Monday, February 28, 2011

Photo of the Week

This is the view from my parents' living room. One of my friends is going make a painting of it for my apartment. I'm so excited!

Friday, February 25, 2011

Weekly Round-Up #4

Posts and other things from the internet that I found informative, useful, or inspiring this past week:

Jon Acuff of Stuff Christians Like wrote an insightful post about identity.

The Youngsters at Young House Love did an amazing job whipping together their guest bedroom in just a few days.

The lady of Three Men and a Lady wrote a post about the geocaching adventure she went on with her husband and two sons. That post seriously inspired me - what kind of woman goes walking around the desert while very pregnant? An awesome one! And that's the kind of mom I hope to be someday.

Back in January, The Economist published an interesting article on the problem with public sector unions.

Finally, here's another good song from the band that brought us "Chicken Fried."

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Youth, Day, Old Age and Night by Walt Whitman

Youth, large, lusty, loving--youth full of grace, force, fascination,
Do you know that Old Age may come after you with equal grace,
force, fascination?

Day full-blown and splendid-day of the immense sun, action,
ambition, laughter,
The Night follows close with millions of suns, and sleep and
   restoring darkness.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Messy Sandwiches

One thing I think my parents did particularly well when I was growing up is establish some childhood traditions for me and my siblings. One such tradition was the making of Messy Sandwiches.

When we were all very young, every Sunday afternoon we would come home from church and my dad would make messy sandwiches for lunch while my mom got us all out of our church clothes and into our play clothes. Actually, the boys would frequently eat their sandwiches shirtless, that's how messy these sandwiches are! (Hence the name.)

A Messy Sandwich is a delicious, unhealthy meal that was created by my dad when he was a starving college student and is best enjoyed with a tall glass of milk or cold water. One of my favorite things about messy sandwiches is that they are simultaneously lunch or dinner AND dessert!

I decided to make Messy Sandwiches for my small group Bible study's dinner last Monday. Here are the ingredients I gathered:

Since I wanted to make 12 sandwiches, I laid out 6 sets of slices of bread on a cookie sheet at a time (that's as many as would fit) with the matching slice of bread underneath. Because I'm OCD and I like the edges of my sandwiches to match, what can I say?

Then, I spread a thick layer of peanut butter (the real stuff, thank-you-very-much!) on top of the bread and smashed chocolate chips into the peanut butter so the whole surface of the slice was covered in peanut butter and chocolate.

Next, I took some bananas and put 5-6 thin slices on top of the chocolate chips.

After placing the matching slice of bread on top of each sandwich, I placed the sandwiches on the stove to be cooked.

At medium heat, I cooked each side of the sandwich for 4-6 minutes, or until golden brown or darker. Personally, I prefer for my messy sandwiches to be almost burnt. The trick is to get all the chocolate chips melted without turning the bread to charcoal. This might take some practice; even after years of making these, I still sometimes end up with a burnt offering.

I recommend making sure that you have plenty of paper towels on hand when you make this treat! It's hard enough for adults to keep clean while eating it and kids are guaranteed to make a huge mess. Enjoy!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

A Deranged Bookcase

For too many months, my bookcase in our apartment has looked like this:

It was a complete mess. The boxes that formerly housed my DVDs had empty spaces where discs that should have been in them were instead strewn elsewhere throughout the bookcase. Notebooks and textbooks were shoved in wherever they would fit. The picture of my family was turned sideways and the bottom shelf was a heap of Christmas lights and a broken printer. Other random things were piled on either side of the bookcase.

I hated that it was so messy but I had never taken the time to re-arrange it. The recent addition of three new decor pieces, however, gave me the motivation I needed to re-organize the shelves and make it more functional.

The ampersand and hourglass are both recent purchases on steep discount from Kohl's. I don't know why, but I'm obsessed with ampersands! I think they're so beautiful, and I love the combination of graceful curves and straight lines. An hourglass is something I've wanted for a very long time, so when I was these two items on sale, I simply had to purchase them. The brown glazed bud vase was a gift from my sister and brother-in-law; it's a one-of-a-kind piece and I love it! It's very pretty, the picture doesn't do it justice.

In re-arranging the bookcase, my goal was to combine beauty and function, and this was the result:

Well, at least on the top two shelves of the bookcase. I'm fairly happy with how this portion of the reorganizing came out. All of my hardback and most treasured books are on the top shelf while the second shelf houses some of my books from last semester along with some just-for-pleasure books, as well as all my "religious" books, an album, and two recipe books. And the top of the bookcase is much more neat and organized now - the DVDs and puzzles belong to my roommates and the basket holds my flute along with extra yarn and needles. Here's how the whole bookcase looks:

I am not very pleased with the new arrangement. I think the bookcase looked more balanced when the white boxes and magazine holders were up higher and grouped together. Unfortunately, once I got to this point and realized that I wasn't happy with how it turned out, I was too tired of shuffling things around to go back and undo it. Additionally, since I added two new magazine holders, there is no way to fit all of the white things on one shelf. At some point in the future (preferably before the semester ends!), I will re-arrange everything with a hopefully more balanced outcome.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Weekly Round-Up #3

Things I came across this week that I think are worth passing on:

Francesca Battistelli reminds us that things like lost keys and speeding tickets are not the end of the world.

An Egyptian protester recounts the lessons he learned from participating in the protests.

Centsational Girl wrote a DIY tutorial on a really cute (and potentially romantic) tray makeover.

Jen of Epbot shows us an awesome way to amp up the decorative value of jar candles.

William Berkson recounts the process of creating Williams Caslon, a typeface based on an old typeset font: Part One and Part Two. Even if you have no interest in typography, I think you'll still find these articles interesting.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

An Organized Drawer

In January, A Bowl Full of Lemons hosted a time of getting organized. My sister encouraged me to participate, and an organized desk junk drawer was the result! Here's the after pic (I forgot to take a before):

I picked up the silverware organizer at my local Goodwill for $0.50 and it works great for organizing all my markers/highlighters, pens, and pencils. The top section holds all my "sticky things" (yes, that's a technical term) and there's just enough room along the side to hold other random odds & ends. The plastic case in the front holds correspondence materials such as address labels and stamps.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

A Place in Thy Memory by Gerald Griffin

A Place in thy memory, Dearest!
Is all that I claim:
To pause and look back when thou hearest
The sound of my name.
Another may woo thee, nearer;
Another may win and wear;
I care not though he be dearer,
If I am remember'd there. 

This is just the first verse of "A Place in Thy Memory," and, personally, I think it is the best part of the poem. If you'd like, you can read the rest of it here.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011


Woman. It's a simple word, but it carries powerful connotations. What images come to your mind when you read that word?






Those are just a few of the things my mind associates "woman" with. This is a word I struggle in applying to myself. At nearly 23-years-old, I realize that I am a woman now, whether I like it or not. I don't like to refer to myself as a "woman." Yet calling myself a "girl" seems more than a bit ridiculous; I know that I need to embrace the fact that I'm an adult now, but referring to myself and other ladies my age as "women" scares me.

I think I feel that if I am a woman, I can no longer do childish things. And that is true. It does not mean, however, that I can no longer have fun. Our society seems to connect youth with enjoyment of life, but that connection is not truth. The Bible tells us that old age is where true enjoyment lies, and it is God's plan for each individual to grow into a mature adult who is at peace with the identity God has given them.

"When I became an adult, I put away childish things." - 1 Corinthians 13:11

"The grey head is a crown of glory, if it is found in the way of righteousness." - Proverbs 16:31

When I created this blog, I really wanted to put "girl" instead of "woman" in the subtitle. But I could not. I feel that God has been trying to teach me about being a woman lately, especially what it means to be a woman outside the context of being a wife and mother (but that's a topic for another post), and it is my duty and privilege to embrace my womanhood.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Quote to Ponder

"Few delights can equal the mere presence of one whom we trust utterly."

                - George MacDonald

Friday, February 11, 2011

Weekly Round-Up #2

Things I saw on the internet this week:

Given my interest in home renovation, I think this may be the best ad of the super bowl.

Came across a tutorial from Jen of on how to make a penny-covered desk. It looks amazing! I think I want to tile a bathroom floor with pennies someday...

Ladies, use this suit fit guide from to make sure your men look the best they possibly can!

A great post from Art of Manliness on the wonderful benefits of napping.

Sherry of Young House Love shared her success with her coupon-clipping New Year's resolution and gave tips on how she saves more money than ever on her grocery shopping.

And that's it for this week! Hope you have a marvelous and sunshine-y weekend!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

A Valentine's Table Arrangement

Last Saturday, considering the fact that my roommates and I had seasonal decor up for Christmas, I decided it would also be nice to have some seasonal decor for Valentine's day, so I made this arrangement for our dining room table. I started with some items that I found on steep discount at Target and worked in other items that we already had lying around our apartment.

This is what it looks like straight-on. The crystal vase and candy dish (I think it's actually a gravy dish, but I'm not 100% sure) were gifts from my parents. The small, round, red candle and the tall pink lace-y candle were made by my roommate. I put electronic votives in the plastic tumblers from Target - I was afraid a real candle might melt them or cause them to release chemicals.

I love the way the tumblers cast subtle shadows when the fake votives are turned on, and the way the pink pillar candle looks when it's lit! My roommate told me that she put ice cubes in the candle mold and then poured hot wax over them in order to form all the holes in the candle.

These bright red carnations add a lot of cheer to our apartment! I scored them at Safeway and so far they've been really hardy little flowers. I was expecting them to start wilting by Monday but they're still going strong - not a bit of wilting in sight!

I love this arrangement! I know it could be a lot better, but I when I think about how little I spent, I'm really pleased with how it came out.

Cost breakdown:
White tray: $4.98 (normally $19.99)
2 red tumblers: $1.50 each
Flowers: $3.99
TOTAL: $11.97

Everything else we already had on hand and the best part is that everything I bought can be used for entertaining as well as for future table displays! (Fourth of July, anyone?)

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

The Wind

This is a poem I wrote several years ago during a boring lecture class. It is based on the story of Cain and Abel and highlights the fact that, prior to the end of that story, there was no mention of cities in the Bible - which could lead us to believe that there were no cities until Cain built them.

There was a time not long ago
When across the earth the Wind did blow
Unstopped by cities, their sky-high buildings
Whispering of births & deadly killings

With rocks & grass & trees 'twas blended
Down lonely vales and canyons wended
Unstopped by cities, their sky-high buildings
And telling of births & deadly killings

Wind saw the first sons, Cain and Abel
Blew o'er their sacrifice on the table
Unstopped by cities, their sky-high buildings
Recalling births & foretelling killings

Cain's poor sacrifice found wanting
While Wind observed Abel's best off'ring
And Cain raged unstopped by a brother's feeling
Forgetting their births & plotting killing

And the Wind blew across the field
Where Cain his brother Abel killed
Unstopped by cities, their sky-high buildings
Remembering births & mourning killings

Then God judged Cain but was merciful
Saying "Cain shall be avenged sevenfold"
While the Wind across the earth was blowing
Observing births & witnessing killings

And the Wind watched the fugitive
Cain go to the land of Nod to live
Unstopped by cities, their sky-high buildings
Recalling births & foretelling killings

Now, almost as in times of long ago
The Wind across the earth does blow
But is stopped by cities, their sky-high buildings
Telling of births & deadly killings

For Cain built cities for his children
While Wind with rocks, grass, trees did blend
Stopped by cities, their sky-high buildings
Still whispering of births & deadly killings

Monday, February 7, 2011

Photo of the Week

Sadly, I did not take very many photos this week. I took the one above a few years ago when my sister and her husband got engaged.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Weekly Round-Up #1

Things I saw on the internet this week that I think are worth passing on:

First up, last week Young House Love wrote an important and informative post with tips about fire preparedness.

Primer brings us can't-miss article about 7 benefits of Google Voice. Read it whether or not you use the service.

I recently came across this incredible entryway makeover from 320 Sycamore. I am in love

This scarf tying tutorial from Balancing Beauty and Bedlam gives some great tips on adding interest to your scarves. It's especially great for spicing up a solid scarf.

John McIntyre wrote an excellent post on why Huckleberry Finn should be left as-is.

Two posts worth checking out from Language Log: A discussion of the phrase "In no uncertain terms" and an in-depth post on use of the passive voice. Oh, and just in case those two posts are too heavy for you, here's a fun little post about the foibles of English spelling.

The Art of Manliness covers 22 ways to re-use an Altoids tin.

Finally, I've been enjoying hearing this sweet love song on the radio from the up-and-coming country band Thompson Square.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

I have a black thumb!

This is my first ever DIY furniture project - sanding, staining, and replacing the hardware on an old cherry desk that my family has had for years. It's been "my" desk since I began college and when I knew I would be moving into an apartment, I decided to update it so it would fit in with my color scheme and aesthetic.



In it's natural environment:

The process took a lot longer than I expected. Because I worked full time over the summer and I wanted to finish the desk before moving, I ended up hiring my youngest brother to finish the sanding and my oldest brother was kind enough to drill new holes for the hardware. Everything else I did myself, from choosing the handles (that in and of itself was quite an ordeal because the curved drawer fronts would not accomodate most handles!), to staining the desk. Here's the cost breakdown:

Stain, sandpaper, woodfiller, hardware - ~ $40.00
Hiring brother to sand - $20.00
Total cost - ~$60.00

Oh, and the staining was messy! Even though I wore latex gloves, my fingers, especially my thumbs, still got stain on them. Cleaning the stain out from under my nails was a pain, but it was so worth it to end up with this beautiful desk!  There are minor imperfections with the stain job that only I will ever know about, but considering that this is my first DIY job, I'm more than happy with the results. I can't wait to get the opportunity to stain another piece of furniture - now that I know exactly how much labor is involved in the process, I should be able to budget enough time to do it all on my own. In the meantime, I'll have to content myself with more minor, crafty DIY projects.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Excuse My French (Teacher)

It was the first day of second year French and it had been nearly three years since I'd taken first year French. I got to class 15 minutes early and sat down in the front of the class, excitedly awaiting the start of the semester.

Class time arrived and though the classroom was full, there was no sign of the professor. I watched as the analog clock at the front of the room slowly ticked off the minutes. 3...7...9...finally, 13 minutes late, the professor arrived! My excitement had reached a max. I couldn't wait for class to begin!

The teacher hurried to the front of the room and immediately my nostrils were assaulted by an awful odeur. His clothes were wrinkled and the armpits of his royal blue polo were sweat-stained. His face shone like a calm lake on a sunny day, but with scraggly trees sticking out of it. Yeah, this teacher needed to be schooled on personal hygiene. "This guy takes giving his students an authentic French experience way too literally," I thought. 

Le Professeur began class and it went pretty well, but students were gagging throughout. As long as we didn't look at him and kept our noses pinched (in order to produce a more accurate accent, we told him when he asked about it), we got through the first session without losing our lunch.

The teacher's last name was Elshob, but in study group we quickly started calling him "Professeur Le Slob." I sure hope I don't slip up in class...

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Hit the Brakes: The Value of a Walk

In these "Hit the Brakes" posts, I'll write about things that have helped me introduce small moments of rest and relaxation into my life, in hopes that it will help you do the same.

"Make your feet your friend. "
- J.M. Barrie


How often do you take the time to go for a walk? Walks can be very relaxing and they're also good exercise. One of my favorite ways to relax is by going for a walk after dinner, sometimes with family or friends and sometimes just by myself. Some of my most cherished moments each week are the ones I spend walking.

I know it can be easy to think you don't have the time for a walk, but just taking five minutes to go for a short walk at night (when you can see the stars!) or in the morning (when you can enjoy the sunrise and early morning sounds) can make a huge difference. Taking the time to make a few moments for myself really refreshes my soul and gives me renewed energy for whatever tasks I have to complete.

Even as a young child, the effectiveness of a walk in calming down one's life was demonstrated to me. Growing up, my parents would take nightly walks around the block in order to have uninterrupted conversation with each other; if there was a problem at home, we simply turned on the porch light to let them know that they needed to come in. This system worked well and gave my parents the time they needed to talk with each other and de-stress from the day.

"After a day's walk everything has twice its usual value."
- G. M. Trevelyan