Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Big Game Indy-Style

I'm not sure what is happening with the weather this week in Indiana...but let me tell you my car told me it was 50 degrees outside at 6:30 a.m. this morning...crazy!

It is so exciting to have such great weather as Indianapolis gets geared up to host the "Big Game" (not using the trademarked name...just in case). Hopefully, the weather holds through the weekend so we can show everyone that a "cold weather" city can be just as fun as those "warm weather" ones.

The weather is SO nice that the ice sculptures are melting! Who would have thought?

I headed downtown after work last night to experience festivities. We didn't have tickets to the NFL Experience or for the zipline (I'm bummed about that) but it was fun to see how downtown has been transformed and see all the people enjoying themselves.

I only snapped a couple of shots so to get the full experience, head over to Amy's post at a Latte with Ott, A. She and her husband did the whole experience (minus the zipline)!

 Coldplay was blasting from the speakers on the Circle.
Was hoping that they were playing a surprise concert...
They weren't!

 Can you see the folks on the zipline?

Love the SB Gnome window display!

Monday, January 30, 2012

Call These Irresistible

I am a sucker for a good trilogy or series when it comes to books.

Hook me with the first book and I guarantee that I'll read the rest...I just can't resist.

I know most genres have authors who carry characters through multiple books and I don't know about you, but I appreciate it. That's one thing I really dislike about most movies...once it's over, I don't know what happens next.

Did these two stay together and is Gammy still alive and kicking?

Source: google.com via Megan on Pinterest

I'm serious...I really want to know!

I guess that's why I like authors who stick with characters for more than one book. I tend to read a lot of romance...I'm a sucker for a happy ending. Though I am working my way through Stieg Larsson's trilogy, starting with The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (Millennium Trilogy).

The Queen of the Trilogies (at least in romance) is Nora Roberts. From the "Born In" trilogy - Born in Fire (Born in Trilogy, Book 1) to the more recent "Bride Quartet" - Vision in White (The Bride Quartet, Book 1) there are only a few of her books that I have chosen not to read over the years.

Lately, I have enjoyed authors who can make me laugh out loud as I make my way through their books. The Fool's Gold series - Chasing Perfect (Fool's Gold, Book 1) - by Susan Mallery does just that. It's about a community in California that is seriously lacking men and run by some very funny, opinionated and strong women. I'm totally excited that Book 7 in this series is coming later this year...I think she can keep this series rolling for a long time.

Speaking of authors that keep a "series" or at least keeps developing her characters over the years, Susan Elizabeth Phillips is a master at this. While my favorite SEP books revolve around a fictional football team in Chicago, including This Heart of Mine and Nobody's Baby But Mine, her latest book, Call Me Irresistible: A Novel, inspired this post!

I picked up the hardcover version at my local used bookstore over the weekend and read it straight through this morning! Its main characters are the children of the antagonists from her earlier novels, Fancy PantsFirst Lady and Glitter Baby. While the original books were not my favorite, I really enjoyed reacquainting myself with the characters in this setting.

My one dislike of book series...the length of time between books! Who can wait 2-3 months to find out what happens next?!?

Any suggestions on authors I should try? I'm supposed to be working my way through these books, but I'm always willing to add a few books to my list!

Note: The product links on this page are affiliate links...wanted you to be able to see what I was talking about. Look for these books in your library, local used bookstore, on Amazon or ask a friend to borrow their copy, it's your choice!

Friday, January 27, 2012

Friday Thoughts

It's Friday!! I'm so ready for the weekend. 

Didn't this work week seem like it was 7 days long?

I just don't have the brain power to write anything thought-provoking...wait a minute, that doesn't happen on a day when my brain is charged fully!

So here are some Friday thoughts/confessions that I just needed to share.

1.  Went to my alma mater this week to catch a men's basketball game. Here's the only photo I took...Instagram makes it look arty when it's really just out of focus! There's nothing like going back to the place you spent your years between 18-22 to make you feel OLD. I swear those college kids look 10...I probably look 40 to them!

2.  Speaking of college kids, there were NO male cheerleaders at the game. What's up with that? I'm not a huge watcher of the cheers but I enjoy it more when a 100-pound co-ed gets thrown in the air by a couple of cute guys!

3.  Speaking of cheerleaders, my sister and I think it must be a rule that they have to have long hair - there was not one with a shoulder-length cut, let alone a bob or pixie cut! We decided that neither of us could have ever been a cheerleader due to our hair (and our lack of coordination and inability to do a back flip).

4.  Speaking of hair, I grew mine out (not enough to be a Purdue cheerleader) for a while but recently got it cut to my shoulders but I'm just not feeling it. Thinking about layers...thoughts? I just don't know what to do!

5.  Speaking of Purdue (how did we get back here?), being back on campus reminded me of just how much I love it. I guess it was destiny as some of my earliest memories is of sitting in front of our old console TV watching Gene Keady yell at inspire his players while my dad yelled right along with him. It was a running joke that our TV had a direct feed to Keady's ear!

Reminds me of the bumper sticker that hung on the bulletin board in my room back in the day..."Hoosier by birth, Boilermaker by the grace of God."

Boiler Up!

Monday, January 23, 2012

Pantry Cooking Pinterest Style

Well, I had no bacon in the house but I did have the ingredients for a dish on Pinterest that I have had my eye for quite a while. Unfortunately, I took NO pictures of it (though it isn't the most eye-appealing dish)...hence the photo above...had to have some visual on here.

Have you seen this pin?

Luckily, I had all of the ingredients in my pantry and freezer to put this together on Sunday morning. I love when a plan comes together!

Mel over at The Larson Lingo shared this recipe on her blog and admitted that it doesn't really have a name. I'll call it Slow-Cooked Salsa-Style Chicken...be sure to go to Mel's blog to see the final product.

Here are the directions. Believe me you need to try this. I served it over rice and it was delicious. I had leftovers tonight and it was as good (or better) than yesterday's serving.

Slow-Cooked Salsa-Style Chicken

Bag of frozen chicken thighs (2.5-3 lbs.) - could use chicken tenderloins or breasts
8 oz. cream cheese
Can of black beans (drained and rinsed)
Can of corn (drained)
Can of seasoned diced tomatoes (I used Red Gold's Lime and Cilantro Petite Diced Tomatoes - GO Indiana company - but you could use a store brand or Rotel.)

Place chicken into the crock pot (I always use the plastic liners...clean up is so much easier.) and top with cream cheese. Add the black beans, corn and tomatoes. Put the lid on and cook on slow for 6-8 hours.

Stir every two hours...it looks very bland but don't let that worry you!

Mine was done at 6 hours...assuming all crock pots are a bit different. When chicken is done, turn off the crock pot and let set for 30-45 minutes to allow it to thicken.

Serve over rice or whatever you want! I served peas with the meal and ended up mixing them with the chicken and it was yummy.

I'm very excited that the recipe lived up to the hype on Pinterest!

If you want to see some of the other recipes that I've tried from Pinterest...check out my "Recipes I've Tried" board.

Linking to Beyer Beware's Hunk of Meat Monday linky party. Be sure to check out here 3 Cheese Baked Spaghetti...yummy!

Friday, January 20, 2012

Stand In Parenting Fail

So, I recently experience life as a single working mother aunt while Baby Sister and her husband spent a week on a cruise ship. I only had her for four nights (I don't think my sister trusted me for any longer than that).

I'm used to just taking care of myself - and then probably not that well - so having a 15-month-old added to the mix was quite the experience.

I'm happy to report that she is alive and well, but that's about it. 

Here are a few things that I failed at as a stand-in parent:
  • Baths...she may have only gotten one, on the day before her parents were due back.
  • Feeding...she may have eaten a lot of Puffs, bread and crackers (she just wasn't into the green beans and carrots).
  • Nose wiping...the daycare was probably appalled at the dried boogers on the girl's face when I brought her in the morning. On the bright side, the boogers were gone when I picked her up! (Sorry for mentioning boogers...but it's kind of fun to say and write. Boogers!)
  • Hair...major fail on this end. She has very fine blond hair and the ladies at daycare usually put it up in cute ponytails all over her head.
Here's a very grainy photo of what her hair looked like after daycare...should have gotten a shot of it from the back.

Here are some photos of her hair that night when I took the ponytail holders out...

Unfortunately, I waited until right before bedtime to take them out so she went to bed looking like this and you can just imagine what her hair looked like the next morning! 

I'm pretty sure the ladies at daycare will have something to say to my sister about my stand-in parenting skills!

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Single White Napkin

Just couldn't resist picking up this package of beverage napkins at Target the other day.

They made me giggle!

Saturday, January 14, 2012

What I Cannot Resist

When I get one of these in the mail, I just cannot seem to stop myself from heading to Kohl's "just to see if there is anything there that I cannot do without."

Especially at an extra 30 percent off!

So, here's a look at some items that I just cannot seem to resist EVER.

 Black Cardigans
(or any other color of cardigan...seriously I probably have 30 of them)

Cute Girls' Clothes
(now with 2 nieces I'm not sure I should be allowed in the Kid's Section) 

 Vera Wang Flats on clearance
(this is my third pair...enough said)

Dish Towels or Washcloths on clearance
(this is the oddest of all but I promised to show you everything)

What are some things that you seem to gravitate towards when you are shopping?

Disclaimer: All the opinions in this post are mine, like they always are. Kohl's doesn't know who I am, except to send me my credit card statements AND coupons!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Using Up Holiday Candy

I am known far and wide by my sisters to have the best stash of candy on my kitchen counter.

Now, I rarely EAT that candy...I just like having the option to go out and grab a handful of M&Ms if I want them.

This time of year the candy is especially abundant with the after Christmas sales on Hershey Kisses, Reeses Cups and, of course, M&Ms. It's almost as bad as my wax paper/aluminum foil stash.

I had good luck with the Rolo cookies I found on Pinterest from Six Sisters' Stuff blog so I decided to try another one of their cake mix cookie recipes.

I had a handful of Andes mints and a box of Devils Food cake mix so I went with their Andes Mint Cookies. They turned out very yummy!

The recipe is super simple, just 4 ingredients.

1 box of Devils Food cake mix
2 eggs
1/2 cup oil
Andes mints

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Mix the first three ingredients together in a large mixing bowl. The batter will be thick. Roll dough into 1-1.5 inch balls (or whatever size you want them to be) and place on ungreased cookie sheet. Bake for 6-9 minutes (mine took 9 minutes but mine may have been a bit big). Pull out of oven and immediately place unwrapped Andes mint on top of each. I didn't have enough mints so I broke them in half. Let them sit for about 5 minutes (I put mine in the warm oven with the heat off and door open for a couple of minutes) so the mint melts. Swirl the mint around the top of the cookie with the back of a spoon.

Since I didn't have enough mints for another pan of cookies and had enough dough left for at least a dozen more cookies, I improvised.

I wrapped the cookie dough around a miniature Reese's Cup (about the same amount of dough as I used for the Andes cookies) and placed them in a greased miniature cupcake pan.I baked them for 9 minutes (might leave them in for another minute if I make them again). I had enough to make 12 of these.

And just because I could, I melted some leftover Godiva Gems chocolate on the top of about half of these cookies...just made them that much better!

Do you do anything creative with your leftover Christmas candy?

I still have two bags of Hershey Kisses on my counter...

Monday, January 9, 2012

Random Posting 2012 Style

I took a look around my house today and realized that I had a lot of randomness going on...perfect for another round of Random Posting!!!

I just can't make myself put this away. I'm not sure why. I think I see it as a representation of all that is good about my four nephews.

I had all four of them spend the night the week after Christmas and it was bedlam. Actually, it was a lot of fun. They are loud, messy and always asking for candy. They get out EVERY toy that is in my closet, including the Jenga game. 

Now they never play Jenga...just use it to build stuff to knock over later. However, they are very good about picking up the toys (after I tell them a couple of times and threaten them with no more candy). 

I looked over during clean up time and the two youngest nephews were stacking up the Jenga game the way I taught them - except for the one missing piece at the bottom. It just made me smile...

Sticking with the nephew theme, here are the two youngest and they stick-on ties that I got them.

Don't they look fancy?

Have you taken down your Christmas tree and decorations yet?

Obviously, you know how I would answer that question! 

I decorate mostly with snowmen so I can keep them up through January but I really need to take the tree down this week. Mainly because my niece is coming to stay with me while her parents abandon her go on a cruise and her bed looks like this right now...

It's a holding bin for my holiday storage bins and some new decorations I bought after Christmas.

Speaking of clutter...I did accomplish a couple decluttering projects while I was off of work during the holidays, including the pantry in my laundry room. 

The pantry holds a bunch of random items, including my huge supply of plastic bags, foil, wax paper and garbage bags. I actually called my mom while cleaning out this section and told her that I might just be a hoarder after finding 6 boxes of wax paper and 10 boxes of aluminum foil. Her response was "bring me some foil and do you have any quart size bags?"

I sent her 3 boxes of foil, a box of wax paper and 3 boxes of plastic bags! 

That's it for this round of Random Posting...until next time!

Friday, January 6, 2012

Gotta Wear Shades

Found this photo on my phone (gotta love Instagram) this morning and just had to share it!

Happy Thursday!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Revisiting My Bucket List

I try not to make New Year's resolutions because I never follow through and then I just feel bad when I don't follow through so it's better to just not make them!

I don't vow to lose weight, get more organized, or quit smoking. In my defense, I don't smoke so that's moot.

However, the start of 2012 did make me think about my Bucket List and working towards marking at least one more thing off the list this year. 

Last year, I was excited to be able to cross off "Go to NYC and see at least one Broadway show." 

We saw Brooke Shields in The Addams Family. Can you define normal?

Technically, I could cross off  "Wear a two-piece swimsuit at a tropical resort (not Hawaii)," but I really meant wear a bikini. I wore a tankini (is that a real word?) and swim shorts in Cancun so I think that's cheating. I was more covered than most women in the 1950s on the beach!

 As I was looking through my NYC photos, I did realize that I am getting close to crossing off "Grow my hair longer than shoulder length just to see how it looks."

Don't my sisters and I look very chic in our sunglasses and black rain jackets. (Believe me, we needed the rain jackets much more than the sunglasses during that trip!)

Do you make resolutions? If so, how successful are you?


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