Thursday, February 28, 2013

A camp-in...

One thing Drew and I especially love to do together is camp. We love coming up with meals to make (see this post for some of our favorite campfire meals), we love taking hikes through the woods, we love bonfires and we appreciate nature.  Since winters in Ohio are never ending we decided we couldn't wait until spring to camp and that we needed to have a camp-in. A camp-in is an activity where you camp IN your house, which is the opposite of a camp-out where you have to actually go somewhere to camp. All you need is a tent and you are all set. We set up camp in our living room and decided to put computers and cell phones away and just spend quality time together.

We made hobo dinners and talked without the interruption of a cell phone or an incoming email and it was wonderful! Sometimes you just need uninterrupted time together. Plus when you camp-in your pets can come too. Sawyer loved the tent and didn't want to leave it. We woke up the next morning to him jumping on the tent and then we decided hey, we should make and sell tents for cats...I even came up with an adorable name for our new brilliant idea. Sadly, cat tents are already a real thing...yes it's true. So even though our big idea was already taken we enjoyed every second of our camp-in and will definitely be doing it again!

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Wake up Spring!

Dress: Target, Scarf: Charming Charlie, Belt: Limited, Tights: Vera Wang @ Kohl's, Shoes: Michelle D
I am trying to wake up spring with my outfit if you couldn't tell. I am so ready to trade out my winter coat for my jean jacket, but since snow is in the forecast this week I'm going to have to be patient. I wore this outfit for my sister in laws birthday dinner. Sushi, Crispy Pad Thai and green tea ice cream awaited us!

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

On my reading list...

To Read

As if you can't tell simply by looking at the books on my reading list, but yes I am somewhat into the historical era right now. I have shows like Downton Abbey to thank for that. If only I had a vacation planned in the near future so I could read on the beach...

What else should I add to my reading list? I would love your suggestions!!!

Monday, February 25, 2013

Weekend Update

one. Friday night Drew and I wanted to go camping so we set up a tent in our living room and cooked hobo dinners. More on that later...
two. Saturday night we celebrated my sister in law's birthday at our favorite Thai restaurant, Green Papaya. YUM!
three. We got to meet the 2 newest babies in the family, little Eileen and Cohen.
four. We went to see the place where my sister in law and future brother in law will be tying the knot next October!
How was your weekend???

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Take a hike!

Mr. Sun hasn't graced us with his presence here lately so when he did, Drew and I jumped at the chance to head out to the Nature Center and take a hike. It just so happened that we were there the first weekend that they started collecting sap to make into maple sugar so we walked around and checked out all the sap buckets on our hike. Every year they tap the trees and ask for some volunteers to help tap the trees and explain the process to visitors. My nature loving husband volunteered to do this two years ago and had a great time. You can read about that here. But it was fun to just be a visitor this time. We picked one of our favorite trails to hike and enjoyed the fresh air and the sun shining down on our pale faces. It made me want spring so badly! I hate to wish time away, but hurry up spring!

Friday, February 22, 2013

Friday's Letters

                                                                                                             Found here via Allison

Dear Friday, You deserve a YAY! Especially since I got to sleep in this morning due to a 2 hour delay! Dear Drew, The plan is to set up the tent and have a "camp-in" in our living room tonight. Are you ready? Maybe we should make hobo dinners in the oven! Dear Cheesy Spinach and Sausage Pasta, You are my new favorite pasta. 2 of my favorite men approved you last night so you made the cut. You are now on our weekly meal rotation. Congratulations on your goodness. Dear Carly (my favorite 22 year old sister in law), Happy Birthday!! I can't wait to celebrate with you this weekend!! Dear Blog World, I hope you all have a lovely weekend! It's FRIDAY!! 

Thursday, February 21, 2013

SPD: Chocolate Bread Pudding

I'm finally sharing the step by step recipe from our Valentine's day dessert, which if you had asked me a few months ago would not have been bread pudding. The first time I ever actually tried bread pudding was on our 3rd anniversary. Drew and I both were never very interested in bread pudding until we saw the blueberry chocolate chip bread pudding at Bella Luna. Ever since then I've wanted to make it and Valentine's day gave me that opportunity!
one. Gather ingredients.
You will need:
-1 Tablespoon butter (plus more for baking dish)
-8 slices Cinnamon raisin bread
-2 cups milk
-3 oz. semi-sweet chocolate chips
-2 eggs
-1/2 cup granulated sugar
-1/2 tsp. vanilla
-1 Tablespoon powdered sugar
two. Combine milk, chocolate chips and butter in medium sauce pan. Heat over medium heat, stirring occasionally until chocolate is melted (about 5 minutes)
three. Toast bread and preheat oven to 350. Go ahead and butter a 11x7 inch baking dish while bread is toasting. Let bread cool and then tear into pieces and lay on bottom of baking dish.
four. Whisk together eggs, sugar,  and vanilla in medium bowl. Slowly add the warm chocolate mixture to the egg mixture. Make sure to whisk continually so the eggs don't start cooking due to the hot temperature of the chocolate mixture!
five. Pour the egg/chocolate mixture over the toasted bread pieces in the baking dish

six. Make sure all the pieces are well coated with the mixture before placing it in the oven for 25 minutes. Although it may be tempting to eat it straight from the oven, allow it to cool for 10 minutes. Sprinkle with powdered sugar and enjoy every bite!

Original recipe found here.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Wine and Dine outfit

The other night Drew and I met my sister in law and future brother in law for a wine tasting. I sported my new necklace, which was a Valentine gift from my sweet husband and created by my very talented sister in law! She doesn't have a shop yet, but if you are interested in a necklace I can connect you with her! She makes each bead and fires them herself and I couldn't wait to put an outfit together to wear with it!

Sweater: Loft, Shirt: JCrew, Necklace: Carly Marie Styling Boutique
I'm also linking up with The Pleated Poppy for What I Wore Wednesday and Style Elixir for Style Sessions.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Top 4...

 Four things from my weekend:
one. Holding baby Jack and watching my best friend interact with her new baby. We took dinner over and I made sure I got lots of snuggle time in with this precious baby. He is such a good little guy!
two. Seeing Lincoln with my family in honor of President's day. I absolutely loved it.
three. Wine tasting and another delicious burger from Whole Foods. We took my sister in law and future brother in law and they loved it too. I think we are now officially "regulars."
four. Watching the Downton Abbey finale. It started off as a good episode. I'm not going to ruin it for you all that are behind, but it is not a happy ending and I'm livid. On a positive note, did you know the castle they film Downton in is a real castle that you can visit and tour? I watched a special on it and am now adding visit Highclere Castle to my bucket list! How far is it from you Tara??

Today thanks to the President's I am still in my pjs! Some of my girlfriends are coming over for Lord of the Rings round 2 and then we are making dinner together. Should be a relaxing day!

Saturday, February 16, 2013

The perfect homemade Valentine's Meal

For our Valentine's day meal, Drew and I decided we wanted to cook together. To make it fun he secretly chose and shopped for the entree and salad items while I did the same with desserts and drinks. This made it so much more fun! We sipped on wine and listened to some Dave Barnes while we dirtied up the kitchen.
Here is our Valentine's Day meal with as many recipes to share as I could scrape up...
Click here for the recipe!
Click here for the recipe!
Click here for a similar recipe!
Click here for the recipe!

We sat at our dining room table, which for some reason we hardly ever do and stuffed ourselves to full capacity. Everything we made turned out amazingly delicious!
Over dinner we talked about our first Valentine's day together where Drew surprised me with a home made dinner. He convinced me to dress up and said we were going out then drove me around and wouldn't let me open my eyes until we got to "the restaurant." When I opened my eyes we were in my parent's driveway and I was so confused. When we walked downstairs I realized that Drew had cooked an amazing meal and decorated the entire basement with streamers, confetti, candles, etc. He enlisted the help of my sweet family and I was blown away. My then 17 year old boyfriend would 7 years later become my husband and now 3 years later we are still celebrating love just like way back when. I pray it is always that way!
Oh wow...I didn't know how to use a straightener when I was 16 apparently. Haha.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Friday's Letters...Spread the love edition

Dear Top Chef (in the making) Husband, Your culinary skills never cease to amaze me. Our meal last night was better than any restaurant could have served us up. Wow! Dear sweet students, Thanks for making your teacher feel extra loved yesterday with all the hugs, notes and chocolates. Dear Presidents of the past, Thank you for all you did to shape our country and more importantly the things you did that led up to me getting a day off. Dear Chocolate Bread Pudding, You turned out pretty darn good except after I baked you I learned that my husband does not like raisins in his food. I learn new things every day. I know he loves me lots because he licked his plate clean and then ate bites of mine so I wouldn't feel bad. What a guy! Dear Valentine's Day, I love you. Always have, always will.

Speaking of Valentine's day...since I love all things Valentine's day I decided to sign up for a Valentine Swap a few weeks ago and I'm very glad I did! I sent a gift to Megan over at Table for Three...(read about what I sent her here) and I got a gift from the fabulous Nicole from Grub N' Marriage. I could tell Nicole really tried to get to know me before she went out shopping because everything she got me I LOVED. Thanks for spoiling me Nicole and thanks for hosting Megan and Erin! I hope you all had a wonderful Valentine's day. I can't wait to share our Valentine meal with you.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

SPD: Sweet Spot Hearts

Happy Valentine's Day sweet friends! I hope each of you feels especially loved today! I'm doing my part in sharing the love by giving my students a cute little treat today. Such an easy project inspired by Martha that I think will be a big hit in Room 308. See the original pin here.
All you need are a few packs of candy buttons, some fancy scissors and some colored card stock. I cut the candy buttons up into 3x3 squares and did my best to cut out a heart shape. Then I mounted them with double sided tape onto card stock and used my fancy scissors to cut a heart shape around each one. I love how they turned out and I can't wait to pass them out to my students at our Valentine's day party this afternoon!

And tonight Drew and I are making a special dinner together. He is surprising me with the entree and sides while I'm taking care of desserts and drinks. Can't wait to see how you all celebrate! XOXO.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Check MEOWt

Shirt: Loft, Scarf: Gap, Skirt: Target, Leggings: Loft, Boots: DSW, Bracelet: Fossil
I wore this outfit to a birthday brunch for my friend Courtney who recently moved away. I was so excited to give Courtney her present because it involved two of our favorite things: baking and an orange kitten. (See our macaroon baking adventures here, here and here)
Kitten Aid Print found here!
Courtney also got a kitten for her birthday, which she brought home to show off. I loved getting to meet little Gunther and I can't wait for him to meet his future besties, Bear and Sawyer.

I'm also linking up with The Pleated Poppy for What I Wore Wednesday and Style Elixir for Style Sessions.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Simple Seasame Noodles

Every time I go to the grocery store I always check to see if the Annie Chun's Noodle bowls are on sale...if they are I snatch up a few for a rainy day. Whenever Drew is gone for an evening and I'm on my own for dinner these are my go to item to grab. However, after finding this PW recipe for sesame noodles, I am now saying goodbye to Annie Chun.

This recipe is simple and quick (two words I wouldn't normally use to describe a Pioneer Woman recipe.) It is also delicious (which describes every Pioneer Woman recipe.) Here is what you will need...
12 oz. Lo Mein Noodles (could substitute for angel hair pasta)
1/4 cup Soy Sauce
2 Tbsp. sugar
4 garlic cloves minced
2 Tbsp. Rice Vinegar
3 Tbsp. Sesame Oil (found mine in the Asian section)
1/2 tsp. Hot Chili Oil (also found in the Asian section)
4 Tbsp. Canola Oil
4 whole green onions sliced thinly
Cilantro for garnish

Whisk all ingredients (minus the green onions, cilantro and noodles) in a medium sized bowl. Cook noodles as directed, drain and place in large bowl. Pour sauce over warm noodles and stir in green onions. Top with cilantro.

Next time I make this, I'm going to chop up peanuts to add a little extra crunch. YUM! I can't wait to make this again! As always, PW never lets me down.

Linking up with Alissa for Tasty Tuesdays!

Now hop over here and enter to win something for your Valentine.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Valentine's day gift list...and a giveaway!

Love is in the air and it makes me so happy! Valentine's day is quickly approaching so I thought I'd share a few of my favorite Valentine gift ideas since this is the last week I can talk about that for a while and get away with it...
Valentine's gifts
Valentine's gifts by nestfuloflove

1. My husband's ideal guys night would include video games and a beer tasting with his buddies. He loves tasting and rating different beers so these coasters are a fun idea! Beer Coasters

2. Since we are kind of obsessed with our cats around this house I thought this shirt would be hilarious to get my husband. He would totally wear it! This Guy Loves His Cat T-shirt

3. A fun gift for him and her since my Mr. drinks wine... His and Hers Wine Glasses

4. I have always loved polka dots and pink so this scarf would be a fabulous addition to my growing scarf collection! The fact that it's an infinity scarf only makes me love it even more! Chunky polka dot infinity scarf

5. My fossil key fob that I've had forever just broke so I'm in need of a new one. This owl key fob is just adorable right? Owl Key Fob

Now meet Jennie from over at The Diary of a Real Housewife!
Hi ya'll, Im Jennie from the Diary of a Real Housewife. I am a stay at home mommy to a wonderful little boy named Max, a fur baby named Daisy, and a proud wifey to my wonderful husband Chad. I love making new friends and I would love for you to come on over to my little place in cyber space and introduce yourself!

I saw her adorable list of Valentine gift ideas under $20 a few days ago and she has generously offered to give away one of the items on her list to a lucky reader!
                                                                                                   Source: via Allison on Pinterest

a Rafflecopter giveaway Winner will be contacted via email on Valentine's Day!

Sunday, February 10, 2013


Friday night was just what I needed... Drew and I went and picked up Sushi from Kroger and picked out a bottle of wine from our favorite local winery. Then we added chocolate ice cream to our shopping cart and headed home.
And since we are both kid's at heart we decided to put on the Lorax, which I had heard good things about (probably from my second graders, but who cares!) We loved it! I laughed out loud quite a few times. Have you seen it??
                                                                 Source: via Allison on Pinterest

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Baby Jack!

My best friend had her baby Monday night...and shortly after Drew and I whisked to the hospital to see the new little family of 3.

Here's Steph and I on Thursday night after our girl's night of Pizza and ice cream. We were about to drive home in a snow storm and she shouts to me jokingly "Maybe the next time you see me I'll have a baby!" And I say back..."Yea right, you aren't due for another 2 1/2 weeks!" Welp, she was right because 4 days later she was a Momma!
This little baby is already so loved and I'll admit my baby fever hit an all time high while at the hospital...but then I came home and it slowly made it's way back down to normal. I will happily welcome a bundle of joy into my life someday, but for now I'm content! And if the baby fever spikes again...well I'll just go hold baby Jack for a few hours.