grandpa's party.

A photo-heavy post today because I am student teaching and working and I don't have enough time to write about those adventures quite yet. My grandpa retired from being a pastor after 62 years (! -- that still amazes me) a couple weekends ago and his church threw him a party. Now, at most events, I'm the one that is behind the camera but I took this one off and handed the camera to Chad. All the below images are from his perspective and I love seeing what he captured that day:


the verbs of august.

reading // Seabiscuit by Laura Hillenbrand and Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maud Montgomery. Have to mix up the non-fiction and the fiction sections of my small library. Both are currently in my purse (Anne) and my gym bag (Seabiscuit) waiting for me to crack their spines back and dive back into stories about Lakes of Shining Waters and horse racing in the '40s.

listening // the hum of the fan before I fall asleep. I must have been one of those babies that loved white noise because I sure love it now. (is that true mom?) Also, recently got into Spotify again and have downloaded: The Wailin' Jennys, Lianne La Havas, and The Best Coast.

watching // Dawson's Creek (ah! I can't seem to shake it! I keep talking about it, but I am almost done and I am not a quitter!) and while I am not watching TV (ahem, Real Housewives) I am usually watching Leo sleep, since there's nothing cuter. No, seriously, until we have children that puppy sleeping while be how I measure cuteness.

baking // I. don't. bake. currently, I mean. For several reasons: 1) My kitchen is tiny and the thought of having the counters (two) open long enough for me to bake something is laughable and 2) I have lost quite a few pounds and I can't keep those pounds off if there are baked goods sitting in my house (extreme lack of self-control with this one when it comes to having snack food in the house. Chad is lucky if he gets any treats at all).

enjoying // the calm before the storm. School/student teaching/hectic schedule/10 hour days starts in 5 days. 5. I keep telling myself I'm ready, so here's hoping the inner pep talk is working.

wanting // this might sound very 'first world' of me, but Chad and I want a Keurig machine. We used one in the hotel room during our stay in Madison and loved the single-serve concept. Hopefully they go down in price (maybe around Christmas?) so that we can get one.

celebrating // this weekend with my grandpa since he is preaching his last service ever before retiring. He has been a Lutheran pastor for over 62 years! A weekend with almost his entire family sitting in his tiny Minnesota church seems very fitting for such a wonderful man.

doing // day off stuff. laundry. (am I always doing laundry?) blogging. grocery shopping. packing. a trip to Kohl's. organizing. snoozing with Leo -- you know, the usual.

drinking // my daily water -- at the gym right above the water fountain there's a sign that says "Drink More Water" with a little water droplet next to it that is saying "Your body loves me!" (I'll just have to take a picture of it for you because it pretty cute.) And when I'm not drinking water, it's usually Sam Adam's Oktoberfest or a glass of wine for supper.

*original post concept can be seen here at:  take me for a twirl.



the Madison farmer's market blows my small town one outta the water.
I think that every year around this time of summer, I write about how I don't want summer to end and I don't understand how other bloggers can be writing about fall fashion and fall baking and soups -- things that are the furthest from my mind. I try to hold onto the end as tight as I possibly can. And if that means escaping two hours south to Madison for the weekend then that is what I have to do.

Our weekend in Madison was the exact ending to summer that we both needed -- it was full of food, drinks, television, naps, walks, bike rides, pictures, exploring, and driving together. perfect.

p.s. If you are my facebook friend or follow me on instagram, you'll have already seen my other Madison pictures. But, if you are interested: instagram (@projectsimplelife) #madcation



Today Sheena posted one picture and wrote about it. Then she asked bloggers to do the same.
Above is my picture.
Below are my words.
gallery walls remind me of grandmas.
grandma hulke's wall leading downstairs.
grandma hallauer's wall in the hallway off the kitchen.
glancing up at the same picture of g + g while I was eating my breakfast at their table.
slowly adding to my own gallery wall above our couch.
I always ask for picture frames for Christmas.
I love looking at people's pictures when I go to their houses.
it all started with one picture.
the 11 x 14 picture of us kissing in our wedding clothes.
then we went to paris.
so I added the eiffel tower picture that chad took.
I love the pictures chad takes (I think more than my love for my own pictures).
etsy purchases were added -- the paris postcard and the she + he shoes.
then an addition flash card from a thrift store.
a fabric scrap wreath.
a photobooth picture.
a free download.

all these pictures are us.
right now. 
before kids school pictures are added.
and their artwork that we'll frame.
but that's in the future.
God's got all that ready for us.
Thank goodness.

so this is our first edition.
it's ever changing.
evolving to what is relevant. 
in the present.

p.s.  funny enough, I posted about this very subject in 2009! Read my thoughts: here.


12 on the 12th. // august

01. The Olympics is closing as I type. Now what will Chad and I watch together? I know...old episodes of Louis on Netflix. (Sidenote: 'Imagine' gave me chills.)
02. I love that the Olympics inspires people to get fit. My bodypump instructor never fails to bring up Lochte or Franklin during our hour together.
03. Chad bought me the Canon 50mm lens for my birthday. I think I'm in love.
04. I also think I'm in love with the following: apples + peanut butter, cottage cheese + scrambled eggs, and ripe peaches (they don't need anything added to them).
05. Leo does this cute/annoying thing when I have popcorn sitting on my lap -- he'll get as close to me as possible, look up at me and give me those puppy eyes. I cave and give him some of course, but not without making him 'sit' first.
06. Pacey Witter is unlike any guy that I went to high school with. I'm currently watching DC because 1) I wasn't allowed to when I was a kid 2) I want to see what all the fuss around it was and 3) I am a bored during the day almost-back-to-school-student-teacher.
07. My nephew and sister called me on my birthday earlier this month and sang Happy Birthday on my voice mail. I may never delete it.
08. I am in current desperation to find cute, modest/teacher appropriate, comfortable clothing for my student teaching days. I guess I'll have to shop. :)
09. Current Reads: Seabiscuit and In Defense of Food. I have this thing with non-fiction at the moment.
10. I have a problem with buying fabric from my local thrift store and thinking that I'll do all these great things with it when really it just keeps Karma company up in the attic.
11. The Olympics also makes me pine for London again and forces me to commit to putting all my pictures in an album (and share some with you!)
12. Chad and I have three days off in two weeks. Chad and I want to go somewhere. Maybe Chicago??


what I like about... // Leo.

Disclaimer: I started writing this post the night that Leo chewed my phone charger. I was pissed and needed a reminder of why I love my dog. 

Quick recap: Leo is my dog. He is a 12-month old yellow Lab who we took in last October when he was a puppy baby. I never ever expected to be a dog owner, but Chad always wanted one and that little Leo completely won me over. Now I get to have my boy (and Karma our cat) with me all day long...and I love it. If you are not a dog lover like I, feel free to skip over this post. :)

what I like about... // LEO.
01. When he gives me the 'I'm so cute and I know it' look by putting his head on his front paws and looking up at us.
02. My nicknames for him: 'Boo-Boo', 'Lee-Lee', 'Boo'. He has heard me say them so many times that he actually responds to them now.
03. I am trying to sound as un-corny as possible, but when we first got Leo, Chad and I worked as a team and figured out what he wanted and how he was to fit into our life that would be the best for all of us. A tiny little preview what is to come once there are baby Hestekins.
04. His floppy dark tan ears.
05. His dark chocolate eyes.
06. How smart he is -- he understands the command 'back up', plays tug-of-war, can find any ball we throw at him, and runs to the door when I say "who's here?".
07. Swimming with him is always an adventure. As is driving in a car with him -- he loves those windows open.
08. How he always sighs like the weight of the world is on his shoulders when he lays down.
09. The white tip of his tail and the white diamond shape on the top of his head.
10. How much he loves Chad. The quintessential picture of man's best friend with those two.

*Even though Leo rocks, there are things he does that I can't. stand. Namely: chewing through two pairs of my shoes, two of Chad's shoes, one printer charger, one computer charger, three phone chargers, one pair of underwear, and one thousand tissues.


tomorrow is my birthday.

And while I could wax poetic musings about how I'm happy to be celebrating in my town instead of where we were last year, I won't, because comparing Europe to Eau Claire would be like comparing Chef Boyardee to the Italian pasta dishes that Bethany is currently eating in Rome -- it's just not right.

So it's true that last year's birthday rocks this year's birthday outta the water...maybe.

But I don't know. I know that Chad has a baseball game with our family, a trip to my parent's house for cake, and a visit with friends who we haven't seen in over a year planned -- but that's all I know.

Last year I happily sat next to him on the airplane from London to Minneapolis for eight hours watching four movies and eating three meals. But this year I will probably sit next to him on our couch on Saturday morning. We'll probably be watching the Olympics with our breakfast plates on TV trays and our Leo snoozing in the corner.

And I'm good with that. Because I'm finally understanding God's lesson that He has been teaching me the past two years: that I don't need much to be happy. Being married and having the day-in and day-out with him that I do has shown me that.

So happy Saturday to you. My birthday wish (my one of many) is that you take a sec to find some part of the day that makes your heart happy.

I was hoping while I was writing this that I wouldn't end on a sappy, syrupy note, but oh well. :)

Looking back....
birthday post: 2009
birthday post: 2010
birthday post:  2011

because it's just not a project simple life birthday post if I don't include a cupcake // credit.


XXX Summer Olympics.

work out.
watch the olympics.
watch the olympics with chad.

I do sprinkle in some time for eating, showering, and general everyday-ness, but most of the last week has been the above schedule. I love it. I follow almost every event, my favorites so far being swimming, men's and women's gymnastics, rowing, and beach volleyball. And I can't wait for track to start in a couple days.

summer far surpasses winter in my humble opinion. 
in every way. 

some of my favorite moments are seeing U.S. Olympiads on the stand singing the national anthem, Ryan + Michael in the pool, and Gabby on the beam and uneven bars. And I completely believe that those P & G commercials were designed for criers like me (as well as those little vignettes about the athletes before their event starts). I soak up the events every night with Chad, not updating my twitter feed until after for fear that someone would spoil the outcome (especially since I follow Misty May and Michael Phelps now). (:

I think the last time I was this invested this much in the olympics was in 1996 during the magnificent seven's reign in gymnastics -- watching their events on the floor of my house in Mankato with my mom and older sister, clutching my Olympic Barbie (who had the uncanny resemblance to Shannon Miller).

image 1 // here
image 2 // here
collage // project simple life


happy weekend.

Whenever Chad goes away for a weekend trip, I always seem to write about it. I write about how sad I get when mine is the only toothbrush in the toothbrush holder and mine are the only pillows on the bed. Then I write about all my big plans to get everything done in three days before Chad gets back home. Cram as much shopping, writing, eating, errand-running, and chores as I can.

This time around, those lofty goals are still on my to-do list (I actually did write out a list) sprinkled with fun things like watching the opening ceremonies with a glass of wine and sushi (and pining for London again) tonight and the farmer's market and editing pictures tomorrow morning. Will you be watching the Olympics this weekend? It's my absolute favorite!

It might not seem like the most thrilling weekend to date, but it's just what I need before our whirlwind August rolls around...



five purchases shown.
plus three honey sticks.
one Saturday ago.
ten dollars spent.
turned into kebobs.
kale chips.
roasted potatoes.
plenty of cereal and berry breakfasts.



little things in life. // summer edition

summer shandy. dawson's creek on netflix. reading books. hanging laundry outside. flowery tablecloths. cottage cheese + eggs for breakfast. bobby pin hairstyles. frisbee throwing with leo. chlorine swimming pools. summer olympics trials. fans blowing on me at night. instagram pictures. smell of sunscreen. fires crackling. blowing bubbles. the joy of catching fish. pink and purple sunsets. the art of un-plugging. jeopardy + popcorn dates. the avengers. waiting for the dark night. guilty pleasure // the bachelorette. farmer's market flowers. flip flops. peanut butter and apple slices. vodka sours. organizing the craft room. having time to organize the craft room. riding on a boat. painting toenails. baseball games + sunflower seeds. exercising more. garage sales and thrift sale trips. sun still out at nine at night. flavored water. lawn chairs. frozen yogurt. lake water. swimming with leo. eating grilled suppers courtesy of chad. sidewalk chalk. iced coffee.watering our little basil plant. cool sheets. summer wreath making. smores. magazines -- and having time to read them. sleeping with the windows open.

this summer list is brought to you by free time. i have it and i am enjoying it.


sparkly skies.

On this Fourth of July, I had a fleeting thought while laying on the baseball field on one of my parents' old blankets:

It would be so cool to be on an airplane on the night of July 4th so that you see all the fireworks from the cities below you. 

But that thought was over as soon as I thought about how lonely that would be. Watching all those fireworks alone while families are below you crowded together on a couple of blankets? Not for me.

I like doing fireworks + 4th of July the way my family has always done it -- sitting together and watching the sky sparkle and light up. I love listening to all the oohs and wows that people softly whisper to themselves. I love the collective cheering after the finale. I love the cheesy song 'Proud to be an American'. I love the fireworks that look like sparkly rain falling. I love the past six fireworks shows most of all, because somewhere during, my guy will steal a kiss.


addressing those deep seeded camping phobias.

Growing up, I didn't come from what you would call a 'camping family'. I don't have those fond memories of my family of six squeezed into our tent, roasting hot dogs around the campfire, and fishing in the early morning sunrise.

I grew up detesting camping.

And all things outdoors for that matter. But allow me to explain: this 23-year-hatred was through no fault of my parents. Don't get me wrong, I loved my version of outdoors, where I got to control it -- biking, swimming, and playing in my childhood town, but if they ever suggested that I go out of a 30-second radius of running water and indoor plumbing, I blocked out the bad parts of my childhood behavior, I probably threw a mini tantrum whining that there's no way I would be caught dead peeing outside.

To me, camping was all things that I disliked the most --  rolled up into one disgusting package.

I would complain all the time (it's too hot...it's too buggy). I hated sleeping on the ground. I hated getting bit by mosquitoes. HATED it. Oh, to little seven-year-old me that was the worst thing ever about summer.

Chad on the other hand, grew up loving it. And still does. Which is why when his parents suggested that we come out to the lake they were staying at this weekend, he said yes.

Now, I'm slowly warming up to the idea of camping and this experience was a nice way to dip my toes into the camping world since there was a camper on-site and a beach/park down the road with public bathrooms.

But, I toughed it out -- not as much as Chad's parents and sister...but I came a long way from when I was a kid. I slept on the floor of a tent, and minimally complained about the mosquito bites I was getting and the lack of shower I had.

Because I realized that the reason that Chad grew up loving it was because it is really enjoyable. I liked swimming in the lake, was eager to get on the boat and fish, and liked doing things I didn't think I would enjoy (like fileting a fish).

On the way there, I was driving through the deeply wooded Wisconsin back country roads and I actually requested that Chad find some Johnny Cash and play it right then. "Because" I told him, "I think that I'm only in the mood to listen to old school country when I'm camping or fishing". Then with mock horror I said "Am I turning into one of these country girls that I never liked?".

Well, so what if I am. :)

from this weekend -- me: the recent camping convert holding my second fish...ever. wearing a genuine smile.  
husband: photobombing. doing what he does best.


pancakes for one.

Let's face it. Whenever Chad is out of town and I'm left fending for myself food-wise, my creativity goes right out the window. I usually have a meal calendar that is pretty detailed with ingredients listed and groceries to buy, but that is when there is more than one person to feed. And, usually, I'm the meal planner and Chad's the executioner (especially since he's the only one who will get close to the grill). Since Wednesday, I have had suppers of scrambled eggs, cottage cheese, and trail mix; leftover burgers and almonds; and cereal. You know you're at the bottom of the culinary food chain when eating cereal for supper is not a far-reaching concept.

But, today was different. I had to make something. Dirty more than just a bowl or a skillet. Follow a recipe for Pete's sake. So after my morning workout, I knew that my normal two eggs scrambled (I don't think you guys realize how much I eat eggs -- Chad knows that if I had it my way, we'd have eggs every day) wasn't going to cut it. I pulled Breakfast by Williams - Sonoma from the kitchen shelf and modified their blueberry pancakes recipe a little.

Blueberry Pancakes
(adapted from Breakfast by Williams - Sonoma)

get these ingredients together:
*1 c. whole wheat or all-purpose flour
*1 T. sugar
*1 tsp. baking powder
*3/4 tsp. baking soda
*1/4 tsp. salt
*1 egg, lightly beaten
*1/2 cup + 6 T. milk
*1 T. butter melted and cooled
*blueberries, fresh or frozen

then do these steps:
01. Sift together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Stir until well mixed and make a well in the center. Pour the eggs, milk, and butter into the well and then gradually whisk until the ingredients are well combined but still lumpy. Gently stir in the blueberries. (The batter will be quite thick. I put a little more than 1 cup of flour into mine since it was a little runny.)
02. Cook the batter -- is there a better word to use there instead of 'cook'? I don't know...'bake'? You guys know what to do -- when the batter starts bubbling, flip it over. I learned that method from my dad when I was barely able to see over the stove top, and it still seems to be working for me after all these years.
notes: The cookbook says that the batter is thick and they are right.Spread the batter out over the griddle thinner that just ploppin' it on, like I did the first time I made these. Also, these measurements are more like 2 to 3 servings -- perfect for Sunday morning leftovers before church.

To sum it up, Chad...come home soon. I can't eat cereal for every meal. :)


two years.

images of our wedding day captured by: Jeff Loves Jessica 

People have asked us in the past couple days, "so what are you two going to do on your wedding anniversary?" to which we reply, "we don't know." Because honestly, there isn't much that you can do on a Tuesday night when you both have to get up the next day for work. So, I am spending the day doing the routine -- gym, errands, walking the dog, lunch together, cleaning, laundry, supper, and TV watching.

There are a few surprises sprinkled in to make the day a little more festive, like anniversary cards in the mail, phone calls and text messages sending well-wishes, putting wedding pictures onto Facebook, a bottle of wine chilling in the fridge waiting for supper, and a bouquet of pink + orange tulips, but mostly, it'll be just like any other day.

And I'm okay with that. I signed up to live every day with Chad, however normal or extraordinary God makes those days. I know a few years down the road we might be celebrating our wedding anniversary at our dining room table with a baby in a highchair, my hair up in a bun with no makeup on, and a few more years might be even more noisy with more kids around that table. I don't need expensive jewelry or chocolates (although I have never said no to a good truffle) to make me remember and appreciate the significance and blessing of our wedding day. I just need my husband.


So happy anniversary to you, Chad. Because even though it might seem like a normal day, normal is good with me. Because my normal is you.


absent and present.

Let's play pretend for a post, shall we? 

Tonight, you came over to my house. It's been a good three months since we've truly seen and spoke to each other and during the Bachelorette commercials, I begin to tell you all about what I've been up to. While we share a bottle of sweet white wine, of course.

I'll tell you of my overwhelming past couple months. Like how I'm finally done with school and found out that I'll be teaching Kindergarten and 1st grade next fall, and how excited/terrified the idea of being in a classroom full-time makes me.  And I'll tell you how this semester was one of the busiest times of my entire life -- how I regret the lack of attention and time that I gave to Chad, our house + its upkeep, God, our marriage and other people (friends and family) in my life. I'll tell you how I regret being absolutely consumed with school since February and how, I didn't know how to handle everything any other way. How I had to be happy (or at least satisfied) with how I handled myself, because if I wasn't then I would feel like I had let myself down instead of praising my accomplishments, as simple as they might have been.

How I feel bad about how distant I'm been from my blog, a passion of mine, and photography (a blog's partner-in-crime) and how both have been sitting on a shelf so to speak, collecting dust. How at the end of a busy night after spending hours typing a paper, the last thing I had energy for was more computer time. How my therapy was the weekends spent lounging around my house with Chad and Leo, going to the gym and cooking up meals.  And that, even just the simple act of arranging flowers into 3 vases for our church altar on Saturday/bouquets for our mothers sparked the creative part of my personality that had been dormant for the past 4  months, buried under lesson plans and work samples.

And, that's the point of the evening when you'll interrupt my babbling, noting that it's been two hours, the Bachelorette is over and you need to get up early tomorrow. I'll tell you that I'll be in touch, promising to share photos of our wedding with you, our trip from last summer; both of which you haven't seen hardly any of, and other happenings in our (less busy) life here. 

That's where we leave each other, promising we'll make plans, if not daily, than several times during the week, telling each other that we can't let this much time pass between us getting together. Promising each other and ourselves that we will get together, even if it's just a short time during the day.

Now, back to reality...I'm really looking forward to putting myself into my passions once again! :)

P.S. Photo//pin no. 240731542551441628


instagram // easter sunday.

I can't think of a better way to start using Instagram than by using it on Easter Sunday. Pastels, sparkles, candy, flowers -- these are all in the arsenal of things-Amanda-likes-taking-pictures-of. And luckily, Instagram heard my plea of letting Android users make use of their app by letting us download it last week! Thanks Instagram! Girlfriend is digging on all the filters. :)

Above you see snippets of my Easter Sunday: 
01. My sparkly sparkle flats that I will try to wear on every holiday. If you can't wear sparkle flats on Easter (the greatest day for our reassurance of God's power)...when can you wear them?
02.Blossoms from my apple tree in the backyard.
03. My Easter basket from my in-laws....I mean, the Easter bunny. I think it'll always been know in our family that Easter 2012 was the year that I accidentally told a kid about how the Easter Bunny is fake (kids, avert your eyes). Luckily, I recovered quickly and his mom told me that there was no harm done on Sunday (he still told her the Easter bunny came by the house) but I still felt a little bit like a dream-crusher.
04. Dyeing eggs on Saturday while watching the Ten Commandments. Every year I think I'll be really creative and incorporate fabrics, yarn, ribbon, a la Martha Stewart, but then when it comes down to it, nothing beats the original.

If you are interested you can find my Instagram profile @projectsimplelife.  
Any veteran Instagram users have any tips for your novice friend?


Easter hopes

photo by: ZilaLongenecker

I hope that you see sunshine where you are today.
I hope that you get to be with loved ones on Sunday.
I hope that you get to eat candy from a plastic egg.
I hope that you enjoy being with the people around you.
I hope that you smile at little girls with white lacy hats.
I hope that you wear something in the pastel family. 
I hope that you get to go to church this weekend and hear about Jesus' sacrifice + glorified resurrection.
I hope that you have a happy Easter weekend!


simple roast chicken.

And, I wouldn't say that this is simple roast chicken if I didn't mean it. I've told you guys before (see no. 1) that I tend to dry out the meat I cook and cry in the corner while Chad fixes us something else.

But this meal, I have made twice and can attest (so can Chad) that I have been successful both times! Since you are roasting the meat, it does take longer (don't be making any plans for about 4 hours) but like all things -- Good things come to those who wait. :)

Chicken in a pot with garlic
(via Rachael Ray Magazine)

get these ingredients together:
*2 T. extra-virgin olive oil
*4 1/2 pound whole chicken
*2 halved lemons
*35 unpeeled garlic cloves
*4 chopped rosemary sprigs
*crusty bread

then do these steps:
01. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.
02. In a large dutch oven, heat 1 T. Extra-virgin olive oil over medium heat. Add the chicken, breast side down and cook until golden, about 5 minutes. Turn, then  squeeze the lemons over the bird before stuffing into the cavity. Drizzle 1 T. of extra-virgin olive oil over the top and season with salt and pepper. Cover and roast in the oven for 30 minutes.
03. Scatter the garlic cloves and rosemary around the chicken, cover and roast for 30 more minutes. Uncover the pot, increase the temperature to 375 degrees and roast until the juices run clear when the chicken is pierced with a knife, about 25 minutes.
04. Transfer the chicken to a platter; using a slotted spoon, transfer the garlic to the platter as well. Dip slices of crusty bread into the pan juices, then toast until crisp. Serve with chicken and roasted garlic.

notes: Simply delicious. When I've made it, Chad + I have had to force ourselves to stop eating it since it is just so darn good! We have found that the garlic cloves after they've been roasting, makes this paste that is perfect on top of the bread.


If you want, make it this weekend. Maybe while you watch the Mad Men Season premiere! I'll be hanging out with nephew, UJ! :)


a saturday night dinner party.

Last weekend, on St. Patrick's Day, Chad and I went to our friend Bethany's charming apartment for some traditional Irish food. As I typed that sentence out -- I was thinking to myself "Wow, could that be any more drained to flavor and excitement? Why would they care about who I had dinner with." As I think about so many times when coming up with content. :)

But then I took a minute to think about how I write for myself and my memories. Because further down the road I'm going to want to remember the fabulous dinner party that my friend threw on St. Patrick's Day 2012. I'm going to want to remember how I had never tasted corned beef before this dinner and just how good it was when paired with cabbage and vegetables. I'm going to want to remember being at the table with my husband on one side and Bethany on the other being truly grateful to have friends -- friends who I haven't seen in months and then in one night have all that time spent away from each other completely erased. I'm going to want to remember how hot it was in the apartment (not your fault, Bethany!) because it was 80 degrees in March. in Wisconsin. I'm going to want to remember laughing hard at the jokes people my parents' age made while thinking to myself "this is something adult people do -- hang out with older adults...and like it!" I'm going to want to remember Chad getting in the car moments after we left and already planning our own corned beef game plan in his mind...

I wish and wish you have a Bethany in your life because life is dull without her. She just sparkles like it's her job (and probably most her days do involve glitter at some point) :) If you don't have a Bethany, you can borrow mine by checking out her blog: Rinse.Repeat. and liking her Facebook page too! 

Some fun links re: Bethany --  her photos from the St. Patrick's Day dinner party, the instax camera she's giving away, and last but not least, her wedding was featured on Style Me Pretty today!!!

And, yes, she truly is this amazing and creative in real life. :)


what I like about... // my younger sister.

H + me rockin' our marching band shirts back in Mankato....and yes, she's always been this cute.

Just like I did with my older sister for her birthday, I had to continue the trend and share some things I like about my younger sister. Hannah's birthday was earlier this week, but she's singing in her high school tour choir right now (I think somewhere in Missouri right now) so she won't see this until she gets back -- that excuses my tardiness, right Hannah? :)

what I like about... // my younger sister Hannah.

01. She's 17. Which means she's still in high school. Which means she knows about trendy things like The Hunger Games and Modcloth and Pinterest (and hers isn't filled with pins about bulletin boards and free worksheets like mine). 
02. She's 17. Which means I get to teach her things like what rated-R movies are worth her time, what spots in the parking lot should be avoided, and when to apply for financial aid in college.
03. She's the creative soul in the family. She has such a perceptive mind -- she's the only one that thinks of adding handmade name cards to the Thanksgiving table.
04. She watches shows like Doctor Who. Which automatically makes her the hippest younger sister ever.
05. She pulls off ray-ban sunglasses, skinnies, and cardis like a pro. I sometimes wish we were the same size.
06. She's grounded.
07. She's giving.
08. She's funny + goofy -- like the rest of the family.
09. She's caring + sensitive.
10. She's faithful to God in all that she does. I pray as her older sister that I can help her continue to be.

The end of my sap-fest. :) 


spring breaking.

So ... spring break came at the perfect time in my semester.

For reals. Now I know why college kids don't blog.

Last week it was the perfect storm of future assignments, night classes, papers, lesson plans, and on, and on, and on. My breaking point was almost reached and I was thisclose to snapping (or melting into an emotional wreck).

Then God gave me spring break. God soothed my soul and gave me the week off. A week to re-energize for the next two months of long nights in front of the computer while some Real Housewives franchise is shouting at each other in the background. But I am taking these days of just working, working out, and being. Being with my husband and dog and enjoying life. Being me again. Not the me that is spread in seven different directions in one day.

Spring break is my blessing. And I'm taking it.

P.S. God also decided to give us late spring/early summer weather this week and we've been spending every night outside. The pictures above were taken by Chad on Sunday afternoon in between playing catch and water breaks. :)


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