Roman Rolland once said, "It's the artist's job to create sunshine when there isn't any."
Welcome to my world.
I'm a student, a wolverine (grrr), an artist, a reader, a fiancee, a daughter and these are my thoughts...

November 23, 2010

Book Review: Outside Wonderland by Lorna Jane Cook

I recently received a book from LibraryThing's Early Reviewers program!  Publishers give out books before their publication date so people can read them and and post reviews online.  I read Outside Wonderland by Lorna Jane Cook and it was an absolute pleasure to read.  It didn't take me long to finish the novel because it was interesting and enjoyable.  The story follows three siblings whose parents passed away when they were young.  Their parents get the opportunity to look into their childrens' lives from a place they call "Here."  The now-grown children live out their lives unaware that their parents are lovingly watching out for them and hoping that they eventually find happiness in their earthly lives.  Free-spirited Alice lives in New York, working as an actress in off-Broadway plays, hoping to eventually get her big break.  Her sister Dinah lives with their grandmother and works in Washington DC.  Their brother Griffin lives in Chicago with his partner Theo and works as a chef in a nice restaurant.   Through the course of the book, all three find their lives turned upside down and intertwined with each other.  It is a beautifully written story that moves along with grace and and handles the topic of death with quiet dignity.  I highly recommend picking this up in March when it comes out and making it one of your lazy day summer reading books. 

November 17, 2010

Wednesday List!

Thanksgiving is next week!  Who else cannot believe that its that time of year already!?  Maybe I'm in denial because its oddly warm here in Ann Arbor (its supposed to be 52 degrees today!)  In any case, I'm very excited because B and I are going to my house for the holiday and this happens to be my very favorite holiday (don't get me wrong, I love Christmas, Easter and the 4th of July too.)  So, here are my 5 favorite family traditions revolving around Thanksgiving:
1. Dinner not being done until Papa (my grandpa) says "eat every carrot and pea on your plate"  (yea, say it out-loud to yourself...its ok, I'm 22 and still giggle every year :))
2. Listening to my mom and aunt argue with my grandma about helping out with the food (they are only allowed to bring a pie..haha, my grandma is amazing)
3. Watching the annual dog show before the game starts...hilarious Thanksgiving fun
4. The Lions game...I know, we lose.  But its the tradition that counts!
5. And of course, the food coma nap :)
I hope this helps you think of your favorite parts of Thanksgiving!  Please share them in the comments!

November 10, 2010

Wednesday List!

For fun, I decided to do the 5 things I couldn't live without if I was stranded on an island:
1. B-I'm a hopeless romantic...and he generally takes care of me
2. a dozen books-I know this is more than one thing but I read quickly!
3. my camera-I'm sure the island will be pretty ;)
4. my sketchbook-easier to carry than my beads and paints!
5. particular, yogurt and my blender so I can make smoothies with all the tropical food :)

November 8, 2010

The First Step in the Creative Process

I've spent some time recently thinking about my creative process because I'm trying to plan my best holiday strategy.  I've come to realize that I'm a very visual and tactile person.  Especially when it comes to my bead work, sketching out my thoughts isn't a very productive use of my time.  I find myself being more inspired by opening up a few of my bead boxes and looking and touching the various beads.  By touching and playing with various textures and colors, I can begin to visualize the finished product.  Knitting, I have to touch every yarn before I purchase it, color is important but the touch and texture is much more important to me.  I think its interesting how this process can be so different for so many people.  Some find their creative inspiration by sketching, others by letting their mind wander and daydream.  I'm sure that each artist has their own unique view on how they begin to cull their ideas and set on the path to a finished piece.  Feel free to share your own beginning of the creative process in the comments!

November 3, 2010

Wednesday List!

As I get closer to graduating, becoming engaged and hopefully decorating my own place next summer, I've begun to collect ideas and pictures that catch my eye.  So, today's list is 5 things that I want to use in decorating, including some that I already do use. 
1. Seashells-they remind me of the beach, the sea, Lake Michigan (the zebra mussel shells, of course), family, vacations, B (who brought me back a pile of white shells from a spring break trip b/c he know I would appreciate those more than anything he could buy), basically everything I adore
2. Colors-brown, white, red, purple, yellow-its a random mix but I have rooms in mind for combinations of is a new one for me but I'm picturing kitchen accents
3. Crate and Barrel-omg, enough said (especially if you have ever been to the store in Chicago on Michigan Ave..swoon)
4. Wood and Stone-not a fan of metal and glass, feels like living in a spaceship...I want cozy and earthy
5. Michigan Stuff-haha, this one is mostly for B...our office spaces or basement will be completely maize and blue...and it will be awesome :) 

November 1, 2010

Its November! Holiday Season!

I know, it sounds crazy, but I figure with the way the rest of my year is shaping up that I should probably start thinking about my holiday to-do list.  I need to figure out gifts, first of all, many of which I will probably make.  My goal for this task is getting them all done by December 1, which means the clock is ticking!!  My most challenging gift will probably be B again.  Its impossible to shop for the boy who has everything :(  I also am setting a goal of getting 15 more ornaments listed on Etsy before November 15, which means I need to get my butt in gear and start taking the photos I've been putting off!  I'll reevaluate on the 15th to set my new goal for the rest of November.  I also have a few ideas for decorating my room for Thanksgiving :)  Basically, this month is looking busier and busier! 

October 29, 2010

The Other Boleyn Girl: "There is no room for mistakes at court"

So, I watched the movie several years ago, and while I enjoyed it, it did leave me in a bit of a funk.  It was such a crazy story and the ending was nuts and I didn't know what to think about it.  Ever since then I have wanted to read the book.  I finally got around to it at the end of the summer and beginning of the school year.  First of all, it was a much larger book than I had figured so when school started, my reading time decreased significantly and it took a while to finish.  I'm glad I did, however.  The book is well written and the characters are developed in such a way that you are conflicted in your feelings for some and have the utmost sympathy or disgust for others.  The story moves through quite a series of years and offers an interesting look into medieval England.  This story is a historical fiction because the characters and the general story was true but the author took many liberties with filling in the details of everyday life and the details regarding the lesser known characters' lives, including Anne Boleyn.  Even still, though, this book was a fascinating read.  Again, the ending left me in a funk but now that I've had some time to digest it, I'm glad that I finished it and it is one that I may pick up again for another summer reading. 

October 27, 2010

Wednesday List!

After a week off, I'm back with another Wednesday List!  I spent the weekend in Chicago with some of B's family and we had a discussion regarding favorite movies while eating an AMAZING meal at Chicago Pizza And Oven Grinder so I decided to extend my list of 3 that I shared to a list of 5.  I tried to think of all time favorites and not the ones that change all the time in my mind.  So, here it is!
1. The Princess Bride
2. Braveheart
3. Dirty Dancing
4. Boondock Saints
5. Rent
Again, I have a wide variety of tastes...from the cheesy comedy to classic romance to delightful amounts of action and a powerful musical! 

October 18, 2010

The Complexities of Motivation

As the school year continues to speed up into midterms and projects, I find myself struggling with the concept of motivation.  Not necessarily school related because my motivation there is a love of learning, my GPA and desire to find a job soon :)  I mean, motivation to create and get new items listed on Etsy.  I realize that the holiday season is fast approaching and therefore, I should be listing new products everyday...however, my motivation is being hindered by life in general.  I have these grand ambitions ("when I get home from teaching, I'll make ____" "this weekend, while watching football, I'll list _____" and the list goes on)  but by the time I get around to those time periods, I'm too exhausted to even think creatively!  So, right now, I'm on a mission to recapture my motivation that was so plentiful during the summer months.  I'm going to start by setting a tentative schedule where I work for a bit even if I don't really want to and hopefully this will jump-start my motivation and get me excited about crafting again!

October 15, 2010

Blog Hop!

Thanks to Nimbler Grove, New To Mom, and Southern Reflections for sponsoring another Fabulous Friday Blog Hop!  Follow me along with all the other wonderful bloggers participating! 

October 13, 2010

Wednesday List!

This Wednesday, I have decided to indulge my wanderlust and give you my top five favorite places to visit and the reasons why I love them :)

1. New Zealand...this was my first "major" trip out of the country (5 weeks) and it was incredible.  Beautiful country, beautiful people.  My dream is to take B there :)
2. South Carolina...Charleston is one of the most charming cities I've ever been to and I have wonderful memories of family spring breaks spent on the various inter-coastal islands
3. Washington D.C...I adore American history :)
4. Maine...a family trip to Bar Harbor was an unforgettable experience...the scenery is stunning and the seafood is to die for!
5. Michigan's Upper of the first family camping trips we took, 2 weeks around the outside edge of the UP...such incredible wilderness.  A peaceful quiet place and who wouldn't love to see where the mighty I-75 does an inconspicuous turn-around?!

October 4, 2010

Wednesday List!

5 Things I Love About Michigan Football:
1. The Team. The Team. The Team.
2. Winged Helmets
3. 109,901
4. Legendary Players
5. Striking a Pose...HE16MAN :)

Feeling a Bit Fallish...

I missed a Wednesday List for last week!  Don't worry, I'll get one ready to go this week :)  Life has been so crazy and busy with school and football and family and B!  I had the opportunity to go home this past weekend and spend time with my family and B...we had family pictures and then spent all afternoon at Fridays to watch the Michigan football game...(we barely pulled off the W, thanks to Denard :)).  Yesterday, we went downtown Grand Rapids to wander around Artprize.  It was fun to see all the art and also to see GRap so busy in the downtown districts.  In all, it was an incredibly relaxing weekend!  However, now I'm back in AA and its time to get after the homework...this coming weekend is the UM vs. MSU football game and B and I have sooo many friends coming back for the game so everyone is trying to get tons of work done so that this weekend can just be focused on hanging out with friends!  However, I'm really hoping to get some crafting done this week too.  I finished a new set of ornaments that need to be photographed and posted.  I also am planning a new line of ornaments for the upcoming holiday season!  More news and photos to come soon!  Check back with me on Wednesday when I promise a new list will be posted :)

September 28, 2010

Jub Hunting

Ahh!  This is so difficult!!  Why is the federal government job website so confusing?!  AHH!!!!

phew, I feel better :)

September 22, 2010

Wednesday List!

Sigh, with school really getting into full swing, I don't have as much time as I would like to blog.  So, here it is, one week later, another list.  While school is on my mind, here are my top 5 favorite University of Michigan classes that I've taken:
1. Introduction to Cultural Anthropology (Anthro101)
2. AIDS and other Diseases (Biology118)
3. Criminology (Sociology368E)
4. Introduction to Literary Studies (English298)
5. Children's Literature (Education490)

As you can see by this list, I have a very wide array of interests :)

September 15, 2010

Wednesday List!

I've decided to start doing a weekly update on Wednesdays and have settled on doing lists so that my readers can get to know me a little better with little reading necessary!  So, first up, in honor of the changing weather...
My Five Favorite Fall Activities:
2. Apple orchards
3. Taking colorful tree pics while driving around with B
4. Thanksgiving
5. Sleeping with the windows open and waking up to a cool fall breeze

September 12, 2010

A Brief Respite

Sometimes just a few days can give you a new perspective on life.  B and I went to my parents house for the weekend and it was just so wonderful to get away from Ann Arbor for a bit.  I went to the chiropractor and we watched the football game with my folks and grandparents.  The game was so fun!  (we won 28-24 in the last minutes of the game)  Church was a refreshing break and coffee with my extended family is always good.  This weekend gave me the break I needed and I'm ready to get going with this week.  I'm hoping to get most of my homework done tonight so I can focus on creating new things for my Etsy Shop later this week! 

September 10, 2010

Friday Blog Hop

Thanks to NimblerGrove for hosting a Friday Blog Hop!

September 7, 2010


Another book completed!!  Understanding Thomas Jefferson was one of the most eye opening books I have ever read.  Many Americans (ok, maybe just the nerdy history lovers, like myself) know something about the apparent contradictions in his life: undying love for his wife and yet a lover in one of his slave girls, fear of racial mixing and yet multiple biracial children, hatred for the institution of slavery and yet lifelong owner of slaves, etc, etc.  This book takes all of those strange contradictions and pulls them together into a cohesive picture of the founding father.  Reading this book offered such a unique insight into Jefferson's life and the amount of research that clearly went into this biography is truly astounding.  If you have any interest at all in Revolutionary America, this is a book not to miss! 

August 25, 2010

New Ornaments

I just listed three new ornaments that I have been working on!  Be sure to check them out at!  I was very excited to create two summery ones and look forward to fall with one richly colored brown and black one!  Stay tuned either tonight or tomorrow for a new book review here!

August 17, 2010

Relaxed and Refreshed and Yet, Stressed

I'm back from vacation!  I'll post a pic or two later but for now I just wanted to give a quick update.
1. The beach was incredible.  Perfect weather, amazing water temps, huge waves and perfectly calm days.
2.  B came all the way across the state to surprise me for my 22 birthday!  He brought me SUNFLOWERS!!!  They are beautiful and he is wonderful.
3.  I ate way too much ice cream on vacation.  Dieting begins again.  Sigh.
4.  I'm helping B clean and pack up his house to move this week.
5.  We are leaving again on vacation to Minnesota on Thursday-ergo, I'm super stressed out about that
6.  Due to my traveling, I'm offering free shipping on my ornaments until 3pm EST on the 18th!! Check it out in the widget to the left!!!

August 6, 2010

Vacation Time Again!

Oh boy!!  I'm headed home to the West side of Michigan today to go camping with the family at Holland State Park!!!  B is coming with me for this weekend and I'm excited to spend time with him at my favorite place in the whole world.  There is nothing like Lake Michigan.  Especially during the summertime, when the beach is packed and the water is warm and the weather is super hot.  I'm looking forward to taking lots of pics and coming back with lots of ideas for new art pieces and, of course, a great tan for Welcome Week!  I'm also hoping to knock a few more books off the list and get some more reviews up online.  So, I'll be gone until the 16th but I promise and updated blog post as soon as I get back!  For now, have a wonderful week! 

August 4, 2010


While working at my 'comes with the house' desk today, I started daydreaming about having an office or studio type space in my future house...I decided I will paint the walls white and have white bins and drawers to hold my things.  I want nature inspired prints on the wall and a pretty white desk to work at.  Most of my work is bright and colorful and because of that, I think I find the most inspiration and peace in bright white.  Strange, I know but maybe I get overwhelmed by the color and need to retreat into a blank space.  Sigh, I can't wait to have my own place (well, shared with B of course!) to decorate and live and work in!

August 2, 2010

Time flies...

I had intended to spend about 2 hours this morning working on some pieces and  getting a few things listed up on Etsy...That was 5 and a half hours ago....oops!  I guess I was enjoying myself so much that I lost track of the time!!  Well, I did manage to get a few things accomplished, including getting a few new things up in the shop.  I also picked up some Sculpey clay today and I working on some sketches of how I am going to use it in some upcoming mixed media pieces!  I am so excited to experiment with a new medium!  Any advice from a Sculpey expert?
Here's a little peek at my mixed media piece that was just put up on Etsy!

July 31, 2010

Cuteness Overload :)

I recently purchased an adorable print from Stephanie Fizer of the cutest hedgehog!  I'm giving it to my mom as a gift because she loves the little prickly creatures even more than I do :)  Then I found Ms. Fizer's blog and found out about a letter writing set give-away she is doing!  Too much cuteness to handle.  Check out the details on her blog at

July 30, 2010

Sometimes I've believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.

I did it.  I finally sat down and read all of Alice in Wonderland.  B and I went to see the movie a few months ago and I was determined to actually read the book.  I loved it.  It was such a whimsical vacation read.  It was funny and crazy and strange and amazing.  The world that Lewis Carroll created was so believable despite its obvious absurdity.  The characters are interesting despite only brief encounters with some of them.  The crazy poetry and songs were literary works of art in and of themselves.  The best part of the book was the ability to lose yourself in Wonderland and allow your imagination to run along with Alice on this fantastic adventure.  It was a light read with no deep thought required...perfect for summer vacation! 

July 29, 2010

Inspiration? What Inspiration?

I used to think that I created my best work when I was so-called "inspired."  I've come to realize that is a load of s#^*...Inspiration is an amazing thing when it hits you and the universe explodes and the idea materializes in the dandelion seeds that floated out of nowhere and spell out your incredible thought.  Yea, that happens to me so often.  Now, this is not to say that I create with no inspiration.  I have simply adjusted my thinking to realize that I need to focus on how I lead an inspired life.  I recently made  a list of the little, everyday things that inspire me.  Things like sunflowers and chubby bumblebees and the color pink and waves.  When I sit down to work on my Etsy things and have no idea where to begin, I haul out my inspiration list and let my mind wander.  Its a far less stressful way of creating art rather than stressing over why I haven't been mysteriously and magically "inspired" lately!!

July 24, 2010

One of My Favorite Times of Year

Ann Arbor Art Fair time!  Yes, town is crazy and traffic is a mess and there are a million tourists crawling all over my city but I still love all of it!  My mom came yesterday and we spent 6 hours wandering around all 4 fairs that make up the whole festival and B and I went again today for about an hour and a half.  I came home with a new crock to hold my cooking utensils on my counter, a ceramic mixing bowl, a glass/ceramic wine bottle stopper, a blue headband, a cute tee-shirt and a bright print from Cady Watson.  All in all, it was a wonderful time! 

July 22, 2010

Another Book :)

While on vacation, I finished People of the Book by Geraldine Brooks.  It was a fabulous summer read.  Absolutely wonderful.  Maybe its because of my nerdy interest in the subject, but I loved it :)  The book is the story of a book, a very rare book to be specific.  The Sarajevo Haggadah is found in Bosnia and leading book conservator, Hanna Heath, is called into restore the volume for display.  Inside its pages, she finds several interesting fragments, such as a white hair and a grain of sea salt.  She begins to investigate the origins of the fragments and the journey the book took through the ages.  In conjunction with Hanna's story, the book flashes back to the book's story of how each object showed up caught in its pages and binding.  Of course, there is family drama and a little love story too but all in all, its a story of history that unfolds beautifully, as the pages of a book, as it were :)  I love the idea of a book or artifact having a story beyond just the historical significance of the text.  Each book comes from somewhere and traveled along its own journey though people's lives.  This book was fascinating and I recommend it as a quick and yet intellectual read. 

July 14, 2010

Michigan Love

I'm back from vacation!! More about that later but right now I have to gush about the new stadium additions!!!  B and I went to the open house at the Michigan football stadium today and it was incredible.  Beautiful.  Amazing.  Hail to the Victors.  Leaders and Best.  All that.  Seriously, I can't say enough things about the beautiful box seats and suites.  I guess the best way is to show you.  Enjoy the little sneak peak!!!!

June 29, 2010

Family Vacation!!

I'm so excited!! For the first time in years, I have the time and opportunity to go on a family vacation!! I cannot wait!! I'm headed back to Holland tomorrow night and going camping with my family on Friday (going home Wednesday night for a chiropractor appointment on Thursday morning..yippee!!).  We are spending 5 days in Indiana and then 5 more in Ohio.  Don't worry about B, though...I've spend the past few days frantically making him meals to put in the fridge and freezer and then reheat throughout the time I'm gone :)  He is pretty much the luckiest guy in the whole world!  I should have several more books to report on when I get back and I'll put some pics up too!  I can't wait!!!  VACATION TIME!!

June 21, 2010

Moving Right Along!

Another one off the list!  I received Water For Elephants by Sara Gruen from Paperback Swap and finished it in a few short days.  The story follows the memories of "90 or 93 year old" Jacob Jankowski, a former vet for the Benzini Brother circus.  He relates the story of meeting many interesting characters such as Walter, the dwarf clown, Marlena, the liberty horse performer who is married to August, the schizophrenic animal trainer.  The history of Depression era circuses is related through this tale of love and survival as the elderly Jacob reminisces about his former lifestyle.  The characters are slowly developed and blossom into well-rounded and believable members of this traveling show and the juxtaposition of assisted living-bound Jacob offers unique parallels.  Of course, one of the characters is an elephant, whose name is Rosie.  I don't want to give any more away because I might ruin the simple sweetness of this quick read novel!    

June 15, 2010

I did it!

I finally finished my first book off my summer reading list!  (I also got a box full of books delivered yesterday..oops..haha)  Amid all the craziness of spring term, I managed to find the time to read Three Cups of Tea by Greg Mortenson.  I still haven't decided how I feel about  the book.  Granted, biographical type stories are generally difficult for me to get through because of the writing style.  However, I was determined to read this book and my slight OCD doesn't let me not finish a book (seriously, even if its YEARS later, I will finish every single book that I begin...its exhausting sometimes!)  But anyways, the story itself is a beautiful one of love and compassion in an area of the world where most of America believes that none exists.  The most striking part of it for me was the willingness and excitement of so many of the leaders in Pakistan and Afghanistan to help Greg further his goal of education for their nations' young girls.  Its such a different view than the US media tends to portray of the Middle East.  From an educational standpoint, the work that Greg is engaged in is absolutely amazing.  I cannot even imagine the types of circumstances that teachers over there work in, such as 50 or more children to teach or no building to use as a school, while we complain here if our class sizes exceed 25 kids.  It was a humbling story to read even if the writing sometimes got bogged down in the places and names and facts.

June 9, 2010

Interesting News

I saw this story this morning on Yahoo and thought it was really interesting.  Working at Clements has put me in contact with a variety of old letters and documents and its interesting to think about the journey those artifacts may have gone on to finally settle in Ann Arbor.  Of course, I'm sure the University wouldn't have anything knowingly stolen, just as Haverford didn't realize :)  But its still cool to think about where some of the documents have been, how many hands they passed through, if they spent a while trapped in a box in someones attic or were just barely saved from being thrown out.  While the actual historical value of the document is interesting by itself, when these events of traveling are considered, they become even more important in a historical sense.  Each artifact potentially comes with a story that goes beyond simply the story of why it was written or created.  I think old stuff is so cool :)

June 1, 2010

Where the Water Meets the Shore

I went to the beach this week at Holland State Park.  I'm constantly amazed how peaceful and centered I feel after a trip to the beach :)  I'm working on some art pieces inspired by the Lake and shore and will hopefully have pictures soon.  Also, I'm working on photographing my first etsy pieces!!! I'm hoping to have those up by the start of next week!!!!  Yea!!!

May 25, 2010

Work and Sunshine

Wow!  I can't believe how long its been since I've posted!!  I guess spring term is more work than I thought it was going to be but at least I'm enjoying my classes.  Work has been wonderful.  I can't believe how much stress the Children's Center and Campus Information brought to my life.  I haven't felt this healthy and happy since before I started working at these two places.  Being on substaff at both of them has given me a measure of control over my time and life in general.  On the other hand, working at Clement's has been incredible as well.  I finished the link checking project and have moved on to a digitizing project.  Which is a fancy archiving way of saying that I scan documents and create pdf files of them.  I love the stress-free simplicity of the project and the ability to work at my own pace.  The women who work in the office there are simply wonderful and I love just being a part of the activity that goes on at the library.  I'm also enjoying skimming through the documents that I'm scanning.  I'm working through boxes of the Clement's library biannual newsletter, The Quarto.  They are full of fun articles highlighting interesting holdings at the library or recent acquisitions.  I can't believe how much cool stuff related to history that the University of Michigan has!! 
Oh, and in the food arena of my life, I improvised dinner tonight and it turned out wonderfully :)  It wasn't very photogenic but here's the recipe that I created: 
Pork Chops in the Crock Pot:
1. Place 2 (or more) thawed pork chops in the bottom of the crock pot
2. Sprinkle liberal amounts of Lawry's salt on both sides of the chops
3. place several pieces of onion on top of the chops
4. Pour 1 can of Cream of Mushroom soup on top of the chops
5. Sprinkle a little more Lawry's and some dried basil on top of everything
6. Cook on low for 8 hours
7. Eat a delicious meal at the end of a long day!!!
total prep time=around 10 minutes

May 11, 2010

Springtime in Michigan

Means that its raining.  And freezing.  Ugh.  This weather does not motivate me to get things done and I have a to-do list a mile and a half long...beginning with unpacking my life.  Most of my worldly possessions are in boxes and bags piled all over my new house.  Unpacking is such a daunting task that its taking me a while to get to it.  In fact, I showered at B's house last night because setting up my bathroom seemed like too much work...haha, so pathetic. 
On a work related note, I'm loving only subbing at Campus Info because its given me so much freedom to plan my days and weeks!  Also, getting into the Clements stuff has been really fun so far...I've been using the Wayback Machine to find out if old links on the old culinary archive site are still active.  When I find an inactive or broken link, I try to track down where it moved to.  Its been fun in a 'wow, I'm amazed at my internet searching skills!' kind of way :) 
On a not so fun note, wisdom teeth out on Friday morning.  Not. Looking. Forward. To. That.  Ugh, I hate teeth related things...I'm totally freaked out by the thought of holes in my gums where my teeth used to be.  Ickyyyy....

May 4, 2010

Spring Classes

Spring time in Ann Arbor is really a beautiful and relaxing time of year but this year is a bit different than my past two summers in A2...I'm taking spring term classes.  This morning, I had my English class, which will hopefully be interesting.  I think the most stressful part will be the short amount of time that I have to do large amounts of reading.  For example, I have to read 14 chapters of Uncle Tom's Cabin by Wednesday.  Ugh. 
Oh! Speaking of reading, I just found out that I get to be an Early Reviewer of a book from LibraryThing!  I'm so excited to get an advanced copy of a book and review it!!  As soon as I get my review done, I'll post it here as well as on LibraryThing
I'm headed to another class in about 20 minutes, Amcult311 Topics in Ethics Studies: Museums and Tourism.  I'm. So. Pumped.  I really hope this class is interesting!  I'll keep this updated on all my classroom adventures.  In the meantime, I leave you with this happy springtime quote:
Spring is nature's way of saying, "Let's party!"  ~Robin Williams

April 30, 2010

Longing for Sunday

Ugh. This weekend is commencement and I should be graduating.  But I'm not.  Sigh.  I'm just getting tired of people asking me if I'm excited to be done and I have to explain, again, that I'm doing a fifth year next year.  However, B is graduating so my weekend is still going to be filled with graduation stuff.  I'm probably one of only a few who aren't that excited for the graduation speaker...none other than President Obama.  It simply means we have to get to the stadium at the butt crack of dawn to get through security and there is rain in the forecast too....yuck.  Needless to say, I'm looking forward to Sunday when all the guests leave and B and I can just go for a walk, eat a quiet dinner and curl up to watch a movie together at night.  Basically, I can't wait for life to get back to normal. 

April 25, 2010

Thoughts on the Gym

Sigh.  Why is that I only get motivated to get my butt up and go out, (in the rain, no less!) and head over to the IM Building?  However, I'm back, showered and in comfy clothes, sitting on B's couch and feeling positively delightful.  I feel clean and skinny and just plain wonderful...and I'm craving strawberries instead of ice cream.  Maybe this is the start of something wonderful and amazing :)  Welcome to my summer of self-improvement and just general amounts of loving myself and taking care of myself...I can't wait to start...Tuesday at 12:30, this semester will be officially history!!!

April 20, 2010


Today was the last day of classes!!! Just a take-home final due on Monday and an actual final on Tuesday!  Today was bittersweet because I said goodbye to my fifth graders :(  However, I'm already planning what things I'm going to go back for to see them!  On a brighter note, tomorrow I visit the Clements Library for the first time!  I'm really looking forward to that and am excited to find out more about what I'm going to be doing during spring term.  I also attempted to start packing last night...attempted.  Giant pile of fail in that regards.  Oh well, Friday I have nothing better to do than load my sad amount of belongings into boxes and drag them over to B's house...yea for being homeless for a week!!!

April 16, 2010

Busy, busy, busy

Ugh, I hate this time of year.  Stupid finals and other end of the year stuff...ughhh.  Its all about checking things off the list right now.  I'm just looking forward to being done and having a few days to just work and chill and then begin my spring classes.  I'm really looking forward to my classes...I'm taking Women and Literature (English315), Geology of Michigan (Geosci311), Ethnic Studies of Museums and Tourism (Amcult311).  I cannot wait for classes that aren't education classes and I'm super excited for the Amcult class because its finally a class in the direction I want to eventually go in for grad school and career wise.  I also cannot wait to start working on my summer reading list, working on my painting and photography, do my homework at Dominiks and Ashleys (local bars with fun outdoor seating) and I'm also taking a pilates class once a week!  Oh, and I'm starting a job at the Clements library!!  You should check it out!  I'm so excited about starting this job; it is probably going to be kinda boring but its a foot in the door and a step in the right direction...also, yea for grad school apps/resume whatnot :)  I'm a little worried I'm going to be bored if I'm only working like 15 hours a week but I'm working a my list of things you can do, as you can see.  I'm also really looking forward to going to the local Ann Arbor Farmer's Market to get fresh fruits and veggies and cooking for B.  But, before all this delightful stuff can start, must. get. through. finals. 

April 6, 2010


Finally, some time to cook again!  I embarked on a pasta salad making adventure last week and am thrilled at how it turned out!  I made this for my cohort potluck lunch and it was a recipe of my own devising.  I looked up a bunch of recipes but none of them felt right.  So, here it is!  My bright, colorful pasta salad!

Pasta Salad (fed 12 with plenty of leftovers, which taste better every day!):
2 boxes of tri color rottini
2 red bell peppers
2 yellow bell peppers
1 green bell pepper
1 small bag of broccoli florets
1 small bag of shredded carrots
1/2 bag of mozzerella cheese, shredded
1/2 bag of cheddar cheese, shredded
a dash of dried basil
a dash of dried thyme
2 bottles of fat-free Italian dressing

Cook pasta according to box
While cooking pasta, chop peppers and broccoli
Rinse and drain pasta
Mix pasta, veggies, spices and cheese together
Add one bottle of dressing
Chill overnight in fridge
Add 1/3 cup of dressing to salad and remix
For leftovers, always add more dressing to keep it moist and delish!
Here's some pics of it it in progress and completed!

April 5, 2010

Getting Ready for Summer

Perhaps because it's nearly 70 degrees today, here in Ann Arbor, I'm feeling very summery!  I spent a significant portion of my morning class working on my 'to-do' list before the end of school.  It's mostly a list of assignments that I need to get checked off the list but there are also a few 'spring cleaning' type of tasks.  I've also begun to plan my vacations, work schedule and leisure activities.  I register for classes tomorrow so I don't want to jinx that by listing what I'm hoping on taking.  But it's looking good so far :)  I also just posted my summer reading list on the bottom of the page.  I'm hoping to continue to add to the the list and write a review for each one just to continue doing some cognitively challenging activities over the summer.  I'm also looking forward to lots of painting and photography in order to get my Etsy shop set up because it looks very sad and bare over there right now :(  Only a few more weeks...counting down to April 20!!

April 4, 2010

Looking Ahead

I'm finally feeling better and looking forward to the end of the semester.  B and I spent the Holy weekend at home with my parents for part of the weekend and my grandparents for the other part.  It was so wonderfully relaxing :)  Grandma took me shopping and we spent Easter as a family.  It was such a blessing to be able to go home.  Now, we're back and catching up on homework.  Due to the public schools' spring break, I don't have field this week and am looking forward to a less hectic week.  I also got my placement for next year and I'm trying to get excited about it...I've never worked with third graders before so it will be an adventure!  All in all, I'm trying to be at peace with my educational situation and looking forward to planning my grad school adventures. 

March 22, 2010

I Heart Words

I did the LA Times crossword today. And finished it.  My most exciting moment today.  Woot.  Gotta take the small things when you feel like crap. 

March 20, 2010

Oh, Life

Well, its been a rough couple of weeks trying to figure out what to do about school and whatnot but life just keeps moving along even if I'm not ready for it.  I have a midterm on Monday and therefore, of course, I'm curled up on the couch, sick.  Ugh.  I feel so gross and nasty.  I spent most of the day on North campus, studying and grossing out the people around me with my box of Kleenex.  B took me home and made me a pizza and now we are watching the UM vs. NMU hockey game.  True love right there:)  I also decided tonight that I must pick knitting back up or risk losing my sanity.  So, my goal right now is to work my way through all the nasty acrylic stuff in my stash so I can get new, yummy, natural yarn for summer knitting.  B and I are going to plan our summer travels sometime this week and I need to make my summer reading list too.  All this nice weather has me excited and ready for summertime.  I also am in the process of finding a new job or internship for this summer.  And of course, in the midst of all of this, I''m sick.  Sigh.  Well, bed early tonight and more time in the library tomorrow and hopefully I'll be ok by Monday...fingers crossed!!

March 7, 2010

Alphabet Soup

From DC to AA and not as happy about it as I thought I would be.  I miss the city so much already and I can't imagine not going back at some point.  I desperately want to live there and work somewhere in the vast archives of the country.  This picture is of the Library of Congress; I was pretty sure that I had died and gone to heaven whilst I was in there.  The history really got to me there and I would hop back on a plane tonight to go back if I could.  How in the world am I going to concentrate in my education classes knowing that I no longer am trying to fool myself into being excited about teaching?  My dad even asked me today if I was going to change around my classes now!  Haha, unfortunately, I'm way too far to change majors again.  Its just time to finish up my undergrad and then make very careful decisions regarding grad school.  I can't wait!!!

March 4, 2010

More From the HIll

OMG.  I am absolutely and completely smitten with D.C.  I desperately want to move here and work in
A. The National Museum of American History
B. The Library of Congress or
C. The National Archives
(I would actually settle for ANY of the Smithsonian Museums).
I am absolutely in love with the history and artifacts found in this town.  I cannot believe how happy and comfortable I am here.  I've been researching grad schools and possible internships for this summer like a crazy person.  I have been on an incredible journey of self-discovery this week and have realized that I need to stop thinking about what I think I "should" do in order to be a good person and instead to follow my passions.  I'm passionate about history and books and museums and all of the incredible links to the past found in archives.  I really want to get home and start pulling together some way of cataloging our family history on the dad's side.  (We have an incredible book on the mom's side :) )  I actually started doing some research at the Holocaust museum and can't wait to start searching for other information and figuring out how to get it out of Grandpa and Grandma.  They rarely talk about the family history in the Netherlands and I'm absolutely fascinated with the mystery.  Ahh! I love it here so much!!!

March 1, 2010

On The Road Again...

It's spring break!!  Well, actually "winter break" because UM has no idea what 'spring' is, apparently.  However, I digress.  I landed in Ronald Reagan Airport on Saturday and am absolutely loving Washington, D.C.  I've already been to Arlington (watched the Changing of the Guards and cried), the National Museum of American History (saw the original Star Spangled Banner and cried), the Lincoln Memorial (read the quotes on the wall and cried) and the Korean Memorial (held it together for this guarantees on Vietnam though).  Its been incredibly moving and meaningful so far.  You can't help but feeling an immense amount of pride in this country.  However, this trip is seriously complicating my educational future.  I know that if I could go back to the beginning of undergrad, I would do things completely differently.  But now I'm facing the options of graduate school.  I thought I had it all figured out but I've always been so fascinated by museums and archives and now being here is bringing that out again.  Stayed tuned for more updates on the trip and my stress over my educational plans.

February 22, 2010

There's No Place Like Home

I ended up going home this weekend with B just to relax, go to a chiropractor appointment and get my hair cut.  I love being home, especially during these busy times of the year.  We went to the Unity basketball game on Friday and stayed for the Winterfest fun.  The varsity game was awesome as we won 50-48 in the very last seconds of the game!  After, off to Applebees for adult fun while the little high schoolers had a dance :)  However, best part of the whole weekend was going out to the Lake on Saturday.  The beach at Holland was amazing!!  Parts were still frozen over so B and I went hiking on the water and pier.  I got some amazing pics that  I will get edited and up on Etsy soon and I'll throw a few up here too!  I'm hoping to get some of this done next week because it's spring break and I'll be in Washington DC.  I am envisioning sitting in the Library of Congress and doing homework and working on my website stuff......sighhhh, I cannot wait!!

February 15, 2010

Why does this always happen!?

I had a wonderful day with B yesterday; I have an obscenely busy week ahead of me, and so, of course, I wake up sick.  Like, exhausted, headache, sore throat, 'B thinks I have mono' sick.  Yuck.  I really don't have time for this!  Don't the little sick buggies know that!?  I have lesson plans to write and teach, work to go to, and home to drive to on Thursday.  WHYYY?  Ugh.  Well, I gues the next few days will consist of dragging myself to class, rushing through my homework, trying to move as little as possible at work and letting B toss me in the car and take me home to let my mom take care of me.  Oh, and I am NOT missing trivia night at Charley's on Wednesday.  I don't care if my freaking spleen is falling out. 

February 13, 2010

Time for Reading

I've come to realize that, despite or perhaps because of, my crazy schedule and life, I need to start making more time to read.  Really read.  Novels, not textbooks or scholarly articles.  Reading is my most treasured activity.  I learned to read before starting kindergarten and have never looked back.  I read at a disturbingly fast pace, yet have trouble comprehending text of the non-fiction sort.  Therefore, novels give me the freedom to read and let my mind wander though the story.  So, I need to do a 'book talk' for my elementary education literacy class in April but I decided to reread my story for it now.  That way, its relaxing but I could defend it as school work :)  I've chosen to read The Wheel on the School by Meindert DeJong.  This Newbery Medal book holds a special place in my heart due to its setting in the Netherlands.  My grandparents are from the Netherlands and there are so many cultural things in this endearing story that ring so familiar for me.  So, I'm off to read and dream of the Old Country, a place I hope to finally see in about a year and a half.  Get ready for some tulip inspired art!

February 9, 2010

Snow, snow, snow

Well, got B back and apparently he decided to bring the snow with him.  Ugh.  You would think that after 21 years of living in Michigan, most of them on the shore of Lake Michigan, I wouldn't mind the snow.  You would be wrong.  I am not happy.  I hate winter with an intense passion.  I don't ski.  I don't snowboard.  I don't ice skate.  I would prefer to ignore the whole thing.  Its not so much the snow I don't like, its the cold.  I hate being cold.  The worst part about winter is the stifling of my creativity.  I'm very inspired by nature, weather and the outdoors.  Unfortunently, I haven't figured out how to tap into my winter creativity.  I prefer warm sunshine, bright summer colors, unfrozen lakes and streams and the freedom of creating in a pair of shorts and a tank top.  So, summer, please come back soon.  I really really miss you and can't wait for you to return.  Here's a little glimpse of what's to come....summer in A2....

February 7, 2010

Back to Ann Arbor

So, B is up to his fifth scheduled flight for this weekend.  He is incredibly frustrated and so am I.  It's just a little snow!  I ended up journeying back to the west side of the state on Saturday and got back an hour ago today.  I'm currently watching the Super Bowl alone in my room and working (and procrastinating) on my homework.  This isn't exactly how I envisioned tonight going.  Sigh.  Oh well, I also had envisioned the Vikings in the Super Bowl so I should have known something like this would happen.  At least I'll get the hw done and can go to bed early.  I have a twelve hour day tomorrow and an exam on Wednesday.  Ugh.  I hope this week improves when B finally gets home.  In the meantime, I hope to finally get some things up on Etsy this week!  Ekk!!  So exciting!!

ETA: He's driving home.  I'm so worried but I need him back and he couldn't get a flight until later this week. 

February 5, 2010

Winter Weather

I didn't want to start out with a sad post but unfortunently, this is what is on my mind right now.  Living in Michigan and growing up on the lakeshore of Lake Michigan has toughened me up when it comes to winter weather.  Lake effect snow can pop up at a moment's notice and we just sigh and head out in it anyways.  The boyfriend, B, is from Minnesota and has a similar outlook on winter.  However, he has been in DC for the past few days for a work conference and is now trapped until Sunday.  Ugh.  Really, its just a little bit of snow!  In fact, direct quote from the news tonight..."Snow like this is common in the Great Lakes region but it's shutting down DC."  I just want B back tonight like he was suppossed to be!  So, instead, I'm going to head home tomorrow to see the family and rest up before next week.  I'm teaching a lesson in my fifth grade class this week and I haven't written the plan yet so it will be nice to get away from the distractions of Ann Arbor in order to get that done.  In the mean time, DC, toughen up and give me my B back.