Thursday, December 30, 2010

Working Girl

Carl and Colten left to go to his mom's house earlier this week, leaving Emma and I home alone.  I won't lie it's nice to come home from work take a bubble bath and put on PJ's and have no one around to judge you.  Also Emma will eat leftovers indefinitely without raising an eyebrow.  The only downfall came when it was time for Emma to go back to daycare, she has been out since school got out, and apparently they have had a flu epidemic while we were gone that was raging the staff this week, when the Director called to warn me and let me know they were going to have some staff/child issues I decided that Emma would just come to work with me.  Emma grew up in our office, when she was 3 weeks old the '07 flood hit and our office and shops in Neodesha were victims of the flood, I swear I will be an one of those old ladies who when I am 100 years old I will sit around and talk about that summer.  It. was. terrible.

Emma was three weeks old, I put her in her sling and we never looked back.  She stayed at work until well after her first birthday, then the daycare had an opening and I grabbed it, Grandma took the news hard.

This week has reminded me of all the good things about having a child at the workplace.  There are lots of hugs, kisses, and snuggles.

Picnics with Lucy.

Oh and don't forget the candy.

But there is also work at the workplace, even more at the end of the year and being able to focus is difficult at times when someone wants to read or play.

I am so thankful that I work somewhere that my kiddos are welcome, but I am also thankful for a wonderful daycare whose staff's full time job is to pay attention, read, and engage my child, because I know I could never do that while trying to do my job.  But it is fun to spend a day or two with a little one running around, I know Monday will be very quite.

Do you ever take your little ones with you to work?  How do you juggle it?

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Homamade Panini

As a sandwich lover I have been wanting a panini press for quite some time, when I came across this post at Iowa Girl Eats I decided to make a homemade version ASAP.

Leftover Christmas ham, swiss cheese, baby spinach leaves, and plain Jane bread with a spray of Pam on it before putting into the preheated pan.

Press in action.

After completion, the most beautiful sandwich ever made in this kitchen.

Verdict - amazing.  The sandwich was heated all the way through, the cheese was perfectly melted and the spinach slightly wilted, Emma said "This is the best sandwich ever" and promptly devoured her entire sandwich, I agreed 100%.

So now the question is do I really need a panini press?  They do look pretty cool and I do love gadgets, but until this methods proves problematic, I think I will stick with it.

Do you make homemade paninis?  What is your favorite combo on a sandwich?

Now that I have figured out a way to do them I have a feeling we will be enjoying these a lot.   I am dreaming of all the flavor combos, the main one one my mind would be smoked brisket and cheddar cheese.  Mmmmm. . .

Friday, December 10, 2010


I know it's been awhile. . .

We have been eating an assortment of leftovers and take out since Thanksgiving, yep, since Thanksgiving. So no recipes to share :(

Nothing is happening around here lately, so I have nothing to blog about.  Except for my ever growing hatred of winter, why oh why must it be so dark and cold???  Although I am proud to report we are still running outside three times a week in the freezing cold.  Awesome or crazy the jury is still out.

I find when I sit down in the evening to blog I don't get back off the couch I usually read all the other blogs out there and do not get things done, then before I know it it's bed time.  This is not working out being a mom of three kiddos with laundry that piles up fast if I don't stay on top of it.  Not sure what to do about this, except not blog obviously, but that sucks!

I am working on Christmas shopping and although I have bought more Christmas presents locally, I have still had to resort to a lot of online shopping (at least my sales tax comes back to Fredonia, right).

I gave blood today, mostly for ulterior motives, I read somewhere it takes around 700 calories to remake the blood lost.  Oh and after one beer I am buzzed.  Score.

That basically sums up my last several weeks.  What have you been up to??

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Thanksgiving Eve

I might just be a crazy cookie lady.  I started out at 6pm planning to make a batch of sugar cookies, and got a bit carried away.  I love how cook books can just inspire you.
It might just be a little sick how much fun I had baking all these cookies, as SpongeBob would say, they are made with love in every bite.  I will share recipes later, they all came from Betty Crocker.

Happy Thanksgiving.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

The apple doesn't fall far

from the tree.  Emma had preschool today and they made a poster of what they are thankful for. . .

notice anything?  It's all food.

I have no words.  She really is my daughter.

Tonight I decided to try a new recipe I have been eyeing for awhile Italian Wedding Soup it will make you want to run out and marry an Italian, it's that good.  Don't just take my word for it though, make it.  soon.

It was surprisingly easy to put together and was amazing!  30 minutes start to finish, and I even made my own meatballs.   They were too cute to not photograph.

This is definitely going into the dinner rotation.  

I am so excited that Amanda has included some extra credit into the Booty Buster Challenge  1 point for every 30 minutes cooking and cleaning, I could rack up some serious points this week.  Already tonight I have been cooking and cleaning for 1 1/2 hours and still have to work on the sugar cookies, and somehow knowing I am getting points for the cleaning makes it a little bit more enjoyable!!  

Have you started preparing for Thanksgiving?  

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Thanksgiving Preparation

I have been craving brownies for days, I cannot get them out of my head, so these brownies are in the oven.  I have used several different brownie recipes, but still haven't found the one.  Based on the taste of the batter these might be the winners.  

I have also been trying to decide what to bring to Thanksgiving.  We will have lunch at my mom's and then get in the car and drive 4 hours and have dinner with Carl's family.  It's kind of crazy, but we are used to it, so it's OK and it allows us to celebrate with both of our families.  

For lunch at my mom and dad's I will make Watergate salad, using my Grandma Joyce's recipe, that was the dish she would always make and it just wouldn't feel like Thanksgiving without it.  I also usually make sugar cookies, those are my Grandpa's favorite.  (And honestly I make kick ass sugar cookies - I will try and post the recipe next week, but they are amazing, trust me.)

Carl's family is a little trickier, whatever I bring has to travel well, and should be a dessert, because sometimes they start eating without us if we are late getting on the road, cookies would be perfect, but his sister is the resident cookie maker.  Pies tend to not travel well.  I made pumpkin bars one year and no one would even try them, it was one of my first holidays with his family and I remember feeling quite rejected, I have since figured out they are not nut eaters, so I am thinking maybe brownies, without nuts of course!  Or maybe wine?  Hmm, I might be on to something there, wine travels well, and even if dinner is over it can be enjoyed through the evening, and really who couldn't use a nice glass of wine after a day with the family.  

Right now I am waiting to watch Ree throw down with Bobby Flay.  If you missed it Tuesday they are showing it again tonight.

What are you up to this evening?  

Ran 3 miles with Amanda ~ 3 points
8 servings of fruits and veggies ~ 1 point
4 points total for today :)  

Friday, November 19, 2010

Reversing Roles

I broke down and went to the chiropractor today, it was my first time. ever. I am sore, but I think my hip is going to feel better in the morning, otherwise I might cry.  It's been giving me fits for weeks and my friends are tired of listening to me bitch about it, so they convinced me to try the chiropractor.  It wasn't as bad as I thought it was going to be, and he seemed confident that what he did will help my hip, it's funny I am into using natural medications but chiropractors make me nervous, hypocrite much?  Yeah, maybe.  whatever.

Tonight I am resting on the couch with my feet up while Carl brings me drinks, and cleans up after dinner, and takes care of the kids, and handles me the remote.  It's great, it's like we reversed roles and I get to be a man for the night, and guess what?  It's just as awesome as you think it would be.

Tomorrow like Cinderella it will be all over and I will have to go back to normal life and clean the mud off the ceiling.  Yeah, Willie the Wonderdog got mud on the ceiling.  Not kidding.

What are you doing tonight?

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Pizza and Hard Coreness

My family absolutely loves pizza, and I love that it's easy to whip up for a week night dinner. 

Usually I will stick the dough in the bread machine and let it do all the work, but today I didn't pick my kids up after school and so I wasn't around the house in the late afternoon to put the ingredients in the bread maker. I used this whole wheat recipe today for the dough. 

Does anyone else get excited about proofing the yeast?

I gathered my topping cast of characters. 

All sliced up and ready to saute.

The prebaked crust ready for it's topping.

Pizza sauce, the saucier the better.

Theirs and my sides.

Then the cheese.  Mmmmm cheese!

And while that's baking because cleaning the kitchen would just be too predictable, I tossed together a salad.

Perfection on a plate.

You are probably wondering how the freezing run went this morning, well maybe your not wondering, but I am going to tell you anyway.  The first two blocks and all I could think is how much I wanted to go home, my cheeks were freezing, the rest of me was OK, but man my cheeks, the ones on my face, in case you were wondering which.  Then I saw my neighbor and his sissy dog coming back from their morning walk and decided if they could do it, then so could I.  I also convinced myself that if they didn't freeze to death walking then surely I would generate enough heat running to keep myself warm. 

I met Sarah and we were off, we took a little longer route, and it was good and I forgot about being cold.  Just a few blocks from home I looked over and saw frost on Sarah's hood.  (Now if I was any kind of blogger I would have totally stopped and taken a picture, and the thought crossed my mind, but at that point in the run if I had stopped running, I wouldn't have started again.)  Sorry, no picture of the frost on her hood, but seriously it was one of those moments that just screamed, 'we are hard core'  or maybe 'why the hell did you sign up for a 10K in the middle of winter without owning a thread mill dumbass.'  Whatever.  I'm sticking with hard core.

Now I am going to snack on a little something I found at G&W today.

Two questions tonight.
1 ~ What's your favorite pizza topping?
2 ~ What have you done lately that made you feel hard core?

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Holiday Booty Buster Challenge


Amanda over at RuntoFinish has a great way to help motivate you during the holidays, its the Holiday Booty Buster Challenge.  I think this is a great way to avoid the dreaded holiday weight gain.  Go over and check it out!  I just signed up this morning.

Tomorrow morning is going to test my ability to run in the cold, the temperature at 6:00am is going to be 32 and feel like 24.  Yikes, any suggestions to keep from freezing to death are welcome.

This morning I found something at Casey's that might just become my new best friend. $1.51 of wonderful.  I acutally gave a pice to everyone at my office today and they all enjoyed it very much. 

Not much on the agenda for this evening, the husband has class, so me and kiddos are just going to cuddle up and watch some TV, and clean out the fridge of leftovers. 

Have you tried the Extra Dessert Delights gum?  Which flavor is your favorite?  

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

8 months and 20 pounds later

On March 16, 2010 I got on the scale and realized something had to change, I was tired of gaining weight every winter to then turn around and try to lose most some of it each spring.  This time I decided something needed to change, I was getting older smarter and knew than instead of dieting for a temporary fix I should change the way I treated my body. 

People often ask me how I lost the weight, and when I tell them I changed the way I ate and started exercising they usually look a bit like I ran over their kitten.  Someday I will say "It was a magic pill, I took it and ate everything I wanted while sitting on my ass on the couch watching TV" I think their responds would be much more excited!! 

In 8 months I have learned a lot about myself, and what my body is capable of when I treat it right.  Here are the top 11 things I have learned from my process.  (I know 11 is an odd number, I had originally wrote this post a couple days ago, and over the weekend #11 happened and well, it was just too good to ignore, if I actually thought anyone was going to read this I might have made it number 1, but well that would have meant a lot of renumbering, so I just made it #11, just go with it.)

11.  If after having a couple drinks you brag to your brother that you have lost 20 pounds, he will compare your weight loss to a bag of 'Ol Roy dogfood - this might single handedly be enough motivation to keep the weight off forever. and. ever. and. ever.
10.  There are no quick fixes.  Everything worth having takes time and work, try and enjoy the journey. 
9.  Exercise is one key to success, and sweat lets you know you are getting a good workout, if you are not sweating you probably should be.  I used to hate sweating, now I love it.  It lets me know that my body is working.  hard. 
8.  Find friends who will sweat with you, they will help keep you accountable, make it fun, and tell you juicy gossip to take your mind off your aching legs.
7.  Said friends will make up nicknames for you if you are too much of a hard ass.  Wear the name like a badge, if you can get a shirt made that incoorporates the name, even better. 
6.  You should not attempt to start eating 7-9 servings of fruit and vegetable all at once, seriously you need to trust me on this one, just add in a serving or two each day for a week before adding more, just sayin'. 
5.  It actually takes a lot of planning to eat 7-9 servings of fruit and vegetables a day.  You will get to know the produce section of your supermarket very well.   
4.  You can still eat ice cream fairly regularly as long as you don't mind losing an average of 2.5 pounds per month, lucky for me I was in no rush ;)
3.  You will have bad days, where you just do not want to exercise, or you eat nothing but pizza and ice cream, it's gonna happen.  Just don't let them happen often.
2.  The scale is only tool, it does not determine your value.  Don't let it. 
1.  You are worth all the effort and time it takes to be happy and healthy.  Yes, we all have limited time and resources, but you should be putting yourself and your health at the top of your priority list. 

Do I have all the answers?  No way.  I am only 8 months into my journey, and learn new things everyday.  But I know I have changed, usually by November I haven't worked out in at least a month if not longer and I have started dipping into my 'fat' jeans, this November I am training for a half marathon.  And those 'fat' jeans, yeah they are headed to the thrift store. 

Are you on a journey to health?  What have you learned?

Monday, November 15, 2010

Beef ~ It's what's for dinner :)

Today was an exciting day in Mirandaville, we picked up our half beef today at B-W Processing.  This is the first time we have ever purchased beef directly from a ranch, home grown right here is Fredonia.  I have been looking forward to this for awhile!

Meatless Monday was put on hold for today due to the burning desire to grill some hamburgers.  Totally hit the spot!  Another of the garden tomatoes we picked green before the frost had finally ripened, score!

Side of roasted carrots.

Plus pineapple and cantaloupe which went unphotographed.

I registered for my first 10K the TLC Groundhog Run it's underground in Kansas City, how awesome is that?  Don't worry I checked out all the race photos from last year to make sure it wasn't too dark or creepy :) I think the timing will work out well for my half marathon training.

Poor Emma had to get some immunizations today :( So not fun.  That's one part of mommyhood I really could live without.  She is so miserable right now, I hate it :( She finally agreed to take some Tylenol, so hopefully it will help, I have a feeling it's going to be a long night.

Off to go rock my baby.

What's for dinner at your house tonight?

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Somedays are busy

Yesterday two friends and I ran in Chanute's Turkey Trot 5K. It was a cold morning, but sunny, with no hints of Friday's rain.  I was really glad my brother had agreed to watch Emma, the husband and boys were all out of town hunting this weekend, so it was just me and Emma and I had originally thought I would just push her in the jogger stroller, that would have been on chilly ride.  We finished the run in 34:00 which I thought was excellent given that one of my friends have only been running for a little over a month.  I am so very proud of her and look forward to racing with her in the future! 
The rest of the day was filled with shopping in Wichita and then dinner at Flint Oak for my mom's birthday.  It was one of those crazy days, where you are only home long enought to change clothes and head out again, it may take a full week to recover.

Hope you all have a wonderful Sunday, I am planning on spending the day on the couch relaxing and waiting for the boys to get home. 

Friday, November 12, 2010

And the winner is. . .

Confession time - I was going to take in the Christmas in November Open Houses this evening with my sidekick Sarah, but when the rain and cold set in we settled for a play date complete with cookies.  I realized I have never shared my chocolate chip recipe with you.  I spent months a couple winters ago trying out several different chocolate chip cookie recipes in the search of the perfect chocolate chip recipe, countless bags of flour, and 15 pounds later, this recipe was the clear winner, and it has been my go to recipe ever since.

Thick, Soft, and Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies
1/2 cup real butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup shortening
1 1/2 cups firmly packed brown sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 large eggs
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 (12 ounce) package semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 cup chopped nuts (optional)

Mix flour, baking soda, and salt in a small bowl. In a separate bowl, beat butter and shortening until creamy. Add sugar and vanilla and beat with a mixer on medium speed until well blended.

Beat in eggs, one at a time, mixing well. Add flour mixture, and beat slowly to incorporate, then beat to blend well. Stir in chocolate chips and nuts. Drop batter in 2-tablespoon portions about 2 inches apart on baking sheets. Bake in a 375°F preheated oven until edges of cookies are brown but an area about 1 inch wide in the center is still pale, about 10 minutes. Let cookies cool on pan about 5 minutes, then transfer to racks with a spatula.

And now to the winner of the cupcake give away. . .

Since I had 6 entries, I decide a dice would be the easiest way to determine the winner, I seriously spent days trying to decide the best way to pick the winner.  Yep, pretty exciting life I am leading here, I know.

Drum roll please. . . . . .

The winner was. . .

#5  - HEATHER!!  The triple dipped cone with polka dots is yours!!  

I am bummed you all couldn't win, but if you make yourself some of these chocolate chip cookies, you will feel better!!  Trust me.  I know these things.  

Tomorrow is the Turkey Trot 5K I am currently carb loading on chocolate chip cookies, which is sure to either make me fast, or give me the runs, it's really any ones guess.  

What's your plans for the weekend?  

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Thankful Thursday

I am thankful for healthy kids. 
I am thankful for a husband who cooks dumplings.

I am thankful for chicken and dumplings.
I am thankful for Veterans who have given so much to protect our freedom.

I am thankful for parents who taught me right from wrong.

I am thankful for legs that allow me to run.

I am thankful for wonderful friends and family who keep me smiling.

I am thankful for pets whom are my children's best friends.
I am thankful for DVRs that allow me to record my shows and fast forward through commercials.

I am thankful for wireless internet so I can sit on my couch and blog.

There are so many things that God has provided me that I am so very thankful for.

What are you thankful for?

Don't forget to enter my drawing!  I will be announcing the winner tomorrow!!