Wednesday, December 31, 2008

One More

Here's one more photo from the holidays that Joe took. Adyson and I were chillin' on the couch probably after eating way too much food. Her outfit is courtesy of Uncle Joe and Aunt Amy.

Say it isn't so

It's New Year's Eve and we have no plans. Nada. Zilch. Zip. Nothing.

In recent years, we've gone to dinner or a show. But I think tonight we're going to be low-key and take it easy. Maybe tomorrow we'll catch a movie. Joe is sick and I think some time at home, on the couch, sounds like a good plan for us.

I can hardly believe that tomorrow is 2009. I haven't even begun to think of any resolutions and I probably won't. My friend Laura posted about ditching resolutions and instead making a list of things you'd like to do. Great idea! Read it here.

Happy New Year!

Monday, December 29, 2008

The Christmas Angel

I did a bad job at documenting Christmas but here's one of Adyson opening one of her gifts. She did a pretty good job but by the time we opened our gifts that evening she'd already had a long, full day. When she started sleepily, stumbling around we had to put her down for a nap and we all resumed with our gift opening. I think some of her favorite gifts were Little People. She's also really into "tricks" and doing what she can (when she's not sleepy) to make people laugh. One of her tricks is to shake her head, grimace and curl her arms under like a muscle man. I have no idea where she came up with this but it had us rolling.

Menu Plan Monday

Whenever we are out of town we kennel our dogs which is anything but cheap. So I was especially pleased today when I went to the grocery store and spent a record low amount. And New Year's Eve is this week but I'm not sure what it will bring. No plans so far. It's likely we will just be at home snacking and watching movies.

Monday: leftovers (beef polenta pie)
Tuesday: out (Joe's friends visiting)
Wednesday: New Years Eve?
Thursday: lemon chicken with rice
Friday: pizza
Saturday: quiche
Sunday: veggie pasta primavera

Sunday, December 28, 2008


My mom and I both woke up on the day of Lea's service, in the wee hours of the morning, with a stomach virus. Mom's seemed to be much, much more severe and confined her to bed but by the time of the service my symptoms had subsided so I was feeling well enough to go. I'm sure I contaminated all sorts of people but since I was feeling better I just couldn't not go. I was sad to miss the family luncheon but knew there was no way I could eat and Joe wasn't feeling great himself so we made the long trip home before he was totally sick, too. I seemed to get a little worse during the drive but after sleeping about twelve hours last night I think I'm on the mend...still not eating more than crackers yet. I think EVERYONE has had this bug.


Christmas was hard. We all seemed to go through the motions but were still in shock from Lea's passing. It's been a hard week on everyone. I've been thinking nonstop about my cousin. She put on such a brave face that I think none of us really knew how sick she was. My heart and my gut told me she wasn't well but I don't think I knew it was so dire.

I could share so many memories about her that I wouldn't know where to stop but here are just a few: Growing up, I named one of my favorite dolls SueLea after my cousins, Sue and Lea. Lea refused to call my doll by her given name and instead chose to call her LeaSue so that she could get top-billing. One of my favorite memories is of us taking her car to get traded in when we were both much younger and we found out that an entire mouse nest had been living under her driver's seat. I still get chills thinking about it! She made the best mashed potatoes out of anyone I knew. And I don't think she ever called me by my first name alone. She always called me, "Amy Jean" every time she saw me. She was bubbly and happy and beyond generous. She loved life and really enjoyed herself. Her passing leaves a huge void. Life surely won't be the same.

Friday night, I spent some time at my parent's house looking through old photo albums and found some great pictures of us as kids. I hope to scan a few and would like to post them sometime.

Monday, December 22, 2008

I think the hardest part about blogging is opening yourself up when you don't want to. It's sharing the bad times instead of all the good, fun, happy times. But it doesn't seem fair to leave out the things that really matter. How can you just go about your business as if nothing is wrong and nothing bad has happened?

Today my cousin Lea died. She was 36. She had breast cancer. She leaves behind a husband, two boys and a family that loved her very much. She was loud, outgoing, energetic and vibrant. She had more friends than just about anyone. And I will miss her very, very much. Beyond that, I'm not sure what else to say.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

A lucky day

With the slumping economy, seems like everyone is tightening their belts these days. We have cut back on a lot of the extras and one of them is eating out. Tonight we made an exception and went to a local Chinese restaurant. When we got our bill our waiter brought us a box of tea and said, "Merry Christmas" or maybe it was, "Happy Holidays" but either way it was totally unexpected and very nice. Then while we were paying our check he brought back a fancy red envelope. He explained that inside was a gift card for $20. No strings attached. Just another way that the restaurant was wishing their patrons well during the holidays. Wow. Joe and I were both stunned. And maybe they're on to something. With so many cutting back on things like eating out, what a great way to get people to come back or to think of them first when they do go out to eat.

But that's not all. Just before we left the house tonight, Joe opened our gas bill and found we had been credited for $700. Seems that since he has lived here he's been overpaying each month. This is due to the fact that our meter is inside and he's always away at work when they come to read it, so they estimate. Now that I'm home, the meter man/lady can come anytime. So we don't have a gas bill for a few months. And Joe called just to double check that it wasn't a mistake. Needless to say, we felt like our luck had turned even if it was just for the evening. In fact, we stopped to buy a couple lottery tickets. Something we NEVER do. But maybe this is our lucky day...or maybe it was just a good day.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008


Many of you have already been checking in with me to ask about my mom's test results. Mom received her test results today and it was thyroid cancer. So she'll be traveling a lot in the coming weeks for more tests, scans and treatment. Please keep her and my dad in your prayers.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Menu Plan Monday

Monday: Sloppy Joe's on French Bread
Tuesday: Quinoa and Black Beans
Wednesday: Poppyseed Chicken (Nichole's recipe)
Thursday: leftovers
Friday: Homemade Pizza Margherita

Friday, December 12, 2008

Mom update

We had to be at the hospital early this morning for mom's surgery. After they got started, we made the decision to have all of her thyroid removed instead of half; the masses were pretty large. And in retrospect, we made a good decision. They suspect she'll be here for two nights. It was so comforting to have many friends check in on me and to see familiar faces. Also comforting were my friends who work at the hospital, especially those from church. Makes you feel good to know the people who will be helping to take care of someone you love. Thanks for all the text messages, calls, prayers and thoughts.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008


My mom is having surgery on Friday to remove half of her thyroid. I'll be traveling to Columbia to stay with her while she's in the hospital for her surgery and recovery. Please keep her in your prayers.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Menu Plan Monday

Another week, another menu. I'll be going out of town (again!) this week so it's a short menu. Likely, Joe will eat pizza every single day while I'm gone and I'm not even kidding.

Monday: Zesty Italian Casserole
Tuesday: chicken and dumplings
Wednesday: tikka masala

Zesty Italian Casserole
1 lb lean ground beef
1 1/2 c. spaghetti sauce
1/2 c. sour cream
1/3 c. parmeasan grated cheese
1 clove crushed garlic
1/4 chopped onion
6 oz. mozzarella cheese, shredded
1 (8 oz) can crescent rolls
2 T. melted butter

Heat oven to 375 degrees. In large skillet brown beef, onion and garlic; drain. Stir in spaghetti sauce and heat thoroughly. In medium bow, stir together mozzarella cheese and sour cream. Pour meat mixture into a 2 qt. baking dish. Spoon cheese mixture over meat. Unroll crescent roll dough and spread over cheese mixture. Sprinkle parmeasan cheese and butter evenly on top. Bake 18 to 25 minutes or until golden brown.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

In the spirit

There are days where I just want to wallow in my own self pity. I hate being jobless. I hate thinking about the economy. And if I really let it, it will get the best of me. So while I seem to be trapped in my own Groundhog Day, I try my best to keep moving. So in between the job searching and other household duties, I decided today to make our home festive for the holidays.

Last year I got rid of my old artificial tree and didn't even bother with one. I vowed to buy a nice one this year. But this year there's no way we're spending money on a nice, new artificial tree so I went out to the garage today to dig out Joe's tree. I actually love it. It's vintage-looking and super cute. I also put out a few decorations and tonight I'm baking Christmas cookies. Just a few things to get into the holiday spirit. And honestly, it helps. Now if I just had a little hot coco and some Bing Crosby I'd be set.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Our quilt

Joe's Aunt Judy made a beautiful quilt for us so I had to share it. (She's a master quilter. Check out her blog.)(That's Judy and Devin with Joe and me. And don't forget Milo who is front and center.)

Also, I was able to see a quilt that Joe's grandmother made years ago using old neckties belonging to his dad and grandfather. Beautiful!


Thursday morning we made the long trip to the Puget Sound to see Joe's family. I'll have to say that being a midwestern girl it seems like you've left the country by the time you finally reach the Pacific Northwest. We got up at 4 am, left the house around 5 am and got to the airport around 6 am. We boarded our four and a half hour flight and finally arrived at SeaTac. We then took a shuttle from the airport to the ferry at Mukilteo, took a 15 minute ferry ride and finally arrived on Whidbey Island with another 40-45 minutes to Joe's Aunt Judy and Uncle Jim's house.

I'm not a big fan of all of the travel but the trip itself was great and so worth it. We had a wonderful time seeing Joe's dad and Lynn, Joe's Aunt Judy and Uncle Jim, Cousin Devin and Grandma Dorothy. We ate (too much!), enjoyed the company and scenery, played games and watched movies.

Yesterday we traveled for eleven hours before making it home. Joe and I got on the plane and we were both in a rather good mood. While we prepared for take-off we were flipping through the SkyMall magazine and ocassionally commenting on the unusual items we saw. Just after we took off the girl in front of us slammed her seat back into Joe's legs and then turned around and in the rudest possible way basically told us to shut up. I was dumbfounded. First of all, we weren't being loud. The alternative was for us to not talk at all. Second of all, we just took off. I could understand her frustration (maybe) if we were still being chatty 3 hours into the flight...but 5-10 minutes? And thirdly, if she would have waited a few more minutes before being rude to us, she would have just been able to use her iPod and the problem would have been solved. They announced you were free to use electronic devices moments later and she did. I guess my point is, I don't understand why people are so hateful and rude. If we were really bothering her she could have talked to us politely and maturely. I have never ever wished for a screaming child in my lap until that very moment. Needless to say, the rest of the flight was interesting. I now can see how people get thrown off airplanes and get into brawls over no good reason.

Okay...I'm stepping off my soapbox now. Enjoy the photos!

Monday, December 01, 2008

Menu Plan Monday

We've been traveling (and will be on the road later today) so I haven't had much time to think about meals for this week. It will likely be quick and easy cooking while we get laundry and the house back in order.

Monday: traveling all day
Tuesday: pizza
Wednesday: tuna noodle casserole (Strangely, I've been craving this.)
Thursday: pork chops and peas
Friday: pierogi

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Feeling the love

My friends are so cool. Monica and Breanne (and Grayson, too) came to visit for a few days. They surprised me with treats from "home." One of which was a cooler full of Shakespeare's. We did a LOT of eating at home, played some Scrabble and went to the mall one afternoon. We also went to the Chicago History Museum to see a special exhibit. Fun times! Tomorrow Joe and I are headed to the Puget Sound for Thanksgiving and will be gone for several days. Happy Thanksgiving!

Crustless Spinach Quiche

Monica asked for this recipe so I thought I'd share it for everyone. It turned out to be a very easy and very good breakfast.

2 large eggs
1 cup cottage cheese
4 green onions
1 cup grated Monterey Jack cheese
1 cup grated Cheddar cheese
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter, melted
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 cup whole milk (I used skim)
1/2 package (5 ounces) frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
1/4 teaspoon salt
freshly ground pepper to taste
2 to 3 drops Tabasco sauce

Preheat oven to 350. In a large bowl, whisk egg. Add remaining ingredients and mix well. Spread into a lightly sprayed or oiled 9-inch glass pie plate. Bake until set and bubbly, about 55 minutes. (Mine took much less time.) Let stand for 5 minutes before serving. Cut into wedges to serve.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Menu Plan Monday

This is a short week for us. We are leaving on Thursday for our Thanksgiving which will take us to the Pacific Northwest for several days. Until then, we do have company (yay!) for a couple of days. I also made a spinach quiche for breakfast today (more on that later) and Joe made an awesome chocolate cake for us to nibble on.

Monday: chicken curry with jasmine rice
Tuesday: beef and noodles with homemade rolls
Wednesday: pizza

Friday, November 21, 2008


We had Spinach Enchiladas tonight and I was quite pleased with the results. Below is the recipe:

1 tablespoon butter
1/2 cup sliced green onions
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 (10 ounce) package of frozen spinach, thawed,
drained and squeezed dry
1 cup ricotta cheese
1/2 cup sour cream
2 cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese
10 (6 inch) corn tortillas
1 (19 ounce) can enchilada sauce

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Add garlic and onion; cook for a few minutes until fragrant but not brown. Stir in spinach and cook for about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and mix in ricotta cheese, sour cream and 1 cup of Monterey Jack cheese.

In a skillet over medium heat, warm tortillas one at a time until flexible, about 15 seconds. Spoon about 1/4 cup of the spinach mixture onto the center of each tortill. Roll up and place seam side down in a 9x13 inch baking dish. Pour enchilada sauce over the top and sprinkle with the remaining cup of Monterey Jack.

Bake for 15 to 20 minutes in the preheated oven until sauce is bubbling and cheese is lightly browned at the edges.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Thoughts about Matt

It was terribly cold walking from the train to the venue. And I spent waaay too much for a drink. And, no, I wasn't as close to Matt as I'd been in the past. But when he started singing Jesse's Girl and talking about poop, I felt strangely at home. I laughed at his crazy hair. I swooned. I reminisced. I remembered that the last show I went to was when my sister was in labor and I kept checking my phone, waiting for the call. I thought about all the guys I knew who had played his songs on their acoustic guitars. Then there was that time I met him and he told me I was cute. And when he yelled at the crowd I laughed and thought about all the times he'd done that before. It wasn't until he said, "Are you ready Chicago?" that I felt like an outsider. Is this really my town? Do I really live here? A lot of days I still feel like a visitor. It's really a strange feeling. There are days I think it's about time for me to head back to Columbia and go back to my old apartment and job...and then I remember - I live here. It's crazy. I like it. I'm just not quite used to it yet. P.S. I missed you, B.

Something to look forward to

I get to see one of my very favorite people/concerts tonight - Matt Nathanson! (Props to Alison for the sweet hook up.) I've seen him six, seven times? Anyway, it will be a little weird for me to not be seeing him in Columbia. I wonder how the vibe will be tonight. I'm used of his intimate little shows and his banter with the crowd. Hopefully that still happens.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Calling all moms...and buyers of all things cute

Looking for a Christmas gift? Gift for a new baby? Something to keep your kids warm? My very talented friend Cristin has homemade items for sale. Go here for more details.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Weekend update

Saturday was Joe's birthday. His mom and stepdad, Ed came into town for the weekend festivities. We had a great time with them and I planned on taking pictures but managed to forget my camera when we went out on Saturday...and then I just kept forgetting. In typical Joe-fashion, his only request for his birthday weekend (aside from the cake) was to eat pizza and see a movie. We did manage to have a fabulous dinner on Saturday night. And surprisingly enough, the dogs were very well-behaved for our guests. It was a very nice weekend.

Menu Plan Monday

Monday: fajitas and spanish rice
Tuesday: leftovers
Wednesday: bacon, eggs and toast
Thursday: tilapia and sweet potatoes
Friday: spinach enchiladas
Saturday: leftovers
Sunday: (company) chili, creamy avacado dip with veggies, cornbread

Friday, November 14, 2008

Pineapple upside down cake

Um, I made this. That's it. Just wanted everyone to know.

Just something to think about

Nichole shared this, What I'd Like for You to Know link today from Rocks in My Dryer. After reading it I had to share it, too. While it's true that I'm married, I am a newlywed and still can identify strongly with what the blog says. I got married a month and a half shy of my thirty-first birthday and spent most of my adult life thus far without a significant other. Even when Joe and I were dating and engaged we spent most of that time six hours apart. No, I wasn't longing for motherhood but could relate on so many other levels. Yes, I've heard the "What's wrong with you?" or "You must be picky." I remember being told once, "You go out too much" as if that was such a horrible thing. Without the movies, concerts and dinners with my friends I would just be home alone. All by myself. And after those two-hour movies, concerts or dinners I was alone enough - most of the time. I have been so lucky to have amazing friends who let me tag along with them and their husbands/boyfriends/kids, blessed to have other awesome single girlfriends and just awesome friends in general. (You know who you are.) Anyway, my point is, I really hope everyone reads this blog. I found it very touching and true.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Trying to look on the bright side

Remember this? Just a week ago, my car was in the shop. Yesterday we took Joe's car in after smoke started coming out of the hood. The garage called today and said the problem was much bigger than they can handle so this afternoon we're off to pick up the car and take it to the dealer. I know that there are people out there who have problems far bigger than I will ever have but I can't help but be down about this string of bad luck. The car trouble, the job trouble, the lack of income trouble...I need help being positive. I'm afraid I'm turning into a Debbie Downer these days which is probably why I haven't been blogging as much this week. Sigh.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Menu Plan Monday

It's a special week here. Joe's mom is coming to town this weekend and it's Joe's birthday. I will also be making a pineapple upside down cake for the ocassion. Wish me luck!

Monday: potato curry
Tuesday: leftovers
Wednesday: red beans & rice, cornbread
Thursday: butternut squash soup
Friday: pizza (out)
Saturday: dinner out (Joe's birthday!)
Sunday: meatloaf, mashed potatoes, green beans

Saturday, November 08, 2008

A day that would make Martha proud

In a quest to meet new people and to cultivate my "Martha" skills, I went to a luncheon hosted by my church today. (Alison came, too.) It wasn't just a regular luncheon though. There was an expert guest speaker who gave cooking demonstrations and talked about how to cook the perfect turkey. And then there was a segment on napkin folding and another on flower arranging/table decorating. Anyway, it was a very nice time. And the luncheon? Delicious. And I even met a few new people and have all sorts of new recipes to try out. I also feel very motivated to cook a turkey now. I came home to find my husband cleaning the house, baking dinner rolls and accomplishing all sorts of things. It's time to put my feet up and enjoy the rest of this Saturday!

Thursday, November 06, 2008

A healthy night

I'm always on the lookout for tasty vegetarian options and try to make sure we have a vegetarian night at least once a week. Joe gave extra kudos to tonight's selection.

Quinoa and Black Beans

1 teaspoon vegetable oil
1 onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
3/4 cup uncooked quinoa
1 1/2 cups vegetable broth
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
salt and pepper to taste
1 cup frozen corn kernels
1 (15 ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro

Heat the oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Stir in the onion and garlic, and saute until lightly browned.

Mix quinoa into the saucepan and cover with vegetable broth. Season with cumin, cayenne pepper, salt and pepper. Bring the mixture to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 20 minutes.

Stir frozen corn into the saucepan, and continue to simmer about 5 minutes until heated through. Mix in the black beans and cilantro.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Woe is me...and my car

I went to the mall today to drop off an application (yes, I'm applying for part-time jobs, too, now) and when I pulled in the driveway I heard a weird sound. I listened. It seemed to be coming from my car. That's when I noticed green liquid spilling out from underneath my car all over the driveway. I pulled my hood and decided to take a look (yes, I even surprise myself sometimes). It was my antifreeze. I decided to take a closer look and took the cap off. (I managed to lose said cap - never to be seen again.) And I called my dad for some help. Finally the car cooled down and was almost empty of coolant so I added water and headed to the nearest garage. Long story short - it doesn't look good. And I need a job. Desperately.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Adyson the bee

Adyson was a bumblebee for Halloween. Here are a couple pictures of the cutie.

Election excitement

Don't forget to wear your "I voted" sticker to your local Krispy Kreme today and pick up a free donut...or get your free cup of coffee at Starbucks...or your free scoop of ice cream at Ben & Jerry's. Wow - there are a lot of incentives today. Yes, I did vote. And I did get my Starbucks.

Four years ago, I voted absentee and was off gallivanting around Italy with my friend, Monica. I felt really out of the loop on election day. We went to an election watch party (or so we thought) in Bologna to watch the election happenings. Granted, there was a huge time difference but even still all the coverage was in Italian. I couldn't understand a thing and Monica was only picking up a few words and phrases here and there. The place was so packed we were sitting on the very cold floor and I was shivering and falling asleep in public. Sometime in the middle of the night we went back to someones house (an expat who was a friend of a friend of a friend or something like that) and fell asleep on the floor of a strange Italian apartment in Bologna before getting up a couple hours later at the crack of dawn. I remember us picking up an Italian newspaper that morning at the train station and trying (or Monica trying) to decipher whether or not we had a new president. We got the gist - no. By the time I got home more than a week later, all the election excitement had died down and I saw none of the coverage.

This election will be different. Joe and I will be home watching and snacking in the comfort of our own home. This is a very exciting time in our history but I'm also ready to move on. I'm kind of tired of all the election excitement.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Menu Plan Monday

Monday: hamburger/macaroni/tomato casserole
Tuesday: corn chowder
Wednesday: leftovers
Thursday: quinoa and black beans
Friday: pot roast & veggies

Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween!

Already I've had fun passing out candy to many trick or treaters tonight. This is actually my first time passing out candy as an adult because I've always lived in an apartment and never had trick or treaters. I have some homemade soup on the stove and Joe and are going to settle in tonight watching Hitchcock's North by Northwest. I hope everyone has a fun and frightful night. And to all my friends with kids - I want to see photos of all the cuties in their costumes.

Thursday, October 30, 2008


With just five days until this very historic election, everyone is talking politics. I went to hear Mary Matalin and James Carville speak tonight. They were highly entertaining...much more so than I'd anticipated. It was so interesting to hear their take on the election, past politics and how they survive each other. Now, the countdown is on for next week.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Risotto that rocks

I've always loved risotto but have never made it until tonight. Sometime during dinner Joe said, "Your risotto rocks." Why thank you very much. Below is the recipe.

Sweet Potato Risotto

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
salt and black pepper
2 small sweet potatoes (about 1 pound), peeled and cut into 1/4 inch peices
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 cup Arborio rice
1 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup grated Parmeasan (2 ounces)
2 teaspoons chopped fresh oregano

Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until soft, 4 to 6 minutes. Add the sweet potatoes and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, for 2 minutes.

Add the rice and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Add the wine and cook, stirring frequently, until absorbed.

Measure 3 1/2 cups of water. Add 3/4 cup at a time and cook, stirring occasionally and waiting until each addition is absorbed before adding the next. It should take 25 to 30 minutes for all the water to be absorbed.

Stir in the parmesan and oregano.

For more variations go here.


I have been waiting patiently for my latest rejection letter for the job I interviewed for last week. According to their timeline, I was sure I would have heard by now if I got the job. I logged onto their website to check my application status and there it was, "selected other candidate." I had some doubts about the position after my second interview (and I was sick that day so not feeling my perkiest although I tried hard to fake it) but I still wanted to be wanted. I still want to get out of the house. I still want social interaction and a paycheck. And I want to stay in my chosen career path. I'm wondering when these things will happen for me. I am trying so hard to be patient but it's really hard right now. I've had two job interviews here for positions in my field and both have led to second interviews only for them to choose someone else when it got down to the final two candidates. And two interviews out of the dozens I've applied for doesn't exactly make for good stats either.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Kick off my Sunday shoes

Footloose is going to be remade and Zac Efron is going to play Ren. I'm not sure how I feel about this. My first thought is why should you mess with perfection? I can't imagine liking anything as much as the original. Did I mention it's going to be a musical? Complete with new songs? It's true that I could end up jumping on the bandwagon at some point in time but right now I only want to think about Kevin Bacon playing Ren and that cute, perky Sarah Jessica Parker as Rusty. What do you think? Read more here.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Menu Plan Monday

Monday: calzones
Tuesday: sweet potato risotto
Wednesday: salmon and salad
Thursday: chicken and mushroom soup
Friday: leftovers

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Dinner with Dorian

Joe and I went downtown tonight to have dinner with my friend, Dorian who is in town for a conference. Dorian was one of the very first people I met when I moved to Columbia more than eight years ago. Dorian relocated a few years ago but we have remained close friends. It was so good to see her! I only wish we could have spent more time together. And, might I add, it was awfully cold tonight. I broke out my new down coat. Winter is right around the corner.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Best. Concert. Ever.

I had so much fun at the concert last night. Like the good husband he is, Joe woke up when I got home and let me babble on and on about it. I remember being giddy and I think he asked me how much I'd had to drink which was completely irrelevant because I was just high on New Kids. (In fact, I think this might have been Alex's same reaction to Nichole and me a few years ago after seeing Jordan.) Right before bed I remember telling Joe he was old only I don't remember what the context was but it went something like this, "You're old...but not as old as Donnie Wahlberg!!" Sigh. I heart the New Kids. Below are just a few of my thoughts about the show.

  • Long live synchronized dancing.
  • 2+hours of some of the best video, choreography, special effects and pyrotechnics I have ever seen at a show.
  • The guys have a great wardrobe and had several changes.
  • Alison very intuitively noticed that when they sang old songs they used "old" hand-held mikes and when they sang new songs they used headsets.
  • The foot stomping, hand waving, dancing like you just don't care of about 20,000 screaming women during Hanging Tough was unbelievable.
  • All of the guys are cuter than ever.
  • Girls were still wearing homemade tshirts. My favorite read, "Too late Donnie, I'm married now."
  • Danny did some amazing breakdancing. Amazing.
  • The guys did some solo stuff. Jordan did a solo, Baby I Believe in You. (Check out the video below. Not from the same concert but this is what I saw in person.) Jordan also sang from his solo days, Give it to You and Joe did, Stay the Same. During Joe's song he did some eloquent dancing with one of the female dancers that totally rivaled anything I've seen Jennifer Gray and Patrick Swayze do.
  • At one point the guys left the stage to be on a small circle in the middle of the floor. We had a great view and it was so cool.
  • A lot of girls were there dressed like it was still the 80s/90s which was fun and we saw everything from brand-new NKOTB shirts to shirts from 20 years ago.
  • They were actually selling dinner plate-sized buttons at their merch tables!
  • Before the concert, you could text a message to the guys to appear on the jumbotron. At the last concert I went to people didn't even have cell phones!
  • I always thought Joe and Jordan were the two most popular ones but I saw more Donnie paraphernalia than anyone else. Hands down, it was all about Donnie last night.
  • Donnie de-pantsed himself on stage last night.
  • Their new music is great! Really.
  • Instead of Tiffany opening the show, we got Natasha Bedingfield. (She has a half-mullet.) And although she has several very popular songs, I was surprised that most of the 30 year olds new the theme song from The Hills the best.
  • They did a really beautiful video playing tribute to the people in their lives who had passed away in the 15 years since they'd retired. Many were celebrities or other musicians. When they got to their own parents, I almost lost it.
  • I had almost forgotten about No More Games but Donnie can still rap. :-)
  • And probably the biggest difference from the show I went to 17 years ago is that a good majority of the fans there were drinking.

And for the moment you've all been waiting for:

Friday, October 24, 2008

Seventeen years in the making

April 5, 1991 - My parents picked Amber and me up for school early. We were headed to Columbia. We were headed to see New Kids on the Block. I remember debating whether or not I would wear one of my many New Kids t-shirts to the show or was I too cool to wear one of their shirts (oh the irony). In the end, I can't remember what I decided. Amber and I were giddy. We got to the show and I think I had to squint to see them. I had written a poem for Donnie. It was probably the cheesiest thing I've ever penned but I was determined to give it to him. With letter in hand the show started. Amber cried. After the show, we resisted filing out of the Hearnes Center - we were determined to meet the band. (Yes, I was a groupie even back then.) Finally some bodyguards insisted we leave so I left them with my letter to Donnie. Before we left, we took confetti from the stage and found my parents who thought we were lost forever. (I think the confetti must surely still exist somewhere in my old bedroom.) It wasn't too long after that the love began to fade. Amber and I tried to stay true to the end but eventually the band broke up and broke our hearts. In 2004, Nichole and I caught a solo Jordan but "Cover Girl" just isn't "Cover Girl" without Donnie. Tonight I'll be reunited with the band. I've spent more than half my lifetime waiting...Seventeen years, six months and nineteen days later - I'm going to see New Kids on the Block again! Tonight Alison and I are going to the show. I can't wait. Can't. Wait. Much more details tomorrow.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

A Thursday Meme

Jen from Crazy-Yet? tagged me. All the answers are just one word:
1. Where is your cell phone? desk
2. Where is your significant other? work
3. Your hair color? red
4. Your mother? saint
5. Your father? determined
6. Your favorite thing? free-time
7. Your dream last night? computer
8. Your dream/goal? travel
9. The room you’re in? office
10. Your hobby? writing
11. Your fear? sausage
12. Where do you want to be in six years? happy
13. Where were you last night? home
14. What you’re not? fake
15. One of your wish list items? movie
16. Where you grew up? Missouri
17. The last thing you did? bake
18. What are you wearing? t-shirt
19. Your T.V.? mediocre
20. Your pet? Crumley
21. Your computer? laptop
22. Your mood? content
23. Missing someone? friends
24. Your car? Mazda
25. Something you’re not wearing? earrings
26. Favorite store? Target
27. Your Summer? eventful
28. Love someone? yes
29. Your favorite color? brown
30. When is the last time you laughed? today
31. Last time you cried? week

I am tagging: Nichole at Esmon dot net, Sandi at Wayfaring Stranger, Rachel at Rach's and Alison at Musing of an Accident-Prone Chicagoan...and anyone else who wants to participate.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

My family

I'm a cat person. I love cats. And about every other day I ask Joe if we can get a kitty. Joe likes cats, too, but it would be awfully difficult for us to have one (or two) of them with our two dogs so even though I keep asking I know it's not going to happen any time soon. I have always been a little scared of dogs but that's probably because growing up, we always had cats. When I met Joe, I knew that if I loved him, I'd have to love his dogs, too. So after we got married, I became the mom to two dogs - a Labradoodle named Crumley and a Mountain Cur named Iris. I wish I could tell you that Iris and I are the best of friends but the truth is we both get on each other's nerves a bit. I'm trying but some days are better than others. Most of the time, Crumley is my very good friend and keeps me company all day long. He's definitely the cutest dog I've ever met.

Joe and Crumley taking a break.


The great pumpkin

Tonight Joe and I carved a pumpkin. It was a first for us to do together. (This was after I ate pumpkin ice cream at Cold Stone - I love this season!) Below are some photos of our very sinister-looking pumpkin. Joe's pictures turned out better than mine but here's my attempt.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Menu Plan Monday

Monday: leftovers
Tuesday: ravioli with peas
Wednesday: tilapia with lentils
Thursday: short ribs and veggies
Friday: pizza

Saturday, October 18, 2008

A beautiful day

Joe and I thought we'd enjoy the cool, crisp weather and the beautiful leaves at the Morton Arboretum today. We loved it and can't wait to go back again. We took a guided tour, enjoyed carmel apples (yum!) and especially enjoyed the seasonal display of scarecrows.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Happy Fall

It's officially cool here and I need to break out my winter clothes. I am dreading my first Chicago winter. I hear it's not pleasant and because I've visited in the winter before, I know it's not pleasant. I went downtown last night without a jacket and thoroughly regreted it. But I do love the fall. It's definitely my favorite season and I hope this weekend Joe and I can enjoy the fall leaves and maybe carve a pumpin. I'm also making chili tonight and I think we're going to see W. We also started watching Arrested Development this week on dvd and I love it! It's one of the smartest, most hysterical tv shows I've ever seen. Cheers to a cozy weekend - happy fall!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

A day in the life

Today has been very busy. First of all, I woke up sometime in the middle of the night unable to swallow because my throat was so sore and then I just felt achy all over. And I lost my voice. I went to the doctor and they thought it was sinus-related and sent me home with a list of over-the-counter products to buy. So I went home and rested for awhile before I headed downtown to meet my former bosses who were in town. We went to an awards ceremony for a campaign I had worked on (so nice of them to invite me!) and then looked around for awhile at the Art Institute. Also, I didn't mention it in my blog last week but I did have a job interview. And they called back today so I have a second one next week. I'm really hoping (and praying) this one pans out!

Monday, October 13, 2008

Menu Plan Monday

Monday: cheesy baked shells and broccoli
Tuesday: roasted red pepper meatloaf and salad
Wednesday: glazed cod with asparagus
Thursday: polenta with blue cheese and chard
Friday: southwestern chili
Check out recipes at Real Simple.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Adyson's first birthday

Friday, October 10, 2008

Much ado about nothing (or tv)

Now that Joe and I are married and we both blog, we often write about the same things just different perspectives. It seems funny to me to read his blog and think, "Hey, I was going to write about that." Obviously, I still can and will.

We watched the premier of Life on Mars last night. This is our first attempt to find a television show that we both like and want to watch together. I can't say that we currently like any of the same shows. In fact, I don't think I'm watching anything these days. I seem to watch HBO and Showtime shows on dvd but I'm even out of those at the moment. I used to be really into Grey's Anatomy but I find it just too predictable and boring these days. And my fascination long wore off with Lost, too, but I imagine I'll still continue to muddle through for fear that I've watched this long and still don't understand what's going on. All in all, I really liked Life on Mars and I think this will become a regular for us. I also think we're going to Netflix "30 Rock." Gotta love Tina Fey. Are you watching any must see tv? Anything I'm missing out on?

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

She's got my fake vote

Did you guys watch the debates last night? Here's a little something you may have already seen but it makes me laugh every time I watch it. "...biggest depression since The Notebook." Hilarious.

See more Paris Hilton videos at Funny or Die

Monday, October 06, 2008

Wedding fun

Early Thursday morning I headed towards a Kansas City suburb with a stopover in Columbia. I was armed with a suitcase, bridesmaid's dress, a lunch that Joe packed and the new Ben Folds - it was Kim's wedding weekend!

As you can probably tell from the photos, we had a blast and it turned out to be a fun girlfriends' reunion along with the celebration of Kim's marriage. I think I fell in love with the little flower girl, Kim's niece. She was full of spunk and surprised us on the dance floor with all her moves. She was the life of the party! I tried to keep up with her but I am still sore today. Note to self, I am not a kid.

I am also trying to resume a "normal" diet after eating junk and all my favorites for several days straight...yes, I let the good times roll and Kim's buffet was a cheese-lover's delight!

Congratulations Kim and Chris!

Menu Plan Monday

Monday: three-bean chili

Tuesday: crispy chicken and salad

Wednesday: creamy pesto gnocchi with green beans

Thursday: curried rice with shrimp

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

The birthday girl

I will be on the road tomorrow so I won't have blog access but I didn't want the day to pass without mentioning that tomorrow Miss Adyson will turn one! Can you believe it's been an entire year? Next weekend, I'll hit the road again for her big birthday bash. It's guaranteed to be a star-studded event. Until then, happy birthday Big Girl!

Adyson then

Adyson now

Tuesday, September 30, 2008


Tonight I had dinner with my friend Dan and his sister and her husband in Greektown. It's been over a year since Dan left Columbia and we've seen each other. And it was so nice to catch up! Dan is in town for a conference. I think that will be another great thing about living here - people I know are often here for work/conferences. Anyway, it was a nice evening and good to explore another part of town. Now in just a few short days I'll be reunited with some of my other friends and I'm so excited!

No wonder

I read yesterday that the unemployment rate was 7.3% here. It's no wonder I don't have a job. Yikes.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Menu Plan Monday

I'm going to be out of town most of the week which means there isn't much on the menu. It also means that I went to the store and stocked up on frozen pizzas for Joe. (He could live on a steady diet of pizza.) All recipes this week are from Real Simple.

Monday: steak with lemon and chili-roasted potatoes
Tuesday: potato pierogi with sauteed cabbage and apples
Wednesday: chicken with tomatoes and thyme (This is a carry-over from last week and I have a feeling it may make it to next week, too.)

Friday, September 26, 2008

A visit from a friend

I spent the day today with a friend from back "home." Sandi is in town with her husband Dave and baby Chandler. (Dave is here for a conference.) So I picked Sandi up at her hotel and we went to an African restaurant for lunch. It was a first for me so I'm glad I had someone to show me the ropes. (Sandi lived in Africa for a couple years.) It was so nice to see a familiar face and to catch up...And it was fun to try something new. Thanks, Sandi!!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

A message about peace

I heard Elie Wiesel speak tonight. He was very soft-spoken, combine that with his accent, and I had trouble hearing at times. But his message was still understood. He spoke about faith, hope and peace. It was good to hear him speak. Even after withstanding so much unthinkable human suffering and pain he still thought the world could be a better place. And that he could contribute to that. And so can we.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Chick lit

One of the many perks of living here are all the many things to do, like book readings. Tonight my dutiful husband and I went downtown to hear Candace Bushnell read an excerpt from her newest book. It was a lot of fun to hear her read and then do a Q&A before signing books. Many of my questions were answered. And, yes, Mr. Big is a real person!

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