Thursday, December 27, 2012

Princess Olivia's First Sleepover

My niece Olivia is four and she pointed out to me a few days ago that she hadn't stayed overnight with me before.  So, we quickly remedied that problem!  

Olivia came over last night for some fun-- and fun we had!

We started our epic girly sleepover with some fun... making sugar cookies...

The night continued with some time watching "Veggie Tales" and "Angelina Ballerina".  

Show review- ***** 5 cheeses/5 for "Olivia Friendliness".  
The show is about a young mouse who wants to be a prima ballerina.  Angelina is a talented dancer and the show has many life lessons that I felt were right on!  

As princesses ourselves, we had to have pink nail color in our life...
I'm not sure why the concerned look on her face...
Then the real fun began... we had to enjoy a nice bubble "cuzzi" bath!  
Then we read some Bible stories and went to bed at midnight... yep we didn't want the princess to turn back at the stroke of midnight.

This morning she woke me up at 8 saying, "Aunt Carrie it is morning I think!"  I told her to snuggle me in bed and we managed to sleep until nearly 9.  

Then we got up and took a stroll with Cooper through the "golf field".  We got to see many geese and slip around on some ice.  

Then it was on to decorate and label those cookies for the family!

Then, she had to go... until next time kid... although I don't know how we'll top this one! ;-)

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Christmas Eve Eve...

Christmas Eve Eve

  We had a lovely celebration with the Painter's.  We were treated to Bucca de Beppo's Italian restaurant which recently opened at the mall. We also got to enjoy tasty snacks and open gifts at Rose & Jim's house!  See some of the fun below!

Can't decide who liked it more- Gideon or Jim?

Princess Rapunzel

Moments after the sweet smooch! ;-)


Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Oishi {Restaurant review}

My hubby and I had a date night Saturday Nov. 10 at Oishi.  It came after much debate about what to cook. We decided going out was our best bet!  We really enjoyed everything about Oishi.  The atmosphere, service and especially the food.  We loved the presentation of our tasty food. While we didn't sit at their new hibachi grill, we still got quite the entertaining show from our seats at the "regular" table.   I loved it so much that I got to go back Friday Nov 17 with my friend Angela where once again I enjoyed a really yummy dose of new delicious sushi rolls!  I also strongly suggest their shrimp dumplings!!!  I will be going back again and again!

Week 3 Gratitude Journal

I have so much to be thankful for. I like reflecting on this weekly!

1. I'm thankful for trying new foods- I used to be a terribly picky eater but my palette has broadened (slightly) and I can try new foods.  My new kick is sushi rolls! Oishi and My Thai are reaping the benefits!  YUM!!

2. Great co-workers!  I really enjoy them this year!  So much fun!  I've had many great co-workers over the years!

3. Time- because my job fits me better this year, I have time to do the things I love more too!

4.  Photo props- I'm kind of becoming a junkie!  Yikes, hold me back from all the cuteness!

5. Blogs- I follow many and it is neat to see how others function in the world.

6. Education- I like that I can continue my education daily by learning from other great co-workers as well as my students (as well as by preparing lessons).

7. I'm grateful for vacation days!  I'm thrilled to have a day off to just catch up! ;-)

Sunday, November 11, 2012

{Week 2 Gratitude Journal}

1. I'm extremely grateful for my hubby- he works hard, takes good care of me, has a sweet, tender heart, is funny, snuggles me, he is handy around the house, has a cute butt, is committed, values me, pursues a relationship with God, makes me laugh, makes me smile, makes me happy, plays with Cooper; loves our dog, saves money, makes a budget, gives me constructive criticism (possibly the only person I can take this very well from), serves others, helps around the house (occasionally), and much more!

2. I'm grateful for Cooper!  He is such a fun-loving sweet dog. Often, I tease that I should have named him Shadow because he is ALWAYS at my side.  He is definitely a momma's boy.  He is a loyal dog that will do just about anything I ask of him (sit, drop it, OFF, lay down, GET IT, go get a toy).  He loves to be pet, snuggle, and to play!  He doesn't make messes in the house (except when finding that the trash can is at his level and mom/dad left the door open).  He is always making me laugh and smile.  He is the one I spend the most time with.  He is a really great companion!

3. I'm grateful for a budget.  Chris and I are not normally big spenders but right now we have two mortgages and that means we have to be smart with money.  I actually find it really exhilarating that I can plan out what I am going to spend in advance and try to stick with it!

4. Camera- My camera bag has become like a second purse to me.  It goes everywhere frequently.  Now if I could just get a second DSLR...

5. Dinner Out- this week alone I got to go out three times and I just love it when I don't have to prepare my own food.  I try to pack my own lunches and thus usually I make every meal I eat.  So, when I go out, I love that I didn't have to think about preparing the meal.  ... if only I had my mother's cooking again! ;-)

6. Elli- she is such a sweet baby girl and her parents just love her! She is a nice excuse for me to get to visit my best friend more!  I just love that little bitty baby smells!
Sleeping one-month-old Elli

7. Seasons- It is so great getting to see the leaves change colors and all my favorite things about fall come alive: bonfires, hay rides, hot chocolate, etc.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Sweet Elli

Today, I got some much needed Elli time.  I just love that baby smell!  See her in all her cuteness! This girl is absolutely set with PINK!  She is a very blessed young lady with many loved ones around who can spoil her! ;-)

Sunday, November 4, 2012

{Week 1 Gratitude Journal} Stolen from Facebook...

... but I intend to do this a tad differently.  I've noticed the 30 Days of Gratitude Challenge starting all over my friend's Facebook statuses and I thought that I can do this via my blog and just post it to Facebook once per week.  So here is week #1's list of gratitude.

1. I'm so very thankful for my church.  I've totally fallen in love with it in the past few years.  They have challenged me to learn and have grown my faith.  We had amazing worship last night at the "Empowered to Heal" conference and it just feels great that I can be surrounded by a strong community of believers!

2. I'm very thankful for family!  Sometimes, we all get wrapped up in our very busy lives but I know how much everyone cares.  I am thankful that they all stepped up and helped out when we were in need of help with moving and that they continue to bless us today!

3. I'm thankful for our new house.  I would NEVER of dreamed that at this point in our marriage, I'd be living in such a large, beautiful house that is so environmentally friendly.  Those of you that know me well know that I am a very environmentally conscientious gal.  (Going as far as taking other people's recyclables out of the dorm trash in college to hauling paper and other recyclables home from work.)  I'm so glad our house is leaving less of a carbon footprint on the environment.  And I'm thankful that we are blessed with a house with solar paneling and geothermal systems.

4. I'm thankful for following my dreams!  I used to think it'd be the coolest thing ever if I could be a photographer!  A year ago in October, Amy told me to follow my dream.  I can't believe how much has changed in a year, now I am very happily snapping away clients pictures nearly every weekend.  Such a dream come true!

5.  I'm thankful for my health. There are few things that I need to work on like eating healthier and exercising more, but I am healthy and I give the credit for that to Jesus!

6. I'm thankful for great friends.  You know the kind.  They answer the phone every day to talk about mundane things, come from far away to visit, stop for a quick Subway trip even on a super busy night so we can see each other.  I've been extremely blessed with some amazing girlfriends in my life!

7.  I'm extremely thankful for my new job.  This is the job I've been praying to have for many years! It is not too far of a commute (although twenty minutes one way).  I have small class sizes, a manageable class schedule and I really like my students, principal, and co-workers.  It took several not-so-great jobs (with occasional tears & weekend dread) to get where I am but I absolutely love it now!

And there you have it, week 1 list of gratitude from me.  I'll try to update you again in one more week! ;-)

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

My Thai

If you knew me a few years ago, you know that when I'm about to tell you is very unbelievable. Ever since trying Ko Fusion, I've been more open to trying new foods. With the opening of My Thai, my love for new foods has blossomed. I've gotten outside of my box and I've even found a new place in my heart for sushi. Not just any sushi, but My Thai sushi. This weekend was the third time I've had it at this location and I'm in love. Feel free to join me anytime.

Zombie Rolls- YUM!

Sunday, August 26, 2012

It's back...

School is back in session and I survived my first week.  I'm really enjoying my new kiddos so far!

This weekend was nice too!  Friday night, Sandy and Todd treated to Billy Barooz!  Love that place, they have the best Billy Beef sandwiches and sweet potato fries (and I don't even like sweet potato).

Saturday, I got to sleep in BIG time.  I didn't wake up til 10:30.  I've been fighting off a cold that I already contracted by Wed from my new children!  But, it felt so good to relax.  The hubs and I went all over Champaign looking for items for the new house.  We close on September 7! Yippee!  We went to Pier 1, Macy's, and the Furniture Row as well as a two-hour trip to Meijer (sheesh).  When we got home it was nearly 10pm.

Sunday we went to church, ate lunch at home and I got things done that needed to be done for a while.  We read consumer reports and picked out a new washer and dryer for the new house and that's ordered.  We cut Cooper's hair and that is a tedious long process but he is so soft now!

Tonight, we treated ourselves to some amazing My Thai for dinner- try the Champaign rolls, they're amazing!  And, I am just finishing up last minute details for tomorrow's lessons!  I CAN'T BELIEVE SCHOOL IS ALREADY HERE!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Classroom Update

I've done it... spent a lot of time in this room... and here are the results...

Close up of my bulletin board

From back of room (beside teacher desk)

Shelves are filling up

Splashes of color

Thursday, July 26, 2012


I've been blessed with a new job!  I'm very excited to start in less than a month!  I wanted to give you a tour of my new "digs".  I plan on spending many hours here for the next year!

I took a job at Heritage Junior High.  I didn't really know what to expect when I accepted it. I found that I have one GIANT classroom.  And my FAVORITE part is the koi pond complete with waterfall feature just outside the window.  It even has a tree so I get to hear the birds chirping and the water running... ahhh!!  So nice.  Take a listen on the video below! 

I plan on getting in there tomorrow to put some things up and make it more home like!

View from desk- looking at dry erase board and exit
View from opposite side of wall
Panoramic of my bookshelfs!!
My favorite part... this is the view out my window!

Friday, July 20, 2012

Fun with the nephew!

I got to watch Gideon on Wed night/Thursday day/ Friday morning... we had a lot of fun.  Don't get me wrong there were rough patches too (he did have a 101 fever)!  But, it was nice getting to spend so much time with the little guy.  He needed a lot of attention and his aunty and uncle were happy to give it.

See some of our fun adventures below!


Toot and Otto (please forgive my extremely annoying voice!)

Rocking Chair Fun

Lunch time~ Story Telling or Peek-a-boo?

Thursday, June 28, 2012


Olivia thoroughly enjoyed her Mac n cheese dinner! She even had to eat the "juice of her cheese". Sooo cute!

Friday, June 22, 2012

Before & After

Today's post is a bit embarrassing.  However, I needed a goal today so I could feel accomplished...  so my task became to clean out our fridge... NASTY!


Close up of the YUCK


After... I feel much better

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Girl time

I got to have a great lunch with 5 amazing girls at Destihl in Normal, IL.  It was nice to see our old school grounds. It is changing so much and so are we!  It's funny how our conversations have changed over the years.  Before, it was classes, getting jobs, boyfriends.  Now, we're talking about weddings,jobs, hubbies, and babies. (Jessi has one on the way, coming October 4!)

Thanks girls for coming to visit!  It was so great that all you girls took the time to come down!  Made my day!

Enjoying samples of frozen yogurt

We're redefining what it means to take shots!