Monday, January 31, 2011

Weekend Recap

I was pleasantly surprised when I realized that today is Tuesday, not Monday. We were lucky enough to have a three-day weekend with the hubby. It started off that he was just going to be going into work late so that he could come to the Parent-Teacher Conference Monday morning, but then he decided to make a whole day of it! What a treat!! It's funny, playing "hookie" for a day makes the time more special compared to the weekend when things sometimes just feel more stressful. Is it just me? Oh well.

Anyway, we had a pretty good weekend, too. Saturday the girls had a birthday party to attend, which was held at Monkey Joe's. Kyleigh and the birthday girl, as well as the other party attendees, had a great time. Abigail was somewhat unsure of the big inflatable bounce houses and preferred to stay in the party room playing with spoons. :) Sunday we hung out at Nate's parents' house, watched some football, and ate pizza. Yes, it was a good day. :) Monday, after the Parent-Teacher Conference, we went to the park to let the girls run around for a few minutes. Yes, it was cold outside but that is what coats and hats and gloves are for. Besides, just because it is cold out doesn't mean one doesn't need fresh air. Then grabbed some McDonald's for lunch (a rarity I assure you) at Nate's request and then down for naps. We topped the day off with going to a frozen yogurt bar in celebration of Kyleigh being dry two nights in a row! Then it was home and to bed...the girls were pretty tired out. It was a really great three-day weekend! :)

"C'mon Daddy! Let's go play!"

We made it to the top!

Growing up way too fast.

Which explains why today felt like Monday. Nate was home yesterday. So. Tuesday. Crock Pot day!! The last three or so weeks I've done stews. While it has been nice to have soul-warming stew, the girls have yet to actually eat their dinners on Tuesdays. Now I don't have a whole lot to throw into the slow cooker, so I decided to try my hand at some homemade baked beans. I'm still undecided as to whether or not I'll cut up some leftover hot dogs we have to give it more 'kid appeal' and I've also been considering adding a bit of rice to it...I'll let ya know.

Thing2 has woken up quite early from her nap and Thing1 has decided to not nap at all. It'll be a rocky afternoon/evening if they don't get back to sleep. *Fingers crossed* Besides, they get up now and I won't be able to finish this post till later tonight. I really enjoy naptimes for 2 reasons: 1)it is quiet; 2) I get to blog and check out foodie sites. So yes, major bummer that nobody is napping.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Reporting on the Reebok EasyTones

Okay, so I've had the Reebok EasyTone shoes for a little over 3 weeks now. I wear them mostly all day (even around the house) because if you don't wear them, nothing will happen.

Have I noticed any difference? 

Aww, thanks for asking. That's so sweet. :)

I am beginning to see a noticeable difference. I payed attention yesterday because I finally wore a pair of underwear I got from Aeropostale years ago and have avoided wearing for some time. The problem was that I could see the underwear lines through my jeans or whatever because I had some extra padding. :) But in week 3, there are no undie lines!!! I am soooo freakin' excited! I actually don't cringe when checking out my behind in the mirror after showering. May be getting a little graphic here, but c'mon, what woman doesn't scrutinize what she sees in the mirror on an almost daily basis? Since having my kiddos, I avoided looking in the mirror...or at least I tried very hard not to look after showering. But yesterday and then today, I like what I see!!! I can't believe I just said that! It's crazy!! The Aero undies were no fluke. Same goes for today's pair. Oh my goodness!!! I'm stoked! lol Would I recommend these shoes? AB-solutely!! If you get them, let me know how you are liking them! We can compare notes.  ;)

Here is a picture I took the other night while baking since Nate wasn't home. Wanna check out what I made? You won't be sorry. Just go here.

I'm so glad today is Friday!! I know my mom isn't too happy about it since she works this weekend, but it is going to be so nice to have Nate home!!!! Have a good weekend everyone!!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

First Hair Cut in 2 Years!--Part 2

I did it! I went to The Spa by Mitchell's and got my hair cut! I was so nervous. haha Before I left this morning, I took some before pictures. Since I probably won't ever let my hair get this long again, I decided to measure it. :)

 So, there is the before. Now, time for the dramatic "after".

 We decided short with layers and side swept bangs. I guess you can't really see them from this front view, but they are there. :)

A cute side view.
And a back view.

I can't believe how light my head feels! It feels like my hair is all gone. haha I do really like the new cut and am enjoying the short playfulness of it. Abigail faltered a little in her welcoming me home when I returned. Kyleigh, on the other hand, peeked around the door as she and Gramma came home (Kyleigh spent the night and Nate's parents' house) and didn't come in much past the entryway. It took her a bit to hug me. I understood though...I feel the shock when Nate goes from shaggy to hair to the buzz that he likes best. :)

Friday, January 14, 2011

First Hair Cut in 2 Years!

I have decided that it is time for a haircut. The last time I got a haircut was while I was pregnant with Abby and my mom treated me to a cut and highlights. My hair, when not pulled back of course, very nearly reaches the top of my jeans. Yeah, hard to believe I know but it is true. Washing my hair usually adds about 10 to 15 minutes to my shower and actually is pretty heavy. That may sound weird, but after piling all of my hair on top of my head and letting go, there is quite a tug as it falls. I think it is time to chop most of it off so I can change things up. Hear are pictures I found online of hairstyles I'm considering. 
Long layered hairstyle
I really like the shorter length compared to what I have now  as well as the movement of the style.
Since I think I have a rounder face, I was considering this 'cause it looks really good.
This actually resembles what I have now only Anne's is shorter.

The Forgetting Sarah Marshall star recently rotated her side-swept bangs and
I like Kristen's hairstyle on the left.

First Kate Hudson is beautiful, and for me I really like the flow of the hairstyle on the left.

Ashley Green’s Layered Hairstyle With Side Swept Bangs
This hairstyle is nice too.

Okay, so the gist of the hairstyle I'm looking for is a layered look and side swept bangs but something that will take minimal effort to style and get ready. Looking for a cute, fun, and stylish haircut. ::Fingers crossed:: I'll post before and after pictures because I'm pretty sure that most people have not seen my hair down in quite some just takes soo much work to make it look nice because there is just so much of it! :)

Two Books Read off the List

Last night I finished the second book off of my reading list for 2011.

The Amateur Marriage, by Anne Tyler
The Amateur Marriage: A Novel

Review From Publishers Weekly
Because Tyler writes with scrupulous accuracy about muddled, unglamorous suburbanites, it is easy to underestimate her as a sort of Pyrex realist. Yes, Tyler intuitively understands the middle class's Norman Rockwell ideal, but she doesn't share it; rather, she has a masterful ability to make it bleed. Her latest novel delineates, in careful strokes, the 30-year marriage of Michael Anton and Pauline Barclay, and its dissolution. In December 1941 in St. Cassians, a mainly Eastern European conclave in Baltimore, 20-year-old Michael meets Pauline and is immediately smitten. They marry after Michael is discharged from the army, but their temperaments don't mix. For Michael, self-control is the greatest of virtues; for Pauline, expression is what makes us human. She is compulsively friendly, a bad hider of emotions, selfish in her generosity ("my homeless man") and generous in her selfishness. At Pauline's urging, the two move to the suburbs, where they raise three children, George, Karen and Lindy. Lindy runs away in 1960 and never comes back-although in 1968, Pauline and Michael retrieve Pagan, Lindy's three-year-old, from her San Francisco landlady while Lindy detoxes in a rehab community that her parents aren't allowed to enter. Michael and Pauline got married at a time when the common wisdom, expressed by Pauline's mother, was that "marriages were like fruit trees.... Those trees with different kinds of branches grafted onto the trunks. After a time, they meld, they grow together, and... if you tried to separate them you would cause a fatal wound." They live into an era in which the accumulated incompatibilities of marriage end, logically, in divorce. For Michael, who leaves Pauline on their 30th anniversary, divorce is redemption. For Pauline, the divorce is, at first, a tragedy; gradually, separation becomes a habit. A lesser novelist would take moral sides, using this story to make a didactic point. Tyler is much more concerned with the fine art of human survival in changing circumstances. The range and power of this novel should not only please Tyler's immense readership but also awaken us to the collective excellency of her career.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

This book was a departure from my usual reads. That doesn't mean I didn't enjoy it, quite the opposite actually. It didn't hook you in and keep your attention like the murder mysteries I've read, but when you pause, you realize you want more. I kept making time during the day so I could go back to it because I was just so curious to see how it all turned out. I consumed the last pages after Nate got home from work and let out a few "Are you serious?!"s and some "No way! You've got to be kidding."s, which made him chuckle. 
Anne Tyler's writing of this book was very real and written so that you shared in the emotions of the characters, almost too real for me. At one point, when one of the characters is strung out and drugged up I felt like I was right there and for that chapter I was scared to be a mom. I became scared of doing something that would negatively affect my kids that would lead them down a life like that and had momentary regrets about being responsible for anyone but myself. Hey, it's easier for me to control just me...have you met Kyleigh?? :) So of course I put the book down and lavished hugs and kisses and giggles and tickles upon my girls--the cure for anything, I promise. 
I can't say it will become a regular read, but I am glad I read it. I look forward to reading more of Anne Tyler's books now that I have had a taste of her style of writing.

Up Next: The World Below, by Sue Miller

Monday, January 10, 2011

First One Down

I have devoured my first book off of the list: 
Steamed, by Jessica Conant-Park and Susan Conant
It is the first in the Gourmet Girl Mystery series. While it wasn't until halfway into the book that the point of the book really came into focus and picked up. Though slow to get to the point, it was a nice light read, as well as quick. I enjoyed it and will continue on with the series. 

The summary on the inside flap of the jacket:
If you have an appetite for crime, join Chloe Carter, food connoisseur, aimless grad student, and resilient survivor of failed romances...
Chloe Carter is forever on a quest for the perfect meal and the perfect man. Getting both in one shot is irresistible. That's why Chloe (known on the Internet as GourmetGirl) risks another burn when she accepts a date with DinnerDude online. Unfortunately, her fellow food lover turns out to be just another cheap, pompous, well-fed bore. Showing more promise is the honey-lavender creme brulee--a bit of culinary heaven Chloe's bland date never even has a chance to sample. Certainly there's an easier way to run out on a tab than being stabbed to death in the men's room.
Talk about a rocky love life. Chloe's first date of the week is a murder victim. Her second date is with a perfectly sweet chef who'd be ideal if he wasn't the prime suspect. As the investigation plunges the amateur sleuth into the gourmet restaurant scene, she discovers a cutthroat world rife with killer competition, stormy love affairs, and a recipe for Baby Bok Choy Slaw to die for...

Up next:  The Amateur Marriage, by Anne Tyler

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Reading List 2011

I'm back, as promised, with the beginnings of a reading list for the new year, in no particular order. Thanks everyone for the suggestions!

  • Cross Fire, James Patterson
  • Pirate Latitudes, Michael Crichton
  • A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, Betty Smith
  • East of Eden, John Steinbeck
  • Roast Mortem, Cleo Coyle
  • If Morning Ever Comes, Anne Tyler
  • Noah's Compass, Anne Tyler
  • Unfinished Desires, Gail Godwin
  • The Good Husband, Gail Godwin
  • A Southern Family, Gail Godwin
  • The Amateur Marriage, Anne Tyler
  • Steamed, Susan Conant & Jessica Conant-Park
  • Simmer Down, Susan Conant & Jessica Conant-Park
  • Turn Up The Heat, Susan Conant & Jessica Conant-Park
  • Fed Up, Susan Conant & Jessica Conant-Park
  • Cook the Books, Susan Conant & Jessica Conant-Park
  • The Doublet Affair, Fiona Buckley
  • The Siren Queen, Fiona Buckley
  • Cooking Up Murder, Miranda Bliss
  • The Handmaid's Tale, Margaret Atwood
  • Lady Oracle, Margaret Atwood
  • Surfacing, Margaret Atwood
  • Life Before Man, Margaret Atwood
  • Bodily Harm, Margaret Atwood
  • The Murder of King Tut, James Patterson
  • 10th Anniversary, James Patterson (set for release May 2, 2011)

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

The Good, The Bad, And All In A Wednesday

My shoes came today! At 2:30 this afternoon. I ordered them Monday night and here they are, Wednesday afternoon. Gotta love FedEx. I am so excited!!! They are so cute. Here is a picture of them from the Reebok website!
   Nothing like a new pair of shoes to make the day a little brighter. :)
   But why would my day need brightening you ask? Little Abigail has come down with the stomach bug that Kyleigh had over her Christmas break. Poor thing has had not pleasant diapers the past couple of days and threw up this morning as I was about to get her out of the car to drop Kyleigh off. She has snacked on some Saltines after her morning nap and, thanks to my mom hanging out with Abby, Kyleigh and I went to the grocery and got some Pedialyte. No matter how long she naps (which is more than normal lately) she is still fussy and ready to go back to sleep soon after waking up. So hopefully it won't last too much longer.
   I've decided that I need a book to read.  I've been looking back trying to find the list of books I read last year, but apparently I only kept track for the first half of the year. I guess 2010 was a busy year. haha And bear in mind that I don't keep track of the cookbooks, other food-related books, and crafting books I read.

 Books Read in 2010
January:  My Sister's Keeper, Jodi Picoult
February: Dear John, Nicholas Sparks
              The Other Boleyn Girl, Philippa Gregory
March:     The Last Song, Nicholas Sparks
              Holiday Grind, Cleo Coyle
              Percy Jackson & the Olympians The Lightning Thief, Rick Riordan
              Percy Jackson & the Olympians The Sea of Monsters, Rick Riordan
April:       Percy Jackson & the Olympians The Titans Curse, Rick Riordan
              Percy Jackson & the Olympians The Battle of the Labyrinth, Rick Riordan
              Percy Jackson & the Olympians The Last Olympian, Rick Riordan
May:       The 9th Judgement, James Patterson
June:       Family Tree, Barbara Delinsky
              The Boleyn Inheritance, Philippa Gregory

   I know there are a few more books I read, I just forgot to write them down. :) Now it is a new year and therefore time for a new reading list! I'm excited! As only a bookworm and closet nerd would. haha 

Stay tuned for the list! (Of course, if you have any suggestions, feel 
free to let me know!)

Monday, January 3, 2011

Another Year Gone, Another Year Begun

   I find it hard to believe that we are in the third day of a new year. This year I will become a quarter of a century old, my little sister will graduate from high school, my oldest baby will turn 5 and begin kindergarten, my little baby will turn 2, and so many other bittersweet occasions are in store for this new year of 2011.
    I haven't posted anything to this blog in a while, and I apologize. Trying to do '25 Days of Christmas in Cookies' for Cookin' By The Seat Of My Pants took up my time....oh yea, and getting ready for Christmas too. :) I would say that I have resolutions for the new year, but resolutions get broken. Instead, there are things I am going to strive to do. First thing would be to walk Peanut around the lake 3 days a week, which coincides with when Kyleigh is in school. To give myself the push I need, I'm going to use the money I got from my generous grandparents and get myself a pair of the Reebok EasyTone shoes. C'mon, who doesn't love a new pair of shoes??? And then I'll want to wear them all the time...which is kinda the point since they help tone your thighs and buttocks so the more you wear them, the more likely the are to do what they are said to do.
   Moving on to the second thing. Kyleigh doesn't really seem to eat meat of any variety. So I've decided to try to work around that more and try some vegetarian meals. Now, the rest of us are carnivores so cutting meat out is completely absurd. :) But I would like to have less fights at dinner and thus it would force us to consider more healthy options. I'm looking forward to the challenge. :) 
   Lastly, I have one more goal for 2011. (Yes there are only 3 because the fewer goals, or resolutions, the less likely one is to break them.) I want to come up with a special project for my cooking blog for each month. It will be a fun way to make each month different and keep the blog fresh. For January, it will be a Dessert of the Week every Friday. 

Happy New Year Everyone!