FOURTH WEEK OF JANUARY

I know my posts have been waning lately. In truth, when Dave has been gone and his computer has been free, I have felt like knitting while catching up on a chick flick or cooking, and not so much like blogging. But let me share a little bit about the past week.

We had a really busy, but so great, weekend. It started off with engagements pictures in the freezing, snowy weather, client meetings, and a lovely time with friends at a wedding reception. Sunday was church. I’ve been helping in the kids church this month. I get to spend an hour (15 minutes per age group) praying with and teaching the kids how to pray. I was nervous the first time, but it has turned out to be perhaps the best hour of my week. Then off for some family food and fun time to celebrate my mom’s birthday.

Monday was back to the drawing board, literally. I’m working on some wedding invites for one of our couples. I spent way longer than normal balancing our checkbooks, running errands, preparing meals, geeking out over paying bills, and considering ways to save and pay off debts! It’s nerdy, but I really do love to pay bills. Currently, we’re paying hospital bills because of my surgery during the fall. Our plan is to go Dave Ramsey on my student loan bills when these are paid off. You know, when they are paid we’ll have an extra $100ish a month that we can add to another (small) bill. When that is paid off, take all that we were paying on that bill (for us it will be $150) and add it to what we are already paying on another. We don’t have mondo amounts of debt, just some from my surgery and two separate student loans that can’t be consolidated. Paying down debt and saving have been a tricky balance while running a business; there are always things to buy. Less expensive office supplies of course, but Dave goes through hard drives like he goes through socks. (Have I told you that when I do laundry, I will find like 18 pairs of his and maybe 2 pairs that are my own?) Plus there is always a list of equipment needs and wants.

It has been rewarding working from home with him for the past 6 months. Each day I try not to take it for granted and make sure I am helping out. Sometimes this involves making the meals alone so he can keep working, running errands, and handling the finances. But I love doing more collaborative design work. I know we are each better at what we do because of the the other.

So that was just a little about my week. How was yours?

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BUSY DAY IN THE KITCHEN

I wanted to start this post off by telling you about how I fell in love with muffins. From my very first bite of my very first muffin (it was blueberry), I knew I needed to have one again.

Though that is true, the morning I made these muffins was less than dreamily nostalgic and enthralling.

Ehem. The other morning I awoke to my alarm, galloping to the kitchen to check in on my yogurt cultivating away on the counter. However, what I found was not yogurt but warmed milk. I also had glorious plans to make muffins for breakfast. It soon became a hectic time of googling how to save my crockpot yogurt and attempting to make muffins. I’ll just tell you now that it all worked out beautifully :) (my “saved” yogurt turned out amazing, and if it turns out that well again, you can bet you’ll be hearing about it), but there was a little crazy in there too.

Proof

I have read about these muffins many times from, you guessed it, 1 Cup Awesome. If you tell me something has brown butter in it, you can bet I’ll be making it or having a bite of yours. I first fell in love with the nutty goodness of brown butter while working at a local bakery preparing the financier (fee-nuhn-see-ay), small French teacakes made with almond flour and what have you. I should probably go have one right now.

This muffin recipe can be found here. These were really quick and required few ingredients which I became even more thankful for considering the morning debacle. To half of the batter, I added about 1/4 cup chopped pecans and 1 Tbs ground flax seeds. I kept it original for “Dave’s muffins”. I like to eat them warmed up with a bit of butter. Now the enthralling can commence.

PROSCUITTO EGG CUPS

I have had this recipe saved for quite sometime. I swiped this magazine from my mom because there is a section with the best of the midwest chocolate chip cookies. When I initially looked through it I also dog-eared the corner of this recipe.

At the time, I knew it wasn’t something I could eat but thought it would be so fun and cute to make for overnight guests at some point in my life. And I forgot about it. THEN, July of last year, I found myself healed of all of the food allergies that had been plaguing me for so long! When my friends Dave and Sarah posted their Proscuitto Egg Cups, I remembered this magazine and knew I had better get to it!

I placed oven-safe ramekins on a baking sheet and began to build. We layered the proscuitto, spinach, cheese, egg, and a tish more cheese :) And into the oven at 375° for 20-25 minutes until the eggs were firm. Dave was delighted when he found out he was allowed to eat two of them :) This is a quick stunner if you ask me. I used gouda for the cheese, but your favorite will surely work great. Normally, I would have added some fresh parsley but we didn’t have any that day. Keep it simple and use what you have on hand! I can’t imagine these turning out poorly.

WE MADE IT OUT ALIVE

I’m so thankful it doesn’t still look like that in here.

We survived the Bridal Forum! I don’t think I can describe to you just how exhausted we were that evening. We were up late doing a few extra things the night before-of course. Then we were up bright and early and were one of the first vendors to arrive. After a quick and painless set up, we left to grab some much appreciated coffee.  I felt pretty great until about 1:30pm, and then I felt every hour of sleep lacking in my body. By 4:30-5:30pm, I was in my erratically goofy/sleep deprived state. After that, I was just nodding off sitting on the couch trying to get through a movie. By 8:17pm, the Poyzers were in bed.

It was an exhausting week all around, and I am glad it is over. I do feel like the show was a good experience, and here’s hoping we book ourselves full! (And that we have a least one exotic destination wedding so we can have a sweet vacation this summer that is expense-able ;-))

A little about our booth: We had the fantastic idea of screen printing our sign for the show. We knew a big ol’ hunk of walnut would be too heavy, so we opted for this birch ply-wood with ebony veneer. More than once, I heard Dave say that he had gotten in over his head. Of course he was able to pull it off beautifully, but it was (quite) a bit more of a pain than either of us had bargained for. Then we screen printed our logo. Boom! I think it turned out really nice. We pulled our booth together quickly with things we borrowed or had at home. The cost added up quickly for the show so we didn’t really want to sink anymore money into it without knowing if it would payoff. I’m really thankful we were able to set up before anyone else was in the room. I know I would have felt really insecure otherwise. If we do it again, I would like to be a little less kitschy, a little more elaborate, and a little more minimal, if you can imagine :) We actually did hear a lot of positive feedback from brides and other vendors, so I’ll take it! HUGE thanks to our friends Adam and Bri for allowing us to borrow their computer for the day! It was perfect. And a secondary thanks to another friend for allowing us to borrow your easels and to those of you who offered to let us borrow other things from you; you know who you are :) We are so blessed with our community in Des Moines. We love you all.

CHRISTMAS WRAP UP

I finally put away the few Christmas decorations we had out and am enjoying a little more space in our apartment. Still, it is kind of sad to put away our sparkly tree before we’ve even had an abundance of snow. Dave and I were talking today about how as soon as we have some snow that sticks, it will feel like it is time for Christmas.
So when February rolls around, I’ll be ready.

I was able to finish most of my projects I was working on for gifts. My first SIL asked for warm blush colored gloves. I came up with the mitten(s) you see below. Mitten number two was finished Christmas morning. I got up early and sat on the floor in my old bedroom at my parent’s house with the closet light on, and knitted and purled and cabled as quickly as I could. Then, I stitched in a fleece lining I had already sewn to size. I joked with my mom that it reminded me oh so much of sewing on Peter Pan’s shadow. “Only you, Mariah,” she said.

These mittens are sisters, not twins. I messed up somewhere along the way, and the cables on the second mitten were smaller and therefore had more. I’ve known in theory how to do cables for a couple of years, but these are my first. I still think they were pretty great. I made a quicker pair of mittens for McKenzie. I like how they turned out so much, I might have to make similar pairs for Dave or me :) I don’t think she will mind. I didn’t remember to take a picture of them before giving them to  her though, oops.

I always find the Christmas sleepover at home so fun. Everyone in my immediate family lives about 30-45 minutes of each other. We see one another quite a bit, but it doesn’t feel like enough. I told my mom we needed to plan sleepover more often; once a month ok?

This year my goal was to dust off the old Atari and have a Super Breakout Tournament (that I would have inevitably won). Sadly, it didn’t happen, but we are ready for next time!

What kind of family traditions did you participate in over the holidays?

SO THIS IS THE NEW YEAR

Guys, as a wee one did you even once consider the year 2012?? I’m kind of blown away by this. My younger brother graduated last year. We would talk about how someday he would be the class of ’11, and somehow I never expected it to happen. I know a lot of bloggers post about a year in review or goals for the new year. I am not very good at setting goals for myself, but I do believe it is important. Get this:

“Where there is no vision, the people perish.”*

2011 has been an awesome year. I cannot deny how the power of God can be seen in my life, but also in terms of the satisfaction I carry in my heart. As I’ve been thinking about what possible goals or dreams I could set for myself for this next year, all I can come up with is to further my pursuit of whole health and continue to find deeper and deeper beauty and revelation in the God Man. There are a couple of other things too that I am not ready to divulge at this point (no, not trying to have kids).

Another thing I can share is my desire to help grow one of our family businesses. Dave is a skilled and unique photographer. I’m doing what I can to learn more about photography mostly because I have always been interested in it (but in walks my fear of failure, and I figured I couldn’t suck if I never tried.) but also to make myself more valuable to our means of income. I have better understanding of the wedding industry than he does, but am still quite the novice. The last couple of weeks we have been busy brainstorming and creating for this year and more specifically for our booth at the Bridal Forum. Neither of us have ever been to a wedding expo so it have been a H U G E blessing to have friends and family that do have experience as vendors. We both know we will learn a lot this first time out, but we still want to make a good showing. One of the more challenging aspects is that we were only able to register as videographers, which, in my humble opinion, Dave is unmatched at in our area. Seriously. We were informed that there was quite the long waiting list of photographers, but since we also do video, we were able to snag a spot! I am blown away by this and really grateful. Here’s an engagement video Dave did for our friends Dana and Tim. I am amazed by his work every time. He has this knack for making these visually pleasing videos that are playful yet completely dreamy and romantic.

Gah! My husband is awesome! Haha. This isn’t an attempt to say, tell your friends! Book us! I mean, you can ;-) and we would feel tremendously honored. The truth is, this is a huge part of our lives; not sharing it robs you of a fuller picture of me. And isn’t that an interesting thing?  I get to be very exclusive about what I post here, but my real aim is in being honest.

 

*Proverbs 29:18 KJV

CATCHING UP

What a busy time! I still feel like we are not back on schedule after the holidays. Instead we transitioned our busyness into preparing for the Bridal Forum here in Des Moines this weekend. We’ve never been to a wedding expo before, so we know we will be learning a lot! I’ll probably share more about that coming up.

A few months ago my friend Bri started a creativity team for our church. We spend the first part of our meetings listening to music, enjoying God, and drawing. For a couple of months we have been coming up with plans for our annual Christmas Eve Eve Service. I quickly took the pictures above while I was supposed to be practicing inside with the band. (I’m not normally a part of the worship team, but they wanted a few extra voices for the night.) Inside we used tree branches, lights, and more mason jars to transform that space as well.

The night was incredible. A crew of us arrived in the afternoon to begin decorating and setting up. We laughed, we rushed, we ate Jimmy Johns.

Dave pants was in charge of making a video to play at the beginning of service. It really became a group effort: My friend Carrie made the neat “adore” sign, and Bri and her husband Adam also came to film with us one night. Little did they know they would make the cut!

Please enjoy!

Adore from Des Moines Freelancer on Vimeo.

ABOUT MARIAH

Just dropping in to quickly say that my ABOUT page is finally up! I appreciate your patience; I know that most of the features/links on the blog aren’t working right now. Dave has been helping me update this place between a lot of other work. Slowly, slowly it is shaping up.