Saturday, October 31, 2009

A day in her shoes

Seth and I spent the day up in Denison, IA visiting his family and attending a joint bridal shower for his cousin, Jamie, and her brother's fiance, Kensey. After the shower we came back to my in-laws' house to hang out and relax a bit. Seth's sisters, Liz and Bekah, were also over for the day.

At some point I was called down to the basement to join Liz and Colene (my M-I-L) in their quest to dig through some of mom's old shoes to see if there were any cool "vintage" pairs that Liz might want. After looking through a few boxes, we headed upstairs to mom's bedroom closet where she said she had "a few more pairs"...

At this point I quickly began to realize that my beloved MIL does not throw anything away. Anything. Including just about every pair of shoes she's ever worn (and perhaps even a pair or two that she never did). We were delighted to find a few pairs that were the lucky combination of retro style and not falling apart. Unfortunately, not one pair fit me. :-( But I am happy for my Liz that she found a few super cute pairs that she could definitely get away with wearing out in public.

About halfway through our digging, I could no longer restrain myself and went running for my camera. There were just too many pairs of shoes that I could hardly believe and that I HAD to share with all of you.

I give you... My Mother-in-Law's Shoes.

This was one of the first pairs that Liz found. Still cute after all these years!
These were Mom's wedding shoes.
And these were her "going away" shoes that she wore when they left the reception.

I had some like these when I was about 7 years old.
Mom: "I wore these to the dance clubs in Kansas City."
Me: "What year was that, mom?"
Mom: "Oh, I don't know... probably 1973."
And she didn't have just one pair...
Pastel peep toes with mesh cut-outs. The perfect Easter shoe... in 1986.
Liz walked away with these beauties. And I'm totally jealous.
That's right. Teal lace. You aren't imagining things.

This may be the only time in my life I've ever wished I had bigger feet.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Taking my holiday temperature

I have always prided myself on my ability to wait until after Thanksgiving to turn on my Christmas mood. I would walk by the holiday aisles in Kohl's and Hobby Lobby shaking my head at how crazy it was for people to start decorating for Christmas before Halloween was even past. I had very strict rules about waiting until December 1st to listen to any Christmas music. I love holidays, but I have always taken them one at a time. Halloween. Thanksgiving. Christmas. No blending. No mixing. One. at. a. time.

Then I moved to Iowa.

I have written about at least once already, I am working on adjusting to the weather up here, which is a bit of a challenge considering I had finally started to get used to the weather in St. Louis just in time to move away. Don't get me wrong, I love it here in Iowa! I love our new town, our church, my job - all of it. But I'm having a bit of trouble with the weather.

October temperatures in Iowa are too much like December temperatures in St. Louis and it's throwing off my internal Holiday thermostat! Halloween is still 4 days away and I am finding that I am getting a bit itchy for Christmas. What the heck. Seriously.

I was running errands in both Kohl's and Hobby Lobby this evening and I actually caught myself looking longingly at the Christmas aisles, and even - gasp - wandered down a few! And even worse, had to tear myself away from the stocking hanger display (which got me really excited because we actually have a mantle piece now from which to hang stockings!) while chanting to myself "It's not even Halloween yet. It's not even Halloween yet."

I have also noticed that when sitting at my desk at work and scrolling through the playlists on my ipod I've been lingering a little too long on the "Christmas Instrumental" mix. It is far too tempting. I'm even considering removing it temporarily until after Thanksgiving as I'm becoming fairly certain that I won't have the will power to last another month without taking the plunge.

I brought up this whole weather/holiday conundrum to Seth tonight. He said he likes that it gets cold earlier because then Christmas is in the middle of winter instead of the beginning. "You'll get used to it," he says.

Used to a winter that's long enough for Christmas to fall in the MIDDLE?!?!?!?!

I think my Christmas itch might be least of my worries after all...

Monday, October 26, 2009

Shabby Apple Dare to Design Limoncello Frock GIVEAWAY!!!!

It's time for another Grosgrain giveaway!!! You have to check out this beautiful yellow dress. I'm usually not a big fan of yellow, but this dress is so delightfully charming I can't let the chance to win it pass me by ;-)
Shabby Apple Dare to Design Limoncello Frock GIVEAWAY!!!!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

A series of unfortunate events...

I am a preschool teacher.

1st quarter assessments + parent teacher conferences + getting sick = no blogging for a while

My apologies.

By next week conferences will be finished, assessments completed, and (hopefully) all traces of sickness will be gone.

AND I will be back to blogging!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Queen of Hearts and Alice in Wonderland Costume Set GIVEAWAY!!!!

One of my favorite blogs, Grosgrain, is having a new giveaway... but it's not just any giveaway. It's a Queen of Hearts and Alice in Wonderland Costume Set GIVEAWAY!!!!

You MUST check out the photos of these amazing costumes that Kathleen made! I, too, have been mesmerized by the still photos from Tim Burton's new Alice in Wonderland so I LOVED the fact that she used those photos for her inspiration.

I'm really crossing my fingers for this one ;-)

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

I must be crazy...

I actually left the house at 5:30 AM this morning to go to the Y before work.

I had a nice short workout - partly because I was paranoid about being late for work and partly because I was still sore from Monday evening's workout - then showered and got myself ready for the day. It was actually really nice because there were only a few other people there and by the time I was drying my hair and doing my make-up, I was the only one in the bathroom. There are several other advantages to this new routine:

1) Not having to wait for a treadmill
2) Showers that don't run out of hot water
3) I get ready faster when there aren't distractions (like my laptop or the TV)
4) Significantly more counter space :-)
5) The Y bathroom is about 10 degrees warmer than my house
6) I feel more alert and prepared to handle my work day

While I don't think I will make every trip to the gym an AM trip, it's nice to know that in my quest to achieve a consistant 3-day-a-week exercise routine if I need to make one of the days a morning workout day, it won't be the end of the world. And who knows... maybe I will eventually become one of those crazy people who goes to the gym every morning before work! Yeah... probably not ;-)

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Kitchen Adventures Continued...

I love quiche.

Partly because it's a one-dish-dinner and also because they're just plain tasty. AND you can make a quiche a week and they can each be totally different from each other because you can put just about anything in a quiche as long as you buddy it up with complementary ingredients. The only downside is that they sometimes take a long time to bake.

Last week I picked up some frozen pie crusts at the grocery store with the intent of making a quiche or two. Every other quiche I've made has had a cheese crust (made with a LOT of shredded cheese and butter c/o The Joy of Cooking) so I decided to branch out and actually use a pastry crust. I have also been on a bit of a southwest kick lately. I even stocked up on bbq chicken and baja style Lean Cuisine quesadillas for lunch at work. So of course I had to try my hand at making a southwest style quiche.

Before leaving work I did a quick bing search for "black bean quiche" with not much luck. So I spent the whole drive home brainstorming what I was going to fill my beautiful pre-made pie crust with...

I think it turned out pretty well considering I was in a bit of a time crunch since I had a meeting at church and wanted to make sure it finished cooking before I had to leave (I can't stand to leave the oven on for any length of time when I'm not at home - I'm far too paranoid). I will share my makeshift recipe with you in case you'd like to give it a try. It definitely needs some tweaking so feel free to make any changes you like. This is merely a record of how I did it this time. My suggestions for possible changes are in blue.

Southwest Quiche
1 frozen pie crust - deep dish
1 can (15oz) black beans (8-10 oz black beans)
1/2 can (8oz) canned sweet corn
1/2 small red pepper, diced
1/2 small green pepper, diced
1/4 cup diced onion
1/2 cup chunky salsa
3 large eggs (4 large eggs)
1/2 cup milk (1 - 1.5 cups milk)
1/2 cup grated colby jack cheese (1 - 1.5 cups shredded cheese - Mexican blend)
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Cover the bottom of the pie crust (you can either leave it in the aluminum pie tin it came in or place it in a glass pie plate) with the diced pepper and onion. Mix the corn, black beans, cheese (save some cheese to sprinkle on top), and salsa together in a bowl and add to the crust. Also in a bowl, whisk the eggs, milk, salt and pepper together and pour over the bean/corn/salsa/cheese mixture to fill the crust. Sprinkle with the remaining cheese. Cover a cookie sheet with foil, place the quiche in the middle, and put the whole thing in the oven for 40-50 minutes (until the middle is set and the top is as brown as you like it). Some of the egg mixture may overflow during cooking (hence the foil). Allow it to cool before serving.

Two other suggestions:
1. All of the quiche recipes in The Joy of Cooking say that you should brush the pie crust with egg yolk before putting in the ingredients. I did not do that this time because I had already started putting stuff in the crust before I opened TJoC.
2. I didn't have time to saute the onion and pepper before putting it in the crust, but I would highly recommend doing so as it will reduce the amount of extra moisture in the mix and will keep the crust from getting soggy. I did end up with a bit of a "watery bottom" when I sliced my quiche open due to my veggies that had not been precooked.

Mine was also a tad on the dark side of golden as it sat in the oven at 200 degrees for an extra hour while I went to my meeting. But it still tasted great!

If you happen to try this recipe and tweak it, please share your additions/deletions/modifications etc! And I'll be sure to let you know what I do with the other crust...

Sunday, October 11, 2009


Almost as exciting as the first snow of the year is the first FIRE of the year!
One of my favorite things about our rental house is that it has a fire place, and in celebration of the first snow, Seth and I decided it was time to use it!

We even took a shopping trip to Menards to get an ash bucket and a fireplace tool set (I'm sure it has a better name than "fireplace tool set" but at the moment that's all I can think to call it). Today it was about 30 degrees outside as well so we've had the fire going since we got home from church this morning and I LOVE IT!!!

I only hope we can keep up our wood supply enough to keep the fires going all winter. Plus - as long as we had the fire going, our furnace didn't kick on - so we're saving $$$ too!
Best of all, I love the way it makes the house smell. :-) Here's to life by firelight!

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Welcome to Iowa

Seth and I woke up this morning to about an inch and a half of SNOW on the ground!

Just to clarify, it's October 10th, it's 31 degrees outside, and it's snowing.

Wow.It's so strange to see snow on the ground when the trees still have their autumn colored leaves on!

Thursday, October 8, 2009


My Etsy shop is officially OPEN!!!

After a lot of preparation, I have finally started selling my jewelry online. Check it out here:

I will be adding new items frequently, so check back often!!!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

It's all relative I suppose...

I lived in Chicago for 6 years. During those years I got used to pretty cold winters, lots of ice, snow, and wind. I got used to short springs and autumns, and very. long. winters.

Then I moved to St. Louis and all too quickly forgot all about the Chicago weather. Suddenly spring started in March instead of May and leaves didn't start to change color until the middle of October. Even though winter was much shorter and somewhat milder, I still complained. I remember complaining to my mom on the phone about how cold it was and she laughed at me and asked what happened to the "Chicago girl".

Now I'm in Iowa and summer is definitely over. The high when I left work today was about 45 degrees with really strong winds. I'm starting to get a little nervous about winter up here. If I went from Chicago winters to St. Louis winters and turned into a wuss... what does that mean for me going from St. Louis to Iowa?!?!

I'm trying to channel Chicago and prepare myself for the months ahead... but I'm thinking it's not going to be pretty.