Monday, November 30, 2009

Thanksgiving Meals, A Comparison

So I was an absolute crazy and decided to cook not one, but two complete Thanksgiving dinners. One at my parents' and one at home for me a John. One was entirely successful, the other not quite.

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I don't believe the wine was factor by the way. The burns and kitchen fire all occured before any wine was consumed. If anything those events drove me to drinking thankyouverymuch. The two dishes that needed to be remade were the topping for the sweet potatoes - I used too much butter the first time and the one that still was not successful after two attempts were Pioneer Woman's no knead rolls. The first time I killed the yeast because my milk was too hot. The second time I'm not sure what went wrong, but all I know is that it was a big doughy sticky mess. Oh well! I think something or someone was trying to tell me that I was a complete crazy person for attempting two Thanksgivings and just decided to mess with my cooking abilities. All my luck obviously went to the first meal!

Oh and the almost kitchen fire was from a pot holder that I left on top of a burner that was still on. It just melted and smoked up the house a bit. John was right there and noticed it first. Oops!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

My Black Friday Madness

This year for the first time in forever I decided to not go out in the wee hours of the morning and hit up the early bird specials. I composed my lists of gift items, compared them to the ads and only one person had two items that were on sale. Combined they were two really lame gifts so I decided to sleep in. It was fabulous!

Before I talk about how I spent my Black Friday I have to tell you about the craziness that was finding a newspaper at 7pm on Thanksgiving day. I headed to my parent's house on Wednesday and totally forgot to tell John to pick up a paper on his way out of town so I was stuck driving around trying to find a paper. I took a wrong turn out of our neighborhood and ended up driving pretty much the entire Northwest side of San Antonio trying to find a paper. I just Google Map'd my route and I drove 21 freaking miles to find a stupid newspaper!

I eventually ended up at the place where I had originally planned to start, and the stupid gas station had closed only minutes before I got there. I'm not kidding when I tell you that my face and hands were pressed up against the window of the store just staring at the giant pile of newspapers. I totally would have taken a rock and busted a window if there weren't a ton of people in the parking lot. Could you imagine that news headline? "Woman on quest to find Black Friday ads breaks into convenience store." My mom would have been so proud! I hit up the gas station next door and they also had a glorious pile of newspapers. Note to self - next time when you're driving around like a crazy person, go to the rich side of town where all the people have their papers delivered. Lesson learned.

I finally rolled out of bed Friday morning at 10am. It was fabulous! I grab my laptop and head straight to the couch to do some online shopping. 3pm rolls around and I'm browsing the Wal-Mart ad that somehow didn't make it into my paper and see there is a KitchenAid stand mixer for $139. It's all I can think about! So at 3pm I throw on a baseball cap and some sandals and head out on a quest to find the KitchenAid. I start at the Wal-Mart by my house and as luck would have it they.have.one! Only, it's not the same one in the ad. I was crushed. So I head off to the next Wal-Mart that doesn't have a single KitchenAid left in the entire store. Then a 3rd one where they also have the wrong one.

I'm about to give up at this point and start to head home. Well, except when I realized there was another Wal-Mart one exit away and so I decide to stop. On my way in I tell myself, "I don't know what I'm even bothering. I doubt they even have it. In fact I'm not ever going to bother with a cart this time" and I head over to the kitchen aisle. I get to the mixer aisle and there on the ground is my much sought after KitchenAid. Only there's a woman with a full cart standing there. Her back is turned, she has a hand on her cart and she's talking with her husband about whether or not they need some microwave. The KitchenAid is sitting there staring at me from the ground right by her cart. I'm not sure if it was her's or not, but anything on the ground is fair play in my book. I grabbed that sucker up and booked it to the checkout aisle! You snooze you lose!

So I got my lovely KitchenAid. I may or may not have stolen it right out from under some lady's nose. I don't care. I have no place to put the thing and so it's residing as a centerpiece on my kitchen table. I wonder if John will let me leave it there while we eat our belated Thanksgiving today....

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Conversations with my nephew

I'm hanging out this Thanksgiving morning with my soon to be three year old nephew. Here's our conversation over cereal:

Me: Are you excited about your birthday?
JJr: Uh huh! **Shakes head rapidly with milk dripping down his chin**
Me: How old are you going to be?
JJr: I don't know.
Me: I think you're going to be three.
JJr: Ok.
Me: Do you know how to show people you're three? **Holds up 3 fingers**
JJr: **Shakes head yes**
Me: I'm going to be at your birthday party next week.
JJr: **Looks up from cereal bowl** That's good.

Gotta love 'em!

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

A&M vs Baylor Tailgate

Deanna and I headed out early Saturday morning on our three hour drive to College Station. Is 3 hours a long trip for some of you? I know three hours usually means you're out of your state, but here, that's nothing! Houston is about 3-4 depending on where I'm going and it's not anywhere near the state line. 3 hours south might get you to Mexico depending on which border town you're heading to. My parents are 2 1/2 hours north (outside of Austin) and Dallas is about 4 or so. 6 hours north will finally put me on the Texas/Oklahoma border. Is that crazy to some of you? That's just part of living in the great state of Texas folks!

We made a pit stop in Bastrop which is a halfway point between here and CS. Only, it was a SEA of burnt orange for the University of Texas Longhorns. Well that and camo. Sometimes they were paired together. I told Deanna that I was going to maintain a 10 foot distance from her at all times so I didn't get shot during our HEB trip. We did risk taking a picture outside the store. Hey, this is Texas. People are CRAZY about their sports teams!

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The weather was absolutely miserable in CS. It had rained early on and the ground was a mud pit. Of course Deanna and I are wearing cute flats. Not good for the mud folks. Not good at all. We spent most of the day squishing around in our shoes. Oh well! At least I could use the excuse that I thought we'd be tailgating in a parking lot.

We eventually found Brandi's company tailgate and let me tell you - THIS is the way to tailgate.

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Seriously this tailgate was awesome! They had the huge tent, tablecloths, with centerpieces (this was when we were leaving so most were gone by then) HUGE BBQ set up, TVs, plywood on the ground so you didn't get too muddy, and best of all - two open bars! They even gave you a free koozie! This is my kind of tailgate!

Here's Deanna and I enjoying having our feet out of the mud for a bit

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and Joanne and Brandi

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Deanna posing outside Kyle Field

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Just a few of the A&M and Baylor students with some alumni

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While we were posing for the picture we saw this kid get "pulled over" on a bicycle. We thought it may have been because he was drunk and had a huge case of beer (that takes talent my friends).

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Well it turns out he stole a police bicycle (I think he may have had drugs or something on him as well). The police took him off in a cruiser and then what did they do? The poured out the entire case of beer!

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It was the saddest thing ever! Thank god that it was crappy beer. Had they been tossing out quality beer I may have been drug off with the bicycle thief!

The cops had a good sense of humor about us yelling that "the beer didn't do anything wrong! Why should it suffer?" "You know you're creating a safety hazard? Someone could slip and fall in that beer puddle you're making" and "It's a beer graveyard! Nooooo!" They even posed for some pictures.

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I also introduced Deanna to wine juice boxes on this trip. Wine juice boxes are the best invention EVER! Now your friends that for some reason still don't drink beer have something to drink during float trips on the river! They're absolutely fabulous! This one Deanna has came as a single ($4 for 4 glasses of wine in that bad boy) but you can also buy the cube that's a four pack. This version is a little easier to drink from. The cube kind could really use a little straw attached to the box in my opinion!

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So that was our College Station experience. A lot of beer (I purposefully bought beer the college kids wouldn't drink and it worked! We came back from the other tailgate expecting it to be gone and it was all there! Haha! That's what they get for not trying things other than Keystone and Natty Light!) a lot of BBQ and crappy weather.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Dear Garden,

Please die.

Thank you.

Much love,

Faith

But seriously though. My little container garden just plain won't die. Had I known that this would actually go on for a WHOLE YEAR I may have not planted the thing back in February.

I realize now that it's been a very long time since I last posted about the garden, at least with pictures. What were once lush green plants are no more. My plants survived the insane heat of the summer and started blooming like crazy. Now the plants just won't die! Take for instance the green beans.

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I really didn't get any kind of harvest from these because it was just too dang hot. I'm going to find a more heat tolerant variety for next year, but they started looking very sad mid summer (much like how they do now). I just plain stopped watering this plant a month ago. I just gave up. I went out yesterday and found that it still had the nerve to bloom!

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There were little baby green beans all over that stinkin' plant! Grrr.....

Then there's the zucchini plant.

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You can't quite tell in this picture, but to the left of the big leaves are a dead zucchini plant and a ton of dead leaves. There is also a dead plant behind the center leaves. This portion of the plant though? It just refuses to die. All of this is new growth and there's even a little male flower on there.

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Now there are the sad, sad bell pepper plants. Most of the leaves have fallen off of them. (Next year I'll cage them. I had no idea they'd get so tall!)

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When the weather cooled off these suckers when NUTS! I've had bell peppers coming out my ears there were so many. I leave them on the plants until I can use them which is why these are all red now. A look up close though

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and yep! They're blooming again. WTF!? Hey plants! It's almost DECEMBER! Freaking DIE already!!!

Now on to the very sad and pathetic looking tomato plants. (I will be buying much taller cages for next year)

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While I'm REALLY happy to finally get some decent sized tomatoes (all I got during the summer if any were about cherry tomato sized). I wish they would turn red already. These have been green FOR.EV.ER.

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Oh and a closer inspection of these (even the really dead ones on the left) and there are signs of new growth!

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So yeah. Wow. So ready to be done! I can't bring myself to stop watering the plants that have veggies still on them, but I wish they'd all be done by now. This is kind of ridiculous! Anyone else still have plants that are alive?

Monday, November 23, 2009

Hi. My Name's Faith, and I'm a PC.

Don't get me wrong. I have been LUSTING over a Mac since April. I worked a conference here and one of the guys had one and I absolutely positively fell in love with it. I wanted to buy one of those bad boys right away and use it for photo-editing. Well you know...once I learned to properly use my camera and some form of photo-editing software that is...However once I went to the store and had one of the techie guys showing it to me I was kind of turned off. I loved the ease of use, but I hated that I was tied down to using "Apple" this or "I" that to do it all. I like variety and I like not having to buy into one brand. Sigh.....I still think they're absolutely awesome and if someone were to drop one into my lap I definitely wouldn't turn it down! Plus my poor little old Dell is quickly filling up it's memory and is slow as all get out, but I'll probably end up buying another Dell in a year or so. "Dude! You're gettin' a Dell." Anyone? No?

ANYWAYS back to my recent Apple store experience. John and I are also Zune owners and not I-Pod owners so my only experience really with the Apple store is the one time I was bored and wandered in there and the time I went to lust over a Mac. It was John's niece's 16th birthday party on Saturday and she's saving up to buy herself a Mac so we decided we'd get her a gift card. I walk into the store and look around aimlessly for the check-out counter that I knew was there on one of my previous two trips to the store. There's the 80 million product tables and the desk where they help you fix all your computer problems, but no check-out counter. Hmmmm....

I finally get one of the I'm so cool I work at the Apple store guys' attention. He's talking on a little radio that's hidden in his shirt and I'm glaring at him until he's done. Only he stops talking, keeps holding the radio and glares back at me.
Me: "Are you done?"
Too Cool for You Apple Guy #1: looks at me to process this question, drops his shirt collar back down: "Yeah. Do you need help?"
Me: "Yes. I need to buy a gift card."
TCFYAG1: Grabs shirt/radio "Uhhh....so and so....can you send so and so over here to help this lady with a gift card?" Walks off....
TCFYAG2: "Can I help you"
Me: "Yeah. I need to buy a gift card."
TCFYAG2: **Blink. Blink**
Me: **Stare**
TCFYAG2: "Hmmm....ok....." Wanders to nearby table. "Here you go! How much do you need?"
Me: "$25"
TCFYAG2: "Alright. Here you go." Hands me $25 I-Tunes gift card
Me: "No. I want to buy a gift card. I don't want to buy music. This can only be used for music right?"
TCFYAG2: "Ummmm...."
Me: "My niece is saving up to buy a computer and we want to contribute towards that so I want to get her a gift card. Is this all you have? Should I just give her cash?"
TCFYAG2: "Ummm.....hold on...." Wanders around the room. Picks something up. Consults TCFYAG3 and comes back. "Ok. This is what you need." Holds up Apple Gift Card "I forget that we even have these! 99% of the time people just want I-Tunes."
Me to self: If I wanted I-Tunes I would have gone to Target or I would have said I want to buy I-Tunes. Whatever. 20 minute GC buying experience. I'm going to need some major retail therapy after this....

Then he basically takes out what looks like a suped up I-Phone, swipes my credit card on it and asks if I'd like a printout of my receipt or would I like it emailed to me.

Yeah....next time I might just go with cash...

Spurs vs Jazz

So from my other post you all know that Thursday night I went to the Spurs game with Kandis and her fam and I left poor old John at home by himself. Boo Hoo John. Well aside from trying to get to the game - a total of 3 stalled vehicles, 1 major accident and 1 minor one were in my way - it was awesome! Any time you guys have extra tickets Kandis let us know!

Tip off

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The one big difference is that my shots came out much more blurry than they do when I sit up top. I took and deleted a lot more pictures than usual. I really need to learn to use the settings on my camera...

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I like the 2 almost invisible players in this one

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This is almost what our view was like the whole game. I was constantly yelling at the refs to get out of my shot!

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I don't know how these guys can rub up on eachother when they're all hot and sweaty. I'd probably foul people quite a bit for doing that. One more reason why this nearly 6 foot girl from Indiana never played basketball...

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Speaking of Indiana basketball did you know that my elementary school gym (they actually used it for more than elementary school sports) was where they filmed scenes from the movie Hoosiers?

Bonner goes up for a free throw

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Close games are the ones I love. We were just behind at the half.

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Butt shot! You can also see the pads the guys wear underneath their uniforms. Something I never noticed before.

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Here's me and Kandis

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Another blurry but cool one

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During a time out the Coyote came out with a teddy bear and wearing a Snuggie

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Throughout the game he would harass the security guards. Those guys never flinched. Some may have futures at Buckingham Palace.

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and we're tied going in to the 4th quarter

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The one downside to really close games? The last few minutes turns into the two teams fouling eachother.

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With just under a minute half left we were only down by one point

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The Coyote even prayed

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More free throws....yawn

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and the Spurs lose. :(

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Here's Kandis and I with our signs. I even made it on to the jumbo tron in the first quarter (but not onto TV)

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See! John still made it to the game in a way!

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Friday, November 20, 2009

Thursday Night Special

That's what John has renamed this recipe. It's another from Kraft Foods. No picture of my own this time because I was very rushed trying to get to the Spurs game. My super awesome friend Kandis had an extra ticket to the game (in the 4th freaking row no less) and invited me. Yes, I left John behind, but it's the 4th row people! At least I made him a nice hot dinner before I left home to sit in the 4th row for our most favorite basketball team in the whole wide world. That kind of makes up for it right?

Thursday Night Special otherwise known as Three Cheese Penne Pasta Bake


photo from Kraftfoods.com

Ingredients:

1-1/2 cups multi-grain penne pasta, uncooked
1 pkg. (9 oz.) fresh spinach leaves
1 lb. boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-size pieces
1 tsp. dried basil leaves
1 jar (14-1/2 oz.) spaghetti sauce
1 can (14-1/2 oz.) diced tomatoes, drained
2 oz. (1/4 of 8-oz. pkg.) PHILADELPHIA Neufchatel Cheese, cubed
1 cup KRAFT 2% Milk Shredded Mozzarella Cheese, divided
2 Tbsp. KRAFT Grated Parmesan Cheese

Directions:

HEAT oven to 375ºF.

COOK pasta as directed on package, adding spinach to the boiling water the last minute.

COOK and stir chicken and basil in large nonstick skillet sprayed with cooking spray on medium-high heat 3 min. Stir in spaghetti sauce and tomatoes; bring to boil. Simmer on low heat 3 min. or until chicken is done. Stir in Neufchatel.

DRAIN pasta mixture; return to pan. Stir in chicken mixture and 1/2 cup mozzarella. Spoon into 2-qt. casserole or 8-inch square baking dish.

BAKE 20 min.; top with remaining cheeses. Bake 3 min. or until mozzarella is melted.

John of course loved it and I thought it was pretty good and very easy to make.

10 WW points

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Wurstfest

Oh yeah, sometime in all the craziness that was my life in the past month or so we fit in a trip to Wurstfest. It's a 10 Day Salute to Sausage held in New Braunfels each year. Seriously, who could pass that up? (Well maybe if you're one of those people that gave up sausage over bacon, but whatever).

We missed the get there by 7 and get in free deadline thanks to one of John's friends whose name I won't mention but possibly rhymes with or is Jack. :) Yes Jack, I'm still going to harass you about that.

Here's John who is angry with me because I didn't wait for him in the insanely long line to get in and because I drug him across the grounds to find our friends before we got any food.

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He perked up later

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A fun thing about Wurstfest (even though I have NO CLUE why people do it) are all the crazy hats people wear.

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Basically we all sat around,

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ate food

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and drank pitchers of beer

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Lauren had obviously had too many. :)

Good times.
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