Monday, December 31, 2012

2012 in review

Happy New Year! 

I bet you thought I fell off the face of the Earth! It feels like it sometimes, haha. 

Just been busy. But I decided that I should do a year-in-review, because it is always so nice to look back though the last year and remember what I did and the all the important things that happened. 


In January, hubby and I took a late Christmas trip to Iowa to visit my family. I also made beautiful heart linzer cookies for a wedding and posted a tutorial for fortune cookie cat toys.


In February, the trees started blooming and it began to feel like spring in Texas! I also made sponge candy for the first time... lots of fun and oh-so-pretty!


In March, we took a drive though the bluebonnet trails, I planted a small garden, and in honor of the season I sewed a yellow blossom pillow.


In April, I sewed aprons for Craft Hope to send to women in Haiti, and hubby and I took some driving adventures around the area.


In May, my garden was growing like crazy, and my darling kitties had their birthdays!


June was a busy month. I visited Boston for a work trip, a nasty hail storm hit our house and I made strawberry freezer jam (though I didn't share it until a couple months later!) The most exciting thing was that we found out we were expecting a baby! Didn't share that til a bit later, either. Sneaky.


In July, I guess not too much happened. I don't even have any photos. I think I slept a lot... growing a baby is hard work! Please enjoy a photo of my cute cat. :)


In August, we took a summer vacation driving trip to Iowa. We went to 25+ antique stores, spent a couple nights in Galena, Illinois (and stayed in a haunted hotel!) and had squeaky fresh cheese curds!



In September, the biggest news was that we found out our baby is a little girl! We announced it to our in-laws with some amazing pink cake.


In October, I visited the Texas State Fair with my hubby, got to meet Dana from MADE, finally paid off my college loans, and made an effort to appreciate the little things.


In November, my cousin from Minnesota visited, so we played tourist in Dallas for a few days. Hubby and I also traveled to Iowa over Thanksgiving for my sister's graduation and for a family baby shower (photos to come soon!)
  

In December, I've been busy getting ready for baby. Can't believe she'll be here in a month and a half! I've been busy sewing sheets and crib ruffles and burp cloths... I'll share all of those too, just haven't gotten around to it! For now, please enjoy a photo of my other adorable cat - taken with my favorite Christmas present - a fancy new camera! :)


All-in-all a decent year. But I'm sure you won't fault me for being super excited for 2013... lots of things to look forward to!

I hope you've all had a nice year as well... and I hope to be less of a stranger in blog-land in 2013!!

Happy New Year :)

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

thankful

This is the time of year where everyone fills up their Facebook and blog pages with things that they are thankful for... and while I know that I should be thankful all year round (and I truly, truly am!!), it is kind of nice to have a time set aside to focus on giving thanks and remembering our blessings.

So, in no particular order, here are just a few of the many things I am particularly thankful for today:

* the healthy, growing baby inside me - who we will be meeting in less than 3 short months... and the fact that my pregnancy so far has been smooth and easy

* my hubby... we don't always see perfectly eye-to-eye, but he always supports me and is there when I need him

* family - both mine and my husband's... they are all so wonderful and I don't know what I would do without them

* our lovely home... it's not perfect, but sometimes we pay so much attention to the problems that we forget to realize how good we have it

* jobs... a steady income, health insurance, a good working environment and caring co-workers... these days we really can't ask for more than that

How about you? What are you especially thankful for this year?

Monday, November 19, 2012

Chihuly

My cousin Elizabeth came to visit a couple weeks ago. It was so much fun to show her around town and visit all the "tourist" sites. We saw The Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza, the Dallas Museum of Art, the Dallas World Aquarium, The Dead Sea Scrolls in Fort Worth, the Kimbell Art Museum and the Dallas Arboretum. Whoa. Just reading that list wears me out!! We definitely stayed busy!

My very favorite place that we visited was the Arboretum. They currently have a Chihuly exhibit... huge blown glass sculptures scattered throughout the gardens.

Beautiful!

I'll just leave you with some photos of our visit...

 














What do you think? Pretty cool, huh?

If you're in the Dallas area, I definitely recommend that you go before the exhibit comes down at the end of December!!

Monday, October 15, 2012

The beauty around us

It's the little things that make life beautiful.

Sometimes when I don't know what to blog about, I wander around with my camera. A good exercise is to use your macro lens or macro setting (that's what I used on my little point-and-shoot camera... it's usually the setting with the flower icon) to find the lovely little things that are so easy to walk by and ignore... shadows, bark, insects, flowers... It helps me to appreciate the beauty around me.

Try it sometime! And let me know how it goes!






Friday, October 12, 2012

MADE book signing

Have you ever read the blog MADE? It's one of my favorites. Dana is so crafty and stylish and her kids are so gosh-darn adorable! If you haven't seen it, you should definitely check it out!

I had the awesome opportunity to meet Dana tonight. She was doing a book-signing for her new book Fabrics A to Z at a fun fabric store here in Dallas called City Craft. I was starstruck, haha, but she was super sweet and so fun to talk to!

I met Dana from MADE!

There were lots of other sewing girls there... and they all seemed to know each other! I wish I had a sewing friend in Dallas to bring with me to events like this.


She had the store decorated so cute with balloons and streamers and tissue paper flowers. (Tutorials for all of those can be found on her blog!)


And there were some munchies and drinks to enjoy as well.


And I got my book signed!


Now for some bedtime reading about all the many different types of fabric...


Thanks, Dana! So glad you could come to Dallas! Hope our paths will cross again someday! :)

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

14. Eat squeaky-fresh cheese curds

Have any of you had fresh, squeaky cheese curds? If you have, you know that they are about the best thing that you could ever put in your mouth. A-maz-ing.

I grew up having cheese curds relatively often, and have become increasingly depressed that they are no where to be found here in Texas. So sad. I'm a little embarrassed to admit that I have the following conversation with my hubby approximately every other day: 

"You know what sounds REALLY good right now?" 

"No, what?" 

"FRESH, SQUEAKY CHEESE CURDS!!! OH MY GOODNESS, I NEED THEM RIGHT NOW!!!" 

True story.

cheese curdsm

So I added cheese curds to my 30 before 30 list, so that I wouldn't have to go too much longer without them!

And luckily, we were able to make a quick drive up to Wisconsin during our summer vacation this year. We stopped at the Shullsburg cheese factory store. I was in cheese heaven. Probably the best part of the trip. I only regret that I didn't buy more.

cheese curds

If you've never had fresh cheese curds, you're missing out. You need to get yourself up to Wisconsin and try some. Right now. You will never be the same. They are salty and delicious and squeak between your teeth. I promise they are delicious, even though they sound a little bit weird. 

And don't settle for the grocery store variety. They are almost never fresh enough. Maybe if you live in Wisconsin or near a cheese factory... but I've NEVER been satisfied with the so-called cheese curds found at the grocery store.

If you don't believe me about how good these things are, go to www.eatcurds.com. (f nothing else, it will at least prove that I'm not the only crazy one!)

cheese curds

Yum. 

This bag was gone in the drive back to our hotel. Well, not quite, but close. :)

cheese curds

Hopefully it won't be 5+ years before I get my cheese curd fix again.

30 before 30

Monday, October 8, 2012

Caramel Brickle Thumbprints


Hello! I shared this recipe for Caramel Brickle Thumbprints last Christmas on Margot's sweet blog Newfoundlander at Heart and have been meaning to share it here for awhile. It's a great recipe, and perfect for fall! With the holiday season coming up, I'm sure everybody is going to need a few go-to cookie recipes to turn to. These are great not only because they're delicious, but because they're small, so you won't feel guilty having a bunch! 


You will need:
2 1/4 cups flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup soft butter
1 tsp. baking powder
1 egg
1/2 tsp. vanilla
3/4 cup toffee baking chips

20 caramel squares
1/4 cup half and half


Start by mixing the flour, sugar, egg, butter and baking powder into a dough.


Add your toffee bits and mix. You may have to use your hands to knead them in completely.


Roll dough into 1 inch balls and place a couple inches apart on the cookie sheet. Then make an indention in the center of each cookie with your thumb.

Pop them in the oven at 350 degrees F for 11-14 minutes or until lightly browned.

Then melt the caramels with the half and half and mix. Pour a bit of the caramel mixture into the crater of each little cookie. Enjoy!


I think I was able to make 60 or 65 cookies from this recipe, so it makes a lot if you keep them on the small side.


Caramel Brickle Thumbprints

Ingredients:

2 1/4 cups flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup soft butter
1 tsp. baking powder
1 egg
1/2 tsp. vanilla
3/4 cup toffee baking chips

20 caramel squares
1/4 cup half and half

Beat sugar, butter, vanilla and egg until light and fluffy. Add flour and baking powder.  Stir until smooth.  Add toffee chips and knead to blend.  Refrigerate for 30 minutes. Shape into 1-inch balls.  Place 2 inches apart on cookie sheet. With thumb, make imprint on center of cookie. Bake at 350 degrees F for 11-14 minutes or until lightly browned around edges and set. Immediately remove from cookie sheet and cool.   Melt 20 caramels and 1/4 cup half & half & stir until smooth. Spoon on top of cookie.


Enjoy!