Tuesday, October 28, 2008


It was 28 degrees when I woke up this morning! It was a really sunny morning and there was frost on all the roofs, so it was really pretty. I'm going to have to take some pictures of the beautiful autumn leaves before they all turn. There are a couple of trees by our house that look almost neon. I've never seen anything like it! It's supposed to be back up in the 60s by the end of the week, so I think we still have a little bit of fall weather left. (Thank goodness! I don't know if I'm ready for winter yet.)

On a totally unrelated note, I have a sitemeter for my blog. It basically records how many people visit each day, how long they stay, and what their location is (city and state). It also tells me how people found my blog (i.e. through a link on another blog, through a google search, etc.) A lot of businesses use site meters so that they can tell how effective their advertising is and try to improve their visibility on search engines. I just do it because I think it's interesting to see where people are coming from. I've had visitors from France, Indonesia, the UK, etc. Probably my favorite thing to look at is what Google searches people do that lead them to my blog. By far the most popular is "nerdy Halloween costumes," which leads them to this post. Ha! I think that definitely fits in the category. Maybe some people will actually copy our idea. Another search that made me laugh today was, "Should I have my toe amputated?" I hope whoever was searching for that found some sound medical advice. :)

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

These are a few of my favorite blogs

Cue "Favorite Things" from Sound of Music.

Okay, so it's no secret that I read A LOT of blogs. And I'm trying to get more people to read more, so I don't feel so bad :) So, here, in no particular order, are just a few of my favorites. (Now, obviously, I enjoy reading my friends' blogs to stay caught up on their lives, but I'm just including "theme" blogs in this post...ones that appeal to a wider audience).

1. Unclutterer - This blog was pretty much the catalyst for my extreme purging of "stuff" in the past year. It has a lot of inspiring tips for keeping your home and life uncluttered. Sometimes it can be a little extreme. The writers are very against "baby-clutter" and suggest that you think about whether your child actually needs a mobile. Another suggestion for clearing closet clutter is to wear only neutral colors so everything goes together. I'm not that clutter-phobic. And, really, if you have so little clutter that you can start worrying about your baby's mobile, you're probably in pretty good shape. But, all that aside, the blog is pretty awesome. My favorite feature is "Workspace of the Week" where they feature a readers' desk area.

2. Get Rich Slowly - This is a fairly new find. It's a personal finance blog with a focus on living frugally in order to save money for the future. The author's goal isn't really to "get rich" in the way we normally think of getting rich, but rather to have saved enough to retire on time and not worry about money constantly. There is also a focus on giving money to charity. The writer's financial goals really match up with mine, and he and the readers give great advice for saving money and keeping track of finances. Because of that blog, I've started using Wesabe, which is a free online service for tracking your earnings and spending and setting financial goals.

3. Smitten Kitchen - Deb's recipes are amazing, and the photography is drool-worthy. If you can look at any of her desserts and not want to make them immediately, you have more willpower than I. (Of course, I guess that's not saying much).

4. The Pioneer Woman - Another great cooking/photography site. The Pioneer Woman has actual recipes that real people would make (you know, that actually contain things like, gasp, shortening or canned biscuits). It is refreshing in the world of all-natural, organic food blogging. Plus, she is absolutely hilarious. She has several different sections of her site. I also enjoy the "Confessions" section where she writes about her life on a ranch in Oklahoma.

5. The Kitchn - Okay, this one kind of falls under the "all-natural, organic food blogging" category, but the sheer number of posts (close to 10 per day!) makes it a worthwhile read. I really like the product features and posts where they tell you what to do with all kinds of weird produce. They also do a roundup of the most popular food posts from other popular food blogs, like Serious Eats. So it's sort of like reading two or three blogs in one. (It doesn't get better than that for me!)

A couple other sites I love that don't fall in the blog category:

1. Martha Stewart - Organizing Tip of the Day and Craft Tip of the Day...awesome! Hey, if you can't be crafty, the next best thing is reading about being crafty and imagining all of the things you could do if you had talent!

2. Supercook - You put in the ingredients you have, and the site searches all sorts of recipe sites to give you recipes with those ingredients. Be careful. It's addictive. This also appeals to my frugal side. I have been known to spend hours on this site looking for something I can bring to our small group that doesn't require me to go to the grocery store. Yes, I know, it would be quicker to just go to the store, but where's the fun in that?

So, if you have a few free minutes (or hours), go check these out.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

I Love Fall

I recently discovered the most awesome website. It's called scrapblog, and you can make online scrapbooks. They have tons of backgrounds and "stickers" to choose from and everything's totally customizable. It's completely free to share your scrapblog on the web or you can have it made into a book, greeting card, poster, etc. I've used Shutterfly in the past to make books, but this is so much better because you have total control over the layout, and there are so many fun templates that other people have created. (If the picture isn't loading, try hitting the refresh button. It can be a little finicky.)

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Fun Family Weekend

My mom and dad came up to visit this weekend. I was so happy to see them and so excited for my mom to finally see our house. On Friday, we gave them a tour of campus (or at least part of campus) and ate at Noodles. Then, we enjoyed ice cream, Rummikub, and watching The Office again. On Saturday, we ate breakfast at Le Peep (yum!) and went to Curtis Orchard. We were going to pick apples, but it was more expensive to pick them than to just buy them in the little store they had. But we did pick out some pumpkins, and Darby got some yummy apple cider. I made dinner and an apple pie Saturday night and then mom took me shopping. I got my winter coat. It's puffy! I love it. On Sunday, we went to church and then to lunch at Steak and Shake. It was such a fun weekend. I loved being able to host my parents for the first time. (When they came to visit in Abilene, they always stayed in a hotel since we didn't have a guest room). My whole family is coming up for Thanksgiving, and I absolutely cannot wait!!

Me and Darby picking out our pumpkin. We ended up getting a 20-lb one!

Monday, October 06, 2008

My little toe causes big problems!

Okay, so I have this mole on my pinky toe. I've been worried about it for a while because it seems like it's getting bigger. When I went for my physical, I asked the doctor about it. She referred me to a dermatologist. The dermatologist told me she'd have to refer me to a plastic surgeon because there wasn't enough skin on my toe for her to remove it in the office. So today, I went to see the plastic surgeon. ("Yes, I'd like to have some work done on my pinky toe, please.") Well, actually I saw the Physician's Assistant who told me she was hesitant to do a biopsy of it because she wasn't sure if there was enough skin on my toe for her to seal the hole closed. She told me she'd take some pictures of it and show it to the plastic surgeon, but most likely it will only be removed with surgery and then will have to be sewn up with stitches. I will have to be on crutches for a few days afterward to prevent the stitches from ripping. Then she said that in the worst case scenario I would have to have a skin graft! This is insane. All because of a little mole! I'm not sure whether it's worth it to remove it or if I should just wait it out. Maybe I should just have my toe amputated. It seems like that might be the easier option. :)

Okay, on to more normal aspects of my life. This weekend Darby and I went to see Kalyn and BJ in Farmington, Kentucky. We had a great time! The Gensics have a cute little house, and we had a lot of fun talking, playing Risk, and eating Kalyn's yummy cooking! She made an apple pie with a cheddar cheese crust that was heavenly. It sounds kind of weird to put cheddar in a pie crust, but it was really good! It was so nice to see some friends from "home," and to get to lounge around someone else's house for a change.