Monday, June 27, 2011

To Do: Christmas Shopping


But who is counting? Oh yeah, ME!

With a due date of Christmas Day, it's obvious that I'll have to be on the ball this year. The last two years I've had most of my shopping done by Thanksgiving. In fact, the year we moved to Little Rock, I had everything bought and wrapped so Matt could take it when he moved here the first week of November--as he was driving to IL and I was flying from SC.

We buy a lot of gifts. It's sort of ridiculous. But I love Christmas. I love kids. And I love to shop for others.Needless to say I've already tucked away at least 5 gifts and have started writing down my ideas for others. Because I know we can't travel for Thanksgiving or after, I also know that my santa sleigh will have to be packed and delivered sometime this fall. I also know that come August, I'll want to be baby shopping (a lot!). And I just found out that my neighbor Lindsay is even better at this game than me! She too has a start on Christmas. This weekend she had her daughter's 4th birthday party and showed me the 20 sprinkler buckets she bought on clearance two years ago for $1 each--knowing she would use them in a few years for party favors! Oh, she's a girl after my own heart. And Lindsay--now it's time to compete to see who can be done with Christmas shopping first! (Or tell me your deals!)

So...if you have something on your wish better tell me soon!

To Do: Thank You!

While time got away from me, please know that we truly appreciated all the outpouring of congratulations we have received the past few weeks with our baby announcement. It was such a relief to be able to tell our secret! And honestly, it was a little overwhelming once it got on Facebook. It was so nice to hear from grade school friends, sorority sisters, old co-workers, family, neighbors, etc.

Stay tuned for some of my favorite comments/reactions!

I still have my days when I am lazy or nauseous, but I'm really doing good. I've made it to that second trimester so I'm just waiting for that "burst of energy" and "nesting" that everyone keeps bragging about! I just set my goal of trying to get 2 things done a day. Sometimes that's (1) cook dinner and (2) empty dishwasher. Sometimes that's (1) take a nap and (2) take a shower. No need to set the goals too high--that just leads to failure!

And yes, we will find out if it's a boy or girl. The funny thing is, I used to always think I wanted to wait until delivery day (Matt did not). But it took me about 2 days and a trip to Target to realize I didn't want to wait anymore. The gender neutral clothes are well, ugly. And just waiting to 20 weeks is torture enough! I have way too much time on my hands right now to not be getting things in line. I'll find out next week when the date for the big reveal is, but I'm guessing early August. But don't get too excited--we won't tell you our names! (Let me emphasize "we"!)

Friday, June 17, 2011

To Do: Strawberry Lover's Pie

Lover's Pie! XOXOXO

Nah, but I do love my friend Sophie for making this yummy pie for us!

Of course there is a story: Matt went to my sister, Sharolyn's, this spring after taking me to the St. Louis airport. She made this strawberry pie that Matt wouldn't stop talking about. At Easter, I finally got the recipe. By Memorial Day, I still hadn't made it. Memorial Day weekend we to Birmingham to see the Browns. I took the recipe. Sophie so sweetly made the pie one day while I was napping. Sophie actually made 2 pies. Sophie did not bake the first pie crust before adding other ingredients. Sophie was not happy. But Sophie tried again just for Matt. See why we love her! We ate it up! Very, very rich pie but also very yummy.

  • 1/3 cup semisweet chocolate chips

  • 1 Tbs butter

  • 1 Pie Crust, baked

  • 1 package cream cheese, softened

  • 1/2 cup sour cream

  • 6 Tbs sugar

  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

  • 1 pound fresh strawberries (we used a quart)

  • 1 container strawberry glaze

  • 2 Tbs semisweet chocolate chips

  • Whipped cream

In a 1 cup glass measuring cup, combine the 1/3 cup chocolate chips and butter. Microwave on high for 1 minute. Stir until chocolate is melted and smooth. Spread evenly over bottom and sides of baked pie crust; set aside.

In large mixing bowl, beat cream cheese, sour cream, sugar, and vanilla at medium speed until light and creamy. Spread evenly over chocolate layer. Cover and chill at least 2 hours.

Just before serving, rinse berries; dry thoroughly on paper towels. Remove caps and stems. Dip berries in glaze and arrange berries upright on top on cream cheese layer, covering entire surface. Spoon remaining glaze over berries. (We cheated and cut up the berried and stirred into glaze).

In 1 cup glass measuring cup, microwave the 2 Tbs chocolate for 1 minute; stir until chocolate is melted and smooth. Drizzle chocolate over top of pie. Garnish with whipped cream. Makes 8 servings.

Recipe from Dierbergs March 2011 catalog.

To Do: Add a deck

OK, I'm fibbing a little when I pretend that adding a deck was on MY to-do list! But I was there as a coach and for moral support and that should count for something.

We actually already had a pretty decent sized deck on the back of our house. But we also had a super steep hill right next to it, that was impossible to mow. And everytime Matt went out to weed wack it, I thought for sure he would come back in missing a toe or two. Our next door neighbors were also craving a deck on the back of their house so they turned to who they call "Bob Villa". I've heard that when something breaks in their house, Katelyn, their 3 year old will say "that's ok. Matt can fix it." (Note: Matt also is known for bribing children with freeze pops and orange push ups!).

Anyway, I was so busy coaching and supporting that I forgot to take a "before" photo. Both porches are complete. Here is our grand finale:

To Do: Catch up!

I'm back! Hopefully by now you realized I have disappeared from blogging for awhile. Sure, we've had a lot of excitement this past week or so (more blogs to come on the baby for sure), but this week, well I've been S-I-C-K! And really, I can't even blame the kid yet. It's unfortunately the one bad part about living in the South...allergies! I never had them till I moved down South and I'm not sure if I had them as bad as I did this week. Whew--it's been a long week! Starting Monday night, I knew I would be ready to just chop my head off at the neck and I would be all good. Tuesday thru Thursday I spent all most every minute in bed or on the couch. Hopefully the baby likes orange juice and toast because we ate a lot of that this week. But today I am up and moving and having been up only 3 hours, I've already tackled more housewife duties today than I've done all week!

I actually rarely get sick. (Knock on wood please). But I think I know why this time. Do you see what I see in this picture?

Yes, the red, cold Coke can. It's just sitting there, torturing me! I've always said that the 2 reasons I never get sick are that (a) Coke and (b) biting my nails. On the day I took my pregnancy test--I did it. I stopped drinking Coke cold turkey! Really, you should all be sending me cards to congratulate me on that acccomplishment. I went from 3 a day to 0. It helped that I wasn't feeling good and didn't really want Coke, so I just kept going. I've now gone 42 days in case anyone is counting! I will tell you that I had a caffeine-free Coke one night when we had company, but it just didn't taste the same. Matt will tell you that I've drank more water in these 42 days than he has seen me drink in the 13 years we've been together! But he also knows that come delivery day, I better have a Route 44 ice cold Coke waiting for me :)

So now, let me catch up on blogging...

Monday, June 13, 2011

To Do: Do me a Favor

It's been awhile now since I had my last day at work, but let's just play catch up. I ended up staying 3 extra days at work past my 2 weeks so I could help put on my co-workers, Regina's, bridal shower. My co-worker Sally & I put together a "crockpot themed" shower (because if you know me, you know it had to have a theme!). We had the tortilla soup I wrote about this spring, cheese dip, and more.

Of course, Regina got her very own crockpot as a shower gift, as well as collection of crockpot recipes from the staff.

It wouldn't be a shower without silly games. You may remember me telling you about how at my Girl Scout bridal shower they played a game with bubble gum, making you add a piece for every question you answered differently than the groom. Yep, this game had to make a return!
Regina was a champ though and despite having sore jaws, she actually made it through most questions by answering correctly!

One of the highlights of the shower was the cake.
Besides it apparently being someone's first day in the bakery, how many mistakes can you see? "Your" instead of "You're". The appostrophe in "days" that isn't necessary! The giant white space next to Regina? The oh crap, I'm out of room and I still have to write Mrs. Taylor? Needless to say, the cake was free :)

I whipped up a few covered Hershey bars as prizes for the game. Here they are:

And Regina liked them so much (or else she was desperate), she asked me to do a favor--She asked me to make them as favors for her wedding! So needless to say, this has been a project on my to-do list since I've been unemployed. 300 candy bars is a lot of candy bars!

But in the end, I was quite proud of the final product.

My friend Regina became Mrs. Taylor yesterday and I hope she had a great wedding day!! I wish her and her new hubby a lifetime of happiness!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Ten on Tuesday: 10 Aerial Photos over Little Rock

Shut the front door! It's Tuesday and there is actually a Ten on Tuesday posted on time! It's time to get back in the groove (and start utilizing my calendar!).

This weekend Matt & I had an exciting adventure. For his birthday (in January), I purchased a flight over Little Rock from Groupon. If you have Groupon, you understand my excitement when this adventure popped up. The other part of his gift was the segway tour in Clearwater. Both were quite adventurous gifts. We like trying new things, though I promise you won't see me skydiving or bungee jumping any time soon. Considering Matt had never flown until our honeymoon, this was really an adventure for him! It was a little rocky or wavy at times, but overall pretty smooth. But for photo sake, keep in mind it wasn't always easy to snap pictures. We generally were about 1,000-2,000 feet above ground. It was amazing how much cooler the air temperature was once we got to about 3,000 feet. The trip ended with a perfectly smooth landing, that the pilot sayed was like the plane almost lands itself.

Anyway, we decided we would do the flight in the spring, after the trees had turned green. But time got away and here it was June, with the gift certificate about to expire. The flight was scheduled for Saturday--a record setting 99 degree day (thus the reason for some hazy pictures). But it didn't matter to us--it was still unforgettable and an awesome way to experience the city views. So today I'll share with you 10 of my favorite photos, in no particular order:

1. Bridges over the river

2. Control panel--How does the pilot ever learn all this?

3. Arkansas River (still full past it's banks)

4. View of the city of downtown Little Rock.

5. Over the CAT facility

6. Capital of Arkansas

7. The Big Dam Bridge (Yes, that's really it's name)

8. Lake Maumelle; off of River (I think)

9. Aerial of our subdivision.

10. Our House and awesome cul-de-sac. Our house is the 2nd from right

I'm ready to go again. Wanna come?

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Ten on Tuesday (or Thursday): 10 Birthday gifts

Honestly my excuse this time is that I truly just need to get a calendar and mark of days! Ten on Tuesday just didn't cross my mind on Tuesday!

When you get to my age, I generally just get money to pick out what I want for my birthday. I truly don't "need" anything, but like any woman, I can be forced to shop if I have to. It's just making up my mind that becomes a problem for me.

So this week I'm going to list 10 things that I could spend my birthday money on (or you can get for me if you feel so obligated!) In no particular order:

1. Pool Floatie--I realized today at the pool that I must get one soon. This lady at the pool had this giant inflatable one that looked like a Lazy-Boy on water. I need one.

2. Outdoor Rug--Matt is currently working on expanding our deck (pictures to come) and we just got a bigger patio set--the clearance set we got when we first got married had seen it's days. But now I really think that it's time to look all extra fancy and get a cool outdoor rug to go under the table. Imagine how good it will look too after I get the deck stained (keep may be awhile!)

3. Ice Cream Machine--This weekend we went to our neighbors for a cookout (celebrating their new patio that Matt helped with) and they made their own ice cream. I have a small ice cream maker, but it's not like the old fashioned kind. It doesn't use rock salt or ice so it just doesn't seem to have the same effect. I think now I need the old style--except not crank. I'm a wimp and I know it.

4. Cookbook--Also this weekend I discovered a cookbook I want (a sad addiction of mine). I just randomly came across the recipe books at the library and picked up a Trisha Yearwood cookbook to read in the car on our way to Birmingham. I really can't stant Trisha, but I had heard her cookbooks were good. It was just good ole' Southern recipes. So now I think I need my own copy instead of copying down all those recipes.

5. Embosser--Besides baking, most of you know that I attempt to make homemade cards. My craft shelf is overflowing, but I still don't have a Cuddlebug to make embossed paper. It's on my wish list anyway.

6. Ladder-- I posted a picture awhile back of an old shabby white ladder that was hanging horizontally in someone's dining room, with pictures on top of it. I can't get that out of my mind and I am determined to copy that idea. But first, I need the perfect ladder.

7. Camera Gadget--Also from some blog (of course I can't find it now) I learned about a devise you put over the flash called a Lightscoop that redirects the light to make better quality pictures. It was like $30 and seemed like a worthy investment. Sure, it could just be the photographer, but surely this won't hurt.

8. Detailing--I don't usually like to pay for things that I can just do myself, but something I seriously consider investing in is a good car detail. My car is so dusty and nasty. The ole' shop vac can only get so much.

9. Hired Help--I also am considering a lawn boy. This weekend, the neighbor had yet another snake (this makes 3) go over his foot while mowing. And this time it was a poisonous Copperhead. I think I'll be done mowing for awhile!

10. Bum Clothes--Since I no longer have to worry about wearing pants and long sleeves in the summer to my freezing office, I have already realized that I probably am going to have to get some more shorts and sleeveless shirts. Considering it's supposed to be over 95 almost every day this week, I can only imagine what July and August will be like this summer!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

To Do: Turn 34!

Happy Birthday to me! Boy, what a good birthday. I really think that everyone should automatically get their birthday off at work. Being a bum most of the day makes it that much better. And I also think that everyone should have a Facebook account just to get the birthday messages if nothing else. It was like getting 100 birthday cards from people all over the U.S. That definitely gives you a warm, fuzzy feeling.

As my niece would say, you really need to celebrate your birthday for the week, not just the day. Sounds like a plan to me. My festivities actually did start this weekend. We went to Birmingham for the Memorial Day weekend to visit our old neighbors from South Carolina, the Browns. Apparently, awhile back I had mentioned to Sophie that I remember as a kid that I used to bring popcorn cake to school. Knowing me now, I probably liked it because it was unique. Of course, Sophie had never heard of it, but somehow remembered this story. So after doing research with my mom and the Internet, she surprised me with a popcorn cake!!

Isn't that sweet? And yes, it tasted just as good as I remember! Her kids were a little scared to try it, but after just one bite, they too thought it was quite tasty.

Today was a good day. I started the morning off by heading to the pool. It was my first time there actually, but since it was only like 95 today, I figured I better get there before it's 105. There was a few other families there, but still pretty quiet. I started a new Jody Picoult book and worked on my tan (as we all know, it takes me great time and precision to get that!).

Tonight we of course went out to eat. Matt pulled off 2 surprises today--flowers and a dinner guest. I actually figured out before we got there that it wasn't just going to be just us. But I really had no idea who was joining us. So the ditsy blonde in me walks in and I saw my friend and former co-worker Kendall at the hostess stand. I didn't say anything to Matt, just went up and stuck my head in Kendall's face like "OMG, look who else decided to come to Logans!" (Kendall will tell you that on my first day, she was so excited to find out that someone else lived in Saline county that she told me "We both live in Saline County. So we have to be friends." Guess I gave in to the pressure. Ha!) Anyway...Duh--She was my surprise! It took me a minute. Or maybe like two minutes.

We had a good time--both of us of course talking non-stop. Unfortunately her hubby, Beau, got stuck at work so we like to say he ruined my whole birthday! But nah, it was great!

So turning 34 wasn't so bad! Thanks to Sophie, Kendall, and of course Matt for making it extra special!