed the biggest faux pas in the history of weddings. I know what you're thinking, and yes, my wedding was over a year ago. That means this faux pas has been a year in the making. And I didn't even know it. We celebrated our anniversary about two weeks ago. Around that time, I decided to look through a box of wedding things just for fun (extra invites and ribbon, to do lists, and credit card-sized agendas). I couldn't bear to part with these things so soon after the wedding, and since Husby moved his things into our house and needed to be unpacked ASAP, I thought it was one box that could be set aside. I wanted to enjoy looking at these things one more time before I parted with them. As I dug through the box, I happened upon them. Thank you notes--written, sealed, and addressed, but never sent. Oh. my. word. The horror! I could not believe it. I acutally enjoyed the process of writing thank you notes (all 23843 of them!).

This afternoon, I added these labels to the back of 40 thank you notes:

Then I put stamps on them and sent them to the people who showered us with love before our wedding. Talk about swallowing some pride. I still cannot believe that I'm sending thank you notes a year late! (Did I mention that all the others went out within a week of receiving the gifts?!)

So, I had so much fun organizing our under-the-stairs cloest this weekend that I've kind of been on an organizing kick. I just love it when things have a place; life is so much easier! About twice a year, I purge things that I don't want. Between Husby and I, we usually have several trash bags full. Over at Young House Love, they've set a goal to purge 100 things (via donations, Craigslist, Ebay, trash). I love this idea and feel that it's attainable. Sure, it may take some time to go gather 100 items, but my goal is to have it done by Thanksgiving. Like YHL, I plan to keep a list of everything that'll make an exit from our home.

Maybe if I rid our house of 100 items, I can find things easier. Like thank you notes. And send them out before it's been a year.

08 November 2010

The Weekend

Oh, I love a good weekend. Friday was an early release day at school. Normally, the worker bee in me would stay and get ahead. Not so on Friday. I left work and headed to Dallas to meet up with my college roommate, Adriane. Our plans? To hear Shauna Niequist speak, author of Bittersweet: Thoughts on Grace, Change and Learning. It was such a nice way to spend an evening, and oh so refreshing for my soul.

Shauna read a handful of passages from Bittersweet, and then we had a great question and answer time. My favorite chapter changes every few days, but one of my favorites is "Things I Do." I feel--as a woman--pressure from society to do: work 40+ hours per week, keep a clean house, cook fabulous meals, workout, maintain relationships, and on and on. Evidently, this is common. Shauna addresses this in her book, along with advice she was given:

"It's not hard to decide what you want your life to be about.
What's hard is figuring out what you're willing to give up
in order to do the things you really care about." -Bittersweet

This really strikes a chord with me. For the girl who wants to do it all, it's a challenge to be willing to give up doing. Shauna creates an ever-evolving list of "Things I Don't Do." What a great idea! On our way home, Adriane and I came up with our own lists. Though I want it to be a list that changes over seasons, here are Things I Don't Do:

1.) I don't bake. I don't like to bake. It requires precision and time that I don't like to give. And one small mistake can throw it all off (unlike cooking).

2.) I don't use cloth napkins. I know that it's super classy to bring the paper towel holder to the table, but that's what we do. I don't like washing more linens than absolutely necessary. And I sure don't want to iron these. So, for now, it's paper towels.

3.) I don't shop at Wal Mart. I know it's convenient and less expensive, but I don't like it. I prefer making two less stressful stops at Target and the grocery store.

4.) I don't finish reading books that I don't enjoy. They're not worth my time.

I feel liberated saying that I don't do things. I like it!

Adriane and I enjoyed shopping on Saturday morning and had more conversations about life. Then we visited my sweet friend, Christine, and her husband and oh-so-cute baby, Luci. After a quick trip to their fabulous farm store, Urban Acres, I headed back home. I arrived just in time to change clothes and head to a wonderful wedding.

Yesterday, after church, Husby and I did a little rearranging around the house. In the winter, our home gets pretty chilly. The coldest spot is the dining room; it hovers around 55 degrees. Brrr! We decided to move our dining table into our living room so that we won't have to eat a the bar for the next five months. That meant changing the layout of our living room. Twice. Then we organized the closet below our stairs. Husby assembled a new shelving unit, and I got to make order of all the stuff. He doubted my abilities to fit it all back into the closet. I guess it might take more than a year of marriage for him to have confidence in my organizing/packing abilities. I mean, who else can fit 55 pounds in a carry-on bag? That's talent, my friends.

I hope you had a great weekend. Happy Monday!