Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Baby Brother's College Graduation

A busy week and weekend here as Baby Brother graduated from college. Congrats to him!  The graduation itself was on Friday, so I took the day off work to go into Chicago to attend the ceremony and to help him pack up his stuff. He'll be storing some of his things back at our house until he moves into a new apartment to start his JOB on January 4!! Woohoo!!

Momcat and Daddo were quite proud of their little boy!

Baby brother was just happy to be done with college.

I was helpful as always.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Christmas Decorations, Advent and a Student Party

A busy week here, as the semester wraps up and we celebrate the end of another successful semester. This Sunday we held a Christmas party of our new house with students from one of our new programs this year. 
We had both international and domestic students over, baking and decorating Christmas cookies, drinking hot chocolate and hot apple cider and listening to Christmas music. 

Some of the men also watched some football (Go Bears!)

It was a great opportunity for our international students to experience some aspects of Christmas in America-a new cultural experience for some of them. As our house is all decorated for Christmas, I 'm joining Kim over at her great blog Kim's Big Quilting Adventure for a holiday tour of my home:

The N-boy and I purchased a fresh evergreen wreath for our front door at the Farmer's Market. 
It smells just heavenly every time we open the door!

Along the staircase we have the Christmas Carol Rubber Ducks-Scrooge, Marley, Tiny Tim and the three ghosts. 

Christmas cards are lined up on the built in cabinet. 

Our Christmas tree is in the front room in front of our window. We already have presents underneath it!!

And on our buffet table (really used to store DVDs, CDs and extra linens), we have what the N-boy refers to as the "Marriage Tree" (a wedding gift), with some shiny Christmas baubles and candles. 

We decorate this sculpture for each season with appropriate things-Christmas ornaments, Easter eggs, Paper mache pumpkins, etc. 

We're sticking with our current decorations for this year, and will look for things to decorate the house more next year at the after Christmas sales. 

On the festive Advent front, my wonderful swap partner has been so kind to me! I've unwrapped a bag that can be used to make baked potatoes in the microwave. 

I can't wait to try it out!

Cute cupcake liners. I love baking cupcakes!

And an adorable pink keychain with a sewing machine charm attached to a yoyo. So cute!!!

Friday, December 4, 2009

And on the fourth day of Advent, holidayelf gave to me....

Today's Advent present is super cute! It's a little silver Chinese fortune cookie set. The cookie open up, and you can put little fortunes inside of it to give to someone! It even comes with a book of "love fortunes" that I can tear out to use.

I think I know what DH has in his future.....

One reason this is a super great gift for me is that this is one of those things that I'd see in a store, but would never buy for myself. And so I love that someone took the time to choose gifts that she'd thought I'd like, and she was right!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Jingle Jog and Advent Day 3

Today we celebrated the third day of December with a luxurious bath mitt and two yummy smelling bars of special soap. I can't wait to try them out this weekend!

They fit in perfectly with the December Mission on flylady.net of pampering. Woohoo!

Tonight was also the Jingle Jog on campus. My friend E from work did this last year, and invited me to go with her this year. It's a 5k run (well, we walked it) around campus at night, with Christmas music and lights. The best part is that the students all dress up in costumes to run it. There were some super costumes, like the three magi, angels, lots of santas, and my personal favorite, a santa on the top half, with a reindeer suit that hung down from around his waist so it looked like the santa was riding it! So creative.

E and I had a great time...

And ended up with adorable T-shirts.

This was my first race EVER! I'm very proud that we did it, especially given that its is pretty cold outside. We even had a snow flurry today. I'm looking forward to more events in the spring, where I hope to be able to RUN a 5k outside.

When the N-boy picked me up from Jingle Jog and we got home, he managed to get ahold of my camera. He tends to take lots of self portraits when he has unrestricted access to the camera;

this is my favorite picture from tonight.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009


A very brief post tonight, as I've stopped home for about ten minutes before I head back to work to run a student training tonight. Today's advent gift from my wonderful swap partner....


These are my favorites! I usually manage to convince myself that the raisins make them a healthy candy. Yes. And again the wrapping paper was cute Christmas fabric, with an ornament for my little tree!!!

I love Christmas!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Yay for December!

Today's post marks the first of what will (hopefully) be 25 posts for the advent season! Something new I did this year was participate in an advent swap through the Christmas message board I belong to (Our Home for the Holidays). I've done a few other swaps before, but have always limited myself to the cards only swaps. This one was my first with actual gifts.

I've been a member of this Christmas board for a few years, and always enjoyed reading the posts from people participating in this particular swap. And today is only the first day of the swap, but I understand why they love it so much! First, I've had a GREAT time getting to know my swap partner. It's been so much fun to build a friendship with someone from another part of the country, especially someone who loves Christmas as much as I do. We've all been working on this swap for months now (maybe as far back as August???), and I hope that our friendship continues after this Christmas season.

The basic idea of this particular swap is that you send some kind of advent calendar (being as creative as you'd like) and then one present to open for each day between December 1 and 24th. You could choose which price range you wanted to be in, which made it a good option for those of us who are watching our pennies a bit.

So without further ado... here's the first gift I opened today!

They're two beautifully embroidered linen napkins! I can't wait to use them on our holiday table. AND my partner wrapped all of my gifts with Christmas fabric (she knows I love to sew), so I can make something with the wrapping paper! Even the N-boy was excited, and insisted on watching me open the package. Each package also has a cute little ornament that I can hang on the mini tree she sent me for the calendar!

And now for a few Thanksgiving pictures. Thanksgiving this year was also my sister-in-law-in-law (Brother in law's wife) 29th Birthday, so we celebrated with cake!

The N-boy made it from scratch, and put on all 29 candles!!!

In addition to the cake, the N-boy and I enjoyed some pie. Yay for the Holiday Season!

Sunday, November 22, 2009


I started this quilt as soon as we knew the couple was pregnant. That was back in February 2008. Needless to say, the baby has arrived and is now over a year old. Oops. I blame the N-boy in part, as he helped me choose the pattern. He liked this "Amish Waves" pattern, and somehow I didn't think that the triangles would be a problem. Oops. Each block is 8 finished and has 48 triangles. Teeny tiny triangles.

So here is is... I'm happy it's finished, and actually quite pleased with the way it turned out.

The N-boy also helped me choose some of the fabrics, and some of them came from my stash and from scraps I inherited from Grammy.

It's quilted in the ditch with invisible thread on the top, with an off-set black quilted square in the middle of each block.

Now it's all packaged up with a card and a letter, addressed and just waiting for the post office to open.
Yay for FINALLY getting it done!!!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Fall in Indiana

Well I am ashamed that it has been two months since I have posted ANYTHING on my blog. And this is despite the Momcat asking me about when I'm going to post something pretty much every time I talk.

It's been a busy busy fall. Here are a few things that the N-boy and I have been up to:

Going to a hockey game.

Shopping at the Farmer's Market.

Raking leaves (the new house came with trees....and lots of leaves!)

Dressing up for Halloween as Captain Hammer and Dr. Horrible.

Cooking (and eating) at Cooking Club. The N-boy was delegated to the "Man Club" for this. But he still got to eat!

We dog sat for an hour at work. Isn't he cute!

I attended a conference, and am graduating from a professional development program!

Our good friends got married! Yay!
So it's been busy. I've also gotten some crafting done, including the completion of the ever elusive baby quilt! I'm taking pictures of it tonight and will post pictures tomorrow! Woohoo for getting things off my UFO list! Of course, I keep thinking of new projects I want/need to start!

Monday, September 28, 2009

A visit from the family

A busy long weekend, had I. The momcat was in town for five days giving us plenty of time to cause lots of ruckus in the house. We got a lot done inside the house, and made some good progress on planning things to do outside the house in the yard. Pictures to follow this week of some of the interior decorating/organizing changes we made.

Somehow, I didn't take any pictures of the Momcat and I working our little tails off! I did, however, end up with a couple of BabyBrother who randomly showed up in town for an Ultimate Frisbee Tournament. Nothing says fun at 7:00 am on a Saturday like receiving a text letting you know someone is coming to crash at your house! It was a very nice surprise, and it was good to see him.

He looks very thoughtful and intelligent here. Don't let that fool you. Just minutes before he was chasing a frisbee and then catching it while slamming face first into the ground.

Yay for BabyBrother. Come see us again anytime!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Farmer's Market, football and fun

A busy busy weekend here-although I have yet to get ANY work done on the baby quilt. Shame on me!
We did, however, make it to the Farmer's Market on Saturday morning where as always we purchased lots of yummy things to eat this week. 

I really like that we can walk there now-it makes the whole experience that much better. 
We also got our traditional breakfast from the Polish Bakery that has a booth there.
I got the Cheese Danish and the N-boy got the Custard Paczki. Yum, yum, yum!

After the visit to the Farmer's Market we walked up to campus to join some of our friends for tailgating. 
At one point, a bagpiper walked by and my co-worker (who is VERY Scottish!) got him to stop and play for a bit. 

It was very fun and festive-I hope we get the opportunity to tailgate again. And then it was even better that we beat Michigan State! Woohoo! Go Irish! (And that that Daddo--my parents went to Michigan State for grad school and appear to only have become big proponents of their football team since we came to Notre Dame....suspicious)

Sunday started out slow with coffee and breakfast on our back patio, along with a good book.

 I'm currently reading the Calligrapher's Daughter. So far, so good. 

After that peaceful start to the morning I did some major cleaning around the house and then went over to the apartment, where I finished getting everything cleaned up. The N-boy stopped by after studying and helped me finish a few things up. It feels so good to have all of our stuff out of there! The day ended with watching the Bear's game at our friends' house (same friends) and eating home made pizza. 

This week-the Momcat comes for a visit! Woohoo! 

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Finished for Friday: Unpacking!

Lit and Laundry

Another Friday has arrived, and with it, Finished for Friday with threeundertwo over at Lit and Laundry. I'm always so proud when I have something to post for this event, and especially proud this week as we have finished unpacking!

I suppose in this technical sense we still do have a few random odds and ends that need to find a better/more permanent home. But I think we're at the point where I can count this as a victory. Now we just have to go back and finish cleaning the apartment and turn in our keys before we're completely done!

Although I don't have any pictures yet of the inside rooms, I thought I'd share my favorite moment of our move-in experience: the card catalog. Let's just say it was the last thing we moved in, it was very late, and it was very heavy. I've been forced to promise my coworker who helped us that I will never again purchase such heavy furniture from surplus, but will restrict myself to feather pillows and the like.

We had to take all 72 of the drawers out.

And assign two strong men to carry it.

And it was a tight fit getting through the front hall way.

But in the end we got it inside and it sure looks cute! Although we're not quite sure yet what will go inside. I'd originally wanted to put it upstairs in my craft room, but that idea was vetoed by the strong men pictured above.

Be sure to checkout the other finishes on Finished for Friday!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Operation Finish: Baby Quilt

For the rest of September, I am launching what my very own "Operation Finish" for my projects. I participated in Kim's Get it Finished in August and did complete my four candle mats. But I have many many more unfinished projects. Not as many as the Momcat (Hi, Mom!), but still, I'm too young to have so many unfinished projects.

So first up...the Amish Waves baby quilt.

This is a quilt that I started working on in February 2008 when I learned a friend from graduate school was pregnant. And now that same baby is over one year old. Oops.

I think the problem started when I chose the pattern of Amish Waves. I didn't want to make a traditional "baby" quilt, but instead of choosing something interesting yet not too hard, I had to choose the insane pattern where each 8 inch block has 48 tiny triangles around a big square. Really, the N-boy helped me choose this pattern so I blame him.

For a while I actually made pretty good progress-chose the pattern, chose the fabric, cut the triangles and started making blocks. Each full block (24 of them) took about two hours to make. Plus 16 half blocks. I actually did manage to get the top pieced before we left Silver Spring, MD to move to Indiana. And in Indiana I got it sandwiched and even got most of the in-the-ditch quilting done.

I love the scrappy look in this quilt. In addition to the fabrics that the N-boy and I selected, I also used scraps that belonged to my Grammy, who, alone with the Momcat, taught me how to quilt.

And then the N-boy got sick and everything fell apart this Spring and I didn't work on ANY projects for a long time. It was...un-fun to say the least. But now that he is doing much better and I'm in the new space it's time to get this puppy finished up and on the way to what is by now a very cute looking toddler.

I took the quilt in its current state to Quilt Guild last week and got some ideas for finishing it up. I'm going to quilt a square in the middle of each block center and then "piano keys" in the border. And then it just needs a binding, label and shipping box!

Goal: Finish quilt by 9:00 p.m. on Sunday!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Getting back to the blog...

Wow... I can't believe it has been so long since I have last posted. It's been very busy, moving into the new house, doing Fall Student Registration, and helping the N-boy get into his new routine for his fall schedule (which includes TA-ing!). 

I've also somehow ended up with a fairly busy social life and several groups of friends! It's not like I didn't have friends before, but when we've been moving around so frequently it's been hard to get too attached to anyone when I knew we'd just be moving on soon. But here I've managed to join: 
-a knitting club
- a quilt guild
-a book club
- a support group
- and now a brand new cooking club (inspired by the movie "Julie and Julia"
-and I'm taking a family education class through NAMI for the next 10 weeks. 
I'm not complaining-I really enjoy being busy and having lots of people to do things I like with, but it is busy. I've also got lots of projects and crafts going on, in addition to new things we'd like to do with the house. We're also working on re-organizing how we take care of household things given our new fall schedules. 
So, for today (and this is for you parents) we have pictures of the N-boy and I at closing:

A picture of me and our realtor at closing: 

And Norman the Penguin on our new Sink!!!
More to follow this week as I finish unpacking my craft room and get back to work on all of my projects!