Tuesday, July 27, 2010

To Do: Eat blueberries

I turned 33 a few months ago. And I realized that my life is 1/3 over (because both sides of my family live forever)....or, as my uber-positive friend, Jamie, would say "you could say you've got 2/3 to live!" Anyway, with this revelation, I've decided to try new things. I know I am a super picky eater, but sometimes I say that I don't like things when truth be known--I just haven't really tried them. I do think my tastebuds have changed. Foods I probably picked out bit by bit at one time that I will now eat, include onions, kiwi, and pineapple (though I still haven't tried fresh--I'm saving that for when Matt suprises me with a trip to Hawaii!). I recently discovered that after tasting, I still do not like asparagus, fried okra, or cranberry juice.

Last weekend when Sophie was here we went to the Farmer's Market downtown. It was great! I wish I had taken my camera because it was just so pretty! As we were walking along, she spotted the blueberry seller (he probably has a more official title....farmer??). Sophie said something like "look at those huge blueberries." I think I squinted up my big nose, replying "ew!" So you know where this is going....BlueBerry Farmer insisted I try 1. I of course dug for the tenee, tiniest blueberry I could find. Wow--it was not sour like I expected. So I got brave and went for a giant one. Wowzer--I think maybe I like blueberries. $3 later, I was proudly carrying blueberries around like I had craved them my whole life!

The best thing I did though was look up a recipe for homemade blueberry muffins on allrecipes.com and came across this recipe:

To Die For Blueberry Muffins

  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 egg
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1 cup fresh blueberries
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup butter, cubed
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Grease muffin cups or line with muffin liners.
  2. Combine 1 1/2 cups flour, 3/4 cup sugar, salt, and baking powder. Place vegetable oil into a 1 cup measuring cup; add the egg and enough milk to fill the cup. Mix this with the flour mixture. Fold in blueberries. Fill muffin cups right to the top, and sprinkle with crumb topping mixture.
  3. To Make Crumb Topping: Mix together 1/2 cup sugar, 1/3 cup flour, 1/4 cup butter, and 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon. Mix with fork, and sprinkle over muffins before baking.
  4. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until done.
Possibly one of my very favorite recipes ever! A muffin + coffee cake all wrapped up in 1 big ole' muffin. Because I now only make my muffins in a 6 whole pan...which makes them instantly look like they came from Panera.
I wonder what food I'll try next??

Thursday, July 22, 2010

To Do: Make a wreath!

I don't know why, but I apparantly love wreaths! I often save pictures of things I find on other blogs that I think....maybe one day I can copy that. For some reason--a lot of those pictures are of wreaths! Here's some of my favorites:

I love old, rusty junk! And this wreath uses a bed spring. How freakin' creative. Though I obviously haven't made this because look how many springs it uses, and think how many come in 1 big ole' boxspring. Unless...guess what everyone is getting for Christmas?

The next one is one of my ultimate favorites. I LOVE black & white photos!! Problem is...I don't have many of mine or Matt's family. I see where you can buy random photos of strangers at the antique stores---I may consider doing just that so I can have this in my house!

This next one really doesn't go with my rustic/shabby/primitive decor, but so cute, and so easy. It's just a feather boa wrapped around a cheap syrofoam ring. I may just have to add that to my to do list even if I only use it for 1 night.

My friend, Sophie, tells me that wreaths like this are all the rage in Alabama--using the initial. Maybe I can start a trend in Little Rock!

Oh, no---now THIS is the prettiest, most amazing wreath that I have ever seen.
Oh yeah, because I made it! Tonight! It's been on my to-do list for, well, before I went back to work. If you can't tell, it's pages from a book (which coincidently match my decor!). Best part--it only cost about $2. It needs a little tweaking, but you get the idea. I volunteered to make this up this week for a recycling craft at work this weekend. I was a little worried that I didn't have enough pages in my book to finish, but I think it turned out ok.
And just in case you want to copy me, the directions can be found here:

What's next of my list, you ask?? This!

Sophie and I spotted a similar one at a boutique this weekend and knew we surely could find it on a blog somewhere! We had great plans of re-creating it....but we found out that this set of already curled ribbon at the Dollar Tree is obviously popular. We needed 7 packages each, and only found 1. I think it will be a race to see who finds 7 first!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

To Do: Say Thank You to Leendert Prins & Marge Stahl

Who is Leendert Prins? The inventor of the projection clock!
Who is Marge Stahl? My grandma!

Now that we have that cleared up, you may wonder how they go hand in hand. My grandma, rest her soul, has no idea what impact she had on my life Christmas 2006 I believe it was. Because grandma couldn't get around the greatest, she was known to get her matching Christmas gifts each year from Walgreens. I was always jealous the year that all my sisters got the Ove Glove, but I didn't. But the next year I was finally old enough to get the grown-up gift....though probably not old enough to eat at the grown up table. I don't recall if I was super excited about getting the automic, projection clock. But, if I wasn't then, I don't know how I would live without it now.

Ever day I wake up and just have to glance up to the ceiling to see what time it is. Matt has given me a complex about this, but for some crazy reason (probably relates back to me being a worry-wart), I like to always look at the time when I wake up in the night. Even though Matt leaves at exactly the same time every morning (+/- 20.89 seconds), I still look at the time. The original clock also blinked the time, then the temperature outside, which I especially loved.

Anyway, the Ervins LOVE, LOVE, LOVE our projection clock. But here's the problem: The sensor that automically reads the time is still in the window sill in South Carolina! Therefore, even though we thank goodness are back to life in the Central Time Zone, we now have to wake up and subtract an hour. Sometimes that is more difficult than it sounds.

But my in-laws gave us some $ for our anniversary, so used it to buy something for our bedroom.....oh la la....a new projection clock. E-x-c-i-t-i-n-g!! The best part about the new clock: what projects on the wall is like 2 feet tall. Clearly made for those of us who could barely make out the old 6" numbers without our contacts in!! Genious!!

So thanks grandma and Leendert for changing our lives!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

To Do: Update my blog!

I will not fail. I will not fail. I will not fail.

I know your life has been in a complete standstill waiting for my next blog entry. Some may speculate that I am just trying to make it 100% perfect. Me? Some might say that I really didn't have time for this adventure in the first place. Me? And I can hear my family rumbling "everything she does is slow!".

Really...I've just been busy! We went to Knoxville for a wedding, went to Illinois for the 4th of July weekend, went to Nashville the next weekend for a work conference, company this weekend, and yes--I will admit--I got hooked on all of my favorite reality shows instead (Design Star on Sunday, Bachelorette and Last Comic Standing on Monday, and then occasionally America's Got Talent on Wednesday and Thursday).

But don't you worry (that's my job!)....I've got plenty of posts in my head to share with all of you! So stay tuned!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

To Do: Make Rene's Casserole

Sure, it could have a fancier name--but at our house, it's just called Rene's Casserole. Who's Rene? The best boss ever! Here we are 5 years ago at National Girl Scout convention with the founder of Girl Scouts, Juliette Low (actually, just one of the many freaks!). Are you laughing at our green polyster outfits? This picture used to sit on Rene's desk....we won't tell everyone, but I was her favorite. I bet this is on her desk at the Lincoln Presidential Museum now.

But Rene's cooking skills are right at my level. This is one of our favorites, with the recipe still written on the yellow post-it note that Rene gave it to me on. Our office was known for all of our awesome potlucks, and Rene often brought this highly requested dish.

Rene's Casserole

Preheat oven to 350. In a large bowl, mix together
  • 1 can cream of chicken soup
  • 1 can cream of mushroom soup
  • 1 can beef and noodle soup (or chicken and noodle if you can't find it)
  • 8 slices of italian bread, buttered on both sides, and cubed
  • 4 chicken breast, cooked, and cubed (I cook mine in the crockpot)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 can of mushrooms (i ommit)
Grease a 9 x13 pan, and add mixture. Bake for 1 hour.

Yes--My meals are always so pretty and healthy! Just don't expect a picture every night!

To Do: Update our life insurance

Do you think that would look suspicious? One day before Matt has surgery.

If you haven't heard, tomorrow is a big day for Matt. He's having surgery on his appendix. Wait--You've heard that before? How about 4 times before. It's funny because people keep asking, "Is it going to work this time?". Geez, we've thought that the last 4 times! We can only hope. 5 surgeries, 3 doctors, 2 states, in 2 years....surely one day it will be enough! That, or maybe one day we can be famous for winning a big multi-million dollar lawsuit!! You think we would at least have received a thank you card by now from Johnson & Johnson for the large quantity of gauze and tape that the Ervins have purchased.

Who knew the appendix could be such an ordeal? I mean, it's simply useless! You are supposed to be able to just remove it and get on with life. Supposed to!

And I'm no doctor (nor can I even pretend to be a nurse)...but the internet tells you how to remove it:

To remove a diseased appendix, an incision is made in the patient's lower abdomen (A). Layers of muscle and tissue are cut, and large intestine, or colon, is visualized (B). The appendix is located (C), tied, and removed (D). The muscle and tissue layers are stitched (E).

** Pictures were removed to protect those who like me can't even see visual graphics of the inside of our body. gross

Matt has not** been submerged in water for the past 2 years. Let's just hope he is cured tomorrow--We have boating to do this weekend!

** indicates that he mostly has not been in water. Falling into Lake Decatur this past weekend would be the exception. Nurses onboard at the time praise a high dose on antibiotics to come this week.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

To Do: Pack Duck Whistles

Yep, it's time to unpack last week's suitcase and fill it up for this weekend's family bonding trip to Illinois. Don't worry--I've got my car bag packed! But don't tell...I have 2 something specials hidden in my beach bag for just the perfect time.

You see, if you come visit us, we'll likely skip Little Rock and take you to Hot Springs instead. They really do have hot springs, very hot!

But one of the famous tourist attractions in Hot Springs is the Ride the Duck. So far I haven't convinced any visitors it's worth the $18 fee. But...for $4, you can buy the best gift ever in their gift shop.

Drumroll please.....introducing....the duck whistle!

Because Aunt Sara & Uncle Matt rock....we decided to mail one to our nephew Nathan.

He LOVED it! His parent's didn't. Funsuckers! Doesn't Nathan just look like he needs a duck whistle?

But we didn't want his sister, Natalie (who is here at the horse races in Hot Springs, where she learned that gambling was a blast), to feel left out, so a few weeks ago she got one in the mail too. (With Matt writing "Don't let mom open" on the package...which then Sara had to explain to the USPS).

Everyone (except the funsuckers above) loves them. When Katie and Kara visited, they got them too! Duck whistle + baseball game = lots of strange looks....but they didn't care!

I wouldn't be surprised if they end up in our family picture on Sunday. But just in case you can't find us, listen for the loudest, craziest sound on the lake. Because I discovered that the awesome Dollar General sells them for just $1. Nathan and Natalie...it's time to quack like a duck!!

To Do: Find Friends

The headline in an article in Redbook said "MAKING NEW FRIENDS JUST GOT EASIER." That got my attention! As one of my favorite Girl Scout songs says:

Nobody likes me
Everybody hates me
Think I'll go eat worms...

Another thing I can add to my To Do list is start a bunco group. It's a serious dream of mine. Sure, I would love to just join an existing one, but that's where the control freak in me comes out. I want to have only cool people in it! (And people who won't make fun of me...ha!) I went to one here in Little Rock when I first moved. It was odd. First of all, let's not meet at Panera...that's embarrassing. And when they talked about getting matching t-shirts, I knew I was done. But, I did meet their approval and got invited back! Just so you know.

Every time I move, I start my list of who could be in my bunco group. You are supposed to have 12. I aim for like half (that's hard enough). If you are reading this, at one time you likely made my list. And if you live within 5 miles of my house (Kelly, Kendall, Lindsay...), you are on "the list" whether you know it or not. My sister even bought me the game set a few years ago for Christmas....I'm just waiting on finding 11 friends!

But--thanks to my $12 Redbook subscription--I have an answer! www.girlfriendcircles.com
The article says it is like match.com (which someone in my family loves....we won't name names!) but instead of finding your date for the next trip you take (ha!) , you find "gal pals". Best part: If you don't find friends, you'll get your $30 membership back! $30 to go towards therapy!!!