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Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Engagement Sneak Peek

Noah and I went out this morning with our photographer for our engagement session. We had a great time and she, Meredith, did a great job!

Just wanted to share a sneak peek with you!

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Tomato Cream Sauce Pasta

Thought I would let you know that Noah gave the salsa his seal of approval when he came home from work yesterday. We embarrassingly went through a whole bag of chips (ok, mostly me). 

I did try one more Pioneer Woman meal yesterday which is her Tomato Cream Sauce Pasta

It was pretty easy to make and after the salsa and the pasta I have seen a whole bunch of tomatoes in one day! 

This one was pretty easy, it just took about 30 minutes (well, should have taken 30, it actually took me 40 because I put the pasta in to boil a little to late and had to wait for it to be ready). 

I'll forgo the directions since they're right on Pioneer Woman's page, but it's definitely worth a shot. For the second time, this makes a LOT of sauce. Good for a big family, or do what we do and save the left overs for another meal. 

After skyping with my sister and her boyfriend while preparing dinner I got to eat it with my sweetheart. All in all it was a great day and I'm hoping it will give me some strength. 

Have a lovely weekend!

Friday, June 10, 2011

Homemade Salsa

I got this recipe from Ree Drummonds, aka Pioneer Woman. I've been wanting to make my own salsa for ages but we just got a blender so I can finally fulfill my wishes.

You need a can of whole tomatoes, two cans of Rotel, an onion, cilantro, sugar, salt, cumin, and a jalapeno pepper. You're also supposed to have some lime juice but, being me, I went without.

Throw in all the tomatoes (with their juice) and then chop up about half an onion or so and add it.

Then throw in some chopped jalapeno pepper (seeds and all). 

Next put in 1/2 a cup to a whole cup of cilantro. I was so proud getting my cilantro from our garden. I ended up using about half a cup for our salsa. 

Throw it in the blender along with 1/4 tsp of salt, 1/4 sugar, and 1/4 cumin.  Blend and voilĂ . You now have splendid salsa.

It really is delicious and amazing. Just be warned about the amount. Let me tell you your options:

  1. Clean off half a shelf in your fridge to store the salsa
  2. Be taking a bowl or two to a party in the very near future
  3. Share with the neighbors or friends
  4. OR.... be prepared to suffer salsa overdose.
Ree has a big family but around here, well, that is a ton of salsa. It should keep well, but just be warned!

Now, if you have a blender go and try this little joy for yourself. Mmmm!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

The End Has Arrived

It sure feels that way and I love it.

Today is my sweetheart's 22nd birthday. I know, we're young. Over six years together and I can't believe how amazing he's been to me. I hope his birthday is as excellent as he is. This morning I got up at 6am to go buy cake mix and bake him a cake while he was sleeping. 

My front-heavy graduate course load is nearing it's end. Today is my last day! Well, it's my last day with twelve credits at least. There will still be classes but the worst is over and I'm excited. I'm ready to start cooking and reading. 

Around the internet, I'm loving:

  • Looking at Pioneer Woman's recipes
  • Perusing beautiful photos on Pinterest
  • Playing with Instagram on my iPod Touch (if you have it, friend me so I can see your photos! I'm allisonmseward)
  • Diigo keeping track of my "must try" recipes
  • Playing Words with Friends (sewardam to any who play)
I'll try to keep Instagram photos to a minimum but while I've been busy these last couple of weeks it's been much more convenient than carrying my Nikon around. Hopefully I'll be back in amateur photographer mode soon.

Tomorrow I'll be catching up on all the blog posts again. Looking forward to hearing about your weeks!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Friendship Bracelet

I got my friendship bracelet in the mail today! I was so excited. My partner, Brittni, must have done this before because she had a fancy way of braiding off the bracelet. She also decorated my envelope which I only decided not to show this morning because it has my full address, but trust me, it was cute!

Thanks Leigh for hosting the swap! This lil ol' blogging world is a pretty sweet place.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Past Meets Present

Tonight I'm heading to the hometown once again to perform in an alumni band concert at my high school alma mater. That's why there's a grin on my face. I played saxophone all four years in high school and was first chair in one band or another for three of those four years.  It was such a big part of my life in high school and it was a shock to lose that in college. I haven't touched my alto in a little over three years (I played in a concert band my freshman year in college). 

It was a transition. After all, my friends in high school I met in band, all of my free time was spent playing at a game, concert, or musical, and that's even where I met my now-fiance. I can't imagine what my life would be at this moment without my experience with music. 

I'm excited to go back and remember a time that both my dad and my mom could be there for me and when friends were easy to keep up with because school was a breeze... Yet I'm happy to be where I am today. 

Did you have a big event in high school? Was it athletics? drama? band? 

Do you ever wonder how your life would be different if you had or hadn't done one little thing? 

(I actually didn't want to be in band in middle school when they were asking students to try out, not at all. In fact, I only tried out instruments because it got me out of home economics class. I ended up trying a flute and being good at it and that set my life on a completely different course. Strange the way things work out.)

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Summer Hopes


Ah, sweet summertime. I have so many hopes for you.

I want to canoe, raft, camp, hike, and generally enjoy the great outdoors.  Sometimes though we just can't have what we want when we want it. I know in a couple of weeks I'll have more time to enjoy the beautiful outdoors so I just need to learn patience!

We're hitting 90 degrees in my part of the world though which is hot, hot, hot for outdoor play unless it's a water activity. Maybe we'll raft down the Shenandoah River. Ah.... A girl can dream. 

Hope it's not too hot in your part of the world!

Plus I just found this Notebook-inspired engagement session. I'm kind of in love... you know, Allie & Noah - it's no coincidence. 

What's your favorite part of summer? And does anyone else want to try making this watermelon salsa? I think I must.


Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Urban Garden

I was looking through my posts and was shocked to realize I didn't post about my birthday or new mini-garden. Well, here it is!

For my 22nd birthday my fiance's parents gave me soil, miracle grow, and two rather large pots. My fiance asked for permission from our landlord for me to garden and it was granted! Noah then proceeded to buy me any plants I wanted to plant (we now have green peppers, zucchini squash, and cilantro). 

I've always loved the idea of gardening but living in an apartment with no yard can sure limit that exposure time in the outdoors. 

I don't know much about gardening, so I'll count myself lucky if even one of our five plants makes it to bear vegetables. Alright, I guess the cilantro is already good to be picked but I feel a little weird about just picking it off so early. Yes, I'm strange sometimes. 

I have a mini obsession now about going out to look at them, water them, and pretty soon I'll get to add more soil because they're growing taller!

I take pictures and send them to my future mother-in-law just about every other day. 

She loves it. 

I'm hoping to keep track of the plants' progress through photos and it keeps me so entertained. 

So, do you garden? Would you ever want to? 

What do you like to grow? Have any tips?

The moral here is where there's a will there's a way. I've lived here for two years and never thought to ASK about gardening on the property. I always assumed it'd be a no. Turns out our landlord had thought about starting a community garden here but was afraid people would mess with it. He thought it was a great idea.

All in all, it's a pretty unique and fun birthday gift! 

Monday, May 30, 2011

Happy Memorial Day!

Yesterday evening we headed back out to the Lake for dinner, kayaking, and canoeing. Wow, my arms are telling me I need to get to the gym more!

It really was a beautiful, hot day and very much needed as a break. 

Hopefully we'll be able to take a few breaks again once my graduate summer courses area over!

On our way home we stopped by the local farm market and ended up buying some honey. Ahh.... I love markets in the summer time!

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Lake Photos

Friday, May 27, 2011

Games, Weekends, and a Lake

While Monday through Thursday can be over-the-top busy Friday is perfect. During these summer courses, the Education Masters program doesn't have Friday classes which means every weekend is a three day weekend. I've always wondered what a difference it would make if we worked one less day and relaxed more and, well, it's amazing. 

Although every evening this week I did get some fun time in with Noah and friends. 


Yesterday, a half hour before class the girls from the apartment downstairs invited me to come join in on a water balloon fight. That was so kind of them! I told them next time I would fill up the balloons.  We had a lot of fun and I had just enough time to get to class in an orderly fashion.


On Tuesday night my friends and I were hoping to go to Trivia Night at a local restaurant but by the time we got there (half an hour early!) the tables were already full. Instead we went to a local ice cream joint, Kline's, and enjoyed some cones and milkshakes. Then we went to a girl's townhouse to play Sequence, a new board game.


On Wednesday night I treated Noah to Cici's Pizza because he finished a book. I love reading but he doesn't and at the beginning of summer we made a deal, if he finished reading a book that he'd been working on for over a year I would take him out to a place that I normally would refuse to go to. He finished and it was worth it! How's that for some positive reinforcement?


Today, after a week's worth of indecision I decided to buy an iPod Touch. I'm doing research on the use of ipads and ipods in a classroom as part of a course program for my Masters. It caused me to debate about buying one to test out apps for science, education, and math and of course for self enjoyment. It's actually plugged in as I type and while that means all my birthday money (and a bit of personal) is gone, I can hopefully get a real feel for using it for educaitonal purposes.

I am a LOVER of technology and I think it is one of the absolute best way to engage students. The more I can do in my class related to it and their interests I think the better off we'll be.

Tomorrow I'm going with Noah and his family to clean up their lake house. I'm so excited for canoeing and relaxing on a wrap-around outdoor porch. It just screams summer! 

Have a wonderful weekend and I am looking forward to reading your posts today!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Graduate School

It seems like I'll often be catching up on posts over the weekend (like last week). I hope you don't mind getting all your comments at one time, but it's proving to be rather difficult to receive personal internet time aka procrastinating on homework time. 


Classes are keeping me really busy and it's 11pm at night now! Whew! These days are so long. 

Although my fiance and I did find time to play Things for an hour and a half with some friends yesterday.  Noah has orientation for his summer job on thursday but if he doesn't work the weekend we may be going to our hometown to do a cleanup weekend on his family's lake house. I'm kind of crossing my fingers on it because I think canoeing around a lake is a perfect way to relax in summer. 

I hope your week is wonderful and know that I'm still thinking of you, I haven't forgotten! 

Saturday, May 21, 2011

You Inspire Me

I was catching up on posts this morning (I promised I would right?) and was struck by how many of you I was nodding along in agreement with or how many times I was smiling because of something I read.

There were several posts but I'll just list a couple because I'm heading out in twenty minutes to go visit my aunt!


First I learned about mail art. I think I simply must join in on this. I love 'snail mail' and there is another blogger, Bethany, who sends the absolute cutest packages to me in the mail occasionally. I'd love to make my mail as cute as hers.

I was also reading Bibi's post about spending time with friends on the docks. Her happiness seeped out of her post and I was wishing I could be there with her. I consider the blogging community to be this way. Even though we don't know each other in 'real life', we listen to one another, encourage each other, and spread joy in one another's lives. I know several people really well from my Reasons to Smile blog and I'd love to get to know more of you well! Sometimes when I have a bad day I like to just come home and read and see what wonderful things are happening around the world.

Then I was reading Kaylia's post about being an adult. I'll be 22 tomorrow, I'm in grad school, and I'm engaged and I don't exactly feel like an adult. I mean, I feel responsible and capable but I still feel like people don't see me that way if only because they've known me since I was a baby. It's a challenge. 

I hope you're all having a great Saturday! Thanks for sharing so much of yourselves and I'm looking forward to building a tighter community with each of you. 

Friday, May 20, 2011

A Lovely Day

I apologize for being MIA this week. Graduate school started and I can hardly believe how busy it's keeping me! I plan to catch up on all your posts this weekend though. Don't worry, you'll be hearing my thoughts. Or, maybe you should worry! Haha. 

I hope you're all keeping busy (yet relaxed). This week has been busy but not too stressful yet. 

My birthday is this weekend and I just found out that it's my "golden birthday". I'm turning 22 on the 22nd of May. I've never heard this term before! Have you? It means you turn the same age as your birth day number.

When was/is your golden birthday?

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Rain, Rain

Go away?

We've had boatloads of rain here the last couple of days and it interrupted my latest geocaching adventure. I've been indoors a lot these past two days though because of grad school (so busy)! So at least it's a good time for all this rain.

Still, I'm ready for some blue skies and sun! 

Summer I'm ready.

On the bright side, you can't get rainbows without rain.

I saw this mini-pretty at the end of my adventure on Sunday.

May your days be filled with sunshine, or if there is some rain falling, I hope you at least get a decent rainbow!