Thursday, December 22, 2011

Starting fresh with the return of my cat, Ruby!

As you may have noticed, I haven't been the best blogger for quite some time. I've been weighed down with work stress, busy with holiday crafts and events, and rejoicing in the return of my cat, Ruby! You can read all about her here. After 3 months and 7 days, she was safely returned to us and we couldn't be happier or more blessed.

Soon I will be posting her return story (trust me; it is heartwarming!) and starting fresh for the new year. I have many new plans for this blog and my writing, and can't wait to share the excitement with you! Thank you for being my faithful followers and I'm sincerely sorry for my long absence.

Merry Christmas, and I will see you in the new year!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Creamy dessert beverage

It's been a lovely fall day over here in the Willamette Valley-- a day for tall boots, coffee with friends and crafting. A day of sunshine, colorful trees and crunchy leaves on the sidewalks. A day of homemade sugary donuts, pumpkins on the porch, and cuddle time with the hubs. And, to top it all off-- a lovely new drink recipe!

via WeHeartIt

I originally found this idea over on exPress-o and decided to try it out myself. It offers a nice variation from the typical hot cocoa and/or coffee options. I like to call it "Creamy Milk" (original, I know).

Fill a mug with milk (I use non-fat) and heat in microwave until hot. Add a few splashes of your favorite coffee creamer (I prefer sugar-free Lucerne vanilla creamer) and top with whip cream/cinnamon/whatever you feel like.

It ends up tasting kind of like white chocolate hot cocoa. At first I was a little skeptical (I'm not a big fan of hot milk), but it's actually delicious! And using non-fat milk and sugar-free creamer makes it not too unhealthy, don't you think? :-)

Enjoy your Sunday!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Just a Kiss

Oh how I love Lady Antebellum. 

Monday, October 17, 2011

Meaningful Monday-- The art of Autumn

From via We Heart It

Winter is an etching, 
spring a watercolor, 
summer an oil painting 
and autumn a mosaic of them all.  
~Stanley Horowitz

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

A observation on a night out

This weekend Kyle and I went to dinner at McMenamins with my brother Michael. Now, first of all, if you've never heard of McMenamins-- you are probably not from the Northwest :) They are a wonderful pub/hotel/spa/restaurant company with locations all over Oregon and Washington. They have the most unique atmosphere and best cajun tots ever!

All images via

You should definitely check them out if you are ever in the area-- specifically, their historic Edgefield location in Troutdale, OR (my fave!) 

Anyway. So we were at dinner at their Corvallis location, and I ordered a bowl of cheesy potato soup, which of course came with the little prepackaged pairs of Saltine crackers, like these:

I didn't eat them (because I had the previously mentioned cajun tots as well). So that got me to wondering: What happens to those packaged crackers if I don't eat them? They are completely sealed and perfectly good. Of course, I knew the answer to my own question, but decided to ask the server anyway. 

She told me (as I already knew) that they are not allowed to serve the completely wrapped and sealed crackers again-- or anything that has previously been served for that matter (because of health codes and whatnot). So they get thrown away. 

I casually mentioned (in complete seriousness) that perhaps they could collect them in a bucket and take them to the local soup kitchen once a week. Her reply? "Haha...yeah..." *advert eyes quickly* 

Now, I realize it is not this individual server's job to carry out my brilliant idea (hah!), but I was kind of hoping for "That's a good idea" or "Yeah, we should do that". But no. I got nothing. And then I got to thinking-- what about all of the ketchup bottles on the tables? Or any condiment for that matter. Why is it okay to serve the same bottle to multiple tables (an opened bottle that people can put their fingers in) but not okay to serve sealed crackers?  

It just amazes me the amount of waste that I don't even think about. No matter how much I do my part to recycle and reuse things-- there's always going to be someone that doesn't. Plus, those crackers are perfectly edible, and although they may not be the most nutritious item to eat-- they are much better than no food at all. I would think a soup kitchen would be glad to have them. 

Alas, these were my observations on our night out. I'm thinking about contacting the manager of the restaurant, as well as the local soup kitchen just to see what they both say. Is that crazy? Or maybe I'm taking it too far and should just let it go? What do you think? I'd love your thoughts! 

Monday, September 26, 2011

Meaningful Monday-- On writing

These are very true statements.
Especially if you dream of being a writer
--like I do--
but can't seem to find the time to write. 
With a full time job, 
family obligations,
and ordinary everyday living, 
it is hard to stay motivated.

But as they say, 
if you don't go for what you dream of, 
you'll never get there. 
It's better to try and fail
than to never try at all. 

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Easy Baked Oatmeal recipe

If you enjoy the taste of oatmeal and the consistency of coffee cake, this is a recipe for you!

My mom-in-law gave me this recipe-- and it's the perfect combination of easy-to-make and yummy-to-eat. 

Try it; you'll love it! You can find the complete recipe from All Recipes here.

This recipe is great because it's only nine ingredients, it's fairly low in sugar, and it contains no flour-- so it's gluten-free for those of you with allergies. Plus, it contains those healthy walnuts I was telling you about. 

You can also top the oatmeal with fresh berries, or you can layer berries on the bottom of the pan and bake them right into the oatmeal. I've also considered adding pumpkin spice for a little more Fall flavor (minus the berries in this case!) 

Furthermore, it's great for those of us in a hurry in the morning! If you don't have time to cook up a bowl of oatmeal, you can grab a piece of this on your way out the door. Love!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

I need mirror ideas!

Last week I used one of my precious fifty-percent-off coupons for Michael's 
to buy a basic 10-inch mirror (making it $1.50). 

Just your basic round crafting mirror.

I was planning on using it as a base for a round metal tray I got (for free!) from a garage sale. 
Unfortunately, it was slightly too big. 

And I knew this on the first try of putting it in. 

The hubby however, (bless his heart for trying) decided he could get the mirror in. 
So he forced it a little...

And it still did not fit.

Forcing it did, however, put a few tiny chips in the edges of the mirror-- meaning, I can't return it. 

Hence, my dilemma. 

I like the sunburst idea. But there are so many different versions to choose from!

I also love the nautical theme of the rope-- possibly with a navy bow at the top?

I also thought of gluing it to a pretty charger plate. 

Or edging it in beads. 

Or handmade fabric flowers. 

So many options-- any idea what I should do with this?
I'd love your input!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

On stockings

Yes, I realize I should be focusing on Fall (and how fabulous it is!), but I like to plan ahead and right now I'm thinking about Christmas stockings. Last year, my husband and I didn't have any stockings in our house (Lame, I know-- but we had only been married six months!), which was fine because we spent the holidays at our parents' homes-- the week before and the week after-- and therefore didn't bother decorating much.

However, this year-- despite where we may end up for the holidays-- I would love to have some handmade stockings to hang in our home. The only problem is: where to begin?

I really want these stockings to be keepsakes-- ones we plan on using for years and years. I also want them to be rather easy to make. :) And yet, living in a tiny apartment with no decor style whatsoever makes it difficult to envision what my future home may look like and the style we may prefer. Do I go vintage? Modern? Classic? Bright and colorful or monochromatic? I just can't make up my mind!

For now I'll settle on some pinspiration :-)

I love the red and white color scheme here.

The ruffles and bows are adorable, and I like the natural look.

These little guys are cuddly. 

The texture on these is pretty amazing. And the sparkle!

I also really like the idea of using stencils and paint.

What do you think? Do you have handmade Christmas stockings? What do they look like? Any suggestions or ideas-- send them my way! 

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Free printable = new wall art!

I just saw this free printable over on Pinterest, and realized it's actually from a blog I follow: eighteen25. They posted it back in May, but somehow I missed it-- and now I'm in love!

And for those grammar police out there (myself included), 
I realize it should state "whom" as an object pronoun (in accordance with the preposition "with") 
rather than "who" as a subject pronoun. 
Yet, I still love the print. Life's too short to be taken so technically! 

And even better? Eighteen25 offers the downloadable image in eight different color schemes-- so you can find the one that matches your decor best!

So, combine that free printable with these four picture frames I picked up for fifty cents (for all!) at a garage sale this weekend, and I've got myself some wall decor for the bedroom.

Thank you for sharing, eighteen25! Now I just need to figure out what to put in the other three frames... :-)

Monday, September 12, 2011

Meaningful Monday-- Fun day!

It's Monday.

Typically, a day not viewed as "fun". 
A day often held in contempt. 
A day that is rarely anyone's favorite.


It's all in the mood you carry, 
the perspective you take, 
the attitude you represent.

So here's to a fun Monday :-)

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Ring love

Coach Enamel Poppy Bow Ring c. 2010

I've never owned anything made by Coach, but this ring is perfect! 
Navy and white stripes...
A cute bow shape...
Classic gold tones... 
It really couldn't get much better than this. 

Saturday, September 10, 2011

On my bookshelf

I love to read. Love, love, love. Hence why I want to have my own book haven someday. And why I started out as an English major in college. And why I love books on shirts. And why I have at least six books out on loan to friends right now (I actually have to keep a list!). And it's partially why I have a quote book.

So, I've been doing a lot of reading lately. And I don't know if anyone is interested, but I thought I'd start sharing what's "On my bookshelf" maybe once or twice a month, depicting the books I'm currently devouring. Personally, I love to see what others are currently reading-- whether it be the New York Times bestseller of the week, little-known classics, biographies, etc. I'm open to it all and always searching for something new. So what do you think?

Here's a few of the most recent books I've read:

Love Walked In by Marisa De Los Santos

From the title, this may sound like a typical romantic love story, but it isn't so! Although there are romantic elements throughout, the focus resides much more on other relationships of love in ones life, and growing as an individual through interactions with others. And, although the plot is compelling enough by itself, I particularly enjoyed the poetic flow of the prose-- which makes sense, considering the author is also a poet. I highly recommend it (and I've heard they are making it into a movie with Sarah Jessica Parker in 2012!)

Jesus Land by Julia Scheeres

I adore memoirs. Absolutely adore. Just the idea of knowing that what I'm reading is a true story-- actually happened to real people-- amazes me. It's like I've opened up a secret diary and been let in on someone's most personal thoughts and experiences. It makes me feel like I've been invited to an exclusive party. Plus, memoirs help me remember the world is much larger than I think it is, and what may seem significant in the day-to-day, really isn't that big in the grand scheme of things. Does that make sense? Sure, I love good fiction, but when it comes down to it, those aren't reality. But memoirs-- now that's a different story. 

Anyway, Jesus Land is for those who don't mind reading something a little dark. The plot revolves mostly around race, discrimination, punishment, and a misuse of the idea of Christian love or Christian values. It's heart-wrenching and filled with sadness-- and many times I found myself in disbelief of the actions taken by certain individuals. But in the end there is a sense of triumph and new understanding.

Safe Haven by Nicholas Sparks

Now if you are in the mood for a quick, easy read, Safe Haven is the way to go. Just like all of Sparks' other novels, this book is centered on romance and suspense-- making it a novel hard to put down. With his books, I always find myself rushing to get to the end-- and then disappointed when it's over (Not that I'm disappointed with the outcome, but that I wish there was more to read). Sparks' definitely knows the way to a woman's heart, which always makes me think he must be a wonderful husband and father in real life :-)

So there you have it. Let me know what you think, and if I should continue with these "On my bookshelf" posts. Also, I'd love to hear what you've been reading recently! Feel free to tell me in the comments. ♥

Friday, September 9, 2011

DIY team spirit headband

I recently posted about being a Beaver fan and making these Oregon State University pillows. Well, I had (and still have) some leftover fabric, so I used a tiny little piece to make a team spirit headband!

If you follow me on Pinterest, you may have noticed this recent pin:

via here.

This, of course, led me to a tutorial for making fluffy little flowers, from Make It and Love It. I used this tutorial as inspiration, added a fabric covered button and elastic... and voila! A Beaver headband was born.

All you need is a fabric of your choice (I used three: black cotton, orange tulle, and white mesh), some ribbon for the headband (I used black velvet ribbon), a little piece of elastic (for stretch in the headband), and a button (or a fabric covered button) for the center. Check out the tutorial; it's pretty self-explanatory and has wonderful pictures to follow along!

P.S. I'll let you in on a little secret: Since I wasn't feeling well that day, I cheated and used a glue gun instead of my sewing machine-- It was way quicker and seems to be holding up perfectly fine :-)

Happy crafting!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Enjoying the role of housewife

This weekend I felt like such a housewife-- and I loved it! I spent time making fried corn to stick in the freezer, and canning peaches with my mom-in-law for the hubby and I to enjoy in the winter.

And yes, maybe "housewife" is stereotypical or derogatory to some-- but I see nothing wrong with the term. I thoroughly enjoyed the feeling of accomplishing things for my husband and I to savor for months to come. It's an empowering feeling to know that I am providing some comfort for my husband-- and I am nothing but proud of the hard work!

So yummy!

Are there any activities you enjoy doing that are possibly categorized as "housewife"? (For instance, I really enjoy folding laundry. Don't ask me why!) Do you take offense at the term? I'd love to hear your thoughts!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Why you should eat more walnuts

Maybe it's just me, but it seems like of all the nuts out there, almonds get the most recognition. I'm always hearing about how healthy almonds are-- low in saturated fat, high in protein, no cholesterol, and high in minerals and nutrients.

Which is great. I love almonds.

But I recently found out about how healthy walnuts are. And I'm wondering, why has this never been brought to my attention before?!

Image via here.

According to a study conducted by researchers at Marshall University, a handful of walnuts a day may reduce the spread of breast cancer. Walnuts contain almost twice as much antioxidants as other common nuts.

And apparently they also lower blood pressure during stressful situations. Who knew?

I don't know about you, but I plan on adding walnuts to my grocery list this week. Cereal or oatmeal with walnuts in the morning? Yes, please!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Just in time for football season

For those of you that don't know, my brothers and I all graduated from Oregon State University. My grandfather also attended the school. My husband is almost finished with his Engineering degree there as well. My aunt and uncle (on Kyle's side) graduated from OSU, too. Oh, and did I mention I have two cousins attending OSU right now?

My most beloved building on campus-- Moreland Hall, home of the English department. 
All of my fondest memories and favorite professors reside here.

Needless to say, we are a family of beaver fans.

So, just in time for football season, I made my brother some pillows for his birthday-- the first pillows I've ever sewn! (Hence, their simplicity). What do you think?

Now the question is, what to do with the leftover fabric? I'm thinking some cute orange and black headbands to wear on game days... Or possibly a lightweight scarf? Hmmm....

Go Beavs! ♥

Monday, September 5, 2011

Meaningful Monday-- On marriage

Chains do not hold a marriage together.  
It is threads, hundreds of tiny threads 
which sew people together through the years.  
~Simone Signoret

Yesterday Kyle and I attended the beautiful wedding ceremony 
of a dear childhood friend, and I was once again reminded of 
how precious and sacred the act of marriage really is. 

In some respects, marriage is delicate-- 
something to be treasured and handled with gentle care-- 
while in other aspects it is as strong as a rock, 
and can hold people together during the most difficult times. 

Marriage is so dynamic and constantly evolving-- 
yet solid and dependable at the same time.

Amazing. ♥

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Unexpected vacation?

So apparently, without even realizing it, I declared August a month of vacation for this little blog. I'm not even sure what happened to August-- it came and went so quickly. So much has taken place in the little span of this month-- two birthdays, a weekend painting project, a family BBQ, a family garage sale, helping a friend move...

And of course the biggest thing, losing my cat Ruby and spending the last 17 days searching for her (with no luck so far). Thank you so much for all of your kind words and support in our search for her. We are still holding out hope that she will make it home soon.

Anyway, I just want to apologize for my absence lately; but Fall is coming and I am starting fresh! With a new season (my favorite!) comes new energy, new ideas, and new enthusiasm! I guess my mind is still in the school mode-- there's just something refreshing and exciting about starting a new year (even if I'm not in school anymore).

So stay tuned, and, as always, thank you for visiting!

Monday, August 15, 2011

My heart is aching

A most terrible thing has happened.
My beloved cat, Ruby, ran away. 

It all happened so fast.
Friday evening, the hubby and I were driving to Portland for the weekend 
(as we do almost every weekend). 
We had Ruby in her crate with us (as she always is). 
She is not a lover of car rides, and therefore had an accident in her crate. 
So we took the next exit, pulled off into a gravel lot, and proceeded to change the towels she was laying on
(again, a very typical scenario). 

But just as we were done, with Ruby back in her crate and me closing the lid, 
something happened.
She got startled and bolted upright. 
Before I knew what was happening, she had darted under the car, 
across two lanes of traffic 
and into an overgrown, thorny ravine. 

We searched and called for her for two hours. 
With no luck. 
Just a bunch of scratches from blackberry bushes.
And lots of crying.
And broken hearts. 

I am devastated

We went back the next day and posted twenty-five fliers in the area. 
We knocked on doors.
We passed out another twenty-five fliers to mailboxes. 
We went to the humane society.
We left a flier at the post office. 
We made two ads on craigslist.

And now all I can do is wait. 
And hope. 
And pray. 

Ruby is my baby. She is the first pet I've ever owned. 
She's only 3 years old, and I've had her for 2 of those years.
And boy, is she spoiled.
She gets canned food a lot. 
She gets treats.
She has a million cat toys. 
She sleeps on my bed every night
and curls up on the couch with me to watch tv or take a cat nap.
She's extremely lazy.

She's an indoor-only cat. 

And that worries me the most. 
She doesn't hunt.
She doesn't know what the outside world is like.
She's never had to worry about cars.

And now she has to survive in the wild. 
In a city 35 miles from home.
A 45-minute drive from here.

My heart is aching. 

Meaningful Monday-- Finding time

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Books on shirts. Shirts on a mission.

Have you heard of Out of Print clothing? I think I am in love!

Out of Print Clothing is a company that celebrates classic novels through fashion.They are a shirt company that exhibits popular and sometimes out-of-print book covers on soft tshirts and sweatshirts, including such stories as Pride and Prejudice, Walden, The Sun Also Rises and Of Mice and Men.

Here are some of my faves:

Who doesn't love The Great Gatsby?!

A classic coming-of-age novel. 

The well-known Scout, Atticus and Jem. 

And it gets even better. Not only does the company create beautiful novel-inspired clothing, but they also promote a great cause. For each shirt sold, they donate a book to a community in Africa through their partner, Books for Africa. They also sell a Books for Africa tshirt which donates 100 percent of the proceeds to the cause. How great is that? 

So you can look cute, promote a classic novel, and spread the joy of reading all at the same time. 

Can it really get much better than that?