Saturday, September 26, 2009

Fall Wreath

A ring or circlet of flowers, boughs, or leaves worn on the head, placed on a memorial, or hung as a decoration

Every time I visit my sister and her family, I try and make something for their home. This time, she requested a fall wreath for her front door.
Adrienne requested orange and eggplant purple and we headed to my favorite store to get what we needed. We chose changing leaves, big purple chrysanthenums and yellow and orange beads.
After almost 2 hours of work, wiring and glueing the the leaves and flowers to the grapevine base, the wreath was finished.


Days until Halloween: 33

Days until Thanksgiving: 60

Days until Christmas: 96

Friday, September 25, 2009

Autumn Days


Webster's Definition: The season of the year between summer and winter, lasting from the autumnal equinox to the winter solstice and from September to December in the Northern Hemisphere; fall.

Erika's Definition: Perfect time for hot chocolate, pumpkin pies, beautiful changing leaves, football games (not that I watch many of them), warm apple cider, Halloween and pumpkin carving, Thanksgiving day Parade, family birthdays and celebrations, mums, hay rides and corn mazes, apple picking and pie making, long handmade scarves, no AC and open windows, harvest and fresh produce, swimming and diving season (WSU Alumni Meet...woohoo!), sweatshirts and cardigans, cinnamon potpourri, Black Friday, homemade chex mix, costume parties, green bean casserole and mashed potatoes, colorful front door wreaths, jumping in leaf piles, trick-or-treating and an excuse to eat an abundant amount of candy, candy pumpkins, stuffing and gravy, and Christmas just around the corner.

Looks like we have a lot to be thankful for this year!

I have been lucky enough to spend some time in Texas with my sister, brother-in-law, my new nephew and of course their dog. Brenner is now 10 months and is such a character. Just during my first week here, he has started crawling all over the place and loves to help me type on the computer.

It's Boo!
My sister and I LOVE baking and can always come up with an excuse to make something sweet and delicious. In fall fashion, we whipped up some Pumpkin Mini's with Cream Cheese frosting.

As you can see, someone already stole one!

Pumpkin Bars

2 cups flour
2 tsp. baking powder
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
4 eggs, beaten
1 16-oz can pumpkin
1-1/2 cups sugar
1 cup cooking oil

1. Stir together flour, baking powder, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt.
2. Combine eggs, pumpkin, sugar, and oil.
3. Add dry ingredients to pumpkin mixture and beat until well combined.
4. Spread batter in an ungreased 15 x 10 x 1 baking pan and bake @ 350 for 25 minutes
Drop spoonfuls of batter into mini cupcake pan and bake @ 350 for 10 min.
5. Let stand and cool. Frost with cream cheese frosting.

Cream Cheese Frosting

3 of cream cheese
1/4 cup of butter or margarine
1 tsp. vanilla
2 cups sifted powdered sugar

1. In a mixing bowl, beat cream cheese, butter, vanilla til light and fluffy.
2. Gradually add powdered sugar and beat until smooth.
3. Spread over cooled bars or muffins.

Happy Fall!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Starting New

I guess now its time to start blogging about some new stuff. Our trip is over, just a wonderful collection of crazy memories and now we are trying to get back into the swing of things.

WSU Swimming and Diving season began last week and AJ is back to waking up early to coach the distance program. Throughout the entire trip he would talk about and plan things for the upcoming season. Here is the entire team from the 2008-09; both teams places 2nd at the NCAA Division 2 National Championships in addition to donzens upon dozens of individual academic and athletic accolades.
I am back on my mission towards leading a less conventional, more creative life! I am currently in Houston trying to write a book about our adventures in Europe. I am getting plenty of distraction with my sister and my adorable nephew Brenner. While traveling, AJ and I were always on the lookout for new ideas and things to make. I have a whole notebook of sketches and notes of things from jewelry to stained glass cows to try and make. Here is one of my new creations just in time for cold weather.
With the Christmas season fast approaching, I have been trying to find new ways to market my Etsy store, EBBeautique. I've also been trying to find different types of craft and holiday shows to participate in.
Stay in tuned to see what happens next in our lives!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Final Days

We know we haven't blogged in quite awhile, but both of us have been busy trying to get back into the swing of things at home. Knowing we can't leave trip unfinished, we are finally posting about the final days of our three month trip. Please don't think that this means we are going to stop blogging. Both of us want to continue to share our lives and adventures with as many people as possible.
There is so much to do in Rome, every which way you look is some form of ancient ruins or a famous monument. Here is what is considered the oldest lie detector in the world. It is said that if a liar places his hands within the mouth of the statue, the statue will bite his or her hand off. Fortunately for the church who requests an offering for entering, nobody fears losing a limb and hundreds of people visit the statue everyday.
The Pantheon was just as impressive as we expected it to be. Although it is around 2000 years old and the open occulus in the center has exposed the inside to the elements for just as long, the inside is imacculate.

Here is AJ in the fountain in front of the Spanish Steps where thousands of people gather to hang out. We had heard so much about the Spanish Steps and were excited to be there but there really isn't anything to do but sit down. So we sat and relaxed in the shade of the evening. Many people have asked us upon our return if we had any problems with the water and our digestive tracts. We drank water out of hundreds of different fountains in almost every city we went to and not once got sick from it. Of course, shortly after our return, both of us caught a cold.
Unfortunately, I don't remember exactly where this was or what it is. But I do know that it is a tomb monument created by a famous Baroque scultpure and we were quite impressed with how the stone was made to look like draperies billowing in the wind.
In the Piazza Navona, there are two amazing fountaints and the beautiful St. Agnes. It was once the Stadium of Domitian which is evident in is elongated oval shape. This fountain is of Four Rivers by Bernini and the city has hired a security guard to walk around it all day to make sure no one gets too close. All throughout the piazza are artists trying to sell paintings and watercolors and we enjoyed walking through their masterpieces.
On the last Sunday of our trip, we went to Vatican City. We were so lucky and delighted to find out that the Vatican and its numerous museums are free to everyone on the last Sunday of the Month. The enormous line continually moved as people were being shuffled through the metal detectors into the museums. The Vatican owns one of the best art collections in the world including ancient Egyptian artifacts and ancient Roman scultpures. Here is a painting by Raphael in what is known as the "Raphael Rooms." The artist painted the walls and ceiling of two separate rooms and are such masterpieces that they are studied in art history classes today.
This is one of both of our favorite sculptures and you wouldn't believe that it is almost 2000 years old. This sculpture, known as the Lacoon served as inspiration for one of the greatest artists, Michelangelo. We were lucky enough to enter the Cistene Chapel twice and marveled with sore necks at what is considered one of the greatest acheivements of man. Unfortunately we were not allowed to take photos but we will remember standing in the small chapel forever.
AJ couldn't resist taking a photo of the goofy Swiss guard and their colorful uniforms. I am sure it is considered an honor to be one of the Vatican guards but we couldn't help laughing at them.
The Vatican holds another of our favorite sculptures, Michelangelo's Pieta. It is one of his most finished sculpture (Michelangelo was notorious for not finishing a work) and was completed by the time he was 26. It is utterly breathtaking as Mary holds the body of her dead son. This piece served as an inspiration for mothers during the 15 and 1600 hundreds as they too were constantly dealing with tragedy and the loss of their children. Mary taught them to be strong and stoic in times of pain.
This is us in St. Peter's square with St. Peter's basilica behind us. I think we look happy but ready to come home.
Our adventure home was one we will never forget. Because our flight left at 7am, we had to travel throughout the middle of the night to get to the airport 30 miles away. In a nutshell, we took a wrong bus and ended up stranded on the outskirts of Rome at 3:30 in the morning with no money and no phone. Luckily we made it to the airport with plenty of time to spare after a $100 crazy taxi ride!
Please continue to check in on us as we continue to share our lives!