At long last I have made it through midterms for the semester and am getting into my Halloween/fall spirit more and more every day. I'm also starting to think about Christmas more than I should, but I think we're still a safe distance from me decorating or anything of that nature. There is so much to fill you in on-- I can hardly wait to begin. Also, I'm playing around with graphic design tools again and tried to give you a little Small Joys graphic with fall leaves-- but it looks more pink and yellow than anything else. I've been playing around with graphic design for the past year and still have a LONG way to go. The above image shows up as a picture instead of an easy flowing title-- anyone know how to fix this? It'll do for now, but just know that my lack of professional training in graphic design can explain a lot of those funky things in my posts that you may see in the coming weeks. I did successfully make our Christmas card with fun fonts and cool editing techniques-- I've ordered those and will post one when it's closer to the holiday season. Shall we begin with some small joys, then?
No. 1: Fall foliage. Oh man, fall is here in Indiana. Scott and I went on a little camping trip to my favorite fall locale-- Brown County National Park-- last weekend, and I was delighted by all of the fall foliage surrounding us. I wished for more but was told that we had not yet had our "fall rain" that we needed to make the rest of the leaves change color. This is a legitimate fact that rain is needed for the leaves to completely change colors, something to do with chemical interactions that take place when it rains. Here's my favorite photo from our weekend trip, which may look very familiar to our Christmas card that you will see in the coming months.
No. 2: Apple picking. With that fall foliage comes frolicking in the apple orchards and baking delicious appley (just made that a word) treats. Scott and I realized that we still had apples leftover from last fall in our freezer, so we whipped up an apple pie from Pioneer Woman that was so decadent and out of this world. Actually, Scott made it completely on his own as I shouted directions from the Chancey couch, where I was editing photos from the weekend.
Anderson Orchard, Mooresville, IN
No. 3: House hunting. Ok, I should clarify. House hunting itself is not fun, especially when you've been doing it since May. Scott and I were under contract for a house that we were really excited about a few months ago and couldn't wait to move in and do some rennovations. But then the inspection was terrifying and we walked away from the house after the inspector ran out of the house screaming "There's water coming through the walls!" (Sometimes my life seems like it would make a good reality TV show. Other times, when I'm at home on the couch watching Netflix in yoga pants, I realize maybe not). We are now under contract for an adorable house in the area of town we originally wanted to live in, Broad Ripple. It's trendy and kind of hipster-ish, and has tons of cute restaurants/coffee shops. What drew us to this area originally was the Monon Trail that we run and bike on frequently from downtown. The trail runs North to South throughout the city of Indianapolis and is so convenient for us when we feel like biking. I promised I wouldn't share much about this house until the inspection, in case we end up walking away again, but I'll show you the kitchen that I want to spend all day every day in.
Where I'll hopefully be baking pumpkin chocolate chip
bread next fall and Christmas cookies this Christmas!!
No. 4: An impending trip to DC. A few months ago I found a killer deal on the Southwest website for a $98 round trip flight to DC and booked it in a minute. The trip is just around the corner now and thankfully my work and school schedule work out perfectly for me to be able to visit my friends there. I'm looking forward to seeing fall in DC after enjoying a gorgeous spring trip there last March. I know there won't be cherry blossoms this time, but I'm praying for gorgeous fall foliage and some tasty Georgetown/Baked and Wired cupcakes.
No. 5: Joining a small group. Since I moved up here I have longed for community. I left a beautiful church community back home in NC and longed for similar community here, but with my crazy night shift schedule I never found a way to make this work well. A combination of working day shift and being forced to have Wednesdays off for classes this year have made joining a small group so very easy. After only 3 months in this group, I feel at home and feel safe sharing my thoughts about my faith life, my prayers, and my life with these people. Tonight I'm babysitting for one of the couples and am excited to spend an evening babysitting with another female member of the group whom I formerly did not know very well. We've planned for chick flicks, homemade enchiladas, and lots of laughs after the little one goes to bed. How refreshing that 2 years later, I've found my niche in a church community. If you're in a weird transition in your life or trying to fit in in a new place, know that it's coming. It may take you longer than you wish or God may push you into it earlier than you could have anticipated, but you'll find your niche.
Some of the ladies from my small group
No. 6: New recipes. I've been experimenting with a few new recipes in the kitchen and some are ones that I would eat for every meal every day of the week if I had to. Scott came up with the idea of ground turkey Philly "cheesesteaks" a few weeks ago and we've made some variety of this at least once a week for the past three weeks. It's so tasty and, besides the bread, not really too terrible for you. We limit ourselves on the amount of cheese and use sautéed peppers and onions (I just started drooling thinking about how good this would be if we added sautéed mushrooms. Oh, yum). I also took my first stab at spaghetti squash yesterday and have to report the most delicious Italian meal I've had in a long time. Here is the recipe I used. We substituted Greek yogurt for ricotta cheese (it comes out SO creamy if you use Greek yogurt, I'm obsessed with it in lasagna now) and added ground beef to add some protein, and I think we will be eating this as cold-weather comfort food in the winter to come.
No. 7: Trader Joe's pumpkin spice coffee. It's no latte, but it satisfies my need for pumpkin spice in my coffee without having all of the associated calories of a PSL. Have you tried this yet?? If not, do. I wait for it every year and check the shelves as early as September for it.
Source: Trader Joe's
No. 8: The Pioneer Woman Collection at Walmart. I waited for months for this release and have yet to purchase a single thing from this collection! The Pioneer Woman is one of my favorite kitchen gurus and is my go-to for many recipes (although, I usually have to modify them because of her excessive use of cream and butter!), and when I saw that this line was coming out, I freaked and stalked Walmart for days leading up to the release. To clarify: I want it all. Every piece. Maybe after we move I will start my collection. Check it out if you haven't, you will not be disappointed.
No. 9: A better attitude. I've been focusing on being more positive at work/complaining less, and it's amazing how much those simple things can change the day you are having. I don't feel trapped in negativity and find that I can be a better nurse for my patients and a better resource for those around me. It's certainly not of my own doing but of God's. I have been praying for a renewed spirit and attitude each morning before work, and if you're trapped in negativity and need help getting out, I recommend this to you.
No. 10: Lindsay Letters' Collection. Her new website was released this week as well as the Holiday collection, and I can't wait to download some of her prints. If you're into calligraphy and fancy prints, you'll love her.
My favorite fall quote from Lindsay Letters.
That's all, folks! Thanks for bearing with me in a busy season and for showing me grace when I haven't been able to post a lot. I anticipate more busy-ness ahead with moving, finals, and traveling for the holidays, but will do my best to throw some posts out every so often. Would love to hear from you all about what's going on in your own lives.
Lots of love,