Recipe // Candy Corn Sugar Cookies

candycorn-2As much as I hate to admit it, I do not like candy corn. I know, I know: how can someone not like candy corn? Please don’t send me hate mail or egg my door, I’ve really given it a chance and I just am not a fan. Not being one to want to feel left out or be guilty of not celebrating a holiday to the full extent, I created my own bite size candy corn to enjoy, they just happen to be in the form of delicious sugar cookies. Problem solved.

candycorn-1 candycorn-4 candycornsugarcookiesCandy Corn Cookies:

2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 tbsp vanilla
1 egg
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
3 cups flour
yellow and orange food coloring

In a large bowl, cream together the butter and powdered sugar. Add in the vanilla, egg, baking soda, and salt. Slowly add in the three cups of flour until well combined. Split dough into three equal parts. Add yellow food coloring to one section, orange to another, and leave one white. In a 9×5 loaf pan, press the white dough flat into the bottom followed by the orange then yellow. Place in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours or preferably overnight. Slice the dough into long horizontal slices, about 1/4 of an inch thick then into small triangles. Optional: dip one side of the triangle into sugar to make them sweeter. Place on a baking sheet and bake at 350 degrees for 6-8 minutes. Enjoy!

Book Review // I’m Proud of You

ProudThis month’s book club choice, I’m Proud of You by Tim Madigan, reveals the unlikely friendship between newspaper writer, Tim Madigan, and Fred Rogers. Yes, Fred Rogers is thee Mister Rogers that we all know and love from our childhood and who resonates throughout this memoir as a compassionate, thoughtful, and wise friend, husband, and person. Although their relationship is the main focus of the story, I felt the amazing lessons Tim learned from Fred about friendship, love, and life were the real shining moments that anyone could take to heart and apply to their everyday life. Here are just a few of my favorites:

Never assume there is going to be more than this day. We must never take love for granted (146).

Anything mentionable is manageable (3).

Every second is sacred time, in one way or another…every day is a gift to each of one of us…no matter what our present prognosis happens to be (111).

“I am because we are”…I would be a very different person without you (7).

Your wounded heart is a very beautiful heart. In fact, it has probably allowed you to understand the hearts of all others who are ‘wounded’. And whose isn’t, in some way? Some are just a little more obvious than others (7).

Each and every act of kindness done by anyone anywhere resonates out into the world and somehow, mysteriously, and perfectly, touches us all (78).

These life lessons from Mister Rogers as well as his innate ability to focus the whole of his attention on the work, the person or the situation directly in front of him at that precise moment are words and actions I will continue to try to emulate in the future to be a better friend, partner, coworker, sibling, daughter, and citizen. That being said, I highly recommend reading this book, but be forewarned it is NOT appropriate for an airplane unless you like bawling at 30,000 feet in the air surrounded by complete strangers (I tried it – it isn’t pretty) – a definite tear jerker.

Now head over to {little lessons in a big city} and All Things E to read Chelsea and Erika’s thoughts on this month’s book! And join us next month for…

Next Month’s Book Club Pick: The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
(Get your copy now and read along with us: paperback, Kindle)

The_Fault_in_Our_Stars

No Computer Means…

…attempting to utilize my iPhone to the best of its ability, which luckily for you all means sharing this super cute video of my fur baby, Maddie, who I finally get to see this coming weekend. Justin and I are headed back to Iowa for our good friends’ wedding, to see family and meet my new baby cousin (2nd cousin, maybe?), and to finally bring Maddie and her little sis, Oakley, to Seattle, the most dog friendly place I’ve ever lived. I mean my heart seriously aches watching this, just so darn cute. I can’t even imagine how moms feel about their real babies if I obsess this much over my fur ones! Just watch and see this bundle of cuteness.

And just because I don’t want Oakley to feel left out (since she can get online and read this), let us take a moment to bask in her adorableness.

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Give all your fur babies extra cuddles today and have a terrific Tuesday!!!

August Highlights

The original schedule for today and last Tuesday was to share two of our 12 hour adventures from our road trip out west. Unfortunately, our only computer decided to quit on us last week holding all our pictures from our trip as well as outfit, recipe, and DIY pictures hostage making blogging (not to mention my job search) quite difficult. But we all must be flexible in our lives right? So since I have oodles of iPhone pictures accessible, I figured I could share August highlights instead, while I keep my fingers crossed hoping the geniuses at Apple can fix our computer this week. Here’s to hoping…

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1. The best door handles in the West
2. My favorite outfit from the bridesmaid’s dress series
3. The serene view from our campsite in Yellowstone
4. Still have to represent the home state while living in Washington (thanks mom!)
5. Necessary signs throughout our campsites and hiking trails
6. Must remember this lately (image via)
7. The only possible shower in the Grand Tetons was the cool, refreshing water from Jenny Lake
8. Celebrated GPaw’s 94th birthday (!!!!) this month
9. Our nightly indulgence is usually a couple of these

Book Review // He’s Gone

he'sgoneHe’s Gone by Deb Caletti

You wake up Sunday morning, roll over, and realize your husband isn’t in bed.
You listen for sounds that verify he is somewhere in the house (coffee maker, tv, etc).
You hear none of these.
You figure he went to work or maybe to grab you breakfast from the bakery.
Night comes and still no word from or sight of your hubby.
You begin to panic.
You recall the events of the last 24 hours (his company party, one too many glasses of wine, an argument, muddy sheets, and falling asleep in bed).
You can’t remember seeing him in the house or coming to bed.
As the hours and days pass, you have to come to terms with the fact that your husband has vanished.
But where? How?

Personal Opinion:  When Chelsea suggested He’s Gone for this month’s read, I was downloading it to my Kindle and starting it before I even told her I was in. From the book description I was immediately hooked and brainstorming a million possibilities for her missing husband. Let’s be honest, as much as we hate to, we’ve all imagined this unfathomable situation and this book brings all those emotions/thoughts to the surface. I’m not going to lie though, I was HUGELY disappointed with the outcome. As a “Best Book of the Month” pick on Amazon, I expected more. Call it grim, but I wanted a juicier ending. I don’t want to give away too much in case you are reading or want to read this book, but I HAVE to know: If you’ve read this book what are your thoughts on the ending?

Now head over to {little lessons in a big city} to see what Chelsea thought!
And we would love to have you join us for next month’s book review of one of all of our friends, Mr. Rogers!

Next Month’s Book Club Pick:
(Get your copy now: paperback, Kindle)

ProudofYou

12 Hours // Seattle Apartment

If you follow on Instagram or Facebook, you already know that Justin and I have officially made it to Seattle and are loving the neighborhood and our building (not loving the job search aspect so much though). After our ten-day car camping road trip out west seeing amazing small towns, eating drool-worthy food, and exploring beautiful national parks, I’ve decided to start a new series, “12 Hours”, that will feature my recommendations/experiences for travel to these towns and parks in pictures and quick captions. Hope you enjoy! :)

P.S. I’m not going to lie, today is kind of a cheat. This post is more so 12 Hours that I was awake in my new apartment (aka 2-11 PM Friday and 8-11 PM Saturday) instead of 12 straight hours. What can ya do? I’m bending the rules and it’s only day one. Deal.

NewApt-12 PM // officially moved into our new apartment in our new city

20130826-171200.jpg3 PM // mandatory Target trip for the essentials (detergent, TP, food, etc)

NewApt-25 PM // first dinner in the new apt consisting of CPK and summer ale of course
(what are we sitting on you ask? oh just our inflatable beds, aka our only furniture)

NewApt-3 NewApt-4 NewApt-56 PM // clean up time before bed called for foot baths in our massive kitchen sink
(we had dirty feet from moving, no bathtub, and zero energy for a full shower)

NewApt-67 PM // no furniture = so much room for activities (i.e. ballet and karate)

NewApt-78 AM // wakey wakey, time to get up sleepy head

20130826-171059.jpg8:15 AM // a morning 5 mile run/walk to explore the neighborhood led to this shipyard

20130826-171113.jpg11 AM // local burgers at Lil’ Woody’s before a day spent at the library using the internet

Book Review // Love with a Chance of Drowning

Sailing2Love with a Chance of Drowning by Torre DeRouche

“City girl Torre DeRoche isn’t looking for love, but a chance encounter in a San Francisco bar sparks an instant connection with a soulful Argentinean man who unexpectedly sweeps her off her feet. The problem? He’s just about to cast the dock lines and voyage around the world on his small sailboat, and Torre is terrified of deep water. However, lovesick Torre determines that to keep the man of her dreams, she must embark on the voyage of her nightmares, so she waves good-bye to dry land and braces for a life-changing journey that’s as exhilarating as it is terrifying.” (summary via)

Doesn’t that simply sound like a dream? Getting whisked away by a man with an accent? To sail the Pacific Ocean? To see the most remote islands in the world? To overcome your fears? To find the love of your life? To rediscover yourself? Not just one of those, but all of them combined into two consecutive years. Where do I sign up? The best part about this fairytale is that it is her REAL LIFE. Yep, this book is a memoir (which I dumbly didn’t realize until I was over 70% through the book), which just proves that real life prince charmings do exist (if mine wasn’t proof enough ;))! Being one who’s generally up for an adventure, I found myself relating to Torre’s consistent need for a plan and a to-do list, rooting for her to overcome her fear of the deep blue sea, fully enchanted by their connections with the ocean, people, wildlife, and one another and their earning for new adventures. You can should read the book (paperback, Kindle) and follow Torre’s blog, The Fearful Adventurer, for more beautiful writing, inspiration, and hilarious tales.

…great feats are accomplished mile by mile and word by word…

Life now feels like a game without rules, one I can design to my liking within this enormous playground called earth.

You’ll never feel a hundred percent ready. You just have to go.

Now head over to {little lessons in a big city} to read Chelsea’s review HERE and check out Erika’s review HERE! And please join us for next month’s book club review! I read two sentences and am 100% hooked!

Next Month’s Book Club Pick: He’s Gone by Deb Caletti
(Get your copy now: paperback, Kindle)
(read my review here)

he'sgone**Quotes taken from Love with a Chance of Drowning by Torre DeRouche**

Justin’s Birthday + July Highlights

JBdayJustin turned the big 2-8 this past weekend and to celebrate we basically ate all of his favorite foods in a 24 hour period (blueberry pancakes, bacon, donuts, Hungry Hobo, cake, and Pizza Hut) and boy was it all delicious. Simple tip: when you have no expendable cash for birthday presents, simply make a delicious breakfast in bed, bake a cake, write a sweet note, and partake in a favorite activity together (in this case: mountain biking and walking our pups). As we grow older we realize birthdays are about the experiences not the gifts! Happy Birthday Justin, my best friend and travel partner for life!

July-33Birthday Breakfast of homemade blueberry pancakes, bacon, strawberries, & OJ

July-17-2Birthday mountain bike ride at Scott County Park and my unintentional gift to Justin – fell off my bike over my handlebars and lost a shoe after hitting a tree – but we DID see two deer afterwards on the trail so it was well worth it

JulyJuly Highlights:
1. At a wedding in Ohio (wearing this)
2. Hotel beds are so hard to get out of in the morning, but a full day of shopping helps
3. My dad and I detasseling 13 years ago on his first crew
4. While in Chicago, Portillo’s BBQ Southwest Salad is a MUST
5. Somebody got a new haircut and looks just too darn precious (and knows it)
6. Serious summer games of badminton taking place in the backyard
7. Planning for our new adventure
8. Celebrating a friend’s birthday at the local River Bandit’s game

Road Trip?

We’ve been home from our world travels for three whole months and let’s just say there have been LOTS of decisions to be made in that time frame. Where do we want to live? Overseas? Denver? Washington D.C.? Seattle? Chicago? What do we want to do (professionally)? Return to our old or pursue new careers? Do we move or get jobs first? Do the furbabies come with right away or wait till we are more settled? The list goes on. I posted a hint last night of our plans on Instagram, but after MUCH deliberation we have finally decided wholeheartedly that we are moving to…..

Seattle2…the beautiful city of Seattle!!!! But if you know us, you know we aren’t just going to pack up and fly there. Oh no siree. We are road tripping it! We are stuffing our Saturn, that sounds like a rocket taking off when you accelerate and has zero air conditioning, full of camping, hiking, and interview supplies/clothes and taking two weeks to see the sites on our way out West. I’m talking a visit to my girlfriends in Minneapolis, the Badlands, Mount Rushmore, Deadwood, Black Hills, Devil’s Tower, Yellowstone, Jackson Hole, Grand Tetons, and Spokane with mandatory stops in small town USA along the way. We have no idea where we will live or what we will do when we get to Seattle, but that’s part of the adventure, right? Wish us luck! I can’t wait to share all of our adventures in the next couple weeks! Oh and of course if you have ANY recommendations we would be so very much appreciative and thankful for your advice and help!!

RoadTrip

I’m guest posting for Chelsea today about my tips for packing (how appropriate, huh?) so make sure to stop by! Happy Thursday! :)

Book Review: Lean In

LeanInLean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead by Sheryl Sandberg

The criticism surrounding this “sort of feminist manifesto” is out of this world. From the claims she had a ghost writer to the scrutiny that Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook, herself is too privileged to offer career advice to women struggling with the day-to-day realities to reviews that her entire process of leaning in to the workplace and out of the home is impractical. But as Sheryl says, women must start supporting women and I for one am a huge supporter of her and this book! From the moment I started reading it I have been guilty on more than one a hundred occasions of bringing up her ideas in conversation, to prove points, and to further my own ambitions. I’ve talked about it so much in fact that Justin, by his own freewill mind you, is now reading the book! Here are just a few of my favorite quotes that will probably become my subconscious motivators from here on out.

“Done is better than perfect.”

“There is no perfect fit when you’re looking for the next big thing to do. You have to take opportunities and make an opportunity fit for you, rather than the other way around. The ability to learn is the most important quality a leader can have.”

“There’s a special place in hell for women who do not help other women”

“If I had to embrace a definition of success, it would be that success is making the best choices we can…and accepting them.”

“Owning one’s success is key to achieving more success.”

“Self-doubt becomes a form of self-defense”

“A feminist is someone who believes in social, political, and economic equality of the sexes.”

Crap, guess I’m a feminist now. :)

NOW…Go to {little lessons in a big city} and read Chelsea’s review HERE!
AND..leave me a comment below on your thoughts!

Next Month’s Book Club Pick: Love with a Chance of Drowning