Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Special Stories...

Easter was the first holiday my husband and I spent together as an "official" couple a few years back:) We exchanged Easter baskets that year, which was so much fun. Of course, we haven't done it since. That year though it was important to us both.  One of the things I found for his basket that I really thought was especially wonderful was one of his and my favorite childhood books, The Tale of Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter!
It wasn't just any Peter Rabbit book, but a pop-up book! I wrote an inscription explaining that this was the first book that we would have for our future children and a bunch of other mushy stuff. Well, he lost it. I asked him recently where it was and he said he couldn't remember.... Grrrr... I was a little mad. Okay, I was a lot mad. I told him he better hope he finds our future child's first book or he was going to be really sorry, lol:) It's funny now, but I swear I was serious when I said it. Well, he found it the other day at his parent's house so I forgave him:) It is so much fun to look through, It makes me love Easter even more.
So adorable, right?! 


Speaking of wonderful books, have any of you read Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers? Mona gave it to me to read a long time ago, and I had completely forgot I had it. Then my grandma told me I should read it and I remembered I had it, but I still didn't read it.... Then my mom gave it to my brother's beautiful girlfriend, Amy who loved it too, but still I wasn't so sure about it. Finally my mom read it and also gave it rave reviews so I decided to go for it. I'm not sure why I was so put off by it. Something about it sounded, I dunno... kinda dumb frankly. The cover was off-putting to me too. I know, I know "don't judge a book by it's cover" but it reminded me of a Danielle Steel novel or something that would be made into a Lifetime or Hallmark movie, not my thing. Well, I was wrong. VERY wrong. It was not the slightest bit "dumb". It was amazing. Truly, truly amazing. My mom said that Amy told her it made her a better person, and I completely understand what she meant by that. It was one of those love stories that I can say with 100% certainty that I will remember forever. It was raw and honest and humbling and ugly and beautiful. I recommend it to anyone who wants to be blessed and also fall in love with a fictional character:)

Oh, annnnd the winner of my beret giveaway, Sreaming Meme, posted a very sweet post about winning:) Isn't she just too cute for words in it!! A nicer person couldn't have won, she is just the sweetest. Her blog is awesome too. Pop over and check her out, and tell her Ashley says HI! :)


Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Hidden In My Closet...

I was cleaning out the top shelf of my closet last night and I found a so many things I completely and totally forgot about (I'm sure my mom is going to groan and role her eyes when she reads this, hehehe)! I found a few articles of clothing that I had been looking for forever, of course. And, I found this really awesome bag I bought from a thrift store forever ago! It is such a fun purse; I can't believe I forgot about it! The best part is  inside it was this really pretty antique necklace that I've never even worn! They were great finds then and they're great finds now:) Yeah, my closet is pretty bad... That's what happens when you have limited space and a ton of crap.
Oh, and I found this other cool necklace not in my closet, but at Forever 21:) It looks very antique to me. It was $5. Gotta love that Forever 21 and their insanely low prices! I find myself going in there more for accessories than for clothing nowadays... Is it just me or am I getting a little too old for their clothes? Oh well, you're never too old for cheap costume jewelry!
Hope everyone is having a beautiful week!
Time for spring cleaning!

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Plant Markers, Seedlings & Earth Hour

A few weeks ago I decided I wanted to make some mini-chalkboard plant markers. Matt and I went to Michael's and got some really small dowel rods, square wood pieces, a bag of popsicle sticks and chalkboard spray paint. I wanted the popsicle sticks painted blue and cut to frame the squares so it looked like a little chalkboard. I didn't even have time to consider starting it before Matt was done with them. He just went to work on them one day and did a way better job than I ever would have! Yay for crafty husbands:) Aren't they darling? I can't wait till our patio is covered with them!
We ordered our seeds from Burpee.com  and they came on Thursday! We ordered Big Beef Hybrid tomatoes, Napa Grape Hybrid tomatoes, Costa Rican sweet bell peppers, Billy Biker Hybrid jalapeƱo peppers, Italian parsley, sweet basil, coriander, catnip:) and Dragon Fire begonias. We are also planting some of Mona's left over junior sunflowers! We don't have a yard, just a little balcony upstairs so these are all going to be in pots and herb boxes and the begonias are for my hanging pot. I'm really excited about everything! Last year we bought full grown seedlings at Home Depot and they all died tragic deaths. This year we really read up on what we need to do to be successful gardeners so hopefully all our little plants make it. Our patio has been lovingly called "the place where plants go to die" but we plan to change that:) I am especially excited about the begonias I chose. They are so pretty, and apparently really great for hanging plants and are easy to take care of. Have any of you ever had any? I stole a photo from glenleagreenhouses.com to show you all what they will look like!
Pretty, huh?!
We went to Ace yesterday and got all our soil and seedling trays and everything we needed and we planted them today! I cannot wait to see them grow!! Can you tell I'm new at this? :) I used the left over popsicle sticks to mark them for now.
Oh, also did anyone remember that last night was Earth hour? We totally forgot until like ten minutes before it started, but we still participated! You know you are lame when the most fun you're having on a Saturday night is celebrating Earth hour... hahahaha! We did have fun though:) Matt announced that Earth hour was happening in just a few minutes so I ran around the apartment and lit all our candles and turned out all the lights. We opened a bottle of Syrah and curled up in bed to watch a flick on our laptop (we don't have a television in our bedroom). We ended up leaving the lights off for the rest of the night so I think we deserve extra kudos for being so environmentally conscience! We watched a French film called Tell No One. It was really, really good. I'm not usually one for reading subtitles because I'm almost always working on something while watching a movie, but I'm really glad we watched this one. The acting, directing and storyline were all fascinating! Four thumbs way up; I definitely recommend it.

Friday, March 26, 2010

The Cats Out Of The Hoodie

Yes, I knitted a hoodie for my little kitty. I had been looking around for a pattern. Surprisingly enough, there aren't a lot of pattens for cat clothes:) I know, shocking right?! The search continued and I found a free pattern (even better) on Craft Leftovers. The draw to this sweater? It had a hood. Enough said. Could anything be cuter than that? I doubt it, but I'll let you be the judge:) I used smaller needles than the pattern calls for because I didn't want it to be too big for Oliver. It still was. I have to roll of the sleeves if he's going to attempt to walk around it in hehehe. He absolutely loathes wearing it. He looks at me like he just can't understand why I would do this to him. All that work... Oh well, it definitely makes for some cute pictures:)
So sad... 

The pattern is a little funky to work out. If you decide to try it I would definitely suggest using circular needles instead of double pointed for the body and the hood.
On a side note, this is what I walked into the living room to find this morning.... I have lost many nice balls of yarn to this little monster...


Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Let Me Eat Cake!

Since I have met Matt I have gained way more weight than I care to disclose. It's basically ridiculous. Prior to meeting him I was a regular at the gym and was at a size that I was proud of... But then there was Matt. He brought me out of a rut and showed me what it really meant to be happy. Unfortunately, the happier I am the fatter I get. I finally looked at myself the other day and thought, "what in the world???".  I  absolutely have to lose this weight! It has gotten completely out of control. I'm funny in a way because I have abundant will power when I make my mind up to do something, but if I have even the tiniest bit of me that doesn't really want something bad enough I have zero will power. 
I made my mind up a couple weeks ago and I am proud to say I have stuck to my 1200 calories a day ever since. I think counting calories has to be the best way to train yourself to make better choices and eat smaller portions. I have been doing really well and I'm super proud of myself. Yay me! ;)
Yesterday Matt said, "I can really tell you've lost a few pounds, especially in your..." and I said it at the same time, "face." I always lose weight in my face first! What is that?? I mean honestly that is the absolute LAST place I'm worried about! What about my thighs, my belly or my chest for starters? Great, now I can fit into that smaller ski-mask I've been eyeballing... 
Anywho, yesterday I had the world's biggest craving for chocolate. It was literally all I could think about. I had to have some so I ate vegetable soup and an orange and water and saved up my calories for my evening treat. And, I must say, it was sublime... There is an adorable little cafe right behind us on our same block called Ciocolat that has amazing desert, coffee and breakfast. I got a piece of chocolate truffle cake with blackberries and my latte and Matt had yucky expresso:) I even gave him a couple bites of my cake. We sat on the patio with the twinkle lights and I got my chocolate cake and even stayed within my calories for the day:) 
Can you tell how excited I am? :)

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

The Best Things in Life are Guilt Free:)


My husband dug this recipe out of an old cookbook of mine called The Essential Vegetarian Cookbook by Bay Brooks a couple of weeks ago. Since the first night he made it we have had it 4 times! Needless to say, it has become one of our most favorite of favorite dinners. I wasn't super excited about it or impressed with the looks of it, but believe me once you put that first bite in your mouth you will know exactly what I am talking about. I think it's the taco seasoning that does the trick. It is light and yet rich and tomato-y and yummy and actually very healthy! It uses rice noodles, which are my new found love. They are soooo much healthier than pasta noodles and just as tasty (to me). I have actually started to crave this dish. I am trying to lose weight (aren't we all) and have been counting calories. This is pretty much guilt free and pretty much the best so I give it two thumbs way up! Try it, you'll think it's delicious too ;)

Noodles with Vegetables and Herbs

Ingredients:
1 oz. butter
1 onion, sliced
1 small red chili, seeded, cut into strips
1 celery stick, sliced
1 carrot, sliced diagonally
2 tomatoes, peeled
1 tablespoon Taco seasoning mix
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1/2 cup red wine
1 bay leaf
1/2 cup vegetable stock
2 teaspoons chopped fresh basil
2 teaspoons chopped fresh parsley
12 oz. thin fresh rice noodles

Directions:
1. Heat butter and a little oil in a pan. Add onion, chili, celery and carrot; cook over medium heat for 5 minutes. cut tomatoes into thin wedges and remove seeds. Add seasoning mix, tomatoes, paste, wine, bay leaf and stock to pan; bring to boil. Reduce heat to low, simmer, covered, for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the herbs to sauce and stir until combined.
2. Cook the noodles in a large pan of boiling water until just tender; drain. Toss with sauce to serve. Serves 4-6.


Sunday, March 21, 2010

I Came, I Fell, I Conquered:)


Wow, it feels like forever since I've done a blog post! I hope you all had a fabulous weekend. I know I did! It was a relaxing weekend spent mostly outdoors in the gorgeous weather we've been having. On Friday my best friend and ex roommate, Andrea came to Davis to spend the day. She lives in Chico now and we don't get to see one another nearly enough:( She is graduating from Chico State in May (lucky girl) so I snapped some photos of her while she was here to send out with her announcements. Isn't she beautiful?! I think she has the most stunning eyes and smile. I think the little photo shoot turned out pretty well!
We went to Ikeda's Market today, which is right by our new church (one of the perks)! This was the first place I ever ate in Davis and it remains one of my absolute favorite places to go. They have the absolute BEST homemade tamales on Earth! You haven't lived until you've had a pineapple raisin tamale. Oh my good Lord they are sooooo delicious! They have the best salsas too. Mango spread, veggie spread, peach salsa and their regular tomato salsa are my favs! Yummy yummy:)
We took some dried mango and apple with us and went for a long walk at the Davis Arboretum just a couple blocks from our apartment. Andrea and I took her pictures there on Friday. I took some pictures of it today because now that Spring has arrived it is absolutely beautiful there... It extends over 100 acres and there are over 4.000 species of trees and plants. We are so lucky to be so close:)
This is the part called "Redwood Forest."
The bike paths and creek that runs through are lined with flowering plants and there are tons of pretty little bridges. I just love it.
We walked and then stopped to snack and lay in the grass. We laid there for hours reading and enjoying the sun. There are tons of ducks all around. They are so cute...
This little duck couple was hanging out right by us. They were napping most of the time:) So darling!
Then Matt had to draw the male's attention with our snacks, of course, and he got WAY too close to me! Look how scary he is!!! 
On our way back I had to snap a picture of this statue cause I think it's so funny, and it actually turned out to be prophetic because...
I fell right before going up the stairs to our apartment.... Like tripped over my own feet, dramatically tried to regain my balance, failed horribly in front of a ton of people (there's a restaurant in front of our staircase) and hurt myself pretty badly fell. Yeah, it was the worst... 
Well, it was almost a perfect weekend:) What did you do this weekend?