A good film is when the price of the dinner, the theatre admission and the babysitter were worth it. ~ Alfred Hitchcock

Somewhere in between having one set of in-laws visiting for the weekend and sewing three tote bags for my Craft Hope project the hubs and I managed to squeeze in THREE movies.  Crazy stuff.  We went to the theatre and saw This Means War with my hunny’s mom and step-dad.  It was cute.  I’d watch it again.  I’ve decided I’m not really a fan of Chelsea Handler but that’s just because her style of comedy is a little raunchy for me.  I wasn’t just ecstatic with the end of the movie but I can’t tell you why or else you’d know the end.  I really like the review that Jay Forry gave it on his website www.blindsidereviews.com.  If you’ve never heard of Jay, he’s a blind movie critic and a super nifty guy.  I have heard him several times doing interviews with the local radio station I listen to every day and I have to say I’m a fan.  You should totally check him out. 

We also watched our two Netflix for the week which were Super 8 and The American.  Super 8 was pretty good but I’m not sure I’d watch it again.  I definitely wouldn’t buy it.  I kept getting frustrated that we didn’t get a good shot of the alien until the very end.  The moral of the story is sound but still… I’m not sure I’d watch it again.  It’s a good movie for kids though… I’d say age 10 and up because of some of the language.  The S-word makes a debut about 50 times throughout the movie.  Our second Netflix movie was The American.  It was definitely not what I expected.  I was expecting a shoot-em-up-James-Bond-ish movie starring George Clooney and it’s definitely not that.  Clooney does some pretty good acting in it but I thought the movie was entirely predictable.  I totally knew who the villain was.  With its lack of action this is also definitely not the movie to start to watch at 9:30 at night because it’s soooo slow you’re nearly asleep by the end.  Trust me, I was fighting my very heavy eyelids. 

The next two movies up in our Netflix queue are Friends with Benefits and American Gangster.  I have high hopes for Friends with Benefits and I’m not sure what to think of American Gangster.  The hubs has a severe hatred for drug movies because he thinks any movie about them (drugs) entices people to try them (drugs).  So, even if I like the movie I’m sure I’ll be listening to the hubs huff and puff throughout the movie.  We’ll see. 

Anyone see any good movies lately?  I’m always on the search for a good movie, even though our Netflix queue has 456 movies in it currently (which’ll take us about 4 years to get through). 

There is no psychiatrist in the world like a puppy licking your face. ~ Ben Williams

I got to do something FANTASTIC Thursday night.  I went and spent some time volunteering at the City of Sugar Land Animal Services Department.  For anyone who doesn’t know, I used to work at the Houston Humane Society.  I worked there as an Adoption Coordinator and helped out with some dog training.  Mostly the dog training takes place every day, all day, while you’re handling the animals.  If you (and, hopefully, everyone else working/volunteering there) handle all the dogs in the same way all the time (which, unfortunately never happens) then the dog learns what is acceptable behavior and what isn’t. 

Have any of you seen those pictures on Pinterest recently for various jobs that say ‘this is what my friends think I do’, ‘this is what society thinks I do’, ‘this is what my parents think I do’, ‘this is what I actually do’ and all of these have pictures of various ‘versions’ of the same job?  I saw one the other day that had to do with a vet tech or animal control or some sort of animal-related field and I wish I had saved it because it was totally accurate.  I’m sure people think that Adoption Coordinators spend their time playing with puppies and kitties all day and let me tell you that is 100% NOT TRUE.  I spent the 45% of my time dealing with paperwork, another 45% dealing with people (85% of which were complete morons) and the remaining 10% wrangling feral cats/dogs, attempting to feed terrified and super-quick exotics (such as sugar gliders, guinea pigs, ferrets, etc), introducing dog 1 to dog 2 and breaking up the ensuing dog fights, cleaning up poop, pee, or various other bodily fluids expelled from a variety of animals, yelling at idiot people or volunteers to NOT open the cages and let the animals run free, and continually wiping the sweat from my face (and various other body parts) while I worked outside in 100+ degree temperatures.  It’s no picnic.  That being said, if you can stand the hours (which suck) and the pay (which sucks more) and have a LOVE for animals then it’s a great job.  Unfortunately, I only have one of those three requirements… and it’s the love for animals.  After a while I just couldn’t take the hours or the crappy pay anymore and I went looking for another corporate job.  I found the corporate job and now have better pay and better hours. 

But… (there’s always a but isn’t there??) … I miss it.  I miss the animals.  I miss the few parts of those crazy, insane, exhausting days that were totally amazing.  I miss teaching a family how to walk a dog correctly on a leash so that the dog knows who’s boss.  I miss dealing with the dog who hates EVERYONE and getting him/her to 1, trust me and 2, have a roommate without trying to kill said roommate.  I miss the actual animal-human interaction.  So, I signed up to volunteer at the local animal shelter right next to my house.  Thursday was my first day to volunteer and man, it felt SO GOOD.  I actually got to do the things that I love without having to deal with the paperwork or the idiot people.  It was FANTASTIC.  I can’t wait to go back.  Here are the cuties I spent my time with…

Wyatt – I’m a sweet little guy who is a bit nervous at first but once you give me time to come around I’m quite playful and my tail just wags and wags.  I am going through a bit of a puppy phase where I test everything with my mouth so I definitely need lots of chew toys and ways to keep myself entertained.  Not to worry though, this phase doesn’t last forever!  I’ll make a great companion for someone who wants to play and go for walks.  I would do best with gentle, older children as quick, grabby hands make me nervous.  I love toys and treats and to give kisses.  Come see me today!

Sonic – I should be called Super Sonic because I’m just about the cutest thing ever.  I’m very gentle and timid but I’m a love bug.  I’m not so sure about this whole ‘leash thing’ but I’m getting used to it little by little.  Really I just want to be curled up in your lap where I’m warm and safe.  I’m a sweetie pie and I have the cutest little markings.  Please come see me today!

Pixie – I am quite a dainty little lady.  I’m pretty nervous and prefer to be in a very quiet environment with another dog.  I would love to go home with my brother Wyatt or my mom Bella.  I feel much more secure with them around.  Once you have me in your arms I like to be held and I give kisses.  I will come around in time but I need someone with a quiet home and patience.  If you want a calmer dog, I’m your girl!

Laurel – HI!  I’m Laurel!  And I’m very excited to meet you! If you’re looking for an energetic, playful, and friendly young dog to add to your family, you’re in the right place.  I love to play fetch and my favorite toy is a slightly un-inflated soccer ball.  When my human friends kick the ball I’ll chase it and give it a good shake.  I even know to bring it back to you and the command ‘drop it’ so that the ball can be kicked again and we can play over and over.  It’s such a fun game!  I walk well on a leash and am a super-fast learner.  I am very receptive to the concept of ‘heel’ and with consistent direction from my human I’ll have this down in no time.  I definitely need someone with time to play with me and take me on walks.  Come down and take me home on a sleepover to see if we’re a good match!

Bella – I’m such a sweet love bug that you’ll just want to snuggle with me all day.  My favorite place to be is in your lap.  I’d be great for an older individual with a quiet lifestyle who wants someone to spend the day with.  I’m very gentle, even when I take treats!  Please come see me today!

Mandy – I may look intimidating but I’m a really wonderful dog.  I love to be petted and I’m learning how to sit on command.  I don’t jump on people because I know that I’m big and might knock them down.  I walk well on a leash but I am a powerful girl and I need someone strong who can continue to teach me how to heel.  I am looking for my forever home and I hope that it’s you!

More marriages might survive if the partners realized that sometimes the better comes after the worse. ~ Doug Larson

If you’d been inside my head recently you’d know that I’ve been freaking out about this whole ‘house thing.’  A few weeks ago I posted about the stress that we’re currently experiencing regarding our living situation.  We need to move out of our current space and would love to buy a house.  Like masochists, we went looking at houses without really thinking it through and naturally, we fell in love.  We qualify for the mortgage that we’d need but we want to put down a sizeable down payment and pay off both cars before we make a move.  So, the hubs and I decided to put our noses to the grindstone and start bringing in some extra cash.  He’s been working a lot of side jobs and taking on-call weekends at work and I have taken on a second job as a nanny in the afternoons for a 6-year old girl.   We’re exhausted and we’re not getting to spend much time together (and when we do we’re too tired to do anything more than just sit side-by-side and breathe) but I have to admit, it’s making a difference.  We’ve already nearly got one car totally paid off.  Once that happens, we’ll take what we were paying on car 1 and roll it into the payments on car 2 plus add additional monies from our second job.  Good times.

That being said, I’m still totally freaking out internally.  Is this the right decision for us?  (I truly believe that it is)  At the rate we’re going will we even like each other by the time we get there?  (We’re still doing our monthly date night to ensure that we get some quality time together each month)  Will our friends and family still love us after we basically ignore them for a few months?  (Only time will tell with this one but we’re hoping the answer is YES!)  Once we have the house how are we going to be able to afford to decorate it/maintain it?  (Hopefully with no more debt to worry about besides the mortgage payment we can take care of this slowly and DIY a lot of it)  Etc… etc… etc…

These are the things that are plaguing my mind.  In a weird way I’m soooo thankful for the second job because I’m too tired at night to lose sleep over these questions.  However, it doesn’t stop me from continually rolling these questions around in my head during the day.  Wednesday I had sort of minor meltdown and called the hubs to vent.  Mostly, I’m just stressed.  Thank goodness he knows me well enough to know what all is really going on.  Thursday morning I woke up to this text from the hubs.  I swear I fell in love with him all over again.

Good morning Babie Girl.  I know you’re worrying about a lot of things.  I don’t want you to worry about whether I love you, like you, want to be married to you, or anything like that. I am in love with you and I believe you and I are a perfect fit.  I know we have a shared dream and I can count on you to fight the good fight.  I am so proud of you for being willing to take on a second job to help US have a better future.  I don’t want you to think I’m not doing my share.  I believe in US and OUR dream and I want to work hard towards that dream.  Please don’t think because I’m working hard and tired and sometimes stressed that that in any way means that I don’t love you.  It’s the exact opposite.  I love you so much and I’m so proud that you’re willing to fight and I want you to know that I’m in the fight with you.

I feel so blessed to have married this wonderful man.  He’s willing to fight with me to make our dreams a reality and that’s such an amazing thing.  I know a lot of people who have dreams but aren’t willing to sacrifice to make those dreams a reality or live a ‘silver spoon’ lifestyle and don’t have to sacrifice to make those dreams become real.  Personally, I think when you have to fight and claw for it you appreciate it so much more.  How lucky am I to have married a man who is willing to take on the world with me?

“Being a woman does not automatically make one a lady.” ~ Author Unknown

We’ve all heard the saying ‘chivalry is dead.’  I suppose I’m fortunate to work in a company and in a building that seems to negate this saying.  Most of the men I work with are polite and well-mannered.  They open doors, allow ladies on/off the elevator first, etc etc.  I don’t really know these people.  I mean, I don’t know their names or anything.  Some of them I pass on a semi-frequent basis and some of them I’ve never seen before.  It doesn’t matter.  That’s not what being chivalrous (or just plain ol’ polite) is about.  You don’t have to know the person to treat them with common courtesy. 

Anyways, today I saw something on my way to work that made me think that femininity is dead.  I was driving down the row of office buildings/retail spaces/restaurants that line the area I work in when I passed a well-dressed 40-ish woman.  I was admiring her dress when suddenly she spat into the bushes.  I’m not talking a tiny little spit either, I’m talking a whole mouthful of lord-knows-what spewing from her mouth.  I checked in my rearview mirror to see if perhaps she was sick and I just misinterpreted… nope.  I was disgusted.  How GROSS is that!?!?!?  I hate it when guys spit but I mean, come on, they’re guys.  If they spit while they’re playing baseball or mowing the lawn I don’t like it but I’m prepared to look the other way.  If they spit on the sidewalk when they’re walking to their office building dressed in a suit and tie I just want to smack ‘em on the back of their heads.  First off, it’s disgusting.  No one wants to step in your mouth juices.  BLECH!  Secondly, there’s nothing, and I mean NOTHING attractive about that.  You look like a Neanderthal AND you just made me gag.  Today was the first time I’ve ever seen a woman spit though and I’ve got to tell you, it’s worse.  Don’t get me wrong, I don’t do everything a lady should always do, but I sure as hell don’t spit. 

It got me to thinking about a book my husband purchased a few years back called “How to Be a Gentleman: A Contemporary Guide to Common Courtesy.”  I don’t know if he finished reading the entire thing but I know for sure he read part of it because we had a discussion about a certain item.  Did you know that when you walk through an isle of seats (think a movie theatre, the opera, etc) you should walk so that you’re facing the person you’re passing in front of?  Until I read this I had never realized that 1, apparently I do it wrong and 2, so do the majority of other people.  The theory is this… if you walk with your back facing the person, the only place they have to look is at your butt whereas if you walk so that you’re facing them, they can look at your face (which hopefully they’ll do instead of looking at your crotch).  So, the hubs and I have started walking down isles of seats with our front sides facing the row of seats.  Does anyone notice this?  Probably not.  It makes me feel good in a weird way though… like I’m following some secret social grace.  Anywho, after seeing this debacle today I wondered if they made a female version of this book and of course they do.  It’s called “How to Be a Lady: A Contemporary Guide to Common Courtesy (Gentlemanners).”  I’m totally going to buy it too.  I’ve also heard of a book called “How to Be a Hepburn in a Hilton World: The Art of Living with Style, Class, and Grace” and I plan on buying that one as well. 

I’m not a morning person, we’ve established that in previous posts.  It will never be important enough to me to waste 15 minutes of sleep so that I can primp.  It takes me approximately 30 minutes to get up, shower, throw my wet curly hair in a bun, put on the minimal amount of makeup (mascara, eyeliner & chap stick) and get dressed.  That’s about the maximum amount of time I’m willing to waste spend on that on any given day.  Would I love to look like those amazingly put together swanky women in my office?  You betcha.  I’d have to wake up naturally that way though for it to ever happen.  Would you believe my mom spends a minimum of 45 minutes just curling her hair every day?  I think she’s insane.  It doesn’t take me that long to do EVERYTHING!  There’s just no way that I’d ever do that.  I’d shave my head first (ok, so not really, but I’d wear it super short and spiky or something).  I get my hair permed for JUST THAT REASON.  When it’s permed, I can shower, comb through it, slather it with some curl gel, and let it dry naturally and VOILA, I’m done.  No fuss no muss.  I love it.  When I leave it alone (i.e. natural and un-permed) it’s this wonky half curly/half straight mess that I have to spend time to straighten or curl.  No way Jose, I’m just not having it.  I love my sleep and that extra 15 minutes of zzzz’s is totally worth it to me.  Now, I have no doubt that somewhere in one of those two books it’s going to mention that a girl should look like a million bucks before she steps out of the house.  Reality check: it’s not gonna happen, at least not for this chick.  Want to know what is going to happen though?  I’m not going to dress like a stripper.  Even if I was skinny (which I’m not) I wouldn’t dress like a stripper.  The only person who needs a good, sexy view of my wobblybits is my husband and we’ll do that behind closed doors thankyouverymuch.  It’s funny, I find that I’m even uncomfortable wearing dresses that are cut above the knee now.  I’m sure some of this has to do with being overweight but some of it is also because I don’t want to be adjusting my skirt all freaking night long and/or having to worry how much of my undies are showing every time I sit down.  It’s just not worth it to me.  I can look just as cute in a longer skirt or in pants.  Fortunately, none of my friends dress like strippers either which is fantastic because I totally wouldn’t be able to not tell them that they look like one. 

I’m sure that there are a zillion other things that I probably should do that I don’t (I can’t honestly say which things they are though until I read the book) but I know I don’t spit (ugh ugh ugh) and I don’t dress like a hooker.  So, apparently, I’m ahead of the curve. 

I love this article on How to Be a Lady that I found online.  You can read it here: http://www.elegantwoman.org/how-to-be-a-lady.html

 
 
How to Be a Lady: A Contemporary Guide to Common Courtesy (Gentlemanners)

How to Be a Lady: A Contemporary Guide to Common Courtesy (Gentlemanners).

“The best laid plans of mice and men often go astray.”

I.Am.Exhausted. 

You know how sometimes when you go on vacation you come back and think ‘I need a vacation from my vacation?’  Yeah, I feel like that.  Except I didn’t go on vacation.  But I feel like I need a weekend to recuperate from my weekend. 

This weekend was a complete and utter disaster.  You see, I had this great plan for this weekend… the hubs and I were supposed to celebrate Valentine’s Day since our lives are crazy during the week and we wouldn’t have time to celebrate on the actual ‘day of.’  So, with my good ol’ buddy Groupon and a few other sites like it (Living Social, Eversave, etc) I set off in NOVEMBER with a plan…  Itinerary: Friday night – get massages, go to hibachi Chinese place & finish with dessert at Swirl (my favorite frozen yogurt bar); Saturday – get chocolate & champagne facials and go to lunch at a restaurant of his choosing. 

Well, Friday night my massage was supposed to be at 5pm and his at 6pm.  I figured we’d be able to make it there in time without much problem.  Well, either 1, I’m no longer familiar with the nightmare that is Houston traffic or 2, Houstonians have COMPLETELY forgotten how to drive in the rain.  Needless to say, we didn’t make it to our massages.  It took me 3 hours just to get partially there, realize I was lost and already 30 minutes late, and turn around and head home.  So, since these are through Groupon, we can’t cancel and redeem them later… it just doesn’t work that way for same-day cancellations.  So, that means money wasted and a sore butt (from sitting in my car in the rain in Houston traffic for 3 hours).  I had no energy (or patience, or want-to) to go to dinner so we ordered in Chinese from our favorite place down the street and just stayed home. 

Saturday, I awoke at 5:30am to a very loud storm going on right outside our house.  The thunder was shaking the window.  Want to know what else was shaking?  Our 60-lb sissy dog.  I spent the next three hours snuggled in bed with a vibrating, panting, panic-attack-having fur ball.  Finally I gave up on the concept of trying to calm her down (and on trying to fall back asleep) and just got up.  I got dressed and the hubs and I headed to the other side of town for our Chocolate and Champagne facials.  The ‘spa’ we went to is owned and operated by one person so she could only see one of us at a time.  I let the hubs go first and while he was being pampered I sat on their super-comfy extra-wide chair, curled up in a tiny ball, read a little, and then zonked out.  I awoke to a freshly scrubbed shiny-faced husband who looked as sleepy as I felt.  He said he loved the facial and was super-relaxed.  He said he even fell asleep during part of it.  So, that part, at least, was a success.  Next up it was my turn.  Ok, first off, I want to put a disclaimer here that I don’t really enjoy facials in the first place.  Second, I don’t really think that anything that happened was the fault of the person performing the facial.  I just have wacko-crazy-sensitive skin.  Long and short of it?  The facial burned.  As in literally.  I have a raw, red, burned patch of skin on my cheek.  She put the goop on, I asked what was in it, she told me, I said ‘it sure is zippy’ and she asked if it was burning, I said yep, and she immediately and with a flourish started taking it off.  No bueno.  So, yesterday I was super red.  And itchy.  And nothing I did to soothe it helped so I just suffered.  Today, I’m less red, but super bumpy (think rash-ish) and really itchy.  And cranky.  But I digress… after our facials we went to lunch at Rudy’s.  It’s a BBQ place that we love but there isn’t one anywhere near us (come on Rudy’s, build one in Sugar Land already).  They have the BEST smoked turkey sandwich I’ve ever eaten.  So I got two.  And one to go for mom.  (In my defense the hubs got two pulled pork sandwiches AND potato salad).  Afterwards we went to Joann’s fabrics to pick out fabrics for the Craft Hope project (there’s still time to get me your fabric by the way!!!!).  We picked out 4 different fabrics, 2 for girls and 2 for boys.  I’ll definitely take pictures as I get the tote bags made.  Then I went off to a babysitting job (yes, I’m 28 and I work part time as a nanny/babysitter).  It was a pretty easy gig – 8pm to 2am.  The kiddo slept for most of it and I watched parts of Scarface and all of The Prince of Persia on a tv that’s bigger than my refrigerator/freezer.  Good times.  However, being woken up at 5:30am and going to sleep at 3:30am is not fun.  I don’t miss my college days thank you very much.  I like sleeping 9 hours a night. 

So, I slept in until 11:30am Sunday morning and spent the next 2 hours on the couch watching The Count of Monte Cristo (I love Jim Caviezel).  Afterwards I started on one of my tote bags for Craft Hope.  What I thought would be a relatively simple project turned out to be, well… not so simple.  I had problems with my zigzag stitch so I had to improvise and use another one.  Oh, and in my first attempt to apply an iron-on applique I set the fabric on fire.  Go me.  Can you tell I don’t iron?  As in ever?  So yeah, I finally reached a point when I just couldn’t take it anymore (too many disasters in one weekend) and quit.  I’ll go to Joann’s tonight and get another iron-on and try again this evening. 

I’m just tired though.  And disappointed.  Essentially nothing this weekend went as planned.  And I got NOTHING accomplished.  My office is a disaster.  My half of the master bedroom is a disaster.  I didn’t get my grocery shopping done.  I didn’t even cook dinner last night.  I didn’t pack my lunch for today, or pick out my clothes for the week which I usually do every Sunday.  I got nothing done, and I’m totally wiped out.  So tonight I have to make up for it all… after work I’m going to Joann’s to get the iron on, going to the grocery store, going home to cook dinner and finish sewing the 1 tote bag that I started last night, packing my lunch for tomorrow and getting the master bedroom cleaned up and my clothes set out for the rest of the week.  I see very little rest in my future.  Oh, and my face still itches.  Is it Friday yet?

I don’t understand why Cupid was chosen to represent Valentine’s Day. When I think about romance, the last thing on my mind is a short, chubby toddler coming at me with a weapon. ~ Author Unknown

I was just browsing through some of my past blog entries when I realized I never posted about this.  Shame on me.  …  A few weeks back I had some of my girlfriends over for a Valentine’s Craft Night.  It was fun, or, at least it was for me.  I can’t honestly say I’m 100% convinced my friends had a good time (even though they told me repeatedly that they did).  Unfortunately, not all of the crafts went as planned, but, for the most part, I think that they all turned out pretty cute (even if we did have to improvise). 

We did two crafts, one was a craft using Rolos (you could use any other rolled candy such as Sweetarts, Lifesavers, etc) and the other was something to put in a picture frame.  They ended up looking like this…

 

Crafts we made

Crafts we made

 

Here’s how you make them, if you’re interested…

You’re The Bomb! / You’re Dynamite!
Supplies:

  1. 3 tube candies (Rolo’s, Sweethearts, Lifesavers, etc)
  2. 2 sheets of red cardstock
  3. 1 black pipe cleaner
  4. Tape
  5. Scissors
  6. computer, black pen & good handwriting, or stamps & black ink pad
  7. pencil
  8. large circle punch or a cup (to trace around)
  9. single hole bunch

Instructions:

  1. Carefully remove the labels from your candy making sure that the foil wrapped around them stays in place.  Save at least one label.
  2. Using the label as your template, trace onto red cardstock and cut out.  Repeat 3 times.
  3. Take one piece of cardstock (label-sized) and wrap around your candy (it should look like the red ‘label’ just took the place of the actual label.
  4. Cut approximately 4” off of your pipe cleaner and tape it to the top of one of your candies so that 3” is sticking out the top and 1” is adhered to the candy (this will be your ‘fuse).
  5. Take the remaining piece of pipe cleaner and wrap it around all 3 of your candies so that you have a bundle (this should look like sticks of dynamite).  Your fuse should be sticking out of the top.  Twist the pipe cleaner together so that the candies stay bundled.  You should have approximately two, 1” ends sticking out.
  6. Making the “you’re dynamite!” or “you’re the bomb” label
    1. If you’re doing this on a computer like we did, you’ll want to take a piece of red cardstock and put it in your printer.   Open up Word and, using your choice of fonts, type out your label (you’re the bomb/you’re dynamite).  You’ll need to play with the font sizes to decide which you like best.  Once you’re ready, print onto red cardstock.  Then, using a large circular punch, punch out label.  Or, use a cup (or other circular object) to trace around and then cut out label.
    2. If you’re going to hand-write or use stamps to make the label, I suggest cutting/punching the label out first and then writing/stamping onto it.
    3. Punch a hole near the top-center of the label
    4. Take your two 1” ends from step 5 and thread them both through the hole you just punched.  Spread them, one right and one left.  This will keep the label attached. 
    5. Share with friends!

      Original picture of this idea that I stole from Pinterest

      Original picture of this idea that I stole from Pinterest

 

‘I love you’ or ‘Special Dates’ plaques

Supplies:

  1. 5 x 7 or 3.5 x 5 frame (in black, white, silver, gold, red, or pink)
  2. 1 piece of white cardstock
  3. Computer, or black & red pens with really good handwriting, or black & red stickers (letters & small hearts).

Instructions:

  1. The “I love you” plaque
    1. If using your computer, open Word and adjust your page size to that of your picture size (i.e. 5 x 7 or 3.5 x 5).  Adjust your margins to 0 on all sides.  Center your text both vertically and horizontally.  You will type the alphabet, 5 letters per row except the last row which will have 6.  Change the font color on the letters “I” and “U” to red.  Delete the letter “O” and replace with a heart (you can draw this in after printing, add a sticker after printing, or use clip art).  Once you have it the way you like it, print it out. 
    2. If you’re doing this by hand either writing it or stamping it, the process is basically the same.  It should look like this:

 

I heart you

I heart you

  1. The “Special Dates” plaque
    1. If using your computer, open Word and adjust your page size to that of your picture size (i.e. 5 x 7 or 3.5 x 5).  Adjust your margins to 0 on all sides.  Center your text both vertically and horizontally.  Type a list of dates that are special to you and your sweetie such as:
      i.      Your birthdays
      ii.      The date of the day you met/first date
      iii.      The date you got engaged
      iv.      The date you were married
      v.      Your children’s birthdays
  2. Make sure that you use a dot (.) instead of a dash in between your dates.  You’ll also want to add an extra space on either side of the dot so instead of 22.22 you get 22 . 22.
  3. Then, on the date that has the most romantic significance (i.e. your wedding date), change the dots to hearts (again, this can be done via clip art or, once printed it can be freehanded or you can use stickers).
  4. Once you have it the way you like it, print it out. 
  5. If you’re doing this by hand either writing it or stamping it, the process is basically the same.  It should look like this:

    Special Dates

    Special Dates

 

“They always say time changes things, but you actually have to change them yourself.” ~ Andy Warhol

I’ve mentioned before on here that I read lots of other people’s blogs.  Today, one of the blogs I subscribe to sent out information on something called Craft Hope.  I’ve never heard of this organization and decided I wanted to check it out.  Right now, they’re working on a project for children’s cancer patients.  Talk about tugging at your heart strings. 

Craft Hope: http://www.crafthope.com/2012/01/project-16-the-littlest-warriors/

So basically, the gist is they need people to make beenies (hats) or bags for children’s cancer patients.  Having just learned to sew, I’m totally jumping on this bandwagon.  1, it’s children’s cancer patients… how could I really say no?  2, I’m not a super-fantastic sewer yet and kids totally don’t care if your seams are straight. 

So, here’s the deal… I’m offering up my sewing skills (such that they are) to anyone else who wants to jump on the bandwagon but doesn’t know how to sew.  I’m going to be making Simplicity Pattern 2164 (pieces A or B).  If you’d like to take part in this totally worthwhile cause, please feel free to donate the materials needed to make one tote bag or the cash (approx. $10-$20) for me to purchase material to make one tote bag.  Feel free to also donate things to fill the tote bags with.  Any and all materials/monies donated will go directly to this cause.  I need your materials/monies absolutely no later than March 1st.  I’d love to fill up a large flat rate box to send them but I can only do that with your help.  All the information you need is below but PLEASE don’t hesitate to contact me if you have any questions!

Simplicity Pattern:  http://www.simplicity.com/p-6176-learn-to-sew-bags.aspx#t-0

List of materials needed:  2164_envelope

Stuffed Tomatoes with Couscous Tabbouleh

Sing it with me now…

Voulez-vous (ah-ha)
Take it now or leave it (ah-ha)
Now is all we get (ah-ha)
Nothing promised, no regrets
Voulez-vous (ah-ha)
Ain’t no big decision (ah-ha)
You know what to do (ah-ha)
La question c’est voulez-vous
Voulez-vous………….

Ok so this recipe has nothing to do with Mamma Mia! or Abba but I can’t hear the word ‘tabbouleh’ and not start singing this song.  Don’t ask me why.  Maybe it’s because tabbouleh is Greek and Mamma Mia is filmed in Greece?  Who knows.

Anywho… I have to be honest up front and say that this recipe was not made per the directions.  First, when I went to get my three tomatoes, two were molded beyond repair.  Second, it calls for 1-1/3 cups of water but I’ve had this leftover carton of vegetable stock hanging out and taking space in my refrigerator since our New Year’s soup making day and I wanted to get rid of it.  Still, we thought this recipe was quite tasty and in case you’re wondering, we liked it with the vegetable stock (you could probably use chicken stock too).  Oh, and we didn’t have tomato couscous, and I didn’t want to buy it just for this recipe when I had plain ‘ol normal couscous in the pantry… so we used plain.  Yeah, like I said, we didn’t follow the directions.  It was more like a guide (insert movie reference here). 

Frances:  Do traffic lights mean anything around here?
Marcello:  Sure. Green light – avanti, avanti. Yellow light – decoration.
Frances:  What about red light? 
Marcello:  Just a suggestion.

Name that movie!  If you don’t know, we can’t be friends anymore.  Just kidding (well… maybe). 

I served this with baked chicken but it would probably be good with a nice steak too.  I liked it because it was quick and easy.  It took the hubs and I less than 10 minutes to prepare.  Oh, and remember how I said 2 of our tomatoes were trashed?  We ended up just taking the one, seeding it, chopping it, and making a ‘casserole’ instead of actually stuffing the tomato (oh, we only had 3 tomatoes instead of 4 because there are only 3 people in our house and I didn’t want to waste one).

Ok so onto the recipe…

Stuffed Tomatoes with Couscous Tabbouleh

Ingredients:

  • ¾ tomato couscous (we used plain)
  • 1 Tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons coarse salt
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 4 ripe beefsteak tomatoes
  • 1 bunch fresh mint, coarsely chopped
  • 4 ounces feta cheese, crumbled
  • 2 green onions, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

Directions:

  1. Bring 1-1/3 cups water to a boil in a small saucepan.  Stir in couscous, oil, salt and pepper.  Remove from heat and over.  Let stand until couscous is tender, 5 minutes.  Fluff couscous with a fork, and let cool.
  2. Meanwhile, cut top quarter from each tomato.  With a small knife, remove tomato pulp and seeds, leaving tomato shells intact.  Discard seeds.  Dice enough pulp to equal 1 cup.
  3. To make tabbouleh, combine couscous, tomato pulp, and remaining ingredients in a large bowl.  Spoon about 1 cup tabbouleh into each tomato shell.
Stuffed Tomatoes with Couscous Tabbouleh

Stuffed Tomatoes with Couscous Tabbouleh

The trouble with eating Italian food is that five or six days later you’re hungry again. ~ George Miller

The hubs and I had dinner the other night with a friend of mine from middle school and her husband.  Said friend (we’ll call her ‘L’) and I have remained friends since 7th grade all through college and into adult-hood.  Praise Jesus we’re both very different people from who we were in high school. 

I had invited L & her husband to go to dinner with us because we had (yet another) Restaurant.com gift card and I thought it would be nice to use it to go out to dinner with a couple that we don’t get to see very often.  So, that’s exactly what we did.  We went to this restaurant in Katy called 3 Olives.  The ambiance was nice and the food was good.  We shared their Spinach & Artichoke dip which was good but not outstanding.  I tried their knock-off Hasta La Pasta dish (can’t remember the exact name but it’s a spicy alfredo sauce w/ bell peppers & grilled chicken).  It was good but didn’t hold a candle to Hasta La Pasta.  My hubs seemed to thoroughly enjoy his dish though and so did L & her husband.  So, I think I probably would have liked anything else had I not been comparing it to my favorite dish of all time.  Would I go back?  Yep.  So, if you live in the Katy area, or are passing through, it’s worth trying out. 

All in all, it was nice to get some time with a friend who I rarely ever get one-on-one time with and it was super nice to see my husband interact!  He’s such a loner.  Anyway, we’re hopefully going to repeat the process again sometime soon with another couple.  I’m encouraging you to call a friend who you haven’t seen in a while and get some one-on-one or some one-on-one couple time.

Beauty is not in the face; beauty is a light in the heart. ~Kahlil Gibran

I love sharing the elevator with people who are attempting to silently check each other out.  It just cracks me up.  As I mentioned in a previous post I work in an office with a bunch of good looking people.  Most of those really good looking people are women but we do have a few handsome men wandering around.  Today, I shared an elevator with a cute leggy blond girl and this very attractive blond-haired, blue-eyed guy who works on my floor.  I’ve been here 8 months but I’ve never seen her before.  They must have had a run in before because they were chatting each other up and batting eyelashes at each other.  It was kind of funny.  I got off the elevator giggling at the two of them but then was overcome with a feeling of sadness.  That cute guy?  We work on the same floor, in the same DEPARTMENT, and he’s never said boo to me.  There’s another guy on my floor who I pass on a daily basis who won’t even make eye contact with me, but when the new cute-as-a-button girl was hired and sits caddie corner to me you bet your sweet bippie he was over there chatting her up within no time.  Don’t get me wrong, I married and happily so.  I think my husband is sexy.  I’m not looking for someone to hit on me.  I am, however, looking to be treated as a person.  It’s not just me either.  Another friend of mine who works here is a plus-size girl too and the guys treat her the same way.  It’s like, because we’re not skinny, we’re not even worth acknowledging.  It’s strange that it should hurt my feelings so much, but it does.  Fat people need love too you know.  I guess I should learn from this.  I should remember to do my best to acknowledge that what’s on the outside is not necessarily what’s on the inside.  And vice versa.