Saturday, June 22, 2013

How We Celebrated

To celebrate our eight sweet years of marriage, Robby and I headed to the Central Coast. It worked out quite nicely time-wise since I was hired to play for a wedding in Paso Robles the weekend before. They kindly put us up for two nights (how great is that!?), so with us tagging on three nights in Pismo and two last minute nights in Avila, we were able to get away for a whole week!
Our anniversary was on Tuesday, which was Pismo Day 2. We slept in (of course...what's the rush?), made ourselves some coffee, then walked to Old West Cinnamon Rolls, one of my two favorite places to go in Pismo. There we shared a delicious roll with cream cheese frosting. It was incredible!
A late morning bike ride was next.
After the bike ride, it was time for favorite Pismo eatery #2: Splash Cafe. We picked up two chowder bowls to go then headed back to the hotel to enjoy them.
A little spa time, a little nap time, and then dinner time! We ate at Steamer's, which was a first for both of us. Steamers has an incredible panoramic view of the ocean, and it was pretty magical, especially as dolphins swam the waters in front of us, straight into the setting sun.
The guy behind us really wanted to be part of our anniversary picture. He even smiled.
It was a perfect day and a perfect way to celebrate. I'm so blessed to be married to this man and am grateful for the years God has granted us!
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Eighty more would be wonderful.

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Friday, June 21, 2013

So natural...

We girls were having the time of our lives, apparently, while the men were contemplating the deeper issues of our day.
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Thursday, June 20, 2013

Photo Trends

It's funny how there are trends even in photography. Two that were big during our wedding were the angled shots and these lean-in-closer shots. I remember feeling a bit awkward when taking this. The funny thing is this one was our favorite for so long, and now I'm like, Why weren't we just standing up like normal people?

Well, we look pretty :)
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Wednesday, June 19, 2013

All Tuckered Out

Poor weak, tired bride. The ceremony must have been exhausting for her. Good thing her handsome groom is there to hold her while he snoozes, too.

(This one did not make the original cut. I'm not sure why!)
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Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Monday, June 17, 2013

Anniversary Week!

About a month or so ago, I received a call from the business that did our wedding photos offering us a digital copy. At the time when we got married, it wasn't a given that you received your photos digitally--it was quite pricey to add a digital cd to your package, and since we were on a budget, we couldn't do it. Because the studio is currently clearing out old files, I was able to purchase all of our wedding photos for $100! How cool is that? Until now, we only have had hard copies, so what we purchased was what we got. Now we have all of our wedding photos at our fingertips. Love it.

Tomorrow, my hub and I celebrate eight years, so I'll be sharing a picture a day this week. Some of these did not make our original cut--and you'll see why :)
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Sunday, June 16, 2013

Happy Father's Day!

Father's Day weekend - eight years ago!
Thank you, Dad, for loving me and my sisters more than anything! We love you and know we are lucky girls to have a dad like you.
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Friday, June 14, 2013

No Stir, No Fuss Granola (that's great!)

In my book, there are few snacks that beat granola. You can eat it plain, with milk, or on yogurt; top it with fresh fruit or cream; or mix in nuts, seeds, or dried fruit. It's tasty, versatile, and good for you! The problem is that the store-bought kind has lots of extra ingredients in it (or costs way too much for the good stuff), and home-made can sometimes be a bit too time-consuming.
In comes this recipe from ATK! If you can mix up ingredients in a bowl, you can do this. No stopping and stirring halfway through baking time. Just spread on a half-sheet, pop in the oven, and twenty-five minutes later you have golden brown granola cooling on the counter.

What You Need:
1/3 cup maple syrup
1/3 cup brown sugar
4 teaspoons vanilla
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup vegetable oil
3 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
1 1/2 cups favorite nuts (almonds!), chopped or sliced; you can also mix it up here, add in sunflower or other seeds
1/2 cup unsweetened coconut
2 cups dried fruit (optional) - dried cranberries, apricots, cherries, raisins, etc.

Optional: add in a bit of orange zest to the batter or throw in a handful of chocolate chips after it's all cooled. Get creative with what you like!

What You Do:
Heat oven to 325 degrees and oil a half-sheet pan.
Whisk together the maple syrup, brown sugar, vanilla, salt, and vegetable oil in a medium bowl. Stir in the oats, nuts, and coconut but not the dried fruit. Once it's mixed well, spread onto the sheet. Bake for 25 minutes (longer if you like it more done), rotating halfway. Take out and let cool. Once it's cooled, break up into pieces and stir in the dried fruit. Homemade granola, done!
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Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Book Review: Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns)

I've become a recent fan of Mindy Kaling. I have watched The Office for years, and honestly, her character of Kelly Kapoor was never a favorite of mine. Somehow I started reading about how Mindy Kaling got started and was shocked to learn that she was one of the first writers of The Office and remained one of the key writers throughout! That means one thing: she is funny, my friends. (Well, funny to those who are heartbroken that The Office is over, anyway.)

Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns) is just plain great. Clever, witty, interesting, and oh-so-easy-to-read. It is autobiographical but does not give the play-by-play of her life, reading more as a collection of essays. In her intro, she writes:
In this book I write a lot about romance, female friendships, unfair situations that now seem funny in retrospect, unfair situations that I still don't think are funny, Hollywood, heartache, and my childhood. Just that really hard-core, masculine stuff men love to read about. I wrote this book in a way that reflects how I think. Sometimes it's an essay or story, and sometimes it's a pliest, which is a piece with a list-y quality, a term I've just made up.
I love her list of alternate titles for her book, which she gives in the first chapter and which give a glimpse into her tone. Here are my faves:
  1. The Girl with No Tattoo
  2. When Your Boyfriend Fits into Your Jeans and Other Atrocities
  3. Harry Potter Secret Book #8
  4. The Last Mango in Paris (this would work best if "Mango" were the cheeky nickname for an Indian woman, and if I'd spent any time in Paris)
  5. So You've Just Finished Chelsea Handler's Book, Now What?
  6. There Has Ceased to be a Difference Between My Awake Clothes and My Asleep Clothes
Really, this is a great take-to-the-beach read for this summer. Amazon gives a pretty lengthy sample, so check it out! And as always, let me know what you think if you end up reading it.

Happy Summer Reading!

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Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Puppy Love

Carly has become the proud mama of this so-cute-you'll-die pup! Her name is Winnie, and we are all in love. She is a maltipoo, which is part maltese and part poodle, and she's right about eight weeks old. I was the puppy-sitter on Saturday, which meant three things:
  1. I spoke in baby-puppy-talk nearly all day. (Oh hi, wittle Winnie, you so cute...) I don't know what comes over me.
  2. I was sure every sniff meant she was going to pee on my carpet, so I was kind of a crazy person who spoke in baby-puppy-talk all day.
  3. I became a genuine puppy photographer. Enjoy!
Calla was and is not a fan, though. She was one annoyed kitty all day long.
Wuv you, wittle Winnie!
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Monday, June 10, 2013

A Greenhouse!

A few weeks ago, some friends gave us a greenhouse. They had had it for some time and never really set it up, so in deciding what to do with it, they remembered us and our love for all things green. So sweet! Our friend brought it over, and we spent the next two days putting it together--a feat that was not easily accomplished. Even though it took about 15 hours to build, it was worth it! We love it!

There were literally only two places it could fit because it has to be up against a wall of some sort to enclose it. We could put it on the side of the house near the fence, or we could put it on the patio. If we placed it on the side of the house, I was worried I wouldn't take full advantage of it being that I never go over there and it's muddy and gross in the winter. If we placed it on the patio, it would have to completely surround our window. However, I knew I would use it more if it was easily accessible. After much debating, we put it on the patio, recognizing we could move if it we absolutely had to.

Turns out, I love it there! It did block my view of the yard a bit, but we swapped out a couple of the panels for clear ones, and this helped a ton. Now I can see my yard, as well as my lovely little greenhouse garden. And I am shocked at how well things are growing. I cannot wait to use it in the fall and winter when we get the low sun shining directly on the patio. Just think! I could have summer fruits and veggies in December!
Zinnies and Pumkins
A shelf of herbs
View from my kitchen
View from the yard
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Saturday, June 8, 2013

All Wrapped Up: Week of 6/2

This has been a busy and exhausting week. I finished my second year at our charter school, which closes out my seventh year of teaching. I was up late every night doing grades and transcripts and spent most of yesterday organizing files and homework. Along with that, we had a final doctor's visit on Monday, a group of college kids over on Tuesday, and lots of good time with our friends the last two nights. Now, the house is quietly taking a nap (hiding from the 105+ temps outside), and I'm doing a little reading and writing. Summer is officially here.

Here's this week, wrapped up pretty:

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Friday, June 7, 2013

Adding a Pinboard to your Blog!

If you click up at my Projects or Recipes page (go ahead...you can do it right now if you'd like), you'll see a Pinterest board. A few weeks ago, I thought it'd help with the organization of my blog to make pinboards that correspond to my blog pages. That way if I post about a new project or recipe, I can pin it to my board, and it'll get updated on my page. Make sense?

This was really easy to do. First, you need to have the board you are going to use. This can be a board dedicated to your own endeavors (like mine are) or any board you already have. I made one called "Eats, Treats, and Sweets" where I plan to document my food adventures :)

Second, hop on over to the Widget Builder on Pinterest. Click on the top button that says Board Widget. Enter your pinboard url, then click Build It! You'll see your board with all your pins pop up.

Now here you can make your board work a little bit more for your taste. If you click on "Show Advanced Options," you can adjust the width and height of your board, as well as the size of your pins. If you adjust anything, be sure and click Build It! again.
Once your board looks good to you, go to your blog and choose the page or the post where you want to embed the widget. Copy and paste the first link where you want the board to appear. Then, copy and paste the JavaScript after the body of your post or page. (Note: If you don't add the JavaScript, the board won't appear!)
And that's it! You should have your board embedded into your post or page. It updates as you pin, so it's yet one more way to link everything together and organize your social media life!
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Thursday, June 6, 2013

I think I see some light...(and chocolate sauce!)

Here I am, finishing up yet another year of school. The end of the school year is always crazy for teachers, but being in this different position is a whole new level of crazy for me. I've been plowing ahead, looking forward to seeing a glint of light to remind me that there is an end to this tunnel. I saw it today! I've still got quite a bit to do, but by tomorrow afternoon, I'll be able to close up shop and head on out.

This busyness is the cause for my blogging absence these last couple of weeks. I do have things to share, though! Recipes, good reads, DIYs, plus the regular ole happenings around here.

I'm looking forward to summer break to do the things I love. Of course, the list of what I want to do and accomplish is way too long even for a whole summer break. Still, I can't wait to get started!

For today, I'm going to share a simple recipe I've been loving lately: homemade chocolate sauce. I like it because 1) in the chocolate department, it only calls for cocoa powder, which is simple to keep on hand, 2) it is a great consistency to use for topping and dipping--not too runny and not too stiff, 3) most chocolate sauces have all kinds of artificial ingredients, and this one has ingredients you know, and 4) it's easy!
Easy & Tasty Chocolate Sauce

2 1/4 cups sugar
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 tablespoons flour
1/4 teaspoon salt (maybe a dash more)
1 1/2 cups milk
1 tablespoon vanilla

In a medium saucepan, whisk together the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, and salt with 1/2 cup of the milk so it's a nice paste. Add the rest of the milk and bring to a boil, whisking to combine well. When the sauce boils, reduce the heat to simmer for another five minutes, whisking often. Remove from heat and add vanilla (or any other flavor). You can serve it hot (obviously...hot fudge sundae, anyone?) or cold! It doesn't get too hard, even after placing it in the fridge. It keeps for at least a couple of weeks...that's how long I've had mine, anyway, and it still tastes good!
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