Wednesday, December 30, 2009


Look!  Sand dunes!!

That's all I have for today.  I'm really quite tired, and feeling quite uncreative.  I promise I will come back with more material after this exciting New Year's weekend.  Possibly sooner. 

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas Everyone!!!!!!



Saturday, December 19, 2009

Christmas Owls

Each year I try to think of an ornament that is small and flat and will fit in a Christmas card.  I send them out to the friends and family that we do not get to see very often.  This year, I was inspired by Diversions to create this cute Christmas Owl ornament.

They have a pattern that can be found here.

Due to time constraints and general lack of organization on my part, there was no possible way for me to get all of my ornaments done in time to mail them out with the Christmas cards this year.  So, if you would like a Christmas Owl ornament, and I haven't already given you one, just message me!  I'll send one right out to ya.  There's plenty to go around, I just can't promise that they will be there by Christmas.

Happy Holidays,

~Amy  :)

Cat Haikus

You never feed me.
Perhaps I'll sleep on your face.
That will sure show you.

You must scratch me there!
Yes, above my tail! Behold,
elevator butt.

I need a new toy.
tail of black dog keeps good time.
pounce! good dog! good dog!

The rule for today:
Touch my tail, I shred your hand.
New rule tomorrow.

In deep sleep hear sound;
cat vomit hairball somewhere.
Will find in morning

Grace personified,
I leap into the window.
I meant to do that.

Blur of motion. then--
Silence, me, a paper bag.
What is so funny?

The mighty hunter
Returns with gifts of plump birds--
Your foot just squashed one.

You're always typing.
Well, let's see you ignore my
sitting on your hands.

My small cardboard box.
You cannot see me if I
can just hide my head.

Terrible battle.
Fought for hours. Come and see!
What's a "term paper?"

Kitty like plastic.
Confuses for litter box.
Don't leave tarp around.

Small brave carnivores
kill pine cones and mosquitoes
Fear vacuum cleaner

Want to trim my claws?
Don't even think about it!
My yelps will wake dead.

I want to be close
to you. Can I fit my head
inside your armpit?

Wanna go outside.
Oh, shit! Help! I got outside!
Let me back inside!

Oh no! The Big One
has been trapped by newspaper!
Cat to the rescue!

Humans are so strange.
Mine lies still in bed, then screams!
My claws aren't that sharp. . .

Cats meow out of angst
Thumbs! If only we had thumbs!
We could break so much!"

The Big Ones snore now.
Every room is dark and cold.
Time for "Cup Hockey"

We're almost equals.
I purr to show I love you.
Want to smell my butt?

Monday, December 14, 2009

Christmas Goodies

Sometimes my crafting/baking endeavors are incredibly successful.  Other times, not so much.  Things tend to be a little bit more romantic and festive in my head than they are in real life.  Kinda like last night when I said "Wouldn't it be so much more fun to hand-dip your own Oreos in white chocolate rather than buying them from the store?"

The answer is no.

It is, however, sticky and messy and tedious.  But since white chocolate dipped Oreos are one of Brett's favorite holiday treats, we'll consider it a labor of love.

Here is my one crowning victory:

And oodles of other not-so-attractive hand dipped Oreos.

No worries, though.  Even the ugly ones are still quite tasty.

These hand dipped pretzels, were much easier and less sticky and less messy to make, not to mention much more my style:

 Salty+Crunchy+Sweet=Holiday Happiness.  :)

Christmas Ornament Spruce Up

I was feeling a little bit bored this year with the Christmas ornament balls that we use as filler on our Christmas tree, so I thought I would spruce them up a bit. (Spruce--how's that for a little Christmas tree humor?)

 Here are the necessary ingredients:

-Plenty of ornament balls. I went to Big Lots and got the cheapest ones I could find. I'm not ashamed to admit that. Plus, then there's no love lost of you mess one up or drop one on your tile floor and it shatters into a million pieces. Not that I have any experience with either of those scenarios.

-You will also need some puff paint (craft glue would work too) and some glitter.

Fortunately, I still had my outrageously overpriced glitter on hand from last year's ornament project.

Then have at it! Use your glue/paint to create whatever design strikes you and then sprinkle with glitter.

After it's all dry a little rinse gets the excess glitter off.

Here are a few of mine:



A word to the wise: When you rinse off your ornaments do not use hot water. The hot water will cause the mysterious substance that makes the ball colored to come off. Again, not that I have any experience with this. 

I'm just sayin'. It could happen.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Deck The Halls

Christmas decorating has been in full swing here at the Vowles house.

 We went last week and picked out a Christmas Tree from Target.  It wasn't quite as exciting as years past when we have cut down our own tree, but we love our tree nonetheless.

We got the tree into place...

And then we strung it with lights and garland.

Now it's looking more Christmasy!

Finally, we hung our ornaments, and voila!

Bed, Bath & Beyond talked me into these festive red placemats to help our table be more Christmasy too.

(Have I told you about this table?  It was a $50 Craigslist find that we couldn't be happier with.  Definitely a good replacement for our other table that did not survive the move!)  

They also talked me into some cinnamon scented pine cones that I used to make this DIY centerpiece.  I just filled a pretty bowl with the cinnamon scented pine cones and added a few sprigs of glittery flowers from Michael's and you have an instant centerpiece! 

More Christmas-related posts to follow.  Happy decorating, everyone!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Stories from San Diego: The Little Pine Tree That Could

This giant pine tree began as a teeny tiny pine tree in a pot that my mom gave Brett's mom for Christmas four or five years ago. When I say teeny tiny I mean really teeny tiny. Maybe 4 inches tall.

We planted it mostly out of pity. "You can't throw away a tree," and we never expected it to survive. Now, just a few years later it has grown to be over 10 feet tall!

Definitely The Little Pine Tree That Could.

Friday, December 11, 2009


Snow? In San Diego? Yes, my Midwestern friends, it does happen. Fortunately it does not involve salt and shoveling driveways and sidewalks. Unfortunately, this also means there aren't any snow days. :(

But yes, there is snow. See?

No? You don't see? Alright, maybe a little zooming will help...

See! There! Snow on top of the mountain!

Ok, I admit, it's no 8 inches, but I'll take my little doses of winter where I can get them. :)

Sunday, December 6, 2009

I totally agree with this:

(Click to Enlarge)

Friday, December 4, 2009

Brett's Graduation Party

I don't have a whole lot to blog about Brett's graduation party, except that we had a really fun time. Mostly, I really like this picture, and wanted to share it with you. See?


Such a cute couple.

Why thank you, I agree with you.

But seriously, it was a really great day and it was so much fun to get together with everyone. It felt like one big family and friend reunion, and we got to see many people that we had not seen since our wedding almost four years ago.

Here's our guest of honor:

...and again with his brother:

Then I jumped in there just for fun:

Brett's mom & Melissa, the blogger behind Darby's Daily. I'm sure Darby would blog herself if only she had thumbs:

And Brett with Melissa's husband Glenn:

It was nice to catch up with my cousin Kellie, and I'm so glad my Grandma was able to make it:

And we got to see Karen! We haven't seen her in quite some time, either:

Here's Brett's cool display with all of his smarty-pants awards that he got for being such a Smarty-McSmarterson:

A big thanks to all our friends and family who came out to celebrate with us that day!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Sweet Potato Cupcakes

Ok, so I will tell you up front that I am not the biggest sweet potato fan. Never liked them. However, I was recently inspired by Homemade Iowa Life (a blog I discovered) to try out a recipe for them for Thanksgiving.

Oh. My. God.

These things are absolutely delicious. No amount of description could possibly convey how amazing these are. They are the perfect blend of flavors and spices, without being overly sweet. Definitely a new holiday favorite.

-2 cups all purpose flour
-2 teaspoons baking powder
-1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
-1/2 teaspoon baking soda
-1/4 teaspoon salt
-1 cup butter, softened
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
-3 eggs
-1 15 oz. can sweet potatoes, drained and mashed
-1/2 teaspoon vanilla
-small marshmallows, if desired


1.) Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 24 standard size cupcake/muffin cups with paper cups and set aside.

2.) In a medium bowl combine flour, baking powder, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt.

3.) In a large mixing bowl, beat butter for 30 seconds.

4.) Add sugar and beat on high until light and fluffy, approximately 2 minutes.

5.) Add in eggs, one at a time, beating on low speed after each addition until combined.

6.) Add sweet potato and vanilla, beating until combined.

7.) Add in dry ingredients and continue beating until all ingredients are combined. The batter will be thick.

8.) Divide batter evenly among the muffin cups. Bake for 20 minutes.

9.) Remove cupcakes from the oven and sprinkle with granulated sugar while they are still warm.

The cupcakes were absolutely delicious and perfect at this point, but since it was Thanksgiving and all I thought I would add some marshmallows. If you wish to add marshmallows, pile a few on top of each cupcake and stick the whole pan under the broiler until the marshmallows are nicely toasted.



Stories from San Diego: Theodore's Treasures

Meet Theodore (aka Theo).

Theo is Brett's parent's cat. Theo has a little bit too much free time on his hands. He should maybe consider taking up a hobby like woodworking or pottery or perhaps volunteering somewhere. Theodore likes to occupy his time by collecting random objects from around the house and stashing them in his food bowl. It can be anything really-hair ties, bobby pins, pens, etc.-but for some reason it seems like it's usually my stuff. On our most recent trip, I woke up one morning to find my eyelash curler in the cat food bowl.

Like I said, Theo: you need a hobby.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Sea Life Aquarium

When we were in San Diego a couple of weeks ago Margie treated Brett & I to an afternoon at the Sea Life Aquarium at Legoland.

The first thing we did was head upstairs to see the seahorse feeding:

Then we saw the cool stingrays. They actually had signs saying 'do not pet.' No kidding.

They had all these bubbles where you could stick your head up into the aquarium. Naturally, we all had to take a turn in the bubble:

We got up close and personal with an octopus...

...and said hello to an extremely large lobster:

There were lots and lots of pretty fish:

And cool moon jellies:

And these bright red shrimp were really pretty!

I'm pretty sure the tunnel ended up being everyone's favorite part of the experience:

Thanks Margie!!
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