Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Favorite Things!

I'm linking up with Ashley to share my favorite things from April. I did a little crafting, a little cooking, took a trip and planned a trip. I think I'd call that a pretty good month!

#1. Completed the ladder project with the help of my sweet husband!
#2. Mother Daughter weekend in Indiana
#3 Counted the change we had been collecting and bought our plane tickets to Colorado for my friend Ashley's wedding! Aren't the save the dates adorable???
#4. Found this cookbook and loved it!
#5. Discovered the show Call the Midwife
#6. Got free tickets to Kings Island and enjoyed a day of fun with my brother, cousin and husband!
#7. Learned that I love quinoa!

I seriously can't believe May is almost here! 23 days until my summer break! May is already full of exciting things...bring them on!

Monday, April 29, 2013

The weekend where my cousin won free tickets to Kings Island...

This weekend was full of sweet surprises. My friend Courtney came in town on Friday and we had a date night at one of my favorite local restaurants called Grand Finale. We sipped on raspberry martinis and went all out with salads, amazing meals and desert! I loved every second of our date.

The game plan for Saturday was to weed the front yard and paint the ceiling, but then enters my cousin who won free tickets to Kings Island opening day. The weeds and the ceiling had to wait because we spent all day Saturday at the park riding rides, chowing down on Cincinnati foods, and eating Smurf ice cream. It was amazing. 

Sunday I had Mexican food for lunch (good thing I didn't count calories this weekend or I'd be depressed) and graded another round of my student's stories. It was such an unexpectedly fun weekend.  The weeds and the ceiling weren't happy to be neglected, but I was glad to put them off for another few days. Did you do anything unexpected this weekend?

Friday, April 26, 2013

Friday's Letters

Dear Drew, I'm so glad you aren't working this weekend. We have BIG plans like painting our kitchen ceiling and weeding the front yard. I only get excited about doing these things because they are with you! Dear Courtney, I am SO excited to see you and Gunther tonight. Our first kitty play date! I'm so thankful for a friend who understands just where I am in life. Dear new favorite show (Call the Midwife), PBS has done it again. I might even like you more than Downton. Did I just say that??? Dear Kentucky Derby, I can't wait for you! You really are one of my favorite "holidays" mainly because of Derby pie. Now I just need to find myself a cute hat to wear for our party next weekend. Dear Avocados, Have I told you lately that I love you? I made this recipe again this week and it is so incredibly easy and delicious. Dear Etsy Shop, I've neglected you lately and I'm sorry, but this summer I have big plans for you! Dear Readers, I have some fun giveaways coming up next month so stay tuned. Enjoy your weekend!!
Love, Allison


Wednesday, April 24, 2013

What I wore to the Paramount...

Tank Top: Gap, Sweater: LOFT, Skirt: JCREW, Belt: Gifted, Necklace: Gifted, Shoes: H&M
My mom, sister and I went to see a stage play of Narnia this weekend at the cutest old theater in Indiana called the Paramount. It wasn't super warm, but I wanted to look springy and sport my new JCrew skirt I got on clearance so this is what I came up with. I am so excited to wear this skirt lots of different ways this spring/summer! How would you wear it??
Linking up with Shanna, Lauren and Lindsey today.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Quinoa with Fried Egg & Spinach {A recipe}

When I first saw this recipe in the cookbook Dinner: A Love Story I had just discovered Quinoa and couldn't wait to try it with egg. It did not let me down. It turns out quinoa is good with almost anything! This recipe is for 2 bowls.

Here's what you need to make it:
-1 cup Quinoa
-2 eggs
-2 Tablespoons chopped onion
-Olive oil
-dash of Sesame oil (don't leave this out it has amazing flavor)
-1 tsp. Soy sauce
-2 handfuls of fresh spinach (roughly chopped)

Here's how you make it:
Cook the Quinoa according to package instructions then divide evenly between two bowls.

Heat olive oil and a dash of Sesame oil in a small frying pan over low heat. Toss in onions and saute for 3 minutes. Add the spinach and soy sauce and saute until spinach is wilted. Remove spinach and onions from frying pan and place on top of quinoa.

Fry up 2 eggs in the same small frying pan and place on top of quinoa and spinach.

Drizzle with a little more soy sauce for flavor.

Such a quick and easy meal!
Do you have a favorite dish with Quinoa? I want to know about it!

Monday, April 22, 2013

Girl's weekend

This weekend my Mom and I drove to Indiana to visit my sister. We bought tickets to see a stage play of The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe at an old theater called the Paramount. It was a sunny day so we spent some time taking pictures around the cute downtown before heading in...
The inside of the old theater was amazing. It has been around since 1930 and they call it an atmospheric theater because it was modeled after medieval Europe.
After the show we walked to one of my favorite Mexican restaurants in downtown Anderson called Real Hacienda. I went to college near there so this was a frequent place my girlfriends and I visited. We ate our food then headed back to my sister's house for brownies, our PJ's and Skyfall. It was a perfect weekend.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Friday's Letters

Dear Spring, You make me an all around happier gal. I think I love you. Dear Drew, I'm so glad you had such a great time camping with the guys, that is however until you got home and found out you might have gotten a waterborne parasite. #waterfilterfail. Thankfully you are all better now.
Dear Mom and Alys, I'm so excited for our girl's weekend in Indy. I can't wait to see the stage play of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (since we have all loved Narnia forever), eat Mexican food and hang out just us girls. Dear Sweet Second graders, Today is your last day of standardized testing. Wahoo! I'm exhausted just from administering it so I know your brains have to hurt. That is why I am so excited for our Sundae party on the playground today! Dear Erin, Happy Birthday TOMORROW! Ride Splash Mountain at least twice for me okay? Dear Budget, a new spring wardrobe is calling my name...can you go away for a little while? Thanks. Dear wonderful readers, I hope it is sunny and warm wherever you are and that you have a fantastic weekend!!!
Love, Allison


Thursday, April 18, 2013

Dinner: A Love Story [Cookbook Review+Recipes]

About a month ago I was looking for a new cookbook to try some recipes out of and I stumbled on Dinner: A Love story by Jenny Rosenstrach, which is both a blog and book. I picked up a copy of the cookbook at the library and it is one I will definitely be adding to my collection.

One thing that always draws me into a cookbook is the story behind it. The recipes are important too, but I love when I can combine my love of reading with my love of cooking. It just makes it so much more fun. Jenny is a mom who is determined to cook dinner for her family every night. She believes in the importance of family dinner at the table and her cookbook provides simple, yet delicious recipes that can make this possible for any family! Even though I don't have kids of my own yet, my husband and I both work full time and share Jenny's desire to eat dinner together at the dinner table as much as we can! I pulled out recipes from this cookbook to try and I loved every one that I made from Swedish meatballs to Pan Fried pizza. A few that I enjoyed from her cookbook can also be found on her blog if you want to try them out!

Baked Sausage with Apples and Onions
Swedish Meatballs 
Quinoa with Fried Egg

The recipes I share with you over the next week or two will all be from this cookbook. Stay tuned...

And I'm looking for another cookbook to review...any suggestions?!

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Your beauty fills the sky...

Top: Target, Tank top: Limited, Skirt: Target, Belt:Gifted
The other day I was driving with the windows down, the sunshine pouring in on me and I just had to smile and say thank you. I find so much joy in God's creation and I have to remind myself to stop and enjoy it sometimes.  This is just your friendly reminder to take a minute to stop what you are doing and take a look around you!
Linking up with Shanna today.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Flying solo...

This weekend Drew was gone on a camping trip so I was flying solo...
Friday night my friend Bekah came over after work to keep me company. We drank wine, ate snacks and stayed up talking until 1 am.
Saturday morning I went to brunch with my Mom. We had delicious food and then took a nice walk at the park with our little dog, Max. Then we headed to Trader Joe's and our favorite market place. I found a few succulents at Trader Joe's (thanks for the tip Clare) to spruce up my ladder shelf and then I found these adorable birds at the market. I love how they look on the shelves.
Sunday I went to church and then rushed home to give my grizzly, mountain-man-looking husband a huge hug. I spent the rest of the evening hearing about his camping adventures. We might have even had ice cream for dinner. I miss this man while he's gone.

How was your weekend??

Saturday, April 13, 2013

That one time when I backed the car into the garage door...

So you know how you hear about people doing things like locking their keys in the car for the 100th time, running out of gas on the highway or backing their car into their own garage door and you think wow that would never happen to me! Well one of those things happened to me a few weeks ago. I was just going to skip over this post because it's not my finest hour, but then I thought just maybe this post would make someone else feel a little less stupid about doing something like this so here you go... It was my spring break and I was so excited to meet my friends for lunch and have a craft day that I was only half paying attention as I was pulling my new car out of the garage and I backed right into the half way up garage door! All I heard was a loud crash and I looked back to see my rear window completely shattered. I really couldn't believe what I had just done. I was a hot mess as you can probably gather from my red face and puffy eyes in the picture below.
So I called my friend Stephanie crying and she said they were bringing the party (including her 1 month old) to get me. We had lunch (and dessert because it was much needed) at this adorable cafe in my downtown square and for a while I forgot all about my little garage door mishap. My husband got home from work and was so gracious. I hated that I made more work for him after a long day at work, but he forgave me and let me boo hoo to him. I shop vac-ed the glass and boo hoo-ed some more because now we come to find out the garage door may need to be replaced too. Enter my handy father in law who works with Drew for 2 hours to fix the garage door. I am upstairs (still crying) when my mother in law walks in with flowers for me. I do a mindless, stupid thing and she brings me flowers? My in-laws are amazing.

Lessons learned from this: 
1.) Don't judge people when they do "stupid" things because it could happen to you
2.) Compassion gets you everywhere
3.) I have the sweetest friends and family in the world.

Please tell me you've done something stupid like this. If you have, leave it in the comments so I feel better about myself. Haha.

Click here for a chance to win $75.00 via Pay Pal.

Friday, April 12, 2013

High Five for Fridays and for free stuff!

This week has been a good one, mostly because spring is finally here and the weather was great, but as always...Friday I'm so glad you are here! Here are the highlights from this week...

one: I finally got my hair done.
two: Spring is here. I swear these flowers bloomed overnight.
three: My student's first track meet! They loved that I was there to cheer them on.
four: Another successful Quinoa recipe...except this one involves a fried egg!
five: We literally counted coins to see if we could swing going to Colorado for a wedding this summer. Turns out we can so we booked our flights! Denver we are coming to see you soon!
six: I couldn't waste a trip to the salon so I made Drew go out to dinner with me. You just can't waste a good hair day. Haha. Drew is growing out his beard so he can look like a cave man on his upcoming camping trip. It's working, but I kind of love it.

And because I love you and wanted to make your Friday even more amazing you can enter below to win a ...

I've teamed up with a few lovely ladies to offer you a $75 PayPal Cash Giveaway! 

Use rafflecopter to enter:
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Thursday, April 11, 2013

Things 2nd graders know ALL about...

One thing I just love about being a second grade teacher is getting to read my students published stories. I always feel so proud when they actually apply what I've taught in their stories and usually I laugh out loud over several of them and run to show my husband. We recently did a Non-fiction unit where they wrote a book about something they were an expert about. There's some excellent advice in these second grade masterpieces. Here are a few of my favorites...

Oliver is an expert on roller coaster riding etiquette...no hats allowed.
Isaiah is an expert on the kinds of people that play football...they are obviously mean.
Chloe is an expert on the care of plants. If you plant a garden for goodness sake don't step on it!
Diairra is an expert on the clothing store, Justice. If you are trying on clothes make sure they fit
And now for my personal favorite...
Langston is an expert on Dogs. If you have a dog, give it affection or it WILL turn on you.
 ...so love them beyond affection okay dog owners? Haha. I love my job.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013


Top: Kohl's (exact), Leggings: Kohl's (exact), Shoes: Jessica Simpson Wedges, Earrings: Anthropology
I've been sipping on...lemonade. Since it's finally feeling like spring I've been keeping a pitcher in the fridge! Now I just need to bust out my Mason jar and get a cute striped straw to sip out of.
I've been listening to...Chris Tomlin's new cd. It's so wonderful and a perfect way to start my day as I drive in to work.
I've been reading...The Paris Wife by Paula McLain for book club and The Fitting Room by Kelly Minter for bible study. So far I am loving both of these books!
I've been watching...Smash and Fashion Star. I can't get enough!
I've been trying...recipes from this cookbook, Dinner: A Love Story. All my meals I've cooked the last 2 weeks are from this cookbook and I can't wait to share my thoughts.
I'm excited that...our flights to Colorado are BOOKED for July!! I've never been to Colorado and I can't wait to celebrate my friend Ashley's wedding and get in some gorgeous Colorado views.
I'm thankful for...a husband who makes me feel so loved, for the roof over my head and for sunshine. Thank you Jesus for sunshine!
Linking up with Shanna, Lauren and Lindsey today.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

California Quinoa Salad

At our weekly wine tastings at Whole Foods they pair one of their wines with a recipe made with ingredients found in the store. A few weeks ago I tried a dish with Quinoa and immediately snatched up their recipe card. Last week this recipe made its way into our meal planning rotation and let me just say I am in love! It is colorful, light and refreshing...a perfect spring and summer meal.

Here's what you will need:
1/2 pound quinoa
1 cup water
1 mango (chopped)
1/4 pound red bell pepper (chopped into small pieces)
1/2 cup sliced almonds
1/2 cup raisins
1/5 bunch cilantro (chopped)
1/2 red onion (diced)
1/4 cup lime juice
1 T. Balsamic vinegar
1/2 pound shelled Edamame (I bought it frozen and already shelled)
Rinse quinoa under cold water in a fine mesh strainer until water runs clear.
Cook quinoa according to package directions and then let cool. Add cooled quinoa to bowl and add other ingredients. Stir and place in refrigerator to cool. Serve chilled.

This is the perfect warm weather meal. So refreshing and healthy! 

Monday, April 8, 2013

A life snapshot...

This picture describes where Drew and I are in life right now...comfortable and complete. We are happily married, but we are not at the place where we are ready to add to our family just yet. I know that time will come and we will be over the moon when it does, but right now we are happy just the two of us...excuse me the four of us. We love our quiet nights at home cuddled on the couch with our cats and bowls of ice cream, we love picking up and going on day hikes just because, we love beer/wine tasting and random game nights with our friends, we love cooking and doing house projects together, we love it being just us. While we are so exited for our family to grow one day and for our house to be filled with baby sounds, we are content right now and are waiting until we both feel it's the right time for US. All of our friends are having babies and people ask us why we don't have kids. We simply smile and say we will someday, but just not yet. I don't know when our "someday" will be. It could be next month or next year, but whenever it is I know it will be the perfect time for us according to God's plan. So for now I wanted to capture a small life snapshot of life the way we know it right now.

Friday, April 5, 2013

6 new things on a Friday...

Friday, I just love you! This week was a little rough transitioning back from spring break because I was so tired, but my kiddos were so sweet that I couldn't help but have a good week overall. Here are a few new things that I'm loving this week...

New coat of paint for our old chest to match my fabulous new ladder project! If you missed my tutorial yesterday you can see it here.
New cookbook that I'm loving. I will be reviewing it next week.
Newly opened for the season...The Rootbeer Stand! Best.Rootbeer.ever.
New social media buttons thanks to my amazing friend Erin. Test them out for me would you? Oh and Erin...she's awesome.
New headband that I won and didn't take off for 2 days. Thanks Shio!
New recipe that I'm in love with. I promise I'll share it next week!
Have a fantastic weekend.
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Thursday, April 4, 2013

The couple that Pinterests together...

"The couple that Pinterests together, stays together." -Jena Roach

Jena sent me this quote the other day after I posted about Drew helping me with a project and I laughed out loud because it has to be true right? The project I'm sharing with you today was 95% completed by my sweet husband because I'm no good with accurate measurements or a table saw. I am however awesome with a paint brush! This has to be my favorite project to date...wooden ladder turned shelf!
We have a corner in our house where our Christmas tree always goes, but when the tree is put away it always feels empty and I have been searching for the perfect thing to fill it. I was browsing one of my favorite blogs, A Beautiful Mess and saw this amazing project to turn a ladder into a shelf. What?! Cheap...check, My style...check, Handy Husband with power tools...check.
We started by finding a wooden ladder then Drew started measuring and sketching away. Once he figured out how wide and how long each board needed to be for each shelf he got out the table saw and some old ply wood from the shed and started cutting. I helped by taking action shots. Oh and I painted an old chest the same color as the ladder too, see I did something. If you attempt this project for yourself just know that the rungs of the ladder are not level and will require you to glue some extra pieces of wood to make them even. We used Gorilla Wood Glue to attach the pieces.
My house is very rustic and I love incorporating nature any way I can (old flower pots, an old watering can, leaf fabric on the seat cushions, Moss covered letters, etc.) I can't wait to "style" my new shelves with some plants and old treasures! Who knew a ladder could be turned into a shelf? Talk about a re-purposing project...I love it! What do you think?
Original pin found here.
Check out my boards on Pinterest here.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Things blogging has taught me...

Dress: Old Navy (exact), Belt: Old Navy (exact), Scarf: Old Navy, Shoes: H&M
I've been thinking lately about all the things I've done, tried or learned just because of blogging. If you didn't already know, I absolutely love blogging and all of you. Just had to throw that out there.
Here are just a few things blogging has taught me...

I've learned how to dress and have even attempted a few style posts thanks to my bloggy friend-spirations: Shanna, Mo and Katie. You girls make me want to style my outfits and then take pictures. I never ever thought I would do that so cheers to you.

I've learned where to shop...some of my favorite Etsy shops belong to some of you! I even started my own Etsy shop because it seemed like every blogger needed a shop of their own. Why not?

I've learned how to do my hair...I honestly did not know how to handle my curly hair before some of the tips I've found from bloggers. I'm still working on it, but I've made progress!

I've learned that you can be close friends with someone you've never "met" in the real world.

I've learned how to use Polyvore, photo editing websites and even a little HTML code.

I've learned that I have a little bit of luck..I've won some pretty awesome things from generous giveaways including a Pampered Chef ChopChop, an amazing necklace from Shabby Apple, an adorable clutch, headband, ring and earrings from Whimsy Lane and my new favorite headband from SWeetness a boos!

I've learned that it's okay to snap pictures of every single meal I make...I did it before, but now I have a reason for doing it!

I've learned that people I love in blog world I also love in "real life."(Erin, Julie, Katie, Anne, Sarah, Jax, Courtney)

I've learned that blogging keeps me accountable and motivated. It helps me plan my meals each week and then actually go through with cooking them. And after writing out goals you all make me want to accomplish the goals I wrote down on my list so I don't look like a failure.

I've learned that some of the sweetest girls in the world are bloggers. Whenever I'm out somewhere I always look at people and wonder...do they have a blog? Haha. End sappy post about how much I absolutely love blogging!

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

My favorite girl's night snack...(A recipe)

My go to snack to take to a girl's night is Pioneer Woman's Olive Cheese Bread. Now don't tune out if you don't like olives because this very recipe has turned 3 olive haters (and counting) into semi-olive lovers. I had this at our Nothing Party and it was a big hit.

Here's what you will need:
-One 14.5 oz can black olives (drained)
-One 6 oz. jar pimiento-stuffed green olives (drained)
-2 green onions (chopped)
-1 stick butter (softened)
-1/2 cup real Mayo
-1 pound Monterrey Jack Cheese (shredded)
-1 loaf French Bread

Start by Preheating the oven to 325 degrees. Then begin chopping up the olives and green onions. Toss these in a medium sized bowl with the softened butter, Mayo and shredded cheese. Stir until combined well. Slice a loaf of French bread lenghwise and scoop the mixture onto the tops of each half of bread. Bake for 25-30 minutes. Serve warm!

If you have any of the olive mixture left it is great with tortilla chips too. YUM!

You can find the original recipe here.