Saturday, March 27, 2010

She's just growing up so fast!

I wonder how the sleepover went last night?

I REALLY REALLY want to call, but I'm afraid mom's trying to recover. In bed.

I don't blame her. Maybe she'll call me, I won't hold it against her if she doesn't!

On a different Kait-related note, Dad shared some pictures of Kait practicing with her new lamb from Craig and Regina's sale.

I think she was sick of Dad trying to get a good picture to send me. What do you think?

I think for March, Kait's doing awesome. She'll only get better as the spring/summer progresses!

I also think that it makes me homesick. Is it May yet?

Friday, March 26, 2010

Here's to a evening in with a princess, Disney princess.

My little sister Kait turned "8" (nice rhyme, huh?) last Thursday, March 18th.

Since she wanted to have a sleepover with some of her friends, they are waiting to celebrate until tonight, March 26th.

That meant we got to give Kait her first birthday present last week, while they were in Indiana.

She got "The Princess and the Frog" movie from us. She had been asking for it, and it was an easy gift for Ben to stick in his carry-on during the flight.

Apparently she loved it - I guess she watched it 5 times before they got home! Good planning on our part, right?

So, I figured - there must be something to this princess.

I just reserved a copy at my nearest redbox for this weekend. It'll go well with New Moon and Revenge of the Savage Killer. I make a pretty wide swath in my movie choices. Evens things out a bit (and makes it a bit easier to sleep at night).

Here's wishing Kait a happy birthday. Hope Mom and Dad survive the night, and they're reminded the reason Emily, Grady and I never got sleepovers when we were kids. All I can say is "Tylenol PM".

Sunday, March 21, 2010

I might be on to something.

Ben and I both have been trying to find ways to live a more "healthy livestyle".

Since we're both cheap (no $40/month gym memberships for us) and live in the great Artic tundra (no outdoor exercising for us) the best way for us to achieve this is by watching what we eat/drink.

For me specifically, its what I drink. I've made several attempts to cut down/out the amount of soda I drink but have always wussed out because of my no-caffeine-induced headaches and my dislike for the taste of water. Cutting out the coffee was relatively easy - but I found myself drinking another soda or two throughout the day to keep myself awake, increasing the amount of calories I consume a day.

A colleague of mine made the comment during a luncheon when asked about drinking soda that he'd "rather eat his calories" and I made the committment to do the same. Another colleague mentioned that she really liked the taste of Crystal Lite and let me try a single-serving size before I made the plunge. I was hooked.

Each sleeve is two servings and contains no sugar and 10 calories and no caffeine. I get my caffeine fix by drinking the "vitamin enhanced version" which containes 20 calories, no sugar and 10 mg of caffeine. What's even better? A pack of 10 only costs $1.98 (Great Value brand - tastes exactly the same as CL and is 1/2 the price) which is roughly the same as one liter of soda or less than one 20-ounce bottle of soda from the vending machine.

I'm really surprised, but I haven't even craved a soda since I quit about a month ago. Plus, I am drinking about 100% more water than I was before. Throughout a day, I have at least five 20-ounce bottles of water (that are refridgerated tap water in bottles I re-use). So even if I drink five sleeves of the Great Value version of Crystal Lite its still only 50-100 calories versus the 450 calories I used to consume in three sodas per day.

I keep a packet with me in my purse, along with a bottle - and I'm good to go!

The only real downfall is that now I have a small craving for sweets during the evening, but I generally keep a bag of ROLLO's in the freezer for such a craving. The best part is that my skin feels dramatically more hydrated and I don't have to make sure I have quarters in my purse for those frequent trips to the vending machine.

Try it, I dare you!

Saturday, March 20, 2010

While the cats away, this mouse will play....

Since both sides of my family are together in Indiana, along with Ben - I decided to take the weekend to do some much needed maintanence projects.....on myself. While the flood threat is not over, the community is protected and just playing a "waiting game" until the river crests.

So in honor of the upcoming spring and a reward for the long hours I put in this week, I took it upon myself to (no judgement please - I am a big believer in self-indulgence every once in a while):

1) Return to my blond roots. It was excrutiating though - I spent 4 1/2 hours in the chair on Friday and another 1 1/2 on Saturday because my strands didn't want to take up the bleach. Thank goodness I no longer look like someone urinated on my head! But 6 hours and $115 later - I can go out in public without worrying about backways glances! My only problem now is that none of my coworkers recognized me Friday afternoon. I actually got followed back to my office and asked "Can I help you?" and when I turned around, our office manager gasped, "Oh my gosh, I can't believe it." I had to explain to her that for the majority of my 25 years, I have been some form of blonde - which they've never seen since I colored my hair brown 2 weeks before I started at the office!
2) Shop for a spring wardrobe. I usually don't have good luck at TJ Maxx, because I feel like I'm wading through garage sale quality clothing - but for some reason, I went against my better judgment and stopped in. Thank goodness I did - what wonderful luck did I have!! However, I blew the budget for spring clothes SOOOOOO the high-heeled cowboy boots will have to wait :(. The only "must-have" item I didn't find was a pair of brown sandals (with no heel) to wear in the office - got the black, tan and white pairs - but no BROWN. So the search continues!!!!

My favorite purchase of the spree (which I'm wearing at the moment) is this pair of skinny jeans. I'll live in the them until they are so stretched out that I have no choice but to peel them off and stick 'em in the wash! I obviously would never feel the need to buy a full-priced pair of Calvin Klein jeans, but I'm absolutely positive that if I had too for these jeans, I would. If you think skinny jeans are just for skinny girls - you are absolutely WRONG. I'm considered a "full-figured" gal and I LOVE LOVE LOVE me some skinny jeans. I feel totally confident and comfortable in mine- as well as feeling somewhat "young and fashionable" which is usually a stretch for me. Plus, I didn't have to go to the JUNIORS section to find this pair of "women's skinny". PICK THEM UP, you won't be disappointed!
3) I didn't get my pedicure like I planned, figured the snowstorm yesterday meant that sandal weather is a few weeks off yet.
4) Eventually I'll start spring cleaning, which actually seems to be an ongoing project. Since Ben will be gone this whole week, maybe I'll wait to do it then! But for now, the only cleaning I'll be doing it switching out my winter clothes for the stacks of spring items I picked up!

Saturday, March 13, 2010

"Smells good...whatcha making?"

In graduate school - we often got to experience samplings from our friend Luke's mom.

She had a ton of easy recipe's in her arsenal that always left you gasping, "That was amazing."

Before we moved away - I borrowed her cookbook she made Luke and stole some recipes.

Among them, was one of the best spagetti sauce recipes we've ever tasted. But, I don't readily keep the ingredients that recipe call for on hand.

So I've had to modify the recipe. I really think it gives her's a run-for-the-money. Or its a decent substitute anyway.

The reason I'm sharing is two-fold:

1. I needed to write the recipe down before I forgot and my typing fingers are faster than my pen fingers.


2. If I go too long without a blog post - our parents think something's wrong (I haven't posted since the beginning of the week - and I've been busy).

I dare you to try it. Double-dog dare you. Once you've had spagetti sauce that's both savory and sweet - you'll never want it any other way. I promise.

Brown 1/2 lb. ground beef, drain the grease. Some people season their ground beef - I tend to overseason the sauce part so my beef doesn't need anything.

In a seperate sauce pan mix together:

1 can tomato soup
1/2 can fire roasted tomatoes
1 tbsp yellow or white onion, diced
3 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp basil
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp pepper
1 tsp salt

Heat to slow boil, covered. Mix in browned ground beef.

Heat to boil again. Mix in 1/2 tsp oregano and let simmer.

My measurements are always "approximate" and I tend to add ingredients based on my mood - I've added rosemary or thyme on occasion.

We've just now (I know) realized that cooking 1/2 lb. of ground beef is plenty for two people. The only down fall - leftover weekends don't leave us with many leftovers since we don't cook as much.

Modify as you see fit. But mostly, enjoy.

Monday, March 8, 2010

My kind-of photo....

In the thick of picking pictures for sale flyers for my folks - dad sent me this picture.

I can't stop smiling.

This is Rosie. She's Kait's ewe from her first official year of 4-H (she has been showing since she could walk (see the next photo - which is actually from her 2nd fair, I can't find the picture from her first).

Rosie taught Kait many important life lessons this past year. Among them -patience, responsibility, pride and accomplishment. She has also allowed Kait to develop the same livestock and respect for livestock that we all have deep engrained in our hearts. Dad can't get her to leave the barn - I can hear the smile in his voice every time he tells me that.

Kait is holding Rosie's 1st lamb. The cycle will continue on.
Isn't that something worth smiling about?

Friday, March 5, 2010

Flashback to Christmas.

I'm a "little bit" younger than most of the crew I work with. Except Anne. But I like to think they're still young at heart.

Every month or so - we have a small party - to celebrate a holiday, birthday or for no special occasion other than we can. I'm always up for a theme.

My favorite theme - the ugly sweater parties at Christmas time. I went all out.

Thrift store sweater vest with a LARGE snowman and snowflakes.

Stockings with the bottoms cut out slipped over my shoes.

Homemade accessories made of DollarTree metallic colored pipe cleaners.

It was a bit ridiculous - I know.

I don't care. I had fun - people laughed.

Goal accomplished. Successful Christmas party.

Can't wait for next year!