Sunday, December 9, 2012

Photo Props

Last night we went to a Christmas party and in addition to bringing a string bean side, I thought I'd toss in a photo booth with some props as well!

I saw a photo on Pinterest of some Christmas themed cut-outs awhile back and today I decided to make some of my own (instead of cleaning. It was a good decision.)

I used:
Wooden Kabob sticks
Duck tape
(all of which I had lying around, so this was a free DIY!)

It was super fun to make these and it seemed like everyone really enjoyed using them!

Here are some of the results:

The general consensus is that I should save these and each year make some new props.
So far we've decided to add:
Mrs. Claus' bonnet-esque hat & spectacles
More elves
The Grinch
& Some Who's

Anyone else have any suggestions??

Go be silly today!

Monday, December 3, 2012

Closet Make-Over

I have a TON of clothes, I hardly ever go shopping (maybe twice a year), & I'm awful at putting outfits together.
Great combo, right?

I'm finally starting to realize that just because my clothes still fit (many of which are 5+ years old) doesn't mean they're still wearable.

Plus, with all of the clothes that I do have, I don't have many basics at all. 
I found this great list on Real Simple today, and I could barely check off 5.

So, I got right down to business and purged whatever I could. 
Most I will drop off tomorrow at Goodwill, but I was also able to find a few gems to sell on Threadflip (a great site to buy & sell slightly loved clothes & accessories)

I also totally reorganized the way I hang my closes. This will help give me a new love and appreciation for the clothes that I do have and hopefully inspire me to wear them more often.

 Plus. they're grouped by style (as you can see with the different colored hangers) which makes finding things a whole lot easier in the morning! (Or evening, depending on how much effort I need to put into my outfit that day haha)

If you're bored and uninspired with your wardrobe, try sifting through, reorganizing, and rediscovering pieces you once loved.

Thanks for letting me share some OCD love with y'all!

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Life as a nanny...

I'm currently working as a nanny for two boys (aged 1.5 & 4). They have so much energy that often times I need to make sure I have activities planned for them to keep them engaged and to keep me from running around (and playing make believe) for hours on end. (I mean it's great for an hour or so but you can only be a pirate for so long, ya know?)

Anyways, I recently set up somewhat of an obstacle course for the oldest and it was such a success (for him, and me!) that I had to share. 

The first obstacle was something I think I stole from Pinterest (does anybody else confuse things they thought of with Pinterest ideas? Addicted much?)

Well it's a simple "laser beam" obstacle of course! (but really it's just ribbon and tape.)
It was so fun to watch him slither under & hop over the "lasers". I even made him restart if he touched one.
 No short-cuts here!

#2 Bowling made from blocks, a ball, & a wooden spoon to mark where to stand (...naturally...)

#3 Hopscotch - Pillow Edition

#4 Counting Army Men (the teacher in me is starting to show)
I drew a few squares & wrote numbers above them so he could place the correct amount of Army Men in them. I even had him add(/count) them all together at the end as a "special challenge".

#5 Practicing writing on a magnetic board (do they have a special name? I can't remember.) Anyway, I had him write his name, his brothers name, and Mom & Dad. 

Isn't his writing nice for a (young) 4yr old?

This ended up keeping him busy for at least a half hour (he wanted to do it a couple of times) and it was literally free to create (make use of what you've got!) and super simple to set-up.

I highly recommend creating structured activities - especially for stay at home moms - (which is what I feel like sometimes, ha!) It helps the kids stay actively engaged and keeps you from running around like a mad-women (or a pirate...)

Have fun playing!

Sunday, November 18, 2012

'Tis the Season!

... well, almost.

Although I am a strong believer in waiting to celebrate Christmas until after Thanksgiving (since it's a very sweet holiday that shouldn't go unnoticed), I started making my Christmas cards today in an effort to get a head start before we take a holiday in Aruba this week.

I've always enjoyed making cards, and despite my sad iPhone camera photos, I think they turned out well.

What do you think?
Would you buy any of these?
- Be honest -

They're all hand crafted and for family and friends this season, but I had such fun listening to the Florence and the Machines Pandora station and crafting away that I might just keep making them!

 (Ignoring the fact that this post was Christmas related...) 
Have a Happy Thanksgiving y'all!

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Our Friday Night

Sometimes Dave and I play games, other times we watch Netflix, we may even go out on a date, but last night, we did...

I. kid. you. not. 

See, I have photographic evidence!
Let me start by saying that I asked for this.
 For those of you who don't know, my husband is a SUPER math nerd (the cute kind, obviously), and he is getting his PhD in Industrial Engineering. I've always enjoyed math, and been pretty good at it, but I surely cannot keep up with him and all of this theory based work. So, in an effort to better myself & connect more with him and his love for math, I asked him to teach me calculus. 

Last night we started with the basics (some of which I remembered from high school, go me!) and in the weeks to come he will be teaching me a few nights a week.

Sounds thrilling, right?

I guess you can say we're both pretty nerdy, and I'm perfectly okay with that  

All that to say, if you're looking for a way to connect more with your spouse or even just a good friend, try doing something with them that you wouldn't usually do. Teach each other something, share a favorite hobby, do something different. 

Chances are you'll learn something new and grow closer together in the process. 

Your resident Mrs. Nerd,

Saturday, November 3, 2012

A new twist on an old Jack o' Lantern

Pumpkin Carving is something that has been a pretty serious business throughout my life. 
Growing up, my mom and I took pride in carving intricate designs into our pumpkins and every year I try to do something that was important to me that year.

A couple of years ago when a favorite story of mine, Where the Wild Things Are, became a movie, I carved this:

 And this year I felt inspired to carve a bridge in honor of being a new resident in Pittsburgh - the city of bridges!

 The process is pretty simple. I start with a photo I like, sketch it out on the gourd, and get carving!
Some of the tools you see are part of a very inexpensive pumpkin carving set from my local grocery store. Over the years they have held up very well and proven to be the best tools I have for carving.

 This is my favorite shot of the pumpkin
 At this angle, my husband says it looks like a tiara (I can't say I disagree) but I am fairly pleased with how it turned out.

This is a Halloween tradition I truly cherish.
 What do you do each year for Halloween?

Please share some thoughts below & to everyone around the East Coast whose festivities were postponed due to Sandy, safely enjoy your Halloween fun this weekend!


Monday, October 29, 2012

Newest Additions

Dave and I both agree that our favorite pieces of are home are all collected at our entryway

It may not look like much, but here you'll find my record player & beloved record collection, a print Dave bought from The Louvre, a vase I made a few years back, our collection of antique books and of course, our guinea pigs!

Although we really love the items on this shelf, we weren't thrilled with how it looked. So, we recently went antiquing and found some great additions to our favorite vignette.

I spotted this old vile holder in an attic-type antique book store. We had been searching for a small vase of sorts, and this little guy looked perfect for the job.

Plus, it's super unique and kind of quirky - just like us!

Dave also found these two treasures: 

After hours (literally) of looking through old books, Dave finally settled on these two. On the left is a copy of C.S. Lewis' The Screwtape Letters (2nd Edition!) and on the right, a small collection of Hebrew Tales. (Basically stories of the Old Testament).

They look (and feel) right at home in our lovely collection of all things old and/or meaning.

We had a blast discovering our new city, finding treasures in old antique shops, and of course ending the evening with an IKEA stop for that little lamp you see. 

I encourage you to go out and find some treasures and explore your local shops. You may be amazed at what you can find!

Sunday, September 30, 2012


My dearest readers, near and far. Today I feel called to share with you Compassion International, a truly amazing organization that I have been sponsoring two children through, for the last few years.

They have dubbed the month of September "Blogging Month" and they set a goal for a certain number of children to be sponsored. Of course, I had all intentions of writing a post earlier in the month, in hopes to help get more children sponsored, but alas, life got in the way. (How terrible is that?)

That is why today, the last day of "Blogging Month", I appeal to you to please sponsor a child. There are a little over 100 children left that need sponsoring (from their original goal) and it would be a huge blessing to get the rest of these children sponsors!

If you feel lead to do this, please click this photo and follow the instructions on their website

If you're still unsure, let me take a moment to share with you how exactly a sponsorship with a Compassion child works.

Here are the two girls my husband and I sponsor
Yetty(L) is a 4 yr old girl from Indonisia and Safiatou(R) is a 6 yr old girl from Burkina Faso.

At least 4 times a year we receive letters from them & at any point throughout the year we can send letters to them. We can also send small gifts and photos to them with our letters. (And we get photos of them about twice a year.)

We get updates on their community groups, their country, their needs, their prayer requests, and much more.

We pray for them, and they pray for us, & we can even visit them through Compassion trips at a various times throughout the year.

Our donation does not just get handed to the family with a  "good luck" label. Instead, our money goes toward directly affecting our sponsored child, her family, and her education, church, and community group as well as medicine and emergency relief that may be needed.
(If you're still curious about where your money will go, click here.)

Click now to become a sponsor!

So, what's the bottom line, you ask? 
$38/month to sponsor and positively affect the life of one child in poverty.

That's just over $1/day and less than you spend on coffee on your way to work.

It's really not a large commitment financially, but inter-personally it can make a world of a difference.

Please take a few moments to change a life and help bring a child out of poverty.

Many thanks,

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Delicious & Healthy Avocado Sandwich

I've always been a fan of sandwiches for lunch.
Sometimes they are filled with turkey & cheese, and sometimes they're not.
This is one of those times.

Today I share with you my all-time favorite lunch,
here's what you'll need: 
Use ~ 1Tbsp of mayo and 1/2 of the avocado, so you can save the other half for tomorrow... or later. 
No shame here.

In order to make it delicious, I suggest you do it like this:
Spread the mayo on the bread - right out of the toaster - lay down the avocado, thinly slightest tomato, fresh lettuce, and a dash of salt and pepper.
 (But I guess whatever order you do it in is probably okay too 

This healthy sandwich is definitely worth a try, (or two, or three, or ten),
 but I'd also love to know what your favorite thing to eat for lunch is... so please share some ideas below!


Sunday, September 23, 2012

Marry Your Best Friend.

Dave and I are part of a small group of young married couples through our church. We're currently reading and discussing Tim & Kathy Keller's book, The Meaning of Marriage. Although I am only half way through, I would highly recommend this book -whether you're married, dating, or single- because it really puts into perspective a lot of important aspects of marriage and things that should be considered before you marry.

"[when people are] looking for a spouse, [they] are looking for a finished statue when they should be looking for a wonderful block of marble... When Michelangelo was asked how he carved his magnificent David, his reply is reputed to have been, "I looked inside the marble and just took away the bits that weren't David."

For many young people, marriage sounds like a prison sentence, but I believe (along with Mr. & Mrs. Keller), that people are just looking for the wrong person to marry. 

"It often happens that you have a good friend of the opposite sex, with whom you share common commitments. You trust this person's wisdom and you find you can open up and share many intimate things without fear. He or she understand you well and listens to you and gives you advice. But the person does't attract you romantically. Maybe he or she doesn't have the body type that you find appealing. You feel no sexual chemistry at all. Then imagine you meet someone else to whom you feel very attracted. This person has the physical and social attribute you have been looking for and is interested in you, too. So you start seeing each other and you have a lot of fun together and things are moving along into more and more romantic intimacy. But if you are honest with yourself, this person you say you are falling in love with does not make nearly as good a friend as the one you already have, nor is that likely to change... Your spouse has got to be your best friend, or be on the way to becoming your best friend, or you won't have a strong, rich marriage that endures and that makes you both vastly better persons for having been in it."

All that to say, don't go wasting your time looking for this "Christian Grey" character who is just make-believe. (Yeah, I said it.)
Instead, take a moment to look around you, and understand that being married to your best friend, who may be a bit pudgy, or super corny, or shorter, or balder, or less rich than you imagined your "dream husband to be" and know that marrying someone you love and helping them become the person God is shaping them into is more important and more meaningful than any of those other (often temporary) things are. 

It's really that simple.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

DIY Recycling Bin

I apologize for my lack of posting lately. I was sick just about all of last week, and then had to try and make up for all that lost time this week, so now I'm finally caught up on just about everything.

Here's a quick DIY that everyone should do because recycling is a super simple way to help lessen our impact on the environment. (Minor environmentalist rant complete).

What you'll need:
An old cardboard box (we clearly had a ton from moving)
2 Rolls of Duct tape
Scissors (if you're particular like me)
Paper & Pen (for a label)
Oh, and a shelf/place to put it ツ      
Total  Cost: About $5

Using duct tape is a great way to make the box last and keep away any leaks or pesty bugs.

I actually had a blast being all OCD while sitting in front of my TV and watching an episode of Law & Order.

Enjoy creating yours!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Home Sweet Home (3 of 3)

Sorry for the wait, but this past weekend was filled with about 20 hours of driving and two weddings in different states. Although it was a very tiring weekend, (that flew by!), Dave and I were very grateful to be a part of such love-filled, God-centered, beautiful weddings.

Now I am excited to share with you the final part of our apartment tour, our bedroom:

That amazing paper crane sculpture was created by our friend, Emily. She gave it to us for our first anniversary gift last year, and we love it so much that we needed to hang it somewhere we could see and appreciate it each day.

How do you make a PhD students' textbooks and scholarly papers look nice on a bookshelf you ask? 
Well, I'm still not totally sure, but I did give it my best effort.

On the other hand, my bookshelf was pretty easy, and I love how it turned out!

Just a peek at the hubby's side of the bed. He found a perfect spot for his guitars, and a painting by one of my oldest friends, James. He is a very talented artist, and I highly recommend you check out his work.

Finally, our desk (we're sharing one, for the first time ever... wish us luck) with the coolest chair -circa 1960- which was a gift from a my high school mentor.

Again, I urge you to decorate using pieces that have meaning and stories behind them! It makes even a small, white-wall, city apartment feel like home.

I hope you enjoyed a peek at our apartment. Check back often for new DIY projects and tips that I share as we continue to make our apartment our home.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Home Sweet Home (2 of 3)

Today I share with you our kitchen and bathroom. These two rooms were recently renovated, which made a huge difference for us when we were deciding which apartment to choose.

The kitchen is a bit small, with limited counter and cabinet space, but we make it work... sorta

Just a close-up of the cutest calendar picture, ever.

We are very glad that they built in that microwave! Could you image how much less counter space we'd have if they didn't ??

And finally a basic [hand-me-down] bookshelf to make up for the lack of room (please ignore that narrow tower of appliances...)
Another one of my favorite parts of our kitchen is that "hot beverage bar" you see in the middle there. I think it's pretty adorable, and it's full of all things delicious! (and caffeinated!!)

Next, we have the bathroom. Again, it's a bit small, but it works (literally and figuratively).

Thankfully the bathroom set we arbitrarily registered for (2 years ago!) ties everything together very well.

These are some of my favorite decorative pieces in the whole apartment! We had these frames lying around our old apartment and before we left I got the idea of grabbing some geometric/aesthetically pleasing plants to use as art in the frames. Not only does it look cool, but we brought a few pieces of our old town with us.

Last, but certainly not least, our awesome rug. 
The colors, shapes, feel, (and size!) fit perfectly in our bathroom.

Well, I hope you've enjoyed part deux of the tour. 
Check back soon for the final post - featuring our bedroom!

Until then,

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Home Sweet Home (1 of 3)

Since we've been in our new place for almost a month now, I figured I would dedicate a few posts to an apartment tour, as promised. I decided to break it up into a few different posts so they won't be too photo heavy or (let's be honest) too word heavy either. 

It seems appropriate to start in the entryway & living room/dining room which is the first area of the apartment you walk into.

(Sorry in advance for the poor picture quality... all photos were shot with my iPhone because my DSLR is still broken...)

Our beautiful hideous periwinkle couch.

This lovely lady was painted with watercolors by a local artist. 

Those flowers are actually from my grandmas funeral. I dried them for a few months and then put them in my favorite wine bottle. They dried really beautifully... this picture doesn't do them much justice.

I like to decorate with items that have meaning or story behind them. It really helps make a place feel like home, and gives the opportunity for some great conversations with guests.

Well, there you have 1/3 of our apartment.
 Keep an eye out for the kitchen & bathroom post coming next.

Ta-ta for now,

Monday, August 27, 2012

Leftovers to Riches

... that's how that saying goes, right?

Regardless, did I have a fabulous meal tonight!
Dave has his first day/night of classes today so instead of cooking one of the meals I had planned for the week, I decided to search my fridge for leftovers and random ingredients to make myself dinner. We don't like to waste even the smallest bit of food, so luckily I was able to find leftover:

Grilled Chicken
Basmati Rice, cooked but plain 
& a bit of a Red Onion.

Instantly, my gears started spinning and I grabbed the quarter bag of spinach I had, tossed some olive oil and thinly sliced red onion into a pan to sauté.

Then, I grabbed some balsamic vinegar (a staple in our house), poured it over the basmati rice, and cut up the grilled chicken

I tossed all of that in the microwave to reheat while the spinach finished cooking and finally I mixed it all together on one plate. 


Happy Cooking!

Saturday, August 25, 2012

DIY Wall Art

Here's a simple DIY that I just made a few hours ago:

First, grab a medium-sized wood panel or small pallet
This one here is from IKEA - my all time favorite store.
 It came from their clearance room and cost me $1
(Needless to say, you can find pretty great things there!)

Then, grab some post-it letters and a favorite quote:
Since they only stick on the top, you'll also need some rubber cement glue (the most magical glue, in my opinion), so the paint doesn't creep under the letters.
Next, glue down your letters quickly as not to let the rubber cement dry too long.

After you have your words glued in place, grab some paint and a sponge brush and get to work. I recommend putting the paint directly on the sponge brush first, and twisting it around to even out the amount of paint on it.

Finally, after waiting a bit to let the paint dry, peel off the letters and touch-up the corners or sides that may have gotten paint under them. 
Nail polish remover on a Q-tip works very well.

Now find a home for it and enjoy!

Happy Painting,