Friday, November 30, 2012

Friday Letters

This is new for me and I’m not 100% sure where it originated from because the posts I’ve read haven’t been linked to the original source.  If anyone knows who created the “Friday Letters” post idea, please do share.  I want to give credit where credit is deserved. 

Dear Friday Letter Creator, Thank you very much!  I think it is an absolutely wonderful idea and helps me to refocus and realize just how much I have to be thankful for! Dear Mother Nature, Thank you for giving me such a magnificent moon each evening and perfect weather during the day.  Dear Hannah, I love you darling!  You are such a wonderful friend.  If you need anything at anytime, please do not hesitate to ask me!  I’m here for you lady and I am super proud of you!  You are doing wonderful! XOXO Dear Husband, Thank you for doing 30 Day Shred with me!  It helps to have someone else along for the ride!  Together we will feel stronger and look sexier!  Dear Crafter Inside Me, Please come alive this weekend and help make our home look perfect for Christmas!  Dear Little Man, I’m ready for a fun weekend!  Dear Deployed Soldiers, Thank you for your service.  The holidays are hard for you and your loved ones.  You are in my hearts now and always.  Thank you for your sacrifices.  Dear Mom & Dad, Thank you for a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday!  It was perfect and exactly what I needed to rejuvenate myself!  Dear Work, Please be kind to me next week.  This week has been extremely tedious and I really need a breakthrough.  Dear Dancing Feet, Please don’t mess up the Foxtrot.  We really need to work on that dance.  Dear God,  Thank you for being an awesome God and blessing me with so many wonderful friends and family and good health!

Much love.

It's ALMOST Christmas Decorating Time!!

This weekend my house will be completely Christmas-tized aside from the tree which will be carefully selected and decorated next weekend!  I am a fan of extending the Christmas decorating process as long as possible, but I also do not start decorating until the first of December.  Luckily, December 1st is a Saturday, so I can go full force and dominate the decorating!!  I am sooo excited!!
This year I have some grand plans for decorating and crafting!  Little man and I are going to be busy beavers tomorrow!  Here is a taste of what I have planned for us!

Sock Snowmen
Glass Vases Wrapped in paper snowflakes with a little sea salt and a candle inside!

 Christmas Balls mod podged with newspaper or scrap paper and rolled in sparkles!
 Christmas Tree Made out of books with a little addition of big bulbed Christmas lights! 

 Waterfall of lights in our dining area!
Add tulle to our lights in our Nativity to add a soft glow
I'm so excited to start decorating!!  I'll be sure to post pictures of the crafting process and of the final decorations!!  Happy Weekend everyone!!
Much love.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Coffee Talk: Week 12

It’sThursday people!!  The day before FRIDAY,oh glorious FRIDAY, and that means it’s COFFEE TALK TIME with NAT at OhEmGee! Isaw this coffee mug at my parents over Thanksgiving and knew instantly that itwas going on my blog, especially after such a rough week. The first full weekafter a short holiday week is always soo hard, so it was a "no-brainer" that thiscoffee mug spoke to me.
What is the meaning behind your blog name?

According to The

tinkerer - an unskilled person who tries to fix or mend
unskilled person - a person who lacks technical training
tinkerer - a person who enjoys fixing and experimenting with machines and their parts
experimenter - a person who enjoys testing innovative ideas; "she was an experimenter in new forms of poetry"
Tinkerer…I tinker in a lot of things all the time…not somuch machines, but I do play around with vacuum, dishwasher, dryer, lawn mower,and any little machine that may happen to . I dabble in photography, running, sewing, crafting, while I am seriousabout dancing, blogging, reading, cleaning, gardening…I rarely watch T.V.,despise sitting still and will try anything at least once…  Oh and I work full time, am a wife and step momand keep in pretty darn good communication with my friends and extended family.  Basically, I never stop and when I slow down,I am still tinkering with or planning something.  My mind is always on the move.  I think it’s a pretty neat place.
How long have you been blogging? What made you start?

I started blogging in January of 2010 because I wasliving on the west coast and I had a strong desire to have my family andfriends feel connected to me, but I didn’t have time to call and email picturesto everyone.   Here is my first blog it and you will see that I NEVER stop and am a complete overachiever.  (Ignore the misspelling of "the" - I do in fact know how to spell that simple three letter word.)
What is your blog generally about?

Life.  My blogchanges as my life changes.  I writeabout what I think and do.
Do you have any funny blogs you would like to share?

Nope.  I haveblogs I love, but not ones that are particularly funny.  Sorry :/
What are your hopes for your blog?

My hopes are that those who read it, enjoy it.  I blog for myself and those who areinterested in my life.  I don’t blog formoney, although it has crossed my mind. I enjoy being able to take time off from blogging without feelingguilty. 

Much love.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

30 Day Shred with Jillian Michaels: Level 1

Hubby gave me Jillian Michael’s 30 Day Shred for my birthday!  He was filling a request, not insinuating that I need to lose any weight.  Frankly, if I gained 10 lbs, he’d be happy as a clam because “all the good stuff” gets bigger too.  We’ve agreed to disagree on this one.  I want to be strong, fit and tiny!  When I feel good about myself, it benefits both of us!   

So, I just started the 30 Shred on Monday and I already skipped day two, but that was because I danced for over 2 hours, so I think that counts as a workout for the day.  Don’t be fooled, I really enjoyed the first workout and I will be doing it virtually daily.  While I could probably skip level 1, I am going to work through the program as instructed. 

Level 1 is only 20 minutes long, but you are constantly moving and switching up exercises, so it’s a workout.  It’s Circuit Training: 3 minutes strength, 2 minutes cardio, 1 minute abs, and each circuit works slightly different muscles.  Her strategy is to work large and small muscle groups together without a break. For virtually every exercise there is a modified version.  For example, I can’t do a ton of “boy” pushups, so I do as many as I can and then I do the “girl” version on my knees.   

This is great for a busy lifestyle because it’s a fairly intense 20 minutes in your living room as opposed to going to the gym or doing an hour long video.  If you do it on a consistent basis, I think it will work, but I will be sure to update you on here.  Ryan and I did it together and we actually broke a sweat & felt good afterwards and the next day.  My quads are a little sore, but a good sore!
Level 1
20 minutes
Cardio, Strength and Abs
Works several muscle groups
Broke a sweat
Good music
Modified workouts 

Stress on knees
Need weights

I will be sure to update when we reach level 2 and level 3. 

Much love.

Monday, November 26, 2012


On my drive home yesterday, I was reflecting on my weekend and what I was most thankful for when I saw a rainbow cloud!  Yes, you heard me correctly.  It was a rainbow that was only reflected on a single cloud and while it wasn’t grand in size, it was vibrant in color.  Naturally, the wheels in my head started turning and I thought of my father and only my father.  He is a humble man, and actually a quite small in stature man, whom can make you feel like the most precious gem with a simple smile.  When he speaks, he speaks with passion.  Listen and you will be thankful.  He only says about 80% of what he's thinking, but that 80% is powerful.  He has a way about him that exudes the love he feels for his wife and children that is so natural.  There isn’t an effort or a desire to impress.  He simply is who he is and he is wonderful. 

Just look at the love in my parents’ eyes. 

Some people were gifted with an eloquence in their words and my friend is one of them.  He wrote the following on Thanksgiving Day and it touched me:

 In spite of any cynicism that one receives after reading the world news, balancing a checkbook or simply being stuck in one's own mind while traversing through the motions of life...I am ever thankful for the breath in our chests, a stomach that is sated, the warmth in our hearts, the smiles and laughter on our faces but most of all, I thank you for being simply you. Be well today, my friend.

Thank you, friend, for writing your thoughts of thanks.  I struggle daily to put what I am feeling in my heart into words.  I feel so passionately that my vocabulary simply cannot keep up.  :)

Beautiful sunset that welcomed me back to Virginia after a 5 hour drive.
I am very lucky to have such a wonderful family.  God has blessed me with a family that makes me laugh when I am sad, picks me up when I have fallen, carries me when I am weak, loves me when I fail, comforts me when I need comforting, makes fun of me when it's deserved and loves me unconditionally, crazy quirks and all.  I’m in a “sappy, missing my family” mood. 

My pretty preteen sister

Younger, but taller brainiac brother :)
I love his smile!  This is my younger, older brother.
My precious niece!  Love her smile too!
My crazy little nephew!
That's just a handful of my family members.  Family rocks! 
Much love.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Coffee talk: Week 11...Drinks

Coffee Talk with Natalie over at OhEmGeeBlog!
The theme of this post is drinking habits, and I'm not talking about water, although water is my main beverage choice. Well, water and coffee. The timing is quite perfect given that today, Thanksgiving, is the day after the biggest drinking day of the year and I just so happen to bring my family a couple bottles of wine and four beers called Skull Splitter.  They are supposed to be amazing, so we will see!
Happy Thanksgiving!
I hope you and yours loved ones are celebrating together!

What is your favorite drink called? What are the ingredients in it?

This isn’t as easy as it sounds because my drink choice is strongly impacted on my current mood and the weather outside, so let’s do this seasonally…

Winter: I grab for a Shiraz or Menagerie by… 

Spring: Alpine Spring beer by Sam Adams or a dry Riesling

Summer: Bud Lite Lime with lots of lime or watermelon sangria

Fall: I start to get back into my wines and ciders with rum

Recipe will be Watermelon Sangria:

You’ll need:
Seedless watermelon
1 orange
1 lemon
2 limes
1 can of Sanpellogrino Lemon soda
1 bottle of dry white wine
Puree the watermelon
strain into pitcher
chop fruit
mix all ingredients
let chill for 2 hours, enjoy!
 How old were you when you first got drunk?

19 years old.  Second semester of college.  I was a good girl until then.

Name an embarrassing moment about you or your friends that occurred while drinking.

Oh Lord.  I’d rather not.  These are stories that need to be told in person.  I’ll let pictures document these moments instead of words.  This night was fun, but boy o boy were we feeling it until well into the next day. 

What is your favorite party drinking game?

Beer Pong for sure!  My bestie and I used to rock it…the more we drank, the better we got!

Are you a happy drunk? Sad drunk? Sleepy drunk? Paranoid drunk? or other?

This one depends on what I am drinking and my general mood, but I would say when drinking with friends, I am happy and emotional.  I’m not an angry or mean drunk, that’s for sure.  Paranoid…depends on where we are, but generally I am confident.  Happy and emotional are my dominant demeanors when drunk.

Are you a hard drinker (straight liquor, shots, etc.)? Fruity drinker (daiquiris, mixers, etc)? not a drinker at all? or Other

Other.  I don’t drink to get drunk, I don’t take shots very often, and fruity drinks tend to make me feel sick.
I am the sip on wine and talk my face off or dance my booty off kind of drinker.  I could write a paper, study for a test (and pass), clean up the house, cook, etc. when I drink…on average.  Are there times I get crazy? Yes.  Are they rare occurrences? Yes.  I like to be in control of myself, but I also like to loosen up and have a glass or two of wine with friends.
Much love.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Late Twenties

Happy Birthday to Me!
Thank you Mom and Dad for falling in love and celebrating Valentine's Day! 
Nine months later your Sarah Catherine was born and she loves you more and more with each passing day!  You are amazing parents and I am stoked to see you on my birthday!!  Having my birthday near a major holiday is a blessing because I will forever be home for Thanksgiving and be able to see you near my birthday!  It makes my day all the sweeter!
I've always been a little weird...ok, a lot weird.

These glasses are fake. I just thought they were cool. Wow, was I wrong :)
 I've always had wonderful fashion sense!

That smile just melts your heart, doesn't it?!
 I am my father's daughter!

I'm a ham! Always striking a pose!
Well, I guess I am officially in my late 20's... I don't really dig the late part of it, so I'm just going to say I'm 27.  I still look in the mirror in the morning before make-up and think Wow, you don't look old enough to drink and it's true I think because I get carded for everything.  For the record, I am 100% ok with that. 
This past year has been pretty significant for me.  I lost some weight and got in much better shape.  I started dance lessons and have fallen completely head over heels in love with dancing, the instructors and the other students!  It's amazing!  I ran my first race and enjoyed it, so I ran a few more.  I actually enjoy running now.  Between the dancing and running, I am feeling much more confident in my appearance and I am feeling much stronger.  It's pretty awesome! 
My confidence level has increased significantly.  I know who I am, what I believe in and what I am capable of.  I truly believe that moving to Virginia without knowing anyone and getting my masters degree have helped me become much more secure in the woman I am. 
You were an awesome year!
Let's make this year even better than last year!  I want to run my first half marathon with my best friend, complete the tough mudder with my brothers, improve my dance skills significantly, catch more sunrises with my coffee in hand and stroll along the beach while the sunsets on occassion as well. 
Much love.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Weekend Recaparoo

Sunday night has come again, but lucky it's a short week and I get to spend some much needed quality time with my family.  Just the thought of hiking with my family, cooking with my mom, doing some wood crafting with my pops, and cuddling like a little girl with my siblings in front of the fireplace, makes me giddy!  I adore my family! 

I'm quite relaxed at this very moment being all snug underneath clean sheets and bedding with my bed lamp on and iPod playing some Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros.  Weekend reminiscing sessions might happen like this more often.  The only thing missing is a glass of wine and some candles.  Heck, a bubble bath wouldn't hurt either.  If only computers were waterproof. 

This weekend was eventful!  Friday after work I got some Christmas shopping done and went to a lovely wine tasting at Grape & Gourmet!  The wines being sampled were heavenly to the pallet.  Individual flavors were prominent in a subtle and very appealing way.  I purchased two different bottles to take to my parents for Thanksgiving!  I can't wait to hear what my thinks about them.  After a little wine and some very enjoyable conversation, I headed over to the dance studio!  A quick change in the restroom and I was Mary Ann from Gilligan's Island!  Pigtails do wonders for me :)  As always, I danced the night away and had an absolute blast!  Dancing makes me feel alive.  Ahh, I love it!  And I LOVE the the studio!  Without them, it wouldn't be the same!  They are amazing!

Saturday started off with a bang!  I whipped up some eggs, french toast and bacon for breakfast and then headed off to a crossfit fundraising event!  Crossfit is insane.  It was my first experience and while it was a good one overall, I am not addicted like most people I know.  I had to run a quarter of a mile, do five 60 lb. dead lifts, 20 push-ups, 20 pull-ups, and 60 jumps over a bar...4 times. I did really good for never doing half this stuff until the last 20 pull-ups.  They were an epic fail.  I actually ran outside and puked.  All that tells me is I pushed myself.  I felt great afterwards and while I am sore today, it's a good sore, a sore that says I pushed myself and I will get stronger.  They had an awesome setup for the kids too!  Little man played falg football, tug of war, ran an obstacle course and was able to play several other intense games with crazy boys his age!  It was a blast all around!  Monday morning update: my shoulders are KILLING me. Oh my heavens! I can't even wash my hair properly. Agh!

Saturday evening was eventful as well...  A few friends and I went to Localpalooza in Virginia Beach.  It was advertised as a ton of bands, venues, vendors, crafts, etc... It was really a bar crawl.  Not cool.  Not cool.  Being that my friends are awesome and enjoy a few drinks, we made the most of it!  I definitely danced like an old crazy hippie, but when does that not happen.  That's totally normal, right?  For me...yes it is :)

Sunday!!  Oh Sunday was a good day for little man.  He was welcomed to the Church, blessed by father, blessed by the congregation and blessed by me.  We went out for breakfast to celebrate!  He got his shirley temple, french toast and bacon while I nibbled on scrambled eggs stuffed with veggies and scarfed down some weak coffee!  I am a total coffee snob now. 

It's Giving Tree/Advent Angel time at church, so little man and I headed to Target to get a 5 year old girl her one wish this Christmas...the NEW JUSTIN BEIBER CD!  We ended up getting her that, his Christmas CD and a cute outfit.  It's important to teach the lesson of giving to other who are less fortunate.  I made sure that I didn't buy a single thing for us while we were there.  This trip was solely for the purpose of a little girl who has far less than we do and is in need of a little Christmas cheer.  I was proud of little man for being so focused on getting an outfit that he thought she would really like!
The rest of the weekend was consumed with car is cleaner than it has been in months, the laundry is done, linens are changed, floors are swept, closet is organized...ahh it feels so good to have a clean house!
Have a wonderful Thanksgiving week!  Don't forget to slow down and enjoy what really matters in life...the blessings God has given, friends, nature's wonders. 

Much love.

Sunday, November 18, 2012


Mine are short.
They stick straight out.
Mascara is my saving grace.
Honestly, if I didn't wear mascara I would get asked how is High School going much more often than I already do.  Yes, I was asked that a few weeks ago.  Really?  I am still shocked.  I don't look that I? 
Little man's lashes on the other hand are so freaking long. I could cut them in half and they would still be longer than mine.  Ugh.  He's a boy.  He doesn't need long lashes.  What's up with dudes have sweet long lashes?  Since he was gifted with beautiful lashes, he became my photography subject this afternoon.  Lucky him!  I thoroughly enjoy macro photography, so I indulged this afternoon. 

Much love.

Tomato Soup Recipe

There are tons of Tomato Soup recipes out there and I am not one to follow any recipe by the book, but a fellow blogger posted her tomato soup and it looked so amazing, so I figured I'd try it with a twist of my own...It was amazing!
I am the kind of cook that tends to add a dash of this and that, skip on some ingredients that I don't particularly enjoy, you know, make recipes my own. 
2 large cans of crushed tomatoes
3 regular cans of Fire Roasted Diced Tomatoes
4 fresh tomatoes
1 onion
2-5 garlic cloves- all depending on how much you enjoy the taste of garlic
1 tsp Soffritto
Pint of cream
Salt & Pepper to taste
In a large sauce pan combine cans of tomatoes, chopped fresh tomatoes, chopped onion, garlic, salt & pepper, soffritto
Cook on medium until all the vegetable are soft and easily pureed. 
Puree sauce either in a blender or with a mixer (I've done it both ways and the results were similar). The goal is to have a smooth texture.

Pour in cream.
Mix cream in and let simmer on low for an hour.  The longer the flavors have to meld together, the better the soup tastes to me.
Enjoy a delicious bowl of tomato soup!
Much love.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Coffee Talk: Week 10

It's Coffee Talk Time Thursday! 
I have to admit, I don't write coffee talk posts on Thursday because that would require me to either get up an hour earlier and that's not my style.  I love me sleep.
Coffee Talk with Natalie Blair
One. What is your worst habit?
Oh Lord.  I worry a lot. 
I try one a million outfits before generally going back to the first outfit I put on.
I fall asleep during movies...without fail.
Two. What is your biggest pet peeve?
When people judge prematurely and assume they know everything.
My less BIG pet peeves are when dishes are left in the sink, the trashe is overflowing, but still sitting there, wet towels on the bathroom floor, and complaining that something can't be found because I cleaned...Oh wow, that last one is a kicker. 
Three. What is annoying you at this very minute?
My check engine light.  It's on because my gas cap is faulty...I think. Let's hope this gets resolved soon.

How do you relieve stress?
I dance.
I run/walk.
I read.
Fresh air is vital.
Feeling productive is beneficial.

What TRULY makes you happy?
My family, friends, and animals.
I seriously love my family, like hardcore, unconditional, die for love.
It's awesome.  The feeling of being loved and loving someone else consumes my mind, heart, body and soul.  It's perfect and truly makes me happy.
Mud Runs also make me happy...more crazy, giddy, excited as opposed to happy :)

Much love.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Sneak Peek: Christmas Photos


Ryan and I like different looks in pictures, so I am experimenting with lighting and tones.  I've been taking an online course offered by another blogger on LR3 because I know there are so many tools that I am not taking advantage of.  I hope to continually improve my photography and editing skills.  Practice, patience and an absorption of information are necessary.  Fingers crossed these and the others (which will remain a secret until cards are received) work out well!
P.S. I love my legs in these photos!  I will never stop running and dancing if this is the result! hehe!
Much love.