Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Just Not Right

That's what I keep telling L I am: just not right. I don't think it's lingering from the bout of food poisoning last week, but it could be the fact that I've been staying up way too late recently and not getting enough sleep.

My mother-in-law is visiting tonight and I'm about to head off to bed, even though it's only 8:30. I was sitting next to her on the couch and was falling asleep so after I blog this I'm going to try and sleep.

I actually wonder if it might be the medication I've started taking, because some internet research tells me that flu-like symptoms are a possible side effect. As are crampiness and sore bre*sts. I really really really wish I could stay home from work tomorrow and snuggle on the couch with some books and the remote, but that's not going to be possible. Big seminar thing next week for which I need to do some more stuff to get ready. Yuck yuck yuck. Maybe I can leave early.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Thankful Tuesday

  1. I love my Christmas tree - it's my first one ever and it's absolutely beautiful. I had a lot of fun decorating it with L Friday after Thanksgiving. We listed to Christmas music thanks to my ipod & just had a fantastic day.

  2. Only a couple more weeks of work and then L & I go on vacation to DC. I haven't been since I was a kid, and he's never been. I'm not counting driving around it like we did a few years ago heading from Maryland to Georgia. We're already making tentative plans about what museums we want to see. I can't wait!

  3. I am so grateful to be over the food poisoning that I had last week. Not from Thanksgiving, I had it before Thanksgiving to the point that I couldn't really eat anything on Thursday. It definitely wasn't the greatest Thanksgiving I've ever had but it's over and I'm feeling better now and yay for that.

  4. I ordered myself a little something that I've been saving up for for quite awhile. L encouraged me to go ahead and buy the thing already. Here's a picture of it I stole from Amazon:

Monday, November 26, 2007

Menu Plan Monday

Monday - sandwiches

Tuesday - stovetop meatloaf

Wednesday - spaghetti

Thursday - orange chicken stir-fry

Friday - pizza

Saturday - black bean soup

Sunday - beef in the crock pot. specifics TBD.

Is it completely obvious that I'm unmotivated to cook and even thinking about things for the week ahead is unappealing?

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Memory Verse

Hebrews 12:11, New International Version

No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

This Week in Books

A day late, but it's a holiday weekend, so it shouldn't count against me, right? And anyway, it gave me more time to finish more... Oh, nevermind. I only finished one book all week. (Again, I blame the food poisoning incident. It left me uninterested in any books, which is always how I know I'm really sick.)

A.J. Jacobs
The Year of Living Biblically: One Man’s Humble Quest to Follow the Bible as Literally as Possible.

Really enjoyed it. Of course, I also really enjoyed finding an error in his book when he wrote about what one group does that I know is wrong. I know I'm in the very small group who would have been able to catch it, so it made me smile - ha ha, he didn't check his facts completely!
Petty quibble aside, this was fascinating reading his account of what it was like spending 8 months trying to follow all the laws in the Old Testament, and 4 months the New Testament. I really appreciated that for the most part, he was really respectful of the customs and rules he was trying to follow - I think it would have been very easy to go into it in a mocking way, and he virtually always avoided that. One of my favorite parts are when his wife thwarts him by sitting in every seat in the house, leaving him with no places left to sit (since he can't sit anywhere she has while she is "unclean" a.k.a. having her period). The description of it is great - he keeps trying new chairs and she deadpans "sat there." "Sat there too." "Yeah, sat there." "And there, and there, and there." My other favorite part is where he manages to out-talk the Jehovah's Witness. I had no idea that was possible. ;)

Friday, November 23, 2007

Thanksgiving Weekend Continues

Considering that I've been pretty sick since Wednesday evening,* today was a really nice day. Out to lunch with my sweetie. Stopped by the store to buy ornament hangers, (because I'm the goofball who didn't know you needed to buy hangers to hang ornaments. I thought you just bought ornaments.) Watched some SEC football. Decorated my first tree (it's beautiful!). Drank tea. Ate cookies. Didn't throw up.

All in all, a good day.

*Food poisoning stinks. Especially before Thanksgiving so that you can't enjoy turkey and all the side dishes. And especially the desserts. Darn you tainted food!!!

Thursday, November 22, 2007


I mentioned yesterday that I love Thanksgiving. And I do. Growing up, my family didn't celebrate Christmas so Thanksgiving took on either more importance. It's still the only real holiday I can celebrate with my parents (sorry, 4th of July just never was a big deal in my family so it doesn't feel like a holiday celebration for me). They live several states away however so we don't see them often.

Next year my mom has asked us to come visit for Thanksgiving, and by "us" I mean my whole family, the tiny amount of it there is - two brothers and their families, and an aunt. I'm not sure if my uncle and his family will be there or not. Probably not; we tend to only see them at weddings and we're weddinged-out for awhile. I realize compared to a lot of people that's not a bad sized group - even without my uncle, and counting all kids, no matter how small, it would be 12 people. But my husband's family is quite large, with seemingly endless numbers of aunts, uncles and cousins. Twelve is laughable for them. Just his immediate family (parents, siblings & spouses & nieces is 13+. The "plus" is dependent on whether or not some of his siblings have current significant others in attendance. Usually a yes with at least one of them. I think the size also seems different with his family because, how to put this nicely, well, they're a lot louder than mine. More talking, more loud talking, more hugging, just MORE.

It overwhelmed me at first. It still does occasionally, but it's starting to grow on me. Now if they'd only let me go hide in peace now and then when I need to. Hey, I'm an introvert.

I've really drifted with this post - started with Thanksgiving and it morphed into a description of my inlaws.

To bring it back onto the original topic, this Thanksgiving will not include any of my family, and none of his immediate family. But it will include some of his aunts and uncles and cousins and one grandmother. Total number of guests I believe will be about 13, with another 8 possibly dropping by for a brief visit. The loudness will be there.


[Somehow I saved this as a draft and forgot to post it yesterday. But it was written! I blame it on the grossness that was taking over my digestive system (see Friday's footnote)]

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Grocery Shopping

Yeah, so I went to Super Target yesterday. I knew better than to go today when everyone would be doing last minute panicked shopping. Must have green beans! And cream of mushroom soup! And fried onions!!!

Seriously people, that casserole is gross. My husband loves it however, especially made with canned beans and that to me is completely inedible.

Anyway, I wasn't really planning on writing about green bean casserole, just saw two separate endcap displays with all the fixins' for it. Apparently they're expecting a run on green bean casserole stuff.

Talking about green bean casserole reminds me of last Thanksgiving, where I was asked to bring it. So I made it with frozen green beans; then at least it's edible for me. But, even better, is that I made a separate dish of green beans almandine. Guess which ones went first? Yup, the version with almonds and no nasty soup. This year I wasn't asked to make it so I'm sure it's back to gross canned beans so no beans for me Thursday.

Back to Target, it was very busy but I eventually got all my stuff and then waited FOREVER in line because after I'd unloaded enough items to fill the conveyor belt, the computer crashed as the checkout person was processing the customer's payment. Well, crashed may not be exactly what happened, but they said it shut itself off, so that seems like a crash to me. So they had to wait for it to reboot, then ring all of her stuff again, then she paid and then finally my order could start being rung up. Ugh, did I pick the wrong line. Fortunately I was smart and had visited the bathroom before I started shopping so I was not desperate like I would have been otherwise.

Got home and fortunately hubs was home and helped me carry the bags inside. Then I made him take me out to dinner because I was worn out and starving. He's a good guy.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Thankful Tuesday - Thanksgiving Themed

  1. It's Thanksgiving! My favorite holiday because it doesn't carry with it the expectations and family issues that Christmas does.

  2. Turkey this week. I do love turkey, but never make it myself because it just makes too much and I don't want that much leftover turkey. Plus my husband and I don't like dark meat so it really gives too much of meat we'll never eat.

  3. A three-day work week. Woo-hoo! Gotta love that. Thursday will be spent with my husband's family, then Friday we'll decorate our Christmas tree. I may do some baking. Over the weekend will be more decorating, baking, listening to music, reading, etc. Fabulous!

Monday, November 19, 2007

Menu Plan for Thanksgiving Week!

Last week didn't follow the plan very much - only made one meal that was on the original list. Maybe this week will follow it a little more, but even if not, it's good to have some ideas in advance, so with that: What I think I'll make this week:

Monday - Mexi-Mac Skillet (Light & Tasty, October/November 2007 pg. 26) [yup, from last week]

Tuesday - Orange Chicken Stir-Fry (Light & Tasty, October/November 2007 pg. 27) [yes, last week's again]

Wednesday - Sandwiches.

Thursday - TURKEY!!! And all I have to do for it is bring a dessert and drinks.

Friday - Black Bean Soup.

Saturday - Spaghetti. Yum yum.

Sunday - something in the crockpot that will provide leftovers.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Blogs I Love

(semi-)regularly updated and expanded...

Biblical Womanhood
Of course I love this one, I link back to it just about every Monday.

A Chelsea Morning
She makes me wish I was crafty and could sew/create like she does. Or that she'd adopt me.

Confessions of a Pioneer Woman
Another great one for photographs, and her posts are wonderful - funny, touching, appalling or some combination.

Cookie Baker Lynn
Great writing, great photographs, and great recipes. What's not to love?

Making Home
Thought-provoking and inspiring.

The Pioneer Woman Cooks
Great photography, and some luscious sounding recipes. Especially those cinnamon rolls.

Pleasant View Schoolhouse
The photographs by her son which she regularly posts are fantastic.

I started reading her regularly when she went to Uganda, and couldn't leave. She's fantastic.

Memory Verse

1 Peter 1:23, New International Version

For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Christmas is Coming

Not a big surprise or anything, but I'm really looking forward to it this year. My husband and I haven't really done anything for Christmas before but this year we're getting each other gifts. And we have a tree. And a wreath is ordered. And cards will be sent out (need to get working on them).

I need to finalize my wish list so I can share it with my husband (and I need to think of a pseudonym for him to use while blogging.) He's already shared his list with me, and I've even purchased his first gift. Shhhh - it's a pair of warm slippers for him to wear around the house. We keep the heat low to save on the gas bill but it does then require warm socks and slippers or shoes. His current slippers are very thin and not very comfy.

Friday, November 16, 2007

This Week in Books

Not much competition to be included this week, since I only finished three books all week.

Irene Spencer
Shattered Dreams: My Life as a Polygamist’s Wife: A Memoir
Somewhat hard to read because of the difficult life she had - living in abject poverty as the second wife (of an eventual total of ten wives). Somewhat repetitive (she's jealous! she doesn't see him enough! they have no money!) overall it is a compelling read.

Sue Ray
And Now For the Good News... A Mega-Dose of Positive News to Inform, Inspire, and Fill You With Optimism.
I wanted to like this much more than I did. I skimmed this so heavily, finding the stories not really what I was expecting, and not at all leaving me filled with optimism.

Jennifer Lee Carrell
Interred with Their Bones
Amazon reviews are comparing it to the DaVinci Code. Since I never read that book, I can't speak to their similarities, but it reminded me of the feel of The Historian. The scholar finding something that leads to a search across continents while being chased by a killer. That brief synopsis does no justice whatsoever to the story however, which is filled with detailed Shakespeare trivia. Not being a Shakespeare buff, I have no idea how correct her claims are, but the story worked for me. What I didn't like is a general novel pet peeve - the extremely wealthy protagonist (or friend) who enables the protagonist to never have to worry about funds. Need to hop a plane to fly across the Atlantic? Here's your first class ticket. And a suitcase fill of new, expensive clothes for you since you had no time to pack. And on and on it goes.

Thursday, November 15, 2007


That's how I'm feeling about work lately. I'm getting supremely frustrated with things that used to not bother me, or at least not much. I know a lot of my frustrations are because I never expected to be in the job for as long as I have been (3 1/2 years now) but I still need to figure out a way to deal with it better, or decide that it's time to move along.

But to what, that is the real question, and one I've been debating for quite awhile. Since my husband & I have been trying to have a baby for almost 2 years, my interest in pursuing a serious career-type position is low. However, there is no guarantee that we will ever have a baby, so perhaps I should get serious about moving out of my dead-end job. And I shouldn't call it a dead-end job, because it's not like what that usually implies. It's just there is no place to move up in my job, unless some coworkers leave, which isn't something I really want to wait on.

The hubs is encouraging me to just quit - we don't *need* my paycheck, although it does cover all those fun things like new computers, regular vacations, a generous eating out budget, etc... It's also what's allowed us to save up that often recommended 6-month emergency fund. We'd have to watch our spending lots more, and not put as much money toward paying the mortgage early. Maybe that's not reason enough though.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Layered Enchilada Bake

Fixed this tonight and it was a winner. It was simple & tasty, so even though I don't really like using prepared taco mix & salad dressing, it's nice to know this works for evenings when I'm looking for something easy.

Layered Enchilada Bake

1 lb. lean ground beef
1 large onion, chopped
2 cups salsa
1 can (15 oz.) black beans, drained, rinsed
1/4 cup Italian dressing
2 Tbsp. taco seasoning mix
6 flour tortillas
1 cup sour cream
1 pkg. (8 oz.) shredded cheese

Preheat oven to 400ºF.

Brown meat with onions in large skillet on medium-high heat; drain. Add salsa, beans, dressing and seasoning mix; mix well.

Arrange tortillas in single layer on bottom of 13x9-inch baking dish; cover with layers of half each of the meat mixture, sour cream and cheese. Repeat all layers.

Bake for 30 - 40 minutes or until casserole is heated through and cheese is melted. Let stand 5 min. before cutting to serve.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Thankful Tuesday

  1. Once again didn't have to do my most loathed task at work, thanks to an eager intern.

  2. Drs. visit today (fertility specialist) went well and I feel hopeful that we will eventually (soon?) become pregnant.

  3. Bought two new bras so it'll be nice to be able to pitch some of my old, worn-out ones. I hadn't realized just how ratty some of them had gotten!

Monday, November 12, 2007

Menu Plan

What I think I'll make this week:

Monday - Pumpkin Corn Soup (Light & Tasty, October/November 2007 pg. 50)

Tuesday - Mexi-Mac Skillet (Light & Tasty, October/November 2007 pg. 26)

Wednesday - sandwiches

Thursday - Orange Chicken Stir-Fry (Light & Tasty, October/November 2007 pg. 27)

Friday - leftovers/pizza/sandwiches

Saturday - Layered Enchilada Bake (Kraft Fall 2007 pg. 32)

Sunday - something in the crockpot that will make tasty leftovers.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Memory Verse

John 3:18, New International Version

Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God's one and only Son.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Gingerbread House

I met some friends today and decorated a small gingerbread house, something completely new for me. The lady who brought the houses & stuff to decorate them with is very experienced at it, and has won awards and had her houses featured in magazines, so it was really quite a treat to have her helping us out.

Things I learned while decorating:
  1. I do not have a very steady hand while using the icing bag.
  2. Royal icing dries really quickly.
  3. So make sure you've got things where you want them before using the icing to place them.
  4. Royal icing also kind of smells gross to me.
  5. Like meringue.
  6. Perhaps because it's basically like meringue with lots of powdered sugar.
  7. Gumdrops are fun to use for decorating.
  8. They make neat trees.
  9. As long as "neat" means fun/cool/interesting, and not literally neat.
  10. Because my trees weren't literally neat.
  11. They were kind of leaning.
  12. Perhaps even deformed looking.
  13. I'm not the best decorator.
  14. But I still had fun.
If I can track down my camera & camera cord, I'll post a picture of my house.

Friday, November 9, 2007

This Week in Books

Not the best week; I seemed to stall quite a bit and not finish very many.

Underhill, Paco
Why We Buy: The Science of Shopping.
Fascinating look at the behind-the-scenes of the retail industry. I can't imagine doing the work his company does (hours of observing shoppers or store footage) but the conclusions are really intriguing with entertaining anecdotes. The book was written before the boom in online shopping, so I'd love to read an updated version that analyzes web retailers (that chapter was woefully outdated). I think I'm going to look for his other book, about the geography of shopping.

Ferguson, Alane
The Christopher Killer.
A young adult mystery, although it wasn't cataloged as one by my local library, and not a very good one. Gaping plot holes, inconsistent characterizations, and an obvious killer. I am not making any effort to find additional books by the author. Very disappointing. At least it was a quick read.

Farran, Susan
The Fireman’s Wife: A Memoir.
I've read a number of memoirs / autobiographies / biographies of firefighters, but this is the first one written by the spouse of the firefighter that I've read, and I really enjoyed the different perspective. The narrative flowed well, and my only real complaint was with the heavy-handed foreshadowing of her husband's serious accident while working. Still, for the most part I enjoyed it.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

What is wrong with me??

Found a new blog today and have spent the last 3 hours reading through archives. I can't imagine why I get so little done from my to-do list and my house is a mess.

Oh, and dinner tonight? Microwave popcorn & homemade rocky road "fudge".* Good stuff.** Wonder why my stomach is a little upset. Surely it has nothing to do with the horrific food choices I've made this evening.

*I used pecans instead. Way better than walnuts.

** Might be really tasty made half with peanut butter instead of chocolate. May have to try that if there is a next time.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Guilty Pleasures

I'm going to confess a secret here. I'm addicted to Dancing with the Stars. I make my husband record it, and he always watches it with me. I think he's really looking forward to it ending (fairly) soon, but he does at least indulge me in my whim and watches it with me.

I can't decide who I want to win, which I think is just confirmation that I don't really have a favorite this season. I think Helio is my least favorite of the ones left (Mel B is my husband's least favorite) & we both like Jennie a lot. Marie is inconsistent for me - I *loved* her quickstep last week but other times she disappoints me. Cameron has grown on me, and I do think he entertains. We were both glad that Jane left this week, not because she's terrible or anything, but because we prefer the other five more. Can't wait to see next weeks.

Oh, and the trick to the show is RECORDING IT. Sheesh, what a tremendous amount of commercials/annoying Samantha interviews. So much nicer being able to fast forward. But don't fast forward through any DanceCenter spots - those are really funny!

One final suggestion, if you miss an episode, read all about it at my favorite recap site, Television Without Pity.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Thankful Tuesday

  1. I haven't had to do my least-favorite task at work for a couple of weeks now, due to being out-of-town, an intern wanting the opportunity to try it, and other reasons. Whatever the reason, it delights me to no end.

  2. Fall is here in all of it's cool-temperatured glory. I love love love fall & sweater weather. I love soup & can't fix it during the summer because my husband doesn't consider that soup-eating weather. So I'm always thrilled when the temperature drops enough that I'm able to start fixing soup again.

  3. Recently got back from a trip to New York. It was my first time there, and it was FANTASTIC. More on that later...

  4. I survived getting a flu shot. Another first for me. I feel like such a grown-up.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Menu Plan

What I think I'll make this week:

Monday: baked potatoes with leftover lentil vegetable chili & steamed broccoli.

Tuesday: spaghetti & salad.

Wednesday: chicken of some sort.

Thursday: black bean soup & corn bread.

Friday: pizza.

Saturday: sandwiches or whatever else we can scrounge up from the fridge/freezer/pantry.

Sunday: slow-cooker day. herbed beef with noodles (Light & Tasty December/January 2008 issue, page 26). Or at least this will be my jumping-off point since I'm sure to modify the recipe.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Memory Verse

Isaiah 26:3, New International Version

You will keep in perfect peace
him whose mind is steadfast,
because he trusts in you.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Where'd I Go?

I started this new blog with such good plans of posting semi-regularly (3 to 4 times a week) & that lasted for less than a month. But why is that? Well, in part because September involved family in town & visiting and then October involved me doing a lot of traveling - both for vacation & for work.

This is on top of work being more crazy right now because of a big huge project with a deadline of next week. And I really do mean deadline - this isn't something where it can possibly be pushed back or anything. I'm not even that involved with it like some are, but the effect has trickled down to me, as urgent things get handed off & such. I think it's just also caused a lot of mental stress being around so many people who are heavily involved with it who are really stressing out. I think things should improve after next week. Well, until the next deadline looms anyway. ;)

Friday, November 2, 2007

This Week in Books

Jane & Michael Stern's Roadfood Sandwiches: Recipes and Lore from Our Favorite Shops Coast to Coast

I loved this book, although it would have been even better if it had had pictures. Sadly, the only picture is the one on the cover. While I doubt I'd ever make any of the sandwiches described, I loved reading the stories behind them, and got some ideas for places to visit, both in my home town & while traveling.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss' Choosing Forgiveness: Your Journey to Freedom

This was a much quicker read than I'd expected, and I really appreciated how the author stressed that there were no quick fixes, or guarantees of what would happen, but still emphasized how essential it is for Christians to forgive (and ask for forgiveness). Although the book is back at the library, I'm still reflecting on things it brought to mind.

Molly O'Neill's Mostly True: A Memoir of Family, Food, and Baseball

A well-written & enjoyable memoir by a former columnist of the New York Times. Until reading the book, I hadn't realized that Molly is the older sister of former MLB player Paul O'Neill. I shared a number of the "Paulie" stories from the book with my baseball-loving husband who really appreciated him. The book really is good for anyone who likes family stories, food stories or baseball stories - it's full of all three.

Thursday, November 1, 2007


Since I've done such a terrible job with posting lately, I'm jumping on the National Blog Posting Month bandwagon as a motivation to get in the habit of blogging over here. We'll see how it works.