Wednesday, March 30, 2011

The Subaru Fix

I am blessed to have a spouse who is very proficient at mechanical work. Unfortunately this sometimes leaves me as a "garage widow." I am grateful that he saves us money by fixing everything machine-related, but often this type of work can be very time consuming!

Over the course of the last month Daniel spent many hours in the garage working on our Subaru. The main thing to fix was a blown head gasket {a common problem in Subaru's}. While he had the engine pulled he also replaced belts and various other components.

Thankfully this project is FINISHED and we have two working vehicles again! With the help of a friend, he was able to get the motorcycle working as well. I am just glad that I don't have to get up at dawn to take him into work any more :)

Pulling the engine out of the Forrester with the help of the engine hoist... Daniel did this late one night all by himself. *Not recommended.

Close up of the engine.

We photographed each stage of the process as a precaution. This way Daniel could reference photos when he was putting everything back together again. This is just a sampling from the hundreds of pictures that we took.

Sometimes I get coerced into participating. This is me helping while Daniel puts the belts on the pulleys.

Getting ready to put the engine back into the car.

No picture of this, but Daniel guided the engine into the right spot while I lowered it using the engine hoist. He was underneath the vehicle for part of the time {meaning he put a lot of trust in me}. I am pleased to say that the process went fairly smoothly and we have had no problems with the car since he fixed it {specifically no oil leaks and no new leaks}.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Burned Out on Running

It is 4 weeks and some change until the half marathon and sadly I am starting to feel burned out with the long distance training. I ran 9 miles on Saturday but I am dreading my next run {short or long}. I should have run yesterday, but I just couldn't bring myself to do it. I am so close that there is no reason to quit now, but at the same time I need to find some motivation to keep training. Any advice from you long distance runners???

On a separate note, I am really intrigued by Merrel's new Barefoot Trail Glove.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Menu Recap

Last week's meals were as follows:


Monday Dinner: Chicken and Rice with a Side Salad {Recipe from Elizabeth's Edibles}. Daniel gave it 3.4/5 stars because it was made with dark meat. He said it would have been 4.3/5 if it had been made with white meat. This was major comfort food for me, so I gave it 4.5/5.

Tuesday Dinner: Daniel was fixing our car until late, so we ordered Papa John's Pizza.

Wednesday Dinner: Daniel finally finished fixing the Subaru {another late night}. I opted for a bowl of cereal and Daniel had leftover pizza.

Thursday Dinner: We went BuenaVistas and split the Mex Tex Fajitas – our fave.


Friday Dinner: Chicken Florentine Pizza. Daniel said that I tricked him since I forgot to add the feta. Also I left it in the oven a little too long so the crust was SUPER crunchy. Daniel gave it 4.2/5 stars.


Saturday Lunch: Chipotle Bean Burritos {Recipe from Pink Parsley}
Daniel gave it 4.4/5 stars.

Saturday Dinner We tried the burger and fries at Salt International Bistro. The burgers were good, the restaurant was ok.


Sunday Dinner Turkey Taco Burger with Side of Sweet Potato Fries {Recipe adapted from Elly Says Oopa!}. Daniel gave it 4.6/5 stars.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Salt International Bistro

Last night after my 9-mile run, I had a huge calorie deficit and was craving protein. I told Daniel I wanted a burger and wished that there was a decent local eatery that served burgers {a la Big Daddy's style}. I thought we were going to have to settle on Ruby Tuesday, but our friend suggested we try a new restaurant called Salt.

I tried looking it up on the internet before we drove to town, but being that we are in rural Alabama, there was nothing online* that mentioned anything about this new little bistro. When we arrived we discovered that it was actually called "Salt International Bistro." I think "International" is a stretch, if not a misnomer.

Anyways, we arrived around 8:00 p.m. and it was pretty slow. The prices for the fare seemed high for Scottsboro and our server was completely inexperienced to the point of making us feel awkward.**

We opted to try the only burger on the menu {also the cheapest entree at $10.50}. It was a good burger and the fries were excellent, but it felt like they skimped on the amount of fries. Besides that, $10.50 for a burger... really???

Upon leaving Salt, the general consensus is that we would rather drive to Huntsville or Chattanooga for a gourmet dinner. However we would consider going back during lunch when the menu had more sandwich offerings and the prices were more reflective of a small town.

*With a bit more research today, I did discover a link to the Salt International Bistro blog... 
**To be fair, they just started their dinner service and I am sure they are still working out the kinks. 

--Update: A little over a year after writing this review, my husband and I decided to give this restaurant a second chance. The night we went, we learned that it had closed its doors the previous night. I guess I wasn't off target when I wrote my review. I hate to see local businesses close, but you have to do it right to succeed.--

Salt International Bistro on Urbanspoon

52 Books: Books 16 and 17


This week I wrapped up two books. Out of the Silent Planet by C.S. Lewis is the first in a space trilogy. It is a short book that introduces the main character of the trilogy, Ransom, and describes his unexpected trip to Malacandra {otherwise known as Mars}. It is a quick read, but I found it to be rudimentary compared to The Chronicles of Narnia. Next up is Perelandra.



Book number two for the week was The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain. I have been listening to an audio version of this book while training for my half marathon. Running with a story playing in my earphones has really helped to pass the time on my longer runs.

I don't remember reading this book when I was young, though I did recall parts of the story. It really is quite the adventure as Huck Finn finds himself in a multitude of scrapes – all of which he manages to find a way out of. I was entertained through the entire book.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

{Peanut Butter} Banana Bread


This afternoon I felt like making Banana Bread and I have been waiting for the right time to make this Banana Cake recipe that I found at I am Baker

Unfortunately as I started baking, I realized that I was almost out of butter {this seems to be a recurring theme when I make treats}.

So what's a girl to do? Give up? Go to the grocery store? Search the cupboards for a different snack? I opted to google "butter substitutions" and decided that peanut butter would be a worthy substitution {and I had just enough on hand}. 

It worked like a charm.

I now need to add butter and peanut butter to my grocery list...

Peanut Butter Banana Bread
Recipe adapted from I am Baker

Ingredients:
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup peanut butter
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
2 mashed overripe bananas
1 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. cinnamon
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
Directions:
1. Prehead oven to 350.
2. In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt.
3. In a {separate} large bowl, cream together butter, peanut butter and brown sugar. 
4. Mix in eggs, mashed bananas and vanilla until well blended. 
5. Stir flour mixture into banana mixture {I added it in four stages}.
6. Pour batter into prepared loaf pan {I sprayed my loaf pan with Pam}.
7. Bake at 350 in preheated oven for 60-65 minutes {or 35 to 40 minutes for mini loafs}
8. Bread is done when a toothpick inserted into center of the loaf comes out clean. 
9. Let bread cool in pan for 10 minutes, then place on a wire rack.

Dreaming of Summer...

We need a fire pit like this in our back yard...

Monday, March 21, 2011

Menu Recap

Last week's meals were as follows:


Monday Dinner: Fontina, Mushroom and Prosciutto Shells & Cheese with a side of Sauteed Spinach {Recipe from Pink Parsley}. I liked it, but it almost had too many flavors going on. A very grown up spin on mac-n-cheese. There were tons of leftovers so we were it eating it all week. Daniel gave this meal 3.82/5 stars.
 
Tuesday Dinner: Leftovers
 
 
Wednesday Dinner: Margherita Pizza with fresh Mozzarella {Recipe adapted from Pink Parsley}. No complaints from the peanut gallery that this pizza was meatless. The homemade sauce was just right. Daniel gave it 4.38/5 stars.
 
 
Thursday Dinner: Chicken Tortilla Casserole with a side of Corn on the Cob {Recipe adapted from Pink Parsley}. This dish was a little on the spicy side, but really delicious. Daniel gave it 4.72/5 stars.
 
Friday Dinner: We had dinner at The Terminal in Chattanooga. I had a Steak Salad while Daniel had his usual Black Bean Burger.

Saturday Dinner: More leftovers. We went to an afternoon wedding and then Daniel spent most of the evening working on putting the Subaru engine together.
 
Sunday Lunch: We had brunch at Another Broken Egg Cafe in Huntsville. I had French Toast and Daniel had a Waffle {we both had sides of eggs and bacon}. 
 
Sunday Dinner: Daniel was busy the rest of the day with the Subaru and we resorted to eating cereal for dinner. The good news it that Daniel should be ready to put the engine back into the car TONIGHT!!!

*I just discovered the Pink Parsley blog and went a little crazy making her recipes this week. I have a list of more recipes to try, but will probably spread the love around and make recipes from a variety of blogs this week.

52 Books: Book 15


I read Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee by Dee Brown on a GoodReads recommendation and I am so glad that I did. It was a difficult book to read as it was An Indian History of the American West and it is not a happy story. Unfortunately it is a true one.

If you have ever watched the movie, Dances with Wolves, you have had a little taste of what this history is like. There are soldiers and government and pioneers that are encroaching on Indian territory in the name of "civilizing" the uncivilized. Mostly it is a story about greed and the tragic loss of people and culture and animals. It is 400+ pages of horrible things that happen over and over and over to these people. At the same time that President Lincoln was making speeches about "all men being created equal," the Native Americans were not considered to be people. It is enough to make you sick and angry.

Excerpts from the book:
"The white man has taken our country, killed all of our game; was not satisfied with that but killed our wives and children. Now no peace... We loved the whites until we found out they lied to us, and robbed us of what we had..."

The only good Indian is a dead Indian. – American aphorism taken from General Sheridan's words.

The Comanches had developed an agricultural economy in Texas, but the white men had come there and seized their farmlands, forcing them to hunt buffalo in order to survive. now this kindly old man, Bald Head Tatum, was trying to tell them they should take the white man's road and go to farming, as if the Indians knew nothing of growing corn. Was it not the Indian who first taught the white man how to plant corn and make it grow?

"I have taken the white man by the hand, thinking him to be a friend, but he is not a friend; government has deceived us; Washington is rotten." – Kicking Bird

Of the 3,700,000 buffalo destroyed from 1872 through 1874, only 150,000 were killed by Indians. When a concerned group of Texans asked General Sheridan if something should be done to stop the white hunter's wholesale slaughter, he replied: "Let them kill, skin, and sell until the buffalo is exterminated, as it is the only way to bring every lasting peace and allow civilization to advance."

"I am an Indian and am looked on by the whites as a foolish man; but it must be because I follow the advice of the white man." – Shunka Witko (Fool Dog} 

"I have heard talk and talk, but nothing is done. Good words do not last long unless they amount to something. Words to not pay for my dead people. They do not pay for my country... Good words will not give my people good health and stop them from dying. Good words will not get my people to a home where they can live in peace and take care of themselves. I am tired of talk that comes to nothing." – Chief Joseph

"They made us many promises, more than I can remember, but they never kept but one: they promised to take our land and they took it."

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Another Broken Egg Cafe

Today at church we had a baby dedication with a reception to meet the families/babies afterward. Since Daniel and I are still new, we opted to skip the reception and grab brunch on the way home.

A few weeks ago, we had seen Another Broken Egg Cafe and wanted to try it out but there always seemed to be a ridiculously long wait. Hoping we had beat the rush by skipping class, we went to the restaurant.

It started out good. We were told it would be a 15 minute wait to sit outside – the weather today was amazing, so we definitely wanted to take advantage of the sunshine. Besides that, the interior of the restaurant was really crowded.

That 15 minutes quickly turned into 30 and then 45. It was one of those situations that you debate leaving, but you know that as soon as you leave your table will come up. So we waited. And got hungrier and hungrier. Daniel is not a happy camper when he is hungry, so not a good combination.

We had already decided what we were eating {during the ridiculously long wait}. So we ordered as soon as the server came by. Several other tables were seated shortly after us and the server took their drink orders before going to get our drinks/place our order. I get that, but it was frustrating that everyone else had waited only half the time we had. I also get that {to some degree} it is luck of the draw and we just happened to arrive at one of those in-between times where we ended up waiting longer.

I ordered French Toast with a side of eggs and bacon. Daniel had the Belgium Waffle with eggs and bacon. The eggs were amazing – they must have been cooked in butter. The bacon was thick cut and smoky – very yummy. The French Toast was nothing to write home about. It was good, but I have made better at home and been served better at other restaurants.

Do the eggs and bacon make up for the long wait, the so so service and ok main dish? I don't know. I would give this restaurant a 3/5 and would definitely avoid it on a Sunday morning.

I don't think that Daniel and I have discovered our new favorite breakfast joint...

Another Broken Egg Cafe on Urbanspoon

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Blogger's Day of Silence


I will not be blogging on Friday as I join other bloggers in a day of silence to pay respect to the tsunami/earthquake victims in Japan. I realize that Japan has requested limited assistance from international relief organizations at this time; however there are many organizations currently taking donations. I will be thinking about and praying for everyone affected by this terrible disaster.

This and That

I am not wearing green today. 

It is amazing what a good night's sleep will do for you. Last night my lower back was really aching and my right knee was pretty angry from yesterday's run. I was dreading being in pain today when I woke up, but amazingly I feel fine. Not even a twinge of pain anywhere. Yay for sleep!!!

Last night during a Skype conversation, my parents told me a funny story about my mom getting mad at my dad this past weekend... my dad did something and my mom was so mad that she wrote on a piece of paper in big letters I AM SO MAD and then told him that she was going to church. He asked if he could still go with her to church and she told him to get in the car. I am thankful that my parents can laugh about this experience – maybe this is why they have been married for almost 35 years?

We are on week #3 of having only one working vehicle. Week 1: I was out of town, visiting my parents. Week 2: I had to get up at the crack of dawn to drive Daniel to work. Week 3: Daniel is borrowing a friend's motorcycle to get to work. Week 4: HE FIXES the Subaru and his motorcycle!?!?! That is the plan for this weekend...

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Running Progress

So today I ran 8.5 miles and managed to maintain a 12:24 minute pace, but it was tough. It also means that I am about 3/4 of the way to running my first half marathon. I am pretty proud of myself since my longest run to date was 6.3 miles – it turns out that tacking on the extra two miles today was totally mental.

During those last two miles my lower back started aching; I ran out of water {I have been running longer distances with a Camelbak}; AND the hills were unbearable {as in I just had to keep telling myself to put one foot in front of the other at a pace that was probably slower than a walk}. But in the end none of that mattered because I did it!

From a cardio standpoint, I felt great after the run, but my quads were definitely starting to complain. I'm a sure that I will sleep great tonight.

Only 6.5 weeks until the Nashville marathon!!!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Greeting Cards: Bike Rides

Spring is trying to make an appearance and the lovely
temperatures are perfect for taking a bike ride.

*This is the third in my series of twelve "I Love You More" cards 
that I have designed and will be posting throughout the year.

© Cheree Moore

Monday, March 14, 2011

Menu Recap

Last week's meals were as follows:


Monday Dinner:
Greek Chicken Skillet – we gave it 3.5/5 stars. {Recipe from Good Life Eats}
 
Tuesday Dinner: I had a migraine, so we opted to eat at Zaxby's.

Wenesday Dinner: Rotini Lasagna and Italian Salad – I generally make my meals from scratch. This particular time, I decided to take the easy road and use a bottle of spaghetti sauce. This was a huge mistake. I found the pasta dish to be incredibly bland. The salad made up for it – the spiciness from the red onions and the saltiness from the kalamata olives redeemed the entire meal. Daniel didn't mind the bland pasta. I gave this recipe 3/5 stars. {Recipe from Sing For Your Supper}


Thursday Dinner: Mexican Pizza – Great meatless meal. Daniel hates tomatoes and he didn't pick them off AND he said that he couldn't tell that there was no meat in the dish. We gave it 4.5/5 stars. {Recipe adapted from Annie's Eats}

  

For dessert, I made Oatmeal-Peanut Butter-Nutella Cookies. These cookies were gone within 24 hours. We gave the recipe 4.5/5 stars.
 
Friday Dinner: We ate at Geno's Pizza for Date Night. We are all about the pizza this week. We shared a 12-inch Geno's Special. Yum-o.


Saturday Dinner: I was going to make Shrimp Quessadillas... unfortunately I was short on tortilla shells, so I opted to make a Chipotle, Shrimp and Mushroom Pizza instead. I just made up the recipe as I went along with ingredients I had on hand. Daniel gave it a 3.5/5 stars because he isn't a big fan of shrimp or mushrooms. I gave it 4/5 stars.
{Recipe here}

Sunday Lunch: We went to Red Robin in Huntsville and split the Chips&Quesso and a A1 Peppercorn Burger. 


Sunday Dinner: Chicken Stuffed with Sundried Tomatoes, Olives, and Cheese with a Side Salad. This was incredibly easy to make {less than 20 minutes start to finish} – Daniel and I both gave this meal 4.5/5 stars. {Recipe from Elly Says Oopa!}


Sunday, March 13, 2011

The REAL reason for the Four Wheeler...


Yesterday we tried out our mower-ATV combination. It rocked. Much better than push mowing. For reference, it used to take me 2 hours to push mow our 1/3 acre in Charlotte. With the four wheeler, I completed mowing our 3 acre property in about an hour {to be fair some of our acreage is wooded, but still}. 


We {meaning Daniel} will still need to use a weed eater up close to the house and the driveway, but I am really liking this new form of mowing.


Saturday, March 12, 2011

Chipotle, Shrimp and Mushroom Pizza

 
This was going to be Shrimp Quessadillas... unfortunately I was short on tortilla shells, so I opted to make a Chipotle, Shrimp and Mushroom Pizza instead. I just made up the recipe as I went along.
Chipotle, Shrimp and Mushroom Pizza
Ingredients:
1 Mama Mary's Thin and Crispy Crust
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 cup chipotle salsa
1 cup fiesta blend shredded cheese
1 cup mushrooms, sliced
1/4 cup red onions, chopped
1/2 lb shrimp, {I use frozen shrimp with the tails}
 
Directions:
1. Preheat the oven and a pizza stone at 500˚ F for at least 30 minutes.  
2. Lightly brush the dough with olive oil.
3. Saute mushrooms and onions in olive oil.
4. Thaw shrimp, then peel tails off of the shrimp and add to the sauteed veggies.
5. Spread the salsa on the crust in an even layer
6. Layer evenly with the fiesta blend cheese.  
7. Spread mushroom, onion and shrimp mixture on top of pizza.
8. Lower the oven temp to 425˚ F.
9. Transfer the pizza to the preheated pizza stone and bake for 10 minutes.
 
Daniel is not a huge mushroom or shrimp fan, but he still liked this pizza. It reminded me of an open-faced quessadilla.

Mama Mary's Pizza Crust: A Review {and a recipe}


I just discovered Mama Mary's Pizza Crust and I am definitely a fan. I picked up the Thin and Crispy version on a whim and tried it with this Mexican Pizza recipe adapted from the Annie's Eats blog. It was fantastic – especially for a Mexican pizza. It was actually more like a tostada than a pizza.

  
Mexican Pizza
Ingredients:
1 Mama Mary's Thin and Crispy Crust
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
½ tsp cumin
¼ tsp paprika
¼ tsp cayenne
3 tbsp chicken broth {or vegetable broth or water}
1 cup fiesta blend shredded cheese
1 jalapeño, seeded and diced
¼ cup red onion, finely chopped
1/3 cup tomato, seeded and diced
1 fresh corn {kernels removed}
 
Directions:
1. Preheat the oven and a pizza stone at 500˚ F for at least 30 minutes.  
2. Lightly brush the dough with olive oil.
3. Combine the black beans, cumin, paprika and cayenne in the bowl of a food processor. 
4. Puree until ground into a paste {you can also mash it together with a spoon if you don't have a food processor}. 
5. Add the chicken broth through the feed tube until a smooth mixture is formed.  
6. Spread the bean puree onto the crust in an even layer
7. Layer evenly with the cheddar and monterey jack cheese.  
8. Sprinkle the jalapeño, red onion, tomato, corn and cilantro over the cheese layer.  
9. Lower the oven temp to 425˚ F.
9. Transfer the pizza to the preheated pizza stone and bake for 10 minutes.

Feel free to garnish with sour cream, salsa and avocado/guacamole. We ate it plain and it was great. Daniel didn't even pick off the tomatoes and he said he couldn't tell that this was a meatless meal. 

Friday, March 11, 2011

Oatmeal-Nutella-Peanut Butter Cookies


Last night I was in the mood for cookies. Since Thursdays are our Fridays and I was making a vegetarian pizza for dinner, I figured cookies would be acceptable.

I scoured my cookie recipes and checked my cupboards for ingredients before settling on these Peanut Butter Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies from the Stephanie Cook's blog.

But then I realized that I was out of eggs and Daniel had finished the last of our chocolate chips {to be fair, he said there were only a few left in the bag}.

Not to be deterred, I decided to experiment with substituting applesauce for the egg and Nutella for the chocolate chips.

In the end, we had super flat cookies that were reminiscent of Nutter Butter cookies – which was a win as far as we were concerned.

Oatmeal-Nutella-Peanut Butter Cookies Recipe:
Ingredients:
1/2 cup butter 
1/2 cup white sugar 
1/3 cup packed brown sugar 
1 cup peanut butter (smooth or crunchy will both work) 
1/3 cup nutella
 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract 
1/2 cup applesauce (or 1 egg)
1 cup all-purpose flour 
1 teaspoon baking soda 
1/4 teaspoon salt 
1/2 cup rolled oats 

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350° F.
2. Cream together the butter, white sugar and brown sugar until smooth. 
3. Stir in the peanut butter, nutella, vanilla and egg until well blended. 
4. In a separate bowl, whisk the flour, baking soda and salt together.
5. Stir dry ingredients into the batter just until moistened. 
6. Mix in the oats until evenly distributed. 
7. Drop by tablespoonfuls on to lightly greased cookie sheets. 
8. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes in the preheated oven, until the edges start to brown.

These cookies turned out great, though they were kind of flat {maybe due to the lack of egg?}. I would try them again with an egg and I would increase the oats to 1 cup and the Nutella to at least 1/2 a cup.

52 Books: Book 14


As a teenager I went through a phase where I read everything I could about the Holocaust. I needed to know about these terrible things and each story broke my heart a little more. When I was in college, I had the opportunity to visit the Natzweiler-Struthof camp in France. It was a truly disturbing and heart-wrenching experience. 
 
After coming across several recommendations for Sarah's Key by Tatiana de Rosnay, I finally picked up a copy and read it. For me, reading this novel was a bit like seeing a movie that has been hyped up too much. It was an interesting story, but not what I expected.

The author weaves together two stories that occur in two time periods through alternating chapters. Sarah's story is about a girl who is part of the Vel’ d’Hiv’ round up in Paris. The horrific tale is based on true events in which Parisian law enforcement round up thousands of Jews and send them to camps – almost all are sent to Auschwitz and do not survive.

Julia's story is about an American journalist who has lived in France for most of her life. She has the opportunity to write about the Vel’ d’Hiv’ round up. Through her research she discovers that she has a personal connection to Sarah and that Sarah was one of the few to survive the Vel’ d’Hiv’ atrocity. 

For me, Sarah's story was compelling, sad and informative – this is the first time I had heard of Vel’ d’Hiv’. I wish the novel had been more about Sarah and less about Julia. I didn't really connect with what was going on in the modern-day parts of the book. It felt too contrived, not at all what I connected with as a teenager reading books like The Diary of Anne Frank or my experience at Natzweiler-Struthof

Thursday, March 10, 2011

This Makes Daniel Happy...


A few weeks ago, I mentioned that we purchased a mower that would require an All-Terrain Vehicle {ATV or 4-wheeler} to pull it. When deciding between a riding mower and a pull-behind, it wasn't too hard to lean towards the pull-behind. The price for a good John Deere verses a ATV/mower combination was similar and the ATV would give us more versatility {i.e. we can play with it too}. 


While deliberating, I pointed out that we would eventually have to buy a second ATV {you know, so we can both ride} and if we do that it will require buying a bigger trailer to haul two ATVs around... but for now, we are excited to have a new utilitarian vehicle.


The ATV also helps us to fit in a bit better. All of our neighbors own ATVs and during all of the snow earlier this year we felt a bit left out whenever we would see them pulling sleds and having a good ol' time. Next winter, that will be us :)


Since bringing our ATV home this past weekend, we had not had a chance to play with it at all. I know this was driving Daniel crazy, but he was sick most of the week AND it has been raining pretty heavily for the past couple of days.


Last night when Daniel got home from work, he was determined that we should take it for a spin. So we did. At first we rode together. Then Daniel took it out by himself – I think he just wanted to ride through the big puddles fast {and he knew I didn't want to get wet} and he wanted to open it up on the street.


Then I took it out by myself. It is a manual that you have to shift with your foot {just like a motorcycle} but there is no clutch to worry about. My biggest problem is forgetting to shift! You can't ride very fast in first ;)


Anyways, it is going to be fun to have around. Can't wait to go out to some wildlife management areas and play on the trails. Oh yeah – there is that part about mowing the yard too...


Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Confessions of a non-parent...


I am thirty years old and I could probably count the number of times that I have babysat {in my lifetime} on both hands {maybe one hand}... Now that I have a precious little niece, most of those times have been in the last 20 months.


That said, I am a smart and competent adult and I believe that little Izzy has a fun time with me and that she is safe in my care.


However, there are times when my lack of knowledge/experience shines through.


There was the time at Christmas when I put her down for a nap without removing her shoes first. She didn't seem bothered by sleeping in her sneakers, though she also didn't nap as long as usual.


Then there was the time I was making cookies and my sister told me to let Izzy lick the beater. I handed Izzy a beater that was covered in lots of gooey chocolate goodness. My sister looked at me and laughed. She said that she would have cleaned most of the batter off first. Again, Izzy didn't seemed bothered. In fact she looked like she pretty much enjoyed it.


Most recently, I was on babysitting duty and I decided to take Izzy to Chik-fil-a for lunch. I thought it would be prudent to take a diaper and wipes with me {just in case}. I opened up the travel wipes container and it was empty. I glanced around and saw "wipes" on the counter in a larger container. I pulled out a couple of said "wipes" and put them in the travel container and we hit the road. Thankfully I didn't have to change Izzy at CFA. Later that day, my sister opened the wipes container and asked if I had used the "wipes" that were in it. She sounded a bit distressed. I told how I had taken the wipes with me but did not have to use them. It turns out that the wipes I had taken where Lysol Wipes for cleaning NOT Huggies Wipes for babies. My bad.


It was not that I didn't recognize that using a cleaning supply on a baby wasn't the best option, it was more that I was in a hurry and at the time, wipes looked like wipes. Both brands happened to be green. I should have taken a closer look.


Thankfully Izzy is no worse for wear.

*Pictures courtesy of my sister.

Recipe for a Happy Birthday │Jack's 6th Birthday Party

Over the course of the last six years, my idea for what is a good kid's party has evolved. And by evolved, I mean relaxed. ...