Saturday, October 30, 2010

Happy Halloweeeeen

Usually Nate and I would be living it up at a Halloween party while dressed up all silly, but this year we're being much more low key. Are we getting old or something?! Heck, I don't even like scary movies any more!

This was from a Halloween party last year. We were feeling like 20-something year olds at that point. :)

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Halloween parties or not... the one thing I cannot live without is pumpkin carving! I'll never get too old for that. Pumpkin carving is the best!

I love picking out the perfect pumpkin. 
I love finding a fun design that fits perfectly.
I like sticking my hands in the 'guts' and 
squishing my hands around. 
I love carving carefully through the 
pumpkin, so that the design stays intact. 
I love lighting up the freshly carved 
jack-o-lantern for the first time! 

This year, Nate and I joined Annie & Mike for pumpkin carving. The more carved pumpkins... the better! I've decided that next year I'm carving more than one pumpkin, because one just wasn't enough. There are too many fun designs, and I want to carve at least 2 pumpkins next year. Nate might think I'm a little crazy, but I just like to be artistic and make things. Pumpkins are a once a year thing! Maybe I should take up carving oranges and apples the rest of the year?

Did anyone else enjoy their pumpkin carving experience this year? We did!

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Here's a look at mine and Nate's Halloween pumpkins over the years:

* 2010 Pumpkins * 

 * 2009 Pumpkins *

* 2008 Pumpkins *

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Happy Halloween!!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

The Little Things

Recently I ordered myself a few little holiday decorations online from Crate & Barrel. I love to decorate for the holidays, and I also really love the little details that make a space your own. How a person decorates, or does not decorate, their house can say a lot about them. I hope that people will find things scattered around our place that might make them smile... you know... the little things. Like turkey tea light holders.

Are these little guys not the cutest things ever?! Look at the fun shadows they cast too.

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Yesterday I had lunch and coffee with my friend Laura, and I told her about my turkey tea lights (I adore them so much that I might have to keep them out all year). Then I started laughing, because included with the tea lights was a nice little card that also arrived in the mail with my cute turkeys. The surprise card read as follows:

"Yay! Happy Fall, Ashley"

The slightly embarrassing part is that after making the order online I also sent myself this nice note for the fall too. Why not? I asked Laura if she ever did that, and she informed me that she indeed does send herself cards as well... so we had a good laugh about sending ourselves sweet messages when we make online orders. There's really no harm in sending yourself a nice card once in a while.

If I'm good at one thing, it's making myself laugh. Even if I am not able to make others laugh... I have the power to at least lighten my own mood. What a fun thing. Sometimes it's the smallest gifts that people love the most, and it's the littlest things that can make the biggest difference.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

5 Years Old

I sort of feel like a 5 year old right now.

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I'm watching Where the Wild Things Are and eating a peanut butter and banana sandwich. It's almost like I should be shouting "nanana boo boo, stick your head in doo doo" at somebody. But since I'm 27 and not 5, I'll just continue eating my sandwich quietly. Don't judge me.

We didn't have any honey... so I just slathered some nutella on my sandwich. That's nutritious, right?

Both Nate and I are sick with colds right now. We're pretty sure that the air in the Palms Casino made us sick on our recent trip to Vegas, because Nate found a pilot forum online where a bunch of other people who were also at the career fair got sick too. Great. So I'm feeling a little sorry for myself, am all bundled up in a blanket watching a movie, and drinking a warm cup of tea that makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside. All I need is my mommy to take care of me. I told you I feel like a 5 year old. Isn't it funny how sometimes being sick makes you feel like a child again, and you just want someone to take care of you.

I've sneezed about 839 times and used approximately 6,124 tissues today. Seriously.

Movie... check! Cup of hot tea.. check! Warm, cozy blanket... check!

Now if only I still had a pair of slippers that were like these, then everything would be fine.

Maybe after I finish watching Where the Wild Things Are I'll watch something more grown up... like Twilight. Whatever, I'll always be a kid at heart.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Time to Kill

This blog title is a little deceiving. It's not actually time to kill something or some one... it was more of a hint at the contents of this blog containing info about what I do when I have some time to kill. Ah geez, just keep reading...

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I have way too much time to think lately. Yeah... that's what will happen when you are unemployed and alone quite often. Thanks a lot architecture for being the number 1 job field for layoffs. Also thanks a lot to airline jobs for making husbands/wives/parents be away from their loved ones. Do I sound bitter? Hmm. Having too much time to think is not all that bad though.

When I'm bored and lonely... which is often... I have my go-to tasks that keep me busy and occupied. Today, it's been reading other people's blogs and doing laundry. Exciting, huh? Next I'm going to tackle going through our closet and making room for new things getting rid of old clothes. Yes, I still have some really really old clothes from high school. Crazy, I know! I'm pretty sure Nate would be in big trouble if we had a house with a big closet, because I'm pretty sure I would find a need to fill it. Since our closet is fairly small and we share it, I really can't do too much damage since there's not too many places for new clothes... unless I get rid of everything. Muahaha. ;)

Another thing I do when I'm bored is cook or bake. That's something I enjoy, and I'm pretty sure that Nate enjoys it too when he comes home from a trip. Cooking is really a win win situation for us. A little bit ago, I spoiled Nate with brownies and ice cream and also homemade chocolate chip cookies (which we both decided were the best ever!). The downside to Nate being gone for days at a time is cooking for one. That's really no fun. I like cooking because it's fun to share with others... so I don't cook very often when he's gone. I end up eating tuna melts and grilled cheese sandwiches... which really aren't all that bad so who am I to complain? We really just run into trouble when Nate comes home and I've eaten the contents of the refrigerator... but still haven't gone to the grocery store. Does anyone else do that?! Then I feel somewhat badly that I never made a trip to the store for more goodies while he was gone. Oops. Maybe I should start enjoying trips to the grocery store when I'm bored. Who am I kidding, that's probably never going to happen.

Trips to bookstores keep me busy too. I love books like a fat kid loves cake quite a bit. Leaving a bookstore without a purchase for me is like telling a kid not to eat the cookies in the cookie jar and then leaving them alone in the kitchen. I'm probably going to buy a gosh darn book. This is not the best thing, because books are not exactly cheap. Also... we have very limited space for things in our apartment, not to mention books are incredibly heavy to move all of the time. Nate had to lift all of the book boxes when we moved recently. Hopefully we aren't moving for a while, but somehow I highly doubt that will happen. I've found that if I take one of my books from home in my purse to the bookstore, it makes me feel as if I'm leaving with a "new" book. That will work for now.

The most exciting thing that I do when I find myself bored and alone is clean the apartment. How can that be exciting you ask? Well, I find myself doing some of my best thinking when I'm cleaning. Like when I dusted the bedroom dresser today, I found myself wondering if I just sprayed this thing down with Static Guard would I need to dust it as often? Pretty deep thought, huh? :) I actually think about more complex things than just dust, but I won't go into that.

So as you can see we live an incredibly exciting life here in the Webster household. A life full of clean closets and homemade meals. Yeeeha! If it gets any more exciting around here we might explode.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Vegas Baby!

Recently, Nate and I were in Las Vegas for a a few short days. Both Nate and I have been to Vegas at least a few times now, and this time was sort of for work/play. Nate attended an aviation career fair, and I just tagged along for the ride. We stayed at the Palms Casino and Resort, which was pretty cool... and I say this because everything seemed to be a little cheaper there (possibly because it's not located directly on The Strip). The Palms also seems a little more hip than many of the casinos on the strip. I still think that Las Vegas is a lot more fun with a group of friends, but we still had a good time during our short trip there.

We arrived in Vegas without much trouble on standby... we only missed out on one flight. I got stuck on Southwest and Nate lucked out with Frontier and free TV! So we arrived at the Palms a little early for check-in, and the girl at the counter told us there were only rooms with 2 beds clean that early and no king rooms. Ugh. I guess that's what you get for flying standby and arriving too early. She gave us the key to our 8th floor room with two beds... and we open the door to a dirty room, so she lied... the rooms with 2 beds were not ready either. Ha! So we make our way back to the front desk where a young man helps us. He sincerely apologizes for us walking into a dirty room (it really wasn't a big deal), proceeds to whack away at the keyboard for a couple of minutes like his fingers were chickens pecking at their meal... and then checks us into a room with a king bed on the 30th floor, and he also gives us (by us I mean me) two passes to use the spa facilities! Score! I guess it pays to get checked into a dirty room. :)

View from our room in the morning... Vegas appears rather quiet in the a.m.

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Since I'm  sort of  really obsessed with Cirque du Soleil, and have been for a long long time, we saw one of their shows while in LV. We've seen Mystere, and since 'O' was not showing this time... we saw the Beatles Love. The music was great, the theater was unique, and the costumes and dancing were fun too. However, we both agreed that Mystere was more exciting, fascinating, and seemingly dangerous! Not that we disliked Love (although I did see Nate getting a bit bored after a while), we just expected more athletics and unbelievable stunts, etc. I am still singing Beatles tunes in my head though... "All you need is love..."

The waiting area outside of the theater for the Beatles Love was crazy fun! What would Vegas be without all of the lights and color?!

 I took a quick sneak picture (hence the fuzziness) of the show... you aren't supposed to photograph inside of the theater, but I'm b.a. like that  ;)

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In our hotel room, I read through a magazine filled with advertisements and articles for Vegas. I stumbled across an article for Toby Keith's I Love This Bar and Grill. The article mentioned a drink called White Trash with Money, and I instantly decided that I needed one of those... so we went there! Talk about a classy white trash drink. White Trash with Money consisted of Chambord, sprite, sweet & sour, and Coors Light (it was supposed to be PBR.. I was sort of disappointed I missed out on that). It was a little too sweet for my tastes, but it was pretty good... and strong. Whew. We sipped our drinks out of mason jars while listening to the live band play country and rock&roll. Toby Keith's I Love This Bar and Grill was a pretty good time!

Classy White Trash... with Money! ;)

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One thing that I always, always, always want to do in Vegas is watch the fountains outside of the Bellagio! The music is always fun, and the fountains are amazing. Not to mention... it's FREE to watch. Not many things in Vegas are free, so take what you can get!

Viva, Las Vegas! See ya Vegas, until next time. :)

Thursday, October 14, 2010

The Art of Racing in the Rain

I love dogs, but that's not the only reason why I loved this book so much. 

The words on The Art of Racing in the Rain's pages made me think, cry, and laugh. It also made me miss my dear golden retriever, Gnomie. She was such an incredible dog. It definitely made me think differently about her life... and her death. If you've had a dog in your life, who's changed you as a person, and you miss them dearly, please read this book. It's amazing.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Not so Green Thumb(s)

I actually haven't murdered any of our apartment plants (except for maybe one, but I'll explain that later)... but boy can I kill a basil plant before it even has a chance to survive. This is the 2nd major basil fail in the past 6 months or so, and I'm beginning to wonder if I'll ever succeed at growing the tasty, leafy herbs?! I hope to win at the basil game some day.

* I don't kill all plants: notice the dying basil in the forefront... and our healthy 'apartment' plant in the background *

We have a few plants around our apartment, and they seem to thrive, for the most part, in their environment. So what is it about basil that makes it die the instant it enters my mind? I'm not joking, the plant was about 80% wilted the day after bringing it home from Sprouts Market. I just don't understand. Maybe basil is allergic to me? I might have to resort to buying fresh/expensive basil from the grocery store until I can figure out this finicky plant.

Maybe I should ask the specialists that work at Tagawa Gardens, because they seem to know everything there is to know about plants. A lady who works at Tagawa explained to us that finding the right pot for your plants is a lot like buying a pair of pants. How you might ask? Well, she asked Nate and I if we would prefer to buy jeans that fit at the time... or jeans that would have room to grow. The correct answer is jeans that fit of course. Plants like pots that fit their roots about as much as people like jeans that fit their butts. She also explained to us that plants get traumatized very easily and you can shock them by doing things they don't like. Who knew?! Seriously though... I get a little self conscious when my pants don't fit right too. Poor plants, I had no idea.

* This is another of our thriving 'apartment' plants. But oops... the little one was either killed off by the bigger plant or it was too small for its 'pants' *

Another thing that will kill your plants: 'Moisture Control' Potting Soil. This is a case of two minds combining in the demise of one of our first beloved 'apartment' plants. I wanted to put the plant in a 'pretty' pot, so we potted it in a glazed light blue pot. Nate thought that we should get 'Moisture Control' soil so that we couldn't over water our plants.... and I objected, because it's one of those things that just sounds too good to be true (and we all know if something sounds too good to be true... it probably is). However, I lost that argument... and into the over water-proof soil our new plant went. This plant lived happily for quite some time and I thought jeez maybe that soil isn't so bad, and months later (maybe even a year) it seemingly out of nowhere began wilting and losing it's will to live. To this day we really have no idea why that plant died. Shoot.

Until this day... I am gaining confidence in our 'apartment' plant growing/surviving skills, but I am losing hope that we'll ever grow basil without major problems. Maybe we should ask someone at Tagawa about growing basil, because I bet they have some answers. We'll see!

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* Note: the plant pictured above was also planted in 'Moisture Control' soil, but when Nate found out from a Tagawa specialist that MC soil is very bad for plants... Nate re-potted it in some new soil that plants apparently love.

A little funny story about the Moisture Control mishap:
I had sent Nate to Tagawa Gardens to get some more potting soil, which is when he asked someone about the Moisture Control soil. The lady went into a bit of a tizzy that we had potted our dear plants in that devil soil, and Nate got flustered which led him to blame the poor soil selection on his unknowing wife. I don't know if she believed him, but boy I wonder what he would have said had I been there.  :)

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Fall Traditions

As I've mentioned before, I really really love fall and the holidays this time of year. When I was in college, I used to visit my family in Colorado for Thanksgiving and they always had a lot of fun things planned for my visit. Like cookies... shows... trips... shopping... to name a few.

* Nicolette and I decorated turkey cookies for Thanksgiving one year *

* I sculpted a swan (it sort of looks more like a duck) out of our homemade hand-churned butter *

* Alpine horn blowers in Denver *

* St. Nick Christmas Store *

One of those years that I visited Denver for Thanksgiving, we saw the Rockettes in the Radio City Christmas Spectacular... and spectacular hardly describes them! The Rockettes are going to be touring and in Denver this fall, and I'm hoping we can get tickets to see them again! :)

* One of my favorite parts is when the Rockettes become toy soldiers *

* This show will definitely get you in the Christmas spirit! They're unbelievable *

I definitely love having holiday traditions. They're something to look forward to and to get excited about. What are some fall holiday traditions of yours? What do you look forward to each fall?

Saturday, October 9, 2010


Am I going into hibernation mode or something? Typically I don't really like sweets... or baking, but recently I've perused our cookbooks for cookie and cake recipes to bake. Yummy... yum... yum. Maybe the cooler air has hit me harder than I thought?

The thing that scares me the most about baking is that there seems to be so many variables. It's almost like a chemistry experiment gone bad. The baking soda wasn't measured correctly, the temperature of the oven was off, or the eggs made the dough curdle. I'm sure it's just one of those things where... the more I bake... the better I'll get at baking. Armed with a new chocolate chip cookie recipe straight out of the New Best Recipe and a new confidence for baking, I baked us some of the best cookies I've ever made. No joke.

* I. Love. This. Cookbook. *

* Gigantic cookies fresh out of the oven *

* Just look at the melted chocolatey goodness... and a side of guacamole? *

I'm sure it didn't hurt that I used Ghirardelli chocolate chips in the cookies. Ssshh, don't tell anyone, but that is some good chocolate! Usually when I bake cookies they get all tough after they cool... but not these cookies, they're special. Not really, but we can pretend.

Maybe it's just the fall air... but I want to bake bake bake some goodies after looking through our cookbook! Does the season change make anyone else want to bake up a storm?

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Caribbean Chicken Kebabs

If you like spicy foods and also like to grill, then you must give these a try!

This dinner was from a recipe that I found in the October issue of Coastal Living. The name sounds sort of fancy, but it's really pretty simple and really really tasty to boot!

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Caribbean Chicken Kebabs
with Lime-Cayenne Butter
(prep: 12 minutes   marinate: 3 to 6 hrs   cook: 10 minutes)

1/3 cup orange juice
1/4 cup soy sauce
1    teaspoon minced fresh ginger
2    garlic cloves, minced
2    pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts (cut into 1-1/2 inch pieces)
2    orange or red bell peppers, cut into 1-1/2 inch pieces
1    pineapple, cubed
1    pint cherry or grape tomatoes
Lime-Cayenne butter

1.   Combine first 4 ingredients in a shallow dish or large plastic zip top bag. Add chicken and onion, stirring to cover. Refrigerate for 3 to 6 hours.

2.   Drain chicken and onions; discard marinade. Thread chicken, onion, and next 3 ingredients on 10 or 12 (10 inch) skewers. (I used 2 skewers in each kebab in order to help keep items from spinning when rotating on grill... it makes for more even cooking). Brush with Lime-Cayenne butter.

3.   Grill over medium heat (325 to 350 degrees) for 8 to 10 minutes or until chicken is cooked through, turning and basting several times with the Lime-Cayenne butter. Makes 4 servings.

Lime-Cayenne Butter Recipe
1/2 cup of butter
1-1/2 Tablespoons fresh lime juice
1/2    teaspoon cayenne powder
1/2    teaspoon garlic salt

Melt butter, and stir in remaining ingredients. Makes 1/2 cup.

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I hope you find joy in cooking some of these meals... or any meal for that matter. Cooking can be therapeutic... not to mention, it's fun to share a nice home cooked meal with others!


Sunday, October 3, 2010

HGTV in Colorado

I love HGTV! That's Home and Garden Television to those not in the know. It's pretty much one of my favorite channels ever, because.... well, I love homes and I love gardens. Self explanatory.

* 2011 HGTV Green Home *

Since I'm so in love with HGTV and their shows... their specials... and their website, I recently did a little browsing online and discovered that the next HGTV Green Home is going to be in Denver! That means that when they actually finish construction, I'm definitely going to be one of the first people in line to tour that bad boy. I don't just have to watch on the internet or television this time. Oh and just in case I forget to tell you, I actually took a little peak at the house today! See proof below... I'm not lying.   :)

* art by Ashley, seriously... I love it *

The 2011 Green Home is currently under construction in the Stapleton development, which is a neighborhood built on the land that formerly housed Stapleton airport in Denver. The old runways, and existing infrastructure, were recycled by crushing the concrete (over 6 million tons of it!) and creating something called "Staplestone" that was used to build new bridges, paths, and roadways. Cool! This creative re-use of land and materials makes for a perfect 2011 HGTV Green Home location!

* The old air traffic control tower still stands *

Seeing how I love houses, and I can be quite the "Snoopy McSnooperton" (as Nate likes to call me) when it comes to houses... I just had to go and see the Green Home under construction. Hopefully curiosity doesn't always kill the cat or I'm totally in trouble.

* The exterior is about complete, and the interior appeared drywalled *

* I love these staggered steps... they're perfect for placing some potted plants or something else welcoming as you walk to the front door *

* Southwest corner of the house, looking up the west side to the north *

* Looking at the west side of the house *

* West side of the house, looking south. I like the cantilevered roof overhangs... they're sort of like wings. Nice little nod to the land's airport past if you ask me *

* One last look at the front of the house *

* Central Park at Stapleton, just to the south side of the street across from the Green Home. Not a bad "back yard". If the winner has children... or dogs.... or bicycles... or even lungs... they might just enjoy this park across the street *

* Nate way up there at the top of the hill in Central Park *

* One last picture of the Green Home from the top of the hill in previous picture... it's quite a hike. You can see the solar panels on the right side of the roof. *

So there you have it... for now. Hopefully this little preview got you at least a tiny bit excited about the 2011 HGTV Green Home. I know I can't wait to see more! Any likes or dislikes about the house yet?

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Call of the Wild

Recently we took a little drive through Rocky Mountain National Park. The sun was about to set, the elk bugled, and the air was chilly. Talk about a perfect fall evening. I feel that words don't really describe what we experienced, so I'm going to let the pictures speak.

The setting sun cut our picture taking a little short, but the elk became more active as the sun set. If there is a place on earth that makes you feel more at peace... this is one of them.