more cookies

I’ve made a couple different kinds of cookies since my last cookie post (here).  So here is an update.  I made these Frosted Pumpkin Spiced Cookies:

IMG_4470

IMG_4471

They were more cakey than I expected, but still delicious.

And then I made these Mrs. Field’s Chocolate Chip Copycat Cookies:

IMG_4715

IMG_4716

And holy moly were they good.  The trick is to grind up the oats.  Sooo good.  I made 18 and they were gone within 24 hours, not surprising.

I’ve also made the Malted Chocolate Chunk Cookies a couple more times since I first made them, they’re a keeper.

closet organization

The first night in our new house Mike and I stayed up super late organizing our closet, because how can you function without a closet?  You can’t.  I wouldn’t say it’s in perfect working order, but it’s a pretty good set-up.  So if you are in need of a closet re-vamp here is a little inspiration.

IMG_4703

IMG_4704

Built-ins and baskets are a must for any closet and we keep our hamper underneath (totally threw all of the dirty clothes on our bathroom floor before taking this pic, you don’t need to see that).

IMG_4705

IMG_4714

We use the beige bins for sweaters we don’t want to hang, gloves, hats, ear muffs, and other random stuff.  I have 3 long brown baskets.  2 of them I use for storing shoes, 1 for flats & 1 for sandals.  It saves a lot of space.  The 3rd basket I use for tank tops and camisoles, basically small tops that don’t need to be hung.

IMG_4706

Spring/Summer clothes and dresses on top.  I wanted these on top since they are smaller and lighter, so the closet doesn’t feel like it’s closing in on you as much…you know?

IMG_4707

Fall/Winter clothes on bottom.

IMG_4712

Behind the door are vests, jackets, coats, scarves (I use one of these), and belts (I use one of these).  Below that are more shoes (running shoes, heels).

IMG_4710

Above that are boots and 2 big baskets.  One is used for sheets (why are these not in the linen closet?…hmm) and the other is used for all my bags.

So that’s it in a nutshell.  If your closet is too overwhelming to even think about organizing it, look here and I’ll get it done for you!

books

I go through waves of reading more and then reading less, but I’m usually always reading something.  Right now I’m almost half way through with Belong to Me by Marisa de los Santos and I’m liking it so far.  Here are 10 books I’d recommend if you’re trying to find something to read.

zippy

A Girl Named Zibby by Haven Kimmel.  Funny, easy read, great book.

modoc

Modoc by Ralph Helfer.  Based on a true of story, this book is fascinating.

mountainsbeyondmountains

Mountains Beyond Mountains by Tracy Kidder.  I don’t think I’ve ever read anything so inspiring.  Non-fiction.

the-tigers-wife

The Tiger’s Wife by Tea Obreht.  This book is mysterious, it kept me interested the entire time.  Unique and captivating.

Peacelikeariver

Peace like a River by Leif Enger.  Such a sweet story with wonderful characters.  Heart felt and intriguing.

life-of-pi

Life of Pi by Yann Martel.  Probably would be better if you haven’t already seen the movie.  Captures the human spirit.

zookeepers-wife

The Zookeeper’s Wife by Diane Ackerman.  True story of zookeeper’s at the Warsaw zoo hiding Jews in their empty animal cages, incredible story.

edgar sawtelle

The Story of Edgar Sawtelle by David Wroblewski.  Born mute, Edgar lives with his parents on a farm raising and training a fictional dog breed.  Tragedy strikes and he flees to the wilderness with three of his dogs.  Beautifully written.

boy who harnessed

The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind by William Kamkwamba and Bryan Mealer.  True story of a boy in Malawi who embarks on a plan to bring running water and electricity to his village.  Craziness, just craziness.

west with the night

West with the Night by Beryl Markham.  Best adventure story I’ve ever read.  True story of Beryl’s life growing up in Kenya and later flying planes.  It’s awesome.

And here are a few books that I intend to read soon:

1.  The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

2.  And the Mountains Echoed by Khaled Hosseini

3.  The Fault in our Stars by John Green

4.  Left to Tell:  Discovering God Admidst the Rwandan Holocaust by Immaculee Ilibagiza and Steve Erwin

Let me know if you have any recommendations!

bookcase styling

When we moved into this house back in August I fell in love with our huge built-ins in our entry hall.  It definitely took some time to fill them in the way I wanted though.  My method was to put every thing up on the shelves first and then rearrange until I settled on this:

IMG_4682

I’ll probably rearrange again in a couple months, but for now it works.  The bottom shelf is empty, but I intend to put some baskets down there eventually.

I worked within one shelf at a time, and spread out the frames, tchochtkes, and rows of books so that it looks somewhat balanced.  We wanted our books to be separated according to classics, non-fiction, fiction, religious/spiritual, reference, etc.  So that helped too in deciding where everything should go.

IMG_4690

IMG_4691

IMG_4679

IMG_4681

I have a whole Pinterest board dedicated to bookshelves and built-ins (here) for inspiration.  Check it out!

metallic pumpkins

Our dining table was looking pretty bare so we went to a pumpkin patch and got 4 mini pumpkins and wrapped them in some berry twine from Michaels.

IMG_4660

IMG_4659

But it was missing something, so I spray painted them metallic gold with this spray paint:

IMG_4662

It took all of 5 minutes (tops), and they turned out like this:

IMG_4673

IMG_4671

IMG_4675

Much more festive.  I need a runner for the table too, but I haven’t found one that speaks to me, ya know?

And since I posted my Halloween decorations I’ll show a couple of my T’giving doodads.

IMG_4656

Meet Mr. & Mrs. Pilgrim.  They took the spot of my mini tricker-treaters, shown here.

IMG_4657

This took the spot of my happy halloween sign, also shown here.

IMG_4652

And my ‘give thanks’ banner, tutorial here.

That’s all for now folks, almost 2 weeks until Thanksgiving!

jillian michaels

The first big cold front come through last night, which means I did my workout inside today.  I’m not a serious runner, so if the weather isn’t nice (and warmish), I don’t run.  So I thought I’d give a run down of my favorite Jillian Michaels DVDs, because a lot of times that’s what I end up doing.

j1

This one is a great place to start.  It targets the entire body and there are 4 separate workouts (the first is the easiest, fourth is the most difficult), all about 30 minutes long.

j2

This one is a doozy.  Targets the abs, but really you alway end up working everything with Jillian.  3 workouts on this one, runs a little over 30 minutes.  It’s tough, but good!

j3

Similar to the ab one, but targets legs and butt.  3 workouts, and these run a little under 40 minutes.

j4

Good for beginners, even if you’ve never done yoga.  2 workouts, 30 minutes.  I don’t break a big sweat with these, but they are definitely still challenging.

j5

A step up from her first yoga dvd.  Similar format, 2 workouts, 30 minutes.  It’s a fun way to challenge myself.

I used to do particular workouts over and over, but now I just rotate through all of my DVDs and then I’ll start over.  That way I don’t get bored and my body doesn’t get used to do the same thing over and over again.  The great thing about these is that they don’t take a big time commitment and you still get the benefits of working out for a longer amount of time because Jillian is good at bringing the pain…in a good way!

good deeds

I was sitting in church recently and I became inspired to start doing more good deeds.  My goal being one good deed a week.  I began looking around on Pintrest and here are some ideas that I’ve found.

52 weeks

160 random acts of kindness from my three bittles blog.  Check it out here.

one good deed

This journal is filled with ideas for good deeds, and then you list the date that you completed each one.  Buy it here.

25 things

Loved these ideas for around Christmas from the perfect kind of chaos blog.

homeless

One of my favorites.  Packages made for the homeless to keep in your car.

I thought that doing a good deed every week will help me keep things in perspective and (hopefully) make someone else’s day brighter.  Plus I know it’ll end up improving my day too.  I try to do my part (be nice to strangers, recycle, say yes when asked to donate $1) but I know I could do so much more, so that’s what I’m going to try and do!