Saturday, October 27, 2012


It's been over a month since my last post. If you read it, you may figure out I kind of needed a break for blogging. Even though I just started blogging again it was honestly adding to my adjustment crisis and I needed a minute to figure it out. 

It's been a great month! I absolutely love this month! Here's why: 

My birthday starts the whole thing off! October 2nd! This year was fun. I celebrated on the actual day with girl friends! We went to the apple orchard/corn maze/cider mill! It was so much fun! Fresh Hot Apple Cider, pumpkin donuts, corn maze, and fun with new friends! We had a great time! 

Matt surprised me with a trip to Chicago! He planned the entire weekend. We met up with our neighbor friends for lunch. He gave me a check and planned for me to go shopping for the entire afternoon. I got to go to H&M (we don't have one in Grand Rapids) and spend the day with 3 girls I love dearly. 

It's been a really busy month! The weekend after Chicago, my in-laws came to visit! We had a great weekend! We ate a lot of yummy food and played some monopoly! His parents also bought us a new couch for Christmas (early)! Unfortunately, the sectional we picked out would not fit up the stairs of the house to our duplex. I had an existential crisis after it wouldn't fit (for another post). We ended up having to pick out a reclining sofa so they could take the back of the couch off and fit it up the stairs. 

It's different than what I wanted. But Matt convinced me that I could get other furniture to go with the more modern couch to give me that vintage/antique vibe I wanted for the house. Also, it is incredibly comfortable! I have fallen asleep on them already several times! 
I went out to the local antique stores this week and did some hunting because with the couch being the last big bit of furniture we needed, I wanted to finish up some decor. It's still not done, but I did snag this vintage sewing machine table and added some milk jars for decor and some frames to my collage! I love the look so far. 

I have also been snacking on a lot of yummy fall things! Many pumpkin spice lattes, homemade pumpkin bread, apple cider with mulled wine, and donuts covered in fall color sprinkles! 

We also went to our first Hockey game! The Grand Rapids GRIFFINS! haha! It was $1 beer $1 hot dog night! We had a lot of fun! 

October has been great! We're having a good ole time getting to know our new friends and settling in here in our new home! 

Saturday, September 22, 2012


The past few months I have learned something about myself that I was not always fully aware of. That is: I thrive off of people. I love hosting people. I love having people to my house and showering them with love. I love to cook for them, and bake for them. I love to host parties. Generally, I just thrive off of being surrounded by people that I love. 

 After Matt and I got married, we moved away from our families, which we are very close to. We moved to the northern suburbs of Chicago. We lived on campus at Matt's school and we made amazing lifelong friends. After moving in, we pretty quickly became friends with 3 other couples. We hung out all the time. We were family. 

 We were an oreo for halloween one year all to get free burritos at Chipotle
 We had the best theme parties! 2 Christmas' in a row we rocked it!

We just generally always had a great time. It was wonderful having these friends. 

 When we got involved in our church we made really good friends as well. We got involved in a small group and we were very close to those in our small group. 

We moved to Chicago knowing that we were going to be for only a short time. Less than 2 years in fact. 

Matt graduated in May and we relocated to Grand Rapids, MI for him to start his PhD program in the fall. God blessed us once again with a great neighbor. We have been so thankful that she introduced us to all of her friends and has gotten us involved. I still have not really had any of them over to my place and have only had our neighbor upstairs for dinner once. 

Basically, I have been feeling kind of bummed out lately and have not been able to pinpoint what exactly it is. When we were in Chicago, I was so excited to move up here and start fresh. New location, new job, new house(apartment), starting fresh. I loved Chicago, but I was ready to move on for some reason. I love it here so far. I love my new job (something I could not say in Chicago), I love our new place (also something I could not say in Chicago), I love the friends we've made so far! 

It feels like we are settling in here. However, I feel different. I don't feel that excitement and that friendship we had in Chicago. Matt and I are trying to get involved in the church we decided on. I know that in time we will grow closer to our friends we've made here and I already feel that happening, and I know once we get involved in our church here things will also fall into place. We will be here 5 years probably and I know eventually it will feel like "home" and like we felt in Chicago. This is just how I feel right now... Time changes things. 

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Night Shift

Happy Sunday! (at least I think today is Sunday) 

I started night shift at work this week. My body is pretty much confused right about now and to be honest, I really did have to look at my phone to make sure it is actually Sunday today. 

It's so weird sleeping during the day. I did night shift when I first started as a nurse 2 years ago. I was working 5 nights a week (and therefore, had no life). You really do get used to it eventually. 

I look forward to Thursday. The good thing is now I work 3 twelve  hour shifts and so I have 4 days off a week. :-) Thursday begins my 4 days off stretch. Lookin' forward to it since the weather is going to be cool, and the food I will cook will be warm. 

What are you doing this weekend?! Hope it's a lovely weekend! I'll be back later this week with more exciting posts. 

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Baking again

Matt and I are having one of Matt's fellow PhD students over tonight along with his wife and 4 kids. So, today I baked. Chocolate chip cookies and apple crumble pie with vanilla ice cream. Mmm mmm. It's going to be a good night!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Thankful (and Insta Wednesday)

I talked a couple posts ago about reading the book entitled "Crazy Love" by Francis Chan. Honestly, this book has put a lot into perspective for me the past few days. 
I have always lived my life for the future. I am always looking to the next chapter. I feel like right now, in this stage of my life, I am finally (for the most part) satisfied with where I am. Granted, we just moved to a new area and pretty much on a daily basis I wish we had more friends, and a couch, and more furniture in our apartment. But, as far as happiness, I truly believe that I am happy with where I am. God has blessed me more than I could ever imagine. I have an amazing husband who adores me but loves God more, I have a gorgeous apartment that I love, friends in Chicago that will last a lifetime, and growing friendships here in Michigan. 

Yesterday I was so thankful for how my day went. It really is the little things in life.. 

 Like the prettiest looking pumpkin spice latte at a newly discovered adorable coffee shop 2 streets down from the house. I sat in the window and felt the warm sun on my shoulders while I did some stuff for work and read a little bit. 

Then walking home a different way and discovering a new vintage clothing store tucked away.  

 A little surprise for my husband after class. He has been looking for a corduroy jacket with elbow patches just like this since last Christmas. I finally found one that fit yesterday at the vintage clothing store! He is such an attractive man! Lookin' so spiffy! Of course, I treated myself to this adorable vintage dress for fall. 

I came home and opened all the windows, lit all the candles in the house, put on some Doris Day and cozied up in my little reading corner of the living room and read a little more while dinner was cooking. 

Then I ran to joann fabrics to get the part for my sewing machine to finally finish the scarf I had all ready to go. 

It turned out just how I wanted it! Tutorial here! 

Obviously it does not go well with the plaid shirt I had on at the time, but I'm wearing it today with my mustard shorts and a gray top and I'm loving it! 

So, basically at the end of my day I felt so thankful for God's blessings in the small things. It's amazing how He can provide for us in ways we didn't even ask for or know we needed. 

Monday, September 10, 2012

Fall is in the Air

Windows open to the cool breeze, pumpkin candles glowing in the wind and making my house smell delightful, the return of pumpkin spice lattes (dessert for breakfast), soup simmering on the stove, and crafting at my craft nook, and the sound of the football game on the TV while my husband watches. This was my Saturday. This is my favorite kind of day. 

I absolutely adore fall! 

The new season and my new crafting table my parent brought a couple weeks ago inspired me to do a little crafting this weekend. I took a trip to Joann Fabrics to load up on some crafting goodness. I saw this scarf on pinterest a couple months ago and new I had to make one! I bought mustard color fabric and cream color lace. I brought the fabric home, cut it, pinned it, and put it on my sewing machine, just to remember that in the move here a couple months ago I lost a part of my sewing machine. Needless to say I searched the duplex high and low and it's nowhere to be found. So, this project is sadly on hold until I can make another trip to Joanns. 

I also got some inspiration via pinterest for a new fall wreath. I made this one last year. 

I loved it. I got the idea from this lovely blog

This year I wanted to use a grapevine wreath. So I gathered some inspiration and this is what I created. 

I absolutely love it. I used burlap and felt to make the flowers. I also added some button embellishments and cut some pages out of a book to use for the leaves and a couple flowers. I bought the little bird at Joann and just love the cute little addition. It was a lot of fun and my mom and grandma are already asking me to make them one too! I thought about adding a cute bunting through the middle, but I just love the look of it as is. 

What are you crafting for this fall?! I'd love to see your fall inspiration! Feel free to link in the comments! 

More crafting to come the next few days that I'm off work. Today was spent adjusting from the night shift. 

Happy Monday! ;-) 

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Happy Weekend

Happy Saturday! I hope your weekend is  as beautiful as ours! It's 68 degrees and sunny here today and I LOVE IT!!! I got the jeans out of the closet and a scarf and now it feels like it's fall. 

Matt and I had a date night in last night. I made a hearty dinner. Meatloaf and roasted red potatoes, brussel sprouts and red onion. I chopped up the veggies, drizzled with vegetable oil, sea salt, black pepper, garlic powder, basil and oregano. It was delicious! 

We watched My Week With Marilyn and Lovely, Still. Both movies were fantastic! Lovely, Still literally made me cry like a baby. I'm talking The Notebook style tears here. So good. I highly recommend it to anyone, but especially those who are married. 

Right now I'm scouring pinterest trying to make my meal plan for the week. 

So far this is what we have: 

pork chops and baked beans 
(because we have some in the freezer that need to be eaten) 
Tacos with homemade salsa 
(i told you, Mexican once a week) 
Fancy Stir Fry
(I will share this recipe sometime, so yummy!)
Broccoli cheddar potato soup 
(because it's literally 68 degrees today and feels like fall and I want soup!)
Vegetable stew and cornmeal dumplings
(a new recipe I found here)
Bean Soup
(because it's delicious and healthy) 

Lots of soups and stews. I tend to go a little crazy when the weather cools and I can start making these of my favorite recipes! 

So that's whats on the menu for this week. 

This week Matt started back to school and he's going full speed ahead into that! He's going to do some homework today and I am going out to a few of my favorite stores. Anthrolopogie, World Market, Target and Joann fabrics. We're on a tight budget so I'll be doing a lot of window shopping (aka holding myself back) and I'm going to spend some money at Joann's because I'm in crafting mode. Stay tuned for some craft project posts and recipe posts this week! 

Tomorrow Matt and I are going to the church we decided on. We have visited about 10 churches since moving and it has been quite the daunting process. I started reading the book Crazy Love yesterday and started crying into my Pumpkin Spice Latte in the middle of Starbucks. It's  a challenging book and I highly recommend it! 

What are you doing this weekend? 

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Insta Wednesday

I am in the middle of a 3 straight twelve hour shifts. I don't want my new blog to feel abandoned already, So today is an Insta kinda day. So we will call it Insta Wednesday!

Got some much needed time the other day to put things into perspective a bit. I hadn't journaled or read my Bible in quite some time. So the other day Matt and I went to the coffee shop and I put on some worship music on my Iphone, but my earbuds in, sipped my coffee and read all of Phillipians and it truly put things right back into perspective in life. It's funny how we allow ourselves to loose a bit of focus sometimes, and how God can put things right back where we need them. 

While my parents were visiting a couple weekends ago, I got 12 inches of hair cut off. I loved my hair long. This was honestly the longest it had ever been my whole life. It reached almost to my butt! hehe! So, the time came, and I needed a change (and to stop rolling over on it and matt getting his hand caught in it when snuggling at night). So, I really had no clue what I wanted when I went to the salon, and I showed the girl a couple pictures and she worked her magic! It's shorter than I was wanting, but I love it. I was able to donate 12 inches to Locks of Love. Which is a great thing, being a pediatric nurse and all. ;-) 

New do. ;-) Love it! 

Matt had been waiting to find the perfect anutique desk for our extra bedroom/office/craft room in the new place. And we spotted this beauty at the antique shop a couple weekends ago. Such a professor with his pipe. Livin' the dream.   

Here's another great one of Mr. Estel. Looking cute at the Winery. 

My summer addiction. Never knew about this stuff until our neighbor had some and I tasted it. It was love at first sip! 

Goodnight world! I will post more next Wednesday. 

Planning a couple recipe posts for this weekend! Stay tuned! 

Monday, September 3, 2012


Happy Labor Day everyone! 
Tomorrow, our life in Michigan pretty much officially begins. After a full summer of having a stay at home husband, Matt starts his doctoral work tomorrow. I also go back to work for my last week of day shift before making the switch to night shift next week. 

Today we decided to celebrate the end of a 5 day weekend for me and the end of a summer for Matt by going to Fenn Valley Winery. 

We booked our tour last night because we had heard that if you don't book before then you will not get to go on the tour. It was $8.00 a person for an hour and a half wine tour! We tasted 11 different wines and rode on a wagon all through the vineyards. It was a little warm today but they had a covered wagon which made it nice. We even brought home 2 free wine glasses and they gave us a coupon for $5.00 if you bought 4 bottles of wine (which we obviously did). The tour was so nice and all the wines were good. I only had 1 that I wasn't the biggest fan of. 

 Ready for the tour! 

 The vineyard is beautiful. 

 a little white...

 They let us try the grapes before tasting the subsequent wine and it was so fun to compare! They were so tasty! 

 By the vineyard. This picture makes me look like a little more of a lush than I was. The guy told us at the beginning of the tour that we would each probably have about half a bottle of wine by the end. I don't believe him. 

 What a hottie. ;-) 

This was one of my favorite wines. Even though it was hot I liked being out by the grapes and eating them off the vine!  

 and a little red... 

We had such a fun day. Tonight I will be making this recipe: Martha Stewart's Vegetable Enchiladas and curling up on the couch for probably a couple episodes of 24 on Netflix and then heading to bed to prepare for the next few days of work. 

Hope you had a glorious labor day! I would love to hear what you did! Feel free to link in my comments! 

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Homemade Salsa (Pico De Gallo) Recipe

A little known fact about Mr. Estel and I is that we LOVE Mexican food. We even had it at the reception of our wedding for our guests. It was a huge success (even though neither of us enjoyed it that night). 

We make some form of Mexican food at least once a week. Whether it be quesedillas, tacos, enchiladas, nachos etc. 

Salsa is one of our staples. I love to make it fresh. Since moving here and utilizing our brand new, large and in charge Farmers Market just down the street, I have made some of the tastiest salsa I can imagine. There is just something about a vine ripened fresh picked tomato. It's so juicy and delicious! Reminds me of my pap's garden. We used to just pick a tomato out of the garden, wash it, slice it and put it on a slice of bread with some mayonnaise for lunch. Great memories. Someday I hope to have a garden just like him, but for now, the farmers market will do. 

So, for my first recipe post I thought it appropriate to share one of our favorites. I made this recipe for my mother in law (who adores tomatoes) and it is one of her new favorite things to make as well. The first time she made it she called me to tell me that after it was all gone, she looked down in the bowl and all that was left was the juice, and she just could not resist having to taste that yummy cilantro-y juice! HEHE! I love her.

Here's what you need:  


 Dice up your tomatoes into small pieces and place in your bowl.  


 Chop your cilantro into fine pieces. Some people like larger pieces of cilantro in their salsa. It's really up to you how fine you chop it. 

Then chop your red onion and add the cilantro and onion in with tomatoes. 


Slice your lime in half and use a juicer or squeeze by hand into your bowl. 

Next add a pinch of sea salt and garlic powder or fresh garlic to your salsa. (I realize I forgot to include the garlic powder in the what you need picture. Please forgive me, It's my first post! I'll get better I promise!)  

Finally, dip a tortilla chip and taste to make sure it's salty enough and refrigerate. I always think it tastes better after sitting in its yummy garlic infused tomato juice for at least an hour. 

This recipe is always a big hit at parties. 

I hope you enjoy! If you have a salsa recipe you enjoy please feel free to link in my comments! I would love to try them!