Oct
26
Posted by admin

The post about Pinterest.

Like the majority of women that are on the internet, I “use” Pinterest.

Constantly. Daily.

It’s not always productive time spent… hello 3,000 pins of Benedict Cumberbatch smirking.

Goodbye hours of my life I’ll never get back.

BUT… when I need creative inspiration for a nautical brunch or I’m trying to convince my husband of galvanized pipe shelving, Pinterest becomes essential.

Especially the recipes. Oh, the glorious recipes!

Pumpkin everythingbasil thisfried that and healthy everything!

I use 3-5 Pinterest recipes a week.

Here’s where my frustration lies:

I spend Sunday morning perusing 1,000 pins until I find the 4 recipes I have in mind. Jot down the few items I don’t have that I need to pick up. Voila! My meal planning for the week is complete. Until Tuesday rolls around. It’s 5:15 and I know I have all the ingredients, but oddly enough I don’t remember how to make Siracha & Lime Salmon.

Fast forward to 5:40, where I’m frantically navigating my YUM board. Trying desperately to remember whether I pinned it before or after the blueberry, greek yogurt muffins.

Oh look! Someone I’ve never met before just repinned 16 make ahead, affordable, healthy crock pot recipes!

I toss the salmon in the oven, sans siracha and lime. Then slip away into Pinterest oblivion.

New Plan:

Remember that leisurely Sunday morning, when I have infinite time to waste. When I actually find the recipes I’m using for the week… listen carefully…I email the recipes for that week to myself. So simple. I feel stupid for not thinking of it before. Now I just open one email, click on the link that takes me straight to the recipe.

I completely bypass the 45 min detour navigating through distraction.

And if you’re super organized you can save those emails and have weekly menus already at your fingertips… maybe even an ingredient list to make life easier in the future.

Insanity.

*don’t be tempted by the “send this pin to someone.” I tried that & although it works, it also redirects you back to Pinterest and the goal is AVOID pinterest within dinner time to be effective.

Tags:
Dec
29
Posted by admin

Marinated Olives

While out Christmas shopping, my husband and I stopped in at your typical Italian restaurant for a late/somewhat light lunch. We ordered marinated olives as an appetizer and we were pleasurably surprised.

 They were fantastic.

 These olives were so good, we tried figuring out the magical formulation of ingredients.

We had family coming over on Christmas Eve and I thought marinated olives would be a nice addition to the cheese & cracker platter. I searched the web thinking I could easily find the recipe. It looked so simple, but all of the recipes I found involved cooking the marinade or involved spices I didn’t have.

This recipe is so easy and definitely needs to sit overnight or at least for a few hours before serving, so all the flavors can mingle. You’re basically going to add all the ingredients together. That’s it.

I give you my version, which my family and husband raved about.

Marinated Olives

1 can black olives (the HUGE ones.)

1 jar green olives (also HUGE.)

1 garlic clove

Drizzle of Extra Virgin Olive Oil

1-2 Lemon Peel

Italian seasoning 

dash of salt 

Directions:  Cut the top and bottom off the garlic. Use 1-2 lemon peel shavings. Combine all the ingredients in a plastic bag and store in the refrigerator. Take out the garlic and lemon peel prior to serving and let it sit at room temperature.

TIPS:

-When adding the seasonings less is more. I used VERY LITTLE salt & a few of cranks of the Italian Herb grinder. This is recipe is great, because you can try an olive & if you feel you want more flavor, give it a couple of more cranks/dashes. My guess is you could basically use any combination of spices you enjoy. Tex Mex olives? Hmmm.

-The oil will solidify & look completely gross, but as they become room temperature the olives look normal again.  You definitely want these olives to marinate for a few hours/overnight. Serve with toothpicks.

-You don’t need much olive oil. Just enough to coat all the olives. Used too much? Just pour it off.

- I like serving the HUGE olives, because they’re more fun to eat.

-I heard you’re suppose to use “Organic” lemons whenever you use the shavings, but I can’t tell you whether my lemon was organic or not.

 

 

 

 

Oct
23
Posted by admin

The post about vomiting.

Our friends, David & Daina, were spending the weekend with us. They came over on Friday night & stayed until Sunday. On Saturday we slept in, ate at Elena’s Cuban Resturant for the first time. I had the chicken & yellow rice with black beans (it was very delicious) and went to the Downtown Lakeland car show. Saturday night they wanted to take us out to dinner for our birthdays, so Alex & I decided on Fish City Grill at Lakeside, because our favorite restaurant (Cafe Zuppinas) is closed on the weekends.

 

We’re finding parking at Lakeside when all of sudden I start sweating & I KNOW I’m about to toss my cookies.

 I adjust the air vent, swallow & focus on my breathing.

 It’s not working I’m going to have to say something or start puking in our car.

Hand on the door handle I say, oddly very calmly, “Actually, I think I might throw up, so I’m going to stand by that tree.”

 I don’t wait for a response I just get out of the car. As soon as I stand up it starts to happen.

 I manage to walk in front of the car before upchucking in the parking lot.

 A few steps I make it to the low, decorative hedges they plant between parking spaces.

 

I puke. On my hand.

 

I puke. Projectile. Chicken & yellow rice. I notice Alex running towards me & David parking the car.

 

I puke. It comes out my nose. I sit down on the curb, squished next to a random car.

 Alex hands me a jacket, so I can wipe off my hand, I’m shaking but feel great.

Daina & David approach. I’m laughing now, because really I feel fine.

I’m just shaking, so we stand up and we all walk towards Fish City Grill to eat dinner.

 

Yeah.

 

I immediately go to the bathroom to wash my mouth, hands, face and make sure I don’t have vomit splatter on my jeans.

 

My throat hurts.

My nose is on fire.

I’m still trembling, but I feel fine.

 

I sit down at our booth & make a mental note of the nearest “vomit friendly location” (the front door is closer than the bathroom) but I’m sure I won’t need it.

 

I feel great.

 

I’m incredibly thirsty and start sucking down water. We talk about what might be good on the menu. We talk about specials and appetizers and drinks. The waitress comes, David orders the “Oyster Nachos appetizer.”

 

Awesome.

 

I really feel fine, except I’m getting really hot.

I’m focusing on the conversation.

Sip more water.

We order our food. I get the Shrimp & grits, because everyone seems that will help settle my stomach.

I agree mainly, because I’m having trouble thinking.

 More water. I’m so f*ing thirsty.

 Oyster nachos arrive. Everybody digs in. Except me.

 I avoid looking at the nachos, but Oh God the smell.

 I tap Alex’s leg and ask for the car keys. I think I’m going to go sit in the car. I’m starting to not feel well.

Alex doesn’t like that idea & suggests just taking me home.

It’s coming.

“Okay.”

I stand up and start to walk away. There is discussion about my meal. They’ll get it to go.

 

I hit the front door & it starts to happen.

 

I walk directly to the hedges right in front of the OUTDOOR EATING AREA and vomit.

 

Twice.

 

I feel okay. Cross the street.

 And upchuck in the flowers in front of a store. It’s just water & stomach acid.

 

Twice.

 

I think I’m done. I really am feeling better. We make it all the way to the back of the parking lot.

Make it to the car. Make it home successfully vomit free.

I yak one last & final time in the toilet.

Sunday I didn’t eat.

So, I guess the moral of this story is when shopping at Lakeside ALWAYS avoid any hedges, planters or greenery, because I probably puked in them.

 I also have shrimp & grits in my fridge right now.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tags:
Jul
10
Posted by admin

Pinterest Summer Challenge

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THE. PINTEREST. CHALLENGE.

Dun, dun, dunnnnnn.

 

The gist: Stop pinning and start doing.

The Challenge: Find something that inpsires you on Pinterest and instead of leaving it behind to get buried under pins of Ryan Gosling and crock pot recipes, ACTUALLY DO IT.

 

I know.

 

The Brains: Sherry from YoungHouseLove

 Katie B from BowerPower

 

Ordinarily, I would have used this as an excuse to spend WAY too much time on Pinterest and flake out for the Challenge, BUT I just happened to stumble upon this pin  moments before seeing the Summer Challenge.

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Melted Crayon Canvas Art.

I’ve seen the pins with the Crayons glued to the canvas and heated until they melt, but this felt a little more sophisticated and looks like a beautiful watercolor painting. I sort of have a love/hate relationship with watercolors ever since 9th grade art class. I love how the colors blend and everything looks delicate and soft. In 9th grade I didn’t understand watercolors, I had a very specific vision and was discouraged when it turned out to be blob-ish. As a result, I’ve continued to admire watercolor prints from a far, but knowing my frustration level haven’t attempted another piece of artwork. While we’re on the topic, let your kiddos watercolor, because those guys have mad skills. I think it’s part of the “letting go” that adults tend to cling to, when they’re trying to make art meaningful.

I already had everything I needed.

I had some canvas tucked away from a sale at Michaels a few weeks ago.

Crayons, well I’m a pre-school teacher and I feel like I could produce crayons, markers, paints, pipe cleaners and just about any other random “art collage material”  on demand. Like, I could compete in tournaments.

Hair dryer. I have hair, so no explanation needed.

I threw dinner in the Crock pot, laundry in the washer, dishes in the dishwasher and gave myself a little art time. Which I love! Art makes my soul happy and I never seem to make time for it.

 Step 1: Pick your colors

Step 2: Peel the paper off the “chosen” crayons.

Step 3: Pick your hair dryer setting & start creating!

I started out using the hair dryer on HIGH with MED heat, which took about 30 seconds to start melting, but I had a little more control. This setting seemed to take forever and the crayons left a waxy, bumpy texture, which I liked.

I accidently bumped the dryer control to HIGH heat & things definitely heated up quickly! The crayon was melting in much larger portions and everything else that was already melted to the canvas started moving. I freaked slightly, but went with it. I actually liked the look of HIGH with HIGH heat. It thinned out some of the mountain-ish areas, blended with surrounding colors and made it look more like watercolors. This is definitely the splatter mode.

I didn’t take any pictures during the process, because it’s a two handed job, but I LOVE what I ended up with.

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Here’s a close up:

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I love the idea of adding more layers/colors/texture. I’m very happy with the finished product, but I love that I can add and change it up whenever I feel like it. This would be adorable in matching nursery colors for Baby’s room. Or a fun black and white Rorshach ink blot.

TIPS-

. Do this in an art approved area. There will be some splattered wax. (Which is very easy to remove on hard surfaces.)

. Very similar to watercolors. When things get heated up, you don’t have a lot of control, so let it be! :::giggle:::

. I held the crayons very close to the canvas and rotated as it melted.

. Throw away the crayon wrappers BEFORE firing up the hair dryer. Learn by mistakes.

This would be a great summer project for school age kids.  I personally would even give it a try with a 3/4 yr. old. I’d roughly chop the crayons, let them drop the pieces on the canvas randomly and help steady the blow dryer. It’s like a bigger, better version of straw blow art. I’m also used to painting/creating with 20 4 yr. olds, so I could be a bit crazy.

Still need some inspiration? Check these ladies out.

. Sherry at YoungHouseLove 

. Katie at BowerPower

. Kate at CensationalGirl

. Michelle at tenjuneblog

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Apr
01
Posted by admin

The Easter Egg Hunt

Our first Easter together we’d been together 6-ish months (I can’t quite remember, because sometimes Easter is in March and sometimes it’s in April.)

I’m no stranger to leaving post its & little love notes & sweet nothings around the house.

I bought 2 dozen eggs at the Dollar Tree and filled each one with a strip of paper with “Things I like about you.*” Like “You always open the door for me.” “You can have a conversation with ANYBODY.” “Your smile.”

Then hid them all over the house. A few easy ones in plain sight, so he’d realize what was happening. And a few VERY difficult ones. I hid one in a pocket of a dress shirt, that he would never find until he decided to wear that particular shirt. I loved this for 2 reasons.

1. It drove him crazy knowing there was one egg left that he hadn’t found yet.

2. He found it weeks after the egg hunt had been forgotten & he had a sweet note.

The 2nd year we were together we were newly engaged and almost married. I used the same idea, but filled the eggs with all the different names he was to me. This one was a little sillier. For example, “Fiancee.” “My Love.” “My Boo.” “My Future Husband.” “Best Friend.” “My (future) Baby Daddy.”

Last year, Egg Hunt #3, I found out his favorite childhood Easter candy was egg shaped gum & filled each egg with a couple pieces. This was one of my personal favorites, because the look on his face when he realized there was gum in each egg and then the crazed fury to find ALL of them IMMEDIATELY. It gave me a small glimpse into our future with children…and Easter egg hunts.

I love this idea, because it cost $2 four years ago, it’s SUPER EASY and became a fun tradition. This would be a great alternative to candy for kiddos. Especially if you’re a Words of Affirmation kind of gal like I was/am.

The options are endless:

-Date night ideas

-IOU’s: “IOU double high fives” “IOU an uninterrupted episode of Star Trek.” “IOU a 30 second hug,”

-Quips: “I think you’re EGG-cellent!”"SomeBUNNY thinks you’re amazing.” “You make my heart HOPPY.”

-Glow stick eggs & a midnight hunt

-Bucket List “Road Trip” “Read Hunger Games together” “Go Fishing”

-Things you appreciate: “When you unload the dishwasher.” “Take the trash out.”

-Words of encouragement: ”You’re a wonderful provider.” “Best listener I know.”

OR if you’re feeling crazy a little bit of everything!

I’ll let you know what Easter Egg #4 ends up being!

*I had done this previously a few months into the relationship. Except with cut out stars and taped them throughout the house after he had had an especially stressful work week out of town. It never gets old. I’m always thinking of new things I like about him and who doesn’t need to hear them.

Mar
03
Posted by admin

A very different place.

Nothing like waiting until March for the first post of the year.Happy New Year 2012! My New Years resolution was to paint more. I feel I’ve yet to break my resolution, but I don’t feel I’ve adequately met it either. Hmmm… it’s a good thing I have 9 more months to really commit to my resolution.

In other news, I quit my job back in September 2011 (hallelujah!) I will always be a teacher, but I NEEDED to get out of the classroom. I loved teaching, but IT WAS TIME after 10 years. Working with children drains you on every level & you end up at a very scary place. I didn’t like the kids anymore. This is especially true when you have a co-teacher that is equally draining & unhelpful. You get tired of questions and you wish for a solid 60 seconds of silence to process anything. Tears have NO affect on you. The cynical side of you starts to take over. You find yourself in a argument with a spoiled, disrespectful 4 yr old about putting the lid on markers, because it’s part of “taking care of what you have”, when all you can think about is spanking that child and saying “Put the lid on the marker, because I’m an adult and I asked you too” through clenched teeth.

Yeah. It was time for me to move on. It’s like being a single parent to 20 children, but you have to raise each one with a different set of rules that you don’t get to make. I’m proud to say I made it 10 years.

My new job is very part time teaching gymnastics to preschoolers :::insert ironic laugh here::: Yes, I’m still working with preschoolers, but it’s different. Each class is only 45 minutes. I’m in various schools with different age groups, so I still satisfy that “teaching thirst” but I get to walk away before that “if I was your mother…” feeling starts to set in.

I quit my job. Turned 30 years old, went to NYC. Celebrated the holidays, sold Sally Mae :::sniff:::, and basically started 2012 in a very different place, although geographically I’m still in the same place.

Aug
06
Posted by admin

Then there were FOUR.

Despite having THREE. yes three sewing machines left to me. I bought a new sewing machine from amazon & before I go any further into detail…

The THREE  sewing machines that were bequeathed to me are antiques. The chance that one of the THREE sewing machines work is probable, but not likely. When I say they’re antiques, they are the size of a night stand and the sewing machine folds up and down with a flip top method. I have THREE of them.

Both of my grandmothers left me their sewing machine and the third one was an add on to one of the others. Now that I live in my own house, my mom has called and basically said

 

“Remember those THREE gigantic sewing machines? They’re in MY garage. What would you like me to do with them? I can bring them to you!”

 

Well, here’s my thing. I don’t want or need THREE sewing machines, but they are sentimental and I learned how to sew on one of these behemoths.

 

This is how I found myself standing in my mother’s garage scratching my head.

I mentioned keeping the one I learned to sew on and “Craig’s listing”  the other two, but after some research they were only going for about $75-$100 and being used for parts in most cases.

Cue the sad mom face.

That’s when we decided to keep them in the family. I would take one, mom would keep one and my brother and his fiancee would take the last one.

THREE sewing machine solution!

Except now I have a sewing machine that doesn’t work, so I did some research on amazon and found a little portable guy for $84.

I checked with the Husband & he said buy it (after reasonably pointing out I recently had THREE sewing machines.)

I bought it. Shipping was free & it was delivered to my house in 2 days.

2 DAYS people.

I have it right now.

 

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Much sooner that what I anticipated.

I am unprepared to sew on it.

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I have no fabric, so maybe a little more of a thought process should have happened.

Although, thumbs up to the amazon shipping guys or elfs or whatever it is that makes amazon magical.

Now…

something to sew.

 

 

Aug
01
Posted by admin

Pinterest Challenge #1

I love a good challenge & even more I love Pinterest.

 The whole point of pinterest is to “pin” ideas that in inspire you. Well, I’ve pinned 761 pins, but have yet to actually complete any of them.

Once a week I’m challenging myself to complete one pin.

This weeks challenge:

MASON JAR SOAP PUMP

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 And here’s how mine turned out:

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I’m pretty happy with results & except for a faulty pump the first go round, it was super easy.

I used a corkscrew to make a hole, needle nose pliers to make the whole bigger and trimmed the tubing to fit the jar. Then I just slipped the pump in and voila! Free soap dispenser.

 

Jul
14
Posted by admin

Summer Date Night

 Em- Movie, Starbucks & NYC- Alex really wanted to see the movie Thor, I really didn’t. In my defense I just didn’t know anything about it. Since we waited too long to see it at the Drive in (wink) we decided to catch it at Mugs & Movies. Tickets are $3.50 and you sit at tables instead of rows. We under estimated the allure of Mugs & Movies and arrived 5 minutes before our movie started, thinking we could grab tickets and walk in. WRONG. The line to buy tickets could compete with The Forbidden Journey ride at Universal. Amazingly enough even with our 5 minute cushion & the 15 minute line we actually made it in time to watch the previews. Thor was a GREAT movie. I’m so glad I went & it was also family friendly, albeit some violence. After the movie we jaunted over to Starbucks, used my most recent gift card to purchase a Chai Tea Latte (no H2O) and Alejohndro an Izze drink. We sidled up to a table & did some planning/brainstorming for our NYC vacation in Oct. We don’t spend a lot of time at Starbucks, so it was nice to be in a new atmosphere. We came up with some great ideas for NYC. My favorite part was that we spent about $7 dollars for the whole night.

Jul
09
Posted by admin

Summer Date Nights

To relieve a little work stress and to have something to look forward to I started Summer Date Nights. Darling and myself switch off weekends & plan a date night. There aren’t really any rules. Just have fun & be creative. A few have been:

Em: Date Night bike ride/pool party/dance party. Well riding bikes & playing in the pool were canceled due to rain. But we followed up with a dance party in our living room. Yes I did my hair and make up & put on my heels just to booty dance with my husband whilst listening to pandora. It was FREE & we laughed  A LOT & it felt good to let loose & get goofy.

Alex: Dinner at Marios (the name has been changed) AH-mazing restaurant in local lakeland. Very small & intimate. If you’re looking for a good anniversary celebration, this is your place. It’s reservation only & it’s all about the experience. Dinner was about 3 hours, but the ambiance is super romantic, the food delicious & they had a live guitarist (as opposed to the dead ones) It’s pretty expensive, but worth it for a special occasion.

Alex: The Silver Moon Drive In (wink) SO. MUCH. FUN. a) it’s super cheap. ($4 a person, $2 on Thursday nights) b) It’s shows retro movie concession stand ads. c) The movies are new releases. d) it’s .07 seconds from our house! Also, we tried but we don’t get the station in our driveway. Although there was an accident and we were stuck in traffic & were able to listen to X-Men one evening.

I’m pretty happy so far. I don’t know which one was my favorite.