1.30.2011

Lovey-dovey decor

Let it be known that I am not a fan of Valentine's Day.  Never really have been.  In fact, I've pretty much banned the hubby from buying me flowers on/around Valentine's Day (if he wants to go afterward, when all of the shops have them marked way down because no one was dumb enough to spend $65 on a dozen roses, that might be acceptable).  We probably won't even celebrate the "big day," as the evening before, we have an obligation at church, and the day of, the hubby has an exam, and another exam following....so medical school will win, and I will cook dinner, like it is any other day of the week. But that's okay.  Because I just really don't care for Valentine's Day.  Way too over Hallmarked for me (yes, just made that a verb).

However.

Ever since we took down our Christmas decorations, I have felt like our apartment has been...lacking.  Just kind of blah.  Bland.  Know what I mean?  

So, these past few nights while the hubby's been hitting the books, I've been crafting.  Which, I love to do.  I've even been toying with the idea of an Etsy shop.  But that's for another time.

Want to see the fun I've been having?

First up: "Lovey Dovey Subway Art."  Why is it called subway art?  I should really Google that before throwing it out here into bloggy world, acting like I know what I'm talking about.





This was free (yay!) to make.  Lots of fonts + sheet of paper + old frame + sandpaper to make old frame look somewhat cool, not just old and beat up = Subway Valentine's Art.

[Curiosity just won.  I Google'd.  Named that after likeness to New York City's graffiti in the subway.  That makes total sense].

Next up: "Paper and Felt Lovey Dovey Art" 




Super easy, because that's my crafty style.  Popped the glass out of the frame, and again hit the frame with sandpaper.  Cut out some hearts out of newsprint, glued them on and added the felt rolled rosette flowers at the bottom.  Never mess with a girl with a glue gun.

Finally - my favorite - "The Lovey Dovey Wreath" (aka The Ruffled Felt Heart Wreath).


 


Ahh!  I love this.  Seriously.  L-O-V-E it.  It might be my favorite thing I've ever made.  Ever.  I smile every time I see it.  Thinking of posting a little tutorial on how to make this adorable wreath, because I think every house should be graced with one.  I made it on the cheap (about $7.50) and it take shorter than a chick flick about two hours to make.  So adorable, I'm going to try to leave it up year-round.  I'm hoping the hubby just forgets it's there, and doesn't notice when it's July and the wreath is still hanging.  He doesn't love ruffly things quite as much as I do.  

So do you celebrate Valentine's Day?  Do you decorate for it?  Or do you just boycott it all around?   Pin It

1.28.2011

[she’s a] Clearance Shopper

Apparently it’s practically summer.  At least at the stores anyways…I’ve seen some serious clearance sales going on right now on winter apparel.  

Picked up two flannel shirts for the hubby, one blue, one gray.

Can't quite read that price?  Here's a close up:

Yes, that is $3.74.  Beautiful.  That’s all I got for the hubby because it’s more fun to shop for me that's all that was there for him, style and size-wise.  

Like these three sweaters for $4.50 each:


And this thermal for $3.74:

And THESE two sweaters for only $2.50 each.  Who needs a thrift store for these prices??

After such a smashing success at Target, I hit up Kohl’s.  Not nearly as good of deals there, but I did find a pair of leggings on clearance (please note – this is my first pair of leggings as an adult.  I really adamantly opposed leggings for a very long time.  But.  I have a sweater dress that I’m unable to wear, since it’s a frigid world in which we live.  Leggings were the only option).  


Those are zippers on the leggings.  Is that in?  I don't even know.   Oh well :)

After the coupon I had, they were actually only $4.58.  And actually I didn’t pay anything out of pocket, as I had a gift card. 

While at Kohl’s, I scooped up this adorable yellow summary top (totally a Ranae top, if you know who I mean), with a super cute back.  My big spend of the day for $8.30.



Ten pieces of clothing for $42 and change,  that would have been roughly $160 at normal price?  I’ll take it. With prices like this, it’s no wonder I can rarely rationalize paying full price for clothes!

Added bonus?  The 90% off Christmas sale at Michael's.  I picked this up for $4.99.  Not even Chrismasey!  It's on our mantel as we speak. 


Ahh clearance sales.  Don't you just love them? 

1.25.2011

Crayon Roll : Sewing Project

I can't legitimately claim this to be my first project created by myself on my sewing machine...because...well...it wasn't.  It was definitely started before I even owned my sewing machine, and my mother basically made it helped me quite a bit.  "Helped" as in made my mumbo-jumbo words an actual idea, came up with the measurements, told me the sizes to cut the fabric, told me when I was doing something incorrectly, used the stitch-witchery (I know, you have no idea what that is.  I didn't either!), etc etc etc.  I did almost all of the actual sewing, save for the velcro, because velcro scares me.  

Anyway.  Today is one of my BFF's son's birthdays.  His third birthday.  When in all reality, I think he's actually only about two weeks old, if time goes according to how I think it should.  But the calendar says he's three, so we'll go with it.  

The most recent picture I can find of Bryn.  It's very, very old.  But he is such a cutie pie, isn't he??
For Bryn's birthday, I had the master plan to sew something for him.  Something he could and would use, and that would be great to tuck into Mama Amanda's purse for fun on the go.  

Enter: The Crayon Roll

Aren't they prefect little boy fabrics?  I'd seen these at Hobby Lobby before and loved them, but had no means to use them!  They were prefect for this.

Ready...set...go!
You open up the velcro...

And unroll it...

Keep unrolling....

Flip open the top...and crayons! 
On the far right is a larger pocket - I bought a cheapo coloring book (to go along with his super cool Toy Story one), and cut out the pages and folded them up to fit inside.  Everything you need right there!

Crayons crayons crayons!


We had a birthday party this past weekend.  Because I know how much you love photos, here's his gift in entirety.  It's wrapped, but I'll tell you what else is in there - a little man tool set :)  Love it. 


Happy birthday Bryn!  Cyber kiss from your Aunt MJ! 

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1.24.2011

One ridiculous quiz down, several hundred to go

So this semester is a little bit crazier than last semester.  First quiz of the semester happened last week: Immunology.  The hubby's already been complaining that the professor is lacking...just in overall teaching ability.  

When the hubby gets home from taking the quiz, he is fairly upset about the way that questions were worded, the answer choices given (it was multiple choice), etc etc.  Also, due to the fact that there were only six questions, if you misinterpreted the meaning of the wording once or twice...that could mean quite bad results.  Generally, everyone was frustrated, confused and upset. 

Fast forward a couple of days. The entire class receives an email regarding this ridiculous quiz.  The faculty has decided to review the quiz and the answers and has come up with a revised answer key.  Out of the six questions, they accepted any and all answers for three of the questions.  For two of the questions, they accepted two answers.  However, they stood firm on that last question - the saving grace of the entire quiz!  One proper question!

Geez louise.  You would think we'd be past such ridiculousness by this point.  Someone could have NOT EVEN TAKEN the quiz and still scored 3/6.  

Frustrating.  This immunology class is so adding to the stress level.  I think it's my least favorite class so far (if I get a vote!).  

1.21.2011

Is it just me?

(I'm going to take a guess at the answer - it's probably not just me!)

So I'm a pretty healthy person, which leads to a pretty healthy diet (not diet as in "on" a diet, just diet as in what we normally eat) around our place.  Hardly ever any red meat.  Lots and lots of veggies.  Very few processed foods.  We actually like spinach.  We nourish our bodies with what we put into them, so we try to only put the good stuff into ours.  Plus I know that eating a healthy and nutritious diet is excellent for doctors-in-training to keep their motivation and focus in high gear. 

So needless to say, I normally make a pretty good spread of a meal.  Something delicious and nutritious, with sides and a salad and all that jazz.

Tonight though, the hubby wasn't going to make it home for dinner.  So what did I make to eat, for me, myself and I?

Homemade chicken-lentil-veggie soup?  No.  Try again.

Salmon with sauteed onions and peppers, broccoli and a sweet potato?  Nope.

 [Think simple].

Pasta?  A sandwich? No and no.

You're not very good at this guessing game.  I'll just tell you: 

Half a bag of Chex Mix.  

Seriously?  Who does that?  Is it just me, or is cooking for one just not even worth it?  Not that I'm not worth it to cook for myself, but the time and effort of going through all of the steps to just put food in one belly....and then clean up the mess...Some nights, the bag of Chex Mix just sounds so much more appealing.

[side note - my husband was eating dinner somewhere else tonight, otherwise I would have made dinner so he could enjoy the leftovers, because I'm a nice wife like that!]

1.19.2011

$10 for a $20 Amazon Gift Card!

This is another great deal!  $10 for a $20 Amazon Gift Card through Living Social.  Hubby need a book for school?  Be sure to check this out! 

The deal is in Grand Rapids, MI - you might need to search for it - but you can buy and use it from any state.  $10 for $20 Amazon Gift Card?  Yes, please!


Enjoy! 

1.18.2011

Banana Applesauce Bread : Tasty Tuesday!

Can we talk for a second about the fact that I'm not a baker of sweets?  I don't like the fact that you (pretty much) have to follow the recipe, otherwise it won't turn out (what do you mean, I can't substitute something for baking soda?!?)  Which is why I 100% prefer cooking over baking.  I can pretty much have free rein to do whatever I want, and it will normally be eatable.  In fact, normally my concoctions turn out pretty darn well.  I've experienced much heartbreak in the baking arena.  Maybe this is why I don't even own cookie sheets.  Plus, most baking recipes call for dairy ingredients, which I can substitute non-dairy items for, but sometimes I just don't want to make the drive to the health food store to buy Tofutti Better than Cream Cheese.  Simply put, I don't love desserts, and don't really ever feel the need to go out of my way to make them.    

Enter: Banana Bread.  I have always loved banana bread.  Ever since I was a kid at daycare, eating it warm from the oven, covered in butter (*sigh* the days when I could enjoy dairy), banana bread has been one of my favorites.  But now, as a health conscious adult, knowing what all of the terrible things that refined sugar and butter/butter substitutes do to our bodies, I've been searching for and testing "healthy" banana bread recipes.  

Conclusion?

You can make healthy banana bread, but it really doesn't taste that good.  

However, there is hope.  I found a decent recipe that, after several disastrous loaves some tweaking, qualifies as both pretty healthy and delicious.   Yes, there is still a smidgen of oil (far less than the 1/4 or 1/2 cup in most recipes).  Yes, there is still a bit of brown sugar (after all of these test loaves, I realized that if it doesn't have brown sugar, it doesn't taste like banana bread).  But.  All in all, it is leaps and bounds healthier than traditional banana bread. 

Are you ready?  



Banana Applesauce Bread
Ingredients
1/3 cup cinnamon applesauce
2 Tbsp. canola oil
1/2 cup honey
2 Tbsp. brown sugar
[optional: 1 extra Tbsp. of agave nectar for a little extra sweetness]
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 eggs
1 cup mashed ripe bananas [two larger bananas]
1 1/4 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup bread flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda
1/4 cup [almond] milk
1/3 cup of walnuts/dried fruit/chocolate chips, etc

Directions
1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Grease loaf pan.
2.  Combine applesauce, oil, honey, brown sugar, vanilla and eggs until creamy.  Add in bananas.
3.  Stir in the flours and salt.
4.  In separate bowl, dissolve the baking soda into the milk.  Combine into batter.
5.  Fold in the chips/nuts/etc.
6.  Bake at 325 degrees for 45 minutes, checking frequently after 30 minutes of bake time.

The results?  A fluffy, moist bread that tastes wonderful.  And the fact that it's pretty good for you makes it tastes even better.  

Go wait for your bananas to start turning dark.  Enjoy :) Pin It

1.17.2011

Conversations with the future doctor, part 2

The setting:  Hubby is studying (naturally).  I want to interact with him (also naturally).  However, I know that he needs to study, so I just ask him what the picture is on his screen, that way he talks to me while staying focused on school.  [Does this actually work?  Who knows.  But it does help me to feel better that I'm not being completely detrimental in my plea for attention].

The photo in question (or one like it):
source

The dialogue:

Me: So what's that? 

Hubby:  It's a macrophage.

Me: Oh. Cool!  [I didn't really say cool. I don't think I ever say cool]. What's that?

Hubby: It's a cell that eats stuff all the time.

Me: So if you were a cell, you'd want to be a macrophage?  [I deduce this because what man doesn't love to eat?].  

Hubby: [Ponders this seriously]. No. I think I would be a NK cell.

Me: NK?

Hubby: NK! Natural Killer.  They kill cells that would become viruses and tumors.

Me: Oh. Right.  Of course.  So.  What kind of cell would I be?

Hubby: You would be a B-Cell. 

Me: Why's that?

Hubby: [medical mumbo-jumbo which I translated into this] They are really organized.


[sigh]
Only a medical couple.  Only. 

1.14.2011

Kiddo Silhouettes

So we have the greatest nieces and nephews ever.    Two nieces, aged (almost) eight and three and a half.  Two nephews, aged five and five and a half.  These kiddos are sweet, loveable and cute to boot.  The nieces both have a new thing: telling me how beautiful my hair is (trust me - it's normally not. But who doesn't love a compliment from a little girl?).  

Anyway, for Christmas, I decided to make silhouettes of the kids, in all of their cute goodness, for their parents (our brothers and sisters-in-law. Obviously). The inspiration?  Myself - ha, weird. For our wedding thank you cards, I made silhouettes of the hubby and me.  (side note: don't ever get me started on how ridiculously expensive wedding stationary can be.  Or weddings in general.  I will not stop talking). 




Thinking that the card turned out decently, I knew that the kids silhouettes would be adorable.  And they are all at such cute ages that you never want them to grow up or get older.  But they will.  So we decided to capture them in their cuteness and put it in a classic silhouette.  

Starting with this:




And editing to get to this: 
To end up with these:



Ahhh...priceless :)  I hope they never grow up.  


Until we need babysitters someday.  Ha! 

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1.13.2011

$2 for a $10 Target.com E-Giftcard??!

Too good to be true?  Absolutely not.  Today, Deal Pulp has $10  Target.com e-gift cards on sale for $7.  BUT.  If you sign up, you automatically get a $5 credit for joining.  That makes the gift card cost only $2 out of pocket!  $2 for a $10 Target gift card??  Hello sweet deal!


Thought all of you savvy people might like to know!  The offer is only available until noon tomorrow - Friday 1.14, so head on over to Deal Pulp to pick up yours now. 

1.10.2011

Back to the grind...

We are officially "back in the grind" as the hubby started his spring semester today (side note - I like how the school calls it "spring" when in reality, it's still the dead of winter.  It's optimistic if nothing else).

On deck for this semester:
Microbiology
Immunology
Cell Biology 
Physiology II
Neuroscience
Pathology
Biostatistics
Epidemiology
Clinical Skills: Physical Exam
[That's a lot of -ology's!]

I know, you're jealous, right?  The school has definitely decided to up the intensity with the exams for this semester too.  There are six weeks with one exam, six weeks with two exams and two weeks with three exams.  That doesn't even include the quizzes!  The hubby will have his first quiz next week (week 2), and then have two exams the following week (week 3).  It's all up-hill from there.

In preparation for the hubby's return to hitting the books, I made his weekly schedule for him.  I did this last semester too, but I have definitely advanced...this semester includes color coding!

[Note the "friendly reminder" on 2.13 that the following day is Valentine's Day.  Not that my Mr. would ever let such a thing slip his mind!]

Ahhhh....isn't it pretty?  In case you're curious (you know you are), red is for an exam or quiz, orange means that it has to be completed online, and green is required attendance.  

Don't you just love organization?

1.08.2011

Diaper Cake!

Talk about a million levels of adorable.  My favorite crafting buddy Emily and I made this adorable diaper cake for her sister-in-law's baby shower - and for her soon-to-be-born nephew, Truman.  I had never made a diaper cake before, and I was so excited to have Emily teach me.   (Don't mind the hasty pictures taken right as she was walking out the door).



We used two sizes of diapers and rolled them all up (waist-side in) and rubber banded them.  Then we formed the tiers by making a "flower" of diapers, then expanding outwards forming a larger and larger circle, using yarn to secure them.  There's no filler in there - all diapers! After tucking in cute rattles and washcloths and onesies, we tied thick ribbon around the centers of the tiers to cover the rubber bands and yarn, pretended like I knew what I was doing made the bows and propped the little zebra up on top.  


Isn't he so cute holding Truman's name up?  I can't wait to make another one sometime - so many ideas and color combinations rolling around in my mind already!



Now if you'll excuse me, our house smells wonderfully of roasted root vegetables... :)
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1.05.2011

Huskystar

I know what you're thinking.  "Huskystar?!  What in the world??" 

That's the name of my super domestic/super awesome Christmas gift from my parents.  I am the very proud owner of a Husqvarna Viking Huskystar E20.  (That's a sewing machine.  In case you are still lost).  Mind you, I'm not one of those people who can sew really well.  In fact, I'm not even one of those people who can sew decently.  My mother, on the other hand, is an amazing seamstress.  She has a degree in fashion - hello, cool! - and used to make a lot of our clothes growing up.  One of my earliest memories is the sound of her sewing machine.  She took out a LOAN post-college to buy her first (and current) sewing machine; it cost something around $1200.  I think she got a slightly better deal on mine! :)  Anyway, I played around on my mom's machine while growing up, but never really bothered to learn the techniques of sewing.  Basically, I would have a project I wanted to make, would present it to my mom and she'd get me started.  Then something would happen - I would get frustrated, then I'd get frustrated that I couldn't fix whatever I messed up, and she would end up finishing the projects for me.  [side note - This sounds like I was 12.  And yes, it did happen when I was a kid.  But - This was also still occurring up until a few months ago.  Hence a sewing machine also being called the Gift of Frustration!].  

Lately, I've been seeing SO MANY adorable projects that I want to create.  They all have one thing in common - requiring a sewing machine.  I think/hope that I'm to the point in life where I can focus my frustration into something more productive (patience, maybe?).

Enter: The Huskystar


Eeee!  Isn't she beautiful?  When my mom was picking it out, the saleswoman told her that it's an excellent machine for the beginner sewist.  It's very straightforward to use, but still is a great piece of machinery that can do everything I want (and maybe more than I'll ever know!).  


Lots of super sweet stitches.  I need to play with them, because I have no idea what tension/stitch length/etc. to do with which stitch.  Or what they are useful for, other than looking awesome!


After a good lesson with Mama, I know how to thread this.  And the bobbin.  I can sew in a straight line with a regular stitch.  It is strange though - I never sewed a ton with my mom's machine, but the minor differences between our machines drive me a little bonkers.  Like the lift lever for the foot is on the opposite side.  Not a big deal, and I'm sure I'll get used to it, but ever single time I go to lift the foot, I go left instead of right. 
 
The thought of sewing a button hole still terrifies me.  And sewing in anything other than a straight line?  The horror!  However.  I have faith.  Because I also got this fabulous book.




It's called "Stitch by Stitch," and it goes waaaaay in depth for the newbie sewers out there.  I think it is going to be a huge help.  Not that I still won't be calling my mom with every project...


When did I make the switch from toys and electronics being the best gift to domestic things (including the sewing machine, but also pan protectors, a tea diffuser, a brush to clean our Sigg water bottles....AND the hubby got a waffle maker)??  Officially. An. Old. Married. Couple. 

:)

1.01.2011

End of the Season

It is so hard to believe that the holiday season is "officially" over!  Wasn't it just December 1st last week??  We have had an action past last couple of weeks.  There was a two week period where I only turned on my computer once - bliss!  Don't get me wrong: I love technology and the ability that it gives us to connect with others.  However, being "unplugged" occasionally is such a blessing!  

I feel bullet points are in order to sum up the high points of the past few weeks...
  • Completing the first semester of medical school was fabulous.  The hubby did an absolutely awesome job.  I've always said he is the smartest man I know, but now it's confirmed! 
  • Having the time and flexibility to see and spend time with family and friends.  
    • The week before Christmas, we were able to spend six days at the in-laws house.   That side of the family is always an action packed Christmas, with a dozen of us in the house, two nieces and two nephews ranging in age from three and a half to almost eight.  Their excitement and joy doubles ours. Also being able to see our friends who now live out of state, for dinners and breakfasts and just to hang out together was great!
    • We were also able to spend five days at my parents house, spending Christmas Eve with my mom's parents and siblings and my cousins.  Christmas Day was spent with my parents and sister, with my grandparents coming over for Christmas dinner and to play cards.  The hubby and I also got to spend some QT with "The Square" (hi girls!), my core group of friends from high school.  (There's four of us, and we some how were morphed into/dubbed The Square.  It stuck).  Between a recent engagement and the birth of a new niece and an oh-so-active almost three-year old son and an upcoming deployment of a fiance to Afghanistan, there was much to discuss.
  • The hubby stepping up big-time on Christmas Eve.  The church I grew up in does a Christmas Eve candlelit service every year.  My mom and another member of the church have been narrating the choir's cantata for years.  However, this year, the male narrator got really sick and couldn't attend.  After calling numerous church members, all of whom made up an excuse couldn't lend a hand, my mom said, "Well hmm!  My son-in-law will do this!"  So the hubby stepped in and saved Christmas Eve.  He did an awesome job.  I had a very, very difficult time not giggling at him up on the pulpit, and an even harder time when someone in my row leaned over and made a comment about the hubby's butt....Ha!  Too much misbehaving for church, but nevertheless, the Mom/Hubby team did wonderfully! 
  • Getting shockingly domestic gifts and LOVING all of them.  My parents may have given me the gift of frustration...but time will tell!
  • Starting a new Christmas Eve Night tradition with the hubby: Reading Luke's account of the birth of Jesus and "How the Grinch Stole Christmas."  Interesting combination, no?  
  • New Year's Eve with friends we don't see nearly enough.  We started off the night going to a hockey game, then had dinner reservations at 9.00 at a restaurant downtown.  They had great food for the price!  We had fun catching up, watching the ball drop, and enjoying the fact that it was 50 degrees outside!
  • Crafting with my Colorado-living girlfriend.   Details to follow - just wait for the adorableness!
But the absolute highlight was "our" Christmas morning (on December 23rd).  Just the two of us, our own little family, the fireplace lit, drinking coffee while opening stockings and just enjoying the fact that we could be together without any other concerns or worries.  


(Oh, and the low point?  How much football is on TV today.  I think Jan 1 should be a television-free day in our house.  A woman can only take so much!)