Saturday, December 21, 2013

Christmas and the Project-Oriented Husband

I could write a book called The Project-Oriented Husband.  It would include topics like how to deal with (and even embrace) items that suddenly enter the household unannounced: sausage-making attachments for the Kitchen-Aid, large beer making supplies, high-tech music mixing equipment... okay, we don't have any music mixing equipment, but we certainly have plenty of other supplies for various projects.  That chapter would be called "Space Invaders."  

My book would also include a chapter on Christmas.  Here is what you might find in a project-oriented person's living room around Christmastime:

That thing on the left is not a present.  You might think it is because it's shaped like a box and it's sitting under the tree, but you'd be wrong.  It's actually a big cardboard box with a rectangular hole cut in the top.  Inside are special electrical carving tools (or something) and pieces of wood.  For some kind of project.  I don't even know what it is, and you know what?  I don't care.  Because as long as my husband is happily carving away, I'm happy too. 

In all honesty, I have waaaaay more project supplies than Karl, and I do love it when he's excited about a new project.  I think that's the best side of him.  So I'll happily give up some under-the-tree space for whatever he's working on.  And once I get this book deal, we'll be able to buy a second house, specifically for our project equipment.  

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Cookie Swap!

Tonight I'm going to a cookie swap with my book club!  Cookie swaps are perfect because they give me a chance to make a couple of well-loved recipes and get most of the cookies out of the house before I really do some damage. 
Here's what's in my Tupperware for tonight:
(I use Andes mints for the last ingredient listed)

These are hands-down my favorite holiday cookies.  They're super delicious and they have a great consistency.  Plus they're super easy to make, and once the candy is cool, they can be stacked on top of one another.  I usually make these to give to our neighbors in little Christmas bags. 


I just discovered this recipe; it was in an insert in the most recent Martha Stewart magazine.  I chose this recipe because: 
a. it's made with almond paste, and I love all things almond
b.  they looked really fast and easy to make (and they are!)
I used homemade raspberry jam for my cookies, but I think they'd be great with other flavors, too.  They have a nice, not-too-sweet almond taste; the only drawback is that they can't be stacked.  That's why God created cookie plates, though, right?  I made these cookies for my co-workers, and they got such rave reviews that I decided to whip up another batch for the cookie swap.  

Monday, December 9, 2013

The Best Christmas Present Ever

As you probably know, I adore the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders.  Of course I was overjoyed to find out that Samantha Finglass, daughter of DCC Director Kelli Finglass, is posting a video blog every day in December!  Vlogmas 2013, y'all.  This is truly the gift that keeps on giving.  Her videos are mostly hair and make-up oriented.  Watching the video of the day is my little treat during lunchtime at work every day.  You can watch Samantha's videos through her blog, or you can see them on YouTube.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Thirty Days of Thankfulness: Day 26

I'm so thankful that I have the day off tomorrow!  I'm looking forward to sleeping in, doing some Thanksgiving prep, maybe going for a swim or taking a yoga class... it's going to be amazing.  I can feel it. 

Monday, November 25, 2013

Thirty Days of Thankfulness: Days 24 and 25

Karl works overnight every Sunday, which is fine, but we really miss the Sunday night movie nights we used to have.  We'd light a fire, snuggle in with some popcorn, and be ready to face the week on Monday morning.  Those were the days... until he randomly had last night off of work!  It was fantastic.  He got home from deer hunting just in time for some sweet potato casserole and a fire in the fireplace.  I'm thankful for...

  • A Sunday night off for my husband!
  • An 8-point buck that rode home in the back of Karl's dad's truck
  • An inch or two of fresh snow on the ground this morning
  • A very short work week
  • Lots of fun plans for Thanksgiving weekend

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Thirty Days of Thankfulness: Days 21-23

I'm thankful for:
  • Thursday and Friday off of work!  And a short week next week, too! 
  • A movie date tonight with my book club
  • A good book on my nightstand

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Thirty Days of Thankfulness: Day 20

I recently lent my button maker to an acquaintance.  She returned it a few days ago, but I just got around to opening up the box today.  Inside the box were several delicious little treats, two pretty pencils, and a coupon for a product she knows I like (we once ran into each other at Whole Foods).  So sweet!  I'm thankful for little surprises and thoughtful gestures.   

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Thirty Days of Thankfulness: Day 19

I'm thankful for a super-sweet, hard working husband!  Karl never ceases to amaze me with his capacity for kindness, patience, and compassion.  Plus he's pretty handsome!  ♥


Monday, November 18, 2013

Thirty Days of Thankfulness: Day 18

I'm thankful for purple pens.  They've always been my favorite.  Especially these:


Sunday, November 17, 2013

Thirty Days of Thankfulness: Day 17

I'm thankful for the turkey that is now in our freezer!  A friend won it when we went to play Bingo at an American Legion, and she gave it to me.  Eleven and a half pound of poultry... sounds like Thanksgiving to me! 

Truthfully, I secretly don't even really like turkey, but still, it was pretty fun to see my friend win a turkey (actually, she won two, and gave them both away).

Just for kicks, here's a screenshot from the Legion's website, announcing the big night:


Saturday, November 16, 2013

Thirty Days of Thankfulness: Day 16

I'm thankful for a pantry full of tomatoes, applesauce, pickles, salsa. soup, and jam!  

Friday, November 15, 2013

Thirty Days of Thankfulness: Day 15

Today I'm thankful for a day off and a big deadline met!  

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Thirty Days of Thankfulness: Day 14

I'm thankful that I work within walking distance of:
  • a Post Office
  • a coffee shop
  • a co-op grocery store
  • a swimming pool

Being able to run to the Post Office during lunch or swim before work is super convenient, especially on the days when I'm on the bus or my bike.  Hooray!

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Thirty Days of Thankfulness: Day 13

I'm thankful for flannel sheets and pjs!  And my new slippers (thanks, Mom)!

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Thirty Days of Thankfulness: Day 12

Today I'm thankful for a coat to keep me toasty in the sudden winter we're experiencing!  I wore thick wool socks for my bus ride today, and it's lunchtime and I haven't taken them off yet... I might wear them all day and enjoy my warm feet! 

Monday, November 11, 2013

Thirty Days of Thankfulness: Day 11

Look at what my mom dropped off the other day!!!

A whole bag of Sassy magazines!  I'm thankful for lots of reading material from 1989 and 1990.  

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Thirty Days of Thankfulness: Ten on Ten Edition

... also known as Weekend Visiting Two of Our Favorite People Edition
Knitting in the car 

One of my all-time favorite sights to see 

 Stained glass guinea pig in the window at my brother and sister-in-law's house
Brunch and a visit to the toy store with a friend from library school and her darling daughters 

There are live frogs in there!  They are tiny and of varying degrees of liveliness.

Karl and Ramona were instant friends  


 Bye-bye, dollhouse 

Favorite Ikea purchase

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Thirty Days of Thankfulness: Day 9

Today I'm thankful for reminder notes!  I have a post-it note front and center that says "10 on 10!!!"  Tomorrow I'll be taking ten photos of our weekend frolics.  And I owe it all to my reminder note.  Also I'm thankful for post-its, especially the large lined ones like this:

Those are my favorite.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Thirty Days of Thankfulness: Day 8

I'm thankful for:
  • The end of the work week
  • Fall flavors and colors
  • A hard-working husband
  • Three new books from the library
  • Several delightful knitting projects on my needles

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Thirty Days of Thankfulness: Day 7

Today I'm thankful for butternut squash!  It's so delicious.  Three dinners at our house this week were butternut squash based:
Roast butternut squash and onions with black beans and guacamole
Butternut squash soup
Salad with butternut squash, smoked salmon, and goat cheese
I'm already thinking about making a butternut squash casserole this weekend!  

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Thirty Days of Thankfulness: Day 6

A few years ago, I knit an Advent calendar for my friend Caitrin... here it is, hanging over her fireplace.  It's made up of 24 little stockings, and the idea is to put a little note or surprise in each stocking so that someone (like Caitrin's daughter, Macie) can open one each day in December as a countdown to Christmas. 
For the past few years, my birthday gift to Caitrin has been a box full of little goodies to pack in the Advent Calendar stockings for Macie to open.  I look forward to putting the package together every year.  Here's a little peek at the box I sent this year for Caitrin's birthday... soon to be tucked inside stockings for Advent! 


I'm so thankful to have friends who let me love their kiddos! 

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Thirty Days of Thankfulness: Day 5

Today my Felties Club for grades 5 and up begins, and I cannot wait!  'Tweens plus teens plus little felt animals is a recipe for delight.  I'm thankful for this, the part of my job that I really love. 

Monday, November 4, 2013

Thirty Days of Thankfulness: Day 4

I recently lost my camera on a trip to Colorado.  I rarely lose things, so of course misplacing my camera drove me up the wall.  Even though I was sure I had left it in our cabin, I filed lost item reports with the rental car company and the airline.  And I am so, so, so thankful to have received this response from Hertz:

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Thirty Days of Thankfulness: Day 3

I'm thankful for my family's new tradition of choosing a theme each year for Christmas!  I absolutely love themes, so this is really fun for me.  The themes we've had so far have been:

  • Feliz Navidad: A Mexican Christmas in 2009 (this was our first theme, and it was mainly reflected in the food
  • A Very Nautical Nativity: Jesus, Mary, and Joseph Take to the High Seas in 2012 (during which I apparently forgot to take any pictures or write anything down)
This year, our theme is really good...
Here Comes Santa Paws: A Canine Christmas! 
It's going to be amazing. 

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Thirty Days of Thankfulness: Day 2

I'm thankful that Karl and I got to have all kinds of fun this summer, including our annual visit to the raspberry farm on our wedding anniversary.  We had a lovely, long summer, which really just ended a week or so ago, so I was still in a tank top on September 20th! 

Friday, November 1, 2013

Thirty Days of Thankfulness: Day 1

November is here!  I'm thankful to have some motivation to write on our blog after a loooong break! 

I'm also thankful that some people in this world like to go all out on Halloween decorations... they make up for people like me, who own one Halloween item and most of the time can't even locate it. 

Take a peek at the decorations one couple (the camp hosts!  How do you become a camp host anyway?) had up at a campground in mid-September...


"Deflated Ghost and Pumpkin" by The Stanleys


Monday, September 23, 2013


There is a magical place called SWAP just outside of Madison.  SWAP stands for "Surplus with a Purpose," and basically anything that UW-Madison is finished with goes here for adoption.  You can find office furniture, old maps, science lab equipment, card catalogs (if you're lucky like me!), computer gear, and, once in awhile, a musical instrument:

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Those Ambitious Souls

Ironman Wisconsin happened last Sunday!  I've never watched an Ironman before, so I showed up early to watch the start of the swim and cheer on a couple of friends (who, by the way, were absolutely amazing and not only completed the race but smiled the entire way).  Here's what 3,000 maniac athletes in Lake Monona looks like:

I may have texted Karl to say that I'll be doing the Ironman next year.  Don't worry, that ambition was fleeting; I'm perfectly happy to watch and cheer!

Monday, September 9, 2013

No Parking Zone

I had to stop and take a picture of this garage door the other day.  Welcome to Madison.  

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Mail Call!

Karl and I have been working hard at clearing clutter and getting rid of things we don't need or love.  I recently dug up these two treasures, and I'm returning them to their rightful owners. 
The first one is a sewing pattern from Better Living Magazine.  Most likely, we adopted this from a thrift store who-knows-when.  It was addressed to a woman in Madison, and when I looked her up, I found that she still lives here.  At least I think it's the same woman.  In any case, a woman with the same name as the woman who originally ordered this pattern will be receiving it in the mail. 

I'm not sure on a date, but the stamp only cost two cents.  On second thought, maybe the woman I'm sending this to isn't the original owner.  Is that even humanly possible?  To have been alive when something cost two cents to mail, and to still be alive now?  Additionally, the address on the pattern lists her name as beginning with "Mrs." so she had to have been at least 12 when this was sent.  Hmmm... suddenly this whole "same woman" thing is sounding fishy.  

When I said "sewing pattern," you probably thought, oh, it's a pattern for an apron.  Or a housecoat.  Or a prom dress.  Or a nice pair of slacks. 
Think again. 


If you feel like you need this pattern, the closest you can come online might be this one
Item #2 being packaged up and shipped out is the shirt my high school English teacher wore every Tuesday.  I borrowed it for Dress Like a Teacher day my senior year, and the teacher didn't want it back.  I've always felt badly for taking one of his five work shirts, so I've never gotten rid of it.  Eighteen years later, he's getting it back. 

Complete with original ink stain in the pocket.