Month: December 2012

Year 2012

It is New Years Eve and Brad & I have spent the day sleeping in, reading, and cleaning. I want to go on a walk, but Brad says it is too cold. Instead I decided to sit and reflect a bit on the past year since that seems to be the thing to do today. Here are my top 10 highlights of 2012.

1. I started this blog. I tried my hand at blogging this year. I’m planning on doing a post about my experience in the blog world soon!

2. I got engaged this spring. Brad proposed on March 2 and we had about a 5 month engagement. I had a love/hate relationship with wedding planning and there were many moments I wished we had just eloped, but in the end I was really glad we had a beautiful day to spend with family and friends. I’m not sure why everyone tells you to enjoy your engagement, because being married is 100 times better.

3. Brad and I took a road trip to Atlanta. Brad was the musician for our friends TK and Angela‘s wedding, so we made the 12 hour drive with some friends. By the Lord’s provision we made it there and back without the Jeep breaking down, although we did have to stop every few hours to refill the transmission fluid. What I took away from that trip was the peace that Brad and I could spend 24 hours in the car together within about 3 days time without ever fighting. I see many more road trips in our future.

4. I graduated from college. I was sad to leave SBU behind and I am really thankful for all I gained from my experience there, but, like after high school, I was ready for the next step. Leaving behind what is familiar is always scary, but I know I can trust in the Lord’s provision for my future.

5. I worked at a daycare. This is something I never expected to do. I like kids, but I’m usually more comfortable with them once they are into elementary school. But I needed a part time job and it was right down the street. I actually really enjoyed my time there and I think it educated me for someday when I am considering childcare for my own children.

6. I had a lot of wedding showers. My four wedding showers weren’t a highlight because of all of the gifts I received, but because of all the love I felt during them. I’m not sure if I have ever felt more blessed than after each of my showers. I was especially overwhelmed after coming home from my church shower. I’m so thankful for the church family that I grew up in. That night my mom got out my baby book and we found that there were 8 ladies that had been at both my mom’s shower for me as a baby and my wedding shower. It is such a blessing to know that I have had so many godly women investing in me my whole life.

7. I got married! This was definitely the highlight of 2012. I loved our wedding day (even if it was the hottest day of my life). I didn’t seem to care about the little things that went wrong; I just knew that at the end of the day Brad and I would be married. Our ceremony was amazing and we had a blast dancing the night away with our friends and family. I am so thankful for all the people that put so much work into making it all happen. Of course a wedding is so much more than the wedding day- it is the beginning of a marriage. Being married to Brad has been even more wonderful than I imagined. I love him more each day and sometimes its hard to believe how lucky I am that I get to spend all of my days with him.

8. We went to Chicago on our honeymoon. Our honeymoon was awesome. I would definitely recommend going to Chicago for a honeymoon destination. The weather was amazing (110 in KC and 82 in Chicago while we were there), the public transit is really easy to use, there are lots of free things, it’s fairly inexpensive, and it’s not too far away. Brad and I love to travel, so we had a blast exploring Chicago. We’re looking forward to returning someday!

9. I moved to Springfield. Originally Brad and I wanted to move back to Kansas City, but we ended up here in Springfield. I’ve actually enjoyed living here more than I expected. We’ve loved checking out the local spots and have already made some great friendships here. Our stay in Springfield may not be for long, so we are making the most of our time here. Plus, it’s been super fun to get to decorate my own place!

10. I started graduate school. I am one semester into getting my Masters in Biology at Missouri State. I was very nervous at first. What if I am not smart enough? What if my advisor is mean? What if I don’t make any friends? These turned out to be silly worries. My advisor is a very nice, godly man (which is almost unheard of in the science world), and I love my labmates. It is challenging, but in different ways than undergrad was. I really do love science and I’m looking forward to the next year and a half a MSU.

2012 was a great year. God has blessed me more than I can begin to deserve. I am anxious to see what He has in store for 2013. Happy New Year!

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DIY Shoemint-inspired flats

I’m really excited about this project. This is one of my favorite things I’ve ever made! (And I’ve made a lot of stuff over the years.)

A couple of weeks ago I spotted these shoes on A Beautiful Mess.

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So I followed the link to Shoemint and found that they called the Frankie and were $79.98 on sale for $39.99. Call me cheap, but I usually don’t spend that much on shoes unless they are boots or running shoes. I’m a bargain shopper. I sighed in disappointment and continued skimming my Bloglovin feed.

The next day Brad and I were out thrift shopping when I spotted a pair of plain white flats for $4 (they were Target brand). They were in great condition and in my size! I suddenly had a stoke…. of GENIUS (Producers anyone?) and remembered the shoes from the day before. I could totally upcycle these, I thought to myself. So I paid the $4 and stopped by Hobby Lobby on the way home for a fabric marker.

I ended up using a combination of a fabric marker and sharpies. I used a fine point sharpie to draw the design and a thicker sharpie and fabric marker to fill it in. I didn’t follow the design exactly and the back was difficult to see in the picture so I sort of made it up as a went. There are a few imperfections where I messed up, but that’s what gives it character, right?

This was a very time consuming project. It took me two nights to complete it. I probably spent about 4 hours on it, but it was worth it. I also decided to remove the laces because they fit fine without them. I really like how they turned out!

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December

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Our first married Christmas was a great one! Here are some highlights:

We attempted the Mile A Day Challenge this December. I have to admit that we didn’t make it out to run everyday :( Sigh… I know. So lame. We missed the days we were in Kansas City for Christmas. We had planned to run everyday we were there, but with all the fooooooood…… and the freeeeeeeeeezing temperatures…… it got really difficult. I’m actually still ahead of schedule for making it to 31 miles this month, because I’ve ran more than one mile some days, BUT the point of the challenge was to make it everyday, so I am still a little disappointed in myself. I’m planning on trying to do it another month next year.

I got a little crafty this month! I made garland from some old hymnals and felt ornaments for our tree. It was fun making our little home Christmasy!

One of my favorite things about the season is the Christmas lights! We checked out some around town and at the best place to see Christmas lights, Silver Dollar City!

We had a lot of fun going to double the family Christmases this year! It was exhausting, but definitely worth it! We had a blast playing games, eating food, and playing my grandma’s old accordion. It was an especially exciting Christmas this year because we got to have fun with my cousin’s six month old!

All in all a memorable Christmas. We’re looking forward to many more Decembers together!

My Crochet Story

If you haven’t noticed, crocheting is one of my favorite hobbies. I can barely sit and watch TV or a movie without yarn and a hook in my hands.

There are so many reasons to love crocheting!! For example:

If you are making an afghan, it keeps you warm as you make it! 

Homemade gifts are the best! (This year I made two scarves and an afghan for Christmas presents!)

When someone asks you where you got that adorable scarf you can say, “I made it!” 

My grandma taught me the basics when I was only 8 years old. I think I also like crocheting because it reminds me of my grandma and it’s something that I’ll always have that was from her. I find a lot of value in skills like sewing, quilting, crocheting, knitting, and embroidery. I’m slowly working on mastering each one. I’d love to learn to make my own clothes! Does this make me a nerd? A grandma? A hipster?

Have you thought about learning to crochet? Don’t be afraid! My grandma taught me to chain, single crochet, and double crochet, but other than that I have learned mostly from YouTube and Pinterest. And if you live near me, I’d love to teach you!!

My upcoming projects include pillows for the living room and a large afghan for our bedroom. I’ve been dragging my feet on starting both because I can’t decide on colors and patterns!

Fellow crocheters: What’s your favorite thing you’ve made? Where is your favorite place to find patterns?

DIY Glittery Reindeer

It’s no secret that I love Christmas crafts. A couple of weeks ago I had the girls from my LifeGroup come over for a Christmas craft night! I painted this reindeer, but as soon as I was finished I knew it was too plain. I decided it needed some sparkle. I haven’t used glitter in years, so I was a little intimidated, but it turned out to be a really simple and quick project! It took me less than 15 minutes to glitter it!

All you need is Mod Podge, a paint brush, and glitter. I also used a big plastic tub to do the glittering in. After I was done I dumped the glitter out and managed not to get glitter everywhere!

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I worked in small sections by applying a thin layer with a paint brush. You don’t need a lot of Mod Podge! A little bit goes a long way.

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Next I transfered to the bucket and dumped the glitter on so the section was completely covered. Then I just lifted the canvas and shook off the extra glitter.

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I kept doing this in sections until the entire reindeer was glittered. (Excuse the extremely blurry picture! I’m not so good at multitasking.)

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The finished product! I really love how it turned out!

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And here it is on our “Christmas shelf” in our living room!

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I’ve been afraid to use glitter in the past because I thought it would be too messy and not stick evenly. This project has given me the confidence to use glitter more often! Brad better watch out before I glitter the whole house!

Askinosie Chocolate Factory Tour

You’re in luck because we are back with a joint post. This is Katelyn.

…and this is Brad! Happy to be back on the blog!

We’re here to tell you about our Saturday. We began with a chilly morning run. We’re on Day 10 of our Mile A Day Challenge.

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I mean, you may be on day 10, but I’m definitely on day 13 or 14!

Uhh have you forgotten Wednesday? I believe a certain someone already skipped in the first week.

Ok, ok, maybe I skipped one day… but that was only because I was CLEANING the kitchen for you! …and the Best Husband Award goes to…

You, of course. OKAY. Onto the rest of our day.

After grabbing Panera with Brad’s dad, we headed down the street to Askinosie Chocolate.

I’ve always had a secret desire to be one of those kids on “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory”. You know, the ones that are chosen to go on the magnificent tour, tempted with an offer from a scary stranger to divulge the secret chocolate formula, and then choose the path of light and inherit a chocolate fortune. Unfortunately, this is as close as I think I’ll get, but that’s okay!

Okaaaaaaaaayyyyyy…… Why don’t you tell the people a little bit about the company?

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Askinosie Chocolate is owned and operated by Shawn Askinosie, a Springfield local. Shawn is an attorney-turned-chocolatier, and he has a pretty interesting story. After 20 years in the criminal defense business, he decided that he needed to start doing something that he was more passionate about. So he started grilling…then baking…then chocolate making!

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Shawn himself gave us a tour. It was really cool to see his passion for his business. He travels all over the world making relationships with and building the trust of cocoa bean farmers in order to participate in fair-trade business. He pays them cash for their beans, then returns to share the profits with them at the end of the season.

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Throughout the tour, Shawn and his employees walked us through each part of the bean roasting process. Each step of the way, he let us taste different parts of the bean. The picture above is of a piece of the bean residue known as “nibs”. Nasty little buggers, but these little bits of bean have tons of antioxidants and healthiness per tiny bite.

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They specialize in dark chocolate, but also colla-bar-ate with other companies to make special items like dark chocolate licorice. Each variety was delicious, but my favorite was the white chocolate. They also sell hot chocolate mix and cocoa powder.

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They not only bring in cocoa beans from all over the world, but they also ship their finished product from San Francisco to New York to Sweden and beyond.

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They have even started selling a hazelnut spread (um… Nutella anyone?) made with hazelnuts from Washington. Trust me, it’s amazing.

…and crazy expensive.

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Yes… Askinosie is pretty great, but their prices are a little steep for these newlyweds.

The reason being that Askinosie is a for-profit business. They take the profit and reinvest it not only into the community of Springfield, but each year they take part in a profit-sharing program with their farmers across the world. It’s one thing to provide help for these farmers, but it’s another to walk up to them, cash in hand, and pay them for their hard work.

Not only do the profits from Askinosie go to farmers in the Philipines, Tanzania, Ecuador, and Venezuela, Shawn Askinosie also has a heart of the community of Springfield. He has created several programs that benefit the local elementary schools in the area.

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They’ve garnered quite the praise and accolades for their short, chocolate-covered career. Even Oprah has ranked Shawn and his gang as one of the top ten men who are changing the world!

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In the end we decided to splurge on a white chocolate bar made from beans grown in the Philipines. I gave it an A+.

I gave it an infinity. As in, whatever is higher than an A. It’s that good.

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The tour was a really cool opportunity to learn about the Askinosie business and how chocolate (one of my favorite foods) is made!

Next we decided to hit up one of the local flea markets where we found this treasure!

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We have been searching for this very item since before we got married. One of my dearest passions is writing, (and Kate is becoming quite the writer herself), so I knew when we saw this typewriter for $15, we had to buy it. It’s still in great condition! Treasure!!

Then it was back to our humble home. My parents bought us this bookcase a couple of months ago. It’s huge, so it’s been difficult to find a way to get it down to Springfield. Brad’s dad was great enough to bring it this weekend, so we spent the next hour getting the stacks of books off our office floor and into their proper place in the bookcase!

So glad we finally got this set up!! Now we can reclaim our office, and actually get started… on, uh… reading these books…

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All in all a good Saturday. We love the Christmas season!

How to Crochet a Star

A few weeks ago I found this on Pinterest:

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Cute, right? Unfortunately the link didn’t lead to the pattern. I decided to try to make my own pattern! Here is what I did:

I used a J hook and Red Heart yarn. I think the Pinterest picture looks a little better than mine because the yarn appears to be better quality than what I used.

Chain 7 and make a ring. (This was a little small. You could maybe go chain 10)

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Crochet 5 puff stitches in the ring.

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In the top of each puff stitch: Double crochet 3, chain 1, double crochet 3. Chain 1 in between each set of 6 double crochets.

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The third row is when it becomes a star. This row is similar to the second row. In each set of 6 double crochets from the second row, crochet another 6 double crochets in the chain. For these 6 double crochets, chain 3 instead of 1. You will double crochet 3, chain 3, double crochet 3.

The next step is a little tricky. Next you single crochet into the chain that separates the 6 double crochets in the second row. Go straight into a double crochet for the next set of 6.

Repeat to complete 5 points of the star.

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There you have it! It only took me about 15 minutes.

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I’m currently using mine as a coaster, but they can also be easily be turned into an ornament!

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