Archive for December, 2010

I Want Chicken, I Want Liver

December 27, 2010

My favorite Christmas gift this year? Mark and I decided it was time to get a kitty! He didn’t surprise me with an actual cat wrapped in a box {unlike Aunt Bethany} but he did gift me a small bag of cat food and from there I got the hint pretty quickly. We’re in Houston right now with his family for the holidays so once we’re back in Austin after the new year we’ll begin our search for the first Rand family feline. Our ideal candidate is an orange tabby or a blue Russian that is at least 9 months to a year old, preferably female and definitely adopted. We also need a cat that will be happy as an “only child” because we’re not allowed to have more than one in the apartment. I’m so excited to start looking for our first furry friend!


Christmas Eve Prayer

December 24, 2010

Thank you Lord for the anticipation that Christmas Eve brings; the anticipation of Jesus’ birth and Christmas day soon to come.

Thank you for family drawing near to be together and share on this joyous day.

Thank you for the wonderful feeling that I get deep in my heart watching others open gifts, it’s even more meaningful than opening my own.

Thank you that I have family to cherish and gifts to share and please be with those who are not as fortunate this season.

Thank you for sending your Son to be born unto this world already knowing his purpose to die for our sins.

Merry Christmas!

Dear Santa,

December 17, 2010

It’s probably a little too late to be giving out gift ideas considering Christmas is in 8 days {seriously, where does the time go?} but I still wanted to share a few of the things on my Christmas wish list this year:

I am in love. Please Santa, bring me two of these bone china pinecones so I can indulge my obsession further; I promise to be good for years to come.

Doesn’t everyone want a giant spool of baker’s twine? No? Don’t ask me what I’ll use it for specifically because I have no answer; all I know is that it’s pretty and much cheaper than diamonds, so there ya go.

I would love this Keep Calm print for my future creative space.

I accidentally left my beloved white hoodie at the gym and someone decided to take it home with them so I would enjoy a similar replacement such as this one.

The upcoming soccer season is just around the corner and I think a few pairs of these socks would be just the ticket.

I’m in need of a heavier brown coat and this one from Old Navy has managed to stay on my “like” list for a couple of months now {still not 100% on the orange interior though, wishing it was red or brown plaid instead}.

And last but not least, something that caught my eye years ago in architecture school: Place for Trace. This one will probably stay on my wish list for a few more years since I don’t use trace as much lately; but some day I will make it mine, or I’ll make my own…

Stamp Surprise

December 17, 2010

The United States Postal Service just made my day, maybe even my week.

I stopped by the post office to pick up some stamps so we can finally mail our Christmas cards and the man at the counter asked me:

“Would you like regular stamps or pinecone stamps?”

Umm, do you even need to ask? I was seriously tempted to buy about $100 worth of stamps right then and there {they’re the forever ones} but I resisted. Aren’t they just perfect?

I seriously think I have a problem.


It’s Beginning to Look Like Christmas

December 17, 2010

It never feels like the Christmas season is truly here until decorations are put up. I just love getting our Christmas things out of storage year after year and figuring out what will go where. This season was especially fun since we’re in a new apartment.

We decided to go another year without a live tree so I wrapped a few empty boxes to look like presents, then stacked them on top of one another to form a pile-of-presents-tree-stand for our little, 2 foot tree.

This pinecone and burlap garland from Room to Inspire caught my eye so I made one for myself. I just love how it turned out, very rustic and country while not being overly Christmasy.

Another little holiday DIY project I did was dressing up this $1.99 wreath from Michaels with some leftover ribbon and burlap from the garland. I wired a few pinecones on as well; the pinecones were sent to me as a birthday gift from Mark’s grandpa in Massachusetts.

Instead of searching for the perfect wrapping paper this year {I’m way too picky} I bought a HUGE roll of construction paper from the paint section in Lowe’s, added some yarn and then made gift tags out of scrapbooking paper that I already had. Voila! Instant cute presents. :)

Feeling the Love

December 13, 2010

“Hmm, that’s strange,” I thought to myself last Friday morning as I checked gmail for the first time; I had five pending comment notifications from Wordpress {more than I normally get in a month}. Curious, I logged in to WordPress to check the stats…I had over 50 hits and it was only 8am! I didn’t think much of it and quickly deducted that a certain friend from college had pulled an all-nighter working on grad school applications and decided to click through my entire blog in order to distract himself from the fact that he had been awake for over 24 hours and now had to go to work sans sleep.

I moved on to approving the comments and one of them said, “Congrats on being freshly pressed!” Slowly I put two and two together. I went to and frantically scrolled through the front page; and down at the bottom, there it was…

My post on building our patio planter box was smack-dab on the front page of a site visited by thousands of people every day…that, my friends, deserves a big, fat O.M.G. Not only that, but it was chosen on a Friday meaning it would be up all weekend long. It didn’t feel real at all; I just grew increasingly giddy as I watched the hits continue to climb throughout the day.

You see, I generally average 5-10 hits a day thanks to family and close friends who have Google Reader so seeing those giant columns looming over my tiny, little, insignificant stats was kind of humorous.

I feel unbelievably lucky to have been granted this surprise exposure and I am very thankful for those of you that stopped by! This blog started out as a medium through which I shared my engagement story with family and friends, and now it’s evolved into an online journal of sorts, accounting my life, thoughts and ideas. With that being said, if in some crazy way my simple little blog could inspire or bring joy to others I would be beyond elated. I am so grateful that God chooses to continuously bless my family’s life and I look forward to sharing those blessings with you through this blog.

Thanks again for the love, everyone!

Patio Planter Project

December 9, 2010

Over the few days spent at my parents house for Thanksgiving my dad and I put together a container planter for our patio that we could grow lettuces and other small plants in. The project first began in my mind as a trough type planter but slowly evolved into something a little more user-friendly; instead of having the planter itself hold the soil I decided to build the planter box around three plastic bins that could easily be removed individually to dump out, fill with new soil and plant in.

Already having the patio dimensions, we searched the dollar store, Wal-Mart and Big Lots for inexpensive plastic bins and settled on some that were $2 a piece. We then figured out the overall measurements based on the bin size, allowing ourselves a little wiggle room so we could still fit our fingers in to lift the bins out. We used 1×6″ boards for the sides and 1×4″ boards for the inner supports {all of which my dad had extra of in his shop}.

Here’s an exploded Sketchup model of the planter to show how all the pieces fit together. The two vertical supports in the middle are to keep the three plastic bins equally spaced and the staggered bottom supports allow any drainage water to fall through to the ground. It would have been easier to just make the bottom out of one solid piece of wood but we decided to have open spaces beneath the bins to avoid having to flip the whole thing over to dump out any spilled soil or water.

We used wood glue and a pneumatic stapler to connect the two long side pieces to the bottom supports and two screws at each corner to connect the side and end boards.

Then we clamped the whole thing together and let it dry overnight.

In the morning we spackled the staple holes and since we didn’t want the screws to show, my dad suggested we sink them further into the wood and cover them with wood plugs. After the spackle was dry I sanded the whole thing down to make every edge and corner nice and smooth.

The last step was adding some soil and baby plants to the bins. Luckily my dad is a pretty darn good gardener and he already had some potting soil mixed up as well as a bunch of baby lettuces in his greenhouse to choose from.

Don’t they look so happy in their new planter box?

We still haven’t quite figured out the best way to mount it on our railing so for now it’s sitting a couple feet off the ground on a couple of cinder blocks. It makes me so happy to see those little bits of green every day now that winter has turned the grass brown. Not too bad for just $6!

Thanksgiving Highlights

December 6, 2010

Thanksgiving 2010 went a little like this:

– I set the table using things I found around the house including a pumpkin and some squash from dad’s garden and a few leftover candle holders from our wedding.

– After we got home from delivering Thanksgiving dinners for meals on wheels the guys tossed a football around in the yard. Mom and I stayed busy in the kitchen.

– The weather was perfect and there were plenty of crunchy leaves to be stepped on.

– I grabbed dad’s Canon and had a little photoshoot in the yard. Hyde here was particularly photogenic sitting up on the picnic table.

– Sadie enjoyed gnawing on a piece of firewood; she told me it helps keep her teeth and gums pretty and healthy.

– Simba and the other cats did plenty of sunning in the grass though he tended to collect more in his fur than the others.

– There were pies. Lots and lots of pies.

– We ate turkey, dressing, sweet potatoes, homemade gravy, deviled eggs, rolls and fresh broccoli and every bite was more delicious than the last.

– We managed to gather everyone for a family shot, including Hyde who we had dressed up as a reindeer {thank you Target}.

– He didn’t seem too bothered by it, he just sat very still in silent protest as we continued to snap pictures.

– Mom and I took Mark and Mema shopping on black Friday and Mark ended up spending the most money{!}.

– We spent the rest of the day baking Christmas treats together; monster cookies, chocolate covered pretzels, banana bread and cookie gun cookies. We’ve been using this Super Shooter cookie gun since I can remember and my parents found one for me last year at a garage sale so I can carry on the Christmas cookie tradition!

– Dad and I had a fun little building project which I’ll post about soon.

– Mark and I made a mini soccer goal for Logan’s Christmas gift.

– I got some quality kitty-cuddling time and made sure to scratch Sadie’s belly at least twice a day.

This was definitely one of the best Thanksgivings ever, I love my family!

Three Day Weekend

December 5, 2010

A couple of weeks ago Mark and I both took an extra day off from work so we could enjoy an extended weekend together. We had plans for camping the whole weekend and though it didn’t turn out quite like we had planned we still had a great time.

First, let me back up a few weeks…about a month ago I tried to make reservations at a state park within 2 hours of Austin and everything was booked, everything. I was so disheartened that I almost gave up on camping but Mark suggested we try a smaller park around Lake Travis. We settled on Sandy Creek which was only about a 30 minute drive; it’s a pretty small park with no electricity and only a few water faucets but we figured it would be better than nothing. Our friends Paulo and Amanda came too and at the last minute Mandy and Jake decided to join us as well, I’m so glad they did!

When we got to the park there wasn’t anyone at the front gate to charge us to get in and with the exception of a couple of run-ins with an over zealous park ranger and a group of boy scouts we never saw anyone else in the park. Woo-hoo for free camping! We spent Friday night huddled around the fire and listening to music; I had forgotten how relaxing that is. Mark and I had only one small flashlight that I kept in my car but we ended up not needing it because there was a full moon shining almost as bright as a street light, there were even shadows from the trees. We all had chili and cornbread for dinner and it was sooooo delicious. I had made the chili in our slow cooker the day before along with the cornbread and some banana bread too. The chili was so easy, I literally threw a bunch of stuff in the pot and let it cook for 8 hours, now that’s my kind of cooking!

Saturday morning we all hiked down to the lake and explored the rocky water line. Since this wasn’t a state park there were no hiking trails and we ran out of interesting things to explore around lunch time so we all piled into one car and took a scenic drive through the hill country around the lake. After 30 minutes of driving we ended up at the Oasis so we decided to stop and have margaritas and some chips and guacamole overlooking the lake.

It was a fun weekend with friends and I can’t wait for the weather to warm up so we can go again. Not to mention I crossed a couple things off of my Autumn bucket list!

Friday Funny

December 3, 2010