Friends forging a course together through the unexpected

Back Off Christmas! November 19, 2014

Filed under: Kelly — Uncharted @ 12:28 am
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I’m just going to throw this out there.  It isn’t time for Christmas yet.  Thanksgiving hasn’t even happened yet.  There will be plenty of time for Christmas trees, snowmen, stockings, and Christmas music.  Right now it’s time for turkey, pumpkins, pilgrims, and giving thanks!  I cringe when I see Christmas lights up, I have to avoid 93.9 on the radio, and my Christmas boxes will continued to be stored in the closet until at least November 28th.

fallIt drives me nuts every year that Thanksgiving gets skipped over.  Guys, it’s a holiday based around eating an amazing meal {and hanging out with people you love}!  I just don’t get it.  I suppose I understand how you might be a bit confused.  We’ve hit negative wind chills here in Chicago and of course there has been a little bit of snow blowing around, but that’s no reason to rush it, okay? There will be plenty of time for Christmas in December.  Don’t get me wrong.  I love Christmas.  I just hate the idea that Thanksgiving is skipped over when it is such a quality holiday.  I’d actually have to say it’s my favorite.  Getting to spend time with family, eating great food, not to mention having time off work.  These are all great things about the day.  The older I get, the faster time seems to go.  I’m just trying to live in the moment and not rush things.




DIY Rustic Pumpkins October 29, 2014

Filed under: Karla — Uncharted @ 9:25 am
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Last fall I spotted these adorable rustic pumpkins on DIY Swank and immediately pinned them to my “fall” board on Pinterest. A few months ago, Matt and I were talking about getting back into the habit of making things. We did so much for our wedding and fell in love with finding something on Pinterest and then adding our own special touches. I thought the rustic pumpkins would be the perfect project for us to get back on the DIY track!

We decided we would make three pumpkins: 1 large, 1 medium and 1 small. We followed the directions on DIY Swank with a few adaptations. We stopped by our local ACE hardware and picked up two 2X4X10 foot pieces, white spray paint and orange spray paint. Here how we “carved up” the wood.

Large Pumpkin

(1) 7″, (2) 9″, (2), 10″, (2) 11″, (1) 12″

Medium Pumpkin

(1) 7″, (2) 9″, (2), 10″, (1) 11″

Small Pumpkin

(1) 4″, (2) 5″, (1) 6″

Matt got to work cutting the wood while we were still up north. He had a gorgeous background and didn’t mind working one bit!

Rustic Pumpkin Carving


We brought the wood home and did the first round of sanding on the cut pieces. Then Matt spray painted the large and small one orange and the medium sized one white. On the stems we used green spray paint that I had leftover from another project for a pop of color.

After the spray paint dried (we waited a day) we sanded all of the spray painted pieces once again to achieve a more distressed/rustic look. Happy with the results, we began the assembly process.

wooden pumpkins


Instead of using wood glue and clamps we decided to use wood screws. Very carefully starting at the stop and working our way down, we screwed each piece to each other.

Rustic Pumpkins

I think they turned out pretty cute! Now onto the next holiday DIY project…I’m thinking snowmen but you’ll have to wait and see.


Off to the Pumpkin Patch October 1, 2014

Filed under: Karla — Uncharted @ 8:26 pm
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This weekend Matt and I started a new tradition. And no surprise, it was with the help of our friends Tom and Kim and their daughter! Neither Matt nor I had ever picked out pumpkins from an actual patch before. Yes, I’ve picked them up at Jewel, Trader Joe’s and even from a preselected area at a farm. But never in an actual patch. Or at least not that me and my parents remember.

We headed out with the Ludwigs early last Sunday morning to Jonamac Orchard in Malta, Illinois, near DeKalb. In fact, it’s the same farm that fellow Uncharted author, Kelly wrote about two weeks ago. There are so many fun activities including live music, a petting zoo and pony rides. It’s the perfect place for a family.

Having fun on the farm

The farm is beautiful, clean and easy to navigate. The customer service was wonderful and there is so much to do there! Our first stop was the general store for apple slushes (the best apple slushie in the world!), coffee and cider donuts. With our bellies full and warm we headed out on a hayride to the pumpkin patch. The cool morning quickly warmed up as we searched for our pumpkins under a bright sunny blue sky.

Matt and I found two great ones and we were able to “steal” one that Kim had originally picked out but no longer wanted. Thanks Kim! I also picked up 3 fun gourds to use as decorations around the house. Unfortunately, the orchard was closed and we couldn’t go apple picking. So Tom and I headed back into the general store and picked up a few pre-picked bags and half gallon of fresh cider. To my surprise, everything was reasonably priced. I totally understand now why Tom wanted to go to this particular farm. And I can’t wait to go again next year!



The Key Items for a Successful Campfire October 3, 2012

Filed under: Karla — Uncharted @ 5:17 pm
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What are your favorite things about fall? Personally, I’m loving the cooler weather we’re enjoying. It’s great to be able to toss on a pair of comfy jeans with a hoodie. But beyond apparel, what about food, recipes or smells?

Another favorite of mine is campfires. Even though you can enjoy them pretty much all year round, the best time really is in the fall. We can all be honest and just accept that fact. So what makes a campfire? Here are a few tips. Number one: build a stellar fire pit.

Matt and I have been diligently researching how to build our own fire pit over the last five months. We broke ground about a month ago by squaring off an area in the backyard and placing weed/ground killer to help remove the ground cover. Matt did a great job pulling up the dead grass leaving us with a 12 foot by 12 foot dirt square.

Next on the list was a trip to Home Depot. We selected the “Aspen” colored paving stones to build our pit. The 12” stones are quite reasonable and easy to use, minus some heavy lifting, but that’s all part of your daily weight training routine anyway. We also picked up smaller six inch bricks to use as a foundation layer to support the pavers. Our friend Ross suggested using small pebbles as fill behind the bricks as well to help insulate the fire, so two bags of that went into the cart. But probably the two most useful items purchased, both for the bargain price of $5, was a mallet to pound in the bricks, and a protractor to make sure we maintained a consistent angle to achieve a circle.

Then we got to work. Here is what we were able to accomplish over the weekend. Not too shabby if I say so myself.

Our fire pit!

This weekend Matt is going to level off the ground around the pit and maybe spruce it up with some pebbles and additional paving stones. We’ll see what he comes up with!

So, back to the list of what makes a great campfire.

1. Stellar fire pit
2. Excellent company
3. S’mores – get creative with different chocolates and Nutella 🙂
4. Beer/your beverage of choice

With these four items you’ll be set for a great night. Let me know how it turns out!


Apple of my Eye September 25, 2012

Filed under: Kelly — Uncharted @ 10:54 pm
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My Favorite season is back!  Here are a couple little things that I’ve been loving so far:

*        I’m freezing my booty off in the morning when I get ready, but I’ll take it compared to the crazy heat this summer

*        The air is clearer {no humidity} and it smells better too

*        Da Bears are playing

*        Everything is cozy and layers are back in style

*        The fall coat is in use again

*        My Nana gave me my first taffy apple of the season and I thoroughly enjoyed it

Speaking of apples, they are a clear sign to me that fall is here.  There were apples in our CSA box this week so naturally hopped on Pinterest trying to find the best apple recipe there ever was.  I was specifically trying to find unique recipes.  Not just the traditional apple pie.  Here are a few gems I found:

Apple Sandwich Found on Whole Foods website

Crock-Pot-Caramel-Apple from Food Family Finds website

Baked Apple Pie Eggrolls by Spoon Fork Bacon

Literal Apple Pie from Domestic Dilettante

Please click on the pictures above to view the step by step directions to create each.  I’m going to need to wait until I go apple picking because the 4 we received from the CSA{oops make that 3, I already ate one!} probably won’t be enough for all these awesome recipes.  I purposely picked some recipes that are on the simplier side.  The apple sandwiches and the crock pot recipe seem like things I could definitely make.  The egg rolls seem a bit more intimidating, but also the most unique.  Lastly the apple pie inside apples looks so fun, but I am a bit afraid of the crust portion.  Whatever happens I’ll make sure to post on here if I am brave enough to make any of these.  Oh one more thing.  Based on these recipes I decided I need one of these.  I think it’d make these recipes a lot easier!

Apple Corer-Peeler-Slicer



Celebrate the Season October 30, 2011

Last night Jonathan and I had a full on festive celebration with our friends Jeff and Krista in honor of tomorrow…Halloween!  Krista was such an excellent hostess, and I thought I’d share with you some of the things that I think you can combine to create a happy Halloween after college.  Because in college I {probably like most of you reading this} just had to throw on a costume and go to a frat party for a fun Halloween.  Once you’re a grown-up life is a little different, but you can adultify your holidays and still have a great time 🙂

Recipe for a festive fall celebration…

1.  Pumpkin carving

2.  Roasting pumpkin seeds {Krista and I discovered this year that the best and easiest way to create delicious seeds is by adding Lowry’s seasoned salt to your pan before you throw them in the oven}

3.  Fall-themed cocktails like spiced cider with rum and mulled wine

4.  A warm meal of soup

5.  A delicious dessert of homemade pumpkin cupcakes {Krista did an awesome job on these, and they were so delicious I’ve eaten about half a dozen of them because she sent some home with us, too!}

6.  Homemade costumes for a costume party…we went with 90’s themed toys this year…troll dolls and teenage mutant ninja turtles, and crafted them all ourselves!

What’s your favorite way to celebrate this season?  I’m always looking for delicious recipes and festive ideas to try, so don’t be shy and share with Uncharted 🙂


Pumpkin Paradise October 15, 2011

I love pumpkins.  Especially during Fall.  The aroma of pumpkin pie baking in the oven evokes visualizations of rich colors of changing leaves and the feeling of a crisp October morning.  But I think what I really love about pumpkins is their versatility.  I thoroughly enjoy seasonal decorating, but have a hard time grasping decorating for a holiday that lasts only one day (except Christmas, of course).  I don’t want anyone to tease me about having my decorations up unreasonably early, nor do I want to be ‘that girl’ who still has her Halloween decorations out on November 1st.  Case in point, pumpkins are a perfect Fall solution.  You can leave them out all season!  I can make a pumpkin cheesecake on occasions other than Thanksgiving, order a pumpkin latte at Starbucks from September to December, and keep my pumpkin decorations out for 3 months if I darn well please.  Here are some favorites I added to my Fall decorating repertoire this year…

This one was a cheap find from Hobby Lobby, but I like the outdoors-y feel of it

This guy came from the Denver Botanic Gardens fall fest that we attended when Kelly was visiting...it's made of blown glass by artists out of Lakewood, Colorado

Our purchases from the pumpkin patch at Denver Botanic Gardens last weekend...my plan is to repurpose them into pumpkin vases...keep an eye out for those in a post coming soon!


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