Sunday, August 12, 2012

Shark Week!

I have recently been welcomed into a wonderful group of card makers and crafters that have invited me to participate in their monthly challenges thanks to my friend Miss Jenn!

It had been a while since I'd been crafty, so this has been a great way to get my creative juices flowing and to "meet" some wonderful ladies and new friends through Google+ meet up once a month.

Jill was up this month as the challenge leader and she picked a wicked cute shark week theme with the idea of a blog hop to showcase our cards and kick off the start of Discovery Channel's Shark Week (August 12). Unfortunately I had some minor surgery this week, so I couldn't devote as much time to my card as I would have liked, but I wanted to be sure and meet the posting deadline!

Here was my creation:


The shark stamp is from Butterfly Fly

Here are the other stops on the blog hop:

Cheiron Brandon {My Crafty Life}

Dawn Stein {Lavender Giraffe}

Glenda Wyatt {Paper Scissors Rocks}

Jenn Shurkus {Creative Chick}

Jill Grace {Creative Grace} 

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Collecting Memories

I had the pleasure of catching up with a friend from college over the 4th of July weekend. We hadn't seen each other in almost eight years if not MORE since she had moved out to the midwest after college! Even though she's moved back East now, we are still separated by a 3+ hour drive, so you can imagine why it's taken us this long to catch up. She was still the same wonderful Holly...but with the awesome addition of two wonderful children with her husband Jon!

Andy and I were able to join them at Hampton for a morning brunch before heading down to the ocean for a walk along the beach. One of my favorite things about walking along the beach with kids is that their eyes are so open and aware to all the beautiful and unique shells and treasures around them. Right away, Holly's daughter found some little shell pieces and handed them to me saying "hang onto these!" I chuckle when typing this because I discovered these same "treasures" while emptying my shorts pockets before loading them in the washing machine this weekend and it brought back not only the great memories of that day together, but also brought me back to the year when I lived with four other girls in my Junior year of college. It's funny how we all change and grow (and sadly grow apart for YEARS). But it always amazes me how easily you can fall right back into those familiar friendships and feel like they were never even gone from your life! I hope they stay more frequent visitors in my life now that we've reconnected.

And on the note of longtime friends who will always be close in my heart no matter what the friend Jenn is hosting an amazing blog this month! She inspired her friends to play along with her beachy/ocean theme for the month and requested that we each submit a project to her July blog. AND to make this project even more amazing, she turned the items collected into a bidding opportunity for a dear friend and a GREAT CAUSE! My contribution and donation was inspired by my "beach treasure" that Holly's daughter shared with me. It reminded me that everyone needs a beach treasure pail to gather their goodies in!

And NO treasure is complete without a pirate to share it with!!! So I added in this little card I had in my box of oldies but goodies:

So, my share day isn't until July 14th, but I'll be away on a trip for work (maybe even enjoying the ocean a little since I'll be in sunny San Diego!). Miss Jenn agreed to link to my blog posting then, so consider yourself special that you got a sneak peek.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Paper Passion

Okay, so I have to admit that I still have boxes and boxes left to unpack in my craft room...AND many thank you notes to create and send following our housewarming party two weeks ago. Shame, shame!

However, I couldn't help myself from ordering this AMAZING paper pack that a friend of a friend was parting with to make room in her craft room. I can't wait to get this little present in the mail!!!

Let the crafting commence!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

2 Garden Beds + 11 plants + 0 Green Thumbs= A Vegetable Garden?

Along with the new house came two raised garden beds in the backyard that I was very excited about. You see, I've never been a gardener and always chuckled to myself a little bit each time someone would talk about their *love* of gardening. I thought to myself, how much joy can come from getting all soil covered and pulling weeds?

Boy, have I been wrong about this planting business! I have to admit, I still don't like the part about getting all covered in soil (I actually wear gloves), nor the part where you deal with dripping of sweat and swatting bugs from around your head on the hot afternoons after a long day of work. However, I'm already feeling quite a sense of satisfaction from just beginning to prepare the soil and the beds before planting my first attempt at a vegetable garden. I have grown tomatoes in planters before, but it doesn't feel nearly the same to me.

My first afternoon of weeding the beds* included finding out the "weeds" were actually oak tree saplings that had been deposited from the many acorns that cover our backyard! I felt kind of guilty knowing that they had persevered and were growing strong, only to be plucked from their early growth and thrown into a weed bucket. But hey, they weren't paying rent here and the only harvest they would yield would be MORE of the dreaded acorns!

*I soooo wish I had taken another picture since the first one in this post before weeding, because it was absolutely chock FULL of weeds! 

Anyway, I got over it and continued stripping the beds clean of debris. I was sad to find a swarm of small ants in both beds (probably from dry rot of the wooden boards used to construct the frames). And mind you, it was the ants that were small, not the quantity of them. Whaaaaa! Not off to a great start here. I thought I'd turn things around once I tilled the beds and was sure to uncover some worms that would help my cause. Hmmmm, both beds tilled and not a single earthworm...this isn't getting any better. Oh wait, there is a...worm? Well, after looking it up online, it's actually a wireworm, which isn't a worm at all, but instead a garden pest! Good grief, can't a newbie garden girl catch a break?

It looks like the soil isn't exactly what I had hoped, but I knew this whole garden business was going to be a work in progress. I have visited my local Agway more than once already and I have added some lobster compost into both beds (on their advice) to help the soil start moving in the right direction. We have our own kitchen scrap compost pile cooking as well, but it will be a while before it's ready to make it's way to the garden. And I've hung my "worms welcome" sign out for the locals so they might slither their way in over the next few weeks!

As for this year, I suspect that I'll learn a lot and I imagine that I'll end up with a *few* veggies at least! I have three books checked out of the local library already and I know a handful of master gardeners in my friend arsenal to turn to if when needed. I'm starting small with 3 tomato plants, 6 zucchini/squash plants and 2 pepper plants. I think I'll add some basil into the mix as well so I can whip up a caprese salad at a moments notice!

And if I fail miserably? Well... I can always go back to my tomato planters from the apartment days! Happy Harvesting Everyone!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Instead of a Room with a View, We'll Take a Rock with a View Please!

Andy and I have found a fond place in our hearts for a local mountain in Alton Bay, NH. It is called Mt. Major and it seems to be one of the only hikes we make sure to take part in year after year. Andy used to hike this mountain with his family as he was growing up, so it is even more sentimental to him.

He tries to take a personal hike on his own each year during his April vacation, with only water and a journal in his pack (and maybe a snack or two), because he often feels close to his mother at the top of this mountain. He takes the afternoon to hike up and will write in his journal while looking out over the majestic view.

When he shared this story with me for the first time, it made my heart warm to know that he could express his feelings and continued to share special moments in his life with his mom, even after her passing. Last year, he even invited me along on his special hike with him! You can only imagine how much that one simple gesture said to me about what a part of his life I had become and what our relationship truly meant to him.

Well, this year we weren't able to take the hike in April and Andy hadn't had a chance to go on his own either. For the last few weeks, we tried to work a hike into our schedule, but we just couldn't manage it until this past weekend. And I have to say, I do believe it was a little sign from the heavens above that we waited until the PERFECT afternoon to hike! It just felt "meant to be" once we reached the top and found our regular rock that we like to sit upon.

We shared our can of beer, me with one sip, in honor of Jon (a tradition we started last year even though neither of us really like beer), snapped a few pictures and even made a few new friends.

Leave it to Andy to find a Duke fan on the top of the mountain to have some fun banter with as we chat about the views.

It was such a wonderful day of making memories! One last picture with the beautiful view in the background and we began our decent back down the trail.

And finally, to top the night off, we headed downtown to take part in our first Dover Dines (a promotion for downtown restaurants with special meal deals). We'd decided on Blue Latitudes earlier in the week and had worked up quite an appetite from our hike! 

We had a fantastic waitress and even though she let us know the portions were just a bit smaller than normal to accommodate room in our bellies for a three course meal, we STILL went home with doggie bags for lunch the next day...and I'm sorry to say neither of us could manage to polish off our brownie sundaes at the dessert portion of our meal. We look forward to our next visit there later in the summer; perhaps a table on the outdoor patio next time!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

A Year Ago Tomorrow

Yikes, can it really be true that a YEAR ago tomorrow was the last time that I wrote a blog post? How did life get so utterly busy? And how in the world have I not had anything to write about?

Oh wait, I have had too much going on to be able to write about any of it! So here is the last year in a bulleted list...the "CliffsNotes" version anyway:

  • My parents were able to sell their house in NH over the summer and purchase a gorgeous new home in Castle Rock, Colorado.
  • Andy and I attended the wedding of my dear, childhood friend Julia and her "new" husband Dave (I say new because it was almost a year ago). It was such a beautiful day and we were all invited to camp out in the field after the fun!
  • I attended my first canoe trip down the Saco River! I even talked myself into jumping from a rope swing hanging from a tree, but quickly realized that was a mistake when I injured my ear drum entering the water...oops! I think I'll skip that part of the adventure when we return this year.
  • My parents flew home to join us for a Thanksgiving feast at Auntie Lynn and Uncle Paul's house. Mom is demanding that if they return again for the holiday this year, I have to get the stuffing from Uncle Paul. Not just his recipe, but he has to actually make the stuffing for me to serve. YES, it's THAT good!
  • Andy and I were able to celebrate Christmas with my family in Colorado. So much fun seeing my sister's kids open presents at my parent's house on Christmas morning...and staying in PJs with my two oldest nieces all day!
  • Another AMAZING vacation was taken over February vacation as we got to visit Maui, Hawaii for the second time. Thank you again Lexi and Steven for hosting us for the week! It was just as special as the first visit for us and we look forward to many more. Especially because we got voluntarily bumped from our return flight and have some lovely vouchers to use over the next year.
  • And in March, the biggest news of all...
Andy and I went under contract on our NEW HOME!!! 

We were able to close in just over three weeks and we moved in April over Easter weekend...cold, drizzly rain and all. But, as a warm ray of sunshine in our day, it just so happened to be the same day that my newest niece, Liv, joined the world. Can't wait until I can finally meet this little bundle of joy in person. 

Soooo, as you can tell, I need to update my blog more often. Clearly, more detailed stories and images from each of the previously bulleted items would have been more entertaining, buy steps!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Traveling Here, Watching This

I haven't downloaded any pictures from our weekend away yet, but it was a wonderful loooong weekend spent with friends, family and LOTS of fun!

We celebrated an exceptional wedding of our dear friends Joey and Shannon at the Mountain View Grand Resort in Whitefield, NH. Despite the tornado warnings, fire alarm (that caused the entire resort to evacuate a mere half hour before the ceremony), and the actual ceremony that became an outdoor/indoor wedding as the rain picked up after the introduction from the justice of the was STILL a beautiful event. Even with all of the challenges, they were troopers throughout the whole experience; holding hands and smiling through it all. Laughing and gazing into each other's eyes as if to say, "none of it matters, we're here together doing this!" And as they began their actual vows to one another, the most brilliant rainbow I've ever seen shown brightly through the window covered wall behind them. It was breathtaking.

We I enjoyed a yummy smore while warming up by the campfire in the evening hours on Friday night after the rehearsal dinner, followed by a nice run at the fitness center the next morning. I had been hoping to get some tennis in, but since Joey was the groom, I decided Andy should take him out to the courts instead. They had a great game and I think it will become the beginning of their ongoing game for the entire summer. Maybe next time we'll play doubles!

Even the drive home in the rain was gorgeous as the clouds hung low in the sky and grazed the mountain tops. I didn't want to come home, but instead wished we could stay up there for a few more days. Not to worry though, I think we'll be heading back that way sometime soon...maybe a nice little getaway for our second anniversary. (hint, hint; wink, wink.)

Until then, I'll just make myself comfy and watch a little of this on the couch with my Smooch and the Monkey cat...yup, life is good.