Tuesday, December 11, 2012

The most delicious Steamed Artichoke

Ingredients:
One whole artichoke per person
1/2 stick of butter per person
1 lemon or real lemon juice 
2 large cloves of garlic
3 bay leaves
salt to taste


Instructions:


First put your steamer on the stove filled about half way with water turn on High.  
Cut the lemon into wedges.  Take half of the slices and squeeze them into your pot of water.  Drop the lemon slices in.
Peel and cut the garlic cloves in half.  Add them to the water along with the bay leaves.

Peal the a few of the leaves off near the stem.  They don't taste that good anyway.  I generally take off about a two layers.

Next I cut the tip of the artichoke deep enough to expose the inner layers.  My general rule is to leave three or four visible outer layers starting from the stem.

Trim the stem so that it will fit in your steamer.  Next clip the ends of the outer exposed leaves.

Place it in the steamer covered for 15 minutes on high.  When that time is up, turn the burner down to medium and steam for one hour.
Check periodically to make sure you don't run out of water.  Believe me it has happened before and it wasn't pretty.

About 5-10 minutes before the artichokes are done place half a stick of butter in an oven safe (or toaster oven safe) small dish.  Heat until it is melted through.  Add salt and lemon juice to taste.  I prefer more lemon than most people so let them make their own.

Carefully put the steamed artichoke on a plate along with the small butter dish and serve.


Enjoy.








Thursday, December 6, 2012

Biting the Bullet

My In-Laws are coming into town today.  All the cleaning is done, menu prepared and "activities" (there is nothing to do in this po'dunk little town) ready to go.  I am for the most part ok with this visit.  My in-laws will behave just fine.  We will all get along, even if I don't pass inspection :-P  My nerves come about because we have little choice but to open up to them about our infertility struggle.

We have shared with my brother in-law and sister in-law(SIL) about what is going on.  We told them when we were visiting and they have since kept it to themselves.  My Mother in-law (MIL) has been dropping hints to her and asking them if we are trying for a kid or if we have heard anything.  My SIL shared with me that she feels like she should tell her what is going on with us but she does not feel that it was her place to say something. I am thankful she didn't.  Although I feel it is only a matter of time before she does.

All this basically means that we now have to share what is going on.  I am hoping and praying that they will not share this with our extended family as we would like to keep this a relatively private matter.  (no, no family read this blog, if you were wondering why I am sharing this on here).  I am pretty sure once they see the medicine in the fridge that something will be asked.  Fingers cross that they will not ask about until after we talk to them.

I am dreading this conversation.  Its just awkward for both sides.  I feel I have to prepare myself for the million and one questions and comments that are about to come.  Some that while they think they are being helpful can come off hurtful to us.  Simple statements like "maybe you just need to relax and it will happen."  On the outside it seems harmless, however we are well past the "just relax" stage and on to the medical stage.  We have already found out 2 years in that this "just relax" thought isn't really our problem.  Its like nails on a chalkboard to me every time I hear it. Oh and side note, telling someone to just relax doesn't help them relax.

I am waiting for my Strict Catholic MIL to tell me to pray the rosary or go to church more or worse yet that "maybe God doesn't want us to have children" (Yes I have been told that by someone).  All things that I don't need to hear.  I have tried all of the above and will continue to pray for us to be blessed with a baby (or two).  I will continue to attend church as I see fit.  I will continue to wear my Saint (idk which one exactly hubby looked it up seeing as he is the Catholic and all) pendant necklace.  

my stress level is through the roof with nerves and jitters about telling them.  I am insecure about it because I am the one with the infertility issues.  Will she think her son married a broken women?  Will she look at me with that sad expression when we tell her?  Will she be asking about our sex life?  Will she confront me about when we are alone?  Will she continue to ask what is going on in every conversation we have?  Or will she act like it is no big deal?  and mostly I am wondering if she or they will be mad we didn't tell them sooner.  I could keep going with the bazillion questions going on in my head today but I will spare you.  You have already gotten my point.

The thing that gets me is that there are so many unknowns here.  We have told only a select group of those people in real life what is going on and all of them have reacted differently.  Some are encouraging and uplifting while other have thrown out a couple of nasty comments.  I try to ignore the bad and focus on the good.  Pulling those in who are understanding.  I am just not sure which side they will fall on.  I know they won't be harsh about it.  At least not intentionally.  As long as they fall somewhere in the middle I will be content.


So the plan is to discuss it all tonight after dinner while playing cards or something.  Let them ask what they will and hope it is left at that.


Here is to hoping it goes well.




Tuesday, December 4, 2012

My 29th Year

Today is my birthday.  My 29th birthday to be exact.  I clearly am getting old.  Today I had the first taste of what being old feels like.  The cashier at the store called me "Ma'am" and told me that my ID was unnessicary when purchasing alcohol.  I swear I do not look 40!!!


At any rate I am taking a break for the day... ok a relative break.  I still have an inspection coming up so chores still need to get done.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Not so Ready For Inspection

My house is in a huge disarray.  I recently put up the Christmas tree, decorated, sorted the boxes that flooded into the house, wrapped all the gifts and placed them under the tree.


All while this guy just sat and stared at me.  Lazy sack of bones.  Oh, Hunter helped a bit too.  Wrapping some gifts and assisting me in putting up lights.  For the most part though it's left up to me.


In just three short days my in laws will be coming into town.  I enjoy their visit because it is mostly relaxing.   They expect to sit around and play cards, eat decent food and chat.  Lets face it there is little else to do here in middle of nowhere, Louisiana.  Like I said its enjoyable, except the fact that I feel like I am under inspection when they first arrive.




I have said this before (possibly even on here) that my mother in law "Loves to clean."  Her words not mine. I clean and even deep clean my house.  I just am not a fanatic about it.  Looking around at this very moment I can see a thin layer of dust on my bookshelf because I forgot to dust it last week.  There are also dirty dishes in the sink, a muddy foot print from one of the dogs under the table and at least 7 loads of laundry that I can count piled up in my entry awaiting their turn.  This would be totally unacceptable to her.

My stress level is through the roof at this point trying to get the entire house in perfect order for inspection.  One I am positive I will fail in some fashion.  However I will do my best and be OK with that.


So why am I here and not cleaning like a mad woman?  I needed a break from the cleaner fumes.  They were starting to get to me.  right now though, I am thinking a hot cup of tea and a small snack are calling my name before I get back for cleaning.  Wish me Luck!

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Once again!

Today I became an Aunt (again).  My Brother and Sister in Law welcomed their second child into the world a beautiful Baby Boy!  How I wish I could be there to celebrate with them but such is an army life.  My little niece is excited to meet her little brother.

All are doing well!

Congratulations on your new addition!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

A Problem Filled Sewing Experiment

I decided that I needed to get my butt in gear and actually sew something more difficult than a burp cloth.  Enter a Double Sided Quilted Halloween Table Runner.  I know I am reaching for the moon here but I will never know if I can do it until I try.


I think it started out sort of shaky.  My biggest problem seems to be in cutting, which you do a lot when you are making subway tile shapes out of fabric.  I'm sure my inability to stick with the initial design didn't help much either in this area.  At any rate I got through with most of the fabric rectangles being the correct size and shape.



I laid all the squares out on the table how I wanted them to be.  This is when the second problem I learned.  Always always always iron the fabric before cutting.  Now that I think of it I wander if that would have helped with the cutting.  Anywho I proceeded to iron each and every piece of fabric so that it would be easier to sew.




After fixing that problem I moved on to sewing the pieces of fabric into strips.  You guessed it insert problems three and four.  Problem three was obvious but only after completing the first strip and laying it neatly down on top of the backing.  It was shorter than I had expected.  Yup I forgot about that little thing called seam allowance.  Yup I'm an idiot.  So I guess the project just lost a few inches all around.  Problem four was again another stupid error on my part.  I wasn't paying attention to which pieces I was sewing together.  When I had finished another strip I laid it down in place and sure enough the fabric in that pile were out of order.  For this project I wanted them in a specific order, which when I got distracted by the phone call or the dryer, not really sure which I managed to mess it up.  Luckily, I had cut extra pieces for this very reason.  I am now thankful I did that.



Next step was to iron the tiny seams flat.  This isn't so much a new problem but rather an annoyance.  The seams were small because of an earlier error in not taking into account the seam allowances.  Oh well nothing I can do now.



The last bit I did for the day turned out to be sewing the strips together.  one would think this would be easy but due to my horrible cutting skills and wobbly sown lines this too was yet another problem.  When I started I had the idea that subway tiles in a brick pattern would be best.  Sure enough I second guessed myself and went with a lines so they would be "even" (HA!).  Boy was I wrong.  With a bit of tugging, stretching and, resewing they were even.

So now I have 1/2 done Halloween Table runner that is still incomplete and full of problems.  I guess it could be considered a jump on next years project?  Right?

Sewing project - 1,278
Jenna - 0











Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Gift Giving Season

is quickly approaching.  My birthday and Christmas are only a few weeks apart so I send out my list which I am going to share with all of you.



I have a decent amount of cookbooks this one caught my eye.




When we did our wedding registry we picked up several Rachael Ray Cookware and Bake ware.  This Lasagna Pan and its smaller square version is needed.



Can you tell I like Italian food?  Well I have been wishing for a pasta maker for a while now.  Hunter picked this up on Black Friday for me from Crate and Barrel.





I need another scarf like I need a hole in my head but it's far to pretty to pass up on.




Who doesn't need more chick flicks?




I'm shocked I haven't already picked this one up.




This is a 1 3/4 Remington Instant Curls Curling iron.   



Bare Minerals holiday eyeshadow set.  need I say more


Stila's holiday set. Another must!




Unii Palette is something I have wanted but couldn't think of purchasing myself.  Guess this works for a gift.




Sunday, November 25, 2012

Black friday recap

I am one of those crazy people that go black Friday shopping.  I have for the last 10 years.  It started out helping my aunt and grandma, then somehow it morphed into shopping for myself to save money on things i needed and now shopping for our family and friends.

I make it a goal of mine that if i am going to go brave the crazy holiday shopping I am going to be done with ALL of my shopping before I take my afternoon nap on Friday.  I even go as far as wrapping and label things as soon as possible as well so that I don't have to worry about anything on the week leading up to Christmas.

Last year this worked out perfectly.  We got everything needed and then some.  This year...  well lets just say it didn't go according to plan.




Where I was on line

This is where I was in line at Target at 6:30pm on Thursday.  Not to bad.  We weren't interested in any of the huge ticket items like TVs so we were sitting pretty.  That was until target was unable to control the crowds and piss a lot of people off by letting people standing on the sides in before those who had waited hours to get in.  Doors opened at 9pm on Thursday.  We had purchased our goods and were in the car at 9:40pm.  This is where I realized that this opening time is absolutely lame.  Not just for the obvious reasons you have heard people talking about all week but because the next store I wanted to go to didn't open until midnight.  I was not about to wait another 2 1/2 hours to go to another store.  

Honestly, if the stores all open relatively around the same time you get more customers.  For the simple fact that if I had waited until midnight to show up it would sure I would have hit up several stores but Target or WalMart that open incredibly early would have been too picked over for me to even bother going there.  

Overall it was the worst experience I have ever had black Friday shopping. The stores I wanted to go to are an hour away from me.  That was the first clue I should have stayed home and shopped online.  Target had no crowd control and extremely rude people.  I have never experienced that before in New York or in North Carolina.  Aggressive sure but flat out nasty, never.  

Sign number two came from the fact that after leaving the 2 stores we went to we only had 3 gifts for us and 1 for our families.  I was no where even close to being done Christmas shopping.  See this year we are staying home with each other.  This basically means we have to mail any physical gifts we purchase to the family member directly.  In the end it would be cheaper to purchase online verse in store to save on shipping.  

When we got home I did just that.  I jumped online and ordered far too much stuff.  I am not totally done holiday shopping though.  I have some one gift card to get, one items left to buy, and 2 stockings that need to be filled.  

Our biggest scores were a fire pit half off and all of the Harry Potter movies in blu ray for super super cheap.

part of our goods we scored super cheap!!!

Next year, I'm most likely staying in and shopping online.  I'll trying going out shopping once we move to a better location.

Anyone go Black Friday shopping or shop online?

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Giving Thanks


Giving Thanks

Gobble, Gobble


While facing difficulites in life I think that it's sometimes hard to step back and be thankful for what we already have.  I openly admitt to have been in an incredibly grumpy (that's putting it mildly) mood which means that I am nit picking everything that is wrong.  Focusing on the negative.  Today at least I would like to try and focus on the positive.


I am thankful ...

... For a warm, cozy house that we both love

... For two puppies that listen the majority of the time

... For the cooler "winter" weather in the deep south

... For Amazing friends

... For The many visits from family

... For having been in the same place as my husband for the past 3+ years

... For being able to not have to travel for the holiday's this year

... For finally having a good nights rest

... For my husband

... That Mason (the Honda) is still going strong after 10 years of abuse from me

... And my iPhone for that matter

... For amazing health care that covers just about everything

... For making through this past year

... For actually being at a real Post

... For the yummy deep fried turkey that only took 25 minutes to cook!

... For the days off

... For the relatively short drive to New Orleans (bring on Christmas vacation trip!)

... For the black friday sales so we can save some money

... For finally feeling better!

... For the Holiday Season

... That the house has remained relatively clean so that I will only need to touch things up before company comes.

... That we only have a bit over 2 years left here in Louisiana



Saturday, November 17, 2012

new motivation + 30 Day Shred


I find it hard to motivate myself with working out.  Then I stumbled onto this.




This is an old picture but one that pushes me to get my old body back!  Total awkward pose taken about 8 years ago.  However, there was a flat stomach with the beginning of abs starting to show.  Obviously it's not in this pic so you will just have to trust me when I say they were there.  

With renewed motivation I start Jillian Michael's 30 Day Shred.  Again.  My first attempt failed miserably.  Wish me luck!


Thursday, November 15, 2012

Throw back post to keep me going



Every now and then I look back at old posts.  This one reminded me why I started to workout again.  

____________________________________________


Everyone I feel has those moments in their life when then know in their heart of hearts that they need to make a change.  While getting ready to go out I hit my breaking point.   I got dressed and went to put on my makeup.  I looked in the mirror and wow.  wow. wow. That's all I could think before tears started to well up in my eyes.  I looked horrible.  And before you start the doubting and saying "no she really couldn't have looked that bad".  Well, I did.  I looked that bad.  This was not just my imagination or hormones or anything else.  And let me assure you I'm not writing this looking for sympathy.  I'm in a sense venting and stating my breaking point.

In fact that moment standing the bathroom, was my realization that I need to make a change.  A serious change.  Staring at myself I could no longer just chalk up my extra weight to getting comfortable in my marriage, water weight, my period, the medicine I am on, last nights pasta dinner, the dryer shrinking my clothes, a miss sized garment, or any of the other million excuses I tell myself.  This is me saying that overall I need to be a significantly healthier person, not just say that I do!


I have been working out but not nearly as hard as I'm going to be. My workouts are very lackadaisical.  I do the minimum and expect the result.  Hello when has that ever worked for anyone?  It has never worked for me and it's never going to.  I'm only kidding myself here.


I think its about time I dust off my workout dvds and get going even though we are in the middle of a move. 
I might just be walking or running for the next week or so but its more than I am currently doing. 



Thursday, November 8, 2012

Passing it on

Occasionally I find a post that is just too good to not send you all there.

Now, I haven't talked about this on here before and I don't know if I really ever will but I am currently just shy of a two year journey struggling with infertility.  I bring this up only because I know that there are many of my friends both in real life and online that are going though this very struggle.  My heart goes out to you.

Now on to the post I was talking about.  It is often hard for other to know exactly how to react or respond to those going through infertility.  Trust me it isn't easy on either end of things when an off beat comment comes flying your way.  So to keep you from getting tripped up when trying to help support someone who is struggling with infertility I beg you to read the article below and really think before offering up some half thought comment or joke.






A special thanks to Paula From Infertility Wars for sharing this on her blog (where I first saw it!)


Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Shrimp Po' Boys

After visiting an amazing Po' Boy place in New Orleans I knew we had to try our hand at making them.  There were several different trys at Shrimp Po'Boys that didn't hit the mark.  We combined several different recipes and store bought batter mix.  Finally we had the batter correct but the Remoulade Sauce was another story.  That took us several more tries to get it right.  Finally we made one that we both enjoy.




This is the best mix we have found.



I use uncooked, devained, tail-off shrimp thawed.  Make the the batter according to the directions and cook them in the deep fryer.



Typically Hunter cooks the shrimp while I make the Remoulade Sauce.  It really seems like a bunch of random items thrown together but it's so yummy!


Remoulade Sauce

1/2 Mayo
2 Tbs Chili Sauce
1 Tbs Creole Mustard
1 Tbs Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 Tbs Lemon Juice
1/2 tsp Worcestershire Sauce
2 medium Scallions, minced
1Tbs Parsley
1 Tbs Green Olives with Pimento, minced
1 Large Clove Garlic, minced
1 Tbs Celery, minced
1/4 tsp Chili Powder
1/2 tsp Salt (add more to taste)
1/4 Ground Black Pepper
1/2 tsp Capers, chopped
1 - 1 1/2tsp Hot Sauce (optional)

Mix it all together. 





Slice/dice some tomatoes and shred some lettuce for toppings.
Make a sandwich with all the pieces how you would like.


I opted to make lettuce roll ups.  I kept the lettue whole, spred the sauce, added diced tomatoes, and shrimp  



Enjoy!

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

The Photoshop Effect


I'm a huge fan of Sarah from Diet healthSarah Fit blog and her Youtube channel. Yeah you can find her in a lot of places.  At any rate she is extremely fit to say the least. 

Here she is talking about the Photoshop Effect.  Something I think we all need to keep in mind when looking at those fashion magazines!



Part 1




Part 2




Part 3

Monday, September 24, 2012

Makeup Pinning


If you haven't wasted an hour pinning then you need to get started ;-) No seriously there are some great finds if you are willing to look.


Every once in a while I stumble across a gem or two that I'm glad to see getting pinned like crazy.  Below are two of my favorite makeup ones I have stumbled upon this week. 

Please note that this to show people where to place contour or highlight colors.  I absolutely cannot stand when I see someone who has very visible contour lines on their face.  Especially when they have little clue of what they are doing.  Many people already work with contour the eye area without ever even knowing it.  For the most part people do this fairly well.  Cheek and neck contour are a completely different story.

Some basic guidelines for this are simple.  Start buy using your fingers and feeling your face.  You want to find the spot below the cheek bone.  Some people this is easily visible and others not so much.  This is where the contouring should occur.  I see it all the time with improperly placed and it has a reverse effect making them have an odd face shape or making them look fuller faced then they really are.

Color choice for contouring is also something I see go terribly wrong.  You want to pick a foundation or bronzer that doesn't contain a single amount of shimmer, glitter or shine.   Likewise you don't want to go too dark in your choice.  General guideline I was taught is to go no more than 2-3 shades darker from what your skin tone currently is.  I would recommend starting to try this with a matte bronzer that isn't too dark for your skin tone.  Lightly place it in the correct area of the face and gently blend out the edges.  You don't want any harsh lines that will draw attention to what you are doing.  The better you get at this the more you can play around with it but stick with the basics if you are just beginning.  Less is always more.  You do not want to end up looking like the picture above.  It's a scary sight to see in person and trust me everyone will laugh and comment about it behind your back.

Like I said above most people contour their eyes reasonably well.  But did you know the placement can accentuate things you are trying to hide?  For example you can create the illusion that your eyes are closer together if you have wide set eyes.  In general most people use the average eye contouring in the picture below and sometimes it's not the best idea for our eye shape.  No, they aren't all listed below but I think it covers a good range. 


The next time you have extra time to when putting on your makeup try playing around with contouring.  It's not permanent so if you don't like the way it looks then just wash your face.  No harm in trying new things.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

I want these in my closet now!


I have been on Polyvore waaaaaay to much today! Here are a few things I would like to add to my closet in the near future.


Pop of Yellow

LOVE that mustard color!




Comfy orange


While I am not so sure that top would look good on me (hello large chest) the orange/gray look is super cute.  I am loving skinny jeans more than I think I should.


Teal and grey casual


Who doesn't love a casual go to outfit.  This is SOOOOO it for me!!!!!


Red and grey

Make those jeans a solid dark wash and I am sold.  I typically think red is bold look at me color so I avoid it.  I think that needs to stop now.  I want something red in my wardrobe.  Makeup doesn't count.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

No so much June


We dont have kids, I dont have a job right now and our house isnt spotless. Dinner isnt on the table and sometimes not even in the oven when Hunter gets home and there is always a pile of laundry that needs to be done. Needless to say I am no June Cleaver.

Dont get me wrong here I dont just sit on the couch eatting bon bons all day. I clean up throughout the day, workout, play with the dogs a bit, and then have a bit of me time. I know it frustrates hubby when he comes home from work and there is a sink full of dishes that need to be washed but I chose to read a book instead of washing the dishes.

For me its self preservation. I wont spend everyday cleaning despite the fact that I like having a spotless house.  I would go nuts and get resentful.  The only time that reallt happens though is when my in laws are coming. My mother in law admittedly "loves" cleaning. That is not me nor will it ever be.  I clean one room, maybe two top to bottom during the week with the occasional load of laundry thrown in. I'm happy with that and like it or not Hubby will have to deal. 

How do you stay at home wives and moms do it?

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

I have a love hate relationship with...


My 1st Edition Nook.  
Start up screen


Its not fancy and by now I am sure you all have seen, own, or at least tried out an eReader in the store.  I needed a reads like paper on because I can't stare at computer screen for too long without it bothering my eyes or giving me a headache.  The reads like paper screen with a touch screen navigations is perfect to me.  I have looked at the new Simple Touch Nook and I really am not pleased with it.  I will stick with this for now.

So why a Nook and not a Kindle?  The Nook allowed for more formats of ebooks than the Kindle at the time we picked these up.  I have no clue if that has changed now or not for either the products.  Our Library had a ton of ebooks we could borrow and the Nook allowed us to do that.


Open to the cover of a book with active touch screen

The added bulkiness and weight of our books grows at each and every location as we acquire more books that we love.  I sort of expect it to.  If it were left up to me I would have a library that would rival Belles from Beauty and the Beast.  However with Hunter being in the military for the foreseeable future, that extra weight isn't really a good thing.  

For those of you not living the military lifestyle let me take a second to clue you in.  The military pays to box up and ship your goods to each and every location you go to.  It's sort of a bit of compensation for making you move every 2-3 years.  That being said they will only pay for "X" amount of weight per number of members in your family.  Essentially the more family members the more weight you are allowed.  To my knowledge rank doesn't have much to do with this but I am not positive about that so don't quote me on it.  This all means that if I want to ship a 1,000 pounds of books the military will gladly put them in a box (hopefully keeping them in good condition), throw the box on a truck(um... I mean place...lol), bring it to my new home, and put it the box in whatever room I want it in.  

However you also need to keep in mind that you have furniture, pictures, clothing, kitchen supplies, etc that all need to get packed up, weighed and sent to the new location.  This then becomes a matter of what you want your weight to be used up on.  For me I would rather it but things like my wardrobe or craft supplies.  Not on heavy books.  Hence the Nook is a smart investment for us.  I can store, reread, share (more on that later) and enjoy my favorite books in one convenient compact location that can all fit in my purse.


Like I said in the title thought this is a love hate relationship I have with it.  While there are many great things about the Nook, it has it's flaws.  They have started to annoy me as of late.  It breaks down into two reasons that for the life me I can't seem to wrap my head around. 

ONE:

Why on earth is the ebook more expensive than the hard copy is?????
Screen shot from Barnes and Noble Website

Sorry I know that is blurry and all but it says $2.99 for a Hardcore and $7.99 for the NOOK Book.  Granted this is on sale but its pretty common for the ebook to be more expensive than the physical copy of the book.  Sometimes it is less by only a dollar or two.  Ok I get it. I know there are royalties and yada, yada, yada, but give me a break.  It clearly costs much less to "produce" an ebook than then physical copy so it should be reflected in the price.  I have the same problem with iTunes when the cd is cheaper for the same thing.  It just shouldn't be this way.


TWO:

The Lend Me Program that Barnes and Noble has incorporated with the Nook

This may or may not be a Barnes and Noble Nook problem per-say but more of an ebook problem.  Regardless its a flaw in the system.

The Lend me program is a great concept.  A friend in your Nook network sends you a message asking to borrow a book.  You click accept.  The book gets slotted into a separate folder where you won't be able to access it until it is returned.  In the folder it tells you who has what and when thy borrowed it.  It gives them 10 days total with the book before automatically returning it.  When those 10 days are up if they aren't finished they must send another message and you go through the process once again.  You can also recall the book anytime you would like.

Let me just say its not all totally bad.  The recall feature is a nice added bonus.  There are always that person you lend something to and never see it again.  This lets you get your book back if you need it.  However I suppose the automatic return does that for you as well.

OK, clearly 10 days isn't enough time to finish every book.  The average library gives 15 - 30 days per book based on an average reading speed and the notion that the person is reading said book for 30 minutes to 1 hour everyday.  That makes sense.  The bigger the book the more time you will need to read it.  Following the library standards would help to make this Lend me program better.

There are other flaws in this program.  It limits the number of books you can lend out at a time, who you can lend it to, and how many times each book is lent out.  

I don't know about you but when I go to the store, Barnes and Noble lets say and buy a book, I can and will lend out that book as many times as I want, to as many people as I want and for as long as I want.  To my knowledge there is nothing wrong with this since I am not copying the product to give to multiple people at once.  The same should hold true for my ebooks.  I buy a book and lend it out one at a time to whomever I chose.  

Taking into account that you can only lend to Nook users, fine I get it.  You want to keep the purchased ebooks on your own product.  I even think it's right that you can't access the book while it is lent out because thats exactly how it is when you lend a book in real life. 

I know that there are copyright laws and such that all conventional libraries must adhere to by law.  My personal Library is not held to such high standards and as such I believe I should be allowed to do what I lend freely the books I purchase be it ebook or a physical copy.

I will step off my soap box now about then lending program.

____________________________________


When it comes down to it the Nook is a great thing to have regardless of its flaws.  I have enjoyed several good books on it.  Some of which I am sure I will read again at some point.

Hindsight being 20/20, I don't think we needed to buy two of them seeing as we hardly use it to it's full potential due to the high cost of ebooks.  I will generally buy what is cheaper because that is the type of person I am.   That and they both have been sitting collecting dust on the bookshelf since I started the Harry Potter series.  Hunter's has a bit more dust on it than mine.  Oh well.

How many of you have an eReader?  Do you love it or hate it? 



  


Saturday, September 15, 2012

The one where I talk about things I shouldn't

I rarely discuss religion on my blog.  For the simple fact that I hate to talk about the three big no no topics, Money, Religion, and Politics.  All things that spark such a huge amount of emotion in people that can and often does lead to drama.  Since this is my blog and my place to speak my mind here it is.


Today I am breaking that rule to discuss religion.  More specifically my religion.  Or lack there of.  I was raised Episcopalian, converted to Pentecostal, and now I say I am Non Denominational.  Really thought to me non denominational means I follow Christian values and beliefs but I am not really sure which Church matches up with my personal beliefs.

I am torn.  I have been for quite a few years now.  This thought process only got harder upon marrying Hunter.  He is a Catholic.  As you all know Catholicism comes this its own set of rules and customs.  It's a far more intense version of the Episcopal Church that I know.  Similar "Catholic Exercise"... Stand up, kneel, Sit, Stand up, sit... you get the picture.  They have a similar line of beliefs and customs.  Only remove confession, allow priest to marry, allow parishioners to get divorced, re work the hierarchy within the church a bit and you have a simple version of the Episcopal Church.  Ok maybe there are several more things that make it nothing like the Catholic Church.  You can read about that by clicking the link above, but you get my point.  I left not because I had any problem with the church or it's views.  My family simply started going to another church to which I didn't have much of a choice in the matter since I was still in high school.

My beliefs for years have fallen in line with the Episcopalian Church.  Then (No I am not going to get into much details about it) I converted to Pentecostal.  I whole heartedly embraced it.  You know after the whole I don't wanna be here thing got old for even me.  Anything that could straighten up my family was worth looking into.  Then after several years the rose colored glasses came off.  The faults in the way the church was run became more and more apparent.  It wasn't the religion itself that I had an issue with per-say.  More in the workings of the people who ran the church.  It still turned me off to the religion.  I know fully well that other church's may or may not be like the pentecostal one I attended but to be honest I really didn't have much of a drive to even try a new one so I just abstained from going to any church at all.

Then Hunter came along.  He doesn't believe, to my knowledge, in everything about that the Catholic Church  practices but enough to stick with it come hell or high water.  A true Catholic born and raised.  We were married in the Catholic Church.   I didn't have a strong enough conviction about religion and Hunter did so I agreed with what he wanted.  I did however not want a full mass with the wedding.  So we had to attend church the following day.  I believe this was more for is parents than it really was for him.

So here we are.  A Catholic and an I don't know what happily married and talking about children.  I want our children to be raised with some type of religious up bringing.  I really feel that they need that foundation through at least high school.  Then they can do whatever it is that they would like and I will love them just the same.  I have agreed with Hunter that we will raise our children in the Catholic religion but be exposed to my religion as well.  The thing is how am I supposed to show our children my religion when I am not even sure what it is.

I mean I think the Catholic Church is ok I don't believe in praying rote prayers for everything.  Nor do I really believe in confession.  I do however like the fact that is maintains its values and standards even if it does seem to be to a fault at times.

Don't get me wrong I am an equal opportunity discriminator.  The pentecostal church can often be tight knit and tough on outsiders.  It does really turn people away when its members have that superior attitude.  Or the preacher is ranting about fire and brimstone all the time.

I can go on and on about all the religions I have mentioned in this post but I will spare you all of my mass amount of thoughts individually on them.

What it comes down to is that I feel like I need to chose and establish myself in a religion before having children.  The obvious choice is to turn to Catholicism because thats what Hunter firmly believes and I have agreed to bring our children up in.  Them making all the sacraments, attending CCD and such.  I don't want to seem like I am against what they will be doing even if don't totally agree with the Catholic practices.

After all I want to be a united front.... wait that sounded far to military for my liking... um.... united household.  Much better.  I mean I know in the bible it say a house divided shall not stand.  Please don't ask me for chapter and verse as I simple don't know it or feel like looking up at this late hour.   Clearly that is what I want.  Hunter will never change religions nor would I ask him to but he is willing to occasionally attend services at whichever church I chose to follow.  Granted, I think anything other than Episcopalian would seem extreme to him.

So to convert or not to convert that is the question.

It is not a simple process to convert as you expect.  The Catholic's don't want just anyone to join them.  You really have to want it.  Sort of like Judaism.  There are classes to take, books to read, prayers to learn.  Thankfully my sister in law is coming into town in a few weeks and she can give me more insight as to why she converted to Catholicism.

My reasons for converting are simple.  I would be to create that united household.  That makes it easier in raising out children and far less confusing.  I clearly don't want our kids wondering why mommy and daddy are going to different churches.  Realistically that won't work for very long.

I also would like to get back into church.  I think my butt needs to be in a seat somewhere on sunday mornings... or saturday night.  It can only help me grow as a person for the better.  Food for my brain or heart isn't a bad thing.  I wonder that since I am not Catholic am I keeping Hunter from going every week when he knows I don't feel totally comfortable going.  Certainly I don't want to hinder him from anything.  

This clealry isn't a decision I will be making this coming Sunday.  When I make a decision I want it to be the right one for me and our family.  For now I guess I will start with a bible study, She Reads Truth.  You have to start somewhere and this seems like a good place to me.


Wednesday, September 12, 2012

A look back

I never in a million years thought that I would miss Alabama.  I do though.  I miss it terribly.  There I said it.  and it only hurt a little bit.  I spent the evening watching the chick flick "Sweet Home Alabama."  Half way through tears started streaming down my face.  Not because Jake still loved Melanie and she was finally starting to realize it.  It was because I missed Alabama.  I missed sitting in my kitchen with a hot cup of tea staring out the window at my puppies running around in the backyard through the colorful leaves.  I missed how in a days drive we could be visiting family.  I miss being close to things that may or may not include target and a chain resturant.  Oh how I have fallen down the hole by missing target even a little bit. That is a different post though for a different day.

I thought that I wouldn't miss Alabama.  The day we hopped in the car and set out to Louisiana felt like a great day to me.  I remember being so happy and excited.  Not nessecarily for the new location but for simply leaving Alabama.  There was plenty of things I wouldn't miss.  The old noisy neighbor from across the street for one thing.  Or those gross bugs that I would find in the house.  And the fact that the ac had to be set at 60 degrees just to keep the house at 75.  All things that got on my nerves constantly while we lived there. However now looking back those aren't things that come to mind when I think of the place that was our first home together.

I often wonder if I will look back on this place after hearing a jazz song blasting on my radio and think fondly of my time in Louisiana.  Will I focus on the good and forget about the bad like I have with Alabama?  I hope that while I would never want to settle in Alabama or Louisiana for good that I at least enjoy my time here to the best of my ability.  

Who knows in two years you might read a post at how I miss living 5 minutes from friends that feel like family and forget that the summers where so hot that being outdoors during daylight hours seemed unbareable.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Italian Chicken Lentil Soup

This is one of the first meals I learned how to make when I started out learning to cook two years ago.  After trying a couple different recipes I found one that was pretty good.  Betty Crockers Italian Chicken - Lentil Soup.  It was good the first time I made it but it needed something.  I prefer a hearty soup so I added more veggies.  That still seemed to missing something so I added some of my own ingredients.  Here is what I came up with...


Italian Chicken Lentil Soup (Crockpot)



Ingredients

2 Large chicken breasts
1 Medium chopped summer squash (optional)
2 Medium chopped zucchini
6 - 8 Chopped carrots (I scrub the outside well and just chop them up, no peeling)
1 Medium chopped onion (I don't like onions so I used onion powder instead)
1 clove of minced garlic
1 cup of dried rinsed lentils (you can add up to 1 1/4cup if you would like more)
9 cups of chicken broth (I use between 7-9 cups depending on how much lentils I use)
pinch of salt and pepper
1 package of chopped mushrooms
1 can fire roasted diced tomatoes (undrained)
1 tablespoon dried basil
Fresh shredded Parmesan cheese


In a large Slow Cooker add chicken, summer squash, zucchini, carrots, onion, garlic, lentils, 7-8 cups of chicken broth, salt and pepper.  Cook covered on low for 6 hours.  

When 6 hours is up gently shred the chicken.  Add mushrooms, tomatoes, and basil. Feel free to also add more broth if needed.  Cooked covered for 30 minutes.  

Serve with shredded parmesan cheese.  


*I freeze extras in quart size containers.  To reheat defrost in refrigerator overnight.  Heat in a covered pot on the stove with a bit of water or broth.


Thursday, August 9, 2012

A look in the mirror

This is one of the few times in my life where i have felt the need to take a long hard look at a stiuation I have managed to find myself in. I am over weight. I am the one who got me to this point. I am the only one who can change that. Growing up I never had a problem with my weight. I led an active lifestyle and had a fast metabolism so I would eat whatever I wanted whenever I wanted. I'll admit "healthy eating" a foreign concept in our house. To top it off no one was really all that concerned with fitness either.

 "Let her enjoy this all now while she can." 

was a common phrase often said around the dinner table by my over weight parents. I was the only "thin" person in my family.  It stayed that way for quite a while.In high school I played sports and ran cross country but I never changed my eating habits.  Frankly I never saw a need to.

As High school went on my activity level dropped. I stopped playing sports altogether and couldn't find time in my social life to make cross country a real priority in my life. My heathy eating and lack of exercise was beginning to show.

I entered College at the highest weight I had ever been. I quickly realized this wasn't a good thing. I decided that changing the way I eat would be a good place to start. The weight slowly started to come off. By the end of freshman year I had lost 20lbs. I was happy and content with where I was at. I went home for the summer and came back to school having gained back all but 5lbs of what I worked so hard to lose that previous school year. Back a school I was able to get back on track. I joined the dance team and started running again. The weight dropped off and my energy level was at an all time high.

I wish I could say that it stayed that way but clearly I wouldn't be writing this if it had.  I gained all that weight  I had lost in college after only two years of being out of college.  There it has remained.  Sure I have lost a bit here and there only to put it back on months later.

I started two months ago working on my eating habits. Taking the crap out of my diet.  Making sure I had healthy options to eat for meal and snacking as well. The weight clearly did not just drop off like it had in the past.  It was helping but it wasn't enough.  I needed to start working on exercising.  Something more than just my daily yoga DVD.

I started walking with the pups.  Then running.  Oh how I missed running.  Thrown in an occasional DVD workout and I really have something here.  The weight is coming off.  Slowly I will admitt.  My clothing is fitting better and the scale is starting to reflect my work.

I picked up a Polar HRM to help me out along the way.  I love it!  Visual Proof that what I am doing is getting me somewhere.  Below is an old picture of the Polar HRM I picked up.  The day I got it actually.





Now I have hit a wall of my own making.  I remain consistant in my healthy eating but waiver in my consistancy in working out.  I do yoga roughly 5 times a week.  Obviously one needs to more than this to lose weight.  Getting more consistant is most likely it. 

How do you all stay on track?



Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Longing for...

...the northeastern fall weather.  One where I can curl up on the couch with a book and a hot cup of cider.  Weather that would allow me to be in an old hoodie and yoga pants but still needing a blanket for extra warmth.  Where the heat of the summer breaks and you need that blanket for the first night in a long time.  One where the leaves begin to change and there is a coolnees in the air.

For now I will eagerly wait for the fall with a hot cup of cider on a 95 degree day.


Monday, July 23, 2012

Bake at 325

I find baking relaxing. There are clear instructions that often require very little thought. This is simple. Combine the flour, sugar and baking powder. Separate the eggs, add to powder mixture along with hazlenuts and mix until blended.

 All easy instruction that require no googling. Yes, I have been known to google words I have never heard of when attempting to cook a meal but this is rare for me when it comes to baking.

 I follow the recipe to the letter then half way through my house is filled with the amazing scent of warm hazlenut biscotti. Twenty more minutes and several basic steps later they are done. I taste test my creation along side a hot cup of Italian Roast coffee.


Ahh, all is right with the world again.


Sunday, July 15, 2012

Adventures in Sewing

With a new sewing machine, accessories, and lots of fabric I set out to learn to sew.  I read the instructions for setting up the maching and got it all working with a little help from Hunter.  A simple tutorial from the internet was all I needed.  Fifteen minutes later I was cutting, ironing, pinning and then came the sewing.


My first batch of burp cloths came out horribly. The lines were shaky. They were anything but rectangular. Worst of all they looked like a 7 year olds sewing project gone wrong. I needed to work on the basics, sewing a straight line. A spool of thread and endless scraps later and I am a bit more confident in sewing a straight line. I decided to return to the second set of burp cloths.

I'll admit this whole sewing thing isn't as easy as I thought. I get the concept but my execution is a bit rough. My lines are straighter and the intended rectangular shape is present in 5 out of 8 burp cloths. I'll count this one as a success for now.