Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Thanksgiving Pics

John carves the turkey...

...while Callie begs for scraps (she was very interested in the whole process).

We had Thanksgiving at my parents house, and John did the cooking. He went over early to get started, and then I walked over about an hour later. It was so surreal to be walking to my parents' house for Thanksgiving. Every now and then it hits me that we actually live here, and I live blocks from my parents and Erin--something I never thought would happen. Thanksgiving morning was one of those times.

(and it's REALLY been hitting me the last couple days as I try to shovel the snow from the driveway--BRRR!)

The table set and ready to go! We had turkey, cranberry jello salad, homemade rolls, mashed potatoes, stuffing, green bean casserole, pumpkin pie and cranberry apple pie (I FINALLY got some of John's famous cranberry apple pie). I know my mom appreciated having John around to cook because she bragged about it to her sisters (and now he's been lined up to cook for Christmas, too--good thing he enjoys it!)

Mmm...mashed potatoes!

Rugby, one of my parents' dogs, making a very Rugby face. Rugby is my parents' youngest dog (just a little over a year old) and he and Callie play and play and play. I'm not sure what either of them will do when we move to our actual rental house and she comes back to live with us (puppy play dates!)

Monday, November 16, 2009

Halfway done (almost)

On Sunday, I finished the front of my Aran Accent Vest (my first ever non-sock garment!). I've been working on it (on and off) since August 15th, but I had to take a long break with the moving and new job (my brain was so fried I couldn't knit without messing up). I did have a bit of trouble with the decreases and one design element that I didn't go back and fix, but I'm really excited about how it's turning out. I think (hope!) that it's going to fit right. When I hold it up to myself, it looks like it will.

I'm really liking the yarn. The only drawback is that it makes the cables harder to see (but on the flip side, it makes any mistakes harder to see!). Depending on the fit and how the back goes, I may make the vest again in a solid colored yarn.

I also started some cabled socks, which I really like, and they make up for the Jaywalker socks that aren't (size issues, even when I fixed the whole laddering issue). I may try the Jaywalkers again making the next size up, but I think I'm going to need a big, long break from them first.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Lake Herman

It was actually sunny today (!!!) so we took Callie out to Lake Herman State Park. She loved it, just ran and ran and ran, sniffing everything she could find. Also, unfortunately, she found something dead to roll in (ugh!). Up until that point, John hadn't encouraged her to swim in the lake, but she smelled SO bad that into the lake she went. John threw a stick for her several times, and each time she'd run out of the water, up the hill, shake off, and roll in the leaves (I'm guessing it was a little chilly)

She spent some more time running and running around...and forgave John for throwing those sticks into the cold lake.

All that running, rolling, and swimming wore her out. She was conked out during our short trip home (we had to keep a a couple windows open--the lake only helped the smell a little). Once we got home, it was time for a BATH!

Sunday, November 08, 2009


The weather has been gorgeous here for the past few days--sunny and 60 degrees. So we've been taking Callie for some walks around town, trying to appreciate what may be the last bit of warm weather before the cold, dark winter.

Yesterday, I went to the Tour of Tables event with my mom. It was a lunch for the Domestic Violence Network, and each table had a hostess who decorated it (so we had a beach table, a few Christmas tables, one that displayed the host's hippo collection--called "Hippo Heaven," and many more). Our table was all Christmas village (the light up ceramic buildings) complete with a Santa and sleigh that circled one of the chimneys, so a few people had to dodge Santa as they ate their lunch. Mom introduced me to a bunch of people, including one person to offered to be a camp volunteer (only been here two weeks and I already have a camp volunteer? Nice!).

Then I went to the library in the afternoon and got a stack of books (Small Wonder, Reading Lolita in Tehran, A Great and Terrible Beauty, Brisingr, and two kniting books).

Today, I'm planning on reading and knitting, visiting a 4-H club at 2, and hoping some of these clouds go away (and maybe grilling for dinner--fingers crossed!)

Monday, November 02, 2009

Move Moving Moved

(Callie with John in our moving truck before we left Ohio--I thought it would be a really cute picture, but the sad thing is you can tell how out-of-sorts she is about the whole thing)

On Monday, October 19th, we arrived in Madison, South Dakota--finally here after some marathon packing sessions and 20 hours on the road. John drove the u-haul for all but 2 hours and with no CD or tape player was at the mercy of whatever radio stations he could get (lots of Taylor Swift!). I listened to Pride and Prejudice and Zombies almost the whole way, and Callie slept for almost the whole drive--was a little confused when we stopped at the Motel 6 in Cedar Rapids (told her it wasn't our final destination, but she doesn't understand English, so who knows). We worried about having to leave her at my parents house when we got here (our temporary rental house doesn't allow dogs) but she's been playing and playing with the other dogs and happier than she's looked in months (much happier than she looks in the picture--and we're the ones who are sad and missing her). Anyway...

On Thursday the 22nd, I started on my job as Extension Educator here.

On Friday the 23rd, we drove 7 hours (after work) to get to Heather and Brian's house in Kansas City, so that on Saturday we could hang out with Christina and Brent, and then go to our 10 year high school reunion. Had an awesome time--Oklahoma Joe's for lunch and then into Lawrence for the reunion. On Sunday, we drove the 7 hours back to our new home.

On Monday, John got a new job, Catering Supervisor at Dakota State University, and he started on Tuesday, and put in a long week the very first time around.

Saturday was Halloween (we carved pumpkins, ate pumpkin muffins and had the most trick-or-treaters we've ever had come to the house).

Sunday was our one year anniversary (and 4-H recognition event). For our anniversary, John made sausage gravy and biscuits for breakfast (his best biscuits yet--they were awesome!) and then sausage-stuffed chicken for dinner, with squash soup, green beans, mashed potatoes, and lemon souffles. Sooo good!


Friday, September 18, 2009

John's Famous Scarf

Our knitting group's work it being displayed at the public library this month, and John's Irish Hiking Scarf was my contribution (my first knit scarf---made back in 2005...luckily, behind glass you can't tell it's acrylic ;) ). One day, I'm going to have to make him a wool scarf.

Things have been crazy busy here--moved to a different rental house (LOVE the new place), turned 29, and took a quick trip home to South Dakota.

I'm looking forward to the weekend--nothing planned other than a trip to the Paw Paw Festival, maybe taking the dog for a walk, and maybe making some granola.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

What is this mess?

We're moving to a new rental house this week, and this is just the beginning of all the packing we need to do. We got the keys last night, so I'm going to start moving stuff today (John has to work all day--so he's off the hook).

I'm so excited about the house I wish I could move EVERYTHING today. It has closets! Lots and lots of closets! It has a completely dry basement AND pipes that don't freeze in the winter. It also has a bigger kitchen, an upstairs bedroom-a.k.a John's Man Cave (which will be complete with guns, computers, and a tv) and another room we can use for guests (and maybe a little knitting, sewing, and photography gear). So excited!!

On a side note, I think this town sets me up for REALLY low expectations when it comes to houses. I swear, I dream that one day (one sweet day) I'll have central air-conditioning and a dishwasher. High aspirations, right? ;)

When I'm not packing, I've been working on... Aran Accent Vest (made with Donegal Tweed Homespun yarn). It's the first knitted garment I've ever worked on. I'm really happy with it so far (but have to take a break because I'm confused about the decreases--I'm waiting for reinforcements ;) ).

I just realized earlier this week that I've been knitting for 4 1/2 years. 4 1/2! I couldn't believe it's been that long (guess I've always thought of myself as a newbie knitter). Guess it's time to start trying some harder patterns.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Dogsitting at Nancy's

Callie and Brady--just chilling.

On Friday, I went out to Nancy's house to dog-sit for the weekend and brought Callie with me. She had a great time running around with Brady, exploring the woods, and getting muddy in the creek.

While she was wearing herself out, I was knitting, knitting, knitting and watching LOTS of cable TV. I finished my first Jaywalker sock (but it's a little messed up-laddering-ugh!) and started on my Aran Accent Vest (which I really think is going to be too big-double ugh!I may have to frog it and try a different yarn). On the plus side, I did start reading from a chart for the very first time!

I also took some pictures...

This picture doesn't show the shallow cow-pond off to my left--the one that Callie decided she needed to swim in. What can I say? She LOVES smelly stuff. Unfortunately for her, she smelled so bad that she had to stay outside all afternoon, and then get soaped up twice with coconut-smelling shampoo (and that first wash smelled like coconuts AND cow poop--yuck!)

Monday, August 03, 2009


John's birthday cake!

(Two layer, from scratch yellow cake with homemade chocolate frosting)

Recipe here

My first two layer, first yellow cake, and first time doing all the tricks to make it pretty. I could just show the picture and let you assume that I was totally cool and confident during the whole baking process, but that wasn't entirely the case.

I made the cake the night before and was convinced they were burning and looked like "mutant cake" (put too much batter in each pan so they got really tall). Then it was time to make the frosting before the party, and I was a quarter cup short on sour cream. John thought it'd be fine without it (I was not convinced), so he made a quick trip to the grocery store (thanks John!).


Sunday, August 02, 2009

John is...

very excited about his new camera! =)

He wanted me to let him open it yesterday (no way!) but I caved in when he wanted to open his gifts this morning. He's already been taking pictures all morning and has to recharge the battery so it will be ready for the party tonight.

Saturday, August 01, 2009

More garden pics

John's Brandywine tomatoes are finally making an appearance. He has four so far and more on the way.

More chili peppers ready to go!

A cute green cherry tomato.

The tomatoes have all gotten really tall--way over the tops of their cages. I've pretty much let them all get tangled up together so they can support each other (not sure how we'll move them when it's time to mow the yard, though)

The strawberries aren't really doing anything (should they be producing strawberries by now? I'm not sure).

And, unfortunately, we lost the acorn squash to powdery mildew (gave up on them a couple weeks ago).

In non-gardening news, we have a busy weekend planned. John's Mom, Grandma and Aunt Kay are coming to eat at Lui-Lui's today (he's working, but I get to go). Then it's time to clean, clean, clean the house before people come over for John's birthday (tomorrow!). I'm also going to make him this cake from Smitten Kitchen. Fingers crossed it turns out okay!

Saturday, July 25, 2009

First veggies...

John with our first chili pepper and the second cherry tomato of the summer.

Yellow tomatoes, almost ready to go!

And the socks I started this morning. How cute are they?? They're the Jaywalker pattern in Knit Picks Felici.

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Bibs are the answer how I'm going to make gifts for all these kids that keep coming into the world. I like to make toddler socks, but I really can't keep up.

Easy Peasy Baby Bib Pattern:

(Made with Bernat Cottontots in Lime Berry)

Cute, huh?

Garden update: We're afraid we may be losing our squash to powdery mildew--alternating between spray and miracle grow to see if we can get them to pull through. The tomatoes, peppers, and strawberries are all doing fine. John's Brandywine tomatoes are just now starting to flower/bud. We had one ripe strawberry, but I waited too long to pick it. Something else ate it before I could.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Haven't killed a plant yet...

The rain has slowed down a little, but all the veggies are still doing well. We even have blossoms on the acorn squash (I guess that happened yesterday).

Otherwise, we're dragging through this week. Allergies and tiredness...ugh.

Sunday, June 07, 2009

Growing like...

It's rained almost every day for the past two weeks. The plants are loving it and growing like crazy. Right now, it looks like the chili peppers and the yellow cherry tomatoes are doing the best.

They're also all packed together now because...

1) They're in a spot where Callie can get to them on her line. She was walking in between the plants, getting tangled up, and knocking them over. I put two rows together to prevent that, and she started taking flying leaps over them. Now she can't walk between them or jump over them (I hope)

2) Something has been chewing on our tomato plants, so I'm trying to protect them (the particulatly delicious ones?) by putting them in the middle.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

This year's garden

On Monday, we went to White's Mill and bought veggies for our garden. We got 12 tomato plants (Christmas Grape, Tasty Yellow Cherry, and Brandywine), 4 acorn squash, 4 banana peppers, 4 chili peppers, and what turned out to be about 22 strawberry plants.

(Yellow Tasty Cherry on the right and Christmas Grape in the back left)

I decided to spring for real tomato cages this year and a bunch of 5 gallon containers. I'm hoping the actual cages (rather than random sticks from the yard) and big enough containers will help them grow better than last year's.


I'm so excited to have 20+ strawberry plants. The other good news? We got tons of rain yesterday and today, and they're already growing like crazy. One of these days, we're going to have strawberry shortcake with homegrown strawberries!

(Banana Pepper)

The other exciting thing is that John and I picked out and planted all of these together. So it's not just my garden this time. It's OUR garden. (The chili peppers and Brandywine tomatoes were John's garden picks). He didn't have gloves so I did most of the plant-into-dirt bit, but he filled pot after pot with potting soil (a mix of the moisture control kind and regular potting soil). I'm really excited about taking care of the garden together (and that I can say, "hey, it's your turn to water this time" ;) )

We also decided to go ahead and put all the plants in the sunniest part of the yard. They do kind of cut into Callie's space, but so far she's only knocked one over (and hasn't chomped on one yet).

I also resisted the desire to buy a bunch of flowers. Last year, I went way overboard with flowers. Then I got sick of watering them all (sometime in July) and left them all to die. I'd like to get two hanging baskets for the porch, but (to avoid last year's massacre) I think that'll be about it.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009


It's just like Smitten Kitchen and Pioneer Woman around here...

well, kind of..

Tonight, I got really inspired and made the Raspberry Buttermilk Cake from Smitten Kitchen (with strawberries). I think I was a little over-eager in turning it out of the pan because half of it stuck (evidence above). All the bits I've eaten have tasted REALLY good though, so I think it'll be okay.

...but it is kind of embarrassing to mess up a cake. Maybe I should eat the whole thing before John gets home so he won't ever know. ;)

(I also learned how to make buttermilk when you don't have it on hand--how did I go so long without knowing this?!? If you've been in the dark like me, just read down to the bottom of the recipe)

I also made Baked Lemon Pasta from The Pioneer Woman.

It's creamy, lemon-y, and awesome, and there's a LOT of it (guess what I'm taking for lunch tomorrow and the next day and the next?)

Two new recipes in one day. I think that may be a record!

Monday, May 18, 2009

Happy Happy Happy

We grilled kabobs tonight--one of my all-time, favorite foods (right up there with cake and eggplant parmesean). We also got to use our new skewers. Cute, huh? Another plus-they don't catch on fire (one of my problems with bamboo skewers).

Unfortunately, I stabbed my fingers about a zillion times (or more like 15 times) putting the kabobs together. I was also so distracted by my excitement about the kabobs and the pain in my fingers that I kept forgetting to add tomatoes.

Notes for next time:
Be more careful with skewers!!!
Decide on a kabob pattern from the start (to avoid forgotten tomatoes)
Add more pineapple (I had my doubts, but it was delicious)

Sunday, May 03, 2009

Dear knitting girls,

Thank you SO much for the wonderful wedding presents that you made for me and John.

We were overwhelmed by the amount of work that you put into your gifts (and the sheer amount of knitting items that you guys had gotten into that box)! When we opened it, there was just more and more and more (our families were there, and they were also really impressed!)

Knowing that you guys took the time to make every one of those washcloths and scrubbies and mitts (and rug and bag), and having to sneak around at knitting group so I wouldn't see your WIPs, and all the covert/black-ops style yarn distribution, it makes me smile just to think of it. I really feel like you guys gave us a box full of love (disguised as useful and adorable knitted objects).

We've already started using some of the washcloths, the bag, and the rug (thankfully it was just washed or else I couldn't have put it back in there with everything else). I've tried to get pictures of a lot of the different items--so I hope you can see something that you made! I just can't get over everything you guys have done--and all the cute patterns!!

I'd also like to thank you for the wonderful wedding shower you had for me (or was it the October business meeting of the Athens County Knitters? ;) ) I had such a great time, and it was so cool that my family got to meet you guys!

Thank you, thank you, thank you for the wonderful gifts, the wedding shower, for being there on Wednesday evenings, and for being my friends. I am so glad that you are a part of my life.

Much love,

Thursday, April 02, 2009

I'm a bad dog owner

I decided to take Callie for a walk on the bike path this afternoon. The cherry trees are in bloom, so I brought my camera along.

My poor dog...I got 120 pictures, and she didn't get much of a walk.

In case you missed Asian Restaurant News... can also see a picture of mine in my credit union's monthly newsletter (scroll to page 3)

I'm super excited about it, AND it looks like I get a $25 gas card. Sweet!

Here's the same picture (the quality in the newsletter is a little iffy). I took it last April when the cherry trees were blooming near the bike path.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Writing my first speech...

a spot opened up in tomorrow's meeting, so I'm working on my introductory speech right now. I need to finish getting it written so I can practice it on Callie (as long as I have dog treats, I'm sure she'll love it ;) )

Wish me luck!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Something new

I'm all excited because I just joined our local Toastmasters club. I've been thinking and thinking and thinking about it. Then today, I finally went to one of their meetings.

And LOVED it!

Sitting there, I realized just how much I miss being in 4-H, and Toastmasters is like 4-H for adults minus the county fair, the livestock, and every project except public speaking and leadership.

I'm psyched about getting to do public speaking again and improving my skills, getting to know a whole new group of people, AND having a reason to leave the office every Tuesday at noon. My office has absolutely no windows and the hallway at work has no windows--it's good to have reason to go outside.

Last month, I also signed up to volunteer with Habitat for Humanity. I think they're having a volunteer meeting this month and start building next month. I'm really excited about that, too.

I've just been in a rut recently...crazy bored. My Dad likes to say, "Only boring people get bored"--so I've been bored AND boring (and somewhat annoying to John, I'm sure).

I read somewhere that "to change everything, change one thing," which sounded do-able (even when you're boring-bored). So, I have....

Signed up to volunteer with Habitat and joined Toastmasters
Started doing "back care" exercises to take care of annoying, random back pain
Started eating more fruits and veggies (have even reached 5 servings a few times)

and I'm not feeling as bored, so I think things are starting to change (except me being somewhat annoying to John, I'm afraid he's stuck with that ;) )

It's also getting warmer and greener here--thank goodness for Spring!

(oh, and I just got a call from John--I'm off to buy 4 avocados and get free sushi in return -YAY!)

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Love. Love. Love.

In honor of Valentine's Day, my favorite quotations about love...

"Love,in my opinion, is not a fantasy, not the stuff of romance novels or fairy tales. It's as gritty and real as the subway, it comes around just as regularly, and as long as you can stick it out on the platform, you won't miss it."
- Lois Smith Brady

"Don't worry about you lipstick or your height, because it's not going to matter. Just live your life well, take care of yourself, and don't mope too much. Love will find you."
- Lois Smith Brady

"Love imperfectly. Be a love idiot. Spill things. Tell secrets. Let yourself forget any love "ideal" or comparison. Be misshapen. Wake up laughing and cry frequently for no reason. Perfection in love is a narrow and suffocating path."

"It is only possible to live happily ever after on a day-to-day basis."
- Margaret Bonanno

"We were together. I forget the rest."
- Walt Whitman

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Snow Day!

We had the weirdest combination of snow yesterday, and then freezing rain, and then plain old rain and then snow again. When Callie woke me up at 6:40 morning, I checked online (hoping, hoping, hoping) to see whether they'd canceled classes at the university and THEY HAD! (I couldn't believe it). So I went back to bed until 11, got up and made scones, and hung out in my pajamas (I'm still in them right now)...

I let Callie run around in the snow (she loves it and didn't want to come in) while I took some here's Miss Callie out in the snow.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

16 Things About Me

Callie...uninterested in learning anything new about me...

1. I've been collecting my favorite quotations since 1998.
2. I LOVE to read magazines
3. and young adult and children's literature.
4. In college, I had to go to the ER twice--both because of bike wrecks.
5. I like to eat breakfast food first thing no matter when I get up
6. I have no sense of direction.
7. I wish they still played Square One on public television
8. I met my husband at boy scout camp (he was a staff member)
9. Mopping is my least favorite chore
10. I made the blanket in that picture.
11. I've had short hair since 1998, and I can't imagine ever growing it out.
12. I want to learn to speak spanish
13. I consider myself a "formerly shy" person but I can still be pretty darn shy in some situations (I'd rather speak in front of a large group than try to mingle afterward)
14. When I was little, I told my parents I wanted to be as tall as Danny Manning, a 6'11" KU basketball player. I'm glad that didn't actually happen.
15. I check my email all the time
16. I love getting rid of stuff, and I think donating good stuff to the thrift stores gives me good thrift-store karma

If you're reading this and have a blog, consider yourself tagged...if you're reading this and don't have a blog, you can always comment with your 16 things (or about how cute Callie is ;) )

Saturday, January 10, 2009

What I'll do for free food...

Actually, I'd take pictures at the restaurant anyway (the free food is just an added bonus).

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Welcome, welcome 2009!

Happy New Year to you and yours...we're having a relaxed day today (after staying out tooo late last night). I wanted to take a look back at here it goes...

For the very first time in 2008, I...

got married! (exactly two months ago today!)

grew my very own vegetables and fruit (Strawberries, tomatoes, and banana peppers)

learned to make bacon without setting off the smoke detectors (very exciting but unfortunately I didn't document it or blog about it at the time...however, my bacon this morning?? Excellent!)

tried food photography and had my pictures in a magazine (see previous post)

tried firework photography

ate durian fruit (I learned about it watching No Reservations and then I happened to be at a party where someone brought one and tried it. It smells REALLY bad but the taste was kind of garlic-banana-like. Not awful but also not something I'm dying to eat again)

knit adult-sized socks (for me!)

made a quilt (I really don't think that's ever going to happen again)

Tried felting my knitting

Used a real TV camera (to help film a show at work when no students were in town). It was fun...but they've never asked me to do it again (might not be a good sign) ;)

and became totally obsessed with reading blogs (see "random websites I like" but honestly, that's only a portion of them) and fell in love with lolcats and loldogs

Right now, that's all I can remember when it comes to new stuff (may come back and add some later ;) )

During 2008, I loved:

Jasmine Rice (it is amazingly better than normal rice AND you can buy it at the grocery store and make it at home, I'm kind of obsessed)

the Sex in the City movie, Horton Hears a Who, and Quantum of Solace

finding out how much TV you can watch online (my favorites being Jon and Kate Plus Eight, Grey's Anatomy, Private Practice, Starter Wife, and Lipstick Jungle)

Playing Wii fishing, racing cows, and the Wind Quest game, and for the last 4 days of 2008 - Animal Crossing (way obsessed with that, too)

Jon's salmon at Lui-Lui Restaurant (my other fave being the veggie feta pasta but that's not new this year)

Lemon cookies and sweet potato bisque at Village Bakery

For 2009, I'm looking forward to:

Moving to a different house (no more freezing pipes!! actual closets!!)

Our first anniversary (yay!)

Visiting Bren and NYC (not sure when that's happening but it is GOING to happen)

Going to Florida for Mike and Tracy's wedding (kind of like a mandatory vacation--I'm into that)

Trying the gardening thing again (more veggies, fewer flowers)

More photography--and using my new flash.

Doing other new, exciting, and yet-to-be determined things!

Here's hoping we all have the best and brightest year yet!