Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Happy New Year!

Goodbye 2013! Hello New Year! One of my favorite ways to get ready for the new year is to get a new calendar (or several!). In 2013 I found a free calendar from My Owl Barn - which is full of owls! Today I sorted through the original artwork of fifty different artists, to create my new 2014 owl calendar. You can make your own Owl Lover 2014 Calendar at My Owl Barn - there are a ton of lovely owls to choose from (Olivia likes them too!)!

Monday, December 30, 2013

New Blanket

Livy snuggled with me this afternoon on our new blanket. She needed a break after playing with the new toy mice her, Emma and Amelia got for Christmas!

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Gluten-Free Citrus Yogurt Cake + Recipe

Today I made blood orange yogurt cake - the red juice of the blood orange made the glaze bright pink! The recipe I used is my gluten-free citrus yogurt cake recipe. This recipe can be made using any citrus, so far I have made it with grapefruit, Meyer lemon and blood orange. I plan to try lime or pomelo next!

Happy Holidays!

Friday, December 27, 2013

The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency

My favorite book series is the No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency by Alexander McCall Smith. The above photo is of the most recent book, The Minor Adjustment Beauty Salon. This series takes place in the African country of Botswana. The main character, Mma Ramotswe, is the proprietor of the No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency. I love to read these books in the winter, when Ohio is cold and gray because Botswana is warm and bright and Mma Ramotswe is so cheerful. The books follow her as she solves big and small cases for her clients and as she goes through her day to day life. It also includes her tangential thoughts and musings, which I love! I often find myself getting carried away with my thoughts, just as Mma Ramotswe does. Other characters in this series include Mma Ramotswe's secretary, Mma Grace Makutsi, Mma Ramotswe's friend and the best car mechanic in Botswana, Mr. J.L.B. Matekoni, his apprentices Fanwell and Charlie and Mma Ramotswe's friend and the matron of the local orphanage, Mma Potokwane. The characters in the novels are so real I fully expect to meet them when I finally travel to Botswana (some day!). 

Thursday, December 26, 2013

2014 Weekly Planners

Check out these planners I made using Blurb! I created a Veterinary Weekly Planner for Kenneth and a Warm Hearts & Wet Noses Planner for my mom and I. Both planners feature photographs of cats, dogs, farm animals and zoo and wild animals. The photos in the Veterinary Weekly Planner were all taken by me, but the Warm Hearts & Wet Noses Planner includes photos taken by Kenneth and me. I included a ton of quotes about animals, some of them are by one of Kenneth's favorite authors, James Herriot.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Topiary Park

I love the combination of art and nature at Topiary ParkKenneth and I visited this park in September after visiting the Columbus Museum of Art. The Topiary Park has a unique history and a really cool topiary display depicting Georges Seurat’s famous impressionist painting A Sunday Afternoon on the Isle of La Grand Jatte.

Celebrate Local - Easton Town Center

Celebrate Local is your one stop shop for all things local! Located at the Easton Town Center, Celebrate Local features locally grown and prepared foods, one of a kind works of art, clothing, jewelry, cosmetics and home goods. The shop is carefully curated and brings together the work of 200 growers and artisans from Ohio! By shopping at Celebrate Local you support local artisans and farmers and put money back into the local economy. It's a great place to shop for Christmas or birthday gifts. Kenneth and I save time to stop by when we're at Easton. 

Lazy Sunday

Grandma's Christmas Tree

We celebrated Christmas with my mom's side of the family yesterday. The following photos are some of my favorite ornaments on my grandma's Christmas tree, ones I look for every year!

Monday, December 16, 2013

Dirty Frank's Hot Dog Palace - Downtown Columbus

Dirty Frank's Hot Dog Palace is my new favorite fast food joint in Columbus! I can't believe I've not been here before - Dirty Frank's is the best! 

I went with some friends a few weeks ago to check out 16-Bit Bar, which is next door to Dirty Frank's. 16-Bit doesn't serve food so we grabbed dinner at Dirty Frank's first. Gluten-free and vegan/vegetarian friendly options abound, you can order a beef or vegan (soy-free) dog on a poppy seed bun, a gluten-free bun or in a Romaine lettuce wrap. 

Rodney, Rhonda & Olivia

Look who I found! Rodney and Rhonda, the Hallmark Reindeer! My Mom has Rodney, Rhonda, Ramona and Randy. I remember them decorating our home during Christmas when I was a kid. They were always my favorite decorations, so I decided to pick up a Rodney and Rhonda for Kenneth and I (Olivia is not quite sure what to think!)!

Check out this commercial from the 1980s advertising Rodney and Rhonda - Hallmark has been making these guys since the 1970s!

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Gluten-Free Black & White Chocolate Pomegranate Cookies

Black & White Chocolate Pomegranate cookies are a delicious treat for a cold winter day! I made these gluten-free from a Double Dark Chocolate Pomegranate Cookies recipe, subbing some of the dark chocolate chips for white chocolate. If you can't find pomegranate arils in your area, I think dried cranberries would be a great substitute!

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Fruit Cake!

Today I made these tasty looking fruitcakes for a multi-cultural winter holiday event at work tomorrow. The fruitcake is for Christmas in Great Britain - and it looks delicious (it's also full of gluten, so I'm relying on co-workers to taste test for me, I might make a gluten-free version for me later this month)!

Columbus Museum of Art

The Columbus Museum of Art is the perfect destination for an artsy day trip to Columbus! Located in the Discovery District, the CMA is near the Columbus Metropolitan Library, Topiary Park, Thurber House, Kelton House, Franklin University, Columbus College of Art and Design, Capital University Law School and Columbus State Community College... hence the name the Discovery District!  

Monday, December 9, 2013

Capture Your Ohio History!

I'm so excited to be one of the photographers featured in the 2014 Ohio History Calendar! My photo (pictured above and below) was taken this summer at the Ohio Village. I love taking time to photograph small things when visiting a historical site or a park, like tiny flowers, or rain clinging to the flowers on garden plants.

T-Dog and The Real Man

Kenneth and I went to Dirty Frank's Hot Dog Palace last night for dinner - it was delicious and I will be posting a review of Dirty Franks on the blog soon!

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Meowy Catmus

This is the Christmas card I drew a few years ago - things are too busy this year, but hopefully I can draw another holiday card for Christmas 2014!

Meowy Christmas from Emma, Amelia and Olivia!

Bright Night

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Gingerbread Men & the Doctor

I have so many wonderful co-workers! They're always willing to help! Today, three of my co-workers made these gingerbread men for me as craft examples for this weekend's Family Fun at work. Aren't they cute? 

Also - the Doctor is finally ginger! Well, a gingerbread man is close, right?

Monday, December 2, 2013

1982 Mario

Saw 1982 Mario tonight at 16-Bit Bar + Arcade in downtown Columbus! Check back soon for a review of the bar and its neighbor, Dirty Frank's Hot Dog Palace!

Columbus Zoo and Aquarium

I feel very fortunate to live in a city with a wonderful zoo! The Columbus Zoo and Aquarium is a 90 acre zoo with over 10,000 animals, representing over 575 species! The Columbus Zoo opened in 1927, with just a few animals. Today the zoo has five distinct habitats with plans for a sixth currently in the works. The habitats include: North America, Asia Quest, Shores, Expedition Congo African Forest and Voyage to Australia and the Islands. The new region, Safari Africa, is set to open during the summer of 2014. Safari Africa will be a 43-acre region focusing on the savannah of southern and eastern Africa. This new addition will feature giraffes, zebras, cheetahs, warthogs, lions, meerkats, monkeys, ostriches and Jack Hanna as a virtual tour guide for safari adventures! Visitors will be able to visit a village market, feed giraffes and go zip lining. As with many programs at the Zoo, Safari Africa will support conservation efforts in the wild. I can't wait to check it out!

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Aveda Institute Columbus

The Aveda Institute Columbus is the only place I go for a haircut in Columbus! I started going to Raphael's Aveda Concept Spa & Salon in Athens as a college student at Ohio University. I adore the fragrance of the Aveda shampoos and have never had a bad haircut or color, in Athens or Columbus! 

The Winter Mantle

Friday, November 29, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving!

Thanksgiving is a day for family and delicious food! My favorite Thanksgiving foods are sweet potatoes, turkey and pumpkin desserts! My father-in-law, John, likes to enjoy his Cool Whip with a little pumpkin pie - what are your favorite Thanksgiving foods and traditions?

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Thanksgiving Eve

These photos are from today's Thanksgiving Eve festivities at Franklin Park Conservatory - sweet turkeys and a Peanuts Thanksgiving celebration with Snoopy, Woodstock, Charlie Brown, Sally, Peppermint Patty and Marshall (Marci's brother). Kenneth even gave Snoopy a check-up!

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Battelle Darby Creek

Battelle Darby Creek is my favorite Columbus Metro Park! Kenneth and I visit this park the most, it is the only Metro Park we have been to during every season (the photos in this post and the slideshow are from our recent visits in September and October). This park contains 7,000 acres and 18 miles of trails, making it the largest Metro Park! It's located on the west side of Columbus, just south of US Route 40. 

The habitats at Battelle Darby Creek are prairie, wetlands and riparian forest along Big Darby and Little Darby Creeks. The creeks are state and national scenic rivers and provide habitat for 44 species of freshwater mussels (8 of these are endangered) and 100 species of fish. Visitors can get an up close view of these underwater creatures in the new nature center, which opened in late 2012. The nature center features an indoor stream with live fish and turtles and interactive exhibits about the history of the area as well as the native flora and fauna. 


Sunday, November 24, 2013

Sugar Plum Pas de Deux

Today's holiday entertainment at Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens!  Several ballet dancers performed excerpts from the Nutcracker for us.  They were wonderful!

Happy Birthday Josh!

Yesterday we celebrated my cousin Josh's 12th birthday! My aunt Susie bought trick candles for Josh's cake. My photo of the day was taken after he first tried to blow out the candles and they relight themselves!

The way that trick candles work is that magnesium dust is inside of the candle wick. When the candle is blown out, the magnesium dust is ignited by the burning ember inside the wick. The ignited magnesium dust then catches the paraffin smoke on fire and relights the candle! You can see the smoke from the first time Josh blew the candles out in the photo. Pretty cool! 

Friday, November 22, 2013

How-To: Make Christmas Card Globes

Christmas Card Globes are a great way to recycle old holiday cards into something new! Over the past two weeks I made a large collection of globes and have finally finished my photo tutorial to illustrate how easily they can be made! If you do not have a large hole punch, you can print my 3-D Globe Stencil Templates and make reusable templates out of lightweight cardboard (cereal boxes work well). The stencil templates are different sized circles with equilateral triangles inside of them. To make a template cut out the circle and trace it on cardboard before cutting out the triangle and tracing it. (Even if you use a large punch, you will still need an equilateral triangle template).

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Long live the weeds and the wilderness

What would the world be, once bereft
Of wet and of wildness? Let them be left,
O let them be left, wildness and wet;
Long live the weeds and the wilderness yet.

Gerard Manley Hopkins
from the book Earth Prayers From around the World: 365 Prayers, Poems, and Invocations for Honoring the Earth