Early holiday fun

Christmas came on Friday.  I apparently was a good girl.

This would be the cutest and tiniest poinsettia I have ever seen.  Someone thought I would love it.  They were right.IMG_0320[1]

Beautiful perfect yellow roses.  My sorority flower and yellow rose of Texas 🙂IMG_0321[1]Apparently my sister doesn’t own a vase and all of mine are in storage.  I had to dump her kitchen utensils out of this.  I think it’s a vase she was using as a crock.

A mophie for my iPhone!  My phone is always low on battery, because I use it too much.  Overnight and during work I charge it all day long, but other than that, it’s drained.   I like this because the case comes apart and with the bottom off, it now fits on my docking speakers.  🙂  Very thoughtful.

IMG_0322[1]More important than any gift was memories made and precious time shared.  Happy heart.

Things I like Thursday: Thankful thoughts

Sometimes you have to go a little out of your way to say you are thankful for something.  And if you are truly thankful, the time, distance, and pretty much everything else don’t matter.

I spent majority of my day yesterday saying I was thankful for one blessing in particular.  I am still smiling.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy 2013

Dan and I rang in the New Year in the booming metropolis of Schulenburg (1.5 hours away from where we live).  We were going to have dinner at the venue, but prime rib was on the menu and i’m not a fan.  So then we’d planned on Frank’s, which is apparently not open on Mondays.  So we opted for Oakridge, which was interesting.  We stood out like sore thumbs as non-locals, lol!  I wasn’t thrilled with the food, but the salad bar was ok.
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Concert featured the fabulous Gin Sisters and Fred Eaglesmith at Sengelmann Hall. This may be one of my favorite historic concert venues we’ve ever been to (minus the fact I had to stand because we were a little late).  Plus they don’t allow smoking, which is a BIG deal in my book 🙂

Fred was really funny, i’d love to see him again.  The crowd was different, which was nice.  Older and very loyal fans.  Dan kept saying how awesome it was to go out and feel so young!

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The night was finished off with a champagne toast and singing. IMG_0091

Rocking the glow-stick accessory over my wound bandage.IMG_0092

I drove us through the Whataburger drive-through and back to the hotel in the rain.  It was only my 2nd time driving the Jeep and i’m still getting used to driving a standard again.  We lived and I didn’t run into anyone or anything!

On another note, I CANNOT WAIT until Dan gets back from skiing in 2 weeks and that beard comes off!  I HATE THE SKI TRIP BEARD.

Christmas Recap

A little shopping.  Not really for gifts, just because I felt like it (weird, I am not really a shopper for no reason).  I went to Bass Pro AND Cabela’s (2x) in one week.  I did pick up some fun spice packets and a gun cleaning kit for dad.  One of these days I will actually look around the whole store at both places.  Christmas isn’t really the best time to leisurely explore a mega-store.   The decor alone is enough to take half a day to look at!IMG_0002

A little cooking.  Ok, a lot of cooking.  I love to cook for my parents.  Unfortunately, braising liquid from some ribs poured down my arm and gave me a really big and severe burn on Sunday afternoon. It’s really big and ugly 😦  I sent Dan and my BFF actual photos.  I will spare you that.  Neither of them were amused.

Like my Astros pjs? (I am blocking the star on accident)  Dan bought me those a long time ago in the Houston airport on a trip home to see me.  Back then the Astros weren’t near as bad.  Eh, I still love the pj’s and my baseball.IMG_0015

A little time in the country.  You know, looking for pregnant cows for 2 hours with your dad, hunting, and making sausage.  Simple country folk things.  My parents don’t even live in the country, but it’s pretty darn close to their house.

Tamales.  It’s whats for Christmas Eve dinner…always.  I used to think it was a south Texas thing, but my friend Alison pointed out it’s a Tex-Mex influence thing (she’s from El Paso and they do tamales and chalupas).  So it’s a regional thing I guess. Mom buys hers from Central Market, gluten and lard free.  I’m weird and this year I crumbled mine over blue corn chips and ate them like nachos with queso and guacamole.  Dang I wish I had a Central Market closer to me.IMG_0016

Gift pelicans.  Why?  Because my parents are trying to sell their house and I told my mom not to bother with a tree this year.  Instead I decided they needed to be around the pelican in their nautical themed living room.  Hence the gift pelican.IMG_0014

If you listen to Adam Corolla podcast, the pelican thing is even funnier.  Yes, a few months ago Dan got me hooked on his man-crush, Adam Corolla, and now I am addicted.  I LOVE him.  I hope he comes to Texas again soon, because I’d love to see him live.  I loved him on Loveline and the Man Show, but his podcast is awesome.  It’s definitely not for everyone, but most days I swear he takes thoughts straight from my head.

Santa brought my mom a Garmin 405.  She wasn’t all that excited because it’s complicated for her compared to her current 301.  I just about have her convinced to just get an iphone and use RunKeeper or something similar.  Now trying to get dad to shell out money for 2 smart phones and data plans, lol!  They are both anti-smart phones and texting.  I’m thinking I see a conversion in the spring 😉

Spent hours on Christmas day trying to teach my mom how to use an itouch.  If you’ve never met my mom, she has talons for fingernails.  This does not bode well for itouch.  This may be the deal breaker on an iphone for her.  No matter how she tried to tap the screen, she kept having issues.

Christmas night was spent curled up in my chair with Missy next to the Christmas tree, listening to the windstorm outside and watching crap tv.  Savoring the time off before having to go back to work 🙂

Non-Saturday

I enjoyed being off today, but not sure how much I am going to like going back to work.  I have alot to do and I am eager to get it done, so that’s not it.  It’s the fact that today feels like Saturday.  So my mind already was thinking about  Sunday type things for tomorrow, lol.  More like a 2nd Monday in reality.

Woke up and chilled for a bit.  Email, coffee, breakfast.  Then I decided to tackle Grand Mesa, which is the part of our neighborhood that has all of the estate homes and giant hills.  While it felt good to run at 7:30, I really should have started that route sooner.  As soon as I approached the biggest and longest hill, the sun beat down on me.  I finished and it was strong overall, but I could have done without the sun.

Then I showered up and went to our neighborhood’s parade.

The new mayor lives on the next street, here’s his sorta-kinda-float.  More like a “a creative way to get my kids and pit to the grotto pool taking the long route with a trailer” type of float.

The parade is really for the kiddos, more of a bike and doggie parade.

Plus the Fire truck from the station in Grand Mesa part of the neighborhood always comes.

Then it was home to wait for Dan to wake up and then off to Rudy’s down south to pick up lunch.  It was the idea everyone had!  I knew it was going to be crowded, but man, it was insane.  There was at least 50 GROUPS of people in front of us.  Good thing Rudy’s is usually really fast with their lines and crowd control.

We eventually got to our destination, to see baby Hayes and his mommy and daddy.  Hayes was born last Wednesday.

We took them lunch and enough extras for a few meals.  I think we got some of everything, we had quite the spread!

Hayes didn’t really like me.  No babies like me.  He cried as soon as I touched him.  I am not maternal at all, unless you are a cat I guess.  I am sure all of our other friends who have held him already didn’t experience it.  Dan didn’t go within 10 feet of the baby, I could tell he was freaked out.

Lunch was great, got to visit with mommy and daddy while Hayes napped.

I stopped at Central Market on the way back North, since I NEVER get to go.  Dan didn’t really seem to be too happy about that, so I did a quick stroll and I bought an apple.  Yes, just an apple.  I wanted to browse, but I could tell he wanted to go.           *Sigh*, maybe next time I am in the area, i’ll be alone and can actually shop.

So home it was.  Dan is playing plumber and trying to fix our leaking toilet (internal leak) for the 2nd time.  I am sitting around trying to figure out what to have for dinner.   Since we have no propane, it won’t be grilled!

Another reason my dad rocks

After Father’s Day dinner, my dad gave me all of this from his garden…..

Peaches.  I cut and froze 4 quarts, left the rest for snacks and desserts.  Ate 2 of them yesterday for breakfast in a dessert omelet.

Spaghetti and butternut squashes, with a few acorn.

Tons of different types of tomatoes

A huge bag of jalapenos and some onions aren’t pictured, but will be enjoyed.

I am certainly going to miss this free summer produce if they sell their house 😦

I cooked 2 spaghetti squashes on Sunday and froze them.  Cooked another for for Sunday dinner and Monday lunch for me.  Regular pasta for Dan, because he won’t eat spaghetti squash.  It turned out great!  Chicken breast, artichokes, sundried tomato seasoning kit mixed with EVOO, (the tomatoes, onions and squash) are from his garden.  It was delish!  Not the prettiest dish, but very tasty with so much flavor!

Mediterranean salmon warm salad.  Salmon, spinach, EVOO, (tomatoes and onions from the garden), feta crumbles, and quinoa (cooked in chicken broth).  

I haven’t cooked any of the butternut squash yet, I may put that on the agenda for Wednesday.  There is too much to eat, so i’ll  have to cook and freeze some of that too.

Looks like some kitchen adventures are in store for me on Wednesday evening!

Easter Blessings

Dan and I haven’t done traditional Easter celebrations for the last few years.    Last year we attended a baseball game.  This year we decided to have brunch with some of our Austin friends down south.

Hit the gym first, which was nice and empty.  My calves are knotty again 😦  I am going to blame that on why for the first time EVER, I lost my balance on the Bosu and had to jump off 😉  I foam rolled after that, but what it really needs is Trigger Point.

Then it was off to Heather’s house.  Dan had to wake up earlier than noon, lol!  He a good sport about it though and was a huge help prepping the salad for me while I made the guacamole (this took forever, we added a ton of stuff to the salad).  He is so precise and good at chopping, I need to recruit him more.  The guacamole which was a kit from HEB was very spicy and chunky (which I loved).  Glad I bought 4 of them and froze the others.

We all brought a few things, but Heather really outdid herself!  We had tons of different dipping options, dips, 2 kinds of REALLY spicy guacamole, 2 different types of hummus, veggies, pickled veggies, and more!  I think I ate most of that pickled okra 😉  And she got Baby Zach’s hummus and some gluten free options for dippers!  

Steak and lemon-rosemary chicken for the main dish.

I loved that chicken.  Grilled veggies are like crack, that’s why they are spilling all over my plate.

Fun filled Easter.  Dan and Devon are in the living room, along with my mega plate.

Cookies and cream ice cream cake for Dan’s birthday for dessert.  HUMPF!  He just had to pick a flavor of ice cream I can’t eat.

Had a great time!  Good call on whoever decided we needed to have a get-together.  Hopefully in the near future we’ll have a deck added to our house and be able to host outdoor fun.  We just need to convince everyone to drive up to where we live 😉

She said we could take leftovers home.  I hope I left enough for our other friends, I didn’t want to make dinner Sunday night OR lunch on Monday.

We’d planned on driving up to Florence after that (hour away) to meet his coworker and his family for some target practice, but we left too late.  Instead Dan took a nap and studied for his test.  I did laundry, extra-curricular activity work, and cleaned.  I tried to pack for our trip, but I ended up with a mess on my bed instead.

Not sure where the evening went, before I knew it, it was time for bed!  Great weekend for sure 🙂

Valentine’s Day is Dumb

I’ve pretty much always thought that.  I think it’s cute for kids and I like the decorations, but the whole rest of it is phooey to me.  Yes, I am a scrooge.

Yes, I decorate my office at work and our dining room at home for it, because I think the decor is cute.

I bought my Girl Scouts little glittery Valentines and fun pencils.  Why?  Because I think it’s cute for kids. No candy, I figured they’d get enough of that at school.  Plus one of the mom’s doesn’t like her daughter eating certain things.   Food is NOT love people.  The girls were so excited, although, they fought over the pencils, because they were all different.  I wasn’t really expecting that.

So Adam Corolla said this Sledgehammer wine was good and is one of their spokespeople.  This marketing worked, because then of course, Dan wanted the wine.  This wine is impossible to find in this area.  Their store locator lists a few stores, but none of them carry it.  I talked to the HEB wine manager and he ordered a whole case for me.  Problem is, it came in late, past our anniversary last week, but just in time for me to have to wade through the jungle of Valentine’s insanity at the store yesterday.  It was worth it, because I knew he really wanted to try it.  Hope he likes it, because there are 11 more bottles at the store, lol!

On the way out, there were the chocolate covered strawberries, something else Dan had been talking about after seeing them in the store.  I know I could make them cheaper and better myself, but i’m leaving town for work today.

So yes, I bought him wine and strawberries and I left them for him this morning on the kitchen counter.  I would have preferred to give him everything last Thursday for our anniversary, but alas, had to settle for today.  

So technically I guess I bought him a Valentine’s Day gift, although the original intent was Anniversary.

So Happy Valentine’s Day, whether you chose to celebrate or not.  I’ll be going out tonight in College Station with a bunch of my female coworkers.  Hope it’s a blast!

Things I like Thursday: Slow-Cooker successes

I bought a new crock-pot right before Thanksgiving at Costco.  Finally.  The old one was small and had no handle.  I was shoving foil into the hole where the handle used to be, so the heat wouldn’t escape.  I had to use a fork to pick the lid up.  Super ghetto, I know.

I bought a shiny new black programmable version.  I didn’t realize just how big it was though!  Twice the size of my old one, oops!  Doesn’t seem like a big deal, but it needs to be full to cook correctly, so that means cooking bigger quantities.  (maybe i’ll restock some of my freezer stash).

Needless to say, I love it.  I have used my crockpot more in the last month than I have in the last year!  Now that I have a programmable version, I can cook during the day.  Before I couldn’t, because I was gone for too many hours during the day.  Now, I can have to switch to warm when it’s done. (I haven’t tried cooking anything yet while i’ve been away). 

I made Caveman Chili a couple of weeks ago with venison.  It was awesome.  My parents both loved it as well.  Effortless and tasty.  It wasn’t pretty food, but it was good and easy.  I plan on making it again in the next few weeks. 

This was my first attempt EVER cooking Salmon.  I’ve always been scared of it for some reason.  I mostly just used the method in this recipe Jamaican Jerk SalmonI used Penzey’s Jamaican Jerk Seasoning I got in my stocking (which is good, but sadly not spicy).  It turned out really well!  Who knew?  Fish in the crockpot is easy and no smelly mess!  Served it with spinach and veggie skewers which were roasted in EVOO with more jerk seasoning.

Before the crock-pot:

After:

Pulled Meat

Why am I calling it Pulled Meat?  Well funny.  I told my mom to ask my dad for a 2-3 pound pork shoulder.  (they have 2 freezers full of meat and other random food, I think they are food hoarders).  Plus my dad hunts, so there is often deer and pork.  I take the piece of meat he thawed for me, rubbed it the day before and put in the fridge.  Then cooked it on low 10 hours (my piece was half the size as what the recipe called for, but took 10 hours to cook).  Used Stubb’s BBQ sauce because it’s simple and Gluten Free.  Mom, dad, sister, and I were all raving about how it was SOOO good.  Best pulled pork ever.  My dad looked at me crazy and told me it was venison (communication breakdown I suppose).  Well heck, no wonder it was so lean and took longer to cook!  It was still very tasty and I will be making it again.

Big-Easy meatloaf was certainly not pretty food, so not pretty I deleted the photos.  It was awfully tasty though.  I didn’t have andouille, so I used hot italian sausage.  Super easy and I never would have thought to put a dish in the crockpot to cook something in.

I’m sure this won’t be the last of my crockpot adventures 😉

Electric

Or lack there of…

Last Thursday when I got to the gym, they announced they had to cut the electricity for 20 minutes.  I guess they expected most people to leave, all of the people doing cardio and spin class did.  I was lifting weights so I stuck around, you don’t need electricity for weights 😉  It was actually kind of nice for it to be mostly dark and workout.  They were turned back on, I got showered up and went to work.

Later that day (5 hrs later), I had my Endocrinologist appointment.  I was late leaving a meeting at work, so I was frantically rushing to get to the hospital.  I was so aggrevated, because I am never late!  Elevators out of service, so I had to run to the Main Wing, up the stairs, and back to the South Wing.  Good thing I’m in shape.  Guess what?  No power, just emergency lights.  They didn’t know I was late because the computers were down.  They also had no access to people’s files to call and cancel and reschedule appointments.  Or access to the electronic medical files to try to hold appointments.  I was told I could call back after Christmas and reschedule.  Unfortunately my Dr. has a long wait list.

She must have overheard me talking to the receptionist, because she came and got me and had an impromptu appointment with me with post-it notes in the hallway.  Hope that stuff actually makes it into my file.  She didn’t have my file or test results, so we just briefly chatted.  It was better than nothing, but I was really eager to see if she wanted to try more tests or had any ideas.  She did say, that at this point, she does not think it’s Cushing’s.

Later that day, the really sweet marathoner Rheumotoligst called to see how my appointment went with the Endo and get an update on what was going on.  Unfortunately I had no updates for him 😦

Fast forward to Christmas morning.  We didn’t have power from 7:30-11 am at my parents house.   I guess it went out right after I left for my hill run, I came home and my mom and sister were ready for their run, so I went with them.  My dad had to drive our turkey to a family friend’s house to continue cooking it.  Rediculous.  Even more crazy is they have power outages all of the time at their house, it’s so annoying.  The last 4 times i’ve been there, there has either been a water or electric outage or both!

I have no idea why electricity was such an issue last week, but I hope I don’t have that problem any more!  I guess I always take it for granted and don’t realize what all we need it for. (like getting back from running on Christmas and having to settle for a banana and almond butter because mom didn’t want me in the fridge which had been off for almost 2 hours).

Despite the minor inconveniences, it all worked out in the end with the power outages.  Now i’m just waiting for the Endo to call me back to tell me what to do next.  Hoping she transferred the notes to the computer after we met.  I WILL figure all of this out in 2012!