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

Monday, November 30, 2009

Last NaBloMo Post!

It's the last day of November, so I'm wrapping up my November challenge of posting something new every day. It's been fun, but a little exhausting. :)

Thanksgiving has ended, we are getting decorated for Christmas (this is our first time to put up a tree in many years, thanks to our rambunctious kitty!) and we are on the downhill slide toward Christmas. It will be here and gone before we know it.

Thanks for sticking with me, reading and commenting these last few weeks. I've really enjoyed your feedback!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Thanksgiving Wrap Up

Hope you had a happy Thanksgiving! We headed up to my parents' house on Thursday morning, avoiding the Wednesday-night-before-Thanksgiving craziness, and got up there a little before lunchtime. We had a great meal with my family and spent the evening with Rob's family. It's nice when everyone is in the same place!

Friday morning, my Mom and I headed to the mall pretty early. We scored some good deals, although we didn't buy too much and we avoided Wal-Mart altogether. When we got home, everyone else was still asleep! Rob got up, we bundled up in layers (I had on long-johns, a sweater, a sweatshirt, jeans, jacket, hat, scarf, ear-wraps. gloves and hat!) and set out on the Allegany Highlands Trail, departing from the depot and walking toward Cumberland. It was snowing and c-o-l-d, but we had fun! We went about 1.5 miles out, found five geochaches, and walked the 1.5 miles back. Then we went for pancakes at a local diner - delicious!

We decided to head home on Saturday, instead of waiting until Sunday, to avoid the traffic. I decided that after five years, we should try putting up a Christmas tree again. We've not been putting one up, due to the high-level of crazy that emits from our kitty. It's sans-ornaments (that would be waaaaaaaay to much temptation!), but it looks pretty with just the lights. She's already climbed up it and I've chased her away more than a few times, but it's still standing!

Back to work tomorrow, but not before the last of the turkey leftovers for dinner tonight. Let the countdown toward Christmas begin!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Heated Rivalries

Newsweek did a feature on the top 10 rivalries of the decade. Personally, I think some of them are l-a-m-e, but I'm interested in your feedback, too.

Here's what Newsweek said:

10. Angelina Jolie vs. Jennifer Aniston
9. Facebook vs. MySpace
8. Sarah Palin vs. ‘SNL’
7. Federer vs. Nadal
6. Print vs. Digital
5. Google vs. Everyone Else
4. Pixar vs. DreamWorks
3. Red Sox vs. Yankees
2. Mac vs. PC
1. Hillary vs. Bill
Okay, I get Print vs. Digital, since it really has changed the way we receive news. Mac vs. PC has the pop-culture value. And Google definitely thwarts the competition.

But who cares about Jennifer and Angelina? I'm so sick of the Yankees I could scream, and I don't think Hillary and Bill have quite the polar distinction that Newsweek does. I personally think they make a pretty good team, and you can interpret that as positively or negatively as you'd like.

What about China vs. the United States, in a rivalry for development and money? Verizon vs. Comcast? For sports, the Patriots vs. Colts is a better discussion, in my book. Heck, the Democrat vs. Republican rivalry has drawn a lot of heat in the last two years -- where are they?

What do you think are the biggest rivalries of the past 10 years?

Friday, November 27, 2009

Recipe Sharing: Hash Brown Benedict

This recipe was in the most recent Williams-Sonoma catalog, and it looks delicious, so I'm sharing it with you. I'm looking forward to making it soon!

Hash Brown Benedict
Yield: 6 servings


  • 2 lb. russet potatoes, peeled and shredded
  • 2 tsp. cornstarch
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 Tbs. fresh lemon juice
  • Pinch of cayenne pepper
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, melted
  • 3 Tbs. minced fresh chives
  • 12 slices Canadian bacon, cooked until lightly browned and kept warm
  • 12 poached eggs
Rinse the potatoes, drain and pat dry. In a bowl, combine the potatoes, cornstarch, salt and black pepper. In 10-inch fry pan over medium heat, warm the oil. Working in batches, form the potato mixture into 1/4-cup patties and drop them into the oil. Cook, turning once, until golden brown, about 4 minutes per side. Transfer to a paper towel-lined baking sheet and keep warm in a 250°F oven.

In a bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, lemon juice and 2 tsp. water. Transfer to a double boiler set over medium-low heat, until the water is just simmering inside the double boiler. Whisk constantly until the mixture begins to thicken, then remove from the heat and whisk for 1 minute more. Season with salt, black pepper and cayenne. Whisking constantly, slowly stream in the melted butter until incorporated, then whisk in the chives. Keep the hollandaise sauce warm.

Place 2 hash brown patties on each plate. Top each patty with 1 slice of Canadian bacon, 1 poached egg and a spoonful of the hollandaise sauce. Serve immediately. Serves 6.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

My Thanksgiving Wish for You

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!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Recipe Sharing: Maple Pecan Squares

Rob and I went to a technique class at Williams-Sonoma a few weeks ago, and the person leading the class shared this recipe (it's also on the WS Web site). I am planning to make these treats for Thanksgiving -- hope they are as delicious as they sound! (P.S. - hop over to Dallas' blog for a tasty Pumpkin Crumb Cake recipe.)

Maple Pecan Squares
Yield: 24 squares


For the Crust:

  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup firmly packed golden brown sugar
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 8 Tbs. (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into 3/4-inch pieces
For the Filling:
  • 6 Tbs. (3/4 stick) unsalted butter
  • 1/3 cup pure maple syrup
  • 2/3 cup firmly packed golden brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream
  • 2 cups coarsely chopped pecans
Preheat an oven to 350°F. Carefully line a 9-inch square baking pan with heavy-duty aluminum foil, letting the foil extend up the sides and over the edges of the pan. Butter the foil liner.

To make the crust by hand, in a large bowl, stir together the flour, brown sugar and salt until blended. Using a pastry blender or 2 knives, cut the butter into the flour mixture until large, coarse crumbs the size of small peas form.

To make the crust with a food processor, in the bowl of the processor, combine the flour, brown sugar and salt and pulse 2 or 3 times to blend. Add the butter and pulse 8 to 10 times until large, coarse crumbs the size of small peas form.

Press the crumb mixture into the bottom of the prepared pan. Bake the crust until the edges are lightly browned and the top feels firm when lightly touched, 12 to 17 minutes. Set aside.

To make the filling, in a saucepan over medium heat, combine the butter, maple syrup and brown sugar and stir together until the butter melts and the brown sugar dissolves. Bring to a boil and boil for 1 minute. Remove from the heat and immediately stir in the cream. Then stir in the pecans. Pour the hot filling over the partially baked crust, spreading it evenly to the edges with an icing spatula.

Bake until the filling is set when you give the pan a gentle shake, 22 to 25 minutes. During baking, the filling will bubble vigorously, then the bubbles will subside and become smaller toward the end of baking. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let cool until the filling is firm, about 1 1/2 hours.

Using the ends of the foil liner, carefully lift the maple-pecan square in its liner from the baking pan. Run a small knife around the edges of the square to loosen it from the foil. Using a large, sharp knife, cut into 25 small squares. The squares will slide easily off the foil. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days. Makes 25 squares.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Tuesday Top 10

Last Thankful Tuesday of November! Here is a rundown of the things I appreciate this week:

  1. Thanksgiving! Besides the turkey, stuffing and pie, it's always good to be with family and friends.
  2. Cooler weather. I'm ready for turtleneck sweaters, scarfs and fuzzy gloves. Now if only the rain would go away...
  3. Christmas carols -- one local station is playing them 24/7, and I love it! :)
  4. My very cool new pottery mug that I picked up at a craft show last weekend. It's the perfect size and oh, so pretty. Somehow that makes the coffee taste event better!
  5. A good start on my Christmas shopping. I have several things already for Rob and am gathering gifts for others as I go along in the next couple of weeks. I've already placed some orders online and am slowly making progress.
  6. Better 'N Peanut Butter -- a delicious PB substitute, much lower in fat and (almost) just as tasty. Only 100 calories and 2 g. of fat for 2 tbsp.
  7. Big decisions around our house that I'm not quite ready to talk about yet. We've been talking and planning and trying to figure out what's next for us. Stay tuned...
  8. Smart Wool socks. I got three pair at Gabriels in Morgantown at a BIG discount ($3/pair instead of $10/pair at LL Bean). Yay!
  9. My sweet AJ kitty who runs to great me at the door everyday when I come home. She always makes me feel loved. :)
  10. Trader Joe's strawberry cereal bars!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Recipe Sharing: Drunken Risotto with Sausage and Spinach

I made this dish Sunday night, and it's a keeper. Risotto and I don't have a good history together, but this one worked. Even I was surprised! :)

It's from the most recent issue of the Rachael Ray magazine.

Drunken Risotto with Sausage and Spinach
Yield: 4 servings (I think it serves more -- we both had a heaping portion, Rob had seconds, and there's a ton left over.)


  • 3 c. dry red wine
  • 2 c. chicken stock
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 3/4 lb. bulk Italian sausage
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 2 large cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 1/2 c. arborio rice
  • Salt and peer
  • 1/2 lb. spinach leaves, stemmed and chopped
  • 1/4 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg (I used a smaller portion from my spice cabinet)
  • 2 tbsp. butter
  • 1/2 c. grated pecorino-romano cheese
In a large saucepan, combine the wine and chicken broth; keep warm over a low flame.

In a large, heavy pot, heat the EVOO over medium-high heat. Add the sausage and cook, crumbling it and until browned, about 2 minutes. Add the onion and garlic and cook until softened, about 2 minutes. Stir in the rice and season with salt and paper.

Add the warm wine stock mixture a couple of ladlefuls at a time (I used a 1/2 c.), stirring vigorously after each addition and letting the liquid evaporate before adding more, cooking the risotto for 18-20 minutes.

In the last 5 minutes of cooking, stir in the spinach by the handful, allowing it to wilt. Stir in the nutmeg. In the last minute, stir in the butter, and then the cheese.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Do You Yelp?

Yelp has become my new favorite site for reviews. I have an account and primarily do restaurant reviews, but you can find anything and everything on there -- from shopping to stuff-to-do to doctors and more. You can sort by city and find almost anything (at least in the D.C. area).

I wrote a review of our dinner at Founding Farmers on Friday night, pretty much giving them a glowing rating, but noting that it took a little longer than normal to get our check and get out the door. Nothing terrible, and we agreed that it was nice not to be rushed, but we just thought that with the big crowd waiting at the door, it would have been fine to turn our table over a little faster.

Anywho... today I got a message from the manager of FF, thanking me for our nice review. He even offered us a free dessert on our next visit. He asked us to share our server's name (I assume it's probably on the receipt??) so he can follow up and make sure that others don't have that delay in wrapping up their meals.

Impressive follow-up! If you don't Yelp, check it out and find info on the good, bad and ugly of your neck of the woods.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Date Night

Rob treated me to a night on the town on Friday. We headed down into D.C. after work, parked our car near the Kennedy Center, where we had show tickets for later.

As it turns out, we'd both forgotten to grab some change before we headed out, and we needed it for the parking meter. We were near George Washington University, so I stopped three co-eds and asked them if they knew of anyplace we could get change. They just started handing over their quarters and dimes! Rob gave them $2, we fed the meter and set out on foot to dinner. How generous of those girls!

We had a dinner reservation at a popular D.C. restaurant we hadn't tried, but we'd heard lots of good reviews from friends. Excellent! We shared appetizers of skillet corn bread and blue cheese/bacon wrapped dates. The dates were delicious -- sweet and tangy, and not anything I'd ever try to fix at home. Rob had the three-cheese ravioli with herb butter, and I had the rustic chicken pot pie. We were too stuffed for dessert.

After dinner, we set back out for the 10-block or so walk to the Kennedy Center to see A Streetcar Named Desire (the Tennessee Williams play). We'd gotten the tickets months ago, and I'm so glad we did because the play was terrific. Cate Blanchett played the lead role of Blanche DuBois, and the other actors all really stood out too. I really didn't know much about the story going in, so that made it really interesting.

Thanks to Rob for treating me to the show and dinner!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Am I Missing Something?

Are there Twilight fans out there?

Is there something I'm not getting about these books? Should I be reading them? Everyone I know is talking about them. I guess I have a pre-conceived idea that I won't enjoy them, since I don't really like science fiction or fantasy stuff.

Examples: Rob had to draaaaaag me to those Lord of the Rings movies, and I still don't understand The Matrix and think it's probably one of the dumbest movies ever made.

Like me, you are likely seeing stuff everywhere about the new movie coming out. (Or maybe it's already out? I told you I was out of the loop.)

Tell me -- am I missing something???

Thursday, November 19, 2009

I'd Have to Disagree

Oh, People magazine. Really?

I'm not sure what you were thinking, naming Johnny Depp this year's classy title of "Sexiest Man Alive."

I guess he's just not my cup of tea, but I don't really see what qualities make him attractive. Maybe some people really do find that whole bad boy motif enticing. Personally, I do not. Everyone knows I love nerds.... Matthew Broderick, John Cusack, Noah Wylie. Oh - and my hubby, of course.

Next year, please, please, please encourage your search committee to expand beyond the Oceans 11 cast and Hollywoods stereotypical heart-throbs. There are tons of notables out there that are way more deserving. Or at least I think so.


Note: this is my immediate reaction upon learning the Depp news. Who knows, maybe I'll change my mind after I read the article... but somehow I doubt it. If you love Johnny Depp, no judgment from me! :)

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Recipe Sharing: Beef Stew

This is my favorite recipe for beef stew, coming from Rob's America's Test Kitchen cookbook. It's perfect for a Sunday evening dinner, and there's always leftovers to enjoy for lunches or throw in the freezer for a quick dinner later.


Beef Stew
Yield: 6-8 servings


  • 1 3 lb. boneless beef chuck roast, trimmed and cut into 1 1/2-inch cubes
  • salt and pepper
  • 3 tbsp. vegetable oil
  • 2 onions, minced
  • 1 tbsp. tomato paste
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 tbsp. flour
  • 1 c. dry red wine
  • 2 c. chicken broth
  • 1 tsp. dried thyme
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 5 medium red potatoes, washed and cubed
  • 4 carrots, peeled and sliced thin
  • 1 c. frozen peas
  1. Put oven rack to the lower-middle position; pre-heat oven to 300 degrees. Cube and season beef with salt and pepper. Heat 1 tbsp. of oil in the Dutch oven over medium-high heat until just smoking. Brown half of the meat, about 10 minutes, and then transfer to a plate. Return the pot to medium-high heat and repeat with 1 more tbsp. of oil and the remaining beef. Set browned beef aside.
  2. Add the last tbsp. of oil to the empty pot and return to medium heat. Add the onions and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Stire in the tomato paste and garlic, cooking for 30 seconds. Add the flour and cook for 1 minute.
  3. Slowly stir in the wine, scraping up any browned bits. Stir in the broth, thyme, bay leaves and browned beef (along with the accumulated juices). Bring to a simmer, cover and transfer the pot to the oven. Cook for one our.
  4. Stir in the potatoes and carrots. Cover and continue to cook in the oven until the beef and potatoes are tender, about 1 hour.
  5. Remove the pot from the oven and discard the bay leaves. Stir in the peas and let sit for 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste before eating.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Tuesday Top 10

Happy Tuesday! Here are my top thanks for this week -- hope you are having a great day!

  1. Weekend visits with family and friends, as Rob and I traveled to West Virginia and to Ohio to spend time with some of the people we like the most. :)
  2. Sweet AJ kitty who is always so happy to see us! When we got home from our long weekend away, she was waiting by the door. She's been extra friendly and is glad to have us home!
  3. Our upcoming date night. We are going to see A Streetcar Named Desire and enjoying dinner out in D.C. Can't wait!
  4. The Help, by Kathryn Stockett. I'm reading this book now and can't put it down. It's a heart wrenching story.
  5. The kind happy birthday wishes that filled my facebook and cards that filled my mailbox last week -- thoughtful friends!
  6. Spending 30-40 minutes on the treadmill daily. I've been a little flattened with my weight loss efforts (basically, I'm stuck), but I really enjoy getting in a workout and clearing my head or watching a show on the DVR.
  7. Burt's Bees Lip Balm and Dove Cream Oil Intensive Hand Cream -- my two must-haves for the cooler weather.
  8. My new Bublé CD -- love it! Thanks to Rob for a perfect birthday gift. :)
  9. Jolly Christmas carols that are starting to fill the airwaves. It might be a smidge early, but that doesn't keep me from humming along. :)
  10. Trader Joe's Whole Grain Chocolate Chip Cookie Bites!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Boots Update

After last week's fruitless search for new boots, I'm happy to say that I found a pair! I happened by an Aerosoles store and saw a big variety of boots in the window, so I wandered in and found a jolly, very helpful sales gal who guaranteed me that she could get my ankle in any boot in the store.

I don't know how she did it, but she did!

I left with a new pair of black boots that not only fit, but are very comfy and stylish. I'm looking forward to wearing them next weekend when Rob and I venture out on our theater date (more on that coming soon).

Yay for me!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

A Big Cookie!

I was just thumbing through the new Williams-Sonoma catalog and came across this: Sandwich Cookie Cake Pan.

How cute is that???

I'm debating on whether I should spring for it now (I do have a $20 gift card I could cash in), or if I should hold off until December 26 and try to snag it at half-price.

I'll probably hold off, but I'm already planning the fun cakes I can make with this cute pan!


When I broke my ankle last March, I kind of knew there would be shoes in my closet that I would probably not wear ever again. I had a feeling that I'd be bidding some of my cute, strappy heels farewell.

I did not expect that I'd be bidding my boots goodbye, too.

Turns out that I now have kankles.

Correction, I have a kankle.

My right ankle is wider and chunkier than my left ankle. It's very attractive, if I were a table.

I decided to order some new tall black boots from Zappos. I ordered two sizes (I feel like I can do that with free shipping and free returns), and they came last week. They are soft and stylish!

They do not fit.

I can zip up my left boot with no problem. My right boot won't zip up past the top of my foot.

They are going back and I will be bootless.

Goodbye, cute heels. Goodbye, comfy boots. Sigh.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Walken Gaga

Love me some Christopher Walken! He can make almost anything (including these wacky song lyrics) sound fascinating. Have a listen at him taking on Lady Gaga's "Pokerface"...

Friday, November 13, 2009

Recipe Sharing: Corn Chowder

Fall is an excellent time for hearty soups, chowders and stews. I made this recipe a few weeks ago and we really enjoyed it. Warning: it makes a TON, and the cookbook recommends against freezing it. Despite our best efforts to enjoy it for a couple of dinners and lunches, I still finally pitched out a ton. Next time, I'll probably half the recipe.

The recipe calls for 10 ears of fresh corn, but since that isn't available now (and shucking it even when it is would be a pain), I used the option to use frozen corn. I'll note the substitution in the recipe below.

I guess you could add chicken to this dish, but it isn't called for in the recipe. If you want a chicken corn chowder, I recommend this recipe.


Corn Chowder
Yield: Six servings (sayeth the cookbook - I'd say eight or more is more accurate)


  • 10 ears fresh corn, husks and silk removed*
  • 4 slices bacon, chopped
  • 1 onion, minced
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 3 tbsp. flour
  • 3 c. chicken broth
  • 2 c. milk
  • 2 medium red potatoes, washed and cubed small
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/4 tsp. dried thyme
  • 1 c. heavy cream
* Two pounds of frozen corn can be substituted for the fresh corn ears. Puree one pound of the frozen corn (I used the blender) with all of the broth until smooth. Omit the flour from the recipe and use the pureed corn in place of the grated corn.

  1. If using fresh corn, cut corn off of four ears; set aside. Grate the remaining six ears (using a box grater) in a separate bowl. (If using frozen corn -- waaaay easier! -- skip this and see note above).
  2. Cook the bacon in a large Dutch oven over medium heat, until crisp. Stir in the onion and cook until softened, about five minutes. Stire in teh garlie and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
  3. Stir in the flour (omitted if using frozen corn) and cook for one minute. Slowly stir in the broth and milk, scraping up any browned bits.
  4. Stir in the potatoes, bay leaves, thyme and grated corn.
  5. Bring to a simmer and cook until the potatoes are soft, about 20 minutes.
  6. Stir in the remaining corn kernels and cream. Continue to simmer until the corn kernels are tender, yet still slightly crunchy, about five minutes.
  7. Discard the bay leaves. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Restaurant Tell Alls

Last year, New York City passed legislation that required all city chain restaurants to post calorie data on their menus. I think this is an excellent idea! As someone who (mostly) tries to keep track of the calories I consume, it is so helpful to be able to easily find nutrition information. Kudos to restaurants who aren't scared to actually share the good or bad news about the food they are serving!

Here are a few of the helpful nutrition Web sites for restaurants -- do you know of any others?

  • Red Robin -- Customize your burger by adding cheese, taking off the bun, enjoying fries.
  • Starbucks -- Test your latte knowledge or find out how many grams of fat are in your apple fritter.
  • Panera Bread -- Get the skinny on your "you pick two" combo.
  • Baja Fresh -- A nutritional table for entrees and their most popular side orders.
  • Chipotle -- This isn't an official Chipotle site, but it's an excellent calculator for finding out the bad news about your burrito. and are also two great sites, chock full of tons o' restaurants.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Xmas Wish List

What's on your holiday wish list? It's only 43 days until Christmas, and this is the time of year that people start asking for gift ideas... and I'm always stumped. I try to keep a running list of things I'd like to have to pass along as suggestions, although surprises can be fun, too! Here are a few items from my wish list so far....

  • A new food processor. Mine is small and old (a hand-me-down from my grandmother), and I've been eyeing up some of the new models.
  • Pastry Mat -- I saw one of these used at a technique class at Williams-Sonoma, and now I'm a fan.
  • 2qt. baking dish to match my 9x13, 8x8 and pie plate.
  • Gift cards to Starbucks or iTunes.
  • New black socks. All of mine are wearing thin!
What is Santa bringing you?

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Tuesday Top 10

It's week two of the resumed Tuesday Top 10, so here are the things I'm thankful for this week....

  1. A wonderful wedding celebration for my friends Kelly and Brian. Everything was perfect, and everyone is so happy that they are starting their life together!
  2. Spending lots of time with my parents and having dinner with my grandmother this weekend. Always fun to see everyone!
  3. Celebrating another birthday! It's much better than the alternative. :) I believe that 33 will be a good year!
  4. A short week at work... since I took off Monday, it'll make the week go even faster.
  5. Thoughtful birthday messages, cards and gifts from friends and family. It's nice to be remembered!
  6. A jillion loads of laundry, finally washed, dried, folded and put away. (Boo for the fact that the laundry basket is getting full.... again. How does that happen??)
  7. Finding a new pair of jeans that fit. I have the hardest time with this.... too long (even thought I'm tall, I have short legs); fit in the hips but gaps in the waist; etc. The same stuff every girl finds, I supposed. Banana Republic's Urban cut are my new faves.
  8. The accomplishments of not biting my nails for five weeks. It's been tough! I'm trying to stop doing it for a couple of reasons, including trying to avoid picking up any germs and getting them inadvertently in my mouth.
  9. One step closer to that dishwasher I've been wanting.... at least we've started to look in the stores. :)
  10. Trader Joe's mini gingerbread men cookies!
Hope you are having a great week!

Monday, November 09, 2009

Happy birthday to me!

Today is my 33rd birthday. Wow! I guess I should feel old, but 33 still sounds good to me and I don't feel old.... yet. I've never been the kind of gal to feel a crisis coming on about a birthday, so why start now?

I celebrated today by taking the day off from work, running a bunch of errands, having lunch out with my hubby and looking for a new dishwasher. Tonight we are going out to dinner and opening gifts. Love low-key celebrations!

Sunday, November 08, 2009

The Wedding and the Toast

Well, the big wedding weekend came off without a hitch. The bride was beautiful, the ceremony was perfect and my friend is married!

In case you are interested, here is the toast I offered at the reception:

Hello, my name is Kathryn, and it’s my honor to offer a toast this evening.

Kelly and I met a very long time ago, when her family moved into
a house up
e street from mine, and our families quickly became friends. Throughout the last 30 years, we’ve been each other’s shopping companion, traveling buddy, card playing nemesis and confidant for all things good and bad.

What stands out to me about Kelly is that she is as loyal and as sincere a friend as I’ve ever known. She’s always supportive. Always thoughtful. Always encouraging. Always t

I know that Brian knows this, and I want each of you to know what kind of friend Brian is getting in his wife Kelly. His life – and their lives together – will be blessed with this closeness. I know everyone here today celebrates this joy!

The actress Nanette Newman once said, “A good marriage is 80 percent good luck in finding the right person at the right time. The rest is trust.”

Brian and Kelly couldn’t have chosen better people to hold that trust than one another.

So, please join me in celebrating Kelly and Brian – to love, laughter and happily ever after!

Here are a few photos from Saturday. Kelly and I had our makeup done, and I don't think I look quite like myself. :)

Saturday, November 07, 2009

Love and Marriage

In honor of Kelly and Brian's wedding today, I'm sharing some fun quotes about marriage that I found as I was researching ideas for my toast. Enjoy!

To keep your marriage brimming, with love in the wedding cup, whenever you're wrong, admit it; whenever you're right, shut up.
-- Ogden Nash

Marriage is a great institution, but I'm not ready for an institution.
-- Mae West

Love is blind -- marriage is the eye-opener.
-- Pauline Thomason

A good marriage is like a casserole, only those responsible for it really know what goes in it.
-- Anonymous

Friday, November 06, 2009

Good Snackin'

Last week I went to the market on the way home from work, which typically turns into disaster since I'm usually hungry! I ran across a display of these bars at the end of the health food aisle, checked out the nutrition and tossed one in the cart. I'm so glad I did!

Luna Minis may be my new favorite snack. They are half the size of a normal Luna bar, but still packed with nutrients like calcium, folic acid, iron and protein. The minis come in these flavors: S’Mores, Nutz Over Chocolate and Caramel Nut Brownie.

As the Luna Web site says, bigger isn't always better. Sometimes a little bit is all we need!

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Birthday Clubs

I am a big fan of signing up for restaurant birthday clubs and taking advantage of all of the free appreciation they throw my way every November. Here are a few of my favorites -- join them and celebrate your next birthday with these goodies! (Note: all of these coupons are good for the two weeks surrounding the big day.)

What are your favorite birthday freebies?

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Glee and the SSB

Did you see the cast of Glee sing the Star Spangled Banner at game three of the World Series? They did an excellent job! Rob and I like to watch Glee, in part for the campiness of the whole show, but they also reflect a lot of diversity and overall wacky characters.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Tuesday Top 10

It's back for November! Last year, the bloggy-thing to do was to share 10 reasons to be thankful that week. Seeing as how it's November and Thanksgiving and all that jazz, I thought I'd bring it back for the next four Tuesdays. Here goes nothin'.....

1. Celebrating good friends! We are really looking forward to this weekend's wedding celebration for Kelly and Brian. Besides my duties as MOH, we can't wait to spend time with their families and buggy on the dance floor. :)
2. Seven months healing on my broken ankle and a 99% return to normal mobility. For a while, I thought it would never heal. Yet here I am, running and jumping and sometimes completely forgetting that it ever hurt so badly. It still aches here and there, and the scars are slowly fading, but it's so, so much better than I would have thought just a few months ago.
3. Since today is the day we'll elect a new governor of Virginia, it also means that we will FINALLY have an end to the incessant phone calls we receive to vote for one party or the other. I bet we get 10 every day! I am more than thankful that those are coming to an end.
4. Fall weather, cooler temperatures, sweaters and the beauty of the season.
5. My funny husband who loves to tell me about his kills and successes on his Xbox shoot-'em-up games. I have no clue what he's usually talking about, but it's fun to hear the stories nonetheless.
6. Red Starbucks cups and the return of holiday drinks on November 3. Gingerbread latte, I'm coming for you.
7. The new dishwasher I've convinced myself that Rob is going to buy me for my birthday. It's the only thing I've asked for!
8. A job that I continue to really enjoy, even almost eight years after I started. Never a dull day in our office, and fun co-workers really make a difference.
9. Facebook and blogs that keep me in touch with so many friends I wouldn't be able to keep up with without them. Sometimes that are too time-consuming, but I really enjoy following your stories!
10. Jell-o Cinnamon Roll pudding snacks!

Monday, November 02, 2009


Last year, I pledged to blog every day during the month of November as part of National Blog Posting Month. I have a couple of other friends doing it again this year, and since I blogged yesterday (unintentionally!) on November 1, I thought I'd give it a go.

Hopefully I won't run out of things to say. :)

This weekend was busy, but fun. I headed west on Saturday to spend the day with my dear friend Kelly who is getting married in LESS THAN ONE WEEK!! Her big day is next Saturday! We finished her seating assignments, figured out who is eating chicken and who is eating beef, tried on her dress, fooled with her hair and had lunch with the groom. I made it back home in time to make chocolate waffles for dinner and give candy to our handful of trick-or-treaters.

Sunday morning was a washout with buckets of rain coming down, but we headed out anyway after church to a picnic with Rob's geocaching people. I'd made a lemon pound cake and a pasta salad to take (I need some new potluck picnic ideas -- I'm pasta-saladed out. Ideas??), and we were crammed in the world's tiniest pavilion. About halfway through the event, though, the rain stopped and the sun came out. It was a good time and nice to be outside some, although I stayed out of the rain as much as possible as I'm trying to avoid getting sick before my MOH duties next weekend.

Overall, a fun weekend!

Sunday, November 01, 2009

To Whom It May Concern

Dear new thyroid doctor,

It was nice meeting you, and I feel like we'll make a great team to kick my thyroid back into gear. I'm optimistic!

Next time, please don't give me a blank prescription, and then let me know you'll call me with what dosage level to check off before taking it to the pharmacy. The nice ladies at Target didn't appreciate that and refused to give me my medicine until they talked to you.

On a positive note, I'm feeling much better!



Dear Target pharmacy,

Please don't give me a hard time. I only did what the doctor told me to do. I guess I thought it might be a little odd (or, in your word, illegal), but I'm just the one who needs the medicine so I can stop dragging around. My husband will thank you!



Dear insurance company,

Why, oh why, won't you pay for my new prescription? The generic drug you will cover just isn't doing the trick. Won't you please consider paying for it and saving me $55 every month?

My husband will thank you, too!