Thursday, December 22, 2011

A Merry Thankful Thursday

Christmas is almost here! There's snow on the ground, there's an air of excitement everywhere, there's Christmas music on every station, cookies and candies fill every counter and we all wait in joyful anticipation for the birthday of the King.

I'm taking an extended holiday this year which begins the 23rd and won't bring me back to the office until the 3rd of January. It would be just a bit of an understatement to say that I'm excited about the time off, the time with family, Christmas in general. It should be a good week.

picture circa 2007

See this lovely crew? Well we all look a bit different now, but we'll all be together for the holidays :) Yep, we'll all end up in Nebraska over New Year's to enjoy the always amazing Family Weekend with the School Sisters of Christ the King. We'll get to spend some quality sibling time with our sister sister. It'll be a great week.

Alright, since it is Thursday and there is just so much to be thankful for without further adieu here's my Thankful Thursday list.

At this moment I am thankful for...
(1) The beauty of the Christmas. One of my favorite parts of Christmas is to see the churches decorated for the Lord's birth (see first picture). It's just beautiful and the focus is always where it should be, on Christ.
(2) Friends far and near. It's alway fun to get updates/pictures on faraway friends during this holiday season. It makes me aware of how blessed I truly am to have such wonderful people in my life.
(3) Family. We're a close crew and I'm eternally thankful for that. I'm thankful for my extended family as well, I am truly blessed to be loved by so many.
(4) The inspiration of others. There are so many amazingly talented and creative people out there and I love that I can go to craftgawker or pinterest or any number of other websites and share in their creative fun.
(5) A sweet boyfriend. I don't talk a lot about my boy on here, but he definitely makes the list this week. I'm thankful that I've been blessed with a good man who's made me part of his family, who listens to what I say, shares my faith and loves me. It's pretty sweet ;)
(6) The upcoming break. I'm looking forward to not having a lot planned, which mean lots of downtime, lots of games, good conversation and good ol' family time.
(7) Corny Holiday Movies. I love happy endings, in fact I tend to avoid movies that don't have happy endings, that's one of the many reasons that I love all the holiday movies on this time of year. They are all oh so predictable, but they're light, fun and always end, well, happily.
Merry Christmas Everyone!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Christmas Wishes

I saw this quote and absolutely love it. It sums up the season's essence. Happy 10 days 'til Christmas!
"What is Christmas?  It is tenderness for the past, courage for the present, hope for the future.  It is a fervent wish that every cup may overflow with blessings rich and eternal, and that every path may lead to peace."
~Agnes M. Pahro

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Blessings on a Thankful Thursday

Happy Feast of the Immaculate Conception! I always love Marian days, for some reason I always feel like you receive extra graces on days that celebrate Mary. It's like she's spoiling her children :)

I had the pleasure of meeting this adorable little man last weekend. He's a friend of some good friends from college and he is just the sweetest little thing (it did of course help that he slept the whole time I was there, but I'm sure he's just angel when he's awake as well...).

He's my friends' first child, so it's always fun to share in their excitement and watch them maneuver the new territory of being parents.

I'm still plugging away on Christmas cards/letter/gifts/packages which helps to remind me of how blessed I truly am, so since it is Thursday I'll take up no more of your precious time and go right into my Thankful Thursday list.

At this moment I am thankful for...
(1) Friends and Family. It's such a wonderful time of year to remember all those far in near that have blessed me over the past year.
(2) Christmas Candy/Cookies. I love going through recipes to find the perfect food to bake for the holidays, and of course I'm always thankful for all the cookies and candies that I have the pleasure of tasting from friends and family.
(3) Religious Freedom. Everyday I am thankful that I live in a nation where I can go to Mass during my lunch hour without the fear of being shot or imprisoned.
(4) Music.
(5) That I'm Catholic and get to celebrate awesome feast days like today :) 
(6) Good Books. I have a stack of books I'm reading through and a list of recommendations. I'm so thankful that I am able to read, have at least some free time to read and live in a country where I can go to my lovely local library and get all the books I could ever want, for free :)
(7) I know this will change, and I'm sure I'll be thankful when it does, but I'm thankful that at the moment I have no one that relies on me. That, as selfish as it may seem, I can go home and curl up on the couch watch a movie, drink some cocoa and not have to provide for anything else. I pray that someday I'll be blessed with children to interupt my me-time and a husband to worry about and put his needs before mine, but for the moment I'll take my single bedroom apt. with no roommate.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

It's (almost) Christmas Time/Happy Advent!

Christmas is coming. Can you feel it? You can sure see it, but you could see it in early November. But now, now Advent has officially begun, December starts tomorrow and soon, all too soon we will be celebrating the birth of Christ :) I'm excited.

Last night I did a bit of decorating. Finally finished the above wreath (I got most of the ornaments in the post Christmas sales and the wreath base was from the lovely Dollar Tree). I've always loved ornament wreaths, but wanted to make sure to make one that was tasteful, not gaudy like many that I'd seen. I used a tutorial I'd found online to get me started (gotta love pinterest!) and now I have a lovely wreath :)

I've been all about "This Warm December" Christmas CD. I like the different twist on some of the old Christmas favorites and it's just a good mellow soundtrack to get you in the Christmas mood. Here's a little Rudolph love for all of you (from the CD):

I'm starting to put together a list of what I'm baking this year. I just love Christmas baking. There are just so many fabulous recipes and great twists on old recipes, it's just a lovely time to bake. Once I finalize things I'll share some of my favorite finds as well as my to bake list :) Hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Snow, Some Random Thoughts and a Very Thankful Thursday

So it's apparently winter here. After some gorgeous days, then some rain, we now have a blanket of snow and they're talking 50 degree weather this weekend! Seriously! What is a girl supposed to wear in weather like this?

Anyways, I've been thinking about the past year, how things have changed, what I've learned, where I see myself in the future, you know, that kind of pondering. So I thought I'd share a list today of things worth waiting for because no one should ever settle, whether it be in a relationship, in your job, in who you are. You're worth more than you could ever imagine, sometimes we need to remind ourselves of that.

Things Worth Waiting For
  1. A significant other that makes you feel beautiful, even when you don't feel it.
  2. A job you enjoy going to. Whether that be because of the people or because of the work you're doing.
  3. A home. It's not the building that makes this, although a roof over your head is a necessity, it's a place that feels safe, a place full of love, a place of refuge, a place to call your own.
  4. The seasons to change. God has blessed us with four beautiful, very different, seasons and each one is worth enjoying. Each one is beautiful.
  5. Children. Children are a blessing, no matter how God gives them to us, but they are also something that I wish to have in a family setting, with a supportive husband. Children should never be thought of as a burden, a bargaining chip or a mistake.
Alright, so some of those were kind of deep, some not so much, but all of them are important, at least to me. On a lighter note, I just watched Justin Bieber's "Never Say Never" movie and I have to admit that I'm pretty impressed by the kid, and by his family deep faith that is remarkably visible in the movie. It makes you want to root for him, and maybe turn on one of his songs to dance to (please take a moment to break from your obligations and dance a little this snowy Thursday).

And since it is Thursday, here's my Thankful Thursday list for the day.

At this moment I am thankful for...
(1) A vehicle that can handle the rain/snow/ice. It's nice having a reliable vehicle and that that vehicle happens to be an suv sure doesn't hurt matters, especially with the winters we have up here.
(2) Options. Options as in I'm thankful I have multiple places I can go or people I can hangout with. In other words, I'm thankful that if I don't want to be home by myself I don't have to be :)
(3) Holidays. I've been making Thanksgiving and Christmas plans lately and am so excited to be able to take some time off and spend it with family.
(4) Girl Sc.out Cookies :) Up hear they were delivered this week and yes I have already had a few. I really think they're so great only because you get them once a year. Its genius actually. And better for my waistline too ;)
(5) Craft Stores. It's true, I love places like JoAnn's, Michaels and Hobby Lobby. Just walking in makes me smile and if I have a bit of spending money, well that's even better :)
(6) Handwritten Letters. I grew up writing letters to my grandparents every week and my mom still writes each of us kids each week. It's something I try to do and something that is always appreciated. Also, I just watched a cheesy Halmarkesque movie called "The Christmas Card" which I of course loved and made me want to go out and write a letter or message in a card.
(7) Snow. It's true, I am thankful for snow. I'm excited about all the fun that snow brings, not the bad roads and cold temps, but the other stuff, the skiing and sledding, snowballs and ice skating. Nights curled up by the fire watching the peacefulness of a gentle snow.
Happy Thursday everyone! Enjoy your day!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Super Mom, a Wedding and a Bit of Sewing

I love baby showers. One of my dear friends is having a baby...this month! Wow! And on Sunday one of my best friends threw her a pretty awesome Super Mom baby shower.

It's always fun to get together with friends, especially to celebrate such a wonderful event like a new baby. It's even more fun when you walk into a room that looks like this...

Yeah, I've got some pretty darn amazing friends. She's starting her own event planning company, I'll give you more info. as it progresses.

Super Cute! There was of course much more to oooo and awww about in the room but a couple of shots gives you an idea of the fun.

I made the mom-to-be a little baby quilt. A simple little, oh-so-soft, blue and white blanket for her little man.

I got the idea from this cute little blog. There are so many options for this simple design and if you add applique it would be even cuter.

My boyfriend's cousin got married in a beautiful ceremony on Saturday. Weddings are always fun. It's great to see family all together and excited and sharing in the joy of the new couple. And the couple, of course was supercute and oh so in love (as it should be). Here's me and my boy all dressed up.

It's not often that we are both dressed up at the same time, so a picture was of course needed. I hope you all enjoyed your Halloween, and Happy All Saints Day!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Lead Me

Last night I had the chance to go to a pretty great concert. Some friends of mine offered me a ticket, and seriously, who turns down free concert tickets? Anyways, the headlining band was Casting Crowns, which was great in itself, but the opening act, well they were Lindsey McCaul, The Afters and Sanctus Real, which were pretty great. Sanctus Reel sings one of my favorite songs at the moment, it's called Lead Me. This song has such a great message one we should all take to heart and one that many of us yearn for. Check it out, it's pretty great.

Happy weekend everyone!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Go With the Flow

So this weekend did not go as planned. And guess what, it ended up being a wonderful weekend. To make a long story short, Friday I was supposed to go to an A Cappella concert, which ended up being sold out so I instead ended up going out with a group of friends to watch the Brewers and Cardinals play. Saturday I originally had a completely free day, but ended up helping some friends of mine move into their lovely new home (through all the chaos, stress and work of moving it's beautiful to see the excitement and contentment of a couple sitting in their 1st house, dreaming of all the memories that will be made there). Sunday I was supposed to go flying with my cousin and boyfriend, but the wind decided to pick-up (which would not have made for a very fun ride), so instead I spent the day watching football (6-0!! :), getting the grand tour of the lovely town of Prairie du Chien and laying out under the stars. It was a lovely weekend.

Picture from my trip to Ireland

So I was thinking. How wonderful the unexpected can be. We (at least I) spend so much of our time organizing and scheduling our lives, when often life takes over and our plans, well they don't quite go as planned. During these times of unexpected change I need to remember to enjoy it, to thank God for reminding me that I am not in charge (thank goodness!) and to (as my dad would say) just go with the flow. Here's to having a random going with the flow sort of day. Enjoy it!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Books, Food, Sewing and Being Thankful

So I've done a bit of sewing, a bit of reading and a bit of baking so this will be a fun catch-up post on what I've been up to lately.

If you guys are anything like me, you have (I had :) a stack of old t-shirts from high school and or college of various groups/sports you were in, trips you'd taken, etc. For the past, oh 5 years or so I've been working on a t-shirt quilt made up of all my old high school shirts, at least the ones that held memories I wanted to remember. I made up my own pattern (since the square sizes varied so much depending on the decals/designs on the shirts) and set to work. I'm happy with the finished product, but in the future (if I ever decide to tackle my college t-shirts or make one for someone else) I'll definitely use backing on the t-shirts (some of them stretched a lot), do a bit more basting (I really just wanted to finish), and maybe break-up the back a bit more (I just used a solid cotton print and had the same thick border that I used on the front of the quilt). But anyways, it's done, it's soft and warm, and it reminds me of some great times from high school.

I made the above cookies the other night because 1) I had a free night and I tend to bake/cook when I have free time, 2) I was out of cookies and in fact desserts in the house 3) I had all the ingredients in the house (always a plus) and 4) it's fall so I needed some fall food and these just looked and sounded, well perfect. Let me tell you, they were simple and are pretty darn tasty. Definitely a keeper of a recipe. Seriously, who could resist White Chocolate Pumpkin Spice Cookies? Not I!

In the begining of the summer I wrote this post on what I was currently reading. Sadly out of the 6 books I only ended up finishing 2:
  1. Jesus: Man of Prayer by Kevin Perrotta
Both books were great. I absolutely loved Revelations of a Single Woman. There were such great insites, for both singles and those in relationships and it was filled with things we've all thought, but it was nice to know that I wasn't the only one.

I'm still reading through A Man of the Beatitudes by Lucianna Frassati. It's really not a long book, but I only read a chapter here and there and so it's taking me a while to finish, but everytime I pick it up I'm struck by what an amazing man Blessed Pierre Georgio Frassati was and how much we can all learn from this amazing young adult. The other three books are on the backburner and I'll get to...sometime.

Over the summer I did end up reading (and finishing!) The Pioneer Woman: Black Heels to Tractor Wheels by Ree Drumond and One Day by David Nicholls. Both were quick reads, I wanted some light fiction and that's pretty much what they were. One Day was just out in theaters recently, so I wanted to read the book before seeing the movie (I've yet to see the movie, but at least I'm done with the book) and I love the Pioneer Woman's blog and had already read part of her love story on her blog and so I was eager to read the full extended version. It was cute and light. I also did a study on A Biblical Walk Through the Mass by Dr. Edward Sri. I highly recommend it to any Catholics out there who want a better understanding of what goes on at Mass and why. I highly recommend it to any noncatholic out there who would like a better understanding of what goes on at a Catholic Mass and why.

Currently I'm reading:
  1. Proverbs: Wisdom for Living by Kevin Perrotta
Heaven is for Real is one of those books that has been circulating around the christian circles this year and I've heard it come up so many times in conversation so I thought I'd read it. Zen and the Art of Needlecraft my aunt wrote, so it's been siting on my shelf for a while and so I finally have a chance to read it. And Proverbs: Wisdom for Living we're doing in my young adult group, so far so good.

I know this is a long post, but I'm still going to do a quick Thankful Thursday list, since it's been a while since I've done one and there are always things to be thankful for!

At this moment I am thankful for...
(1) A great boyfriend. It's nice to know I'm thought of and loved and every girl needs a bit of pampering now and then. I'm thankful for a great guy who spoils me just enough.
(2) Hot chocolate/Hot apple cidar. There's nothing better than curling up on the couch with a warm mug in your hand, a blanket over your lap and a great movie playing on the tv.
(3) Family. My lovely aunt retired last week and so there was a little party for her on Saturday. There were coworks and friends but also we had a little family reunion, so it was nice to just sit and chat and enjoy each other's company.
(4) The Farmer's Market. I know this has made my list before, but my cousin and I went Saturday morning and I have to tell you, I'm extremely thankful to live in a city that offers such a great market every week and there's such a great turnout too. I'm always happy to support the local farmers!
(5) A free night. Amazingly enough I had two free nights this week, so I'm super excited to spend, at least that's the plan ;) Tonight is definitely a soup night!
(6) Fall colors. I love living where all the trees (well not ALL of them, but you know what I mean) change to reds and oranges and yellows signifying yet another season has arrived. It's beautiful.
(7) Friends, near and far. Last night I got to catch-up with a friend from high school and couple nights before a friend from town called up and we went out for a little movie night. I love having friends close by to make last minute plans with as well as friends who have known me throughout everything, whether that's elementry/high school, college or anything and everything else. My friends keep me sane and sometimes crazy, but I love them all and couldn't imagine life without them :)
Happy Thursday everyone! Go out and cook/bake something, sew something, read something or just enjoy fall!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Brotherly Love

It's been back to back brother weekends for me and I've loved every moment of it! My younger brother came up last weekend and we spent Saturday at the Fireside Theatre. The Fireside is a lovely dinner theatre about 50 minutes from my apartment. We had an excellent lunch (the above picture was taken at our table, ceiling mirrors can be so fun :) and then after perusing the shops we headed in to watch the show.

Yep, the musical we saw was Seven Brides for Seven Brothers. Such a fabulous and fun musical it was pretty fabulous. I loved the movie and the actors did such a great job. It was quite the nice little Saturday afternoon.

After the show it was back for dinner and then of course over to a friend's to watch the Badger vs. Husker game. It was quite the sports weekend here in Wisconsin and all in all we fared pretty darn well. I had a packed Sunday and my brother left me early in the morning to continue his journey to see friends. It's always nice having company and I do love my family, we're all pretty special ;)

Happy Wednesday Everyone!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Chi Town

So I spent most of the weekend visiting my lovely older brother (this was taken at his favorite restaurant in Chinatown). He lives in downtown Chicago and every time I visit we always go exploring in a different part of the city. This trip took us to the Wicker Park area that just has some pretty darn fabulous shops (there were tons of cute retail shops and I picked up this adorable red pea coat, love it!) along with great eateries and coffee shops. We stopped at the Worm Hole, which is a throw back to the '80's, complete with an original Nintendo system (that we of course played for a few hours) and all kinds of memorabilia from the time.

When you first walk in the door you are immediately greeted by the car from the Back to the Future movies (which is evidently called the De Lorean). Just a bit of fun :)

Our next adventure took us to Chicago's Chinatown. We had a fabulous lunch (see 1st picture ;) followed by a bit of window shopping and of course pictures by our Zodiac animal.

I have a tradition. Every time I visit my brother I always bring some sort of barcookie. Sometimes there's beer or cheese that also make the trip, but there is always a pan of barcookies. I think it started when I was still in high school and I would always be asked to make said cookies, usually sometime late at night after we'd been talking on one of his visits home. I have an old standby that I usually make, it's just an adaptation from the Tollhouse chocolate chip cookie recipe, but recently I had stumbled across this AMAZING recipe and had to try it. Let me tell you, it was pretty great, uber sweet, obviously, but oh so good.

They are definitely now on my go to list, especially for fall events, after all, who doesn't love s'mores? And a whole pan of them, come on!

Alright, so that's what I've been up to lately, cooking and traveling, surprise, surprise :) I hope you are all enjoying your week, it's almost halfway through (yep, it's going to be a long one).

Friday, September 23, 2011


It's officially fall and I have to say that I'm a bit excited about that. Summer was packed full with friends and family, canoeing and camping, swimming and grilling out and so much more. Fall brings with it the beautiful changing leaves, apple and pumpkin picking, bonfires and hayrack rides, hoodies and hot apple cider. I love the beginning of every season. The change in temperature, the change in nature, the different activities that go along with that season. I'll hopefully do a summer wrap up when I have a bit more time, but for now, enjoy the crisp autumn air and a glass of apple cider.  Happy Fall!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Thankful Thursday!

It has been an extremely long time since I've done a Thankful Thursday, and I have had such a fabulous summer that there's so much to be thankful for, so here's my list...

At this moment I am thankful for...
(1) Amazing weather. It has been absolutely gorgeous here the past few days, the hint of fall is in the air. I just love it!
(2) An adorable and healthy Godson (I love this picture, especially his excited older sister on the far right). My cute little Godson turned 2 over the weekend and I was blessed be be able to celebrate with him and his family.  
(3) Football!!! I got to go to a Badger football game last week (is was packed by the end of the 1st quarter) and, well, it was pretty great. I love college games because of the school spirit. The Packers open up their season tonight. So excited.
(4) Friends. I was blessed with the opportunity of spending sometime at a friend's house on the lake with a group of friends form the area. It was such a nice and relaxing time with great conversation, good food, fun games and great people.
(5) The American heart. As the Anniversary of September 11th draws nearer I've been hearing some of the tragic stories from that day, but also the hope of the future, the story of the beautiful memorial that has been built and the beauty of the fact that this day will be a tribute to those who tragically died and they will live on in the hearts of a nation who will continue to mourn them but has also grown closer as a nation.
(6) That I no longer have to hear that Brett Favre has officially retired, no wait he's returning, no wait he's really retired this time....
(7) A good meal. Whether it's eating out or something I cooked at home, I'm thankful that I have the means to fill my stomach when needed and live in an area where I can quickly drive to a place that serves whatever my heart desires. I'm pretty spoiled and am extremely thankful for that luxary.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Fresh Food and Family Fun

A little something fun. We are Family, Chipmunks style :)

So this weekend was filled with lovely things like family, fresh produce (some of which was free, even better I know!), house guest and lovely weather. What more could a girl ask for?!

My wonderful parents came up to stay with me for the weekend and they brought me some reserves from their garden, like butternut squash, cherry and regular tomates and garlic. We hit up the amazing farmer's market Saturday morning (it's "The largest producer-only farmers’ market in the country." who knew?) and came home with a few more cherry tomatoes, sungold this time (have you tried sungold cherry tomatoes? If not you must! They are such a wonderful summer snack. They are a bit sweeter than the red ones.), some green and red peppers, some green onions and basil (mine didn't make it this year, my mint and cilantro were too aggressive). It was quite the success and always a lot of fun just to walk around the capital and see everything that's in season.

Saturday afternoon was our family reunion for my dad's side (good lookin' group huh?!). It was over at my aunt and uncle's, which was fabulous since they're only 20 minutes away. The day was perfect. It's always great to catch up with family, make plans for the rest of the summer, eat way too much fabulous food, and just enjoy each other's company. I was sent home with some sweet corn (I'm so excited to cook it up, it's the perfect August food), potatoes (it's a long story) and some fresh maple syrup. I've found that once you start using the fresh syrup you never can quite go back to the storebought stuff. Luckily my uncle makes a huge batch every year, so I'm set for the moment :)

I hope you all enjoyed your weekend, now it's back to another week in the office. Happy Tuesday!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Proud to be Irish

The adorable mascots of Irish Fest dancing along with the band.

I had the pleasure of attending the Irish Fest in Milwaukee, WI over the weekend. If you live in the Midwest, or happen to be passing through in late August when the festival is taking place I highly recommend that you take the time to check it out. It's a weekend full of fantastic bands, food, Irish shops and activities and of course s bit of beer. Last year I went with a friend all day Saturday and this year, because of the weather, I ended up going with some friends on Sunday. I'm thinking that Sunday was actually better. We started the day with Mass at the Marcus Amphitheater and then spent the day wandering the grounds, eating and listening to music, watching the always amazing Trinity Dancers and just enjoying everything Irish :)

One of the bands I was most looking forward to hearing were the High Kings. They're pretty amazing. I found them right after I got back from Ireland while I was searching for some of the songs I'd heard in the pubs over there. They had the best versions and their harmonies are pretty great as well :)

Although I came in with the High Kings at the top of my list I left with the band below taking that spot, or at least tying for top honors on my list. Scythian, although they aren't from Ireland, were a down right awesome group of musicians that had the whole audience dancing and clapping, jumping and singing.

They're one of those bands that you can tell are having fun. That they love what they do. I love watching groups like that.

Look at the intensity! Kinda cute too ;)

I'm going to leave you with a video of one of the songs the High Kings performed (Rocky Road to Dublin), just so you have a taste, which may encourage you to go to the fest if you have the chance or catch one of the bands if they're passing through your town...

Oh, and just for fun here's Gaelic Storm's "Kiss Me I'm Irish" which is just fun. I caught the end of Gaelic Storm's performance and I fell in love with this song. Enjoy, and happy Monday!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

A Few Things I'm Loving Right Now

I love Jane Austen, her books and even many of the movies that have come out of her books. Recently I stumbled across this site (which is a blog that "brings Jane Austen, her novels, and the Regency Period alive through food, dress, social customs, and other 19th C. historical details related to this topic.") which led me to this lovely show, The Regency House Party, which is a reality show that takes 5 women and 5 men back in time to see what finding love was like back in "the Age of Romance" (1811 to be exact). It's entertaining and a nice break from the normal reality shows. Check out the clip of the first episode below. (I checked mine out at my local library, I LOVE the library :)

A little while back I was introduced to the lovely site Printerest. Recently I've joined and absolutely love it. It's true, it's addicting, but how great that you are able to catalogue all the great ideas that you see on the web with thumbnail pics. Brilliant! Let me know if you want an invite, you'll love it too I'm sure.

The weather! It's August and it's gorgeous! I had a little time after work yesterday and had the pleasure of just laying out on a blanket, eating fresh veggies from the farmer's market (I am so blessed to have so many great farmer's markets through out the week that I can go to, all within a 20 minute drive :) , drinking iced tea and reading a good book. It was a lovely afternoon. 

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Summer Lovin'

So it's been a while and this post is going to be full of pictures, because, well pictures are just more fun :) and because somethings just need a visual.

All of my siblings were home for a brief time the end of July and I was fortunate enough to spend 4 days at home with everyone.  Above is a picture of all of us except my younger brother who was in and out all weekend because of work. There are pictures of all of us, they just aren't on my camera...I love it when we all get together. It's always entertaining, loud and full of singing, games and good food. I love them.

I spent the 2nd to last weekend of July with my boyfriend and his family and Saturday was spent at the Bristol Renaissance Faire. It is quite the event, complete with jousting and all.

This past weekend was spent in the oh so touristy Wisconsin Dells. I haven't been since I was little so it was fun to go again as an adult. One of the days we made the short drive over to North Freedom and rode the steam train. The last time I rode the train I was about 5 years old with my grandpa. It brought back some great memories. They evidently do dinner trains in the fall, which would be fun, so check them out if you happen to be in southern Wisconsin.

I refinished a cute little shelf that I got free from a neighbor who didn't want it. I wasn't really digging the whole white look with the flowery pictures and words on the doors.

Here's what I ended up with. Much better! I'm still debating on what exactly I'm going to use it for. Originally it was going to be for the corner of my craft table, but then I thought it might be cute in the bathroom for jewelery or maybe it might end up on my desk, not sure, I just know that I love the way it turned out. I'm still going to use the door as well, but that's for another time...

I've stumbled upon some great sites lately, so if you're bored you should totally check out Dear Photograph (it's "a picture of a picture from the past in the present.") or Honestly...WTF (it's fashion and art) or Six Sister's Stuff (great recipes, tips, crafts and more)

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Wedding Season

Wow! It's the middle of July, already, and the weather is absolutely perfect :) I had the pleasure of attending a beautiful wedding on Saturday and got the spend the weekend with some wonderful college friends (some of them are above). It's always nice to get together, share old stories, make new memories, get the dirt on everyone's lives, make plans.

I love weddings. I love the decorations. I love seeing the dress that I've heard all about. I love seeing the looks exchanged between the bride and groom. I love the looks exchanged between family and friends of the couple. I love weddings with a full Mass. I love all the fresh flowers. I love spending time with close friends/family. I love the joy on the couple's face when they are pronounced man and wife. And of course I love the reception afterwards. Dancing the night away is always a plus.

I'm off to Concerts on the Square tonight and the weather is going to be spectacular. The local symphony orchestra puts on a free concert every Wednesday from the middle of June through the beginning of August. The capital lawn is filled with blankets and people enjoying their glasses of wine, ice cream and whatever other snacks they brought along. It's the perfect way to celebrate the a lovely summer night.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Celebrating Freedom and another Fake Friday

So I have a lovely four day weekend coming up and I have to say that I'm just a little pumped :) I'm hosting a little wine tasting at my place tomorrow night, so the day will be spent doing some much needed cleaning, decorating and picking up last minute supplies. I love hosting get-togethers and this will be my first one in my "new" apartment so it should be good times.

I love the 4th of July, all it represents all the traditions that we've taken on as Americans. It's such a grand holiday. Growing up the 4th meant homemade ice cream (that the five of us kids made using our hand crank ice cream maker), something off the grill and fireworks in the park. Now that I'm all grown up I'd like to do a little more to celebrate the real reason for the holiday. To celebrate the freedoms that we so often take for granted. To celebrate the brave men and women who have and are fighting for this country we all hold so dear. I'll probably still eat something off the grill, I'll still watch the fireworks, and I'll still have some ice cream, but hopefully I can focus a bit more on what really matters.

I hope you all have a wonderful holiday weekend. Now I'll leave you with my Thankful Thursday list...

At this moment I am thankful for...
(1) Good studies and study groups. Right now I'm in two different studies. One is a bible study which is going through the different ways that Jesus prayed in the bible and how we can apply that example to our own lives. The other is by Edward Sri and is on the meaning of the Mass. They are both great and some of the discussions have been phenomenal. It's nice to have intellectual conversations every now and then :) 
(2) Cupcakes. I love cupcakes. Love making them. Love eating them. And love it when lovely co-workers surprise the staff with them :)
(3) That I live close enough to bike to work. It has been such a beautiful week here and I am so blessed that I don't have to sit in a car to get to work, but that I can bike the short distance and enjoy God's beauty along the way.
(4) The effort of friends to stay in touch. I have a get together with some of my college friends on Saturday. One of my dear friends starting this party a few years ago and we've done it every year since. It's something we can all count on. A little time to catch up with each other and let go of some of the stress of our daily lives.
(5) Open communication. I majored in communication in college, so I get pretty annoyed if people aren't communicating with each other. I'm thankful that I work in a place that everyone communicates with each other, or at least everyone communicates with me :) It makes my life a whole lot easier.
(6) Long phone calls. I do a lot of talking on the phone since a lot of my close friends don't live in the state and none of my family does. I love long talks that cover everyday events, serious issues and fun stories. I love that I can still be connected to those I love, even when we don't live near each other.
(7) Country roads. I love driving down country roads. Windows down, radio up. It's the perfect way to spend a summer afternoon.
On that note...I'll leave you with a great song by Rodney Atkins. Take a Back Road :)

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

A little bit of cooking...

I did a bit of cooking over the weekend, which I've missed. The summer has become, well a bit hectic, fun, but hectic. Friday I had the evening free so I tried this new recipe for french bread, which is AMAZING (hince the title ;). Seriously, it tastes better than store boughten bread and it freezes well too.

Saturday I went to the beautiful wedding of a friend of mine (she's above with her sister). Weddings are always fun. Whether it's watching the chaos unfold, seeing the families interact, meeting new friends, dancing the night away or just enjoying the beauty of two people joinging their lives together. Love it! Alright, that's all I've got for today. It's a beautiful day, time to go out and play :)

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Friday? Not quite...

It feels like a Friday, which is nice, I tend to like Fridays and weekends in general :) Perhaps it's because I have tomorrow off of work and the possibilities of what to do with that "free day" are endless at the moment, which just makes me happy. But it's not Friday, it's Thursday, so I'll leave you with my Thankful Thursday list as well as a fun song, just to share the love on this beautiful day. I love this song and Aretha Franklin does such a fabulous job with it. I put some of the lyrics below, just because we should all remember to live by them.

 Accentuate the Positive by  Johnny Mercer & Harold Arlen
You've got to accentuate the positive
Eliminate the negative
Latch on to the affirmative
Don't mess with Mister In-Between

You've got to spread joy up to the maximum
Bring gloom down to the minimum
Have faith or pandemonium
Liable to walk upon the scene

To illustrate his last remark
Jonah in the whale, Noah in the ark
What did they do
Just when everything looked so dark...

At this moment I am thankful for...
(1) Good Conversations. I feel like the past week has been filled with beautiful in depth conversations with amazing people, both family and friends. I'm thankful for the intellectual level of many of those conversations as well as the honesty of the people involved.
(2) Root Beer Floats :) Root beer floats are such a summer staple for me I just love them.
(3) Good Books. As I shared in yesterday's post I've got some fabulous books I'm reading at the moment and a book shelf of others that still need to be tackled. I'm thankful for (as corny as it sounds) the places that reading takes you and the mere fact that I enjoy reading.
(4) Fresh Fruits and Vegetables. My parents live out in the country and so when I was home over the weekend I was blessed with wonderful things like fresh strawberry pie, fresh lettuce and a bag of peas. Everything always tastes better fresh out of the garden.
(5) Self Esteem. This might sound funny but I'm thankful that I have pretty darn high self esteem. Over the past week I've had a lot of conversations with people who struggle with self esteem (both women and men) and the issues that that causes in their lives. I, thankfully, don't have that problem. Maybe I need to work on humility...that's another discussion all together :)
(6) The Month of June. I've never really thought about my "favorite month" but for some reason this year I am just loving the month of June. I'm thankful for all that has happened this month, and to think it's only half way through :)
(7) The Library. I love the library. I'm so thankful there's a place that I can check out movies and CDs and books for free. Some place that is open to everyone. I grew up going to the library so there's always been fond memories attached to it. I'm thankful I've always lived in a "library district".

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

A good book Wednesday

One misty moisty morning, when cloudy was the weather...Yes it's wet, it's cloudy, yes there's a nip in the air, but it's not humid, and it's still June and it's going to be a beautiful Wednesday :) Days like today make me want to curl up on the couch with a blanket, listen to the rain come down and tackle my stack of half finished books, but alas that will have to wait for another misty moisty day. I have quite the combination of books that I'm reading right now, so I thought I'd  share them with you today and hopefully by the end of the summer I'll have finished all of them...hopefully. The above picture is the Long Hall at Trinity College in Dublin, Ireland. I loved this room. I loved the smell. I loved it all. My collection of books isn't nearly as impressive, but that's ok by me.
The books I'm plowing through at the moment:
  1. Revelations of a Single Woman: loving the life I didn't expect by Connally Gilliam
  2. Curse of the Spellmans by Lisa Lutz
  3. Angels and Demons by Dan Brown
  4. A Man of the Beatitudes by Lucianna Frassati
  5. Led by Faith: Rising for the Ashes of the Rwandan Genocide by Immaculée Ilibagiza
  6. Jesus: Man of Prayer by Kevin Perrotta
Some I am much farther along than others. Some I have been "reading" for the past 6 months. Half are inspiring, half are for fun. It's a good group of books and I'll let you know how they are...WHEN I finish them (notice it's not an if :) Happy Wednesday.  Happy reading!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

A Beautiful Thankful Thursday in June

It's Thursday, the second lovely week of June and I am loving this month! I spent last weekend celebrating my 26th Birthday. For some reason 26 just seams so much older than 25. It's an age that I should start figuring out my life, start getting settled, know somewhat what I want to do. Well, I'll let you know how all of that comes along this year, I don't think I'll ever fully know what I'm doing in life. Thank God He's got it all figured out!

The weather has been pretty hot around here, so I've gotten to spend sometime on the lake, some time in the pool some time grilling out, eating ice cream, all the wonderful things that summer brings.

I helped throw a bridal shower for a friend (that's what the above picture is from, pretty fabulous looking group of girls huh?) and found the perfect cupcake recipe. You have to try it! Lemon cupcakes with cream cheese frosting. I left out the lemon extract, which left just a hint of lemon, just right. To die for! Love it and want to make it with Strawberries next time...

Alright, here's my thankful list, enjoy your weekend, mine starts today :)

At this moment I am thankful for...
(1) Good Catholic friends. I am so so blessed to have a strong group of friends that are deep in their faith and help me want to be a better woman of Christ.
(2) The country. I will always be a country girl at heart, I just need a little reminder every now and then, which means I have to leave my beloved city and go somewhere that I can walk barefoot in the grass and see the stars.
(3) Fresh Flowers. I'm a sucker for fresh flowers. I love the smell. Love how they brighten up a room. Love the thought that goes into them when they're given as gift.
(4) Family. I know I say this a lot, but I am truly thankful, not just for my immediate family, but my extended family as well. God has blessed with with such a wonderful group of people that love and support me and I don't know where I'd be without them.
(5) Thunder Storms. We had quite the storm last night, it was a bit more than I like (there was hail and tornadoes involved) but the thunder and lightening I love. At my parents house my old room used to have a sky light over my bed and I loved lying in my bed and listening to the rain pound the window. It's soothing and a beautiful reminder of the power of God.
(6) Good Customer Service. I dropped my phone in the lake over the weekend and had to get a new one. I was extremely thankful for the service I received, for the one on one time, the not overbearing, but attentive employee that answered all my questions and didn't rush me into anything. It's hard to find that now a days.
(7) Love. I'm thankful for love in all of it's stages. I love watching couples that have been married for 60+ years, how in sync they are, how they still tease each other, how you can't imagine them apart. I love seeing new mothers with their children, best friends goofing off, grown brothers and sisters still teasing each other as if they were kids again. Love is so important and so often taken for granted. I'm extremely thankful for all the love in my life.