Tuesday, April 28, 2009

our buddy, the groundhog

Take a look at the video Sean got of our groundhog buddy! Isn't he cute?! He was getting a snack in the back yard this afternoon.

Monday, April 27, 2009

burn, baby, burn

It's Monday night again, but I'm almost too tired to post! This past weekend wore us out. We spent most of Saturday and Sunday at the Franklin Main Street Festival...where I got this awesome sunburn.

The booths were great this year - I saw several artists that I really liked. We actually bought a photograph to hang in our dining room, and we also picked up some early Christmas presents. I felt good about supporting local artists since I don't do it very often...er, ever. We spent Saturday with our new couple friends John & Bethany, grabbed some beers at McCreary's pub and ate some awesome street fair food. Mmmm mmmmmm....polish sausages w/ peppers and onions, frozen lemonade, kettle corn, and BBQ nachos from Germantown Commisary. I gained 2.5 lbs and downed handfuls of Tums Smoothies like they were candy. Saturday night we hung out with my mom and Jimmy and their friends before heading back downtown to see the WannaBeatles. We couldn't stay for the whole show because I was falling asleep.

Sunday I picked up my brother and took him to the carnival. Thankfully, he ran into a classmate and they quickly became "ride buddies." Due to extreme motion sickness, I don't do carnival rides AT ALL. Sometimes I get motion sick just doing simple exercises like sit-ups. So, standing in the shade watching 10 year olds on The Superman was fine by me.

Speaking of family, Sister came to live with me and Sean! She graduates from Belmont in a few weeks, and she's boarding with us until she finds a Big Fabulous Job. (haha) I'm happy to have her around, and looking forward to some extra help. We have plenty for her to do!

Even though it's busy times around here, I'm still going to try to make time for some summer reads. Thanks to the Today show, here's what I'm looking at:
A Reliable Wife
The Help
Handle w/ Care
Thanks for the Memories
Darling Jim
Happens evey Day

Let me know if you've read any of these. This week I'm aiming for the library!

Monday, April 20, 2009

Updates during Medium

This past weekend was busy busy busy! Sean and I both worked until 7 p.m. on Friday, so we were absolutely beat that evening. Sean picked up a bottle of Cabernet on the way home, and we chilled on the patio in front of our fire pit. I love Springtime for allowing us wonderful outside moments like that -- it's not muggy and there aren't any mosquitos! We were, however, greeted by the neighborhood's wandering fox. He had been yelping all night and rustling around in the woods. Sean researched his call and found out it's a territorial yelp. Anyway, we could hear the fox the whole time we were outside, and then he ran up in our backyard! He quickly darted back into the woods when he saw us sitting there, but he spooked us enough that we jumped from our chairs. He comes out almost every night around dawn, but that was the closest I've ever been to him. Mom says foxes are bad about carrying rabies, so I guess I won't be leaving any W.I.C approved hamburger meat out for our new friend. Oh well. Although, I did kinda like the idea of a pet fox. We have a groundhog buddy, too, so I'll try to lure him in with treats instead.

Saturday we got up early and attended the Walk for MS at Edwin Warner Park. Sherri's team raised over $1,000 which was great considering we only started 3 weeks ago. Big thanks to all who supported us! I'm already working on bigger and better ideas for next year's fundraiser. After the walk, we had lunch with friends and then drove home on the Natchez Trace Parkway. So pretty! I love where we live. We've also been enjoying the beautiful pink Dogwood by our front door. Seeing the big blooms every morning as I leave for work is a great way to start the day.

Bennett playing in the bounce house after the Walk for MS

Starting the walk

Sean and Me

Crystal, Sherri and Me

Keith and Sean

The Dogwood (at least I think that's what it is)

Saturday night we went to an evening a wedding on a horse farm and watched the sun set over rolling hills. Everything was so beautiful, and it didn't hurt that both the bride and groom are models. It was like a runway show during New York Fashion Week! The weather was a tiny bit cold, but not too bad. For an outdoor wedding, it was way better than suffering through sweltering summer heat. I'd rather be a little chilly than to have makeup melting off my face. Emmy Lou Harris was there, and shortly before we left, we spotted her driving Jolene's uncle around in a 1991 cherry red Ford Taurus. It was really bizarre...

Sunday was terrible and rainy, but we drove down to Centennial Park for our SECOND walk of the weekend. This time it was to support the March of Dimes and the Walk for Babies. We walked 2 miles in the rain as quickly as we could. Our toes were wrinked and our clothes were drenched, but it was all for a good cause. Nicole Kidman kicked off the walk, and apparently Kelly Clarkson was walking with us, but we never saw her. I would have peed my pants if I met Kelly Clarkson!
Time for bed. I'm getting up early to make pasta salad for my company's 8th birthday tomorrow. I know, I know...it's crazy.

What Are We Eating?

Here's the weekly menu again. Sorry we're a couple of days behind, but maybe you can get some ideas for the rest of the week.

Sunday - Grilled Ribeyes w/ grilled Romaine Caesar salad, and fresh crusty bread
Monday - Szechuan Pork (if you're craving takeout, this is a delicious healthy alternative!!! I love this recipe.)
Tuesday - Pan seared perch, brown rice, steamed broccoli
Wednesday - Portabello Pizzas
Thursday - Grilled chicken, brown rice, brussels sprouts
Friday - Broiled Salmon w/ honey-chili rub with some sort of vegetables, lime, cilantro thingy

Monday, April 13, 2009

No More Easter

I hopped on the web tonight (no pun intended) to give you an Easter update. Unfortunately, I accidentally deleted all the pictures from Sunday's festivities. Oops. Here are a few things you should know about our Easter celebration:

1. Sean wore a green bow tie. It was awesome.
2. I made a coconut cream pie.
3. The weather was beautiful.
4. We have a pretty tree in our front yard with little pink flowers.
5. We got to see Jenger's new baby, Jack. He was really cute. I didn't touch him.
6. A bunny was hopping around our back yard all day.

Yesteray was also a big day on the homefront. I finally tackled the giant mess in the bathroom, and our personal care items have been put away neatly into the cabinets. What a relief!

Today we had a bake sale at work to raise money for the National MS Society. So far, the jalapeno cheddar cornbread I made has been a big hit. I was worried it would be too spicy for everyone, but it got a good response. I'm glad my 4 hours in front of the oven last night paid off! Sherri made some awesome cheese-scallion scones, and as of 4:00 we had rasied about $50 thanks to our generous co-workers. Hopefully we'll sell the rest of our baked goods tomorrow, bringing us even closer to our $1000 goal. The walk is this coming Saturday, and I hope the weather holds out. We've been having terrible storms here in the area, with tornados for the past couple of weeks.

Tonight we had monthly Supper Club at Kimbro's Cafe. Dad and a couple of his friends played bluegrass for the crowd. We had a good time, but I'm absolutely stuffed. The dessert was ta-die-for! It was good to see everyone...even though it was the same crowd from Saturday at The Bunganut Pig. Friendly faces are always good company - that's why I love living in Franklin now!

Words from Sean: I wore a bow tie for the first time, and I liked it. I'm getting ready for the Easter Egg Hunt at work tomorrow. #102 Eggs - fabulous prizes. I'm looking forward to our trips this summer. Atlanta, Chicago, and the other place. Also, I saw the fox running through our back yard. I finally got the garage computer up and running, so that makes me a real man.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Blinded by his Blindness

In addition to my weird fascination with Medium (as mentioned in my last post), I also occasionally tune in to American Idol. I can't claim that I'm a faithful viewer, as I really only watch the last 1/3 of the season. It's much more enjoyable when they whittle the contestants down to a handful of GOOD singers. So, why then, is this Blind Guy still on the show so late in the season!?!?!? I don't care about his visual impairment...ok, yes I do. People, there was a reason that Ray Charles and Stevie Wonder wore glasses when they performed!!! It's because blind people's eyes don't work and they look weird. Watching this guy makes me want to cry for him. It's just like giant moles and birthmarks - they're distracting and awkward. And as much as I try to ignore it, I CAN'T!!! But whatever...aside from his blindness, the guy CANNOT sing. Sure, he sings better than my grandmother, but please...he has no business being on American Idol this late in the game.

Also, I realized that I misspelled Alqaida in my last post. I probably just misspelled it again. But, whatever...ALSO, it wasn't actually Alqaida that came into Afghanistan after the Russians - it was the Taliban. See, I can't even keep History straight even after I've been reading about it. Don't judge.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Spring Has Sprung

Spring has sprung. So why is the weather so terrible right now? Just as we started getting used to the idea of flip flops and t-shirts, Old Man Winter reared his ugly head one last time. Well, at least I hope this is the last time. We went from 70-something last week down to the 30's today. Everyone is all up in arms about the cold weather and sleet, but I don't know why. THIS HAPPENS EVERY YEAR, PEOPLE. It's called "The Last Freeze" (or something like that), and the Farmer's Almanac says you shouldn't plant your Spring flowers until AFTER April 15th in Tennessee. And every year, hundreds of Home-Depot-Happy suburbanite families are gravely disappointed when their expensive blooms freeze to death. Well, NOT ME! Because I'm smart like that.

House News: The place is still a mess. The unpacking isn't going as quickly as I'd hoped, so for now we're just living amongst piles of junk. Thankfully, this past weekend was very productive for us. Sean tackled the garage and it's almost 100% organized! One of these days we'll be able to park our cars in it. Yesterday I randomly went to a second hand store and spotted an adorable breakfast table. It was exactly what I had pictured going in our breakfast nook. I think it's solid wood, and even though it needs a lot of TLC, we got the table and 4 matching chairs for only $90! I can't tell you about the illegal under the table deal we made with the employee...Let's just say I think she made a $90 tip yesterday. And I think she had done some serious time in the slammer. Anyway, I'm excited about refinishing the table. I stripped the stain yesterday, and Sean has been busy sanding it down. When it's finished I'll be sure to post a picture. Hell, if ANYTHING gets finished around here I'll be sure to post pictures.

Book News: I've been reading The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini and much to my surprise, I've really enjoyed it. It's a coming of age story about 2 young boys living in Afghanistan. Their country gets invaded by the Russian forces in the late 70's (who knew?). Anyway, the boys go their separate ways, and the main character and his father end up San Francisco. I've really enjoyed reading about the cultural differences and they way he had to adjust to a completely different life. Since I'm not really into History (or current events either...), The Kite Runner has opened my eyes to the untold story of Afghan culture prior to Al Keida taking over. (Or maybe it was just untold to me.) When I first picked up the book, I was worried that I wouldn't be able to connect since I know NOTHING about Afghanistan's culture. I thought the book would be all, "Bla bla bla history politics bla bla bla wars wars wars." Nope - it's nothing like that at all. So pick it up and give it a try if you're looking for something different.

TV News: Medium is on right now. It's my favorite guilty pleasure during the week because it's quite possibly the worst show on television...but I LOVE IT! I don't watch a lot of TV, so I don't know why I spend my TV time with Medium. Mostly, I wish I was clairvoyant like Allison Dubois. And I'm continually impressed by the amount of sleeping and bed shots the writers cram into 1 episode.

Food News: For those of you who know me, you're probably familiar with my weekly ritual of meal planning. Every weekend I sit down with magazines and cookbooks, and I choose recipes to eat throughout the week. There are a few reasons I do it - 1) I work. And the minute I come home from work/gym, I make dinner. Since my schedule is pretty tight, the pre-planned menu keeps me from wondering what to cook every night. 2) Grocery shopping is a breeze. When I know what to cook, I know what to buy. Rarely do I find myself in the "Ugh - we don't have that ingredient" situation. 3) The weekly menu keeps us from eating out, which saves money and keeps us relatively healthy. When friends and family find out about my weekly menu for the first time, they're really surprised...like I'm some sort of organizational freak or something. People, I'm here to say that I'm most definitely NOT an organizational freak...I only aspire to be one. So for anyone who's interested, here's the menu for this week:

Sunday - Chicken Piccata w/ a small side of buttered noodles & steamed broccoli (I use Smart Balance instead of real butter. This recipe calls for garlic, which you'll see used again below. Garlic is a common theme in my cooking.)

Monday - California Turkey Patties w/ Corn & Tomato relish (this recipe calls for 2 celery stalkks, and the rest of the bunch I can eat as snacks during the week: Celery w/ Peanut Butter or Celery w/ Hummus. The recipe also calls for onion, which I'll use again on Tuesday.)

Tuesday - Mediterranean Tilapia (sauteed onion, garlic, tomatoes and Kalamata olives) topped w/ feta cheese and served w/ whole grain cous cous

Wednesday - Grilled Basil Chicken w/ Panzanella salad - look, more of those tomatoes!

Thursday - Marinated & Grilled Squash, Zucchini, and Eggplant on toasted Ciabatta w/ melted fat-free Provolone and lettuce

Friday - Fundraising party for MS! I'm bringing Orzo pasta salad w/ Spinach, Red Onion and Feta cheese.

Saturday - Hmmm...don't know. Any suggestions? I'm thinking about grilled salmon if the weather is nice. I like to try new recipes or lengthy recipes on Saturday & Sunday since I usually have more time.

Sunday - Easter! Ham and casseroles and coconut pie.

If you want any of these recipes or have any questions, just leave me a comment or give me a call. I'm happy to share.