For the first time since moving to our new place,
we finally had a break.
Thanks to Thanksgiving, we had the opportunity to get away from chaos and relax in North Carolina with family.

Life has been going non-stop.

I felt like the little social life I had developed in Chicago was no more. I had no time for anything/anyone except school related assignments.
I really thought I was hitting the point where I was going to have to start from scratch.
Luckily, there are some really amazing people in Chicago and Florida who love the heck out of me and I am so unbelievably grateful for them.

I am so thankful for new friends.
I am thankful for those friends who encouraged me when I was at my lowest points.
I am thankful for my ridiculously amazing family.
I am thankful for my super awesome husband.
I am thankful for the ability to create.
Because of all the hectic things going on, we haven't gotten a chance to focus on decor for our place.

I've been eyeing a bunch of things from CB2 that are definitely way too expensive.

I've had my eye on this sweet abacus that I think would go well with our living room.

Only problem is that I would want 2 and that's just not going to happen.
I had ideas of one day maybe making one, but with the way life was going, there was just no time for crafts.

Well, I was talking to my cousin Pete about it, and he said "why don't you make one?"

I was like, "yea, why don't I make one?"

This is the perfect time. We are in the mountains, relaxing.

What better time to do arts and crafts then while in the mountains?

It just so happens that a Michaels just opened down in Boone.

So, we picked up some supplies and decided to start the abacus making project.

I took some photos along the way.
Hope you enjoy:
I bought some wooden beads so I could
choose the colors we would paint them.
I chose blue, green, gold, and brown paint
to match our living room.
Ruben , Pete, and I each painted a
different color.
I bought these 24 inch sticks and cut them in half.
Then, we drilled holes every 2 inches so they would fit
the smaller wooden rods we bought.
The smaller wooden rods were 36 inches and I cut three 12 inch rods from each one.
The holes on the side also give a nice texture on the side of the abucus.
This glue takes FOREVER to dry.
We put the beads on the rods and then squeezed
 them into the pre-drilled holes.
(Note: One of the green lines has 9 and one has 11-
we didn't realize until after the project was complete
- it's ok though, it was just a practice run)
Then we tied the wood pieces together so the glue would dry properly.
The final product!
Our hand-made mini abucus!
This was a super fun and fairly simple project.
It is fun to play with too. I plan on making two larger ones for the wall above our sofa when there is time.
This one will probably be on our coffee table for people to play with when they are over. :)

Thanks to Pete, Ruben, and my mom for help with the project!

Hope you all have a great week!
Driving back to Chicago tomorrow.
Wish us luck!


Delightfully Baked Apples

Ever since I saw the recipe for Delightfully Baked Apples from gina's skinny recipes, I've wanted to try it out. I thought this would surely happen after we went apple picking in October (for the first time in my life). Unfortunately, it wasn't until I looked at them tonight and saw that they were starting to go bad that I realized it was time for the simple recipe.

This recipe requires so little. I had all the ingredients for it in my kitchen already.

My photo didn't come out nearly as beautiful as the one on Gina's blog, but I did take a picture.

I served it with Cool Whip on the side.
I think it would have been better with vanilla ice cream.

Here it is:
Delightfully Baked Apples
2 larger apples, cut in half
2 tbsp butter, melted
2 tbsp brown sugar
2 tbsp flour
4 tbsp quick oats
pinch of cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350ยบ. Cut apples in half and remove core and seeds with a small pairing knife or spoon.

In a small bowl, combine butter, brown sugar, flour, oats and cinnamon. Spoon on top of the apple halves and sprinkle with cinnamon. Place of a cookie sheet and bake in the oven for 30 minutes. Serve warm with fat free whipped cream or low fat ice cream. 

Let me know if you try it out.
I want to hear what you think!

Hope you are all having a great weekend!


Positive Happenings

Due to that fact that school has taken over my life, 
I haven't been able to find time for blogging. 

It's the middle of the semester. 
That means papers, exams, and stress levels that are just not healthy. 

I have cried more these past two weeks than I have in a while. 
I have contemplated dropping out of grad school daily. 
Multiple times a day.
I have taken exams that I have studied for so long and 
still managed to not do well. 
I have wanted to smash my computer through
a window after it did not cooperate with me. 

Instead of dedicating this post to all things negative, I decided to talk about the positive things that took place these past couple weeks. 

During this time of non-stop anxiety, I have experienced some positive happenings:
1. I found the most perfect hand lotion for me.
2. I made cheesecake again, and this time it turned out 
     better than perfect. 
3. Relationships I have made at school have been 
4. I have experienced genuine love, concern, and care 
     from friends and family. 
5. I discovered that bacon should be part of every breakfast 
     (minus the overwhelming, lingering smell).
6. I finally have a dresser.
7. I got a brand new coffee press.
8. I met our new neighbors who are totally God- sent. 

I wanted to take pictures of all of these things and post them.
Unfortunately, my camera battery is dead and I have no idea where the charger is. 

I decided to find photos online of as many of the things I wrote as possible and post those :)

I hope you enjoy some of the things that brought a smile to my face during some of the hardest times.

I'll admit, it doesn't take much to make me happy. 
On the other hand, the same is true for making me sad. 

Ok, here they are. 
Some positive things from this week:

Aveeno Intensive Hand Cream
 no- bake cheesecake - 

turkey bacon - Aldi

Malm dresser - Ikea
Awesome Bodum set - Coffee press and travel press (Costco)
Ruben surprised me with it after ours broke :)