Monday, December 31, 2012

A Desire to Inspire's Top 12 Posts for 2012

With the new year approaching, it's time to count down all the amazing things that happened at A Desire to Inspire in 2012. As I've looked back on a year of posting, I've been filled with such an immense appreciation for all the blessings in my life. It's been quite a ride and I look forward to seeing what's in store for next year.

Without further delay, I present to you this year's top posts/happenings/accomplishments:

We rode snowmobiles for the first time - and at night!

We helped my parents take apart their cabin to ready it for a remodel. I'd never used a sledgehammer before. Demolition work is fun!

We bought a house!

Our appreciation for cheese grew by leaps and bounds after we learned how to make the stuff from scratch. Delicious, but a lot of work!

I traveled to the MIT campus in Cambridge to put on an event for Cheezburger centered around memes and Internet culture. I even got to meet some of the people behind popular memes, like Scumbag Steve  (pictured) and Chuck Testa.

It was a month of fun. We discovered Ballard, I made a heavenly chocolate bourbon pecan pie, and we celebrated Mike's 39th birthday. Yippy!


My company, Big City Blooms, did another fabulous wedding!

With the Olympics in full swing, we felt inspired to be more active. While Mike picked up rowing lessons, I tackled the jogging trails at Green Lake. By month's end, I hit 5 miles with every run.

My in-laws visited and we took a relaxing trip to my family's cabin in Leavenworth, Washington.

We were lucky enough to watch Glen Hansard (of Once, The Frames) jam on the streets of Seattle after his concert.

I was published in Ruche's annual holiday cookbook.

I think I've saved the best for last with this month. I've thought very carefully about whether or not to go public with this little secret I've been keeping, but after recent conversations with friends and family, I feel I must.

After years of preparations, multiple visits to the doctor, medical ups and downs as a result, and lengthy discussions about our options, I'm excited to announce that this month Mike and I have started the initial phase of IVF treatment (in-vitro fertility treatment).  Who knows where the journey will take us, but we'd sure love to be parents. Needless to say, we're thinking lots of happy thoughts as we enter the new year and wishing for the best.

Here's to all the blessings that 2013 has to offer everyone!

Monday, December 24, 2012

Mixology Monday: Berry & Pear Christmas Cocktail

Happy Monday! If you're reading this, the hubby and I are in St. Louis for the rest of the week visiting his family. I'll be taking a little blogging break until we return. In the meantime, here's some inspiration for making a festive Christmas cocktail (hat tip: She Knows). Cheers and Merry Christmas!

Berry & Pear Martini

3 oz. pear vodka
1.5 oz cranberry juice
1.5 oz blackberry brandy
Juice of 1/2 a lemon
Simple syrup to taste
Sliced pear for garnish

The Berry and Pear Christmas Cocktail from She Knows

Friday, December 21, 2012

Friday Funny

This edition of Friday Funny is a bit racy, but it made me laugh to the point of crying. Anyone familiar with an iPhone is no doubt aware of the ridiculous autocorrects it can sometimes come up with. Here are 25 of the funniest autocorrects in 2012.

Enjoy your weekend everyone!

See the full list of autocorrect fails here

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Making the Holidays Merry

With our holiday shopping completed and no concrete plans ahead other than traveling to St. Louis for Christmas, I thought perhaps this last week or two might have been a bit slow. I thought wrong! I've been busy completing all those unfinished projects I blogged about last week (more on that later). I've also been preoccupied with fun little holiday gatherings. We hosted a young adults game night for church friends on Saturday, a holiday gift exchange with my parents on Sunday, and later today we'll be getting together with our neighbors to share a few drinks and some holiday cheer. Keeping busy this time of year is actually kind of fun!

My parents, nephew, sister, hubby and I all gathered around our tree. 
One of several Christmas baskets I made for our neighbors.
It was my first attempt at making gift baskets. Not bad, but practice makes perfect.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Simple DIY Gift Ideas on Pinterest

I found this "10 Simple DIY Gift Ideas" guide on Mashable and some of these ideas were just too cute not to share. My favorites are below, but there's a lot to choose from for anyone in the do-it-yourself gift-giving mode this year.

I love these adorable jelly jars with painted animal lids. 
Men's old dress shirts find new purpose with these wine bottle holders. 

Monday, December 17, 2012

Recipe Box Redo

Remember my shoe box recipe holder that I told you about last week? I'm happy to report the shoe box is no more. Now I have all of my recipes printed on cute little cards tucked neatly inside of A RECIPE BOX! It feels silly to be excited about something so small, but this was a project I thought I'd never be checking off my list. Hooray!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Lauren Scruggs Speaks

Can we talk about Lauren Scruggs for a minute? I'm amazed, humbled and inspired by the video she's released this year, marking one full year of recovery since losing her arm and eye in a freak plane propeller accident last December. Young people like Lauren who are so strong in their faith really impress me.  She's taken an awful situation and turned it into something incredibly powerful and positive. That's a way of thinking that I can definitely get behind. Go Lauren, go!

You can watch the complete video here

Monday, December 10, 2012

Powdered Sugar & Lace on a Cake

I love this idea from My Two Butterflies for decorating a cake with powdered sugar and lace. If you're low on time it beats frosting a cake, though I suppose if you love frosting this wouldn't be the dessert topper for you. I'm curious if it actually holds or if it blows away the minute you try and cut a piece of cake. Has anyone out there tried this decorating technique before?

Happy Times

One full week has passed since my first day of unemployment and I can honestly say that I never thought I'd be this happy about the situation. I've been more productive in the last week than I think I've been all year! (Okay, maybe not all year, but very productive nonetheless.)  Life is good!

So here's a snapshot of the Christmas lights that I hung up on the house last week. The picture is a little dark, but you get the point. I just love white Christmas lights. Don't you?

And these are a few of the holiday sugar cookies I baked for a charity auction over the weekend. I made 60 of these babies!

Oh, and then there's the book I finally finished. If you haven't read Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand, I highly recommend it. While I'm a sucker for World War II stories, this one is particularly inspirational.

Lastly, here's a preview of one of my next projects. I know it doesn't look like much, but this has basically been our recipe box for the last 4 years. You heard correctly - I keep my most prized recipes in an old Nordstrom shoe box! Well, the time has come to get a little more organized. I'll keep you posted on what I come up with next!

Friday, December 7, 2012

Kitten Cam Weekend Kick-Off

Well folks, it's the end of the week and the start of the weekend. What could be better than that? I feel good about the projects I've been able to complete during this first week of unemployment and now I'm ready to relax and have a few laughs.  This Kitten Cam footage will do the trick!

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Apple Crisp - The Shocking Results

So it turns out that I can cook a pretty delicious apple crisp! As promised, here are the pictures from my little baking adventure yesterday. The apple coring and slicing takes a long time, but it's so worth it. I cranked up the Christmas music, put on an apron and got to work and an hour or so later, I had a warm, gooey dessert that practically changed my life it was so good. Highly recommend this recipe!

It took everything I had not to eat the apples raw like this. Don't they look good?
This is what the crisp looked like just before going into the oven. A whole lotta brown sugar and oats.
The result, fresh out of the oven.  The scoop of vanilla ice cream took me over the edge. Heavenly!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Enjoying My Time Off

The hubby and I were playing a game of cribbage last night and I realized something kind of amazing about my unemployment situation: now I have A LOT of free time. There are so many little projects that I've put on hold in recent months because I was just too busy with work, the house, church or neighborhood activities, etc. Now I have all the time in the world to focus on them. In fact, I'm going to tackle one unfinished project every day until I'm gainfully employed again. Why not, right? 

So what's first on my list?  Today it's a combination of things. I'm going to hang Christmas lights on our front porch, using a ladder, a staple gun, and any other dangerous tools the job calls for. After that, I'm finally going to get this apple crisp recipe pulled together. I've been salivating over it for weeks and it just sounds like the right thing to eat on a cold winter day. If it turns out okay, I'll share pictures with you!

Ta-da!  (Let's hope I can do a better job than this.)

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Cat on a Treadmill

Have you ever seen a cat on a treadmill?  I know it's only Tuesday so it's much too early in the week for a Friday Funny, but this is too good not to share. This cat looks like it's been using the treadmill for years!

DIY Sugar Cube Shapes

Nifty Thrifty Things has a sweet (pun intended) idea for turning sugar into adorable little shapes. I love this idea because I never would've thought to try it and it's so simple.  I can imagine doing heart shapes for Valentine's Day or stars for Christmas. So many possibilities!

You can read the full tutorial here.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Mixology Monday: White Chocolate Eggnog Cocktail

It's Monday, which I generally dislike, and I got laid off from my job.  I've been laid off from work before, but somehow having it happen during the holidays makes it worse. Still, I'm optimistic that a new, amazing opportunity will come along soon. It helps that I get several weeks of severance pay as well. For that, I feel blessed!

To mark my unemployment, the hubby and I will be having a cozy, romantic dinner at home tonight and given my love for eggnog, I thought I might try a new cocktail recipe to go along with it. Doesn't this White Chocolate Eggnog drink from Day Dreamer Desserts look delicious?  They had me at eggnog, but the white chocolate liqueur makes it doubly drool-worthy. Yum!