Monday, December 20, 2010

Waco art

This was a packed weekend. It started with graduation. I did not walk the stage but I was still pretty excited. Then, the Baylor vs. Gonzaga game was on which was a super close one. Then, we made our way to downtown Waco.

We were headed to a friend's wedding but we made a quick stop at one of Waco's newest graffiti walls. Its much nicer than it sounds. Randomly hidden behind a Sherrin-Williams, a huge mural of A Starry Night is painted on a brick wall. I had passed by it a few times and thought that Neil would be impressed. He was even gracious enought to pose for a picture. It looks good even at night with headlights on it.

We made it to the wedding and had a great time. Neil was feeling sick but he still managed to make it a great night of celebrations.

Keeping it Simple

I must admit, I think I went overboard on presents this year. I just could not stop buying those cute, unique, thats-so-meg, gifts. It didn't help that we bought 90% of all our gifts online! When you don't actually see them, its like they don't exist. Once I realized that I went overboard, I had to cut back. Some call it being frugal. Some call it being cheap. I like to call it being crafty.

I decided not to buy wrapping paper and all the fun embellishments that I have grown accustomed to. If you haven't heard, gift wrapping is a favorite past time. So I went simple this year. I used most of what I already had. Most wrapping paper comes in rolls of 15-30 square feet. But did you know, packaging wrap comes in 50 square feet and it was $1.00. Can't beat that! So I wrapped em up and thus began the creative process.

Using Christmas colored tissue paper, I was able to create fun, frugal, festive embellishments.
My favorite is the white rosette on Janel's gift!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Memories of Christmas Past


THIS IS A LONG POST! Feel free to close this page at any time.

So, I was going through my "1st year of marriage" journal the other day and I re-read over our 1st Christmas together. I cried and I laughed and I cried again. I am so glad I kept the details of our interesting Christmas. Some details are boring but some are hilarious (to me). So here is the journal entry for December 28, 2009.

New family, new house, new holiday for the Shanks. Two of my favorite things about Christmas? Decorating and gift giving. Mom did such a great jo

b decorating our house growing up. Everything was color coordinated and it changed regularly. We got to choose which colors to use and where to use them. Most Christmases were at our house with our huge family. We baked and decorated cookies and wrapped hundreds of presents, including Uncle Rick’s (we wrap ALL his presents, EVERY YEAR). We always knew that Dad would depend on us to pick out a good gift for mom and that grandma always got dad underwear. I can recall each Christmas so vividly. I sometimes wonder if I will remember, in such great detail, the Christmases as a wife (and later, mother).

Looking around our little house with our little family. I’m sure that will change one day but for now its just perfect. Our first Christmas looks ….cute. Of course it’s a relative term but we did good for what we had. We forgot to budget for decorat

ions :) Also, my husband is an energy freak. Therefore, no Christmas lights – anywhere. Lol. Most people cringe at the thought but I will get my revenge next year!

Maybe he felt guilty for the lack of lights but I convinced him that we NEEDED at real tree. I always had a real tree growing up and I loved the smell that lingered into the new year and he never had a real one so it sounded like a great idea. As the weeks got closer to Christmas I watched the trees dwindle at the stores. Finally, we got dow

n there still with two weeks till Christmas. We walk into the garden section at Wal-MartJ and I am sure they have moved them, I only see like 5. After asking, we find out that there are only 5 left! We looked carefully through all 5 of them and decided on the perfect one(of five). I let him get into the spirit of tree shopping but warned him that “that one is too big”. He insisted. Grateful that he let me get one at all, we put it in the truck and headed home.

After dragging it into the house, cutting it to size, and sweeping all the needles up, we decided that a fake one might be better next year. Or at least until there are kids around to enjoy it. Oh ya, it was wayyyy to big! It took up most of our dining room… but it smelled great.

Now we have this huge tree and nothing on it. Thanks to Mom Shanks we were able to fill it with all of the ornaments he had/made as a kid. It was so

fun to hear about each one as he put them up. Still, it didn’t have lights and it looked so sad. I decided to make tissue paper flowers to put in the tree. Much better! Its very…me.

Shopping for new family is stressful especially when your new husband's past shopping experiences usually revolved around gas station stops on the way to Iowa from Texas. Neil convinced me to open gifts early because “we don’t want to travel with them”. Good one. Got me. That was 1st Christmas.

Second Christmas sent us down south to San Antonio. This time it was Dad that convinced us to open one gift each early. Then we decided why stop at one. Lets make it two. We did stop there. After helping mom with decorations and cooking as usual we spent Christmas Eve with 60 family members. The next morning, like kids on Christmas morning, we all came out to the living room to open our santa gifts and stockings. Its funny how Christmas morning always makes you feel like a kid. Then, we packed up to head North for 3rd Christmas. It is Christmas Day.

“I’m dreaming of a white Christmas” is like a fairytale in Texas. Not this year. We had snow on Christmas Day! Its in the books if you don’t believe me. From Dallas on we would have snow. Well, a white Christmas is not all its cracked up to be. We were stranded on the highway going 10 mph at most. At this rate we were never going to get to Iowa for Christmas L. Our patience was wearing thin, not even Christmas carols on my new Ipod could keep the spirits up. Our dog was get antsy. We had no choice. We had to stop. We found an open room at the Drury Inn. There we are on Christmas Day with our dog and cold tamales weeping while watching Marley and Me.

It’s a Christmas I will never forget.

*We did eventually make it to Iowa. As usual, it was great food, fun family and lots of love. I sledded for the first time.

It will be fun one day to look back 20 years from now on these details. I don't know that this year will be as eventful but we are sure excited to see family again!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Decking the Halls

This was a great weekend! It was the first "I-don't-have-to-do-anything" in a LONG time. We got to give some TLC to the house and jazz it up for Christmas!

We decided to go with a smaller tree this year and it looks great.

No homework + no studying = crafting!
I love homemade gifts!
I have been looking forward to putting up our new nativity set since last year!

Hope your decorating goes well too!

Friday, December 3, 2010

12 Days of Wellness

At work, we like to do a "not-so-serious" holiday project. This year, we did the 12 days of Wellness. The lyrics are from the CDC and incorporate holiday health and safety. It is by no means professional and was done in about a week all with volunteers. I airs on The Waco City Channel and is on YouTube, Facebook and those sorts of social medias. Its kinda long but you gotta watch it till the end to get to the "good" part :) Enjoy!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Making new friends

We often complain about Rexx being antisocial. It seems he made a friend.

When donkey first moved in it was not so nice.
Rexx was very fussy but nowadays, he admires from afar.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Kitchen Wish List

I am falling in love with my kitchen more and more everyday.
Especially because its a big DIY project.
We (I) fix it up when we can, but there are still those small details.

It seems like I have changed everything but the kitchen sink....
but I would if I could.
I have always dreamed of a farmhouse kitchen sink.

I try to take things too seriously.
A little bit of whimsy never hurt anyone, right?
This might look like any old fork, but its 4 FEET TALL!
I'm not sure where it would go but its too cute.

If you change the sink, it only makes sense to change the faucet, right?
Well, ours is very shallow. So a nice, vintage tall faucet would be nice :)

I already have this one, but it was on my wish list before. I just thought that it was very cafe-ish. I got it at IKEA.

I know, I know, I don't need these things and life will go on without them.
Its just fun to play with ideas :)

Friends of the Library

I feel like a Wacoan, when we have annual events that we look forward to.
One of our favorite annual events is the Book Sale. It is a benefit for the Waco Libraries. It gathers donated books all year and sell them at this annual event. It starts on Thursday and runs till Sunday evening. Everyday there are different deals.

Thursday - $5.00 entry fee all books $1.50 or less (even hardbacks)
Friday - no entry fee; all books under $1.50
Saturday - no entry fee; all books under $1.50
Sunday morning - $10.00 per bag
Sunday evening - $10.00 all you can carry! + a reusable grocery bag to fill.

We went on Sunday afternoon and even though we felt late, we still made out like bandits.
29 books for $10.00!

Next year though, we will donate some before we go. We are running out of room already!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Sorry for the blogging break. That would be due to the fact that there was nothing going on, except for studying! And that doesn't make for exciting posts.
I had a huge exit test that I had to take in order to graduate. I think it went well. So back to your regularly scheduled programming.....

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Homecoming #2

Guess what I did Saturday? I Baylor-d all day.

We started Homecoming with the parade.

All the floats are made by the students.

We played Kansas State...this theme was 'You're Not in Kansas Anymore'

Winnie the Pooh

Then we participated in a new Baylor tradition called 'March of the Bears'. The team is greeted by waiting fans as they step off the bus and head into the stadim.

Quarterback Robert Griffin III

Custom Cowboy boots!

Then we hung around for two hours for the 3:00 game. The game started off great then there was lightning so that resulted in a game delay. There was no rain but they still asked the fans to seek shelter but no one poured! Hard, heavy rains came down. Then all the fans who hadn't moved were stuck! They jumped onto the field to seek shelter, some headed to any overhang they could find. We sat there. We had heard there was rain expected to we (I) came prepared. I brough each of us a cap, windbreakers, and we stopped and bought some rain ponchos. We did not expect them to be so sturdy but once it started raining and everyone was scurrying around us, we realized that were were bone dry and that moving might actually be worse than sitting there. So we did....for 2 hours!! Then, the game started again. It sounded like a good idea at the time.

We had to entertain ourselves for two hours!

It ended well. We won the 6th game this year, making us Bowl eligible for the first time since 1995.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Grand opening

Today I am introducing my new Etsy store. If you are not familiar with Etsy, it is an ebay-like shopping website specifically for crafts and vintage finds. I was introduced a year or so ago and finally decided to use etsy as my crafting and shopping outlet.

Yesterday I put up three items and sold them overnight. I just put up the first batch of a jewelry line that is inspired by my love for all things vintage.
Example: Blue-ble ring

Its just another fun hobby that also allows me to give. 50% of all profits benefit the Family Abuse Center here in Waco.

Have fun, and not just at my store, there are millions of stores, so have a looksy.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Planting Party Recap

It was a VERY productive weekend! We got all 6 trees planted. And we had fun doing it too.
The weather was perfect. We finished much earlier than we thought and the guys even fixed up an irrigation system. We got to watch some of the football game while sharing a nice meal together, played with the dogs, and ate some homemade caldo.

We planted Bradford Pear trees. They are small right now but hopefully they will survive. The leaves turn in spring and fall from green to red to WHITE.

Thank you soooo much to everyone who helped. It would have taken us forever to finish.

Friday, October 15, 2010

New Kitchen

Well, I took the leap. I painted the cabinets white. When I originally painted the countertops, I chickened out on the cabinets. After 6 months of debate, I convinced myself to do it. The cabinets were orange-y and all the other wood in the house is dark wood I was scared that I would not be able to paint them correctly and they would look horrible and then I would be stuck with no doors on the cabinets.

I like the way it turned out. It seems much bigger and 10 times cleaner. Its come along way from Cow wallpaper borders and blue counter tops!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

New Hobby

We have picked up a fun new hobby.

We picked up the dart board at Second Time Around over the summer. It has been sitting in the house waiting to be used. I finally took the initiative and put it up on our back porch. I realize that this is not the idea situation but I didn't want darts flying around in the house :)
Plus, it was a good excuse to clean up the porch.

We have played a few times and Neil is much better than me. There are a few different games:


We don't really know the rules to any of them so if you know, share the wealth!

Happy fall!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Homecoming #1

The high school had their homecoming game this weekend. The week is filled with events from a parade, to powder puff, to the game. Down here in Texas we have a tradition of giving out mums and garters for homecoming. I have no idea why! I do remember the excitement of getting one and I do still have all of them. But when people ask to explain, I barely have an answer.

For those of you in the other 49 states, a mum is like a big, gaudy corsage that you wear on your shirt for the game - not the dance! It's usually made with a few mum flowers surrounded by ribbon (like a prize ribbon around the edges) and it has lots and lots of ribbons hanging down. The fatter ribbons will have stickers that say the girl's name, the school, the year, "homecoming," etc. Usually "Love, Mom" or whoever made it or gave it. There are skinny ribbons with bells and megaphones and other doo-dads hanging off. Some mums are mammoth. Others are small and subduded. There is no explaining it, so here is an example.

Well, boys are not left out either. They receive a garter. You usually receive one from your date but can be given by friends or usually mothers. Well, I decided to give one to my date.

Neils first garter.....

He is so embarrassed. Oh well, go Lions!

Saturday, October 2, 2010

New dining room

This was our dining area before.

Then we got the piano, and our high table and chairs no longer fit. Wanting more space and a better profile for the piano, we sold our table on craigslist and put the money toward a new one. Still, it was a bit of a spurge but it gets as small as 18 inches wide with both leaves down and gets up to regular size with the leaves up. Plus, It has red legs that match with our curtains and other decor. The matching chairs were 100 each!
They are beautiful but I just couldn't do it. So I bought a cheap set and painted them red. The piano bench can serve as seating for the other side. Its coming together pretty well.

Its coming together pretty well. A little bit eclectic but it works for us!
Just a little look into our new dining room.

Coming up....the new kitchen.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

You are invited!

We have been waiting for fall since we moved in last fall. We want to line the driveway with trees, add some crype myrtles in the back and maybe add to the landscape around the house. Come join the fun if you can.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Learning from Neil

Marriage is a learning process but thats kinda the fun in it. Getting married, moving in together, moving, and getting new jobs is a lot of change in a year. But, in the one year, 3 months and 2 days that I have been married. I have learned a lot.

I have learned:
- to enjoy a LOST marathon
- some history
- to appreciate a good Jeopardy show
- how to conserve energy
- how to love and show your love for books.

I have been inspired by:
- his passion for social justice
- his never ending patience
- the fact that I have NEVER heard him talk bad about anyone!
- the power of prayer in a marriage.
- his unbelievable support of me in every way

and those are just the first five I could think of! I love when people ask "How is married life?" because I truly love it and I hope that it shows.

Man, I can't wait for more.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Homestead Heritage

School just started but we were both very grateful for a long weekend. It was fun and relaxing but by Monday, I had to go "do something". After some debate, I decided on a trip to homestead heritage. It is only ten minutes from the house but not too popular but I had heard about it from a professor so we headed out around 10:30am.

The idea of Homestead Heritage is educating on self sustainability and community. You can take a tour of the homestead. There are a few houses and barns that are for specific trades. The first one we went to was a gift store. Everything they sell is made on site. There was soap, furniture, quilts, jams and a whole bunch of stuff. There were some ladies working on a quilt. They STITICHED EVERY SINGLE STITCH BY HAND! That is way more patience than I would ever have. Of course, they were beautiful quilts.

We also visited the woodworking shop and the pottery barn. The pottery was beautiful. From start to finish, they do it all.

There was a grist mill that was really cool. It was really intricate and very involved.

There was a textile barn were they make towels and clothes and scarves and stuff.
I like these simple spools placed on top of the support beams like a piece of art.
Oh ya, I forgot to mention that we happened to be there on the 2nd busiest day. It was the annual Shorgum syrup festival! The busiest time is Thanksgiving weekend.

They had some samples of the syrup and they worked whole process. It looked something like this:
First, a few guys cut up sugar cane stalks and put them into this grinder.
Then, the horses walked around causing the grinder to grind. (as you can see, I am not well versed on the process)
One of the men caught the liquid portion in a small bucket and transfered it to this huge open oven where a bunch of women stirred it constantly. If it looks like its hot, thats because it is. It was about 95 degrees out and the stove was heated to about 250! Then they filled every jar!
There was music, homemade ice cream, a restaurant, farming, and BBQ. We even visited a restored barn that housed Washington's horses. It was taken down piece by piece and rebuilt on the farm. Needless to say, we had a lot of fun.
Hope you had a good weekend too. The next one is almost here already!

Dad and Megan are up for a football game this weekend....there will be pictures.