Thankful Monday, Part 1.

It just seems like a good idea to start a week out with thankfulness.  So here are a few things that I’m thankful for this week.

 

Sharing Netflix with siblings. Having too many people on Netflix for it to load.  For some reason, having a Netflix that’s overloaded warms my heart. Haha. And it probably only warms my heart because I played the “i’m sick, let me watch” card on them.

 

Having a dad who I spent a lot of Saturday on the phone with, as I was navigating through Home Depot. We’re pretty sure i’m going to be skyping him when I start my next project. He’s seriously the bees-knees. And his Birthday was yesterday, so if you see him, tell him happy birthday!

 

Having people to do life with. Sam and I have the beginnings of a tradition for when life is not as sunny as we’d hope. I storm her apartment (perks of living close!), and we drink a glass of wine and watch an old chick-flick. Yesterday was one of those days. I’d like to think it’s a solid coping mechanism, but either way, it’s nice to have “go-to” people.

 

What are you thankful for this Monday?
Rachel

a little baby green thumb

This Saturday has been my jam. Pharrell’s song “Happy” played 4 (yes, 4!) times when I was driving today. It’s in the fifties with a cloudless sky. This morning I stumbled upon a beautiful greenhouse that wasn’t open yet (few more weeks), but the owners were there and they let me meander through endless rows of plants. It was glorious. And the badgers are in the final 4. Really, what more could you want out of life?

 

But down to business. Last summer I tried my hand at container gardening. And I completely wung (winged?) it. Not too successful, so this time around i’m applying a little more discipline. I read two books on container gardening, and i’m following the rules this time.  So this is a post about learning to garden. completely beginner style, since that’s where i’m at.

Mini greenhouse

 

First of all, you gotta start small. So I bought this itty bitty green house, that contains dirt pellets. You soak the dirt pellets till they’re nice and moist, then drain the water.  You put 1-2 seeds in eachpellet. I drew a chart to help me remember what’s what once they’re big enough to transplant. Cover those puppies up, and let them sit in for 5-6 weeks, making sure they have ample light and moisture, of course. Fingers crossed that in 5-6 weeks I’ll have a post about transplanting these guys outside. If not, you’ll know they didn’t make it ;). That leads me to my final step: buy a few veggies that have already matured a bit, to double your odds of success :).

seed selecting

 

I’m sitting at my desk writing this, and I can’t stop glancing over at my window sill. It’s seriously the cutest, happiest window sill ever.

 

Hope you’re having a happy, projecty Saturday!

Love,

Rachel

My corner of the world.

The top floor and back corner of a three story (old) house. One block from the lake, two minute walk from Wisconsin’s state Capitol. Red carpet, with a view of the tippy-top of the Capitol all lit up out of my window at night. That’s where my corner of the world located for now. Today the wind was whipping like crazy and I was feeling a little under the weather, so  I didn’t think it was fitting to leave my third floor perch.  Instead I went into “full on” productivity mode.  I did a good amount of cleaning, and since i’ve changed my room around a lot lately, I figured I would share the new look with you. Last semester everything was black and white, this semester it’s more of a vintage country look. I made the quilt over Christmas break, and that basically lead to a complete remake of the feel of my little room. So there are now both chicken wire and vintage seed bags occupying my room. That’s normal, right?

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Good night, world.

Love,

Rachel

2013.

IMG_20131102_171729 IMG_20130913_173624 IMG_20131217_222510 IMG_20131214_141856 (1) IMG_20131121_182652 IMG_20131128_105600 IMG_20131214_141856 IMG_20131102_171729 IMG_20130913_173624 IMG_20130922_135736Midway through this year I starting keeping a log of some of the many gifts i’ve been given. I reread through them today, and pulled out some of my favorites. 2013 was good. It was hard. But it was good.

58. “Rach, can we work on a project?” little Day boys who love to create.

105. Sarah and Jeth, such a wonderful couple. Where the Lord will take them!

163. Cribbage with dad.

171. Enough confidence to make my own decisions. Even when they are not popular ones.

201. Time to read a book!

216. Siblings who text me

220. My own mailbox and key, so professional!

242. Learning to trust, bit by bit

280. Barns

286. Square dancing, duh.

293. Realizing that I have a lot of room to grow as a teacher

301. So many people to have skype dates with. So happy.

302. Doing assessments in school! Loving on kiddos!

303. Helping a little girl count to 100 for the first time 🙂

304. A cupcake gift.

324. Black and white stripes

333. Farmers market walking with Grandma. Goodness, I loved that morning!

354. The mason jars in my trunk that are waiting to be decorated

363. Sisters. Only one of God’s greatest inventions.

364. A day for watching pride and prejudice.

365. Stocking up on tea, for the winter season.

387. The deep love of Jesus, may I never lose sight of it.

393. A package from Kate. And I feel like our relationship is growing. And I really like that.

397. A funny bus driver who makes Sam and my mornings on Tues/Wed

This is happy. I can’t wait to experience 2014.

Rachel

$15 Food Challenge: Week 2

Hello again!

So week 1 of this food challenge went well! Except for on Monday when I lectured for 6 hours straight and then bought and ate 2 donuts. But you’ll have that. Haha.  This week i’ll be testing my hand at cooking lentils, which I have never done before. I’m excited though because they’re super cheap (and packed with iron, fiber, and protein!).

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This week I switched up my grocery store of choice, and went to Aldis. These are the goods:

  • 11 (yes 11!) McIntosh Apples: 1.99
  • Carrots: .99
  • Huge tub of oats: 2.29
  • Tortillas: .99
  • Salsa: 1.69
  • Mozzarella: 1.49
  • Gallon of vitamin D milk: 2.49
  • 4 Bananas: .95
  • 10 pounds of russet potatoes: 2.49
  • 2 cans of garbanzo beans: 1.65
  • 1 can tomatoes: .80
  • Green lentils: 1.25

So, yes, if you’re adding this up, I am a little over $15.00. But i’m okay with that because I bought bulk oats and potatoes, which kind of made me feel like I was shopping for the Oregon Trail…anyways. That is so much food for under $20.00! I also still have some left over ingredients from last week (kale, chicken, lettuce), and some ingredients that i’ve had for quite a while (half-used pasta sauce,  frozen ground beef and  beans).  Here’s the dinner menu:

Saturday: Kale, carrot, lentil, garbanzo bean stew

Sunday:  Sweet Potato Chili ( with ground beef, assortment of beans, tomatoes)

Monday: Pasta (using the ground beef from yesterday)

Tuesday: Calzone (using yesterday’s sauce)

Wednesday: Veggie Fritatta

Thursday: Sunday’s leftovers

Friday:  Rice and Black Bean Burritos

For breakfast i’m going to break out my travel thermos and make oatmeal, adding a little cinnamon, apple, and brown sugar to my oats.  It’ll be nice to take a hot breakfast to campus!

For snacks I’m going to try roasted garbanzo beans and my current food crush, chia seed pudding!

Check out my sister’s $20.00 a week for 2 food challenge here

Happy, healthy eating, friends!

love,
Rachel

Homemade Coffee Syrup x2

 

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I love me some coffee, and since i’ve been trying to live more frugally, I’ve found a pretty easy way to cut a corner: homemade coffee syrup. I am a pansy and really like sweetness creamer in my coffee, so I had been buying french vanilla creamer on an almost weekly basis. Recently, i’ve been making vanilla syrup and just adding a drip of milk in my coffee.

Homemade vanilla syrup is way too easy:

1 cup of sugar

1 cup of water

1 tsp of vanilla extract

Stir it on the stove on medium until it’s all dissolved. Delish and easy. Earlier this Fall I also made pumpkin coffee syrup, which was very easy too!

2 cups of water

1 cup of sugar

3 Tbsp of pumpkin puree

I also added a few pinches of nutmeg and cinnamon.

Stir on the stove until it’s all mixed in.Yummy!

Both need to be stored in the refrigerator, but can last a few weeks.

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Love,

Rachel

 

$15 Food Challenge

Big sister Sarah and I earned the worst sisters of the Semester award by not having chatted with each other since I moved until last weekend. Whoops! Marriage, work, and graduate school apparently keep us busy! We finally had a wonderful 2 hour chat which left my heart very full and my mind buzzing with ideas. One of those ideas was a food challenge. Sarah (and Jeth) and I are both living on a graduate student sized budget, but we also enjoy eating well.  Sarah is the master menu planner, and has been feeding herself and husband for $40 per week, but is challenging herself to cut down to $20 a week (mad impressive if you ask me!). She challenged me to eat of off $15 per week. CHALLENGE ACCEPTED.

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Here are the goods. I bought the peppers, kale, and lettuce at the farmers market this a.m. ($4.00 all together). Zucchini, bananas, milk, cous cous from the grocery store (5.00 total).  A few other grocery store purchases (yogurt and apples) not pictured, as well as the chicken that’s in my freezer.

I can’t guarantee that i’m at $15.00 on the dot, since i’m using a few ingredients that are all already at my apartment.  But i’m definitely in that range! Breakfast will be yogurt, bananas, and muffins (from my grandma) and lunch will be left overs from dinner, because that’s what happens when you’re a graduate student who cooks for herself. Haha.

 

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Sauteeing the veggies for cous cous

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                                                                              So. Much. Kale. What do you do with your kale?

 

Dinners

Saturday: Cheesy potato soup

Sunday: Chicken and veggie (zucchini, kale, red pepper) cous cous

Monday: Chicken caesar salad

Tuesday: Zucchini fries and chicken

Wednesday: Veggie (sauteed peppers), lettuce, goat cheese wrap

Thursday: Cheesy potato soup

Friday: Veggie quesadilla and salad

 

Also, check out Sarah’s blog to track her menu challenge: (http://littlehousebliss.wordpress.com/2013/11/02/the-20-a-week-challenge/)

 

Shouuuuld be fun! Do you have any inexpensive and nutritious go-to recipes?

 

Love,
Rachel

Driftwood DIY

I know I say this about every craft that I post, but seriously, easiest project ever. I found this wee piece of driftwood earlier this summer while out in nature. And I  brought it back and kept it with me for the past few months (that’s normal, right?). I love finding pieces of nature that I can incorporate into projects. I finally decided that hanging my (few) necklaces off of my bookshelf wasn’t cutting it. I don’t have much jewelry, so this is perfect for the few items that I wear consistently. Pins, string, nail, driftwood. Done. IMG_20131108_172215 IMG_20131108_172423
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Have a lovely Saturday, friends,

Love,

Rachel

Cohort Camping

Self care. It’s basically a fancy way of saying “make sure you maintain sanity while in graduate school so you’re not miserable and drop-out.” It’s been reinforced to us school psychers since day one. Fortunately, when you have a cohort who make you cry because you’re laughing too hard…..in class (you know who you are), self-care really isn’t too much of an issue. Even so, i’ve been rocking a lot of 12 hour days on campus lately, only to come home to statistics, or papers to grade. Which is to be expected, but a few of us decided to get the heck out of Madison for the weekend, while the weather is still nice tolerable. Apparently I went to Devil’s Lake as a kid. Definitely don’t remember it at all. Here are a few pictures from the weekend!

 

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IMG_20131026_132903Happy Fall weekend! Not really sure where October went?

Love,

Rachel