my legs are jelly.

Yesterday...I found my personal hell.

Spinning class. 

Chad and I go into the gym, not realizing that Zumba is at 6:30 instead of 5:30 (which is when we got there). We check in at the desk and the employee says "So what are you guys doing tonight?" "Oh probably just gonna do some cardio" we replied. "You guys should go to spinning -- it starts in fifteen minutes!" she says eagerly. And then this cute little blond energetic woman bounces up to the  desk "Yeah! Do it!" Little did we know that woman named Brittany would be kicking our butts for 45 minutes.

Now, I am not a very athletic woman. Yes, I do my walking and my elliptical machine, but spinning class? Never thought I would do that. This was my very first time spinning, and I just wanted to remember the thoughts that I had tonight:

Minute 2: Well this isn't so bad...

Minute 5: I hate Ke$ha. Why is she singing so loud?

Minute 7: I'm going to barf. 

Minute 8: I can't believe we have only been doing this for eight minutes. 

Minute 11: I hate looking at myself in the mirror while I'm doing this. 

Minute 17: Am I the slowest one? I feel like everyone else is doing so much better than me. 

Minute 26: I want to sit down. 

Minute 30: I HATE position two.

Minute 33: I want my mommy. 

Minute 38: Why was Chad excited to do this? 

Minute 40: I don't want to run up a steep hill anymore. Please let me sit down.

Minute 41: I. am. going. to. barf. and. kill. someone.

Minute 42: Why didn't we go to Zumba?

Minute 44: Yay! We're sitting down. And going slow.

Minute 45: Done! Let's never do this again!

And strangely enough, Chad and I walked out of there and he said to me "We should do that again. Even though our legs feel like jelly, we should do that again. We should go several times a week."

And...I agreed with him. Call me psychotic, but we are going again, no matter how much it intimidates me. I am going to endure position 2 -- if it kills me.


day off.

Days off are unheard of in this house.
Days off mean slowly waking up and making a quality breakfast of granola, toast, and fruit (opposed to sugary/cavity-inducing cereal at work).
Days off are for stamps, Juno, walks with Leo, and chores.
Days off are for Zumba and grilled cheese.
Days off are a rare gem -- which we completely treasure.

Happy Wednesday, whether you are working or not -- enjoy it! :)


The winner of 2012 weekly planner is Michelle H. who said: I'm thankful that in 2011, my boyfriend passed the Bar Exam and was able to get a new job as a lawyer. Here's hoping that 2012 has other exciting developments for us...
Michelle H.! Congrats! Since I can't get your contact information from your link, please email me at: projectsimplelife@gmail.com and we'll get you your new planner!  


there's nothing like being an aunt.

I went back into the archives to see how long it's been since I shared pictures of my neice and nephew // Baby Z + UJ. It was September seventh . I know. My apologies.

But, today is the perfect day to take a mental break from all the to-do lists and look at five pictures of them on Thanksgiving, right?

So thrilled I get to snuggle with them all weekend! Who are you looking forward to seeing?


crunch time.

There are 4 more days until Christmas -- are you guys feeling it yet? Are you still wrapping that gift for your nephew or are all those gifts neatly and orderly in laundry baskets waiting by the door for when you go to the grandparents' house?  Have you sent out those Christmas cards to your loved ones or are some of them all of them sitting in your backpack because you haven't bought stamps yet?

Okay, so I'm the guilty party. I haven't wrapped any of my gifts and I haven't sent out any Christmas cards...I know. I'm chalking this Christmas prep fail up to school work and finals and how they owned my soul for the entire month of December.

But, even though it appears like I have forever failed Christmas, it sure hasn't failed me. I have done all the Christmasy things -- sampled my mother-in-law's vast cookie collection, watched the quintessential holiday movies for me (Elf, White Christmas, Miracle on 34th Street, Love Actually), and we've read through the Christmas story. And, even though some of our Christmas decorations are still in boxes and most likely won't be making an appearance this year, we still are in love with Christmas.

One of my favorite things to look at this year is our Christmas card tree. I have cards from friends and family arranged on the door right next to my television so that I can glance over and look at all the Christmas greetings that we've gotten. My favorite Christmas decoration by far! _______________________________________________

Meghan, from The Perfect Compilation Tape was in need of some blog posts last week, so I thought I would lend a hand and did a guest post for her. Read about my thoughts of Christmas music and enter to win a Christmas music cd: here.


making monday a little sweeter // giveaway from alex

Hey Monday readers...how are you today?

Excited that there are six days until Christmas? 
Thrilled that the semester is almost over? 
Ecstatic to see loved ones this week? 

If you answered 'yes' to all the above, then you + I are in same boat. This week is going to be crazy busy, but let's just sit back and take it one day at a time, shall we? Grab a cup of coffee and read on to find out about a sweet deal from a sweet friend of mine.

I first heard of Alex who blogs over at defteling when we were paired up for the calendar swap hosted by design crush + greedy girl. She kindly offered me a 2012 weekly planner in addition to a 2012 calendar, but since I already have an academic planner that goes into the new year (filled to the brim with assignments), I asked her if I could offer it up on the blog...

Luckily for you -- she agreed!

One of you will start out 2012 with a brand new handmade weekly agenda planner!

How to enter (open to all readers -- U.S. and beyond!): 
01. Leave a comment on this post sharing your answer to this: I am most thankful that _________ happened in 2011. (Mine is my trip to Europe and my niece, Baby Z, coming into this world!)
02. As a special thanks + bonus to my subscribers, those who follow are allowed an additional comment (just leave one telling me that you follow).

**A winner will be announced the Monday after Christmas (the 26th). That way, it's like I'm prolonging Christmas gift opening for one of you! :)

**Even if you aren't the lucky one, you can still save! Alex created a discount code // PSL2011. If you use it in her etsy shop during checkout, you will get 20% off your entire order (excluding shipping).

For more of Alex's work:
etsy | Alex Wijnen
blog | defteling
website | defteling.com


calm before the storm.

My little distraction during my late night paper writing last night. Can't get enough of this pup.

Consider this, tonight, my one-night-to-relax. 

I'm giving myself a one night only pass to do whatever I want before I have to do three take home tests and two finals tomorrow through the weekend. This week has been sprinkled with late-night paper writing (my least favorite thing about paper writing ever). Last night alone, consisted of me staying up until 2am alone on the couch with my snoring husband in the bedroom and observation notes on my lap. The worst part of being a student.

But...one of the best parts of being a student is that I get to declare tonight my relax night. I pledge to sit on the same couch that saw me stressing last night and do absolutely nothing. If I want to go on twitter, I get to go on twitter. If I want to watch old episodes of Parks + Rec (the Christmas episode) I get to. I can browse etsy to my heart's delight and 'pin' as much as I want. It's my prerogative to be lazy for one. night. only.

 Do yourself a favor -- if you can, declare a relax night sometime.

Tomorrow, it'll be a different story :)


yay december.


I am already loving this month even though it's only day five. I know that it is the busiest, most stressful month to end the year with, but it's also the most special to me. Sure we have our hands full, but I am loving it.

And it also helps that I now live in a marshmallow world. It has been snowing the last two days -- those big, fat, fluffy flakes that I told you I loved. Those flakes create a wonderland and a perfect excuse for staying in which is exactly what we did -- except for the tree-getting (before the storm hit).

1. Friday night. hot glue gun. 4 glue sticks. 6 boxes of clearance ornaments from last year + wreath form. 
2. Saturday morning. oh Christmas tree. finding the perfect tree for the corner of our little living room. all tree pictures now require a high-kick when posing for your sister-in-law.
3. Saturday afternoon. flaky chocolaty croissant from a local bakery split in two. cold glass of milk to wash down. well-deserved treat after signing a worthy petition and browsing our local co-op.

While browsing the blog posts today, please check out my friend Celia! She featured my butternut squash soup that I happen to love and make monthly. If you're looking for a good soup, check this one out...


preparing for december.

For the first time EVER, I am linking up to lovely Lauren's Fill in the Blank Friday! As a long-time blog reader of hers and a self-proclaimed Christmas enthusiast, I thought I would share some of my Christmas thoughts....

1.   The holiday season is   (in my humble opinion) the best time of the year. seriously. This time of the year you will often see me grinning stupidly when I see an endearingly sweet Christmas commercial or nudging Chad and saying (over and over) "Do you know I love Christmas?!!!" "Seriously, Do you?!" "This is my favorite time of the year!!" To which my dear husband replies, "Yes honey, I know."

2.   Snow makes me stinkin' happy. That soft, quiet snow steals my heart every time. As long as I don't drive in it. I am from Wisconsin, so we get our fair share of snowstorms and I have this really irrational fear of driving in the icy snowstorms....I think it might have to do with the fact that my parents used to have this van that didn't have 4-wheel drive + I spun out several times while driving it. Did I ever tell you that, mom and dad?

3.  The best comfort food to eat when it's cold out is   something from the oven -- hotdish, bread, cookies, chili. I think when I made my meal plan for December, we are making 5 different chilis/soups which is basically perfection in our house .

4. Winter is the best time for  being together. and also, some reflection. since it's nearing the end of the year, I always go back and think about what has happened to me and how much we have to be thankful for in our little life. we are truly blessed.

5.  I can hardly wait for  my weekends with Chad. I have always had to work every weekend in December (once I had to work on Christmas Day...) and I can't wait to do all our Christmasing together this year. we have big plans -- sledding, playing with Leo, watching probably 10 holiday movies, quiet advent devotions, hot cocoa, shopping, decorating, being together!

6.  When it comes to holiday gifts I prefer to   give ones that matter. My parents have instilled in their kids that it's important to not put the focus on the gifts, but on the valuable gift that God gave us on Christmas. We are all starting our own families now, so we give gifts that are really thought out and something the person can truly cherish. One of the most exciting things that happens when we are opening presents is when I see people like what I've found for them -- the look they get. I completely LOVE that.

7.  If I were to rate my excitement about the holiday season on a scale from 1-10, I would say I am at about a    5 (right now). I have put Christmas on the back burner so far (all our decorations are still in the basement next to Leo's food) since schoolwork has consumed every spare second of mine...but after this weekend + our decorating extravaganza, I think that number will be bumped up to a solid 10. Even though I still have finals week...

Did you Fill in the Blank? (If you'd still like to, link up to the current one here .)

In other news --
01 | The calendar page is the last one (obviously) in the calendar that Danni gave me, so I felt it needed the proper recognition. Along with our Anthro initial mugs that we bought in London.
02 | If you like that calendar, the other ones paper source might interest you. I think this wall calendar looks most like the 2011 one I have.
03 | While writing this post, I listened to the beautiful Christmas playlist Arielle made. And then listened to it again the next morning.
04 | Katie featured a highly entertaining video called: Mall Santa Musical. super funny.
05 | As Thy coming was in peace, Quiet, full of gentleness, Let the same mind dwell in me that was ever found in Thee. -- something to pray for during the advent season.


wake up + go.

pin no. / 242425966
Happy December. Am making it a point to enjoy this merry and bright season through all the muck of studying, cleaning, laundry, and the like. 

Right now the sun is shining, the to-do list is shrinking and I owe some of it to the tunes playing in the background. Yes, it's true, I have been playing Christmas music since the beginning of November, but... sometimes you need a little break from Band Aid + Mariah Carey + The Beach Boys.

Recently, I asked you readers if you had any 'on the road'/energizing music suggestions and thanks to you, I can drive to my 8am classes with a little more pep.

Listen to Project Simple Life // for the road:

I do still love those cozy Christmas carols while I snuggle on the couch, but I'll be playing these songs when I'm hurriedly wrapping the last of those presents and studying for finals. With a cup of hot cocoa, of course.

Happy Listening. :)


listing some thankfuls.

Little Leo looking cute while taking a nap yesterday. Of course. 
I am thankful for...
8. Quiet moments like the one I captured above.
9. "This is what the Lord says -- your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel: 'I amd the Lord your God, who teaches you what is best for you, who directs you in the way you should go.'" Today's passage of the day on my phone.
10. School friends. It's always nice to have someone wait for you outside the door to walk with you or be your partner on assignments (and never have to awkwardly ask 'Will you be my partner?').
11. Cooking in a clean kitchen. Finally finding my rhythm in a brand new kitchen (to me). Still trying to figure out that oven though...
12. "I walk the line" by Johnny. Especially when I can crank it up, be silly and do my best Cash impression in the car. (Thankfully by myself). 


our pulp fiction halloween.

No, we didn't party exactly like mia + vincent from Pulp Fiction but we did spend last Saturday night impersonating them. Pulp Fiction is one of Chad's all-time favorite movies, so there was no question that when we put these two characters on the idea list, we would have to find a way to make it work.

Here's something that we weren't expecting: a majority of our crowd having no idea who we were. We were so surprised when we'd say "We're Mia and Vincent!!" to which we'd get "You're who?". So I've gotta ask you, bloggers -- Have you seen Pulp Fiction? (Do you have any idea who we are?) :)

The costume rundown:

On Mia -- black leggings. black cami. white men's dress shirt. black wig. red nails. red lipstick. fake cigarette (thin cigar wrapped in paper) that we didn't smoke. (you're welcome, American Lung Association...and mom.)

On Vincent -- black pants. white men's dress shirt. black tie. black wig. gold clip-on hoop. fake 2.99 gun.

Oh yeah, we did the dance...

I am thankful for...
4. 1st graders. They are hilarious and completely adorable. They make me want to be a teacher tomorrow instead of in a year and a half.
5. Mornings + the feeling of productivity. Feeling like you are rocking the face off of Thursday because you are done with school at 9am instead of 8pm? Yep.
6. Weekends. No work + Chad being done with 16 hour days all week = selfish Amanda. Not letting that hard-working boy out of my sight for two whole days.
7. Parenthood. For giving me Lauren Graham again.


i am thankful for...

11.1.11 (That is a lot of 1's, don't you agree?) 

I don't know about you, but I am not ready for it to be November first. I am still hoping that I'll look at the calendar on our wall in the kitchen + it'll say September. But no, Thanksgiving and Christmas are right around the corner which means that so are those busy holiday weeks. Shopping, homework, planning -- you know.

In order to make sure that I attempt to focus on the positive in my life instead of all the stress and ba-humbug-ness, I will be stopping by my blog a few times a week and sharing the things I am thankful for. (Taking a page out of Jess's book always seems like a good idea -- loved those thankful posts of hers.) I remember doing this in elementary school with the hand prints and the turkey feathers, so let's think of this as a modern day bulletin board full of those toilet paper roll turkeys, shall we?

I am thankful for...
1. Leo's puppiness. Even though he eats the drywall like it's candy, when he curls up on his puppy bed with his little butt hanging off the side, I just can't help fallin' in love.
2. Apples and the yummy snacks they make. Tonight I made a salad of candied walnuts, diced apples, gorgonzola cheese, balsamic vinaigrette, and spinach leaves and it was delish. Perfect for fall.
3. Cozy socks and cozy blankets. No explanation needed.

Feel free to join up in this celebration of those simple things you are grateful for!

Photo Credit: Apples in a Vintage Basket by Lynda Naranjo


twelve by 2012 // goal project by danni


Bloggers come up with the best ideas, don't they?!

Danni from oh, hello friend is so splendid. Not only is she dreaming up 12 goals by 2012, she is giving other bloggers the chance to participate. This is exactly the push I need to get some projects done around here. Lately, I have had no drive to complete anything on my to-do list. Sure, I've been busy. Too busy, in fact. Working on teachers' to-do lists, tests, assignments, lesson plans...you know how it is. No time to focus on the goal that I will feel empowered doing + more importantly, finishing.

So, these 12 to-dos are for me. Focused on areas of my house + agenda that will help me feel just that -- accomplished. I will come back to this list and update the process I'll be making. Feel free to join me, Danni, and all the others!

twelve by 2012.
Bold = done. Hurray!
italic = in progress.
01. remove wallpaper from our bathroom and kitchen.
02. paint at least one of those rooms.
03. do two projects off my want to create pinboard.
04. make a complete november + december meal calendar.
05. buy new flats and a pair of TOMS.
06. start my e-portfolio for school.
07. edit the europe trip pictures.
08. create an advent calendar for c + me.
09. cut + dye my hair.
10. go to thrift stores (with a edited eye, of course) at least four more times (x2 a month).
(1 of 4 times done)
11. visit laura + family once -- just the two of us.
12. get a desk and bookcase for our office.


i wore mittens today.

It's true. The high today in Wisconsin is 45. Which means that we are getting Chad's sweaters out of storage and onto hangers and I am seeing how long I can last before I wear long underwear under my jeans. The drive to school isn't so pretty anymore -- it's at that awkward part of the season where almost all the leaves have fallen and everything that is left is now this rusty brown color. And, every time we have to take Leo out (who is doing great, by the way), we either wear a jacket or stand there shivering.

And while this semester's workload has left my fall to-do list virtually untouched (I haven't even carved a pumpkin yet!), I did drink a pumpkin spice latte earlier this month and we have a bowl of candy corn sitting on the coffee table. So...not a complete fall failure. Right?! :)

some past fall posts of mine:
what I like eating on those cold days.
sunday nights + slippers.
pros + cons of sept./oct./nov.
i like wearing plaid.
autumn leaves sung by nat.

P.S. I was going to apologize for the lack of time I have spent on this blog and talking to you all, but I decided against it. If I apologized for every time I took a 5+ day leave from here, I'd constantly be throwing out 'I'm sorry's'. Just know that of all the commitments I have going on and of all the things on my plate, blogging is the one commitment that I want to keep up and yet can't all the time. I do miss you so, so much! :)



I have a list a mile and a half long of things I want to tell + show you about our new house, our new neighborhood, and all things in between. But for now, I'll show you the newest member of our family. The sunshine of our day(s).


This sweet little boy came to be ours yesterday afternoon and is never leaving (since we love him too much). The way we got him is one of the saddest stories (it still makes me tear up thinking about it): my mother-in-law heard from a former coworker that Leo (then Bentley) was in a foster home because his owners were going to put him under since their cat didn't get along with him! Can you imagine putting that sweet boy under?? Neither could we. So we got in contact with the right people, did a major shopping spree at Walmart + Petsmart, and took him home and introduced him to Karma (our cat).

Needless to say, he has completely turned our lives upside down. We now have to wake up early to take him out, come home for lunch, and give him treats after he listens to us say "Sit", and snuggle with him. :) It's been an adjustment...

but a good one. :)


wake. work. rinse. repeat.*

good morning, bloggers.

I had big plans to end this blogging break with a show + tell of all the marvelous pieces I got at Saver's several weeks ago. I'm super excited about them all -- particularly my new globe, but that post will have to wait. Because all those marvelous items are in banana boxes and pear boxes.

That's right. We're moving!

I should mention that we signed the year-long lease on Thursday night and are expecting to get the keys to our new house on Saturday morning.

That gives us only six full nights to pack up our entire apartment.

So, please excuse me while I fill my next week with school in the morning, work in the afternoon, and newspapers + boxes in the evening.  rinse. repeat.

*Just curious if you know, who once titled her beloved blog this exact phrase? :)


12 on the 12th // september.

01. Lots of interesting books to read right now, in addition to my textbooks -- hard to pick just one. So I don't. :)
02. Nothing better than spending the entire weekend with Chad. I love that boy.
03. Football season is back -- wahoo! Now we just need those cooler temps. to go with it.
04. Mitch Hedberg on Youtube. Chad + I spent 20 minutes on Saturday night watching his stand-up. I am saved by the buoyancy of citrus.
05. BKFST might have the most delicious eye-candy I have ever seen. I have saved so many recipes to my files.
06. One thing that I can't wait for during Christmas: She + Him announced a Christmas album.
07. Saw Crazy, Stupid Love on Friday night. Loved it. It's lives up to the hype.
08. My hair is at this awkward stage where I don't know whether to wear it up or down since I don't like either. I do like this one though.
09. Baking bread is one of my favorite things about having our own kitchen.
10. Still thinking about 9/11. Everyone reflected differently -- blog posts. facebook updates. tweets. Bible passages. Staying quiet + reading all those personal stories worked well for me. As a 13 yr. old when it happened, I didn't understand the magnitude of the events that day until much later.
11. This print is so true. So true. Hard to not panic + freak out from school, so I wrote it down in my planner to glance at during the day.
12. A little tired of listening to the same ol' tracks -- any music recommendations for my daily 22 minute drive to school?


the state fair.

Not our state's state fair. The Minnesota State Fair. You know, the second-largest one in the country. Chad + I have never been to the state fair before, so two Sundays ago, we went with my sisters, brother-in-law, and baby Z. I have never had a state fair experience quite like this, and I don't think I ever will. We said farewell to summer the best way: eating + laughing with our families. It was pure, late summer magic.


eggs. deviled.

When I think of deviled eggs, my mind wanders to backyard barbecues, football games, and potlucks. Pretty much any meal that requires a 'dish to pass'. I, personally have never made deviled eggs in my life, so the ladies meeting at my church seemed like a perfect opportunity to try it out. It also gave me perfect opportunity to debut my Fiestaware deviled egg platter + my thrifted Pyrex bowl. (Check out how grown-up I'm being: going to a ladies meeting -- that I used to avoid like the plague, and bringing something? So out of character for me!) :)

The original recipe for these deviled eggs is created by Tasty Kitchen member Calamity Anne.

get these ingredients together: 

*8 Large hard-cooked eggs 
*2 tablespoons, ¾ teaspoons mayonnaise 
*2-¼ teaspoons dijon mustard 
*1 to 2 dashes hot sauce 
*salt and pepper, to taste 
*paprika for sprinkling

then do these steps:  

*Remove shells from eggs and slice each egg in half lengthwise. Remove yolks and place in a bowl. Arrange whites on a serving plate.
*In a bowl, mash yolks with mayonnaise, mustard, hot sauce, salt and pepper. Spoon mixture into whites. I used a ziploc bag with a corner cut out of the bottom to do a sort-of piping, but if you have something else, you can use that.
*Sprinkle paprika over the eggs.

P.S. Did any of your grandmothers call them angel eggs? Maybe that was just in our church...you know, since we don't like talking about the devil. :)


my jumbled thoughts.

re: the first day of school...

01. I frantically called Chad during one of my breaks completely panicked about the 3 syllabi (syllabuses?) that I had just gone through during the morning and he lovingly reminded me that this is my last real year of school (the next one is student teaching!) which freaked me out even more.
02. I spent 20 minutes sprinkled throughout class breaks on pinterest which sort of relaxed me. I didn't realize that looking at pretty images could calm me so much. (I also figured out how badly I want the cool fall temperatures to come so that I can make maple blondies and baked macaroni + cheese.
03. Sometimes at the end of the day, you just need to spend an extra five minutes in the shower. It's a rule.
04. Sometimes you also need to spend a three hour lunch with your best friend talking about everything from old boyfriends to future goals. Perfect.

Happy Almost-the-Weekend to you! :) Lord knows I'll enjoy mine!

labor day, i loved you.

i loved that I have no idea why you exist.
i loved that you make my first week of school a four day week instead of a five.
i loved that I didn't have to work  + that you gave the daycare an extra "stay-at-home" day.
i loved that you made it possible for me to spend the whole day with my family at the park.

Yep, labor day. i loved you.


productivity + preparedness

There is nothing like having the weekend to yourself to make you feel super productive -- to make you feel like you made the most out of every day. That is exactly what I needed; just two days to myself to get the house ready for autumn and myself ready for school.

This time of year, this transition into hectic school days from lazy and carefree summer days always throws me off and makes me a little spastic. But the organizing and getting my house (almost) completely under control helps me feel more ready to face the school year head on -- my school supplies waiting in my backpack by the door, and my planner waiting for my scribbles. 

While my living room and dining nook underwent a total face-lift on Saturday night, I'll wait for its own separate post to show you pictures. Instead, I'll leave you with my sunny sunflowers that I picked up from the farmer's market on Saturday morning. Hopefully they brighten up your morning. :)


my +none friday and saturday.

print credit: emrick123 // for the laundry room

Chad woke me up at five a.m. this morning with some kisses and a hug. I returned the kisses and hugs with a "drive safe and i love you". He's traveling up to (I actually have no idea what direction it is) a river with his cousin and canoeing 66 miles in two days. Yeah, that's my ambitious husband for you. 

I on the other hand, will be having one of those weekends. A weekend all to myself that I welcome with loving and open arms -- it's a precious gift that I don't want to scare away. (past all-alone weekend posts are here and here.)

bread baking. shirt ironing. paper organizing. farmer's market. garage sales. thrift sales. corn husking + freezing. mad men. exercising. toenail painting. bubble bath. vacuuming. flower arranging. reading. bathtub scrubbing. blog reading. blog writing. cardigan washing. hair curling. crafting. movie watching.

cheers to the long weekend. whatever you're doing and whoever you're with. :)

p.s. While I was putting the credit for the above print in, I was reminded of the post about crediting that my pal, Bethany wrote today.  


something pretty for your morning.

Good Morning! :)

Wow. Where did I go? Sorry about that. Sincerely. I didn't mean to leave for that long since I do have events + posts I want to share with you. Before I tell you how I've been filling my time, I have to get business out of the way. The winner of the very london giveaway is: Eleise of One Artsy Mama! (Congrats Eleise! I wish I could keep the goodies for myself, but I'll mail it to you shortly!)

In the midst of jotting down blog ideas and topics, I was filling my time with other things. 

Simple things like...
crafting rosette flowers like a mad woman last night. Seriously. I loved working the fabric with my hands and burning my fingers on hot glue. Sometimes you have to have a night where you forgo the chores and just craft (amiright?)
finally figuring out simple things at my work (a daycare center) like how one child likes her back patted at naptime and how to handle arguments at blocks -- it's all about celebrating the little victories. 
cleaning my apartment. I'm getting my post-vacation life back in order and that involves cleaning every inch of the house until it sparkles. 
falling in love with Mad Men all over again. Thank you, Netflix. :)
driving around with Chad and listening to the most ridiculous songs imaginable -- ('Shots") is one of them.  
seeing my nephew + niece again after a 53-day absence. (Pictures of mr. UJ and baby Zara will be shared soon). 

P.S. The tutorial I used for the flowers can be found on pinterest.  


now i want a puppy.

In my family, we aren't big pet people. The closest thing we got to was a beta fish named Obadiah, that we lived with when I was 13. We always asked my parents "Why can't we get a dog or cat?" to which they'd reply "Because Dad's allergic." (The real truth is because he didn't want to pick up after the dog...you know, poo-wise. Which we found out later when my parents felt like we were ready to handle it. :) ) I never ever considered myself to be a "pet person". Little Amanda was more than happy to have brief encounters with her best friend's big black dog, Shadow. And leave it at that.

Then I met + married into Chad's family -- these people are all about dogs. and cats. Since Chad was a baby, his family has always had at least one dog (sometimes two) in the house. Chad tells me that the fondest memories that he has of his childhood was playing around with Rocky or Bear. Dogs will always be a part of his life.

Imagine Chad's surprise when the love of his life, his wife, says "Well...honey...I'm not really big on dogs. I like 'em, I just don't know if I could ever own one". Would that just crush a dog-lover's heart? He has always said to me, "Honey, we can just get a medium-sized one...right?" (Chad: always the compromiser.) which keeps me right on the fence about the whole Amanda-being-a-dog-owner discussion.

Braunie. This little guy might have just pushed me onto the pro-dog side of that fence, though. On Saturday, Chad's parents brought this little cutie home. And on Sunday, when we went over for our weekly supper, I got to meet Braunie. The sweetest, warmest, rolliest, softest puppy I have ever seen. How can I resist his warm body snuggled against mine as we lay on the couch? How can I not get a puppy since now I know it comes with giggling at the way he runs or how utterly adorable he is when he lays down on his paws? Slowly, I a warming up to the idea of having a dog on a more permanent basis -- just as long as he stays in the puppy stage for a while.

How about you -- are you from a "pet family" or not?

P.S. Tonight + Monday are the last days to put your name into the very london giveaway!


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