Monday, October 15, 2012

The beauty around us

It's the little things that make life beautiful.

Sometimes when I don't know what to blog about, I wander around with my camera. A good exercise is to use your macro lens or macro setting (that's what I used on my little point-and-shoot camera... it's usually the setting with the flower icon) to find the lovely little things that are so easy to walk by and ignore... shadows, bark, insects, flowers... It helps me to appreciate the beauty around me.

Try it sometime! And let me know how it goes!






Friday, October 12, 2012

MADE book signing

Have you ever read the blog MADE? It's one of my favorites. Dana is so crafty and stylish and her kids are so gosh-darn adorable! If you haven't seen it, you should definitely check it out!

I had the awesome opportunity to meet Dana tonight. She was doing a book-signing for her new book Fabrics A to Z at a fun fabric store here in Dallas called City Craft. I was starstruck, haha, but she was super sweet and so fun to talk to!

I met Dana from MADE!

There were lots of other sewing girls there... and they all seemed to know each other! I wish I had a sewing friend in Dallas to bring with me to events like this.


She had the store decorated so cute with balloons and streamers and tissue paper flowers. (Tutorials for all of those can be found on her blog!)


And there were some munchies and drinks to enjoy as well.


And I got my book signed!


Now for some bedtime reading about all the many different types of fabric...


Thanks, Dana! So glad you could come to Dallas! Hope our paths will cross again someday! :)

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

14. Eat squeaky-fresh cheese curds

Have any of you had fresh, squeaky cheese curds? If you have, you know that they are about the best thing that you could ever put in your mouth. A-maz-ing.

I grew up having cheese curds relatively often, and have become increasingly depressed that they are no where to be found here in Texas. So sad. I'm a little embarrassed to admit that I have the following conversation with my hubby approximately every other day: 

"You know what sounds REALLY good right now?" 

"No, what?" 

"FRESH, SQUEAKY CHEESE CURDS!!! OH MY GOODNESS, I NEED THEM RIGHT NOW!!!" 

True story.

cheese curdsm

So I added cheese curds to my 30 before 30 list, so that I wouldn't have to go too much longer without them!

And luckily, we were able to make a quick drive up to Wisconsin during our summer vacation this year. We stopped at the Shullsburg cheese factory store. I was in cheese heaven. Probably the best part of the trip. I only regret that I didn't buy more.

cheese curds

If you've never had fresh cheese curds, you're missing out. You need to get yourself up to Wisconsin and try some. Right now. You will never be the same. They are salty and delicious and squeak between your teeth. I promise they are delicious, even though they sound a little bit weird. 

And don't settle for the grocery store variety. They are almost never fresh enough. Maybe if you live in Wisconsin or near a cheese factory... but I've NEVER been satisfied with the so-called cheese curds found at the grocery store.

If you don't believe me about how good these things are, go to www.eatcurds.com. (f nothing else, it will at least prove that I'm not the only crazy one!)

cheese curds

Yum. 

This bag was gone in the drive back to our hotel. Well, not quite, but close. :)

cheese curds

Hopefully it won't be 5+ years before I get my cheese curd fix again.

30 before 30

Monday, October 8, 2012

Caramel Brickle Thumbprints


Hello! I shared this recipe for Caramel Brickle Thumbprints last Christmas on Margot's sweet blog Newfoundlander at Heart and have been meaning to share it here for awhile. It's a great recipe, and perfect for fall! With the holiday season coming up, I'm sure everybody is going to need a few go-to cookie recipes to turn to. These are great not only because they're delicious, but because they're small, so you won't feel guilty having a bunch! 


You will need:
2 1/4 cups flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup soft butter
1 tsp. baking powder
1 egg
1/2 tsp. vanilla
3/4 cup toffee baking chips

20 caramel squares
1/4 cup half and half


Start by mixing the flour, sugar, egg, butter and baking powder into a dough.


Add your toffee bits and mix. You may have to use your hands to knead them in completely.


Roll dough into 1 inch balls and place a couple inches apart on the cookie sheet. Then make an indention in the center of each cookie with your thumb.

Pop them in the oven at 350 degrees F for 11-14 minutes or until lightly browned.

Then melt the caramels with the half and half and mix. Pour a bit of the caramel mixture into the crater of each little cookie. Enjoy!


I think I was able to make 60 or 65 cookies from this recipe, so it makes a lot if you keep them on the small side.


Caramel Brickle Thumbprints

Ingredients:

2 1/4 cups flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup soft butter
1 tsp. baking powder
1 egg
1/2 tsp. vanilla
3/4 cup toffee baking chips

20 caramel squares
1/4 cup half and half

Beat sugar, butter, vanilla and egg until light and fluffy. Add flour and baking powder.  Stir until smooth.  Add toffee chips and knead to blend.  Refrigerate for 30 minutes. Shape into 1-inch balls.  Place 2 inches apart on cookie sheet. With thumb, make imprint on center of cookie. Bake at 350 degrees F for 11-14 minutes or until lightly browned around edges and set. Immediately remove from cookie sheet and cool.   Melt 20 caramels and 1/4 cup half & half & stir until smooth. Spoon on top of cookie.


Enjoy!

Friday, October 5, 2012

19. Pay off my college loan

I'm not going to pretend that this is an exciting post. At least for anyone but me. Cuz I'm excited, though I don't really expect you to be.

I finally paid off my college loan. Yay!

I've been paying a little bit more than necessary every month for the last few years, just to kind of whittle it down a little faster. My husband and I have talked about paying off the balance for a while now and when we found out we were expecting a baby, we decided that now is the time. I'm just so thankful that was an option for us. One less monthly bill to worry about.

Hooray!

30 before 30

Monday, October 1, 2012

it's a girl!

Remember my big announcement on Friday?

Well, we had the ultrasound and found out that we're having a little girl! I was so convinced that it was going to be a boy that it is taking awhile to sink in. I am so thrilled. And I think hubby is too. After the ultrasound, we had to sit in the waiting room again before meeting with my doctor, and I looked over at my husband and said, "I just want to go home now so that I can cry!" He told me to wait. Haha. I still haven't had my good cry yet, but every time I really think about the fact that I'm going to have a daughter, I tear up a little bit. :)

Since my in-laws live in town and were so excited to hear the news, we decided to have a little gender reveal party just for them.

I baked an [amazing!!!] pink cake - it is the Summer Strawberry Coconut Cake from the blog Candy Jamamas. Then I covered it in white buttercream frosting (from the same recipe), using the Rose Cake Tutorial from i am baker. Soooo yummy!

And I think it turned out rather lovely, if I do say so myself. I should have snapped a photo before it got dark out, because this picture just does not do the cake justice.


Then we let my mother-in-law cut the cake!

She was so excited.


And even more so when she realized it was pink!!

She had been expecting a boy the whole time, too!


This was such a fun way to announce our news. I only wish my family had been able to be here too.



Looking forward to everything about having a little girl!