Friday, September 28, 2012

Best Thing Ever

Again with the Pinterest thing. It's amazing, it has so many great ideas!

I found Freezer Crockpot Meals.

Absolute genius.

You put them all together at once, raw, in plastic ziplock bags with the instructions on the front and then freeze. When you're wanting a dinner, you pop them out of the freezer in the morning before work and throw them in the crockpot. No defrosting, no prep, just pop and when you get home, there's dinner!

It took me about an hour and a half to make four different meals, and each meal divides in half for a 2 to 3 person family with leftovers so I've got eight crockpot meals in my freezer!

Actually, only seven now since we ate one the other night.

It's amazing.

I made:

Cilantro Lime Chicken with black beans and corn
6 chicken breasts
3 Tbs olive oil
2 limes, juiced
2 cups cilantro
1 large bag of frozen corn (or two smaller bags)
4 minced garlic cloves
1 finely chopped red onion
2 cans of black beans, rinsed
2 tsp cumin or chipotle powder
salt/pepper to taste

Split everything into two containers. shake it up, seal, label and put in the freezer. Instructions
for Container: cook on low 8 hours or high 4 hours, serve with hot tortillas or tostitos. Dress with
sour cream, guacamole, and/or cheese

Divine Chicken
6 chicken breasts
4 cups baby carrots
4 cups fresh broccoli (chopped)
2 onions
salt/pepper to taste
2 cartons of cream of chicken soup (add 1 each at cook time)
2 cup milk (add 1 each at cook time)

Split everything into two containers. shake it up, seal, label and put in the freezer. Instructions
for Container: Add 1 cream of chicken soup and 1 cup of milk, cook on low 8 hours or high 4

Sausage and Peppers
6 Italian Sausage (or chicken sausage)
2 green peppers
1 red pepper
1 large red onion
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 cans italian diced tomatoes
2 Tbs Italian seasoning

Split between 2 bags, seal, mix, lay flat, freeze. Directions for Bags: Add drizzle of olive oil, cook on low 6 hours, serve over hot noodles or fresh french bread with mozzarella cheese

Lazy Day Beef Stew
4lb cubed stewing beef 4 cups baby carrots
4 cups baby red potatoes (cut in half) 2 onions (chopped)
10 oz package dried lima beans 2 cups celery (chopped)
4 tsp quck-cooking tapioca
Salt and pepper to taste
1 15 oz can tomato sauce (1/2 in each bag)
2 Tbs brown sugar

Split between 2 bags, seal, mix, lay flat, freeze. Directions for Bags: Add 1 cup water. Cook on low 4-6 hours. Eat as a soup, or serve over hot noodles or rice.

And I got these recipes and more here.


Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Big Word Wednesday: Mesocephalic

mesocephalic. adjective. [mez-oh-suh-fal-ik]. having a head with a cephalic index between that of dolichocephaly and bracycephaly. in other words, having a mid-sized head.

We're doing BWW this week a little differently because I wanted to give you the word and it's meaning first. This morning, at 6 a.m. we left for Ellensburg, WA to pick up our fuzzy little boy, Banyan. Also known as Maddie's little menace brother.

I wanted to do a word related to dogs in honor of that. Mesocephalic is used to describe the shape and size of a dog's head. A golden retriever's head is mesocephalic, which means it has a medium sized head with a medium-length muzzle, whereas a dog like a pug, boxer, or pitbull have bracychephalic heads (broad to large heads with short, broad muzzles), and dolichocephalic is related to dogs like dachshunds and collies who have smaller heads with long narrow muzzles.

You learn something new every day, don't you?

Stay tuned for puppy spam!


Monday, September 24, 2012

Wishing on a Runstar

You're not supposed to run with a back injury. Did you know that? I mean, the blinding pain clued me in and then my physical therapist recommending a "get back to running" program "in a month or so" also gave me a good idea.


It's so sad.

Because all of the cute summer runwear is on sale right now. And what else do you think I did while lying for hours on my back equipped with my iPad and my TV? Online shopping!

I got this super cute top at Sierra Trading Post. Good running tops run between about $30 (GapFit are my favorite!) and $60 (a lot of Nike ones) and with my long torso I have trouble finding ones that don't ride up while I'm running because they start high to begin with. Nothing more uncomfortable than constantly tugging your top down while running...other than running shorts that have liners that ride up or spandex capris that fall down or whatever.

AND with the strapless wedding gown I'll be wearing next August, I need a slimmer tan line to vanquish. As if I can, I'm going to run half marathons seven and eight next summer. Damn it.

I also picked up these:

Cute spandex shorts at They're normally like $35, but they were on sale for $12.99. Yay! I like the spandex shorts for speed workouts and runs shorter than 6 miles. Too much rub for longer than that, and they start to ride up at 6.5 miles, which is not what you want. But I like them a lot!

Both the top and the shorts (which I am only wearing together for photo purposes, I would not wear them together in real that for my sister :) ) are by Moving Comfort which is my new favorite running brand.

Other than GapFit of course...who knew that Gap had such good running wear?

I have a pair of their Momentum shorts which I just loooooove because they're so comfy to run in and wear just, you know, in general. In fact, I spent a lot of the month I was on leave in those shorts. I pick them up when they're on sale at the local running store, but I always need more, so if you see a sale let me know!


Saturday, September 22, 2012

Chai Vanilla Cupcakes

So I mentioned before that I discovered Pinterest and all of its wondrous glory. It's encouraged me to get back to cooking and baking! And projects. I have lots of projects now. More things I'll never do.

But I did do this:

Chai Vanilla Cupcakes. I baked them when my parents were in town a couple weeks ago. And man, were they good!

You make the little "chai" mix of spices, and some goes into the cupcakes and some goes into the frosting. They were delicious! Not too sweet, which I find is usually a problem with cupcakes for me. I don't like them super sweet (like the Salted Caramel Cupcakes were), and with buttercream frosting most of them are!

 Chai Vanilla Cupcakes
(from the Culinary Enthusiast blog)

Chai Spice Mix
1 1/2 tsp. ground cardamom
1 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1/4 tsp. ground cloves
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg

Cupcake Batter
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
1 cup sugar
2 tsp. vanilla bean paste (or pure vanilla extract)
2 eggs
2 tsp. chai spice mix
1 1/4 cups plain flour, sifted
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. apple cider vinegar


1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened to room temperature
1 tsp. vanilla bean paste (or pure vanilla extract)
2 cups powdered sugar
remainder of the chai spice mix
1 Tbsp. cold milk, if needed to thin out the buttercream

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Prepare a cupcake pan with liners.  In a small bowl or plastic bag, combine the chai spice mix ingredients. Set aside.

Cream together the butter and sugar. Add the vanilla bean paste and beat in one egg at a time. Stir in 2 teaspoons of the chai spice mix. Fold in the flour and buttermilk alternately and stir until combined. Mix together the baking soda and vinegar in a separate bowl, then add it to the batter and mix until combined.

Spoon into prepared cupcake tins until 3/4 full and bake 17-20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Buttercream Directions:
In a stand mixer, beat the butter until it is creamy. On low, mix in the vanilla bean paste and the rest of the chai spice mix. Carefully beat in the powdered sugar about ½ cup at a time. If the buttercream is too thick add 1-2 tbs of cold milk until the desired consistency is reached. Pipe onto cooled cupcakes with your favorite frosting tip.
I used regular vanilla instead of the paste and it tasted just fine. I also used regular vinegar. It was a crapshoot, because let's be honest, I don't actually know what the difference is between regular white vinegar (not balsamic, white) and apple cider vinegar. Maybe taste? The cupcakes still tasted awesome, so obviously not much! She also said she got almost a dozen and a half out of this recipe, I maybe could have squeaked out 13 or 14 under-filled cupcakes but I opted for a little bigger cupcakes instead so only ended up with 12.



Friday, September 21, 2012

iPhone 5 Launch Day...

The iPhone 5 launches today, and if this week hasn't been a horrible example of how shiny new technology that they can't have reduces so many people back to temper tantrums, I don't know what has.

Wish me luck. I get to go to work in fifteen minutes to be overwhelmed by people who must. have. the iphone. five. now.

You know.

The one with the big Gee Bees. And the Why Fies.

I don't care.


P.S. Please watch the video at the link above with caution. It's pretty vulgar, but it kind of describes how manic some iPhone customers are...

Thursday, September 20, 2012

The Things You Do When You Can't Do Anything Else

The things you do when you're not allowed to do anything else. During my month of medical leave due to the wondrous back-pain-filled-fun I attempted...

...quilting. And was shot down because sitting hurt too much.

...baking. It involved too much standing.

...napping. I'm not a napper. It ran into sleeplessness, which was occurring due to inactivity anyways.

...blogging. Again, too much sitting.

...and eventually found a winner with pinteresting. Pinterest was something I didn't understand. After having nothing to do I realized why it's so popular. It's a time-filler. It's fun. It's interesting, it gives you ideas on things to do!

While on Pinterest I saw I picture of cute, knitted My Little Ponies. I followed the link and found an Etsy artist who sold the pattern.

"I can knit while prone," I thought. "And five bucks, if it give me a project, AWESOME."

Luckily, turns out I could!

The little white one in the back was my first try, and is a little jenky as a result, but still adorable. The blue one is a pegasus version.

This was my third one (and is a unicorn) and as a result was much better! You can kind of see on the blue one and on this one that I embroidered designs on their butts just like real my little ponies. 

And this is mi sobrinita who will hopefully love the ponies as much as she loves the quilt I made her (that she's standing on in the picture)! Sol is my niece (well, soon to be anyways) who lives in Chile with her family (Tyler's sister, who is my future sister-in-law, and her husband), so the ponies will have quite a trip to get to this little girl, but she's worth it!


Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Big Word Wednesday: Lascivious

The wonderful thing about reading is you have a large vocabulary. The downside is half the words you know, you've never heard pronounced and therefore would not know them necessarily if you heard them.

The other hand of today's word is embarrassing, and it means I have to let you in on a little secret: I watch dumb tv like Bachelor Pad and The Bachelor. I find them so entertaining. They're hilarious with all the drama and the "I am so in love with him!" that they figure out isn't really love but just attraction based upon forced togetherness and hormones. A couple weeks ago, I was watching Bachelor Pad and they had a spelling bee. The contestants sucked, I was awesome. Until the host said the word "lascivious."

I was stumped. I thought it was a word I'd never heard of.

I was half right: I'd never heard it.

lascivious. adjective. [luh-siv-ee-uhs]. inclined to lustfulness; wanton; lewd. arousing sexual desire. indicating sexual interest or expressive of lust or lewdness. lustful, lecherous.
  • He was an attractive man in his youth, now he was just a lascivious old man.
  • The lascivious jokes told by the fraternity brothers made her uncomfortable all weekend.
  • She might be lascivious, but I don't consider that a fault if it is only with me!

 Any words in your vocabulary that you might not have heard? Let me know what they are!


Thursday, September 13, 2012


Maddie's fluffy little brother turned 5 weeks old yesterday, we go pick him out in less than two weeks! (On the 26th of September).

Here's some more FLUFFY LITTLE GUYS to just make you go awwwwww like I've been doing all afternoon...


So many fuzzy faces!

Too cute, I can't even stand it...


Playing is sooo tiring...

Such cute little puppy butts! I love their short lil' tails...
I hope you guys enjoyed this as much as I did.

This fluffy cuteness is brought to you by SkyRiver Goldens.


Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Big Word Wednesday: Sepulchral

This week's word is really more of a Halloween-y word, but as I saw candy corn in the grocery store today under a Halloween sign (apparently they've already abandoned back to school themes), the ref is going to allow it.

I read this word in my book last week and thought it was a fun one. By its usage, I couldn't figure out what it meant, or rather, what I thought it meant was different than what it actually meant. So here it is!

sepulchral. adjective. [suh-puhl-kruhl]. of, pertaining to, or serving as a tomb. of or pertaining to burial. proper to or suggestive o a tomb; funereal or dismal. hollow and deep: supulchral tones.
  • On right and left every rock seems to have been excavated, every cave improved, for sepulchral use.
  • He is covered by the heavens who has no sepulchral urn.
  • Full of luminous color, they are sepulchral in tone.


Sunday, September 9, 2012

Derogatory Revisited

The irony of yesterday's post is that this morning I read this article:

"Trampire:" Why the Public Slut Shaming of Kristen Stewart Matters for Young Women

The article touches on such items as what politics is telling young women today, what the media is saying is acceptable and what is not, how the young woman involved (for however much you care about her, or in my case, really don't) is having her reputation smeared across magazine covers and even has had a new word created in her honor degradation and the man involved has had...nothing. Other than a token slap to the wrist, it's launched him to the stratosphere of People magazine, and now people actually know who he is. How men in her position have escaped relatively unscathed for greater crimes (Ashton Kutcher, anyone?).

It is a crying shame that the people we look to for words of advice — if you can even call it that — are continuously calling women out and calling us sluts and whores for things that are our right to choose, what we do with our bodies, how we treat others, and even the mistakes we make.

The thing that brought me near to tears (and the thing you should read even if you don't read the whole article) is the following:

"I might not be concerned for [Kristen Stewart], but I am concerned for my younger stepsister who has pictures of Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson on her walls, who idolizes and worships them, and who might grow up to hate Kristen Stewart for reasons she doesn't understand. I'm worried she will be taught that it's not okay to mess up, learn from it and apologize, because no one wants your apology, just your suffering on camera. I'm worried that she'll think its okay to harass and threaten women for their indiscretions, even if men get off scot-free. I'm worried she will think this culture of bullying, slut-shaming and rhetorical violence against women is the norm, because you get a t-shirt for it. I'm worried she will learn to internalize the shame brought on far too many women today, for having sexualities, for not being perfect, for not fitting into a box. I'm worried she'll believe men like Todd Akin, Paul Ryan and Mike Huckabee are right.
"Because even if she doesn't know who Akin, Ryan and Huckabee are, even if she doesn't pay attention to politics or the radical right-wing GOP, she does pay attention to Twilight and [Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson]. And if we want to empower her to be a strong, independently minded woman who knows that her body, sexuality and safety are legitimate and can stand up for her rights, we need to pay attention, too. This might seem ridiculous to us, and most people I know can't wait to stop talking about it. But for her, having this conversation makes a difference. Although no young woman shouldn't think it's okay to cheat, what we are teaching them right now is so much worse."

I can't think of any words more poignant than that. What we are teaching our sisters and daughters, what we are showing our future is that women don't matter. Women are the weaker sex, we deserve less, we're criticized more. When raped, it's our fault; when we screw up, the man is never at fault even though it takes two to tango; when wanting a little more for ourselves in this world, when wanting it to be okay to choose who we want, what we want, when we want, we're sluts, we're trampires.

When all of this isn't true.

It's a crying frickin' shame, is what it is.

So show your sisters, your daughters different. Show your mothers, aunts, and grandmothers who fought so hard for our right to choose that you understand the travesty that the politicians, the celebrities, the faces of our culture are telling us and that it is wrong. That they are wrong.

We are right.

We have rights.

We are not the weaker sex.

We. Are. Woman. Here us roar.

Sorry for the soapbox, but I needed to say it, even if I am preaching to the choir here. Keep strong, keep faith, and keep reminding the world that we're better than that.


Saturday, September 8, 2012


Have you ever noticed the unfairness of the sexes when it comes to derogatory statements? Even myself, to my shame, am party to such statements as...

"Don't be such a girl."

"What are you, a woman?"

Since when are women the weaker sex? I know that this is an age-old argument, won over by such revolutions as Title IX and Roe v. Wade, not to mention women's suffrage and the disappearance of the corset, but in some instances I agree with the experts that we just haven't made that much progress.

In a world where women get paid 77 cents to each male dollar earned, how fair have we really made it?

And in a world where we still use pejorative phrases like the ones above, how lessened is that stigma that women are the weaker sex?

Because we're not.

I'd like to see men undergo childbirth. And cramps.

Yeah, yeah, external genitalia might not have been the best evolutionary call, but how many times in a guy's life to his boys actually get injured? If it's not an average of once a month, we win on the pain argument thankyouverymuch.

I'd also like to see men grow up with other little girls.

Because while kids are mean, the biggest critics of little girls (other than themselves) is other little girls. And little boys. Girls are very mean to each other, especially when they're growing up. Exactly one cruel statement made to me by another little girl gave me my nose complex.

And I'm sorry, guys, but where are the 150 thousand magazines telling you how to look, how thin to be, how much you should or shouldn't be putting out, what to wear, etc.?

I would definitely argue that women are not the weaker sex. So would many other people.

"...physiological tests now suggest that women have a greater tolerance for pain, and statistics reveal that women live longer and are more resistant to many diseases." Women's International Center, Women's History In America
Yet somehow, this is being perpetuated on and on through the generations. And why? Why is a question that would have to be answered by people much wiser than I am, but I do know one thing: just like Title IX and all of the advancements in women's rights, change does not happen unless it has a voice. That voice is all of us contributing when someone says, "Don't be such a girl" and telling them to stop or that it's not appropriate. It's all of us not saying those same words and not allowing others to get away with saying them in our presence.

Repetition makes habit, and by repeating ourselves, we will make the men in our lives know better. And maybe they'll spread it around too.


P.S. you should read the Women's History in America article, it's actually really interesting

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Adventures in Shipping

Once upon a time, there was a Papa who wanted to join the 21st century. His little girl thought that was pretty cool since she works in the 21st century. He picked out the perfect smartphone and said, "Let's get it!"

Trying to be super sneaky, they ordered it but had it mailed to her (she lives in Oregon, he lives in California). There was a method behind that madness, that is now forgotten especially in the face of what happened next.

What happens next is also sort of the moral to this story: never ever ever mail packages while not 100% lucid. Because this little girl hurt her back and so was on a pain pill or two and not all there when she decided to mail that smartphone to her papa in California.

For some reason, she decided to mail the phone not from the post office but from a store called Postal Connection. Now, she had mailed stuff from them before and all went smoothly, but this time was different.

Two weeks went by and her papa didn't receive his phone. And her sister, to whom she had also mailed a present, hadn't received hers either.

Now lucid, the little girl went to Postal Connection to find out what happened to her packages.

Turns out, the guy who helped her was a moron.

He saw that the last name on the packages was the same (this is the only thing we can think of that happened) and so instead of double checking the addresses, he printed the same address on both labels.

Unfortunately, the address he printed was the sister's.

And in her haze, the little girl had used her sister's old address instead of her current address.

So both packages went to some random person in Massachusetts.

And then the guy, instead of using the return address that the little girl had written on the box, used the return address that was in the system. Which was her old address. So all of the addresses on the boxes were wrong.

Luckily, her sister's got shipped UPS, and UPS is nice and helpful and allowed her to pick it up at their office instead of waiting for it to bounce back to Oregon. So her sister got her present. But Papa's smartphone had an adventure.

The box that had a great b i-coastal adventure.

And the US Postal Service is absolutely no help at all. They won't tell you where the package is being forwarded to. They won't allow you to pick it up until they've attempted a delivery. They won't tell you doodly about where your mail is!

Thank goodness I know the new tenant in our old house and she knew to call me when my dad's smartphone bounced back to her house because I let her know about the cluster that was this whole scenario. Needless to say, I'll be a little gunshy about mailing stuff in the future and I definitely won't be using Postal Connection!

The ending to this story is a happy one though, the box made it back in to my hands, and the manager of Postal Connection not only refunded my shipping costs, but reimbursed me for the $8.83 I was charged by the post office because of the return to sender business!

And for the record, this whole adventure took about 3 weeks.

Good luck with your next postal adventure!


Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Big Word Wednesday: Fabulist

I chose today's word because it was the word of the day on when I was looking up last week's word, and I thought it had to mean something totally different, and possibly even fashion related, but how wrong I was!

But it's a fun word nevertheless, and as I had never heard it, we all learn something new!

fabulist. noun. [fab-yuh-list]. a liar; a person who invents or relates fables.

  • "But at the same time, for fear of disruption and uncertainty, we attempt to relegate the maker's role to that of fabulist , equating fiction with lies and opposing art to political reality..."  -- Alberto Manguel, The Voice of Cassandra
  • "Nothing is off limits to this free-range fabulist.  He can fold a dusty Persian carpet into the contours of the world itself and wring delight from every lustrous thread." -- Clive Barker, The Essential Clive Barker


I miss running. I miss running so much, especially with how perfect the weather is for running in the mornings...beautiful, sunny and cool. I can't wait until I can run again...