I'm feeling a little old.....

>> Wednesday, December 30, 2009

.....because I just heard Metallica's "Enter Sandman" on the classic rock station!!!!

You better believed I still rocked out to it though!


Merry Christmas!

>> Thursday, December 24, 2009

Wishing everyone a safe and happy Christmas! Please remember those who cannot be with us and thank your soldiers! :)


Cookie Exchange

>> Tuesday, December 22, 2009

This past weekend, Jason & I headed out to College Station to visit our friends Sylvia and Jake. We were also going to Sylvia's 1st Annual Gig 'Em Cookie Exchange. We made Jason & Jake eat cookies and vote. Guess who's husband didn't vote for her cookies? Yeah, mine. Some girls might be disappointed but I'm not. He likes chewy cookies and I could care less whether mine are chewy or not. I made my great grandmother's pomanders (basically rum balls without the rum). I realize that I may be the only one who loves these, but they're more of a sentimental thing for me.

I also made Lime Coolers, which are sugar cookies with lime zest inside and a lime frosting on the outside. Yum. I had tried these at another party (I forgot to take pictures) and I liked them so I decided to try them out again. There's always so many chocolate cookies at these parties so I wanted to break it up some.

We also had Butterballs (kind of like almond flavored pecan sandies):

Jelly cookies:

Chocolate chip cookies:

Oreo truffle balls:

Super Chunky Christmas Cookies and Peppermint Swirl Cookies:

Pecan Praline Cookies:

While we noshed on cookies, we toasted our sugar highs with some AMAZING apple cider and eggnog:

I don't even like eggnog and I thought it was really good. But that cider.....that cider was deeee-lish. It was a Paula Deen recipe. I joked that it was her only recipe that didn't include butter or bacon. Sylvia told me the recipe actually was called Hot Buttered Apple Cider because you're supposed to put a pat of butter into your glass of hot cider. Gross. Glad we skipped that part. At least we know that P. Deen is consistent!

Here's a shot of us all. From left to right: Myself, looking a little too casual, Kim, Dawn with baby Jacob, Sylvia, our hostess, and Ashley.

After counting the votes, Kim's Oreo Truffle Balls won! Yes, Jason voted for them.

Her prize was a couple spatulas and some copper cookie cutters.

Before the night was over, I couldn't resist getting in some quality baby time. Be still, my ovaries.

After some more oohing and aahing over baby Jake, stuffing our faces with a dozen or so cookies and knocking back a few more glasses of cider, the party ended. I came home with lots of cookies to eat.

And I'm not sharing! Ha!



>> Tuesday, December 8, 2009

So last week Jason & I began the process of getting our alternative teaching certificates. He's tired of working as an engineer in manufacturing and I'm tired of..........well........sitting at home. The economy is so awful that a freaking MBA graduate can't even get a job. What gives people? Thank you Mr. Obama for "fixing" the job market. And I mean that in the most sarcastic way possible.


So apparently Jason is best apt to teach either high school math or - wait for it - technology. Who the heck ever heard of a technology class? Back when I was in school, it was called shop. And I stayed waaaay away from shop. You wouldn't have caught my fingers coming anywhere near that messy, oily, dirty old shop class. Yuck. But these days, shop has transformed into technology. They go beyond working on engines; they delve into computers and technology and stuff.

So Jason immediately tells them "No way, Jose" (or was her name Rae?) to the technology class. He wants to stick with math and math only. Meanwhile, I'm told that there are no marketing classes taught in our school districts (is this a surprise?) so based on my undergraduate degree, I'm best suited for high school science.

Awesome! I'm totally going to be teaching biology and doing dissections and chemistry experiments and taking physics trips!

What? YOU didn't get to take a physics trip to Houston to see cool stuff? Too bad for you!

Teaching scares both Jason & myself, but we both think it will be a good option for now. Our time off will be the same, we can work on other ventures (i.e. Arctic Concepts) after school and in the summer and we found out that school districts like to hire married couples. Our classes start in late January, so we won't be able to be hired until August by a school district. We both need 30 hours of subbing or observation before passing the final test. I'm starting to get excited about this new path, but at the same time I'm nervous. We both need to find some sort of income to get us through August. Although we have savings that we've been living off of, August is cutting it pretty close. I'm not sure what I'm going to do yet. You'd think finding a simple job would be easy, but I'm always over qualified. In fact, I was just told that today. If anyone has any ideas, I'd love to hear them. Please wish Jason & I luck on our new adventure together. :)


Legs workout

>> Saturday, December 5, 2009

I had changed my workout from the last time I posted, but I got bored with it quickly. I got my new issue of Oxygen magazine in few weeks ago and decided to give their legs workout a try for the next 8 weeks. It's a twice a week leg workout. They gave a sample workout series for the week and I'm trying to follow that. I just finished my third week and it's been a great workout! I'm doing 3 sets of each exercise. Here's the breakdown:

Monday - Leg Workout #1

  • Front Lunge/other lunge variations using 30lb curl bar, 12-15 reps per leg
  • Medicine ball squat using 10lb medicine ball, 15 reps
  • Froggy kick, 10-12 reps
  • Bridge with ball between knees using ~6lb ball?, 12-15 reps
  • Lying medicine ball extension using ~5-6lb ball, 12-15 reps
Tuesday - Back & Chest (all are 12-15 reps)
  • Incline dumbbell press, 15-20lb dumbbells
  • Flat bench fly, 12.5-15lb dumbbells
  • Seated cable row, 55-70lbs
  • Lat pulldown, 55-65lbs
  • Cardio: 45 minutes
Wednesday - Biceps, Triceps & Abs (all are 12-15 reps)
  • Seated incline curl, 15-20lbs dumbbells
  • Preacher curl, 30lb curl bar
  • Skullcrushers, 20-30lb curl bar
  • Overhead cable extension, 30lbs loaded onto cable machine
  • Plank & side planks (hold for 30 seconds to 1 minute)
  • Cardio: 60 minutes
Thursday - OFF!

Friday - Leg Workout #2
  • Cable squat (think I loaded 65lbs), 12-15 reps
  • Leg press, loaded 140lbs (will probably up it), 12 - 15 reps
  • Cable kickback, couldn't find the ankle strap so I had to use the glute machine - loaded 70lbs, 15 reps per leg
  • Lying leg curl, loaded 35lbs, 12-15 reps per leg
  • One-legged bridge, 10-12 reps per leg
Saturday - Shoulders & Abs
  • Side lateral raise, 12.5-15lb dumbbells
  • Dumbbell press, 12.5-15lb dumbbells
  • Leg lifts with medicine ball in hands, 10lb medicine ball
  • Side lifts w/weight plate, using 25lb weight plate
  • Cardio: 60 minutes


Guilty Pleasure

Listening to the all-Christmas station the entire month of December, only changing the station when - teens and tweens cover your ears - the Jonas Brothers sing.



>> Saturday, November 28, 2009

We had a great second Thanksgiving held at our house. You may remember the first one mentioned here. Jason & I had each of our parents over for dinner. It started out kind of funny. My mom brought over some red wine because all I had was white. We read somewhere that white wine goes with turkey the best, so we decided to pop open a bottle. All three bottles that I have were given to me. I found a bottle in the fridge that had been left at my house from a previous get-together. Jason tried to open it with our bottle-opener-from-hell. And when I say it's from hell, I mean it's the worst bottle opener I've ever seen. I need to go to the grocery store and buy a $2 one...it would probably make things much smoother. Anyway, as Jason tries to pull the cork out, it it breaks. The top half of the cork just decided to crumble. He tries to get the other half out, but no luck. So, being the redneck family that we are sometimes, he pushed the cork INTO the bottle using a sharpie. Both the cork and the sharpie lid fell in the bottle. My dad then gets the great idea to decant the bottle into another container and to use a coffee filter to catch the leftover cork crumbles. The plan worked pretty well and a couple of us braved the tainted wine and poured ourselves a glass.

That wine was so good! I really don't care for Chardonnays, but this one was wonderful! It was a little oakey, ever so slightly sweet and had almost a brandyish taste to it. It was worth the trouble! Ha ha!

Dinner consisted of turkey, cornbread stuffing, sweet potatoes, salad, and cranberry sauce. My father-in-law made the stuffing which was so, so good! There was hardly anything left over. My friend Shana surprised me by coming over and bringing a carrot cake. Add that to the pumpkin pie that I made, the trifle and the lemon meringue pie that my mother-in-law brought and we have ourselves 4 desserts between 6 people! I will be the first to admit that I had a piece of each that day.

After Jason's parents left, I helped my mom shop the Black Friday ads. There were some things she wanted to order online so we had to wait until midnight. I lasted until about 1 o'clock before I hit the hay. Mom was the last one to bed because she caught a second wind and couldn't get tired.

I was the first one up the next morning. By 8:30, no one was still up, so I decided to get dressed and go to the gym. I figured everyone would be up by the time I got back. I showed up at 10:30 and my parents were barely up and Jason was still in bed. I celebrated Black Friday with a piece of carrot cake and took it easy the rest of the day.

My parents left that afternoon, leaving behind the turkey carcass they were going to give to their dogs and their reusable grocery bags. Thanks! That night, Jason & I met up with his parents, brother and his brother's new girlfriend at Outback. I think most of the Black Friday crowd had long gone to bed by 7:30 because the restaurant was a ghost town by then. Jason & I were able to convince everyone to come back to our house. (We had already concocted our evil plan beforehand to shove all the leftover desserts their way.) Our victims, I mean guests, didn't succumb to our sweets....they passed them up! So now we're left with 4 desserts in our fridge and we still have a THIRD Thanksgiving to go to today.

Bring on the bulge!


Becca & TJ's wedding

>> Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Last Saturday, my cousin, Becca, and her fiance, TJ, finally got married. (You may remember me announcing their engagement here) I say finally because they have a long history together. They dated in high school and then broke things off..........several times. Each dated other people over the next few years until they decided to try things one more time. They had both grown up a lot and they finally realized that the other was "The One!"

The wedding was held at a relatively new venue called La Fontana Springs on FM 3009. It's pretty far from most of the city, so a bus was hired to drive people from a hotel to the site. It was a beautiful venue and everything seemed to be run on schedule.

The bridal procession was like a family reunion! I'll show the ones that I'm related to here. Here's my Uncle Ben & Aunt Patty (Becca's parents):

Here's my cousin Eric and Crystal (Becca's older brother and niece):

Here's my cousin Kathy (my mother's namesake and Becca's younger sister):

Here's my cousin Tiffany (Becca's older sister, mom to Crystal):

Here's my cousin Zach (Becca's nephew, Crystal's brother, Tiffany's son...get all that?). Zach was one of the ring bearers and had a scowl on his face because he had to walk with a slower littler boy. I loudly whispered "Smile!" to get this picture:

Finally, Becca emerged with her Daddy:

Did I mention that my sister did the flowers by herself? Okay, not by herself. I wired a few roses for the corsages. But I think my sis did a great job! She hasn't done a wedding in a long time, so she was a little out of practice, but I think everything turned out beautifully!

Here are the newlyweds coming down the aisle!

After the ceremony, we headed indoors for the reception. Appetizers were served and the alcohol was served while the bridal party took pictures. My dad was intent on fitting his cup into the favor koozies despite all of us telling him it wouldn't fit. Here's the proof that you CAN fit one of those plastic cups in a koozie!

Here's an adorable picture of my parents!

And the obligatory Steph and Jason pic:

Salad was served and then the main coarse, steak, shrimp, garlic mashed potatoes, green beans and dinner rolls. It was so good! So good in fact, that I didn't bother to take a picture....AGAIN! Ha! After the dinner, the bride and groom had their first dance. I can't remember what song it was. The best part was a lifelong joke/promise that Becca's mom would wear a red dress to the wedding and then she and Becca would dance to "Lady in Red." That promise was fulfilled!

Afterward, Becca danced with her mom. Then, toasts were made and the cake was cut. My cousin doesn't really like cake, so she did a cheesecake for the wedding cake:

Finally, the dancing commenced for everyone!

My parents danced:

My nieces danced (I love this picture!):

And my sister & I cutting a rug:

The bouquet was tossed and guess who caught it? My older niece, Hailey! At first she was embarrassed that everyone was looking at her, then she told us all that she was going to get married next.

All good things must come to an end, so the party finally ended and Becca & TJ exited into a cloud of bubbles. Sorry for posting this pic Becca, but it's the only one I have of the exit!

And they left in a decorated truck

Congrats to you both!

Whew, that was long! But y'all still love me, right?




That's okay. I LOVE me! :)


Dr. Jeckyl and Mr. Hyde

>> Monday, November 23, 2009

My nieces definitely have two sides......

The sweet, innocent side:

And the crazy, naughty, I-don't-care-what-you-think side:

It's exhausting!


Winter Vegetable & Fish Soup

>> Friday, November 20, 2009

With the weather suddenly turning cooler, I had a craving for soup. This soup was really, really easy to make and it tasted yummy. I actually doubled the recipe below, so that's why the pot looks extra full!

Here's the leeks in low-sodium chicken broth.

Adding in the broccoli.....

Adding in the zucchini (these were leftover from our summer garden):

Adding the fish......

Adding in the spinach and spices....

And we're done! Enjoy!

Winter Vegetable & Fish Soup
~serves 2 generous bowls, 221 calories, 8g fat, 1 g saturated fat, 0 trans fat, 48mg cholesterol, 646 mg sodium, 10 total carbohydrates, 1 g dietary fiber, 3 g sugar, 28 g protein, 3 mg iron.

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 leeks, chopped
  • 2 14-0z cans low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 cup fresh/frozen broccoli, chopped
  • 1 small zucchini, diced
  • 8 oz frozen halibut fillets, cut into bite-sized pieces (you can use any whitefish; I used orange roughy)
  • 1 cup baby spinach
  • 1/8 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
1. Heat oil over medium heat in a large saucepan; add leek and saute for 2 minutes. Stir in broth and bring to a boil.
2. Add broccoli and zucchini and simmer for 3 minutes.
3. Add fish and simmer until it turns opaque, approximately 3 more minutes.
4. Add spinach and seasonings and simmer for 2 more minutes. Serve. Enjoy!


Matthew & Jenn's Wedding

>> Wednesday, November 18, 2009

On Saturday, Matthew & Jenn (aka Melvis & Laugh) finally tied the knot at their wedding, or as they called it, their "Crazy happy fun time"! I didn't get very good wedding photos; it was just too dark in the church for my simple point and shoot camera. Here's the two that are decent.

Jenn coming down the aisle with her dad:

And I caught the two newlyweds laughing their way back out of the church!

The reception had a Dios de Los Muertos type theme to it. There was lots of color and Mexican touches. The tables were decorated so cute!

There were little flags for placemats with the silverware wrapped up in different colored napkins and tied with a flower. They used paper Fiesta flowers for centerpieces accented with a few candles and the cutest, most unique favors I have ever seen:

Skull cookies! Anything edible is great in my book, but when it's cute AND tastes good? Perfect!

I didn't get a picture of the food because......well......I was hungry. But it was good! They served bar-b-qued chicken & brisket made by a friend.

The wedding cake was unique as well, with the bride and groom opting for a green cake! This one was spice flavored. I can't say I tried it and you'll see why in a second.

One of the groom's cakes was a Patriot cake since that is his favorite team.

And the last cake is why I didn't try anything else. Take a look at this baby.

Okay, I know what you're thinking. It's not nearly as cool as the wedding cake. But I must educate y'all. That's right, I said y'all. This cake was GOOD. It was pure chocolatey heaven on my plate. I would've eaten a couple pieces, but I didn't want anyone giving me the stink eye for taking more than my share!

Just like the good little papparazzi that I am, I snapped a pic of Matthew & Jenn showing their true colors. (And weirdness)

And finally, before the night ended, we had to get a picture of Jenn with all of her Sister Goddesses!

Congrats to Melvis & Jenn! Wish you both a lifetime of happiness together!


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