Thursday, December 16, 2010

To Do: Work Christmas party

When I tell people that I work for Girl Scouts, 98% of the time they reply "Oh, that would be so fun!" Fun--not always! But yesterday it was fun. We had our first all-state work party at the bowling alley. For a non-profit, that's a big deal! Rarely are all 75 of us in the same room, let alone having fun. This picture is of my co-worker Melody who shares the same job as me. We spend a lot of time on the phone and emails but rarely in person.

And even though there was lots of us, I ended up spending most of the day hanging out with the Little Rock peeps. I work with a crew!

This is my friend Kendall. I think we are friends for 1 reason, okay maybe 2. Because one of us is likely to be the last one to work. I won't name names, but one of us usually beats the other (because I try not to be late...ok if I'm last, but not late). Kendall is also to blame for getting me into this blogging bit. We also share a love of rustic decorating, work gossip, apparently scarves, and Saline County. We do not share a love of her dog (her dog is just ok--She thinks differently), apples, and belts (Kendall loves her belts!)

Usually you will catch Kendall and I catching up....just as my boss, Anna Beth (below in her fancy pink bowling shirt--her wardrobe is unlimited) always walks by. And more times than not, Chastity (aka Kris Allen's friend) is also in the room. Anna Beth, I can't help it! They come to my office and I just can't escape! :) And she never believes us when we try to explain that we just started talking minutes before she walked by!
If Kendall's busy, I usually wind up with the other membership staff. Unfortunately for them, Katie and Sally have the next closest office! Here are the three of us (Katie on the left, Sally in red), along with Mindy (the class clown of the office should we say) and Leslie from the Jonesboro office. We all bowled together.
Note: Katie is demonstrating the "sorority pose" as she calls it. Don't be concerned with her posture.

Anyway, back to the party. So we decided to play the 10 rounds of silly bowling. It was a hoot!

No, I'm not laying an egg--that's bowling with 2 hands.

Nice view Leslie! You did just as good throwing backwards as with your left hand!

Lazy man's bowling--harder than it looks!

Bowling while holding hands sends the wrong signal!

Turn your head to the side and you'll see how we risked our lives (ok legs) on this challenge
Not to brag or anything
So apparently Sally beat me by 1, but I see no evidence to prove it!
The day ended with skits made up by teams within each office. This is my team singing a song about mom driving around finding the perfect spot while all the kids whined in the car. The "mom" is of course our CEO...with her frisbee horn with it's Taboo horn.

It definitely was a fun day! Just hope that since some have to go back to work (not me...I'm off for the next 2 weeks---WAHOO!), I hope Chastity doesn't go "postal" without me around!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

To Do: Plan for Christmas 2011

I often am accused of having big dreams. But, I'm a realist too. For example, every Sunday I make this next-to-impossible mile long to-do list. I spend Friday doing nothing (because I deserve that!) and Saturday thinking about everything I have to do. By Sunday, I know I better start chucking out some results, because come the work week I rarely get much accomplished around the homefront. But even though I KNOW the list is impossible, I still really think I'm going to get it all done. I don't know why I bother to add "make cards" (just so one day I won't have to scramble to assemble a birthday card for a birthday that is tomorrow)...making cards rarely gets crossed off the list.

Anyway, my point is this: I know that not a whole lot more is going to get accomplished for Christmas 2010. I know the gifts will get wrapped, but not quite like I had visualized them a month ago. I know I will find that last minute gift that meets my criteria. (Yes, I put a lot of thought into every gift-do me a favor and tell me it is the best gift you got!). I know I will deliver a tray of goodies to Matt's co-workers, but one likely won't turn out and the tray will not be as amazing as I had dreamed (like they care, I know!). But....for next year, maybe I can accomplish these:

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Done: Change Blog Background

Here's just a quick shout out to a college friend, Kimberly Bartlow, for letting me copy your adorable blog background! You have good taste, my friend!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Done: Decorate for Christmas

Welcome to the Ervins! Welcome to Little Rock. So glad you can come and join us for Christmas.

Red letters spell Christmas.

Love the irony of flowers with Christmas decor. One of the great perks of the South...pancies till May!
So, my entry table needs a little more umph. I have great intentions of wrapping a box in brown paper with a big bow. Just try to picture that. How many days till Christmas?

All this decorating just wore Shadow out!!

And finally I leave you with a view of our neighbors' (and sweet friends) house wishing you a Happy HOGidays!

To Do: See my plot

Nope. I'm not kidding. The Girl Scout Motto (I think) is: BE PREPARED!

While we were home for Thanksgiving, we got to talking around the kitchen table one day at my in-laws about our grandparents funerals. Matt and I both lost a grandparent (about 6 weeks apart) last fall. And the only time I had ever been to the cemetary in Blue Mound was for Matt's grandparent's funeral. But oddly enough, that is where I will be buried. After his grandma passed, the whole Ervin clan decided to go pick out our plots. It seems like I was still in South Carolina, but I really can't remember the reason. I just know that Matt picked our site for us. And it had never really crossed my mind to go see this special spot until last weekend. Ready to be jealous with envy? Here it is:

No pretty trees. No sunny skies. Just cold and gray. That's ok. Sure I want you to add some tulips, but please no hideous wind sock. Here is a different, more glamourous view. We are in the back row--seems like us, doesn't it?
And just so you know...Matt & I would like to request that the following be at our visitation:
Sara: Chocolate fountain with Girl Scout cookies
Matt: Ice Cream machine (of course)

Monday, November 29, 2010

Catalog Living website

Oops! In all of my excitement, I gave you the wrong website. It should be

Sunday, November 21, 2010

To Do: Laugh!

Tomorrow is Monday. Ugh! Sure, it's a short week with Thanksgiving, but still, tomorrow is Monday. Usually I am in bed by now, but my denial that I have to go back to work already, is keeping me at blogging. (Making up for lost time!)

But if you are having a rough Monday, you have to go check out this blog.

It makes fun of pictures that are in catalogs like Pottery Barn. Sometimes I literally catch myself laughing out loud!

Done: Visit University of Arkansas campus

There is one reason why I am glad that I did not go to the UofA:
Hills! Big hills! Sidewalks were much steeper than they appear. Imagine being a freshman and trying to walk to class without breathing heavy, stopping to rest, or having sweaty pits in August. At least they plant red trees all over campus to give you some school pride!

There is one reason I wish I did go to the UofA:

How cool is that? Once you graduate, you get your name engraved in the sidewalk!

Of course, it was hard not to walk and read names. Need a baby name, come visit campus! Of course, the first sidewalk we looked at had an Ervin.
But finding my maiden name, Flamm, would be like finding a diamond in the diamond dig (ha!). And just when I thought it was brutal to have the last name Flamm for 26 years, I am grateful my last name wasn't Flammang! (And to top it off, they had to add that extra "t" to Brentt just to make sure this child was ruined for life!)

It's too bad Matt isn't a student here--he might have been one of the cool kids! Actually, we saw lots and lots of scooters. Why didn't we think of that in the 90's?

And it wouldn't have been a UofA experience without the razorbacks!

To Do: Razorback game!

Sure my blood still runs orange & blue, but last weekend I pretended it ran red (the opposing team ironically wore orange and blue). Thanks to our great neighbors -who are die hard, and I mean die hard Razorback fans!- we were able to go to our first University of Arkansas Razorbacks game. And until you have experienced football in the south, you have no idea what a true fan means. Though I swore I would never "yell for the hogs", I didn't realize how much I would enjoy watching football. I've seen almost the entire game of almost every game this season (it sure is a lot more fun to watch when they actually win sometimes!) It's also fun to see how they do things differently. One thing is for sure...tailgating is big time! Check out this gig...

I wish I had a picture of the mascots. In the next photo, you can see the big one in the bottom right corner. He has 2 smaller hogs, called Pork Chop and Sue E. (if that doesn't make you giggle, you need some meds!)

And imagine our faces when we were walking down the street, heard a truck blaring loud pep music, and as it passed, we saw this:

Everyone else just acted like it was a normal occurance. (Obviously it was to them!) But no way did I expect to see a real, live razorback! Can we say U-G-L-Y!!

The game was a blowout, 58-21 Arkansas wins! And despite being 35 degrees (notice our new hats we bought...and yes, they are crooked but we were too cold to care)...we had a great time! More blogs to come on our great adventure the UofA.

I'll leave you with the best part....calling the hogs!

Done: Make my crockpot cake

Sorry it's been awhile since I sat down to blog. Hopefully I'll get some of the ones I've had in my head the last few weeks actually typed up. I'll blame this delay on the time change. Sounds like a good excuse to me!
Today I'm going to share with you another one of my "special" (not quite signature...yet!) dishes. And yes, it's not healthy. I don't eat healthy. --Though I am trying to cut back to 1 coke a day...maybe that would be a better excuse as to why I'm not blogging. Let me tell you, that first week the headaches were terrible after dinner! And yes, you occassionally may find me actually drinking water, even plain ole' tap water.
Anyway, back to unhealthy. That's more my speed. I got this recipe from my BFF Sophie. She too shares my recipe addiction. But, truth be told, she really only brought me this recipe as a gag. It's combines 2 things in life that I am thankful for...


Crockpot Rocky Road Chocolate Cake

  • 1 box chocolate cake mix (German chocolate, fudge, etc)
  • 1 (3.9oz) package chocolate instant pudding mix
  • 3 large eggs, slightly beaten
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1/3 cup butter, melted
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 3 1/4 cups milk, divided
  • 1 (3.4oz) package chocolate cook-and-serve pudding mix
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans
  • 1 1/2 cups miniature marhsmallows
  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate morsels
  • Vanilla ice cream (optional)
  1. Beat cake mix, next 5 ingredients, and 1 1/4 cups milk at medium speed with an electric mixer 2 minutes, stopping to scrape down sides as needed. Pour batter into a lightly greased 4 qt slow cooker.
  2. Cook remaining 2 cups milk in a heavy nonaluminum saucepan over medium heat, stirring often, 3-5 minutes or just until bubbles appear (do not boil); remove from heat.
  3. Sprinkle cook-and-serve pudding mix over batter. Slowly pour hot milk over pudding. Cover and cook on low 3 1/2 -4 hours (I do at least 4 hours--it will be slightly gooey)
  4. Meanwhile, heat pecans in a small non-stick skillet over medium-low heat, stirring often, 3-5 minutes or until lightly toasted and fragrant.
  5. Turn off slow cooker. Sprinkle cake with pecans, marshmallows, and chocolate morsels. Let stand 15 minutes or until marshmallows are slightly melted. Spoon into dishes, and serve with ice cream, if desired.
So Sophie, even though you thought this recipe was a poke since you get a kick out of my crockpot cooking, this is just a reminder that I love you anyway.

Oh, and thank you!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

To Do: Get my clothes ready for tomorrow

Really? Like you care! I used to try to think ahead of what I might wear the next day, but who was I kidding... I knew I would change my mind. I'm the queen of changing my mind -- do you know how many times I buy something, then return it? It's bad. Real bad.

But as I look forward to the week being half over--which is a bigger feat this week due to walking out to pitch black at 5:30 every night--I wanted to share this survey I heard on the radio.

On average, women spend 76 minutes getting ready on Monday
(25 minutes on hair; 18 on make-up; 16 minutes trying on different combinations of clothes; and the rest showering and washing)
This is reduced to 40 minutes on Tuesday.
And falls to 19 minutes on Friday. (FYI--Not for me. My hot shower takes 19 minutes I'm sure!)

So, sorry, I looked cute yesterday! Sorry you missed it :)

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Done: Visit the hospital (twice)

As most of you probably know, my little "Princess" (as I refer to him when he barks orders) has been occupying so much of my time lately that I haven't had much time for blogging. But...with our 2 trips to the hospital in a month, it has made for some good blogging material. I mean I seriously have considered hanging out in the emergency room for hours again just for amazing people watching! Sure those are hours I will never get back, but then again, watching Matt try to laugh when he can't move his neck or his belly, makes those hours somewhat priceless.

So let's start off with trip #1. This was after cronic neck pain made it so Matt could now not move his head up and down (saying no has always been a problem). The short version of the story: We had to find a family doctor quick, and MRI showed nothing, and drugs weren't helping. My nurse sisters got us concerned and we went to the emergency room to have him tested for meningitis. We went to the same hospital where his surgeon is, thinking that was a wise move. What we didn't think about what the 4 car fatal pile up that caused us to sit on the interstate for an hour, only miles from the ER. But Saline Memorail, we are dedicated to you.

5 1/2 hours later we didn't feel that same kind of love!

Matt & I just aren't the type to complain. Own a restaurant and you won't complain anymore either!! We just patiently waited our turn. Each time the man appeared from behind the doors, we sat up straight (confidence for sure!), gave direct eye contact, and likely gave some winks and smiles. But every time, it was someone else's name. Who you ask? Probably the lady who was wailing on the floor saying she thought she had meningitis (I swear to you I am not making that up!). And then it was the 3 year old with a bloody tooth. My favorite--the young man with a few teeth, no socks or shoes, and probably a wife-beater shirt who drives up very fast to the curb, squeels the brakes, and runs in saying "my girlfriend is not breathing." The receptionist told him he had to sign in (hello, there is an unconcious lady in the car!!) and replied "I don't know her name." Yes, he is what makes Arkansans look bad. Needless to say, she looked dead in the wheelchair, but came out of the triage room 10 minutes later laughing and smiling (hmmm...doing drugs???) Just in case you wonder, yes, she waited 10 minutes to see a doctor. All this, and about 74 other people. We should have counted! Good News is: We did beat the crazy 50 year old crazy woman in pigtails who had a gallon size ziploc bag of her meds with her!

Here's the problem--Matt went into the triage room by himself. Never again! I swear to this day that he told them he had a paper cut! But the funniest part of the story...we can laugh now...was that since we gave up seeing the doctor, we decided to just wait till the next day to call the new doctor back. In the meantime, my nurse sister asked what medicine the doctor had originally prescibed and come to find out--Matt was being treated for menigitis. We didn't NEED to go to the ER!

But since Matt has a frequent buyer club card, we got the opportunity to go back to Saline Memorial last week for his tummy tuck. And here some more stories....

* Matt is such a frequent surgery patient, the pre-op talk keeps getting shorter and shorter. The doctor told Matt he called in a presciption and Matt just assumed it was the special pink body wash he had to use in the shower before surgery (though really...does that help anything?) Imagine our faces when we pulled up in the Walgreen drive-thru and they could barely shove our bag through the window! Not the sample size body wash we were expecting. I noticed flavoring on top....and that is when Matt was introduced to "Go Lightly" (The name given at my sister Sherry's Assisted Living home...with a note of sarcasm)

* I'll spare you the details of Go-Lightly. You can thank me later! But imagine Matt's fear when we went to sign in the next day and they said he wasn't on the list for surgery. I had to chuckle at the thought that he might have endured a miserable night with Go-Lightly for nothing. Obviously, that was an error.

* But the "people greeter" who guided him to the pre-op room said she gave him lucky #13. Really lady, we know you tell everyone in rooms 7 & 13 that! But we'll take any luck we can get at this point.

* Nurse after nurse walked by and said "you look familiar". Yes, we are VIP members!

* But that pre-op room should be called torture chambers. Something about being in there just suddenly makes you hungry and sleepy. And then we sat there for hours not being able to figure out how to turn the volume up on tv--while the nurses watched us on hidden camera to laugh at our misery (though you know we didn't complain!). And me...I FROZE.....It's a bad sign when the nurses wear fleece coats and North Face jackets over their scrubs!

But surgery went well and he has a big ole' scar to prove it. The plastic surgeon applied some donated we think Matt may be 5% black now. Can't wait to see if when he gets in the sun if he looks like a dalmation! But have no fear....the nurses adored Matt for his lack of complaining and sense of humor.
Thanks to Nathan and Natalie, Matt didn't need to push the call button for the nurses. Why use that when he gave them the biggest and best duck whistle ever!!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

To Do: Hiking in Arkansas

Had I continued to live in Illinois the rest of my life, I probably would not have discovered that I really like to go hiking. I wouldn't go as far as saying that I have become an outdoorswoman, but I really do like the anticipation of reaching the destination that the trail leads you to, and the ability to use my map reading skills (not every woman can brag about this!). In Illinois, the closest I ever came to hiking was at the Stahl family picnic at Starved Rock State Park, which ironically was also this weekend. I think because of those first experiences, hiking in the fall just seems like a must.

Now I would be lying if I didn't say that my calves ache every time I get out of my chair. And if you see my picking at my hair, I am determined that a tick is hidden among this mess.

The highlight of my hiking adventure, or should I said most memorable moment, was when I was the leader on the trail. It's been hot and dry this summer, so the trails in the "natural state" look a little like this.

Would you notice the brown snake? Me neither! The same snake I STEPPED ON!! Did you hear me? Not just saw, but touched with the sole of my shoe. Ahh!! Matt says he has never seen me move so fast. And to make it worse, we went back to take it's picture to show you (convinced it must have been dead), but only to discover that it had slithered was ALIVE! Just waiting for my return trip I'm sure. And just so you know, I think it was about 6" around and 4 feet long! Matt seems to think it was about 1/2" around and 4" long...whatever! I'm the one who touched it!

Anyway, so while we did enjoy just getting away this weekend on our "staycation" in Arkansas, we also kept talking about our hiking adventures in North and South Carolina. Oh how we wish we could see trees like this again...

We took a 2.5 hour roadtrip to the ozark region of Arkansas to Mt. Magazine, which is labeled in all the magazines (ha) as the highest point in Arkansas--and a sign to prove it! Unfortunately, the trees weren't very colorful, but still a pretty view.

But still not as amazing as the Blue Ridge Parkway!

One our favorite spots (as our visitors will likely attest) when you came to see us in SC was going to see the waterfalls. When we got to Mt. Magazine and picked up the map of trails, we instantly knew that Bear Hollow Trail was the one for us. Sure it was 4 miles of "moderate" decent, but the waterfalls as the highlight would make it all worth it.


we forgot we haven't had rain for 29 days!
So instead, we'll just remember the days when we hiked to waterfall,

after waterfall

and still have so many we didn't get to see. Maybe someday!