Saturday, December 31, 2011

The Best Things About 2011

Yesterday I reviewed some of my goals for 2012.  Today, I'm going to talk about some of the best things that happened in 2011!  It was a crazy fabulous year!  So many great things happened I don't know how 2012 could top it.  Here's some of the best things that happened in my life.

1) I got married!  Obviously this gets to be number one.  I married by awesome-sauce husband in June.  Our wedding day was a dream and I'm so lucky I got to spend it with my closest friends & family.


2) Our honeymoon in San Francisco. Related to getting married... our honeymoon was in San Fran & it was an amazing time!  I had never been to California before & neither of us had been to San Francisco.  We were able to see & do so much in our time there.  We stayed busy every day!  We were there for a week & biked the bridge, went to Alcatraz, wine tasting, a Giants game, & Muir Woods.  Such a great trip!


3) Brendan graduated from Medical School!  I think this picture below is hilarious.  Brendan says I always chop off his head when I take pictures of us like this & it's totally true.  This was the best of like 4 attempts.  It's not on purpose though!  It's just 'cause I'm short.  Anyway, Brendan finally graduated!  So much hard work to get there & I was so proud of him!  Yea Doctor!


4)  I started working for a race timing company part time.  And getting to go up north to Traverse City for work as much as I did.  I love that town!  I have a good time every time I go there.  Had an amazing time when two of my friends went with me & ran in the race I worked!  It was amazing sticking around town an extra day after the race!



5)  I ran two marathons, Flying Pig & Chicago, 2 30Ks, 4 half marathons, and some other races too.  It apparently was the year of the race.  I ran a ton of races.  Especially in the spring.  I traveled to Illinois, Ohio, Nevada and Canada for races.  I got a PR (personal record) in every distance I ran.  It was a good running year.  That's my mom with me in the picture below at Flying Pig... she ran the half- it was her first!


6) Visiting my little brother in Arizona.  I hadn't been to see him there in years, although he had come here.  It was great getting to see his new house he purchased & hanging out with him for a week!  Plus he took us to the Grand Canyon, which I had never seen, even though I've been to Arizona a bunch of times.


I think that's it, but as you can see, it's been quite the year!  This year I'm not going to run as many races, I think it was a tad excessive last year, and we're not going to do as much traveling either.  Two big trips (CA & AZ) is a lot for one year for us, along with a bunch of smaller trips.  We do plan on a anniversary trip to Finger Lakes in NY, but that's within driving distance :-)  Nonetheless, I hope that 2012 can live up to the awesome-ness that 2011 brought!  I will be making it the best I can that's for sure!

What were some of the best things that happened to you or in your family in 2011?

I'm linking this post to:
Sassy Sites!
Chic on a Shoestring

Friday, December 30, 2011

Goals For 2012

Let's not call them New Year's Resolutions.  Let's call them Goals instead.  I like that better.

I've been thinking lately about what my goals are for the new year.  I know that it's good to write down your goals so that you can refer back to them at later dates, & I figured sharing them with you all will help to hold me accountable, so here are my main goals for 2012!



1) Keep up with my running.  Including running a few races I have planned.  I'm going to take a break from marathons this year, and instead, am planning to participate in some shorter races in Grand Rapids.  I LOVE Grand Rapids.  My main race for spring will be the Fifth Third Riverbank Run 25K (that's 15.5 miles) in May, and my big race for fall with be the Grand Rapids Half Marathon (13.1 miles) in October.  I'll do some other races in there as well, but those are my focus races for the year.


2) Move to a new house (or find new ways to love mine if I must).  I have been wanting to move for quite some time.  We are looking for a place to move to a town over from where we live now for a couple of reasons.  We rent, and there are some things about our house that really really bug me that I am unable to change.  For example, our back yard is flooded pretty much all year except the middle of winter when it's frozen.  We have a dog, so our floors are practically impossible to keep clean for longer than 30 seconds, plus it's very hard to mow when the mower is sinking into the ground all the time.  That's the mud-tracker himself above.  Plus, I LOVE the towns we are looking to move to & I feel kind of "eh" about the town we live in currently.  If we don't find a place to move, I'm gonna be pretty bummed, and it'll be another year of trying to work with what we've got.


3) Grow my blog.  I've had so much fun with this little blog since starting it a few months ago.  I really hope to continue having fun with it & getting to know more people through it.  You've seen that I've recently changed the look of the blog, but it's still not really where I want it.  I'm going to try to learn more html & design stuff to make it more attractive.  I also hope to do more guest posts for other blogs, and maybe invite some others to do guest posts here, or do blog exchanges!  Anyone interested?  :-)  I think an exchange would be fun!  I'd also love to get to know some bloggers in my area (SE Michigan) in real life.  Blogger meet-up?!  I want to make sure that I continue posting at least one or two projects a week.  They can be small or large, but that's what it's based on right!

Pure Amour Photography

4) Work on my communication.  Ok, this is kind of my big one.  I'm very bad at talking about my feelings.  Really, I'm horrible.  I don't know why I'm so bad at it.  I think that part of it is that I'm genuinely a happy person & tend to look on the bright side of things.  Or, with things that I have no control over, I tend to recognize that & "just deal with it".  Talking about things that suck just doesn't appeal to me, especially when I can't do anything about it, what is there to say, other than, this stinks.  I don't like being told I'm wrong, I don't like sharing when I'm hurt, and I just don't do drama.  I'm a suck it up & move on kinda girl.  This is why I have people say things like my family's claim that I live in "Sarah's world" where nothing ever goes wrong...

Do you have any big goals for the new year?  Any that have to do with your blog?  Your family?  Your home?

This post has been linked to:
2805
At the Picket Fence
My Repurposed Life
The Shabby Nest
Sassy Sites!
SNAP! 
Remodelaholic 
Fingerprints on the Fridge

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Treasure Hunting Thursday - Old Sleds

Today's treasure find is a pile of old sleds I saw the other day at Treasure Mart.  These sleds ran anywhere from $20 to $55 depending on the size & condition.  I used to have a sled just like these when I was younger that we would use regularly during the winter months on a little hill in our backyard.


Now, these sleds are used a lot in decor! Here's a sled used AS a table.

Deco My Place
And a sled ON a table!  Tee hee!

BHG
Sled decorated with skates for an outdoor porch!

Tiny White Daisies
Jaime Lyn from one of my favorite blogs, Crafty, Scrappy, Happy painted one to go in her home & it turned out amazing!

Crafty, Scrappy, Happy

Do you have any of these old-school sleds laying around?  Have you ever used one in your decor?  I would love to have one in my home for winter, but we don't really have the space currently.  They are so fun & kinda whimsical though!

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At the Picket Fence
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Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Hand Warmer Rice Bag

I'm kind of an Eskimo.  Ok, not really, but I do keep our house pretty cold in the winter.  For one, it's mega cold outside, and you know, it's winter.  You're supposed to have to bundle up in the winter.  It's all about the sweatshirts & blankets & hot chocolate right?  Right, so it's gotta be cold for all that.  Plus, I'm just... should I say... cheep... & for some reason whenever the heater kicks on I imagine dollars flying out the window.  Literally, every time.

So, we keep our heat pretty low.  And practically off when we're sleeping or at work.  We bundle & wear layers in the house & snuggle under the big fleece blankets while watching tv.  I have recently made something else that helps me to keep warm.  I'm going to share that with you today!


I made a rice hand warmer.  Yea, it's not the prettiest thing ever, but what can I say.  I don't have a sewing machine, so I had to make do.  My doctor-husband says I likely have Raynaud's phenomenon & my fingers & toes tend to loose circulation & go deathly-white when it's cold, up to once a day in the winter.  Also, and probably as a result of that, I have gotten frostbite in my fingers multiple times, which is not fun.  Needless to say, my hands get cold very fast.  So I made this little warmer to stick in the microwave & stick in the pouch of my sweatshirts to warm my hands.  Here's how I did it- the non-fancy way.


Oh yea, that hot glue & me are best friends.  I used a piece of felt I had laying around.  It was a long rectangular shape that when folded in half, would be the size I wanted for my hand warmer.  I put hot glue on the edges of the whole thing except for leaving a small opening at one corner, about 1.5 inches.  Then folded it together & held for the glue to set.


Then, holding it open, carefully pour in some uncooked rice.


Yep, that's an action shot of the rice pouring!  Once full, I hot glued the corner together as well.

I was a little fearful of the hot glue melting or otherwise becoming compromised it the heating & reheating of the little bag, so I figured I'd reinforce it with some stitches along the edge.  I did these by hand, obviously, & in a contrasting color, I used green.  I sewed around the whole thing, including the edge that was folded, not glued, just to make it look uniform.


Ha!  Not the prettiest thing ever, but not bad!  This girl needs a sewing machine.  I keep saying it, gotta just get one.  This totally gets the job done though.  They usually recommend microwaving these for about 10 seconds I think, but I do mine for about 30 since it's fleece & I like it to be good & hot.  Be careful though & if you make one of these, heat it up in short increments so that you can find the best amount of time that works for you & your microwave.  No burning self ok?

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I'm sharing this post at:
Southern Lovely
The Shabby Creek Cottage 
Crafty, Scrappy, Happy 
Somewhat Simple 
Delightful Order 
2805 
The Shabby Nest 
Whipperberry
Chic on a Shoestring
Fingerprints on the Fridge
Nap Time Crafters 
Tatertots & Jello 
Funky Junk Interiors 
Today's Creative Blog 
My Uncommon Slice of Suburbia
Home Stories A2Z
{Primp} 
At the Picket Fence 
My Repurposed Life 
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The CSI Project

Monday, December 26, 2011

My Christmas as a Resident's Wife

As you may know, my husband, Brendan, is currently doing his intern year, as a resident in pediatrics.  The pediatrics specialty is a 3-year residency program.  He will likely follow this up with a 3-year fellowship program as well before looking for a "real" job.  And this is all after 4 years of medical school & 4 years of undergrad.  Did you have any idea it took that long to become a doctor?  I don't think I did before I started dating Brendan.  I also remember doing a lot of internet searches trying to find out what it was like to be a resident's spouse before we got married, so I'm going to try to give a little insight into the life every once in a while.

Being married to a resident can be hard in many ways.  One of the reasons I started this blog was as a way to entertain myself & feel connected to real people while spending a lot of time by myself while my husband is working at the hospital.  I came into our relationship knowing it would be hard for a while, but knowing it & living it can sometimes be two different things.  There are so many things I could say about it, but not all at once :-)  Today, I'll talk about our first Christmas.

If you saw my post from yesterday, you saw that Brendan had to work.  He also worked on Christmas Eve.  Our first Christmas together as a married couple & he's at the hospital for the majority of the day.  He's on newborn, and I know babies are born on Christmas & they need to be checked out, and I knew this would happen, but that really doesn't make it stink any less.  It still made me sad that I couldn't spend my day with my husband.

Yup, it's a little selfish, I know that.  There are plenty of people who don't get to see their SO at all, if they are in the military, or away for some other reason.  And there are many people who lost a family member and experiencing their first Christmas season without them.  I also know that there are many other people in other professions that have to work on Christmas as well, other medical professionals, police officers, pilots & flight attendants, to name a few.  So I know I am blessed that I got to see my husband at all.  I try to remember these things when I am feeling down & alone.  I know that I am not really alone & I am lucky to have him.  I know that he didn't try to have to work on Christmas.  Just like I know he doesn't try to stay at the hospital late on those days when I eat dinner & go to bed by myself.  I remember that I am lucky to have such a smart, hardworking husband who does eventually get home, and wants to do the best he can for his patients & for his career so that we can have a good life together.

At my parent's house, Christmas evening
We did still get to exchange gifts, just Christmas evening instead of Christmas morning.  We did still get to have dinner together, just a little late.  It is what it is.  Things might not always be perfect or just the way we want them, but there are always things to smile about, so focusing on the good and the joyful is helpful.

I did get to hang out with my extended family Christmas Eve, and my parents on Christmas day, so it is great that we live close enough to them that I wasn't by myself all day.  And Brendan's dad is coming to visit us for New Years (he lives out of our state).  So we'll have another "Christmas" with him as well.

And I'm always telling myself, this intern year is supposed to be the worst year... it'll get better.  Right?!  :-)

I'm linking this post to:
Funky Junk Interiors

I'm Guest Posting Today!!

Hey friends!  Happy day-after-Christmas!  I hope your holiday was wonderful!  Today I'm excited to be guest posting over at Nap Time Crafters as part of Amy's Christmas Guest Post Spectacular.



I'm sharing an easy mason jar cozy that I made in order to be able to drink my hot beverages out of a mason jar without burning my hands.


It turned out really cute & I hope you'll hop over there & check out how to make one for yourself!

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Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas From Us to You!

Hey friends just wanted to stop in to say Merry Christmas from us to you!


I hope you have a wonderful day!  Filled with laughter & gifts & cinnamon buns & fresh squeezed orange juice & love & reflection.  I wont get to see my hubby until late tonight, as he's at the hospital working today... he's on newborn & apparently new babies are born on Christmas too!  But I'm so excited to celebrate with him tonight!

Merry Christmas again lovelies!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

My Favorite Projects of 2011! And a Winner!

First of all Happy Christmas Eve Everyone!!!  I hope you have a wonderful, joy-filled day with your family!

So, I have only been blogging for a little less than 4 months, but I still wanted to put together a "best of 2011" post for you.  There may be some posts from when I first started that you didn't know about, since I had like 1 reader back then & it was my husband.  :-)  So I'm going to go through a couple of my favorites...

Actually, first I'm going to say one of my favorite projects from this year was my wedding.  I did a bunch of DIY projects for my wedding that I adore.  I have never posted about any of them, but here's a few pictures of some of them.

Pure Amour Photography
But moving on, there are some projects that I've done in the past year that I'm especially proud of.  The first of which is my very first build, and my very first post, about the new desk that I built.  I built this desk with my dad, and I am using it as I type on my computer right now.  I love this desk & how big it is!  It fits me & what I need it for perfectly, and I was sooo proud when it was done!


Next up, the magnetic chalk board that I made out of an old mirror to go over the desk.  It's HUGE & is so convenient as a place to scribble notes to myself & tack up clippings of catalog photos for future reference.


I LOVE the bathroom hooks that I made for our bathrobes.  I made these mostly out of supplies I had around the house, including the frames from our table numbers (see above!).  We use these every single day.


I really big puffy heart my dry sink that I made over.  This one was kinda scary at first, when my layer of green paint was so neon that it pretty much glowed.  But it turned out absolutely lovely & it's basically my favorite thing in the house now.


There are some others that I really love too, but I feel like I'm listing so many of them haha!  Some of my other favorites include my TV-trays to side tables,


my chalkboard chalk holder made out of an old tea tin,


and my recent twiggy ornament door hanging.


I'm also pretty proud of my tray made out of a cabinet door, for my persistence when the project kept going wrong, until I finally got it right.


Wow, it's been a pretty productive 4 months for me hasn't it?  I hope you have liked some of my projects as much as I have.  OH & I need to choose a winner today for the Shabbyapple dress giveaway! The winner is....

Number 5, Debra L.!!  Debra I have sent you an email to get your information so they can get your dress to you!  Merry Christmas! :-)

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Southern Hospitality "Top Projects of 2011" party
Home Stories A2Z "Favorites of 2011" 
{Primp}
Crafty, Scrappy, Happy 
Somewhat Simple 
Delightful Order 
2805 
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Fingerprints on the Fridge
Chic on a Shoestring
Whipperberry
Making Lemonade 
Nap Time Crafters 
Tatertots & Jello 
Funky Junk Interiors 
DIY Showoff 
I Heart Nap Time 
Today's Creative Blog 
My Uncommon Slice of Suburbia 
Restore Interiors 
My Repurposed Life 
Mad in Crafts

Friday, December 23, 2011

A Holiday Recipe - Broccoli Casserole

One of my favorite things about the holidays is the FOOD!  I love getting together with family & having all of everyone's best dishes all together.  One of my favorites is a dish that my mother has made many many times.  I'm not sure where the recipe comes from, but it's been around for approximately forever. It's a broccoli casserole & it is AMAZINGLY scrumptious!  I love broccoli, and this recipe is the best and it's so easy!

Here's what you need:


2 fresh heads of broccoli
1/2 cup milk
1 small (10.5 oz) can condensed cream of mushroom soup
3/4 of the 16 oz size of Velveeta cheese
1/2 cup Pepperidge Farm stuffing
Little package of sliced almonds

Ok, so I realize that these aren't really very exact measurements, but that's what you get with an old recipe.  Just go with it, I'm pretty sure you can't really mess this up.

Anyhoo, first things first.  Preheat your oven to 350.  Cut your broccoli into pieces & put in a large pan with water.  Bring to boil & cook until broccoli is tender (don't over cook 'em though, no mushy broccoli!).   Drain.


While the broccoli is cooking, make the cheese sauce.  In a pan over medium heat, melt together milk, soup, cheese & stuffing.  Make sure you stir it a lot so you don't burn the pan!


Once the cheese is melted, place your broccoli in a large baking dish & spread evenly.  I use a 15x10 inch pyrex glass baking dish.


Then, pour your cheese mixture over your prepared broccoli.  Add your sliced almonds on top of it all if desired.  I love the extra crunch these add!


Pop your casserole in the oven & bake for a half hour.  It will smell amazing, not gonna lie.  Oh my gosh it's so good.


You really should make this, if not for the holiday then for any day.  I have eaten leftovers of this for lunch by itself on many occasion.  It's awesome re-heated.

I hope you like this recipe.  If you try it, please let me know what you think!!

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This post is being linked to:
Funky Junk Interiors
Today's Creative Blog 
A Diamond in the Stuff 
Southern Lovely 
The Shabby Creek Cottage 
Somewhat Simple 
DIY Showoff 
Delightful Order 
2805 
The Shabby Nest 
Whipperberry 
Chic on a Shoestring
Fingerprints on the Fridge
Nap Time Crafters 
Tatertots & Jello 
Funky Junk Interiors

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Treasure Hunting Thursday - Milk Bottles & Crates

This Thursday, I present some beautiful milk bottles & crates that I found at the Treasure Mart recently.  I went back to see these many times & almost bought them, but alas, they have now sold & I'm pretty sure there isn't any left.


Why do I do that!?  Ugh.  Anyway, the bottles were $15 each, and the crates were $20 each.  The bottles had cute red or yellow labels & were clearly from the area.  Notice the label on the yellow one says "Ypsilanti Dairy"!  How fun!  If I had bought them, I'd probably have used them for decor &/or storage of various things or a fun project.  Here's some ideas that I found!

The Twice Remembered Cottage
Cute crate with mason jars being used as a caddy for flatware.

Diary of a Crafty Lady
These are so cute!  The addition of subway art to these milk bottles is lovely!

Pottery Barn
Of coarse Pottery Barn would make milk jugs & a crate into a chandelier.  They would.  It looks so creative & I bet it could be an easy DIY.

Oh Lovely Day
Easy centerpiece could be beautiful with the milk jugs.

Amazon

These are candles!  They are for sale at Amazon UK, but the ones I found could totally be made into candles as well using a process like the one I did for my teacup candle.

So what do you think?  I totally missed out huh?  I hate that I over-analyze these kinds of obvious purchases.  Kicking self right now.... did anyone get them for me for Christmas?  Anyone?  No?  Darn...

P.S. Don't forget to enter my Shabbyapple dress giveaway if you haven't yet!  Drawing for the winner will be on Saturday!!

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