Getting Creative

This past weekend, I spent some time with my sister who is home from college for her winter break. She is extremely creative when it comes to cooking and crafts, so I knew I wanted to spend some time trying to be “crafty” with her. I’m confident (enough) in the kitchen, but when it comes to crafts, I’m completely clueless. I mean, I can’t even cut in a straight line! I see cute things on Pinterest, or think of ideas on my own, but I’m never able to translate the idea to a (decent) finished product. I have no problem admitting that she got most of the creativity genes and I wanted to try and benefit from them!

I had no idea what we’d make, but my sister wanted to go to the craft store to get more yarn, so I was hoping I’d find inspiration while we were there. I should note that when she was home for Thanksgiving she gave me a cute knitted headband, then for Christmas gave me another and a huge scarf! She also managed to knit herself two scarves, as well as a hat for my dad and her boyfriend. I always thought knitting was time consuming (and difficult), but she’s  quick and produces some pretty impressive pieces. Maybe when she’s home for spring break I can get her to teach me (ha!).

Kennedy modeling a scarf my sister made
Kennedy modeling a scarf my sister made

After wandering around the craft store for awhile, we had the idea to make headbands. We grabbed some elastic and went to look at ribbon and jewelry. Unfortunately they didn’t have a large ribbon selection, and the jewelry pieces weren’t exactly what we were looking for. So after standing in one of the aisles staring at each other for awhile, she remembered a print I had pinned to one of my Pinterest boards. She turned to me and said, “what’s that one print you have on your Pinterest board? We can make it.” I pulled up a few and realized it was this one. We grabbed a $12 canvas, a bottle of black and bottle of gold paint (they were $3 each), and a set of paintbrushes. Once we got home, my sister outlined the words free hand, and then we painted the words to match the print. We added a teal stripe at the top to make it “my own” and in a matter of two hours and $20 later, I had an awesome print to hang over my desk! I of course spent the rest of the night yelling “treat yo self!” to almost anything.

Oh, I will.
Oh, I will.

I decided to continue my creativity streak with breakfast the next morning. My mom and I got to work in the kitchen and made a breakfast bake that included onion, pepper, potato, tomato, black beans, cheese, eggs, and chili powder. It was super filling and really delicious – perfect for the (literally) frozen morning.

Who doesn't love a meal they can throw in the oven & forget about?!
Who doesn’t love a meal they can throw in the oven & forget about?!

After this weekend, I realized that I definitely want to try and be a little more DIY this year. More than that, though, I want to tap into my creative side. I know that I’m not super crafty and that’s okay, but there’s more to creativity than just crafts. I need to write more, and take risks in the kitchen.

Tell me…
Do you like crafting? Any easy starter crafts you can suggest for a newbie like me?
Do you consider yourself to be creative? 

January’s Fail

And so another month has come and gone. Hard to believe I’ve already given myself and “completed” three months of personal challenges. January was a month of no meat, and while I tried, I would be lying to you and myself if I posted here saying I completed the month successfully. While it wasn’t a total failure (i.e. eating meat frequently), I did have some. I’d say I got a D on this, you know, if we were giving it a grade.

For the most part, I stuck to a full-fledged vegetarian diet. However, while on vacation, I quickly realized that our society truly does cater to the meat-eaters of the world (for the most part). There were some restaurants that didn’t have one vegetarian  item listed; and I’m talking not even a pasta dish where I could request it without some ingredients. Sure, I could have asked for something vegetarian and off the menu (especially since I was in Disney and they are very accommodating), but I didn’t want to go through the hassle. That may seem like a cop-out, but it was the reality of the situation and the way I decided to handle it. My husband liked to declare throughout the month, “you’re the worst vegetarian ever!”

When I had the choice between meat and no meat, I always went meatless – even if it meant passing up my favorite chicken fingers and honey mustard sauce, or filet mignon at my in-law’s. I also cooked completely vegetarian for the month, but that’s standard far in our household.


So, I guess you can say I learned something this past January. I prefer a vegetarian lifestyle, but when faced with only meat options, I’ll eat it. Similarly, there are times when I really just want a hamburger. Though, the thought of meat has become increasingly unappetizing. While waiting at the deli counter with my husband over the weekend, I couldn’t bring myself to pick something out. So, the bottom line is that no, I am not a full-fledged vegetarian. I don’t have a need for the label, so we’ll leave it at that. I prefer veggies, grains, and legumes over meat on most days, but every once in awhile, at least for now, I need some meat in my life (insert “that’s what she said” here). Who knows, this all may change – but for now that’s my eating philosophy; eat what you want, how you want, and when you want.

What’s on deck for February, you may ask? Yoga! I’m hoping to do yoga at least once a week, preferably more. Since I’m not really working right now (hello student teaching), they’ll all be done at home either with Pocket Yoga, On Demand, or my own routine. That way, I can save the dollar bills but still get in my practice. Hopefully this will go better than last month – we’ll see!

Weekly Baking: Take One

The month of weekly baking started a bit early, since Monday was Halloween. My office decided to have some Halloween related festivities at the end of the day, including trick-or-treating to one another’s cubicles. So, instead of handing out store-bought candy, I thought it would be nice to make something since there are only about 25 employees in my office. Because one dessert just isn’t enough, I made two.

The whole purpose of this month’s attempt to bake something every weekend is because I enjoy the act of baking, but more importantly myself and my husband enjoy the fruits of my labor. It’s true that baking can be time consuming, scientific, and tedious, but it’s almost always worth it. Plus, who doesn’t like taking homemade treats to work as snacks?

I’ve been eyeing this Funfetti fudge from Little Bitty Bakes for quite some time now and finally remembered to pick up white chocolate chips at the store. I’ve had Funfetti mix and cans of condensed milk for weeks, but have somehow always managed to forget the chocolate. I know they aren’t Halloween related, and are instead much more fun and whimsical looking than scary, but I thought the idea was just so cool, and the recipe seemed easy enough. This was my first attempt at “fudge,” and considering how easy it was, I definitely need to make it more frequently.

Next up were homemade Oreos, or as Eat, Drink, and Run called them, Fauxreos. Either way, I was able to make them a little more festive by using some food coloring for the centers, and these were pretty simple to make. This recipe also gave me the opportunity to use my beloved KitchenAid stand mixer twice. My husband likes to make note that I don’t use it nearly enough (his way of trying to get more dessert from me), so this recipe let me really put it to work. I can’t believe not that long ago I used to try and make buttercream by hand. No wonder I couldn’t write for days.

These two treats weren’t particularly daunting or required much baking, so that is why I chose them both together, and as my first weekend baking project. I figured I could get more involved and creative from here. Who knows, maybe by the end of the month I’ll be making macaroons! Well, at least a girl can dream, right? I’m thinking next week might be a pie – since I just recently purchased and subsequently gave away as a birthday gift a cookbook simply called Pie. Of course before wrapping it I flipped through, and had a serious craving for chocolate pecan pie. We’ll see. I’ve got a week to decide!