april's list.

photo credit: martha stewart. pin #: 8317497.

I always think the previous month is going to be the busiest month around here. And then the calendar gets turned to the new month, and I'm mistaken. So far in twenty-eleven, April is the busiest month. I bring to you...April by the numbers:

Five birthdays in my immediate family. 5 out of the 10. Yeah, we are spring babies around here. March used to be our birthday month, but now with the addition of in-laws and nephews + nieces, the torch is passed to April. The people blowing out candles this month include: Chad (tomorrow!), my sister Laura's soon-to-be-born baby girl, my brother Kyle, my brother-in-law Eli, and my nephew UJ (he and Eli--the dad, share the same birthday...isn't that cool?!).

Two weddings. One I'm invited to...one I'm not. The one I'm not invited to is pretty exclusive (not to mention far away). It doesn't bother me that they didn't think to include me on the guest list, I am still planning on celebrating their wedding with my sisters and mom. We are going to record the wedding at Laura's, I'll bring the English tea + sandwiches, and we'll all sit on the couch and watch some royalty (just like my mom did for Diana + Charles' wedding). We do have to find something for the men to do...
The one I am invited to involves a crafty gift I plan on making/sharing with you when it's done. Stay tuned.

One garden planning session. And by garden, I mean herbs only. We can't dig into the ground (renters unite!) but we can find cute terra-cotta planters (a la Martha). We've never exercised our green thumbs, so hopefully we produce something this season.

One Easter. With Easter approaching, I'm thinking of making spring-related crafts...of course. Am also thinking of spring cleaning, spring mixes, spring vegetables, spring flats and cardigans, and spring meals.

Lovely April: I welcome your rain showers, your spring flowers, and your sunny days. 


in my mind and soul.

image by: HeyZee. pin #: 1257115.

Among all the lesson plan assignments, the bread baking, the laundry folding, the dish washing, the recipe making, the Top Chef watching, one thought is above all of these. No matter what I'm doing today, our devotion reading last night is sticking out in my brain. It was exactly what I needed to hear yesterday and today. I had to refocus on Jesus and his extraordinary death....

An excerpt below:

"His (Christ's) mind was clear, and at the very end, he cried with a loud, clear voice. This indicates that he did not die as a result of his wounds. He did not die because he had to. He died because he willed it. Death did not come to him, but, uniquely, he came to death. ....He voluntarily surrendered himself to such a death. 
His was no ordinary death." 


spring book sale.

Check it out people! Rachel over at Black Eiffel posted that Chronicle Books is having a little sale right now. 30% off + free ground shipping! I might have to pick one of these up:

Apartment Therapy Presents: Real Homes, Real People, Hundreds of Real Design Solutions // $27.50
Eric Carle Animal Lacing Cards // $14.95 (perfect for the nephew in your life who is going to be two at the end of April)
City Walks: London 50 Adventures on Foot // $14.95 (perfect for our European adventure this summer)
Forests Eco-Keepsake Notecards // $14.95

Promo Code: SPRING11
Valid through April 4th.

Happy Book Browsing!

(all images via Chronicle Books)

when you just don't want to cook meat...

Yesterday it snowed here. And not just a couple small snowflakes...it snowed so much that my school shut down at noon (which almost never happens). So, I spent the day inside cooking and cleaning and snuggling on the couch with Karma (who in three hours didn't move once...she's such a lazy kitty I tell ya).

When I thought of what to make for dinner I just didn't want a heavy, full meal. I think stems from the fact that a. I wasn't about to go outside and be with the three other people at the grocery store and b. I am not in the winter mood anymore. My tastebuds are craving light, spring meals. I know I mentioned that I wanted to put more vegetarian meals in our weekly routine, and we love cooking meals like this. Simple, full of veggies, and great leftovers.

Whole Grain Spaghetti with Garlicky Kale and Tomatoes 
(from Real Simple February 2011 p.113)

get these ingredients together:

*6 oz. whole-grain spaghetti
*2 T. olive oil
*medium red onion, thinly sliced
*2 cloves garlic, chopped
*kosher salt + pepper
*bunch of kale, thick stems removed, leaves torn in bite-size pieces
*2 pints of grape tomatoes, halved
*1/3 c. chopped roasted almonds
*1/4 c. pecorino (and more for serving)

then do these steps:

01. Cook the pasta according to the package directions. Reserve 1/4 c. of the cooking water, drain the pasta, and return it to the pot.
02. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion, garlic, 1/4 tsp. salt, and 1/8 tsp. pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until beginning to brown, 4 to 5 min. Add the kale and cook, tossing frequently, until tender, 2 to 3 min. Add the tomatoes and cook, tossing frequently, until the tomatoes begin to soften, 1 to 2 min. more.
03. Add the kale mixture, almonds, pecorino, and reserved cooking water to the pasta and toss to combine. Serve with additional cheese.

3 steps.... That's it. Enjoy :)


the middle of spring break.

The past couple days included (but are not limited to) :

clementines for three dollars and ninety-eight cents.
eating three clementines a day.
and, when taking this picture, noticing how much the snow has melted off our patio. (Just look at that! In January and February, it was completely covered almost to the door handle!)
watching The Fighter.Chad and nephew UJ playing plunking on the piano together. And having a blast.
UJ loving to talk on cell phones and getting my mom's purple cell-phone shaped magnet to talk with.
Beatles marathon on the way to my sister's house to visit my pregnant/bed-rest ridden sista and give her back her son who we had kidnapped at G + G's since Saturday.
Johnny Cash Ring of Fire and Bright Eyes on the way back home. On the same radio station that I talked about here.
monster cookies + diet Sierra Mist.
Rachael Ray magazines.
discussing moving plans and future dreams with mom and sister.
discussing the Walker Bill and how it impacts the teachers in the family. 
soup + sandwiches + shamrock cookies right before Lent service. Every church should do this. It was fabulous.
the March Madness invasion that happens every year. Seriously. I just searched my blog and I posted about MM + us in 2009 and in 2010.
hilarious/unfortunate baby names. Last night we talked about the truly real names in history--Ima Hogg and Harry Baals.
thinking how badly I do not want to go back to school on Monday.

Happy St. Patrick's Day to all!


jotting down some thoughts.

This break is doing me a world of good. I am getting a vacation and I love it. There is nothing like waking up without an alarm clock and getting to drink an entire cup of coffee for breakfast. There is also nothing like cleaning out the craft space and coming up with new ideas....

:: I have been so inspired by bloglovin these past couple days. There are some really incredible engagement photo shoots that people have discovered. Bobbi and Mike featured their annual top 50 and Lillian found this holi color engagement shoot. (Kinda want to do this for a party sometime soon. Throwing color on people seems like it would be a good time.)

:: When Chad + I are together all we talk about is Europe. Our friend Danielle came by last week and gave us tips + suggestions on what to do when over there. We've narrowed it down to London (and surrounding areas), Paris, and Brussels (with a day trip over to Bruges). We will spend most of our time in London and will probably do some day trips in England. All we do is look at plane routes, browse spotted by locals, record anything England-related on the Travel Channel, and compose a lengthy document of what we want to see when over there. We are completely excited. :)

::All I did the past 48 hours was read this book. Anyone else heard of it? Book report to come soon. Let me just say I was pleasantly surprised how engrossing it is. I kept telling my dad that he has to read this book.

P.S. When browsing blogs this week, go ahead and stop by Jamie's where she announced a swap (a favorite thing of mine about the blogging world). I am signing up...will you?

print found at this pin.


ingredients for a happy morning.

number one. Have the day off. See that it's snowing outside. Make half a pot of coffee and drink it all with vanilla caramel creamer. Eat toast and grapes while browsing your bloglovin. Comment on your favorite posts.

number two. Watch the SATC series finale. Love Paris + that beautiful language. And Carrie's fashion in part deux. My favorites: the black and white striped ruffled flower shirt, the seafoam green tulle dress, the red + black polka dot dress, and of course the gray dress.

number three. Do your schoolwork. This doesn't seem like it would be something you enjoy, but then you realize you only have three days left before spring break. And you realize that some of your homework involves going through Scholastic order forms like you are in second grade again. :)


1. 2. 3. 4. picks of the week.

I can't stop browsing pinterest . As I mentioned before, it's my one-stop when finding goodies I want to save. I do it in between classes, at lunch, before Chad comes home, during Arrested Development, while eating Cheerios before school. You get the picture...I'm obsessed with pinning. As Marta would say, I "la la la love pinterest."

This week in between papers and midterms, I'm dreaming of...01. the major spring cleaning project headed my way during spring break....02. trench coat weather so I can wear the new trench coat I bought on Saturday...03. the day I get to drive to the grocery store with the moon-roof open and the birds sweetly chirping above me...04. the bakery in Brussels that Chad and I want to have breakfast at one morning this summer.

I pin, do you?
If so, let me know in the comments.
I would love more eye candy.

P.S. My trench coat is olive green and from Old Navy. I have never owned a trench before, so I'm pretty pumped. Old Navy had amazing winter clearance deals this weekend, so get your little selves over there and stock up! :)


my date(s) for the weekend.

You might have thought based on the title that I have a date with Chad this weekend. But, poor me doesn't even get to see Chad this weekend since he left today with his bros to have a guys weekend down in Milwaukee. Now it's not really a poor me couple of days because I have some dates planned.

I'm having dates with--

my netflix queue. I get to watch all the b + w classics that Chad never wants to watch with me.
my homework. I am shutting myself in my house on Saturday morning and not leaving my laptop until I have completed everything I need to for next week.
my tweezers. The eyebrows are getting outta control.
my gym. Hittin' it up with my iPod on Saturday. 
my oven. I make Summer's oatmeal sandwich bread exclusively and have been slacking on making the next loaf. We haven't had toast for weeks!
my europe plans. As you can probably guess, even since we decided to plan for our Europe getaway, it's all we are thinking about (see video above. Actually don't because then you will probably be dying to go too.) I even recorded the Paris episode of Samantha Brown on the travel channel.

Are you going on any dates this weekend? :)


hello march.

You beautiful month, you. I don't know what it is, but for some reason I always seem to like March. Love March in fact. It could be the week-long no homework break I have coming up (in 10 days to be exact) or the trifecta of birthdays I'll be celebrating (you have to love any month that gives you an excuse to eat birthday cake at least 3 times). But, I think it's because we in the midwest start to realize that winter isn't a season that lasts forever (although it seems like it right now). Of course we will have that one last snowstorm (fingers crossed that it's not too horrible), hopefully then after spring break it's all about shedding the outer parts of jackets and watching those melting snowbanks get smaller and smaller...       I think another reason I really like March is because Chad + I start planning out the summer. Since we have only 3 mos. out of the year that we can really do anything outdoors, we have to fill the calendar up pretty early. Right now we have: camping trip no. 1 (Chad), 30th anniversary party for my parents (will fill you in on that one), one concert, three weddings, one birthday bash, and camping trip no. 2 for him (I don't camp) in the works.

And, yesterday halfway through Bible class, Chad leans over to me and whispers "Europe". I just look at him like "Huh?" You see, we have a big (to us) tax return this year and have been talking about going on a trip since we aren't doing a vacation with my family this year. Vegas, New Orleans, Texas...those were the places we were talking about going to this summer. Now all we can talk about are Brussels, Berlin, Paris, London... Absolutely nothing has been set in stone yet. But...that doesn't stop us from talking to friends that spent 5 weeks touring Europe and looking to see how much plane tickets from London to Berlin are. Last night right after I got home from my Oscar party, we were on Google Maps seeing what sort of route through Europe we could take. I even said to him "Honey, we're going to have to remember to bring earplugs." "Why's that?" he replied. "Because if I'm going to sleep in a hostel with 6 other people, there's bound to be at least one snorer" :)

P.S. Breaking down the photo: Embroidery hoops are amazing. I'll do a separate post on my master plan for all the fabric hoops I have made. For the time being they just sit on my table right next to the calendar Danni gave me.


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