Monday, November 29, 2010

More to come...

I don't have tons of time to post pictures of all my Christmas decorations... but for now I'll leave you with a sneak peak.

Oh Christmas Tree, Oh Christmas Tree...

And the up-close shot... green, gold, glitter = glorious.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Working from home

So, my boss is letting me work from home today because I'm tied to the door (I'm expecting an overnight package I need before we leave tomorrow morning for Maryland) and because holiday weeks at universities are ALWAYS dead. Students are gone... professors are gone... so that means the staff is gone. Originally Chad was supposed to be working today (hence me having to stay home for my package), but last night when he got home from work he said he was so jealous I was getting to be home yesterday he decided to take today off!

But I did have some things I needed to get done at home today, so I woke up, fixed breakfast and coffee and set-up my laptop on the kitchen table with some Whiskeytown playing in the background.


And I just starting thinking... MAN, it would be nice to work from home every day.

But Chad left about 45 minutes ago to run errands, and I'm ALREADY wondering when he's going to be home. So here's something I realized: I don't think I'd like working from home... because that would involve me being home ALONE.

And I don't do alone well. I need people around.

I blame it on growing up in a large family. "Alone time" didn't exist.

Every now and then it's a nice change of pace, but I'd miss my office time.

Anyway, this is probably my last post of the week. We head to Annapolis tomorrow morning to my grandparents with all my family. I hope everyone has a wonderful and safe Thanksgiving holiday. I hope you have so much to be thankful for. I know I do.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Savory Soups

Like most of you, I'm sure, I've been on a huge soup kick these past several weeks. Even though it's not that cold outside, there is something about the moment the calendar flips to October - it's time to start with the soups.

I've made stews, chilies, broth-based, cream-based - you name it, I've made it.

A couple of note, lately.

Last night I made Serious Eat's Agreeably Simple Potato and Leek soup.

{via Serious Eats}
Because you know... leeks are in it.

And if leek is in the name, it will at some point find its way onto my kitchen table.

I thought it was a lovely soup. I added about a quarter cup of half & half to the pot - just to give it some extra richness, and put some cracked pepper and coarse ground garlic salt on the top of each bowl... along with a dash of sour cream. It would have been awesome with some chives on top... but I was sans chives last night so I had to make due without. Chad commented it was one of the best soups he's had. Bonus, it took me about 20 minutes to assemble before having to simmer for awhile... perfect amount of time to let me get a little workout in!

And last week, I made a delicious white bean soup recipe courtesy of my mama. It's simple and delicious!

Umberto's Bean Soup
- 2 cans white beans
- 1 can collards (or half a bunch of fresh... preferable)
- 1 large can diced tomatoes
- Bunch of fresh Italian parsley, mined
- 1 medium onion, diced
- a few cloves of garlic, minced
- chicken stock or ham stock (I did the best of both worlds and used chicken stock plus a ham hock)
- s&p to taste

Let simmer for about an hour. Serve with tabasco and grated Locatelli cheese on top. It's a perfect - and healthy - fall soup!

What about you? Do you have a favorite fall soup recipe to share? Comment or post on your blog and send me a link!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Finally - window treatments!

So I have been blogging for several months now about being terrified to pick my own fabric for our living room window treatments. I have about four different fabrics in our living room currently - couch, chair and two different throw pillows - and wanted an expert's opinion on not only what would look good with those materials, but would also fit the entire feel of our house.

Lucky for me, my bff's mother-in-law (who is a utterly fabulous interior designer and all-around wonderful woman who I loved bunches BEFORE she even volunteered to help) took pity on my poor house's soul and agreed to help me with my window treatment situation.

Best of all: all I had to do was snap a few photos of the rooms where I needed treatments (and the fabrics in them), do some minor measurements and send them along to her to work her magic on the rest.

She emailed me last week saying the some fabric samples would be in the mail for me to choose - and I eagerly awaited their arrival like a kid on Christmas morning!

For our kitchen area, she selected this fabric and trim for roman shades for the three windows + door.

And she gave me four options for the living room drapes - two neutrals and two blues:


And even though Chad and I don't agree on much, we both quickly agreed we liked the top option best (choice #1). It's hard to tell in the picture but it has a beautiful sheen to it and I think it will look magnificent in our living room.

The next hurdle I had to face was getting Chad to agree to actually BUY them.

You ladies with husbands will understand what I'm talking about when I say: Men do not understand how expensive home furnishings can be... especially high-quality ones. So I have been trying to prime Chad over the past few months with the fact that custom window treatments simply aren't a small-ticket item in a house. I had friends, his own mother and even my GRANDMOTHER tell him "Window treatments are an investment... They are often one of the most expensive things in your house..." and so on.

So thankfully, when we got the cost estimate for these two rooms, Chad's head didn't blow off his body... at least immediately.

He told me yesterday, however, that he enjoyed sharing the news with one of his colleagues:

Chad: "So hey, buddy, what are you going to spend your overtime money on?" (remember, Chad and his colleagues been working lots and lots of overtime lately.)
Work friend: "Blah blah blah (something that I wasn't really paying attention to but it had to do with an Audi). What about you, Chad?"
Chad: "Two words, my friend. Window treatments."
Work friend: "What are window treatments?!"
Chad: "You aren't married, so you don't have to worry about window treatments, but once you are, you'll learn soon enough."

And truer words have never been spoken.

Can't wait to show you pictures of the finished product!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Butterflies

It was a unexpected surprise that Chad was going to get today off (as of late, Monday has been his day to be home.) Wanting to take full-advantage of the time I get to see him before he's nodding off to sleep, I suggested a lunch date.

He came to pick me up wearing his new J.Crew sweater I bought him as a surprise "thanks for working your butt off during outage" present. We went to lunch at my new favorite Asian restaurant near campus. Afterward, we went to the bookstore to look around and drove around campus a bit. Note to new readers: I work at a university.

I don't know what it was, but the whole thing seemed very "first date-ish" to me. When we were in the car on the way to lunch, I actually had butterflies in my stomach. He just looked SO cute and it's been awhile since the two of us have been on a "date" (sad, I know.)

And it was so nice to have those same "first date rush" feelings, but with all the history we have behind it. I loved getting to hold his hand as we walked around the same university where we met... knowing that he's not just some guy I'm dating --- he's my HUSBAND.

In life, we forget some times to focus on all the little, amazing things we have.... and things -we quite honestly - take for granted.

Today, a gorgeous husband, a delicious lunch and absolutely perfect weather were all it took for me to practically skip back into my office and face the rest of the day with a smile on my face.

I hope you find joy in a little something today too.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Don't kill me...

... but another Christmas post is about to happen.

Just an itty bitty one.

So this year, we're going to have two Christmas trees. We have a skinny fake tree that
we'll put in the foyer of our house so it can be seen through our double-doors from the street.

And then we're going to have a huge, big, National Lampoon Christmas Vacation-style real tree for the living room. And it will be glorious.

Unfortunately, since we only had one tree in our little townhome, I only have on
e Christmas-tree skirt. And since I've already written three posts about Christmas and it's not even the middle of November, you can tell how serious I am about all things Christmas.

So I started hunting online for the perfect Christmas tree skirt.

And I found it.

The one.

The one I've been dreaming of my whole life:



Unfortunately it's from Horchow - the catalog/website I warn all my readers to destroy immediately once you get it since you'll want everything in it... and that just looking at it will cause you to go into bankruptcy.

My pretty little tree skirt of my dreams is $650. Yes, $650. You got that right. I didn't put a decimal in the wrong place. Oh, but because of their super-awesome special "sale", I can get it for a rock-bottom price of $455.

The sound you just heard were the wails of the brokenhearted. My tree skirt dreams are dashed.

So if anyone is interested in donating to MPLT's Christmas-tree skirt fund, I have a donation jar on our front step. I'm going to put a quarter in it when I get home.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Keep on rollin'

Howdy, friends! And how are we at the start to another beautiful week in November?

It's getting nice and chilly out - just how I like it! Not the kind of cold that makes your face sting when you walk outside, but the perfect chilliness (word? maybe? yes?) that allows me to snuggle up close in bed to Chaddy to keep warm as we drift to sleep.

It's been a busy few weeks in our world. Chad is continuing to work like a madman as he finishes up his big work ordeal. I'm just trying to keep things moving at home!

This past Friday, I was lucky enough to get to spend some quality time with girlfriends. Two of my best friends also have M.I.A. husbands (one in California and one in Oklahoma) - so we decided instead of all sitting at home by our lonesome (me a little less lonesome since Chad is home... but mentally, not really), that we'd do an old fashioned sleepover.

To make a long... long... very long evening short: three girls + two dogs + lots of wine = best/worst sleepover ever. Best because we got to be together. Worst, because the dogs barked at each other the whole night. We also watched Sex and the City 2 --- and agreed it was definitely one of the absolute worst movies we've ever seen. No plot, horrible acting - and it lasted for what seems like 9 hours. We should have just put it on mute and glanced up periodically to check out the clothes. But I came home Saturday afternoon with about four hours of semi-sleep from the night before... so Saturday was pretty much a wash. I laid on the couch - and only getting up long enough to run a few loads of clothes and fix Chad supper.

Sunday, I was up early to go to church and teach Sunday school to my little 2nd/3rd graders. Chad and I usually teach together, and we took off the month of October (b/c of Chad's work), so this was my first week back teaching solo. I was worried that after a month away, they would have forgotten who I was. Needless to say, that was not the case and I get several big hugs and quite a few "Where's Mr. Chad?" It was good to feel missed! I'm so blessed to be a part of a church I love.

The rest of Sunday included spending time with family and watching a bunch of NFL. For the past couple of months, we've gotten into the habit of spending Sundays with my brother Mike and sister-in-law Molly. It is the perfect, relaxing way to end every weekend. I'm just hopeful that once Baby B comes along, we'll still be able to keep up our Sunday tradition.

This morning, I was invited to speak to three public relations classes taught by a former professor. It was wonderful seeing him and getting to talk to a large group of students about my career and hopefully pass along some excitement and encouragement as they get ready to leave the sheltered world of higher education and make it in big business!

The rest of the week promises to be just as busy! Just trying to take things one day at a time and thank God for every bit of this little life of mine!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Oh Christmas cards, oh Christmas cards...

I know, I know - two posts in two days: and both Christmas-related, no less!

But yes, my mind is already on the holiday season. Last year I reme
mber lamenting to you all about how I was so last minute with my Christmas cards, since we were dealing with the aftermath of Chad's surgery. But this year, I'm going to be prepared. And lucky for me, Shutterfly has some uber cute holiday card options for me to choose from!

I have a few favorite Christmas cards that might end up with me and Chad's smiling m
ugs on it this year. Like this one:


This one would be cute if there if we had a child/dog. I'd feel funny putting five different pictures of Chad and me on it. I can just hear it now, "Yourrrr so vain. I bet you think this Christmas card is about you, don't you, don't youuuuu." I hope someone gets the musical reference.

And this:

And this:

Oooh, and this:

And since I love putting scripture on my Christmas cards, this one is nice:


And Shutterfly even has cute return address labels to finish it off! Now if only they had a little elf on-site to write the actual recipient addresses for me, we'd be in business!

Since this is our first Christmas in our new home... this year's picture might have to be of us in front of it! Now I need to work on begging my design-minded brother with his DSLR camera to come take our picture.

Happy Christmas (card) shopping!

Monday, November 1, 2010

Too early to decorate for Christmas?

Probably... but that doesn't mean I don't want to.

I know some people loooooooooove Halloween. It is definitely not my favorite holiday, but this year I made an effort to get into the Halloween-spirit. Friday night, I went to a pumpkin carving party at a girlfriend's house. That was a step in the right direction - yummy food and pumpkin guts.

Then I spent about $75 on candy for all the neighborhood kids - since we have a billion of them.

I didn't hang any fake spiderwebs or skeletons around the house, but I did plant some pansies, put out a pot of mums and displayed some carved pumpkins.

So last night, Chad and I, along with my parents and brother Mike and sis-in-law Molly (and their little green bean tummy baby --- had I mentioned on my blog yet that Miss Molly is PREGNANT!!!), sat outside and gave away handfuls of candy and laughed all the kids and their cute costumes. Best of all, we got to see some of our favorite little "pumpkins" (who belong to our friends)... sweet little Emma Claire was a cupcake and our precious Annabelle was a ladybug.

All in all, it was a successful Halloween!


Now- only a few more weeks til I get to do the REAL (i.e.: Christmas) decorating. And I can't wait!