Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Advice From A Friend

This weekend when I was at the conference teaching a session on making scarves, a friend and former co-worker was there as the photographer.  It was so good to see her again!  While there, she asked me about the instructions for making the scarf, and I gave her a copy-which happened to be directly from my blog.  She told me that she didn't realize I even had a blog.  I explained that I don't normally tell people about my blog-it is mostly for me-it's where I post things to remember them-and it is certainly not professional (but that doesn't make any difference to me at all).  Anyhow, she encouraged me to branch out, and tell people about the blog, so I posted my first time on facebook about it yesterday.  If you've wandered onto my page because of that post, welcome!  I hope you enjoy my ramblings about life!

Here is a picture of me with my friend:

Monday, February 27, 2012

My Phone's Camera

As I am sure you can tell from the pictures I post on this blog, I am not a photographer.  The pictures I use are just simple snapshots I take from my phone.  They are good enough for me and for my usage.  Today at work I am at the front desk for a couple hours, which means I answer the phones and welcome people into the office.  There is a lot of down time, though, so I decided to play with the features my phone has to offer in terms of the camera.  I decided to try out each and every feature of a flower on the desk here.  Here is what I took:
First-with no special effects:
Depth of Field:
Vintage Warm:
Vintage Cold:
It's hard to believe I have had this phone since October and had never used these feaatures before.  Some of my favorites (at least while taking a picture of these flowers), are posterize, sepia, depth of field, and vignette.  Maybe I will start to use these features more often if I think about it!

Sunday, February 26, 2012

A Clean House

It never seems to me like I can get my house clean.  By the time I finish one room and move to the next, the first room is dirtied up again.  Today was somehow different, though.  With a group effort of my kids, husband, and myself all tidying up, the whole house actually was clean at the same time!  (Well, unless you count the garage-that always could use a little bit of help).  Even the laundry basket was empty for a few hours!  What a wonderful feeling!

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Moving Down!

I am so glad I am finally over being sick for the most part (I have a touch of a runny nose and cough that is still lingering, but feel fine otherwise), and glad I am no longer feeling super-hungry due to my meds, which had something to stimulate my hunger.

Once I seemed to get over being sick, I started seeing the scale change again-which is a huge sense of relief for me!  In a way the diet seems to be getting easier-I just know what I am supposed to be eating, and for the most part, I do it.  But in a way, it is still difficult.  Today, for instance-there was a buffet style lunch at the conference I was at-and they had tacos with nacho cheese, enchiladas, mac & cheese, and numerous desserts to choose from. But I knew that for dinner I was going to be eating barbecue-another one of my favorites-and so I made myself choose well-large portion of veggies, small portion of chicken, and plain rice, along with some unsweet tea.
Meals like this seem to be paying off-not only am I seeing a difference on the scale, but I checked my measurements this weekend, and I am down an inch!  I can't wait to get to Milestone #2!

Scarf Session

A few months back, I wore one of my t-shirt scarves that I had made to work.  One of the ladies I work with, Shirley, plans ministry events for girls fairly frequently, and when she saw my scarf, she asked if I would be interested in teaching a group of teenagers how to make scarves for the craft session at one of the events she had planned.  Being excited about scarves at the time, I said yes.  When I said yes, I wasn't really thinking about the fact that I am not really used to speaking in front of crowds.

Fast forward a while, and reality set in.  To say the least, I was freaking out a little-wondering what I was thinking saying yes!  There would be around 170-180 girls and their sponsors attending this event.  Yikes!  But, once I commit to something, I don't back out-I knew I had to do this.  I tried not to think about it too much.  I planned for the event only thinking about the scarves, and not the crowd, as much as possible.  I decided to go with a different scarf-one that had simpler steps, and that I liked a little better for this session.

Yesterday I went to the thrift store and picked up 10 t-shirts for $1 each to practice on.

I had one of our college students come over to teach her how to make a scarf-that way I could have a helper with me to help me ease my mind.  Hers turned out pretty neat-it was made from a tie-dyed t-shirt.
I prepared a couple hand-outs-one that had the tutorial printed (directly from the blog), and another that showed examples of how to wear the scarves, which was actually a compilation of pictures I found around the web:

The event turned out great!  To say the least, I was incredibly nervous before the event started, but as time went on, I got a little more comfortable.  It kept my mind at ease to have a little help there, and the students were great-receptive to learn how to make the scarves.  I was a little surprised-in each of the sessions (it was divided into 3 separate sessions), I asked how many had made a scarf out of a t-shirt before, and only about 5 in the entire group had.  I guess I had a misconception that people knew how to do this.

All in all, it was a great day-it took me out of my comfort zone for sure-but that is a good thing every once in a while!

Friday, February 24, 2012

My New Office

My job is relocating soon, which will be a relief to me because it will turn my hour commute into a 15 minute drive.  They have been talking about moving the location for years, but they recently started building.  It looks like in May or June everything will be completed and ready to move into.  Yesterday, we took a "field trip" to the new location to see the progress, and to find out where our offices will be.  I cannot wait!  Of course, I had to take a few pictures while I was there!

I took a picture of my office, but because of the way the sun was shining in, it didn't really turn out:
Here is a view from the 4th floor on the outside deck:
Another 4th Floor view:  this one looking out to where the wooden beams will be, and overlooking the fireplace in the entry way:
And the Fireplace on the entry level (2nd Floor):
Obviously there is still quite a bit of work to be done, but it won't be too long until we get to move in.  I am looking forward to that day!

Best Pizza in Texas

Growing up in a small town in Virginia, we had one pizza place in town.  It served Sicilian style pizza-typical "New York" style pizza.  There is not much of that in Texas-mostly chain pizza, but the small places serve something different-I'm not sure what it is-maybe they use cheaper ingredients-I'm not sure.  Nothing that compares to what I want when I am thinking about "real" pizza.

A couple years ago, my dad came to visit, and we went to a Rangers baseball game while he was in town.  He suggested we grab some pizza before the game, so we found a restaurant called New Yorker Pizza not too far from the stadium.  It was almost like eating in that little restaurant back home!  It was so good!  I have been craving good pizza for a while now, so when my hubby and I went out on our date last night, I suggested New Yorker Pizza.  It never disappoints!  While we were there, I asked the waitress if they had any other locations-I explained that we drive quite a ways just to eat there because the pizza is so good, but unfortunately, this is their only location.  If you are ever craving good pizza, and you find yourself in Arlington near the stadiums, this is the place to be!

I didn't think to take a picture last night when it was served to us-so here is all that is left today:

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Wearing My New Hat

Remember my new hat I got on Sunday?  I haven't worn it yet.  That is, until today.  My blow dryer broke while I was using it yesterday morning, and Wednesdays, being as busy as they are, did not provide me with enough time to go buy a new one.  So I figured this was the perfect day to put my hair in braids and wear my hat.  I love it!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Lemon Bars

This week my hubby made some lemon bars.  It was a new take on an old recipe.  He normally makes some fruit bars using cake mix and apple butter or pumpkin butter, which are delicious.  When we were at Central Market the other day, though, I asked how he thought it would work using lemon curd.  He decided it was worth a try, and bought the lemon curd.

As he was putting the recipe together, he decided to add some cream cheese into the mix-which sounded amazing-I absolutely love cheese cake!
The taste-divine!  My hubby tasted it while it was still hot out of the oven, and felt like it needed some vanilla ice cream-it was really tart.  But after it had cooled, the sweetness and the tartness mixed well together, and it tasted amazing!  I really recommend this recipe!

‎1 box yellow cake mix; set aside one cup
½ cup butter, melted
3 eggs, large
1 -12.25 oz jar of Lemon Curd
2 tbsp milk 
½ cup flour
6 tbsp sugar
¼ cup butter, softened
¼ cup cream cheese, softened
poppy seeds

Preheat oven to 350° F. Divide cake mix, placing all but one cup in a mixing bowl. Stir the melted butter and one egg into the cake mix. Press the mixture into the bottom of a greased 9" × 13" pan. Mix the jar of Lemon with two eggs and milk. Pour this result over the cake mix. Stir half of the reserved cup of cake mix with the 1/4c flour, sugar, softened butter, and poppy seeds. Mix together until crumbly. Stir half of the reserved cup of cake mix with the 1/4 c flour, sugar, softened cream cheese, and poppy seeds Sprinkle each of these over top of the lemon curd. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until golden brown. Cool. Cut into "2 squares. Serves 24.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Mardi Gras

I had always heard of Mardi Gras or Fat Tuesday, but never really knew what it was.  I heard about the beads, drunken parties, girls flashing, and transvestites.  But I had no idea what the celebration was all about.  A few years ago, I learned that it actually had a Christian beginning.  Tomorrow is Ash Wednesday-the first day of Lent for the Catholic church-the season of giving up something (usually food of some sort) in preparation for Easter.  Fat Tuesday is the day before this season, and it is viewed as the last day to indulge before a time of doing without.

I don't typically give up food for the Lent season, but if I did, I can understand wanting to indulge one last steak or something like that.  But I don't understand the over-indulgence.  In Romans 13, the Bible calls us to:

13So behave properly, as people do in the day. Don't go to wild parties or get drunk or be vulgar or indecent. Don't quarrel or be jealous. 14Let the Lord Jesus Christ be as near to you as the clothes you wear. Then you won't try to satisfy your selfish desires.

My prayer for myself is that I not allow any time of indulgence to become a time of over-indulgence.  My prayer is that I not feel like I have to wear a mask to cover up my sinning, and that I have nothing to be ashamed of to feel the need to cover my identity.  This prayer is not just for Mardi Gras, but for all year long.


Monday, February 20, 2012

Homemade Croutons

The other day my husband made some homemade rolls and a loaf of bread.  I ate way too many rolls in one setting.  They were so good-nothing beats homemade bread!  However, we left it sitting out on the counter over night; we both forgot to put it away, so it got dried out in the night.  I was trying to figure out what to do with all the dried bread-I have a hard time "wasting" something that is so good.  Then I remembered seeing a crouton recipe on the Pioneer Woman blog that I read, and figured that would be a great way to use the bread.

It was super simple, too!  I just cubed the bread and put it on a baking sheet.  Then I heated some olive oil and infused 2 crushed cloves of garlic into the oil for a few minutes, got rid of the garlic, and poured the oil over the bread.  I baked it at around 200 degrees for 30 minutes, and then my hubby turned the oven up to 350 to prepare the oven for a recipe he was making, so they finished pretty quickly after that.

He added some grated parmesan to the warm croutons to give them a little something extra.  They are fantastic!  I will definitely remember this recipe for future use in the event I leave bread out again.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Cute New Hat!

We found ourselves with a little extra time on our hands this afternoon, so we went into Ft. Worth to pick up some apple butter from Central Market, something we have been wanting to get for a while for a recipe my hubby bakes.  We like to take our time at Central Market and browse the shelves to get new ideas.  It was crazy busy, though, so we didn't stay too long.

While we were in the area, we stopped by World Market to browse.  They also have a neat little specialty foods section, along with furniture and home decor, and other neat stuff from around the world.  While browsing, I saw some pretty scarves from India, and my hubby picked one out to get me.  Then as he went around the rack, he saw a hat that he thought I would like, and showed it to me.  It is so cute!  I normally don't care for the homemade knitted look-but this particular knitted hat was too cute to pass up!  I am looking forward to wearing it soon!

Let The Hunger Continue!

Yesterday I mentioned that I have been incredibly hungry the past few days.  I am blaming it on my over-the-counter flu medicine.  Today I caved and enjoyed a plain cake-like donut-one of my favorite donuts!  This is something I normally would not cave into and eat, but that is just how hungry I am!  It was really good, but I have persuaded myself to be really good the rest of the day so I won't go over my calories again.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Medicine Equals Hunger

I've been battling cold/flu symptoms ever since Monday, and I started taking generic Theraflu on Wednesday.  Since then, I have noticed one major thing:  I have been ravenous!  And while the thought of food kind of grosses me out, I can hear my stomach growling, begging me for food.  I googled something like "hunger while sick", and I discovered that one of the side effects of Dextromethorphan (an active ingredient in what I had been taking) is hunger.  That explains it!
Normally I tend to eat less than a typical day while I am sick, but I actually ended up going over my calories yesterday because of eating due to hunger.  I'm going to have to really watch this over the next few days.

When Will Spring Arrive?

Sometimes I just wake up, and am ready for the next season.  This is one of those times.  I am ready for spring!  Winter hasn't even been long, or terrible, for that matter.  But I am ready for steady, warm weather.  Today it rained-not a cold, winter rain-but a nice soaking, spring rain.  I am ready!  I even changed my wallpaper on my computer to one of my favorite spring flowers-daffodils.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Dinner Rolls & A Loaf Of Bread

I was craving some homemade bread today, so my hubby made me some!  So sweet!  The rolls were the best, but they disappeared so quickly I couldn't get a picture.  But I did manage to get a picture of the loaf of bread.  Yum!  Sorry I didn't arrange it so it would look a little better.  :)

The Fridge

While battling my cold/flu symptoms today, I opened the fridge, and noticed just how disgusting it was.  I can't remember when I cleaned it last-and it was obviously past due.  So I pulled everything out and bleached it down.  I was going in slow-motion, so it probably took me double the amount of time than it typically would have, but in the end, it was worth it.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Milestone #1-For Real!

On Sunday when I stood on the scales, I was at exactly a 10 pound weight loss.  It seemed like it took forever to finally get there!  I felt stuck at 8 pounds for so long!  But, because I thought I had lost 10 pounds, but then realized I actually hadn't, I waited 5 days to post my milestone.  I wanted to make sure I was really there!  I made my first 10 pound weight loss on Sunday.  Woo hoo!  I am ready for the next 10 to disappear now!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Restaurant Trouble

Last night my hubby took me out on a date for Valentine's Day.  We decided to head to Cedar Hill, and hope for the best.  The evening of Valentine's restaurants are notorious for having long waits, and we knew that.  We decided on Bailey's Grille 2-a restaurant we had seen many times, but never stopped at.  It looked elegant, and the people going inside were always dressed very nice.  When we first stepped inside, that reputation held true-I could see black linen table cloths and napkins on the tables, the wait staff dressed nicer than I do to go to work, and there were all the other typical "nice restaurant" qualities you expect to see.  I was a little nervous when I saw the advertised "Valentine's Special" of $40 a person for a Four Course meal-I know Valentine's is a special occasion, but that seemed a little pricey.  When we spoke to the hostess we were informed there would be a 35 minute wait-not as bad as I would have expected on this particular night.  We waited less than that-maybe 25 minutes before being seated.

From there, the service went downhill.  The menu was typical bar food-not what we expected here.  Catfish, Cajun Chicken Pasta, Meatloaf, Cheesesteaks, Chicken Tenders, Burgers, and even Chili Dogs.  Pricing wasn't bad-about $8-12 per entree.  It took about 5 minutes before the waitress showed up.  When she finally arrived we ordered our drinks, we had already chosen our entrees, so we ordered those as well (catfish and Cajun chicken pasta).  She brought our drinks and told us our bread would be right out.  Fifteen minutes later our bread arrived-it was piping hot and delicious.
After that, I finished off my glass of tea, and sat it on the edge of the table for the waitress to notice when she walked past.  It sat at least 5 minutes before I saw her again, and she walked past without noticing.  A while later she came back by, and noticed my empty glass so she refilled it then.  After quite literally one full hour of sitting at our table, and the food still not arriving (in fact, we only saw 2 tables near us receiving food the entire time we were there), we decided to leave.  We asked the waitress for our check to pay for our drinks (iced tea and Diet Coke), and were a little surprised that she actually brought us the check-we kind of expected the restaurant to comp our drinks after a wait that long.  When the man at the table next to us heard us saying we were leaving, he turned around and said, "I'll see you at Whataburger next!"  I doubt we will be back any time soon.

Since we had already waited so long, we were incredibly hungry, so we decided to go to Bamboo Palace-a Chinese buffet that we have been to several times and have always had good service.  We figured that there would not be a wait to get in, and the food would be ready when we arrived.  There was a short wait (maybe 2 minutes) to be seated, and we got our food in no time.  And, since there were lots of people at the restaurant that night, all the food was piping hot and fresh.  It was a good choice, and I was glad to have an evening out with my hubby! 

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Happy Valentine's Day!

My hubby always treats me so special for Valentine's Day! Earlier this week he got me a giant Hershey's Kiss.

Then on Sunday he got me some carnations.

And yesterday he bought me a dozen roses.

I definitely have a sweetheart!

Monday, February 13, 2012

Five Hour Energy

I woke up this morning exhausted.  After such a busy day with the Valentine's Banquet yesterday, I had a hard time "shutting down" last night-if you know me, you know this almost never happens to me.  I am normally the type that falls asleep the second my head hits the pillow-and I usually wake to the sound of my alarm, as well.  I woke up with a bit of a sore throat that hasn't gone away (I sure hope I am not getting the junk that is going around, but this is the first symptom people seem to be getting), and just wished I could stay in bed.  But wishing was all I could do.

I don't normally drink coffee or soda anymore-it hurts my stomach, but I knew I needed caffeine, or something to help me get through my day.  My hubby had mentioned Five Hour Energy to me a couple weeks ago, and I had researched it at that time-mostly the B vitamins, caffeine equivalent to one cup of coffee, taurine, ginseng.  Nothing that makes your heart race-I can't stand that jittery feeling.  And as a bonus-only 4 calories!  This morning, a co-worker suggested it to me again, and gave me one of hers.  It was orange flavored.  It wasn't nasty-but it was strong, and had a vitamin-y taste to it.  I downed it in 2 swings, and followed it with a little water because it had such a strong orange flavor.
I have to say-I am now a believer!  I was fully expecting a crash five hours later, but it never happened.  I don't ever want to get to the point where I depend on it, but for occasional days like this one, it will sure do the trick! 

Sunday, February 12, 2012

A Touch of Snow

While we were at the Valentine's Banquet, it started snowing-big, fluffy flakes.  It was so pretty!  I tried to take a picture of it falling, but my phone camera just can't capture the falling snow.  By the time the banquet was over, and it was time to go home, snow had covered our car, and the grass.  It was so pretty!  I am thankful that by the time we made it home, there was none sticking to the ground!  And, by the way, I seem to remember saying that I could not be convinced winter was over until we got through February-turns out I was right!