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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!

Sunday, May 15, 2011


I just did a post about geocaching on my main blog but I think it's worth mentioning whenever I can! If you haven't heard of it, geocaching is a game that involves using a gps to find hidden locations around the world. It's basically a giant scavenger hunt for adults. 

I love geocaching because it's a free way to go out and have fun! Once you have a gps (or smart phone with gps capabilities) you can go to and explore the world away. Try typing in your zip code to see how many are near you - you'll be amazed!

This week has been great and I've been lucky enough to geocache like crazy these past three days. Grad school starts tomorrow which I'm looking forward to, but these days relaxing and exploring have been a lot of fun!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Summer Greens

I love the green that surrounds my town in Virginia right now. Winter felt like it was lasting forever this year and it seems like we just flipped a switch and moved into summer. You know what? I love it.

Now is the time to enjoy some outdoor walks and maybe a visit or two to the SPCA to volunteer with some animals. I bet those puppies could use a walk outdoors!

Friday, May 13, 2011

A Review: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

{image via}

I finished Stieg Larsson's "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" this morning after making a friendship bracelet. Yes, I'm aware that I'm a little behind about getting to this book but I'm very glad I did end up reading it. 

Mystery is not my normal genre but Larsson did a great job keeping the book moving and intellectually stimulating. The opening of the book was talking about a lot of finances and as an almost-22-year-old I wasn't sure at first if I'd be able to understand the book. Sure enough, once you push through you realize that a little more is explained and the plot is easily grasped. Then you start falling in love with the characters. An honest journalist, Blomkvist, will pull you in making you want to help him while a female PI, Salander, may clash with your average heroine. However, she is not one to be taken lightly.

I wouldn't recommend this book to younger teenagers only because there are some scenes and crimes mentioned in this book that are atrocious. It is plausible and the characters do have flaws. I've always been a lover of the 'happily ever after' stories so it can be frustrating to see such real characters, but it does make them a bit easier to identify with.

I'm looking forward to reading the sequel next and if you're looking for a good book this summer and have not yet picked up The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, there's no better way to say it than, well, you should.


Ahhh. I've been using these summer mornings to work on friendship bracelets, drink coffee, finish reading The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, and just breathe. 

I'll write a review for that book tomorrow. :)

This afternoon will be spent picking up books for my grad school classes which begin in a matter of days and we'll also be going geocaching with some friends! 

I'm loving this week's worth of downtime between graduation and graduate school. It was much needed and very appreciated. 

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Charlottesville & Friendship Bracelets

Yesterday I traveled with my fiance to nearby Charlottesville, Virginia. We poked around the University of Virginia campus and walked the downtown Mall. It was a great day to look around and be outdoors although my feet hurt after walking so much! 

Also, you should join the friendship bracelet swap that Leigh is hosting. Shoot her an email if you're interested. I've never made a friendship bracelet before but I'm excited to learn and you can totally hop on board! 

Check her out.

French Toast

My guy made french toast for everyone in the apartment this morning along with his own strawberry syrup topping. Earlier this week he did chocolate chip pancakes. How lucky am I?

The Master at work.

He was a pro at making these french toast slices. He likes them eggy and I don't so he was controlling that very well. 

Cinnamon, egg, and milk went into the dipping mix.

The strawberry syrup included strawberries, water, and sugar (he didn't use a recipe and isn't sure exactly how much water her used). He kept adding sugar until it was less liquidy and more syrupy. 

The finished product was delicious! He used cinnamon bread as the base for the toast. YUM.  I'm having daydreams about brunch now.

Monday, May 9, 2011

A Review: Bossypants

{via Amazon}

Tina Fey's Bossypants was a wonderful read for me! To let you in on a little secret, Tina Fey is my female crush. Meaning I think the is the shiz. 

If you're a Tina Fey lover like me then you'll love this book. I found myself hearing the book being narrated in her voice talking as she would to Alec Baldwin on 30 Rock. Her memoir is light and humorous which fulfilled my desires and hopes for the book. She mentions being a woman in the comedy business, her decisions about being a mom and working, and talks about her personal history at coming into show business. 

I may very likely read this book again one day, but that said, if you're not a fan of Tina Fey then this book isn't for you. It's a memoir. It's about her life. It'll make you laugh. 

If that's what you're looking for - you found it.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Cereal Bar

One of our campus dining halls had a snack similar to this on it's dessert table a week or so ago. I decided I must try and recreate it at home. I consider this a success.

The basic ingredients are: cinnamon toast crunch cereal, marshmallows, chocolate, and butter(?).

I used a double boiler because I'm skeptical of putting chocolate chips right on a stovetop pot regardless of the situation. So I threw random amounts of each ingredients into the second pot. I just wanted them to look fairly even.  Maybe I used a few more marshmallows than strictly necessary. I used maybe a tablespoon of butter, but I'm honestly not sure if you really need butter here.... hence the question mark up above. 

Once the double boiler got the chocolate nice and melted with the ingredients I stuck it in the oven at 350 F for around 15 minutes. I stirred all the ingredients around and let it cool! Easy enough right?

It's delicious and you can pick off little pieces to eat. In a way it's like eating smores without the hassle of needing a campfire (which can be difficult to garner approval for in an apartment). 

Friday, May 6, 2011

Millie Bag

Today I received my Jo Totes camera bag in the mail and I've been using it plenty already.

I ordered the Millie style in gray and have been asked my opinion on it because most people have reviewed on the Rose bag.

Here it is!

  • Size
  • Color
  • Length of Strap
  • Weight (light)

  • Clasp being on bottom
  • Size
Yes, size was on both lists. It's great for everyday usage but let me warn you that if you're looking to carry more than one camera body with lens and one extra lens it won't fit.  That's ok with me but I want you to be prepared. Also, when you put your items in the bag it already feels like it's bulging. 

The clasp being on the bottom of the bag surprised me periodically throughout the afternoon but I guess some might feel more secure that way.

The shoulder strap is plenty long and easily adjustable which I love and with the pad the strap doesn't dig in at all.  I also love that my Kindle can fit right in the front pocket!

Still, fits in well, very stylish, and very light. Easy mobility and took the weight well. Of course I'm used to carrying my camera around in purses anyways so it's a great fit for me!

I love the gray and pleated front. Very stylish!

Veggie Dish: Spinach Lasagna

Tonight I made a spinach lasagna, which I've made once before, so that my guy could have something delicious to come home to! We've actually been planning on making this dish for a while and I wanted to use up the spinach before it went bad (it can get hectic during finals week)!

This dish is very easy and will satisfy you. Although, if your guy has an appetite like mine, you may only be able to get two meals out of it! 

  • Ricotta Cheese
  • Spaghetti Sauce
  • Lasagna Noodles
  • Spinach
  • (Grated cheese as well if you'd like it to top)

In an 8x8 pan pour a teency bit of oil to coat it on the bottom and edges. Then pour in some sauce (spooning it in will prevent a mess). Then lay some lasagna noodles down next. Then put a little more sauce over the lasagna noodles. Next put down some spinach and top it with ricotta. Then more sauce. Keep this alternating sequence going until you run out of an ingredient or two!

Next, put it in the over to bake for 40 minutes at 400 F. Easy enough right? 

Enjoy! Perhaps with a glass of lemonade?