Funny stories... tales from the road... life with us.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Last NaBloPoMo Post!

Well, 30 days later, I've come to the end of my month of a new post every day. It's been a challenge, but I'm glad to say that this wraps it up!

We are back home after Thanksgiving, and it rained our entire drive today. Ugh. Now the laundry is washing and the Redskins are playing, and Rob just brewed us a pot of coffee to enjoy with a delicious chocolate pastry. A nice afternoon. :)

My favorite part of Thanksgiving was having dinner with my grandfather and everything just seeming normal for just an hour or two, despite the drama that followed thereafter. But, it was worth it.

What was your favorite part of Thanksgiving?

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Recipe Sharing: Rob's Trail Mix

Rob whipped up a batch of his trail mix a few weeks ago, and I packed up little quarter-cup servings to munch on. It's simple and delicious!

Rob's Trail Mix

2 parts peanuts (salted)
1 part almonds (roasted unsalted)
1 part M&Ms
1 part raisins

Optional add-ins are dried cranberries, Reese's Peices, butterscotch chips or golden raisins. Yum!

Friday, November 28, 2008

Phelps Phantastic

Have you ever been somewhere and bumped in to someone, but you don't immediately recognize them because they are totally out of context? That happened to me today as I was browsing a rack of coats at Gabriels, when I looked up and was face-to-face with Debbie Phelps.

For a quick second, I thought, "Do I know that lady? Is she one of my former high school teachers?", when it dawned on me. Michael Phelps mom!

(As an aside, I kind of feel like I know her in a weird way, since Rob is a cousin to Debbie's brother's wife. Strange, I know. But she's from the same area where we grew up, and still has family here.)

Anywho, I waited a beat, and quietly said, "Do you go unrecognized up here?" She laughed, and we chatted for a few minutes. I explained our very distant family connection, and wished her a nice weekend. She couldn't have been nicer!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!

"What we're really talking about is a wonderful day set aside on the fourth Thursday of November when no one diets. I mean, why else would they call it Thanksgiving?"
-- Erma Bombeck, No One Diets on Thanksgiving

"Thanksgiving is an emotional holiday. People travel thousands of miles to be with people they only see once a year. And then discover once a year is way too often."
-- Johnny Carson

"May your stuffing be tasty
May your turkey plump,
May your potatoes and gravy
Have nary a lump.
May your yams be delicious
And your pies take the prize,
And may your Thanksgiving dinner
Stay off your thighs!"
-- Anonymous

Wednesday, November 26, 2008


The countdown is on for Thanksgiving! We'll head out Thursday morning for the drive to Maryland. It's less than three hours, so it's wisest to wait and not fight tonight's nutty traffic. Although, I'm always disappointed to miss part of the Macy's parade since we'll be in the car.

My office is closing at 3 p.m. today, so that will give me some extra time tonight to get packed, make my dish and get ready to head out.

Hope your day-before-Thanksgiving isn't to hectic!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Turkey Pounds

So, making it through the holidays is always tough on the waistline. It was hard for me even when I wasn't paying attention to what I was eating! Now that I'm really working on that (it's been almost a year - and enough pounds to make me happy), I feel I'm pretty ready for this season of eating.

Here's my plan...

1. Exercise every day. This has been my plan since January 15-ish, and I've done pretty well. Of course there are days when I'm swamped or traveling or just plum-don't-want-to, but for most of the days, I've moved it. Now that's it's cold and dark outside, I hit the treadmill at 5:30 a.m. during the week, and sometime during the day on weekends.

2. Eat sensibly. This doesn't mean I can't have desserts or bites here and there of sinfully delicious food. I just really pay close attention to what I'm stuffing down my gullet. I measure lots and eat the recommended portions, and I still enjoy!

3. Don't stress. If I over-munch or celebrate too much with sweets, it's okay. I'll just work a little harder the next day and get back on track.

Wish me luck during these holidays, and I'll do the same for you!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Recipe Sharing: Hot Crab Dip

This recipe is from a girlfriend's husband, who does some part-time catering. It's a great party dish or appetizer for dinner. Serve with crusty bread rounds or crackers.

Hot Crab Dip


  • 1 lb. crabmeat
  • 8 oz. cream cheese
  • 1/4 c. white wine
  • 1/2 c. mayo
  • 1 t. worcestershire sauce
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped

Soften the cream cheese. Add the wine, mayo, worcestershire sauce and garlic. Mix thoroughly. Add crabmeat and gently fold into rest of mixture. Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes, or until browned and bubbly.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Sunday, Sunday

Today has been spent mostly unpacking, doing laundry and cleaning up. We hit the market this morning before church, and I did manage to squeeze in a nap. Soon I'll be thinking about making dinner, so I thought I'd do a quick post.

I can't believe Thanksgiving is this week! We will head up to the are where both of our parents live at some point, and spend a few days with family. Thanksgiving is probably my favorite holiday - it's low stress (no gifts to purchase and wrap), and it's the kick-off to the holiday season. So, I'm looking forward to it.

As I type, Rob's out sweeping a mountain of leaves off of our deck, with hopes that the grounds crew will come suck them up and take them away. (It's part of our HOA payments.) Fingers crossed.

Have a great last-day-of-the-weekend!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Going Home

I'm back at the airport... This time in Boston waiting to fly home. And I'm watching CNN!

After the conference ended Friday, I hopped in my rental car and drove out to Provincetown, where our dear friends own a B&B. I truly love it out there on the tip of Cape Cod. I spent the day going in art galleries, browsing shops and talking with our friends. It was relaxing and fun.

But, alas, I'm ready for home and my own bed. Oh, and Rob too. :)

Recipe Sharing: Sweet Potato Smash

I love this recipe, and with Thanksgiving just around the corner, I thought it was a good time to share. This is super easy and rather nutritious, while still delicious. It's great with pork chops or scallops, or probably anything at all. Enjoy!

Sweet Potato Smash
Yield: 8 (3/4 c. servings)
Note: I never make this much, but just adjust the other ingredients below accordingly. I usually use two large sweet potatoes, or about 2 lbs.


  • 3 lbs. sweet potatoes - washed, peeled and cut in to 1.5 inch cubes
  • 3 tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 2/3 c. low-fat milk
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. black pepper
  • dash of cinnamon or other spices, to your liking (I always add a splash of vanilla too)
  • Bring potatoes and enough water to cover them to a boil. Cook until fork-tender, about 18 minutes.
  • With a few minutes left to cook on the potatoes, melt the butter over medium heat. Swirl around the pan so it doesn't scorch, about 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat.
  • Drain potatoes and return to pot. Add melted butter, milk, salt, pepper and other spices of your choice. Mash until your desired smoothness.

Thursday, November 20, 2008


Today was the coldest day in Boston since February 19. Brrr! Luckily I've been in the convention center most of the time, but getting to a fro', and to dinner, has been freezing.

And since I've been eating a ton, I've been hitting the hotel gym every night. It's a pretty nice facility, and never crowded.

Hope you are having a good week!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008


It's late and I'm tired. Boston is good and COLD! Conference is great so far. Desmond Tutu was they keynote today, and I hit every booth in the exhibit hall, plus two sessions. Tomorrow is four more sessions.

Did dinner tonight with a coworker and our boss. Had a great Italian meal in the North End, then a ridiculous cannoli. Mmmmmm!

Just hit the gym to walk off some of that good food, and off to bed!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Recipe Sharing: Chicken and Corn Chowder

I'm not sure where this recipe came from, but it's a delicious chowder for the cold weather. It's not super waistline-friendly, but sometimes you have to live a little. Enjoy!

Chicken and Corn Chowder
Yi.eld: 6-8 servings


  • 10 bacon slices, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) butter
  • 3 medium onions, chopped
  • 2 cups chopped red bell peppers (about 2 large)
  • 1/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 9 cups low-salt chicken broth
  • 1 1/2 pounds russet potatoes, peeled, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme
  • 2 16-ounce bags frozen corn kernels
  • 1 cup whipping cream
  • 4 cups diced skinned roast chicken
  • 2 cups chopped green onions
  • Cook bacon in large pot over medium-high heat until crisp. Using slotted spoon, transfer bacon to paper towels to drain.
  • Pour off all but 1/4 cup drippings from pot. Add butter to pot; melt over medium-high heat.
  • Add onions and 1 cup bell peppers. Sauté until onions are soft, about 10 minutes.
  • Add flour; stir 2 minutes.
  • Mix in broth and potatoes. Bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium-low; simmer uncovered until tender, about 12 minutes.
  • Add corn, cream, and 1 cup bell peppers. Simmer until corn is tender, about 10 minutes.
  • Add chicken and 1 cup green onions. Simmer 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

Airport Ups and Downs

I've spent a lot of times in airports this year, so the ups and downs, good and bad, and hits and misses are pretty relevant to me these days. Since I'm sitting at Dulles now, awaiting my flight to Boston, thought I'd share a few highlights from each list...

TVs in the waiting areas. Instead of staring at my fellow travelers, I can watch CNN. This was especially good for football the Sunday Rob and I sat in Atlanta!

Starbucks. Yes, I know they are overkill since there are two on every block anymore, but if I'm going to have to get here two hours early, I'd enjoy sipping a skinny vanilla whilest I wait.

Online check-in. At least at Dulles, this is a must. No matter how empty the airport, the United line is always 200 people long. Checking in online keeps me out of that line and a little less stressed.

$$$. Why do I have to pay $15 for my suitcase, or $5 for head phones or $150 if my suitcase is 51 lbs.?? Haven't I already paid enough? Will they soon charge me for the privilege of going through security? And speaking of security...

Slow people at security. Hello? Is it news to anyone that we have to take off shoes and coats to go through security? Don't all laptops have to come out of bags? Who thinks they can carry through their bottle of water or giant bottle of shampoo? These are not new rules, people. Be prepared and stop holding up the line with your wide-eyed wonder at these facts. Move it.

Timing. Maybe it's just me, but I can never seem to time it right. I'm either waiting forever or running to the plane. The variables (parking, security, Starbucks lines (!) ) are too much. How can we make this easier?

That said, I'm thankful for watchguard security and safe travels. Next update, live from Beantown!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Too Soon

"A winter storm warning posted by the National Weather Service predicted up to a foot of snow for far Western Maryland and up to 9 inches by Tuesday afternoon in nearby lower elevations, including Allegany and Mineral counties."

This is where both mine and Rob's parents live... and it's way too early for this much snow!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

I guess I'm a Geocacher

Rob is addicted to geocaching. Basically, this is a treasure hunt to find hidden containers using global coordinates. He uses our GPS to pinpoint the site, and then searches the area until he finds it and signs his name to the scroll inside. Then, he logs his finds on to the official geocaching Web site.

So, Rob being addicted means I have to tag along. Afterall, I'm the supportive wife, right? :)

Saturday we headed to Reston to find some caches there. We had the coordinates and clues from the Web site. Sometimes the containers are big in size (like a peanut butter jar), and sometimes they are tiny-tiny-tiny. We've found them hanging from trees, and in magnet boxes attached to guardrails, and attached to the bottom of a park bench.

We attempted to find a total of six, and we only found three. Rob's been doing his research so we can go back and find the ones where we didn't succeed!

It's not my favorite thing to do, honestly, but I like spending time with Rob and he has a lot of fun on these hunts. So, with him I will go!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

My Favorite Snacks...

It's the weekend, which means I'm likely snacking and grazing all day. That's the bad part of being home! I'd be in big trouble if I worked from home often.

And since I often blog about food, I thought it would be fun to share some of my favorite snacks these days. Here's what I grab when I am hungry and in need of a snack:

What are your favorites?

Have a great weekend!

Let's Keep Dishin'

Rob and I went to Let's Dish last night to do a meal preparation. It was kind of last minute - we found a good coupon online that was expiring, so we signed up quick and went over to make up a bunch of meals.

I've blogged before about how we split all of our meals, either in to twos or threes. That really stretches our dollar, and we end up with more meals. Here's what we got this time:

  • Chicken in cranberry chutney, with egg noodles = 3 meals
  • Sage chicken with golden rice = 3 meals
  • Skewerless chicken satay, with cous cous = 3 meals
  • Thai-style shrimp and noodles = 3 meals
  • Country French flank steak = 2 meals
  • Pork tenderloin with chili apricot glaze = 2 meals
  • Roasted apple pork chops = 3 meals
  • Three-cheese spinach lasagna roll-ups = 2 meals
So, for $170, we came home with 21 meals, plus leftovers for lunches. That works out to $8.09 per each dinner for two.

I imagine that it's things like Let's Dish that get trimmed out of people's household budgets when times get tight, so I think they'll keep on offering good coupons to get people in the door.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Blogroll Wrap Up (part 4)

Wrapping up my blog roll list with the last three on my list. It's been fun thinking back about how I know each of these friends!

Sandi Haustein -- I didn't know Sandi well at Harding, but I knew her husband through the social club where I was a "queen". Weird, I know. Sandi and I had lots of friends in common, and now her family lives in Missouri. She is raising three adorable little boys. I like Sandi's honesty in her blogs, plus the great recipes she shares. She is super-organized and shares her weekly menus, which often gives me dinner ideas too.

Shellie Salza -- Shellie and were both PR majors at Harding, so we shared lots of classes. Shellie is kind and thoughtful and passionate. She lives in Colorado and blogs about her life and funny son Adison. Always a good read!

Stephanie Schwieter -- Stephanie and I had lots of friends in common at HU, including her husband Eric who was in Delta Chi Delta (where I was a queen). Stephanie's blog is much about her little girl Hayley and life expecting baby girl #2 next year! Stephanie is a great mom.

Wongology -- I met Nita through Jeff, who is good friends with Rob. They live across the Potomac in Maryland and have an adorable son, Cameron. Nita has fabulous style and is chronicling life with her two great guys.

That does it!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Blogroll, Take 3

Today is part 3 of my short blogroll... here goes!

Lilac's Shack -- This is the photo blog of my friends Heather and Darrin Shephard, who have two of the cutest kids ever. The name Lilac's Shack comes from the combo of their kids' names Lillian and Isaac. Funny photos and crazy kids.

Maria Roberts -- Maria and I roomed together in Searcy Hall, and then were in a potluck group on Thursday nights after she moved off campus our senior year. Maria is very funny and very kind, and I love reading "All About Aidan" on her blog.

Murphys in American Samoa - Hands-down one of the best written and funniest blogs I read. Philip was sports editor of The Bison at HU when I was editor, and we spent some late nights cranking out that rag. Now Philip and family live in American Samoa, where he is an attorney and he and his wife Jaime are raising three kids. This blog is full of funny stories about life somewhere new.

Robin Kernodle -- I knew Robin at HU too, and she and her husband lived in D.C. a few years ago. Now they are in Texas and raising two beautiful kids. Robin's blog is thought-provoking and fun - she writes about everything from her own personal happenings to her kids' favorite stuffed animals. Always a good read. (private blog)
Wrap up tomorrow!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Blogroll, Part 2

Here goes part 2 of my blogroll run-down...

Gina Savage - Gina and I were in the same wing of Kendall Hall our freshman year at Harding. We had a great crew! Now Gina and Luke are raising three little ones, and she blogs with photos and fun kid updates.

Jennifer Rackley -- Jennifer and I were roommates at Harding during our freshman and sophomore years. Great roomie and tons of memories together - from making signs for our dorm windows to our three-man basement room in Pattie Cobb. Jennifer and her hubby have three sweet little girls, and Jen blogs about the crazy happenings she faces daily as a mom. (Private blog)

Jenny Box -- Jenny is another Harding friend who blogs about her three girls and the beautiful cakes she bakes! Her writing has a great wit.

Leann Alwood -- I met Leann at church, and she's become a staple in my blog and Facebook reading. She is truly a sports fan and passionate about everything from the Indianapolis Colts to Alabama football to North Carolina basketball. Leann has a precious nephew and a rockin' tatoo. A great read.
Still more tomorrow...

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

My Blogroll, Part 1

I have seen many friends explain who is on their blogrolls. So, although mine is short, I thought it would be appropriate to introduce who's who. Here goes Part I:

Andrea Bishop - I met Andrea my sophomore year at Harding, and we were roommates for a semester in Searcy Hall during my junior year. One of my favorite memories with Andrea is the night that the smoke detectors kept going off in our apartment, and Aunt Bee (affectionatly called Beezer by yours truly) called the Searcy Fire Department. We spent a good chunk of the night singing "Fight the Fire" to the tune of "Light the Fire". Andrea actually reminded me of this memory when we reconnected online! Her blog -- all about "good F words" -- is insightful and fun. She's raising two sweet boys.

Carrie Brown
- Carrie and I were in the same social club at Harding, and we had lots of friends in common. I always thought Carrie was one of the nicest girls around campus. We reconnected on blogs last year, and I've loved keeping up with her family. She's moving to Canada soon!

Coffee Break
- This is a great online bible study and discussion, led by Carrie. It's a nice mid-day refresher -- I check in when I'm eating my lunch at my desk.

Danna Ramsey
- Danna is another friend from Harding. I got to know her when she joined a bible study with a lot of my HUF friends. Danna is genuine as she can be, and she's raising three funny girls, who she chronicles on her blog. Apparently she's quite the smocker too!
More tomorrow....

Sunday, November 09, 2008

The Squeaky Wheel

I'm the kind of person who can't just complain about something without trying to change it. I'm a letter writer -- better to kindly share my complaint than to stew in my own frustration!

In the past couple of weeks, I've been on the letter-writing trail again...

Do you shop at Wegman's? Have you noticed their new policy to WAY overpack the bags?? Seriously. They aim to put at least eight items in each bag... which isn't bad when the items are light and non-smushable. But when my bread ends up under a can of crushed tomatoes, or my fruit is packed in a bag so jammed that it all ends up bruised, I get irritated.

A few weeks ago, our bags were so ridiculously overpacked that I'd had it. I took photos of the bags, weighed them, and fired off an e-mail to customer service. Nuts, right??

Our bag weight was about 16lbs each. One bag had a half-gallon of OJ, a half-gallon of grape juice, four cans of something, two cartons of strawberries and a few other random items. All in one bag!!

The manager from the store called me at home, apologized and offered a gift card. I was impressed with his follow-up, and now my policy is to ask the cashier to pack my bags normally, not heavily. Seems to be working!

CoCo Loco

Love chocolate. Eat here. Co Co Sala.

Seriously. Three-course chocolate course. I had the Co Co Grown Up:

mini boston cream doughnut / cappuccino panna cotta

milk chocolate, pb & banana foster split / mini co co. cupcake / malted shooter

mint chocolate chip cone / strawberry cheese cake lolly with pop rocks

Next time, I want to go for brunch!

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Birthday Club

Pretty much, I'm a member of every birthday club out there. $10 off at DSW... free burrito at Qdoba... $15 off at Ann Taylor... free burger at Red Robin. We celebrate the whole month of November!

Last night we cashed in on the Silver Diner. I like that place, and they give their loyal Blue Plate Club members a free entree and dessert. Perfect! During our time there, we heard some funny things from the staff. Here are two of my favorites...

"The special tonight is vegetarian chicken stir fry."
What's vegetarian-chicken mean???

"Most people don't like the apple pie because it's made with fresh apples."
Hmmm. I really prefer fresh apples over any other kind. What other kind would be used for pie???

Language is a beautiful, crazy thing.

Oh - I realize that I blog a lot about food on here. Is that strange?! :)

Friday, November 07, 2008


My name is Kathryn, and I'm addicted to Chocolate Goldfish crackers.

Seriously, these are delicious and not too-bad-for-you, snackwise. Serving size is 51 Goldfish (140 calories).

I picked up a bag at Target the other day, and now I'm hooked. Recommend!

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Ready for the Weekend

Is it bad that I'm four days in to this NaBloPoMo and I have nothing to write?? Maybe it would help if some of you would comment. I know you are reading - now comment!

We are super ready for the weekend! I'm working on finishing up the laundry now so that this weekend will be amazingly laundry-free. Our plans include a swanky dinner out on Saturday and lots of sleep. My 5:30 a.m. alarm really takes its toll by Friday.


I haven't blogged much about the election here, mainly because I respect everyone's right to have their own opinions and to vote the way that they feel they must. That's the beauty of democracy. I will say that I'm pleased with the outcome, and I have a tremendous amount of hope in the days to come.


I just received my first issue of Cooking Light magazine. I've browsed their recipes online for a year or so, and my co-worker's son was selling magazines for school, so I bought a subscription. I'm looking forward to all of the goodies I plan to make!

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Shows I'm Watching

Last spring, I made an effort to cut back on the number of shows I watch. Thanks to the writers' strike, I lost interest in some shows and never picked them back up when new episodes started.

That being said, I do spend a fair amount of time with the tube on, whether I'm working around it, walking on the treadmill or crashed on the couch. Here are a couple of shows I'm really enjoying this season...

  • The Mentalist -- this is new on CBS, and I love love love Simon Baker as Patrick Jane. The storylines are good and the premise is cool. Recommend it.
  • ER -- an oldie but a goodie. I'm liking Angela Bassett as the chief, although I miss Dr. Pratt and Abby. Should be interesting to see how the series wraps up.
  • Grey's Anatomy -- still a fan, although the show has gone through its ups and downs. My favorite is Miranda Bailey - sassy and smart.
  • 30 Rock and The Office -- the two best shows on TV. Watch both.
And here are a few that I have dwindling interest in: Pushing Daisies, Criminal Minds, Numb3rs and My Name is Earl.

What are your favorite shows?

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Casting our Vote

We headed to the polls after work today. The head of my office either let us come in a little late or leave a little early, so Rob and I opted to go vote around 4:30 p.m. No lines at all - we were in and out within about 10 minutes. Now we are parked in the living room watching the returns. I love this stuff.

Did you vote? How were the lines? Are you watching the returns?


"Those who stay away from the election think that one vote will do no good. 'Tis but one step more to think one vote will do no harm."

— Ralph Waldo Emerson

Monday, November 03, 2008


I've seen this on many friends' blogs, so I thought I'd give it a try! It's National Blog Posting Month - make one post every day for 30 days. Since it's November 3 and I'm starting this three days behind, I'll try to catch up.

This weekend is kind of a blur, even though I had my extra flex day off and we gained an hour of sleep. The heating repair man -- who was supposed to arrive by noon -- showed up at 1:30 p.m. ... and then he didn't have the right part with him! (Puzzling, since Rob had told them what needed replaced when we called Monday.) Anyway, he had someone bring him the part, and 45 minutes later he was finished. Hallelujah - heat again!

I had planned to have the afternoon to run some errands, before Rob and I headed out around 3 p.m. to see my parents. No such luck. I scrambled to do a few things in the short amount of time I had, and we actually ended up leaving around 3:45 p.m. Rob can't shake his cold, so I drove and he slept most of the way up. Lucky for us, yummy beef stew and apple cranberry pie awaited us on the other end of our journey!

Saturday we went to visit my grandfather in his new Alzheimer's assisted living place. I had some severe reservations about putting him there, and for my own peace of mind, I wanted to see it. The place seems nice, and not much like a traditional nursing home. It's very "homey" and the people seemed okay. Pop-pop wasn't having a great day, but it was good to see him.

Of course, Mom and I hit the mall (thanks for my coat, Mom!) and we had an early birthday celebration of steamed shrimp and ice cream cake. A terrific combination, if you ask me. :) We came back early yesterday since Rob is still feeling less than perfect, and I hit the market, walked and took a nap myself.

All in all, we had a nice weekend and really enjoyed catching up with my Mom and Dad!