Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Say 'I will'... whatever it is you want to do, just keep on saying it every day.

 Though no one can go back and make a brand new start, anyone can start from now and make a brand new ending.
It amazes me that this year is almost over.  I feel like it has went by in a flash (each year seems to move quicker and quicker) and that we are venturing into another year.  I always get the itch after Christmas to get a jump start on my goals and resolutions for the new year.  I don’t think that people should necessarily wait until the new year to make goals, but to continuously do so, however, this does set an easy starting point.  I always like to look back and reflect on the year and think about the new things that I would like to accomplish for the next year. 
goal steps
Some Pointers
  • Set realistic goals.  I’m not saying to not push yourself, but if you aren’t active at all, set smaller goals (such as doing a 5k) and move onto the larger ones (i.e. marathon).  Setting yourself up for unrealistic goals will only lead to feelings of failure, frustration and stress.
  • Set goals, for yourself and tailored to yourself.  Just because everyone is setting the same goal, doesn’t mean its perfect for you.  Your goals should reflect YOUR role in life.
  • Be specific.  The more specific you are the more likely you are to get what you want.  Sometimes making a bunch of small goals, can help you achieve a bigger one. Start small, work towards getting bigger.
  • Set guidelines and steps for obtaining your goals! I always like to set a guideline so I have a specific date, number and/or thing to strive for.  Set out the steps for yourself and really think about what you need to do to get there. 
  • Give yourself a reward for obtaining your goal.  Whether it be a pat on the back, the thrill of obtaining it, or a new wardrobe/spa day…whatever it is that you would love or that would compliment your accomplishment.
My Goals for the Year
  • Run at least 3 races (5k and higher).  I know for sure that I’ll be participating in Warrior Dash, but want to do many more, especially those benefiting causes I love (autism, cancer, habitat, environmental).
  • Do yoga once a week.  I’m thinking about signing up with a class at the university.
  • Meatless Monday:  I want to start incorporating a bit less meat in my diet. 
  • Wash my face before bed.  This sounds like a no brainer, but most nights I’m falling asleep and just crash into bed.
  • Graduate in December with at least a 3.5 gpa
  • Find an amazing, paid internship for the summer.  Really want some amazing hands on work.
  • Learn Photoshop and feel comfortable using it.
  • Blog at least once, preferably 3 times per week.  I know that I’ll be super busy with classes and work so would like to at least have a maintainable goal.
  • Learn to use my DSLR.  Right now I am a complete novice and have no idea what I’m doing.
  • Craft more.  I really want to learn how to use my sewing machine and become a master with my Silhouette.
What goals do you have for the year?  Are there any tips that help you achieve your goals? I’d really love to hear others resolutions! Smile
Obstacles are those frightful things you see when you take your eyes off your goal.  ~Henry Ford

Monday, December 27, 2010

My New Love

Christmas is over and I can't believe how quickly it flew by.  It seems like every year it goes by quicker and quicker.  We had a wonderful Christmas (3 actually) with our families and I hope that everyone had a fabulous one as well.  It's been nice the past few weeks to see our family more often since we have been able to travel downstate.  Every time we go down, we always keep an eye out for our next dream house for the day when we finally move back down there (within a few years).

Speaking of Christmas, I got some amazing gifts.  I've had my eye on one thing for quite some time and finally have it! The husband did a great job and bought me the Silhouette SD!!

I finally had a chance to play with mine today since we were back in town after being gone the holiday weekend.  I LOVE it...already! I spent most of the morning and some of the afternoon playing with it.  I had never used any type of scrapbook/craft cutting device before so I was a little apprehensive, but it was so simple.  I love how many different types of projects it can do.  Today I worked on a Thank You card for our parents (only got one done though -- need more paper) and also made a cut out box.

I used a template for this since it was the first project I was doing.
So much easier than trying to do any of this by hand.

I plan on working on another card to send to the in-laws this week! Hoping to pick up some double sided paper tomorrow for several projects.  It came with a $10 gift card and I bought several other templates for thank you cards since I love them (I have a basket full of them, but handmade ones are so much better!)
The box template once it was cut & waiting to be punched out.
Lots of punching out to be done.  Not gonna lie, was a bit tedious
after awhile but also one of the most labor intensive ones.
All punched out and put together.  Need to tape together
at top once I get battery operated tea light for inside.
Won't it be gorgeous lit at night?

Best craft glue...ever!
Messy desk...need to upgrade!

I can't wait to learn everything that this machine is capable of!

Does anyone else have one of these nifty machines?  Any favorite crafts you've done or seen?  Any must follow blogs for scrapbooking/Silhouette lovers?  

Monday, December 20, 2010

Yo quiero quesadilla...

Anyone that knows me, knows that I'm a sucker for Mexican food.  You would think that after working in a Mexican restaurant for 4+ years (that I just finally quit so I could start school again!), that I would be completely sick of it, but it's something I crave ridiculously often.  I would say that 40% of our meals have a Mexican inspiration that we at least attempt to make a bit healthier.  One of our absolute favorites would be roasted corn salsa quesadillas.  A spicy mix of chicken, roasted corn, jalapeños and gooey cheese makes this a favorite of ours.  Several years ago, my Aunt Linda hosted my bridal shower and she prepared the roasted corn and black bean salsa and I've been hooked ever since.  It's a super easy recipe and always gets lots of compliments.

Roasted corn and black bean salsa:

- 1 lb of frozen corn, thawed (or you can use 4 corncobs and slice off the kernels)
- Several teaspoonfuls olive oil
- Garlic powder
- Minced garlic, to taste/preference
- One can of black beans, rinsed
- 2 jalapeños (you can use less, but I like a nice spicy kick) diced small with seeds removed
- 1/4 cup diced red onion (I've used yellow onion before as well)
- 1 lime, juiced.
- Several tablespoons cilantro
- 1/2 to 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 1 to 2 teaspoons cumin

  1. Preheat oven to 400.
  2. In small bowl mix together corn tossed with several teaspoons of olive oil and dusted with garlic powder. Toss onto baking sheet and bake until begins to brown on top. (many times I turn on the broiler to speed it up).
  3. In larger bowl, add black beans, minced garlic, diced jalapeño, chopped red onion, juice of 1 lime.
  4. Once corn is roasted, add to larger bowl and stir.  Add in chili powder and cumin and stir.  Add chopped cilantro and let refrigerate for several hours to let the flavor really set in.
I love throwing this salsa together in a tortilla with sharp cheddar cheese and some baked chicken, browning it on the stove, and enjoying with a side of salsa and sour cream for dipping. BEST THING EVER!

Look at all that yummy goodness

It's one of those recipes that you honestly can't mess up.  Every time I make it is a little different.  I'm really not one of those people that follows a recipe exact; more or less just use it as a basis of what to add.  Is anyone else like that? Do you find yourself always going towards one food genre (Mexican, Italian, Mediterranean, Chinese, etc.)?

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

DIY Cranberry Vodka

Phew, winter has rolled in with a vengeance and what better way to embrace then to warm up with a little bit of seasonal vodka to keep you warm.  The bitter cold and tons of snow have me cooped up in the house and I figured why not try out a recipe I've been waiting to do for awhile.  I'm kind of wishing that I had tried this earlier so that I could have possibly used it for a fun Christmas gifts for our friends.  It would be especially cute to put into a small mason with one of these fabulous labels and have a festive seasonal fabric topping it.  Such a great personalized, affordable holiday host gift!

The recipe is super easy and has rave reviews, so within a week I'm hoping to enjoy a wonderful cocktail or martini!

DIY Cranberry Vodka


  • 1 pound fresh or frozen cranberries
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract, or 1 vanilla bean, split
  • 2 oranges, peels cut into 2-inch strips
  • 1 (750-ml) bottle vodka


1.  Place cranberries, sugar and vanilla in a medium saucepan. Place pan over medium heat and stir. Simmer cranberry mixture until the berries burst, about 5 to 6 minutes.

2.  Place orange peels in a large glass container with an airtight lid, or large mason jars with lids. Pour vodka over the orange peels.

3.  Allow the cranberry mixture to cool. Pour the cooled mixture into the glass container(s). Cover tightly and set aside for 1 week.

4.  After 1 week, strain out the cranberries and orange peels and pour mixture into a clean bottle, using a funnel. Store vodka in the refrigerator.

 I'm pretty excited to see how this turns out and looking forward to enjoying a drink with friends and family.

Have you ever made your own flavor infused alcohol before?  I'd love to hear others experiences. :)

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

First snowfall and holiday love

I can't imagine a better way to welcome the month of December than with a light snowfall.  I woke this morning to an inch or so of snow on the ground and huge, slowly falling snowflakes.  The first snowfall of the year is always something I treasure and this morning I sat here with a steaming cup of coffee and just watched as it came tumbling down.

I love all the seasons, but there is always just something spectacular about winter that I love (I know, I'm one of the few that actually love winter).  Maybe it's being cuddled up with the ones you love inside a cozy house, all the baking and yummy food that comes with the season, snowboarding, ice skating, sledding or just the feel good feeling of the holidays.  Whatever the reason, I love this time of year.

One of my favorite things to do to welcome winter is getting everything decorated for Christmas.  We spent the day after Thanksgiving pulling everything out of the garage and decorating the house.  We've slowly been building our ornament collection over the years.  We've started the tradition of buying an ornament every time we go on vacation.  It's always a great trip down memory lane when hanging the ornaments on the tree.  I love looking at each one and having a memory or person associated with it.

These are the same bells that we had at our wedding.
Each table had a set of them hanging off
a chair.

The gingerbread man is one that my sister
made years ago in school.
Our wonderful friend's bought us this as a
wedding gift.  They're now getting
married this summer. :)
Saying"hi" in the reflection.

Ryan's manly ornament

Forever ornament from Angie after our engagement.
The moose from our trip where we
got engaged.

See what I mean about wanting to cuddle
up with those you love?

Do you love or hate winter?  Is there anything in particular that you are looking forward to this holiday season/wintertime?  

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Wine, Cheese, Chatter: Dinner party?

Thanksgiving has came and went in a flash this year!  All the preparation paid off and the day went smoothly and lots of food was enjoyed by all.  By the time the big day rolled around, I had most everything done aside from throwing the bird in and baking a couple things last minute.  I  used the Michigander Way for the turkey, which was nice and easy for a first timer like myself.

Right before I popped her in!
The turkey turned out fabulous; nice and juicy and tons of flavor.  It did cook a lot quicker than planned so that through a bit of a wrench into my timing of all the other things that had to be put in the oven too, but we worked it out and got everything done in time.  Phew!

My in-laws were pretty thrilled to walk in and smell all the food in the oven and see me sporting the apron they bought us (Ryan has a "Mr." of his own).

The afternoon before I made one of my favorite things: Pineapple Cake!  This is one of the easiest and an amazing dessert (my mom is the one that introduced me to this recipe).  I love, love, love the frosting and pineapple is one of my favorites so it's a winner in my book.  The recipe is as follows:

  • 1 3/4 c. flour
  •  2 eggs
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 1/2 c. sugar
  • 1 can crushed pineapple and juice
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
Preheat oven to 350. Mix all ingredients together and pour into a greased 9 x 13 inch pan.  Bake for 25-30 minutes or until inserted toothpick comes out clean.

  • 2 c. confectioners sugar
  • 1 stick butter
  • 8 oz. cream cheese 
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
Mix with handmixer until smooth and slather on cake once cake has cooled!

Gets nice and browned on top.
My favorite! Usually I share but I was home alone so it was all mine!

It's long gone now!
Considering it was the first time hosting a holiday for family it went really well!  We really would love to host more parties and are really thinking of having a dinner party of some sort with friends.  We'd like to have some sort of theme so I'm wracking my brain for ideas.  Anyone have any interesting dinner party ideas?  Real Simple has these invites that I love, in particular the wine, cheese and chatter one:
Is this not the cutest and most clever idea?