Thursday, March 7, 2013

101 in 1001 Updated!

Wow, it's been a long time since I updated my 101 in 1001. I can't believe how many more things I got done than I realized (that'll happen when you don't update something for 8 months).

Some highlights:

2. I learned in knit after getting yarn, needles, and instruction books from my mom and sister for Christmas

10. I did a 5K. It's highly debateable whether or not I RAN it

13. Our debt paying-off is in progress. My retail cards are gone! And we took a small personal loan in 2012 to get rid of the rest. We just weren't making a dent in Dan's (incredibly) high interest rate card. We're on a schedule to be debt free in late 2014. I'll miss the deadline for my 101 in 1001, but not by much. And really, I made that with the goal in mind to have MY debt gone (we have separate money, as you may know), but our whole household will be debt free, since our cars will be paid off around the same time (I'm not counting the house, because COME ON).

40 & 42. I've been in contact with RESOLVE about becoming a state advocate, and am waiting to hear back. I've expressed my desires relating to #42 and hope that I can be involved in some way with something existing, or maybe even develop an education program or contribute to the site's bank of info in some way.

45. I shot my pistol! I'm still going to sign up for classes and get more formal training in using what we have, but I know the basics for now and feel more comfortable using them.

67 & 68. I visited Kari in Illinois in June, and Dan and I visited my sister and brother-in-law in Seattle (their gorgeous new home, oh my gosh!) in February

What have you completed on your list?

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

PJs at TJs 2: "Yay! You made it! Okay!"

For the second year in a row, I spent a fabulous February weekend with my friends from the internet. Yes, I have a lot of them, and many of them are better than some of the people I’m IRL (in real life) friends with. And many of them have also become IRL friends – because I know them now and I’ve met them and I can legitimately say they’re not just friends from the internet anymore. Anyway. I went to PJs at TJ’s. Last year, the event was at Kelly’s house and it was relatively small and intimate and fun and there was a snack wall and a bed in the living room (which stayed in the living room for a very long while after, which is brilliant). This year, Kelly found an amazing house in Gilbert to rent, expanded the cap on the number of attendees, and once again showed us all a fabulous time. There was a still a snack wall and there was still a bed in the living room, but this year there was pub cheese and a cake quite a few new faces.

Since I live about an hour from the party house, I decided that I would treat myself and go all out and rent half a bed for the weekend at the house rather than waste the money on gas driving back and forth, and I’m so glad I did. I would have missed out on so much fun if I’d stayed at home at night. I arrived after work on Friday and was greeted with big hugs and introductions to the new girls. We hung out, talked and overall had a nice time getting to know each other until probably midnight or so. I got to meet my roommate, Deja (also known as PinkieBling). I have to say, she is awesome. It was only the beginning, and we all had the best time, especially when Kelly broke out into highly animated book synopses and reviews. I hadn’t laughed that hard in a long time.

On Saturday, we hung out in the morning, then headed out for lunch and Targeting. Poor Noemi got lost (and I don’t know the area at all, so stupid me didn’t even realize I was following her to nowhere rather than correcting her and helping her find the way to the promised land that is Chili’s queso dip and margaritas), but we eventually got there and had lunch with a big group of girls. The up side to being lost was that I got to hang out with Deja and get to know her better. After lunch, Deja, Linnea, and I went to Target and then back to the party house to help Kelly decorate. I must say, we did an excellent job of purple-ifying, and all the d├ęcor Kelly picked out was just perfect and festive and fun. After a quick nap, it was time to get dressed (is it called ‘dressed’ when you’re wearing PJs?) for the big event: the pajama party!

Kelly really went all out with everything when it came to this weekend, truly. Not only did she take the time to make sure everyone was comfortable and happy, she spoiled us when it came to food. She had a pudding tower, the snack wall, pizza, snacks galore, this thing called crack dip, pub cheese, and – oh my gosh, people – cookie butter. She even had a cake featuring her main squeeze, Tom Hanks. The Canadian, Lara (whose hair is still fabulous), brought some snacks from her homeland, and would you believe one of them was a sponge candy bar? (My mom just gasped) I can’t tell you how much I love sponge candy. It reminds me of visits to my mom’s home town – there’s a candy shop that makes it and it’s just my favorite thing ever. And they have it in bar form in Canada. Bars. Of sponge candy! I might have to move there. Anyway, once again, we stayed up ridiculously late talking in our PJs. There were little groups dispersed all over the living and dining rooms, and they would evolve and shift, and you could just sit down and pick up on the conversation. We laughed so hard sometimes – enough that there were tears (I’m looking at you, Deja). I think I got a chance to talk to just about everyone at some point in the evening, whether directly or in a group. As people left for their hotels or to go upstairs to bed, the group got smaller and eventually – around 3am – we trudged off to bed, having laughed our way through a fantastic day. It really is the best kind of tired to be worn out from giggling and talking with friends for hours on end.

Everyone was really wonderful to see again or meet - I'm scared of trying to list everyone because I certainly don't want to leave anyone out. I loved seeing girls again from last year and getting to talk to them more. It was great meeting new girls, and I hope that our conversations will continue through this year, just as they did with last year’s crowd.

Thank you, thank you, thank you all (but most of all, Kelly) for an incredible weekend! You all are wonderful and I’m so thankful to have fallen in with the right crowd.

Thursday, January 24, 2013


Shana had this on her blog this morning, and I'm a self-proclaimed sucker for questionnaires. And warning, I'm stealing some of her answers because sometimes, that girl lives in my head.

1. WERE YOU NAMED AFTER ANYONE? I'm pretty sure Brooke Shields is how the name made it to my parents heads. They were Team Green and if I'd been a boy, I'd have been Adam, which to my knowledge had no connection to anything in particular.

2. WHEN WAS THE LAST TIME YOU CRIED? "I’m a huge crier. I cry all the time. Most recently…this morning on the train as I read the book about a girl who was the sole survivor of the car crash that killed her whole family. She’s sort of suspended and she has to decide whether she wants to stay or whether she wants to go. It’s a great book called If I Stay by Gayle Forman." - Shana. Pretty much exactly this, only I was reading Signs of Life about a woman who is widowed at the age of 24 while 5 months pregnant. Shana and I know how to pick uplifting reads :)

3. DO YOU LIKE YOUR HANDWRITING? It's okay. It's a little sloppy.


5. DO YOU HAVE KIDS? I have two pups who are my kids.

6. IF YOU WERE ANOTHER PERSON, WOULD YOU BE FRIENDS WITH YOU? Yeah, I'm pretty awesome. I'm a good and loyal friend
9. WOULD YOU BUNGEE JUMP? "Oh, hell no. I have a paralyzing fear of heights and just answering this question is making my heart race a bit." - Shana  Ditto

10. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE CEREAL? Honey Nut Cheerios (they remind me of Grandma's house), and Froot Loops

11. DO YOU UNTIE YOUR SHOES WHEN YOU TAKE THEM OFF? Yes, my shoes that tie can't be taken off without untying them

12. DO YOU THINK YOU ARE STRONG? In many ways, yes.

13. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE ICE CREAM? Mint chocolate chip or Blue Bunny (this is very specific as nothing beats out Blue Bunny on this) Perfectly Peppermint
14. WHAT IS THE FIRST THING YOU NOTICE ABOUT PEOPLE? Probably the way they're dressed
15. RED OR PINK? Pink.

16. WHAT IS THE LEAST FAVORITE THING ABOUT YOURSELF? "My tendency to be lazy. I always have big plans…but my desire to sit on the couch wins way too often." - Shana. Word

17. WHO DO YOU MISS THE MOST? I've been fortunate to have not been faced with a lot of loss. I miss my uncle very much, though.
18. WHAT IS THE TECHNIQUE THAT YOU NEED TO WORK ON THE MOST? Hmmmm. I want to get better at creating recipes with baking

20. WHAT WAS THE LAST THING YOU ATE? An egg white omelet with peppers, onions, and spinach. I forgot my Morning Star sausage today

23. FAVORITE SMELLS? My husband fresh out of the shower (awwww!), vanilla cake batter, and my momma's perfume
24. HOW IMPORTANT ARE YOUR POLITICAL VIEWS TO YOU? Aren't everyone's important? If you're asking if I'm highly opinionated and vocal, overall I would say no. I have only a couple issues I'm passionate about.
25. MOUNTAIN HIDEAWAY OR BEACH HOUSE? Mountain hideaway. Shana answered beach house. I'm questioning her sanity.

26. FAVORITE SPORTS TO WATCH? "College basketball." - Shana. Oh, Shana. That's two in a row. I like NFL and hockey. Or golf if I want to take a nap.

27. HAIR COLOR? Natural color is dark brown. Right now, it's black with a purple sheen.
28. EYE COLOR? Brown
29. DO YOU WEAR CONTACTS? Yes - I alternate with glasses though. I wear contacts about 50% of the time.
30. FAVORITE FOOD? Steak and potatoes. Any kind of potatoes. I love them.
31. SCARY MOVIES OR HAPPY ENDINGS? Neither. I mean happy endings aren't bad, per se, but it makes me think of romance movies like the Notebook, which I have no interest in. I'm perfectly fine with endings that aren't all sugary and sweet.
34. SUMMER OR WINTER? "Fall is my favorite, but I prefer winter over summer." - Shana. And we're back on track

35. FAVORITE DESSERT? Tiramisu. Or cheesecake. Or tiramisu cheesecake from Cheesecake Factory

36. STRENGTH TRAINING OR CARDIO? Cardio if it's Zumba or Kickboxing. Otherwise, I'd rather do weight training than running.


38. WHAT BOOK ARE YOU READING NOW? I'm almost done with Signs of Life by Natalie Taylor

39. WHAT IS ON YOUR MOUSE PAD? It's plain black.
40. FAVORITE SOUND? Ummm, anything that isn't creepy. I'll tell you my least favorite sound - zippers. I hate zippers. They're like nails on a chalkboard.

41. FAVORITE GENRE OF MUSIC? Metal or hard rock

43. DO YOU HAVE A SPECIAL TALENT? Mmmm, I dunno. I don't think I'm above average at much of anything.


46. WHAT COLOR IS YOUR HOUSE? Off white with plum trim
47. WHAT COLOR IS YOUR CAR? Silver. I wanted it in graphite, but the one they had was like $4K more (four THOUSAND more?!) and sensible me decided that wasn't worth it.
48. DO YOU LIKE ANSWERING 48 QUESTIONS? "It was perfect for today" - well said, Shana

Monday, January 21, 2013

Meal Plan Monday

Hello, hello! Hope 2013 is treating you well. The beginning of the year was a whirlwind for me with work - many 9-10 hour days, and some even longer. It's finally letting up and I'm settling back into our regular pace. One thing that is new for the beginning of this year is that I'm doing the Biggest Blogging Loser, run by Jennie of SheLikesPurple. One of the items on my 101 in 1001 is to lose 25 pounds. Ideally, it would be a bit more than that (I have a goal number in mind, but I'm not sharing because it's my goal and I'll not allow myself to feel guilty about a number on a scale so long as I make healthy changes and feel better about me). It runs from January 7th through the end of March, with the final weigh-in on April 1st (I think - thankfully, Jennie send weekly reminders). The motivation and support among the 50 other ladies in the contest has been great. We have a FB group where we talk about challenges, share recipes, and cheer each other on.

Anyway, it seems like the perfect time to discuss what I'm doing (and what's been working for the 1st two weeks) and share my meal plans. I'm not setting out to do anything like Paleo or Whole30 (as some of our more brave and possibly crazy ladies are), but we're eating more veggies than ever before and it's pretty much a South Beach Diet plan, which I've been successful with in the past.

I made a HUGE pot of vegetable soup on Sunday (green beans, white beans, broccoli, cabbage, zucchini, celery, onion, carrots, etc.) and we had that Sunday and I'll have it the rest of the week for lunches. Breakfast is always (even at home on weekends or telecommuting) a 3 fresh egg white omelet with veggies and Morning Star sausage. For snacks, I have celery and cucumber pre-cut and packaged to grab when I make my lunch each morning. Afternoon snack is yogurt. I love Kroger's CarbMaster brand because it's got a lot of protein, is low in carbs, and it comes in "fake" flavors that I love. While I like Greek yogurt, many have fruit on the bottom and I can't handle the texture. They also tend to be high in carbs. So CarbMaster gives me flavor I love while keeping the sugar count low. My rule is that I only eat what I bring (unless I get really hungry, and then I steal a coworker's almonds), and that's worked well on both the diet and my budget.

Dinners this week:

- Cheeseburger wraps. I'm past the 1st phase of South Beach, so I made these with whole wheat tortillas. I skipped the ketchup because of extra sugar and just used my favorite burger seasoning instead. Funny story, we don't have a George Forman grill as recommended, so I used our waffle maker. Ours didn't look nearly as good, but they were tasty.

- Cilantro lime chicken and black bean salad. I love crock pot meals, and plan to freeze half the chicken for a later time. Hopefully this Pinterest find works out better than cheeseburger wraps in execution.

- Turkey meatloaf and spaghetti squash. I know, I've said that a hunk of turkey meat doesn't sound appetizing. But I'm determined to find a good recipe. If all else fails, I will season the heck out of it. We substitute spaghetti squash for pasta in our favorite creations a lot, but I also love it as a side. Dan makes it extra tasty with just a bit of butter (I don't use butter on hardly anything, so I don't feel quilty for a little bit in one side dish every now and then) and Spinach and Herb dip mix that I get from Tastefully Simple.

- Grilled chicken with mashed sweet potatoes. FINALLY I can have sweet potatoes!

- Steak with spinach salad. We had this same meal this past Saturday night and it was just so tasty. I love steak, and as long as I buy a lean cut and pair it with vegetables, it makes for a satisfying end to the week. Plus it always feels special to have a steak dinner :)

What are you having this week?

FYI, I'm getting spammed a LOT, so I'm turning off anonymous comments a while to see if it helps. I've set it so that anyone with a Google account can still post - if you're still unable to comment, feel free to shoot me an email and I'll see if another setting works better.