Tuesday, October 1, 2013

My Favorite Month

I love almost all things about October! The changing of the leaves, everything pumpkin related, the adorable change in my wardrobe to boots, scarves, and sweaters. And this year..PLAYOFFS for the Indians! Our apartment has of course experienced the make over as well. I can't wait to show off all the decorations we have started to put up. I'm still struggling over finding a wreath to make for both Halloween and Fall, but the mantle came together perfectly! 

For once I have lots of things to blog about this month and can't wait to write about all the things that will be happening all month long..

I already own a good bit of Halloween decorations (well to be honest, I own a lot of decorations for all Holidays because I am a holiday junkie) However, if anyone is looking for decorations that are super cheap I would check out Dollar Tree. They always have a bunch of holiday themed things out.

 My mantle this time is my favorite mantle thus far. I got the leaf banner at Pat Catans- they have quite a large variety of pre-made garland with different colors. I decided to mix both fall and Halloween this year--I feel like they go hand in hand. 

 How fun are these little guys! I also got them at the Dollar Tree for all four chairs. 

 Ever since I was a little kid I have loved window clings. This is just one of the windows I decorated, but the clings are currently on four of our windows! 

Stay tuned for all the exciting posts to follow..

For now--xo

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Mini Vacation

So I didn't cook or bake anything and I didn't make anything crafty or cute but I still feel that a blog post is worthy. I took an entire weekend off!!! It was so marvelous and wonderful to not have to stress about fitting in non stop work with a massive amount of homework. Brent and I both took the weekend off and planned a mini vacation with our awesome friends down south Kaycie and Brad. This was a huge deal for us because it was the first full weekend off Brent and I both have had since Punta Cana, and really that doesn't count because the day after I got home I worked that Sunday so really we just had the week off. Either way the little break was so needed and such a good time! This weekend has been in the making for close to two months because Brad (who hasn't taken a weekend off in 51 weeks!!!!) needed a lot of time to plan. Kaycie and I decided awhile back Put in Bay and Cedar Point sounded like perfect adventures to fill in our weekend. Let me start by saying it was THE perfect weekend for both of these things! The weekend was a little breezy, but definitely not cold and was perfect in the sunshine. It was a nice break after the three straight days of 90 degree weather we had. With summer being over and kids being back in school both PIB and Cedar Point were deserted. It was fabulous. Every once in awhile I feel adventurous enough to handle PIB during busy season, but not having to wait forever for a drink, getting drinks spilled on me, and actually being able to walk without having to dodge around people was great. We rented bikes, visited the wineries, ate ice cream, and just enjoyed vacation. I have been battling a sinus infection for a solid week now so I took the weekend on pretty cautiously and slow. Cedar Point on Sunday had barely any wait at all for any ride including the Maverick and Gatekeeper. The longest we waited for any ride was probably 20 minutes. We walked right on to the Gatekeeper, got off, and walked right by on--which was actually a terrible idea and made both Kaycie and I nauseous. Halloweekends opened this weekend, but unfortunately they don't do the fun stuff on Sundays because they close at 8. Either way it was a perfect weekend filled with relaxation, friends, laughter and fun. EXACTLY what we all needed!

--for now XO

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Let's play catch-up

Okay it got bad again, even after I told myself I would blog more. So let's play a quick (kind of) catch-up. In two pictures I can sum up my entire current life..
 For now (as long as I can keep my sanity) I have been working <technically> three jobs while finishing up my last year of my Master's degree. I have basically given up my social life and weekends, but through that complaint I am very lucky to be able to work that many jobs and provide for myself. Everyone keeps telling me it's part of the growing up process :) This picture is from one weekend of work and by one weekend I mean a Saturday double and a Sunday double. When I got home Sunday night after working almost 27 hours on 3 hours of sleep I sat down  on our couch with silent tears falling from my eyes and had Brent take off my shoes. It was pathetic I know, but my entire body ached from exhaustion. 
I also have been spending a great deal of time held up in my built in office. This part of the house was definitely my selling point. I love that it had a built in office that was surrounded on three sides by windows. It's a great place to work on homework and also a great spot for all of my plants to grow. This area of the house after we moved in quickly became the junk room holding all of the boxes we didn't know where to put the stuff or hadn't had time to unload it. It worked out well until school starting back up came closer. So one day while I was at work Brent went to target and bought lots of things to decorate my office and unpacked all of those boxes and made the space perfect for me. How considerate is he? :)

A very quick wrap up to our summer includes...
 Cory and Ashley's engagement party! One of my favorite parts of this next chapter in my life is the amount of friends I have getting married and having babies. It's a great excuse for us to get to dress up, buy presents, and spend time with people we love. Cory and Ashley put a lot of planning into the engagement/housewarming party and it definitely showed. I wish I had taken more pictures of the night, but it was filled with a significant amount of the game Boom! (if you've never played I highly recommend you do--so fun and filled with lots of energy)
 I made chocolate chip sea salt cookies for the party. Basically regular chocolate chip cookies with sea salt on top. I love the combination of salty to sweet!

Brent and I miraculously had one morning off together so of course we spent it at the zoo! Cleveland zoo is filled with little baby critters which makes for a fun visit. However, we went on a Monday--which in case you didn't know is free day at the Cleveland Zoo for all people who live in Cuyahoga county. Brent and I had a hard time deciding if the people there or the animals were more entertaining to watch!

We of course paid the extra money to go through the Dinosaur exhibit! Those little guys moved and made noise, blinked, and some of them even spit water!

My summer wrapped up with watching these adorable little girls. Poor Lucy was full of anxiety having the girls here with Claire constantly chasing her around the house and Leah screaming, but we all survived and had a great weekend!

And your daily Lucy dosage--seriously is there a cuter kitten?

Last but not least--some delicious recipes to try!
 This is a spicy quinoa salad which was delicious but extremely spicy! This was my first time cooking with quinoa but it turned out great and I can't wait to try some more recipes!

and some more delicious sweets--these are homemade chocolate cupcakes with peanut butter frosting that got topped with reese's  peanut butter cups! they were stinking delicious
---a little advice: freeze the peanut butter cups ahead of time that way when you go to break them to crumble they aren't all melted and sticky

Spicy Quiona Salad: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JF0_rhDrxwk&list=UUwzKX4hM0-zKwVqGQNz79pw

If you go to the youtube page just scroll to the bottom and the recipe is printed there so you don't have to watch the video

Reese Cup Cupcakes: 

--for now XO

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Hardcore Slacking

I'm embarrassed! I was on such a good blogging roll, and now look! Almost an entire month has gone by since my last entry. I can only imagine how hard of a time I will have trying to come up with creative things when I go back to school. This upcoming semester, I will be juggling practicum 2 days a week, class 2 days a week, 3 jobs, and trying to squeeze in time to have a little bit of a life. Good luck right? Even more luck to finding things to post about. My life currently has just been consumed with work which is going to be my main excuse for my slacking. I haven't had a day off in weeks which stinks sometimes, but I figured I should try and save as much as I can now before school starts back up. I have managed to find some new recipes, but the crafts have really been slacking. Brent has been gone this past week and will be gone all this week for his two weeks of guard training and as much as I would like to be crafty all on my own, I need his help for quite a few things. Plus doing crafts with others is significantly more fun than doing them alone. Before Brent left however, he surprised me with a homemade dinner--one in which I wasn't allowed to enter the kitchen for--he even closed the door off to the kitchen--how serious :) 

We had a Mexican night--which doesn't surprise anyone if they know Brent at all. We made together homemade black bean and corn salsa which was unreal! It was delicious I had to have it taken away from me. Brent found the recipe so I will have to steal it from him at some point, but I know the second time we made it we added just one jalapeno which really kicked up the spice and flavor and I love jalapenos so it was perfect for me!

While Brent has been gone, I have had a couple visitors because everyone knows how much I hate being home alone in the dark. I am such a baby. I can't imagine the day I have children who will equally be scared of the dark and having to console them! Sam and Billy visited and we hit up the John Mayer concert at Blossom. 

This was the second time I've seen John Mayer and I loved him equally both times. This time maybe just a hint more because he played Comfortable which is my all time favorite John Mayer song. It wasn't on his set list and he had yet to play it on his tour, but he said he was really feeling the crowd that night so he sang it. I was on cloud nine!! 

My parents also came up for a night to stay and visit, but since I didn't take a picture with them I'll give you the next best thing...Little Lucy and her brother in law Bob spent a night facetiming and getting to know each other a little better. Bob is a mane coon and could easily stomp on Lucy, but I had a fun time getting them both on the camera :)

 While Brent has been gone- a new plant came in the mail. One in which I am a little scared of--a venus fly trap!  Apparently there aren't as high maintenance as I was worried about, but look how creepy the little guy looks! I will be curious to see if it gets any bigger and I'm still patiently waiting for the first time it opens and closes it's mouth. I'll definitely be keeping you updated. 

And I've spent just a little time in the kitchen--cooking/baking for one is also not as much fun as cooking/baking for two or a group. However, a fellow coworker had a birthday and said carrot cake was his favorite so I found a recipe for some cupcakes! The recipe is super easy, the only part I could do without is grating carrots for the batter. However I maybe cheated tonight and used the ninja to chop them up :) WAY faster than hand grating them!

I am going to try my darnedest to not wait so long to post next time...

Until next time..Xo

Friday, July 19, 2013

Day off means crafting galore!

I know I just posted a few days ago, but Brent and I finally had a day (kind of) off together resulting in a lot of the crafts we have had half finished to finally become finished and hung. They are all awesome and I'm so excited at how well they all turned out!!

 First up is this bookshelf. This book shelf has followed me through every move I've made--down to Cincinnati into 4 different apartments, back home for a year, and through 2 apartments so far in Cleveland. It has gotten a lot of wear and tear through these years due to both moving and because I'm obsessed with books so am constantly taking them off and putting them on. 
 Lucy however really enjoyed the empty book shelf and thought white was a fine color :)

We used I think four or five cans of spray paint in all to finish the shelf off. That doesn't include the part where the paper covered (so all of the backs of the shelves) 

 I found fun paper at Pat Catans to go with the new black color. Brent was in charge of sticking the scrapbook paper to the shelf because he is significantly more anal than I am about anything artsy so all the dots had to line up perfectly. I would almost bet putting on the paper took more time than applying paint 10 times. We used an adhesive spray glue which worked wonders! I was amazed actually at how sticky the glue was at easy it was to use. 
 Ta-da!!! what a difference a few coats of paint make and some scrap book paper :) 
And last but not least--my prides and joys. The book shelf would be more than full if I wouldn't have went out and bought a kindle :( 

Up next is this hideous picture we found on one of our Goodwill trips. 

I just covered the glass (and some of the frame, oops) in chalkboard spray paint. This as well took quite a few coats just to ensure that it was all even and thick enough to write on)

 I then bought recycled wine corks off of Amazon---I drink wine, but this project used almost 100 wine corks--I definitely don't drink that much, or am patient enough to save 100 wine corks. I did add some of my own corks in there that I had been saving. My favorite red wine made an appearance a few times as well as a cork from a bottle we got down in Georgia called One Hope that has proceeds that benefit children with Autism, which everyone knows holds a special place in my heart. I put all of the wine corks on using a hot glue gun and only managed to burn myself twice!

It has deemed its spot on our wall which we hung using command strips. I seriously use command strips for everything. They hold wonderfully and if I get bored of the location, which I often do, I can change the location without having to worry about covering up holes in my walls. 

and if you thought we couldn't possibly have done anything else yesterday, you are wrong!

I got the idea for this project from Pinterest, of course. I thought it was a neat idea to showcase some of the neat things Brent and I have done together over the course of our relationship. I modified it, obviously, but I think it turned out pretty darn neat. It is hanging over our mantle. I didn't want to take a picture too far back to show that it's above the mantle because I took down all the 4th of July decorations so the mantle is in the process of getting redone, so I didn't want to give anything away. 

How is all of that for a day's work! I'm super excited to still be finding things I want to do and decorate. On top of that, I managed to find another delicious and healthier recipe for us to try. 
This is a healthier version of a pasta salad. It still has mayonnaise in it, but I used mayonnaise that is made with olive oil so it isn't as bad for you. 
Recipe for Broccoli Grape Harvest Salad

For now--xo

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Plants on plants on plants

I can't believe we are already halfway through July! I feel like this summer is flying by and  I haven't gotten nearly enough accomplished. However, our days have been filled with work, making time for friends, trying new recipes, and trying to find time to run together. Sadly, I don't have many new fun crafts to post. We are currently working on 4 or 5 different things that are all more than halfway started, but need the time to finish (which we seem to be lacking). Anybody else start their day with a massive list of to-dos and then find themselves reading a book or napping or getting sidetracked by a million other things? We are definitely guilty of that. The crafts we have been working on are all exciting though, so I can't wait for them to be done so I can show them off. In the meantime, this entire blog (minus my delicious recipes) will be dedicated to the awesome plants I am growing! My favorite part of our new house is the built in office. Not only is it super helpful to have a space to put the never ending pile of books I have as well as the school stuff that continues to grow daily, but also because the office is surrounded on all sides by windows which is perfect for indoor plants! My obsession with plants started around the time Brent and I started dating. Instead of buying me flowers, he always came home with a plant. It took me killing off a couple (okay like 4...) plants before I really got the hang of how to keep them alive. My longest living plant is a Christmas cactus that I am obsessed with. It recently got repotted and has since then doubled in size! I keep telling everyone, I want to buy a house--not for normal people reasons, but because I want a yard where I can have a garden and plant flowers and have a hanging basket (I'm secretly 24 going on 90..)
So even though this post is not filled with normal 24 year old exciting things, they are really exciting to me...and because I'm so smart, I hid delicious recipes at the end of the post--that way you are forced to look at my plants :))
 Look how enormous my christmas cactus is!! and if you look closely you can see the new blooms!
 The downfall of having Brent bring home random things he thinks are neat in the store, is that I have no idea what they are what they get home. I know this is a fern, but that's the extent of my knowledge 
 If you are looking at this--try not to judge the mess that is occurring behind it. The office is the last room in the house to be set up. The bookshelf is still under DIY which results in quite a few boxes of books that need put away. Regardless--has anyone ever tried to keep an orchid alive? It's impossible!!! I was told as long as the leaves are still green and alive that the plant as a whole is alive--even though the stems and branches look dead. Does anyone have any secrets I'm unaware of on how to keep this bad boy alive?
 This little fella is new to the household! I have absolutely no idea what it is but it's super fun and super bright which makes it perfect. I found the coffee pot holder at Jo-Anne Fabrics which is also ideal for my house and my obsession with coffee mugs. I bought a ceramic rainboot the same day, but have yet to find a plant that would look good in it. Anyone have any ideas? It has to be tall!

And last, my african violet..this is also taking on lots of new blooms and will need to be repotted soon! 

Seriously how awesome are they! I am currently growing a strawberry and tomato plant too, but am going to wait til they have grown a little bit more to post. You guys are gonna love them :)

Last but not least---here are the recipes of the night
Roasted Cabbage
This recipe turned out pretty good.  The recipe says 20-30 minutes, but if you want soft cabbage I would recommend leaving it in a lot longer. 
This is a weird link-but this was the recipe I followed. I combined the liquids together then using a spoon to distribute it to the individually wrapped cabbage. Then I topped it with bacon bits. 

and...Peach Cobbler Cupcakes
seriously, peach cobbler in cupcake form. I'm a firm believer the world is happier with cupcakes. I don't know what it is about cake in cupcake form-but I swear it makes it better.
This recipe is kind of tedious and requires quite a few steps-but they were absolutely delicious. One of my favorite parts was buying the peaches fresh from the West Side Market!

I have absolutely no idea where you find cardamom, nor have I ever heard of it before. I didn't add it in there, but they still turned out great!