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Showing posts from March, 2012

2012 Book 11: The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks

Last year I saw The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot while I was at the airport. It looked interesting and I added it to my TBR list.
This was a fascinating, though occasionally boring, look into how one woman's cells reached immortality. It raises many questions regarding the ethics of scientific research and whether or not our cells are our own. It gives a look into how laws have changed since the 1950s and how difficult it would be to know you were being treated unfairly or unethically if you were poor and uneducated – even today.
It was truly fascinating how Rebecca Skloot was able to befriend the Lack's family and over the course of a decade dig into and document who Henrietta Lacks was and how her cells came to exist in research labs all over the planet.
Excerpts from the book: "We must not see any person as an abstraction. Instead, we must see in every person a universe with its own secrets, with its own treasures, with its own sources of anguish, a…

Thursday Things (Random, March 2012)

My house is magically cleaner when I am crazy busy. Chalk it up to a personality that thrives on procrastinating and the ensuing pressure that comes from having too much on my plate.
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Speaking of which... my house is currently the cleanest it has been since Jack came home. I also am juggling several new freelance projects with tight deadlines. This is my sweet zone and I love being extra busy during Jack's nap times.
Granted I didn't go to bed until after midnight, four nights in a row, last week. That caught up with me on the weekend and I spent Saturday taking long naps when Jack napped. You know, instead of working like a mad woman.
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I ordered gray and white striped curtains from West Elm for Jack's nursery {actually a cotton shower curtain I am converting into regular curtains}. So excited that they are here. Now to find the right curtains {or fabric} for our …

The Horse Whisperer

{image via}
Yesterday one of Daniel's co-workers told him that The Horse Whispererwas going to be in Scottsboro and he thought we might be interested in attending.
Well, we have been trying to make an effort to do local things, though we have been failing miserably, so this seemed like a good event to go to.
The Horse Whisperer is a Baptist Ministry that focuses on training a horse that has never been ridden. In the span of 90 minutes. During the training session, the Horse Whisperer, Sammy Gilbreath, shares his faith and speaks about how God is trying to tame each of us. Sammy wants the horse to choose to submit to him, he doesn't want to beat the horse into submission. Likewise, God doesn't want to force a relationship with us. Like the horse, we can run away, we can kick, we can fight God, but in the end God will guide us into submission. He will gently wait until we are ready to have a relationship.
It was a very interesting event. Sammy did a great job of adapting his m…

Menu Monday

I just started to spell Monday as Munday... either I have too much on my plate or I am losing my mind just a little.
I actually have quite a few projects going on right now. Hopefully I won't completely forget how to spell in the course of meeting deadlines over the next couple of weeks!
Monday: Toasted Sesame Ginger Chicken served with a side of Rice and a Salad {the salmon was so good last week, that I thought I would try this recipe again, but with Chicken}.


Tuesday: Grilled Steak with Roasted Garlic Brussel Sprouts
Wednesday: Barbacoa Burritos using leftovers from last week's Burrito Bowls

Thursday: Grilled Garlic Dijon Herb Chicken with Rice and a side Salad {using Gina's Skinny Tastes recipe for salmon}.
Friday: Date Night
Saturday: Cheesy Spinach Artichoke Pizza {recipe from How Sweet It Is}
Sunday: We are getting together with our class from church. I will be taking a dessert, though I haven't decided what yet. A strong contender is this recipe for Girl Scout Cookie T…

Banana Baked French Toast

There are not a whole lot of recipes that I make more than once. But on occasion, I come across one that I keep in my back pocket as a "go to" for special occasions. One of my all-time favorites to make for breakfast when we have company is Pioneer Woman's Blueberry Baked French Toast. It is seriously amazing.
Since I don't like to repeat recipes, I got it in my head that I could experiment with the flavor of PWs recipe. I think it would be great with different kinds of fruit {like bananas, apples, peaches or blackberries}.
I had some very ripe bananas in my freezer, so I decided to branch out and make the PW recipe with a twist. It was delicious. Next time: peaches.
Banana Baked French Toast
Ingredients 1 Bag Stacy's Pita Chips {Simply Naked}  7 large eggs 2 3/4 cups milk
1/4 cup Vanilla CoffeeMate
1/2 cup sugar
3 ripe bananas
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 stick (1/2 cup) butter Directions Grease 9…

Thursday Things (Random, March 2012)

My parents just came for a quick visit. They wanted to know when I started my process of never {rarely} cooking the same recipe twice. Hmmm. I guess it was whenever I started reading blogs on a regular basis {back before Pinterest}. I realized that the world is full of lots of amazing recipes and I didn't want to spend my life eating the same few dishes when there was so much to try. I am a little like that with traveling too. There are so many places in the world, why keep returning to the same place over and over? That's what I told them anyways.
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It turns out that I have a difficult time multitasking when I am cooking. I get too distracted and do silly things like forget ingredients or leave something in the oven too long. I love to cook, but I think this is something best done alone {or with someone like my mom, who can keep me on track}.
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My b…

Menu Monday

I am a very laid-back, go with the flow, kind of gal. But I am also a notorious planner and list maker. Always have been, always will be. 92% of the time, I stick to my menu plan {we break the plan for impromptu social outings with friends or if I am not feeling up to cooking}. As for my grocery list, if it's not on the list, I'm not buying it. This drives my husband crazy when he happens to shop with me – he inevitably finds something not on the list and I will put my foot down {unless it is a need and not a want}. I try not to be too much of a dictator, but the meal planning and grocery list making has helped us to be consistent with our spending for nearly a decade now.
Monday: Toasted Sesame Ginger Salmon {recipe from How Sweet It Is} with Rice and Asparagus
Tuesday: Homemade Sausage, Bell Pepper and Olive Pizza {using the Garlic Bread Crust recipe from How Sweet It Is}

Wednesday:Barbacoa Burrito Bowls {recipe from Gina's Skinny Recipes}
Thursday: Date Night
Friday-Sunday: …

2012 Book 10: Latitude 38

LATITUDE 38 by Ron Hutchison takes place in the future when America has been split into two countries, Pais Nuevo and United Secular States of America, which are divided by the 38th latitude. Pais Nuevo is corrupt and has eliminated essential American freedoms. Anyone caught trying to cross the border into the USSofA are subject to being shot on sight. 
The story follows a group of eight people attempting to cross the border. They are being led by Arnold Cutbirth, who is on his last smuggling trip across the border. Each person is from different background and has a different reason for wanting to cross. They must learn to work together to get across latitude 38.
I found this to be a very intriguing story, though there were some fairly graphic scenes I wish weren't included. Also I think the author could had gone into more detail about how the two countries had come to be formed. In some ways it reminded me of The Hunger Games. Unfortunately the ending is not a happy…

2012 Book 9: The Long Run

The Long Run by Mishka Shubaly is a memoir about how Shubaly quit alcohol. Mostly it drones on and on and on and on about the author's drug and alcohol experience. And then it briefly talks about how he saved himself through running. Basically he just woke up one day and decided to quit drinking and he did. The book doesn't offer much hope, just a sad story of an alcoholic. I was disappointed that he didn't talk more about his running experiences, after all the title is The Long Run. The most powerful part of the book is the very end where Shubaly helps a friend complete a 100-mile race.

If you are just in the mood to read about the sad life of an alcoholic, then you might feel like picking this up. But I wouldn't recommend it.
Excerpts from the book: “The tragedy is not that you’re gonna die this way,” my mother had said to me once, “it’s that you live this way.”
"At 27 years of age, Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix and even Jim Morrison had each created a body of wo…

Thursday Things (Random, March 2012)

There are several 5K races that are currently on my radar. I am hoping to do at least one of them {hopefully April-ish}. 
Is it weird that I am more psyched about participating in a 5K than I am about shopping for clothes? I might like shopping more if I could just order outfits I liked off of Pinterest {but only if they were cheap}.
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I haven't done any crafts in the last couple of weeks. Not because I don't have a long list of projects I want to start, more because my crafting partner is moving back to the city and I just haven't felt like crafting by myself. Next week, I will buck up and make the crib skirt for my sister and cover some boxes in fabric for Jack's toys.
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My friend that is leaving is also the person that got me interested in running. We ran our first 5K together back in December of '10 and then we committed to ru…

My Life, in Two-Hour Increments

The biggest thing that I have had to adapt to since become a mother is that my life is now dictated by two-hour increments. Once I came to accept this, I found it much easier to accomplish things.
Here is a sample of a typical day for me:
5:00am: Earlier morning feeding. Back to bed for both me and Jack. Daniel leaves for work about 5:45am.
7:00am: Another feeding. If I am lucky, we go back to sleep for another hour or two.
8:00-9:00am: Get up sometime during this hour. Feed and let Sophie out. Get Jack dressed for the day. Eat breakfast. Load the dishwasher. If Jack isn't too fussy, throw on a load of laundry.
9:00am: Play with Jack. This includes letting him have tummy time or lay on his playmat. We also read books and sing lots of songs. When he gets fussy, time for morning nap #1.
10:00am: While Jack naps, I get that load of laundry started (if I didn't have time earlier). I drink my coffee and check email, Facebook and my favorite blogs. If I have a freelance project, I get to …

Jack is Four Months

At the start of this month we started sleep training. Initially Jack was not a fan. He would cry for up to 60 minutes before we intervened. Sophie found this very worrisome and would go to check on Jack when the crying got really intense. Night time was still a breeze... it was just nap time that seemed to be problematic :(


After two days Jack finally seemed to get the hang of sleeping in his crib for naps. Even better is that we have basically cut out the middle of the night feedings – Jack can go between 6 and 8 hours without eating. Yay for more sleep time for me :)


Our little guy is talking up a storm these days. He especially seems to like babbling along to music. Sometimes he just shouts out sounds. It is so sweet. However it seems that the days when I could nurse him and put him back {quietly} in his bed {after his 7 a.m. feeding} are gone. He babbles away, getting louder and louder until I finally make myself get up and start my day. I am going to miss those extra 1-2 hours …

Hair

Hair cuts are the very last thing I get around to doing for myself. The reason for this is twofold. One: I have been the recipient of a couple of bad hair cuts, which really shake a girl's confidence. Two: committing to a hair stylist means accepting that we are officially a part of a community.
In Cookeville, it took me two years to find a hair stylist I liked. Then we moved.


In Charlotte, I haphazardly went to various places. I just couldn't commit. I liked most of the places I tried, but at the time, I felt like I was terrible at making small talk, so I just avoided putting myself in that kind of situation. We lived in Charlotte for six years and I would find myself waiting to visit my sister in Memphis or taking a trip home to Searcy, to get my hair cut. Kind of ridiculous.
Well we have been in Hollywood for 1.5 years and I decided that it was time.


Actually my hair was shouting at me that it needed to be cut. Post-pregnancy hair is the worst. Mine was super long {for me} and …

Thursday Things (Random, March 2012)

After reading several different posts on various blogs, it has come to my attention that when nursing, women often spend money on nursing shirts... who knew? Since I spent a very minimal amount on maternity clothes, it seems odd to spend money on a nursing-specific shirt. Am I alone in this?
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Jack finding his voice.
Over the last week, Jack has really seemed to find his voice. He likes to talk {loudly} to us. If music is playing it sometimes seems like he is trying to sing along. It is truly funny. Daniel thinks he sounds like the Tasmanian Devil from Looney Toons.
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Jack and Daniel engrossed in Top Gear (UK).  They were watching a car (a Touareg) race two snow mobiles  down a ski slope and across a lake. The Touareg won.
We asked Daniel's dad {a doctor} if he thought Jack might develop ADD or ADHD later in life because we occasionally let him wat…

Oatmeal Peanut Butter Cookies

Last Thursday I mentioned that Daniel had requested a two-week moratorium on desserts at our house {we are both attempting to lost about 7% of our current body weight}. Anyways, I agreed and our house has been basically dessert free.
Last night this backfired on Daniel as he was craving something sweet – even if it was just a handful of chocolate chips. No dice. When I ran out of goodies, I didn't add them to the grocery list because of the moratorium. We even ran out of our frozen yogurt.
So after dinner, Daniel tried to make a bargain with me: Change a diaper or go to Walmart to pick up frozen yogurt {or even better drive the 20 minutes across town for DQ}. If we were going to do a family outing, I was fine with getting out, but I didn't really want to go out by myself. And since Daniel didn't want to get out, we were at a bit of an impasse.
Instead I went downstairs to see what was in our pantry and what recipe might work with the ingredients I happened to have on hand. We…

Pancakes with Grammy

My niece is something else. She is almost three and pure joy to be around. When we were in Nashville for a family visit last week, I had the opportunity to help Izzy and my mom {Grammy} make pancakes.

Miss Izzy has reached the "I can do it" stage and insists on being in the middle of everything. She wanted to scoop out the flour and pour the flour into the bowl and stir.

We managed to compromise with Grammy scooping out the flour, Izzy dumping it in the bowl and me helping her to stir.

She actually did really well.

For some reason, while we were stirring together, I started making a sound like electric beaters {or a toy car} "Brrrrrrrrrrrr." I guess I am gearing up for making lots of noises when Jack gets bigger.

Of course Izzy is a little mimic so she made the "Brrrrrrrrrrrrrr" sound and thought it was hilarious. 

The pancakes were delicious – and there was minimal mess to clean up. So glad to get to spend some quality time with family. I can't wait until …

Spaghetti Sauce, Used Three Ways

This past week I experimented with being creative with meals. I started out by making a homemade spaghetti sauce that we ate with whole wheat spaghetti and a side salad {original recipe was from A Recipe A Day}.

The next day I used the sauce to make sloppy joes.

Finally I used the sauce to make stuffed shells.

We also managed to get a couple of days worth of leftovers for lunches {I made a half recipe of the sauce and it provided us with 10 different servings}. This worked out beautifully as we didn't have to have true repeat meals and we saved money by not making completely new dishes each night.

Pin It: Completed Projects

Over the last couple of weeks I wrapped up two projects. One was a Crayon Monogram "J" for Jack's nursery {if you remember, I made an "L" a few weeks ago for my nephew}.


The other thing is that I finally finished knitting Jack's baby blanket. My sister informed me that it is actually a "throw" as baby blankets are 2'x3' and my blanket is a bit bigger. On second thought, it is perfect for me to snuggle under... maybe I should just keep it for myself!


I have several new ideas for projects to start on this week.