In just six days, Greg and I will have been married for 2 whole years!  To us, that is unbelievable.  This weekend we will be taking a 4 day vacation in the Point Mountains, WV, and staying in an eco-friendly cabin that has a brick bread warming oven and a Swedish green system.  Our plan?  Just to sit, relax, enjoy each other, and bake bread.  That’s how we do.  I’ve been planning our meals, since we’ll be cooking all our own meals in the cabin — which I think is more fun than going out.

When Greg and I went honeymooning in Portugal, we cooked alot of our own meals.  We would walk the dusty roads to the grocery store and purchase items to make soups, sandwiches, and other tasty meals using Portuguese goods.  One of the foods I absolutely loved was their plain yogurt.  You may wonder why plain yogurt?  Well, I had never tasted anything like it in the US.  Plain yogurt in the US is bland and watery and not good.  Plain yogurt in Portugal was creamy, slightly sweet, and came in small, homey glass jars.  We would eat them with tiny metal spoons we found in our resort apartment — the tiny-ness of the spoons made the yogurt last longer.  It made me sad to think that I wouldn’t get plain yogurt like this back home.

But give it a little time, and things do start to look up.  One day my mom comes home from the grocery store and tells me to try this new greek yogurt she heard about.  It’s called FAGE.  One bite and I was hooked.  It reminded me of the yogurt in Portgual.  FAGE comes in different flavors, but the plain is good for me.  It’s a tad bit pricey at around $1.75 per individual container, but it is oh so worth it!  Especially during pregnancy, when an abundance of protein is a must.  The average yogurt has about 5 grams of protein.  FAGE has 17 grams of protein.  A favorite snack of mine these days is a FAGE yogurt with a dash of raw sugar or honey and a handful of whole grapes mixed in.  So very yummy.  A close second to FAGE yogurt is Chobani yogurt.  It doesn’t have the custardy goodness of FAGE, but it’s still good, and it’s cheaper.

FAGE — it’s “ridiculously thick yogurt”, and it’s got my approval.


vintage nightgowns.

I have this thing for vintage styled nightgowns.

I guess you could call me a nightgown kinda gal — but not just any sort of nightgown!  Oh no!  I just love the kinds that remind me of old farm houses or large victorian homes.  The wonderfully cozy and romantic cotton canterbury kinds with the hint of lace at the cuffs and neckline.  During my college years I went to town purchasing them.  I’m sure glad I did, because I now have a dozen or so of these nostaligic beauties in various styles and cuts.  And they are the best during pregnancy!

A few years ago, my dear cousin, Betty Chachi, gifted me with a beautiful cotton, vintage styled nightgown from Garnet Hill.  I believe it was for my birthday.  I absoloutley love it!  (It’s just so dandy when people know exactly what you would have chosen!)  But, I think it may be more that Betty Chachi and I could be kindred spirits of some sort.  Maybe those years of her reading books to me rubbed a little of her onto me (and I’m sure glad it did!).  I fondly remember being read books like Mrs. Pigglewiggle, and Anne of Green Gables.  Oh, and the letters she would write me with her, oh, so elegant penmanship.  She would draw too.  She would draw ladies with sun hats and vintage dresses.  I still have those letters and drawings.

Anyway I digress.  The nightgown she got me below is so scrumptiously comfy, I could walk around my house all day in it.  It’s made of a clean white organic cotton, and crafted in Denmark.  I wonder where I can find pretty little white nightgowns for my girly?  If all else fails, I can always make them.  ; )

IMGP3693IMGP3692[white vintage-styled nightgown, from Garnet Hill.]

labor day fishing.

The hubster and I whisked ourselves away to the beach for this past Labor Day weekend.  What we encountered?  Wonderful Family.  Great Friends.  Beautiful Ocean.  Big Waves.  Tasty Grilled Food from a Grill Master.  Delicious Hand-Dipped Mocha Chip Icecream.  Savory Seafood.  Relaxing Fishing.     

A little more about the relaxing fishing…  I really hope Greg and I find a steady place to fish sometime in the near future.  It’s something we both love doing.  This past weekend we got the chance to visit some family friends, Terry and Ellen, who live on the water.  And when I say “live on the water”…I mean, live on the water.  Their house is right on the edge of the Chincoteague waters, and standing in their home and looking outside their great big bay windows feel as if you are standing on a boat and looking out across the water.  Terry and Ellen also have a great dock where they park their boat, go crabbing, and go fishing.  Sooo relaxing to just sit out on the dock, watch the water, and fish to your hearts content.  I caught two!  Two small ones. 

Not that I’ve caught many fish in my lifetime or anything, but I do feel like fishing comes naturally to me.  I feel like I can sense when a fishy is sneakily taking tidbit bites of my bait — and that’s when I go in for the kill and reel that baby in.  I love watching Greg throw his line out across the many waters, it always goes so so far. 

I also realized during that time that it’s nice when you have a husband that reminds you of Huck Finn.  : )   Thanks to my sister-in-law who took these fabulous photos!  Thanks Beth! 



Back in March when I told my sister that I was having a baby, she screamed with surprise, and then she cried.  She was so happy.  Almost immediately, well probably in that same week, she told me that she did not want to be called “Becky Aunty.”  Rather, she said she would like to be called “Zuma.”  The following products were designed by the one and only Becky Kurikeshu, also known as Zuma. 


friendship blanket.

Some of my dear, dear girlfriends from our Carbondale family sent a special gift with Jan when she came down for a visit a couple of weeks back.  These gals thought it would be a neat idea to utilize the left-over yarn from Yohan’s blanket to crochet me a baby blanket!  Awesomeness!  I loved Yohan’s blanket, and now I get my own!  : )

This earthy green blanket is somewhat different because it carries hints of blackberry purple throughout.  Thanks to Jan, Ashley, Amma, Jill, Wanjiku, Rajani, Michelle, Sayaka and Lisa for all the hard work they put into this very meaningful and beautiful blanket.  I love it, and I know my girly will feel safe and cozy in it too!


smith babies.

The husband and I went to the beach this past weekend to see our wonderful family, and because we needed a break from all the hustle + bustle of being east coasters.  We stayed at Greg’s parents’ airy beach home, which is practically on the beach — a 10 minute walk to the beach to be exact.  The gals did some fabric shopping at a nearby quilt shop, and we also did some antiquing, where I picked up 2 really neat fruit crates to put all my fabrics in. 

We also got into baby mode and began looking at childhood photos of Greg and Beth.  Some of the shots were so good that I had to get a copy of them to frame some day when I come across the right frames.  Greg’s mom used an SLR to capture these great photos.  Today’s digital SLR’s don’t even compare to the richness and depth found in these photos.  Photography by my mother-in-law, Sandy Smith.


artful blogging.

art5The other day my beach mom (Greg’s mother) gave me a copy of Artful Blogging.  I never knew this magazine even existed.  (Isn’t it so fun to come across things that you never knew existed?)  This was one of those times…the magazine is really wonderful!

Artful Blogging consists of the most creative + artistic blogs out there.  Creative with regard to handmade goods, innovative fashion + home decor ideas, photography, art, sewing and the skill of wordsmithing.  I just love reading it — it’s like picking up a book of short stories and reading into the real lives of creative people everywhere.

It’s quite inspiring to say the least.  Thanks Mom!


brown paper + twine.

My bestest friend, Gifty, sent a package with my sister the other day.  I just love packages like these.  They remind me of men on horseback riding through wind, hail, and storm, to get an important letter to some person who lives in a log-cabin across the country.  It was such a fantastic package…I just knew something really good would be in it.  It looked like it could hold a very cute little cake.  But, it was actually much, much better than even a very cute little cake.


IMGP2191 IMGP2195IMGP2192IMGP2194IMGP2249IMGP2246I love packages wrapped in brown and tied with twine.  I love ethnic baby stuff.  I love hand-written letters.  Hmmm…this was a good day.  Thanks Gift, you are the bestest, love you lots.  ; )

In other news, happy anniversary to my parents, Raju + Valsa (aka Alex + Mary), who celebrated their 29th wedding anniversary today!  Thank you both so much for your godly example and your diligence to follow Christ at all costs.  And moreover, thank you for not compromising in rearing your wonderful and obedient children.  : )  No, really, in all seriousness, your walk with Christ is what influenced us and made us different from the rest of the world.  You gave us Jesus in the normal, everyday life.  And for this I wouldn’t trade you for any other parents in the world.  I love you both very much.


the tina quilt.

So we’re back, safe and sound, in Maryland.  So much to do organization-wise.  I feel like everything I own is in one mumble-jumbled mess in the basement.  This summer will be the time to organize to my heart’s content.  Maybe I’ll get rid of stuff.  Maybe I’ll even have a garage sale.  I’ve never had one of those, but they seem like a nice way to get the neighbors out and about.

Before Tina’s baby was born, Tina and I went to Hobby Lobby for a little gal’s outing.  (Sidenote: I absolutely LOVE Hobby Lobby!!!  I wish we had one here on the east coast!  It’s incredible because it has everything you could imagine related to all things crafty ALL under one roof.)  So while in the store, I surprised Tina with the idea for my baby shower gift to her — a baby quilt.  So we spent the afternoon picking out fabrics that we liked for her little baby boy.  And so, that is what inspired the Tina Quilt…


blueberry hill.

Oilyn, the kids, and myself went to Blueberry Hill for some good old-fashioned blueberry picking.  The blueberries were actually not ready to be picked for another week (a great disappointment for the kids), so we went strawberry picking instead.  Too bad it was the tail end of strawberry season, because we got smaller berries — though, they were still tasty.  I picked about a pound of strawberries and purchased some pre-picked blueberries.

I loved how dedicated and excited the Juan kids were about berry picking.  They told me about all the various fruits they pick during the year — strawberries first, then blueberries, raspberries, and peaches.  After peaches, apples are next in line, but southern Illinois does not grow apples.  I think it’s definitely likely that my kids and I will be making field trips to local farms for fruit picking — a great springtime, summertime, and falltime activity for kids of all ages.  The kids also told me how they like putting their freshly picked blueberries in the freezer and having them frozen.  I tried this when I got home, and they were yummy.  Tasted like blueberry popsicles…only bitesized pieces of goodness.  : )



The ones below are some I picked up at the Carbondale Farmer’s Market.  They are the biggest blueberries I’ve ever seen.