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Celebration & Relaxation

Last weekend my lil bro graduated from Carnegie Mellon University with a Master’s degree in English/Rhetoric.  Way to make a big sis proud lil bro! Quite the smart cookie he is… let me just tell ya!

After a dinner with family & friends in celebration of his graduation,  someone threw out the idea of heading to the cabin for the night. That’s all I needed to hear.

An overnight at one of my favorite places to be. My special getaway release.

So everyone made a dash home to pack up a few necessities for the overnight & started the trip up the mountain for some much needed rest & relaxation; or some adult beverages, a camp fire in the rain,  awesome tunes & great peeps, conversation & laughs.

Time just seems to escape you there … as the last of us crawled into bed a bit after 5:00 AM! This is one place where sleep isn’t as much of a necessity as for me it’s seemingly easier to function on little to no sleep at all night after night.

This impromptu,  spur of the moment overnight at the cabin was just what I needed. In the immediate it provided me a carefree night to kick back & chill listening to tunes with great people and not worry about all that needed to be done.  It also served as a preview to and reminder of what’s to come & look forward to in the summer months.

A get away without having to hop on a plane (though I’m thinking it’s about time I get on one of those things!). A momentary lapse in time that allows me to leave the worries at home… putting on my comfy cabin clothes,  lounging by the fire,  taking walks along the creek … maybe even a game or two of corn hole or beer pong if we’re feeling at all ambitious.

I so needed cabin time… looking forward to lots more night like last Saturday throughout the summer to get me through & keep me sane!

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Wonderfully Awesome Weekend

Hello friends! How are you all? Hopefully doing well since I last posted!

It certainly has been a while since I’ve posted. Quite honestly I’ve been dying to post but between my crazy, busy schedule, my laptop still on the fritz & some situations that have rattled me & ruffled my feathers I haven’t had much of a chance to breathe let alone blog as of late.

Tonight though, I decided to put everything aside and make time to write and catch up with my blogging friends … I’ve missed you guys!!! Seriously missed ya!

Hmmmmm. Where to start?

Work is keeping me on my toes & keeping me more than busy. Between our end of year picnic & graduation this coming Friday for which we are expecting nearly 300 people and preparing for our huge summer program that begins next wrek I’ve got about 5 to-do lists going at the same time. Super busy time of year for us with the littles & then quickly transitioning to welcome a bunch of school-aged kids for summer. Lots of work but looking forward to seeing all the planning come to fruition.

Family has its way of keeping me busy lately too. Between lil bro’s graduating from CMU with a masters degree in English/Rhetoric to P-Dub’s upcoming 1st birthday to get togethers to Relay for Life fundraisers to home parties… you name it we’ve had it going on.

Life my friends, is good. While it has its way about throwing you some curve balls at times you learn lots about yourself and those around you. Some good, some not so thrilling. Pray on it. I have & will continue. Sometimes a prayer can be answered & you end up getting caught up & a lil hurt in the process; in a way you didn’t expect. The answered prayer, even though it was prayed and meant whole heartedly can still cause a tiny bit if hurt depending on the situation; a tiny bit of conflict within leaving you confused by being disappointed & happy at the same time. It’s a weird thing to experience. All I can do is listen to my heart, learn and continue to believe & pray that all things will work out in time. Not my time…not in your time either. Only in his time.

Anyways… forgive my digression there! Moving on to this most wonderfully awesome weekend I had.

A very positively poductive weekend indeed. From getting a special order of 12 frames completed on Friday to writing this blog from the comfort of my deck (on my teeny tiny phone keyboard I might add!) it was a pretty bang up good weekend to end a busy week while also ushering on an even busier week ahead.

The best part about it was the weather men were wrong! We had 2 absolutely gorgeous days this weekend in spite of a partially rainy forecast. Woo-hoooo!!!!!

Yesterday was filled with a good bit if outside time… hit up some yards sales with Jaime early in the day followed by a trip to the Goodwill Outlet Store. That place was an experience in and of itself & deserves its own post which will hopefully come in the nezt couple of days. Good deals including three pairs of brand new name brand shoes! Score for sure.

After our bargain shopping adventures I was beat but somehow managed to resist the urge to take a nap. Decided instead to wash my car & clean the interior as well. Miss Serendipity looks stunning if I do say so myself! I was saddened a tiny bit upon seeing the little nicks & scratches my pretty little car accumulated since her last washing. Two dents on the hood from the hail storm we had a while back and little chips I can only assume are from stones coming up off the road. Nicks and all I love my little car! ūüôā

I picked up the 2 flats of flowers I ordered from B-Shane at mom’s house and brought them home to plant. My little deck looks positively bright & cheerful with the addition of fushia Impatiens, white Vinca and purle and yellow pansies. A new addition this year was a tiny step ladder (yard sale find) to hold 3 pots… looks adorable!

Today was the day they were calling for rain. I myself didn’t see, hear or feel a drop though I was told it had briefly this morning. The sun shone beautifully pretty much all day! After church I decided to go tanning, using a gift certificate I was given as a birthday gift LAST year for my 32nd birthday. Yep…about to be 33 in two months & I just used the first session today!

After tanning I came home & laid down for just a bit & then headed to work for a little while getting some items crossed off of my to do lists.

Went for a much needed walk with my cousin & chatted the miles away in the evening sun. Exhausted by the end but rejuvenated by the fact that we made it up the last hill without falling over!

Ran to the grocery store to pick up a few things for salads for the week. Dinner was exceptionally delicious if I do say so myself. A salad made of sweet butter lettuce, cucumbers, fresh raspberries, dried cranberries, and green olives with fat free raspberry vinaigrette dressing. I bought a new brand and I LOVE it!

So here I am now winding down the evening; enjoying the cooler air outside instead of my warm apartment … thinking about an ice bath for my knee…. mentally preparing for the week ahead.

Thankful for such a nice weekend in the midst of all the business that’s behind me and all that is yet to come.

Glad I made the best out of it considering curve balls that were thrown my way… got lots done that needed done; not too shabby given that I wasn’t feeling so hot in recent days either. Sometimes being a girl can be rough… just sayin’.

Keeping my head up & looking towards the goal… a promise of days to do what I want, when I want. VACATION, my friends. Thinking about that word gives me the tingles! Less than two months away with no major plans for 10 days I can hardly contain myself just thinking about it!!!

So that’s enough about me… now it’s your turn! What’s been going on in your neck of the woods?

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Julia Child, I am not!

Try as I may I am not too graceful in the kitchen.¬† Even with the best of intentions of having recipes collected, grocery lists made, ingredients brought home, and new kitchen gadgets, my skills in the kitchen just don’t always pan out.

I will say that my cooking adventures do make for quite the humorous of stories… It’s much easier for me to laugh at myself in the kitchen versus getting completely distraught¬†and frustrated.¬† Even if a few choice words end up falling off the tip of my tongue at some point¬†during a kitchen “fiasco”¬†I do somehow end up laughing at some point during or¬†immediately¬†after.¬† I’ve come to learn that I just can’t take myself seriously in the kitchen!!!¬†

My motto in the kitchen... and life in general!

My lack of¬† success in the kitchen has not stopped me from volunteering my “skills” to others.¬†
 
For example, a fellow director and myself decided we were going to make lunch for all of our teachers last week in celebration of Teacher Appreciation Week.¬† Keeping in mind that both of us are extremely busy, we kept the menu quite simple.¬† I was responsible for making Ham BBQ Sandwiches, baked beans and brownie cupcakes while my partner in crime was to make hot dogs, potato salad and pies.¬† Sounds like a pretty easy task, don’t ya think?¬† It WOULD have been if it were anyone other than this girl!!!¬†
 
Making Ham BBQ for 21 people was a little bit tricky… How many pounds of chipped ham should I buy?¬† What would you say?¬† I opted to buy 5 pounds and was unsure if it would be enough.¬†¬†
 
I have no recipe for the sauce… it’s¬†sort of a¬†hodge¬†-podge¬†concoction¬†that ends up being a little bit different every time I make it.¬†¬† This time I did add a special ingredient that really made the sauce just a bit more delicious!¬†¬†Who woulda¬†thought that a jar of sweet hot pepper mustard would have been such a fabulous idea?¬† Mmmmmm.¬†¬†¬†
 
Did you know that 5 lbs of chipped ham won’t fit in my largest pot with the sauce?
Did you know that 4 lbs. of ham¬†BBQ won’t fit in my largest crock pot?
Did you know that 3 lbs. of Ham BBQis enough to feed about 14 people for two days?
Did you know that I ate Ham BBQS for days straight and still had some left over with a lb of chipped ham in the freezer?
 

Disclaimer... this is not my Ham BBQ! Can you believe I didn't even take a picture???

 
Next up to make were the brownie cupcakes…¬† These are DELICIOUS!!! And I’ve made them a million times before so no troubles should be had at all; especially because I just use boxed fudge brownie mix, pour the batter into cupcake papers and then bake for about 30 minutes.¬† Piece of cake!¬† That was until I went to ice the cupcakes… I had returned Jaime’s pastry bag, piping tips and couplings a while back so I decided I would use a large Ziploc¬†baggie.¬† No, worries right?!?¬† I’d done it before.¬† but, no large Ziploc baggies were to be found. So, I decided to get extra Martha Stewart-y¬†and attempt to use a small (dollar store brand) Ziploc.¬†NOTE TO SELF:¬† Very important to not overstuff¬†small Ziploc¬†baggie with icing and then squeeze hard to get the icing to come through the hole I made.¬† END RESULT:¬† The bag explodes with chocolate frosting all over myself, the stove and my wall….¬†Yes, my friends.¬† That’s what this girl did…
 
After having said a few choice words, I began to laugh at the sight that was to be seen.  Only choice left was to clean it up and pull the back-up icing out of the cup board.  GOOD TIMES!  And I must say they must have been pretty good because they were surely eaten.
 
The next minor fiasco related to the teacher appreciation lunch dealt with baked beans…¬† As it was already late in the evening and directly after the icing debacle¬†I decided not to doctor up the baked beans… they’d be just fine without it.¬† Took the can to work only to find that the two can openers we have at the school didn’t want to work.¬† I was left fighting with the can openers and can when preschool parents arrived looking at me most perplexed because 1.) surely the Executive Director¬†knows how to open a can of beans… what’s the big deal? and 2.) How many people did she think she was feeding needing to the institutional sized can???¬† A grandfather cam to the rescue and pried¬†open one side wide enough to get some beans out… Only a quarter of which fit into the crock pot that I brought.¬† Another note to self:¬† Don’t take the advice of my dependable partner in crime on buying the institutional size!¬†¬†Upon cleaning up, I clearly¬†LOST the battle with the can as I sliced my finger on the edge of the can.¬†¬†Can – 1 Meg – 0.
 
Reminding myself to just laugh….
 
In the midst of all of this I volunteered to “host”¬†Mother’s Day at my house on Sunday in order to give my mom a break from cooking.¬† She¬†LOVES to¬†cook and is amazingly good at it!¬†¬†As I’ve said before, I didn’t inherit¬†“cooking genes” from her.¬†¬†¬† I decided to keep it simple… Chicken, mashed potatoes, green bean casserole and taco dip (a long time family favorite that makes it’s¬†appearance at EVERY holiday gathering).¬† I don’t recommend using McCormick’s bag/seasoning combo for chicken… It smelled yummy but the flavor just didn’t do it for me or most of my family.¬† I forgot that my sister doesn’t like cream of mushroom soup so the green bean casserole was a partial bust.¬† Everyone was gracious for the meal, but I’m thinking I shoulda just made two pans of the taco dip and called it a day!¬†
 
All in all I do enjoy my experiences in the kitchen… They could only be made better with continued “practice” and perhaps a better kitchen set up.¬† An apartment sized kitchen doesn’t lend itself well to cooking large quantities of food, but I make do.¬† I’m not gonna give up.¬† I’ll just keep on plugging away.
 
So if I offer to cook for you, keep in mind that while I may be more closely identifiable with Martha Stewart because of my crafting tendencies, Julia Child, I am not!
 

A Mother’s Day First

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Happy, happy Mother’s day to all the fabulous women out there!¬† All you do in the day-to-day truly makes you amazing!

My mom is no exception… she’s a strong woman; strong in her faith and heart.¬† Dedicated, loving and giving.¬†This woman¬†can do it all… and pretty much has for as long as I can remember.

Soooo, today in hopes of giving her a MUCH deserved break…. I volunteered to host Mother’s Day at my house!¬† I know¬†right?¬† You read that correctly.¬† I am cooking a meal for my family and am quite nervous about it!¬† Nothing too fancy, just some chicken, potatoes and veggies yet nervous none the less.

¬†No matter the outcome of the meal, all that¬†matters is that we’ll be together celebrating my momma… and my little sis too.¬† Good mommas for sure.¬† Someday I hope that I can be at least half as good at mothering as these two ladies.¬†

HAPPIEST of Mother’s Days to you all!¬† Enjoy your day… today, we celebrate you!

And to my momma… Love you bunches!!!!!!!¬† You’re the best!

Untimely Tummy Troubles

No time is a ¬†good time¬†to get a terrible touch of tummy troubles….

BUT, I had high expectations and grand plans for my Friday and Saturday!!! 

Friday at work was to be most productive, finalizing field trips and decorating for spring/easter. 

After work Friday I was to dive right in to all things crafty as time is running out for me to prepare for the craft show on April 9th.

Saturday was to be dedicated to all things crafty as well… As I said. GRAND EXPECTATIONS.

DIDN’T HAPPEN…

Don’t worry, I will spare you all the gory details but the icks and the yucks decided to take over sometime Thursday night.¬†Not fun at all!

Talk about throwing a curve ball in to my plans!  Went into work for a little bit Friday morning just until things were covered then home to the bed I went. 

Relaxing was outta the¬†questions. Productivity was out the window. ¬†Food wasn’t even a thought in my mind.

Bed.

Bed.

Bed.

All day and night Friday and the better part of the day yesterday spent in bed.¬†¬†I know¬†at some point in my life I’ve said,¬†“I’d do anything to say in bed all day.”¬†

Ya, not exactly how amazingly wonderful I dreamt it would be.  Maybe under different circumstances, I would have a different opinion.

I hereby retract the aforementioned statement about wanting to be able to spend all day in bed¬†and vow to NEVER utter those words again. ūüôā¬†

THERE, got that out of my system. 

——————————————————–

By last night I was feeling ALMOST¬† completely human again…

I finally had a bit of an appetite, but didn’t dare eat anything more substantial than a piece of toast and sip on some Gatorade which was a huge step up from the last 2 days.

I will say I am feeling much better today… I feel human again.¬†

I¬† managed to be a bit productive in the crafty area… and I ate food!!! Food that didn’t consist of saltines, Gatorade and toast!¬† Well, sort of.

One of my most favorite, easy, all-time, go-to comfort foods was calling my name today for lunch.  Actually, it was just about the only thing that sounded appetizing to me in the least!

Grilled Cheese ‚ÄĘ Tomato Soup¬†‚ÄĘ Crystal Light Lemonade

It hit the spot for sure; being just want my hungry tummy was looking for!

Not a fancy recipe… didn’t take hours in the kitchen to prepare.

Buttered some bread; slapped on some american cheese…

Opened a can; stirred in some milk.

Ta-Da!!!!

If any one would like the recipe just let me know… ¬†All you have to do is ask! ūüėȬ†

To all my blogging friends and In-Person friends/family… You all are better in the kitchen than I.¬†

Your recipes sound AMAZING!

The pictures of your meals look DELECTABLE!

This girl?¬† Try as I may, just doesn’t do well¬†in the kitchen.¬† ¬†

Certainly didn’t get the cooking genes in my family… Not sure which one of us did because my mom certainly has the ability!

Which reminds me… I still have to try another new recipe for March since my first one was a flop.¬† Better get to it!¬† Thinking of an easy guacamole recipe a friend suggested.¬† We shall see!

 

How was your weekend?  Anything throw a curveball your way recently?

BTW-¬†I’m super excited….¬†I finally¬†put up a post before the late, late hours of the night.¬† ūüôā

Dinner…

I went to the grocery store after work today.

My cupboards were bare…

I made my list before leaving work deciding I’d buy items that would go along with stuff that was in my freezer that I needed to use up.¬†

I decided this week I would¬†make¬†baked tilapia, Shrimp and veggie stir fry, and Mexican Crock Pot¬†Chicken. The last is¬†a new recipe courtesy of Rach at This Italian Family.¬† THANKS RACH! ¬†‚̧ Can’t wait to try it!

One of the items on “the list”¬† is for me to try one new recipe a month… So far, I guess I have done pretty well this year.¬† In January I made the pot roast… In February, I made egg drop dumplings for homemade chicken soup.¬†

Now on to March…

Ingredients all purchased for two meals I’ve prepared many a times and also the ingredients¬†for the new recipe that Rach¬†shared, having thought¬†about it since¬†it was¬†posted a couple of days ago…

So dinner tonight…

Guess what I made!!!

Nope, not the tilapia…

No, not the stir fry…

Mexican Crock Pot Chicken??? Nope, wrong answer…

Dinner tonight….

Wait for it, wait for it….

A BAKED POTATO! 

It was a long day… I was tired… a baked potato sounded just right.¬†

Nothing special about it… A little light margarine and a dollop of light sour cream and there you have it.

A baked potato.

I’d share a picture of it if I had thought¬†to do so¬†before I finished it off… I must say it did hit the spot.

Sometimes cooking for one is more of a headache than I care to endure, but I promised myself I’d make a more conscious effort to do so.¬†

Guess tonight wasn’t the night!¬† Maybe tomorrow…

For now though, I’ll live vicariously through the lives of some of my blogging buddies as they share pictures of their yummy meals and pass along their recipes.¬†

I’ve been bookmarking recipes they’ve posted and have begun going through my recipe books…

yes, I know… I forget I have them some times!

Dinner tomorrow… Who knows?!?!?

What’s for dinner at your house this week?¬† Have any good recipes to share?

Success….

Woo Hoo!!!!!

I did it! Made my first pot roast without setting off the smoke alarms and no food poisoning!

The whole dinner was quite easy to put together actually. Two quick short cuts that made preparation and clean up SUPER easy made for a nice, relaxing & enjoyable dinner. Definitely would recommend¬†McCormick’s bag/seasoning kits and Ore-Ida’s Steam and Mash Potatoes.¬† Yes, I cheated a little, but short cuts one was willing to take living in a small apartment… You’ll have that sometimes. ūüėČ

I will admit though, that “the worrier” absolutely made an appearance a couple times¬†as I began preparing the meal and even as we sat down to eat. Having only cooked for myself most often I began worrying if the meal I was making would not only be edible but be liked as well. Throw into the mix that you’re making someone’s favorite meal, pressure for success is enormous. After much gratitude and a 2nd helping of dinner… I think I began to relax a little more. Success levels in my “cooking” abilities moved up a notch.¬†Woo Hooo!!!! Thanks to the brave fella that trusted me enough to try it and then actually liked it too!

Going to the grocery store even had me worried a bit.¬† Wasn’t sure what kind of “meat” to get… Anxiety setting in as I approached the cooler…and was super excited to find something labeled “pot roast.”¬† Could it really have been that easy??? Well, I was excited; then slightly disappointed at ALL THE FAT through out even after trimming it.¬† Lesson learned…go to the meat department and talk to the butcher.¬† All in all though¬† I was assured that the meal was yummy the day of and even when I shared my left overs with mom. So I asked myself… Success?¬† Eh… Sure.¬† Why not?

While I do enjoy cooking, I admittedly am hesitant to try making new things….usually just¬†stick to a few handy go to recipes such as chili, turkey tacos or egg dumplings. Yep, I am a novice.¬† If you remember, one of my “must-do” items on THE LIST involves trying new recipes…think I have started off on a good foot. One new recipe a month is the goal I set for myself… Definitely thinking it’s more attainable now that I have my FIRST pot roast under my belt.¬†

The taste of success is pretty sweet… Not gonna lie ūüėČ