Monday, March 29, 2010

Weekend Recap

Another productive weekend!

Friday was my "off day", so I used that time to get my oil changed (I just LOVE my new car!) and pick up some items from Wal-Mart for a little slow cooker action this weekend. I own the Fix It and Forget It Lightly cookbook and I LOVE it! I love my slow cooker because it's just SO easy and the end result is always perfectly done, especially when the ingredients involve meat! I made two meals this weekend from the S.C. - one from the book mentioned above called Beef Lite, and then just one of my own - called Chicken & Stuffing (I just made that up).

The Beef Lite recipe is below. Joel & I both really liked it - it was very hearty. The picture I took is from my lunch today.

1 pound extra lean ground beef

1 package dry onion soup mix

1 10 3/4oz can of 98% fat free cream of mushroom soup

1 10 3/4oz can of 98% fat free cream of celery soup

1. Spray slow cooker with fat-free cooking spray or insert 1 liner.

2.Combine all ingredients in slow cooker

3.Cook on low for 6-8 hours. (mine only needed to be done for 6 hrs).

4.Serve over rice.

On Saturday, I took a trip to Target and bought my niece her birthday gifts for the upcoming "turning 2" day in May! These days I'm either buying for weddings or baby showers, so I also picked up some baby gifts at TJMaxx for my both of my cousins' soon-to-be bundles. TJMaxx really is the place to buy your baby stuff people - it's cheap and cute! I still have a few more things to buy for each of them, but at least I got a start on it. It's been looming over my head for months and the one kid, Conner, is due any day now so I need to step it up! In the evening, Joel & I had a "datey date" at the driving range. This was my first time at a driving range, so I was skeptical at how fun this would actually be considering the only golfing I do is in the 'mini' form. It was fun though! Joel and I each started off with our own bucket of balls. I was able to hit a few past the 100 yd mark - not bad for my first time! Joel hit two buckets of balls and by his second bucket he really got into the swing of it (no pun intended! :) ), and really started launching them through the field. I'd really like to do it again, but I need to get some pointers on form, and all that crap, from my dad first.

We had such a great time!

Appears as though I know what I'm doing...

After the Palm Sunday service, I came home and made the second slow-cooked meal of the weekend, Chicken & Stuffing. That recipe is also below. Sunday was another great day because I got to spend a few hours talking on the phone with my best girlfriend from home. We don't get to talk much, but when we do the conversation lasts - and it's always just what I need! She currently lives and works in South Carolina, and she gave me some great advice about my next career pursuit. I took the first step today and contacted the local college to get more information on what all I need to do to get enrolled for nursing school. Will any of my hard earned Penn State credits count? How long will it take? How MUCH will it cost?! It has been a painful realization that I really don't like the field of work that I'm in, and I know I probably never will. For a long time, I dreamed of going back to school for pharmacy, which had been one of my picks for a degree back when I was 18. However, she brought to light that some of her pharmacist friends were hating their jobs b/c they were bored and did nothing all day at work because their pharmacies weren't that busy. Plus, the schooling for pharmacy is more than I'm willing to committ to at this point, so the next best thing for me would be nursing. Stay tuned for more updates as I learn more!

The weekend ended on quite a painful note. I was reading an article in Woman's Day about little things you can do to keep the spice in your life - one which was do something different to your hair. Now, I'm not REALLY attached to my hair at all, so I don't mind experimenting - especially with color. The last time I dyed my hair was back in July of 2007 out in Kansas City. I decided I was done with the highlights and needed to return to whatever my natural color was. I've been a light brunette ever since! However, I did love my blonde hair and so I figured, what the heck, and I picked up a highlighting kit at Target. Now, I know what you're thinking - what are you thinking trying to highlight your own hair!? Well, that's where Joel comes in :). But first I must digress. Here's the deal, back when I used to get my hair highlighted at home by my hair dresser, she used that terrible cap - you know the one with the tiny holes in it that you use this hook to pull the hair through? It was PAINFUL. I swore I'd never do it again once I had a job and could afford foils (I believe the highlight in a cap was only $15-20! seriously!). So, when I saw this kit at Target, and I saw the cap, I thought to myself - maybe it won't be so bad if I'm doing it myself. HAHA! WRONGGGGG!!!!!!! I was too optimistic - my hair is too thick and too long for the cap! I started doing it on my own, then I needed Joel's help for the back - let's just say it took about 3 full hours of painfully hooking and pulling hair through teeny tiny holes until it was over. DEFINITELY not worth the money saved in the process - NOT.....AT.....ALL. Anyhow, as I mixed the color, it became quite clear to me that I really wasn't going to have enough to cover my whole head. I made it work, but it probably would've turned out a little better had I bought two boxes. It actually doesn't look bad in my opinion, but I think I'll have it touched up in about a month or so - just to get to those spots that could've used some more bleaching action! By the way, did any of you actually pick up on the fact that I mentioned Joel and how he helped me do this?! He actually did most of the pulling through because it was quite hard for me to see the holes as I got further back my head. How awesome is that? I love him so much! :) Although, he might not be happy that I publicized this!! However, I did grab a shot of my new best friend who continued to surround himself with my wincing and moaning almost the entire time! He has become SO cuddly over the last few weeks - he is just like my very own living-breathing baby doll - in cat form. I'm tempted to put a little dress on him!!!! hahaha

It's not terrible, but it could be touched up!

Chicken & Stuffing
1 10 3/4 oz can of Cream of Chicken soup
1 Box of Stove Top Stuffing Mix - Chicken Flavor
2 cans of Milk (using the soup can to do the measuring).

3 Chicken Breasts (or however many you'd like - it's completely up to you).

I cooked this for almost 6 hrs on low as well.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Throwback Thursday

While in college I would have referred to this day of the week as something else, today I'm going into my collection of pictures from back in the day. Below is a picture of my beloved niece, Grace, and my boyfriend, Joel. I had uploaded this picture around Thanksgiving of 2008 - I cannot believe this little lady is going to be 2 in just a few more weeks!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Time is a River - Mary Alice Monroe

This is the second book I’ve read from All You’s Book Club. Once again, it was a winner!

Time is a River is about a woman named Mia and her life as a breast cancer survivor, newly divorced woman, persistent fly fisher-woman, and investigator of sorts. Mia is from Charleston, SC. After she was diagnosed with cancer, her marriage with her husband fizzled – he couldn’t deal with her disease and the hardships that went along with the treatment. Mia was convinced that because she was no longer his ‘trophy wife’ once the cancer came, this spawned his cheating. What a weak, sad jerk!

Fortunately, Mia had a loving sister who sent her away on a trip for survivors of cancer called Casting For Recovery. This was a group about teaching women how to fly fish. There she met her fishing guide, Belle Carson. After Mia discovered her husband was cheating on her, it was Belle who reached out to give Mia a hand. Belle offered Mia the chance to stay at her fishing cabin near a small town called Watkins Cove. Mia arrived at the fishing cabin as a disheveled and fragile woman – a fresh cancer survivor, but also a wounded woman after the discovery of her husband’s infidelity. It was in this cabin that Mia’s outlook on life completely changed, thanks to a town’s legacy of an independent woman named Kate Watkins. The cabin Mia was staying in needed a thorough cleaning, and during that process she came across some diaries written by Kate and her father. It turns out that the cabin was owned by Kate, who ended up being Belle’s grandmother! Through the stories in these diaries Mia finds comfort, strength and perseverance to turn her life around. Additionally, Mia learns that Kate’s life holds such a strong legacy in Watkins Cove because Kate was the center of a murder investigation. The majority of the book focuses on Mia’s investigation of Kate’s life to find out what really happened in this alleged murder case.

And what story wouldn’t be complete without some romance? As Mia spends her summer in Watkins Cove, she meets Stuart MacDougal – a construction worker/engineer/architect who is working in the area. They share a love of fly fishing and the relationship blossoms from there.

I liked this book because it talked about fishing, which made me think of Joel who LOVES fishing, so anything that makes me think of him makes me happy! I also liked the storyline – circumstances that are sadly true to life in today’s world, and also how this woman picked herself back up and overcame it all. While at most times I did not find the book a page turner per se, it was still well written.

I give it a 3.5 out of 5.

In other book news, for those Twilight fans out there, Stephanie Meyer’s famous book will be available in a graphic form. While I love Twilight, I will not be buying in to this latest Twi-craze.

Did you read Atonement? I did, last year I believe, and while it graced Hollywood recently, it will now be gracing opera houses near you. It appears that England, Germany and the US are all considering co-producing it, and it could be out as early as 2013.

Next up on the book list is Three Cups of Tea! Happy Reading!

Monday, March 8, 2010

Charles In Charge!

Remember that show? I've been singing the theme song to it ever since we decided on the name for this kitty. Well, let me just tell ya, this Charles is SO not in charge! He is more like the definition of a "scared-y cat". He is just an emotional train wreck - loving the attention when he gets it (as seen in the pics below), but all the same hissing at me when I initially pick him up! He currently hides in the bathroom behind the toilet and only comes out when we bring him out. I may have to see if the Dog Whisperer would be willing to take a look at him. But alas, please welcome Charles!

He's giving that awesome kitty glare that I so love!

He looks so peaceful here! There's hope!

When he's not hiding behind the toilet, he hides under the end tables!
(Ignore the Christmas presents we still have for Joel's brother & his g/f!)

He's a ham! There IS potential here!

It's hard having a cat who doesn't want to be all over you from the very beginning. ALL of the cats I had growing up always wanted held! And while Charles seemed to be fine yesterday (evidence in the above pics), today he wants NO parts in being held. *Sigh*.

Hope you had a great weekend.... while I pet-sat this little crazy kitty!

Friday, March 5, 2010

Tiger & Kelly - Another Mistress?

Just kidding!

I have some book news to share – some interesting tidbits I’ve found in the news over the last few days. First, apparently the Tiger Woods camp will be publishing a book this June on the infamous golfer. The book will be titled: "Unplayable: An Inside Account of Tiger's Most Tumultuous Season". Another book also slated for later this year will simply be called "Tiger Woods", written by People Magazine's Steve Helling. Find out more about it here. What do you think? Would you read this simply in light of his sex scandal?

Are there any Hills or City fans in the house? If so, the no-nonsense boss at People's Revolution, Kelly Cutrone, is coming out with her own book! It will be titled: "If You Have to Cry, Go Outside: And Other Things Your Mother Never Told You." This one I may actually pick up - she offers some advice on workplace behavior as well as stories on her own professional development - I'm sure it will not disappoint! I think she's super harsh, and I'm so happy my supervisor isn't her, but I can appreciate her drive and hard work for sure.

It has been a good week thus far, despite a slightly rough ending on Monday. This is my first week in my new office, and everything has been great - the people, the transition into new work, and the facilities! The building is MUCH newer and more modern than the one I was in, and the bathrooms rock compared to the 60s style (or possibly older) rooms we had in the other place. Bathrooms are a big deal to me! I cannot be comfortable in unkempt facilities - although our janitorial staff did do the best with what they had.

Moving on.. haha.. I call myself a 'power commuter' because I get up in the wee hours of the night to make my trek downtown each day. My day begins at 4:27 AM and ends between 9 and 9:30 PM. Now, because of this new position, I'm a hardcore power commuter b/c I'm utilizing almost every form of transportation - my car, a commuter bus, the train, and walking! On Monday afternoon, I began my journey home with the standard dash between my office and where I get on the bus. Picture this - a line of 30-40 people standing on a sidewalk at a bus stop. I am near the end of this line. Two commuter buses pull up, both for the same route. The majority of the line walks toward the first bus. I glance to see if any others are making moves to the second bus, no one is, so I proceed. Out of nowhere these 2 men came up behind me just as I'm ready to board the bus and the first man puts his arm up in front of me, blocking me from stepping onto the bus. Of course, I was caught off guard, because as I said, I did not notice anyone migrating toward that second bus. The man told me in a snotty tone that I was cutting line and I needed to move. Then the next man in line mumbled some smart ass remark. Then,
as though we've rescinded to elementary school, the bus driver and some ladies on the bus start busting out laughing, taunting me with "Well you told her" and those 2 jerks joined in with the laughter. It was a sweet ending to my first work day to say the least. I don't get how people can be so rude!

Did anyone else watch the birth of Pam and Jim's baby on The Office last night? Man, do I LOVE that show!! My favorite parts were seeing Dwight get out of Pam & Jim's bed naked, and then Jim demonstrating to Pam the proper way to breastfeed! HAHA!! It was hilarious!

P.S. - Stay tuned everyone - Charles will be on his way home this afternoon!!!

P.P.S - I cannot get this underline to go away - sorry - it's a distraction!

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