Monday, July 31, 2006

My Favorite Soap

I have recently (the last 6 months or so) discovered a new favorite bath (liquid) soap. Ivory Body Wash. I like it because:


  • it doesn't leave residue in my bathtub, like other brands
  • it smells good
  • it's relatively inexpensive ($3.99 a bottle at Target or Byerly's)

The problem is now I can't find it at either place now. So I was excited when I discovered it in Amazon.com's new "grocery aisle". Even though I would have had to buy 6 bottles, I wouldn't have had to worry about where I would find it next! But now it's gone from their website too!

Sunday, July 30, 2006

The Weekend Pace

I got back into town around 6:30. Fortunately I was able to relax a little, as I found out that I wouldn't be flying back to Valparaiso tonight for another week. So I got home, had some dinner, and then went out to get some groceries and pick up the supplies for an art project the next day when my niece and nephew were here for the day.

Saturday morning, I was up early. Drew and Katelyn arrived around 8:30. Mike and Melanie were going to a birthing refresher course. Grandma and Grandpa A. joined us at lunch time for the rest of the day. We had a busy, but fun day! It included a short (hot) walk to the park, decorating onsies with fabric markers for the new babies arriving soon (their new brother or sister, and new cousin), running through their Elmo sprinkler, playing a marble game that Grandma and Grandpa brought, making homemade peach ice cream, and some down time (individually) watching Disney videos. (Cinderella for Kate, Hercules for Drew). When Mike and Melanie got back, we ordered pizza and ate the ice cream we had made.

Last night after everyone left, we watched a movie (my Netflix pick), Transamerica. It was a good movie. A little slow maybe, but a good movie. Felicity Huffman was excellent (nominated for an Oscar in this role).

We went to the late service at church today. It was Renée, the pastoral intern's, last Sunday. She has always been so friendly to us since we have been going to this church. She gave a great sermon, and afterwards a lunch was planned. So at the end of the service, Pastor Paul asked everyone to remain in their seats to say a prayer before lunch. After the prayer, Pastor Paul made another announcement: Renée had planned everything about the service except what was about to happen. When Renée turned around her boyfriend was standing right there with a bouquet of flowers and asked her to marry him. It was really cool. She, of course, said "Yes", after jumping up and down.

After lunch we came home for naps and then headed out to shop for a gas fireplace insert. That wasn't long, as we knew pretty much what we were looking for. Next step is to get a voucher for my employee discount and then order it with the store manager.

The rest of the day we lounged and I worked on organizing my recipes. I tend to save magazines, so every couple months I go through and cut out the ones I really want to save. Now my long list of "recipes to try" is longer.

It's time to get ready for the week, but our house smells of burnt popcorn, as Chad didn't follow the directions and stepped away from the microwave. So in this heat we have the AC turned off, so our house can air out. At least our basement is pretty cool!

Fresh Peach Ice Cream

I made this with Drew and Kate yesterday. Very easy! We ate it with blueberries, raspberries, and strawberries. It was a great dessert! I used frozen peaches as it was easier and I already had a bag in the freezer. From the book that came with my ice cream maker.

Fresh Peach Ice Cream

Makes about 1 quart

2 cups half-and-half
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup nonfat dry milk
3 cups peeled, pitted, sliced peaches or 1 pkg (16 oz) frozen sliced peaches, thawed
3 tbsp lemon juice
2 tsp vanilla extract
dash salt

Combine half-and-half, sugar, dry milk in a blender or food processor and process unil smooth. Add peaches with remaining ingredients and process until smooth. Chill in the refrigerator until ready to freeze. Blend mixture for a few seconds before pouring into the ice cream maker. Follow the instructions for freezing.

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Box Tops

I just recently realized that Kleenex tissue, Viva paper towels, and Cottenelle toilet paper (all Kleenex brands) have the Box Tops coupons on them. According to their website, you'll find them on Ziploc brand bags and containers as well.

Although I usually buy my groceries by cost or preference and not whether they have a Box Top coupon, I do save them for my nephew. And it just so happens that is our preferred tissue, paper towel, and toilet paper, so it works out. Just wanted to give the heads up to any of you that may collect them, so you don't accidentally throw them away.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Poll: Twix vs. Kit Kat

If you had the choice between Twix or Kit Kat which would YOU choose?

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Eating Right on the Road

Since I've been traveling a lot for work, I've had a tough time maintaining my weight. An extra 5 lbs is tough to deal with when you're options are "eating out, eating out, or not eating". So this week, I am concentrating on getting 2 servings of milk each day and 5-a-day. Yesterday I got all of my 5 in, before dinner as I chose a banana over Chex Mix at the hotel's "happy hour". I know strange choice. Even more strange that I drank a beer afterwards... yeah, sounds disgusting, however at the time it didn't seem so strange.

Unfortunately, "Go-Lives" are always teaming with other bad (but oh so good) treats.

I did get up and walk again this morning. Got through Chapter 4 of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, so that's a win. Wish me luck the rest of the week.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Happy Anniversary!!


Happy 39th Anniversary, Mom and Dad! (a day late, sorry!)

Saturday

Friday night, we stayed in and watched The Constant Gardener (a Netflix selection). It was OK. Not my favorite. Tough to follow. Something to think about. Movies about Africa are very disheartening. A huge continent where people are poor, and not enough is being done to help.

Yesterday, I was up early to get to the Y and walk a little. I borrowed Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix on CD from the library, so I'm trying to use that as motivation to walk or work out. So far I'm through Chapter 2. It's 23 discs. Crazy!

We also worked on our yard in the afternoon. Cleaning up weeds, watering, and trimming shrubs. I've officially shown Chad what needs to be watered while I'm away.

Last night, we headed to Coon Rapids to visit the Romes and baby Abby. She slept most of the time, so we all got to enjoy the meal that I prepared (enchiladas and roasted pepper salad. All in all a good day. Today is laundry and packing.

Roasted Pepper Salad with Salsa Vinaigrette

This is a recipe I tried for the first time last night. And it was excellent!! It comes from the Ortega website. Very tasty and a great compliment to enchiladas. It would actually be good side to any mexican dish. The recipe also gave me a chance to practice a technique that I learned from The Take Home Chef: how to roast peppers (*after broiling, place in bowl and cover with plastic wrap to steam off the skin)

Roasted Pepper Salad with Salsa Vinaigrette

Ingredients
6 medium red, green and yellow bell peppers, (2 of each)
1 small red onion, peeled and thinly sliced
1 cup Salsa (Mild or Medium)
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tbls. balsamic vinegar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
3 cups torn lettuce leaves


Directions
PLACE bell peppers on a baking sheet. Broil, turning peppers frequently, until sides are blistered and charred. Remove from broiler. Carefully place peppers in plastic or paper bag (*see above); let stand 10 minutes. Peel; remove core and seeds. Cut into 2-inch strips.

COMBINE bell peppers, onion, picante sauce, olive oil, vinegar, salt and pepper in a large bowl. Cover; refrigerate for at least 2 hours. Serve over lettuce.

Chicken Enchiladas

This is a recipe I've had for quite a while, but I don't make it real often. Usually for company. It also works really well to make a double batch and freeze, then just add the sauce and cheese before baking.

Chicken Enchiladas

4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves

1 onion, chopped
1/2 pint sour cream
1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
1 tablespoon dried parsley
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt (optional)
1 (15 ounce) can tomato sauce

1 tablespoon chili powder
1/3 cup chopped green bell pepper
1 clove garlic, minced8 (10 inch) flour tortillas
1 (12 ounce) jar enchilada or taco sauce
3/4 cup shredded Cheddar cheese

Directions
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
In a medium, non-stick skillet over medium heat, cook chicken until no longer pink and juices run clear. Drain excess fat.
Cube the chicken and return it to the skillet.

Cook the green pepper, onion, garlic, parsley, oregano, chili powder, and ground black pepper for a minute or two with the chicken.
Add the sour cream and cheddar cheese.
Heat until cheese melts. Stir in salt and tomato sauce.
Roll even amounts of the mixture in the tortillas. Arrange in 2 9x13 inch baking dishes or a 10x15 inch bar pan (with at least 1” sides)
Cover with enchilada/taco sauce and 3/4 cup Cheddar cheese. Bake uncovered in the preheated oven 20 minutes. Cool 10 minutes before serving.

Makes 8 servings.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Soooo Pretty

I finally found a new template to use on Blogspot... Yay!! I love the colors. I'm not even going to ask for opinions, because I really really like it. A LOT! But you can tell me if you like it, if you want.

I still want to see if I could publish my own (on my own domain), because last time I found a template outside of blogspot, it went away suddenly, and I was forced to re-design. I must say though I'm feeling more relaxed about it now.

Friday, July 21, 2006

Rescue Me


Chad and I discovered a new summer favorite show: Rescue Me. It's on Tuesdays on FX at 9 pm CST. Great show starring Denis Leary who is nominated for an Emmy for Leading Actor.

The storyline centers around Tommy Gavin (Leary's character) who is a member of FDNY. The storyline includes his family and men in his firehouse. Dealing with life in NY after 9/11. But of course it also has the backstabbing and romance factors of drama, but also a lot of subtle humor.

This isn't for the kiddies though. Shocking what cable TV gets away with after 9 CST. Chad just purchased Seasons 1 and 2 on DVD and we are working on those too.

DVR/TiVo hint: The show starts immediately after the credits, be careful with that Fast Forward!

Moving On? Is it a good idea?

I'm thinking about moving on to my own domain. Seeing what I could do with a blog. I'm kind of thinking that this is good timing as I will be working in Valparaiso, IN the next two weeks, and it might make those hotel evenings more interesting...

Anyone have any experience with this? Of course I'd need my domain hosted, and I'm looking into two possible sites who do hosting: siteground.com and hostingon.com. I looked into others like GoDaddy.com, which was much cheaper, but I don't want to associate myself with those demeaning SuperBowl commercials, or ads on my blog.

I think the main reason, is because I can't figure out a template that I like on blogger, and I'd like some more creative outlet with this. PLUS, it'll be a good geeky learning experience for me. And then I will have to hunt out someone who would be able to help me with a template... I have a few ideas on who that could be already.

Love to hear any comments or suggestions!!!

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Jake's Meatloaf

I got this recipe from my sister-in-law Kim. It is very tasty. Chad has always told me that he's not a big meatloaf fan, but he thought this was very good. The sauce or glaze makes this excellent! I guess the recipe originally comes from the Chickadee Restaurant which was in Woodbury, which I think is now closed.

Jake’s Meatloaf

Mix together:
2 beaten eggs
2/3 cup milk
2 tsp. salt

½ tsp. pepper
3 slices bread (crusts removed, sliced into small cubes)

Then mix in the following:
2/3 cup shredded carrots
1 ½ cup shredded cheddar cheese
2/3 cup onions
2 pounds ground beef

Form a half log shape (shallow and wide) in a glass 9x13 pan.
Cover and bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour.

Cover with glaze and bake an additional 15 minutes.

Glaze:

1 cup brown sugar
1 cup ketchup
4 tsp. mustard

Wonderful Margaritas

I found this recipe a while back on allrecipes.com.

Super easy and yummy margaritas.

Wonderful Margaritas

2 (12 fluid ounce) cans frozen limeade concentrate
1 liter artificially sweetened citrus soda
12 fluid ounces tequila

Empty the limeade into a 2 quart pitcher. Using the empty limeade cans, fill each one twice with citrus soda and pour into the pitcher. Fill one limeade can with tequila (I fill it mostly with tequila and top it off with some Triple Sec) and pour into the pitcher. Adjust alcohol to personal taste. Mix well and serve.

Boat Outing

Sunday: Sarah and Curt had invited us out on their boat. We woke up to thunder and rain, but decided to wait a couple hours and head out a little later.

So the rain passed, and around 1:30 we were in Prescott ready to go out. Curt suggested we head south on the Mississippi, as the weather looked nicer that way. It was a nice day out, although hot. Luckily we were able to retreat to the lower level with air conditioning for lunch. Sarah and I also took a break down there with our pitchers of margaritas, while Chad and Curt discussed TVs, speakers, and such.

Once we got to Red Wing, we decided to go through the lock and go down a little further and then have dinner in Red Wing on our way back. So we headed down a ways, and then decided to anchor so Curt could cool off in the air conditioning too. We played a game of Catch Phrase, and then went back up and the sun was shining and it was gorgeous. So we all enjoyed the ride back to Red Wing. Curt even let me drive the boat, and he got to enjoy the sun deck a little. When we got back to Red Wing, we stopped south of the lock to eat at the St. James Hotel where only the Port was open, so we felt a little under-dressed, but it wasn't very busy, so we settled in.. for a long meal. Much longer than we anticipated. The service was not very quick. By the time we were back to the boat it was starting to get dark, so we were cruising pretty good while we still had light. Although we didn't get far. Once we reached the lock and dam, we found a barge coming through it. And not just any barge, a barge whose load was so big, it couldn't make it through in one trip. So we sat in the boat for about an hour and a half, waiting for this big barge. About 30-45 minutes into it, we realized why the other fishing boat waiting was dark. Mayflies. They were everywhere. Even though they're harmless, they are gross. After we finally made it through the lock, we had the challenge of making it through the channel to Prescott in the dark. Sarah was able to kneel on the sundeck, and point the boat's spotlight around to find the channel markers and we made it back by midnight.

It sure ended up to be more adventure than I'm really used to on a Sunday night, but we had a good time, and hopefully they won't think we are bad luck, and take us out again.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Weekend Outings

We had a busy weekend, packed with seeing and spending time with friends we don't see too often.

Friday night, Chad and I met up with my friend Dano from Cleveland and my friend Rock (who lives here but I definitely don't see him much at all) at Spectator's. It was a good time. Got a chance to meet Rock's girlfriend, and Dano's buddy, Justin and his girlfriend, who I hear about a lot. Justin lives in Savage not far from us at all. And he's a Packer fan, so he's a good guy!

Saturday, Chad was up early to beat the heat with an early tee time. The Kieta's were up from Madison, so Dan joined Chad, Chip, and their dad for the Saturday morning golf. I met Chad, Dan, Angie, Brianne, and Kelly (Angie's friend) at Major's for lunch (also noticed that had the same menu as Spectator's, must be owned by the same company).

After lunch, Angie, Dan, Brianne, and Kelly came over to see our place for a little bit. Brianne went straight for our electrical outlets. Guess we have to get some safety plugs before she comes back.

After they left, Chad and I crashed for about 2+ hour naps. After our naps we headed over to Kelly and Dan's (different Dan, Kelly's boyfriend) new house for a barbecue. They live in a gorgeous big house in Uptown. 3 floors and it used to be a rooming house, Beautiful woodwork and in great shape.

We didn't stay out too late, as we had a day on the river with Sarah and Curt planned for Sunday. But that is another long story, and deserves it's own blog entry!

Thursday, July 13, 2006

5 Daily

In trying to get in 5 servings of fruits and vegetables, tonight I decided to go with bananas and strawberries... on vanilla ice cream with Hershey Syrup. That counts, right???

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Flickr

Yesterday I realized that I could probably find a photo pertaining to almost anything at flickr.com.

Today my point being... I have a headache. Here's just a touch of the 3415 photos relevant to the word "headache" on flickr.

Unfortunately, I don't know much about copyright laws, so there are just links...

If they say "All Rights Reserved" but then they allow you to download the full picture, is that weird??? because there are options about whether you decide to reserve the rights, and also options about whether you can download the actual .jpg.... so I don't get it.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Mid-Summer Vacation

I know that most normal people plan their getaway around the 4th of July, but not us. We planned ours around a Steely Dan and Michael McDonald concert in Tinley Park. Friday we headed out with Chip and Kim (Chad’s brother and his wife) to Chicago. It was about an 8 hour drive as we hit rush hour just outside of Chicago, and we were staying downtown just off Michigan Avenue. Friday night we got to the hotel made arrangements to have dinner with my aunt Marilyn and then headed to the bar in our restaurant for drinks. Marilyn arrived shortly after had a drink with us and then we went to dinner at Phil Stefani’s. We had a very nice dinner. After which Marilyn hopped in a cab to go home and we hopped in a cab and headed to Wrigleyville for some late night action. It was a very late night for me, being a total morning person, but Chad, Chip, and Kim enjoyed the bars and dancing.

Saturday morning we were up early enough (around 8) by about 9:30 or 10, we headed out for a quick bite to eat at Dunkin’ Donuts. We then headed out to do some shopping on Michigan Avenue. Karin and Gabe met us out, and we perused the Magnificent Mile Art Festival for a little bit and then headed down to the Taste of Chicago. We walked through Millenium Park on our way, and got to see “the bean” which was really cool, especially from underneath.
Once at the taste, we got several “tastes” in (my favorite being chocolate chip cheesecake) before heading back to the hotel for a quick nap before cleaning up and heading out to Tinley Park.

The concert was at an outdoor ampitheatre and a really nice facility, although Chad is apparently an outdoor theater snob and kept saying it was “Bottom 5”. It did not stop him from dancing and having a good time. The lady next to Kim told her that he was very entertaining and everyone was watching him. I’d post pictures, but I was told I was not allowed to share those. Not even with Chip and Kim who were there. Michael McDonald was great. And Steely Dan would have been more fun if I knew who they were… but Chad, Chip, and Kim loved it. I did recognize many songs, but when you’re somewhat unfamiliar and the music is loud it’s sometimes hard to understand the lyrics. I definitely would need to brush up on my Steely Dan if we would go see them again.

Sunday morning we headed back very early. Our trip home was much quicker as Chad was driving and made us combine all our stops. When we stopped for a bathroom break, we were also required to eat and fill up with gas even if we had over a half of a tank.

I took Monday off too, as when I requested time off I didn’t know how long the weekend would extend, and figured I would be able to enjoy the time off if I was just at home. And I did! I slept in (8:30 is sleeping in for me). And then spent some time catching up on emails and blogs (although not updating, just reading). I then talked to Steph for about an hour on the phone, then texted Jodi to make lunch plans. After lunch with Jodi, I met Lisa for coffee at Caribou downtown. I then headed over to the Marshall Field’s warehouse to pick up our new coffee table finally, before heading home (unfortunately in rush hour traffic). Last night I spent putting the coffee table together (unassembled is the only way it fit in the Corolla), and then watching several episodes from Season 2 of Will & Grace on DVD.

Today I made it to the YMCA this morning and then it was another day back at work, but I know that if I hadn’t had yesterday off, I would not be a happy camper right now. I’m figuring out that since I don’t have as many friends at my new job, it’s really hard when Chad is traveling for work, because I have such little social contact each day. That was seldom an issue when I worked at Oracle/Retek. At least now that I’m aware of it, I can make more of an effort to make plans and force myself out on people!

Tonight, I am going to do some “light” cleaning and relax a little. Try to get to bed early, so I can get up and hit the YMCA before work again tomorrow.

Will & Grace - Season 1

Anyone out there want to borrow my Will & Grace - Season 1 DVD before I sell it on Amazon?? I have Season 2 that I'm halfway through too.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Get in on this Offer!

I'm a big fan of Craigslist, but I didn't see this ad! I'm just wondering what this guy will do in the winter.

Holiday Weekend – Love & Dislike (Nothing to Hate during a 4 day weekend!)

Love – That I found someone to cover my on-call duties on Friday evening so I could go to the Brewer-Twins game!

Dislike - The family reunion in front of us at the game, as they kept moving around and standing up in front of us (although they were enjoying themselves, so I can’t hate them for that… just dislike and annoyance)

Love – That we saw back to back homeruns and the Twins win!

Dislike - Going back and forth to Menards and hauling bags of mulch and wood chips around the yard.

Love – That our landscaping looks renewed!

Dislike – Waking up early to meet the people coming to help me split Hostas.

Love - That they did all the splitting and replanted several for me. And showed me exactly how it needs to be done, so I can finish up the ones I found in the back!

Dislike – Feeling so tired at the end of the day that I can’t move.

Love – Having Netflix and always having a movie to watch (even if it’s by myself. This weekend it was ShopGirl)

Dislike – Cleaning and more cleaning to get ready to host a 4th of July picnic.

Love – Seeing my house clean.

Love – Having the tiki pool set up.

Dislike - A big doe eating my freshly split hostas on Tuesday morning.

Love – Seeing a deer in my yard!

Dislike – Grocery shopping

But Love – Making lots of food!

Love even more - having people over!

Hate (so there may be a couple) – mosquitos that come out after dark.

Love – the amazing fireworks display our neighbor puts on. (Seriously we think he must have spent over $1000)

Hate – Going back to work after enjoying 4 days off.

Love – That I’m only working 2 days before another 4 day weekend!!!

It's Not Too Late

To start watching Grey's Anatomy! ABC is moving it to Thursday night, and tonight's episodes will be the serie's very first show. Not sure if they will replay the entire season 1 over the summer, but I have it on DVD if anyone wants to borrow it.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Happy 4th of July!!!

Hope everyone enjoys the holiday today!