Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween!

http://30.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_larvifvhhW1qc0xcno1_500.jpg
Have a spooooky day!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Happy (early) Halloween!

 If this kitty doesn't get you in the holiday spirit, I don't know what will. 
Again, Arwen is a little pink piglet and Paco is a green frog.  We'll see if I can catch Thorina to get her rooster outfit on her...I'm not sure that I will be able to do so. 

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Harvest Moon

The autumn is upon us. 
The trees outside my door have been turning, and I have been trying to enjoy the sights, sounds, and smells of the outdoors while I can.  While I love every season, and especially enjoy snuggling up during the wintertime, I am in no hurry to put this autumn behind me.  Therefore, I have been trying to enjoy time outside, walking and running, so that I can take advantage of the gorgeous weather.  

I love seeing the leaves changing and especially enjoy looking at the trees around my neighborhood.  Some are red, some are orange, some are yellow, and some refuse to turn color and simply stay green.  Seeing the trees reminds me of the little maple tree that David and I planted outside our first house and I wonder what that tree will see during its lifetime.  I also love seeing the trees on my way to work...they look like different colored cotton puffs on the hillsides.  

The sounds of autumn are also very distinct.  The leaves rustle whenever any creature happens to disturb them, thwarting any stealthy plans.  I especially enjoy the squirrels, who scamper and play while frantically gathering their food for the winter.  I also enjoy the sounds of people as they enjoy soccer games, football games, and seeing their neighbors outside one last time before the snows hit.  

Finally, I love the smells.  Fresh air is by far one of my favorite smells, and the cooler breeze is a refreshing change from the stuffy summer we enjoyed.  I also enjoy the smell of burning brush as I drive down the highway.  The refuse is being cleared for something else.

The weather makes me want to cook with pumpkin and snuggle.  This is one of the reasons I love fall...what a gorgeous season.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Coldplay

In celebration of Coldplay's new album Mylo Xyloto being released this week, I thought that I would share some of my favorite Coldplay songs.  I've had a fascination with Coldplay for a long time, so I find that the different albums that have been released correspond to periods of time in my life. I remember that I used to listen to Parachutes while on the school bus, riding to track meets and Quiz Bowl matches. When I listened to those songs, I wondered what my life had in store for me and what I would be when I grew up, who I would marry, and with whom I would become friends. This is one of my favorite songs from that album:
And then who could forget this awesome music video of Chris Martin walking around on a beach? I'm pretty sure that I had (have? ahem.) a crush on him for years.
Then, when I went to college, A Rush of Blood to the Head was out and I listened to those songs while I was running or hanging out with David. My very favorite one is called "Green Eyes", and (cue the rolling eyes) David sings it to me still (even though I maintain that I have blue eyes, David thinks that they look green most of the time). It is one of our special songs and reminds me of college.
After that, X&Y was released. I enjoyed the album, but frankly not many of the songs actually stand out to me, except "Til Kingdom Come", a cover of Johnny Cash:
Finally, in law school, Viva la Vida came out. I really liked Viva la Vida...it reminds me of a Beatles album for some reason. My favorite track on it is actually the second half of a different song. It is called "Reign of Love" and I feel a sense of calmness whenever I hear it.
I also really liked the track "Lost":

Are there any bands by which you measure the time periods in your life?

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Fall Cleaning

The seasons are changing again and that means that it is time to start fall cleaning!  I can't believe it is already time to start thinking about cleaning for the fall.  I have some motivation, though, because I am having some guests at the beginning of November.  Having people over motivates me to finish my big cleaning projects!

This past weekend I already started by totally cleaning the living room.  It took me three hours!  However, I got so much dirt and grime up during the cleaning session, so I felt good after it was over.  On Sunday, I cleaned out the insides of my kitchen cabinets.  

On Friday evening, I stayed at home and enjoyed a night in, and then on Saturday, I went to a Halloween party.  The party was a ton of fun and I'm sad that I didn't get any more pictures than one of me and my pets.  It was fun to get out and celebrate Halloween a little early!






Monday, October 24, 2011

Homemade Twix Bars

 Before I was a bridesmaid, I saw a recipe for these delicious Salted Caramel Shortbread Bars (otherwise known as homemade Twix bars) that looked simply delicious.  I HAD to try it but I decided to wait until AFTER I had finished fitting into my (very cute) bridesmaid dress. 

The bars did not disappoint and I ate these for days.  Now, I don't think real Twix bars are as good as the homemade version (but will still enjoy one in a pinch):
 I found the recipe here
This made a pretty big batch, so I sent some to work with David.  Now, I am regretting sharing these with anybody because they were so good! 

Thursday, October 20, 2011

New Song

I love Coldplay's new song.


Wednesday, October 19, 2011

My weekend

 
I had a great weekend this past weekend!  We were home most of the weekend and relaxed most of the time (I should have been cleaning!  oops!), but on Saturday I managed to stop relaxing and go to a pumpkin patch with my friend Jancin! 

The pumpkin patch was located in Louisburg, Kansas, and was a ton of fun.  They had delicious apple cider doughnuts and sparkling apple cider.  We watched the apples being made into apple cider while we listened to the band:
The band was....interesting.  The announcer tried to teach the children about Kansas history.  Being from Missouri and thus supporting my home team, the themes made me laugh.  I guess this is what they call historical children's music?  Themes:
  • How Carrie Nation is a great Kansan and how you are horrible person if you eat tobacco, wear skirts, or drink alcohol (in fact, you will go to hell...and no, I don't get the skirt part);
  • About the Civil War Era raids in Lawrence and how a bunch of parents died;
  • How a little boy went to town and his dad got shot and he was lonely.
Seriously.  However, the tunes were upbeat and so the kids bounced along as if nothing was going on.  The parents just looked at each other.
We had a great time!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Buffalo Chicken Wraps


I made this in the crock pot a few weeks ago, and it was delicious.  Delicious.  You must make it ASAP. 
I made the chicken during an afternoon and added lettuce, tomatoes, and onions to the tortilla wrap to make a buffalo chicken wrap.  It was the perfect easy, quick, and delicious meal for two people.  The chicken tastes just like that buffalo chicken dip that people make with the cream cheese, only without the calories (I assume...isn't cream of chicken soup better than cream cheese?).  While the wraps were delicious, crispy, and fresh, I used the leftovers as a dip for pita chips.  Yum!

Buffalo Chicken Wrap Chicken
  • 4 chicken breasts
  • one can cream of chicken soup
  • 1.5 cups buffalo chicken sauce (orange--- I used Ott's)
Combine ingredients in the crock pot and set it on high for 4 hours.   After the chicken is finished cooking, shred it in the crockpot using forks.  Serve with various vegetables on a wrap.

David really liked this recipe as well.  It was inspired by Iowa Girl Eats (seriously, I love that girl!  Is there anybody who wants to make a pilgrimage to Des Moines with me?), but I sort of revamped the recipe based on ingredients I had on hand.  I wouldn't recommend making this without any cream or soup to offset the flavor of the buffalo sauce. 

Monday, October 17, 2011

How to eat ice cream the correct way

David sometimes makes fun of me, but I have a specific way that I enjoy my ice cream.  I figure: why waste the calories on ice cream if I can't enjoy it the way I prefer it?  I thought that I would share.

First of all, I scoop my ice cream into my bowl:
 Next, I add some milk:
 Next, add some chocolate chips:
 and some cocoa powder:
 Mix it all up into a shake-like substance:
I have made my ice cream like this for years and I LOVE it!

This past weekend was so low-key and amazing.  I really needed a weekend to simply unwind and enjoy the beautiful fall weather!  I will post more about it later.  I have so many home projects that I need to accomplish before the colder weather sets in...including my fall cleaning.  But guess what?  I haven't even started.  I am going to make myself clean this upcoming weekend. 

Do you have any special way you make your ice cream or other desserts?

Friday, October 14, 2011

World's Fastest Workout Video

I saw this over on Iowa Girl Eats...and it is amazing.  If you can't workout some day, you should try to do this!  I've done it for two days and it feels amazing.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Getting ready for Halloween!

http://i54.tinypic.com/10fx85w.jpg
Even though my animals will be wearing a Halloween costume, they will be in a better mood than this kitty!  One of my friends posted this to my FB wall a few days ago and I thought it was too hilarious NOT to share.  Another hilarious thing she posted:

https://fbcdn-sphotos-a.akamaihd.net/hphotos-ak-ash4/320278_10150858481410483_604175482_20879785_1973853257_n.jpg
HAhahaha.  (Sorry for stealing, Danielle!)

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Like cat nip

Arwen has a sudden infatuation with cat nip.  "Sudden" meaning that I put it in her toy and open this bag of cat nip every evening for her to sniff.  She LOVES it!  Look:

 Mmmmm...smells good!
 If only I could get a little closer...

Oh yes, this will be juuuusst purrrect...


Nom nom nom.

Speaking of eating, I made this delicious pasta last week.  
One of my favorite pastas is a basic white wine cream sauce.  Basically, you saute vegetables (I usually use onions as my base and add other vegetables as desired for flavoring), pour some white wine in the pan, and then add cream at the end.  This time, I also used shrimp and bacon.  My reaction to this pasta is pretty much like Arwen's reaction to the cat nip above.
Nom nom nom.
For my next pasta sauce, I plan to try this...the world's simplest spaghetti sauce.  Delicious.

Do you have a basic pasta sauce that you love? 


Monday, October 10, 2011

Wedding Weekend

 
We had another wonderful wedding weekend this weekend!  My Uncle got married back in my home town.  The wedding was so cute and the decorations were amazing!  The bride and/or her family made everything....from the wedding flowers to the decorations at the reception. 
 Everything came together just beautifully.  My Dad's cousins came into town from all parts of the country, which was really nice of them to do.  It was nice to see relatives and for such a happy occasion! 
The day couldn't have been better!  I just love these fall weddings. 

Friday, October 07, 2011

Thursday, October 06, 2011

Apple

Contemplating the death of Steve Jobs last night, I thought back to my many memories featuring Apple computers.  Surprisingly, I have many.

  • When I was very, very little, my mom was a typing teacher at school and sometimes we were able to have a computer at home.  We had one that had actual floppy disks (they really flopped).  My brother and I played a game featuring a mouse and Mavis Beacon typing.  
  • One day, I came home from school and the UPS man had delivered a real Macintosh.  This was my family's first computer.  It was a huge honking thing, but I really, really loved it.  I have a bunch of memories on that computer:
    • Playing Dinopark Tycoon---not only was I playing that game, but I played it on a sample CD, so I could only play it for ten minutes at a time.
    • Playing Sim Farm....plant the peaches.  They are the best investment by far.
    • Then later, playing Sim City.  
    • Getting on Yahoo! Chat with my friend Jolene and talking about the Backstreet Boys for hours and hours on end.  
    • Printing tons and tons of pictures of the Backstreet Boys to hang in my room. 
    • Playing on Groiler Encyclopedia
  • Later, we had Macs at school in the computer lab:
    • VERY fast walking to get to the default leader in The Oregon Train (where multiple computers could play at once) first so that when everybody voted for themselves to be the leader I would win by default (I don't think I made it to the default computer very often).  
    • Playing Number Munchers 
    • Looking at something called "The Internet" on a browser developed by students in Wisconsin in my class.
  • Then, later, I bought an IPod so that I could listen to music while running.  This still has an effect on me today, as I think that listening to music is a huge drive behind my running longer distances and enjoying racing.  David and I always listened to our IPods while we ran in college together.
  • Before law school, I decided to buy a Mac laptop, on which I wrote every single law school paper, exam, and note that I wrote.  Furthermore, my Mac has given me a creative outlet through blogging, other writing, and editing.
While I did not know Steve Jobs myself, his company had a large influence on my life, especially at the beginning of the information age.  

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Big trouble

This weekend I decided to do a craft project.  A few months ago, David's grandmother gave me a bag of cat nip because her cat died.  I did not think much of it until I found myself looking at the cat toy department in Target the other day.  I saw a cat nip toy that had a Velcro closure and wanted to buy it.  I decided against it, though, when I saw that the toy was something like $5!  Instead, I decided to try a crafty project. 

Here were my steps:
1.  Yell down at David, who is in the basement, and inquire regarding the whereabouts of our sewing kit (nonchalantly).

2. Locate said sewing kit.

3.  Locate toy that the cats never touch. 

4.  Try to cut a hole into the toy with the sewing scissors provided in the kit. 

5.  Realize that the sewing scissors are meant for safety toddler use and will be absolutely no help to you in this project.

6.  Cut a hole into the toy with huge human-sized scissors. 

7.  Cut hole a bit larger so you can try to pull the stuffing out of the toy.

8.  Realize that the seam of the toy was right next to your cut; thus, the toy is now coming apart.

9.  Frantically try to sew the seam back together.

10.  Take out stuffing.

11.  Block overactive kitty whose nose is turning bright red because of the the nip from your craft project.

12.  Stuff the nip into the toy before the cat goes bonkers.  Cat is now rolling on the ground at your feet.

13.  Sew craft project back together.

14.  Yell down at your husband the reason why you asked for the sewing kit.

15.  Again, make your husband wonder why exactly he took you out on that first date.

Ta-da!

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Omelette Fail

Last night I had a very intense workout at yoga.  It is a good thing because now that my bridesmaid duties are finished, I have been eating everything under the sun.  Seriously.  I am not a good dieter but rather believe in just eating in a generally more healthy fashion, but for two weeks leading up to the weddings I tried to limit my ice cream, cake, cookies, and salty snack habit (generally healthy eating, huh?). 

After the weddings....man....I have sampled everything from ice cream to cookie dough to sweet potato chips to creamy and delicious pasta to pizza to BBQ to french fries. 

One thing I did NOT sample, though, were these eggs that I made for David on Saturday morning.  After my run I saw him in the kitchen, grabbing the eggs, and I asked if I could make his eggs for him so that he could study.  The advantage for me is that I can practice my omelette making skills, even though I despise eggs (and yes, I have tried them since I grew into adulthood...I made eggs every day for about a month for my breakfast many different ways and I still don't like them).  I always whip up a pretty delightful first step but by the time the second step (folding) happens my eggs are a mess.  Why? 

David says that we have the wrong kind of pan to make an omelette.  Another issue may have been the fact that I used a TON of half and half and used five eggs.  Do you even add cream or milk to an omelette?  At any rate, here is what it looked up post-folding:
So I chopped it up...
and made a delicious egg scramble instead. 
Are you good at making omelettes?

Monday, October 03, 2011

Our weekend

This weekend we were home after quite a few weekends out of town.  While our other weekends were a lot of fun, it was nice to have a weekend to catch up on housework and simply enjoy being home!  David and I are both homebodies, I think, so we enjoyed our time in our house. 

On Friday evening I went with my friend Jancin to Bella Napoli, an Italian place in KC.  I must say that I am usually pretty disappointed by Italian in Kansas City because I am used to going to The Hill in St. Louis for delicious Italian.  Kansas City's restaurants don't really compare.  However, Bella Napoli was delicious.  I had a salad for my starter and then a pasta dish with Bolognese sauce.  Oh my heavens, it was delicious.  The noodles were the perfect consistency and I am pretty sure that they were homemade.  The meat, veggies, and bit of cream in the sauce combined to make the best red sauce I've had in a while. 

Paco running errands
We ended the night with us both getting dessert.  I usually do not get dessert but I was happy I did because I had spumoni ice cream with a chocolate candy shell drizzled over it.  I love spumoni but haven't had it in years.  It was so good but the pasta stole the show for me.

On Saturday morning I ran and did some yoga, and that afternoon I made a trip to Target.  After cleaning a bit, we went to mass and my dad came to visit with one of his friends after they watched the Northwest/Pitt State game at Arrowhead stadium.  We got Jack Stack BBQ, which did not disappoint. 

I ran 10 miles on Sunday morning and then decided to decorate for Halloween.  I really wanted to clean up our front flower bed, but unfortunately the entire thing is currently ravaged by bees.  Do bees go away as the temperatures get colder?  I hope so.