Saturday, November 26, 2011

Christmas Wishlist

Now that Thanksgiving is over{I just finished the last of our leftovers for lunch}, I thought I'd share my Christmas wishlist with you

Lat year, I asked for this necklace and didn't get it

but that's ok, because I found this one that I like even better!

I also still want a flash for my camera

I have a camera strap that is cute but NOT comfortable when it's hanging around my neck so a nice padded cover would be nice!  One with a pocket would be awesome so I will hopefully stop loosing my lens cap!
{I need a 30" strap with a pocket to fit a 3" cap}

after seeing one of the pros at PhotoFest use a tablet like this, I've been dreaming of owning one.  I think it would make me hate editing much less!

a battery pack/grip would be nice too but isn't super high on my wishlist

Enough about the camera!

I've heard great things about this kitchen gadget

and while we're talking about my KitchenAid, I'd love a new glass bowl

I recently acquired a new computer and I want a skin for the keyboard, in purple of course {my old one has so much gunk in it from using it for recipes in the kitchen!}

What do you want for Christmas this year?

Thursday, November 17, 2011


Recently I've received a lot of complements on a few of the craft projects I have around my house, so I thought I'd share them with you.  Plus I've been seeing variations of some of them on Pinterest and in most all of those cases, I like my version better {so what if I'm biased!}

1st I have my photo clock.  

I've been seeing the scrapbook paper version on Pinterest
Source: via Jennifer on Pinterest

I originally saw this one in a magazine years ago, done with a child's school photos {1st grade:1 o'clock, 2nd grade:2 o'clock, etc.} and decided to display our wedding photos this way.  I bought the frames for cheap at Walmart and the clock piece I bought on EBay.  {the clock part of it was actually pretty difficult to find} It is NOT easy to put this one up and when we moved last time, my husband said if I wanted it up, I had to figure it out.  All the angles are slightly off where you would expect them to be because of the location of the holes in the frames but IMO it's totally worth all the effort.  It's great for taking up a lot of space on a large wall.


Next is my travel map.

I saw this one on another blog a few years back but for the life of me cannot remember which one!  {If it was you, I'm so sorry I'm not giving you credit!}

There are also versions of this one on Pinterest

I ordered my 36x24 inch map from Map Center {they will ship to APO just FYI} and glued it to a piece of foam board with spray adhesive.  I took it to a craft store and had them frame it WITHOUT GLASS so I could put the pins in it.  I have intentions of using different colored pins for my, my husband and our mutual travels and extra large pins for places we have lived but I haven't ordered the extra pins yet. {I'm going to do that RIGHT NOW!}.  We chose a world map, but you could use any map of your choice.


My most recent addition is my family scrabble board

Here is one version I saw on Pinterest

My aunt and uncle have had one of these in their home for many years and I love it, so I copied it!   We play a lot of board games, including scrabble, so this is perfect for us.  I used the names of all our parents, siblings, and siblings spouses {technically fiance's since none of them are actually married yet}.  I wanted the old style board, so I ordered that and 2 packs of letters on EBay. If you do this, I would recommend writing out all the names you plan to use and counting out all of the letters you need.  Between Jason, Jes, Jamie, and Jeff, we needed at least 2 J's which meant 2 packs of letters {I didn't want to use any blanks}.  I hope when my sister finds a man, his name fits!  Then I have to figure out our children some day...but for now, it's perfect!

If you have any questions let me know and I'll do my best to answer them!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011


Today, my friend Melissa and I prepared a traditional Thanksgiving meal for 25 of our Japanese students friends.  Neither one of us has ever cooked an entire meal for such a large crowd but we pulled it off beautifully.  Aside from the issue I had making the gravy {sorry ladies, that's why lunch was delayed today!} everything turned out perfectly.  Our menu included

Stuffing {my family recipe}
Angel Biscuits {Melissa's family recipe}
Green Bean Casserole
{my family uses the French's recipe, hers uses the Campbell's so we made a small dish of each}
Broccoli Casserole
{again, different family recipe's so we made 2 dishes, mine is similar to this one}
Sweet Potato Casserole
Cranberry Sauce
Mashed Potatoes
Pumpkin Pie & Pecan Pie

Each of the ladies also had a small bag of my homemade chex mix to take home with them.

I'm still in shock that we fit all 27 of us into my house, but after a little living room furniture tetris, we made it work

After we ate, we played Pictionary for a while.  Melissa and I drew while the ladies guessed.  Here are the words we went through.  They did AWESOME considering Melissa and I are NOT artists!

Melissa and I thoroughly enjoyed ourselves today and I hope think the ladies did too!  Miraculously, my house was clean and back in order by 430 which made me really happy, I expected it to take me days to clean up!

I am so grateful to know these women and be able to share our American traditions with them!

{I cannot believe they got Buster to sit for a photo!  He never does that for Jason and me}

Speaking of Buster, he was so well behaved today...well almost.  He was great while the ladies were here.  After they left and we cleaned up a bit we had to return the tables and chairs we borrowed so we loaded up Melissa's van and headed out.  When we returned, I found the dog INSIDE the trash bag eating the food scraps...apparently I had forgotten to take the giant trash bag we used outside before we left!  I couldn't be too mad at him, it was funny and totally my fault!

Friday, November 11, 2011

30 by 30 update

Today I am 10 months away from turning 30!  I still can't believe it.  I meant to do a post every month to keep track of my progress but I missed last month so we're starting now, 2 months in. I'm not as far along as I would like to be on this list but I'm working on it. So far, I've only completely {3/30} but some are partially completed or in progress.

Health/Fitness {0/5}
1} take a yoga class
2} complete a 5K
3} climb Mt Fuji
4} do 1 unassisted pull up
5} pass the Army PT test for my gender/age group

Food {1/6}
6} learn to cook lobster
7} make gnocchi from scratch DONE {did this last week!}
8} learn to make grandma's relish
9} try 5 new foods {3/5} 1. natto beans 2. umeboshi.  3. ratatouille (I know, I know, I'd never had it before and now I'm obsessed).  2 more to go
11} learn to make 5 traditional Japanese dishes, including sushi {3/5}  1.sushi rolls. 2. inarizushi. 3. omelet (they're slightly different than the omelets we eat in the States)

Travel {1/8}
12} drink the Absynth we bought in Prague 3 years ago maybe on New Years??
13} visit at least 3 new countries {2/3} 1. Taipei. 2. Australia
14} learn enough Japanese to carry on at least a 5 minute conversation working on this one
15} visit Disney (Tokyo Disney will have to do)
16} visit Hiroshima
17} scuba/snorkle the Great Barrier Reef {DONE}
18} ride an elephant in Thailand (this and #17 are trips that will help knock off # 13 as well and are sort of in the early planning stage.  If our vacation locations change, these will have to be changed as well)
19} visit a Japanese Onsen (hot spring) {planned for 31 Dec}

Random {1/11}
20} get out of debt (ALMOST THERE!  STUPID STUDENT LOANS!) still working on this one but we're on track to be done 4 months before I turn 30 =}
21} get caught up on my scrapbooks and stay current
22} read 50 books {24/50}
23} find out my blood type
24} design a logo for BleuDress (or pay someone else to)
25} MASTER all the functions on my camera {DONE thanks to this class}
26} solve the Rubik's cube or complete a crossword puzzle without any help
27} save $20K
28} watch all of the Star Wars movies (I've only seen the newest one)
29} renew my CPR certification and keep it current
30} complete a photography project

Sunday, November 6, 2011

What Ifs

I saw this on Sarah's blog and thought it was fun, so I'm stealing it.

It's a really cute little post, so I hope you enjoy! =)

What if I were to get pregnant? It wouldn't be the end of the world but we're not quite there yet.  We LOVE kids and eventually want to have our own but we have some things we want to do before we have children, like pay off all of our debt which will be done in about 6 months...then we'll have a serious chat about when.

What if I could have any job in the world? I would love to be a travel photographer.  Get paid to travel and take photos?  Yes, please!

What if I had a day all to myself? I'd probably go crazy.  I need some social interaction in my life, daily.

What if I could get married all over again? I'd do it in a heart beat.  A perfect chance to spend more time with everyone we love.  I'd definitely hire Bobbi+Mike this time!  It's the only regret I have from our 1st/2nd wedding.

What if I could live anywhere in the US? This one is interesting.  This could be a very real possibility for us in the {somewhat} near future.  Jason is considering a break in service to go back to school and get a 2nd bachelors degree in nursing.  IF, and that's a HUGE IF, we choose this option, it will mean we can choose to move anywhere in the US that has a 2 year nursing as a 2nd degree program, which is basically anywhere.  We've narrowed it down to a half dozen or so options: San Diego and Boston are at the top of that list.

What if I were to have more children? Let me get through the 1st one, then we can talk about more.

What if I could have any talent in the world? I wish I had some singing skills.  I love singing but I'm AWFUL!

What if you met me in real life? The 1st thing that you'd probably notice is that I'm loud.  My volume control is broken.

What if I went back to school? Blah!  I really should go back and finish my degree {especially if my hubby is about to start working on his 2nd, not to mention the Masters he already has} but I just don't have the desire/motivation to do so.  I probably wouldn't do very well if I did go back now, because of that lack of motivation.

What if money weren't an object?  We'd travel more and donate more.  I cannot wait until this is our reality!

What if I could meet one celebrity? I'd probably pick a "celebrity" chef, like Alton Brown, just so I could pick his brain!

What if I could only shop at one store for the rest of my life? Just 1?!?!?!  For clothes, probably Express.  They have a pretty large variety of casual everyday, work appropriate and fancy party clothes.

What if I could choose an animal/pet? Other than Buster, probably a horse.

What if I could go on a trip right now? And money isn't an issue?  AFRICA!  I want to go on a safari so bad!!!!

What if I had to choose between a house cleaner and professional chef? House cleaner, please!!! I can cook for myself, it's the cleaning up part that I suck at I'm not very good at.

What if I had the option to get plastic surgery? I'd say no thanks.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

My favorite holiday is getting close!

My favorite part about Halloween is when it's over!  I'm not a big fan of the holiday and I just see it as one more hurdle to get past before we finally get to my favorite holiday, THANKSGIVING!  Apparently everyone around here has decided to skip straight from Halloween to Christmas this year, I cannot find a single thing Thanksgiving related but they sure do have everything set up for Christmas already!  I'm determined to give Thanksgiving the attention it deserves.

I try so hard every year to wait until Halloween is over before I start my Thanksgiving plans but when I started seeing turkeys and pies on the cover of all my favorite food magazines in the check out aisle I just couldn't resist.  

{all photos courtesy of  Google Images}

I started my plans 2 weeks ago.  Last year I posted two VERY detailed explanations of all the prep work I do for this holiday.  You can read those here and here if you're interested.  I'm warning you though, I go above and beyond , to the point where some may start to call me crazy.  This year I'm hosting two full meals, once on the 16th for about 30-40 Japanese ladies that I {and my friend Melissa} teach English to and once for a bunch of friends on Thanksgiving day.  In between those two full meals, I'm also making stuffing/dressing for a church lunch and a turkey & stuffing/dressing for our unit FRG meeting.  That adds up to 3 turkeys, 4 batches of stuffing/dressing, and 2 servings of each of the sides that go along with the meal, like green bean casserole, mashed potatoes, rolls, pies, etc., all in 9 days.  While most people would see that list and throw in the towel or recruit help, I am super excited about all of the shopping and cooking!  I can't wait to get started!

Anyone else excited about Thanksgiving?!?!?