Saturday, October 31, 2009

Welcome to the land of oz....

Another Halloween is upon us! I ventured out this morning to a used clothing store that was packed full of halloween items...and I still came out with a big fat nothing. So I think I will just recycle my witch costume from the Wizard of Oz themed party we had a couple of years ago. I had spent so much time putting together the food and decorations for this party that I forgot to spend anytime on a costume...which is how I ended up as a simple little witch. In any case...I wanted to share a few pictures that I snapped before the house became packed full or characters from the magical land of Oz!

{munchkin land...complete with candy arrangements and bright colors}


{Follow the yellow brick road to Emerald City}

Happy Haunting to you all! :)

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Hello there.

I'm sure many of you have already discovered the true wonder that is chalkboard paint. It just might be my new favorite thing. I purchased a quart the other day and simply couldn't wait to use it. So I scrambled around looking for things to paint on (I would have done a wall in the craft room...but we still don't know if we'll be living here much longer!), so I came up with a few picture frames that were refashioned into mini chalkboards. Here are a couple of other fun ideas:

I am really trying to save a few dollars this holiday season by giving mostly handmade gifts. Not only is it cheaper, but it is also far more meaningful. I spent most of yesterday morning/afternoon before work in the craft room...and I cranked out my first christmas gift. I wish I could post a picture, but I don't want this person to accidentally see it here! :) I will tell you that it is a mixed media piece on canvas, and I'm so pleased with how it turned out....

My next order of business is that I need a cheap, fun, and easy halloween costume ideas! I'm off to begin my search...finally!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Boo!

So, my mom is the queen of sending adorable cards for absolutely any occassion possible...so I love to return the favor with some handmade love. Here is a halloween card I made for mom and dad...hope it's not too scary for them :)

I have to apologize for the picture quality in a lot of my images lately....boy, do I need a new camera!

Hope you all had a lovely weekend! Mine included lots of time with good friends, delicious food (including the best sushi in town), and a scary movie....oooooo.....

Off to a long day at work. I teach my first guitar class tonight, and for some reason I am a little nervous! Wish me luck! :)

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Baking,...

Last week, I received an Amish Friendship Bread starter from a coworker. So for the past 9 days, I mushed and added ingredients as directed, and then yesterday (the 10th day) it was finally time to bake this delicious treat....

All ready to go....

Measuring out 4 other starters to hand out to friends....

Time to add the rest of the ingredients.....

Into the oven they go....

...and voila!

...and it is mighty delicious if I do say so myself! :)

Friday, October 23, 2009

Dove Evolution



An important message for our youth....

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Beautiful....


The time is right, I'm gonna pack my bags
and take that journey down the road.
Cause over the mountains I see the bright sun shining,
and I want to live inside the glow.
-"Beautiful" by India Arie

Monday, October 19, 2009

Where shall we go from here.....


Well folks....we continue to live in complete and total limbo. We're waiting for some very slow contractors to give us the estimates on the oodles of repairs that will need to be done to our current house for us to consider buying it. It's just tough having your brother as a landlord because of all the politics, and he is going to lose quite a bit of money on this house no matter what happens. We've pretty much told our realtor to back off for a bit while we figure this out, but it's looking like we may have to get back on the search sooner than later. Limbo.

In any case....we had a lovely weekend. My mom, dad, aunt and uncle all came up for the Chili Cook-Off. We all know what happens when mom comes to visit. She brought a deeeeeelicious homemade pumpkin cheesecake and a can of whipped cream. Oh my! Heaven in my mouth! And of course... a cute little pumpkin basket filled with candy and other halloween goodies. What a lady!

So we ate our dessert first, and then made our way to the cook-off. I don't even like chili that much, but I still managed to eat my fair share. There was a great turnout, fun music, and I won the deluxe desk chair that I had my eye on in the auction...and for only $45. The desk chair in my craft room has been looking very sad for a very long time, and although it was a fun game to sit there wondering when the back of it would fall off again, I'm glad to have a new ultra comfy chair!

Well, of course, we could not finish our eating binge there. Oh no. After the event, we met up with some friends at Hound Dogs...which has to be the most amazing pizza on earth. I thought...sure, I'll have a drink. But there's no way I can fit anything else in my stuffed belly. Well, I got one whiff of that thick, delicious, garlic crust...and I found a little bit of space in my belly.

Needless to say, Sunday was spent in recovery. The gym is on my list for tomorrow :)

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Oh, what a beautiful morning....

Saturday morning with my husband. I still can't get over calling him my husband now. I absolutely love it :)
Coffee, banana pancakes, eggs and snuggling on the couch. This is the way to start the weekend, for sure!

Today we will be spending the day with family helping out at the annual Chili Cook-Off event for Z's mom's church. Yum yum!

I finally started our engagement picture scrapbook album this past week and wanted to share the very first page. I think it turned out quite well :)

Happy weekend to you all!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

The Italian inside of me....

Weekend, part deux:

Sunday was spent at the Italian Festival downtown with our dear friends Layne & Rob, and their sweet baby Emerson (our goddaughter!) During our time there...I discovered my love of cannoli! Absolutely delicious!

Quality time with my hubby, good friends, good food, and a cute baby. That equals a good weekend to me!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Come on get happy....

Well, I have been working on lots of crafty little projects lately, and I tried to upload some pictures this morning, but alas...my computer was not feeling up the challenge for some reason. Boo.

So, now I am at work with a bit of time before my next set of lessons. I have been thinking a lot about how so many people are in that fall funk these days and how strange it is how much the changing of the seasons can affect our moods. It really makes a lot of sense since sunshine is good for the soul, and there definitely does not seem to be as much of it these days. I have definitely been in that funky mood for a little while, but I am happy to report that I feel as if I am slowly but surely climbing out of it...even if only for the time being. I'll take it while it lasts!

I feel lucky to live a fairly drama-less life. It is truly a blessing. Lately, however...I have a bit more drama than usual. Mostly some family stuff, and there is still that dear friend and kindred spirit of mine that I cannot seem to stop worrying about. I am trying as much as I can to take action, and I pray every day that it will all end on a positive note.

In any case...I think a lot of my personal blues were coming from feelings of loneliness. I haven't been able to spend as much time with Z lately as I would like due to conflicting work schedules, and even the weekends have been crammed. But we're stealing the little moments. and the days when we can stretch them out...we are certainly doing our best to take advantage! I was also feeling like I wasn't getting any quality time with much of anyone for a little while there...again due to crazy schedules. But finally...I have been able to remedy all of this...and I am feeling much better for it. I am definitely the type of person who craves face time with the people I love and who inspire me. I have also been spending a lot more time in the craft room again. Always good for the soul. and pictures to come soon...I promise!

In other news...I bought my plane ticket to go to Austin, TX in November to visit my best friend as well as others! I think maybe having a special trip like this to look forward to definitely helps bring up the mood :)

Sunday, October 11, 2009

A day at the market (with cupcakes, of course)...

It is another Sunday evening. Another weekend coming to a close. Back to the grind tomorrow.

I know you are just dying to hear about the Cupcake Camp ...right? :) well it was a blast! Yesterday afternoon, my two girlfriends and I made our way to the North Market and up the stairs to the room where the event was being held not knowing quite what to expect. Well, I suppose you would expect a room filled with cupcakes...and this is indeed what it was! Tables sprawled all over the room with trays of cupcakes filling them to the brim. The tables were labeled with different categories, such as best decorated, best harvest cupcake, best ohio pride cupcake, and best halloween. After the judges finished getting samples of each one, the rest of us were able to take our picks. We split up and made sure to grab each one we wanted to taste and then we shared each of them. Talk about a sugar rush! We sat and analyzed the decorating, the frosting, the flavors....and giggled at how much our excitement over cupcakes made us feel like children again :)

My favorite ended up being the apple cider cupcake, complete with dried & spiced apple ring. mmmm...



              Rootbeer float cupcakes...how clever!





Smore, thai chili, chai spice, raspberry mint mousse, hot chocolate, pumpkin spice, chocolate fudge.....
                                                                                     The after picture....

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Cupcake Camp....

I just had to mention that on Saturday afternoon, I will be attending this awesome Cupcake Camp event at the North Market with a couple of girlfriends of mine (also cupcake lovers, of course). An afternoon chalk full of testing delicious cupcakes, voting on favorites in different categories, and learning new decorating tips and tricks.

Let's just say I'm quite excited :) Good thing I had a session today with my personal trainer!

Today, I also watched the episode of Oprah that I had on my DVR from yesterday. Nie was on the show! I don't even know her personally...but as an avid reader of her wonderfully inspiring blog, I was very excited for her and delighted to hear even more of her story! Her husband is so sweet and they are so in love. Gives me that warm and fuzzy feeling inside :)

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Tricks and Treats...

Not a very original post title, huh? :)

So, in keeping with trying to get in the Halloween spirit, I found some pictures of the pumpkin I entered into my work contest last year. Customers got to vote on their favorite, and my mohawked punk-rock pumpkin totally won! I don't want to toot my own horn too much...but I think it definitely turned out pretty awesome :)
I will say it took quite awhile to put together...and I did have a little help from a friend....

The mohawk, eyes, nose ring, and tongue ring are all made out of pipe cleaner....

I think I may have to try making these pumpkin pie bites from Bakerella...

And these from Cupcakes Take the Cake.....

And maybe even these from 52 Cupcakes.....

These are some spider cupcakes I made for our Halloween party a couple of years ago...

And some pumpkin shaped bread from Great Harvest Bread Company (via Erika's talents)...

And a giant pumpkin sugar cookie and bread witch's fingers (again...via Erika)...


Now I just need to find a costume! Hmmm....

One last thing.....I'm dying to win this adorable little Tiffany cupcake necklace over at PartyCupcakeIdeas...
Head over for your chance to win :)

Monday, October 5, 2009

It's family time....

Yeserday after my fall decorating extravaganza, my parents came up from Cincinnati for a visit. They brought Z and I an awesome movable island for our kitchen that someone was getting rid of. We have a huge open space in the middle of our kitchen, and so it fits just perfectly! We are already spoiled with quite a bit of counter/storage space, but it sure is nice to have even more!

Of course mom can't visit without bringing loads of food and homemade goodies. I am certainly not complaining about this! She brought little round pretzels she makes with melted white chocolate in the middle and topped with an m&m. She brought some of her homemade truffles that are absolutely to die for! She brought artichoke dip. She brought homemade minestrone soup, garlic bread, breadsticks, and salad. She brought a beautiful homemade pear tart. Are you drooling yet?! :)

It was lovely to spend the day with them. We relaxed around the house for a bit and then decided to have our dessert at Jeni's ice cream before coming home to heat up the wonderful dinner they brought. I mentioned that Jeni's had a new pumpkin 5-spice ice cream this season, and mom was shoving us out of the door! I had my sights set on the reverse root beer float (root beer ice cream with dry vanilla soda, topped with whipped cream and an amareno cherry), so I bought a pint of pumpkin ice cream to bring home. Mom had hers there. Dad delighted in his belgian hazelnut parisian maccaroon sandwich (remember the pics I posted of those delectable treats?) Having our Jeni's craving out of the way...it was time to go home and eat dinner :)

I have not mentioned my sister and 16 year old niece in Colorado in a little while. They have yet to find peace in their relationship and I'm sad to say it is only getting worse. They are in a neverending cycle of anger and mistrust and on friday, my niece dissappeared for a short time. She ended up coming home very late in the middle of the night, thank goodness..but we're not sure that next time we'll be so lucky. She is such an amazing girl with so much creativity and love in her soul. I worry about the regret she may find later in life for the way things are now in her life...especially with her relationship with her mother. I continue to ask for your prayers for their relationship to heal and for my niece to safely find her way in the world.

In any case...this brought mom, dad and myself to sit and talk for a long while about family, raising children, the way they were raised, and how different things are these days. My dad had a bit of a rough past, to say the least, and had to become an adult very early in life. He does not offer much about his past very often, but when he does, I love learning about him. He turns 70 next year, and I am still only learning things about him! I guess that is the way it goes. I used to have a lot of regrets about not asking him enough about his life...but now I realize that it was something he just did not want to share at the time. I have so much respect for him as a person and I am so blessed to have him as my father......
{This my father in 1961 when he was in the navy a couple of years before my parents
met.. They were married after only 6 months of dating. Isn't he handsome?}
{This is my father yesterday, enjoying his maccaroon ice cream sandwich. He is the
king of silly faces...and I love it. Still handsome.}

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Weekend decorating....

I finally had time today on this gorgeous fall Sunday to clean the house and dig out some fall/halloween decorations from the basement...

I started by setting the mood with these fall scented candles that I bought yesterday from my favorite local candle shop, Paul Robinett. The walls are lined with over 70 different signature fragrances. Every scent is so divine that it is so hard to choose! I came out with Mulled Cider, and Pumpkin Spice....

Then it was time to make some apple cinnamon muffins topped with a sprinkling of cinnamon granola.....

Then came out the fall decor....
{This is a recent thrift store find....I just love the sleek white and how versatile it is! I threw a few pine cones in, and voila....instant fall decoration}{I decided the chandelier needed a bit of sprucing up, so I found an old white overlay tablecloth and made some simple ghosts. The best part...no sewing required!}
{I absolutely love our fireplace and our single red wall...spruced up with a few simple decorations}

There is certainly more where that came from, but I thought it was a good start :)