Monday, November 28, 2011

Ornaments: Oranges

This was a great DIY craft inspired by my mother-in-law Deb. She’s always coming up with really beautiful, handy ways to decorate. I saw these on her tree a couple of years back and decided to try to make some this year. My husband was excited to try too since he had enjoyed his mom’s trees for so many years.
Basic instructions:

1) Slice oranges in 1/4 inch even slices horizontally so you get a nice star pattern. This is easiest if your oranges are fresh, but if you’re using old ones because you don’t want to eat them.. its ok, it still works. 

2) arrange on a cookie sheet at bake at 150 for approximately 4 hours. Flipping them half way through will help with even drying of the slices. Depending on your oven, the thickness of your slices, and the relative humidity of your house this may take more or less time. It took me about 6 hours to get my thicker slices dried out enough.

3) Tie a ribbon

4) And hang on a tree, or garland. I hung mine on my garland to spice it up some. The Oranges look SOO pretty with the twinkle lights on.

  And there you have it, Dried Orange slices for ornaments. This is perfect if you don’t have a lot of money to buy ornaments or if you’re just starting out as a family and don’t have lots of eclectic memories in your ornament collections

Cards cards and more cards

Another thing I love about Christmas are all the beautiful photocards I get in the mail. For those of you who take the time to send them THANKS!! I love getting your notes, your pictures, and your updates. It’s the only time of the year that I really get to relish in how much your kids are growing and how beautiful all your families are!

I just ordered our cards for this year and I was so excited because had a coupon for 50% off! Sweet deal… but only for two more days. If you have a card that you’ve made and are waiting for a deal this one is great!  Use the code CYBER50.

Happy Card Making!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Ornaments: Angels

Have you put up your Christmas tree yet? We have a standing tradition of putting up our tree the day after Thanksgiving. It keeps us from going out shopping (yuck) on the busiest shopping day of the year and helps us spend some time as a family on a really nice long weekend.

Needless to say, I love pretty ornaments. I especially love angels. In fact, I collect the Willow Tree yearly dated ornament series and have since it started (I was very fortunate that they started the series when I the year I got married and wanted to start collecting ornaments.) This is this year’s Willow Tree ornament:image_thumb

Here are the other ones I have:


I’m not usually a collector of things. But this is one thing that I really love to collect. It chronicles all the Christmas’s we’ve been married and helps me to remember all the wonderful years we’ve been together.

Ok, enough cheese for one day. Hope you had a great thanksgiving and that you’re enjoying some family time together!

Give. Thanks. charity: water.

Thank you all so much for participating in my charity: water campaign! It was a long and very successful 3 months!

We started by asking people to give to charity: water for my 28th Birthday back in August. Since then we've learned a lot about the water crisis in Northern Ethiopia, charity: water's plan to help solve it, and how ordinary people like us can help. We sold things on craigslist and asked you to do the same. I gave away some hair clips on, gave away some baby pants on, and have sold some of both on my etsy site! Thanks to everyone who made the giveaways possible and to those of you who entered! We asked you to give - and you did! Thank you so much.

Now that its Thanksgiving I find myself thinking back on the last three months with a lot of thanks in my heart. I'm so thankful for you - for bringing mercy to those who are thirsty, for bringing hope to the people in Tigray, Ethiopia. I'm thankful that you care about giving hope and life where there used to be despair and sickness. I'm thankful for your generosity to give towards this campaign - you are big hearted and full of kindness for people you don't even know. Its really gratifying to be a part of something so much larger than myself. The TWO rigs that charity: water is purchasing (Yes! They met the 1.2 million dollar goal!) are going to help so many people - so many more than I could help just by myself. 

I know that this campaign is really just a small dent in the global water crisis. It's not really enough to solve the big problem. I also know that the water crisis isn't the only problem facing people in our world. People around the world - heck, even in our own city - are hungry, searching, hopeless, homeless, lost, and struggling. I recently watched a very serious short video about the sex trafficking industry and it broke my heart because I know it happens here in the US too. And so again I find myself so thankful for you because you see these problems too. I'm thankful to God for giving each of you the compassion in your hearts that moved you to give to my charity: water campaign so that together we can do a small part to impact our world.

Honestly its hard for me to focus on one need when I see that there are so many needs and that the world is so big. Its funny thinking back on my life and seeing how this compassion in my heart has grown from when I was a little girl. My mom used to pray with me each night before I went to bed and I used to pray night after night for the poor people of the world. "Dear Jesus," I would say, "Please help the poor people. Amen." I keep praying that prayer - its a little more involved now, but it still has the same heart - and I'm going to keep finding worthy causes to support. So keep an eye out, this won't be the last time you hear from me!

Thank you again for your generosity and kindness and for giving toward this campaign!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Rosemary Bread

So it seems that I’m terrible at taking pictures of my own work… but why repeat someone else’s? (The picture below is not mine, but one of the ones posted with the recipe.) We had this AMAZING bread a couple weeks ago along with my friend Emilie’s DOUBLEY AMAZING Pumpkin Soup. For everyone who doesn’t follow me on Pinterest, can’t find the link I posted to FB, or just doesn’t want to look it up, here’s the link:


Happy Bread making!

Cholera outbreak among refugees.


Just looking at this picture makes my heart sick. As the drought in Northern Africa gets worse and Somalian refugees continue to make their way to Dadaab camp in Kenya, which is home to over 400,000, camp conditions are declining as well.

The article I read on the BBC said that the UN has clean water for these people to drink – but flooding of roads and safety issues for workers (2 were abducted last week) is keeping them from getting supplies to all parts of the camp. Already 1 person has died from a cholera outbreak and 60 more people are suffering from the disease.

Sometimes its hard for me to understand why one would resort to drinking this muddy, disease filled water when it is clear that there are clean water resources somewhere close by.

I know that part of the water problem isn’t just water itself, but its also hygiene education. Education about how disease spreads and what diseases are waterborne.

I love that charity: water doesn’t just drill wells and run away. They have a lasting relationship with the towns where wells are dug. They provide hygiene education, sanitation clinics, and hand washing classes. And they’re not just building wells either.

Two years ago, I gave up my birthday for charity: water and the money I raised (along with a bunch of other campaigns) built toilets and a hand washing station for a school in Northern Ethiopia.

The situation in Dadaab camp makes me so sad. So I thought I would tell you about it so you would know. Waterborne diseases are not just a myth. They are real.

Twelve days left on my charity: water campaign. Have you given yet?

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Purposeful Giveaways!

Want free ruffle butt pants for your sweet little princess? I’m giving away some of my custom sized (nb-18mo) upcycled t-shirt pants over at Kelly Raudenbush’s blog!!

You have till Sunday to enter to to win… but I would go now and get your entry in early…then enter again by letting everyone know why you’re thankful for clean water!

We’re working hard to meet our goal of raising 5K for charity: water Just 17 days to go on our campaign! Make sure you get your Christmas orders in early!


Monday, November 7, 2011

Fall Textures and Patterns

We took a 1/2 hour jaunt to a local park, and here are some images we captured along the way. David is really getting into photography and is bringing me back to my love of fun shapes, colors, and the adventure it takes to find just the right shot.


Training for a 5K


We started last week, as promised. Here’s the log:

Week 1
Day 1: 29 minutes, 1.15 miles
Day 2: 15 minutes, .93 miles
Day 3: 25 minutes, 1.64 mile

We’re only able to get in 3 days each week. But I’m hopeful that we’ll be ready by the time the campaign is over and the race is on!

As a former distance swimmer is humbling to have to start from 0. I used to be able to run a 5k for warm-up – before a 2.5 hour long swim practice. I know. I was crazzzzy.

I’ll take some pictures when we go on Wednesday to prove to you how we’re all getting bundled up in the dark, in the cold, out of our cozy little house, to train, in the dark, in the cold, before work.

Thanks again to those of you who donated over the weekend! 19 days to go on the campaign!

Happy trails!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Meal of the Week 10: General’s Chicken!

It didn’t turn out exactly like the website said… but that’s my fault. I didn’t have rice wine and I didn’t have dried red chilis. But it was dinner and it was yummy!!

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Meal of the Week 9: French Onion Soup

I’ve never been a huge fan of French Onion Soup – but I’m beginning to think its just because I haven’t been exposed to it. We mixed a couple of really fabulous recipes together last night to make this A-MAZ-ING soup. Here’s what we ended up putting in it:
2 Yellow Onions, peeled and sliced
2 T Butter
3 Cups Beef Broth
3 Cups Chicken Broth
1/2 C dry white wine
Splash of Red wine
1 T Worcestershire sauce
Splash of balsamic vinegar
Dash of Pepper
1 Bay leaf
1 tsp Thyme
1 tsp Parsley
2 lb loaf of French bread
1/4 lb of swiss cheese, shredded
In a large sauce pan on Medium Heat, brown two sliced onions covered in butter.  Once onions are golden brown, stir in Beef broth and chicken broth. Bring to a boil. Stir in White and red wine, Worcestershire sauce, and balsamic vinegar. Add bay leaf, thyme, and parsley. Allow the broth to simmer for 10-20 minutes. DSC_0536

15 minutes before serving: slice French bread. DSC_0524
Toast on one side for 5 minutes. Spoon broth/onion mixture into a broiler safe bowl. Place toast on top and cover in shredded Swiss cheese. Broil for 2-3 minutes or until the cheese is just brown. Serve immediately.
Serve as a main dish with a side salad. Or serve as a side dish with Roast Turkey, Ham, or Beef garnished with asparagas.
Happy Eats!