Tuesday, March 29, 2011

To Do: Sleep!

We're back! You would think that after 10 days away on an awesome vacation, I would feel so refreshed and revitalized. Wrong! I barely can keep my eyes open and I can hardly wait to get back in bed. We packed a lot into our 10 days (more on that to come) so I guess we just wore ourselves out. Plus, the last two nights' sleep has been a little disruptive... as I seem to have a cat either laying on me or in my face every time my body even moves an inch. 10 days may have been a little too long for poor Shadow! I can hardly wait to tell you about our trip and show off the pictures. Slowly but surely. Let me start by telling you about our airport adventures. Oh, we traveled all right. 8 airports total! Here was the flight plan Little Rock-to Baltimore-to Ft. Meyers Tampa-to Altanta-to Bloomington St. Louis-to Chicago-to Little Rock And miraculously...all the luggage made it, no delays, no missed flights---It all went perfect! Let me just say that I knew yesterday (my first day back to work) that I am ready to start planning the next adventure!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Ten on Tuesday: 10 Things I Want to Try

Happy Tuesday! Thanks to reality t.v. (sadly, I'm an addict for it), the also addicting blog world (you're addicted to mine, right?) and a 33 year old crisis I guess, I've decided I have lot of things that I want to try...which was actually the inspiration for my blog title...I was hoping to cross some things on my to-do list off one day. So, in no particular order:

1. Go Ziplining! -- I have no idea where, but surely someplace quite exotic, like through the rainforest or Hawaii or even Alaska (though of course the cold breeze as I go 60 mph would scare me off). Maybe it's because The Bachelor likes to take this "leap of faith", but it just looks like a blast. Matt would probably have to push me and I know for sure I would scream the whole way (ride a roller coaster with me and you'll understand), but it's still on my bucket list.

2. Paint Furniture -- Someday I am going to be a true blog girl and show you a before and after piece of some masterpiece I made by transforming a piece of Goodwill 1970's piece of furniture and made it shabby chic. Someday.

3. Try new foods -- I really do hate being such a picky eater. As you may have seen on my blogs before, I'm really trying to quit saying "I don't like that" when I really don't recall every trying it. Just last week I tried pistachios and cilantro! We went out with some of Matt's co-workers this weekend to Macaroni Grill and while Matt & I were looking forward to unhealthy macaroni (duh), lamb seemed to be a popular choice. Lamb? Ok, I'm not that brave just yet. But I am going to keep pushing myself to try new foods. Baby steps.

4. Learn how to drive stick shift -- Believe it or not, I've had my license for almost 18 years and I have never once tried to drive a car that wasn't automatic. Probably should have learned that 18 years ago when I lived in the sticks, but oh well.

5. Make meal cards -- I've read on blogs about these overachieving, stay-at-home moms who plan out these gourment meals every week. I'm doing good just to get to the store every week. But one day, I really wish I would write out all of the different meals we eat on notecards so that I will be more inspired to switch it up. (Maybe I am just feeling guilty for having tater-tot casserole again tonight!)

6. Geogaching -- Ever heard of it? Basically, it's a scavenger hunt where you find hidden obstacles using a GPS. It sounds completely nerdy, but I am a nerd and I think it would just be a unique way to go hiking. But first I have to find someone to teach me how to even start.

7. Sew on Cards -- My old co-workers used to tell me that I was creative. I always told them that I was just resourceful. Resourceful being another word for copy-cat. Usually when I go to make a homemade card, I often copy the ideas from books, online, or magazines (sorry to disappoint). One of my new books shows lots of card ideas where you whip out the sewing machine. Considering I have a sewing machine (and I can only make curtains or pillows), I figured I could wipe the dust off and try this eventually.

8. Photography Lesson -- We recently got one of those new fancy shamcy cameras, but I barely know how to operate the darn thing. Makes me feel old. So I think I better add a photography class to my list of things to try. I'm hoping one day I will be posting stellar photos that will make you drool.

9. Hot Air Balloon Ride -- Again, I can dream. But even though I'm slighly afraid of heights, one day I want to do this. Maybe we can do it after ziplining in Hawaii.

10. Stop biting my nails and drinking so much Coke -- I said "try", not accomplish. I doubt either goals will be a success any time soon.

Vacation Destination

If you know much about Matt & I, you know that (a) we like to travel and (b) we really like to travel to Florida. So it probably wasn't much of a surprise that our vacation destination is FLORIDA! This is a picture (courtesy of my cousin's daughter who was just there last week). Ah, paradise!
In about 53 hours, I will be saying "hello sunshine state" (but please don't fry me on day 1). Seriously, I can hardly believe that I have to bare this ultra-white flesh to the world. And let's not even kid ourselves that I would come back slighly bronzed. We all know better.
Anyway, one more day of work, then the hubs and I will just be chillin'...all while getting paid. That truly is the best part of working--vacation days!

Here is our plan:

We arrive in Tampa on Thursday evening. Friday, we are headed to Busch Gardens.
Sadly, our friends from Alabama (who were supposed to be vacationing in Orlando), are no longer going to be able to join us. Bummer! But I'm sure Matt will be content considering Busch is served! Neither of us have ever been there so it will be a new adventure.
Saturday, we'll likely hang out in Clearwater....site of our wedding almost 8 years ago. Who knows, maybe Fred will be on site doing another ceremony (and we can be those crazy tourists who watch all the action!)
Sunday it's farther South we go as we head to Ft. Myers. Follower #12 (Beth) and Follower #18 (Derek) will drag the rest of the family with them and meet us at the Cardinals vs. Red Sox spring training baseball game. Tentative plans right now are to take them to Sanibel Island following so they can see the massive amount of shells there. Unfortunately, our favorite restaurant, The Mucky Duck, is closed on Sunday's, but I'm sure at some point we will make a trip back for their famous key lime pie.
Monday is what I'm most excited about. We are getting on a high speed boat and headed to Key West! Another Florida spot we can cross off our bucket list! We are staying there for 2 nights, hoping of course, to enjoy lots of margaritas.
And to wrap up the week, we'll likely adventure back to Ft. Myers, Sanibel, and Clearwater...probably just catching some rays and swimming--Yes, it's a big deal. Matt hasn't been submersed in water since June 2008.
So look out old Blue Hairs, the Ervin's are on their way!!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

To Do: Get Ready for Vacation!

It's been a busy day getting things ready to leave for vacation. Not that I've even started truly packing, but just getting everything cleaned and organized. Just in case we die, I know that when you walk in my house it will appear clean and clutter-free. Plus, I know when we get back on Sunday evening, the last thing I will want to do is clean the shower.

To say that Matt & I are ready for vacation is an understatement. We haven't been this anxious for vacation for a long time!

So, let's play the famous guessing game (if we haven't already told you). Here's some clues for our vacation destination:

Friday, March 11, 2011

To Do: Make Monster Cookies

Last weekend I had a hunkering for monster cookies. (Sorry no makeup on yet!)

I actually had some M&Ms in the cabinet, intended for Jude's popcorn cake for his birthday (maybe that recipe willl come one day). When talking to my people here in AR, I realized everyone hadn't heard of monster cookies. I didn't find out about them until college....thus, part of the sophmore 50 I gained!

During college I lived at a sorority with 55 other women where in order to have cheaper living, we did our own cooking and cleaning. If any of you have the 4-H House cookbook, a recipe for monster cookies that the house used is in there--but it uses like 18 eggs, 8 lbs of peanut butter, etc.--enough for like 12 dozen cookies. I just needed about 2 cookies.

So I looked online and low and behold, my bff Paula Deene had a recipe!

Monster Cookies

  • 3 eggs
  • 1 1/4 cups packed light brown sugar
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 (12oz) jar creamy peanut butter
  • 1 stick butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup M&Ms
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips (I used mini)
  • 1/4 cup raisins, optional
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 4 1/2 cups quick-cooking oatmeal

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper or nonstick baking mats.

In a very large mixing bowl, combine the eggs and sugars. Mix well. Add the salt, vanilla, peanut butter, and butter. Mix well. Stir in the M&Ms, chocolate chips, raisins (if using), baking soda, and oatmeal. Drop by tablespoons 2 inches apart onto the prepared cookie sheet (if having trouble getting mixture to stick together, roll into balls).

Bake for 8-10 minutes. Do not overbake. Let stand about 3 minutes before transferring to wire rack (or in my case paper towel) to cool. Enjoy!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Ten on Tuesday: 10 Tips

My apologies go out to my fan club, who extended their concern (or maybe it was frustration) when they checked my site to find no Ten on Tuesday. I would say "let's just pretend it's Tuesday" but heck no...don't we wish it was Friday night?

You see, I had to catch up on The Bachelor. Priorities people. And just when I got ready to get on the computer, of course, it starts storming (weather radio went off twice). Nope, no avalanche, no tornado, no cyclone...just a thunderstorm. But I figured it wasn't worth my computer's life to be at risk for a post. So, after much delay...here ya go...

Ten Tips I've Learned
  1. For long time readers you learned already that my friend, Sophie's, mother-in-law passed down to us that if you cut up the stick of butter before putting it in the microwave, it won't explode and splatter onto every hard-to-reach crevice.
  2. Coke Rewards are worth it! (PS--If you already donate your Coke Rewards to Matt Ervin then this is not true, go to #3). I would also add that the 1% cashback from Discover is also highly recommended.
  3. My high school math teacher always made the yummiest, softest chocolate chip cookies. Years later I learned the secret: Add 1 small box of instant vanilla pudding mix to the flour mixture.
  4. Matt & I are a little strange....in just one way....we like to paint rooms! I'll have to remember that when I go on my next job interview (I hate it when they ask you what your hobbies are. That questions always stumps me. I don't want to look like a loser who only watches t.v.) Anyway, we've bought a lot of paint in our lifetime. There is no need to tape if you just buy a good, angeled brush (and have a steady hand). And between coats, just put the roller or brush in a Wal-Mart bag until you are ready to paint again.
  5. I just learned this but it may have changed my life. After you take the cake out of the oven, let it cool slightly. Then put a cover on it. The steam from the cake soaks back in and makes it extra moist.
  6. Got a barking dog or a rooster living next door? Sleep with a fan next to your bed and you'll never hear a thing. Maybe not a good idea if you have children.
  7. When we lived in the country, we had this adorable older couple, Ed and Barb, that lived next door. Ed taught me that the best way to wash windows was to take a small bucket of hot water, about 1/4 to 1/2 cup vinegar, and a drop of Dawn. Rub down the windows with a sponge and use a squeegee to clean it off. It works amazing!!
  8. Again giving my sister, Sharolyn, credit for this--She taught me that the best way to organize and store my necklaces was to use a tie rack. Of course, mine are also color coordinated :)
  9. And Sharolyn's hubby, J.R., gets credit for this change-your-ways idea. Add a spoonful of cottage cheese to your scrambled up eggs before cooking and wowzer, you will end up with extra creamy, extra yummy eggs (I really didn't eat eggs till I had J.R.'s. The cottage cheese melts and you can't even tell it was there)
  10. Last but not least, my favorite--You know how you go on vacation and you have to park your car at the airport. Of course, a week later, you have no idea where you wrote down where you parked. Was it F2 or P2. There's a difference! Let me just tell you that I learned this the hard way. After arriving back in Charlotte last year after going to see Matt in Little Rock, I got on the bus that takes you to the car lot. I knew I just drove in the aisle straight in and parked near the end. The bus deal was waiting when I arrived so I hurried and just jumped on (not noticing that each bus terminal had a letter assigned to it). So when I got back to Little Rock about 10pm I got on the bus. Imagine my face when I heard them say "stop C". OMG--I had no idea what letter I was at. But, I knew it was the last stop. Whew. Wrong. The last stop in that lot. After walking up and down several long aisles, alone, pulling my luggage, late at night, I finally lost it. A man saw me crying and told me where to go to get help. Ends up, you tell them your license and they know where you parked. Someone marks it every night. But the moral of the story is--pay attention. I read in a travel magazine to take a picture on your phone of the F2 sign and when you get home, you'll know where to find it. Never again will I need that parking dude to help me find my car.
When you are finished changing, you are finished -Benjamin Franklin

Saturday, March 5, 2011

To Do: Prepare Storm Shelter

On the radio the other day they were talking about a time you asked people to not judge you. One was a 30 year old who married a 17 year old (ok, that's hard for me not to judge), and another was a lady who was a cashier at a strip club but wasn't a stripper. Today, I ask you not to judge me.

This is the closet in the office:
While I'm not ready to be featured yet on hoarders, this is bad. Why?

Because this closet is our storm shelter--supposedly the safest place to go in case of a tornado, yet I don't think Shadow could get in, let alone Matt & I. Mental Picture: Picture the 3 of us huddled in there together. (And no kinky thoughts either). It's happened.

I want you to know, in my defense, that almost every other closet in my house is neatly (sorta) organized. I believe that everything in my house has a place. I even go as far as having my clothes arranged by sleeve length then color, all on white hangers. But this closet, well, it just got out of control. The items are the floor are a scale that goes in the kitchen but got moved out for Christmas decorations, two Disney polos (don't ask) that need to go on ebay, diploma frames that need hung (but first we have to track down Matt's diploma), and a suitcase full of my Uppercase Living displays (which are no longer needed now that I don't sell it). Cleaning this closet can't be put off much longer. I mean we are bullseye for storms!

While I LOVE the warm, sunny spring days, that often means that skies are likely to turn to this before too long.

But have no fear--we have our handy dandy storm radio.

It's what my boss would call a "necessary evil." The city gave it to us from a grant they received, which was a nice gift, yet sometimes I want to throw it across the room. Since it sits on my side of the bed, it seems that I lose more sleep worrying about this horrifically loud siren (that must be manually shut off) going off in the middle of the night more so than I worry about dying from a tornado.

One night the radio went off unexpectantly at like 3am. I reached over and just hit the first button I could reach. It said "Child Abduction Alert." Weird. I had never heard that alert announced before. I thought it was only for watches and warnings. So...I hit it again. This time it announced "Avalanche Alert." No joke. I'm no geography expert, but I figured I must have hit the wrong button.

But I tell you if there was a chance of avalanches happening in Little Rock, the weather on the t.v. station would be warning us for days. I seriously think a required course for those weathermen must be INCREASING ANXIETY 101. I have to say, often I fall for it. And so yes, the next time the tornado warning is issued, I will hopefully be found in my nice, neat organized storm closet.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Ten on Tuesday: 10 Dream Jobs

Today I had sort of a frustrating (more like overwhelming) day at work. And it got me to thinking about all of those jobs that have crossed my mind at times that sounded oh so much better. Some of these I have seriously researched--You never know, maybe one day. But for now I'll just dream about the days when I might work as a:

  1. Flight Attendant--I love to travel, I could rack up frequent flyer miles, and surely I could pour you a Coke.
  2. Travel Agent--Related to that, how about I just be a travel agent and let me test out the vacation hot spots.
  3. Realtor--Yes, I admit I am just plain nosey. But I do love looking at houses and I have lots of experience with house shopping (we have had 4 in 8 years). I used to think I didn't want to work those nights and weekends, but wait...I do now!
  4. Speech Therapist--At my job in South Carolina working with OT, PT, and ST I realized that I really was intrigued about how language and speech develop with kids. Too much schooling now, but I wish this was something I knew about when I was 18 and having to decide.
  5. Children's Museum Buyer--I want to be the one who gets to decide what exhibits the museum has. Because really, how many more times do you want to see some cheesy lightbulb exhibit?
  6. Bridal Store Saleslady--OK, maybe I watch a little bit too much of "Say Yes to the Dress" and ironically I could have cared less about my own wedding dress, but really...besides the psycho brides....I think it would just be fun. And mostly a happy experience.
  7. Adoption Specialist--Same for this job that I realize not every day would be positive, but when we considered adoptioning, I really thought it would be so rewarding to help fulfill this amazing dream for families. I mean I can never get enough of the Oprah shows when the military men see their kids, or when adoptive parents get off the plane with their new addition. Tears!
  8. Teacher--Seriously, I can' believe I ever had the hours of 8:15-3:15 and summers off and I gave that job up! What was I thinking??
  9. Stay at Home Mom--One exception: without the kids!
  10. Hooter's Waitress--Hold up, that was Matt's dream! Ha! Ha!