Monday, November 29, 2010

A Wrench Thrown Into Our Lives

So I know I've been kind of spotty over the last few weeks and I've decided to hang up the towel on this blogging thing for the time being.

You see today we found out my husband's cancer is back and has spread to his lungs. To say we've had the wind knocked out of us would be a major understatement. The next couple of weeks are going to entail more tests, doctors, specialists and still somehow trying to manage having a "normal" life and following all of that will be another round of chemo with who knows what after. As much as I love blogging it just takes up too much of my time and I'm becoming resentful of that considering I want to spend as much time as I possibly can right now with the love of my life. I may come back every once in awhile to use this as a release and a distraction from everything else in my life but right now I want to keep myself from starting to hate something that I currently enjoy so much.

I'll be back one of these days and until then please just keep my sweet Tim in your prayers. He can use all he can get right now, you can follow his progress here:

Thank you!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Still Under the Weather

I feel bad for myself for feeling so awful but more-so I feel bad for Tim because I'm the worst sick kid ever. I whine, complain and essentially turn from a twenty-something year-old back to a six year old. I took my dad's advice last night and attempted to "sweat it out" by going to sleep with layers upon layers of blankets and clothing but so far no-go.

I do feel lucky that I decided to go on a soup-making binge on Sunday and made some homemade chicken noodle soup I had placed in the freezer. Tim sweetly heated it up for me and I was perfectly content to sit on the couch sipping away at it. Nothing beats a good homemade bowl of Chicken Noodle (sorry for the bad picture I sipped away all of the liquid before I shot it).

Here is my recipe:

I boil a whole chicken for about 30 minutes with just enough water to cover the top and flipping it about half of the way through. It doesn't really matter if the chicken is completely cooked at this point because you will continue cooking it for awhile longer. I pull out the chicken (save the water) and take all of the meat off the bones & put that to the side placing all of the remaining fat, skin & bones back into the pot I was cooking the chicken in previously and boil it for another 30 minutes.

During this time I go ahead and cut up my vegetables which are typically one large onion and two carrots. I saute them in Olive Oil or leftover bacon grease I keep in the fridge in a different stockpot. I add in salt and pepper and 1 can of corn with one can of green beans both drained (but you can add anything you like to this) and get everything heated back up. While its all getting warm together I strain the chicken stock into another bowl  and can usually save about a 1/3 of it for other uses while putting 2/3 of it into the soup. After that cooks for about 10 minutes I add in half a box of macaroni noodles and keep it cooking until they have all puffed up. I let the soup cool a bit before separating it into individual portions in sandwich bags and freezing.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

The Sick Kid

I don't know if it was tailgating from 9 AM until 6PM (at least) on Saturday, the fact that the weather just went from summer to winter overnight or that I caught a bug but I have a cold. I'm terrible when I get sick, I whine, I complain and I become 6 years old again. I do not like feeling bad.

I'm also on a kick (that will most likely be over tonight) where I don't take medicine until its absolutely necessary. I'm trying to get my body to a point that it takes care of itself for the most part (so far its failing). So today I have been (miserably) toughing it out. I went to Starbucks today to get a nice little decaf black tea with some honey and lemon in it. I discovered they don't have decaf black tea and they don't have lemon but the nice little barista guy introduced me to a new tea flavor I'm a huge fan of now. Tazo Vanilla Reoibos, it has a warm light scent to it and is delicious but not too strong. Only thing that could've made it better was fresh squeezed lemon.

Ok, so now that you know I'm going to bed. Be back tomorrow!

Monday, November 1, 2010

Don't Quiche and Tell - Meatless Monday: Week Five

For some reason over the past year or two I've developed quite the affinity for quiche. I thought it would be the perfect addition for Meatless Monday and although Tim & I both agreed it was good we thought it would be really good with bacon. So here is what we did for the meatless variety.

I rolled out a pre-made pie crust into a pic dish while Tim sauteed onions & spinach (although you can use whatever meats & vegetables you personally like). I went ahead and mixed up 3 eggs, about 3/4 c of cream and 1 1/2 c of shredded cheddar cheese. I also added in 1/4 tsp of salt and 1/3 tsp of black pepper, 1/4 tsp of paprika and 1/2 tsp of garlic salt.

We layered in the vegetables at the bottom of the crust and placed the mixture on top before baking on 375 degrees for about 20 minutes or until the top puffs up and turns slightly brown. You're supposed to let it sit for about 10 minutes first but it was pretty late and we were hungry so we dug in for a slice. It was the most successful Meatless Monday we've had thus far. Glad to finally be 2 for 2!

Friday, October 29, 2010

Happy Halloween!

Just wanted to end your week with the image of my Halloween costume. You are welcome.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Getting to Know You

Ok so I tell you all about my house and my food so I guess its only fair that I share a little about myself as well otherwise known as "material to use when you need to go to sleep but can't."

So now that we've got that out of the way, here we go with the little questionnaire:

1. What do you listen to while driving? Lately I've been listening to soft rock - in my defense though they are now playing a lot of songs that were popular when I was in high school...wait I don't think that made it sound any better.

2. What is your least favorite thing about Fall? It means the cold weather is coming and summer is officially over. That is not something I am a fan of.
3. What does your dream house look like, inside and out? Pretty much the way it is now but different. I love our house now but I'd love to have a butler's pantry and storage in the master bathroom and even an eat-in kitchen. I'd also love to have everything done and furniture I like. An outdoor gas fireplace would also be nice as well as a hot tub that cleans itself.

4. Would you ever own a minivan? I want to say never, I really do but I feel like if I do throw that never out there I will be eating my words one day. So I will just say that I would prefer to get an SUV, I could settle for a station wagon and I can deal (begrudgingly) with a minivan.

5. Do you wash new clothes before wearing them? Sometimes I do but more often than not I don't bc I'm ready to wear them already but now that I say that I realize just how gross that probably is...
6. Who is the better cook, you or your spouse? I think we'd both say that I am the better cook although we'd also both agree that he is better at baking...measuring is not my favorite thing to do.
7. Are you adventurous in the kitchen or stick to the recipe? I'm pretty adventurous. I'm picky about certain things I don't like (blue cheese, olives, peppers, etc) and careful about things I could have an allergic to (tree nuts, bananas, avocados - I'm allergic to latex and they have the same DNA strand profiles or something...). All of that usually leave me looking for substitutions and many times I think of something that I think could add a little something to the dish plus I'm lazy and don't feel like measuring most of the time. I always make it a rule for myself that I will make a recipe according to the instructions and mess with it the 2nd time.

8. Do you dress up for Halloween? Nope, not really a big fan of the costume thing...this may stem from my mom putting a black plastic trashbag on me (as a dress), painting my face green, popping a witch hat on my head and calling me a witch. They also dressed me as Alf one year...
9. Did you have a pen pal when you were little (or now)? Where were/are they from? I did! It was my friend Jennifer Harper, we went to elementary school together before she moved to Ghana with her mom to live with her mom's family. We used to send all kinds of random things to each other including mixed tapes. Apparently customs over there was pretty entertained by the randomness my packages would include.

12. Do you have any nicknames and if so how did it come about? Yes, in high school I was called "Nose" because I broke mine so much...I actually have no cartilage in the end so its really rubbery and squishy. Tim calls me "Slick" because he thinks I'm always trying to get something by him.

13. Have you ever visited another country? Yes I went to Canada over Thanksgiving my senior year of high school with my family, Mexico that same year over Spring Break with a friend's family and Europe the same year over the summer with a group from school. I went back to Mexico along with the Grand Cayman Islands senior year of college on Spring Break. It was one of the best vacations ever.

14. What one song will always cheer you up? Alison Krauss "When You Say Nothing At All" it was the first concert I remember going to and was with my dad, its been one of my favorites ever since. Also Journey's "Don't Stop Believing" was one of the last songs played at our reception with everyone (from my hazy memory anyways) joining in on singing (including Tim on the microphone) and is one of my favorite memories. Everytime I hear it now it reminds me of our special day.

15. What is your job title? I am an Account Executive for an advertising firm and work on promo ads for a large wireless retailer.
16. What are your living arrangements? Just me, the husband and the dog. I sleep between the two of them and have their snoring in stereo...

17. How many surgeries have you had? 6 - one for removing my one wisdom tooth, 2 to put my nose back in place - most recently in January after Tim tackled me in the snow while visiting his grandparents his response was "You shouldn't lift your head when tackled." (he really did feel bad about it), 3 for my left knee - its always causing trouble.

Alright so if you managed to stay awake through all of that then kudos to you, I don't know if I could've!


Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Happy Trails to You!

As a favor from a friend's wedding we received little baggies of trail mix with the above saying on them. From that day I realized just how much I like Craisins mixed with M&Ms.

From that I was inspired to make my own trail mix so I took some Goldfish, Sunflower Seeds (prob won't add them again...yuck), M&Ms, Craisins, Raisins, Honey Roasted Peanuts and Pistachios (I'm not supposed to eat these but Tim enjoys them).

Talk about a party in your mouth...this stuff is delicious, filling and is a lot healthier than most of the stuff we eat (umm have you ever tried an Oreo dipped in Nutella - I have and its bliss).

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Speaking of Festivitrees

Ours is starting to look pretty festive as well. I swear I just looked out today and saw that it is starting to show its true colors which are pretty stunning. I couldn't be more excited!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Meatless Monday: Week Four

Today we were pretty lame, it had something to do with not really feeling like going to the grocery store and something else having to do with just being lazy today.

So dinner was spaghetti, just noodles and some bottled sauce. For what it lacked it originality it made up for in deliciousness. Don't be jealous you too can have this delicacy. Just run to your local grocery store grab some noodles a can of sauce and be on your way. Boil up some water cook those noodles, heat up the sauce mix it all together and dinner is served. Success!

Friday, October 22, 2010


Ok so just in case you missed it that was supposed to be a play on "Festivities" and "Trees." Now that we have that out of the way check out the picture of these trees in my parents neighborhood. There is one yard in particular that always has some amazing fall colors, so bright and vibrant. I'm pretty jealous!

I'd love to add a lot of trees like this to our back yard so that every fall our yard is bright & beautiful. It might mean a little more work with getting all of the leaves picked up but I think it would totally be worth it.

Ginkgo Trees turn a gorgeous yellow but apparently can have a pretty foul smell as they produce their fall fruit.

Katsura Trees turn that bright gorgeous pinky-yellow color and apparently they give out a pleasant scent that reminds some of brown sugar and others claim to be spicy, sounds good to me either way!

Classic Maple trees turn that always classic bright orangey-red color or we can always get a Japanese Maple which turns the bright red in the fall.

I found a great site that lets you check out what trees work best in your area, seems pretty neat!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

We Got Booed!

Until yesterday I had no clue what being "Booed" was, that all changed when I arrived home from work and found this:

It was a little gift basket filled with candy, popcorn, brownie mix, little pumpkins, a candy corn dish and a little ghost and instructions on how to "Boo" the next person. I went right ahead and put the pumpkins on the little table outside. I'm not sure if the plant is supposed to change colors or if its dying...we will see!

We put our little ghost in the window, went to the store and got a little package together for some friends down the street. I have to say this was a lot of fun both to be "Booed" and to "Boo" some others. Get out there and try it!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

A Spark of Inspiration

Granted I get a lot of inspiration from reading blogs and things I've seen at other people's homes but I also subscribe to a few magazines.

Tim's grandparents gave me a subscription to Real Simple last Christmas and I love the ideas it has about decorating, organizing and the simple but delicious recipes it gives.

This Old House has some great ideas for rehabbing an old house not to mention being able to add some charm to ours. They are also very educational so you can learn how things work and the different parts and names for everything within a house.

House Beautiful has lots of really awesome stuff, and a lot of it is at a high price but I do pull some ideas from it that I think I could find less expensive options for.

The Nest is awesome because it really hits on topics that are affecting us as we adjust to the married life. It also has some great decorating tips and recipes as well.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Woo to the Hoo!

My friend Megan over at Fried Green Pickles (go follow her, she's pretty funny...although not as much as me :) ) just hosted her first giveaway for the new Darius Rucker cd (love him) and a $10 Bloomingdale's gift card and I won, oh ohhhh! (if you are missing that reference, click here. I saw a rerun of Baby Mama on Sunday and have been using it ever since).

I love this guy and am really looking forward to having his cd. I think my favorites are "Come Back Song" and "She's Beautiful" but all are great with his soulful voice and so addictive!

The other part of the giveaway included a $10 gift card to Bloomingdale's.

I think my plan is to use this toward one of the Michael Kors watches I've been planning on rewarding myself with after I make an achievement (not sure what that will be yet though). Every little bit helps right! Now I just have to decide which one and achieve something spectacular!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Success! Meatless Monday: Week Three

Tomato, Tomahto. Doesn't really matter how you say it, Tim finally liked something for Meatless Monday. This week I tried Stuffed Tomatos. I didn't really use any recipes I just looked a lot of them and pulled what I liked from each one to get what I'd like to call my masterpiece.

First I started cooking the rice because that was what would take the longest amount of time. As it was cooking up I went ahead and sliced a little piece off of the bottom of the tomatoes (so they'd have a platform to stand up straight on) chopped off the top (wide enough that I could easily get a spoon in there) and scooped out the insides. Then I put some salt and some pepper in there (I'm learning my lesson about underseasoning things and placed them in a baking dish.

After the rice had done its thing (I started with 1c of uncooked rice so whatever that equates out to once cooked) I mixed it with a small can of tomato paste and got to work on the other ingredients.

I sauteed one chopped onion and added about 3c of spinach in just until it was wilted before mixing it in with the rice and paste. I also chopped up a small can of mushrooms into very small pieces (to try to keep Tim from realizing they were there) and mixed them in as well. Finally I mixed about 1/4c of mozzarella cheese in and was ready to start stuffing.

I just used a spoon and stuffed the tomatoes until they were overflowing (I had enough that I could've stuffed 2 more the same way) and added some mozzarella on the top before sticking it in a 375 degree oven for 20 minutes.

While they were cooking up I sauteed some brussels sprouts the same way I did the other night and actually took a picture of them once they were completed. Tim was not a fan but ate them "because they are green" so at least he was able to get them down.

Everything turned out great and I even got a high-five from Tim for the success of the dish. Neither of us could finish our tomatoes because we were too full (although it could've had something to do with us both going after spoonfuls of the leftover stuffing while these were cooking). These could easily be edited to switch out the rice for actual stuffing, add it in with the rice or add in some meat as well. You could also add whatever veggies you like or even substitute out the tomatoes for peppers, squash or maybe even a pumpkin although you'd have to adjust the cooking times.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Clean as a Whistle

I had just started looking into the "green" living aspect when our house was being built. I decided that one thing I could do to both help the environment as well as ourselves would be to stop using harsh chemicals. I mean why am I covering the things I'm using over and over each day with chemicals that have strict warnings about breathing them, having them touch my skin and what I should do if they get in my eyes. I heard about Method products and decided to try them out. These products are AWESOME. Everything is perfectly clean and with a really pleasant light clean smell. I think the best part is that I don't feel overloaded with many different types of cleaners. Here are all of my supplies (keeping in mind that I actually need to refill a few.

For cleaning utensils here is what we've got:

1. A Dyson Animal Ball Vacuum Cleaner -  This thing is great about picking up all of the dog hair and dust bunnies and will get in some pretty tight spaces

2. OXO Under Duster - I adore all OXO products. We originally had a duster mop from Method but the shaft on it snapped so we decided to try out something a little different. This thing is awesome and can be used as a duster or a mop and the shaft bends in the center to be able to go under even the tightest spaces.

3. The only other tool we use is a toilet bowl scrubber and nothing special just a Libman we picked up from Wally World.

Cleaning Products: here is a little insight to the actually products we do use. (all images from: Method)

1. Leather Love Wipes - These are awesome for our couches and for our car seats. They seem to condition and clean all seats better than anything else I've seen.

2. Bathroom Cleaners - Le Scrub, Lil' Bowl Blu & Tub N' Tile Bathroom Cleaner - Each of these has the same eucalyptus mint scent to them and does a fantastic job. I use the Lil' Bowl Blu for the inside of the toilet bowl and the Tub N' Tile for the outside as well as for the sides of the tub and shower and the sinks. I use the Le Scrub for the floors of the shower and tub as well as for getting the soap scum off of the glass door. Anything else that would work this well would not have such an amazing scent going with it.


 3. Kitchen Cleaners - Method is great in the fact that they have such an array of products for the whole house. We've found a lot of these are great in the kitchen. Namely being the Daily Granite, Steel for Real, Wood for Good, Best in Glass and their Dish Soap. All of these also have some great scents as well!

4. Floor Cleaners - I've found that the wood floor cleaner really polishes and conditions the floor and the tile cleaner is great even on our linoleum without leaving any sort of sticky build-up on it. Once again it has an awesome smell!

5. Laundry Cleaners - all of these have done a great job with cleaning, softening and de-staticing (is that even a word) all of our clothes. I can't sing the praises of Method cleaners enough!

Thursday, October 14, 2010


That is exactly what our yard looks like right now. Ugly. To top it off. I give up for this year. We've mulched half the yard and I may get the inkling to mulch the other half next month but who knows, I'm frustrated with its progress right now. I had all intentions this year for aerating, fertilizing and de-weeding it but have decided to instead call it a year and start over again in the spring. On that note I'll leave you with this parting shot.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Room for Improvement Down Below

Our kitchen is pretty efficient for the most part, well except that I don't really know the best way to organize it. I'm starting to figure out what really works for us and know there are a few places that could use some improvement on the bottom level.

The rough sketch above shows our kitchen's layout (the arrow is indicative of the two cabinet pieces linking together with a lazy susan inside).

Here are my plans:

1. These are 2 drawer front facades. I'd like to get the little kits that allow me to pull these out in order to store sponges, etc right below the sink.

2. I'd love for this skinny little cabinet to have a pull-out shelving system so I can store the non-stick sprays, spices and sauces that are currently taking up precious cabinet space. I know it would be by the sink rather than the stove but spices aren't supposed to get hot anyways and its not like its a long walk for us to reach the other side.

3. This giant cabinet holds our appliances because we would have zero counterspace to work on if we left these out all of the time. I need a more efficient way to get to them though so some pull-out heavy duty drawer inserts would be fabulous.

4 & 5. I need drawer organizers for these drawers and some pull-out drawers for the cabinets below to store my pots & pans more efficiently.

6. The drawer above this cabinet also needs some organization but mainly this is where my baking sheets go. I need some dividers to keep them from crashing down all of the time.

7. Once again the drawer needs some organization but I'm kind of at a loss as to what I need to do with the cabinet below. Right now it holds all of my serving pieces and in the future I hope that I will have a storage piece in the dining room but for now everything is just slammed in there for now. Oh well!