Sunday, February 28, 2010

Welcome to my view. Pretty huh? Actually, it's fascinating. For all those graduate students before the age of computers, word processors, digital maps, pdf's, zotero, language programs, online journals, articles, and whole books.... God bless ya'll. The window into the scholarly world is broad and sunny from here. But I'm not totally chained to the desk. There are the family outings, two chapels a week, and the occasional riveting class or academic convention. [see more below]

These lucky students at the Wheaton College lab are photographing the artifacts (in 3D) found at Tel-Dothan in Israel, southwest of Mount Gilboa. The gentlemen and I in the Ceramics independent study group visited the lab last week and had a quick and dirty overview of early civilizations in the Levant. We benefited greatly from having representative pottery from each period on hand to peruse and hope to be back again soon.

It is telling when you look at the pottery record that comes down the line. Around the time we understand Israel to begin inhabiting the Judean Highlands the pottery looks dramatically different from the surrounding regions. They show basic pots and bowls with typically no decoration or artistic flourishes. But the closer you get to the surrounding Canaanite nations, the pots get an artful detail here, a superflous inscriptions there. Some "Israelite" towns were almost no different from their neighbors.

O' those filthy Philistines!!

[Dad just came by so we'll post soon on all that.]

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Vacation Time!

Look! It's us in a picture with people we've known longer than 2 months!!
Jimmy and Suzanne (aka Mamere and Pawpaw) came to visit us this past weekend- from Thursday through Sunday. We had so much fun!
Here's a run down of the festivities:
Thursday: Airport pickup, hot dogs at Portillo's, tour of Frank L Wright's Home and Studio, take out from Phoenicia's (our fav restaurant/awesome Mediterranean restaurant in highland park), and playtime with Eden- all sans Thomas who was in class.
Friday: Slow morning and brunch at Kevin's Place (a local cafe just down the road with great food), trek to Shedd Aquarium - thanks Anna and Ryan!, dinner at home and fun talking late.
Saturday: Breakfast at home, Jimmy and Thomas off to the Chicago Car Show (biggest car show in the world I think), Suzanne, Eden and I off to Evanston to shop downtown (large fabric store, cute indie clothing boutiques, cafe lunch, amish furniture, spice house), home to play with Eden until our SUPER AWESOME FREE babysitter Eileen showed up so we could head downtown to eat ribs at Smoke Daddy's (so good!).
Sunday: Breakfast in, tour of campus, and flight catching.

So just in case any of you have thought about visiting you can see how fabulously we will treat you :). Thomas' dad (aka Grandaddy) is on his way this weekend and hopefully we'll pull off some 5-star treatment for him to.

Thomas is currently nose deep in a lot of catch up work from such a fun filled weekend. I am catching up on my hulu que (oh what a hard life) and laundry and working on a quilt for Eden. Sorry for the lapse in posting!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

I have plenty I could write about, sledding (and the accompanied tailbone injury), our trials with Church hunting, our first big date since moving, projects that are finally seeing an end, and the much anticipated visits from family, but I'm exhausted. Neither Thomas or I have slept very well since the move (it's ridiculously hot in our apartment and we don't have a thermostat- that's right- oh the horror). To compensate for restless sleep, I've been trying to stay up a bit later so I'll be really tired. It's finally kicking in. But I really wanted to post an update! I'll settle on just sharing a few photos.

Before we moved Thomas suggested I organize my digital photos by month. BEST.IDEA.EVER. Now I can go back 1 year to this month and see what Eden was like! Enjoy the memory trip:

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

February so far

I got a phone call from my mom today-
Me: Hello?
Mom: Did you guys have an earthquake? Did you feel it??
Me: Mom, this is Katie, you called the wrong daughter
Mom: No, I know this is Katie, CNN says there was an earthquake in Chicago

And yes, in fact there was an earthquake early this morning about 30 miles north/northwest of us, 3.8, and no, I didn't feel a thing. WEIRD.

Here are some normal things about Chicagoland-

The snow in our backyard and parking lot as seen from our balcony:

The car after the snow finally stopped. It's just a VW Golf but this makes it look like an XB:

Eden listening to her Daddy's study music:

Snow Day cookies (I didn't leave the house for 60 hours!!):

Trying marshmallow fondant for the first time:

The marshmallow fondant cake was for our neighbors and new friends. Eileen turned 25 on Monday and since we don't know her that well I figured a birthday cake was the way to go. I've had this tutorial for the fondant tagged for quite awhile and was really excited to finally try it out. I used a 6" X 2" cake pan and some neon food coloring. The fondant is REALLY sticky when you first start working it, but after about 8 minutes it's just like play dough and tastes a whole lot better. SERIOUSLY FUN. I got a bit crazy with some cupcakes until about midnight on Friday. Eileen and Blaise were sweet and brought it back to our house with ice cream so we could share it with them. It's so great having neighbor friends!

The chocolate cookies were made after my 48th hour of not leaving my 900 sq ft apartment. I was stir crazy and under some delusion that Eden would help me and it would be fun. Eden was too terrified by the mixer to enjoy herself and spent her 20 minutes of allotted Sesame Street time while I finished baking. THESE COOKIES ARE AWESOME. I think they are my new favorite, so here's the recipe:

Chocolate Mint Brownie Cookies
from Nestle Toll House Best-Ever Cookies

  • 1 1/2 cups (9 oz.) NESTLÉ® TOLL HOUSE® Semi-Sweet Chocolate Morsels, divided
  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter or margarine, softened
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup chopped nuts
MELT 3/4 cup morsels in small, heavy saucepan over lowest possible heat. When morsels begin to melt, remove from heat; stir. Return to heat for a few seconds at a time, stirring until smooth. Cool to room temperature.

COMBINE flour, baking soda and salt in small bowl. Beat butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar, peppermint extract and vanilla extract in large mixer bowl until creamy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in melted chocolate. Gradually beat in flour mixture. Stir in remaining morsels and nuts. Drop dough by rounded tablespoon onto ungreased baking sheets.

BAKE in preheated 350° F. oven for 8 to 12 minutes or until sides are set but centers are still soft. Let stand for 2 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

A little throwback... my old reason for blogging. I read a lot of blogs. A LOT. Probably too many. Ok, too many. The DIY movement has swept the nation and there are 100s of talented designer moms out there who make beautiful things and take gorgeous pictures and talk about their children eating crayons because they were too busy sewing to notice. How could I not read these blogs? I've described it to Thomas before as having a daily subscription to the most interesting magazine ever- completely centered around my favorite things. I too want to share what makes my own little world magical- paints, fabrics, Eden, Thomas, baking, etc. My current secret (for five more seconds) desire is to find a used cheap cheap SLR camera and learn to take better pictures. My dining room table is covered in gesso, a tackle box of tools, butterfly patterns, fabric, snow-day cookies, and tissue paper pom poms.

Some days I feel like this is all silly- that the world is not a very sunshiney crafty place and I should be spending more time and effort on other, more helpful pursuits. A pastor at one of the churches we recently visited stated that a God given talent is not the same as your spiritual gift. I agree with him, although it may be the same for some. I struggle with ways to use my craftiness for His glory, but if I put creating anymore on the back burner I would never have time for it. God obviously gave me creative ability and it should be used. The aformentioned blogs are starting to open doors for such endeavors- fundraisers for Haiti relief, blankets for orphans, etc. A lot of the bloggers are Christian and offer wonderful, daily encouragement.

Well, anyway, this blog entry was begun with the intention of introducing you to some of my favorite blogs and also to some tutorials I'm itching to try out.

Amazing nursery mural via ZoeJo

Recycled Crayon tutorial via Sharing the Love on Flickr

Chocolate Pudding Pie via Smitten Kitchen

Headband tutorial via calico

Wouldn't this be adorable done over a little toddler bed?
Embroidered Headboard tutorial via DesignSponge

I know SO many pregnant women
Cute Maternity Style via Design Mom

Maply Syrup Pancake Muffins via Joy the Baker

I love this kitchen, and she has my rug!
The rest of her house is also gorgeous and she has great photography.
via Meadowbrook Farm

My absolute favorite photo shoot of all time.
This was an inspiration shoot based on a true proposal story.
Created by Merriment featured on Once Wed (a fantastic wedding photography blog, and yes, Jill has been featured there!)

Other fun blogs to check out if you like design/photography/craft:
[i] love life
Craft Hope
Design Mom
Whatever (my personal favorite)
Sweet Designs: A Blog by Amy Atlas
Making it Lovely

Thanks for sneaking a peak at what's inspiring me! Unless you leave comments begging me to never, ever torture you like this again I'll probably start sharing inspiration of this sort a weekly thing. Goodnight!

Monday, February 8, 2010

Show mommy how the piggy eats...

I am officially a mother. My child's hair has been in her eyes AND IT IS DRIVING ME CRAZY! I refuse to cut it because we curly headed girls have a really hard time pulling off bangs outside of the 80s. It will eventually get long enough to fix and I know I just need to wait it out, but in the meantime I've been unsuccessfully trying every clip/bow/barrette/rubber band to tame the madness. This would be a lot easier if she would just wear headbands! Using rubber bands doesn't help, because the hair in front is not long enough; however, the pigtails were so cute I had to share. After weeding out the 50 pictures I took, here are the best. It is almost impossible to capture the cuteness with my pathetic camera skills. She looked like Boo from Monster's Inc and seemed a whole year older.

The best pictures we got were while she was eating. (disclaimer: spaghetti night means eating without a shirt)

I am including this photo to show one of those brief moments that Eden reminds me tons of my sister. It happens once every few days. Maybe no one else will see it, but the straight brown hair and profile in this picture remind me so much of Jill as a little girl. Sorry Jill that it happened while she was shirtless, eating with her hands, and covered in spaghetti. For the record, you were always very dainty, especially at mealtime, but you did love your tongue :).

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Pictures are stacking up on me, especially because I finally put batteries in the real camera!! Brace yourselves for another picture heavy post.

In the last post I mentioned that Eden has been noticing that things "match." I caught her taking her shoes out of her closet (they are just thrown into a large basket) and pairing them. She had already dismantled two pairs by the time I got the camera:

After having blood drawn on Friday, we took her to the Kohl Children's Museum for a little fun. This is the only picture we snapped because there were about 200 kids running around like monkeys. The museum is only12 minutes away. We got a good deal on a membership so we'll be going back lots. It has a fake grocery store, daycare, water play area, etc, etc. Everything is interactive:

We are, in fact, totally spoiling our daughter, but at least we're doing it on a budget :)! That makes it ok, right? At Christmas I wanted to get Eden a few things for her babydoll. I settled on a few bottles and a dress (taking the naked baby with us everywhere seriously had to stop). I saw this stroller at walmart but the $15 price tag was too high. We found it yesterday on clearance for $2.50! She LOVES it:

Eden has looked so sweet lately. She's really becoming all toddler (remember this statement for the last picture). All the "baby" is going away and a sweet, tiny lady is emerging:

The grass briefly said hello (it's gone now btw) so we took the opportunity to play with one of her favorite toys:

When we got home tonight from an errand, Eden insisted (in the lovely way only a toddler knows how) she be allowed to wear her snowsuit. We lay it on the ground and she happily plops herself on top. I wasn't sure she knew what she was asking for (it can get hot in our apartment), but she seemed rather pleased!

Here is a quick snapshot Thomas took of Eden chillin with Sesame Street and a snack.

This is Eden's Valentine's Shirt. I think I mentioned I've been in a crafty mood. I found a plain t-shirt at Target for $2.50 and put some of my fabric paint to work using a freezer paper stencil:

And as previously mentioned, here is toddler Eden: