Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Boastin' Lady Wood

"Oh yeah.  You guys are giving me serious lady wood."  ~ Queen Latifah.

I rented a car last night for a day trip today and as my favorite rental guy Sean was walking me out to the lot he asked me his standard battery of questions.

"Are you taking for business or pleasure?"  Business
"Are you packing luggage?"  Nope
"Want something sporty?"

Sure.  Why the hell not.  I'm in the market for another car in the next year so I might as well try on different kinds.  My days of mom car shopping are ca put (and really ended 5 years ago when Bubba left).  Besides, the next car will become little guys so he has added some serious commentary about what he wants to drive (or moreover what he doesn't want to drive).

As we walk up on the 2012 Dodge Challenger, I immediately think of Queen Latifah in The Dilemma.  Anytime she got around a "sexy car", especially one that vibrated, she would get instant "lady wood".  Love it.

Performed the walk around.  Explained the keyless drive.  Exclaimed "have fun!" as I drove off the lot.

Fun.  Driving to St. Louis and back in the same day is always fun.

I think it might be.  Now I know this car probably looks like a muscle man car, but it is SA WEET inside (quote from little guy).  One of my neighbs asked if I got a new car when I pulled in.  I said nope, rental.  He immediately apologized for my car being in the shop again.  Figures.  My damn Saab lives at the doctor.  Poor sick kid.

Sitting down with my cup o' joe this morning to blog, I opened the browser and guess what I found?  Ba ba bum....... a 2009 Dodge Challenger opened on the screen.  Black.  Beautiful.  Black leather interior.  I think I may be lusting after this car.

Only thing hubs said was "why didn't you get a hemi?"  Oh yeah, that is JUST what I need.  I already get made fun of in the 'hood because the Saab has a sport mode that lets it shift through the gears faster (which it DOES work, by the way!)  I'm sure if I pull in the drive with a man car that sports a hemi the jokes will be a flowin'.


I may have to host that show "Pimp my Ride" but this is a sweet car!  Happy trails today, friends!

Jen



Monday, January 30, 2012

Insane in the Membrane

I can finally see where my little guy gets all of his fierce determination.  I used to try to take the credit for it (okay, up until yesterday really) but now I have to firmly give the full credit to my hubs.

I slacked a bit (okay a lot) on my P90x2 workouts this week so I decided that to make up for it I would join hubs in his Insanity Asylum workout Sunday morning.  We awoke early and we made little guy and his sleepover buddy biscuits and gravy for breakfast, which of course I forked a zillion bites without making a plate.  Once the boys were finished, hubs popped in the DVD.

This day's exercise was called GAME DAY.  How hard can that be?

Oh lord.  I have spent hours in Turbo Kick class, completed all of P90x original and trained for two marathons.  I have NEVER felt this bad so fast.  I literally had to pray I wouldn't throw up.

It's only an hour but I've never wished an hour would be gone in my life.  There is a reason it is called Insanity.

The premise of the workout was to simulate Game Day, all types of sports.  We simulated movements of baseball, basketball, football, cross country skiing, surfing, swimming and the like.  It was impossible.  It puts your heart rate up within 3 minutes of starting and it never comes back down.  Calories burned?  About 1,400.  Holy crap.


Hubs was a STUD.  There's no other way to describe him.  He attacked each move with such intensity.  I was in awe at how determined he was to not only complete each move, but complete the reps this jackleg was counting off.  It was incredible to watch.

Oh, and then he ran a mile and a half.

I feel so bad for the time my hubs has lost due to his back injuries.  Between being a stay at home dad for 4 years with our little guy and the 4 years lost with the back, he really has lost a great deal of time to work on his body.  I didn't quite realize how frustrated he had become with that.  He is a rock, stoic and sometimes to accepting of his position in life.  As soon as Dr. Fantastic fixed his back and released him to "resume normal activity", he hit it with lightening speed.

I'm not sure I can keep up.  My determination level is low right now for some reason.  You would think he would be challenging me to get off my own ass and work harder to keep up with him - we are quite competitive that way with one another.  I've got to dig deep this week and find my mojo.  I'll tell you one thing.... we are both signed up for Warrior Dash in May and there is NO WAY I will let him beat me.  Not possible.  I will prevail one way or another!

I'm thinking I need to sneak in some Asylum workouts, too.  If he is going to train that hard I have GOT to get on the ball!

Pray for me... I may drop dead before finishing this program!!

Jen

Sunday, January 29, 2012

HELP is on the Way

I love Sunday mornings.  I know I've blogged that a zillion times, but obviously it is true!  My house is so quiet ~ the dogs go back to sleep after breakfast, hubs and little guy are still snoozing away and I'm all alone to think.  Maybe the best few moments of my week.

Sundays were always family day when I was a kiddo.  My dad even said "no sleep overs" on Saturday night in preparation for Sundays.  He too must have cherished that quiet time within your own four walls.  My mom always cooked, we planned for the week and we communicated with one another.  Most of our meals were together anyway through the week but there was a different feel about Sundays.

I am holding my 3rd annual Oscar Watch Party for my girlfriends at the end of February (on a Sunday).  In preparation, I need to watch the Best Picture nominations!  It always seems that I have never seen (or heard of) any of the nominations which certainly puts a damper on the awards show.  Hubs and I watched The Help last night so Moneyball or the Tree of Life is on the list today.  We have to check them off on the weekends ~ our weeks are far to busy to sit and enjoy a movie midweek.  

For those of you that don't know (because you live UNDERGROUND, obviously), here is a little snippet about this particular movie:

The Help is a 2011 drama film adaptation of Kathryn Stockett's novel of the same name. The film is an ensemble piece about a young white woman, Eugenia "Skeeter" Phelan, and her relationship with two black maids during Civil Rights era America in the early 1960s. Skeeter is a journalist who decides to write a controversial book from the point of view of the maids (known as the Help), exposing the racism they are faced with as they work for white families.


The film takes place in Jackson, Mississippi, and stars Emma StoneViola DavisOctavia SpencerBryce Dallas HowardJessica ChastainSissy SpacekMike VogelMary Steenburgen, and Allison JanneyThe Help opened to positive reviews and became a massive box office success with gross of $205.3 million against its budget of $25 million. In January 2012, the film received four Academy Awards nominations including Best Picture and acting nods for Davis, Chastain and Spencer.


So as hubs and I snuggled on the couch watching the movie, I wasn't quite prepared to dislike it.  All of my friends that have read the book said it was just an awesome story and those that have seen the movie said that the adaptation was perfect.  I love Emma Stone... ever since The Rocker (a movie I'm sure nobody has seen!) I fell in love with that little sassy redhead.  I am quite partial to reds!  Though her performance (and those of the rest of the actors) was incredibly individually, the story just broke my heart.  Yes, I expected it was going to be rough obviously due to the premise.  But I wasn't quite prepared for how angry I was going to feel.

I have seen many movies that address slavery and racism in our country, but this one struck a different type of chord in me.  It took individual women, not a group of people as in Remember the Titans, and told their individual stories of leaving their own children at home to be cared by others while raising white babies for white women.  Although they were paid for their services, it was ridiculous ($182 a month) and insulting.  Not to mention the forced segregation and complete lack of respect they were given.

I cried.  My stomach hurt.  I was ashamed.  I cannot believe that was such a short time ago - my momma's generation.  I cannot believe that was acceptable in this country.  Hell, it was WRITTEN in the Mississippi State Laws.  Ugh.  I cannot even fathom treating another human being (or animal for that matter) in the way these women were treated.  Just makes me sick.

So much for a feel good.  That was certainly not it. 

So today I'm going to try to watch something a bit more uplifting.  I need a Sunday feel good.  It's our cheat day so hubs is making biscuits and gravy for breakfast (yummo!)  I'll take a pic of my food, I'm sure.  The kids are coming for dinner and I cannot WAIT to snuggle nugget.  I miss his sweet face!

Happy Sunday, readers!  I hope you have a relaxing day!
Jen

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Makin' the List

I'm getting the itch.  It must be time to work.

I am most definitely externally charged.  Meaning my environment (and the people in it) most certainly influence my behaviors and moods.  When I am surrounded by positive people that are passionate about something, I'm right in the thick of it.  Conversely, when I am around negative, cynical people my moods can often reflect that as well.  That's why I don't have many negative people around me... ever!

I love living in the midwest.  Our seasonal changes always make me incredibly excited.  I love Fall the most, but Spring is a very distant second.  Although we are still quite in the throws of winter (or so they say), it has been unseasonably warm this year.  We have only had a couple of spits of snow of which melted once hitting the ground.  We've experienced many 50 degree days.. IN JANUARY!  It is quite odd to say the least.  Damn global warming.

As I sit and have my coffee this morning, I can't help but get the itch to make a list.  The sun is shining, it is supposed to be 50 degrees today.  Perfect weather for opening and cleaning windows, painting, staining, cleaning out closets and the like.  Shoot, a few more degrees and I'd want my hands in the dirt planting something!  Crazy, strange.  There is no WAY we will be this lucky to maintain this through February let alone March.  Never say never I suppose. 

I get this itch from my father.  When I was a kid, he started every Saturday morning with a cup of coffee and a blank yellow legal pad of paper.  I dreaded that pad of paper back then.  It meant he was going to write a million things to do and no doubt I would be included in them somewhere.  Although I must say that it was a great opportunity for me to spend time with him... cleaning out the garage, running errands.  We were great Saturday chore buddies.

My list in our house is so long, some days I don't even know where to start.  We have officially passed 3 years in the 'hood so it's time for some repairs and upkeep.  My kitchen needs a bit of work, from appliances to woodwork to paint.  I'm getting ready to refinish my grandmother's piano bench for our foyer, a project I've wanted to do for years.  I need to finalize my photography order for our living room (I'm not big on pics hanging in the house - I guess I got used to not doing that after years of watching HGTV and their "suggestions for sale" episodes).  In short... I've got a list.

Hubs has a list, too.  He even bought a white board for the garage so we could keep it all straight.  Stuff for the outside, the cars, the garage, etc.  Ah... domestic bliss.

Although I love to celebrate season change and tackle these projects, it always makes me consider our Tiny House and the long term plans I dream of.  I can't wait for the day when hubs and I get up, get dressed and take a hike together with our morning coffee.  When our laundry equates to three loads a week rather than three loads a day.  When the land around us is natural and doesn't require 6 applications of chemicals to keep up with the neighbs (and please the HOA).  Ah, to dream.

 One day all of this hard work will pay off.  For now, I'm off to make my list for the weekend.  Have a great day, readers!
Jen



Friday, January 27, 2012

FAVORITE FRIDAY FINDS!

As promised, I'm stealing an idea from another blog that I read and posting my favorite finds of the week.  Hopefully you will enjoy some of my findings!

FAV COSMETIC:



If you know me well, you know I am a tried and true, drug store cosmetic buyer.  I use Covergirl and anything else that goes on sale.  The only true dedication I have is that I buy the same kind of lipstick (Loreal) and even that is cheap compared to the mall.  Truth be told, I have NEVER purchased cosmetics at a department store.  Yep, I'm cheap.

I LOVE this item!  I don't care how much it costs, it is incredible and I use it every single day.  This vitamin-rich primer visually diminishes fine lines and pores, creating a canvas for flawless makeup application.  Even if you don't use foundations, it would still be helpful!



FAV SNACK:

Oh man, we are ADDICTED to Cuties in my house this time of year.  Little guy has to eat at least 8 a day!  I am constantly stopping by our bowl and grabbing one.  These little clementine mandarin oranges are to die for and are so flippin' yummy and easy to peel!  Plus you don't feel bad about having extra since it's fruit! 

Little guy loves that I keep an entire bowl full of them sitting right on my breakfast bar at all times so he can be totally independent and get as many as he wants.  I love that he will eat this healthy snack!


FAV RUNNING ITEM:




Yeah, this is a complete MUST for me. Since I'm not Barbie thin with no body fat, I have stuff that "rubs" when I run. Be it the nasty junk that hangs over my sports bra under my arm or the upper, inner thigh area, I plaster Body Glide all over myself. It is awesome if you haven't tried it - non-greasy and smooth application. I've even put it on my feet! A huge must if you are ever running long distance!
Special note - you can actually apply this to chafed areas AFTER you run if you forgot to apply before and it helps the area HEAL. Amazing!



FAV NEW FOOD FIND:

It's official.  I have found quinoa.  Oh my.  I've tried a couple of recipes in the last week but I've pinned a million more I want to try.  Here is my MUST try for this week.  ANYTHING that resembles a crab cake has to be good in my book!  These little patties just seem so yummy to me.  Hubs is on the hook for another quinoa try!
 Ingredients

2 1/2 cups cooked quinoa, room temperature                                        
4 large eggs, beaten
1/2 teaspoon fine-grain sea salt
1/3 cup finely chopped fresh chives
1 onion, finely chopped
1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan or Gruyere cheese
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 cup whole-grain bread crumbs, plus more if needed
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

Directions


Combine the quinoa, eggs, and salt in a medium bowl. Stir in the chives, onion, cheese, and garlic. Add the bread crumbs, stir, and let stand for a few minutes. Form mixture into twelve 1-inch thick patties. (Add more breadcrumbs if the mixture is too wet; add water if too dry.) Mixture can be kept covered in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.

Heat oil in a large, heavy skillet over medium-low heat. Working in batches, add patties, cover, and cook until bottoms are deeply browned, about 7 to 10 minutes. Increase heat to medium if there is no browning after 10 minutes and continue to cook until patties are browned. Flip patties with a spatula and cook the second sides until golden, about 7 minutes. Remove from skillet and cool on a wire rack. Repeat with remaining patties. 



 FAV POSITIVE QUOTE:


I love Nike quotes in general, especially those displaying strong women.  I loved this one when I saw it this week.  If we just get off our asses and work a little bit we will get the things we want!

FAV CRAFTY IDEA:

I saw this wreath on Pinterest and loved everything about it.


This wreath is so easy to make but can be a bit time consuming. My hubby was recently out-of-town on business. So, over a couple of evenings I was able to watch some chick flicks and put together this wreath.


I bought my heart shaped foam wreath at JoAnn’s (Michaels might have them too). It was $4 and I used my 40% off coupon. I also purchased 3/4 yard (off the bolt) of a nice “velvety” colored red felt. I also picked up a package of straight pins.

I used a cup from my cupboard to make a 3 inch circle template. Then I cut SEVERAL 3 inch circles out of the felt. No I did not count them. Then I took a circle and folded it in half to make a half circle and folded it in half again like my little assistant is demonstrating.

Then take a straight pin and pin it through the bottom of the point. Then stick the pin with the felt into the styrofoam. Continue doing this placing each folded circle close together filling in the spaces. Continue the process for the whole wreath.

You will not need to do this on the back of the wreath. Then I took a piece of ribbon (about 8 inches) and folded it into a loop and pinned it several times into the back of the wreath to hang it from. I absolutely LOVE how it turned out!!



FAV SASSY SAYING:

Love, love, love this!  Yep, sometimes I can possess mean thoughts.  This really only applies to one person that unfortunately has ties to my life.  And for her, I mean every, single kind word of it.  My momma always taught me not to hate people.  :)


FAV DESSERT DESIRE:

I'm a HUGE chocoholic, and one of the things I love about the fall in Missouri is our Firepit Friday nights with our neighbs.  We ALWAYS have s'mores, so this just makes my heart smile!  Gonna have to give this a shot on my cheat day next week!

S'more Cups


7 whole graham crackers (1 cup finely crushed)
1/4 cup powdered sugar
6 tablespoons butter, melted
4 bars (1.55 oz each) milk chocolate candy, divided
12 large marshmallows

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Place graham crackers into a large resealable plastic bag. Finely crush into crumbs. Combine graham cracker crumbs, powdered sugar, and butter in a small bowl.
Place 1 tablespoon of crumb mixture in each cup of a mini muffin pan. Press crumbs to form shallow cups. Bake 4-5 minutes or until edges are bubbling. Meanwhile, break two of the candy bars into rectangles. Remove pan from oven; place one rectangle into each cup.


Cut marshmallows in half crosswise using shears dipped in cold water. Place one marshmallow half, cut-side down, into each cup. Return to oven 1-2 minutes or until marshmallows are slightly softened. Remove pans from oven to cooling rack; cool 15 minutes. Carefully remove cups from pan. Cool completely.
Break remaining candy bars and place in small microwavable bowl. Microwave on high 1 to 1 1/2 minutes or until melted and smooth, stirring every 20 seconds. Dip the top of each marshmallow in melted chocolate. Turn top-side up and let stand 40 to 60 minutes or until set. Makes 24 cups.



Note: Store the cups in a single layer in an airtight container for up to 1 week. Freezing is not recommended.


For a richer chocolate flavor, substitute dark chocolate candy bars for the milk chocolate.


Each cup has 100 calories and 6 g fat.

********************************************************************************

Happy FRIDAY readers!  I hope some of my faves become your faves as well! :)

Jen



Thursday, January 26, 2012

Priority Scheduling

Scheduling with a family is always so difficult.  Especially when the kiddos get older and have their own separate lives and activities.  

Although I / did raise two only children, when they did overlap it was quite a challenge.  Little guy was born a week after Bubba's 12th birthday.  Middle school football games, church midweek and confirmation classes and school activities.  It was a rough go.  Or taking a toddler to a high school basketball game.  That's always a fun activity (2 year olds LOVE to sit in bleachers).  Not to mention we were the only parents with a baby at Bubba's events.  It was tricky to navigate.

Often times we found ourselves having to make choices.  Confirmation midweek, a football game and a school dance fall on the same night.  What do you do?  Of course God is important.  But what about letting down your teammates on the team sport you committed to play?  And then there is the girl you asked out to the dance.

Even though little guy is home alone now, we still have conflicts in schedule.  Most of the time they are with me, which makes me feel just awful.

This morning little guy is climbing the stage in front of the 4th, 5th and 6th grade student body along with parents and family members to give it a go at the All School Spelling Bee.  It's at 9.  I won't be there.  It breaks my heart but I have a big opportunity at work and I absolutely must go.

Ugh.

It's the journey of parenthood, no doubt.  I've been so sad about it I haven't even told him I'm not going to be there.  I don't want him to think about that ~ I just want him to think about his words and gain his own confidence.  We worked for 2 hours last night... he's ready.

BIG prayers out to my little guy this morning and his scary, awesome opportunity.  I know he will shine!  Hubs is determined to sit front row so he can tape it (and heckle students... nice).  Hubs P's will be there as well.  Go get 'em, big guy... you've got this!






Wednesday, January 25, 2012

What's in a Scrotum?

KB, ME and PB
Thank GOD for girlfriends!  They do make all things just a little bit easier in life.

Yep, the dreaded Human Sexuality video was last night.

OH MY GOD.

I am SO not prepared for this with my little guy.

We literally looked like monkeys last night.  KB covered her ears, PB tried not to laugh and I just shut my eyes.

I must believe at this time that this might be the only single, solitary moment where it may be easier to have a daughter.  I yearned to run away and hide in the 4th grade girls movie showing.  There is no way it could possibly have been as descriptive as our movie!

So this blog will be a bit PG-13.  Heck, if my 10 year old will see it then I'm sure you all won't think it's inappropriate either, right?  

Sure the movie explains good things - your body will change.  Your voice will crack.  Your sweat glands will start working overtime and make you smelly and give you pimples.  Okay, easy peasy.

Bum, bum, bummmm..... You will grow hair.  Flash up ~ naked body (no worries, just a cartoonish picture).  Time for descriptions!  This is your penis, these are your testicles which lay inside of a loose sack called the scrotum.  Great, word #1 for giggles and fun.  As one of the mom's said last night, it just sounds like a funny word so of course the boys are going to run around and call each other one all the time.  I'm sure Mrs. G (our principal) won't mind that at all.  Haven't these people met 10 year old boys before??

Onto the fact that your penis will grow, which is called an erection.  Oh and the best part - this can happen involuntarily which is totally normal.  AWESOME.  Now little guy is going to be nervous all the time that he is going to "grow accidentally" at school but it's okay, it's totally normal.  Maybe to the people that made the movie, but ask any 10 year old that this happens to and I'm sure you won't get the same answer!

Now onto "night emissions".  In other words, also called a wet dream.  These happen involuntarily also and it's totally normal.

JUST KILL ME NOW.

I know my little guy is the baby of the family thus I'm a bit protective, but come on people... HE'S 10 YEARS OLD!  He plays Uno with his grandparents and runs around the house playing shoot 'em with nugget.  He cuddles with his stuffed animals at night still!  He is sweet and sensitive and so not ready to hear all of this just yet.  I know, I know - he will need to know it and of course, he will.  But right now?  What exactly is going to be helpful in knowing this information at 10 years old?  

Little guy is a sports nut, so by design most of his friends are athletic as well.  I can totally envision the hallways of his school after this video.  KB's kid will mimic Beavis and Butthead "heh, heh... you have a scrotum".  PBs kid will say "yeah, well at least I didn't have a wet dream last night".  And my son?  He'll smile and laugh and be SILENT dying inside of embarrassment from the conversation.  No, he's not perfect.  He's just SHY.

So thanks a lot, Lee's Summit School District, for finding it necessary to teach my 10 year old son about erections.  I'm certain that is pertinent information he would have never obtained independently of you showing him this movie.  Next I guess you will hand out condoms as party favors? 

UGH - private school sure seems like a better solution right now!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Let's Talk About Sex, Baby...

Today is the day!  Oh fun.  It's the parental viewing of the human sexuality video for my little guy's grade.  I can hardly wait.

I'm going with a couple of friends so I'm sure it will no doubt be hilarious.  I'm wishing I would have bought hubs a flask for Christmas.  It would come in handy tonight.

Today's youth are exposed to so much information so quickly that we have to show them stuff like this.  Not to mention half of the parents don't want to have these conversations with their kiddos.  I sure wish I didn't have to do it.

Growing up I certainly did NOT have sex conversations with my parents.  Either one of them.  I didn't have the sit on the edge of the bed, holding hands with your mom conversation about menstruation, either.  I guess some girls have all the luck.  Lucky for me, I had a sleepover in 7th grade and a girlfriend of mine already had the experience and told all of us all about it.  Yeah, you know who you are, JD!  But honestly, had she not had that conversation with us I would have been completely and totally lost.  I just told my mom what I needed, she went to the store and bought it.  No conversation necessary.

I really don't even remember my parents ever saying to me anything about boys at all.  Not even the type of behavior that is appropriate or not appropriate or how I deserved to be treated.  Hubs and I have this conversation all the time with our kiddos.  I have always had an extremely open discussion with Bubba ~ he could ask me anything in the world and I would answer him honestly. 

One of the most awful conversations I had with Bubba was surrounding our wonderful President and his "allegations" with Monica Lewinski.  Yep, you know the incident... so I'm not even going to type it.  Bubba was in elementary school and his friends were talking about it.  He came to me and wanted to know what happened... "what did the President do with that girl that was so bad, mom?"  Oh my God.  I wanted to just die.  I remember exactly the moment ~ we were snuggled in his lower bunk of his bunk bed tucking in for bed on a Wednesday night.  Simple as can be (which it usually is).  Kiddos always throw the most uncomfortable questions whenever they are ready to talk, no matter where you are or what you are doing.

So I started to explain, treading lightly.  I didn't want to give him to much information but I also didn't want him to talk about it in front of his friends and be made fun of for not knowing something either.  Damn kids... they can be so mean!  I told him the basic facts as I understood them, but focused mostly on the fact that he was inappropriate with having an intimate relationship outside of his marriage.  Married men should not be intimate with other women.  They should save that for inside their sacred commitment.  In the end, he made a monumental mistake.  Humans do that a lot.

Okay, mom... I get it.  Kiss goodnight, lights off.  No further discussion about it.  But boy, I never forgot it!

I'm hoping that little guy will be as accepting with information as Bubba, but I highly doubt it.  He DIGS for more information constantly.  It's not enough to show him the coffee pot, he wants to know how they harvest the beans, how they get packaged and where, how my machine grinds them up and then spits them down into the basket, and how they coffee comes out of the grinds.  Future engineer in my house, I'm sure.  Or an accountant.  Or a rocket scientist.  Let's just say that psych and sociology won't be his favorite classes, I'm sure.

I fear I have a huge, hot mess on my hands.  Lord please give me strength.  At least I'm blessed to have friends struggling right along with me!

Monday, January 23, 2012

Make New Friends, But Keep the Old

In 4th grade, I spent roughly 9 months being a Girl Scout.  It was really my first foray into an extracurricular activity and I thought it seemed fun at the time.  Little did I know we had to actually do "homework".  Projects at home.  With your parents.  Um... fail.  I love my momma with ALL of my heart but that was absolutely NOT her strong suit.  I don't recall ever, ever sitting down with my mom and crafting.  So needless to say, after she dropped all the money for that hideous green jumper and sash, I earned one badge (which was never sewn on) and then quit.  

I did learn one thing though.... that song.  Make new friends, but keep the old.  One is silver and the other's gold.

Yep.  Totally agree with that!

Yesterday hubs and I ventured out to a new friend's house for a playoff chili cook off party.  In all fairness, I did know the host ~ she and I were besties in junior high.  But she moved to Florida (traitor) at the end of our Freshman year and I never saw or spoke to her again.  Until facebook!  Thank you, Mark Zuckerberg!  She and I have reconnected and now we actually have each other's cell phone numbers and are in Book Club together.  See, it can be used for good and not just evil!

She and her hubs threw a party yesterday and invited our family.  7 years ago, we may not have gone.  We weren't very good at putting our toe in the water.  We were satisfied with our few friends we had and didn't really try to cultivate new relationships.  Oh, I'm so glad we've branched out!

We had an absolutely awesome time!  Little guy found some great new friends, conquered that evil shooting game on x-box on a big projection screen (which he has demanded we MUST install as soon as possible) and hubs and I made lots of new friends.  And we survived.  It is possible to try new things and survive.

I have a big busy week this week at work.  An opportunity has presented itself and I'm going for it.  I'm a bit  nervous but I know deep down I've got this one.  I'm going to bound out, make new friends and do what I do best.

Happy Monday, readers!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Hungry, Hungry Hippo

I am a food junkie.  As in I just can't seem to get enough!  I think about food 24/7.  It's pretty unusual for me to go a complete hour without thinking about my next meal, the grocery store or some awesome recipe I saw on a blog somewhere.  

I am quite the lucky woman.  My hubs LOVES to be in the kitchen.  At one point I really tried to convince him to go to culinary school.  But he has no interest in cooking for others... just our family.  He is so adventurous and has made me things I would have NEVER tried on my own (nor ordered at a restaurant). Our little guy is just like him... loves to be in the kitchen whipping up stuff and will try anything, at least once. He is only 10 still....

I have stumbled across my newest favorite blog a few weeks ago and I just can't get enough of it.  You can find it on My Blog List if you are interested.  It is Iowa Girl Eats and it's FANTASTIC!

Last night we gave two of her recipe finds a try.  Quinoa mac 'n cheese and cake batter dip dessert.  YUMMO.  I couldn't be happier with both of them, so I thought I'd share them with my readers, too!  Following is the description directly from her website:


This macaroni and cheese recipe is off the chain. It’s made with quinoa instead of pasta, and includes a modest amount of sharp cheddar cheese.
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Plus it takes very little time and effort to make. Start by sauteing shallots and tomatoes in a little olive oil.
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Add garlic and rinsed quinoa, then toast the quinoa until it’s golden brown.
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Add water, drop the lid on top, and let the quinoa cook until all the water has been absorbed – about 15 minutes.
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Meanwhile, mix up the mac & cheese binder – eggs + milk.
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Stir the cooked quinoa, eggs and milk together, melt in a little cheddar cheese, and bake in a casserole dish for 30 minutes.
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The recipe made a 9×13 pan, which I cut into 8 servings. Each serving came out to be around 285 calories – way healthier than your traditional mac and cheese!

Here is my actual dinner pic ~ we added swordfish and sauteed spinach to our meal!


Since we ate so healthy, we added in a dessert from her Friday Favorites blog (which I will definitely start to incorporate with my OWN favorites onto my blog ~ great idea!)

Here it is:

Funfetti Cake Batter Dip3 ingredients = relatively guilt-free (for a dip with cake batter in the name!)

Here is our final pic:


It was a GREAT dinner!  I can't wait for our next meal.... shocker!

Give them a try, friends!  Enjoy!

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Bean Buddies





My friend CC and I are running today ~ first run of 2012!  The 2012 Battle of the Bean - Coffee versus Cocoa.  How fun is that?  Race chotchkees includes a mug and the long sleeved shirts are SUPER cute!  Thank god, we're gonna need 'em.  We must have picked THE coldest damn day of the winter thus far to be out running!!


Last year at this time I started my marathon training.  I loved running in the cold.  Well, let me clarify a tad bit:  36 to 48 degrees seemed to be my perfect running weather.  I could handle down to about 28 as long as the sun was shining on my face.  Anything lower and it takes a bit of a toll on my joints.


My most memorable run last winter had to be in February.  The actual temp wasn't too bad if I recall - maybe around 22?  My friend Nutt and I had a 10 mile run that Saturday morning, which caused us to need to get an early start.  We met at 6:00 am at our corner to begin our trek.

What we didn't realize until we stepped out was that during the night, a nice slow rain occurred putting a beautifully glassed layer of thin ice on the pavement.  Hmmm.  This might cause a bit of a challenge.

We took out (as all good runners know, the weather does NOT preclude you from getting in your miles!) and quickly realized our run was going to turn into a bit of an acrobatic routine.  Each single, solitary step had to be taken with light grace and forward motion.  No push offs.  That just wasn't in the cards unless we wanted to face plant.

We made it all the way to one of our turnarounds, mile 4, and stopped to regroup.  This was impossible.  We were most certainly faced with a sprain or break if we kept on much longer.  Our inner thighs were burning (not to mention arches) from trying to augment our steps so we wouldn't fall.  It was the first (and only time) we made the decision to quit moving forward and turn and run home. 

As we rounded a pretty sharp corner on a narrow two lane road we watched a minivan coming towards us, spinning out of control.  Stupid soccer mom.  Don't you realize you have no WEIGHT in that thing!  We both jumped off the road and onto the shoulder for safety.  Although she was across the street from us, we didn't want to take the chance.

We head back home and arrived unscathed.  Our 10 mile run turned into an 8 but we were so thankful to be off the road we didn't care.  Oh the things you will do to get in your miles.

Today's run will be much shorter, just a little 5k, but I'm excited to get back out there.  I do love running and how it makes me feel.  Mostly I appreciate how strong I feel when I'm finished!

So we're off ~ wish us luck!  The temp is 16 with a windchill of 6.  We must be nuts.  Of course, the run is called Battle of the Bean, of which we are both coffee drinkers.  I see a GIANT latte in my near future!