31 March 2011

rock paper scissors lizard spock

In case you haven't figured it out yet, I'm a huge dork. Or maybe I'm a nerd?

Either way, my tendencies led me to a little show on CBS called The Big Bang Theory.  I love this show!  I only started watching it regularly about a year ago when B was deployed.  I have since borrowed both the first and second seasons from the Pensacola public library, and B and I watched them straight through together.  Now I love it even more.

Dr. Sheldon Cooper (played by Jim Parsons) is my favorite character, and sometimes I sit there and equate everything he does to Asperger's.  It's never been said in the show--they just call him an "anal nutbag"--but someone brought it up to me once as a possibility and now I can't stop thinking about it when I watch.  I also love most of the female characters.  It started out with just wannabe-actress Penny, but now they've brought on some other strong females that really give the boys their match.  Did you know that the girl who played Blossom is on this show?  Yep, Mayim Bialik, who in real life actually does have a PhD in Neuroscience, has been playing Sheldon's 'match' since the end of last season.

What's a rambling post about a great television show without clips?  First of all, the title of my post was inspired by this game:

And if you ever meet another fan of the show, they'll probably mention the wonderful lullaby "Soft Kitty":

Yep, definitely singing any future babies of mine to sleep with that one.

Also, the theme song was done by Barenaked Ladies (remember them?).  I think it's delightfully catchy, and every time I hear it I sing along . . . but only to one line "We built the pyramids."  That's probably one of my weirder quirks.  Yep, such a nerd.

If you've never seen it and want to give it a try, a new episode is on tonight at 8/7c on CBS.  Or you can watch it online tomorrow at the CBS website, like I have to do because it conflicts with choir rehearsal.

Anyone else out there love this show? 

30 March 2011

weekly family meetings

I'm not gonna lie, I partially got this idea from the Mormons and their Family Home Evenings.  The idea was originally planted in my head from my studies in Child and Family Development,   Every week, B and I have a "weekly family meeting," and I get asked about it often.

So the first question is why is it called a "family" meeting, when it's just the two of us?  Well, in my opinion, I've always disliked the phrase "starting a family" in reference to having children.  I believe that your family started the moment you exchanged vows.  That's not to say that people don't start a family before legally getting married, but once you jump the broom, even without kids, you've made a new family.

Semantics aside, our weekly family meeting has a certain agenda but it is flexible and will definitely change as time goes on and we add little ones into the mix.  I think having the kids grow up in a household that does this once a week will make it a lot less awkward later when we need get through the big issues together.  It will just be something they've always done and don't question (here's to hoping!).  We're Catholic, so I infuse the Bible and religious practices into our meetings, but this practice does not need to be only for the religious.  (Instead of Bible stories, maybe you can read a book together?)

Here is our agenda (you can choose to open and close in prayer if inclined):
  1. Weekly highs and lows.  Each person shares their favorite part about last week and also their not-so-favorite part of last week.  Oddly, this is is the only part of the meeting that B does not like and often refuses to participate in (see, it's like already having a child!).
  2. Schedules.  When is little Johnny's soccer game again?  Do you want to go to trivia night?  When is that science project due?  Have the family calendar in front of you during this so you don't forget everything.
  3. Issues/Conflict Resolution.  We use the "talking stick" method--basically, I just grab some object like a marker and only the person holding it is allowed to talk.  We try to use "I-statements" to air grievances and settle arguments.  There are a lot of books and resources out there on conflict resolution, so feel free to try some methods out until you find one that works (and don't be afraid to change methods based on development).  Once we have older kids/teens, this might have to move toward the end of the agenda so that the flaring tempers won't interfere with the rest of the meeting.
  4. Bible Study/Lesson.  For now, B and I just pick a book in the Bible and read it aloud for about 15-20 minutes and then talk about it.  We did the entire book of Ruth in one night, but we've now been doing the Book of Job for about a month, reading it by sections.  For kids, there are a lot of Sunday-school references on the internet that you can pull from.  Adding an activity like coloring or a craft obviously requires more planning, but can be very helpful for children.  If you want to pick a verse of the week to memorize, this is a great time to introduce it.
  5. Rosary and/or Prayers and Praises.  I won't lie; we generally don't do the rosary unless we have a short Bible reading (usually the end of a book).  I like doing it though, and I want my kids to be comfortable with it.  (I can't even imagine saying a rosary with my parents, and I wasn't comfortable leading one by myself until just a few years ago.)  Also, now is a good time, if you don't do this at dinner prayer, to give praises for all that you are thankful for, and to pray for those in need.
  6. Words of Affirmation.  Each family member says something nice to each other family member.  Can just be a compliment, or it can be thanking them for something they have done recently.  I love this.
  7. Treats!  Enough said.
You may notice that many of these can be incorporated into your family dinners.  Even though B and I eat dinner together every night, I do like to take the extra time to just focus on these things uninterrupted, especially the religious part.  Plus, I think having it scheduled keeps us more accountable.

Does your family have a weekly meeting ritual?

29 March 2011

states I've visited

Joining another bandwagon. I've been to 47 states!  My mom and I have taken 3 cross-country road trips, and I have family almost all over (some used to live in Alaska, so we definitely went to visit), so I've done pretty well for my 26 years.  I even posted about one leg of our 2007 trip a while back--read about it here and get inspired.

I'm missing Hawaii, Utah, and Vermont.  Unfortunately, I don't think those will all happen in one trip.  But I have a friend living in Vermont right now, so maybe that will be next?

Where have you been?  Go here to make your map!

28 March 2011

music monday: key-dollar-sign-ha

Does anyone else have a love/hate relationship with Ke$ha?  Or maybe it's just me.

Like most people, I think she's ridiculous!  Her songs definitely glamorize clubbing every night, drinking in excess, and being promiscuous.  Yes, a hedonistic lifestyle that I don't agree with and never participated in anyway (not even when I was 22 and single).  She's been criticized for objectifying men, but that's definitely a double standard since rap guys objectify women all the time.  I'm not saying that makes it okay, though, since I actually hate songs that objectify women and barred the DJ from playing "Baby Got Back" at my own wedding reception (true fact!).  So if you're gonna hate on her, don't do it for that reason.

What actually makes Ke$ha a decent artist is that even when you hear a new song of hers, you always know who it is.  A signature sound is a great thing for an artist to have (as long as every song doesn't sound exactly the same).  Ke$ha's hallmark of rap/talk plus irreverent lyrics plus electronica/autotune makes her stand out from the crowd.  So much so that she actually had quite a few hits last year. 

But I mostly love her because her songs are so damn catchy!  And they make me laugh.  I think "Your Love Is My Drug" is my favorite, except for the last 20 seconds.  Last week at the library when I was perusing through the CD's (it's a habit), I came across her two albums and actually checked them out for the comedic value.  She did not disappoint!  Two of my 'favorites' are below on the playlist.  (Pardon the profanity, but remember this is Ke$ha.)

The first one got stuck in my head pretty quickly, but that second song is truly, truly terrible.  Also, if you think her songs are hilarious, check out some of the parodies!  A fave of mine is below.  (The Key of Awesome has some more amazing videos, and you can waste a whole night laughing your bum off watching their videos, so caveat emptor, y'all.)

So what's your opinion on Ke$ha?  Good, bad, ugly?  (All of the above?)  And did you not just love that amazing parody?

23 March 2011

what's growing on my patio?

So the last place I lived in Virginia, we didn't have a patio. I was majorly bummed when Spring came and I could not plant anything. Actually, I was so bummed that I ended up volunteering with the Norfolk Botanical Garden.

I don't really have a green thumb, though.  When I had that no-patio place, I tried to have a house plant--a cactus.  And I'm not sure if I actually killed it, but it attracted so many gnats that I chucked it.

But now I have an awesome patio!  And this is north Florida, so the stores had all the gardening stuff out on the shelves by the end of January.  I didn't do anything until March 1st and felt like I was behind.  But over the next two weeks, I got my patio to the state I want it.  I love it, and it makes me so happy!

Large tables don't fit so well on these patios, but this 30" square one does fine.  Shade-loving impatiens for the centerpiece.  Green bell peppers and tomatoes are on the left.

Strawberries in the red pot with other plants behind
Early Girl tomatoes -- supposedly best for potting!

3 things I planted from seed:  beefsteak tomatoes (pot too small? probably), basil, and various wildflowers.  All are thriving.

The hardest part of my garden so far was finding a planter that fit on the rail.  Most are made for a wide wooden rail.  I still had to tweak this one be turning the brackets around.  Fingers crossed it doesn't fall.  The planter receives the most sun, so I put some pretty annuals in there.  We'll see how well that works.

I've already forgotten the name of this flower.  Help?  Edit 3/27 my MIL says it's Salvia
 And then I got one--and only one--house plant.

Beautiful mini orchid
So pretty, and so easy to care for

 I'll post some update pictures in a few weeks so you can watch the plants grow.  I promise it's better than watching paint dry.  (And my "pots of dirt" have already started sprouting!)

Have you started any spring gardening yet?

22 March 2011

a bandwagon! a bandwagon!

Yep, I've become a BALLER.  A cake baller, that is!

Sprinkles were definitely the easiest decoration
 I was inspired, of course, by Bakerella (the gal who made it trendy and put them on a stick), and also this blog which saved me from taking pictures of the process for you because she already did!  I even made the exact same kind, strawberry cake, mixed with strawberry frosting, dipped in chocolate almond bark.

My mom reminded me that these are nothing new, though.  Anyone ever had petit fours?  Yeah, cake balls are basically those, just a lot less fancy (and thus, in my opinion, way more American).

And it makes a mess the size of Texas!  Or maybe that's just me?
One thing I will warn you, if you attempt this, just one box of cake mix makes a TON!  I think I had about 80 cake balls for a potluck that was then canceled.

Luckily I was invited to another potluck a few days later.

21 March 2011

music monday: workout music

Now I haven't been to Zumba class a ton of times, but sometimes I like going just for the awesome music! I love it.  Most of the time I can't really sing along because I'm too busy working up a sweat, but this song caught my attention last at last week's class.  And all you need to understand it is about a semester of high school Spanish class, so that's a major bonus for me.

In case you know nothing about Spanish, it means "Let's go to the beach; I like to dance; the rhythm of the night."  
The rest is in English, just for you.

I'm pretty sure there a few versions of this song, but this is definitely the one I heard in Zumba last week.  I looked up who this Loona gal in the bikini is, since I figured she's some big South American pop star or whatever.  Nope, she's from the Netherlands!  (Her website is in German, it looks like.)  But she teamed up with DJ Sammy in Spain early in her career and hopped on the Latin-dance-pop train.  I find this incredibly weird, but also pretty cool.

It's already beach weather here in north Florida (although I think the water is still cold), so here's my new windows-down anthem!

Link your song up, or just go hear some new stuff, at Goodnight Moon

16 March 2011

all dressed up: channeling Rachel Berry

Anyone else out there love the show Glee?  Okay, yeah I thought so.

I got this dress off the Old Navy clearance rack a few weeks ago for less than $5!  Maybe it's so "last year" or something, but I think it's still cute.  And I totally feel like Rachel when I wear it, just without being Jewish or having two gay dads.

Dress: Old Navy
Shoes: Nine West
Necklace: Icing
Bracelets: from the streets of Italy
Watch: ??

Linking up today with No Model Lady

15 March 2011


Running a 5k is on my 101 list, but so is using the Couch-to-5k program to get there. I'm happy to report that I'm already into my third week of the program, and it's going pretty well so far.  I'm not really a couch-dweller type, so you might be asking why a frequent gym-goer is trying this system.

Here are my reasons:
  • The last time I tried to run a 5k race with no preparation I came really close to either fainting or throwing up.  I don't like feeling like poop during and after something that's supposed to be fun.  Needless to say, I need some type of training.
  • I don't actually like running and figured that a combo of run/walk might help me have a better attitude toward it (this idea is actually working, believe it or not).
  • My knee.  Like many active girls, I screwed up my knee and had to get physical therapy.  This happened in high school when I played soccer (on the JV team; I'm really no good at soccer), but it still affects me only when running.  I can do step aerobics, Zumba, kickboxing, elliptical, etc. etc. etc. without issue.  But try to run forward?  That's when I have to enlist the help of this bad boy:
    Yes I've had mine since high school, and no, you don't wanna know the last time it was cleaned.
  • My final reason: I seriously just wanna see if this Couch-to-5k business actually works. I'd love to inspire someone who doesn't ever think they can run a 5k into doing it. I'd especially love to get my mom into it, but I'm not holding my breath about that one.
Unluckily, the biggest 5k/party in town happened this past weekend (and I decided to sleep in).  I'm not sure if I wanted to do something with 10,000 other people anyway.  Lucky for us my 9-week program will end the weekend of Apr. 30.  At first I was hesitant about this because it's also my concert weekend with my Chorale, but I've decided to do it (and drag B with me...heh heh).  On that Saturday morning, we'll be rising bright and early to participate in the Fiesta 10k and 5k Run/Walk here in Pensacola!  And I'll be doing the 5k Run, even though I am very tempted to do the walk instead.  Now I just need to tell my dear husband about my our grand plans since the actual 101 goal is to "run a 5k with B" . . .

10 March 2011

recipe: Mexican pasta skillet

Or Mexican Chop Suey, if you will.  This dish was mentioned when Nicole from Flip Flops and Combat Boots did an "Inspire Me" post way back in January with my suggestions.  (Check it out here.)  She loved it, and many of the commenters wanted the recipe, so here it is, folks!

I cannot take any credit at all for this recipe.  It came from some book somewhere and my friend shared it with me, and now I'm sharing it with you.  I believe that is how recipes are supposed to work.

The ingredients are ground beef (or a substitute would probably be fine), tomato sauce, jar of salsa, water, elbow mac, frozen corn niblets, and cheese.

6 ingredients (not including water).  6 cheers for simplicity.

Another great thing about this recipe: you only get one pan dirty!  We'll start with the hardest part: cook your meat.  And drain if necessary.

Then, add your tomato products --a whole jar of salsa and the can of tomato sauce-- along with the water.  Give it a nice little stir and then bring your little soupy mess up to boiling.

I once used diced tomatoes because we were out of tomato sauce.   Turned out fine.
Once it's boiling, then you add the macaroni and the corn.  Cover and simmer for 11-15 minutes, stirring every few minutes to get the mac stuck to the bottom off. 

If you look really closely in the 3rd picture, you can see the Alphabet noodles I tried to sneak in halfway through because I didn't have enough elbow mac.

Once the macaroni is tender, it's time to add the cheese!  Throw a handful (or two) on the top, then cover and simmer for another 1-2 minutes until it melts.

This actually turned out soupier than it was supposed to because I didn't have enough pasta.  Still tasty though!
I'm gonna warn you now.  This makes A LOT OF FOOD.  I'd say it's about 6 servings.  We ate it for 3 nights and then I think I had the rest for lunch one day (making it 7 servings for this house).  Here's a picture of the leftover container after B had scarfed down a huge helping and I ate a normal serving on the first night.

Use the bananas and wine bottle as size references.

The full recipe, about 25 minutes total, serves 6:

1 lb ground beef
1 jar (16oz.) salsa, choose your level of heat
1 cup (8oz. can) tomato sauce
1.5 cups water
2 cups uncooked elbow macaroni
1 cup frozen corn niblets
1.5 cups shredded cheddar cheese (or Mexican blend)

1. In 12-inch skillet, cook beef over medium-high heat 5 to 7 minutes, stirring occasionally, until cooked; drain.
2. Stir in salsa, tomato sauce, and water.  Heat to boiling.
3. Stir in macaroni and corn.  Reduce heat; cover and simmer 12 to 15 minutes, stirring occasionally until macaroni is tender.
4. Sprinkle with cheese.  Cover; let stand 1 to 2 minutes until cheese is melted.

08 March 2011

mardi gras on the gulf

Hey, guess what today is?!  I usually never did much to celebrate beyond eating pancakes, but now I live on the Gulf Coast and it's a huge deal here.  I'm Catholic and Easter is my favorite holiday, so I guess I should be celebrating this too!  They call it "Mardi Gras season," which is kinda weird since that literally means "Fat Tuesday" in French.  They also celebrate "Lundi Gras" (yesterday), but really this season is just Carnival and it culminates today.  The entire season actually started on "12th Night" which was Epiphany.  I think there was some type of celebration to kick it off here.  And with Easter so late this year, this is a really long season for parties!

Did you know that Carnival means "farewell to flesh/meat" (think of the Spanish word carne)?  Yep, we're partying here to prepare for our Lenten fasting, which begins tomorrow (Ash Wednesday).  Watching Protestants celebrate Mardi Gras and then not actually do anything for Lent always kinda bugs me.

When we took our New Orleans trip a few weeks back, we got to witness the first Mardi Gras parade of the season, the Krewe du Vieux.  (A krewe is just an organization that puts on a parade or a ball during the season.  Each parade float was made by a different krewe.)  All the locals (mostly our super-awesome hotel staff) told us this parade was "family friendly" and "satirical."  We were actually kind of underwhelmed by it (not drunk enough?), and also had to question the New Orleans definition of "family friendly."  This has got to be one of the most European cities in the U.S. based on this alone.  I (accidentally-on-purpose) punched a styrofoam sperm before witnessing this nightmare: 

Scarred for life.
To counter that experience, we went to the Pensacola Grand Mardi Gras Parade this past weekend, and it definitely fit the American-Puritan definition of "family friendly."  They also threw way more beads and moon pies.  The New Orleans parade didn't actually throw beads; they just handed them out because most people were walking, not actually on floats.  I actually couldn't get a ton of pictures from the Pensacola parade because I was too busy trying to not get smacked in the head with the deluge of beads!  There were a couple floats that were absolutely nuts.  It was so fun!

Pensacola Grand: people on floats, beads a-flying

Let's compare the "parade throw haul" from each parade, shall we?

From Krewe du Vieux.  I threw most of this out except the dreidel and the headband.

From Pensacola Grand Parade.  T-shirt, moon pies, Hershey bars, and silly bands, oh my!

Here's a dumb video of me receiving a plastic lobster by the skin of my teeth at the New Orleans parade, as recorded by my "boyfriend" (LOL):

Well, as they say around these parts, "Laissez les bons temps rouler!"  Until tomorrow, that is, because then my bum will be here:

This really is my Pensacola parish.  Gorgeous, but even more so in person when you see the stained glass.

07 March 2011

music monday: preview of my chorale music

So after my barbershop debacle, I soon found a choir around these parts that I actually enjoy.  It's the Gulf Coast Chorale, and little did I know upon joining it that almost all our music is old hymns!  Our director is very talented, and most of our music is made up of his arrangements.  Even though I'm from the South, I was raised in the Catholic traditions, so I'm not very familiar with old Southern Baptist hymns, which is mostly what we're singing (even though our performances will be in the Catholic churches).

There was one song though, that I actually recognized.  And for that I can thank Faith Evans and this line in a popular song from my youth:

Over ten years later, and thanks to the Chorale, I learned that it's the first line in "I'll Fly Away," which is the name of our Spring concert and a song we'll be performing in it.  There's a ton of versions on Youtube, and we'll probably sound most like this one (with more soprano and better vowel-shaping), but I really really love the Alison Krauss duet with Gillian Welch from the O Brother, Where Art Thou? soundtrack, so here you go:

Yep, that's a big fat Hallelujah.  Sorry to any Catholics who are reading this during Lent!

Also, linking this up to Goodnight Moon's song-hop.

04 March 2011

friday fill-in

Well, Wife of a Sailor used a question I forgot I submitted this week, so I guess I owe it to my readers to answer it!

Link up with Wifey

1. Do you or your {spouse} ever wish your {spouse} was in a different branch of the military? submitted by The Turner Family
Nah.  I think the Navy is a good fit for him.  However, sometimes I wished he wasn't a submariner because he hated it and was generally miserable.  But then I get to thinking if we ever would have met if he wasn't Navy, or wasn't submarines.  Guess the stars lined up on that one.  Also, the community in the sub world was amazing (once we got a new CO whose wife wasn't a nutter, that is).

2. What duty station(s) are on your “No Way, Hell No, Not Going, Have Fun Unaccompanied” list and why? submitted by Every Branch
I'm generally adaptable, but a year ago when we were making our wish-list, I begged against a few places in the northeast because I have no desire to shovel snow and I don't like rude people.  Something in Rhode Island did end up on the list anyway, and I probably would've enjoyed it.

3. If you could be one age forever, what age would you choose and why? submitted by Three Krakens
When I was little, I didn't want to grow up (true baby of the family here).  But since then, I've enjoyed every age without dreading the next.  I love the age I am now (26), but I'm sure there are awesome things about being older that I don't want to miss.

4. If you were a breakfast cereal, which one would you be? submitted by the C.W.
This is my question!  And like most things in my life, it has a story behind it.  Back in college, a group I was in decided to do a Survivor-esque game show on campus.  I got to help with interviewing the contestants, and this was one of the questions.  More than half of the potential contestants answered with "Kashi" and gave the exact same explanation for it.  This was back in 2004, before Kashi was doing any kind of major advertising, and I was still eating dining-hall granola mixed with Froot Loops on a daily basis.  I had never heard of Kashi, and by the end of the interviews, I never wanted to hear of it again.

Now for my actual answer to the question?  Probably Chex.  It's good enough on its own, but it can also be mixed with other semi-healthy stuff to make yummy Chex Mix or not-so-healthy stuff to make Muddy Buddies/Puppy Chow.  I'd like to think I'm as versatile as Chex.  But perhaps I'm actually more like dining-hall granola mixed with Froot Loops?

5. What is your morning beverage of choice and why?  submitted by NH Girl Displaced
I guess it would be milk, since I'm pretty faithful to my cereal and milk combo in the morn (I've stopped mixing the cereals though).  I've always hated coffee and kicked any potential caffeine habit back in high school when I gave up soda for Lent a few years in a row.  I've probably averaged less than five sodas a year since then (usually Sprite, which is caffeine-free).  I also hate tea in any form, which is why I'm a lousy Southerner and would also be a lousy Brit.  Water is my overall beverage of choice, morning, noon, night, whenever.

03 March 2011

101 update: casinos, dental floss, Buzz Lightyear

 I haven't done a 101 update in a while, but rest assured that I'm still going strong to accomplish my list.

I got to add two movies to my #74: Watch 10 of IMDB's Top 250 Movies that I've never seen before.  I finished out the Toy Story trilogy that I began in December with Toy Story 3, currently #30 on the list.  I didn't tear up at the end like my mommy-friends, but I know I came close.  However, Toy Story 2 still remains my favorite because I thought the plot was the best of the three.  I just really liked that whole thing with the collector and a different take on toys.

The other movie I just watched was The Social Network, #183.  (This will probably get knocked off the list eventually, but my rule is that it has to be on the list at the time I see it.)  The Oscar-nominated cinematography was almost too dark for home-viewing, and the dialogue was so fast it was almost dizzying.  I haven't looked into how factual the movie lines up to reality, but I did realize that I joined Facebook before they hit 1 million users.  And it has always bothered me that Mark Zuckerburg is less than a month older than me.  Guess we can't all be billionaires.

44. Floss every day for a month.  I started on January 30 to get ready for my dentist appointment a week later.  I'm pleased to say that I fooled them and have maintained flossing every night, even though it's a tedious task when all I want to do is go to bed..  However, I didn't even have to buy floss--we have so many samples and leftovers lying around that I've just been going through them.  The other times I've flossed I took a break when I went on vacation (still flossed in New Orleans!) and stopped altogether when I ran out of floss.  Maybe I'll go stock up some more before that happens.

At the casino with my remaining chips
95.  Gamble at a table game in a casino.  We went to Harrah's while in New Orleans so I could cross this one off.  Thank God that B was with me--it was so intimidating and there's a lot of unspoken rules that you just have to know that I almost didn't do it.  He urged me to try Craps because you get to throw the dice, but I couldn't figure out how the game was played by simply watching.  So I played Roulette instead.  I should have thought up a systematic way to do it so I wasn't just blindly scrambling around to put down the $10 minimum bet each time.  Because I have a good amount of self-control, I lost a total of $46.

I realized when I was pregnant that there's a lot of things on my list I couldn't do.  I guess I need to get crackin' on them before I get pregnant again!  I think I'll start with #42:  making cocktails.  :-)

02 March 2011

all dressed up: date night dress and boots

Link up with the Lady

I love my knee-high boots and will find any excuse to wear them until it gets too hot (which is, um, this week here).  This dress is one of my favorite date-night pairings with them.

Dress: Body Central // Boots: Impo from DSW // Watch: ??had forever

And the necklace is something my aunt made for me.  She started making jewelry in her semi-retirement from being a high school principal, and this was the necklace for us bridesmaids at my sister's wedding last year.  She also made the jewelry for my wedding, in addition to being my florist.  Check her out at Classy and Glassy.

Also linking up to Jewelscapes today for jewelry!