Saturday, February 28, 2009

Cakes on Walnut

equals pure bliss.
If you live in the Champaign/Urbana area (heck if you live anywhere in Illinois) you should visit this adorable cupcake shop downtown.  Matty and I headed to Cakes on Walnut for Dessert Thursday and it was the best!:)
We each ordered two cupcakes, a truffle, and I had THE BEST coffee (straight out of my personal French press).  With minimal decorations, creative art (for sale), and adorable cafe tables I could see myself spending lots of time there. Can anyone say... BRUNCH?

Come and play with us sometime, I'd surely love it... THE END.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Put a RING on it!!

That's what Clint and Bonnie did last weekend!:)
view more pictures here

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Poor Poor Izzy

So you are probably wondering why we shaved our poor poor Izzy...

Matt and I are very against getting Izzy groomed.  For a long time it was because I couldn't part with her fluffy baby fur, but now it's because it's super expensive, and we are super cheap.  We also feared her coming home looking like a "poodle."  No one seems to understand "we don't want her cut like a poodle."  We like her face and feet long.  Matt and I are also really bad about procrastinating.  We'll decide on Friday night that we want her groomed on Saturday. (I am slightly spontaneous and I am also a big fan of instant gratification).   About a month ago, we did just that.  We called around on Saturday morning to find ANYONE who would take her that day.  We ended up getting in at a local place that catered to "high end" dogs.  With Izzy being a poodle they got her right in.  If they only knew what they were getting into.  Oh to see that woman's face.  They were super expensive but we figured she would be clean at least!  
Even though we explained that we wanted her kept long our worst fears came true.  She was shaved like a poodle.  Her snout and feet were practically shaved bald.  She looked absolutely ridiculous.  That didn't matter much until the mats started.  I always bragged that as curly as her hair was she never got mats.  Well within a few days she was COVERD in them.  My theory is that they didn't wash the shampoo out well enough.  
My friend Megan was in town for Bonnie's wedding this weekend and on Saturday morning we were petting her and I was attempting to cut out a few mats... She started to look ridiculous so Meg and I looked at each other and said "why don't we just shave her."   So we got out Matt's clippers (don't worry, he doesn't use them any more) and proceeded to shave my dog in my garage.  Matt, of course was holding a plastic bag trying to catch the massive amounts of hair falling from her.  I figured if we could get below the mats, she would be cured.  WRONG!!! When we finished she ended up looking like a sheep on chemo.  It was totally uneven and the mats were worse than before.  I only get into trouble like that with Megan.  We think too much alike.  
So after one full day of looking utterly absurd, we took her to Petsmart for an emergency grooming session.  We even had to sign a shaving waver!
Anyway I know she looks super ugly right now but at least she will grow out evenly and the mats are GONE!!!
Poor Poor Izzy.

In other news... I whipped up a St. Patti's pillow for the LR.  I like this pillow case idea.  I am learning a lot:)

Monday, February 23, 2009

So THAT was a good idea

Sunday, February 22, 2009

On Dessert Thursday...

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

South Africa Week

Hey check out South Africa Week over at my photo blog.

I think you'll enjoy it.  I know I will.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Somewhere to lay your head

So I made my first pillow covering on Sunday. It was super simple and really quick. I think the whole thing cost less than 7 bucks and took less than 25 minutes.  Maybe I will make a pillow covering for every holiday/season. It would give me good practice!:)

Sunday, February 15, 2009

A Lover's Holiday:

His: "Great Epochs of American History" printed in 1912 with a vintage Valentine.
Hers: Beautiful bouquet of Tulips, delivered to the house while she was wearing an apron.

The Pooch: A heart shaped clip to wear in her hair (I might have a matching one).
Events: Watching movies, eating nachos, making cookies, and having our very own crush party.
Delightful way to spend my Valentines day if you ask me.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Life: One Giant Story Problem

I don't think I was listening in third grade on the day we learned story problems.
Math is one of those subjects in school that builds on itself. If one day in third grade the sun happened to be shining so bright on the playground that you involuntarily started daydreaming about cartwheeling through the grassy meadow and incidentally missed a giant chunk of math class, you're screwed for the rest of your mathematical life. Looking back through my schooling I am thinking this happened to me quite a bit. My math knowledge seems to be missing large chunks of fundamental building blocks that I am just sure were taught in my math classes over the years.
Don't get me wrong I got A's in math (the advanced math, mind you) all through school but that was partly due to my own anal retentiveness and partly because of my brilliant at math sister Morgan and my best friend Brooke. I would basically have to relearn everything before every test. I'm great at memorizing then forgetting.
I took a whopping 1 math class in college. It was Math 108 (Contemporary Mathematics). We did do quite a few word problems, but I mostly remember learning how to figure out drivers license numbers. It was my dream class. I didn't have to use my brain once and I think I ended up with a 106 % in the class. What's not to like about success without effort?
When I decided to major in photography I thought I had finally escaped the loathsome story problem for good. But unfortunately you can't get through photography 101 without being able to convert ounces into pints and pints into gallons, and don't get me started on sensitometry, studio lighting, and aperture. I spent more time on conversions than I did on actual photography. It only got worse when I started to learn digital photography and photoshop. The story problems just got longer... If I want an image to be this big at 300 dpi, what do I need to set my PPI to?
Most of my beloved photography is problem solving. If you peer through the lens of a camera and a pole is sticking out the person's head you must come up with a another angle. If you're shadows are two dark then you bump up your f-stop. If you meter your whites and they are off the charts you'll lose detail, but if you stop down you may lose your shadows. Do you use artificial lighting? Filters? (This was much more difficult with film mind you). I am not even going to get into printing.
Then there is sewing, one of my new favorites hobbies. Talk about problem solving. I am constantly having to think and rethink the best way to do something. Try doing a bag with a lining, I just dare you. I love it and the strife is worth the brain work but why does everything I love require so much problem solving, especially when I am so bad at it?

Anyway it hit me the other day (while Matt and I were arguing about something or other) that my life is one GIANT story problem. EVERYTHING from cooking to cleaning, from time management to when to start a family. I have to identify the variables, and come up with a solution.  I mean our marriage takes problem solving skills that I long for.  
If you think about it, God really is the ultimate problem solver.   He took the ultimate problem of sin and created a solution through his son, Jesus.  So I guess it wouldn't hurt to ask him to fill the gaps in my mathematics education.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Holy Goodness

There are some seriously creative people in this world. Kind of like this woman who made vintage books into wall art. I mean how seriously cool is this?! She also makes things like this... hello vintage buttons. I suggest you visit her ETSY shop now!
Maybe it is because Valentines Day is coming, but I am feeling super crafty lately... maybe I'll be back with some crafts of my own!:)

Monday, February 9, 2009

It Couldn't Have Been Better...

I'm serious.I had the BEST time. It makes me wish I lived right next to the slopes all winter long. (It doesn't hurt that I turned out to be a natural... I was skiing the black diamonds before lunch time). It was the perfect day for snow skiing. Warm enough to wear a light jacket, cold enough to keep the snow light and fluffy and ohhhh that sun. My face hasn't seen sun like that in a long, long time. Gives me butterflies just thinking about it.We were with great friends, we ate at great local restaurants (with live music), got wrinkly in great hot tubs, took GREAT photos, ate incredible Wisconsin cheese, and I got to spend some much needed time with the love of my life. Makes me look forward to next winter... Colorado anyone?

Anyway, here's a recap.
Skiing our little hearts out... I think all of us are a little sore...
A wall of hats?? We couldn't resist.
After the great workout we got on the slopes we were able to relax at a local pub for some
delish food and great entertainment. The place was called Erin's Snug Irish Pub
and Matt was eating up the 90's rock not to mention his burger.
Matt and I had brunch at the most darling downtown restaurant called "The Old Fashioned."
It was right across from the capital building downtown. Apparently it was voted the best food in Wisconsin last year, that's why we chose it. Matt and I laughed at our choices. They pretty much describes us to a T. He chose the super sweet Belgian Waffle and the refreshingly cold o.j. (freshly squeezed and opaque) and I opted for the savory eggs scramble with zucchini, sun dried tomatoes, and fresh Wisconsin cheese along with a piping hot coffee. I mean could we BE any more different? Both dishes were incredible!

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

This is why we bought a house...

When Matt and I were house hunting a year ago, we had only been married for a few short months. We were apprehensive and anxious about this GINORMOUS purchase we were about to make and sought confirmation from God that it was the right time. We prayed and prayed and came to the conclusion (with a little bit of certainty) that it was indeed the right decision. I think last Sunday we got our confirmation call. We were able to host the Youth Group Superbowl Party. Our house was filled to the brim with kids... 32 of them to be exact... scattered in every single room (we have a very small house). I mean seriously, I couldn't have been more happy. I always want my house to be filled with people, laughter, and love. So what if a few milkshakes were spilled here and there, this is what life is all about. I hope God uses our house in this way for MANY years to come.
a few shots of the festivities.

Monday, February 2, 2009

A Love Letter to Husband

Might as well take advantage of a wall of windows and a view of Michigan Ave.It's just not the same when I'm away from you.

I Love the Cold??

Well there you have it folks, according to Punxsutawney Phil we have 6 more weeks of that blistering, windy, frigid, oh so cold weather we call winter. AND you wanna know what? I am actually o.k. with that. I have decided over the last few months that if I'm going to live in the Midwest for the rest of my life that I should embrace the cold weather and not ferociously dread every passing moment of it.
I mean the only other place that I would want to live would be England (I pray often that Matt takes a job in London, partially so my children would say things "blimey" and "wellies" in a cute British accent. I would be concerned about their teeth though). The point is, it's darn cold and wet in England too, so I might as well get used to it. Since I got Cuddl Duds (the best long underwear EVER, thanks Mom) I feel like I have cold weather armor on without all the bulk.

Matt and I are going skiing this weekend in Wisconsin on Cascade Mountain. Our friends Derek and Janna are going with us. We are so excited to get away. 3 out of the 4 of us have never been before. I am hoping I like it so we can make this a yearly tradition. It would make the long winter a little more bearable. Something to look forward to in the dead of Winter.

Speaking of the dead of Winter did you know that Ground Hog day came from a European tradition called Candlemas Day. Apparently February 2nd has always been a significant day because it marks the dead of winter. On this day, the clergymen would bless candles and hand them out to the people. As an old English song went;

"If Candlemas be fair and bright,
Come, Winter, have another flight;
If Candlemas brings clouds and rain,
Go Winter, and come not again."

History goes that the Roman legions brought the Candlemas tradition to the Germans, who constructed the idea that if the sun was out and an animal, in their case a hedgehog, cast a shadow, there would be six more weeks of winter. When the Germans came to Pennsylvania, they found groundhogs to be similar to the hedgehog used in their tradition. The groundhog was then adopted as the animal who determines the course of the winter season.

The official groundhog is named Punxsutawney Phil, who appears from his hole at Gobbler's Knole in Pennsylvania every year. The first recorded celebration of Groundhog Day, then still known as Candlemas Day, was in the year 1841 in Morgantown, PA. However, the first official Groundhog Day at Gobbler's Knole was in February of 1887.

Anyway, I hope you all enjoy today and maybe we should start thanking God for the Winter weather, I 'm trying.