Wednesday, August 31, 2011

No Good Deeds

Crow, being Crow, befriends a young black man and invites him home for dinner.  Of course, this couldn't be a simple dinner date.  Oh no, Tess and Crow's guest attempts to help himself to Tess's car, computer and a marijuana stash after the couple goes to bed.

Tess can't leave it alone, especially since the kid reacted to the name of a dead federal prosecutor.  So, Tess being Tess, uses an elaborate setup with her pal Whitney to track down her former house guest and get him to spill his beans.

And spill his beans he does.  He tells them details about the murder of said prosecutor that would be of much interest to the public and so they call in their reporter friends to get his scoop.  What Tess wasn't banking on, was pissing of a head honcho at the paper who drags her into a messy situation where she and her family are threatened.

I really liked this book and am still a fan of the Tess Monaghan series by Laura Lippman.  I am almost caught up, which will make me sad like all of my series that I enjoy, but I shall just have to find another!

What would you do if you came into a large sum of money?

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Chicken Stir Fry

Back in 2009, when I was taking a graduate class my husband always made us dinner on Tuesday nights.  For some reason, Winter 2009 was our stir fry obsession time.  We ate it A LOT. So much that earlier this month when I made this, I couldn't even begin to tell you the last time we made it for dinner.  Probably 2009. I, however, was wanting some fried rice so I decided it was time to re-visit chicken stir fry.

First, I cut up 4 chicken tenders (I bought a large bag at Meijer awhile ago), and cooked them in EVOO and soy sauce.

I then made brown rice according to the package.  I put it in a bowl and chilled it in the fridge while I got other stuff going.

I then took 2 eggs and beat them together in a bowl.  Then in a pan I cooked the egg with some red onion.  Then I put it off to the side.

Then I went back to the cooked chicken and added in some veggies from a frozen bag I had in the freezer and some fresh orange pepper.  When that was all warmed up I went back to the rice.

I got the cold rice from the fridge and warmed it up with some evoo in the bottom and added some peas into the mix.  Then I added the egg.

Then we put rice in the bowl and the chicken/veggies on top. 

Nom Nom Nom.. It was good.  I liked the rice, but the veggies from the freezer were not my style so that was a sad.

What's your favorite Chinese food?

Mine is crab rangoons!!!

Monday, August 29, 2011

What's For Dinner This Week..

I have been spending a lot of time meal planning and cooking dinners the last few weeks because it is something I enjoy and helps make sure we don't get take out or resort to the same ole things over and over again.  Though, I can pretty much say we are not a house that eats the same ole sole over and over again.  We are the masters of making things one time only even when they are amazing.  Kind of like my book re-reading philosophy, so many recipes (books) so little time!

Here is what up this week..

M- French Dip Sandwiches, mac and cheese, strawberries

I will say this is a repeater from just 2 weeks ago! I used these two recipes as my starting point and went from there.

T- Taco Chili, tortilla chips, cucumbers and dip

I am using this recipe as my base and going from there. Have you noticed a slow cooker theme already? I start working this week and I know my dinner prep time is going to be cut waaaaaaay down but I have time early in the morning so I think we will be relying on the crockpot a lot more now around these parts!

W- Creamy Black Bean Salsa Chicken, brown rice

And, yet another crockpot recipe! I am pretty much craving black beans and spicy food lately.  We eat a lot of Mexican around these parts.

Th – Brats, pasta with fresh tomatoes

We may do smoked sausage instead because we ate brats on Sunday as well, we may even do hot dogs but I will be making the side pasta and tomato salad that I got the recipe from when checking out my new favorite website  THE BEST help ever in grocery shopping/meal planning.

F – Shrimp and Feta Cheese Pasta, pears

I also go this recipe from and I am excited to check it out.  Hopefully, I will get to share some of our faves with you later. ;)

Do you do meal planning? How do you grocery shop?

I have been meal planning two weeks out with maybe a couple supplemental farmer's market trips.  If we run out in the middle of something, we run out and have to make do with what we have in the cupboards, but we will never go hungry.  I also cut coupons.  I used to do it every week but now I only grab a weekend paper the Sunday I am going shopping, or if I am out and about I will grab one.  But I meal plan using various blogs/websites/magazines, coupon and check different websites/blogs for extra savings and then make my lists accordingly.  I don't save an awful lot because I'm not hardcore but my bill got marked down almost 30 bucks today with coupons! I also stocked up enough that besides going back for milk, possibly bread and more veggies/fruit I don't think I NEED to shop for 3/4 weeks now because of stuff I stocked up on.

Friday, August 26, 2011

The Sandalwood Tree - Discussion 4

I really liked this book, but the end seemed kind of rushed to me.  I don't know if this is because I was sitting on the last 10 pages for a really long time or not, but when I finished it, it seemed like one of those rush up and be done jobs.  Anyone else?

I think that Evie did a lot of growing in India and it was interesting to read when she finally realized she had to live for joy and what that meant.  I'm glad that both her and Martin could figure out what they needed to do to make things work.  And I liked Mr. Singh's comment about the best marriages in India being good friendships.  He seemed like an interesting man and I would like to learn more about his grandfather.

Also, this book was huuuuge on foreshadowing and I like picking up on it when I'm reading.  It's so much fun to speculate and find out if you are wrong.  Like my guess that Adela's grave really wasn't Adela? ;)

So, I really want to know your thoughts... Did you like this book? What characters did you connect with? Would you have traveled to India during either of those time periods? What time period in history would you like to time-travel back to and visit?

and from the book's discussion questions..

1. Evie says, “If you understand the lunatic nuances in keeping up appearances, you’ll understand why I spent an insane amount of time fighting dust and dirt in India.” and later, “I couldn’t fix our inside, so I fixed our outside. I vanquished dirt and disorder wherever I found it, and felt better, for a while.” Do you think Evie’s impulse to control what she can in order to compensate for the things she cannot is a typical human reaction? What do you think she gains and loses by focusing on these outward problems instead of the real ones?

2. Evie says, “If you understand the lunatic nuances in keeping up appearances, you’ll understand why I spent an insane amount of time fighting dust and dirt in India.” and later, “I couldn’t fix our inside, so I fixed our outside. I vanquished dirt and disorder wherever I found it, and felt better, for a while.” Do you think Evie’s impulse to control what she can in order to compensate for the things she cannot is a typical human reaction? What do you think she gains and loses by focusing on these outward problems instead of the real ones?

3. Elle Newmark uses foreshadowing throughout the novel, hinting at things to come. Evie says of Billy’s stuffed dog, “I wouldn’t have taken Spike away even if I’d known the trouble the toy was going to cause later. But nobody could have seen that coming.” What other instances of foreshadowing did you notice?

4. Throughout The Sandalwood Tree there is a huge dichotomy between the rich foreigners, with their servants and extravagance, and the abject poverty of so many of the natives. Did this disparity bother you? Do you think it’s inevitable that there be such a difference between classes?

5. Most of the British families in the novel have travelled to India only to recreate their lives at home, down to the same shops, food, and traditions. Why do you think this is? Do you think this is a reasonable way to create a comfortable environment for themselves, or a waste of an opportunity to experience something different? Do you think this insistence on holding on to their lifestyles is driven more by arrogance or fear?

Thanks for joining in again! Hope you come back in September!!!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

My child is 3 months old.. holy crap

Dear Lovey,

These last three months have been a crazy tired whirlwind.  You rocked our world and we are still trying to pull ourselves out and into the fully functioning parental side of things.  I won't lie and say it's been the best three months of my life and I kind of side eye others that say that it is the best.  It's been tough, but worth it.  The month of July was probably my favorite.  We had a schedule of sleeping until 9 and you only woke up around 3ish and 5ish.  I could handle that.  Then you went through a growth spurt and started an every 3 hours thing for a week and ever since I just don't feel like I will ever catch up with sleep.  And honey, I need sleep.  So do you by the way, so perhaps you should stop fighting us when we put you down to bed.  Mmmm.. kay? Thanks.

We've watched you grow long and strong and the determination in your eyes, scares the crap out of me.  I've already seen that you are just as bit as stubborn as me and your father.  Which, will take you far in life, but I will let you know now, it will also land yourself grounded a time or two, since I am after all the adult. ;) You refused bottles of all kinds for almost 3 weeks and then magically, Tuesday night, I tried and you sucked it down so fast I was in shock.  Coming right after your daddy tried for 2 loong hours I was gone.  Since, you've sucked down 2 other bottles for grandma.  Thank you.  One less thing to worry about when I start working next week.

Working is another topic we should address.  I always planned on staying home with you darling, but realized that I kind of wanted to work a bit.  So a part-time teaching position came up and I took it.  I hope you don't hate me when your world gets rocked and you have to join 7 other babies in the infant room next week.  I'm sorry.  I'll try to find something better for you.  However, sharing/adjusting never killed anyone.  You're tough, you'll survive.  I believe in you.

It's so amazing to me that when you first arrived, you barely made a peep unless it was screaming to let us know how pissed you were.  Now you are smiling, cooing and even laughing at us.  You are standing, looking around, sitting up. Wow so much so fast.  You want to grow up and that's okay, I want you to as well.  That is what you are supposed to do, and I'm okay with that. 

I also apologize for not doing anything to your baby book.  And for never finishing hanging the stuff up in your room.  You'll realize we don't decorate well around these parts.

Anyway, three months have flown by and I'm sure the next three will as well.

I love you baby girl!


Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Veggie Feta Pasta Salad

I've been experimenting lately on ways to use feta (LOVE) and various pasta salads since I love pasta and veggies and get bored with the typical pasta salad all the time.

This was pretty easy and tasty.

I cooked the pasta.

I chopped up everything.

I combined EVOO, garlic powder, juice of a lemon, salt and pepper.

I drained and rinsed a can of beans.

Mixed everything together.  YUMMMMMMMMMY.

2 cups rotini (i used a wheat kind and it was a little too thick for this in my opinion and my hubbys)
1/2 a cucumber cut quartered and diced
1 can white cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
1 tomato, chopped
red onion, as much as you want
orange pepper, as much as you want
feta cheese, as much as you want
3 tablespoons EVOO
1 lemon, juiced
salt and pepper and garlic powder to taste

Yumm.  I will say that my husband was not a fan because of the pasta I used and because the dressing wasn't enough in his opinion.  And I agree on the dressing, I think the pasta absorbed it and then made it a tad dry.

No worries, I pulled out creamy Italian dressing and ate it with it when I pulled it out because I made enough I could eat out of it all week.  And since my husband didn't like it, I added in green olives.  I also had pre-cooked flavored grilled chicken strips that I added.  Yummmm. 

I really loved it, but would make it with different pasta and adjust the dressing.  I think a cesearish dressing would be the best.

What is your favorite summer side salad?

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

September's Group Read is.....

Still Missing by Chevy Stevens!! We had a tie and the ever so helpful generator helped make the decision!

Here is the blurb from goodreads..

On the day she was abducted, Annie O’Sullivan, a 32-year-old realtor, had three goals—sell a house, forget about a recent argument with her mother, and be on time for dinner with her ever-patient boyfriend. The open house is slow, but when her last visitor pulls up in a van as she's about to leave, Annie thinks it just might be her lucky day after all.

Interwoven with the story of the year Annie spent as the captive of a psychopath in a remote mountain cabin, which unfolds through sessions with her psychiatrist, is a second narrative recounting events following her escape—her struggle to piece her shattered life back together and the ongoing police investigation into the identity of her captor.

Still Missing is that rare debut find--a shocking, visceral, brutal and beautifully crafted debut novel.

Okay, I am super excited to read this.  I think this has been on my TBR list since it came out last summer.

Here is the run down of the discussions...

Discussion 1 Session 1- Session 8 September 9th
Discussion 2 Session 9 – Session 15 September 16th
Discussion 3 Session 16 – Session 22 September 23rd
Discussion 4 Session 23 – end September 30th

I hope you can join us this month! If you would like to write a guest post for one of the discussions let me know.

Who plans on joining us this month?

Monday, August 22, 2011

Smokin' Seventeen

I finally got my hands on Janet Evanovich's newest in the Stephanie Plum series and I was NOT disappointed.  It was laugh out loud funny, there was steamy scenes with Ranger and Morelli and a new guy was added to the mix.  Stephanie and Lula were ridiculous, the plot was ridiculous and my belly thanked me for the laughing workout.

This is seriously one of my favorite fluffy reads.  They are just so ridiculous they are hysterical.  There really isn't any better way to describe them, but when you break up a cockfight and have chickens and roosters flying around your head and THEN your borrowed vehicle gets stolen and you tase two guys and steal their car, you know nothing but good things can be coming your way. ;)

In this installment the bail bonds agency still isn't rebuilt from being firebombed and they are renting space from Mooner and his bus.  They find dead bodies with tags addressed to Stephanie, the ghost of a guy Stephanie killed before and a vampire is a FTA.  Complete ridiculousness.

I am excited for the movie to come out if only to see who plays Lula and the crazy outfits she wears.  OMG I love these books.

I highly recommend starting to read them from the beginning! They go by so fast and you will stay up late laughing your tush off.  I promise. ;)

What was the last time you laughed so hard you cried?

Friday, August 19, 2011

The Sandalwood Tree - Discussion 3

This third chunk really flew by for me and I actually had to stop myself so I wouldn't go ahead until after I had time to write this out. ;)

"Maybe we'd both be happier if I could just accept the change in him."

As soon as I read this, I was like noooo Evie just say no.  Sure, accept that he has changed but if that change is going to make you both freaking miserable that DOES not make things get better.

I found the whole having James Walker over for dinner and his and Martin's exchange to be quite interesting.  I also thought it was hysterical that Evie tried to make him an English meal and he complimented her on the Indian part! And jumping around like a crazy lady, I think what we learned about Martin's time at the end of the war was fascinating.   I also find it weird that one of Evie's first thoughts wasn't, 'Um husband of mine did you find Elsa attractive? Is why this is such a problem? Did you have feelings for her?" Because yes, what they did to the German's was horrible and wrong I can see where things got heated and things went bad but also, he kind of seemed like he had a thing for her, beyond just seeing the horrible things his fellow soldiers did that day.

And when little Billy went missing, did anyone else have a hard time stomaching the slave market part? Or just envisioning what happens to poor (seriously poor) kids in other countries every day? It turns my stomach and makes me want to puke and seriously, how can ANYONE think doing something of a sexual nature with a child that young is first, appropriate, second, enjoyable, third WHAT ARE YOU THINKING?? GROSS GROSS GROSS. BLECH.

In the Adela/Felicity aspect of things, is anyone else thinking that Adela takes Felicity's identity and the body buried under Adela's name is really Felicity? Or is it just me? And what about that little twist about the landlord being Singh? I can't believe Evie didn't make the connection yet, unless of course she hasn't read that journal entry yet and it was just shared with us readers.

So a few discussion questions, 2-5 taken from the book's facebook page

1. Do you think the leprechaun was a good idea or a bad idea? How do you see this ending for poor Billy?

2. The love affairs in the novel were all scandalous for their time: the interracial relationship between Jonathan Singh and Felicity, Adela’s lesbianism, Martin and Evie’s inter-faith marriage. What does it say about the characters that they were all able to defy expectations and conventions? Did you find their decisions shocking?

3. Evie says, “In 1945 they called it combat fatigue, but in World War One they had called it shell shock, which is more accurate. After Vietnam they started calling it Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Stress? Please. The names for this mental illness became more sanitized with every war.” Martin is carrying serious scars from his time in the war, and as a result closes Evie out and starts taking dangerous risks in his work. Do you think a person ever completely heals from seeing the atrocities of war? Do you think enough is done to care for veterans when they return?

4. Harry quotes Gandhi as saying, “Poverty is the worst form of violence.” What do you think of this statement?

5. One of the major themes of The Sandalwood Tree is the resilience of the Indian people. When Evie first arrives in India, she says “I wanted to… ferret out the mystery of [India’s] people. I wanted to know how India managed to hang on to her identity in spite of multitudes of foreign conquerors slogging through with new gods and new rules.” What did you think of this ability to “bend without breaking.” Do you think it’s universal to human nature? Unique to the Indian people? Something developed over time out of necessity?

Come back next week to finish discussing the last of the book! Also, don't forget to vote in the side bar for next month's read!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Wine and Love vol. 2

I am once again linking up with the wonderful Nora for her weekly wine and love! Head over to check her wine/love out as well as the others!

Weekly Wines:
- My tutoring appt. did not show today.  Home phone disconnected, mom work number unavailable. WTF?  Still haven't heard back from email.

- My daughter will not willingly drink from a bottle.  My boobs and I would like to leave the child for longer than 4 hour chunks without worrying she is screaming bloody murder for whoever is watching her.

- It's fair week and I haven't gotten any fair food.

- I'm not going to see Kenny Chesney next week.

- I didn't get the job I interviewed for and am bummed for various reasons.

Weekly Loves:

- My daughter is growing! We are starting to put away all of her 3 month stuff.  Can't wait for the snuggly fuzzy cooler weather clothes!

- Football season is one week closer.

- I've been married to one heck of an awesome guy for 4 years today! Totally want to relive our wedding reception again.  Sooo much fun.  I am so thankful I married someone who makes me laugh, is super smart and is very laid back.

- Feta cheese and ice cream.

What is on your list this week?

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

12 weeks old

Holy crap.  How is it possible that my daughter is already 12 weeks old? In 8 days she will be 3 months old.  How is this possible? This summer has flown by.  She is getting so big.  I am pretty sure I should be packing away all of her 3 month sleepers but I am slowly doing it one by one as she wears things for the last time.  Some of these things are super cute.  And the few 6 month sleepers we have just aren't as adorable.

She is holding her head up very well, hates tummy time but does an excellent job with head control as she screams about it, follows us around the room with her eyes, puts her hands in her mouth, drools over everything, watches us eat and wants in on the action, nurses like a crazy lady as if I am going to remove the food, hates eating from bottles, loves her swing, loves her excersaucer, loves her new bear Violet, loves her lovey from her cousin Kylee, loves to be swaddled, is back to sleeping 3/4 hour stretches at night now that she is out of the newborn napper, still sleeps in our room, is moving into size 2 diapers, loves when we sing, loves to be read to, loves Little House on the Prairie and loves NCAA football.

Love my girl.  Can't wait for all the other new and exciting adventures that come our way as she gets bigger and bigger.

seriously.. look how big she is!!! this was on Saturday and i was like ummm honey those 3 month pants are now capris on you!

little miss drooly

errrr i'm gonna get you

this is my favorite sleeper she has and this was her last time wearing it!

and today at 12 weeks! love my girl!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011


"I get by with a little help from my friends.."

Sometimes they are the only thing holding in the tears on a rough day or the only thing that keeps me from pulling the plug on job searches.  Love my friends.  They can make me laugh, smile, and make myself feel like a million bucks again, even when I want to wallow in self-pity.

And it doesn't hurt when they call the people who hurt you bad names and tell you how much they suck for passing you by.

Everyone needs friends like mine.

Love them!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Couch to 5k: Week 2 = Complete

Monday - Dance Calorie Burn

This gem I found on my Charter ondemand under Exercise TV.  It was 20 minutes and led by Lia Montelongo and I was NOT coordinated enough for some of these moves.  Seriously.  The first few were simple enough but my sexy walk totally was more of an elephant strut and the kick move totally baffled me.  I will give it credit for getting me to move for 20 minutes and making me sweat a bit but I was so out of whack with the movements I'm not sure what good it did besides have my body move!

she's giving me the you better workout look..
Tuesday - 5 minute warm up 90 sec run/ 2 min walk repeat 6 times 2 minute cool down

I had my very bad day on Tuesday and didn't get a chance to go running until afternoon and that worried me a bit.  And a darn good dinner it was.. Bacon wrapped pork tenderloin stuffed with cream cheese, cheddar and jalapenos nom nom nom.  Anyway, the running 90 seconds instead of 60 was no big whoop but on the 5th run I got a stitch in my side that bugged me until I was done.  I went 1.55 miles. Oh and I saw a dead snake on the road and thought of you Amber!!

Wednesday - Rest

Thursday - Rest

Was supposed to run on this day but with all of my running around, lack of sleep from the night before and the fact that we didn't have dinner until 7, it just wasn't happening that night.

Friday - 5 minute warm up 90 sec run/ 2 min walk repeat 6 times 5 minute cool down

I once again ran AFTER dinner (this time I waited an hour) and I don't think it was that bad but afterwards in the shower my tummy hurt.  I think I run much better on empty/near empty.  This time when I started out running the first two runs my knees hurt.  Almost like they were old and creaky and needed more of a stretch on them.  By the third run only left knee seemed stiff and then it neither of them borrowed me for the rest of the runs.  By the 5th run I thought for sure I was getting a side cramp and through that run and the last run it felt like I was on the edge of a cramp.  Overall, I felt great afterwards but during I felt like I was falling apart! 1.80 miles

Saturday - Rest

Sunday - 5 minute warm up 90 sec run/ 2 min walk repeat 6 times 5 minute cool down

Somehow I managed to push it off til the end of the day again.  But, I remembered if I skipped, I'd have to repeat the third run of week three and I'd have to post this and say, yeah I'm a lazy butt.  So, I got myself out there and made it through, even when my MP3 player almost pooped out on me.  This time only my left knee bothered me for the first couple runs and then at the end my right ankle/knee bothered me.  I think I may need better running shoes.  Or my body is saying, hey you're fat I hate carrying you.  And um when you eat 3 pieces of beer bread,  3 pieces of pizza, a snickers bar, a diet dr pepper, an applesauce and some water on a Sunday, you kind of know why you aren't losing weight bahahaha.   1.80 miles
Week 3 here I come!!!

Mileage Total: 5.15 miles
Extra Cardio - 20 minutes
I am thinking about re-visiting my dear friend Jillian Michaels this week. ::gulp::

Running question.. what kind of shoes do you use that aren't ridiculously expensive? If you use ridiculously expensive shoes, please don't tell me about them, I can't afford them no matter how good they are hahah. I am using Adidas right now and I usually like how they fit my feet and they haven't bothered me running before and I have very narrow feet.

Oh and because I feel like sharing here is my meal plan for the week..

M – French dip sandwich, feta pasta salad, strawberries
T – BLT, chips, corn, watermelon, feta pasta salad
W- Shrimp Jambalaya, rolls, blueberries
Th- Chicken Stir Fry, watermelon
F- Out for anniversary
S –  Jalapeno/cream cheese / cheddar stuffed pork tenderloin, mac and cheese, fruit, tomato/cucumber salad

What is on your menu this week?

oh and don't forget to suggest a book for september's group read!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Suggestions for September's Group Read!

Okay everybody, it is that time of month again! Suggest something we should read next month.  September for a lot of people is going back to school, the end of summer fun and the beginning of fall.  Anything in particular you want to read? This is what we have read in the past..

The Sandalwood Tree
Major Pettigrew's Last Stand
Something Borrowed
The Blue Orchard
Sammy's Hill
In the Woods
Shanghai Girls
The Weight of Water
Water for Elephants
The Color Purple
The One That I Want
The Secret Garden
House Rules
American Wife
Firefly Lane
The Reader
 The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo
The Awakening
Pride & Prejudice
I See You Everywhere

Suggestions will be taken through the 18th when I will set up a poll on the sidebar. ;) Let other's know.  Lisa and I get tired of talking to each other! ;)

Friday, August 12, 2011

The Sandalwood Tree - Discussion 2

Welcome back! Today we have Lisa's input on the second section (Chapters 11-20) of The Sandalwood Tree.  I am really enjoying this book and am glad it was suggested, since I probably wouldn't have found it on my own for awhile.  Reading about India's history at two different points is fascinating and I want to learn more!

Greetings everyone.  It’s Lisa from Lisa’s Yarns!  I’m here to share my perspective on the 2nd section of The Sandalwood Tree.

I have to say, the first part kind of got off to a slow start, but the book really gained momentum in this section.  I really like the back-and-forth narration.  I actually prefer books like this as I love the change in perspective and time period. 

Up until this point, I liked Adela, but my view of her definitely soured after reading this section.  Here are some examples from the book that explain why my opinion of her has changed:

“I never liked the idea of her going to noxious bustees full of beggars and lepers.  I fear the air in those quarters is contaminated with zymotic poisons.”  (p. 152)

Um, ok, it’s an orphanage…  Seriously.  Way to have some compassion.

“The Indian.  I am reluctant to use his name, as if relegating him to the anonymous masses will make him disappear, or at least seem less important.” (p. 154)

“I have confined her to bed, and today I turned the Indian away from our door.  But when I went to her, after she had heard his voice, she turned her head on the pillow & would not look at me.  I am wounded.  I only want what is best for her.”  (p. 172)

Wow, jealous a bit?  I think her jealousy makes her a very unattractive character.  Clearly she does not want what is best for Felicity.  She wants Felicity to herself. 

So now for a couple of questions:

  1. What do you suspect is causing Felicity’s illness?  I can’t answer this because I have read too far ahead.
  2. Do you think that this relationship with the Indian is going to be the death of Felicity and Adela’s friendship?

I will keep it simple and leave it at that! 

Thanks again Lisa! I have a question that I want to pose as well..What do you think the motivation was behind making the cartridges use the grease from the animals?  Was it based on the Hindu and Muslim religions or just dumb ignorance that escalated? Obviously, I know nothing of the time period!

Come back next week for the discussion over chapters 21-32!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Today Sucks

You know when one bad thing happens then another happens and then it seems like the whole day is ruined and out to get you? Yeah, I'm having one of those days.  What makes me even more mad is that I'm freaking out that I'm going to get my first post-partum period and THAT is why I feel like a hormonal mess and I just don't want to deal with that right now either.

So what has gotten me all riled up?

Black pants.

Yeah, I can't find mine.  I need them for Thursday and I am so glad I decided to look today because they are MIA.  I tried them on just weeks ago and they fit snug but I was so glad that they fit a little bit because that meant I would eventually be back into them.  Not like the OTHER pair of black pants that went away to fit someone skinnier than I.

Yeah, I'm kind of scared that I donated the pants that fit too.  EFF ME if I did because I just bought these pants last July and wore them twice before I got pregnant.  Yeah, I suck.  I also suck because I apparently only own one pair of black pants and should clearly own more.

So I can't find the back pants and I have searched my closet 4 times.  I looked in my dresser 1 and a half times.  The built in shelving unit I half-assed because my husband is messy and his clothes are just shoved in there around my semi-folded clothes.

That is my next point of anger.  If my husband just wasn't so messy I would totally find MY pants.  Irrational and lame right? Yeah this is why I am worried about the possible impending period.

Then it starts raining and I wanted to go to the mall because um hello I need black pants.  Oh and I need to run tonight and I am not gun-ho about running in the pouring rain and then it will push this week all off. 

So I am on the phone talking to my mom about how I CAN'T FIND MY BLACK PANTS and she offers up some of her clothes and then I am like, I just need to stop looking because I am going to effing cry over stupid black pants and in the scheme of things crying over black pants is not how I want to spending my crying energy.  So I will suck it up try on my mom's clothes and then maybe hit the mall for black pants for me and birthday presents/cards for 3 little girls who are having birthday parties this Saturday.  Yeah, we were invited to 3 parties for 5 different people this weekend.  Holy birthdays.

So yeah.. pity party for one irrational hormonal lady over here!

What's biting your butt today?

Monday, August 8, 2011

Beef and Rice Enchiladas!

Last week I was on a Mexican food kick.  I had Nacho Chicken Enchilada Casserole, Nachos and Beef and Rice Enchiladas. NOM NOM NOM...

These were super easy and very delicious.

First things first... POUR THE WINE!

I started making Spanish Rice out of a packet (quick and easy and I used Meijer brand) and browning about a pound of hamburger meat and some onions.  I made sure to drain the meat afterwards so it wasn't yuck-o greasy. Oh and go ahead and pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees.

Then I poured the rice into the meat and 1 10 ounce can of enchilada sauce in with the meat and stirred. Yum.  I may have taste tested at this point.

Then I got out 8 flour soft shells (only used 7 because I suck at portioning haha) and filled each one up with about 2/3 cup mixture and topped it with a sprinkle of cheese. 

Then I layered them all nicely in a 13by9 pan.

Topped it with another 10 ounce can of enchilada sauce and some cheese and stuck it in the oven for 8 minutes. (Enough to let the cheese melt.)


These were fabulous and delicious and perfect with some fruit!

- 1 pound hamburger
- 1 package spanish rice
- half a medium size onion, chopped
- 2 10 ounce cans enchilada sauce
- shredded cheese
- 8ish flour tortilla shells

Which do you prefer red sauce enchiladas or green sauce enchiladas?

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Couch to 5k: Week 1 = Complete

I decided to help keep myself accountable I would do a weekly update of my Couch to 5k endeavors. And borrowed this idea loosely on Amber (who is much more together/inshape than I am).

Monday - Rest

Tuesday - 5  minute warm up, 60 second run / 90 second walk - repeated 8 times and 5 minute cool down walk

As I mentioned on Wednesday, I started out Tuesday on my very first run/walk of the program.  I lived to see another day and was just slightly sore and achey on Wednesday, which I felt was pretty darn good for the first running attempt in practically a year and for birthing a baby a mere 10 weeks earlier. I ended up going 1.77 miles.

Wednesday - Rest

Thursday - 5 minute warm up, 60 second run/90 second walk - repeated 8 times and 5 minute cool down walk

Unlike on Tuesday when I cramped up with 2 runs left, I didn't have any cramps today but over estimated my length needed to complete the workout so I had an extra long cool down walk. ;) Around run 5 it got a little tough but I pushed through. I ended up going 2.03 miles with the extra distance oops.

Friday - Rest

Saturday - Rest

Now here is where I almost gave up before I even finished week one.  Yeah, me the quitter.  The baby went from sleeping through the night with one wake up to waking up 3 times and being up for the day by 6 am.  Yowch.  I was soo tired and I just could not pull it together to go out for a run yesterday morning.  So I put it off til tomorrow which always means NEVER in my book. 

Sunday - 5 minute warm up, 60 second run/90 second walk - repeated 8 times and 5 minute cool down walk

I woke up today and the baby had only woken up once during the night and then was up by 7:45 for the day, so not so bad and I woke up not feeling exhausted.  However, I started lazing around and then it got to be 9 and the baby was eating again and I was like, OKAY.  YOU NEED TO DO THIS.  How are you going to be skinny (ha ha) if you give up and you don't even finish week one.  Remember allll that hard work of making a training plan that would be wasted and you'd have to re-fix? GO AND DO IT.  So I headed out by 10 am and thankfully there was a breeze and the sun was out and the humidity and sun didn't really hit me until run 5 again and then I was like, boooya I got this.  And I chugged my way home.  2.04 miles today.

Mileage Total: 5.84 miles

So my thoughts on week 1? It was tough, but I did it.  I'm proud of myself.  I actually set a goal and did it! Woot woot.  I'm excited to start week 2 and while I was running today I even had the great idea that if I can get my run in next Saturday morning, I can totally go for a bike ride next Sunday morning to get our newspaper and perhaps some orange juice!

Questions for those of you who have done the Couch to 5k? Which week do you think is the hardest? Did you do any other workouts in between the runs?

And a question for any runner, do you always do a warm up walk and a cool down walk when you go out for a run or do you just run straight out the front door (so to speak)?

Friday, August 5, 2011

The Sandalwood Tree - Discussion 1

Welcome reading friends to the first discussion of the August Group Read, The Sandalwood Tree. Any and all are welcome to participate, the more the merrier! This discussion covers the first 10 chapters.

I am really digging the back and forth between Evie and Felicity/Adela.  Currently, I think I read quicker and enjoy more when it is the Felicity/Adela chapters.  I think it has something to do with some of the flowery descriptions of India and we all know how I feel about flowery descriptions. ;)

I will say that with reading The Secret Garden, Major Pettigrew's Last Stand and now The Sandalwood Tree, I am learning far more about India's past than I ever knew before. Are you? Or are you already an India expert?

I like that it gives us the history of the time of Felicity and Adela and of Partition with Evie and Martin.  I also kind of feel like Evie and Martin have a slightly stereotypical after World War 2 marriage.  Where one comes back changed and reserved and changed and not as fun loving/carefree as before. Do you think Martin and Evie are going to be able to repair their marriage or is this it for life?

I like how Evie is keeping the letters to herself.  She seems like she needs a hobby/a purpose.  Teaching English is one thing but this is a mystery/puzzle and it can help her feel like she has a role/important again.  Do you think she will find more letters? Did you enjoy the last line as much as I did?

 "I went back to Adela's headstone and read it again, wondering what on earth could have induced a young woman to come to India during an uprising?" pg. 89. Quite the cliffhanger for us.

I'm also wondering.. Do you think Evie/Martin/Billy are safe in Masoorla or do you think they will have trouble? What do you think will happen?

A question from the Discussion Guide:

The Sandalwood Tree begins with a quote from Adela Winfield: “Death steals everything but our stories.” Later Evie paraphrases this as “Our stories are all we have.” What do you think of this? Do you agree? Do you think our stories are the only things that last?

Thanks for participating! Next week Lisa will be giving us her thoughts over chapters 11-20! Can't wait!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Nacho Chicken Enchilada Casserole

Um yum. You just need the words nacho and enchilada to pop up and you have my attention.  Together = FABULOUS!

I was checking out Iowa Girl Eats last week when she posted this and was chomping at the bit to try it.
First, I threw my chicken tenders into the crock pot in the morning with a can of chopped green chilies, about a cup of chicken broth and some salsa and let it go all day.

Then when it was time to make dinner I got my adorable helper ready. Whaat? The purpose of procreating wasn't so I had an audience for my cooking shows? ;)

ready to help!

I chopped up some onion and another can of green chilies because I was an idiot who did not buy the chopped green chilies.  Then I sauteed them with some EVOO. 

Preheated the oven to 350 and pulled the chicken out of the crock pot and shredded it, which was simple and it fell right apart.  Kept the juice in the crock pot.

hmmm.. where did those onions and green chilies go?

Then into the onions/green chilies I added in a can of evaporated milk, a can of red enchilada sauce, 2 ounces of cream cheese and a couple of sharp cheddar cheese. Mixed it all together and got it nice creamy.  Oh and I took Iowa Girl Eats advice and tried it as a dip? Fabulous.  And I may have used some of it for nacho covering the other day on a lunch.. yummmm

While that was getting ready, I got my pan sprayed with pam and broke apart 3 taco shells for the bottom layer.

When the cheese mix was all set I added the chicken in and then the juice that it had cooked with.

Then I measured out 2 cups of the mixture and layered it on top of the tortilla shells.  Then I laid out more tortilla cheese and 2 more cups.  Now at this point mine looked pretty full so I got some tortilla chips and crunched them up and covered it with more sharp cheddar.  I did have more mix left and could have done another layer but decided it looked good enough.

are we done yet???

Threw it in the oven for 25 minutes and DELICIOUS.

My Plate

I topped mine with tomato, black and green olives and some red onion.  YUM!

-3 chicken tenders
- cup of chicken broth
- 2 cans chopped green chilies
- 1 10 ounce can of red enchilada sauce
- 1 small can of evaporated milk
- 2 ounces of cream cheese
- 1 cup of sharp cheddar (plus extra for the top)
- between 6-9 hard taco shells
- crumbled tortilla chips

What is your favorite Mexican dish?