Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween!!!

I'm still struggling with finding enough time to blog, but I couldn't let the last day of October pass by without a little recap of some of the fun stuff we've been up to this month :)

A few weekends ago, Peter and I took a little trip to Woodbine, MD, to do some apple picking and pumpkin selecting at Larriland Farm.

 Obviously, we were not the only people at Larriland Farm that day :) It was quite the happenin' spot!

I had never been apple picking before, and I loved it! Part of the reason I loved it was probably because we only spend about a half-hour picking. Some of my fellow apple-pickers looked like they had been there all day and had bushels and bushels of apples. I wondered what they were going to do with all of those apples?!!!

Searching for only the best!


We also visited the punkin' patch which I had not done since I was a Brownie in Girl Scouts. We had some trouble picking our pumpkins so we created a pumpkin line up of sorts :)

And the winner is ...

We also made sure to sample the apple fritters that the local high-school cheerleading team was selling as a fund-raiser. Yum! So much appley goodness!!!

Last weekend the carving of the pumpkins and the roasting of the pumpkin seeds took place :)

 Pumpkin guts seriously make me want to throw up, but Peter is definitely OK with them. Gross!!!

The finished products. Mine is supposed to be winking. Peter's is supposed to have been maimed in some kind of pumpkin brawl :)

We also roasted pumpkin seeds which Peter always did growing up. It was super easy, and the roasted seeds were pretty tasty (and I'm assuming extremely healthy). We washed them off really well, sauteed them in a couple of tablespoons of butter, spread them out on a cookie sheet, and then roasted them for 45 minutes in a 200 degree oven. Ta-da!!!

Whatever your plans are for tonight (trick-or-treating, handing out candy, awesome costume party, etc.), I hope that you have a very fun Halloween :)

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Checking in ...

 (image via Google)

It was not my intention to take a 3-week break from blogging, but that's what happened :) And the reason why it happened was because I started a new job! The job is within the agency where I've worked for several years so I didn't have to change my commute, get used to a new building, etc. But the work is substantially different from what I've been doing for the last 8 years so there's quite a learning curve. I think that it's going OK, but the trying-to-keep-on-top-of-things hasn't left much time for the ole blog. I hope to get back to more regular blogging soon because I miss it, but I need to nail down my schedule a bit more so that I can actually figure out when I can post (and not be exhausted and distracted)! This new job could be a really good change for me, but I have to confess that I hate change :( I'm a traditional kind of girl who likes her routines, familiar faces, and everything to just stay the same. But change is a part of life that I can't change so I need to learn to get used to it :) And grow from it! It's humbling to go from a position where I had a lot of autonomy and was sort of "expert" at what I did to one where I have to work as part of a team and know next to nothing about what I'm doing, but a good dose of humility is a good thing now and again and I know that I need to challenge myself once in awhile (I was getting very bored in my previous position to be honest!). The next year will be much harder than the previous one at work, but it could be loads better too :)

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

A First Taste of Fall ...

I know that autumn doesn't officially start until this Friday (Sept. 23), but I caught a glimpse of it this weekend when Peter and I went canoeing in Seneca Creek State Park.

I was so excited to see that little bit of red foliage! Fall's a'comin' :)
 Except for the persistent cloud cover, this weekend's weather was great - temps in the 60s every day! I wore my first long-sleeved shirt and fleece jacket of the season :)

I haven't been canoeing since our St. Mary's 7th grade (or was it 6th grade?) class trip to Land Between the Lakes in Kentucky (where my friends and I were stuck on the lake for hours since none of us could figure out how to paddle back to shore!) so we thought it best if Peter handled the steering (very capably too - I might add).

I became quite the nature photographer on this trip. I expect National Geographic to be calling me with job offers any minute now :)

This crane (or heron? I never know the difference between the two) let us get really close to him and never flew away. It must be because of my awesome photography skills and Peter's awesome steering :)
 If you look really closely, you can see two really cute, little wood ducks standing on that log in the water. And yes - the water around the log is fairly disgusting - partly from algae and partly from garbage that people have chosen to decorate the lake with (Seriously, people! Find a trash can!)
We call these "the ducks that kind of have heads and necks like snakes," but I'm pretty sure that's not their real name :) These guys were very nervous as we approached but tried their hardest to pretend to be cool with it!
I'm looking forward to other fall activities - long hikes in the woods, apple picking, a trip to the pumpkin patch, etc. And, of course, sipping my first Pumpkin Spice Latte from Starbucks of the season :) What are you looking forward to this fall? 

Thursday, September 15, 2011

The Beach!

Wow! It's been awhile since I've last posted, and there's good reason for that, I promise :) Peter and I were on vacation last week and didn't have internet access at the place where we stayed. And I haven't had internet access for most of this week because some fiberoptic cable decided to break somewhere and severed our connection. Cue severe internet withdrawl symptoms for me :) Just kidding - it hasn't been that bad, but I am excited to blog about our vacation to Panama City Beach and share some pictures finally!

Peter and I flew down to Panama City Beach, FL, last week to meet my parents (who drove from Memphis) for a week at the beach. We rented a condo here - the Majestic Beach Towers - on the 14th floor. All of the condos here are directly on the beach and have fantastic views :)

Growing up, my family always vacationed on the Gulf Coast, usually in Destin, FL (a.k.a. "Little Memphis" - the entire city vacations here in the summer :) ), and this was the first time that I had been back since high-school. I had kind of forgotten how beautiful it is!

We chose to stay in Panama City Beach since the major airport for the area is there and since I have a cousin who just moved there, and while PCB used to be called the "redneck riviera," let me tell you that PCB ain't what it used to be :) There are still quite a few airbrush T-shirt shops and 24-hour tattoo places, but the newer condo buildings and houses are really nice. There are also some great new shopping places, like Pier Park, which have more upscale stores and restaurants.

You certainly can't tell from this picture which was taken later in the trip, but when we first arrived, Tropical Storm Lee was brewing off the coast and on our first full day in FL she hit, bringing rain and plenty of wind. Certainly not evacuation conditions, but certainly not nice beach conditions! We did get to see some pretty awesome waves, though :) After that one day, we had wonderful weather; I think September is one of the best times to be at the beach (if you can manage to avoid hurricanes/tropical storms!) - warm but not super hot, very low humidity, and clear waters.

As Peter is demonstrating in the above picture, there were sandbars out in the ocean that you could swim to and stand on. He's fairly far out but in waist-deep water.

Our condo was very "beachy" and cute with lots of pink and green which I loved! How fun would it be to decorate a beach place :)

We celebrated my birthday while we were there, and I woke up to a sweet sign that Peter had "inscribed" in the sand for me :)

We went to dinner at an old-time fave, Captain Anderson's. Capt. Anderson's is one of those old-fashioned seafood restaurants where all of the waitresses have worked there for at least 20 years, there's a lot of wood and nautical decor, and the bartender knows how to make the best cocktails. They also broadcast the nautical forecast in the restrooms :)

We had Publix cupcakes for dessert (the best!) and ice cream.

We also took a side trip to Seaside, FL, (the planned community where The Truman Show was filmed) which I had wanted to see for awhile. It's just as cute as in pictures! I think this is where we will want to vacation the next time we go to FL :)

Is it time to go on vacation again? :)

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Peter's 30th Birthday :)

My husband turned 30 recently, and we had a small party for him with some of our closest friends :) Peter usually does not like any kind of attention for his birthday and has actually kept the date of his birth a secret from friends for years because he didn't want any hoopla. Since he was turning 30 this year, however, I convinced him that it was time to celebrate. I had a good time planning the festivities, and I think that everyone had a good time at the party. Peter especially had fun, and I suspect that it might not take as much convincing next year to throw a little shindig for him :)

I, being the forgetful photographer that I am, forgot to take any pictures of the actual party (which I'm quite sad about) - probably because I was having such a good time with our friends! I did remember to take pictures, though, of the set up for the party so here's what it looked like when the guests arrived.

This was the dining room table ready and waiting for the dinner buffet to be set. I was so happy that I was able to buy white hydrangeas for the arrangements!

Coffee table arrangement. As you can see, we are well-stocked with board games and always ready for a party :)

Our very small dessert buffet (not including his birthday cake which I brought in later).

This was my first time making glazed sugar cookies and I think that they turned out well! Peter loves mint and chocolate and toffee/almonds and chocolate so those were our candy choices for favors. I was very excited to use some of my Willow House glass serving pieces for the first time (Thanks, Callie!)

Peter's favorite color is green so that was the main color of the night, but I also threw some white and brown in to give some variety (and because those seem like "manly" colors!). It was really difficult to find matching green party supplies, though; there are so many shades of green!!!

At first I had wanted to go all out and have colored poms hanging from the ceiling, "Happy Birthday" banners everywhere, etc., etc., but then I thought that that might not look very masculine and I didn't want to overwhelm/embarrass my husband. I think I'll just have to wait until we have kids to go overboard for birthday parties :)

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Weekend Recap

We spent a lot of time at home this weekend - mostly because we were anticipating and then experiencing Hurricane Irene. Last week was a very eventful one for natural disasters on the East Coast :) On Friday morning, Peter and I had a little breakfast date at Starbucks before he went to work (and where I forgot to take any pictures!) and then I went to stock up on provisions before the coming storm since it was my day off of work. Oh my goodness - what a shopping adventure! I have never seen such craziness. I thought that I was going to be killed for my parking space at Trader Joes!!! Calm down, people!!! I did need to buy a few non-perishables for the storm, but I also needed to buy some things (like milk) that we just out of, but there was no milk to be had in a 10-mile radius of my apartment. I also saw that flashlights, batteries, and candles were in very short supply. It definitely pays to be prepared well ahead of any kind of  storm! Yikes!!!

On Saturday, I ran a few more short errands and then went to my friend, RAM's, house so that she could cut my hair. A hurricane might be coming, but a girl's gotta look her best, right? :) The rain started around noon, but it wasn't heavy at all and I had no problems driving home. Peter helped one of our friends from church move into his new place that morning and returned home around 2:00. From then on, we just hung out at our place - cleaning up a bit and organizing, reading (we're still working our way through all 7 Harry Potter books!), and watching baseball. We had leftovers for dinner, and then watched the British movie, Wild Target, with Bill Nighy whom I think is the bees' knees :)

(image via IMDB)

Didn't quite live up to the previews, but still had some very funny moments! We were so thankful to still have power when the movie was over around 10:00pm, and we thought that we might make it out of the storm with our electricity "intact" since it was only raining moderately and the wind wasn't fierce at all. It wasn't meant to be, however, because our power went out around 4:00 Sunday morning (Boo!).

We weren't sure if we would have church on Sunday morning or not since there were widespread power outages in our area, but we did and it was kind of neat to have Sunday School and a worship service in a semi-darkened church :) We won't let a little thing like lack of electricity stop us from praising God! I have to say that both Peter and I were a little sleepy during church, though, because we were not able to have coffee on Sunday morning.

(image via Google)

Our coffee-maker was obviously not working without electricity, and we don't keep instant coffee on hand (which is something I need to quickly remedy!). We were hoping that the church would have power and have some coffee ready and waiting, but that hope wasn't fulfilled since the church didn't have power either. So after church we embarked on a quest for coffee that took us through many intersections with non-functioning street lights (always a scary experience in our area!) and darkened shopping centers. Not a Starbucks, Dunkin' Donuts, McDonalds, Panera, 7-11, etc. with power! So we returned home and drank some very strongly brewed tea instead. Not quite the same, but better than nothing :) We ate lunch, went for a LONG walk, and did a happy dance when we returned to an apartment with electricity!!! It kind of makes me sad that we're SO dependent on electricity for everything and that it dramatically changes our lives when we don't have it, but I guess that's just the way it is. I'm praying for those in our area and in other states like North Carolina and Vermont who still don't have power and who have much worse damage to deal with than we do. I just hope that we can have a quiet week with no more natural disasters!!!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Oh happy day ...

... my Erin Condren life planner just arrived :)

I was one of the unfortunate ones who had their initial orders erased in early Aug. by a malicious hacker so I had a bit of a longer wait, but it was worth it! Look at those cute gift stickers that Erin Condren threw in just cuz :)

I was disappointed, however, upon opening my package and discovering that they had made a mistake with my order. I had wanted our last name to go underneath our first names, but they had put our full name on one line instead. After contacting customer service this morning, though, they are going to reprint my planner correctly ASAP and overnight it to me with no extra charge. Not bad!

I went with the Fleur Feliz pattern in Splash and bought the matching, personalized notepads which I'm pretty darn excited about :)

I can't wait to fill up my planner scheduling fun stuff with these colorful Sharpies that I just bought at Target. Is anyone else out there a Sharpie addict  afficionado like I am?

Other bloggers (Blue-Eyed Bride, According to Nina, Sweet T Family) have given very in-depth looks at the interior of the planner and all of its awesome features so I don't think that I need to go into all of that. But I will say that it's definitely the best planner that I've ever owned, and I'm really looking forward to starting out this coming year super organized (and super stylish!).

Wednesday, August 24, 2011


Yesterday was kind of a crazy day!!! At 1:51pm, I was sitting at my desk at work trying to decide how to respond to an e-mail when I felt the ground start shaking. My first thought was that some of the maintenance staff were driving some big pallet movers down the corridor outside my office. When the walls of my cubicle started to shake violently, though, I quickly dismissed the pallet mover idea, had a moment of blind shock, and then decided that we were actually having an earthquake. In Maryland?! Seriously - what in the world!!! Then I wondered if I should get under my desk or run for a doorway (I'm kind of disturbed that I was weighing my options at a time like this!), decided on getting under my desk, and was just crawling under there when it stopped. All in all about 45 seconds of 5.8 magnitude utter craziness. My first earthquake (and I hope my last!). After it stopped shaking, I ran to see if my co-workers were OK (everyone was - thank goodness!) and then ran out in the hallway to see what was going on and to try to call Peter on my cell phone. Couldn't get Peter on the phone and the hallway was full of people who (like me) didn't know what exactly we should do. We have every other kind of drill at work to prepare us for every other kind of disaster except for an earthquake (probably because there hasn't been a sizeable earthquake here for at least 50 years!). Finally it was announced over the loudspeaker to evacuate the building, and after standing outside for about an hour while inspectors checked the building, they told us to go home for the day because they couldn't tell yet if the building was structurally damaged or not. They also were not sure if the parking garage was structurally damaged or not so they only let about 10 people at a time enter and drive away. I was really very proud of my co-workers yesterday because there wasn't any panic or disorderliness; everyone was kind and trying to have a sense of humor about the whole experience. I was really worried about Peter, though, because I couldn't reach him by cell, but when I arrived at his workplace, I was finally able to get through on the phone and he was totally fine. We didn't have any delays on the roads driving home, and our apartment was totally fine. Nothing had even fallen from the walls. Others were not so fortunate.

Some had to wait in line for hours to take trains or buses home or were stuck in traffic on major highways. And some had more to clean up at home. But I'm very thankful and praise God that there were no deaths and no serious injuries reported in the DC area. It could have been a lot worse (a lot!). There's some damage to buildings, but I don't think that anything seriously collapsed and, again, no one was seriously hurt so we have much to be grateful for. We just have a little to clean up!

(all images from The Daily Mail)
In addition to the scare of yesterday's earthquake, Peter and I also received some worrisome news about Peter's 13-year-old cousin, Joshua, last night. Joshua was diagnosed with leukemia in February of this year and has been undergoing chemo and radiation treatments for the past few months. He was getting better, but just last week, he took a turn for the worse and doctors found cancer in his spine and brain. Now he's undergoing more aggressive treatments, but he also has fluid on his brain and is at risk of seizure so it's really touch and go right now. Yesterday was an especially scary day for him so he's very much on our hearts and minds right now. If you would pray for him, I would greatly appreciate it!!!

Friday, August 19, 2011

Pinnable Me Friday: Crazy Cool Closets

I’m linking up with Stefanie from Paw Prints and Pastry Bags again this week! I love Pinnable Me Fridays :)

A few days ago, Classic Annie and I were discussing our exceedingly small closets that are crammed full of stuff. I think that we both have used every inch of space possible! That discussion led me (of course) to a romp through Pinterest looking at/lusting after various closet configurations that look nothing like my current closets :)

(I still have not figured out how to embed images from Pinterest to my blog! I again apologize if an image isn't attributed correctly!)

First, let's dream a little wildly, shall we? If I win the mega millions jackpot today, then my closet will soon be transformed into something that might look like this:

Or this:

Or this:

Actually, I think a separate shoe closet will be a must when I win the lottery. And a closet chandelier :)

Coming back down to reality, I think these designs might be more feasible with my budget (if not with my current closet space!)  :)

Gracious goodness, I love shelving!!!

I'm also quite fond of drawers and cubbies.

And I get giddy over a proper place to store my shoes and jewelry (love that little necklace tree!) :)

Our bathroom closet also leaves much to be desired. But this bathroom closet leaves nothing to be desired! How clever to organize products/accessories by the body part for which they are made!!! And to "write" the container label with colorful yarn. Pretty and functional :)

Everything in this bathroom closet has its place and is easily retrieved. Be still my heart :)

I've been a fan of coat closets ever since the age of 4 when I started watching Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood (do you remember the closet where he would hang his sweater when he came home?). This closet is for coats, bags, shoes, hats, AND cardigans, and it does its job well :)