Monday, January 31, 2011

Birthday Fun!

So I'm a horrible blogger and didn't take ANY pictures this weekend. None. I guess I just get so into what's going on and being involved in everything that I don't want to stop and take pictures. Anyway, I suppose me not taking pictures just goes to show how truly awesome this past weekend was. It was a busy weekend but it was so much fun!!

Friday evening was my mom's big birthday party. After work I rushed around trying to get the finishing touches taken care of and then decorating the clubhouse. Uncle Scott made all the food so we didn't have to worry about that, and I'm so glad, especially since the food was GREAT! The clubhouse turned out beautiful and it looked so nice. Lots of people came and the best part was that mom had a great time! We had a photo booth section set up and lots of pictures were taken and everyone looked so snazzy! Since it was a cocktail party we all dressed in pretty cocktail attire and it was really fun being dressed up, I even got to wear a new dress I'd bought over a year ago and had yet to wear! So mom's party was a huge success!

Saturday evening was my work holiday party. They always have the party at the end of January to make it so more people can come because everyone is so busy around the actual holidays. This party was held at the Officer's Club on base and it's the same place Collin and I had our wedding reception. It was fun to be back there in a different type of setting. The party was a blast and we had so much fun with my coworkers at the table. We laughed the entire evening just about! And of course the dancing was so much fun! We danced our booties off and had a blast! I love dancing and I wish I had more opportunities to do so! The party was a Mardi Gras theme so there were beads and coins and feathers everywhere. The decor looked really nice and we had a fun time trying to play "quarters" with the little plastic coins and empty coffee cups on the tables. They gave away door prizes throughout the evening and I actually won! They had a GREAT selection of prizes and I really wanted the iPad but alas someone else won it. =( Anyway, I won a $25 gift certificate to a gourmet sandwich shop and a bottle of wine. However, we don't drink wine. At the end of the evening one of my coworkers had won a Nerf gun and neither Collin or I thought she would want/use it. I jokingly told Collin to go see if she would trade with us and to my surprise he actually did! But to my even greater surprise she wanted to trade with us! So I ended up with a Nerf N-Strike Clear Raider CS-35 Clear Series gun. =)
I played with it a little bit on Sunday morning and was shooting Stank with it. He wasn't amused at all. He cowered behind the kitchen table. =P

Yesterday was my birthday and it was a GREAT day! Collin actually cuddled with me in bed for a good while before the alarm went off. And then once we got up, we got ready for church and he bought me a Boston White-Cream donut for breakfast! I hadn't had one of those in a long time. Church was really great and afterwards I got a free burger from Ruby Tuesday because it was my birthday! Then mom took me shopping at Old Navy for my birthday and they were having a great sale so I got lots of new clothes to wear! I'm really quite excited about it and am actually wearing a new tank and sweater today. After shopping we met some friends at the bowling alley and we spent the afternoon bowling. And mom made me funfetti cupcakes! I love the funfetti cakes! And I have some leftovers to eat, too! After bowling and present opening we went to Olive Garden for dinner and I tried a new dish, Asiago Ravioli with Chicken. It was DELICIOUS. And I had soup, salad, and breadsticks with it, too. I made only a small dent in my actual meal. I love leftovers though! And the best part was, the waiter knew it was my birthday so he was treating our table so well. I told him that I wanted to take some of my soup home and he brought out a brand new bowl in a to-go container for me! And then when we were boxing up our entree leftovers he brought us out a to-go bag stuffed with fresh breadsticks! This guy was awesome! And then he brought me a yummy, yummy Black Tie Mousse Cake and they sang happy birthday to me. And when he brought out the Andie's mints, my dad jokingly said "that's it? we just get one each?" and then our waiter brought a huge handfull of them and gave them all to my dad! Definitely great service!! After we were so stuffed from dinner we all went home and Collin and I watched two episodes of Desperate Housewives from season 3 before bed. I had a great, great birthday and weekend!!

I hope each of you lovelies had as great a weekend as I did! What did you do? Did you do anything exciting and fun? Or was your weekend low-key and relaxing (which are usually my favorites!)


Friday, January 28, 2011

Friday Favorites - week 6

So, because Sunday is my birthday this week's Friday Favorites post is gonna be a few things that are on my "wish list" of sorts. No one's really asked me what I want for my birthday so if you're still looking for an idea, here ya go. ; ) These are more so just dream items that I probably won't really get though but would love if I did.

I did tell Collin that I wanted this, actually. I think it made him a little happy inside. I already have a pink Wii remote so why not have my own pink PS3 remote? He has his blue one, I want a pink one! Maybe it would make gaming less frustrating (See #20).
I've really been wanting some fun, bright colored tights this winter. All I have in my dresser are black, brown, and navy. I'd love pink, a maroon/red, bright blue, purple, yellow, etc etc. I love colors and these would make a great addition to my wardrobe. I'd take them footless or regular.
I absolutely love this print called "Misty Morning in Pink" I found on etsy. I think it's beautiful. I actually really like everything in this lady's shop. So gorgeous.

And one final thing that I'd like to have is...
The Flip UltraHD 8GB video camera. I really like the specifications best for the 8GB one. It has image stablization, an internal rechargeable battery, HD quality video, a port to connect the camera directly to an HDMI outfitted viewing source and so much more. I love to take pictures and videos and my camera does have a video option but this would be so much better and more convenient. It would be great for reliving memories!

What's on your wish list this beautiful Friday? Are you looking forward to the weekend? I know I am! Lots of celebrating going on!


Thursday, January 27, 2011

Birthday Girl!

My birthday is on Sunday! I'll be the big 25 this year and I'm excited! Hurray for car insurance rates dropping. ; ) But seriously, I am excited for 25. I just feel that lots of good things are going to be happening this next year! I wanted to do a little post today in tribute to my big day since tomorrow is Friday Favorites and I don't post on the weekends. Since I'm fairly new to blogging I wanted to do a 25 Things About Me post in honor of my 25th birthday! Hopefully it will give you all a little bit more information about me and who I am!

1. I can't stand the smell of oranges. It actually repulses me. Yet I love orange Dreamsicle icecream bars. And the orange cream-filled chocolates.

2. It is a goal of mine to sing the National Anthem at a nationally televised event. Preferably the SuperBowl.

3. I don't always think the way other people do. I'm a smart person but my thought processes are a bit different. So if I don't get something that people deem "obvious" it's not because I'm stupid or I don't get it, I just don't think that way and I need some direction on how to mentally get there.

4. I have this strange fixation with the Amish. They fascinate me. I think that their lifestyle and morals and how steadfast they are in what they believe is something that everyone could learn from. Plus, they're so cute!

5. I had never been to Disney World until the day after Thanksgiving in 2009. I was 23 and went to Disney for the first time! I really enjoyed it but I felt so rushed because it was just one day we were at the park. I'm excited though because we're going back in May this year for Collin's birthday!

6. Bad grammar makes me cringe. There is a difference between they're, there, and their. There is a difference between your and you're. Use them properly. It's really not that hard.

7. I hate having water in my face. I do not like to go underwater when swimming, I hate to be splashed in a pool, and I dislike washing my face (but I do it anyway). However, I have no problems touching my eyes or putting in contacts.

8. When I was younger the sound of a public restroom toilet flushing really scared me. I would use the bathroom, get completely ready to leave the stall, open the door, flush the toilet, then turn around and run out of the stall. Sometimes I would even have my mom flush it for me. I'm not afraid anymore, but I still kinda cringe when I hear it.

9. Even though I am a very social person and I love to be around people, I don't really like being in big groups. I much prefer smaller, more intimate groups of people (4 or less). You put too many people around me and I get overwhelmed by everything that's going on. If there are multiple conversations going on at once I hate it and get flustered because I want to be in every conversation. Also, when it comes to doing a study or a classroom type setting, I much, much prefer a small group of peers.

10. Seeing or hearing someone's nails scraping at or scratching something drives me crazy. It's like nails on a chalkboard with any sort of surface where there's a noise or a texture that isn't "normal". It makes me cringe and causes me pain. I look at or hear someone's nails scraping and I shudder.

11. I don't believe there's a thing as too much music. To me, music is so therapeutic. When I'm having a bad day, I listen to or perform music and I'm instantly transformed to something better. Whenever I can I have music playing.

12. I love to shop and buy new clothes. I may not be a fashionista but I do enjoy clothes. Just this past year I really got into wearing dresses and skirts (and leggings and tights) and I LOVE it. I wish it wasn't SO cold this winter so that I could wear them more often. I can't wait for summer so I can wear my sundresses and sandals again.

13. I have always been an animal lover. Growing up we always had pets; cats, dogs, gerbils, fish and never just one pet at a time. Thinking back about my childhood some of my most favorite books and movies and toys involved animals. In fact the first movie I ever cried at was Milo and Otis. I'm still a HUGE animal lover and can't wait until I can have cats, dogs, fish, gerbils, etc.

14. I like the idea of being a housewife as my occupation and I can't wait until one day I can. However, the one housework item I can't stand is doing dishes. Good thing my husband doesn't mind it!

15. I grew up in the church that I currently attend (my family started attending there when I was 4) and even though I know my dream of being a worship leader will take me away from it, it will be really hard for me to leave.

16. Sunday is my favorite day of the week, largely in part to my church. I love all the friends I have there and the relationships with everyone. Plus, I get to worship my God and make joyful music. And after church I get to spend the whole day with Collin!

17. Planning our wedding was absolutely so much fun! I was literally sad when it was over because I had nothing to plan and work towards. And the best part about the whole thing, I was not stressed! Sure, I had little moments here or there of stress but overall I was just REALLY excited and the day itself was wonderful!

18. I really, really like nature. I love to photograph nature and have been known to go on walks just to take pictures, or to see something and run to grab my camera to photograph it. The thing with nature though is it reminds me of how wonderful and awesome God is!

19. I love traveling and I really wish that we had more money so I could go to all the places I want. However, for me to be content with traveling we could just go somewhere within 2 or 3 hours from home for a night or weekend.

20. Collin loves to play video games. Because of this I play video games with him sometimes. Mostly I watch him play, but when I play I get REALLY frustrated if it's not responding the way I want it to. By the time I'm done my thumbs hurt really bad from gripping the controller so tight.

21. In high school I knew I would major in music in college, however, there was a period of time while taking Physics 1 and AP Physics that I considered being a meterologist. I have always been fascinated with the weater and watched the Weather channel every morning getting ready for school. I wanted to be a singing meterologist.

22. I've had three cars since I got my license. The first two were both in accidents that did a bit of cosmetic damage but were still driveable. The first car was a black ice accident and the second was a rush-hour rear ending. I really hope my current car has better luck than my last two, it's such a pretty car.

23. I love getting flowers and I love having flowers in my house. However, give me tulips instead of roses. Or give me sunflowers. Or poppies. Or peonies. Roses are not my favorite.

24. I don't like to wear makeup. I put on eyeliner and mascara everyday but nothing else. Unless it's a formal occassion, then I will put on soft powder, blush, and eye shadow. I mainly just hate the way makeup feels.

25. There is nothing I like more than cuddling up on the couch with Collin and just relaxing. I feel so secure and safe with him and I love that.

So there you have it, 25 interesting facts about me! I hope you enjoyed reading and getting to know a little bit more about me! Here's hoping being 25 is a GREAT year full of many blessings!


Wednesday, January 26, 2011

DIY: Party Poms

My mom's 50th birthday is on Monday and she wanted to have a party but she didn't want to plan it. My sister and I, with the help of our aunt, have been planning a big birthday celebration for this Friday evening. I'll definitely post more details after the event, but for now I just wanted to post about one of the decorations we're going to have.

Ever since I was wedding planning and then even more so when planning my sister's bridal shower, I've been in love with party poms. Now I know they're more so "out" and bunting is "in" at this moment, but I still wanted to do it and Kaity liked the idea, too. So we found this great tutorial over at Martha Stewart and we got to work. We bought a variety of different tissue paper in the colors for the party and I found some flower wire covered in white fabric. We set out a spot on my kitchen table and began making the poms. It's really quite simple to make. And I regret that I forgot to take pictures of the making process. However, if you click on the link above it will take you to a step by step tutorial guide for how we made them. Regardless of whether you want the poms to be big or small use 8 sheets of tissue paper like it calls for. If you want them to be smaller just use smaller pieces of tissue paper, we ended up buying a pack of 50 sheets of tissue. It had 5 colors so there were 10 of each color. We made one of each color as large poms and then we cut the remaining two sheets of tissue paper first in half along the long edge and then stacked it and then cut it in half again now along the new long edge to make it so we had 8 pieces stacked on top of each other. We tried to make a pom with only three pieces of tissue stacked and it looked so pathetic. The more layers you have the pouffier and better it will look!

Here's two pictures of the poms awaiting Friday afternoon in my spare room upstairs. I'm definitely going to take pictures at the party and I'll show you the finished result of them hanging up in the clubhouse.
Have you ever made poms like this before? If so, how did yours turn out? What other fun party decorations are out there that I should be aware of? I'm finding that I really like planning parties and the like!


Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Brrr... it's cold out there!

Sorry I was a delinquent little blogger yesterday. =( I was really busy and it just totally slipped my mind. I wish Mondays didn't have to be so hard, that Monday was like Wednesday every week. But that just doesn't make sense. Although I do wish every weekend was at least 3 days. That would make things maybe just a bit more glorious.

 photo tumblr_l46pp0NiXE1qarv68o1_500_large_large.jpg
Found here
Basically what I looked like on my couch.

Anyway... this past weekend was COLD. It was so cold that even with the heat running in my house I was still bundled up in a sweatshirt over top my 3 shirts (cami, 3/4 sleeve shirt, and cardigan) and wrapped in a blanket with slippers over my socks. And I was STILL cold. Our house can be really drafty, though Collin has made good use of things to make it a little less drafty. I hated going outside because it was so cold! And Sunday was awful because it was windy! And after church on Sunday we got a piano! A friend of ours works with a lady who was moving and wanted to get rid of her piano. She asked our friend if he knew anyone who wanted it and he thought of us. So Sunday we went to her apartment and put it into a trailer and hauled it over to Collin's parent's house where it will be kept until we have space for it. It was VERY cold standing out there supervising them putting it into the trailer. I say supervising like I was actually helping. ; ) Actually, I did carry the bench and the music stand portion. But I am so excited about my piano! I was so disappointed when I moved out of my parent's house because that meant no more piano to play all the time whenever I wanted. And even though our piano isn't at our house at the moment, it's MY piano! I own a piano! And it didn't cost a thing which is even better! I am forever grateful to the lady who gave it to us. I hope she knows how happy she made me.

Another thing that made me really happy was that Collin gave my car a MUCH needed oil change Sunday afternoon despite the bitterness outside. He's my hero. =) My car has been needing an oil change for so long I'm embarrassed to talk about it. I'm really good about getting it done because I know how bad it is for your car, I wasn't burning any oil away and it hadn't been more than 3,000 miles from when I was supposed to get it done, but still, I hate waiting so long after my 5,000 mile indicator comes on. But in all honesty, it had been either way too cold or bad weather outside whenever we had the opportunity to change it. But now my little car is running great and it's got brand new oil in it's engine!

Also on Sunday afternoon we had one last Christmas party of sorts with some family friends of ours. We usually get together with this family right after Christmas but due to family being in town and then people dealing with sicknesses we just hadn't been able to get together until Sunday. We enjoyed a leisurely afternoon chatting and relaxing and then we had a delicious chili dinner my mom had made. After dinner we opened presents and everyone got great goodies! All of the ladies ended up with new Christmas hand towels that came from the same store! And Collin and I got an Applebees gift card and a new ornament which we'll definitely be putting on our tree next year! After the gifts we played a game of Apples to Apples Junior. Our friends have a 6 year old and he was actually really good! He could read every word on each card he had to read. I was thoroughly impressed! And I was even more impressed that he knew what all the words meant. It was a fun game actually and it's pretty much just as fun as the regular version. There's even some things in the regular version I don't know what they are! I like playing Apples to Apples because it creates so much laughter. And I love laughter.

So that was my Sunday. What fun things did you get to do this weekend? Was it as cold where you are as it was here? Today's a little warmer (high of 47) but it's supposedly getting chillier the rest of the week. =( Are you praying for spring as much as I am??


Friday, January 21, 2011

Friday Favorites - week 5

I love my pretty wall clock and flowers that can never die. But what I love even more than that is that they were wedding presents! Well, the flowers were bought with a gift certificate, but still. =) I just am in love with the way they make our living room look more girlie in the midst of our wall of movies/video games.

I love early birthday presents that are wrapped in the prettiest of bags that actually matches the gift! But I especially love the gifts that were inside. A beautiful sunflower "friendship" Willow Tree figurine, a beautiful photo with a sweet saying from a dear friend, and a package of yummy Tastefully Simple beer bread (see last week's Friday Favorites post)!

I also love a very cute cat who likes Apple as much as I do. So much so that he wanted to write this blog post for me. ; ) Actually, he does like to get into my lap when my computer is in it. That I don't like so much. But he's just so cute it's hard to be mad at him.

Anything extra special going on this week in your life? What are you loving today?


Thursday, January 20, 2011

Kid's Books are Fun!

I have a huge love for books. I love to read and I love my book shelves to be covered in books. Whenever I see a book that I am even just slightly interested in reading, I want to buy it to add to my collection of ever-expanding books. And in all honesty, most of the books on my shelves I have read at least once. Some are still awaiting their time off the shelf, but it will come.

When I read E's post today over at Adam and E I wanted to do a post like it! So keeping with the theme from yesterday about childhood things, I want to share with you all my favorite childhood books. These are books that I loved for my daddy to read to me before bed and that I eventually loved to read myself. These will definitely be in the repetoire of books that I'll read to my kids one day! And yes, some of them are on my bookshelves. Others are in my keepsake box for now.
Cheltenham's Party was probably my favorite growing up. It's about a cat who throws a party and invites the neighborhood animals while his owners are gone. Much hilarity ensues!
The Baby Blue Cat and the Dirty Dog Brothers is definitely another favorite of mine. My mom used to read this one to me all the time and I just thought Baby Blue Cat was so cute. I actually just found out that there were other books starring Baby Blue Cat that I would love to own as well!
I love any Mercer Mayer's Litter Critter book. These are ones that we would always want my dad to read us. They were books that only Daddy could read. It was just special for some reason that way. But basically in the books Little Critter always got into some sort of trouble and in the end it taught a good lesson.
I think in general I am a fan of Little Golden Books but I did really enjoy The Poky Little Puppy. I also think there's a theme with me and enjoying books about cats and dogs. Maybe it has to do with my love for animals, but even my favorite movies growing up had animals as main characters. Hm...
Corduroy was such a cute story about a little bear who was all alone. It made me sad when he got left behind at the mall but it had a happy little ending that made reading it all worth it!
Amelia Bedeila was a collection of hilarious books! All the Amelia Bedeila books were read by my mom because she loved them as much as we did. We always loved how silly and literal Amelia took everything and I want to find every book in the collection to have for my kids!

So there you have just a few of my favorite childhood books. I could go on and on with all the books I loved (and still love) as a kid but I'm sure you don't want to read that much. What were your favorite childhood books? Was there one that really stood out and meant a lot to you? Do you still have some of the books around like I do?


Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Looking Forward When Looking Back

Found here
Last night we went over to Collin's parent's house to go through some of his old stuff that was in their storage room. His parents are cleaning out the room and wanted to know what Collin wanted to keep and what he wanted to get rid of. I love doing things like that because it gives me a glimpse of Collin as a kid. That's the one thing that makes me sad. Being so close to him and not having known him his whole life. It just doesn't seem right. So each time I have the opportunity to learn more about his childhood I love it.

Growing up Collin was a Boy Scout. Last night we stumbled upon an envelope of some of his badges and a letter sent from his North Carolina troop showing all the badges he had earned to give to his new troop in Maryland. I knew he had gotten a lot of badges and was pretty close to being an Eagle Scout but I had no idea what exactly that meant and how much he had earned to get to that point! In that moment I was so proud of my husband for his accomplishments and the dedication he had given to being a Boy Scout.

Another thing we were looking at was his giant Lego table his dad built and his collection of Legos. My sister and I played with Legos a lot ourselves when we were younger but we didn't have near the amount as Collin does. That's definitely something we're keeping and I told Collin "This will be so much fun for our kids to play with, and for us to play with, too!"

All this remincising about Collin's childhood and watching him with Josiah over the weekend made me think about how wonderful of a father he will be. And how if our kids are anything like him we'll have some pretty wonderful children. Granted I'm not ready for children anytime soon, but it is nice to know that I have a husband who is going to make a great father some day! I do hope though that our kids will be as sweet and caring as him but will also have his silliness and dedication. I hope that if we have a son he'll want to join Boy Scouts and strive to be like his daddy in achieving badges. And I hope he'll love to play with Legos; we do have a great collection after all. I'm really excited about having kids and raising a family with Collin!


Tuesday, January 18, 2011

What Could Be Sweeter Than Chocolate World?!

Sorry for the delay in the post for today. I don't usually post on weekends or holidays (and yesterday was technically both, thus no post yesterday) and when I got back to work today I was SWAMPED thus the lateness of today's post.

This weekend after our Tastefully Simple party (which was a blast and a huge success!) and after Collin got off work on Saturday we drove up to Pennsylvania to visit with my best friend, Tiff, her husband, Andrew and their adorable son, Josiah! We got there pretty late on Saturday night (about 10ish) but we ended up staying up until after midnight talking and catching up. Sunday morning when Tiff came downstairs to leave for church I had already gotten dressed and we looked at each other and realized we matched. We both had on green cowl neck sweaters and dark wash jeans! Of course we didn't plan it and she had no idea what I had packed. It made us laugh for a few minutes! We went to church with them and it was a different church experience but really good. I loved the pastor's sermon and the worship band was quite good! It's always such a neat experience to attend a church different than your own every once in a while. After church we headed back to their house and Josiah went down for his nap during which we ate pizza and played Monopoly. It was a fun game in which I was unfortunately the first to be bankrupt, by Collin none-the-less. Andrew was purposefully doing things though to help Tiff out since he knew he was going to be bankrupt sometime soon and he wanted her to be a worthy adversary for Collin. She ended up going bankrupt too, but not without putting on a good fight! I like it when Monopoly is fun and not too competitive or annoying. We all just had a blast with it instead of being bored or annoyed with losing. Once Josiah woke from his nap we hurried out to Hershey to go to the Chocolate Factory. We wanted to do the fun factory tour ride and get some ice cream! We had done this the last time we were in town visiting them so I suppose it's kinda like a new tradition with us. It was so much fun and it smelled wonderful! I love all the chocolate and the way they display everything in the shops around the building. But there's not much involving chocolate I don't like. =) The rest of the weekend we spent at their house just talking, playing games, playing with Josiah and watching a little Firefly. I'm so glad we were able to spend some time with them and especially to see Josiah. Kids grow up way too fast and it makes me sad that we don't live closer so I can be around him for his milestones. At least there's online to give me glimpses into his growing up.

Anyway, enough chat. I took a bunch of pictures and I'm going to share some with you all!
Tiff, Andrew and Josiah on the factory tour ride.
Collin and I on the factory tour ride.
That's a lot of chocolate!
My favorite!
Delicious milkshakes!
That's a lot of Reese's! Two 1/2 pound cups!
Josiah in all his cuteness
Playing ball with Collin
I love this picture so much.
The best picture of all three of us I could get.
A fun attempt at another picture.

Definitely an awesome weekend! What did you get to do? Anything as awesome and fun as us? Did any of you get snow/ice? We got some ice last night that turned into rain... Probably better that way so I wouldn't have to worry about the roads being bad for work this morning. Here's hoping winter won't last too long!


Friday, January 14, 2011

Friday Favorites - week 4

Tonight I am having a Tastefully Simple party and I am very much loving it right now. Last night I got to prepare some of the foods in advance (since I won't have too much time after work before the party) and it was really, truly simple. Each of the things I made had 1 or 2 ingredients in addition to what you buy from Tastefully Simple. And it took no time at all! I mean, it took me a little longer than it would have if I was only making one thing, but still, it makes cooking soo easy! Plus the things I made smelled delicious! I can't wait to taste them tonight. I also can't wait to buy a few things tonight to use for future meals.

I didn't use to be a big fan of breakfast foods. But when Collin and I started dating he had me try a few different things and my tastes began evolving (with all food types, not just breakfast, actually). When we got married it became a fun morning activity to make pancakes for breakfast. The only thing though is I still don't really care for plain pancakes. Mine always get covered in chocolate chips and I love it! Collin makes me the best pancakes, he's found the perfect recipe and definitely perfected it!

And keeping with the food theme of this post, I am a huge fan of Betty Crocker. I love all the recipes that I get from the e-mail newsletter, I love the recipes in the cookbook I have, and I love the recipes from their website. But more than just that, I love all the products they have for baking. I've found that Betty Crocker has the best brownies, cake mixes, muffin mixes and cookies. My absolute new favorite cookie mix is the Oatmeal Chocolate Chip cookies. They are so tasty! I have a pack of it I'm planning on making tomorrow. I just like how Betty Crocker has such great ideas and foods to try!

Are you a fan of any of these things? Have you heard of or tried Tastefully Simple before? If so, do you think it's as nice and easy as I do? I hope you have a glorious weekend filled with good food and fun!


*Images found on google.*

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Pottery Barn, You Tease...

Yesterday I got the new Pottery Barn catalog in the mail. Normally this would just be an "oh cool, something pretty to look at" moment but not with this one. I picked it up and opened it and fell in love. I had to put it down because I got so sad that I couldn't buy anything, let alone make my house look like that. I've always been a fan of Pottery Barn and what they do, but for some reason I just got really depressed with this catalog. Depressed because I love it so much. Whenever I go into the store at the mall I dream about putting those things into my house, or I imagine my dream house and having money so I can buy those things I see and want. One day I will have my dream fulfilled. I just know it. Even if it's just a few little things from Pottery Barn throughout the house. Though I do know that I could probably just as easily replicate the looks using things I find at other much more discounted places. That's actually what will probably end up happening. But it's my goal to one day at least own one thing Pottery Barn.

I just want to share with you a few of the pictures from the catalog which I especially loved.
It was so hard to not just put every image from the catalog in here. I just love everything! If you didn't get the catalog in the mail or have not viewed it yet you can do so here.

Am I alone in this obsession with pretty things for my house? Things that I can't afford yet I want so badly. Do any of you ogle at catalogues? Please tell me I'm not the only one!


Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Comfort Food

Last night was so icky outside! I feel like all the rest of the East Coast got snow and lots of it but we were stuck with the treacherous sleet. Sure there was a very light dusting of snow before we went to bed last night but it was pretty much all just ice. I think that's the curse of living in Southern Maryland. We live under a weather blanket. Storms literally split around us; it's quite odd.

Anyway... because it was such a cold and dreary evening I decided we'd try a new soup recipe I'd gotten in an e-mail. I'm a huge fan of e-mails that send me recipes. I have a whole folder just to save the e-mails with meals in them that I think would be great to cook. But I digress. The soup I chose to make was a Slow Cooker Steak and Pasta Soup from Betty Crocker. I obviously knew it would be a gross evening so I was planning ahead with putting this in the crock pot before work. And I'm really glad I did. It was REALLY good. It was definitely different than any other soup I'd had but it was delicious. I actually can't wait for lunch to have my leftovers! Collin keeps saying things like "next time we have this..." and he told me a few times how much he liked it. That's how I know I've hit a jackpot recipe, when Collin keeps talking about it. =)
So, without further delay here's the recipe for the steak and pasta soup we had for dinner last night.

1 lb boneless beef round steak, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 jar (26 to 28 oz) marinara sauce
2 1/2 cups water
1 package (9 oz) refrigerated cheese-filled ravioli
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1.In 3 1/2- to 4-quart slow cooker, mix beef, marinara sauce and water.
2.Cover; cook on Low heat setting 8 to 10 hours.
3.Stir in ravioli. Increase heat setting to High. Cover; cook 20 to 30 minutes until ravioli are tender. Sprinkle individual servings with cheese.
Makes 5 servings (1 1/2 cups each)

It was super easy to make and really, really delicious. I used Prego Roasted Garlic Parmesan sauce instead of marinara because I like to have a bit more flavor with my pasta sauces than just plain marinara but I'm sure it would be good with any variety of red sauce you want to use. You can actually probably also replace marinara with alfredo or another kind of white sauce if you'd prefer. And the only thing I'd do differently than what I did this time is add more ravioli. I bought mine at BJ's so it came in a 64oz bag, slightly more than what the recipe called for. They were jumbo ravioli so I just put in what I thought would be a good amount - I used 10. I definitely should have put more in though! It was filling but it would have been nice to have more than just a few per bowl (and more for leftovers).

If you try this recipe, let me know what you think! And if you try any variation of it, I'd love to know so I can try it! We'll definitely be having it again, especially since the prep was so quick and it just cooks all day in the crock pot! And it made the house smell so good! Enjoy this delicious recipe!


Tuesday, January 11, 2011

I love Apple!

Call me a geek but I am sooo excited for this announcement! I've had my cell plan with Verizon since I got my first cell phone in 2002. Granted I was under my parent's contract, but still. I'm a loyal Verizon customer with my own plan now. Plus, it's the mobile provider with the best coverage in our area. Anyway, it has KILLED me that the iPhone was only available for AT&T. I love Apple. I love all their products and I've wanted an iPhone since they released them. The rumors that the iPhone was coming to Verizon have been going on for a while now and so I was just thrilled when I heard last week that they'd be making the announcement on Tuesday. And I was even more thrilled when I saw the announcement today and found out it was being released in February! I thought for certain they were just going to announce that it was coming to Verizon but not until the summer or fall. This is HUGE, people! Now granted, I can't afford to buy an iPhone for myself yet, but you better believe that as soon as I can afford it (and afford the extra charges from having a data plan) I will be a proud new iPhone owner! WOO!

Are any of you also excited about this new announcement? Will you be buying a Verizon iPhone in February or are you lucky and already have one through AT&T?

Man, I'm excited!!


Monday, January 10, 2011

"I want my baby-back, baby-back, baby-back..."

This past Friday Collin and I headed up to Annapolis to spend some gift cards we had gotten for Christmas. I had two Victoria's Secret cards; one for my birthday from the store itself and one from Collin from Christmas, we had an Apple Store gift card, and we also had a Chili's gift card. So, our first stop was the mall so we could spend our two store gift cards, but we had our sights set on dinner at Chili's.

We headed into the mall and I was able to get the 5 for $25 panties and a cute new pair of zebra print pajama shorts. I love that they were having their semi-annual sale. I would not have been able to really buy anything but the panties if not for that. But I'm so glad I got the shorts because they are so comfy and cute!

Once we entered the Apple store we knew exactly what we wanted, and though we usually linger in there playing on the iPads and all the computers we wish we had (we have MacBooks and iPod touches) we didn't stay long this time. It was almost 8 o'clock and we were starving! So we bought the family edition of Snow Leopard so we could update our computers. I have yet to put the update on mine, but I'm excited to do so!

We headed on our way and went to Chili's and got the most delicious appetizers I think I've ever had and a pretty delicious meal, too. I really did enjoy my meal as well but those appetizers were FANTASTIC! We ordered a trio sampler and got the Southwestern Egg Rolls, Boneless Buffalo Wings, and Spinach and Artichoke Dip. Collin told me that we should order just the Southwestern Rolls because they were really good and nothing like egg rolls you get at a Chinese restaurant but I was not convinced. Then when we got the trio I tasted the egg rolls and was actually disappointed we didn't get just those, they were that good!! I was thoroughly excited! So if you ever eat at Chili's (this was my first time there, by the way) then get the Southwestern Egg Rolls.

It was definitely a fun Friday night, and the drive home was awesome because Collin created a playlist with lots of fun and silly music to listen to. I giggled each time a song came on because they were such fun songs. It really made the evening lots of fun and very special.

What did you do this weekend? Was your Friday night as fun as ours was? I'd love to hear about it!

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