Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Bon Appetit: A good 4th of July Dessert

Every week I partake in dinner with my Small Group.  There are about 10 girls in this group and we all take turns bringing in different parts of the evening meal.  Last week, I was in charge of the dessert and I knew exactly what I wanted to bring.  My sister-in-law and my mother-in-law both have made this dessert on two separate occasions and each time I love it.  I love how light it is (not necessarily in calories, but in texture) and how it's a cold dessert so it cools you down.  I made it last Saturday night so it could chill in the 'fridge overnight for my Sunday night Small Group.  My in-laws were in town which hindered me from taking pictures to capture the different stages of this dessert (I didn't want them to think I was a crazy person taking all these pictures of crushing up graham crackers) :-D.  So, you'll just have to settle for the recipe - but trust me, you should definitely make is oh-so-good!

Berried Treasure
*1.5 cups graham crackers crumbs (1.5 sleeves of graham crackers crushed)
*1/2 cup sugar
*1/3 cup butter - melted

Combine all ingredients and mix well.
Press firmly in a 9x13 baking dish and bake for 8 minutes at 350.
Cool (I stuck in the fridge to speed this up).

*One 8 oz. cream cheese - soften
*1/4 cup of sugar
*2 T plus 2.5 cups of cold milk
*16 oz. cool whip - thawed
*2 pints of strawberries - halved
*One 6 oz vanilla instant pudding (I used two packages of the 3.4 oz boxes)

Beat cream cheese with 1/4 cup sugar and 2 T of milk until smooth; fold in 1/2 of Cool Whip.
Spread this over the crust and arrange the strawberries on top.
Mix pudding and 2.5 cups of milk; beat 1-2 minutes.
Pour over the strawberries and chill for several hours or overnight.
Spread with remaining Cool Whip: garnish with strawberries.

***You could even add other berries in with your strawberries to really get a "berried" treasure :)
If you make it, let me know what you think!  (I think this is my new favorite summer dessert)

I'm linking up to:
Simply Sweet Home

Monday, June 28, 2010

Magnificent Mondays: Magnificent Blogs 19

Candace and Nicole are two crafty sisters!  How fun to be crafty together with someone you love?  You'll find a lot of beautiful and easy crafts that you'll want to get your little paws on!

At Easter time they had a bunch of different wreath and Easter crafts that anyone could do, including this one!

Do you remember the advent calendar I showed a few weeks ago in Magnificent Blogs?  Here's a different spin on an Advent calendar, super cute!

Look at how realistic these look?!

Go get crafty with these Crafty Sisters and make sure you let me know what you loved about this blog!
Happy Blogging!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

A Tribute to Craigslist

Have you ever wasted some time on Craigslist?  Let me tell you, you could start looking for things that you never even knew you "needed" :).  My love relationship with Craigslist matured when I moved to Chicago.  I don't really know why that is - probably lots of reasons: I was going to need to furnish a new apartment on a budget; this is a big city so there are lots of things listed in the Chicago area and lastly, because I have a lot of time on my hands.

I've only actually purchased 3 things off of Craigslist, but I feel like after those purchases I was convinced that this website was the

Our apartment that we live in was found by my friend Amy via Craigslist.  Good job Amy!  She found it the minute it was posted and we were the first people to see it...I'm so glad she found it because we definitely love living here!

I found our coffee and end table off of Craigslist in Lexington, KY.  It wasn't the look I was going for, but they were both solid wood and a good brand so I knew that they would be perfect candidates for a strip and a re-stain.  You can go here to see the transformation of these tables.

The last thing we purchased off Craigslist was an air conditioner unit for our guest bedroom.  We went a picked that up yesterday for a whopping deal!

Have you ever taken the time to look at the free items on Craigslist?  Sometimes (when I'm bored) I'll get on there and look at the free section to see what people are parting with.  It always amazes me that people actually take the time to take pictures of some of these items and post them on Craigslist as opposed to just taken them to the local Goodwill and donating them.  I've seen things like coffee mugs, stuffed animals, you name it!  Just today I found the following items that were just waiting to be picked up:
A basket of shoes.  Really?  Do you really think that the people who could mostly benefit from these shoes are perusing Craigslist to find them???  Just take them to the Salvation Army or Goodwill so that they can find themselves on a needy recipient!

A glass plate for your microwave - exactly what you didn't realize that you needed! :)
Baseballs...again, I'm so confused why they wouldn't just donate them to their local little league.

A cap and gown - for all my friends who are getting ready to graduate, let me know and I'll rush to this address to pick up your free cap and gown!

Take a second to check out the free section of Craigslist and let me know what crazy things you find :)!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

My favorite haircut of all time...Part 2

If you're really confused by this, you may need to go here and read this first.

Check out smart and sophisticated Blanche:
Look at that sass!

What great sex appeal!

Full of spunk!

Check out Kari's version of the smart and sophisticated Blanche:
Look at that sass!  That white turtleneck and denim jumper almost can't even contain the sass that is seeping from my bad-self!

What great sex appeal!  All the other 3rd graders thought so too!  (the fake gold teddy bear charm hanging from my necklace and the ring on my chubby little finger is what really pulled the sex appeal look!)

Look at that spunk!  I can even make a graffiti wall look dang good! (check out my magnetic earrings that pulled my look all together)

and last but not least...
If Blanche played soccer, she wouldn't have looked half this good!
I was sassin' up my Shooting Stars uniform!

Eat your heart out boys!

{p.s. there are SO many good stories that stem from this trendsetting haircut...stay tuned!}

Monday, June 21, 2010

Happy Summer!

Happy First Day of Summer!  Woo-Hoo!  Too bad it doesn't look like summer outside here in Chi-town...oh well!  I love the fact that when 9pm comes, the sky is still full of light!  Who wants dreary winter with nights sneaking up on you at 3pm when you can have an amazing loooong summer day?!  Not this girl!

We had quite the busy weekend but enjoyed every bit of it!  We headed to Columbus on Friday for Stephen's cousin's wedding.  We had so much fun even though Columbus was about 7-10 degrees warmer than where we came from (and MUCH more humid).  Friday night was spent celebrating their wedding and Saturday was spent eating a fantastic brunch with family before we headed out to drive to Louisville.

There we are with family :).
Stephen and I enjoyed the family-style dining at the reception!
There I am with the beautiful bride, my 2 sister-in-laws (on the far right) and my cousin-in-law (right next to me).

On Saturday night we celebrated Father's Day (in Louisville where it was in the scorching 90s with TONS of humidity in which I often felt as if I were sitting in someone's mouth...) with my mom and dad at their house by grilling out some yumtastic grilled chicken and corn on the cob.  And then on Sunday we enjoyed lunch with Stephen's family.  It was a fun-filled day!

On an entirely different note, did you notice the new summer header?  A special shout-out to my friend, Amy and her love for snapping beautiful pictures of the Chicago scenery.  The only picture that I didn't steal use from her is the sunflowers (I stole borrowed that from the internet).  Keep your eyes open for a wonderful post that you're bound to love sometime this week.  While I was home I was able to get my hands on some stuff I want to share with you...

Until then, I hope you have a super loooong day today - what are you planning on doing with all the extra daylight?

Magnificent Mondays: Magnificent Blogs 18

You'll find a little bit of everything at this wonderful blog!  Amy has a bunch of great organizing ideas, decorating ideas and DIY ideas.  I'm telling you what, I love following this gem of a blog!

I can't wait to utilize this awesome organization and decoration idea in my future basement or game room!

Do you have a cute little kiddo in your life and you're looking for an easy and fun gift to give them?  You'll find it here!

For all my bloggy friends who are looking at ideas to organize their craft rooms, look no further than here!

Enough is enough!  You go to Infarrantly Creative and see how cool this blog is for yourself, then head on back over here and let me know what you love about it!
Happy Blogging!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Summer Grad School

Sorry for my absence - UIC has chewed me up and spit me out.  I signed up for summer classes with the thought, "I can do anything for 8 weeks..." but let me tell you, it's gonna be a looong 8 weeks!

My classes are 4 hours long every Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday nights from 4:30-8:30.  And despite some hopeful thoughts of them letting us out early, they keep us the ENTIRE time.

My Philosophy of Education class is a long class (brilliant - I know I didn't need to tell you that!).  However, my teacher is a cute old man who reminds me of the world's greatest grandpa.  He cracks himself up and tells a story after everything.  It took him an entire hour to take roll tonight.  Why?  Because he kept on distracting himself with his stories.  He then calls on you to ask you what you think about what he's said.  The first night of class "Karl" (that's happens all the time - the "i" looks like an "l" and so suddenly I become a man named "Karl") was called on regarding what he I thought about progressive taxing.  Awesome.  Tonight, he called on me asking what I thought in response to what he had said.  Too bad I had just started to trail off in my mind and I missed the majority of what I was being asked about.  Good for me that he restated his thoughts - phew!

Let me tell you: it's. going. to. be. a. looooooooong. 8. weeks.

I'll leave you with a picture of who my professor resembles:
I'll be back tomorrow to share some fun from my sewing class :).
The weekend's ALMOST here...YOU CAN MAKE IT!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Heck Yes! Miscellany Monday

Miscellany Monday @ lowercase letters

Why?  Why not?!

{1} I start summer classes today...ugh.  The class that I have tonight (from 4:30-8:30) is entitled, "Philosophy of Education in the Urban School Setting".  YAWN.  The books (4 - 4 books, YES, 4 books!) that I had to buy for this 7 week class are entitled, "Aims of Education", "Democracy of Education", "Experience Education", and my all time favorite: "Existentialism in Education".  I have trouble even saying the first word in the last title, let alone trying to read a couple hundred pages about it.  This may be a long 7 weeks!

{2} We're headed to Columbus, OH this weekend for Stephen's cousin's wedding.  I'm very happy about it because the wedding is on Friday so we have a 3 day weekend :).  I'm also excited because we'll be heading to Louisville on Saturday afternoon so that we can spend some time with both our families before we have to head back home.

{3} I'm having a hard time dressing myself here in the Windy City.  Last week we had temperatures of 80s with humidity (ugh) and this whole weekend and today it's been in the high 60s to early 70s and drizzling.  I'm so confused.  So are my clothes.

{4} I had the privilege of playing Settlers of Catan this past Saturday night and let me tell you - I LOVE IT!  I can't seem to get enough of this game!  I'm planning a trip to Barnes and Noble so that I can purchase on for my home.  If you've never played this game (and you like board games) then you have to play it.  Just ask one of my close friends, Anne!

{5} If you've actually clicked on my "exercise diaries" at the top of my blog then you're probably wondering what is going on with my running regimen.  So are my legs.  I have found that if I'm being disciplined with what I eat then I have a hard time being disciplined with my exercise schedule.  If I'm being disciplined with my exercise schedule then I struggle with my eating.  Is this just the excuse I tell myself?  I started WW 3 weeks ago and have been very pleased with my results and discipline.  While I've made sure to include a couple miles walk a few times a week, my running has completely subsided.  I bet Richard Simmons can't wait to get his pesky paws on me!
Happy Monday!

Magnificent Mondays: Magnificent Blogs 17

Andy has wonderful ideas for crafts, decorating and holidays at her blog.  She even has a "Creative Cats" day where other creative blogs link up to hers.  I really liked her "Home Tours" where you get a glimpse into what other people are doing in their homes to be inspired.  

Are you looking for a really cute Christmas decoration?  Look no further than here!

Here is a great gift for the grad in your family.

Here's a look at Creative Cats in action!

Enough of what I love from Poppies at Play, head straight there and spend some time looking around!  Make sure you sneak back over here and let me know what you love about Andy's blog!
Happy Blogging!

Friday, June 11, 2010

Summer Crafts and a little Mumbo Jumbo

I'm feeling a bit better after my melt down on Wednesday - thanks for all the sweet words of encouragement and comments that helped to lift my spirits, I appreciate all the prayers I can get :).  After spending a lot of time doing N.O.T.H.I.N.G I've got an itch to craft and create (Stephen's super excited about this...yeah right!).
("why don't you get a job, Kari?!"  Well I'm hoping {and you can pray for this as well} that a research assistantship works out for me at the grad school which will PAY for my tuition.  This would be MUCH better than a second income for us as it will take the grad school bill off our hands.  They aren't hiring right now, but they possibly will be in the fall.  I'm praying that they do hire in the fall and that I'd be one of those that they can join me in that prayer if you'd like ;) ) 

I thought I'd use this post to share with you some of the fun things that I'd really like to get my little paws on to create!

Over at The Frugal Life Project I stumbled upon this:

I've seen these before while wasting time rummaging around blogland, but I really liked how she used them.  She made them as end of the year gifts for her kid's teachers.  What a great gift!  As a teacher, I would proudly display one of these in my classroom!  If you're interested, she has the step-by-step of how to make one of these look so amazing!

The next thing that I would love to make is something that I found on etsy at Letter Perfect Designs.  I'm all for helping out the individual sellers as opposed to paying the money towards the big industries that are taking over American retail, but when I see something that I think I can do, I look at it as a challenge.  When I saw this, I saw a challenge (a beautiful challenge at that)!
Isn't it gorgeous?  I have a thing for monograms...evidently I need help remembering what my new last name starts with :).  
I think I would do a letter more like this to throw on our bed.  I don't think our room is "fancy" enough to do the cursive, but I like the stately look of this font.  This doesn't look too challenging - the thing that would be time consuming is sewing each button on individually.  I've thought about just gluing them on, but I think that sewing would create a more lasting button fix.  Not only do I have a thing for monograms, but apparently I have a thing for pillows...
That, ladies and gentlemen is a place mat turned to a pillow!  What a great idea!  I can't tell you how often I see place mats that I love (mainly at Target) and think to myself, "there's no way I need that many place mats" :).  I had originally seen this at another blog but I couldn't find the original source that inspired me, so I googled it and it led me to Crystal's Craft Spot which is where I found another step-by-step for making these place mat pillows (super easy)!  Maybe I can find a solid colored place mat that I love and use it to sew the buttons on for my initial pillow?  Hmmm...maybe....

For those of you that are regular readers (or my friends in real life, not just blogland), you know that I've signed up to take a sewing class which will FINALLY happen tomorrow!  After I take that class, I'm hoping to really get it going on my new sewing machine :).  My mom is coming into town the last week in July (she does know how to sew) and I'm hoping that we can make 2 of these for my bed:
There's a HUGE textile outlet here in Chicago that my sister and I went to when she visited in April.  My mom and I are going to venture there and I'm going to see if I can find some linen fabric at a good price that I love to make a square one of these as well as a rectangular pillow...we'll see how that goes :).

This next project that I really want to get my little paws on is one that I think would make a great gift (again, I am evidently obsessed with initials)...
I stumbled upon this tutorial at Martha Shmartha this week and it looks super easy (she used the freezer paper method)!  

Another freezer paper project that I'd love to do (and would also be a great gift for birthdays or even Christmas) is one that my friend Jen did this past Christmas, just with another spin on it.
Aren't these darling?  Erin over at Lemontree Creations did these using the same freezer paper method that Jen did with her doily bags...can you say awesome?!  I can!

Okay, just one more craft as Stephen will probably already be sent into a frenzy when he finds out that I want to do all of these...
Isn't this so simplistic and beautiful?  I came across this Quatrefoil Art from Imperfectly Beautiful and if you head over there you can get a step-by-step on how to make one of these for your home...don't mind if I do!

I can't wait to tackle some of these projects this summer with my friend Amy (she may not know what she's getting into with me...I have BIG plans for us) as she is going to be on summer break from school and we'll be crafting together!
What about you?  What project can you not wait to get your hands on?  Why not comment with a link so that you can share the creativity?  I could always have another project (JUST DON'T TELL STEPHEN - HE MAY CROAK!)
Yay for Fridays!  Happy end of the work week to all you busy-bees out there!!!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

A State of Loneliness

As summer has come upon us, I find myself in a state of loneliness.  I know that sounds ridiculous - how could I ever be lonely as the weather begins to brighten up outside and we are no longer living in a snowy, dark place?  I think this time of year just makes me think back on what I would be doing had I not moved and it makes me miss living in KY.  

I know those of you who are reading this and have to have a job in order to survive want to smack me for saying that I'm so sick of not doing anything and having no one to not do it with.  However, this is the reality of the situation.  I miss teaching.  I really missed all of the end of the year festivities that I didn't get to participate in this past school year.  I miss really being on a summer break and all that entails.  I miss being able to call up my old team teacher and great friend, Anessa to see if she wants to go to the pool.  I miss hanging out with all my high school friends and finding out when we can go get a smoothie from Tropical Smoothie Cafe or going over to Taylor and Chelsea's the lay by the pool.  I miss living with my best friend, little Doni, and doing everything and nothing with her.  I miss hanging out with all of my friends on random nights just because it's summer and everything has slowed down.  I miss trying to get my other bestie, Katie to take a "comp day" (although she has them no more) to spend the day at the pool with me.

I'm pretty sure that the root of all this is that I deeply miss my friends and company that I could always have when I was living in Kentucky.  Now, I'm alone all day, left to my own devices.  Honestly, I've become really lazy and unmotivated simply because I have no pressing need to be motivated for anything.  I've also become really lonely because with all this time that I had yearned for when I was in a season of busyness just isn't as sweet as I thought it would be (the grass is always greener, right?).

I don't ask for pity, in fact you shouldn't feel sorry for me.  This is a season where I should relish in the fact that I am free to spend time with the Lord and discover what He wants of me.  I know that I was blessed with a lot of friendships and good times in Lexington, but I feel as if I never really knew what it was like to lean upon the Lord in times of loneliness simply because I never really felt lonely there.  What I ask from you is to pray for me, that I may embrace this time and look at it as an opportunity to try and be more like Christ and grow closer to our Father and not just waste away in my favorite spot on the couch.  Sorry for such a mundane post, but this is what is truly written on my heart today.

"But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed." Luke 5:16

Happy Wednesday - Hump Day!  This was (and still is) my favorite day of the work week!

Monday, June 7, 2010

A Use for Old Wine Bottles

If you have a bunch of old wine bottles lying around and you can't seem to bring yourself to throw them away, then you're a lot like myself :).  I kept looking at our empty wine bottles thinking, there has to be a good use for these!  A lot of things came to mind, for instance to use them for a flower vase to house 1 large flower that can make a statement on its own without a lot of other flowers paired with it (i.e. sunflower).

I decided to make candle holders with my empty wine bottles.  I washed them off as well as I could and removed their labels.  I then took candle sticks that I purchased at IKEA for like $2 and shaved down the ends into points so that they could fit into the wine bottle.  I stuck the candles in and then took a look at what I had made.  The wine bottle seemed really plain so I decided to add something else.  My original idea was fabric with some twine tied into a knot around it to add a simple touch.  However, I didn't have any fabric or twine so I used the next best thing: scrapbook paper.  And then the idea came to me to add our monogram to the bottles as well.  I went on Microsoft Word and came up with some initial labels.  Here is the final result:

I loved the way our monograms looked on the bottles and I decided that those little letters could come in handy for something else, some other project or anything that my blog friends could think to use them for.  I went into my document and added the whole alphabet so that you wouldn't have just mine and Stephen's initials to choose from.  I also added another alphabet of one of my favorite fonts that I downloaded for free from Kevin and Amanda.  Even if you have no interest in making wine bottle candle holders yourself, I hope you can find the labels helpful and you can use them again and again :)

I've linked up to these parties: 

Magnificent Mondays: Magnificent Blogs 16

Not only does Kierstie and Angela have a great blog with great ideas, but it's also incredibly easy for you to navigate with all their DIY projects listed on the left-hand side of the blog.  You can just scroll through and see which projects look appealing to you!

Looking for a simple baby shower gift for a mommy-to-be?  Look no more, you can whip up some of these!

Once you have kids (or maybe you know someone who does have kids and would like to make this for them) everyone needs this for the Christmas season.

I also really like this and you could personalize it to make it say whatever you'd like!

Head on over to Brown Paper Packages and find some neat things for yourself to make!  Make sure you scoot back over here and let me know what you love about this blog!
Happy Blogging!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

These are a few of my favorite things...

I was blogging around this morning when I fell upon Andrea's favorite things list over at Life in Dawleywood when I was inspired to make my own list of my favorite things :).  Here they are in no particular order, just a random collection of things that make me smile :-D.

My favorite movie of all times!  When I was younger, I watched it so many times that my sisters worked together to steal it from me and hide it so I could no longer watch it (they must've been sick of watching it themselves) :).

My two favorite colors :) - it's funny because I love both of these colors so much and could look at things that are shaded in them for hours, but I don't particularly love them together, only when they're a part. 

I love to go for walks.  I think it is so peaceful to either go alone and listen to my IPOD or go with someone else and have a good conversation.

We all know about my love for these little guys...I would take one home with me in a heartbeat!

I love to read and I don't do it enough!  I can get lost in a good fiction book.  Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers happens to be one of my most favorite books of all time.  If you're looking for a good Christian fiction book to read, I strongly encourage you to read this book.  While you're reading it, go on ahead and read the book of Hosea alongside and look at the similarities.  This book is based off the book of Hosea in the Bible.

Oh my stars, I could eat Garrett's caramel popcorn for breakfast, lunch and dinner (and then I would have to constantly wear sweatpants because any fitting pants would never fit me again!).

I love a good worship song, and the actual act of worshipping.  Give me some good worship time and I feel refreshed (love me some Hillsong United!)

You guessed it; I love to laugh!  I usually laugh the most whenever I'm around this girl right here:
(that's my bff, Doni)

I love Young Life camp, especially Rockbridge.  I think I love Young Life camp so much because it's the closest thing to Heaven that you can experience here on earth.  There's no doubt that Jesus is there, as He is everywhere, but you can especially feel His presence at YL camp!  If you've never heard of Young Life, I encourage you to check it out!

I really love all of my Lexington friends and miss them terribly on a daily basis!  I am blessed to call them my friends and feel that I'm a better person and follower of Christ because they are in my life.  (p.s. I stole this picture from my friend, Jenna's blog because she's the bomb dot com). 

Ahhhh!  My 3 favorite restaurants (in no particular order)!  I could just rotate throughout the week and I would be a happy little camper!
My lipstick of choice :).

I could go on and on and on and on, but I will spare you!  Why not make your own post showing your readers all your favorite things!  If you do, make sure that you let me know because I would LOVE to read about things that you love!
Happy Thursday!!!

P.S. With a heavy heart I learned that Blanche from the Golden Girls passed away today.  In honor of her life, I will be writing another post about her soon.  Until then, enjoy this post regarding what she meant to me.