soup or bowl.

Remember that episode of Boy Meets World when Mr. Feeny wants tickets to the Superbowl and Cory must get them without the help of Topanga and Shawn? You know, the radio show contest with the Eskimo on summer vacation? ("I am hot and you are cold..."):

(Classic. Lemme just tell you, I was a big fan. Oh, apologies for the blurriness--it's YouTube's fault.)

Well, we aren't trying to get tickets to this year's Superbowl, but we sure are talking about it. Chad's team made it all the way to the big game and I think he's worn one green + gold item every day since the previous game. And he is completely excited. For instance, last night while I was crafting, the Milwaukee Bucks game was on and Ryan Braun was there...and Aaron Rodgers. Chad's reaction to the Wisconsin sports trifecta was so delightfully charming.

And, I must confess...I'm being a complete housewife about everything, even though I'm a big football fan, too. While he's excited to watch the game, I can't wait to make these mini spicy buffalo chicken meatballs with blue cheese dressing. Thanks for helping me show my true colors, Martha :)


excited me.

Rach and Amanda. I think this is the last picture we took together...back in 2006!!

For the first time in five long years (in about 1ish days), my best friend and I will share a time zone.

Finally. She is movin' back.

You know that feeling you get when you know that something exciting is going to happen and you can't seem to contain yourself? I started having that feeling yesterday when walking to my dentist's office. My smile started getting wider and wider (and my mood started getting better and better).

We finally get to have our friendship back! One that doesn't revolve around text messages, Facebook comments, and the occasional phone call. Instead we get a new start--discovering new movies to love, new chats to have, and new laughs to share.

I could not be more excited.  Needless to say, I'm having a pretty good Friday... how is yours going? :) 


am reading (a lot).

"Books, like firends, should be few and well chosen." -Joineriana

Several of you asked me what I was reading after I posted about my perfect Friday. I love getting ideas for my ever-growing books to read list from other bloggers, so I thought you all might like some recommendations. I am mixing non-fiction with fiction right now (my favorite way to read), so there are always several books on my table at the same time.

01. The Great Gatsby // F. Scott Fitzgerald (I must confess: I only started reading this one because I saw that Leo was cast as Jay Gatsby in the upcoming film) :)
02. Till We Have Faces // C.S. Lewis
03. Women, Food, And God // Geneen Roth
04. Eat, Pray, Love // Elizabeth Gilbert (I am a couple years too late to be on trend, but am enjoying it nonetheless, I'll just watch the movie alone...)

These are, of course, among the other books that I'm reading right now, entitled--Working With Young Children and Physical Activities For Young Children. Oh, and the super-interesting EDUC 376/576 Cross Cultural Field Experience Handbook. :)

Your turn: What are you reading these days? Help me beef up the must-read list a little more!


I think Edith really got it right when she said this.

This quote has resonnated with me ever since I saw it in an old issue of Oprah one weekend. I read it and  thought to myself "Yes to all of the above". For me, the past couple of weeks really have been all about home. Coming home from a long and tiring day of school and work and knowing that my babes (that's what I call Chad and Karma) are there waiting for me when I walk through the door, snuggled on the couch with a spot for me.

So for now, that's where you'll find me--at home (not right now of course since I'm writing this from work), with a pot of chili/stew/soup (we are obsessed) on the stove, homework in my lap, and husband by my side. 

If only we had a fireplace...


starting to appear.

It might seem a little early, but I just can't help it.

The hearts are slowly making their way into my house.

Last year (or any other year for that matter), I wasn't able to decorate for Valentine's Day. Since Chad and I weren't married or living together, I was only able to give him a card and letter. Now, this year, I'll be able to decorate our apartment and show my love in more than just a card. :)

As you can see, I've already gotten started by doing my take on the framed hearts by sarah and bendrix. This weekend and next, I plan on crafting up (and baking up) these fun projects:

01 | heart paperclips (for little notes to Chad and remembering where I stopped in my book).
02 | crayon hearts window display. (I can finally use my pink thread to hang them up in my window).
03 | Red Velvet Whoopie Pies (heart shaped of course).
04 | Mini Fabric Bunting (I just got a bag of red + pink fabric from the thrift store yesterday...now I'm just glad I found a use for it).
05 | Valentine's Critter Cards (I'm participating in a V-Day card swap over at the stationery place this year, so I'm going to make extra for those gals).

What about you--any Valentine's Day crafting going on at your house this year?

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i have to share this recipe.

Before I do another post, or even think about another post--I have to share this black bean burger recipe. Chad and I are always in search of easy, quick meals to make right after going to the gym. And, ever since I read the latest issue of Real Simple when it talked of eating more veggies and being more aware of what you are eating, I have tried to put veggies into every meal that we make together. Chad and I are even going to make meat-free meals a couple times a week.

With our new goal in mind, I had to find some yummy, easy, meat-free meals. Well, Betty delivered (she even has an entire vegetarian section!). I present our Thursday night dinner...

California Black Bean Burgers
(makes 6 sandwiches)

get these ingredients together:

*one can black beans, undrained
*one can chopped green chiles, undrained
*one cup plain dry bread crumbs
*one tsp. chili powder
*one large egg, beaten
*one-fourth cup yellow cornmeal
*two tbsp. vegetable oil

*six toasted hamburger buns
*two tbsp. mayo (we decided to go with sour cream instead. delish!)
*shredded lettuce
*thick-and-chunky salsa

then do these steps:

01. In food processor place beans. Cover and process until slightly mashed; remove from food processor into medium bowl. (I just put the beans in a bowl and masher them with the back of a fork.) Stir chilies, bread crumbs, chili powder, and egg into beans. Shape into 6 patties, each about 1/2 inch thick. Coat each patty with cornmeal.

02. In skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Cook patties in oil five to ten minutes, turning once, until crisp and thoroughly cooked on both sides. 

03. Spread bottom halves of buns with mayo (or sour cream). Top with lettuce, patties, salsa, and tops of buns. We also added a couple slices of onions.

We keep the sides light when we eat meals like this. Yesterday we had roasted broccoli with crushed red pepper drizzled with olive oil. And today I had orange slices...orange slices.

Any vegetarian meals that we should try?

hello, friday.

And winter break is over. I am enjoying one last Friday before school starts again on Monday. In order to fully enjoy Friday I must complete these tasks: go to the thrift store, read a couple chapters in my library book, make homemade pizza, and organize the guest room/office/craft storage space. Clearly I have a lot to get done today, but I thought I'd share these links that I am loving.

...am loving this organization technique with clothespins that Rachel from Benign Objects did. Now I have to buy some clothespins.

...am loving these sweet photos of mamas + their babies. So endearing and perfect.

...am loving this photo shoot. Jon Hamm could wear a baby blue jogging suit and still look delicious.

...am loving that Valentine's Day ideas are already slowly creeping around the blogosphere. Check out this cookie and cake box. yum. yum.

...am loving the creative things that people do (like minimal movie posters). My favorites are Back to the Future Part II, Minority Report, and UP.

...am loving this thought: Do couples in long term relationships start to look like each other? Ask me again in 10 years :)

P.S. I also am loving that video of She + Him! They are way too cute--don't you agree?


thrice quick notes...

photo credit: source (gotten from my pinterest.)

01. We are on a citrus kick at here at the Hestekins....and we wish we had more (am dreaming of the photo above).  Right now we grab clementines for breakfast-on-the-go and have oranges for supper. It's like vitamin C overload here. I have 10 oranges sitting in my fruit drawer and am dreaming up some recipe ideas (any suggestions?). 

02. Anyone else excited (I'm a little too excited) for NBC's Thursday night lineup? Can not wait to have Parks & Rec come back. Tonight, Chad and I have a date to eat black bean burgers + roasted broccoli and watch from start to finish.

03. Am loving my afternoons right now. It's going to be so short-lived since school starts again on Monday, but for the next three days I get to drink tea + read books with Karma by my side (after the dishes are done and the floors are swept of course) :). Oh, and I snack on a sweet treat of maple scones (made famous in our house thanks to Jessica!).

P.S. Has anyone else watched Conan lately? Am making an attempt to use the word thrice in my daily life now. :)


my vote.

best use of sparkles/best princess dress: olivia wilde
best makeup: claire danes
best bangs: sandra bullock + olivia widle
best color: christina hendricks
best hair: anne hathaway
best guy: jake gyllenhaal + colin firth

Speaking of Colin, did you catch his speech? I swooned when he said this to his wife: "I think I can cope with just about any age as long as I still see her."

(I have watched the end of this clip about six times today. It's pure romance!)

What's your vote, readers?


to: amanda. from: great-grandma.

Isn't that the sweetest way to label a gift?

A few weeks before Christmas, my mother and I were chatting before lunch one Sunday and I mentioned that I needed more thread. For my wedding, I got this little sewing kit for any emergencies on the big day, but I have since used it all up mending hems and sewing on buttons. She suggested that I take some of the thread that she had leftover from her grandmother (who passed away when I was 4 or 5) and I thought it was a good idea (except I didn't want to just take it). So, she wrapped up that little brown box and put it under the Christmas tree for me to open on Christmas Eve.

And I love it.  When I was taking the pictures, I couldn't help but think of my great-grandmother--imagining her going to the store, seeing that lavender thread for 15 cents and thinking of what she could make with it. Going down the row of Coats and Clark (clearly a favorite) thread and picking out a few light pinks and periwinkles. Now here I am, fifty years later with the same thread in my house, where it is in its little mason jar next to a framed picture of my wedding day.

P.S. I don't think I can use these pretty colors to sew buttons on Chad's shirts...so I'm going to have to get some neutral colors to complete my mini sewing kit :)


blackberry-lime muffins.

It's highly unusual for me to post two recipes in a row (although trail mix shouldn't even count as a recipe), but I had to share this recipe for blackberry-lime muffins while it was still fresh in my mind. There was no special reason I made this--limes and blackberries were both on sale at my grocery store, and after browsing tasty kitchen, I knew I had to make it. One thing that I learned while making this yesterday: fruit zest rubbed into sugar is the most fragrant smell to ever come out of the kitchen. Until I make the next thing of course. :)

Get these ingredients together:
  • 1-½ cup all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ cups sugar
  • 2 whole limes, zested
  • 1 whole egg
  • ¼ cups canola oil
  • ⅓ cups buttermilk
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup blackberries
  • 2 tablespoons turbinado sugar
Then do these steps:

01. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a muffin pan with 9 paper liners or spray with cooking spray. Set aside.

02. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, salt, and baking powder.

03. In a small bowl, add the sugar and lime zest. Rub sugar and zest together until fragrant (a.k.a the best step ever). Add sugar and zest to the flour mixture. Whisk ingredients together.

04. In a glass measuring cup or small bowl, mix egg, canola oil, buttermilk, lime juice, and vanilla extract together.

05. Pour the wet ingredients over the flour mixture. Slowly stir together, the batter will be thick. Don’t over mix. Gently fold in the blackberries. Stir carefully or you will have purple muffins.

06. Fill 9 muffin cups with the batter. Sprinkle each muffin with turbinado sugar (which I didn't have, so I just skipped that step--they don't need it, but I'm sure it would taste delicious).

07. Bake muffins for 17-20 minutes, or until muffins are golden brown and a toothpick comes out clean. Let muffins cool on a cooking rack.

Then, get out your feistaware saucer, brew a cup of tea, and your current read. Snuggle up next to your purring kitty and settle into a pleasant afternoon.

 Happy Weekending my dear friends!

recipe created by: two peas and their pod.


not rocket science.

There is no way you (and by you, I mean myself) can screw up trail mix. It is one of the simplest snacks out there.  That also means that it's one of the tastiest snack out there (the two seem to go hand in hand, right?).

I am one of the most annoying people when it comes to eating trail mix. First, I hog it all (seriously--with me you gotta buy your own bag).  And second, I pick out all the stuff that I don't like (and then proceed to give it to Chad. He always gets extra raisins and hazelnuts that way.)

What I like in my trail mix:
pretzels. m & ms (the only snack where you can eat them guilt-free--hey, you're eating the good stuff too!). peanuts. mixed nuts (along with the extra peanuts). dried cranberries. almonds.

Ideas for next time:
sunflower seeds. cheerios. yogurt covered nuts. dried apricots. clusters of granola. cheese crackers. marshmallows. banana chips. teddy grahams.

Put in individual containers for an on-the-go household (like mine!)

3 things that make Chad happy this week.

So you guys will never guess what I have to do for my winterm class this year...write a blog! It's how my teacher grades our work and gives us an "online notebook" (his words, not mine). Since I've been spending nine hours of the past three days writing thirteen posts, I just haven't wanted to spend much time on blogger...youknowwhatimean?

But, because I love you and I love writing on here, I thought I share with you some things that are making Chad elated. And when husband is happy, wife is happy. :)

01. He finally has them. The new golf clubs. After much browsing online and two trips to Golf Galaxy, the new beauties are sitting in our dining room. Almost every night, Chad will move the recliner, get out his putter, and practice his shot (Last night he said, "I wish I could do something else in the house besides putting...like using the sand wedge.) Darling, it makes me nervous for my picture frames and my glass windows when you talk like that. :)

I have gotten a lesson in the fundamentals of golf so now I can tell you what a hybrid is, why the shaft is shortened for some people, oh and why weight affects the swing. The new purchase has caused much excitement in our house the last couple days...we are tempted to take a road trip to warmer climates so that Chad can break them in.

02. He, not we, are excited for the NFL post-season (I am denying that football exists anymore after my team's heartbreaking loss. Before Saturday: wash husband's jersey and long-sleeve tee (it's part of the 'lucky outfit' apparently). He hopes to ride the high of Sunday's win all the way to Saturday night. While he watches the game, I'll be sitting next to him reading my next Real Simple/knitting.

03. Yesterday, we finally watched The Social Network. I think it was the busyness of December, but he waited so patiently for us to find a free night to go see it. I believe it'll be in our DVD library, since Chad is a big fan of the director. We actually had much debate over this on Sunday: Should we buy the movie without seeing it, or should we waste 4 dollars seeing it in our town's budget theater? We wasted the 4 bucks :) And, I confirmed to myself that I indeed have a teeny crush on Jesse Eisenberg (he's just a little cutie!).

P.S. Three things that are making wife happy today: spending the day with my hair pinned back and cooking this soup, baking this bread and reading this cookbook.


happy in a list.

You all know how much I love lists so check me out today over on Allison's blog where I shared some happiness that was in my heart in December.

I'll admit, I haven't taken my Christmas decorations down yet either...

But I am thinking about what Valentine's Day decorations to put up around my house :)


it's january 6th...do you have your calendar yet?

01. / 02. / 03. / 04. / 05. / 06. / 07. / 08. / 09.

(Excuse my attempt to be witty.) :)

If you're like me, you probably already have a 2011 calendar (well...you saw that now I have mine. But if for some reason you don't, I've complied 9 neat ones I'd like to see on my wall.

One of my favorite things to do in the first week of a new year is to write down all the things that I know are going to happen in the year in those neat little squares. For twenty-eleven, I already wrote down special events like--my nephew's birthday, my parent's (and my in-laws) 30th wedding anniversary, my first wedding anniversary, a dear friend's wedding, and mundane January happenings like dental appointments, bill due dates, and my work schedule. Nothing special...but to me it's my life. It's a way to see what is lying ahead for me.


the story of the calendar swap.

I participated in my first ever calendar swap just a couple months ago. When I signed up, I went into it thinking "Oh, I'll probably get some little-known blogger, since I'm a little known blogger." Well, Caroline must really do this at random, because I got Danni.

You know, of...oh, hello friend?

Yeah, I was surprised too. Since she was such an awesome blogger (who has 4500+ followers), I didn't want to pick the wrong one. I hunted her website for inspiration for a couple days and was still at a loss. Well, then I thought, "I'll just get her something that I would want on my wall for twelve months" (I think that was the point all along...). I found the perfect one and sent it right along her way (Hammypie even shipped it for me!).

During the week of Christmas (what a perfect week to get something, right?), a package from Danni arrived on my doorstep containing
this calendar from Paper Source,

and some sweet little goodies (the pocket mirror and pin...and come on, how adorable is that hot air balloon?)! She even put in one of her pocket calendars for me to tuck in my wallet!

Thanks Danni! I really lucked out getting her as my truly wonderful swap buddy. :)

snow day.

With the snow coming down outside, today seems like a perfect day to mend this sore throat (thanks, husband.) and drink some tea.

Also on today's agenda (if I can pull myself off the couch & away from The Office reruns on Netflix): fold laundry. put away dishes. bake bread in my dutch oven. put more music on my iPod. put away Christmas decorations. organize refrigerator. update calendar (one of my favorite things to do right away in the new year).

Happy Wednesday!

Oh, one more thing...have you checked out Etsy Taste Test yet? It's all sorts of wonderful! I think I spend an hour browsing it last night. :)


2011: in one word.

Happy 01.01 dear friends! My word for twenty eleven is Harmony.

I seek harmony in all areas of my life this year.
In my body.
In my marriage.
In my faith.
In my housewifery.
In my friendships.
In my daily time management.
In my choices.
In my emotions.

What's your word going to be?


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