Thursday, April 30, 2009

Super Hypocondriac!

Seriously folks, I admit to being a bit of a hypocondriac. The media attention that's being given to the Swine Flu lately is NOT helping, and neither is the fact that I haven't really been feeling all that great (or sleeping well) for about 4 days. I've just had this mild nausea and feel like I have a low grade fever--it isn't terrible, and I haven't thrown up or anything, but I just don't feel 100%, you know? I'm supposed to be headed to J's band practice tonight, but I'm thinking about staying home and sleeping, or changing into sweats, going there, and sleeping--our weekend is absolutely PACKED, and I just need some recovery time! Really, REALLY tempting to take a sick day tomorrow, but I always feel like it looks too suspicious when someone takes a sick day on Friday.

I've pretty much banned the news from our house though because the more I read about Swine Flu, the more freaked out I get, and I start to feel even worse.

Anyone else a hypocondriac like me? Anybody else as tired of hearing about Swine Flu as I am?

April Goals Revisited

1. Continue taking the 2 pre-natal vitamins every morning, no matter what. Done, and done!

2. Work out 13 days during the month of April. I was actually WAY over my number. I know this, because it was more unusual for me NOT to work out than to work out this month. However, I don't know the exact number of days, because I had been keeping a list on the fridge of what day I was on, what activity I had done, and how many days I had left. Justin thought it would be REALLY funny to write- "One hour cardio--SEXUAL ACTIVITY!" on the sheet right before his parents and grandparents came over. It promptly was taken off the fridge and deposited in the trash.

3. Take a hike (Table Rock or Other). This didn't happen--not for lack of trying. Any day that I had a hike planned, it poured down rain. Or, I had better things to do.

4. Conquer the Garage Laundry Pile. I came close, but it isn't entirely gone. I'm not sure that we'll ever be 100% caught up on laundry though. And I've been a little bitter about doing laundry lately, because y'all aw how well I get along with my rolling garment rack!

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Weeknight Enchiladas

Okay folks. I'm gonna share the famous enchilada recipe, because I noticed a few comments about how enchiladas are a lot of work. Yes, if you use Pioneer Woman's excellent enchilada recipe, they are a lot more work than it's worth on a weeknight. Excellent, but not worth it to me when I've worked all day and am hungry THEN. So, this is a quickie version of enchiladas. These are not authentic enchiladas, but they're gooey balls off cheese love. Like most things I make, the exact recipe varies by what I have on hand. Here's what I did last night:

Pre-heated the oven to 350. Cracked open a can (10 oz) of red enchilada sauce (El Paso or Old Victoria taste the best to me). Poured a little of the sauce into the bottom of an 8x8 glass Pyrex baking dish.

Next, I pulled out some leftover (pre-cooked) ground beef. I tossed a bit of beef, a bit of onion, and a bit of shredded cheddar cheese into a wheat tortilla (soft taco size). You could just do cheese, or do chicken and cheese as well. I rolled it up, and stuck it in the baking dish, and repeated until the baking dish was full of the roll-ups.

Now comes the fun. Dump the rest of the enchilada sauce over the top of the roll-ups. They should be totally coated. Crack open another can of enchilada sauce if need be, but make sure that you still have 2-3 inches left above the roll-ups and sauce in the pan. Next, sprinkle LOTS of cheddar cheese over the sauce. Really, LOTS. Cover the whole dang dish with cheese. Then add veggies--I used diced tomato, diced green pepper, and jalepenos. Use whatever you have and like. I usually add black olives, and more diced onion, but I was out. Sprinkle MORE cheese on top.

Pop in the oven for about 30 minutes. Cheesy, roll-up goodness.

Good Night.

Last night was a good night. I came home, and we made beef enchiladas--now while I may not be Betty Crocker when it comes to cooking (thought I am getting better), I was always known for my enchiladas growing up. I was commissioned many a time to prepare them in batches of 100+ for fundraisers and whatnot. That said, I had never made them for Justin until last night because I didn't think he'd like them. I doctored them a bit to fit his tastes, and after a few bites, I got a "This is GOOD!!" Score. Nothing like a good home made dinner, and nothing like preparing it together in the kitchen. Hanging out chopping veggies in the kitchen is one of my favorite things because we really talk.

Have you noticed that in general, guys seem to actually talk not when you're sitting across the table looking at each other, but when you're side by side and doing something with your hands? I have.

Then we sat down and watched a little bit of Biggest Loser before Justin had to head back to work at 9pm to finish some job once the store had closed. He'll probably have to do the same tonight as well, and then he'll be leaving to work out of town for a week on Sunday, so I've been trying to really enjoy our evenings together, and not to zone out in my own world like I do sometimes.

While J was at work, I finished a book that's been half-read for YEARS. It's called The Space Between Before and After. Although it was slow going for me at first, I really liked it toward the end, and things even felt resolved with the ending, hallelujah! And the author did something at the end of the book that I LOVED, because I often do it in my head, but had never seen an author do it--she gave a "soundtrack" for the book. Two or three songs that she thought defined each character, and songs that she listened to when she was trying to decide what that character would do. Loved it!

All in all, I think I can chalk this one up to being a good night.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

I'm boring.

Folks, I'm boring. I really have nothing new to report other than:

-I must really not like Persuasion, because I've been finishing up all the other half-finished books in leiu of that one.

-I took a day off from the gym today.

-I'm excited about Biggest Loser tonight (I'm rooting for Tara and Mike).

-Yes, I still have baby fever like no one's business.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Shop With Me

Today after doing day 3 of the Couch to 5k program (yay me!), I went to pick up a few things at the grocery store. I confess, I'm not the best grocery shopper in the world. I'm one of the few women who probably does better when she brings her husband with her. I just wander the aisles thinking up all the cool things that I could make. Unfortunately, I usually forget an item, or I don't have time, and I end up throwing away much more food than I'd like to admit. Being that I'm going to do the envelope system this month for groceries, I thought I'd actually carry a calculator through the store with me today just to see how I did, and to try and stay under the $40 cash that I had. And I bought all of the above for less than $33!

-Skim Milk
-Whole Wheat Bread
-Whole Wheat Tortillas
-Wheat Thins Wisconsin Cheddar
-A bag of baby spinach
-2 cans cream of Chicken soup
-Baby Carrots
-Fresh Chicken Breasts
-Sour Cream
-Two Tomatoes
-Can of Fridge Biscuits
-2 Things of Strawberries

Tonight, I'm making Chicken and Dumplings for the Band, and then I'll use the veggies to make a side for the Pulled Pork I'm doing tomorrow, and then Enchiladas later this week--I'm pretty impressed with my results folks!

After running AND hitting up the grocery store, I was feeling ambitious and my plan was to portion out the crackers and cut up veggies and fruit tonight for easy access during the week. But instead, I fell asleep on the couch. Whoops.

On another note, yes, that's a vinyl tablecloth. Don't ask. I'm really not very happy about it.


I really should be giving the house a deep clean today...but I just don't want to! And so I'm very much considering not doing it at all and just using my day off to read and lounge around. But then again, if I don't do anything today, it won't get done for probably two weeks...when J is gone for Work, and all I'll want to do then is lounge around!

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Book Recommendations Needed...

Hit me up with the book recommendations folks. I just finished Promise Not To Tell last night...meh. It was one of those books that I had pretty much figured out in the first 30 pages, and quite frankly, I just didn't think it was especially well written. Like I said, meh.

I've been trying to hit up some classics that I never read in high school and college. Of the list of the 101 Recommended Books For College-Bound Readers, I've only read about 15 of them. And I've already graduated. Nice.

I've been trying to work through Jane Austen's Persuasion, Tolstoy's Anna Karenina, and C.S. Lewis' Mere Christianity for the past 5 years or so to no avail. I just can't seem to get into any of them. I may give Persuasion another try...but I'm looking for something else!

Sunday Song

Today's Sunday song is a classic with a twist. The song is "Stand By Me". But this version is particularly cool because it's a version set up by the folks over at Playing for Change. They had artists all over the world record "Stand By Me" at a mobile recording studio and then mixed them all together. It's really cool.

Saturday, April 25, 2009


So, we went and bought a transition strip...we even took a sample of our floor with us and it seemed to match well. But when we brought it home, it became clear that it was just too red for our floors. So, back it goes to Lowe's, and we'll try Home Depot.

Justin refused to go to the gym with me. We might as well just cancel his membership, because as much as I've told him that I support him in all his endeavors, and I NEED his support with the gym, he will go along with me maybe once a month. Yes, you sense a little bitterness there.

Wanna hear how else I'm bitter? I've still been going to the gym close to 5 days a week for the past month. I've been busting my butt. On days that I don't make it to the gym, I try to work in SOME physical activity, like going for a walk. Some days I do both I just pulled out my summer clothes, excited to try things on since last summer I was a full size bigger than I normally wear. Last winter, I was about two sizes bigger. I figured that with my stellar gym attendance, something would probably fit. Yeah, none of them fit. I went to Old Navy to buy a pair--finding my size completely depressed me. I'm bigger than ever--up another size from winter! I then proceeded to cry for the next hour until I got home, and then cried some more until I fell asleep. It is SO frustrating. I'm trying--even though I don't have support, I'm trying on my own and I'm doing more than I ever have since high school, and I just can't even see the progress. If anything, it feels like my clothes are getting TIGHTER. Why put out all this effort for no results? Sure, I've lost 10 pounds in three WHAT. The folks on Biggest Loser can lose that in a week. The bottom line is that I'm still not happy about my body at all, and I don't even remember the last time I felt GOOD about myself.

After my pity party, I figured that I'd go for a run around the neighborhood for the C25K, and I've determined that I can't run outside, as much as I'd like to. My allergies are just too bad. I stopped at about the 15 minute mark when I began to break out in hives and have an asthma attack. This frustrates me so much too. I can do it in the gym easily! I'd rather run outside, but nooooo. Figures.

I'm trying to decide what to do...I've already met my workout quota for the week, so maybe I just need to call it a day. OR, when we go to the movie tonight, I could hit up the gym by the movie theater afterwords...I'm just not sure that I'll do much better there either. With the day I'm having, I've sort of lost my motivation.

Sorry for the pity party post today's just been one of those days.

To Do

I've got a lot to try and accomplish today...we'll see how that goes!

-I really want to get the transition strips so that there aren't big gaps between our wood floors and our other rooms!

-Day 2 of Couch to 5k. I'm forcing Justin to come to the gym with me. I don't know why he's such a whiner about it.

-Sigh. Our dismal, ugly yard. Weed eating and weed killing so that we can start all over again.

-I am officially out of shampoo. Any drug-store shampoo recommendations?

-The never ending pile of laundry and cleaning.

Hopefully a little fun sprinkled in there somewhere too!

Friday, April 24, 2009


Let me tell you a little story...

Locally, there has been a big creation/evolution debate. The local college recently brought in a prominent atheist scientist (his self-definition, not mine), to discuss his views on how the world came into existence.

He talked about the reason that he doesn't believe that the Creation Story is a legitimate story because of an old latin law of science that basically says, "Out of nothing, nothing comes." He said that since there is no explanation for how God came out of nothing, he can't believe in God. I found his comments to be interesting, because from my perspective, the ONLY explanation for our being here that makes sense is the creation story, because of the very same latin law.

Take, for example, the Big Bang Theory. In the BBT, everything on earth is said to have come from Hydrogen. Now, I didn't used to think much of that until I took some chemistry classes in college, and learned that Hydrogen is NOT eternal. Therefore, how did it get there in the first place to then create the rest of the world?

Now, the same goes for Evolution (and PS, I believe that Evolution and the Creation Story can co-exist)--if the entire earth were created by evlolving from exoskeletal beings, where did those exoskeletal organisms come from? In fact, more and more often, scientists are discarding evolution as the initial means for creation, and instead coupling it with something like the Big Bang Theory. Here's a snippet from Wikipedia's entry on Evolution from the "Origins of Life Section":

The origin of life is a necessary precursor for biological evolution, but understanding that evolution occurred once organisms appeared and investigating how this happens does not depend on understanding exactly how life began. The current scientific consensus is that the complex biochemistry that makes up life came from simpler chemical reactions, but it is unclear how this occurred. Not much is certain about the earliest developments in life, the structure of the first living things, or the identity and nature of any last universal common ancestor or ancestral gene pool. Consequently, there is no scientific consensus on how life began, but proposals include self-replicating molecules such as RNA, and the assembly of simple cells.

So for me, personally, the only explanation that has ever made sense was The Creation Story--the God created the Earth and all that is in it. Christians believe that unlike Hydrogen, God IS eternal, and so in basic principle, he wasn't created out of nothing--he always was and always will be. It's a tough thing to grasp, I know. And there isn't a scientific explanation for it. I've long felt that the spiritual realm supersceeds the scientific realm, and that things can be explained through religion that couldn't possibly be explained through science.

Now in the comments section,
what do YOU believe in terms of the story of how we came to be on this earth? This is a flame-free comments section--any comments that are disrespectful or make fun of another commenter's point of view will be deleted, period. Debate to your little heart's content, but keep it clean folks!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Me? Running?

Let's be clear--I've always hated running. Even when I was playing basketball, rowing--basically in the best physical shape of my life--you wouldn't EVER find me going to just take a jog. I have bad ankles and bad knees, and in my life running has always equaled lots of pain.

However, I started reading about the Couch To 5K Program a few days ago. After the initial dread of even reading about a 5k (while rowing, we often did 5 and 10k's and they were AWFUL!), I found myself nodding and nodding. Basically, the premise is that you need to work into running, rather than go as hard and fast as you can the first day. Well that sounds like a no brainer--why didn't it ever occur to me before?

So, today I tried Week 1, Day 1 of the CT5K program. Basically, you jog for 60 seconds and walk for 90 seconds, and repeat that pattern for 20 minutes. I never realized how much of running is mental for me. Even though the workout was markedly easier than the workouts I've been doing on the elliptical or spin class, I still found myself thinking "I can't do this!". I really had to work on focusing on my breathing and thinking positively. And you know what? Overall, it wasn't that bad! I'm actually kind of excited to do it again! Though I REALLY need to figure out an iPod situation--I'm thinking about begging Justin to let me buy a shuffle or some other cheapo music player. They're only like $45. I don't know if I can do this for 3 weeks with no music waiting for my battery to be replaced!

Anyway, don't get me wrong...I don't know that I'll actually be signing up for a 5k or a 10k anytime in the near future, but I AM looking at ways to diversify my workouts and add some running. So far, so good!


This, my friends, is the inside of my right knee. The picture doesn't even begin to do it justice. It's nasty. The inside of my left knee looks quite similar. No, I didn't trip over my own two feet. No, I haven't taken up riding a dirtbike (though this does bear a resemblance to what I looked like after dirtbiking). This, my friends, is what a freaking rolling garment rack did to me when it tipped over. Welcome to my life.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

All Over The World

I was looking at my stats this morning for who visits my blog and from where, and I was SHOCKED at all the international traffic! Obviously, I know who my Norwegian visitor is (cough, Lisa, cough), but I was surprised to also see traffic from Canada, Italy, the UK, Germany, Portugal, Sweden, France, Ireland, Belgium, Australia, and Turkey!

Some of the keywords that people have searched for that resulted them finding my blog are:
-Cake Mix and Diet Soda
-Pictures of Turquoise Nurseries
-Holy Week Explained
-Photoshop Actions
-Easter Week Explained
-Screen Shots of Buena Vida
-Tussionex Gives You Jitters

I'm kind of a nerd, but I find this stuff really interesting. PS- Since I know that someone will probably ask, I use StatCounter on my blog ;)

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Laugh Much

If you haven't seen this video, watch it now. Seriously. I find it absolutely HILARIOUS. I cackle like a little witch every time I see it.

Charlie Bit Me

Bel Canto--A Review

You may have noticed that I'm now featuring books that I'm currently reading in my sidebar. I just finished this one:

The synopsis of the book (from the Amazon ) is as follows:

In an unnamed South American country, a world-renowned soprano sings at a birthday party in honor of a visiting Japanese industrial titan. His hosts hope that Mr. Hosokawa can be persuaded to build a factory in their Third World backwater. Alas, in the opening sequence, just as the accompanist kisses the soprano, a ragtag band of 18 terrorists enters the vice-presidential mansion through the air conditioning ducts. Their quarry is the president, who has unfortunately stayed home to watch a favorite soap opera. And thus, from the beginning, things go awry.

Among the hostages are not only Hosokawa and Roxane Coss, the American soprano, but an assortment of Russian, Italian, and French diplomatic types. Reuben Iglesias, the diminutive and gracious vice president, quickly gets sideways of the kidnappers, who have no interest in him whatsoever. Meanwhile, a Swiss Red Cross negotiator named Joachim Messner is roped into service while vacationing. He comes and goes, wrangling over terms and demands, and the days stretch into weeks, the weeks into months.

The book was exciting--the characters were well crafted, and the emotion felt real. I loved the interaction between the hostages and their captors, and was excited to read how it all played out. Although I did anticipate one part of the ending, I did NOT anticipate another part of it, and did NOT enjoy it. I felt like the book just ended--like Ms. Patchett couldn't figure out how to conclude the book, so she just ended it. And interestingly enough, I felt the same way about another one of Patchett's books--The Patron Saint of Liars. Actually, I've been feeling like that about a lot of the books I've read lately, including Wally Lamb's The Hour I First Believed. And I don't like it. Seriously people, if you spend 300 pages laying building up to that one last climatic event, you need to spend more than 5 pages resolving the event!

Beer Marinade

Last night, I cooked dinner for about 15. It was sort of a surprise thing--I knew that I was cooking for 6 plus two munchkins, but on Sunday night we discovered that Justin's grandpa was coming into town, and would only be here Monday and Tuesday. Of course, our Monday and Tuesday were already jam-packed, and we wouldn't have likely been able to see them. After much talking, J and I decided yesterday to invite his Grandpa and Margaret over to see our new house and have dinner along with the band, since most of the band is J's family anyway. I was hopeful that we'd still be able to accomplish some band business, after dinner, but due to several different things (i.e. Justin taking a full HOUR to sign our new insurance papers...I still have no idea why, it only took me five minutes that morning), we didn't eat as soon as I was hoping we would, which then didn't leave us as much time to discuss things as I was hoping it would. Then, when we DID start meeting, it was just too many cooks in the kitchen--there were 15 people to give their opinions rather than 6, and things just took much longer than normal. But hey, that's life. I was glad to have everyone over--it was a blessing, even if it wasn't the most productive band practice in the world.

But on to the important things--the marinade for the butt-load of steaks that I made for dinner turned out quite well, and so I thought I'd share. First of all, the key to any marinade is having the 4-5 S's- Salt, Sweet, Sour, Savory, and (optional) Spicy. A little bit of oil is also ideal, but I forget that 9 times out of 10. For this particular marinade I used:

Salt: Fresh ground sea salt (about 10 clicks of the grinder per 4-5 steaks)
Sweet: Brown Sugar (about 1/4 Cup per 4-5 steaks)
Sour: Black Butte Porter Beer (1 bottle per 4-5 steaks)
Savory: Worcestershire Sauce and Garlic (3-4 shakes Wor. and a spoonful of minced garlic)
Spicy: Chili Powder (4-5 shakes)

Now, the "Sour" category is really more acid than anything else. Lemon, lime, coffee, or even soda would also work (though if you use soda, you probably wouldn't need to add much from the sweet category). Keep in mind that marinades are really pretty flexible--add the spices and flavors that you and your family like. There's no particular amount of each item to add, it's just a little bit of trial and error.

For this particular marinade, I only left the meat in from 9am to 5pm. I find that it starts to get a bit mealy overnight. I typically discard the marinade, but you could also bring it to a hard boil, and then serve it as a dipping sauce.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Missing & Method

My checkbook is missing.I'm trying not to freak out, because it's probably somewhere in our house (J paid the bills this past month, and probably didn't put it back in my purse), but it's still a scary thing! I hope that I have some back up checks somewhere--I really want to go get some plants planted today, but I need to wait until I get paid...which probably won't happen until like 4pm, which wouldn't give me time to go get plants before I cook dinner for the band, and probably Justin's grandparents and the logical solution would be to go now and just write a check.

I just cleaned our wood floors with Method's Wood For Good Floor Cleaner, as recommended by Leslie

And my whole house smells fantastic! I'm really loving the almond scent. The floors look great too. This is the first time that I've used any Method Products, but I think I will have to hit up Target more often! I love that Method products are biodegradable, never tested on animals, and packaged in recycled materials.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Sunday Song

I just realized that I haven't done the Sunday Song in awhile! Today's Sunday Song comes from No Doubt, and it's appropriately titled "Sunday Morning". I'll be honest--I've never really understood the lyrics or the weird video, but it's a song that I used to listen to a LOT in high school. We'd skip church to go up wakeboarding on Sundays, and we used to blast this song SO LOUD as we were driving up to the mountain lakes. Since we skipped church this morning, it was stuck in my head.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Weekend Update (w/ Photos)

It was a crazy weekend y'all! Where else but in Oregon can you snowboard one weekend and get sunburnt on the boat the next weekend?! And it might be the jello shots talking, but I'm loving every minute of it! Seriously, this weekend has been so jam-packed full of stuff (in a good way) that I can hardly believe we still have one more day of weekend together (and I'm off Monday, which means technically I have TWO more days!).

The weekend began with Jesse's birthday party on Friday night--all the above pictures are from the party. We had quite a bit of fun with Kaitlin's awesome jello shots...and the keg. Seriously, I love jello shots. Quite possibly too much. We also hung out a bit more with a couple, Pete and Casey, who live next door to Kaitlin's parents. Kait and Jesse have been friends with them for awhile...we're just beginning to get to know them, but had a lot of fun with them last night. Casey can drink like no girl I've ever seen before! Goodness gracious--if I had tried to keep up with her, I would have been in serious trouble.

The party continued into the wee hours of the morning, and so we crashed there. We finally got a couple of hours of sleep (except me, 'cause Justin was sleepwalking!). The boys had made a plan to go to the lake the next morning with Pete's boat, and when we woke up and it was GORGEOUS weather, we decided to go for it. Bliss! For me, there is nothing better than being out on a boat on a warm day! Unfortunately, I forgot my camera when we went to the lake, so I'll have to continue part 2 of this update once I get the pics from Kait or Casey!

Friday, April 17, 2009

Drinkity Drink...

So I'm curious--what are your alcoholic drinks of choice? Do y'all stick to red wine? Are you a beer person?

I often have a difficult time deciding what to order when we happen to be out at a fancy restaurant or someplace that has a bar. I like mojitos, but lately not too many places seem to be able to make them. I like Cosmos, but I always feel really cliche when I'm ordering them--I remember there was some movie I watched not too long ago where the bartender saw a group blonde girls, who weren't particularly intelligent, and bet the other bartender what they'd order--one Cosmo, one Sex On The Beach, and one Vodka Tonic...and he was right. And in my head I was thinking "Crap! No wonder people always speak to me like I'm a dumb blonde when I'm out and have a drink!" Plus, I'd just like to broaden my horizons when it comes to ordering again, what do y'all like?

PS- I'm excited for tonight--we're going out to Jesse's birthday party, which will mean quite a bit of drinking. It's a very rare occasion for us to go out and get inebriated, but I'm actually looking forward to it! Here's to hoping that the jello shots don't get me into TOO much trouble!

Thursday, April 16, 2009



Justin and I on the 4-Wheeler. You can't see them in this picture, but I got to bust out my steel-toed boots for this adventure.
View from the top
Kait rockin' it out all by herself

The Boys snowboarding. Justin and Jesse are down in front. In the back (from L to R) is Abe in blue, Stump in red, Matt in white, James in orange, Gary in gray, and Gary in black. Justin is wearing my snowboarding pants, haha!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Good/ Bad

The Good:
-I weighed myself today, and I've lost 10 pounds since a couple of months ago when I went to the doctor and weighed more than I've ever weighed in my life. I still weigh less than Tara from the Biggest Loser, which is good since we're about the same height and I think she looks fantastic. That said, I have about another 10 pounds to go before I'm really in the healthy range.

The Bad:
-Remember a few months ago when I got the big honking knee brace. Yeah, I haven't really worn it since because it hurt WAY more to wear it than it did to not...and now my knee feels fine, thanks for asking. Anyway, when I got the brace, I asked the guy, "How much do I owe you?"

He responded, "Nothing, you're double covered."

Well, today I got a bill in the mail for $343 for the knee brace. Due April 22. Yeah, I would have declined the knee brace from the get-go had they told me it would cost that much. I feel scammed. I just left a message for the billing lady expressing my extreme dissatisfaction with receiving the bill after being told that I didn't owe anything, and that because of this bullshit, I need to start a payment plan because I don't have $343 to allocate to a knee brace right now.

PS- Why is it that the medical/insurance field seems to be devoid of ANY responsibility when it comes to honoring what was said. There have been a number of times when I've called my insurance companies to find out about coverage for a particular procedure, had the procedure, and then had the insurance company say "Oh, sorry...someone read your plan actually owe an additional $200." And there is no recourse! That wouldn't fly in any other industry...why does the medical field get away with it?!

Face Wash.

What do y'all use as your normal face wash routine? In college, I used Proactiv, and that worked fairly well...but I just can't afford to spend that much money. I've been trying Acne Free...or I had, but it made my face SO DRY that it feels like it's on I've just been trying to wash with a mild cleanser and moisturize. We'll see how it works.

Anyway, in general I always feel so out of the loop with my skincare routine. I read about what the routine is supposed to look like in magazines, and quite frankly, I'm lucky if I remember to take of my makeup and wash my face at night--don't let my current moisturizing fool wouldn't typically be in my frame of reference AT ALL.

So again, what do y'all use for your normal "routine"?

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Bad Cat- Edited

Okay, are there discipline classes for cats? Seriously! Bones has been so destructive lately, and it's really getting a little irritating. The squirt bottle really hasn't been all that effective--she doesn't necessarily like the squirt bottle, but right after being squirted, she always does the same behavior again.

For example, lately she's been climbing my curtains. It drives me absolutely nuts. That, and she ate ALL my plants again...somehow (I'm still not sure how since they're on top of the fridge). I guess that was kind of okay since my plants were freaking WIMPY because there has hardly been any sunlight lately. I'm debating on whether going to the nursery and getting actual mature PLANTS would even be worth my time. I've heard that if you put double sided tape all around the plants, cats HATE that and will leave them alone. I don't know.

Seriously though, any tips for destructive cats? She's been meowing all the time, deliberately not using her litterbox, running around the house like a maniac, knocking over trashcans, tearing sheets off the bed, opening my closet doors and then climbing up my clothes, and attacking me when I'm sleeping! What happened to my sweet cuddly kitten!? It sounds terrible, but I'm really considering crating her while we're at work...that's when most of the destruction happens!

Edited to add, the reason that I'm debating purchasing more mature plants from the Grange is that I'm also considering letting Bones go outside...I think she might calm down a bit if she were able to run and jump and climb outside. But, I think she'd just eat the outside plants (ours AND our neighbors'), and possibly a lot of other plants that could potentially kill her. On the other hand, in a few months I'll be able to plant the plants outside, and if she stays inside, she won't get to them!

Monday, April 13, 2009

The Beat Goes On...

-So J was totally pulling my leg about Matt comingover for dinner...thank GOD! He really did snowboard with him all day though...apparently, Matt is good friends with James, who will be my brother in law here in a couple of months. It's a small world, I tell you!

-I finally took my wedding rings in to be resized, and I determined that I must have really been pretty skinny when we got married--as long as I can remember, I've always been a size 7 ring. When I took in my rings and asked her what size they were, they were only a size SIX! No wonder they didn't fit like a month after the wedding!

-I went 4- wheeling with Jesse and Kait was more fun than I expected, even though the boys made me drive by myself at one point, which I did not particularly enjoy. I don't even like driving our CAR...why would I like trying to manuver a machine through the woods?! I must say though, it wasn't nearly as bad as the time that Justin took me dirtbiking. I can honestly say that was one of the worst days of my life. I absolutely HATED it, and I was bruised from head to toe for about two weeks after (Lisa...I'll never forget the look you gave me when I came back to our dorm with my knees completely COVERED in bruises!).

-I'm only 4 days away from meeting my April work-out goal!

-I have a few other updates that I'm dying to blog about, but unfortunately can't. How's that for a teaser!?

Saturday, April 11, 2009


As some of you may remember, a couple of months ago, Justin and I ran into the boy that I had the BIGGEST crush on all through high school and middle school. It was a weird blast from the past.

Today, Justin went snowboarding with a bunch of friends...he just told me that he rode all day with Matt Martin...and that he's coming over for dinner. I really hope that he's kidding. Having dinner with my biggest high school crush and my husband would be about the most awkward thing ever...I haven't seen Matt enough since high school to be back on the "just friends" level!

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Lychee Fruit and Updates...

-The martini and appetizer class last night was really fun and interesting. I'm actually a pretty picky eater, but I promised myself that I would take at least one bite of everything she prepared...$55 is a lot of money...I was NOT going home hungry! I stayed true to my word, and tried quite a few things that I probably wouldn't have eaten if left to my own devices: shrimp (I've never liked seafood, and this was the only dish I didn't finish), Spicy Chinese Pizza with Cilantro (normally my nemesis, but I couldn't even taste it), Spicy Mango Mustard, Kiwi, Strawberry Ginger Soup, and Lychee Fruit (see above). I've gotta be honest, the Lychee floating in the martini looked like a mix between an oyster and a clump of phlegm, but the martini was actually quite good. It was a good reminder to be open to trying new foods--I'm discovering more and more often that I actually DO like food that I always thought I didn't cheese and grapefruit for example.

-Is it just me, or has blog-land really slowed down lately? I'm seeing far fewer posts come up on my reader lately. Maybe everyone is taking advantage of the spring weather that hasn't quite made it over to us yet!

-I really wish that I could call in sick. I have to be in court all day, but I would like nothing more than to stay at home with a heating pad, a box of Kleenex, and a bottle of Nyquil.

-We got to see Kait and Jesse yesterday! Yay! I'm so happy to see them both!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009


I've been battling a pretty nasty cold for the past week or so. I feel like absolute crap. I've spent the last 2 or 3 nights coughing all night. Really, I should probably stay home from work. But the ONLY reason I'm not going to is because I've already paid to go to a cooking class with one of my co-workers tonight (I hope she isn't sick today, 'cause she's the one organizing it all!), and the topic is appetizers and martinis. YUM! Hopefully I'll have some good recipes to share soon.

While I'm confessing, I might as well say that I'm really enjoying watching The Hills!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009


Those of you who know me know that I have a LOT of shoes. But in my defense, I've had almost all of my shoes since college (if not high school), and they're almost always inexpensive shoes from Target, Wal-Mart, or Payless. I bought expensive shoes ONCE from Macys and hated them. Anyway, my shoes are all starting to fall apart, and I am having the HARDEST time finding new ones that I like and are work appropriate. Who would have thought I'd ever have this problem?! Really, the problem is two-fold...I'm particular about the shape of the shoe, and I want a heel, but not TOO high, 'cause I'm already 5'10"!

I have found a few from DSW--unfortunately they use Flash so I can't post pictures, but I can post links:

Red Slingbacks--I love the red, but I really don't have much to wear them with. And I already have a pair of red pumps.

I might be able to get away with these if they were paired with a skirt. But then again, I'm not sure they're formal enough for a skirt.

I love how many colors are available in these, but I'd probably just get black patent.

Which shoes are you loving right now?

Holy Week Explained

This week is a busy week in the Lutheran Church--it's Holy Week, which is the last week of Lent before Easter. I thought I'd take a minute to explain Holy Week, since not all sects of the Christian church celebrate it.

Sunday- Palm Sunday/Passion Sunday. The church celebrates Jesus' entrance into Jerusalem just prior to the crucifixion. This special service includes a processional where the participants carry in blessed palm branches--again, a remembrance of the way that Jesus entered Jerusalem. See John 12: 12-19.

Monday to Wednesday- These days are considered "Holy Days", but no specific events happened. They lead up to the Last Supper.

Maundy Thursday (Holy Thursday)- This day commemorates the Last Supper, and also the day in which Jesus introduced what we now call communion. During a part of the service called the Gloria, all of the bells (and sometimes other instruments) play vividly. At the last verse, all of the instruments stop, and are not played again until Easter morning. Sometimes, the pastor washes the feet of 12 men (to symbolize the washing the feet of Jesus and the Apostles). At the end of the service, the Altar is stripped (everything is taken off) while the Pastor recites Psalm 21. All crosses are either taken out of the church, or covered.

Good Friday- I've always thought the name was interesting, because there just isn't anything good about it. Good Friday is essentially a somber remembrance of the crucifixion. The first part of the service typically includes reading Isaiah 52:13-53:12 and segments from Hebrews and the Gospel of John. The crucifix (or the cross in non-Catholic churches) is typically displayed. Some churches pray at the Stations of the Cross. One of the churches we go to typically does the Stations of the Cross, the other typically does a shadow drama depicting the events leading up to and including the crucifixion. In many places, people don't go to work or school on Good Friday--the entire day is for prayer.

Between Good Friday and Easter: In the Apostle's Creed, we say "He suffered death and was burried, he descended into hell, and on the third day he rose again." His descent into hell would have happened during the time between Good Friday and Easter. It's important to note that some churches say "he descended to the dead"--essentially, the point that they're trying to get across is that at that time, " hell" is not how we think of it now. It was basically the world of the dead.

Sunday-Easter- Easter celebrates the resurrection of Jesus and his ascent to Heaven. His resurrection reconciled us to our Creator. Our sins have been washed clean by Jesus' death on the cross. This idea is explained in the oft quoted John 3:16, "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life."

That's it--Holy Week in a nutshell!

Monday, April 6, 2009

Taco Puffs

I thought I'd share one of my FAVORITE recipes from growing up--they're called Taco Puffs. I love them, becayse they're another excuse for me to eat raw fridge biscuits. Plus, they're easy, quick, and only require a couple of ingredients:
-1 pound ground beef
-1 package taco seasoning
-1-2 Cups shredded cheddar cheese
-1 package Grand's Flaky Layers Fridge Biscuits

You'll thank yourself later if you pre-heat the oven to 400 right now.

Step 1: Brown the ground beef and add taco seasoning as directed on the package (I often just add the seasoning directly to the meat and don't add the water, but I'm a cheater like that).

Step 2: Now, here you have to decide whether you want BIG taco puffs, or little taco puffs. If you want little taco puffs, split a biscuit in half and then stretch it to make it a little bigger. Lay it down on a greased cookie sheet. Add a little bit of ground beef and shredded cheese. Take the second half of the biscuit, stretch it out a little bit, and lay it on top of the meat and cheese. Press the bottom and top layers together. If you want BIG biscuits, use a separate biscuit for the top and bottom layers.

Step 3: Repeat until you're out of biscuits. Keep in mind that J usually eats two of the big taco puffs. So if you're cooking for the band like I did tonight, make sure you make at least 12 (I was kinda hoping for leftovers, but they're all gone).
Step 4: Bake for 15 minutes.

Step 5: Top with sour cream, salsa, and/or more shredded cheddar.

I always have extra ground beef, so I served it up as a side along with some home-made Mexican Rice.

Monday Update

-Do you ever have those moments where you meet someone that you KNOW you recognize from somewhere, but you're not sure where or why, and don't really want to spend your first few minutes knowing each other asking, "So, did you do DECA in high school? No? How about basketball? No? Did you come to Wendy's a lot? No? Hmmmm....I KNOW I know you!" (while they stare at your blankly because they have NO idea who you are). We went to the church that we've been going to for the young married's Bible study yesterday, and our friend Liz introduced us to someone named Megan, who I know that I recognize from somewhere. I asked Liz if Megan grew up around here or what her maiden name was, but Liz didn't know. After a quick call to the parents, I think I've determined that she's the eldest daughter from my basketball coach from 4th grade through high school. She was a few years ahead of me, so she probably doesn't remember me, but I remember seeing pictures of her. She had moved away to WA, but recently moved back to our end of the valley. Small world!

-There are so many projects around our house that we have almost finished, but they're not quite done. I'm starting to get really irritated by this. We can't QUITE seem to finish any of our renovation projects. For example, do we have transition strips or molding back after doing the floors? Noooooooo. Do we have a front or backyard, both of which Justin said would be "easy fixes"? Noooooooo. Well, I suppose that we do have a yard full of at least that's kind of green looking. It's frustrating because we'll finally have a day or a weekend that we could do it, and then we'll look at our bank account, and realize nope, we can't.

- My brother recently got an iTouch, so I traded his video iPod for my old car stereo. I was working with a photo iPod that didn't often actually WORK, so this was a major trade-up, even if his iPod is covered in stickers and probably has some serious water damage from snowboarding. Anyway, I was deleting the songs from his iPod that I didn't want, and I laughed out loud when I came across the ENTIRE Bangles collection on my 16 year old brother's iPod.

-Still battling some sort of cold/allergies crap. All I know is that it hurts to breathe, and that sucks. Especially since I'm due for an allergy shot today.


Sunday, April 5, 2009

Sunday Song

Sadly, I can't find a video for today's Sunday Song, which is "Baby" by Lost and Found. You can listen to the song on their MySpace Page, which I would really recommend. For those of you who don't venture over (or maybe even if you do), I wanted to post the lyrics here.

Her shaved head and her pierced nose,
Her big rotweillers and her tie-dyed clothes,
Her Dr. Martins with her biker tights,
Her long black leggings on a hot summer night.

And nobody calls her baby,
Nobody says "I love you so,"
Nobody calls her baby,
I guess she'll never know.

His working boots and flannel shirts,
His sympathies buried as deep as his hurts,
Long lonely walks with nowhere to go,
His only appointment's with a tv show.

And nobody calls him baby,
Nobody says "I love you so,"
Nobody calls him baby,
I guess he'll never know.

Eighty pounds, she's hardly whole,
Losing her body to gain some control,
Hours alone in some tanning salon,
Trying a smaller and smaller size on.

And nobody calls her baby,
Nobody says "I love you so,"
Nobody calls her baby,
I guess she'll never know.

His Pin-striped suits and wing-tipped shoes,
His lap-top computer and his Wall Street news,
He makes his plane and keeps his pace,
He hides his pain behind a poker face.

And nobody calls him baby,
Nobody says, "I love you so,"
Nobody calls him baby,
I guess he'll never know.

But somebody loves those babies,
Somebody loves what we can't see,
And if somebody told them maybe,
Those babies would be free.

For me, this song has always resonated deeply. I think it speaks so clearly to the way that the Christian church as a whole can be rather exclusionary and sometimes make people feel like unloved outsiders, when really, our message should be one of love and grace to EVERY person that we encounter. There is NO place to dark for God's light to reach. There is no sin too "bad", no sin to many. It doesn't matter where you are or where you've been, the hope of freely receiving God's unconditional love is always there. As a Christian, it's my hope that I can portray THAT message rather than a message of exclusion.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

A Blessed Event

I picked up this book several weeks ago at the used bookstore, and just finished it today. I can't remember the last time a book made me cry as hard as this one did. It was slow going at first, but I really enjoyed the end.

From the back of the book: "As young women, Darla and Jo enter into an agreement that will change their lives: Joanne agrees to give birth to the child that Darla cannot have on her own. Then early on a warm July morning, Joanne, four months pregnant, suffers a devastating car accident. For the first time in memory, Darla must face the possibility of life without Jo. As Darla struggles to understand why her distressed friend was out driving in those dark morning hours, she must also fight to keep the baby that was intended to be her child."

Great book--I highly recommend it!

Mystery Noise

Every morning at about 8am, there is this mystery noise at our house. As far as I can tell, it's coming from our pump house (we are hooked up to city water, but also have a well for irrigation). It makes this loud, grinding noise three times, and then stops. I have no idea what it is, and I also can't ever seem to arrange for J to hear the noise--on weekdays, he's already at work by 8am, and on weekends, he usually isn't up that early...or if I DO wake him up, of course, it doesn't make the noise. Figures!

Friday, April 3, 2009


There is the biggest bowl of chocolate in my boss's office that is totally calling my name! Including today, I only have NINE DAYS of no chocolate left, by my willpower is seriously waning. I need to go to the gym and then get a Payday or something to satisfy this sweet tooth or I know I'm going to cave.

Also, can I just say that since I've stepped up to interval training, I have been SERIOUSLY hungry all the time? I'm not sure that the extra eating I've been doing is justified by the extra hard work outs though!

Hope everyone has a wonderful weekend--what are your plans?

Thursday, April 2, 2009

April 2

So, I wrote Dell a big long letter expressing my dissatisfaction with my laptop. I am really beginning to think that I got a "lemon" laptop. I have had other Dell computers with no problem, but in the past year, I've had to replace:
-The AC adapter (twice)
-The battery
-One of the two memory sticks
-The motherboard
-The hard-drive
-The wireless card
-And countless pieces of plastic

I really think that I have spent over 24 hours on the phone or chatting online with Dell Customer Support. Seriously. So, I wrote Dell a letter today saying that I'm not satisfied with my experience with Dell, and that if they would like to make it right, they could (and should) either replace my laptop with one of equal value, or extend my warranty since I don't anticipate the need for repairs to cease. I realize that this won't likely happen, but we'll see.

In other news, I'll have the chance to do two photo shoots for non-family soon. My brother's football team is going to Japan this summer to play (they have a football exchange with Japan every two years), and as one of their fundraisers, they are doing an auction. They asked me to donate two senior portrait or engagement sessions. So, I did. I'm excited, but also a little nervous after my last experience (I should add that Anne Marie's friends all liked the same picture that Lisa liked, so she decided to have them mock-up one of the announcements with that picture, and may use it afterall)!

I've been going to the gym, and I did a killer workout that our spinning instructor suggested. On the elliptical/treadmill/whatever, listen to music, and pace yourself with the music. On the choruses, double-time it (go twice as fast), and push as hard as you can. On some songs, the chorus is VERY long or repeats itself over and over, as was the case today. But then again, every once in awhile, I get a song like "Yakety Yak", where the chorus is less than 5 seconds!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

I Hate Dell

Surprise, laptop is broken. Again. Although my power cord has not moved all day, it has stopped working.

With as often as it has been broken, I really should renew the warranty (which ends April 11 of this year). Maybe I just need to switch to another brand altogether!

April Goals

1. Continue taking the 2 pre-natal vitamins every morning, no matter what.

2. Work out 13 days during the month of April.

3. Take a hike (Table Rock or Other).

4. Conquer the Garage Laundry Pile.

What do you all plan to accomplish this month?
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